Coalville Edged Out By Promotion Hopefuls Shaw Lane
Shaw Lane edged a fiercely fought contest on a bitter winter’s evening, with a referee decision casting a dark shadow over a thrilling second half contest.
The league’s second worst and second best defences clashed for what promised to be an intriguing encounter, and the Ducks waddled away gingerly at the end of the 90, knowing full well they were spared a late Ravens barrage following a confusing penalty decision – nevertheless the visitors left the Mander Cruickshank Stadium with the three points and jumped into second place.
Two changes were made to the side that fell to a heavy defeat against Nantwich on Saturday, with Kyle Bryant and Jermaine Hollis making way for Dean Freeman and Kyle Dixon.
It was a far from enthralling start, with time perhaps needed for the players to thaw their joints on a freezing Tuesday night. However, Coalville showed a lot more intent and quality in comparison to Saturday’s performance.
Once both sides had warmed up, they managed to produce the first effort on goal in the 10th minute when Spencer Harris dragged a shot well wide from the edge of the box for Shaw Lane. This was then followed by a disallowed goal for the visitors, who were adjudged to have impeded Matthew Coton during a corner before it ended up in the net.
Alex Howes was the first to really test the water – or ice – for the Ravens, twice making a nuisance of himself. Firstly, Howes galloped down the left flank before having a low driving shot cut out by the back tracking Kelvin Lugsden. He was then on free kick duty minutes after, spanking a venomous cross to the back post which was somehow scrambled wide.
After a fairly uneventful opening 25, the ever-present theme of yellow was soon created, an irreversible trend that detracted from an otherwise entertaining game. An altercation between numerous players on both sides resulted in bookings for Steve Towers and Alexander Byrne – countless rather harsh yellow cards would be dished out throughout the evening.
Tensions were at an understandable high as Coalville looked to make amends for a bleak weekend performance and Shaw Lane sought to maintain their promotion push.
Two instances of back stick woes denied both sides the chance to manufacture an advantage, with James Pollard spurning a Byrne whip and Nathan Watson and Kyle Dixon failing to make contact with a Tom McGlinchey delivery.
The Ravens could have snatched a well timed deadlock breaker in the second minute of injury time, but Freeman headed over the bar after McGlinchey headed the ball back across goal from another Howes whip.
The second half began, and as a sprinkling of light snow began to patter down on a juxtaposing heated and physical contest, Coton joined the snowflakes, freezing up as the Ducks worked an improvised short corner. Byrne took the lead in the battle of the whips as his cross bypassed Coton and exploited poor marking, leaving Pollard to duly nod home.
Circumstances could have worsened for Coalville minutes later as the away side again had the ball in the net. Luckily Damien Reeves was in an offside position when prodding in the rebound after Byrnes precise strike.
Again, Shaw Lane could have been two to the good, this time thanks to the fortunate placing of Byrne, who inadvertently blocked his teammate David Norris’ shot after Coton had pawed the ball back into the danger zone.
There was, however, little the Ravens stopper could do to halt the impending second as Byrne produced a frazzling ball that cut through the bitter air and onto the head of Reeves, who delicately glanced the ball over the keeper.
However, Danny Jenno was on hand to ignite the spark the hosts needed – and with a thump as the Coalville centre back emphatically powered home a header after Watson’s pin-point corner.
A 71st minute appeal for a penalty by Watson after a challenge in the area was then given the other way, with the Ravens man booked for simulation.
Newly introduced substitute Jermaine Hollis was then presented with a golden shot at an equaliser as the ball fell to him just inside the box following a corner. The Coalville midfielder made perfect connection, but his rasping drive was heroically blocked by Lugsden.
With a grand finale set up and a thrilling show about to play out, the referee seemed to crave the role of the villain, awarding the visitors a penalty for an unknown reason. Even the opposition were surprised to see the official point to the spot after Coton cleanly took the ball from the feet of Byrne. The spot kick was then taken, skipper Harris slammed a side footed shot into the bottom left just before full time.
Coalville’s next venture will see them take the trip to Ashton on Saturday.