FC United of Manchester 3-1 Witton Albion
by Victoria Fullen
FC United came from behind to beat Witton Albion 3-1 and progress into the FA Cup third qualifying round on Saturday afternoon at Broadhurst Park.
The Reds went 1-0 down in the second minute to their Cheshire opponents, who are two divisions below, but Karl Marginson’s side fought back to take a comfortable victory.
It was a nightmare start for the home side; however goals from Sam Madeley, Craig Lindfield and Rory Fallon made it a dream result in the first FA Cup game to take place at Broadhurst Park.
The difference in leagues between United and familiar opponents Witton may have made for a fairly straightforward home victory on paper. However, as the Reds well know, stranger things happen in the competition and it seemed as though the visitors were looking to construct an upset, opening the scoring with just over a minute on the clock.
Poor defending allowed Niall Green forward and despite Adam Thurston’s attempted block, Green was able to take the ball wide and play it across the face of goal for Danny Andrews to finish past a static Lewis King, who was making his FC United debut.
The Reds were struggling to find their feet and were left wanting for clear cut chances. Hopefuls in the Saint Mary’s Road End shouted for a penalty after Madeley made a strong run into the box along the dead-ball line and was tripped. However, the officials deemed that the ball had already gone out of play.
On 27 minutes, Madeley secured an equaliser which left the visiting Witton support rueing the officiating. Thurston played the ball across the face of goal from the left and Greaves was at full stretch and unable to make the connection. Madeley was on hand to smash the ball in and although Witton thought that the ball had been cleared, it had already crossed the line via a deflection off the keeper’s attempted stop.
Twice more United had the ball in the net, however an offside and an adjudged foul ruled out both goals as the Reds began to control the game. Shortly before the break, Witton’s Alex Titchiner rattled the post and then Luke Ashworth made a vital tackle to deny the striker from going one-on-one with King. Moments later, Lindfield wrapped up the half by putting the Reds ahead after picking up Fallon’s ball and hitting it first time into the roof of the net.
Both sides were quick out of the blocks in the second period and United’s defence needed to be switched on to avoid another slip up early in the half. On the hour mark, the visitors opted for fresh legs upfront, replacing both strikers. Five minutes later, the Reds made a double change themselves; bringing off Madeley and Callum Byrne for Matthew Wolfenden and Tom Brown.
Less than a minute later, Fallon secured the victory with a stunner from 25 yards into the top left corner of the goal, giving Witton ’keeper Danny Roberts no chance.
Greaves then attempted to get onto the score sheet with a glancing header at the near post from Lindfield’s corner which sailed across the Witton goalmouth before Fallon went for a replica of his earlier goal which this time Roberts managed to tip onto the bar with an excellent one-handed save.
A flurry of chances followed for the Reds. Twice Ashworth looked to score; from a free header at the back post, which was turned wide, and then from a looping effort from the edge of the area. Just before the full time whistle, substitute Cameron Murray thought he’d added a fourth but unluckily saw his effort ricochet off the upright.
In spite of the shaky start, the Reds saw out the encounter convincingly, instilling confidence ready for Friday night’s league fixture in which they face Worcester City for the first time.
Website man of the match: Craig Lindfield – influential on the wing and scored a vital goal to give the Reds the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Photo courtesy: Mark Lee (see his full match photos here)
Read more here: http://www.fc-utd.co.uk/m_report.php?match_id=1389