It was a baptism of fire for Alty's caretaker manager Ken McKenna and assistant Stuart Bimson as Borough took the lead inside 55 seconds - and it had been Alty not they who had kicked off. An up and under from Baker led to Taylor's cross from the right which Treleavan netted. It became 2-0 in the 13th minute when Treleaven scored again from another Taylor feed on the counter attack.
Alty were very shaky at the back as Pacquette glanced a header wide and then a Weatherstone dipper hit the bar. Pacquette converted a long throw to make it 3-0 after 38 minutes. Hewson and Welch came on for Clee and Joseph at half time as Alty switched to a back three and they enjoyed their best spell of the game before the 65th minute when Ben Austin headed in a freekick. It became 5-0 when Williams handled a corner and Weatherstone converted the penalty (75 mins). Alty kept going but lacked the quality to produce any serious threat to the opposition goal
REFEREE: Mr L Collins
The injured Denham,as well as Danny Holmes and Tom McCready were not in the squad but Nicky Clee overcame injury concerns to start. Marc Joseph returned to the starting line-up, at right-back, having previously figured on the left of the back line. Sam Hewson dropped to the bench but Damian Reeves returned to the starting eleven up front with James McCarthy.
Eastbourne Borough had defender Neil Jenkins suspended for this game following his dismissal a fortnight ago but goalkeeper Rikki Banks returned after his sending-off in the same game. The Sports had signed two players on loan in the days preceding the game today; they were defenders Steve Cook from Brighton and Yado Mambo of Charlton Athletic.
This game completed a tumultuous week at Altrincham FC. On Monday, chairman Geoff Goodwin had announced his departure and the following day, long-serving manager Graham Heathcote agreed the severance of his contract after almost eight years in post. So this was Ken McKenna's first game in charge after he stepped up from Assistant Manager to assume the caretaker manager role though, of course, he has had extensive managerial experience at Welsh champions TNS.
Altrincham started the game bottom of the league, five points adrift of the second-bottom club, Bath. Eastbourne lay 19th with eight points.
Courtesy of Mike Garnett, here is Alty's record against Eastbourne, to date:
EASTBOURNE BOROUGH (Red and blcak): 13. Rikki Banks, 2. Darren Baker, 5. Ben Austin (capt), 26. Daniel Brown, 27. Steve Cook, 8. Simon Johnson, 7. Jamie Taylor,14. Simon Weatherstone, 11. Matt Crabb, 19. Ross Treleavan, 10. Richard Pacquette, Subs: 9. Andy Atkin,4. Matt Smart, 22. Liam O'Brien,16. Steven Brinkhurst, 28. Yado Mambo.
ALTRINCHAM (All white): 1. James COATES, 4. Marc JOSEPH, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 2. James SMITH, 15. Ryan BROWN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 18. Matty CROWELL, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 11. Nicky CLEE, 8. Damian REEVES, 23. James McCARTHY, Subs: 1. Stuart COBURN, 22. Michael WELCH, 20. Sam HEWSON, 12. Kevin HOLSGROVE, 16. Anthony DANYLYK.
Altrincham took to the field at a sunny Eastbourne with acting manager Ken McKenna being assisted by Stuart Bimson whose former clubs included Macclesfield Town and a host of other League teams; more recently he had been Gary Brabin's coach at Cambridge United.
A change of manager often heralds an immediate upturn in form but any thoughts along those lines lasted less than a minute - from when Altrincham kicked off to when Eastbourne took the lead after just 55 seconds. The goal came after Banks's early freekick had been cleared out towards half way where Baker hooked a speculative up and under towards the right side of the box. Taylor got behind the Alty left-defence towards the by-line from where his low cross was efficiently converted from close range by Ross Treleaven.
Johnson saw Coates save his shot before Alty's first threat towards the Borough goal occurred in the seventh minute as Densmore cross from the right went across the box. Eastbourne continued to have the better of things before Taylor started a counter-attack from around half way in a central potision. He fed Treleaven, and with Alty looking for offside, he drove a well placed low shot from right to left across Coates into the far corner to make it 2-0 to the hosts (13 mins).
Soon Treleaven launched a poor challenge on Brown which gave Alty a freekick and earned the goalscorer both a booking and a self-inflicted injury which led to his replacement by Brinkhurst (18 mins). The referee then awarded a freekick for a foul on McCarthy but this came to nothing. Next, Weatherstone had a shot blocked before Smith, one of Alty's better performers today, cleared another probe. Poor defending, however, almost let in Eastbourne again soon afterwards and then a Borough freekick arrived by the right corner flag after a foul by Clee, who had looked Alty's best attacking option at this stage.
Two Eastbourne corners came and went, between which a foul on McCarthy gave Alty a freekick but the rehearsed dead ball procedure broke down and ended with Crowell ballooning a shot over the bar (24 mins). Eastbourne should have hit the target after 26 minutes when a fine cross by Crabb, from the left, was headed wide by Pacquette, who was unmarked. Alty were still on the back foot when Coates half-cleared a long throw only for Weatherstone's dipping strike at the loose ball to come back off the cross bar with Alty's keeper beaten (28 mins).
A smart, quick throw on the left by Clee got Reeves into the box but he was closed down. Following this, Taylor shot narrowly wide after Williams had half-cleared the ball (35mins). The home side's pressure continued as Pacquette headed Weatherstone's cross at goal to win another corner for his side off a deflection. Following the corner a long throw resulted on the right. New man Cook hurled a long ball towards goal where Pacquette bundled it in at the near post to make it 3-0 (38 mins).
Alty responded with a well hit shot from long range by Crowell, but it went comfortably wide of goal. However, from a Clee throw, McCarthy managed to win a corner for the visitors (41 mins). Lawton survived penalty appeals for holding as another Cook missile was hurled in from the touch line but an Eastbourne corner resulted (43 mins). Lawton was hobbling as half time approached and Hewson was called to the dug out seemingly as a substitute but he was not deployed at this stage.
Lawton himself then found his name in the book for a late challenge on Johnson (45 mins). In the two minutes of added time, Clee was hurt in a challenge and was unable to complete the half, leaving Alty with ten men till the interval whistle sounded.
In the first half, Alty had not looked like scoring whilst Eastbourne looked a threat every time they attacked.
|Half-Time: EASTBOURNE BOROUGH 3 ALTRINCHAM 0|
At the break, ALty made a double change as Hewson and Welch came on for Clee and Joseph with the formation changing to a back three with Welch on the left of it. Alty now enjoyed their best spell, though some of that improvement might have been down to the hosts cruising with a comfortable lead and not feeling the need to exert themselves to the full extent. Nevertheless, they won the first corner of the half when Pacquette's shot was deflected.
Alty's best shot of the game arrived as Hewson volleyed just wide (53 mins). Then Eastbourne's Brinkhurst went close at the other end, his 20 yarder just clearing the bar (55 mins). Altrincham continued to see a fair amount of the ball without ever seriously threatening a comeback before Kevin Holsgrove replaced McCarthy up front for Altrincham on the hour mark, a local supporter observing that "They've taken off their best player". Whilst Smith was probably Alty's best player, McCarthy had shown some good touches and intelligent running.
Then, against the run of play, Eastbourne scored a fourth goal. A foul by Brown gave Borough a freekick, wide on their right. Centre back Austin rose unchallenged in the Alty box to head the freekick past Coates (65 mins). Next, following a long throw by Cook which led to a freekick to Alty, Cook hoofed the ball away after the whistle had gone and received an inevitable yellow card for his gamesmanship (68 mins).
Michael Welch tried an effort from half way - seeking to emulate his 70-yard goal of a couple of years ago and then Holsgrove blasted an effort miles over. After Mambo had come on for his debut in place of Austin (73 mins), an Eastbourne corner from their left was handled by Robbie Williams. Weatherstone converted the resulting penalty to make it 5-0 (75 mins). Williams then misheaded a clearance out for a corner for Borough before Matt Smart came on to replace Eastbourne's Weatherstone (78 mins).
Alty won a corner (81 mins) but were unable to make it tell. Eastbourne won themselves a flag kick in the 89th minute and after this Coates made a fine save as Taylor was allowed to shoot firmly at goal (90 mins). Brown did win Alty a late corner but their last effort at goal was a long range one from Welch which ended up by the corner flag before referee Collins put Alty out of their misery by ending the game.
So, hopes of a turnround to Altrincham's season have been deferred by this comprehensive defeat. With just one goal away from home this season, Ken McKenna has an almighty job on his hands to dig Altrincham out of their current position, adrift at the foot of the Blue Square Bet Premier and with a negative goal difference which is already minus 18.
|Full-Time: EASTBOURNE BOROUGH 5 ALTRINCHAM 0|
Compiled by John Laidlar