Unsworth (CC) FC 3 Hough End 3 Pens (1-4)

In a game of this magnitude you have to start well and the Unsworth lads certainly did outplaying the opposition time and again with beautiful to watch link up play particularly between Oisin , Morgan and Lewis .
Time and again chances were created a Lewis pass finding Morgan jinking his way through to get a shot off , then the same lads again when a goal looked favourite but a desperate clearance was made .
Marcus got in on the act than running on to a Morgan pass , the latter looking imperious in his link up play . to back up our superior play with Hough End constantly on the back foot .
The goal did not come from this source however but an Oisin corner and Marcus getting on the end of it to make it 1-0

There were four players missing once again for varying reasons but once again the team looked strong enough on paper to beat Astley & Tyldesley . Jack was back as CDM alongside the hard working Luke with the front four Lewis , Oisin , Marcus and Rowie a match for anyone .
The match was lovely to watch from the start with the lads spraying the ball around in super fashion with improved talking around the ball . The Reds created a number of chances from this with Joel heading against the post from an Oisin corner , Lewis shooting just wide and Marcus making the keeper work hard with a well struck right foot shot .
Oisin then had a mazy wonderful run and brought Rowie into the game but a left foot shot missed the target and Marcus had a long range effort saved by their very good goalkeeper , and again after Rowie had won the ball from their defender .

Once again the team was threadbare with the continuing injuries to Dan , Josh , and Marcus and the absence today of our keeper Mark and Joe H and we were therefore very lucky to welcome Joe W back from The Greens and Luke S who is always reliable to stand in as keeper . Not withstanding this the lads started really brightly controlling the game with crisp passing and creating a number of good chances before Middleton started to become the dominant team due to their workrate and desire and resorting to a long ball in atrocious conditions with the pitch getting worse by the minute and defenders unable to turn quickly as they pumped the ball over the top as our defence got deeper and deeper facing a strong wind .
Their first goal was as a result of our Achilles heel , slack marking and a Middleton forward getting in behind us to score . When will we learn this valuable lesson which results in goals against us time and again . Their second goal came from a poor clearance but in no way would I associate blame against Luke as stand in keeper and in fact I must praise his ability to play in multiple positions without complaint . He really is a team player .
At half time we highlighted their work rate and determination from 11 men which was key to their game and asked the same from our lads . We also said the game would be in our favour now due to the weather particularly the strong wind now being in our favour . We also asked the centre halves to stop dropping deeper and to allow their forwards to run offside which worked a treat within a couple of minutes of the restart .
The lads got their reward very soon with Oisin who is absolutely outstanding at present getting the ball 15 yards from their box with only one thing in his mind as he drove forward and from five yards outside of the box he let fly perfectly to score a cracker in the top left corner and the keepers right . You will not see a better goal in the premier league this weekend . It will only be a matter of time before he gets noticed once again as he is playing at such a high level consistently . Our equaliser came from Lewis doing what we asked and that is getting behind the opposition and the finish was good as he fired low to the keepers right with sufficient power to beat him .
Next week sees the return fixture and if the weather is like today it will be on 3g for sure !

Without Dan, Rob , Morgan , Luke S and Josh our squad once again allowed us to put out a strong enough team thankfully with Charley slotting in at left back and Ben moving to right midfield .

The lads were lethargic from the start and you really do wonder what time they get to bed at times but for sure they were unprepared in the main to roll up their sleeves as a team and get stuck in and work hard initially .

For this reason Unsworth fell behind when it was all too easy to get in behind our back four as no one took responsibility , most were just spectators , with no fire in the belly or a desire to win the ball .
That said Marcus was continuing to show what he did in training making 2/3 chances and we knew it was a day when he would score at least one , and sure enough Rowie who was not feeling great either found him with the perfect pass in the last ten minutes of the half for Marcus to finish neatly .
Then the lads had a great move with Lewis finding Marcus with the simple pass who knocked it right to Oisin who in turn beat his man and gently chipped the ball to beat another defender to find Ben in his stride on the right and he finished neatly across the keeper to miraculously put us in the lead at half time when myself and Darren were expecting to give them the rocket they deserved .

With Dan , Rowie , Josh out injured or sick my promise was to retain Ben and Luke as starters after their performances in the last game . With a powerful centre forward Joel dropped into the back four and throughout the game Rob and Joel kept him quiet getting to him quickly and stifling his game .

Luke and Joe Hull sat in front of the back four which left Oisin on the right , Jack in the centre and Marcus on the left with Lewis up front in place of the late turning up Morgs .

From the start and throughout the game Unsworth in fourth place were the better team against Curzon Ashton who have moved into second place in recent weeks .

Marcus lobbed the keeper after intercepting the ball and the only surprise was that the ball was not nestling in the back of the net . Joe Hull shortly after had a good effort saved by their keeper who scrambled the ball away for a corner .

It was no surprise that Unsworth took the lead with Jack finding Marcus with a fine pass and Marcus finishing nicely . Shortly after for me we put the game to bed when Joel towered above everyone from a corner to make it 2-0 with what is becoming a trademark goal from an Oisin corner and it was this score at half time .

We said to the lads that more of the same and hardwork could give us a 4 or 5-0 victory but that we must ensure no early goal against us .

Sure enough the lads met the challenge and with a poor back header giving Lewis the opportunity to run on to and finish easily it gave us a further safety net to win a big game .

The only way Curzon were going to score was from a penalty in all honesty as Mark was largely unused except for clearances on the edge of our box .

A foul on their player in the box allowed their best player to step up to meet the challenge with a strike down the middle .

However there was to be no comeback as Oisin put in a fine ball for Ben to run onto in his stride to finish nicely to the keepers right and shortly after the game was over when Oisin mesmerised the opposition to put in Lewis who made the perfect decision to put in Morgan who kept up his run of goals to make it 5-1 . We will need these goals if Marcus is out for any time with a recurring injury .

Undeservedly Curzon got another penalty from a poor decision from the ref for handball to make it 5-2 but all in all a super display with some fine performances from Ben , Rob , Jack , Oisin and Lewis in particular but the whole team deserve a pat on the back as we move to challenge for 2nd spot in the league .

Lets keep it going now to keep us at the right tempo to make the most of two cup quarter finals over the coming months .