ALTRINCHAM (0) 2
GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY (1) 2
UniBond Premier League Match,
played on Saturday, 6 September, 2003 at 3p.m.
Alty came within 7 minutes of their first home win of the season but had to settle for a point when an own goal from Band levelled things. Following a lacklustre Alty first-half display in which Ellington put Trinity ahead from the spot after Shuttleworth had handled (36 mins), Alty equalised after a minute of the second half through Hughes when keeper Holmshaw failed to hold a low cross and then Hughes got an excellent second from 20 yards (58 mins). Trinity did not give up and when Staton played in a free-kick Talbot and Band rose to head clear but the ball found the back of the net off the latter's head. Alty's loan keeper McCarthy limped through the second half after picking up a groin injury and he must be doubtful for Tuesday at Vauxhall - who scored six again today!
REFEREE: Mr D. UNSWORTH
Gainsborough had won at Moss Lane last season and drawn in the previous two seasons. Altrincham had drawn all three home games this season whilst Gainsborough, with just one win, lay second from bottom of the Division.
Rod Thornley was missing, on duty as masseur to England in Macedonia and Paul Robertson was out, having been ill in mid-week. Gary Scott was only fit enough for the bench, whilst loan keeper Dave McCarthy continued in goal, faced by another ex-Worksop keeper in Trinity's Jamie Holmshaw. Last season's youth team captian Paul Glynn made his first appearance in the Alty first-team squad, as a substitute. Mark Maddox was still missing so Ian Craney started as captain.
Chris Timons, the former Altrincham captain, was restored to the Trinity line-up, whilst another ex-Robin in the side was striker Lee Ellington.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Dave McCARTHY, 2. Stephen ROSE, 3. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH, 4. Chris ADAMS, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Steve ASPINALL, 7. Dave GARDNER, 8. Ian CRANEY (capt.), 9. Peter BAND, 10. Mattie HUGHES, 11. Rob MATTHEWS. Subs: 12. Gary SCOTT, 14. Stephen LUNT, 15. Paul GLYNN.
GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY (All yellow): 1. Jamie HOLMSHAW, 2. Ben PURKISS, 3. Adam BURLEY, 4. Chris TIMONS, 5. Carl SMITH, 6. Neil ALLISON (capt.), 7. Chris ADAM, 8. Chris HURST, 9. Lee ELLINGTON, 10. Luke STATON, 11. Gareth GRANT. Subs: 12. Kristof KOTYLO, 14. Richard BYRNE, 15. Ross HANNAH.
After changing ends, Alty kicked off towards the 20/20 End on a bright afternoon. After an early showing by Grant, who was to prove a handful all afternoon, Gardner got in a cross but could find no colleague (3 mins). The next goal threat came from Matthews's shot from just outside the penalty "D", but his effort cleared the bar (7 mins). Rose soon had to leave the field with a nose bleed after a bang in the face (9 mins). Then, after some persistence from Matthews, Aspinall's chip was just too long for Craney and went for a goalkick (11 mins). However, it was the visitors who won the first corner, through Ellington, off Shuttleworth (15 mins). This was half cleared and Ellington soon put the ball into the net but the whistle had already sounded for an Alty free-kick. An Ian Craney effort soon rebounded to Band but from a good position he shot weakly wide (17 mins).
Play was now fairly even with Grant proving difficult to contain. After some pressure a mis-header from Talbot let in Ellington but McCarthy was out quickly to make a fine point-blank save (20 mins). Gainsborough continued to enjoy plenty of possession whilst Altrincham's moves kept breaking down with inaccurate passes. Gainsborough won another corner when Talbot was obliged to head the ball out. From McCarthy's punch out, Adam shot miles over the bar into Golf Road (30 mins). Holmshaw then had to rush out to the edge of his box to thwart Band (31 mins) before Craney, from a Band pass, curled a fine shot from 23 yards, right of goal, onto the upper part of Holmshaw's right upright (32 mins). Aspinall was doing his best to stir Altrincham into further attacking action but they were creating few openings. Then, when Grant put in a cross from the left, Adams mis-directed his clearance and the ball went across the front edge of the Alty box where the startled Shuttleworth handled the ball to concede a penalty. McCarthy committed himself early, allowing Ellington to slot the ball into the other side of the net from the spot (36 mins).
After Matthews had won the ball, Hughes was fouled and from the free-kick, Alty won a corner, their first of the game (38 mins). Aspinall's kick went to Holmshaw. Shortly afterwards, McCarthy cleared into touch and went down injured (39 mins). He continued but clearly in distress from what turned out to be a groin injury. A misheader by Talbot then went to Grant who, fortunately, made an air shot from a clear opportunity (42 mins). Half time came with Altrincham needing to make a marked improvement if they were to take anything from the match.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 1|
Dave McCarthy limped back onto the pitch after the break, clearly very restricted in his mobility. But, having laboured for 45 minutes Altrincham equalised after just a minute of the second half. After a throw on the right, Rose's low ball in from the right seemed to elude Holmshaw's grasp as Hughes challenged and the Alty man hooked the loose ball home from 12 yards or so for his first goal in an Alty shirt in a league match (46 mins). Inspired by this, Alty put together their best passing move of the game so far which ended after 13 or so passes with the ball arriving in Holmshaw's hands (52 mins). Soon afterwards, Gardner had a good shot from 20 yards which cleared the bar (53 mins). More Alty pressure saw Gardner baulked as he latched onto Talbot's forward pass but the referee waved play on. Staton then got in a 20 yarder over the Alty bar. Adams was now taking the Alty goalkicks but Alty's next chance came from Aspinall whose 30 yarder was saved (56 mins). Aspinall then fought well to block a clearance and he got the ball to his right to Hughes. The Alty striker turn well and delivered a fine curling shot which beat Holmshaw from 20 yards or so, going past the keeper's dive to his left, low into the net (58 mins). The game had been turned round in the 13 minutes since the interval.
Aspinall then played a great free-kick which Talbot got back across the goalmouth only for the ball to be cleared. Gardner epitomised Alty's attitude at this point with a 30-yard cross-field run to win a tackle. From a Matthews pass Gardner soon advanced on the right but shot into the side netting (64 mins). Gainsborough now brought on Hannah for Adam (67 mins) before Gardner forced a corner from Allison on the Alty left. Gardner's corner led to Matthews winning another corner, on the right. Following Holmshaw's clearance, Gardner shot narrowly wide (69 mins).
Gainsborough now began to get back into the game and won a corner on their left. Alty then surprisingly replaced the two-goal Hughes by Scott, who went to right-back. This meant that Rose moved to the centre, Adams moved to left-back and Shuttleworth moved to midfield, whilst Band moved forward. The Alty defence was protecting its injured keeper well and McCarthy had little to do in the second period. Alty now brought on Lunt up front and took off Matthews (79 mins). Alty looked to be absorbing Gainsborough attempts to secure an equaliser when Talbot was deemed to have fouled Ellington. The free-kick by Staton from 25 yards out was lifted into the box where Band and Talbot both rose to head clear but the ball seemed to loop off Band's head and arc into the corner of the net to McCarthy's left (83 mins).
Alty had a further alarm when McCarthy had to hobble out of goal to kick clear (87 mins) but Alty won another corner through Craney with a minute left. This was cleared and for the fourth successive home game, Alty had drawn. Chris Adams was named Man of the Match for the second successive home game. Aspinall and Rose also had good games whilst Hughes's two goals must also have made him a contender for the award. A draw was probably a fair result but all four goals had been created by Altrincham - two at the right end, a conceded penalty and an own goal. Manager Graham Heathcote now faces a dilemma as McCarthy must be doubtful for Tuesday's game at Vauxhall whilst first-choice keeper Richard Acton and cover goalkeeper Kurt Edginton both remain out of action for at least a month or more.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 2|