|1. Steven Lyons
2. Steven Land
3. Ryan Radford
4. Kelvin Lugsden
5. Simon Ignotus
6. Gary Morgan (capt)
7. Andy Hewlett
8. Mike Ward
9. Craig Hall
10. Kojo Taylor
11. Stacey Wild
12. Scott Dignan (for 4, 59 mins)
14. Danny Dignan (for 8, 75 mins)
15. Alex Radford
|1 Barrie George
2 Robert Nugent
3 Kevin Elvin
4 Steven Spencer
5 David Chadwick (capt)
6 Dave Brown
7 Joshua Howard
8 Simon Carden
9 Jonathan Mitten
10 Steve Torpey
11 Adie Orr
12 Rory Patterson (for 9)
14 Paul Mitten (for 8)
15 Phil Power (for 11)
|Just 10 days after hosting New Mills, in a league match at Gigg Lane, FC United journeyed to Macclesfield to take on the Millers in a NWCL Division Two Trophy encounter. The Moss Rose pitch was in superb condition despite the dismal weather with rain persistently falling for most of the afternoon. The flank nearest the main stand seemed to drain less well than the rest of the pitch so some standing water was noticeable, particularly near to the corners, before the end of the game.
Karl Marginson made a couple of changes from the team that had drawn away at Cheadle with Tony Cullen and William Ahern dropping out with Kev Elvin and Josh Howard returning. Paul Mitten saw involvement for the first time since his goal-scoring debut against Nelson in October with a place on the bench along with Rory Patterson and Phil Power. Power�€trade;s inclusion was particularly significant as it would give him a chance to reacquaint himself with the Moss Rose pitch on which he enjoyed a good deal of success in his time with Macclesfield Town.
Unlike in the league tussle, when New Mills took a shock lead within 60 seconds, this match remained scoreless until the 8th minute. United�€trade;s prolific number 8 Simon Carden finished a tidy move started by David Chadwick. Chaddy controlled a New Mills clearance on his chest and passed on to Steve Torpey who carried the ball forwards from halfway. The thong-wearing winger ran inside from his left flank position leaving a couple of would be pursuers in his wake before playing in Carden just inside of the area. Carden made no mistake with a cool finish. 0-1.
On the quarter hour Josh Howard very nearly opened his FC United goal-scoring account. The ex-Manchester United trainee dropped his shoulder before cutting inside from his right wing station, Howard�€trade;s acceleration gained him a yard or two of space and as things opened up in front of him he let loose a left foot drive that cannoned off of the crossbar with Lyons thoroughly beaten. Carden made up ground to reach the rebound but failed to direct his shot on target.
The first New Mills threat came on the 20 minute mark through Mike Ward who shot from 25 yards out but his left footed effort was weak and wide of goal in contrast to Howard�€trade;s earlier strike. A minute later and United again threatened. A throw-in on the right side was touched on by Adie Orr to Joz Mitten. Mitten hit a shot on the half-volley which rose over the bar from outside of the area. A few minutes later and an action replay as an Elvin cross was poorly cleared to Joz who again hit a right-footed half volley. This second attempt was beautifully struck but again rose narrowly over the bar.
In the 28th minute Craig Hall spurned the best New Mills chance of the day as he headed over from no more than 5 yards out after he had evaded his marker from a corner kick. United then contrived to waste two one-on-one opportunities. Firstly Adie Orr dragged his right foot shot well beyond the left post and soon after Josh Howard similarly shot wide with only Lyons to beat.
The second goal was scored in the 37th minute as Steve Torpey intercepted an attempted clearance and accelerated away from the cover to find himself one-on-one with the Miller�€trade;s goalkeeper. Torpey made no mistake sliding his left foot shot under Lyons and into the net. 0-2.
In the last minute of the half United pressed forward seeking a third goal. Howard and Mitten combined well with Howard seeing his shot blocked at the expense of a corner kick. Howard took the corner himself, on the United left, and picked out Mitten who struck a low shot with his left foot through a mass of legs. Mitten was clattered as he took the shot so he did not see his goal bound effort blocked on the line, he also would not have seen the Chadwick follow up effort missing the target from 5 yards out. Joz received treatment as the first half came to a close and did not emerge again after half-time as Rory Patterson came on.
Rory managed to find his way into the referee�€trade;s notebook within a minute of the restart for a late challenge on Kelvin Lugsden. Lugsden was treated and resumed but was taken off after a further 10 minutes having failed to �€�run off�€trade; the knock. On 50 minutes New Mills newest signing, Kojo Taylor, shot wide of goal after a neat New Mills attack down their right wing. The New Mills captain Gary Morgan was then yellow carded after a foul on Orr.
Just before the hour Steve Torpey scored his second goal of the match. Only Steve himself will know for certain what his intention was with this cross/shot. Patterson had played the ball out to Torpey who was in space on the left flank. Torpey let fly with his left foot and from my viewpoint looked to be trying to pick out a runner coming in at the back post. The �€�cross�€trade; seemed too close to goal but the angle and flight must have deceived Lyons as he was little more than another spectator as the ball soared beyond him and into the goal at the far post. 0-3.
Paul Mitten and Phil Power then came on for Carden and Orr. On 64 minutes Barrie George made his first real save of the day as Hewlett let fly with a powerful shot from near the left corner of the penalty area. George did well to push this effort around the post. A minute later, as United cleared the corner kick and broke forwards, Power executed a super turn just inside of the area. The �€�Maltese Falcon�€trade; was then stopped in his tracks by a forceful, but fair according to the referee Mr. Birch, tackle. Power was clearly unimpressed but happily he would still have his �€�moment in the sun�€trade; despite the referee�€trade;s refusal of what looked like a stonewall penalty kick.
Another minute later and United scored again. A great piece of work on the right flank between Nugent, Power and Howard saw Howard moving into the area on the left side. The trio had created the space expertly with a series of passes working their way forwards in a couple of one-touch triangles. Howard cut back onto his left foot and shot goalwards from a fairly tight angle. The shot was partly blocked by Morgan but he merely managed to change a Josh Howard shot into a Josh Howard pass that Torpey gleefully turned beyond Lyons from only 6 yards out. Torpey was clearly delighted to complete FC United�€trade;s hat-trick of hat-tricks following Adie Orr�€trade;s versus Cheadle Town and Simon Carden�€trade;s also versus New Mills in the Gigg Lane encounter. 0-4.
With a quarter hour left to play New Mills made their second substitution with Danny Dignan replacing Mike Ward. Dignan drew a smart save from George as he returned a cross from the left side goalwards with a first time volley. Barrie George had to react very quickly to get across his goal-line and then down to the foot of the post to turn the ball away. Dignan was cautioned a minute or two later after a bit of a cynical pull back on a United attacker. Ignotus also managed to work his way into Mr. Birch�€trade;s notebook.
With 5 minutes remaining Howard nearly scored the goal of the game as he waltzed forward from halfway, he beat a couple of defenders before firing in a shot that Lyons did very well to repel with his legs. Hewlett then forced another good save from George as the home side continued to press forward at every opportunity despite the four goal deficit.
Did I say four goal deficit? Make that 5. The fairytale homecoming was completed when Phil Power rolled in the final goal of the game in stoppage time. The creator was again Howard who played a simple but effective one-two with Patterson before squaring to the unmarked Power who tapped in from 6 yards with his left foot. Goodness knows how many goals Power has scored at the Star Lane End of the Moss Rose. What is certain is that few will have been greeted as loudly as this one. 0-5.
It is difficult to look beyond Steve Torpey for a man of the match on this performance although Josh Howard showed the travelling FC United fans just what a talented player he is. His second half attacking performance was exemplary although he did leave Rob Nugent, at right-back, a little exposed at times as he was slow in tracking back on the odd occasion. A few of the New Mills attacks in the last half-hour came via their left flank as some spaces began to appear there. All in all a great team performance setting up a third round home tie versus Nelson or Eccleshall.
(with thanks to FC United supporter Wayne Clark for his match report)