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FC United beaten 1-0 by landlords Bury - full report

Despite a solid performance, FC United lost 1-0 to our League One landlords Bury at Gigg Lane in the fourth friendly of our pre-season campaign on Saturday afternoon.

Karl Marginson’s side held out until the 35th minute against the Shakers and they could have taken the lead midway through the half with former Halifax midfielder Scott Metcalfe rattling the bar.

However, Bury were always in control of the match and they made their constant pressure count ten minutes before the break with a good finish from Mike Jones, giving United’s new goalkeeper James Spencer no chance.

Stalwarts of last season’s close brush with promotion combined with new faces brought into the squad over the summer lined up against the newly promoted Shakers in the third friendly encounter between the two current Gigg Lane residents.

Efe Sodje was the provider of Bury’s first real opportunity as a well placed long ball down the right to Mark Cullen left FC United looking for the offside decision. The linesman’s flag stayed down allowing the on-loan Hull striker to cut inside unmarked and run one-on-one with Spencer who came off his line to close down the attempt.

Ten minutes in and the Reds had an excellent chance to go ahead as Bury’s clearance fell only as far as Metcalfe who struck a superb shot first time from 25 yards with the keeper’s top right corner in his sights. Belford had no choice but to spectate as the ball ricocheted off the woodwork.

It was however the home side who had the attacking upperhand and the fluency of Bury’s passing and ability to keep the ball for long periods was telling of the superior experience of the League One side who now lie four divisions above FC United.

Bury were pushing forward at every opportunity, having plenty of space to work the ball through the midfield. Jones picked out Cullen inside the six yard box and with only Spencer standing in his way, the striker fired his shot high into an unoccupied Manchester Road End.

Spencer was tested shortly after as Bury worked the ball forward to Jones who cut inside from the right and unleashed a decent effort goalwards, giving the FC United support in attendance an early insight into Spencer’s shot stopping ability as the former Northwich Victoria keeper got down well to parry the effort.

Ryan Lowe then forced another good save from Spencer just minutes before Bury’s control of the game was converted into a goal. A pass forward for Jones was not intercepted and the striker weaved his way through the United defence to fire the ball across Spencer into the bottom corner.

Carlos Roca looked to set up a promising attack early in the second half, bursting through the midfield and playing in Metcalfe whose cross form the left was headed back out to Carr. The midfielder was quickly closed down and the loose ball was left for Jake Cottrell who sent a powerful shot goalwards. The effort rebounded off the keeper and Norton showed striker’s instinct, pouncing inside the six yard box only for Belford to smother well.

Just past the hour mark, Ben Deegan became United’s first substitute of the game, replacing Norton in a like-for-like swap to head up FC’s 4-5-1 formation for the remainder of the match. Further changes ensued, giving opportunity to several other members of the squad, meaning that only Roca and Lee Neville stayed on the pitch for the full 90 minutes.

Despite further FC attempts to press forward with Neville seeing a last ditch flying block prevent a certain equaliser and the referee turning down a strong penalty claim for handball in the latter stages, Bury were able to see the game out to record the narrowest of victories over their tenants.

FC United could perhaps have expected a draw from proceedings but the management team will surely be pleased with the application of the squad as things begin to take shape for the forthcoming campaign.

Report by Victoria Fullen

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First Posted ~ 13:07 Mon 25 Jul 2011
News ID ~ 3663
Last Updated ~ 13:07 Mon 25 Jul 2011