We waited and waited (and waited) for the first win, and it finally arrived in style, as an amazing first half blitz of four goals was enough to send a late arriving Maidenhead side packing and turn the Yellow Army’s seemingly permanent frowns upside down!
Everything United touched in a fantastic first half turned to gold! The team earned this by pressing the opposition and attacking with fire down both flanks. Whilst back in midfield Luke Young found the form that made him a key man in the first place, and scored a sweet first timer to make it two nil. Still, without doubt we were all stunned in Bristow’s when the third and fourth goals were slotted in by Murphy and Reidy to all but seal victory; there was some luck involved – but we deserved it!
The disbelief all around was a picture! Happy faces and joyful rejoice as each goal found the back of the net. These are the moments that remind the Yellow Army, why we keep putting ourselves through this!
Unsurprisingly the second half was tame in comparison, with Maidenhead (credit to them) having a go, and United mainly threatening on the counter.
No matter – after two months of pain and heartbreak it was the result we have been craving for. The 1st half performance showed a team refreshed by Owers and Kuhl ready to bounce back from the edge of National League oblivion. A massive win to savour!
Higgins 8.5 Gowling 8 McGinty 8 Davis 8.5
Young 9 Lathrope 7.5 Evans 8
Reidy 8.5 Murphy 7.5 McQuoid 7
Subs: Keating 6 Myrie-Williams 6
Man of the Match:
Unlike most games this season there was contenders for this title, quite a few of them in fact!
However, my choice is Luke. He was back to his best last night; pushing forward with gusto to provide support, battling for the ball, pushing passes around and scoring a superb second.
Owers needs to get the best out of the midfielder, and this was an excellent start. His assets lie in attack, and he was allowed to roam whilst Evans and Lathrope tidied up the rest. And of course his brilliant set pieces can always cause bother, with McQuoid heading in one and Murphy profiting from another.
A brilliant performance from a lad whose form has been a major concern in a season full of them; well not now!
All the team deserve credit on a night like that, but I haven’t got time to write about everybody so I’ll just mention three!
The two full backs Higgins and Davis both had tremendous games. Higgins was aggressive from the start and set the tone on the right hand side, winning possession and giving excellent overlap options to his colleagues.
Davis had another cracking 90 minutes. He looks a real athlete, with lovely balance and poise both with or without the ball. Happy to overlap much like Higgins, Liam gave Maidenhead plenty to think about and also coped easily with his defensive duties, including one saving tackle in the second half. Was he worth waiting for?…yes I believe so!
Jamie Reid had one of his best games in a Yellow shirt. The attacker as we all know can frustrate, but he really put a shift in throughout the match – plus served up an assist for Young and tapped in for the fourth. Add to that unselfish running and clever touches to keep possession for United.
Jamie is clearly motivated to succeed at Plainmoor, and can hopefully continue to win over the United faithful with these sort of performances.
1 – Luke Young’s in-swinging cross is nodded home by a leaping McQuoid to put United ahead.
2 – Reid evades two defenders and his touch is picked up by Young who bangs a first time shot low pass the keeper at his near post.
3 – A corner ricochets around the penalty area, and Murphy is there to stab home gleefully from close range.
4 – A nice move down the left sees Murphy swing a boot at the ball and it falls perfectly for Reidy to touch into the net for an unbelievable 4th!
The Tactics Board:
Owers team utilises a 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation again and it gives the team real width going forward and some steel going back. The full backs make such a difference creating the overlap, whilst Reidy and McQuoid are willing runners to help support Murphy – who had been isolated in previous games.
In midfield Evans, Young and Lathrope dovetail well and you can tell the hard work that has been going on at the training ground, A job well done and it will be interesting to see what happens when the likes of Dowling, Lee and JP come back into the squad to boost Gary’s options further.
Maidenhead arriving late for kick-off certainly did them no favours. They looked slow and laborious from the first whistle, and this was pounced upon by a United side desperate to get three points.
Strangely enough though I have probably seen worse teams at Plainmoor this season (teams that have won/drawn), as the away team did spring to life in the second half. It may have been too late, but rather than giving up they showed some skills and could have grabbed at least one.
Their away support also deserve a mention, for turning up in decent numbers (and on time unlike their team!) on a Tuesday night and making decent noise, even after their side went 4-0 down!
In a night of very few decisions the referee made hard work of things! He booked Davis even though the left back got a big piece of the ball, and then failed to notice Gowling being clattered after the ball had gone. There was not much else to report on as the game petered out in the second half and very few challenges were flying in. Thankfully the officials were not a factor for a change!
Strangely enough there wasn’t that many chances in the game; it was just one of those nights when shots just go in!
I’ll pick the third goal as the key moment, as that really killed the game off and gave Murphy his first for United.
The striker looked much sharper than the last time I saw him, and clearly game time is agreeing with him! He was making runs behind defenders, causing the Maidenhead defence problems and I reckon he’ll poach some more before long.
Evans seems like one of those players you don’t really notice until he’s not there! By that I mean he gets on about his business quietly; breaking up attacks, distributing the ball and doing everything in an unfussy manner.
Owers clearly likes the balance he gives our midfield, and his busy partnership with Lathrope was easily good enough against Maidenhead. He is going to be valuable squad member and it will be interesting to see who (if anyone) makes way for Dowling on his return.
It was a night to celebrate and enjoy for a change, a night to remind us all why supporting TUFC is not always purgatory! The team is at last finding a shape and identity to give us real hope.
There was big performances all round and it was heartening how Kuhl was desperate for the back four to keep concentration and grind out a clean sheet. His presence prowling the touchline, will be a real asset in tougher tests to come.
The team now has to build on this and push on – it is only one win after all and we desperately need more. The difference the goals made was huge, with confidence oozing and passes finding their target. Meanwhile Liam Davis is just class at left back. More please boys!
Plainmoor 7th October
Dominic – TT Editor