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A hat-trick from Damian Reeves, bringing his total to 16 goals in the last 11 games, (and 23 in 20 for the league season as a whole), helped Altrincham to an ultimately comfortable win. At 3-0 down after just half an hour's play, the visitors looked to be in disarray but they regrouped and, but for three fine saves from Stuart Coburn, the final score could have been closer.
Quick thinking from Nicky Clee, who took a rapid long throw, set up Reeves for the opener in the 11th minute. It became 2-0 when Paul Phillips's kick reached Lawrie some 40 yards out. He ran diagonally at the defence before scoring a fine goal in the 24th minute. Next, a long ball found Reeves, who got the better of Kerr, in the 30th minute and he kept calm to round Phillips for a tap-in to make it 3-0.
Good work from Jack Redshaw led to a penalty, when he was upended in the box, and Damian Reeves completed his hat-trick from the spot to make it 4-0 in the 77th minute. Just three minutes after joining the game as a substitute, Michael Twiss's cool finish completed Altrincham's scoring, when he converted a fine feed from Reeves in the 82nd minute. But Droylsden's policy of attack being the best form of defence paid off with a consolation goal in the 88th minute when Kerr's pass allowed substitute Kilheeney to lob Coburn.
REFEREE: Mr Paul Hodskinson
Altrincham included all four of their current loanees in the starting eleven, which meant that early season regulars Michael Twiss, Ryan Brown and Mark Lees were confined to the bench. For Liam Tomsett and Adam Dodd, this game was their first start for the Robins. Altrincham were without captain Shaun Densmore, injured, so Adam Flynn took over the armband.
Droylsden included former Alty players Carlos Logan and Dale Johnson in their starting eleven, as well as ex-Moss Lane trialist Nat Kerr. And, on their bench, was former Alty midfielder, Warren Peyton.
This was Altrincham's first game for three weeks. Before kick-off Mike Garnett's statistics revealed that Droylsden had yet to win at Moss Lane after 14 previous encounters...
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Matthew FLYNN, 5. Adrian HAWES, 6. Adam FLYNN (capt.), 3. Adam DODD 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Liam TOMSETT, 4. Chris LYNCH, 11. Nicky CLEE, 9. Jack REDSHAW, 10. Damian REEVES, Subs 12. Mark LEES, 14. Ryan BROWN, 15. simon RICHMAN, 16. Michael TWISS, 18. Adam REID (gk),
DROYLSDEN (Silver shirts, pale blue shorts and socks) 1. Paul Phillips, 2. Chris Brown, 3. Carlos Logan, 4. Andy Langford, 5.Nat Kerr, 6. Paul Marshall, 7. Lewis Killeen (capt.), 8. Stephen Hall, 9. Danny Rowe, 10. Dale Johnson, 11. Dan Gardner Subs: 12. Shaun Holden, 13. Sean Lake, 14. Ciaran Kilheeney, 16. Domaine Rouse, 15. Warren Peyton.
The game was preceded by a minute's applause as club chaplain, Rev. Andrew Barclay-Watts, read the names of people connected with the Club who had died in the previous twelve months. After this, Dale Johnson got the game under way on a dull afternoon, as his Droylsden side attacked the away end at Moss Lane. Altrincham started brightly but, firstly, Logan saw off a promising Altrincham move and, then, Dodd's excellent overlap up the left wing ended with a cross which evaded his team mates in the centre (4 mins). Next, Lynch fired over from outside the box.
But it was Droylsden who won the game's first corner, through their captain and former Halifax Town player, Lewis Killeen (6 mins). And Droylsden threatened again when Rowe was allowed time to turn and shoot at goal. Alty were then relieved to see a linesmanís flag raised for offside as Johnson got free behind Adam Flynn (10 mins).
However, a minute later, Alty won a throw on the left about 30 yards out. Clee took this quickly and hurled the ball into the box where Reeves did well to gather, turn and plant the ball into the back of the net for his 21st league goal of the season (11 mins). Immediately from the restart, Alty conceded a freekick not far outside their box, but Rowe's freekick did not trouble Coburn too greatly as he gathered the ball. Dodd and Tomsett were both having promising debuts for Altrincham but when the latter was knocked over inside the box the referee saw no offence worthy of a penalty (15 mins).
Rowe was impressing for the Bloods but his 25-yard shot now sailed over the Alty bar. A very rash sliding tackle by Lawrie caught an opponent and the Alty man could be said to have been lucky only to see a yellow card (18 mins). Soon, Redshaw did well to turn and get in a shot, but it went narrowly wide from the edge of the box (20 mins). Lawrie then got in a shot from 25 yards which Phillips saved comfortably. At the other end, Clee had to cover well, at the cost of a corner as Droylsden went forward again.
Goalkeeper Phillips then kicked clear but only found Alty's Lawrie, some forty yards out towards the Alty right. The former Telford man advanced diagonally towards goal evading several challenges before beating the Droylsden goalkeeper for an impressive goal to extend Alty's lead to 2-0 (24 mins).
Straight from the restart Rowe almost scored at the other end but a corner was the outcome (25 mins). In an open game, Alty now had a fine opportunity to make it 3-0 when the ball came across the goalmouth to the unmarked Clee but he pulled his left-footed shot wide of the far post (26 mins). Altrincham then won two corners, after which Tomsett saw a shot saved.
Alty's third goal, when it did arrive on the half-hour mark, arrived in direct fashion as a long ball led to Reeves outsmarting Kerr 25 yards out. The Alty striker outpaced the defender then rounded Phillips before carefully tapping the ball home from a couple of yards, from beside the left-hand upright. Kerr now lost the plot and was cautioned for his petulance. Moments later the referee stopped the game for a further word with the Droylsden defender as the visitors looked rattled. Indeed, Killeen was now booked, too but they gained some respite when Johnson was tripped just outside the Alty box (36 mins).
Not long afterwards, a Rowe shot forced an excellent tip over the bar from Coburn to give Droylsden another corner (40 mins). Alty's keeper then had to make another smart save, one handed, to his left, from Marshall's effort (43 mins). And then in added time, a fine cross from the right by Brown, was deftly flicked towards goal by Johnson but Coburn was again good enough to keep it out. So, although Alty reached the interval three goals to the good, they had good reason to thank their goalkeeper for retaining that margin.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 3 DROYLSDEN 0|
The second half started in the same open fashion of the first half with Alty's Lynch firing over the bar before Rowe did likewise at the other end. For the second time Tomsett went down in the box and for the second time, the referee ignored appeals for a penalty. Each side then won a corner and Clee fired over the bar but, as the hour mark approached, both defences had held firm.
Droylsden won two more corners between which it took an excellent block of Hall's effort from Coburn to stop the visitors from opening their account (62 mins). And following the second corner, the Alty keeper had to block with his feet near the upright. Both sides now made changes. Richman replaced Tomsett for Alty and Droylsden introduced Kilheeney and Rouse for Marshall and Rowe (63 mins). At the back for Alty, loanee Adrian Hawes was having his best game to date since coming into the side.
A fine run by Matt Flynn yielded an Alty corner before play continued from end to end and another Bloods' corner arrived. Alty had another shout for a penalty disregarded when Reeves was knocked over by the already booked Kerr. Next, Warren Peyton came on for Killeen and Alty introduced Brown for Clee (72 mins). Then, as Reeves got free from the defence, Langford grabbed a handful of his shorts. Reeves shook him off and the chance went begging whilst Langford was fortunate to escape a caution (73 mins).
Excellent work from Redshaw now allowed him to wriggle free in the inside right channel and, as he went into the box, he went down. Though the incident was less clear cut than one or two of the earlier appeals, this time Mr Hodskinson assented to Alty's appeals for a spot kick. Reeves, who had missed from the spot recently at Halifax, when a hat-trick would have been his reward, this time made sure by beating Phillips comfortably to complete his second three-goal haul of the season (77 mins).
Droylsden's Brown was now cautioned as he fouled Dodd on the edge of the Bloods' box. Now Michael Twiss came on for Redshaw (79 mins). Within three minutes Twiss had scored. His goal arose from a clever turn and feed by Reeves which set his team-mate free. Twiss very calmly rolled the ball into the net evading the right-hand of the advancing Phillips (82 mins). It was Twiss's fifth goal of the campaign, one more than he scored in the whole of last season.
They may have been 5-0 down but, still, Droylsden kept coming forward and they finally got some reward when a good ball forward by Kerr came to Kilheeney and he cleverly lobbed Coburn to make it 5-1 (88 mins). In the final of three additional minutes, an error by the otherwise impressive Gardner, allowed Lawrie to get free and though he was clearly pulled back by Gardner, Lawrie got in his shot but it went wide (90+3 mins).
The win confirmed Alty's place on the fringes of the play-offs, with two games in hand on most of their rivals. Whilst Altrincham well deserved their win, Droylsden may feel the margin was harsh on them and their attacking play contributed much to a very entertaining game. Alty now enter a run of four away games in the next six fixtures and will be looking to translate this home form into their away performances.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 5 DROYLSDEN 1|