Oldham Athletic 0
Rodwell 21mins, 51mins & 82mins, Suarez 76mins
- Match reports
- 29 April 2013 21:01
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
Jack Rodwell marked his second appearance for the Elite Development Squad in a week with a hat-trick to put City on their way to a Manchester Senior Cup win over Oldham Athletic.
Former City and Oldham boss Joe Royle once famously coined “Ice Station Zebra” to describe Boundary Park, English football’s third-highest ground above sea level.
It was easy to see why on a decidedly chilly spring night, though the action on the pitch was red hot between two teams determined to put best foot forward in this Manchester Senior Cup showdown.
Rodwell and Richards were both drafted in from the first-team squad to continue their respective rehabilitations in a strong-looking City XI which showed five changes from the team that beat Norwich City 3-1 on Friday.
Rodwell was charged with the responsibility of breaking forward from the centre of midfield, while Richards started in his customary position on the right-side of defence – though as one might expect, Micah spent a great deal of his time in the opposition half.
For Richards it was the third occasion he’d turned out for the EDS after draws at Bolton and Newcastle, while for Rodwell this game followed up his 63 minute run-out in the win against Stoke last Monday.
City went into the game knowing that their hopes of a place in the Manchester Senior Cup final rested on winning their remaining three games against Oldham, Manchester United and Bury, having already lost to Bolton and defeated Stockport County on penalties earlier in the competition.
Oldham have been on the wrong end of a 7-0 defeat to Manchester United in this season’s tournament, so were determined to keep things tight this time around, limiting City to pot shots from range in the opening exchanges.
As an unusual quirk, the hosts named first-team manager Lee Johnson in their midfield but even the man who led the Latics to League One safety could do nothing to prevent the opening goal after 21 minutes when Albert Rusnak’s pinpoint set piece from the right was met with authority by the head of Rodwell.
Though City did control the first-half possession-wise, they did allow the home side a couple of golden chances to level from a pair of set pieces but Suarez and Rusnak cleared off the line from headers.
For long stretches of the first-half Abdul Razak and Rodwell ran the show in midfield, linking up with the equally impressive Seko Fofana but clear chances to extend the lead were at a premium.
City had to wait until after the break to double their advantage and it was Rodwell who doubled his tally with a decisive thrash of his right boot from a neat Fofana back-heel on 51 minutes.
Two was nearly three a minute later when the England international showed great strength to muscle past Truelove to get through one-on-one but the Latics keeper came to the rescue.
It had been a relatively quiet first hour for Richards who had been getting vital minutes into his legs but he was not to be outdone by Rodwell’s heroics, making a crucial diving header from under his own crossbar to maintain City’s two-goal advantage.
City had to wait until 15 minutes from time for their third goal when Suarez danced through a couple of challenges and fired across the keeper to extend his fine recent scoring run.
The Spain under-20 international has now scored four goals in his last three games.
A good night was to get even better for the Blues eight minutes from time when Richards was clumsily bundled over in the penalty area to give Rodwell a chance for a hat-trick from 12 yards out.
Rodwell made no mistake, firing to the keeper’s right with an unstoppable side-footed spot kick to claim the match ball before, more importantly, completing all 90 minutes unscathed.
City EDS are next in action away to Rochdale in the Lancashire Senior Cup on Friday.