Friday, March 23, 2007

Reds boss calls for title push


By Liam Chronnell

MANAGER Karl Marginson has called for a final push as FC United chase their double dream.

Just 12 games stand between the rebel club and League and Cup glory this season.

The Gigg Lane outfit are top of the NWCL League Division One table and in pole position to reach the Challenge Cup final, after drawing the away leg of the semi-final 2-2 with Congleton Town.

And Marginson has urged his players to keep up their outstanding form as FC reach the business-end of the campaign.

"We in a fantastic position and just need to see it home now," said the Reds boss, whose team travel to bottom club Stone Dominoes on Saturday.

"We've been superb for the biggest part of the season. Now we've got to do it when it really matters."

United increased their chances of achieving back-to-back titles with a resounding 5-1 victory at Abbey Hey at the weekend.

The breakaway club, who have four games in hand on their closest rivals, Salford City, were two up inside 17 minutes thanks to goals from Simon Carden and Josh Howard.

The home side pulled one back eight minutes later through Steve Lesters, but Stuart Rudd put paid to Abbey Hey's hopes of a fightback when he grabbed a third a minute after the restart.

Top-scorer Rudd added his second just before the hour mark and Howard sealed a convincing victory when he completed his double with 19 minutes left.

"It was a good result and, more importantly, it was a good performance," said Marginson, who had been unhappy with his players after they threw away a two-goal lead in the semi-final at Congleton two days earlier.

"I was disappointed with how we handled the semi-final; we took our foot off the gas but we were a lot more professional against Abbey Hey."

Three more points seem a certainty on Saturday, as the free-scoring Reds travel to basement club Stone Dominoes, who have the unenviable record of possessing the division's leakiest defence after shipping 112 goals in the league alone.

But Marginson insists he will not be taking anything for granted ahead of United's clash at the Lyme Valley Stadium.

He said: "I think they have just been a little bit naive this season. They are quite a young side but have some talented players.

"But one thing Stone will definitely do is get the ball down and play football, and that will suit us."