South Normanton (H) 18/19
Coventry United FC v South Normanton Athletic FC
Midland Football League Premier Division
Date: Saturday 23rdFebruary 2019
Venue: Butts Park Arena
Well hello one and all. After a great team victory last week and a run of lengthy away trips, United today are finally at home and welcome South Normanton Athletic FC to the Butts Park Arena to contest this MFLP fixture.
The visitors have had a tough campaign so far this season and are languishing in the relegation places at the moment sitting in 18thposition but having a couple of games in hand over their near rivals. But as we all know league position means nothing in this league and United will have to be focussed and patient if they are to come away with anything from this game.
United’s manager Terry Anderson must surely be buoyed by his teams convincing 7-1 win last week and will hope for his team to build on that as he tries to work his way back up the league table.
The referee gets the game under way and it starts very scrappily with both teams trying to come to terms with the bobbly pitch. United especially are trying to pass the ball on the ground and are finding it hard to find a team mate in these early stages.
An early booking is shown to United’s Kyle Barnett for a challenge in the 6thminute so Barnett will have to be careful for the remainder of the game.
Both teams waste opportunities from corners and free kicks as both teams deal with the threats with consummate ease. The 16thminute saw the first attempt on goal and it came from United’s Ben Vallance. Vallance picks up the ball around 40yrds out on the left and sends his hopeful punt goal wards and the Normanton keeper Curtis Hall has to scramble to tap the ball around the post and out for a corner that comes to nothing.
Normanton’s first chance at gaol comes in the 19thminute when they break with pace. The No8 Jack Tyson does well to skip past two markers before sending his shot wide of the target. They keep some pressure on the United defence and come close with a free kick in the 26thminute when the No6 Oliver Cox sees his header fall straight to the keeper Brendan Bunn.
Normanton to be fair are shading proceedings so far and are closing down United really well and not letting them settle on the ball at all. The Normanton No9 Kevin Hemagou gets himself booked in the 28thminute for his slightly late tackle on Ben Vallance.
More Normanton pressure sees the No8 Jack Tyson pounce on a loose ball and fires in a powerful low drive that goes just wide of the post in the 31stminute.
United are struggling to get to grips with this game and are camped in their own half as Normanton are the team looking most likely to score. The pressure finally tells though in the 38thminute when Normanton break through the middle and send the No7 Benjamin Robinson clear before he coolly lobs the ball over the on rushing Brendan Bunn to score with a class finish.
UNITED 0 SOUTH NORMANTON 1
That was a great finish and Normanton fully deserve their lead. United will now have to work harder to try and get themselves back into this game. With the first half drawing to a close, United’s Luke Downes is booked for a challenge in the 45thminute and soon after the referee blows up for half time.
UNITED 0 SOUTH NORMANTON 1
The second half gets under way and neither team made any changes during the break. United come out and show some early intent when they press forward in the 46thminute with Kai Williams racing through and shooting just wide of the target.
United are seeing a bit more of the ball in this half and push forward again in the 58thminute when Sam Belcher did well to lose his marker but sadly his shot goes straight to the Normanton keeper Curtis Hall for an easy gather. Soon after in the 59thminute United decide to make a change when they take off Kevin Thornton and send on Dominik Alleyne. Normanton follow suit minites later when they take off the No10 Luke Crosby and send on the No16 Dominic Allen in the 65thminute.
United are still seeing plenty of the ball in this second half compared to the first and win themselves a free kick in a great position just outside the area in the 66thminute. Sam Belcher stands over the ball ready to take it and sends his effort towards goal and with the keeper looking to have saved it, Curtis Hall falls back into the back of the net and takes to ball in with him and United have the all important equaliser.
UNITED 1 SOUTH NORMANTON 1
Now that was a great free kick from Sam Belcher but United were a little fortunate with the keeper’s mistake but we will take that all day long. United are now back level and can hopefully kick on and go looking for a winner.
United decide to make another change when they take off Eli Bako and send on Luke Jones in the 67thminute.
Normanton have a rare second half foray forward in the 72ndminute and break with pace before the ball is played into the No4 Eric Graves who with his back to goal turns sharply and sending a great powerful shot past the out stretched Brendan Bunn for a stunning goal that regains Normanton their lead.
UNITED 1 SOUTH NORMANTON 2
That was Normanton’s on shot so far in this second half and is a bitter pill to swallow as United were looking better in this half. United decide to make their final change of the afternoon when they take off Sam Lockley and send on Tyler Haddow in the 74thminute. Normanton make a change too at the same time when they take off the No7 Benjamin Robinson and send on the No18 Ross Haig.
The game is now approaching the last 10 minutes and United’s Kai Williams gets himself booked for a challenge in the 79thminute. Normanton are standing firm and looking to hold on to all the points. With the game now into added time, United win a late corner that will surely be their last chance to rescue anything from this game. The cross comes in from Tyler Haddow and Harrison Sawyer sends his header over the bar. Soon after the referee blows up for full time and Normanton take home all 3pts.
UNITED 1 SOUTH NORMANTON 2
In summing up this game I would have to say WHAT A DIFFERENCE A GAME MAKES. After United’s great team performance last week, United today were well under par and struggled at times to pass the ball to each other. Normanton never let United settle and were really up for the fight and fully deserved their lead going into the break.
The second half saw United see more of the ball as they looked to get back into the game. They finally did get the equaliser mid-way through the half but could only stay level for a few minutes before Normanton regained the lead with a well taken goal that turned out to be the winning goal of the game.
Players worthy of a mention would have to be the Normanton No7 Benjamin Robinson. He was a constant thorn in United’s side all day and chipped in with the opening goal.
For United this was not one of their best days but as usual the lads never gave up fighting till the end. Ben Vallance had a good game and had plenty of defending to do up against a tricky winger in Normantons Robinson. My man of the match today though goes to Harrison Sawyer. Harrison had a great game and also had plenty of defending to do which saw him stand up well to some big strong forward players. Harrison showed great strength and tried to get forward when allowed so well played Harrison Sawyer.
Match stats United Normanton
On target (3) (3)
Off target (2) (4)
Corners (6) (2)
Free kicks (15) (11)
Yellow cards (3) (1)
Red cards (0) (0)
Offside (0) (4)