2 - 0
FC United of Manchester
Two second half goals were enough to give Conference North side Stockport County a 2-0 victory over FC United in front of a good crowd of 1,707 on Tuesday evening at Edgeley Park.
Despite the score line, there were several positives to take from the evening including a first half performance from United’s starting XI that would have been worthy of the Reds taking a lead into the interval.
United began the first half well and were the quicker of the two teams to settle down on a great playing surface, getting the ball down and passing like Karl Marginson’s sides always like to do.
The first chance came after ten minutes when an Ollie Banks free-kick from the right was met by the head of centre-back Tom Davies inside the six-yard-box, but he couldn’t get his effort on target and put it just wide.
The good work followed as the ball was moved to Chris Worsley who dribbled across the park from the right. As he tried to turn the ball back onto his right foot for a shot, Jerome Wright stepped in and put a placed shot just over the bar, but this was an encouraging start from United.
This continued for much of the first 45 minutes, with the Reds looking the better team, trying different methods of breaking the opposition down and looking solid at the back reducing County to speculative balls from the back which were easily gathered up by James Spencer in the United goal.
Wright looked to be fired up for the game and an opportunity to get the better of former Reds captain Kyle Jacobs (who was in fact County’s captain this evening), and just after half an hour Wright raced away from Jacobs on the left flank and fired a great ball across the six-yard box, which was just out of reach for the on rushing Michael Norton and Rhodri Giggs.
Giggs was another who looked fired up, getting an opportunity from the start and causing County full back Stephen O’Halloran a torrid time both on and off the ball. It was Giggs who had United’s last chance of the half when he raced back and won the ball just inside the hosts’ half, he turned towards goal and saw his placed effort just creep agonisingly over the bar.
A great first half performance and something which United will be looking to build upon for the first game of the season at Worksop just a little over two weeks away, but the second half started with nine United changes and as is often the case this took all the momentum away from and allowed the home team to get their footing in the game.
The hosts started the second half much stronger and called second half ‘keeper (and captain) Jon Worsnop into action on a couple of occasions with the United stopper pulling off a couple of good saves to keep the scores level.
Just before the hour mark the hosts did take the lead when James Tunncliffe powered a header into the back of the net from a corner from the right to break the deadlock and put County a goal to the good.
United just didn’t look at the races in the second half and, to their credit, Stockport look like they’d received the proverbial hair dryer treatment at half-time. Kristian Dennis proving in the second half what a nightmare he’s going to be this coming season, using his pace to get the better of the United defence on several occasions.
Dennis would get the second for County after Worsnop couldn’t keep hold of an effort in the box and the ball kindly fell to Dennis’ feet leaving him a simple finish
Chances were few and far between in the second half for United, as moves often broke down before reaching the final third or crosses were all too often over hit into the box, there was a good shout for a penalty late on but it would have been fortunate to have been given.
The result shouldn’t take away from the first half performance when united were the better of the two teams, and had an effort hit the back of the net then maybe the score line would have been different come the final whistle.
United now face Scarborough on Saturday with just two games left before the season gets underway in just over two weeks’ time.
Report by Craig Phillips