Coventry City triumphs over Rotherham United with a 5-0 victory, led by Ellis Simms’ hat-trick for the Sky Blues.

The summer acquisition from Everton scored three goals within the initial 37 minutes, and with Joel Latibeaudiere adding another, the outcome of the game was settled by halftime.

Simms had only managed two goals in his initial 25 appearances for Coventry but has now scored eight in his past six matches, including another rapid hat-trick against Maidstone in the FA Cup last week.

Fabio Tavares contributed a late fifth goal to underline a victory that keeps Coventry within reach of sixth-placed Hull, while leaving bottom club Rotherham trailing by 19 points with just 10 games remaining.

Coventry desperately needed a win after consecutive defeats dropped them to ninth place, and Rotherham proved to be obliging opponents, despite having defeated Coventry in the reverse fixture at the New York Stadium earlier in the season.

From the moment Viktor Johansson inadvertently gifted Simms the opener four minutes into the match, the result – and Rotherham’s eighth consecutive defeat – seemed inevitable.

The Swedish goalkeeper, often a standout for struggling Rotherham, made a rare error by dropping Jake Bidwell’s routine cross under no pressure, allowing Simms to nod the ball into the empty net.

Rotherham came close to responding as Christ Tiehi’s cross narrowly evaded Hakeem Odoffin’s head, but Coventry doubled their lead on 23 minutes when defender Latibeaudiere headed in Bidwell’s corner.

Just four minutes later, Haji Wright breached the visitors’ defense from the right side, and Simms calmly slotted in a left-footed shot to make it three.

On 37 minutes, Simms completed his hat-trick with a superb shot from outside the box, making it 12 goals for the season and achieving a classic hat-trick of header, left-foot, and right-foot goals. Wright provided the assist by deflecting Bidwell’s cross into Simms’ path.

Rotherham managed to stem the tide in the second half, with Coventry substitute Matty Godden having a header blocked on the line. However, in the dying moments, Milan van Ewijk’s diagonal ball into the box deflected kindly for Tavares, who neatly found the bottom corner to lift Coventry to eighth place, just three points behind Hull.

Coventry manager Mark Robins commented on BBC Radio CWR:

“We got an early goal which helped to settle everybody. The goalkeeper dropped it on Ellis’ head to give him a boost of confidence – he hadn’t scored a hat-trick until last week and now he has two.

“It was a brilliant hat-trick. The left-foot shot first time was a brilliant take, wrong-footing the keeper because he hit it so well, and the third one was brilliant play down the left-hand side, a good ball in, nice set from Haji [Wright] and to pick out the far corner was outstanding.

“That’s what he is capable of doing and that and the supporters singing his name should give him the world of confidence.

“Joel Latibeaudiere has got above the crossbar to head his goal, it was a great leap, and it put us in total control until the second half.”

Rotherham boss Leam Richardson told BBC Radio Sheffield:

“You can defend footballers as long as you can, and I always will, but that’s probably the worst 45 minutes that I’ve been involved in.

“You can accept mistakes from Vik [Johansson]. He’s had an outstanding season, with a couple of mistakes of late, but he’ll bounce back from it, but you can’t start games like this in the Championship.

“It was very soft, conceding three or four goals in the middle of our goal – avoidable, not acceptable, and we’re very aware of the situation we are in.

“If we’re not 100% we will find ourselves on the back of things like this. It’s the first time I’ve experienced it in my time at the club and I’ll do my best to make sure it never happens again.”

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