Friday, 29 April 2011

Playoff Bound

I typed this out as a post on a United forum I go on, decided it'd also do as a blog post - save me re-typing things!

Well, this season just continues to get more and more surreal as each week goes on.

A 1-0 win to Northwich at Gigg Lane followed by a 4-1 thumping of Frickley at Stalybridge saw FC creeping into the playoff positions. The win against Northwich deserves a special mention as Sam Ashton was sent off at 0-0 for an 'elbow' on the opposition striker. Centre forward Ben Deegan came off the bench, went in goal... and saved the penalty. Fifteen minutes later Mike Norton scored the only goal of the game to push FC up to third in the table.

McManus also received marching orders in the game against Frickley. The record continued in a shocking 2-0 defeat away at Chasetown which saw Mike Norton and Jerome Wright sent off. Just to add further misery onto the result later in the day down at Wembley. A day to forget all round.

The lads then came back from a goal down against Marine at Stalybridge to win 2-1 before one of the strangest football matches anyone had ever seen.

Away at Matlock, Sam Ashton's ban had started and reserve keeper Grant Shenton was at a wedding. Both Youth Team keepers are registered with other Evo-Stick clubs, so... Ben Deegan was in goal from the start. The defence was magnificent, leaving him very little to do and when the final whistle went we'd somehow managed to win 2-1. A win which guaranteed a play-off place for FC United. From second bottom in January, we'd crept up into second place and just needed to win two games to get promotion. Crazy.

Kendal came to Gigg Lane and won 2-1 in the final league game of the season, meaning we finished in 4th. Colwyn Bay finished 2nd behind Champions Halifax, Bradford Park Avenue were 3rd and North Ferriby in 5th. So came a cold Thursday night in Bradford where optimism wasn't exactly in abundance. Still, 2,758 people saw FC United win at the Horsfall Stadium for the first time and book a place in the playoff final on Monday May 2nd. Unbelievable. From a season that was written off a few months ago to being 90 minutes away from the Conference North.

The opponents will be Colwyn Bay, who won 2-0 against North Ferriby United. The game will take place at Bay's Llanelian Road ground, kick off 3pm. It's all ticket, with FC receiving 1,000 tickets which will go on sale tomorrow from the office at 10.30am to Members who also have Season Tickets before being opened up to both Members and ST holders.

Whatever happens, it's been one hell of a season.

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