ALTRINCHAM (1) 4
WORKSOP TOWN (1) 1
Nationwide North Match,
played on Saturday, 18 September, 2004
After a slowish start Altrincham took the lead after 29 minutes when Little headed in Adams's well-struck freekick from the right. But the Tigers levelled just before the interval when Haran was allowed to head home Davies's freekick unchallenged at the back post (45 mins). Worksop had a lot of the ball in the Alty half without seriously threatening before Colin Potts's low shot from a well-rehearsed free-kick routine, just outside the box, put Alty ahead again (65 mins). A clear handball by Wilson gave Alty a penalty and Aspinall sent Rogers the wrong way from the spot (76 mins). Finally, Hussin drove home a headed clearance two minutes into added time to make it 4-1. Alty are 9th with two games in hand on most teams.
REFEREE: Mr J Collin
The Moss Lane pitch was still bearing the visual scars of its sand-drilling of last weekend but was otherwise in good condition. Alty recorded their fourth consecutive home league gate in excess of 600, as a good start to the season and the inauguration of Nationwide North have combined to bolster support, despite a modest increase in gate prices.
Alty were again without the injured Niell Hardy, Gary Scott, Peter Wright and the recovering Rod Thornley but Barry Shuttleworth was fit once again to join the squad. The only change to the starting line-up from last Tuesday's CSC game against Cammell Laird, was the inclusion of Marcus Hallows for his first start of the season instead of Kieran Lugsden. Once again, Stephen Rose played at left-back and Chris Adams on the left of midfield. Included in the squad for the first time was midfielder Joey Roberts, who has impressed for the Reserves recently.
Worksop's new manager, Ronnie Glavin, included numerous of his former Emley and Frickley players in the Tigers' team today and, given Alty's quite dreadful record against Emley in recent years, this could have been an ominous sign.
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. Marcus HALLOWS, 10. Colin LITTLE, 11. Stephen ROSE. Subs: 12. Ged KIELTY, 14. Kieran LUGSDEN, 15. Joey ROBERTS, 16. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH, 17. Stuart WRIGHT.
WORKSOP TOWN (All blue): 1. Kris ROGERS, 2. Steve NICHOLSON, 3. Kevin DAVIES, 4. Brian O'CALLAGHAN, 5. Mark HARAN, 6. James DUDGEON, 7. Mark WILSON, 8. Paul DEMPSEY, 9. Chris CLEARY, 10. Dene CROPPER, 11. Blake NORTON. Subs: 12. Simeon BAMBROOK, 14. Miles THORPE, 15. Anthony JACKSON, 16. Gregg ARCHER, 17. Karl LINIGHAN (gk).
Altrincham kicked off towards the 20/20 End in bright sunshine, and put together an immediate multi-pass move which only ended in an offside decision against Aspinall. However, Worksop got in the first shot, albeit a fairly tame effort from Wilson which Coburn fielded comfortably at the near post (2 mins). After a good chest from Maddox to Little, the Alty man advanced up the middle before unleashing a shot from 35 yards, which was only narrowly wide (5 mins). However, it was Worksop who settled the more quickly and won two corners in succession (14 mins). But Altrincham then had a good chance to go ahead when neat play from Little saw the ball threaded through to Aspinall, the Alty right-back, who had somehow popped up inside the Tigers' box in an inside-left position. Unfortunately, Aspinall miscontrolled the pass and the chance disappeared (15 mins).
With manager Graham Heathcote watching from the directors' box rather than the touchline, Alty won a freekick for obstruction against Potts. Potts's freekick was flicked on by Little to Adams who, emulating Aspinall by turning up in an unexpected position, scissor-kicked an effort at goal from an inside-right position, but it cleared the bar (19 mins). Maddox then played a good ball forward for Hallows, who did well to hold off a robust challenge but shot wide, across goal (21 mins).
Alty were now getting the upper hand and when Little got on the end of a move he had started, via Potts and Hallows's fine cross from the right, his goalbound, downward header was well saved by Rogers at the back post (23 mins). Rogers hurt himself in making the save and play stopped for treatment to the Worksop no.1 as Alty were awarded a freekick on the left. Rose's freekick from the left was then just kept out by Rogers at the back post but Hallows could not beat the keeper with his follow-up shot (23 mins). Worksop then broke the Alty offside trap when Dudgeon's pass set Wilson free to the left of goal but his shot went across the face of goal (25 mins).
Alty were winning plenty of freekicks and when Dudgeon held Little, another was awarded to them. From about 35 yards out, on the right, Adams curled in a well struck freekick which Little met at the back post with a firm header, from 7 yards or so, past Rogers into the top of the net to put Alty ahead and record Altrincham's first first-half goal of the league season in their eighth game (29 mins).
Soon after the restart Rogers had to be out smartly to deny the advancing Hallows on the edge of the box. Hallows's partner, Little, was popping up all over the pitch, working hard when Worksop had the ball. Although Altrincham were now in control, they had a scare after 35 minutes. Coburn came out to punch clear but was beaten to the ball by Cropper whose header, fortunately for Alty, narrowly missed the far post and also evaded his incoming colleague at the back post. Maddox was lucky to escape without a booking when his foot-up challenge caught Cleary on the head on the very edge of the Alty box. Dempsey put the resulting freekick into the wall. Hussin was having his best game yet for Altrincham and he then did well to see off some Worksop danger in the Alty box. Indeed, Worksop continued to press as the interval approached and, when Hallows lost possession near half way, the Alty striker's efforts to recover the ball saw him concede a freekick on the Worksop left, some 25 yards out from the Alty goal. Coburn hesitated in coming out as Davies's freekick arrived, towards the back of the goalmouth, and Haran was allowed a free header into the net to level the scores (45 mins).
Above - There are seven Alty players visible in the box to Worksop's three but the Tigers' Mark Haran, in the blue shirt farthest from camera, turns after putting the ball into the Alty net from a free-kick by Davies (no.3). The ball is in the net, just to the right of the MU crest on the hoarding.
In the one minute of added time before the break, a Hallows' shot was deflected in a loop to Rogers. But Alty created the first real opening of the half when Hallows headed Potts's cross wide.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 WORKSOP TOWN 1|
At the break, Worksop brought on former Emley man Simeon Bambrook in place of Norton on the left flank. The Tigers won an early corner as they pressed forward in the opening stages of the second half. But Altrincham had a good chance when Hallows headed wide a Potts cross (51 mins). Graham Heathcote now moved down to the touchline. Ironically, this was the cue for some slack play from his side as a mis-judged short freekick from Rose induced an error from Talbot and led to Coburn's attempted kick clear striking Cleary. Manager Heathcote was irate: "We've not got out of first gear this half", he shouted at his charges (56 mins). At the other end, Rogers then had to head clear as Hallows chased a through-ball. Next, Bambrook then got to the by-line to the right of the Alty goal but his cross was cleared (60 mins).
A foul on Little by Haran prompted applause from the victim, which Mr Collin did not seem to like, and he lectured the Alty striker. Three Alty players hovered over the freekick, 22 yards out left of centre. Just as it appeared that Adams and Potts were setting up a shot for Little, Adams tapped the ball to Potts, who turned smartly to this right and hammered a low shot at goal, which Rogers could only tip into the far corner of his net (65 mins). Moments later, Little shot just over the bar. A ball across the Alty goalmouth saw Coburn and Cropper collide with both players needing treatment but the Alty keeper came off worse as the Worksop man's studs cut him across the chest (68 mins). Play had continued before the two players were treated and Worksop had won a freekick. Following this freekick, an overhead effort by Cropper looked goalbound till the spin of the ball took it comfortably into Coburn's arms (70 mins).
Worksop then threatened again after a good turn by Cleary but the ball went across goal before Rose cleared O'Callaghan's subsequent cross. Band then cleared the next attack. Potts was looking Alty's best outlet at this stage and further relief for the home side came when Hussin was tripped by Dempsey, 28 yards out. Rose played the freekick to Potts on the left and, as Colin cut into the box, his cross struck Wilson's hand (if not hands), as the Worksop man clearly veered to the left to intercept the ball. Referee Collin had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and then booked Wilson. Aspinall sent Rogers the wrong way from the spot to make it 3-1 (76 mins).
As he prepared to kick-off the game again, Wilson was substituted, much to his annoyance, and replaced by Miles Thorpe, another ex-Emley player (77 mins). Following the re-start, Alty soon won a corner before Worksop won one for themselves, which Band headed clear.
With four minutes left Kieran Lugsden replaced Marcus Hallows, allowing the Alty striker a few more minutes to go off and prepare for his post-match performance as an Elvis Presley impersonator in the Altrincham bar (86 mins). Worksop continued to enjoy plenty of the ball but they were not creating any chances. Three minutes of added time were played and these started with a smart volley by Little from an excellent Potts cross, which just cleared the bar. Little then won a corner, which he himself took on the left. This was half cleared and when Aspinall's cross was headed out by a Worksop player, Hussin latched onto it and drove an excellent shot, low, past Rogers's left hand to make the score 4-1, in the third minute of added time.
Colin Potts was the deserved Man of the Match in a game which Altrincham well deserved to win but perhaps not by such a large margin.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 4 WORKSOP TOWN 1|