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Oldham Athletic 3 – 5 Rochdale

Rochdale took the spoils against local rivals Oldham Athletic in a high scoring FA Youth Cup 2nd Round fixture at Boundary Park this week.

Dale’s youngsters emerged as 5-3 winners and will now travel to face Premier League Club Aston Villa in the 3rd Round on the 9th December.

In a fiercely contested encounter Dale opened the scoring on 17 minutes when a cross from Scott Hogan was diverted into his own net by Latics midfielder Matthew Carr.

The Oldham equaliser came on 31 minutes when McGrath followed up well after a Crompton strike was parried by Taberner. If the Latcis had hoped to kick on after forcing an equaliser their hopes were dashed only 3 minutes later when Dale regained the lead from a Sherriff header after some good work by Liam Murray.

During a frantic end to the first half both sides had opportunities to score but it was Oldham who found a second equaliser when Phil McGrath beat a Dale defender before unleashing an unstoppable effort from 25 yards into the bottom corner.

It took just two minutes of play after the interval for Dale to regain their lead with Josh Brizell converting from the spot after Hogan had been upended by a home defender.

With the home side on the ropes, Dale went for the sucker punch and effectively won the tie just two minutes later when Reece Gray set up Scott Hogan who finished clinically.

Oldham briefly rallied but Dale were not to be denied and when Gray was brought down on the edge of the box, the resulting free kick taken by Brizell was allowed to drift beyond the home defence and past Anthony White in goal.

White then made a stunning save from Sheriff to spare Latics blushes even further but the Latics did salvage some pride via a late consolation goal from Djeny Bembo-Leta who headed home from 8-yards out.

Speaking after the match, Oldham Athetic’s Head of Youth, Tony Philliskirk said:

“I’m very disappointed, I think that is the fourth or fifth time we’ve scored 3 goals this season and still got beat, and that is obviously not good enough.”

“I’ll not say things about individuals but it is obvious where our problems lie, in the last month we’ve done a lot better defensively and I thought we had those problems alleviated, but tonight you can see they have come back with a vengeance.”

“The big chance of going to Villa Park has passed the players by now and they can’t really have any complaints. We were beaten by a better team.”

On a more positive note Philliskirk was keen to highlight the impressive performance of 17 year old Phil McGrath, on the Latics left wing.

“Phil, to be fair, hasn’t played or even trained for 5 or 6 weeks now,” explained Philliskirk, “He had a double hernia operation just a couple of weeks ago and we asked him if he thought he could get through the game and so his performance is even more impressive.”

“The weather was so bad yesterday we couldn’t even train then and so he’s really had no preparation at all. He’s had a real stop-start time since he arrived here and has been really unlucky with injuries. When he has played – and I know the senior staff like him as well – he’s direct and has two good feet.”

“He just needs to manage his game a bit better – when to run, when to stop or pass – but the boy is only 17 years old and has done really well so far.”

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