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BPA Match Report

FC United suffered a late equalising goal to narrowly miss out on a much coveted play-off place on the last day of the season.

An early goal from Adam Tong looked to be enough to secure a place in the top five until Bradford struck on 85 minutes to send United’s play-off hopes crashing down in a well-fought performance in front of 3718 at Gigg Lane.

Within the first five minutes, FC had a penalty shout when Bradford appeared to handle in the box. The visitors also had an early chance when the ball came away from Adam Carden in the area and fell to Chris Hall who should have done better, hitting his effort on goal wide.

Eight minutes into the game, Adam Tong sent the United fans into raptures when he put the ball into the back of the net to put the Reds ahead. A low Nicky Platt free kick on the left entered a congested penalty area and the ball rebounded off the Bradford keeper for FC’s central defender to put his foot through it and past the keeper.

A Park Avenue free kick 25 yards out could have proved dangerous for United if not for an excellent reaction save from Sam Ashton to deny the visitors.

The resultant clearance was picked up by Jerome Wright who made a storming run through the midfield before being tripped by Bradford’s captain Mark Haran. A tussle ensued on the pitch, following which Haran received a yellow card.

In an opportunity for FC United, the ball broke to Simon Carden who found himself one on one with John Worsnop in the Bradford goal. After an initial hesitation, Worsnop came off his line to close down Carden who could only hit the ball off the keeper for a corner.

Impressive play from United saw Carlos Roca and Adam Carden linking up on the right, resulting in an excellent cross from Adam Carden to a waiting Simon Carden who just failed to latch onto the ball.

As the first half drew to a close, both teams had chances to score with Mark Bett being denied by a fine save from Ashton and an Adam Carden effort from outside the area which sailing just over the cross bar on the stroke of half time.

In the second half, Platt had a chance for FC United when his shot from outside the box was deflected and looped over the Bradford keeper to hit the angle of the post and cross bar.

United’s first change came with 20 minutes to go when Carl Lomax replaced Phil Marsh and almost immediately had the perfect opportunity to score. Wright made a good run down the left and played a cross into Lomax in a great position who hit his shot high and wide.

With ten minutes left to go, the Reds seemed to be holding on, largely due to an excellent performance from Ashton. Park Avenue played the ball in for a header on goal and the FC number one made a magnificent save, tipping the ball over the bar.

Jamie Baguley replaced Carlos Roca in the closing stages, just minutes before the visitors dealt a crushing blow with an equaliser five minutes from time. The ball came in and Ashton got to his hand to it but the initial stop wasn’t strong enough to stop Bett’s ball going into the net.

United then had no choice but to push forward, bringing Dave Chadwick on upfront in place of Simon Carden.

Ashton produced another brilliant save when Hall was through on goal. FC’s keeper came out of his net to manufacture an excellent stop to deny Bradford.

A tense four minutes of added time saw Ashton make another fine save and in the dying seconds, the ball fell to Tong who had a great opportunity to grab all three points. Unfortunately, his effort was just inches wide in what was the last real chance of the game.

Due to other results, a draw was not enough for either side to qualify for the play-offs, but FC United must surely take the positive of actually getting into such a fantastic position when a couple of months ago the play-offs were out of sight.

Players and supporters alike can take away from the game the attitude that promotion this year was just not meant to be and as Margy said, we’ll come back and top the league next year. All connected must be extremely proud of FC United following a fantastic season.

Victoria Fullen.

FC United:
S. Ashton
A. Carden
S. Garner
N. Platt
A. Tong
R. Nugent ©
C. Roca
S. Carden
P. Marsh
J. Wright
T. Moses

C. Lomax (for 9)
D. Williams
J. Baguley (for 7)
D. Neville
D. Chadwick (for 8)

Bradford Park Avenue:
J. Worsnop
S. Downes
J. Price
J. Knowles
M. Haran ©
C. Stabb
M. James
A. Iqbal
C. Hall
R. Stamer
M. Bett

T. Birch
L. Gibson
M. Whitehouse
D. Davidson
T. Morgan

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First Posted ~ 21:43 Sat 25 Apr 2009
News ID ~ 2221
Last Updated ~ 15:08 Mon 21 May 2018