Nuneaton Borough’s title defence got off to a disappointing start with a 3-2 defeat away to Tamworth. The hosts came from behind as the Boro’ were reduced to nine men. Harry Boorman and Jack Blackham were dismissed after a Luis Corcoran double had given the visitors the lead. Boorman’s first half dismissal was undoubtedly the turning point as the hosts tookadvantage of the numerical advantage.
The home side got off to a flyer when Hayden struck as early as the second minute. Boro’s youngsters kept their heads though and responded with an equaliser in the 19th minute. Corcoran, who scored four in the FA Youth Cup victory over Hednesford Town last week, forced Aidan Jeynes in to a mistake as he chased down Tyler Jones’ through ball.
The Tamworth keeper came out to intercept the pass but with Corcoran bearing down on him the unfortunate shot-stopper could only blast the ball in to the onrushing forward. The deflection looked like it might have been creeping in anyway but the Boro’ top-scorer made certain, tucking the ball home and pulling his side level.
Both sides had chances to pull ahead as Corcoran was just centimetres away from reaching another Jones pass but Jeynes collected safely at the striker’s feet. Moments later and Hayden had a similar chance of his own but Joe Fenwick was equal to it in the Boro’ goal.
Boro’ took the lead in the 44th minute as Frank Goodyear broke down the right-hand side and played a killer ball in to the box. Jones got a flick on it and Corcoran lashed it home off the underside of the crossbar. On the stroke of half-time there was a bench-clearing melee after Harry Boorman was involved in a collision with Declan Somel.
Boorman received a red card with Jones and Will Groocock issued yellows, along with Tamworth’s Sam Walton. The hosts made the man advantage count as they dominated the early in the second half, Fenwick making two good saves and Tamworth shooting wildly when they were in good positions.
Vijay Seenath briefly relieved the pressure with a mazy run that took him from his own half to the edge of the Tamworth box, weaving through several challenges before the attack fizzled out. At the other Fenwick was again called in to action, acrobatically tipping a direct free kick over the bar.
Tamworth eventually found a way through the Boro’ backline, Fenwick saving well from Lewis Kelly’s blast from the edge of the box but Luke Coleman reacted fastest to turn the loose ball in. Boro’ weren’t done though and still possessed a threat on the counter-attack, Jodi Simoni found himself on the edge of the box but fired narrowly wide after some good build-up play.
Walton broke the deadlock with seven minutes to play, cutting in front of the defence from a corner and heading home at the near post. It was a bitter pill for a Boro’ side that deserved more from the match and there was worse to come. Captain Jack Blackham was dismissed in the 89th minute for an off the ball incident as the Referee appeared to submit to a barracking from the home dugout.
Nuneaton Borough: Fenwick; Boorman, Simoni, Blackham, Groocock; Heath (Tsinonis 89), Fanaj, Seenath, Goodyear; Corcoran, Jones (Hines 65).
Subs: Reynolds, Hines, Tsinonis.
Cautions: Jones (45), Groocock (45)
Sending Offs: Boorman (45) Blackham (89)
Goals: Corcoran (19, 44)
Tamworth: Jeynes; Chapman (Lambert 55), Hale, Smith, Kelly; Somel (Coleman 45), Earp, Walton, Roberts; Hayden, Jones (Hylton 76).
Subs: Hylton, Coleman, Lambert.
Cautions: Walton (45)
Goals: Hayden (2), Coleman (76), Walton (83)