|Venue||Mottram Road, Stalybridge, SK15 2RT, Bower Fold|
|Competition||EvoStik League Premier Division|
|1 (0)||-||5 (1)|
|Norton 61|| ||Hannah 3, 89|
Cropper 81, 90
|1 Zach Hibbert|
2 Kyle Jacobs
3 Lee Neville
4 Jake Cottrell
5 Martin Parker
6 Scott McManus
7 Carlos Roca
8 Nick Platt (capt)
9 Mike Norton
10 Jerome Wright
11 Colin Little
12 Steve Torpey (for 7, 71 mins)
16 James Holden (for 12, 79 mins)
17 Chris Ovington (for 11, 71 mins)
|1 A Sollitt |
2 K Whitcombe
3 L Featherstone
4 L King
5 A Yates
6 J Lukic (capt)
7 D Wood
8 S Warne
9 N Joynes
10 R Hannah
11 K Bowler
12 D Cropper (for 9, 73 mins)
14 J Knowles (for 11, 54 mins)
17 N Brown (for 1, 62 mins)
|Ten man FC United were thrashed 5-1 at Bower Fold on Sunday afternoon in a match which was overshadowed by a serious injury to Matlock goalkeeper Adam Sollitt.|
Jerome Wright received a straight red card for violent conduct with United trailing 1-0 and although Mike Norton scored a second half equaliser, the visitors romped to an impressive victory after a lengthy delay saw Sollitt rushed to hospital.
With Ben Deegan out to injury, Colin Little gained his first competitive start for the club, lining up alongside Norton to form a debut starting strike partnership. Zach Hibbert also retained the number one jersey, playing in goal for the second time this season.
After failing to pick up any points at Ashton on Bank Holiday Monday, the Reds would have been hoping to get back to winning ways, and after a convincing friendly victory midweek this looked to be well within reach. However, all plans for this had to be put on hold very early on as United were left chasing the game inside the first two minutes.
Matlock’s highlighted threat Ross Hannah was able to receive the ball unmarked in the FC area and made no mistake in putting his shot beyond Hibbert in a one-on-one situation.
United had the opportunity to equalise through Wright just short of ten minutes in when the winger carried the ball into the Matlock area and did well to take it past Sollitt who had come off his line. Unfortunately, there was no end product as Wright’s effort from a tight angle rolled across the face of goal.
Despite further opportunities as the half progressed, Matlock controlled the majority of the game and Sollitt was able to claim most efforts on goal as on the whole United’s play lacked tempo and fluency in passing.
With just under half an hour played, United were left a man short as Wright was shown a straight red card. Following an altercation with Steve Warne, the free-kick was awarded FC’s way, however Wright was deemed to have lashed out and the referee made no hesitation in dismissing the United winger from the pitch.
Early after the break, FC were on the search for an equaliser, with Jake Cottrell’s ambitious shot from the left wing hitting the roof of the net and Norton’s header going just wide. Roca then produced an excellent effort from the edge of the area, and the Matlock keeper did well to produce a fine tip-over.
At the opposite end of the park, the visitors could have easily doubled their lead as Hannah was given space on the right to set Warne up for a sitter inside the six yard box which the Matlock player blasted over the bar.
With just over an hour played, things appeared to be looking up for the Reds as they equalised through Norton. Man-of-the-match Lee Neville played an excellent ball in from the left and as the keeper went to claim, he mishandled the cross allowing Norton to pounce from close range.
Unfortunately, Sollitt was injured as the goal went in and celebrations were cut short as an ambulance was required to carry the player from the pitch after almost half an hour of treatment had elapsed.
Despite the obvious severity of the reason for the break in play, United showed glimpses of having used the time to reshape, however Matlock were soon back on top as substitute James Knowles sent the ball across Hibbert from the left hand side of the area to put the visitors in front once more less than two minutes after the restart.
A double United substitution closely followed as Steve Torpey and Chris Ovington replaced Roca and Little. The changes seemed to have a positive impact upon the game but after only a few minutes on the pitch, Torpey pulled up and had to be replaced by Jimmy Holden, making his first appearance of the season.
As a result was not yet out of the realms of possibility, United battled in and around the Matlock 18 yard box, however on every occasion, attempts on goal were blocked and it was the visitors who were able to score, as a mistake at the back saw United softly concede the third goal of the afternoon, scored by Dene Cropper.
As the game neared full time, Nick Platt had a chance to score as Scott McManus did well to run down the left and loop a ball into Platt who sent a free header over the bar.
Ovington then had a goal disallowed for United and Kyle Jacobs forced a flying save from substitute keeper Nick Buxton, however the final minutes of the game were firmly in the control of Matlock who added two more before the whistle blew. Hannah’s shot from range caught Hibbert off his line and seconds later Cropper completed the scoring with a simple header to add to United’s woes.
The Reds now need to regroup for Wednesday’s clash with old rivals Bradford Park Avenue and regain form to keep the top of the table within sight.
Report by Victoria Fullen