ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
DROYLSDEN (0) 0
UniBond League Premier Division Match,
played on Saturday, 20 March, 2004
Droylsden maintained their record today of scoring in every league game this season but, sadly for them, their strike was into their own net on this occasion. Captain Gary Burke toe-poked a long ball forward from Shuttleworth past his own keeper from 20 yards (76 mins). In a match dominated by strong winds Altrincham put in a determined performance and only the post prevented Matthew Bailey from adding a second near the end. However, overall, Droylsden had more chances and Coburn made a couple of fine saves. With a minute of normal time left, Droylsden's Cameron was deservedly sent off for kneeing Stuart Coburn in the groin and he had a verbal go at the linesman and a spectator before finally leaving the pitch. Alty's fourth successive win takes them up to 8th.
REFEREE: Mr I.A. Evans
Alty's biggest away win of the season was at Droylsden (4-1) but both sides had seen many changes of personnel since then. The game was played in generally dry conditions but in a very strong wind which swept from the Golf Road End throughout the ninety minutes.
Five first-team Altrincham regulars (Adams, Scott, Thornley, Murphy and Hardy) were again missing but Gary Talbot was back after his suspension. The player displaced to accommodate centre-back Talbot was on-loan striker Matthew Bailey, who had scored in Alty's previous game. He joined Steve Lunt and Stuart Wright on the bench. The return of Talbot meant that Band was moved into left-midfield, with Rose on the right, whilst Hallows was partnered by Baguley up front.
The Bloods have made use of their links to Chester City and in their line-up today were Carl Ruffer, Steve Brodie, Chris O'Brien, Dave Cameron, Danny Byrne and sub Darren Wright, all of whom had recently been with the Deva Stadium outfit, whose chairman is Stephen Vaughan, formerly with Dave Pace at Droylsden. Two ex-Robins were in the Bloods' side; Adam Farley and Leroy Chambers, but a third ex-Robin, James Glendenning, though present, was not in the squad.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 3.Barry SHUTTLEWORTH, 4. Mark MADDOX, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Ged KIELTY, 7. Stephen ROSE, 8. Ian CRANEY (capt.), 9. Marcus HALLOWS, 10. Peter BAND, 11. Jamie BAGULEY. Subs: 12. Matthew BAILEY, 14. Stuart WRIGHT, 15. Stephen LUNT.
DROYLSDEN (Pale and dark blue quarters, white shorts, pale blue socks): 1. Paul PHILLIPS, 2. Adam FARLEY, 3. Danny WARNER, 4. Carl RUFFER, 5. Gary BURKE (capt.), 6. Steve BRODIE, 7.Ged MURPHY, 8. Chris O'BRIEN, 9. David CAMERON, 10. Leroy CHAMBERS, 11. Danny BYRNE. Subs: 12. Darren WRIGHT, 14. Ciaran KILHEENEY, 15. Neil HALL.
Droylsden had the advantage both of kicking off and playing with the strong wind behind them in the first half, as they attacked the 20/20 End. Alty almost had a disastrous start when, after 90 seconds, the ball got stuck under Peter Band's feet somewhere near the penalty spot and set up Chambers for a shot which he really should have buried but which Coburn did very well to knock away to safety. Band was soon in the wars, requiring lengthy treatment to his right ankle (3 mins). After the resumption, Phillips had to be alert to smother the ball in front of Hallows, but the Alty man was offside from Craney's pass (5 mins). Alty then had a strong appeal for a penalty for handball before the most amusing incident of the game occurred. Chambers was attempting to climb all over Kielty in midfield. The Alty man bodily lifted Chambers off the ground and dumped him unceremoniously on the floor as the referee waved play on to Leroy's chagrin.
The wind was causing problems, especially to Altrincham, as their clearances in some cases blew back behind them. Band was now hobbling badly but eventually ran off his injury. Next, following a trip by Maddox just outside the box, Coburn got down well to his right to save Murphy's free-kick (16 mins).
Droylsden won the game's first corner when Aspinall did well to see off Byrne's attack. Indeed, Aspinall was having another good game at right back and he soon dispossessed Byrne once again as the wind continued to dominate the game and restrict any flowing football. Alty's best chance to date arose when the referee allowed a good advantage, as Rose was fouled, and the move ended with Craney skilfully making space and firing in a low shot which Phillips saved (25 mins).
Alty continued to work hard to try and get the ball out of their half against the strong wind but, after a foul by Rose, Murphy's freekick was carried by the wind over the Alty defence to Cameron whose shot was well saved by Coburn. Soon Talbot did well to see off another Droylsden attack before Cameron was caught offside when the Bloods attacked again. Coburn then collected, on the bounce, a curling cross/shot from Farley (40 mins).
Just before the interval the power of the wind was shown when Philips's kicked clearance took just one bounce before reaching the perimeter wall behind the 20/20 End. Two minutes of time were added to the first half before the interval arrived with the game scoreless. Though Droylsden had taken advantage of the win to enjoy the territorial advantage, the Alty defence and midfield had worked hard to keep their opponents at bay.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 DROYLSDEN 0|
There was a farcical start to the second half when the ball would not remain still on the centre spot, in the strong wind, for the action to begin. The half started with a predictable reversal of the first period as now the wind kept Droylsden penned back. Alty too were struggling to come to terms with the changed situation of having the wind behind them, as Band's cross from the left was carried by the wind yards beyond its target.
However, it was Droylsden who won the half's first corner off Rose's head. Aspinall then fed Baguley on the Alty right but his ambitious shot from 30 yards curled wide (52 mins). Droylsden's Byrne then headed wide at the other end before Baguley fed Craney for a fine shot which Phillips held well from 30 yards (54 mins). Alty then won a corner which Baguley knocked too long, the ball skimming off Talbot's head beyond the back post. Then, a Coburn punt only just cleared the Droylsden bar at the other end of the pitch.
Alty made the first change, when Bailey came on for Rose (59 mins). Bailey soon showed good skills to win a free-kick but this came to nothing as rain now started to fall. From Murphy's cross, Byrne shot wide (62 mins) before a scrappy few minutes of play followed. But things improved when from Band's pass, Hallows fired in a shot from the right which Phillips did very well to palm away for a corner. Again Baguley's corner was caught on the wind and skimmed off Band's head beyond the back post as Graham Heathcote exhorted the Alty corner-taker to keep his corners aimed at the near post.
Play soon stopped after Chambers's elbows caught Shuttleworth who needed treatment to his face (69 mins). Soon the Bloods made a change with, first, Kilheeney replacing former Moss Laner, Leroy Chambers, who left to a less than ecstatic reception from the Alty fans who have not forgotten the lacklustre displays of his last season at Altrincham (72 mins). Then Dave Pace brought on Neil Hall for Chris O'Brien (75 mins). As play resumed, Shuttleworth's long ball up the middle induced the back-tracking Burke to stretch out his leg and inadvertently toe-poke the ball from 20 yards past his own keeper, the ball hitting the inside of the post to the keeper's left before rebounding across and into the goal (76 mins). Following the restart, good skill from Baguley drew a foul tackle from Droylsden, but the freekick was cleared. Soon Murphy felled Kielty near half way and from Aspinall's freekick Talbot got in a header at Phillips.
Both sides then made a change with Wright coming on for Droylsden in place of Farley, as Lunt replaced Hallows for Altrincham (79 mins). After two Droylsden throws and then a freekick, conceded by Craney, Murphy lined up the set piece. Band cleared the freekick but the ball came to Byrne whose shot was turned onto the near upright by Coburn and from the follow up Cameron miscued his shot and the ball was eventually cleared. However, Droylsden sustained the pressure and soon won two corners in succession (83 mins). An Alty counter-attack prompted by Craney then foundered before Droylsden won another corner on their right. Before the corner could be taken, Shuttleworth needed treatment.
Maddox cleared the corner but Droylsden were soon pressing again. From half way, Warner's ball forward skimmed off the back of Kielty's head from 25 yards out to concede a corner to the visitors on their right (88 mins). Coburn had gone across to the left of his goal to try and stop the ball going out of play, without success. As everyone prepared for the corner, Coburn and Cameron were involved in an incident in front of the perimeter hoardings at the side of the goal and the keeper went down after being kneed in the groin by the burly Droylsden striker. Following consultation with the linesman, Mr Evans showed Cameron the red card. Cameron then ran 10 yards to "remonstrate" with the linesman before walking off behind the net and heading back to the changing rooms. On the way he took exception to something said from the terraces and responded aggressively before Alty Security Officer, Phil Taylor, escorted him to the tunnel. After lengthy treatment, Coburn recovered but he was soon fouled again, this time by Brodie, who caught the keeper after he had gathered the ball. Four minutes of added time were being played and in the third of these minutes Kielty fed Bailey who beat Phillips from about 12 yards but saw his shot come back off the inside of Phillips's left hand upright. But then an error by Band at the other end, saw Burke feed Kilheeney, to the right of goal and in space. However, the young substitute blazed high and wide from 12 yards to allow Altrincham to preserve their lead to the final whistle, which followed soon afterwards.
After the final whistle, Cameron appeared back on the pitch and remonstrated with the referee and Alty keeper. On a more pleasant note, Mark Maddox was named as Man of the Match and it was certainly a day when the Altrincham defence had worked hard to gain this victory in very trying weather conditions. It was Altrincham's fourth win on the trot and third clean sheet in succession. The win took Altrincham to their highest position of the season so far, eighth, and marked a 'double' over the high-flying Droylsden as well as marking the day when Altrincham's number of victories at last matched the number of draws (13) this season.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 DROYLSDEN 0|