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The (Other) Manchester Derby

You won’t find attendances of 79,000 at this game. Nor will you find overpaid, over hyped pre-madonnas or day-tripping “fans”. You won’t find a club shop selling replica shirts for £60 and you won’t find an expensive stadium, it’s walls adorned by pictures of multi-millionaire foreign investors. If you approached this game expecting any of these things, you’d have left disgruntled and disappointed. If you, however, attended this game seeking passionate, traditional “English” football, you’d have left feeling satisfied.

Brantingham Road, Chorlton, Greater Manchester. by Matthew Wilkinson.
The biggest difference between Manchester United and FC United of Manchester is the age of their ballboys

On the 4th of August, FC United of Manchester, a club set up by fans of Manchester United disgusted with the way the club was being run by the Glazier’s, clashed with their city rivals Maine Road, an amateur side formed by Manchester City fans in 1955. The game was a pre-season friendly, but that didn’t mean either side was going to approach the game in a non-committed fashion. Pride was at stake, as well as bragging rights in a football obsessed city.

The game was played at Brantingham Road, the home of Maine Road F.C. The last Manchester derby to be played in the blue half of Manchester saw the red half emerge victorious, thanks to a goal from Wayne Rooney, who United bought for £26.5million. In this particular encounter, FC United’s solitary goal was scored by Simon Carden, who cost the Red Rebels absolutely nothing- signed on a free after his old club, Radcliffe Borough, released him.

Carden’s early goal, a sweet volley, put FC United 1-up, and the side were looking dominant. Their goal was the result of some sweet build play involving Adam Carden and Ben Deegan, but in true derby fashion the lead lasted only five minutes.

Brantingham Road, Chorlton, Greater Manchester. by Matthew Wilkinson.
The FC United fans succeeded in their ploy of stealing Man Utd’s Paul Scholes

A few players have played for both Manchester teams. Peter Schmeichel and Andy Cole both strutted their stuff in both the red and blue, and now Carlos Tevez can be added to that list. So too can Neil Chappel. A former FC United player, Chappel moved to Maine Road F.C recently, and his equalising goal left FC wishing they had never let him go. He struck just five minutes after Darden’s opener, slotting home a goal after finding himself in a one-on-one situation with the opposing ‘keeper Sam Ashton.

In the second half FC United once again had more possesion then their rivals, and looked as if they were the team more likely to snatch a win. An indirect freekick in the Maine Road box was fired wide, as were a few hopeful long shots. In fact, Maine Road attacks were incredibly sparse, and it looked like a draw was the best possible result for the North West Counties football league side.

That was until a hopeful run in the box by a Maine Road attacker ended with the player being blatatntly tripped by a Red defender. Penalty.

Usually the pressures off in friendlies, but no Mancunian would want to miss a penalty in a Manchester derby, especially not when the goal would seal victory for your team. So pity the forward who took the penalty and watched on as it was saved by the goalie. Fortunately for him though, the rebound rolled towards him, and he blasted the ball towards goal. His effort was seemingly hacked off the line but in the confusion the goal was given, and Maine Road won the game.

Brantingham Road, Chorlton, Greater Manchester. by Matthew Wilkinson.
Penalty drama

Whilst the derby didn’t have the technical skill of the more illustrious Manchester derby, the small crowd went home happy after witnessing an enjoyable 90 minutes of football. Prove then, that in this money saturated age, real football does still enthrall those who bother to seek it out.

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