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Bears hold United to a draw

Rory Patterson had a second half penalty saved as FC United were held to a draw for the first team this season by a stubborn ten man Congleton Town side in difficult conditions at a windy Wincham Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Bears took the lead after 18 minutes before Josh Howard grabbed a deserved equaliser with just 25 minutes to go, but despite the home side having a player sent off midway through the second half for violent conduct they still had enough to frustrate the Reds.

This certainly was a game of two halves. FC United came out of the starting traps very slowly and allowed Congleton to have the better of the opening, much to the annoyance of the majority of the 1,106 supporters in attendance.

The Cheshire outfit tested the Reds ‘keeper Sam Ashton as early as the sixth minute with Jordan Johnson’s 15-yard strike but the young shot stopper dealt with it by tipping the ball over the bar.

The Bears mounted continuous pressure on United and it finally paid off for them as they took the lead on 18 minutes. The goal came from a Scott Williams corner and was headed home by an unchallenged Scott Murcott the tallest player on the pitch by some way. Ashton came out but missed the ball and handed Murcott a gift of a goal.

Soon after, the Reds started to show signs of their usual selves and come into the game a bit more. A through ball by Howard cut through the home side’s defence and found the path of Nicky Platt. Platt’s square ball into the box was just asking to be tucked away but just could not find a red shirt.

Throughout the first half United struggled to put together a series of passes and still looked to be deflated from their midweek defeat.

Manager Karl Marginson obviously had some strong words with the lads at half-time and it seemed to do the trick as United game out the second half a much better side.

They could have easily got back on turns just one minute into the half, when Danny Allen’s chip from just outside the box forced the Congleton ‘keeper Paul Forester to fully stretch to deny the youngster.

It was Allen again just a couple of minutes later who could have got the scores level when he notched onto Howard’s through ball and with just the ‘keeper to beat could only fire his shot wide of the target.

The Reds’ one-way traffic finally led to an opening just after the hour mark. Substitute Phil Power, making his first appearance of the season, weaved his way through the Congleton box and was caught by Ben Alston for a penalty. Unfortunately for United the resulting kick was fired straight at Forester by Patterson.

Despite the miss, it didn’t take the Reds long to find the equaliser, it came just four minutes later. Patterson made up for his penalty miss as he cut the ball in from the by-line to set Howard up for an easy tap-in.

The tie got nasty after the 70th minute as a 20-man brawl broke out.
Congleton’s Matt Murray was adjudged to have punched Nicky Platt in the face and was shown a straight red by referee Mr Dowd. However, the incident seemed to cause some unrest between the two opposing benches.

United gave everything in the last 20 minutes but just couldn’t find that lucrative winner and were forced to settle for a point against a side that have now held all of the division’s top four teams to a draw.

John Hill

Team information:

Congleton Town
1 Paul Forester
2 Ben Alston
3 Alan Glover
4 Scott Murcott
5 Andy Alston (Capt)
6 Matt Murray
7 Jordan Johnson
8 Richard Bailey
9 Andy Hurst
10 Gerard Courtney
11 Scott Williams
12 Tommy Baker (for 9, 74 mins )
14 Leigh Skellern (for 4, 46 mins )
15 Craig Jones (for 7, 83 mins)

Scorer: Murcott 18
Sent off: Matt Murray, 70 min violent conduct

FC United
1 Sam Ashton
2 Gareth Ormes
3 Alex Mortimer
4 Dave Brown
5 David Chadwick (Capt)
6 Robert Nugent
7 Gary Sampson
8 Simon Carden
9 Danny Allen
10 Joshua Howard
11 Rory Patterson
12 Steven Spencer (for 4, 69 mins)
14 Nick Platt (for 7, 16 mins)
15 Phil Power (for 9, 55 mins)

Scorer: Howard 66

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First Posted ~ 21:55 Sun 3 Dec 2006
News ID ~ 715
Last Updated ~ 17:51 Fri 11 Oct 2013