FC United of Manchester 4-3 Harrogate Town
Saturday 30 January 2016
National League North
Phew! what a scorcher!
by Craig Phillips
FC United came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3 with a sensational performance against Harrogate Town in front of 3,362 supporters at Broadhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors had gone three goals up in 36 minutes but a George Thomson strike on the stroke of halftime gave the Reds a glimmer of hope. In a frantic start to the second half, three goals from Sam Sheridan, Tom Greaves and Sam Madeley inside 12 minutes saw the Reds complete an amazing comeback.
Moments later, Town defender Louis Swain saw red for his reaction to a tackle by Greaves on the half way line and FC United eased to a priceless victory against 10 men.
Both teams came into the game after each scoring six last week and neither team let up this week as another bumper crowd were treated to seven goals for the second consecutive Saturday at Broadhurst Park.
Despite what the early score line would suggest it was the home team who had begun the game the brighter of the two teams, calling Peter Crook in the Town goal into action on more than one occasion.
But the visitors showed their ruthless side taking each of the three chances they got on target in the opening half. Top-scorer Brendan Daniels got in behind the United defence and remained cool as he slotted home past Dave Carnell to put Harrogate a goal to the good after 22 minutes.
Lloyd Kerry then doubled the lead as corner from the right was headed back across box before he too showed great composure in front of goal to make it 2-0 with 29 minutes gone. When Joe Colbeck took advantage of a defensive error to make it 3-0 just seven minutes later it looked as though United would sink without trace but what followed was a simply amazing fightback that started just before the break.
Thomson saw his free-kick from the left flank cleared out by the visiting defence and back to his feet, before firing a low hard effort into the back of the net to offer even the most optimistic Reds just a glimmer of hope going into the second half.
That goal certainly changed the momentum of the game and the Reds – who were attacking the St Mary’s Road End in the second half – seemed fired up for the second half. A super solo run by Sam Sheridan ended up with another low hard shot driven into the back of the net to make it a one goal game just a minute into the second half.
The two quick goals fired up the players and the crowd, and nine minutes later FC United were level as Tom Greaves got in behind the visiting defence before slotting home to level the scores.
But the goals didn’t stop there. With the wind in their sails United came forward once more with Madeley scoring a goal almost identical to Greaves’ but from the other flank, creating scenes of pandemonium on the terraces.
The away team were clearly rocked. Unbelievably they had seen their three goal lead obliterated and had to now chase the game. The task was made all the more difficult when Swain saw red for his reaction to a foul by Greaves, reacting in such a way just yards from the referee was always going to get the Harrogate defender in trouble.
United were unable to make the most of the extra man in terms of getting any more goals, but the advantage certainly helped defensively as the visitors rarely troubled the United goal, being restricted to long range efforts.
Karl Marginson’s side saw out the game well and picked up another three points against a team chasing the promotion places in the league. The Reds have now lost just twice in their last 10 league games to keep slowly moving away from the wrong end of the table.
Next up is a tough looking trip to table topping Solihull Moors next Saturday, but with a performance like this the Reds will surely welcome the test.
Website man of the match: Sam Sheridan – One of those games where it was hard to pick out one player out of so many good performances, but Sheridan stood out and his goal early in the second half fired the Reds right back into the game.
Photo courtesy of Mark Lee (full match photos here)
Read more here: http://www.fc-utd.co.uk/m_report.php?match_id=1291