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Justice was done in the final act, as Simon Richman scored from close range in the fifth minute of added time to make it 3-2. Before that, a sustained display of gamesmanship from Vauxhall had led to a raft of bookings and the dismissal of Overson. Alty got an early lead when a foul on Flynn saw the defender take a smart long freekick up the middle which Reeves latched onto. He poked the ball through the keeper's legs to make it 1-0 (4 mins).
Vauxhall equalised when a fierce freekick from McGivern, just outside the box, was parried out by Coburn but Dames was on hand to net (11 mins). James Lawrie made it 2-1 to Alty when he converted a Loose ball after Nicky Clee's rasping shot had cannoned off the upright (27 mins). McGivern then won a penalty as he rounded Coburn, going down as the keeper dived at his feet, and then converting the spot kick (35 mins).
That's how it stayed for the rest of the game as Vauxhall stopped Alty by fair means and foul. But when Overson committed a poor challenge on Clee, putting the Alty man out of the game, he was sent off- though arguably it could have been a straight red rather than a second yellow (71 mins). Alty patiently kept attacking but it looked as if Vauxhall's late timewasting would see them through until Lawrie's shot from the left was beaten out and fell for Richman to score in the dying seconds (90+5 mins). Alty gave new signing Jack Redshaw 20 minutes in place of the injured Reeves at the end of the game and he impressed in that time.
REFEREE: Mr Russell Green
Altrincham were unchanged as regards the starting eleven, but Jack Redshaw came in on the bench. Robbie Lawton remained sidelined by injury but was warming up on the pitch before the match.
Mike Garnett reminds us that our statistics against Vauxhall Motors before today's game were:
This is Altrincham's first "return fixture" of the season having drawn 2-2 at Rivacre Park back in August, despite having led 2-0 deep into the second half. The match also brings Alty up against centre-back Paul Jones, who started this season at Moss Lane. In advance of the game, Alty signed Jack Redshaw from Salford City to replace Astley Mulholland who opted to go to FC United of Manchester.
This match had been brought forward by ten days as both teams had been beaten in the last round of the FA Cup a fortnight ago.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Mark LEES, 6. Adam FLYNN, 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. Chris LYNCH, 14. Simon RICHMAN, 15. Brian SUMMERSKILL, 16. Jack REDSHAW, 18. Adam REID (gk).
VAUXHALL MOTORS (All white): 1. Scott Tynan; 2. Dean Overson, 4. Tom Hannigan, 5. Paul Jones, 3. Lee Dames (capt); 7. Craig Mahon, 6. Daniel Fearnehough, 8. David Mannix, 11. Mattie Burke, 9. Leighton McGivern, 10. Kevin Holsgrove. Subs: 12. Josh Wilson, 13. Lloyd Saxton, 14. Steve Beck, 15. John Lawless, 16. Andrew Taylor
On a sunny afternoon, Vauxhall kicked off towards the away end at Moss Lane. As the first minute ended, the Motors were caught offside and McGivern set the pattern for the afternoon by showing dissent and being the recipient of a lengthy lecture from the referee.
When Adam Flynn was fouled, about 10 yards inside his own half, left of centre, there seemed little danger to Vauxhall. But the defender took an excellent freekick straight up the pitch which found Reeves, whose run had got him behind the Motors' back line. As Tynan came out to meet him, Reeves poked the ball through the keeper's legs to make it 1-0 in the fourth minute.
Immediately, Motors had a decent chance to equalise but former Alty man Kevin Holsgrove, inside the left of the box, wasted it with a weak shot at Coburn. Then Mannix fired well over the bar for the visitors from 25 yards out. Vauxhall next won a freekick just outside the front edge of the box. McGivern hammered it at goal, where Coburn did well to beat it out, but it fell for the incoming Dames who scored from close range to make it 1-1 (11 mins).
Alty went close to restoring their lead in the 14th minute when a good move ended with Lawrie's low cross across the face of goal which neither Clee nor Reeves could quite reach as it took a gentle deflection out of play for a corner. Next, Clee fed Reeves, but his shot was well blocked by the advancing Tynan (15 mins). Moments later Clee got forward but elected to shoot rather than feed a team mate and the winger saw his effort saved by Tynan.
After a Vauxhall corner had been dealt with, Clee was caught by Jones and needed treatment but the referee saw nothing wrong with the challenge (17 mins). Next, Reeves needed lengthy treatment to his left ankle, having earlier seemed to injure himself as he chased a ball to the by-line. After playing on for a couple of minutes with ten men, Reeves limped back onto the pitch (21 mins).
A good run up the right and a cross by Lees led to the hosts taking the lead again in the 27th minute. The ball found its way to the left where Clee hammered a shot against the keeper's right post. The ball rebounded out to Lawrie who scored from a central position.
Alty immediately threatened again as Lawrie advanced towards the box, only to be fouled as he did so. But Clee hit the resulting freekick well over the bar and into a Golf Road garden. At the other end, a McGivern shot hit a team-mate which did not stop him appealing for a corner. McGivern later showed good skill in collecting a ball, turning and shooting quickly but the ball went narrowly wide (33 mins).
When an Alty clearance cannoned off an Alty player to leave Holsgrove free, left of goal, the former Alty striker played the ball to McGivern, to his right. As he confronted the advancing Coburn, McGivern went down, prompting referee Green to award a penalty. After something of a melee, Coburn was shown a yellow card before McGivern beat the Alty keeper comfortably from the spot (35 mins).
Before play resumed, Holsgrove had somehow talked himself into the book, presumably having thought the referee should have handled the penalty situation differently.
The undoubtedly skilful McGivern now showed another side of his game as he got Adam Flynn booked. The Vauxhall man made no attempt to go for an aerial ball, instead looking round to locate Flynn before stepping into this space as the defender rose to head the ball clear. The referee "bought" the ruse and booked the Alty man (38 mins).
The atmosphere was soured even more when Coburn collected a ball two-handed and Hannigan went down holding his head. The referee stopped play but saw no offence (39 mins). When Jones fouled Clee to concede another freekick, the home crowd was becoming increasingly upset by the visitors' behaviour. Densmore's well struck freekick was then well punched away by Tynan (43 mins).
Deep into added time, Lawrie fired wildly over the bar into Golf Road and it needed Tynan to punch clear once more as Alty sent in a very late corner from the left (45+4 mins). The interval arrived with Altrincham having played well enough to be leading but the scores remained level.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 VAUXHALL MOTORS 2|
Altrincham started the second half brightly but play was soon interrupted as the referee asked for the ball to be changed. Next, Twiss was judged offside as he shot over the bar (49 mins).
After this, Dames was penalised for deliberate handball but no card was issued. But, then, Alty had a scare when Holsgrove was judged onside but his shot hit the advancing Coburn's knee to save Altrincham's blushes. The Robins now went close as a Clee cross was turned just wide, at the near post, by Reeves (55 mins)
After an Alty corner, won when Hannigan had to head a Clee cross over his own bar, play went through several scrappy minutes before Overson was booked as he wrestled Clee down when the Alty man got past him on the left (63 mins). Jones soon followed his colleague into the ref's notebook when he manhandled Flynn to the ground (66 mins).
Densmore put the resulting freekick narrowly over the bar as Altrincham enjoyed the upper hand. Just as in the first half, McGivern now got Williams booked, stepping into the defender's path as he went up to head the ball, which the referee again interpreted as a foul. McGivern's smirk to the bench after this incident told the true story (68 mins).
Altrincham now brought on Redshaw for his debut as Reeves was withdrawn (69 mins). Immediately, the new striker was put through on goal and he forced a diving save from Tynan, to his right.
Next, Overson committed a very challenge on Clee and was sent off by dint of a second yellow - though a straight red might not have been out of place. The Alty club doctor had to come on to assess Clee's injury. As a stretcher was brought out, Clee was lifted to his feet and, supported on both sides, he hobble off with what afterwards could be seen was a cut and bruised ankle (71 mins).
After this, Taylor replaced Fearnehough for the Motormen and Richman replaced the injured Clee (73 mins). Just after this, a Brown cross was met by Richman's downward header but the ball ran to Tynan.
With McGivern having to be warned about time wasting as he went to take a corner, the ten-man visitors had settled for a draw (76 mins). Altrincham kept trying to break down the visitors with patient play but two corners was seen off by the visitors just before they made a double swap. Wilson and Lawless came on to replace Holsgrove and McGivern, the latter being roundly booed by the home crowd as he came off (82 mins).
Wilson was immediately booked for a foul on Densmore before a Redshaw cross went dangerously across the Motors' goalmouth. With Taylor fortunate not to be penalised for a tackle on Richman, the same player held Redshaw down with his hands on the back of the shorter Alty player's neck but neither challenge prompted any action from Mr Green (86 mins).
In the final minute of the ninety, a cross from the right just evaded Lawrie in the goalmouth so it looked as if the Motormen would emerge with a point as five added minutes were announced. Another Wilson foul was punished by a freekick before Vauxhall survived strong appeals for handball in their penalty area (90+2 mins). Taylor then joined Mr Green's list of offenders for kicking the ball away.
But with the seconds ticking away, Lawrie was played in, on the right, and his shot was beaten out but it fell for Richman who got the ball into the net from close range, in the centre of the goalmouth, to cue ecstatic scenes on the Altrincham terraces. It was a pity, however, that today's game was not played in the same good spirit of the teams' first encounter this season at Rivacre Park.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 3 VAUXHALL MOTORS 2|