ALTRINCHAM (1) 2 RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS (1) 2
played on Saturday, 2 October 2010, at 3pm
For the third time in a week Altrincham came from behind to secure a draw. This time, both the opposition goals were gifted to them; the first, a penalty, and the second, by a defensive mix-up.
It started well for Altrincham when Damian Reeves headed his fifth goal of the season after a mesmerising dribble on the left by Nicky Clee. That was in the 8th minute but Robbie Lawton conceded a penalty soon afterwards when he brought down Day inside the box. Howe beat Coates from the spot to make it 1-1 (15 mins).
Altrincham did not play as well in the second half but Rushden looked a shadow of the side that did so well last season. The game looked set for a stalemate when a routine aerial ball into the box was headed by Joseph with his goalkeeper, Coates, just behind and waiting to claim it. The ball dropped for O'Connor to score easily (73 mins). After that, Alty seemed to be making too many mistakes to get an equalizer but one arrived in the 89th minute.
With Alty having barely won an offensive header all afternoon, Densmore's freekick from the right was expertly met by Robbie Williams's forehead to make it 2-2. Alty then pressed for a winner but could not produce one in the four added minutes.
REFEREE: Mr R L Metcalfe (Lancashire)
ATTENDANCE: 897 (84 in away end)
Michael Welch and Ryan Brown remained sidelined by injury as did Michael Twiss. Loan signing Andrai Jones droped to the bench as Matty Crowell came into the starting eleven. Otherwise the team was unchanged from midweek.
Mike Garnett's statistics reveal that we have previously played Rushden and Diamonds 13 times, with Alty winning just three times.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. James COATES, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 2. James SMITH, 4. Marc JOSEPH, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 18. Matty CROWELL, 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 11. Nicky CLEE, 10. Chris DENHAM, 8. Damian REEVES. Subs: 23. James McCARTHY, 1. Stuart COBURN, 20. Sam HEWSON, 12. Kevin HOLSGROVE, 14. Andrai JONES
RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS: 13. Joe Day, 2. Justin Miller, 5. Jamie Stuart, 6. Curtis Osano, 11. Jamie Day, 20. Shane Huke, 4. Max Porter, 18. Matt Johnson, 7. Tim Sills, 8. Aaron O'Connor, 10. Rene Howe, Subs: 27. Lance Key, 3. Kurt Robinson, 24. Lewis Spence, 14. Alan Power, 19. Ryan Charles.
The game was kicked off by Rushden, attacking the away end, on an overcast afternoon. Alty had the first chance when an accurate long kick by James Coates was well controlled by Denham and he crossed the ball, low, into the goalmouth where Reeves seemed to get his feet in a tangle and the chance disappeared (2 mins). Next, Sills, Rushden’s recent acquisition headed well over the Altrincham net (3 mins). But Alty went close again when a rasping cross shot from the right, by Denham, went narrowly wide of the far post, only for Johnson to go close at the other end moments later.
This fairly even start was changed after eight minutes when Rushden conceded a throw, 30 yards out on the Alty left. Joseph's throw-in went to Clee who exchanged passes with Joseph before embarking on an excellent dribble up the left before he crossed the ball onto the head of Damian Reeves, who completed a Yorkshire one-two with an excellent header into the net to stun the visitors (8 mins).
With play fairly even in the next few minutes, Howe fed Day who got behind Densmore on the Alty right and into the box. Lawton covered well but his cumbersome challenge on the Diamonds' player gave referee Metcalfe no alternative but to award a penalty to the visitors. It was the fifth time Alty had conceded a spot kick this season and Howe made sure it was the fifth successive spot kick to be converted successfully when he beat Coates with his kick (15 mins).
Rushden were now seeing more of the ball than Altrincham but though their passing was neat enough it was far from incisive in terms of attacking intent. O'Connor stumbled when presented with a chance (24 mins) but otherwise play was fairly pedestrian for the period towards the half-hour mark. Alty did win a corner and when Osano cynically blocked Clee as the Alty man put the ball past him, it was a challenge deserving of a booking which was not forthcoming from Mr Metcalfe (29 mins).
Joseph hit the freekick well and it got a deflection off a defender but keeper Joe Day saved well to his right (30 mins). Rushden then threatened when Jamie Day advanced but Miller missed his kick before Stuart hit the Alty back post. But by then the linesman had raised his flag for offside (31 mins). Clee then almost got Denham in on goal but keeper Day got to the ball first by a narrow margin (36 mins).
In the 38th minute, Osano was booked, deservedly, for his second significant foul when he tripped Denham as the Alty man got the better of him. Miller's clear foul, a minute before half time, was not flagged by the adjacent linesman, and Rushden went forwards before a shot went narrowly wide (41 mins). The game was rather low key at this stage as the two defences snuffed out any hint of goal before two added minutes were announced. A Lawton miskick gave Diamonds a corner from which Jamie Day’s shot was deflected out for another flag kick just before the half time whistle sounded with the score level.
At least Altrincham had scored their first first-half goal at Moss Lane this season.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 RUSHDEN AND DIAMONDS 1|
After Justin Edinburgh had intercepted the referee on his way out to start the second half, the game started slowly with little to get excited about for either team. Clee got to the by-line but Osano saw him off (48 mins) before Alty won the half's first corner (51 mins) when Stuart was forced to put the ball out by Reeves's attention.
Though the corner was seen off Alty then gained a free kick won by the lively Clee as Altrincham enjoyed some pressure. Referee Metcalfe then annoyed the home crowd as he punished Danylyk for what looked a decent challenge and then booked the Alty midfielder (55 mins). The game meandered on without too much excitement till Kevin Holsgrove came on for Chris Denham, who had flu earlier in the week (62 mins).
Mr Metcalfe's decisions continued to irritate the home crowd as he allowed Stuart to escape without a booking when he chopped down Crowell(63 mins). Clee was now limping badly but eventually ran it off. Alty were making unforced errors, with Crowell making three mistakes in as many minutes, the last allowing Rushden an attack which Alty could only scramble clear.
Rushden now enjoyed some moderate pressure which resulted in a corner (72 mins). Though Reeves cleared this the ball was pumped back into the Alty box from the left and ,with Coates coming to gather, there seemed no danger. But Joseph headed the ball partly clear before the Alty keeper could claim it. The loose ball dropped for O'Connor to score a simple goal from close range (73 mins). Alty had now given their opponents two goals.
Alty made an immediate double change as Hewson and McCarthy replaced Crowell and Reeves (74 mins). Rushden keeper Day immediately started time wasting for which Mr Metcalfe had words with him. Alty now laboured and made unforced errors and looked unlikely to retrieve anything from the game against a Diamonds side which did not look likely to be promotion contenders this season.
Play meandered into the final ten minutes at which point Diamonds won a corner (82 mins) and then brought on Spence for Johnson (83 mins). Former Gresley Rovers and Grays man Aaron O'Connor was becoming more influential at this stage.
Clee gave Alty some hope with a good run up the middle before Stuart blocked his shot (84 mins). Howe was then booked for a foul on Joseph but with Rushden having most of the forward impetus, it did not look hopeful for Altrincham at this stage.
When Jamie Day tripped Shaun Densmore on the Alty right a freekick was awarded and the visitors paid the price for it. From the freekick by Clee on the Alty right, Williams rose at the back post to head firmly into the net to make it 2-2 (89 mins). This prompted a rousing finish from Altrincham who were given four added minutes to seek a winner.
Clee did feed Holsgrove, but he shot well wide and then Smith advanced up the middle 50 yards before being halted. But they could not get the winner and had to settle for their third successive draw of the week, in all of which they had come from behind. James Smith was announced as the Man of the Match.
These results and the manner of their achievement give hope that Altrincham can escape from the relegation places.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS 2|