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Match Report

   

3.00pm Saturday 25th February 2006

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

Moss Lane, Moss Lane, Altrincham, WA15 8AP


FC United of Manchester

4 - 1

Holker Old Boys

Howard 44
Simms 62
Ahern 80
Patterson 88
 Swarbrick 30

Attendance: 3,159

FC United of Manchester 4

Howard 44
Simms 62
Ahern 80
Patterson 88

Holker Old Boys 1

Swarbrick 30

Attendance: 3,159
FC United of Manchester
1 Barrie George
2 Robert Nugent
3 Gareth Ormes
4 Chris Simms
5 David Chadwick (capt)
6 Billy McCartney
7 Joshua Howard
8 Phil Power
9 William Ahern
10 Steve Torpey
11 Rory Patterson

Subs.
12 Adie Orr (for 10)
14 Dave Brown (for 5)
15 Tony Cullen (for 3)


Holker Old Boys
1. Ross Liddicott
2. Mark Daly
3. Graham Capstick
4. Barry Stevens
5. Craig Salton
6. Ryan Waters
7. Gareth Brunton (capt)
8. Todd Bamber
9. Paul Southward
10. Rob Bruce
11. Dave Swarbrick

Subs:
12. Scott Hammond (for 8, 70 mins)
14. Chris Ottley (for 4, 84 mins)
15. Andrew Higginson (for 10, 70 mins)


Match Report

Many prematch routines had to be amended as FC United played their first home game away from Gigg Lane. The usual parking spot near to the Swan and Cemetery would result in an unmanageable stroll to this ground so it really felt like just another away match in many ways. Bury FC had arranged to host a beer festival at Gigg Lane this weekend long before discussions about a ground-sharing arrangement with United had even begun. Despite protestations from plenty of United supporters that an FC United match and a beer festival could more than happily co-exist at Gigg Lane the decision was taken to find another ‘home’ for this clash with the Barrow side, Holker Old Boys. Altrincham FC was, perhaps, an obvious choice. An appropriate location, the right capacity and, for a number of United’s players, a familiar feel. At least 5 of the United squad had previously represented Altrincham FC so therefore ought to know their way around Moss Lane.



The team that started this match was the same that commenced the second half against Blackpool Mechanics the previous weekend. That meant that Phil Power made his very first start of the season leading the line alongside Rory Patterson.



The Holker line-up only differed slightly from the team that faced United in Barrow back in December with just 3 or 4 changes. One of the new faces, David Swarbrick, has rejoined Holker Old Boys after spending time at Barrow FC in the Conference North and took his place wide on the right of midfield.



The match was started by United kicking off attacking the Golf Road End. Conditions were decent with bright sunshine helping to counteract the effects of a very cold blustery wind coming in from the east. The Moss Lane pitch is in much better condition than that at Gigg Lane, at the moment, with plenty of grass so I’m sure the United boys were looking forward to getting the ball down and passing.




The first half was well and truly dominated by the home side but despite plenty of possession the leaders had laboured at times against a resolute Holker backline. Very few clear cut chances had been created before a very late goal calmed nerves somewhat.



Rory Patterson saw glory as early as the 4th minute but his attempted shot from distance was well off target after Liddicott, in the Holker goal, had strayed from goal in assisting his defenders. Holker’s Rob Bruce managed to talk his way into the referee’s notebook after his side had won a freekick, after a Chris Simms foul, in a great position 25 yards from goal. Swarbrick hit a thunderous right foot shot that struck the defensive wall and rebounded away to safety.



On 10 minutes Swarbrick went on a nice run down the right flank, he looked to be well marshalled by Steve Torpey but the Holker number 11 made enough space to cross in for Southward but the big centre forward was deemed to have controlled the ball with is arm. On 18 minutes a driven cross from near halfway by Rob Nugent picked out Phil Power who rose well but failed to keep his header down.



In the 24th minute a Steve Torpey corner kick from the right side was headed goalwards from the near post area. The goal bound header was cleared away by the Holker defender stood near the far post but several United players were claiming that the ball had crossed the line before being headed away. The officials were happy to play on.



Just before the half hour a couple of good moments for United as firstly Josh Howard received a pass from Will Ahern before cutting back across toward the area. Howard let fly with a well struck left foot shot that had Liddicott scrambling to his left but the drive was narrowly off target. From the resulting goal kick the ball quickly went back into the Holker area where Patterson harried a defender before dispossessing him to the right of goal. Patterson instantly shot at goal and though the angle was against him he very nearly opened the scoring. The shot beat Liddicott at his near post but rebounded to safety from the face of the right hand post.



In the 32nd minute Patterson again caused some panic in the Holker defence as he seemed to glide in behind the Holker right back, Mark Daly, as though he wasn’t there. From the by-line left of the goal Patterson chose to pullback to the support arriving in the middle. The best option was carefully selected and the onrushing Chris Simms hit a first time shot with the side of his right foot that seemed certain to bulge the net. Liddicott did very well indeed to repel the shot from 12 yards and better still to smother the loose ball before anyone else could intervene.




The opener arrived at a great time, as far as United were concerned, in the 44th minute. The scorer, Josh Howard, received the ball into feet from Will Ahern near the edge of the Holker area just right of centre. Howard turned inside as his first touch made all the room that he would need; the United number 7 struck a good left foot shot that somehow crept under Liddicott and into the net. The goalkeeper will be a bit disappointed to have conceded in such a manner, especially just before halftime. 1-0.



The balance of play was unchanged as the second half commenced. United still dominated possession and pinned Holker back but despite creating a couple of chances couldn’t get that all important second goal. Patterson again glided behind the fullback, left back Capstick this time, before squaring, again to Simms. Somehow Simms contrived to poke his shot wide of the right post from only 5 yards with another goal seeming certain. Simms would have been forgiven for thinking that he was destined to remain scoreless as an FC United player. He had seen a good effort well saved at Chorley in the Daisy Hill match; he side footed wide of target at Blackpool when a goal looked likely and then in this match he again seemed to be destined to watch good chances going begging.



Simms was probably rueing the miss even more soon after as Holker went to the other end and registered an unlikely equaliser. In the 60th minute a neat pass found Swarbrick in the inside right channel and the Holker number 11 fired his right footed shot beyond Barrie George’s right hand into the bottom left of goal from about 15 yards out. 1-1.



At this point the Holker management team must have been feeling delighted at getting back on level terms. They will have known that the next 5 minutes would be crucial to the overall result, if they could keep things level and wait for United to start to over-commit in chasing the next goal a shock result might have been on the cards with chances for Holker to exploit United on the counterattack. Unfortunately for the visitors they could not hold on for even 2 minutes, never mind 5.



Mr. Jones awarded a freekick to United 10 yards or so inside the Holker half just in fro the right touchline. Steve Torpey took the kick and sent in a teasing in swinging ball. There was a bit of a scramble as both McCartney and Power looked to pounce as the ball dropped into the 6 yard box. Liddicott pushed the ball away but it fell kindly for Simms who, this time, made no mistake as he fired home from close range. The veteran Simms has scored many, many goals in his career but I don’t mind betting that the sense of relief as this one struck the net was as great as with any other that he has scored. 2-1.



Holker responded immediately through Ryan Waters but Barrie George was equal to his 25 yarder, the home ‘keeper gathering well low to his left. In the 65th minute Patterson looked to have a very strong appeal for a penalty kick but again Mr. Jones was having none of it.




Karl Marginson made a series of substitutions with 15 minutes or so left to play. Hopefully these changes were made with Monday night’s visit to Accrington in mind, as Great Harwood Town entertain United, rather than as a result of injuries. David Chadwick and Gareth Ormes both came off and were replaced by Dave Brown, who took the armband, and Tony Cullen.



In the 80th minute the game was finally made safe as a Rob Nugent cross picked out Phil Power in a lot of space in the area. United’s assistant manger coolly controlled the ball but then took just a bit too much time, allowing Liddicott to close down the space, before his right foot shot struck the goalkeeper in the chest. The ball rebounded kindly for Will Ahern who tapped home for his second goal in as many games. 3-1.



The final goal fittingly was scored by Patterson. Power was upended on halfway in what looked like a foul challenge but the ball broke for Patterson who ran beyond Holker’s Chris Ottley and carried the ball goalwards. Rory took the ball to the edge of the area before rolling his shot past Liddicott into the bottom left corner. 4-1.



Official match sponsors C21 made Patterson their man of the match; a valid choice for sure. Personally, I was more impressed with Will Ahern on this occasion. The youngster linked play very well in midfield, rarely gave up possession, was tigerish in the tackle, played the ball into Howard for United’s first goal and took his goal well. The other 2 standouts for me were Patterson who was very lively up front and Rob Nugent who was solid in his defensive duties but also seemed slightly more adventurous in supporting Josh Howard in the attacking third than he has been of late.



With 2 of the other 3 nearest challengers at the top of the league losing this weekend United can look upon this result as a very good one indeed. There is still no champagne on ice but I believe it might be prudent for whoever is holding the purse strings at FC United to start window-shopping at Threshers and Bargain Booze because it can only now be a matter of time!



(with thanks to FC United supporter Wayne Clark for his match report)

Match Report

Many prematch routines had to be amended as FC United played their first home game away from Gigg Lane. The usual parking spot near to the Swan and Cemetery would result in an unmanageable stroll to this ground so it really felt like just another away match in many ways. Bury FC had arranged to host a beer festival at Gigg Lane this weekend long before discussions about a ground-sharing arrangement with United had even begun. Despite protestations from plenty of United supporters that an FC United match and a beer festival could more than happily co-exist at Gigg Lane the decision was taken to find another ‘home’ for this clash with the Barrow side, Holker Old Boys. Altrincham FC was, perhaps, an obvious choice. An appropriate location, the right capacity and, for a number of United’s players, a familiar feel. At least 5 of the United squad had previously represented Altrincham FC so therefore ought to know their way around Moss Lane.



The team that started this match was the same that commenced the second half against Blackpool Mechanics the previous weekend. That meant that Phil Power made his very first start of the season leading the line alongside Rory Patterson.



The Holker line-up only differed slightly from the team that faced United in Barrow back in December with just 3 or 4 changes. One of the new faces, David Swarbrick, has rejoined Holker Old Boys after spending time at Barrow FC in the Conference North and took his place wide on the right of midfield.



The match was started by United kicking off attacking the Golf Road End. Conditions were decent with bright sunshine helping to counteract the effects of a very cold blustery wind coming in from the east. The Moss Lane pitch is in much better condition than that at Gigg Lane, at the moment, with plenty of grass so I’m sure the United boys were looking forward to getting the ball down and passing.




The first half was well and truly dominated by the home side but despite plenty of possession the leaders had laboured at times against a resolute Holker backline. Very few clear cut chances had been created before a very late goal calmed nerves somewhat.



Rory Patterson saw glory as early as the 4th minute but his attempted shot from distance was well off target after Liddicott, in the Holker goal, had strayed from goal in assisting his defenders. Holker’s Rob Bruce managed to talk his way into the referee’s notebook after his side had won a freekick, after a Chris Simms foul, in a great position 25 yards from goal. Swarbrick hit a thunderous right foot shot that struck the defensive wall and rebounded away to safety.



On 10 minutes Swarbrick went on a nice run down the right flank, he looked to be well marshalled by Steve Torpey but the Holker number 11 made enough space to cross in for Southward but the big centre forward was deemed to have controlled the ball with is arm. On 18 minutes a driven cross from near halfway by Rob Nugent picked out Phil Power who rose well but failed to keep his header down.



In the 24th minute a Steve Torpey corner kick from the right side was headed goalwards from the near post area. The goal bound header was cleared away by the Holker defender stood near the far post but several United players were claiming that the ball had crossed the line before being headed away. The officials were happy to play on.



Just before the half hour a couple of good moments for United as firstly Josh Howard received a pass from Will Ahern before cutting back across toward the area. Howard let fly with a well struck left foot shot that had Liddicott scrambling to his left but the drive was narrowly off target. From the resulting goal kick the ball quickly went back into the Holker area where Patterson harried a defender before dispossessing him to the right of goal. Patterson instantly shot at goal and though the angle was against him he very nearly opened the scoring. The shot beat Liddicott at his near post but rebounded to safety from the face of the right hand post.



In the 32nd minute Patterson again caused some panic in the Holker defence as he seemed to glide in behind the Holker right back, Mark Daly, as though he wasn’t there. From the by-line left of the goal Patterson chose to pullback to the support arriving in the middle. The best option was carefully selected and the onrushing Chris Simms hit a first time shot with the side of his right foot that seemed certain to bulge the net. Liddicott did very well indeed to repel the shot from 12 yards and better still to smother the loose ball before anyone else could intervene.




The opener arrived at a great time, as far as United were concerned, in the 44th minute. The scorer, Josh Howard, received the ball into feet from Will Ahern near the edge of the Holker area just right of centre. Howard turned inside as his first touch made all the room that he would need; the United number 7 struck a good left foot shot that somehow crept under Liddicott and into the net. The goalkeeper will be a bit disappointed to have conceded in such a manner, especially just before halftime. 1-0.



The balance of play was unchanged as the second half commenced. United still dominated possession and pinned Holker back but despite creating a couple of chances couldn’t get that all important second goal. Patterson again glided behind the fullback, left back Capstick this time, before squaring, again to Simms. Somehow Simms contrived to poke his shot wide of the right post from only 5 yards with another goal seeming certain. Simms would have been forgiven for thinking that he was destined to remain scoreless as an FC United player. He had seen a good effort well saved at Chorley in the Daisy Hill match; he side footed wide of target at Blackpool when a goal looked likely and then in this match he again seemed to be destined to watch good chances going begging.



Simms was probably rueing the miss even more soon after as Holker went to the other end and registered an unlikely equaliser. In the 60th minute a neat pass found Swarbrick in the inside right channel and the Holker number 11 fired his right footed shot beyond Barrie George’s right hand into the bottom left of goal from about 15 yards out. 1-1.



At this point the Holker management team must have been feeling delighted at getting back on level terms. They will have known that the next 5 minutes would be crucial to the overall result, if they could keep things level and wait for United to start to over-commit in chasing the next goal a shock result might have been on the cards with chances for Holker to exploit United on the counterattack. Unfortunately for the visitors they could not hold on for even 2 minutes, never mind 5.



Mr. Jones awarded a freekick to United 10 yards or so inside the Holker half just in fro the right touchline. Steve Torpey took the kick and sent in a teasing in swinging ball. There was a bit of a scramble as both McCartney and Power looked to pounce as the ball dropped into the 6 yard box. Liddicott pushed the ball away but it fell kindly for Simms who, this time, made no mistake as he fired home from close range. The veteran Simms has scored many, many goals in his career but I don’t mind betting that the sense of relief as this one struck the net was as great as with any other that he has scored. 2-1.



Holker responded immediately through Ryan Waters but Barrie George was equal to his 25 yarder, the home ‘keeper gathering well low to his left. In the 65th minute Patterson looked to have a very strong appeal for a penalty kick but again Mr. Jones was having none of it.




Karl Marginson made a series of substitutions with 15 minutes or so left to play. Hopefully these changes were made with Monday night’s visit to Accrington in mind, as Great Harwood Town entertain United, rather than as a result of injuries. David Chadwick and Gareth Ormes both came off and were replaced by Dave Brown, who took the armband, and Tony Cullen.



In the 80th minute the game was finally made safe as a Rob Nugent cross picked out Phil Power in a lot of space in the area. United’s assistant manger coolly controlled the ball but then took just a bit too much time, allowing Liddicott to close down the space, before his right foot shot struck the goalkeeper in the chest. The ball rebounded kindly for Will Ahern who tapped home for his second goal in as many games. 3-1.



The final goal fittingly was scored by Patterson. Power was upended on halfway in what looked like a foul challenge but the ball broke for Patterson who ran beyond Holker’s Chris Ottley and carried the ball goalwards. Rory took the ball to the edge of the area before rolling his shot past Liddicott into the bottom left corner. 4-1.



Official match sponsors C21 made Patterson their man of the match; a valid choice for sure. Personally, I was more impressed with Will Ahern on this occasion. The youngster linked play very well in midfield, rarely gave up possession, was tigerish in the tackle, played the ball into Howard for United’s first goal and took his goal well. The other 2 standouts for me were Patterson who was very lively up front and Rob Nugent who was solid in his defensive duties but also seemed slightly more adventurous in supporting Josh Howard in the attacking third than he has been of late.



With 2 of the other 3 nearest challengers at the top of the league losing this weekend United can look upon this result as a very good one indeed. There is still no champagne on ice but I believe it might be prudent for whoever is holding the purse strings at FC United to start window-shopping at Threshers and Bargain Booze because it can only now be a matter of time!



(with thanks to FC United supporter Wayne Clark for his match report)