Rigg and Hall on the mark as United win
United ended the northern part of their pre-season with an encouraging 2-1 win at Berwick this afternoon. Having fallen behind after just 90 seconds the U’s fought their way back into a well contested game and deservedly came away victorious thanks to a Sean Rigg strike and an Asa Hall penalty.
The U’s were behind in just the second minute when they twice failed to clear properly and Josh Morris nipped in to score past Ryan Clarke from six yards out. It was perhaps not the cleanest of strikes from Morris whose scuffed effort deceived Ryan Clarke. Later in the game Clarke made three top notch saves, one of them back to his unbelievable best, but that early strike bobbled past him to make it 1-0.
United started the game slightly shakily, giving the ball away too often on the lush pitch of Shielfields Park but the back four of David Hunt, Michael Raynes, Jake Wright and Tom Newey worked hard together and Clarke had few efforts to deal with in the rest of the half, while United saw James Constable rattle the post on the half hour after clever link up play, and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the first 45 minutes.
Youngster Callum O’Dowda looked lively on the left wing while Scott Davies and Hall played some good stuff in the middle of the park. Up front the new combination of James Constable and Dace Kitson developed nicely , both working very hard and giving home defenders no time to settle.
A goal down at the break the U’s came out early and came out determined to win the game. Berwick were pushed deeper and deeper and on 63 were deservedly level when a right sided corner dipped over Hall at the near post and struck the hand of a defender. Hall seized the ball and planted the penalty home to make it 1-1.
On 72 United were in front with a cleverly worked free kick that is becoming a trademark move. Newey cut a free kick behind the onrushing players for Rigg on the penalty spot and his left footed drive smashed into the roof of the net to make it 2-1.
In a game where both sides made fierce tackles while keeping their cool United were indebted to Clarke for a superb stop as Dalziel made perfect contact four yards out but could only shake his head in wonder as United’s fit again number one somehow not only saved but held on to the ball.
Clarke’s return, a determined new-look defence, a bright inventive midfield and a front line which develops partnerships with each passing game mean that so far United’s pre-season has gone pretty much to plan.
There are bigger challenges ahead: Birmingham City and Coventry at home and then the serious stuff begins. Winning is a good habit to get into and after a great week of hard training United will be pleased with this 90 minute work-out.
Clarke, Hunt, Raynes, Wright, Newey, Potter (Smalley 66), Hall, Davies (Whing 66), O’Dowda (Rigg 66), Kitson (Marsh 75), Constable