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FC United denied victory by late Southport goal

FC United denied victory by late Southport goalFC United remain bottom of the Vanarama National League North table after an 81st minute equaliser cost them what would have been a priceless victory at home to Southport on Saturday afternoon.

Kurt Willoughby put the Reds ahead 10 minutes before halftime with a fine strike from the edge of the box. Former FC United striker Jason Gilchrist had earlier missed a penalty. It looked like the Reds would ride their luck to gain all three points, which would have moved them out of the relegation zone, but a late header from substitute Devan Green gave Southport a share of the spoils.

After last week’s rearranged Sunday fixture FC United were back to three o’clock on a Saturday at Broadhurst Park. Caretaker-manager David Chadwick’s second match in charge saw his unbeaten record continue with another draw but he will probably be disappointed his players didn’t see out the win.

Both teams were looking to play attacking expansive football straight from the kick-off, Southport winning a couple of corners in the first few minutes. United also played their part with Mike Jones linking up several times with new Blackburn loanee left back Lewis Thompson to good effect.

Another Southport attack on 22 minutes saw Gilchrist fouled in the area and the referee awarded the penalty without hesitation. The home crowd feared the worst as Gilchrist stepped up to take the spot-kick but this time the marksman hit the post with the ball spinning out for a dead ball much to the relief of the fans.

Just after the half hour mark, Jones again spread the ball wide left to an eager Thompson who in turn fed Willoughby, the United forward surrounded by three defenders found himself a yard of space and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner to give the Reds a one-nil lead. Dion Charles was a constant menace for the Sandgrounders showing some lovely skill but his shot was wide of the mark as the visitors sought out an equaliser. The half carried on in the same vein, Jack Sampson blasting a shot wide and United’s other Blackburn loan signing Lewis Mansell holding the line well, despite some robust defending, bringing his colleagues into play.

Jones started the second half where he left off pinging the ball from wing to wing, spreading the play at will, however after some great build up play involving Willoughby, Mansell and himself, he ended up blasting his shot well over the crossbar. Southport gave as good as they got, Chris Lynch again proving to be a rock at the back making several tackles to thwart the visitors attack.

The match was proving to be a thrilling encounter with both teams still bombing forward to great effect. United substitute Jack Bannister and Fleetwood loanee Mike Donohue growing into the game also. As the match entered the last 10 minutes Southport won a throw in the bottom corner of the FC United half. The visitors had been using the long throw tactic all afternoon and it finally paid off when this one was headed on and then finished by substitute Green to make it 1-1.

Still both teams drove on in search of the next goal. Jones was guilty of blazing another shot over, this time the effort cleared the stand as well as the goal. Bannister had a penalty shout waved away by the referee when being clearly held in the box. Into five minutes of added time and FC were on the front foot with Thompson seeing his long range effort sail over the crossbar into the vociferous home end and the referee blew for fulltime shortly after.

An entertaining afternoon in front 1,967 fans with both teams intent on playing attacking football, the draw probably being the right result. FC United now travel to Chester on Tuesday night on the back of two draws hoping to convert another good performance into three points.

Website man of the match: Mike Jones ran central midfield like an experienced veteran, great passing and movement. Honourable mention for Chris Lynch who had another superb game in defence before being subbed.

Report by Neil Lees

First Posted ~ 12:56 Sun 9 Sep 2018
News ID ~ 8029
Last Updated ~ 17:00 Fri 19 Feb 2021