Harry Lovering – @HazzTorqz
Well. On a cold, wet and blustery day up in North London, United certainly gave a good account of themselves and proved that they can more than compete with teams at National League level. With 11 men on the pitch for the full 90, United would’ve more than likely won the game. Even with only 10 men, they proved that they could have come back to Devon in the draw for round 2 of the Trophy. We had numerous chances, especially in the last 10-15 minutes of the second half of normal time, to win the game!
United started brightly, with Kalala causing the most problems down the left with his pace and trickery, cutting inside on numerous occasions. Ugwu had a great chance to fire Boreham Wood into the lead on 34 minutes but his shot, from a cross by Ash, went whiskers wide past Macdonald’s near post. On 38 minutes Ruairi received his marching orders after it looked as though there was a 50/50 challenge after he slipped, but the referee Hulme said he went in with intent and so United had to play with 10 men for the rest of the game.
The red card galvanised United, and after only being on the pitch for the matter of seconds Saikou Janneh met an Asa Hall cross after it was parried by the Boreham keeper and tapped it into an open net to put United in front!! 0-1 on 48 minutes. Then came that man for Boreham Wood, Shaibu, who replaced Ash on 57 minutes. A mistake in the middle of the park, while United were keeping the ball so well and looked comfortable. A mistake from Asa Hall gifted Shaibu a clear run on goal, after a through ball was played to him and he calmly slotted past MacDonald. 1-1 on 65 minutes. Ricketts for Boreham missed a golden chance on 79 minutes for them after diving his header went whiskers wide of the post. Then, on 83 minutes, The Wood’s Thomas had a wind assisted cross which looked to be heading in, only to crash across the crossbar and be cleared away by United. Going into the final 10, united really should’ve won the game. Asa Hall dragged his shot just wide of the post, Reid had a chance where he’d darted into the box and sat his man on the floor only for their keeper to tip his left footed curling shot from about 5 yards past the post and away for a corner. By far the key moment in the match Reidy having an open goal to aim at after Wynter got clear and put in a ball for Reid who could only put it just over the bar as the goal was gaping on 86 minutes. Full time and the score was 1-1.
Into extra time we went, and it only got colder and wetter! United started extra time with a lot less fire than they had in normal time as you’d quite rightly expect. Boreham Wood looked pumped and on 96 minutes that man Shaibu again put them 2-1 up. When the ball came to the edge of the box, he was given 2 seconds to much time after taking a poor touch on the edge of the box and hit it low past MacDonald. He seemed to have thought he could’ve done better as it hit him on the way in, but there was too much on it for him to save. Cameron was sent off for bringing his man down and United were looking tired. The home side finally put it beyond United on 113 minutes when Shaibu completed his hat trick and that was that. United bowed out of the trophy, but with a lot to be proud of.
Shaun MacDonald – 7/10: Looked solid. Made some good saves to keep us in the game at times. Could’ve maybe done better to keep out their second, but his view was impeded, and the shot came at him with such power that it bounced off him and went in.
Ben Wynter – 9/10: Man of the Match. More about him later.
Kyle Cameron – 8/10: Thought he played well again, winning most of the defensive headers and is a constant threat from corners. He is the blocking machine when it comes to opposition through balls. Shame he is unavailable for Saturday.
Jamie Sendles-White – 8/10 – First proper game back from injury and he looked very solid. Rarely troubled and used the ball well. Moved into midfield after Cameron’s red.
Liam Davis – 9/10: Very close between Davis and Wynter for my MOTM on Saturday. Both were excellent going forward and looked incredibly comfortable on the pitch against better opposition.
Jake Andrews – 7/10: Passed the ball around well and looked more than comfortable on the ball.
Kalvin Kalala – 7/10: Played well I thought, was certainly a threat in the game down the left when he cut in on goal. Didn’t always pay off but certainly got something this boy! His pace and trickery cause a lot of issues.
Asa Hall – 8/10: Would’ve probably been my MOTM if it wasn’t for the mistake which led to their goal. Played a vital part in United’s midfield.
Ruairi Keating – 4/10: No offence to Ruairi at all but he didn’t have a good game from the word go. All but two of his passes found an opposition player and his first touch looked poor. Having said that we know he can have good games and is still a vital part of United’s squad. He will be missed in the next 3 games for his energy and determination.
Jamie Reid – 7/10: Reidy didn’t have a great game but then how can you judge his game to be great anymore if he doesn’t score a hat trick!?! Had two good chances but couldn’t convert. His transformation under Johnson is incredible and looked miles better against Boreham this year than he did last season in the league. Tracked back well and looked knackered at the end, showing he left all he had on the pitch!
Olaf Koszela – 6/10: More on him below.
Koue Niate – 7/10: Played well in my opinion. Won defensive headers and blocked well. He’s becoming slightly less heart in mouth at the back, as he is starting to just clear the ball instead of trying to be too clever.
Lemonheigh-Evans – 8/10: Such a good footballer. Even after only playing one half and extra time he was still excellent and warranted an 8. His darting runs caused the opposition so much trouble!!
Saikou Janneh – 7/10: Simple finish for Saikou but he had to be in the right place at the right time to convert from 2 yards. Starting to show from his first interview that he is a ‘goal scorer’ and is certainly vital part to United’s engine room upfront. United looked better going forward when he entered the field.
George Essuman – N/A: Not on the pitch for long enough to make an impact, but good to see him back.
Man of the Match:
Ben Wynter was excellent on Saturday. He was a constant threat getting down the right-hand side, created a chance for Reidy which should’ve won us the game. He defended resolutely when called into action and is getter better, game by game.
Olaf Koszela played well out there for his first senior start in a United shirt and considering his age looked brilliant.
Liam Davis seems to go under the radar a bit sometimes at left back but is a quality player on the ball. Good in defence and attack.
United played what seemed to be a simple 4-4-2 formation, starting with Ruairi and Kalala out on the wings and Olaf and Reid up front. When United were reduced to 10 men, this switched to Jannah and Reid up front in the second half.
Boreham Wood are a good side and came into the game more and more. Shaibu was quality scoring a hat trick and their keeper seemed half decent despite an earlier wobble. Ricketts had a good game for them and so did Ash, Champion and Ugwu. Fyfield was a rock at the back.
Hulme had a steady game despite dishing out far too many bookings, considering half of them were as result of the conditions. The two red cards were probably correct.
Player Spotlight: Olaf Koszela
Considering this guy is 16, he’s brilliantly composed on the ball and looked reasonably comfortable. Got caught offside on one or two occasions and didn’t quite get there on a few occasions. Did himself proud out there.
Overall United braved the conditions and played their hearts out in North London. We deserved more from the game and not one person from Boreham would’ve been complaining if we’d won. Considering we had 10 men on the field for over 60 minutes is quality. Finally, a team to be proud of as United more than competed with a National League side, which bodes well if we are to get promoted this season.
The Travel Club was brilliant once again and let’s get as many people as possible travelling up to Hampton and Richmond next week. This team is going places and we need to be there to get the lads going and give the fans what would turn out to be a massive promotion for this club. COYY.
View from a Gulls Exile
By full time I couldn’t feel my toes, or my fingers, or any other extremity but it was worth it. The game had so many ups and downs, but despite the result the boys did us proud. They more than competed with Boreham Wood, even with ten men, and really could and maybe should have won. The Yellow Army were superb and definitely outnumbered the home fans – Sam