ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
BRADFORD PARK AVENUE (0) 0
Nationwide Conference North Match,
played on Saturday, 28 August, 2004
Altrincham remained unbeaten, and in 7th place, after this draw with Bradford, who gave a good account of themselves despite being without a win yet this season. Altrincham had the better chances, with Band's first-half header against the post and Potts's late free-kick, which struck the bar, being the nearest to a goal. Hardy missed possibly the best chance of the game.
REFEREE: Mr R.L. Metcalfe
Since today's opponents, Bradford PA, came up into the UniBond Premier League, the results against Altrincham have been as follows, with Alty's score first. Alty have not scored more than once against BPA in any of these games. Alty's record is W2 D3 L1.
After Tuesday's unprecedented August postponement, when the scheduled game against Barrow was washed out by downpours, today's match was played in dry but generally dull conditions. Bradford had brought supporters in far better numbers than some of the more self-publicising members of our division.
Altrincham were unchanged, which meant no place in the starting line-up for Ged Kielty, Stephen Rose, Marcus Hallows, Barry Shuttleworth and Kieran Lugsden, who made up the subs' bench.
BPA included former Frickley players Dan Sheriffe and Stephen Oleksewycz, whilst up front was new signing, Karl Colley, the former Halifax and Kettering centre-back who is apparently being groomed as a striker. In goal was American keeper Andrew Britton, formerly at Sheffield United.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Gary SCOTT, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Peter BAND (capt.), 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Steve ASPINALL, 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Eddie HUSSIN, 9. Niell HARDY, 10. Peter WRIGHT, 11. Colin LITTLE. Subs: 12. Stephen ROSE, 14. Ged KIELTY, 15. Marcus HALLOWS, 16. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH, 17. Kieran LUGSDEN.
BRADFORD PARK AVENUE (All light blue): 1. Andrew BRITTON, 2. Andy QUINN, 3. Ryan CROSSLEY, 4. Danny WALSH, 5. Dean JONES, 6. Michael NAYLOR, 7. Dan SHERIFFE, 8. Marc THOMPSON, 9. Karl COLLEY, 10. Stephen OLEKSEWYCZ, 11. Gareth CLAYTON. Subs: 12. Ben JONES, 14. Allan PEARCE, 15. Craig SMITH, 16. Adam OLDHAM, 17. Danny FELLS.
Altrincham kicked off towards the Golf Road end and won an early corner on the left, through Chris Adams, Jones deflecting the ball out (2 mins). But Bradford had the ball in the net a minute later when Colley won a challenge with Adams but the big BPA front-man had fouled his opponent in the process. Coburn had almost kept the resulting shot out but was relieved to see the effort chalked off (3 mins). For Alty, both Scott and Adams were getting forward but it was Bradford who again went close after six minutes. Oleksewycz fed Colley, who in turn found Sheriffe on the right. His cross found Colley, again, and his firm header was well saved by Coburn, to his left. Alty replied with a 35 yarder from Colin Little which was only just too high (6 mins). The big man, Colley, caused Talbot some initial problems but the Alty central defender was soon to get the upper hand and run out a deserved Man of the Match.
Action from the second half.
End to end play continued but it was Altrincham who won the next corner when Little did well and forced Jones to concede the flag-kick (8 mins). A fine ball forward by Adams then set Wright running towards the by-line but he miscontrolled the ball. When Little fed Wright soon afterwards, the young striker alertly noted that Britton was off his line and tried a first-time effort but sliced the shot very wide from 35 yards (13 mins). BPA continued to threaten, too, and Colley soon headed wide at the back post from a right-wing cross (17 mins). Oleksewycz then drove a freekick over the bar from 25 yards before his side won their first corner, off Band.
Alty manager Graham Heathcote was not a happy man, telling his charges that "You've forgotten everything I said in there", gesturing towards the changing rooms, and adding, "Keep it simple". This had some effect for, soon, Alty won a freekick when Hussin was flattened by Quinn. From Potts's freekick on the left, Band rose well and his firm header struck the outside of the keeper's left post (22 mins). Alty then attacked again and neat work between Hardy, Hussin and Aspinall ended with Wright in a shooting position but he elected to pass and the chance was gone (24 mins).
After Scott had done well, Potts's cross set up a header for Hardy but this dropped to Britton, the BPA keeper, who was presumably carrying an injury as Jones was taking his goalkicks for him (26 mins). Graham Heathcote continued to express his frustration at this team's performance from the touchline as the two teams traded pressure without either threatening to score. Band and Talbot were proving a strong duo at the heart of the Alty defence. It was not until the 40th minute that the next corner came, won by Altrincham by Wright's cross off Crossley. From the corner, Talbot won the header but this effort went wide. Another corner soon followed when Potts's low cross from the right just evaded both Wright and, behind him, Little (41 mins).
The game continued its solid but unspectacular progress with Hardy laying the ball off for Potts, who lifted his shot over the bar from 20 yards (42 mins). The referee then stopped play to lecture Thompson, BPA's former York and Farnborough midfielder. Regardless, almost immediately Thompson flattened Hussin but his luck held and the ref took no action other than to award a freekick. Soon Hussin went down after Oleksewycz's elbow appeared to catch the Alty midfielder, though it looked to be accidental. Hussin's eventful end to the half ended with his being booked for a foul on Oleksewycz which probably owed something to the earlier incident. This time Oleksewycz retaliated by raising his arms against Hussin but only the Alty man was booked, two minutes into stoppage time. Half-time arrived with the score goalless.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0
BRADFORD PARK AVENUE 0
Perhaps sensing that central midfielder Hussin was fired up, Alty substituted him at half-time by Stephen Rose. However, it was Bradford's Thompson, who had also tested the referee's patience, who was booked after 48 minutes when he was late in tackling Aspinall. Following this, Potts put in a fine cross which forced Jones to concede a corner on the Alty right (49 mins).
Alty continued to make the better openings as Hardy sent in a teasing cross across the face of goal, from which Little won a corner on the left. From this, taken short by Aspinall to Little, Talbot put in a deft flicked shot which prompted a fine save from Britton, to his left. Thompson committed another foul, without more punishment than a freekick, before Talbot enjoyed a purple patch, making no fewer than three clearances inside a minute. Alty were enjoying more of the possession before BPA made a change, Oldham replacing Clayton (54 mins). Alty then won another corner, which Band headed over the bar (56 mins). Next, Aspinall had a shot blocked as Alty raised the tempo. Following this, Little got in a header at Britton from the back post after a cross from Potts from the right (57 mins).
Smith then replaced Naylor for Bradford (59 mins). From Rose's long ball, Potts got in a shot which deflected off a defender but Britton adjusted his feet well to make the save (60 mins). Bradford were still a danger too and Smith's low cross only just evaded his strike colleagues in the Alty goalmouth. But Alty created a golden chance when Hardy and Little found Wright, whose neat lay-off set up Hardy for a clear shot at goal from 12 yards, left of centre, but he fired firmly over the bar (61 mins).
Though Alty were on top, Adams had to be alert to stop another Bradford attack. Next, after Crossley had gained the ball from Little, Colley's shot was sliced wide when he should have tested Coburn (65 mins). Soon Little made amends, finding Wright who took his shot in his stride as he sensed Britton off his line, but the keeper saved (67 mins). Potts then did well on the right but Hardy's header from his cross went just wide, the preceding push on the Alty attacker going unpunished by the referee (69 mins). For BPA, Smith looked lively on the left but it was Alty who made the next change, bringing on Hallows for Wright up front (70 mins). Altrincham continued to press and it took a good interception by Thompson to take the ball off Potts's toe as he was about to convert Hardy's pass. From Potts's cross after 74 minutes, Hallows got in a fine header which Britton did well to tip away for a corner.
Soon afterwards, from Hallows's pass, Hardy's athletic shot went narrowly wide (75 mins). Each side then made a change with Colley giving way up front to Jones and Kielty coming on in Alty's midfield for Aspinall (75 mins). Hardy's fine header was then well taken by Britton as Hallows closed in and then Little got Hardy behind the keeper but he was given offside (77 mins). For Bradford, Smith shot wide from 20 yards as both sides kept the game open. Band's great tackle saw off Oleksewycz before Scott was injured on the knee by Smith's foul. Alty survived a scare when Jones sprang the offside trap on the right and his cross caused a frantic clearance from the Alty penalty area (85 mins).
Four minutes of added time were announced as the otherwise impressive Sheriffe tried to delay an Alty throw and a minor fracas ensued between him and Adams, which ended in both being lectured by the referee (90 mins). In the third minute of added time a foul by Sheriffe on Adams led to a freekick from the left by Potts. Whether intended or not, Potts's long freekick sailed onto the cross bar towards the back post before Jones coolly cleared the danger. The game ended goalless with Gary Talbot a deserving winner of the Man of the Match with his defensive partner Peter Band arguably his nearest rival.
Altrincham had the majority of the chances but lacked the killer instinct. For their part, Bradford contributed much to an open game.
BRADFORD PARK AVENUE 0