KETTERING TOWN (1) 2
ALTRINCHAM (0) 3 a.e.t.
Nationwide North Play-Off Semi-Final Match
played on Saturday, 7 May, 2005 at 3p.m.
Above, upper: Graham Heathcote, Rod Thornley & Chris Adams celebrate victory. Above, lower: The team celebrates, as director Graham Rowley and kitman Dave Mitten look on. Pictures kindly supplied by Gavin Rathbone's GR Photos.
As I could not get to Saturday's game, I am very grateful to Gavin Rathbone, John Cudlip and Stan & Isabel Riley for keeping me updated up in Scotland and providing information for the summary below...
Altrincham reached the promotion play-off final with another pulsating extra-time win, their second in a week. Watched by 2,285 noisy spectators, Altrincham were second-best in the first half. In contrast, Kettering started the game well and deservedly took the lead after 15 minutes during a period of 10 minutes when Alty were down to ten men, Maddox having had to leave the field for six stitches to be inserted in a head injury. However, whilst Maddox was missing, Jamie Patterson had fired his side ahead with a left-footer from outside the box. But Patterson himself had been patched up to play but was unable to carry on and was substituted after 19 minutes.
For Alty Chalmers replaced the injured Maddox at the interval and Alty were much brighter in the second half. The Robins levelled through Owen's 20 yard shot following the clearance by Brown of a long throw from Chalmers (53 mins). No further goals meant that the game went into extra time.
Owen put Alty 2-1 up, again following the half clearance of a Chalmers long-throw (101 mins), but Kettering then hit the post. From a well-contrived cross by Danks, Burgess equalised for the Poppies in the second half of extra time (109 mins) before, seven minutes from the end, Matthews put through his own goal with a diving header from a Potts corner from the left, a sad end to his testimonial year. Alty were the better side in extra-time and deservedly ran out 3-2 winners.
REFEREE: Mr Gary KELLETT
After Tuesday's pulsating game at Nuneaton which had brought Altrincham to this Nationwide North play-off final at Rockingham Road, Alty brought three coachloads of supporters and many others made their own way. In all, probably 400 fans travelled in support of The Robins. Kettering too had very strong support and pre-match, their manager had urged them to get behind The Poppies. Both teams had overcome higher-placed opposition away from home to reach this stage, in Kettering's case this was Droylsden and in Alty's it was second-placed Nuneaton.
After their hard-fought game at Nuneaton on Tuesday, Alty were without Steve Aspinall but centre-back Gary Talbot was back after missing that game. On the bench, Richard Norris stood down as Alty brought in Richard Acton as sub goalkeeper. So, Melling moved to right back to replace Aspinall and Talbot returned to partner Maddox in central defence.
Kettering brought in their dangerous former Barrow wingman, Jamie Patterson, even though he was less than 100% fit.
KETTERING TOWN: (Red & black shirts): 1. Mark OSBORN, 2. Wayne DIUK, 3. Martin MATTHEWS, 4. Brett SOLKHON, 5. Richard GRAHAM, 6. Derek BROWN, 7. Ollie BURGESS, 8. James GOULD, 9. Rob GOULD, 10. Chris DIFANTE, 11. Jamie PATTERSON. Subs: 12. McILWAIN, 14. BEWERS, 15. McCAFFERTY, 16. CROSS, 17. DANKS
ALTRINCHAM: (All yellow): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. George MELLING, 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. Lewis CHALMERS, 13. Richard ACTON, 14. Kieran LUGSDEN, 15. Jonathan MITTEN, 16. Kirk HILTON
Alty had a blow in the warm-up when George Melling appeared to injure himself and had to go off for treatment but, neverthless, he started the game. Kettering began the game much the better of the two sides and it came as no surprise when they deservedly went ahead after 15 minutes. However, the context of the goal was harsh on Altrincham. Maddox had received a kick on the head as he went for the ball and, though he won a freekick, he came off badly from the clash (10 mins). With a bleeding head injury, he had to go off to have six stitches inserted in his wound and, for ten minutes, Altrincham played with ten men. During that period, Patterson put his side ahead, getting the better of two defenders as he drifted across the pitch and then beating Coburn, with a well-struck, low, left-footer from outside the box into the corner of the net (15 mins). But, as with Melling, Maddox did not allow injury to stand in his way and the centre-back eventually resumed, head bandaged and wearing the no.17 shirt. For the Poppies, Patterson, who was carrying an injury, had to go off after 19 minutes and was replaced by McIlwain. Maddox's eventful afternoon continued as he picked up a yellow card for a mistimed tackle (31 mins). Both Rob Gould and Brett Solkhon went close for Kettering as they maintained their dominance in the first forty-five minutes. But Altrincham are a strong second-half side and a deficit of just one goal gave them hope of retrieving the game in the next 45 minutes.
|Half-Time: KETTERING TOWN 1 ALTRINCHAM 0|
At the interval, teenage midfielder Lewis Chalmers replaced the injured centre-back Maddox. Alty played far better in the second half and equalised through Owen's 20 yard shot. The goal arose from a clearance by Brown, which came to Owen, after a long throw from Chalmers (53 mins). With Kettering slow to react, Owen took advantage to score. Then Difante wasted a good chance when he got free behind the Alty defence but he aimed his shot at Coburn, who saved the day. Alty had an even more fortunate escape after this when Melling's crude challenge on Cross inside the box did not convince Mr Kellett that a penalty was necessary. With 64 minutes gone, captain Eddie Hussin, another of Alty's walking wounded, was substituted by Kirk Hilton. Eight minutes later another Alty youngster, Kieran Lugsden came on in place of striker Rod Thornley. After 79 minutes, Cross replaced Gould for The Poppies. Soon after this Talbot was booked along with Kettering's Brown after they went "head to head". No further goals meant that the game went into extra time. At this point Danks replaced Difante for Kettering.
from the edge of the box Owen put Alty 2-1 up, again following a half clearance of a Chalmers long-throw (101 mins), but Kettering then hit the post. From a well-contrived low cross by Danks, Burgess equalised for the Poppies in the second half of extra time (109 mins) before, seven minutes from the end, Matthews put through his own goal with a diving header from a low, Potts corner from the left, a sad end to his testimonial year (113 mins). Alty were the better side in extra-time and deservedly ran out 3-2 winners. But a worry for them was that George Melling ended the game a virtual passenger with a leg injury and Gary Scott had to move to replace him in defence as the youngster was moved further forward out of harm's way.
Altrincham now meet Eastbourne Borough on Sunday, 15 May (1pm) for a place in the National Conference. Eastbourne, until 2001 known as Langney Sports, have, like Alty, come through to the Final as underdogs, having finished 5th in Conference South, just as Alty finished 5th in the North. Borough's star player is Yemi Odubade (20, ex-Yeovil) who has scored 13 times in 16 games for the East Sussex side.
|Full-Time: KETTERING TOWN 2 ALTRINCHAM 3 aet|