ALTRINCHAM (0) 0 YORK CITY (2) 4
Nationwide Conference National match
played on Saturday, 10 February, 2007 at 3pm.
Altrincham went down to their fourth successive defeat of the season and dropped to 22nd in the table. Despite kicking off, Altrincham were half asleep as possession was immediately given away and then York were allowed to work the ball forward up the inside right channel, with Bishop converting comfortably after 27 seconds. Then, after Coburn had stopped Donaldson from making it two, a few minutes later Bishop did the job for him when his deflected shot found Coburn's left corner in the ninth minute. Altrincham then had the better of the remainder of the first half but knew that their luck was out when Thornley's shot from the left came out off the inside of the York upright. York's strapping debutant striker, Richard Brodie from Newcastle Benfield, came on after 64 minutes and the youngster had an immediate impact, scoring with virtually his first touch when the exposed Coburn could only parry Donaldson's shot to his feet from the York left (66 mins). Alty rarely looked like scoring in the second half and were finished off when Brodie laid on a fourth, for Woolford, in the 90th minute, crossing the ball from the right by-line for his fellow substitute to score. With five of their next six matches away from home, Altrincham will need to dig deep over the coming weeks if they are to escape the relegation zone.
Right: Karl Munroe receives his Man of the Match award..
REFEREE: Mr. M Brown
Alty made changes from the side which started in the previous week's defeat at Southport. For the first time this season, Warren Peyton did not start, his place on the left going to Rod Thornley. In centre-midfield Steve Bushell returned after injury several weeks ago at Halifax, as Joe O'Neill dropped to the bench for this match against his former club. Val Owen remained sidelined by injury. Still out of the squad altogether were two of the summer signings, Peter Thomson and Justin Bowler. Also missing out today was Stephen Rose, who had unluckily lost his place through injury and, since his return to fitness, has seen Peter Band preferred to him in central defence.
York included Clayton Donaldson after his three-match suspension and despite his controversial agreement to join Scottish club Hibernian, which had cost York a sizeable transfer fee, there was no open protest directed at the York striker by the sizeable contingent of travelling fans. On the bench was new signing Richard Brodie, signed from Newcastle Benfield recently.
The pitch was a tribute to the hard work of groundsman Neil Brown who had overcome the recent frost and rain to produce an excellent, though obviously soft, surface. Even as late as 2pm Neil was busy mowing the surface having not been able to do so earlier in the week.
York's yellow shirts had white names and numbers, the names being virtually impossible to read even at close range. They brought a good level of support with them despite the poor weather en route. However, a small number of fans who had earlier been rowdy on a train from York to Manchester were also involved in some pre-match trouble in an Altrincham pub and this led to the rare sight of the local constabulary at Moss Lane, who stationed themselves at the away end. Howevr, there appeared to be no trouble inside the ground.
ALTRINCHAM (red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN; 2. Steve ASPINALL, 17. Karl MUNROE, 4. Peter BAND, 22. Andy SCOTT; 7. Robbie LAWTON, 6. Steve BUSHELL (capt), 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 10. Rod THORNLEY; 9. Colin LITTLE, 19. Chris SENIOR,. Subs: 3. Gary SCOTT, 5. Gary TALBOT, 11. Warren PEYTON, 12. Joe O'NEILL, 18. Pat McFADDEN.
YORK CITY (Yellow shirts, blue shorts and socks): 1. Tom EVANS: 2. Darren CRADDOCK, 20. Danny PARSLOW, 5. Dave McGURK, 12. Anthony LLOYD; 10. Craig FARRELL, 8. Emmanuel PANTHER (capt), 4. Neal BISHOP, 11. Steve BOWEY; 28. Rob ELVINS, 9. Clayton DONALDSON. Subs: 18. Aaron REID, 6. James DUDGEON, 22. Marin WOLFORD, 27. Richard BRODIE, 21. Lewis McMAHON.
Before kick off there was a one-minute silence in memory of both Mickey Warburton, a former Altrincham player and supporter John Robinson, who had both died recently. Though Altrincham kicked off, they almost immediately lost possession and, in just 27 seconds, were a goal down due to sloppy defending. York worked the ball up the inside-right channel, from where Donaldson laid it off on the edge of the box, with his back to goal, to his left, allowing Elvins to play the ball across the goalmouth where Bishop had a clear opening which he did not waste as he slotted the ball past Coburn from close range. Manager Graham Heathcote was beside himself with anger at his team's lack of concentration and with good reason. From the re-start, Little immediately ran into a tackle and Alty were soon on the back foot again. In the fifth minute Donaldson was played in behind the slow reacting Alty backline and it took a great block from the advancing Coburn to stop the York striker. Coburn got the ball in the face and needed treatment afterwards. Play by now had stopped, in any case, following a foul by Aspinall on the York left wing. As Coburn was treated both sets of fans were in good voice . Following the York freekick a slice by Aspinall meant that the ball only just reached Coburn ahead of an attacker. But it soon got worse when Alty failed to clear the ball again and it came to Bishop on the edge of the box. His shot took a deflection off Bowey in a crowded box which sent it into Coburn's bottom left corner and, for the second week running, Alty had conceded a deflected goal (9 mins). Manager Heathcote seemed to be about to take drastic action with his defence as he called centre-back Gary Talbot from the bench but no change was actually made in the end. At last Alty began to get a toehold in the game, after being overrun for the opening ten minutes or so.
When Altrincham worked the ball forward from Lawton to Senior, the nippy Alty forward went down in the box under a challenge but to no effect (12 mins). But Alty were still poor at the back as now Donaldson was played in to a one on one against Coburn. But again the keeper won the contest making a great save with his feet from Donaldson's shot, with a corner resulting to the Minstermen. At last, Alty got in a shot at goal but Little's effort from 22 yards went narrowly wide of the keepr's left post (13 mins). But whenever York went forward, Alty looked fragile and next Band and Munroe got in a mix up which presented York with a throw in. Lawton then went down, having twisted his back, but he resumed after treatment. The turning point of the game came after 24 minutes when Alty were enjoying the better of the proceedings. The ball came to Thornley on the left and his well-placed shot beat the keeper but came out off the inside of the far post, just as had happened in the previous game at Southport with Senior's shot.
Despite this disappointment, Altrincham continued to have the better of the next few minutes but when Aspinall found Little in the box, the Alty striker pushed an opponent to concede a freekick. Chalmers was working hard for Altrincham and Munroe was doing a good job on Donaldson but a goalkick into touch from Coburn followed by a wild clearance into touch from Band continued to suggest that all was not calm in the Altrincham defence. When a Chalmers throw found Little, who was on the right by-line, he appeared to win a corner but was penalised for foot-up as a defender ducked to head clear (31 mins). Soon the hardworking Bushell fired over from 22 yards from Lawton's pass but York continued to look the more incisive as Bowey, the former Gateshead man, set Donaldson again free against Coburn and, for the third time, the Alty keeper won the duel, this time driving Donaldson wide left, from where he attempted to score but Band covered well and cleared off the line (35 mins). Without Coburn Alty could have been five down before the interval.
But at last Altrincham won a corner and this came after Little had done well to jink past two defenders inside the box only to misplace his layoff to a York player. Aspinall's corner came out to Senior, whose volley from right of goal cannoned off Thornley in the goalmouth for a goalkick to York (36 mins). But Altrincham were continuing to enjoy more of the possession than York at this stage and soon, from Chalmers's effective challenge, Little fed the ball forward for Senior but a great covering tackle by McGurk saw off the darting Alty striker (38 mins). As half time approached York came back at Altrincham but Munroe did well again to contain Donaldson. As the game went into three minutes of added time, Thornley's cross from a promising position cleared Lawton who was clearly held inside the goalmouth but got no decision in his favour from the referee, who waved play on (45+2 mins). But before the interval Coburn had to make another fine intervention, this time from Elvins who had received a pass from Donaldson to set him clear. As the ball bounced around the box after Coburn's block, Band got it half clear and Munroe completed the job. But there was time in the final seconds of added time for Lawton, Chalmers, Bushell and Little to work the ball to Thornley on the left by-line but his cross was far too strong, inducing manager Graha Heathcote to turn away with his head in his hands at th end of a bitterly disappointing first half.
After the horrendous opening ten minutes, Altrincham had, however, got themselves back into the game and had Thornley's shot not come out off the post, might have been worrying York by this stage. But on the other hand Alty had been lucky to concede only twice as Coburn was time and again left to face rampaging York strikers set free behind his last line of defence and had done magnificently to keep them at bay so well.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 YORK CITY 2|
With the lights now on and a stiff cold breeze blowing, Altrincham supporters' hopes of a rousing second half comeback took an early blow when Thornley was quite harshly booked for a midfield challenge, just two minutes into the proceedings (47 mins). Bushell then conceded a freekick right on the front edge of the Alty box, for handball, but Coburn caught Bowey's freekick (49 mins). Alty's first attacking threat of the half came when Senior got free on the right but his low cross was cut out by Evans before Little could get it (50 mins). Coburn then had a rare lapse at the other end when he elected to punch rather than catch a cross and instead the ball skimmed off his knuckles. The sides cancelled each other other out for the next few minutes, with Howey's shot wide the only goal effort of note (53 mins). Chalmers continued to impress in midfield and from his feed Scott found Thornley whose well hit shot went wide of the post. But when Alty won a freekick 30 yards out, Aspinall's blast only succeeded in hitting one of the letter Fs of the South Trafford College hoarding above the York goal (55 mins). Another Alty freekick soon followed from which Evans gained a freekick for a foul as he collected Aspinall's cross. Alty continued to work hard and from Senior's cross, Little now relayed the ball left to Thornley whose well executed scissor kick from 20 yards fizzed narrowly past Evans's right upright (57 mins).
When a speculative long-range effort from Aspinall looped up off a York player's body, Alty gained a corner when the ball dropped onto the roof of the York net. This corner was cleared and, as York broke forward, Munroe was booked for a foul on Farrell (59 mins). Yet a bad foul on Chalmers by a York player went without more punishment than a freekick, moments later. York now made the first change bringing on the strapping young Richard Brodie, a recent signing from Northern League football at Newcastle Benfield. He replaced Elvins up front (64 mins). His first challenge in the air suggested that he would be a handful and it took him barely more than a minute to get on the scoresheet. The third York goal arrived when Donaldson was allowed far too much space up the left wing and, as Band tried to cover, Donaldson got past him and shot for goal.Coburn pushed the ball out but only to Brodie who had the simple task of marking his debut with a goal (65 mins). This triggered four substitutions, three of them for Altrincham, as O'Neill replaced Senior, McFadden came on for Thornley and Bushell went off in favour of Peyton (66 mins). For their part, York brought on Dudgeon for McGurk at the back.
Two minutes later O'Neill almost emulated Brodie as a goalscoring substitute when he fired in a curling shot from 20 yards but he just missed the target (68 mins). Then an Alty freekick from 35 yards was hit well off target by Peyton (69 mins). Alty kept plugging away despite their three-goal deficit and soon won a corner through Peyton but his corner kick was poor. When Lloyd stopped Lawton taking a quick throw he became the only York player to be cautioned (73 mins). There was then a tussle in the Alty box between Band and Brodie and Altrincham were awarded a freekick, at which point Woolford came on for York's Bowey (75 mins). Altrincham continued to battle but York were containing them without too many alarms and were still prone to their own errors. Woolford then theratened when he held off a challenge from McFadden on the Alty left but he shot wildly wide (79 mins).
A foul by Munroe on Donaldson led to a tense moment as the referee seemed about to show him a second yellow, but Mr Brown settled for a lecture instead. However, when moments later, Munroe clearly pushed an opponent the referee astonishingly waved play on. York almost made it four when, yet again, Donaldson was allowed too much room on the York left and his shot beat Coburn only to come out off the same post which Thornley had struck for Altrincham in the first half (83 mins). From a Chalmers throw Alty won a corner but Chalmers's own flag-kick continued the sequence of poorly taken Alty corners in this match. But Chalmers soon did better, to feed Little, who went down in the box but play continued. Next McFadden did well to create an opening but shot wide from the edge of the box (86 mins). However, Coburn again had to excel when Brodie closed in as the keeper smothered the ball. The big striker soon menaced Alty again as he got past Band but Munroe made a vital challenge. However, York continued to look dangerous and duly made it 4-0 inside the last minute of normal time. They worked the ball to Brodie on the by-line to the right of the Alty goal from where there seemed relatively little danger but Alty allowed him to get in a low cross to the unmarked Woolford who steered the ball into the far side of the net from 6 yards or so (90 mins).
Three minutes of added time were played during which Scott did well to block a Farrell shot. Chalmers continued to work hard till the end as did Munroe who had to be alert to stop Donaldson once again. Whilst Munroe got the Man of the Match award, Chalmers and Coburn were also major contenders for that prize. McGurk won the York award despite being substituted. Play ended soon after Chalmers had taken a blow to the face which needed treatment. The final whistle signalled Altrincham's fourth successive defeat and saw them drop a further place, to 22nd in the table. And after scoring in eight successive Conference games, Alty have now scored just once in the last four games which is all the more surprising given that it coincides with the return to the side after injury of Alty's top scorer of the last two seasons, Colin Little. However, they lost this game through a sloppy opening ten minutes though it is fair to say that, even without that early two-goal deficit, they would have had to work hard to get anything off an impressive York side.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 YORK CITY 4|