Monday, October 12, 2009

Football focus 12/09/2009

Edited from: Manchester Confidential

It was out with the new and in with the old on Sunday as FC United took on Stalybridge Celtic in an FA Cup third round qualifier at Gigg Lane. “Get out your old Oxford bags and your loon platform shoes,” screamed the posters. Wear your scarf on your wrist and bring banners and flags of all shapes and sizes…because it’s 70s day!”

FC lie twelfth in the Unibond Premier league, with Celtic fifth in the Conference North, two tiers ahead of them in the pyramid. You wouldn’t have known that, of course, as the two teams fought out a blistering three three draw in front of three thousand paying, baying, singing-themselves-hoarse fans. There may have been a dearth of takers for the fancy dress – Confidential noted a couple of rattles and an old fella with a vinyl baseball cap, the latter looking like evidence from a long unsolved crime - but having reclaimed their brand essence from the Glazers, the FC supporters are singing it loud and proud: Walking On The Beaches, Cum On Feel The Noize, We’re On The March With Margy’s Army.

It’s 70s day every week at FC United.

On this evidence they’re particularly good value for their £7.50 admission price this season, matching the fans’ commitment ball for ball. They played a traditional 4-4-2 on Sunday with Phil Marsh and Ben Deegan up front and the mercurial Jerome Wright pushing up on the left. On the other flank, the tricksy Carlos Roca caused problems all afternoon. And in Dave Chadwick they have their very own Gary Pallister (though the self-confessed City fan probably wouldn’t enjoy the comparison). Signed from Prescot Cables in close season, the new captain – clearly playing his heart out for the crowd - was immense.

Pick of the goals was United’s second, Marsh cutting inside to slot home after a blinding run from full back Adam Carden. The former MUFC striker ran halfway across the pitch to jump into manager Karl Marginson’s arms as the Main Stand went extra bananas.

Celtic weren’t to be outdone, though, and experience began to shine through as United tired on the hour mark, most likely victims of their own supercharged atmosphere. Joe O’Neill netted twice as the visitors fought back to earn a draw from three one down. The replay is on Tuesday night at Bower Fold.