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Roca hat-trick inspires Red romp

A sensational Carlos Roca hat-trick and another goal from Carl Lomax saw FC United thrash promotion rivals Ashton United 4-0 at Gigg Lane on Wednesday night - sending out a warning to the play-off pack that the Reds will fight to the death.

It took less than two minutes for Roca to get his first of the match - a sweet strike after Danny Warrender had lofted a free-kick into the box. Lomax doubled the lead 12 minutes before the break following good work by Jerome Wright.

Roca added a third via the penalty spot 10 minutes into the second half and the diminutive forward completed his hat-tick in the final seconds of the match with an amazing solo effort. His ninth goal of the season.

The win puts the Reds up to sixth place in the UniBond Premier Division - just three points short of the play-off zone. And Roca’s hat-trick meant he walked away with the match ball - the eighth FC United player to achieve the feat in our four year history.

The Reds came flying out of the blocks and for once it was them who got an early goal at Gigg Lane. Roca’s trickery and fast feet won a free-kick slightly in field, 40 yards out. Warrender beautifully curled the dead ball in and it was headed across the box by Lomax to be volleyed into the bottom corner by Roca. A great start.

United continued to press even after the early goal with Roca constantly terrorising the visting defence. FC got a chance to double the lead in eighth minute after Lomax was brought down by Ashton’s Craig Robinson on the edge of the box. The resulting free-kick led to a smart save by Terry Smith and the keeper had to be alert to save a close range header from Lomax moments later.

After a long period of possession and pressure, FC United was on the end of a controversial decision after Marsh was taken down in Ashton box but the referee judged to be a fair challenge. The crowd thought otherwise.

But a goal was definitely coming and the Reds eventually doubled their lead in the 33rd minute. Jerome Wright broke down the left wing and played the ball to the near post for Lomax. The former Hyde United striker chested the ball down and coolly volleyed it into the net.

Ashton’s only real chance of the match came moments before half-time and they were unlucky not to get on the score sheet when a vicious corner was headed narrowly wide by Robinson.

However, this was definitely going to be United’s night, there was no doubt about that. The Reds started sharp after the interval with Wright producing runs down the wing and linking up well with Roca.

United was awarded a penalty in 53rd minute after Wright was brought down in the box after a determined run. Up stepped Roca to take and penalty and he made no mistake - calmly sliding the ball into the bottom left corner to make it 3-0.

FC continued to maul the Ashton defence after a beautifully weighted cross field ball was met by Moses only to hit it narrowly over the bar. Simon Garner was putting in another impressive display at left-back and minutes later he floated a perfect ball forward for Lomax, who turned and would have scored if it wasn’t for another impressive save by Smith - this time tipping the ball round the post.

Manager Karl Marginson made changes midway through the second half by giving Nicky Platt on for his second coming at the club and David Chadwick replaced Nugent.

Platt nearly grabbed a goal on his return after he met an across field ball from fellow substitute Danny Williams with a ferocious shot but unfortunately it was straight at Smith. In the later stages the game evened out with lots of possession for both teams. However, the best was yet to come.

Adam Tong intercepted a flick on at the back and laid the ball at the feet of Platt. Platt took one touch and then launched an inch perfect through ball out to the right for Roca. Roca ran at Ashton’s cowering defence and a host of Red shirts pushed up to give him options but the nippy forward was brimming with confidence and decided to go alone.

Charging at three defenders, Roca used his tricky to push them back until finally rocketing the ball past Smith from the tightest of angles on the right hand side to complete a superb night for both himself and FC United.

Report by Joel Duncan.

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First Posted ~ 21:03 Thu 26 Mar 2009
News ID ~ 2153
Last Updated ~ 12:25 Mon 21 May 2018