United moved into the first round of this years FA Trophy with a victory over Witham Town that was more convincing than the scoreline would suggest although worries still must remain that we cannot keep a clean sheet.
For the second week in succession United dominated the first period and led by three at the break. Early efforts saw Kieran Knight fire wide while Ram Marwa met a Michael Barima cross but his header failed to trouble Paul Daley in the Witham goal.
The breakthrough was not long coming though, a short corner by Will Hendry found Knight on the edge of the area, his touch found Josh Scott in the middle and he slid the ball past Daley into the visitors net.
With Kevin Davies virtually a spectator in the United goal, chances came and went for the home side. Knight saw a drive bounce off Daley's chest while Toby Little raced virtually the length of the field before setting up Hendry who was just over from 25 yards out. Danny Allen-Page and Barima then combined on the right with the latter's driven cross just evading Scott in the centre, Marwa was just wide of the target and Daley then made an excellent stop as he tipped Hendry's free-kick over the crossbar.
With just a minute to the break it came as a surprise to all that United beat Daley twice more to end the half on a massive high. A quickly taken corner found Marwa on the corner of the area and he took aim and fired low into the far corner past Daley's desperate dive. Hendry then played the ball in to Scott but he was just wide before a quick Hendry corner found Little and his centre was met by Scott who headed over Daley into the roof of the net.
I'm not sure what happens at half time but once again United were to concede within ten minutes of the restart and with the timing being almost identical to the previous week some got a feeling of Déjà vu. The goal itself came when a Kaan Hawes free-kick was met in the centre by Cody MacDonald who rose highest to head past Davies on 53 minutes.
It could have been even worse two minutes later when Davies saw his attempted clearance charged down but luckily for United the ball went towards the wing rather than the goal. It was however picked up by Witham with Kevin Hawes heading the resultant cross wide of the United goal.
Play then switched ends and Daley had to be sharp to turn a Liam Collins shot around his post. The resultant corner fell nicely to Steve Perkins but his drive was again blocked away by Daley. Almost immediately it was United keeper Davies who kept the home sides two goal advantage intact when he pushed a 25 yard drive around the upright.
United then began to once more take hold of proceedings, Marwa was agonisingly wide after switching passes with Scott and Daley was again required, this time to touch a Knight shot around the post. Little and Allen-Page were also just off target when coming in from the flanks and United really should have scored when Barima broke away from his own area, drawing both covering defenders to him he found Liam Collins but his delayed effort gave Daley time to push his shot around the post.
Ten minutes from time it was United holding their breath as Jamie Ricks centre saw Hendry beat MacDonald to the ball but in doing so he put it over Davies only to be saved from an own goal by the crossbar. Substitute Staforde Palmer beat his marker and although Daley fumbled his shot the stopper was quick enough to gather.
The game had just entered stoppage time when the result was put beyond doubt, Hendry from the middle of the park sent substitute James Mulley through with just Daley to beat and he duly obliged striking the ball to the side of the keepers dive.
With just seconds remaining Witham earned a second when having seen Allen-Page clear off the line after Davies had been beaten by MacDonald, the resultant corner was met by Dave Morgan, although he beat Davies Hendry again cleared off the line but Ricks was quickest to the ball poking home from two feet out.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.