, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday 22nd July 2014 ko 18.45

Pre-Season Friendly

COVENTRY UNITED 1 (Stokes 52) Nduna missed penalty 43

BRINKLOW 3 (Cawley 13 90 Nelson 67p)

Att 47 at Keresley RUFC, John E Radford Fields, Burrow Hill Lane, Corley

Entry FREE

No Programme

This was one of those grounds you can’t visit for football during the normal season, but with the pitch at Allard Way being reseeded, the club moved this fixture to Keresley, a village right on the northern edge of the Coventry conurbation. Its a rural location, even the undulating pitch showed signs of its former use as strip-farmed agriculture.  As it so often the case with a rugby union ground, the facilities are mostly in the clubhouse, there was no rope, rail, or stand, but to be fair to the egg-chasers, this was the furthest pitch from the clubhouse. And on a warm evening, what facilities did you need anyway?

Football in Coventry has its own issues, with Coventry City is self-imposed exile 34 miles away in Northampton, Coventry United was formed to provide football in Coventry. As the club put it, “No politics, we just want to play football.” The club was accepted into the Midland Combination for last season, and this season will play in the newly formed Midland League Division 2 , the result of a merger between the Midland Alliance and Midland Combination.

Brinklow ply their trade in the Coventry Alliance, nominally at least a feeder to the Midland League, but at this level there’s a few if’s and but’s. The main one is cost, the Midland League has a referee and appointed linesmen, the Alliance just a referee, and the travelling is much further in the Midland League. An Alliance club would expect to travel no more than 15 miles for a game, but a United will visit the likes of Fairfield Villa, in Bromsgrove, some 35 miles away. Progression is far more straightforward from the Midland League, but the costs to a small club are considerable.

Perhaps this game proved the point, I hesitate as you shouldn’t read too much into friendlies. United playing in red, featured Brian Ndlovu, younger brother of City legend Peter up front, but found themselves vunerable to crosses. Time after time Brinklow whipped the ball in from the flanks, causing consternation in the United defence. Liam Cawley collected a brace, that could have easily been a hat-trick; one other effort was disallowed. No doubt United will play worse and win, but I bet Brinklow drove away from the rugby ground quietly satisfied.

Today’s Edward VIII post box is to be found on the corner of Clay Lane and the Coventry Road, Birmingham.