Hednesford Town 0-3 FC United of Manchester
Saturday 29 August 2015
National League North
by Matthew Haley
FC United are up to 12th in the Vanarama National League North after a fantastic 3-0 win at Hednesford Town on Saturday afternoon with goals from Craig Lindfield, Nia Bayunu and Sean Cooke.
The rampant Reds swept aside the managerless Pitmen with ease, scoring an early goal in each half through Lindfield and Bayunu before Cooke put the icing on the cake with a delightful lob four minutes from the end.
Left-winger Lindfield broke the deadlock inside the first seven minutes with a trademark cross-cum-shot to the far post. The former Liverpool trainee has a real knack of curling the ball into the corridor of uncertainty and goalkeeper Dave Parton completely lost his bearings as the ball was whipped in.
At first, from the terraces, the strike looked like a cross to the back post for Matthew Wolfenden but the ball flew over the backpedalling Parton and into the top corner of the net for 1-0. Lindfield, no doubt, knew it was a shot all along.
The hosts, who inflicted a cruel play-off final defeat against the Reds the last time the two sides met, looked for an immediate response but couldn’t find a way through. Bayunu and fellow centre-back Luke Ashworth dealt easily with numerous high balls pumped forward. On the occasions Hednesford did work a shooting opportunity they failed to test goalkeeper Dave Carnell.
The Pitmen should have been level five minutes before the break when the suspiciously off-side looking Ahmed Obeng was released by a ball over the top. With the United backline and the referee’s assistant struggling to keep up with play, Obeng raced through to go one-on-one with Carnell and seemingly net the equaliser. However, the striker wasted a gilt-edged chance by chipping the ball hopelessly over the bar. It was the last action of the opening 45 minutes.
The Pitmen would be made to pay for not pegging back FC United when they had the chance. Within 55 seconds of the start of the second half, Cooke floated a corner into the box. Bayunu leapt like a salmon to score his first goal for the club – a header over Parton.
The two goal cushion gave FC United manager Karl Marginson the opportunity to introduce three substitutes. Sam Madeley replaced Lindfield on the hour and moments later Adam Thurston came on in place of Dean Stott. Just over 10 minutes later, Greg Daniels was brought on for Tom Greaves, who had led the attack on his own.
The fresh legs helped FC United to kill off the game. Hednesford never looked like getting back into the match and weren’t a patch on previous Pitmen sides that the Reds have faced over the last seven years.
With the hosts unproductively toiling, Cooke scored a fantastic third goal out of nothing. Picking the ball up around 25 yards from goal, the former Telford and Fylde midfielder wasn’t closed down. As such, the FC United man used the time and space he was afforded to maximum effect – lofting the ball into the goal off the underside of the left corner of the crossbar. A fantastic strike that brought back memories of Eric Cantona’s famous goal against Sunderland in 1996 and must have left Parton wishing he was half a foot taller.
And that, was that. The 400 or so members of the travelling Red Army celebrated a fine victory whilst waving rainbow flags to their hearts content. Next up, it’s a home match against former landlords Curzon Ashton on Bank Holiday Monday.
Website man of the match: Nia Bayunu. The centre-back’s best performance for FC United so far. He won everything in the air all day long and capped a fine display with his first goal for the club.
Read more here: http://www.fc-utd.co.uk/m_report.php?match_id=1313
Photo courtesy: Dave Ridgway