Coventry United FC v Rocester FC

Midland Football League Premier Division

Game No 159


Date:         5th September 2017

KO:             7.45pm

Venue:       Butts Park Arena

Attendance: 223


Well hello one and all. The games are coming thick and fast at the minute and with United picking up another 3pts on Saturday with a hard fought win over Quorn, United must be chomping at the bit to get the next game on with the start to the season they have had.

Now United didn’t play anywhere near their best on Saturday, but a mark of any good team is having the ability to grind out results on the days that you are not at your best and Saturday was such a day.

Tonight United welcome Rocester FC to the Butts Park arena for this MFLP fixture that I’m sure will be just as testing as the others have been so far.

Rocester have had a bit of an indifferent start to their campaign so far after playing 6 games, winning 2 and losing 4 games so they will be looking to even those statistics up a bit with a win over United tonight.

United’s manager Terry Anderson will have to shuffle his pack a little tonight with the injured Mitchell Piggon missing and the possible omission of Jamie Coleman if his impending suspension for his straight red card on Saturday kicks in immediately. That of course will open the door for other players waiting for their chance to step in and attempt to make those positions their own.

The referee gets the game under way and RFC show their intentions from the start when they cut out a United pass in the 1st minute. The RFC No10 Martin Smyth finds himself in space and sees his snap shot easily gathered by the United keeper Ash Maholtra.

RFC have started the game brightly and have definitely not come here to make the numbers up. They soon win a free kick in a dangerous position that’s taken by the RFC No7 Rob Ritchie-Smith, though his effort flies high over the bar in the 6th minute.

United’s first set piece come by way of a corner in the 9th minute that’s easily dealt with before they force another in the 15th minute and Aaron Opoku heads just over the bar.

Both teams are cancelling each other out to be fair with no clear cut chances being created as of yet. United though press forward in the 23rd minute and Joshua O’Grady is put through on goal but the RFC keeper Richard Froggatt does well to smother the ball at the feet of O’Grday. The best chance of the half so far comes after United’s captain Chris Cox did fantastically well to first win the ball and then run forward with the ball before sliding a great through ball for Aaron Opoku. Opoku races into the area and sees his firmly hit drive superbly saved by the RFC keeper Richard Froggatt in the 30th minute.

The first booking of the game comes soon after when United’s Jeff Woodward is shown a yellow card for a blatant obstruction.

The first half is drawing to a close but not before a Robert Prinzel header goes just wide of the target from a Lewis Rankin corner in the 43rd minute. Soon after the referee blows up for half time with the score at 0-0.

Half Time


Second Half

The second half gets under way with neither side making any changes. United start the half well and see plenty of the ball. United’s Gift Mussa tries his luck from long range but the keeper Richard Froggatt saves with ease in the 47th minute.

Then against the run of play after a poor pass from United’s Joshua O’Grady, the ball is cut out and RFC power forward with their skipper Martin Smyth racing into the area before coolly sliding the ball past the keeper Ash Maholtra for the opening goal of the game in the 52nd minute.


Well the Red and Green army were not expecting that at all but a goal down they are. And just when you thought that things couldn’t get any worse they did. United are awarded a free kick and some of the RFC players thought differently as Chris Cox was deemed to have kicked the ball at a player while he was down??? A mass of pushing and shoving ensued and after much deliberation between the officials the referee decides to show the RFC’s No10 Martin Smyth a yellow card for his part in the proceedings and then shows Chris Cox a straight red for his and United are now once again down to 10 men in the 54th minute.

Now United are down to 10 men and a goal down but one thing United teams don’t do is give up. They shuffle the pack accordingly and go looking to get back into the game. A Craig Reid effort in the 58th minute goes just wide of the target before United decide to make a change to bolster up the numerical disadvantage. They take off Joshua O’Grady and send on Tommy Glasscoe in the 60th minute.

Tommy Glasscoe is soon in the thick of things when he is fouled by the RFC No4 Dean Bromley who also receives a yellow for the challenge in the 61st minute. Then 5 minutes later the RFC No6 Ashleigh Lynch also goes into the book for a foul on Aaron Opoku in the 65th minutes. The resulting free kick is taken by Craig Reid and he goes directly for goal bringing out a great save from the keeper Richard Froggatt but the ball falls loose and United’s Jeff Woodward is there to stab the loose ball home from close range for the equaliser.


United are now back in the game and to be fair deserve to be for the way they have played after going a man down. RFC try to respond with an Oliver Roome shot that goes straight to the United keeper in the 70th minute. United are not holding out for a draw as they continue to press for another goal. They win a corner in the 74th minute that see’s Craig Reid head the ball back across the area and up popped Robert Prinzel to direct his header into the corner of the net for a great goal.


Well the Red and Green army are now in raptures as their team have pulled themselves in front after being a man and a goal down. They just need to hold out now for the final 15 minutes or so.

Soon after RFC make another change when they take off the No6 Ashleigh Lynch and send on No14 Sam Bates in the 78th minute.

With the game moving into the last 10 minutes, RFC make inroads into United’s area. Ash races out and catches the No9 Oliver Roome and the referee blows up for a penalty. The captain Martin Smyth steps up to take it and sends Ash the wrong way and scores his second goal of the game and his team are back on level terms in the 80th minute.


Disappointment is an understatement and now United need to try and dig deep again and try and get another goal to take the maximum pts. With the game nearing the end, United make another change when they take off Aaron Opoku and send on U21 star Ryan Palmer in the 86th minute.

United tried in vain to force a winner and ended the game very strongly as the game went into 90+6 and the final whistle is blown with the points shared.

Full Time


In summing up this game it was another battle of attrition pretty much like the Quorn game. Both teams cancelled each other out for most of the first half with very few decent chances being created by either team’s as they went in 0-0 at the break.

The second half was a much more exciting half with plenty of incidents, most notably the sending off of United’s Chris Cox in the 54th minute. United though after going a goal and a man down rolled their sleeves up and got themselves firstly back on level terms before going in front. With 10 minutes remaining they conceded a penalty and RFC’s skipper made no mistake in scoring his second of the night and earning his team a good point.

Players worthy of a mention today for RFC would have to be the captain Martin Smyth. He was a constant thorn in United’s side and also claimed a brace to round off a great performance.

For United, Chris Cox was doing well before his sending off and Kyle Barnett had another good solid game too marshalling the defence really well. Aaron Opoku also had a good game and really put himself about until his substitution. Robert Prinzel slotted in well alongside Kyle Barnett and cashed in with a well taken goal to give his side a brief lead but for me my man of the match tonight is Jeff Woodward. Jeff defended manfully when required but it was his attacking prowess that impressed me tonight. He was always on hand to assist with attacks making many penetrating runs and was also on the spot to score a goal himself so well played Jeff Woodward.

Match stats     (United)   (RFC)

On target             (5)           (5)

Off target           (6)             (2)

Corners               (7)             (2)

Free kicks             (12)         (10)

Yellow cards         (1)           (3)

Red cards             (1)           (0)

Offside                   (0)           (4)


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