UNITED picked up a point on their travels in a game that was short on quality and suffered from a series of delays.
Manager Chris Hargreaves tempted a change of plan during the week and duly delivered a new formation that meant personnel changes. Ben Harding, Krystian Pearce, Jordan Chapell, and Toby Ajala made way for Angus MacDonald, Ollivier Gueguen, Levi Ives, and John Campbell. United lined up with three at the back and a four/five man midfield with Louis Briscoe supporting Ryan Bowman and John Campbell up front.
Chances were few and far between in a game that summed up both team’s positions in the league. Nuneaton went into the game in deep relegation trouble. United, struggling to put together player form and team performances.
The game was only minutes old when a broken corner flag disturbed the early rhythm of the game. It took a confusingly long time for the flag to be replaced and hampered both teams when they would have been looking for pace and rhythm in the opening moments of the game.
It was Nuneaton that then forced the first chance of the game when Rob Ogleby broke free only for the alert Martin Rice to pull off an impressive save. John Campbell worked a similar opportunity only to strike the ball wide of the far post.
Chances were difficult to come by but United created the best of them. Aaron Downes was unlucky not to score, meeting a Luke Young corner but not getting enough power on his header to test Crocombe.
It was then time for another delay in the game. Rob Ogleby had been struck by a Luke Young free kick and received medical attention on the pitch before having to leave the game.
Aaron Dawson, having been given more freedom to get forward in this new system, delivered a cross that only just missed John Campbell in the box.
Both teams had moments where they could have created more but a difficult pitch hampered two teams short on confidence.
United pushed forward in the last few minutes of the first half and forced two chances in quick succession.
Campbell took on Nuneaton ‘keeper for the first. He waited for Crocombe to blink but the ‘keeper stood up well and smothered the chance.
Next, Courtney Richards struck a volley from outside the area to force Crocombe to tip the ball over the bar.
In the second half, both teams struggled to raise the bar.
The next incident was unfortunately an injury for Angus MacDonald which meant Krystian Pearce entering the game to replace his teammate. The young defender was taken to hospital and it remains to be seen how serious the injury is.
A second long delay hampered the game even further and with the pitch deteriorating the game looked destined to remain goal-less.
United applied plenty of pressure to Nuneaton’s penalty box but suffered from a lack of quality and conviction in parts. A chance apiece was all that was left in the game and neither side capitalized.
Firstly, Toby Ajala dallied too long on the ball when pulling the trigger earlier could have put Crocombe in all sorts of trouble.
Nuneaton should have done better when a stray bobble deceived United ‘keeper Martin Rice after receiving a back pass from Krystian Pearce. Nuneaton forward George Maris nearly made sure that all three points remained in Warwickshire but for a great goal-saving scramble by Ollivier Gueguen.
United now look forward to Tuesday’s Vanarama Conference fixture at the Launa Windows Stadum.
Nuneaton: (4-4-2) 1 Crocombe; 3 Franklin; 5 Dean; 6 Walker; 7 Armson; 8 Ogleby [28 Sodje 33’]; 11 Streete; 12 Maris; 18 Brown; 20 Wheeler Substitutes (not used): 4 Cowan; 17 Smith; 19 Wren; 21 Quinn
United: (3-4-3) 1 Rice; 4 Downes; 7 Briscoe [10 Ajala 53’]; 8 Young (c); 9 Bowman; 16 Richards; 21 MacDonald [5 Pearce 61’]; 25 Ives; 26 Gueguen; 29 Dawson; 32 Campbell [20 Reid 92’]. Substitutes (not used): Harding, Chapell
Referee: Richard Martin