Match Report by KEVIN HANDS, Photos by GRANTY & WOODY
Coalville Town 1 Stratford Town 1 (HT 1-0)
Alexander Dean (84) Nabil Shariff (17)
Played on a glorious early autumn afternoon in front of a sparse crowd a dogged Town performance nearly saw them bring home all 3 points. Shariff’s 17th minute header being cancelled out on 84 minutes by Alexander Dean.
Featuring debutants Luke Rowe and Joe Curtis Town opened brightly. Town earned a corner on 3 minutes following good play by Shariff and Wilson. Then Wilson played Revan in whose fierce drive fizzed over. On 8 minutes Shariff was nearly on the score sheet as the Ravens’ defence dithered.
Coalville eased themselves back into the game and began to dominate and only a fabulous Elliot Taylor save on 10 minutes kept the Stratford goal intact. So it was rather against the run of play that Stratford took the lead on 17 minutes. Revan outpaced the Coalville defence on the right and his pin-point cross was headed home emphatically by Shariff.
With the Town defence dropping deeper Morrison and Hughes were fully stretched at the centre of the defence with Linden Dovey and Charley O’Keefe equally occupied at wing back. The excellent Dean and McGlinchey probed and probed for the home side but were kept at bay by the gritty Town defence.
The closest the Ravens coming to an equaliser was on 23 minutes when Berridge lobbed the onrushing Taylor only to be denied by a great defensive clearance from Hughes. Town’s only reply came as the half ended when an excellent run from Shariff nearly played Wilson in.
There were no changes at half time and it was Town who were first to press. Revan was proving a handful on the right and when left wing back Pierpoint slipped Revan drove for goal with his cross deflected for a corner. A tiring Stratford outfit was working the offside trap well to frustrate Coalville and Town nearly doubled their advantage 0n 62 minutes. After good play from Wilson and Revan Shariff’s shot was deflected narrowly wide with many in the crowd thinking it was in.
Revan was withdrawn shortly afterwards to make way for Chris Wreh as Town was constantly pressed back. The outstanding Taylor denied the Coalville front line on more than one occasion and Coalville’s equaliser had more than a touch of luck about it. On 84 minutes Alexander Dean received a pass out on the right. On a ‘bobbly pitch’ his first time cross flew over everyone into the far corner of Taylor’s net. I guess they all count.
Town came back strongly with captain Ross Oulton driving forward and earning two free kicks. From the first Hughes came close with a towering header.
Manager Tommy Wright commended his team’s performance praising his defence and applauding the whole team. Coalville remain unbeaten and taken in that context this was a point well earned.
• Let us make an honourable retreat; As You Like It Act3 Scene2
Tuesday 17 September Alvechurch (H) 7.45pm BetVictor Southern League PDC
Saturday 21 September Halesowen (A) 3.00pm 2nd Qualifying Round FA Cup