FC United’s four year stay in the Vanarama National League North ended on Easter Monday as they lost 2-1 to Blyth Spartans at Broadhurst Park on Easter Monday.
FC needed to win their remaining two games and hope Guiseley dropped points in theirs. However, a dominant Blyth outfit put paid to any lingering hopes with a goal in each half either side of a deflected Jack Bannister effort for the home side.
Blyth were a slick attacking side making use of wingers Robbie Dale and Jarret Rivers at every opportunity, Rivers in particular looking dangerous every time he had the ball.
Home keeper Andy Fisher saving a bullet header from Kieran Green was one of several that he had to make early on. He could do nothing about Spartans opener however when England C international Dan Maguire caused havoc in the box and squared it to an unmarked Rivers who didn’t waste the chance. 20 minutes in and FC United had a mountain to climb.
Harry Winter was brought on shortly after, replacing Mike Donohue who was carrying a knock and more so in an effort to get grip in midfield where Blyth were enjoying copious amounts of possession.
As the half carried on Blyth looked in total control and you felt it was only a matter of time before they scored again. The Reds couldn’t seem to muster a chance on goal always just one decent pass away from their objective. The half finished surprisingly still only one-nil.
The second half carried on in the same vein. The Spartans attacking trio of Maguire, Rivers and stalwart Dale running amok at regular intervals. Rivers shot wide when he was found in acres of space and shortly after Dale rattled the crossbar with a powerful drive.
Still only one-nil the Reds kept plugging away with Michael Potts trying to find the killer pass to release Bannister or Kurt Willoughby through on goal. FC had a double penalty appeal turned down as Willoughby and Chris Sharp both went down in the box. Potts was booked for his protestations.
With the match and ultimately United’s season ebbing away, Bannister fired a low drive which looped up off a defender and over the keeper into the SMRE goal. The majority of the 1,971 in attendance finally had something to cheer but there was precious few minutes left.
Knowing only a win and no less would suffice, FC threw caution to the wind and inevitably became vulnerable to the counter attack.
Such tactics were made for Blyth and they duly strode down field and slotted the ball home after good work by Dale.
The four minutes added time were no help to the Reds as the match finished 2-1 to the away aide. A match played under huge pressure proved too much for FC and with Guiseley winning their match, survival was taken out of their own hands anyway.
FC United still have an away trip to third placed Brackley next Saturday to round off the season before a Neil Reynolds rebuild of the squad in the summer.
Man of the Match: Andy Fisher. In his final game for FC United, the Blackburn Rovers loanee made some terrific saves and held the ball well when some keepers would have parried it away. He has a bright future in the game.
Report by Neil Lees