VAUXHALL MOTORS (2) 2 ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
Nationwide North Match,
played on Tuesday, 16 November, 2004
at Moss Lane, 7.45p.m.
After their fine performance at Redditch on Saturday, Alty wasted a chance to go second and instead dropped to fifth as a lacklustre performance saw them fail to score on their league travels for the first time this season. Alty changed the line-up from Saturday, putting Hallows on the bench and opting to play Potts and Little as the front men. But the change of tactics did not come off. The Motormen went ahead when Cumiskey lobbed a stranded Coburn after a slip by Adams had left the Vauxhall man with the ball, wide, to the right of goal (25 mins). Wright scored the second just before the interval, from close range after the ball had been knocked back to him from beyond the back post (43 mins).
Alty did bring on Hallows early in the second half but Vauxhall kept their lead fairly comfortably even when Alty used Gary Talbot as an auxiliary striker for the last 15 minutes. An unhappy evening was compounded by four Alty bookings, three of them for unnecessary verbal offences by Maddox, Adams and Potts. All in all a night to forget at a ground where Altrincham have yet to take home a win.
REFEREE: Mr A. Rawcliffe
Altrincham had never won a league game at Rivacre Park but arrived on the back of a good performance last Saturday at Redditch United. A win would have taken them up to second place. Vauxhall had just lost 5-2 to Bury in the FA Cup but had been improving in the league after a bad start. Neverethless they had scored in every league game to date whilst Altrincham had scored in all of their away matches.
With Rose and Wright still sidelined and Rod Thornley unavailable as he was with England's international team in Madrid, Altrincham sprang a pre-kick-off selection surprise. Manager Graham Heathcote dropped Marcus Hallows to the bench, as he had done at Worcester City, with Eddie Hussin returning to midfield after suspension. So, the two Colins, Potts and Little, formed the Altrincham attacking spearhead tonight.
VAUXHALL MOTORS (White shirt and socks, blue shorts): 1. Tim DITTMER, 2. Lee WOODYATT, 3. Wayne McDERMOTT, 4. James GLENDENNING, 5. Carl SPELLMAN, 6. Phil BRAZIER, 7. Carl NESBITT, 8. Robbie LAWTON (capt.), 9. Darren WRIGHT, 10. James OLSEN, 11. Peter CUMISKEY. Subs: 12. Anthony WRIGHT, 14. Chris O'BRIEN, 15. Karl O'DONNELL, 16. Alan GRIFFITHS, 16. Colin FLOOD.
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. Eddie HUSSIN, 9. Val OWEN, 10. Colin LITTLE, 11. Gary SCOTT. Subs: 12. Marcus HALLOWS, 14. Kieran LUGSDEN, 14. Sean SMITH, 14. Paul TILLEY, 15. Steve TORPEY.
On a night of swirling rain, the game got under way after a minute's silence in honour of a former President of Vauxhall FC. Despite their change of managership last season, from Alvin McDonald to Owen Brown, and the loss of several key personnel Vauxhall soon showed that they have maintained their style of powerful running and pacey attacks. After exchanging early probing attacks, play was halted when Darren Wright was flattened by Maddox, to concede a freekick 30 yards from Altrincham's goal (6 mins). Soon after this Potts did get in a shot at Dittmer but it was easily saved from 25 yards out (8 mins). As the rain eased for a moment, Little set up Potts for a well struck, low effort at goal from right of centre but Dittmer had advanced well to deflect it just wide of his right post for a corner (10 mins). The corner was cleared and Vauxhall went to the other end where Wright set up Lawton but Coburn matched Dittmer’s earlier save by closing down the Vauxhall man and producing a good save (12 mins). Vauxhall then won a corner and, soon after, Cumiskey put the ball in the net but well after the whistle had gone for an Alty freekick.
Vauxhall then won two corners as Alty boss Graham Heathcote expressed his frustration at this side's performance so far. "Get yourselves sorted out", he shouted, "And keep the ball!". Even goalkeeper Coburn seemed to be out of sorts as he put another kick into touch and the rain became heavier once more (20 mins). Then Alty put together their best move so far as Band found Little whose curling cross from the left just evaded the incoming Potts. Moments later Alty did have the ball in the net when a ball over the defence dropped for Little and though Dittmer seemed to block the first attempt, Potts put it into the net only for his effort to be ruled out by Mr. Rawcliffe.
Maddox then did well to shepherd the ball out for a goalkick as Wright threatened to the right of goal but, following the goalkick, Adams slipped in the left-back position and allowed Cumiskey to get free. With Coburn off his line, the tall number eleven curled a well-judged ball over the keeper which bounced just under the crossbar and just over the line as Talbot tried vainly to get back to clear (25 mins). It was a well-taken goal but a very disappointing one from Alty's point of view.
After Alty had responded with an attack which faltered when Scott was dispossessed in the Vauxhall box, Vauxhall won three corners in a minute. After the first, conceded by Talbot, the ball slithered out of Coburn's hands and onto the roof of the net for the second corner. After all three corners had been seen off, the ball came across goal to Cumiskey on the right but his shot hit the side-netting. Altrincham then had a very good shout for a penalty when a cross from Potts appeared to be handled as a Vauxhall defender rose to clear it (33 mins). The referee was not interested.
Howevr, Mr Rawcliffe had no option but to award a freekick after Potts had put in a clearly late tackle on Olsen but, for some reason, Mark Maddox passed a comment to which Mr Rawcliffe took exception and he booked the Alty centre-back (34 mins). Following the freekick from 40 yards out on the Motors' left, Cumiskey shot over the bar (35 mins). Altrincham continued to splutter rather than play smoothly but their fans were able to cheer ironically a booking for former Robins' centre-back James Glendenning for a verbal offence, after a foul on Potts by him had been awarded (39 mins).
Altrincham looked to be slightly improving when play was stopped for a foul, off the ball, by Maddox on Lawton which gave Vauxhall a freekick on their right, just outside the box. The freekick from Nesbitt was sent to the back post where Olsen rose to nod the ball down to Darren Wright and the former Droylsden man converted comfortably from close range to make it 2-0 (43 mins). It was only the second time this season that Vauxhall had scored twice in a league match. Half-time soon arrived with Altrincham badly in need of an improvement in their play if they were to retrieve anything from this game.
|Half-Time: VAUXHALL MOTORS 2 ALTRINCHAM 0|
Vauxhall won an early corner in the second half but Altrincham began to look a better unit than in the first half. Indeed, when Dittmer dropped the ball under a challenge from Scott they might have got a goal back but the keeper recovered possession (49 mins). Altrincham then brought on Hallows up front with Maddox the player withdrawn (54 mins). So, Band went into central defence, Potts went on the right flank and Scott switched to the left.
As the travelling supporters' chants of "Yellows" attempted to galvanize their team, Alty won three corners. The first was a fine, curling ball from Aspinall which was just tipped out at the back post by Dittmer. The third corner came after a venomous snap-shot from Hallows which was deflected on to the goal stanchion. Altrincham were now playing a bit better but not wholly convincingly. An effort from Hussin, who was more in evidence than in the first half, went wide before a foul by Adams gave The Motors a freekick from a central position 22 yards out. Olsen curled this round the wall and the post (63 mins).
Alty then levelled the corner count at five-all before surviving a scare when Cumiskey got round Band but Coburn beat the ball out well from the resulting shot. Then Hussin had a slightly mishit attempt well saved by Dittmer at the other end to give Alty another corner, on the right. This was cleared. As Vauxhall appeared to be taking their time about a freekick for offside, Potts talked his way in to the referee's book, the third Alty player to commit the same offence (70 mins). Vauxhall continued to be dangerous in their fast breakaways and when Cumiskey went down in the box under a challenge from the hardworking Band, Altrincham were glad to see penalty appeals waved away by the referee. Then the Motormen complained again when both Potts and Little sprang the offside trap but they were unable to land a shot on goal.
Vauxhall brought on O'Donnell for Wright (74 mins) and Altrincham, for their part, now sent central defender Gary Talbot forward as an auxiliary centre-forward. The searing pace of Lawton saw him race 40 yards up the right before winning a throw in as Vauxhall now took the game back into Alty's half. Soon Lawton lashed a shot over the bar before Dittmer caused his side some anxiety by missing a routine ball and having to run back towards his line to gather it (80 mins). When O'Donnell caught Aspinall after the Alty man had kicked the ball upfield, a fracas developed, with Cumiskey steaming in from nowhere to push Aspinall with both hands on his upper chest. Mr Rawcliffe booked both Aspinall and O'Donnell but did not even speak to Cumiskey.
Alty now brought on Torpey on the left with Adams being withdrawn (83 mins). Altrincham were not looking as if they would score, even though they had done so in every other away league game this season. Alty now had just one of the starting back-four line-up still in that position, as Aspinall was now partnered by Band and Scott in a back three. With Cumiskey announced as Man of the Match, the game went into four minutes of added time. Just as it did so, O'Brien replaced Lawton for Vauxhall. Two minutes later Anthony Wright, the player shot in the street over the summer, came on for Cumiskey. Alty had one last flurry to get a goal which would at least have kept them in fourth place but Band's good ball for Hallows saw the keeper make a good stop from Hallows's touch. The final whistle came to mark Altrincham's first two-goal margin of defeat in the league this season and the first time that they had failed to score away from home in the league this campaign. Altrincham had looked a shadow of the well organised side that did so well at Redditch last Saturday as their away form remains an enigma.
|Full-Time: VAUXHALL MOTORS 2 ALTRINCHAM 0|