On Saturday FC United of Manchester faced Curzon Ashton in a local derby at Broadhurst Park. Curzon triumphed with a 3-2 win in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying round tie. Two former Preston North End players managed to get on the scoresheet, one on either side.
Joe Rodwell Grant left Preston North End in the summer and went on to sign a deal with fellow Championship side Wigan Athletic. He spent seven years with Preston but is now part of Wigan’s Under 21 side. The 19-year-old didn’t get much of a chance in the first-team despite impressing at youth level. There have been few opportunities in recent years for anyone to progress through the ranks.
He did go on loan to local sides Chorley, Bamber Bridge and Lancaster City, and in the last week Wigan sent him on loan to Northern Premier League side FC United of Manchester. They play in the seventh tier of English football, at the same level as Bamber Bridge and Lancaster City. He made his debut for the club on Tuesday and then started their FA Cup tie against Curzon Ashton on Saturday.
Curzon were 3-0 up after 46 minutes, but FC fought back with two goals including one from Rodwell Grant in the 85th minute. They couldn’t force the replay though as Curzon held on for a 3-2 win.
The National League North side took the lead through Will Hayhurst who used to play for Preston North End too. Still just 28 years old, Hayhurst made his professional debut for Preston over 10 years ago in April 2012. His first game actually came in the match where Graham Alexander made his last. A memorable 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic which saw Grezza score a great free kick to finish his career in style.
After making his debut under Graham Westley, he went on to score his first three professional goals in three consecutive games which marked the start of Simon Grayson’s time as Preston manager. Grayson strengthened the squad the next season and despite giving Hayhurst a two-year contract he was sent out on loan to York City.
He then moved permanently to Notts County but suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury which actually led to him retiring at the age of 23. He moved into work in the property business which he discussed a few years back with Lancs Live.
However since then he has turned out for Southport, Warrington Town, Farsley Celtic and current club Curzon Ashton. He signed for the National League North side in the summer, and has scored one goal in the league on top of his cup goal. Curzon will be hoping to progress through two more qualifying rounds in order to make the first round proper of the FA Cup.