Match Report: BUFC 1-1 Baldock Town
By Leon Waite – @leonwaite98

United came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with newly-promoted Baldock Town at Second Meadow on Saturday in their first league outing for several weeks.

The past few games have yielded three wins in three different competitions for Jimmy Martin’s men but the visiting Reds were competitive and combative and a draw was probably a fair reflection of proceedings.

The hosts almost enjoyed the perfect start as inside two minutes Rafe Goodman’s low free-kick left Baldock keeper Adam Harpur scrambling to retrieve the ball he initially spilt before Joe Gauge had stab home the rebound.

Eventually learning their lines, the away side swiftly found themselves on the attack as Freddie Morris pounced on Jaiden Irish in the midfield and created a shooting chance for himself that he fired over.

Kim Forsythe combined with Morris to help engineer that strike and he exhibited his own shooting ability with a fierce left-footed effort from distance headed for Ollie Leslie’s top left corner but the keeper was equal to it as he tipped over.

He was denied by Baldock’s number ten would later profit from a disastrous defensive error by Joe Gauge, who tamely attempted to head the ball back to Leslie unaware that Forsythe was lurking and ready to latch onto the loose ball and send it looping into the net.

Presented with the chance to execute a successful lob of his own and restore parity in the process, Sam Holmes wasn’t as clinical when arriving onto Dave Parkinson ball as he skied it over the bar.

Parkinson’s speed and technical quality made him a constant threat when drifting into attacking areas and he whipped one wide of the left-hand post as United enjoyed several decent spells throughout the first half despite falling behind.

Martin made two change at the break with Ieuan Lewis and Joe Hankins, whose extra-time winner sent the club through in the FA Vase midweek, replacing Joe Gauge and Liam Andrews.

Yet he almost saw his team 2-0 down within minutes as Leslie did very well to get down and divert a header off a dangerous free-kick from the right out for a corner.

The resulting corner was headed clear and soon picked up by Parkinson, whose route to goal seemed increasingly clearer the longer he stretched his legs as he surged through the midfield into the offensive third before composing himself in the penalty area and slotting home for 1-1.

Having equalised so quickly after the interval, United sought to complete the turnaround and were agonisingly close to doing so when Kane Farrell expertly found Holmes to the left of the box and his shot destined for the far, bottom corner somehow came back of the post.

Luke Gregson’s side certainly weren’t content with just preserving the point they had and they were incredibly close to regaining the lead with roughly twenty minutes remaining when Zach Decker’s header was stopped superbly by Leslie from point-blank range and seconds later the ball was goal-bound once again but for the intervention of James Smith on the line.

Dylan Logan entered the fray in place of Holmes and just like the man he had replaced he was rendered frustrated by the woodwork as his strike from twenty-five yards out cracked off the crossbar.

The match that promised to produce more goals over the ninety minutes appeared destined to end in stalemate, however, Baldock came ominously close to snatching the three points with Lewis Barker’s vicious drive that narrowly evaded Leslie’s post as the score ended level.

In a contest that could have swung either way with excellent opportunities at both ends, a point proved to be a fair result and United now look forward to renewing their FA Vase journey in the Second Round Qualifying at London Lions on Saturday, KO 3pm.