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Match Details      

3.00pm Saturday 1st April 2017

Vanarama National League North

Broadhurst Park, 310 Lightbowne Rd, Moston, Manchester, M40 0FJ

FC United of Manchester 2 - 2Stalybridge Celtic
Wolfenden 35
Thomson 90 (+4)
 Hughes 28
Wilkins 72

Attendance: 2,375

FC United of Manchester
1 David Carnell
2 Dale Tonge
3 Chris Chantler
4 Scott Kay
5 Jordan Fagbola
6 Luke Ashworth
7 Matthew Wolfenden
8 Nathan Lowe
9 Tomi Adeloye
10 Jerome Wright (capt)
11 Greg Wilkinson

12 Tom Greaves (for 9, 75 mins)
15 Sam Sheridan (for 11, 60 mins)
16 George Thomson (for 3, 75 mins)
Stalybridge Celtic
1 Grant Shenton
2 Danny Morton
3 Danny Wisdom
4 Matty Hughes (capt)
5 Adam Mather
6 Aaron Chalmers
7 Kieran Dunbar
8 Gary Gee
9 Andy Bishop
10 Danny Wilkins
11 Danny Pilkington

12 James Roberts (for 9, 67 mins)
14 Derek McKnight (for 11, 75 mins)
15 Callum Bagshaw (for 8, 88 mins)

Match Report

George Thomson curled home a 94th minute free-kick to earn FC United a 2-2 draw at home to relegation threatened Stalybridge Celtic on Saturday afternoon.

The goal and results elsewhere mean that FC United are safe from relegation and have therefore confirmed our place in the Vanarana National League North for next season.

A great solo goal from Daniel Wilkins with 18 minutes to go looked to have given Celtic all three points but substitute Thomson, the club’s top-scorer this season, came off the bench to rescue the Reds in front of 2,375 supporters.

Karl Marginson’s side came from behind twice to gain the point. Matthew Hughes rifled the opening goal on 28 minutes into top corner from 10 yards out after 25 minutes, although there was a suspicion of handball in the build up.

Matthew Wolfenden’s deflected effort 10 minutes before halftime had pulled the Reds deservedly level but a disjointed second half display seemed destined to be punished by the visitors until Thomson stepped up to level the match with virtually the last kick.

FC United played well in the first half and Celtic’s Grant Shelton was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers. Seconds before Hughes’ goal, Shelton tipped Nathan Lowe’s thunderous shot from 25 yards out onto the bar.

Stalybridge then took the lead as the Reds were slow to react to a ball into the box by Shelton. It looked like the ball might have been brought under control by Daniel Pilkington’s arm but once he laid it off, Hughes finished well.

For the rest of the first half it was wave after wave of United attack. Striker Tomi Adeloye twice broke free in the box after good throughballs by Scott Kay and Lowe. After doing everything right to beat two defenders, Adeloye dragged his first effort across goal and wide. Minutes later, he produced a good save from Shelton as the pressure continued to build.

United got their reward 10 minutes before the interval. Winger Greg Wilkinson found Wolfenden in space in the box and his effort cannoned off a defender to loop over Shelton and in for 1-1.

Five minutes later and Wolfenden was nearly on the scoresheet for the third time in two games. The forward’s impressive off the ball movement created numerous chances and Shelton had to tip another deflected looping effort from inside the box onto bar, which then hit the post before being cleared.

Into the second half and if the FC United faithful were expecting more of the same, they were to be disappointed. The Reds did create chances with Wolfenden twice wasting good opportunities and Adeloye’s back post header was clawed away for a corner by Shelton.

However, it was the visitors who had the best chances. David Carnell was much busier in the second half as his goal came under threat several times.

It was no real surprise when FC United’s luck ran out and Wilkins edged Celtic back in front. A counter attack from a corner saw Wilkins pick up the ball just inside the Reds’ half. With several covering defenders doing well to get back to thwart him, the Celtic forward did well to find some space and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

Seven minutes later and the inside of the post stopped Kieran Dunbar from putting the result to bed after going one-on-one with Carnell.

United had lost their composure, were giving the ball away cheaply and inviting pressure onto themselves.

Thankfully, the visitors were unable to capitalise on the poor play again and Thomson was able to rescue the draw with a stunning free-kick into the top corner from around 20 yards out.

Website man of the match: Nathan Lowe. Faded a little like most players in red but pulled the strings for United throughout the first half.

Report by Matthew Haley

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