HISTON 0 ALTRINCHAM 0
played on Saturday, 5 December, 2009, at 3pm
Altrincham took a deserved point at Histon and, indeed, went the closer to scoring, with Naisbitt the much busier goalkeeper. Overall, the game was hardly a classic and heavy rain in the second half did not help. Williams forced a fine save and Senior was also denied by the Histon keeper as the visitors gave a strong team performance based on a solid back three, with Densmore and Doughty getting forward up the wings.
REFEREE: Mr Marvyn Amphlett (Worcestershire)
ATTENDANCE: 676 (including 66 in the away section)
Colin Little was ruled out through illness and Chris Denham was unfit to start. Altrincham adopted a 3-4-1-2 formation with Robbie Lawton sitting behind a new front two formation of six-feet-four John McAliskey and five-feet-six Chris Senior. Shaun Densmore and Matt Doughty were employed on the flanks with Anthony Danylyk and Tom Kearney in central midfield. At the back, James Smith was flanked by Greg Young on his left and Robbie Williams to his right.
Histon had lost their potent weapon of Gareth Gwillim's long throw when the defender was injured in midweek. Adam Tann was also unfit with a gashed leg. So Neil Andrews, Kieran Leabon and Callum Stewart cams into the side as Sam Long also dropped out. Both Leabon and Stewart were making their Histon Conference debuts.
Altrincham had yet to win at Histon, having lost 1-0 on both previous visits. But the Robins had beaten the Stutes at Moss Lane this season, a 2-1 win back in August.
Histon had seen financial upheaval earlier this season when their chief backer moved on. But the team had stabilised and lay 12th, just one point and one place behind Altrincham.
HISTON (Red and black stripes, black shirts and socks): 1. Danny Naisbitt, 21. Lanre Oyebanjo, 5. Matthew Langston, 6. Adam Bygrave, 18. Nathaniel Knight-Percival, 8. Neil Andrews, 15. Callum Stewart, 7. John Kennedy, 22. Kieran Leabon, 25. Lee Smith, 11. Jamie Barker. Subs: 9. Michael Frew, 12. Andrew Tidswell, 14. Daniel Sparkes, 27. Joe Welch, 4. Sam Long.
ALTRINCHAM (Yellow and blue shirts, blue shorts and yellow socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. James SMITH, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 5. Greg YOUNG; 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 4. Tom KEARNEY, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt); 19. Chris SENIOR, 17. John McALISKEY. Subs: 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 10. Chris DENHAM, 11. Nicky CLEE, 18. Michael WELCH, 21. Andrew PEARSON
It was a dull afternoon in Cambridgeshire and referee Amphlett asked for the lights to be on from before kick off. Altrincham kicked off but, in a fairly uneventful opening, it was Histon who won the game's first corner, when Williams did well to get the ball away as the Stutes threatened. Neither side created any real openings before an ambitious 30 yarder from McAliskey went not too far wide of the target in the twelfth minute. The same player had another decent shot saved, two minutes later, from a Densmore feed. Senior was also looking lively up front and he won Alty's first corner (16 mins).
Histon then enjoyed some possession as the game provided moderate entertainment but far more to enjoy than the quite dreadful first half of the encounter between these sides at this ground last season, which was punctuated by countless throw-ins and freekicks. With their financially enforced change of personnel this season, Histon now seem less reliant on the aerial tactics they used to employ to such good effect. But they were not getting any clear sight of the Alty goal as the back three in the Alty 3-4-1-2 formation played well. Indeed Alty went closer to scoring when a Danylyk shot was deflected but the diversion of the ball actually helped Naisbitt to gather the ball (24 mins).
Straddling the half-hour mark, Alty won two corners but, in between, Smith had to execute a brilliant sliding tackle on Barker. With Knight-Percival having gone down injured, off the ball, Densmore threatened to get forward up the right but Leabon rather cynically brought him down and was fortunate not to be booked as play stopped for the injured player to be treated (33 mins).
Soon afterwards, from a fast cross whipped in from the left by Doughty, McAliskey flicked an excellent header onto the roof of the net as Alty continued to look more likely to score than their opponents. After Williams had won a header but was penalised, the freekick led to a Histon corner (41 mins). Both teams produced plenty of honest endeavour before half time, with Histon winning a corner in added time. But the interval arrived with the game remaining goalless.
|Half-Time: HISTON 0 ALTRINCHAM 0|
The second half opened with a slick Altrincham move up the right which ended with Senior having a shot blocked (46 mins). And, after a scrappy few minutes, Alty went close again in a move started by Young. Via Senior, the ball was relayed to the right where Densmore shot narrowly wide (49 mins). And a minute later Senior also fired wide as Altrincham looked the more likely to go ahead (50 mins).
Histon came back into the game when their debutant, Callum Stewart, won a corner but then Senior was put through at the other end by a defensive error. One on one with Naisbitt, Senior's shot struck the advancing keeper, at the cost of a corner to Altrincham (56 mins). Histon themselves won two corners in a minute but again, despite enjoying possession, they were not getting a sight of Coburn's goal as Alty defended well. It was Altrincham who continued to threaten a breakthrough and, when Kearney was felled 35 yards out, the resulting freekick was met by a well-timed run from Williams, whose header forced an excellent tip over the bar from Naisbitt, to give Alty another corner (65 mins).
With rain still pouring down, Histon's best effort at this stage was a long range shot from Smith, which went high and very wide (78 mins). After this period of Alty having the upper hand, Histon now enjoyed some possession before Alty made a change when Denham came on for McAliskey (82 mins). But, on the counter-attack, Kearney fed Doughty on the left and his curling cross was deflected out for a corner (86 mins). With the game into three minutes of added time, Lawton got himself booked for dissent after being penalised (90+2 mins). There was still time for one last chance, when Doughty's cross from the left allowed Denham a shot, which he drove into the ground, the ball bouncing to Naisbitt.
So Alty emerged with a well deserved point, and they could count themselves unlucky as Histon barely troubled Coburn throughout the game, whilst Alty had half a dozen presentable chances. And Naisbitt was fortunate that his clear push on an Alty player in the goalmouth in the closing stages was not noted by the officials. The visitors' defence gave a good performance, whilst in midfield Danylyk was again industrious and, up-front Senior's running ensured that the Histon defence was kept on its toes. McAliskey also showed some good touches, especially in the first half, whilst Densmore and Doughty also got forward to good effect on several occasions. Alty remain eleventh in the table at the half-way stage of the season.
|Full-Time: HISTON 0 ALTRINCHAM 0|