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In the semi-final of the Lancashire League Cup, the Development Squad travelled to Lancaster and with goals from Tunde Owolabi and Justin Johnson came away with a 2-1 win and a place in the final against Thackley.
As the reds had been the beneficiaries of a walkover in the quarter-final, so had the hosts. Their tie against Colne had seen them lose 6-0 but the East Lancashire Club had breached competition rules so Lancaster were reprieved. Determined not to be heavily beaten again the home team appeared to be one of the most experienced FC United had faced. The game was therefore a closely fought affair and although the reds were worthy winners, Lancaster were a constant threat, two successive corners on five minutes gave notice of how hard they would have to work in defence.
At the other end Owolabi provided a constant threat, on eight minutes breaking down the left wing and cutting inside with Mike Donlon in the home goal blocking his progress. Five minutes later a he was running on to a pass from Jean Biansumba, only to be denied by Donlon heading clear from outside the penalty area. Several other moves came close including a passage of play with over 20 passes by FC before David Kuba Kuba fired wide.
The opening goal came on twenty minutes when Jon Poizer was freed to run down the left wing before crossing hard and low for Owolabi to frustrate the home defence by finishing from close range.
The best Lancaster move of the half came after 32 minutes with a corner that Chris Taylor saved by with his feet. However FC responded by going straight up the other end. Frank van Gils chipped over the Donlon but the ball didn’t come down quickly enough, hitting the bar. The rebound appeared to fall perfectly for Owoalabi. It was not immediately clear how he didn’t score but the referee did give FC a corner so perhaps credit should go to Lancaster for last ditch defending.
Poizer came close with a long range effort set up by Kuba Kuba and Aaron Taylor was just wide with a header in a promising Lancaster break as the half drew to a close.
The second half started with an FC change as Kial Callacher replaced Scott Cheetham, a move which saw Mike Taylor switch from defence into his more natural midfield role. It was Taylor who had the first shot of the second half but was off target as was Kuba Kuba shortly afterwards.
Unfortunately it was Lancaster who were on target, after 51 minutes they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the FC penalty area. Aaron Taylor, who was a threat all night fired across goal and in at the far post giving Chris Taylor no chance.
From then on FC had the greater share of possession but the home side were always a danger on swift counter attacking moves. The best of which, on the hour involved Josh Donnelly crossing for Aaron to head goal wards, but this time Chris was up to the task, turning the ball out for a corner.
Five minutes later, a decisive move was made by the FC bench as Justin Johnson replaced Biansumba, the pace of Johnson on the right wing proved to be a problem for the Lancaster defence for the rest of the night. He had quickly created one chance, firing just wide before he scored the winning goal on 73 minutes. A Poizer throw-in found Owolabi, who cut inside finding Johnson in space. He controlled the ball and strode forward, firing past Donlon.
The home side tried to get back into the game, their best effort probably beating themselves as a goal bound shot was deflected wide by a Lancaster head. FC United tried for more goals and whilst they didn’t truly test the keeper they did have a couple of penalty claims turned down late in the game.
To see more of Mark Lee’s photos from the game click here
1. Mike Donlon
2. Dan Birch
3. Josh Wardle
4. Ollie Allsopp
5. Gavin Clarke
6. Luke Moffatt
7. Josh Donnelly
8. Billy Akrigg
9. Danny Syson
10. Aaron Taylor
11. Chris Sawicki
12. Aaron Woodhouse
14. Bradley Diamond
16. Aaron Hoyle
FC United of Manchester:
1. Chris Taylor
2. Charlie Doyle
3. Jon Poizer
4. David Kuba Kuba
5. Sam Dee
6. Mike Taylor
7. Jean Biansumba
8. Ben Seol
9. Tunde Owolabi
10. Frank van Gils
11. Scott Cheetham
12. Kial Callacher (for 11, 45 mins)
14. Jason Fowles (for 10, 90 mins)
15. Gideon Dosunmu
16. Cosmos Okeke
17. Justin Johnson (for 7, 65 mins)