ALTRINCHAM (1) 4
LANCSTER CITY (0) 0
Nationwide North game,
played on Saturday, 29 January, 2005
After a shaky start for Altrincham during which City's Thomson hit the post with a penalty conceded by Maddox's foul on Hughes, Alty gradually took over the game and totally dominated the second half. After Thornley had missed three presentable chances, Alty took the lead in added time in the first half when Colin Little volleyed home a fine ball forward from Aspinall. Substitute Jonathon Mitten, making his home debut, headed home Alty's second from a good cross by Thornley from the left. Colin Potts then scored against his former club when Little and Mitten found him in space in the box (83 mins). Mark Maddox made it 4-0 after 88 minutes when he bundled the ball home after Hussin's cross from the by-line, left of goal, came to him via the keeper. Alty's only concerns were that Potts got his fifth yellow card so now misses the Runcorn game on 12 February, whilst Chris Adams had to limp off just before the interval.
REFEREE: Mr D J Enright
With Premiership neighbours Manchester City out of the FA Cup and United playing their tie on TV at tea-time, today's Moss Lane gate was above average as it took advantage of the absence of rival attractions. The distribution of Kids Go Free vouchers in the Sale & Altrincham Messenger and on the STAR website had also helped. This was Alty's first league game since the abandoned match on New Year's Day so it was to be the first completed league game at Moss Lane for six weeks. The Moss Lane pitch was sanded in places but, for once, weak but bright sunshine bathed the ground for most of the ninety minutes.
With the departure of Peter Wright to Bamber Bridge, the only change to Alty's squad from last week was the inclusion on the bench of Sean Smith, who had rushed from playing the first half of the lunch-time Alty Reserves' win at Wigan against Leigh RMI.
The Dolly Blues included new signing, Jamie Hughes, from Northwich Victoria. Former Alty winger Tony Sullivan was not in the squad but watched the match as did Alty's former loan-signing from Stockport County, Matthew Bailey.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Mark MADDOX, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Eddie HUSSIN (capt.), 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Val OWEN, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Rod THORNLEY, 11. Gary SCOTT. Subs: 12 Marcus HALLOWS, 14. Jozzer MITTEN, 15. Kieran LUGSDEN, 16. George MELLING, 17. Sean SMITH.
LANCASTER CITY (All pale blue, with white trim): 1. Jamie SPEARE, 2. Martin CLARK, 3. Andy SCOTT, 4. Paul SPARROW (capt.), 5. Joe McMAHON, 6. Neil UBERSCHAR, 7. Brian MOOGAN, 8. Steve JONES, 9. Peter THOMSON, 10. Ryan Zico BLACK, 11. Jamie HUGHES. Subs: 12. Steve HOLLIS, 13. Ryan YEOMANS (gk), 14. Ryan ELDERTON, 15. Chris BATES, 16. Lee FOXCROFT.
Lancaster had the better of the opening stages. In only the second minute, Black got past Talbot and fed Thomson well inside the right portion of the box. In the clear, Thomson drove his shot at goal but Coburn did well to get his legs in the way and divert it away from goal for a corner (2 mins). Following the corner, McMahon headed over the bar. The first attacking threat from Alty came soon afterwards when Thornley got the better of McMahon but then slipped before he could take advantage on the edge of the box (4 mins). McMahon soon had to make an important winning tackle on Thornley before a firm cross from Potts was well caught, low down, by Speare (8 mins). But then Moogan, Thomson and Jones combined to feed Hughes in a threatening position left of goal in the outer portion of the box. Maddox brought him down and there could be little complaint when the referee pointed to the spot.
Thomson took the penalty and drove the ball low to Coburn's right. The keeper guessed correctly and seemed almost to touch the ball before it struck the outside base of the upright and went out of play. As a goal-kick was awarded, Coburn cannot have touched it (11 mins). The slice of good fortune prompted Alty to improve their game and, from a fine ball from Aspinall, Thornley threw himself forward to head the ball at goal, but his effort was too close to keeper Speare who made a good save at the back post (13 mins). Black and Thomson continued to look lively for City as the game flowed in entertaining manner from end to end. Alty manager Graham Heathcote, back on the touchline in the absence of his assistant Dalton Steele, was vocal in stirring his team forward and, soon, Little won them a corner on the right (20 mins). For Alty, Little was proving a handful but there were no real goal chances at either end in the next few minutes. But Altrincham had now started to apply pressure and should have scored after 28 minutes. From a Coburn goalkick, Aspinall delivered a fine 50 yard pass to Little just inside the box. He laid the ball off, neatly inside, to Thornley who unfortunately sidefooted his shot well over the inviting target from the edge of the box.
Rod Thornley had another good chance soon afterwards when Owen's strength won possession in midfield and from Little's resulting cross from the right, Thornley failed to execute an attempted bicycle kick from near the penalty spot (29 mins). As the Alty fans tried to lift the clearly disappointed Thornley, Potts won the home side another corner on the half-hour mark. This was wasted but soon Potts put in a better cross from the right which McMahon headed clear to Thornley and this time Rod fired in a superb shot which Speare stopped well (31 mins). Alty were now on top but Lancaster responded well and after Hughes had made progress on the left, Clark got in a shot from 30 yards but it was far too high to trouble Coburn (35 mins). End to play continued with Little forcing Speare to gather well as he crossed the ball into the goalmouth (36 mins).
Next, Scott won Alty a corner off Uberschar but the half looked to be going to end goalless as play was halted for two minutes whilst Potts received treatment to his right ankle/instep. Soon after this, four minutes of added time were announced. Into the added time, Chris Adams was clearly having a problem and Jozzer Mitten prepared to come on for his home debut. Before he could get on, a Little pass fed Thornley who again failed to convert the chance but before anyone could be too upset, Alty had scored. A long ball from Aspinall on the right was volleyed firmly home from the centre of the box by Little who ran immediately to the Golf Road End to celebrate (45+3 mins). Mitten then came on in place of Adams, who had apparently suffered a groin injury, with Thornley moving to the left.
So a very entertaining 45 minutes ended with Alty deservedly ahead having created four or five good chances though Lancaster were rueing their missed spot-kick.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 LANCASTER CITY 0|
Lancaster replaced Clark by Hollis at the interval, the new player slotting in at left-back. Soon after the restart Thornley did well on the left and got in a good cross but this was cleared. Then Potts got in a an equally testing cross from the right which Little headed goalwards but Speare saved well (47 mins). Alty continued to press as Owen battled his way into the box but the midfielder could not find a fully powered shot to beat Speare at the end of his advance (49 mins). Thomson did feed Black on the right soon afterwards but Coburn gathered the ball well (52 mins).
Above: Uberschar takes a throw.
Soon, however, Colin Potts picked up a booking for a crude challenge on Hollis and will now be suspended as it was his fifth caution of the campaign (53 mins). Following a trip on Scott which was not given, Hussin prompted a bit of minor argey-bargey as he fouled an opponent but things calmed down afterwards, albeit Black got booked in the interim for a foul on Hussin (58 mins). Then, Little sent a shot looping wide and Aspinall continued to trouble the City defence with probing balls into their goalmouth from one of which a corner resulted. The Alty pressure continued after the flag-kick as Owen lifted a shot well over from the edge of the box (61 mins).
After Little had been harshly judged to have fouled Black, who showed a tendency to go to ground easily, manager Graham Heathcote remonstrated with the officials and was told off in turn by Mr Enright. Alty then had a scare as, following the freekick, Hughes got behind the defence but Coburn drove him wide of goal to the right and the ball ran out of play for a goalkick (65 mins). Lancaster were now getting back into the game after being on the back foot for most of the second half. The Alty manager was again upset when Maddox was penalised against Thomson on the edge of the box but Black curled his freekick comfortably over the bar (67 mins). City's improvement continued as Thomson, who worked hard throughout the game, advanced up the middle to feed Black whose cross was cleared by Owen for a corner which Little cleared. However, the Lancaster resistance came to nothing as Potts fed Thornley on the left and his excellent cross found Mitten unmarked in the centre of the goalmouth and his glancing header went in off the keeper's left upright to make it 2-0 and to record Mitten's first goal for the club since his move from Ashton United (70 mins). Unfortunately, he is now suspended for five games following an incident after being sent-off whilst playing for Ashton.
Lancaster's immediate response was a shot from Thomson which hit the advertisement hanging from the Golf Road End terrace's roof (71 mins). Thornley was now causing problems on the left and from another cross from him Mitten rose to nod the ball narrowly over the bar (72 mins). Fouls on Scott and on Maddox followed, with Thomson being booked for the latter. Alty continued to play well as Hallows prepared to join the fray and after 80 minutes he replaced Rod Thornley who left to a concerted round of applause for putting his first half misses behind him and producing a good second half performance. So Alty now had Mitten and Hallows up front, one of their tallest strike partnerships for some time. Alty continued to dominate and when Little fed Mitten from the left, Mitten relayed the ball further right to the unmarked Potts whose shot was half-stopped by the advancing and exposed Speare but carried on into the net (83 mins).
Lancaster replied with a curling shot from the left by Moogan which Coburn saved well, at the cost of a corner on the City left. An Alty corner soon followed at the other end but after this had been cleared, Hussin got to the by-line left of goal and drove a low cross across the goalmouth which seemed to go through Speare to centre-back Maddox at the back post who, despite the attentions of a defender, netted his second goal in a fortnight to make it 4-0 (88 mins).
Lancaster were now in disarray, a rare state for any side managed by the wily Phil Wilson. Altrincham made a late change with Reserves' centre back George Melling getting his first taste of first-team action in place of Gary Talbot (89 mins). As a former Morecambe player, Melling will have relished playing against Lancaster on his debut and he was soon in action, dealing competently with a Lancaster attack by conceding a corner (90 mins). Three minutes of added time were announced, which Alty saw out without any major alarms to record their biggest league win of the season and move up to fifth place in the Nationwide North, extending their unbeaten run in all competitions to eleven games in the process. Eddie Hussin was named Man of the Match for another hardworking performance alongside Val Owen in central midfield.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 4 LANCASTER CITY 0|