Altrincham emerged deserved winners of this clash between two teams relegated last season fom the national division of the BSB league. After a scrappy start, Altrincham soon got on top but without showing much threat of actually scoring till Nicky Clee was denied with three successive attempts in the 11th minute as he saw a header and a shot beaten out and his third attempt went wide.
But as rain started to fall, Alty took a 35th-minute lead when Lynch got into the box and fed the ball across the face of goal. Twiss was unable to connect, allowing Clee to convert comfortably. Alty started the second half well, winning four corners in the opening minutes. But the game then went a bit flat and Alty lost Flynn to injury. However, in the 61st minute a fine ball from Lynch saw Reeves win a chase against the oncoming keeper to score his side's second goal.
Alty took their foot off the pedal, allowing Histon plenty of possession, but in the final of three added minutes, substitute Simon Richman beat the keeper at his near post with a well taken goal from a Danylyk feed.
REFEREE: Mr S BENNETT
Altrincham were unchanged for the third match running. Adam Flynn's suspension for his sending-off at Harrogate does not take effect till August 27th, so he remained available today.
Striker, Omer Riza, was out for Histon, with a foot injury. On the eve of the match the Stutes signed a striker on loan, Kaine Sheppard from Leyton Orient, who was named on the bench.
Mike Garnett's statistics told us that, before today's match, Alty's games with Histon had finished as follows:
The last meeting of the clubs at Moss Lane was on Tuesday, 15 February, 2011, when Alty lost 0-3 in the BSB Premier.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white stripes, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 5. Adam FLYNN, 6. Paul JONES, 3. Ryan BROWN, 7. Shaun DENSMORE, 4. Chris LYNCH, 8. Anthony DANYLYK, 11. Nicky CLEE, 10. Damian REEVES, 9. Michael TWISS, Subs: 18. Josh OLLERENSHAW (gk), 12. Mark LEES, 14. Brian SUMMERSKILL, 15. Astley MULHOLLAND, 16. Simon RICHMAN.
HISTON (All Blue): 1. Jorg Stadelmann, 2. Zac Mills, 5. Dallas Moore, 6. Danny Fitzsimons, 3. Harri Hawkins, 7. Matthew Breeze, 4. Grant Roberts, 8. Jim Stevenson, 11. Daniel Sparkes, 9. Dan Holman, 10. Lewis Taaffe, Subs: 14. Jay Dowie, 15. Charlie Day, 13. Calum Kitscha (gk), 12. Ollie Cleaver, 16. Kaine Sheppard.
For some reason the teams came onto the pitch late, before the visitors kicked off in warm conditions towards the sparsely populated away end. The skies were clouding over following a bright morning.
The opening few minutes were scrappy and which briefly raised fears of a repeat of some of the previous dire encounters between these sides. But play improved, with Altrincham getting the upper hand, the first half chance coming after a freekick awarded for a foul on Clee, 40 yards out. Densmore's freekick was cleared out to Lynch who fired wide of the keeper's left post (5 mins).
Alty started to play a passing game but at this stage penetration of the visitors' defence was lacking. Twiss, who is enjoying a much more promising start to a season than last year, won a corner in the 10th minute, following which there was a remarkable escape for the Stutes. From Densmore's left-sided corner, the ball found Clee, whose goalbound header at the back post was well saved by Histon's Austrian keeper, Stadelmann. The ball was beaten out to Clee, whose firm shot was blocked and rebounded, once more, to him. This time, Clee skewed his shot confortably wide of the keeper's right post.
Altrincham continued to have the better of things but the game lacked any serious incident for the next few minutes. In fact, it was Histon who next threatened when Holman was allowed time to shoot but his effort went straight at Coburn, who saved well (23 mins).
Next, following an Altrincham freekick by Densmore, Altrincham gained a corner on their left. Stadelmann punched this clear to Danylyk, before the ball came to Brown, whose well hit curling shot only narrowly cleared the bar from the edge of the box (25 mins).
Taaffe became the first player to be booked, for a foul on Lawton (29 mins). Clee then needed treatment for a leg injury and hobbled through the next few minutes. But he was soon involved again as the ball went from him, via Twiss, to Reeves, who beat Fitzsimons well before finding Twiss. His well-struck shot rebounded out of danger, off the underside of the Histon bar (32 mins). As rain started to fall, Reeves soon won his side a corner, which led to a second one.
Altrincham finally took the lead when Reeves's smart stepover allowed Lynch to advance past Moore into the mid-right of the box and get the ball across the face of goal. Twiss, in the centre, was unable to touch the ball under pressure from a defender so it ran to his left, where Clee was left with a simple conversion into an unguarded net (35 mins).
With rain now puring down, a good passing move from Alty ended as Lynch fired over the bar (38 mins). The downpour soon eased as Altrincham continued to pass the ball around but without seriously threatening another goal. Just before the break, Alty allowed Histon their best period of the game so far. Taaffe had a shot blocked and Jones had to clear from Breeze. But the half time whistle sounded just as the ball dropped for Anthony Danylyk at the other end but any thoughts he may have had of a shot were ended by the whistle.
The first half had seen an improving performance from Altrincham as the game had worn on, with a return, generally, to the passing game which they had played against Harrogate but not against Workington in midweek.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 HISTON 0|
Altrincham made a determined start to the second half with the tone set by Chris Lynch's biting tackle on Roberts after just 20 seconds. Then a couple of minutes of desperate defending by Histon ensued. First of all a Lynch header was deflected out for an Altrincham corner, which led to the ball pinging around the Histon box as they struggled to block Alty shots and clear the ball. Three more corners followed, with Reeves forcing a good save after the first of these. But Histon survived this early onslaught and sought to steady their ship with a double substitution.
The new players were Dowie and on-loan Leyton Orient striker, Sheppard, who replaced Roberts and Breeze (51 mins). Histon got some respite when a mis-header from Jones gave them a corner. Stadelmann then indulged in a bit of nonsense at his end as he twice tried to steal yards for a freekick despite being clearly instructed by the referee where to place the ball
Indeed, the whole game now went a bit flat as Alty were unable to make their dominance tell with a second goal. After slicing a clearance, Flynn redeemed himself with a good tackle but moments later went down injured and had to be replaced by Mark Lees, who was making his first appearance for Altrincham (59 mins).
Soon afterwards, Altrincham sealed the game when a fine ball up the middle by Lynch saw Reeves and goalkeeper Stadelmann chasing to get to it first. The Alty man won the race and flicked the ball past the Austrian to make it 2-0 (61 mins).
But the goal also signalled Altrincham taking their foot off the pedal. Histon now started to pass the ball about well, belying their reputation under previous management for playing direct, aerial football. But neat though their play was, the Cambridgeshire side were not able to break down the Alty defence.
So, play drifted on past the 70-minute mark without any serious threat of a goal at either end. Indeed, Alty mught have paid the price for resting on their laurels when Holman was allowed far too much space. His well-hit struck, however, was straight at Coburn, who beat it out. The Alty keeper and his captain, Robbie Lawton, got in a bit of a misunderstanding over the loose ball but got away with it.
A brilliant back-heel by Clee induced Mills to bring down the Alty man and the Histon defender was shown a yellow card in consequence. Alty finally did threaten a goal when a good passing move ended with a Clee header from Densmore's good cross, which just cleared the bar (79 mins).
After 81 minutes, Simon Richman came on for Lynch and joined Reeves and Twiss in a 4-3-3 set up. Soon afterwards, Histon made their final swap as Stevenson gave way to Day (82 mins). The game seemed to be drifting towards its conclusion as Alty again allowed Histon to come forward, with Mills getting in a shot at goal.
In the 85th minute, Mulholland came on on for Reeves as the Altrincham fans indulged in some choruses of support for their side. But Histon were still enjoying plenty of the ball as Alty remained content with a two-goal lead. However, at the death, Mulholland was presented with two glorious chances in the three minutes of added time. From the first, he failed to control Richman's pass cleanly, and the chance went. Next, a fine chip over a defender by Twiss again found Mulholland loose in the box but, once again, his first touch diverted the ball away from goal.
But, finally, Altrincham did score a third goal. It came after Twiss had forced a save (90+3 mins). Danylyk then played the ball forward for Richman, who advanced into the box, right of goal. As the keeper came out, the Alty substitute drove the ball between him and the near post to record his first strike for Altrincham since joining in the summer.
This was Altrincham's first win of the season and lifted them ten places to ninth in the table. It was a well deserved win achieved by playing a predominantly passing game and the outcome should give them confidence as they travel to Vauxhall Motors next Tuesday.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 3 HISTON 0|