Four for Baitup as United get campaign off to a flyer

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Four goals from striker Liam Baitup set United on the way to an opening day demolition of Storrington at The Oval.

United started the fixture looking to hit the ground running and did so in emphatic style.

Manager Paul Daubeney handed a competitive debut to summer signing Calum Sherriff in central defence alongside captain Lee Jules and vice captain Pete Featherstone who were patrolling in front of Adam Sargent.

The midfield took shape with Shaun Lee, Simon Catt, Nick Barden and Gianluca Del-Gaudio providing support for Mark Goodwin, Liam Baitup and Pete Cooper.

The first chance of the new Division Two season fell to Baitup after five minutes but his shot was well saved by Jamie Witham in the Storrington goal.

Storrington had their first attempt after 11 minutes of play when Luke Jearum found space to force a sprawling save out of Sargent.

United soon opened their account though as Mark Goodwin beat the visiting defence to poke the ball home past the despairing ‘keeper.

Goodwin was in the thick of the action five minutes later when his early cross found Baitup who could only head straight at the ‘keeper.

Baitup soon opened his account though after a Nick Barden cross found the in-form striker and despite his first effort being cleared off the line, Baitup fired home the rebound to send United into the half time break 2-0 up.

Many inside The Oval could have been forgiven thinking back to last season’s fixture when Storrington fought back from 2-0 down to secure a 3-3 draw, but United showed more resolve and extended their lead after 48 minutes.

A half cleared corner fell to Lee Jules and his powerful strike reached Baitup at the back post and the striker scored an instinctive poachers finish.

Storrington, to their credit, never gave up with Aaron Meehan forcing Sargent into an acrobatic stop.

Baitup completed his hat-trick on 58 minutes after an inch perfect cross fron Del-Gaudio evaded the Storrington defence and Baitup duly dispatched to make it 4-0.

United could have made it five on 70 minutes when Pete Cooper was found by Featherstone and his rasping drive narrowly cleared the crossbar.

Baitup proceeded to score his fourth and United’s fifth when he waltzed around the stranded ‘keeper and placed the ball into an empty net.

United were not content with just five goals though and kept pressing forward and Cooper completed the rout after a defensive mix-up following a long ball from Nick Barden let in the bustling striker to fire home a left footed drive as it finished 6-0 to United

United team: Sargent, Lee (Filsell 80) Featherstone (Hughes 73) Jules, Sherriff, Catt, Del-Gaudio, Goodwin (H. Davey 55) Cooper, Baitup, Barden.

Attendance - 67