FUll time report from SC Wiener Neustadt
The U’s got an excellent test at SC Wiener Neustadt this evening as they drew 0-0 in their second pre-season friendly.
United named a strong looking starting eleven against the Austrian side, recently relegated from their top division, and were given a wonderful reception from around 200 travelling fans who gave their side fantastic backing.
They were almost rewarded for that by an opening goal from the excellent Alex MacDonald whose goalbound effort was deflected over the bar by an unwitting defender who knew little about his crucial intervention . Five minutes later and MacDonald twisted past his man to create space and crash a fierce effort against the left hand post with the keeper stranded. That was to be the closest we came to a goal on a warm Austrian evening.
United worked extremely hard in that opening period with midfield duo Michael Collins and Liam Sercombe covering plenty of grass and knitting things together well. The home side struggled to break down the back line of George Baldock, Johnny Mullins, Jake Wright and Joe Skarz, who looked very solid as a unit and gave Sam Slocombe plenty of cover, meaning the keeper had little to do throughout the 90 minutes.
Up front Ryan Taylor linked things well but the game became disjointed by a number of fouls and free kicks that slowed the pace of the game.
The Yellows changed things around after an hour and that freshened things up with Callum O’Dowda sending in two long range efforts that lacked a little venom but were on target at least. James Roberts was bundled away from danger on 80 as he looked to be in on goal, but otherwise the game petered out into a creditable draw for both sides.
Wiener Neustadt go into their season next week, United have a couple more weeks to prepare for the challenge ahead. Michael Appleton will have learnt plenty about his players and we thank our hosts for their hospitality.
The real winners? The fans who travelled all this way and were magnificent. So much promise for what could happen in the future...
Slocombe, Baldock (Long 46), Skarz, Mullins (Hawtin 82), Wright (Dunkley), Sercombe (Ashby 64), Collins (Ruffels 64 ), Roofe (O’Dowda 64), Hylton (Hoban 60), Taylor (Roberts 60), MacDonald (Rose 64)
Report Chris Williams, Pictures by Gerhard Seeger