Match Report


FA Trophy 1st Round Proper match
played on Saturday, 13 December 2008, at 3pm.


The 13th proved to be a truly unlucky day for Altrincham. Even before kick off they had lost £13,000 in television revenue as a consequence of the postponement of Burton Albion's FA Trophy match today which, in turn, had led to the cancellation of the scheduled TV coverage of the Altrincham v Burton game this coming Thursday. And then Alty's match against Southport turned into a second-half disaster as they lost 4-1 - the third time in four outings that they had conceded four goals. Fourteen goals have now been leaked in the last four games.

Alty had the better of the opening stages and Meechan's shot against the bar might have transformed the afternoon had it gone in. Instead a dreary first half finished goalless. It remained the same till 67 minutes when, to Graham Heathcote's intense annoyance, the linesman allowed Daly to score from Kilheeney's feed despite offside appeals. Duffy made it 2-0 with a back post header from the influential Winn's cross, just four minutes later. Kilheeney added a third from the penalty spot after the same linesman had judged McGregor to have fouled an opponent (77 mins). Chris Senior pulled one back with a well taken effort in the 83rd minute but Daly made it 4-1 as the game went into added time as he tapped in Powell's low cross from the left by-line.

Alty were again without the injured Lawton and Denham and the suspended Densmore but that was no excuse for a poor showing against a side from a lower division.


  • 67 mins: Steve DALY (Altrincham 0 Southport 1)
  • 71 mins: Mark DUFFY (Altrincham 0 Southport 2)
  • 77 mins: Ciaran KILHEENEY (penalty)(Altrincham 0 Southport 3)
  • 83 mins: Chris SENIOR (Altrincham 1 Southport 3)
  • 90 mins: Steve DALY (Altrincham 1 Southport 4)

    REFEREE: Mr T. Harrington



    After a frosty week and then incessant rain, groundsman Neil Brown had done a magnificent job, with the help of volunteers, to get the match on. Southport had knocked out Wrexham in the previous round and were going well in BS North, under the managership of Liam Watson so it was always going to be a difficult match for Altrincham, whos league form had faltered recently.


    Alty kept the same eleven starters who had secured a 2-2 draw at Barrow in midweek. But, on the bench, Danny Heffernan of Abbey Hey, a former Alty reserve, came in for the injured Robbie Lawton.


    ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black sorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN; 22. James SMITH, 4. Mark McGREGOR (capt), 5. Greg YOUNG, 2. Chris LANE; 15. Alex MEECHAN, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 11. Warren PEYTON, 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 9. Colin LITTLE, 14. Dale JOHNSON. Subs: 12. Joe O'NEILL, 13. Andy RALPH, 18. Lee ELAM, 19. Chris SENIOR, 20. Danny HEFFERNAN.

    SOUTHPORT (Yellow shirts, shorts and socks): 1. Tony McMILLAN; 2. Kevin LEE, 4. Adam FLYNN, 5. Earl DAVIS, 3. Michael POWELL (capt); 7. Mark DUFFY, 8. Ashley WINN, 6. Alan MOOGAN, 11. Matty McGINN; 9. Steve DALY, 10. Ciaran KILHEENEY. Subs: 12. John DOOLAN, 14. Chris PRICE, 15. Michael BARNES, 16. Robbie BOOTH, 17. Shaun GRAY.


    With Alty attacking the away end, play started scrappily as the players came to terms with the difficult conditions; steady rain and a wet pitch, especially on the Popular Side. The home side started the brighter with Johnson feeding Meechan who was given offside as he got in on the keeper (3 mins). Alty keeper Stuart Coburn was then nearly undone by the slippery conditions but managed to clear the ball despite slipping. When Peyton was fouled 20 yards out just to the right of the box, he himself took the freekick, which Southport struggled to clear. it came to Meechan, left of goal, and his shot into the ground bounced up against the cross bar before coming back to him via another player; this time he shot wide (6 mins). With Johnson looking lively, Alty looked to have the measure of the Sandgrounders in the initial stages.

    Another freekick, for a foul on Little, almost produced dividends when Doughty quickly took it, from left of goal, and Little's first time volley went narrowly wide, into the side netting (12 mins). But Alty boss Graham Heathcote was not happy with his team, repeatedly shouting to them "Tempo, tempo!". Southport were causing no alarms at this stage and when Lane played a fine first-time ball in to Little, the Alty leading scorer might have done better than screw his shot wide of the keeper’s right post (17 mins).

    But play became increasingly scrappy as the game drifted towards the half-hour mark. When Young surged forward from his own half he fed Doughty but possession was lost and Southport counter-attacked. Alty had not covered Young’s absence from the back line and had been drawn across to their left leaving the on loan Barrow player, Ashley Winn in oceans of space on the Southport left. Fortunately for Alty he curled his shot over the bar (33 mins). Following a neat interception by Little, Meechan won Alty a corner which came out to Doughty, but his shot cleared the bar from the edge of the box (36 mins).

    Though Alty had had the chances so far, as half-time approached it was the visitors who were holding the ball better and beginning to exert some pressure. Indeed, they won a freekick just outside the Alty box in the 43rd minute and it took a fine save from Coburn to beat out Lee's effort. But Alty replied in the added minute of first-half time when Johnson got into the box and forced a save from McMillan (45+1 mins). It had been a generally disappointing first half though, to be fair to the players, the conditions were difficult, with rain falling continuously and the pitch obviously wet after a night and morning of downpours.


    Altrincham took off midfielder Danylyk at the interval, with striker Chris Senior coming on instead in a 4-3-3 formation. Southport's Winn soon advanced up the middle and set Daly free but the striker was just offside (47 mins). From Doughty's cross Alty then won two successive corners. When Senior, Little and Johnson combined in a neat move soon afterwards, Little’s excellent feed led to a stretching Senior poking the ball over the bar (50 mins).

    Southport won themselves a corner soon afterwards when Winn's shot was deflected out of play. Southport had a free header from the flag-kick but put it over the bar. "Too many of you are strolling about", Graham Heathcote told his team. Alty were now deploying Smith in central midfield, where Danylyk had been, whilst Doughty had reverted to the back four at centre-back. As play drifted past the hour mark, McGregor made a fine covering tackle but at this stage the visitors had caused the home keeper Little concern. In truth, Alty had not menaced much since the early stages either and thoughts began to turn to a replay on Tuesday night as the sides cancelled each other out.

    In an attempt to stir things up, Alty made a double change as O'Neill and Elam replaced Johnson and Little respectively (64 mins). But just two minutes later came the crucial incident of the game. Kilheeney advanced up the middle and fed Daly, who had got behind the defence. The linesman's flag stayed down and Daly tucked the ball past the exposed Coburn (67 mins). Graham Heathcote was incandescent that the goal was allowed to stand, prompting the referee to stop play to deliver a lecture to the Altrincham manager. But it got worse just four minutes later when Winn advanced on the right and despite the attentions of Peyton he got in a cross to the back post which Duffy did very well to nod back into the far corner from an acute angle, to make it 2-0 to the visitors. Duffy was immediately withdrawn and replaced by Booth.

    Young was now pushed forward but to little immediate effect. After yet another spell of head tennis it was Southport who scored again; their third goal in ten minutes. This one came when Winn again surged forward and this time the ball found its way via Booth to Daly. As McGregor tackled him inside the box, the players studs seemed to lock and the Southport man went down. Referee Harrington seemed uncertain what to give but after a pause the same linesman who had allowed the first goal to stand, indicated that this was a penalty. Kilheeney sent Coburn the wrong way with a low shot to make it 3-0 (77 mins).

    Four minutes later Southport made a double swap as Barnes and Doolan replaced Winn and Kilheeney (81 mins). As with Alty's double swap, two minutes later the opposition scored. Alty's consolation goal came as Peyton and Meechan got the ball through to Senior, who drew the keeper. Although driven to the right of goal by the keeper, Senior calmly drove the ball home to make it 3-1 (83 mins). Just for a moment an unlikely comeback was possible as the ball came to Meechan but his effort was blocked (84 mins). Next Alty won a corner after goalkeeper McMillan made a mess of a back pass but this came to nothing (87 mins). With Alty pressing forward Southport had a glorious chance to score when two men got free against one Alty defender but Daly messed up the interchange of passes. However, within a minute Southport had scored another goal. Once again a Southport player surged forward from midfield, this time it was Doolan. The ball was worked to the left by-line from where the captain, Powell, laid it inside for across the goalmouth from where Daly tapped it in from close range (0 mins). Just over a minute of added time was played out leaving Alty deflated by a 4-1 reverse.

    The absences of Lawton and Densmore were certainly a factor in this poor showing but after a creditable display by the same Alty players at Barrow last Tuesday, today's performance was very disappointing. Fourteen goals have now been shed in four games. Whilst the linesman's decision for the first and third goals could be questioned, there was no avoiding the fact that Southport were the better side in the second half, passing the ball better and creating more from midfield. Alty's next test is against the Blue Square Premier league leaders, Burton Albion, at Moss Lane next Saturday.