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Match Report

   

3.00pm Saturday 17th December 2005

Moore & Co Construction Solicitors sponsored North West Counties Football League Division 2

Craven Park, Duke Street, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA14 5UW


Holker Old Boys

0 - 2

FC United of Manchester

 Carden 64
Orr 66

Attendance: 2,303

Holker Old Boys 0

FC United of Manchester 2

Carden 64
Orr 66

Attendance: 2,303
Holker Old Boys
1. Ross Liddicott
2. Lindsay Robb
3. Graham Capstick
4. Barry Stevens
5. Craig Salton
6. Gareth Brunton (capt)
7. David Round
8. Andrew Higginson
9. Paul Southward
10. Rob Bruce
11. Dale Cleese

Subs:
12. Matt Dewey (for 2, 79 mins)
14. Chris Ottley
15. Reece Hudson (for 11, 81 mins)

FC United of Manchester
1 Barrie George
2 Robert Nugent 
3 Kevin Elvin
4 Steven Spencer
5 Billy McCartney
6 Dave Brown (capt)
7 Joshua Howard 
8 Simon Carden
9 Rory Patterson
10 Steve Torpey
11 Adie Orr

Subs.
12 Tony Coyne (for 8)
14 William Ahern (for 11)
15 Phil Power (for 9)



Match Report

This fixture has been anticipated from the very earliest days of FC United. That first game, back in the sunshine, at Leigh RMI saw the first airings of the latest adaptation of a classic song that has been sung by Reds looking forward to long journeys in pursuit of glory following the team. Porto (twice) and Glasgow had been immortalised in the recent past but now we focussed attention a little bit closer to home ‘cos United are going to Barrow!’

How many of us could truly have envisaged the journey that we have undertaken as we arrived with some trepidation at that first match in July. Could we have dreamt of the rain at Leek? The repeating theme of delayed kick offs as the masses queued to watch United? The exceptional hospitality shown by almost all of our hosts? Le Stade de La Gigg? 3,808 versus Daisy Hill? The pain of that defeat versus Norton? Ten goals versus Gabriels? United, United, Top of the league? It’s been fantastic so far and whilst this match takes us further geographically than any other league match will this season the real journey is truly only just beginning.

Manager Marginson made a couple of changes after the demolition of Castleton. Club captain David Chadwick made way for Billy McCartney and Joz Mitten stepped aside to allow Rory Patterson a start for the first time since Mystery’s sending off versus Colne. William Ahern also returned to the line-up, on the bench, after a few matches passed without his involvement.

The Barrow Raiders home looked an ideal venue as the sun shone on a cool day. It’s a bit of a mystery as to why the capacity for this match was originally pegged at 2,400. The ground, whilst hardly state of the art, looked more than capable of accommodating 7 or 8,000 without being near to crammed. After representations from Holker the council relented and raised the capacity to 3,500. As it happens the original capacity of 2,400 would have been just enough to meet the actual crowd on the day of 2,303. The playing surface itself looked in a decent condition, no evidence of any bare patches with a good covering of grass. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. As the game started it quickly became apparent that the pitch was some way short of the ideal football surface. The grass was patchy and far from lush so the ball didn’t run true. The pitch was also very firm indeed further exacerbating the problems with the uneven bounce and roll.

Despite the problems with the pitch United might have taken a first minute lead. Torpey played the ball through to Patterson who angled his run in towards goal. The Irishman’s sidefooted shot was comfortably gathered by Liddicott in the home goal. Holker Old Boys might then have got onto the scoresheet in the 4th minute as a freekick was launched forward from the halfway line. Paul Southward seemed to be in a good position to get his head to the long cross but he failed to make contact with the ball as he ran in from the Holker right.

One minute later and another freekick from near halfway picked out Southward. This time Gareth Brunton, the Holker captain, drove in a low ball that Southward controlled just inside the area before he snatched at his shot sending the ball high over the crossbar. The room afforded to Southward must have been worrying for Margy in these early exchanges. The manager felt that he had to give McCartney a start to help to keep the erstwhile captain sharp for games to come but must have been concerned that Chadwick’s organisational skills might be missed. On 8 minutes Southward again threatened, this time he got goal side of Kev Elvin and drove in off of the right wing to bear down on Barrie George’s goal. George was equal to the threat and saw the shot diverted beyond the far post for a Holker corner kick.

Later and Torpey teed up a freekick some 22 yards out, just right of centre, after Carden was fouled. The left footed shot went narrowly wide of the left hand post with Liddicott looking distinctly worried. On 24 minutes the best chance to date for United. Firstly Carden was played into a great position by Torpey but the prolific number 8 failed to control the pass and the chance was lost momentarily. The ball was cleared by Holker but came straight back in. Patterson dribbled forward before picking out Torpey. Torpey was left of goal near to the goal line but some 10-12 yards wide of goal. He seemed to have no real options on but made a tiny bit of space before driving the ball towards the near post. The shot/cross was deflected by a covering defender and looked to be creeping in at the near post before Liddicott, who had been wrong-footed, recovered by sticking out his right leg and kicking the ball off of the line.

On the half-hour another United chance was spurned. A neat build-up on the right flank involving Adie Orr, Josh Howard, Patterson and Steve Spencer ended with the ball falling nicely for Rory, the United number 9 drew back his right foot and struck the ball well but marginally wide of the right post. Patterson then had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty kick turned down as he tried to capitalise on a mix-up between Liddicott and one of his defenders. Liddicott ended up with the ball in his grasp as the defender tangled with Patterson as the Holker man looked to be trying to get out of Liddicott’s path.

Adie Orr had the best view in the house last week as Simon Carden completed his hat-trick versus Castleton with a spectacular bicycle kick. Adie was stood no more than 3 yards away as Simon soared into the air before sending the ball goalwards. It seems that the perfect form shown by Carden in executing that difficult skill was not fully absorbed by Adie as he had a chance to emulate it after 38 minutes. Josh Howard was the provider but Adie’s overhead kick went harmlessly over the bar.

Just before half-time Kev Elvin showed excellent persistence as he found himself in the United attacking third of the pitch. The United number 3 looked to be in trouble but he never gave in and regained possession before coolly pulling a pass back to Adie Orr who was excellently repelled by the Old Boy’s defence.

As the percussionists took to the pitch, at halftime, I was wondering where a goal was going to come from in this encounter. Neither team had fashioned any really good opportunities, the home side probably just edged the first half and seemed to have better mastered the conditions than United but it looked nailed on as a nil-nil to me. Then I looked up again and saw a man doing a fast walking lap of the pitch perimeter wearing a ‘big’ United top, some questionable drawers and builder’s safety boots. Before I’d fully absorbed this spectacle I noticed a man carrying a dinghy crossing the playing surface. I think it was the sight of the dinghy that woke me from my reverie. I was watching FC United here, the league leaders who had only failed to score in one league game all season. Of course they would score, and so it proved.

After both the scheduled and unscheduled half-time entertainments were concluded so the match resumed with the home side kicking off. Holker had the first shot of the half, through their number 7 David Round, but it was fired well wide of Barrie George’s goal from 25 yards out. Ten minutes into the second half and a little bit of nonsense between Rob Nugent and Paul Southward resulted in the first cautions of the day being dished out by Mr. Foster.

A United corner kick from the right very nearly unlocked the stubborn Holker defence coming up to the hour mark. Torpey chipped in a tempting ball towards the far post that was attacked by a trio of United players including Brown and McCartney. No-one made a clean contact as the ball came down but somehow the ball was diverted towards goal by the collective effort. For a moment it looked a certain goal but after some hesitation the ball was cleared away by the Holker backline.

Holker’s speedy Rob Bruce was the next to threaten as he got to the byeline on the Holker right. He carried the ball into the area but from a very acute angle failed to pick out either a pass or a shot. His right footed ball went beyond the farpost and was barely prevented from going out for a throw-in on the far side.

The first goal arrived on 64 minutes and, despite his personal poor form in the first half of this contest, few will have been too surprised to see United’s number 8, Simon Carden, breaking the deadlock. Carden was played in by Josh Howard who hit a speculative pass in from the right touchline. Carden allowed the ball to run across his body before hitting an unstoppable left footed drive beyond Liddicott and into the goal just inside of the right hand post. The shot from just outside of the box was full of power and precision and continued Carden’s exceptional scoring run – that’s now 6 games in a row in which he has scored, his total in this run an incredible 12 goals. 0-1.

Just a few minutes later and the lead was doubled as United, at last, began to find a little bit of rhythm. The improvement in United’s play may have been down to a little dip in the Holker Old Boys performance as they began to tire. Where the home side had been harrying and pressing in the first half suddenly the United lads seemed to have a yard more space and a second or two extra time as they received the ball. This second goal resulted after a little virtuoso effort from Patterson who on a couple of occasions looked to have run into a cul de sac. Despite seeming to be heavily outnumbered he still managed to regain possession and drive forward again. Eventually his shot was half charged down but the ball ballooned into the air just outside of the penalty area. Adie Orr seemed to keep his eyes trained on the trajectory of the ball as it descended. The former Manchester City trainee leapt and stretched out his right leg to meet the ball with a delicate touch as it dropped from the sky. The ball arced upwards again from Adie’s right boot and up, over and beyond Liddicott into the net. Another lobbed volley from Orr seemingly making the game safe. 0-2.

The final 20 minutes of the match played out with little of any real note. Margy used all 3 of his subs. Josh Howard forced a good save from Liddicott after substitute Power played him in. The home goalkeeper was also very nearly embarrassed as he badly sliced an attempted clearance from a backpass. The ball spun alarmingly near to his goal but happily, for him, just beyond the post. United kept the ball well in this final spell and probably could have turned the screw further but they seemed content to play this one out after having spent two-thirds of the match huffing and puffing.

I found this a very difficult match from which to pick out a man of the match. The back line played well after a slow start when Southward might have punished some slack marking. The midfield was not at it’s best, Carden, despite his goal looked well below par. Spencer was solid in an under-stated way, as usual. Howard and Torpey were also persistent in the wide areas but neither had their best games. Patterson and Orr spent a lot of time trying to make things happen up front but were starved of quality service at times. I opt for Rob Nugent just ahead of Steve Spencer. Rob has begun to settle into his rightback role now and is looking much more comfortable there. He won everything in the air and made his share of tackles too. His distribution was steady and reliable; he kept it simple and as a result rarely gave the ball away.

Disclaimer: the views expressed in these match reports are purely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Board of FC United of Manchester.

(with thanks to FC United of Manchester supporter Wayne Clark for supplying this match report)

Match Report

This fixture has been anticipated from the very earliest days of FC United. That first game, back in the sunshine, at Leigh RMI saw the first airings of the latest adaptation of a classic song that has been sung by Reds looking forward to long journeys in pursuit of glory following the team. Porto (twice) and Glasgow had been immortalised in the recent past but now we focussed attention a little bit closer to home ‘cos United are going to Barrow!’

How many of us could truly have envisaged the journey that we have undertaken as we arrived with some trepidation at that first match in July. Could we have dreamt of the rain at Leek? The repeating theme of delayed kick offs as the masses queued to watch United? The exceptional hospitality shown by almost all of our hosts? Le Stade de La Gigg? 3,808 versus Daisy Hill? The pain of that defeat versus Norton? Ten goals versus Gabriels? United, United, Top of the league? It’s been fantastic so far and whilst this match takes us further geographically than any other league match will this season the real journey is truly only just beginning.

Manager Marginson made a couple of changes after the demolition of Castleton. Club captain David Chadwick made way for Billy McCartney and Joz Mitten stepped aside to allow Rory Patterson a start for the first time since Mystery’s sending off versus Colne. William Ahern also returned to the line-up, on the bench, after a few matches passed without his involvement.

The Barrow Raiders home looked an ideal venue as the sun shone on a cool day. It’s a bit of a mystery as to why the capacity for this match was originally pegged at 2,400. The ground, whilst hardly state of the art, looked more than capable of accommodating 7 or 8,000 without being near to crammed. After representations from Holker the council relented and raised the capacity to 3,500. As it happens the original capacity of 2,400 would have been just enough to meet the actual crowd on the day of 2,303. The playing surface itself looked in a decent condition, no evidence of any bare patches with a good covering of grass. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. As the game started it quickly became apparent that the pitch was some way short of the ideal football surface. The grass was patchy and far from lush so the ball didn’t run true. The pitch was also very firm indeed further exacerbating the problems with the uneven bounce and roll.

Despite the problems with the pitch United might have taken a first minute lead. Torpey played the ball through to Patterson who angled his run in towards goal. The Irishman’s sidefooted shot was comfortably gathered by Liddicott in the home goal. Holker Old Boys might then have got onto the scoresheet in the 4th minute as a freekick was launched forward from the halfway line. Paul Southward seemed to be in a good position to get his head to the long cross but he failed to make contact with the ball as he ran in from the Holker right.

One minute later and another freekick from near halfway picked out Southward. This time Gareth Brunton, the Holker captain, drove in a low ball that Southward controlled just inside the area before he snatched at his shot sending the ball high over the crossbar. The room afforded to Southward must have been worrying for Margy in these early exchanges. The manager felt that he had to give McCartney a start to help to keep the erstwhile captain sharp for games to come but must have been concerned that Chadwick’s organisational skills might be missed. On 8 minutes Southward again threatened, this time he got goal side of Kev Elvin and drove in off of the right wing to bear down on Barrie George’s goal. George was equal to the threat and saw the shot diverted beyond the far post for a Holker corner kick.

Later and Torpey teed up a freekick some 22 yards out, just right of centre, after Carden was fouled. The left footed shot went narrowly wide of the left hand post with Liddicott looking distinctly worried. On 24 minutes the best chance to date for United. Firstly Carden was played into a great position by Torpey but the prolific number 8 failed to control the pass and the chance was lost momentarily. The ball was cleared by Holker but came straight back in. Patterson dribbled forward before picking out Torpey. Torpey was left of goal near to the goal line but some 10-12 yards wide of goal. He seemed to have no real options on but made a tiny bit of space before driving the ball towards the near post. The shot/cross was deflected by a covering defender and looked to be creeping in at the near post before Liddicott, who had been wrong-footed, recovered by sticking out his right leg and kicking the ball off of the line.

On the half-hour another United chance was spurned. A neat build-up on the right flank involving Adie Orr, Josh Howard, Patterson and Steve Spencer ended with the ball falling nicely for Rory, the United number 9 drew back his right foot and struck the ball well but marginally wide of the right post. Patterson then had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty kick turned down as he tried to capitalise on a mix-up between Liddicott and one of his defenders. Liddicott ended up with the ball in his grasp as the defender tangled with Patterson as the Holker man looked to be trying to get out of Liddicott’s path.

Adie Orr had the best view in the house last week as Simon Carden completed his hat-trick versus Castleton with a spectacular bicycle kick. Adie was stood no more than 3 yards away as Simon soared into the air before sending the ball goalwards. It seems that the perfect form shown by Carden in executing that difficult skill was not fully absorbed by Adie as he had a chance to emulate it after 38 minutes. Josh Howard was the provider but Adie’s overhead kick went harmlessly over the bar.

Just before half-time Kev Elvin showed excellent persistence as he found himself in the United attacking third of the pitch. The United number 3 looked to be in trouble but he never gave in and regained possession before coolly pulling a pass back to Adie Orr who was excellently repelled by the Old Boy’s defence.

As the percussionists took to the pitch, at halftime, I was wondering where a goal was going to come from in this encounter. Neither team had fashioned any really good opportunities, the home side probably just edged the first half and seemed to have better mastered the conditions than United but it looked nailed on as a nil-nil to me. Then I looked up again and saw a man doing a fast walking lap of the pitch perimeter wearing a ‘big’ United top, some questionable drawers and builder’s safety boots. Before I’d fully absorbed this spectacle I noticed a man carrying a dinghy crossing the playing surface. I think it was the sight of the dinghy that woke me from my reverie. I was watching FC United here, the league leaders who had only failed to score in one league game all season. Of course they would score, and so it proved.

After both the scheduled and unscheduled half-time entertainments were concluded so the match resumed with the home side kicking off. Holker had the first shot of the half, through their number 7 David Round, but it was fired well wide of Barrie George’s goal from 25 yards out. Ten minutes into the second half and a little bit of nonsense between Rob Nugent and Paul Southward resulted in the first cautions of the day being dished out by Mr. Foster.

A United corner kick from the right very nearly unlocked the stubborn Holker defence coming up to the hour mark. Torpey chipped in a tempting ball towards the far post that was attacked by a trio of United players including Brown and McCartney. No-one made a clean contact as the ball came down but somehow the ball was diverted towards goal by the collective effort. For a moment it looked a certain goal but after some hesitation the ball was cleared away by the Holker backline.

Holker’s speedy Rob Bruce was the next to threaten as he got to the byeline on the Holker right. He carried the ball into the area but from a very acute angle failed to pick out either a pass or a shot. His right footed ball went beyond the farpost and was barely prevented from going out for a throw-in on the far side.

The first goal arrived on 64 minutes and, despite his personal poor form in the first half of this contest, few will have been too surprised to see United’s number 8, Simon Carden, breaking the deadlock. Carden was played in by Josh Howard who hit a speculative pass in from the right touchline. Carden allowed the ball to run across his body before hitting an unstoppable left footed drive beyond Liddicott and into the goal just inside of the right hand post. The shot from just outside of the box was full of power and precision and continued Carden’s exceptional scoring run – that’s now 6 games in a row in which he has scored, his total in this run an incredible 12 goals. 0-1.

Just a few minutes later and the lead was doubled as United, at last, began to find a little bit of rhythm. The improvement in United’s play may have been down to a little dip in the Holker Old Boys performance as they began to tire. Where the home side had been harrying and pressing in the first half suddenly the United lads seemed to have a yard more space and a second or two extra time as they received the ball. This second goal resulted after a little virtuoso effort from Patterson who on a couple of occasions looked to have run into a cul de sac. Despite seeming to be heavily outnumbered he still managed to regain possession and drive forward again. Eventually his shot was half charged down but the ball ballooned into the air just outside of the penalty area. Adie Orr seemed to keep his eyes trained on the trajectory of the ball as it descended. The former Manchester City trainee leapt and stretched out his right leg to meet the ball with a delicate touch as it dropped from the sky. The ball arced upwards again from Adie’s right boot and up, over and beyond Liddicott into the net. Another lobbed volley from Orr seemingly making the game safe. 0-2.

The final 20 minutes of the match played out with little of any real note. Margy used all 3 of his subs. Josh Howard forced a good save from Liddicott after substitute Power played him in. The home goalkeeper was also very nearly embarrassed as he badly sliced an attempted clearance from a backpass. The ball spun alarmingly near to his goal but happily, for him, just beyond the post. United kept the ball well in this final spell and probably could have turned the screw further but they seemed content to play this one out after having spent two-thirds of the match huffing and puffing.

I found this a very difficult match from which to pick out a man of the match. The back line played well after a slow start when Southward might have punished some slack marking. The midfield was not at it’s best, Carden, despite his goal looked well below par. Spencer was solid in an under-stated way, as usual. Howard and Torpey were also persistent in the wide areas but neither had their best games. Patterson and Orr spent a lot of time trying to make things happen up front but were starved of quality service at times. I opt for Rob Nugent just ahead of Steve Spencer. Rob has begun to settle into his rightback role now and is looking much more comfortable there. He won everything in the air and made his share of tackles too. His distribution was steady and reliable; he kept it simple and as a result rarely gave the ball away.

Disclaimer: the views expressed in these match reports are purely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Board of FC United of Manchester.

(with thanks to FC United of Manchester supporter Wayne Clark for supplying this match report)