United dig deep to battle past Boro

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United made it a hat-trick of victories at Broxbourne Boro on Saturday but Cristian Colas’ men were forced to dig deep for the three points as Boro fought back from a two-goal-half time deficit to very nearly grab themselves a point in the final minutes.

On a difficult playing surface, United piled on the pressure in the opening minutes with Tom Bryant and Lee Bilcock going close, but it was Tom Cookman who made the most of an defensive error in the ninth minute.

A long ball from Bilcock saw both central defenders fail to clear and Cookman stole in and volleyed home for 1-0.

Two long range strikes from Nick Elliott could have extended the visitors’ lead, but Boro keeper ,Adam Seymour, managed to get a glove to the ball on each occasion.

Boro’s best chance of the half came in the 23rd minute when the impressive Meschach Williams broke free from United’s Matt Cooper but his shot was blocked on the line by Nyasha Sagwete.

United responded strongly and Ellliott tried his luck again from 20 yards but his shot was parried, and a minute later Jame O’Neill tried a carbon copy effort but once more Seymour came to his side’s rescue.

However, there was little he could do about United’s second goal in the 30th minute. Chasing down what looked like a lost cause, Cookman managed to turn the ball back from the bye-line to the unmarked O’Neill who slotted home his first of the season to take United in 2-0 up at the break.

The second period is one United will want to forget as they struggled to repeat the first half performance. With their opponents clearly having been read the riot act, United were kept on the back foot for most of the second 45.

Boro’s Williams was again the trouble maker with his mazy runs from deep and the hosts’ Bradley Harrison was denied the chance to get the hosts into the game when United keeper Tom Wyant managed to get down low to prevent Harrison’s low drive from crossing the line.

United were looking uncharacteristically disorganised at the back and were fortunate that Boro were unable to add the finishing touch in front of goal.

It came as no surprise therefore that an opportunistic overhead kick from Williams in the 81st minute gave Boro a glimmer of hope at 2-1.

A heartstopping moment for the travelling contingent came in the 88th minute when Robbie Carroll rose above the United defence but his header went inches over the bar.

With just a minute left on the clock, Boro’s hopes of getting a point were dealt a severe blow when Matthew Turpin received a straight red following a dangerous lunge on Elliott, and United managed to hang on to all three points.