The UNITS travelled to bottom of the table Wordsley on a sunny Sunday morning in the heart of the Black Country. Alas Cuzer found himself without no less than 6 first team regulars for the fixture, and we were scratching around for a side at one point but mustered 13 as we lined up: Tom, Chinner, Gilo, Taylor, Ben, Newt, Ashton, Jay, Pountney, Azza and Trigger. Subs were Jim and Barney with Cuzer and Mala named as outfield players for comedy value.
The pitch was a shocker and made for a difficult spectacle for all concerned but early on despite playing well within ourselves we took the game to the home side. Trigger was the first to threaten when he linked well with Jay down our right and from Lockhart's pull back his low goal bound shot was superbly blocked by the centre half at full stretch. On 15 we were within a whisker of the lead when from Jay's deep cross Pountney volleyed goal wards from 7 yards only to rattle the post with the keeper well beaten and the ball to bounce back and smack him in the face, much to everybody’s amusement. Just as in the game at our place earlier in the season Wordsley to their credit were resilient, hardworking and putting bodies on the line and their keeper was in fine form.
We thought we had taken the lead on 25 minutes when Jay raced clear and finished at the second attempt but the flag went up for Jay running through, the referee giving the goal, then speaking to the linesman and changing his decision. Wordsley's main threat was set pieces but Ben and Tayl's were dealing with most things a couple of times we were guilty of playing in the wrong areas but thankfully Tom remained untested in the UNITS goal. On 30 minutes we did take the lead when from a Pountney corner to the near post Newt's was on hand to prod home through a crowd of players and put us 1-0 up. A 2nd prior to half time would have been the cushion we were looking for but Tayl's headed wide from an Azza corner then Azza himself shot wide from the edge of the box and from another corner Chinner shot straight at the keeper from 12 yards as we came in 1-0 up at half time.
Half Time Wordsley 0 v 1 TS Units
Cuzer was disappointed we hadn't heeded the warning given pre- game and we were sloppy all over the pitch with much more expected in the 2nd half. We did start the 2nd half better but the luck continued to desert us, on 55 a searching ball from Ashton released Trigger and Azza in behind, Trigger taking charge but trying to lob the keeper could only pass it back when he had more time than he thought as another chance went begging. As you would expect the longer it stayed 1-0 the home side still had belief but we were defending well and despite a couple of long range efforts Tom was comfortable.
On the hour mark Gilo came off worse in a tackle and was replaced by Barney coming back from his own long layoff, Chinner moving to left back, Barney to right back. The UNITS then had some defending to do as Wordsley won a few corners back to back a couple of great defensive headers from Taylor keeping the home side at bay. On 70 minutes Jim replaced Trigger with Jay going up top. Jay's energy and running then stretched a now tiring Wordsley back line and he made space for Pountney to fire wide when well placed. Then from a Lockhart throw the keeper could only parry onto the bar under pressure with the UNITS unable to force the ball home.
On 80 minutes the elusive 2nd goal finally arrived when Ashton did well 20 yards out and dinked a nice cross to the back post where Pountney fired a superb volley across the impressive home keeper into the bottom corner. Jim had a chance to add a 3rd when he was released in behind but the keeper rushed out and did enough to put him off. Deep into injury time a low shot from the Wordsley midfielder took a deflection off Barney and found its way into the bottom corner to give the home side some reward for their efforts. From the kick off Jay nearly added a 3rd for the UNITS when he linked well with Azza and from the resulting corner the whistle went as the UNITS finished up 2-1 to the good.
Anything like our best today and with so many players missing and others playing out of their regular positions maybe it was to be expected but we will certainly have to raise out game for the challenges ahead, none more so than Worcester Prem Champs WCT Raiders who we travel to in next week’s Semi Final of the Nursing Cup.
Man of the match went to Paul Taylor who seemed to want it more than most when we had to dig in during the 2nd half.