By Ethan Harris
A GOAL in each half from Clayton Green and Louis Gerrard saw USW dispatch a hard-working Hartpury team to gain their first win in BUCS Premier South.
After Steve Savage’s side’s 2-2 with Cardiff Met in their season opener last week, this game began as a rather frantic midfield battle.
Neither side could exert any sustained pressure and there was a lack of composure in the final third with very few chances being created.
The first clear chance fell to Hartpury in the 26th minute. Forward Edji Mbunga carried the ball with blistering pace past the USW defence but blazed his shot high to the relief of stopper Ashley Morris.
A quick succession of chances proved critical before half time.
Hartpury attacked down the wing through forward Isaac Kelly and his looping cross floated over Morris and clipped the crossbar.
USW scrambled clear and launched a rapid counter-attack.
Helal Albaarini found space in the area only to watch in frustration as his snapshot cannoned off the post.
However, midfielder Clayton Green was most alert to the rebound and fired the home side into the lead just before the break.
Soon after the restart, Hartpury nearly landed a sucker punch on USW.
Mbunga was involved once more, looping a cross to the back post where Will Tunnicliff volleyed wide.
The missed opportunity summed up Hartpury’s wastefulness which prevented them getting back into the game.
USW were quieter in the second half but might have increased their lead on the hour when forward Louis Gerrard capitalised on a deflected clearance only to see his effort fly wide.
It took time before the home side could make another chance, but when they did, in the 84th minute, Gerrard made it count as he found space after being put clean through and buried a low left-footed shot for 2-0.
USW team manager Steve Savage was happy his side secured the three points after a tough game against an established Hartpury side.
“I thought we started a little bit sloppy, not keeping the ball as well as we’d like,” said Savage.
“But as we always do with this group, we stick together.
“We talked to the guys at half-time and said we can do things a little better and we’d get what we want, which is three points.”