Bostik Division North
Coggeshall Town 4 v 0 Grays Athletic
By The Mariner
IT was to be an early Halloween nightmare afternoon at big spending Coggeshall for Blues seeing their unbeaten run disappear into the ether with another abject second half performance, in which they failed to compete conceding poorly defended goals – the result seeing them drop out of the play off zone. The first half Blues held their own – taking the game to the Seedmen – only to go in at the break one goal behind, scored against the run of play, but there was nothing to suggest that they could not get themselves back into the game in the second period which saw them finishing with ten men following Adalberto Pinto receiving a second yellow card.
The opening period was a niggly affair, numerous stoppages disrupted the flow of the game with the referee administering a number of lectures to players and opposing benches – his cause was not helped by the hosts habit of appealing vociferously and swarming round the official demanding retribution whenever they were fairly challenged or otherwise. Blues kept their heads electing to play their football and press high up the pitch enjoying a degree of superiority but without troubling Harry Aldridge in the home goal.
Pinto making his debut featured prominently in the early stages energetically contributing with deft touches , Blues were enjoying a period of control but not creating a clear cut opening and were then hit with a sucker punch in the 24th minute. A simple ball through the middle dissected Geofrey Okonkwo and Michael Finneran leaving Sam Bantick a clear run on goal, where he finished with aplomb volleying past Lloyd Anderson.
Blues quickly replied when Michael Toner came close latching on to a Joao Carlos corner getting his head to the ball clipping the upright and falling behind. Shortly after Dennis Oli brought a fine save from Aldridge when a turn and shot saw the keeper drop and hold on to the ball.
The remaining period offered few chances once again littered with free kicks, Pinto picked up a yellow card which was to cost the midfielder late in the second half.
Blues prospects were lifted early after the restart when Blues hotshot Carlos tested Aldridge with a rasping drive proving too hot for the young keeper who could only push the ball away .
Coggeshall now looked a more incisive team and quickly established control – Bantick was beginning to cause problems with his speed and movement, he tried a speculative drive from 30 yards which had Anderson scampering across his goal grateful to see the ball fly wide. Blues were coming under increasing pressure and it showed with misplaced passes and challenges, the energy and zip shown in the first half was lacking allowing the hosts the freedom of midfield and so it was no surprise when they doubled their advantage in the 63rd minute.
A corner was swung over from the right into the six yard box , Blues defenders expected Anderson to come for the ball but he remained rooted to the line leaving Ross Wall with the simple task of nodding the ball into the net.
The goal appeared to drain the energy and fight from Blues and just seven minutes later their chance to take something from the game was virtually extinguished and it was another poorly defended carbon copy of the second goal. A cross from the right had the same stupefying impact on the Blues defence, keeper and defender allowing Jamie Shaw another unchallenged header .
The goal momentarily lulled Blues from their inertia, Carlos pressured the home defence and was rewarded when he intercepted a pass, advancing on goal it looked like he would reduce the arrears, unfortunately he spurned the opportunity his radar off key he failed to hit the target and the chance was lost. A rare flowing move culminated in an opportunity for Aron Gordon sending a fierce effort into the grateful arms of Aldridge.
Normal service was quickly resumed, the Seedmen looking to add to their score, ex Blue Correy Davidson ran riot, his electric pace opening up the Blues defence with alarming frequency, chances came and went and in the 89th minute Coggeshall rounded off the scoring when Okonkwo got himself in a tangle handling the ball in the area, sub Connor Hubble beating Anderson from the spot.
Blues miserable afternoon was complete when Pinto received a second yellow card for what looked a robust but fair challenge – his cause not helped by yet another dramatic fall and shout from a Coggeshall player.
Coggeshall deserved their victory because they showed more commitment and vitality, but the win was soured by their continual appeals for the slightest challenge swarming round the referee on numerous occasions, a tactic that will win them few friends.
For Blues it was another questionable performance, they really have to compete for 90 minutes – too many times this season the second period has seen them lose their shape and energy and concede poorly defended goals.
Anderson, Mahal, Okonkwo, Finneran, Toner, Muguo, Hahn (Curtis 61), Oli (Wade 65), Gordon, Carlos
Subs not used: Clarke Bogard, Callum Thompson