By Justin Daley
Mursley United FC 3 v 2 Stony Stratford FC
Having had a run of playing teams from either the top third of our Division or teams from the division above in the cups, Saturday saw Mursley up against another tough opponent in Stony Stratford who were sitting in the top half of the table. On a blustery and wet afternoon, with a host of players unavailable and with late changes having to be made to the squad due to players pulling out it was looking like another tough afternoon was in store.
The game started off with both teams assessing each other, the pitch and the conditions, the blustery wind meant keeping the ball on the turf but the persistent rain made the pitch very sticky so this made for an interesting game. Mursley adapted to the conditions better and pressed frequently in to the Stony half, their high tempo play stopped Stony from getting in to their stride, however Stony looked very dangerous with their quick counter attacks being fed in to their Striker Chris Wreh who held the ball up well and looked to bring others in to play, but Sam Jay in goal was rarely tested. Mursley continued to press and look for the opening goal, Nathan Skelton had a couple of half chances and Eddie Bosoka and Antonio Ncara out on the flanks were giving the Stony fullbacks plenty to think about. It took until the 20th minute for the first goal to arrive, Skelton laid the ball back to Bosoka on the edge of the area, no defender looked to close him down so he cheekily bent the ball around a couple of players and off the post in to the net to make it 1 – 0 to Mursley. Sensing that they could be on for more goals Mursley pressed at every opportunity, Adam Moore, the team’s leading goal scorer, putting the team before himself and playing at centre back and having a great game, breaking up attacks and quickly getting the ball wide, one such play saw him feed Ncara out wide on the right flank, Ncara stepped inside two players and hit a bullet of a shot to make it 2 – 0 on 27 minutes and a third shortly followed, Skelton played in Danny Clarke, he skipped past a couple of defenders to put himself through on goal and calmly slotted past the keeper to make it 3 – 0 with 35 minutes gone. Looking to at least take that score in to half time, Mursley were shown how dangerous Stony can be, one missed tackle and they were through on goal and Jay was given no chance, the ball was slotted home and it was 3 – 1 going in to the break.
The second half saw Stony with the wind at their backs, a wind that over the half time break went from blustery to full blown gale and they used it to their advantage. The first goal in the second half was always going to be a crucial one and it was Stony who claimed it, a cross was carried on the wind, deceiving the Mursley defence and fell to an unmarked player at the back who slotted home to make it 3 – 2. Mursley were finding it harder and harder to clear their lines and also getting more and more jittery as the half wore on, Stony were unlucky not to equalise a shot come cross hit the post but fell in to Jay’s arms and a couple of free kicks in and around the box were fired over or in to the wall and Mursley held out to secure a vital 3 – 2 win.
The Mursley makeshift defence played out of the skins, Jason Lane was superb at left back, young Josh Illunga, from the U16’s, made his first team debut and had an excellent game and both Ronald Sekkade and Moore at centre backs were excellent.
Match details LINK