Another Saturday another storm, this one called Jorges. The game was on in Moston, F.C. United of Manchester v Warrington F.C in the Betvictor Northern Premier League.
It’s 15 years since the Glazers took over Manchester United with a great deal of borrowing to finance the deal and a group of disgruntled fans set up FC United of Manchester. Their nomadic days ended nearly 5 years ago when they moved into the Broadhurst Park Stadium in Moston.
The club is fan owned and reputed to be the largest in the UK by the number of members. The members all have one share and one vote in the clubs democratic constitution. They started off in the NorthWest Counties League Division 2 and rose dramatically to the National League North. A relegation has brought them to the Northern Premier League where they are well placed, in third slot, for a play off place this season.
Warrington Town just three places behind FC United have been going since 1949 when they were first called Stockton Heath changing to the current name in 1961. Playing in local leagues until promotion to the NorthWest Counties League in the 1980’s really moved the club forward. Although winners of the 2018/19 play offs they lost to Kings Lynn in a super play off and remained in the Northern Premier to welcome FC United after their relegation in the same season.
This ground is a credit to all that has been achieved at this fans owned club. The watching facilities are great with covered standing on three sides, one of which is a well tiered end where the home ‘Ultras’ stand and the fourth a very comfortable seated stand, in all a capacity of 4400. The crowd of 2088 was very good with the club being one of the best supported in Non League football.
Under the home end is a space which was packed with fans watching a four piece female band while they could drink, eat pies, chips from the chippy or even cupcakes.
Inside the entrance is a hut selling old programs and other ephemera and two tables selling bottles of pop and an array of sweets for the younger fans.
Although I didn’t look there must be a bar and food kiosk at the back of the main stand which was amazingly busy as people trooped passed the isle we sat next to all game, a little annoying during the match.
The teams did not warm up on the pitch prior to the game which was flat and green but heavily sanded in areas. High heavy clouds scurried from left to right with the sun breaking through on a cold day with blustery winds.
FC United of Manchester 4 Warrington Town 4
The game started with little pattern but in the 9th minute FC United were ahead when a curled free kick from the right by Morgan Homson-Smith was deflected off a defenders head over the goalkeeper into the far corner.
The game continued even and uneventful until 38 minutes when a mishit shot seemed to somehow find its way to the Leagues leading scorer Tundle Owalabi who swivelled and struck the ball under Bobby Jones in the centre of the goal.
It all seemed over but Warrington hit back with two goals before the teams went in at half time level at 2-2.
First a low ball across the goal mouth from the left was slid in by Buckley under pressure and Warrington’s second was scored by Buckley, again from the left when his high speculative cross semed caught in the wind hitting the crossbar and going into the net off the goalkeepers outstretched hand.
All was quiet in the second half until the 58th minute when Mackreths shot from range was cruelly deflected for Warrington to take the lead for the first time.
The excitement continued when 5 minutes later Adam Dodd was brought down in the penalty area and after a delay Paul Ennis calmly converted the spot kick. There was little time to take breath when on 73 minutes Warrington had a free kick, which was moved twice behind the referees back and then curled with the right foot to the goalkeepers left but his parried save was tapped home by Mark Roberts.
FC United were now roared on by the noisy home crowd and near the end of the 5 minutes added time Curtis Jones headed home from Mike Potts’ cross to level the scores. No time for any further action and the crowd kept chanting and singing long after the final whistle for what seemed like a victory. The shared points mean that both clubs stay in their same position in the League.
What a breathtaking match that was a delight to the large fan turnout and Non League football at its best.
Even the Chips have been done large here, a kiosk just for Chips ‘good buy Mr Chips’.
They were good too, crisp, golden, hot, plenty and great value at £2. The over soft inside meant the score of 76 puts them in the top tree for the season.
This ground is a must for all football fans to see what can be achieved with enthusiasm and commitment and see a very dedicated team of helpers and supporters live the dream.