A first points maximum of 2017 was earned at Honeycroft on a freezing cold Saturday afternoon courtesy of strikes from centre-backs Tom Broadbent and Wes Parker although United never make things easy keeping everyone on their toes right to the end.
The gaffers made two changes to the side that drew with Biggleswade on Tuesday evening as Anthony Edgar and Lewis Putman returned to the starting XI with Ryan Hope and Dylan Kearney dropping to the bench.
In fact it was Edgar on his return to the starting line-up who caused the first worry for visiting custodian, the midfielders 20 yard effort being fumbled by Bradley Catlow who required a clearance by former United defender Jordan Brown.
With chances coming at both ends with little time in between, Luke Rodgers cut in from the left and fired just over from 20 yards for the Reds before Soloman Sambou set up Lewis Putman who forced a tip wide by Catlow from the same distance.
Tom Broadbent came to United’s assistance with an excellent block after Eli Bako had played the ball to Luke Keen inside the United area and then just a few minutes later the United skipper went close to opening the scoring at the other end, his header from a deep Putman free-kick dropping the wrong side of the upright.
Another good chance for United went begging just before the half hour mark when Edgar’s centre from the right side was only part cleared to Connor Toomey who fired his effort into the ground making it a comfortable stop for Catlow. Four minutes later though the deadlock was finally broken. Edgar again the protagonist, his free-kick avoiding everybody in the box, Catlow reacted quickly to push it out but only to Broadbent who controlled the ball on his thigh before smashing it into the Reds net.
Shortly after Edgar nearly had his first goal for United when Melanious Mullarkey chased the ball to the bye-line before pulling it back to Edgar who was denied by a flying save by Catlow who pushed his effort wide. Just 2 minutes later Danny Boness was forced into an almost identical save at the other end to deny Rodgers who had struck a volley from 20 yards out.
Ten minutes after the break Broadbent almost had another when he collected a clearance after a fine Josh Chamberlain centre, his low strike being held right at the foot of the post by Catlow.
Just two minutes later though the visitors drew level. The impressive Dior Angus was given too much space on the right side and he fired the ball to the near post where Keen arrived just in front of Boness to volley into the roof of the United net.
United however were in no mood to let their heads drop and started to push up for another of their own. Catlow held from Putman before number 2 came for United. Edgar fired in a corner from the left, Broadbent’s header was blocked out by Catlow only to be hooked back into the net by Wes Parker.
Edgar then had a free-kick deflect inches wide off the wall followed by a 20 minute spell with neither side getting a run at goal.
Until the final two minutes that is.
With the Reds starting to throw everything forwards, including Catlow, looking for a leveller it was United who broke away with Putman on the ball and a three-on-one situation, unfortunately Catlow got a hand to the ball and it was cleared by a recovering defender.
With the game now in stoppage time it was Catlow himself who had a double chance to find the net for the Reds. Charles Morris’s corner was met by Jordan Cullinan-Liburd, Boness reacted well to dive and push the ball out, it was then played to Catlow on the edge of the box with his initial shot being blocked before he fired the rebound over.
This was not to be his last sortie forwards though as a couple of minutes later he was up for another corner, this was cleared better by United with Ryan Hope collecting the ball in his own half before racing forwards as Catlow and his defenders retreated, unfortunately Hope carried the ball too far allowing Catlow to grab it but seconds later it was all over and United had earned a much needed and deserved three points.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Brian Matthews.
United Man of the Match: Tom Broadbent.
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