|Opposition||Stocksbridge Park Steels|
|Venue||Mottram Road, Stalybridge, SK15 2RT, Bower Fold|
|Competition||EvoStik League Premier Division|
|1 (0)||-||4 (2)|
|Hurst 63|| ||Muldoon 32|
|1 Zach Hibbert|
2 Kyle Jacobs
3 Lee Neville
4 Richard Battersby
5 Martin Parker
6 Scott McManus
7 Carlos Roca
8 Jake Cottrell
9 Mike Norton (capt)
10 Jerome Wright
11 Ben Deegan
12 Glynn Hurst (for 7, 61 mins)
15 Nick Platt (for 2, 61 mins)
17 Chris Ovington (for 6, 84 mins)
|1 A Ogden |
2 S Ludlam
3 K Davies
4 R Haigh
5 B Lovell (capt)
6 S Hawes
7 A Callery
8 P Dempsey
9 J Muldoon
10 M Ward
11 S Woolley
12 A Ring (for 10, 71 mins)
15 A Longstaff (for 9, 82 mins)
16 B Leonard (for 6, 88 mins)
|Two saved penalties and some poor defending cost FC United dearly as they slumped to a 4-1 defeat at home to Stocksbridge Park Steels on Saturday afternoon.|
Despite having the majority of the possession, the Reds were beaten comfortably by an impressive counter-attacking display from the South Yorkshire visitors.
A goal from debutant Glynn Hurst just after the hour mark proved to be a mere consolation as United were already 3-0 down at that point.
It was a game the Reds could and should have taken something from but they failed to take their chances whilst Stocksbridge were ruthless on the break and in front of goal whilst captain Brett Lovell and goalkeeper Adam Ogden were rock solid at the back.
United started the game brightly and the first half hour was all one way traffic. There was a golden opportunity to take the lead inside the first five minutes when Lee Neville and Carlos Roca combine well to win a penalty for handball by Lovell. Michael Norton stepped up and drilled the spot-kick down the middle which was easily saved. It was a moment the Reds would be left to rue.
Despite the miss, United continued to create a number of half chances. Roca and Neville were linking up well on the left but Ben Deegan was unable to get on the end of their crosses with Lovell winning the majority of the aerial battles. Jerome Wright was also unfortunate to stab a cross from Kyle Jacobs on the right wide of the back post.
With 20 minutes elapsed, the Steels got out of their own half for the first time and gave United a warning of what was about to come. Jack Muldoon raced clear on the right and shot from distance but it flashed wide of Zach Hibbert’s left post.
Ten minutes later, Wright won a free-kick just outside the 18-yard-box which had to be tipped over the crossbar by Ogden after a good effort from Roca. But within seconds United were a goal behind.
Ogden’s long clearance allowed Muldoon to break free on the right again and this time he hit the target and the back of the net. The Steels made it 2-0 three minutes before half-time. The Reds failed to clear a corner from Mark Ward and Kevin Davies was given ample time to place a shot past Hibbert into the bottom left corner.
United were sent back out onto the pitch five minutes early for the restart but the second half continued in the same vein. Ogden had to punch away a Roca free-kick within two minutes after Cottrell had been brought down and seconds later the ’keeper easily collected a Wright cross from the left following a great run from Roca which saw him beat four players before playing Wright in.
United’s game plan of playing down the flanks and crossing high balls into the box wasn’t working but they were failing to find a plan B and leaving themselves hopelessly exposed at the back.
Down at the other end, Hibbert had to push a Andy Ring free-kick round the post and before the hour mark he was picking the ball out of the net for the third time. A simple one-two down the left wing between Steven Woolley and Muldoon had United floundering allowing Woolley to score from a one-on-one with Hibbert.
At 3-0, United reverted to three at the back with Hurst and Nicky Platt introduced for Jacobs and Roca. Within seconds Hurst headed home a Richard Battersby cross from the right to give United a glimmer of hope. However, with 15 minutes to go Stocksbridge crushed that glimmer when Ben Leonard broke away before rifling the ball home to make it four.
Stocksbridge could have made it five seconds later but the crossbar came to United’s rescue following a long range drive from Woolley. And right at the death, with the once regular penalty taker Platt looking on, Deegan smashed a second spot-kick straight at Ogden to complete United’s miserable afternoon.