Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central
Stratford Town 0-2 Coalville Town
Report by Craig Gibbons
STRATFORD Town finished with nine men as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to fellow Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central play-off hopefuls Coalville Town at the Arden Garages Stadium.
The Ravens bagged the opening goal of the game in the 66th minute when Steve Towers volleyed in from the edge of the area.
Town were then reduced to ten men when Jamie McAteer was sent off for two yellow cards, and the visitors made the most of the man advantage when they scored four minutes from time as Andrew Wright fired in from close range.
There was still time for Town’s night to get worse, though, as defender Jordan Williams was also sent off for two yellow card offences.
Head of football Thomas Baillie made a first change to the starting line-up in four games, with Will Grocott replacing Ross Oulton, who dropped to the bench.
Coalville started the brighter of the two sides and it was only the woodwork which stopped them from taking the lead inside ten minutes when Joe Doyle-Charles’ rasping drive from the edge of the area cannoned back off the post.
Town slowly grew into the game as the half progressed, with Grocott curling over a free-kick from about 20 yards out in the 26th minute.
The hosts had a great chance to take the lead in the 35th minute when Chris Cox’s cross found Albi Skendi unmarked in the box and he unleashed a thunderous volley, but Ravens keeper Richard Walton flew to his right and stuck up a strong hand to tip the effort over the bar.
While Town enjoyed more possession towards the end of the half, Coalville looked very useful on the break, with Tim Berridge and Tom McGlinchey leading the line.
Nine minutes into the second period Nabil Shariff had a great chance to put Town ahead when Coalville failed to deal with Cox’s long throw, but he could only volley over from close range.
Just 12 minutes later, though, the Ravens broke the deadlock when Towers drilled in from the edge of the area after Town did not quite clear their lines from a free-kick from the right-hand side.
Once Coalville nosed themselves ahead, there was always the worry they would be a difficult outfit to break down, especially with the tireless Shariff working hard up top on his own without much support.
Despite this, Town kept plugging away and once again they were denied by an inspired Walton in the Coalville goal, as his trailing leg denied Wilson Carvalho’s left-footed shot finding the far corner in the 76th minute.
Just moments later Town’s job in trying to get back into the game was made ten times harden when they were reduced to ten men after McAteer was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Kairo Mitchell.
The visitors made the game safe with four minutes to go when Andrew Wright surged into the box and calmly stroked the ball into the far corner beyond a helpless Ross Etheridge.
Town’s night was made even worse in the 90th minute when Williams received his marching orders after he picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Kyle Perry.
For reaction from today, read Thursday’s Herald.
TOWN: Ross Etheridge, Chris Cox, Kynan Isaac, James Fry (Kian Williams 74), Jamie McAteer, Jordan Williams, Lewis Wilson, Albi Skendi, Nabil Shariff, Will Grocott, Wilson Carvalho (Kai Williams 85). Subs: Ross Oulton, Muhammed Sebbeh-Njie, Cody Fisher.
COALVILLE: Richard Walton, Alex Dean, Kieren Fenton, Steve Towers, Dean Freeman, Joe Doyle-Charles, Luke Shaw (Curtis Burrows 79), Andrew Wright, Kairo Mitchell (Tolani Omotola 86), Tom McGlinchey, Tim Berridge (Kyle Perry 61). Subs: Matthew Coton.