ALTRINCHAM (0) 0 WITTON ALBION (1) 2
played on Saturday, 1 October, 2011, at 3pm
Altrincham's poor FA Cup form - they haven't even scored in the competition since October 2008, (Chris Lane at Newcastle Blue Star) - saw them bow out at home to Witton Albion of the EvoStik First Division. And Alty could have few complaints as the visitors showed the greater determination to win. Despite having much of the second half possession, Alty lacked anything resembling a cutting edge, whilst it was first-half frailties at the back that allowed Witton to score.
Albion took the lead in the 11th minute when an Alty attack broke down 30 yards from goal. The ball went back up the pitch where Titchiner got the better of Mark Lees before firing past Coburn from about 12 yards, slightly right of goal. It almost became 2-0 when a Williams error led to Titchiner missing when he should have hit the target.
Altrincham had most of the play after the break as Witton eventually had six players booked in their keenness to keep Alty out. But, despite Alty having "goals" chalked off in each half for offside, the visitors defended well and Alty's unforced errors limited the pressure on the Witton goal. With three minutes left of normal time, Hancock fed Buchan through the middle and he drew Coburn before scoring Witton's second goal. And so, as well as suffering an embarrassing home defeat to a club two tiers lower in the pyramid, a much needed £4,500 in FA Cup prize money slipped through Alty's fingers.
REFEREE: Mr Lee Metcalf
Alty captain Robbie Lawton missed this game with his continuing tendinitis problem below his knee but Simon Richman was on the bench after his injury absence. Matt Fearon was out injured as Alty fielded only five of the seven permitted substitutes in the FA Cup. Cheshire FA rules apparently meant that youth team players selected for the County could not be chosen to make up the numbers.
Witton's Anthony Gardner was out with a hamstring injury.
Mike Garnett has kindly supplied data on past encounters between Altrincham and Witton Albion, who meet on Saturday in the "FA Cup with Budweiser" 2QR at Moss Lane. As can be seen, the overall record is remarkably level, with 62 wins for each side.
Mike adds, "The reason for the discrepancy between overall 'games played' and 'won-drawn-lost' is that I am short of two home results (in the 1939-40 CCL Western Section) and four away (1909-10 Manchester League, 1935-6 Cheshire League and the two away games in the 1939-40 CCL Western Section)". The FA Cup stats are:
ALTRINCHAM (Red & black striped shirts, black shorts and red socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Chris LYNCH, 6. Mark LEES, 5. Rob WILLIAMS, 3. Ryan BROWN, 7. James LAWRIE, 4. Anthony DANYLYK (capt), 8. Shaun DENSMORE, 11. Nicky CLEE, 10. Damian REEVES, 9. Michael TWISS. Subs: 12. Adam FLYNN, 15. Brian SUMMERSKILL, 14. Simon RICHMAN, 16. Astley MULHOLLAND, 18. Adam REID (gk),
WITTON ALBION (Dark blue & yellow shirts, yellow shorts and socks) 1. Matt Cooper, 2. Anthony Sheehan, 3. Mat Wood, 4. Ben Harrison(capt), 5. Paul Booth 6. Ollie James, 7. Josh Hancock, 8. Carl Clampitt (capt), 9. Liam Newman, 10. Alex Titchiner, 11. Danny Andrews. Subs 12. Mark Buchan, 14. Matt Woolley, 15. Dean Ennion, 16. Jamie Harrison, 17. Tom Schofield, 18. Mike Moseley, 19. Brian Pritchard
On what the media claim was the hottest October day for around a century, Alty struck an historical note, too, as they took to the field for the first time in their "Centenary of Moss Lane" red and black striped kit. Witton elected to play towards Golf Road, leaving Alty to kick off after the teams had changed ends.
Altrincham won an early corner, following which Danylyk fired high and wide from outside the box (2 mins). After Clee had conceded a corner to Witton, the visitors immediately won a second flag-kick. A third corner soon arrived for them after Titchiner had got the better of Williams. Alty then put together a nine-pass move which broke down when Clee lost possession 35 yards from goal. Witton quickly played the ball forward where Titchiner, in the inside right channel, got the better of Lees, inside the box, before firing across the unprotected Coburn to give Albion the lead (11 mins).
A minute later Lawrie and Clee combined and Alty had the ball in the net only for the offside flag to rule out the effort. Clee and Lawrie were to swap wings several times during the game, which was presumably intended to confuse the Witton defence, but it did not pay off. Some of the home crowd were beginning to get restless at Altrincham's laboured build-ups which kept breaking down in unforced errors. Alty did then improve and, from a Twiss cross from the right, Clee headed wide at the back post (24 mins).
Newman now wasted a good chance for visitors, before James escaped a yellow card when he blatantly kicked the ball away. Had he been booked at this point, he would have seen an early bath later in the game. Next, Lawrie, again on the Alty left, shot wide before Clee went close and, though fouled after he had shot, only a corner was given (32 mins). Not for the first time this season, Alty's corners throughout this game were unthreatening and the freekicks were no better.
In the 37th minute Clee had a shot saved, after it had taken a deflection off a defender and, soon, Altrincham's pressure led to Andrews being booked for a trip on Brown. Immediately from the re-start, a foul by Sheehan saw him cautioned, too (39 mins). Reeves then needed treatment after twisting his back when falling under a challenge (42 mins). As half-time arrived, Alty were pressing but not seriously threatening to score.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 WITTON ALBION 1|
Witton came out early for the second half; indeed their goalkeeper spent most of the interval on the pitch rather than in the dressing room team-talk. The half started with an Alty freekick, which again was wasted, before a good Witton attack was halted (47 mins). Two minutes later, an excellently contrived Altrincham "goal", tapped home by Twiss, was ruled out for offside. Then another passing move ended with Lawrie forcing a save.
In the 52nd minute James was booked for a foul on Clee and was immediately subbed by Ennion. Lawrie next played in Clee, for a clear shot at goal, but his drive went straight at keeper Cooper, though a corner followed as Alty remained on top. Soon after this, Lawrie played in Reeves but he scuffed his shot. When the already booked Andrews committed another offence he escaped without further punishment but was substituted on the hour mark by Jamie Harrison.
Danylyk then seemed to be tripped just outside the box but, as he fell and grabbed the ball, the referee awarded handball against him, to the Alty captain's annoyance (61 mins). Alty were stringing together plenty of passes but getting nowhere in terms of goalscoring openings, though they won a corner as the midway point of the second half approached. The corner was kicked straight out of play beyond the back post.
Alty now made a change as Astley Mulholland replaced Lawrie on the Alty right (67 mins). Next, a good cross from Densmore was headed by Reeves but saved by Cooper before Witton picked up their fourth card when Newman saw yellow for kicking the ball away (68 mins). Three minutes later Buchan replaced Newman for the visitors, all three subs having replaced a previously booked player as the visitors made sure they did not go down to ten men.
In the 72nd minute, Adam Flynn, out since being injured on the second Saturday of the season, returned to action in place of Brown at the back for Alty. Having already been talked to for dissent, Danylyk was now cautioned, after presumably passing comment on an offence against Michael Twiss. Immediately after this, Witton's Ben Harrison was cautioned for felling Reeves (76 mins).
In a relatively rare foray to the Alty end, Witton won a corner but this came to nothing. Alty's last desperate measure was to send Rob Williams forward and rely on a back three for the final nine minutes. A chance did come in the 84th minute when Reeves set up Mulholland but he lifted his shot well over the bar. But Witton then sealed the game when Hancock advanced up the middle and fed Buchan who coolly drew Coburn before slotting the ball into the net to make it 2-0 to the Albion (88 mins).
Booking number six followed for Albion before four added minutes were played during which Altrincham failed to test the Witton defence seriously. The visitors ran out winners thanks to their committed attitude and solid defending whilst Altrincham, who enjoyed the lion's share of second-half pressure, laboured unsuccessfully to break them down.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 WITTON ALBION 2|