EASTBOURNE BOROUGH (1) 2 ALTRINCHAM (1) 2
played on Saturday, 20 February 2010, at 7.45pm
Altrincham were deprived of three points by a penalty seven minutes from time by Weatherstone after an alleged push by Nicky Clee at a Boro corner which arguably should not have been, following a foul on McAliskey. Earlier a total miskick of Smith's back pass by Saunders presented Marum with an open goal which he almost missed, the ball going in off the upright and just evading Young's attempted clearance. This happened in only the third minute of the game. Boro keeper also dropped a clanger, failing to gather a Kearney freekick and allowing Denham to head home (44 mins). Chris Senior fired Alty ahead in the 68th minute from Denham's pass. After Boro had levelled, Senior had a "goal" ruled out for offside.
REFEREE: Mr Jerden
Stuart Coburn was still unfit with a shoulder injury but Robbie Lawton had recovered to replace the suspended Peter Doran.
The Sports' goalkeeper Danny Knowles had recovered from injury. For Eastbourne, Dan Brown remained injured and both Jenkins and Opinel were suspended.
This was the second meeting of these two sides inside a week, after Alty had won 3-0 at Moss Lane on Tuesday.
EASTBOURNE BOROUGH (Red): 1. Danny Knowles, 2. Darren Baker, 4. Matt Smart, 5. Ben Austin, 6. Marc Pullan, 24. Gary Elphick, 8. Paul Armstrong, 12. Simon Johnson, 10. Liam Enver-Marum, 18. Jamie Taylor, 23. Joe Benjamin, Subs: 9. Andy Atkin, 14. Simon Weatherstone, 15. Nathan Crabb. 21. Mitchell Walker, 16. Ollie Rowe.
ALTRINCHAM (Yellow and blue shirts, blue shorts, yellow socks): 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 2. James SMITH, 5. Greg YOUNG; 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 4. Tom KEARNEY (capt), 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 11. Nicky CLEE; 19. Chris SENIOR, 10. Chris DENHAM,Subs: 7. John McALISKEY, 8. Clive MOYO-MODISE, 27. Ryan BROWN, 9. Colin LITTLE, 18. Michael WELCH
In bright conditions, Alty kicked off and won a corner, following a Clee long throw, inside the first minute. In fact, the visitors continued to start promisingly till Smith passed the ball back to Saunders but the young keeper slipped as he attempted to kick clear. The ball ran to Marum, who did his best to miss the opportunity, shooting against the post and being fortunate to see the ball rebound into the net despite Young getting a foot to it on the line (3 mins).
The goal gave Eastbourne an impetus which they reinforced with a series of physical challenges which yielded freekicks for Altrincham. Clee was on the wrong end of an accidental elbow and needed treatment (7 mins) Goalkeeper Saunders seemed to be rattled by his earlier error as he now kicked a goalkick into touch (5 mins). Play continued scrappily on the bobbly pitch, with the home side having the better of things but without being able to threaten seriously. When Marum caught Kearney late, the referee lectured the big striker (14 mins) but when the striker then indulged in some "after" on Smith he escaped further censure. Finally the referee's patience ran out and he booked Elphick for a foul (21 mins).
Denham soon followed Elphick into the book as play stuttered on (27 mins). The only incident of note as the game passed the half way mark was when Armstrong tried a shot from 25 yards which hit a defender, but offside was given anyway (32 mins). Neither side seemed able to keep the ball for long on the bumpy surface. There was some danger as Taylor got one on one with Smith but the ball rebounded clear from the Borough man's weak shot. Soon afterwards, and Armstrong shot deflected off Taylor and struck the Alty bar. Next, Smart shot over the bar as Alty struggled to get forward much themselves (34 mins).
The referee seemed willing to allow fouls to go unpunished at this stage so when Senior threatened to get free in the box, only to be barged over by Elphick, it was no surprise that he waved play on. But Alty also continued to get caught offside which further disrupted the flow of the match.
As half time approached, Alty began to get a bit more fluency as Senior saw a shot saved routinely but when they equalised it needed a major blunder from goalkeeper Knowles to gift them the goal. It came after a Marum foul gave Kearney a freekick 40 yards out, from which the keeper fumbled the ball. It ran loose for the incoming Denham to head home at the back post despite the attentions of a defender on the line (44 mins).
Half time soon arrived with the sides level after a less than pulsating first half in which both goals were attributable to goalkeeping errors.
|Half-Time: EASTBOURNE BOROUGH 1 ALTRINCHAM 1|
The second half started in an equally uninspired fashion to much of the first period. Neither side could keep the ball for long and there were no goal threats at either end. Marum's header well over the bar from a Benjamin corner was the nearest to a goal before the hour mark (59 mins). When Smart felled Lawton with a full studs-up and late tackle which raked the Alty captain's shin and left him needing treatment. McAliskey was already waiting to come on and he now replaced Lawton as Smart somehow escaped with only a yellow card (63 mins). The Alty captain was left with a gashed lower leg and was later seen by Alty supporter on the way home at Warwick M40 services, hobbling badly. Robbie is having dreadful luck with injuries this season.
Alty now had three up front and were looking threatening. They got their rewards after 68 minutes when Kearney found Denham who in turn got the ball to Senior. Alty's leading scorer smashed the ball into the top of the net at the near post, from right of goal. Greg Young led a bizarre celebration in which the players appeared to simulate a bowling alley with a ball being rolled and players falling over like skittles; quite what it all meant was a mystery! Now, with the Alty supporters giving good vocal support, the game now looked to be there for the winning.
Danylyk was impressing in the Alty midfield but soon his team mate Densmore got booked. He had clearly fouled an opponent but the referee had not seen it nor, till very late, did he see the linesman's flag. Densmore's booking seemed to be for dissent rather than the foul itself (72 mins). When Taylor chopped down Denham he was fortunate not to be booked; Alty were now well on top.
Next, Senior saw a diving header saved before Eastbourne made a triple change, bringing on Tait, Weatherstone and Nathan Crabb for Marum, Taylor and Armstrong whilst Alty replaced Denham by Brown (78 mins), seemingly looking to hold what they had. Apart from a wayward shot by Weatherstone, Alty looked comfortable with their lead. But when McAliskey was so clearly fouled near half way that he stamped his feet in disgust at the referee as he waved play on, a corner resulted for Eastbourne which was to cost Alty dear. From the right the corner came across the box and was cleared but Clee had been spotted pushing an opponent and a penalty was awarded.
Weatherstone beat Saunders from the spot to level the scores at 2-1 (83 mins). Alty now went on the offensive againand thought they had got the winner in the 86th minute when Senior netted after good work on the left by Clee but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Neither side could change things in the closing stages nor in four added minutes and Alty left with one point instead of the three that had looked to be theirs.
Eastbourne Borough is an extremely friendly club and, as its matchday programme catalogued, trying to compete like Altrincham in a full-time league as a part-time club creates great difficulties. So, it is to be hoped that they manage to keep clear of the relegation trap-door in preference to some of the less well run clubs in the BSP.
|Full-Time: EASTBOURNE BOROUGH 2 ALTRINCHAM 2|