|Venue||Station Road, Mickleover, Derbyshire, DE3 9FE, Mickleover Sports Ground|
|Competition||EvoStik League Premier Division|
|0 (0)||-||2 (2)|
| ||Mulholland 26, 28|
|1 D Clarke|
2 K Grocott
3 S Banks
4 L Walshe (capt)
5 N Wood
6 T Kellogg
7 E Graves
8 D Martin
9 K Ashton
10 K O'Connell
11 A Steadman
12 M Smythe (for 10, 54 mins)
16 M Strzyzweski (for 4, 75 mins)
17 C Slater (for 8, 46 mins)
|1 James Spencer|
2 Kyle Jacobs (capt)
3 Lee Neville
4 Jake Cottrell
5 Adam Jones
6 Greg Stones
7 Carlos Roca
8 Nick Platt
9 Mike Norton
10 Dean Stott
11 Astley Mulholland
14 James Holden (for 11, 84 mins)
16 Daniel Grimshaw (for 8, 84 mins)
17 Jay Walcott (for 7, 75 mins)
|A first half brace from Astley Mulholland claimed all three points for FC United as the Reds put in a solid performance at Mickleover Sports to move up to seventh in the Evo-Stik Premier Division table. |
FC returned to league action coming off the back of an FA Trophy victory in which they had put in a decent performance, particularly in extra time. Saturday’s opponents had also won their last encounter, putting five past Whitby Town.
United’s management team opted to make changes to the starting formation, with Lee Neville and Kyle Jacobs returning to their familiar fullback positions and Astley Mulholland earning himself a start after making an impact off the bench on midweek.
Mike Norton starting the game in a lively manner, latching onto balls through the Mickleover defence in the opening minutes, and his work rate was second to none throughout the encounter. The United striker looked to set Carlos Roca up early on, playing a lovely ball cross field into the path of the winger who beat his man and went on to round the keeper who just managed to intercept.
Minutes later, Sports revealed a weapon in their side, using the long throw to the effectiveness of a cross into the box, which was met by Steve Banks who would have threatened James Spencer’s goal, if not for a timely interception from Mulholland. Karl Ashton then exposed potential weaknesses in FC United’s backline as the Reds conceded a soft free kick which Ashton latched onto for an unmarked header which was fortunately off target.
Despite having to deal with the height and physicality of Ashton, United were still getting the ball forward and attempting to play in a fluent fashion and just short of the half hour mark, the Reds took the lead.
Mulholland made an intelligent run to latch onto a through ball from Nicky Platt and keeper Damon Clarke went to ground in an attempt to cut out the attack, Mulholland took the ball round him and onto his left foot to score from a narrowing angle.
Mickleover had barely regrouped when, with instilled confidence, United went on a further venture forward and won a corner. Roca excellently sent in the corner kick from the left hand side and Mulholland, incidentally the smallest player in the congested box, rose at the near post to glance the ball beyond Clarke.
United largely controlled the remainder of the half, spurred on by two goals in quick succession, however Mickleover came out after the break more organised and evidently looking for a way back in, and the Reds had to be switched on to ensure no weak goals were conceded early in the second period, as has been the case on more than one occasion in recent fixtures.
An end-to-end format to the game ensued as United utilised all attacking outlets to push forward and their opponents continued to test FC’s defensive capabilities. Jacobs’ ball into Platt was played onto substitute Jay Walcott who connected well with an effort goalwards which whisked just inches wide of the upright.
Spencer then preserved the Reds’ lead with a fantastic stop as the play opened up for Ashton to drive a shot in, but Spencer was alert to the threat and got down well to deny the home side. Following one of many good United build ups, the ball came back out to Jacobs who opted to go for goal himself, testing the keeper with a powerful on-target effort from just inside the Mickleover half.
The overall United performance was strong, however Mickleover were no walkover resulting in an entertaining encounter from which the Reds deserved to come away with all three points.
Website Man of the Match: Astley Mulholland – earned himself a place in the starting XI after impressing as a substitute on Wednesday night. Scored both United’s goals and was always a pacey threat going forward and was also effective at showing for and holding possession through the midfield.
Report by Victoria Fullen