FC United of Manchester 2-1 Nantwich Town
Sunday 18th January 2015
EvoStik League Premier Division
Craig Lindfield claimed a stoppage time winner as FC United came from behind to beat Nantwich Town 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at Bower Fold after more than 100 supporters helped to get the game on by clearing snow off the pitch.
The visitors went ahead after seven minutes when Iain Howard scored a 25-yard piledriver off a post and it took the Reds until 20 minutes remaining to get back on level terms. Substitute Tom Greaves scored the equaliser with his first touch before Lindfield slid in the last gasp winner after good work by debutant Shelton Payne.
The victory moves Karl Marginson’s side back up to sixth in the Evo-Stik Premier Division with games in hand on all of our promotion rivals. The match was able to go ahead after more than 100 fans, players and officials helped to clear snow off the pitch and around the ground.
The match day referee was amongst those applauding the volunteers who answered the rallying cry as FC United lined up to face The Dabbers for the second time this season; the reverse fixture in October also seeing United come from one down to win 2-1 late on.
Recently signed Payne demonstrated his pace early in the game, coming down the left and playing in a good cross which led to an FC United corner. The Reds were linking up well in the opening minutes, and pressuring the visitors.
However, Liam Brownhill gave away a free-kick which ultimately led to The Dabbers’ opener. The familiar face of Nicky Platt stepped up to play in the set piece which was half cleared but fell to the feet of Howard who expertly squeezed the ball between FC United goalkeeper Dave Carnell and the upright. The ball rebounded off the woodwork and into the net for 1-0.
This appeared to spur Nantwich on and just a minute later Mark Jones forced a quick reaction from Carnell who did well to make a one-footed save from a well-struck effort inside the area. Needless to say, the conditions were playing their part and balls along the rutted, patchy surface were not necessarily reaching their intended destinations.
Greg Daniels was gifted a chance to equalise just shy of the 20 minute mark, beating the offside trap and running through unchallenged. As ’keeper Terry Smith came off his line, Daniels had options to square the ball but chose to go it alone and Smith kept the Reds at bay.
FC United needed to raise their game and Callum Byrne almost found a way through, being denied by a great headed clearance off the line. Moments later, Platt should have made it 2-0 for the visitors. Howard squared it to the ex-FC midfielder and in a one-on-one situation, Carnell fortunately came off the better.
Into the second half, Payne shouted for a penalty but appeals were waved away by the referee. The Reds were struggling to create anything that would help get them back into the game and it looked like a Nantwich were on course for a second goal.
Marginson chose to use all three substitutions with just over 20 minutes to play. Dean Stott, Byrne and Daniels all made way for Dave Birch, Greaves and Tom Brown. Greaves made an almost instant impact, whether intentional or not. The striker closed down centre-back Matt Bailey who was struggling to deal with a ball over the top and his clearance rebounded off Greaves and looped into the net to level the scores.
Lindfield came close with five minutes to go; hitting the woodwork from a free-kick on the left hand side of the area. The visitors were also threatening, particularly from set pieces which seemed to be one of their key weapons and looked like United would have to dig in to hold onto a point.
However, the Reds were able to go one better in stoppage time. Birch played a superb pass wide and Payne used his pace to come into the area and hit a dangerous low ball across goal. With several players sliding in, the ball was bundled over the line with Lindfield claiming the last touch. Regardless of who scored, the goal sealed a superb victory and gave the FC United fans who had helped to clear the snow the perfect reward.
Report by Victoria Fullen
Website man of the match: Craig Lindfield – difficult conditions for all, but Lindfield was involved throughout and managed to secure the important three points.
Photo courtesy: FCUM facebook page