Pictures John Hopkins
WARRINGTON Town came from behind to beat FC United 2-1 and progress to the next round of the FA Cup.
Skipper Mark Roberts headed the winner 20 minutes from time after Mitch Duggan had quickly responded to FC United’s first half opener through Regan Linney.
It puts the Yellows in to the hat for the third qualifying round draw on Monday, just two wins away from the FA Cup first round proper.
In a wonderfully open cup tie, the Yellows would have the first shot on target inside two minutes, a low drive from Scott Sephton comfortably saved by Patrick Wharton.
Both sides required regular interventions from defenders in the opening quarter, Ben Garrity regularly getting in behind for the Yellows to cause problems, his marauding run on 12 minutes resulting in him opening his body up for a right foot shot that was well saved by the feet of Wharton.
Tunde Owolabi was the source of FC United’s main threat down the left hand side, though it was a header from him off a Mike Potts free-kick that should have resulted in more, in the end cleared by Steve Jennings close to the line.
After Tony Gray dragged a shot wide, FC United were given the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot. The Yellows failed to clear their lines and a poor header by Mitch Duggan put them under pressure, and Regan Linney went down over a trailing Dave Raven leg in the box and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot.
Linney stepped up and though Tony McMillan went the right way, it was too well struck and the hosts led.
Their lead was shortlived though, two minutes later a free-kick was headed out only as far as Duggan, who struck a superb half-volley in to the bottom corner for 1-1.
That really opened the game up, and on one FC United attack, no fewer than four separate Yellows defenders had to make diving blocks inside the box.
Owolabi continued to cause problems, his cross headed just over by Craig Carney, who then had a chance when he sneaked in to beat the offside trap, McMillan quickly out of his goal to save with his legs.
McMillan also saved well to deny Linney moments later after FC United broke following a Yellows attack where Garrity got in behind but shot straight at Wharton.
An almost breathless first half ended at 1-1 with Alex Byrne scuffing a shot wide after his free-kick was only half-cleared.
Jack Dunn made his first appearance of the season coming off the bench for Matty Chadwick at half time, but his stint was short-lived – forced off injured just 15 minutes later, though not before he had narrowly missed with a free kick from the edge of the box.
There wasn’t much in the way of chances in the second half as both sides flagged.
And it took Warrington’s king of assists, Byrne, to create the winner, his corner flicked on by Garrity for skipper Mark Roberts to head home his third goal of the season from point blank range at the far post with 20 minutes to go.
The hosts couldn’t carve out any sort of opening in the final quarter, and though McMillan had to save well in the six minutes of injury time to deny Aaron Morris on the turn, the Yellows were well worth their win in the end.
The two sides meet again on Tuesday night in the league at Cantilever Park.
FC United: Wharton, Morris, Dodd, Doyle, Dean, Jones, Rodney, Potts (Lenehan), Owolabi, Linney (Sharp), Carney (Donohue). Subs: Hellawell, Blackledge, Joyce, Belford
Warrington Town: McMillan, Duggan, Barnes, Jennings, Roberts, Raven, Garrity, Sephton, Chadwick (Dunn (Dixon)), Gray, Byrne (Amis). Subs: McCarten, Warren, Tansey, Speare.