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FC United aiming for second spot with victory over Marine

FC United moved up to second place with two games to play by coming from behind to beat Marine 2-1 in front of 1,848 supporters at Bower Fold on Wednesday night through goals from Mike Norton and Ben Deegan.

The Reds could now seal a place in the play-offs by 4.45pm on Good Friday without kicking a ball if North Ferriby fail to beat Ossett Town at home. If the Villagers do keep up their promotion push with a win, United would then have the opportunity to guarantee a play-off spot by winning or drawing at Matlock on Saturday.

Marine took the lead inside 20 minutes through John Shaw but like so many times in recent weeks United fought back to claim victory. Norton equalised three minutes before half-time and Deegan came off the bench to get the winner with 17 minutes to go.

The Reds came into the game looking to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat at Chasetown, but began the game slowly against a Marine team that pressurised United at every opportunity.

After a fairly even start to the game it was the visitors who took the lead after 19 minutes, as a corner from the left was headed home by Shaw to the delight of the travelling contingent behind Sam Ashton’s goal.

In truth, Marine were getting to the ball first, winning most of the 50/50 challenges and generally fighting a lot harder in the opening half. But having said that there were still bright moments of play from United coming from good link-ups between Norton and Jerome Wright. Had the Marine defence not been fortunate with scuffed clearances and the odd favourable bounce here or there United could have been back in the match sooner.

The turning point for United came with 15 minutes of the first half remaining when Karl Marginson took off Nicky Platt and brought on Ben Deegan. The change meant the formation went from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2 and as he’s done several times this season, Deegan brought something different to the game which ultimately saw United back into it.

Within minutes of coming on Deegan got the ball on the right of the box, beating a couple of players with a dribble come stumble he played the ball across the box to Matthew Tierney who shot just wide.

It wasn’t long before the scores were level as right-back Kyle Jacobs floated a ball in from deep on the right hand side and Norton got his head to the ball to equalise for United, who were now looking the much better team.

The Reds came forward for the remaining five minutes of the half with the bit between their teeth, looking like they could add to Norton’s strike at anytime but their momentum was killed by the half-time whistle.

During the interval the reset button must have been hit because when the teams came out for the second half it was Marine who began the brighter and had a golden opportunity as the ball fell to Jaime Rainford six yards out.

Fortunately, the unmarked Marine man wasted the opportunity by passing the ball into Ashton’s arms.
Once more the visitors pressured United at every opportunity, refusing to allow any men in red have time on the ball which meant United attacks were few and far between, as moves broke down under the constant pressure.

With about 20 minutes left on the clock United found a bit of space as Wright got the ball unmarked on the left flank but his quick effort flashed across Ryan McMahon’s goal and out for a goal kick.

Marine clearly didn’t learn from that close call as only moments later Wright again got the ball unmarked on the left. This time the winger opted to cross the ball which was met by a fierce header by Deegan to put United 2-1 up and only increased the forwards stock with the United faithful as another three points seemed certain to be in the bag.

After the goal the Marine pressure died somewhat, obviously having the wind taken out of their sails by the hard work they’d put in only to see United come from behind. A free-kick on the edge of the box forced a save from Ashton late in the day but other than that minor scare, the Reds rarely looked in danger of letting go of the victory.

Report by Craig Phillips


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First Posted ~ 13:39 Thu 21 Apr 2011
News ID ~ 3548
Last Updated ~ 13:39 Thu 21 Apr 2011