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Thursday 2nd September 2010


It’s all change this weekend as FC United move home temporarily to take on Matlock Town in the Evostik Premier League clash at Bower Fold the home of Stalybridge Celtic on Sunday at 3.00 pm. After a terrific win and performance against Retford United last Saturday FC dropped their first points of the season on Bank Holiday Monday in a 1-0 defeat away to Ashton United who have yet to concede a league goal this season. Ashton leapfrogged over FC into first place, however FC are only a point behind in third and Margy will be looking for the team to continue the form they showed in the first three games of the season.

"We’ve enjoyed a good solid start to the season so the defeat to Ashton last Monday was disappointing. We didn’t show the same tempo that we had been doing in the first few games. Ashton set out to “park the bus” in front of goal, being happy to settle for a draw right from the off and yet they ended up with a win."

"When faced with a team set up so intent on defending it’s important that we move the ball a lot more quickly and that’s what was lacking. There was no shortage of effort and the defeat certainly wasn’t for the want of trying but the invention wasn’t there. I often highlight the need for patient attacking build-up but at times it seemed like we were just passing for passing’s sake rather than for a purpose. We’ve got to give credit to Ashton for forcing us into that with their good defensive shape but there were poor decisions from us at times."

"Strength in Depth"

"On another day we’d have taken something from the game - I don’t think a defeat was a fair reflection, either in terms of possession or chances created. Still, one defeat doesn’t undo all the good work of the first few games and it’s a good learning curve for me and the players to see how we’ll deal with those tactics in future."

"Zach Hibbert came into the side last week and I thought he coped really well. He commanded his area well and took the crosses - we’ve seen that already from him in pre-season. Sam Ashton made a mistake for Retford’s goal last Saturday and so we decided to give Zach a chance. It’s the first time really that we’ve had the strength in depth to make such a call and it shows how the club and squad are getting stronger that we can do that. We want everyone hungry for their places and competition right through the side – that’s the way it’s got to be. No player who pulls on the shirt at FC can say that they don’t get a fair crack."

"I’ve not had a chance to watch Matlock this season but we know from last year that they’re a very capable team and they’ll be sure to give us a difficult game today. They’ve got a very capable striker in Ross Hannah who’s given us problems in the past and we’ll have to be right up for it today to get back on track. That said, I’m confident that if we play to our ability then we’ll get the three points. Last Monday aside, I’ve been buzzing with the way we’ve been playing. We’ve got quality right through the squad and there are players like Torpey and Colin Little who aren’t fully fit yet who we’re bringing in."

"Great goal Colin!"

"Most of you will have got a first glimpse of Little’s talent last week with that superb goal. Anyone who’s seen him over the years will know that’s what he’s capable of - his legs might no longer be what they were, else he wouldn’t be playing at this level, but his football brain is still so sharp and he gives us an influence on the pitch, talking to the other players."

"Obviously we’ve got a change of surroundings today with our first ‘home’ game at Stalybridge and hopefully everyone will enjoy the occasion. We’ve had a good relationship with the club since our first ever summer when we played them in that friendly here, famous for Rory Patterson’s first appearance for us. The pitch is a great surface conducive to our passing game so with your support we’ll hopefully get back to winning ways."

Get yourself to the right football ground on the right day at the right time! FC United V Matlock Town, Bower Fold Ground, Stalybridge, Sunday 5th September, kick off 3.00 pm.

Mr Mystery an’ all that

As FC prepare to play their fifth game at Bower Fold the home of Stalybridge Celtic some great memories of the previous four games still "burn" brightly.

In that "seat of your pants" summer of 2005 FC were still hunting for players in readiness for the first season in the North West Counties League when an unknown lad from north of the border in Ireland turned up with his boots for the friendly against Stalybridge and wagged his way onto the pitch as a substitute in a red shirt with no number on the back.

The game ended in a 2-0 defeat however it will be remembered for the debut of "Mr Mystery" aka "The Man with no Name". Little did the supporters realise that Rory Paterson would become the Club’s top scorer over the next three seasons scoring some memorable goals on the way before going on even further to play international football for the country of his birth.

On 4th November 2006 the first "Mini Derby" took place, moved from Maine Road’s home ground to Bower Fold to accommodate the expected large crowd. 3181 supporters created a raucous atmosphere as FC ran out 2-1 winners in a hard fought game which saw Jerome Wright star in a Maine Road side which battled to the end despite being reduced to 10 men.

It was almost 3 years before FC appeared again at Bower Fold in another memorable game, the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round Replay against Stalybridge. After a dramatic 3-3 draw in the first game the replay was settled in the first half in FC’s favour by a long range rocket from Jerome Wright leading to strange scenes mixed with both jubilation and road runner impressions at the final whistle.

The fourth game was a competitive friendly against Stalybridge only a few weeks ago ending up 0-0 but which FC won 4-1 on hitting the woodwork as well as missing a penalty.

So, what’s in store for us this Sunday? Any guesses?


How good was the Retford game?

I don’t want to come over like Chris Evans on Prozac here but what a great day. Sun shining, six points from two games before kick off, footy season back on track with a 3 o'clock Saturday kick off and the prospect of a ground to call our own in the offing. Then we go and spank in 5 goals with a display as good as I've seen in a long time. Lovely.

The first Saturday home of the season had all the highs with Jerome and Carlos terrorising defenders, the defence looking more solid than it has done in a long time and some clinical finishing meaning the superiority was reflected with goals.

It's been a good couple of seasons since I was this positive about a promotion charge (some would say this is the most positive I've ever been about anything) and even a narrow bank holiday hangover away defeat was tempered with news that Steve Torpey is back in the fold, being once again faster than you and faster than me.

And here's another plus, a strong relationship with Stalybridge means we get to visit their great set up a few times this year. A brilliant atmosphere at the Maine Road game a couple of years back and a friendly welcome in the local pubs (well they let us in) always gets me looking forward to Stalyvegas. Hopefully we can turn this ground into fortress FC this year.

I'm looking forward to it all this season, the highs, the lows, the sessions, the football, the homes, the aways and the homes that are also aways. I accept no responsibility though for jinxing us with this boundless optimism and this being the start of 5 without a win. Come on you mighty Reds. VF