FC United of Manchester
3 - 2
FC United set up a winner takes all cup final in The Newsquest Cup against Bury on Wednesday night by edging past Radcliffe Borough 3-2 Stainton Park on Monday night.
A spectacular goal from Jerome Matthews, a penalty from Carl Lomax and a calm finish from substitute Abdi Ibrahim ensured United were the victors in a tense five goal thriller against their old rivals.
With the Reds facing two difficult games in three days, Manager Karl Marginson made a few changes to the starting 11 but still managed to mix youth and experience with Rob Nugent captaining the team.
The two teams were evenly matched for long periods of the game but the first chance came to United about half an hour in when Joe Shaw rattled the crossbar but found the ball didn’t bounce down over the line.
Minutes later the deadlock was broke when Boro’ striker Ben Wharton played a one-two with partner Steve Howson and coolly slotted past United ‘keeper Grant Shenton.
The Reds levelled things up on the stroke of half-time when a cross to the box was met by Matthews acrobatic overhead kick which found the Radcliffe net to ensure the score was 1-1 at the interval.
Both teams made wholesale sale changes throughout the second half but rather than interrupt the flow of the game, it actually brought out the best in both teams with United playing some great football.
Radcliffe again took the lead when a cross form the left was powerfully headed home by goal machine Steve Howson early in the second half.
But United soon levelled once more when Tunji Moses released substitute Ibrahim, who was brought down by Radcliffe’s substitute ‘keeper Joe Brobbin for a penalty, which Carl Lomax calmly put away.
Ibrahim was one of the second half substitutes who showed the United fans his credentials and he capped off a good performance with the winning goal with around 20 minutes left.
Ibrahim seemed surprised to be played onside by the Boro’ defence but kept calm as he pushed past two defenders before putting the ball away in a calm fashion.
Again there were lots of positives to be taken from this game; as there have been from all the pre-season games, and there is the added bonus of getting the victory this time out.
With Bury already having beaten Radcliffe, the win for United sets up a winner takes all match at Gigg Lane on Wednesday night where the inaugural winner of The Newsquest Cup will be crowned.
Report by Craig Phillips.