Well-drilled United see off the Woodpeckers

Nick Elliot. Picture: Guy Wills.
Nick Elliot. Picture: Guy Wills.
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Three goals in the final quarter of the first half sealed Biggleswade United’s passage through to the first round proper of the Buildbase FA Vase at Second Meadow on Saturday.

They will now play host to near neighbours and SSML Division One opposition, Baldock Town, on October 22.

The tie was in effect put to bed at half time as head coach Cristian Colas’ side cruised through a second half that saw their Suffolk opponents Woodbridge offer little in the way of a serious challenge to the three goal deficit.

Despite putting in a spirited first half performance, the Woodpeckers found the going tough against a well drilled United who were determined not to give their opponents a flicker of hope of retrieving the tie.

For much of the second half and the Thurlow Nunn side huffed and puffed but offered little in the way of a serious threat to United’s comfortable lead.

However, the opening 30 minutes told a different story as the two sides, who have never met before, were like strangers on a first date. It was edgy, with lots of tactical manoeuvring and nerves aplenty. Woodpeckers’ striker Mark Ray, who has already celebrated four hat tricks this season, and United’s front man, David Iwediuno were the headliners, both getting in early strikes that could have seen goals tumbling.

United keeper, Tom Wyant’s, speed off his line thwarted Ray’s first attempt; Wyant’s bravery saw him receive treatment for a badly bruised elbow.

In response, Iwediuno, turned sharply when receiving a cross from Kane Farrell but his volley fizzed away at the last moment. Flank man Charlie Black was a constant thorn in the Woodpecker’s back line with his turn of pace and in the 23rd minute the teenager was unlucky not to find the net when he cut in and fired over from the 18 yard mark. But 12 minutes later he latched on to a reverse pass from Kevin Owusu and in two paces he planted the ball in to the far corner for 1-0 to United.

Black was on target again three minutes later but a fine save from the Woodpeckers’ Harry Lay-Fulcher turned the ball out for a corner from which Sergio Urbano failed to get a strong enough strike away to extend United’s lead.

That was left to a superb solo effort from Nick Elliot. Stealing the ball from mid way in his own half, Elliot cut through the visitors’ midfield like a hot knife through butter and as the Woodpeckers’ back pack opened up neatly for him and the former Villa apprentice had time to pick his spot to finish with a drilled strike for 2-0.

No sooner had the visitors re-grouped than United were three goals to the good.

Once again a break down in the middle of the park saw Elliot spot Owusu wide in the right and with Lay-Fulcher advancing from the safety of his goal, the diminutive winger curled the ball in to the net with the outside of his boot to see United go in 3-0 at the break.​

The interval provided little time enough for Wyant struggle to recover from his badly bruised arm but he was able to hand over the number one shirt to substitute keeper, Adam Counihan, who himself has yet to concede a goal in open play this season.

The second half saw little in the way of cup tie action. The Suffolk side tried to find a chink in the United armour but as hard as Ray and his fellow strikers tried there was always a United player on hand to sweep up any serious challenge to the home side’s lead.

The best chance of the half fell to Aaron Churchyard in the 78th minute when the striker was able to slip the attention of defender Jordan Wright and after his strike slipped under Counihan’s body it was left to United’s James Cooper to clear off the line to ensure United kept another clean sheet.

United will be hoping for a good turn out on October 22 as former Southern League side Baldock Town and their travelling supporters make the short trip up the A1 to inflict a cup upset on their Premier Division opposition.

This Saturday United entertain Leverstock Green at Second Meadow.