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United held to draw by first placed Ferriby - report & goals

FC United played out a 1-1 draw against table topping North Ferriby United at Bower Fold on Sunday afternoon in front of the season’s biggest crowd of 2,465 but the Reds were unlucky not to take all the three points and close the gap on the Villagers.

Evo-Stik Premier Division leaders Ferriby took the lead on 15 minutes via the penalty spot but United equalised on the stroke of half-time through Tom Greaves. Karl Marginson’s side had chances to seal victory in the second half but couldn’t find the break through. However, a draw still keeps FC United’s title challenge on track.

The Reds began the day ten points behind the visitors having played four games less, and knew that a win would see them move into a great position to leapfrog the Villagers in the final few weeks of the season.

The game began with a high intensity, which carried on for the full 90 minutes, with United looking fired up for the occasion. The Reds come close to opening the scoring early on through Mike Norton and then Lee Neville saw his effort cleared off the line.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring after Anthony Wilson latched onto a short pass-back by Matthew Wolfenden towards United ‘keeper James Spencer, and was brought down by Spencer in the challenge. The referee initially pointed for a goal kick but, after consulting with his assistant, decided that it was a penalty, a decision which did not go down well with the United players or support.

Ryan Kendall stepped up for the Villagers and fired home to give them the lead, but the United fans and players were still amazed that the referee had changed his mind on the back of the assistants advice, given that the referee seemed to have had the better view.

United couldn’t afford to dwell on any injustice though as The Villagers were looking dangerous on the attack and forced a great double save from Spencer to keep the game at 1-0.

The visiting side pressed well all afternoon and didn’t give United a second to make even the most simple pass anywhere on the pitch, but United came more and more into the game during the first 45, but that would count for nothing if they couldn’t get on the score sheet.

Just on the stroke of half time as it looked like United would go in a goal down they managed to level through Greaves. A lovely little ball through the middle to Norton was chested down by the United number nine, but unfortunately it looked like he had put too much on it, luckily Greaves was on hand to fire home levelling up with his sixth goal in eight games.

The old cliché about it being a great time to score couldn’t have been more appropriate, as had United not scored they could have got frustrated in the second period and the visitors would have been happy to get into the second half having withstood some periods of pressure in the first half.

The pressure would be the key factor of the second half as United attacked from the off knowing they had dealt their opponents a significant blow with Greaves’ goal just before the break.

Greaves got the ball on the right early on a fired across the six yard box just inches away from the diving head of Norton who just couldn’t get anything onto the ball for what would have been a certain goal.

United’s next decent opportunity came again through Greaves, who got the better of the physical defence and found him one on one with the North Ferriby ‘keeper Adam Nicklin, but saw his low hard drive saved by Nicklin.

Minutes later and it was Norton’s turn as he got free of the defence on the right hand side of the box, this time beating Nicklin but seeing the ball go just wide of the far post.

The away team did have a few attacks in the second period but nothing of any real note tested Spencer, and it was clear to all in attendance that if any team was going to take the three points it would be the team in Red.

United kept gunning for that goal though, and had a great shout for a penalty after a physical challenge on Mike Norton in the box left Norton checking his pockets to make sure his wallet hadn’t been taken, but there was still no helping hand from the referee.

Norton was replaced by Greg Daniels in the closing minutes, and Daniels had a great opportunity to win the game as a scramble in the box saw the ball fall to him, he then unleashed a shot on goal but was denied by Nickin who pulled the save out of the top draw.

Another scramble from the resulting corner saw Jones head on, and Rhodri Giggs hit the side netting from the tightest of angles as United again went agonisingly close.

With the draw United maintained their unbeaten league record in 2013, and after some reflection a draw against the league leaders has to be considered a good result. But walking away from the ground there was a distinct feeling of disappointment as United had controlled the game in the second half, and it will go down as a missed opportunity to close that gap even further.

Man of the match: Tom Greaves – gave as good as he got against a physical defence, and could (possibly should) have won the game in the second half.

See the goals here: http://www.youtube.com/fcunitedmcr

Report by Craig Phillips

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First Posted ~ 20:38 Sun 3 Mar 2013
News ID ~ 4765
Last Updated ~ 13:30 Mon 4 Mar 2013