Matthew Wolfenden rifled home a first half winner as FC United earned a well deserved 1-0 victory at Ossett Town on Saturday afternoon.
After some good chances for both sides, Wolfenden drilled the winner into the bottom left corner from just inside the area on 34 minutes.
A good run down the left by Astley Mulholland saw him link up with Tom Greaves on the edge of the box. Greaves laid the ball off for Greg Daniels to shoot. The original shot was blocked but Wolfenden was in the right place to take advantage of the loose ball, slamming it home.
The result means the Reds go into the new season in good form, having won the last two matches of our pre-season campaign.
After playing 10 friendlies in the last four weeks, United’s record is won four, drawn four, lost two. It represents a decent return with some fresh faces comfortably fitting into largely the same squad that missed out on last season’s Evo-Stik title by one point.
The only concern ahead of Sunday’s curtain-raiser at Barwell will be an injury to striker Mike Norton, who limped out of Saturday’s action midway through the first half. News on the extent of that injury will follow later in the week.
In a fairly even game, the Reds had a slight edge over our West Yorkshire hosts. Other than the goal, the main talking points were Ossett’s controversially disallowed goal two minutes before the end and the conduct of their captain, number 8 Richard Paterson throughout the match.
After finally getting the ball in the back on the net in the 88th minute, Albion were aggrieved that it was ruled out for offside when the ball through was a back-pass by FC United.
Only the referee, Jane Simms and her assistants, Henry Naylor and Joe Goodwin, will know whether the off-side flag was raised against striker Rob Bordman due to a slight deflection on the back-pass or whether it was for an earlier pass.
It was a strange decision from the trio but one FC United were thankful for. Even stranger was how all three of the officials missed several off the ball incidents involving Paterson, which should have resulted in a red card.
The Ossett captain clearly lacked the skill and pace of many of the players around him and was desperately trying to achieve the role of midfield ’enforcer’.
This resulted in Paterson kicking and shoving Callum Byrne off the ball on two occasions and clouting Jerome Wright over the head before trying to throw the winger to the ground.
Thankfully, both FC United players showed great maturity by not retaliating and instead let their football do the talking. It was disappointing that not one of the officials spotted what large sections of the crowd had seen but it didn’t result in injury or suspension for either of the Reds, so there was no harm done.
There would have been a lot more goals in the game if it hadn’t been for good performances by both goalkeepers, the woodwork and some wayward finishing.
On 17 minutes, Norton forced Brad Dixon into a good close range save with an acrobatic half-volley. Norton was clattered whilst trying to get on the rebound and limped out of the match moments later.
Nine minutes later, Tom Greaves nearly doubled the lead from a Mulholland corner but it was headed off the line. The striker should have scored six minutes later when he headed a Wright cross wide.
It was a similar story at the other end. Former FC United player Chris Ovington should have scored twice for Ossett but he headed wide once and, moments later, he headed straight at Taylor.
Into the second half, Andy Pearson was looking dangerous from set-pieces. The defender could have had a couple of goals but he put one header over the bar and one into the side-netting.
With 12 minutes to go, United were rescued by the foot of the post. Sam Holt swivelled well on the edge of the box to create an opening and fired goalwards but his effort was denied by the woodwork.
All in all, another good result for the Reds who came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3 at Hyde on Tuesday and will be looking to get their first win of the season at Barwell on Sunday.
Report by Matthew Haley