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Eastwood too strong for Reds

FC United lost out 4-2 to an impressive Eastwood Town at Coronation Park on Saturday as the Reds were out fought and out played by a team still riding high from its FA Cup giant-killing heroics.

The Badgers were 2-0 up after 20 minutes through an Ian Holmes penalty and an expertly taken Andrew Todd goal. With United offering little in response the hosts struck twice more without reply - Holmes in the 75th minute and then Todd five minutes later.

Only when the match looked dead and buried did United start playing the sort of football that saw them beat league leaders Hednesford Town last weekend. Carlos Roca created arguably the goal of the match for Simon Carden to volley home with five minutes to go and Kyle Wilson powered in his 23rd strike of the season during injury time.

But, despite the impressive Red flourish at the death, it was too little too late and Eastwood deservedly claimed all three points.

The Reds had been dealt a major blow before kick-off when regular fullbacks Danny Warrender and Simon Garner failed to recover from injury and illness respectively. Alex Skidmore slotted in to the left back position and Adam Turner was used as a makeshift right back with Rob Nugent and David Chadwick in the centre.

Unfortunately, United’s unfamiliar back four looked uncomfortable against the league’s in-form team right from the off. The game was only 12 minutes old when the home side were awarded a penalty.

Fullback Alistair Ashers whipped the ball to the edge of the box for striker Ross Gardner who poked it past Papis Dieyte. The Senegalese midfielder dived in with a careless challenge and Gardener hit the deck leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot.

Holmes stepped up and although Sam Ashton got a hand to the ball he couldn’t stop Eastwood taking the lead. Seven minutes later the setback was doubled. The Badgers worked the ball out to the left where Todd was in acres of space. Adam Carden rushed back to make a last ditch challenge but the winger brushed him aside, pushed the ball into the box, over to the right and around the onrushing Ashton before calmly slotting it into the empty net. A goal made to look terrifically easy.

Just four minutes later it should have been three - nil. Todd played the ball down the left wing to Holmes and again the United defence was nowhere to be seen. The striker rounded Ashton on the outside but somehow hit the post when the open goal was gaping.

Accepting that the system wasn’t working, manager Karl Marginson withdrew Skidmore and replaced the youngster with Nick Robinson after half an hour. Turner moved across to left-back and Adam Carden dropped back on the right.

Although the change made the Reds look more assured at the back, they still offered very little going forward. Wilson and Chris Baguley both shot over and wide but Shane Redmond was never truly made to work in between the posts.

United began the second half with renewed hope particularly because they were now kicking down the considerable slope. All caution was thrown to the wind as Carlos Roca was introduced for Dieyte, meaning all of the Reds attacking options were being utilised.

However, despite having more of the play and Roca proving to be a handful for the opposition defenders, Redmond remained untested in the Badgers’ goal.

Holmes effectively ended the game as a contest in the 74th minute. Captain Anton Foster slipped the ball to Lindon Meikle who flicked a delightful pass to Holmes who sprinted clear once again down the left and guided the ball past Ashton.

Six minutes later Gardner won the ball in midfield and played the ball out to the right wing to Meikle. The young winger swung the ball into the box and right onto the head of Todd who’s bullet header went in off the crossbar.

Only then did United truly get going. With five minutes to go Roca surged forward, played a one-two with Tommy Turner on the right hand side of the box, evaded two challenges with some fast footwork before whipping the ball into the back post for Simon Carden to finish with aplomb.

With the 90 minutes up, United still pushed forward. Chris Baguley took a short corner to Wilson on the left. The former Crewe Alexandra striker pushed the ball infield past the covering defenders and smashed the ball low and hard across goal and into the far corner to make it four - two.

Chadwick went close for the Reds right at the death with a volley which drifted just wide with the keeper beaten. However, the result and scoreline was a fair reflection of the match. FC United must now pick themselves up for the visit of Ashton United on Wednesday.

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First Posted ~ 17:05 Mon 8 Dec 2008
News ID ~ 1975
Last Updated ~ 12:20 Mon 21 May 2018