CHESTER CITY (0) 0 ALTRINCHAM (1) 3
Cheshire Senior Cup, 2nd Round Match,
played on Tuesday, 9 November, 2004
at Moss Lane, 7.45p.m.
An excellent performance from Altrincham gave them a thoroughly deserved win over Chester in this Cheshire Senior Cup quarter-final watched by 249 spectators on a very damp night. Colin Little struck a fine volley from Band's long pass to put Altrincham ahead (4 mins). Several other chances went begging before Little scored with a fine half-volley on the hour. Substitute Kieran Lugsden netted his first senior goal after 84 mins to make it 3-0. Chester had plenty of possession but Stuart Coburn had very little to do as the Alty back four gave a strong performance, with Mark Maddox deservedly lifting the Man of the Match award - one sliding tackle by Mark in the second half was worth the admission money alone! It was also good to see two former Alty Youth players and current Reserves, Paul Tilley and Matt Tooth, both come on for the closing stages.
REFEREE: Mr D W Stewart
This match was technically an away game for Altrincham, but Chester had requested a switch to avoid the expense of a low gate at the Deva Stadium with its high overheads. With 23 goals scored in the previous four cup matches at Moss Lane this season, Alty fans were hopeful of a continuation of that rich vein of entertainment.
As Terry Rowley's excellent piece in the matchday programme on the historical connections between Chester and Altrincham revealed, this was only the sixth ever CSC meeting betwen the sides, with Alty having won all but one of the previous encounters - not to mention their famous FA Cup win over Chester.
With Rose and Wright sidelined for a while, the Alty squad was again down to the bare bones. Val Owen pased a fitness test to play, but Chris Adams and Gary Talbot had taken knocks on Saturday which ruled them out. So, Peter Band played at the back alongisde Mark Maddox, whilst Rod Thornley started up fron with Marcus Hallows. This meant that Colin Little played on the left. Gary Scott started at left-back whilst on the bench were three products of the Alty youth and reserve teams; Kieran Lugsden, Paul Tilley and Matt Tooth. Midfielder Paul was the Youth team captain in 2001-02 but moved on to Trafford and Leigh RMI in the absence at that time of an Altrincham Reserves' side, whilst Matt was last year's Youth team left-back who has now graduated to the newly re-formed Alty Reserves. Only three subs are permitted in Cheshire Senior Cup matches.
For their part, Chester City fielded the experienced Kevin McIntyre, Andy Harris, Kevin Rapley and former non-league England international goalkeeper, Wayne Brown, amongst their players with first-team experience. Another player with first-team experience was Stephen Vaughan, son of the Chester chairman, who watched from the directors' box. Sadly, there was no sign of Kevin Ellison or Phil Bolland, two former Robins now at Chester, nor was the Chester manager Ian Rush in evidence.
CHESTER CITY (All yellow): 1.Wayne BROWN, 2. Stephen VAUGHAN, 3. Kevin McINTYRE, 4. Matty COOK, 5. Danny VENTRE, 6. Andy HARRIS (capt.), 7. Robbie BOOTH, 8. Micahel WALSH, 9. Gavin LYNCH, 10. Kevin RAPLEY, 11. Ian LATHAM. Subs: 12. James SALKELD, 14. Sean WHALLEY, 15. Paul RUTHERFORD.
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shirts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Stephen ASPINALL, 3. Gary SCOTT, 4. Mark MADDOX, 5. Peter BAND (capt.), 6. Val OWEN, 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Eddie HUSSIN, 9. Marcus HALLOWS, 10. Colin LITTLE, 11. Rod THORNLEY. Subs: 12. Kieran LUGSDEN, 14. Paul TILLEY, 15. Matthew TOOTH.
Chester won two early corners as they attacked the 20/20 End but both were cleared. However, it was Altrincham who took an early lead when a well directed long ball forward from Band picked out the advancing Little, who had timed his run well to get behind the defence. Little executed a superb volley from about 12 yards to send the ball past Brown into the net (4 mins). Alty followed this up by winning a corner and then attacked again but Potts was given offside. Chester were enjoying plenty of early possession but when Walsh crossed from the right the unmarked Rapley headed well wide. Altrincham went even closer than this when Potts made space on the right and delivered a firm, low cross which evaded the defence but Thornley, at the back post, could only turn it into the side netting (11 mins).
McIntyre then shot high over the Alty bar as play continued in end to end fashion. Band and Maddox were having good games in the Alty defence but it was Scott who then made a fine block to prevent a Chester shot from 16 yards. When Aspinall strode forward on the right his advance ended with a shot over the Golf Road roof (19 mins). Brown remained the busier keeper as he had to field a header from Owen, who had risen well to met a Thornley cross from the right (22 mins). One or two physical challenges were coming in from Chester's Harris but it was Hussin who was first to be lectured for a robust challenge. A Little header conceded a corner on the left top Chester, following which Harris felled Owen. Aspinall's curling free kick from 40 yards out on the left found Band who rose well at the near post to head across goal but Hallows, arriving at the back post, was narrowly unable to turn it into the net (27 mins). Soon Alty caused Brown more concern in the Chester goal when a superb drive from Little forced Brown to parry the ball away (32 mins). Though possession had been fairly even, it was Altrincham who had carved out the better chances in front of goal.
Rapley then took exception, for some reason, when Hussin cleared the ball into touch and a fracas developed which grew to involve more than half a dozen players. The referee rightly booked Rapley, who had grabbed Hussin, but also booked Hussin for reasons that were far from clear. Another curious decision followed on the other side of the pitch when McIntyre kicked the ball away, clearly believing that he had conceded a throw-in which he did not want taking quickly, only for the referee to award the throw to Chester. With tempers threatening to boil over, Dalton Steele instructed his men to calm down, as manager Graham Heathcote retained his observation point in the directors' box.
Thornley showed that he had lost none of his willingness to chase lost causes when he pursued a defender as he aimed to play a back pass to the keeper but Rod managed to get in a toe-poke past the keeper which went wide of the goal. As with Little's goal, another fine ball over the defence by Band found both Hallows and Potts in a menacing position inside the box but the two Alty men confused each other and allowed Brown to gather the ball (40 mins). A blatant body check by Ventre on Hussin yielded a freekick but no caution. Then Hallows won a corner with a deflected cross and from Aspinall's flag kick Hallows almost converted at the near post but another corner resulted instead. This was caught be Brown who then dropped the ball under an illegal challenge form Hussin. Yet another good chance came Alty's way in the second minute of added time when a Thornley cross came out to Owen who tried to steer it, low into the keeper's bottom right corner, but he missed the target. Alty were good value for their half-time lead but had not put away more than one of the four or so good openings that they had created.
|Half-Time: CHESTER CITY 0 ALTRINCHAM 1|
Rain now started to fall as Chester started the second half with plenty of possession. Indeed Chester's Latham soon created a shooting opportunity which Coburn saved, one of the visitors' few direct cracks at goal in the match so far (51 mins). Chester continued to pres without creating any more openings in a well marshalled Alty defence and when Potts got into the box at the other end, the visitors brought him down. Mr Stewart gave the foul but, amazingly, awarded a freekick on the edge of the box for an offence which seemed to have been clearly inside it. Potts wasted the opportunity by taking the kick too hurriedly. Chester went down to the other end where Rapley's glancing header from Walsh's cross went wide (57 mins). The end to end action next produced an Alty corner, from which Little shot wide.
Chester now brought on Rutherford to replace Rapley (58 mins). Moments later Harris committed a crude foul on Thornley and received an overdue booking. From the freekick Aspinall drove the ball just wide. Then, following two successive throw-ins, Aspinall received the ball back and put in a cross from the right which Thornley nodded on to Little, in space, in the left of the box. Little rifled home a left foot shot from 12 yards or so to make it 2-0 to bring his tally to 16 goals so far this season (60 mins).
Chester pressed forward but a corner was their only dividend (66 mins). But Hallows then won one for Alty when his shot was deflected out after good work by Potts. From Potts's corner, Band headed wide (71 mins). Next, Lynch skillfully got into the Alty box, but he fell over his feet and a goal kick resulted. Altrincham continued to play well to keep Chester away from their goal before they made their first change, with Lugsden coming on for Hallows (79 mins). Curiously, the fourth official seem to stop Charles Heathcote from showing the number boards to indicate who was replacing whom. Soon after this Owen drove an effort over from the edge of the box before Whalley came on for Lynch as a Chester substitute (80 mins). Two minutes later Salkeld replaced Booth for the visitors.
When Rutherford threatened to get free, Maddox executed a perfect sliding tackle to take the ball. Soon Alty were at the other end and after good work by Little and Potts the ball was relayed to Lugsden who poked it home from close range near the keeper's left post (84 mins). It was Kieran's first senior goal for Altrincham. After the re-start, Lugsden fed Thornley whose well-executed chip from 25 yards only just cleared the bar.
Alty made double change with Paul Tilley and Matt Tooth both coming on for their debuts, replacing Potts and Thornley. Tilley went to right midfield, and Tooth to the left (86 mins). Though Chester won a corner in injury time they did not seriously threaten to score and, indeed, Coburn had a very quite game in the Altrincham nets.
This was a very good performance from Altrincham against a Chester side including a fair sprinkling of players with first-team experience. Mark Maddox was named as Man of the Match but everyone tonight had a good game for Altrincham despite the absence of the two regulars, Adams and Talbot.
|Full-Time: CHESTER CITY 0 ALTRINCHAM 3|