Ball bounces Arlesey out in first round

Coventry City 3 Arlesey Town 0

THE RICOH ARENA

The inhabitants of Arlesey reckon they live in the longest village in Britain and that will remain its rather peculiar claim to fame after their footballers failed to deliver an FA Cup upset against Coventry City.

Admittedly this team is not the Coventry that fell victim to one of the great Cup giantkilling feats when, as a top-flight side and Wembley winners only 20 months earlier, they lost to non-league Sutton United in the third round in 1989. Today's City, by contrast, sit 21st in League One but it was still a big day for their visitors from the Evo-Stick Southern League Premier Division, four tiers below – "the biggest game in the club's history" in the words of their player-manager Zema Abbey.

The Bedfordshire team brought four coachloads of travelling fans – considerably more than the 100 who had watched their last fixture – but they saw their team's first-ever encounter with league opponents end in a 3-0 defeat.

All the same, for Abbey, once a striker at Norwich City who combines his role with running a clothes shop in Luton, there was pride in the performance of his part-timers. "We showed bravery as a side, we showed that step-three football isn't a bad level," said Abbey, a late substitute. "Their finishing was the difference between the sides. We had a number of openings but didn't make the keeper make a save."

The closest Arlesey came was early on when Chris Marsh lifted a shot on to the roof of the net with goalkeeper Joe Murphy beaten. At that stage there were boos echoing around the Ricoh Arena as home passes went astray but Coventry stirred and Calum Ball gave them a 28th-minute lead after being put through by Franck Moussa.

Marsh went close again early in the second half but Coventry ensured there would be no surprise when marauding full-back Cyrus Christie cut in from the right and sent a low left-foot shot past Nathan Abbey – brother of the manager, his assistant coach and still a decent keeper on this showing. With the game now wide open, Jamie Reckford and Moussa each hit the bar before Steve Jennings bundled in a late third.

"Sorry to disappoint you," quipped Coventry manager Mark Robins afterwards. He knows all about this competition having won it with Manchester United in 1990 and it was hard to disagree with his verdict: "It wasn't so handsome to watch in the first half, [but] better in the second."

Coventry City (4-4-1-1): Murphy; Christie, Clarke, Edjenguele, Reckord (Willis, 72); Baker, Moussa, Jennings, Fleck; McSheffrey (McDonald, 55); Ball (O'Donovan, 78).

Arlesey Town (4-4-2): Abbey; Thurlbourne, Frater, Blackett, Davis (Patrick, 87); Goss, Hatch, Farrell (Abbey, 78), Marsh (Prosper, 55); Roberts, Dillon.

Referee Kevin Wright.

Man of the match Christie (Coventry).

Match rating 5/10.

Attendance 6,594.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory