FCUM 2-2 Belper Town FC
Saturday 23 August 2014
Northern Premier League
Last gasp United salvage draw against Belper
by Victoria Fullen
Tom Greaves scored a 90th minute equaliser to gain FC United a 2-2 draw at home to Belper on Saturday afternoon.
Mike Norton put the Reds ahead midway through the second half but two bits of sloppy defending allowed the visitors to go 2-1 ahead before Greaves rescued a point.
Newly promoted Belper were also looking for their first win of the season, like United having drawn both their opening games.
Despite Dave Carnell almost letting Aaron Pride in early on through a poor defensive kick, the Reds had a decent spell of pressure within the first five minutes which culminated in an attempted close range overhead kick from Norton.
Poor passing from United allowed the Nailers to get forward and a great cross from Pride out on the right needed only a connection from Keiran Wells in front of goal, however the striker couldn’t test Carnell. Norton then looked to open the scoring at the opposite end of the park, going one on one with Dean Martin but firing straight at the advancing keeper.
Approaching 20 minutes in, Belper had their closest chance of the game so far. Wells’ header on goal was expertly dealt with by Carnell who managed to tip the ball onto the bar before the United defence cleared the loose ball out for a corner. Captain Dean Stott forced an equally good save from Martin minutes later with a storming effort from just outside the area which the keeper tipped onto the bar.
Towards the end of the half, Norton did have the ball in the Belper net, however the striker had already been flagged offside and the whistle signalled the end of a goalless period in which United chances were matched by strong saves from the visiting keeper.
Twelve minutes into the second half, Martin was off his line and beaten as FC United opened the scoring. Jerome Wright closed down Regan Edridge’s clearance and the loose ball fell back to Matthew Wolfenden who squared to Norton for a simple yet welcome tap in to give the Reds the lead.
Unfortunately, United were ahead only for two minutes as the Nailers responded through Jon Froggatt’s well taken equaliser. The move began with substitute Evan Garnett who played in Rob Stevenson. The through ball then evaded the FC backline and found Froggatt, Belper’s leading goal scorer last season, who shot beyond Carnell.
Five minutes later, Liam Brownhill and Tom Greaves replaced Dave Birch and Greg Daniels and the United substitutes had barely got into the game before Belper took the lead. Andy Pearson was dispossessed by Stevenson who came inside and played the ball back to Garnett. With the defence nowhere to be seen and an empty net beckoning, Garnett made no mistake in putting his side ahead.
The Reds’ final change saw Jon Pritchard make the step up from the development squad to make his competitive first team debut, coming on in place of Pearson as FC searched for a way back in.
As full time drew closer, the visitors looked more likely to score and Garnett almost made it three but was denied by the upright and on 90 minutes it was Greaves who scored the final goal of the game to steal a point for United. Brownhill played it forward and Greaves came inside, skipping away from two Belper defenders before striking under the keeper from the edge of the six yard box.
Although coming into the game in the hope of securing the first win of the campaign, United must surely view the result as a point gained as the visitors very nearly took all three points back to Belper. The unbeaten Reds now look to a bank holiday fixture at Trafford for that elusive first victory.
photo courtesy of Tim Harrison: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/belpertown/photos/23082014-fc-united-of-manche-508050.html#