Match Report


FA Trophy, 1st Round Proper
played on Saturday, 17 December 2005 at 3pm.


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    Above: Little's penalty cannons off the keeper's legs and goes behind the goal.

    For the third game in succession, Alty conceded a very early goal when a Ged Murphy mis-pass in the centre of the pitch led to Boco converting Jagielka's cross from the right at the back post in the third minute. Craney slid in a second goal after 34 minutes when Stanley put together a slick move following an Alty goalkick. But two minutes later Colin Little was tripped to earn a penalty for Altrincham. Steve Aspinall, who has never missed a penalty for Alty in 11 attempts, but who was making only his second start of the season, went up to take it but Colin Little over-ruled him. Little drove his spot-kick far too centrally and Elliott saved with his legs (36 mins). Alty kept going to the end but Stanley were deserved winners leaving Alty eliminated from all cup competitions before Christmas.


  • 3 mins: Romuald BOCO (Accrington Stanley 1 Altrincham 0)
  • 34 mins: Ian CRANEY (Accrington Stanley 2 Altrincham 0)

    REFEREE: Mr David Foster (Newcastle)



    Alty were visiting Stanley for the second time in a fortnight and had already lost narrowly to the Conference leaders twice this season.


    In all Alty were forced to make four changes from the side which lost to Woking last week and made a fifth tactical switch. So, out injured or ill today from the side which started against Woking were Adams, Munroe and Robinson, whilst Rose was missing too as he was banned. In addition, Chalmers dropped to the bench. Into the starting line-up came Lugsden, Aspinall, Potts, Band and Maddox. Both of the Alty centre-backs, Mark Maddox and Peter Band, were returning from being suspended but Gary Talbot remained sidelined by a foot injury. Also out, injured as well as cup-tied, was midfielder Steve Bushell (groin). Chris Adams, who has been playing through injury, was unfit to start today and striker James Robinson had spent time in hospital this week so was also unavailable. Steve Aspinall played in an unaccustomed left-back position; he was making only his second start of the season, having previously only started this season in a Cheshire Senior Cup game, following his summer operation.

    For Stanley, Ian Craney was back to face Alty after injury against us a fortnight ago. So, the home side were unchanged from the eleven who started in the Conference clash with Alty two weeks ago.


    ACCRINGTON STANLEY (Red shirts and socks, white shorts): 25. Robert ELLIOTT, 11. Philip EDWARDS, 16. Leon Richardson, 4. Robbie WILLIAMS, 3. Michael WELCH, 8. Ian CRANEY, 19. Anthony BARRY, 7. Steve JAGIELKA, 26. Romuald BOCO, 10. Paul MULLIN, 21. Gary ROBERTS.

    ALTRINCHAM (Pale blue shirts and socks, dark blue shorts): 1. Stuart COBURN, 11. Gary SCOTT, 4. Mark MADDOX (capt), 15. Peter BAND, 2. Steve ASPINALL; 7. Colin POTTS, 37. Ged MURPHY, 8. Val OWEN, 12. Warren PEYTON; 9. Colin LITTLE, 20. Kieran LUGSDEN. Subs: 10. Rod THORNLEY, 13. Richard ACTON (gk), :14. Lewis CHALMERS, 28. Pat McFADDEN, 29. Kyle WILSON.

    REFEREE: Mr. David Foster (Newcastle)

    GATE: 810


    On a cold but bright afternoon, a minute's silence was impeccably observed for Roy Gabryszak, a former official photographer for Stanley, who died last week. After this, Stanley kicked off as the usual mass pilgrimage of their fans from one end to the other passed in front of the main stand. The Alty fans, as a fortnight previously, were confined to half of the terrace opposite the stand. Stanley soon got into their stride, winning a corner after just one minute of play, following a slip on the frosty surface by Warren Peyton. Mullin got a head to the corner, from the right, but the ball dropped safely out of play at the back post for a goalkick. But Murphy's second poor pass of the game moments afterwards was to prove costly. The Alty midfielder underhit an intended pass which went to an opponent, near the centre spot. The Stanley player relayed the ball, right, to Jagielka who advanced up the right touchline before sending in a low cross which went beyond the back post to Boco, who netted with less than three minutes on the clock. For the third match in succession, Alty had conceded a goal inside five minutes of kick-off.

    After Peyton had slipped a second time on the Alty left, Potts lost the ball and committed a foul in attempting to regain it. Coburn did well to tip Craney's resulting freekick over the bar for a second corner to Stanley (6 mins). Though this was cleared, it was not long before another foul by Potts allowed Stanley to maintain their pressure with a freekick. Alty's first significant attempt at goal came after 11 minutes when a retreating Stanley defender took the ball behind the advancing Elliott as he came out of the box and the ball came out to Peyton, some 25 yards from goal. He got good direction on his attempted lob of the retreating keeper, but not enough height to beat him. Elliott's opposite number, Coburn, also soon enjoyed some good fortune when he spilled a cross from the left and won a rather fortunate freekick (13 mins). Stanley were keeping Alty penned back with fast passing movements and manager Graham Heathcote was urging his side to show more effort. But the Alty manager and all the Alty supporters were incensed soon after this when Jagielka flicked the ball against Maddox's body at speed and not only won a dubious freekick for handball but saw the Alty captain harshly booked (16 mins). Less than a minute later the Alty keeper, Coburn, could have little complaint when he joined Maddox in the book after he had kicked the ball away after fumbling the ball out for a corner (17 mins).

    From the resulting corner Maddox cleared but the play continued in the direction of the Alty goal as it had done more or less from the kick off. But when Roberts shot wide of goal well after the whistle had gone for offside, referee Foster failed to admonish the Stanley man for an action which had brought Maddox his booking. Alty continued to make life diffcult for themselves by losing possession with regularity but they began to get into the game with two corners in succession, taken by Potts, the second leading to a header over the bar by Peter Band (25 mins). Lugsden continued to chase after half-openings for Alty, winning a couple of throws in the process but his strike partner Colin Little seemed out of sorts, giving away possession on several occasions as he seemed to lay the ball off before assessing where his team-mates were. With Alty enjoying their best spell of the game so far, a throw on the left from Aspinall located Little, to the left of goal, and his smart turn and flick across goal caused Stanley some difficulty in clearing.

    But round the half hour mark Stanley advanced up the right, through Mullin, and from Barry's cross, won a corner. This only led to a goalkick. Coburn's goalkick landed on Williams's head, near the centre spot, and via Mullin, Boco and Jagielka the ball was slid swiftly across the Alty goal from the right and found Craney left of goal. The former Alty captain's low shot back across goal found the net to put Stanley two-up and complete an impressively slick move (34 mins). Just a minute later Potts fed Little in the front of the Stanley box, right of goal and he was clearly tripped by a Stanley challenge. Immediately, referee Foster pointed to the spot and Alty's Steve Aspinall came forward to take it, having been Alty's regular spot-kick taker for the last two seasons and with an unblemished record of eleven penalties scored from eleven spot kicks. But Colin Little took the ball and placed it on the spot. His penalty was poorly directed to the centre of the goal, a couple of feet off the ground, and it struck the legs of the keeper, Elliott, as he dived to his right. The ball cannoned off Elliott for a corner (36 mins).

    The corner came to nothing and the next five minutes saw little in the way of goalmouth action, As the game went into two minutes of added time, Stanley won a corner, after which the ball came out to Craney whose low left-footed effort from 22 yards struck Coburn's right upright with the Alty keeper stranded (45 mins). Alty did win a corner in added time from Scott's cross but half time arrived with Stanley comfortably in the lead.


    At the interval, Alty took off Owen, who had been an injury doubt before kick-off and replaced him with Lewis Chalmers, who was immediately in action with a long throw-in from which Ged Murphy's goalbound shot hit a defender in the penalty area, prompting claims for handball which were at least as justified as those which got Maddox booked in the first half. Alty's performance was improving and soon a low cross from the right by Potts skimmed across the face of the Accrington goal. But Little was soon again having difficulty finding his colleagues with his lay offs and manager Heathcote was soon urging his men to show more urgency. A spat between Barry and Potts on the touchline went without any word from the refeee but an Alty freekick was awarded. After 54 minutes, Little appeared to be tripped from behind in the Stanley box but play was waved on. Two Alty corners in succession underlined the visitors' improvement on their first half performance. But their first clear shot of the second half only arrived after 58 minutes when Peyton's effort was fumbled by Elliott.

    After Jagielka had been checked by Aspinall, the Alty man was booked and the Stanley man limped off after treatment (59 mins). Soon, Cavanagh came on for the injured Jagielka (61 mins). Coburn had a lucky escape soon after this when he came out of the box, only to get the ball tangled between his feet. Fortunately he was able to recover just in time to play the ball short to Maddox to see off the danger. A foul on Little by Williams gave Alty a freekick 20 yards out which was quickly taken by Peyton, forcing a fine save by Elliott as the shot dipped just in front of his dive but the keeper pushed the ball out for a corner to Alty. After this had been cleared, Stanley won a corner themselves. Taken by Craney, the corner was met by the head of the smallest man on the pitch, Boca, but his header went narrowly wide (64 mins).

    After Mullin had taken advantage of an Aspinall error, Coburn saved well from the Stanley captain and soon afterwards, Rod Thornley came on as substitute for Kieran Lugsden, who had a good game (67 mins). After Edwards had won Stanley a corner, the home side's fluent play and swift interchanging of passes led to a free header again for Boco, which Coburn saved. A few minutes later Stanley gained another corner after some superb covering by Band, who arrived to take the ball off Mullin's toes as the big Stanley captain was played into the Alty box (74 mins). Alty had a chance soon after this when Aspinall's freekick came out to Murphy but his half volley cleared the bar (75 mins). Nevertheless a great run up the left by Thornley soon led to another corner as his cross appeared almost to graze the cross bar before being put out of play as Peyton closed in. A second Alty corner immediately followed. But, following a misplaced pass by Little, Stanley advanced through Barry and, from Cavanagh's cross, a corner came off Band. Graham Heathcote now instructed centre-back Band to go forward and Lewis Chalmers, who has some experience at centre-back, dropped into the defence. Though Band won several headers in the closing stages, no team mate was able to take advantage. There was no denying that the full-timers of Stanley deserved their win against Alty's part-timers who were further hindered by the numerous injuries to their squad before kick off. Alty are now out of all their cup competitions which, on the positive side, means that they know exactly what they have to do for the rest of the season; play 21 Conference matches and achieve at least a point a game to give themselves a good chance of survival at this level. If they do that, they will have achieved wonders against much better resourced opposition.