Thomsons Trophy Semi-Final: United 0-1 Newshot
Having knocked out Third Lanark on penalties previously in the Thomson's Trophy, United's Men's Saturday side were treated to a semi-final appearance against fellow WoSAFL Division 1 side Newshot. The two sides met a fortnight ago in a match marred by unhinged refereeing but this was a much more to-do affair as the victors last time out arrived smartly dressed in shirt and tie...and yes, you guessed it, Paul Georgie brought his homemade "Tupo Pamoja" sign again! (he keeps it for such big occasions!)
United arrived at New Western Park missing five central midfielders as suspension and unavailability stretched the squad thin. They were buoyed however by the return of Kwaby, who had limped off vs Third Lanark in the previous round. The trio of Davy T, Donald and Sean also returned to the starting XI.
Newshot came out the traps quickest and United had to weather early pressure. Defending an early series of corners wasn't the start United aimed for but they absorbed most of Newshot's pressure comfortably and grew into the half. Fraser saved from close range with his feet but the majority of the action during the first half was aimed at the Newshot goal. Sean reached Gerry's pass down the right and darted infield towards goal. As the goalkeeper narrowed the angle he opted to try squeeze it past him rather than shoot across goal but found only the side netting. Intercepting a pass on the halfway line, Paul Georgie played in Sean again with a brilliantly weighted pass soon after but, in acres of spaces in front of goal, he was flagged offside. It must have been very close.
Harry's freekick needed tipped over the crossbar but the best of the first half chances fell to Davy T. Donald's through ball was perfect and set Davy racing towards goal with a defender in tow. Shaping to shoot, he fed him a dummy bought hook line and sinker as the opponent skidded right off the pitch. One-on-one with the keeper, the angle was closed in a flash as the keeper did well to spread himself and block Davy's shot. Half time came at the wrong time for United.
Neither side gave an inch as the clock ticked by in the second half. Chances were at a premium at either end as the game was dominated by midfield battles, 50/50s, interceptions and fouls. It certainly wasn't a classic as Joe and Ali replaced Mohamed Mna and Davy T with 20mins to go. As the game wore on United's ability to keep the ball in attack diminished as Newshot turned the screw. Two good saves by Fraser had kept the score level, the second the best of the two as he tipped a fierce drive onto the crossbar. It looked like the game was headed to extra time until, barely five minutes from the end, Newshot snatched a late winner from nothing. A low drive was aimed towards the box from out wide. The Newshot attacker inside the box was quickest to react when it ricocheted off Bobby and slotted the ball beyond Fraser from 8 yards out.
There was still time to reply. Harry was spent though. After twice needing wound up again by his manager he could run no more and was replaced by Sunday Team loanee, Laurie, in the dying stages. There would be time for one last chance provided by another killer through-ball from Donald. Sean reached it and did manage to slot the ball beyond the goalkeeper this time...but his shot just didn't have the legs to make it over the goal line before the defender's last ditch sliding clearance. And thus symbolised United's semi-final day out - a great effort but they just came up short.
The victors were quick away after the full time whistle sounded. United took time to warm down and thank the supporters who came out to cheer them on. No time to be down in the dumps though - next up is a midweek match vs Inchinnan Valley!
United: Fraser, Gerry, Bobby, Kwaby, Paul G, Mohamed Mna (Joe 63'), Kevin, Harry (Laurie 89'), Davy T (Ali 70') Donald, Sean
Yellow Card: Sean
PoTM: Davy T