Nuneaton Town 0 Birmingham City 3
Tuesday 14th July, 2015;
Match report courtesy of Nuneaton News;
Nuneaton Town boss Kevin Wilson said before this game that he wanted to learn three things from his team in what was their second pre-season outing.
It is safe to say he will have done in an entertaining friendly at Liberty Way.
Despite the 3-0 scoreline, this was a first team squad from Birmingham after-all, Nuneaton managed to hold their own for large parts, and will have left their new boss feeling satisfied.
He will have seen a team try to keep playing the way he wants them to – against Championship opposition – even if it was not quite working all of the time.
He will have seen players playing out of position, and looking comfortable, no doubt giving him options further down the line.
Lastly, he will have seen that there is room to improve in forward situations at least, but that was always going to be the hardest lesson to learn this summer.
Nuneaton never looked like beating Birmingham in the encounter, truth be told, but they looked their equal for large parts, a positive sign with August 8th in mind.
They certainly started out playing as equals as both teams had made solid, if not spectacular, starts with plenty of possession football being played.
That led to a couple of half chances from both teams, a hastily rushed shot from Lee Novak inside the box, an effort from distance from Marlon Harewood that skimmed just wide at the other end, but nothing clear cut to make note of.
That was until the 25th minute when the Championship side took the lead with a scrappy goal to say the least.
A corner from the right hand side was not cleared by the Boro back line – despite plenty of chances to do so – and it allowed Novak the chance to tap it home from just inside the six-yard box.
Birmingham upped the ante a little after the goal with Shawn Rowley being called into action twice in quick succession to keep the lead at just one.
The increased pace did not last for long, though, as both teams settled back into their passing routines until the half time break.
Those players were all given a rest after the half-time break as both teams opted to completely change their starting XIs for the second half – a fact that seemed to work in Nuneaton's favour initially.
They saw Jack Dyer go close with a free-kick on the edge of the box and Nathan Hicks only narrowly miss out on a deflected through ball, it was somewhat against the run of play then when the visitors doubled their lead in the 70th minute.
Once again it came from a set-piece as David Cotterill was the player afforded the chance this time, the Blues winger tapped home from close range to make a static defence pay.
Boro boss Kevin Wilson would have been disappointed to see his side concede a second set-piece goal like that, but there was nothing his side could have done to stop 2-0 from becoming 3-0 two minutes later.
The Boro defence was left helpless as David Davis scored a wonder goal, curling home a speculative effort from 20-yards that left Elliot Taylor with no chance.
It was to be the last real talking point of an entertaining match, one that will have left Wilson with more to smile about than the scoreline will have suggested.
NUNEATON TOWN (FIRST HALF): Rowley, Clifton, Lane, Byrne, Maguire, Pepe, Canavan, Keane, Harewood, Williams, Reid.
(SECOND HALF) Taylor, Smith, Keane, Grocott, King (Duffy 60), Kelly, Hicks, Delaney, Repstad, Dyer, Hoban.
SUBS NOT USED: Bobes-Gilroy, Dawes, Opoku, Baker-Richardson, Grier.
BIRMINGHAM (FIRST HALF): Kuszczak, Caddis, Spector, Harding, Grounds, Gleeson, Brown, Arthur, Novak, Gray, Thomas.
(SECOND HALF) Legdinzs, Eardley, Morrison, Robinson, Hancox, Davis, Griffiths, Cotterill, Shinnie, Maghoma, Donaldson.
SUBS NOT USED: Townsend, Cooper, Bernard, O'Neill, Solomon-Otabor