7.45pm Tuesday 21st April 2015
EvoStik League Premier Division
Tameside Stadium, Richmond Street, Ashton-Under-Lyne, OL7 9HG
|FC United of Manchester ||1 - 0||Stourbridge|
|Daniels 69 || |
|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, 54 mins)
15 Dave Birch (for 4, 81 mins)
16 Callum Byrne (for 3, 85 mins)
1 Lewis Solly
2 Drew Canavan
3 Chris Knight
4 Will Richards
5 Tyrone Williams
6 Sam Tye
7 Luke Connolly￼
8 Leon Broadhurst (capt) ￼
9 Luke Benbow
10 Brian Smikle
11 Chris Lait
12 Reece Hales (for 7, 77 mins)
FC United are Evo-Stik Premier Division champions and have won promotion to the Conference North after seven years of trying.
Read it again. Repetition doesn’t dull the achievement. Karl Marginson’s side beat Stourbridge 1-0 at the Tameside Stadium on Tuesday night in front of 3,588 noisy supporters thanks to a superb header from Greg Daniels in the 69th minute.
Daniels’ goal and the three points of victory sees United move out of reach of second placed Workington ahead of the two teams meeting in Cumbria on Saturday. As a result the Reds clinched the title and promotion to cap off an amazing run which has seen them lose just once in the league since November.
The game itself took a while to really get going, with a really tentative first 45 minutes seeing little created on the field despite the best efforts of the largest crowd of the season creating a constant wall of noise.
But as United reappeared for the second half the noise levels went up even more and the men in Red responded with a second half performance which felt more like a cup final than a league game.
The turning point of the game came just 10 minutes into the second half as Matthew Wolfenden took a bit of a knock and was replaced by Shelton Payne, who brought something different to the United attack and proved to be the catalyst for a string of chances which came over the next 10 minutes.
It seemed as though the Reds may have to go to the wire again with Jerome Wright, Tom Greaves and Craig Lindfield all going close before a Payne volley from the edge of the box was cleared by a couple of Stourbridge defenders in the six yard box.
But as agonising as the missed chances were, they made the breakthrough on the 69th minute all the sweeter. A Lindfield corner from the left was cleared by the visiting defence, but the winger had stayed out left and was picked out by a brilliant crossfield ball from Brownhill. Lindfield then moved the ball onto his left crossing into the middle and finding Daniels, who headed down and through the legs of the Stourbridge defender to give United the lead and secure what could be the most important victory of our 10 year history.
Moments later, the visitors went close to finding an equaliser as a free-kick on the edge of the United area was sent goalwards. But Dave Carnell got down and saved well to claim yet another cleansheet in what’s been a remarkable season for the United shot stopper.
The last 20 minutes was nervy to say the least, but in retrospect there wasn’t much to look back and worry about but the FC United fans know the pain of missing out on promotion as they have done in the play-offs for the past four years. Each one of the those losses made the victory and the emotion at the final whistle even sweeter.
The emotion shown by all corners of the FC United family at the final whistle was something brilliant with players, staff and fans alike celebrating with one another as you feel this chapter of our amazing story is now closed. But the blank pages for the future of this club are all the more exciting and something we’re all looking forward to be part of.
The night was about sealing our fourth promotion in our history and even though there’s so much to look forward to in the future this evening was about celebrating passing an important milestone which had evaded us for seven years, despite being within touching distance in the past four seasons.
Website man of the match: Greg Daniels - With one header in the box, Daniels secured his name in FC United folklore forever and rightly gets the man of the match.
Report by Craig Phillips