Milton Keynes Irish’s first game of the new season and maiden appearance in the United Counties Premier Division South ended in a 1-0 defeat at home to Coventry United.
A bright start from the home side should’ve resulted in the opening goal after Gardner’s drilled cross from the right found Boland on the penalty spot. The midfielders low effort was heading for the bottom left corner until Coventry United’s keeper pushed it away well.
Irish sustained a good period of pressure following the early chance and Coventry were lucky keep the scores level after a succession of corners put the goalkeeper under pressure, including one from Smyth that bounced off the crossbar.
The opening half hour of the game was short of chances and efforts on goal but had been controlled well by MK Irish, who looked particularly dominant in midfield with new signing Ryan Smith looking impressive on debut.
Owusu Kyeremateng’s first test in the Irish goal came five minutes before half time, after the ball broke nicely for Coventry United’s front man Torey Herbert on the edge of the area. His effort however was tame and was collected easily by the keeper.
Right on the stroke of half time and comfortably against the run of play, the deadlock was broken as visitors Coventry United took the lead.
A breakaway down the left saw United’s Samir Muzzafar with space to drive at the Irish defence, before gliding past two defenders and finding himself through on goal. A deft chipped attempt was saved by Kyeremateng, but first to the rebound was Riley Keasey who touched home into an empty net from close range.
The start of the second half brought more of the same, good spells of pressure from MK Irish with little creation and end product.
Coventry United thought they had doubled their lead within ten minutes of the restart as Herbert rounded the keeper and scored, before wheeling away to celebrate and seeing the linesman’s flag raised for offside.
Irish’s best chance of the second half came through a combination of two substitutes, as a loose ball in the final third was headed on by Mo to Daniel Griffiths, who’s effort was deflected behind for a corner.
In added time at the end of the 90 minutes, Kyeremateng was called into action and made a good save to keep his side in with a fighting chance to grab a late equaliser.
That equaliser never came with Coventry United’s defence standing strong, as the visitors left Milton Keynes with all three points.