The UNITS returned to league action as we travelled to an improving Chainwire. Cuzer was without 4-5 including DJ and Coco but had a squad of 16 at his disposal as we lined up: Mala, Barney, Taylor, Millette, Gilo, Baker, Newton, Azza, Pountney, Trigger and Seeks. Subs were Kie P, Kie W, Ben, Trev and Jim.
Chainwire had arguably their strongest line up of the season out and changed shape to make life difficult for the UNITS so we knew it would be anything but an easy mornings work. From the off tackles were flying in and Chainwire were very uncompromising in their approach but we were giving as good as we got as the pitch quickly started to cut up badly, not helping good football. Seeks went close on 5 minutes as he shot just wide and then on 10 minutes we opened the scoring when a long Taylor throw was helped on by Azza to Millette on the back stick who bundled the ball home as Chainwire appealed for handball, the goal stood and the UNITS took an early lead. A second goal was crucial for the UNITS as Chainwire were set up to frustrate and it really should have come on 20 minutes when Taylor did well in the corner and crossed for an unmarked Baker who somehow managed to head over from 6 yards when he should have scored.
It proved a costly miss as a few minutes later Chainwire drew level, a long ball forward was competed for by our centre halves yet we were slow to react to the 2nd ball and the quick striker was played in down the channel, he crossed low into the box and the on rushing player prodded home from 6 yards to level things up at 1-1. It could have been worse moments later when a long ball over the top caught us square and the striker raced away only to lob Mala but wide of the post when he should have done better. Credit to the UNITS we quickly wrestled back the initiative and from some slick passing down our left Pountney and Gilo combined well to result in Pountney crossing deep only for Seeks to head against the post from a narrow angle. Azza was then denied by a good block as we kept probing, our efforts were rewarded on 40 minutes when Trigger showed quick feet to beat his man and slip in Seeks who slammed the ball home from 10 yards past the impressive home keeper as the UNITS came in 2-1 up at the break.
HT Chainwire 1 v 2 TS UNITS
Cuzer asked the boys not to drop concentration and try to up the game a bit as we were playing within ourselves despite being in front. The first 15 minutes of the 2nd half was really when we should have put the game to bed. Azza went clean through only for the keeper to nip the ball off his feet as he went to round him and tap home, then Seeks did round the keeper only to run the ball out of play, Seeks then whistled a 25 yard effort inches over the upright before Azza got away and could only shoot weakly at the keeper from 15 yards when clean through. On the hour mark Ben replaced Trigger as the UNITS kept the same shape. The game was a mirror image of the first half with Chainwire giving the UNITS no time at all on the ball and whilst our effort and work rate was good our quality on the ball wasn't the best as we wasted numerous good opportunities due to a poor final ball or the wrong decision made.
Ben had a good chance to increase the UNITS lead when from a Mala goal kick he raced on to the ball and under pressure from the Chainwire defender scuffed his shot across goal and Azza wasn't far away from prodding home. Alas on 70 minutes Chainwire got an equaliser, the UNITS lost possession in the Chainwire half and from a clipped ball down the channel Sean afforded their player too much space as he cut in and crossed low into the box where the Chainwire striker found acres of space despite the UNITS having three defenders back and he had two touches before slotting past Mala as the UNITS were guilty of switching off at just the wrong time. Seeks was struggling with his calves and was replaced by Kie Watters with 15 minutes left as the UNITS now changed shape trying to win the game.
With the UNITS now pushing men forward the game became end to end, Mala had to react sharply to save at the feet of the Chainwire striker and at the other end some good football played Newt in with a chance inside the 18 yard box yet he opted to go with his right foot and he only managed to scuff the ball tamely at the home keeper when he should have done better. Kie Watters then did well down our right and put in a deep cross only for Pountney to head over at full stretch when Ben was in a better position. Jim then replaced Azza as the UNITS tried one last change in personnel and the referee turned down loud penalty appeals when Ben got in between the defender and keeper and went to ground under challenge but the referee, poorly sighted, gave nothing.
Chainwire celebrated at the final whistle like they had won the cup final but credit to them they made it difficult for us from the off and we've got to expect this week in, week out, alas today we didn't have the answers to win the game as too many potential match winners were well below par.
Man of the match went to Seeks who worked his socks off, scored a good goal and had a desire and will to win the game sadly lacking in some of his team mates.
Next up we travel to Bromley in the Cup where changes will be made.