FC United of Manchester FC United of Manchester FC United of Manchester Pitch In

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Match Report

26th December 2011

EvoStik League Premier Division

Gigg Lane, Gigg Lane, Bury, BL9 9HR


FC United of Manchester

2 - 1

Ashton United

Norton 3
Neville 49
  Amadi 13

FC United of Manchester 2

Norton 3
Neville 49

Ashton United 1

Amadi 13

Attendance: 1,926


FC United of Manchester

1 James Spencer
2 Paul Armstrong 
3 Lee Neville
4 Dean Stott
5 Adam Jones
6 Greg Stones (capt)
7 Carlos Roca
8 Nick Platt
9 Mike Norton
10 Matthew Wolfenden
11 Stephen Johnson

Subs.
12 Daniel Grimshaw (for 11, 83 mins)
14 Matthew Tierney (for 2, 64 mins)
15 Astley Mulholland (for 7, 77 mins)

Ashton United

1 T Smith
2 A Frost
3 D Caldecott (capt)
4 G Murphy
5 G Melling  
6 C Robinson
7 M Peers
8 I Bennett
9 A Burns
10 W Beattie
11 C Amadi

Subs:
15 M Piana (for 3, 90 mins)
17 M Koslyo (for 4, 70 mins)


Match Report
FC United caught Ashton United cold with early goals in both halves from Michael Norton and Lee Neville taking all three points with a 2-1 win on Boxing Day at Gigg Lane.

Norton volleyed home in the third minute after Matthew Wolfenden had chipped onto the bar but the Robins equalised less than 10 minutes later through Chris Amadi. However, Neville made sure it was a happy Christmas for the Reds by striking the winner four minutes into the second half.

United had the lion’s share of possession throughout the match and should probably have won more comfortably but the points could easily have gone the other way as Reds goalkeeper James Spencer had to make a superb one handed point blank save and Ashton will feel aggrieved to have had a goal curiously disallowed.

The Reds were straight out of the blocks, showing no sign of the excesses of Christmas, and an attack down the left wing saw Wolfenden draw Terry Smith out of his goal but his chip cannoned off the crossbar. Fortunately, Norton was following up and the striker managed to volley the rebound into the far corner to make it 1-0.

United were looking to build on their lead as soon as possible and continued to plough forward. However, Ashton broke away after an FC corner was headed clear and a cross-field ball by Mark Peers to the unmarked Amadi created a goal out of nowhere. The Robins’ big left-winger picked the ball up just inside the United half and with only midfielder Dean Stott for cover, Amadi powered into the penalty area and prodded a shot into the far corner giving Spencer no chance.

The Reds continued to press with Paul Armstrong, in for the suspended Kyle Jacobs, playing more like a right winger as Carlos Roca dropped into the middle. The pressing resulted in United having several half-chances; midway through the first period, Adam Jones headed over the bar from a Nicky Platt free-kick, on the half an hour mark Norton had an appeal for a penalty turned down as he took a tumble in the box when trying to get on the end of a Wolfenden cross, and moments before the break the United striker took the ball around the keeper but then opted to cut back inside and was unable to get a shot in as he was crowded out by covering defenders.

If the Ashton players were still feeling the effects of their turkey dinners at the beginning of the first half, presumably they were still trying to run off their Christmas pudding at the start of the second because United caught them cold again. The Robins failed to clear a cross from the left by Stephen Johnson with the ball being headed back across goal to Neville at the near post. The fullback chested the ball down and slammed it into the far corner to make it 2-1.

The game opened up quite a bit more in the second half and Spencer had to be alert to cut out two low crosses from the left by Amadi and Warren Beattie. Moments later, Roca headed a Neville cross over after the fullback had linked up well on the left with Johnson.

Then, just after the hour mark, there was a moment of controversy. A free-kick into the box was headed clear by Greg Stones but former FC United striker Aaron Burns followed up with a superb volley into the bottom corner. However, the whistle had already gone with the referee’s assistant raising his flag for foot high in a challenge against Stones in the build up. It was a let off for the Reds but it didn’t stop them gifting Ashton with another chance later on.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, Amadi, who had been Ashton’s biggest threat all afternoon, skipped past Neville down the right wing to get to the by-line and pull the ball back to Burns. The striker was unmarked and pulled the trigger for what should have been the equaliser but Spencer made a fantastic save, tipping the ball around the post to protect United’s lead.

Chances were still coming down at the other end too, a long ball found Norton completely unmarked on the penalty spot, he controlled the ball and set up Johnson whose effort was blocked and then Norton fired the rebound wide.

Four minutes later and it was Burns who enjoyed exploiting the gaps down the United left. The striker pulled Stones out to the right wing and then used his pace to push the ball past him and into the box. Just when it looked like Spencer would be called into the action again, Stones produced a brilliant slide tackle that hooked the ball away from Burns with Stones quickly getting to his feet to calmly take the ball to safety.

Into the final minutes and as Ashton continued to press for an equaliser, FC United nearly made it 3-1 when Norton played substitute Daniel Grimshaw in on the right but after making a good run, the youngster sliced his effort from the edge of the box harmlessly wide. It proved to be the last action of the game which provided a important three points and a successful end to 2011 for FC United.

Man of the match: Greg Stones – The United centre-half and captain for the day led by example at the back, looked calm on the ball throughout and made a fantastic last ditch tackle to prevent a potential goal.

Report by Matthew Haley
Match Report
FC United caught Ashton United cold with early goals in both halves from Michael Norton and Lee Neville taking all three points with a 2-1 win on Boxing Day at Gigg Lane.

Norton volleyed home in the third minute after Matthew Wolfenden had chipped onto the bar but the Robins equalised less than 10 minutes later through Chris Amadi. However, Neville made sure it was a happy Christmas for the Reds by striking the winner four minutes into the second half.

United had the lion’s share of possession throughout the match and should probably have won more comfortably but the points could easily have gone the other way as Reds goalkeeper James Spencer had to make a superb one handed point blank save and Ashton will feel aggrieved to have had a goal curiously disallowed.

The Reds were straight out of the blocks, showing no sign of the excesses of Christmas, and an attack down the left wing saw Wolfenden draw Terry Smith out of his goal but his chip cannoned off the crossbar. Fortunately, Norton was following up and the striker managed to volley the rebound into the far corner to make it 1-0.

United were looking to build on their lead as soon as possible and continued to plough forward. However, Ashton broke away after an FC corner was headed clear and a cross-field ball by Mark Peers to the unmarked Amadi created a goal out of nowhere. The Robins’ big left-winger picked the ball up just inside the United half and with only midfielder Dean Stott for cover, Amadi powered into the penalty area and prodded a shot into the far corner giving Spencer no chance.

The Reds continued to press with Paul Armstrong, in for the suspended Kyle Jacobs, playing more like a right winger as Carlos Roca dropped into the middle. The pressing resulted in United having several half-chances; midway through the first period, Adam Jones headed over the bar from a Nicky Platt free-kick, on the half an hour mark Norton had an appeal for a penalty turned down as he took a tumble in the box when trying to get on the end of a Wolfenden cross, and moments before the break the United striker took the ball around the keeper but then opted to cut back inside and was unable to get a shot in as he was crowded out by covering defenders.

If the Ashton players were still feeling the effects of their turkey dinners at the beginning of the first half, presumably they were still trying to run off their Christmas pudding at the start of the second because United caught them cold again. The Robins failed to clear a cross from the left by Stephen Johnson with the ball being headed back across goal to Neville at the near post. The fullback chested the ball down and slammed it into the far corner to make it 2-1.

The game opened up quite a bit more in the second half and Spencer had to be alert to cut out two low crosses from the left by Amadi and Warren Beattie. Moments later, Roca headed a Neville cross over after the fullback had linked up well on the left with Johnson.

Then, just after the hour mark, there was a moment of controversy. A free-kick into the box was headed clear by Greg Stones but former FC United striker Aaron Burns followed up with a superb volley into the bottom corner. However, the whistle had already gone with the referee’s assistant raising his flag for foot high in a challenge against Stones in the build up. It was a let off for the Reds but it didn’t stop them gifting Ashton with another chance later on.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, Amadi, who had been Ashton’s biggest threat all afternoon, skipped past Neville down the right wing to get to the by-line and pull the ball back to Burns. The striker was unmarked and pulled the trigger for what should have been the equaliser but Spencer made a fantastic save, tipping the ball around the post to protect United’s lead.

Chances were still coming down at the other end too, a long ball found Norton completely unmarked on the penalty spot, he controlled the ball and set up Johnson whose effort was blocked and then Norton fired the rebound wide.

Four minutes later and it was Burns who enjoyed exploiting the gaps down the United left. The striker pulled Stones out to the right wing and then used his pace to push the ball past him and into the box. Just when it looked like Spencer would be called into the action again, Stones produced a brilliant slide tackle that hooked the ball away from Burns with Stones quickly getting to his feet to calmly take the ball to safety.

Into the final minutes and as Ashton continued to press for an equaliser, FC United nearly made it 3-1 when Norton played substitute Daniel Grimshaw in on the right but after making a good run, the youngster sliced his effort from the edge of the box harmlessly wide. It proved to be the last action of the game which provided a important three points and a successful end to 2011 for FC United.

Man of the match: Greg Stones – The United centre-half and captain for the day led by example at the back, looked calm on the ball throughout and made a fantastic last ditch tackle to prevent a potential goal.

Report by Matthew Haley

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