Saturday, 4 January 2020

04/01/20 Review: Coventry Alvis vs WLV Sport

Coventry Alvis 6-0 WLV Sport (Les James Challenge Cup, Second Round)
Green Lane

In a weekend that the hipsters are calling "FA Cup Weekend" I decided to stick it to the man and sink my teeth into a real tournament- meaning that my opening match of the season would come in the form of some second round Les James Challenge Cup action as I managed to drag myself away from work early in time to visit my third Coventry based ground of the season. With Wolverhampton's University team making the 35-mile ride down the M6 to face a side that sit in the division above within the Midland Football League, the question on everyone's lips is whether they could cause a shock and make it to the Quarter-Finals, where an away trip to FC Stratford awaited the victors.

New year, new ground...
Arriving ten minutes late to the Alvis Social Club, I parked up and walked around passed the clubhouse and straight into the ground to see what I'd missed. As I handed over my £4 entry fee I was informed that it was still 0-0, although I could already tell from just moments of watching that this would not be a dull affair. The hosts were consistently assertive and I felt confident that my pre-match prediction of a 3-0 home win would be close to the mark. Initial thoughts on the ground were that it is quaint but basic, with the only stand being the generic hundred-or-so-seater green one that makes its way into many of the non-league's lower leagues. From memory, I think I last saw it as recently as November when I visited Mundy Playing Fields in Thornbury. Perhaps the boldest thing to be seen though in yesterday's match at Green Lane was the Scotland-themed kit that the visitors were donning, which certainly caught the eye. With navy, white and grey colouring in a cross-quartered style, I must admit that this one was a little different and unique to the usual all red or blue kits often found in the lower realms, whilst Alvis had a smart and simple sky blue strip similar to Cov Copsewood's, a side who I'd seen in action during pre-season, which is presumably a nod to their Football League friends.

Classic action shot, mainly to show off the aforementioned kits
In terms of action, it was all happening in the WLV defensive third and shortly after I arrived Alvis striker Linton headed a couple of goalward efforts at the Uni side's goal. The first was a sign of things to come and when a corner followed shortly after it was the big number 10 who again leapt up and this time he headed home from all of four yards out. Alvis 1-0 Sport. A substantial stoppage proceeded the opener as the WLV goalie received treatment for a broken nose- well, I say "treatment" but in actual fact the lad just looked to have a load of tissue bunged up his snout!

He wasn't impressed with my efforts to snap a pic of him in his less than finest hour
With most of the action taking place in the goalmouth, I decided to be useful and did a bit of ballboying, with the highlight coming as I produced a fancy flick back to the keeper, resulting in him asking if I fancied a game. To be fair, compared to some of his team-mates who just spent the majority of the game stood arguing with each other, I'd probably have been more useful in my post-Xmas state of unfitness. Alas, I resisted and instead walked around to the stand to see out the rest of the half, which gave me a good view of some very nice play from the hosts. Their number 4 who played a box-to-box role for his team, started off a fine move which eventually made its way out wide and then eventually to Linton who could have already had a hat-trick by this point if he'd shown a bit more bottle with his finish. This latest wayward strike forced the Coventry manager to kick the metal bin nearest him and that would prove to be the last notable feature of the half, meaning it was time to check out the clubhouse.

Alvis one up at the break, but surely there would be more to come...
For the first time in my life I have decided to be boring and attempt "Dry January", which meant that I would be sticking to the Pepsi on this occasion and it is actually quite weird how a fifteen minute can seem to be a lot longer when you aren't rushing against the clock to neck a pint. Despite my struggles against sociable alcoholism, I survived with a small coke and a bag of sensations, but I must admit that the club bar is a decent little effort. There is a good bar selection, a dart board, pool and snooker tables, plus a gambler and Sky Sports on the go. Perfection!
Good effort, Alvis
The best word to summarise the second-half was goalfest and from the offset there were again many a chance for the sky blue side, with Linton missing two clear-cut chances before the eventual breathing space came as Palmer tucked in a shot that fell to him from a deflected initial strike. Right place, right time. Alvis 2-0 Sport. Although there would still be plenty of time left to play, that second goal already felt like the winner as you never really got the impression that WLV would get back in it. They did get themselves a corner with one of a couple of half-chances, but as Alvis broke away from the set-piece they went forward with mighty pace and Richards rapidly played in Palmer for his brace. Alvis 3-0 Sport. The trio of Linton, Palmer and Richards was just too much for the visitors to handle in the second-half and having scored a couple already, this time it was the number 9 who turned provider by sliding the ball in from the right to allow Linton a tap-in for his second. It could have been his 10th, in truth! Alvis 4-0 Sport. And just moments later we'd see Richards gather one for himself as a routine clearance from an Alvis defender set him on his way to make it five. Alvis 5-0 Sport. By this point, the front three were fighting for the man of the match award and also the match ball, but there wasn't a selfishness about it and that was nice to see. Linton would this time provide the assist, again from the unmanned WLV left-wing and Richards would join his team-mates in helping himself to a double- meaning we'd seen a triple-double! Alvis 6-0 Sport.

This viewer will have had a job editing all of those match clips last night
It would be unfair to say that WLV Sports gave up in the second-half, because in truth they never really got going, but the side who sit 13th in Division Three were just simply not a match for their mid-table Division Two opposition and the young side were clearly frustrated and gutted when the final whistle did blow. As the lads left the field it looked for a moment like it was going to turn sour as some of the players started squaring up with each other, but when all is said and done it was a comprehensive victory for Alvis and they will now look forward to another cup match midweek, this time against local rivals Coventry Plumbing.

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