Wardens bounce back to winning ways at Jet Blades
By James Smith
18th Sep 2023 | Football
Kenilworth Wardens bounced back to winning ways with an excellent win on the road at Jet Blades.
Goals from James Proctor, Andy Legg and Dave Buckley wrapped up the three points for the visitors to keep them at the top of the Coventry Alliance premier table.
Both sides starting well in the opening 20 minutes, keeping the ball well and creating chances.
Guy Pearson twice came close to opening the scoring for Wardens while Andy Whitehouse was forced into two excellent saves at the other end, the pick being an excellent shot from a powerful freekick from Blades captain Nike Thomas.
Wardens eventually took the lead on 20 minutes. After patient passing build up, Eamonn Richards played a long pass into the feet of Buckley, who exchanged passes with Pearson before cutting back to Pearson on the edge of the box. The Kenilworth forward looked to shoot but instead unselfishly crossed to the back post where Proctor produced a brilliant stretched finish from the tightest of angles for his first goal in a Wardens shirt.
Ten minutes later Wardens added to their lead. Phil Rudd won possession back in midfield, with the ball eventually moving out to Josh Peck down the right to cross for Legg to volley powerfully home - the Blades keeper unable to keep out the captain's eighth goal of the campaign.
Having gone two behind, Blades changed their style and system at half time and it immediately paid off, with them scoring a well worked goal two minutes into the second half through Kofi Staples.
Wardens struggled for the next 15 minutes with the hosts piling on pressure and also managing to catch Kenilworth offside eight times in that period.
But the visitors started to recover and move the ball around freely. They should have added to their lead with Legg twice coming close to scoring and Buckley's cross expertly defended denying Legg an open goal.
Then on 70 minutes they go their reward. The excellent Ryan Oldham won the ball back on the half way line, before Richards played to Legg who laid it to Proctor. Proctor played an inch perfect ball over the top to Buckley who surprised everyone with his skill in kicking the ball onto his left leg whilst one on one, stunning the keeper with the ball trickling over the line for his fourth of the year.
Blades continued to try and get back into the game with Whitehouse making several routine saves. The hosts then hit the post from range with five minutes remaining but Wardens held on for the three points.
"Jet blades are a good team, have a great set up and really lovely back room staff. Sure they'll have a great year and it was a hard fought win," player-manager Richards said after the game.
"We have 13 players out for today, missing Jamie Whitehouse (assistant manager) and had three or four players playing through illness so I think there were excuses ready if we didn't perform.
"However that was by far the best performance of the season.
"With Phil coming back in we looked more balanced as a team and played the type of football we've been known to play.
"Playing that style got the best out of the front three and Proctor in midfield too had his best game of the year and was excellent.
"Helped that our centre halves were excellent, shame Alex Bradley is going back to university but special mention to Ryan Oldham for his past two performances.
"He was perfect today and with his attitude and willingness to improve he's only going to get better and better and more key to us as the season goes on."