Missed penalty sees firsts lose again

Troublesome signs for firsts as they sink further down the league table

BUCS controversial coventry football goals league loss penalty university of birmingham

The firsts slipped to their second defeat of the season at home to Coventry University in a scrappy derby match, losing 2-1.

All the action came in a frantic first half, which saw three goals and two missed penalties.

But a lacklustre second half performance from the reds saw their title aspirations dealt another blow, having now notched up two defeats in just five matches.

The captains face off

The captains face off

After drawing their previous home game against Notts Trent and grabbing a morale boosting 4-0 away victory at the University of Bedford, Birmingham were looking to go into their cup match against Swansea next week with another win under the belt.

A frenetic start saw Coventry claim a penalty within the opening minutes after goalkeeper Pigott brought down a Coventry attacker who had drifted past him.

Pigott redeemed himself with a superb save, keeping the scores level.

Coventry's penalty miss was not to prove costly

Coventry’s penalty miss was not to prove costly

But a breakthrough came nonetheless around the 20 minute mark.

A slide rule ball splitting Morphew and Shone, saw the Coventry striker bear down on goal and finish well into the roof of the net, despite a strong hand from Pigott, who couldn’t stop it, 1-0 Coventry.

The visitors take the lead

The visitors take the lead

UoB once again found themselves behind at home, but responded well and had strong shouts for a penalty turned away after a suspected handball in the box.

It was evident during the first half that Coventry had set out to claim three points with a bold 4-4-2 formation, however, it was Birmingham who were to have the next opportunity.

Barrow was brought down in the box, as he raced in on goal.

Tricky winger Bowerman stepped up but saw his spot-kick saved admirably by the Coventry keeper which left coaches and players alike seething with frustration.

The unfortunate Bowerman couldn't convert

The unfortunate Bowerman couldn’t convert

That penalty miss brought about a new urgency and it looked to be from set pieces where UoB would get most joy, causing Coventry trouble all through the first-half.

A corner produced another save from the Coventry keeper from point-blank range, to keep the visitors ahead.

The equaliser was not long in coming though and, what an equaliser it was.

A corner from the right was headed out only as far as Bowerman and from 20 yards he saw a sublime right-footed half-volley fly into the top right hand corner making it 1-1, with some spectators calling it “goal of the season”.

Redemption for Bowerman

Redemption for Bowerman

Brown nearly gave the firsts the lead seconds later, with a scuffed shot which went just wide, which he was to rue, as Coventry re-took the lead in stoppage time of the first-half.

A corner from the right was met superbly by the Coventry centre-back, who sent a bullet header straight past Pigott.

HT score: UoB 1-2 Coventry

A frantic first-half was certainly not matched by a dull second, as the game became tense and scrappy with Coventry looking intent to hang onto their lead through any means necessary.

Sustained possession was hard to come by

Sustained possession was hard to come by

There were instances of UoB pressure which produced a fine lobbed effort from Barrow early in the second-half and a well worked move saw Kirby fire just over but, Birmingham struggled to find a way through a tight Coventry defence.

It was clear Coventry had settled for what they had, which frustrated the firsts in their quest for a late equaliser.

Sunderland picked up a yellow card for a high arm which really emphasised the nature of the game in the closing stages.

A switch in tactics?

A switch in tactics?

There was to be one last chance for the firsts to repeat their heroics of two weeks ago against Trent, and claim a last gasp goal.

But it wasn’t to be, as Richards saw his free-kick brilliantly saved high to the right.

Coventry held on for a priceless victory which boosts their promotion hopes but seriously dents UoB’s chances of claiming the title.

There is still a way to go, but they need to start winning their home games if they are to stand any chance at all.

An elated Coventry side

An elated Coventry side

FT score: UoB firsts 1 – 2 Coventry University firsts

Lineup (4-4-1-1): GK – Pigott, RB – Austin, CB – Westbrook, CB – Morphew,  LB – Shone (Adelekan), RM – Brown (Yamuah), CM – Kirby (c) (Opalinski), CM – Sunderland, LM – Bowerman, CAM – Jones (Othen-Price), ST – Barrow (Richards)