The UNITS returned to league action after a break last week as we took on Taverners AFC at home. Cuzer found himself with quite a few regulars missing but still had 16 at his disposal as the UNITS lined up: Mala, Chinner, Gilo, Ben, Taylor, Coco, Pountney, Azza, Newt, Seeks and Kie Watters. Bench was Kie Power, Dan Butler, Andy Baker, Jim and Trigger.
The UNITS had lined up with a very attack minded side and formation and they couldn't have asked for a better start with within 90 seconds some slick play down our left and a dummy overlap run by Gilo resulted in Coco checking back in side and floating a 30 yard cross field ball to Azza, within an instant Azza controlled on his chest and volleyed into the top corner from 25 yards, a wonderful finish and the UNITS were off to a flyer. Taverners with their main striker playing centre half had clearly come to frustrate leaving a lone striker isolated and packing the midfield and we could have added to the opener in the first 10 minutes, Kie Watters twice went close from great crosses into the box and then Coco fired at the keeper from a good position inside the box. Taverners to their credit started to get some of the ball due to their extra man in midfield yet the UNITS makeshift back four stood firm and Mala remained untested.
On 20 minutes Kie went close again when from a long throw he headed onto the crossbar and no UNIT could follow up the loose ball. The flow of play was continuous towards the Taverners goal yet once again the UNITS were guilty of not killing teams off despite creating plenty of opportunities and sure enough on 35 minutes the visitors drew level. Gilo conceded a soft needless free kick and the ball in was excellent with the Taverners defender getting above Ben on the back stick to power a header across Mala and into the back of the net. The UNITS really should have been ahead before half time, Newt's found himself in two good positions yet failed to pull the trigger, Azza and Seeks went close yet the best chance fell to The Strap who found himself six yards out yet could only scuff his shot into the turf and into the hands of the grateful visiting keeper.
HT UNITS 1 v 1 Taverners
Despite some decent football Cuzer was far from happy with the familiar trend of being in control yet not finishing off the game and asked the boys to make the 2nd 45 minutes count. Taverners changed shape 2nd half clearly warming to the task and Cuzer had done the same with the UNITS. We again saw plenty of the ball but chances were few and far between in the opening 15 minutes of the half. Just after the hour mark we took the lead again with a fine goal, after a spell of UNITS pressure Coco found the ball wide and whipped in a fine ball to Azza who volleyed across the keeper from a tight angle to restore the UNITS lead. Pountney and Newton were then replaced by Baker and Jim. On 65 minutes the UNITS once again let Taverners straight back into the game, a debatable free kick was awarded some 35 yards out and as the ball was floated into the box the Taverners striker managed to bring down the ball, hold off the UNITS challenge and loop the ball, back to goal, over Mala and into the top corner 2-2.
Thankfully for the UNITS 5 minutes after this we once again took the lead, some neat build up outside the box resulted in the ball being played into Azza who was clipped from behind in the box and the ref had no hesitation pointing to the spot and Azza completed his hat trick with a clinical finish from the spot to restore the UNITS lead. Taverners now threw more men forward but this only resulted in the UNITS creating more chances on the break, again Kie Watters was within inches of getting on a fine Seeks cross, then Baker played a 1-2 and slid in with the goal gaping but missed the ball by a whisker, Jim played a neat one two and shot wide and then Jim did well at the by- line and crossed low for Azza who side footed goal wards from all of 8 yards only to see The Taverners keeper pull of a worldie of a save pushing the ball onto the bar. On 80 minutes Dan Butler came on for his debut replacing Kie Watters who had done well on his first start. Seeks shot wide when through late on as the UNITS failed to put the game to bed yet the visitors didn't create anything of note and the UNITS recorded an important and hard earned win.
Another game where we've seemingly been in control yet made hard work of getting the result, credit to our visitors though who set up well and remained competitive throughout the 90 minutes.
Man of the match went to Azza who bounced back from his below par showing v Chainwire with a dynamic performance causing the Taverners back line a lot of problems with his movement and driving the UNITS forward when in possession.
Next up we travel to high flyers Dudley Sports in a tough looking league fixture.