UEA Football boss Paul Neary was full of praise as his team swept aside Reepham Town 5-0 in the first round of the Norfolk Senior Cup at Colney Lane.
Neary, who reached the competition’s Carrow Road final last season as Downham Town manager, said that the first half was up there with the best performances he’d been part of in his career so far.
The week before the game, UEA travelled to Manchester United to learn from their academy coaches and play their scholars. They came from behind to win 2-1 thanks to a first-half Ryan Swift equaliser and a last-minute winner from Jody Scowcroft as he pushes towards the first team.
“It was a great experience for the lads, with a thoroughly deserved [win]. We changed formation for that game and we stuck with it today. It’s a good formation for possession.”
Neary’s assistant Ray Harrison added: “We wanted to get our names out there and show what we are capable of. In the first 45 minutes, I thought we were unstoppable. The lads did really well today.”
UEA were 3-0 up by the break against Reepham, thanks to a trio of sublime strikes from range from Swift, Mohammed Hassan and a second for Swift which all nestled in the top corner of the visitors’ goal, giving the Reepham goalkeeper no chance.
In a dominant first-half performance, UEA also went close on a number of other occasions, looking like a completely different side to the one defeated by Easton seven days previously. Their full-backs were a constant menace, while the lively Luke Young was one of several UEA players who had chances – many of which were poked agonisingly wide or fired just over the crossbar.
Reepham’s attacking play looked a little more dangerous in the second half, but they were unable to prevent UEA scoring twice more, through Owen Betts who turned in a Rinor Plepolli corner and James Axcell who coolly slotted under the advancing keeper to add extra gloss to the scoreline of a game that was probably one of the easier afternoons in UEA stopper Tom Smith’s career to date.
However, there were some injury concerns for UEA which marred the great result. Star man Young was substituted at half-time as a precaution after aggravating a groin injury he picked up in Manchester while Henry Clark hobbled off in the second half after rolling his ankle. Neither, however, are thought to be serious.
Elsewhere in UEA Football, the reserves won 2-1 away to Bungay Town with both goals coming from Dan Campfield (MOTM Sam Nelson), while the third team beat Castle Acre 3-2 away from home in the Junior League Cup with a brace from Joe Rickett and a strike from man-of-the-match Tomasz Siemienczuk to complete a hat-trick of wins for our sides.
The following week, UEA defeated Wymondham 8-0 to advance in the Mummery Cup thanks to a hat-trick for Young and a brace from Swift. Hassan, Clark and substitute Scowcroft were also on target.