GRAYS ATHLETIC (1) 2
ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
played on Saturday, 7 March 2009, at 3pm.
After 45 minutes in which Altrincham looked the better side, they fell behind in first-half added time when the ball was worked across the Alty box from the left for Cogan to rifle home from six yards. Just seven minutes into the second half, Alty fell 0-2 down after Lawton lost posssession in midfield. Grays worked it left and Slabber volleyed home the cross. O'Neill and Peyton came on for Johnson and Lawton and then Welch came on for Little. Alty attacked for most of the closing stages but their only reward was a penalty when the keeper tripped O'Neill in the last minute. Doughty hammered home the spot kick to make the final score 2-1.
REFEREE: Mr. D H Coote
Altrincham made no changes from the side which had lost at Kettering in midweek. Grays had a number of new personnel, with Hudson-Odoi, Beckwith and Dinning all wearing shirts on which the club had not time to stencil their names.
Altrincham had lost their previous two games as they sought the handful of points necessary to secure their place in the BSP for next season. Grays were in the bottom four but had reportedly been playing better than their recent results had suggested. However, Grays went into this game without a win in their seven previous games and were still in the bottom four.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 22. James SMITH, 4. Mark McGREGOR, 5. Greg YOUNG, 21. Shaun DENSMORE, 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 14. Dale JOHNSON, 19. Chris SENIOR, 9. Colin LITTLE. Subs: 12. Joe O'NEILL, 11. Warren PEYTON, 18. Michael WELCH, 15. Alex MEECHAN, 2 Chris LANE
GRAYS ATHLETIC (Blue shirts, shorts and socks): 26. Rob Beckwith, 4. Jamie Stuart, 5. Tony Dinning, 19. George Beavan, 15. Fabian Wilnis, 20. Jamie Slabber, 24. Stuart Thurgood, 11. Ishmael Welsh, 17. Barry Cogan, 28. Bradley Hudson-Odoi, 10 Andrew Pugh. Subs: 2. Rob Gier, 7. Stuart Elliott, 12. Steve Arnold, 6. Tyrone Berry, 22. Kenny Davis.
Altrincham, with the same eleven starters as on Tuesday, kicked off looking for an improvement on their defeat at Kettering. The match got off to a scrappy start but it came to life after five minutes when a foul on Senior yielded a freekick but also prompted a melee which involved most of the 22 players. After consulting his assistant, Mr Coote booked three players; Stuart and Thurgood for Grays and Young for Altrincham (6 mins). A cross from the left by Doughty produced an Alty corner soon afterwards but Beckwith caught this well. Both sides continued to struggle to create any flowing movements but slowly Altrincham began to look the better side, with Johnson, especially, causing problems. Next, after a fine tackle by McGregor, the ball eventually came to Densmore, right of goal. From 25 yards he fired in a well-struck shot which went narrowly wide.
When Johnson surged clear and was brought down crudely by the already booked Stuart, Mr Coote chose not to show the seond yellow that he should have done and only a freekick resulted, which Doughty blasted into the defensive wall. Altrincham continued to press and Senior forced a good save from Beckwith, after being played in by Little. Little was playing a deeper role than usual today and did not seem happy in it, with his distribution generally being disappointing.
Play continued energetically rather than skilfully as the game passed the half hour mark. Johnson again impressed as he won a corner for his side (33 mins). However, Johnson was now limping, seeming to have trouble with his ankle. Grays best effort at this stage was an air shot by Thurgood from the edge of the box. But Grays did soon win a corner on their right, at which point ex-Northwich man Elliott came on for Welsh, who had earlier received treatment off the pitch (38 mins). This was cleared and Senior surged 50 yards up the middle of the pitch from deep in his own half, but his attempt to find Johnson to his right failed.
An excellent tackle from Young gave Grays a corner, after Wilnis had threatened. Grays also posed danger a little later when Slabber got behind Smith and, as the game went into three added minutes, Pugh turned well and fired narrowly wide from 25 yards. Worse was to come as Alty's rocky end to the half culminated in a goal for Grays. Debutant Hudson-Odoi worked the ball, right, to Slabber who, in turn, passed it further inside to Cogan who hammered it past Coburn from little more than six yards (45+1 mins). Johnson did win a corner but there was no time to take it before the half-time whistle sounded.
Altrincham had allowed a decent first-half performance to be undone by five minutes of slackness at the end of the 45 minutes.
|Half-Time: GRAYS ATHLETIC 1 |
Grays started the second half with their tails up and seven minutes later doubled their lead. Lawton won the ball well off Pugh in the center of the pitch but then slipped as he attempted to find a team-mate, behind him. Possession was lost and Hudson-Odoi got past Densmore and headed quickly up the left channel. From his cross, Slabber executed a superb left-foot volley which fizzed past Coburn (52 mins).
Alty now brought on O'Neill for the ailing Johnson (55 mins) and, following a Grays corner, Peyton replaced the limping Lawton (58 mins). O'Neill was making an impact for Alty and after he had been fouled, Densmore fired a freekick narrowly wide. Alty's injury woes increased when Doughty pulled up lame but he played on, though obviously hampered by his injury. Alty won a freekick which came to Little but his shot/cross ended up back on the left wing. A well-hit shot from 30 yards by Peyton just cleared the Grays bar and an Alty corner soon followed but the Grays goal was not seriously threatened (64 mins).
An Altrincham corner was quickly taken by Senior but came to nothing and soon afterwards Berry replaced Slabber who, earlier, seemed to be suffering with cramp (70 mins). Odoi then went down with what also looked like cramp before Senior was chopped down and the nearby linesman flagged. Mr Coote saw the flag but opted to ignore it for reasons which escaped most of the spectators (73 mins). Hudson-Odoi, a former Fulham trainee and Hereford player, then gave way to Davis (76 mins). Just after Danylyk had been booked for a foul on Thurgood (78 mins), defender Welch came on up front to replace Little for Altrincham (78 mins).
O'Neill again battled well to win a corner as the game went into its final ten minutes. With Young now also pushed forward, Alty were largely camped in the Grays half but, on the break, Cogan wastefully fired over for Grays from right of goal (87 mins). Warren Peyton was then booked, following a foul deep in his own half (88 mins). In the last minute of normal time O'Neill chased a ball into the left edge of the box and was brought down by Beckwith to concede a penlty but not a booking for the keeper. Wilnis got away with an aggressive response towards O'Neill for the peanlty award before the limping Doughty blasted the spot kick high into the net to giVe Alty belated hope, as five added minutes were signalled.
Altrincham now laid siege to the Grays end but the nearest to a goal was Senior's shot from the right which Beckwith saved well (90+3 mins) and a strong penalty appeal for handball which went unanswered. This was a game from which Altrincham should have taken something but their easing up just before the interval and conceding a goal early in the second half left them with too much to retrieve. So for the third time in eight days they had lost all three points.
|Full-Time: GRAYS ATHLETIC 2|