We made hard work of that didn’t we? A pretty unmemorable game settled by a pretty damn memorable goal from Adam May, which ensured United continue their unbeaten start to 2022.
The talking point on everyone’s lips on Saturday was where was Joe Ironside, and more importantly: how long is he going to be out for? Sam Smith took his place at the tip of our attack, and with Wes Hoolahan back into the starting eleven U’s fans reading the teamsheet something to cheer about.
Let’s not kid ourselves, this wasn’t a classic. Like Doncaster, Crewe’s efforts seemed to belie their position towards the foot of the table. It was United who started stronger, but Crewe fought thier way back into the game and caused some nervy moments in the stands with arguably the better chances of the opening forty minutes.
Due to Sam Smith’s inability to stay onside (getting caught three times in the first half at least), United’s best chances fell to Harvey Knibbs, but he was unable to find the net. Minutes before the half time whistle Knibbs was again involved, chasing down and fighting hard for a loose ball, pulling it back to Adam May on the edge of area who sent a screamer flying over the top of the South Stand… well that’s what it was looking like, until the very last moment when the ball dropped down over the goalkeeper and into the roof of the net. 1-0 United.
The second half saw United start strongly again, although Crewe battled to stay in the game. The referee’s performance got worse as the game went on, with Wes Hoolahan going into the book after being fouled one too many times. The impressive Knibbs made way for Jack Lankester as Crewe continued to threaten, although they were ultimately toothless and unable to break through a resolute United, who bolstered their defence late on with Worman and Okedina replacing May and Brophy.
So, United again snatch a win despite a laboured performance – there’s a real resilience about this team which you have to go back to the days of John Beck to have seen previously. All too many times we’ve been on the opposite end of this, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but Mark Bonner has flipped that on it’s head. This team want to fight, and they want to win.
We find ourselves in the strange position of approaching the end of January looking closer to the playoffs than the relegation zone. We’re reaping the rewards of not panicking when things weren’t going our way earlier in the season, Bonner instilling a belief that if we play our game to the highest levels possible then the results will come. We’re not suggesting for a minute that we’re going to be troubling the playoffs at all come the end of the season, but let’s enjoy looking up whilst it lasts. There’s still a lot of football to play, and some difficult games yet to come, but we’re getting the results we need to at the moment, and that can only help come May.
Man of the Match: It would be all too easy to give it to Adam May for his gutsy midfield performance and thunderbolt of a goal. We’re giving it to George Williams this week, a player who didn’t have the easiest start to life at the Abbey, but who has gone on to prove all doubters wrong and has now become an important part of our team. In the latest UTAS Podcast Tom said he didn’t think Kyle Knoyle would get into our team ahead of Williams at the moment, and we don’t think you’ll find many people disagreeing with him.
Soundtrack of the Match: The Gun Club – Like Calling Up Thunder