Altrincham came from behind to record a vital win in front of their smallest gate of the season (558) - not surprising when the opposition had to come from nearly 200 miles away on a Tuesday night. Alty were without the suspended Marc Joseph and Wes Baynes and once again were left scratching their heads at the non-award of what looked a blatant penalty in the opening stages when Reeves was brought down in the act of shooting.
Hayes then took the lead when Densmore dwelt on the ball 40 yards out from his own goal and lost possession, leading to a Hayes shot which Coburn could only parry to his left. With the keeper out of position the ball came back into the centre. Coburn again blocked a follow-up shot but the ball fell for Jefferson Louis to convert from close range after just 11 minutes.
Alty laboured to get back into the game but got a breakthrough in the first added minute before the interval. A Densmore corner was punched away by Preddie, but debutant Sam Wedgbury, on loan from Macclesfield, finished wiith a fierce drive from the edge of the box to make it 1-1.
The already booked Pritchard should have been dismissed when he tripped Densmore in a central position 30 yards out but he stayed on the field. Justice was done when Clee drove the freekick and it deflected off a defender into the net (53 mins). Fifteen minutes later Beesley was fouled by Cadmore as he got free on the edge of the box and the Hayes captain was shown a straight red card, as he was the last defender denying a goalscoring chance. Four minutes later Damian Reeves made it 3-1 when he superbly controlled a through ball and then finished calmly past Preddie, with Hayes looking for an offside decision (72 mins).
Substitute Michael Twiss made it 4-1 after 79 minutes from a Reeves feed. Steve Foster almost scored a fifth after coming off the bench but, despite playing with an extra man, Alty then allowed Hayes to come at them. The visitors got a second goal when Yiadom got to the by-line and, though Alty seemed to clear the ball off the line, Pritchard was credited with poking the ball over the line.
REFEREE: Mr D Ford
ATTENDANCE: 558 (13 in away end)
Alty had Marc Joseph and Wes Baynes suspended, but had made two signings on the eve of the game- defensive midfielder Sam Wedgbury, on loan from Macclesfield Town, and striker Steve Foster of Salford City. Nicky Clee returned from injury to start, whilst Michael Twiss dropped to the bench. HYU were without in-form striker Elliott Buchanan.
A Shaun Densmore penalty had earned Alty three points in the reverse fixture at Church Road. HYU's previous visit to Moss Lane had resulted in a 3-2 win for Alty last season.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & White stripes, black shorts, red socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. James SMITH, 26. Carl PIERGIANNI, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 19. Mark BEESLEY, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 11. Nicky CLEE, 8. Damian REEVES, 20. Sam HEWSON, 28. Sam WEDGBURY, Subs: 9. Michael TWISS, 15. Ryan BROWN, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 30. Craig DOOTSON, 14. Steve FOSTER
HAYES & YEADING UNITED (Blue): 21. Delroy Preddie, 2. Lewis Ferrell, 3.Adam Green, 4. Tom Cadmore, 6. Adam Bygrave, 9. Ben Wright, 10. Jefferson Louis, 14. Jamie Hand, 15. Bradley Pritchard, 19. Phil Appiah, 22. Charlie Wassmer. Subs: 16. Jack Pattison, 17. Andy Yiadom, 27. Daniel Wishart, 33. Nathan Webb, 1. Lee Harrison.
Hayes took to the field with Delroy Preddie in goal rather than Lee Harrison whose name appeared on the team sheet in the starting line-up. There was a low gate tonight, which is not surprising given the distance to travel for a night match and the 13 fans recorded in the away end are to be applauded for their efforts in attending.
Alty started well and, inside 40 seconds, Reeves forced a good save from Preddie at the foot of his left post, when he got on the end of a Sam Hewson cross. Reeves seemed likely to score in the third minute but was brought down, inside the box, in the act of shooting. To the amazement of most spectators, the referee waved play on.
Hayes conceded three freekicks in the opening five minutes as they struggled to get into the game but Alty wasted the dead-ball situations. But a fortunate rebound then gave Wright the chance to shoot at goal but he fired well over the bar(10 mins).
A minute later and Hayes were ahead. The goal came when Densmore, who otherwise played well, dwelt on the ball some 40 yards from his own goal. He lost possession and Louis fed Wright whose shot at goal was stopped but not held by Coburn. The keeper got to his feet and moved to the left of goal in pursuit of the ball. But a Hayes man got there first and crossed the ball back into the box. Coburn recovered his ground well to stop the resulting shot but it ran free again and Louis converted from close range at the back post (11 mins).
Alty continued to waste dead-balls as a corner found no Alty player on its end (15 mins). Nevertheless, the home supporters continued to encourage Alty. From a Clee feed, Beesley shot wide (19 mins). Indeed, Clee was proving his worth with his throw ins as well as his dribbling skills.
Another foul by Pritchard earned him a booking (25 mins) before a goalmouth melee in the Hayes end ended with the ball scrambled away and Bygrave needing treatment for a nosebleed. He returned to the fray soon afterwards wearing a "blood" shirt.
Though working hard, Altrincham were labouring to create any more clear chances. Wassmer became the second visitor to be booked, for a foul (34 mins). After a handball by Appiah, Densmore's excellent freekick was nodded on by Williams to Reeves, who reacted quickly but poked the loose ball well over the bar (35 mins).
Hayes won a corner with Nicky Clee coming back to clear it before Densmore was penalized and Wright fired wide from the freekick. As half time approached, Alty won a corner as two added minutes were announced. From Densmore's corner from the left, Preddie punched clear. However, Sam Wedgbury latched onto the loose ball and fired an unstoppable diagonal shot in the net from right of goal on the edge of the box (45+1 mins).
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 HAYES & YEADING UNITED 1|
Hayes kicked off the second half attacking the Golf Road end but they endured a shaky start to the second half. Their first effort at goal in this half came as Wright fired wide from 35 yards.
The already booked Pritchard then deliberately tripped Densmore as he threatened to get past him but, though a freekick was given, no second yellow card was produced (52 mins). But Hayes suffered for the offence as Clee drove the freekick from 30 yards out and it deflected off a defender into the bottom left corner of Preddie's net (53 mins).
Alty were then guilty of allowing Wassmer to run at them but his shot was parried by Coburn (60 mins). The Robins continued to stand off their opponents as Michael Twiss was being readied to come on. But he was not to appear for several minutes as Hayes were reduced to ten men when their captain was dismissed. This happened when James Smith, playing without his trademark hand bandage, fed Beesley. As the Alty man got free, Cadmore hauled him back and cannot have been surprised to see a red card when the foul was awarded (67 mins).
Now, Hayes introduced Yiadom for Appiah (69 mins) and almost immediately, Densmore was booked when he pulled back the sub as he got past him on the Hayes left wing (70 mins). Alty made it 3-1 when Damian Reeves sprang the offside trap and brought a ball forward from Beesley under control impressively. He then calmly beat Preddie to score a very well-taken goal (72 mins).
Next, Beesley went off and Twiss made his delayed arrival (72 mins). The visitors made a double change with Wishart and Webb replacing Wright and Ferrell (73 mins). Hayes's ten men had not given up and they advanced up the right, forcing a save by Coburn from Louis. At the other end a good run from Clee threatened a goal before one actually arrived. Hayes seemed to have broken up an Alty attack, only to lose possession outside their own penalty area. The ball came to Reeves who fed the unmarked Twiss, to his left. Twiss calmly side footed Alty's fourth goal past Preddie (79 mins).
two minutes later Alty brought on debutant striker Steve Foster, the Salford City player, and he almost made a dream start. Another fine piece of work from Clee led to a low cross from the left which Foster anticipated well and his low shot seemed destined to hit the net but a defender somehow cleared it off the line (83 mins). Moments later a brilliant surge by Clee, to get on the end of a brilliant 80 yard diagonal ball from Densmore - the pass of the game - led to him sliding into Hayes keeper Preddie. The Alty man came off worse and after treatment could only hobble very gingerly, with Sean Riley's help, to the technical area.
With Sam Wedgbury named man of the match on his debut, both for his vital equalizer and a steady performance, Altrincham's eleven men sat deep and allowed Hayes's ten to come at them. They paid the price when Hayes got up the left side to the by-line and though Alty seemed to clear the ball off the line in the resulting melee at the near post, a goal was credited to Pritchard (90 mins).
Five added minutes were announced in which Alty were chiefly on the back foot but despite a Hayes corner, Altrincham rode these out to secure a vital win which lifted them a place and put them level on points with the fifth-bottom club.
Alty have twice come from behind in recent weeks, (they did so at Rushden), and have now taken 24 points from their last 18 games. With 19 games left to play, a similar return would get them to 49 points, which would not necessarily guarantee safety. But if they can show the same spirit as tonight and capitalise on nine of their ten remaining home games being against clubs in the bottom eleven, they will pull off a remarkable escape from the relegation threat that has haunted them all season.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 4 HAYES & YEADING UNITED 2|