Away cup match played on 19 October 2014.
Kicked off at 10:45 AM

Grange Athletic 3 v 2 TS UNITS FC

The UNITS reward for their heroics down at Upton Snodsbury in the previous round was a trip to Kiddy Prem heavyweights Grange Athletic. Due to a clash the game was brought forward 7 days meaning we'll have another free week next week which is disappointing Squad wise we were looking OK on Thursday but lost Gilo, Jamo & CJ prior to Sunday and then lost Sean on debut, Luke & Winny who all never made it on the morning, this meant we had to start with Jim & Trigger who were both struggling with knocks as we lined up Mozza, Clarkey, Ryan, Ben, Chinner, Jim, Azza, Ashton, Coco, Lewis & Trigger - Subs were Baker, Si and a late arriving Heath

Even the best sides can struggle for numbers and Grange themselves only had 12 available but as you would expect it was a strong Grange XI and we were firm underdogs going into the game

Early doors we were competing well, the extra resilience Cuzer has asked for pre-game was on display with everybody working hard, the shape better and when we did get on the ball we were creating chances. It was Lewis who had the first attempt on goal on 10 minutes when he got away from his marker and tested the home keeper with a 20 yarder which he held at the 2nd attempt Grange were moving the ball well but Mozza had largely remained untested, in no small part to the excellent Ryan Smith at the back assisted by Clarkey & Ben all three defending superbly. Mozza had a couple of routine saves to make on the 20 minute mark from attempts from the edge of the box and then tipped a goal bound effort wide of the post which was a fine save, whilst at the other end a great cross from Lewis was headed just wide by Trigger then Azza fizzed in a low cross which was scrambled behind with Lewis lurking for the tap in You really couldn't separate the sides approaching the half hour mark but like all good sides tend to when things are tight they get an important goal and today was no difference, from a UNITS free kick we had over committed a little and we were caught trying to get back, a lovely floated cross from wide came into our box and their midfielder never stopped, got his head on the ball which Mozza saved well but he poked in the rebound from close range to give Grange a 1-0 lead It was harsh on the UNITS but it was important we didn't come in further behind approaching half time as Grange now got on top, Mozza making one good save low down and Lewis almost playing in Trigger on half time as we came in 1-0 behind

HT Grange 1 v 0 TS UNITS

Cuzer told the boys to take belief from the first 45, we showed we could compete and were well in the game. Alas both Coco & Jim were struggling with injuries, Jim carrying on for the time being but Coco had to be replaced by Si

For the first 5 minutes of the 2nd half we were all over the shop, Grange came out the traps firing, probably on the end of a choice few words from their gaffer yet we seemed to be cruising as we were pulled all over the shop, 3 attempts Grange had thankfully all from range when they really should have done better and we were lucky not to concede due to our sloppiness as much as Grange's improved play Thankfully we settled, the shape came as required and we started to get on the front foot, Lewis forced the home keeper into a smart save before Azza broke from midfield played a slick 1-2 with Trigger, burst into the box and their keeper saved at his feet when clean through This gave us fresh belief and Ashton was finding space as we went in search of an equaliser then out of the blue the referee had an absolute howler and gave the home side a gift of a penalty. With the ball dropping out of the sky their midfielder caught his volley sweet from 20 yards which hit Clarkey flush in the face, knocking him to the ground and somehow the referee deemed this hand ball, the mark on Clarkey's face a slight giveaway to the situation and to compound the misery he booked him for the alleged hand ball, crazy. The Grange player stroked home the penalty with aplomb to put the home side 2-0 up with just over an hour gone

Cuzer then replaced Jim with Baker. It was important we didn't implode now as you felt the game was potentially gone but credit to us we dug in, competed and Ashton asked questions of the Grange centre half who made a hash of his back pass which Pountney seized upon and finished coolly under the keeper to give us a lifeline 2-1 with 20 left

We had now gambled and were playing 4-3-3, a couple of UNITS were playing through injuries but we soldiered on, with us playing this shape chasing the game Grange were in the ascendancy but they seemed obsessed on the morning to shoot from distance rather than work the ball into the box and this enabled Mozza to deal with most their efforts comfortably and when the ball came in from wide Ryan & Ben were superb in getting their head on the ball Lewis then dragged a half chance wide and Azza also fired wide as we pushed for the equaliser. With 15 left Heath replaced Chinner with Ben going to left back. Within a minute of the change we got level, Ashton did well in midfield, drove at the Grange back line, slipped the ball wide to Lewis who cut inside and bent a fine finish past the home keeper to level things up We stayed with 4-3-3 trying to win the game, it really was end to end now Azza got away but his right foot shot was blocked and at the other end a fine block from Clarkey stopped a goal bound Grange effort testing Mozza As we entered the last throws of the game Cuzer was trying to change our shape to a more defensive set up with penalties on the horizon but before the players could get into position the Grange wide player, cut in and hit a 25 yarder through a crown of players which Mozza saw late and got a hand on but couldn't stop the ball creeping into the bottom corner We then reverted back to the 4-3-3 trying to level up with only 5 minutes left but alas we couldn't force an equaliser despite our best efforts as we bowed out to a strong Grange outfit 3-2 in a much improved effort from the UNITS

A great effort on the morning with so many missing and 2-3 carrying injuries but playing through the pain barrier. Alas no game next week before we take on Exchange in a home fixture in 2 weeks time

Man of the match today went to Ryan Smith who climbed off his sick bed to play and was outstanding at centre half all game

Mozza 8 Jim 7 Clarkey 8 Ryan 9* Ben 8 Chin 7 Azza 8 Ashton 9 Coco 8 Lewis 9 Trigger 7

Subs Si 7 Baker 7 Heath 7

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