Sep 3 2009 by Our Correspondent, Ormskirk Advertiser
ALTHOUGH the tempo was pretty quick, this game took a while to ignite.
Burscough were making things difficult for the home team in the early stages. Mark Halstead dealing with a Phil Marsh free kick, and a shot from the same man going past Halstead’s left-hand post the highlights.
Having restricted United, Burscough gradually built up the confidence to construct some attacks themselves and the game took light. Dave Roberts fired in a threatening free kick in the 11th minute that seemed to get them going.
The movement of Linnets forwards Karl O’Donnell and Darren Byers were keeping United central defenders Adam Tong and Dave Chadwick on their toes. O’Donnell was only kept at bay in the 18th minute thanks to a good save by home keeper Sam Ashton.
It was then Burscough’s turn to attack and after a fine example of team interplay, the pass and move build up sent O’Donnell into the home goalmouth on an angle from the right, as Ashton left his line, O’Donnell put the ball wide.
Burscough then suddenly went behind. The ball was played down the left by Simon Carden, finding an unmarked Wright, the United number ten used the space which allowed him to cut in on goal and slot the ball past an advancing Halstead.
United, set about finishing the game off after the interval and kicking towards their supporters put the pressure on Burscough who coped quite well, the biggest scare was when Marsh clipped the ball over Halstead and James Connolly cleared.
In the 54th minute a long clearance by Halstead caught United out, O’Donnell latched onto the ball and ran in only to chip the ball over the bar, followed soon afterwards by a Roberts shot that was saved by Ashton.
When United got a second two minutes later it had been preceded by a good spell for Burscough. Wright again caused Dave Ryan problems down the left, but, instead of crossing to a group of attackers in the area, he cleverly cut the ball back to Marsh, who thumped a blistering shot past Halstead from about 15 yards.
Full-time was beckoning when United almost grabbed a third, Danny Warrender being kept out by Halstead.
In conclusion, Burscough will play a lot worse this season than they did at Gigg Lane and win and United probably deserved to win on the day, but only just. But the big thing is Gray’s team continues to evolve and more importantly improve, leaving Burscough supporters needing to be patient, a new team cannot be built overnight.
FC United: Ashton, Carden A., Garner, Warrender, Chadwick, Tong, Roca (Williams, 64), Carden S. (Cottrell, 64), Deegan, Wright (Morris, 64), Marsh Subs (not used) Nugent, Mack
Burscough: Halstead, Ryan (McCulloch, 73), Roberts, Goulding, Connolly (Kay, 75), Kilbane, Parry, Moore, O’Donnell, Byers, Brookfield (Merrella, 82) Subs (not used) Bowen, Field
Referee: I. Gittins
Burscough Man of the Match: Mark Halstead
FC United Man of the Match: Sam Ashton