United appeared to be cruising last Saturday as they took a two-goal lead into the break, but an action packed second half saw them reduced to ten men as they battled to hold onto their three points.
We caught up with Eric Kinder to get his thoughts on what was an excellent game to watch.
“The first half was the best we’ve played all season," he said. "We moved the ball quickly, we were strong, aggressive and we scored two really good goals. We’ve been working on attacking crosses and it turned into a dream first half for us.
“We said at half time that if we got the next goal it would be a comfortable afternoon for us, but that isn’t how football works.
"Within five minutes of the second half we had a penalty given against us that we still don’t understand, had a man sent off, and missed our own penalty. It turned into a bit of a battle then, but to be fair to them they did well to hold out."
On the quality of the finishes on show, he told us: “It was excellent football for the first goal and it was a good finish as well.
"Sam [Fishburn] works ever so hard in every single game and covers more miles than anybody else. He hasn’t had his rewards with his goals until now, and it was getting to him a bit.
"He hadn’t scored in his first four games, but he got off the mark with a good goal. You think his morning is going to be very successful but he obviously went on to miss the penalty later in the game, but that’s what you have to deal with in football."
“It was the best game I’ve seen Ryan Swailes have for us in a long time," he continued. "He didn’t give them a moment's peace and he deserved his goal. It was a well-timed run and he got in front of his marker, and it was another good header.
"We got our rewards with the goals from the work we’ve been doing during the week which is pleasing from a coaching side of things.
“I was impressed overall with the lads on Saturday. We got a bit of a kick in the teeth in the cup the week before and we didn’t want to repeat that. The surface is obviously a lot better at Creighton compared to Kendal, but that isn’t an excuse, we were just poor in that game. I asked for a response and we got more than that in the first 45 minutes.
“We could have had more goals in the first half and we were disappointed at half time that we hadn’t put the game to bed. We knew if they scored the first goal of the second half it would become a battle, but we didn’t think it would be quite like what it turned out to be."
“It was always going to be hard after they scored the early penalty in the second half," he agreed. "We’ve watched the footage back and we still have no idea what it was given for. The referee made the decision and we have to get on with it.
“We had no problem with the sending off, it’s a red card all day long at any level of football. Josh [Barnett] miscontrolled it and went to get it back, but it’s a bad tackle and he knows it.
"Barney has probably been our best player this season, he’s done really well. I said to him during pre-season that two things will happen to him this season – he’ll get his head split open because he goes for everything and puts his head where he shouldn’t, and he’ll get sent off.
"That’s the type of player he is, committed players go in for everything. He’s going to make mistakes but we can’t get it out of him because that’s the player he is and the player he’s going to be. We have to accept that.
"When Manchester United signed Roy Keane they knew what they were getting, they knew he’d get sent off three times a season, but they also knew he did enough for the team to warrant those sendings off.
"Barney has to play like that, he’ll make a career out of it because he’s a tough lad, and these things will happen and we’ll have to put up with it."
As the game became more frantic through the closing stages, the lads had to show character to see the job through.
“When you’re down to ten men and get a penalty which you miss, you do end up under the cosh and you start to fear the worst," he said. "I said to them after the game that it was the first time I’ve really seen them stand up and get themselves through a game like that.
"They looked after one another. It was a game which lost its composure - and the referee lost his composure, which didn’t help matters. I was really pleased about how they stuck together. We missed a couple of chances to make it more comfortable, and even at ten men I didn’t feel threatened."
Next up for the young Blues is the game against Salford on Saturday.
“Salford have had a bit of an iffy start and it doesn’t look like they’ll be as strong as they were last season," he commented. "Even though we beat them in the youth cup, which was a fantastic game, they absolutely hammered us in the league down there.
"We didn’t get to play them at home because of lockdown. Their results have been up and down but I think they had a really good result on Saturday against Accrington in the Alliance Cup.
"They’ll be decent, but we’re slowing getting better. The two age groups are slowly merging into a decent side, so it will be another good test.”
United – Robinson, Steele, Kilsby, Leslie, Barnett, Ellis, Bell, Walton, Fishburn (Watt 90), Swailes, Garvey (Rooks 66). Subs – Simons, Taylor, Hill.
Goals - Fishburn (9), Swailes (16)
Bookings - Swailes (73), Walton (77), Watt (90)
Sent off - Barnett (48)
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