Oldham Boro 1 Salford City 3
By Andy Giblin
Jack Redshaw made a return to Salford City's line-up at a chilly Whitebank Stadium this evening and promptly scored a hat-trick to earn the Ammies a 3-1 win.
On a heavy, sloping surface the visitors made a dream start when Jamie Rother swung a left-sided corner towards the far post and Redshaw was unmarked to place a header past Gareth Fleming and into the net.
That came with 5 minutes played and although Boro enjoyed plenty of possession for a time Salford's reshaped defence coped well enough and debutant keeper Abdoulaye Dhiedhou had relatively little to do. A threat did arrive in the 22nd minute when home striker Brandon Stone picked up a low cross from the left, but with a clear sight of goal he could only place his shot high over the crossbar.
The action switched to the other end 3 minutes later when Cayne Hanley's pass from the right gave Redshaw the chance to cut into the area, but he was stopped by a perfectly timed challenge from Boro defender Lee Deakin.
Rother was the creator moments later when his lofted pass sent Hanley into the box on the right, and despite a trip from Oldham's Boic Nhiziyo he kept his feet to put in a dangerous cross that Richmond Botchey stretched to head clear.
On the half-hour Darren Hockenhull's long pass from defence sent Redshaw clear through the middle but Fleming was out quickly to provide a good blocking save.
It hadn't been a classic half of football from Salford, but late on Rother showed tenacity to chase down the ball inside the Oldham area before having a powerful shot blocked. Heffernan picked up possession just outside the area but his low effort whistled past Fleming's left-hand post.
HALF TIME: OLDHAM BORO 0, SALFORD CITY 1
Playing down the slope in the second half the Ammies took just 3 minutes to extend their lead. A spell of pressure ended with James Ogoo picking up the ball a few yards outside the Boro box. He advanced a little before flicking a neat pass to the right and Redshaw drilled a firm, angled finish past the helpless Fleming.
Oldham were to work hard all evening, closing down the opposition and putting together the odd promising move. From one of these Stone broke clear of the Salford defence but Dhiedhiou was out smartly to make a brave block.
At the other end Hanley's pass set up Heffernan on the right, but from
15 yards out he flashed a shot wide of Fleming's left-hand post.
In the 57th minute Salford put the game beyond the reach of their hosts after a spell of concerted pressure applied to the Oldham goal.
Rother's cross from the left found Heffernan at the far post, but he could only head against the crossbar from close-range. The ball fell conveniently for Redshaw and he showed no hesitation in slamming a low finish into the net.
That waa effectively the game won for the Ammies, and despite Boro's hard-work and committment they were largely held at arm's length for the rest of the match. The lively Danny Pearson sent a couple of long range efforts over the crossbar and Dhiedhiou made one or two decent stops but Salford were looking reasonably comfortable.
With 8 minutes left Heffernan's deep cross from the left was inches too high for Redshaw whose header was comfortably collected by Fleming.
It seemed as if Dhiedhiou would mark his debut with a clean sheet, but in injury time Botchey's right-wing corner evaded the stretching keeper and Rick Winstanley turned the ball back into the danger area. Will Buckley had time and space to place a composed 12-yard finish into the net and Oldham Boro had some reward for the hard work they'd put into the match.
It didn't affect the outcome though, and it's Salford who progress to the quarter finals, and a home tie versus Ashton United in the new year.
A very satisfactory evening for a Salford side affected by injury and this competition's eccentric player qualification rules, and a morale boosting win keeps the club's knock-out competition hopes alive into 2012.
1) Gareth FLEMING
2) Richmond BOTCHEY
3) Jerome BRYSON
4) Lee DEAKIN
5) Nick MURPHY
6) Boic NHIZIYO
7) Will BUCKLEY
8) Liam MOORE
9) Brandon STONE
10) Lee KNOWLES
11) Danny WHITESIDE
12) Rick WINSTANLEY (for MOORE, 80th min)
14) Mark BOLAND (for STONE, 80th min)
15) Stephen SHEIL
16) Danny PEARSON (for NHIZIYO, 89th min)
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