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FC United earn FA Trophy replay with Witton (+ HIGHLIGHTS)

Having exited two cup competitions at the first hurdle already this campaign, FC United managed to go one better in the First Round Qualifying of the FA Trophy and came away from Witton Albion with a 2-2 draw, meaning the tie will be replayed on Wednesday evening.

Albion went ahead just after the break through former FC forward Kyle Wilson before Matthew Walwyn and Matthew Wolfenden scored one each. Going into the final thundery few minutes with the lead, progression into the next round was so nearly on the cards, however it was a stormy 90th minute as Witton converted a penalty and set the scores level once more.

The United line-up differed somewhat from Tuesday’s defeat to Skelmersdale and new signing Amjad Iqbal started at centre-half alongside Andy Pearson. Marginson’s side playing in blue were led onto the pitch by captain Mike Norton who started with Tom Greaves as the formation altered to include more punch upfront.

The Reds started brightly, reflecting the warm sunshine filling the ground at the beginning of the game. Possession was kept well in the first couple of minutes and United looked to be attacking minded. There were chances apiece for the two sides and Walwyn in particular looked strong for United, taking on a good ball from Sergio Rodriguez and unleashing a shot which ricocheted off the top of the stand behind Matthew Cooper’s goal.

David Walker’s stabbed effort from inside the area was luckily well placed for Wornsop to deal with but the home side threatened again shortly after as Wilson outran Iqbal down the left and sent it a good cross which swerved away from the keeper for Daniel Andrews to plant his header against the bar from 12 yards.

Just as United looked to have survived the spate of pressure, Lee Neville played them back into danger. The left-back chested the ball in the direction of Worsnop but was unaware of Walker who pounced on the loose ball and eyed the goal. Fortunately the keeper closed down the effort well. The FC custodian was also on the receiving end of an attempted lob from distance but was able to keep his eye on the ball as it travelled through the air and caught safely.

United too had a couple of chances, with both Walwyn and Greaves both testing Cooper; the former from a free kick and the latter drilling a low shot along the ground which the keeper, without a clear view, managed to get down to his right post to stop.

The score line remained level at the break and although the start for United had looked promising, the Reds seemed nervous and in need of a confidence boost a goal would surely bring.

It was however the home side who broke the deadlock on 46 minutes after starting the half on the front foot. Albion were immediately pressuring and United couldn’t clear the ball beyond their own area, instead conceding a corner. Joshua Hancock put the ball in and Ben Harrison and Andrews kept the attack going before Wilson’s shot took a huge deflection and hit the inside of the far post before rolling behind a sprawling Wornsop.
The Reds had replaced Rodriguez with Dave Birch at half-time and their second substitution was not too long after, in the form of Dean Stott who took to the field in place of Neville. Brownhill resultantly switched sides and went to left-back and Stott slotted in at right-back.

Having lacked pace in their attack, United began to up the tempo and won a free kick on the edge of the ‘D’. Walwyn stepped up confidently and made no mistake in coolly firing a precision shot between Cooper and his right-hand post on the hour mark. Whilst the equaliser clearly instilled some confidence in Marginson’s team, Witton weren’t about to rest on their laurels and Walker found himself one-on-one with Worsnop who pulled off a good save to divert the ball over the bar.

United had bright spells in the period that followed, but also frustrated with poor passing and hesitation in moving the ball forward. Marginson opted for more change at the back and FC debutant and FC former exited the encounter at the same moment as Iqbal made way for Tom Davies and Wilson was replaced by Neville Thompson.

On 81 minutes, a great move saw the Reds take the lead. Greaves won the ball on the left hand side and knocked it back towards Walwyn whose intelligent deft touch found Brownhill in support further back along the line. The fullback’s high cross in was met by Wolfenden who volleyed beyond Cooper.

As the thunder reverberated around the ground, United’s afternoon began to darken as Brownhill was caught upfield and with Pearson covering, the Reds were caught short at the back. Worsnop came off his line to close down Andrews who was coming in from the right but the referee adjudged the keeper to have brought down the Witton forward. Optimism may point towards the fact that Wornsop was shown only a yellow card; however the keeper could do nothing to prevent Hancock taking full advantage of the penalty on 90 minutes.

The four minutes of additional time saw both teams battle through the battering rain as fans took shelter to watch the culmination of the match. Neither side could offer any more in the way of goals and as the lightning-lit sky illuminated the field of play, the whistle signalled a cup tie headed for a midweek replay.

Report by Victoria Fullen.

Website Man of the Match: Matthew Walwyn – had several chances and a well-taken goal and put a strong case forward for more starts.

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First Posted ~ 11:52 Sun 20 Oct 2013
News ID ~ 5145
Last Updated ~ 21:52 Sun 20 Oct 2013