United took on Mossley FC at Mossley Recreation Grounds in a bottom of the table clash in NAFL Div 1B on Saturday.
The teams shared the spoils earlier in the season after a 1 – 1 draw at The Millbridge at the end of August and both sides were looking to go one better this time around.
United were missing the core of the starting 11 that started their previous game with Gary Murray and Gavin Crawford out through injury and Scott Brashaw also unavailable, however Ricky and Dale welcomed back Johnny Stevenson from a short absence away from football.
The scrappy affair started evenly with both teams having early half chances, until Mossley executed a decisive counter attack.
Jonny Shannon’s attempted long throw was intercepted before reaching Ian, it’s intended target, in the Mossley box, a long cross-field pass beat the United defence and allowed the home team to fire a cross into the six yard box where a free forward found the net.
United battled back and the equaliser came when the referee awarded United a penalty after the evergreen Ben Wilson was sythed down in the box. Alex Burtney stepped up for another spot kick and duly delivered, for his 8th goal of the season.
United created a few more chances but were unable to get a significant shot on target to trouble the Mossley goalkeeper, while Roy Shilliday was just unable to reach a throughball before the onrushing ‘keeper.
Mossley threatened from set-pieces but were unable to make the vital connection as United defended well, until Burtney cleared. His clearance cannoned off Ben Wilson from pointblank range – and the referee awarded a penalty for handball…
Mossley scored to go 2 – 1 up despite Stefan’s valiant dive in the right direction. And the score remained 2 – 1 until the break.
Angry at what they felt was an injustice, United came out determined to right the wrongs in the second half, and were the better team throughout, dominating possession and chances.
They were soon rewarded for the pressure, a free kick from deep found Jonny Shannon at the back post. The tall teen headed the ball back towards goal where Alan Patterson lurked to make it 2 – 2. No less than United deserved.
United continued to be the better side, despite losing Jonny through injury. Johnny Stevenson came on to replace him, and linked up well with Alex Burtney and Stuart Fitzsimons. Despite a number of efforts and lay offs, neither were able to make a decisive pass, or finish to put United ahead.
It looked like both teams would share the points for the second time until a long ball was flicked on in midfield and beat the United defence. The Mossley winger found himself with space to find a free man in the centre of the goal again to make it 3 – 2 with only a few minutes to go.
United tried desperately to equalise in the final few minutes but were unable to even the scores despite Mossley losing a man after a second yellow card in injury time.
A disappointing defeat but still plenty to play for in Division 1B. Before then United take a break from league action at neighbouring Kilmore Rec in the first round of the Intermediate Cup.
Mossley FC 3 – 2 BUFC
|Competition:||NAFL Div 1B|
|Ground:||Mossley Recreation Ground|