I have seen Triumph play twice before, in the 2019 Coventry Telegraph Final against Copsewood (Copse No Robbers)and a pre-season friendly at Bishops Itchington in August 2020 (Big Skies). Unfortunately for Athletic, both games ended in defeat.
Triumph Athletic play their home games at The Triumph Sports Ground, Tanners Lane on the Western extremities of Coventry. As well as the main pitch there is also another two full size pitches for football or rugby, junior football pitches, a cricket square and training nets for the cricket team. There is a large car park and a good sized clubhouse building that houses the players and officials areas. Looking form the clubhouse block, the main pitch is directly ahead. On the right-hand side there are two dugouts backed by a number of advertising hoardings. The left-hand side opens out onto the cricket square and also has a small cricket pavilion backing onto the football pitch. There are no covered spectator areas. The pitch itself slopes slightly away from the clubhouse but looked to be pretty flat. All in all, it is a good setup for this level.
Although these two teams both play in the same division, this game was actually a Stan Oulds Cup match. The cup is named after the former President of the Coventry Alliance League, Stan Oulds, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 86. Dunlop came into this game still fighting on three fronts, not only do they have the Stan Oulds Cup, they are also in the Final of the Coventry Telegraph Cup, and only need a point in their final league game, coincidentally also at Triumph Athletic, to clinch the title. Triumph started the day sitting in 7th place in the Alliance Premier, relatively clear of the drop zone. The sides have met once before this season, on the opening day. Two goals from Harry Jackman gave Dunlop a 2-1 victory. Isaak Francis replied for Athletic.
With a couple of big games coming up, I was interested to see how Dunlop would approach this game. However, with 10 of the 11 who started in Saturday's huge clash with Copsewood, on the field from the first minute, it was clear to see that they were going all out for a win again this evening. The opening encounters were relatively even but after around ten minutes the Dunlop cogs seemed to slot into place and they began to up their game. The first big chance of the game came on 13 minutes for Dunlop's Jarro Scott. His effort went narrowly wide, the start of what was going to be a bit of theme for the striker this evening. Two minutes later, with the visitors now well in the ascendancy, top scorer Konnor Frankum was bundled over in the box. There were appeals from Dunlop but the referee was having none of it. To be fair, I have seen them given but it would have been quite a harsh one on the defender. Two more minutes passed before Scott, who was starting to be a real threat to Athletic, drove down the left. He got to the by-line and pulled back for Frankum who slid his effort wide of the far post when he probably should have done better.
Dunlop had now cranked up the pressure so much that it seemed just a matter of time before they broke the Triumph resistance. On 21 minutes, they did finally breakthrough when the unfortunate Rob McCrane misjudged a back pass, leaving it too short and allowing Konnor Frankum to nip in and beat Barlow. 0-1
Before Athletic had time to recover from going a goal down they found themselves two behind with only 25 minutes on the clock. Dunlop were awarded a free-kick about 25 yards out but way out on the left flank. There looked little danger as Frankum stepped up to take it but his vicious curling effort beat everyone to go in off the underside of the bar at the far post. Probably some wind assistance to help it along, but a magnificent strike nevertheless. 0-2. The goal took what was left out of the Athletic sails and they continually found themselves on the back foot. They made occasional raids into the Dunlop half with Dom Lambert being a more than willing runner, but they never rally threatened Jack Chatland's goal. In fact it was Dunlop, and Scott in particular, who continued to look the more likely to score again. On 35 minutes Scott weaved his way into the home penalty area before planting his shot high over Barlow's bar. Then, four minutes later, Frankum put in a superb cross that was met on the run by Scott but his effort crashed against the bar and rebounded to safety. The Dunlop striker was continually getting into the right position but just couldn't find the net. Then, with everyone getting ready for half-time, Scott produced another moment of magic, backheeling a pass perfectly into the path of Callum Davies who took a touch before firing low and hard past Barlow. 0-3.
HT Triumph Athletic 0 Dunlop 3. It took Dunlop a little while to get up to full speed but when they did, they showed us why they only need a point to clinch the title. Their movement, pace, skill and finishing power has been too much for Athletic who, to be fair, have not played badly themselves.
Immediately it was apparent that Triumph were keen to make a fist of the second period. They seemed a little sharper and quicker to the ball than they had been in the first half. However, it was Dunlop who conjured up the first chance of the second period, setting Frankum free to shoot narrowly wide on the run. Almost, but not quite, his hat-trick. If the visitor's expected to go on from there and fill their boots, they were mistaken. Triumph, whilst still not really creating any clear cut chances, were certainly seeing a lot more of the ball and Dunlop were forced to concentrate on defensive duties for a while.
It took until the 69th minute before Dunlop created another serious opening. Callum Davies coming close to doubling his account when a snapshot came back off Barlow's left-hand post. A minute later though Scott was at it again. Another superb run ended with him sliding an inch perfect ball across the six-yard box for Seb Sam to apply the simplest finish. 0-4.
A few minutes later Barlow had to be at his very best as Dunlop substitute Habib Salim tried his luck from close range. However, the home stopper could not do anything on 88 minutes when Frankum finally managed to get his hat-trick. 0-5
There was still just enough time for Dunlop to be awarded a last minute penalty, with no complaints from the home side. Habib was given the responsibility and gladly stepped up to make it 0-6. There was time for a kick-off but very little else before referee Philip Gibbins called and end to the game.
FT Triumph Athletic 0 Dunlop 6. The score line suggests a bit of a massacre and, to be fair, Dunlop were the better team, However, as a neutral, I didn't think Triumph played badly, they were just beaten by a very good team and had no answer for the visitor's forward line. Jarro Scott and Konnor Frankum were, on the night, practically unplayable. Combine that with the ability of the visitor's midfield to pick the right passes and it was always going to be extremely difficult for Triumph.
Triumph Athletic: Barlow, E.Haymes, Prokopiov, Cooper, Flavell, McCrane, C.Haymes, T.Atkins, Lambert, Comasky, O.Gorman. Subs: J.Atkins, Tata, R.Atkins, K.Gorman
Dunlop: Chatland, Bawden, Ellis, Vim, Davies, Welland, Osbourne, Blyth, Sam, Scott, Frankum. Subs: Watts, Salim, Williams
Ground Number: 313