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Narrow victory keeps Reds in contention

FC United squeezed past Chorley 2-1 at Gigg Lane to move up to fourth in the UniBond Division One North but it took a late Simon Carden goal to secure the three points against the resolute visitors who had to play with ten men for most of the match.

Somewhat typically the Reds went a goal down in the first ten minutes when Steve Burke slipped through the defence to pounce on a mistake by former Halifax Town centre-back Micah Bleau. The Magpies striker unleashed a rasping shot from a tight angle that flew over Sam Ashton and cracked in off the underside of the crossbar. An impressive goal that brought applause from many of the United supporters in the Manchester Road End.

The match swung in United’s favour in the 21st minute when midfielder Gavin-Lee Ellison was given his marching orders for losing his cool and grabbing an uncharacteristically out of sorts Jerome Wright by the throat.

However, despite the man advantage, it took the Reds nearly another 20 minutes to get back on level terms as a determined Chorley side dug in deep in a bid to keep their slender lead. It wasn’t to be though as Rory Patterson fired in a low free kick after being scythed down on the edge of the box with five minutes remaining.

United could have gone into the break with a 2-1 lead as moments later they hit the crossbar twice in the space of ten seconds. Rob Nugent met a Liam Foster corner but saw his header tipped on to the bar by Chorley’s impressive ‘keeper Peter Collinge and as the visitors tried to scurry the ball clear Chris Baguley, who had been waiting patiently on the edge of the box, sent a piledriver crashing onto the woodwork. In fairness though, Chorley deservedly kept the scores level.

There was an scare for the hosts early in the second half; Foster had to make a two clearances off his goal line in quick succession when Ashton had parried a rebound back into play.

After surviving that, the Reds began to finally take control of the match. Former Woodley Sports and Salford City forward Nick Robinson, who was making his first start for the club, could easily have won a penalty when an impressive run was cut short but the referee was not interested.

Robinson worked tirelessly all match, providing the perfect foil for Patterson. His performance was worthy of a goal and he came agonisingly close when he was just inches away from connecting to a wayward shot from the Irishman.

Despite Robinson’s endeavour, United looked to be slightly lacking in ideas and manager Karl Marginson clearly sensed the need for change. The call went out for the cavalry, the Carden cavalry to be precise as Adam and Simon were thrown into the action and there was also the long awaited return of Josh Howard.

Carden, Simon that is, had been on the pitch approximately three minutes when he bravely connected with a cross from the right wing by Foster. Captain Patterson was knocked off the ball by two defenders but quick thinking Foster was supporting him and whipped in a perfect cross for Carden to throw himself at for the winner.

Minutes later Carden won a penalty when Dave German spoilt an otherwise decent performance by needlessly cracking the match winner round the back of the head with his forearm. Patterson stepped up to put the result beyond doubt but with Collinge beaten the league’s joint top-scorer saw his shot bounce back off the left post. It didn’t matter though as United saw out the victory and maintained their push for promotion.

FC United
1. S Ashton
2. L Foster
3. B Howard
4. N Platt
5. M Bleau (cautioned 62)
6. R Nugent
7. J Baguley
8. C Baguley
9. N Robinson (cautioned 82)
10. J Wright (cautioned 60)
11. R Patterson (capt)
12. J Howard (for 3 73)
14. S Carden (for 8 73)
15. A Carden (for 7 73)

Scorers: Patterson 40; Carden 76

1. P Collinge
2. M Eckersley
3. J Goodeve
4. J Mullineux
5. M Clark (capt)
6. D German
7. C Brookes
8. G L Ellison (sent off 21)
9. C McDonagh
10. S Burke (cautioned 58)
11. M Drew
12. K Mayers (for 11 79)
14. D Nolan (for 7 79)
15. G Traynor (for 9 32)

Scorer: Burke 8

13-01-2008 at 19:49

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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