City too Strong for Battling United

Steve Brown

A calm but bitterly cold Monday evening saw the third and final Doncaster Legends Derby for the year with the United line up of McCulloch, Gough, Attwood, Catela, Machin, Singh, Boyte, Kelly, Shaw, Hassan, Valencia with White and a late Dykes starting on the bench. For City it was Janssen, Rathner, Jenkins, Emery, Coard, Stafrace, Harrison, Moore, Stock, Sims, Caridi and a blank bench.

Caridi nearly repeated last week’s start when he wound up through on goal but he put his effort wide much to the relief of the United defence. At the other end Jenkins was spraying the ball around, not just on the pitch but also the Freeway. There appeared to be a lot of congestion in midfield early on and United finally managed an attacking move which saw Hassan trying to release Singh but just putting too much pace on the pass.

Caridi once again found his way through on to keeper McCulloch who produced a brilliant save to keep the game scoreless. This was then followed by a Harrison shot which was touched round the post by McCulloch and then Stock got in on the act with a dipping long range effort which just flashed by the far post.

Still the city attacks continued and Caridi seemed intent on outdoing his misses from last week when he split open the defence and blazed the ball wide when through on goal.

Jenkins then had another attempt to hit the freeway before McCulloch was required sprint out of the box to clear a dangerous through ball.

Then the game turned when Rathner conned the referee into paying a free kick and Jenkins (having got his sighters out of the way) floated a ball into the box which grazed the top of Attwood’s head and landed right on Harrison’s foot and he calmy slotted in the opening goal.

This sparked a bit of life into United and Boyte broke forward releasing Hassan who was fouled by the jet-lagged Emery 25m out. The Free kick from Attwood had good pace but just went over the bar. Another United attack saw Valencia passing through to Hassan who was denied by a last ditch Jenkins tackle.

Finally, United’s attacking paid dividends when a through ball to Hassan in an offside position, but not interfering with play, was chased down by Valencia whose cross was touched in by Boyte on the 6 yard line to level the scores.

United continued to push forward looking for more goals and a shot  from White on goal was comfortably held by Janssen and then another flowing move down the right saw Hassan set White free and his weighted pass found Valencia who shot just over the bar. Then a throw in from Machin to Boyte was flicked to Valencia whose cross found Kelly all alone in the box and his shot was just deflected by the post for a corner.

City tried to release the pressure and a long ranger from Moore just dipped over the bar and then Sims and Moore combined on the left to set up Caridi whose shot fairly rattled the post and bounced clear. Another Jenkins floated cross found Harrison in the box and he should have restored City’s lead but pulled his effort wide.

The teams could sense that the game was finely balanced and tempers boiled over with a little argy bargy when Machin was dumped by Sims.

Then disaster for United with a carbon copy of the lead up to the first goal and Rathner being rewarded with a free kick for extremely bad acting. This time Jenkins floated the ball into the box where the loose ball was pounced on by Stafrace to put City back in front.

The final action in a packed first half nearly saw an equalizer when Valencia put the ball across goal but just out of Boyte’s reach at the back post.

Half time 2-1 and some strong words from Jenkins to the City team.

City signaled their intent immediately and Caridi through (again) on goal was denied by McCulloch’s outstretched legs. At the other end Jenkins put another clearance onto the freeway with Catela lurking with menace behind him on the penalty spot.

Long raking ball from Rathner switched play to Scafrace on the right and his ball back across the box was hit sweetly by Sims and punched out for a corner which was played short but the floating cross from Moore was too strong.

City continued to push forward with Coard breaking from defence on the right and Emery having a long range effort go high and wide.

Gaps were beginning to appear in midfield as Shaw pushed further forward for United and a mazy Valencia run almost got Hassan clear but he tumbled into Rathner and despite appeals from both sides for a foul the referee awarded a corner.

At the other end, Stafrace popped up out of nowhere to latch onto a nothing ball to finish from an acute angle and claim his second goal for the evening (and season) to stretch the lead.

Then Stafrace almost claimed a hat trick when his fumbled cross went the wrong side of the post. This was quickly followed by a poor clearance from the corner and Caridi sent in an unstoppable volley to make the score 4-1.

With the game effectively over as a contest City piled forward looking for more and a back pedaling Harrison got his head onto a cross and put the ball into the net for 5-1 although he got thumped heavily in the back by Machin in the process.

A United corner was laid back to Gough whose shot was blocked and this created a break away for City.  Dykes and McCulloch got tangled on the edge of the box to almost put Caridi away but he was thwarted by the quick thinking of Attwood.

Finally a hat-trick did come and a race between Stafrace and Harrison to see who could get to the through ball first and poke it into the corner of the goal was won by Harrison.

And then with almost the last action of the night right at the death Caridi stole in for his second to make the result 7-1 to City.


MMM Muppet Moment –  The referee being conned by Gideon Rathner’s amateur dramatics – not once, but twice
MMM Memorable Moment –  The goal scoring celebrations of Ray Stafrace 
BMW BoP Ray Stafrace – Denied a hat-trick by Harrision but still managed to open his goal account for the season with a double


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