ALTRINCHAM (1) 1 CHESTER CITY (0) 1
played on Monday, 31 August, 2009, at 3pm
REFEREE: Mr A. Halliday
ATTENDANCE: 1,737, (459 in away end)
Altrincham had been forced to draft in new faces after their outfield players were reduced to just twelve by the injury to Chris Senior and suspension of Shaun Densmore on Saturday. Danny Edwards, a young midfielder, had arrived on a month's loan from Port Vale, whilst former Wigan Athletic centre-half Andrew Pearson had also been signed on the eve of today's match. Defender Scott Moffatt had also joined, signing on the morning of matchday on a one-month loan from Manchester United Reserves. Moffatt and Edwards made their debuts whilst Colin Little made his first start of the season.
Danylyk, Densmore (suspended) and Heffernan were omitted as Robbie Williams returned to the starting line-up. Young moved to play at left-back.
Former Alty men Tim Ryan and Ben Wilkinson lined up for Chester against their former club.
This was Altrincham's first league meeting with Chester since our Cheshire County League days. Chester's one previous season in the Conference had coincided with Altrincham's absence from that division.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 22. Scott MOFFATT, 2. James SMITH, 5. Greg YOUNG, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 17. Danny EDWARDS, 4. Tom KEARNEY,9. Colin LITTLE, 14. Dale JOHNSON, 10. Chris DENHAM, SUBS: 20. Danny HEFFERNAN, 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 11. Nicky CLEE, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 21, Andrew PEARSON.
CHESTER CITY (All yellow, with blue trim and red numbers): 1. John Danby, 2. Kevin Roberts, 4. Tim Ryan (capt), 6. Michael Lea, 15. Chris Lynch, 8. Ben Wilkinson, 7. Stephen Vaughan, 9. Adam Kay, 11. Neil Ashton, 19. Lewis Alessandra, 28. Nick Chadwick. SUBS: 20. Gregg Blundell, 13. Andrew Murphy, 3. Rhys Meynell, 14. Lloyd Ellams, 12. James Owens.
On a sultry afternoon, preceded by a sharp shower half an hour before kick off, Chester kicked off defending the well- occupied away end. A magnificent block by Smith prevented Alessandra from firing his side into an early lead (2 mins) but City soon won a corner. This tested Coburn who fell back into the net as he clawed it out for another corner from under the bar (3 mins). Alty had another early scare when Smith passed the ball back to Coburn who, under pressure, miskicked to an opponent 25 yards out but Roberts's resulting cross hit Doughty and ran to Wilkinson whose effort was tipped onto the bar, and out, by Coburn for another corner to the visitors (12 mins).
Moffatt was making an assured start at right back and fellow debutant Edwards was also looking useful in midfield. Indeed Moffatt had to cover well to see off Wilkinson (17 mins). Having survived Chester's early threat, Altrincham then took the lead. Doughty's throw in from the left led to a bout of head tennis before the Alty man crossed the ball back in. A Chester defender mis-headed the ball further across the box, towards the back post where Little smartly nodded it into the net, receiving an injury in the process (22 mins). Little resumed, limping badly and soon had to go down for treatment. With Clee preparing to replace him, Alty’s striker recovered enough to resume the game.
Some iffy defending by Altrincham led to a fine save from Coburn in the aftermath of which Ryan was cautioned for a foul on Edwards (27 mins). Neither side was showing sufficient guile to overcome their opponent's defence though Chester were looking the more threatening. Coburn had to be alert to keep out a 30-yarder from Roberts but he needed James Smith, who was having a good game, to complete the clearance, at the cost of a corner on the Chester left (36 mins). Soon Young had to concede another corner to the visitors after an overlap up their right wing.
Chester continued to display some neat build up play but their moves were undone by errors. As the game went into added time, Little’s cross cum shot from the left hit the side netting. In added time Denham continued to work hard on the Altrincham right but the interval came with the Robins perhaps slightly fortunate to be leading by the only goal of the afternoon.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 CHESTER CITY 0|
Immediately after the interval Johnson had a great chance to double the lead but shot weakly at the keeper (46 mins). Chester continued to disappoint their supporters with errors before Alty took off Colin Little, who had received a knock in the first half, and brought on Nicky Clee (49 mins). But Chester continued to press forwards and from Roberts's cross from the right, Coburn punched half-clear but Wilkinson was on hand to loop the ball into the net with a header (53 mins). Immediately, Danylyk replaced Edwards in central midfield for Altrincham (53 mins). Almost immediately it took a brilliant one handed save from Coburn to stop Chester scoring again and then Young had to head clear at the back post (57 mins).
But after another Chester attack had been seen off by Smith, Dale Johnson had his second chance of the half to give Altrincham a two-goal lead. From a Doughty throw on the left, Denham span superbly and hooked the ball over his marker before sending a dipping volley at goal. Danby clawed it out but it fell to Johnson inside the six yard box but he could muster no more than a weak shot which ran to the Chester keeper (60 mins).
Denham continued to look Alty's most potent attacking threat as he again turned well and fired in a shot which Danby could only gather at the second attempt (64 mins). Smith was then booked for holding Ashton on the Chester right flank (65 mins). Now the former Northwich striker, Gregg Blundell came on for Chester's Kay (66 mins). Clee then relieved some Chester pressure by winning a corner at the end of a neat Alty move involving Johnson and Denham. Clee then had to cover well at his own end of the pitch to concede another corner to Chester (69 mins).
From Blundell's cross, Coburn then made an excellent save from Chadwick and another corner resulted (72 mins). Both managers were now having a go at their players before Alty made another change with Heffernan coming on up front for Johnson (75 mins). Next, Wilkinson was booked for a foul on Clee (77 mins). Heffernan then nearly got on the end of a Clee nod back from a Denham cross from the right. Blundell then headed narrowly over for Chester (82 mins) before the lively Denham won Altrincham a corner on the right. Kearney's short corner to Doughty led to the ball finding Denham in the box but he was tackled effectively. Chester won another corner before the game went into three added minutes which passed without serious incident, leaving Chester still seeking their first win of the season and Altrincham dropping a place to tenth. Given their much weakened state and their part-time status, this was a commendable performance from the home side that had included three players making their first starts of the season.
Chris Denham was a well-deserved Man of the Match. Not only was he Altrincham's liveliest forward but he also did a lot of tackling back.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 CHESTER CITY 1|