The UNITS took on Dudley Sports for the second time in the space of four days as we welcomed them to Brown Westhead for the Quarter Final of the Hospital Cup. After the intensity of Wednesday’s league game it was a little bit of after the lord mayor’s show this morning with both teams making changes, the UNITS made a host of them as we lined up: Tom, Barney, Ben, Ryan, Millette, Lewis, Jim, Azza, Ashton, Greavesy and Trigger. Subs were Newton, Taylor, Giles, Si and Trev.
On a bright sunny morning the UNITS were told to relax and play with some freedom this morning but in the first 6 minutes this extended to charity as we found ourselves 2-0 down in no time. Firstly Azza & Greavesy got in a mix up when we had a good chance to break, as Dudley cleared their lines Barney headed the ball back to Sean however only found their wide player and in trying to atone for his error he gave away a penalty as he clipped their player from behind, Dudley making no mistake from the spot. Before the UNITS had chance to get going it was 2-0, their midfielder, who in fairness would probably shoot from the changing rooms given the chance, tried one of his 45 yarders which normally have mixed results at best yet today he picked his spot superbly as he floated the ball over Tom from just inside our half, Tom helpless in seeing the ball sail over his head and nestle into the top corner 0-2.
The UNITS needed to respond and in fairness they did as the next 20 minutes was one way traffic with Dudley happy to sit deep and play on the break as we took the game to them. Greavesy was seriously unlucky to see a cushioned lob over the keeper beat him all ends up only to see the ball crash against the crossbar, we kept coming and Lewis was released in a one on one situation but could only shoot straight at the keeper. A couple of Azza corners caused mayhem in the DS box but the ball was scrambled clear. However on 30 minutes we finally got ourselves back in the game when from another Azza corner the ball came to Jim some 15 yards from goal who shot left footed through the crowd and into the bottom corner. We kept pushing hard for the equaliser before half time and really should have come in level when Ashton released Pountney on 40 minutes and with the keeper coming out he tried to lob him with the goal gaping but could only put the ball wide.
HT Units 1 v 2 Dudley Sports
Cuzer asked the boys to relax first and foremost as again our play was a little hurried and when we did get it down and play we were carving open DS. Again the UNITS started the second half on the front foot but credit to Dudley they were defending well and working hard all over the pitch, as expected. Jim had a great chance on 55 minutes but could only side foot at the keeper when well placed, the shot saved with the keepers legs, then Lewis shot low from a pullback which the keeper saved at the 2nd attempt. DS were offering little going forward but remained a threat on the break as we continued to have the lion’s share of possession, Azza tested the keeper from 20 yards and then Ashton dragged a shot wide from inside the box.
The pressure finally paid off on 60 minutes when after some nice passing down our right Jim cut inside and set up Azza who rifled in a 20 yard finish with his left peg giving the keeper no chance and despite our disastrous start we had shown good endeavour to level things up. The game had swung full circle now and it was the home side well on top and asking all the questions, Trigger had a goal bound shot blocked as we kept coming at DS. However on 65 minutes we shot ourselves in the foot when Ryan attempted to slide the ball back to Tom from a wide position yet sold the keeper short and the Dudley wide played nipped in and slid the ball past Tom to give the visitors the lead 3-2. Cuzer then replaced Lewis with "veteran" Kiddy League striker Trev as we went 4-3-3.
With the UNITS now gambling the game became stretched and Tom made a good save with his feet as Dudley broke and their striker shot low from 20 yards as DS nearly extended their lead. At the other end from an Azza free kick the ball was bundled against the post and the UNITS couldn't force home then Greavesy had a shot deflected wide. Cuzer then replaced Barney with Si as we went 3 at the back for the final 15 minutes, Dudley had another chance on the break but they shot straight at Tom's mid drift from 18 yards out. A slick UNITS move down our left resulted in Azza whipping in a great ball which their big centre half got his head too but could only crash the ball against his own bar as we came within a whisker of an equaliser with the clock ticking down. We kept asking questions of DS right up until the final whistle but they defended well and we couldn't claw back the one goal deficit as the visitors progressed to the semi-final to take on Prem Champions Woodside, we wish them well in that game.
A good game of football where at times we played some good stuff but to gift a side like Dudley, who defend so well, 2 goals was very sloppy on our part.
Man of the match went to Greavesy who I thought competed well against some no nonsense defending and was a constant threat with his movement.
Next up we travel to Wall Heath for a crunch league game where we'll hopefully welcome back a few faces.