Monday, April 27, 2009

FC United 1 Bradford PA 1

Stuart Brennan

April 26, 2009

MANAGER Karl Marginson vowed to lead his flat-out heroes to the Unibond league title next season after they were edged out of the play-off places.

The Rebels were on course for a place in the top five until a heart-stopping final five minutes at Gigg Lane - when opponents Bradford scored an equaliser and promotion rivals Kendal netted a late winner to leapfrog them in the table.

That put paid to hopes of FC equalling Truro City's British record of earning four successive promotions.

But, with many of his players still horizontal on the pitch having given their all in a tense match, Marginson issued a rallying call.

FC, who were languishing in mid-table at Christmas, finished the season with seven wins and two draws, despite losing top scorer Kyle Wilson for the final three months.

"If we can keep these players together for next season, with maybe a couple of additions, I can see us winning the league," he said.

"Since we've had this group of players since before Christmas our form has been magnificent.

"I have already started speaking to the lads about staying for next season and so far their responses have all been positive."

FC had been on course after defender Adam Tong prodded in a eighth minute opener, and goalkeeper Sam Ashton pulled off two saves which were, without exaggeration, world-class.

But the drama intensified as Mark Bett headed in for 1-1, and news filtered through that Kendal - who had thrown away a two-goal lead - had managed a third goal against Buxton.

"I was being updated and knew Buxton had got it back to 2-2, but it just wasn't to be," said Marginson, who next week takes his team to Sweden for a season-ending friendly against a team from Djurgardens IF.

"Little things didn't go our way, but the main thing now is to stick together and get stronger as a club."

A bumper crowd of 3,718, FC's biggest for over two years, gave further cause for optimism as it meant the season's average attendance rose for the first time after a steady decline from the 3,000-plus of the first season.