Today saw the first time that United have failed to win their first home league fixture of the season since they drew 2-2 with Crawley in 2010-11. Since then they have beaten Telford 1-0, Lincoln 2-1, Halifax 5-1, Plymouth 1-0 and Newport 3-0.
The U’s have not lost their opening league match, home or away, since they went down 1-0 at Wrexham in 2010-11. Their team that day is a real where-are-they-now parade: Brown, Roberts, Saah, Partridge, Jennings, Russell, Carden, Miller, Platt, Willmott, Wright. Used subs were Marriott, Gray and a man who was also on the bench today, Josh Coulson.
Four of United’s debutants today have played against the U’s in the past. Blair Adams faced the U’s twice last season, for Mansfield (on loan) in a 1-1 Abbey draw in December, and for Notts County in their 2-1 home defeat the following April.
Joe Pigott started alongside Barry Corr for Southend in a 0-0 draw at Roots Hall in March 2015, while Medy Elito appeared in both Newport’s games with United last season, losing 3-0 at the Abbey and 1-0 at Rodney Parade.
Piero Mingoia has faced United five times in his career, starting when on loan from Watford to Hayes & Yeading in a goalless draw at Kingfield in April 2012. He then popped up to score both goals in Accrington Stanley’s 2-1 home win in November 2014 and added another in the return match, a 2-2 draw the following April. He also played in both of Stanley’s contests with the U’s last term, finishing on the losing side at home (3-2) and in a 1-1 draw at the Abbey.
Norris 6. No chance with the goal, but had a few hairy moments against Barnet’s deliveries into the box.
Long 6. Fairly quiet; looks like he and the other new boys will need some time to bed in.
Legge 8. Tower of strength in a rookie back four.
Dallison 6. Difficult debut against some tough, wily opponents; he will have to learn quickly at this level.
Adams 6. Some good work going forward, including his assist for the goal, but was less impressive defensively, particularly after Dunk went off when he was more exposed.
Dunne 8. Excellent performance in the engine room.
Clark 6. Fairly below par and no surprise that he got the hook.
Mingoia 8. Most exciting signing this year and did not disappoint.
Berry 7. Decent, hard-working effort.
Dunk 7. Did OK until forced off by injury.
Pigott 7. Had every sympathy with him in the first half when he was left isolated by United’s system and a poor supply line, much better when paired with Williamson, although he should consult Barry Corr on how to win more crosses in the air.
Williamson 7. Made a good impact when introduced, although he really needs a goal
Elito 6. Competent cameo.
Maris 6. Unfortunate to be given only five minutes but gave it all he had.
United’s new-look side failed to gel on the opening day of the League season and despite taking the lead, were a little fortunate to avoid defeat in a torrid finish. Some promising signs, but much work still to be done.
Man of the Match
James Dunne. Held the midfield together with crisp tackling and precision passing. Needs to improve his shooting, mind.
Horwood 7. Kept the game flowing well and was sparing with the cards.
Soundtrack of the Day
Morgan Delt “Some Sunsick Day”