Coalville Ease Past Mickleover To Reach Semis
The Ravens overcame Sports with relative ease, navigating a physical Integro Cup tie which saw the visitors eventually reduced to nine men.
Coalville returned to the Mander Cruickshank Stadium for the first time in over a month, and they did so with a swagger, making light work of an aggressive Mickleover side.
Thursday’s opponents, who sit five places higher than the Ravens in the NPL, were never really able to match the tempo of the hosts, and their frustration overcame them, resulting in a series of late tackles and deserved cards.
Two changes were made to the side that fell to a heavy defeat at Stafford at the weekend, with the two Kyles – Dixon and Bryant – coming in to replace Jermaine Hollis and Alex Dean.
Mickleover demonstrated their physical intentions within the first five minutes, with Alex Morris recklessly challenging Kyle Bryant right in front of the dug-out. But despite protests from players and staff alike, Morris escaped with just a yellow.
The first shot of note came the way of Nathan Watson for the Ravens as the attacker tricked his way inside the box before rolling a sluggish shot towards the bottom left, allowing the keeper to gather.
An opening 20 that was short of opportunities was soon forgotten, with a flurry of chances inbound. In the 22nd minute, Andy Dales darted down the left before whipping a dangerous cross into the centre. The ball was almost converted by Coalville’s own Lee Torr, but fortunately Elliott Taylor was well placed to palm it away.
And that proved to be a turning point as the Ravens took the lead just two minutes later as the result of a set-piece. Watson’s initial free kick from an inviting position smacked against the wall, but fell kindly to Kyle Dixon 25 yards out, with the midfielder finishing emphatically - lashing a thunderous first time effort into the top right corner.
Minor chances followed for both sides, with Daniel Creaney heading narrowly wide on two occasions and Torr halting Dales with an exceptional last ditch tackle.
A golden chance then fell to Matthew Barnes-Homer in the 43rd minute after John McGrath’s header set him up perfectly inside the box, but the Sports man somehow blazed over from a matter of yards out.
Despite a few mistakes in the first half, Mickleover stopper Lewis King kept his side in the game on the brink of half time, tipping Watson’s drilled free kick just wide of the left post.
But King’s heroics seemed they would all go to waste within just 10 seconds of the second half when Morris committed his second bookable offence, this time on Bryant – and was duly dismissed.
Coalville may have had the man advantage, but hesitancy at the back allowed Sports two excellent chances for a leveller. First, in the 54th minute Dales shrugged off Bryant before curling a shot well over. The same player then spurned an even more presentable opportunity as his shot was heroically cleared off the line by Danny Jenno after he nipped in to take advantage of a defensive mistake.
Not long after Cleveland Taylor had a goal disallowed for offside the Ravens actually did put themselves two goals to the good, and largely thanks to Taylor. The fullback - turned winger for this game – curled in a pinpoint cross for Creaney, who initially headed against the bar before nodding home the bouncing rebound.
The game was then well and truly sealed moments later, with Taylor again providing a quality delivery, this time for Watson who leaped to divert the ball home from three yards out.
The game was well over as a contest, but this didn’t stop Mickleover’s continual quest for cards – this time Jack Walsh was dismissed for a second yellow in the 85th minute.
The impressive Ravens result send them through to the semi-finals of the Integro Cup, but attention will first be switched to Saturday, when they face Whitby Town at home.