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Droitwich Spa (FA Vase) 18/19

Teams

Well hello one and all. After the disappointment of the Bank Holiday derby day defeat at the hands of the Sphinx, we today start our journey in this year’s FA Vase cup competition with a long trip out to Stourport to play Droitwich Spa.

Droitwich Spa have had a decent start to their respective league campaign so will I’m sure be another good test for United. United though would I thought still be favourites for this tie but nothing is a given in this game and United will have to be at their best if they are to progress in this competition.

United Manager Terry Anderson will be buoyed by the fact that he will have Shaquille McDonald back and available for selection after completing his one match suspension.

The referee gets the game under way and it’s a cagey affair in the early stages as both teams look to stamp a foothold in the game. It takes until the 13thminute for the first corner that goes to United and Kyle Barnett sends his header just over the bar. United are showing signs of slowly taking control of the game as they are starting to carve out a few chances. Soon after in the 20thminute, they win a free kick in a good position that’s taken by debutant Shay Nicholson. His cross into the area picks out Shaquille McDonald who does really well to turn his marker before seeing his goal bound shot brilliantly saved by the SPA keeper Matt Oliver. They again work the ball forward well in the 23rdminute that saw a Scott Hammond tamely hit low shot gathered with ease by the SPA keeper.

With United now being so dominant without yet having anything to show for it, SPA have to wait until the 33rdminute before they muster up a corner for themselves that in turn was easily dealt with by United. United then proceed to force the pace and goo straight back on the offensive. The 34thminute see’s Shaquille McDonald do well before picking out Scott Hammond who attempts a spectacular overhead kick  that’s goes just over the bar. Shaquille McDonald soon after goes close himself after dribbling into the area and sending his shot just wide of the target in the 35thminute.

United are forced into an early change just before the break when Scott Hammond is taken off injured and replaced by Ryan Palmer in the 40thminute. United have time for just one more chance before the break when Jake Holt shoots tamely at the SPA keeper Matt Oliver in the 43rdminute. Soon after the referee blows up for half time with the scores all level.

Half Time

SPA 0 UNITED 0

Second Half

The second half gets under way with neither side making any half time changes. SPA are gifted an early chance to open the scoring when United’s keeper Brendan Bunn miskicks his clearance with him out in no man’s land leaving the SPA No7 Brad Burgess with a chance to try an audacious lob but his attempt fortunately drops wide of the goal in the 51stminute. SPA seem to be buoyed by this and are starting to make some impressions of their own. The SPA No11 Haydn Morris does well down the left before seeing his shot blaze high over the bar in the 52ndminute.

SPA’s spell of pressure finally pays off when they pass their way through the United defence with ease and set the No7 Brad Burgess through with a simple tap in at the far post for a surprise opening goal for SPA in the 53rdminute.

SPA 1 UNITED 0

Now to say that this goal was against the run of play is a bit of an understatement after United have almost completely dominated proceedings so far but it just goes to show what can happen if you don’t make it count when you’re on top.

Soon after United make another change when they take off Jake Holt and send on Kevin Thornton in the 55thminute.

Play continues and the first booking of the game comes in the 58thminute when the SPA No5 Curtis Townley gets his yellow card for a tackle on United’s Ryan Palmer. United decide to make their final change in the 62ndminute when they take off Shay Nicholson and send on Curvin Ellis. This gives United an extra body upfront and that soon bares fruit in the 66thminute when United pressed forward down the right with the impressive Ryan Palmer. Palmer runs directly at the SPA defence before sending his powerful low angled drive past the SPA keeper Matt Oliver for the equaliser.

SPA 1 UNITED 1

Now that’s more like it and what a great finish that was from Ryan Palmer. With the game resumed, United’s Gift Mussa gets his name in the book with a yellow card for a firm tackle on the SPA No3 Jonathan Brooks in the 68thminute.

United are still by in large still in control of this game but SPA are making more of an impact in the second half. When United’s Kyle Carey loses the ball in the 73rdminute, he works hard to win it back and proceeds towards goal before sending a fierce low drive past the SPA keeper for a great finish and United are now in the lead.

SPA 1 UNITED 2

As the game resumes SPA decide to make another change when they take off the No10 Corey Rudd and send on the No12 Dan Cottrill in the 74thminute.

United continue to press and Ryan Palmer does well down the right again before sending a deep cross to the far post where the lurking Shaquille McDonald is on hand to blast the ball into the back of the net to double their lead in the 76thminute.

SPA 1 UNITED 3

We are now into the final 15 minutes so hopefully that goal will be enough to keep SPA at bay. If only that was the case!!!!! The 80thminute sees SPA win a corner that sees the delivery bring out a great save by the United keeper Brendan Bunn but the loose ball is turned in by the No7 Brad Burgess to put them back in the game with 10 minutes to go.

SPA 2 UNITED 3

Now it’s back to squeaky bum time for the last few minutes. Can United hold on and see the game out. With the game in the 85thminute, United’s Shaquille McDonald does well inside the area before laying the ball out to strike partner Curvin Ellis who steadies himself before steering the ball past the SPA keeper at his near post to put the game to bed and send United into the next round.

SPA 2 UNITED 4

The game resumes and shortly after the referee blows up for full time and United are through to the next round, a mouth watering home tie against Atherstone.

Full Time

SPA 2 UNITED 4

In summing up this game I would have to say A SOLID GROUND OUT TEAM PERFORMANCE. Manager Terry rung the changes from Mondays game with a couple of new signings and Chris Cox returning to play for the club. United looked solid in a dominant first half display that saw their opponents not register a single shot on or off target. That said, for all United’s dominance they had not been able to penetrate a stern SPA defence that was holding up well.

The second half saw United carry on in the same vein but to be fair SPA showed a bit more in going forward in this half and surprisingly went in front after some good link up play set them up for the opening goal. United soon were on level terms and indeed pressed before having a two goal cushion.

SPA then reduced the arears to give them a fighting chance but soon after the game was sealed when they grabbed a telling fourth in the final minutes.

Players worthy of a mention would have to be the SPA No11 Haydn Morris. Morris especially in the second half was a constant threat when he had the ball. He ran with the ball well and delivered some good telling balls into the area at times.

For United this was a vast improvement on Monday’s game. They completely bossed the first half both the new signings Shay Nicholson and Ross Oulton having good debuts. Ross Oulton looked comfortable on the ball and showed an array of varied passes that showed he has a bit of quality about him. Kyle Carey had one of his best games for United in my opinion and was involved in most of United’s attacking forays but for me I think my man of the match must go to Ryan Palmer. Ryan like Scott Hammond the other week took his change brilliantly and showed glimpses of what he can do with some great direct running. He did really well to score his goal and still had time supply an assist so well played Ryan Palmer.

Match stats             United        SPA

On target                    (9)              (2)

Off target                     (9)             (2)

Corners                        (5)             (2)

Free kicks                   (4)              (10)

Yellow cards              (1)              (1)

Red cards                   (0)              (0)

Offside                         (2)              (0)