The UNITS took on unbeaten Oceans in a local derby at Brown Westhead this morning, one glance at the fixture list confirmed it was indeed a league fixture for us, the annual cup final for our noisy neighbors!
The UNITS injury curse again took it's toll with Baker & Keith picking up injuries in last weeks win v Dudley ruling them out, Ginge was lost to baby sitting issues, John managed to smash his car up Saturday night & Brownie had the sh*ts after a dodgy curry as the UNITS numbers dwindled!
Chinner was still out with a hamstring strain and joined Darbs & Craig on the sidelines however we welcomed back Jay from Uni and new signing Danny Giles making his debut
We lined up with
Mala, Barney, Danny, Eggy, Kie, Taylor, Ashton, Jay, Coco, Pountney & Hunter
Bench was Turner, Ross & Radman
Oceans started like a side who had won 16 or so on the bounce as they put the UNITS under early pressure with balls in behind for their rapid wingers to run onto. The UNITS were really slow out of the blocks and it came as no surprise when Oceans took the lead after only 5 minutes. A foul on Ashton was missed in the build up, which set the tone for a poor ref's performance all day, however from the free kick the UNITS marking was atrocious as we had 3 attempts to clear the ball, failed and they bundled home from 6 yards
Shortly after Taylor got a nasty whack to the head and was off the pitch for 5 minutes as the UNITS down to 10 hung on as Oceans pushed for a 2nd
With Taylor back on the pitch the visitors nearly doubled their advantage when for a long ball downfield the ball was flicked on, Price got away from Eggy and forced Mala into a save, Price again beating Eggy to the rebound but he could only steer wide with the goal gaping, a let off
Finally after around 20 minutes the UNITS started to settle, Jay went close from 18 yards before Hunter had a shot comfortably saved, however the UNITS forced 3 corners in quick succession and from the 3rd Pountney whipped in a delightful near post ball where Kie towered above the static Oceans defense to glance a header into the far corner 1-1
This settled the UNITS down and the game was now more even, approaching half time Oceans went close again when the lively Seekings who how had now switched wings after getting little change out of Giles turned Barney before forcing Mala into a smart save low down
Right on the stroke of half time the UNITS snatched the lead when Hunter got the better of Seymour and laid off the ball to the on-rushing Ashton who accelerated away from Flowers before dinking the ball over the keeper into the top corner as the UNITS came in 2-1 up
Cuzer had a lot to sort at half time after a sloppy start from the UNITS but the lads had shown there was nothing to fear from Oceans and the game was there to be won
We started the 2nd half well, passing the ball better but on 50 minutes with their first attempt of the half Oceans leveled, now playing 442 the ball was worked to Burgess who wrong footed Mala with an 18 yard drive and beat him at the near post
Credit to the UNITS as we dug in, Oceans were now knocking a lot of high balls forward and playing with increased tempo but Eggy & Kie after a shaky first half were now winning the majority of headers
Hunter was running their centre halves ragged as the game got stretched and they got tired, on 65 minutes Coco clipped a ball forward and Hunter out muscled Seymour before rolling Flowers and sliding the ball into the bottom corner from 16 yards to put the UNITS back in front, 3-2
It was now end to end, Seekings now playing in a front 3 did well to wriggle into the box before slicing wide from 16 yards and at the other end Hunter did superbly to nutmeg Fez and from a tight angle with Coco & Jay screaming for a pull back and tap in went for glory but could only shoot into the side netting, a real chance to kill the game off
Kie did superbly well with 15 left to clear off the line from a goalmouth scramble and Oceans sub Tonks poked wide from 10 yards as the visitors looked for an equaliser
Ross replaced the tiring Jay with 15 on the clock and the UNITS nearly wrapped up the game in comical fashion when Seymour under pressure from Hunter headed the ball back to the keeper but beat him with the Oceans keeper scrambling back to stop the ball on the goal line
After doing the donkey work the UNITS shot themselves in the foot somewhat with only 2 minutes remaining when Tayl's gave away a soft free kick in a dangerous area, the UNITS cleared the initial cross only for Flowers to run onto the ball 25 yards out and hit a half volley which came through the crowd, Mala seeing the ball late and despite getting two hands to it he could only parry the ball into the roof of the net
Neither side had time to force a winner but the UNITS came closest when after some good play down our left Ross was teed up in the box and showed good feet before dragging his 10 yard effort wide at the near post when across the keeper may have snatched the win
A game of two halves you felt, Oceans the better in the first, us in the second. Putting the banter to one side for a minute they are a good team with some talented individuals and will no doubt be in the shake up come the end of the season so for them to need a last gasp equaliser to snatch a point we have to take positives out of that. Personally I feel it was arguably our poorest showing of the 4 games so far, we didn't pass the ball as well as we can but again the lads should take out of this there is nothing to fear in this division and we can give any side a game on our day
Man of the match was close, Hunter was class all day at times unplayable, Jay did well in an attacking midfield role and Kie & Eggy were excellent after a shaky start but for me Danny Giles coming into such a game on his debut against good wingers showed maturity beyond his years...although he looks no older than7!