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Dunipace are on fire as they put five past Syngenta in cup

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Dunipace Juniors
 vs
Syngenta Juveniles
 
 
 
Under 19's WLAYFC County Cup
Ashfield Park
09 November 2014
 
 
 
As the run of cup fixtures continued into a fourth weekend the young Pace welcomed local rivals Syngenta to Westfield for this rescheduled County cup fixture on what turned out to be a fine fall afternoon for football. 
 
With the Senior side having played on a wet surface the day before it took a sterling effort from the Dunipace ground-staff, working through the morning to get the playing surface ready, if a little heavy due to the amount of rain that had fallen on Saturday. With no rain forecast and the morning sun drying out the freshly rolled park the game was never in doubt and with Dunipace the current holders of this trophy they were keen to get this season's campaign off and running.
 
Being remembrance Sunday, a minutes silence was observed impeccably prior to kickoff as Dunipace, missing the influential Maclaren made one change to their starting linup, Mitusch starting on the right in a changed 4-4-2 formation.
 
Syngenta started the match brightly, hassling the home side in possession and forcing the men in black into early mistakes that would see them struggle to find their usual quality of ball retention. During the period Jackson in the home goal fielded a couple of crosses comfortably but thanks to a strong start by the men in front of him he was not asked to make a save, the back 4 making it clear early on that their visitors would get nothing for free this afternoon.
 
As the game ticked beyond the opening 5 minutes and the early bluster settled, Dunipace felt their way into their passing rhythm, moving the ball well on the Westfield surface at a tempo which Syngenta were showing early signs of being unable to match, winning a series of corners that gave Swords a chance to find his range.
 
The first real chance of the match fell to Steven after Brown, Weir and Mitusch linked with Meade in the midfield area, Weir playing into Steven's run from the left, the ball coming slightly behind the midfielder. Steven kept his feet but saw his shot blocked on 18 yards. As Dunipace continued to control possession, Brown was next up to try his luck, latching onto the through ball of Steven who had linked well with Swords and Taylor on the left, before skipping past 2 men and forcing a fine save from the Syngenta keeper.
 
As the game approached the quarter hour a fine exchange between Mitusch and Meade released McIntyre on the right and the marauding fullback kept composed to win a corner from the cul-de-sac he found himself in. Swords delivered perfectly to Brown who Dunipace had managed to isolate on the penalty spot and the forward got up well to head towards goal. As the Syngenta keeper stepped forward to gather Mitusch was sharper than anyone else in the box as he stepped across him and flicked into the corner for his first goal for the club.
 
From the kickoff the young Pace won the ball back immediately through Meade and came close to making it 2-0 as the central midfielder found McIntyre at right back who quickly found Mitusch on the wing. Mitusch dropped back to his fullback who played a lovely ball into the feet of Weir. As Weir received the ball Brown spun into the space behind his marker, Weir finding him with a superbly weighted first time pass and Brown brought another save from the Syngenta keeper with his right on the angle, using his feet to keep the ball from finding the corner.
 
It appeared as though those two were going to go head to head all day and Brown again forced the keeper into action as Dunipace continued to build upon their solid defence and took the game to the opposition. Jackson in goal gathered a cross comfortably and fielded well to Taylor at left back. The fullback drove forward and played a lovely ball into Meade who dropped to Swords. Swords played into Steven on the left who had made a good run behind the fullback and Steven played a well timed pass into Brown who brought another save with his right from 10 yards, Steven getting the follow up chip all wrong as he lifted over the bar from 16 yards with the keeper stranded and 2 players on the line.
 
The young attacking midfielder nearly made amends moments later though as he linked with Brown and Taylor to race away down the left before picking out a wonderful ball across the face of goal with the defence and keeper helpless. As Mitusch arrived at the back post in search of his second the Syngenta keeper pulled out another excellent save as he threw himself full stretch to turn Mitusch's effort with his right from 8 yards around the post.
 
With the exception of struggling to deal with a few corners until they worked out the away team setup, Dunipace were rarely troubled at the back but they clearly wanted a second to put some daylight between themselves and their opponents. It came just before the half hour. More good football from the back saw the Westfield men work the ball out from the goalkeeper and from right back to left via McIntyre, Swords and Meade. Taylor strode forward into the space and found Steven 25 yards out with his back to goal. As Taylor shouted to be set for the shot, Steven cleverly used the fullback as a decoy, spinning his man inside and unleashing a ferocious drive from 20 yards with his right that found the bottom left hand corner with the keeper, for once, helpless.
 
The home side did suffer a scare shortly after as McIntyre found himself overloaded at the back post as a diagonal ball was played in from the right. The fullback's positioning was excellent though and he did well to hold up the attacker 8 yards out as his skipper came from no-where at the point the striker was about to shoot for goal, cleaning the ball out for a throw on the right and nearly putting both the attacker and McIntyre out with it with an excellent centre back tackle.
 
Hepburn won an important header to nick the ball off the head of a Syngenta player from a corner before Taylor found his positioning tested just as McIntyre had been at the back post, the left fullback passing the test as comfortably as his counterpart heading out for a corner under pressure underneath his own bar.
 
As Dunipace continued to boss possession of the ball Syngenta were fortunate to keep 11 men on the park as the home side made it 3-0 as Weir was the recipient of a kick out from a man in orange. Having won the ball back with an excellent tackle, Weir looked to play the ball through to Brown who went one on one with the keeper. Having got the better of the striker on the previous 3 occasions Brown was never going to take no for an answer, skipping round the keeper calmly to slot the ball into the empty net with his left.
 
With the ball gone though, the Syngenta player had a kick at Weir, spotted by the referee. However he bizarrely decided to speak to both players without brandishing a card. For the second week in succession Dunipace were left scratching their heads.
 
Moments later the official had another decision to make as Hepburn committed a foul 5 yards outside the Dunipace area and found himself the recipient of another retaliatory push to the chest as he tried to get up. Again, no cards produced and the official was giving himself a tough task of keeping a lid on things by letting these incidents go. He did produce 2 yellows in quick succession for the away team though as the half drew to a close as Syngenta attempted to grab a foothold back in the game through force.
 
3-0 at half time with Dunipace in control of the game, defending superbly without giving Syngenta a clear chance in the opening 45 and only 3 clear through a mixture of rushed finishing and excellent goalkeeping from the Syngenta number 1, who kept his side in with some chance only three behind at the half. It could have been double that had it not been for his string of fine saves.
 
Half Time : Dunipace Juniors 3-0 Syngenta Juveniles
 
Into the second half and Dunipace would be well aware that in similar circumstances last week they dropped their tempo too quickly and allowed their opponents back into the game. From the off it looked as though they may suffer the same fate here as a few slack passes invited Syngenta on. However, aside from these initial stages the men in black regained their composure and slipped back into their rhythm. Walker replaced Hepburn who had tweaked his hamstring in the opening 45 and the men in black went back to retaining the ball well without allowing their opponents a sniff, Jackson in goal dealing with a few crosses and little more in the opening 10 minutes of the half.
 
Encouraging for the young Pace was their game management as they clearly looked to take the sting out of the game early in the half by retaining possession rather than looking to extend the lead. And once the opening stages had been negotiated they opened back into their expansive game and created a number of other chances to take the lead.
 
First it was Brown, cutting inside on his left and drilling narrowly wide of goal before Comrie, who had replaced the impressive but tiring Weir, exchanged passes with Steven, releasing the midfielder on the left. Steven showed good skill to beat his man before drilling another wonderful ball across goal, Brown lifting it over the bar on the stretch from 5 yards with the keeper nowhere when it looked a goal all the way.
 
Steven was next to try his luck as McIntyre moved forward from right back, linking with Brown and Mitusch before lifting a wonderful ball into the run of Steven. Steven took an excellent first touch to pluck the ball from the air under pressure with his right before prodding narrowly wide from 8 yards.
 
Comrie and Brown both produced further saves from the home keeper before Syngenta had the door closed on their only real chance of the game, Jackson in the home goal punching a cross away before blocking the rebound from 12 yards. The ball though fell to a Syngenta attacker who skipped inside the keeper and fired at goal. The Dunipace defence were determined that today was the day they got back on the clean sheet trail and the stopper had his defence to thank for clearing the ball away from danger.
 
Balmer, giving a skippers performance at the back, stepped in again to snuff out another attack moments later, taking the ball from his man inside the area before being fouled for the free kick. Dunipace got the ball moving quickly and from their own area killed the game dead. 
 
McIntyre took the ball from Balmer and slid in King, who had replaced Mitusch on the right. King found Swords who linked with Meade before finding Comrie in the hole. Comrie linked with Steven before finding Brown inside the area and Brown skipped by two challenges before forcing another fine save from the keeper low to his right. Brown though was not to be denied and he was first to react to the loose ball, slamming home with his left from the tightest of angles for an incredible 19th goal in 8 starts and 2 halves as a substitute.
 
Brown was involved again as Dunipace made it 5, showing his considerable strength and skill to firstly skip by a hard challenge and keep his feet then bully his way beyond the covering defender and squaring the ball to strike partner Comrie. Comrie moved across the box from left to right 12 yards out, working himself a yard of space before cutting the ball back to the left and into the corner with his right. For once, the keeper may have done better, but given the day he had to this point he could have been forgiven for letting one slip by.
 
Brown had a final chance for his hat-trick as he beat two players on the right, latching onto McIntyres through pass before forcing another fine save from the keeper in the last action of their own personal duel.
 
Black replaced Steven, moving to right back and pushing McIntyre forward one, King moving to the left. And Taylor was replaced at left back by Barrowman having picked up a knock to the back. Different personnel, same story for Dunipace as both Barrowman and Black slotted into the shape well to perform their defensive duties, all 7 defenders in the squad on the day involved in the clean sheet.
 
And both were involved in an attacking sense, Barrowman working the ball into Comrie who tested the keeper again before Black won the ball inside his own box and burst forward from fullback to feed Brown in the right channel, 18 yards out. With the keeper rushing out and Brown on a hat-trick it looked as though the big striker would have an opportunity. Comrie though had made a fantastic run off his back and let the striker know. Brown back heeled on the volley into the path of that run, Comrie hitting first time on the volley, the strike flying narrowly over the crossbar.
 
It was an apt piece of football on which to finish a game that Dunipace controlled throughout, playing some excellent football at times on a tricky surface while remaining resolute at the back and picking up the clean sheet they have been looking for in recent weeks. 
 
But for an excellent performance by the visiting keeper the scoreline would have been greater with Jackson in the home goal having little in the way of clear cut chances to deal with on a day where his ability to deal with cross balls was highlighted and his improved distribution from feet and hand were the foundations on which many Dunipace attacks were built.
 
Plenty of positives to take both individually and collectively as this new side continues to move forward on a weekly basis. There is certainly a lot to be happy about with the way things are shaping up, still lots of hard work to do, but plenty to be pleased about long term for Dunipace as a number of this group are showing early signs of being able to push to be the future of this club at Senior level.
 
Full Time : Dunipace Juniors 5-0 Syngenta Juveniles
 
 
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