Match Report


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


Altrincham moved up to seventh place with this first-ever win at Nene Park. The goal came after Downer brought down Clee and, as the last man, the defender was sent off. From the resulting freekick, Tom Kearney's low drive took a deflection from 20 yards into the bottom corner to make it 1-0, eight minutes from time. Five added minutes were played and Stuart Coburn had to make two fine saves to preserve the lead. Earlier, Alty had had the better of the first half whilst Rushden were the more dominant in the second. The strong wind hampered both sides throughout.


  • 82 mins: Tom KEARNEY (Rushden & Diamonds 0 ALTRINCHAM 1)


    ATTENDANCE: 1,168 (away turnstiles 103)


    Alty were unchanged after their exciting last gasp win over Gateshead, but brought in Colin Little and Greg Young on the bench following their recent injury and illness respectively. So it was Altrincham's strongest bench for some time, with so many experienced players on it. The injured Burns, plus Pearson dropped out of the squad.

    Rushdne brought in the former Grays and Gresley Rovers forward Aaron O'Connor, on the right.


    Nene Park is not a happy hunting ground for Altrincham but they arrived here above Diamonds in the table. Altrincham went into this game a point ahead of the hosts and lying in tenth place. Rushden's good run of one defeat in eight games halted recently and they had not won in their three most recent games. Alty were looking to extend their unbeaten run to seven after two wins and four draws. This was Alty's last away game before two home matches against more former League opposition (Mansfield, Luton).


    RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS (White/blue/red shirts, blue/red shorts, white socks): 31. Nathan Abbey, 2. Curtis Osano, 3. Kurt Robinson, 24. Paul Terry, 5. Jamie Stuart (Capt), 6. Simon Downer, 20. Mark Byrne, 9. Craig Farrell, 25. Cliff Akurang, 7. Aaron O'Connor, 18. Matt Pattison SUBS: 4. Max Porter, 1. Dale Roberts, 12. Neil Cousins, 19.Sam Smith, 11. James Reid.

    ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 2. James SMITH, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 10. Chris DENHAM, 4. Tom KEARNEY (capt), 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 26. Sam SHERIDAN, 11. Nicky CLEE, 19. Chris SENIOR, SUBS - 9. Colin LITTLE, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 13. Russell SAUNDERS (gk), 18. Michael WELCH, 5. Greg YOUNG.


    The start of the game was fairly scrappy as the teams tried to get to grips with the gusty wind. The wind was swirling but generally against Altrincham, who kicked off the game defending the corner where their supporters were housed in another disappointingly low Nene Park crowd. Rushden had again closed the away stand behind the goal.

    For Altrincham, Nicky Clee was impressing on the left wing. Chris Denham earned his fourth booking of the season when he caught Rushden's Pattison on the head when he put his foot high to try and win a bouncing ball (10 mins). Rushden were looking second best and when Aaron O'Connor made a hash of a cross from the right, one Alty wag declared that it was an effort more worthy of Des O'Connor!

    Play was still being dictated by the weather conditions but it was Altrincham who were looking the more fluid as the game reached the 20 minute mark. Alty then had a good chance when Sheridan and Senior exchanged passes which set the on-loan Bolton man free but he stumbled as he was about to shoot (23 mins). But then a good run by Rushden's former Woking man, Pattison, cutting in from the left, ended with a shot well off target (24 mins).

    Two minutes later another Rushden shot cleared the bar. Clee continued to shine for Alty but no clear chances emerged at either end as the game went past the half-hour mark. Soon, Danylyk got a lecture when he caused Pattison to take evasive action with a scything tackle. The first corner of the game arrived in the 35th minute when Alty's appeals for offside went in vain and Doughty had to act smartly to concede the flag kick.

    Altrincham then picked up their second booking when Senior went down under a challenge and handled the ball, thinking he would be given a freekick. The referee had other ideas and gave Rushden the freekick which prompted Senior to kick the ball away to earn another unnecessary yellow card. Like Denham he now has four cautions to his name (38 mins).

    From a Clee long throw, Senior then shot wide (41 mins) before an effort from Clee himself went wide from a Doughty feed. Kearney's coolness in midfield continued to impress for Alty whilst Pattison and centre-back Stuart were the pick for the Diamonds. Senior was lucky not to pick up a second yellow with a reckless challenge as the game went into added time. Two minutes of added time left the score goalless.


    Rushden, like a number of BSP clubs, seem to think that some kind of half-time warm up is necessary as each of their players was required to jink through a series of small hurdles placed on the touchline before the re-start. Quite what this was supposed to achieve was difficult to fathom.

    Altrincham had a very early half chance as Sheridan chased into the box and went down under Downer's challenge but quite rightly the referee waved play on (46 mins).

    For the second half, Stuart was now sporting a head bandage as Rushden now upped their game after their lacklustre first half. Densmore put in a great tackle to stop a home attack before Altrincham won the half's first corner, following Williams's flick on from Clee's long throw (51 mins). Alty players seemed to have trouble keeping their feet this afternoon and, just as Sheridan had done in the first half, Senior now slipped after being put through by Denham.

    John Terry's brother, Paul was then guilty of a miss as he headed wide from a fine cross from the right by Osano as the home side now set the pace (52 mins). Alty were soon indebted to Coburn for a brilliant one-handed save from Farrell, the former York striker (57 mins). On the hour mark, Reid replaced the out of sorts Akurang for Diamonds.

    Next, Young replaced Sheridan for Altrincham (62 mins). Williams then won the ball and fed Denham. He, in turn, set Senior running at goal but Senior's shot was fortuitously saved by Abbey's legs at the cost of a corner. At the other end Smith and Williams continued to do well, with Young quietly getting back into his stride after his illness. Clee then needed treatment after getting caught by a Rushden elbow. Next, Rushden replaced Terry by Porter in midfield (69 mins). This came shortly after a weak effort from Farrell, which ran to Coburn.

    Rushden now won two corners in a minute as Alty were kept in their own half (70 mins). Rushden keeper, Abbey had to be told by the linesman to place the ball behind the six-yard line for goalkicks but for some reason, best known to himself, the keeper chose to ignore the instruction when replacing the ball. Quite what advantage Abbey thought he was gaining from the additional six inches of territory was not evident. A good run from former Grays man, O'Connor, who looked a lot livelier in the second half, took him up the left but ended with a shot into the side netting, at which point Colin Little came on to replace Senior (73 mins).

    Coburn then had to be alert to race to the edge of the box to smother the ball as Farrell raced into the box in pursuit of the ball. At the other end, Denham counter-attacked but shot narrowly wide (76 mins). With 11 minutes left, Lawton replaced Danylyk and Williams was moved up front. Two minutes later, Osano mistakenly headed a misdirected pass from Porter back into the path of Clee on the Alty left. Clee got free and as he neared the box he was hauled down by Downer who was rightly sent off as the last man in the defence. The freekick, from just outside the box, left of centre, was taken by Kearney. His low shot deflected off someone in the wall and ended up in the stranded keeper's bottom left hand corner (82 mins).

    Now down to ten men, Rushden brought on their "super-sub" Smith, for Pattison, who had looked the home side's best attacking threat (84 mins). Alty were now in control but when they won a freekick 30 yards out, Doughty hit it over the bar. Then, as the game went into a generous five added minutes, Kearney weas penalised for handball, 40 yards out. Following the freekick, Coburn had to make an excellent save, tipping the ball out for a corner.

    Three minutes later Coburn made his third excellent save of the afternoon, stopping Reid's shot at the foot of the post (90+3 mins). Altrincham rode out the closing seconds to record their fourth away win of the season. And so Altrincham had kept their sixth clean sheet of the season as they climbed to seventh place in the table. Considering the numerous injuries this season, that is a tremendous achievement by a part-time side in a largely full-time league.