Coalville Hold Stafford In Eventful Goalless Draw
After an even first half, the Ravens had to survive a Rangers onslaught in a disappointing second period for the hosts.
Back in league action at the Mander Cruickshank Stadium for the first time since January 6, Coalville stuttered to their first home draw of the season, but on the positive side, kept their first clean sheet in the Northen Premier League since late September.
Despite sharing 26 goals over the league campaign, neither Nathan Watson or Daniel Creaney were able to produce a much needed moment of quality, thanks partly to stern Stafford defending and toothlessness in front of goal from the hosts.
Tommy Brookbanks opted not to make any changes to the side that had already played three on the spin, including the 1-1 draw at Hednesford over a week ago. However, there was a key change to the bench as Anthony Carney made his Ravens return following his arrival last week.
The visitors, who were yet to register a point this calendar year, edged a drab opening period, winning a spurt of corners which they couldn’t quite convert.
Apart from a couple of speculative Steve Towers strikes from range, neither side had a clear sight at goal until the 23rd minute. Watson’s corner fell inside the box to Creaney, whose effort was vitally blocked by Kieran Westwood.
And – much like buses – a second arrived almost immediately. Matthew Coton played his side into trouble with a wayward pass, gifting the ball to Karl Hawley who slid it into the path of Tyrell Whaite. Fortunately Coton redeemed himself, rushing to the feet of the Rangers attacker and getting a crucial touch before standing strong to block the follow up.
Chances for either side followed soon after. Lee Torr’s attempted hooked clearance almost found his own net, soaring into the night sky and crash landing onto the roof of the goal. A wicked Watson corner then caught Adam Whitehouse off-guard, forcing the Stafford stopper into tipping over.
Whitehouse was forced into a much more impressive save just over a minute later, using his outstretched leg to deny Watson’s low close range drive after the ball broke to the Ravens winger following Alex Howes’ whipped free kick.
The chances continued to flow as the game approached its halfway point. Coton tipped Hawley’s accurate skimming strike round the post before Waite latched onto Danny Jenno’s headed clearance on the edge of the box, driving the ball into the turf and just wide of the post.
This was followed by a glorious 41st minute chance for Creaney, but the Coalville number nine headed wide from a matter of yards after another perilous Watson set-piece.
After a fairly eventful but level first half, the second half belonged to Stafford, who but for their wastefulness, should have left with the three points.
The spree of second period chances ensued in the 52nd minute, with Torr’s poorly executed clearance providing Hawley with a golden chance. But the forward hesitated in possession before releasing Jack Sherratt into the box, whose shot central shot was pawed away by Coton.
Osebi Abadaki then spurned a chance from a similar position, seeing his curled effort parried wide by Coton. The Coalville stopper was then left hopeless a minute later after poor marking allowed Kieran Morris a clear sight at goal. Thankfully, the Rangers centre-back headed over from five yards after Abadaki’s inch perfect cross.
The away side’s dominance continued with a further two presentable opportunities. Josh Craddock’s pile driver from 20 yards was brilliantly stopped by Coton – whose scuffed pass invited the resulting pressure – before Hawley flicked an unconvincing effort wide at the near post after a surging run and cross from Sherratt down the left flank.
Even the introduction of new signing Carney in the 73rd minute did little for Coalville’s chances in a hugely underwhelming second half. However, the Ravens produced somewhat of a response as the minutes ticked by.
Creaney sprung the offside trap and sprinted through on goal, but his left footed effort was blocked after cutting back onto his left foot.
Two late dangerous Towers crosses were as close as anyone came to an injury time winner. With one finding an unprepared Howes, who scuffed his shot, and the other narrowly evading the onrushing black and white shirts at the back post.
Coalville will be searching for a much better performance on Saturday, where they face a trip to Buxton.