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FC United of Manchester
FC United recorded a deserved 2-1 win over Stalybridge Celtic in our final pre-season friendly game at Bower Fold on Saturday 10th August.
Margy’s men fought back well from going one down after only 13 seconds, with first half goals from Matthew Wolfenden and Greg Daniels proving too much for their Conference North opponents.
The win over higher-league opposition gives the squad a great platform for the new season which begins with an away game against Worksop on Saturday 17 August.
Despite this being the perfect end to the pre-season fixtures, the game couldn’t have started any worse for United as a missed interception allowed Obi Anorou to turn and fire past Jon Worsnop to put Celtic a goal up after just 13 seconds.
United soon settled down though and should have been level just moments later as a ball over the top allowed Greg Daniels through, but his attempted lob went over Matt Urwin’s head and also over the top of the Celtic ‘keeper’s goal.
As the first half went on United got the ball down and started passing it around well, holding much of the possession and controlling the game. Tom Davies had the best opportunity to level things after turning well on the edge of the box and firing just wide after a low free-kick found the defender.
Despite United controlling much of the game and restricting the home team to hopeful balls towards Anorou they couldn’t transform this possession into the final third and needed to find that cutting edge if they were to get back into the game.
The Reds found this and an equalising goal with just ten minutes left before the break. Lee Neville placed a great cross in from the right and Wolfenden glanced a header and put the ball into the far corner and levelled the game.
With the bit between their teeth, United came forward looking to get another goal to seal off what was (apart from the first 13 seconds) another good first half performance.
Wolfenden picked the ball up on the halfway line on the right, he drove across the field beating a couple of tackles on his way before slotting the ball through to Daniels who slotted the ball into the bottom corner to give United the lead.
After the interval, Margy made one change bringing on Spencer for Worsnop between the sticks, possibly showing that the outfield players will be the ten who start the game at Worksop next Saturday.
United carried on in the same way in the second half controlling the game once more. Ollie Banks gave a great performance in the middle of the park, looking to get his foot on the ball with the best of United’s work invariably coming through him.
On the hour mark, Margy made a few changes looking to keep the full squad sharp, and with the changes the home team did get back into things and began to attack more frequently in the second half. However, the United defence was proving strong, holding off and denying the home team a way back into the match.
United still had some good chances in the second half, the pick being when Neville got through the Celtic defence before firing across the goal and just wide.
The win ended the pre-season on a high note, and another good performance against a team from a higher league must give the players, management and fans renewed confidence ahead of what promises to be another rollercoaster season.
Report by Craig Phillips