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3 players stand out as FC United suffer second defeat to Hyde

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.

First Half

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.

Second half

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?

Luke Griffiths

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.

Craig Carney

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.

Patrick Wharton

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.

Overall

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.

Two Stand Out Players For FC United next season

Even though Neil Reynolds’ FC United side were relegated at the end of last season, they still remain hopeful. Today the Football Manc Cave picks out two players you should look out for in the upcoming season.

FC United have been busy recruiting this summer, not only for their first team but their women’s team too. This suggests that the club is determined and motivated to do well as a whole. The first team have managed to put on a good display of football in their pre-season campaign.

Throughout pre-season, they’ve managed to create some good football and goals from set-pieces, showing their training pays off. We’ve picked out to stand out players that should play a big part in FC United’s season.

Charlie Ennis

Also known as, Paul Charlie Ennis. He’s played for Buxton, Stalybridge and Celtic previous to joining FC United. The 29-year-old rose from youth to senior level at Stockport County before he decided to move on. He recently signed for his new club in May from Ashton United and has already made his mark. In the pre-season friendly against Chester, he managed to bag two goals. If pre-season is anything to go by, he should impress in the league.

Jack Lenehan

Another player who joined FC United in May. The midfielder has joined the club with Brian Richardson who is now the clubs assistant manager. He’s joined the club from Prescot Cables and is excited to get started. The comfortable centre midfielder was a part of the squad that beat Chester and will be out to drive the club to wins over the course of the season.

Two players that must start for FC United today as they continue to impress

FC United has two pre-season friendlies left before a big season ahead, where they hope to regain a position in the National League North.

FC United of Manchester achieved promotion to the National League North after a triumphantly winning the Northern Premier League in 2015. In the sixth tier of English Football, FCUM remained for four years, floating around the 15th place position.

Last season was a nightmare, however. FC Utd finished second to last, winning only one home game all season and conceding 82 goals. The relegation survival race was not an intense one. Nuneaton, FC Utd and Ashton were all more than nine from remaining in the division.

However, with signs of both strengths and weaknesses during their current pre-season, an up-to-scratch FC Utd could storm right back into the National League North.

FC United recently played against Chester, a team who are comfortable and strong in the league about. FC United dominated and won 4-1. Despite being a friendly, it still holds true that this FC Utd squad have potential in the league above they currently find themselves in. The club retweeted the following tweet about the game, by in impressed fan:

“Superb recruitment this summer. I can’t wait for the season to start after watching that last night! FC UNITED are back!!!”

Two players stood out in this game and should be involved against Runcorn Linnets in order to maintain fantastic form before a big comeback season…

Charlie Ennis

Apart from bagging a double in the 4-1 win over Chester, Charlie Ennis is the driving force in this team. He is involved in almost every attack and is lethal around the edge of the box. Capable of finding a teammate or having a pop himself, as well as showing how clinical he can be in front of goal, expect a tonne of goals and assists from the number 7 in the upcoming season.

Paddy Wharton

19-year-old Goalkeeper Paddy Wharton is a recent acquisition for FC Utd. Previously of EFL League One Tranmere Rovers, he spent some time on loan in the lower tiers of English football.

Although untested for many minutes, he was successful on the occasions he was called into action, bar the one goal. This shows signs of a very alert goalkeeper. At only 19 years of age and part of a club like Tranmere, FC Utd should allow this keeper to grow during a season that shouldn’t see them concede as many goals as their last.

Round table prediction: Where FC United, Radcliffe Boro and Ashton Utd will finish

Where do we think FC United, Radcliffe and Aston United will finish in the Northern Premier League.

Today, the writers here at Football Manc Cave looked at all the teams we cover and predicted, where we thought they would finish in each of their leagues.

We cover teams that are in the Premier League, Championship, Leagues 1&2 and non-league teams. Which makes it harder to quickly think about this, however, we have an average result based on all of our predictions for Ashton United, FC United and Radcliffe who are all in the Northern Premier League.

Radcliffe Boro’

We had to consider that Radcliffe was promoted at the end of last season to the Northern Premier League, after finishing 2nd in division one west. On average, we have put them as finishing 9th next season. I predicted they would finish lower down but after looking at all our guesses, it seems the majority think they will have a good league campaign.

FC United

This club was relegated from the National League North last season after finishing 21st out of 22nd teams. Even though they were relegated, here at the Manc Cave, we think they’ll have a great season. I predicted they would finish 5th and it seems that we are nearly agreed because collectively, our results came out as FC United finishing 3rd.

Ashton United

Another team that ended up being relegated into the Northern Premier League last season. They managed to finish one place higher than FC United though, 20th out of the 22 teams. This was a factor that made me predict that Ashton would secure 3rd place in their new League campaign and collectively, we all have averaged out at again, placing them 3rd overall next season. So according to all of us, the Northern Premier League will have a battle of the United’s for third place.

The 2 Salford City players who could have a major impact on the club’s league football debut season

Salford City have a big season ahead of them as they test the waters of the English Football League.

Salford City achieved a third-place finish in the National League, leading to a play-off final against AFC Fylde which resulted in a 3-0 win for the newly promoted side.

After an impressive season 2018/19 season, Salford City will be aiming to maintain and grow within the English Football League League 2. What can separate this promising side from the many clubs who failed to remain in the top flights of English football?

Here are two players to look out for in Salford City’s venture into the English Football League…

Tom Walker

This 23-year-old wide-midfielder joined the cause in January 2018 from Salford’s neighbours over at FC United of Manchester. After previously being contracted with Bolton Wanderers, and experiencing a year-long loan at Bury FC, this young man has a degree of experience in the EFL which could prove useful as they aim to stay there.

Oscar Threlkeld

Also a previous Bolton Wanderer, Threlkeld is a recent free signing of 25 years of age, whose versatility allows him to play full-back, centre-back and defensive midfield positions.

He already has a wealth of experience in the English Football League with a loan spell and a permanent contract with Plymouth Argyle. Threlkeld accumulated 97 appearances for the club and has played in both League One and League Two. Salford City gaining his signature shows their determination to build a squad suited to the top tiers of English Football.

What Will Former FC United Striker Kurt Willoughby Bring to AFC Fylde?

Despite playing for relegated FC United of Manchester last season, striker Kurt Willoughby has moved into full-time football with last season’s beaten National League play-off finalists AFC Fylde.

On the back of having a very good season last year, scoring 19 goals for FC United. He had previously scored goals for fun in the North West Counties League for AFC Blackpool and Clitheroe, wherever Willoughby goes goals seem to follow.

His form this season has also seen the 21-year-old called up to the England C squad, where he scored on his debut against Wales C.

With last seasons joint National League top goalscorer Danny Rowe in the squad at Fylde. Willoughby has the perfect model to help develop his game and, this has lead to his new manager Dave Challinor labelling his new striker “Not a risk but definitely a project”.

With that being said, we thought we’d take a look into just what the new man will bring to AFC Fylde. With the ambitions of going one step further and getting promoted out of the National League and back into the Professional Football.

Running in Behind

You could compare Willoughby’s game to that of Jamie Vardy in the Premier League, the man loves a ball over the top or a through ball that he can run on too from the shoulder of the last defender.

This will definitely be something fresh for fans of Fylde as top scorer Danny Rowe isn’t that type of player instead, he holds the ball up and creates chances from nothing.

Therefore, Willoughby will be another option in the Fylde arsenal this season, meaning they have a plan B.

Counter Attacking

Something that Willoughby definitely isn’t opposed to is running the channels and dragging his team up the pitch.

The former FC United man was top scorer at a relegated team last season, meaning that likely for long spells they were defending, therefore, the striker was forced to play on the counter-attack.

Its this willingness to run that will create space and openings for other players at Fylde, such as Danny Rowe and if you give that man space, goals follow.

Other new signings have also been made at Fylde to improve this side of their game, therefore it’s looking like his new club will be playing to Willoughbys strengths.

EFL & Below Show 2018/19 Season Review: Bury FC, Salford City, Oldham Athletic, Rochdale, Wigan Athletic & Bolton Wanderers

This is the EFL and Below Show, your look at all the footballing action in Greater Manchester that doesn’t come from Old Trafford or the Etihad.

Niall McCaughan is joined by Ian Foran and Aaron Benson from the Football Manc Cave in this final episode of the season, taking a look back at the respective seasons of Bury, Salford, Oldham, Bolton, Rochdale and Stockport County.

Subscribe to the podcast now and never miss a show.

Thanks for listening this season!

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OPINION: Who Will Gain Promotion To The National League North; Ashton United, FC United or Radcliffe Borough

Ahead of every new season mountains of speculation appear as to who are the favourites for promotion the coming year.

Going into the 2019/20 season we took a look at which of the three Manchester sides could challenge for promotion to the National League North. Following Ashton United and FC United of Manchester getting relegated from the second tier of Non-League last year to the Evo-Stick League Premier Division and Radcliffe Borough getting promoted to that same division through the playoffs. The three clubs will have a host of derby games next year that we are sure will be exciting affairs for supporters and players alike.

Despite all three clubs being in the same division, there is nothing to say that any of the clubs will get promoted from what is a very strong division. With some big clubs such as beaten play-off finalists Warrington Town, Nantwich Town and South Shields.

Therefore, the clubs will all have to have good preseasons and especially for the two relegated sides, big squad rebuilding jobs will probably need to take place following relegation.

One of which at the first club we are going to look at is already well underway under manager Neil Reynolds…

FC United of Manchester

Following relegation from the National League North, FC United will be looking to bounce straight back up and, are in the process of having a major clear out under manager Neil Reynolds.

Only four players return from last seasons team including club captain Mike Potts. Meaning that the squad being assembled at Broadhurst Park will have a completely new look. Recruiting well and a lot of this has been based around Manchester signing a couple of players from their division rivals for next season including midfielder Ryan Shenton from Curzon Ashton, full back Mason Fallon from Radcliffe Borough and Paul Ennis from Ashton United.

Somewhat of an unknown quantity for FC United going into this season, so will they get promoted? Ask us again in a couple of weeks.

Ashton United

Another massive rebuild is well underway at Ashton, a number of key players from last year have committed to the robins though such as Liam Tomsett and midfielder Sam Sheridan.

Local players seem to have been a focus for this season, taking two from local rivals Curzon Ashton in the form of midfielder Chris Rowney and returning to Ashton United for a second spell John Pritchard.

The club has also brought in players who know this level very well, in Hyde United defender Kyle Harrison and former Bradford Park Avenue winger Nicky Clee.

The recruitment of players who know this level will only help Ashton United and holding on to a core of players will too, we can see them challenging this year.

Radcliffe Borough

Following their promotion, last term will a double promotion be on the cards?

Radcliffe are yet to strengthen their squad, although they can be forgiven only gaining promotion a couple of weeks ago. But keeping hold of the players who did so well for them will be key especially with their new rivals/neighbours sniffing round, having already lost Mason Fallon to FC United.

It completely depends on the aspirations for Radcliffe, they’ve shown the class they have through promotion last term a couple of additions could see them heading in the right direction up the table. With the strength of the other clubs in the league, however, we don’t think Radcliffe will go up again.

Two Things Brian Richardson Can Bring to FC United Next Season

This last season has been a rollercoaster of a season for FC United of Manchester, through having three managers and 57 players, it has been a season of constant change for the team in red.

In not having a stable squad throughout last season managed to contribute to the Red’s first relegation in their 14-year history. However, Neil Reynold will be hoping to put last season behind him and is already set up for the 2019/2020 season in the Evo-Stik North Premier, as the club announced on Friday that they have brought in a new Assistant Manager, ex-Prescot Cables manager Brian Richardson.

Richardson managed Prescot Cables for two and a half years, in that time he has brought great success to the club as Cables were just avoiding relegation before he took over. Since then, he got the Merseyside team into the playoffs where they just missed out after a late goal by Reynold’s former club, Bamber Bridge. Also under Richardson’s reign, he took them to three consecutive Liverpool Senior Cup Finals, in which they won the first two back to back but lost out to the last one to a penalty shootout. He managed Prescot for 137 matches, of those he won 68, which gives an incredible win percentage of 49.64!

Brian Richardson will be a great addition to Neil Reynold’s management team as he has much experience at this level, as he also worked at Skelmersdale United for ten years and was Assistant Manager. In FC United’s statement, Reynold’s stated “His knowledge at this level is exceptional and has a proven track record of recruiting and developing players” which is bound to get many FC United fans excited for the upcoming season after having such an unsettled squad for the majority of last season. The United faithful will be looking forward to seeing new faces enter Broadhurst Park, as well as seeing some familiar ones hopefully returning for another season at the club.

Since Richardson’s arrival, many FC fans are now looking forward to the season ahead. With having an experienced management team at this level will be a great asset for the club to have in trying to jump straight back up into the National League North, as well as attracting many players to potentially come and play for the team in red!

We Look Back at Curzon Ashton’s Season Roller Coaster and What Could Be In Store For The Nash Next Season

I think a fair few Curzon Ashton supporters are sporting a few extra grey hairs at the end of this season. It been a somewhat dramatic one with some remarkable moments but, plenty of games fans would be keen to forget.

The season started promisingly enough with an away win at Darlington. A strong October, then results started to dip with the temperatures and there wasn’t a league win for the Nash in November.

There was the surprise and slightly tempestuous dismissal of manager John Flanagan, who had been at the club since 2011. It was not a smooth start for Mark Bradshaw either, with the Nash losing three of four games in December, including to league struggles Ashton United and FC United. This left Curzon Ashton with the very real possibility of being in a battle to stay up.

New year, new Nash, as Curzon entered the new year with a bang and totted up four wins on the bounce, including against high flyers Chester. This lead to a lot of talk about an unlikely bid for a play off place. Wins against Alfreton (In possibly the most bizarre game I’ve seen ever) and Hereford further strengthened this claim, before there was a bit of a bump down to earth with an away loss to Brackley and a thumping at home to Altrincham.

They looked to make a speedy recovery with a draw against high flyers Bradford Park Avenue followed by two further wins.

However, it all seemed to go a bit Pete Tong in the league, managing to be the first team since October that Guiseley pick up three points off, and not winning another league game, including ending the season with a 5-0 loss at home.

All was not lost, however, as Curzon flew through to the final round of the Manchester Premier cup and saw off Mossley comfortably in the final. This really gave fans something to cheer in a difficult season.

So what’s next for Curzon?

This is a tough league to get out of but on their day, The Nash are a good enough side to make them something to really be feared.

I’ve banged the drum about needing to make sure that they tighten up their back line. They are good up front but conceded far to many goals. Sharpen this up, draw a line under a difficult end of season and hopefully come into the next season fully wound up and ready to go and make an impact.

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