ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
EBBSFLEET UNITED (0) 1
played on Saturday, 8 August, 2009, at 3pm
Altrincham were without Colin Little, who was only fit to be on the bench. They had the better of the first half but, despite numerous corners, they only scored once. However, the goal itself was a gem. Johnson rode one of many foul challenges made on him during this game and fed Senior who made space superbly before curling a great shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the box (39 mins). But Altrincham also wasted numerous half-chances with wayward shooting and they paid the price in the second half. A much improved Ebbsfleet had most of the second-half chances and equalised just before the hour mark when substitute Lindie netted from a right wing cross within a minute of joining the game. The Fleet also had a goal disallowed and saw a cracking shot from West come back off the post so, ultimately, the Robins could have no complaints at the outcome.
Right: Chris Senior receives the congratulations of Matty Crowell after scoring against Ebbsfleet.
REFEREE: Mr P Bankes
ATTENDANCE: 914 (away end 91)
Colin Little was an absentee from the starting line-up as he is suffering from suspected bursitis at the top of his hamstring but he was named on the bench. Apart from third keeper Richard Acton, every other fit player in the squad was named in today's match squad. Of the two others, Robbie Lawton, who was lapping the pitch before kick off, is seeing a specialist in Leicester this week whilst Michael Welch continues his recovery from his summer operation.
The two managers for this game were the two who had been longer in post with their current clubs in the Conference than any other current BSP managers; Alty's Graham Heathcote's unbroken Conference run with Alty goes back to August 2005 whilst the Fleet's Liam Daish had been in charge of his club in this division since February 2005.
Ebbsfleet had been left with just three contracted players after their finances were rocked over the summer by lower than expected renewals from MyFC members. Manager Liam Daish had therefore signed a large cohort of players just before the season started.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 6.Shaun DENSMORE, 2. James SMITH, 5. Greg YOUNG (capt), 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 8. Matty CROWELL, 4. Tom KEARNEY, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 10. Chris DENHAM, 14. Dale JOHNSON, 19. Chris SENIOR. Subs: 9. Colin LITTLE, 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 11. Nicky CLEE, 20. Danny HEFFERNAN
EBBSFLEET UNITED (Yellow shirts, white shorts and socks): 1. Lance Cronin, 2. Will Salmon, 22. Leon Crooks, 24. Darius Charles, 3. Jordan Collins, 10. Jamie Forshaw, 15. Scott Shulton, 4. Gavin Heeroo, 11. Ishmael Welsh, 16. Ricky Shakes, 8. Magno Vieira. Subs: 5. Dean Pooley, 7. Michael West, 9. James Lindie, 14. Kane Willis, 21. Matthew Lamprell.
On a warm, sunny afternoon, Altrincham got the new season underway, kicking towards the Golf Road end, after a minute's silence in memory of Sir Bobby Robson. In front of the BSP's second-lowest crowd of the day, Altrincham started the better as the Fleet defence looked jittery. Indeed when Doughty played in an early free kick, Collins’s back header almost became an own goal as he and keeper Cronin misjudged each other's intentions but only a corner resulted for Altrincham, the first of seven won in the first half by the Robins. Soon afterwards Crowell fired well over the bar from 30 yards.
When Heeroo clattered Crowell from behind he was fortunate not to see a card, whilst the Alty midfielder needed treatment (5 mins). Doughty’s resulting freekick was deflected out for a corner on the Alty left, from which Greg Young was penalised. When Kearney won the ball and, via Denham, found Senior, the Alty striker's shot hit the advertising hoarding above and slightly right of the goal (8 mins). Alty continued to play well, however, and soon a Danylyk inspired move ended with Denham seeing his shot blocked.
After their sluggish start, Ebbsfleet now came into the game and Alty were lucky as Vieira advanced up the left that he did not see Forshaw in acres of space on the Fleet right, advancing into the box. However, the Kent side soon won two corners (13 mins). Alty responded as Danylyk won possession well and the ball eventually reached Senior but his cross from the left came to nothing (18 mins). End to end play continued as Alty gained another corner from Doughty's deflected cross. This was cleared to Danylyk who shot wide from 25 yards. Alty's long-range shooting was consistently off target today.
With Johnson again impressing, Alty gained another freekick from the no-nonsense Ebbsfleet defence when Senior was pushed over. Although this led to two more Alty corners, nothing came of them. Crowell then left the field for a couple of minutes for treatment which seemed to be related to the earlier foul on him. Denham then continued the pattern of high and wide shots with an effort from 25 yards (29 mins). But Alty were fortunate that when Shakes got behind Smith on the left, although his pass found Vieira, the Brazilian scooped his effort weakly into Coburn's arms (30 mins).
A misheader by Charles from a Crowell cross then gave Alty another corner. But the Alty catalogue of off-target shooting continued as Danylyk fired badly off target from 22 yards (34 mins). Play was now a bit scrappy but when Johnson, who came in for quite a few physical challenges, won a freekick to the right of goal, Densmore whipped in a fierce, low freekick which just went past the back post (37 mins). Altrincham did not have to wait long for a goal, however. With Ebbsfleet’s Crooks yet again all over Johnson, the Alty striker shook him free and with the referee playing a good advantage, Johnson fed Senior. Senior turned his man brilliantly on the edge of the box and planted a superb curling shot into the corner of the net to Cronin’s left to make it 1-0 (39 mins).
But it was then Johnson's turn to screw a long-range shot badly off target, a minute later. When Charles again brought down Johnson he somehow evaded a caution. From Doughty's resulting cross, Johnson headed narrowly wide but was offside. Vieira then volleyed high over the target at the other end before Denham got in a shot from right of goal which Cronin juggled round the foot of his near post to give Alty a corner as added time started. But nothing came of this and at the break Alty were just a goal to the good having failed to convert numerous shooting opportunities which would have added to their advantage.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 EBBSFLEET UNITED 0|
Charles continued to harry Johnson but when the ball came to Denham he lifted it over the goal from the edge of the box (47 mins). When Johnson was again the object of a foul, Kearney wasted it by trying to take too quick a crack at goal from 40 yards out and firing over the bar (47 mins). Referee Bankes continued to be tolerant to the sequence of fouls conceded by Crooks and Charles, awarding freekicks but taking no punitive action.
The Fleet now began to gain the upper hand but when Shulton and Densmore jumped in on each other it was only the Ebbsfleet man who was cautioned (54 mins). After an Ebbsfleet corner, they brought on Lindie for Vieira who had just needed lengthy treatment for what looked like cramp (58 mins). After Young had seen off an Ebbsfleet attack, following Forshaw's surge upfield, the ball came to Shakes on the right. His low cross was met in front of goal by an unmarked Lindie who diverted the ball into the roof of the net to record a goal barely a minute after coming onto the pitch (59 mins). Just after this, Alty's Clee replaced Denham (60 mins).
But Altrincham had now lost the initiative that they had held for much of the earlier part of the game and for the final half hour they seemed the less likely of the sides to score again. Nevertheless they did win a corner when Danylyk found Johnson and his low, placed, shot to Cronin’s left forced the visiting keeper to tip the ball round the post (64 mins). Another foul by Charles on Johnson yielded a freekick before the Fleet brought on West for Forshaw (71 mins). Another foul on Johnson led to the victim making space, from the freekick, to win his side a corner. But on the left Clee was getting as little change out of the defence as Denham had done previously on the other flank.
Danylyk then got booked as he shaped to smash the ball at goal from just outside the box. But before he could reach Crowell’s pass a defender got the ball and felt the weight of Danylyk's boot, which earned him a yellow card (77 mins). Alty had a lucky escape after 78 minutes when Lindie started a move which ended with a fierce shot from the right by West which cannoned back off the outside of Coburn's left post.
Danylyk gave way to Little with ten minutes left and three minutes later Fleet brought on Wills for Welsh (83 mins). Chris Senior was then booked for a foul on Heeroo (84 mins). Ebbsfleet now won two corners and after the second Charles put the ball in the net but the whistle had gone before it crossed the line for an Alty freekick (87 mins). The game went into three added minutes and half way through this period, Williams made the briefest of Conference debuts, the tall defender being sent up front to try and snatch a late winner (92 mins). But the final whistle came to leave the points shared and Alty rueing their failure to add to their one first-half goal. Ebbsfleet's comeback in the second half certainly merited their point and left both sides in joint ninth position after the opening game of the season.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 EBBSFLEET UNITED 1|