FC United suffered their second defeat in the Northern Premier League in a 2-1 defeat at home to Hyde United. Today, The Football Manc Cave will take a look at the key events of the game and what players to keep an eye on for the rest of the season…
A home defeat would leave you thinking that manager Neil Reynolds would be giving the players the hairdryer treatment in the dressing room post-match. However, I was fortunate enough to see a high-quality performance from FC Utd which proved that this side has the potential to challenge in this division.
The beginning of the game saw FC Utd take total control. The Reds were pinging passes from left to right. James Joyce had acres of space out on the left, where the likes of Tom Dean and Luke Griffiths were picking him out for fun. But FC Utd was unable to capitalise despite dominance.
A mistaken pass in their own half saw Hyde take advantage and Danny O’Brien scores a tap in from a yard out.
In a baffling event, Hyde was awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box, until the referee changed his mind and awarded a penalty. Imminently, the referee became the most disliked man in the stadium. However, goalkeeper Patrick Wharton pulled off a fantastic double save to stop the penalty as well as the rebound. It was one of the most fantastic things I have ever seen in live football.
Despite FC Utd’s control of the game, Hyde was vicious on the odd occasion they had a counter-attack. On one of the very rare occasions that Hyde played some good football was down the left, where they completely undid the FC Utd defence. Liam Tongue slotted it away nicely leaving Hyde Utd 2-0 ahead.
Hyde Utd started the second half the way FC Utd started the first. Hyde was holding possession and switching play until FC Utd found their groove again.
Niall Rodney and Regan Linney looked to be the two most threatening players for the Reds. Linney regularly cutting inside from the left for the shot or Rodney playing off the last man and attempting to get on the end of some fairly wayward long balls.
FC Utd gained more and more momentum as the clock ticked down. The introduction of Chris Sharp gave the Reds more threat and options, adding to the attack v defence display.
Regan Linney’s favoured technique of cutting inside and shooting finally paid off, as a slight deflection sent the keeper the opposite way.
The remainder of the game saw FC Utd try to prod and pick away at the sturdy and compact Hyde. By the way, Hyde was hoofing the ball up and taking time on dead-ball situations, it was clear the side was holding out for the result they had.
It worked. Despite piling on the pressure in the final stages of the game, FC Utd undeservedly missed the mark on several goal-scoring opportunities.
The game had some fantastic moments and displays of good football. But the highlight has to be manager Neil Reynolds’ yellow card for descent towards the assistant referee over a throw-in awarded to Hyde where the ball hadn’t completely crossed the line. From my position, Reynolds was correct, but he must remain composed and focused in order to set a good example for his team.
Scout report: Who stood out?
Griffiths played in the centre of the park and made everything tick for the Reds. Without him, it’s hard to see how they could dominate possession. His ball control, passing accuracy and footballing IQ set him apart from every other player on the pitch.
Carney is a joy to watch. Finding acres of space on the right side of the field allowed him to be one of FC Utd’s most dangerous players. His ability to storm down the wing, whether defenders are there to stop him or not, makes him one of the best full-backs to watch live. He found himself in both crossing and shooting opportunities and was unfortunate to not come away with more. For myself, he was Man of the Match.
The FC Utd goalkeeper deserves a special mention for his double save after the Reds conceded a very suspect penalty. He also pulled off the odd good save in a game where he wasn’t entirely busy.
In my opinion, FC Utd deserved to win this game. They played some amazing football, looked good as a squad and challenged Hyde Utd throughout the 90 minutes. It looks as though they need an imposing striker who can be an aerial threat and well as a hold-up player to slide the ball into the wingers.