Date: 2nd April 2017 at 8:50pm
Written by:

Coventry City manager Mark Robins praised a ‘phenomenal’ afternoon at Wembley Stadium at which 43,000 Sky Blues supporters saw their side pull off a surprise 2-1 victory against Oxford United to lift the Football League Trophy.

Academy graduates Gael Bigirimana and George Thomas scored the goals while their fellow youth team product Lee Burge prevented the game going into extra-time with a wonderful late save.

The day was always going to be an enjoyable release for the massed ranks of City fans travelling down to North London but the unexpected quality of their side’s perfomance took both those in the stands and their opponents by surprise.

Robins’ team had a solid base, snapped into every tackle and had enough pace and guile going forward to keep Oxford on their toes.

Kyel Reid used the full width of the Wembley pitch to ease the pressure on the Sky Blues back line on numerous occasions, culminating in the break for Thomas’s goal, one that stands alongside any scored at the national stadium.

Like many of the younger players in the side, Thomas seemed to revel in the atmosphere of playing in the biggest game of his career rather than be overawed by it.

‘To see the amount that turned up, with that much passion, surpasses anything I’ve done in football,’ Robins told BBC Sport afterwards.

‘The experience was phenomenal. The noise was tremendous. Both sets of fans were really good.

‘It gives everybody a reminder that we have a really good fan base with so much potential. We just have to harness it.’

The manager may himself have been in charge of just one of City’s matches in the competition but he showed his quality when it mattered, putting together a team hit by injury and ineligibility that managed to make themselves worthy winners.