FC United got back to winning ways as they brushed aside Hucknall Town 2-0 with goals from Carlos Roca and David Chadwick.
The Reds had been on a run of three successive defeats and we’re keen to erase the memory of the shock home defeat to Durham City the week before and came racing out of the blocks.
United went close three times in the first five minutes with Phil Marsh firing wide, and Jerome Wright putting the ball over from two half chances outside the box.
The first clear cut chance came to Wright; who along with Ludovic Quistin provided some good moves down the left, moved into the box one on one with Hucknall ‘keeper Daniel Haystead, but from the tight angle Wright could only fire into the side netting.
It wasn’t long until United were a goal up though and it came through an unlikely method, for the second week running Roca scored with his head! A cross from the left was headed back across the goal by Ben Deegan before Roca headed comfortably into the net to put United one up within ten minutes.
After this it’s fair to say united took their foot off the gas a little, and while they had some good build up play and Ben Deegan saw a header from inside the six yard box spectaculary saved by Haystead, but other than this United never really went close again in the opening session.
Perhaps this inability to put daylight between themselves and the opposition caused a sense of apprehension in the United faithful ahead of the second half, well aware that Hucknall were just one goal away from being back into things.
But the second period followed much of the same way as the first half with United controlling possession and looking like the only team capable of winning the game but still they couldn’t get that second goal they so desperately craved.
Marsh, Wright and Deegan all had half-chances well blocked by a resilient Hucknall defence, and you had to feel for Deegan a little who played his heart out and just couldn’t get the ball into the net no matter how hard he tried.
Chadwick again led by example all afternoon, rising for powerful headers, tough tackling and most importantly building confidence in the defence around him, and it was Chadwick who scored United’s second goal.
He saw his effort from a right sided corner blocked by team-mate Simon Carden but fortunately the ball fell back to Chadwick who fired home to give United the two goal cushion they needed, and to be truthful deserved.
The United defence rarely looked troubled all afternoon, and for once this season had an air of confidence about themselves that hasn’t been there all season. Indeed, this was United’s first clean sheet in six games.
United gave a debut to Chris Ovington , who brought an injection of pace to the game when he replaced Roca with 15 minutes remaining, and youngsters Cedric Krou and Gage Eme made late appearances and gave decent accounts of themselves in their short time on the pitch.
More than the win, the performance went a long way to erase the memory of the dismal effort the previous Saturday and that is something which the United faithful hold dearest, commitment to the club.
United moved back to tenth in the league with the win, just ten points off a play-off place with nine games left, but will now switch their attention to Wednesday’s crunch game with rivals Bradford Park Avenue, and know a win over the top team in the league would certainly give them a kick going into the final eight games of the season.
Report by Craig Phillips.