Feb 2nd saw Croxley Youth visit and an opportunity for United to avenge our only heavy defeat that we have had in the league this season.
Having been outplayed in the away fixture earlier in the season, we started the game much brighter and with half-time approaching we had possibly had slightly more of the play, albeit Croxley had continually looked dangerous on the break.
With it looking like the first-half ending 0 – 0, with less than a minute of the half to go, Matt, who had had a typically commanding first-half to that point, hesitated to come off his line and collect a through ball which gave Croxley the opportunity to go in with a 1 – 0 half-time lead.
The team talk at half-time did not change as a result as it had been a solid team performance to that point, but it was clear that Croxley had both pace and guile up front and we would have to be on our guard if pushing forwards to get back into the game.
The second half started similarly brightly for United, but as Croxley started to force the play a bit more, we again conceded a needless goal with a poor pass back to the keeper which let Croxley in for a 2 – 0 lead.
Heads did drop slightly at that point as whilst it was very much an even game, two goals felt like a mountain to pull back.
That mountain grew even higher after a couple of great saves from Matt had kept the score to a reasonable level, Ben was deemed to have pulled back one of their strikers in the box to allow Croxley to take a 3 – 0 lead from the penalty spot and, to all intents and purposes, bring the game to a close.
The next 15 minutes was a pleasure to behold as United clawed themselves back into the game, capitalising on the jitters that appeared in the Croxley ranks from what appeared to be a consolation goal from Ben, albeit a great left-footed volley from a neatly delivered corner.
James went close from a free-kick and then Ben followed up, again from a corner, this time with a right-footed volley.
With minutes running down and Croxley looking decidedly shaky at set pieces, another great delivery from a corner saw Sammy rise above the crowd to head in the equaliser on his debut for United.
With the clock running down we were unfortunate not to nick a winner, albeit 3 – 3 was probably a fair results given the possession and the threat that both sides demonstrated.
There were some real positives to take from the game, in particular the delivery from set pieces, especially from Adam and James, which was second to none.
The players awarded the captains armband for next week to Sammy for a great debut performance which involved him covering for Ollie in defence, making a nuisance of himself in mid-field and capping his performance with a fine equalising goal.
The management awarded the man-of-the match award this week to Ben for a complete performance in both midfield and defence and by notching up two goals with both left and right-footed volleys.