United's first league fixture against fellow WoSAFL newcomers, Newshot, took place at Drumoyne.
The venue beside Elder Park in Govan, once famed for it's petting zoo, was the scene two years ago of United's only previous abandoned fixture vs Park Villa back when they competed in the Scottish Unity League. Unfortunately, as on that day, this game didn't last the full 90mins. Where once there docile llamas to pet, this game turned grizzly as actions mirrored more so that of an aggressive stag.
United's lineup was much changed from their last league outing vs Inchinnan. With Fraser unavailable there was an unfamiliar face in goals (Barry from the Sunday Team) after Paul Georgie managed to injure himself cutting limes at the club's Christmas party the night before. Laurie was another Sunday Team member drafted in. He was deployed at full back as Gerry was moved across to compensate for Evan's absense.
Starting games on the front foot has been a recurrent problem for United in recent months. Here was no different and they could have found themselves behind within 5 minutes were it not for their opponents' poor finishing. Looking skittish in possession, United survived further scares as the wind made life increasingly difficult to break out of defence for any period of time.
The pressure told eventually. After 35 minutes a lofted freekick into the United box was not dealt with and, despite both Barry and Bobby's attempts to claw the ball clear, it was bundled over the line to give the hosts the lead. Donald and Harry both went close for United in search of a reply but as 45 minutes elapsed United went in at the break trailing.
The second half was much different. United were on the front foot for the majority as the hosts failed to adapt to playing into a headwind.
United equalised on 65 minutes from Harry's fine finish, courtesy of an assist by China. Regaining the mantle of top goalscorer in the process, Harry's strike capped off a flowing move that began with Laurie under pressure in defence. Marc and China both came close to adding to their momentum though Donald's fizzing drive came closest.
At 1-1, as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, tension in the game was palpable. A few Newshot players earned themselves bookings cursing and swearing at the referee.
Disaster struck for United with 10 minutes left as Newshot were awarded a penalty. Laurie was the guilty party, tripping the Newshot attacker whilst trying to make amends for a failed clearance. The spot kick was swept past Barry and United were behind once more. They should have been further behind when déjà vu struck as the referee pointed to the spot once more just minutes later. Second half substitute, Mohammed Bokor, was harshly judged to have felled a Newshot attacker after tracking him back all the way to his own by-line. A sense of justice and renewed intent prevailed as the Newshot player missed the target second time around.
Then things got ugly...
With only 2 minutes remaining, and United chasing a late equaliser, Newshot's attacker was booked for tangling with Kwaby as the latter tried to restart play quickly. Clearly aggrevated, the same attacker flew into a high tackle on Harry just seconds later. As malicious as it was pointless, considering where on the park the incident occurred, there was no hesitation from the referee as he showed a straight red card. Incensed by the decision, the Newshot attacker flew into a fit of rage and stormed towards the official. Refusing to acknowledge any aspect of personal space, the attacker rutted heads with the referee then clearly aimed a headbutt at him.
Luckily the referee didn't react in kind but was well within his rights to abandon the game.
Bewildered, the United team took the time to warm down as Newshot players and management continued remonstrating with the referee all the way back to the changing rooms.
It's worth noting not a single United player was booked. Despite sitting 4th in the WoSAFL in terms of points, United remain well clear on top of the fair play table.
In a sport that is supposed to be fun to take part in, sometimes you have to ask yourself what really matters!
UNITED: Barry, Laurie, Gerry, Bobby, Kwaby, China, Chris, David (Mohammed 65), Marc (Rabbi 80), Donald, Harry
Not used: Paul Georgie
POTM: China + Kwaby