ALTRINCHAM (0) 1 WREXHAM (2) 3
played on Saturday, 30 January 2010, at 3pm
Right: Adam Carden made his debut as a sub for Alty today; here he is seen with Chris Denham, John McAliskey and Chris Senior.
Wrexham deservedly took the points but a late Alty revival might have pushed the Dragons more closely, had it started a bit earlier in the game. Alty began the match with Williams and Little moving to the bench and they soon fell behind. McCluskey's relay of a ball from the left led to Mangan scoring off the post in just the fourth minute. Baynes made it 2-0 when Mangan cleverly back-heeled the ball to allow Baines a clear shot, which again went in off the post (37 mins).
Alty were much improved in the second half after going to a 3-4-3 formation but, though they went close a couple of times, substitute Jones finished off the home resistance with a goal from just outside the box in the 74th minute. Alty got some consolation when Senior was pushed over and Doughty hammered the resulting spot kick past Russell in the 87th minute.
REFEREE: Mr R Joyce
ATTENDANCE: 1,821 (592 in away end and more in the main stand)
With the departures of the two Andrews, Pearson and Owens, as well as the season-long injury to Dale Johnson, Alty were left with 22 players with first-team squad numbers. However, amongst these, both Richard Acton and Rod Thornley are emergency cover, whilst Michael Welch has just gone to Bamber Bridge to regain match fitness. Of the remaining 19, John Bennett and James Smart are youth team members who have yet to start a first-team match and both of the new signings, Adam Carden and Peter Doran, had also yet to start a game before today. So that left just 15 players with first-team experience for Altrincham to choose from today.
Robbie Williams and Colin Little moved to the bench today, as Alty's 4-4-2 line up deployed captain Robbie Lawton on the right flank.
Both sides had seen player movement during the transfer window but Alty's only acquisition, Peter Doran was suspended for today's game. Wrexham had been allowed to bring in winger Luke Holden on an "emergency loan", but their biggest signing was Andy Magan, acquired for a rumoured £30,000 from Forest Green Rovers.
The game survived a late pitch inspection but with the players occasionally finding it hard to stay on their feet at time in the shadow of the main stand, it must have been a tight decision to go ahead.
This game had been postponed from the Christmas period but was nevertheless the third meeting of the season between the sides, following their FA Trophy clash and replay, from which Altrincham had emerged victorious.
Altrincham started the game in 11th place, seven points ahead of the Dragons, but having played one more game.
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 2. James SMITH, 5. Greg YOUNG, 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 4. Tom KEARNEY, 11. Nicky CLEE; 19. Chris SENIOR, 17. John McALISKEY. Subs: 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Chris DENHAM, 24. Adam CARDEN, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS.
WREXHAM (All white): 1. Sam Russell, 15. Frank Sinclair, 4. Ashley Westwood, 5. Mani Assoumani, 22. Lamine Sakho, 16. Silvio Spann, 25. Christian Smith, 18. Wes Baynes, 19. Andy Fleming, 20. Jamie McCluskey, 30. Andy Mangan. Subs: 23. Obi Anoruo, 2. Curtis Obeng, 6. Mike Williams, 7. Mark Jones, 17. Adrian Cieslewicz.
In bright sunshine, in front of Alty's biggest home league gate this season, the game got under way unaccountably several minutes late after the players and officials had only emerged from the tunnel on the stroke of 3pm. At the end of the opening minute, Wrexham won their first corner but a foul in the penalty area meant that it came to nothing. It was a brief reprieve for Altrincham who fell behind in the fourth minute following a throw in by Sinclair. Wrexham got past Lawton on the Alty right and, from the resulting cross, McCluskey flicked the ball on, to his right, to the unmarked Mangan who converted at the back post; his low shot went into the net off Coburn's left upright. McCluskey was once the youngest player ever to appear in the Scottish Premier League.
Wrexham continued to have the better of the opening stages but Altrincham won themselves a corner, following a Clee throw in from the left (8 mins). Wrexham reciprocated with a corner themselves, soon afterwards, before play had to be stopped when a ball which had been booted out of the ground by Wrexham, was thrown back onto the pitch from outside the ground after play had resumed with a replacement. Wrexham's rhythm was upset again when veteran defender Frank Sinclair went down injured and was unable to continue. He was replaced by Mike Williams (17 mins).
Altrincham now put together their best move of the game so far which ended with Senior putting in a low cross from the left which just evaded the incoming Lawton in the centre of the box (18 mins). After Doughty had been caught out by Spann's cross from the right, a Wrexham player headed weakly at Coburn. At last Alty threatened when Senior got in a shot from wide right which forced a save from Russell (19 mins). Play went from end to end as Coburn now caught comfortably from Fleming's effort.
Altrincham were displaying patience in their build ups but it was the visitors who looked the more threatening and direct. But when Russell’s attempted kick was blocked by Senior, the Welsh team's keeper was fortunate to see no damage done to his goal. The game drifted past the half hour mark with neither side particularly threatening at this stage. Baynes wasted a Wrexham corner by kicking it behind the goal (34 mins) but he made amends soon afterwards when he put Wrexham two up. It was a very well constructed goal as, after several passes, Spann fed Mangan. He cleverly back-heeled the ball on to Baynes who finished off the move with a low shot which, like the opener, went in off the upright, this time to Coburn's right (37 mins).
So, for the second week in succession Alty trailed 0-2 in the first half and it almost got worse as Mangan got in a shot, which Coburn saved. Another two Wrexham corners arrived before the interval and in the first of the two added minutes a 35 yarder from Baynes smashed against Coburn's cross bar but rebounded to safety for Altrincham. However, Altrincham ended the half with a good move which finished with Densmore going down in the box but without any offence being seen by Mr Joyce (45+2 mins). So, the interval arrived with Alty needing to improve if they were to take anything from this match.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 WREXHAM 2|
Wrexham made their second change at the interval as Mark Jones came on for a presumably injured McCluskey, who had impressed in the first half. The half started, as the previous period had ended, with Alty appealing for a penalty as a player, this time Kearney, went down in the Wrexham box. Both Clee and Danylyk were soon hobbling but they soon seemed to recover, though both were withdrawn in the 55th minute when Robbie Williams and Chris Denham came on, as Alty changed to a 3-4-3 formation, with Densmore pushed forward to right midfield as Lawton moved inside. Denham joined Senior and McAliskey up front.
Next Jones wasted an opening for the visitors as Altrincham struggled to build any moves to threaten the opposition goal. But the change of formation now brought about an improvement though in his more advanced position Densmore found himself slipping several times on the pitch in front of the main stand where the shadow had left the surface still slightly frosty. The home side's improvement continued as the hour mark passed.
But, it could have got worse for Alty when Mangan's clear foul on Young went unpunished. However, the new Wrexham striker put in a poor cross from the right (63 mins). Next, a mistake by Robbie Williams proved not be costly as Spann's first touch undid his chance as he got clear right of goal. Following an Alty freekick, from 45 yards out, the ball span off someone into the air but Alty were slow to react and the danger ended with Williams heading comfortably into Russell's arms.
But then Wrexham wasted a chance to finish off Alty. From Sakho's cross, the ball came to Smith at the back post but he somehow headed the ball into the ground and over the bar from about six feet out at the back post (72 mins). Just after this Alty had two great chances which arose when Doughty's freekick was met by Young and reached Williams whose header was goalbound till Russell and the crossbar combined to keep it out. From the resulting corner by Doughty, a McAliskey header was saved by the keeper. But just as it looked as if Alty might get back into the game, Wrexham went straight to the other end and scored as Jones was allowed time and space to place a good shot into the corner of the net from outside the box (74 mins).
With the score 0-3, Adam Carden came on to make his Alty debut in less than ideal circumstances (75 mins). He replaced the lame Densmore on the Alty right and went on to give a promising performance. Wrexham's Sakho had the ball in the net again soon afterwards but only after offside had been given. Now Anorou came on for Mangan (79 mins), the £30,000 man having had a fairly quiet match apart from his goal (79 mins).
Having not booked anyone for 79 minutes Mr Joyce somehow belatedly found cause to show four yellow cards in eight minutes. Senior was the first cautioned, seemingly for too vehement a protest after going down in the Wrexham box (79 mins). Soon afterwards Senior was brought down again but this time he did win a freekick, just outside the Alty box, and Assoumani found himself in the book too for his offence. The freekick routine by Alty failed badly and, soon after this, Wrexham wasted another open goal. This time Sakho and Anoruo seemed to confuse each other with the latter scooping the ball over the bar from six feet out, though he was belatedly given offside, anyway (84 mins).
When Kearney was fouled on the edge of the box, Christian Smith became Mr Joyce’s third yellow card victim. However, when a Robbie Williams header from the resulting freekick sent Senior chasing towards goal, only to be brought down by Fleming, the offender conceded a penalty but in the prevailing climate of bookings was surprisingly not cautioned. Doughty hammered the penalty past Russell to make it 3-1, despite the Wrexham fans behind the goal being allowed to reach over and ripple the netting to put off Doughty as he took the kick (87 mins).
Next, a Denham foul saw him yellow-carded as Mr Joyce seemed to meet virtually every foul with a card at this late stage (89 mins). There was still time for Denham to put in a superb shot which Russell saved equally well and, from the resulting cross, Young headed over the bar (90 mins). Three minutes of added time saw Alty still pressing but they had left it too late.
Nevertheless, in the third added minute, Senior almost gave Wrexham an uneasy closing to the game as he took Denham’s cross well but could only hook the ball across the face of goal from the right. But no one could begrudge Wrexham their win as they scored three in a league match for the first time since September 2009. It was their first ever league win over Alty and only their second win in six league and cup matches against us in the last season and a half, their previous win being an extra time victory in a Setanta Shield match in 2008.
James Smith and Wrexham's Fleming were named the Men of the Match.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 WREXHAM 3|