Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The showdown! Brig take on FC United

Published Date: 30 April 2008
By Robert Kelly

Brig boss Phil Entwistle admits he would be itching to pull on his football kit and be involved in the play-off semi-final at the cauldron of Gigg Lane tonight.

Entwistle and Neil Crowe, who are in their first full season in charge, will be forced to direct their players against FC United of Manchester from the sidelines.

He said: "I'd love to be out there playing and there is nothing better as a footballer than to go into that kind of atmosphere and win. This is what we have worked hard for and it is a one-off game being decided on the night.

"At least if I was a Brig player I would have the ability to change the game whereas as a manager all we can do is bring a few substitutes on and hope they can influence the result."

Entwistle believes Brig will not be phased by the pressure cooker atmosphere after being denied a win earlier in March when FC United snatched a 2-2 draw deep into seven minutes of injury time.

He said: "It is going to be a great match and this is what we have worked for all season. We are selfish as we know we are a team of winners if we play at our best and we have nothing to fear going over there."

Brig's league form against FC United is impressive after recording a win and two draws during this year's campaign but Entwistle hopes the occasion doesn't affect the players.

"The players are confident," he said. "Nerves will play their part but when they get their first touch, header and pass I think they will go.


"But we do have experienced players such as Adam Tong to help the players calm down.

"I will tell the players before they go out to play to the best of their ability and have no regrets when they come back into the dressing room. I will also tell them to remember the bigger games in the season when we won and repeat it."

A win would see Brig in the final on Saturday against the winners of Curzon Ashton and Skelmersdale.

Rebels ready for 'biggest game'

30/ 4/2008

KARL Marginson has described tonight's UniBond Division One North playoff semi-final against Bamber Bridge as the biggest match in FC United's history.

And the Rebels manager is convinced his players will suffer no hangover from missing out on the title by just a single point last weekend.

United face Bamber Bridge at Gigg Lane tonight for the chance to take on the winners of Skelmersdale and Curzon this weekend.

Marginson said: "There is no sense of us feeling sorry for ourselves. History tells you that the side that comes closest to going up often fall away in the playoffs.

"But for me it doesn't matter if it is second v fifth or third v fourth, it's a case of who is in the best form and that is us."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Garforth Town: Three arrests at FC United of Manchester clash

Source: Garforth Today

Three people were arrested at Garforth Town's clash with FC United of Manchester.
Mounted police were among the officers at Garforth Town's match against FC United of Manchester at the Genix Healthcare Stadium in Garforth on Saturday.

It was a crucial match with both of the UniBond Division One North sides fighting for a place in the promotion play-offs.

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said the presence was due to intelligence received about the fixture.

The match was all-ticket for safety reasons and pubs in the area were also using plastic glasses in case of any problems.

The spokeswoman added: "Three arrests were made for public order offences."

Garforth lost the match - the final league game of the season - 2-1.

FC on course for promotion treble

28/ 4/2008

ALEX Ferguson's Manchester United may still be on course for a Premier League and Champions League double.

But Karl Marginson's FC United are on for an amazing promotion treble.

The Rebels will have to overcome Bamber Bridge in Wednesday's crunch play-off semi-final at Gigg Lane (7.45pm) if they are to grab three promotions in three seasons.

United clinched second spot in Unibond First Division North with a 2-1 away win against Garforth Town at the weekend.

And they will gain promotion to the Unibond Premier League if they can beat the Preston side on Wednesday - and then get past either Curzon Ashton or Skelmersdale in the final on Saturday.

Jamie Baguley and a Nicky Platt penalty clinched the win for the Reds in West Yorkshire, but only after the hosts levelled through Richard Carrick.

Boss Marginson rested a number of his key stars ahead of Wednesday's clash, but was still delighted with the performance.

"The lads did really well and it was certainly a confidence booster," he said.

"We have now got the possibility of two cup finals in a week."

United hammered Brig 5-0 in the early rounds of the Presidents Cup at Radcliffe's Stainton Park in October.

But they have faced them three times in league action this term - and have not yet won.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tributes to FC founder

Source: Manchester Evening News

Dean Kirby
25/ 4/2008

TRIBUTES have been paid to one of the founders of FC United who died following an accident after he had gone to watch an away match.

Fred Garner, 29, from Chorlton, was discovered with a serious head injury at the foot of a fire escape outside the Rex Hotel, in Whitley Bay.

He was a founding member of FC United, the football club set up by breakaway fans following Malcolm Glazer's takeover of Manchester United.

Fred had gone to the north east to see FC United's 4-0 win against Newcastle Blue Star on April 19 and was found collapsed at 5am the following morning.

He underwent major surgery at Newcastle General Hospital, but died on Monday evening. It is thought he may have fallen on the fire escape.

Today his father Kevin Garner paid tribute to a son who `loved his football' and was `loved by everyone he knew'.

Mr Garner, 53, had travelled with Fred to watch FC United's match against Blue Star and was staying with him at the same hotel.

He said: "We went everywhere together, watching Manchester United and then watching FC United.

"The last time I hugged him was after the Newcastle Blue Star match, as we were watching Manchester United on TV in the bar. It was a moment I will never forget."

Tributes to Fred, who worked with his dad in the gas industry, have also been paid on FC United and Manchester United fans' forums.

A minute's silence was held by more than 1,500 fans before FC United's midweek match against Woodley Sports.

Mr Garner added: "He just loved everything about FC United. The minute's silence that was held for him was fantastic. It was observed impeccably. Fred had lots of friends and he was loved by everyone."

FC United, who play their home matches at Bury's Gigg Lane stadium, are chasing promotion in the UniBond First Division North. They were playing their last league fixture of the season today. (SAT)

Northumbria Police said Fred's death is not being treated as suspicious. A file has been prepared for the coroner.

Friday, April 25, 2008

FC play-off hope

By Liam Chronnell

FC United are banking on a victory over Garforth guaranteeing them a home tie in the play-offs.

The rebel reds were denied automatic promotion when they were held by Woodley Sports on Wednesday night, but Karl Marginson insists his side still have plenty to play for in tomorrow's final league game of the season.

"We want to finish second," said the United boss. "We probably knew for a few weeks that realistically we were not going to get automatic promotion.

"The lads did put themselves back in a great position, but it wasn't to be. Well done to Bradford. We want to beat Garforth tomorrow to make sure we are at home in the play-offs. Then, with our magnificent support, we have no reason to fear anyone."

Should Marginson's men finish second, they will host either Bamber Bridge or Ossett Albion in the play-off semi-final at Gigg Lane on Tuesday night.

Skipper Dave Chadwick is likely to be missing from the FC United team for tomorrow's trip to Yorkshire with a hamstring strain.

10:20pm Thursday 24th April 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cup winners FC focus on promotion

24/ 4/2008

FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson hopes that his side’s President’s Cup triumph will spur them on to clinch promotion to the UniBond Premier Division.

The reds beat Radcliffe Borough 2-0 at the Tameside Arena on Thursday night to claim their first silverware of the season.

They currently sit in a play-off place though their chances of winning the UniBond League First Division North title went up in smoke when they could only draw 1-1 with Woodley Sports on Wednesday night.

Marginson has overseen a remarkable return to form for his team after they spluttered during an horrific fixture pile-up that saw them play nine games in 19 days.

That sparked many people to write FC off. But they have since gone on a winning streak which included the cup final victory over Borough.

Chris Baguley and Stuart Rudd claimed the goals against Radcliffe.

Margy said: "We’ve had a really tough schedule but the lads have battled through it and it culminated with that cup final win. We beat Radcliffe a couple of days before with a relative reserve side, so we were confident. But the team still had to go out and do the business.

"It was a typical cup final in that it was very frantic. But we managed to string together some really nice football and play it out from the back.

"The opening goal summed it up. There were a few groans as the centre halves knocked it about between them but five passes later it was in the net as Stuart Rudd put over a Premiership-standard cross for Chris Baguley to head home.

"The celebrations and the performance really gave us a boost in confidence leading up to the following game and now it could be the kick we need to claim promotion. We’ve already seen the reaction of the players in the following game at Newcastle."

United went to seventh-placed Newcastle Blue Star for a league game on Saturday and enjoyed a 4-0 romp with goals from Rory Patterson, Jerome Wright, Dave Chadwick and Nick Robinson.

FC play at mid-table Garforth Town this Saturday, April 26, kick-off 3pm.

FC title dream over

Source: Manchester Evening News

24/ 4/2008

FC UNITED'S title dreams were left in tatters last night after a shock draw with Unibond First Division North strugglers Woodley Sports at Gigg Lane.

The Rebels went into the clash with the Stockport side five points behind leaders Bradford Park Avenue knowing three points from their game in hand would take the race to Saturday's final day.

But a speculative 68th minute lob from way out on the left wing by Jamie Kay left FC United contemplating next Tuesday's play-off semi final tie.

Striker Jerome Wright grabbed a fine last-minute equaliser, but it just was not enough.

The point gives Woodley some much-needed breathing space in their battle, with Bridlington Town, to avoid relegation.

Woodley could have gone in front eight minutes before the break when striker Andy Farrell saw a close- range volley bravely blocked by home skipper Dave Chadwick.

They were forced onto the back foot again early in the second period, as FC United increased their intensity, but weathered the storm.

Soccer star pitches in to stop fast food fight

Source: This is Lancashire

By Terry Morgan

TALENTED footballer Bradley Howard is more used to preventing shots from going into the net at Gigg Lane, but the heroic player made a save of a different kind on Saturday.

The left back, who plays for Bury-based team FC United of Manchester, was on his way to the club's away match in Newcastle with four of his teammates when he stepped in to stop a fight in a branch of McDonald's in Urmston.

While queuing for a morning coffee, the 21-year-old former Bolton Wanderers trainee witnessed a furious customer jump over the counter before hurling punches at a member of staff.

Bradley went in hot pursuit of the hothead and stopped his attack.

The man then left the restaurant and staff reported the matter to the police.

"It's not the kind of thing you expect early in the morning on the way to a game, but I just did what anyone would do, with a bit help from some of my team mates who were also in there," said Bradley.

He added: "The guy was angry because he had to wait more than 10 minutes for a burger.

"The staff were pleasant with him, but he started issuing threats and throwing punches. He was a big guy, but you can't have a situation where he's fighting with people.

"The worst thing was that he had a child in the car. "

FC United 1 Woodley Sports 1

By Neil Bonnar

FC United's hopes of automatic promotion ended last night when they were held at home to bogey side Woodley Sports in front of more than 1,500 fans at Gigg Lane.

The visitors belied their position at the bottom of the Unibond Division One North, as they got another good result against the Rebel Reds.

Only a win was good enough to give FC a chance of going up without the need of the play-offs but they could not break down the visitors in the first half.

When Jamie Kay put Woodley ahead with a speculative effort from the touchline, United were staring a shock defeat in the face.

They had to wait until injury time for the equaliser to come, Jerome Wright firing a left-footed shot into the top corner.

FC must now aim to go up via the play-offs.

10:58pm Wednesday 23rd April 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Founder of football club found dead in alley

Source: News Guardian

Published Date:
23 April 2008

A FOUNDING member of a football club set up after Malcolm Glazer's hostile takeover of Manchester United has died after an accident in Whitley Bay.
Fred Garner, 29, was found with serious head injuries in an alleyway to the rear of the Rex Hotel just after 5am on Sunday, April 20.

Mr Garner, originally from the Manchester area, was taken to North Tyneside General Hospital for treatment before being transferred to Newcastle General Hospital.

He was pronounced dead on the evening of Monday, April 21.

Mr Garner was a founding member of FC United of Manchester, created in 2005 by football fans unhappy with Malcolm Glazer's takeover of Manchester United.

The season ticket holder was in the region to see FC United's 4-0 win against Newcastle Blue Star at Kingston Park on Saturday.

FC United held a minute silence before their game against Woodley Sports on Wednesday evening in commemoration of Mr Garner's death.

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: "Police were called to the Rex Hotel at just after 5am on Sunday, April 20, after a 29-year-old man was found with a head injury.

"The man, who is not from the local area, was taken to North Tyneside General Hospital before being transferred to Newcastle General Hospital.

"He was pronounced dead on the evening of Monday, April 21.

"A file is being prepared for the coroner."

The death is not being treated as suspicious.

Garforth Town owner wants a United front

Published Date: 23 April 2008

By Wendy Walker & Leon Wobschall

Garforth Town are hoping to finish their inaugural UniBond League campaign on a high on Saturday – and spoil FC United of Manchester's play-off party.

Town, who went down 2-1 at Mossley last night, can't stop FC United claiming a top-five finish in First Division North, but they can have a say on who the Red Rose side face in the play-off semi-finals.

And with the visitors having sold all 1,500 of their allocation for this weekend's game, Town owner Simon Clifford is hoping Garforth can sell 500 in the all-ticket fixture and get a vocal support behind his side.

Clifford said: "They have sold all their tickets and we would like to get as many Leeds people behind us as we can because there is great rivalry between the two cities.

"We will be outnumbered, but we need anyone in Leeds who can get up there to get up there because it would be great to get a record crowd.

"It is important for them to finish as high up the table as possible, because that could help them in the play-offs. But we beat them at their place earlier in the season and we want to beat them again.

"It is a game most of our players have been looking forward to for a couple of months – we want to spoil their party and finish our own season on a high."

Garforth, who were belatedly promoted from the Northern Counties East League in May when Durham City withdrew their UniBond League application, were in the play-off hunt at one stage and though they are set to finish in ninth or 10th place, Clifford is more than happy with their season.

He stepped down as boss before Christmas to concentrate on his business interests, but Town continued to make progress under joint-managers Steve Nicol, Alan Billingham and Vernol Blair.

Clifford, who has confirmed he will return as manager next season, said: "I think we have had a really good season. I think we were one of the favourites to be relegated because we only just managed to scrape into the league, and we kept virtually the same team.

"Our aim was just to hold our own and then next season really have a go at it. But we're very, very pleased with the way things have gone."


Clifford is now hoping Town can attract a bigger crowd on Saturday than the 1,385 that turned up at Cedar Ridge for the cameo appearance from Brazilian superstar Socrates a couple of years ago.

Anyone wanting a ticket should contact the club on (0113) 2877145 or George Williams on 07968 748066 for further information.

Last Updated: 23 April 2008 10:44 AM

FC in search of major victory

By Marc Higginson

FC United v Woodley Sports

FC United need a victory at Gigg Lane tonight to keep alive their slim hopes of lifting the UniBond Division One North title.

The rebel reds are five points behind leaders Bradford, who have one game left, with two games to go.

In opposition are Woodley Sports, who are in grave danger of relegation to the North West Counties League.


Monday, April 21, 2008


Source: The Journal - no online content

Newcastle Blue Star 0 FC United of Manchester 4

FOLLOWING a dramatic U-turn Newcastle Blue Star were yesterday re-admitted into the UniBond League Division One North

Only a few weeks ago the Kingston Park club stunned the North East football scene by announcing they had applied to be relegated back into the Arngrove Northern League after one season.

At the time, they blamed the long journeys for the decision but since then results have improved significantly and Saturday’s defeat by FC United of Manchester was their first in eight games.

The club refused to comment last night other than to confirm that a meeting of the UBL management committee held in Cheshire ratified their application for the earlier decision to be rescinded.

Paul Baker’s side were playing their fourth game in eight days on Saturday and it showed, particularly in the later stages, when tired legs were much in evidence. In the first half, however, they just about held their own even though the visitors enjoyed much more of the play.

Rebels’ rout keeps title hopes alive

By Marc Higginson
UniBond League Round-up

FC United moved to within two points of leaders Bradford Park Avenue following a thumping 4-0 victory at Newcastle Blue Star.

The Rebel Reds, buoyed by Thursday's Presidents Cup final victory over Radcliffe Borough, were always in control once top scorer Rory Patterson opened the floodgates on 40 minutes.

Jerome Wright doubled the visitors' lead before skipper Dave Chadwick and striker Nick Robinson completed the rout.

Karl Marginson's men have just two games remaining to secure automatic promotion, starting with the visit of relegation candidates Woodley Sports on Wednesday. The Reds wrap up their league campaign next weekend with a trip to Garforth Town.

At the other end of the table, it was a bad day for Radcliffe Borough, who slumped to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Chorley.

Jordan Goodeve opened the scoring for the visitors just before the hour, and Mike Eckersley made it 2-0 four minutes later.

Disaster struck for Boro when goalkeeper Phil Priestley was dismissed for giving away a penalty which Eckersley duly dispatched.

Mark Drew drove the final nail into Boro's coffin before Lee Connell scored a late consolation for Peter Coyne's men. Boro are back in action tomorrow night when they visit Bridlington Town.


UniBond League North Division One

Apr 21 2008

Evening Chronicle

NEWCASTLE Blue Star will play in the UniBond League Division One North next season after all.

Only a few weeks ago they made the shock announcement that they had applied to the UBL to be relegated back into the Arngrove Northern League First Division, citing long journeys as the reason for the decision.

But yesterday they were readmitted following a meeting of the UBL Management Committee in Cheshire.

Nobody from the Kingston Park club was available for comment except to confirm that they had made a U-turn.

Since stunning the North East local football scene by applying for relegation to the Northern League, Blue Star’s fortunes on the field have improved considerably.

Paul Baker was appointed to succeed Tommy Cassidy as manager, and Saturday’s defeat at the hands of FC United of Manchester was the first in eight games, seven of which were won.

However, the Manchester outfit were convincing winners as they fight to win promotion into the Premier Division.

“They had everything to play for and we were playing our fourth game in eight days,” said director of football Bob Morton.

“One or two lads played with niggling injuries and we held them almost to half-time, but they won easily in the end.

“There were some tired legs in our side, but the attitude of the players was superb.

“On the day the best team won but it was the end of a very demanding week for us.”

Newcastle Blue Star complete their first season in the UBL when they visit Harrogate RA on Saturday, but before then they host promotion hopefuls Curzon Ashton at Kingston Park on Wednesday night.

Rebels are back on the bubbly trail

Source: Manchester Evening News. No online content.

Model footballer to the rescue

Peter Spencer
21/ 4/2008

FOOTBALLER Bradley Howard has proved himself a model player in more ways than one.

The FC United defender, who has a day job as a model, intervened when an angry customer hit out at an assistant in a Manchester branch of McDonalds.

Bradley and four of his team-mates were in the fast food restaurant at Urmston near the M60 waiting for the team coach to take them to a game against Newcastle Blue Star.

A furious customer who had been arguing with an assistant suddenly leapt behind the counter and attacked the worker.

Bradley, 21, and team-mate Rob Howarth also jumped the counter and dragged the burly customer away.

Still furious because he had to wait up to 10 minutes for his food, the customer continued remonstrating but when he saw the group of footballers he ran out and sped off in his car.

Bradley - who got a modelling contract with agency Nemesis after winning a radio competition - said: "It took two of us to throw him off the assistant because he was so big.

"He was so angry that he had to wait 10 minutes for his food. There was no need for him to start bullying and hitting the assistant who he said had ignored him."

Rob said: "He was swearing all the time and then suddenly got behind the tills and hit the assistant. Brad and I leapt over the counter and basically restrained him."

The players, whose team went on to win 4-0 against Newcastle Blue Star to move within two points of the top of the Unibond North League, got a predictable reward from the grateful staff ( free chicken burgers).

FC United manager Karl Marginson said: "Obviously these lads can look after themselves on the football field and acted promptly when they saw the assistant being bullied.

"I am sure they enjoyed their chicken burgers although normally of course they would choose the healthy option."

Staff contacted police but by then the team coach had arrived and the attacker had fled.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Unibond Division One North

Source: Sunday Sun, 20th April 2008. No online content.
Free Image Hosting at

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Unibond League

Apr 19 2008 by Malcolm Pratt, The Journal

A boost for the Tynesiders is the news that Steve Salvin and Wayne Phillips, who both missed the game at Buxton, return to a full-strength squad.

After claiming 19 points from their last seven games, Newcastle Blue Star are confident they will attract the biggest crowd of the season for today’s UniBond League Division One North game against FC United of Manchester. The visitors are challenging for a play-off place and have by far the best home attendance record. They regularly take more than 1,000 fans to away games and Blue Star are looking for a crowd in excess of 1,500.

Director of football Bob Morton said: “It should be a cracking match. We played really well holding another of the promotion candidates Bradford Park Avenue to a draw on Thursday night and Manchester need the points to be in the promotion shake-up.”

Manchester, unbeaten for several months, will prove tough opponents.

But the Tynesiders are confident despite the fact this will be their fourth game in eight days.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rebel Reds clinch final triumph

By Marc Higginson

STUART Rudd inspired FC United to victory in the President's Cup Final.

The striker made one and scored one in the final 10 minutes of the game to earn the Rebel Reds their first silverware of the season.

Karl Marginson's side had been reinstated to the competition after Nantwich were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player at the quarter final stage.

And they took full advantage with a powerful finish to what had been an even final, played at the Tameside Stadium, home of Curzon Ashton Football Club.

Rob Nugent had a first-minute header cleared off the line by Tony Whealing, but Boro gradually felt their way back into the game and could have taken the lead when Neil Chapple broke through, only to hit his shot straight at keeper Sam Ashton.

FC United made a strong start to the second half and top scorer Rory Patterson should have broken the deadlock when he fought off Craig Dawson only to skew his shot wide.

They got closer when Rudd sent a free header straight into the hands of Phil Priestley.

The breakthrough finally arrived with extra time looming large. Rudd produced a great cross from the right to allow substitute Chris Baguley to head home from close range.

Gary Sampson had a golden chance to equalise when his header from Lee Connell's cross was cleared off the line.

Rudd completed the job in the final minute when, with Boro caught up field chasing an equaliser, he produced a neat finish to seal the victory.

FC United return to UniBond League Division One North action tomorrow as they look to keep alive their slim title hopes.

The Gigg Lane tenants travel to Newcastle Blue Star trailing leaders Bradford Park Avenue by four points, having played a game more.

Relegation-threatened Boro, who are hovering two points above the drop zone, entertain Chorley.

10:54pm Thursday 17th April 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Radcliffe Borough 0 FC United 2

Tony Howard
17/ 4/2008

FC UNITED and Radcliffe Borough must be sick of the sight of each other.

The two sides have crossed swords four times this season and tonight (Thursday) they play in the UniBond Presidents Cup final.

The curtain raiser in the UniBond league north on Tuesday night (FC United play every other day at the moment) saw the reds beat the blues by two goals to none.

FC owed their victory to heroics from keeper Sam Ashton who was in inspired form. He’s had his critics this season, even among his own support, but at Stainton Park on Tuesday he made six mind-blowing saves to compliment the first half goals scored by Nick Robinson and Chris Baguley.

Ashton appears to have resisted the temptation to shave his head in a similar vein to his colleagues, who believe the use of a pair of clippers constitutes ‘team bonding’. That’s footballers for you.

The only other United player to turn his nose up at such daftness was Robert Nugent, who feared a shorn head wouldn’t go down to well with his new employers, and after a few dodgy moments recently, he looked back to his best on Tuesday.

He deserved the plaudits for remaining full of head.

Boro battled gamely and again showed that their lowly league position is ridiculous. Steve Howson and Griff Jones could have had a couple each, but for Mr Ashton.

Even when the mecurial Ashton was beaten, the post intervened to protect FC’s lead from a Jones header.

Fielding a few talented reserves, manager Margy was pleased to see his team play the ball on the floor rather than resorting to the long ball tactics that have contributed to FC’s failure to beat Radcliffe on the other three occasions the sides have met.

Reserve captain Jamie Rother, in midfield, was particularly impressive.

The win leaves FC well within the play-off places with just three games remaining and with the possibility of a cup double alive.

Radcliffe can take great heart from another decent performance and they will hope lady luck is slightly kinder in the cup final tonight.

The game takes place at Curzon Ashton’s Tameside Arena and kicks off at 7.45pm.

United beat Lancaster 5-2 on Saturday at Gigg Lane thanks to Stuart Rudd and braces for Nugent and Rory Patterson.

While Boro beat promotion hopefuls Skelmersdale with Howson and Waine scoring the goals.

Rebels' final crunch

17/ 4/2008

FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson is expecting a "blood and thunder" clash when the Rebels take on Radcliffe Borough in tonight's President's Cup final.

An inexperienced FC side beat Radcliffe 2-0 on Tuesday in the league to keep promotion firmly on the agenda.

And Marginson has demanded that the senior players rested for that game display the same hunger and commitment when silverware is on the line at the Tameside Stadium.

Marginson said: "It's going to be totally different in the cup game. It's a final and I expect it to be blood and thunder cup football. I'm just hoping that the players that come back into the side match the work-rate we showed on Tuesday."

Stuart Rudd and Rory Patterson should regain their starting spots up front, but there is unlikely to be any change in goal after Sam Ashton's star performance on Tuesday.

His heroics enabled FC to record their first victory in four games this season against a stubborn Radcliffe outfit.

Ahead of the fifth meeting Ashton was backing the fans to be out in force, and said: "It's a big game and I'm sure all the fans will be there with their scarves."

Rory is fired up for the final

By Liam Chronnell

RORY Patterson hopes to fire FC United to Presidents Cup glory against his former club.

The Rebels face Radcliffe Borough for the second time in three days in the final at Tameside Stadium tonight.

And, with the breakaway club's hopes of a third successive title looking increasingly slim, the UniBond League Division One North's top-scorer is desperate to cap a fantastic season with silverware.

"We're looking forward to the final," said the 38-goal striker, who started Tuesday night's victory at Stainton Park on the bench as Karl Marginson made eight changes to his tired-looking squad.

"It's another chance to win a cup and that's what we want to do."

Despite Boro's lowly league position, the Irishman is taking nothing for granted against Peter Coyne's side, especially with in-form Steve Howson in the team.

The Radcliffe hitman has scored 35 goals this term - and Patterson knows the Reds must keep him under wraps if they are to lift the trophy.

"Boro are in a false position," said the former Rochdale trainee. "Their team is playing a lot better than they were at the start of the season and Kevin Glendon really knows his football, so it should be a good game.

"Howson has looked a good player and he's definitely a threat."

After eight games in 17 games, Patterson has been feeling the strain - but he is refusing to give up hopes of automatic promotion.

After five matches without a win United looked to have blown it, but three straight victories, allied to rivals Curzon Ashton and Skelmersdale United dropping points, have revived their title dreams.

FC moved to within four points of new leaders Bradford Park Avenue with three games left, though the Yorkshire club remain hot favourites having played a game less.

"We've just got to keep winning and see what happens," said Patterson. "It's been a tough run - we've been playing every other day and it's hard.

"Games are coming thick and fast in the run in but we've just got to get on with it. The other teams have some tough games coming up, so there are still plenty of points to play for."

And Patterson, who struck twice in Saturday's 5-2 win against Lancaster City in front of a bumper 2,704 crowd at Gigg Lane, needs just two more to beat his best-ever goals haul.

He said: "I got 39 last year, so I need just one more to beat that but I want to score as many as I can."

7:21am 17/04/2008

Connell wants to inspire Boro

By Marc Higginson

WHEN Radcliffe Borough line-up against FC United in the final of the Presidents Cup tonight they will have at least one man in their team who is used to winning trophies.

Boro's influential midfielder Lee Connell was the captain and driving force of the Prestwich Heys team that won three Manchester Premier League titles in a row, while also lifting the Goldline Trophy last year.

The former Bury star, who is expected to shake off injury to return to the team tonight, scored for Heys in the Goldline Final at the Reebok before converting a penalty in the decisive shootout.

So it is not surprising Connell is looking to draw on those experiences when he strides out at Curzon Ashton's Tameside Stadium.

"I love to think I am a big-game player," said the 26-year-old. "The big games are where you test yourself, and you seem to get an extra 10 per cent in them. You get more energy.

"Every footballer wants to win a trophy and, after the season we have had, lifting a cup would be brilliant.

"I have always been okay with nerves, and I am used to playing in front of thousands of people for Bury so that won't affect me."

The fact that Boro will lock horns with neighbours FC United of Manchester, who beat Boro 2-0 in the league on Tuesday night, is something that is not lost on Connell.

"Playing FC United means we will be guaranteed a big crowd," said Connell. "We have played them four times already. We beat them comfortably in the semi-finals of the Manchester Cup and they will remember that.

"That means they might have more determination to beat us, but I can't see what they have got that should worry us.

"They have a bigger squad than us so they can rotate their players, but we won't be tired from Tuesday night.

"We are all looking forward to the final and none of the lads will be tired, they will be able to run all night.

"We have got Steve Howson up-front, and he is on fire at the moment. He has scored 35 goals this season, and FC United will know that he is a danger man."

The only players missing for Boro are cup-tied duo Mark Jones and Griff Jones but both should return for Saturday's home clash with Chorley. Talented teenager Craig Dawson should return to the starting line-up tonight after being on the bench on Tuesday.


Boro fail to ram home advantage in dress rehearsal

By Marc Higginson

Radcliffe Boro 0 FC United 2

UniBond League Division One North

IF ever there was a one-sided contest that flattered the eventual winners, this was it.
With a more ruthless streak in front of goal and a touch of luck, lowly Radcliffe Borough would have put six or seven past their visitors.

Boro hit the bar, had an effort cleared off the line and saw FC United goalkeeper Sam Ashton produced five saves from the top drawer.

But it is goals that count and FC United kept alive their slim hopes of automatic promotion with a fortunate victory.

Both teams rested key players ahead of tonight's Presidents Cup final meeting, but it was Boro who were sharpest out of the blocks when skipper Simon Kelly headed wide.

However, the Rebels hit back and scored two goals within four minutes to leave Peter Coyne's men reeling.

First, Nick Robinson found some room on the edge of the area before rifling into the bottom corner to put FC United into the lead.

The lead was doubled on 18 minutes when influential midfielder Chris Baguley capitalised on some slack marking to spin and fire home his 13th goal of the season.

Boro then proceeded to absolutely batter their visitors for the remainder of the half, with strikers Steve Howson and Griff Jones guilty of some shocking misses.

The normally reliable Howson blazed over from four yards on 31 minutes, before seeing an outstanding header from Gary Sampson's corner cleared off the line.

Sampson was having a good game down the left, and it was his cross that Griff Jones headed onto the bar.

Jamie Rother had a shot tipped over by Phil Priestley, before Boro contrived to miss three more golden chances from the same move.

Griff Jones brought a fine double save from Ashton in the box, before watching in disbelief as Neil Chappell totally missed his kick and the chance to reduce the arrears.

United pepped up in the second half with the introduction of strikers Stuart Rudd and Rory Patterson from the bench, and Rudd brought a good save from Priestley when he broke through on 52 minutes.

The missed chances seemed to be taking their toll on the confidence of Jones who, although impressive in his build-up play, was guilty of another couple of poor misses. Patterson almost capitalised on a poor back-pass from substitute Craig Dawson to score, before Ashton capped a stunning performance with another outstanding save.

Ben Manning caught Neil Chappell's deep cross right on the volley, only to see Ashton turn it away for a corner.

4:18pm Wednesday 16th April 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Radcliffe 0 FC United 2

Paul Handler

16/ 4/2008

RESURGENT FC United broke their Radcliffe Borough hoodoo thanks to strikes from Nick Robinson and Chris Baguley and an heroic performance from goalkeeper Sam Ashton.

It was the first time the Rebels have beaten Radcliffe in four attempts this season and keeps Karl Marginson's men firmly in the UniBond First Division North promotion picture.

The fact they did it with an inexperienced side made the result all the more impressive. FC will hope to repeat the victory when the sides meet again in tomorrow's President's Cup final.

Radcliffe started the game strongly but were rocked by two FC goals in quick succession.

First the lively Baguley sent Robinson clear and the striker finished smartly into the bottom corner after 14 minutes.

With Radcliffe reeling, Baguley lashed home a shot high into the net three minutes later to double the advantage.

Radcliffe had chances to haul themselves back into the game, with Steve Howson blazing over when it seemed easier to score. Griff Jones then saw his header rebound off the angle of post and bar before Ashton denied the same player with a superb reaction save from point blank range.

FC brought on Stuart Rudd at half time and the striker was quickly into the action, his low shot stopped by goalkeeper Phil Priestley. The game continued to swing from end to end, with the impressive Ashton getting down quickly to deny Neil Chappell moments later.

Rudd was through again as the game approached the hour mark, but seemed to lose his bearings and prodded the ball wide.

To their credit, Radcliffe continued to drive forward but they could not find a way past Ashton. FC now have three league games remaining and Marginson is confident his side can win them all.
Next, though, FC will turn their attention to the cup final and the chance of silverware.

Rebels take honours in final rehearsal

By Marc Higginson

FC United drew first blood ahead of tomorrow's Presidents Cup final as they kept alive their slim hopes of a third successive title with victory over local rivals Radcliffe Borough.

First-half goals from Jamie Rothen and Chris Baguley cut the gap on leaders Bradford PA, who have played a game less, to four points at the top of UniBond League Division One North.

The result was harsh on Boro, who saw Griff Jones hit the bar, a Steve Howson header cleared off the line and FC goalkeeper Sam Ashton make five crucial saves.

Both teams rested players with the showdown at the Tameside Stadium in mind, but the second-half introduction of FC's prolific strike duo Rory Patterson and Stuart Rudd helped the visitors all but guarantee themselves a place in the play-offs with three games left.

Atherton LR boss Stuart Humphreys is still searching for his first win in charge after watching his struggling side go down 2-1 against Maine Road in North West Counties League Division One.

Chris Quirk grabbed a 16th-minute opener for second-bottom Rovers, but the visitors struck twice after the break to seal the points.

10:25pm Tuesday 15th April 2008

Marginson: We're up for double header

Paul Handler
15/ 4/2008

MANAGER Karl Marginson is confident FC United's form and fitness will hold up as they battle on two fronts this week.

The Rebels face Radcliffe Borough twice in three days, first tonight in the league and then on Thursday in the President's Cup final.

Marginson's men have remarkably had to squeeze their last ten games into 22 days, but the boss has backed his players despite that gruelling schedule.

He said: "We seem to be starting slowly in games and it takes longer to get the second wind.

Normally you see the players' second wind kick in after about 10 minutes, but it seems to be taking a bit longer at the moment. Once that comes your body is fine though so they'll be OK."

FC are yet to beat Radcliffe in three encounters this season and Marginson is looking forward to redressing the balance. He added: "Credit to Radcliffe, in the games we've played so far they haven't let us play. We've got to make sure that we are patient and get the ball down and play."

After a wobble, FC are back to winning ways in the league with Saturday's 5-2 win over Lancaster putting them back in the promotion picture.

And once tonight's clash is out of the way, Marginson is looking forward to a break from league affairs in the cup final, which is being played at Curzon Ashton's Tameside Stadium.

He said: "It's a nice distraction from the league. Traditionally United have been a great cup team and we want to give the fans that."

FC United 5-2 Lancaster City

Lancaster City failed to press home a dream start and slumped to a third consecutive defeat in front of almost 3,000 people.

Mark Jackson gave City a shock lead after just two minutes and shortly after the hosts equalised, Aaron Helliwell made it 2-1 with a composed finish.

But FC United of Manchester immediately hit back and ran out clear winners in the end.

City striker Jackson stunned the home crowd after just two minutes when he raced clear beyond the last defender and tucked the ball into the bottom corner.

However, FC United responded well and punished some sloppy City defending on 14 minutes.

The unmarked Stuart Rudd chested down a lofted pass and dinked the ball over an advancing Ben Price - again deputising for the injured Mark Thornley - from close range.

To their credit, City continued to look dangerous and unexpectedly restored their lead.

Midfielder Helliwell made room for himself in a congested penalty area and arrowed a left-footed shot into the far corner.

But on this occasion City's lead lasted less than two minutes as FC United scored the game's fourth goal after just 20 minutes, home midfielder Rob Nugent heading home a corner.

Both sides continued to surge forward at a frantic pace and Craig Redhead saw an effort parried away by Ashton.

But a dreadful mistake from shot-stopper Price swung the match in FC United's favour. On 28 minutes, the youngster failed to hold onto Rory Patterson's harmless long-range effort and the ball trickled into the net.

However, City ended the half on a high as Jackson struck a venomous effort against the bar, while Mike Rushton and Tom Entwisle also came close to scoring.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Price suffered a nasty blow to the face after spilling a shot which a home forward looked to retrieve in a 50-50 challenge.

The visitors started brightly after the interval and should have equalised. Helliwell was denied by the feet of Ashton, while Rushton fired an effort inches wide.

But City paid the price for not converting their chances as top-scorer Patterson completed a brace with a neat close-range finish on 54 minutes.

Nugent grabbed his second and FC United's fifth with 20 minutes left when he powerfully headed home another corner.

City continued to pose a threat in the closing stages as Rushton was thwarted at point-blank range, while the excellent Jackson thumped a free-kick against the bar.

At the other end, Price atoned for his earlier blunder by making three superb saves in the last 10 minutes.

Lancaster City: Price, Uberschar, Redhead, Heffernan, Swan, Stringfellow, Rushton (Rigby 77), Entwisle, Love (Jeffrey 65), Jackson, Helliwell.

Referee: M. J Denton.Attendance: 2,704.

Last Updated: 15 April 2008 12:18 PM

Monday, April 14, 2008

City hit by nap happy United

By Sports desk

FC United 5 Lancaster City 2

LANCASTER City crashed to a 5-2 defeat in front of a bumper crowd at FC United - but the final result didn't tell the full story of the UniBond League Division One North clash at Gigg Lane.

The Dolly Blues led against the league's big spenders and also rattled the woodwork on two occasions as they battled hard to get a shock win.

But in the end they ran out of steam as FC United took another big step towards the play-offs.

City led inside two minutes when Mark Jackson darted through a static United defence, who claimed for offside, and kept his cool to slot past Sam Ashton for a quality goal.

But Stuart Rudd levelled on 14 minutes as he beat Ben Price in a one-on-one situation.

Lancaster refused to be rattled by that blow despite a hostile crowd of almost 3,000 cranking up the volume and Aaron Helliwell created an opening for himself before firing past Ashton into the bottom corner.

The pressure was on at this stage and Price saved well from Rudd and then he stopped Simon Carden from putting United in front.

But the pressure told when Jerome Wright's corner hit Nugent and flew into the net before Rory Patterson's speculative volley deflect in off the unfortunate Price.

Jackson hit the post within seconds before Mike Rushton and Helliwell went close to getting City back into the game.

But Patterson made it 4-2 before Nugent headed a fifth to give the scoreline an unbalanced appearance.

Lancaster City: Price, Uberschar, Redhead, Heffernan, Swann, Stringfellow. Rushton, Entwistle, Love, Jackson, Helliwell. Subs: Greenwood, Jeffrey, Rigby


Unibond League Round-up

By Liam Chronnell

FC United revived their title hopes with an emphatic victory against Lancaster City in UniBond Division One North.

After five games without a win, the Rebels' dreams of a third successive automatic promotion looked to be over.

But two victories in four days, allied with leaders Curzon Ashton only drawing and rivals Skelmersdale suffering a shock defeat at the weekend, has seen the Reds cut the gap at the top to five points with just four games remaining.

Doubles from the league's top-scorer Rory Patterson and defender Rob Nugent helped FC moved up to fourth in front of a bumper 2,704 crowd at Gigg Lane.

But the breakaway club had to twice come from behind. Stuart Rudd's lob cancelled out Mark Jackson second-minute opener before Aaron Helliwell put the plucky visitors back in front.

Nugent bundled home Jerome Wright's corner to level matters again before Patterson benefited from a terrible blunder from goalkeeper Ben Price to put the hosts back in front on 28 minutes.

Patterson struck his 38th goal of the season seven minutes after the interval before Nugent, 70th-minute header wrapped up the points.

Borough moved further away from the drop-zone after coming from behind to beat title-chasing Skelmersdale.

Peter Coyne's men got off to the worst possible start when John Turner put the home side ahead on four minutes.

It took until the 64th minute for goal- machine Steve Howson to drag Boro back into it with his 35th goal of the season.

And, Boro sealed the victory in the last minute of the game when Andy Waine headed home from Howson's cross. Boro are back in action tomorrow night when they host FC United.

9:29pm Sunday 13th April 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Brockie wants Railway to set record straight

By Staff Copy

"WE need to play for 90 minutes," is the plea from Harrogate Railway manager Vinnie Brockie in the aftermath of their 3-1 FC United defeat on Wednesday night.

In front of their biggest league home gate of the season Rail’ were more than a match for United, leading 1-0 at the break thanks to a Ben Jones penalty.

However the 365 fans at Station View then witnessed a crumbling Rail’ concede two early second half goals, handing the ascendancy and ultimately the points to their opponents.

Brockie was disappointed with the result especially after their superb run of form coming into the UniBond Division One North fixture.

Gung-ho Rail’ had banged in seven from their last two games, the latter a 4-0 thrashing of Mossley on Saturday.

“You saw the best and the worst of us the other night,” said Brockie referring to Wednesday’s defeat.

“We were more than a match for them in the first half and deserved to go in in front. But after that I don’t know what happened.

“They scored twice in the space of four minutes and it knocked the wind out of our sails and then they completely dominated the game after that.

“I was disappointed after but you can’t let these things get you down.

“We need to play for 90 minutes that’s what I’m looking for, we can’t just turn up in the first half and then fall away.”

Rail’ return to action when red hot Curzon Ashton visit Station View for the second time in two weeks tomorrow (3pm kick-off).

Brockie felt his side were desperately unlucky not to take at least a point out of their previous fixture and is determined to set the record straight.

“We led early in the match and we had chances to go further into the lead which we didn’t take,” continued Brockie.

“Then we got it back to 2-2 and I thought we’d get at least a point out of it but then they grabbed a nother goal and it knocked the stuffing out of us.

“I was so disappointed after the game, but it’s only made me more determined to come back with a win this time.”

Rail’s tough run-in continues on Wednesday when current leaders Skelmersdale make the trip to North Yorkshire (7.45pm kick-off).

Brockie expects a result against the promotion pushers and has backed his young side.

“When we played them away it was another of those games we should have got something out of,” he added.

“It was the game before Boxing Day and they beat us 1-0 but Danny Lowe missed a penalty for us.

“We played some good football on that day and we were unlucky not to get a point or something better.”

Last Updated: 10 April 2008 10:29 AM

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Skipper says FC can still win the title

10/ 4/2008

FC UNITED captain Dave Chadwick still believes his side can win the UniBond North first division title.

Despite the reds’ recent poor run of form during a massive fixture pile up, the big number five says the automatic promotion dream is still alive.

Chadwick admits to being tired after playing five games in nine days. He said: "As long as it is mathematically possible to win the title, we will keep going. We can beat anybody in this league and I honestly think we’re capable of winning the last five games.

"There’s a lot of tired legs in the dressing room, but we need to cut out the silly mistakes and make no excuses about it.

"We need to string a few results together and then I think the title is still a realistic possibility."

FC played out an entertaining 0-0 draw with promotion rivals Bradford Park Avenue on Monday night, before returning from Harrogate RA with three points after a 3-1 win on Wednesday.

FC play Lancaster City at Gigg Lane on Saturday (April 12). Kick off is 3pm and admission on the gate is £7.50 adults and £2 under-18s.

Harrogate RA 1 FC United 3

10/ 4/2008

TWO goals from Stuart Rudd and one from Chris Baguley secured victory for FC United and galvanised their hopes of promotion to the Unibond Premier Division.

Rudd struck in five frantic second-half minutes, his second a wonderful lob from the edge of the box, before Baguley sealed the points.

This was United's first win since March 26 and sees them close the gap with First Division leaders Curzon Ashton to seven points with five games left.

Rebels' boss Karl Marginson was pleased with the ruthlessness his side showed, especially after they had started sluggishly and deservedly found themselves a goal down on 25 minutes from a Ben Jones penalty following Shaun Roscoe's clumsy tackle.

The visitors got back into the match through a combination of determination and quick-passing and equalised on 46 minutes when Rudd turned his marker and rolled the ball past keeper Tom Morgan.

The imposing forward struck again soon after and as the hosts tired the Rebels went for the kill.

Top scorer Rory Patterson almost got the third when he hit the bar with a right-footed strike but Baguley made sure with a close-range shot.

Tired Rebels blow hopes of third title

By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED'S dreams of a third successive title are all but over after taking just one point from their last three games.

The Rebels, ahead of last night's clash at Harrogate RA, trailed new leaders Curzon by 10 points with a game in hand.

And, with just five games left, the weary breakaway club's hopes of winning UniBond Division One North have fallen by the wayside as their hectic schedule finally caught up with them.

United's trip to Harrogate was their fifth game in nine days in a fixture backlog which has left them desperately clinging on to the final play-off spot. But captain Dave Chadwick is refusing to give up.

"As long as the points are there for us to win it we'll keep going and try and win it," said the defender, who admits the Reds' gruelling schedule is taking its toll.

"It's always hard playing catch-up with so many games every week and the lads are tired. Last Thursday at Ossett Albion was a typical example; I went to work at 6am in the morning up to Workington, left there at 2pm and travelled four and a half hours to Ossett, got there 25 minutes before kick off and then had to play.

"I eventually got home just before midnight, it was a very long day and, to be honest, I was exhausted."

Following two defeats in three days, FC earned a point at third-placed Bradford Park Avenue on Monday - their fifth away day in a row - to get their promotion bid back on track. Karl Marginson's tired-looking side, without a win in five matches, rarely threatened in a game of few chances, substitute Chris Baguley going closest to breaking the deadlock with just five minutes left.

It was a welcome point, though, for the Gigg Lane tenants after back-to-back defeats. They entertain Lancaster on Saturday before making the short trip to Radcliffe Borough three days later. Last Thursday's 3-1 loss at Ossett Albion was followed by a 3-2 setback at Wakefield at the weekend.

9:10am Wednesday 9th April 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rebels look to recapture form

By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED will hope to get their promotion push back on track when they travel to Harrogate Railway Athletic for their fifth game in nine games tonight.

Searching for a first win in six UniBond Division One North outings, the breakaway club, who occupy the last play-off spot, have the chance to move four points ahead of closest rivals Ossett Albion.

In North West Counties League action, Daisy Hill, nine points adrift at the foot of the Division Two table, entertain Leek CSOB.

Atherton Collieries suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Winsford United in Division One on Monday night.

11:26pm Tuesday 8th April 2008

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

FC United 0 Bradford PA 0

Sachin Nakrani
8/ 4/2008

FC UNITED'S hopes of securing automatic promotion to the Unibond Premier Division remain in the balance after they could only draw at Bradford Park Avenue.

Both sides fought hard but neither could create any real chances and it was no surprise when the match ended goalless.

This result means FC have now failed to win in five matches and while they remain in the play-off places, they are running out of time to catch leaders Curzon Ashton.

Karl Marginson's side are now 10 points off top spot with six matches remaining.

Having lost their previous two games, the Rebels can take some comfort in the point they secured on a bitterly cold night, but their front pairing of Stuart Rudd and top scorer Rory Patterson were forced to feed off scraps.

Indeed, it was left to the strikers to combine to create their best chance of the game. On 18 minutes Rudd sent a through-ball to Patterson, who had space in the Bradford box but hit his half-volley over the bar.

That effort was sandwiched between two excellent chances for the hosts, but on both occasions they failed to test Sam Ashton in the FC goal.

And there was even less of a threat from either side after the interval.

Entertaining stalemate for Avenue

By Ian Whiting

Bradford Park Avenue 0, FC United of Manchester 0

The tension is mounting in the race to be crowned UniBond Division One North champions and Avenue stay third, despite picking up a point from tonight's goalless draw with FC United of Manchester.

It was a thoroughly entertaining game, although there were signs that the players of both sides were jaded.

The two clubs have more of a fixture backlog than leaders Curzon Ashton and second-placed Skelmersdale United.

A crowd of 1,262 enjoyed the contest, the numbers being swelled by the travelling fans of the well- supported FC United.

The visitors had more to cheer in the first half. Jerome White shot over early on, and midway through the half Avenue centre back Mark Hotte gave keeper Jon Worsnop a scare with a weak back- pass.

It was, however, a game in which good chances were very much at a premium and the sides were quite evenly matched.

Avenue did most of the pressing in the second half as they sought a winner.

Just before the hour, a Mark Bett shot from 20 yards flew just wide.

Avenue did come agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the 68th minute.

Gareth Morris, starting in midfield in the absence of injured skipper Steve Connors, worked his way behind United's defence but his cut-back was inches behind the on-rushing Tristram Whitman with the visitors' keeper out of position.

10:31pm Monday 7th April 2008

Patterson rallies Rebels

7/ 4/2008

TOP scorer Rory Patterson believes FC United's clash with Bradford Park Avenue tonight is their most important game of the season.

United's hopes of achieving automatic promotion to the premier division are on the brink of collapse following a run of four matches without victory, the latest Saturday's 3-2 defeat to Warrington.

The Rebels are now 11 points off first division leaders Curzon Ashton, and despite having two games in hand, Patterson feels another setback against fellow promotion chasers Bradford, will mean having to focus on getting promotion through the play-offs.

"This match is a must-win for us." said Patterson. "Bradford have beaten us twice this season so we're desperate to get one back on them."

Patterson has got 36 goals and is on course to overtake the 39 he got last campaign. The 23-year-old Derry-born striker has, however, his sights set much higher.

"I want to get as close to 50 as possible," he said.

Weary Rebels fire blanks

By Liam Chronnell

Bradford Park Avenue 0 FC United 0

JADED FC United earned a hard-fought point at UniBond Division One North promotion-rivals Bradford Park Avenue in their fourth game in six days.

The Rebels had been dreaming of a third successive title, but a fixture backlog has left them desperately clinging on to the final play-off spot, one point above sixth-placed Ossett Albion having played a game less.

Karl Marginson's tired-looking side rarely threatened in a game of few chances, Chris Baguley going closest to breaking the deadlock with just five minutes remaining.

FC return to action on Wednesday night when they travel to Harrogate RA - their fifth away game in a row.

10:32pm Monday 7th April 2008

FC's title hopes in jeopardy

By Liam Chronnell

WEARY FC United's title hopes were all but extinguished after they slumped to their second defeat in three days at Wakefield.

The Rebels, who travel to promotion rivals Bradford Park Avenue tonight, have now gone four games without a win as their hectic schedule finally caught up with them.

In their third game in five days, the visitors found themselves 2-0 down before Simon Carden handed them a 78th-minute lifeline.

But promotion rivals Wakefield restored their advantage with two minutes left and, despite captain Dave Chadwick pulling a goal back, FC are now anxiously looking over their shoulder as they cling to the final play-off spot.

Radcliffe Borough lifted themselves off the bottom of the table for the first time this season with a 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Woodley Sports.

Striker Steve Howson's 26th-minute penalty - his 34th of the season - sealed the points at Stainton Park.

10:11am Monday 7th April 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

For the love of United

Source: North East Manchester Advertiser

Annette Lord
4/ 4/2008

MORE than 100 poems are going on sale to try to help find a new home for a grassroots football team.

Blackley poet and author Mike Duff has put pen to paper to create 'Of A Mancunian' - a celebration of forgotten Manchester people and characters from all walks of Mancunian life.

And all profits are going into a fund to finance a Manchester ground for FC United, the breakaway football team which has climbed two divisions since being formed three years ago and is currently fourth in the Unibond League First Division.

Mike - an FC United fan - was asked for the poems by Mark O'Rourke, who is on the club's development team. The individual poems have been written over the past three or four years and most have not been published before.

Home games at the moment are played at Bury FC's Gigg Lane ground, where 'Of a Mancunian' will be launched on 12 April, a day when the club is hoping for a bumper gate as under 16s can watch its game against Lancaster for free.

Mike, who has previously written stuff for The Reds' United We Stand and FC United's magazine The Soul is One, said: "I'm sick of the attitude of professional football players, the way they treat the fans and the celebrity culture around them.

"At FC United it is about making friends, not millionaires. It's bringing football back to the people."

The front cover of the book is taken at Harpurhey cemetery by the graveside of Nancy "dickybird" Cunningham, one of Manchester's forgotten characters. Nancy, who died in 1931, spent half her life drunk and was arrested 173 times for being drunk and disorderly.

Mike, 52, who lives on Victoria Avenue, said: "It starts with a poem about Nancy and finishes with what I would like to happen to my ashes when I die. There's also one about a man who was killed on the first day of the Somme, so there's a bit on the history of Manchester too."

The books are being sold at Gigg Lane and Wigan Athletic for £5 and are also available through Mike's website

MIKE is to see his first book turned into a film.

Low Life received critical acclaim when it was released in 2000 and the publicity - including a favourable Guardian review - saw it translated into French and re-released as La Racaille de Rochdale Road.

Now a deal has been signed and sealed to bring Low Life to the small screen. London-based Ruby Films are in the process of making a short film based on Mike's day in the life of a thieving north Manchester scally.

Directing the work will be Adam Smith, who has directed some of the Skins programmes for Channel Four, as well as music videos for Chemical Brothers and The Streets.

Mike, of Victoria Avenue, Blackley, said: "I was first contacted by Ruby Films two years ago but I'm a bit of a cynic, so I thought 'I'll believe it when I see it.'

"The contracts were signed about two months ago and now the screenplay is being written. I'm over the moon about it."

Mike's poem In the Rain, a celebration of Manchester's cultural diversity, won the 2004 Poem for Manchester competition and can be seen on the Manchester Curve bridge, linking Piccadilly Place to the mainline station.

Ossett 3 FC United 1

Sachin Nakrani

4/ 4/2008

A PUNISHING run of matches caught up with FC United on Thursday night as they squandered a half-time lead to lose 3-1 at Ossett Albion.

The Rebels broke the deadlock on 18 minutes when midfielder Simon Cardon poked the ball in from six yards out after Ossett had failed to clear a Chris Baguley corner but the hosts turned the match around with two goals from David Sears and one from Shaun Kelsey in the second half.

This was the Rebels' sixth match in 12 days and Karl Marginson's side now have to face five league fixtures in ten days starting with a visit to Wakefield on Saturday.

The Rebels, however, remain in the play-off places and are still only eight points off leaders Skelmersdale with three games in hand.

United had the first chance on goal when on 15 minutes Stuart Rudd headed Liam Foster's superb right-wing cross just wide of the post, but Ossett quickly got back into the game.

They eventually pegged United back with an excellent curling shot from Sears on 51 minutes and secured all three points in stoppage time when Kelsey poked the ball past Sam Ashton in the United goal.

FC United set to provide bumper crowds for Wakefield UniBond League duo

CROWD BOOST: Ossett Albion and Wakefield FC are both looking forward to bumper crowds

By Nick Rigg

MANCHESTER United breakaway club FC United of Manchester are set to provide record UniBond Premier League attendances for two of Wakefield's non-league sides.

Ossett Albion and Wakefield FC both come up against the UniBond Division 1 North promotion-hopefuls within the space of three days and will be hoping for a successful day off the pitch as well as on it.

Both clubs, who have an outside chance of reaching the play-off spots, are in the bottom three of average attendaces in the division this season, with Albion averaging 137 while Wakefield FC have averaged 103.

But both their gates for the visit of Karl Marginson's men are expected to be closer to the 1000 mark thanks to the huge travelling support of the Bury-based club.

FC United average 2081 at their Gigg Lane ground, which they share with Bury FC, and have bagged the record gate in the entire UniBond Premier League this season with 3348 attending their clash with Bamber Bridge earlier in the season.

And they've boosted the crowds at grounds up and down Division 1 North this season, with Albion and Wakefield both set to capitalise.

Eric Gilchrist's Albion welcome FC United to Dimple Wells tonight (Thursday, kick-off 7.45pm) after bad weather conditions have forced the clash to be postponed twice already this season.

Despite the expected financial boost from increased gates off the pitch, Albion know the clash could well make or break their season as they sit on the edge of the play-off spots, the last of which is occupied by Thursday's opponents.

The Dimple Wells club sit one place outside of the top-five spots but are six points behind FC United, making victory vital for Eric Gilchrist and his troops.

And United will be back in Yorkshire for their visit to College Grove to face Wakefield FC on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Boss Ronnie Glavin saw his troops fall to a controversial defeat in the reverse fixture at Gigg Lane, and although Wakefield's play-off hopes have all but gone, he'll be looking for a big performance from his troops in front of a bumper crowd.

For all the latest UniBond Premier League news, reviews and previews, see Friday's Wakefield Express Sport.

Last Updated: 03 April 2008 10:17 AM

Referee could cost us title

Apr 3 2008

by Philip Kirkbride, Skelmersdale Advertiser

TOMMY Lawson has blasted a replacement referee for denying his Skelmersdale United side all three points on Tuesday night.

Skem’s 0-0 stalemate against FC Utd of Manchester was their second consecutive draw and sees them clinging onto top spot in the UniBond First Division North on goal difference.

Lawson pulled no punches as he aired his anger at what he saw as sub-standard refereeing.

He said: “In my opinion the defining moment came at half-time when the referee went off injured.

“He was replaced by a qualified ref, who was watching the game from the sidelines.

“He waved away a nailed-on penalty for us and even FC United’s manager agreed it was a foul on McConville.

“I’ve known this referee for a long time and have formed my opinion of him over many years. I have to question his integrity and whether he is adequate and competent.”

A bumper crowd of 674 was at the Ashley Travel Stadium on Tuesday to witness the game and the incident.

Despite dropping four points in the last two games, Lawson was typically enthusiastic about his team and the games ahead.

He said: “The FC United match was a fabulous game which I think we edged.

“Unfortunately the crowd of nearly 700 all went home talking about the penalty decision.

“But we’re playing really well at the moment and have had a fantastic season and will continue to do what we are doing.”

United are clinging onto pole position in the league table following Tuesday night’s controversial point and Lawson now feels their title dreams may be out of their hands.

He added: “In terms of other teams having games in hand over us then I think the title is out of our reach.

“But we’ll keep going and if we don’t finish top then we want to finish second so we get home advantage in the play-offs.

“With five games left the league is really exciting.”

Skem entertain Clitheroe on Saturday with George Donnelly suspended.

United earn draw at league leaders

3/ 4/2008

FC UNITED drew 0-0 with UniBond League Division One North leaders Skelmersdale on Tuesday night.

The reds, currently in fifth place with four games in hand, were looking to close the eight point gap on the top side, but despite a number of half chances they were unable to break the deadlock.

Both sides had near misses and penalty shouts, with Skem going closest with a header against the bar.

Rob Nugent had a great chance for the reds in the dying seconds but blazed his volley into the Lancashire night sky.

FC keeper Sam Ashton made vital saves to make amends for his mistake on Saturday which gifted Lancaster a share of the points at a rain-soaked Gigg Lane.

The match finished 2-2 after FC had taken a 2-1 lead through Adam Carden and Jamie Baguley.

United travel to Ossett Albion tonight (Thursday) and they’re in Yorkshire again on Saturday (April 5) when they play Wakefield.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Skelmersdale 0 FC United 0

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sachin Nakrani
2/ 4/2008

FC United's hopes of clinching a third consecutive promotion remained firmly on track after a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Unibond First Division leaders Skelmersdale.

This result keeps United in the play-off places and also maintained their hopes of automatic promotion to the Premier Division.

They remain eight points behind Skem with four matches in hand.

The Rebels deserved a point after an excellent defensive display with centre backs Dave Chadwick and Rob Nugent in top form.

Goalkeeper Sam Ashton also had to be on full alert, holding on to a Steven Akrigg free-kick in the 17th minute and saving Chris Almond's shot before the interval but there were few chances after that.

United are back in action tomorrow when they travel to Ossett Albion and their manager Karl Marginson will hope his side can make it six matches without defeat.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

FC want a Skem dunk

James Robson 1/ 4/2008

FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson believes his side can strike a psychological blow in the race for the title when they face Skelmersdale tonight.

The Rebels trail the Unibond First Division North leaders by eight points but have four games in hand.

Victory tonight would see them gain yet more ground on their rivals after a cruel late equaliser against Lancaster brought a draw at the weekend.

Marginson believes it would give FC the mental edge as the season reaches its finale.

He said: "It's a good chance to send out a message and a victory against the league leaders would give us some kind of psychological advantage."