United’s late equaliser on Tuesday night earned the Blues a point, with Offrande Zanzala getting off the mark for the club with a close-range finish from a whipped cross on the turn from Rod McDonald.
We spoke to manager Chris Beech about the strong finish to the game, and about the impact made by his substitutes.
“Hopefully that will start Ozzy on a goal trail,” he said. “Lewi Alessandra ran the line well, backed up with Brennan and Omari, and with the midfield three we had.
“I thought it was important we tried to keep the extra man against the wind originally. I would have loved to have gone with two strikers earlier but, when you’re against the wind, it can leave massive gaps in the middle of the pitch.
“We brought him on and I’m really pleased for him that he was in the right place to finish that off. Rod McDonal pulled the ball back like a left winger and if you watch it closely, you’ll see excellent forward movement from Ozzy to take him off his man.
“He did what all good centre forwards do, after the cross, he gets two or three yards in the box. He’s well marked and marshalled before the ball spills, but he moves off as the it’s coming across, and that’s why it looks like an easy tap in, but he’s worked in, he’s got instincts.”
“Another pleasing thing is that we saw a much better influence from our substitutes,” he continued. “It helped to bring us a second wave and I think that then helps the belief to keep going and go all the way.
“I said to the lads at half-time, teams score winners on 94 or 95 minutes all too often, so let’s not give anything up. Who knows what might have been if we’d been given the corner at the end, but the referee gave a goal kick.”
Looking to build on the moment going forward, he commented: “The players feel different pressures and they have different things going on that they have to deal with.
“I’ve said before they’re a great group, and they just need to relax into what they’re doing. They need to work quick but be composed and we’ve got to make sure the technicalities can come out.
“With more belief in the first half on Tuesday we score more goals from the play we had. There was more vigour and belief in attacking crosses and situations in the second half, which means the goalkeeper was asked more questions.
“There were more shots from midfield, more midfielders getting in the box. We have to get it wide, and if we do the player has to beat his opponent to create a yard. Ethan Walker did that, Brennan Dickenson stepped up, showed great character.
“Omari Patrick was trying, it wasn’t quite happening but he had a go, things like that. If you get a wriggle on somebody, they’re always out of shape then.
“We’re working on all of these things. I think the players enjoy and follow the way we train, the way we want to try and achieve something. You’re always going to be asked questions, it never all goes the way you want it to, but as with any work force when you’re put on the back foot you have to stick together and work harder. That’s what we’re doing.”