WREXHAM (1) 2 ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
played on Tuesday, 1 February, 2011, at 7.45pm
Wrexham had to hang on at the end of a game in which they had dominated the first half. Alty, with Marc Joseph suspended and Wes Baynes unavailable under the terms of his loan from Wrexham, barely threatened before the break.
After some excellent defending Alty conceded just before the interval when they allowed Morrell to get into the box. He then poked the ball towards goal and it trickled into the net (43 mins).
Wrexham were relatively lacklustre in the second half but scored a second in the 85th minute when a mis-hit shot by Harris went to Cieslewicz, whose low shot beat Coburn. But Alty made it 2-1 two minutes later when Clee converted from a tight angle at the back post following a Densmore cross. Wrexham rode out a tense five minutes of added time to secure a 2-1 win.
REFEREE: Mr Jeremy Simpson
ATTENDANCE: 3,280 (105 in away section)
Alty had Marc Joseph suspended and Wes Baynes was not allowed to play against his employers. Mohammed Coly, the Radcliffe Borough striker from Senegal came into the squad for the first time but, although Chris Denham was present, he was not fit to take part in the game.
Wrexham went into this game after five straight-wins which have left them fourth in the table; Alty meanwhile were seeking a win that might lift them out of the bottom four.
Mike Garnett's stats tell us that we have played Wrexham nine times (excluding our Cheshire League encounters with their Reserves).
WREXHAM (Red & white): 21. Chris Maxwell, 15. Frank Sinclair, 5. Chris Blackburn, 3. Neil Ashton, 23. Mark Creighton, 2. Curtis Obeng, 12. Dean Keates, 6. Jay Harris, 11. Andrew Morrell, 9. Andrew Mangan, 24. Mathias Pogba, Subs: 4. Marvin Andrews, 20. Nathaniel Knight-Percival, 18. Jamie Tolley, 17. Adrian Cieslewicz, 8. David Brown
ALTRINCHAM (White shirts & socks, black shorts): 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, 29. Mohamed COLY
Altrincham kicked off the game on a good surface which still clearly showed the Crusaders' rugby pitch markings as well as those for football, an aspect of The Racecourse underlined by a large banner at the disused end of the ground which proclaimed "This ground is for football".
The visitors started brightly but play was halted in the third minute when Pogba stayed down after being beaten in an aerial challenge by Robbie Williams. The Wrexham striker soon recovered after treatment and was soon taking on Piergianni, with the Peterborough United work experience defender getting the better of Pogba (5 mins).
When Reeves was crudely felled by Creighton, the former Oxford defender was fortunate to escape a booking (6 mins). Alty then conceded a corner in strange circumstances as Williams shepherded the ball out only to be stunned to see the corner-kick awarded to Wrexham. Keates wasted this by putting the ball straight into the side netting.
Wrexham were now getting forward but Alty prevented any serious threat to Coburn's net. Each side had a shot; Alty's being a blocked effort from Wedgbury. The visitors were seemingly content to absorb the Wrexham pressure, allowing the Welshmen possession from the half way line without too much concern. On the break, Alty threatened as Clee fed Wedgbury but, in the act of shooting, his legs were taken from him, only for Wrexham to be awarded a freekick, presumably for offside (18 mins).
Altrincham continued to tackle tenaciously with the defence and midfield both excelling. Young Piergianni showed his poise on a number of occasions whilst Clee was getting back to help out at the back. Up front Reeves was competing well but Beesley was having trouble getting into the game.
Alty continued to absorb the pressure as the game passed the half-hour mark but the visitors did win a corner (28 mins). In the stand, the visiting supporters were in good voice and exchanging banter with the Wrexham supporters behind the goal. Alty had a scare as Smith held off a challenge on the edge of the box and Morrell tested Coburn with a shot which the Alty keeper did well to push away to his left, low down (32 mins).
The most amusing incident of the game arrived in the 37th minute, soon after Mangan had put a freekick wide for the Welshmen. Pogba advanced on the right wing and tried to bamboozle Piergianni with four extravagant stepovers, in the manner of Ronaldo. Piergianni calmly dispossessed the showboating striker prompting the away supporters to a chorus of "What the ****ing hell was that"!
A minute later James Smith was judged to have tripped Harris as he went across the front of the box - a similar incident to that which cost Alty the first goal against Bath at Moss Lane recently. Smith was annoyed at what he viewed as a wrong decision and was booked for dissent (40 mins). Coburn then did well to tip Keates's freekick over the bar for a corner (41 mins).
Just when it looked as if Alty would get to half-time with a goalless score sheet, the defence inexplicably parted allowing Morrell to do well and get between two players and into the left of the box. He then poked what seemed to be a hopeful, diagonal ball along the ground into the goalmouth only for the ball to trundle into the far corner of the net for a soft goal (43 mins).
Three added minutes were signalled and in the second of these, Clee was booked for a rash challenge on the left touchline, on Obeng (45+2 mins). As the players went off for the interval, Smith had a couple of goes at the match officials before Shaun Densmore ensured that the already booked defender did not get himself into further bother.
Wrexham deserved their lead but, apart from thegoal, Alty had defended very well.
|Half-Time: WREXHAM 1 ALTRINCHAM 0|
After kicking off, Wrexham won an early corner from a Coburn punch but the flag kick was again poor and went straight to the Alty keeper (46 mins). Another corner soon followed when the retreating Smith headed the ball towards his own by-line but Coburn had come out and could not get to it. Coburn then saved a deflected shot from Harris.
The game now went into a quiet spell, though Obeng got lectured for a foul on Clee (51 mins). Alty appealed for a freekick when Maxwell picked up what might have been construed as a back pass and then Blackburn headed over an Ashton cross when he should have hit the target (58 mins).
After the award of a freekick to Alty, referee Simpson stopped play to have an admonishing word with Wrexham boss, Dean Saunders. But when Densmore took the kick from a promising position he lofted it over the bar. Twiss now came on for Beesley (62 mins) as the game continued to be a bit flat.
Hewson now sliced well wide in a rare Alty attack (70 mins) before Wrexham introduced Cieslewicz for Morrell (73 mins). The introduction of Twiss sparked an improvement as a clever flick in the box by Reeves gave Twiss a sight of goal, close in but to the right of the near post. Maxwell blocked his shot well at the cost of a corner (74 mins).
With Alty now getting forward more than at any point previously, Wrexham brought on former Histon man Knight-Percival for Pogba (80 mins). This came just after Coburn had shovelled a deflected shot out for a home corner.
Next, Wedgbury was tackled on the Alty right touchline just a few feet from the linesman. Both players went down with Wrexham's Ashton hooking his arm round the prostrate Wedgbury and not allowing him to get up for several seconds. Somehow the assistant referee failed to see this and Wrexham counter-attacked and went close through Blackburn (82 mins).
Wrexham went 2-0 up in the 85th minute when the ball came to an unmarked Harris to the right of goal. His shot was badly sliced to his left but fell perfectly to Cieslewicz who slid a low shot into the far corner of the net (85 mins).
However, Alty immediately responded as Wedgbury fed Densmore; his cross from the right was converted at the back post, from a difficult angle, by Nicky Clee to make it 2-1 (87 mins). Alty now pressed for a second and when Lawton was barged over and lost his boot in the process, the Alty captain hurled the boot to the ground in annoyance that the referee had not given a foul. Mr Simpson booked Ashton for a trip on Wedgbury in the 90th minute, after which five added minutes were proclaimed.
Wrexham brought on Andrews for Mangan (90+2 mins). He left the field at a snail's pace and then keeper Maxwell wasted more time over a freekick despite the referee's signal for him to hurry up. Nevertheless, Mr Simpson played only 15 secs more than the five minutes he had announced before these episodes and Alty were left on the end of a 2-1 defeat.
The hosts deserved the points for their first half performance but Altrincham were far from disgraced and but for two softish goals might have taken a point.
|Full-Time: WREXHAM 2 ALTRINCHAM 1|