On a very warm and sunny morning at Florence Park last weekend, the young U’swent into the latest game of their Professional Development League season still looking for their first win of the season.
After seven months of toil and some hard knocks, there was a much deserved success for them after an excellent display against Birmingham City.
Two early goals settled them down and although the visitors twice hit back to narrow
their two goal advantage, it was the U’s who saw the match out to claim their first three
point haul of the season.
Right from the start, they got on top as Harvey Sayer went between and past several
players on a surging burst, before having his shot saved.
The ball ran out to triallist Rob Malilia but his shot was deflected away for a
left wing corner.
It was from this that the U’s then took the lead, with Sayer and Cornish combining on the left and Tom Stagg touched the ball home at the near post from the cross.
The hosts were full of confidence in the early stages, and Harvey Sayer was the instigator
of much of the good U’s work.
The second goal came after eleven minutes, and came about from good pressure on the opposition.
The keeper’s pass out to one of his central defenders put him under pressure from Stagg.
Although his initial attempt was blocked, he got onto the rebound to find another triallist,
Rhys Hylton who put the chance away to double the lead.
In their first chance of the match, the visitors saw good link up play which ended with
Adan George sending his left footer over the bar.
After the next away effort on the turn was sent just wide, some good battling by the U’s saw Sayer set up with the chance to fizz the ball across the goalmouth but nobody was there to get the vital touch.
Hylton was denied as the U’s continued to dominate, and then Stagg waged almost a
one man campaign to get a U’s third – he shot narrowly over, just wide of the post and
was then denied by a diving save that kept the lead down to two.
In a rare foray forward for City, the referee waved away vain appeals for a penalty and it did look like the Blues forward had gone to ground too easily. The visitors had a shot
blocked towards the end of the first half, but that was as close as they got and the U’s had a rare 2-0 lead at the break.
The U’s started the second period determined to keep up the good work, but the lead was
reduced on fifty two minutes as possession was lost and a shot was deflected for a corner.
From this, a back post header went back across goal and was converted from close
range. City were upping their game as they chased an equaliser, but the U’s defended
resolutely and it was they who got the all important next goal.
The ever dangerous Stagg robbed a defender and fed left for Harvey Sayer,who drove a low cross shot back across into the far corner of the net just five minutes after the Blues had scored.
Both sides had opportunities in the following minutes, but Birmingham made things
interesting on sixty seven minutes. They broke well down the right, and although the initial effort was saved, the ball ran loose for Jude Bellingham to drive his shot into the net to make it 3-2.
That goal didn’t dent the young U’s though, and they went on the offensive to try and
regain their two goal advantage. And they were rewarded on eighty one minutes when
they made the game safe with a fourth goal. It came when a mishit shot by Miranda
went straight to Tom Stagg, who drove his left foot effort under the dive of the City
Birmingham did have a couple of half chances in the final ten minutes, but the U’s
deservedly kept them out and finally got their first league win of the campaign.