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Last gasp FC United rescue point at relegated Eastwood

An 89th minute equaliser by Tom Greaves rescued a vital point for FC United in a 2-2 draw at Eastwood Town on Saturday afternoon.

United cancelled out the home side’s lead on the stroke of half-time through Oliver Banks and after an unfortunate own goal early in the second period, had to wait until the dying minutes to equalise once more.

With several regulars ruled out through injury, Karl Marginson called upon the strength of his squad, opting for a similar line-up to that of Tuesday’s victory over Kendal Town, and giving a second consecutive start to youth centre-half Lewis Lacey and a place on the team sheet for Matthew Walwyn. A mention must also go to Jerome Wright who was given the captaincy on his record-breaking 243rd appearance for the Reds.

The last time the Reds travelled to Eastwood, the Badgers were on their way up to the Blue Square South and brushed United aside with three goals to none, however, the story was somewhat different on Saturday as FC came up against an already relegated Eastwood side.

Eastwood’s position in the league coupled with United putting six past Kendal last time out may have meant that on paper a Red victory was fairly comprehensive; however, those who have followed Marginson’s men this season will be more than aware that nothing is that clear cut where FC are concerned.

It was in fact the Badgers who had the best and only chance of the opening stages as Jake Green almost turned a quick cross from Samuel Winch on the left beyond Worsnop from inside the six-yard box. The United keeper however was well positioned to make the block and save his side from conceding very early on.

A Rhodri Giggs corner in the 12th minute was put in towards Greg Daniels who managed to get something on it before the ball came out to Lacey on the edge of the area whose effort met with the cross bar.

United were being given little time on the ball and were struggling to play with any sort of fluency on a very poor surface, but Eastwood on the other hand were playing with nothing to lose and went ahead on 33 minutes.

Poor defending was at fault for the goal and as United waited for an offside decision, Green ran on and hit across Worsnop from the right of the box. The keeper initially managed to stretch across his goalmouth and palm the ball away, but only for Green to pounce on the loose ball and put it between Worsnop and the upright into the bottom corner.

Just as it seemed the Reds would be going in at the break a goal down, a final roll of the dice in the first half levelled the score. Wright on the left played the ball down the line to Walwyn who crossed deep to Matthew Wolfenden. The forward’s downwards header was directed superbly into the path of Banks who struck with intent to fire past Malong just seconds prior to the half-time whistle.

This was really the only Red highlight of a poor first half and much like the weather, things weren’t looking much brighter after the restart as Stott inadvertently gave Eastwood the lead.

United’s defence were looking disorganised and the Badgers were given far too much room to swing in a cross. Under pressure, Stott tried to deal with the ball but somehow managed to put it past Worsnop into the roof of his own net just after Wright had come close at the opposite end of the park.

The Reds began to control the game and apply large amounts of pressure in and around the Eastwood area. A double substitution saw strikers Mike Norton and Tom Greaves take to the pitch to add to the attack as Giggs and Walwyn made way.

United continued to look for a way back in and Norton, Banks and Wright all had efforts within minutes of each other, but were all straight at the keeper.

Dave Birch was introduced to the encounter, replacing Wolfenden who had picked up a knock and the midfielder took part in a tense final few minutes as the Reds threw everything at Eastwood in search of the elusive equaliser. Their efforts were rewarded in the last minute of normal time as Greaves chased to the dead ball line, rounded a defender and blasted past Malong from a tight angle.

The Faithful urged United on into added time but despite their best attempts, a late winner was not to be. Most will probably view the result as a point gained, given the fact that a loss was on the cards until the 89th minute.

FC United remain in third place with five games to go, all of which will be crucial as they aim to finish inside the play-off places.

Report by Victoria Fullen

Website Man of the Match: Lewis Lacey – proved again to be a valuable asset in the squad during a spell of defensive injury and is growing in stature with every game.

For a review of this and the Kendal match, both included in the latest podcast from FCUM Radio, click here

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First Posted ~ 19:22 Sat 13 Apr 2013
News ID ~ 4848
Last Updated ~ 10:11 Tue 16 Apr 2013