Source: The Daily Telegraph
Read a full match report of the FA Cup first round match between Rochdale and FC united at on Friday Nov 5, 2010.
By Mark Ogden
Published: 10:09PM GMT 05 Nov 2010
Rochdale 2 FC United 3: match report
The once unthinkable fairy-tale of Manchester’s two Uniteds clashing in the FA Cup third round could now be no more than 90 minutes away after Mike Norton’s injury-time winner sent FC United of Manchester into the second round following a stunning victory against Rochdale.
Whether any of their supporters would travel to Old Trafford should FC be paired with the 'real’ United is debatable with the EvoStik Premier Division club being formed by disenfranchised United supporters following the Glazer takeover in May 2005.
Few would willingly put money into the Glazers' coffers, but as the chant of 'Bring on United’ rang around Spotland after the final whistle, there is no doubt who FC United want to tackle if they can negotiate their way through the second round.
“We just want an easy tie in the next round and then United,” admitted Norton, whose goal four minutes into stoppage time – when he appeared to kick the ball out of goalkeeper Josh Lillis’s hands – settled this dramatic first-round tie.
But having bridged a gap of 95 places in the football pyramid between themselves and League One Rochdale, the 'rebels’ will not be daunted by whoever they face in round two. Karl Marginson, the FC United manager, said: “I’m speechless. I had just put five in midfield, thinking 'let’s hold on for a draw,’ but I turned round and we had scored again.
“I don’t know if we deserve it. Rochdale probably didn’t deserve to lose, but we showed spirit and determination and it’s just unbelievable for us.”
Marginson’s modesty was misplaced. FC United thoroughly deserved their victory, which was achieved with the kind of style more readily associated with the 11-time FA Cup winners from Old Trafford.
There is a complex relationship between the two Uniteds, though. Spotland reverberated to Eric Cantona chants, but also to the anti-Glazer songs common at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken dismissively of FC United being 'publicity seekers,’ but even for all the enmity between the two Uniteds, there could be no denying that FC appear to have inherited some of United’s FA Cup DNA.
Norton was unlucky to guide a back-flick wide of the far post from Carlos Roca’s 18th-minute pass before Roca forced Lillis to save his 20-yard strike two minutes later. Chris O’Grady then sent a glancing header wide for the home side, but the goal which FC deserved came three minutes before half-time when Platt, running onto Jerome Wright’s pass, directed a classy chip over Lillis from 12 yards.
Rochdale, eliminated from the Cup by non-League Luton and Forest Green Rovers in the last two seasons, would have expected to learn from the bitter lessons of those defeats. But they failed to match FC’s desire and the visitors doubled their lead five minutes into the second half when Jake Cottrell scored a stunning goal from 25 yards. It was a fierce strike, but the patient build-up was also worthy of note.
The upset was now firmly on, but FC were faced with 40 minutes of desperate defending to complete their giant-killing.
And after Anthony Elding had headed Dale level from Brian Barry-Murphy’s 52nd minute free-kick, FC United began to wobble. O’Grady saw a goalbound shot cleared off the line by Richard Battersby and despite FC’s resistance, the inevitable happened on 78 minutes when Craig Dawson headed in Barry-Murphy’s corner.
There was one more twist, though, and Norton applied it by scoring the winner four minutes into stoppage time after dispossessing Lillis. Now the fairytale is just 90 minutes away. United versus United? Don’t bet against it.
Rochdale (4-4-2): Lillis; Wiseman, Dawson, Holness, Widdowson; Adams (Akpa-Akpro 56), Jones, J Kennedy, Barry-Murphy; Elding, O’Grady.
Subs: Edwards (g), Done, Joe Thompson, Josh Thompson, Gray, Flynn.
FC United of Manchester (4-4-2): Ashton; Jacobs, Munroe, McManus, Battersby (Holden 87); Cottrell, Platt, Wright, Roca (Ovington 74); Norton, Deegan (Carden 85).
Subs: Hibbert (g), Hurst, Parker, Ayres.
Referee: G Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).