|Venue||Gigg Lane, Bury, BL9 9HR, Gigg Lane|
|3 (1)||-||0 (0)|
Norton 77, 87
|1 Zach Hibbert|
2 Kyle Jacobs
3 Lee Neville
4 Richard Battersby
5 Martin Parker
6 Scott McManus
7 Chris Ovington
8 James Holden
9 Mike Norton (capt)
10 Jerome Wright
11 Jake Cottrell
12 Carlos Roca (for 7, 59 mins)
14 Ben Deegan (for 8, 59 mins)
17 Karl Munroe (for 5, 63 mins)
|1 N Culkin|
2 A Brown
3 G Sampson
4 S Connor
5 J Mullineux
6 M Forrest
7 D Sherlock
8 M Jones (capt)
9 A Roscoe
10 M Ward
11 R Kelly
12 S Maden (for 6, 76 mins)
14 G Jones (for 10, 59 mins)
15 R Brandao (fpr 7, 76 mins)
|FC United cruised into Monday’s draw for the second qualifying round of the FA Cup sponsored by E.On after a comprehensive performance saw them beat Radcliffe Borough 3-0 on Saturday.|
Two goals from Mike Norton and one from James Holden were enough to see United through in a game they controlled from start to finish at Gigg Lane.
In the first ten minutes the Reds built up pressure well and had several half opportunities. They should have taken the lead when, after some comical defending, Norton hit the post from a tight angle, before Jerome Wright scuffed his shot from the edge of the visitor’s area.
After three back-to-back league defeats United were keen to get back to winning ways and hopefully emulate last year’s cup run. But for all their pressure, they couldn’t manage to make an early breakthrough, possibly due to having Norton up front on his own or the resilient defending of Radcliffe.
At the other end, Radcliffe forward Adam Roscoe went close when a well worked short throw on the right was crossed in, and Roscoe rose well to head wide of Zach Hibbert’s post.
Roscoe’s chance seemed to wake United up and after Norton headed a defensive punt into Wright’s path on the left, things opened up, and Wright slotted the ball across goal for Holden to tap home from inside the six yard box.
After taking the lead United lost a bit of the initiative and Radcliffe had several half opportunities to get back into the game. Having said that, none of these were more than half chances and United ‘keeper Hibbert never had to save anything from the visiting forwards.
The second half was much the same as United controlled possession for long parts, without ever making it into the Radcliffe box or creating many chances of any real note.
Sensing United needed more urgency in the final third, manager Karl Marginson brought on substitutes Carlos Roca and Ben Deegan for Chris Ovington and James Holden just before the hour, looking to get the goal that would kill the game off.
With Roca cutting in from the wing and Deegan sharing the workload of Norton up front, United became a better attacking force and again pushed forward looking for the second goal.
And it finally came in the 77th minute when Wright broke down the left wing, before cutting the ball back from the by-line. Deegan prodded a volley towards goal and Norton smashed the ball over the line to make sure it was definitely a goal.
Both strikers ran away claiming the goal as you’d expect, giving everyone in the ground, not least the match officials something to talk about. For now, the records say it was Norton’s second of the game but Deegan might be tempted to get a second opinion from FCUM TV.
After the goal, United switched off completely with Radcliffe almost pegging one back straight away when substitute Ricardo Brandao hit Hibbert’s bar with a beautifully placed shot from the left hand side of the box. It’s becoming a worrying trend for the Reds which Margy will be keen to sort out.
Despite nearly conceding, United pushed on with the pressure of the second goal lifted from their shoulders. Roca turned back on the right and slotted the ball to Richard Battersby in the box. Battersby in turn played the ball across the box to Norton who just doesn’t miss those kind of chances for the best worked goal of the afternoon.
It could have been more for United as Norton appeared to be brought down when through on goal but the referee James Madine ruled Alastair Brown’s challenge was legal and although a few misguided cheers were heard it was a goal kick which Mr Madine pointed for.
So Margy’s men have begun the march to Wembley and all eyes will be on Monday’s draw to see who United get in the next qualifying round.
All-in-all it was a good return to winning ways for United, with a performance that wasn’t the most sensational we’ll ever see but showed commitment and ability in a squad the faithful will be looking to cheer on to some success this term.
Report by Craig Phillips