We’re lucky at United. We might not always feel like it, but we are. In one sense, we’re lucky to even have a club to support at all, following our brush with liquidation in the mid-00’s. We’re lucky to have one of the brightest young coaches in the country, who knows the club inside-out. But we’re luckier still to have a couple of players who’ve been here for around a decade, who’ve been instrumental in two promotions and restoring us to what you might say is our rightful place in the Football League.
We’ve waxed lyrical about Harrison Dunk enough on this site and podcast, but one of our more unsung heroes is our Captain Greg Taylor. We’ve not always been kind to Greg, even though he Kindly gave us his time for a chat a while back, but the fact is this club wouldn’t be where it is without him. Ian Miller, Josh Coulson, Leon Legge, great defenders have been and gone, but our Greg has been next to all of them, leading us on.
We were shocked last night to see Greg go down in the 30th minute thumping the pitch after suffering what looked like a nasty ankle injury. We’re keeping our fingers crossed it’s not as serious as it looks, and that he can return soon, but sadly it’s not looking great. United are already light at centre back with Jubril Okedina on the sidelines for a couple of weeks, but Greg’s calming influence will be missed all over the pitch, not just in defence.
The game itself was a pretty feisty affair – George Williams put in a battling performance, his best in an Amber (or white) shirt to date and was right in the thick of it taking a cowardly whack from Plymouths James Wilson, whilst Adam May, playing as a number 10 was also not backing out of the rough stuff. Paul Digby, returned to midfield came close with a free kick early on, whilst Dimi Mitov continued his good form with a number of saves.
Following Greg’s unfortunate injury Bonner had to reshuffle, with Harrison Dunk coming on at left back allowing Jack Iredale to move next to Lloyd Jones at centre back. Someone should have mentioned this to Doug & Johnno up in the commentary box, as they thought Iredale was playing alongside Dan Jones, a name that will bring back gruesome memories of Colin Calderwood’s dour reign a couple of seasons back.
In the second half Plymouth had thought they’d made a breakthrough on 54 minutes, with Jephcott finishing from a clearly offside position. The linesman took an age to decide, and this delay allowed one Plymouth fan to sprint half the length of the stand in joyous celebration towards where the U’s fans were, arriving just in time to see the goal being disallowed, much to the delight of the 200+ U’s fans who’d made the journey.
They say lightening doesn’t strike twice, but for the United defence it often does, and ten minutes later Jephcott scored a carbon copy of his first goal, but this time from an onside position. 1-0 Plymouth, here we go again…
But no, we should know by now that Mark Bonner’s United don’t give up that easily, and on seventy-five minutes Shilow Tracey was felled in the box, and up stepped Big Joe Ironside who after seeing his penalty saved, was wise to tuck in the rebound and silence ten thousand Plymouth fans. That’s three in three for the big man, and as you might have seen on Twitter, friend of the pod Russ Greaves is keeping a tally of Big Joe’s goals against that of Paul Mullin, which currently stands at 3-0 to Ironside.
United held on against a Plymouth onslaught, and the hosts thought they’d done it on 95, but could only hit the bar. We might not have won a league game yet, but we’re fighting hard for every point and that’s what counts. No-one can doubt the effort these boys are putting in, and on another day we could have come away with all three points.
We welcome Burton to the Abbey on Saturday, and they’re currently riding high in the table and will be sure to give us a tough test. But we’re up for it, and even if we have to call up Andy Duncan and Liam Daish to shore up the defence we’ll be ready. Mark Bonner won’t stand for anything else.
Man of the Match: Two standouts for us, George Williams putting in his best performance in a U’s shirt at right back, and Adam May who put in a proper shift in an unusual position for him. He can be a difficult player to like at times, Adam May, but he’s always committed and there’s definitely signs of a decent player there. We think he’ll really show his worth this season.
Soundtrack of the Match: Biffy Clyro – The Captain
United: Mitov, Williams, Jones, Taylor (Dunk), Iredale, Tracey (Smith), Digby, May (Weir), O’Neil, Brophy, Ironside
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