Just Another Manic Monday
Steve BrownA cold winter Monday night saw United looking for their 2nd win of the Season and a chance to gain a bit of revenge against the Sandy Palace team that did us over a few weeks previously. A starting line up of McCulloch in goal, defensive 4 of Gough, Catela, Attwood & Dykes, midfield of Gulec, Marcus, Harrison & Jenkins (M), with Boyte and Brown leading the forward line. The Bench had Stock, Coard, Moore, Sims & Emery. The game started brightly for United and a Boyte long range effort was tipped onto the crossbar with Brown unable to get the rebound back into box and Sandy cleared the danger. However, Palace started to move further forward and with the United defence sitting off the Sandy attackers they were able to get off a shot from the edge of the box which sneaked under a diving McCulloch to give them a 1-0 lead. More worrying times for United saw McCulloch parry a goalbound effort and lying on ground he tried to grasp the ball just as Attwood, in safety first mode, cleared the ball off the line whilst also almost taking off Big John’s hand at the same time. Another close shave saw Dykes clearing the ball over his own crossbar when it looked easier to score but a second goal was conceded when Stock stumbled over the ball presenting a gift to the Sandy attacker who ran in on goal and slotted past McCulloch. Undaunted United pressed forward and a Harrison Free Kick from just outside the box was floated over wall and seemed destined for the top corner of the goal but was unfortunately tipped round the post by the keeper. Another longer range free kick was sent into the box by Catela which was missed by everyone and fell to Marcus who was closed down before being able to get off a shot. 2-0 half time and still a confident United crew felt that we were still in the game and a few personnel changes saw Sims and Moore enter the fray and pushing Gough up forward for a spell. This nearly paid immediate dividends as some good attacking play saw the ball reach Brown in the box but his effort on goal was saved comfortably. Alas, this positivity was short lived as Brown turned over the ball in the middle of the park which resulted in another Sandy assault on the United defensive line and they extended their lead by scoring a 3rd goal. Further problems for the United defence ensued when Legend member Hassan (playing for Sandringham) put his studs over the ball into Attwood’s ankle which brought a premature end to his evening and probably should have for Hassan too but the ref failed to take any action. A slight glimmer of hope appeared on the horizon when Sims put in a near post cross onto the 6 yard line where Brown got in between defender and keeper to flick the ball into the net with his head/shoulder to peg the deficit back to 2. However, as has happened so often this season, and too frequently in this game, another piece of sloppy play saw Harrison lose the ball in a dangerous position and the Sandy attacker collected the ball, took a couple of strides and then sent a looping shot over McCulloch to restore the 3 goal gap. As tired legs prevailed, it became a more free flowing game, with Boyte especially exploiting acres of space down the right hand side and he played a ball into the box which just evaded Brown but was retrieved by Marcus on the far edge of the box however, again he was unable to get away a shot before being closed down. Moore also was taking advantage of the space marauding dangerously down the left and he deftly switched play via Harrison to Boyte on the right who played in yet another fabulous cross which was met by Brown on the Volley and he smashed it into the roof of the net to make it 4-2. As the game edged to a close the pressure was all one way as United sought to salvage something from the game with a series of dangerous corners but were unable to add to the tally which saw a dejected United team losing yet another game that was there for the taking.
|MMM||Memorable moment has to be sharing beers after the game with the Legendary Dennis Coard to celebrate his 68th birthday|
|MMM||Muppet Moment goes to Jenkins (M) who doesn’t seem to understand that it is a team game and we all have to take a turn (or 2) of being substituted|
|BMW BoP||Stu McLoughlin for his exemplary service in running the line and the second half substitutions – apparently he has now adopted Frank Catela’s initials as a new moniker|