ALTRINCHAM (0) 0 BARROW (1) 1
played on Tuesday, 1 December, 2009, at 7.45pm
Barrow deservedly took the points as Altrincham put in a poor performance on a very wet night at Moss Lane in front of just 832 fans. The visitors, even without their main striker Jason Walker, produced the slicker football as Alty laboured to get their new line-up working effectively. Greg Young and Robbie Lawton dropped to the bench with Chris Denham and John McAliskey both starting for the Robins. But for some poor shooting from the Bluebirds the visitors would have had a lead in the first half when Alty went closest through a quick-thinking Colin Little, whose lob from 50 yards only just cleared the bar with Barrow keeper Tomlinson stranded. After Barrow had had much the better of the second half, the winner came as the game went into the 86th minute with Craig Nelthorpe beating Stuart Coburn with an excellent shot from 25 yards. Alty have now won just two of their eleven home league games this season.
Right: John McAliskey and Chris Senior are seen in the game against Barrow.
REFEREE: Mr Wigglesworth
Altrincham sprang a selection surprise with Greg Young and Robbie Lawton, who has been ill, on the bench as John McAliskey and Chris Denham started in what looked to be an attacking formation, which also included Colin Little and Chris Senior. Senior started on the left, with Denham on the right in a 4-4-2 formation spearheaded by Litle and McAliskey.
Barrow were without Jason Walker up front and Paul Jones at the back but both watched the game from the directors' box.
Altrincham had won the reverse fixture at Holker Street back in August, 3-0, thanks to goals from Kearney, Senior and Crowell. Alty had not played since last Tuesday when they won 2-0 at Tamworth but their home form had been less impressive this season, with just two wins to date this season.
Barrow had come away from league leaders Oxford with an impressive draw in last Saturday's FA Cup tie and were looking to secure an away tie at Sunderland in the replay to be played next week. Marc Goodfellow, Gregg Blundell and Gavin Rothery had all joined on loan deals this week from Burton, Chester and Carlisle respectively.
Barrow won this fixture last season 4-3.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 2. James SMITH, 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 4. Tom KEARNEY (capt), 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 10. Chris DENHAM, 9. Colin LITTLE, 19. Chris SENIOR, 17. John McALISKEY. Subs: 7. Robbie LAWTON, 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 11. Nicky CLEE, 18. Michael WELCH, 5. Greg YOUNG
BARROW (All yellow): 21. Stuart Tomlinson, 2. Simon Spender, 20. Gareth Jelleyman, 5. Phil Bolland, 12. Mike Pearson, 15. Paul Rutherford, 8. Mark Boyd, 14. Darren Sheridan, , 23. Craig Nelthorpe, 7. Andrew Bond, 26. Gregg Blundell. Subs: 1. Tim Deasy, 6. Robin Hulbert, 11. Carlos Logan, 10. Jordan Bowery, 27. Gavin Rothery
As forecast, rain started falling heavily around 7pm but the Moss Lane pitch again absorbed the downpour well. Perhaps wishing to get home before the weather got too bad, Mr Wigglesworth kicked off a couple of minutes early in front of a very disappointing gate of just 832 - a number that included a handful of Swindon Town fans whose game at Stockport had suffered a late postponement.
With Tom Kearney captaining the side in the absence of Robbie Lawton, Alty had a good early chance when Senior wriggled into the left side of the box with a clear sight of goal but he sliced his shot across the goalmouth (4 mins). A minute later a neat Alty move ended in a smart half-volley from Little, but the ball went wide. A third presentable opening arrived in the ninth minute when Denham and Senior fed McAliskey but the big striker waited too long on the ball and the opening disappeared.
After this reasonable start by Alty, the visitors began to get on top. The pacey Rutherford cut in from the left and shot wide before the Barrovians had the ball in the net when Blundell's mishit shot across the goalmouth was headed into the net by the offside Bond, who had his effort ruled out, to Alty's relief (12 mins). Nelthorpe then fired very wide to continue the theme of misfiring attackers on both sides. But Alty were looking jittery at the back as Barrow ran at then with pace. Another wide shot at the Alty goal came from Boyd before Bond got Rutherford in on goal, to the right of the target, and he forced a great block from Stuart Coburn (17 mins). Barrow were carving Alty open as they allowed the opposition too much space.
When McAliskey was dispossessed, a quick Barrow counter attack led to a Blundell header which Coburn held comfortably (19 mins).However, a long diagonal cross from the right by Densmore then yielded an Alty corner which Spender cleared. Altrincham then almost took the lead in bizarre fashion. Barrow keeper Tomlinson had come a long way to his right to kick clear and was stranded as the ball arrived at Colin Little's feet, almost on the half way line. From fully fifty yards, quick thinking by the Alty man saw a well executed lob arrow towards goal only for the ball to bounce in the goalmouth and narrowly clear the bar with Tomlinson still yards away (22 mins).
After another wild shot from Barrow, Little won a corner at the other end. Jelleyman then needed lengthy treatment (24 mins). Alty's attacking formation was not imposing itself with McAliskey not yet up to Conference pace and Denham, who is less than 100% fit, subdued. Barrow continued to attack as the half hour passed and it took a good tackle from Densmore to stop Rutherford. When McAliskey appeared to be clearly fouled from behind, the lack of a freekick created objections from the Alty players and bench (34 mins). So, when a little later, Denham was fouled by Jelleyman, he made sure he got the decision with a dramatic fall. Just after this Kearney was tripped a couple of yards outside the penalty "D" but Doughty's freekick cleared the bar (39 mins). Two Alty corners followed before Bond shot over the bar at the other end. Smith cleared another attack before Boyd continued the theme of misdirected shots with the game into added time.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 BARROW 0|
After a bright start to the half from Barrow, Senior had a good chance but drove his shot straight at Tomlinson (50 mins). Then McAliskey was put through but again could not get his shot away quickly enough to win more than a corner. But shortly after Robbie Lawton had come on to replace Denham (56 mins), McAliskey did better when he slid in to get onto the end of a fine low cross from the right by Senior, but the striker could only toe end his effort to Tomlinson (57 mins).
Altrincham were still struggling to establish a good rhythm as the game went past the hour mark. From 25 yards, Boyd now forced a save from Coburn as the rain continued to come down (65 mins). Rutherford was then left in acres of space but he put in a poor cross, after which Nicky Clee came on for an out of sorts Tom Kearney (68 mins).
Barrow continued to look the more threatening as Boyd forced Coburn into an excellent save, pushing the ball round his left post for a corner (69 mins). It was one-way traffic at this stage towards the Alty goal and, soon, Pearson forced another save out of the Alty keeper. But then from a Doughty freekick, a Williams header looped narrowly over the bar (71 mins). Sheridan became the game's only booking when the joint Barrow manager was penalised for handball (74 mins).
After a Barrow corner, Greg Young came on for Little (78 mins). Soon after this Senior had a glorious chance to give Alty a lead against the run of play when a Densmore freekick was nodded down to him but, leaning back, he lifted his shot well over the bar (80 mins).
A Barrow corner was seen off before the visitors took off Blundell in favour of Bowery, a Chesterfield loanee (83 mins). Alty's Greg Young then surged forty five yards or more up the pitch before losing possession and from the counter attack, Barrow scored. The ball was relayed to Nelthorpe who, from 25 yards, fired in a dipping shot which beat Coburn's dive, to his left (86 mins). It was hard to argue that Barrow did not deserve their lead. The nearest Alty came to a leveller was when Clee charged up the middle but fired narrowly wide (89 mins). The referee awarded Alty a corner from this shot before Barrow brought on Rothery for Rutherford (90 mins). Alty pressed during the four added minutes but could not score and so recorded their fifth goalless home game. The Robins have now won just twice in eleven attempts at Moss Lane in the league this season, scoring only ten goals in the process.
Away from home, Alty are a different proposition, having secured 20 of their 31 points on the road and they will need to translate some of that form to their Moss Lane games if they are to build on their solid start to the season. Shaun Densmore was named Man of the Match, despite a couple of sticky moments against Rutherford. Both James Smith and Anthony Danylyk also had good games but overall this was a disappointing performance from the Robins.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 BARROW 1|