Ravens Unluckily Edged out by Barwell in Final
The Canary curse continued for Coalville as they were beaten to the Leicestershire & Rutland FA Challenge Cup by Barwell at the King Power Stadium
Barwell got the better of Coalville for a fourth time this season as last season’s finalists came out on top in a tight game.
An even affair would have been predicted before the game, with Coalville (17th) and Barwell (14th) finishing just three places apart in the NPL.
After a bright start from the Ravens, Barwell began to take control of the match and found an opener midway through the half, with Luke Barlone heading the 2015 winners in front. Nathan Watson had the chance to equalise just before the break but had his penalty saved by Castle. The Ravens found an equaliser through Walshe but were beaten by late strikes from Story and Baldwin.
The Ravens made just one change from the victory against Corby on the final day of the NPL, bringing in Dean Freeman in place of Marcus Marshall. The side also included midfield general Liam Walshe, in what would be his final appearance for the club.
Coalville started the game with real intent as Malachi Lavelle-Moore drove forward and produced a long-range effort in a matter of seconds, his shot rose harmlessly over but showed encouraging signs for the Ravens.
Barwell responded with an early chance of their own as Callum Ball found space in the area following a corner, but thankfully Danny Jenno was on hand to make a vital block.Both sides again exchanged chances, with Kyle Bryant cutting in from the right and floating a shot into the hands of the keeper in the 10th minute before Matt Coton saved Brady Hickey’s drilled effort after 12 minutes.
As the game went on Barwell began to take control of proceedings, creating many more chances than Coalville, who seemed to lose their attacking threat. In the 21st minute Luke Barlone slid a pass through to Eddie Nisevic, whose near post effort was kept out by an alert Coton.
Barwell then took the lead through Barlone in the 23rd minute as he thumped home a header via the crossbar after a cross by Owen Story following hesitancy at the back from the Ravens’ rear-guard.
The opponents could have doubled their lead minutes after the opener as they swiftly countered after clearing Alex Dean’s driven cross. Ball released Story, who worked some space before being denied by Coton, the ball then fell to Hickey but the Barwell captain couldn’t get a shot away. Coalville were lucky not to be two down and had Coton to thank for keeping the Ravens in the game.
It was all Barwell as the game approached half-time, Barlone curled over from 20 yards in the 38th minute before Ball blazed over from inside the area after 41 minutes when it seemed easier to score.
As the first half began to draw to a close Coalville sparked into life, with Bryant’s close range effort being deflected over. Steve Towers was then bundled over in the box by Dec Towers, earning the Ravens a penalty on the cusp of half time. Nathan Watson stepped up to take the spot-kick but his shot was saved by Liam Castle as it headed for the bottom left corner. Lavelle-Moore then spurned the chance to convert the rebound as he rolled his effort wide from a tight angle.
HT: Coalville 0-1 Barwell
After a fast-paced finish to the first half, Coalville looked to maintain their intensity in the second half. The Ravens succeeded in doing just that as they carved out a brilliant chance in the 48th minute. Coalville broke quickly with Watson, who threaded a pass through to Lavelle-Moore before getting on the end of the striker’s cross, Watson unfortunately couldn’t convert as his side footed shot flew just wide of the post.
Coalville continued to heap on the pressure and Dean came a whisker away from finding a leveller in the 56th minute. The winger worked himself some space on the right side just outside the area before drilling his shot against the base of the post, with the ball fortuitously bouncing into the grateful hands of castle.
Callum Ball then tried his luck for Barwell from outside the box in the 64th minute, but his powerful long range drive was acrobatically tipped wide by Coton.
Coalville finally found a deserved equaliser two minutes later as Nathan Watson sprayed a pass out to Kyle Bryant, who whipped a cross into Liam Walshe at the far post. The Ravens skipper then spectacularly finished off the move, scoring a scissor kick which flew past Castle and into the bottom right corner.
The momentum was with the Ravens as they looked to go on and win the game, and they almost took the lead in the 70th minute. Walshe was again involved as he whipped a cross to Rory Coleman, whose miscue fell to Nathan Watson, who sliced his shot over the bar from inside the area. That miss would prove to be pivotal as just one minute later Barwell retook the lead. Owen Story tapped in to give the Canaries the lead after a scramble in the Coalville box, where Ball initially had two shots blocked.
The momentum was then firmly back with Barwell, who almost added a third through Barlone, whose header drifted just wide of the top left corner following a Story cross.
Coalville attempted to find a way back into the game, but even the injection of youth through the introduction of Zak Adams, Ben Stokes and Edilson Antonio wasn’t enough to create a substantial opportunity in the closing stages. Jenno went closest to an equaliser in the dying minutes, but his well-positioned free kick rose well over.
As Coalville piled players forward in search of an elusive equaliser, Barwell sealed the victory with a clinical counter attack in the 93rd minute. Substitute Ryan Baldwin latched onto a long ball before rounding Coton and slotting into an empty net.
FT: Coalville 1-3 Barwell