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Thursday 9th September 2010

FC United return to FA Cup action this Saturday against neighbours Radcliffe Borough hoping to forget the woes of the last three league games and recapture the excitement of last seasonís Cup run which almost took them through to a first round proper tie against Charlton Athletic.

After a strange game last Sunday in which FC were the better side even when down to ten men and which ended in a 5-1 defeat the team were hoping to get back to winning ways at Bradford Park Avenue on Wednesday evening. After a bright start FC went 1-0 up as Chris Ovington slotted home on his return to the Horsfall Stadium and could have scored more. Unfortunately a cross that slipped out of Sam Ashtonís grasp landed at Dominic Riordanís feet which he slotted home to level the score.

In the second half FC never seemed to get going against a hard working competent Bradford side, despite being roared on by the away fans, and with a hat trick from Tom Greaves the home side ran out deserved 4-1 winners. Speaking before the Bradford game Margy confessed his feelings of astonishment about the Matlock scoreline.

"After a good start to the season weíve had a bit of a blip results-wise. Last Sundayís game against Matlock was one of the weirdest Iíve been involved in. Obviously the red card for Jerome Wright cost us but even with ten men I felt we played well, we carried on pushing forwards, caused them problems and eventually we got rewarded with the goal. "

"At that point it looked like there would only be one winner but then the half hour delay following the injury to their keeper seemed to work against us and we switched off. They got the second goal immediately after the restart and that effectively won them the game as with us pushing on for another equaliser it allowed them in again. Poor defending was also to blame on it must be said but credit to our players for attempting to go at them and get the win."

"Support Ė absolutely fantastic"

ďI must say that the support from you all was, once again, absolutely fantastic. Matlockís manager Mark Atkins commented on it saying that people would pay to come and play in front of backing like that, and heís a guy whoís played in the Premiership. Whereas other teams would be getting booed after conceding five goals we were getting cheered Ė as I keep saying thatís just one of the fantastic things about this club and the people involved in it.Ē

"Overall I canít fault the ladsí endeavours. Iím certain that last Sunday was just a freak result but having said that Matlock are a very good side and won again on Tuesday to go top of the league. Thereís not too much to be read into that however as itís early days in the league and itís going to be a couple of months in before we see whoís really going to be pushing. Iím confident though that along with the likes of Halifax, Matlock and Buxton weíll be right up there. Everybodyís beating everyone else at the moment and itís the team which gets the consistency that will prevail."

"Fantastic support at Stalybridge"

"We welcome Radcliffe to Gigg Lane once again on Saturday, this time in the FA Cup. Obviously we had a good run last year and everyone will be looking to emulate that and hopefully get a little bit further. These games can always throw up something unexpected with the form book being forgotten but we know from experience how a decent run can lift the club and of course we canít overlook how it can also bring in much needed revenue. Northwich made about £200,000 from their First Round appearance after beating us last season Ė imagine how handy a figure like that would be towards the Ten Acres Lane ground plans. Thatís how important these games could be to the club."

"From our past experience of them Radcliffe certainly wonít give us an easy ride. I donít think weíve ever had a game against them thatís not been tough and I expect no different today. Souleyís been to watch them so we know a bit about how theyíll play this time round and they always like to play football so hopefully thatíll suit us and itíll be an entertaining game. With more backing like we had last Sunday Iím sure we can make it into Mondayís draw."

Get yourself to that football ground, FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round, FC United V Radcliffe Borough, Gigg Lane, Saturday 11th September, kick off 3.00 pm.

"I bet we could run Wembley"

So the first FC home game of the season took place at Stalybridge last Sunday with at least another four to follow over the next three months. Stalybridge Celtic very kindly handed over their ground and let us get on with it.

A number of volunteers started arriving in the morning sorting out the floats for the turnstiles and Pound for the Ground sellers. Signs were erected, passers by requisitioned as car park attendants, prawn butties prepared, turnstile operators dispatched and ball boys given tips on ball finding in thick undergrowth. The Megacabin went al fresco again and added a great splash of colour to one corner of the ground which was continued elsewhere in the usual fashion with the vast array of FC flags.

The DF Barrels arrived unsure where they were going and matchday stewards and operations personnel strode around purposefully reporting on the standard of the pies over their walkie talkies. It was reported that the Stalybridge chairman whilst very pleased with the business being done in the Social Club was genuinely amazed at the number and quality of the volunteers and how Stalybridge could learn a lesson or two from FC.

At the end of the day, cash was counted, stalls were packed away and a well known volunteer was heard to remark, "We could run Wembley us lot, no problem." Heís probably not wrong. Hats off to all the volunteers who made it all happen so smoothly and a great afternoon out, apart from one thing that isÖ.