FC United will face Harrogate Town in the third qualifying round of the FA Carlsberg Trophy after edging past Lancaster City 1-0 in extra-time on Wednesday night.
The Reds needed a goal from substitute Ben Deegan to squeeze through against a resolute Dolly Blues side who played for nearly two hours with 10 men after Chris Ward was sent off early on.
The second qualifying round replay was far from a classic. Lancaster were reduced to trying to shut up shop in the hope of hanging on for a result after Ward’s 12th minute dismissal for a foul on Jerome Wright and United found it hard breaking the visitors down.
However, they eventually got the vital goal and Karl Marginson’s side will hope to continue this season’s good cup form when they entertain Harrogate, who are bottom of the Blue Square Conference North, on Saturday 21 November at Gigg Lane.
Due to injuries to captain David Chadwick, Rob Nugent and Danny Warrender as well the third and final game ban for Adam Carden, United started the match with an unfamiliar back-four. Regulars Simon Garner and Adam Tong were partnered by Ludovic Quistin, making his third appearance for the club, and former youth team captain Nick Swirad, making his competitive debut. Both Swirad and Quistin stepped up to the plate admirably.
The game got off to a scrappy start with chances at a premium but came to life on 12 minutes with a flare up on the touchline. Jerome Wright was tackled from behind by Chris Ward who seemed to kick out at the United winger. Wright also seemed to react and the referee saw enough to dismiss Ward for the initial kick and book for Wright his retaliation.
From then on, it was an uphill battle for the Dolly Blues, but to their credit they kept on going. It seemed only a matter of time that the Reds would make their numerical advantage count and on 15 minutes a superb flowing move between Carlos Roca and Joe Yoffe ended with a Marsh header just wide.
Lancaster did have a couple of decent chances with Paul Jarvis having a shot saved and Simon Garner being forced to clear a dangerous looking cross.
FC should have taken the lead just before the half hour mark when Martin Fearon spilled a cross from Marsh with the ball dropping to Yoffe whose shot was very well saved by the legs of Fearon. In truth it was a half of little quality, save for a couple of good passages of football from the home side.
Margy’s half-time team talk seemed to do the trick as United came flying out of the traps, Marsh having a shot blocked and Fearon making two superb saves from a n Adam Tong header and Wright shot.
As in the first-half, Lancaster were defending with their lives and doing it well, looking to attack on the break. This was leaving gaps at the back for Wright and Roca to exploit with some fine runs down the wing, sadly at time the final ball was all that was missing.
City had a great chance on 67 minutes, when Max Rothwell broke from the halfway line but happily for the home team he couldn’t find the finish and fired over when he should have least made Ashton work.
The chances kept on coming for FC, with a great move involving Wright and Yoffe saw Deegan fire just over. The game should have been won in normal time when the ball was played over the defence to substitute Simon Carden on one of his typical runs from deep. Carden’s initial shot was saved by Fearon and the follow up was also blocked.
And so onto extra-time and on 93 minutes the game was won. A superb cross from the left from Wright was emphatically headed into the net by Deegan. The rest of the extra period pretty much drifted out with both teams looking dead on their feet, though Lancaster came close to equalising with five minutes to go with Ashton saving a shot and Deegan had a second goal disallowed for off-side.
All credit must go to Lancaster who played their part in the game despite playing with 10 men for the majority of it but it is FC United who go on to next round.
Report by Steven Wood.