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FC United through to FA Cup first round proper - full report

An FA Cup sponsored by E.ON first round proper tie away to Rochdale awaits FC United after a Carlos Roca goal was enough to claim the scalp of Conference Premier side Barrow on Sunday afternoon in front of 3,263 supporters.

Roca’s 78th minute close range strike was the culmination of a second half performance which saw the Reds play the Bluebirds off the park for a truly well deserved win and a place in the promise land of the first round proper. In truth the slender victory could have been bigger with Mike Norton hitting the post and Barrow ‘keeper Shaun Pearson making some acrobatic saves.

With the first round draw taking place a couple of hours before kick off, both teams knew that that a win would seal a trip to League One outfit Rochdale, and both sides began the game quite tentative looking to feel each other out and more importantly not let the other team in.

United held their own early on and again looked dangerous from both flanks with Roca and Jerome Wright proving difficult to manage, while Norton made a real pest of himself to the Barrow defence all the way through the match.

About half an hour in Barrow put a little bit of pressure on the United defence as striker Jason Walker had two half chances that called upon Sam Ashton but never really troubled the United ‘keeper.

Both teams had great opportunities to take the lead, the visitors got their chance as James Holden passed the ball back to Ashton and put it straight into the path of Barrow’s Nick Chadwick, who scuffed his opportunity wide of the near post.

United though had the best chance to take the lead when Wright cut inside from the left and fired the ball across goal with the outstretching Norton just inches away from getting to the ball and giving United the lead.

As the second half began, United came out attacking towards their own fans in the Manchester Road End. The added support and the half-time team talk by manager Karl Marginson seemed to help the Reds take their game up a gear. United came straight on the attack looking as though they knew they had a great opportunity to get to the first round proper.

Wright went close with a couple of half chances and the general build up play of United fired on the faithful which in turn fired on the eleven on the pitch. Norton broke through on goal and put the ball past Barrow ‘keeper Pearson but saw his low shot bounce out off the post, Wright came rushing into the box but saw his effort tipped round the post by Pearson.

The pressure was building and building as United broke well and attacked through all channels, with half chances for Jake Cottrell and Norton being the most notable productions of this pressure.

United continued to press and what looked like a nothing ball from the back up to Norton was actually the beginning of the goal that would put United through. Norton took the ball on running towards the right corner, then played the ball out to substitute Chris Ovington.

Ovington intelligently jinked inside to evade the defender, got to the by-line and pulled the ball back across goal for Norton. The striker prodded the ball towards goal and Roca was on hand to stick the ball away from six yards out to score a goal that sent the United faithful into raptures.

With little over ten minutes left, it was vital that United kept calm if they were to pull off their biggest cup giant killing to date. Although the visiting team pushed for the equaliser United’s defence were resilient to the end with each one of the back four in commanding mood.

At times in the second half it was difficult to distinguish between the very different playing levels of the teams, as United held possession, attacked well and defended as though their lives depended on it.

The scenes at the final whistle were nothing short of spectacular and showed just how much this club, its future and its achievements means to the players and the fans.

In the end United were just too much for their Conference opponents and it ill be the Reds who travel to the Spotland Stadium in two weeks, because United are going to Rochdale!

Report by Craig Phillips.


FC United of Manchester

Sam Ashton
Kyle Jacobs (Capt)
Lee Neville
James Holden
Karl Munroe
Scott McManus
Carlos Roca
Jake Cottrell
Mike Norton
Jerome Wright
Ben Deegan

Subs: Glynn Hurst (on for Deegan, 18), Nicky Platt (on for Roca 87), Chris Ovington (on for Hurst, 70)

Subs Not Used: Zach Hibbert, Simon Carden, David Chadwick, Scott Cheetham

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First Posted ~ 11:21 Fri 29 Oct 2010
News ID ~ 3178
Last Updated ~ 11:21 Fri 29 Oct 2010