Couldn’t Score in a Brothel…….
Steve BrownRound 12 and a second match within 3 weeks against Regent with United intent on avenging the heavy defeat in Round 9. United lined up with McCulloch, Machin, Catela, Gough, Gulec, Whan, Boyte, Moore, Lamb, Valencia, Singh and the Bench – Attwood, Coard, Hassan, Kearney Early entertainment for the sparse crowd from Whan on the right wing dancing around the ball and eventually crossing into the box. From there the action flowed to the other end with Gough and Catela combining in clearing the danger and this was followed by a long range shot from outside the box comfortably held by McCulloch. A quick break through the middle by Lamb ended prematurely with him attempting one step-over too many and the chance to threaten the goal was extinguished. Another lightning break down Regent’s right culminated in an inch perfect cross to an unmarked striker who really should have opened the scoring but instead powered his header over the bar. Valencia showed some excellent pace and ran down the left touchline just keeping the ball in play and then going on to the bye line but his cross into the box was cleared without United being able to threaten. The game was progressing at a cracking pace and there was no shortage of advice for the United team from the 10 Gareth Southgate’s in and around the bench and the next action saw Gulec and Boyte attempting a break on the left but it was snuffed out and the ball was played back to the keeper. And then the game was turned on its head with a carbon copy of an earlier Regent move which saw no mistakes this time as the cross from the right was met with a downward header duly buried in the net for the first goal of the night. Coard came on for Moore but Regent continued to press and a defence splitting pass was just too strong with McCulloch relieved to flop onto the ball. Coard lost possession on edge of box which saw Regent lay off to left edge of box but shot was again well held by keeper McCulloch. Machin then man handled his opponent to the ground with the resulting free kick 30 m out again grabbed by McCulloch. More attacking involving Lamb, Gulec and Gough saw Boyte burst into the box and hit the bye line but his cross was gathered by keeper. Kearney came on for Whan and another goalbound effort from Regent saw some juggling by McCulloch before finally holding it. A good chase back by Boyte was required to break up the next Regent attack and when ball went up to the other end Boyte popped up on the edge of the box but his shot was charged down and this was followed by Coard and Singh trying to probe down the right hand channel. Another save from McCulloch was nearly undone when his throw out went straight to an unmarked Regent player but the keeper made amends by tipping the goalbound shot round the post, much to everyone’s relief and then another Regent break from a defence splitting throughball came to nought as their player pulled a hammy and was forced off the pitch. As the half drew to a close, Moore played through the middle to Valencia setting Singh off on goal but the defender just poked the ball back to keeper with the last action seeing Valencia chipping over the defence for Singh but he was quickly closed down before getting his shot off. Half time and United 1-0 down but still very much in the match. Positive start to the second half saw a Moore shot from the edge of box touched round the post and the resulting corner from Lamb was flicked off Catela’s head by Boyte before landing nicely for Moore whose first time shot was just over the bar. With Regent down to 10 men, Hassan decided to change strip to come on for Regent and great touchline banter reminding him which way to kick !! The United forward momentum continued with a break down the left ending when the linesman at least 50m away flagging that the ball went over the line drew much protesting from Lamb which can’t be reported here due to blasphemy laws. Terrier like play from Moore saw him win the ball in midfield and swing a great cross into the middle that set Valencia in on goal but his shot past the keeper also passed the wrong side of the post. The next move also saw Valencia free in the box when he was brought down by the keeper and Kearney following up smacked the ball into the net only for the ref to pull it back for offside on Valencia. Still the chances came and from a throw-in on right (the work at training last week obviously helped),Valencia drove into the box and a nice one two with Singh resulted in another shot over the bar. The one way traffic was reversed for a moment and McCulloch was forced to rush?? out of his box to clean up and this set up another break down the left from Valencia whose cut back to Singh was shot onto the bar and away from danger. Attwood came on for Gough with United still pushing forward but gaps at back allowed a couple of long range Regent shots but both were well off target. Loudest shout of the night came from Graham screaming for Kearney to cover in the midfield but we all knew that John couldn’t hear him !! Moore robbed another midfielder then rushed into the box and unleashed a shot just wide of the far post and this was followed by a great run from Kearney through middle and he tried to set off Boyte but just too much on it saw the keeper gratefully smothering. Another ball into box this time from Machin was picked up by Gulec who played it back across to Kearney, he stepped inside and was fouled as he let off to Valencia who blasted over the bar with no penalty being awarded. And as the game came to a close with United pressing for an equaliser a breakaway saw Hassan in the clear but he too lofted his shot over the bar – intentional or not, Hassan refused to be drawn when interviewed after the game. And so, a keenly contested and extremely frustrating match concluded with a 1-0 win to Regent. This was a much improved performance from 3 weeks ago but the feeling is that this was a game which slipped away from United’s grasp.
|MMM||Muppet Moment – John McCulloch – for the attempted throw out straight to the opposition inside the 18 yard box after a fine save.|
|MMM||Memorable Moment – John McCulloch – for the save he made after the aforementioned Muppet Moment to redeem himself.|
|BMW BoP||John Moore – He ran his heart out as usual and was instrumental in setting up many of the second half chances.|
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