ALTRINCHAM (1) 2 YORK CITY (0) 2
played on Saturday, 19 January 2008, at 3pm.
Against an in-form York City, Alty were ultimately happy with a point but having led 2-0 at the hour-mark it all went wrong as two goals were conceded in as many minutes. York then had the better of the game and with more composed finishing might have taken all of the points. Alty got off to an unfortunate start when striker Tom Cahill limped off after 18 minutes but substitute Colin Little went on to put Alty ahead after 41 minutes when, from Toulson's feed, he controlled the ball and turned well before sending a low shot into the bottom corner of the net. Little made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute when he volleyed home Toulson's freekick from the right and at that stage York looked a beaten side.
But, just a minute after Alty had withdrawn the industrious Liam King in midfield to allow Richard Battersby his debut in the 61st minute, Panther was allowed to get to the by-line right of the Alty goal. Goalkeper Coburn initially stayed on his line before rushing out but the York midfielder got the ball into the goalmouth where an unmarked Woolford scored (63 mins). Alty have a habit of conceding a second goal just after a first and it happened again as Panther was allowed to turn and cross from the right and the ball evaded Shotton. Woolford was on hand to dink the ball past Coburn to make it 2-2 (65 mins). Alty were then penned back and adopted a 5-4-1 formation with substitute O'Neill, up front, but they held on for a deserved point. Robbie Lawton and Manny Panther were named Men of the Match but for Alty the new centre-back pairing of Tinson and Young also performed well.
REFEREE: Mr P Quinn
All seven of Alty's January acquisitions were in the squad and all started except for yesterday's signing, Richard Battersby, from Northwich Victoria. So Coburn, Lawton and Peyton were the only starters today who had been Altrincham players last season, though Senior had been a loanee. Ryan Shotton again started at right-back as Greg Young played alongside Darren Tinson in the centre of the Altrincham defence. The team was therefore unchanged from that which had won against Kidderminster eleven days earlier but, on the bench, Gary Scott gave way to Battersby.
York had new signing James Beadle on the bench, a player who had opted to join the Yorkshire side in preference to Altrincham. There was a strong Northwich thread to today's game with York including former Vics' men Stuart Elliott, Paul Brayson and Simon Rusk in their squad.
This match only went ahead after a pitch inspection at 9am and some hard work by a band of volunteers in forking and drying the pitch. But despite the incessant rain of the previous week, the pitch played well and the rain held off until the second half. WIth local League games at Rochdale, Bury and Macclesfield all postponed it was a tribute to groundsman Neil Brown and the volunteers that Moss Lane was in good enough condition for today's game to go ahead.
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks) 1. Stuart COBURN; 16. Ryan SHOTTON, 5. Darren TINSON (capt), 10. Greg YOUNG, 24. James JENNINGS; 23. Ryan TOULSON, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 25. Liam KING, 11. Warren PEYTON; 14. Tom CAHILL, 19. Chris SENIOR. Subs: 6. Jake SEDGEMORE, 9. Colin LITTLE, 12. Joe O'NEILL, 15. Chris LANE, 17. Richard BATTERSBY.
YORK CITY (Yellow shirts, blue shorts and yellow socks) 1. Tom EVANS; 6. Daniel PARSLOW, 5. David McGURK, 2. Darren CRADDOCK, 23. Ben PURKISS, 8. Manny PANTHER, 4. Stuart ELLIOTT, 22. Nick WROE, 11. Martyn WOOLFORD; 7. Onome SODJE, 9. Paul BRAYSON. Subs: 13. Josh MIMMS, 15. Simon RUSK, 16. Richard BRODIE, 21. James BEADLE, 24. Anthony LLOYD.
Although it was dry at kick off, there had been drizzle for much of the morning and it was dull enough for the floodlights to be used from the start. York, playing 3-5-2, kicked off towards the Golf Road End and started the better of the two sides. There was a good following from York and there was a lively atmosphere between the two sets of supporters. Alty then began to settle and, from Lawton's surge, Senior's low cross from the right was gathered by Evans (8 mins). Jennings was again impressing at left-back and from his cross from the left, Toulson skewed a shot over the bar (9 mins). Play was very competitive but with few goalmouth scares for the keepers to deal with. After 13 minutes, Panther fired over the bar but it then became apparent that Cahill was limping and soon he went down for treatment. Almost immediately after reaching the injured player on the pitch, physio Sean Riley signalled for a replacement and Colin Little came on (18 mins).
Despite their lowly league position, Alty were matching their in-form visitors, who were not helping themselves by repeatedly getting caught offside. Alty's best effort at this stage was a well-hit 30-yarder from Jennings which went wide of the target (22 mins) but York were still not keeping Coburn busy either. In a game of few fouls, referee Quinn harshly booked Toulson for a follow-through, which made no contact with his opponent (29 mins). Senior then almost caused York embarrassment when a backpass to Evans caused the keeper problems but the York number one just managed to get it way before the Alty forward arrived. However, York should have scored in the 32nd minute when the lively Woolford got the better of Shotton on the York left and found Brayson but he shot badly wide beyond the back post. A minute later Little did well and fed Senior who, as he went into the goalmouth, was pushed off the ball by a defender's arm but no penalty resulted. However, from this incident, Alty won the game's first corner, in the 34th minute.
York continued to pass the ball about well but without any telling end-product. From an Alty freekick for handball, the ball was cleared and just as it looked like being a goalless first half, Toulson fed Little on the edge of the box. The Alty striker gathered the ball and turned well before directing a slightly mishit shot into the bottom corner of the net, to Evans's left for his first league goal since November (41 mins). From the restart York almost equalised as Alty's concentration temporarily lapsed. Sodje fed Brayson who opted not to shoot first time from just inside the box but he tried instead to check and attempt to curl the ball into the top corner. But he failed to hit the target (42 mins). However, Alty then responded well as Jennings's freekick came to Lawton but he shot wide of Evans's right post (43 mins). Alty had an excape as the game went into a minute's added time when Woolford's freekick from 18 yards out on the right found an unmarked McGurk at the back of the box but the York defender's first time shot came back off Coburn's left-hand post (45 mins). Half time arrive soon afterwards with Altrincham a goal to the good and having matched their opponents well in the first 45 minutes.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 YORK CITY 0|
Alty kicked off the second half, attacking the Golf Road End. Soon, York were optimistically appealing for hands when the ball hit Tinson in the Alty box but all they got was a corner. Alty then did well as Senior advanced on the left and, via King and Little, the ball came to Toulson whose well-hit shot was blocked. The follow up from Jennings was saved by Evans (50 mins). When King was brought down 25 yards out on the Alty right, Jennings and Toulson stood over the ball but it was the latter whose freekick found Little in the centre of the goalmouth and, unmarked, he volleyed the ball confidently past Evans to give Alty a two-goal lead (53 mins). At this point York brought on striker Richard Brodie for Brayson (54 mins). To strains of "Part-time and we're proud of it" from the Alty supporters, the Robins looked fairly comfortable with their lead for the next few minutes. On the hour mark, York brought on Lloyd for Sodje, with Woolford being pushed forward as a result. Two minutes later, Alty made an unexpected change as King was taken off and Battersby came on for his debut in midfield (61 mins). Before he could settle in, Alty had conceded twice. Firstly a low through ball up the inside-right channel saw Coburn remain on his line as Young was beaten to it by Panther. The York man got to the by-line right of goal and Coburn now rushed out but Panther got his low cross into the box where the unmarked Woolford scored easily (63 mins).
After being gifted a goal, York's tails were up and soon afterwards Panther popped up, this time on the left, towards the corner flag. He was allowed to bring the ball back from the by-line and get in a low cross which Shotton could not get and Woolford nipped in to knock the ball past Coburn and make it 2-2 (65 mins). The game had been turned on its head and York now began to dominate. Battersby had a shaky start giving the ball away three times before Alty boss Graham Heathcote instructed him and Toulson to switch places, the new signing moving into right-midfield and Toulson into the centre. York continued to press but Tinson and his colleagues defended well. Alty now brought on O'Neill for Senior, who has yet to recapture his spark after an enforced absence through suspension (74 mins). Young continued to do well at the back for Alty but the home side had a fright when Purkiss's freekick was headed just wide at the near post by Woolford (76 mins).
Next, Woolford sliced a shot over the bar whilst Alty had difficulty in causing any danger at the other end, but with steady rain now falling the recently revamped personnel in the Alty team showed great resolve in keeping York at bay. They were helped as Brodie continued to get caught offside before another York chance went begging when Woolford did well to find Wroe but the former Barnsley midfielder shot badly wide (81 mins). Next, Elliott's overhead shot went narrowly wide as Alty remained on the back foot (82 mins). Altrincham then went to a 5-4-1 formation with O'Neill the most forward player and Battersby was now enlisted at right-back, his third position in the twenty minutes that he had been on the pitch. Alty now did threaten at the other end as Toulson saw a shot blocked before the same player fired in a low effort,which Evans could not hold, but no one was following up and the keeper gathered the ball safely (83 mins).
Rain continued to fall as the game went from end to end, providing lively entertainment for the spectators. When the raw Brodie crudely brought down Young it was surprising that the young Tynesider escaped without punishment other than a freekick award to Altrincham (87 mins). Three minutes of added time were announced during which York won two corners but Alty held firm. Robbie Lawton and Manny Panther were named Men of the Match, thought Alty's Tinson, Young and Jennings also had good games and it was good to see Colin Little back in goalscoring form. In the end it was disappointing for Altrincham to have conceded a two-goal lead but a draw was a fair outcome and with Farsley losing, it edged Alty a point further away from the relegation places. It was also encouraging to see Graham Barrow back at Moss Lane, now in the role of assistant manager and taking a leading part in the warm-up and working alongside Graham Heathcote on the touchline during the game. With seven points from their last four games, Alty need to keep the momentum as they travel to Cambridge next Saturday with a newly found optimism brought about by the January transfer-window shake-up.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 YORK CITY 2|