ALTRINCHAM (0) 1 NEWPORT COUNTY (2) 3
played on Saturday, 23 April, 2011, at 3pm
Altrincham's Conference survival hangs by a thread after this, their third successive defeat, which leaves them needing maximum points from their two remaining games to have any chance of staying up.
Alty, with their only fit 16 players comprising their squad today, got off to a nervy start and fell behind after only seven minutes. Rose's corner from the left was flicked across the box by Collins to Warren, who headed home at the back post. Newport doubled their lead when the bulky Griffin was allowed to get to the by-line like a winger and was gifted time to pick out a team mate; he chose Collins who netted comfortably (33 mins).
Altrincham did not fold but, after their best spell of the game, they conceded another poor goal on the hour mark, as Newport advanced up the left and from a low cross, Foley scored easily.
With Baynes withdrawn in the first half, the injured Connors replaced early in the second half and then Reeves giving way to Twiss, Alty used all their options and got a consolation goal in added time when Dale Johnson headed home after a goalmouth scramble.
REFEREE: Mr S A Duncan
With Greg Young recalled by York City to sit on their bench, Rob Williams returned to the starting line-up, as did Dale Johnson. Steve Connors returned from suspension and Michael Twiss rejoined the squad but Jon Bateson was out injured, so Shaun Densmore played at right back. There was further disruption to the Alty defence as James Smith was only fit enough to be on the bench, whilst goalkeeper Stuart Coburn remained sidelined by his leg injury and looks unlikely to figure again this season.
Newport County recalled Hughes to the starting line-up, whilst Todd and Odhiambo returned, on the bench, following their recent injury absences.
The reverse fixture this season ended 2-1 to Newport.
Altrincham needed to win their final three games to give themselves a good chance of avoiding relegation, whilst County had only pride to play for after missing their target of a play-off place. New manager Anthony Hudson was seeking his first away win.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts): 30. Craig DOOTSON, 4. Marc JOSEPH, 5. Rob WILLIAMS, 26. Carl PIERGIANNI, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 18. Steve CONNORS, 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 11. Nicky CLEE, 17. Wes BAYNES, 8. Damian REEVES, 14. Dale JOHNSON, Subs: 1. Stuart COBURN, 15. Ryan BROWN, 19. Mark BEESLEY, 9. Michael TWISS, 2. James SMITH,
NEWPORT COUNTY (All orange) 1 Glyn THOMPSON, 5. Gary WARREN, 37. Wayne HATSWELL, 18. Andrew HUGHES, 42. Tom MILLER, 20. Darryl KNIGHTS, 8. Scott ROGERS, 10. Sam FOLEY, 7. Danny ROSE, 4. Jamie COLLINS, 43. Charlie GRIFFIN. Subs: 27. Kerry MORGAN. 45. Steven LENNON, 6. Chris TODD, 16. Eddie ODIAMBO, 21. Glyn GARNER.
Altrincham were playing towards Golf Road but it was County who kicked off, towards their fans at the away end. On a warm, bright afternoon, the visitors started the better and were awarded three freekicks just outside the Alty box inside the first six minutes.
Hatswell drove the first kick narrowly over the bar, gaining a corner for a slight deflection. Amidst these freekicks, Alty's jittery start also included an appeal against Piergianni for handball in the box but the referee correctly ignored this. The third freekick followed a trip by Williams and from Knights's kick, from left of goal, Connors conceded a corner. Rose's corner, from the left, was flicked on by Collins at the near post and he found Warren unmarked at the back stick, from where the visitors' captain headed the Exiles into the lead (7 mins).
Slowly, Altrincham began to get into the game but they were not aided by Mr Duncan's failure to award a freekick when Reeves was manhandled by a defender on the edge of County's box (16 mins). Just before this, Warren had deliberately baulked Clee to concede a freekick from 25 yards but Connors's dead-ball effort was cleared.
Though Alty were now holding their own, they were causing no alarms to the Newport defence, which had Reeves and Johnson well under their control. Alty's defensive frailties were exposed again in the 25th minute when Collins got Knights in behind Piergianni, on the Newport right, but when the attack broke down, Alty's counter attack earned them their first corner. Connors interchanged passes with Clee from the corner but the on-loan Fleetwood midfielder blasted his resulting shot from right of goal miles over the bar (26 mins).
Dootson then did well to beat out a good curling shot from Collins and was fortunate to see the loose ball rebound back to him off a Newport attacker (28 mins). Soon after Connors had put a freekick over the bar (32 mins), Alty's defence was carved open and Newport doubled their lead. Initially, burly Charlie Griffin was fortunate to benefit from a deflection, but he was then allowed not only to get to the by-line, right of goal, but then to move along the by-line towards, unchallenged.
Griffin had plenty of time to pick out a team mate and he did so, laying the ball inside to Collins who scored from about 18 yards, with his low shot taking a slight deflection as it went into the net (33 mins).
Altrincham were playing like a side lacking in confidence and when Dootson came out and mis-punched the ball, he was grateful to see the ball go to a non-threatening position (37 mins). At the other end, the veteran Hatswell and his colleague Warren were forming a solid barrier to Johnson and Reeves.
After 39 minutes, Alty withdrew Baynes and replaced him by Ryan Brown, the Wrexham loanee being hugged by Ken McKenna before disappearing down the tunnel. Alty's jittery performance continued as Williams attempted to clear a ball which Dootson seemed to have covered and almost put through his own net before clearing the ball himself off the line for a corner (40 mins).
Newport threatened again in the 43rd minute when Foley got up the left but he put in a poor cross, which went out for a goalkick. But, just before the break, Alty finally put together a good move when Clee, on the right, fed Densmore and his low cross located Johnson in front of goal. The striker spooned his effort over the bar and will have been grateful to see the offside flag raised in any case.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 NEWPORT COUNTY 2|
Alty won an early corner but this was caught by keeper Thompson (48 mins). Then, a Griffin header at the other end was caught by Dootson. Six minutes into the half, Alty brought on Mark Beesley for Steve Connors, who it later emerged had been playing with a hernia problem (51 mins). Beesley slotted in on the right flank, rather then his customary striker position.
Altrincham were trying to get forward but it was Newport who now went close as Knights struck a left foot shot narrowly over the bar (56 mins). However, the Robins did then get a bit of attacking momentum as, firstly, a Brown shot was deflected to Reeves who did well to turn and get in a shot but it went wide. Seconds later, a Densmore shot rose narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box after a neat Alty move.
But thoughts of an unlikely comeback were undone by more poor defending. Knights fed Collins who advanced up the left. His low cross found Foley unmarked in the goalmouth and he finished neatly past Dootson to wrap up the game at 3-0 on the hour mark. The visitors now brought on Odhiambo (known as Anaclet when he played for Oxford) to replace Miller.
Rob Williams became the game's only booking when he was cautioned for a trip (62 mins). Rose put the freekick yards over the bar. After Densmore had lost possession, Alty were grateful to Dootson for a good save at the cost of a corner. Before this was taken, Rogers needed treatment and Altrincham brought on Twiss for Reeves (68 mins).
From the corner, Collins had a free header but Dootson saved. Alty's afternoon was summed up in the 70th minute when in a goalmouth melee in the Newport box, they had four separate attempts to get the ball into the net from close range and failed to convert any of them!
In the 71st minute Lennon came on to replace Griffin for County, following which Alty won a corner. Joseph volleyed Densmore's corner wide, at the back post (73 mins). Next, Lennon was allowed to turn but his shot rose over the Altrincham bar (77 mins). Beesley then interchanged passes with Twiss but inside the box Beesley elected to take a touch rather than shoot and the chance was gone, though a corner resulted.
Newport captain Gary Warren was then hurt after hitting the advertising hoardings but he recovered after treatment. Morgan was the next County substitute, replacing Knights in the 80th minute.
Despite their 3-0 deficit, Alty kept going forward and from a Beesley feed, Johnson forced Thompson to tip the ball over the bar for another corner (85 mins). But, at the other end, Newport broke away and Beesley did well to get back and cover Rose, the ball cannoning to the safety of Dootson's arms off the Alty upright (86 mins).
with Clee and Collins named the respective home and away men of match, three added minutes started. In the first of these, Dootson saved well from Rose who had been fed by Lennon. Play switched to the other end where another goalmouth melee appeared to be going to be unproductive for Alty until Johnson managed to loop a header into the net for a consolation goal. Just as at Fleetwood last Saturday, Johnson had made it 3-1 in injury time.
There was no doubt that Newport deserved to win this game but all three of their goals came from slack defending by Altrincham. Anything less than a win at Grimsby on Monday will see Altrincham relegated but even two wins in the final games will not guarantee survival unless others slip up badly.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 NEWPORT COUNTY 3|