ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
SOUTHPORT (0) 0
FA Trophy 2nd Round Match, played on Saturday, 29 November, 2003 at 3p.m.
Chris Adams in action as Peter Band (left) and Gary Talbot (right) look on.
Alty extended their unbeaten run to 9 games with this deserved victory over Southport. Peter Band's fine header won the game when he converted an excellent cross from the left by Chris Adams (38 mins). The goal came shortly after Mark Maddox had survived calls for his second yellow card. Though Southport applied some pressure in the second half, Altrincham contained it fairly comfortably to proceed into the regionalised round three of the Trophy where the Conference clubs join the competition.
REFEREE: Mr A.P. Morbin
After torrential rain this morning, the skies dried up and the match was played in reasonably bright and dry conditions throughout. Palns to segregate the crowd on the terraces were sensibly allowed to lapse before the kick-off as there was no inkling of any crowd trouble.
Alty came into the game on a run of eight games without defeat but Southport were going through a sticky patch and came into the game with recent signings Steve Daly, Chris Price, Carl Baker and Neil Fitzhenry all ineligible for the Trophy and with Liam McGuire suspended. Left back Paul Byrne (knee), winger Mark Byrne (hamstring), Danny Stone (ankle) and Graeme Atkinson (hamstring) were all doubtful before the game, but Mark Byrne and Atkinson were fit enough to be subs. Full-back Jimmy Williams started with a bandaged head after a recent collision with a goalpost. Port had also recently released Gary Hornby but centre-back Tony Hallam, sent-off on his League visit to Moss Lane in September, remained in the side, having just been released by Morecambe.
Alty were without Dave Gardner, through work commitments and Barry Shuttleworth, who was ill. Marcus Hallows, on loan from Chorley, made his first start whilst Peter Band moved to the left flank to replace Shuttleworth. There was a welcome return for Richard Acton on the bench after his injury at Harrogate in August. His four partners on the bench were all strikers - Steve Lunt, Stuart Wright, Nick Welton and Niell Hardy. Gary Scott continued in right midfield as Steve Aspinall remained at right-back.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Mark MADDOX(capt.), 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Stephen ROSE, 7. Gary SCOTT, 8. Ian CRANEY, 9. Marcus HALLOWS, 10. Rod THORNLEY 11. Peter BAND. Subs: 12. Niell HARDY, 13. Richard ACTON (gk), 14. Stuart WRIGHT, 15. Steve LUNT, 16. Nick WELTON.
SOUTHPORT (All yellow, with black trim on shirts): 1. Steve DICKINSON, 2. Jimmy WILLIAMS, 3. Alex MORTIMER, 4. Neil WHITWORTH, 5. Tony HALLAM, 6. Barry JONES, 7. Lee MULVANEY, 8. Daryl ALLEN, 9. Peter THOMSON, 10. Lee ASHCROFT, 11. Steve PICKFORD (capt.). Subs: 12. Graeme ATKINSON, 13. George RICKETTS (gk), 14. Tom HARDWICK, 15. Mark BYRNE, 16. Tony EVANS.
Altrincham kicked off towards the Golf Road End on a pitch which looked in superb condition despite the morning's downpours. After the preliminary skirmishes, Mark Maddox conceded the first corner of the game and this led immediately to a second from the Southport left (6 mins). Alty were caught offside soon after when Aspinall tried to set Hallows free and then Coburn had to come to the edge of his box to clear as Southport had marginally the better of the opening stages.
However, Alty won their first corner after 12 minutes, on their right, through Hallows, following build-up work by Rose and Aspinall. Band rose well at the near post but his header was powered over the bar. But soon Hallam did well to knock out Hallows's cross, from Adams's feed, for another Alty corner, on the left. Aspinall took it and, via Craney and Maddox, the ball came to Thornley whose first-time effort rose over the bar (14 mins).
Altrincham were now improving and after Craney had won possession Dickinson did well to cut out a good cross from the right by Scott (15 mins). Nevertheless, the next corner was won by Port when Mulvaney's shot was blocked to the left of goal. Following an Allen handball, Adams's free-kick from 30 yards out left of goal was caught by Dicknsion at his back stick. Southport then made an unexpected change replacing Mulvaney, who was presumably injured, and bringing on the experienced Graeme Atkinson (18 mins).
The game now settled into an even pattern of play as Alty won a corner through Hallows and this ended with Hallows himself heading over the bar. A badly timed lunge by Maddox on Ashcroft earned the Alty captain a deserved booking some 40 yards out from his side's goal on the Southport right (23 mins). After treatment, the Southport man continued. A foul on Hallows then gave Alty a free-kick 30 yards out on the left but Dickinson caught this. A Coburn clearance then found Hallows who did well to win the ball and find Thornley whose well-hit shot from the edge of the box was superbly tipped over the bar for a corner by Dickinson, as he dived to his left (29 mins). Dickinson palmed the corner over the bar for another corner which, this time, the ref decided should be on the Alty left. From Pickford's resulting breakaway, Coburn came out of his box to clear. Soon, from a Maddox feed, Scott had time to shoot at goal but fired wildly over the bar and into Golf Road from 25 yards (30 mins).
Rose, who had a game which was a mixture of good and bad, lost possession before himself clearing up the resulting danger. It was then Rose who fed Aspinall and his cross was fumbled by Dickinson as Hallows challenged him but the Southport keeper turned back towards his own line to retrieve the ball before it could enter the net. The former Guiseley keeper looked less then fully secure with several crosses this afternoon (33 mins). There was then a clash on the Popular Side of the pitch between Maddox and Ashcroft which saw the Alty captain raise his arms in retaliation to the Port man's foul. Fortunately for Altrincham, Mr Morbin chose only to tell Maddox to calm down and gave him a free-kick near the touchline inside the Alty half.
Aspinall, who had another good game at right back, then fed Thornley who in turn found Hallows who forced a decent save from Dickinson to his right (35 mins). The floodlights now came on as Southport attacked with Maddox's every touch now briefly booed by the strong contingent of visiting fans. Indeed, both sets of fans were vocal in their support and helped to create a good atmosphere for Moss Lane's largest gate of the season. When a Thornley effort was half cleared to Adams there seemed no particular danger to Southport but the Alty left-back's fine ball from the left into the box found the unmarked Band whose excellent flicked header gave Dickinson no chance to his right as it gave Altrincham the lead (38 mins).
After failing to spot a handball by Williams, Mr Morbin did give a free-kick for a handball offence by Hallam soon afterwards. From Aspinall's free-kick Dickinson's punch span upwards but Craney's resulting cross was disappointing. Before the interval a late tackle on half-way by Rose on Pickford saw him become the second Alty man to be booked (42 mins). A minute before the break Hallows got hold of a 30 yarder but it went wide and the interval arrived with Altrincham still leading 1-0.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 SOUTHPORT 0|
Southport started the second half but it was Hallows, from an Apsinall feed, who won an early corner for Altrincham (47 mins). From this, Talbot's header came to Dickinson. A Southport shot was then stopped comfortably by Coburn before Alty won another corner when Hallows's overhead kick from Aspinall's pass was deflected out of play. This was cleared but Alty continued to press and Craney's attempted chip from the edge of the box, following good work by Hallows, took a deflection to win another home corner. Dickinson punched clear from the corner and the next flag-kick came at the other end when Talbot had to stretch well to knock the ball over the Golf Road terrace roof.
Maddox cleared the corner but Southport continued to press, though the otherwise impressive Mortimer was lucky to escape a booking when he seemed to kick the prostrate Scott (55 mins). After a Hallows effort had gone wide, Coburn then had to punch well clear from a Williams free-kick. A fine block by Scott then gave Port another corner (59 mins). As Southport pressed even Hallows was now deep in defence but, for all their pressure, no clear chances resulted for the visitors.
Alty finally began to get out of their own half after several minutes pressure. Hallows and Thornley played an interchange and Mortimer did well to get to the ball at the back post as Thornley's low cross from the right came in for Hallows (63 mins). Next, after Thornley had lost possession, Atkinson scuffed his shot well wide of Coburn's right post. Coburn then had to make a good save from a Thomson shot, to his left as Southport came back at Altrincham. When Coburn caught a cross from the Southport right, Thomson bundled the Alty keeper and ball into the net. Though he was rightly penalised, the burly Southport striker escaped any more serious punishment (68 mins).
Play now drifted fairly aimlessly for a few minutes before an Ashcroft shot was easily fielded by Coburn. But it was Alty who came nearer to scoring again when, following a throw in, Craney cut in from the left and found Scott. In turn, the ball came to Rose who lashed it at goal from 22 yards but it was well beaten out by Dickinson and Band's follow-up cleared the bar (70 mins). The Altrincham defence continued to keep Southport comfortably at bay before Hardy came on to replace Thornley, who is playing with an injury which requires an operation in the next fortnight (73 mins). Maddox then did well to retrieve the ball after initially it had gone over his head. Soon, Hallam extracted a measure of revenge on Hardy for his sending off at Moss Lane earlier this season when Hardy was allegedly the first offender. This time the young defender felled Hardy from behind to concede a free-kick.
Dickinson then caught Scott's cross aimed for Hallows before Ashcroft shot wide at the other end (78 mins). Southport won a corner but this was cleared before the vistors replaced Jones by Evans (81 mins). Two minutes later Alty brought on Stuart Wright up front, for Hallows. Southport keeper Dickinson then fielded a 30 yard lob from Craney after it had bounced (87 mins) but Southport caused a late scare when Mortimer found himself in space in the left of the Alty box. However, Maddox sped across to make a superb diving block as the Southport defender shot goalwards (89 mins). The final whistle arrived to give Altrincham a place in Round Three of the Trophy, where the Conference sides join in.
This was the third time that Alty and Souhtoport had met this season and this was Alty's second home win against the Sandgrounders, whilst the away league match ended 2-2. Southport had plenty of possession today, especially in the earlier part of the second half, but they lacked punch up front. It was Dickinson who was the busier keeper as Hallows made his presence felt at the other end and Aspinall, in particular, produced a series of good balls forward from defence.
The Alty defence was once again solid and has now conceded just two goals since Stuart Coburn returned nine games and 14 hours of action ago. Peter Band was named Man of the Match and the multi-purpose Altrincham man deserved this award for his performance in a relatively unaccustomed position on the left-side of midfield.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 SOUTHPORT 0|