AFC Unity put on an incredible performance against a side from three leagues above them, losing to Dearne & District 0-7 at home in the FA County Cup.
“I didn’t think it was possible to feel so positive after such a defeat,” AFC Unity manager Jay Baker admitted. “But I was overjoyed with the way our players performed, against a classy side from the lofty heights of the North East Regional leagues; they stuck to the game plan, played some great football, kept battling, and always believed.”
With that passion and “never give up” attitude, the “red stars” of AFC Unity gave an inspirational performance.
“I’m really proud of how well every single one of my team mates played today,” said captain Jane Watkinson. “There was so much energy, skill, and tenacity, producing some quality football against a very developed and skilful team from three divisions above us.”
“High levels of effort and team morale was shown by both teams,” said coach Jonny Hodgson. “We put up a tremendous battle, and deserved to get more from the match.”
He wasn’t alone in feeling the result was harsh for the amount of effort put in.
Fellow coach Olivia Murray said: “The scoreline definitely didn’t reflect the performance. It was outstanding team play today by everybody, and it was a fantastic game all round; absolute credit to everyone as the team gets better every week.”
“The result certainly didn’t reflect how well we played,” agreed Watkinson. “We have everything to hold our heads up about and take into next Sunday’s league match.”
Baker again agreed to take some responsibility for team weaknesses.
“I’ve been playing certain formations lately, and it’s taken away some opportunities to finish, so I’m going to address that, and make sure we have some more fire-power up front,” he said. “But the style of play and the spirit shown is reason for contentment – again, beyond ability, we run on the power of belief.”
“Unity is definitely shown within this team,” added Hodgson.