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Opposition Castleton Gabriels
Venue Stainton Park, Pilkington Road,Radcliffe,M26 3PE, Radcliffe
Competition Moore & Co Construction Solicitors sponsored North West Counties Football League Division 2
Date 17-09-2005
Time 15:00
Attendance 2473
0 (0) - 3 (2)
  Patterson 11
Gilligan 39
Nugent 46
1. Mark Canning
2. Mark Slater
3. Mark O’Brien
4. Lee Chadwick
5. Paul Lennard
6. Steve McCann (capt)
7. Tom McKenna
8. Andrew Entwistle
9. Micky Bartholomew
10. Denny Khan
11. Mark Baxendale

12. Mark Bright (for 5, 82 mins)
14. Graham Hicks (for 2, 72 mins)
15. Mark Armstrong (for 9, 68 mins)
1 Barrie George
2 Kevin Elvin
3 Gareth Ormes
4 Steven Spencer
5 David Chadwick (capt)
6 Robert Nugent
7 Mark Rawlinson
8 Ryan Gilligan Yellow card
9 Jonathan Mitten
10 Rory Patterson
11 Adie Orr

12 Tony Cullen (for 9)
14 Billy McCartney (for 8)
15 Simon Carden (for 10)
Match Report
Another bumper crowd, necessitating a delayed kick off again, as the FC United roadshow made an appearance at Radcliffe Borough�€trade;s Stainton Park ground, this being the temporary home of Castleton Gabriels FC for this match. Just short of two and a half thousand, the stated ground capacity, were present and they made a very colourful sight indeed. The open terrace behind the �€�lower�€trade; goal a mass of red and white with the bus stop boys (and girls) finding suitable accommodation on the social club side of the ground. The slightly more sedate were seated behind the �€�higher�€trade; goal at the top of the slope in the 350 capacity covered stand.

Manager Marginson decided that this match was an opportunity to rest Steve Torpey who, although recovered from the hamstring strain that saw him miss the Padiham match, has picked up a few niggling knocks in recent matches. Torpey was joined on the sidelines (and in the social club and on the terraces) by Scott Holt, who is still troubled with a thigh problem, and by Tony Coyne. The trio clearly enjoyed the attention bestowed upon them by the hordes of the red army.

Torpey dropping out allowed Gareth Ormes to return at left-back after missing the last few matches whilst on holiday. Elvin moved across to right-back and Rawlinson moved back into midfield. Otherwise the starting line-up was as for the Blackpool Mechanics match. Good to see Billy McCartney back in the fray, starting from the bench, after a couple of decent run outs in training matches over the last couple of weeks.

United kicked off playing up the slope in the first period. The league leaders threatened on a few occasions early on and did take the lead after only 11 minutes. A tidy flicked header from Mitten fell nicely for Patterson. Rory had timed his run well and was beyond the backline as he took possession and rapidly advanced goalwards. As the home �€�keeper Canning came to narrow the angle �€�Mr. Mystery�€� calmly hit a right foot shot into the bottom left corner of the goal. 0-1.

At this point many might have thought that a hatful of goals might follow but, despite a minus 20 goal difference and only 1 point to show from their first 7 matches, Castleton clearly had no intentions of being over-run. They were well organised and defended solidly in numbers. Unfortunately for them there never really appeared much of a cutting edge when they went forward so FC United were rarely under much pressure in defence.

A quick United break should have seen the lead doubled just before the half hour mark but Mark Rawlinson spurned a great opportunity. A United throw-in was taken in the left back area and then the ball was hit long to Patterson on the left flank. The United number 11 hit a first time pass inside to Rawlinson who had run from deep, his run had not been well covered by the Gabriels�€trade; midfield and he found himself one-on-one with Canning. The shot, when it came, was too weak and too close to Canning who saved comfortably low to his left.

United were pressing hard at this stage and could have easily scored another couple in this spell. Orr found himself in a great position after a pinpoint pass from Ormes, Adie tried to cross from close range but Canning was lightning fast in intercepting. Then Patterson found himself in a similar position, again Ormes the provider, but Patterson tried to score from the acute angle and only succeeded in rippling the outside of the side netting when a pass to Mitten might have been the better choice.
The second goal did arrive moments later and another nice move preceded it. Spencer hit a stinging, volleyed cross field pass to Rawlinson, out on the right flank, the number 7 controlled it well and then crossed into the area for Gilligan. The Thomas Gravesen look-alike controlled instantly and flashed a right footed shot high into the right side of the goal giving the �€�keeper no chance at all. 0-2.

The last significant action of the first period saw Rawlinson missing another gilt-edged chance. This time Kev Elvin was the provider with a nicely flighted cross from the right side. The ball in was just too strong for Mitten, who was tightly marked, but it seemed perfect for Rawlinson who tried to glance his header inside of the far post. From only 5 yards out and in some space Mark failed to get quite enough on his header and the ball went agonisingly wide of the goal.

The final goal of the match was scored within a minute of the restart. Mark Rawlinson took a corner from the United left which dropped into the area. After a scramble Nugent seemed to get the final touch before the unlucky Canning, falling backwards, could only help the ball into the net. Some were thinking that this was an own goal but Rob Nugent had seemed to steer the ball goalwards before Canning attempted to intervene so the United number 6 will surely claim this one to add to his two previous strikes this season. 0-3.

As the second half continued so FC United dominated possession and began to ask more and more questions of the Castleton defence. Still the Gabriels backline stood resolute and were very ably backed by Mark Canning in goal. Canning was called upon on numerous occasions in the half and was not beaten again until the 79th minute when a David Chadwick header clipped the top of the bar. One minute prior to this Canning made an exceptional save from a Nugent header. Big Rob was only 5 or 6 yards from goal and headed powerfully. Somehow Canning threw his hand up and diverted the ball over the bar to the astonishment of Nugent and most of the other FCUoM players.

Although United dominated the half and, for that matter, the match still Castleton had a couple of presentable opportunities to score themselves. The first, on 55 minutes, came about because of a moments hesitation by Barrie George, he probably could have intercepted the through ball had he made an immediate decision to advance but he was clearly in two minds which gave Bartholomew just the slightest of chances. The Gabriels number 9 toe-poked the ball goalwards with George stranded. Happily, from FC United�€trade;s perspective, it trickled wide of the post although Rob Nugent had made up ground and probably could have turned it away had the opportunistic strike been goal bound.

Again, late on, a moment�€trade;s lack of concentration might have been punished by the home team. This time Gareth Ormes failed to react to a cross from the Castleton left flank and the ball fell invitingly for Andrew Entwistle. He snatched at the chance and sent his shot harmlessly over the bar from 10 yards out.

There was a scary moment halfway through the second half involving David Chadwick and a brick wall. Despite Margy�€trade;s insistence that Chaddy was the type of player who would �€�run through brick walls for you�€� he failed to fully live up to the billing on this occasion. The United captain did, however, very nearly send the Castleton number 10, Denny Khan, through the brick wall adjacent to the dugouts near halfway. It was certainly done in innocence as the both players challenged for the ball with Khan arriving just ahead of Chaddy whose momentum took him into Khan. Thankfully Khan managed to take the impact with the wall on his shoulder rather than his head although he still required lengthy treatment before continuing.

All 3 of the United subs did come on just after the hour mark but none really made any great impression. McCartney played as a holding midfielder which probably wouldn�€trade;t be his first choice of position but he�€trade;ll just have been glad to get back after his early departure from the club�€trade;s first ever match, at Leigh, some 2 months ago with that serious arm injury.

Wayne Clark
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