Torquay United 1-0 FCUM
Saturday 7 February 2015
FA Trophy 4th round
FC United edged out of the FA Trophy at Torquay
FC United must now concentrate on promotion after our fantastic run in the FA Trophy came to an end in the quarter-finals with a narrow 1-0 defeat at Torquay United on Saturday afternoon.
The Gulls grabbed a winner on the counter attack eight minutes from the end to snatch victory in a very even game. Ryan Bowman raced clear of the visiting defence and rounded goalkeeper Dave Carnell before slotting home the only goal of the match.
It was a cruel blow for the 1,365 Reds who had travelled hundreds of miles to pack out Plainmoor, creating Torquay’s biggest crowd of the season – 3,805. However, despite the result, it was another superb day for FC United of Manchester both on and off the pitch with more friends, not millionaires, being made – this time on the English Riviera.
There were moments when it looked like the Reds might pull off our fourth cup upset of the season but the dream didn’t quite become reality. As it turned out, the best chance Karl Marginson’s side had came with three minutes to go when they almost got the equaliser and the replay they deserved.
Substitute Matt Walwyn headed a Dean Stott cross towards goal and for a split second it looked as if he had rescued the Reds again. Unfortunately, the cross bar thought differently. And that was that. Torquay moved a step closer to their sixth Wembley final, leaving FC United to return our focus to gaining promotion from the Evo-Stik Premier Division whilst celebrating owning our own football club.
The Reds put in a great performance against a team that started the day 39 places above them in the football pyramid. With a bit more composure or luck in front of goal, FC United could easily have taken the tie to a replay or possibly even snatched a victory of our own.
Clear cut chances were at a premium for both teams and although Carnell and his opposite number Martin Rice were called into action throughout the match, neither really had to make any saves out of the ordinary. Other than hitting the woodwork, United’s best chances were off target as Tom Greaves and Dave Birch flashed good efforts wide in the first 15 minutes of the match, whilst Craig Lindfield was unfortunate to hook his acrobatic volley over the bar with 20 minutes remaining.
It was a similar story for the hosts. Despite having lots of possession in the first half, The Gulls failed to really work Carnell. Toby Ajala and Louis Briscoe both had chances to open the scoring but neither managed to trouble the United goal.
However, the Conference Premier side eventually found a way through the resolute FC United defence. As the match wore on, the Reds were pushing further and further up and unfortunately, they got hit on the break. Courtney Richards played a perfectly weighted pass for Bowman and with both centre-backs, Lewis Lacy and Luke Ashworth appealing for off-side, the Torquay striker had all the time he wanted to round Carnell inside the area and roll the ball home.
It was harsh on FC United, who had battled against the odds throughout the match. But when playing a team of Torquay’s calibre there was always the danger that they would be capable of hitting the Reds with a well taken sucker punch. And so it proved.
FC United had a couple of chances to get back on level terms but when Walwyn’s header beat Rice only to hit the underside of the bar, it became apparent that it was not the Reds’ day. The match was one step too far for FC United this season but the management and players delivered a thrilling cup run for the Red Army with no fewer than six victories – three against teams in the division above.
Karl Marginson and his coaching staff must now pick up their players from this minor disappointment to ensure that they cement their push for promotion by winning their games in hand in the league. That starts on Tuesday night as we welcome Barwell to the Tameside Stadium.