Match Report


Blue Square Premier match
played on Tuesday, 16 February 2010, at 3pm


Altrincham gained a comfortable win against an Eastbourne side which lacked any real punch up front. Both sides had pre-match goalkeeping problems with Alty's regular no.1, Stuart Coburn having picked up a shoulder injury on Saturday. He had to be replaced by Russell Saunders in the Alty side and Eastbourne had to field a newly signed emergency loan keeper, Mitchell Walker, from Brighton. Alty played some excellent football in the first half but were grateful to see a Marum freekick strike the post before Peter Doran fired the home side ahead with an excellent finish from the edge of the box after good work by Densmore (17 mins). After Densmore had hit the bar, Denham converted a low Clee cross to make it 2-0 (28 mins).

But a pleasantly flowing game was turned on its head just before the break when Doran fouled Benjamin and, to the amazement of most spectators, referee Bond produced a red rather than a yellow card for Alty's new man, who had been playing well (41 mins). The referee then disallowed an Eastbourne goal for a foul on Saunders by Elphick (44 mins) before the visitors' Sacha Opinel also saw red for violent conduct against Denham, on the stroke of half-time.

Alty allowed Eastbourne to come at them early in the second half before Chris Denham was brought down by Pullan and Senior beat the keeper from the spot to make it 3-0 in the 68th minute. Referee Bond once more courted controversy when, on the advice of the fourth official, he sent Alty manager Graham Heathcote to the stands (80 mins).


  • 17 mins: Peter DORAN (Altrincham 1 Eastbourne Borough 0)
  • 28 mins: Chris DENHAM (Altrincham 2 Eastbourne Borough 0)
  • 68 mins: Chris SENIOR (penalty) (Altrincham 3 Eastbourne Borough 0)

    REFEREE: Mr D. Bond

    ATTENDANCE: 590 (incl. 4 through the away turnstile)


    Stuart Coburn was unfit with a shoulder injury as Alty also went into the match without Robbie Lawton in addition to the longer term injuries to Matt Doughty and Dale Johnson. To cover for Matt's injury, Alty had signed Northwich Vics' left-back Ryan Brown as an emergency loan on the morning of this match and he was on the bench.

    The Sports, likewise, had problems. Their goalkeeper Danny Knowles was injured and reserve goalkeeper Michael Jordan had been released from his contract two weeks ago and joined Farnborough, with goalkeeping coach Dean Lightwood providing recent back-up on the bench. So, their manager brought in teenage keeper Mitchell Walker from Brighton as an emergency loan goalkeeper for tonight's match.


    For the second year running, due to bad weather, Eastbourne had had to make the 520-mile round trip to Altrincham for a Tuesday night game. Altrincham were set to make the return trip this weekend.

    Alty started in eleventh place, whereas Eastbourne were 12 points behind, having played three more games, in 19th place.


    ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirt, black shorts, red socks): 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 2. James SMITH, 5. Greg YOUNG; 21. Peter DORAN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 4. Tom KEARNEY (capt), 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 11. Nicky CLEE; 19. Chris SENIOR, 10. Chris DENHAM Subs: 17. John McALISKEY, 24. Adam CARDEN, 8. Clive MOYO-MODISE, 27. Ryan BROWN, 9. Colin LITTLE

    EASTBOURNE BOROUGH (): 21. Mitchell Walker, 17. Sacha Opinel, 5. Ben Austin, 6. Marc Pullan, 24. Gary Elphick, 8. Paul Armstrong, 11. Matt Crabb, 12. Simon Johnson, 10. Liam Enver-Marum, 18. Jamie Taylor, 23. Joe Benjamin, Subs: 30. Dean Lightwood, 14. Simon Weatherstone, 4. Matt Smart, 15. Nathan Crabb. 2. Darren Baker.


    On a bitterly cold night with the rival attraction of local club Manchester United live on TV in the warmth of potential spectators' homes, and with the visitors having to make a 500-mile plus round trip in midweek, it was little surprise that the gate was Alty's lowest of the season.

    But those who came were witness to a bright start from Altrincham, with a Densmore shot just clearing the bar from the right after good work by Doran and Denham (2 mins). By the five-minute mark Altrincham had won three corners in quick succession. Yet when Williams fouled Marum on the edge o the "D" at the other end, it was Eastbourne who almost snatched the lead. Marum's low freekick struck Saunders's right-hand post and rebounded to safety (6 mins). As well as the corners, the Eastbourne defence also had to contend with the long throws of Nicky Clee which are every bit as much a danger as flag-kicks.

    Play continued quite brightly with Alty winning a fourth corner just after the ten-minute mark when Young fed Denham. At the other end, Saunders made a good catch from a Borough cross but it was mainly Alty doing the attacking with Clee, Densmore, Denham and Doran all prominent (15 mins). Altrincham were passing the ball about well but Eastbourne now went close when Taylor fired narrowly wide of the post after the Alty defence had stood off him on the edge of the box (16 mins).

    But play switched to the Golf Road End where Denham found himself with an opening but he elected not to shoot immediately and the chance disappeared. However, moments later Alty did take the lead when Densmore advanced impressively up the right and after interchanging passes with Denham, fed Doran, whose first time curling shot from the edge of the box found the upper reaches of the net to the keeper's left to make it 1-0 (17 mins).

    The sides traded attacks before a kicked clearance from Walker hit Senior but was cleared by a defender (23 mins). Then an Eastbourne shot went fairly close to the Alty post. Densmore almost made it 2-0 with a rasping shot from right of goal which struck the bar from a pass by Senior and a corner soon followed (27 mins). Clee's corner was half cleared but he got the ball back, low, across the box from the left, to Denham who scored comfortably from close range (28 mins).

    Doran soon had a great chance to score again but he sent a fierce shot well over the bar (29 mins). Alty then won their sixth corner of the night. After 32 minutes Austin was booked for a foul on Clee but in the 34th minute the visitors gained their first corner. Matt Crabb then threatened to break through into the box after getting past Smith but a superb covering tackle from Densmore stopped his advance (37 mins). Next, Doran stormed up to the other end before Denham's fierce shot flashed across the goalmouth (39 mins).

    But then, what had been a pleasantly entertaining game, took a turn for worse. Doran rushed in on Benjamin, on the Eastbourne right, fifteen yards or so inside the Alty half. With Benjamin on the deck after Doran's tackle, and treatment summoned, the referee produced a red card for the Alty man, to the surprise not only of Doran but most of the crowd. Although Doran's tackle was a foul it was not two-footed or from behind and a yellow would have seemed a more appropriate punishment for Alty's new signing from Welshpool Town, who was making only his second start (40 mins).

    Benjamin made a quick recovery but straight from the restart he was down again when his heels and those of Densmore touched as they ran across each other; the Alty man was penalised and booked.

    More controversy followed as, from a freekick, Eastbourne headed the ball into Alty's net only for the referee to rule it for a foul on Saunders by Elphick (44 mins). There was still more first-half drama to come as Denham fouled Opinel just inside the Eastbourne half and the Frenchman reacted with violent conduct towards the Alty man and he, too, saw red, to leave the match ten a side (45 mins).

    Three minutes of added time were played to leave the half-time score in an eventful game at 2-0 to Altrincham.


    Eastbourne started the second half brightly but it was Altrincham who went the closer in the opening stages. This chance came after Clee had found Denham and his pass inside, to his left, found Senior, whose effort was blocked. Then, Densmore went on a rampaging run up the inside right channel only to be eased off his balance by a defender inside the box (51 mins).

    Soon afterwards, Walker had to be out of his goal smartly to beat Senior to the ball (52 mins). Alty now had the upper hand again as Denham saw a shot blocked. Boro then brought on Smart for Benjamin (54 mins). But the hosts were soon threatening again when Senior got to the by-line and, from his cut-back, Kearney shot firmly, but high, over the bar (58 mins).

    Despite trailing, Eastbourne continued to pass the ball efficiently as Alty now let the opposition come at them. They almost paid the price when Enver-Marum got past Smith but the ex-Cambridge striker and Boro's leading scorer, took a bad touch and the ball ran off to Saunders (62 mins).

    Pullan, one of the visiting central defenders, was being given a difficult night by Denham and when he made an error which allowed the Alty man to get behind him, Pullan brought down Denham to concede a clear penalty, awarded by the referee after the nearby linesman failed to raise his flag. With both regular penalty takers, Doughty and Little, not on the pitch, Chris Senior took the responsibility and beat Walker confidently to make it 3-0 (68 mins).

    Soon afterwards, Pullan, who had been booked for conceding the penalty, was replaced by Baker (73 mins). Next, a fine ball from Denham allowed Senior to fire narrowly wide, at which point Ryan Brown came on for his Alty debut in place of Clee (74 mins). Brown, signed on loan from Northwich earlier in the day as cover for the injured Matt Doughty, slotted into the Alty midfield.

    When Williams and Smith combined to sandwich an opponent, Eastbourne won a freekick just outside the Alty box (78 mins). As Moyo-Modise prepared to come on, Smith got booked for a foul. Before Moyo could be introduced, referee Bond came over to consult Mr Duncan, the fourth official. The outcome was that Alty manager Graham Heathcote was sent off from the touchline, allegedly for swearing (83 mins). After Taylor had put the freekick over the bar, Moyo-Modise finally got on for his home debut in place of Denham (84 mins).

    Mr Bond's questionable decision-making continued as he gave a goalkick for what was clearly a corner. Now Colin Little came on for Chris Senior, as Alty's current leading scorer left to deserved applause (87 mins).

    Nicky Clee was named as Alty's Man of the Match before Saunders did well to deal with a dipping cross under the cross bar from the Eastbourne right wing. A very similar effort in the three added minutes bounced off the top of the Alty bar before the final whistle went to confirm Alty's fifth home win of the season and consolidation of their eleventh place in the league table.

    These two teams renew their acquaintance on Saturday in Sussex, where Borough will look to avenge this, their first league defeat by Altrincham.