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FC United held at home by Lancaster City

FC United held at home by Lancaster CityFC United were held to a 1-1 draw by Lancaster City at Broadhurst Park on Tuesday night as Dan Cockerline’s goal was cancelled out by Tom Kilifin’s equaliser during a hard-fought encounter in front of a Covid-compliant capacity crowd of 600 fans.

Cockerline put the Reds ahead in the 50th minute with his second goal of the week but Kilifin got The Dolly Blues back on level terms just five minutes later to ensure a share of the spoils.

The result continues FC United’s unbeaten start to the season and leaves them in 12th place in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

The first half was a bruising affair with limited goal-scoring opportunities for either team. FC had arguably the best of the opening exchanges and came close to scoring when, following a mazy run from defender Aaron Morris, Finlay Sinclair-Smith had a shot palmed away by former FC United goalkeeper Sam Ashton, who lined up in nets for the visitors.

Lancaster appeared to have come with a defensively minded game-plan, and seemed content to concentrate their early efforts on nullifying United’s pattern of play. When they did hit their stride they did so with attacking purpose.

Striker Tom Kilifin and midfielder Sam Bailey were both dominant presences for the visitors, with the latter drawing a good save from goalkeeper Dan Lavercombe on the 22 minute mark.

Cockerline and Michael Fowler had both started in attack for FC United as manager Neil Reynolds looked to nurture the partnership between the two strikers, following a goal each on Saturday. However, this plan was abruptly abandoned moments before half-time as Fowler was substituted, seemingly due to concerns he was moments away from picking up his second yellow card of the evening.

The Fleetwood Town loanee had been booked on 14 minutes following a coming together with Lancaster’s Simon Wills. The visiting defence then seemed intent on cultivating an opportunity for the young FC striker to be sent off.

Possibly fearing that a second yellow was only a matter of time in coming, Reynolds made the unenviable decision to bring off Fowler and replace him with Charlie Ennis shortly before the interval.

Another flashpoint occurred on 37 minutes. Lancaster’s Wills was involved again, lying on the floor following an earlier challenge, and appearing to kick-out at centre-back Adam Dodd with both feet. Players from both teams rushed into an ensuing melee, with yellow cards issued to Wills, Dodd, and Lancaster’s Ben Hudson for their roles in the incident.

Just as they had done during the Stafford game on Saturday, FC United started the second half with a renewed sense of purpose and it didn’t take long for them to open the scoring, with Ennis feeding Cockerline in for the first goal of the game. The United forward deftly side-footing past Ashton’s left for 1-0.

Unfortunately, as quickly as the host’s lead arrived it disappeared, and it took just five minutes for Kilifin to level things up for the visiting team, as he latched onto a well-placed cross from Matthew Blinkhorn.

Both sides had good chances to score late on in the game, with FC United really picking up the pace in the final 10 minutes. Cockerline came close to bagging a winner only for Ashton to stand resolute in the away side’s goal.

Likewise, an injury time corner for Lancaster led to a classic goalmouth scramble, with United doing well to kick the ball to safety just in time for the referee to blow the fulltime whistle.

If nothing else, FC United can be satisfied that they remain unbeaten in all competitions so far this season, and gained a hard won point against one of the top sides in last year’s promotion race. Attention will now turn to Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup game against Guiseley, with the Reds potentially just 90 minutes away from the first round proper.

Website man of the match – Dan Cockerline. An impressive performance from the striker who is growing into his role at the club. He mainly fed off scraps in the second half but took his opportunity well when it counted.

Report by Sam Turner

First Posted ~ 00:24 Wed 21 Oct 2020
News ID ~ 8819
Last Updated ~ 17:00 Fri 19 Feb 2021