FC United of Manchester 3-2 Brackley Town
Saturday 22 August 2015
National League North
FC United recorded their first ever win in the Vanarama National League North with a nervy 3-2 victory over Brackley Town on Saturday afternoon at Broadhurst Park in front of 2,996 supporters.
Matthew Wolfenden and Sam Madeley overturned an early lead for the visitors in the first half before Tom Greaves looked to have put the result beyond doubt midway through the second.
However, sloppy defending allowed the Oxfordshire outfit to pull it back to 3-2 with eight minutes to go and the Reds had to hold on for victory. They did so though, much to the relief of everyone at the club.
The Reds started brightly and were keen to take the ball to the Saints. However, the visitors looked well organised and soaked up the early pressure. Then, with just nine minutes on the clock, Stephan Morley whipped in a perfect cross for Steve Diggin and the centre-forward scored a bullet header into the top left hand corner from the edge of the area to break the deadlock. It was slightly against the run of play but once again, it had taken just one chance to punish FC United.
Thankfully, the Reds were back on level terms just five minutes later. Liam Brownhill was back to his best and putting in the sort of performance that won him players’ and manager’s player of the season 16 months ago. He exploited a gap on the right after expertly taking down a crossfield ball before curling a cross towards the back post for the unmarked Wolfenden to head home. 1-1.
Brackley then began to rough up the Reds as first Curtis McDonald flattened Wolfenden from behind whilst conceding a throw-in before Richard Batchelor became the only player of the match to go in referee Scott Oldham’s book. Batchelor committed a two footed lunge on Dean Stott and was arguably fortunate the card produced was yellow rather than red.
United stuck to their task and were ahead in the 25th minute. After the Saints failed to clear a corner, Craig Lindfield and Stott combined to work the ball back into the box. Nia Bayunu nudged the ball on and Madeley, a late summer signing from Salford City, finished with aplomb – cutting the ball from the right edge of the box into the far corner of the net. His first goal for the club.
Into the second half and Brackley were determined to make a game of it. Substitute David Moyo was unleashed on the left and he hit the outside of the post with a fierce shot. The visitors were in the ascendancy and the Reds were starting to look a little bit shaky.
It was a relief then when Greaves raced away at the other end to make it 3-1. FC United’s star striker bagged his first goal of the season with ease on 71 minutes and the game looked done and dusted.
However, there was still more to come. A hopeful ball forward should have been easily dealt with by Bayunu but the centre-back seemed to lose his bearings and completely missed the ball with his feet. The error allowed Moyo to go one-on-one with goalkeeper Dave Carnell and he slotted home to set up a tense finale.
Thankfully though, FC United were able to hold on for victory without making any more mistakes. The confidence boosting win puts the Reds in 18th place and next up they travel to mid-table Hednesford.
Website man of the match: Liam Brownhill wins this week’s award for his first half display but Dean Stott also deserves a mention for another typically tenacious performance in midfield.
Read more here: http://www.fc-utd.co.uk/m_report.php?match_id=1284
Photo courtesy: Brackley Town website