Away cup match played on 05 May 2013.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

The UNITS traveled to Wollaston Wreck to take on Royal Oak in the semi final of the Fire Shield on a blistering hot morning
With ROC already dumping out fellow Division 1 sides Ocean Designs & Taverners the visit of the UNITS certainly held no fear for them as they went after their 3rd Div 1 scalp and a place in the final

For the UNITS skipper Paul Taylor was suspended, Chinner & Si Hollick were still out injured and Ross was working. Cuzer lined them up Mala, Eggy, John H, Barney, Gilo, Coco, Pountney, Baker, Ashton, Azza & Ginge
Subs were Trigger, Newt, Acer, Kieron, Stef & Rad

The pitch at Wollaston wreck is a shocker, making Borrington look like a decent surface, it was also rock hard so controlling a football on it was not an easy task and the first 10 minutes of the game neither side could get a grip on the game and too many passes were going astray down the big slope as we seemed to over hit every pass

ROC work their socks off and play a very direct game and the UNITS should have fell behind on 15 minutes when from a cross an on rushing midfielder could only volley over from 10 yards when he should have tested Mala
The UNITS just couldn't get going, we were competitive and neither side were creating much but we were not playing with our usual swagger

We had our first glimpse on goal on 20 minutes when a long shot from Azza drifted wide then Coco got away down the left yet his cross was cut out as 2-3 UNITS were lurking in the box

On 25 minutes ROC took the lead, a long diagonal ball was competed for by Eggy and their wide player, after a ricochet we allowed the cross to come in too easily, Barney competed for the first header but the ball made it's way to the back stick and their midfielder had too much time and space as he shot low past Mala from 8 yards to give the home side a deserved lead

This woke us up and we then started to play better without being at our best, from one half cleared corner Baker had a shot through a crowd of players which was hacked away and then on 30 minutes we were denied a stone wall penalty when after some pinball in their box the ball was falling for Ginge only for their centre half to palm the ball away, they knew it, we knew it yet somehow the referee missed it!

Cuzer then switched Azza and Ashton and immediately it paid dividends as we had our best spell. Ginge missed the chance of the game when the ball found it's way to him 6 yards out and he could only side foot straight at the keeper when a yard either side was the equaliser but it wasn't to prove costly as on 40 minutes Ashton played in Azza who lobbed the keeper superbly to get the UNITS level at 1-1

ROC then came close from 2 corners just before half time, both headers going over when we could have defended better but we came in, rather fortunately level at 1-1

HT RO Celtic 1 v 1 TS UNITS

Cuzer was keen for the UNITS to tighten up defensively, we were making it too easy for ROC to get at us yet we knew we could play better and if we did the result should be there for us

Now kicking up the slope it allowed the UNITS to play more football with the ball not constantly running down the slope and through to their keeper, we were quickly moving the ball better with Azza pulling the strings in midfield and Ashton off Ginge finding space

Despite this better start ROC should have re-taken the lead when another deep diagonal ball wasn't dealt with this time their striker shooting over from 10 yards out
Ginge got away from an Ashton pass and shot across goal on 55 minutes but 5 minutes later we took the lead, Ashton did well to switch the play to Pountney who beat the full back yet skied his cross into the box, the ROC keeper never looked comfortable back peddling and the ball sailed over his head into the top corner to give the UNITS the lead

ROC responded by making 2 subs and threw more men forward as the long ball kept coming down the slope however Barney & John were much more competitive in the 2nd half and we were keeping them at arms length. Eggy made one superb block from a pull back which kept our lead in tact.

On the hour mark Acer replaced Coco and then Trigger replaced Ginge in like for like swaps

With ROC pushing forward the UNITS were seeing much more of the ball when playing on the counter and we were moving the ball well, Azza released Ashton who was only denied by a last ditch tackle and then Ashton played a great ball to Trigger who raced away from their back line yet went to chip the keeper with the ball sailing over the bar from 18 yards out

Newt then replaced Pountney with 15 left as the UNITS looked to see the game out, we really should have made life more comfortable than it was, Newt was quickly into the action releasing Trigger who cut back inside and crossed to the back stick where Ashton went for the acrobatic volley but could only blaze over from 7 yards out

ROC were now playing with 5 strikers but it was testament to our improved defending in the 2nd half that Mala never had a shot of any note to save as the UNITS saw out what time was left to cement their place in the final

A real battle today and a the sort of game we've lost in the past so testament to all the players for standing up to the onslaught and playing when we could on a difficult surface. Respect to RO Celtic who were tough opponents and played above their Division 3 status

Four cup finals in four seasons is a fantastic achievement and every player in the squad can take a bow for their efforts

Man of the match was a toss up between Ashton and Azza who both were superb especially in the 2nd half, Ashton just gets the nod even though the captains armband kept falling off his (lack of) guns!


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