Wardens continue perfect start to season with victory over Copsewood
By James Smith
29th Aug 2023 | Football
Three penalties for Copsweood was not enough for them to avoid defeat to Kenilworth Wardens who extended their perfect start to the season.
Copsewood - who completed the double over Wardens last year and beat them on penalties in the Stan Oulds Cup - started the game the better side, keeping possession albeit mostly in the middle of the pitch.
On 25 minutes Copsewood's Luiz Hysa ran into the box and fell close to Matt Wright and the referee adjudged it to be a penalty. Hysa stepped up for the penalty but missed the target.
Soon after Eamonn Richards was lucky to only receive a yellow for a foul on Hysa which then led to an spell of fouls from both sides.
Wardens had chances to take the lead, with Dan Twigger unable to get the ball under control for a free shot at the back post, Dave Buckley beating two players and the keeper making a brilliant save and Richards' close range shot blocked close to the line.
Following the goalless first half, Wardens improved after the break, with Buckley and Andy Legg missing the target with good chances.
On 60 minutes a Copsewood substitute beat James Butler in the box and Butler's slide tackle was adjudged to catch the Copsewood player ending in the second penalty of the game. This time Finlay McDermott took the penalty which was nearly saved by keeper Alex Brown - the ball going slightly under his body.
But Wardens were not behind for long, as on 70 minutes a free kick from James Proctor was met by Buckley who flicked the ball goal bound hitting the crossbar, the follow up was headed powerfully by Legg whose header was expertly saved, but was put straight into the path of Butler who scored his first wardens goal for 1,057 days.
On 75 minutes a long throw in from Stan Moss was turned in by veteran centre back James Brewitt - his his first wardens goal for 645 days.
However the drama in the game was all left for the last nine minutes. Copsewood scored a well worked goal which was ruled out for offside. In the melee following this a Wardens player was sent off.
In the 95th minute Wardens won a free kick in their own box. The ball was passed to Brown to take the free kick, when Brown put his hand on the ball to take the freekick the referee blew his whistle for an indirect freekick.
Copsewood took the freekick quickly and it was blocked twice by Brewitt before going out for a corner, but the referee pulled it back for a retake.
The retaken effort was heroically blocked by three wardens players, but the referee gave Copsewood their third penalty of the day for an unexplained foul by captain Legg.
With the chance to earn a deserved point for Copsewood, the strong penalty was expertly saved by Brown, Butler making the vital interception on the follow up. The referee immediately blew the whistle which led to disagreements on the pitch from players from both teams.
'We really weren't at it today and when you win 2-1 and the opposition have been given three penalties you know you've been lucky," player-manager Richards said after the game.
"Copsewood have a good young side and set up and I'm sure they'll do well this year.
"Saying that, our defence were excellent today, were organized and in shape the entire game. Helps when two of them score as well! Alex Brown is a brilliant keeper and lucky that he stepped in with Andy Whitehouse's absence.
"Substitutes again made a big difference and for the first time in years I feel we have a proper team and squad that can compete with anyone.
"Me and Jamie have a lot of work to do on the training ground to make us as good as we can be. But top of the league and nine points from three games in eight days is excellent."