Toot toot! Hear that? It’s the promotion train, and it’s heading for Barnwell Junction. Walsall unbeaten in sixteen games, United not having won there since the 70’s. If anything was gonna derail that train it was Walsall right?
Bonner made a number of changes to the side as a result of injuries, with The Digger a notable casualty, but he was replaced by Hiram Boateng alongside Adam May. At the back Harry Darling made way for Robbie Cundy, and Saturday’s Man of the Match Jack Iredale started on the bench to enable Mullin and Ironside to start up front. The U’s started well, as is customary, and less than ten minutes in the all-too-familiar scene of Paul Mullin putting the ball on the spot was the result of Luke Hannant being fouled in the box. It wasn’t the Scouse hitman’s best penalty, but they all count, this one squirming under the keeper.
Boateng entered the book for a late tackle and was forced to modify his game to account for his precarious position, which he did superbly. United had a few more chances, with Mullin and Hannant coming close, but uncharacteristic poor finishing kept the scoreline to 1-0.
The second half started differently, with Walsall having a few bright spells but no serious attempts on goal. United continued to make chances, but in all honesty, weren’t getting the luck in front of goal. Paul Mullin, who picked up a knock in the first half, made way for Iredale with 15 minutes left as Bonner looked to see out the win, and that was assured five minutes later as a Hannant cross was met by a hand in the area, and with Mullin off the pitch, the responsibility fell on Joe Ironside to put it away for his fourth of the season, and the U’s twenty-first league goal of the campaign. Considering for the last two seasons we only managed forty in almost four times as many games, that’s not too bad a start is it.
Shades of Grimsby in 2013 then, a tough away game where we start to believe that things might, just might be pointing towards a successful season. Despite putting out a side that is far from what you’d call a first choice XI, and with Wes Hoolahan not even in the squad, this shows you just how hard this team are working for each other and the sense of togetherness Bonner seems to have instilled in the squad. Roll on Crawley!
Man of the Match: It -could- have been Hiram Boateng for being basically unplayable in midfield, it -should- have been Paul Mullin for making fools of our conservative goalscoring predictions on the pod, but we’re giving it to Robbie Cundy. Back in the team after an error against Exeter, he barely put a foot wrong tonight and got an almighty kick in the bollocks for his troubles.
Soundtrack of the Match: The Apartments – Speechless With Tuesday
United: Mitov, Knoyle, Taylor, Cundy, Dunk, Hannant (El Mizouni), May, Boateng, Davies, Mullin (Iredale), Ironside