Holders Kenilworth Wardens dumped out of Bedworth Nursing Cup by Bulkington
By James Smith
14th Feb 2023 | Football
Kenilworth Wardens' dreams of defending their Bedworth Nursing Cup crown were ended by Bulkington as they crashed out at the semi-final stage.
Wardens beat RS Sports in last year's final at the Bedworth Oval, but goals for Daniel Monger and Ross Thacker ensured there would be no repeated cup success this season.
Bulkington started on the front foot, with the hosts struggling under their intense pressing and aggression.
And it took just 15 minutes for the visitors to take the lead when a free kick 20 yards out was passed wide with the Monger hitting the bottom corner with a well aimed shot.
Bulkington continued to dominate and nearly went two ahead 10 minutes later.
A routine long ball was left by the Wardens defense as it looked like it would go out for a goal kick. But it was kept in and the cross was left for a tap in from a yard out, only for James Butler to make a brilliant sliding tackle on the line to stop a certain goal.
Wardens had one half chance before the break, when a good passing move found Danny Bartle, whose shot from 20 yards out missed the post by inches.
After restart Kenilworth had a clear opportunity to equalize.
A long ball from Luca Valle found Dan Twigger in behind, whose shot from a tight angle was saved. Andy Legg followed in but was pushed in the back before he could tap in, however the referee inexplicably did not give a penalty.
Despite the chance, Bulkington continued to be the better side and got their reward on 55 minutes when George Shelton brought down the opposing striker in the box.
Thacker dispatched the kick from the spot to put the visitors two to the good.
Wardens had one last chance to pull one back five minutes from time, when George Ferridge burst through one-on-one with the keeper, before squaring to an open Eamonn Richards, but his pass was played just behind the player-manager and cleared for a corner.
"Bulkington were the better side for 90 minutes and fully deserved the win. We couldn't deal with their press of intensity at any point today," Richards said after the game.
"Missing Guy and Castaway was a blow, but ultimately we looked like a side who were carrying players coming back from injury and weren't match fit.
"There was no connection or pattern of us passing the ball into the final third and our build up play was sloppy at best.
"It's a set back, but we'll work on our play and improve for the league next week."