7.45pm Tuesday 14th October 2014
EvoStik League Premier Division
Bower Fold, Mottram Road, Stalybridge, SK15 2RT
|FC United of Manchester ||1 - 2||Skelmersdale United|
|Wright 35 || ||McIntosh 16|
|FC United of Manchester|
1 David Carnell
2 Liam Brownhill
3 Lewis Lacy
4 Dean Stott (capt)
5 James Knowles
6 Luke Ashworth
7 Matthew Wolfenden
8 Joe Fox
9 Mike Norton
10 Jerome Wright
11 Andy Welsh
12 Tom Greaves (for 7, 62 mins)
15 Thomas Brown (for 11, 84 mins)
16 Matthew Walwyn (for 8, 88 mins)
1 Martin Fearon
2 Kenny Strickland
3 Danny Wisdom
4 Rob McIntosh (capt)
5 Rob Bodie
6 Aidan Kirkbride
7 Curtis Thompson
8 Alan Burton
9 Peter Wylie
10 Connor McCarthy
11 Tom Ince
15 Mark Byrne (for 3, 84 mins)
17 Valtar Fernandes (for 9, 65 mins)
FC United suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Skelmersdale United as the league leaders snatched victory in the 90th minute on Tuesday night.
The Reds were unlucky to lose a hard fought match in which Jerome Wright scored a wonder goal for a first half equaliser. Ultimately, two pieces of poor marking gifted our West Lancashire rivals the match.
United saw plenty of half chances go begging in the opening 45 minutes with Skem getting to half-time on level terms more through luck than judgement.
The game became a little flat after the restart but with around 15 minutes to go, the Reds’ best chance of a match winner arrived. However, the usually lethal Tom Greaves miscontrolled a Wright cross when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. It was the opportunity the Reds will rue the most.
It was looking as if United would have to settle for a well earned point and move on to Ilkeston on Saturday when the visitors struck at the death to steal all three points. Aidan Kirkbride was gifted a free header at in the box and he made no mistake.
It would have been tough on United to only take a point away from the game, so the fact the Reds came away with nothing is a bitter pill to swallow.
United had started the game well, but almost against the run of play it was the visitors who took the lead after Rob McIntosh fired home from a corner after a quarter of an hour.
United showed real character to get back into the game. Mike Norton spent the majority of the first half up top on his own and made his presence felt challenging for everything in trademark fashion.
The best threats for United seemed to be on either flank with Brownhill and Wright looking to get around the back.
Lewis Lacy unexpectedly had two great opportunities to level the tie but twice he put the ball just over the visitors’ goal, edging closer with each attack to the equaliser.
That equaliser did come just 10 minutes before the break as a misplaced Skem pass on the halfway-line was pounced upon by Wright who broke through on goal and fired past goalkeeper Martin Fearon to give United a deserved leveller.
United could have had the lead before the break. Andy Welsh drew a good save from Fearon and Norton was unfortunate not to squeeze the rebound in at the near post.
The second half began in the same way with United pressing for the lead, and on the hour mark a searching ball from the right was just out of the reach of a diving Norton’s head in an agonisingly close effort from United.
That was nothing compared to the chance Greaves had when Wright broke down the left and fired a ball towards Greaves in the box who showed an uncharacteristic poor touch, allowing Fearon to just get to the ball before him.
With solid defending at the back and a growing momentum going forward it felt as though United would get the goal and had there not been a cynical and foul on Norton on the halfway line United could have been through on goal with just minutes left on the clock.
To rub more salt in the wounds the visitors snatched victory in the last minute as Kirkbride headed home to give the visitors all three points and move them 12 points clear of United, having played two games more, at the top of the table.
FC United must dust themselves off and take the positives from this game, mainly that for large spells they were the better of the two teams against the table toppers and look to get back to winning ways at Ilkeston this weekend.
Man of the match: Mike Norton – Although he didn’t get on the scoresheet his effort and persistence up front caused problems for the visiting defence all evening.
Report by Craig Phillips