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United are back

A Rory Patterson brace helped United see off league leaders Skelmersdale United by a score of 3-0 at Gigg Lane as the Reds sent out a warning to the UniBond Division One North that they are firmly back in the title race.

Substitute Nick Robinson grabbed his first goal for the club in stoppage time to complete the rout during a fine day for the red three quarters of Manchester.

The afternoon began in unseasonal sunshine with a belated minutes silence to remember those who died during the Munich air disaster in 1958 and from the first whistle the Reds, who were fielding the closest thing to a first choice XI in months, were looking to get a good result against the table toppers.

But it was the away team who started the brighter and had it not been for the heroics of debutant goalkeeper Aaron Grundy, on loan from Bury, United may have fallen behind.

United made the breakthrough when a Nicky Platt cross from a free kick got the slightest of flicks from Patterson and the ball found the bottom corner of the Skelmersdale goal.

The majority of the first half was fairly equal, but the best chance fell to the home team when Stuart Rudd had an unmarked header saved not long before the half hour mark, denying the former Skelmersdale striker a goal against his old club.

The sides went in at half time with United a goal up, the first 15 minutes of the second session were a bit scrappy, but as both teams went to chase the game things began to spice up.

Patterson had two chances to double the lead, the first coming after he played a nice one-two on the edge of the box with Simon Carden, but the Irish forward dragged his shot wide. He then had an even better opportunity when one on one with Skelmersdale ’keeper Ryan McMahon the usually cool finisher mis-timed his shot and blew it high and wide.

Patterson’s two chances sandwiched two great opportunities for the visitors to level the scores and man of the match Grundy pulled off a good save at his near post to keep the Reds a goal up.

The breakthrough came after 62 minutes when Patterson was again one on one with McMahon, this time he made no mistake and put United 2-0 up and in doing so grabbed his 27th goal of the season.

Things seemed to calm down a little after that, and the pace was less frantic than it had been, Patterson had a great chance to seal his hat trick after turning and shooting in the box, but the shot was just wide.

Nick Robinson came on for Stuart Rudd after 81 minutes and in stoppage time grabbed his first goal in an FC United shirt after slotting home to give United a 3-0 scoreline that will let the rest of the sides at the top of the league know that United are still in business.

The result means Margy’s men are still unbeaten in 2008, with a run that goes back to the beginning of December. With big games against Nantwich and Chorley at the start of next week the Reds will be looking to carry on the good form.

Craig Phillips

FC United
A Grundy
L Foster
B Howard
N Platt
D Chadwick (capt)
R Nugent
J Baguley
S Carden
S Rudd (cautioned 53)
J Wright
R Patterson
C Baguley (for 8 82)
N Robinson (for 9 82)
A Carden (for 7 73)

Scorers: Patterson 17, 63: Robinson 90(+2)

Skelmersdale United
R McMahon
S Foster
T Hardwick
S Akrigg
M White (capt)
P Holland
M Duffy (cautioned 19)
A Turner (cautioned 74)
A Murt (cautioned 47)
G Donnelly
K Leadbetter
P Prescott (for 9 70)
C Almond (for 3 76)
P Crompton (for 6 64)

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First Posted ~ 12:44 Tue 19 Feb 2008
News ID ~ 1491
Last Updated ~ 12:34 Mon 21 May 2018