|Opposition||Sutton Town AFC|
|Venue||Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, NG17 2TF, The Fieldings|
|FC United thrashed Sutton Town 4-0 on Saturday afternoon to start their pre-season schedule in style with goals from debutant Martin Parker, Jake Cottrell, Michael Norton and Carlos Roca.|
The Nottinghamshire side ply their trade in the Supreme Division of the Central Midlands League, which is the equivalent of one step below the North West Counties Football League, so the Reds were expected to win, however Karl Marginson will be pleased by the manner in which his side set about their task.
Margy took the opportunity to field a few new faces including Scott McManus, Richard Battersby and Lee Neville along with Nicky Platt who has returned to the club after spending a year playing football in Australia. All of them put in a good account of themselves.
Despite the score-line, it was actually Sutton who started brightly, with a volley fired over and a superb tackle from McManus preventing a goal chance. However, it only took seven minutes for United to get into the game, with Norton being played in but slightly overrunning the ball.
On 14 minutes, United took the lead with Parker powering in a header from a Platt corner. The lead was doubled on 24 minutes when Cottrell was played in. His first shot was saved by the Sutton keeper but the rebound fell back to the midfielder who prodded home his second attempt.
From that moment, the Reds took a firm hold of the game with some good pressure and possession. Jerome Wright looked bright on the left and Platt was making his presence know in the middle of the pitch. It could easily have been 4-0 at half-time with Platt firing over and Roca beating the offside trap only to see his cross deflected just wide.
Margy made a few changes at half-time but this did nothing to prevent the good FC possession, with Wright firing over the bar shortly after the restart.
On 51 minutes, the ball was played over the top for Norton, who was upended by the keeper. The striker picked himself up and fired the penalty into the top of the net to take his FC United record to two goals in two games. He should have scored his second of the match three minutes later, when he headed a Roca cross over with the goal at his mercy.
The game was wrapped up on 65 minutes, with the ball over the top playing dividends again as Norton latched onto the pass and selflessly laying it off to Roca who rolled the ball into the net. There was still time for new United goalkeeper Zach Hibbert to pull off a great save, tipping the ball over the bar.
The new players all played a great part in the game, in particular McManus at the back and Platt continuing where he left off - bossing the midfield. All-in-all, it was a great start to pre-season and one that bodes well for the forthcoming season.
Report by Steve Wood