FC United start season with defeat at Grantham Town
FC United stumbled at the first hurdle as they threw away a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 at Grantham Town on the opening day of the BetVictor Northern Premier Premier Division season.
The Reds capitulated late on after dominating most of the game. Despite a promising performance with lots of positives, Neil Reynolds’ side will have to quickly learn how to put a game to bed.
The visitors fell behind in the seventh minute at the South Kesteven Sports Stadium when Craig Westcarr nutmegged goalkeeper Patrick Wharton after beating centre-back Chris Doyle too easily.
But the Reds showed good character to fight back with Nialle Rodney turning home a Craig Carney cross for the equaliser on 18 minutes before a Regan Linney wonder strike gave them a deserved lead in the 26th minute.
The 22-year-old former Bamber Bridge forward marked his competitive debut with a peach of a goal, curling the ball from the edge of the box on the left wing into the top right corner to give goalkeeper Tom Nicholson no chance.
FC United looked comfortable for most of the second half without creating many chances to score an all-important third goal.
However, the momentum of the game shifted dramatically with 12 minutes to go when the Gingerbreads were awarded a soft penalty. Lively left-back Jacon Green raced into the box in an attempt to chase down a throughball and Morris stuck out a leg. Green went down and referee Mr Nelson had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
The hosts had created little before the penalty but, once back on level terms, it was virtually all Grantham for the majority of the closing stages.
As such, it came as no surprise when Tom Ward fired in the winner from the edge of the box in the 88th minute after United had failed to clear their lines.
Just moments earlier the Lincolnshire side looked to have had a perfectly good goal ruled out, presumably for encroachment whilst Wharton was taking a free-kick.
The Reds did rally and Linny was unlucky not to grab a 93rd minute equaliser. His fierce shot beat Nicholson but defender Rob Atkinson was perfectly placed to make a goal line clearance.
A draw would arguably have been a fair result but the Reds cannot have any complaints about the manner of the defeat. Despite playing attractive, attacking football which was a joy to watch, they folded when put under pressure.
However, despite the defeat, there were plenty of positives with some good performances across the park. With Linney, Rodney, Carney and Paul Ennis, FC United have assembled an exciting forward line.
Captain Michael Potts once again led by example, fighting for every ball, central midfielder Luke Griffiths demonstrated a huge amount of composure throughout and centre-back Chris Doyle consistently won the aerial battles.
Hopefully, they will all have the opportunity to put things right when Hyde United visit Broadhurst Park on Tuesday night for our first home game of the season.
Website man of the match: Regan Linney. The former Bamber Bridge forward was FC United’s dangerman throughout and produced a fantastic goal.