GUFC came into this match in excellent form following last week’s impressive 3-0 win against Fulbourn Institute Reserves and were out to shake their reputation as a ‘cup team’ and claim a precious three points to start moving in the right direction in Kershaw Senior A.
Manager Malcolm Beswick defied convention by making a number of changes to a winning team, bringing in Jake Brown, Nat Sandy and Danny A for Fred, Ryan and Damo. This was the second meeting between the two teams this season and gave GUFC the chance to prove how far they had come since a fortunate 2-2 draw back in September.
A lacklustre warm-up did not affect the team’s start as GUFC came flying out of the blocks in a breathless first 15 minutes in which GUFC were unfortunate not to take the lead. The team knocked the ball around well and came close when Nat stung the palms of the keeper with a driven effort from outside the box after good build up play between Moffat and Danny Allison. Moffat then had a glorious chance when the ball bounced favourably for him in the Soham United area but his tame effort was easily saved by the Soham keeper.
As the half drew on tempers started to flare and the match threatened to boil over as Tom Fitt in particular did all that he could to get under the skin of the short-fused Soham United team. Fitt was particularly lucky to escape without punishment following a wild two-footed lunge in front of the Soham managerial staff. However with the GUFC defence confidently soaking up any Soham pressure the teams went in to the break level at 0-0.
Beswick and Tippett were happy with what they had seen in the first half and implored the players to continue where they had left off in the second. The game resumed at the same high level of intensity and it was difficult to tell who would grab the crucial first goal as the teams traded chances.
However it was GUFC who eventually broke the deadlock. Having been withdrawn in the first half, Cobi Mason was reintroduced midway through the second half and was in the right place at the right time to head the home side into the lead. The assist came from the unlikely source of Joe Featherstone who rose well to head Moffat’s corner but when his goalbound effort was blocked, Cobi was on hand to power a header into the roof of the net.
Things soon got even better for the home side. Having earlier been booked for dissent, the Soham United centre back lunged into a 50-50 with the industrious Tom Fitt and the latter’s theatrical reaction to the mistimed tackle was enough to persuade the Referee to give Soham United’s defender his marching orders.
Soham thought they were back on level-terms shortly after. A hopeful punt forward from Soham was bundled over the line only for their goal to be ruled out for offside with the Soham attacker having been controversially adjudged to have been interfering with play. Shortly after, Captain Phillip went down clutching his back and had to be removed to receive immediate attention from club doctor Danny Pattern. In a bizarre response, which left both the fans and players scratching their heads, Beswick decided against using a defender to plug the hole at CB, opting instead to drop leading goalscorer Danny Allison back to CB with the clear instruction to “head everything that came his way”. This move coincided with Soham’s strongest spell in the match and only good work from Taylor in goal prevented Soham from drawing level.
However, logic prevailed and having switched Danny Allison back to centre forward, GUFC were soon able to make their numerical advantage count with a crucial second goal which killed off any chance of a Soham United comeback. A blistering GUFC counter-attack resulted in second goal of the season for substitute David Dean who scuffed the ball into the corner following a delightful scooped through-ball from Allison.
Once the jubilant celebrations had subsided it was clear that the match was won. The team and management were delighted with a well-earned three points which sees GUFC rise to eleventh in the league.
Man of the match: Nat Sandy.