DROYLSDEN (1) 2
ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
Nationwide North Match
played on Monday, 21 March, 2005 at 7.45p.m.
A much weakened Alty side, lacking Coburn, Maddox, Hilton and Hussin as well as long-term injured Hallows and Rose gave a spirited performance last night. In addition Potts was playing with flu and Scott was carrying an injury. Things got even worse when both Thornley and Aspinall limped off within 35 minutes of the start and before the end of the match Melling was hobbling, too. Droylsden took the lead after 22 minutes when the unmarked Burke headed home a corner giving Martin Campbell, Alty's debutant keeper from Trafford, no chance. Lugsden saw two efforts cleared off the line before Banim beat Campbell with a dipping shot from 30 yards (75 mins). After the game, Graham Heathcote thanked the travelling fans for their support, saying that Alty were "a very tired side" after their great efforts tonight, which was the fourth game in ten days.
REFEREE: Mr M A Naylor (Sheffield)
After a run of 11 league games unbeaten, Alty had lost their last two matches to lowly opposition, both at home. This was due to injuries, a flu epidemic and to a lesser degree the suspension of Colin Little.
A new covered terrace had been added to the Butcher's Arms since our last visit as part of the club's successful programme of development to meet Conference grading criteria. The gate of 814 exceeded Droylsden's previous highest league attendance this season by more than 300 and included a large contingent from Altrincham.
Altrincham were badly hit by injuries (Hilton, Hussin, Hallows, Rose), illness (Coburn) and unavailability (Maddox). In addition Potts was playing with flu and Adams and Scott were carrying injuries but started tonight. Melling and Mitten had overcome the flu which kept them out on Saturday whilst Owen returned after injury. In goal was Martin Campbell the goalkeeper of our NW Counties First Division neighbours, Trafford, who had been signed on Nationwide North forms for this game. Eight Alty players in tonight's squad had started three league games or fewer for Alty this season.
ALTRINCHAM (All yellow): 1. Martin CAMPBELL, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. George MELLING, 5. Gary TALBOT (capt), 6. Gary SCOTT, 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Val OWEN, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Rod THORNLEY, 11. Richard NORRIS. Subs: 12. Jonathan MITTEN, 14. Kieran LUGSDEN, 15. Paul TILLEY, 16. Adam BRINDLE, 17. Lewis CHALMERS.
DROYLSDEN (Red shirts, black shorts and socks) 1. Paul PHILLIPS, 2. Neil HALL, 3. Danny WARNER, 4. Steve HALFORD, 5. Garry BURKE, 6. Gareth MORRIS, 7. Robbie TALBOT, 8. Steve BRODIE, 9. Dave CAMERON, 10. Jody BANIM, 11. Ian FITZPATRICK. Subs: 12. Ged MURPHY, 14. Peter DOGUN, 15. Andy LEE, 16. Stuart HOWSON, 17. Danny WILLIAMS.
After Altrincham had kicked off, more than two minutes early, they conceded a corner after less than a minute. Alty then got to the other end but Potts's cross was badly sliced over the bar (4 mins). Campbell got a confident early touch when he fielded a header from a freekick conceded by Owen on Banim, and the new keeper produced a prodigious kick upfield . After Aspinall had got almost to the by-line and put in a cross, he emerged limping badly as Alty's injury curse struck again (6 mins). Droylsden, whose four goals against Vauxhall last Saturday had apparently all followed corners, now won another corner in this match. However, the Bloods had to survive an appeal for hands when a defender fell on to the ball inside the Droylsden box after another long punt from Campbell as the high bounce of the pitch caused problems. Two more Droylsden corners followed before Alty won a freekick, at which point Aspinall went down for treatment and was then taken off the pitch for further attention from Sean Riley, the Alty physio who had performed so brilliantly with the club doctor, Richard Parish, on Saturday in dealing with Marcus Hallows's awful double fracture (15 mins).
A good ball from Norris led to Thornley getting into the box but a fine tackle from Burke stopped him as Aspinall now returned, gingerly, to the fray. Scott was having a good game and put in a neat challenge to get the ball to Owen but the move faltered. Droylsden now won two more corners, taking their tally to six by the 22nd minute. This sixth effort came when Scott had to put the ball out as Morris threatened. This time, however, Alty left the Blods' central defender Burke unmarked and the former Northwich stopper powered a header past a helpless Campbell from about six yards to give his side the lead (22 mins).
A foul by Morris on Owen allowed Alty to start a few minutes pressing of their own before a bad tackle from behind by Banim on Thornley gave Alty a freekick but also hurt the Alty striker (26 mins). Potts's freekick from the left just evaded the incoming Melling at the back post. Thornley was still hobbling badly after Banim's tackle and he had to be replaced by Mitten just as Adams was caught very late by Droylsden's Cameron to concede another freekick (30 mins). This change left Aspinall still on the pitch but also clearly in some distress. Next, Mitten's overhead shot went wide before Fitzpatrick shot narrowly wide of the Alty right upright with a low shot (35 mins). At this point Aspinall went off to be replaced, in Alty's second enforced substitution of the night, by Lugsden, who went up front, causing Little to move to the left flank. Meanwhile, Norris was now in the middle of midfield having started on the left.
Soon after this Melling was booked for a challenge which occurred in a Droylsden build-up which the referee had allowed to continue before stopping play to book the young defender. Lugsden then got on the end of an astute pass from Little from a Mitten feed but his close range shot hit a defender and, thouugh it continued goalwards, the defender managed to clear it off the line (39 mins). Melling was lucky not to be booked again when he kicked the ball away, before Droylsden won their seventh corner of the half when Brodie's shot was deflected out. This corner was cleared and, after a minute of added time, Alty could go to the dressing room having done well, despite their already injury-hit side having been further depleted by the losses of Thornley and Aspinall.
|Half-Time: DROYLSDEN 1 ALTRINCHAM 0|
Rain began to fall steadily at halftime but within two minutes of the re-start Alty had almost equalised. Following a throw by Scott on the right, Potts got to the byline, right of goal, where he beat a defender and sent a low pass to Lugsden whose shot looked certain to be entering the net till Phillips grabbed it on the line (47 mins).
With rain now pouring down, Campbell made a fine save, tipping an effort from Robbie Talbot over the bar (50 mins). Following a foul on Lugsden, Potts's freekick led to the hardworking Lugsden winning a corner for his side. From Potts's corner, Mitten headed wide of Phillips's right post (53 mins). Lugsden was soon involved again, winning a freekick when felled by Burke near half way. The already booked Melling survived a handball offence which, nevertheless, gave Droylsden a freekick on half way, soon afterwards. From this freekick,more than 50 yards from goal, Morris forced Campbell to backpedal anxiously as the ball just cleared the bar (57 mins).
Alty were more than holding their own now in the second half as Droylsden brought on Murphy for Robbie Talbot on the right of midfield (59 mins). After Mitten had lost possession, Droylsden attacked and it took a smart interception from Melling to halt their advance (62 mins). After Lugsden had once more been felled by Burke, the referee booked the Bloods' centre-back for serial offending (63 mins). Half-way through the second period, Droylsden won two more corners but, overall, the home side were not looking as impressive as their recent form had suggested. But they almost doubled their lead when a long aerial ball cleared Melling, leaving Fitzpatrick free, but from about 12 yards out and slightly on the Droylsden left of goal, Campbell closed him down and made a magnificent one-handed save, pushing the ball to his left from where Adams completed the clearance (70 mins).
After Cameron had gone down injured he was replaced by Lee for the home side (71 mins). Almost immediately, a swift three man move almost got Alty a goal. Norris played a long diagonal ball to the left to Little, whose first time ball into the centre found Lugsden, whose own first time effort was well saved by Phillips. But the game was settled in Droylsden's favour soon afterwards when Banim received the ball, in a seemingly innocuous position, some forty yards out and slightly left of centre. He advanced about 10 yards unchallenged before firing in a dipping and swerving shot which cleared the flat-footed Campbell, who was slightly off his line, and dropped into the net to make it 2-0 (75 mins).
Alty immediately brought on Lewis Chalmers on the right flank as the still unwell Potts was removed (75 mins). Soon a firm shot from Mitten prompted a save from Phillips before a foul by Lugsden gave Droylsden a freekick just outside the Alty box on the right. Banim put the freekick over the bar (80 mins). A great tackle by Adams stopped another attack before Talbot followed suit with a well-timed tackle on Banim. Following an offside, Melling's freekick almost came to Owen in the opposition box but he could not get in a shot as Droylsden hacked it away for a corner. Chalmers took a good corner but it was cleared but soon Lugsden won another flag-kick off Warner. Another Alty corner immediately followed, which Phillips punched away. But, after Norris had lost possession, the ball was played up to Banim and, from left of goal he fired in a low shot which hit the base of Campbell's right post and rebounded to safety for Alty (86 mins).
Dogun now replaced Morris for the Bloods. The long suffering Lugsden was brought down yet again to win a freekick but Little hit the freekick into the wall (88 mins). With Melling now limping badly at the back, the game entered four minutes of added time which did not affect the outcome. This was a very spirited display from an under-strength side, many of whose members were themselves less than 100% fit. After a magnificent unbeaten league run of 12 matches, Alty have now lost 3 league matches in succession for the first time this season but, hopefully, once the flu epidemic abates and, if one or two of the injured players can recover fitness, the team will be able to get back on track towards the play-offs.
|Full-Time: DROYLSDEN 2 ALTRINCHAM 0|