It seemed like it was going to be an uneventful Sunday stroll in the Autumn sunshine. For the first quarter of an hour FC United had dominated possession with nothing to show for it bar a Robson Brown shot wide from all of 30 yards. The possession Ashton United had seemed to be struggling to get out of their half of the pitch.
That changed in the 16th minute when Reece Coles and Kyle Hill managed to wriggle through the FC back line with Hill providing the finish for the first goal. Hill could have made it 2-0 on 20 minutes but was denied by Sajjad.
That seemed to shake the FC United players out of their lethargic state, they went down the other end and Reuben Dass crossed into the box and Jack Ward passed to Cameron Horner who fired home but had been judged to be offside. Almost immediately Mitch Andrews had a chance for Ashton United before the next attack saw a ball out wide to Dass who crossed for Ward who helped the ball on its way into the far corner for the equaliser.
Then the game went quiet as both sides sought to get their breath back and again there was little sign of what was to come in the final fifteen minutes of the half.
On 32 minutes Dass played the ball forward for Horner who won a race with Ben Jones in the Ashton back line and shoot past a hapless Scott Gibbon in the home goal to make it 2-1. In the next attack Horner had a shot saved by Gibbon with Brown and Shawcross somehow failing to score from the rebound.
It was 3-1 in the next attack as Brown found Ward, whose shot flew in to the top corner of the goal via the cross bar with a venom that would have left world class keepers rooted to the spot. If that was a cue for FC Unired to take the control of the game that possession would have justified, think again. With the very next attack Ashton United were awarded a penalty as Sajjad was penalised when a player went to ground over an outstretched arm after playing the ball beyond the goal line. Hill cooly converted the spot kick for 3-2.
The game had scarcely kicked off again when Brown fed Horner for 4-2 and Coley made it 4-3 on 40 minutes when Ashton had found their way behind the FC back line to present him with a simple tap in. There was also a chance for Hill to equalise and complete his hat-trick but his effort was turned over by Sajjad.
Then the half time whistle blew and everyone retreated to the dressing room. Normally this is where the managers pass their thoughts about the half just gone and issue words of wisdom about how to make the second half a much tighter affair. Normally this would be the case but the FC players were back on the pitch within two minutes and the second half was anything but tight.
Within the first seven minutes FC had a corner and Ashton had two, the second of which found Hill with the goal at his mercy, fortunately his header cleared the crossbar by a comfortable distance. On 55 minutes Ward passed forward looking for Horner who battled for possession with an Ashton defender. This was at the far end of the pitch from the FC dugout and the ball rolled into the net so slowly that the keeper almost had time to turn once it had past him and make a save on the line. Whether this was an own goal from the defenders pass back or Horner had run clear and applied a crucial touch wasn’t immediately apparent, but given that he had followed the ball all the way in it would be churlish to deny Horner credit for a hat trick. Either way it was now 5-3.
FC United had the ball in the net on the hour as Dass headed in but was judged to have been offside. They could have scored another three in the five minute period before they did. A Benn Veitch free kick from the half way line was punched clear by the keeper as far as Ward who chipped the ball back just wide whilst Ward and Francesco Frangillo had shots saved. It was 6-3 on 68 minutes as Gibbon cleared the ball from his area only to see Will Shawcross return it with interest.
Were Ashton United out of the game? Not a bit of it. They had a free kick turned out for a corner before being awarded a second penalty for a push. Right back Nathan Turvey, who was given a torrid time by Dass throughout the game was given the chance to have something to smile about and made no mistake on 74 minutes.
Five minutes later it was 7-4 when a Gibbon clearance hit Frangillo and flew back past him into the net. Then Dass broke from the half way line only to see his shot saved before getting another chance to try again on 90 minutes and making it 8-4 after providing a chance for debutante Jacobe Anderson who couldn’t quite stretch far enough to turn in the cross at the far post.
Was that the end of the head spinning action? Not at all. With virtually the last kick of the game Ashton United were awarded a third penalty. The assistant referee had flagged to try and inform the referee that ball had gone out of play for a corner when the referee awarded the spot kick indicating a tug of a shirt that no-one had seen and no-one appealed for. Indeed the FC players perhaps without seeing the flag were actually expecting a defensive free kick.
Sajjad saved the spot kick but sadly Ashton reacted quicker and fired the rebound home. Finally the game was brought to an end with a truly head spinning final score of Ashton United 5, FC United of Manchester 8.
For more of the same or a quieter, saner 0-0 draw next time out, try returning to Bower Fold on Thursday as the lads take on Stalybridge Celtic with an 8pm kick off.
1. Scott Gibbon
2. Nathan Turvey
3. Dion Kemp
4. Reece Glynn
5. Tom Starks
6. Ben Jones
7. John McGrath
8. Sam Cunliffe
9. Reece Coley
10. Kyle Hill
11. Mitch Andrews
12. Best Madzurka
14. Elliot Regan.
FC United of Manchester:
1. Sullaiman Sajjad
2. Jack Preston
3. Benn Veitch
4. Mason Davies
5. Chris Hill
6. Samuel Ogayemi
7. Robson Brown
8. Will Shawcross
9. Cameron Horner
10. Reuben Dass
11. Jack Ward.
12. Saem Son (for 8, 80 mins)
14. Francesco Frangillo (for 9, 63 mins)
15. Jacobe Anderson (for 11, 80 mins)
16. Yussuf Abdullahi (for 2, 53 mins)