ALTRINCHAM (2) 3
CAMMELL LAIRD (0) 2
Cheshire Senior Cup, 1st Round Match,
played on Tuesday, 14 September, 2004
Despite a gap of four divisions between the sides, Cammell Laird of NW Counties Two gave an excellent account of themselves in this Cheshire Senior Cup tie. After weathering early Lairds' pressure, Colin Little put Alty ahead with a header off the underside of the crossbar (14 mins). Little scored again with a header from 15 yards (35 mins) to put Alty in control. But, after 70 minutes, McGuire converted a cross from Sheehan to make it 2-1. When Hallows restored the two-goal lead two minutes later it looked to be all over. However, Lairds finished strongly and scored an excellent headed goal through Thompson (89 mins). All in all this was an entertaining game played in a good spirit.
REFEREE: Mr D Mohareb
These sides had last met at Rock Ferry in a pre-season friendly in 2003 when a Peter Band goal was all that separated the teams. Since then Alty have moved into Nationwide North whilst Lairds have joined the NW Counties Second Division. The side from The Wirral came into this match on the back of an unbeaten run which had taken them to top of the table - and they had scored plenty of goals in the process. The sides had been drawn together three times previously in the CSC - all between 1978/79 and 1980/81, with two of the games going to replays. In a total of five encounters, Alty had won just once.
Considering the bad weather before the game, the rival soccer attractions on TV, that the match was not eligible for free entry for season ticket holders and that full league gate-prices applied, a crowd of 161 was not too bad.
To improve drainage, the newly-laid pitch had been "sand-slitted" over last weekend so had narrow grass-less lines across it every few inches. The grass will regrow over these lines in the next couple of weeks.
In the crowd was Lancaster manager Phil Wilson, running his eye over Alty, who meet his side next week. A Worksop "spy" was also present, ahead of our game against The Tigers on Saturday.
With Niell Hardy joining Gary Scott, Peter Wright and Barry Shuttleworth on the injured list, the only change to the starting eleven from last Saturday's game was Kieran Lugsden's inclusion. However, this time, Stephen Rose started at left-back with Chris Adams in left midfield.
Lairds were without top scorer Ronnie Morgan who has hit 11 goals this season but included full-back Derek Ward, well known at Moss Lane from his Stalybridge years. Ward almost became a Robin last season when he signed UniBond forms as emergency cover but he never actually played for Altrincham. Up front for Lairds was Ian Cooke, the former Northwich striker, now playing again for a club he had been with in his youth- as had Alty's Steve Aspinall.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Stephen ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Mark MADDOX, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Peter BAND (capt.), 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Eddie HUSSIN, 9. Kieran LUGSDEN, 10. Colin LITTLE, 11. Stephen ROSE. Subs: 12. Marcus HALLOWS, 14. Ged KIELTY, 15. Stuart WRIGHT.
CAMMELL LAIRD (All blue): 1. Leon BIMPSON, 2. Derek WARD, 3. Andrew LYNCH, 4. Carl CLAMPITT, 5. Mike REEVES, 6. Andy PEW, 7. Jamie McGUIRE, 8. Eddie JEBB, 9. Ian COOKE, 10. Mike BATES, 11. Kevin THOMPSON (capt.). Subs: 12. Anthony SHEEHAN, 14. Mike RIMMER, 15. John MORGAN.
Lairds started off brightly with plenty of fast, passing football and they kept Alty penned back in the opening minutes. However, soon after they had won the first corner of the game, Lairds went behind. The goal came from a good Alty move, initiated by Rose. Via Aspinall and Potts the ball came back to Aspinall, whose well directed cross was met by Chris Adams's head towards the back of the penalty area. He found Colin Little, inside him, and his header found the back of the net off the underside of the bar (14 mins). This was Altrincham's first goal before half-time in a competitive game this season - in their eighth match of the campaign.
Altrincham were now settling down, with Potts looking lively on the right. The sides traded attacks and Lairds won two more corners, to Alty’s one, over the next twenty minutes. But Altrincham then doubled their lead when another Aspinall cross produced a goal. The cross, from the right, was met by a downward header from about 15 yards by Little. The ball seemed to skid off the greasy surface and evade the keeper’s dive to his right and it went into the net near the upright (35 mins). It was Colin Little's seventh goal of the season in eight starts.
Lairds almost got a goal back immediately after this. From Cooke's pass McGuire surged impressively up the middle and found Bates, who got behind the advancing Coburn but could only find the side netting from right of goal (37 mins). Mark Maddox had been showing some signs of distress and he was substituted by Ged Kielty at this point (37 mins). Band went to centre-back from midfield to accommodate Kielty alongside Hussin. Soon Coburn had to be out quickly again to clear from Bates (38 mins). But a neat flick from Lugsden allowed Potts to win a corner for Altrincham from which Kielty lifted the ball over the bar from 13 yards or so (41 mins).
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 CAMMELL LAIRD 0|
Little and Potts combined well in the first minute after the break but the latter lifted his shot over the bar from inside the box. Then, from a Lugsden feed, Hussin knocked an effort narrowly wide (48 mins). There was then a sublime moment when Potts set Little clear and he sold the advancing keeper a superb dummy, which left the Lairds number one on the ground, before bemusing another defender, but his shot was cleared off the line by another retreating Lairds player for a corner (52 mins). Lairds replied with a testing cross from Jebb, which Coburn held well. Cammell Laird then made a double change with Sheehan and Rimmer replacing Reeves and Jebb (56 mins). Alty continued to press and, from Potts's pass, Kieran Lugsden advanced into the box but he lifted his shot just too high (56 mins). Lairds then won two corners as they refused to lie down. Alty now brought on Hallows up front with Little retiring (62 mins).
For Alty, Adams won a corner before Hussin got in a good block at the other end to stop the lively Sheehan. Next, from an Aspinall cross, the keeper could not hold the ball but a Lugsden shot was blocked by an alert defender and from the resulting cross, Hallows header was also blocked (69 mins). Alty were looking reasonably in control but then a slick move up the right saw Sheehan cross, low, into the goalmouth from the right and McGuire knocked the ball past Coburn to make it 2-1 (70 mins).
Alty mustered the perfect response by making it 3-1 less than two minutes later. From the right, Potts cross found Hallows coming in unmarked at the back post and the Alty sub made no mistake (72 mins). Still Lairds kept playing good football and it was easy to see how they have gone to the top of the NW Counties Division Two. Just after winning a corner off Band, Lairds made a change with John Morgan replacing Cooke up front. At the same time Alty's Stuart Wright came on for Eddie Hussin and slotted in on the left flank (76 mins). Alty enjoyed the better of the next few minutes and won two corners. Between these Hallows got in a good shot from the left from an Adams pass, which the keeper held (80 mins). At the back, Talbot continued to have a good game as Cammell Laird geared up for a strong finish which saw them win three corners in four minutes. The first came when Coburn made a smart save from Sheehan at the back post (85mins). Then Wright had to concede a corner from a cross before Band deflected a cross out over the bar for the third flag-kick (89 mins). From this last corner, Lairds' tenth of the game (compared with Alty’s seven), Thompson made a run towards the near post and glanced a firm header to his right and into the net to set up a tense finale at 3-2 (89 mins).
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 3 CAMMELL LAIRD 2|