Walsall Wood (H) 18/19
Coventry United FC v Walsall Wood FC
Midland Football League Premier Division
Date: Wednesday 9th January 2019
Venue: Butts Park Arena
Well hello one and all. After that thrilling FA Vase Cup 4th round 3-2 victory against Leicester Nirvana on Saturday, United tonight return to league action with a home fixture against high flyers Walsall Wood.
The Wood are having a great season so far and are currently lying in 2nd place in the league so this is sure to be yet another tough game for United.
United’s manager Terry Anderson is sure to make a few changes after picking up a couple of injuries in the last game so it will be interesting to see what the starting line up will be.
The referee gets the game under way and United force a couple of early corners that are easily dealt with by the Wood defence in the opening minutes of the game. United continue to see a lot of the ball early on and they press forward in the 5th minute with Antonio Alcaraz-Zamora who does well before laying the ball off to Jake Holt but his early shot blazes well wide of the target.
The next passage of play sees both teams struggle to keep hold of the ball as they try to control it on the bobbly pitch. The best chance of the game so far comes in the 23rd minute when United win a free kick in a great central position just outside the area. United’s Jake Holt lines up to take it and his goal bound shot brings out a great save from the Wood keeper Lloyd Ransome to keep the scores level.
United are now settling into the game nicely and are able to keep the Wood at bay with consummate ease at the moment. United look to get the ball forward frequently and their next decent chance comes in the 30th minute when they break forward and Kai Williams is fed the ball. He turns sharply before sending his shot wide of the target. The constant pressure finally pays off when they break forward again with Gift Mussa who lays the ball wide to Kai Williams who in turn races into the area before seeing his powerful drive palmed away by the keeper Lloyd Ransome but the loose ball is rifled into the back of the net by Arum Soleman for the opening goal in the 32nd minute.
UNITED 1 WALSALL WOOD 0
United definitely deserve to be in front so far and have been in total control restricting the Wood to not a single shot on or off target in this half to date. United continue to make most of the running and are soon on the hunt for another goal as they break with pace in the 40th minute with Kai Williams. Kai Williams races clear into the area and tries to go round the keeper but is thwarted and the chance is gone as his shot goes wide of the target. With the half drawing to a close, United’s Antonio Alcaraz-Zamora tries his luck from range but sees his effort veer wide of the target in the 42nd minute. Then the final act of the half comes in the 45th minute when the Wood No2 Lee Butler is booked for dissent. The referee soon after blows up for half time.
UNITED 1 WALSALL WOOD 0
The second half gets under way with neither side making any changes during the break. The play starts off a little cagey but United soon regain control of the game as they look to get the all important second goal. Good approach play in the 55th minute sees Arum Soleman jink his way past two defenders before bringing out a good save from the Wood keeper Lloyd Ransome to keep his team in the hunt.
The Wood finally register their first attempt on the United goal in the 56th minute when the No7 Javia Roberts saw his shot easily saved by the United keeper Brendan Bunn. The Wood have come out in the second half showing a little bit more intent as they are starting to create a few chances of their own now. From a free kick in the 65th minute the No4 Stuart Mcnaught sends his shot over the bar before then getting himself booked in the 66th minute for a raised arm on United’s Jake Holt.
The Wood decide to make another change in the 70th minute when they take off the No9 Joey Butlin and send on the No12 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
The Woods increased pressure in this spell of the game yields a reward when United’s Arum Soleman is adjudged to have handled the ball just inside the area and after a slight delay from the referee he then points to the spot for a wood penalty in the 74th minute. The No14 Paul Sullivan steps up to take it and sees his low left hand drive fantastically saved by the United keeper Brendan Bunn to maintain United’s slender lead. The Wood continue to press United during their purple patch and another chance in the 75th minute goes wide of the target from the No11 Johno Atherton.
United decide to make a double change when they take off forwards Kai Williams and Antonio Alcaraz-Zamora and send on Harrison Sawyer and Dominik Alleyne to help shut up shop and see out the rest of the game in the 77th minute. The Wood follow suit soon after when they take off the No11 Johno Atherton and send on the No16 James Bennett-Tindall in the 81st minute.
With the game now into the last 10 minutes, the Wood create another great chance when the No12 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is put clean through with only the keeper to beat but Brendan Bunn saves well with his feet to preserve his teams lead in the 82nd minute.
United make their final change in the 87th minute when they take off the hard working Jake Holt and send on Luke Jones. United are nearly there now and finish the closing minutes strongly and thought they had won themselves a penalty in the 90th minute when Arum Soleman looked to have been upended inside the area but the referee saw it differently and waved play on. The game is now into added time and the last good chance of the game falls to United’s Luke Jones when he is put through on goal in the 90+3rd minute but blazed his shot over the bar when it looked like he was favourite to score and soon after the referee blew up for full time and a welcome 3pts in the bag for United.
UNITED 1 WALSALL WOOD 0
In summing up this game I would have to say United PLAYED IT PERFECTLY. United were up against a top team tonight riding high in the league and went about this game with a plan of not letting the Wood settle on the ball and took the game to them instead. United dominated the first half and created plenty of chances and finally got their reward for their efforts in the 32nd minute. The Wood were restricted to not having a single shot on or off target during the whole of the first half.
The second half was a little different though as the Wood had to get more of a hold on the game if they were going to get anything out of this game. They started to create a couple of chances and the best one came in the 74th minute with the penalty that was saved by Brendan Bunn. The wood had a couple of other good chances in a bit of spell of Wood pressure but United were able to ride that pressure out and finished the game strongly and were unlucky not to add to their slender one goal advantage. It’s always a gamble when you take off your forwards for more defensively minded players to try and shore things up and defend the lead but on this occasion it worked a treat and United claimed a well deserved 3pts from an in form top outfit.
Players worthy of a mention would have to be the Wood No7 Javia Roberts. The pacey winger looked good on the ball and was lively whenever he got the chance and looked the wood’s main threat on the night.
For United this was a good patient team performance against a top team. Brendan Bunn did well for the few times he was called into action that included a great penalty save. Jake Holt put in another good solid performance in the heart of the midfield and was denied a certain goal with a great save from one of his trademark free kicks. Ben Vallance also did well against their best player on the night and matched him throughout with pace and guile but for me tonight the man of the match award goes to the goal scorer Arum Soleman. Arum was up for this tonight and looked sharp throughout. He tracked back when required and was always involved with most of United’s attacks and was also unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the closing minutes so well played Arum Soleman.
Match Stats United Walsall Wood
On target (4) (4)
Off target (7) (4)
Corners (4) (0)
Free kicks (16) (12)
Yellow cards (0) (2)
Red cards (0) (0)
Offside (1) (2)