Determined United One Point Off Play-Offs After Coalville Triumph (Video Now Online)
By Simon Ball-McQueen
A solitary Robbie McNicholas strike saw a well-drilled United side take a superb 1-0 win from second-placed Coalville Town on Saturday.
Video highlights now available to view online - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NG0_lOVcr0
Basford are now just one point off the Evo-Stik League Division One South play-off places thanks to a disciplined and workman-like victory in gale force winds at Owen Street.
Martin Carruthers made just two changes from his side that comfortably beat Market Drayton Town two weeks ago, with central midfielder Fabian Smith making his first start of the season and his first United appearance since August, replacing the absent Jermaine Hollis. Young full-back Jehryl Pickbourne also started the match, coming in for the injured BIlly Bennett.
Josh Thornton continued his road to recovery by securing a place on the bench, alongside youngster Myron Duffy, who received his first senior call-up, after impressing for the Academy side in recent weeks.
Having arrived with their white away strip, United were then forced to borrow Coalville’s yellow and white striped shirts to avoid a clash, which combined with Basford’s blue shorts and socks, gave them something of a Catalan theme for the day.
The blowing and swirling wind around the Owen Street bowl-like ground was to play a massive part in the game, as both teams cautiously passed the ball around in the gale.
It was United who looked the more sprightly early on, with Eugen Bopp’s header, from a Blair Anderson free kick, just flashing across the host’s goal after 6 minutes.
7 minutes later, Anderson was at the heart of Basford’s attacking play again, as the winger’s cross from the left, found Stuart Hendrie in the box, whose shot was well saved by the Coalville keeper.
Anderson then had a chance of his own on 17 minutes, after pouncing on defensive error, but by the time he had the ball under control and got away a shot, a number of Town defenders were able to get back and block his effort from 18 yards out, on the goal line.
Coalville’s first chance of the game fell in the 19th minute, from a low strike from the edge of the box but Saul Deeney was able to comfortably block and then gather the ball.
The only goal of the game came on 35 minutes and can definitely be described as wind-assisted, when Robbie McNicholas’ speculative effort from 40 yards out caught the wind, looping over the home goalkeeper and dropping into the goal.
On any other day, the goal would have been described as spectacular but there is little doubt that McNicholas would be the first to accept that his effort was helped on its way by the elements, as the young right back claimed his first ever goal for the club.
In the opening seconds of the second half, there were calls for a penalty to be awarded from the home players and supporters but the referee correctly awarded Coalville a free kick on the edge of the box.
It then turned into a half of little chances for either side but United remained solid, cool and composed despite the difficult conditions.
Stuart Hendrie had a half-chance on 63 minutes, thanks to some good footwork from Anderson on the edge of the penalty area but the forward’s shot was always rising and cleared the woodwork.
The ever-reliable Rob Darkin then produced an excellent piece of defending ten minutes later, after a home attacker broke through the United backline but the centre half showed excellent pace to catch up with the attacker and then block the goal-bound shot.
A quality side like Coalville were always going to pose a threat at some point in the game and they began to really push on in the final ten minutes of play and on 83 minutes, a cross was whipped across the United box and deflected away for a corner and then from the resulting set-piece and a scramble in the penalty area, the ball rolled into the foot of Deeney’s left-hand post before being hurriedly cleared away.
Another Coalville penalty appeal was again, rightly waived away by the referee with two minutes of normal time remaining and seconds later, substitute Jack Duffy has the opportunity to end the game as a contest but after finding himself with time and space inside the home side’s penalty box, the youngster’s shot was jettisoned over the crossbar.
Coalville then thought they had netted their equaliser in the dying seconds of stoppage time, as the ball looked to have been scrambled across the goal line from a corner kick, only for the referee to blow his whistle to signal the end of the game, at almost the exact point the ball looked to have crossed the line, leaving Basford to celebrate what was one of their finest victories of the season so far.
United now turn their focus to retaining the Notts Senior Cup, as they host NSL side Wollaton FC in the Third Round of the competition, in what will be their first game at Greenwich Avenue in nearly three weeks.
BUFC Radio post-game interview with Saul Deeney - https://audioboom.com/boos/3910326-post-game-interview-with-saul-deeney-coalville-town-0-basford-united-1-05-12-15
BUFC Radio post-game interview with Mark Clifford - https://audioboom.com/boos/3910336-post-game-interview-with-mark-clifford-coalville-town-0-basford-united-1-05-12-15