United have failed to win any of their first four league games. On the last four occasions that this has happened, the relevant manager has left the club within five months.
The last time it came to pass was at the start of the 2010-11 season, when United began with three draws and a defeat. Manager Martin Ling was sacked in January with the club 16th in the Conference.
The last time the U’s gained two points or less from their opening four league matches was in 2006-07, when they began with one draw and three defeats. Manager Rob Newman was sacked in September with his team placed 23rd.
This is United’s worst start to a Football League season since their campaign of 2001-02, when they began with one draw and three defeats. Manager John Beck resigned in November with the team 23rd in the Second Division.
United have not lost their four opening League games since 1992-93, also under John Beck. He was sacked in October with the club 18th in the First Division.
It’s not all doom, gloom and managerial departures, though. In 1989-90, the U’s began their season with two draws and two defeats, once more under Beck, and went on to finish 6th in the Fourth Division and won the promotion playoff at Wembley.
Jake Gosling is the first Jake ever to play for United’s first team, although the more formally monikered Jacob Blyth spent a brief spell on loan at the Abbey last season from Leicester City.
Gosling is the 20th man to be allocated squad number 19 by the U’s. His predecessors were: Mark Graham, Darren Byfield, Jason Kavanagh, Johann Gudmundsson, Stuart Wilson, Matty Clements, Graham Rush, Lloyd Opara, Dave Daniels, Duane Eastall, Tommy Jaszczun, Leo Fortune-West, Chris Jones, Sam Ives, Adam Marriott, Nathan Blissett, Delano Sam-Yorke, Dominic Ball and Danny Carr.
Gosling is a Gibraltar international, although he was born in Oxford. The only United player to have been born in Gibraltar was Ricky McEvoy, who enjoyed a spell in midfield during the 1986-87 season.
Medy Elito is the third native of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) to play for the U’s, after Tresor Kandol (2001-02) and Mbiyeye Medine (2005-06).
Norris 7. At fault for the first goal and does not look the strong, confident keeper we saw last season. Nevertheless, he made a string of good saves to keep United in the game, and perhaps his lack of confidence stems from what is happening in front of him.
Long 5. Most players take time to settle into a new club, but with his pedigree Long really should be contributing more by now and should at least cut out the occasional cross from his side.
Legge 8. If only we had nine more Leons.
Coulson 8. Fine, strong performance, proving that a good central defensive partnership means little if it is undermined by a weak full-back pairing.
Taylor 5. No more able to stem the flow down the flanks than Long.
Mingoia 6. Did a decent job when in possession and would undoubtedly be a lot more effective in a better team. Like Accrington Stanley.
Dunne 6. Some decent work, but must exert more of an influence.
Berry 6. Nowhere near his best at the moment.
Elito 5. Tidy enough at times but I’m afraid he just does not convince as a player at this level.
Gosling 7. Busy, positive debut which promises much, and God knows we’ll need it.
Pigott 6. The big man has my sympathy, an inexperienced player asked to play a difficult, isolated role in a malfunctioning team which just does not give him enough support.
Williamson 5. At least he had a shot, but this team cannot or does not play to his strengths and his goalscoring confidence must be at rock bottom.
Newton 5. No lack of effort but could make little difference to the contest.
United sank to the bottom of the League with a performance that began promisingly but in the end they were lucky to muddle their way to a draw. This team has big problems and the jury is out as to whether the manager has the answer. Let us hope so.
Man of the Match
Leon Legge. Strength, power, determination and sheer force of personality.
Huxtable 6. Mostly adequate.
Soundtrack of the Day
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