......as United travelled to Richings Park for a tricky midweek encounter but came away buoyant with a 4-0 victory which took them on to the Alfred Davis yesterday and in front of a crowd of 120+ fought out a thrilling draw with the defending champions.
The tinge of frustration was due to a first half that saw United take a healthy 2-0 lead which might have been 3 or 4-0 to the good and game over. YMCA showed their mettle eventually in the second half although it took a fortuitous first goal to haul them back into the game, but on this day, it was more down to first half attacking profligacy rather than defensive frailty from United’s perspective.
However, on reflection I would say it was more importantly a statement of intent from United as it has to be to remembered that this was only the third competitive game for this new look United team and I’m convinced that given time to allow familiarity to grow and the season to evolve, the team will only get even better.
What was particularly impressive was the size of the squad that took to the field yesterday, despite injuries to several key players, while pleasing to see a late cameo appearance from Ollie Flint returning from a foot injury. The squad is not just about numbers either there is a strength in depth that should carry the club ably through the winter months.
United are looking healthy, in fact everything about the club is as United made its Saturday debut at the Alfred Davis basked in sunshine and it really must be a pleasure to play at this old, famous ground for both home players and visitors alike and in front of numbers unheard of, generally, at step 7 or 6 and quite often 5.
Visitors to the ground yesterday will have noticed, obviously, a £3:00 admission charge, this is to cover the cost of the ground. Marlow FC have been very generous with the deal offered but with no other obvious means of raising income this charge has been imposed to cover match day costs and anyone who attended yesterday, and there were plenty, would I am sure agree that they received good value for little more than the cost of a cup of coffee. The bar is open all afternoon as is Carol’s Kitchen so it really is possible to enjoy an afternoon of football with all of the side benefits. There is even a hand car wash facility available while you watch the game and if necessary even a police station on site! We really do hope that those who can’t travel away with Marlow FC give step 7 a chance, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
Back to the match and respect to YMCA who showed their character to drag themselves back into the match. Both sides can be pleased with their efforts this weekend and walk away with honour intact. But there is a degree of truism in the adage when 2-0 up the next goal wins, that goal should have gone to United and then some but the moment YMCA struck back to 2-1 United went into a shell which is quite usual in such circumstances and the momentum passed to the visitors but even then a likely penalty which was over ruled much to the consternation of the large crowd should have been enough for the blues to win. But United did enough to demonstrate that they are back as a force to be reckoned with and YMCA kept their unbeaten record and both camps on reflection were satisfied.
In a recent column I stated that this club has no need to justify itself provided it plays by the rules, which it of course does, but I thought I would take this opportunity for those who have bothered to read this far to clarify the situation concerning the use of floodlights at the ground. As most know this isn’t a requirement at Step 7 therefore we have no intention of going to the expense of using them and we certainly had no intention of using them for the earlier Wednesday evening matches which would be distinctly unfair on those teams who didn’t have the benefit of playing under lights and had to kick off at 6pm, which is what United had to do on two occasions. The floodlights will enable our return to the FA Cup and FA Vase next season and that is the principle behind our agreement regarding the lights.
The reserves went down 3-1 to Woodcote Stoke Row reserves yesterday in their first match in Division Two but Manager Kevin Draper will be confident going forward that results will improve.
Around the Premier Division yesterday Burghfield slipped at home to Wokingham & Emmbrook TVPL 2-3 as Cookham crashed to a home defeat to Westwood United 1-3 while Mortimer eased home 3-0 at home to Reading City and Richings Park opened their account with a 3-1 win at home to Berks County. Woodley United Royals followed up an 8-0 hammering against Wrightchoice Unity by being trounced again by 9-0 to Wraysbury.
Next Saturday United entertain Westwood United at the Alfred Davis while the reserves travel to Farnham Park to play newcomers Phoenix Old Boys. Both games KO 2pm.
Updated 12:37 - 3 Sep 2018 by Alan Turner