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St Theresa’s     4,         World United   3

World United’s long unbeaten record was finally brought to an end as they succumbed to a last-gasp defeat in a thrilling encounter at Grosvenor Leisure Centre.

With the visitors fielding a number of debutants, it was perhaps surprising that they dominated the opening exchanges against a young St Theresa’s side. Despite the enterprising play in a fast-paced first half, there were few clear-cut chances as the defences dominated.

The deadlock was broken on 36 minutes when World United’s lively winger Chris Moffett dipped a sublime free-kick over the opposing wall into the bottom left corner, giving the hosts’ ‘keeper no chance.

Moments before the interval, Moffett then almost turned provider delivering an inch-perfect corner to Parkinson at the back post. Unmarked, the centre-half somehow managed to fire over from close-range when it looked easier to score.

HALF TIME:     St Theresa’s     0, World United            1

A number of half-time changes for the guests did not seem to hinder their attacking play and within minutes of the re-start, they doubled their advantage to seemingly secure another victory. The home side’s right back sliced a clearance under pressure from Rudi to allow the effervescent World United front man Michael Boyd to nod home at the back post.

With the visitors’ reserve ‘keeper Niall Murphy a virtual spectator, it was difficult to fathom a St Theresa’s fight-back – but that’s just what happened. A slick one-two exchange ending in a low-drilled finish reduced the arrears, before World United captain William was harshly adjudged to have impeded the St Theresa’s attacker in the box. The resulting penalty was duly dispatched by St Theresa’s own ‘keeper past Niall Murphy.

The wheels well and truly fell off as the tiring visitors sloppily lost possession on the right flank, allowing the resurgent hosts to break at pace. A great low cross was met by St Theresa’s substitute player-manager who fired home from 15 yards.

World United were down but not yet out and on three occasions went agonisingly close to drawing level, first when Chris Moffett’s 25-yard free-kick rattled the frame of the goal before impressive striker Mark clipped the back post with a looping header. Rampaging centre-half Sean-Paul completed the hat-trick of near misses with a long-range drive which also clipped the crossbar.

World United’s endeavour finally paid dividends however, as they looked to have stolen a draw late on. The danger from a goalmouth scramble looked to have disappeared, only for Mark to execute a wonderful overhead kick, lobbed into the far corner from a full 16 yards.

As both sides slugged it out like two tiring heavy-weight boxers looking for one last big punch, it was St Theresa’s who dealt the knockout blow. A cross from the left looked straight-forward enough for Sean-Paul to head clear but he made the fatal mistake by choosing to wait, allowing the opposing player to ghost in and head home with the last touch of a thrilling game.