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FC United into play-off places with win at Whitby

FC United moved into the play off places for the first time since September with a hard fought 1-0 over Whitby on the north-east coast on Wednesday night with Mike Norton scoring his 25th goal of the season.

Norton scored third of the week with just 13 minutes remaining as the Reds claimed a priceless three points on at the Turnbull Ground which sees them leapfrog Marine and Matlock into fifth place.

The Reds started brightly and a good move on 11 minutes almost brought a goal with a cross from Jerome Wright finding Norton whose shot was deflected wide. The home side slowly came into the game and should have scored when Jimmy Beadle headed over from close range.

The Seasiders had an even better chance on 14 minutes when former Leeds United midfielder Tony Hackworth beat the offside trap and had only Sam Ashton to beat. Happily for the Reds keeper he only had to stand and watch as the ball was lobbed over the bar.

On the half hour mark, FC United were thwarted by a great double save by home keeper David Campbell. A Wright free-kick from the right was blocked with the rebound falling back to the Reds winger who saw Campbell save his deflected shot at the near post. Simon Carden was following up and seized upon the rebound but Campbell managed to deflect the veteran midfielder’s shot over the bar for a corner.

At half-time, FC United manager Karl Marginson made a substitution with midfielder James Holden being replaced by forward Ben Deegan and the formation changed to 4-4-2. Despite the Red reshuffle, it was Whitby who started the brightest with Beadle shooting wide and the impressive Kevin Burgess chipping the ball over the bar.

Slowly the Reds started to roar like lions and take a foothold in the half, Wright firing at the keeper and Deegan heading wide when he really should have hit the target.

Ashton had to be alert on 64 minutes, when Beadle broke free and fired the ball goalwards, the keeper tipping it wide. Deegan was proving a handful for the home defence and a great piece of skill, where he knocked the ball over his own head saw him shoot, sadly the ball had no power or direction and rolled wide.

David Chadwick was proving he was back to his best at centre-half with a great block on a goal bound shot but just as it seemed neither team would make the breakthrough, the Reds took the lead.

A throw from the right into the box was flicked on by Deegan to Norton who fired the ball into the far corner. The relief was there for all to see both on the pitch and on the terraces as the Reds looked set to record their first victory at the Turnbull Ground at their third attempt.

The lead should have been doubled with less than 10 minutes to go when great work from Norton found Wright in the six yard box but he rolled the ball wide when it would probably have been easier to score.

Deep into injury time, the home side almost snatched a point when substitute Ashley Davis broke clear. Ashton saved his shot but the rebound dangerous looped up to Dave McTiernan who seemed certain to score but happily his header flew over the bar.

This was a vital three points on a difficult pitch and sets up FC United nicely for tough games to come against North Ferriby and Worksop.

Report by Steven Wood

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First Posted ~ 13:17 Thu 24 Mar 2011
News ID ~ 3491
Last Updated ~ 13:17 Thu 24 Mar 2011