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FC United slump to home defeat against Rushall - full report

FC United fell to two second half goals against Rushall Olympic on a frustrating and disappointing Saturday afternoon at Gigg Lane where nothing went right for Karl Marginson’s side.

The Reds started the day as league leaders but the West Midlands club cemented their reputation as one of our bogey teams with their third victory in five encounters against us.

In a game reminiscent of some previous contests with The Pics, Stocksbridge Park Steels and Bamber Bridge, United struggled to break down a big, strong, resolute defence and eventually lost their way and consequently the match.

Every credit to the visitors though, on this occasion, as well as having a solid back-line, they also played some good football. That was largely down to former Birmingham City, Coventry City and Nottingham Forest striker Dele Adebola, who used his career of Football League experience to dictate the game for large spells.

The 38-year-old Nigerian joined Rushall last month after being released by Rochdale and he was a class above everyone on the pitch. United struggled to get anywhere near him, not purely due to his size and strength but also his skill and composure on the ball. It was no surprise when he opened the scoring five minutes into the second half with a stooping header six yards out from a corner.

United piled forward in search of an equaliser for most of the second half but rather than keeping the ball on the ground and working an opening, the high crosses into the box became increasingly desperate and erratic as time ticked away.

With 12 minutes to go, Rushall made it 2-0 from the penalty spot. United were at full stretch and Olympic launched a counter attack. Ahmed Obeng was released by Adebola on the left flank with Adam Pearson giving chase, the striker cut into the box and Pearson tried to block him off, which caused Obeng to tumble. It was a soft penalty but not one United could really complain about.

Obeng picked himself up and decisively fired home the spot-kick past James Spencer before performing a dance routine by the corner flag that would probably have been best left in front of his bedroom mirror.

United continued to attack and finally did have the ball in the back of the net with three minutes to go but substitute Michael Norton’s close range effort was ruled out for offside. It was incredibly frustrating for the Reds, especially because we looked like we might have broken the deadlock three minutes before half-time when Mitchell Tolley desperately deflected a Tom Greaves shot onto the post and then off the line.

Many of the 1,961 supporters in the ground hoped rather than truly believed the whole ball was over the line but the lack of any substantial appeal from the players tells its own story. The results of football matches often hinge on how 50-50 incidents go and this was no different with the ’goal’ that never was, the penalty and the disallowed goal all going against United.

However, even with all of that taken into account, United were undone again by a determined, no thrills side that stuck to their task and ground out a result. A reoccurring theme that needs to be addressed.

Website man of the match: Dele Adebola. Rushall have pulled off a coup by signing the experienced and powerful Nigerian. If he stays fit and interested, they must surely be in the mix for the play-offs this season.

Report by Matthew Haley

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First Posted ~ 17:54 Sat 7 Sep 2013
News ID ~ 5067
Last Updated ~ 14:32 Wed 11 Sep 2013