Two goals from Roger Degue and one from Michael Jones guided FC United Reserves to a 3-0 win against Ashton United at a windblown Broadhurst Park.
The early play was dominated by midfield exchanges as Ashton United sought to avoid the mistakes that gave FC such an easy ride in the fixture at Hurst Cross earlier in the season: making five changes to the starting line-up. However a home side which had only three starters from the earlier game were rarely tested defensively.
The first real chance came on six minutes as first Chris Hill and then Degue tested Josh Samberg in the visitors goal, the latter from the first save being turned round for a corner. The next half chance didn’t come until the 19th minute when Alfons Fosu Mensa shot wide for the visitors.
For the rest of the half the patient possession play began to pay dividends, in the 21st minute a sweeping cross-field pass from Toby Wright found Will Shawcross. His shot was saved and the rebound reached Degue who this time, was off target.
Shortly afterwards Frank Van Gils passed through to Degue; his run and shot was turned round by Samberg and Wright was narrowly wide with an effort from the corner. Ashton might have taken the lead on the half hour when a spectulative ball forward was allowed into the home penalty area before Ben Jupp blocked a shot at close range.
Two goals in five minutes before half time effectively settled the match, on 34 minutes Degue was played in beyond the Ashton back line and a measured lob over Samberg dropped into the goal. Five minutes later Shawcross ran into the box and found Degue. He appeared to have been fouled but the referee was not impressed. The ball then broke for Jones to fire home. Degue hit the post two minutes later after a neat exchange with van Gils.
The result was settled with less than a minute of the second half as Jones played Degue in to shoot past the keeper for his second and FC United’s third. Hope hit the post soon afterwards but the nature of the wind meant that lofted balls forward carried just a little too much impetus and the home side had to concentrate on low passes in to players feet. That said FC United came closest to scoring when Hope took advantage of that wind to strike on goal from as much as 45 yards out at free kicks. The first of which saw Samberg scrambling to turn over an effort that would have dropped just under the cross bar.
Ashton United had the ball in the net on the hour after a scramble in the penalty area but it was disallowed for a foul on Jupp who looked to have taken charge of the situation. FC United made the regulation five changes in two blocks either side of that action. The substitutes created chances, Keenan Tuck had two good chances, whilst Jake Shawcross had an effort saved and Jack Tinning hit the bar there were no more goals.
The reserves are now eight points clear at the top of the Lancashire League South Division. Although New Mills and Curzon Ashton continue to challenge and have games in hand (two and four respectively), FC wins against both sides mean that they would still trail even if maximum points were gained.
The lads complete their 2015 programme with a return game against Stalybridge Celtic on Thursday. Kick off at Bower Fold is 7:45pm.
FC United of Manchester:
1. Ben Jupp
2. Daniel Cooke
3. Toby Wright
4. Michael Jones
5. Ben Potter
6. Nathan Chorlton
7. Frank van Gils
8. Dean Hope
9. Roger Degue
10. Chris Hill
11. Will Shawcross
12. Jake Shawcross (for 6, 61 mins)
14. Steeve Eddy (for 5, 53 mins)
15. Keenan Tuck (for 4, 53 mins)
16. Jack Tinning(for 9, 61 mins)
17. Charlie Sykes (for 11, 53 mins)
1. Josh Samberg
2. Ellis Robinson
3. Andy Presho
4. Matthew Johnson
6. Danny Vincent
7. Reece Glynn
8. Josh Steadman
9. Alfons Fosu Mensa
10. Sam Bagshaw
11. Salio Sirleaf
12 Kevin Eriyo
GK Lewis Hindley.