Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stalybridge Celtic 0 FC United 1, FA Cup third qualifying round

Source: Bury Times

9:37am Thursday 15th October 2009
By Liam Chronnell »

FC United are now just one game away from the FA Cup first round proper after pulling off a shock against Stalybridge Celtic at the second attempt.

The breakaway club had never been as far as the third qualifying before and, after twice throwing away two-goal leads at Gigg Lane on Saturday, looked to have blown their chance of going any further in the famous old competition.

But Jerome Wright’s first-half piledriver ensured the Rebels kept alive their Wembley dreams with a 1-0 replay victory over the Blue Square North outfit in front of 1,923 fans on Tuesday night — netting a £15,000 payday in the process.

FC now face a trip to Northwich Victoria who, like Stalybridge, are from the league above, in the next round, knowing they are just one game away from a possible showdown with a club from the Football League.

Karl Marginson’s team had led 2-0 and 3-1 at the weekend, only for Celtic to hit back twice to earn a 3-3 draw.

And United were forced to hold on again in the replay after Wright had spectacularly fired the UniBond Premier League side into a 35th-minute lead.

They were indebted to several superb saves from goalkeeper Sam Ashton, including a particularly memorable effort in during the five minutes of injury time.

But it was not all one-way traffic. Reds’ Adam Tong had already had a shot cleared off the line before winger Wright grabbed the game’s only goal.

FC’s hopes were not helped when captain David Chadwick limped off before half time and the hosts surged forward after the break in search of the equaliser.

Simon Garner twice hacked off his own line before Ashton produced another acrobatic stop to keep Bridge out.

The keeper made an even better save deep into injury time when he denied Michael Carr to send the Rebels through to the fourth qualifying — and sparked an ugly brawl at the final whistle as frustrations boiled over.

On Saturday at Gigg Lane, former Celtic forward Carlos Roca and Phil Marsh put the Rebels in control after 35 minutes but Matty Barlow pulled one back before half-time.

Chadwick restored FC’s advantage on 50 minutes only for Joe O’Neill to make it 3-2 five minutes later. And the same player silenced the majority of the 2,819 crowd when he levelled from the penalty spot on 69 minutes.

The Reds return to action at Ashton United on Saturday in the FA Trophy, looking to stretch their five-game unbeaten run.