FC United of Manchester 1-5 Doncaster Rovers

FC United of Manchester 1-5 Doncaster Rovers – FA Cup fairy-tale ends for fan owned club that formed in opposition to Manchester United’s take over by the Glazer’s

  • Northern Premier League side FC United of Manchester were formed in 2005
  • Their Broadhurst Park ground is less than three miles from the Etihad stadium
  • Doncaster through to the second round of the FA Cup after dominant display
  • Rovers manager Darren Moore missed the cup tie after having to self isolate 

FC United of Manchester didn’t come close to the biggest win of their short history as League One Doncaster dished out a harsh reality check in front of the television cameras.

Fan-owned FC, set up in 2005 by Manchester United supporters opposed to The Glazers at Old Trafford, are mid-table in the Northern Premier League and the gap in class with Rovers became apparent once Fejiri Okenabirhie fired the visitors ahead after 13 minutes.

Goals from Ben Whiteman, Southampton loanee Josh Sims and 39-year-old James Coppinger wrapped up the game before half-time with the underdogs sole reply claimed by Regan Linney at 2-0.

Doncaster Rovers’ Josh Sims (right) celebrates after scoring the League One side’s fifth goal

Sims then added a fifth Doncaster goal after 50 minutes – their third strike aided by a deflection.

Despite the disappointment, FC United’s live appearance on BBC 2 covered by household names Dion Dublin and Micah Richards underlined their remarkable journey since being founded in a local curryhouse 15 years ago.

Their Broadhurst Park stadium, less than three miles from Manchester City’s Etihad, opened in 2015 with groundsman Graham Byrne telling Football Focus yesterday. ‘It is a statement that fans can run football clubs.’

Manager Neil Reynolds, a head teacher from Blackpool, was appointed in October 2018 two months before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge at the original United.

Some of their football was pleasing to the eye last night but a defensive high line was repeatedly exploited by their visitors whose manager Darren Moore was absent having to self-isolate. 

There may have been no fans in the stands but there were fireworks at Broadhurst Park

FC United of Manchester midfielder Regan Linney scored his side’s only goal of the game

The highlight for the non-leaguers came after 30 minutes when Doncaster’s Reece James misjudged a bouncing ball and Linney ran half the length of the pitch before slotting home.

Despite the absence of fans, nearby firework displays created a decent atmosphere with plenty of loud bangs and smoke wafting across the pitch.

Now FC United have a blank diary for the rest of the month. National lockdown means their league has been halted until early December at the earliest.

For Doncaster, Coppinger turns 40 in January – the month of the FA Cup third round – and has already decided this is his last season. ‘I want to reach a hundred goals. I’m now on 94,’ he said after his latest strike.




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