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Top scorer Gyokeres has been a quiet figure over the two legs but his goals were key to driving City to their top-six finish, while match-winner Hamer cost about £1.5m but has been a focal point for Robins’ side with his trickery and passing ability – and a priceless goal.
Stalwarts such as Liam Kelly, a survivor of their League Two promotion campaign in 2017-18, have remained key components, while veteran centre-half Kyle McFadzean’s experience proved vital amid the tension.Like so many Championship sides, Coventry have turned to top-flight loanees such as Callum Doyle, Brooke Norton-Cuffy and Josh Wilson-Esbrand, and they will have one further game to showcase their talents before returning to their parent clubs.
Carrick’s run ends with Teesside prideGiven both Middlesbrough and Coventry were in the bottom three in October, the fact that both made it to this stage of the season shows the remarkable job done by Michael Carrick on Teesside as well as by Robins in the Midlands.Unlike Coventry’s show of faith, Boro’s achievement was down to a timely change as Carrick replaced Chris Wilder in October, after they had won only two of their opening 11 games.
Despite being a relative novice as a manager, Carrick’s impact was immediate, winning 16 of his first 23 games in charge to lift the Teessiders up the league table.
Chuba Akpom finished as the Championship’s top scorer with 28 goals, while the loan signings of Cameron Archer and Aaron Ramsey from Aston Villa added a different dimension to the attack and further goals to lighten the load.However, despite a fantastic home record which only saw three defeats at the Riverside all season, they were unable to avoid that fate against the Sky Blues.
Carrick’s future looks bright with young talent such as Hayden Hackney and Riley McGree in his squad, but whether he can re-sign key loanees such as Ryan Giles, Archer and goalkeeper Steffen could have a say on how they respond next season.It was unbelievable, the effort they put in, the quality they’ve shown at times in the game against a really, really top opponent, is phenomenal.
To get to a Wembley final again, the third one since I came back here, is just incredible. Everybody deserves it, the work that has gone into it this year and tonight is phenomenal. They got their just rewards, but we’ve got to go to Wembley and win. That’s absolutely the aim.”Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick told BBC Radio Tees:
You can analyse the game all you want really, the fact is we didn’t get the result we wanted. Huge credit to Coventry, they’ve earned it so congratulations to them.We have got to take it on the chin. I thought the boys gave everything again tonight, I couldn’t fault them one bit.
We tried and tried and just couldn’t quite create that golden opportunity or take that golden opportunity.I’m hugely proud of them for the effort and the run that we have been on. We have got to see it as a foundation and something to build from
Chelsea returned to the top of the Women’s Super League table with victory at West Ham, putting them in pole position to defend their title with two games remaining.Emma Hayes’ side, recently crowned FA Cup champions, are chasing a fourth successive league title.
It was a routine win in London as Pernille Harder capped off another impressive display with a goal.Niamh Charles, Sophie Ingle and Erin Cuthbert were also on the scoresheet.Victory ensures Chelsea sit two points clear of challengers Manchester United – who they beat at Wembley on Sunday – having played 20 matches each.
In a pulsating title race, Chelsea also extended their advantage in goal difference, moving four above Manchester United.They held a narrow 1-0 lead at the break thanks to Charles against a stubborn West Ham side who have not won a game in the WSL since December.
Harder’s clinical finish shortly after the break doubled their lead and Chelsea were never really troubled at the Chigwell Construction Stadium as Ingle pounced on a rebound to make it 3-0 and substitute Cuthbert added a sublime fourth.Once again it’s a great team effort because we’ve played so many games back-to-back,” Chelsea manager Hayes told Sky Sports.
This result means Chelsea could win the WSL title this weekend if they beat Arsenal and Manchester United fail to beat rivals Manchester City.
They are at the business end of the season and Chelsea showed their experience and superiority to take their chances and make light work of a struggling West Ham side.
Harder, who had an enormous impact off the bench in their FA Cup final win over United three days ago, returned to the starting XI as one of seven changes made by Hayes.So strong is Chelsea’s depth, they were able to rotate key players Guro Reiten and Cuthbert, as well as making three changes to the backline, without seeing any drop off in performance.
Ingle, another of those to return after impressing at Wembley, was the one to slide it through to Harder after half-time, before adding a goal herself, heading in a rebound from close range.Victory also capped off a celebratory evening for Charles, who made her 100th appearance for the club aged just 23 and reacted quickest to the rebound from Sam Kerr’s shot to score in the first half.
West Ham concerns lingerErin Cuthbert celebratesErin Cuthbert came off the bench to score in the 93rd minute for ChelseaWhile Chelsea’s momentum continues, it was another unwelcome defeat for West Ham, who have now gone 10 games without victory.
They performed well in patches – England international Lucy Parker impressing in midfield, while forward Viviane Asseyi had a few half-chances.They came close to scoring at the end when substitute Amalie Thestrup had an effort cleared off the line by Jess Carter and Kate Longhurst struck inches wide from long range.
But while they failed to take their rare opportunities, Cuthbert showed ruthlessness at the other end, extending Chelsea’s advantage in stoppage-time with a fine strike.It has been a concerning end to the season for Paul Konchesky’s side as they were well beaten by Chelsea.