Source: Sunday Sun
THERE were fireworks at Durham yesterday. No literally, FC United’s fans turned New Ferens into the San Siro with some final-whistle flares.
During the game, it was just as explosive.
After an incendiary enough first half with little to choose between the two sides but Mike Norton’s 45th-minute goal, the second 45 ignited into a cacophony of incident.
City rocketed back into contention moments after the break through David Dowson, and though both sides had chances to win it, the hosts can take heart from having had more of the better.
And they can take heart too, from having outplayed in spells, a side from the league above them.
So while the curse of manager-of-the-month – defeat and this draw since six straight wins, won it for Dicky Ord, who prefers to call it ‘club-of-the-month’ – has yet to fully subside, Durham are still in with a shout for £3,000 prize money, and the cut from Wednesday’s replay gate at Gigg Lane should add a tidy sum.
On and off the pitch, City are – after a tough time – on their uppers. Even president Asbery’s jokes are getting better.
His side were unfortunate first half not to lead, Ross Wilkinson’s header well saved by James Spencer, who then denied Dowson one-on-one.
At the other end James Winter pushed away Kyle Jacobs’ firm, 20-yard effort, and saved comfortably from Carlos Roca and Norton.
So it came as a considerable blow when, moments before the interval, Roca hung a free-kick into the area, Winter collided with Lee Neville – a Manc Neville, they’re everywhere – and Norton tapped into the vacated net.
So what, say City.
For after sausages, sausage rolls and Scotch eggs – cholesterol, pah! – I just made it back to my post in time to see Dowson bolt down the right and, from a narrow angle, slice an intended cross over Spencer and in.
If it was lucky, Durham deserved such fortune. Thereafter, it deserted them.
On the hour, Amar Purewal ghosted into the six-yard box but from point-blank range stabbed straight at Spencer, and minutes later – after Elliot Cutts was grounded, no pen – Stephen Thompson’s free-kick struck the foot of the post and Purewal was again denied by the FC United keeper.
Before then Adam Jones headed on to the crossbar for the visitors and Ashley Mulholland ought to have done better than smash a loose ball in the City box well over. With 10 minutes remaining Wilkinson fired in from another Thompson free-kick, but was adjudged offside.
But while that and other spurned chances may have left Durham feeling somewhat aggrieved, there was much more from which to be encouraged.
So replay Wednesday. Expect more fireworks.
DURHAM: Winter, Stephenson, WILKINSON, Arjun Purewal, Madden, Cutts (Greulich-Smith 84), Davis, Brown, Amar Purewal, Thompson (Home-Jackson 83), Dowson.
FC UNITED: Spencer, Stott (Deegan 74), Jones, Stones, Jacobs, ROCA, Cottrell, Carr (Platt 90), Neville, Wolfenden (Mulholland 34), Norton.
Referee: Tony Peart (Northallerton).
Nov 6 2011 by Steve Brown, Sunday Sun