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United close gap to two points

FC United of Manchester closed the gap between them and Bradford Park Avenue at the top of the UniBond Division One North to just two points with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Newcastle Blue Star on Saturday.

Rory Patterson fired home the first five minutes before half-time, Jerome Wright added the second five minutes after the restart, David Chadwick added sealed victory with 15 minutes to go and Nick Robinson rounded the match off in style two minutes before the end.

With the season drawing to close and all still to play for, FC United fans making the trip north-east weren’t to be disappointed with the Reds putting in a sterling performance against Blue Star.

The first real chance of the game came for the home team in the opening stages when the ball was swung into an unmarked player inside the FC area. Luckily for United, the resulting conversion just tipped the bar and play was able to go on.

After 12 minutes, United’s left winger Jerome Wright was booked for a bad defensive tackle just inside FC’s half. The play that followed saw another chance for Newcastle, forcing an excellent save from Sam Ashton in the United goal.

Blue Star’s Neal Hooks created his own opportunity by flicking the ball over a static central defence. The number six was then able to run onto the ball on the penalty spot and had plenty of time to unleash his shot, going one-on-one with Ashton. Luckily for United, Sam Ashton, in keeping with his recent fantastic form, was able to make a powerful one-handed save to the right of his goal to clear the danger.

On 21 minutes, Blue Star made their first substitution when right-back and captain, Mark Birch, was replaced by Ben Webster. Play then continued with a lively tempo, with both teams having chances on goal.

With both teams playing well, a goal was sure to come before half time. A ball was played into Rory Patterson who brought it down well and had a shot on goal, forcing the keeper to make a save and resulting in a United corner on the right.

The ball was swung into Patterson waiting at the near post and the Irishman’s header wedged into the angle of the bar and post before dropping down into the Newcastle goal to put the Reds one-nil up on 40 minutes. There was dispute over the goal as it went into the angle of the woodwork and there was slight uncertainty as to whether it would be given. However, the referee granted the goal increasing The Man With No Name’s goal tally to a total of 38 for the season.

A good first half performance from the Reds with Newcastle offering some reply in places but failing to convert meant that FC United went in at half time with the advantage.

Although, as many may have expected, Blue Star were the first to pile on the pressure in the second half, the wind was blown out of the home side’s sails when Wright put the Reds 2-0 up five minutes after the restart.

Stuart Rudd made a storming run down the right wing and played the ball across the Blue Star keeper for a waiting Wright to bury the ball in the back of the net, doubling United’s lead. Rudd’s run and cross was reminiscent of the opener in the President’s Cup Final last week.

An injured Jamie Baguley was replaced by Adam Carden immediately after the goal. Carden didn’t take long to get into the game, creating the next major opportunity. After a bit of neat footwork through the midfield, Carden headed the ball on for it to be deflected out to Wright. Wright played the ball across to United right back Liam Foster who had time to consider his cross. The cross met by Rudd whose firm header frustratingly hit the bar.

It was then time for Newcastle to come back into the game with a succession of chances. The first came from a free kick just off the rugby 25 yard line. Dean Gordon’s shot on goal was put just wide of Ashton’s right post. Number 10, Mark Sheeran, then broke down the left wing and fed a good ball into the box that was well collected by Ashton. Lee Novak then had a great shot on goal, forcing a good save from the FC United number one.

It was then the turn of United captain David Chadwick to add to the score sheet as the big number five put the Reds 3-0 up on 75 minutes. Following a good bit of play, a corner was swung in from the left to be met by the FC captain who knocked the ball past Dan Lowson in the home side’s goal.

Both sides then made changes: Neal Hooks was replaced by Sean Davies for Newcastle and Micah Bleau came on in place of stand-in central defender Bradley Howard for FC who’d had an excellent game away from his usual left-back position.

With five minutes to go, the ball was played into FC substitute Nick Robinson. Robbo pressured the Newcastle left back and had a shot on goal. The initial shot was saved by the keeper, Dan Lowson’s but his stop wasn’t strong enough to deny Robinson and the ball rolled over the line to put United’s victory well and truly beyond doubt.

The Reds continued to pressure the north-east side well into injury time and with the three points in the bag, Patterson had time to re-enact his Colne trick of standing on the ball and saluting the FC Faithful, receiving a talking to from the referee for his trouble.

United once again finished the game strongly and secured another three points on the board with a fantastic performance, throwing things wide open at the top of the table.

Park Avenue lost away to second from bottom, Woodley Sports and the Nash were held at home by Clitheroe meaning the title race will almost definitely go down to the final game of the season.

Report by Victoria Fullen.


FC United
S Ashton
L Foster
S Roscoe
N Platt
D Chadwick (capt)
B Howard
J Baguley
C Baguley
S Rudd
Jerome Wright
R Patterson

Subs
A Carden (for 7, 51)
N Robinson (for 9, 60)
M Bleau (for 6, 78)

Scorers:
Patterson 40
Wright 50
Chadwick 75
Robinson 88

Newcastle Blue Star
D Lowson
M Birch (capt)
L Scott
C Carr
D Gordon
N Hooks
D McTiernan
J McGlen
L Novak
M Sheeran
C Emms

Subs
B Webster (for 2, 21)
S Davies (for 6, 76)
B Pringle (for 10, 57)


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First Posted ~ 01:39 Mon 21 Apr 2008
News ID ~ 1622
Last Updated ~ 17:14 Fri 11 Oct 2013