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Castle rock as Reds go top

FC United returned to the top of the table with a 5-1 trouncing of lowly Newcastle Town in front of 2,368 supporters at Gigg Lane as title rivals Salford City slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Flixton.

Stuart Rudd fired a first half hat-trick including one with a cracking piece of skill to take his season tally up to 30, Rory Patterson scored a superb solo goal and Rhodri Giggs completed the rout midway through the second half.

The Reds were determined to do things the hard way though and it was the visitors that took the lead on 12 minutes through Minor, who took advantage of some slack defending to leave Sam Ashton with no chance.

However, Patterson was back in the starting line up and looked even more fired up than usual. It was the young Irishman who created an instant equaliser for Rudd by taking on the ‘keeper out wide before unselfishly squaring the ball across the goal mouth for his strike partner to slide home at the far post.

United were looking back to their best and less than 15 minutes later it was 2-1. Rudd received the ball on the edge of the box on the right hand side with his back to goal. He flicked it up for himself before swivelling on the spot and smacking an outrageous volley into the roof of the net. Definitely one of his finest goals for FC United.

On 38 minutes Patterson’s hard work was rewarded. Mr Mystery put in one of his most selfless performances to date, but he still managed a surging solo run down the right wing before cutting inside the box. He still had three covering defenders to beat and they blocked his first attempt at goal, but unperturbed he forced his way passed them and fired home at the second attempt.

Two minutes later Rudd put the game beyond any doubt. Patterson was again involved as he held the ball up well out on the left flank before squaring it to Rudd who quickly sprayed the ball out wide for the unmarked Giggs. The ball didn’t fall kindly for the Welshman on the unpredictable muddy surface and he had to cut back and steady himself before whipping in a dangerous cross which Rudd was delighted to get on the end of to complete his hat-trick with a real poacher’s finish.

With the job done by the break, the Reds could afford to take their foot off the gas in the second half and the game petered out somewhat as a spectacle. The ever lively Dave Swarbrick had a couple of efforts and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet but he will be glad of getting some more first team action under his belt since recovering from injury.

Nicky Platt could also have added to the scoreline after being put through on goal but his shot was saved. It was Giggs who put the icing on the cake when he glanced on a lovely floated cross from Liam Foster on the right passed the advancing ‘keeper with his head.

All in all it was a fine performance from Margy’s men and a fitting way to end the year, putting FC United top of the table on goal difference with four games in hand over Salford City going into 2007.

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First Posted ~ 18:38 Sat 30 Dec 2006
News ID ~ 767
Last Updated ~ 17:51 Fri 11 Oct 2013