All we want for Christmas is... a match
After having the last two matches postponed FC United will hope to get an early Christmas present in the shape of a football match this Saturday against Woodley Sports at Gigg Lane. John Freeman provides this preview...
Due to a waterlogged pitch at Gigg Lane preventing Chorley’s visit last week and a frozen playing surface at Ossett Albion, FC United haven’t kicked a competitive ball so far in December. They’ll be hoping that will change this weekend and three much needed points will almost definitely be right at the top of manager Karl Marginson’s wish list.
Back in September, today’s visitors Woodley Sports gained a point in a 1-1 draw at Gigg Lane – Rory Patterson scoring the equaliser for FC United. Woodley have had a patchy start to the season with a run of indifferent form in the league. They were knocked out of the FA Trophy by Newcastle Blue Star and by Curzon Ashton in the UniBond Challenge Cup. However, a good run in the FA Cup was ended in the 3rd Qualifying Round by Kendal Town after earlier wins against Mossley, Hallam and Horden.
During 2004/2005 Woodley Sports competed in the UniBond First Division and finished the season in 11th place as well as reaching the final of the Chairman’s Cup.
Off the pitch, the club secured the support of two local businessmen to redevelop the ground. In July 2005, the club installed the very latest synthetic surface “field turf” which reduces postponements and also provided much needed income streams for the club by the hiring of the facilities (but means that any ‘home’ FA Cup matches need to be played elsewhere). Future projects include new floodlights, additional seating and covered standing accommodation as well as a new perimeter fencing along with new treatment rooms for use by players and spectators.
The 2005/2006 season saw Woodley finish fourth, their highest UniBond League position, to gain a play-off place only to lose out against Gresley Rovers. They failed to build on that last season and could only finish 10th but it was their cup exploits that provided an indication of their true potential. They had their best ever runs in the FA Cup (3rd Qualifying Round) and FA Trophy (1st Round Proper) beating Conference North teams Leigh RMI and Moor Green in the process. Last season also saw a dramatic semi-final exit in the President’s Cup after a 8-7 defeat on penalties after extra-time away at Premier League side Matlock Town, despite playing over an hour of the game with ten men.
Last season ended with manager Ally Pickering departing the club to be replaced by the new management team of Chris Willcock and former manager John Flanagan. The duo have so far failed to make any real impact, but they’ll be hoping to kick-start their reign this Saturday.
FC United versus Woodley Sports is this Saturday, three O’clock at Gigg Lane. Admissions are the usual 7.50 for adults, five pounds for concessions and two pounds for under-18s. Get yourself to that football ground.