ALTRINCHAM 0 YORK CITY 0
played on Saturday, 13 March 2010, at 3pm
Alty's self-selecting squad - they only have 16 fit players - worked hard to secure their fourth successive draw and further hinder York's promotion push. With James Smith still out with a hamstring injury, Robbie Lawton also sidelined and Tom Kearney missing after having had his leg broken at Wrexham, manager Graham Heathcote had little room for manoeuvre. York had the better of the second half after a more even first 45 minutes but, led by Man of the Match and captain Greg Young, Alty kept the visitors at bay. York's Richard Brodie, the league's leading scorer, had a wretched afternoon - missing two sitters and being booked for a blatant dive.
Right: Alty attack the York goal in the first half. It's not snow behind the goal but rolls of paper, thrown onto the pitch by York supporters.
REFEREE: Mr J Simpson (Lancaster)
As well as the long-term injured Matt Doughty and Dale Johnson, Alty were now without Tom Kearney, who had his leg broken at Wrexham last Tuesday, James Smith (hamstring strain) and Robbie Lawton (ankle). So, Alty named all sixteen remaining members of their squad (apart from youth teamers John Bennett and James Smart).
After a record-breaking run, which included eight successive league wins, York had endured a wretched sequence of form which had seen them lose four and draw one of their last five BSP matches. Likewise, Alty had not won themselves in five league games but had drawn four of those games. York started the game sixth in the table, with Alty eleventh.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 5. Greg YOUNG, 27. Ryan BROWN, 21. Peter DORAN, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 11. Nicky CLEE; 10. Chris DENHAM, 19. Chris SENIOR, 9. Colin LITTLE, Subs: 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 18. Michael WELCH, 8. Clive MOYO-MODISE, 17. John McALISKEY, 24. Adam CARDEN
YORK CITY (Pale blue): 24. Michael Ingham, 5. David McGurk, 3. James Meredith, 26. Graham Luke, 2. Ben Purkiss, 17. Levi Mackin, 16. Richard Brodie, 25. Jamie Clarke, 21. Djoumin Sangare, 28. Courtney Pitt, 9. Michael Gash, Subs: 6. Daniel Parslow, 15. Michael Rankine, 10. Richard Paquette, 29. Paul Harsley, 27. Kevin Gall.
On a dull, drizzly afternoon, with the floodlights on from kick off, Alty kicked off towards the Carole Nash end but got into an immediate mix-up and lost possession. However, Altrincham then enjoyed the better of the opening minutes, with Williams seeing a shot blocked. The Welsh semi-pro international was soon in action at the other end, though, making an important challenge on Brodie, the BSP's leading scorer this season (5 mins).
Alty now won the game's first corner when Nicky Clee turned well but saw his shot deflected (8 mins). Clee took the corner himself but Young could only head this over the bar. York had travelled in good numbers and both sets of supporters were in good voice as Brown conceded a corner from Meredith's probe forward. Pitt, who like Smith, was sporting a striking Mohican hairstyle, took a poor corner, allowing Densmore to clear easily.
The game's first booking arrived after 15 minutes when former Wrexham man, Mackin, barged Denham over onto the "running track" in front of the Family Stand. From Clee's resulting freekick from the Alty right, the ball was cleared off Greg Young. The sun now made a brief appearance as Brodie was allowed to advance, despite appeals for offside, but Alty got the ball away (17 mins).
York were now improving on their opening to the game but their best effort to date was a long range shot which ended up in the Golf Road, behind the terrace roof. Neither side was seriously threatening a goal at this stage; for Alty Senior was seeing little of the ball whilst Colin Little, in a supporting role, was also kept under control.
Ryan Brown impressed with a good tackle and fellow recent arival, Peter Doran, was also prominent with several energetic interventions as the game passed the half-hour mark. Ingham then shanked a clearance into the allotments outside the ground before York won themselves a corner (33 mins). York almost put through their own goal in the 35th minute when left-back Meredith, in seeing off a Clee and Danylyk attack, played the ball back towards his keeper, only for the bounce almost to take it over Ingham's stretching hand. But York's no.1 just managed to reach it.
Smith looked menacing for York and from his cross from the right Gash, the £55,000 signing from Ebbsfleet, headed over the bar but he gained a corner for what must have been a slight deflection. Soon after this, Meredith fired narrowly wide (38 mins). More good work from Smith, in the 41st minute, saw his cross loop up off Anthony Danylyk's head, at the near post, and drop invitingly for Brodie at the back stick. But the big striker made a mess of this clear chance by heading over the bar from close range.
Altrincham then put together a 22-pass move but sadly the outcome was that the ball ended up at their own keeper's feet from Young's back pass (44 mins). Half time arrived after a minute of added time, during which Brodie crossed wildly from the left, the ball again ending up in the street outside the ground.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 YORK CITY 0|
The second half was less than 20 seconds old when referee Simpson stopped play to lecture Greg Young and Richard Brodie, before resuming the game with a bounce-up. York went close soon after this when a long ball cleared Williams and found Brodie in on goal. But Stuart Coburn made a great block and then gathered the ball at the second attempt (48 mins). Next, Pitt got the better of Brown but his shot cleared the bar, earning a corner for a slight deflection (50 mins).
Altrincham were passing the ball about well but without any great penetration and so it was the visitors who looked the more likely to score as the half progressed. Gash then fired narrowly wide but without much pace and so Coburn was able to amble across goal and calmly let the ball pass the wrong side of the post.
Altrincham made the first substitution, Clive Moyo-Modise replacing COlin Little (57 mins). Doran again impressed with a strong tackle before Greg Young almost got caught out, trying to shepherd a ball out for a goal kick. York gained possession but they could only gain a corner rather than score a goal from a very presentable opening (60 mins).
When Coburn then punched clear under pressure, York's Brodie and Sangare were left prostrate on the Alty goal-line, presumably having collided with each other. Brodie soon recovered but Sangare needed some treatment before he resumed. Gash now wasted a half-chance with a very weak shot which trundled its way to Coburn (63 mins). York's woeful shooting continued as Brodie managed to clear the tall fence behind the away goal with his next effort, but he was given a corner for yet another imperceptible deflection. Graham went close from the corner before Clee surged, 60 yards, up the field to relieve the pressure for Altrincham.
Next, each side made a change with Harsley, a new loan signing from Chesterfield, replacing Mackin for the visitors and Carden coming on for Denham (65 mins). Moyo was then blocked off by Sangare as the game opened up a bit. Next, Rankine, who had trialled for Alty a couple of years ago, replaced the disappointing Gash for City (69 mins). Play was now going from end to end before two errors from Alty combined to let York in. First, Brown dwelt too long on the ball and lost possession to Rankine who then got the better of the otherwise impressive Young. The move ended with a poor curler wide by Clarke (73 mins).
Brodie then went down appealing for a penalty that wasn't. But York applied more pressure only for Brodie to go down again in the Alty box seeking another penalty. This time Mr Simpson lost patience and booked the big striker for diving (78 mins). At this point Michael Welch joined the game, going into central defence; Clee was the player surprisingly removed. As a consequence, Young moved to the left side of defence.
A fine run by the burly Rankine then threatened the Altrincham goal as the game went into its final ten minutes. York were doing all the pressing now but Alty were defending well. The next threat saw Sangare cross a ball across the face of goal (82 mins). However, Alty did then get to the other end, with Doran firing comfortably over the bar (83 mins). Brodie's unhappy afternoon continued as Purkiss's cross ended up at the feet of Brodie who, from about three feet out, somehow contrived to put the ball onto the roof of the net. Next, Rankine tried to join Brodie in the book for simulation but got away with his dive (87 mins).
Altrincham then strung together a move of a dozen passes or so but with no end product. As the game went into three added minutes, Rankine won the visitors a corner but, despite further pressure in the closing stages, Altrincham's depleted side emerged with a hard-earned point which will have pleased them far more than their visitors. But for some dreadful finishing York would have taken the points but Altrincham could be pleased with a hardworking performance from an inexperienced squad which included two players who had only joined the club recently (Brown and Doran) and three used subs (Moyo, Welch and Carden) who have yet to start a game this season.
Greg Young was named the home Man of the Match, with Smith taking the award for the Minstermen. Altrincham remain eleventh after this, their fourth successive draw and their fifth sharing of the points in six outings. The squad may now be lacking in numbers and experience but it is certainly not short of spirit and organization.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 YORK CITY 0|