ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY (0) 0
FA Trophy 2nd Round Replay,
played on Tuesday, 30 November, 2004
Alty can count themselves very fortunate to have won this FA Trophy replay after putting in as poor a performance as they have given at home this season. It took the width of the post and a couple of fine saves from Man of the Match, Stuart Coburn, to stop Trinity taking a first-half lead and in the second half Altrincham continued to stutter. The winner came in the last minute when Val Owen drove home a shot after good work by Kieran Lugsden; it was one of very few Alty shots on target in the 90 minutes. The Robins now travel to Leigh RMI in Round 3 on 15 January and pocket £3,000 in prize money for tonight's win. At the end, Hussin, Hallows and Scott all limped into the dressing room after being substituted.
REFEREE: Mr Craig GRUNDY (South Yorkshire)
After Saturday's entertaining game, there was a disappointing crowd at Moss Lane on a cold but dry night.
Altrincham retained the same team and substitutes who had done well at Gainsborough on Saturday.
Gainsborough again excluded Gareth Grant from the starting line-up and he was one of only four subs, one of whom was a keeper, on the Trinity bench tonight. Simon Bird remained as Lee Ellington's strike partner but Luke Staton was suspended and replaced in central midfield by Carl Smith. Chris Hurst was fit to play after an injury scare.
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks.) 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Stephen ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Peter BAND (capt.), 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Val OWEN, 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Eddie HUSSIN, 9. Marcus HALLOWS, 10. Colin LITTLE, 11. Gary SCOTT. Subs: 12. Mark MADDOX, 14. Rod THORNLEY, 15. Kieran LUGSDEN, 16. Sean SMITH, 17. Lewis CHALMERS.
GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY (Blue shirts and shorts, white socks) 1. Jamie HOLMSHAW, 2. Wes PARKER, 3. Adam BURLEY, 4. Neil ALLISON (capt.), 5. Richard PELL, 6. Carl SMITH, 7. Danny WOOD, 8. Chris HURST, 9. Lee ELLINGTON, 10. Simon BIRD, 11. Matty CAUDWELL. Subs: 12. Gareth GRANT. 13 Nicky SCAIFE (gk), 14. Ben PURKISS, 15. Rob O'BRIEN.
There was a disappointing crowd for this Trophy replay after Saturday's entertaining draw at The Northolme but the Alty supporters behind the Golf Road goal did their best to create some atmosphere with their vocal support. Amongst the spectators were Lancaster City boss Phil Wilson and TNS manager Ken McKenna, the former Alty striker.
Within the first minute Hallows had been fouled to win a free-kick, after Gainsborough had kicked off the match. But Alty had an early scare when Coburn showed good composure to come out of his box and sell a dummy to an opponent but then miskicked his clearance to Wood, on the Gainsborough right wing, about 35 yards from goal. Wood threaded the ball to Bird but Peter Band came across the goalmouth to shepherd the danger away, with Bird going down under his challenge but Mr Grundy did not agree to the Trinity penalty requests (4 mins). In a lively opening period, Gainsborough gradually got the upper hand.
After Scott had lost possession, the ball came to Wood in centre field about 25 yards out. He slipped the ball left to Caudwell who was in acres of space just outside the box. As he advanced, he sent a low drive across Coburn but, fortunately for Altrincham, the ball came back out off the inside of Coburn's left upright and was cleared (10 mins). Soon after this Bird shot narrowly wide when he should have hit the target (13 mins) as Alty were kept on the back foot. This season, the Alty manager Graham Heathcote has been starting games from an observation point in the directors' box and only going to the touchline as the game progressed. If the timing of his move to the touchline is an indicator of his satisfaction with his side, tonight's game scored a mere 14 minutes on the "Heathcote Index of Satisfaction" as at that point he went down to the technical area to join Dalton Steele in trying to get the team to lift its game. Little was showing some flashes of his skill but generally Altrincham were stuttering. Things did improve briefly when, following an Adams throw on the left, the ball came to Hallows who relayed it across the face of goal where the incoming Potts was just unable to make contact from close range at the back post (18 mins).
Hussin soon won Alty a corner, which Holmshaw punched away, but a Hussin miscue to Holmshaw a few minutes later was the nearest to any kind of goal threat from the home side at this stage (21 mins). But at the other end, Ellington got past Band and it took a great save from the advancing Coburn to keep the former Alty trialist out. But Trinity soon won a corner to keep up the pressure. Next Hurst and Parker combined for the latter to shoot wide from the edge of the box (27 mins).
The game was not reaching the levels of entertainment experienced on Saturday at The Northolme and as Alty still failed to get into top gear, Hurst fouled Owen and prompted a slight fracas between the two which referee Grundy resolved with a few words but no booking (34 mins). Alty did put together a decent move after 38 minutes which ended with Hallows, to the right of goal, and was just about to reach Little for an almost certain goal when a defender managed to hook it clear. Graham Heathcote and Dalton Steele continued to try and get their side going. The most positive effect in the next few minutes was a corner, won and taken by Potts, who was having a quieter time than usual on the Alty right. But just as half-time approached Alty did construct a neat move which ended with Hallows crossing, low, from the inside right position to Little, but the ball was marginally behind Little and his first-time stab at goal went wide (45 mins). Half-time arrived with Gainsborough, as in the first game on Saturday, rueing unconverted chances which might have made the game safe for them, whilst Altrincham supporters felt that their side could only play better in the second period.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 0|
After half-time, Gainsborough's Burley appeared in a no.17 shirt as his original no.3 top had blood on it. Hopes that Altrincham's performance might improve were not initially manifested as Gainsborough won five corners in the first fifteen minutes of the second half. Owen cleared the first of these but only to Wood, whose shot was diverted by Parker’s head, just wide of Coburn's right post (49 mins). After Bird had taken the second corner, Ellington laid the ball off to Hurst whose shot cleared the Golf Road End's roof. Band did well to stop Ellington and concede the third in the sequence of corners, following which Bird shot badly wide. With Graham Heathcote back in the stand it was a matter of time before he went down again to the touchline as Gainsborough won the majority of 50-50 challenges against a strangely lethargic Altrincham. The fifth corner prompted Graham to go down to the touchline but still Gainsborough had the better of things as a deflected shot by Smith was well saved, low down, by Coburn (61 mins).
Alty now made a change with Hallows coming off to make way for Thornley up front (62 mins). Slowly things improved a bit but when Potts and Little combined, Holmshaw had to come outside his box to half-clear but when Thornley and Little then got the ball to Owen, the midfielder lifted his shot well over the bar (67 mins). Now Maddox came on for Hussin, who seemed to be troubled with a leg injury (67 mins). This meant that Band went into midfield. Thornley was beginning to make some impact when he was joined up front by Lugsden after an injury to Scott forced the removal of Alty's left-midfielder (69 mins). Little now replaced Scott on the left as Lugsden went up front with Thornley. Play was now scrappy with Maddox hoofing twice into touch and a short goalkick from Coburn putting pressure on his own defence.
Little, Lugsden and Thornley did then combine well to set up a shot for Own but he drove his effort into the ground (75 mins). Trinity now made a change with the out of favour Grant replacing Bird up front (76 mins). There was then a substantial stoppage for treatment to Owen and with possible extra time looming and all the subs already used, this was a worrying time for Altrincham. The game stumbled on with neither side now looking particularly impressive and the prospect of a further half hour looked likely. but then Lugsden exchanged passes with Thornley and, after the young Alty striker had wrong footed a defender inside the box, he laid the ball off for Owen who, with his third good opening of the game, this time produced a firm, low drive into the net as the game entered the last minute of normal time. It was one of very few Alty shots during this game and it was hard not to sympathize with Gainsborough who had been the better side for much of the game.
In the second minute of added time Trinity won a corner but Altrincham held on till the final whistle with Lugsden again showing some good touches and keeping possession well. Altrincham have played far better than they did tonight this season and lost (e.g. v Alfreton) but tonight they got the run of the ball to secure a victory that few would argue they really deserved. Nevertheless, the chance is now there to try to earn more prize money and progress further in an away tie in the next round at Leigh RMI on 15 January 2005. Stuart Coburn was the deserved Alty Man of the Match award winner for the vital saves he made to keep Altrincham in the game and, as an ex-Leigh player, he will be particularly keen to meet his former club once again.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 0|