City went into the game off the back of a disappointing 1-1 midweek draw with Hinckley. Still struggling to pick up points at home against sides in the lower half of the league. With Coleshill Town pushing for a playoff position, hopes were high that the game would produce some a good match and it didn't disappoint.
Manager Robbie Nightingale had to shuffle the pack after seeing the injuries piling up again, Ryan Igrey being the latest casualty picking up a knock in Midweek, Matty Miles still struggling with a foot injury, Tommy Rigby out with a shoulder injury, Mikey Davies also not quite back at match fitness, and Tom Waumsley taking leave to be with his family as they expect a new arrival any day soon. (Good luck Tom)
In came Bradley Gothard, Ben Bradley, and stepping up from the Under 18s came the young talent of Ed Tassell. Having impressed in previous Cambs invitation Cup matches, Tassell was given his first taste of league action by slotting in at right back.
With the squad named leaving us light up top, Taylor Parr was pushed up front to provide cover for Ingrey. The early indications were that Parr was going to prove to be a handful for the Coleshill defence.
The opening exchanges were nip and tuck, with both teams looking to push forward. A couple of half chances for City came from some excellent wing play but neither keeper was tested inside the first half-hour.
The opening goal of the game came in 32 minutes. Yaw Ofosu, facing goal tried to hook the ball clear and with the Coleshill Striker dipping his head into the challenge he inevitably went down in the box clutching his head. The referee was well placed and decided the challenge was deemed high and pointed to the spot.
Coleshill’s outstanding player on the day, the excellent Kai Tonge tiptoed up to the ball and sent Keeper Welch the wrong way to take the lead.
With the game getting scruffy and the referee seemingly looking to dish out yellow cards at will, City picked up bookings for Gothard and Battersby, while George Washbourne got in on the action for the Coalmen.
The 4th yellow in 10 minutes came for City keeper Joe Welch. On the stroke of half time, the on-rushing Tonge surged into the box and Welch dived at his feet taking the man and not the ball. Again the referee pointed to the spot and Tonge had the opportunity to put the visitors 0-2 up. The same stuttering run resulted in a powerful shot to the keeper’s right, but Welch was equal to it this time. He chose the right way and pulled off a fantastic save to keep the Lilywhites in the match going into the halftime break.
The second half kicked off with City immediately on the offensive. A long searching cross into the box found the head of the excellent Taylor Parr, His effort was heading for the top corner but Towns Keeper Paul Hathaway managed to claw the ball away at the last second to maintain the lead.
At the other end, Coleshill were happy to hit City on the break, and on 61 minutes Amarvir Sandhu won the ball in the box, his neat turn and shot beat keeper Welch for 0-2 and just 7 minutes later Sandhu linked up with Tonge again, this time from the right-hand side, the Coleshill man cutting inside before being brought down, again in the box and again the referee had no hesitation but to point to the spot for the third time.
That man Tonge stepped up again and this time made no mistake firing low into the bottom right-hand corner to give his side a 0-3 and seemingly unassailable lead.
With Tonge and Sandhu causing havoc and the scoreline looking like it could resemble a 6 nations score by the end of the match, the brilliant Joe Welch was forced into several excellent blocks, and then from a dipping shot on the edge of the box, the City stopper had to use his whole frame to expertly tip the ball over the bar.
One thing that can be said for this City team is that they never know when they are beaten. With chances at a premium, it fell to top Scorer Daniel Cotton to get the Lilywhites back in the game. 74 minutes were on the clock when he placed the ball down for a free kick from all of 25 yards, Cotton smashed his dipping shot over the wall and into the corner of the net giving the keeper no chance.
With the referee in penalty giving mood, City were unlucky not to get a spot-kick themselves when Jarrid Robson was dragged down in the box only for the ref to this time wave the claims away. 2 minutes later and some good work down the left from Cotton managed to cut his cross back to makeshift striker Taylor Parr. Parr Struck a solid side-foot shot towards the far post only for a defender to get a boot in the way, the ball spun up in the air and fell kindly for him but the resulting clearing header was weak and Robson seized his opportunity. In a brilliant piece of improvisation, 10 yards out, with his back to goal, the striker pulled off an amazing bicycle kick that cleared both the defender and keeper. Surely a contender for goal of the season.
Spirits lifted, City continued to press, and with the opposition now happy to try and see out time, a long ball into the box found the head of Robson, whose flicked header was sailing toward the far corner, the keeper did well to palm the ball away but it fell to the waiting Parr who smashed the ball into the roof of the net for an incredible and highly unexpected equaliser. However, city fans’ joy was short-lived as the assistant referee’s flag was raised for a dubious offside decision that denied City a deserved point.
There was still time for one last chance after a deflected shot from Parr was cleared by the Coleshill defence, the ball fell on the edge of the box for Ben Bradley who brilliantly struck the ball on the volley only to see his effort dip and skim the top of the crossbar.
“It was a difficult day today with the changes we had to make due to injuries and at 3-0 down we could have capitulated but credit to the group that we have at the moment. They kept going forward and with the disallowed goal and Ben Bradley hitting the bar with the last kick of the game, things could have been very different.
A real high point for me today was the performance of Ed Tassell. Ed was an absolute credit to himself and everyone that has been involved in his development. Having only just turned 16 he was playing with the maturity of a player in their mid 20’s and we’re all very excited about the future he has with us”.
~ Robbie Nightingale