3.00pm Saturday 18th April 2015
EvoStik League Premier Division
Bower Fold, Mottram Road, Stalybridge, SK15 2RT
|FC United of Manchester ||3 - 1||Stamford AFC|
| ||Robbins 6|
|FC United of Manchester|
1 David Carnell
2 Liam Brownhill
3 Greg Daniels
4 Dean Stott (capt)
5 Chris Lynch
6 Luke Ashworth
7 Matthew Wolfenden
8 Rory Fallon
9 Tom Greaves
10 Jerome Wright
11 Craig Lindfield
12 Shelton Payne (for 7, 59 mins)
16 Mike Norton (for 9, 78 mins)
17 Callum Byrne (for 3, 71 mins)
1 A. Stevens
2 L. Carr
3 N. Fox
4 R. Clarke
5 R. Jones (capt)
6 T. Batchelor
7 J. Challinor
8 T. McGowan
9 D. Clements
10 J. Smith
11 R. Robbins
12 G. Jellyman (for 6, 15 mins)
14 C. Meade (for 4, 71 mins)
15 D. Lawlor (for 8, 76 mins)
FC United have two more games to gain one point and become champions of the Evo-Stik Premier Division after fighting back to beat Stamford 3-1 at Bower Fold on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors took an early lead but the Reds were unperturbed and goals from Tom Greaves, Craig Lindfield and substitute Shelton Payne made sure of a comfortable victory, which could easily have been by a greater margin.
The Reds now need just one point to all but seal the title as we entertain Stourbridge at the Tameside Stadium on Tuesday night before travelling next Saturday to the only team that can still catch Karl Marginson’s side, second placed Workington.
If FC United draw on Tuesday, Workington would need to beat the Reds by 10 goals on the last day of the season to pip us to the title. However, if the Reds are defeated by Stourbridge again, as they were in November, then they will have to avoid defeat at Workington to become champions.
United should be full of confidence going into Tuesday’s game because they were back to their best against Stamford. Despite conceding a Ryan Robbins goal after six minutes, the Reds looked comfortable throughout and were back on level terms 12 minutes later.
Greg Daniels took down a Liam Brownhill cross to play in the unmarked Greaves at the back post, 10 yards out. Greaves doesn’t pass up opportunities like that and he steered the ball into the bottom left corner for his 25th goal of the season. It was the start of another great day for the striker as he was later named The Russell Delaney Supporters’ Player of the Season for the second consecutive year.
Another 12 minutes later and the Reds went ahead, much to the relief of a few of the more nervous FC United faithful. Daniels was again the provider. He robbed possession from centre-back Lewis Carr and burst towards the penalty area before unselfishly laying off the ball to Lindfield on the left wing. The former Liverpool trainee made it look easy as he effortlessly curled a peach of a shot over the goalkeeper and into the far corner for 2-1.
United could have had a third before half-time when Rory Fallon was played in after a good run by Lindfield but his powerful effort was palmed away by Andy Stevens to keep The Daniels in the game.
But United needed just 18 minutes of the second half to find the goal that sealed a priceless victory. Carr was having a day to forget as a relentless FC United continued to terrorise the visiting defence. It was his misplaced header from a Lindfield throughball that fell kindly for Payne on the edge of the box. Like Greaves, Payne doesn’t pass up golden opportunities either. The forward took one touch before coolly nutmegging the unfortunate Stevens for his 22nd goal of the season.
FC United had done it. The match was won with half an hour to spare. Our relegation threatened visitors rarely managed to get out of their own half and goalkeeper Dave Carnell cut a lonely figure at the Mottram End with nothing much to do other than admire, from a distance, the best defence in the league.
His counterpart Stevens was being kept a lot busier at the other end, in front of the noisy and sunbathed supporters in the Joe Jackson Stand who made up the vast majority of the 2,899 in attendance. If it hadn’t been for a fine performance by Stevens, United would have had five or six. His best save of the match came with 10 minutes to go when he tipped an audacious volleyed lob by Lindfield onto the bar and out for a corner.
It didn’t matter. The damage had been done and FC United marched on, another huge step closer to finally sealing promotion to the Conference North after seven years of trying.
Website man of the match: Greg Daniels. Trademark busy and powerful performance by Daniels capped by intelligently creating two goals. After going a goal down, FC United needed someone to step up to the plate and take the game to Stamford, Daniels was that man.
Report by Matthew Haley