United reflect on missed chances
Marlow came close to ending YMCA'S incredible undefeated league run as they let slip a two goal lead in the TVPL game of the day
A crowd of 120 plus witnessed an excellent game between two teams who are sure to feature in the battle for the TVPL title with the hosts determined too both end the visitors long unbeaten run and send out a message to the rest of the league at the same time.
That they failed in the first objective owed much too some poor finishing in the first half and to the never say die attitude from the champions who fought back in the second half to preserve their record, showing exactly why they have won the title for three consecutive seasons.
YMCA shaded the opening period of the match with Marlow on the back foot but it was the home team who having weathered the early pressure broke the deadlock on 12 minutes.
Chris Hurst saw his header at the far post tipped away by Froude, the ball being picked up by Fox on the right his shot being blocked with Hurst following up to knock the ball over the line.
Spurred on by the goal Marlow proceeded to create a number of chances as they stretched the YMCA defence.
Thomas saw his shot saved after a run on goal, Namkslak and Thomas combined to set free Bushay his shot hitting the side netting.
A Fox corner was met on the edge of the 6 yard box with the ball bouncing high and over the bar, Hurst and Thomas combined well with the former sending his effort across the goal, the same player sending two headed efforts wide as the pressure continued.
YMCA saw an effort go wide after Britnell failed to clear but apart from dead ball situations they seldom threatened Cannings in the United goal.
Possibly the best chance came on 40 minutes as a corner from the right evaded both defenders and forwards until it reached Hurst at the far post with his shot going wide.
Then with added on time running out the hosts scored the goal their play deserved with a Fox corner reaching Mckie who scrambled the ball over the line for a 2-0 lead to take into the break
The tempo of the second half failed to reach that of the first period, a situation that suited Marlow as they looked to preserve their two goal lead.
The first opportunity fell to United on 50 minutes with a Thomas corner headed wide by Britnell when unmarked.
Gumbs was finding space down the Marlow right, a run into the area being spoiled by a poor cross but the game failed to ignite as Marlow looked comfortable, this despite YMCA introducing the influential Cox at half time.
They say goals change games and how true that proved as YMCA halved the deficit on 62 minutes, Kingsbeer collecting the ball just inside the United half, his unchallenged run taking him close to the Marlow area where an under hit shot deceived a diving Cannings , creeping under the keeper into the net.
The goal changed the complexion of the game with the visitors dominating possession and Marlow relying on counter attacks, mainly from Gumbs and Fox on the flanks, the former appealing for a penalty as he was tackled on 66 minutes.
YMCA are good at what they do and Cox and Donegan were now dictating the pace of the game.
Cannings was called into action on a number of occasions having to punch away numerous crosses as the visitors strove for the equaliser.
Marlow scorned another opportunity on 68 minutes with Mckie going wide with an effort from a Thomas corner and Fox saw a decent run thwarted by a last minute tackle.
Perhaps the seminal moment of the half occurred on 70 minutes as Fox broke quickly, his surging run taking him into the YMCA area and as he powered past a defender he was felled by a desperate tackle which sent him sprawling but despite a concerted appeal from Marlow players, bench and supporters the referee decided no offence had occurred.
A goal then, although against the run of play would surely have settled the game but YMCA do not know when they are beaten and they equalised on 79 minutes as a free kick from Donegan found an unmarked Cox on the edge of the six yard box and he wasn’t going look that gift horse in the mouth, promptly knocking the ball past Cannings.
With ten minutes left to play YMCA had their tails up sensing what at half time looked an unlikely victory and they kept up the pressure without seriously threatening a third goal.
Marlow bought on Ollie Flint for his first taste of league football this season following a foot injury and the player had United’s last chance of the game picking up Gumbs pass before firing a shot that Froude safely gathered.
At the finish both teams could feel satisfied with a point apiece although the noise from the visitors dressing room certainly indicated who were the happier at the conclusion.
Marlow’s new players and management now know the task that awaits them if they are to dethrone the champions.
They also know that had they taken their chances the game would almost certainly have been over at half time, something they need to improve on.
They also know that as a team they will only get better as they gel.
YMCA proved yet again they are a formidable team at this level with the players who know exactly what is required to win this competition, it promises to be a very competitive season.
Cannings, Gumbs, Mckie, Rockell, Britnell, Namyslak, Thomas, Hardie, Fox, Hurst, Bushay.
Parsons for Britnell 71
Sutherland for Bushay 79
Flint for Parsons 80
C Hurst 12
A Mckie 45 + 3
M Cannings 6
J Gumbs 7
A Mckie 8
D Rockell 7
R Britnell 7
J Namyslak 7
Q Thomas 7
J Fox 8
J Hardie 7
C Hurst 7
L Bushay 7
A Parsons 6
W Sutherland 6
O Flint 6