Kenilworth Wardens knocked out of cup on penalties by Coventry Rangers
By James Smith
31st Oct 2023 | Football
Wardens boss Eamonn Richards was full of praise for his side as they lost out on penalties in to Midland Football League side Coventry Rangers.
Travelling Kenilworth put on an impressive display in the Telegraph Cup fixture, before being pegged back in the closing stages and ultimately losing on spot kicks.
The opening 20 minutes saw chances for both sides, but the game remained goalless due to poor finishing from Coventry Alliance outfit Wardens and excellent close range saves from their keeper Andy Whitehouse.
On 25 minutes an excellent switch of play from Rangers right to left put them through only for their forward to be pulled down in the box for a clear penalty. The penalty was dispatched confidently to put the hosts ahead.
On 30 minutes Wardens started to control the game, with debutant Sol Bloomer, Ollie Jones and Adam Hnat dictating play.
On 35 minutes Bloomer played Jones down the left hand side, whose inch perfect cross found Hnat only for his excellent shot to be inexplicably saved by the Rangers keeper.
But five minutes later Hnat got the goal his play deserved. A counter attack was played to Buckley who rolled his man, faked to shot but laid to Hnat whose weak shot somehow deceived the keeper at the near post.
After half time Wardens started the marginally better of the two sides and took the lead.
On 55 captain James Brewitt intercepted in the Wardens box and played to Richards who started a passing play involving most of the Wardens players before the ball went to Jones who set up Buckley perfectly to hit into the bottom corner from 18 yards out for his sixth goal of the year.
While Rangers began to press and look for the equalizer, Wardens had opportunities to make it three, the best effort being Brewitt's header which was cleared off the line from a Richards corner.
Rangers continued to be dangerous, especially from set pieces, Wardens being fortunate not to concede on a few occasions, usually down to the reactions of Whitehouse.
However in 78th minute Rangers equalised with a free header from a corner to send the game to penalties.
Rangers keeper was ultimately the the hero, saving two and scoring his own in a 4-2 win.
"Firstly wanted to thank Coventry Rangers for their hospitality and the game itself, was a really enjoyable game of football. They've got a great set up and wish them all the best," Richards said after the game.
"Considering the players we were missing, I thought we were excellent today. Sol and Adam were excellent before they tired and Andy Whitehouse was perfect from start to finish.
"Obviously annoying to concede from a corner whoever changed the personnel today and had a really great technical side, however lost a lot of the height and power, which means a goal conceded from a set piece was almost inevitable.
"When we've lost this year the attitude afterwards has been awful, however today everyone recognizes that we played really well against a really strong team and were unfortunate. Keep playing like today and we'll do well in every game we play."