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Unread 27-11-2010, 07:40 PM
fred tissue
 
Default Brighton 1-1 FC United


It seemed too romantic to become reality the idea of FC United reaching the third round of the FA Cup where Premier League opposition might lay in wait. But then FC United is a manifestation of its supporters' fantasies; and there's no reason for them to stop dreaming now.

An injury-time penalty save from Sam Ashton who turned Elliot Bennett's well-struck effort around the post has earned them a replay against Brighton and participation in tomorrow's draw. There is a one-in-63 chance they will be drawn to face Manchester United: the club from which they were sired, whose victories their supporters once cheered but whose commercial principles they so detest.

It is a savory proposition to those on the outside, but for the club's manager and the majority of its fans it represents a "nightmare" scenario. "A lot of our supporters have withdrawn their financial support from Manchester United," explained the boss, Karl Marginson.

"If they were to pay to go and watch us play United they'd be going against that. I can't speak for all the fans but I know that for me and most of them, we don't want United. It'd be a nightmare.

"Liverpool or City would be great. Arsenal have got the biggest ground so we'd get a bigger slice of the money and that'd help pay for our new stadium."

On the evidence of today's match, United will fancy their chances of making it that far. They may have spent chunks of this match defending their goalmouth, but they possessed an honourable resilience against a side four division above them in the league pyramid.

In the first half, Ashley Barnes' stooping header from six yards was met with a stunning one-handed save from Ashton of an ilk that regularly graced Old Trafford in the days of Peter Shmeichel. Ashton was also equal to an attempted lob from Glenn Murray after Kyle Jacobs. When Mauricio Taricco charged into the box, his legs appeared to be clipped from behind by Chris Ovington, but Ovington was judged innocent by the linesman.

The visitors had the temerity to take the lead in the 40th minute when Mike Norton displayed the strength and resolve of Wayne Rooney the balding, barrel-chested player he closely resembles before laying the ball to the feet of Nicky Platt. The 22-year-old lashed a side-footed effort into the far corner, sending United's crowd into raptures.

United foiled the second-half onslaught until Scott McManus's dismissal in the 70th minute for violent conduct off the ball. A goalline header from the impressive Karl Munroe denied Barnes a certain equaliser, before Taricco put his laces through a loose ball in the 83rd minute and found the net.

Late into six minutes of injury time, Munroe bundled Sandaza to the floor gifting Brighton what should have been a match-winning penalty. Bennett cracked his effort hard enough, but Ashton stretched himself expertly to turn it around the post.

"We're thrilled. It's just a huge sense of pride pride for the players," said Marginson. "Today was a victory for us."


Jonny Weeks

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