GATESHEAD (1) 2 ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
played on Saturday, 11 September 2010, at 3pm
After a decent first half hour or more in which Altrincham had the better of the chances but failed, again, to take them, Gateshead went ahead in the 38th minute. Gate got past Welch on the Gateshead right and fed Shaw. Coates did well to beat out his strong shot but Nelthorpe was on hand to convert the loose ball. Gateshead then almost doubled their lead with a header having to be cleared off the line (40 mins). In the second half Alty never got going; forward movements were ponderous or ended in long balls forward. From the second of two successive corners, Shaw headed home Gateshead's second goal. Later they hit the bar, too, as Altrincham never looked like getting back into the game.
REFEREE: Mr A Madley (Ossett)
As well as the injured Denham, Holsgrove, Holmes and McCready were not in the squad. Hewson was handed his first start while another very recent signing, McCarthy, was the only out and out striker in the Alty starting line-up.
At kick off Altrincham were bottom of the league, five points adrift of the second-bottom club, Bath. Gateshead were 19th, seven points ahead of Alty.
Courtesy of Mike Garnett, here is Alty's record against Gateshead, to date:
The above includes records against the club's forerunners, South Shields and also against them as Gateshead United...
GATESHEAD (White shirts and black shorts and socks): 1. Tim Deasy, 3. Paul Heckingbottom, 6. Ben Clark, 5. James Curtis, 7. Martin Brittain, 4. Kris Gate, 15. Carl Jones, 19. Gary Mulligan, 11. Craig Nelthorpe, 8. Philip Turnbull, 9. Jon Shaw, Subs: 20. Mark Cook, 22. Josh Gillies, 2. Craig Baxter, 18. Nathan Fisher, 12. Andy Ferrell,
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, white shorts, red socks): 21. James COATES, 2. James SMITH, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 22. Michael WELCH, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 18. Matty CROWELL, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 15. Ryan BROWN, 20. Sam HEWSON, 11. Nicky CLEE, 23. James McCARTHY, Subs: 1. Stuart COBURN, 4. Marc JOSEPH, 8. Damian REEVES, 9. Michael TWISS, 16. Anthony DANYLYK.
Gateshead elected to change ends, presumably to benefit from the moderate breeze. After Alty had kicked off, the first five minutes brought nothing of real note. Then, Alty won a freekick from Nelthorpe's second foul of the game, 25 yards out, which Densmore put comfortably over the bar (6 mins).
Gateshead put together a couple of neat passing movements but neither side was producing much to get the crowd's pulse racing. From another Densmore freekick, Deasy punched unconvincingly but his defence got the ball clear. The third foul committed on McCarthy arrived as early as the 13th minute but Brown wasted the resulting freekick with a poor effort which went to the opposition.
The crowd was pretty quiet after the first 17 unexceptional minutes but the home supporters came to life with their first corner in the 18th minute. Alty responded by winning two successive corners, the first arising from a mix up between the back-pedalling Clark and keeper Deasy. The second corner was played diagonally by Clee from the left and, after an Alty player had deliberately let it pass him, the ball arrived at Crowell, 25 yards out. He hammered an excellent shot which Deasy did well to beat out (20 mins).
Gateshead's Mulligan became the game's first booked player for a foul on the hardworking Lawton (22 mins). Alty now enjoyed a good spell, winning two more corners, the first arising from good skill from McCarthy. Between the corners a fine cross from the right by Hewson only just cleared the unmarked Williams inside the box.
But as the half hour mark arrived, it was Gateshead who were now pressing though without seriously threatening to score. McCarthy then had a chance but, as he shot, he was tackled by Clark and the ball squirmed wide, with both players the worse for wear for the incident but neither needed the physio (31 mins). In retrospect, the turning point of the afternoon arrived in the 32nd minute. Gateshead keeper Deasy dived forward to try and gather Lawton's cross from the right but only got his fingers to the ball, which fell to McCarthy. But with a clear sight of goal, the striker pulled his shot wide.
Clee then failed to hit the target with a shot before McCarthy was put through up the middle. Keeper Deasy raced out and the two players collided, McCarthy being upended and the ball going wide for a corner (35 mins). Alty had now had three or four half to full chances but had failed to put any of them away. But with Gateshead making errors the visitors looked in with a chance of recording their first win of the season.
But that hope dissipated in the 38th minute when Gate got past Welch up the right and fed Shaw inside the box. His firmly struck shot was well saved by Coates but the loose ball fell for the unmarked Nelthorpe to drive the ball into the net. The goal transformed things as now Gateshead had their tails up and won an immediate corner. Curtis headed this on to Clark whose own header was cleared off the Alty line after coming down off the crossbar (40 mins).
Altrincham almost got an equalizer when Hewson and Lawton fed Brown, whose fine shot from the left was beaten out by Deasy but as the ball looped back towards the far corner of the goal, Clark completed the process, colliding with the post in the process, to concede a corner to Alty (41 mins). Gateshead also won a corner before half time but the interval arrived with Alty a little unfortunate to be trailing but rueing their missed chances.
|Half-Time: GATESHEAD 1 ALTRINCHAM 0 0|
Williams won Alty an early corner but, otherwise, there was little of note in the game till Welch got booked for a foul on Shaw (51 mins). Both sides were making unforced errors as the game meandered to, and past, the hour mark with neither side looking at all threatening.
At last an Alty double substitution and a Gateshead change promised to enliven things. Alty brought on strikers Twiss and Reeves, with Clee and McCarthy being withdrawn. Gateshead's Fisher replaced Mulligan (64 mins).
Despite the changes, the game drifted on uneventfully; the errors continued from both sides and no one had the guile to unlock either defence. Shaw shot tamely at Coates and Hewson fired over the bar but that was about it until, a minute after the latter effort, Gateshead almost scored as the smallest man on the pitch, Gate, was allowed a free header from Fisher's cross, which Coates did well to push round the post for a corner. From this, a Gateshead header struck the Altrincham crossbar (73 mins).
Reeves was getting little joy in the air against the Gateshead central defenders whilst Twiss, too, was struggling to get involved in the game. Coates again did well with a double save - a punch from the first effort and a block after good work by the Heed's Brittain (78 mins).
Lawton, who had been doing his best to animate his team mates, was now withdrawn and replaced by Danylyk (79 mins). Gateshead then won a corner when Twiss did well to track back to cover a Gateshead thrust. The corner to the near post was scrambled out for a second attempt and this corner led to a third. This time, the corner-kick by Brittain from the left found Shaw unmarked and he headed home to make it 2-0 (82 mins).
Gateshead now brought on Ferrell for Gate (83 mins) as Alty boss Graham Heathcote showed his frustration by kicking away a water bottle. A final Gateshead sub arrived in the 85th minute as Gillies replaced Brittain. With Welch now up front for Alty the visitors were still unable to threaten a comeback. Four added minutes were announced during which Shaw shot wide but the final whistle marked Alty's eighth game this season without a win.
As in some previous matches, the team played reasonably well until they went behind but failure to take chances means that, once they go behind in games, there seems little conviction in a recovery. In the second half especially, too many long balls were unproductive whilst passing movements lacked the bite to cause the opposition defence serious difficulty.
If Alty want inspiration they may recall that the club went eight games without a win at the start of the 1998-99 season and ended up winning the UniBond Premier league; no one suggests such a total transformation can happen this season but it is going to require almost as much of an achievement to get out of the current predicament.
Footnote: Though neither I nor the NL Paper noted other Alty bookings, the official record says that Williams (persistent infringement) and Clee (foul) were also booked in this match.
|Full-Time: GATESHEAD 2 ALTRINCHAM 0|