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FC United of Manchester
FC United breezed past Curzon Ashton 4-1 in a friendly at the Tameside Stadium on Tuesday night with goals from Martin Parker, Michael Norton and two from Matthew Wolfenden.
Parker and Wolfenden put the Reds into a comfortable 3-0 half-time lead before manager Karl Marginson made several changes in a game which saw United give 21 players a run out.
In comparison to Saturday’s clash with Bury, Tuesday night’s team sheet read rather differently with the starting XI being completely changed, giving further exposure to the depth of the squad for this pre-season campaign.
On FC United’s first visit to the Tameside Stadium since a 2-2 draw in a friendly prior to the 2008-09 season, the Reds got off to a promising start, looking lively on the attack and having plenty of space and possession to explore different options in working the ball forward.
Adam Edwards proved a definite highlight of the first half, showing confidence in making several ventures down the right wing and the winger was key in United’s opening goal on 15 minutes.
Following a swerving run down the right up against three Curzon players, Edwards won a free kick just outside the area. Jimmy Holden whipped the ball into the far post which captain David Chadwick rolled back across a crowded six-yard box for his fellow centre-half Parker to poke home to break the deadlock.
Still reeling from United’s opener, Curzon hadn’t had chance to regroup when the Reds doubled the score line a couple of minutes later. Midfielder Danny Grimshaw played a precision pass into the path of Wolfenden who’d seized upon the opportunity to catch the defence off guard and make the run into Curzon’s area. The winger then coolly slotted the ball beyond The Nash’s goalkeeper Peter Collinge to increase FC’s lead.
Holden proved influential through excellent distribution, and it was the holding midfielder who set up United’s third before the break. Holden played a through ball to Wolfenden who, unmarked in the box, produced his second finish of the night, lofting the ball over Collinge to make it 3-0.
Curzon Ashton’s half-time changes looked to boost the side who looked more lively in the second period, giving the United far less room in which to operate.
Both sides went for goal early on as Wolfenden laid the ball back for Ben Deegan to see his first time effort sail wide and Matthew Kay had a decent attempt from 25 yards which goalkeeper Grant Shenton dealt with capably.
A series of changes ensued for the Reds as James Spencer, Dean Stott, Adam Jones and Norton replaced Shenton, Chadwick, Parker and Edwards, altering the formation to 4-4-2. Spencer was given his first test soon after his introduction as a Sam Walker corner was met with the glancing downward header of Chris McDonagh which Spencer got down well to claim.
As is the nature of pre-season friendlies, the management team opted for five more changes altering both fullbacks and the centre of midfield. The industrious Deegan, who played the full 90 minutes, provided a further chance for FC United, seeing a storming effort saved, before the home side were able to pull one back.
In a lax moment for the Reds, substitute Simon Carden sent a loose ball back towards his own goal which was intercepted by Steven Moore, making it easy for Norton’s former Curzon strike partner to run on and put the ball beyond Spencer.
This was however only a small consolation for Curzon as Moore’s goal was quickly followed by a final goal from the Reds. The ball was worked through to Norton and the striker feigned to shoot first time, momentarily distracting the defence and allowing him to cut inside and slot the ball between the outstretched keeper and the upright, rounding off the scoring on his old hunting ground. Norton’s reaction indicated relief at opening his pre-season account five games in.
The final score-line reflects a comprehensive and solid United performance which was an excellent opportunity for the FC support to gain an insight into the various options in all departments of the squad for the upcoming season.
Report by Victoria Fullen