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Long Eaton (H) 18/19

Teams

Well hello one and all. Now the games are coming thick and fast at the moment and after a vastly improved performance on Saturday in the 4-2 win against Droitwich Spa in the FA Vase, United tonight return to league action as they welcome Long Eaton Utd to the Butts Park Arena.

Long Eaton have had a similar start to United though having played two games more so this again should be another challenging game for United.

United manager Terry Anderson should hopefully have pretty much a full squad to choose from baring any knocks from the previous game. With the latest additions to the squad, the competition for places is fierce so the lads with the shirt will need to keep on top of their game or else risk being replaced by a team mate waiting for their chance.

The referee gets the game under way and it starts with a good tempo being set by both teams. With the ball being pinged around all over the pitch, it takes until the 9thminute for United to win their first corner. It’s taken by the captain Kevin Thornton and his cross is cleared out of the area but United’s Chris Cox is there to pick up the loose ball. He twists and turns before sending in a powerful angled drive that is deflected into the side netting and out for another corner. This one is taken by Kyle Carey and when the ball drops loose in the six yard box, United’s Jamal Clarke is there to drill the ball in for the opening goal in the 10thminute.

UNITED 1 LONG EATON 0

That’s a great start for United and they are looking good value for their early lead. United are starting to get a real grip of the game and it’s not long before the next chance comes along. They break with pace in the 13thminute when Shaquille McDonald does well before laying the ball off to Ryan Palmer. Palmer then proceeds into the area before seeing his powerful low angled drive hit the base of the post.

United are spreading the ball around with great confidence and pace and Long Eaton are finding it hard to get hold of the ball. United’s Ronee Hendricks did really well running down the leaving a couple of his opponents in his wake before seeing his angled shot fly into the side netting in the 21stminute.

Long Eaton’s first attempt at goal comes from a free kick in the 23rdminute buy the No7 Fabien Smith that goes wildly high and over the bar.

More intense United pressure pays off in the 38thminute when Chris Cox does well to steal the ball and send in a great ball for Shaquille McDonald to skillfully flick the ball into the roof of the net to give United a 2-0 lead.

UNITED 2 LONG EATON 0

Now that was an exquisite finish from McDonald and fully deserved for United’s continued dominance in this first half. The game resumes and Long Eaton have to make an early change when they take off the injured No5 Romaine Graham and send on the No12 Dan Faulkner in the 42ndminute. That was about it for the first half as soon after the referee blew up for half time.

Half Time

UNITED 2 LONG EATON 0

Second Half

The second half gets under way without either team making any changes during the break. Long Eaton make a rare foray up field and when the No4 Tom Gamblen tries his look from distance, his shot deflects off United’s Chris Cox wrong footing the keeper Brendan Bunn and the ball drops into the net in the 47thminute to pull a goal back.

UNITED 2 LONG EATON 1

Well that was a bit fortunate for the visitors but has they say, they all count. The first booking of the game goes to the Long Eaton No7 Fabien Smith for his persistent dissent towards the linesman in the 53rdminute.

United are soon after getting back into their stride and force a succession of corners that fail to trouble the visitors. A great chance comes their way though in the 65thminute when United’s Kevin Thornton does really well before coolly laying the ball out wide for Ryan Palmer to run onto. Ryan uses his pace to good effect before his low angled drive fizzes just past the post.

A few minutes later Long Eaton decide to make another change when they take off the No11 David Kolodynski and send on the No14 Nathan Banton in the 67thminute.

With United still doing most of the pressing, they win a free kick in a good position that’s taken by Kevin Thornton in the 69thminute. His cross picks out Jamal Clarke and his header drops just past the post.

United decide to make a change of their own in the 76thminute when they take off Ross Oulton  and send on Luke Downes. Soon after they make another change when they take off Ryan Palmer and send on Jake Holt in the 82ndminute.

The game is now into the closing minutes of the game and Long Eaton go all out trying to get the equalizer. They work the ball forward well before the No9 Zak Goodson brings out a fantastic reaction save from the United keeper Brendan Bunn that goes onto the upright and then scrambled out to safety in the 87thminute.

United then race up the other end shortly after with some great wing play from Kyle Carey who then squares a lovely ball to Shaquille McDonald waiting just outside the six yard box and the goal begging. Somehow McDonald miskicks his shot and the chance is spurned to disbelief from all around the ground in the 90thminute.

With the game now into added time, a bit of a scuffle sees United’s Shaquille McDonald and Long Eaton’s No8 Josh Thornton both booked for their parts in the proceedings in the 90+2 minute.

The final action of the game before the final whistle is blown is for United to make their final change by taking off Kyle Carey and sending on Scott Hammond on 90+3 minutes.

Full Time

UNITED 2 LONG EATON 1

In summing up this game I would have to say FULLY DESERVED COMMANDING TEAM PERFORMANCE. This for me was United’s best game of the season so far. They passed the ball around with great confidence and always looked to move the ball on quickly and it soon had the visitors on the rack with the early breakthrough. United continued to dominate for long periods and their doubled lead just before the break was justified to say the least.

The second half saw Long Eaton come out fighting and duly grabbed what looked like a very fortunate goal that put them right back into the game. United though got back into their rhythm and created plenty of half chances until late on when Shaquille McDonalds miss of the season so far should have put the visitors out of reach but instead let them off the hook and United had to weather a late rally as Long Eaton pressed for the elusive equalizer that gladly didn’t come, albeit after a great save from United’s keeper Brendan Bunn.

Players worthy of a mention for Long Eaton would have to be the No8 Josh Thornton. The captain led by example and worked hard all night trying to break down the many United attacks.

For United, they all played their part in a great team performance that looked very pleasing on the eye. Kyle Carey and Ryan Palmer both had great games playing out wide on the wings and were constant thorns in the visitors sides. Shaquille McDonald worked hard up front and finally got his reward with a sublime finish and Jamal Clarke made his presence felt with a rare goal to top off his efforts. With Chris Cox back in the fold, he performed magnificently tonight showing his usual high energy no nonsense defending but my man of the match tonight goes to the captain Kevin Thornton. Kevin tonight made United tick, he was constantly demanding the ball and if he didn’t get it he went and got it. He brought in other players into the game and was instrumental in nearly all of United’s attacking intentions so very well played Kevin Thornton.

Match stats          United       LEFC

On target                 (3)             (2)

Off target                (11)           (1)

Corners                   (12)            (2)

Free kicks               (21)            (9)

Yellow cards          (1)              (2)

Red cards               (0)              (0)

Offside                   (3)               (3)