CHESTER CITY (0) 1 ALTRINCHAM (2) 3
played on Saturday, 21 November, 2009, at 3pm
After cruising to a 2-0 lead in the first half against a lacklustre Chester, Altrincham allowed Chester the initiative in the second half before sealing the game in added time. Colin Little headed Alty ahead in the 22nd minute from a fine cross, from the right, by Densmore. Robbie Williams lashed home a second after 33 minutes. But Rule got Chester back in the game with a fine shot after a dubious freekick had been awarded against Burns (63 mins). Alty then allowed Chester a lot of possession before Senior finished off a neat Alty move in the second of five added minutes. On the way home, an object was thrown at the Alty supporters' coach but fortunately did not break the window it hit.
REFEREE: Mr Darren Drysdale
ATTENDANCE: 1,132 (290 in away end)
Chester had lost their two recent loan players, Flynn and Coulson, whilst Altrincham were missing the injured Denham and Johnson, as well as the suspended Kearney and Smith. For today's game, Alty gave an immediate debut to 6ft 4inch John McAliskey, signed the previous day from Witton Albion. He started up front with Colin Little, with Chris Senior deployed on the right and Clee on the left. Chester's captain, Tim Ryan, had briefly played for Altrincham in his early career.
Chester captain Tim Ryan had played for Alty briefly in his early career, whilst substitute Ben Wilkinson had been on loan at Alty last season. Chester, in fact, named only four subs today.
The matchday programme reminded us that the last league match between these sides had been in 1929 when Chester defeated Alty 13-2 in a Cheshire County League game. Since then Alty had regularly met Chester's Reserves in the CCL as well as in an FA Cup clash in 1992/93 when Alty had beaten today's hosts 2-0 in an FA Cup replay made memorable by Clive Freeman's award winning piledriver.
The preceding fortnight had been largely wet and windy and today was to be no exception but the rain was only light as the game started. The pitch, however, was in excellent condition.
CHESTER CITY (Blue & white stripes, white shorts and socks): 1.John Danby, 2. Kevin Roberts, 4. Tim Ryan (capt), 3. Rhys Meynell, 5. Anthony Barry, 12. James Owen, 18. Glenn Rule, 23. Clark Keltie, 20. Gregg Blundell, 16. Mark Beesley, 28. Nick Chadwick, SUBS: 8. Ben Wilkinson, 9. Adam Kay, 14. Lloyd Ellams, 17. Shaun Kelly
ALTRINCHAM (Yellow and blue shirts, blue shorts and yellow socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 5. Greg YOUNG, 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 19. Chris SENIOR, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 11. Nicky CLEE, 9. Colin LITTLE, 17. John McALISKEY. SUBS: 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 18. Michael WELCH, 21. Andrew PEARSON, 27. Andrew OWENS, 25. Aaron BURNS
Altrincham kicked off into the gusty wind and, after a slow start, they won the game's first corner in the fourth minute. Curiously it was Danylyk who had today been deputed to be the corner kick taker on the right. The wind continued to make it difficult for both sides to settle into their rhythm but, after Senior had got to the by-line, Doughty won Altrincham their second corner in the 10th minute. The visitors were now getting on top and, soon afterwards, Densmore got in a good ball across the face of goal. Robbie Lawton was playing well in midfield and from his pass, McAliskey won his side's third corner. From this, a Young header looped just over the bar (13 mins). It is a long time since Altrincham could deploy three men as tall as Young, Williams and McAliskey at set pieces as they did today.
Alty's dominance continued and with it came another corner. After this, a half chance fell to Little as Clee found him inside the box but as he attempted to dribble round the last defender, Little surrendered possession. Barry got in a rare shot for Chester, but it went very wide before Little found Lawton in midfield. In turn, Lawton found Densmore on the right and the right-back, who had already been getting forward impressively on the right, produced a perfect cross. The ball reached Little at the back post and his downward header bounced into the net as he directed it back across goal, giving Altrincham a deserved lead (22 mins).
Next, Williams got on the end of a Clee throw, but goalkeeper Danby fielded the ball. However, it then took a fine tackle from Greg Young at the other end to halt Chadwick, at the cost of conceding Chester's first corner of the game, after 24 minutes. Altrincham's strong travelling support continued in fine voice with choruses of "There's only one team in Cheshire" amongst other songs.
Densmore, Little and Clee then combined to win another Altrincham corner and as the half hour marked passed the rain was now falling heavily. Altrincham confirmed their first-half superiority with a second goal after 33 minutes. It came when Clee's throw from the right was nodded towards the edge of the box by Young, where his fellow centre-back Williams executed a superb, fierce shot into the net that any striker would have been proud to execute (33 mins).
So, for the second game running, Alty had a two-goal lead but, almost immediately, things started to go wrong when Robbie Lawton went down on half way with a back injury. Though he recovered enough to hobble off the pitch, he was clearly unable to continue. The Alty captain has a had an unlucky run of injuries since last spring and in this game had been playing probably his best game of the season to date (35 mins). Burns came on to replace the striken Lawton after the customary erroneous display of the substitutions by the fourth official (38 mins).
When a Chester player slid in dangerously on Doughty, who thankfully took avoiding action, referee Drysdale presumably gave the offender the benefit of doubt because of the wet conditions, as he did not produce a yellow card (40 mins). With rain still steadily falling, Chester won a corner when a long ball skimmed off the head of Chris Senior, who was some 25 yards out from his own goal. Soon afterwards, Burns thought that he had won Altrincham their fifth corner of the half but the referee awarded a goalkick instead (44 mins).
Again Mr Drysdale showed leniency when Clee was clattered, and no caution was issued (45 mins). After treatment, Clee continued and first-half play was completed soon afterwards, with Altrincham looking good value for their lead.
|Half-Time: CHESTER CITY 0 ALTRINCHAM 2|
Chester kicked off the second half, playing into the wind and towards the away supporters' end of the stand. At the interval they brought on former Alty loanee Ben Wilkinson to replace Owen as the rain now poured down. Soon, Little got to the by-line and won a corner which was soon followed by a superb 30-yard strike from Burns which was deflected out of play by a Chester player (48 mins). From this, Little hooked a shot onto the roof of the net from right of goal.
Wilkinson headed wide at the other end as the rain became torrential and it was Chester who now began to enjoy plenty of possession as Alty defended more deeply. It was so wet that Nicky Clee attempted to take a throw, only for the ball to slip out of his hands and drop only a few feet ahead of him! There was then as blatant a two-handed push as you will ever see by Wilkinson in the back of Senior but again Mr Drysdale awarded a freekick but issued no card (53 mins).
Blundell then got in a firm shot from right of goal which clearly went over the bar but referee Drysdale correctly overruled his linesman who believed Coburn had touched it and had signalled a corner (54 mins). Chester now enjoyed plenty of possession and, though they pased the ball about neatly, they lacked any penetration. However, Chester got back into the game in the 63rd minute. The goal came when Burns was harshly judged to have committed a foul about 40 yards out on the Alty left. Burns moved away to centre field, failing to pick up the unmarked Rule on the Chester right. The freekick was played to Rule who cut inside and fired in a superb rising shot into Coburn's top corner to make it 2-1 (63 mins).
Thoughts turned to Alty's surrender of a two-goal lead in their last match as the visitors continued to enjoy plenty of the ball and Alty barely ventured into the Chester half for a while. Alty continued on the back foot till Owens came on to replace McAliskey, the former Huddersfield Town striker, who had had a fairly quiet debut as he attempted to adjust to Conference football after a period playing at a lower level (72 mins). Owens, a central defender, slotted into midfield as the rain got even heavier.
Fifteen minutes from the end, Ellams came on for Chester's Kelly, with Altrincham still allowing the home side to set the agenda. But the Altrincham defence was playing well and, for all their possession, Chester scarcely threatened Coburn's goal. On a rare counter attack at the other end, Clee set Burns free up the left but the covering defender got the better of the on-loan Northwich striker (78 mins).
However, Danby then rushed out to the touchline to tackle an Alty player and, though his clearance went to an Alty man, he was able to get back to his goal without further alarm. Chester got in their first direct shot at Coburn for some time in the 83rd minute but Coburn saved well. Altrincham were riding out the closing stages when they made a further change, as substitute Burns was himself substituted by Michael Welch (87 mins). Alty were now getting more into the opposition half and when Owens did well on the left, he was unfortunate to see his low cross go behind Senior (89 mins). Soon afterwards, Altrincham got in their first shot on target for some considerable time, when Densmore's long range shot was held by Danby. Next, Welch conceded a potentially dangerous freekick for handball on the edge of the Alty box.
The freekick was put comfortably over the bar as the fourth official indicated an unexpectedly long five minutes of added time. However, in the second of these, Altrincham finally wrapped up the game with a well worked goal. Young and Clee were involved in the build up as Densmore got up the right and, from his cross, via Little, Senior netted smartly to record his fifth league goal of the campaign (90+2 mins). The remaining minutes passed without major incident and Alty celebrated their fifth away win at the final whistle; a total bettered only by Kettering in the BSP this season.
|Full-Time: CHESTER CITY 1 ALTRINCHAM 3|