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Honours even at Valley Road

FC United were unable to get back to winning ways as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by local rivals Flixton at Valley Road.

Rory Patterson’s superbly executed volley on 25 minutes was cancelled out by Anthony Hargeaves’ lob ten minutes later for the home side meaning that it finished honours even.

In a game that was remarkably similar to the corresponding fixture last Boxing Day, United had the better of the chances but Flixton had the lion’s share of possession and so a draw seemed like a fair result.

Dave Swarbrick, who has recently come back from a long injury lay off, was back in the team for the first time since the opening day of the season partnering top scorer Stuart Rudd.

Rory Patterson was moved in to midfield alongside Nicky Platt, Simon Carden and Steve Spencer and captain David Chadwick was back from his one match suspension meaning it was normal personnel and service in defence.

The ever-lively Swarbrick was keen to show what the Reds have been missing through his absence and his pace immediately began to cause the Flixton defence problems.

However, it became apparent that he still lacks a bit of match sharpness wasting a couple of good chances including ballooning one strike over the bar and out of the ground.

It was Rudd who looked most likely to break the deadlock and after beating the Valley Roaders ‘keeper Andy Robertson by connecting with a corner just before the 20 minutes mark he was extremely unfortunate to see a header come crashing back off the crossbar.

It wasn’t long though before United’s pressure paid off when a long clearance from United ‘keeper Sam Ashton found Patterson in space. The Irishman turned superbly and volleyed home from 20 yards out low to the Robertson’s right.

Flixton were determined to get an equaliser though and the game could have taken a turn for the worst for the Reds when Ashton misjudged his positioning for a throughball and handled outside the box. Fortunately for United the referee felt that a booking was sufficient and the resulting free kick came to nothing.

Soon after it was the other ‘keeper who was back in the action. Robertson had to make a fine save to push a 30-yard pile driver from Spencer over the bar. Flixton seemed to grow in confidence as they dealt with the visitors’ pressure well and they were able to level matters with a swift counter attack. Hargreaves found space on the edge of the area and managed to wrong foot Chadwick before lobbing the ball skilfully over Ashton for 1-1.

The second half failed to match the first although both sides could have snatched victory. Maty Taylor hobbled out of the action to be replaced by Dave Brown with Rob Nugent moving over to fill in at right back. The normally reliable defender seemed to struggle to adapt to his new position and Flixton mounted a considerable amount of pressure down the left wing.

Ashton was only tested on a couple of occasions though and was quick off his line to thwart Flixton’s best move of the half by diving at the feet of the onrushing striker. Probably the best chance to grab a winner for either side fell to Carden when he was put through on goal but under pressure from a recovering defender he blazed his shot over the bar.

With the spoils shared United will now look to get back to winning ways against Ramsbottom on Boxing Day.

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First Posted ~ 12:35 Sun 24 Dec 2006
News ID ~ 753
Last Updated ~ 17:51 Fri 11 Oct 2013