United 8-5 Hotscots
For the third time in 12 months, United Glasgow's Men's Development Team took on Hotscots in a friendly, the second time the teams have met in Glasgow with the last game coming in Edinburgh earlier in 2016. With the "series" tied at 5-5 on aggregate going into this game, a new look UGFC side (with a few special guests) were hoping to rebuild some confidence after a bruising and demoralising defeat against AC Kelvingrove.
When the squad finally arrived at Glasgow Green Football Centre, after a few players getting lost in Glasgow Green itself or mixing up the meeting time and kick off time, and changed into the new white, Rage Sport kits, it was an unusual line up that started the game with UGFC Women's Team coach George drafted in at left back and flying winger Taha filling in at right back.
It wasn't long before United took the lead with a slick passing move starting from left back which ended with Nasser's searing pace getting him in behind to square to Abdulla Mustafa who bundled home from short range. 1-0 inside the first few minutes and a second soon to follow as Nasser was released behind the backline, he held off a defender twice his size to double United's lead. United wobbled a little and conceded to make it 2-1 before Nasser picked the ball up inside his own half, rode three challenges, raced away from the remaining defenders and made it 3-1. Unfortunately, a combination of a freak goal (a speculative long ball whose bounce eluded Steph) and a lack of concentration at the back made it 3-3 with not long to go before half-time.
Thankfully, Jemal Yosuf (affectionately nicknamed 'Jimmy' by others in the team) popped up to make it 4-3 before the half-time whistle blew. After half-time, it was all about 'Jimmy' as he added another 3 goals to his tally to make it 7-4 (in amongst his heroics, United conceded another soft goal). A raft of substitutions came next and when Boss didn't realise he was one of the players going onto the park (but the player coming off did realise...) Hotscots took advantage of the gap in the middle of the United defence to make it 7-5.
Yones, Hama and Jemal were unlucky not to put chances away before United added an 8th (honestly, 8!) towards the end of the game as Alan inexplicably found himself in the box and guided Hama's cross under the onrushing Hotscots keeper with his left foot to conclude the day's scoring.
United really should have carved out more chances but the referee's whistle went for offside so often the players were beginning to think they had tinnitus. Given the pace of Teklit, Taha, Aeub, Nasser and Abdulla Mustafa against the Hotscots backline, it was pointed out that the United players could have started in their own half and still probably won the footraces - there was really no excuse for being offside again and again. And again and again.
A game played in really friendly spirits throughout and a nice confidence boost to the team before most of them come up against GCCL heavyweights Harmony Row in a few weeks when the league officially starts.
United: Steph, Taha, Alan, Aleix, George, Aeub, Hama, Kieran, Jemal, Nasser, Abdulla Mustafa
Subs: Boss, Teklit, Yones, Ben, Ibrahim, Mahammad Seeday
Goals: Jemal (4), Nasser (2), Abdulla Mustafa, Alan