FC United began the 2020/2021 season with a 1-1 draw against Nantwich Town in front a restricted crowd of 547 at Broadhurst Park on Saturday afternoon with substitute Charlie Ennis breaking the deadlock before Sean Cooke equalised for the Dabbers.
189 days since our last competitive game; a top of the table, eight goal thriller away to South Shields, it was great to have football back as the two teams contributed to a thrilling contest where both had spells on top.
Both sides took a while to click in the first half but when they did it was the visiting team who had the better chances in the first half, forcing new FC number one Dan Lavercombe into a couple of good saves to keep the scores level.
Despite having more possession in the first half, FC United were fortunate to still be level at halftime. At the start of the second half, Reno’s Reds came out with a much higher tempo, looking to put the Dabbers on the backfoot and take the game to them.
Within the first 15 minutes of the restart FC United twice tested Nantwich ‘keeper Tony McMillan through Regan Linney. However, despite being on top the Reds needed something extra to break the deadlock.
Charlie Ennis was brought on at the 65 minute mark and two minutes later, and with possibly his first touch of the ball, Ennis had opened the scoring. A lofted ball from the back was held up well by Michael Fowler, using his strength to hold off the defender and square the ball to the on rushing Ennis. His strike from the edge of the box took a deflection on the way into the goal, but Ennis and the FC faithful won’t have cared because they had the lead that their second half performance had deserved.
Any hopes of kicking on were quickly taken away, as two minutes later the visitors had levelled the game. A poor clearance from the defence saw Nantwich immediately back on the attack, a ball over the top found Sean Cooke, who showed his composure to place the ball into the bottom corner, making the score 1-1.
Having conceded so quickly, FC looked a little deflated and had it not been for another good save from Lavercombe, we may have found ourselves in a worse situation heading into the last 10 minutes.
In the third minute of stoppage time substitute Dan Cockerline had the chance to make himself an instant hero on his FC debut but his header from inside the box just didn’t have enough on it and went agonisingly wide of the goal.
Obviously, FC United wanted to start the season with a win but a draw against a team that also had play-off aspirations before last season ended in March is not a bad result. Last season, it took us four games to get a point on the board, so we have already got off to a better start this season.
The Reds will now have to be up for the cup as they welcome Pontefract Colleries to Broadhurst Park on Tuesday night in the FA Cup, before we face another stern test away to Scarborough next Saturday.
Website Man of the Match: Dan Lavercombe – made three excellent saves during the game that kept FC United level. We probably wouldn’t have taken a point from the game had it not been for the new number one.
Report by Craig Phillips