SOUTHPORT (0) 1 ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
played on Tuesday, 24 August 2010, at 7.45pm
For the third time this season a late goal cost Alty dear as Tony Gray's shot deflected off Michael Welch's back into the net in the 82nd minute to send Alty to the bottom of the table. Southport had had the better of an open game but Alty had their half-chances with Williams's header the nearest to a goal for the visitors. Reeves ended the game limping to add to Alty's injury list which saw Densmore, Danylyk, Twiss, Lawton and Doughty all unfit to play today and, with Crowell's international clearance still delayed, he, too, was absent. And to make things even worse, Denham had to go off at half time.
REFEREE: Mr Paul Davison
ATTENDANCE: 1,088, 138 in away end
With Crowell, Twiss, Lawton, Danylyk, Denham and Doughty all unavailable, Holmes and Holsgroves made their first starts for Altrincham. Lawton and Twiss were named on the bench but were not fit to play.
Altrincham started the game 23rd in the table with apoint from three games. Tom Kearney, who broke his leg last season, was at the game, as was former manager John King.
SOUTHPORT (Yellow and black): 1. Tony McMillan, 2. Kevin Lee, 5. Earl Davis, 3. Chris Lever, 15. Robbie Williams, 17 Liam Blakeman, 11. Matty McGinn, 8. Alan Moogan, 7. Ashley Winn, 10. Tony Gray, 16. Matty McNeil. Subs: 6. Michael Powell, 22. Steve Dickinson, 4. Adam Flynn, 14. Paul Barratt, 9. Steve Daly
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. James SMITH, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 22. Michael WELCH, 4. Marc JOSEPH, 15. Ryan BROWN, 11. Nicky CLEE, 19. Danny HOLMES, 12. Kevin HOLSGROVE, 10. Chris DENHAM, 14. Dale JOHNSON. Subs: 8. Damian REEVES, 21. James COATES, 17. Tom McCREADY, 9. Michael TWISS, 7. Robbie LAWTON
Southport kicked off in sunny but windy conditions and Blakeman dragged a decent chance wide as early as the second minute after former Alty man McNeil had done well on the right. In fact, Southport were to concentrate their first half attacks mainly up their right flank from where they created several chances. In the fourth and fifth minutes Southport won three corners, two of which Coburn punched clear. A foul on Holsgrove, making his debut start, relieved the pressure. Southport twice more carved Alty open up the right before McNeil saw his shot saved by Coburn (11 mins).
Holsgrove then won Alty a corner as they now got more into the game but Southport soon won another themselves. From the right, an inswinger deceived Coburn and Alty were pleased to see the ball headed over the bar from close range by a Southport player (24 mins). Alty held their own for the next few minutes before Holsgrove won them a corner. This came to nothing and it was Southport who next went close, with McNeil's back post header being blocked by an Alty defender (36 mins).
Three more Southport corners were won in the final five minutes of the first half. The last of these could not be taken as the referee blew for half-time, but it came when McGinn's superb freekick, awarded against Holmes for "foot-up", was deflected narrowly over the bar. Port had had the better of the half but Altrincham appeared to have weathered the storm well considering the depleted state of their side.
|Half-Time: SOUTHPORT 0 ALTRINCHAM 0 0|
Alty were forced into a change at the interval as Reeves came on for the injured Denham up front. Holsgrove got in an early but wild shot for Alty (47 mins). A Lee shot was then deflected out for Southport's first corner of the half (51 mins) but then Reeves and Holsgrove combined well with the latter's cross being caught by keeper McMillan. Soon afterwards, following a Smith clearance, Reeves and Holsgrove combined again with the latter cutting in from the left before firing narrowly wide.
At the other end, McGinn also went close, with a volley from 25 yards (55 mins). Play was end to end now as Williams’s fine tackle started another Alty move involving Brown and Holsgrove. Some desperate defending was then needed in the Alty goalmouth before the hosts replaced Winn by Barratt on the right (59 mins). After this a great block from Smith stopped Gray's advance.
Yet again play switched to the other end and Reeves did well to the right of goal and fed Holsgrove but the debutant miscontrolled the ball in a very promising position inside the box. Barratt soon made an impact with two fouls inside his first five minutes on the pitch. Next, a Clee corner was met by Williams but his header just cleared the bar. However, Johnson soon won another corner for Alty.
Flynn now replaced Lever for Southport (68 mins) before Altrincham won their third corner in as many minutes. After this, Clee did well, on defensive duties, to stop Barratt before McMillan just caught a fine cross, which came from the right from Holsgrove, just as Reeves rose to head the ball in the goalmouth (71 mins). Sandwiched between two Southport corners, Nicky Clee took a fine inswinging corner for Alty which McMillan did well to tip away under his bar. That corner came just after Dale Johnson was substituted by Tom McCready, who was making his league debut for Alty (75 mins).
McCready soon prompted an Alty counter-attack with a magnificent long ball which found Reeves but, with Holsgrove free in the box, Reeves's pass went marginally behind the winger, with Reeves injuring himself in the process and reducing Alty to ten men for a couple of minutes (81 mins). The game looked like it could go either way when Southport finally decided it. As Port were advancing up the left, Alty hesitated, looking for an offside flag, which did not come. This allowed a Port player to get to the by-line left of goal and pull the ball back for Gray. His shot was struck at goal but hit Welch's back as he tried to get in the way of it. The ball span up and looped into the net to give the home side the lead (82 mins).
Earl Davis became the game's only booking for a late challenge on Reeves (86 mins) but Southport were able to keep the ball in Alty’s half for most of the remaining time, which included three added minutes. Alty's last chance came at the death with a corner but Joseph put this behind the goal from the flag-kick (90+3 mins).
So, Alty's recent run of conceding late goals continued. Given the lack of resources at the management's command, the team did well to come so close to taking a point, especially in the second half when several half chances presented themselves but were not converted. Southport deserved the win on the balance of play, particularly in the first half, but the result left Altrincham bottom of the table and hoping that Reeves's knock does not mean that he is added to the lengthy injured list.
|Full-Time: SOUTHPORT 1 ALTRINCHAM 0|