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United into first ever cup final

FC United made history by reaching their first ever cup final after beating a spirited Congleton Town in a seven-goal thriller watched by 2,138 supporters at Gigg Lane.

In a pulsating D-Zine League Challenge Cup semi-final second leg, the Reds withstood an early onslaught and the sending off of leftback Alex Mortimer to keep the double dream alive.

With the tie all-square from the first leg, the visitors took an opportunist lead after just two minutes. From a quick break Congleton striker Gerrard Courtney spotted Ashton off his line before hitting a teasing lob that had just enough height to beat the flailing Reds keeper.

United pressed but had to wait until the half-hour mark for the first clear-cut chance. Rhodri Giggs’ cross missed Patterson in the middle but Stuart Rudd was on hand to fire home the follow up.

Rudd got his, and United’s, second of the match just a few minutes later. A great through ball from Matty Taylor was headed on by Patterson to allow the big number nine to race past the last defender and calmly beat the advancing ’keeper by slotting the ball into the bottom left corner.

Just before half time United were reduced to ten men when Mortimer was given his marching orders for losing his head and wildly kicking then stamping on the prostrate Congleton rightback.

From the resulting free-kick the visitors crammed the penalty box and whipped the ball over to the fair post where it was knocked down for captain Andy Ashton to bundle it home to make it 2-2.

Congleton sought to make the extra man pay and five minutes into the second-half they took the lead again. Courtney’s pass split the Reds defence and Scott Williams took full advantage.

A minute later Rory Patterson, never one to score an easy tap-in, hit a customary 35-yard screamer over the keeper to level things again. Even by the Irishman’s standards it was still a very special strike and a great way to mark his 50th goal for the club.

Margy’s men then began to pile forward in search of a winner, hitting the post three times and having two penalty appeals turned down. In the end it was left to Rob Nugent to claim the winning goal. From a corner the defender rose above his marker to power home a header and take the Reds into the final.

FC United now face either Flixton or Curzon Ashton in the League Challenge Cup Final at the Tameside Stadium on Thursday 3rd May.

Mark Swanwick

Match Information:

FC United
1. S Ashton
2. M Taylor
3. A Mortimer
4. S Spencer
5. D Chadwick (Capt.)
6. R Nugent
7. R Giggs
8. N Platt
9. S Rudd
10. J Howard
11. R Patterson

12. S Carden (9, 53)
14. G Sampson (10, 88)
15. D Brown (not used)

Goals: Rudd 30 & 34, Patterson 50, Nugent 70
Red Card: Mortimer 43

1. P Forester
2. T Baker
3. A Glover
4. B Alston
5. A Alston (Capt.)
6. C Jones
7. J Johnson
8. R Bailey
9. A Hurst
10. G Courtney
11. S Williams

12. J Petrie (7, 77)
14. J McAllister (2, 80)
15. C Smith (9, 68)

Goals: Courtney 10, A Alston 45, Williams 49,

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First Posted ~ 11:39 Mon 28 Mar 2011
News ID ~ 910
Last Updated ~ 11:39 Mon 28 Mar 2011