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Reds win five goal thriller - full report

FC United came from behind twice to nick a 3-2 win over old rivals Salford City at Moor Lane on Wednesday night with goals by Micah Bleau, Dave Roberts and Nick Robinson.

It was the fourth time that the Reds have met Salford but the first time they have actually played them at their home ground. As with the three previous occasions, City provided a tough contest in an entertaining encounter.

The newly promoted UniBond Division One North side went a goal up in the first minute of the match but United hit back with Bleau getting his first goal for the club. The hosts went back into the lead but the Reds turned the scoreline on its head with Roberts also opening his account and Robinson getting the winner against his old club.

The Reds lined up once again in their blue away kit, ready for the fourth game in a pre-season campaign which had so far seen three defeats without any goals for United. With the Reds still searching for that opening goal and Salford determined to pull one back in terms of victories over FC, it was undoubtedly going to be a lively clash between the former North West Counties rivals.

It was the home side who started the stronger of the two, applying pressure and threatening the United goal from the off. Salford’s number 11, Lathan Forrester unleashed an early shot on goal from just outside the area in the opening stages.

Sam Ashton was able to collect to put the Reds temporarily out of danger but the United keeper was unable to prevent Jon Robinson giving Salford an early lead just seconds later. A cross was swung in from Forrester to Robinson at the far post and he stuck it in the top left hand corner.

With Salford hungry for more and continuing to push forward against an unfamiliar central defensive line up of Micah Bleau and Dale Whitehead, the home side posed another scare for the Reds inside the opening five minutes. The ball was played straight in from a free kick 30 yards out, forcing Ashton to make a fingertip save.

Determined to equalise and ravenous for that initial pre-season goal, it wasn’t long before United began to create opportunities of their own - asking more and more questions of the Salford defence, largely in the form of Danny Allen, Danny Williams and Carlos Roca.

It wasn’t long before the hard work paid off as a corner on the right was played in by Chris Baguley, seemingly into the hands of Campbell in the Salford goal. However, what appeared to have been a safe catch from the keeper was fumbled into the path of Micah Bleau who rifled home from eight yards out to not only level the score line but to get Bleau his debut goal for the club and to give FC that all important first goal of 2008/09.

With the score level at 1-1, the game was well and truly on and United continued to push forward in pursuit of a second goal to put them ahead. A free-kick played forward by Whitehead was collected by Roca who offered a strong shot on the keeper. Campbell was only able to parry the ball away into the path of Allen whose shot was also blocked.

In an unlikely turn of events very much against the run of play, Salford put the ball in the United net on 31 minutes to give the hosts a 2-1 lead. The ball was threaded through a wide open central defence for Robinson to slot the ball past Ashton in a one-on-one with the keeper.

A strong first half performance following an early set back saw FC offering the majority of the attack but failing to reply to Salford’s second goal, leaving the score line in the Ammies’ favour as both teams went in for the break.

As in all friendlies, manager Karl Marginson had the opportunity to try out different players and give the FC fans a taster of new signings, making a number of half time substitutions.

Dave Neville and Danny Self were on hand to replace Simon Carden and Chris Baguley in the centre of midfield, whilst James Brackenridge offered a straight swap for Liam Foster at right back and Kyle Wilson made way for Nick Robinson to assume his position upfront against his former side.

Following a long range effort from the impressive Neville easily collected by the keeper, Kyle Harrop and Dave Roberts came off the bench to replace Jamie Baguley and Danny Allen.

In the final United change, Rob Haworth came on in place of Carlos Roca. The corner immediately following the substitution saw a cross floated into the box to be met by Dave Roberts who headed the ball past Campbell to make the score 2-2 on 68 minutes.

With a victory now back in sight, the Reds continued to press on, eager for their first win of the pre-season. In an excellent move, Brackenridge pushed the ball forward down the line for Self to make a storming run down the right.

Self’s cross into the box was met by the head of the waiting Robinson to put the ball beyond the keeper on 76 minutes, giving United their first lead of the game and of the pre-season.

The Reds continued to push on, determined to come away from Moor Lane with a victory. A change in keepers was all that Salford had left to offer just minutes before time and as the full time whistle blew, United players and supporters alike were able to savour the taste of their first victory of the pre-season campaign.

The Reds now turn their attentions to Saturday and to another set of former North West Counties opponents, Abbey Hey.

Report by Victoria Fullen.

FC United:
1) Sam Ashton
2) Liam Foster (James Brackenridge, 45)
3) Jamie Baguley (Kyle Harrop, 57)
4) Dale Whitehead
5) Micah Bleau
6) Chris Baguley (Danny Self, 45)
7) Carlos Roca (Rob Howarth, 67)
8) Simon Carden (Dave Neville, 45)
9) Danny Allen (Dave Roberts, 57)
10) Kyle Wilson (Nick Robinson, 45)
11) Danny Williams

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First Posted ~ 17:29 Thu 31 Jul 2008
News ID ~ 1737
Last Updated ~ 17:14 Fri 11 Oct 2013