Week 1 03/09/17
There will be no shortage of familiar faces for the A Team this season as they will come up against 3 sides they were promoted with and 3 local rivals in their division. Yesterday though, they began at Forth Celtic, a team we haven't played for a couple of seasons and came home with 3 hard won points.
Forth are a solid club and always have decent teams and yesterdays' game was an indication that this could well be a tight and competitive league. Both sides had periods of dominance in the game but Utd came out on top thanks to Jamie Fox's beautiful last minute free-kick. Utd had started well enough and Hasane Smyth gave them the lead only for Forth to hit back and level at 1-1. Utd came again and Hasanes' second gave the Blues a 1-2 half time lead.
The second half was close and Utd may have increased their advantage but Forth also had their moments. With around 90 seconds to go they thought they had snatched a point when they equalised for 2-2 but from the re-start Utd worked the ball forward and won the free kick from which Jamie stepped up and took the points.
It's always nice to open with a win, especially on the road, and Utd will look to build on this performance and result next time out.
Utd's B Team began their campaign by picking up 3 decent away points at Tombrack yesterday afternoon. The scoreline suggests an end to end game but in truth Utd were on top for long periods and although the hosts kept plugging away, the Blues did deserve the points.
As would be expected, the home side began with great energy and pushed Utd back. Andres had to gather a couple of long range efforts and one moments hesitation in the back line saw a Tombrack forward get on to a loose ball and shoot wide but there were no real clear chances and Utd began to settle. Utd began to find room down both sides with players being worked into good areas behind Tombrack's backline, but, the final ball wasn't finding it's mark and the game remained level. Bill Rigley forced a decent save from distance but against the run of play on 18, Utd fell behind when poor marking at a free kick saw a back post header planted beyond Andres. Still, Utd quickly regained control and Sean Murphy's great run nearly brought something before Joe Miller fired home from the edge of the area to make it 1-1. Utd continued to press for the remainder of the half with Oisin Murphy and Bill both seeing headers go wide and Mario Salveta seeing his shot blocked on the line. 1-1 at the break.
Utd were looking to really put the foot down in the second half and made the best possible start when just 34 seconds in Thomas Brady's good work freed up Sean Murphy who found a near post gap to give Utd the lead. Just 30 seconds later Darren Walshs' free kick was touched on by Bill to Dylan Groarke who steadied himself before thumping his shot into the top corner from 16 yards out to make it 1-3 and put Utd firmly in control. However, Utd had a real wobble here and after another lapse saw the score go to 2-3 Utd surrendered possession in their own half and the resulting cross was firmly headed home to level the game again. 4 goals in the first 4 minutes of the half and for the next few minutes Utd looked a little shaken and the game was in the balance.
To their credit though, the lads dug in and regained the upper hand, starting to push Tombrack back again. Dylan restored Utd's lead when his low shot found the corner and Utd remained on top. Andres made one good save with his legs after a ball over the top but Utd defended better and looked dangerous at the other end. David Franklin and Lee Carthy replaced Bill and Mario with David seeing his shot held and Lee getting on to a ball before the keeper but seeing his header just slip wide. Utd made the game safe with 10 to go when David turned on a ball in the area and clipped home to wrap up the win.
Overall, it was a decent display from Utd and certainly worthy of the win. It's just about eliminating the little lapses that are costing goals and keeping the opposition in games when we are really making most of the running.
Week 2 10/09/17
Both sides went into this derby on the back of opening day wins but unfortunately a bad injury to Enniscorthy Town's Johnny Whelan on 57 minutes saw the game abandoned after a significant delay for an ambulance.
Utd had started well enough and went ahead on 17 through Jamie Fox's penalty but their visitors hit back through a spot kick of their own and went ahead courtesy of an unfortunate OG to lead 1-2 at the break.
The second half had barely settled before events overtook everything else and put the game into a bit of perspective. Everyone connected with Utd wishes Johnny well and we hope to see him back playing soon.
The game will be replayed at a later date.
After the delay in the A Team game, the B Team's game went ahead and Utd produced a good all round display to back up last weeks opening win. It being Utd's first home game, they were looking to start strongly but even they couldn't have hoped for such a good start. Sean Murphy put Utd ahead in the 4th minute and by the quarter hour Bill Rigley and Aidan Canavan had added to that to leave Utd 3-0 up. Utd continued to dominate and Adam Fox, Bill, Sean and Noel Dwyer may all have increased their lead. The last 20 of the half were a little sloppy as Utd's passing wasn't as accurate and the first 10 minutes of the second half were also a little sluggish.
However, once Joe Millar had made it 4-0 after 56 minutes, Utd lifted their game again and Tyler O'Connor's cleanly hit free kick made it 5 as Utd pressed on. There were further chances and Andres Lopes, Darren Martin and David Franklin all found the target as Utd ran out worthy winners.
Good to back up last weeks' result and nice to keep a clean sheet but the focus is only on the next game and trying to put in another decent shift.
Week 3 17/09/17
With last weeks' game having ended in unfortunate circumstances, Utd's A Team set out this morning to build on their opening day win at Forth. They travelled to Bree Utd - Division 3 winners last season - knowing that for the hour that was played last week, Utd had been a little below their best and that this fixture last year had brought a heavy defeat. This morning however, Utd got it right and came home with 3 valuable points.
Andrew Sherlock gave Utd a first half lead that they protected well until the break before putting the game to bed early in the second half with further goals from Hacene Smyth and then sub Tyler O'Connor. Utd continued to control the game and Tyler grabbed his second and Utd's fourth later in the game to seal a very good win. Clean sheets are always a positive and two wins on the road is a nice start as Utd look to keep building into their season.
Utd's B team also maintained their 100% start to the season with another decent performance in a 1-3 win at St.Josephs' this afternoon. As with last week's game against Wexford Celtic, Utd made a great start when with barely 90 seconds on the clock, some really good play down the right between Sean Murphy, Noel Dwyer and Thomas Brady released Thomas behind Josephs' defence. Thomas put in a good low cross that Adam Fox met at the back post. The initial effort was stopped but came out for Bill Rigley to bundle home and give Utd the lead.
Utd continued to dominate, pressing well and moving the ball quickly causing Josephs' a lot of problems. Further pressure resulted in a corner and Adam's good delivery was firmly met by Joe Millar who headed high beyond the keeper for 0-2 after 11 minutes. Utd remained on top with the hosts not really threatening outside of a couple of dead balls that had to be defended. Thomas and Bill forced further saves form the keeper as Utd saw out the half to go in 0-2 up.
The start of the second half followed the same pattern with Utd on top but not creating quite as much. Sean's lovely little ball put Noel through but he was denied by the keeper before on 57, the ball was worked out to Noel and he put in a beautiful cross that a diving Dylan Groarke headed powerfully home to make it 0-3. At that point, it looked like Utd would cruise home and for the most part they remained in control of the game although they didn't play as well as they had for most of the first half. They also made things more difficult for themselves by conceding a soft penalty on 64 which was converted and gave Josephs' a lifeline they had done nothing to earn. The hosts got a little energy from it and Utd had to do a bit of defending as the game evened up a bit for a spell. In the final 10 minutes though, Utd did start settle again and saw out the win to take another 3 points.
Plenty of positives over the first few games but there'll be no getting carried away. The season is long and Utd will need continuing improvement as it goes on.
Week 4 24/09/17
Utd's A Team picked up another 3 points yesterday but had to work hard before finally seeing off Rosslare Port on a 3-1 scoreline. Dec Courtney and Tyler O'Connor both made their first starts of the season but it was the visitors who started better as they looked to stretch Utd out wide and one dangerous ball was driven across the six yard box in the early stages. Over the next few minutes they continued to push Utd back looking to play wide and around the back but without creating any really good openings
However, with their first real spell of possession Utd scored. Willie Sullivan's first shot was saved before Hasane Smyth's follow up was handled on the line leaving Jamie Fox to put Utd 1-0 ahead from the spot. Still the visitors continued to have the better of the game but Utd defended well with John Whelan very strong and on 25 the Blues extended their lead when Kyle Foley's strike from the edge of the area found the corner for 2-0. If Utd thought this would deflate Rosslare Port they were wrong as straight from the re-start they worked a decent shooting position. Utd didn't close down in time and Dylan was well beaten high to his right for 2-1. The remainder of the half was tight enough but Utd held their lead until the break.
On the restart Utd looked a bit sharper and more energetic and started to press Rosslare back creating some good situations but just not carving out clear chances. Rosslare themselves continued to probe and as the game moved round the 65 minute mark it was hard to call which way it may go. Utd certainly had more possession and got a vital third on 68 when Tyler O'Connor was on hand to poke home after a scramble following a corner. Mick Rigley, James Sheridan, Martin Farrell, Darren Martin and Conor Heffernan all came on in the last quarter as Utd stayed strong and saw the game out to make it 3 wins from 3.
A difficult game, and Utd will be happy that they were able to win it without being at their very best.
Utd's B Team came up against highly fancied Glynn Barntown yesterday afternoon and the visitors showed why they are viewed as the team to beat in this division. For Utd, they will be a bit disappointed that they weren't able to produce a better performance at times but the visitors were clinical and unfortunately for Utd they made the mistakes that gave them their opportunities.
Utd made a couple of positional changes and Ryan Dwyer and David Franklin came in for the injured Adam Fox and absent Oisin Murphy. Utd actually started the game well enough, pressing Glynn high and forcing them back. David Franklin got onto a back pass but was forced a bit wide and when the ball was moved back inside Glynn had enough back to snuff out the danger. Utd forced a couple of corners that came to nothing and Thomas brady was worked round the back but his attempt to pick a striker out was again cleared. But Glynn gradually started to gain the upper hand as Utd fell back. It needed a couple of good interceptions to keep them out and Aidan Canavan cleared from just in front of the goal line as Utd struggled a bit. Too many free kicks were being conceded and possession was being turned over too quickly but, Utd were working hard to keep Glynn at bay and as the half hour approached the game was still goalless.
Unfortunately for Utd everything changed in the next 15 minutes. First, Utd got themselves into trouble in their own half giving away yet another free kick and this time paid for it as the strike was curled into the bottom corner. Utd did briefly respond and saw a goalbound effort of their own hacked clear before Ryan Dwyer just couldn't get enough on his header from David Franklin's cross. Utd would have hoped to get to the break just a goal behind to sort themselves out and have a go in the second half but 2 goals on 41 and 43 took the game away from them, and they were poor goals to concede. Loose marking in the area first allowed Glynn's striker the time to control and shoot home off the post before allowing another to turn away from two defenders and set up a tap in to leave Utd in real trouble at half time.
Utd needed to show a bit of character and to be fair, the second half was a bit of an improvement. Tommy O'Brien came on for his first appearance of the season and he made an impact as Utd started to pass the ball better and get their players moving. On 51, good play between Thomas Brady, Dylan Groarke and Tommy left Ryan with a chance that he took first time and was unlucky to see his shot hit the foot of the post with the keeper beaten. Utd kept plugging away but the visitors defended strongly and posed their own threat with Kevin making two good saves for Utd. On 70, another error was punished before a penalty for a rash tackle was scored to leave Utd 0-5 down. Still, to their credit the players kept going and when Andres Lopes was fouled on 88, Thomas Brady stepped up and fired the free kick low to the keepers left to give Utd a little consolation.
Frustrating for Utd for sure. When you are playing good teams you can't be giving them opportunities like Utd did yesterday. If you're at your best and come up short so be it, but yesterday, Utd weren't and were made to pay. There was no getting carried away after 3 wins, there's no need for hysteria after a defeat. This is a good group who've shown a good attitude and did so again yesterday even in defeat. Ups and downs are taken as a group, management included, so we stay together, move on and look to get back on the right track next time out.
Week 5 01/10/17
It's 4 from 4 for Utd's A Team as they came from behind to win against Bunclody yesterday and move to the top of their Division.
Utd started this game better than they had last weeks' against Rosslare Port, pushing Bunclody back and finding room in wider areas, particularly the left side. And it was from this side that they took the lead, when Kyle Foley's low cross was tucked home at the back post by the incoming Andrew Sherlock. Utd would have hoped to build on this start but Bunclody came back into the game and turned it around through two set pieces. First, equalising from a direct free kick and then going ahead via a free header form a corner. Despite this, Utd were still looking dangerous and Jamie Fox just couldn't connect cleanly with a cross before Kyle was played in but saw his effort saved. On 35 the pressure paid off as again from a left wing cross Conor Heffernan produced a really sharp finish to tie the game at 2-2 at the break.
Utd started the second half well and Kaylem Morrissey and Conor again helped them move out to a 4-2 lead. Bunclody though, would not go away and reduced the gap to just a single goal to set up a tense finish. To their credit though Utd saw it home to keep their strong start to the season intact.
It's back to back defeats for the B Team after yesterday's game at league leaders Cloughbawn. Looking to bounce back from last week Utd gave first starts of the season to Joe Rigley, Bob Doran, Tommy O'Brien and Mick Rigley and they started the game well, dominating possession and looking to stretch their hosts across the pitch. Thomas Brady put in a couple of decent crosses and Darren Walsh saw his header saved before on 18 Sean Murphy gave Utd the lead that they deserved at that point.
Utd worked the ball out from the back to Mick who laid a beautiful first time touch to Joe Millar moving forward on Utd's right. Joe played a ball over the top for Sean who got there with the keeper and a defender and then reacted quickest to the breaking ball to score. As would be expected Cloughbawn started to come into the game a bit but Utd were fairly comfortable as we hit the half hour. On 33 a long clearance caught Utd a little disorganised and resulted in a penalty being conceded to level at 1-1 and 10 minutes later a Cloughbawn corner just ricocheted off Darren and trickled over the line to leave Utd 2-1 down at half time but well in the game.
As they had the first, Utd started the second half well enough and on 53 following a Utd corner that had been cleared, Joe Rigley's strong header back put Dylan Groarke clear and he finished really well across the keeper for 2-2. The game was even and tight with the next goal always going to be crucial - unfortunately for Utd it went the way of the home side although they were possibly a bit lucky to see it stand. A free kick from just inside Utd's half was floated over the top and as Andres came to claim it, it looked like he was hit in the air a bit late. As the ball broke he dropped on it and it then appeared that he was kicked in the stomach in the scramble before the ball was prodded home. Possibly one, maybe even two fouls, but they weren't given and the goal stood, and in any event Andres should never have found himself with 3 opposition players bearing down on him.
All to do again and Utd kept plugging away but didn't do quite enough to get back on terms. Sean did get round the back into a really good area but was blocked out before he could shoot or pick a team-mate out and sub Ryan Dwyer forced a decent tip over from the keeper after Thomas's lay off. At the other end, Andres gathered a header before the hosts broke out on 83 and scored to make it 4-2 which is how it finished.
Not a bad performance but not good enough and Utd will be frustrated. They certainly could have taken something from this one but the bottom line is that too many goals are being conceded and Utd must tighten up if they are to start winning games again.
Week 6 08/10/17
Utd's A Team continued their fine start to the season with a very good win at Cushinstown yesterday morning. Utd fell behind but a really strong fightback saw them take the points on a 1-4 scoreline. John Whelan (2), Conor Heffernan and Jamie Fox got Utd's goals as they continue to lead the way in Division 3.
Utd's B Team were coming off the back of consecutive defeats and at half time yesterday morning it looked like another was on the cards. The first half performance had been very poor for the most part and Utd had again conceded really sloppy goals. For the fourth game in a row a penalty was conceded and then a simple ball over the top wasn't dealt with to leave Utd 0-2 down after 15 and in real trouble. In the main, Utd had been lacklustre all over the pitch but as the half wore on they did improve a little, Joe Rigley and Darren Walsh both headed wide from set pieces, Mick Rigley's driven cross was nearly forced in before being scrambled away and Mick again was denied by a combination of keeper and near post after Joe Millar's fine pass had created the chance but it remained 0-2 at the half.
Given the last two results, things could have gone either way but to their credit Utd were much improved after the break. They began to move the ball better, quicker and with more accuracy and pressed Taghmon back. Corners were forced and some good situations created but the visitors defended strongly, blocked/deflected shots and made their tackles when needed. Darren again got his head to a corner but just couldn't get enough on it and then Taghmon's keeper made a fine save diving to his left to deny Mick once more. Finally with 20 to go a ball over the top was misjudged by the keeper and Bill Rigley fired home to make it 1-2. Utd continued to press, Bill shot just wide from Mick's clever little pass and Dylan Groarke was crowded out before on 82 Utd got the equaliser their second half display deserved. Utd worked the ball to Bill who got himself turned, spotted Mick's run and slid a lovely pass into him. Mick gathered and turned sharply inside his defender before firing low into the left hand corner from 14 yards for 2-2. Utd had all the momentum and did everything to try and complete the comeback but were denied by a fantastic late stop from Taghmon's keeper who somehow got up and across to claw the ball out from under the bar and deny Darren from close range, leaving Utd to settle for a point.
Given the position at half time Utd would have taken the draw and certainly no one can question the team's character. But, too many mistakes are being made leading to penalties/goals being conceded when in general play teams are not creating a host of chances against us. We have to try and cut down the errors, improve communication when we are without the ball and believe in ourselves a bit more when we do have it. As has been shown at times this season, there is a good team there that can compete with any in the Division, it just needs to be seen consistently.
Week 7 15/10/17
Leinster Junior Shield RD 1
Utd's A Team went out of this competition after defeat in New Ross. Utd made a number of changes and did strike the woodwork 3 times but, it wasn't their day yesterday. Back to the important business in the league next weekend.
Utd's B Team also exited the competition after going the distance with Larkview on their astroturf pitch in Dublin. also with a changed team, Utd fell behind early but regrouped and got on top to lead 1-2. The Blues were then reduced to 10 on 28 mins and pegged back to 2-2 right on half time. 2 goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half looked to have ended Utd's hopes but they produced a brilliant comeback to level at 4-4 and force extra time. The teams couldn't be separated so we went to penalties where the hosts edged home 4-3. The B team alos pick up their league campaign again next Sunday.