Manchester Senior Cup
Moss Lane, 3 February 2011
The opening stages of the encounter were fairly even with both teams enjoying their moments. United were lucky not to concede a penalty when Oliver Norwood blatantly handled inside his own penalty area and Rochdale’s striker Godwin Abadaki’s edge of the area effort brought a fine save from goalkeeper Conor Devlin. Sandwiched in between Sean Mcginty came close for United when his near post header was cleared off the goal line by Connor Sellars (son of former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Scott Sellars) and several defensive blocks by Michael Roche prevented goal bound efforts from testing goalkeeper Matty Edwards.
On 25 minutes United began to dominate and should have opened the scoring when Marnick Vermijl missed a glorious opportunity after good play from Fabio. The young Brazilian filling a more advanced midfield role soon had his own opportunity to break the deadlock, following strong forward play from King. The young Norwegian utilised his pace and strength to run the channel and cut back a cross for the waiting Fabio. Unfortunately the talented youngster was unable to dig the ball out of his feet leading to a weaker than desired shot on goal, though the effort still required a smart effort from Edwards.
United continued to push forward and squander chance after chance with King adding his name to the list of guilty parties. However, on the stroke of half time the striker finally converted an opportunity. Defender Jordan Fagbola dilly dallied inside in his own half allowing King to steal possession. The striker surged forward and leashed a 25 yard shot past Edwards to give Warren Joyce’s team a deserved lead.
On resumption United continued to plough forward and the home team extended their lead on 52 minutes with Fabio netting his second reserve goal of the season. The impressive Brady found Fabio in plenty of space in between central defenders, who in turn smashed home a right footed effort from the edge of Rochdale’s penalty area. Moments later the pair linked again for only Brady to smack the crossbar, but the Irishman was not to be denied when on 55 minutes he cut inside from the left wing, skipped past two or three would be tacklers and slotted home from close range.
With some surprise it was Rochdale who scored the next goal. Reece Brown sloppily lost possession to Helio Andre inside United’s penalty. Fancy feet from Andre left Devlin on his backside, but the forward’s effort was blocked on the line by Scott Wootton. Unfortunately for Wootton, the rebound fell to Reece Gray who simply finished giving the visitors an expected moment of joy.
United responded positively to the setback, with replacement Ravel Morrison stamping his authority on the game. Moments before Rochdale’s goal Morrison enjoyed a slalom type run beating opposition players for fun, but he tried to skip past one man too many inside the penalty losing the possibility for a strike on goal. Morrison and King then linked to create a chance for the former who tried to chip Edwards. The pair seemingly on the same wavelength combined once again to score United’s fourth. Morrison collected the ball in midfield; surged forward and supplied King with a perfectly weighted pass, the striker excellently side footed/passed the shot into the bottom corner.
On 73 minutes King completed his hat-trick after he pounced on long searching ball from Norwood. Once in possession the striker flicked the ball over the opposing central defender and defeated Edwards with a powerful 20 yard shot.
Another substitute replacement to make an impression was Jack Barmby, son of Nick. Within minutes of arriving on the pitch he came close on two occasions, first narrowly missing the target and secondly hitting the crossbar. He was also involved in the build up to the final goal of the rout when he linked with King who in turn laid a ball for Morrison to place his shot from the edge of Rochdale’s penalty area.
A final score line of 6-1. Rochdale tired massively during the second half, so perhaps unwise to read too much in the performance and victory. King utilised his pace and power plus his finishing was top notch. Morrison was class, the last person Rochdale wanted to see with tired legs. He simply picked up the ball in midfield and ran at the heart of Rochdale’s defence. Six wins out of six games for Joyce’s team, scoring 25 goals in the process.
Team: Devlin; R Brown (Giverin, 75 mins), Wootton, Gill, McGinty (Morrison, 57 mins); Vermijl, Norwood, Ekangamene (Barmby, 75 mins), Fabio, Brady; King