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Reds survive weather but drop two points

FC United’s fixture with Lancaster City survived a half time pith inspection, but the Reds were left feeling damp after a nightmare slip up by Sam Ashton late on saw the visitors come away with a 2-2 draw.

United had looked a good bet to reverse the outcome of a 2-1 defeat when the two teams met on the opening day of the season, controlling large portions of the game and dealing with the difficult weather conditions better than their opponents. But in the dying moments Ashton lost his footing on the muddy Gigg Lane surface presenting Lancaster with an unlikely equaliser.

After Wednesdays "performance of the season" against Chorley Margy’s men looked to pick up where they left off and took the game to Lancaster early on. As ever United found space on the wings and it seemed like the opening goal would come from either flank.

There were two good chances for Jamie Baguely early on but the strong defence of Lancaster did enough to see off the danger.

It was the away team that opened the scoring breaking down the left and squaring the ball to winger Michael Rushton, who was left with the easiest of opportunities to break the deadlock.

The goal did little but spur United and the fans on and soon after it was back to the Reds controlling the game. The best chance for a goal came when Rob Nugent got his head to a Jerome Wright corner but the ball rattled off the bar.

With less than five minutes of the first half left Liam Foster took a mazy dribble down the right before picking out Wright on the left of the box. The winger put the ball in the danger zone only to be cleared by the Lancaster defence but the ball only reached Jamie Baguely who unleashed a shot at goal. A deflection off Adam Carden saw the ball loop over everybody’s heads and into the net to level things up.

The teams went into the interval level, but one focal point of the game came during the break. The heavens opened up and lashed the already struggling Gigg Lane pitch with a heavenly downpour.

As the players were set to come out for the second half, referee J Madine looked at the pitch and decided the best option was to give the ground staff ten minutes to try and drain any excess water from the pitch.

The last thing the Reds wanted was to add to their already congested end of season fixture list and luckily the ground staff managed to get rid of enough excess water to get the game going again.

As the restart came United raced out of the traps and looked like they were dealing with the difficult conditions a lot better than the visitors.

Soon after Jamie Baguely got the goal he’d been looking for all afternoon when he got to a Wright corner and with a little help from the weather managed to squeeze the ball past the visitors’ ’keeper Mark Thornley.

The pitch must have only just been playable as long balls were held up on the pitch and controlling the ball was proving difficult for all the players. United had great chances to seal the game firstly when Nick Robinson guided his shot just wide and soon after Rory Patterson couldn’t guide the ball home after beating a couple of defenders to give himself a chance.

But it wasn’t all one way traffic as the visitors came on strong in the final third, their best chance came when a dangerous cross was met by Nugent’s head, who for the second time in the match rattled the cross bar, this time it was his own bar he hit.

It looked as though United were going to take a priceless 2-1 victory when the ball was played back to Sam Ashton late on. As the ’keeper went for the clearance his standing leg went on the slippery surface below him and he missed the ball. Lancaster striker David Foster managed to get to the ball and score the easiest of goals and rob a point for the visitors.

Margy’s men will be disappointed to have dropped the two points in such circumstances but will be encouraged by the fact they are no further behind league leaders Skelmersdale United who could only draw 1-1 away at Ossett Albion although the title is back in the hands of Bradford Park Avenue who beat Garfoth Town 3-0. FC United travel to both of their title rivals in April, starting with the league leaders Skelmersdale on Tuesday evening. As someone once said ’squeaky bum time’.

Report by Craig Phillips.

FC United
1 S Ashton
2 L Foster
3 B Howard
4 J Baguley
5 D Chadwick (capt)
6 R Nugent
7 A Carden
8 C Baguley
9 N Robinson (cautioned 76)
10 J Wright
11 R Patterson
12 S Carden (for 7, 53) (cautioned 81)
14 J Holden (for 4, 86)
15 M Bleau

Scorers: A Carden 41, J Baguley 49

Lancaster City
1 M Thornley
2 S Greenwood
3 N Marshall
4 G Heffernan
5 I Swan (cautioned 45(+2))
6 M Stringfellow (capt) (cautioned 58)
7 M Rushton
8 N Uberschar
9 D Foster
10 M Jackson
11 A Helliwell

12 T Entwistle (for 11 68)
14 C Redhead (for 7 84)
15 P Rigby (for 2 46)

Scorers: Rushton 20, Foster 89

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First Posted ~ 14:23 Mon 31 Mar 2008
News ID ~ 1582
Last Updated ~ 12:55 Mon 21 May 2018