Rochdale 1 United 4: Fantastic Fábio fires Reds into LSC semis
Posted by nickogs20 on March 16, 2009
|Rochdale Reserves||1-4||Manchester United Reserves|
|Reidy 17||–||Fábio 26, 41, 48, missed pen 21|
United’s reserve side roared into the semi-finals of the Lancashire Senior Cup this afternoon after resoundingly beating Rochdale 4-1 at Spotland. The defending champions took a while to find their feet and fell behind early on to a Joe Reidy header, but that goal only served to spark the Reds into life as Fábio da Silva well and truly took centre-stage. When the little Brazilian left-back missed a penalty he had won shortly after the home side’s opener, he could have been forgiven for letting his head drop…. instead, he went and scored a hattrick, two predatory finishes from close range book-ending a sublime volley after some breathtaking build-up play. When Danny Welbeck made it four before the hour mark it looked like Ole Solskjaer’s side could rack up a cricket score, only some fine goalkeeping and wasteful finishing keeping the scoreline vaguely respectable for the home team as United booked a semi-final date with Preston North End.
Solskjaer made six changes to the side that acquitted themselves so well against Liverpool last Thursday. Ron-Robert Zieler replaced Tomasz Kuszczak in goal, Oliver Gill stepped in for the suspended Ritchie de Laet in defence, Magnus Eikrem, Anton Bryan and Jimmy Derbyshire came in for Matt James, Danny Drinkwater and Robbie Brady in midfield (the latter three all taking their place on the bench), while Kiko Macheda returned from his suspension to replace Lee Martin and partner Danny Welbeck in attack.
United’s start to the game was very out of keeping with what was to follow, the Reds struggling to keep possession and get their creative players on the ball and into the game as Rochdale set about giving their opponents no time to settle. Gill and captain Corry Evans were being sternly tested by The Dale’s experienced strike pairing of Lee McEvilly and Chris Dagnall, while Eikrem and Rodrigo Possebon struggled to assert themselves against combative midfield opposition.
Byrne was showing a nice range of passing for the home side as well, and it was from his pinpoint crossfield ball that his side won the corner from which they took a lead that was difficult to begrudge them at that point. The Reds’ marking was sorely lacking as the set piece was taken short and whipped into the area – so lacking that probably the shortest guy on the pitch (although Derbyshire may have run him close!), left-winger Joe Reidy, was able to get up and loop a header over Zieler and just inside the angle of post and crossbar.
Happily, that shock to the system seemed to be exactly what was needed to spark the Reds into life. Macheda – who had already spurned a one-on-one opportunity before the opening goal – tested goalkeeper Russell with a sharp strike after fine work down the left, and it was down that flank shortly afterwards that United looked to have got back into it. Macheda’s lay-off looked to be slightly out of Fábio’s reach but the blistering pace of the 18 year-old got him to the ball just in time to toe it past a challenge that then sent him flying – penalty. What wasn’t in the script was for the Brazilian to miss the spot-kick, but despite looking remarkably composed when converting his two previous efforts from 12 yards this season, this time he sent his attempt crashing into the advertising hoarding wide of the right-hand post.
Briefly that mishap seemed to affect Fábio, a couple of defensive errors creeping into his game. It was only to be a short-lived blip however, as five minutes later he well and truly made amends. Eikrem’s right-wing corner was half-cleared by the Rochdale defence but only to the lurking Possebon on the edge of the area. His fierce left-footed half volley drew an impressive save from Russell, but the Dale stopper could only watch helplessly as Fábio rifled home the rebound for a deserved equaliser.
United were well on top now but finding clear-cut chances hard to come by. Welbeck and Macheda were starting to show their usual rapport but the final ball wasn’t quite coming off, and it looked like the hosts would make it to the interval with the scores tied. Unfortunately for them, four minutes before the break the Reds put together the move of the match to take a decisive lead.
Possebon’s delightful crossfield ball found Bryan on the left, who quickly shifted the ball forward to Macheda. The 17 year-old Italian took and beat one defender before pulling the ball back to the edge of the box and into the stride of that man Fábio, rampaging forward from left-back once more. The boy from Rio didn’t even have to break stride, letting fly with an unstoppable right-foot volley that Russell was powerless to keep out. Applause rang out from the predominantly home-supporting crowd for one of the reserve goals of the season so far.
More to follow…
1. Ron-Robert Zieler
2. Richard Eckersley
3. Fábio da Silva (15. Robbie Brady 60)
4. Corry Evans (c)
5. Oliver Gill
6. Rodrigo Possebon (14. Danny Drinkwater 46)
7. Magnus Eikrem
8. Antonio Bryan (16. Cameron Stewart 68)
9. Federico Macheda
10. Danny Welbeck
11. Jimmy Derbyshire
Subs not used
12. Matt James
13. Ben Amos
Referee: Dean Mohareb
Rochdale: Russell (Taberner 46), Bowyer, Brizzell, Byrne, Brown, Evans, Higginbotham, McCready, McEvilly, Dagnall (Sherriff 85), Reidy (Brown 68).
Unused subs: Mallion, Buckley.