Source: Durham Times
4:53pm Tuesday 2nd February 2010
By Kevin Hewitt »
DURHAM CITY 1 - 2 FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER Despite two inches of overnight snow City were still able to play their first home game for seven weeks after players, officials and supporters worked tirelessly throughout Saturday morning to make the Esh Group Stadium surface fit for play.
Not the ideal preparation for the City side but they were nearly rewarded for all their efforts, both on and off the pitch, when they held the United side for the first fifty minutes before eventually going down by the odd goal in three.
Backed by more than 400 travelling supporters the Reds had the chance to take a fourth minute lead when Ludovic Quistin and Jerome Wright linked up down the left for the latter to whip in a low cross which Kyle Wilson was inches away from converting at the back post.
Minutes later it was Wilson again who was clear through on goal when a superbly timed tackle from centre-back Max Stoker robbed the striker of a scoring opportunity when he looked certain to score.
Despite the Reds territorial superiority some solid defending from a City side, showing no ill effects from their ten goal hammering away at Boston United a week earlier, prevented the visitors turning possession into scoring opportunities.
Indeed City should have taken the lead just after the half-hour when a pin point cross from Marc Hollingsworth was headed wide by Josh Home-Jackson when he really should have done better.
Phil Marsh had a late opportunity to put the visitors in front in first-half stoppage time but his free-kick from just outside the area failed to trouble Richard Heiniger in the City net.
The deadlock was eventually broken, five minutes after the break, when Marsh broke down the right to pick out a near post run by Joe Yoffe, whose side-foot effort looped over Heiniger and into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Buoyed by the early second-half goal the Reds stepped up the pressure on City with a Wilson header on goal producing a tip over from Heiniger and Marsh ending a dangerous run, after taking on a long throw out from Sam Ashton, by firing wide.
Marsh finally made amends for his earlier misses when, on 77 minutes, a long ball from Jake Cottrell was only half cleared by the City defence, and he drilled a low shot past, the late moving Heiniger and into the bottom right-hand corner from fully 25 yards out.
The Reds continued to dominate the latter stages of the match and centre-back Rob Nugent had a header cleared off the line from a Wright corner while Heiniger had to be alive to smother a close-range effort from substitute Carlos Roca, who caused City a number of problems down the right-hand side before his cameo performance ended when he was replaced by Ben Deegan.
It was too little, too late but City eventually pulled a goal back in the fifth minute of stoppage time when City substitute Carl Heiniger stepped up to bend his free-kick over the Red’s wall and beyond Sam Ashton before finding the top-left hand corner.
A superb strike that denied the visitors their second successive clean sheet but it was to prove little more than a consolation for the City side as the referee blew for full-time almost immediately.
City showed a lot of character to come back from the mauling they received at Boston, just seven days earlier, and arguably should have been leading at the interval, but with City unable to muster any real firepower the Reds thoroughly deserved their victory.