Altrincham 4 Stalybridge Celtic 0
Words John Edwards Pictures Stefan Willoughby
As ever with Cheshire Senior Cup ties, Altrincham took the opportunity to hand valuable game time to up-and-coming youngsters and fringe players in need of minutes under their belts, but it was established senior members of the first-team squad who made the difference on a freezing night at The J.Davidson Stadium.
Young left-back Lucas Aldcroft, Ollie Wright at the base of midfield and Bruno Andrade further forward all made good use of a place in the starting line-up, while Academy graduates Tom Jones and Amaar Hussain and current youth prospects Harrison Howells, Ole Partington and Kaiden Powell acquitted themselves well as second-half substitutes.
But when it came to the all-important business of putting numbers on the scoresheet, it was a quartet of more familiar names who obliged, as George Wilson, Matty Kosylo, Dior Angus and Regan Linney turned Alty pressure into a scoreline that reflected their dominance.
The Robins looked a cut above their Pitching In Northern Premier League West Division opponents from the off, as might be expected, but it was the visitors who carved out the first opening in the ninth minute.
Former Alty winger Darius Palma cut inside from the right and created enough space to try his luck with a low left foot shot from the edge of the area that took a deflection and bobbled narrowly wide of the post.
Alty replied with a near-miss of their own a minute later, as Linney latched on to a superb through ball by Wilson on the left flank before laying on a chance that Angus blazed over from an inviting position.
If that was an opportunity that presented itself courtesy of Linney's pinpoint low cross, it was all Alty frontrunner Angus' own work when the Robins threatened again in the 15th minute.
Leaving a defender trailing with a blistering turn of pace down the right flank, Angus cut inside past another challenge before firing an angled drive straight at keeper Luke Hewitson.
The pressure told in the 29th minute, and again Angus was an integral figure in another example of Alty's attacking flair.
A sublime change of direction wrong-footed a close-marking defender on the right and opened up space for him to look up and pick out Wilson, who did the rest with an assured finish into the bottom corner from inside the area.
It was 2-0 in the 34th minute when Kosylo continued his welcome comeback from an injury lay-off with a stunning goal.
Sam Roscoe met a deep corner with a header back into the danger area, and when the ball was only half-cleared, it was returned with interest by Kosylo as he met it with a first-time half-volley that fairly zinged into the net from the edge of the area.
Alty rang the changes at half-time, and Jones almost marked his 46th minute introduction in spectacular style as he burst past a challenge on the right of the area, only for his 47th-minute angled shot to be blocked by Hewitson.
Stalybridge went perilously close to trimming Alty's lead in the 76th minute when Aaron Dwyer's fiercely-struck free-kick from 20 yards cannoned back off the angle of bar and post.
But any doubts about the outcome were swept aside as Alty stepped up a gear and made sure of their place in the quarter-finals with two late goals.
First, Linney cut inside from the left in the 82nd minute and, instead of firing at goal himself from an angle, took the unselfish option of rolling the ball square to the better-placed Angus, who made no mistake from close range to register the reward his perseverance deserved.
Finally, in the last minute of added time, Linney, who landed an audacious chip on the roof of the net just a couple of moments earlier, pounced on a defensive mix-up and rounded the keeper before depositing the ball in an empty net to round off a highly-satisfactory night for a side supervised by Ross Speight and Danny Jarrett.
Altrincham Gould, Aldcroft, Ja.Jones (Powell 46), Kosylo (T.Jones, 46'), Wright (Partington, 68'), Linney, Andrade (Hussain, 74'), Angus (Howells, 83'), Roscoe, Wilson, Burroughs.
Stalybridge Hewitson; Zuk (Burton 46), Lonsdale, Robbins, Leonard, Tinning, Byrne, Irlam (Edwards, 62'), Osei (Mugalula, 83'), Dwyer, Palma (Wilkinson, 71'). Sub not used: Brewster.
Goals Wilson (Angus) 20', Kosylo (Roscoe) 34', Angus (Linney) 82', Linney 90'.
Referee Christopher Rowles
Assistants Ruby Sykes and Chris Broadhurst
A return to Vanarama National League action and the visit of Dorking Wanderers to the J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday (3pm). Click here for your tickets.