There’s been a lot of talk this week about the top six teams in the country breaking away to create a TV-friendly European Super League of pure entertainment. At this rate, there’s only one team in the country that should be a shoe-in for an invite, and that’s Cambridge United.
Trevor Kettle was the ref as Port Vale came to the Abbey for what was due to be our toughest challenge of the season. Any thoughts of Kettle taking a back seat were quickly undone as Kyle Knoyle’s cross into the area was pushed back towards a flying Luke Hannant, and yer man Kettle did what he does best, and pointed to the spot. The result, a foregone conclusion, obviously, Paul Mullin doing what he does best, and firing the U’s into an early lead. Why the penalty was given, we’re not quite sure and we’re not sure old Trev is either. The smart money is on a handball from Knoyle’s cross or a foul on Hannant, but knowing Kettle it really could have been for anything.
Having given out one penalty, Kettle had a taste for it now, and after a clumsy challenge by Darling on the edge of the box he got his second chance to award a penalty, which was subsequently despatched.
From here on United and Port Vale traded periods of decent football, but it was Vale who seemed to be having the upper hand. Hoolahan hit the inside of the post, but there weren’t many other chances falling the U’s way.
In the second half it was United who put the pressure on, Wes and Boateng playing some sublime football, and it was Boateng with a killer pass to Dunk, who put a cross in to the Scouse assassin to hit his second of the game.
The U’s should have killed the game off, but Vale continued to challenge and were getting chances, although without much in the way of end product. Perhaps the defining moment of the game fell shortly after, when a loose ball broke free, and Adam May with a textbook professional foul to stop a Port Vale attack, getting a yellow card for his troubles, but also our unending gratitude.
Vale threw everything they had at United, bringing on Twitter conspiracy theorist and certified dickhead Tom Pope to try and get back into the game, but the tired U’s held strong, and with the last kick of the game, who else but Paul Mullin popped up to put away his hat-trick from an impossible angle.
So another impressive win, and a hatful more goals for Paul Mullin. Already we’re seeing comparisons not only to Richard Money’s promotion side, but Roy McFarland’s attacking legends of the late 90’s. Can we keep this up? That remains to be seen, but we’re taking points off the top teams, and with a lot of games this month it’s encouraging that we’re off to a flyer. The football’s not half bad either, and in Mark Bonner we have a manager who gets what it means to be United. Long may it continue.
UTAS Man of the Match: It’s pretty hard not to go for Paul Mullin really, with three goals, but we at UTAS like to celebrate the alternative, so Adam May gets the hallowed gong, purely for his professional foul with six minutes remaining that, had he not made it, could have given Vale an equaliser at a pivotal point in the game. Adam, if you want us to pay your fine you know where we are mate.
Soundtrack of the Match: Robbie Williams – Let Me Entertain You
United: Mitov, Knoyle, Darling, Taylor, Iredale (Davies), Hannant, Digby, Boateng (May), Dunk, Hoolahan (Ironside), Mullin