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Reds lack cutting edge in Steel City

FC United slumped to their fourth defeat of their pre-season campaign with a single goal defeat against Northern Counties East Premier Division outfit Sheffield FC on Saturday.

Team Manager Karl Marginson won’t be too disappointed with that statistic, but he will probably be somewhat more concerned that his team were unable to convert any of their numerous half-chances into a decent threat on goal during the 90 minutes.

For FC United, this was their first-ever game east of the Pennines, and for the Sheffield FC team, who celebrate their 150th anniversary next year, a return to the futuristic 25,000 capacity Don Valley Stadium that they played at for a number of seasons in the 1990s.

Billed as the oldest club in the world against one of the newest, the two clubs, which will be playing their trade at Level 5 in the non-league pyramid this season, looked to be fairly evenly matched during the opening period.

FC United’s best effort of the first-half came on the quarter-hour mark, when a curling free-kick from Leon Mike from 20 yards out struck the angle of the far post and crossbar only to bounce out of play. Sheffield’s best chance came on 31 minutes, when Gary Townsend shot wide even though it looked easier to score.

However, just when it looked as if the first-half would end goalless, the home side snatched the lead on the stroke of half-time. With the visiting defence missing in action from an in-swinging James Tevendale corner, Sheffield captain Craig Marsh was left completely unmarked to head home past ‘keeper Sam Ashton at the far post.

There were no changes to either of the line-ups at half-time, but shortly into the second-half, the two managers made the first of a number of substitutions (ten in all). For FC United, this included the introduction of Ricardo Brondao and Ellesio Tavares, who had both impressed for the Reserves at Mossley the previous week.

But despite the numerous changes, the visitors still looked somewhat off the pace, and in the 72nd minute, Sheffield could have gone a second goal up. Reds defender Liam Coyne’s clumsy challenge on Rob Ward was adjudged by referee Dave Benton to be a penalty.

However, when Ward eventually picked himself up, his spot-kick was fired too close to substitute ‘keeper Barrie George who parried the shot and the defence were able to scramble the loose ball away to safety.

That let-off seemed to rally the United team at long last, and the visitors spent the final 15 minutes of the game more or less camped in the Sheffield half pressing for an equaliser.

Brondao, Tavares and Coyne all wasted chances from reasonable positions, but arguably the best scoring opportunity fell to Rory Patterson in the final minute, whose dipping goal-bound effort was tipped over the bar by Sheffield ‘keeper Jamie Holmshaw.

Final Score: Sheffield FC 1 - 0 FC United of Manchester

F.C. United man-of-the-match: Substitute ‘keeper Barrie George for his penalty save.

Peter Moulds

Match Information:

Sheffield FC (Blue shirts / White Shorts / Blue Socks).

1). Jamie Holmshaw.
2). Pete Davey
3). Jon Boulter.
4). Andy Brownrigg.
5). Craig Marsh. (C)
6). Miles Thorpe.
7). Darryl Winters.
8). Paul Smith.
9). Gary Townsend.
10). James Tevendale.
11). Darren Holmes.

12). Richard Carrington (Sub for No. 6, 67 mins).
14). Chris Hilton (Not used).
15). Chris White (Sub for No. 9, 56 mins).
16). Rob Ward (Sub for No. 11, 56 mins).
17). Pete Smith (Sub for No. 10, 65 mins).
18). Matt Roney (Sub for No. 7, 61 mins).
19). Dean Sidebottom (Sub for No. 8, 75 mins).
20). Darren Bonnington (G/K) (Not used).

FC United of Manchester (Red Shirts / Black Shorts / Black socks).

1). Sam Ashton.
2). Mike Lomax.
3). Gareth Ormes.
4). Liam Coyne.
5). David Chadwick. (C).
6). Rhodri Giggs.
7). Will Ahern.
8). Steve Smith.
9). Leon Mike.
10). Jonathan Mitten.
11). Adie Orr.

12). Ricardo Brondao (Sub for No. 9, 48 mins).
13). Barrie George (G/K) (Sub for No. 1, 54 mins).
14). Ellesio Tavares (Sub for No. 10, 54 mins).
15). Rob Nugent (Not used).
16). Dave Brown (Not used).
17). Alex Mortimer (Not used).
18). Rory Patterson (Sub for No. 7, 54 mins).
19). Josh Howard (Not used).
20). Dave Swarbrick (Not used).

Attendance: 750

Referee: David Benton (South Yorkshire).

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First Posted ~ 11:41 Mon 31 Jul 2006
News ID ~ 398
Last Updated ~ 17:51 Fri 11 Oct 2013