Coventry United FC v Leicester Nirvana FC
FA Vase Cup 4th Round
Date: Saturday 5th January 2019
Venue: Butts Park Arena
Well hello one and all. Today United take a break from the league as they welcome Leicester Nirvana FC to the Butts to contest this FA Vase Cup 4th round tie.
United will be hoping to reverse their recent form to get past a potentially dangerous Nirvana side who put four past Westfields in the last round. With United now into unknown territory in this competition, manager Terry Anderson will be hoping to have a full team to choose from as he plots to take his team a step closer to the dream of a possible Wembley final.
The referee gets the game under way and the game starts relatively open with both teams creating good early chances. United strike first when Jake Holt attempts a snapshot from 30yrds out that goes high over the bar in the 2nd minute before Nirvana race up the other end and after a Gift Mussa miss-kick, the Nirvana No7 Chris Anastasi improvises with an overhead kick that’s just goes wide of the target in the 3rd minute.
With both teams looking to go for it, we don’t have to wait too long before the next decent chance comes. United break forward with Joe Cairns doing well before threading a good ball through to Jake Holt who tries to lob the out rushing Nirvana keeper Michael Antkowiak but his effort drops just wide of the target in the 12th minute. Then in the 13th minute United keep the pressure on with a Joe Cairns corner that picks out the busy Jake Holt and his header fall nicely for the Nirvana keeper for an easy gather.
United are forced into an early change when the impressive Joe Cairns is replaced with Antonio Alcaraz-Zamora after getting himself injured in the 22nd minute.
United are looking good and putting plenty of pressure on the Nirvana defence. United’s Kevin Thornton does really well to find some space before setting up Kai Williams and his shot blazes over the bar in the 29th minute.
Soon after and against the run of play, disaster strikes when Nirvana press forward and when United’s Luke Downes attempts a back pass, he doesn’t realise that the United keeper Brendan Bunn has left his line and the ball trickles into the empty net to give the visitors a surprise lead in the 31st minute.
UNITED 0 NIRVANA 1
Now that was a complete surprise for the Red and Green Army as United had started the game so well and now find themselves a goal behind. They waste no time in going looking to get back on level terms when they break forward down the left with Arum Soleman. He races into the area before being felled in the area by the Nirvana No2 Jhaden Harper and the referee points straight to the spot for a United penalty. Arum Soleman dusts himself down before stepping up and coolly sending the keeper the wrong way to score the equaliser in the 33rd minute.
UNITED 1 NIRVANA 1
Now that’s more like it and fully deserved too for United’s efforts so far. United continue to press Nirvana at every opportunity and in the 39th minute Antonio Alcaraz-Zamora did excellent to keep the ball in play before picking out Jake Holt in the box but Holt’s shot goes inches wide of the post. The intense pressure being applied by United pays off in the 43rd minute when they break with pace and more good work by Zamora sees Kai Williams race onto his through ball before slotting the ball coolly past the Nirvana keeper Michael Antkowiak to give United the lead just before half time.
UNITED 2 NIRVANA 1
That was a well worked and well taken goal that United in my opinion fully deserved to give them the lead. Then with the game in added time in the first half, United’s Kai Williams shoots over the bar from a Kevin Thornton free kick in the 45+2 minutes. Soon after the referee blows up for half time.
UNITED 2 NIRVANA 1
The second half gets under way and Nirvana have made a change during the break when they have replaced the No2 Jhaden Harper and sent on the No12 Adam Swain. Nirvana come out firing and break with the No11 Will Gonga who races clear before sending his shot wide of the target in the 47th minute.
The next 10 minutes or so sees both teams cancel each other out as they both try to take some control of the play. Disaster strikes though for Nirvana in the 59th minute when the Nirvana No6 captain Ryan Amoo is shown a straight red card for taking out United’s Zamora while being the last man and gave the referee no option really in my opinion. The resulting free kick is taken by the hard working Jake Holt and his curling goal bound effort is fantastically tipped over the bar by the Nirvana keeper Antkowiak in the 60th minute.
United are forced into a change when Kevin Thornton goes down holding his shoulder and is replaced with Domink Alleyne in the 63rd minute.
(Would just like to wish United’s Kevin Thornton a speedy recovery as he was taken to hospital to have his damaged shoulder treated)
Soon after Nirvana make another change when they take off the No10 Conor Brown-Wingfield and send on the No15 Jordan Nelson in the 66th minute.
United are looking to seal the game with more pressing and in the 68th minute Zamora’s quick turn and shot flashes just wide of the target. Zamora goes close again in the 69th minute with a cheeky back heel from an Arum Soleman corner.
Ten man Nirvana are not afraid to attack and finally get their reward when the No9 Suleiman Nassor latches onto a loose ball from a No7 Chris Anastasi corner before smashing the ball into the back of the net through a crowded penalty area to score the equaliser in the 75th minute.
UNITED 2 NIRVANA 2
Oh dear, we certainly have a game on now for the remaining minutes of this game. Both teams are throwing caution to the wind as they go looking for a winner. Nirvana force a corner in the 78th minute and when the No7 Chris Anastasi is picked out his goal bound shot is cleared off the line by United’s Luke Downes.
United’s Antonio Alcaraz-Zamora earns himself a yellow card for his challenge in the 80th minute. The game is now well into the final 10 minutes and United are looking the more dangerous as the minutes tick away. They break again down the right with Dominik Alleyne in the 87th minute and he does well to thread a good ball into Arum Soleman but he fires over the bar when it looked easier to score from 10yrds out.
The next minute in the 88th see’s Arum Solemans frustrations get the better of him when he is shown a straight red card for raising his arms against an opponent reducing his team to 10 men for the final few minutes. This is now a right leveller for the Nirvana side who look confident of sneaking a late goal to win the tie.
The game is now in added time and United power forward for one last chance before extra time is upon us. United’s Kai Williams makes in roads from wide on the left before sending in a low hard cross into the area where Antonio Alcaraz-Zamora races into the area to powerfully drill the ball into the back of the net for what surely is the winner as the Red and Green Army raise the roof in celebration. What a fantastic goal.
UNITED 3 NIRVANA 2
What a cup tie this has been as soon after the restart the referee blows up for full time and United are through to the last 16 of the FA Vase Cup.
UNITED 3 NIRVANA 2
In summing up this game I would have to say WHAT A DIFFERENCE A GAME MAKES. United today were fantastic from start to finish. They worked really hard for each other and were unlucky to find themselves an own goal down while on top in the game. They battled back well and before half time had first pulled themselves level with an Arum Soleman penalty and then went in front on the stroke of half time with a cool finish from Kai Williams.
The second half saw United still see the majority of the ball but Nirvana more than had their chances in this game despite going down to 10 men in the 59th minute. Their endeavour finally paid dividends for them when they equalised in the 75th minute to leave the remainder of the game on a knife’s edge. Both teams went for it in the final minutes and after Nirvana having a goal bound shot cleared off the line in the 78th minute, United remained composed as they pressed forward themselves and forced in an injury time winner with a beautifully crafted goal to take the tie and go into the hat for the last 16 draw on Monday afternoon.
Players worthy of a mention would have to be the Nirvana No5 Josh Rock. He was immense for his team today in the heart of his defence and looked a class act throughout this game.
For United they all played their part in a fantastic cup tie that had it all. Ben Vallance put in one of his usual assured shifts and was always looking to get forward to support the attacks. Joe Cairns was having a great game before he had to go off injured. Kai Williams was starting to look back to his best to and took his goal superbly. Antonio Alcaraz-Zamora had a great game and held the ball up really well to bring other players into the game and scored a sublime winning goal and just misses out on my man of the match award I feel should go to Jake Holt. Jake today was fantastic. He was here there and everywhere. He showed a great range of passing that sprung many of United’s attacks today. He worked hard to win the ball and on another day could have easily claimed himself a hat trick so well played Jake Holt.
Well the dream goes on and anything can happen from here on in and with more hard work and a bit of luck who knows what awaits the Red and Green Army as the history making goes on.
Match stats United Nirvana
On target (5) (4)
Off target (9) (4)
Corners (8) (4)
Free kicks (16) (13)
Yellow cards (1) (0)
Red cards (1) (1)
Offside (4) (2)