Loughborough (A) 18/19
Loughborough Uni FC v Coventry United FC
Midland Football League Premier Division
Date: Saturday 19th January 2019
Venue: Holywell Sports Complex
Well hello one and all. After the hard fought 0-0 away draw with title chasing Shepshed Dynamo, United today travel back up the M1 with a trip to Leicestershire to take on Loughborough Uni FC.
The Uni have had a bit of a mixed season so far sitting in 17th position and 9pts behind United and but have a game in hand over United. United will have to be focussed and ready if they are to get anything from this game as the Scholars on their day can beat anybody in this league as United found out last season and in the earlier encounter before it was abandoned due to rain with United trailing 1-0.
The referee gets the game under way and United start the game brightly knocking the ball around with confidence. United win a corner that's taken by Joe Cairns and his cross picks out Eli Bako and he sends his header wide of the target in the 9th minute.
The Scholars first chance comes in the 11th minute when the No3 Jordan Slack powered forward before shooting tamely at the United keeper Brendan Bunn.
United continue to work the ball around nicely and press with purpose in the 13th minute when Gift Mussa broke free but his fierce drive is very well saved by the Scholars keeper Conor O'Keefe. United soon after break with pace again in the 16th minute when Eli Bako finds himself through on goal but his shot is a soft one and is gathered with ease by the Scholars keeper O'Keefe.
United are dominating proceeding so far but the Scholars create their next chance in the 21st minute when the No11 Matty Crookes does well wide on the left before shooting tamely from a tight angle.
United don't have to wait long for the next chance to arrive. More good movement of the ball with crisp passing sees an Eli Bako through ball put Harrison Sawyer through on goal but he chips the ball over the bar in the 24th minute.
United have had a couple of good chances to take the lead but have failed to convert any yet. Let's hope they don't rue them come the end of the game.
The Scholars win a free kick on the edge of the area in the 26th minute that's taken by the No11 Matty Crookes but thankfully he blazes his effort high over the bar.
The first booking of the game comes in the 29th minute when United's Kyle Barnett is booked for his challenge on a Scholars player. Then soon after in the 31st minute the Scholars No7 Matthew Olapo is booked for felling United's Joe Cairns.
With the first half drawing to a close United continued to dominate proceedings without creating any clear cut chances before the referee blows up for half time and the deadlock still unbroken.
LOUGHBORUGH 0 UNITED 0
The second half gets under way with neither side making any changes during the break. United press forward with Eli Bako doing well before seeing his goal bound shot well saved by the Scholars keeper Conor O'Keefe in the 48th minute.
The Scholars respond with an attack of their own in the 52nd minute when the impressive No8 Ben Last jinked his way through the midfield before then seeing his shot well saved by United's keeper Brendan Bunn.
United are soon back on the attack and they find themselves with a great chance to take the lead in the 56th minute when the referee awards United with a penalty kick for an hand ball inside the area. Kyle Barnett steps up to take it and coolly sends the keeper O'Keefe the wrong way and the deadlock is broken.
LOUGHBOROUGH 0 UNITED 1
That was a well taken penalty and I would say United are justified with their slender lead at the minute. The game resumes and shortly afterwards United decide to make a change when they take off debutant Sam Lockley and send on Antonio Alcaraz-Zamora in the 63rd minute. More changes follow when the Scholars take off the No9 Daniel Collins and send on the No16 Kel Akpobire in the 65th minute and then take off the No7 Matthew Olapo and send on the No15 Jerimiah Dasaolu in the 70th minute.
As the game goes into the final 15 minutes, the Scholars start to press more looking for the equaliser. They break with pace in the 75th minute and the No16 Kel Akpobire finds himself one on one with the United keeper Brendan Bunn but it's Bunn who comes out on top when he saves fantastically at the feet of the Scholars forward to maintain United's slender lead.
United soon after decide to make a change in the 76th minute when they take off Jake Holt and send on Yoann Tsamas. A slight formation change sees United set up to defend and try and see out the remainder of the game.
United are now soaking up some pressure as the Scholars go looking for a goal. They win a free kick wide on the left but just outside the area in the 83rd minute. It's taken by the No8 Ben Last and his lovely flighted ball to the far post picks out the No11 Matty Crookes and he sends his header into the back of the net putting them back on level terms.
LOUGHBOROUGH 1 UNITED 1
Now that's a kick in the teeth for United with only a few minutes left to play. That said though, the Scholars have seen far more of the ball in the second half and put United under some pressure.
United respond with their final change of the day when they take off the hard working Joe Cairns and send on Dominik Alleyne in the 84th minute. The Scholars now with their tales up are sniffing a winner and United have to stay focussed to keep hold of their point in the final minutes. With the game almost over the Scholars make their final change in the 89th minute when they take off the No4 Jordan Connor and send on the No14 Dan Hanson.
Soon after the referee blows up for full time and the points are shared.
LOUGHBOROUGH 1 UNITED 1
In summing up this game I would have to say SAME OLD STORY. Once again like so many games this season United have dominated proceedings but failed to punish teams in the process. Today's game was no different as united controlled the first half with some great slick passing that tore through the scholars with ease at times. The great playing surface clearly suited their passing style of play and carved out five chances on target but failed to hit the back of the net with either of them and subsequently went into the break 0-0.
The second half saw United continue where they left off in the first and pressed from the off. After taking the lead from an awarded penalty in the 56th minute, the Scholars started to make a few inroads of their own and saw more of the ball compared to what they saw in the first half.
United made a few changes and decided to strengthen up the midfield leaving just the one up front for the final 15 minutes but sadly couldn't hold out as the Scholars took advantage from a free kick and scored the equaliser in the 83rd minute for a share of the points.
Players worthy of a mention today would have to be the No8 Ben Last for the Scholars. This lad was pure class throughout this game and looked comfortable on the ball. He made plenty of good runs and delivered a good free kick to assist the equaliser.
For United the whole team played really well, especially in the first half when they dominated for long periods and passed the ball around with consummate ease.
Brendan Bunn had to be at his best a couple of times making some great saves. Gift Mussa put in his usual shift in amongst a competitive midfield battle. Eli Bako had his best game to date in a United shirt and looks a good addition to the team. Joe Cairns worked hard all day and tracked back to help defending when required and made plenty of good forward runs showing plenty of energy, Harrison Sawyer also had a great game and made some great interventions and still found time to get the ball forward when allowed but for me todays man of the match goes to Luke Downes. Luke today was fantastic. He had some good company in the midfield today and he was never out shone. Luke was tenacious in the tackle and was always offering himself up to receive the ball which shows how confident a player he is so very well played Luke Downes.
Match Stats United Loughborough
On target (7) (6)
Off target (4) (2)
Corners (4) (5)
Free kicks (12) (15)
Yellow cards (1) (1)
Red cards (0) (0)
Offside (3) (1)