EXETER CITY (2) 3 ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
Nationwide Conference Game
played on Saturday, 1 April 2006, at 3pm.
Alty's day got off to a bad start after the players' coach broke down on the way to Exeter from their overnight stay at Taunton and the players eventually arrived at the ground just after 2.25pm, having been picked up from the M5 hardshoulder by the supporters' coach, which had returned to collect them after it had delivered the fans to the ground. Above the players cross the pitch after their arrival at the ground..
For the third successive game, Alty went behind early on when Phillips headed home Billy Jones's cross (10 mins). But Alty levelled after 19 minutes when keeper Paul Jones failed to gather Aspinall's aerial ball and Little netted from close range. Alty went behind again when Mackie was allowed to head home Gill's long throw (28 mins). But with Alty still in the game and looking forward to a second half with the wind behind them, Mark Maddox was sent off. Having been fouled, the Alty captain was red-carded for allegedly kicking the offender, as the game went into added time (45 mins). City sealed the game after 52 minutes when Challinor, looking offside, finished off an impressive move. Alty's ten men battled well and twice went close in the final stages but Adams and Munroe also had to clear off the line for Alty in the second half.
REFEREE: Mr. C Sarginson
This was Altrincham's first competitive game in Devon but, earlier this season, the Robins had held the Grecians to a draw at Moss Lane. After a good start to the season, Exeter had slightly faltered but were still in touch for a play-off place.
Alty arrived on the back of their worst run of the season, four defeats and a draw in their last five games.
Alty had pre-match doubts about defenders Gary Scott, Chris Adams and Mark Maddox whilst Val Owen had not been able to train in midweek, but all four started the game. However, Graham Heathcote sprang a tactical surprise, playing centre back Peter Band up front with Colin Little whilst Rod Thornley was demoted to the bench. Karl Munroe played at right-back, whilst both Stephen Rose and Kieran Lugsden were in action for Alty Reserves today so not on the first-team bench as in recent games. There was also no place in the squad for Lewis Chalmers. Starting for the first time in 14 matches was Karl Munroe, whilst Maddox had missed the last 3 games and Scott the last 2.
EXETER CITY (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and socks): 27. Paul JONES, 3. Billy JONES, 4. Gary SAWYER, 6. Chris TODD, 7. Andy TAYLOR, 10. Jon CHALLINOR, 11. Lee PHILLIPS, 12. Jamie MACKIE, 15. Matthew GILL, 18. Paul BUCKLE, 25. Danny WOODARDS. Subs: 1. Martin RICE (gk), 5. Marcio SANTOS GAIA, 9. Craig FARRELL, 14. Steve FLACK, 21. Dean MOXEY.
ALTRINCHAM (Pale blue shirts, dark blue shorts and pale blue socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 17. Karl MUNROE, 4. Mark MADDOX (capt), 5. Gary TALBOT, 3. Chris ADAMS, 11. Gary SCOTT, 8. Val OWEN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 12. Warren PEYTON, 15. Peter BAND, 9. Colin LITTLE. Subs: 7. Colin POTTS, 10. Rod THORNLEY, 37. Ged MURPHY, 18. Blake NORTON, 28. Pat McFADDEN.
Karl Munroe (blue shirt) covers an Exeter attack up the left wing, as (l to r) Steve Aspinall, Warren Peyton and Val Owen look on.
As in their recent game at Southport, Alty elected to play into the wind, allowing their opponents to kick off. Peter Band was soon in evidence, but his cross from the right went over the bar. The travelling Alty fans were giving good vocal support but the home side was beginning to get forward and won a freekick, which Billy Jones overhit. A series of three Alty throw-ins followed but when Buckle won a loose ball, on the left just inside the Alty half, there seemed little immediate danger. However, the Grecians' man fed Mackie just inside the box and he laid the ball back to Jones. His cross from the left was met by Phillips's close-range, stooping header into the net (10 mins). For Alty, Peyton was impressing in midfield but team-mate Adams soon found himself in referee Sarginson's book for dissent after a foul had been given against him (11 mins).
Soon, from Aspinall and Peyton, the ball came to Band, who did well to lay the ball off for Little, but he drove his shot wide of goal (13 mins). Munroe then did well, seeing off Challinor but at the cost of a corner. This was cleared but soon Peyton was booked for a trip. Then, against the run of play, Alty got an equaliser with some assistance from the wind. Band, Little and Scott were all involved before Aspinall curled a high cross from the right into the goalmouth, where keeper Jones came to get it. But the wind held the ball up and Jones only got his fingertips to the ball and it dropped to Little, who kept his head to put the ball into the net at the back post (19 mins).
After the re-start, Mackie got the better of Maddox, but his shot from the left was wildly wide of goal to the right (21 mins). Band continued to work hard but, at the other end, Coburn had to rush smartly out of the box to clear, at the cost of a throw-in on the Exeter right. Gill took a long throw which found Mackie, unmarked, for him to score Exeter's second headed goal of the game (28 mins). After half an hour, Mackie went down dramatically in the box, but the referee was unimpressed. Coburn put the ball out for Mackie to have treatment and the Alty keeper showed his displeasure when Exeterthrew the subsequent throw-in out of play instead of back to him.
After a fairly even few minutes Band again did well, getting on the end of Coburn's punt to feed Little but his shot went narrowly wide (38 mins). Moments later, Peyton and Scott combined with Little, who jinked past a defender but shot wide (39 mins). Long throws from Gill and Challinor continued to cause Alty problems but as half-time approached a poor kick clear from keeper Jones, not his first, gave Alty a potential opening but nothing came of it. But with the prospect of the wind behind them in the second half, Alty looked capable of taking something from the game. But disaster struck as the 45 minutes ended. A foul by Mackie on Maddox, out on the Alty right touchline saw both players go down in a tangle. As Maddox got up he was judged to have kicked his opponent who went down again. Referee Sarginson showed Maddox a straight red card but gave Alty the freekick (45 mins). Alty had a late scare when Coburn failed to hold Challinor's shot and it was Band, who had gone back into defence, who cleared the danger (45 + 3 mins).
|Half-Time: EXETER CITY 2 ALTRINCHAM 1|
Right: Mark Maddox leaves the field after being sent off, accompanied by kitman Dave Mitten.
When the second half began, Band had returned to playing up-front, as Alty played a 3-4-2 formation. But Exeter wrapped the game up after 52 minutes with an excellent move. Taylor started the move, finding Mackie and then Woodards, who got past Owen and Peyton before sliding the ball across goal to Challinor to slot the ball home from close range, with Munroe leading the offside protests (52 mins).
After a brief spat between Munroe and Phillips, Exeter brought on Farrell for Mackie (55 mins). There was then a clash of heads involving Aspinall and Challinor before Exeter won a corner. Alty now made a double change, Potts and Norton replacing Little and Scott (61 mins). This left Band up the middle with Potts and Norton supporting on the flanks. Talbot made a good clearance before Potts won a corner on the right. Peyton's corner was cleared out to Aspinall but he sliced his shot well wide. When Exeter broke clear, Coburn came off his line but failed to gather the ball. But Adams had covered well and cleared off the line (68 mins). Soon each side won a corner.
From a Peyton freekick, Alty won another corner but they were not getting any clear shots at goal. An uncharacteristically jittery Coburn then failed to kick clear a Munroe back pass but got away with it. With the clock running down, Moxey replaced Buckle and Murphy came on for Owen, who had had a quiet game (81 mins). From an Adams throw, another Alty corner followed. This was cleared to Murphy, who arrowed a header towards the top corner of the net, only for a defender to head it off the line. And immediately afterwards Band also had an effort hit a defender on the line (85 mins). Norton made a couple of promising advances on the left but the ten men could not make a breakthrough before the final whistle.
So, Alty's winless run continues but they did not play badly today- though both the goals conceded today will have disappointed the defence and the sending off was a major factor in the outcome. Woodards was named as the home Man of the Match. For Alty, Band did well in his forward role, but the midfield did not enjoy one of its better days and the defence willhave been disappointed at the manner in which the first two goals were conceded.
|Full-Time: EXETER CITY 3 ALTRINCHAM 1|