Derby Men’s 1st XI 1-0 Coventry Men’s 1st XI: Second-half Boula strike enough to secure passage to the next round
Words by Sam Allen.
Derby Men’s 1st XI progressed to the next round of the BUCS Trophy with a 1-0 victory against Coventry Men’s 1st XI thanks to Jiri Boula’s second-half winner.
On a cold evening at the 3G pitch at Kedleston Road, Derby overcame Coventry for the second time this season in a tightly contested game of football.
Boula, who wore the captain’s armband for a good portion of the game following Jack Smith’s injury, grabbed the only goal of the game, poking home Elijah Laka’s low cross midway through the second period.
Speaking about his matchwinner post-match, he said: “It was a bit of a lucky one to be fair.” Boula also spoke about taking on the responsibility of captaincy during the game: “I didn’t choose it, but I tried to do well for the team regardless.”
It was the hosts who started the game better as the opposing goalkeeper Muhammed Otuyo was forced into action early on to stop Derby striker Tadeas Madej from opening the scoring. He was denied again minutes later but this time by the post as his curling strike struck the upright and bounced to safety.
Theo Akinyemi had the pick of the chances for the visitors in the first half as his effort, which resulted from a swift Coventry counter-attack, was deflected just over as Tom Skupien got back to block the shot.
In a second half that was devoid of any clear chances, Boula swung the game in his side’s favour as he managed to be in the right place at the perfect time to convert Laka’s brilliant cross.
The visitors manufactured a great opportunity to equalise with just ten minutes left in the game but Derby goalkeeper Ondrej Jacko-Lysak made a superb fingertip save to stop Seb Hartwell’s left-footed strike finding the top corner.
That heroic moment spurred on the hosts as they saw out the game from that point on with relative ease. It was certainly an extremely professional performance from the Derby 1st team, especially having lost their captain to injury during the first half.
With that win, John McGrath’s side move on to the next round of the BUCS Trophy, and the manager was certainly pleased with the result. He said: “[I’m] delighted, any football game I’m involved in I want to win.”
“We’ve got a great squad […] we’ve got good players all over the park and in the squad now,” continued the delighted McGrath. That result means his side have maintained their unbeaten start to the season in both the league and cup.