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Five star United sink Dolly Blues

FC United turned on the style as they beat Lancaster City 5-2 at Gigg Lane on Saturday and closed the gap on league leaders Curzon Ashton to just five points with four games remaining.

Rob Nugent and Rory Patterson both bagged two goals with Stuart Rudd chipping in with the other in front of a bumper crowd of 2,704 in what was United’s final Saturday home game of the season

Despite the comprehensive scoreline, it was actually the Dolly Blues who took the early advantage after two minutes when Mark Jackson beat United’s offside trap and coolly slotted past Sam Ashton to put the visitors a goal to the good.

United didn’t look fazed and calmly knocked the ball around, working their way back in and after 14 minutes were back on level terms when Rudd got one-on-one with Blues goalkeeper Ben Price. Rudd lobbed the ball over the ’keeper and into the net.

The end-to-end theme carried on and less than five minutes later Lancaster were in front again when Aaron Heliwell worked some space in the box before firing home into the bottom corner.

Once more United carried on regardless and Simon Carden had a guilt edged chance to level the scores but saw his effort put wide by Price. The Reds faithful didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser though, when a Jerome Wright corner hit Nugent and ended up in the visitor’s net.

That goal was slightly fortunate but it wasn’t a patch on the United’s third which saw them take the lead in bizarre circumstances. Patterson fired a volley in from 30 yards and it looked a simple save for Price, but he fumbled the ball against his chest and looped up over his head and sneaked over the line to give United a 3-2 lead.

The goalscorer was mischievously announced as Price but Patterson will surely look to claim the goal as his own. The Dolly Blues looked to get on level terms straight away but Mark Jackson’s strike came back off the post.

United scorned a couple of good chances before half time, in particular when Rudd worked a bit of space but saw his shot deflect wide. After a riveting first half United led 3-2.

The blistering pace continued at the start of the second half as both Michael Rushton and Helliwell had great chances to level things up for the visitors. United needed a goal to give themselves a two goal cushion and a bit of breathing space and top scorer Patterson obliged. The Irishman had the ball at the edge of the box and managed to squirm through the Lancaster defence and slot home to put United 4-2 up.

With that goal the match was as good as over and with more than 25 minutes Margy had the comfort of taking off Patterson, Carden and Wright; obviously looking towards the end of season run in and the two midweek games against Radcliffe Borough.

With the game in the bag and three key players being substituted the pace died down a little in the final third of the match, but there was still time for Nugent to meet a corner with a typically powerful header to score United’s fifth and his second goal of the afternoon.

Lancaster to their credit never gave up and Jackson hit the post from a free kick which left Sam Ashton rooted to the spot. On another day Jackson could have come away with a famous hat-trick.

But on this day there was no stopping Margy’s men. United will be buoyed by a good footballing performance and the fact that both Curzon Ashton (0-0 at Harrogate Railway) and Skelmersdale United (lost 2-1 at home to Radcliffe Borough) dropped points. There’s still plenty to play for.

Report by Craig Phillips.

FC United
1. S Ashton
2. L Foster
3. B Howard
4. N Platt
5 D Chadwick (capt)
6 R Nugent
7 C Baguley
8 S Carden (cautioned 63)
9. S Rudd
10. J Wright
11. R Patterson
Subs
12. N Robinson (for 8, 65)
14. D Swarbrick (for 10, 65)
15. A Carden (for 11 65)

Scorers: Rudd 14, Nugent 20 70, Patterson 27 52

Lancaster City
1. B Price
2. N Uberschar
3. C Redhead (cautioned 6)
4 G Heffernan
5 I Swain
6. M Stringfellow (capt)
7. M Rushton
8 T Entwhistle
9 J Love
10. M Jackson
11 A Helliwell

Subs
12. S Greenwood
14. L Jeffrey (for 9 65)
15. P Rigby (for 7 76)

Scorers: Jackson 2, Helliwell 18

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First Posted ~ 22:17 Sun 13 Apr 2008
News ID ~ 1607
Last Updated ~ 12:34 Mon 21 May 2018