ALTRINCHAM 0 (0) GATESHEAD 2 (0)
played on Saturday, 23 October 2010, at 3pm
With just one defeat in their previous six games, Altrincham went into this FA Cup match with some optimism, but it was to prove misplaced. A lacklustre display saw Altrincham scarcely threaten the Gateshead goal before conceding two second half goals to a Heed side which simply found its own men on a more regular basis than Alty did. The home side's lack of mutual understanding was perhaps not surprising as the Robins started with five players who had started two or fewer games for the club this season.
After a pretty dismal first half in which Gateshead had the better of things but failed to produce any decent final balls, Mulligan struck the bar with a header just before the hour mark. Curtis then missed a sitter for the visitors. Alty lost captain James Smith after Mulligan had barged him into the hoardings, cutting the Alty player's leg. But, with the game seemingly drifting towards a Tuesday replay, substitute Fisher beat Coburn from 30 yards to put the Heed ahead (76 mins). Three minutes from time, an Alty head cleared a throw-in but the ball fell to Turnbull whose low shot from outside the box went in off the upright to make it 2-0.
So Alty lost the £12,500 prize money and a chance of more revenue in the next round, whilst Gateshead deservedly take their place in tomorrow's draw for Round One.
REFEREE: Mr P Hodskinson
ATTENDANCE: 797 (74 in away end)
Altrincham made one change for their starting eleven from the win over Fleetwood as Kevin Holsgrove gave way to new loan signing, Wes Baynes, from Wrexham. So Michael Twiss was the only recognised striker in the line-up. In all, five Alty players who started this game had previously started two or fewer games for Altrincham.
The prize money at stake for the winners today was 12,500 pounds.
This was not the first time the two towns have clashed in the FA Cup. After former League club Gateshead were liquidated in August 1973, Gateshead Town were formed but lasted for just one season in the Northern Combination League before going out of existence. Next, South Shields of the Northern Premier League re-located to Gateshead and renamed themselves as Gateshead United. They lasted for three seasons till 1977. In that period they met Altrincham in the FA Cup in Round 2 of the 1974-75 competition at Moss Lane:
Seven of Altrincham's last nine FA Cup ties had been away from home, meaning that they had scored just one FA Cup goal at Moss Lane since 2004 - Chris Senior's prize-winning effort against Millwall. For the record, those nine games were:
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 27. Andrew MILNE, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 2. James SMITH (capt), 4. Marc JOSEPH, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 25. Matt SOMNER, 20. Sam HEWSON, 11. Nicky CLEE, 17. Wes BAYNES, 9. Michael TWISS. Subs: 21. James COATES, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 15. Ryan BROWN, 8. Damian REEVES, 22. Michael WELCH. 12. Kevin HOLSGROVE, 16. Anthony DANYLYK.
GATESHEAD (Blue shirts, white shorts and socks) 1. Tim Deasy, 2. Craig Baxter, 6. Ben Clark, 24. Michael Kay, 5. James Curtis, 7. Martin Brittain, 4. Kris Gate, 12. Andy Ferrell, 11. Craig Nelthorpe, 8. Philip Turnbull, 19. Gary Mulligan, 24. Michael Kay. Subs; 20. Mark Cook, 25. Shane Clarke, 22. Josh Gillies, 18. Nathan Fisher, 17. Brian Wake, 21. James Marwood, 23. David Brown
Just before kick off a downpour started forcing the visitors' keeper Deasy to rush to the bench to change his gloves rapidly before Alty kicked off toward the away end. Given the lack of activity he had in the first half, he hardly needed to have bothered. Twenty seconds after Alty had kicked-off, Gateshead had gained a freekick but this, like most of the play for the next 45 minutes came to nothing.
The visitors passed the ball around the better of the two sides but had no end product as their final passes repeatedly went astray. For their part, Altrincham strung relatively few passes together with the game trundling on in less than entertaining fashion. Turnbull impressed in the Gateshead midfield but few others did. Nevertheless, the two sets of fans remained in good voice as they both occupied the Popular Side, albeit segregated from one another.
Milne conceded the game's first corner after 18 minutes when he headed out Baxter's cross from the Gateshead right (18 mins). The Heed continued to enjoy more of the possession, keeping the ball on the deck, but neither goalkeeper had anything meaningful to do. When a good ball from Twiss sent Densmore chasing into the box, he collided with Baxter and the Gateshead defender ended up with a cut to his forehead which forced him to go off immediately down the tunnel, presumably for a stitch or two to be inserted. Gateshead played on with ten men for eight minutes till Baxter returned on the half hour mark; little of note had happened in his absence.
Alty then had their first real chance when Clee, who spent much of the game in a position nearer to left-back than left-wing, won the ball and fed Twiss. With Baynes free to his right it seemed a formality for the ex-Morecambe man to find the debutant but somehow he completely failed to do so and the ball ran to the opposition (31 mins). Straight after this, Clee himself then gave the ball away cheaply as Alty continued to grope for anything like a fluid performance. As a consequence, the home crowd began to convey its restlessness to the players.
Altrincham then stood off as Turnbull advanced and fired at goal but his shot was deflected out for a corner on the Heed left (35 mins). Play continued mostly towards the Altrincham goal. As half time approached an excellent shot from Gate forced Coburn to tip the ball over the bar for another corner to Gateshead (44 mins). And, though the visitors were to win another corner in added time, half time arrived with the game goalless and the play doing little to animate the fans on a chilly afternoon.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 GATESHEAD 0|
Gateshead kicked off the second half and play proceeded as it had done for much of the first half with the visitors seeing more of the ball than the hosts and the Moss Lane crowd growing anxious as their side continued to be second best. Nicky Clee remained deeply within his own half on defensive rather than attacking duties and in the absence of the injured Denham, Alty lacked any real forward momentum on the flanks.
Baynes did fire in a well-struck freekick from outside the box but it hit a defender (54 mins). Play meandered on until the 58th minute when Nelthorpe got the better of Milne on the Gateshead left and his cross was headed against the underside of the bar by Mulligan but it rebounded to safety for Altrincham. Almost immediately Gateshead played the ball back in from the right. At the back post, Coburn was unable to gather the cross, only for a Gateshead player to head wide from close range (60 mins).
Clee now made a rare excursion forward and it allowed Baynes a rising shot at goal, which just cleared the bar (61 mins). After a Gateshead corner, Curtis missed a sitter for Gateshead from very close in (63 mins). Alty finally made a change after 66 minutes when Brown replaced Joseph, which had the virtue of allowing Clee to get forward more. Smith was then gratuitously barged into the advertising hoardings by Mulligan after the Alty man had shepherded the ball out of play. The Gateshead player surprisingly escaped without punishment as Smith limped on.
Milne and Baynes then won Alty's first corner (68 mins), after which Smith went down with the cut leg he had suffered from Mulligan's challenge and the Alty captain had to be substituted. Welch was his replacement. At the same time Gateshead brought on Fisher for Ferrell and Marwood for Nelthorpe (72 mins).
Both sets of supporters were now relatively quiet and that was not surprising, considering what they had witnessed for the proceeding 75 minutes. Just after Baynes had shot straight at Deasy, out of nothing at the other end, the unchallenged Gateshead substitute Fisher hit a shot from 30 yards which left Coburn motionless, his effort powering into the Alty net (76 mins).
Alty responded by winning a corner following which a Densmore shot hit a defender. After 82 minutes, Alty's leading scorer, Damian Reeves belatedly replaced Twiss up front. Clee was now deployed further forward and gave Alty some hope of retrieving something from the game. But Gateshead's defence held firm and three minutes from time, an Alty header from a Gateshead long-throw from the right came out to Turnbull, His well placed shot entered the net off Coburn's left hand post to make the score 2-0 (87 mins).
Despite three added minutes, Altrincham never seriously threatened to retrieve the game and so they bowed out of the FA Cup wihtout any prize money for the fourth time in six years. Such was the disappointment today that the game's sponsors decided that no one merited a man of the match award for the home side, though they named Curtis as the away team's winner. Alty's faltering performance may have owed something to the players' unfamiliarity with each other; five of the starting line up had previously started two or fewer games for the club. Hopefully, they will blend together better in the coming weeks as Alty now re-concentrate their efforts on escaping from the relegation places in the league.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 GATESHEAD 2|