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United and Dolly Blues replay Wednesday - full report

FC United and Lancaster City will replay on Wednesday night at Gigg Lane in the FA Carlsberg Trophy after the Reds were pinned back from 3-1 up to draw 3-3 at the Giant Axe on Saturday afternoon.

Joe Yoffe scored a frightfully good double inside the first 21 minutes to send the Reds off to a Halloween flyer. The hosts slashed United’s lead through Roger Sharrock on the stroke of half-time but Carlos Roca scored a screamer that should have won the match with 15 minutes to go.

However, every credit to Lancaster they still had a trick and a treat up their sleeves. Jordan Connerton struck with seven minutes to go and Sharrock grabbed a hard earned equaliser four minutes later as the FC United faithful were subjected to a horror show.

It was a game that the Reds should have won but they failed to kill off their hosts and the Dolly Blues got out of jail partly due to some gruesome defending by the visitors which will have left manager Karl Marginson’s blood boiling.

United raced out of the blocks and were bearing down on goal right from the off. The Reds won three corners in the first three minutes as Lancaster looked a little jittery at the back. From the third corner Phil Marsh was fouled on the edge of the box as he lined up to fire the ball back into the danger area. Marsh picked himself up and took the free-kick which deflected off the wall and glanced just wide of the right post with Martin Fearon stood rooted to the spot in the Lancaster goal.

United were dealt a hammer blow just moments later when captain Rob Nugent was injured, seemingly pulling a ligament whilst racing for the ball. After extensive treatment on the sidelines, Nugent tried to continue but collapsed within a minute of rejoining play. With David Chadwick and Danny Warrender both withdrawing from the match during the warm-up due to reoccurrences of their injuries, United had no recognised defenders on the bench so Dave Neville was introduced to partner Adam Tong.

Despite the setback, FC United were still looking the better side and they took the lead on 15 minutes. With Lancaster’s defence standing around like zombies, Yoffe ghosted in unmarked on the right. The striker, making his first start for United, looked ice cool as he calmly took the ball wide around Fearon to create an angle before slotting it into the far corner of the net.

The Reds could have doubled their lead four minutes later when Roca crashed a speculative long range effort against the bar but within seconds the hosts could have been level as Sam Ashton was called into the action for the first time. Paul Jarvis made a good run on the left wing before making a beeline towards goal but Ashton was equal to his fiercely driven shot.

With Lancaster still rueing the missed opportunity, United made it 2-0. Marsh played a diagonal ball from the left wing into the box and Tunji Moses tried to head goalwards but didn’t connect properly with the ball. However, his touch seemed to be enough to put off Fearon who fumbled a routine catch and Yoffe stole in at the far post to tuck the ball home.

At this point United were cruising and in particular Roca was torturing left-back Neil Marshall. Midway through the first-half the diminutive winger left the defender for dead and played the ball one way around Fearon and ran past him on the other side. It was a cheeky bit of skill that would surely have resulted in the third goal had it not been for right-back Rob Henry coming across to make a superb last ditch tackle.

Ten minutes later and Fearon had to scramble to his right to palm away a fierce long range drive from Marsh as the Reds were camped in Lancaster’s half and were threatening to murder their opponents’ FA Trophy dreams.

However, United were not to have it all their own way. On 36 minutes Ashton made a spectacular save turning a Mike Rushton shot onto the crossbar. From the resulting corner the ball came out to Rushton on the right again and he whipped it in for Andrew Teague who headed against the bar when he should have scored.

The Dolly Blues got a deserved an overdue goal seconds before half-time. Ashton could only parry a long range effort from Connerton and Sharrock reacted quickest to fire home the rebound.

The second half started much more slowly than the first with United wanting to take some of the pace out of the game. It took 12 minutes for the Reds to create the first chance with Roca firing the ball wildly over the bar after a good cross from Marsh.

Lancaster were still looking dangerous on the break and on 70 minutes Quistin Ludovic, who was making his second start for the club, had to be alert to clear a dangerous through ball. Moments later Sharrock wasted a golden opportunity to equalise when he blazed a shot over the bar.

Then, within minutes, Roca seemed to have sealed the match. Roca crossed dangerously from the right but the ball past out to the left wing where Simon Garner collected it and curlced it back out to the unmarked Roca. Roca took a touch and ignoring calls to cross the ball in or lay it off to a teammate, he audaciously lobbed the ball into the top right corner. A great goal.

The job was not done though and United seemed to be guilty of relaxing too soon. Lancaster almost reduced the deficit a minute later when Paul Jarvis turned quickly but saw his shot come back off a post.

On 83 minutes, with United’s defence stretched, Connerton latched onto a ball from Adam Farrell and after a good touch he hammered the ball down the middle and into the net, giving Ashton no chance. With three minutes remaining the ball fell to Sharrock in the penalty area and he calmly placed a shot past the advancing Ashton into the net.

Both teams had half-chances to win the match in the dying seconds but all-in-all a draw was a fair result. The two team’s must now play again to see if anything can separate them on Wednesday night with the winner advancing to the third qualifying round.

Supporters can vote for their FC United man-of-the-match by clicking here.

Lancaster City
FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round
31st October 2009
Played at: Giant Axe, Lancaster

Result: Drew 3-3
Half Time: 1-2
Attendance: 743

FC United
1. S Ashton
2. S Garner
3. L Quistin (cautioned 11)
4. T Moses
5. A Tong
6. R Nugent (capt)
7. C Roca (cautioned (45+2))
8. J Cottrell
9. J Yoffe
10. J Wright
11. P Marsh
12. S Carden
14. A Ibrahim
15. D Neville (for 6 12)
16. J Mack (for 7 85)
17. B Deegan (for 11 70)

Scorers: Yoffe 15 21, Roca 75

Lancaster City
1. M Fearon
2. R Henry (cautioned 42)
3. N Marshall (cautioned 31)
4. A Teague
5. M Stringfellow (capt) (cautioned 64)
6. D Ward
7. M Rushton
8. C Ward
9. J Connerton
10. P Jarvis
11. R Sharrock
12. A Farrell (for 7 66)
14. G Heffernan (for 5 80)
15. M Rothwell
16. R Wilson (for 8 80)
17. N Beesley

Scorers: Sharrock 45(+1) 87, Connerton 83

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First Posted ~ 15:26 Mon 2 Nov 2009
News ID ~ 2511
Last Updated ~ 17:14 Fri 11 Oct 2013