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United go one point from play-offs with win over Burscough

FC United moved to within one point of the play-off places with a 3-1 victory over Burscough on Saturday afternoon courtesy of second half goals from Mike Norton, Jerome Wright and substitute Carlos Roca.

A crowd of 2,030 supporters saw the Reds sweep aside their West Lancashire visitors to move up to seventh in the table on another successful People United Day at Gigg Lane.

The first half was a tense affair as United struggled to get any foothold in the game in the wet conditions but the Reds should have taken the lead when the game’s first goal scoring opportunity saw Norton played in by Jake Cottrell. However, the striker’s powerful effort hit the Burscough bar.

If anybody had presumed Burscough were going to roll over due to their league position they were soon made to think differently because for large parts of the first half The Linnets played the better football. The former FA Trophy holders used the physical presence of players like centre forward Lee McEvilly to make the game as uncomfortable as they could for the Reds.

McEvilly had two great opportunities to put the visitors a goal up, firstly he found himself one-on-one with Sam Ashton but couldn’t keep his effort down. Minutes later, a cross from Lewis Fields on the right saw McEvilly unmarked in the six-yard box but a soft header was easily saved by Ashton.

Although they still couldn’t break the deadlock, United ended the half on a high as they went close just before the break. A Matthew Wolfenden cross from the right was played back across the box to the forward who did well to find a yard but saw his effort just clip the Burscough crossbar.

United began the second half playing much better and within 10 minutes of the restart Norton had opened the scoring. A good through-ball from Cottrell saw the always eager Norton give chase and he find himself one-on-one with ‘keeper Paul Willis. And as the FC United faithful know by now - when Norton is one-on-one it usually ends up in the back of the net. This occasion was no different and the former Curzon Ashton man scored his 21st goal of the season with aplomb.

United kept the pressure on the visitors from this point on but found their tight defence difficult to break down. Roca was brought on to give the Reds another dimension on the right wing and he looked like he had unlocked the Burscough defence almost immediately. But his ball across the six-yard box was just too far in front of the on rushing Wolfenden.

The lead was doubled with less than 15 minutes left, when an inspired Wright got the ball about 25 yards out and fired into Willis’ top corner to give United the two goal cushion they had been looking for.

If United thought it was job done though, they were given a wake up call only minutes later. The visitors grabbed a goal through John Cass with five minutes left and continued pushing forward sensing they could get a point out of the game.

Thankfully, Roca wrapped things up with only seconds left on the clock as he cut in from the right and fired the ball past Willis to give United a 3-1 victory.

The win signified United’s fifth game without defeat, a run which has seen them move right up the table into seventh place and into contention for the play-offs. The Reds have now dropped only two points from the last five games and will be looking to continue that kind of form when they visit Stocksbridge Park Steels.

Report by Craig Phillips

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First Posted ~ 14:32 Sun 20 Feb 2011
News ID ~ 3432
Last Updated ~ 14:32 Sun 20 Feb 2011