A largely unrecognisable FC United suffered a 2-1 friendly defeat on a soggy evening at Chadderton.
The reds’ goal was scored by youth team striker Matty Boland, who was one of many younger players given their chance to impress alongside a host of trialists.
Midfield debutant Dave Birch was impressive in the first half, as United played some neat, if unspectacular, football.
Winger Rory Fallon, who resemblances a former FC striker of the same Christian name, looked very lively down the right making several incisive runs, but unfortunately the end product was lacking.
United’s central defensive partnership, made up of former Barrow player Paul Jones and trialist Joe Greenhalgh, looked shaky from the start and it was a mistake by the latter that allowed the home side to take the lead in the first half.
A slip from Greenhalgh gave Chaddie’s number six the chance to run through on goal and slot past United’s first keeper of the night.
Chadderton had the ball in the net at least twice more during the first 45, but the offside flag cut short their muted celebrations.
FC continued to probe but their shooting was wayward to say the least and the home net never looked in great danger of being rippled.
There were several changes made at half time, just as the estimated 280 reds present had started to get to know some of the players on show. Even if it was by first name or number only, they were at least familiarising themselves. It wasn’t to last though, as the numbers game provided new challenges to even the most ardent of observers.
One recognisable face was that of striker Theo Kidd, who was involved almost immediately as he managed to squirm his way through before shooting at the keeper. Kidd worked his way into many decent positions but he appeared to have left his shooting boots at home.
One player who did actually leave his boots at home was youth team centre half Kial Callacher. He had turned up to cheer on a mate, but was subsequently lent some suitable footwear and looked far more assured at the back than the reds’ first half pairing.
Also impressive was left back Jordan Jacobs, nephew of first team skipper Kyle. Neither of the young defenders could prevent Chadderton getting a second, however.
Despite a good save from FC’s second keeper of the night, the follow up was slotted in and the hosts had some breathing space and the chance to throw a few more numbers onto the pitch themselves. Don’t worry though, they also took players off to ensure the numerical equilibrium remained.
After Kidd had fired at the keeper once more, Boland took his chance when it came moments later. Good work down the right allowed him to advance on goal before neatly slotting past the advancing keeper.
And that is how it ended. There was much to ponder for manager Margy as he left to get a good night’s kip before embarking on the arduous journey to Exeter with the squad for Saturday’s game.
Afterwards Margy said: “We will be taking a similar squad to Exeter to that which featured at Rhyl. Paul Jones, Dave Birch and Matty Boland will also be coming along with us. I was impressed with several of our younger players and they will get chances soon enough. It was good to get a look at a few players and we will look at a few more as we continue our pre-season preparations.”