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United go down to the Lambs

FC United suffered their third successive pre-season defeat as they went down 2-0 to Blue Square North side Tamworth at the Lamb on Saturday afternoon.

Rather than look on the score, the Reds will feel they more than held their own against a team in the league above them. Much like the previous two friendlies the scoreline didn’t really reflect the evenness of much of the game but the concern will be that United again rarely troubled the opposition keeper.

In the blistering heat of a July summers day, the day started with a six foot lamb in a Tamworth kit doing handstands and cartwheels, a sight which may have left some of the team distracted as the home side took the lead within five minutes.

Midfielder Nick Wright shot from outside the box and what should have been a simple save for Sam Ashton, was spilled out into the path of Bradley Pritchard who duly obliged and put the Lambs in front.

But United came forward well and looked competitive in midfield, only in the final third did they struggle against a well organised defensive unit. Carlos Roca had the first chance of any note when his timid shot was easily saved by Lambs ’keeper Will Puddy.

Kyle Wilson, making his first appearance for the Reds, seemed to occupy a free-role position behind the front man. He got in on the act running into channels on both wings and almost created a chance for Nick Robinson but Wilson’s cross was just too high for the centre forward.

From the start it was clear the Lambs winger Alex Rodman was going to give the United defence a tough day, using his pace to get around the backline several times.

It was through Rodman how the second goal came about, the United defence struggled to deal with his run down the left and when the ball came to Lee Hildreth in the box he was afforded too much time and was able to chip the ball up and fire home to put the home team 2-0 with little more than 20 minutes on the clock.

As mentioned the conditions were difficult to say the least, a fact not missed by referee Chris Miller who allowed drinks breaks with 15 minutes left in each half.

The weather may have contributed to some below par performances from United players who have shown good form in the previous two pre-season matches.

At half time the Reds made two changes but during the second period there was a total of 14 substitutions and you had to check the dugout to see if Sven Goran Eriksson had landed himself a new job.

But where as in some games substitutions can take something away from the match, the changes seemed to add some legs to what was becoming a very tired match.

The United team that finished the game had a lot of young players in it and they gave good accounts of themselves, using the ball well, contesting in midfield and looking like they were there to earn their places for the coming campaign.

Having said that; United struggled to create a chance of any note and this may be a cause for concern for the coming season. While the Reds have played higher league opposition in their first three games, the amount of chances created in those games could be counted on one hand.

It will be interesting to see if the forward line can gel together a bit more in the coming weeks and you feel there’s just the matter of striking the right balance between the new faces and when that happen the Reds will be flying again.

The second half was entertaining, without much being created. Tamworth had a goal disallowed for offside early in the second period but other than that neither ’keeper was really tested.

There are obvious positives to take from the fixture and Margy’s men will be looking to keep the good performances going and hopefully get a result when they meet old rivals Salford City on Wednesday evening.

Report by Craig Phillips

Team

1 Sam Ashton
2 Kyle Harrop
3 Jamie Baguley
4 David Neville (off for 16, 45’)
5 David Chadwick (c) (off for 18, 70’)
6 Michael Burns (off for 12, 45’)
7 Adam Carden
8 Kyle Wilson (off for 15, 75’)
9 Nick Robinson (off for 17, 75’)
10 Chris Baguley
11 Carlos Roca (off for 14, 65’)

Subs
12 Bradley Howard
14 Danny Allen
15 Dave Roberts
16 Rob Howarth
17 Chris Dykes
18 James Brackenridge

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First Posted ~ 11:39 Sun 27 Jul 2008
News ID ~ 1730
Last Updated ~ 12:34 Mon 21 May 2018