Last minute winner sees Reserves beat promotion hopefuls Whittlesford
An 89th headed winner from Jonny Pugh earns CUP Reserves a 2 - 1 away win
The Reserves travelled to Whittlesford United for our first game in 2017, looking to avenge a 4 - 1 home defeat from the second game of this season and dent our opponents promotion hopes. We were greeted by a very leafy, bit damp and bumpy, although decent village pitch. We took a strong squad to the game with Matt Beattie and Rickie joining us from the 1st team, and even when missing Sefa through suspension and a number of others, including Kenny, away still being early January...
Team: Luca, Ryan, Josh, Matt, Csaba, Baz ©, JP, Rickie, Martin, Callum, Scott
Subs: Dan, Jun, Suki, Rob
It's fair to say that the first half was mostly about a solid defensive display by us as we soaked up a lot of pressure from Whittlesford, who were keen to maintain their strong home form and push towards promotion. Individuals made a couple of great blocks or clearances on the goal line while Luca was in fine form keeping out a couple of fantastic chances for the hosts. But it was CUP who went into half time a goal ahead as Martin finished well beating the on-rushing keeper to ball following Rickie's impeccable through ball.
Whittlesford came out strongly from the break; their tails up being 1 - 0 down. They were continued to met by our strong defending but a sloppy bit of marking at a corner allowed their centre back to head home and level the game. The hosts continued pushing ahead looking to take the lead but the game was even as we gave as good we got and opened by their defence a couple of times.
Csaba went off with a knock on 58 minutes which saw Callum drop in at left back, with Dan not making it over so no natural defenders on the bench, and Suki came on at left wing. Jun replaced Baz and Rob went on up front for Scott as we freshened things up to make a push to get back ahead and win the game.
Hardwork from Martin then collectively from midfield saw Rob presented with two great chances to score which he was close with but couldn't take, while JP had a long range effort go narrowly wide. We were the team on top and looking most like winning the game. We did just that as a perfect corner from Rickie found an unmarked JP who headed home from six yards out, with less than 2 minutes to go.
A fantastic result against one of the league's stronger teams and a bit of revenge after the reverse fixture in August. The win was earned by playing as a team working together and being collectively strong. Everyone contributed their bit. It is important to pick out a few individual performances like Martin battling for the full 90 on his return being a threat in the air and on the floor, Matt and Josh in the centre of defence looked on top and dealt with their physical striker well, JP broke up play while using the ball well, and Callum was stellar covering the left back role when Csaba was injured.
Let's get three points next week at Needingworth to make up for the draw with them back in December, and impress the new manager in his first game in charge...