United made it six games unbeaten in all competitions as pre-season title favourites Truro City were beaten at the SKYex although two late strikes were required despite the home side largely dominating throughout the game.
Paul Hughes made two changes from the side that sneaked through in the Emirates FA Cup with Bay Downing and Karl Cunningham coming in to the starting line-up with Samir Bajja and Dylan Kearney dropping to the bench.
United’s domination in the opening ten minutes saw a couple of half chances come the way of the home side. Jake Sheppard sent Francis Amartey away on the right side, his driven cross picked out Karl Cunningham but his glancing header was off target and minutes later Bay Downing fed the ball to Amartey who pulled it back to Sheppard but his effort was held by former United ‘keeper James Harmon in the White Tigers goal.
Still United were holding the balance of play with the visitors feeding off scraps of possession and in the 20th minute the impressive Jordan Norville-Williams exchanged passes with Scott Donnelly before collecting the return ball but his shot went the wrong side of the post.
Just two minutes later Downing won the ball and found Cunningham who flicked the ball neatly to Amartey but his shot was high and wide without troubling Harmon.
Either side of the half hour mark United twice went close to taking a deserved lead. United were awarded a free-kick 20 yards from goal to the left side, a Sheppard stepped up, beat the wall and Hamon only for the ball to smash back off the post and shortly after he collected the ball from Norville-Williams and rolled it aside to Donnelly who drilled the ball goalwards only for Hamon to push it over.
Norville-Williams soon after found Sheppard in the box but the ball under challenge ran kindly to Hamon but two minutes later he was helpless as Sheppard collected the ball in the centre of the pitch and sent Amartey through, United’s top scorer doing the rest by slotting home through Hamon’s legs to put United ahead.
Going behind seemed to finally awaken the visitors from Cornwall and two minutes after going behind they created their only real opening of the half as Connor Riley-Lowe received a pass in the United area, his shot was well blocked by Liam McDevitt with the follow-up from Niall Thompson flying well over Jack Smith’s goal and the half closed with United a goal to the good.
An early chance was created by each side as the visitors came out looking more positive by keeping the ball on the ground rather than big punts forwards that they seemed to employ in the opening period.
The first opening came for the home side as Sheppard and Norville-Williams combined on the left flank, the latter’s centre just evading the incoming Amartey at the far post. Almost immediately the White Tigers fired the ball forwards as Andrew Neal sprung the offside trap to race at the 7nited goal however having rounded Smith, his goalbound shot was cleared off the line by retreating United skipper Liam McDevitt.
On 53 minutes Sheppard was to strike the visitors woodwork yet again, this time he exchanged passes with Norville-Williams before hitting a low drive that came back off the upright to Amartey but the Truro defence did enough to work the ball clear.
Just beyond the hour mark Amartey was sent away on the right by Cunningham, the striker holding off three defenders only for Hamon to gather his effort comfortably and ten minutes later Amartey raced from his own half to the edge of the Truro box before squaring the ball to substitute a Dylan Kearney who worked space for a shot only for a defensive challenge to block his effort into Hamon’s arms.
Just a minute later the visitors were level. Neal again sprung free from the United defence, again he played the ball past Smith, this time trying to gift Kieran Hayes a tap-in that he was to be denied as a retreating Adel Gafaiti in attempting to clear could only roll the ball into his own net.
The visitors were looking like taking a somewhat undeserved point home to Cornwall until United struck again with five minutes left to play. Kearney being the chrysalis, the striker holding the ball well on the edge of the box before slipping it to a Sheppard who having hit the woodwork twice already made it third time lucky as he fired past Hamon.
Stoppage time was to prove interesting with chances coming at both ends and United finding the woodwork and the net, each for a third time. Kearney received the ball in the area and after twisting and turning his way to an opening, saw his shot held by Hamon and seconds later substitute Samir Bajja neatly clipped the ball over a defender to Downing, the defenders angled shot coming back of the upright.
A minute later Smith was required at the other end to keep United ahead, the home stopper punching over a swerving 25 yard drive from Alex Battle. The resultant corner was quickly cleared upfield to Amartey who broke away from halfway, maintained possession despite two defenders trying all they could to bring him down and fired past Hamon to seal a very much deserved victory for Paul Hughes’ side.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos courtesy of Thom Lang @GRTourist ©
United Man of the Match: Jake Sheppard.
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