United come out on top in seven goal thriller
By Chris Burnett
Victory means Woodley have now picked up seven points from last three home games
United completed their league fixtures against Abingdon Town on Saturday and just like the first game played on the opening day of the season there were plenty of goals.
The hosts nearly got off to the perfect start when Leon Mannion latched onto a Pablo Fernandez through ball inside the opening sixty seconds. Beating Kieran Beesley in the Town goal, the ball missed to the left by inches.
Beesley was then called into action to deny both Fernandez and Max Laschok as Woodley started well. The early pressure yielded the games first goal on ten minutes when Laschok fired into the left corner after finding space on the right of the box.
Ninety seconds later the scores were level when Jamar Smith netted against the run of play.
Every time United went forward they looked dangerous. Some individual brilliance from Laschock saw him evade several challenges before firing a shot goalwards that was blocked by an excellent tackle. The ball fell kindly to Fernandez who forced Beesley into a fine stop getting down well and getting a strong hand on the ball that was destined for the right corner.
Eighteen minutes on the clock saw Jono Malone head back across goal a deep Chace Jewell corner. Sticking out a leg Laschok couldn’t divert Freddie Barron’s low shot on target.
Woodley retook the lead on twenty one from the penalty spot. Catching a defender holding onto the ball too long Laschok won possession on the right; looking up, his low cross picked out Mannion who was fouled as he was shooting. Despite guessing the right way and getting a hand on the penalty Laschok’s shot had enough on it to find the right corner.
The home side then had two half chances to increase their lead. Some good individual play by Mannion using pace and power saw him cut in from the left before testing Beesley from twenty two yards. Mannion then turned provider with a nice through ball to Laschok who was denied by the Town keeper from a tight angle on the left of the box.
Just past the half hour Abingdon had their best spell of the half; Ryan Brooks forced a comfortable stop from Tom Bryant after some good play on the right. Brooks was then involved in his side levelling the game for a second time in slightly fortuitous circumstances. Striking his shot well it was blocked by a United defender into the path of Marlon James who smashed into the left corner.
Despite the setback Woodley continued to dominate. Fernandez combined with Mannion who had his cross deflect behind with Laschok free at the back post. Laschok then missed the target after ghosting in at the back post to get on the end of a Harry Hawkins pass.
Seven minutes before the break United went ahead for the third time courtesy of an excellent team goal. Laschok held his run to stay onside, rounded Beesley then rolled a pass across goal to Fernandez who had enough time to take a touch then smash home.
The half ended with a weak Town shot from twenty five yards missing to the right, an effort from similar range easy for Bryant and Fernandez shooting over at the other end.
HT Woodley United 3-2 Abingdon Town
Woodley started the second period well trying to get a two gaol cushion. Fernandez sent Mannion racing clear on the left wing; skipping past several challenges his low cross was cut out by Ben Moses.
Barron then had a shot saved from the right before Mannion got a deserved goal on fifty nine minutes when he coolly slotted past Beesley after a Fernandez assist.
The visitors were looking to get back into the game. Courtney Lawrence missed from long range before a brilliant block by Pele Hagger thwarted substitute Adam Doyle.
United made a change on sixty six minutes when Adam Barnard, who had picked up an upper body injury, made way for Alex Freeth. The change saw Barron join Hawkins in central midfield with Freeth taking over from Barron at right wing back.
With twenty minutes to go the hosts had two half chances. Jewell missed from the left whilst Barron also couldn’t hit the target from the right. In between these chances Brooks had his header saved after a cross from the overlapping Kyeece Martei.
Abingdon were a mess defensively with Woodley breaking through on numerous occasions. Mannion found himself in on Beesley who committed early; the United forward chipped over the keeper only to see his effort roll wide of the right post.
The away side then had a very good spell that rattled Woodley. James McCarthy just missed to the left before Doyle set up a nervous seven minutes when he curled into the top right corner from the edge of the box. Sixty seconds after the goal McCarthy came within inches of tying the game when his powerful shot hit the right post.
United held on and actually created the final two chances. Mannion rounded the keeper but saw a green shirt come round on the cover to clear whilst a Jewell free kick went over after a foul on Laschok.
FT Woodley United 4-3 Abingdon Town