Source: Blackpool Today
Blackpool Mechs 2 FC Utd of Manchester 4
NAMES like Patterson, Chadwick and Simms hardly roll off the tongue in the way that past Red Devils Best, Charlton and Cantona do.
They are, however, part of the new face of professional football in Manchester and it was their goals which finally brought down Blackpool Mechanics at Bloomfield Road in Saturday's excellent public relations exercise for the grassroots game.
Penalties with which winger Rory Patterson opened and closed the scoring for this United had a significant bearing on a rousing contest in front of 4,300 spectators who immensely enjoyed the day out.
Watching all four goals go in at their end was sweet music to those visiting fans who packed the North Stand, where their non-stop singing was an entertaining accompaniment to the action.
Mechs, though, had done their utmost to silence the mass choir by grabbing the only goal of the first half in raising their game for a match which did the North-West Counties League proud.
Runaway second division leaders United did the vast bulk of the attacking, but Mechs were prepared for that and might have bagged a point if the referee had been as benevolent to them over penalty claims.
Stringing five men along the back, Mechs absorbed United's early advances and engineered the first real chance when Steve Hibbert was denied by goalkeeper Barrie George's fingertip save after turning back inside the man he outpaced.
United had a goal disallowed for a foul on home keeper David Stevenson from a freekick and on 37 minutes Mechs were rapturous when right-back Mike Braebaum dived through a crowd of players to head Jon Simmons' freekick into the bottom corner.
Events started turning against them just before half-time, when the referee naively failed to play advantage after the lively Hibbert broke clear despite having his shirt tugged.
Eight minutes into the second half, Hibbert climbed on an opponent in the box as Mechs struggled to clear a corner and Patterson sent Stevenson the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Five minutes later Mechs again couldn't properly clear their lines and the return ball sat up nicely for skipper and central defender Dave Chadwick to turn in space and finish off.
Mechs equalised on 68 minutes, defender Kevan Ford sweetly volleying in off the post when Stuart Booth's freekick was headed out.
Euphoria cost them concentration, for within the minute midfielder Simms had room to turn and pick his spot when Mechs again couldn't get the ball away.
Andy McKenna kicked off the line and a further United effort rolled inches wide before Ford had two solid cases for a penalty. From the second of these with 60 seconds left, United swept straight up and substitute Gordon Thompson's clumsy challenge was punished from the spot by Patterson.
Unfortunately that was the cue for several fans to run onto the pitch, to a chorus of boos. Up to then, stewards ejected just three people.
n Non-leaguers bumper pay day
Editors Note: this is not online but has been typed out by someone with the original article
The McCaskill family joined 4,000 fellow fans at Bloomfield Road to cheer on their favourite football team Manchester's other United.
Stuart and Clare and their two children Megan, nine, and Alex, five, are among the army of one-time Old Trafford diehards who no longer get their kicks out of watching Wayne Rooney and Co.
The Cleveleys' family's new idols FC United play 10 levels below the Old Trafford superstars in the North-West Counties League, where the visitors' phenomenal following meant hard-up Blackpool Mechanics netted a £10,000 payday despite losing 4-2.
Formed in the summer by disgruntled Man Utd supporters unhappy at the buyout by American Malcolm Glazer, the breakaway club are pulling in bigger crowds than several Football League clubs. That includes Bury, where the part-timers play home games.
The McCaskills, from Leicester Avenue, rarely miss home or away.
Stuart followed Man Utd from the age of six, but said: "Glazer was the final straw after a build-up over the years. Watching them means as much as Man Utd used to."
Stuart, 46, says it costs less than £20 to go to a home game now, rather than the £80 to £100 it did at Old Trafford.
"Old Trafford fans are being distanced from the players. Here you see the team arriving and there's no problem if you want autographs or a photo," Stuart added.
Saturday's match was watched by some 4,300 after it was switched from Mechs' Common Edge ground, where attendances rarely reach three figures.
Tommy Baldwin, chairman for 16 years, said the anticipated profit of £10,000 would guarantee the club's future for the next four or five years.
"It was a carnival atmosphere and Blackpool FC did a tremendous job staging the game."
Andy Hughes, 50, is now chairman of the Bury branch of FC United's supporters' club. A combination of Glazer and being unable to afford taking his son killed a lifelong passion for the Reds.
"FC United takes over your life, more so than with Man Utd because you are involved. It's our club, it belongs to us. We've got an input.
"We've a close affinity with the players. They are normal guys like ourselves."
Oldham schoolboy James Talbot, 14, said: "My dad introduced me to the FC United players and I've gone home and away since. Man Utd cost me about £30. At FC United I pay £2 and some games are free."
Five people were arrested after fights broke out in pubs across Blackpool following the match. Police were called to The Auctioneer on Lytham Road, South Shore, at 5pm to disperse a group of 50 fans. There were several arrests at the Waterloo pub for drunk and disorderly behaviour while a 20-strong group was asked to leave Finns Bar in Talbot Square around 11pm. All five were released without charge.
20 February 2006