ALTRINCHAM (0) 1 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS (0) 2
played on Saturday, 4 September 2010, at 3pm
The BBC indicated that, in this game, Alty had 17 shots to Kiddy's 7 and won 9 corners against 3 for the visitors. But what the stats do not show is that it was not any of the 32 players in today's match day squads who decided the outcome of this contest. It was Mr R Fletcher, the referee, who did so. He decided that a ball blasted against James Smith's chest, which he had no chance to avoid, was deliberate handball and awarded a penalty with the score at 1-1. Chris McPhee netted the resulting spot-kick, with just ten minutes left. Yet when the whole ground could see that Chris Denham was held by both arms in the box, that was apparently not an offence of any kind. On such decisions are match outcomes decided.
Earlier, Kidderminster had taken the lead against the run of play when a cross from the right was badly defended and substitute Gittings was left with a simple tap-in (72 mins). But Alty responded and Damian Reeves netted smartly from an acute angle after his first effort had been blocked (76 mins). Before and after the penalty decision Alty spurned chances to score, with McCarthy, twice, and Denham the players involved. Williams also twice went close for Alty but the visitors left Moss Lane with a fortuitous three points. Despite their precarious league position, Alty's fans gave good support to a much changed side which saw six players start who had not done so in the previous game.
REFEREE: Mr R Fletcher
ATTENDANCE: 929 (84 in away end)
Harriers were without the suspended Albrighton and Wrexham loanee Marc Williams, who was on international duty for Wales. Verma was ruled out, too, with a broken bone in his hand.
Altrincham made six changes, with the omission of Clee being the only one caused by injury. Goalkeeper Stuart Coburn moved to the bench as James Coates made his debut; James McCarthy also made his first start in place of Reeves. At the back Joseph gave way as Welch returned. Holmes and Holsgrove were the other two starters from Monday who missed out today with neither in the squad. New signing Sam Hewson was on the bench. Captain, Robbie Lawton, Anthony Danylyk and Chris Denham returned to the side after injury.
Alty started the game bottom of the table, whilst Harriers were four points above them but only second from bottom. Kidderminster were the last team Alty beat in the league - seven games from the end of last season.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 21. James COATES, 2. James SMITH, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 22. Michael WELCH, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 18. Matty CROWELL, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 15. Ryan BROWN, 10. Chris DENHAM, 23. James McCARTHY, Subs: 1. Stuart COBURN, 4. Marc JOSEPH, 8. Damian REEVES, 9. Michael TWISS, 20. Sam HEWSON.
KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS (All yellow) : 1. Daniel Lewis, 2.Lee Vaughan, 3 Mike Williams, 5. Thomas Shaw, 8. Keith Briggs, 9. Lee Morris, 10. Chris McPhee, 11. Jack Byrne, 14. Nick Wright, 16. Michael Briscoe, 22. Ollie Thorne. Subs: 7. Dave Hankin, 15. Tom Sharpe, 17. Matty Blair, 18. Callum Gittings, 33. Andrew Stevens,
Alty kicked off in warm but cloudy conditions, attacking the Golf Road end but, in fewer than ten seconds, the ball had gone out for a Kidderminster goalkick. Chris Denham made a lively start to the game, charging down Thorne as he dallied over a clearance but the ball rebounded over the bar. Despite their team's plight, the Alty supporters were in good voice and soon they had reason to cheer as Denham's ball from the right found Williams whose goalbound shot was deflected out for a corner (4 mins).
Lawton was then penalised for a foul just outside the Alty box but Alty defended this well (7 mins). Kiddy's first corner arrived in the 10th minute, won by Vaughan off Smith. The game went through a fairly even spell without any real threat of a goal to either side until the 16th minute when Wright got in a shot which Alty cleared off the line. Then, at the other end, Crowell’s cross from the right was only just reached by keeper Lewis, who pawed the ball off the head of the incoming McCarthy. Soon afterwards, McCarthy did land a shot on target but Lewis saved it (20 mins).
Denham continued to look lively for Altrincham but Robbie Lawton was limping badly. It then took a fine tackle from Williams to stop McPhee on the edge of the Alty box. Next, from a Densmore cross, Vaughan had to head out for an Alty corner which Densmore himself overhit (27 mins). From a cross from the right Danylyk headed wide, under pressure, before a neat Alty moved ended in offside.
Alty was doing more of the pressing but without any end product before Lawton finally gave in to his injury and went down for treatment. He continued after this, though clearly not moving well. Michael Welch then came off worse in a challenge towards half way but play was allowed to continue and McPhee forced a great save from Coates at point blank range as Welch remained injured (42 mins). Kidderminster pressed again before the interval but Altrincham and their hobbling captain got to the interval with game scoreless but having put in a decent performance.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 0|
Surprisingly, Lawton had recovered to resume playing in the second half. Alty won an early corner when Lewis fumbled a Denham shot and, in fact, they were to win five corners in the first four minutes of the second period. The second resulted from a good shot by McCarthy. The sequence ended when the fifth corner was played out to Densmore who skied his effort well over the bar from 25 yards (49 mins)
Altrincham made a double swap and Kidderminster a single change after 54 minutes. Hewson came on for his debut in midfield, along with defender Marc Joseph, as Crowell and Welch went off for Altrincham. The Harriers introduced Blair for Wright, giving the wags the chance to observe that Brown and Blair were in opposition once again!
Hewson had an early impact when, from Denham’s lay off, he had a shot saved by Lewis. But then Robbie Williams, for the second time in the match, went close as he got on the end of a good Densmore cross but Lewis clawed away his effort at the foot of the post at the cost of a corner (60 mins). A dangerous cross from Denham soon followed as Alty maintained the upper hand.
Lewis then survived a worrying moment for the Harriers as Williams challenged the keeper for Brown's freekick; the ball came out to Denham but he wasted a glorious chance by lifting the ball, left-footed, over the bar (64 mins). Soon after, with Denham being held in the box, penalty appeals went unheeded. Coates was then in action beating out a shot by Morris. Alty had another fruitless penalty appeal as McCarthy went down in the box before Kidderminster introduced Gittings, returning after injury, in place of Shaw (68 mins)
Two minutes later Altrincham made their third change when Damian Reeves replaced Robbie Lawton (70 mins). Within four minutes of his appearance, Gittings put his side ahead against the run of play. Alty went to sleep on their left flank and Blair was allowed to advance; a low cross from the Kiddy right found the unmarked Gittings in front of goal where he converted the chance with a simple a tap-in (72 mins).
A crude kick on the back of the leg by Vaughan on Denham brought him a talking-to but no card (74 mins). From Brown's freekick, with Williams being held in the Kiddy box, the referee again ignored the penalty appeal but fortunately the ball came to Reeves, right of goal. His first effort was blocked at the back post, by Lewis, but somehow Reeves managed to squeeze the ball into the net at the second attempt to level the scores and record Alty's first goal in 448 minutes - almost seven and a half hours (76 mins).
But Alty's thoughts of a winner were soon undone. A ball over the top of Brown by Gittings fell for Byrne whose fierce shot struck Smith in the midriff, with the defender having no chance to get out of the way. Mr Fletcher deemed this to be deliberate handball, a decision which incensed Alty with Smith lifting his shirt to show the ref where the ball had hit his chest. So, for the third game running, Alty had conceded a penalty and, once again, it was coolly converted, McPhee being the scorer to give Kidderminster an undeserved lead (80 mins). Immediately, Hankin replaced Morris for the visitors.
Kidderminster immediately started to wind down the clock with Lewis in particular moving lethargically when the ball went dead. Hewson became the game's first booking when he jumped in on Byrne (86 mins). McCarthy then had a glorious chance to equalize when he was put through on Lewis but he hit the keeper with his shot, following which a well executed volley from Denham had to be tipped out for a corner by the keeper (88 mins).
Alty continued to press and Denham was held back by both arms inside the box but the nearby referee waved play on. Denham’s frustration saw him booked in the first of four added minutes for a challenge on Mike Williams. In the third added minute a Smith shot was driven against a Kidderminster player in their box which was an almost identical situation, in reverse, to that from which the visitors had earlier been awarded a spot kick against the Alty defender. But, this time, there was no award from Mr Fletcher.
Alty's last chance came when McCarthy was again wasteful, skying a shot over the bar just before the final whistle. Though the result was a defeat, the performance offered promise that if Altrincham can get a settled side, they may begin to climb the table. The crowd was appreciative of their efforts, clapping them from the field after the final whistle. Robbie Williams was deservedly named the home Man of the Match having defended well and gone very close to scoring on two occasions.
|Half-Time: Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 2|