Worcester City 2-2 Coventry United
By Jack Hundley
City earn first point of season against 10 man Coventry United
Total Motion Midland Football League
Victoria Ground, Bromsgrove
18 August 2018
Match Report by: Krister Halvorsen
After Tuesday night’s unfortunate exit from the FA Cup at the hands of an industrial Walsall Wood side – the City returned to Total Motion Midland League action against Coventry United at the Victoria Ground. This being the first League outing since the installation of the new board under the guidance of new Chairman Steve Goode, hopes for a decent performance and big crowd were anticipated.
And for the 346 in attendance – they witnessed a curates egg of a performance, on a warm late August afternoon in North Worcestershire.
One observation to be made before proceeding – for those of us of a certain vintage, a very welcome consequence thanks to the change in regime, is that the team walked out, as at the Lane, to Time Is Tight.
It did not take long for things to get going – City having a chance as early as the 2nd minute. Dave Reynolds taking the ball down on the far side of the Coventry area, the resultant half volley collected by goalkeeper Brad Caswell.
City’s bright start continued in this vein for the opening exchanges of the fixture with chances falling to both captain Jordan Stoddart and George Forsyth.
Coventry played for the most, a nice intricate short passing game – which didn’t really reap the rewards on the whole for what it did deserve. City’s gameplan of a more direct style of play seemed to be more effective as the game wore on.
The first real intervention from Referee James Whittington came just short of the quarter hour mark with Daniel Cassidy picking up a yellow card for a mistimed tackle on the left hand side. From the resultant freekick Joe Bates scrambled a shot into goalkeeper Caswell’s hands from a prone position inside the penalty area.
A couple of minutes later he was called on again - with the arbiter having to deal with a flashpoint in front of the two benches after Jake Holts ended up prone of the ground after overstretching for a ball in a perfectly fair challenge. The result of the unseemly disagreement saw Shaquille McDonald of Coventry receiving a yellow card for a late challenge further upfield as Referee Whittington had signalled play on – much to the chagrin of the Coventry United coaching staff.
We saw the first goal on the 27th minute. Unfortunately it was a goal for the visitors breaking the deadlock. A cross towards the back post from a wide position by Kyle Carey completely deceived Matt Gwynne in the Worcester goal, with the ball looping into the far corner.
The goal seemed to unsettle City and it took them a few minutes to regain their composure. Seven minutes later Worcester had managed to get their house back in order, hitting back with a well taken equaliser. After a neat little interchange of passes Matt Birley executed a deft little turn inside,followed by a low powerful shot into the bottom corner beating goalkeeper Caswell low to his right.
From this point until the break Worcester started to assert some control over proceedings, with Dave Reynolds and Matt Birley both having pretty good chances denied by smart work from Brad Caswell in the United goal.
Five minutes before the half City’s efforts reaped rewards. A freekick conceded by Yoann Tsmamas was converted smartly by Dave Reynolds with an Exocet-esque shot arrowing into the far corner of the Coventry net giving him his 2nd goal of the season and Worcester a slender half time lead. Despite Caswell fully extending himself to his right, he was unable to keep the chance out.
Whatever was said to the United players at half time by their coaching staff seemed to do the trick as the away side made a whirlwind start to the second half. Six minutes in, and after a couple of decent chances – the away side made the breakthrough to level matters.
A surging run into area by Ben Vallance past a couple of City players was ultimately converted via a quick snap shot high to Gwynne’s left hand from 6 yards out. Indeed the shot came out of absolutely nothing - giving the City keeper no real time to react to the chance. Coventry decided not to rest on their laurels and pushed on for a winner. A low cross played dangerously across face of City goal on 54 minutes went begging with the away side unable to capitalise on a gilt edged chance.
60 minutes in - and Coventry were reduced to ten men. Shaquille McDonald going in to challenge for a high ball with a City opponent just short of halfway. It looked from our position as if the ball took a strange spin - totally deceiving McDonald into mistiming the tackle with spectacular results and cutting his City opponent in half with a tackle that looked to be nearly at waist height. Referee Whittington was left with no choice but to produce a second yellow card for the Coventry number 10.
The game continued on its ebbs and flows hereon in - with chances coming at both ends. Jordan Stoddart having a decent attempt on 75 minutes but just agonisingly unable to convert from an unmarked position at the far post.
Matt Gwynne was called into action at the other end on a couple of occasions – denying both Kyle Carey and Curvin Ellis in one on one situations.
The last few minutes saw both sides trying to ratchet up the pressure snatch a winner. Referee Whittington correctly turning down a Coventry penalty appeal on 91 minutes after Curvin Ellis had gone down under a perfectly legal challenge in the City area.
Stoddart was to have one final glorious opportunity on 96 minutes – arriving with pace in the Coventry area to get on the end of a chance. Sadly he couldn’t quite get the right connection on the ball and was unable to force it home for the lead.
The last couple of minutes saw a succession of Worcester corners, putting the Coventry back line under extreme scrutiny. Sadly for those wearing blue and white today – the defence could not be breached one last time.
After one last shot was dragged wide by George Forsyth – Referee Whittington had decided we had seen enough for the afternoon and sounded the final whistle on an ultimately entertaining afternoon of football.
0-1 - Kyle Carey (Coventry United) – 27 minutes
1-1 - Matt Birley (Worcester City) – 34 minutes
2-1 - Dave Reynolds (Worcester City) – 40 minutes
2-2 - Ben Vallance (Coventry United) – 51 minutes
Daniel Cassidy (Coventry United) – 14 minutes
Shaquille McDonald (Coventry United) – 17 minutes
Yoann Tsmamas (Coventry United) – 39 minutes
Jamie Smith (Worcester City) – 49 minutes
Matt Birley (Worcester City) – 55 minutes
Shaquille McDonald (Coventry United) – 60 minutes
Worcester City: Matt Gwynne, Luke English, Jamie Smith, Andy Gallinagh, Jordan Stoddart (c), George Forsyth, Matt Birley, Liam Lockett (Kyonn Evans 55), Joe Bates (Chris Withington 67), Dave Reynolds, James Baldwin (Jordan Harrison 75)
Subs not used: Dan Jezeph, Joel Caines
Coventry United: Brad Caswell, Daniel Cassidy (Kyle Barnett 20), Yoann Tsmamas, Gift Mussa, Jamal Clarke (c), Ben Vallance, Kyle Carey, Jake Holts (Kevin Thornton 27), Curvin Ellis (Warren Dakouri 91), Shaquille McDonald, Luke Downes
Subs not used: Scott Hammond, Ryan Palmer
Referee: James Whittington
Assistant Referees: Craig Penney, Macauley Pinney