Away cup match played on 12 May 2013.
Kicked off at 6:00 PM

The UNITS traveled to Stourport Swifts to take on old nemesis Royal Exchange in yet another cup final
Cuzer was dealt a blow pre game when Aaron Griffiths couldn't play and Stef never showed so the side was shuffled and we lined up 4-2-3-1
Mike, Barney, John H, Taylor, Gilo, Baker, Newt, Ashton, Coco, Pountney & Ginge
Subs were - Eggy, Trigger, Ross, Kieron and Chinner

The early exchanges pretty much set the tone for most of the game, with so much at stake neither team settled well and the game became a midfield battle, both sides guilty of going front to back too quickly and quality was at a premium
Exchange were having more of the possession but it was in deep areas and not hurting the UNITS yet when we broke with pace we started to ask questions of them. The best chance fell to Ginge on 10 minutes when Coco whipped in a fine free kick and Ginge got across his marker yet got too much on the glancing header and headed over the bar with the keeper beaten

Newt and Tayl's then had half chances from 2nd balls at UNITS corners, both times looking for that extra touch in the box when an early shot may have asked more questions as Exchange scrambled clear
However, on 20 minutes the UNITS did take the lead from a corner, Pountney whipped in a vicious ball into the near post which 2-3 players competed for yet the keeper missed the lot and the ball found it's way into the back of the net

Exchange tried to rally and were always dangerous from set pieces a couple of free kicks were well defended by the UNITS and on half time their striker fired wide from the edge of the box as the UNITS edged a first half of few clear chances

Half Time UNITS 1 v 0 Royal Exchange

The message at half time was to try and squeeze up the pitch a little more, we were not using the width as well as we could and at times Ginge was a little isolated yet Exchange had caused us few problems so the game was clearly there to be won

The UNITS were dealt a blow however on half time as Barney had picked up a 1st half knock, he was replaced by Eggy in a like for like swap

For the first 10 minutes of the half we started better, we played higher and got on the ball more, Pountney was really unlucky to see a superb 25 yard half volley clawed around the post by the Exchange keeper as we craved the cushion of the 2nd goal

Exchange came back and had a spell of their own, a substitution paid dividends as their movement improved and the Units had to weather a 5 minute storm when Exchange were on top yet one free kick apart which Mike saved comfortably they created little in the way of chances

On 65 minutes and the UNITS looking more comfortable again Exchange got a freak equaliser which turned the game on it's head, a long kick downfield was headed away by John, their wide player picked up the 2nd ball ahead of Eggy and from 35 yards out fired over a cross and with no Exchange player anywhere near the ball it sailed over Mike's head and into the top corner of the net, a total fluke and a real kick in the teeth for the UNITS

Trigger then replaced Ginge who had picked up an injury inflicted by the no nonsense Exchange centre halves who got away with far too much all game, not helped by a very poor referee showing who missed way too many fouls throughout the game and in fairness seemed to be out of his depth for a game of this importance

Now level credit to Exchange as they upped their game sensing blood and we didn't react well, attack after attack kept coming and we stood up to it the best we can, one header missed from 6 yards out really should have been a goal as the UNITS hung on

Cuzer then went 442 to try and give us more attacking impetus and for a brief spell it worked, Trigger was inches away from getting onto a Coco through ball, the Exchange keeper doing well to save at his feet and then Ashton put two fine balls into the box which Pountney almost got on the end of as we still looked a threat

On 86 minutes however Exchange took the lead, from a deep corner their tall centre half rose highest to power a header home from 7 yards out to give Exchange the advantage 2-1

This knocked the stuffing out of the UNITS who failed to raise themselves and respond and on 90 minutes Exchange put a unfair reflection on the scoreline with the UNITS pushing men forward a ball over the top found their striker in the clear who lobbed Mike to complete the scoring and give Exchange the all important victory

So near yet so far again in a cup final for the UNITS as Exchange made it 3 out of 3 against us in finals. Crazy record when there is very little between both sides yet after playing twice this week and then stepping up for the final credit to them, they have some good players and will no doubt be a force in Div 1 next season when look forward to playing them again

Man of the match for the UNITS went to Gilo who never stopped trying and defended well all game and to receive MOM from the officials and be on the losing side says it all about his performance

The UNITS have one last league game left to bring the curtain down on a decent season in Division 1 as we travel to SP Rangers on Wednesday evening

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