A hat-trick from Phil Marsh and one from Jamie Mack saw FC United thrash old rivals Nantwich Town 4-0 at Ewen Fields on Wednesday night.
Marsh struck twice in the first half an hour or so before making the game safe in the 63rd minute. Youngster Mack put the icing on the cake with the fourth six minutes before the end to send the Reds back up the UniBond Premier Division table.
FC United made a bright start to the game, keeping the majority of play inside the Nantwich half and maintaining possession for long periods of time. Sharp, neat spells of one touch passing kept the Reds on the attack during the opening stages.
It was Nantwich however who looked likely to score first. The visitors were awarded a penalty just shy of the 20 minute mark when Nantwich captain, Michael Lennon was tripped by Adam Tong inside the area.
Lennon stepped up and was denied by Sam Ashton who made a great stop down to his right. The ball was sprayed out and Nantwich looked to be benefitting from the rebound, however Lennon smacked the rebound against the cross bar and United cleared the danger.
The penalty save added to United’s confidence and on 23 minutes, Marsh headed home to put the Reds in front. A Nantwich free kick was claimed by Ashton who made a quick, instinctive throw out to Adam Carden on the right. The full-back stormed down the wing and swung an excellent ball into Marsh on the far post. The striker finished well, heading the ball past Lee Jones in the Nantwich goal.
FC continued to play intelligent football and kept possession well, leaving Nantwich little room to respond. The quality of United’s performance was rewarded with a second goal on 31 minutes. A long ball from the back was flicked on by Ben Deegan and taken well by Marsh into the Nantwich area. The centre-forward produced an excellent finish, hitting the ball across Jones and into the far corner.
Play continued in much the same way, as United looked to threaten at every opportunity. Jake Cottrell had a huge impact on the game in his first competitive start and both full-backs were able to get forward and contribute to the attack. Strings of neat passing and clever touches gave the Reds a healthy and very well deserved lead at half-time.
Carlos Roca had an appeal for a penalty early in the second half. The tricky winger rounded the Nantwich keeper and darted towards goal, only to be brought down inside the area. Controversially, shouts for a penalty were waved away.
Tong had an opportunity to add to United’s lead, pulling off a low, powerful shot on goal from the edge of the area which was denied by the post.
With around half an hour to go, Nantwich’s Darren Tinson was shown a straight red for a professional foul on Marsh, who was on course for a one-on-one with the keeper. Marsh made it 3-0 and achieved his hat trick as he stepped up for the resulting free-kick and fired home from around 25 yards, plummeting a low powerful strike past Jones who could do very little to deny him.
The excellent Roca was then substituted for Abdirashid Ibrahim, making his competitive debut for the club. Ben Deegan had the chance to add to the score line as a ball from Jerome Wright was picked up by the number 9 inside the six-yard box. Deegan turned well and shot on goal, however the keeper made an excellent point blank stop.
Following an excellent performance, hat-trick hero Marsh made way for Jamie Mack, and Wright was replaced by Dave Neville, who made a welcome return to the club.
Mack put the result beyond any doubt, adding a fourth for FC on 84 minutes. Excellent play again saw United on the attack and an initial low shot goal wards from Neville was picked up by Mack inside the six-yard box and put across the line.
United continued to impress well into added time, sustaining a top-class display right to the final whistle. The Reds produced arguably their best all round performance so far this season and easily had the upper-hand throughout in a fantastic display of football.
Report by Victoria Fullen.