Match Report


Blue Square Premier match
played on Saturday, 26 September, 2009, at 3pm


Against a Stevenage side which frequently over-elaborated in its build up play, Alty took the lead midway through the first half with a fine header from Williams from Sheridan's freekick from the left. After a lot of second half pressure Stevenage finally levelled in the first added minute of extra time through Bostwick's header at the back post following a freekick on the Stevenage left. Alty had looked to be heading for a three-point haul but they could not keep the ball long enough at the other end following the late substitution of Chris Denham.


  • 22 mins: Robbie WILLIAMS (Stevenage Borough 0 Altrincham 1)
  • 90(+1) mins: Michael BOSTWICK (Stevenage Borough 1 Altrincham 1)

    REFEREE: Mr M Bull

    ATTENDANCE: 2,093


    With eight players out last Tuesday (the ill Young, the injured Little, Clee, Johnson, Moffatt, Edwards and Welch and the suspended Lawton), Altrincham were glad at least to welcome back two of these players in Michael Welch and Nicky Clee. Welch had been out all season following an ankle operation. Emergency loan players Aaron Burns from Northwich Victoria and midfielder Sam Sheridan from Bolton Wanderers, both started again. It was also good to see Alty captain Greg Young sitting in the stand with his family and the supporters as he recovers from his bout of mumps. But Ross Thaker was not available following the recent death of his grandmother.

    Stevenage had some injuries, too. Joel Byrom, Ronnie Henry and Mark Albrighton were all out but Darren Murphy returned after his lay-off and Michael Brough also started after arriving on loan from Torquay United.


    Last Tuesday, Stevenage only drew 1-1 at home to Grays whom Alty had beaten 3-0 in Essex 72 hours earlier. But football is not so logical that Alty could expect to win at Broadhall Way and once again they would be facing a tough challenge, against a side placed second in the league. However, Alty had been playing well away from home, having gained 10 of their 17 points this season from five away matches, in which eight of their twelve league goals had been scored. Alty went into the game having kept four successive clean sheets and lying 13th in the table.


    STEVENAGE BOROUGH (Red & white shirts, shorts and socks) 16. Chris Day, 4. Eddie Odhiambo (a.k.a. Eddie Anaclet), 14. Mark Roberts, 24. Michael Bostwick, 3. Scott Laird, 23. Andy Drury, 7. Darren Murphy, 17. Michael Brough, 21. Mitchell Cole, 10. Lee Boylan, 20. Chris Beardsley. SUBS - 1. Ashley Bayes, 8. Stacy Long, 9. Charlie Griffin, 30. Peter Vincenti, 11. Yemi Odubade.

    ALTRINCHAM (Yellow and blue shirts, blue shorts and yellow socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 2. James SMITH, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 4. Tom KEARNEY (capt), 10. Chris DENHAM, 25. Aaron BURNS, 26. Sam SHERIDAN, 19. Chris SENIOR. Subs: 20. Danny HEFFERNAN, 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 18. Michael WELCH, 21, Andrew PEARSON, 11. Nicky CLEE.


    On a warm, sunny afternoon, Stevenage kicked off towards the away end at Broadhall Way. After a couple of Alty throws Altrincham almost took a very early lead. Day, usually one of the best keepers in the BSP, dropped the ball as it came into the box leaving an Alty player (who was difficult to identify from the other end, but whom the papers said was Sheridan) with a virtually open goal. But a magnificent challenge from Laird blocked the Alty man's shot at the cost of a corner (5 mins). At the other end, Boro's Laird, no doubt grateful that Dale Johnson was not playing after being given the run-around by the Alty striker last season, advanced up the pitch but shot wide (8 mins).

    The home side were conceding freekicks, with Burns suffering on more than one occasion. But now a Kearney freekick came to nothing (9 mins). Sheridan then went down and when play stopped a slight melee occurred. The game was pretty scrappy in the opening stages but Cole, at the back post, could only direct a weak effort to Coburn from a right-wing cross (12 mins). Next, Brough volleyed over the bar before Burns almost took advantage when the strangely jittery Day almost misjudged a long ball, just grabbing it as it almost bounced over his head (17 mins).

    Two Stevenage corners soon arrived, with Borough players winning headers from each, but without hitting the target (18 mins). Sheridan then fed Senior on the Alty left and he was upended by Odhiambo (formerly known as Anaclet of Oxford United). Doughty was poised to take the free-kick, from about 30 yards out on the left. But, at the last minute, Sheridan rushed across from the right and took it himself, his perfectly flighted ball being met by a well-timed run from right to left by Williams. The tall defender rose unchallenged to head the ball to his right into the top of the net for his first Conference goal and one to be proud of (22 mins).

    But when Burns was upended soon afterwards for another Alty freekick (there were 20 fouls by Stevenage in this game), Doughty could not replicate Sheridan's earlier dead ball. After this, as Sheridan went for a 50-50 ball he was judged by Mr Bull to have committed a foul and was booked (26 mins). When Senior caught Day as he slid in for the ball just as the keeper gathered it, there was a stoppage for treatment to the Borough keeper, at which point the rest of the players took a deserved drinks break on this hot afternoon (28 mins).

    Chris Denham then got a booking for apparent "simulation" after taking a tumble as he cut in from the right (32 mins). A Stevenage corner soon followed. But the home side continued to over elaborate in their approach play, employing three passes for every one that seemed necessary as they relayed the ball ineffectually back and for across, rather than up, the pitch.

    A neat and more direct Alty move yielded a corner through Burns (37 mins) as the visitors looked reasonably comfortable with their lead. At the back, Densmore continued to impress against Cole on the Stevenage left. Denham, now booed by the home crowd with every touch, cut in from the right but fired well over the bar (39 mins). A fine run from Drury then threatened Alty but he pulled his shot wide (42 mins).

    Sheridan now hobbled to the bench but continued to play on, the young loanee from Bolton having performed well this afternoon. Burns was then on the wrong end of his third hard challenge and this time Odhiambo was penalised though no card was shown (43 mins). Referee Bull continued to annoy the visitors as he allowed Boro fouls to continue without making a booking and even allowed Beardsley a "dive", more blatant than Denham's but without the same punishment (45 mins).

    Three added minutes were played during which Cole volleyed over the bar, after Williams had misheaded a cross to the Stevenage man, to the left of goal (45+3 mins). But Alty went in at half time with their lead intact.


    Stevenage brought on their big striker Griffin, a former Salisbury player, with Beardsley being withdrawn (46 mins). Soon Coburn had to make a fine save from Boylan after a good build up from the Borough (48 mins). But play went through a fairly quiet spell before a stoppage occurred for treatment to Densmore, who appeared to get caught as Cole and Brough collided and fell on top of the Alty defender (56 mins). Soon after this, Danylyk collapsed off the ball but, after treatment resumed (59 mins). Stevenage now withdrew Murphy and brought on Long, the former Ebbsfleet player (60 mins).

    The home side were now having the better of the game without causing Alty too many alarms and when Denham cut in to fire at Day the home crowd was growing decidedly restless at the home performance (65 mins). Alty still had their menacing moments on the break and, when Senior and Kearney combined to feed Denham, his cross cum shot kept Stevenage on their toes (68 mins). A minute later Alty withdrew Burns and brought on Clee on the left and Stevenage introduced Vincenti in favour of Drury (69 mins).

    Stevenage won a corner, following which there was a session of ping pong in the Alty box which ended with Roberts's overhead kick well wide (73 mins). Coburn then saved from Vincenti (73 mins) before the same Stevenage man badly overhit a cross from a threatening position. Now Michael Welch replaced Sheridan, who had had a good game (79 mins). Stevenage continued to press and had an offside "goal" ruled out but, otherwise, Altrincham were dealing with everything competently. Seven minutes from the end Heffernan was brought on to replace Denham who had looked Alty's major threat at the attacking end of the pitch.

    A minute later Laird was booked for dissent as Stevenage grew frustrated (84 mins). With the crowd drifting away at the home end, Alty won a late corner, following which Clee got to the by-line left of goal but the ball was cleared (89 mins).

    But, with Denham off the pitch, Alty were not closing down Stevenage when the ball was at the home end and Heffernan was unable to keep possession when Alty cleared their lines. This allowed the ball to come back repeatedly towards Coburn's goal. Four minutes of added time were now announced and, in the first of these, Kearney was penalised for handball. The ball came across into the Alty box from the left and Bostwick headed home an equaliser as he came in from the right (90+1 mins). Alty then defended desperately for the remaining three minutes and in the third added minute Coburn made a fine save from Boylan. But Altrincham got through to the end with a point intact. Had Altrincham been able to wind down the clock more successfully in the closing stages when the ball was at the Stevenage end, it might well have been three points instead.

    But once again Alty's injury-ravaged part-time squad had done very well and had held their own against a full-time side with aspirations to a place in League Two.