3.00pm Saturday 27th October 2012
The Daniels Stadium, Kettering Road, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 2JS
|Stamford AFC ||2 - 1||FC United of Manchester|
| ||Norton 10|
1 Matt Finlay
2 Robbie Maddox
3 Paul Mayo
4 Tom Batchelor
5 Richard Jones (capt)
6 Jack Cotton
7 Andrew Hall
8 David Staff
9 Greg Smith
10 Gary King
11 Danny Brooks
16 Sam Mullarkey (for 10, 78 mins)
|FC United of Manchester|
1 James Spencer
2 Kyle Jacobs (capt)
3 Lee Neville
4 Nick Platt
5 Adam Jones
6 Dean Stott
7 Matthew Wolfenden
8 Jake Cottrell
9 Mike Norton
10 Jerome Wright
11 Chris Amadi
12 Dave Birch (for 8, 45 mins)
15 Greg Daniels (for 11, 62 mins)
17 Scott Cheetham (for 1, 64 mins)
FC United crashed out of the FA Carlsberg Trophy 2-1 at Stamford AFC on Saturday afternoon despite leading 1-0 at half-time through a Michael Norton strike inside the first ten minutes.
With no disrespect to the hosts from the Evo-Stik Division One South, it was a game United should have won on paper and in reality. But a lacklustre second half performance after a decent opening 45 minutes was punished in the closing stages when Stamford’s Daniel Brooks unleashed a 30-yard screamer to win the second qualifying round tie.
Gary King had equalised five minutes into the second half after controversially stealing the ball from goalkeeper James Spencer’s grasp. A challenge which ultimately saw Spencer substituted and taken to hospital with suspected concussion.
The afternoon had begun brightly for the Reds, who were playing in their change strip of all blue, and they had the ball in the back of the net inside the first three minutes when Dean Stott bundled a corner and a defender over the line. However, the goal was disallowed with Stott adjudged to have pushed his opponent.
United didn’t have long to wait though before breaking the deadlock. Jake Cottrell exchanged a one-two with Lee Neville on the left touchline before whipping a cross to the edge of the box where Norton chested the ball down and rifled into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
It was a goal United deserved after creating numerous openings in the early exchanges with Cottrell, Norton and Jerome Wright all going close. Unfortunately though, that was as good as it got for United all afternoon.
Despite the fact that Spencer didn’t even touch the ball until the 32nd minute, United were unable to carve out the second goal that may well have killed off the tie. The closest Karl Marginson’s side came was in the 38rd minute when Norton saw his header cannon back off the post after connecting with captain Kyle Jacob’s cross.
Nicky Platt should also have done better just a minute later when Norton pulled the ball back for him but the midfielder spooned his effort over the bar, which was surprising considering his recent knack of hitting the target.
If the first half was solid and promising, the second was sloppy and disappointing. It got off to a very bad start when Spencer slipped when coming to collect a long punt up field by the Daniels’ goalkeeper Matt Finlay. This allowed King to steal in and, despite Spencer’s best efforts to gather the ball and his teammates’ protests to the referee for a free-kick, the Stamford man rolled the ball home to make it 1-1.
A shell-shocked United never got going again and Stamford nearly nicked the winner just moments later when Tom Batchelor headed a Brooks’ corner wide when he should have done better.
United did have a couple of decent chances to claim the win, Finlay had to nervously parry a Wright free-kick and Neville headed over the bar. However, United were dealt a blow just after the hour mark when Spencer had to be substituted and with no goalkeeper on the bench, Dave Birch volunteered to go in goal.
The midfielder did well with the little he had to do, confidently clearing a few long balls and back-passes. However, he could do nothing to stop Brooks’ winner in the 83rd minute, as the United defence were slow to close down and the Stamford man scored a cracker out of the blue to win the tie.
Website man of the match: Michael Norton. Difficult to pick a good performance after a bad day at the office for FC United but Norton took his goal clinically, hit the woodwork moments later and created chances for his teammates.
Report by Matthew Haley