We have lift off …………

Steve Brown

Another shot at redemption arrived on a crisp Monday evening with United having another crack at breaking their duck for the Season with a game against Sandringham City.

The first injury of the evening occurred when Gulec tweaked a hammy lifting the freshly washed kit out of his car – possibly due to the additional weight with the shirts still soaking wet – just what we needed on a cold midwinter evening.

It also saw the return of Attwood to the middle of the defence which prompted the local residents to scurry around gathering signatures for the noise abatement order which will no doubt be issued shortly.

So, the United team took to the field with McCulloch in goal, Gough, Rathner, Attwood & Coard in the back 4, Marcus, Harrison, Catela & Lamb in midfield with Boyte & Brown adding some Smart Power up front. The bench had Whan, Sims & White who turned up to volunteer his services at the last minute.

The first 15 minutes saw Sandringham apply all the pressure but fortunately for United their finishing was woeful and we were able to weather the storm unscathed. As the game progressed we started to build some domination in the middle of the park and this was enhanced when White entered the fray adding an additional degree of movement to the United midfield.

Towards the end of the half United were spending more time in the forward third but without really troubling their keeper and so a tight half-finished scoreless – which was the first time this season that we had accomplished a clean sheet at half-time.

The positive half time talk centred on the opportunity to record our first win and the 2nd half saw this positivity translating into our play on the park with United controlling possession and starting to look more dangerous in attack and forcing a series of corners. One of those was floated in superbly over the keepers head right on the goal line and would have been a direct goal but Catela laid claim as the ball brushed his cheek and nose on its way into the back of the net for the opening goal.

This goal really dented our opponents spirits and shortly afterwards White sent through a defence splitting pass which was latched onto by Boyte as he outran his defender before coolly slotting the ball past the advancing keeper to make the score 2-0.

However, rather than going on to really ram home our advantage, United seemed to drop back into our shells and started giving more time and space to the Sandringham midfield who started to push further forward in search of a lifeline. Unfortunately a break down the Sandy right saw a cross into the middle of the penalty area and an  unmarked sandy player picked his spot with a well-controlled downward header to make the score 2-1 and to start the nerves jangling all the way through the United team.

More Sandringham pressure ensued in the final 15 minutes as they pressed for an equaliser and only a miraculous stop from McCulloch as he touched a point blank shot onto the crossbar and then watched the rebound being fortunately poked the wrong side of the post prevented an equaliser from being scored.

So, United held on for their 1st victory of the season and it was a much relieved group who enjoyed a few beers after the game courtesy of Ismail who put some $$$ behind the bar after winning the $5000 1st prize in the Monster Raffle.

MMM Memorable moment goes to John McCulloch for his point blank tip onto the crossbar which kept us ahead in the dying minutes
MMM Muppet moment goes to Ismail Gulec for presenting us with damp strips on a chilly night although he did make up for it with his generosity after the game
BMW BoP A big shout out to Graham Attwood who gave plenty of big shouts during the game and helped keep the defence in shape throughout.


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