BARROW (0) ALTRINCHAM (1) 3
played on Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, at 7.45pm
After an even opening, Barrow were beginning to edge the game but six minutes before the interval, Danny Heffernan, making his Conference debut, nodded a throw-in on to Tom Kearney. His low shot from 25 yards beat Tomlinson, to his right.
Barrow dominated the early part of the second half and it took some stupendous goalkeeping from Stuart Coburn to keep them out, a double save from Spender's long-range effort and from Walker's follow up being the pick of the bunch.
Alty then began to threaten on the break. Eleven minutes from time Chris Senior took advantage of some dozy defending when Barrow tried to play the ball out of defence. He gained possession and went on to drive a low shot past Tomlinson.
Matty Crowell wrapped it up with a 25-yarder three minutes later to leave Altrincham in the BSP play-off places after two games of the season. It was a great result, based on fine defending, strong midfield performances and great finishing.
REFEREE: Mr Harrington
Altrincham gave a Conference debut to local lad Danny Heffernan, who replaced Chris Denham on the left in Alty's only change from Saturday.
Barrow were giving home debuts to several players, including loan keeper Stuart Tomlinson. Sean Newton was suspended.
Barrow went into the match on the back of an excellent 2-0 away win at Cambridge, where they played much of the game with ten men following Sean Newton's dismissal. Alty had drawn their opening game of the season at home to Ebbsfleet.
BARROW (White shirts, blue shorts and socks): 21. Stuart Tomlinson, 2. Simon Spender, 12. Mike Pearson, 4. Paul Jones, 17. Adam Dugdale, 6. Robin Hulbert, 7. Andrew Bond, 15. Paul Rutherford, 11. Carlos Logan, 9. Jason Walker, 10. Darren Green, Subs: 1. Tim Deasy, 18. Phil Morris. 8. Mark Boyd, 5. Phil Bolland, 19. Aaron Taylor.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 6.Shaun DENSMORE, 4. James SMITH, 5. Greg YOUNG (capt), 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 8. Matty CROWELL, 6. Tom KEARNEY, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 20. Danny HEFFERNAN, 14. Dale JOHNSON, 19. Chris SENIOR, Subs: 10. Chris DENHAM, 9. Colin LITTLE, 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 11. Nicky CLEE.
Altrincham kicked off with the benefit of a stiff breeze behind them but, within 35 seconds, Barrow had threatened with Walker's low cross from the right. However, Altrincham won the game's first corner after Johnson and Doughty had combined well. Then Tomlinson dropped a cross from Doughty before falling on the ball. The wind was causing some problems, with Young twice slicing clearances uncharacteristically. Green then fired in a fierce shot which Coburn carefully shepherded past his post (12 mins). The hosts were looking marginally the more dangerous as they played more of their football on the ground whereas Altrincham at this stage were using the long ball more frequently.
Green then went even closer with another long-range effort. However, Altrincham almost took the lead when Kearney's freekick found Johnson and his excellent header forced Tomlinson to save at the foot of his left post, at the cost of a corner (16 mins). At the back Densmore was getting the better of the green-booted Logan. Young then conceded a corner following which a Logan volley hit a defender. At the other end, Heffernan got in a decent shot from 18 yards to prompt a save from Tomlinson (24 mins).
Logan, for once, now got behind Densmore but fired wide. As the half hour approached, Alty came more into the game with Crowell and Johnson combining to force Tomlinson to punch clear. Crowell then undid a good surge forward with a weak shot before Bond won a corner off Young (31 mins). Alty were now on top after Barrow's slightly stronger start to the game. Johnson and Senior were both impressing up front and the two almost conjured a goal in the 38th minute when Johnson's lay off saw Senior about to fire at goal but Jones got in a vital block for Barrow. But moments later, following a throw-in, Heffernan won the ball in the air and it came to Kearney. From 25 yards the midfielder drove a low shot just inside Tomlinson's right post to put Alty ahead (39 mins).
Following a Barrow corner, Alty almost doubled their lead when Doughty played a one-two with Johnson but the left-back's right-foot effort curled wide of goal (42 mins). Hulbert then went down in the box but the referee waved away some half-hearted appeals for a penalty allowing Alty to reach the interval a goal ahead.
|Half-Time: BARROW 0 ALTRINCHAM 1|
Barrow came at Altrincham from the start of the second half and soon Logan was showing some petulance when Densmore again got the better of him. The referee spoke to both players but took no more action. A thirty yard piledriver from Spender was then brilliantly beaten out,low to his left by Coburn, who then made an even better save to block Walker's close range follow up (49 mins). The resulting corner came to nothing. When Logan then clattered Densmore from behind, a freekick was given but it was hard to see why no card was shown to a player lectured just minutes earlier.
A mazy run from Logan then forced a save from Coburn (54 mins) before Johnson relieved the pressure and won a freekick on the front edge of the Barrow box. Coburn then had to slide out to try and gather a ball but ended up having to kick clear as he was challenged and the ball ran loose. Barrow then wasted a corner as Smith and Young continued to prove a barrier to the Bluebirds. As the hour mark passed, two more corners came and went for the hosts with Coburn again saving well between the two flag kicks.
After 64 minutes Denham came on for Danylyk, so Crowell moved inside as the new man occupied the right berth. Johnson then got a booking for reasons that were not clear. The substitution coincided with Alty relieving the almost incessant pressure as Johnson did well to get to the by-line but his cross just evaded Senior in the centre (68 mins). Taylor then replaced Green for Barrow (69 mins).
There was then an incident as Denham was fouled by Bond, who took exception and lashed out at the Alty man. The crowd thought Denham had been acting and roundly booed him thereafter though Bond could count himself very lucky to escape a card (75 mins). At this point Little replaced Heffernan (76 mins). When Smith and Walker went down in the Alty box, the ref waved away the Barrow penalty appeals. Alty then got the ball to the other end where the Barrow defence tried to over elaborate as they tried to clear the ball from the right-back position. Chris Senior gained possession smartly from Rutherford and cut in towards goal before driving a low shot from the edge of the box into the net, across the keeper, to make it 2-0 (79 mins). The striker got a totally unnecessary booking for removing his shirt.
Three minutes later Little fed Johnson and his low cross was cleared out to Crowell. His fierce first-time shot from 25 yards fizzed into the net to make it 3-0 to Altrincham (82 mins). Phil Bolland now replaced Pearson (83 mins). Next Williams came on for Alty in place of Senior (87 mins). When Johnson made a fine 40 yard dribble from his own half only to be brought down from behind by Bond, the Barrow man was booked. Just before five minutes of added time began, Johnson almost scored but dragged his shot across goal. In added time Coburn saved well from Walker and Barrow won a corner but Alty held firm to record their first win and clean sheet of the new season.
This was a fine performance from Altrincham who weathered plenty of Barrow pressure before producing three clinical finishes.