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Goalkeeper Carnell ensures FC United gain point with Worcester City stalemate

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FC United gained a point against Worcester City at Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday afternoon with a 0-0 draw in front of 2,135 supporters in the Vanarama National League North.

The Reds will be pleased with a share of the spoils in a reasonably even match where either team could have edged victory. The draw leaves Karl Marginson’s side three points above the relegation zone with 10 games left to play in the season.

It was a game of two halves, which was dominated by City in the first before United looked like the stronger side in the second. However, despite all of the Reds’ good build up play, they rarely troubled substitute goalkeeper Ethan Ross, who came on to replace the injured Nathan Vaughan just three minutes into the game.

David Carnell was much the busier of the three ’keepers on display, making three vital one-on-one saves in the first half before saving the best to last with a draw securing block at point blank range in the final minutes of the game.

City striker Amadou Babayoko could easily have had a hat-trick was it not for two of those superb saves by Carnell and a good piece of defending by George Thomson, who unsettled the striker into lifting his shot over the bar from six yards.

The best United could offer came in the second half with a back-heeled attempt by Matthew Wolfenden, which Ross gathered easily, and a few potshots from the edge of the box.

After a promising first few minutes, the visitors from Manchester spent the majority of the first half pinned back and under the cosh. Carnell was left exposed on an all too regular basis but fortunately he was able to keep United in the game by saving against Babayoko, winger Jordan Murphy, and centre-back Wayne Thomas when he really didn’t have the right to.

Thankfully, United got through to half-time on level terms and they looked much stronger in the second half. Centre-backs Tom Eckersley and, in particular, Scott Kay looked much more assured and gave the Reds a good platform at the back to build on.

The whole team looked a lot more purposeful in the second half with Greg Daniels also getting on the ball and attacking Worcester. However, despite United’s best efforts, their endeavours rarely amounted to anything overly threatening as numerous final balls went astray and good defending saw the Reds’ forwards snatching at half-chances.

Midway through the second half, the usually clinical Thomson took an airshot from the edge of the box when he looked destined to fire the ball into the bottom corner, as he has done several times already this season. It was that kind of day.

United continued to press and the introduction of Sam Madeley and Sam Sheridan for Daniels and Thomson in the final 15 minutes added to the pressure. The momentum had swayed fully in United’s favour and balls were regularly being sprayed into the City box. However, Worcester held firm and they nearly hit United on the counter-attack with a rapid break with two minutes to go but Carnell leapt to their defence to deny Babayoko a cruel, late winner.

Website man of the match: In case you haven’t guessed yet - David Carnell. United could easily have been beaten three or four nil had it not been for the goalkeeper’s heroics. His first cleansheet since October helped the Reds to a point, which might prove vital in our battle to avoid relegation.

Report by Matthew Haley

News ID ~ 6696 First Posted ~ 18:16 Sat 5 Mar 2016 Last Updated ~ 13:08 Sun 6 Mar 2016

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