The UNITS arrived at a frost covered Brown Westhead desperate to play what would only be their 3rd game in the month of December. Wordsley were the visitors and after an inspection the pitch was passed fit to play. As is the way at this time of year Cuzer found himself with plenty unavailable due to being away, injuries and late withdrawals, we also had no goal keeper available with The Strap kindly stepping up as we lined up: Chinner, DJ, Millette, Taylor, Cohen, Gilo, Coco, Azza, Jim, Kie W and Pountney. Subs were Ashton, Kie Power, Trigger and Barney.
Once more at home The UNITS got off to a flier when on 5 minutes a mazy run from DJ was abruptly brought to a halt some 25 yards from goal in a central position, Azza stepped up to bend a free kick up and over the wall and into the top corner to give us an early lead. Wordsley were set up with 5 at the back and 2 holding midfielders relying on the early ball forward to their pacey striker and within 10 minutes they had turned the game on its head as they punished some UNITS sloppiness to race into a 2-1 lead. Firstly DJ surrendered possession way too easily and their striker was released in behind and shot under Chinner then Millette gave away possession and again the striker this time got the better of PT and fired past Chinner from inside the box as the UNITS surrendered their early lead.
Giving Wordsley an advantage really played into their hands how they were set up and the UNITS huffed and puffed but created little in the way of clear chances with the visitors happy to soak up the pressure. DJ came within a whisker of atoning for his earlier error when from a fine 25 yard run he cut inside and rifled a screamer from the edge of the box which rattled off the stanchion and to safety, Azza had a 25 yarder clawed round the post by the impressive Wordsley keeper and right on half time Pountney prodded goal ward from a Kie Watters cross but again the keeper pushed the ball wide of the post as the UNITS came in trailing at half time.
HT UNITS 1 v 2 Wordsley
There was no ranting and raving at half time the players knew they were not performing well yet the half ended better for the UNITS so Cuzer left things as they were but asked the boys for a lot more quality on the ball. Barney replaced an out of sorts Millette at half time with Sean still struggling with his foot injury. Thankfully the tempo from the end of the first half was continued into the 2nd and on 50 minutes we were level. Azza stood over a free kick some 30 yards out, on shaping to shoot at the last minute dinked a ball to the far post where Paul Taylor headed across goal and at the second attempt Lewis Pountney stabbed home from 7 yards out. A landmark goal for Pountney notching his 103rd goal in his 100th appearance for the club, a fine effort.
Now on level terms the UNITS piled on the pressure yet Wordsley were standing up to everything we put on them. On 55 minutes Cuzer introduced Ashton for Jim and tweaked the shape and Ashton brought his usual energy levels to the game and was within a whisker of giving us the lead within 5 minutes of his arrival as from a deep cross he rifled in an effort from a tight angle and the ball cannoned off the bar and post and was hacked away with the keeper well beaten. Credit to Wordsley they had dug in and as the UNITS frustration grew they fashioned out two good chances of their own, both times the nippy striker did well to wriggle clear only for stand in keeper Chinner to make two good blocks from goal bound efforts. Pountney was a whisker away from giving the UNITS the lead on 70 minutes when Kie challenged in the box the ball fell to Pountney who could only scuff his shot at the keeper from 6 yards out and the keeper saved on the line
Trigger then replaced Kie Watters in a like for like swap. It was to be Trigger who was heavily involved in the UNITS taking the lead, he harried the Wordsley centre half into a mistake and robbed the ball off him as he raced towards goal he rounded the keeper only for the keeper to scramble back and claw away the goal bound effort yet Trigger picked up the rebound and squared for Pountney who slotted home for his 2nd on the day and the UNITS re-took the lead 3-2. Disaster struck then for the UNITS with 10 to go when Barney landed awkwardly on his knee and had to leave the pitch so the UNITS had to play the last 10 minutes with 10 men and Wordsley desperately searching for an equaliser .Ironically as Wordsley showed more ambition the UNITS created clear chances even being a man down.
Trigger did well to beat his man and squared for Azza who was clear in the box only for the keeper to make a great save pushing the ball wide for a corner, then Trigger got in behind the Wordsley defence and tried to lob the on rushing keeper but could only place his effort wide with the goal gaping. Deep into injury time Wordsley forced 2 corners which the UNITS dealt with and the whistle went as the UNITS recovered from 2-1 down to keeps our undefeated record intact heading into 2014.
A real morning where we had to grind it out and credit to the players for doing that, we were nowhere near our best but got the job done and the miles in the legs would have been much appreciated by a few.
Man of the match goes to Pountney who scored 2, worked hard and asked questions of Wordsley all morning.
Next up the UNITS take on Worcester Prem leaders WCT Raiders in the semi-final of the Worcester Nursing Cup.