Thursday, March 06, 2008

FC United 3 Curzon Ashton 2

Tony Howard

6/ 3/2008

FC UNITED’S Rory Patterson struck a Stella blow in the race for the title with a brace against rivals Curzon Ashton.

The mercurial Irishman had been a doubt for the game after injuring his neck at the weekend, but after a few pints of Stella Artois on Saturday night his muscles relaxed and he was passed fit to lead United to a 3-2 on Wednesday.

The UniBond League Division One North title race is hotting up with FC now able to top the table if they win all their games in hand.

Before the game, Curzon had been the only side United couldn’t catch, and they started the Gigg Lane clash with a point to prove after FC had won the previous fixture 2-0 in December.

Former red Rhodri Giggs hit a post inside the first five minutes of his return to Bury and Ashton’s Jorge Diaz hit the bar with a superb curling effort.

Reds keeper Aaron Grundy also pulled off a fine save from Giggs as Curzon took advantage of the pulsating wind by taking it to FC in the opening exchanges.

The reds gradually struggled their way back into the game after Ashton keeper David Carnell suffered an injury.

Patterson took fair advantage of the man’s ailment by side footing the opener into the corner where he couldn’t possibly reach it.

That gave FC the advantage at half time, but it lasted barely 30 seconds into the restart as Michael Norton headed the visitors level.

FC skipper Dave Chadwick stooped to restore the advantage soon after, but then Giggs looked to have stolen the show when he made the most of a slip by Liam Foster to tap in for 2-2.

But Patterson wasn’t going to let anyone else steal the limelight, as he smashed home late on to assert the reds’ title ambitions.

FC are now in fourth place, nine points behind leaders Skelmersdale, but with four games in hand.

United travel to Goole in the UniBond President’s Cup on Saturday then they play away at Ossett Albion on Wednesday, March 12.

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