After a disappointing crash out in the quarter finals last year resulted in the sacking of manager José Thomas, UWMCCFC returned to the hallowed turf of Tarkett under new management and with a new look starting XI filled with hope at gaining the elusive football trophy to sit in the already packed UWMCC trophy cabinet.
Matty van Howe decided to line the team up in a 4-4-1-1 against opponents Economics (colloquial: ‘Euro Whoppers’), uncertain of what to expect from a team that have been drubbed in recent years but give a strong Sunday offering. A few new faces throughout the lineup included a runout for much lauded anchor Jonathan Gonszor and a debut for Narayanan and Livesey.
The early season rust was evident from the first ten minutes of play – a scrappy affair with few chances from either side but some promising exchanges between the midfield. But UWMCCFC soon grew into the game and some fluent play between the midfield and the front pair led to new signing Joe being cynically felled in the area. Up stepped Graziano Platt to schlot home in the bottom left corner and kick the team into gear.
Some good chances were created as the boys really started to find their rhythm and their hard work was rewarded as the ball found itself at the feet of Livesey at the edge of the area, who calmly finessed (RB & B) the ball home over the goalkeeper to send the team in 2-0 up at halftime – A surprisingly composed and solid start, with Economics creating very little beyond a fluffed lob.
Hobbs replacing Nish just before the half to add some attacking impetus, the manager decided (shortly after Platt’s Bafta nominated fall in the penalty area) to give new double signing Clayden/Slayden a runout shortly after the half to answer the question on all clubmen’s lips: could Clayden be 1st XI in 3 disciplines? He shortly answered the question – his first touch sending the ball straight to the opposition in our half, who then proceeded to drive at the defence and cooly schlip the ball in off the post. Squeaky bum time.
After a reshuffle which had Howe brought on to replace a tiring Wood who had put in an impressive shift at the back, Economics coincidentally started to gain confidence and create chances which was shortly to pay dividends. A hopeful ball over the top alluded the unfortunate Hall to find itself at the feet of the opposition striker, and somehow the net as the ball unluckily looped home off of Khawaja. UWMCCFC found themselves undeservedly drawing, and with the momentum dramatically shifted.
However, UWMCCFC gave a rousing response to the heads-gone with Hobbs cleverly creating but spurning a couple of good chances. Soon after, the lively Livesey was slipped through and saw a good effort bounce out off the post only for Clayden to make amends and tap the ball home. To secure the points, Graziano played an intelligent one-two off the referee before outpacing the centre back and calmly sliding the ball home from a tough angle. FT UWMCCFC 4-2 Economics.
All-in-all a highly impressive display given the lack of match preparation and fitness with a scoreline that badly flattered Economics, roll on Lads on Toure next weekend.
XI: Kraus, Wood, Hall, Gonszor, Jewson, David, Rowe, Khawaja, Narayanan, Platt, Livesey
Subs: Hobbs, Clayden, Howe