MANSFIELD TOWN (2) 3 ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
played on Saturday, 24 October, 2009, at 3pm
Altrincham crashed out of the FA Cup after a disappointing display at a windy Field Mill. They had started with Greg Young on the bench as Matt Doughty returned to the side after suspension. After a fairly quiet opening, Alty lapses gave the Stags two goals in eight minutes. Firstly, after twenty minutes, Williams was penalised outside the Alty box. Mansfield took the free kick, short and quickly, but Alty did not respond, allowing Perry to get free into the penalty area. From left of goal his chip found Duffy unmarked and he headed past Coburn from six yards. It became 2-0 in the 28th minute, ironically following a six-man Alty passing move. Unfortunately the move had transported the ball back from a Robins' throw-in in midfield to Smith, who relayed it back to Coburn. The Alty keeper elected to take a touch as Perry closed him down and he lost possession. The ball came to Duffy, who easily slotted it into the empty net.
Right - Alty's squad was again stretched to the limit. Right we see three players in the squad today who had yet to start a game for the Robins. The three are in the middle row - John Bennett, Antonio Bryan and Tejal-Ross Thaker. In front are Nicky Clee and Michael Welch, whilst Aaron Burns is at the back.
Alty now made a change, withdrawing Lawton and restoring Young to the back line. Altrincham played better in the early period of the second half but conceded a third goal, just after the hour mark, when Perry's shot from the left deflected off Alty's Man of the Match, James Smith, past Coburn. Things got worse for Altrincham when Kearney was sent off for a two-footed challenge in the closing minutes. On the bright side, Alty Youth midfielder John Bennett made a late debut in midfield from the bench, whilst up front Aaron Burns looked Alty's liveliest forward.
REFEREE: Mr Jake Collin
ATTENDANCE: 2,410 (230 in the away end))
Alty were without injured forwards Dale Johnson and Chris Denham, as well as the suspended Chris Senior - the latter two, their leading scorers this season. So, with Andrew Pearson also missing as he was cup-tied, Alty included in their squad one loan-player (Aaron Burns) and four other players who were either in the squad for the first time or who had never made a start for the club (John Bennett [from the youth team], Tejal-Ross Thaker [from Ashton United], Antonio Bryan [signed yesterday], and goalkeeper Russell Saunders). Add to these, Michael Welch who has yet to start a game this season and Robbie Lawton, who was only starting his second match of the campaign and you get some idea of the lack of current match experience in the Altrincham squad today.
Surprisingly, Greg Young was dropped to allow Matt Doughty to resume at left-back after his suspension. Though seven subs are now allowed to be named in the FA Cup, Altrincham could only muster six fit names, of whom only Young had even started a game this season.
Mansfield brought in winger Ryan Williams and new man Craig Dobson (ex-Stevenage Borough).
These sides had met in a tempestuous match in the league just two weeks ago, which ended with two Alty men having an early bath. Altrincham's supporters showed complete respect for the minute's silence before kick-off for Mansfield's former assistant manager but were less reverential when the crowd was asked to join in a round of applause for Mansfield's new electronic scoreboard which, unfortunately, has been erected side-on and barely visible to the away end. It was curious that, with this new facility, the names of the substitutes were not displayed before the game.
MANSFIELD TOWN (Yellow/blue shirts, blue shorts and socks): 1. Alan Marriott, 3. Paul Heckingbottom, 4. Gary Mills (capt), 5. Luke Jones, 6. Scott Garner, 8. Matt Somner, 9. Robert Duffy, 11. Ryan Williams, 16. Gary Silk, 19. Kyle Perry, 35. Craig Dobson. Subs: 12. Craig Armstrong, 14. Steven Istead, 15. Luke Graham, 17. Jake Speight, 32. Blair Sturrock 33. Ed Eley, 34. Oliver Hotchkiss.
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; 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 4. Tom KEARNEY, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 11. Nicky CLEE; 9. Colin LITTLE, 25. Aaron BURNS. Subs: 5. Greg YOUNG, 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 18. Michael WELCH, 20. John BENNETT, 24. Tejal-Ross THAKER, 27. Antonio BRYAN.
Altrincham kicked off in blustery conditions on a pitch which had taken a lot of rain. Play was fairly scrappy at first with the first shot of note being Doughty's effort, way off target, following an Alty freekick 35 yards out (4 mins). Referee Collin then gave Mansfield a corner when Perry had quite clearly missed an open goal by firing well over the bar (7 mins). Smith was again playing well at the back for Alty but, with sun now shining, the game was nevertheless very disappointing fare. Alty's 200+ away following was in good voice as the visitors won their first corner when a Coburn punt caused a panicky clearance by Jones as the ball bounced in the Mansfield box (18 mins).
Williams was then penalised a few yards outside the Alty box. The visitors were asleep as Duffy took a quick short freekick which set Perry free into the left side of the box. To compound their slow reaction, the Alty defence also failed to mark Duffy and when Perry chipped the ball into the goalmouth, the big striker had advanced for an unimpeded header at goal from six yards,which beat the Alty keeper to his right as he moved to his left (20 mins).
After Alty had driven, straight into the wall, one of a number of freekicks conceded by Mansfield, Somner committed another foul without more of a penalty than a freekick. The game was as good as over not long after this; and it all happened with an Alty throw-in in midfield by Densmore. Via Kearney (twice), Densmore, Clee, Doughty and Smith, Alty played the ball back to Coburn. Some eight yards out, the Alty keeper elected to try and dribble his way past Perry. However, the Mansfield man got the ball and it ran to Duffy, who had the simplest of tasks to put the ball into the empty net. So it was 2-0 (28 mins).
Altrincham continued to falter and were causing no real problems to the Mansfield defence despite Burns's willing running. Alty decided a change was necessary and Lawton was withdrawn in favour of Young. Alty now had five at the back with Densmore and Doughty intended to act as wing-backs (34 mins). A well-hit Danylyk shot was then deflected out for a corner to Altrincham but this came to nothing.
Burns was then felled for the fourth time in the first 36 minutes. Play stopped soon afterwards following a clash of heads between Williams and Perry, the latter having to go off with a blood injury (39 mins). He returned in a numberless shirt as the game drifted uneventfully towards the interval. Three added minutes were announced before Alty reached the interval two goals adrift after a lacklustre display.
|Half-Time: MANSFIELD TOWN 2 ALTRINCHAM 0|
Altrincham emerged early for the second half and started more brightly than they had played in the first half. An early Burns cross from the left found a stretching Densmore at the back post but he could not control the ball (49 mins). But play continued to be disrupted by the absence of any ball boys, which in a three-sided ground such as Field Mill, is a particular deficiency. Dobson, the former Stevenage man making his debut for the Stags, then went on a run which consisted of several extravagant stepovers which got him nowhere as the no-nonsense James Smith saw him off.
Perry's head wound again started bleeding so he had to change his shirt for a second time. Mr Collin then stopped the game to have a discussion with his assistant; he then went and had a word with David Holdsworth in the home dugout (53 mins). Perry now returned to the game with a large head bandage in place. Alty then threatened when Clee got in a good cross from the right but Marriott smothered it well (56 mins).
After 58 minutes Speight came on for Duffy for Mansfield. Three minutes later, another Alty lapse started Mansfield's move which was to produce their third goal. A misunderstanding in Alty's midfield - no one went for a loose ball- allowed Mansfield some cheap possession and, when Ryan Williams fed Perry, the striker's shot from left of goal took a deflection off Smith which was enough to beat Coburn (61 mins). After this, Burns fired over for Alty from 25 yards and the same player soon won Altrincham a corner which again was easily dealt with by Mansfield's solid defence. Silk's second foul in as many minutes still did not provoke a caution.
With young strikers Bryan and Thaker on the bench, Alty opted instead for the more experienced defender, Welch, as their next sub. He replaced Clee and operated from an advanced midfield position (67 mins). Matt Doughty was then needlessly booked - apparently for a verbal offence (70 mins). Somner soon followed him into the book for a late challenge on Young. The Stags now replaced Dobson by Istead (74 mins). A rare mistake by Smith then almost let in Mansfield but Coburn covered well. At the other end, Doughty cut in but his shot was saved by Marriott (79 mins).
Sturrock now replaced Perry for Mansfield as John Bennett came on for his debut for Altrincham in place of Anthony Danylyk. John is an Alty Youth midfielder in the mould of the man he replaced (80 mins). Five minutes from time Densmore picked up a booking and a minute later it got worse. Tom Kearney, out of character, dived in late and two-footed on Mills and was shown a straight red card. Alty were top of the fair play league before their league game with Mansfield two weeks ago; now they have had three players dismissed for indiscipline in their two games against the Stags.
Soon after this, Speight went down, round the edge of the Alty box. When the referee took no notice of his writhing, a remarkable recovery took place as Speight got smartly to his feet (88 mins). (After the game Mansfield reported Smith to the FA and he was banned for "violent conduct").
Alty's problems continued to the very end as Burns committed a foul which earned him a yellow card (89 mins). This preceded five added minutes in which time Mansfield camped in the Alty end, winning three corners in that time against the ten men. This was an afternoon to forget for Altrincham who now face three games without their most creative midfielder, though fortunately the other bookings do not yet trigger any further suspensions. It would have been disappointing enough just to lose 3-0 but the indisciplined end to the game only compounded the misfortune for the strong travelling support.
|Full-Time: MANSFIELD TOWN 3 ALTRINCHAM 0|