CANVEY ISLAND (1) 1
ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
Nationwide Conference National Match
played on Saturday, 8 October 2005 at 1pm.
Canvey Island's Park Lane ground viewed from the nearby sea-wall
Altrincham failed to capitalise on playing against ten men after Canvey had Kennedy sent off in first-half injury time for handling Munroe's goal-bound header, following a corner. Little converted the resulting penalty but was lucky that the keeper spilt the ball after making an initial save. Canvey had taken the lead after 34 minutes when Talbot's headed clearance fell to Noto who lashed it home from 20 yards. In the second half Potts moved forward to join lone striker Colin Little. Little had a fairly quiet game but had what seemed like a good second-half goal ruled out for a supposed foul on the keeper. Alty seemed to settle for the point with two midfield substitutions just six minutes from the end whilst strikers Lugsden and Hendley remained on the bench, unused.
REFEREE: Mr. S Creighton
It was a pleasure to visit a welcoming and un-segregated Canvey Island, whose compact ground is just a couple of hundred yards from the sea behind a sea-wall designed to prevent a repetition of the disastrous floods in the 1950s. This was Altrincham's first match against Canvey, who were unbeaten in their last five games whilst Alty had not won in their last seven league outings.
Alty were without Rod Thornley, on duty as England masseur today, but welcomed back Gary Scott for his first start of the season after his hernia operation. They employed a 4-1-4-1 formation with Maddox deployed in front of the back four and Little the lone striker. Potts and Scott were on the flanks whilst Munroe started again at right-back.
Canvey welcomed back leading scorer Lee Boylan after injury but Jeff Minton was suspended today.
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 17. Karl MUNROE, 15. Peter BAND, 5. Gary TALBOT, 3. Chris ADAMS; 4. Mark MADDOX; 7. Colin POTTS, 12. Steve HAWES, 8. Val OWEN, 11. Gary SCOTT; 9. Colin LITTLE. Subs: 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 16. James OLSEN, 19. Gary WILLIAMS, 20. Kieran LUGSDEN, 26. Lee HENDLEY.
CANVEY ISLAND: (Yellow shirts with pale blue sleeve, white shorts and socks): 24. Richard McKINNEY, 4. Ben CHENERY, 3. Chris DUFFY, 15. Steve WARD, 19. Dominic STERLING, 7. Ben SEDGEMORE, 2. John KENNEDY, 18. Mario NOTO, 11. Dwain CLARKE, 22. Kezie IBE, 10. Lee BOYLAN. Subs: 12. Allan TAIT. 16. Stuart BIMSON, 17. Danny POTTER (gk), 25. Lee JAY, 27. Jason HALLETT.
Alty kicked off on a warm and bright afternoon. After an unexceptional opening few minutes, Adams was hurt by a strong tackle from Noto, who was booked for a challenge that was slightly mis-timed rather than malicious (5 mins). Play continued rather scrappily until Hawes seized on a loose ball to fire in a shot from 25 yards, which McKinney saved (13 mins). Next, Canvey won the game's first corner, conceded by Potts, who seemed to be pushed as he did so. Owen cleared this but, apart from a 25-yard effort from Maddox which cleared the bar, there was little action to animate either set of fans (16 mins). Both sides were making errors and failing to create any fluent moves. Little then wasted half a chance as he sliced a shot very wide (20 mins). Overall the game was fairly even with Alty having had a couple of decent shots so far, whilst Canvey had already seen three attacks founder on offside. Soon, Ibe nodded a free-kick at Coburn, following a foul by Munroe (26 mins). But after a good interception from Owen, the Alty midfielder went up the left and his poor cross won a fortunate corner. From Hawes's kick from the left, Talbot nodded the ball to the back post, from where Little headed it back across goal, where Band directed a header onto the Canvey crossbar (28 mins). Before today's game, Graham Heathcote had said his side needed some luck but once again, they did not enjoy any.
After a brief punch-up between two fans in the main stand, Clarke advanced on the left but, from his pass, Boylan shot wide (32 mins). However, Canvey soon advanced on their left through Clarke and Chenery. After Ibe had then missed an opportunity to cross the ball, Clarke and Ibe finally did so, but Talbot's clearing header fell to Noto, who lashed it into the net, to Coburn's left, from 20 yards (34 mins). Soon after falling behind, Maddox was booked following what looked like a firm but clean challenge to win the ball, but Kennedy went down injured. With Kennedy off the pitch, from Scott's cross from the left, Potts's feint allowed the ball to cross the box but no Alty man was following up. Simultaneously, Kennedy returned to the pitch following his injury and the Gulls substituted Ward with former Grays man, Bimson (41 mins).
Alty won the first of what were to be four corners in as many minutes (44 mins) and from the second, by Hawes, Little headed Munroe's nod goalwards, only for a defender to head clear off the line (45+2 mins). In the last of the three allotted minutes of added time, the final corner was won by Potts. From the right, Hawes's corner found its way to Munroe, towards the back post. His goalbound header was clearly palmed off the line by Kennedy, who was sent-off. For the second successive game, Little took a spot-kick. From a short run, Little struck his kick to the keeper's right but McKinney made a good save, only to allow the ball to squirm out of his grasp into the corner of the net (45+4 mins). The referee immediately blew for half-time with Alty deserving their level status, having hit the bar and having an effort cleared off the Canvey line.
|Half-Time: CANVEY ISLAND 1 ALTRINCHAM 1|
With Alty now facing 10 men, their fans were hopeful of pushing on for their first win in eight games. Potts was now pushed forward alongside Little, with Hawes now on the right of midfield. Play soon stopped when Bimson injured his wrist making a clearance and he had to leave the field for treatment (48 mins). With Alty going forward, Little shot narrowly wide (50 mins). Little now missed a flick at a through ball but as he gathered it McKinney dropped the ball and Little shot it into the net, only for the effort to be ruled out as the referee awarded a free-kick to the keeper.
Watched by the crew of a fire engine, which had arrived outside the ground and parked so that the firemen could sit on top of lt to watch the match over the perimeter fence, Bimson now came back on, with his right wrist bandaged. Alty then won a corner through Scott following which Potts curled a cross to the keeper (55 mins). A good chance came and went as Little skilfully turned a defender twice in the box to make room for a shot but he lashed his shot across the face of goal when he should have hit the target (56 mins). Tait, the former Crawley man, now replaced Bimson for Canvey.
Almost immediately, Tait shot narrowly over the bar before Duffy fired in a freekick which Talbot cleared for a corner. From this, Tait's diving header powered the ball into the net but the whistle had already gone for an Alty freekick. Despite being a man short, Canvey were putting Alty onto the back foot, though the visitors did win a corner after 63 minutes. Munroe was then booked for a tackle on Tait (64 mins). Alty were not imposing their extra man as passes continued to go astray and errors were made. Canvey made their final change as Hallett replaced Ibe (68 mins).
Alty at last brought on a fresh pair of legs as Williams came on for Hawes in midfield (72 mins). But play stuttered on with both sides struggling for fluency. Eventually Hallett fired in a decent shot which Coburn saved (79 mins). When Sterling sliced Adams's cross, Alty gained a fortunate corner from which Potts failed to clear the defenders at the near post. After Adams's foul on Boylan, Duffy's ambitious freekick from almost half-way dropped onto the roof of the back-pedalling Coburn's net (81 mins). Despite the presence of two pacy strikers on the bench, Altrincham opted not to take the game to Canvey and it was with only six minutes to go that they used their last two substitutes, bringing on two midfielders, Chalmers and Olsen, for Maddox and Scott (84 mins).
After being kept mostly in their own half by Canvey for several minutes, Olsen won a corner off Duffy. This was half-cleared before coming to Potts, in space, left-centre. But the Alty no.7 fired high and wide (87 mins). Three minutes of added time were played and in the last of these Owen fed Olsen but he fired well over the bar from 20 yards.
Whilst a draw was a reasonable result, it was disappointing not to have won against a side reduced to ten men. Having suffered four away defeats by three or more goals there is perhaps a wariness about loosening the team's defensive and midfield discipline which, today, meant that Canvey were able to weather the sending-off relatively comfortably. It is now more than six hours since Alty scored in open play and they have only done so once in their last eight games but today's point gained maintained Alty in 18th place.
|Full-Time: CANVEY ISLAND 1 ALTRINCHAM 1|