ALTRINCHAM (2) 3 HAYES & YEADING UNITED (2) 2
played on Saturday, 23 January 2010, at 3pm
Above: Colin Little (second left of the Alty players) celebrates his goal.
The better side did not win this match as Alty somehow conjured a victory despite being second best for most of the afternoon. The Robins were indebted to several magnificent saves from goalkeeper Coburn, restored to the side after injury, and to some indifferent finishing from Hayes. Alty made four changes from last Tuesday, with Coburn, Little, Clee and McAliskey all starting as Saunders, Kearney, Doughty and Denham moved onto the bench. Starting with a 3-4-3 formation, Alty went two down and were forced to remodel as 4-4-2.
Alty started well, with McAliskey hitting the bar after 10 minutes but then Hayes took over. Toby Little put Hayes ahead in the 21st minute when Alty stood off the lively James on the right and his low cross seemed to be touched in at the back post though the tannoy gave the goal to the winger. It was 2-0 seven minutes later when, again, Hayes advanced unchallenged and Green's 25 yarder deflected off Williams into the net. Alty got a goal back after 30 minutes when Densmore's freekick was met by McAliskey's flicked header. As the ball crossed the line, Williams arrived to make sure.
Colin Little levelled the score in the fortieth minute when Clee's throw was nodded on by McAliskey and Little arrived at the back post to score.
It seemed that having recovered to parity at half time, Alty would go on to win the game but they spent most of the second half on the back foot. They were hugely grateful to goalkeeper Coburn who made three brilliant saves to keep his side in thegame. Alty's winner arrived in the 80th minute when Colin Little chased a ball up the middle and a defender's superb tackle ran, fortunately, to Senior. With the keeper stranded, Senior stroked the ball into an empty net from 25 yards. Hayes had a glorious chance to level in injury time but Ruby's effort landed on the roof of the net.
REFEREE: Mr T Harrington
John McAliskey and Adam Carden were cup-tied in mid week and Stuart Coburn also missed the game at Wimbledon, through injury. Carden did not make the squad but both Coburn and McAliskey started today as Graham Heathcote made four changes. Nicky Clee and Colin Little also both came into the starting line-up, as Tom Kearney, Matt Doughty, Chris Denham and Russell Saunders all dropped to the bench.
Because of the wintry weather, this was Altrincham's first home league game since 1 December, nearly eight weeks ago.
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 2. James SMITH, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 5. Greg YOUNG; 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 11. Nicky CLEE; 19. Chris SENIOR, 17. John McALISKEY, 9. Colin LITTLE. Subs: 13. Russell SAUNDERS 4. Tom KEARNEY, 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 10. Chris DENHAM, 18. Michael WELCH.
HAYES AND YEADING UNITED (Blue shirts, white shorts & blue socks): 1. Simon Overland, 2. Danny Allen-Page, 5. Matt Ruby (capt), 14. Sami el-Abd, 3. Adam Green, 17. Esmond James, 15. Justin Cochrane, 8. Mark Canham, 7. James Mulley, 36. Steven Basham, 19. Toby Little; Subs; 11. Dale Binns, 10. Scott Fitzgerald, 6. Ram Marwa, 22. Charlie Wassmer, 25. Chris Baker.
On a dull afternoon, Alty started the game with a 3-4-3 formation in which Little, McAliskey and Senior were at the front end and Williams, Smith and Young formed the back line. They started reasonably brightly and after fewer than 90 seconds, a defensive mix-up allowed Senior to roll a shot just wide. But play then went through a fairly moderate patch with no goalmouth incident. That changed after eight minutes when McAliskey received the ball with his back to goal, turned well, and planted a right foot shot against the angle of cross bar and upright.
Play then meandered on with each of the sides negating the other as the Middlesex side underlined the vast improvement in their performance from earlier in the season when Alty had beaten them more comfortably than the 2-1 scoreline had suggested. Clee was looking the pick of Alty's players, covering assiduously in defence and getting forward - as well as providing a threat with his prodigious throw-ins.
It took an excellent tackle by James Smith to stop Green as he got into the edge of the Alty box before, at the other end, Little hit a good shot from 25 yards which went narrowly wide of Overland's right post (14 mins). Coburn had his one shaky moment of the game when he flapped at a cross from Allen-Page but the defence got the ball away. Hayes won the game's first corner as Alty's early promise now fizzled out.
The visitors took the lead in the 21st minute when James, who had looked menacing on the Hayes right flank, was allowed to advance without a challenge. His cross cum shot went across the goalmouth where Toby ttle turned it into the unguarded net at the back post (21 mins). Alty's jitteriness at the back continued when Smith conceded a corner as Coburn came out to the ball (24 mins). Indeed, the home crowd, which had only seen Alty win two of their eleven home games this season, was beginning to get restless and they got even more so when Hayes doubled their lead. Once again, no one challenged an advancing Hayes player. It was defender Green who was allowed to advance up the inside left channel and he let fly from 25 yards. His shot hit Williams, a deflection which took it past Coburn into the net (28 mins).
Fortunately, Alty got back into the game just two minutes later. Their goal came when Allen-Page tripped Clee on the left. From 35 yards out Densmore's freekick was flick-headed on towards the far corner by the smallest man on the pitch, Chris Senior. As Williams arrived at the back post to make sure it went in, Senior's header crossed the line for his ninth goal of the season (30 mins). The goal lifted the home side's previously disappointing performance. Clee continued to look Alty's most potent threat and from one of his crosses from the left, the ball just evaded McAliskey at the back post (36 mins).
Williams then got in an important covering tackle for Alty. In the fortieth minute Clee's throw from the left was flicked on by McAliskey and Little arrived to nod the ball home to level the scores at 2-2 (40 mins). Colin has had a disrupted season with injury and a lack of form limiting his league appearances to just nine starts and eight sub appearances this season; nevertheless this was his fourth goal of the season.
Almost immediately an uncharacteristic error from Young, who missed his kick in the Alty goalmouth, almost let in Hayes but Altrincham were now enjoying their best period of the game. After three added minutes, half-time arrived with the score 2-2 and the impetus with the home side.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 HAYES & YEADING UNITED 2|
Any thoughts that Alty's comeback would herald their running away with the game were soon dispelled as the visitors again took the game to Altrincham. The opening stages of the half were pretty mediocre until poor Anthony Danylyk felt the full force of a Green freekick "in the midriff" (51 mins). Overland had to be alert to rush out and clear his lines outside his box but overall it was the London side that were making the running.
To try and shake things up Altrincham made a triple substitution in the 59th minute. On came the dropped trio of Kearney, Doughty and Denham whilst off went Danylyk, McAliskey and, most surprisingly, Clee. Yet within seconds, Hayes almost went ahead when Basham forced a brilliant save from Coburn which the Alty keeper followed up with an even better point-blank save from James who buried his head in his hands at the outcome of his shot (60 mins). Hayes now brought on Fitzgerald for James, who had taken a knock but before that had been impressive.
Five minutes later, Hayes brought on Binns for Little as the visitors remained the front runners in the second half. Hayes scorned a good chance after 69 minutes when a cross-shot was miskicked at goal from six yards out. Then former Premiership player, Basham again saw Stuart Coburn make a quite brilliant save, with his left hand, beating out the striker's effort. Hayes made their final change as former Woking man Ram Mawra replaced the unlucky Basham (74 mins).
It was Hayes who continued to go forward as Alty sat too deep for Graham Heathcote’s liking. But then the goal which decided the game arrived out of the blue. It arrived just after Williams had had to head clear off the goal line. The ball was then played up the middle where Little gave chase. A superb tackle form a Hayes defender, as keeper Overland came out, was undone when the ball ran to Senior, unmarked and 25 yards from goal. The Alty striker stroked the ball, low, into the vacant net, with Senior turning to celebrate even before the ball had crossed the line to make it 3-2 to Altrincham (80 mins).
Play was soon stopped for referee Harrington to sort out an altercation between Alty manager Graham Heathcote and some supporters on the "Mausoleum" some 20 yards from the technical area. Play resumed and soon Colin Little scuffed a shot well wide. But Altrincham continued to sit deep as Hayes maintained their pressure but Binns, who had looked menacing on the left, now wasted a decent chance with a shot at Coburn (87 mins). Senior then won a relieving corner for Alty. As the four added minutes began, Altrincham were still on the back foot. Mulley than shot wide for the visitors before Binns also fired over the bar. Alty fans were living on their nerves as the minutes ticked away and they had a final scare, in the fourth added minute, when Ruby headed over at the back post from close range, his effort landing on the roof of the Alty net.
Stuart Coburn was a deserved Man of the Match for his magnificent second half saves, but Chris Senior's two-goal haul was also worthy of note as the striker's extended run of starts this season has paid rich dividends. This was only Alty's third home win in twelve league games and consolidates their eleventh place in the Blue Square Premier. Hayes's Man of the Match was named as Mark Canham and the West London side can take pride in their performance this afternoon.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 3 HAYES & YEADING UNITED 2|