FC United of Manchester
3 - 1
|Banks 13 (pen)|
FC United kept our place at the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division with a 3-1 victory over Witton Albion in a bruising encounter that saw a red card for each side.
Ollie Banks, Tom Greaves and Dean Stott got the goals as the Reds went on the rampage before the visitors replied through Anthony Sheehan.
To watch the goals click here.
It was not all good news for United though as Ollie Banks was stretchered off (with what looks like a badly bruised leg) and Chris Worsley was sent off in the second half for a fairly innocuous looking challenge.
But United were simply superb this evening and totally outplayed a team we have always had tough contests with and certainly sent out a message to the rest of the league with such a comprehensive victory over a team who finished in the play-off places last term.
United started well and having scored fourteen goals in the last three games the reds were looking to add to that tally early on and within two minutes Charlie Raglan went close with a header he just couldn’t control inside the Albion box.
The confidence on and off the pitch was clear to see and United looked in control from the off and after just 12 minutes United had got themselves a penalty after some good work to get forward saw Ollie Banks brought down in the box.
Banks dusted himself off and stepped up to take the penalty, firing hard to the left and despite Albion ‘keeper Matthew Cooper getting a hand to the ball the power took it into the back of the net and put United a goal up.
The good work continued as United moved the ball well frustrating their opponents who were left chasing shadows and probably the best chance during this period when some good work by Lee Neville saw Jerome Wright with a chance which the winger fired over.
With the confidence high United were trying through balls all the time looking for openings and when Matthew Wolfenden played a beautiful ball in from the right and an equally beautiful dink over Cooper from Greaves doubled the lead for the Reds.
The frustration came to a boil for the visitors when Albion’s Oliver James came in hard over the top on Ollie Banks and ended both their games, with James quite rightly being shown a red for the tackle and Banks being stretchered off with what is suspected as a badly bruised leg which could have been much, much worse.
In truth this killed any game off as United were well in control against eleven and with the man advantage they eased off the pressure a little towards the end of the first half.
Margy sent them out early for the second though and after a quick warm up before the restart United flew out of the traps quickly and pressed straight away looking like if they wanted to they could have easily netted a few more en route to cruising to victory.
But as Chris Worsley went into an innocuous looking challenge and won the ball the referee blew his whistle and produced a red card, levelling the numbers up on the field and the reaction of those on the terraces was enough to tell you what they thought of the decision.
Rather than even things up it seemed to fire United up more and wave after wave of attack came during the second half with a third goal coming in fortunate circumstances as a speculative effort from Dean Stott was spilled by Cooper and found its way into the visiting goal to put United 3-0 up, a scoreline which quite rightly reflected the one sided nature of the game.
Astley Mulholland came on half way through the second period and because of the narrow formation being played by Albion he was found often and easily throughout the half with most of United best work coming from link ups with him an Brownhill on the right, with Brownhill going closest to adding to the score but he saw his composed, placed effort saved by Cooper.
The visitors got their goal when James Spencer played out a clearance that hit Anthony Sheehan and found its way into the United goal to make it 3-1.
The premature chants of “United, United, top of the league” may have rung around Gigg Lane a little early in the season, but given the on field performances and the confidence in the dressing room and in the stands it’s certainly beginning to look like this could be a great season for the Reds, which continues at home to Rushall Olympic this Saturday.
Dean Stott - Any player in red was worthy of the award but the captain was once again magnificent and with a touch of good fortune got himself on the scoresheet.
Report by Craig Phillips