United’s reserve side earned a comprehensive three points in Mondays Capital League match against a young St Albans City team which comprised the bulk of the Saints under 18 side.
United started quickly, in just the second minute Ryan Blake leapt well to meet a Myles Hippolyte centre only for his effort to come back off the post before being played to safety.
Skipper Luke Bersey then went close with a shot from the edge of the box that was deflected inches wide of the upright. The deadlock was broken on 15 minutes when Hippolyte and Aidan Hawtin exchanged passes during a short corner routine, the latter’s centre being met by Inih Effiong who was denied by an excellent one handed save by Jonathan Pitts only for Blake to force home the loose ball from close range.
Ten minutes later Effiong got himself on the scoresheet. Having just had a seemingly good “goal” ruled out by an offside flag, the loanee striker connected sweetly on the volley to finish off a move that saw Bersey send away marauding right-back Theo Jones who picked out his centre-forward perfectly.
Just a few minutes later Blake grabbed a fortunate second, having been played through by Hawtin, the strikers shot rebounded back off Pitts onto the striker before flying straight into the Saints net.
Two minutes later Blake completed a hat-trick, Hippolyte won possession on the halfway line and raced away down the left before picking out Blake in the middle who confidently slid the ball into the bottom corner.
The Saints best chance of the half fell to Mitch Ryder who ran onto an Abobaker Eisa centre and from 12 yards out drew an excellent stop from George Upton in the United goal.
With Effiong and Blake being replaced at the interval by Mario Quiassaca and Jack Thomson-Wheeler it was not long before both of them added their names to the scoring chart. Five minutes in and another penetrating break down the left by Hippolyte saw him find Quiassaca in the middle and he slid the ball comfortably past Pitts.
Five soon became six when Quiassaca flicked on a straight ball up the middle to an offside looking Thomson-Wheeler who with the flag staying down stroked the ball past Pitts.
United’s seventh came on the hour when Hawtin arrived at the far post to volley home a deep Yannis Drais cross after he had been sent away on the left by Quiassaca.
An excellent save from Pitts in the 74th minute saw Drais denied as the young Saints keeper tipped a drive from 20 yards onto the crossbar and over.
The respite didn’t last though as United bagged number eight ten minutes from time when Daniel Silva played the ball down the left to Hamsa Aalouache, his centre being tapped in at the far post by central defender Taofiq Olomowewe who had remained forward following a cleared corner kick.
Upton had to be at his best with a couple of minutes to go to preserve his clean sheet as Hafid Bounyafe hit an angled free-kick from the right that the United keeper did well to touch onto the bar.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Aidan Hawtin.