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