Detroit City FC and FC United of Manchester put on a show for the 6,245 fans in attendance Saturday afternoon at Keyworth Stadium. Despite taking the lead twice in the early minutes of the match, Detroit found itself down 3-2 for most of the match and had to fight its way back to a 3-3- tie.
“I think it was a good way for us to kind of bring them [FC United] over and show them the culture we’ve established here,” said Detroit City player Javi Bautista. “For the most part I think it was pretty even and I think they’re a really good team just like us, so I think it was a fair result.”
The atmosphere at the match was electric from the get-go and Detroit City fed off the energy from its supporters, taking an early lead in the 11th minute. The goal came courtesy of Javi Bautista, who found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Dillon Forth before beating him to the far post.
FC United responded almost immediately by scoring a goal of its own three minutes later, when Sam Madeley latched onto a pass from Tom Greaves to level the score. Detroit would regain the lead in the 26th minute thanks to a goal by Jeff Adkins, who received a ball from Zack before putting the ball past Forth.
Despite being behind on the scoreboard, FC United refused to lay down, keeping the match a back and forth affair. The visitors’ efforts paid off late in the first half when goals by George Thomson and Dale Johnson allowed the Red Rebels to flip the script on Detroit. With the hosts now trailing 3-2, the game headed into intermission.
The second half saw the teams continue to play on even terms, although not at the same pace as in the first half, undoubtedly the result of playing in 80-plus degree weather. With the match heading into injury time, the Mancunians looked set to walk away with the victory.
Not wanting to let their fans down, Detroit City managed to muster one last attack. In the third minute of added time Bobby Budlong sent a ball into Alec Lasinski’s path, and the forward beat the goalkeeper to tie things up.
The match ended to the fanfare of fans from both sides, all of whom clapped for their respective teams. The players then headed towards the supporters’ section to thank them before swapping jerseys with their rivals in what was a meaningful gesture after such a heated match.
“The fans were incredible, it was a brilliant experience to come over and play. To be fair, the quality of play was better than we expected,” said FC United midfielder Thomas Brown. “It was a tough game – it was very hard to play in this heat. They gave us a good game.”