DAN MORROW and Harry Simmons hit their first goals in a Frolesworth shirt as a youthful and energetic United side smashed four past struggling Horse in the opening game of the Arthur Moore Cup Group C at Knighton Park this morning.
Simmons prodded his side in front just past the half-hour on his debut, before strike-partner Callum Wills dragged a penalty wide moments before the break. It looked as though The Rabbits might rue their missed chances as the hosts hit back immediately after the restart, but goals from Morrow, Martin Fennon and finally Wills completed a convincing victory for the visitors.
Manager Ben Harris made a staggering seven changes to the side that beat Horse 3-0 at Dunley Way last week, with captain Mark James, Max Hallam and Dominic Ivens the only three players to survive the chop.
Craig Coombs made his first appearance for United in over two years after both Sam Green and Luke Evans were unavailable and Joe Swanwick and Steven Bottom came into the back-four replacing Martin Fennon and Jack Boulton, respectively.
Harris kept faith with the free-flowing 4-4-2 formation that has seen United pick up four points in their opening two league fixtures and he handed Jack Sutherland his first start of the campaign alongside Ivens in the absence of the talismanic Jake Pantony in the heart of the United midfield.
Miles Splevings, who has twice come off the bench so far began on the right-hand side with Morrow on the left and Wills was brought back into the attack alongside Simmons after he missed last week's victory, having been called up to the Leicestershire & Rutland Under-18 squad.
United were adorned in their brand new sky blue away shirt, complete with white home shorts and sky home socks and unsurprsingly they started much the better side once again and should have taken the lead early on when Wills burst through, but he could only fire weakly at the onrushing goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, at the other end Frolesworth were forced to defend a smattering of pressure from the home side when Coombs saved smartly low-down to his right and after a flurry of corners, United's youthful exhuberance was perfectly demonstrated in a sweeping counter-attack.
The sky blues poured forward and the industrious front-two combined when Wills sent Simmons clean through, but it was almost as if the debutant had too much time on his hands and he paid for his indecisiveness, firing straight at the keeper with his weaker foot.
But their pressure told just moments after the half-hour mark when Morrow fed Wills and he sent a vicious low cross across the face of the goalmouth, which Simmons was on hand to prod in at the far post after a heavy first-touch.
Even with the abscence of Joe Cook and Pantony, United looked impressive going forward with the pacy Splevings and Morrow providing plenty of danger on either flank and the new-look front pairing combining well and Wills won his side a penalty on 42 minutes when he was brought down after playing an excellent interchange with Simmons.
The newly-turned 18-year-old was scythed down when he was about to pull the trigger and referee Brian Morrell had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. But with Tom Stokes sidelined with an ankle injury, the responsibility fell to Wills himself and after having problems with placing the ball on the spot, he dragged his kick horribly wide of the near post.
After such dominance in the opening period, it was frsutrating for the visitors to only be leading by one at the break and assistant manager Jordan Halford warned his players that they would be punished if they continued to be wasteful in front of goal.
It was a prophecy which would come true sooner than he would have anticipated too, as the home side hit back against the run of play immediately after the restart as Dale Hall's looping drive left the stranded Coombs with no chance.
But fortunately for United, it turned out only to be a brief respite as they began to effortlessly shift through the gears as the game went on. The Country Boys hadn't previously scored before the hour mark this season, but they continued their impressive second-half displays by adding a further three after the break.
Surely vindictive of the youthful energy bound throughout the side and a blossoming indication of the newly-found strength in depth that Harris finally has at his disposal.
It was smiles all round five minutes before the hour, when Simmons set the ginger-haired winger Morrow free down the left and he was coolness personified as he opened his body up to shape the ball in to the far corner for his first goal for The Rabbits.
The goal seemed to relax Harris' side and the introduction of Martin Fennon for Sutherland in the engine room gave the visitors fresh impetus too, as Wills burst through and squared to the onrushing Fennon who made it 3-1 on 62 minutes.
The roles were reversed 14 minutes from time, when Fennon sent Wills free with an inch-perfect through ball and the latter finally added his third of the campaign with a neat finish.
Harris then sent Cook on with just 15 minutes remaining in search of a goal and he came agonisingly close when he latched onto Wills' elegant flick but his effort came off the upright. Captain James was also denied by the woodwork when Splevings' quick corner found him in space, but his effort was palmed away and dropped onto the top of the crossbar.
The game appeared to be heading to a predictable conclusion, but disappointingly the visitors' concentration lapsed and second-half substitute Josh Baines was booked for a desperate lunge on the goal-line, conceding a penalty in the process.
But just as Wills did earlier, Horse failed to convert from 12-yards as Coombs made a superb save sprawling low to his right.
It was certainly food for thought ahead of next week's mouth-watering clash with cup holders Advance Couriers, as Frolesworth's second string impressed throughout the contest to preserve their unbeaten start to the season.
But United will certainly have to be more prolific in front of goal, as well as adopting a much more industrious work ethic as they face thier toughest test so far at Horsewell Lane next week.
Fortunately for Harris and his side, no-one expects United to get a result and so the pressure is off.
Bring on Couriers.
FROLESWORTH (4-4-2) – COOMBS 8, SWANWICK 7, JAMES (C) 7, BOTTOM 7, HALLAM 7, SPLEVINGS 8, IVENS 7, SUTHERLAND 8, MORROW 8, SIMMONS 7, WILLS 7
SUBS – BAINES 6, FENNON 8, COOK 7
UNUSED SUBS – PRATT, PANTONY
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