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Resilient Reds stun Stocksbridge Steels

Carlos Roca scored an injury time winner as FC United came back from 3-1 down to beat high flying Stocksbridge Park Steels 4-3 at Gigg Lane on Saturday afternoon.

Roca opened the scoring with a penalty on five minutes before the visitors from Sheffield hit back with three goals. But the Reds were not to be beaten, Ben Deegan pulled one back and Jerome Wright equalised before Roca won it at the death.

The way United began the game would have led you to believe that there would only be one outcome as the attacked the visitors from the first whistle looking to make a mark on the game.

David Chadwick thought he’d opened the scoring when Wright’s effort came off the post and fell to the United captain but although he put the ball into the Steels net it was ruled out.

But the crowd didn’t have long to wait for the opener as Roca made a mazy run through the Steels defence before being brought down inside the box for a nailed on penalty. Roca picked himself up and converted the spot-kick; calmly slotting the ball to the right of Steels ’keeper Ben Scott to give United the early lead they deserved.

The game then followed in a manner which could have summed up United’s season so far; unable to capitalise on good possession, giving cheap goals away but most importantly showing the resilience to get back into the game when it seemed it was lost.

After good possession United were still only one goal up and as the visitors saw more and more of the ball you got the feeling they could be back in the game at any time.

But even so, when striker Jamie Vardy got the ball and ran past several members of the United defence before slipping the ball past Sam Ashton it was a little unbelievable how easy it was for the visitors to get back into the game.

Another mistake saw another goal for the Steels. Ashton came rushing out to the edge of his penalty box and he was rounded by Mark Ward who had the easiest of finishes to give the Steels a one goal advantage just four minutes before the break.

The second half started as the first one had finished with United looking slow in getting to the loose ball and Stocksbridge extended their lead within two minutes of the restart. Andy Ring had time in the box to bring the ball down and put it away to give the visitors what seemed like an unassailable advantage.

Just as it looked as though United were going to their third straight defeat in the league, the Reds showed the fighting spirit they would need to make any kind of comeback.

First Simon Carden went close but saw his effort saved by Scott before Roca, who was again dangerous all afternoon, broke on the left before squaring for Deegan to put away from the edge of the six yard box to make it 3-2. Game on.

United pushed forward for the equaliser and their best effort came from a Simon Garner free-kick which was saved in style by Scott, and United also had efforts from Tunji Moses, Roca and Deegan which were close but not close enough.

With little over 10 minutes left, Deegan came rushing towards Scott who had the ball at his feet. The goalkeeper panicked a little and put the ball to the feet of Wright, who ran on and tried the type of audacious lob that is becoming his trademark. The ball squeezed in at the far post from the tightest of angles.

The momentum of the game had shifted now, the visitors were dejected at losing two goal lead and with new energy and the crowd behind them it was only United who were going to find the seventh and ultimately winning goal.

The Reds pushed for it but were kept at bay by a resilient defensive effort. However, with injury time being played, it looked like Scott was going to comfortably pick up a cross but Roca got to the ball first and scored the winning goal to send the United faithful into raptures.

In the excitement of the finish many of the fans and players alike will no doubt take the momentum into the next fixture, but manager Karl Marginson will know that United have to iron out the defensive errors as the season progresses.

Report by Craig Phillips

Full report follow.

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First Posted ~ 18:39 Sun 4 Oct 2009
News ID ~ 2452
Last Updated ~ 12:36 Mon 21 May 2018