Match Report


FA Trophy First Round replay match
played on Tuesday, 19 December 2006, at 7.45pm.


  • Match:
  • Matchball:
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    Alty fans and officials were left fuming after referee Watts controversially abandoned the game at half-time with Alty leading 2-1 and visibility actually better than it had been for most of the first half. A chaotic 20 minutes later, after counting the fans three times, Tamworth produced some half-priced vouchers for the replay of this replay, which will be on 9 January, just four days before the next round. The Board of Altrincham FC has generously offered holders of these vouchers five pounds if presented at Moss Lane before that date so as to offset the additional cost for travelling fans.

    Alty had taken a two-goal lead after Little converted Chalmers's low cross from the left (16 mins) and then Thornley netted from close range following a corner by Bushell (40 mins). Smith headed home a freekick as the game went into added time (45+1 mins). For a match sponsored by the local Baptist Church, tonight's events were a clear case of divine intervention on behalf of Tamworth.


  • 16 mins: Colin LITTLE (Tamworth 0 Altrincham 1)
  • 40 mins: Rod THORNLEY (Tamworth 0 Altrincham 2)
  • 45 (+1) mins: Adie SMITH (Tamworth 1 Altrincham 2)

    REFEREE: Mr. Adam Watts (Kidderminster)



    Val Owen had a tight calf, so Rod Thornley came into the side, whilst Steve Aspinall replaced Gary Scott, who had limped off on Saturday, at right-back.


    This was a replay of Saturday's dire encounter at Moss Lane which had ended goalless.


    ALTRINCHAM (Pale and dark blue shirts, dark blue shorts, pale blue socks): 1. Stuart COBURN; 2. Steve ASPINALL, 4. Peter BAND, 17. Karl MUNROE, 11. Warren PEYTON; 10. Rod THORNLEY, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 6. Steve BUSHELL (capt), 14. Lewis CHALMERS; 9. Colin LITTLE, 12. Joe O'NEILL. Subs: 3. Gary SCOTT, 5. Gary TALBOT, 15. Justin BOWLER, 16. Peter THOMSON, 18. Pat McFADDEN.

    Altrincham substitutes:

  • None

    TAMWORTH (Red shirts and shorts, white socks): 1. Jose VEIGA; 2. Adie SMITH , 9. Steve BURTON, 10. Jon STEVENSON, 20. Daryl TAYLOR, 21. Tom KEMP, 24. John McGRATH, 26. Joe KENDRICK, 28. Ryan LAIGHT, 29. Taiwo ATIENO, 31. Simon HESLOP. Subs: 8. Kyle STORER, 11. Matthew WILLIAMS, 16. Mark COOPER, 40. Dale BELFORD.


    Alty arrived at The Lamb from the clear air of South Manchester to find the ground shrouded in fog. However, referee Adam Watts from Kidderminster started the game with the far touchline just about visible from the stand. Rumour had it that Rod Thornley was back in the side but he was not immediately identifiable in the fog on the far side of the pitch.

    Tamworth had kicked off, more than three minutes late, attacking down the slope. Little won an early freekick but Aspinall's effort was cleared (3 minutes). The fog was making it difficult to see who was doing what on the Alty right, so when Chalmers rode two challenges well to feed Bushell, and the ball was worked right to Lawton, it was guesswork identifying Thornley as the man who subsequently fired a dangerous cross across the face of goal (15 mins). Tamworth's respite was short as Chalmers and O'Neill exchanged passes on the left before Chalmers's low cross from the left was met by Little who, despite seeming not to make full contact, did enough to score past keeper Veiga (16 mins).

    Immediately afterwards a foul on Little gave Alty a freekick 22 yards out. The rehearsed dead-ball move between Aspinall and Band failed to come off. As Tamworth won two corners, the fog had by now slightly worsened since kick-off (21 mins). Two more Tamworth corners followed, round the half-hour mark, but the home side was frustrating its fans with misplaced passing.

    After Veiga and Kemp had a misunderstanding, leading the keeper to put the ball out of play, Chalmers's throw-in led to some more pressure. At the other end, a Taylor shot was then deflected out for another home corner (37 mins) before Alty won a corner on the left. Bushell's low corner came to Chalmers, towards the edge of the box, but his effort was blocked before Thornley won a goalmouth scramble to score from close range, a goal which was followed by his trademark cartwheel celebration (40 mins).

    As the 45th minute arrived Thornley impressed at the other end, too, as he made a great defensive block. It was a surprise to see 3 minutes of added time signalled and in the first of these, Alty failed to defend a freekick from the Tamworth left and Smith rose, unchallenged, to head home (45+1 mins). Halftime soon arrived with Alty on track for their elusive first away win of the season and the fog having lifted slightly.

    As halftime progressed the match officials ominously held a conference on the pitch. They were soon joined by the managers, with Alty's Graham Heathcote becoming increasingly animated as it became clear that, despite visibility being better than at kick-off, the match was being abandoned. Alty's fans were then told to line-up to be counted and after 15 minutes in the cold, were issued with half-price vouchers for the replay of the replay. Graham Heathcote, as well as chairman Geoff Goodwin and vice-chairman Grahame Rowley came over to the fans to express their dissatisfaction with the situation. The Alty manager said that the ref told him that conditions had deteriorated after kick off, (they hadn't), and that the linesmen could not see "to make the crucial decisions".

    The truth was that if the conditions were acceptable to start the game, they were actually better when half-time arrived and the decision to abandon the game was taken.