|1 Barrie George
2 Kevin Elvin
3 Gareth Ormes
4 Steven Spencer
5 David Chadwick (capt)
6 Billy McCartney
7 Darren Lyons
8 Simon Carden
9 Paul Mitten
10 Rory Patterson
11 Adie Orr
12 Tony Cullen (for 2)
14 Dave Brown (for 6)
15 Mark Rawlinson (for 9)
|1. Simon Hewitt
2. Mansar Ditta
3. Craig Bradshaw
4. Kevin Richardson (capt)
5. Martin Brown
6. Robbie Smith
7. Andy Haworth
8. James Coonan
9. Jason Jones
10. Michael Holt
11. Paul Barrett
12. Neil Chapman (for 10, 68 mins)
14. Lee Scholes (for 3, 77 mins)
15. Duncan Bennett (for 8, 77 mins)
|Only one change from the previous 2 matches as Paul Mitten displaced his cousin Joz up front. Paul was exceptional in his 15 minute substitute appearance on Monday night against Cheadle and was appropriately rewarded by the boss with a start in this one. In addition to Paul Mitten making his first start, Dave Brown was also included on the bench, for the first time since his recent arrival at FC United.
After some congestion at the turnstiles over the last couple of home matches, the decision was taken by the board to open another stand at Gigg Lane for this match. Several dozen fans made their way to the Cemetery End whilst the Manchester Road End was, as usual, well populated with the Main Stand also quite busy. The decision to open 3 sides seems to have been vindicated with another attendance in excess of 3,000 despite �€�big�€trade; United�€trade;s match versus Spurs.
Nelson started the match attacking the MRE and attack they did! The league leaders might have found themselves a goal down inside of 10 seconds as the ball was moved out to the Nelson left flank straight from the kick off. The big centre-forward Jason Jones latched onto the ball in space beyond Elvin and carried it forward. Into the area he went and chose to shoot from an acute angle as Barrie George came out. The shot evaded George but was well cleared by the covering Chadwick. A worrying start as the 4th placed team went for the jugular from the first whistle.
Normal service was resumed as FC United began to find a rhythm. Rory Patterson made good ground but saw his flicked header slide beyond the far post after a Lyons cross came in from the right. The Derry man might have done better. Back to the other end and the league�€trade;s leading scorer, Michael Holt, tested George again after cutting in from the right flank onto his left foot. Barrie knocked down the shot before pouncing onto the loose ball.
Patterson had a reasonable claim for a penalty kick turned down by referee Davey. The visiting number 2 Ditta appeared to miss-time his challenge, on 7 minutes near the left edge of the Nelson area upending Patterson. Mr. Davey was having none of it and took a moment to explain his reasoning to Rory who looked less than fully convinced by the official�€trade;s explanation.
Daz Lyons was testing the home defence with a series of probing crosses. One freekick was awkwardly cleared by a punch from Hewitt in the Nelson goal. Another cross was marginally too long for Mitten who stretched to attempt to prod home just beyond the far post. The diminutive number 9 was only able to stop the ball rather than shoot; he did win a corner kick after regaining control.
Just beyond the quarter hour mark and Mitten nearly caused huge embarrassment for Hewitt as the tall �€�keeper dwelt on a backpass a bit too long and would have been happy to see the rebound, as Mitten charged down the late clearance, bounce harmlessly away from danger.
On 17 minutes the busy Mitten did break the deadlock but Hewitt should feel no embarrassment whatsoever. It was simply a top drawer finish that left him with no chance at all. The move developed from deep as Adie Orr carried the ball forwards. Gareth Ormes was in a terrific position overlapping outside of Orr but United�€trade;s leading scorer ignored the run and tried to go alone. He was tackled but the ball fell loose to Mitten just outside of the corner of the area, on the left side. Paul took a touch to control before glancing up to weigh up his options. He then drew back his right foot and struck a sweet curling and dipping shot that soared beyond Hewitt into the top right corner of the goal. It�€trade;s difficult to imagine a better way to get off of the mark as a goal scorer. Simply stunning. 1-0.
Some five minutes later and an almost identical break away. This time Orr did use Ormes who was again overlapping. The United left back received the clever reverse pass from Orr and quickly delivered a cross to the far post. Simon Carden was up in support and got in a great position but somehow saw his header directed too close to Hewitt who parried.
On 27 minutes Adie again drove forward. This time he made his own chance with a strong tackle on Brown which opened up possibilities. The United number 11 calmly looked to shape the ball into the bottom right corner but only managed to strike the upright. Hewitt was again well beaten but the rebound fell kindly for Nelson and they completed the clearance with no further dramas.
The first half closed with a few good moments for the visitors as they started to come back into the game. Jones dealt superbly with a long clearance, the big man controlled instantly before playing the ball inside to Robbie Smith who was supporting. Smith struck first time but badly sliced his effort wide of goal from 25 yards out. Soon after and Holt again worked a good position on the right flank, on this occasion he carried the ball on the outside of Ormes before pulling back to Coonan who was in a great position to equalise. From only about 8 yards out his first time shot was expertly blocked by Barrie George in the United goal. Moments later and Smith again shot but again failed to work George.
The first quarter of an hour of the second half was a little scrappy with neither team able to dominate or create much by way of goal scoring opportunity. The leaders were further hampered as Mitten was forced to limp from the field only 2 minutes into the half. Mark Rawlinson came on to move into midfield with Simon Carden stepping into the front line to replace the luckless scorer.
United finally managed to double their lead on the hour and then saw another 2 goals added within another 10 minutes, making the game safe. The second goal resulted from a defensive mix-up as Hewitt and the Nelson captain Richardson both attempted to deal with a Lyons cross. They only managed to get in each others way and the resulting clearance fell to Spencer who calmly set himself before striking a shot inside of the right hand post using the outside of his right foot from only 8 yards out. 2-0.
Soon after the second goal was scored, Margy made his second substitution with Kev Elvin being replaced at right back by Tony Cullen.
On 64 minutes Patterson forced a decent stop from Hewitt resulting in a corner on the United left. Lyons saw his original cross repelled but the ball was soon returned to him and, from a better angle, he delivered another deadly cross. Adie Orr ran across from the far post towards the near and glanced a header beyond the Nelson goalkeeper and into the bottom right of goal. This goal was quite reminiscent of the Patterson goal against Cheadle on Monday evening although Orr got a more substantial touch on the Lyons delivery than Rory managed at the Cheadle game. 3-0.
Between goals 3 and 4 Barrie George was again called into action as Paul Barrett found himself one on one with the young United stopper. Again George was equal to the challenge and kept the young Nelson left winger at bay.
Lyons again played an incisive pass that was instrumental in the next United goal. The veteran right winger played in Patterson who made a great run down the inside right channel. His low cross was only weakly cleared straight to Orr who calmly side-footed home from 12 yards out giving Hewitt no chance at all. 4-0.
That makes it 7 goals in 3 matches for Adie Orr now, a marvellous run of form for the crowd favourite. I wonder if he has even heard of Spandau Ballet? The creative forces of the United following have adapted/adopted the Spandau Ballet song Gold and turned it into an Adie Orr tribute, �€�Always believe in, Adie Orr (Goal!), Always believe Adie Orr, He’s got the power to score, He’s indestructible.�€� The variety and wit of the MRE songsmiths never fail to amuse and inspire.
On 90 minutes Simon Carden got the final goal and one that his performance certainly deserved. There was more than a hint of offside about the goal but as Margy said after the match, some of those decisions go for you, some go against but you just have to let the officials do their jobs. Again the pass was played through by Lyons, Carden got in behind the backline but still had plenty to do and, after controlling the ball on his thigh, lifted a lob beyond the advancing Hewitt into the net from 25 yards out. 5-0.
Match sponsors, Retrovideos, awarded their man of the match plaudits to David Chadwick to go along with his supporters�€trade; player of the month trophy as presented to him before kick off. Again, the club captain was tremendous and did a great job keeping the threat from Jason Jones under control, ably assisted by McCartney and the debutant David Brown for the final 20 minutes. For me the main man was Daz Lyons. The quality deliveries that he provides always seem to have opposing defenders and �€�keepers on the back foot. He was closely involved in the build up for 4 of the 5 goals and edged out Orr for me as the star performer.
(Many thanks to FC United of Manchester supporter Wayne Clark for supplying this match report)