United lack­ing home com­forts

Run of ‘home’ games will still see club on the road

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT - By Jon Batham tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

United face five home games out of six in Fe­bru­ary – it would have six but for the de­ci­sion to switch the sched­uled home match with Wey­mouth this month to a trip to the south coast.

In nor­mal cir­cum­stances, such a run of fix­tures on your own patch would be a mas­sive ad­van­tage to a side bat­tling to avoid suc­ces­sive rel­e­ga­tions.

How­ever the talks with Hilling­don Coun­cil over the is­su­ing of a safety cer­tifi­cate for United’s Skyex Sta­dium are still drag­ging on so ‘ home’ in re­al­ity means con­tin­u­ing the club’s no­madic ex­is­tence at Bea­cons­field SYCOB’s Hol­loways Park and Uxbridge’s Hon­ey­croft base.

And while boss Hughes is grate­ful to United’s neigh­bours for their will­ing­ness to play host, he knows it is not the same as the usual home com­forts.

“If we were re­ally at home it would be an ad­van­tage,” said Hughes. “But Bea­cons­field are play­ing home games too, so the pitch is not go­ing to help us play. How­ever, we know that pitch bet­ter than most of our rivals and we e are not go­ing to be do­ing much trav­el­ling so that helps, and the games are sched­uled for Satur­days, not Sun­days, which­hich is some­thing the boys are re at least used to.”

United were due in ac­tion ction at Hol­loways Park last night (Tues­day), as they at­temptmpted to end a run of nine e league games with­out a win at home to mid-ta­ble Big­gleswade Town.

United came close to that at elu­sive win away at St Ives on Satur­day, only for a soft penalty 12 min­utes from time to can­cel out a spec­tac­u­lar cu­lar first-half ef­fort from Con­nor nnor Toomey on his re­turn from in­jury.

A point left United still ll in the bot­tom two and, with five sides be­ing in­creas­ingly cast adrift of the rest and fou­rur to go down, Hughes knows the equa­tion is a sim­ple one.

“We have to fin­ish on top of that pile of five teams and we have the games in hand d to do that,” he said. “It is still not im­pos­si­ble for Dorch­ester ester to be dragged into the scrap crap as well, but we know if f we get that win from one of our games in hand, we jump out of that bot­tom four.”

Fol­low­ing the Big­gleswade wade game, United host Red­ditch ditch at Hon­ey­croft on Satur­day rday be­fore fac­ing Bas­ingsto­kee at Hol­loways Park next Tues­day.day. AL­MOST a whole team of strik­ers slipped through Gor­don Bartlett’s fingers in the run-up to Wealdstone’s FA Tro­phy exit at home to Brack­ley on Satur­day, writes Jon Batham.

With the tal­is­manic El­liot Benyon ex­pected to be side­lined for an­other three weeks, no less than eight po­ten­tial front men were ap­proached, at least some of whom could have led the line in what turned out to be a 4-1 de­feat against the Saints.

For one rea­son or an­other a sig­na­ture was not se­cured, and with dreams of Wem­b­ley gone and the Stones ma­rooned in mid-ta­ble in the Con­fer­ence South, Bartlett knows the search may get harder from here.

“We went af­ter eight strik­ers, some of whom were cup-tied, one we could not get in­ter­na­tional clear­ance for in time, one we pulled out of and an­other the player’s agent blocked it,” said the Stones man­ager.

“We will go back to the draw­ing board again this week with the sce­nario that the fo­cus is the league and the county cups, where those who were cup-tied for last week might still be in­ter­ested.”

For all that, Bartlett ad­mit­ted his side’s last-16 exit from non-league’s big­gest cup com­pe­ti­tion stemmed from self-in­flicted wounds and an in­abil­ity to de­fend as a unit.

It marked the sec­ond week run­ning – and the third home game in a row – in which the Stones had shipped four goals, some­thing Bartlett can­not re­mem­ber in his long ca­reer at Wealdstone or any­where else.

And though the striker search goes on, his first priority in JAY­DEN BLACK­WOOD starred for come­back kings West Dray­ton Ex­plor­ers un­der-13s.

Things looked bleak when they trailed 3-0 at half-time to Boyne Hill Stags but Black­wood’s dou­ble and goals from Hy­nan Ab­bas Ali Zaidi, Ge­or­gia Sut­ton and Gurveer Rat­tan turned the game around 5-3.

The U13s weren’t the only Ex­plor­ers to snatch vic­tory from the jaws of de­feat on Sun­day. The U16s came back from 2-0 down at the break to win 4-2 thanks to Se­jdi Idrizi’s dou­ble and goals for Jack Fowler and Zubair Naseri. Ayub Raabi was man of the match.

The U6s and U7s went goal crazy. Fred­die Pe­nil’s four-timer led the rout for the U6s as they crushed Wind­sor 15-1. Jack Keane and Ryan Poli­dore hit hat-tricks, Fred­die Ship­per­ley weighed in with two Ju­naid Ha­man­dishe, Jonathan Mickale and Tommy Clark also got on the score­sheet.

Ka­jus Cepas, mean­while, hit five for the U7s as they won 9-4 against S4K Wolves. Filip Pon­ski con­trib­uted two with As­ton Odeyale an­other young­ster on tar­get.

Christo­pher Burton’s dou­ble was at the heart of a dom­i­nant dis­play by the U10 Blues as they beat Chal­font Saints 4-0, a strike by Cal­lum Hay­worthsharp and an own goal com­plet­ing the scor­ing.

The U8 Reds too won hand­somely, Odeiro Brand bag­ging a brace and Aleks Ko­valenko and man of the match Asante also fs­cor­ing in a 5-1 win.

The U11s and U10 Pur­ples also won with the for­mer beat­ing Lan­g­ley Hor­nets 2-1 with goals from Reece But­ler and God­win Usifo, and the lat­ter beat­ing KS Gryf by the same score cour­tesy of a Rokas Ba­tru­saitis dou­ble and a man of the match dis­play from Tyler Pal­frey.

The U8 Blues shared 12 goals with SK4 Bears, Daniel Mickale bag­ging two with Ava Lyon, Natu Yo­hannes and Hamza Na­man the other Ex­plor­ers on tar­get.

Samuel Spasov’s goal could not save the U12s from a first de­feat of the sea­son, against Slough Town in the League Cup 2-1 while the U9s crashed 7-2 at De­laford Colts de­spite Oliver Lan­g­ley’s brace.

The U10 Reds lost 3-1 to the same op­po­nents, Tris­tan Vil­lacru­sis on tar­get and the U15s lost 3-0 to Burn­ham Tiger Reds.

Matt Tier­ney led the rout for Heathrow Youth un­der-13s as they thrashed Lon­don Tigers on Sun­day.

Tier­ney notched a four-timer for Youth as they tamed Tigers to the tune of 11-1. Tyler Lawler and Kai Amara both con­trib­uted dou­bles with a Frankie Ma­jor strike and two own goals com­plet­ing the scor­ing. Satur­day’s home game with Ox­ford City, and Mon­day night’s clash with strug­glers White­hawk, will be to tighten up at the back.

“On a per­sonal level, I’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced this level of de­fen­sive prob­lems,” he said. “I’ve man­aged some pretty poor sides over the years, but we’ve never con­ceded this num­ber of goals, nor have we con­ceded goals in this man­ner.

“Tight­en­ing up and not giv­ing easy goals away has been the foun­da­tion of my teams over so many years and we have got to get back to be­ing hard to beat.”

Bartlett’s search for a turn­around in for­tunes won’t be helped by in­juries sus­tained in train­ing by Matt Wich­e­low and Jack Smith in the runup to the Brack­ley tie, and he ad­mits the short-term prog­no­sis for both isn’t good.

“Matt’s studs caught in the ground and the an­kle cracked as he went over. The swelling was so bad our team could not even be­gin to make a di­ag­no­sis,” added Bartlett. “Then I get back to the train­ing ground, hav­ing taken Matt back to the club, to find Jack’s dis­lo­cated his shoul­der again and needs an­other oper­a­tion.”

POINT-INGPOINT- ING THE WAY: A spec­tac­u­lar Con­nor Toomey goal put United on the road to a draw at St Ives. Pic­ture: Gareth Davies BA164525

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