REDDITCH UNITED (0) 0 ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
Nationwide North League Match,
played on Saturday, 13 November, 2004
Altrincham deservedly gained their first away win since August with a strong team performance at in-form Redditch United. Altrincham only reached the ground at 2.30pm after the M6 was closed by an accident, so kick-off was delayed by 10 minutes. They were again without Rose and Wright but both Talbot and Adams passed fitness tests and played. The Alty back four kept Redditch's prolific Frenchman, Norman Sylla and his even taller partner, May, quiet and Alty keeper Coburn had little to do. The winner was rifled home by Colin Potts, after good work from Adams and Scott on the left (26 mins).
REFEREE: Mr R Steans
These sides had last met in the newly formed Alliance in 1979-80, with Alty ending that season as champions and Redditch being relegated in bottom position. Alty won the match at Redditch by 1-0 that season.
The sides came together today with Alty looking for their first league win in five games, but buoyed by a fine 3-0 win over Chester City on Tuesday in the Cheshire Senior Cup. For their part, Redditch were on a good run, after their poor start to the campaign. They had gained a place in the Nationwide North from two levels further down the pyramid, after winning the play-offs.
The Valley Ground has a gently undulating pitch in places, with a three-deck main stand, but seating only available on the bottom level, with the club house and other facilities above. Behind one goal is a temporary, open stand supported by scaffolding.
An accident on the road between Altrincham and the M6 and another on the M6, which had closed the motorway at junction 14, meant that the team and supporters were both delayed and only arrived at the ground around 2.30pm. As a consequence, the kick-off was deferred till 3.10pm. The match was played on a cold but sunny afternoon, watched by one of Redditch's largest crowds of the season.
Altrincham's Adams and Talbot had come through fitness tests to play but Rose and Wright remained sidelined by their fractures. With Eddie Hussin suspended, Val Owen partnered Peter Band in central midfield. On the bench were three players making their first appearances in the first-team league squad this season. These were midfielder Paul Tilley and centre-back Adam Brindle from the Altrincham Reserves and Sean Smith, who has been regaining match fitness at Rossendale United, having been out of Altrincham first-team action since an horrific car accident in February 2003.
Redditch included recent loan signing, Rory May, a 6 foot 5 inch striker.
REDDITCH UNITED (All red, with black trim on shirts): 1. Richard ANSTISS, 2. Matt CLARKE, 3. Asa CHARLTON, 4. Sean FLYNN, 5. Gary KNIGHT, 6. Scott RICKARDS, 7. Simon HOLLIS, 8. Mark TAYLOR (capt.), 9. Norman SYLLA, 10. Rory MAY, 11. Luke PRINCE. Subs: 12. Steve COWE, 14. Danny SCHEPPEL, 15. Richard FIELD, 16. Richard SOFTLEY, 17. Craig WOODLEY.
ALTRINCHAM (All yellow): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Stephen ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Mark MADDOX, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Peter BAND (capt.), 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Val OWEN, 9. Marcus HALLOWS, 10. Colin LITTLE, 11. Gary SCOTT. Subs: 12. Rod THORNLEY, 14. Kieran LUGSDEN, 15. Sean SMITH, 16. Paul TILLEY, 17. Adam BRINDLE.
After changing ends the game kicked off at 3.10pm. Redditch adopted their customary back three formation and as the game got under way, Alty boss Graham Heathcote took stock of the opposition, and shouted immediate adjustments to his side's tactics.
From an early freekick, Talbot headed wide but Alty went even closer soon afterwards when Little found Hallows, who lifted the ball over Anstiss but a retreating defender did well to head clear off the line (6 mins). Little and Owen then had efforts blocked as Alty built on their promising start.
A great tackle by Adams stopped Rickards at the other end before Little got free, behind the United defence, but he could only roll his effort narrowly wide (13 mins). Aspinall then picked up a booking for a trip on Taylor (14 mins). But Aspinall and his defensive colleagues were all doing extremely well in keeping Redditch at bay, especially the prolific goalscoring Frenchman, Sylla, and the giant May, on loan from Tamworth.
Alty caught United offside before winning a freekick in a promising position but a complete misunderstanding between Aspinall and Potts saw the chance wasted. Watched by two sets of vocal supporters, Altrincham again went close again when Aspinall and Little got the ball to Scott, who expertly changed feet to get in an excellent shot, which only narrowly cleared the bar from the edge of the box (25 mins). However, Alty deservedly took the lead a minute later. Adams took a throw on the left, about 25 yards out, to Scott whose cross came back out to Potts, who rifled the ball past Anstiss from 12 yards or so (26 mins).
A foul by Owen gave Charlton a freekick from 25 yards which he drove well over the bar (31 mins). Alty's hardworking team effort was underlined when it was striker Hallows who blocked Prince on the left by-line at the Alty end. Redditch were also being repeatedly caught offside as they struggled to get a sight of goal. However, they spurned their best chance after 41 minutes. This came after Little was being held round the legs just inside his own half but the ref allowed play to continue. The ball went from Taylor to Prince, left of goal, and his low cross found an unmarked Sylla near the back post and barely six feet from goal. Yet, somehow, the big striker contrived to scoop the ball high and wide, with a corner all that resulted from his efforts (41 mins). Both this and a subsequent corner ended as comfortable catches for Coburn before Alty won a corner of their own through Hallows's persistence (45 mins). This was taken by Potts, low to Little on the corner of the box. Little returned the ball to Potts who did well to evade a challenge and get the ball across the box where it was just marginally too high for the head of the incoming Band at the back post. Half-time arrived with Alty deservedly ahead after a fine team performance.
|Half-Time: REDDITCH UNITED 0 ALTRINCHAM 1|
The floodlights came on at the interval but there were no changes of personnel at the break. From a ball by Owen, Talbot back-headed the ball expertly into the net but the whistle had gone after a late flag for offside (49 mins). Aspinall and Adams continued to have excellent games at full-back, whilst Potts was also looking lively as he won a corner. Anstiss got nowhere near the corner and it took a defender to clear the ball off the line for the second time in this match for Redditch (52 mins).
Redditch then enjoyed some pressure without creating any clear opening before their manager made his first change, taking off the disappointing May and replacing him with his other recent loan signing, Cowe from Forest Green (57 mins). Alty remained on the back foot but then won a corner through Little's battling against Knight on the right (59 mins).
Owen became Alty's second booked player when he slid into a tackle on Taylor in midfield (62 mins). Following this, a good Alty move ended with a superb shot from outside the box by Potts which Anstiss did very well to claw away from his top corner as he dived to his right (63 mins). Redditch went for broke after 64 minutes with a double substitution; Softley and Scheppel replaced Hollis and Prince.
However, Alty continued to create the better chances. Maddox found Little and his cross was just taken off the heads of both Band and Hallows by a defender's intervention. Altrincham had now started to go forward after being penned back for some time in the second half. Alty had another chance soon afterwards when Aspinall's freekick found Hallows whose header went just wide (70 mins). Moments later Hallows had a better chance when another Aspinall freekick set him free but his first touch knocked the ball to Anstiss (71 mins). Altrincham were now back in control as Redditch were penned back. Hallows was next given offside barely a pace into the opposition half.
The ebb and flow of the game continued with Redditch now pressing forward but still they failed to create a clear opening. Alty made a change after 78 minutes, Thornley replacing Hallows up front. Taylor put a Clarke up and under well wide as Redditch continued to press for a point against a resolute Alty defence. The home side did win a corner after 86 minutes and Softley shot against the outside of the post after Coburn had been jostled and dropped the ball in what looked like a foul challenge, which was not given by the referee much to Stuart's annoyance (87 mins).
Altrincham put together a good move which ended when a defender almost removed Thornley's shirt to concede a freekick forty yards out. This was wasted by Adams as the game entered added time. Despite there being no obvious stoppages, Mr Steans managed to find more than three minutes of added time, which Alty survived without too much danger.
This was only Alty's second away win of the season but it was well deserved. Founded on a solid back-four display, it was above all a good team showing which took Altrincham up to fourth in the league. If there had been a Man of the Match, Steve Aspinall would have been a serious contender for Altrincham.
|Full-Time: REDDITCH UNITED 0 ALTRINCHAM 1|