April 29, 2011
FC United are just 90 minutes away from securing promotion to Blue Square Bet North after ending their Horsfall Stadium hoodoo with a magnificent Evo-Stik Premier play-off semi-final victory over Bradford Park Avenue.
The rebel Reds, who had never previously beaten Bradford on their own patch, booked a play-off final trip to Colwyn Bay on Bank Holiday Monday with goals by Matty Wolfenden (8 ) and Jerome Wright (47) sinking their shellshocked Yorkshire hosts.
FC will now fancy their chances of being promoted for the fourth time in their brief six-year history when they head to North Wales to face opponents who finished just three points above them in non-League football’s third-tier.
The kick-off at Bradford was delayed by 15 minutes due to heavy congestion at the turnstiles.
But the estimated 2,000 travelling FC fans who eventually crammed into the ground soon had a goal to cheer as their red-shirted heroes stormed into an early lead.
Home keeper John Lamb could only parry United skipper Mike Norton’s goalbound shot and Wolfenden seized on the rebound to fire home from close-range and get Karl Marginson’s men off to a dream start.
FC then found themselves pressed back for much of the first-half, but stand-in keeper Grant Shenton, again deputising for the suspended Sam Ashton, was rarely troubled as the visitors stood firm.
United doubled their lead within two minutes of the restart when Wright latched onto Wolfenden’s superb angled pass and squeezed a low shot just inside Lamb’s right-hand post.
Bradford’s chances of forcing their way back into the tie were almost immediately dealt a hammer blow when they were reduced to ten men after their centre-half James Riley received his marching orders for his second bookable offence.
FC might have added a third goal with 15 minutes remaining, but Norton, who, along with Wright, will miss the final through suspension, had strayed offside before converting Wolfenden’s cross.
Bradford battled furiously to the finish only for first Tom Greaves and then Aiden Savory to miss clear chances to pull a goal back.
But United, whose victory was greeted by scenes of wild jubilation, could claim to be worthy winners as Park Avenue were unable to breach a defence superbly marshalled by Scott McManus and veteran Dave Chadwick.