ALTRINCHAM (0) 0 AFC WIMBLEDON (0) 1
played on Saturday, 22 August, 2009, at 3pm
A goal eight minutes from time from the prolific Danny Kedwell put an end to Altrincham's unbeaten start to the season. The visitors deserved the points. But, after Altrincham had scarcely troubled the Wimbledon keeper throughout the game, the Robins pushed men forward and could have scored three times in the closing stages, after Wimbledon's Main had missed a glorious chance to put the visitors 2-0 up.
REFEREE: Mr A Madley
Altrincham were unchanged, so Robbie Williams remained in the defence.
Both teams had started the season well with Altrincham lying second, on level points with leaders Oxford United, after four games, whilst AFC Wimbledon lay sixth. This was the first-ever clash between the two sides, as AFC had only been promoted to the BSP this season.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 4. James SMITH, 5. Greg YOUNG (capt), 6.Shaun DENSMORE, 8. Matty CROWELL, 6. Tom KEARNEY, 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 14. Dale JOHNSON, 19. Chris SENIOR, 10. Chris DENHAM, Subs: 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 9. Colin LITTLE, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 20. Danny HEFFERNAN, 11. Nicky CLEE.
AFC WIMBLEDON (Yellow shirts, shorts and socks): 1 James Pullen, 22. Paul Lorraine (capt), 16. Brett Johnson, 3 Chris Hussey, 2. Jay Conroy, 7. Samuel Hatton, 15. Steven Gregory, 14. Derek Duncan, 8. Lewis Taylor, 9. Danny Kedwell, 18. Luke Moore, Subs: 10. Jon Main, 13 Seb Brown (gk),17. Ricky Wellard, 6. Ben Judge, 11. Elliott Godfrey.
On a warm and sunny afternoon, in front of a crowd swelled by a good showing from Wimbledon, the visitors kicked off towards the away end. Altrincham lined up with five men across their back line in a 5-3-2 formation (from left to right, Doughty, young, Smith, Williams and Densmore) which soon changed to 4-3-3. A foul on Densmore gave Alty an early respite but Wimbledon soon began to show their class and they went on to dominate the opening stages.
But despite plenty of effective approach play and a solid back line which was to give Dale Johnson barely a sniff all afternoon, the visitors were unable to create any openings that threatened Coburn in the Alty goal. When Densmore was penalised, the freekick was put over the bar (7 mins). Alty got in a shot themselves in the eleventh minute, when Senior fired narrowly over the bar. Soon afterwards, Alty won a corner, which was cleared. Alty were using the height of Williams to assist Johnson in flicking on throw ins but the Wimbledon back line was not giving much away. Twenty minutes passed without either keeper being called into any serious action.
Altrincham were unable to keep possession for any length of time as AFC Wimbledon kept coming at them. The visitors won a corner (21 mins), after which Kedwell volleyed over but he was offside (21 mins). The AFC striker then miskicked a decent chance after a low cross from Taylor who was causing Alty problems on the Wimbledon right wing. Coburn was then called into action making a good gather, low down, from a cross from the right by Conroy.
When Taylor then let a decent opening disappear with poor control, his manager Terry Brown, who kept a running commentary throughout the game, told his team "These are good chances, let's take advantage of them". A fine turn by Johnson was then undone by a foul from Wimbledon from which Young headed wide. "We're too deep" yelled Alty manager Graham Heathcote who, like his Wimbledon counterpart was frustrated at his team's performance. Altrincham were now improving and after another foul on Johnson, Crowell shot wide from 30 yards from the freekick (35 mins).
Each side won a corner before Alty won another flag kick, two minutes before the interval. From this, Young headed comfortably wide. In the final minute of normal time, Taylor got a deserved booking for a cynical check on Doughty as the Alty left-back threatened to advance up the left wing. A minute of added time was played but the interval arrived with the game goalless and the visitors having enjoyed the better of the proceedings.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 AFC WIMBLEDON 0|
Altrincham brought on striker Colin Little for defender James Smith at half-time. Alty were now playing 4-2-4 as Moore headed a Kedwell cross onto the roof of the net. Williams then had a shaky minute or two, making two errors, the second giving Wimbledon an unnecessary corner (50 mins). After Denham had been flattened by Johnson, Kearney's well-hit freekick was tipped over by Pullen for a corner (57 mins).
But Wimbledon continued to press as Little, Johnson and Denham saw little of the ball at the other end. Lorraine then sat down for treatment and it son became clear that he could not continue though he was able to walk off the pitch. he was replaced by Judge (59 mins). Alty won a freekick after which Judge himself went down injured and after barely two minutes of action he had to go off too, with an injury to his right shoulder. So the sub was himself substituted, the new player being Godfrey (63 mins).
Wimbledon continued to have the better of the game but lacked a killer touch in the final third of the pitch. yet it was Alty who had the clearest chance of the game so far when a mis-header from Johnson allowed the ball to fall for the Alty striker barely six yards out. But he miskicked his shot and it ran comfortably to Pullen (69 mins). A minute later from a Doughty cross, Johnson and Pullen collided and though initially staying down, the Visitors' keeper was soon able to continue (70 mins).
Johnson, who had been well shackled by Wimbledon, now was replaced by Heffernan (72 mins). When Taylor committed another foul, he was fortunate to escape with a lecture, having already been booked (73 mins). Alty were now having their best spell to date and Wimbledon responded by bringing on Main to replace fellow striker Moore (75 mins).
A fine long ball from Duncan to Taylor led to a Wimbledon corner following which Hussey's rising shot just cleared the bar. When Kedwell then put Hatton clear he shot badly wide (78 mins). Finishing was Wimbledon's Achilles' heel this afternoon. With ten minutes left Alty brought on Clee to replace Denham. The decisive goal arrived as the game went into the 82nd minute. It arrived when Kearney, later named Man of the Match for Alty, crossed halfway in pursuit of a 50-50 ball but did not get it. Instead the ball was played forward to Godfrey, who was now in space. He advanced and fed Kedwell who was inside the right side of the box. The striker drove a low shot across Coburn into the far corner of the net (82 mins).
Alty now sent Williams and Young forward and created three good chances, which was more than they had done in the previous 80 minutes. First, Hussey's mis-header allowed Senior a chance but he dragged his shot to Pullen (85 mins). Play was now opened up and at the other end, Main made a hash of an opening before the same player was then caught offside (87 mins). Main’s unhappy afternoon continued as he made a complete mess of a 30 yard shot which ended up as near to the corner flag as the goal. The game now went into three added minutes and Main was put completely clear of the Alty backline. But somehow he steered his shot wide, the ball just clipping the outside of the post with only Coburn to beat. There was still time for Alty to snatch something from the game. Heffernan got to the by-line, left of goal and his cross was just reached by a stretching Williams at the back post and the defender could only knock the ball wide (90+2 mins), and then Colin Little made space for a shot which Pullen only held at the second attempt. But the final whistle signalled a Wimbledon win which not even the most diehard of Alty fans could dispute was deserved.
Alty's late flourish raised thoughts that they might have done better had they got forward earlier but Wimbledon had wasted a number of chances which could have put the game out of sight before the closing stages.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 AFC WIMBLEDON 1|