by Sam Tabuteau
AFC Unity built on their recent resurgence with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Kiveton Park.
There were fears that the discipline and intensity exhibited in Unity’s snatch and grab victory over Milmoor Reserves could not be replicated with complacency a trope prominent amongst teams struggling towards the bottom of the table. Unity, however, showed that their recent run of form is by no means a combination of good fortune and indistinguishable momentum. Sunday’s performance was a delightful culmination of the purist footballing philosophies Unity have admirably persisted with through in light of some poor results.
Kiveton were direct in their approach and their physicality, especially at the back, could well have paid dividends with Unity often susceptible to being caught ball watching. Unity’s backline held a superb defensive line and their positioning ensured they could get goal side of their runners. Movement off the ball meant Unity were able to dominate in the middle of the park, working the ball around Kiveton with pace and accuracy. Their cautious attacking mentality, however, meant that they rarely tested the keeper early on.
A dominant first-half display showed little reward and it would’ve been easy for frustrations to boil over, but experienced heads ensured Unity were able to adapt their game accordingly. Having enjoyed plenty of possession in the midfield, Unity’s passing became more direct and played on the gaps between Kiveton’s centre-halves. With willing runner Jo Wadsworth stretching the defence and creating space for Jane Watkinson to unpick.
Unity deservedly opened the scoring through Emma Howe who capitalised on Lizzie Smith’s looping delivery to prod in from close range. Having finally taken the lead Unity became more expressive and the scoreline took on a certain grandeur once Jane Watkinson found the bottom corner with a drilled finish from just inside the 18-yard box.
After a week of disappointment in the polls football did the talking once again and defender Jaimee Reeve’s Football for Food campaign received great engagement as Unity sent out a strong message both on and off the pitch. Donations are still being taken for Reeve’s incredible campaign and can be made at this week’s instalment of Solidarity Soccer.