THREE goals in the space of 25 minutes set Midland Premier leaders Coventry United on the path to victory and set-up a derby clash with Coventry Copsewood in the last 16 of the Midland Football League Cup.
Tuesday night’s 4-2 triumph at Kirby Muxloe of Division One featured four different goalscorers, with Chris Camwell opening the scoring on seven minutes before Matthew Gardner and Callum Carsley struck by the midway mark of the half after Bakary Mass had levelled for Kirby.
Mass then added his second of the game two minutes after the interval to make it game on once more at Ratby Lane.
There was a sense of great relief then, when substitute Joseph Cairns added the Red and Greens fourth of the game to see off their stubborn hosts once and for all and confirm United’s progress in the competition..
United and Copsewood – who won their second-round tie at Coton Green by a resounding 8-1 scoreline back in November – will now battle it out for a quarter-final berth on Tuesday night (7.45pm) at Allard Way.
Before then, Terry Anderson’s table-toppers head to South Normanton Athletic on Saturday (3pm), taking on a side currently 11th in the league whom they found success against in February’s reverse fixture – earning a 2-1 win thanks to Camwell’s 85th-minute winner after a ninth-minute opener from Cairns had been cancelled out.
Copsewood meanwhile had their Division One trip to Studley called off in midweek, but now hope to regain some match fitness in Saturday’s home clash with Uttoxeter Town (fourth, 3pm).
Joe Conneely and Neil Collett’s 15th-placed side were 3-1 victors in the away fixture, winning the season opener through Ryan Murphy, Ashley Piper and Ellis Layfield strikes.
COVENTRY Sphinx left it late to earn a welcome three points away to South Normanton Athletic on Tuesday night.
The Shiners – who had been reduced to ten men following a second yellow for player-manager Marc Strzyzewski in the final quarter of an hour – responded within three minutes of going behind to Ashanti Pryce’s 79th-minute opener to seemingly earn themselves a point against Shaun Thomas and John Woodward’s troops.
But Coventry dug deep and restored their lead five minutes from time, when Scott Hammond swiveled and buried the ball first time beyond the home goalkeeper to record a eighth victory of the season.
On Saturday, 14th-placed Sphinx head to Haughmond – who are 15th – in a 3pm kick-off.
A home game against Boldmere St Michaels then follows on Tuesday (7.45pm).
SHAMIR Alam’s GNP Sports had their midweek home fixture with Uttoexeter Town called off.
Eleventh-placed Sports welcome Studley, who are third, to Sphinx Drive in Saturday’s clash (3pm), followed by another home game on Wednesday against Hinckley AFC (seventh, 7.45pm).
JACK Hartopp’s 100th appearance for Coventry Alvis was tarnished by his early injury in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Earlswood Town.
The Division Two clash offered the travelling Earls – who lost the previous meeting in the Presidents Cup by a comprehensive 4-0 margin – some revenge at Alvis Sports and Social Club, as Jonathon Hammer and Gary Walker rendered Mitchell Boe’s leveller in vain.
It took only 12 minutes for the visitors to find the back of Hartopp’s net, as Jon Hamer met Cam Knight’s through ball and finished clinically.
Alvis were rocked by the early goal and nearly went two behind, again with Hamer at the forefront, when the forward played the ball across to Matt Pemberton to draw a vital stop from Hartopp.
Having witnessed his clean sheet dirtied at the beginning of the game, Hartopp’s landmark appearance between the sticks for Coventry ended in sudden fashion when he departed the field with an injury.
Donning the gloves for the remaining 75 minutes of the game, with no goalkeeper on the bench, was striker Dildale Linton.
Despite this setback, Alvis made inroads into rescuing the game and started to cause more problems for the away side.
The half ended with just the one goal, despite back-to-back chances down either end, with Ryan Palmer being denied by Earls’ custodian Dan Farr, while Gary Walker brought a first stop of the game out of makeshift ‘keeper Linton.
Matthew Pemberton was next to test Alvis, cracking an attempt at goal that needed to be smothered by the Alvis shot stopper.
Linton’s contributions, albeit between the sticks, helped his side bring themselves onto level terms when Lewis Ludford capitalised on a defensive mistake and played through Bowe to fire4 home.
While the hosts surged forward in search of a winning goal, they almost fell behind with ten minutes to play when Joel Hughes was brought down inside the box.
With the chance to fire home from the spot, Hamer failed to add to his tally when Linton dived the right way and pushed the ball away to safety.
Earlswood almost received another penalty, but for the referee to change the original decision and award a free-kick on the penalty area edge, after a foul on Elliot Price.
The change failed to impact on the end result however, as Walker curled a sumptuous effort around the wall into the top corner to win the game.
Eighth-placed Alvis now host back-to-back home games, first welcoming Fairfield Villa in Saturday’s Presidents Cup semi-final (3pm), followed by Tuesday’s league test against Feckenham, in fourth (7.45pm).
UPTON Town were given that sinking feeling after Coventry Plumbing put five past them in Wednesday’s Division Three meeting.
Five different goalscorers starred for the hosts in the 5-2 drubbing at The Oval, as Connoll Farrell, Kiam Galdins, Kyle Jaynes, Jordan Powell and Oliver Manoochehri filled their boots.
It lifted Kev Kingham’s men up to sixth in the table, ahead of Saturday’s away day at second-placed Inkberrow (3pm).
COVENTRIANS meanwhile, hope to end a four-week break from action at home to Leamington Hibernian (Saturday, 3pm).
The Bennetts Road outfit find themselves eighth at present, but have only completed six fixtures since the beginning of November.
Their last appearance, a 4-2 defeat of Castle Vale Town, was their sixth win this term – while the last meeting with Leamington finished 5-2 in their favour back in March last year.
As far as recent history goes, the indication is that another Coventrians win is on the cards, considering they have won the last five meetings with Hibs.