FC United will face Warrington Town in the Emirates FA Cup second qualifying round after winning 1-0 at Atherton Collieries in Tuesday’s replay.
Fullback Aaron Morris scored a header with 12 minutes to go, settling what turned out to be a toughly contested 180 minutes of a cup tie and setting up a meeting with Warrington Town a week on Saturday.
Saturday’s 2-2 draw had been a hotly contested game, with Atherton having a goal ruled out and then a last-ditch clearance deep into stoppage time denying the Reds passage through to the next round, but the replay started as a much more tense, low tempo affair in the first half.
Neither team really got a hold on the game in the first half and chances were at a premium, with nothing much of any note registering in the opening 45 minutes.
In the second half the Reds (who were playing in their blue away kit) had the advantage of attacking down a very noticeable gradient on the Atherton pitch and FC seemed to register this early as they came out strong for the second half.
FC enjoyed large periods of the ball in the home half of the pitch, but again the only chances of any note came in the form of speculative efforts from outside the box from Michael Potts and Michael Donohue.
The home team looked dangerous on the break, and forward Tom Bentham was only a half yard away from being onside and clear on goal on several counter attacks and the home team also had a close shout for a penalty for handball turned down.
With the game coming close to moving into extra time and even the possibility of penalties on the horizon, it was FC who eventually got the break through. With 12 minutes left-back Morris headed home after Atherton had failed to deal with a corner. FC United had the breakthrough on what had been a very tough evening’s work.
The home team came forward with everything including the kitchen sink in the late moments of the game and it really did have the feel of an important cup tie as both teams fought to the end. It was FC United who held on though, and booked their place in the next round with a home tie against Warrington Town; a match which will be a first ever meeting between the two clubs.
After managing to get through what turned out to be a tough 180 minutes of football, you could see what it meant to the players and manager as they celebrated at the final whistle. The Reds are now unbeaten in their last five games, with two clean sheets in their last three.
Website man of the match: Adam Dodd – going against my natural instinct to pick Tunde Owolabi as man of the match, Prime Minister and President in every game. Dodd was solid at the back and looked hungry to get forward and give attacking options on the left at every opportunity.
Report by Craig Phillips