LANCASTER CITY (0) 2
ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round Match,
played on Saturday, 27 September, 2003 at 3p.m.
In contrast to their performance at Southport last Tuesday and to their last FA Cup visit to the Giant Axe, Altrincham went out of the FA Cup in disappointing fashion at Lancaster City this afternoon. City had the better of a fairly undistinguished first half but took the lead after 67 minutes when Alty keeper Williams saved well from Sullivan but Hughes's stooping header at the back post despatched the rebound. It was former Alty man Sullivan who finished off Alty when he converted Hughes's pass, from close range (82 mins). Not even the return of Mark Maddox could alter the result
REFEREE: Mr I. Esat
Both sides had made indifferent starts to the league season and were in the bottom five in the table at kick-off today. However, Altrincham came into the match after a creditable performance at Southport last Tuesday whilst Lancaster had begun to find their feet with three wins and a draw after six games without a win at the start of the campaign. Alty had won a memorable First Round FA Cup replay here two seasons ago, when a Lee Poland hat-trick produced a 4-1 win.
Ten of the same eleven who started at Southport on Tuesday also began this match; Mark Maddox (right) was the only newcomer, making a welcome return after sustaining a heel fracture at Alfreton on the opening day of the season. Making way was Dave Gardner, who started on the bench. So, Ben Williams and defender Jason van Blerk remained in the side after their debuts last Tuesday at Southport but, of the other recent signings, Michael Reynolds remained sidelined, due to injury, whilst Nick Welton and Danny Hooper were substitutes.
On the Lancaster bench was Tony Sullivan, who was briefly at Moss Lane last season but never gained full fitness.
LANCASTER CITY (Pale blue and white striped shirts, black shorts and socks): 1. Kevin WELSBY, 2. Neil UBERSCHAR, 3. Andy SCOTT, 4. Farrell KILBANE, 5. Ryan ELDERTON, 6. Paul SPARROW (capt.), 7. Phil CLARKSON, 8. Rick MERCER, 9. Steve JONES, 10. Jamie HUGHES, 11. Neil PRINCE. Subs: 12. Anthony SULLIVAN, 13. Mark THORNLEY (gk), 14. Michael YATES, 15. DONNELLY, 16. Jimmy LOVE.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, white shorts, red socks): 1. Ben WILLIAMS, 2. Gary SCOTT, 3. Jason van BLERK, 4. Mark MADDOX, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Stephen ROSE, 7. Steve ASPINALL, 8. Ian CRANEY, 9. Peter BAND, 10. Rod THORNLEY (capt.), 11. Chris ADAMS. Subs: 12. Dave GARDNER, 13. Ashley TIMMS, 14. Nick WELTON, 15. Danny HOOPER, 16. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH.
After changing ends, Altrincham kicked off towards the clubhouse end, with Ian Craney supporting Rod Thornley up front. However, hesitance in the Alty defence gave Lancaster an early corner on their left. An early Maddox error then saw Jones closed down well by Talbot as he closed in on Williams. From van Blerk's pass, Craney's cross then forced Welsby to punch clear at the other end and, next, an Alty free-kick for a foul on Craney led to van Blerk's free-kick which ran to Welsby. Scott's third throw in succession on the right soon led to a fine cross from the right by Thornley which came back out to the Altrincham captain, who knocked the ball over the bar (8 mins). Altrincham were looking the brighter in these early stages. However, when Aspinall lost possession in centre-field, Maddox was drawn to commit a foul to halt the Lancaster advance. The Alty centre-back was rightly booked (13 mins). Following the free-kick, Lancaster won a corner but, as the ball came over, Alty were awarded a free-kick by Mr Esat, who had a good game (14 mins). Altrincham continued to look the marginally better side at this point but had few openings to show for it.
Lancaster now began to assert themselves and Gary Scott was pleased to find Williams alert to his close-range back-header as Jones threatened (22 mins). Lancaster had to make a change soon after this when Mercer limped off and Tony Sullivan came off the bench (23 mins). When Uberschar, the former Morecambe full-back, crossed for Hughes, the latter's wide header summed up the low key tone of the match so far (27 mins). For Alty, Rod Thornley was not looking fit after a bout of flu but he seized on hesitation by Sparrow and advanced to the right of the City goal, However, his shot from inside the box was blocked (30 mins). Altrincham were struggling to put together fluent movements and it was Lancaster who now looked the more menacing, especially on the left where Elderton and Prince impressed throughout. Indeed, Talbot, Rose and Maddox were kept busy dealing with a number of crosses from the left as Lancaster got the upper hand. Sullivan, too, was looking more agile and determined than during his short, disappointing stay at Moss Lane but he could only find the side netting from Prince's cross from the left (42 mins). Alty's only shot in the later stages of the first half was a badly sliced effort from Craney, which went too high and wide to trouble Welsby (43 mins). Half-time came with neither side looking particularly impressive but Lancaster had shown the more attacking intent.
|Half-Time: LANCASTER CITY 0 ALTRINCHAM 0|
Welton (14) and Hooper (15) replace Thornley and Rose.
The half started with Uberschar and Jones finding Sullivan whose cross was blocked by Rose, allowing Williams to come and retrieve the ball (46 mins). Thornley then got free on the left but had no support to help him out. Without Gardner, Altrincham were lacking any wide attacking player on the right, whilst Adams and van Blerk on the left often interchanged positions between left-back and left-midfield but neither got forward with any regularity. Indeed, Altrincham did not win a corner throughout the game. Nevertheless, the Altrincham supporters continued to provide vocal encouragement to their team as play continued to put in a low-key performance. Things improved for Lancaster when they won a corner off Scott, which led to a good catch from Williams from Sullivan's resulting cross. Another Sullivan cross then won his side a corner on the right which Williams, again, punched well clear (54 mins).
A 20-yarder from Craney was caught easily on the bounce by Welsby at the other end. However, Lancaster then won another corner which Williams again caught. Next, Altrincham advanced on the right but Rose's final shot from 25 yards went wide (58 ins). Alty now made a double change with Hooper replacing Rose, who had reportedly had flu, in midfield and Thornley giving way to Welton (59 mins). The changes brought a brief upturn in Altrincham's play without any clear opening resulting. In fact, it was Ben Williams who soon had to make fine one-handed save, low-down, from Hughes (65 mins). The respite for Altrincham was short for, soon, a shot from the left by Jones was beaten out by Williams but came across goal to the back post where a falling Hughes nodded it home from close range (67 mins). From the kick off Alty went down to the other end and Band got into the box, running at the keeper, but his shot was blocked well by the advancing Welsby.
Altrincham soon made another change, Gardner making a belated appearance as van Blerk was taken off (72 mins). Welton and Band were now up front. Neither side gave the crowd much to get excited about in the next few minutes but, as the game entered its last ten minutes, Hughes got behind Talbot only to shoot wide. Immediately after this, Hughes got into space in the left of the box and passed inside to Sullivan who beat Williams from close range to secure Lancaster's victory (82 mins). Just as after the first goal, Altrincham went straight down to the other end and Craney got to the by-line where his effort rebounded, possibly off the post, and came out to Welton whose shot was blocked (83 mins).
Lancaster replied when Sullivan got behind Talbot on the right but Williams caught his cross well (84 mins). Surprisingly, Sullivan was then taken off and replaced by Yates (85 mins). Alty centre-back Talbot was now pushed forward and he went close with a header, just over the bar, but Lancaster soon won another corner on their right. Gardner then cut in from the right but sliced his shot high and wide and when Craney then played a 30 yard pass into touch it just about summed up Altrincham's afternoon (88 mins). The final whistle soon came to put Altrincham out of their misery and allow them to concentrate on getting their league form back on the rails at Radcliffe on Tuesday night.
|Full-Time: LANCASTER CITY 2 ALTRINCHAM 0|