The UNITS travelled to Malvern in the 1st round of the Nursing Cup as we took on Worcester Prem Outfit Malvern Radar. The self-proclaimed “Green Army” had a formidable home record, not losing there for well over 12 months so a stiff challenge awaited us. Squad wise we travelled with 16 as we welcomed Trev and Jay Lockhart into the squad for the first time as we lined up Tom, DJ, Gilo, Ryan, Taylor, Sean, Ashton, Newt, Coco, Seeks and Pountney – Subs were Acer, Si, Trigger, Jay and Trev.
The UNITS were one down before a ball was kicked when Cuzer was totally trumped in the cone stakes by the Radar gaffer as pre game the pitch resembled a four lane diversion on the M25, in comparison Cuzer’s one drill was shocking! Putting this aside the game was lively early doors, both sides rattling into tackles and chirping at the referee as passions were ramped up from the off and the game quickly took on a bit of needle. The UNITS were matching anything the home side could muster though and quickly got into their own stride as DJ Alves skipped down the right flank before whipping in a delightful cross that Pountney was inches away from converting. 10 minutes in the UNITS started to take control, Seeks did well to beat his man and cross low for Pountney to air kick in front of goal with the net gaping as the UNITS should have taken the lead. However on 15 minutes we did go one up when Ashton did well on the left and beat his man twice before hanging over a deep cross which Seeks taped home on the back post to open the scoring. 5 minutes later and it was two nil, from a UNITS short corner DJ crossed into the box, the Radar defence could only half clear and Seekings again shot low through the crowd with the shot having enough on it to beat the keeper.
Radar were working hard but creating little as the UNITS kept things tight, they mustered two half chances which they blazed over as Tom was untested, Seekings completed a hat-trick on 20 minutes only to be denied by a poor offside decision. Millette did well to win the ball in the UNITS half he strode forward before playing a 40 yard diagonal ball to Seeks who headed past the keeper from 15 yards only to be wrongly ruled offside. Ashton then fired over from the edge of the box and DJ skied a left footer in the area as we went in search of more goals. On 30 minutes it was 3-0 when after some good football in midfield Ashton played a slide rule ball for Seekings to run onto, as the Radar keeper came out Seeks dinked it over him to complete a fine hat-trick as the UNITS stormed into a 3-0 lead. Radars best chances seemed to stem from their full backs huge throw but bar a couple of scrambles and one good block from skipper Taylor Tom still didn’t have a save of note to make in the first half. The icing on the first half cake came in injury time when from a low Coco corner Tayl’s got a deft touch which found its way to Millette who had his first shot blocked but made no mistake with his second firing home left footed from 15 yards to open his UNITS account as we came in 4-0 up at half time.
HT Malvern Radar 0 v 4 TS UNITS
Cuzer was naturally delighted with the first half score line, the only instruction was to not give Radar any encouragement now they were kicking down the slope and other chances would come for us. Newt’s who came into the game not 100% was replaced by Hollick at half time in a like for like swap. Credit to Radar they came out of the traps well in the second half and for 5 minutes or so the UNITS struggled to get going, Radar forced 3 quick corners in succession and from the 3rd the ball was helped back in and via a deflection the ball sat up nicely for the centre half to head past a wrong footed Tom from 10 yards out to make it 4-1. This gave Radar a huge lift as the UNITS became a little ragged, the home side were now going very direct, front to back at every opportunity and the UNITS could have dealt with things better as we gave the home side a sniff of a comeback.
However on the counter attack we were still creating the games clearest chances, Pountney did well to free Seeks who raced clear only to be denied by a fine one on one save from the home keeper when another goal for the UNITS would have surely killed the game off. Then in a carbon copy of the first half miss Pountney again missed a tap in from a Seeks cross, this time due to a shocking bobble in the six yard box, this to be Pountney’s last contribution as Jay Lockhart came on for his first action of the season on the hour mark. On 65 minutes with the UNITS seemingly comfortable after the early onslaught of the second half we conceded again when from our corner Taylor went close but Radar broke quickly and their skipper found himself clear and he beat Tom from just inside the box to again give the home side a lifeline. On 70 minutes Trev entered the fray for Seeks, Trev making his competitive UNITS debut as he dragged his sorry arris out of bed for the first time this season! Lockhart almost wrapped the game up after some nice interplay with Trev he dinked the ball over the keeper only to see his deft effort hacked off the line. The home side’s chances of a comeback were pretty much ended on 75 minutes when their full back was sent off for foul and abusive language. Credit to Radar as even with 10 they kept going but the UNITS could and should have added a 5th, Lockhart, Coco and Ashton all going close as the UNITS secured a good 4-2 away win against a decent side.
Man of the match went to Seekings who’s clinical finishing was ultimately the difference between the two sides.
Next up the UNITS face a tricky home tie in the Hospital Cup against early Kiddy Div. 2 leaders Stourbridge Athletic.