A quick turnaround after the district cup success as we hosted one of the strongest sides in the league in Middleton. As if the task wasn’t hard enough, Bradford United were without 7 first teamers; holidays, cricket, suspensions, injuries you name it. It meant opportunities were available for our u23s to take their opportunities & boy did Musa Jallow do that.
A cagey start saw both teams trying to play football but without any real substance until Bradford United found a way to expose the Middleton defence with our youthfulness; easily knocking the ball about until Greeny decided to clip one over the high line of Middleton allowing Jallow to have a clear run at goal easily dispatching past the onrushing keeper. 1-0.
With our tails up. Our over zealous / lack of experience allowed Middleton to get back in the game through a free kick which was given away unnecessarily. 1-1. This could have knocked the stuffing out of United’s young side.
But United carried on as they were; countering Middletons ability & experience with exuberance as there was a sense that our opponents weren’t at the races particularly in defence as the next 2 significant moments were in favour of United. On the first occasion, Jallow was brought down in the box only to miss the penalty. But you can’t keep a good man down, minutes later a near identical moment to the first goal saw Jallow played in this time making no mistake slotting past the keeper. 2-1 HT.
Message was really simple at HT. Re emphasising the tactical plan, keeping up the good work and to continue showing bravery & character. At the restart Middleton instantly pegged back as a deflected shot looped over United’s stand in keeper Mo Hussain. Yet, United were not to fold continuing to play football in a similar manner to the first half. This positive approach was justified as we regained the lead through Haroon who finished a lovely worked team goal. 3-2. However, 5 minutes later once again Middleton pegged back through another free kick. 3-3
This followed a period of dominance from Middleton who pushed hard to get their 4th.
However, the young lions weren’t to be rolled over regaining the lead against the run of play. M Anas playing a delicate ball to the man of the match Musa Jallow who went round the keeper to tap in for his hat rick. 4-3.
Last 10 were fairly quiet as we tried managing the game but at the same time United’s 4th zapped the energy out of Middleton who were playing their 3rd game in 6 days. Thinking the game was done, a lapse in concentration saw Burns delightfully lob our on rushing keeper in with mere seconds to go which ended the game 4-4.
Mixed emotions at the end. Firstly, deflated not coming up with 3 points in a game we led 4 times. But at he same time a sense of giddiness for what the future hold; to go toe to toe with arguably the best side in the league with a team that consisted of 7 players from our u23s showed the strength & direction we’re heading. Having just won the district cup. We’re only getting started!!
Musa Jallow x 3 & Haroon
👑 MOM: Musa Jallow, a constant threat all game; on and off the ball. Scoring 3 goals against a defence that is rarely broken down potentially finding a soft centre as they looked terrified of his pace all day.