AFTER seeing our previous two games fall victim of the wet weather, we finally got our first home action of 2016 as we played host to Wrexham in the second round of the FA Trophy.
Both sides faced each other over two legs in the semi-final of last season’s competition, whilst we had lost both of our League fixtures against the Welsh club this term.
With our new signings ineligible, it was an opportunity for others to stake their claims.
The early exchanges saw both teams trying to get a foothold in the game, with neither ‘keeper called into action in the opening quarter-of-an-hour.
A break by United saw Andre Wright combine well with Tyrone Marsh and as the latter made progress towards goal, he was crowded out as he looked to get in a strike.
A neat move from United saw Durrell Berry win the ball and find Courtney Richards who did well to pick out Tyrone Marsh and he got away from his marker to tee up Andre Wright who went close.
The next raid saw Dan Butler deliver a teasing ball that Rhys Taylor in the visitors’ goal was able to gather ahead of Marsh in the middle.
With United looking solid and well-organised, Richards found space before picking out Marsh whose effort deflected off Manny Smith and out for a corner which was headed wide at the far post by Exodus Geohaghon.
A ball in from Butler caused plenty of concern for the Wrexham defence as they eventually managed to clear after what appeared to be a handball by Fyfield but the referee didn’t spot it as Marsh went to ground.
As the clock ticked down in the opening period, Wrexham started to see more of the ball as Dom Vose saw a strike deflected over from distance. The resulting corner was headed just over by Manny Smith who won a towering header in the area.
The second period started with Wrexham in purposeful mood. A cross from Sean Newton evaded everyone before moments later, Rob Evans tried his luck with a powerful strike that was deflected wide by Angus MacDonald.
There was a booking for MacDonald for a foul as a strike from Jennings was on target but easy for Dan Lavercombe to get down and gather.
The first change of the game saw Shepherd Murombedzi replace Geohaghon.
Two good saves in quick succession by Rhys Taylor saw him firstly deny Butler’s snap-shot then he did well to block from Aman Verma’s effort.
Some desperate defending by the visitors ended with Manny Smith clearing off the line after Marsh made his presence felt in front of goal.
The introduction of Murombedzi certainly added a spark to United.
Lavercombe had to come outside his area to head clear but the ball landed at the feet of Rob Evans whose attempt from distance was off target.
A foul on Vose by Andre Wright saw the on-loan youngster booked with 22 minutes left on the clock.
The resulting free-kick saw Newton’s dipping effort tipped over the crossbar by Lavercombe.
As the Welsh club started to pose a few questions of the United back-line, both Newton and Vose went close to opening the scoring.
The opening goal arrived for United when Marsh collected a long ball from Lavercombe and turned well before creating a chance for Murombedzi who strode through and slotted the ball beyond Taylor and into the net for 1-0.
In the wake of the goal, Marsh was booked for time-wasting.
The closing ten minutes saw United continue to work hard to see the game out and secure our place in the third round of the FA Trophy.
It meant that we made a winning start to our home fixtures in 2016 – now let’s make it a year to remember!