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FC United move up to sixth with win at Stocksbridge

A first half brace from Matthew Wolfenden saw FC United come back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 at Stocksbridge Park Steels and leapfrog Buxton to go within one place of the play-off zone on Saturday afternoon.

The Reds recovered from a terrible start to gain a hard fought victory over the South Yorkshire side which was made easier when goal-scorer Dan Dillon was sent off five minutes before the break for a second bookable offence.

Steels had the ball in the net inside 65 seconds. A break from deep allowed Mark Ward time and space on the edge of FC United’s penalty area and whilst goalkeeper Sam Ashton hesitated, the striker squared the ball for Dillon to smash a shot into an empty net.

Gradually FC United fought back into the game, Lee Neville firing just wide and Jerome Wright crossing for Karl Munroe to head just past the post.

The Reds where level on the half hour mark when Wolfenden collected a throw on the right, cut in a fired a high shot that the keeper David Ratcliffe seemed to have tipped over the bar. However, Wolfenden’s shot was too hot to handle and somehow the ball looped up in the air and despite the best back peddling efforts of Ratcliffe the ball ended up in the net.

On 33 minutes, Wright nearly scored United’s second but this time Radcliffe was equal to it, saving with his legs. The game exploded on 40 minutes when Wright skipped past Dillon near the right hand side touchline and the midfielder responded by launching himself at Wright.

A short melée took place as the United players were aggrieved with the challenge and Dillon received his second yellow card. The only mystifying aspect of the event was that the referee only opted to give Dillon a second yellow card when the tackle probably wanted two reds.

Wright was carried off with a gashed shin. From the free-kick Simon Carden helped on James Holden’s low ball into the box for Mike Norton to fire in a shot. Ratcliffe made a point blank save but it fell kindly for Wolfenden to tap in the rebound.

The second half nearly started as the first did but it was FC United doing the attacking. Ben Deegan, on as a substitute for the injured Wright, played in Norton but again Ratcliffe saved with his feet.

The Reds did look quite comfortable but at 2-1 there was always the chance of an equaliser and Ashton had to be alert to punch a looped cross away from danger. Carden had a good chance on the hour after a Deegan cross was put back into the box by a Roca overhead kick but the ball flew horribly wide – much to the amusement of the travelling Red army.

Roca was proving a danger for United and he was unlucky not to win a penalty when he seemed to be tripped by Stocksbridge captain Brett Lovell. The referee, who was position well nearby, waved away the appeals.

In the end it was a great win by FC who, with more luck in front of goal, may have won by more than one goal. However, manager Karl Marginson may be concerned with some slack defending early in the game. Though as he said post game, it is points in the bag that matter, and this win takes FC within touching distance of the play-offs.

Report by Steven Wood.

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First Posted ~ 10:19 Mon 28 Feb 2011
News ID ~ 3445
Last Updated ~ 10:19 Mon 28 Feb 2011