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Match Report

   

3.00pm Saturday 14th January 2006

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

Crown Ground, Livingston Road, Accrington, BB5 5BX


Nelson

1 - 3

FC United of Manchester

Barrett 65 (pen) Mitten, J 3
Torpey 27, 45

Attendance: 2,011

Nelson 1

Barrett 65 (pen)

FC United of Manchester 3

Mitten, J 3
Torpey 27, 45

Attendance: 2,011
Nelson
1. Billy Carrington
2. Manzar Ditta
3. Darren Fullard
4. Kevin Richardson (capt)
5. Duncan Bennett
6. Andy Haworth
7. James Coonan
8. Robbie Smith
9. Paul Barrett
10. Michael Holt
11. Jason Jones

Subs:
12. Craig Bradshaw (for 7, 73 mins)
14. Lee Scholes (for 3, 83 mins)
15. Chris Ridehalgh (for 6, HT)

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 Chris Simms
9 Jonathan Mitten 
10 Steve Torpey
11 Adie Orr

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



Match Report

For the second time this season the FC United family pitched up at the home of Conference leaders Accrington Stanley. The first occasion, in November, was less than fully satisfactory as United were defeated by NWCL Division One side Colne in the League Challenge Cup. The travelling support were hopeful that we would enjoy a better result this time around as our hosts, Nelson FC, had already been comfortably overcome at Gigg Lane in October. Some reservations were felt though as leading scorer Simon Carden would be absent and this match would also mark the first that Rory Patterson would miss as a result of the suspension meted out after his red card in the Colne game.

Chris Simms was drafted in for his first start with the huge task of filling Simon Carden’s number 8 shirt. Simon, for his part, was present at the Interlink Stadium and in good spirits. He has an outside chance of being available for selection again when United return to Accrington at the end of the month for the Great Harwood fixture. The injury that Carden picked up in the Darwen match looks to be a case of badly strained rather than torn ligaments as had initially been feared so 2 to 3 more weeks to recovery is a sensible target. Chaddy has just resumed running and hopes to fully participate in training in the coming week with an outside chance of making his comeback next weekend versus Ashton Town. The club captain is not a good watcher and is itching to get back into action but is also mindful of the risks associated with coming back too quickly and further aggravating his sore toe.

With Patterson unavailable Joz Mitten returned to the number 9 shirt after a couple of weeks out. The two Tony’s, Cullen and Coyne, both lined up on the bench as their recovery from injuries are now complete. Also seen at Accrington was Scott Holt who has now returned after his loan spell at Glossop. Scott is delighted to be back and fully fit and hopes that he can force his way into Margy’s thinking in the near future. Spare a thought for the talented lads on the fringes who are desperate to wear the shirt and prove their capabilities but keep seeing the incumbents racking up win after win. Also spare a thought for Margy and his management team who are trying to keep a large squad of players match sharp and content without the benefit of a reserve team. Hopefully life will be easier next season when, presumably, we will field a reserve team where those returning from injury and those trying to claim a first team spot can maintain full match sharpness in real matches.

The Nelson manager, Graham Haworth, was forced into an eleventh hour change as John Harrison picked up an injury in the warm-up. Jason Jones was promoted from the bench to the starting line-up. Also of note in the Nelson team were one of the league’s leading scorers Michael Holt wearing the 10 shirt and the league’s December goalkeeper of the month, Billy ‘the fish’ Carrington. Carrington only conceded 2 goals in the whole of the month apparently.

Nelson kicked off but were soon on the back foot. United took the lead after less than 3 minutes through Joz Mitten. Torpey had the ball on the left flank, just inside the Nelson half. He slipped a simple pass inside to Adie Orr who did very well to ride a tackle before playing a cross field pass to Josh Howard on the right flank. Josh fired in a low cross that Joz turned in from 7 yards out near the centre of goal. The big man displayed a precise touch as he muscled in front of the covering defender before diverting the ball beyond Carrington’s right hand into the bottom left of goal. Joz was clearly delighted to get back on the goal scoring track, after missing the last couple of matches, with his 6th goal of the campaign. 0-1.

Carrington was forced into making a couple of smart saves in the early stages as United dominated proceedings. Simms was unlucky not to open his account after good work from Torpey and Mitten but his shot was parried by the ‘keeper. Moments later and Steve Spencer also forced a save from Carrington. A Torpey corner from the right was palmed away, toward the left flank, by Carrington. Dave Brown rescued the ball and slotted inside to Spencer who was in space 25 yards, or so, from goal. Spencer took a couple of touches before aiming a right foot effort towards the bottom left of goal but again Carrington scrambled across to keep the ball out.

Nelson weren’t looking terribly threatening when they had possession though Barrett did find a good position to meet a Ditta cross with his head. The header, from 12 yards out, was directed over the bar. A few moments earlier and Holt had shot wildly from nearly 30 yards out but was well off target.

On 14 minutes another Torpey corner from the right side caused problems for Nelson. The deep cross was headed back to the centre of goal by Chris Simms. Rob Nugent challenged for the knock-back and saw his header pass just beyond the right hand post with Carrington stranded.

Jason Jones showed terrific persistence in getting past Nugent and Brown but just as things looked to be opening up for him his touch deserted him and Barrie George collected the loose ball. At the other end both Mitten and Torpey saw shots from distance missing the target, Mitten’s left-footed shot was high and right of goal whilst Torpey got the direction correct but miscalculated the altitude as his shot soared over the bar.

In the 27th minute Torpey doubled the lead. A low ball was played in by Howard that Adie Orr dummied, this excellent dummy saw the ball rolling into Joz Mitten’s feet, Joz looked to be aiming a lay off to Chris Simms who was supporting but a defender partly intervened. This intervention only directed the ball, in a looping trajectory, to Steve Torpey. The Wiganer lent back and applied a deft finish with a left foot volley just inside of the left hand post. The execution of this shot was faultless and far from straightforward. Torpey was leaning back and struck the ball precisely with the outside of his left foot getting just enough power to beat Carrington whilst never in danger of lobbing the shot over the bar. A tremendous finish. 0-2.

On the half-hour the decision to send Rob Nugent up for attacking corners very nearly paid off as he met another Torpey corner but directed his header just beyond the far post. Several minutes later and Adie Orr found himself in an even better position with an attempted header from a Torpey corner. The red-headed number 11 rose well in the centre of the goalmouth no more than 3 yards out but somehow contrived to misdirect his header beyond the far post. Adie sank to the ground with his head in his hands knowing that he should have done so much better. Referee Fishwick came to check on Adie’s welfare before Adie rose to his feet wearily and resumed battle.

The final goal of the first half came right on the stroke of 45 minutes and was another spectacular freekick from Steve Torpey. Nelson might feel that the award of the freekick was slightly questionable; it was given as cross from the United right struck left-back Fullard on, or around, his arm. Mr. Fishwick deemed it to be handball so Torpey spotted the ball a yard or so to the right of the penalty area some 15 yards from the by-line. The big guns were all assembled near to the far post ready for the inevitable cross that would be delivered in but Torpey had other ideas. He took a short run up but drove his left foot through the ball and sent it arrowing directly into the top left corner of the net. This adds another goal to the hatful of special goals that Torpey has scored amongst the 12 that he’s registered this season; he rarely scores tap-ins does he? 0-3.

United had handsomely dominated the first half and were not unduly flattered by the score line at the break. Things were somewhat different in the second period with United failing to create much by way of clear cut chances and Nelson’s play improving markedly. In addition, the wind appeared to increase in intensity during the second period and was at the Nelson players’ backs. Carrington launched a number of very deep kicks with this wind assistance whilst on the other hand Barrie George was having some difficulty in clearing half-way with United’s goal kicks. This changed the balance of play completely in the second half.

In the 65th minute Nelson were offered a lifeline as Mr. Fishwick pointed to the penalty spot after Barrie George and Nelson substitute Chris Ridehalgh tangled and tussled after George failed to hold a high ball in the United area. The FC United ‘keeper was cautioned for the foul. The Nelson number 9, Paul Barrett, calmly slotted the spot-kick beyond George’s right hand into the bottom left corner of the net. 1-3.

Nelson were buoyed by this goal and mounted a series of attacks. George was called into action on a few occasions but was probably most severely tested by a Billy McCartney header that looked to be looping beyond the rapidly backtracking goalkeeper. Barrie tipped the header over the bar acrobatically at the expense of a corner kick. Jason Jones and Paul Barrett both missed presentable chances as the half wore on. Jones brought another good save from Barrie George on 90 minutes as he struck a venomous right-footed volley but the United number 1 was equal to the challenge and deflected the strike behind.

Joz Mitten had earlier managed to pick up a needless caution as he played on after the referee’s whistle for the second time in the match. The ref had offered a friendly warning in the first half when Joz took a shot after being flagged and then whistled offside but when the same crime was committed in the second period the official had little option but to show a yellow card. Josh Howard was more harshly shown a yellow card after a throw-in decision had been given in Nelson’s favour. The United number 7 was clearly frustrated by the poor decision but I did not think that the method by which he threw down the ball was an act of dissent.

Rob Nugent was injured in a challenge with Nelson’s Bradshaw. The United right-back soldiered on as United had already utilised all 3 substitutes but for the final 5 or 6 minutes Tony Cullen slotted into right-back and Rob Nugent went up front. He ran off the injury and caused the Nelson backline a few problems in the closing stages.

United’s best chance of the half fell to Torpey who probably ought to have registered a second hat-trick in the season after being played through by Mitten. Torpey ran in up the inside right channel but dragged his right foot shot beyond the far post as Carrington advanced to close him down. Finally, more than 4 minutes into stoppage time, Tony Coyne saw a shot rebound from the right hand post after a bit of a scramble in the Nelson area.

Overall United were good value for their victory. Nelson improved significantly in the second half but I always had the impression that United could have gone on to get a fourth goal if further endangered by a Nelson second goal. As it happens that second Nelson goal never came so we’ll never know how my theory would have translated in practice.

Torpey was man of the match for me. He took both of his goals excellently and looked dangerous for most of the afternoon. Honourable mentions for Joz Mitten, who linked up well with Adie Orr. Joz won lots of headers and most of his flick-ons were intelligently directed into dangerous areas and he also took his goal very, very well. Steve Spencer was a study in perpetual motion. Non stop action from the United number 4 who was closing and snapping into tackles at every turn.

Match Report

For the second time this season the FC United family pitched up at the home of Conference leaders Accrington Stanley. The first occasion, in November, was less than fully satisfactory as United were defeated by NWCL Division One side Colne in the League Challenge Cup. The travelling support were hopeful that we would enjoy a better result this time around as our hosts, Nelson FC, had already been comfortably overcome at Gigg Lane in October. Some reservations were felt though as leading scorer Simon Carden would be absent and this match would also mark the first that Rory Patterson would miss as a result of the suspension meted out after his red card in the Colne game.

Chris Simms was drafted in for his first start with the huge task of filling Simon Carden’s number 8 shirt. Simon, for his part, was present at the Interlink Stadium and in good spirits. He has an outside chance of being available for selection again when United return to Accrington at the end of the month for the Great Harwood fixture. The injury that Carden picked up in the Darwen match looks to be a case of badly strained rather than torn ligaments as had initially been feared so 2 to 3 more weeks to recovery is a sensible target. Chaddy has just resumed running and hopes to fully participate in training in the coming week with an outside chance of making his comeback next weekend versus Ashton Town. The club captain is not a good watcher and is itching to get back into action but is also mindful of the risks associated with coming back too quickly and further aggravating his sore toe.

With Patterson unavailable Joz Mitten returned to the number 9 shirt after a couple of weeks out. The two Tony’s, Cullen and Coyne, both lined up on the bench as their recovery from injuries are now complete. Also seen at Accrington was Scott Holt who has now returned after his loan spell at Glossop. Scott is delighted to be back and fully fit and hopes that he can force his way into Margy’s thinking in the near future. Spare a thought for the talented lads on the fringes who are desperate to wear the shirt and prove their capabilities but keep seeing the incumbents racking up win after win. Also spare a thought for Margy and his management team who are trying to keep a large squad of players match sharp and content without the benefit of a reserve team. Hopefully life will be easier next season when, presumably, we will field a reserve team where those returning from injury and those trying to claim a first team spot can maintain full match sharpness in real matches.

The Nelson manager, Graham Haworth, was forced into an eleventh hour change as John Harrison picked up an injury in the warm-up. Jason Jones was promoted from the bench to the starting line-up. Also of note in the Nelson team were one of the league’s leading scorers Michael Holt wearing the 10 shirt and the league’s December goalkeeper of the month, Billy ‘the fish’ Carrington. Carrington only conceded 2 goals in the whole of the month apparently.

Nelson kicked off but were soon on the back foot. United took the lead after less than 3 minutes through Joz Mitten. Torpey had the ball on the left flank, just inside the Nelson half. He slipped a simple pass inside to Adie Orr who did very well to ride a tackle before playing a cross field pass to Josh Howard on the right flank. Josh fired in a low cross that Joz turned in from 7 yards out near the centre of goal. The big man displayed a precise touch as he muscled in front of the covering defender before diverting the ball beyond Carrington’s right hand into the bottom left of goal. Joz was clearly delighted to get back on the goal scoring track, after missing the last couple of matches, with his 6th goal of the campaign. 0-1.

Carrington was forced into making a couple of smart saves in the early stages as United dominated proceedings. Simms was unlucky not to open his account after good work from Torpey and Mitten but his shot was parried by the ‘keeper. Moments later and Steve Spencer also forced a save from Carrington. A Torpey corner from the right was palmed away, toward the left flank, by Carrington. Dave Brown rescued the ball and slotted inside to Spencer who was in space 25 yards, or so, from goal. Spencer took a couple of touches before aiming a right foot effort towards the bottom left of goal but again Carrington scrambled across to keep the ball out.

Nelson weren’t looking terribly threatening when they had possession though Barrett did find a good position to meet a Ditta cross with his head. The header, from 12 yards out, was directed over the bar. A few moments earlier and Holt had shot wildly from nearly 30 yards out but was well off target.

On 14 minutes another Torpey corner from the right side caused problems for Nelson. The deep cross was headed back to the centre of goal by Chris Simms. Rob Nugent challenged for the knock-back and saw his header pass just beyond the right hand post with Carrington stranded.

Jason Jones showed terrific persistence in getting past Nugent and Brown but just as things looked to be opening up for him his touch deserted him and Barrie George collected the loose ball. At the other end both Mitten and Torpey saw shots from distance missing the target, Mitten’s left-footed shot was high and right of goal whilst Torpey got the direction correct but miscalculated the altitude as his shot soared over the bar.

In the 27th minute Torpey doubled the lead. A low ball was played in by Howard that Adie Orr dummied, this excellent dummy saw the ball rolling into Joz Mitten’s feet, Joz looked to be aiming a lay off to Chris Simms who was supporting but a defender partly intervened. This intervention only directed the ball, in a looping trajectory, to Steve Torpey. The Wiganer lent back and applied a deft finish with a left foot volley just inside of the left hand post. The execution of this shot was faultless and far from straightforward. Torpey was leaning back and struck the ball precisely with the outside of his left foot getting just enough power to beat Carrington whilst never in danger of lobbing the shot over the bar. A tremendous finish. 0-2.

On the half-hour the decision to send Rob Nugent up for attacking corners very nearly paid off as he met another Torpey corner but directed his header just beyond the far post. Several minutes later and Adie Orr found himself in an even better position with an attempted header from a Torpey corner. The red-headed number 11 rose well in the centre of the goalmouth no more than 3 yards out but somehow contrived to misdirect his header beyond the far post. Adie sank to the ground with his head in his hands knowing that he should have done so much better. Referee Fishwick came to check on Adie’s welfare before Adie rose to his feet wearily and resumed battle.

The final goal of the first half came right on the stroke of 45 minutes and was another spectacular freekick from Steve Torpey. Nelson might feel that the award of the freekick was slightly questionable; it was given as cross from the United right struck left-back Fullard on, or around, his arm. Mr. Fishwick deemed it to be handball so Torpey spotted the ball a yard or so to the right of the penalty area some 15 yards from the by-line. The big guns were all assembled near to the far post ready for the inevitable cross that would be delivered in but Torpey had other ideas. He took a short run up but drove his left foot through the ball and sent it arrowing directly into the top left corner of the net. This adds another goal to the hatful of special goals that Torpey has scored amongst the 12 that he’s registered this season; he rarely scores tap-ins does he? 0-3.

United had handsomely dominated the first half and were not unduly flattered by the score line at the break. Things were somewhat different in the second period with United failing to create much by way of clear cut chances and Nelson’s play improving markedly. In addition, the wind appeared to increase in intensity during the second period and was at the Nelson players’ backs. Carrington launched a number of very deep kicks with this wind assistance whilst on the other hand Barrie George was having some difficulty in clearing half-way with United’s goal kicks. This changed the balance of play completely in the second half.

In the 65th minute Nelson were offered a lifeline as Mr. Fishwick pointed to the penalty spot after Barrie George and Nelson substitute Chris Ridehalgh tangled and tussled after George failed to hold a high ball in the United area. The FC United ‘keeper was cautioned for the foul. The Nelson number 9, Paul Barrett, calmly slotted the spot-kick beyond George’s right hand into the bottom left corner of the net. 1-3.

Nelson were buoyed by this goal and mounted a series of attacks. George was called into action on a few occasions but was probably most severely tested by a Billy McCartney header that looked to be looping beyond the rapidly backtracking goalkeeper. Barrie tipped the header over the bar acrobatically at the expense of a corner kick. Jason Jones and Paul Barrett both missed presentable chances as the half wore on. Jones brought another good save from Barrie George on 90 minutes as he struck a venomous right-footed volley but the United number 1 was equal to the challenge and deflected the strike behind.

Joz Mitten had earlier managed to pick up a needless caution as he played on after the referee’s whistle for the second time in the match. The ref had offered a friendly warning in the first half when Joz took a shot after being flagged and then whistled offside but when the same crime was committed in the second period the official had little option but to show a yellow card. Josh Howard was more harshly shown a yellow card after a throw-in decision had been given in Nelson’s favour. The United number 7 was clearly frustrated by the poor decision but I did not think that the method by which he threw down the ball was an act of dissent.

Rob Nugent was injured in a challenge with Nelson’s Bradshaw. The United right-back soldiered on as United had already utilised all 3 substitutes but for the final 5 or 6 minutes Tony Cullen slotted into right-back and Rob Nugent went up front. He ran off the injury and caused the Nelson backline a few problems in the closing stages.

United’s best chance of the half fell to Torpey who probably ought to have registered a second hat-trick in the season after being played through by Mitten. Torpey ran in up the inside right channel but dragged his right foot shot beyond the far post as Carrington advanced to close him down. Finally, more than 4 minutes into stoppage time, Tony Coyne saw a shot rebound from the right hand post after a bit of a scramble in the Nelson area.

Overall United were good value for their victory. Nelson improved significantly in the second half but I always had the impression that United could have gone on to get a fourth goal if further endangered by a Nelson second goal. As it happens that second Nelson goal never came so we’ll never know how my theory would have translated in practice.

Torpey was man of the match for me. He took both of his goals excellently and looked dangerous for most of the afternoon. Honourable mentions for Joz Mitten, who linked up well with Adie Orr. Joz won lots of headers and most of his flick-ons were intelligently directed into dangerous areas and he also took his goal very, very well. Steve Spencer was a study in perpetual motion. Non stop action from the United number 4 who was closing and snapping into tackles at every turn.