@DomRoman – Dominic Roman
This was a real test of United’s confidence and it was a test that the boys were equal to. A nil all draw is not exactly cause for celebration, but against a very good Shots team – Owers charges stood up, puffed their chests out and matched their opponents in all areas. If the Orient performance was an influx of goals, this was an exhibition of steel and commitment.
Efete 8 Davey 9 McGinty 8
Barrum-Bobb 7 Lathrope 8 Young 7.5 Davis 9
Reid 7.5 Keating 8
Subs: Gnabouyou 6
Man of the Match:
Since I’ve been doing these reports, I haven’t dished out many 9s – heck even 8s have been in short supply at times.
Davis thoroughly deserves one though. He had an excellent game. Defending with aggression and pushing on time and time again to concern Shots. He almost scored in the first and then laid on our best chance for McQuoid in the second.
An all-round top performance from Liam, showing the athleticism and ability that made Nico sign him in the summer.
Alex Davey was worth a nine as well. Loving the calmness of this lad, when Shots threatened he shut the door on numerous occasions. Sean McGinty worked really well in tandem with AD. He is showing much needed aggression and looks all the better for it.
Elsewhere Ruairi Keating and Damon Lathropr typify the new and improved attitude of the team. Running and pressing hard to close the Shots down. Nice to watch proper heart and determination from the guys in yellow.
3-5-2/5-3-2. The settled shape of the team is quietly paying dividends. Young looks more comfortable with Damon alongside him these days, and although there are gaps for the away attack it is heartening that the team and formation has found cohesion. Aldershot don’t look overly comfortable playing against our formation and rejig things themselves – a compliment to the work Owers and Kuhl have been doing to get us organised.
Aldershot clearly expect to win at Plainmoor and in the first half have a swagger to suggest that will be the case. The team know how to find their men in the final third and then switch play wide. McClure upfront causes plenty of problems for the defence with clever movement and misses very good chances to put his team ahead.
The second half is more United and apart from a brief flurry towards the end, Aldershot spend more time defending. They are well drilled to win free kicks by going down under challenges, which the ref did nothing to discourage! Overall a team who will surely go close this season, though we did have our chances to send them home pointless.
Mid-way through the second half, a leaping header from Ruairi gives us possession. The ball is pushed left to the marauding Davis, who dinks a lovely cross to the back post. McQuoid is there but can’t keep his header down from point blank range. Agonising stuff, I just sensed that this was our magic moment and Josh can’t convert.
It feels like the ref favours Aldershot. This may be blinkered I know, but they win a number of debatable free kicks and he certainly tries my patience. I’ve seen worse refs though and he isn’t card happy in a game of few dirty challenges.
Ok I admit it I love Ruairi! He just leaves nothing on the field, chasing down lost causes and being a real pain for their back four. He looks to play off their shoulder and has one proper chance. The shot is true and beats the keeper but not the post – for a second we all believe it’s in. Not to be for Ruairi, who continues to be a menace throughout – winning headers and looking for his partner (The equally hard working Reidy).
I predicted a draw and so it proved. There was numerous chances today for someone to score, so nil nil was a surprise all round. I think a draw was a fair result. The start of the second half was the best 20 I’ve seen from a United team this season – no goals but closing down Shots and pushing them back with attacking intent. With this sort of attitude and team effort to pressure the opposition, I am definitely more optimistic of our National League status – now if we can just snatch more goals here or there I would be a very happy chappy!
Away 9th December – National League