Wardens get back to winning ways with victory over Coventry Phoenix

By James Smith

14th Feb 2024 | Football

Kenilworth Wardens 2-1 Coventry Phoenix (image supplied)
Kenilworth Wardens 2-1 Coventry Phoenix (image supplied)

Kenilworth Wardens notched their first three points of 2024, with a Dan Twigger brace seeing them beat a quality Coventry Phoenix side after three straight defeats.

Wardens welcomed back Alex Waters and captain Andy Legg as the only two changes from the side which lost to Folly Lane the previous week. 

The game started evenly, with Phoenix having more possession but not troubling Andy Whitehouse in the Wardens goal, but the hosts looking dangerous on the counter attack. 

Wardens first chance saw Twigger unable to keep his shot down after a long ball forward was flicked on by Legg.

The Kenilworth captain then headed over an Eamon Richards cross, before Sol Bloomer had a shot deflected narrowly wide.

At the other end Whitehouse was forced into an excellent one-on-one save, although the linesman's flag was then raised.

It took the hosts 30 minutes to break the deadlock, Twigger turning in an excellent cross from Legg after one touch passing from Bloomer, Adam Hnat and Richards had released Legg down the left.

In response, Phoenix started to pile on the pressure, with Wardens struggling following impact injures to Waters, Richards and James Butler.

The visitors kept on the offencive after the restart but saw their chances limited by the organised back three of Butler, James Brewitt and Ryan Oldham. 

That would only last until the hour mark however, with the Phoenix centre half powering a header home though the legs of Richards on the line.

Wardens then had chances to go back ahead, with Twigger hitting the post from a tight angle on 65 minutes after doing well to regain possession from a long ball forward by Richards.

On 70 minutes wardens made two changes with Charlie Waters and Phil Rudd coming on for the injured Alex and Richards. The two players gave the team much needed energy and Wardens were quickly back in front. 

Oldham intercepted a ball forward, and played to Legg who excellently picked out Twigger who had made a long sprint into the space vacated by the Kenilworth skipper. The forward met the bouncing ball before the defender and headed over the onrushing keeper from 18 yards out.

Phoenix pushed for an equalizer again and came closest where league top scorer Blake Kassar twice had shots from tight angles, pushed wide by Brewitt, however neither hit the target. 

Wardens were effectively down to 10 players when Isaac Bloomer pulled his hamstring with 10 minutes left and no subs remaining. 

With a minute left Phoenix twice hit the ball across the six yard box but on both occasions there was nobody to meet the ball for a tap in. 

"Coventry Phoenix are in my opinion player for player the most talented team in the league. They were really good today which makes our performance even better," player manager Richards said after the game.

"When we beat them away this year it was completely unfair, we didn't deserve a point in that game let alone three. 

"However, today I thought we were excellent. The spirit, workrate, concentration and organizational levels were so high. 

"Our shape off the ball was pretty flawless, and they were a team if you switch off for a second they find the space you should have been in. 

"Thought back three were excellent, especially Brewitt, he managed the back line perfectly. Takes a proper performance to stop Blake Kassar from scoring. 

"Twigger has been brilliant last three games and deserved his goals. And having Legg playing like that means always likely to win. 

"Obviously his two assists were brilliant but what goes unnoticed is the amount of thankless running he did yesterday to allow us to put pressure higher up the pitch, was a proper captains performance. 

"Only real shame is its taken three quarters of the year to get to a place where we have balance, quality and a system which fits - would have been ideal if we had this from the start because I feel like we can beat anyone when we're playing like we did today."


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