Brighton & Hove Albion 1 FC United of Manchester 1
By Tim Hodges at Withdean
The Albion have to go to a replay again to progress in this season’s FA Cup.
The lowest ranked remaining team in the competition, formed by fans disgruntled by the Glazer family’s takeover of Manchester United, came to Withdean with the most passionate and noisy support seen in the 11 years of Albion’s tenure.
It was the Albion who dominated from the start, the two front men Murray and Barnes causing Monroe and McManus in FC United’s central defence some anxious moments.
Marcos Painter was getting forward from right back early in the game for the Seagulls, as was Tarrico on the left.
Captain for the day Radostin Kishischev was extremely comfortable in the centre of midfield with Christian Baz ahead of him and doing a lot of the running for the 36-year-old.
Glen Murray attempted a quite audacious lob, which the faux reds’ keeper Ashton plucked with confidence.
Elliott Bennett had a shot fly just wide, before Ashley Barnes headed straight at Ashton, almost inside the six-yard box.
FC United seldom ventured over the halfway line, although Rocca sent a good ball through to Norton who excitedly shot well wide.
Elliot Bennett, supplied by Tarrico, hit a great first time shot which Ashton parried, but Albion couldn’t capitalize from he loose ball.
Five minutes before half time in a rare sortie, Jacobs and Rocca combined down the Albion left, Rocca, wrong footed Marcos Painter, crossed for Norton, who in turn laid it back to the aptly named, for a Mancunian, Nicky Platt.
Platt fired the ball past Brezovan to put FC United in front and sent the travelling fans absolutely delirious, their noise could have been heard at Preston Circus.
The Albion and Withdean in general were shell shocked. At half time the Albion left the pitch to a crescendo of boos, not heard since the days of Martin Hinshelwood.
At the start of the second half Francisco Sandaza replaced Glen Murray.
Almost immediately Bennett, Bridcutt and Baz were aiming decent crosses his way.
The Albion were completely dominating play, Sandaza headed three clear cut chances over the cross bar.
Hart replaced Baz in an effort to beef up Albion’s attack, as the Seagulls went three pronged up front.
Barnes tried an accurate flick at the far post, which the increasingly busy Ashton seemed surprised to grab.
Sandaza then headed agonisingly wide, from six yards out.
Every Brighton player was having some influence in attack except maybe Elphick.
Then off the ball, Gary Hart fell to the floor clutching his face.
Referee Sergison consulted with his assistant and sent off FC United’s McManus for violent conduct.
However, it seemed the ten men would hold for a remarkable victory, until Painter almost playing as a left winger crafted a great cross, that Taricco got a powerful head to and which Sandaza bundled over the line for 1-1.
Now the Albion pressed for a winner and it almost came as a Tarricco shot was turned goal wards by Barnes only for Monroe to somehow head the ball out from under the crossbar as he fell back into the goal.
Monroe was involved again in the fifth minute of injury time as he bundled over Sandaza in the penalty area.
Sandaza and Bennett had a heated discussion regarding who should take the resulting penalty .
Bennett won the argument and Sam Ashton made a remarkable save, to send the tie to a replay.
Albion: Brezovan; Taricco, Elphick, Dunk, Painter; Baz, Kishishev, Bridcutt, Bennett; Murray, Barnes. Subs: Poke, Greer, Battipiedi, Calderon, Hart, Sandaza, Kasim.
FC United: Ashton, Jacobs, Munroe, McManus, Overton; Roca, Platt, Wright, Cottrell, Deegan, Nortin. Subs: Hibbert, Holden, Carden, Wolfenden, Ayres, Tierney, Parker.
Ref: C Sarginson
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