FC UNITED have a chance to reminisce about arguably the greatest night in the club’s 11-year history tomorrow.
Having made a meteoric rise through the non-league ranks after being formed in 2005, the Rebels earned an opportunity to showcase themselves in the FA Cup during the 2010/11 season. Then based at Bury’s Gigg Lane ground, FC were handed a dream draw in the first round as they had to travel just six miles to ROCHDALE.
At the time Dale were four leagues above them in League One and anticipating a giantkilling, ESPN decided to show the game live on a Friday night – Bonfire Night 2010. That didn’t deter thousands of FC fans from packing out one side of Spotland and they watched the Rebels go 2-0 up early in the second half through goals by Nicky Platt and Jake Cottrell.
They must have feared the worse after Dale managed to draw level but Mike Norton pounced deep in stoppage time to pull off the upset and send FC into the second round, where they lost in a replay to Brighton.
Karl Marginson, who has been FC’s manager since the very beginning, told Beyond the Big Two: “It was a great moment in the club’s history. It’ll always be remembered, not just for that last-minute goal but more so for our supporters.
“They created an amazing atmosphere. Craig Burley, who was on the commentary team, said he had to hold their monitor down because the stand was shaking so much!”
The Rebels are now preparing for their second season in both the National League North and Broadhurst Park, their first permanent stadium, which they built themselves in Moston.
Rochdale agreed to pay a visit in pre-season and are expected to field a strong line-up with this their final pre-season friendly. FC have won their last three while Dale beat Wigan 4-1 last Saturday before losing at Macclesfield in midweek.
“This game brings back some great memories, they were great times,” Marginson added. “But it’s also a great test for us ahead of the new season and we have to say thanks to Rochdale for agreeing to come down.
“We have to make sure we do ourselves justice and hopefully we can give Rochdale a good work-out.”
Both sides begin their league campaigns next Saturday (August 6), although FC have one more friendly at Trafford on Tuesday night (August 2).
Kick-off: 3pm Saturday. Admission: £9 adults, £5 concessions, £2 Under-18s.