2 - 0
FC United of Manchester
FC United’s third friendly game saw them pitted against a team two division higher up the English football pyramid. This match saw the first introduction of a young, feisty lad from Northern Ireland wearing a shirt without a number he would go down in FC United folklore as “Mr Mystery – the man with no name” and go on to be FC’s all-time leading goal scorer for many seasons – Rory Patterson.
Below is an account of the match from a Stalybridge Celtic reporter;
FC United of Manchester may be a new team, but they look the business. There’s no doubt that they will do well in the non-league basement. They have some very good players, and one of them, Orr, tested Buxton very early, racing past Haran to go one-on-one with Buxton. Buxton did well to block the shot.
Celtic settled after about ten minutes, and started to try and find gaps in the visitors defence. Prince curled one over the bar from a Turley cross before Turley put another ball into the box meant for Ellington. Ellington got a shove off Rawlinson, but justice was done when the cross hit Rawlinson’s head and deflected into the goal past the helpless Priestley.
United almost immediately got back on equal terms with Spencer blazing just wide.
Prince found enough space for a shot, which showed how good Priestley is, pushing the ball around for a corner. The corner eventually fell to Keeling, but he headed wide. Another corner and Prince’s shot again forced Priestley into some work. Priestley was being kept very busy, as Mulvaney threaded a ball through to Turley leaving him with only the keeper to beat. Priestley did very well to keep hold of the ball, never mind stop the shot. Prince was next to test him, shooting from a narrow angle.
FCUM started the second half as they did the first, trying to catch Celtic on the back foot. Torpey’s shot was on target but for Keeling’s block.
Celtic got back into the groove and Smith found Prince with an inch perfect ball right on the edge of the six-yard box - Priestley made a stunning stop at point blank range to deny Prince another goal. Haran, still up from a corner, put in an excellent cross for an unmarked Turley in the box, but his header went wide. Turley again got one-on-one with Priestley latching onto a Wharton through ball. Priestley bettered his earlier saves blocking and holding the dinked shot.
It wasn’t all roses for Celtic, as Keeling earned a yellow card for bringing down Patterson right on the edge of the box. Fortunately, the shot went over.
The game was in danger of becoming the Turley show. Steve Smith found him with an accurate pass, with Turley completely unmarked it required another stunning stop from Priestley to keep the score line as it was. From the corner, Ellington’s shot was blocked on the line by Nugent. Ellington was then denied by the crossbar when he put his head on a Barnard free kick. Ellington was not to be denied, and after winning the corner off Ormes, he scissor kicked Turley’s pin-point cross past Priestley to put Celtic two up with five minutes to go.
The visitors really should have drawn one back in the dying moments of the game when some desperate defending left the ball with Torpey just inside the box. His attempted lob to the back post had everybody beat, but drifted scant inches past the post.
There was a lot pace and desire in the United team. If they can keep up the momentum, and there’s no reason they cannot, they will comfortably win promotion at the first attempt. Especially with the fan base! A good two and a half thousand FCUM fans crammed into the Mottram end, and kept up a constant wall of noise throughout the game. It will be a sight to behold the day they score their first goal! Watch out NWC2 - FCUM are coming.
FC United teamsheet not known, if you have a teamsheet for this game, please email the web team.
2 B Smith
Black, Willis, Eastwood, S Smith, Sykes, Murcott, Caldecott, Connelly, Parr
Goals: Rawlinson 11 (og), Ellingon 85.