Match report: FCUM v Buxton

FC United of Manchester 1-1 Buxton

Sunday 11 October 2015
FA Cup qualifying round

FCUM 11oct15by Victoria Fullen

FC United and Buxton will meet again on Wednesday evening to replay their FA Cup Third Qualifying Round encounter after scoring one apiece in front of a crowd of 2,357 at Broadhurst Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Bucks, who currently lie second in the Northern Premier League, scored a crucial goal just before half-time to break the deadlock but Tom Greaves levelled the tie with just over ten minutes to go.

Arguably, the Reds should have wrapped things up in the closing stages but brave last-ditch defending and a superb goalkeeping performance denied a winner in front of the St. Mary’s Road End.

The familiar Autumnal atmosphere which so often accompanies these early stages in the competition enveloped Broadhurst Park as FC United looked to emulate the result – though perhaps not the score line – of the Reserves who overcame Buxton on Saturday. Notably on the team sheet Dave Carnell made a welcome return for the Reds to resume custody of the FC United goal.

Despite almost playing themselves into trouble early on through loose passing, FC played some lovely spells of football in the early phases and their first real chance came through Matthew Wolfenden who sent a glancing header just wide after being picked out by Craig Lindfield.

Twenty minutes in, Liam Brownhill found Tom Brown loitering in the six yard box and the midfielder could have been in with a chance had Phil Barnes not nicked the ball away at the final moment. Carnell also made a vital goalkeeping interception as, following good work from the impressive Niall Doran, Liam Hardy forced a well-timed challenge from the Reds’ keeper.

At the half hour mark, the visitors were forced to replace Ricky Ravenhill with Alex Wiles, the former having picked up a knock earlier in the game. Moments later Barnes did well to save Rory Fallon’s effort before United failed to make good use of a free kick as had been the theme with many of the home side’s set pieces.

The Reds had a duo of chances as the break drew nearer: firstly Chris Lynch’s header from a corner was placed just wide before FC did all but score as the ball pinballed around the box, forcing a good save from Barnes and a scrambled Buxton clearance. United continued to threaten winning a further corner which was hacked clear, however, the visitors were to have the final say of the half.

Alastair Taylor had free reign of the left flank and crossed in dangerously to see Carnell produce a one-handed save which luckily fell into the path of Brownhill to clear. The Bucks weren’t for giving up though and won a corner from which United cleared twice before allowing Warren Burrell to open the scoring with a poorly conceded goal against the run of play.

The opening of the second half saw a great save off the line from Barnes and also a close call for United’s defence whose lack of communication with Carnell allowed Wiles to nick the ball off the keeper: fortunately the substitute could only strike the side netting.

The first two of the Reds’ changes came either side of the hour as Sean Cooke replaced Brown in the midfield and Sam Madeley came on in place of Lindfield. Meanwhile, the visitors seemed in no rush to maintain the flow of the game, much to FC United’s frustrations. Shortly after the third and final change – the introduction of the influential Callum Byrne for Dave Birch – United were denied a blatant penalty as Madeley was pulled to ground in the area.

On 79 minutes, FC finally profited from large spells of pressure with Greaves setting the scores level. Byrne played it in, Barnes scrambled and the United talisman leapt on the chance to bundle the ball over the line and put the Reds firmly back in the tie.

Five minutes from time, Buxton’s Glenn Belezika was shown a second yellow for a cynical foul on Madeley who was on a rampage through the midfield. Barnes made a good save from the resultant free kick and then saw his side reduced to nine men as Taylor limped off the field and Buxton had exhausted their substitutions.

The five minutes of added time was a tense affair with the majority inside the ground willing the Reds to victory. Successive United corners were defended resolutely as the visitors piled everyone behind the ball. Somehow, Barnes managed to keep his side in it and Buxton celebrated as if they had secured a win as the full-time whistle sounded.

FC United looked the better for the majority of the encounter and ultimately should have triumphed in the final minutes and they must now hope to see Buxton off in the replay at Silverlands this Wednesday to earn their place in the Fourth Round Qualifying.

Attn: 2,357


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