Heanor Town (H)
Coventry United FC v Heanor Town FC
Midland Football League Premier Division
Date: Tuesday 26th December 2017
Venue: Butts Park Arena
Well hello one and all. I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas and a few days away from the rigours of the world of football. Today we re-enter that world with a home fixture as we welcome Heanor Town to the Butts Park Arena for this MFLP match. After the disappointment of the defeat at the hands of Coleshill Town on Saturday, United have the chance to put things right with the games coming thick and fast during this festive time of year.
This game is sure to be just as tough as all the others being both level on points and next to each other in the league standings. United manager Terry Anderson will have a near full squad to pick from but should be interesting to see what starting line up he goes with in the quest of trying to get back on a decent run to kick start a lengthy run of victories to halt the current slide down the table.
The referee gets the game under way and United show a positive intent early on as United’s Ben Vallance pounced on a loose ball before seeing his sweetly struck curling shot smash off the bar in the 6th minute. United continue to force the issue as they go looking for a breakthrough. Soon after from a United throw in the ball is picked up by captain Chris Cox and he proceeds to make his way into the area before sending a powerful low drive past the HTFC keeper Wayne White to break the deadlock and put United into the lead in the 13th minute.
UNITED 1 HTFC 0
That’s a great early start for United and hopefully they will be able to settle down and look to build on it as the game wears on. United are looking the more likely to score again at the minute but are forced into making an early substitution in the 19th minute when Nial Rowe has to go off injured and is replaced by Lewis Rankin.
After a positional re-shuffle the game resumes and United almost surrender their lead when the keeper Scott Dutton made a hash of his attempted clearance letting in the HTFC No9 Elliott Reeves to shoot at an empty goal but fortunately Kyle Barnett got back to clear the ball off the line in the 23rd minute.
HTFC create their first chance at goal in the 26th minute the No7 Dom Wilkinson shoots horribly wide of the post from about 30yrds out. They continue to press during a 10 minute spell without causing United any real problems.
United regain the upper hand in the 40th minute when they move the ball forward. Craig Reid receives the ball on the edge of the area before turning swiftly and seeing his terrific shot tapped over the bar with a fine save by the HTFC keeper Wayne White.
With the first half coming to an end, HTFC win a free kick on the edge of the area but fail to threaten the United goal as shortly after the referee blows up for half time.
UNITED 1 HTFC 0
The second half gets under way with neither side making any changes during the break. It’s not long though until United decide to make another change when they take off Mitchell Piggon and send on Aaron Opoku in the 54th minute.
United start the half brightly again and when Craig Reid picks up a loose ball on the edge of the area, he proceeds to shoot and brings another good save out of the HTFC keeper Wayne White in the 56th minute to thwart Reid a goal his performance deserved.
HTFC decide to make a double substitution in the 60th minute when they take off the No7 Dom Wilkinson and the No11 Oliver Naylor and send on the No12 Jamie Sleigh and No16 Nathan Benger. The next 14 minutes sees both teams cancel each other out as they battle it out on the very sticky pitch that is making playing any decent football almost impossible.
The 75th minute sees the first booking of the game that goes to the HTFC No3 Niall Mather for his challenge on Lewis Rankin. Soon after United make their final change when they take off Aaron Wint and send on Bobby Moseley in the 76th minute. As the game moves into the last ten minutes United’s Dan Brennan gets himself booked for a push. As the game draws to a close it’s clear to see that HTFC are looking the more likely to score as they start to peg United into their own half. Their No8 Danny Gordon though still finds time to get himself booked for a challenge on Gift Mussa in the 85th minute with the resulting free kick being easily dealt with.
HTFC start to create some good chances as the pressure intensifies. On one of their attacks the No9 Elliott Reeves brings out a good save from the United keeper Scott Dutton to keep United’s slender lead intact in the 86th minute. Another chance follows for Reeves again in the 90th minute when he turns and shoots just wide of the target from 12 yrds out. The game is now well into added time and HTFC are continuing to press United hard. They work the ball into the area with the No10 Sam Vickers and the ball falls to the No9 Elliott Reeves and sees his shot superbly saved by keeper Scott Dutton but Reeves stays alert as he pounces onto the rebound and smashes the ball into the back of the net for a deserved equaliser in the 90+4th minute.
UNITED 1 HTFC 1
What a killer blow that is, heart breaking in fact though I have to say it is fully deserved all the same. The game resumes and the referee duly blows up for full time almost immediately to increase the pain on the red and Green Army further.
UNITED 1 HTFC 1
In summing up this game i would have to say LACKED THE KILLER INSTINCT. United started the game brightly and took an early lead with a well taken Chris Cox. Both sides then seemed to cancel each other out on a very sticky pitch that was getting worse with the rain pouring down as the game went on. With only a few other chances being created in the first half both teams went in at the break with the score still with 1-0 to the good.
The second half started pretty much the same as the first with United showing some early promise but as the game drew to an end it was HTFC that finished the game the strongest with a couple of good chances before finally getting a deserved equaliser deep in added time to end the game all square with the points shared.
In my opinion I though United were lethargic in their play and lacked urgency. I’m hoping that it is just the festivities that have contributed to this performance though I’m not taking anything away from HTFC’s resolve in grinding out a deserving point from this game.
Players worthy of a mention would have to be the HTFC No9 Elliott Reeve. He was a constant threat to United today and got his reward with the equaliser in added time.
For United Gift Mussa did his best in the middle of the mud bath in a heavy going midfield battle. Ben Vallance has slotted well into the team after a long absence and defended well and also found time to get forward to support attacks that also nearly bought him a peach of a goal but unfortunately he hit the bar. Craig Reid also did well and was unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions and was always trying to get the ball down under control looking to play football no matter how difficult the surface was but my man of the match today goes to left back Tom James. Tom had a great game in very difficult conditions defending admirably and always looking to spring his team into attack with some neat forward passes throughout the game. He showed his class and poise in tight situations so well played Tom James.
Match Stats United HTFC
On target (4) (4)
Off target (3) (3)
Corners (3) (4)
Free kicks (20) (11)
Yellow cards (1) (2)
Red cards (0) (0)
Offside (0) (3)