United 1-3 Cardross
The weekly whistle-stop tour of the West coast continued for United Glasgow’s Men’s Saturday Team in the WoSAFL. After a disappointing loss to Bellaire in Greenock seven days previously, Cardross was punched into the sat-nav as United hit the road knowing an away win would catapult them above their opposition.
Cardross would prove to be similar opponents to that United faced a week ago, their game-plan characterised by physicality and a direct style of attack. United started the match in a positive fashion but as the first half progressed they were slowly sucked into making the same mistakes they made in Greenock. Speculative high balls forward played in to the hands of burly centre halves and, often second best to win loose balls, United failed to find their rhythm. The first half became increasingly played in United’s half and when it arrived, Cardross’ opener was a textbook move. Their attacker received a throw-in to feet inside the United penalty area. Facing away from goal, there seemed little danger, but he out-muscled his marker and turned to fire low beyond Fraser. United’s deficit was doubled soon after. There was a strong suspicion of offside as a ball was clipped over United’s defence. The referee claimed Gerry played the attacker onside, a debatable decision considering the referee’s positioning. Cardross’ attacker wasn’t hanging about and he dispatched the ball again low beyond Fraser. Two nothing goals. United did test the Cardross goalkeeper but scarcely looked like halving their arrears before the break.
Reminded at half-time a comeback was by no means impossible, United didn’t help their cause conceding a third goal early in the second half. Slack defending saw four defenders unable to prevent the Cardross attacker driving into the box and it was a simple tap in when he squared the ball across goal. 0-3 looked like a mountain to climb.
The introduction of Kamal, replacing Abdulhakim, brought a change of momentum however. The Kurdish midfielder stamped his authority on the game, making countless tackles and repeatedly making good use of the ball to set United on the front foot. Kwaby led the charge from defence as United threw caution to the wind and played with a tempo that their opponents struggled to cope with. Daniel replaced Paul Georgie to make his United debut. Kwaby was unlucky to head wide from a corner and Harry was inches away from reaching Kamal’s delicious through-pass to cap off a wonderful attacking move down the left hand side. They had a great chance to pull a goal back when another Kamal weighted-pass sent Harry bearing down on goal. Unceremoniously hauled down inside the box, the Cardross defender was sent off and Gerry Quinn stepped up to take the penalty. Seeing his initial effort saved, Gerry followed in to convert the rebound. But hit the post! Chris Malone was first to react…but he headed against the crossbar! It was like watching one of those FIFA Fails videos on Youtube. Time stood still as the ball ricocheted into the sky and, to cap off the incredible set of events, when it dropped Hndrin executed an acrobatic scissors kick and planted the ball into the corner of the net.
United smelled blood. In the final 15 minutes they created enough chances to feasibly come away with something. Their opponents were rattled enough to hurl homophobic abuse at each other. Both Bobby and Kwaby had surging runs from defence as United battered Cardross with waves and waves of attack. You felt a late comeback might just be possible. The latter’s attack almost ended in another goal but Kwaby’s right-footed effort flashed just wide. Chayna’s freekick cannoned off the crossbar and from the resulting melee Chris Malone was inches away from making it 2-3, unlucky to see his back-post diving header hit the side-netting. Stretching his every sinew, he just couldn't get enough purchase to turn it on target. Both Hndrin and Daniel blazed chances over the crossbar and United’s time was up.
Another disappointing defeat on the road for United. Had they started the game with the tempo, intensity and desire that they the finished it with - the score-line would likely have been a lot different. One eagerly awaits the day the penny drops and they play to their full potential for the full duration of the match.
United: Fraser, Paul G (Daniel 65'), Gerry, Kwaby, Bobby, Chris M, Chayna, Will, Abdulhakim (Kamal 55'), Hndrin, Harry