Monday, April 02, 2007

FC United 4 Congleton 3

Source: M.E.N.

Stuart Brennan
2/ 4/2007

SOLE survivor Rob Nugent headed ten-man FC United into their first cup final in a thrilling Challenge Cup semi-final second leg at Gigg Lane.

The trainee accountant is the only player left from the 11 which began the club's historic first game against Leigh RMI in July 2005, and he ended the club's cup hoodoo - they have lost in three other competitions to last-minute goals.

Manager Karl Marginson paid tribute to Nugent and the rest of his side, who battled back from 3-2 down despite losing defender Alex Mortimer to a red card just before half-time.

"It's fitting that Rob should score the goal," said Marginson, who had a wheel rolled at him by celebrating FC fans - just three days after a wheel came off his delivery van at 60mph on the motorway.


"He has FC in his heart. I knew nothing about him but what struck me straight away was that he knew what the club was about and his commitment ever since has been fantastic."

But it was strike pair Stuart Rudd and Rory Patterson who grabbed most of the glory, after Congleton had taken a second minute lead through Ged Courtney.

Rudd popped up at the far post to convert a Rhodri Giggs cross on 31 minutes and four minutes later ran on to Patterson's flick to rifle in the second. The Rebels seemed to be cruising but on 43 minutes Mortimer saw red for a stupid stamp on Tommy Baker and from the resulting free kick Bears' skipper Andy Alston equalised.

Scott Williams fired the visitors ahead on 49 minutes, but within a minute the irrepressible Patterson made it 3-3.

Nugent's golden moment came on 76 minutes, and FC will now face Curzon Ashton or Flixton. Curzon won the first leg 3-1.