FA CUP rewind - 2012
COVENTRY CITY v ARLESEY TOWN
FA CUP - 1st round
In November 2011 we progressed the furthest we have ever gone in the F.A Cup by reaching the 1st round proper but unfortunately losing 3-1 away to Salisbury City. However, the following season we equalled our best ever run in the FA Cup, reaching the First Round Proper again. This time we came up against Football League One opponents and former 1987 FA Cup winners Coventry City. Drawn away, everyone connected with Arlesey Town had a day to remember even if we did lose 3-0. Here follows Our Match report from the game by Chris Sterry
Saturday 3rd November 2012
FA Cup 1st round proper
Coventry City (1) 3 Arlesey Town (0) 0 Gate 6594
Ref- Mr K Wright
Bookings: -. Coventry City: - Jordan Clark
Arlesey Town: - Chris Dillon, Luke Thurlbourne
Arlesey M.O.M:- The Whole Cub, team, staff and supporters. (Reporters choice)
Joe Murphy, Jordan Clark, Carl Baker ©, John Fleck, Gary McSheffrey (McDonald 54), Steven Jennings,
Callum Ball (O’Donovan 77), Cyrus Christie, William Edjenguele, Franck Moussa, Jamie Reckord (Willis 70).
Subs:-, Chris Dunn (GK), Nathan Cameron, Cody McDonald, Adam Barton, Shaun Jeffers, Roy O’Donovan, Jordan Willis.
Nathan Abbey, Luke Thurlbourne, Sol Davis (Abbey 85), Shane Blackett, Ryan Frater ©, Ben Farrell (Patrick 77), Aston Goss, James Hatch, Chris Dillon, Drew Roberts, Chris Marsh (Prosper 54).
Subs:-, Jeanmal Prosper, Leon Hibbert, Josh Cook, Jordan Patrick, Derek Brown, Zema Abbey, Nick Bussey.
For this match against the highest team in a competitive match in Arleseys history Arlesey prepared for the game properly travelling to Coventry the night before putting everything they could in place for this game. Arlesey went back to the more “usual” team for this game although Ben Farrell came into the midfield with Jeanmal Prosper dropping to the bench.
As Arlesey stepped out onto the manicured turf of the magnificent Ricoh stadium they looked at a team that was 82 league places above them squarely and this time equally in the eye, they looked relaxed and ready for the task that was in front on them.
Arlesey started positively taking the game to their illustrious hosts and in the 2nd min a good through ball found Aston Goss who headed on and found Ben Farrell; he hit an early long shot that went wide as he put in an early sighter on goal.
Coventry were using their home pitch very well and quickly got a passing game together and Callum Ball got in a shot that was blocked for a corner which was well cleared by Shane Blackett. Arlesey were also using the pitch well and Sol Davis put a good ball forward to Chris Dillon who headed down well to Drew Roberts but he was quickly closed down and his shot was blocked with the ball going back to Joe Murphy in goal.
The first real chance of the game came to Arlesey as they combined well through the centre and Roberts fed in Chris Marsh, he hit a great shot that clipped the top of the cross bar.
Cyrus Christie was playing well working down the right and he put in a good cross but Nathan Abbey came out well to collect.
Arlesey were more than holding their own and Goss put a good ball through to Dillon but the linesman’s flag went up to pull him back. As the game swung back and forth Arlesey were quickly closing Coventry down causing them and their fans some frustration but from a free kick from the edge of the area won by Gary McShaffrey, Carl Baker hit in a shot that brought a great save from Abbey as he pushed the ball out and although the ball was put back in the Arlesey defence held firm and cleared well.
Christie attacking down the right put in another good cross that Ryan Frater did well to head clear before in his defensive duties Christie brought down Roberts by the touchline. From the free kick Roberts found Blackett who headed down well but Murphy was equal to it. The throw out from the keeper was however poor and went straight to the prowling Dillon; he hit his quick first time shot straight back to Murphy.
Another Arlesey free kick was headed onto Murphy; he quickly got the ball out and a quick Coventry brake up field feeding Christie into the box but Blackett was equal to it and a great tackle claimed the ball off him to clear.
The same thing almost happened again as Arlesey gamed another free kick that Frater headed down for Dillon to shoot. From the quick goal kick McShaffrey broke into the area but as he was closed down his weak toe poke was easy for Abbey to deal with to both Jeers from both the home and away fans.
The deadlock was broken as a good interchange through the heart on the Arlesey defence by Franck Moussa and Callum Ball fed Ball into a tight space but he used it well to shoot past Abbey into the roof of the net to give Coventry the vital break through.
Dillon did well to pick Bakers pocket and steal the ball off him and then he over hit his ball to Goss letting it go out.
Coventry were pushing forward and playing the ball around well and were gradually gaining territory although Arlesey were defending well and closing them down well in the last third of the pitch.
From a Coventry free kick by Christie on the right Luke Thurlbourne partially cleared the ball but it was delivered back into William Edjenguele in the 6 yard area, only for Frater to do well to get it clear for a corner that Baker shot in for Abbey to concede another corner that this time was cleared.
John Fleck attacking into the box was well tackled by Thurlbourne before Fleck again put in a good cross that was met by McSheffrey with a header that was very well saved by Abbey.
As the half ticked down Arlesey got a good chance as Dillon found Roberts in a good position in the box but he miss hit his shot and it went wide leaving a retrievable 1-0 score line at half time.
Arlesey started the second period brightly again as Goss quickly broke down the left from the kick off but his cross/shot slid just past the post.
From a home corner Frater got a good clearing header in that found Goss who found Farrell but the move broke down as Dillon let his defender go over his leg and the Ref booked Dillon for the foul. Arlesey kept pushing forward as Goss found Dillon again but he was quickly cut off by Murphy clearing the danger into touch.
Coventry countered as Baker made a good run through the centre he was well blocked by Frater and as the ball was hit back in it went high and well wide of the target area.
From a kick out from Abbey Goss headed on well to Marsh coming in from the other side and he hit his shot from the edge of the area but it slid just wide of the post when if the shot was on target he would surly have beaten the stranded Murphy.
Marsh again worked into the box before he was blocked and then Coventry replaced Gary McSheffrey with Cody McDonanald and Arlesey replaced a tired looking Chris Marsh with Jeanmal Prosper.
A good move through the centre saw Hatch feed the ball to Thurlbourne who was fouled as he delivered the ball but it found Farrell as the ref played on and he hit a good low shot that required a good save from Murphy low down.
Coventry settled their fans and their nerves just after the hour as Christie brought the ball down the right and then cut in and turned well inside Blackett before firing under the diving Abbey to give them some breathing space at 2-0 with a good individual goal.
Coventry now looked more settled and a quick brake out that looked off side, Arlesey were suddenly in a 4 on 3 situation as Coventry broke through but Fleck was forced wide by Frater the shot when it came was weak and easily taken by Abbey.
Arlesey now had to look to go forward and Goss found Hatch in the box but he didn’t connect properly on the fast pitch and his shot was easy for Murphy. As Coventry gained more room Jamie Reckord found himself in space and his shot from the edge of the box crashed off the post and looped up allowing Abbey to collect.
This proved to be Reckords last contribution as he was replaced by Jordan Willis. As Arlesey tried to get forward Dillon headed onto Roberts in the box but as he was closely policed his shot went over the bar. Roberts then returned the compliment to Dillon but his shot was straight at Murphy.
Thurlbourne and Clarke ended up in a heap from a tussle and as they got up the ref showed them both a yellow card, while behind them Coventry replaced Callum Ball with Roy O’Donovan and Arlesey replaced Ben Farrell with Jordan Patrick as Arlesey threw the dice to push forward.
A good ball from Hatch found Roberts who hit a shot that was well taken by Murphy before Moussa again in unfamiliar space hit a shot that hit the bar before coming down and hitting Abbey before trickling round the post for a corner. From this Fleck hit a shot across the face of the goal past the far post.
As the time ran down Arlesey had to put all of their eggs in one basket and replaced Sol Davis with manager Zema Abbey. This left Arlesey undermanned at the back and Coventry exploited this as a pin point cross from O’Donovan found Jennings in the vacated left backs position and he cut into the box and fired a low shot past Abbey to give the home side a slightly flattering 3-0 scoreline. This could have been worse as in injury time Baker broke down the right and with Abbey coming out to close him down he fired over the bar.
Arlesey had not given up though and a good ball from Goss into the area was well taken off of Dillon’s head by Murphy as he claimed the ball and the ref blew for full time.
Arlesey’s big day was over and perhaps they had hit their ceiling but they were by no means disgraced and in the end the Div 1 sides fitness and quickness showed on their superb pitch and the game only got beyond Arlesey when they had to gamble and throw everything forward. The Arlesey fans were superb on the day and the team showed their appreciation as they applauded them and the end of the game.
Now from the heights reality comes back and Arlesey must prepare to return to the League as they face another away game at Barwell next Saturday.
This season’s cup run is over; I for one can’t wait for next season.