Alvechurch FC 1-0 Coventry United FC

Midland Football League Premier Division – 29/10/2016

Coventry United faced an away trip to league leaders Alvechurch with a somewhat depleted squad due to injury problems. News from the camp suggests some intensive physio work going on for players out long term and those patched up in order to play. Recent striker signings Dylan Otshudi (former CCFC triallist) from Kettering Town and Simeon Townsend from Sporting Khalsa have boosted manager Terry Anderson’s options in what has become a problem position in recent weeks.

At the end of a fully-committed contest a draw would probably have been a fair result, as both teams gave no quarter and clear-cut chances were at a minimum. Unfortunately for the visitors their gusto would prove their undoing. Although performing great as a unit, they could not quite survive being reduced first to ten and then to nine men through dismissals. As the season progresses, the battling qualities demonstrated should, if replicated, produce more positive results.

The four key incidents in this game were undoubtedly the two double yellow cards for Coventry and, given the competitive nature of the game, it seemed harsh that one team would suffer one sending off, let alone two. Midway through the first half a seemingly inconsequential handball by Pierre Moudime some 40 yards from goal was deemed to be deliberate, despite arms being waist high.

Alvechurch were just about edging proceedings, but it was Coventry who would have the best chance of the first period. Moudime himself turned creator with a trademark run down the right flank before squaring for Mykel Beckley who, just three yards out, but with his back to goal, had no other option but to attempt a cheeky backheel that was somehow kept out by the Alvechurch keeper on the line.

Just into the second half, combative midfielder Jean Dakouri picked up his first yellow for persistent fouling and then, just five minutes later, was given his second for what appeared similar to many tenacious tackles made by both sides as seven Alvechurch players surrounded the ref.

Anderson reacted by taking off the attacking Beckley and sending on United U21 starlet Abdoul Muhammed to shore things up. Muhammed is the fourth player to make his senior league debut this term from the juniors. Alvechurch tried to turn up the pressure, but for all their effort gilt-edged chances didn’t really materialise. Then came the killer blow for the visitors when they were reduced to nine men. With just ten minutes left Moudime caught the heels of an opponent on the halfway line and was given his second yellow after the Alvechurch player had made the most of any impact.

As the final whistle loomed large to grant relief to the hard-working red and greens, it wasn’t to be. In the dying embers of injury time another cross came in from the hosts and, despite a heroic block from United goalkeeper Rich Morris, Alvechurch’s recent signing Jamie Willets smashed the ball into the back of the net. Anyone present at Lye Meadow could see what this result meant to the jubilant home team, but United should be proud in defeat.

Game stats (CUFC) (AFC)
On target (1) (2)
Off target (4) (10)
Corners (1) (7)
Free kicks (19) (15)
Yellow cards (6) (4)
Red cards (2) (0)

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