By Jamie Murphy
Despite a brave performance with two men sent off, FCUM’s Wembley dream is over, after a last gasp extra time goal for Quorn put the Reds out of the FA Vase on Saturday.
FC United 2 Quorn 3
For the third game in a row, United started on the back foot and conceded an early goal, when Paul White hit a superb left foot volley from a Sam Ashton clearance to put the Leicestershire side ahead.
The Reds responded ten minutes later when Stuart Rudd’s rebounded shot was put away by captain Rory Patterson.
One a-piece at half-time, United came out attacking Gigg Lane’s Manchester Road End as the home supporters urged their team on. Five minutes into the second half, the fans were on their feet, but not for the reasons they would have wished.
The Visitor’s captain Robert Betts aimed an angry kick following a tackle from Rhodri Giggs, resulting in a melee. Pushing and shoving ensued before Quorn’s big centre forward Jermaine Gordon went down from a push from Liam Coyne.
Coyne was given a straight red, while Gordon was given a standing ovation for his pantomime performance. On the hour mark, things got worse for the home team when Josh Howard received a second booking for an innocuous challenge in the centre of the park.
Nine men with 20 minutes left to play, FC put in a dogged, backs-to-the-wall performance and went ahead with five minutes remaining after a goal-mouth scramble seemed to see Phil Power bundle the ball over the line. Rob Nugent settled the matter by hitting the clearance into the back of the visitor’s net.
It seemed that the Reds had grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat, but the visitors bit back instantly when the villain of the piece, Jermaine Gordon, got the equaliser to send the tie into extra time.
The Nine Men hung in there, until substitute Nigel Julien’s excellent drive from 25 yards out put Quorn 3-2 up with virtually the last kick of the game.
There were boos for the referee on the final whistle, but the home fans can be proud of the way their team carried the fight despite the odds.
With next week’s game away to Formby postponed, FC United will have time to reflect and regroup. With their lead at the top of North West Counties Division One cut down to three points by Salford City, the Reds, with two games in hand, will be hoping they can regain their form for their push for promotion.