Manchester Senior Cup
Marston's Arena, 14 October 2008

James (13), Hewson (28)

Alessandra (3)
14/10/2008 21:45, Report by Steve Bartram
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Reserves: United 2 Oldham 1

United's defence of the Manchester Senior Cup continued with another solid victory, but the Reds had to come from behind to overturn Oldham Athletic.

The real bonus for United was that Ben Foster completed the full 90 minutes in the match.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side trailed from the third minute, when Lewis Alessandra converted from close range, but had tellingly turned the scoreline on its head by half-time, thanks to strikes from Matt James and Sam Hewson.

The Reds' starting line-up had a youthful look about it, with the likes of Scott Wootton, Oliver Gill, Cameron Stewart, Jimmy Derbyshire and James in from the off, but England international Foster provided relative experience in goal.

Just three minutes had elapsed when the former Stoke City stopper was beaten, however, as Alessandra pounced on a right-wing cross to nudge the visitors into a shock lead.

United took just 10 minutes to level. Tom Cleverley swung in an inch-perfect free-kick, and James timed his run to perfection to glance home his first goal for the Reds' second string.

Restoring parity so quickly gave the Reds a boost against their more experienced opponents, and Stewart shot narrowly off-target after some fine approach play from his midfield cohorts.

It wasn't long before United found another goal, though, and Hewson followed up his goal against Bolton last week with another against the Latics - although this was a far more spectacular effort.

The energetic midfielder, supporting lone striker Kiko Macheda at every given opportunity, took aim from 25 yards, and smashed a shot which was still rising when it flew into the top corner.

Three goals within the opening half-hour suggested a goal-laden night would follow, but clear chances were at a premium for the remaining hour. Foster made a superb reaction save to deny Chris O'Grady, while Latics keeper Greg Fleming had to be similarly alert to keep out another effort from James.

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