Hello one and all. After a very encouraging start to United’s league campaign with two away victories and an early break from proceedings last week, United today make the long trip to Allpay Park to take on Westfields FC. With WFC having had a similar start to the season, this game will almost definitely be their sternest test to date. In the same fixture last season United succumbed to a comprehensive 6-1 defeat that I’m sure United’s manager Terry Anderson is hoping his new look and heavily strengthened side will reverse their fortunes today.
Manager Terry Anderson will have a near full strength squad to choose from and with the addition of new signing from Tamworth, striker Aaron Opoku if available for selection.
The referee gets the game underway and both teams are trying to play a nice brand of football. The early moments of the game see both teams keeping the ball on the ground and passing it around briskly and with intent. The first chance of the game falls to WFC when the No9 Chris Ham tries a snap shot from just outside the area that United’s keeper Richard Morris gathers with ease in the 8th minute. United soon respond in the 11th minute after some great build up play that sees United’s Mitchell Piggon bring out a great save from the keeper Keiron Blackburn.
As the game approaches the 20 minute mark, United start to get the better of their opponents with some good penetrative possession that soon brings United more chances. United’s Captain Chris Cox shoots wide from a Lewis Rankin free kick in the 20th minute and Mitchell Piggon did well to dig out a shot that is well saved by the WFC’s keeper Keiron Blackburn in the 25th minute.
With United having a bit of a purple patch at the minute, it’s not long before another chance comes along. United power forward with a long ball out wide to Lewis Rankin. Lewis controls the ball well before setting off towards the area skipping past a couple of defenders on the way before sending a sublime curling shot into the back of the net for a fantastically taken opening goal in the 29th minute.
WFC 0 UNITED 1
That was a class solo effort from Lewis Rankin and gives united a well deserved lead. United go looking for a second immediately with some great slick passing of the ball. WFC are struggling to get the ball off them at the minute and the consistent United pressure pays off again in the 37th minute. Lewis Rankin this time turns provider when he sends in a peach of a cross into the six yard box where you guessed it (Tap in) Mitchell Piggon was lurking to stoop low to head the ball over the line from close range to double his team’s lead.
WFC 0 UNITED 2
WFC seem a little shell shocked and are possibly thinking what are they going to have to do to stop the United onslaught. From a WFC corner United’s Richard Morris has to punch the ball to safety surrounded by a posse of WFC players in the 38th minute. Then in the 40th minute the WFC’s No3 Sam Plane gets himself a yellow card for hacking down Lewis Rankin.
United continue to dominate proceedings and make it count again when the press forward once more in the 44th minute with United’s Joshua O’Grady having two shots at goal superbly saved by the keeper Keiron Blackburn before United’s Craig Reid is on hand to stab the ball over the line from close range for a great first half performance.
WFC 0 UNITED 3
Well the Red & Green army are euphoric after that goal and are surely thinking that it’s going to be their day today. The game resumes and the old adage that the best time to score a goal is straight after your opponents have scored. Well that’s what WFC did when they broke forward on a rare fore ray in the 45th minute. The No7 Craig Jones picked up a loose ball steadied himself before coolly placing his shot wide of the keeper Richard Morris to reduce the arears on the stroke of half time.
WFC 1UNITED 3
The game resumes and soon after the referee blows up for half time.
WFC 1 UNITED 3
The second half gets under way and WFC have made a change by taking off the No2 James Febery and sending on the No15 Richard Greaves.
Whatever the WFC manager said to them at half time, it definitely had a desired effect as they came out all guns blazing looking to get right back into this game. They stepped up a gear and United seemed happy to sit back and soak up the pressure and try and catch them on the break. The first 9 minutes of the half see’s WFC force numerous corners and free kicks that fortunately all fail to bother the United defence at all.
Then in the 56th minute United employed the break tactic with good effect when Joshua O’Grady squared a great ball towards Mitchell Piggon who after seeing his shot go horribly wide, was then flagged for offside. United are soon again under more WFC pressure and United’s Brad Jones earns himself a yellow card for a tackle on the No9 Chris Ham in the 57th minute.
United decide to make a double change when they take off the injured pair of Mitchell Piggon and Brad Jones and send on new signing Aaron Opoku for his debut and Tommy Glasscoe in the 67th minute.
WFC are still having the lion’s share of the ball without troubling the United goal. In the 73rd minute the WFC No15 Richard Greaves gets booked for a tackle on Joshua O’Grady and then in the next minute United’s new boy Aaron Opoku is also shown the yellow card for not surrendering the ball in the 74th minute.
As the game moves into the last 10 minutes, it looks like United have weathered the storm as the WFC threat seems to have subsided and United starting to see more of the ball. The 81st minute sees after some great determined work by Chris Cox, create a good chance for Aaron Opoku who saw his double attempt at goal superbly saved by the WFC keeper Keiron Blackburn.
Soon after both teams make further changes with United taking off Joshua O’Grady and sending on Aaron Wint and WFC taking off No9 Chris Ham & No11 Alex Hainault and sending on No14 Matt Reeve and No16 Carlos Moriera in the 83rd minute.
With the game now in the 89th minute, another booking is served and it’s WFC’s No5 Matt Sysum for his tackle on United’s Aaron Opoku. The resulting free kick sees Chris Cox do well to win an aerial challenge and when the ball fell loose to the ground, Aaron Opoku was there to stab the ball into the net for his first goal for his new club to finally see the points for United surely.
WFC 1 UNITED 4
The game resumes and we are now into added time with United being happy to just run the clock down with the ball in the corners. A bit of pushing and shoving in the corner results with WFC’s No10 Ben Miller and United’s Aaron Wint getting yellow cards for their parts in the proceedings in the 90+4th minutes and shortly after the referee blows up for full time.
WFC 1 UNITED 4
In summing up this game, United put on an awesome first half display that saw then build up a 3-0 lead before conceding a goal on the stroke of half time. They passed the ball about with consummate ease for most of the half and WFC could have no complaints either. WFC are no mugs and if allowed could definitely cause any teams in this league an array of problems but today they could not find an answer to the United onslaught.
The second half saw WFC come out fighting and retained the ball for much longer periods. United seemed happy to soak up the pressure and soak it up they did with the defence standing firm and reduced WFC’s chances on target to only one in the second half despite having most of the second half possession. Once United had weathered the storm they ended up finishing the game strongly and even managed to score again at the death to seal the 3pts. This was a very accomplished all round United performance that if it was not for the heroics of the WFC’s keeper Keiron Blackburn, the score line would definitely have been of a greater margin.
Players worthy of a mention would have to be the WFC keeper Keiron Blackburn for his string of top class saves. For United once again they all played their part in a commanding team performance that will hopefully set them up nicely for the visit of Worcester City on Bank holiday Monday. Kyle Barnett and Jamie Coleman stood up well throughout and dealt with all that was sent their way. Lewis Rankin had another great game with another assist and a fantastic solo effort of a goal to continue his fine vein of form. Mitchell Piggon once again put himself about winning many high balls and flick on’s before chalking up another goal for himself too. Chris Cox also put in another no-nonsense shift and was just pipped at the post for my man of the match by Gift Mussa. Gift along with Chris stifled out almost every WFC threat between them and broke down their opponents resolve. Gift seems to have the ability to stick to a player and stay with him until he has dispossessed him. He covered every blade of grass and thoroughly deserves his award so well played Gift Mussa.
I must mention the fantastic travelling Red & Green army who made the long journey to cheer their team on to an emphatic victory and important 3pts and I’m sure the players and staff fully appreciate your efforts. PUCU
Match stats (United) (WFC)
On target (12) (4)
Off target (9) (2)
Corners (2) (4)
Free kicks (12) (16)
Yellow cards (3) (4)
Red cards (0) (0)
Offside (3) (2)