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United run into dead-end against Avenue

FC United slumped to a 5-1 defeat at home to league leaders Bradford Park Avenue on Wednesday night as Ben Deegan was sent off and goal-scorer Phil Marsh missed a late penalty.

Bradford continued their charge towards Conference North football by sweeping aside the Reds in a clinical display.

United went into the break 2-0 down after goals from Simon Baldry and Mark Hume but when Marsh pulled one back three minutes into the second half it looked like it was game on.

However, Bradford scored three more times in the last 20 minutes with Hume bagging a hat-trick before Aiden Savory added the fifth to seal a fair result whilst creating a somewhat flattering score-line.

United actually gave a good account of themselves going forward and controlled much of the first and second half. The problem was Bradford kicked on in the last 20 minutes of each half, exposing United’s defensive fragilities.

The Reds began brightly with Jerome Wright seeing an early effort deflected wide by the head of an Avenue defender, and Marsh managed to work Avenue ’keeper Stephen Dickinson with a good effort from outside of the box.

United were first to everything and were looking a good bet to get something out of the game until the visitors managed to score with what could have been their first effort on the half hour mark.

A mistimed Ludovic Quistin tackle gave Avenue a free-kick near the right corner flag. The ball was drifted in by left-back Martin Drury and met by the head of captain Baldry who put Avenue one up.

With such a sucker punch it looked as though the wind had been knocked out of United but if United could make it to half-time just 1-0 down there was always still home for another trademark second half comeback. Unfortunately, Avenue got a second before half time to deal United another cruel blow.

Drury again the provider with a left footed free kick from deep and deflected in. Defender Hume claimed it but it did appear to come off the head of United striker Deegan. Whoever the goal scorer, it put Avenue 2-0 up and left most of the 1,891 in attendance wondering how United were two down.

The second half began brightly with Wright and Roca both pressing forward. Deegan had a glorious chance to make it 2-1 when put through by Phil Marsh, he hit the ball past Dickenson but saw it roll agonisingly wide of the far post.

Sensing the renewed effort and desire in the team the crowd as ever got behind them and had something to celebrate when Marsh had an effort from outside the box which was fumbled by Dickinson into the goal to get United back into things.

United attacked and the wings looked the best route for an equaliser with Wright and Roca’s pace and skills troubling the Avenue full-backs. Marsh nearly got his second when a header from a Roca cross was cleared off the line but United couldn’t get the ball into the net.

Avenue fired an early warning sign when Drury floated a free-kick in again, this time hitting the post, and after 70 minutes they were 3-1 up after Hume fired home from a rebound of his own header from a corner.

United looked dejected that all their effort had come to nothing and things were made much worse when Hume completed his hat-trick with another header after United failed to clear their lines.

Aiden Savroy completed the route for Avenue giving them an unprecedented 5-1 scoreline that will go a long way to help them towards the title but the action was not finished there.

Ben Deegan had typified the effort of the whole team all evening, chasing down balls and lost causes, as well as getting in good positions all game. However, maybe he became a little frustrated when he clashed with Hume in a tackle. The referee took a dim view of this and sent Deegan off with minutes remaining for his second bookable offence.

United were offered a chance for a consolation goal late on when Wright was brought down by Stephen Downes in the box. Marsh summed up United’s night - some great chances but lack of cutting edge - by missing the target completely from 12 yards out as he fired the ball wide.

It seems strange to say after such a heavy loss but there were positives to be taken from the game. Much talk after the Durham loss was about the point lack of commitment but United’s players showed the commitment, drive and never say die attitude that this club is formed and ultimately runs on, and for that reason the players were once again applauded off by the FC United faithful.

Report by Craig Phillips

Bradford (Park Avenue)
24th March 2010
Played at: Gigg Lane, Bury
UniBond League Premier

Lost: 1-5
Half Time: 0-2
Attendance: 1891

FC United
1. S Ashton
2. J Holden
3. L Quistin
4. J Cottrell
5. R Nugent (capt)
6. N Swirad
7. C Roca (cautioned 63)
8. S Carden
9. P Marsh
10. J Wright (cautioned 42)
11. B Deegan (sent off 86)
12. K Jacobs
15. G Shenton
16. G Eme (for 8 80)
17. A Tsiaklis (for 7 73)
19. J Mack (for 5 83)

Scorer: Marsh 48

Bradford (Park Avenue)
1. S Dickenson
2. S Downes (cautioned 90)
3. M Drury
4. R O’Brien (cautioned 64)
5. A Iqbal
6. M Hume (cautioned 90+1)
7. S Baldry (capt)
8. J Price
9. C Hall
10. A Savory
11. M James
12. B Renshaw (for 5 80)
14. M Elam (for 4 78)
15. D Krief
16. L Gibson
17. R Serrant (for 3 67)

Scorers: Baldry 33, Hume 43 73 77, Savory 83

First Posted ~ 12:04 Fri 26 Mar 2010
News ID ~ 2795
Last Updated ~ 01:52 Tue 16 Feb 2021