|Opposition||Stocksbridge Park Steels|
|Venue||Bracken Moor Lane, Stocksbridge, Sheffield, S36 2AN, Look Local Stadium|
|Competition||EvoStik League Premier Division|
|2 (1)||-||2 (0)|
| ||Norton 62, 72|
|1 B Scott|
2 C Glarvey
3 K Davies
4 R Haigh
5 B Lovell (capt)
6 A Tansley
7 M Outram
8 M Telling
9 J Muldoon
10 B Cusworth
11 R Stirrup
14 A Lloyd (for 2, 89 mins)
15 A Ring (for 10, 82 mins)
16 H Noubissie (for 8, 76 mins)
|1 James Spencer|
2 Kyle Jacobs (capt)
3 Lee Neville
4 Jake Cottrell
5 Greg Stones
6 Dean Stott
7 Carlos Roca
8 Michael Carr
9 Mike Norton
10 Matthew Wolfenden
11 Astley Mulholland
14 Jay Walcott (for 11, 64 mins)
15 James Holden (for 10, 64 mins)
16 Daniel Grimshaw (for 8, 88 mins)
|FC United came from behind twice to grab a 2-2 draw in an entertaining encounter at Stocksbridge Park Steels on Saturday afternoon with Michael Norton getting both of the goals for the Reds.|
It was a match that United were in control of throughout and should have won, especially with the Steels being saved by the woodwork on three occassions. However, the South Yorkshire side took their opportunities and will feel that they earned a well fought draw.
In a return to league action after last weekend’s progression in the FA Carlsberg Trophy, manager Karl Marginson had only a poetic centre-half change to make the starting line-up as newly signed Greg Stones replaced the suspended Adam Jones.
Despite looking lively from the start, United gifted their opponents an early advantage, falling foul to an individual mistake just three minutes into the game. Jake Cottrell’s clumsy defensive pass was intercepted by Jack Muldoon who leapt on the loose ball and fired beyond the onrushing James Spencer.
Steels were then left leading a charmed life for much of the first half as the Reds notched up several chances, though were constantly left looking for the elusive final ball.
A good build up involving Kyle Jacobs and Astley Mulholland saw the ball land with Michael Carr who drove his shot along the ground across the face of goal. Norton slid in at the far post and came agonisingly close to converting for United.
Both fullbacks were venturing forward at every opportunity and in a good move, Lee Neville single handedly weaved the ball down the left for Carlos Roca to cross. The ball in was met with a downward header from Norton and as Ben Scott spilled the effort, Matthew Wolfenden pounced and the Steels keeper did well to deny the Reds once more.
Moments later, Cottrell trickled through to a one-on-one position and as Scott blocked the shot, the rebound ball fell to Roca whose follow-up ricocheted off the inside of the upright.
United’s lightning quick break from a corner then saw Mulholland and Wolfenden combine to win a corner kick at the opposite end of the park, from which the post and then immediately afterwards was saviour for the Steels as Norton and Neville both struck the woodwork. Norton had hs header tipped nto the post and then Neville smashed the rebound onto the bar from a tight angle.
A fantastically placed ball to Norton at the right-hand side of the area saw the ball driven across goal once more, and it could be sensed that Steels were playing on borrowed time.
A first half review of possession and chances would definitely have put United ahead but the Reds went in at the break rueing unconverted opportunities.
The start of the second period almost mirrored that of the first, as Steels caught United napping when Muldoon latched onto a ball through the United backline and found himself up against Spencer once more. However, captain Kyle Jacobs came back to cover and forced the shot into the side netting.
United then threatened once more, as Roca’s corner came off the head of Stones for Dean Stott’s point blank header to be tipped over the bar, as Scott continued to protect Steels’ lead.
The Reds’ fortunes eventually changed on the hour mark as Stocksbridge captain Brett Lovell conceded a free-kick 25 yards out in a central position. Roca took responsibility and as the ball emerged through the Stocksbridge wall, Norton pounced to level for United.
Having both played a part, Wolfenden and Mulholland made way for Jimmy Holden and Jay Walcott as United opted to switch to a 4-5-1 formation for the remainder of the game.
With the Reds undoubtedly in control, the home side’s second goal came very much against the run of play. Stocksbridge broke through Richard Stirrup who left the United defence behind and beat Spencer with a low shot.
Although trailing the game again, the Reds this time provided an instant reply as Norton freed himself of his marker inside the six yard box and seized upon a superb cross from Roca to level once more from close range.
Although United produced a decent performance and were the far better footballing side in what was an entertaining encounter, the result highlights the fact that United were lacking the final ball for the majority of the match and hence credit must be given to Stocksbridge who, when given chances, made them count.
Website Man of the Match: Kyle Jacobs.
Report by Victoria Fullen