POACHER Jerome Wright shot down the Rossendale Stags to keep FC United in play-off contention.
Playing a ‘home’ game at Radcliffe due to Bury’s FA Cup commitments, FC responded to manager Margy’s pre-match calls for his side to adopt a siege mentality with a fittingly dogged performance.
The game was marred by the sending off of Stag’s boss Derek Egan in the second half, after he got his antlers in a twist during an altercation with reds striker Rory Patterson.
Patterson had been targeted from the start by the Rossendale back line, ably stewarded by Johnny Metgod-a-like Kevin Brown and the visitors took great delight in hoofing United’s Irish star at every opportunity.
But FC’s top poacher managed to evade the Stag’s defence for long enough to score the opener with just 11 minutes gone. Strike partner Aaron Burns turned beautifully on the edge of the box to feed Patterson, who emphatically netted his 17th of the season.
The game exploded in the second half as a melee ensued on the touchline. Egan was sent from the bench but he struggled to find his way to the dressing rooms.
Dale took advantage of the situation best and England youth international Tom Williams scored a tap in to restore parity, after good work from the odd-booted striker Mario Daniels.
Then Wright became a hunter possessed as he chased down the Stags.
He lobbed the ball into the night sky and after an eternity the snow-covered ball landed under the cross bar off the head of a defender. The win ended a three-game losing streak for FC.
The reds face Chorley at Gigg Lane on Saturday, without starman Rory Patterson, who is suspended for two games. All under-18s getting in free. Kick-off is at 3pm.