With the return of the greatest competition on earth to those clubs in League One and Two, our correspondents give their match reports …
MATCH REPORT: Carlisle United 3-2 Oldham Athletic
Oldham’s defence continued to be their Achilles heel as the Latics fell to a second successive loss, falling to League 2 Carlisle in the first round of the FA Cup.
Oldham started the game strongly, seemingly showing why they were a division higher – Carlisle looked shaky on the ball and the Latics took the game to the home side. On 5 minutes, Queensy Menig volleyed just wide following good work down the wing from Cameron Dummigan. Oldham continued to press and Dan Gardner was unfortunate not to give the visitors the lead. He cut in from the left to curl his shot toward goal but it thundered off the crossbar.
Against the run of play, Richie Bennett opened the scoring for the home side. This really was the Oldham old boys coming back to haunt their former team. Former Latics defender Clint Hill headed the ball across goal to the Latics supporter and former Oldham schoolboy player who nodded in at the back post. Oldham persisted in trying to find the goal, though. Paul Green had a good shot deflected over the bar and the following corner saw captain Peter Clarke head inches wide – the away fans were convinced he’d found the net. Despite the chances for Oldham, it was Carlisle who once again found the net – Hallam Hope hit a wonderful strike from 18 yards that curled inch perfectly into the top corner.
The second half started slowly. The Cumbrians were comfortable with their 2-goal lead and Oldham just couldn’t find a real spark to get going – clearly missing the creative spark of Jack Byrne in midfield. Bennett notched his 2nd goal of the game on the hour mark when Reggie Lambe played a ball in from the right that somehow evaded Johnny Placide and the big striker managed to beat the Oldham defence; the ball nestled in the net as Oldham found themselves stunned by a team that had really only had 3 clear cut chances all game.
Cameron Dummigan had a fine game at right back for Oldham and he was all important in starting a resurgence for Oldham. It was his cross that found Peter Clarke who hit a strong header into the net on 64 minutes, giving the fans some hope. Just 7 minutes later Oldham gave the home side a real scare. Aaron Amadi-Holloway managed to smash the ball into the net after a corner wasn’t cleared. Set pieces were all important and Oldham fans thought their team had completed a magnificent comeback when Peter Clarke, who is invariably reliant on the end of set pieces, wasted a good chance as he tried to round the goalkeeper instead of smashing home. Oldham continued to press but it just wasn’t to be and the home side came out victorious.
Following his 2nd defeat, the honeymoon period has certainly ended for Richie Wellens as his life in management starts to really be tested. He’ll be keen to see midfield maestro Jack Byrne back in the team, whose loan deal didn’t allow him to play in the FA Cup. Meanwhile, Carlisle have ended their winless streak at home; Keith Curle will hope to see this win boost the Cumbrians league performance.
FULL TIME: Carlisle United (Bennett 22’ 60’, Hope 36’) 3-2 Oldham Athletic (Clarke 64’, Holloway 71’)
Referee: Andy Haines
Carlisle United: Bonham, Grainger, Joyce, Liddle, Parkes, Jones, Hope (Etuhu 70’), Bennett (Miller 86’), Brown, Lambe (Devitt 78’), Hill.
Subs not used: George, Miller, Adams, O’Sullivan.
Oldham Athletic: Placide, Dummigan, Clarke, Bryan, Hunt (Nepomuceno 70’), Green (Flynn 66’), Fane, Gardner, Menig (Holloway 62’), Doyle, Davies.
Subs not used: Ruddy, Wilson, Gerrard, Omrani.
Attendance: 3,900 (798 visiting supporters)
words Chris Stringer, D3D4 Oldham Athletic Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Crewe Alexandra 2-1 Rotherham United
There’s a reason I tend to avoid my own club whilst “groundhopping” if only to avoid any emotional attachment in order to deliver an unbiased report of proceedings so apologies in advance if today’s report seems to have any bias.
602 Millers fans settled into the small Whitby Morrison stand for their 2017/18 FA Cup adventure to start & for the first 45 minutes everything seemed to be going to plan. Wave after wave of Rotherham attacks, the Millers coming close on numerous occasions before Midfielder Will Vaulks gave them a deserved lead on 21 minutes with a fine curling Right foot effort from 25 yards. Rotherham continued to have the upper hand with Vaulks again, Kieffer Moore & Ryan Williams all coming within inches of increasing the lead before in injury time at the end of the half a Joe Newell corner was headed in powerfully by Moore….2-0 but no, the linesman noticed an infringement by a Rotherham player before the corner was taken so the referee ordered the corner to be retaken…..
HT Crewe 0 Rotherham 1
The disallowed goal must have given the Alex a huge lift as they equalised after just 90 seconds of the second half. Vaulks conceded a needless free kick & from this, defender Brad Walker got ahead of Millers keeper Richard O’Donnell, who had strayed off his line, to equalise. Following the equaliser Crewe came more into the game and showed more attacking intent but it was still Rotherham who looked the more threatening, Moore had a header magnificently saved by Richards in the Crewe goal, Vaulks hit the upright with a free kick & Millers sub Jon Taylor came close after a good run & shot. Crewe defender & ex Miller Michael Raynes did well from a cross from the left & his header just cleared the ball with O’Donnell beaten before the tie was settled on 89 minutes when hesitancy between O’Donnell & Centre back Ajayi allowed Crewe midfielder Callum Ainsley to nip between them & score & give the Alex a surprise win despite the 5 minutes injury time.
FT Crewe 2 Rotherham 1
words Ian Bradley, D3D4 Rotherham United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Morecambe 3-0 Hartlepool United
Important Pools Win For Morecambe.
Morecambe had won only two of their previous home fixtures this season prior to today’s FA Cup First Round clash against recently relegated Hartlepool United at the Globe Arena. Given that they also found themselves in the relegation positions in League Two for the first time ever and have an appalling record of defeats in the First Round of the FA Cup in recent times, progress against a team from the National League which still attracts crowds of over 3,500 (over twice the Shrimps’ average) was by no means guaranteed. This is the sort of contest where the Shrimps were effectively on a hiding to nothing: if they won, most people would say that was only to be expected against a non-League side; if they lost, they would never hear the end of it. But Morecambe were beaten by Coventry last year in a tepid display in a replay at the Ricoh Arena. The previous year, they put up a truly pathetic performance against Dagenham & Redbridge in which they threw in the towel after leading in a replay and finally lost 2-4. This followed-on from their worst defeat in the competition so far, when the Shrimps were defeated by non-League Dover Athletic in Kent three years ago – and so it goes on. Today, however, the League Two side had a golden opportunity to take advantage of their higher status and home advantage to progress to the Second Round for a very welcome change.
Few clubs – except perhaps Leyton Orient – can compete with Morecambe in the off the field Boardroom Shenanigans Stakes but Pools have themselves been embroiled in potential take-overs recently, such as by two shady `businessmen’ who have instead pocketed tens of thousands of pounds of the club’s gate receipts: this pair of English fraudsters were convicted two weeks ago and now face substantial jail sentences.
Hartlepool arrived at the Lancashire seaside on an unbeaten run of six games and in twelfth position in the National League. Boss Craig Harrison was without the services of central defender Michael Ledger, who broke his nose in the nil-two win at struggling Torquay United last Saturday and put Kenton Richardson straight into the starting eleven to replace him.
The visitors kicked-off to get the game underway under blue skies which had replaced the rain which had swept across the seaside resort all night and for much of the morning. But Pools lost possession immediately, conceded a free kick after which Adam McGurk took a blockbuster of a shot which ex-loanee Morecambe goalkeeper Scott Loach did brilliantly to push over the bar with only 30 seconds on the clock. From the resulting corner, the visiting goalkeeper did well again to smother the ball at the feet of Steven Old. But the home team kept up the pressure and Kevin Ellison put the Shrimps ahead with a neat sidefoot shot from Aaron Wildig’s pass from the Morecambe left from twelve yards out with only four minutes played. The hosts continued to dominate in the early stages with neat passing played at pace and although the match became a little scrappy as the half wore on, McGurk again forced Loach into a good save with a bullet header a little while before the break, Wildig being the provider once more. In the meantime, United’s goalkeeper was also forced to save from Old and watched a scorcher from Wildig fly just over his bar. The visitors’ answer to Morecambe’s domination was pretty crude at times and it would not have been a surprise if more than Liam Donnelley’s name had gone into the Referee’s notebook before half time. In terms of attacking intent, the visitors did not create even one serious chance with which to threaten Barry Roche’s goal during the entire opening 45 minutes.
Morecambe – as has so often happened this season – lost both their shape and their momentum at the start of the second half. Trading blows with a physical team like Hartlepool is never a good idea and the first ten minutes or longer of the re-start were a niggly and bad-tempered affair with Luke George the greatest sinner for the visitors in terms of giving away free-kicks. With an hour played, United had their first attempt on goal when Richardson headed wide and two minutes later, Big Baz was forced into his first save of the day – and a good one at that – from Jonathan Franks. Three minutes later, though, Vadaine Oliver was introduced for the Shrimps and made an immediate impact, first winning a free-kick and then brilliantly playing-in Andy Fleming to be one-on-one with Loach who he beat confidently with a shot which went under the keeper’s body to put the hosts two goals to the good. Oliver then out-muscled the Pools defence and forced Loach into a good save after 72 minutes as Morecambe began to regain the dominance they had enjoyed during the first half. They scored a third goal after 85 minutes when substitute Adam Campbell unleashed a piledriver from outside the box which smashed against the post, bounced back, hit the unfortunate Loach on the back of his head and nestled in the back of the United net. Even before this, the game was effectively won and Pools showed no signs of coming back into the contest at any point.
— Hartlepool United FC (@Official_HUFC) 4 November 2017
So Morecambe find their name in the draw for the Second Round on Monday night. Despite a bit of a wobble at the start of the second half, this was a well-deserved win where their finesse was far too much for team which tried to make up for their lack of skill with a large helping of brawn. It must feel like a long way home for the 854 fans from the North-East coast who made the fruitless journey westwards and they must feel even further away from a place back in the EFL with the performance they put on today than they did before the match started.
Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 3 Patrick Brough; 5 Steven Old; 2 Aaron McGowan; 22 Max Muller; 8 Andy Fleming; 4 Alex Kenyon(C); 7 Garry Thompson; 15 Aaron Wildig (10 Adam Campbell 70 mins); 28 Adam McGurk (9 Vadaine Oliver 65 mins); 11 Kevin Ellison.
Subs Not Used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 24 Michael Rose; 14 Luke Conlan; 21 Elliot Osborne.
Hartlepool United: 1 Scott Loach; 22 Liam Donnelly (Y); 23 Louis Laing; 6 Luke George (8 Jack Munns 75 mins); 19 Kenton Richardson; 3 Blair Adams; 4 Nicky Featherstone (Y); 11 Rhys Oates; 12 Jonathan Franks; 17 Nicky Deverdics; 14 Michael Woods (21 Devante Rodney 60 mins).
Subs Not Used: 13 Ryan Catterick; 24 Conor Newton; 5 Scott Harrison; 18 Lewis Hawkins; 27 Connor Simpson.
Ref: Tom Nield.
words Roger Fitton, D3D4 Morecambe FC Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Peterborough United 1-1 Tranmere Rovers
English FA Cup 1st Round
PETERBOROUGH UNITED 1-1 TRANMERE ROVERS ATT: 3,758
Marriott 52 Cook 72
Line-up:- O’Malley, Taylor, Tafazolli, Baldwin, Hughes, Grant, Doughty (Anderson 79), Edwards (Kanu 70), Da Silva Lopes (Miller 85), Maddison, Marriott.
A tough draw granted, however a victory should have been garnered by the league 1 outfit at the ABAX. Posh lined up very strongly, despite deputy keeper Connor O’Malley being preferred over Jonathan Bond between the sticks.
Peterborough seemed to seriously lack ambition, while Tranmere could sense an upset within their nostrils. Tranmere made all the real threats, within a ‘duller than dish-water’, first half, O’Malley being called to make a decent stop with his legs.
With Posh this season being more of a second half team, to a degree this rang true once again. Posh having most of the attacking intent after the break leading to a goal-mouth scramble, with the ball breaking out to Marriott, who in turn buried it for 1-0.
Once again Rovers kept showing with their endeavour just how precarious the slim lead was. McCann brought Kanu on for Edwards (who had, had a decent 70 minutes), in order to keep things fresh. However a deep, looping downward header from Cook, that found the back of the net after O’Malley got a despairing glove to it, gave the non-league side their deserved equaliser.
Jermain Anderson and ‘so far non-entity’, Ricky Miller came on late to try and help instigate a way through and avoid a trip to Prenton Park for the replay. This did not transpire and the replay will take place.
Not a game with many highlights and looking at the overall gates at league clubs across the country, including here despite reduced ticket prices, maybe the love of the cup at this round is sadly, slowly diminishing.
words Ian McFarlane, D3D4 Peterborough United Correspondent