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Norton brace helps FC United beat Ferriby and close the gap

Two second half goals from Mike Norton helped FC United beat third placed North Ferriby 2-0 in front of 2,827 supporters at Gigg Lane on Youth United Day, closing the gap on their Humberside promotion rivals to just two points.

The biggest home league crowd of the season certainly seemed to spur United on from the start with them getting the ball off Ferriby and going close through Carlos Roca with less than a minute on the clock.

The Reds once again showed their footballing credentials as they played the ball around well all afternoon but the fact that the game was so good was down to the visitors opting to play United in a football match and not a show of physical power we sometimes see from teams in the league.

In fairness, it was the visitors who had the first opportunity to take the lead. A killer through ball split the defence and Wayne Brooksby got the wrong side of Kyle Jacobs before seeing his effort rebound off Sam Ashton’s crossbar.

United knew they’d had a let off and continued to press forward. Once more the pace of Roca and Jerome Wright on the flanks, also aided by fullbacks Jacobs and Lee Neville bombing forward on every opportunity, saw United create a few chances. The best chance of the first half fell to Simon Carden who saw his effort from inside the box well saved by the experienced Steve Wilson in the Ferriby goal.

Despite their best efforts United couldn’t find the breakthrough and the teams went in level at the break. As the Reds returned for the second half, you sensed something special could be on the cards due to the fact they were attacking a more vocal than usual Manchester Road End. United had also seen they had the better of the visitors in the first session and knew a win was there for the taking.

United began the half brightly with Roca jinking inside and testing Wilson early on. With the visitors on the back foot, manager Karl Marginson opted to introduce Ben Deegan early in the second half. The big striker’s impact was not as significant as it was in the midweek game at Whitby but he caused the Ferriby defence problems and gave them something else to worry about with his physical presence.

With moments of coming on, Deegan went close as he got the ball on the right hand side of the box, moved the ball onto his left foot and saw his effort saved by Wilson. The change in formation to two strikers also saw Norton get into more goal scoring opportunities and minutes after Deegan saw his effort saved by Wilson, Norton forced a corner for United.

Norton then drifted to the far post seemingly losing his marker and when Roca’s corner from the left came into the box Norton found himself in space in the six yard box and we all know he doesn’t need asking twice from that range. The striker prodded home his 26th goal of the season.

Not content to rest on a single goal lead, United carried on pushing forward which left them vulnerable to the Ferriby counterattack at times but they were never really troubled too much. The Reds always looked the more likely to get the next goal.

Wright had put in another great performance and had seen a few efforts including a quick free-kick saved by Wilson in the afternoon. Even with that in mind, when Wright got into the box with less than ten minutes to go he must have though he was nailed on to score but again Wilson saved his effort.

However, the rebound came back to Wright and rather than try and beat the keeper at the second attempt, he opted to square it to Norton in the centre of the box and the striker coolly put the ball away giving United a 2-0 win with his fifth goal in eight days.

FC United now play Worksop next Saturday and although many supporters would love to see goalkeeper Sam Ashton recreate his 110 yard goal scoring exploit from the last time the Reds played at Cannon Park, everyone would probably just settle for another three points on the quest for a play-off place.

Report by Craig Phillips

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First Posted ~ 18:08 Sun 27 Mar 2011
News ID ~ 3495
Last Updated ~ 18:08 Sun 27 Mar 2011