Life Church United got back to winning ways with a convincing 3-1 victory over Wanderers at a wet and windy Heckley Fields this morning.
It was a much needed win for the hosts after they had gone three games without victory. Goals from Jon Wooton, Joe Cowley and Josh Bentall secured the points for a second victory of the season.
United came out the traps quickly and it didn’t take long before they were ahead. Winger Jon Wooton, who returned to the side from injury, picked up the ball just outside the Wanderers area. He faked to shoot before jinking in and out of two defenders before finishing well. It was a lovely solo effort to give United the perfect start.
As the half wore on United, looked dangerous from the counter and also from set pieces and they came so close to doubling the lead after James McLaughlin’s fierce drive was superbly tipped behind when it looked destined for the top corner.
They did well themselves to defend a flurry of Wanderers corners. They did need an element of luck though after the visitors hit the bar.
United keeper Jonny Wattis also made a couple of important saves to keep the score at 1-0 going into the break.
United came out strong in the second half and played some fantastic football, building from the back before stretching the Wanderers defence. The second goal came ten minutes into the second half after a mistake from the otherwise solid keeper.
Life Church captain, Jonah Birkett had a shot that looked to be an easy one for the keeper to handle only to present Joe Cowley with a gift after fumbled. Cowley accepted the gift finishing from close range.
United got their third goal just past the hour mark and put the game out of reach of their opponents. Some good football in the middle of the park ended with Bentall running onto finish neatly pass the keeper.
At this point there seemed a certain sense of inevitability that there could be more goal for the hosts. But fair play to the visitors from Queens Road. They battled well to stop that from happening.
Josh Bentall did however see a shot well saved after a perfectly weighted through ball from Birkett. At the other end United will have to wait for that elusive clean sheet after defender Ryan Lapworth inadvertently put through his own net.
It was a gift but to their credit it was probably deserved for the visitors. For a side that had lost four out of four it was refreshing to see that their heads didn’t drop and they kept on going.
The last ten minutes or so were scrappy but the job was at least done for Matt Cairns’ side and the manager was pleased with most aspects today. “ Obviously when you haven’t won in a few games you just want to get back out there and win and I’m delighted with the ways the players applied themselves today. I was pleased with the fast start which set up the tempo for the rest of the game. I thought second half for the first 20 minutes were excellent. It was nice to see us building from the back and using the ball well as well as be calm in possession too. Another pleasing aspect was how we defended set pieces today. They (Wanderers) threw a lot of balls into our box and I thought we dealt with them well. I was slightly disappointed with the last 15 minutes or so as I felt we stopped playing a bit and I felt Jonny deserved a clean sheet, but give Wanderers credit they kept going until the end.”
Top scorer Joe Cowley was also very relieved to have got the three points.
The winger said “It felt great to get a much needed win today! Taking only a point from the last 3 games (all of which were winnable) was really tough to take but fair play to the squad, we rallied together for today’s game with a brilliant attitude to get a fully deserved 3 points.
I personally felt both Jonny (GK) and Ben (CB) were brilliant today and kept us in the game at times before we got our 2nd and 3rd goals.”
United will now go into next weeks trip to Christ the Kings with confidence and a real spring in their step and move up to fifth in the table.
Line up 4-1-4-1 J Wattis; J Birkett, B Fortnam, R Lapworth, J Simons; J McLaughlin; J Cowley, G Wattis, D Jesudason, J Wooton; J Bentall
Subs both used: E Leese, M Cairns
Linesman: T Coleman United Supporters: 10
Elsewhere in the league today Mosaic 4-0 St Marks Lowfors 2-2 Coventrians Phoenix HERC P-P St John Fisher 2