A fine strike from Will Owens saw a young U's side draw 1-1 at Slough Town this evening in an eventful game that saw one red card but both teams end up with ten men.
Owens ended a great move early in the game to give the U's the lead before James Golding was shown a red card shortly before the break. Slough then levelled through former United Winger James Dobson before matching the U's up and voluntarily playing the final half hour with ten themselves.
The U’s gave most of the youngsters who were on the bench for the game against West Brom some extended game time; Tyler Goodrham captaining the side and given a very warm welcome on his return to one of his loan clubs last season and Josh Johnson and Golding providing a strong spine.
Slough had three former United players in their squad- Academy products Dobson and Fabio Sole and the experienced Scott Davies, the latter two on the bench for an incident-packed first half
Golding and fellow centre-half Erion Zabeli tested home keeper Jonathan North with early efforts before United scored a peach of an opener when Zabeli spread the ball wide with a magnificent diagonal pass that allowed Goodrham to bamboozle the right back and roll the ball across the penalty area for Owens’ friendly bomb to fall on Slough and make it 1-0 from 20 yards out.
Gatlin O’Donkor had a chance to double the lead after more good work from Owens before tempers momentarily flared despite the temperature beginning to fall after the last two days. First O’Donkor was felled by a stray elbow, unspotted, then Golding pulled Imran Kayani back as he raced towards goal and was dismissed despite both benches pleading with the officials not to send him off and to leave it as 11 v 11.
From the resulting free kick keeper Fraser Barnsley made an excellent save from Dobson’s low drive but United’s youngsters then had to play with ten men against a senior side until the home side levelled things up by taking off three players and only bringing on two; rules had been checked but you simply can't revoke a red card mid game.
It was equal in every way at that stage too after Dobson had crashed home the equaliser shortly before the hour mark but how it stayed level is a mystery - Enrique Tiamuna going close at one end, sub Ibby Sankoh showing excellent positioning sense to twice clear off the line at the other.
The game was very open with both sides a man light, or probably was. It got very dark very quickly when with ten minutes left the floodlights went out! When we resumed the U's rather brilliantly brought on a sub called Mole, presumably because he could see in the dark...
There was still time for a Slough 'goal' to be disallowed (their second of the second half),a bad-tempered confontration in the very last second, but among all the incidents it had been a briliant work out for all concerned.
Our thanks to Slough, great hosts, and best wishes for the season ahead.
Barnsley, Sade (Maxwell 76), Franklin (Badney 84), Johnson (Brenan 69), Zabeli (Smith 76), Golding, Took-Oxley (Mole 84), Tiamuna (Sankoh 64), O’Donkor (Iheanacho 76), Goodrham (Elliott-Wheeler 69), Owens (BUrton)
Report by Chris Williams. Poetry by Sir John Betjeman