United 4-1 Inchinnan Valley
Two wins over Third Lanark in the last week signalled a late surge in form for United Men’s Saturday Team in the WosAFL 1st Division. Six points won propelled them above Inchinnan Valley, off the foot of the table for the first time since a division-wide points-deduction stemming from Old Oak Thistle’s B Team withdrawl from the league.
That meant a midweek away fixture in Paisley vs Inchinnan Valley was a proverbial 6-pointer. A basement battle. An opportunity to put daylight between the two sides, or a swift return to propping up the table for United. Will and Jake returned to compensate for Kevin’s withdrawal as United overcame the first major hurdle of the night with relative ease – negotiating rush-hour traffic on the M8 to arrive in time for kick-off!
With such high stakes neither team gave an inch in the early stages. The opening of the game was a frantic game of pinball. As United settled into dealing with Inchinnan's direct high-balls Chris and Chayna soon started stamping their authority on the match, winning countless tackles and loose balls, giving United opportunity to dominate the flow of the game. With a vice-like grip of proceedings in the middle of the park, United’s wide and attacking players were free to terrorise Inchinnan’s defence and didn’t need asked twice to do so. Their tenacity was rewarded with the goal they deserved after 25mins when good interchange down the right culminated with Jake beating the offside trap racing into the box. His initial low cross was blocked but, collecting the rebound, he sidestepped the defender and smashed a shot low into the corner to give United the lead.
United’s tails were up and Inchinnan were struggling to live with their tempo both with and without the ball. How United weren’t awarded a penalty is anybody’s guess when Harry darted between two defenders and was cynically scythed down in the box. He would have just minutes to wait for revenge as he doubled United’s lead chasing down a defender forcing him to pass back to his goalkeeper - the pass was short and Harry nipped in, rounded the goalkeeper and rolled the ball into an empty net. United looked razor sharp and Inchinnan looked like imploding.
Will added a third goal, arriving late in the box to sweep the ball home when Harry’s quick throw-in eluded three defenders. Harry could have added to his tally but was twice foiled by the outrushing goalkeeper. A fourth goal did come just before half time in bizarre circumstances. Jake’s lob looked fairly comfortable for the goalkeeper to deal with but he lost his footing and fumbled the ball into his own net!
Four to the good after a blistering first half, United expected a reaction. Indeed Inchinnan did feature more in the second period, reducing the deficit with a wonderful strike five minutes after the re-start but, in truth, the ball spent as much time out the pitch as it did in play throughout the second half. Chances were at a premium at both ends but United deserve credit for their management of the game. A suspect offside call denied them the chance to score a wonderful 5th goal after a slick, incisive passing combination, started and finished by Chris with a perfectly weighted through-ball for Harry, was judged from a distance to be offside. Second half substitute, Hama, fired wide after a good move and Gerry’s goal-bound freekick was deflected wide after Mohamed Mna was hacked down on the edge of the box late in the game.
The first-half fireworks were enough to secure the points for United who comfortably saw out the rest of the match. The win is their third in a row and takes their points tally to twice that of their opponents. The pair meet again next week at Glasgow Green.
UNITED: Fraser, Gerry, Kwaby, Bobby, Paul G, Will (Hama 70'), Chris M, Chayna, Cosar (Mohamed Mna 75'), Jake, Harry
Goals: Jake (x2), Harry, Will