FC UNITED will go into Saturday’s FA Cup tie in high spirits after two memorable matches with STOCKPORT COUNTY.
With County leading 3-0 at half-time in the 3rd Qualifying Round, it seemed preposterous to suggest that FC would still be in FA Cup action this weekend.
However, the Rebels fought back to draw 3-3 at Edgeley Park and earn a replay. Then there was more drama to come at Broadhurst Park last week as FC had Matty Hughes and Michael Connor sent off in the 1st half.
Yet despite having 9 men for most of the game, Tom Greaves bundled in a 48th-minute opener for the hosts before keeper Lloyd Allinson (pictured above) and his defence performed heroics to frustrate County and earn a 1-0 win.
That secured a trip to AFC Telford in the 4th Qualifying Round this Saturday, when FC will look to reach the 1st Round for the third time. They famously beat Rochdale in the 1st Round in 2010/11 and got back there in 2015/16, losing 4-1 to Chesterfield.
After winning just 2 of their first 12 games this season, FC are now unbeaten in 6 – 4 of them coming in the FA Cup as they also needed a replay in the 2nd Qualifying Round against Handsworth Parramore, which they won 6-2.
Manager Karl Marginson said after the County replay: “We’ve started on something, probably in the Handsworth game, and that was instilling belief in the players, because they were feeling hurt, they were feeling down and they were feeling criticised – and quite rightly because of some of their performances.
“But they’ve shown their strength of character, that they’re a strong group that believe in each other and believe in us, as a management and a staff.
“It was another special night in FC United’s history. It’s probably up there with the Rochdale game. It was resolute in the second half, but we got the shape right and didn’t go chasing too much. We needed everybody and we needed everything to go our way. That’s going to be something we’ll need to stay on this upward curve.”
Greaves scored again in last Saturday’s 3-3 draw at North Ferriby to move within 2 goals of Rory Patterson’s club record of 99. But FC are still 3rd-bottom of the National League North as Leamington pulled off a shock win at 2nd-placed Salford City.
The Rebels came from behind to lead during the 2nd half at North Ferriby and Marginson believes that will stand them in good stead for when they visit mid-table Telford in Saturday’s Cup tie.
“League form and Cup form is all part of one thing, and that’s building on what we’ve started,” he said after last Saturday’s game. “When you’ve got the amount of new players that we brought in, there’s always going to be a settling in period where they’re finding out about each other. Hopefully they’ve done that now, and that game was something else for us to build on.
“Two or three weeks ago it would have been a bit of a nightmare for us. We were on the floor but the lads showed their character; like they did in the 2nd half at Stockport, like they did when we were down to 9 men.
“That dressing room is buzzing at the minute. They know that man-for-man, they can go head-to-head against anyone and give a good account of themselves and if we come out on top, great. We’re not always going to do it but we’ll stick together.
“The players are telling us how great they’re feeling about themselves and pretty soon that’ll translate into results.”
Admission is pay on the gate at Telford: £10 Adults, £6 Concessions, £3 for 16-19 yr olds and £1 for Under-12s.