Monday, February 28, 2011

Wigan gaffe with FC United pic in Red Devils programme

 Source: The Sunday Mirror Picture: @Luzhniki2008

 Why was Wayne Rooney so angry at Wigan on Saturday? Perhaps he'd just seen the matchday programme, in which the section headed 'Welcome To Manchester United' was illustrated by this huge picture of FC United fans during their FA Cup win at Rochdale.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Biting cold... icy challenge

Source: The Star

They breed ‘em tough in Stocksbridge.

You need a certain type of endurance to cope with the icy weather on the tops - the coldest part of Sheffield, they claim - and the continued drain of steelwork jobs out of the once-thriving valley.

It has been a chill wind that has been blowing through the local non-league football club, too.
Stocksbridge Park Steels have seen eight of their scheduled games fall victim to wintry conditions and now face a backlog that sets a head-scratching problem to the fixture-setters.

Last Saturday, just when you thought the first signs of Spring might be on their way, their match against top of the table Halifax Town was frozen off.

It was yet another game to add to the cluttered list.

The club’s pragmatic Chairman Allen Bethel says: “We have got eight home games, eight local cup finals, a couple of Sheffield Wednesday reserve games to fit in and neither the second team nor the over 35s have played at home since November!
“I have never known it so bad. But, at the end of the day, it is just something you have to deal with.

“We are sometimes two and a half degrees colder than other places in Sheffield - last weekend we had three inches of snow.”
Steels, who will, at least, see their coffers filled on Saturday afternoon when the well-supported FC United of Manchester come calling in the Evo-Stik Premier game, always try and turn negatives into positives.

“Looking at the table, we have a 50-50 chance of relegation (they are three points ahead of the drop zone) but we have a great fighting spirit here” said Bethel.

“As a club, we stick together. Some people like Darren Schofield, Brett Lovell and Andy Ring have been here for years and that helps with the spirit and camaraderie. All of our matches will be like cup finals from now on.”
Steels take on an FC United team that has zipped from the lower reaches of the league to seventh position and are unbeaten in their last five.

“United have re-shaped their defence because it was wide open earlier in the season” said Bethel.
“Then, they were playing all their defenders on the half way line. We put four past them (away, last September) and Matlock got five against them.

But they are better now, they’ll be fancying the Play Offs and it will be a tough game for us.
“It will be a good atmosphere - and not just because we are the highest altitude team in the area!”
Saturday’s FC date should attract 500-750 fans - their earlier fixture at Stalybridge saw a crowd of 1,793. Steels, who played Buxton last night, also have a game on Tuesday, versus Burscough.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Karl Marginson eyes top-five finish for FC United

 Source: MEN

 Tony Glennon

 FC United boss Karl Marginson refused to go overboard about the Rebels’ third home win in eight days.

Promotion-chasing United were frustrated by visiting Burscough until ace marksman Mike Norton finally spurred them into life by slotting home his 21st goal of the season 10 minutes after the re-start.

Jerome Wright then doubled FC’s advantage with a searing drive from nearly 30 yards out before they carelessly allowed sub John Cass to pull a goal back six minutes from time.

But Burscough’s hopes of pinching a point were quickly snuffed out as Carlos Roca struck to seal a 3-1 victory which lifts United to seventh in Evo-Stik Premier, just a point behind the lowest of the play-off places.

Marginson said: “We didn’t play anywhere near to the levels that we can, but we’ve still picked up three points and scored three times.

“We can definitely still finish in the top five if we can keep this run going.”

Elsewhere, Ashton United did nothing to ease their fans’ growing relegation concerns as they crashed 4-0 at Marine.

Garry Flitcroft’s Chorley suffered a major Evo-Stik North title set-back in losing 1-0 to leaders Chester in front of a huge Victory Park crowd of 3,223.

A late Steve Foster penalty gave Salford City a 1-0 win over visiting Ossett Albion, while Radcliffe scored three times in the last 10 minutes to secure a 3-2 win over Leigh Genesis.

Marvin McDonald and Andy Heald gave Leigh a 2-0 lead, but a Rob Flint own-goal followed by Alistair Brown and Craig Flower strikes saw Boro snatch the points in a dramatic finale.
There were wins, too, for Woodley and Witton Albion, but Mossley sank 4-0 at Skelmersdale.

Altrincham boss Ken McKenna’s rest cure worked wonders for his relegation threatened Robins as they breathed new life into their Blue Square Bet Premier survival mission with a thrilling 3-2 victory over visiting Kettering.

Stung by three successive defeats, McKenna cancelled training ahead of the clash with the Poppies and told his weary players to put their feet up in front of the telly.

And his gamble paid off with Alty playing with renewed vigour to come from behind and secure three precious points courtesy of on-loan defender Greg Young’s 88th-minute headed winner.

McKenna said: “You have to know when to give your players a break. We looked flat and tired in our previous game against Histon, so I called off training on Thursday and we’ve seen the benefits."

Alty went ahead on 22 minutes when Damian Reeves converted a penalty after Carl Piergianni had been bundled over by Brett Solkhon.

But the Robins were then punished for Reeves’ failure to convert two other gilt-edged chances as Kettering’s Jean-Paul Marna turned the game on its head with two superb long-range strikes inside four minutes immediately before the break.

The introduction of sub Wes Baynes sparked Altrincham’s comeback, with the midfielder taking just four minutes to make an impact when he fastened onto Nicky Clee’s cross to drill in an equaliser.

And McKenna’s decison to send on Michael Twiss was similarly rewarded as Kettering’s failure to track Young enabled the popular centre-half to power home a header from Baynes’ cross and send the Moss Lane faithful home happy.

Alty’s triumph takes them up one place to 22nd, although Hayes and Yeading’s win over Southport means the Robins remain three points adrift of safety.

Meanwhile, Stalybridge warmed up for their big Tameside derby date at Hyde tonight (7.45pm) by coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Corby.

Connor Jennings instigated the Bridge revival with a classy finish 15 minutes from time.

Phil Marsh then rescued a point with a late tap-in – his 16th Blue Square Bet North goal of the season.

Hyde’s game at Eastwood was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, as was Droylsden’s clash at Redditch.

But the Bloods are also due in action tonight for the visit of Hinckley.

Ryan Moran (2) and Lee Gaskell struck to give Ramsbottom a 3-1 home win over fellow Vodkat League Premier Division title hopefuls Winsford, whose defeat means New Mills stay top despite their game against Runcorn Linnets also being washed out. Chadderton stepped up their challenge for promotion from Division One with an impressive 3-2 victory over leaders AFC Blackpool.

February 21, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cassidy concedes tactics wrong in FC United loss

 Source: Whitby Gazette

 WHITBY Town manager Tommy Cassidy admitted he got his tactics wrong at FC United last weekend as his side prepare to battle relegation rivals Mickleover Sports on Saturday (19 Feb).

Only one point and a single place separate the two teams on either side of the relegation line, with last season’s First Division South champions leading the way.

Dick Pratley’s men enjoyed a vital win at Ashton United last weekend, while Town delivered a poor performance at Bury’s Gigg Lane, to slump 4-0 against FC United of Manchester.

Cassidy said United looked very good but admitted he played it too defensively, telling his side to sit back and hit on the break after watching FC draw 0-0 at Frickley in midweek.

He told the Whitby Gazette: “I will take my big share of the blame as I set up a bit of a shape that didn’t work out.”

Cassidy confirmed winger Dave McTiernan was sacrificed just before half-time for striker Ash Davis in a purely tactical move and that, given a second chance, he would have begun the game with two strikers instead.

The former Workington manager has brought in Alex White on loan from his old club for a month, but there’ll be no return for another left-footed defender as Mark Robinson has joined Boston United, despite being close to a reunion at Town.

Cassidy said the Blues would miss previous loanee John McReady “desperately” - McReady, who this week went back to Blue Square Premier Darlington, made the bench for the Quakers’ evening trip to Cambridge United.

The Whitby boss was disappointed with all aspects of last Saturday’s defeat, adding: “I was wrong and some of the players didn’t play well and we paid the price.

“They were never under any pressure, especially in the first half.”

Third-bottom Frickley Athletic won at second-bottom neighbours Ossett Town on Tuesday to go level with the Seasiders on goal difference.

However, three points for Whitby on their first-ever visit to the Mickleover Sports Ground could move them four places higher, with Cassidy adding: “In this league, teams beat each other.

“We can’t afford to lose on Saturday.”

The Blues have won just once in their last seven outings, but defeated the Derbyshire outfit on the opening day of the season, 3-2.

Andy Campbell, Jimmy Beadle and Jamie Owens were on target for Town, back in August.

Club physiotherapist Kenny Bolton said skipper Tony Hackworth, who was stretchered off on Saturday, should be out for two weeks with ligament damage.

It was first feared the ankle was broken, which would have ended the midfielder’s season.

Town should otherwise be unchanged for the game which kicks off at the usual 3pm tomorrow, with a supporters’ coach leaving the Turnbull Ground at 9.30am.

Tickets are just £10 each.

The Blues travel to fifth-placed North Ferriby United this Tuesday (22 Feb).

Published on Thu Feb 17 08:19:11 GMT 2011

FC United keep play-off hopes alive

 Source: Manchester Evening News

 Ten-man FC United produced a stirring comeback to sink FA Trophy quarter-finalists Chasetown 4-2 and maintain their push for the Evo-Stik Premier play-offs.

The Rebels were really up against it when defender Richard Battersby received his marching orders for the foul which led to Dean Perrow firing the visitors in front with a 44th-minute penalty.

But Karl Marginson’s men still found time to equalise before the break when Jake Cottrell arrived at the near post to rifle home Matthew Wolfenden’s cross.

FC continued to make light of their disadvantage after the break with Mike Norton beating keeper Ryan Price from a tight angle to give them a 66th-minute lead and then making it 3-1 soon after following fine work by Lee Neville.

Chasetown’s Ben Jevons pulled a goal back six minutes from time but the last word went to United as Matthew Tierney set up Wolfenden for a well-taken fourth.

The win takes FC into the top-half of the table and, with 10 points from their last four games, they’re now well and truly back in the promotion hunt ahead of this weekend’s visit of Burscough.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Whitby Town 0, FC United 4

 Source: Gazette and Herald

 Whitby Town were thumped 4-0 at FC United of Manchester in the Evo-Stik premier division.

James Holden and Matthew Wolfenden netted in the first period, followed in the second half by Mike Norton and an Ashley Lythe own goal.

Last Wednesday, lowly Whitby got three vital points when beating Stocksbridge PS 2-0 at home with strikes from David McTierman, after 40 minutes, and Graham Davies in stoppage time.

Whitby go to Mickleover Sports on Saturday. Mickleover are 18th, a place above them with a point more.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Frickley 0 FC United 0

 Source: Bury Times

 Sam Ashton saved a penalty as 10-man FC United held on for a goalless draw at Frickley Athletic.

The Rebels goalkeeper came to the rescue after Scott McManus was sent off in only their second stalemate of the season on Tuesday night.

Captain Mike Norton grabbed an 85th-minute winner as mid-table FC came from behind to to beat Hucknall 2-1 on Saturday.

Simon Carden had cancelled out Callum Lloyd’s 70th-minute opener in a fractious encounter which saw both Matt Tierney and Tyeisse Nightingale sent off after the Rebels defender’s late challenge sparked a 21-man brawl.

United face Whitby Town at Gigg Lane on Saturday followed by a trip to Chasetown on Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Extra time in FC United coach Medhi’s fight to stay in Britain

 Source: MEN

 An FC United coach has been temporarily allowed to stay in the country – after a deportation hearing was dramatically halted.

Asylum seeker Mehdi Mirzae, a volunteer community coach at the club, faces being sent back to his native Afghanistan after officials said he was in the country illegally – but his supporters fear he will be murdered if he returns.

Hundreds of football fans have backed a campaign to keep him in Manchester – and are trying to raise £8,000 to continue the fight.

The Home Office had issued orders for Mehdi to be removed tomorrow, but the plans have been put on hold after a hearing at the Civil Justice Centre in Spinningfields was postponed.

It is understood the case was adjourned to allow lawyers time to consider new medical evidence put forward by his supporters.

Mehdi, 26, fled Afghanistan in 2003 after his family was killed due to his father's involvement in an anti-government group. He was captured but his uncle helped him escape to Britain and he settled in Harpurhey.

Jenny Loudon, co-ordinator of the Mehdi Must Stay campaign, said they were 'pleased' he was safe for now.

She said: “We have managed to get additional medical reports and information about Mehdi's situation and these have been sent to the Home Office. We are heartened that the judge said that until the Home Office responded he would not hear the case. A hearing is now likely to take place at the end of the month.

“Mehdi is such an important figure in the Manchester community. He has been in detention for nearly three months and we are concerned that it is having a detrimental effect on his mental health.”

Mehdi is the driving force behind Manchester-based refugee team Omid FC. Last month, friends and FC United fans staged a five-a-side football match outside Gigg Lane, Bury, to raise awareness of his plight.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Fans club together to claim fair share

 Source: BBC

 When people knock at my door, it is usually because they want me to give them money. Nothing wrong with that - they are nearly always polite - but it would be nice if it was the other way around for once.

Sadly, that is unlikely as I don't think any of my ancestors lived in south-east London a century ago. If they had, there is a chance they might have taken a £1 gamble on a new company called Arsenal Football Club Limited.

Pressing debts had seen its predecessor go bust in 1910 but this firm, whose only product was Woolwich Arsenal, seemed to have more get-up-and-go about it. So much get-up-and-go, in fact, that three years later it moved to north London, dropped the "Woolwich" and became a football giant.

A century later, many of those shares, of which 1,280 were issued, have been forgotten about or lost. But they have not stopped growing in value. That £1 punt is now worth almost £90,000, which is why some fortunate people have been getting knocks on the door from private investigators with good news.

They will expect a commission for their efforts but the most likely purchaser of your newly reissued shares will be somebody a bit like your Woolwich Arsenal-supporting forebear: a regular fan who wants a stake in their club.

Except it will not just be one fan. It will be hundreds of them.

The Arsenal Fanshare scheme is one of those ideas that seems so simple you wonder why it has taken so long to come up with it. And while there are elements of it unique to Arsenal, the general idea could become a template for all future relations between clubs and their supporters.

Launched last August by the Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST), Fanshare has more than 1,600 members who have invested over £350,000 in Arsenal shares.

The genius of Fanshare is that it made a virtue out of the biggest obstacle AST faced to achieving its goal of being a critical friend to the club. That obstacle was the runaway price of the shares.

Currently trading at £11,200, Arsenal's stock has been rising ever since English football's earning power changed forever with the advent of the Premier League in 1992. That was one year after Arsenal performed a 1-for-8 share split, making a few lucky people with south London links a nice profit.

But that profit started to become potentially life-changing a few years ago when Arsenal became the focus of a bidding war between an American sports magnate called Stan Kroenke and an Uzbek oligarch named Alisher Usmanov.

With those two snapping up shares - and only 62,219 of them in circulation anyway - AST had a tough time converting good intentions into actual power. Prior to Fanshare, AST had gained three Arsenal shares in eight years.

And then came the light-bulb moment: let's really club together, like a racing syndicate, and buy shares of shares.

A "Fanshare" is a 100th of an actual share, so approximately £110. Members of the scheme, having paid a £20 membership fee, can invest between £10 and £1,000 a month.

Once they have enough in their account, they can buy a Fanshare, bringing them direct ownership of a stake in Arsenal, the chance to attend the Arsenal AGM (100 Fanshare members went to October's), quarterly financial information from the club and a vote on key resolutions. Buy 100 Fanshares, equivalent to a full share, and you are given full voting rights and a guaranteed AGM place.

I should probably make it clear at this stage that Arsenal's fans are not the first to come up with a share-save plan. Rangers supporters, to give just one example, definitely got there before them. But unlike Arsenal's Fanshare, the GerSave scheme has not really delivered yet. There is one crucial reason for that: there is no relationship between the fans at Ibrox and the club's ownership.

Run by the Rangers Supporters Trust, there are 500 GerSave members with almost £70,000 in the bank. But until club owner David Murray relinquishes control of the Glasgow side, the fans do not want to prop up his regime.

This brings me back to what is so special about Arsenal's Fanshare. It has been done with the full support of the club's board - and even the major shareholders not on the board. AST has been able to convince everybody that a bigger say for "real fans" does not mean a storming of the barricades.

It is this attitude that has attracted praise for Arsenal and its Fanshare from interested onlookers, such as the Sports Minister Hugh Robertson and Uefa chief Michel Platini.

It is also why MPs sitting on the parliamentary select committee hearings into football governance went to the Emirates last week for their first fact-finding mission.

They met AST representatives, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis, wanting to know how other teams could replicate this consensual approach - no easy task when so many club boards seem to be at war with their fans.

As for the parliamentary select committee hearings, they start with a bang on Tuesday, when former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman give his opinions.

But Triesman - and Arsenal - are not the only ones with good stories to tell.

Perhaps the most interesting example of a new way of doing things for football can be found a long way from Arsenal at FC United of Manchester, the club started by disaffected fans of Manchester United.

FC United have shared Bury's Gigg Lane ground since their formation in the wake of the controversial arrival of the Glazers at Old Trafford in 2005. And the last six years have seen steady growth for a club many thought was a protest movement that would fizzle out.

With average gates of 2,000, the semi-professional team want to move to a home of their own in Newton Heath, the birthplace of Manchester United.

The plan is to build a £3.5m community sports venue, part-funded by grants from the local authorities, Football Foundation and Sport England, with £2m coming from the club's own coffers and a Community Share Scheme. The target is to raise £1.5m by 28 February. They are nearly there.

Members of the club, which is run as a co-operative, have invested sums between £200 and £20,000 in the new ground. The money is ring-fenced for three years but, after that, 10% of the pot can be repaid a year, enabling fans to get their money back should they need it. They could also earn small dividend payments.

FC United's general manager Andy Walsh told me the Community Share Scheme was the most exciting project they had attempted so far and thinks it could be spun out across the leagues.

As he pointed out, if FC United can raise £1.5m from a committed fan-base of 2,000, what could a team with gates of 10,000 or more achieve? More wholly supporter-owned clubs should be possible.

So there are positive signs of football fans organising themselves to be heard and respected at both ends of the spectrum. This is heartening news if lessons from recent high-profile financial failures are to be learned.

Football clubs are far more than just the current squad plus fixtures and fittings. They are assets to nurture and treasure, because one day, a 100 years down the line, they could be something really special to an entirely new generation of custodians.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about at

Matt Slater | 12:57 UK time, Monday, 7 February 2011

Monday, February 07, 2011

Two sent off as mass brawl mars Town match

 Source: Hucknall Today

 A MASS brawl resulted in two players seeing red as Hucknall Town lost a bad-tempered clash with FC United of Manchester at Watnall Road on Saturday (February 5).

All 22 players waded into the melee early in the second half after the visitors’ Matthew Tierney launched into a shocking two-footed challenge on Town’s Grant Brindley.

Punches were thrown and once the dust had settled, Tierney was dismissed for the tackle and Yellows front man Tyeisse ‘TJ’ Nightingale was given his marching orders for his part in the scrap.

The action leading up to that had been stodgy stuff with neiter side able to break the deadlock.

It was Town who eventually opened the scoring — but they still went down 2-1 to their more famous Evo-Stik League, Premier Division rivals courtesy of two strikes in the last 15 minutes.

FC United, who are nicknamed The Red Rebels, were formed in 2005 by a group of disgruntled Manchester United fans who were angry at the takeover of the Old Trafford club by Malcolm Glazer.

And against Town, it looked like FC United were on their way to replicating the Red Devils, who lost 1-0 last Saturday against Wolves in the Premier League.

For winger Callum Lloyd put Town in the driving seat on 73 minutes when he poked home after the visitors’ ‘keeper, Sam Ashton, had only parried a low cross from Fabian Smith into the danger zone.

But in front of a season’s-best crowd of 432, Town were hit by a double sucker punch.

Firstly, their lead lasted just two minutes as a through ball from Scott McManus found Simon Corden, who stroked the ball home.

Then, on 84 minutes, striker Mike Norton bundled Matty Wolfenden’s cross over the line to break Town hearts.

Town boss Tommy Brookbanks reverted to a 4-5-1 formation in an attempt to nullify the attacking flair of FC United, who had hammered The Yellows 4-1 two weeks previous.

Nightingale was the lone front man, with Dion Chambers playing in an advanced midfield position.

Behind Chambers were Josh Burge, who was making his full debut, and Jared Holmes. Martin Ball partnered Grant Brindley in defence.

On a mudbath of a pitch chances were few and far between in a dull first half and things only sparked to life on 52 minutes when the brawl erupted.

Afterwards, the game became stretched and Town almost took the lead when the ball was cleared off the line twice in quick succession.

After FC United’s two-goal salvo, Town threw the kitchen sink at the final five minutes. ‘Keeper Ross Whalin even went up for two corners, but it was to no avail.

 Published on Mon Feb 07 14:15:27 GMT 2011

Saturday, February 05, 2011

In defence of football: a lefty writes

 Source: New Statesman

 Crude caricatures of all football supporters as sexist homophobes insult readers’ intelligence.

An article claiming that "all Tories hate women and gays" would rightly receive short thrift from NS editors and readers alike. When it comes to football, however, such easy stereotypes have twice graced these web pages in the past year.

A polemic smearing football lovers as fascists was followed yesterday by another post attacking supporters, calling on them to "justify [their] decisions" to support misogyny and homophobia, and asking: "How on earth can lefties like football?" Such crude caricatures insult readers' intelligence.

Left-wingers in football are not only to be found haring up the port flank on a Saturday afternoon. Indeed, the sport has been home to many intelligent, progressive voices. The manager Brian Clough was chair of the Anti-Nazi League, while Alex Ferguson is still a regular fixture on Labour Party campaign material. In November, Eric Cantona called for a run on banks to start "a real revolution" against institutions at the heart of a system that "must be destroyed".

Outspoken left-leaning stars are matched by a growing grass-roots movement to counter the greed and commercialism rightly criticised by Laurie Penny and Helen Lewis-Hasteley. The formation of FC United in protest at Malcolm Glazer's controversial takeover of Manchester United was followed in 2007 by the mutualised purchase of Ebbsfleet United by ordinary fans, each paying £35 through the website

It is fans who are leading the battle against the tide of capital sweeping through the modern game. When Red Bull bought SV Austria Salzburg, summarily changing the club's name and kit and declaring that "this is a new club with no history", the drinks giant was forced into concessions, in the wake of a Europe-wide campaign by supporters' organisations. Ridicule of grotesque consumption in football, such as El Hadji Diouf's absurd gold Cadillac Escalade, will first gain traction in online forums.

Sweeping generalisations that "women are nothing more than baubles" are insulting to those blazing a trail of equality within the sport. The second target of Richard Keys's career-wrecking remarks was Karren Brady, married to the Canadian football club manager Paul Peschisolido and, as such, a "footballer's wife". As the former managing director of Birmingham City Football Club and the youngest ever director of a UK plc, however, she would surely object to being referred to as maƮtresse-en-titre.

The sport has made huge strides in confronting head-on issues of racism that were rife on the terraces in the 1980s, but no one will deny that football – like politics – still has issues with sexism and homophobia. Rather than champion the cause of women within sport, however, Lewis-Hasteley counsels abandoning the Beautiful Game to what is now a small minority of bigots. To suggest that those taking their daughter to under-11 training or cheering Stonewall FC from the touchline are wasting their time is more Helen Kendrick Johnson than Emmeline Pankhurst.

A myopic scrutiny of testosterone-fuelled Premier League excess will never recognise the spirit of community and solidarity engendered in local areas by the tens of thousands of clubs outside of football's elite. In the words of Bill Shankly:

The socialism I believe in is not really politics. It is a way of living. It is humanity. I believe the only way to live and to be truly successful is by collective effort, with everyone working for each other, everyone helping each other, and everyone having a share of the rewards at the end of the day. That might be asking a lot, but it's the way I see football and the way I see life.

This sounds more like the game I know.

Football isn't fox-hunting. Attempts to link something so gloriously variegated to a single political outlook are doomed to failure. We're not asking you to enjoy our sport. But stop tarring those who do with the same sexist, homophobic brush.

Laurence Durnan is the editor of Political Scrapbook.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

FC United 0 Colwyn Bay 1

 Source: Daily Post (Wales)

 Tim Channon, DPW West

 JON NEWBY’S first-half goal stole three precious points for Colwyn Bay at Gigg Lane last night.

But they had to survive a backs-to-the-wall second-half bombardment to cling onto the victory that opens a four-point gap in second place in the table.

The home side were also denied by three fantastic saves by keeper Chris Sanna which kept Colwyn Bay in the game.

He made a double save at point-blank range from Mike Norton and Simon Carden and when Norton looked certain to score from the second rebound, his effort was blocked on the line by Danny Grannon.

Sanna also rescued his side with a one-on-one save from Jerome Wright, before Colwyn Bay broke away to take the lead on 28 minutes.

Karl Noon put Newby clear and he cooly beat the advancing Sam Ashton.

FC United almost equalised right on half-time, but Norton failed to connect with Jerome Wright’s low cross from four yards out.

FC United then dominated the second half, but paid for three or four glaring misses.

In a rare Bay break Newby had a shot blocked by Ashton’s legs, but Colwyn Bay escaped again in injury time when Norton’s deflection flew straight into Sanna’s hands on the line.

Colwyn Bay strengthen hold on second spot after winning at FC United

 Source: Northwich Guardian

 COLWYN Bay closed the gap to Premier Division leaders FC Halifax Town to 12 points on Wednesday, writes Andrew Simpson.

Jon Newby’s first half goal proved enough to exact revenge on FC United of Manchester for an FA Trophy defeat back in October.

It leaves the second-placed Seagulls four points clear of the chasing pack ahead of a visit from fellow play-offs hopefuls Worksop Town this weekend.

Their cause was helped by Bradford Park Avenue putting four goals past Buxton at the Horsfall Stadium.

Matty James bagged a brace for John Deacey’s men, for whom debutant Nicky Boshell was on target too.

On Tuesday Kendal Town edged a nine-goals thriller with strugglers Ossett Town to move back into the play-offs places.

Rory Winters scored twice in as many minutes to end the Yorkshiremen’s resistance.

Elsewhere Nantwich Town and Mickleover Sports, plus Frickley Athletic and Whitby Town, played out a goalless draw.

Evo-Stik League Premier Division
Wednesday February 2
Bradford Park Avenue 4 Buxton 1
FC United of Manchester 0 Colwyn Bay 1

Tuesday February 1
Frickley Athletic 0 Whitby Town 0
Kendal Town 5 Ossett Town 4
Nantwich Town 0 Mickleover Sports 0