Monday, April 02, 2007

Rebel Reds reach first final


By Liam Chronnell

TEN-MAN FC United created history by reaching their first ever cup final after edging out Congleton Town in a seven-goal thriller to keep their double dream alive at Gigg Lane.

With the tie evenly poised at 2-2 from the first leg, the Rebels had to come from behind and overcome the first-half sending off of Alex Mortimer to progress in the League Challenge Cup in front of 2,138 supporters.

Gerrard Courtney handed Congleton an early lead but the prolific Stuart Rudd struck twice, on 30 and 34 minutes, to put FC in front before defender Mortimer lost his head and was shown a straight red for stamping on 43 minutes.

Worse was to follow for the runaway Division One leaders when Andy Ashton bundled home from the resulting free-kick and they looked on course for their first defeat in 17 games when Scott Williams made it 3-2 four minutes after the restart.

But a spectacular 35-yard strike by Rory Patterson just a minute later pulled United level, and Rob Nugent's powerful header with 20 minutes left ensured Karl Marginson's side, who hit the woodwork three times as they searched for a winner, will now face either Flixton or Curzon Ashton in a May 3 showdown at the Tameside Stadium.

Atherton LR stretched their unbeaten run to three games with an excellent point at Trafford following a 2-2 draw.

But Division Two strugglers Daisy Hill's good run came to an end as they suffered a heavy 6-1 home defeat.

Tommy Moore's side, who had won their last three games, only trailed 1-0 at the break but, as legs tired in the second half, they shipped three more goals.

Simon Farrell reduced the deficit but the title-chasing visitors added two more before the end to complete a miserable day for the New Sirs outfit.

Atherton Collieries, without a game at the weekend, entertain Flixton on Monday night- the first of two home matches in three days for Phil Brown's team, who also take on Curzon Ashton on Wednesday.