First of all, a tip of the hat.
To our groundsman Phil for managing to ensure that we had a playable pitch. To use the racing vernacular the going was soft even before a ball was kicked and, given the light rain we had during the day, he did an admirable job.
Also to the two teams who, in such soft conditions (that gradually worsened and were definitely in the heavy category by the end of the match), got on with the job in hand and provided us with a half-decent cup tie.
The first shot across the bows came from us in the 4th minute. Aaron Fleming, reprising his role in midfield from the weekend, threaded a perfect ball through to Jake Ambrose whose first-time effort was matched by an excellent stop by the Alsager keeper.
On 12 minutes the deadlock was broken. Chris Sherrington drilled a cross in from the left that an Alsager defender tried to clear but, the surface being as it was, he slipped slightly and only managed to heel the ball straight into the path of the onrushing Rick Whyatt who blasted home.
Alsager then rallied, firing over after a neat one-two on the edge of the area and then forcing a good stop from Danny Whiting before Jake Ambrose then headed over a Sherrington corner from close range.
On 35 minutes we should have been 2-0 up. The Alsager keeper sent a terrible clearance straight to Jake Ambrose who could have had a go on goal himself. He didn't, instead opting to square the ball to Rick Whyatt who also didn't shoot with him then passing back to Jake. This moment of Chuckle Brother-esque to me to you nonsense gave the Alsager defence plenty of time to recover and hack the ball to safety.
An opening 25 minutes of the second half where very little happened other than a few yellow cards was broken by an Alsager snap shot whistling just wide before we were reduced to ten men when Aaron Fleming collected his second yellow card.
On 77 minutes enter Callum Collinson from the substitute bench. Already with an assist to his name from the bench at Nelson on Saturday, it only took him two minutes to go one better with a goal, seizing upon Alsager's failed attempts to clear their lines and rifling home with an angled drive from the right of the box.
The numbers of the pitch were evened up on 84 minutes when ex-Cheadle midfielder Matt German also picked up his second yellow card with our two-goal advantage then halved as stoppage time approached; a stonewall penalty cracked home by Alsager's Kyle Stubbs.
Having been out-to-lunch all season our home form is starting to pick up; the last two matches have seen victories (albeit both were in cup competitions but it would be terribly churlish to complain, right?)
And so onto this weekend where the Park Road surface hosts once again. Phil is going to have to work his magic once more.
TEAM: Whiting, Turgeon, Ratican, Trucca (Delaney), Pearson, Harrison, Clarey (Collinson), Fleming, Ambrose (Gardiner), Whyatt, C Sherrington. SUBS: Delaney, Collinson, Gardiner, Lawson, Plumb.