ALTRINCHAM (0) 1 FLEETWOOD TOWN (0) 0
played on Saturday, 16 October 2010, at 3pm
Just three players who had started Altrincham's abject display at Histon last week also started this match - Smith, Williams and Densmore - with James Smith, in fact, named today as captain, because Robbie Lawton was dropped to the bench. After an eight game absence, Coburn returned in goal replacing James Coates who could count himself unlucky to lose his place. Kevin Holsgrove started up front with Michael Twiss, who made his first start for Altrincham, alongside two other debutants in loanees Matt Somner (centre-midfield) and Andrew Milne (right-back). Hewson also came into the side as Brown and Reeves also found themselves on the bench.
Fleetwood enjoyed more of the possession even after they had been reduced to ten men with seven minutes left when Pond saw a second yellow for a trip on Lawton. But, despite their neat approach play, largely orchestrated by Barry, the Lancashire side looked impotent up front with leading scorer Vieira barely evident. Alty also looked unlikely to score as the tame first half ended goalless. Having survived a strong second-half penalty appeal when Holsgrove appeared to clip the heels of Beeley - only for the Fleetwood man to be booked for "simulation" - Alty's winner came out of nothing as a long ball up the middle from Coburn was well controlled by Twiss who took his goal expertly, lifting his shot into the net on the hour mark.
Alty's defence held firm with Marc Joseph named Man of the Match.
REFEREE: Mr J G Adcock
ATTENDANCE: 1,106, (246 in away end)
Altrincham had signed two players in the days running up to this match. They were both loanees; midfielder Matt Somner from Mansfield Town and ex-Leeds United defender Andrew Milne from Barrow.
Manager Ken McKenna made multiple changes after the poor showing at Histon, with Stuart Coburn returning in goal replacing James Coates who had performed capably for the past eight matches. Altrincham deployed three players making their full debuts for in addition to Somner and Milne, it was a first start for Michael Twiss in this, the 15th game of the season, since his arrival last summer. Also stepping up to the starting line-up were Kevin Holsgrove (his 4th start) and Sam Hewson (making a second start). With captain Robbie Lawton, as well as Ryan Brown, dropped to the bench, James Smith captained the side for the first time which meant he could not adhere to his usual ritual of entering the field of play last. The injured Matty Crowell and Chris Denham sat out the game whilst Anthony Danylyk and Michael Welch also missed out on selection. Alty's leading scorer, Damian Reeves was only on the bench.
Mike Garnett's statistics reveal that although Altrincham had not played Fleetwood Town before, they had played their forerunners, Fleetwood FC 25 times, only losing four times:
P> ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN; 27. Andrew MILNE, 2. James SMITH (capt), 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 4. Marc JOSEPH; 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 25. Matt SOMNER, 20. Sam HEWSON, 11. Nicky CLEE; 12. Kevin HOLSGROVE, 9. Michael TWISS. Subs: 21. James COATES, 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 15. Ryan BROWN, 8. Damian REEVES, 23. James McCARTHY.
FLEETWOOD TOWN (Yellow & black, strpes, yellow short and socks): 16. Scott Davies, 20. Paul Linwood, 5. Steve McNulty, 2. Shaun Beesley, 8. Ian Craney, 4. Anthony Barry, 6. Nathan Pond, 7. Sean Clancy, 10. Magno Vieira, 25. Wayne Curtis, 26. Peter Cavanagh. Subs: 28. Craig Dootson, 17. John Miles, 15. Lee Thorpe, 11. Jamie Mullan, 19. Gareth Seddon.
The game kicked off inexplicably late by several minutes and in a quiet start, the first incident of any note was keeper Davies's fumbling of a cross from the right by Holsgrove. Marc Joseph got an early lecture from Mr Adcock for a foul (5 mins). Little happened till Holsgrove fed Hewson, whose shot from the edge of the box was blocked at source (10 mins).
A misheader from Williams gave Fleetwood the first corner of the match from which McNulty headed wide (11 mins). Play meandered on unexceptionally, with Clancy twice making unforced errors with passes to opposition, till Curtis went down in the Alty box amidst penalty appeals which Mr Adcock ignored (15 mins).
From another uncharacteristic misheader by Williams, who otherwise played well, Fleetwood won the first of three successive corners. From the second of these, taken by former Alty midfielder, Ian Craney, a Town effort was cleared off the line by Densmore before Alty eventually got the ball clear (19 mins).
Pond was then booked for kicking the ball away after handball had been given against his team. There were then unanswered penalty appeals at the other end as Williams seemed to be held in the Fleetwood box (21 mins). A spontaneous back heel from Craney cleared the Alty bar as the visitors continued to have the better of things without seriously threatening to score. Cavanagh was penalised for a rugby tackle round Holsgrove's waist but the match was far from pulsating as the half-hour mark was passed.
The stalemate continued with offside decisions and freekicks punctuating the game. At last there was something to cheer about when James Smith surged up the inside left channel but this cross from the left was cut out by Davies (37 mins). Vieira got in a shot from 25 yards which produced a corner for the visitors (39 mins). There was some light relief to the disappointing proceedings on the pitch when a number of fireworks were let off outside the ground, just behind the away end (42 mins).
Vieira shot comfortably wide and then as the 45 minutes ended, McNulty, the former Barrow defender, was booked, apparently for dissent (45 mins). One minute of added time came and went before the whistle went to conclude a less than enthralling first half. But the new-look Alty had battled well to hold their higher-placed opposition to a goalless scoreline.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 FLEETWOOD TOWN 0|
No changes were made at the interval before Altrincham kicked off towards the away end, in briefly cloudy conditions, during a match otherwise blessed with sunshine. Alty had an early scare when Coburn missed an intended punch but a goalkick resulted (47 mins). The game was a bit livelier in these opening stages as Altrincham went forward.
The home side continued on the front foot but Fleetwood then came back into things before Beeley got into the Alty box and seemed to have his heels clipped by Holsgrove. But with Beeley going down and Fleetwood asking for a penalty, referee Adcock decided the Fleetwood man had dived and booked him (57 mins).
A Fleetwood attack then ended with Coburn gaining possession and his long clearance found Twiss in the inside left position. The Alty striker took the ball down well, turned and lifted a shot over the keeper into the net to record his first Altrincham goal (60 mins).
Fleetwood responded with a substitution as Mullan replaced Clancy, who had almost joined Alty a couple of seasons ago. After Cavanagh had fired high and wide of the Alty net, Fleetwood brought on Seddon for Craney (68 mins). A minute later Robbie Lawton replaced Holsgrove for Altrincham (69 mins).
Fine cover from Joseph saw off a Fleetwood attack as Alty now had to absorb some sustained pressure from the visitors. From an excellent struck freekick by the influential Barry, Coburn made an excellent save at the cost of a corner (73 mins). Next, Alty made a double change when McCarthy and Brown replaced Twiss and Hewson (75 mins).
Fleetwood now pressed forward forcing Alty to attack only on the break, with McCarthy the lone striker. The substitute did well to get the better of the defence and engineer a shooting chance but he fired over the bar (79 mins). On another counter attack, Lawton broke out of defence but as he crossed the half way line he was tripped by the already booked Pond who was shown a second yellow before being dismissed (83 mins).
Despite their man disadvantage, Fleetwood continued to press forward. However, Somner was unfortunate to get a booking for a tackle which gave the visitors a freekick 25 yards out. Barry fired in an excellent shot from the freekick which Coburn did very well to tip over the bar for a corner (90 mins).
A surprisingly long four added minutes were proclaimed as Alty remained with their backs to the wall. Williams did very well to head over his own bar from a dangerous cross by Mullan to concede another corner. Just before play ended, Cavanagh's trip on Clee earned him a booking (90+4 mins).
The final whistle signalled Alty's second win of the season and, though it left them still in bottom place, it ended a run of six games in which Alty have lost just once. The Robins remain seven points from safety and their next league match against Hayes & Yeading United will be one in which they hope to close that gap.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 FLEETWOOD TOWN 0|