Date: 3rd September 2006 at 12:15pm
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Atherton LR vs. FC United

Two goals in the first two minutes effectively wrapped up the game before it had barely begun, as United wasted no time in brushing Atherton Laburnum Rovers aside.

With some fans still taking their places on the terraces, the Reds shot out of the starting blocks as Rory Patterson deftly lobbed the static Atherton defence to find Stuart Rudd for a straight forward one-on-one finish with the keeper.

From the restart Alex Mortimer exploited space down the left to force a free kick from which Robert Nugent headed home unchallenged. And before ten minutes were up it was 3-0 after the impressive Mortimer curled a sweet free kick over Kiernan in the Atherton goal.

United continued to press forward and exploit the gaps in the home side`s three-man midfield throughout. Both Rhodri Giggs and Patterson came close before Rudd claimed his second with a simple tap-in on the half hour mark.

Josh Howard made it 5-0 just before the break after the hapless Atherton keeper spilled a long-range free kick.

The second-half saw chances diminish as Atherton defended with greater determination. Adie Orr, Liam Coyne and Steve Smith all came on from the bench with Orr unlucky not to capitalise on some characteristically energetic runs down the left.

It wasn`t until ten minutes from the end that United broke the second-half deadlock when Simon Carden scored number six after some intricate passing on the edge of the penalty box.

Rudd rounded off an excellent personal display by claiming a deserved hat-trick in the final seconds to keep United top of the league and send the majority of the 1,325 crowd into seventh heaven.

FC United vs. Flixton

FC United extended their 100% record to an impressive six matches to consolidate their position at the top of the North West Counties Division One table with a scrappy but effective 4-0 victory over Manchester rivals Flixton.

Last season, the Valley Roaders, who are also Division One new boys, were one of three teams to prevent FC United from registering a win against them, but this time around Karl Marginson`s men weren`t to be denied.

Making his competitive debut in the FC United starting line-up at right back was Mike Lomax with recent signing Jamie Phoenix on the bench. Flixton`s line-up included former FC United favourites Joz Mitten at centre-forward and Ryan Gilligan in central midfield.

Saturday`s game against Atherton LR had seen a couple of goals in the opening two minutes, the FC support had to wait a little longer against Flixton on Wednesday night, but it was nevertheless it wasn`t that long in coming.

A Josh Howard corner kick fell invitingly to Rob Nugent in the 10th minute and the big number six hammered the ball home from 14 yards to give Andy Robertson no chance in the Flixton goal.

Shortly afterwards, Flixton assistant Mark Molyneux looked to have said something out of turn to the referee`s assistant and was sent packing to the stand by referee Paul Graham.

On 19 minutes, the visitors might have equalised when Matt Landregan set up Chris Brookes and it took a smart save from FC United goalkeeper Sam Ashton to deny the Flixton number two.

The game was in danger of bubbling over at this stage. First Ryan Gilligan was cautioned for taking exception to a late challenge by Rhodri Giggs, and then new boy Mike Lomax was yellow-carded for twice holding back Landregan.

On 34 minutes, FC United went 2-0 up. Rhodri Giggs latched on to a long clearance from Sam Ashton and looked to be taking the ball down the right wing. But he then checked inside and ran unchallenged toward goal before expertly slipping the ball under the onrushing Robertson.

Giggs marked his first goal in the red jersey by leaping into the Manchester Road End to celebrate with the ecstatic faithful, although he ended up flat on his backside and received a yellow card for his troubles.

FC continued the second half in a similar fashion to the first, with a curling effort from Josh Howard on 51 minutes perhaps the best of the opening skirmishes, before Simon Carden was cautioned on 59 minutes for a late challenge on Joz Mitten.

On the hour-mark, manager Karl Marginson decided to re-jig the FC United forward-line, and sent on new signing Jamie Phoenix in place of Rory Patterson, and the number 12 was soon in action with a pacey run down the left wing.

On 64 minutes, FC United made it 3-0, when a scuffed clearance was blocked by Stuart Rudd and landed at the feet of Josh Howard, some 40 yards out. Howard took one look up, saw the Flixton ‘keeper out of position, and expertly steered the ball into the unguarded goal.

And on 66 minutes, it was 4-0, when some trickery out wide on the left by Jamie Phoenix allowed the ex-Stafford Rangers winger to evade his marker and fire in a cross for the unmarked Giggs to head the ball into the corner of the net for his second of the night.

Five minutes from time, former FC United favourite Joz Mitten was led off after sustaining a head injury. Despite looking to be in a bad way, Jozza still had enough energy left to applaud the FC United faithful who sang his name as way of thanking him for his contribution to our never-to-be-forgotten inaugural season.

Taken from the FC United newsletter, so spread the word