EBBSFLEET UNITED (0) 1 ALTRINCHAM (1) 2
played on Saturday, 16 January 2010, at 3pm
Altrincham took an early lead when Chris Senior, tireless throughout, finished well from a Kearney feed in the 14th minute. When Young took advantage of goalkeeper Cronin's fumble to make it 2-0 after 53 minutes, the visitors seemed to have the game sewn up. But when Ginty pulled back a goal nine minutes later, Alty's defence endured a stern test for twenty minutes or so. But Russell Saunders, making his season's debut in goal as a late replacement for Stuart Coburn who damaged his elbow ligaments in the warm up, made a vital save to preserve Alty's lead. They move up to 11th in the table with games in hand. But whilst Ebbsfleet might have levelled, both Denham and the industrious Senior also forced saves from Cronin towards the end which could have wrapped up the game for Alty.
REFEREE: Mrs Amy Fearns (Leicestershire)
Alty named the same starters as at Histon in their last league game- six weeks ago! But Stuart Coburn damaged his left elbow ligaments in the warm up and had to be replaced by Russell Saunders, who had yet to play this season after joining Alty in the summer. (Russell did play part of a Conference game back for Alty in September 2007 whilst on loan from Wigan Athletic but got carried off injured during that match). Coburn's injury meant a late inclusion on the bench of new signing Adam Carden from FC United of Manchester.
Ebbsfleet fans seemed surprised to see Charles only starting on the bench for their side, who had shown a recent improvement in form to climb to 21st place. Alty starrted the game in 13th but with a number of games in hand and most other sides in the division.
This was Altrincham's first league game for six weeks and their first action of any kind since December 15th in the FA Trophy. Today's referee, Amy Fearns, was the former Amy Rayner.
EBBSFLEET UNITED (Red shirts, white shorts) 1. Lance Cronin; 2. Will Salmon, 5. Dean Pooley, 22. Leon Crooks, 26. Clint Easton, 23. Stefan Bailey, 27. Peter Holmes, 15. Alex Stavrinou, 7. Michael West, 8. Magno Vieira, 16. Ricky Shakes. SUBS 24. Darius Charles, 11. Ishmael Welsh, 4. Gavin Heeroo, 14. Kane Wills, 12. Scott Ginty
ALTRINCHAM (Yellow and blue shirts, blue shorts, yellow socks) 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 2. James SMITH, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 5. Greg YOUNG; 7. Robbie LAWTON, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 4. Tom KEARNEY, 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 19. Chris SENIOR, 17. John McALISKEY. SUBS: 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Chris DENHAM, 11. Nicky CLEE. 18. Michael WELCH, 24. Adam CARDEN.
ltrincham suffered a blow when they lost goalkeeper Stuart Coburn to elbow ligament damage in the warm up. So Russell Saunders came into the side for his second debut, having patiently warmed the bench all season. (He made an Alty appearance previously when on loan from Wigan Athletic). Ebbsfleet kicked off but the opening minutes were fairly uneventful. Saunders's first bit of action saw him save from West, who had got behind the Alty back line (9 mins). But Altrincham were generally having the better of the opening stages before West earned himself a booking for a foul on Lawton. Densmore's freekick, from just inside his own half led to Senior being given offside - not for the first or last time in this game.
Soon afterwards, a Densmore cross was sliced half clear by Salmon and Kearney gained possession. He threaded the ball forward to Senior who finished well, placing the ball past Cronin's right hand to give Altrincham the lead (14 mins). But it was Ebbsfleet who won the game's first corner through Shakes (18 mins). Apart from a routine save by Saunders from a Fleet header, Alty were not troubled at the back. Alty themselves were none too threatening at the other end and Easton's well hit, but wide,long range shot was the most notable feature of the next few minutes (22 mins).
Senior continued to trouble the home defence with his tireless running whilst at the back Alty were looking solid, with Young again deployed at left-back. Altrincham won their first corner after 29 minutes and from Doughty's kick, Williams timed his run well but headed well wide of the goal. Doughty impressed with a good run up the left and, soon afterwards,his freekick from 2 yards, right of goal, only just cleared the cross bar (34 mins).
Altrincham were looking comfortable with their lead but the hosts came back to win a corner in the 37th minute. Just before the interval Ebbsfleet applied some sustained pressure and in added time a deflected shot from Holmes only just evaded the head of Vieira before the ball ran to Saunders.
|Half-Time: EBBSFLEET UNITED 0 ALTRINCHAM 1|
After Altrincham had kicked off the second half, they soon won a corner through Senior. Following the corner, the ball came to Senior who fed McAliskey. He finished very well from right of goal but the effort was ruled out for offside (48 mins). At the other end, a Holmes effort deflected off the shins of Shakes to goalkeeper Saunders (51 mins). Then a Senior feed allowed Kearney a shot which was diverted over the bar for a corner. Cronin fumbled the ball from the corner and this allowed Young a stooping header to put the loose ball into the net and make it 2-0 to Altrincham (53 mins).
Bailey shot wide before Liam Daish made a double switch, as Ginty and Charles replaced Vieira and Salmon (56 mins). Ebbsfleet now won a corner as they reacted positively to going two down. They soon got a reward when Alty allowed Ginty to get behind the back line and he slotted the ball accurately past Saunders into the far corner to make it 2-1 (62 mins).
The goal predictably lifted the home side and they soon won a corner, after which Alty brought on Denham for McAliskey (69 mins). Senior was left as Alty's attacking outlet and he almost capitalised on a mix up betwen Cronin and a defender before Saunders had to make a save from Crooks at the other end. Senior then almost caught out Cronin as he volleyed a punt upfield from Saunders but the Fleet keeper saved it. The hardworking Senior gained Alty a corner but it was the home side doing most of the attacking. Indeed, Alty were grateful to see too heavy a first touch from West after he had been played in, behind Young.
At the resulting corner, Clee replaced Kearney for Alty and Welsh came on for Ebbsfleet's Bailey (78 mins). Alty were pulling all eleven men back for corners and set pieces as the home side sensed they could retrieve something from the game. Their pressure over the next few minutes gave them another corner when West forced an excellent stop from Saunders, the keeper deflecting the shot out for a corner (83 mins). Young then made a good clearance before Shakes was booked for dissent after protesting at an Alty goalkick decision (85 mins).
Denham, who had been quiet since coming on, then almost scored with a smart first-time effort following a Clee throw from the left (87 mins). Denham then won a freekick as Alty now came back into the game after the preceding period of home pressure. With the game into four added minutes, Little came on for Doughty who was limping. Denham then won an Alty corner as Alty wound down the clock successfully to record their seventh away win of the season and moved up to eleventh in the table with games in hand in many other sides.
Having got two up, Ebbsfleet's goal put Alty under unexpected pressure with the subs Ginty and Charles being instrumental in the upturn in the Fleet's performance. Though the home side could have levelled in the latter part of the second half, both Senior and Denham forced decent saves from Cronin in the closing stages, which equally well could have extended Alty's lead.
|Full-Time: EBBSFLEET UNITED 1 ALTRINCHAM 2|