Coventry City take break from turmoil to beat Oxford United and win Checkatrade Trophy at Wembley

Andy Sims
George Thomas scored what proved to be the winner at Wembley: Getty

Coventry put their crisis to one side to win the Checkatrade Trophy with a 2-1 victory over Oxford.

Gael Bigirimana grabbed a Wembley goal, hours after becoming a father, and academy graduate George Thomas struck in the second half for the Sky Blues.

Substitute Liam Sercombe pulled one back for Oxford but they were condemned to defeat in the final for the second year running.

Bigirimana's goal capped a memorable weekend for the 23-year-old after his wife Natalia gave birth to a baby girl in the early hours of Saturday morning.

And Coventry's victory provided a bright spot to an otherwise dark season for the troubled Sky Blues, who look certain to be relegated to League Two.

They have had four managers this term, lie in their worst position for nearly 50 years and have seen attendances plummet and supporters protesting against owners Sisu.

But more than 40,000 fans forgot about the problems for 90 minutes and enjoyed the party on their first trip to Wembley for 30 years.

The competition has been derided for the inclusion of Premier League and Championship under-21 sides for the first time, and quite what the attendance would have been had Reading's youngsters met West Brom's in the final is anyone's guess.

Mercifully two senior teams made the final and a bumper crowd of 74,434 basked in the London sunshine.

Gael Bigirimana opened the scoring for Coventry (Getty)

Coventry, led out by 1987 FA Cup final winning goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic, went ahead when Jordan Willis floated in a cross which was met on the volley by Stuart Beavon.

U's defender Chey Dunkley blocked the shot but the ball fell kindly for Bigirimana, who swept past keeper Simon Eastwood and into the corner.

Rob Hall stabbed Oxford's best chance of the first half wide, and 10 minutes after the break Thomas doubled City's lead.

The 20-year-old winger controlled Kyel Reid's cross with a superb first touch before volleying home with his second.

Thomas celebrates with team mates Ruben Lameiras and Ben Stevenson after scoring his team's second goal (Getty)

With 15 minutes left substitute Sercombe fired through a sea of bodies and into the corner to raise hopes of an Oxford comeback.

They should have been level when Hall raced through one-on-one with Lee Burge but he shot too close to the keeper.

And in a frantic finish Burge saved from Josh Ruffels and Bigirimana cleared Phil Edwards' follow-up off the line to secure a deserved victory.

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