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Wolfenden hat-trick sees United go one point from play-offs

FC United came from an early goal down to claim three priceless away points for the second time in four days on Tuesday night as the Reds moved within one point of the play-off places.

Matthew Wolfenden bagged a hat-trick and Carlos Roca got the other as FC United produced some sublime football, romping home to a 4-1 victory over Nantwich at the Weaver Stadium.

The Reds started the match in their customary way by conceding inside two minutes when a break down the right by the Dabbers found Michael Lennon in the box, whose shot was blocked by Sam Ashton.

Unfortunately, the ball scooped up in the air to Jordan Connerton who headed towards the goal. Richard Battersby kept the first effort out but the Nantwich number nine was on hand to put the ball into the net off the rebound.

As the half wore on, FC United started to dominate, with Roca in particular a threat out wide. Fullback Rodney Jack had to be alert to turn away a dangerous Roca cross with quarter of an hour gone and then, moments later, goalkeeper Adam Alcock had to cut out cross from the same player as Mike Norton lurked.

Five minutes before the break, Roca almost drew the Reds level after a Nicky Platt shot was deflected wide. As the ball was worked back in, Roca saw his goalbound shot blocked.

Wolfenden, on the opposite wing to Roca, was also starting to see plenty of the ball and he was very unlucky on 44 minutes to see a shot cannon off the underside of the bar and out of the goal, after a great cross from Roca and intelligent head back from Norton.

The former Oldham Athletic man didn’t actually have to wait too long to score the equaliser, as he was played in by a poor back header from Nantwich defender Rod McDonald. Wolfenden did well to keep his cool, draw the keeper and slot the ball into the corner of the net to make it 1-1.

The away side started the second half as they finished the first, with pressure in the Nantwich box. Simon Carden was played in and saw his shot blocked by the keeper, the rebound falling to Platt who’s delicate sidefoot was blocked as it was goalbound and finally Wolfenden had a shot blocked.

A couple of minutes later, Norton cleverly played in Roca who fired just wide. The extremely dangerous Roca was also thwarted by Alcock on 55 minutes, who saved well with his legs.

On the hour, FC United deservedly took the lead when Wolfenden was played in. His first chance was blocked but the ball looped up for Norton to nod back down to Wolfenden who fired into the goal.

Three minutes later, the game was over. Roca flicked the ball out to Norton who played the ball back to Roca and the winger fired unnervingly into the corner of the goal to make it 3-1.

With 15 minutes to go, Wolfenden completed his hat-trick. A flowing move saw Norton play the ball out to Roca who fired a shot goalwards. Alcock saved the ball but could only palm it out to Wolfenden who tapped it into the net.

After recovering from the early setback, United were comfortable winners. They could have had more too as in the closing stages there was still time for the woodwork to come to the Dabbers’ rescue for a second time as Platt hit the post.

This great win makes it five in a row for FC United and means they are undefeated in the last seven matches. It’s the best run the team has put together in the league this season and one which has seen them move to within touching distance of the play-offs.

However, with some difficult games coming up against fellow play-off contenders, manager Karl Marginson will surely guard against complacency.

Report by Steven Wood.

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First Posted ~ 20:07 Wed 2 Mar 2011
News ID ~ 3453
Last Updated ~ 20:07 Wed 2 Mar 2011