BSCR2 Town 2 - 0 Coventry City 05.12.16

Monday 5th December, 2016

Birmingham Senior Cup Second Round

DCS Stadium

Stratford Town 2 – 0 Coventry City

Thanks to goals from Edwin Ahenkorah and Richard Gregory, Town notched up a first win in seven games as they slid smoothly into the last eight of the County Cup at the expense of a youthful Coventry City side, and Carl Adams finally had the taste of victory to savour with a result that, at last, matched the performance.

It was no surprise that the Sky Blues fielded their under-23 side, and it would give them experience of a level a number of them will no doubt drift into in a year or two. As for the home side, gaffer Adams rested Fry, Clark and Stephens, the latter two nursing minor knee and groin injuries, respectively. Mikey Taylor sat this one out as he is cup-tied, having played for Redditch in the previous round, but there was a welcome return for Jean Kalenda. Charlie Faulkner, currently impressing on loan at Rugby, was provided with a midfield role alongside Fitzharris.  There was a spot on the bench for Warren Brooks and he was joined by former Town youth trio, Ormston, Jaynes and Ingram. The final bench spot went to Richard Gregory; more about him later.

On a slick, gleaning surface, the opening exchanges were frantic with both sides energetically going about their business and the Sky Blues – clad in blood red tonight – tested Cooper with the game’s first real shot on goal; Kyle Spence’s low drive was well taken by the Town ‘keeper in the 22nd minute.

On 29 minutes, Dan Summerfield surged down the right flank, bursting past a couple of Coventry tacklers in the process. The Welsh wing wizard then nutmegged left-back Carnwell before curling in a precise cross which was met meatily on the volley by Ahenkorah from eight yards out and Town were ahead. This time they would not relinquish their advantage.

Two minutes later and the former Merthyr man went on another solo rampage. A further nutmeg and a mazy run that ended up with Summerfield seeing glory but his right-footed shot clipped the top of the bar. Had he picked his head up he would have seen Ahenkorah, square, with goal gaping.

Town continued to play in Sky Blues territory with Charlie Faulkner catching the eye as he scurried around midfield snapping like a demented crocodile. Town could have extended their lead before the break but neither a fizzing Tulloch effort, saved low down by Addai in the Sky Blues goal, nor a Grocott free-kick which curled narrowly wide, failed to add substance to Town’s supremacy.

In a week in which Town received a ‘7-day’ transfer approach from local rivals, Leamington for him, Richard Gregory, an used substitute at Banbury last Saturday, was introduced as a half-time substitute tonight for Edwin Ahenkorah. It took just six minutes for the sharp-shooter to net his 12th goal of the season as his swift swivel was followed by an outside of the right boot finish into the bottom corner.

Shortly afterwards, Jean Kalenda retired to the bench, having had a good 55-minute blow-out, to make way for young Rob Ormston. The tall centre-half could have been forgiven for having a spot of the jitters as he entered the field, as he was part of a Knowle side (Ormston is dual-registered) that was battered 7-2 at the DCS last Saturday, by FC Stratford. Calmer waters tonight though. And then Kyle Jaynes was given the last twenty minutes to put himself about, coming on for Charlie Evans. The snappy striker certainly did just that, leaving a couple of Sky Blues youngsters reeling following two bone-crunching challenges.

At the final whistle, as Town eliminated the Sky Blues in the Senior Cup for the second consecutive season, Townites were introduced to a new experience - nails on fingers! They had been bitten to the quick at Banbury, Redditch and Merthyr.

Town boss, Carl Adams, was clearly satisfied with his side’s work and with the club finding themselves in another cup quarter-final, “We now have two quarter-finals to look forward to in the New Year and they keep hopes of a trophy alive. I felt we played well again tonight and finally got just reward for our efforts. We’ve been through a challenging sequence of fixtures recently but the focus switches quickly to games that could determine our season.

“We start with St Neots on Saturday, which is a real six-pointer. It’s vital that we take maximum points and the lads know it’s a game we must not lose. We’ll train on Thursday and have a chat about them then, but for now it’s nice to enjoy a win.”

The final note goes to Richard Gregory. The majority of the 131 hardy souls that braved the cold December night left wondering if that Gregory goal was his last in Stratford blue. The vociferous lads behind the goal who were singing (to the tune of Mrs. Robinson) ‘This is to you Richard Gregory, Stratford loves you more than you will know’ will certainly hope it wasn’t. However, for Gregory himself, he might have a different tune in his head – that of The Clash’s, ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’.

Town scorers: Ahenkorah 29, Gregory 51.

Marston’s Man of the Match: Charlie Faulkner. Crocodile Rock.

Town team: Cooper, Summerfield, Westwood, Fitzharris, Francis, Faulkner, Tulloch, Kalenda, Ahenkorah, Grocott, Evans. Subs: Gregory (for Ahenkorah), Ormston (for Kalenda), Jaynes (for Evans).

Attendance: 131

Match Stats by Rod Abrahams                       

    Town                                             Coventry       
        11 Goal Attempts              13
           1 Blocked Shots                1
           0 Hit Woodwork                0
           1 Corners Won                2
           7 Crosses into Box                5
         10 Fouls Conceded                9
           3 Off Side                0
           2 Yellow Cards                1
           0 Red Cards                0

 Town Yellow Cards         –    Fitzharris & Summerfield

Coventry Yellow Cards    –   Carnwell