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FC United suffer first defeat of the season to Chasetown

FC United threw away a first minute lead to lose 2-1 to Chasetown at Gigg Lane on Saturday afternoon in front of 2,049 supporters.

Matthew Wolfenden gave the Reds a dream start for the second week running by putting them 1-0 up inside 60 seconds. But unlike last Saturday in Stafford, United couldn’t press home their advantage and The Scholars scored twice in the last 20 minutes to snatch all three points, ending the Reds’ 100% start to the season.

Following Wednesday’s thrilling encounter with North Ferriby, United’s winning line-up remained unchanged, bar the return of David Chadwick whose recovery from a neck strain meant that he was able to partner Dean Stott at centre half in the absence of Adam Jones due to attending a wedding.

Clearly not satisfied with achieving the league’s fastest goal time last Saturday, Wolfenden broke his own record, giving United a dream start to their first game at Gigg Lane this season by scoring on 32 seconds.

Ben Deegan did well to chest the ball down to Carlos Roca who swept it over the top for Wolfenden to slot a precise side-footed shot beyond visiting goalkeeper Ryan Price.

The Reds continued to look lively in the opening stages and the FC United faithful may have been hopeful that following a strong start, FC might be able to add more to the score-line early on.

Wolfenden did have the ball over the line once more inside 20 minutes, however the winger was adjudged to be offside when he latched on to an excellent through-ball from Jake Cottrell.

By the midway point in the half, Chasetown were enjoying a spell in which United were forced to sit back as the visitors began to interrupt any fluency in FC’s passing and get the ball forward, often through winger Ramone Stephens whose trickery and speed proved to be one of the tests for United’s defence.

The Reds had picked up the pace again as half time approached and began to play good spells of fluent passing. Michael Carr seized upon the opportunity to run into space down the left and feed a decent ball through to Roca who, under pressure from the defender, narrowly failed to connect with the ball inside the six yard box.

Cottrell then rounded off the half with a fantastic effort from 30 yards which looked to be curling in at the keeper’s top left-hand corner before drifting narrowly wide as Price desperately back-peddled.

As the second period began, the onset of rain seemed to mirror the change in FC’s fortune. There was an increased sense that 1-0 was not a sufficient enough cushion for the Reds as the visitors were again forcing United to play very deep and it was becoming too easy for Chasetown to split the United defence.

A header at the far post straight at goalkeeper James Spencer was closely followed by Stephens’ cross from the right which had the United keeper at full stretch, forcing him into a one-handed parry away from immediate danger.
United were then able to fire into a quick break as Deegan picked up the ball on the left and hooked it central into the path of Nicky Platt who saw his storming drive tipped over the bar by Price.

On the hour mark, Roca pulled up on the right-hand side and, unable to play on, was replaced by Steve Torpey. Deegan also made way for Mike Norton who returned to the fold following a three match ban after receiving a red card the last time United played Chasetown back in April.

Minutes later, Chadwick looked to tee himself up to shoot inside the area before being brought down for what appeared to be a blatant penalty. However, all claims were waved away, denying FC a valuable chance to double their lead at a crucial stage of the game. Instead, United’s advantage was wiped as Chasetown found a way back in.

With 20 minutes to go, Stott was booked for a two-footed challenge on Stephens and the resulting free-kick from Jake Sedgemore sailed through the United defence from around 35 yards. As two attackers rushed in at the back post, perhaps distracting Spencer, the ball hit the back of the net in what possibly should have been a routine interception for the keeper from such a long range effort.

Sedgemore claimed the goal, although Jevons also seemed to think he got a touch. One thing was for sure though and that was United had a game on their hands.

Down the opposite end of the park, a rare second half chance for FC came as Torpey’s cross-cum-shot from the left met Norton inside the box who poked the ball agonisingly wide of the near post.

Hesitation between defence and keeper invited Chasetown to attack far too deep as the visitors hit the post before John Branch fired a low drive across Spencer, leaving United with just ten minutes to salvage something from the game.

Nothing seemed to fall for the Reds and despite adequate possession, very little was produced in the way of chances. Ultimately therefore, credit must go to the visitors who, having trailed the game for 71 minutes, were able to prey on the uncertainties in United’s back five and turn the game around to come away with all three points.

Their 100% start to the season now broken, United must dust themselves off for a trip to rivals Chester on Wednesday in what will surely be a vital fixture between two title favourites, even at this early stage of the season.

Website man of the match: David Chadwick.

Report by Victoria Fullen

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First Posted ~ 18:49 Sun 21 Aug 2011
News ID ~ 3714
Last Updated ~ 18:49 Sun 21 Aug 2011