ALTRINCHAM (1) 2 ST ALBANS CITY (0) 0
Nationwide Conference National Division
played on Saturday, 26 August 2006, at 3pm.
Gary Talbot, far left, heads Alty's second goal.
Alty deservedly recorded their second home win of the season and kept their first clean sheet since January 2nd in this victory over St Alban's City. In an eventful first half, both sides missed penalties and Alty had three men booked and manager Graham Heathcote sent off, on the intervention of the fourth official. Referee Richardson contrived to book eight players in all, his low point being a caution for Peyton for running 10 yards to celebrate a goal in front of the Alty fans. In the entertaining first half, Alty won a penalty for handball but Aspinall, after 14 successive spot kick conversions, this time saw Bastock make an excellent save as he dived to his left (28 mins). Later, City's pony-tailed semi-pro international Davis, whose frequent theatricals saw the home crowd get on his back, went down under a challenge from Band which looked like a penalty. But the ref waved play on, only for linesman Powell to intervene and persuade the referee to award a spot kick. However, Clarke put the kick wide of Coburn's left post (37 mins). Alty boss Graham Heathcote was so incensed at the referee's change of mind that, after the spot kick, the fourth official now intervened and again the referee was persuaded to take action, sending the Alty boss to the stand.
Alty took the lead in first-half added time when a good move ended with Little's fine shot forcing a great save by Bastock but the ball came back off the bar to Peyton, who did well to score only to see his joy cut short by Mr Richardson's petty booking (45+2 mins). After refreshingly going at Alty for the first 45 minutes, the visitors were largely contained in the second period as Alty gave a great team performance. Alty sealed the game when Davis was booked either for fouling O'Neill or feigning injury after doing so and, from the resulting freekick, on the Alty right, 40 yards out, Talbot rose to head home Aspinall's freekick (65 mins). Joe O'Neill was named Alty Man of the Match, with Matt Hann winning the visitors' award. Report to follow.
REFEREE: Mr. D. Richardson
This was St Alban's first ever game against Altrincham. Both sides had lost their previous game but St Alban's had already demonstrated their attacking intent this season and an open encounter aginst Altrincham, one of only two other truly part-time sides in the Conference was on the cards.
It is a long time since Altrincham named the same starting eleven for a fourth successive game but that is what Graham Heathcote did today, indicating to those in the Sponsors' Lounge before the game that he had faith in the side despite late defeats in their previous two games. The five on the bench were also unchanged from last Saturday at Exeter.
For St Alban's, Ben Martin (knee) and Scott Cousins (ankle) were out, injured, but defender Gary Elphick returned after being sent off in each of his only two appearances this season.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, pale blue socks and shorts.)1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 4. Peter BAND, 5. Gary TALBOT, 3. Gary SCOTT, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 6. Steve BUSHELL, 8. Val OWEN, 11. Warren PEYTON, 9. Colin LITTLE, 12. Joe O'NEILL. Subs: 10. Rod THORNLEY, 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 15. Justin BOWLER, 17. Karl MUNROE, 20. Stephen ROSE
ST ALBAN'S CITY (All yellow, with blue diagonal stripe on shirts): 1. Paul BASTOCK; 2. Chris SEEBY, 5. Gary ELPHICK, 17. Dave THEOBALD, 15. Lee FLYNN; 7. Matt HANN, 12. Dean CRACKNELL, 4. Tom DAVIS, 11. Adam WILDE; 9. Paul HAKIM, 10. Lee CLARKE (capt.). Subs: 6. Ben LEWIS, 14. Simon MARTIN, 18. Josh SOZZO, 21. Rob NORRIS, 8. Ram MARWA.
After changing ends, Altrincham kicked off towards their supporters at the Golf Road, with a breeze blowing against them. St Alban's had brought a small number of supporters and that combined with the last week of the school holidays, accounted for a modest turnout of 890 at Moss Lane today. The first incident of the game was when the linesman fell over his feet in the first minute but Mr. Powell's role in the first half was to be more serious. St Alban's won the game's first corner, from Talbot's clearance after 3 minutes but Little got the ball clear. After Hann had shot over the Alty bar, Alty won a freekick when O'Neill was fouled just outside the box. The pony-tailed Davis, a recent recruit to the non-league international squad, jumped in to prevent a quick freekick by Altrincham. This led to a lecture for Davis before Peyton curled the freekick wide of the target (7 mins). The even start to the game continued but a cynical trip on O’Neill by Theobald brought the game's first booking (8 mins). This led to a second Alty freekick but nothing came of this. Bushell was then penalised for handball near half-way before Little fed Lawton on the Alty right and, from his cross, Peyton stabbed a shot over the bar (11 mins). But a neat Alty move then produced a corner. Peyton's kick was cleared to Owen and from Lawton’s resulting cross from the right, Talbot forced a good save by Bastock at the foot of his right post (13 mins).
After another piece of pleasing football from Altrincham, Little gained a throw near the right corner but eventually Bastock fielded Aspinall's cross. A foul by Owen on Hakim earned him a lecture and it was a pity to see Flynn asking the referee to book the Alty midfielder. Wilde's freekick came to Coburn in the Alty goal and soon St Alban's attacked at the other end, with Hakim getting the better of Talbot to force a fine save from Coburn, who beat the shot clear. St Alban's continued to press and won a corner which was poorly taken from the left and went low into the side netting (20 mins). St Alban's were soon appealing for a penalty as Hann went down under Peyton's challenge (21 mins). But the visitors did soon win a freekick against Bushell, 25 yards out, which Coburn punched clear before making a good diving save, though the flag had already gone up for offside (23 mins). The ebb and flow continued and, soon, Bushell fired in a goalbound shot from the edge of the box which hit a defender. Alty continued to press, however, and not long afterwards Little and Lawton combined on the right. The latter's cross hit a St Alban's player's hand, with the referee awarding a penalty to the home side. Bastock showed his experience by delaying the kick and when Aspinall strode up to take the kick he guessed correctly and made a fine save to his left. Aspinall had hit the spot kick well enough but nevertheless the keeper stopped it to prevent the Alty defender from scoring his 15th successive penalty kick . But a corner did result (28 mins). The corner led to a scramble in the Saints' box before Bushell and an opponent clashed, with the Alty man not only surprisingly conceding a freekick but also being mysteriously booked by Mr. Richardson (29 mins).
Right: Aspinall's penalty is saved by Bastock. Now, St Alban's won two corners in succession before the industrious O'Neill cleared well. The game continued in entertaining fashion past the half-way mark with Alty on top at this stage but no clear chances resulted. Band had to be alert to head clear but soon afterwards a Talbot clearance went to Davis who exchanged passes with Seeby before going down under a challenge by Band inside the box. The Saints' man seemed to have a good case for a spot kick but referee Richardson waved play on. However, the linesman in front of the Family Stand, Mr. Powell, called over the referee and convinced him that a spot kick should be awarded, much to the annoyance of the Altrincham manager. Although Clarke sent Coburn the wrong way, he drove his shot wide of the keeper's left post and against the pole supporting the back of the net (37 mins). But before play could restart, the fourth official now intervened and, like his linesman colleague, persuaded the referee to take action he would otherwise not have taken. In this case Mr. Richardson sent a protesting Graham Heathcote, the Alty manager, to the stand. The incandescent Alty boss was led off to the stand by his assistant, Dalton Steele. Once play restarted, Bastock came a long way out of goal to clear and soon afterwards, Peyton dug out a left footed shot which he put over the bar (40 mins).
When Owen, who was having a good game in midfield, appeared to win the ball cleanly on half way, Mr. Richardson further annoyed the home support by penalising and booking the Alty man (42 mins). At the other end, Theobald headed narrowly wide but was penalised for a foul (42 mins). Next, from Peyton’s freekick, Owen fired miles over the bar into the Golf Road. Three minutes of added time were announced. In the second of these Aspinall, Bushell, Lawton and O'Neill combined before the ball came back to Lawton who fed Little. The Alty striker turned well and struck a fine shot at goal which Bastock did well to save, pushing the ball onto the crossbar. The rebound came to Peyton who did well to get the better of Elphick and Seeby to drive the ball home. The Alty midfielder ran the short distance to the Golf Road barrier to celebrate and paid the price when the mean-spirited referee booked him for doing so (45+2 mins). Not surprisingly, Mr. Richardson left the pitch at half time to a loud chorus of booing from the home supporters. Ominously for Altrincham defender Peter Band limped to the changing rooms.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 ST ALBAN'S CITY 0|
St Alban's kicked off the second half and soon Owen was back in the thick of it, policing the midfield to see off the visitors. However, Alty soon had to replace the ailing Band, with Munroe replacing him at centre-back (49 mins). Alty had a scare when Clarke's diving header from a cross by Seeby from the right beat Coburn to enter the net, but the goal was ruled out for offside (51 mins). Alty replied with a good attacking move which ended as Peyton turned well but fired narrowly too high at the target (52 mins). Then Hann got past Scott on the right and his cross flashed across the face of the Alty goal. St Alban's were passing the ball well but Alty had the next half-chance but Little delayed his shot and the opening was lost. Hakim then needed lengthy treatment following an Owen tackle. Clarke, the visitors' captain, went close again after 57 minutes, heading wide . But Wilde picked up a booking soon afterwards after tripping Lawton as he got clear of him in midfield (58 mins).
Davis was the next visitor to need treatment though Owen and the Alty supporters felt he was milking the situation. The Alty midfielder was lectured, nonetheless (60 mins). After a foul by Munroe, St Albans gained a freekick and soon afterwards the visitors won a corner as they went for an equaliser (63 mins). A foul on O'Neill by Davis, saw the feisty visiting midfielder himself go down supposedly injured but the referee booked him nevertheless. It was from this freekick, taken by Aspinall near the Alty right touchline, just inside the At Alban's half that Talbot rose towards the back post, about twelve yards out to power a corner into the bottom corner of Bastock's net, past the keeper’s dive to his right (65 mins). A number of Davis’s team-mates showed their annoyance with the midfielder for conceding the freekick. An Alty corner soon followed but the visitors themselves won one a few minutes later. O'Neill continued to impress for Altrincham, holding the ball up well and making good use of it. Bushell then threatened, getting past two opponents and into the box before being crowded out (74 mins).
O'Neill's excellent play continues to be undone by poor shooting and he wasted an opportunity after Little had forced a good block by Bastock in a move in which O'Neill's own feint had played a major part. After a Bushell foul, Davis sent a poor freekick into touch . After 79 minutes Aspinall was booked for obstruction and at this point the visitors brought on Marwa for Clarke and Norris for Wilde. A foul by Cracknell on O'Neill gave Aspinall a freekick which Bastock punched clear off Talbot’s head (82 mins).
Bastock takes the ball off Talbot's head (82 mins).
Lawton was doing well on the Alty right but it was O'Neill who had the next chance. However, after Bushell had won the ball Owen shot well wide (85 mins). With just three minutes left of normal time, Rod Thornley came on for O'Neill, who left the field to a deserved ovation for his hard work (87 mins). Almost immediately a piece of opportunism by Thornley saw him steal in and poke the ball past the visitors' keeper near the edge of the box but the ball dropped into the goalmouth and was cleared comfortably before it could threaten the goal line (88 mins). Marwa became the eighth player to be booked in the game when he flattened Thornley (89 mins). Three minutes of added time and the Men of the Match were then announced, Hann winning the prize for the Saints and O’Neill for Alty. The final whistle soon went to confirm Alty's second win of the season and their first clean sheet since 2nd January, a sequence of 21 league games in which 39 goals had been conceded.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 ST ALBAN'S CITY 0|