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Five star Reds keep pressure on

An electric second half display saw FC United obliterate Rossendale United 5-1 at Gigg Lane on Wednesday where a stunning hat-trick from Aaron Burns and arguably two from strike partner Rory Patterson moved the Reds back into second place; three points behind leaders Curzon Ashton.

The old cliché about football being a game of two halves summed up the match perfectly as United were awful in the first 45 minutes, going a goal down after just two minutes and getting outplayed by a Stags side that looked a lot more up for it.

The visitors’ striker, Phil Eastwood capitalised on some uncharacteristically poor defensive play from Rob Nugent to score his seventh of the season as United were given no time at all to settle. That was the theme throughout the first period, Rossendale pressing and United punting hopeful balls forward without any real penetration.

But the Reds came out looking like a completely different side in the second half; one that had remembered they were actually pretty good at playing fast, flowing, attacking football.

Seven minutes after the restart, United were level. Chris Baguley whipped in a free-kick which Nugent knocked down for captain Patterson to smash home through keeper Lloyd Rigby’s legs.

Once off the mark, the Reds started to play the sort of football that has won them six out of the last seven and it was Burns who stole the show with an incredible 12 minute hat-trick.

Right-back Matty Taylor was back in the team after a lengthy absence and although possibly lacking a bit of match sharpness, he was his usual tricky self going forward. It was Taylor who went off on a winding run, taking on three defenders before cutting the ball inside to Burns who was unmarked on the edge of the box and finished into the bottom right corner. Rigby got a hand to it and will feel aggrieved not to have kept it out, but he could do nothing about the next one.

Barely a minute later Burns went on a jinking run of his own, weaving his way through the middle of the Rossendale defence, skilfully skipping passed several challenges before unleashing an unstoppably precise strike into left corner. A goal that would have still stood out much further up the football pyramid.

His third and United’s fourth was special too. Cayne Haley played in Patterson down the right wing, who took a touch before curling a superb cross for the unmarked Burns to power home with a bullet header.

Patterson and Burns were still hungry for more and two minutes later they were almost falling over each other to get a shot at goal. Patterson allowed a lay off from Burns to run too far for himself to successfully get a shot off but it was his brave challenge on the keeper that saw the ball break free.

The young Irishman was then brought down by the weight of two desperate challenges as he tried to get a shot away and Burns’ follow up effort was blocked but it fell to the on rushing Baguley who smacked the ball towards goal. It may well have been going in to the bottom left corner but took a wicked deflection off a prostrate Patterson and ricocheted into the other corner.

No doubt both players will try to claim the goal but the most important thing is that after the disappointment of defeat on Saturday at Clitheroe, United are back to winning ways. And how.

15-11-2007 at 12:49

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UniBond League - 1st Div North
1 Curzon Ashton 22 27 47
2 Ossett Albion 25 11 44
3 Bradford PA 20 24 42
4 FC United 22 21 41
5 Skelmersdale United 22 28 41
6 Bamber Bridge 21 12 41
7 Lancaster City 23 2 37
8 Garforth Town 26 -1 35
9 Newcastle Blue Star 22 11 31
10 Rossendale United 25 -11 31
11 Mossley 25 -14 30
12 Wakefield FC 21 1 25
13 Harrogate RA 21 -5 25
14 Woodley Sports 25 -16 25
15 Bridlington Town 24 -34 20
16 Clitheroe 20 -14 19
17 Chorley 23 -15 18
18 Radcliffe Borough 22 -16 14