Middlesbrough 0 Coventry 1 (0-1): Sky Blues edge closer to Premier League return as Hamer’s strike downs Carrick’s side

GUSTAVO HAMER provided a moment of Premier League quality that put Coventry ahead within 90 minutes of ending their 22-year exile from the top flight.

The Sky Blues hadn’t registered a single shot on target but were relentless when their first shot finally rang out.

Coventry will play Luton in the Championship play-off final


Coventry will play Luton in the Championship play-off finalPhoto credit: PA
Gustavo Hamer scored the only goal in the two-legged semi-final against Middlesbrough


Gustavo Hamer scored the only goal in the two-legged semi-final against MiddlesbroughPhoto credit: Reuters

The Swedish top player Viktor Gyokeres broke free and lobbed the ball over the advancing goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

The ball came to Hamer but three Boro players had managed to position themselves between him and the goal.

But the Coventry midfielder fired in a brilliant shot into the top right corner.

Just like Tuesday night when Luton secured their place in the final after beating Sunderland just nine years after they played in a non-league, it’s a great story that the Sky Blues will have the championship showpiece next Saturday create.

Just five years ago, Coventry were in the second division… and their rise under manager Mark Robins has been nothing short of remarkable.

And they deserve it tonight. It’s fair to say they didn’t make a splash in the first half, but neither did Boro.

But they shifted gears after the break and should have won by a more comfortable margin – with Hamer also hitting the bar.

Alex Crooks thought he had equalised, but his header was rightly ruled out for offside.


Boro almost had a good chance early on when Ryan Giles put Cameron Archer on – but instead of shooting he tried to get the ball to his left foot and the ball was cleared.

But despite Boro starting up front, Coventry almost got an opener.

Tommy Smith tried to play the ball back to Steffen – but Gyokeres was alert and pushed in and almost rolled the ball past the keeper, who just managed to block it.

Middlesbrough kept pushing and Riley McGree saw a vigorous shot deflected for a corner.

Jamie Allen had a shot but just as he was about to put the shot in goal Giles put him in a pickpocket and cleared it.

Gyokeres faked the ball so he could fly past Paddy McNair but just as the Coventry ace was about to break away he was knocked down by his opponent. Referee David Coote duly dismissed the boro man.

And just before half-time, Boro got the first shot on goal when Darragh Lenihan headed in from a corner, but it was aimed squarely at Ben Wilson.

Alex Crooks headed in but the goal was disallowed for offside


Alex Crooks headed in but the goal was disallowed for offsidePhoto credit: Rex
Middlesbrough failed to score in either game


Middlesbrough failed to score in either gamePhoto credit: PA

Coventry got out of the starting blocks quickly after the break.

And after pressing the ball and winning the ball, Ben Sheaf penetrated the Boro’s box but failed to make proper contact as he shot over the goal.

Because the ball was hit so badly, it fell to Allen and he too failed. It was a huge missed opportunity.

But the Sky Blues took the lead.

Gyokeres broke through and lobbed the ball over the onrushing Steffen.

Three Boro players managed to get back between the ball and the goal.

Hamer picked it up and fired a great shot into the top right corner.

Allen almost doubled the lead when he broke free after a Gyokeres charge on the right.

But he hit his shot terribly and Lenihan just managed to save the ball.


Michael Carrick had seen enough and opted for a triple substitution to take the win.

Alex Mowatt, Marcus Forss and Tommy Smith were all delighted, with Dan Barlaser, Isaiah Jones and Anfernee Dijksteel all joining.

But it was Coventry that looked fresher and livelier – and they missed a second because of the livery.

After Lenihan chopped down Gyokeres just outside the box, Hamer shot the resulting free-kick superbly over the wall, but it bounced back off the bar.

Mowatt thought he set off the offside trap as he went home, but the assistant referee rightfully made a mistake as he was at least a yard away.

To add to the drama, the fourth official held up the board to indicate EIGHT MINUTES of overtime.

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And Archer slammed the bar from just ten yards after a shot from the Crooks – despite the assistant raising his flag once more.

Coventry held out – and sparked jubilant scenes as the players celebrated with their fans.

The season ended in disappointment for Michael Carrick


The season ended in disappointment for Michael CarrickPhoto credit: Reuters
Ben Wilson saved the score at 0-0 with a decisive save


Ben Wilson saved the score at 0-0 with a decisive savePhoto credit: Reuters

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Zack Zwiezen joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing zackzwiezen@ustimespost.com.

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