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Match Report


Posted Sat 05 Jul 14 at 05:17 AM

United 4
Young 21, 29
Downes 39
Bowman 58

Nuneaton 0

UNITED made a huge statement to the rest of the Vanrama Conference with an outstanding performance against a Nuneaton side that simply could not live with their hosts.

Two fabulous goals from Luke Young had a buoyant Plainmoor buzzing in the opening 30 minutes and it was game over when Aaron Downes nodded home a third just before half-time.

The Gulls could have racked up a cricket score, such was the gulf in class and confidence, but in the end happily settled for the four-goal margin, as Ryan Bowman notched a comfortable finish just before the hour.

United boss Chris Hargreaves made two changes from the side that won handsomely at Lincoln last weekend. Bowman returned from suspension to replace the injured Louis Briscoe and Toby Ajala was preferred to Josh Wakefield on the right flank.

Nuneaton manager Brian Reid also made two changes, as his side looked to build on a fine victory over Altrincham seven days ago. New signing Lee Fowler and midfielder Anton Brown came into the side ahead of James Armson and Jordan Cranston.

On a beautiful September afternoon, the Gulls were quickly out of the blocks and a cross from the left by Tom Cruise was cushioned by Duane Ofori-Acheampong for the onrushing Courtney Richards, but the half-volley was dragged wide from 15 yards.

United continued their bright start, biting at the heels of the Nuneaton midfield and when Bowman won a free-kick on the right edge of the penalty area, captain Young was unlucky to see his low shot cannon clear off the near post.

The next Yellow wave came from a Nuneaton free-kick cleared to Ofori-Acheampong, who muscled past his man to feed Ajala for a quick turn in the box and a shot into the side-netting, despite the winger losing his footing before making contact with the ball.

The visitors could not handle the power of Ofori-Acheampong, as he barged past Exodus Geohaghon in a real battle of the giants before being denied the opener by goalkeeper Reice Charles-Crook racing off his line to smother the ball.

United were completely dominant but it was referee Brett Huxtable who took centre-stage, waving away vehement penalty appeals from Bowman after he was shoved in the back by Theo Streete following an excellent Ajala through-ball.

Nuneaton almost doubled the pain with a searing break down the left and the ball across the area was perfect for Ryan Smith to meet first time, but Martin Rice more than earned his corn with a fabulous save high to his left.

The deadlock was broken from the very next attack and what a cracker. Young surged through the midfield, exchanged passes with Ofori-Acheampong and then rifled an unstoppable low drive into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

It was a tremendous goal and a first in Yellow for the midfielder who has made such a huge impression since moving up the road from Plymouth Argyle.

Bowman was soon bouncing around again in frustration after cutting inside from the left for a shot on goal, only to be tripped by full-back Ben Starosta, but Huxtable showed no interest in the penalty shouts.

No need to panic, United were soon 2-0 ahead and this one was arguably better than the first. A long clearance down the right picked out the run of Ofori-Acheampong, who just kept on going.

After leaving a sprawling Theo Streete in his wake, the big forward fired over a low cross for Young and his brilliantly engineered flick was too much for a stranded Charles-Crook to handle.

Another great goal only slightly soured by United’s Player of the Month for August, Courtney Cameron, hobbling off moments later to be replaced by Jordan Chapell.

The Gulls were thoroughly enjoying their afternoon and Nuneaton were dead and buried five minutes before half-time, as a swinging corner to the back post by Young was steered superbly into the bottom corner by the diving head of Downes.

A decent away following from Nuneaton was feeling understandably fed up with their team but there was no denying they were up against a rampant United team, and some of the incisive possession football was a joy to watch.

Nuneaton introduced Jack Dyer for Fowler at the interval and the second period started in scrappy fashion, with neither side able to maintain a consistent flowing rhythm.

The meandering pace shifted up a number of gears on 58 minutes after yet another direct and positive run from Ajala. His final shot was squirming well wide but ended up being the perfect pass for Bowman to slot home an easy fourth goal from close range.

Whatever fight had been left in Nuneaton legs was now completely gone and United were toying with a despondent team, with Bowman forcing Charles-Crook into a decent low save after another spell of sustained possession.

Nuneaton opted to freshen up their side by introducing Ryan Quinn for Connor Franklin with a quarter of the game remaining but the confidence in Yellow ranks was such that the visitors were struggling to get a kick, a point emphasised by centre-back Angus MacDonald fizzing a 25-yarder just past the top corner.

The excellent Ofori-Acheampong was then given a rest, as Ashley Yeoman joined Bowman in the vanguard and soon after, Wakefield replaced Richards in midfield.

The closing minutes were a happy procession to victory and well done to all involved. It is now six games unbeaten for the Gulls and the trip to Chester on Tuesday night will be a confident one for a side brimming with belief. Nuneaton’s misery was complete when Anton Brown received his marching orders for two late bookings.

(4-4-2): 1 Martin Rice; 2 Dale Tonge, 21 Angus MacDonald, 4 Aaron Downes, 3 Tom Cruise; 10 Toby Ajala, 8 Luke Young (capt), 16 Courtney Richards (22 Josh Wakefield 80), 11 Courtney Cameron (12 Jordan Chapell 31); 9 Ryan Bowman, 24 Duane Ofori-Acheampong (14 Ashley Yeoman 72). Substitutes (not used): 5 Krystian Pearce, 23 Jordan Seabright (GK).

Richards 64, MacDonald 88

(4-4-2): 1 Reice Charles-Crook; 2 Ben Starosta, 24 Exodus Geohaghon, 11 Theo Streete (capt), 3 Connor Franklin (21 Ryan Quinn 68); 17 Ryan Smith, 18 Anton Brown, 26 Lee Fowler (22 Jack Dyer H-T), 6 Adam Walker; 10 Andy Brown, 25 Craig Curran. Substitutes (not used): 8 Jorrin John, 14 Tyrell Waite, 19 James Hogarth-Wren (GK).

Anton Brown 85

Anton Brown 88

Brett Huxtable

2,177 (200 away).

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