By Dan Cope and Halen McCarthy
A TIGHT and scrappy affair at the Sport Park saw USW 5th lose 2-1 to a resilient AECC 1st side.
USW started well, looking energised and refreshed and pressing AECC high up the pitch, which caused the AECC defence to make mistakes. Eventually, USW capitalised on a mistake but Redd Pratley’s shot was well blocked by the AECC defence.
Soon after, AECC grew into the game and started to create chances, but the USW defence remained firm with Anthony Songole staying composed under pressure.
After a quiet opening 15 minutes, USW created the first clear opportunity of the game when tricky winger Sion Herman had his shot easily saved by the AECC keeper from inside the six yard box. USW continued to create chances, with Sion Herman being their main source of creativity. But they couldn’t break down the defence.
AECC almost broke the deadlock in the 36th minute when a looping header made its way over Jordan O’Brien in the USW goal, but Songole was on hand to clear the ball off the line.
Two minutes later AECC took the lead after they turned defence into attack brilliantly with a terrific raid down the left flank. It was rounded off superbly with a shot that beat O’Brien at his near post to send the hosts into half-time trailing 0-1.
The second half started the same way the first ended – tight – with both teams trying to assert their dominance.
There were good chances early on as USW sent a deep cross from the right which fell to the feet of the left wing whose shot was well blocked by the right back for AECC.
AECC replied with a chance of their own after the play was stopped due to a head injury, the ball was flicked over the top of the USW defence playing through the striker who fires the ball over the bar.
AECC doubled their lead on the hour after a mistake from left back Danny Maguire gifted the ball to the Visitors’ midfield. They quickly played the ball through to the striker who smashed the ball into the near post, an effort which should’ve been saved by the keeper.
USW pushed forward searching for a way back into the game with multiple half chances not really troubling the keeper.
With 10 minutes left USW had a great opportunity to get back into it as they won a penalty after a quick counter attack which saw striker Redd Pratley upended by the ‘keeper after chipping the ball over him.
Pratley sent the keeper the wrong way with his penalty to narrow the deficit to 1-2, but there was no equaliser as the clock ran out.
Full Time 1-2