3.00pm Monday 29th August 2016
Vanarama National League North
Broadhurst Park, 310 Lightbowne Rd, Moston, Manchester, M40 0FJ
|FC United of Manchester ||2 - 3||Darlington 1883|
| ||Hardy 4|
|FC United of Manchester|
1 Ashley Frith
2 Dale Tonge
3 Chris Chantler
4 Scott Kay
5 Tom Eckersley
6 Luke Ashworth
7 Kieran Glynn
8 Nathan Lowe
9 Tom Greaves (capt)
10 George Thomson
11 Jason Gilchrist
12 Harry Winter (for 7, 62 mins)
14 Dale Johnson (for 9, 82 mins)
17 Sam Sheridan (for 8, 62 mins)
1 Peter Jameson
2 Liam Marrs
3 Terrence Galbraith
4 Philip Turnbull
5 Kevin Burgess (capt)
6 Gary Brown
7 Stephen Thomson
8 Leon Scott
9 Mark Beck
10 Liam Hardy
11 Joshua Gillies
12 Nathan Cartman (for 7, 72 mins)
15 Adam Mitchell (for 11, 45 mins)
16 Amar Purewal (for 10, 60 mins)
A late deflected goal from Darlington’s Nathan Cartman was enough to seal the three points for the visitor after a five goal Bank Holiday thriller at Broadhurst Park.
The visitors had raced into a two goal lead before the Reds fired back through Jason Gilchrist and George Thomson, both teams then went end to end with close chances looking to take the game before Cartman’s strike ten minutes from time deflected over Ashley Frith’s head and gave the victory to the visiting side.
The afternoon hadn’t started off well with the home team struggling to get into the flow of the game early on and Darlington looked dangerous with every attack, showing pace on the ball and creating opportunities from the off.
After suffering their first league defeat against Alfreton on Saturday, Darlington began quickly looking to get back to winning ways and after just three minutes they had taken the lead after a ball over the top was brilliantly taken down into his stride by Liam Hardy, who slotted the ball under Frith in the United goal.
To say United looked shaky in defence would be an understatement in the first half an hour or so, and balls into the box by the visitors were causing all kinds of problems and the game in that early part certainly seemed to be getting away from the hosts.
After 26 minutes the game looked over as Stephen Thomson doubled the lead with another well taken goal from the right hand side of the box he shot across first right in the bottom corner, the accuracy of the shot beating the FC United stopper.
Two goals down and clearly on the back foot the Reds needed something from the very top drawer to get them back into things. Step forward Jason Gilchrist who netted his first competitive goal for the club as a quick break saw the ball present itself to Gilchrist a good 30 yards from goal, a quick glance up saw Darlington goal keeper Peter Jameson off his line and Gilchrist hit a perfect chip over Jameson and into the back of the net to get FC United back into the game.
Conceding such a good goal didn’t deter the visitors though as they began the second half strong, attacking early looking to get their two goal advantage back but they couldn’t find a way through the FC defence who had grew into the game, even Frith looked a different player than the one from the first half hour commanding the box well and stopping shots coming his way.
The game quickly picked up the tempo early in the second half and the end to end nature of the early going really fired up both sets of fans with the noise from those on the terraces building and in doing so proving a catalyst for the football on the pitch.
Going into the last half hour the Reds really stepped up their game and in the space of just a few minutes George Thomson had created a couple of good chances shooting just over from outside the box before seeing a good header on goal saved by Jameson.
This was just a warning for the visitors though as Thomson equalised with little over 20 minutes left, coming into the box as the visitors had done for their second Thomson fired in at the near post taking Jameson by surprise and levelling the scores for FC United, who were now on the front foot and on the verge of a result that looked like it was well out of reach in the first half an hour of the game.
Darlington themselves came forward putting the pressure on with a couple of corners, but the FC defence were standing strong with clearances and tackles firing the home crowd up in the same way chances would at the other end.
The home team had a couple of great chances but firstly the ball wouldn’t get out from under Tom Greaves’ feet in the box before Chris Chantler’s low drive on goal looked destined for the back of the net before being agonisingly cleared off the line by a visiting defender.
Darlington took the three points as Cartman got clear for a chance just outside the edge of the box, his effort deflecting over Frith and into the net and the manner of the goal only seemed to add to the disappointment that we couldn’t get anything out of what was a fantastic match in such a cruel manner so late on.
Despite the loss and the fact we didn’t take any points from what was always going to be a tough Bank Holiday double header the game was a brilliant one full of action and one where neither team really deserved to come away with anything.
It was simply a great advert for non-league football on and off the pitch with both sets of fans showing how to get behind their teams, ensuring this was a game that would be remembered for the right reasons.
The Reds must now dust themselves off and look to get back to winning ways with an away trip to Boston next weekend before facing two of the top three teams in the league in Harrogate and AFC Fylde the following week.
Website man of the match: George Thomson – Stepped his game up second half, firing the crowd and players up before grabbing the equaliser.