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Match Details     

3.00pm Saturday 13th March 2010

The UniBond League Premier Division

Gigg Lane, Gigg Lane, Bury, BL9 9HR

FC United of Manchester 1 - 2Durham City
Roca 9  Stephenson 14
Cutts 47 (pen)

Attendance: 2,164

FC United of Manchester
1 Sam Ashton
2 Phil Marsh
3 Ludovic Quistin Yellow Card
4 Jake Cottrell
5 David Chadwick (capt)
6 Kyle Jacobs
7 Carlos Roca
8 Simon Carden
9 Adriano Celi Rigoglioso
10 Jerome Wright
11 Ben Deegan

16 Joseph Yoffe (for 9, 55 mins)
19 Mark Ayres (for 6, 9 mins)
Durham City
1 R Jobling
2 M Stoker
3 G Ayres
4 C Harboard
5 M Batey
6 D Sanders
7 E Graham
8 A Stephenson (capt)
9 E Cutts
10 C Winter
11 K Wren

12 R Ayre (for 10 46)
16 A Sanders (for 11 65)
17 P Taylor (for 9 83)

Match Report

FC United’s hopes of sneaking into the play-offs were dealt a severe blow as they were beaten 2-1 at Gigg Lane by the league’s bottom club; Durham City - giving the North East club its first victory of the season.

The Citizens came into the game having lost 28 consecutive league games this season and when United winger Carlos Roca broke the deadlock after nine minutes the Reds looked on course for to an important win whilst making it 29 defeats for the visitors. However, Durham fought back to clinch a superb victory for their loyal players, staff and supporters.

The game started brightly with the Reds going forward, looking for three vital points to take them closer to the play-offs. With less than 10 minutes played, Jake Cottrell rounded the visiting goalkeeper on the left and put the ball across the box for the diminutive Roca to head - yes, head - United into an early lead.

But any momentum the Reds had from this goal was not capitalised on as a lot of United’s play looked one-dimensional. Durham midfielder Andrew Stephenson put pay to any questions about their players’ ability as he teed the ball up 40 yards out and lofted it over Sam Ashton’s head, hitting the underside of the bar before crossing the line and bringing the visitors level with a fantastic goal which was met by applause from the FC United faithful.

Still United didn’t really push on and it was only on the stroke of half-time when they had their best opportunity to retake the lead. Jerome Wright’s pace saw him go around the ‘keeper and fire the ball across goal, only to see a deflection off a Durham defender hit the crossbar and bounce down close to, but not over, the line.

United appeared to have more attacking emphasis to their play when they kicked off for the second half but when Ludovic Quistin inexplicably leapt up to handle the ball in his own area he gifted the visitors a golden opportunity to take the lead. Elliot Cutts duly obliged by firing the ball past Ashton.

United tried to get back into things but in truth lots of the build up play was weak and they looked like they lacked a real cutting edge up front. Nonetheless chances still came for United, with substitute Joseph Yoffe cutting into the box and firing just wide from his left foot.

Karl Marginson’s side were offered a lifeline midway through the second half penalty when the tricky Roca was brought down in the box. Ben Deegan’s powerful effort was pushed over the bar and it starting looking like it might just be Durham’s day.

The visiting side defended resolutely in the second half, fending off United attacks with as many as 10 men behind the ball providing a unit that was difficult for United to break through.

But the chances did come. Deegan headed over the bar at least once and Yoffe somehow managed to turn the ball over from inside the six yard box after Wright had picked him out unmarked at the back post.

It just wasn’t United’s day and as the green and gold scarves were waved in the Manchester Road End to a chorus of “Always look on the bright side of life” the final whistle went and gave Durham a well deserved victory which they celebrated with an understandable amount of joy.

The Durham fans and team were given a standing ovation from the United fans at the end of the game, for their effort and commitment in not only this game but the season as a whole. It was a nice touch from the United faithful who may have seen their play-off hopes crushed in this 90 minutes.

Report by Craig Phillips.

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