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Comfortable victory for Reds

FC United recorded their second 3-0 victory within five days with a comfortable league win against St Helens Town at Gigg Lane on Wednesday night.

First half goals from Simon Carden, Stuart Rudd and Dave Brown, returning to the club after a brief spell with Salford City, settled the contest after 25 minutes meaning the Reds never really had to move out of second gear.

Town, who have endured a troubled season thus far with a change of manager and just one league win to their name, lined-up with an almost completely different side from the one that faced the Reds on the opening day of the league campaign, with Adie Reilly at right-back, the only survivor.

Rory Patterson took over the captain’s armband from the injured David Chadwick and former Liverpool and Burnley trainee 18-year-old attacking midfielder Nick Platt made his debut after coming off the substitutes’ bench.

The Gigg Lane faithful of 1,851 didn’t have long to wait for the opening goal, which came after just six and a half minutes. A Josh Howard pass found Patterson, and the Irishman expertly drew the St Helens ‘keeper Mark Nicolson, before passing the ball to the unmarked Carden who had the simplest of tasks of walking the ball into the unguarded net.

On 18 minutes it was 2-0. Howard’s pinpoint free-kick from the far left found Rudd, who out-jumped the visitor’s defence to head the ball home from close range.

And on 25 minutes it was three. Howard’s corner-kick found Brown at the back-post and the big centre-half nodded the ball home from just two yards out.

At this early stage of the game, the match seemed to be virtually all over as a contest, at stages almost resembling a training ground game, and only some fine goalkeeping by visiting ‘keeper was keeping the score respectable. Nicolson denied a Rhodri Giggs header with a fine finger-tip save before using his legs to save a Rudd strike on 31 minutes.

The second half saw the Saints adopt a flat back four, as they tried, with some success, a damage limitation policy by frustrating United’s attacking runs particularly by deploying the offside trap.

Patterson raced clear one-one-one with Nicolson and had the ball in the net in the opening minute of the second half, but had already been flagged for offside. On 69 minutes, Giggs also had the ball in the net after sliding in to connect with a teasing Howard cross at the back post, but the goal was again chalked off by the ever-vigilant referee’s assistant.

Carden and Rudd had guilt edge chances to add to their tallies but both blazed over the bar and Rudd completely missed the ball two yards out when Patterson squared it after a good run down the right wing.

In the final minute of normal time, the visitors were denied what would have been a deserved consolation goal when Sam Ashton bravely dived at the feet of the onrushing Brian Hatton. Ashton was unable to prevent the ball from rebounding to captain Ian Dyson who blasted wide with the goal at his mercy.

Margy’s men came away with good midweek work out under their belts and another three points gained, consolidating their position at the top of the North West Counties Football League First Division table.

Peter Moulds

Match information:

FC United
2) Matthew TAYLOR
4) Steve SPENCER
5) David BROWN
6) Liam COYNE
7) Rhodri GIGGS
8) Simon CARDEN
9) Stuart RUDD
10) Josh HOWARD
11) Rory PATTERSON (Captain)
12) Steve SMITH (Sub for 8, 61 mins)
14) Nick PLATT (Sub for 4, 61 mins)
15) Gareth ORMES (Sub for 3, 61 mins)

St Helens Town
2) Adie REILLY
3) Mark EVANS
5) John ELIAS
6) Danny LEYLAND
7) Paul CLIFF
8) Stuart HILTON
9) Brian HATTON
10) Iain DYSON (Captain)
11) Matt HOWGATE
12) Andy WEBSTER (Sub for 7, 77 mins)
14) Scott WALKER (Sub for 11, 63 mins)
15) Chris SPENDLOVE (Sub for 4, 83 mins)

Referee: Mr. David TORRIE (West Yorkshire).

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First Posted ~ 09:31 Thu 12 Oct 2006
News ID ~ 593
Last Updated ~ 17:51 Fri 11 Oct 2013