ALTRINCHAM 0 WREXHAM 0
played on Saturday, 1 January, 2011, at 3pm
A battling performance from Altrincham earned them a point against promotion hopefuls Wrexham who, once again, failed to convert a fair bit of pressure into serious threats of a goal. Alty keeper Stuart Coburn had to make only one real save as did his opposite number, Maxwell, from an early Twiss effort, laid on by Piergianni, who made an impressive debut.
Without the ill Nicky Clee, Alty were further disrupted in the opening minutes when captain, James Smith, injured himself making a tackle and could not continue. But after surviving quite a bit of first half pressure, they almost took the lead early in the second period. The second half was a more even affair in which Alty made some good counter-attacks, but the defences remained on top with Alty's Williams and Wrexham's Creighton named as the respective Men of the Match.
REFEREE: Mr D S Bond
ATTENDANCE: 1,928 (764 in the away end)
Alty had suffered a flu epidemic in the five weeks since their last league game whilst fellow winger Wes Baynes was unavailable to play, under the terms of his loan from the Dragons to Alty. For Wrexham, Curtis Obeng and Andy Mangan were both suspended for this game.
Altrincham had not played a home league match for seven weeks because of the bad weather. The pitch was in good condition on a dull afternoon during which light drizzle was to develop into more persistent rain as the game wore on. A good crowd of 1,928 included 764 in the away end and a further sizeable contingent of Welsh supporters in the main stand.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. James SMITH (capt), 4. Marc JOSEPH, 26. Carl PIERGIANNI, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 25. Matt SOMNER, 10. Chris DENHAM, 19. Mark BEESLEY, 9. Michael TWISS, Subs: 7. Robbie LAWTON, 21. James COATES, 12. Kevin HOLSGROVE, 20. Sam HEWSON, 8. Damian REEVES.
WREXHAM (All blue): 21. Chris Maxwell, 3. Neil Ashton, 4. Marvin Andrews, 5. Chris Blackburn, 6. Jay Harris, 7. Gareth Taylor, 8. David Brown, 11. Andy Morrell, 12. Dean Keates (capt), 17. Adrian Cieslewicz, 23. Mark Creighton. Subs: 24. Mathias Pogba, 15. Frank Sinclair, 20. Nat Knight-Percival, 25. Joslain Leon Mayebi 10. Marc Williams,
The game was preceded by a minute's applause, conducted by Club Chaplain, Andy Barclay-Watts, in memory of people connected with Altrincham FC who had died during the year. Rushden keeper Dale Roberts was also remembered.
Referee Bond made Wrexham retake the kick off after encroachment from Altrincham and the home side then got off to a nervy start, conceding a freekick after 14 seconds and then needing Danylyk to hook the ball away well inside the opening minute of play. Altrincham's cause was not helped by an early injury to their captain, James Smith. He slid into a tackle in midfield on the Alty right and immediately it became clear that he had been injured (6 mins). During treatment from physio Sean Riley, both on and off the pitch, Alty played on with ten men before Sam Hewson came on as a substitute (12 mins). Smith’s injury seemed to be to his left leg, below the knee.
Having survived a Wrexham corner, it was actually in the period that Altrincham had only ten men that they produced an excellent move. Debutant Carl Piergianni was instrumental in setting up Twiss for a fierce shot from left of goal which Maxwell did well to beat out; Piergianni had advanced to the left of goal and after throwing a dummy to a defender laid the ball into the striker's path (9 mins).
The captain's armband was conveyed from the dressing room to Coburn before Marc Joseph was drawn into tripping a Wrexham player just a pace or two outside the box. The Alty defender was booked for his sins (15 mins). Altrincham then put together their best move so far, a fourteen pass move (17 mins).
The pace of Cieslewicz on the Wrexham right looked the most potent threat for the visitors as they continued to hold the upper hand. However, hard work in midfield from Somner and Danylyk, and resolute defending kept the Dragons at bay. But despite winning corners the Welsh side were not troubling the Alty keeper unduly as the half hour mark came and went.
Wrexham's corners were generally disappointing but one did find Andrews whose powerful header cleared the bar. Michael Twiss became Alty's second booking, for a foul (37 mins). Soon after this a posse of police - a rare sight at Moss Lane - marched into the main stand and spoke firmly to a group of Wrexham fans at the back of that area. On the pitch the flow of play continued to be from the Wrexham end towards Alty's net. But Harris's shot, well wide, was the best the visitors could muster in terms of a direct goal threat (43 mins). As the added time at the end of the first half drew to an end, Cieslewicz fired comfortably over the bar to leave the game goalless at the break.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 WREXHAM 0|
Altrincham started the second half brightly and almost snatched an early lead when an impressive counterattack ended with Denham firing wide (46 mins). But Wrexham then won another corner before Denham was fouled but both he and the offender Ashton were lectured before play resumed with an Alty freekick (48 mins).
from Densmore’s freekick a looping header from Williams ran to the keeper, Maxwell (50 mins). Alty continued to hold their own and could have scored once more in the 55th minute when Beesley was put through in the inside right channel but he delayed too long with his shot, allowing a defender to recover. Next, Hewson shot wide as the hosts enjoyed their best spell to date.
But Wrexham went close on the hour mark before a superbly timed last ditch block from Joseph stopped Taylor in the act of shooting (62 mins). Dean Saunders now went for a double change bringing on forwards Marc Williams and Mathias Pogba in place of Taylor and Morrell (63 mins).
Play then stopped for lengthy treatment to Joseph who appeared to catch a Wrexham elbow in his face. The visitors' desperation showed as they vociferously appealed for a penalty when Cieslewicz went down in the box as Somner cleared. A good move up the Alty right ended with Beesley and Densmore winning an Alty corner but this was taken poorly (68 mins).
Altrincham continued to look fairly comfortable but made a change as Damian Reeves came on for Twiss after 71 minutes. Two more Alty corners followed in the next few minutes. After the second of these, from a Danylyk pass, Reeves did well left of goal but his cross went across the face of goal. At this point Frank Sinclair came on to a chorus of boos from the Alty fans, who recalled his involvement in the tackle which broke Tom Kearney's leg last season. Sinclair replaced Andrews, who had injured himself; moments before the change it was Knight-Percival who had been readied to come on (76 mins).
Almost immediately Sinclair received the ball following a Wrexham corner but skied his shot yards over the bar (77 mins). Wrexham continued to waste their corner kicks as the game went into its final ten minutes. Joseph went down for treatment in the 82nd minute and Alty again played on with ten men for a couple of minutes. A fine tackle from Piergianni stopped Cieslewicz before Wrexham shouted vehemently for a penalty as Marc Williams went down in the Alty box (86 mins).
In the final minute of normal time, Reeves shot from 25 yards but was very wide of the target. In the four added minutes Reeves needed lengthy treatment before resuming as Alty saw out the closing moments to record a well-earned point. It is now more than eight hours since Alty scored a league goal but more encouragingly it was their first clean sheet at the back for six league matches. They will also have taken heart from an encouraging debut by Peterborough's Carl Piergianni, who has arrived at Moss Lane on work experience.
Two defenders were named as Men of the Match; Rob Williams for Altrincham and Mark Creighton for Wrexham.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 WREXHAM 0|