Loughborough University produced a resolute defensive display to subdue league leaders Coleshill and collect a 1-1 draw in the Total Motion Midland Football League Premier Division. The Scholars took the lead just before half time and then were reduced to 10 men with half an hour to go before finally conceding in the last ten minutes before nearly grabbing a winner in added time.
The first 15 minutes were incredibly even with neither side carving out any clear-cut chances, the first chance fell to Coleshill however as a cross found its way to Jordan Nadat inside the penalty area but his goal bound shot was superbly cleared off the line by Joel Bonner. The game was a very feisty one with both sides getting really stuck in and just after this chance Mitchell Welch and Reece Leek went into the book after some handbags between the two sides. Following this Coleshill kept pressing and looked to make the most of the chances they were creating. A mistake from Jacob Croud allowed Leek to break through on goal but he was expertly denied by James Stallan who produced a good save to deny the striker. Then on the half hour mark a delicate through ball by Danny Tymon found Nadat in space but again he was denied by Stallan who managed to get his fingertips on his header and tip it round the post. Despite Coleshill looking the more creative, Loughborough were always a threat and Joe Boachie sliced over before Paul Braithwaite shot straight at Paul Hathaway from distance. Just before half time the breakthrough came and it was the home side that got it, a good ball over the top found Alex Read in behind and he did well to make his way into the box and hold it up as he waited for reinforcements, and when they came he found the perfect pass back to Toby Aromolaran who found the top corner much to the delight of the crowd. Loughborough went into half time knowing they would have to be at their best to keep Coleshill out and get anything out of the game.
After a half time sub, Coleshill looked to take the game even more to the Scholars as they went in search of the equaliser. This put Loughborough under pressure from the off and a Leek cross found the head of Joe Halsall who headed over. Shortly after that disaster for the home side as Mitchell Welch saw red for a second yellow card for bringing down the Coleshill winger. This red card brought about a couple of substitutions from coach Alex Ackerley as he looked to make his side defensively more resolute. This worked as Coleshill were limited to a lot of half chances but they struggled to create anything of note, Halsall headed wide again twice before Ryan Edmunds had a shot that was deflected round the post. The next half chance fell to sub Dean Rathbone for Coleshill as he volleyed straight at Stallan.
With 8 minutes to go the Loughborough resistance was finally broken however, Nadat managed to get a toe on a speculative long shot from Edmunds and wrong foot Stallan to give the visitors a lifeline. In the frantic last 10 minutes that ensued after the goal both sides went for the winner and it was the 10-man home side that come closest. Boachie did well to hold up the ball before shooting over, Read then had a good chance as he was through on goal but forced a good save out of Hathaway. The best chance however came for the Scholars deep into added time, Read was played through and showed good footwork to beat a couple of men and cross the ball to Boachie and his shot was somehow cleared off the line by Rob Evans with Hathaway stranded, then in the scramble in the box Boachie also managed to hit the cross bar with another great opportunity.
On reflection, it was an excellent performance from the Scholars to get a point against the side that were top of the league going into the game. Even more impressive was their defensive resilience after playing the last half an hour with 10 men and the fact they could have won it shows they have the potential to beat any team in the league on their day. They will look to build on this performance and make the most of the run of home fixtures as they host Heanor Town, Haughmond and Stourport Swifts in their next 3 league games on the 25th November, 2nd December and 9th December respectively.
Loughborough: 1. Stallan, 2. Davis, 3. Welch, 4. Braithwaite (C), 5. Bonner, 6. Croud, 7. Dinsmore (Crookes), 8. Moran (Taylor). 9. Boachie, 10. Read, 11. Aromolaran (Bridge).
Subs not used: 13, King, 15. Hanson.