FC United confirmed our promotion credentials in style by winning an eventful encounter at third place AFC Fylde 2-0 with goals from Greg Daniels and Callum Byrne coming in each half.
The match saw striker Michael Norton play the entire second half in goal in place of the injured James Spencer, 13 minutes of stoppage-time due to the referee also coming a cropper, a stand in official being plucked from the crowd, and the Reds being locked out of their dressing room at half-time. And that was all in driving wind and rain.
The home side started the game with the wind at their backs, the weather seeming to unsettle the FC United defence. A short pass from Dean Stott let Marcus Carver in but centre-back Tom Davies defended well.
As the half wore on, the Reds began to get used to the wind in their faces and started to see more of the ball. Tom Greaves had two chances in quick succession before United eventually broke the deadlock, heading a Matthew Wolfenden cross wide and seeing a shot well smothered.
On 36 minutes, FC took the lead. A throw on the left found Astley Mulholland who turned and fed Daniels who finished clinically into the bottom corner. United were looking good to make it through to the interval unscathed but, on the stroke of half-time, disaster struck.
In the scramble to clear a Coasters corner off the line, goalkeeper Spencer went down with an injury to his knee. After a short break it was clear Spencer couldn’t continue and he was replaced by substitute Norton, meaning the Reds would have to defend their slender lead for 45 minutes with a five foot nine striker playing in goal.
The good news for the Reds though was that they now had the wind at their backs and could use that to their advantage. Just after the hour mark, FC United scored a second. Dave Birch ran at the home defence but saw his shot blocked, the rebound fell to Byrne who made and the midfielder made no mistake in firing the ball into the bottom corner.
More drama unfolded with 15 minutes to go when the referee Mr Gittins pulled up with an injury. After a stoppage for almost a quarter of an hour, Fylde’s community officer Tom Hutton volunteered to fill in as a linesman, allowing one of the assistant officials to take over on the field as the referee.
United didn’t allow the delay to distract them from the task in hand. Daniels nearly added more goals but was denied by two great saves from goalkeeper Hinchcliffe. At the other end, it was testament to the FC United defence that Norton had no real saves to make in the game and the Reds went home happy with the three vital points.
Website man of the match - Callum Byrne. The award could have gone to any of the players today but for his driving runs at the Fylde defence, some incisive passing and his first FC goal, Byrne takes this week’s award.
Report by Steven Wood
|News ID ~ 5259||First Posted ~ 18:08 Sat 14 Dec 2013||Last Updated ~ 14:45 Sun 15 Dec 2013|