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Match Report


      

3.00pm Monday 26th December 2005

Moore & Co Construction Solicitors sponsored North West Counties Football League Division 2

Valley Road, Valley Road, Flixton, Manchester, M41 8RQ


Flixton

1 - 1

FC United of Manchester

Robin 60 Orr 12

Attendance: 2,050

Flixton 1

Robin 60

FC United of Manchester 1

Orr 12

Attendance: 2,050
Flixton
1. Andy Robertson
2. Chris Jones
3. Alex Mortimer
4. Mark Ayres
5. I. McGhee
6. Franny Vaughan
7. Steve Tobin (capt)
8. Leon Grandison
9. Lee Wilkinson
10. Dean Butterworth
11. Stewart Walker

Subs:
12. Graham Vaughan
14. Jamie Bates
15. Matt Haley

FC United of Manchester
1 Barrie George 
2 Robert Nugent
3 Kevin Elvin
4 Steven Spencer
5 David Chadwick (capt) 
6 Dave Brown (capt)
7 Joshua Howard
8 Simon Carden
9 Jonathan Mitten
10 Steve Torpey
11 Adie Orr

Subs.
12 Rory Patterson (for 10)
14 Chris Simms (for 9)



Match Report
Serious planning was required for this trip to Flixton. A detour missing out the M60 from junctions 6 to 13 would be a good idea. With big United at home and thousands of people eager to traipse to the Trafford Centre to see what surplus goods could be purchased at discounted prices the west side of Manchester was certain to be near to gridlock. Talking of discounts, Flixton FC have managed to add their name to the ‘hall of shame’ for failing to provide any discounted tickets for youngsters or OAPs. It’s a great shame that many were forced to boycott this fixture in protest at the exploitation of our support.

Away from non-league football politics and back to the football. Karl Marginson made 2 changes to the line-up that had defeated Holker Old Boys, club captain David Chadwick resumed his position at the heart of the United defence after missing Holker, Billy McCartney relegated back to the bench. Joz Mitten also resumed in the 9 shirt with Rory Patterson stepping back to the bench. The other change saw new signing Chris Simms, formerly player-manager at Maine Road, take up a place amongst the FC United substitutes. Simms has been a stalwart at Maine Road playing over 500 games for them but, as a lifelong Red, he found the lure of playing for FC United difficult to resist. He should ease into the set-up comfortably as he has been a frequent visitor and participant in FC United training sessions so he knows the team and the management already.

Flixton have a couple of former FC United players on their books but only Matt Haley was fit enough to participate in this match. Young Matt on the bench for the home side. Ryan Gilligan is currently not available for selection nursing an injury so no reunion with him today.

The match was delayed as there was congestion at the turnstile. Flixton themselves got things underway at 1515 and an immediate signal of things to come as Dean Butterworth was given an early chance to stretch his legs with a ball played over the top of the United backline. On this occasion the offside flag was raised to curb the threat.

In the 3rd minute Adie Orr got in behind the Flixton defence on the United left but his driven cross was expertly dealt with by the Flixton central defence. Moments later and Flixton broke forward at speed down their right flank. A quick exchange of passes saw Leon Grandison, the Flixton number 8, faced with David Chadwick. Grandison slipped the ball to one side of Chaddy but then ran straight into our colossus of a captain. Grandison, of course, bounced off and then lay in a crumpled heap on the floor. Referee Kurshaw decided he’d lay down a marker by cautioning our David leaving the travelling support more than a little nervous about the prospect of Chaddy walking the disciplinary tightrope for the remaining 86 minutes. Grandison resumed after treatment and the freekick was squandered.

The speedy Butterworth then got in behind Dave Brown down the Flixton left. Happily the low cross was comfortably dealt with by Kev Elvin. United’s next noteworthy attack was in the 12th minute. Flixton’s ‘keeper Andy Robertson had already shown his willingness to play in a sweeping role and had spent about as much time outside of his 18 yard box as he had inside it so far. United then put together a little passing move involving Josh Howard, Joz Mitten and Simon Carden. Carden slipped the ball out to Steve Torpey on the left flank, Torpey decided to try his luck with an early shot from 35 yards out. Unfortunately he sliced the ball wide with his trusty left foot with Robertson scrambling to regain his position after a potentially misguided foray outside of his area.

On 14 minutes Flixton were awarded a freekick some 25 yards out, just left of centre. Their captain, Steve Tobin, took the kick with his right foot. The shot was not very strong but was excellently placed near to the top left corner of the United goal. Barrie George shuffled across his line and looked in good position but his initial grab resulted in a bit of a juggle of the ball before he took a step backwards as though he was about to carry the ball back into his goal. Happily, George judged things correctly and regained some forward momentum before stepping back too far.

The first goal came on 15 minutes, Torpey was the provider with another good run down the left flank where he was giving Flixton right back, Chris Jones, plenty to think about. Torpey went to the outside after threatening to come inside on Jones, a smart low cross was angled back into the danger area. Adie Orr took the ball excellently, with his back to goal, his first touch opened things up and he spun around before driving a right-footed shot into the bottom left of goal beyond Robertson from 8 yards out. 0-1.

Within seconds of the restart United’s afternoon was disrupted as Steve Torpey was cruelly injured. Torpey challenged for a ball on halfway and was fairly crudely upended before the Flixton captain Tobin added injury to, well, injury by taking a slight detour away from the ball to tread on the prostrate Torpey. It’s a mystery as to how the referee and or his assistants failed to spot this as the, at best, reckless, or at worst, malicious, act that it appeared. Torpey resumed after receiving lengthy treatment from Mark Cooney but had to leave the field permanently after a further 10 minutes.

United put together a decent move halfway through the first period as Spencer won a tackle before feeding the ball into Adie Orr who then released Joz Mitten. Joz dragged his right-footed effort well wide of target from distance. One minute later and Barrie George joined Chaddy in the referee’s notebook after an attempted sliding tackle was slightly mistimed. This confrontation resulted from a Rob Nugent tackle that saw the loose ball break kindly for Flixton. The attacker broke forward to track down the loose ball and just toe-ended it beyond George as the United ‘keeper raced from his area to attempt to intercept. Barrie, duly chastened, took up position to defend the resultant freekick which came to nought.

The hobbled Torpey went off on 26 minutes with Rory Patterson coming on. Patterson went up front alongside Joz and Adie Orr moved out to the left wing. Robertson’s tendency to wander nearly cost his side another goal as his clearing header was headed back by Patterson, the ball then fell to Adie Orr but his attempted chip was too strong and drifted harmlessly over the crossbar with Robertson scrambling backwards.

On the half hour mark Grandison got the better of Elvin before driving in a low cross from the Flixton right. Barrie George reacted sharply to get to the low ball inside his 6 yard box but failed to hold on until after another worrying juggle of the ball with Flixton forwards in close attendance. Moments later and Grandison fired a shot in that was designed to be struck with the outside of his right foot but was actually hit with the inside of the boot. Instead of testing George it went out of play on the Flixton left wing for a United throw-in some 15 yards up from the corner flag.

The first half fizzled out as little of interest happened in the final 10 minutes apart from a good tackle from Adie Orr that resulted in a popped ball and a good saving tackle by Dave Brown as Flixton’s speedster, Butterworth, threatened again.

Just a few minutes into the second half and United had a good chance to double their lead. Patterson looked to be well placed to benefit from a poorly directed header from Jones but the United substitute saw the chance disappear as he chose to wait for the ball to bounce prior to taking a touch. This delay was all that the Flixton defence needed to get in challenges and Patterson, consequently, lobbed his hurried shot over the bar. In hindsight, perhaps Rory might have attempted to control the ball as it dropped in front of him or he could even have tried shooting first time as the ball dropped.

On 50 minutes David Chadwick made an imperious covering tackle after a ball played over the top of the United backline. DC did tremendously well to make the last ditch challenge after making up some ground on the attacker. At the other end Josh Howard had a great tussle with Tobin in a battle of the number 7’s. Howard persevered and finally got the better of his opposite number before driving in a low cross. The cross made it into the danger zone but was hurriedly cleared away but only back to Howard who fired in another right-footed cross, this time high and deep to beyond the far post and, unfortunately, beyond any United attackers.

In the 52nd minute there was a moment of controversy as Patterson appeared to be brought down in the Flixton box. Mr. Kurshaw, however, merely waved play on. Five minutes later and, ironically, Patterson might have had a better opportunity to win a penalty kick as he was slightly clipped by Robertson as he took the ball around the onrushing ‘keeper after receiving a nice return pass from Mitten. Rory angled his run in from the right flank and was met by Robertson just inside the area as Rory took the ball outside of the Flixton number one. To his credit Rory stayed on his feet when many others might have gone to ground but his pull back from a narrow angle was well marshalled by the retreating Flixton cover.

Flixton fashioned a controversial equaliser in the 59th minute and it was scored by their influential captain Steve Tobin. I was in no position to judge the merits of the claims by many who thought that Tobin had been yards offside; all that I can offer is that the move progressed in the Flixton inside left channel and Tobin lifted the ball delicately over Barrie George before following up to ensure the slow moving ball crossed the goal line. 1-1.

United threatened to regain the lead immediately after the restart with Carden and Nugent seeing powerfully struck shots blocked before Nugent shot again but only straight at Robertson who safely gathered the effort. A minute later and Orr got in behind down the United left, Orr’s cross caused some confusion as the ball bounced around in the box for a moment or two before finally being cleared away from danger.

The game was very open during this period and either team might have scored during the final frantic half-hour. Flixton saw a good chance spurned by Lee Wilkinson who shot narrowly wide of the right hand post. The home side then thought that they’d taken the lead but their ‘goal’ was disallowed due to the intervention of the linesman who saw a player in an offside position.

Butterworth and Walker managed to talk their way into the referee’s notebook as they continued their complaints about subsequent decisions for longer than Mr. Kurshaw was prepared to countenance. Josh Howard got into a good position again before pulling back another inviting cross, Carden could not quite get to it but Adie Orr coming in behind could, the United 11 saw his shot blocked. In the 78th minute Howard cut in from the right flank onto his left foot but his well struck shot was blocked by Rob Nugent!

Flixton again went to the other end and worked a great position but the final shot, having beaten Barrie George, struck the left hand post before being cleared to safety. The Flixton number 2, Chris Jones also managed to work his way into the ref’s book for a poor challenge on Adie Orr. Soon after this freekick was sent in United were awarded another in a similar position, just in from the left flank some 25 yards out. This kick, on 86 minutes, was squared by Dave Brown to Steve Spencer who was in plenty of space just outside of the box. Spencer took one touch to control before firing a right footed drive just beyond the top right hand corner of the goal.

In the second minute of stoppage time the Flixton number 11, Stewart Walker, further blotted his copybook, after his earlier yellow card for dissent, by arriving very, very late into a tackle on Josh Howard. United’s best chances seemed to be originating on our right flank and Howard was looking very threatening almost every time he received possession. Walker launched into his attempted tackle but was far too late to get anything on the ball but he did get a big piece of Josh Howard, happily Josh was unharmed by this reckless challenge but Mr. Kurshaw was clearly unimpressed as he proffered the red card to Walker completing his collection for the day, one of each colour.

United carved out one further chance as Howard and Nugent combined on the right. Nugent crossed in to Patterson who did well to make room for a shot but could only hit the shot to Robertson who again gathered cleanly.

Overall a draw was probably a fair result. Flixton hit a post and had a goal disallowed whilst United had a decent penalty shout turned down and there was a question mark about the Flixton goal that did stand. I think Flixton were one of the best sides that United have faced this season and that a draw away from home against them may well look a decent result when the season comes to a close in the spring. I can’t help but wonder how differently things might have turned out if Steve Torpey hadn’t been knocked out of this contest so early on. He had provided the first goal for Orr and was looking dangerous every time he ran at Jones. Clearly we’ll never know.

As for man of the match nominations there were 2 standouts in red shirts for me. Josh Howard was excellent and most of our attacking threat seemed to be channelled through him, certainly after Torpey went off. The star man though was undoubtedly David Chadwick in my opinion. He picked up a very cheap booking early on but still soldiered on, at times clearly in some pain. I hope that his toe injury isn’t too serious because he really is a rock at the back.

(with thanks to FC United supporter Wayne Clark for his match report)
Match Report

Serious planning was required for this trip to Flixton. A detour missing out the M60 from junctions 6 to 13 would be a good idea. With big United at home and thousands of people eager to traipse to the Trafford Centre to see what surplus goods could be purchased at discounted prices the west side of Manchester was certain to be near to gridlock. Talking of discounts, Flixton FC have managed to add their name to the ‘hall of shame’ for failing to provide any discounted tickets for youngsters or OAPs. It’s a great shame that many were forced to boycott this fixture in protest at the exploitation of our support.

Away from non-league football politics and back to the football. Karl Marginson made 2 changes to the line-up that had defeated Holker Old Boys, club captain David Chadwick resumed his position at the heart of the United defence after missing Holker, Billy McCartney relegated back to the bench. Joz Mitten also resumed in the 9 shirt with Rory Patterson stepping back to the bench. The other change saw new signing Chris Simms, formerly player-manager at Maine Road, take up a place amongst the FC United substitutes. Simms has been a stalwart at Maine Road playing over 500 games for them but, as a lifelong Red, he found the lure of playing for FC United difficult to resist. He should ease into the set-up comfortably as he has been a frequent visitor and participant in FC United training sessions so he knows the team and the management already.

Flixton have a couple of former FC United players on their books but only Matt Haley was fit enough to participate in this match. Young Matt on the bench for the home side. Ryan Gilligan is currently not available for selection nursing an injury so no reunion with him today.

The match was delayed as there was congestion at the turnstile. Flixton themselves got things underway at 1515 and an immediate signal of things to come as Dean Butterworth was given an early chance to stretch his legs with a ball played over the top of the United backline. On this occasion the offside flag was raised to curb the threat.

In the 3rd minute Adie Orr got in behind the Flixton defence on the United left but his driven cross was expertly dealt with by the Flixton central defence. Moments later and Flixton broke forward at speed down their right flank. A quick exchange of passes saw Leon Grandison, the Flixton number 8, faced with David Chadwick. Grandison slipped the ball to one side of Chaddy but then ran straight into our colossus of a captain. Grandison, of course, bounced off and then lay in a crumpled heap on the floor. Referee Kurshaw decided he’d lay down a marker by cautioning our David leaving the travelling support more than a little nervous about the prospect of Chaddy walking the disciplinary tightrope for the remaining 86 minutes. Grandison resumed after treatment and the freekick was squandered.

The speedy Butterworth then got in behind Dave Brown down the Flixton left. Happily the low cross was comfortably dealt with by Kev Elvin. United’s next noteworthy attack was in the 12th minute. Flixton’s ‘keeper Andy Robertson had already shown his willingness to play in a sweeping role and had spent about as much time outside of his 18 yard box as he had inside it so far. United then put together a little passing move involving Josh Howard, Joz Mitten and Simon Carden. Carden slipped the ball out to Steve Torpey on the left flank, Torpey decided to try his luck with an early shot from 35 yards out. Unfortunately he sliced the ball wide with his trusty left foot with Robertson scrambling to regain his position after a potentially misguided foray outside of his area.

On 14 minutes Flixton were awarded a freekick some 25 yards out, just left of centre. Their captain, Steve Tobin, took the kick with his right foot. The shot was not very strong but was excellently placed near to the top left corner of the United goal. Barrie George shuffled across his line and looked in good position but his initial grab resulted in a bit of a juggle of the ball before he took a step backwards as though he was about to carry the ball back into his goal. Happily, George judged things correctly and regained some forward momentum before stepping back too far.

The first goal came on 15 minutes, Torpey was the provider with another good run down the left flank where he was giving Flixton right back, Chris Jones, plenty to think about. Torpey went to the outside after threatening to come inside on Jones, a smart low cross was angled back into the danger area. Adie Orr took the ball excellently, with his back to goal, his first touch opened things up and he spun around before driving a right-footed shot into the bottom left of goal beyond Robertson from 8 yards out. 0-1.

Within seconds of the restart United’s afternoon was disrupted as Steve Torpey was cruelly injured. Torpey challenged for a ball on halfway and was fairly crudely upended before the Flixton captain Tobin added injury to, well, injury by taking a slight detour away from the ball to tread on the prostrate Torpey. It’s a mystery as to how the referee and or his assistants failed to spot this as the, at best, reckless, or at worst, malicious, act that it appeared. Torpey resumed after receiving lengthy treatment from Mark Cooney but had to leave the field permanently after a further 10 minutes.

United put together a decent move halfway through the first period as Spencer won a tackle before feeding the ball into Adie Orr who then released Joz Mitten. Joz dragged his right-footed effort well wide of target from distance. One minute later and Barrie George joined Chaddy in the referee’s notebook after an attempted sliding tackle was slightly mistimed. This confrontation resulted from a Rob Nugent tackle that saw the loose ball break kindly for Flixton. The attacker broke forward to track down the loose ball and just toe-ended it beyond George as the United ‘keeper raced from his area to attempt to intercept. Barrie, duly chastened, took up position to defend the resultant freekick which came to nought.

The hobbled Torpey went off on 26 minutes with Rory Patterson coming on. Patterson went up front alongside Joz and Adie Orr moved out to the left wing. Robertson’s tendency to wander nearly cost his side another goal as his clearing header was headed back by Patterson, the ball then fell to Adie Orr but his attempted chip was too strong and drifted harmlessly over the crossbar with Robertson scrambling backwards.

On the half hour mark Grandison got the better of Elvin before driving in a low cross from the Flixton right. Barrie George reacted sharply to get to the low ball inside his 6 yard box but failed to hold on until after another worrying juggle of the ball with Flixton forwards in close attendance. Moments later and Grandison fired a shot in that was designed to be struck with the outside of his right foot but was actually hit with the inside of the boot. Instead of testing George it went out of play on the Flixton left wing for a United throw-in some 15 yards up from the corner flag.

The first half fizzled out as little of interest happened in the final 10 minutes apart from a good tackle from Adie Orr that resulted in a popped ball and a good saving tackle by Dave Brown as Flixton’s speedster, Butterworth, threatened again.

Just a few minutes into the second half and United had a good chance to double their lead. Patterson looked to be well placed to benefit from a poorly directed header from Jones but the United substitute saw the chance disappear as he chose to wait for the ball to bounce prior to taking a touch. This delay was all that the Flixton defence needed to get in challenges and Patterson, consequently, lobbed his hurried shot over the bar. In hindsight, perhaps Rory might have attempted to control the ball as it dropped in front of him or he could even have tried shooting first time as the ball dropped.

On 50 minutes David Chadwick made an imperious covering tackle after a ball played over the top of the United backline. DC did tremendously well to make the last ditch challenge after making up some ground on the attacker. At the other end Josh Howard had a great tussle with Tobin in a battle of the number 7’s. Howard persevered and finally got the better of his opposite number before driving in a low cross. The cross made it into the danger zone but was hurriedly cleared away but only back to Howard who fired in another right-footed cross, this time high and deep to beyond the far post and, unfortunately, beyond any United attackers.

In the 52nd minute there was a moment of controversy as Patterson appeared to be brought down in the Flixton box. Mr. Kurshaw, however, merely waved play on. Five minutes later and, ironically, Patterson might have had a better opportunity to win a penalty kick as he was slightly clipped by Robertson as he took the ball around the onrushing ‘keeper after receiving a nice return pass from Mitten. Rory angled his run in from the right flank and was met by Robertson just inside the area as Rory took the ball outside of the Flixton number one. To his credit Rory stayed on his feet when many others might have gone to ground but his pull back from a narrow angle was well marshalled by the retreating Flixton cover.

Flixton fashioned a controversial equaliser in the 59th minute and it was scored by their influential captain Steve Tobin. I was in no position to judge the merits of the claims by many who thought that Tobin had been yards offside; all that I can offer is that the move progressed in the Flixton inside left channel and Tobin lifted the ball delicately over Barrie George before following up to ensure the slow moving ball crossed the goal line. 1-1.

United threatened to regain the lead immediately after the restart with Carden and Nugent seeing powerfully struck shots blocked before Nugent shot again but only straight at Robertson who safely gathered the effort. A minute later and Orr got in behind down the United left, Orr’s cross caused some confusion as the ball bounced around in the box for a moment or two before finally being cleared away from danger.

The game was very open during this period and either team might have scored during the final frantic half-hour. Flixton saw a good chance spurned by Lee Wilkinson who shot narrowly wide of the right hand post. The home side then thought that they’d taken the lead but their ‘goal’ was disallowed due to the intervention of the linesman who saw a player in an offside position.

Butterworth and Walker managed to talk their way into the referee’s notebook as they continued their complaints about subsequent decisions for longer than Mr. Kurshaw was prepared to countenance. Josh Howard got into a good position again before pulling back another inviting cross, Carden could not quite get to it but Adie Orr coming in behind could, the United 11 saw his shot blocked. In the 78th minute Howard cut in from the right flank onto his left foot but his well struck shot was blocked by Rob Nugent!

Flixton again went to the other end and worked a great position but the final shot, having beaten Barrie George, struck the left hand post before being cleared to safety. The Flixton number 2, Chris Jones also managed to work his way into the ref’s book for a poor challenge on Adie Orr. Soon after this freekick was sent in United were awarded another in a similar position, just in from the left flank some 25 yards out. This kick, on 86 minutes, was squared by Dave Brown to Steve Spencer who was in plenty of space just outside of the box. Spencer took one touch to control before firing a right footed drive just beyond the top right hand corner of the goal.

In the second minute of stoppage time the Flixton number 11, Stewart Walker, further blotted his copybook, after his earlier yellow card for dissent, by arriving very, very late into a tackle on Josh Howard. United’s best chances seemed to be originating on our right flank and Howard was looking very threatening almost every time he received possession. Walker launched into his attempted tackle but was far too late to get anything on the ball but he did get a big piece of Josh Howard, happily Josh was unharmed by this reckless challenge but Mr. Kurshaw was clearly unimpressed as he proffered the red card to Walker completing his collection for the day, one of each colour.

United carved out one further chance as Howard and Nugent combined on the right. Nugent crossed in to Patterson who did well to make room for a shot but could only hit the shot to Robertson who again gathered cleanly.

Overall a draw was probably a fair result. Flixton hit a post and had a goal disallowed whilst United had a decent penalty shout turned down and there was a question mark about the Flixton goal that did stand. I think Flixton were one of the best sides that United have faced this season and that a draw away from home against them may well look a decent result when the season comes to a close in the spring. I can’t help but wonder how differently things might have turned out if Steve Torpey hadn’t been knocked out of this contest so early on. He had provided the first goal for Orr and was looking dangerous every time he ran at Jones. Clearly we’ll never know.

As for man of the match nominations there were 2 standouts in red shirts for me. Josh Howard was excellent and most of our attacking threat seemed to be channelled through him, certainly after Torpey went off. The star man though was undoubtedly David Chadwick in my opinion. He picked up a very cheap booking early on but still soldiered on, at times clearly in some pain. I hope that his toe injury isn’t too serious because he really is a rock at the back.

(with thanks to FC United supporter Wayne Clark for his match report)