FC United conceded a 96th minute equaliser to draw 3-3 with promotion chasing Chorley after being 3-0 up and having goalkeeper Adriano Basso sent off in an eventful afternoon at Broadhurst Park.
In a clichéd game of two halves, the Reds were 3-0 up at half time but conceded three second half goals to surrender what seemed to be a certain three points at the interval.
Jason Gilchrist, Matthew Wolfenden and Nathan Lowe scored the goals in what was one of the Reds’ best 45 minutes of the season. However, the fourth placed Magies fought back in the second half to steal a draw. Two goals in the first 10 minutes after the break from Jack Sampson and Robbie McDaid got the visitors right back into the match.
And with one minute left on the clock, Basso was sent off for retaliating to what he felt was a late challenge. Midfielder Sam Sheridan went in goal but he could do nothing to stop Scott Leather’s stoppage time equaliser.
Despite the disappointing end to the match, there were positives to be taken from the game. In the first half, the Reds executed some great build up play and a criticalness in front of goal that merited the lead.
Gilchrist got the scoring underway with less than ten minutes on the clock with a well taken effort from the left-hand side of the box which left Chorley ‘keeper Ritchie Brannagan no chance.
The game quickly got into a competitive pattern with both teams moving the ball well, but just before the half hour mark FC United increased the lead when a deflected effort fell into the path of Wolfenden who put the ball away for his fourth goal of the week.
With their tails up, the Reds looked confident and closed down well when the opposition had the ball. Just before the break, it looked as though the three points were in the bag as Lowe hit a wonderfully struck effort from outside the box to give the hosts an unexpected 3-0 halftime lead.
But in the same week that Tom Brady completed one of the greatest sporting comebacks in Super Bowl LI, Chorley completed their own astonish comeback. The Magpies came out quickly for the second half and within 30 seconds of the restart they had a goal back after Sampson fired past Basso.
Ten minutes in and it was 3-2 when McDaid got on the scoresheet for the visitors. The joy of a near-perfect first half was overtaken by a sinking feeling that the Reds could actually throw this game away.
Considering the Chorley scored two early goals and clearly rattled not only the players but also those on the terraces, the second half had a really even feel about it. Both teams were looking for the sixth goal of the game for their own reasons and the match had a real cup-tie feel about it.
Unfortunately for the Reds, it was the visitors who netted the priceless sixth goal. In the last minute of the game, Basso saw red after reacting to a challenge from the Chorley forward. His dismissal left FC United playing the five minutes’ stoppage time with Sheridan in goal.
Ironically, the Reds had a glorious opportunity to seal the win despite losing their goalkeeper when a free-kick was pushed back into the box by Brannagan but Gilchrist saw his attempt on the rebound blocked inside the six-yard box.
With the five minutes of stoppage time just up, FC United conceded a free-kick on the left. From that free-kick a beautiful cross was met by Leather who equalised and completed a remarkable comeback with pretty much the last touch of the game. Coincidentally, it was Leather who scored the late equaliser in the 3-3 draw at Victory Park in August.
Chorley showed great fight in the second half and deserved to get their point but for FC United it was clearly two points dropped from a commanding position that would have given us a notable victory over a promotion chasing outfit.
The point sees the Reds move up one place in the table to 12th but without a league victory since Boxing Day, we now sit just six points above the relegation zone. The Reds face another tricky encounter with the short trip to Stockport County next weekend.
Website Man of the Match: Nathan Lowe – Put in a really good performance and took his goal before the break really well.
Report by Craig Phillips
|News ID ~ 7318||First Posted ~ 17:13 Sat 11 Feb 2017||Last Updated ~ 07:39 Tue 14 Feb 2017|