FC United drew 0-0 with Scarborough Athletic at Broadhurst Park on Saturday afternoon as Luke Griffiths was sent off just before the hour mark for a reckless challenge.
The Reds were much the better team but couldn’t make their possession count. Instead, the visitors hung on to claim a point they scarcely deserved.
Having said that, the Seadogs fought hard to keep a clean sheet and will feel that they came away with a well earned point on the road.
United created enough chances to win comfortably but goalkeeper Ryan Whitley was equal to everything that was thrown at him. He was only left wanting once but Adam Dodd hit the outside of the post midway through the first half.
Neil Reynolds can be proud of his team for digging in and controlling the match despite being reduced to 10 men for half an hour but he will be frustrated that they didn’t take their chances to win.
United also felt aggrieved that a penalty claim was turned down moments before the sending off when Regan Linney was upended in the box by a clumsy challenge from behind. By the letter of the law it looked like a penalty but it was one of those incidents that most referees prefer to wave away.
Other than a few half chances, the North Yorkshire visitors offered little going forward and rarely troubled Dan Lavercombe, who put in a commanding performance in the FC United goal.
Boro shot high and wide more often than they did on target and even with the extra man they didn’t look overly threatening.
The visitors won the toss at kick-off and made United attack the St Mary’s Road End. The Reds started brightly and Linney could have broken the deadlock after five minutes but his shot was straight at Whitley.
Down at the other end, Scarborough ballooned two shots so spectacularly high and wide that the ball sailed out of the ground.
On 21 minutes, Dodd weaved his way into the box on the left and fired a shot past Whitley but it hit the outside of the right post. It was the best chance of the game so far.
Five minutes later, only Curtis Jones will know how he didn’t score with the goal at his mercy from four yards out. Michael Fowler won a free-kick on the left, which Charlie Ennis curled into the box. Jones was on the end of it but somehow sliced his shot wide of the near post.
The visitors then had their best chance of the match as Lavercombe made a double-save during a goal mouth scramble to keep Scarborough at bay.
United were playing well and the signs suggested their patient build up play would lead to a goal. However, that task became more difficult 13 minutes into the second half when Griffiths was shown a straight red card for a rash challenge on former FC United winger Kieran Glynn.
Griffiths dived in dangerously after losing the ball in the middle park and left himself at the mercy of the referee, who didn’t hesitate to produce the red card. Other officials might have opted to calm the situation with a booking and a strong talking to but Griffiths can have no complaints.
Despite the disadvantage, United rallied and somewhat surprisingly continued to create chances. Morgan Homsom-Smith and Dan Cockerline were introduced for Ennis and Fowler and both had opportunities with shots from the edge of the box. Whitley comfortably saved one from each and Homsom-Smith curled another wide of the far post.
There was no way through and in the end the Reds had to settle for a hard fought draw. It wasn’t the result they wanted but there were plenty of positives in the performance.
However, despite scoring six in midweek, United looked to be missing a natural goal scorer to nick them a win this time out. On the day that last season’s top-scorer Tunde Owolabi finally made his debut in the Scottish Premiership for Hamilton Academical, the question remains for the Reds: who is going to fill the void left by Owolabi?
Website man of the match: Michael Potts. Along with Charlie Ennis, Potts was at the centre of everything United created throughout the match. He grafted as always and showed great composure to create opportunities for his teammates.
Report by Matthew Haley