FC United started 2017 with a frustrating 1-1 draw against bottom side Altrincham in front of 3,030 supporters at Broadhurst Park on New Year’s Day.
Jason Gilchrist put the Reds a goal up in the first minute but the visitors were the better team in the first half equalising and going close on several occasions before both teams had a player sent off before the break. Luke Ashworth was the man dismissed for FC United.
A 3-0 win away to the same team on Boxing Day gave the Reds great confidence going into the game and this brought a bright start when Gilchrist volleyed home after just 39 seconds.
With a comprehensive victory only a week before and an early goal it looked as though the Reds went into auto-pilot, possibly thinking the game was in the bag. But the visiting side showed great fight and passion in every challenge and really took the game to FC United in the first half.
After 20 minutes, the visitors had levelled the scores when a poor defensive header let Andy Owens in. His first attempt was slowed down by Basso in the FC United goal but as the ball trickled towards the goal line, Owens scrambled to put it away and give the visitors the goal their early play had deserved.
Both sides were reduced to ten men before the break after a scuffle between the two sides broke out after Luke Ashworth cleared the ball into an Altrincham player on the floor. The referee thought that Ashworth and Altrincham’s Jake Moult had done enough in the melee to warrant a sending off deep into first half stoppage time.
The red cards changed the pattern of the game with the visitors coming out in the second half looking to protect what they had, but trying to utilise the counter attack when they could. A strong bank of eight players behind the ball at most times meant FC had a lot of the ball, but in truth we failed to create much against an organised defensive unit.
Despite having large amounts of the ball in the second period it wasn’t as if you came away from the game thinking we could or should have taken all three points as clear cut chances were few and far between. The best chances seemed to come from several corners in the second half, but the danger was cleared without any trouble by the visiting defence.
The result sees FC United extend their unbeaten league run to six games, but the performance must be better when we travel to league leaders AFC Fylde on Saturday in what promises to be a tough encounter.
Website man of the match: Harry Winter – Saw a lot of the ball in the second half and looked most likely to make something happen.
Report by Craig Phillips