ALTRINCHAM (2) 3 BRADFORD PARK AVENUE (0) 1
played on Saturday, 15 September 2012, at 3pm
Altrincham took the lead against the run of early play when Damian Reeves smartly backheeled the ball into the net from Richman's feed from the right in the eighth minute. BPA won the first-half corner count comfortably but lacked any real punch up front. Nicky Clee scored the second with a superbly taken freekick from just outside the box in the 26th minute. Alty then looked impressive going forward but, after the break, they laboured.
After 52 minutes BPA got a goal back when Marshall scored with a deflected freekick. The crowd was getting edgy until Alty finally got a third goal in the fourth of five added minutes. Smart play from Mitchley, via Brooke, got the ball to Reeves who scored his second of the game and his thirteenth goal in eight league matches this season.
REFEREE: Mr Ian Hussin (Merseyside)
Duncan Watmore and Carl Rodgers were both ruled out by injury but Shaun Densmore was fit to play at right-back as Scott Leather moved to the left. Pat Lacey returned in midfield. BPA had injury problems; Adam Clayton, Ross Daly and James Knowles were all missing.
Mike Garnett's statistics summarise the historical balance in games between the two clubs:
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, red shorts & socks)- 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Scott LEATHER, 4. Patrick LACEY, 5. Gianluca HAVERN (capt), 6. Danny HALL, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Jake MOULT, 9. James LAWRIE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 12. Matt DOUGHTY, 14. Sam GRIMSHAW, 15. Ryan BROOKE, 16. Danny MITCHLEY, 18. Adam REID (gk)
BRADFORD PARK AVENUE (White shirts, black shorts & socks) - 1. Tim Deasy, 2. Michael Duckworth, 3. Martin Drury, 4. Richard Marshall, 5. Matty James, 6. James Riley, 7. Rob O’Brien, 8. Nathan Hotte, 9. Danny Holland, 10. Jordan Deacey, 11. Paul Walker. Subs: 12. Tom Greaves, 14. Liam Wakefield, 15. Matt Demasey, 16. Alex Davidson, 17. Jamie Jackson.
Alty kicked off towards the Golf Road in bright sunshine and the first shot of the game was Lawrie's second-minute effort, which went just wide from 25 yards. BPA gained a fortuitous corner soon afterwards when Havern's back pass was mis-directed, well wide of goalkeeper Stuart Coburn.
After this had been cleared, Bradford's Holland won a more deserving corner on their right. But, following that, Richman steamed upfield before his advance was halted (4 mins). Next, Scott Leather was hit by a well-struck Bradford ball full in his face and he needed a couple of minutes of treatment off the pitch to recover, with Nicky Clee filling in briefly in the left-back’s position.
But, then, Alty took the lead, a little against the early run of play. The goal started with Coburn's throw out to Lawrie who ran purposefully upfield before the ball went, via Clee to Richman who, from right of goal, cut the ball back for Reeves, who expertly backheeled it into the net for his twelfth of the season (8 mins). It was also the sixth successive game in which the Alty striker had scored and today's strike was all the more remarkable for being scored in boots borrowed from Scott Leather after Damian had forgotten to bring his own!
Alty continued to look bright when going forward but BPA were also seeing plenty of the ball and they now won themselves a third corner of the game (13 mins). At the other end, keeper Deasy cut out a Jake Moult cross after a good Alty move by Richman and Clee on the right.
A fourth corner for the visitors arrived, following a BPA freekick near halfway, when a deflected shot produced a flag-kick. This was headed partly clear but, nevertheless, O'Brien got in a shot which cleared the bar. The visitors did better when Walker fed Deacey, the manager's son, whose shot from right of goal was smartly pushed away by the diving Coburn (22 mins). Alty were guilty of allowing BPA to come at them.
Next, Deacey, who had been sent off the previous week, was booked for a heavy challenge on Moult and, almost immediately afterwards, James dumped Densmore on the deck (23 mins). This physical interlude continued as Riley went in strongly twice in a matter of seconds and he found himself booked by referee Hussin (25 mins).
BPA paid a heavy price for this indiscipline as Nicky Clee drove a superb left-footed freekick across the keeper and into the net from the right front edge of the box, to make it 2-0 (26 mins). So, Nicky's boots had now scored twice!
After this, a foul by Leather on the lively right-winger James, earned the Alty defender a lecture. Soon, the Alty left-back was on the end of a fine feed from Clee but as he advanced towards the edge of the box, Leather's sidefooted shot was comfortably saved by Deasy (28 mins).
Bradford were still getting forward regularly and, after a weak shot wide by the visitors, it took a great block tackle by Havern, then another good challenge from Hall, to stop the visitors. The pressure continued as James won his team another corner.
A poor lay-off by Lawrie now ended a promising Alty move. After this, Richman successfully chased an apparent lost cause and fed Clee, whose quick, low cross goes flew across the Bradford. After this a Lacey long-range shot hit a defender (34 mins).
After James had won a throw on the right, BPA's sixth corner of the first half followed. Following this, Hall was penalised in a challenge versus Holland, just outside the Alty box but the resulting freekick hit the defensive wall.
After Densmore's throw to Lawrie, the latter's cross was just too long for Reeves, before a cross at the other end, from Duckworth, drifted wide. Four minutes before the break, a shot by Richman went well wide from 25 yards.
Alty restored some respectability to the corner count when a move started by Havern produced a flag-kick. But, after this, BPA got to the byline and it needed a good stretch by Coburn to cut out the cross. The keeper needed brief treatment to his face after this incident but resumed afterwards.
Finally, three minutes into added time, Bradford hit the woodwork with a long shot from Marshall before the half ended with a Clee cross which Lawrie could not direct at goal.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 BRADFORD PARK AVENUE 0|
BPA came out early for second half and they kicked off the game playing towards Golf Road. They immediately went on the offensive and, indeed, Danny Holland almost turned in a low cross from the left in the opening minute. Alty supporters were already thinking of the game seven days earlier where Alty had fallen asleep at the start of the second half at Oxford City and conceded twice in a minute.
But things got more promising for the Robins when, at the end of a slick passing move, Nicky Clee fired over the bar. BPA now made a change as Greaves replaced James who had looked BPA's best attacking threat in the first half, operating largely on the right. But now the danger came from the Bradford left as Walker got past Densmore but his cross was cleared.
Alty's Scott Leather was now booked for a foul on the front edge of the Alty box. From the freekick, Marshall sidefooted the ball but it took a deflection and went into the net to halve the visitors' arrears (52 mins). And, soon after, Walker again crossed from the left but Alty survived. However, they were looking a little jittery as they conceded freekicks for a foul and then hand ball (56 mins).
After a Coburn clearance had fallen to Bradford's Drury, he drew a foul from Clee. The partly cleared freekick finally came back to Coburn. A similar incident at the other end saw a defensive lapse allow Richman possession but the visitors closed ranks effectively. Bradford continued to have the better of things as Greaves threatened and things did not get any better for Altrincham when Leather went down and had to be subbed.
Ryan Brooke came on so Clee moved to left-back (64 mins). The visitors also soon made a change as Davidson came on for Deacey. Altrincham had now settled a bit better after their below par start to the second half and, soon, Brooke broke forward and found Lawrie, whose low shot was saved. But, then Danny Hall clearly pulled back Davidson. Referee Hussin played a good "advantage" for the visitors before the move broke down and he went back to book Hall (69 mins).
Bradford were still looking for an equalizer as Davidson supplied Greaves but he fired over the Alty bar. Some respite came when Brooke was flattened but the freekick from 35 yards out towards the left was overhit by Lacey (73 mins). Play was now a bit scrappy but Moult did get in a low shot which Deasy saved at full length (78 mins). Altrincham threatened again when an excellent nod on by Brooke set Reeves running towards the by-line but he was closed down (82 mins).
At the other end, O'Brien shot wide after a clearing header from Havern came to him and then Davidson shot inches wide from a feed by Drury, before play stopped for treatment to Richman. With four minutes of normal time left Demasey came on for Bradford's Riley. It now took an important interception by Densmore to stop another Avenue probe. And the home crowd was getting anxious again when Lawrie lost the ball but Holland shot wide.
However, after an Alty freekick from 35 yards out, Clee won a corner on left. With a minute left Mitchley came on for the hardworking Richman and almost immediately the new man did well and got in a shot which struck the keeper and went out for a corner (90 mins). Five minutes of added time were announced, during which Alty sat deep for much of the time. In the third added minute, keeper Deasy was booked after he had gone over the barrier to retrieve a ball.
But Alty nerves were finally settled in the fourth added minute when Brooke and Mitchley combined well to get the ball forward for Reeves up the middle. With keeper Deasy to beat, Reeves made no mistake to score his 13th goal in his last six matches and give the score line a slightly flattering aspect.
Against a side with a more potent front end, Altrincham might have been pegged back for a draw but, on the positive side, they again played some impressive attacking football, particularly in the first half, despite the absence of the marauding Watmore and the midfield influence of Carl Rodgers.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 3 BRADFORD PARK AVENUE 1|