Late Sting In The Tale For Dominant Lions

Guiseley were left to rue missed opportunities as FC United scored the latest of late winners at Broadhurst Park, writes Dave Robertson.

Guiseley were the dominant side and created far more opportunities, but failed to make the breakthrough and were ultimately undone by a goal on a competitive debut for United’s Matt Van Wyk.

Manager Paul Phillips felt his side might have scored two or three, but always ran the risk of conceding when chances aren’t taken. Though satisfied that his team created chances and worked hard, he was left frustrated that a late winner meant his team left Manchester empty-handed.

The Lions remained unchanged from their convincing win over Marske, the only changes on the bench, where new signing Alfie Moulden was joined by Shane Smeltz.

FCUM were tricky opponents; unbeaten at home since November but having drawn all three of their home games in January. The hosts were hit by a late change as Michael Potts was forced to withdraw after the warm up, replaced by Sam Sharrock-Peplow. Paul Phillips’ men were the dominant team in the first period, creating the only clear-cut chances of the half, and the hosts struggled to get a foothold. Early chances fell for both Lewis Whitham, whose shot was well saved by Dan Lavercombe, and Kwame Boateng who caught the United defence on the break and got one on one with the keeper but could not finish the move he started.

Kallan Murphy was a nuisance for the home defence, winning a couple of free kicks in dangerous positions, but the killer ball could not be found.

Late on in the half, Whitham shrugged off a challenge twisted, turned, and took a shot from the edge of box that was just wide of Lavercombe’s post. Frustratingly for all their effort and dominance of possession, the breakthrough would not come.

A double substitution at half time from United almost paid immediate dividends as Dontai Gabbidon broke away from Ross Daly and fired a shot goalwards, thankfully over the bar. The hosts, with a new momentum after the break, forced the Lions to defend. Daly and Courtney Meppen-Walters picked up early cautions.

United’s tenacity resulted in a shot from Van Wyk that forced a good save from Cam Mason. It would prove a warning.

The Lions were reeling and switched Osebi Abadaki for new signing Moulden. Murphy remained a threat and just past the hour former Lion Andy Halls caught the Irishman as he bound toward the edge of the box, and as the last man, was dismissed. As a result, goal threat Paul Ennis was withdrawn, replaced by full back Adam Dodd.

As so often happens however, the dismissal only served to galvanise the home team and home support, and the Lions struggled to make the most of the numerical advantage. The game descended into a scrappy affair. FC battled hard and looked dangerous on the break. Whitham, unusually wasteful, blazed a speculative effort over the bar. Guiseley, full of hustle and bustle but visibly tiring, struggled to gather any cohesion or control over their understaffed opponents.

Perhaps inevitably as the clock ticked over to 96 minutes, FC United won a corner. The initial effort was blocked but not cleared, and another cross from the right this time met the head of Van Wyk, whose downward header evaded Mason. FC may have stolen the win at the death, but in truth the deflated Lions could have few complaints.

FC United of Manchester 1-0 Guiseley | Tuesday 7th February 2023 | Broadhurst Park

Attendance: 1393

Team: 1. Cam Mason, 2. Kwame Boateng, 3. George Smith (C), 4. Ross Daly, 5. Jameel Ible, 6. Leigh Whelan, 7. Lewis Whitham, 8. Callum Chippendale (83′ Smeltz), 9. Kallan Murphy, 10. Osebi Abdaki (63′ Moulden) and 11. Courtney Meppen-Walters.

Subs: 12. Alfie Moulden, 14. Adam Haw, 15. Ekow Coker, 16. Spencer Harris and 17. Shane Smeltz.

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