Paul Hughes’ newly assembled reserve side kicked off their Capital League campaign at Church Road with a hard fought win over a very good Staines Town side.
United started well and could have taken the lead in just the second minute when Daryl McLean found space on the right to cross, his centre was headed straight to Daniel Wishart who from 15 yards screwed his shot wide of the target.
A few minutes later Staines keeper James Courtnage was drawn into action for the first time when Nathan Webb and Ivailo Dimitrov combined on the right to send McLean into the box but his shot was saved.
It was the 20th minute before United stopper Dexter Burt was drawn into a save as he dived at the foot of his left hand post to grab an angled drive from Swans skipper Dwaine Clarke. Four minutes later Burt’s goal was under pressure again as Clarke’s corner came back of the bottom of the near post to Kayan Kalipha, his shot from six yards being cleared off the line by Jack Pattison.
Just before the half hour mark saw the first of three goals in a ten minute spell as Clarke drilled a free-kick from 25 yards that soared over the wall and past Burt, almost before he could react, to give the visitors the lead.
Staines’ lead only lasted five minutes though as Dimitrov sent Webb away into the Swans box, the United skipper being tripped from behind by former United man Alex Duffy. Referee Turnbull pointed to the spot and former Newcastle striker Paul Robinson netted by sending Courtnage the wrong way.
At this stage United took the upper hand in the proceedings and after some good build up work by Elliott Buchanan on the left, his cross was knocked down by Robinson to Dimitrov but his shot was too high to trouble Courtnage.
It was only a minute until United took the lead though as Wishart played the ball through for Dimitrov, Courtnage got to the ball first but only manager to strike it against Dimitrov who was quick enough to slide the ball past the keeper’s despairing dive.
As the half closed more chances came United’s way. McLean raced along the bye-line before finding Dimitrov, his shot being deflected wide by Dan Carter and a couple of minutes later Buchanan ran at the defence on the left before hitting a shot across goal that went agonisingly wide of the far post.
Five minutes into the second period almost brought success for the hosts again. Wishart broke into the left channel only for Courtnage to push his shot wide, the resultant corner finding the head of Robinson but his effort was wide of the target. Almost immediately the Swans went on the offensive and found an equaliser as Ashley Lodge found space in the area, nicked the ball around Burt before beating the defender on the line.
With honours now even the game seemed to go into a real lull for fully half hour with neither keeper being troubled to any great extent. That was until the 81st minute when Wishart collected the ball and thumped a shot past Courtnage from 25 yards to give United the lead once more.
With the United defence holding solid the only remaining chances went to the home side. Wishart fed Buchanan but his effort across goal was just off target and then in the final minute Robinson slid the ball neatly into the run of McLean but his effort was smothered by Courtnage.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Nathan Webb.