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HIGHLIGHTS: Nine-man FC United beat Stockport to reach FA Cup fourth qualifying round

HIGHLIGHTS: Nine-man FC United beat Stockport to reach FA Cup fourth qualifying round

FC United moved through to the fourth qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup with an historic victory over Stockport County, a victory made all the more memorable due to the fact that the Reds were reduced to nine men before half time.

The team showed the same never say die attitude they’d shown on Saturday; when coming from 3-0 down to force tonight’s replay, by taking the lead early in the second half and somehow managing to keep County out to book the place in the next round.

After Saturday’s amazing comeback FC probably felt anything was possible at the start of the game, but what played out on the pitch was beyond anything you could have imagined.

The early going of the game was fairly even, with FC looking dangerous on the break with Kallam Mantack and Joel Logan looking threatening on either flank, but County perhaps looked the stronger in the early going overall.

After twenty four minutes the game moved into County’s favour as Bohan Dixon looked to be through on goal, but went down after his heels were clipped by Matty Hughes. Ruling Hughes was the last man, the referee showed him a straight red and FC would now have to play around 70 minutes with ten men.

In a situation like this the last thing you need is players going in heavy on challenges and possibly making the task even more difficult, but just before the break Michael Connor; who had already been booked, lunged into a challenge in the middle of the park and was shown a second yellow meaning the Reds had to play the remainder of the game with only nine players.

Seconds later there was a real turning point, as Lloyd Allinson pulled out a sensational stop to deny a goal (a theme that would reoccur throughout the second half) and this fired up both the players and the crowd for the second half.

With the two man disadvantage FC knew that any opportunity that came our way had to be taken, and early in the second half a Steve Irwin free kick from the right came off the bar before a long range effort from the clearance was just tipped over.

This gave a belief that we could get the goal and moments later we managed to get that goal and it had to be that man; Tom Greaves, who further wrote his name into FC United folklore by grabbing the goal, bundling the ball over the line to give the Reds the unlikeliest of leads.

From that point you knew that County would do everything they could to get back into a tie which they were three goals up in at half-time on Saturday.

The stats show over 70% possession for the visitors and eighteen opportunities at goal and they give you a pretty fair reflection of how the second half went, with wave after wave of County attack being repelled by an organised and fired-up FC United defence.

Even when they managed to get through the defence they found that Lloyd Allinson was just unbeatable on the night and with each save he seemed to pull out something even better than the save before, getting something to every attempt and keeping the Reds in front.

Try as they might the visitors couldn’t get anything and despite being pegged back in their own half for a large period of the second half FC managed to hold on to claim not only a memorable victory, but more importantly a place in the fourth qualifying round next weekend.

The two games against Stockport will certainly live long in the memory, but they also gave you the feeling that they might be a catalyst to get what has so far been a disappointing season going and when the dust settles on this night it will be important to transfer this kind of performance and belief into the league starting this coming weekend at North Ferriby.

FC will now travel to fellow National League North outfit AFC Telford next Saturday with a place in the opportunity to reach the first round proper for a third time up for grabs.

Website man of the match: Lloyd Allinson – Every player put a great shift in, but Allinson made great save after great save and the one just after Connor’s red card in the first half was as significant as a goal, keeping the scores level with a fantastic reactionary save.

Report by Craig Phillips

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First Posted ~ 12:32 Wed 4 Oct 2017
News ID ~ 7619
Last Updated ~ 08:49 Tue 10 Oct 2017