FC United v Marine preview
FC United take on Marine at Stalybridge tonight. The reds will be looking to bounce back after their controversial defeat at Chasetown on Saturday.
Here’s Margy’s view of events, as quoted in the FC United Pink:
“It was disappointing to lose on Saturday, especially in the manner that we did, but every team has its off days. The run we’ve been on has been magnificent, but it was always going to come to an end at some point. Hopefully, it will prove to be a slight blip on our way to the play-offs, rather than anything more serious.
“Although we didn’t play at all well, we weren’t helped by some poor refereeing decisions. The lack of consistency was staggering – their number nine kicked Scott McManus off the ball and it should have been a straight red. Instead, bizarrely, she merely called the two captains together. Yet, later in their box, we had a collision between Norton and a defender, and she sent Norton off.
“I don’t know what the official’s seen, but we can appeal against that decision, and hopefully it will succeed. Jerome’s bookings were ridiculous. The first booking came from the only tackle he’d made, but the referee’s pointed to five different places on the pitch, indicating persistent fouls.
“To think he will now miss the play-off final, should we get there, is infuriating. We’ve discussed the overall performance since, and the players know where they went wrong. We’ll be looking to rectify those mistakes on Wednesday.
“There’s the old saying that you can’t switch form on and off, and if you don’t start a game properly it can be really difficult to turn things around when you need to. That was the main problem on Saturday – we always like to play at a high tempo, but we didn’t do that, seemed to get into a rut, and were unable to respond, even when they took the lead.
“I always stress the need for our players to work hard first and foremost, as that’s how you earn the right to play the football that wins us games. Chasetown gave us a reminder that the team has to do it from the start, as a collective, and not wait for individuals.
“There was a bit of that early on against Frickley last week. I felt we were taking too many touches, especially in midfield, where we didn’t move the ball nearly quickly enough. Once we were down to ten men, we realised that we were not going to get as much time on the ball, with them having a man advantage, and, in the second half, there was a lot more urgency in our play. At times, it looked like we were the ones with the extra man.
“That’s what I want to see more of in the next three games – preferably when we’ve got a full team on the pitch. Some of the football we’ve played has been brilliant, when we’ve been forced into it, but we have to take the initiative and perform like that from the off.
“The players have been a joy to watch at times, but it’s all about us setting the tempo and going on the front foot, putting the opposition under pressure. Then, when we’ve got the ball, we can express ourselves. I say it time and again, but I truly believe that we’re the best team in the league, except perhaps for Halifax.
“That’s something we keep telling the lads, but it’s meaningless unless they remember to show it.
“We’ll be in for a very tough game on Wednesday. A team like Marine, coming from Merseyside, is never going to roll over for us, so we know what we’ve got to do. We’ve got the prize of the play-offs firmly within our grasp, and we don’t want anyone taking that away from us.
“We probably only need three or four points to secure a place, but we’re still very much targeting second spot. To achieve that, we’ll have to win all three of our remaining games, starting Wednesday. After the run we’ve been on, there’s no question that we can do that. Playing at Gigg Lane would give us the massive advantage of a decent pitch and your magnificent backing.”
FC United V Marine, Bower Fold, Stalybridge, Wednesday 20th April 2011, kick off 7.45 pm.