Valiant Ravens Bow Out Of FA Trophy
Coalville’s cup run was brought to a halt at Bootham Crescent as overcoming trophy holders York City proved a step too far for the Ravens.
The third qualifying round proved to be the Raven’s FA Trophy ceiling, however it was a case of ‘what could have been’ for a slightly unfortunate Coalville side.
As expected, the hosts - who ply their trade in the division above Coalville after two successive relegations - boasted superior possession throughout the tie, but the Ravens would have counted themselves unlucky to go into the break a goal down after a fine 44th minute strike from Gary Martin.
The second goal also proved to be a sucker punch, with Jon Parkin’s successful spot kick taking the growing wind out of Coalville’s sails after a bright start to the second half.
Parkin then converted his second penalty in the 77th minute before Daniel Creaney netted what proved to be only a consolation just one minute later.
Tommy Brookbanks named an unchanged line up from the defeat at Lancaster a week ago, with the side receiving passionate and unwavering support from the 104 strong Coalville contingent that made the trip up to North Yorkshire.
Coalville more than held their own in the opening period as the hosts seeing much more of the ball but lacked a cutting edge against a resolute Ravens back line which sought to stay in the game in the early minutes.
Sitting deep did restrict the hosts in central areas, but it also allowed their full backs to push higher up the field and produce a number of enticing crosses.
The first clear cut chance of the contest fell to Amari Morgan-Smith, who was unable to convert from five yards, blazing a first time effort over following a fierce cross from David Ferguson to the far post after 16 minutes.
A spell of pressure from York was then let down by a desertion of touch for Parkin, with the former Stoke and Hull man failing to control Josh Law’s whipped cross when unmarked in the box.
Despite a lack of possession, the visitors showed just how dangerous they could be on the break. Nathan Watson sliced open the Minstermen’s defence with a crafty reverse pass to Creaney, who disappointingly scuffed his effort straight at Adam Bartlett.
As the first period wore on York began to crank up the pressure, weaving together a string of intricate moves. First, Martin was slipped through on goal, but the score remained level thanks to an outstretched Matthew Coton limb forcing the low driven shot away. Then in the 32nd minute, Parkin’s edge of the area shot was brilliantly blocked by a diving Cleveland Taylor.
Four minutes later Coalville created their best chance of the half thanks to the trickery of Watson. The Ravens’ attacking midfielder latched onto Creaney’s flick on before cutting inside and producing a wicked curling shot, which agonisingly skimmed the top of the bar.
After doing so well to shut out the hosts and maintain an attacking threat – albeit irregular, the enabling of York to play short intricate passes so high up the field cost the Ravens, and at a notoriously bad time. Martin slid a purposeful ball to Parkin, who teed the ball back up invitingly for the striker to hit first time from 18 yards, curling the ball high into the net for his first goal in York colours just before the break.
Whatever Brookbanks said at half time seemed to be effective as the Ravens remerged with real purpose, pressing the ball high up the field and benefitting with the creation of immediate chances. Both Tom McGlinchey and Kyle Dixon were inches away from levelling as both their edge of the box efforts – within the space of a minute of each other – flashed wide of the left post.
However, it was always going to be a tough task to maintain such intensity against a team such as York, and a lack of opportunities reflected this. In the 61st minute, somewhat against the balance of the half, the hosts were awarded a penalty after Dixon was adjudged to have blocked Sean Newton’s cross with his arm.
The experienced Parkin then stepped up, side footing into the bottom right via a slight but insufficient touch by Coton.
The direct and relentless running of James Gray caused momentary worry for Danny Jenno on the flank following his introduction, with the York winger beating his man before forcing Coton to paw away his arrowing effort.
The substitute then caused further and much more serious problems for the away side when he got the wrong side of Dean Freeman, who clipped his ankles in the area when in pursuit, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Parkin again stepped up to take, this time smashing the ball high into the centre of the net.
Many would have been forgiven for assuming the tie was over at this point as York lead 3-0 after 77 minutes, but Creaney gave Coalville hope just less than a minute later. Substitute Alex Howes, who impressed in his second outing for the club, drove forward with the ball before releasing Creaney one on one, who wrong footed the keeper with a slotted finish to the left.
The Ravens then began to take the game to the hosts, but failed to create that elusive chance that would set up an enthralling ending. Instead York, with all their professionalism and experience, expertly saw the game out by retaining possession and taking the sting out of what had become a threatening situation for the Minstermen.
It was York who were closest to finding the game’s fifth goal in the closing stages as Parkin had his low left footed strike kept out before Gray scuffed the follow up straight at Coton.
The final whistle brought a sense of disappointment but also pride for the Ravens, who were competitive for large periods of the tie against a professional side that were playing their football in League Two just two seasons ago. On reflection, York controlled more of the game and created the better chances, which merited the victory. However it was the timing of the goals that was unfortunate, with one coming moments before half time and one when Coalville were beginning to build momentum.
One thing that couldn’t be faulted was the players’ effort, with their performance giving a good account of Coalville on a day that could have panned out much differently.
Next up for Coalville is a return to league action with the Ravens travelling to Nantwich on Saturday.