New FC United manager Neil Reynolds began his reign at Broadhurst Park with a creditable 1-1 draw at home to highflying Brackley Town with a wonder strike on his debut from Mike Potts.
Potts gave the Reds a half time lead with a sweet strike from outside the box but a volley from James Armson on the hour mark meant the points were shared.
Much of the talk before the game was positive and it soon became clear that the new manager, looking every bit the man in charge in his club suit on the side-line, had brought his style of play to Broadhurst Park.
The Reds looked more organised, confident and, most importantly, dangerous when attacking. New signings Potts and Josh Wallen sat deep in the midfield and impressed on their debuts for the club. Potts came with Reynolds from Bamber Bridge and is obviously a man the new boss trusts as he gave him the captain’s armband on his first start.
Potts repaid that faith with a sublime strike to open the scoring on the half hour mark. A corner hadn’t been fully cleared and fell to Potts on the edge of the area who struck the ball beautifully to leave Brackley ‘keeper Danny Lewis no chance of getting anywhere near it.
The visitors began the game in a play-off spot but it was the men in red who looked more dangerous throughout and it was clear the best chance the visiting side had of getting a goal would be from a set piece.
This was the case on the hour mark as a low free-kick from the right was flicked into the FC United goal by Armson to level things up.
Rather than sit back and settle for what would look on paper to be a respectable point, the Reds came forward in search of a winner. A string of chances came close to giving the Reds the lead again. None more so than when Jack Bannister headed towards goal from inside the six-yard box and only saw his effort denied by a great reflex save from Smith.
It’s a sign of how well FC United played on the day that most supporters came away from the match feeling that the Reds could have easily taken three points from a game against the team that now sits seventh in the league.
Certainly, there’s an exciting buzz around Broadhurst Park again and with the next three games coming against teams all in the bottom half of the league it’s certainly going to be an interesting two weeks.
Website man of the match: Mike Potts – took the captain’s armband, turned in a great performance in the middle of the park and scored a fantastic goal. Not a bad way to introduce yourself at your new club.
Report by Craig Phillips