Match Report


Blue Square Premier match
played on Saturday, 9 August 2008, at 3pm.


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    Goals at the end of each half secured the three points for Altrincham. After having the better of the first half, Alty took the lead after 45 minutes when Dale Johnson's shot was beaten out by the Woking keeper, Worner, only for Alex Meechan to hook the rebound into the net. Meechan was one of six debutants in Alty's starting line-up and two more came on from the bench. In the second half Woking made a double switch and attacked Alty for sustained periods and levelled through Ledgister (66 mins) but in the first of the three added minutes at the end of the game Chris Lane found Colin Little in the Woking box. He expertly jinked past Tom Hutchinson before shooting the ball past Worner.


  • 45 mins: Alex MEECHAN (Woking 0 Altrincham 1)
  • 66 mins: Joel LEDGISTER (Woking 1 Altrincham 1)
  • 90(+1) mins: Colin LITTLE (Woking 1 Altrincham 2)

    REFEREE: Mr S Burt

    ATTENDANCE: 1,645


    Both sides paraded a number of new players; Alty included six debutants (Doughty, McGregor, Street, Denham, Johnson and Meechan) in their starting line-up, with Coburn, Lane, Young, Lawton and Little the only survivors from last season. It was two of last season’s men, who were the only fit omissions from today's squad - Richard Battersby and Warren Peyton. Three more of this summer's signings (Ralph, Danylyk and Elam) were on the bench.


    WOKING (Red and white shirts, black shorts and socks): 12. Ross WORNER, 14. Patrice KONAN, 5. Tom HUTCHINSON, 6. Colin MILES, 3. Danny BUNCE; 7. Adekunle SALAU; 11. Matt PATTISON, 16. Paolo VERNAZZA; 9. Manny WILLIAMS, 8. Abdul el-KHOLTI; 10. Liam MARUM. Subs: 1. Nick GINDRE, 2. Paul LORRAINE, 15. Goma LAMBU, 18. Delano SAM-YORKE, 19. Joel LEDGISTER.

    ALTRINCHAM (All yellow): 1. Stuart COBURN; 2. Chris LANE, 4. Mark McGREGOR, 5. Greg YOUNG, 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 15. Alex MEECHAN, 6. Kevin STREET, 7. Robbie LAWTON; 9. Colin LITTLE, 14. Dale JOHNSON, 10. Chris DENHAM. Subs: 12. Joe O'NEILL, 13. Andy RALPH, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 18. Lee ELAM, 19. Chris SENIOR.


    It may have been early August, but it was cool, wet and breezy as the players came out to shake each other's hands before observing a minute's silence for Ernie Cooksey, the Grays' player who had recently died of cancer. Robbie Lawton had been confirmed as Alty captain for this season but it was Woking who kicked off towards their main stand, with the floodlights already on.

    Unforced errors littered the opening couple of minutes but Altrincham soon got the upper hand and Johnson fed Little but the ball got stuck under his feet (3 mins). Indeed, Colin Little struck a superb shot past Worner into the net from outside the box, following a Doughty throw, but it was ruled out for offside (7 mins). The Cards were conceding regular freekicks and causing Coburn no concern in the visitors' goal. At the other end, Young lashed a shot over the bar but soon afterwards Doughty was booked for crudely checking Pattison (13 mins).

    With Johnson remaining the farthest forward, fellow attackers Denham and Little were working hard, tracking back to help midfield, as necessary. Alty threatened again when a fine set up by Johnson allowed Meechan a shot, which was blocked (18 mins). It was also off the pitch where Alty were on top, the travelling support outsinging the locals. However, an error by Young allowed Vernazza in, but the ex-Gunner failed to trouble Coburn. After an uneventful spell, Young headed a Doughty freekick wide (29 mins).

    There was then a lengthy stoppage when Johnson needed treatment after a foul by Pattison (31 mins). Though the offender escaped a booking, Vernazza was cautioned for encroachment at the free kick, from which Doughty forced a decent save from Worner (34 mins). Woking were improving but still prone to unforced errors. However, they won the game's first corner from which Miles headed Pattison's kick well over (38 mins).

    Following a Doughty freekick, Johnson's header forced a Worner save. Meechan's error then let in Vernazza but he badly wasted the chance, his weak shot running slowly to Coburn (41 mins). Woking went closer just before the break, shooting narrowly wide (44 mins). From Coburn's kick, the ball came via Denham to Johnson, whose low shot was beaten out by Worner but Meechan followed up to hook the ball into the net for the opening goal (45 mins). Two minutes of added time saw el-Kholti force a save from Coburn but Alty preserved their deserved lead, the BBC crediting them with 58 per cent of possession.


    Alty set the tone for much of the second half by giving away possession from the kick off, allowing Woking an initiative they were to retain for much of the remainder of the game. An indication of this came early on when a ball over McGregor's head caused a scare before Salau was booked for tripping Denham on the edge of the Cards' box. Following this a fine chip to the back post found Young unmarked but he missed his header disappointingly (50 mins). Woking now made a double swap; Sam-Yorke and Ledgister replacing Salau and Williams, as they went for a more attacking formation (51 mins). But it was Alty who won the next corner, their first of the game (53 mins). Doughty's inswinger flashed across goal, just evading Johnson's head.

    An error by Street then induced Lawton to foul Sam-Yorke, for which he was booked. The freekick, 20 yards out, was laid off to Bunce, but he was miles off target with his effort (54 mins). Woking continued to press until Sam-Yorke's elbow caught Street, forcing a stoppage for treatment to the midfielder. Alty were now under the cosh but their 63rd minute substitution of Denham by Elam did not signal a markedly defensive response to the Cards' pressure. Woking's finishing continued to be poor as Sam-Yorke sliced a shot well wide (64 mins). But then they equalised in slightly curious circumstances; referee Burt petulantly kicked the ball away, to the amusement of the crowd, as Bunce tried to take a freekick too far forward. From the new spot, the freekick was launched into the box from the left, where Lane diverted it with his head beyond the back post. There, Ledgister's shot beat Coburn, low, at his near post (66 mins). Woking now laid siege to the Alty goal, with Coburn soon making a fine save from Yorke. But Alty had a chance when, from Lane's freekick, Johnson's smart flick set up Elam, who miskicked badly. Then Elam allowed the ball to run out of play after another good feed by Johnson as he took time to get into the game (70 mins).

    Miles (formerly known as Pluck) now needed treatment but after limping for a couple of minutes he was replaced by Lorraine (75 mins). An Alty corner soon followed, after which a great chase back by Lawton stopped a counter-attack. Danylyk became Alty's eighth debutant of the day as he replaced Street in central midfield (77 mins). The young midfielder soon made a good impression with some timely tackling. Now Woking stepped it up again forcing Alty back and winning a corner (82 mins).

    The pressure continued on the Alty defence until an exhausted Johnson gave way to Joe O'Neill up front for the visitors (85 mins). It then took a superbly timed tackle in the box by McGregor to see off Marum (88 mins). Alty found it hard to clear their lines as the final whistle approached and three added minutes were announced. But then Lane found Little in the box and the striker's quick feet saw him beat Hutchinson and shoot past Worner to win the game (90+1 mins).

    It took Altrincham till their eleventh league games to win a match last season so to win this season's opening game is very encouraging. Despite being penned back for periods in the second half, Alty looked a much more effective attacking force than last season and they will go into Tuesday's clash with Barrow with confidence.