Coventry City 0 West Bromwich 5: Mowbray locates lucky omen in Cup

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The Independent Football

Tony Mowbray may grumble about the FA Cup getting in the way of his team's chase for Premier League football, but he appears to be warming to the competition.

It is Coventry who, on Saturday's evidence, have given scant regard to the old tournament. It is one thing resting players, but to send caretaker managers into a tie against arguably the division's best team is taking things too lightly.

Coventry's chairman, Ray Ranson, chose not to use the match programme to expand on his reasons for relieving Iain Dowie of his duties last Monday. If Ranson thought the players would make a more eloquent case in the absence of the manager who helped guide them to shock cup victories away to Manchester United and Blackburn this season, he was wrong.

Chris Coleman is thought to be Ranson's choice to replace Dowie, but the former Fulham manager would have his work cut out if this rout is any indication.

Now the prospect of a quarter-final tie and the TV loot for a club Ranson narrowly saved from administration has gone. Albion saw to that in emphatic fashion. Mowbray had said he "wouldn't cry into his tea" if his side lost against Coventry, so clear is his focus on achieving promotion.

Yet it was close to a full-strength side that dismantled Coventry and suddenly Mowbray can spot another opportunity. Albion were the first team to win the Cup and get promoted, in 1931. "Let's hope we can follow in their footsteps," he said. "It's going to be very, very difficult with Manchester United and Chelsea. Any draw against either of them would probably be the end of our Cup run.

"But you never know and who would have thought Barnsley would go to Anfield and win? If you catch these teams on the back of a Champions League game or building up to a Champions League semi-final you never know what sort of team they are going to put out and results can be had."

The rout started with Chris Brunt's simple header as Coventry's defence went to sleep after only 12 minutes and the visitors were likely winners even without the Coventry captain Michael Doyle's harsh dismissal – a straight red for a foul on Zoltan Gera early in the second half.

Roman Bednar was gifted the next two goals; his first after a howler from Andy Marshall, the second from the penalty spot after Arjan de Zeeuw handled. "I love the FA Cup because it is the most famous cup in England," said the Czech Republic striker.

His replacement, Ishmael Miller, added a fourth with a smart left-foot finish and Gera's neat footwork supplied a fine fifth goal.

The players responded by throwing their shirts into the massed ranks of visiting support. "It's important that the players have an affinity with the crowd," Mowbray added. "It's important to give them something back."

For Frankie Bunn, one half of Coventry's caretaking double act with John Harbin, there will not be time to strike up such an affinity with fans. Had he been told how long they would be in charge? "It might not be too long after today," he said.

Goals: Brunt (12) 0-1; Bednar (59) 0-2; Bednar pen (69) 0-3; Miller (76) 0-4; Gera (78) 0-5.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Marshall; Osbourne, De Zeeuw (Birchall, 75), Ward, Hall; Hughes, Tabb, Doyle, Simpson (Thornton, 75); Best, Mifsud. Substitutes not used: Konstantopoulos (gk); Gray, Borrowdale.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-1-1): Kiely; Hoefkens, Barnett, Albrechtsen, Robinson; Gera (Beattie, 79), Teixeira (Kim, 74), Pele, Brunt; Morrison; Bednar (Miller, 70). Substitutes not used: Danek (gk); Phillips.

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).

Booked: West Bromwich Barnett.

Sent off: Doyle (48).

Man of the match: Bednar.

Attendance: 28,163.