Last Minute Watson Penalty Guides Coalville To Victory
Two days after being named in the Evo-Stik Premier Division Team of the Season, Nathan Watson stepped up to convert the decisive spot-kick in the 93rd minute.
It was far from a vintage Coalville performance, but vintage was not what the Ravens needed as they chalked up just their second home league victory of 2018.
Also a second league win in 14, the three points came at a crucial time as Coalville look to boost morale ahead of the final stretch – which includes two cup finals.
Halesowen, one of the two teams perched below the Ravens in the Northern Premier League standings, provided a stern test at times, but their hard work was ultimately undone by a clumsy Asa Charlton challenge.
Three changes were made from the side that suffered the 3-2 defeat at home to Marine at the weekend, with Jake Woolley, Kyle Dixon and Jermaine Hollis all making way for Alex Dean, Anthony Carney and skipper Steve Towers.
Despite occupying 22nd and 23rd respectively going into kick-off, Coalville and Halesowen were both well-assured of their safety – and it showed throughout the opening half an hour.
There was a severe lack of action at either ends for large portions of the initial sparring, with those in the Yeltz corner the first to throw a worthy punch. In the 15th minute, Jack Kelly made one of many dangerous runs from left back, arrowing a cross towards Lee Hughes who miscued his attempt, inadvertently leaving the ball for Daniele Braggoli who slid his effort wide of the target when left unmarked at the back post.
The hosts then swung back through a ‘chance’ of their own 10 minutes later, thanks to a swinging Alex Howes corner which blew high into the gusty Mander Cruickshank Stadium air and crashed back down onto the crossbar.
Once the game had passed the half-hour mark it seemed to receive an injection of fresh energy, with supporters being treated to three big chances in the space of four minutes.
With 32 minutes on the clock Braggoli missed another opportunity, somehow lifting the ball over an open net from five yards out after Elliot Taylor spilled Hughes’ initial effort. The high tempo continued as less than a minute later Watson and Anthony Carney exchanged a slick one-two, which resulted in Watson racing through and drilling his effort at the keeper from a tight angle.
However, Tom McGlinchey didn’t have the excuse of a tight angle four minutes later, also firing straight at the keeper after a precisely threaded Watson through ball sent the winger one-on-one.
The game’s sharp edge then seemed to be blunted during the break, with chances once again scarce in an underwhelming start to the second period.
McGlinchey and Alex Dean went mildly close for the Ravens, with McGlinchey directing a tame 18-yard effort straight at Daniel Platt, and Dean curling a shot just shy of the far post from the left side of the box.
Half-chances were at a premium, but neither side managed to forge out a substantial opening as Danny Byrnes forced a smart save from Taylor and McGlinchey swivelled and lifted a left-footed effort over the bar with the minutes ticking by.
After 87 minutes, Watson passed up on a chance to surely seal the contest without the need of the eventual spot-kick. The attacker – already on 21 league goals – was released through on goal but dragged his shot agonisingly wide.
However, the clumsy Carlton challenge, which saw the Halesowen man go through the back of McGlinchey in the box, meant the hosts had the perfect chance to nick a victory. And Watson took the penalty with ease, sending the keeper the wrong way and stroking the ball into the bottom right corner.
Coalville will be hoping the dramatic victory will act as a momentum boost going into Saturday, when they travel to Stalybridge Celtic in the NPL.