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Reds chug to victory

FC United fans would naturally have an affinity with any football club founded by railway workers but there was little sympathy forthcoming from their team as the Reds beat Harrogate Railway AFC 2-0.

Simon Carden’s overhead kick in the first half and a stunning strike from Rory Patterson on 50 minutes secured Karl Marginson’s men their third league win on the bounce. Patterson partnered Carden up front with a midfield four of Nicky Platt, Liam George, Steve Spencer and Jerome Wright.

Curiously, Patterson played as a support striker for much of the match with Carden leading the line. The game began at a high-tempo and it was United who had the best of the early exchanges. After controlling a knock-down in the area, Carden tried to loft the ball over Harrogate’s goalkeeper Jonathan McLaughlin when he would probably have been better blast it. The ball sailed over the bar. Two minutes later, he found himself one-on-one with McLaughlin but hesitated at the crucial point, thinking he was offside.

However, he did not make the same mistake on 12 minutes. Jerome Wright’s corner was headed down by captain David Chadwick. Carden reacted instinctively, slamming the ball into the roof of the net with an acrobatic right-footed finish.

The need to chase the game meant Harrogate left holes for the Reds to exploit, which they did. United had obviously learnt their lesson from this season’s defeats. Gone was the vulnerability to sucker-punches; instead, they were a team who looked deadly on the break.

The second and final goal came five minutes after half-time when Rory Patterson didn’t need a second invite to hammer home Jerome Wright’s neat lay off. His 25-yard strike left McLaughlin with no chance. It was a sublime goal and meant the match was finished as a contest from that point onwards.

New boy Liam George saw a delicate chip bounce agonisingly wide of the right post after being played through one-on-one by Nicky Platt following some clever footwork from the youngster. The former Luton Town midfielder hit the other post minutes later after being supplied by Cayne Hanley, who put in a promising substitute appearance.

Game over, then? Not for Steve Spencer. This was an excellent performance from a grossly underrated player. His distribution was intelligent and economical throughout. He plays like a man who would rather drink from the Irwell than give the ball away. On the rare occasions his passing went astray he hassled and harassed the opposition to win it back. Even in the 90th minute, his workrate was unstinting. Just because he does not play ’Hollywood balls’ or score hat-tricks every week, nobody should underestimate the midfielder’s importance to United.

The 2,196 fans present enjoyed the September sunshine and the vast majority of them enjoyed the result even more. After disappointingly going missing earlier on this summer, the sun has finally turned up. The same can be said of FC United’s season.

Martin Hall

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First Posted ~ 21:11 Sat 8 Sep 2007
News ID ~ 1163
Last Updated ~ 12:34 Mon 21 May 2018