DROYLSDEN (0) 0 ALTRINCHAM (3) 5
played on Tuesday, 5 March 2013, at 7.45pm
Altrincham had the better of the early stages but only scored once in this period as Droylsden's energy kept the visitors at bay. Alty took the lead when Reeves mis-kicked the ball home from Mills's feed in the 17th minute. However, later in the half, further goals from Mills (37 mins) and then Watmore, on the stroke of half time, gave Alty a comfortable half-time lead.
Play was overshadowed by a bad injury to Mills early in the second half after a foul by Logan. The game then went through a lacklustre spell until an impressive 50-yard run from the left by Watmore, leaving Byron in his wake, set up an easy finish for Reeves (73 mins). Later, Reeves rattled the bar as Droylsden resorted to a number of crude challenges. One of these gave Alty a penalty as Richman was felled; Densmore scored from the spot with six minutes of normal time remaining.
REFEREE: Mr Paul Graham
The matchday programme, issued free tonight, was printed for the original date of this much postponed game. It confirmed the upheaval at the Butcher's Arms this season as just three names in tonight's starting line up had been in the one-to-elevn listed then.
Lewis Chalmers, Joe O'Neill and Carlos Logan were three ex-Alty players facing The Robins at kick off, as was former Alty reserve, Adam Docker, now styling himself as Adam Karim. And on the bench was another former Moss Laner in Matt Berkeley.
Altrincham kept the same eleven who had started against Oxford City, so Hall, Doughty, Rodgers and Moult all started on the bench, alongside cover-keeper, Steve Bullen. But Watmore was now on the right rather than left, whilst Lawrie occupied the left.
The sides had not met previously this season.
Mike Garnett's statistics tell us that the previous record between the clubs before kick-off was:
This game had been postponed four times previously on 3 November and 11 December 2012, as well as 15 January and 5 February 2013.
DROYLSDEN (Red shirts, shorts and socks): 1. Dale Latham, 2. Sam Miniham, 3. Carlos Logan, 4. Mike Byron, 5. Adam Karim, 6. Lewis Chalmers, 7. Matty Ward, 8. Adnan Ahmed, 7. Matty Ward, 8. Luke Watson, 9. Joe O'Neill (capt), 10. Gomez Dali, 11. Stefan Cox. Subs: 12. Shaun Holden, 14. Andy Langford, 15. Lee Rick, 16. Matt Berkeley, 17. Luke Watson.
ALTRINCHAM (Aquamarine shirts, grey shorts & aquamarine socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Nicky CLEE, 4. Patrick LACEY, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Scott LEATHER, 7. Duncan WATMORE, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Ben MILLS, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. James LAWRIE. Subs: 12. Matt DOUGHTY, 14. Danny HALL, 15. Carl RODGERS, 16. Jake MOULT, 18. Stephen BULLEN.
With the attendance adversely affected by the rival competition of Manchester United v Real Madrid a few miles away, kick off was slightly delayed as the match officials found a problem with the goal-netting at the end that Droylsden were defending. As Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore, one of several scouts in attendance, looked on, Altrincham kicked off.
Ben Mills showed plenty of early energy as he chased down keeper Latham. Alty suffered an early blow when Leather went down after making a challenge. The defender hobbled on but was not to complete the game.
The opening ten minutes produced no real goal threat, Watmore's deflected shot, which ran comfortably to the keeper, being the best effort (6 mins).
Droylsden, too, had an early injury scare when Karim and Chalmers clashed heads going for a midfield header; Chalmers came off the worse but was able to continue (12 mins). Though Alty were getting forward they were not yet firing on all cylinders. Watmore, for instance, was not as yet his normal self as a couple of his passes went astray.
Droylsden were ensuring that the game was being played at a frantic pace as players were not allowed time on the ball. Droylsden won the game's first corner when Clee had to clear a low cross (15 mins). But it was Altrincham who took the lead after a good ball from Densmore reached Mills, right of goal. His low pass, inside, was miskicked by the incoming Reeves but the ball somehow found its way into the net from close range (17 mins).
A Lawrie long-shot went just over the bar shortly afterwards and then a quickly taken Densmore freekick got Reeves one-on-one against keeper Latham, but the keeper came out well to block his shot. But Alty were unable to convert their dominance into further goals.
Another chance came and went when a smartly taken Clee throw set Mills free and his cross from left located Watmore who was unable to convert as the ball got under his feet (22 mins).
When the Bloods won a freekick, 25 yards out from the Alty goal just right of centre, Ahmed's freekick fizzed just the wrong side of Coburn's left post.
In the 27th minute, a great run by Watmore up the middle was only halted by keeper Latham's block and Lacey put the rebound over the bar. Next a Lawrie miskick ran weakly wide of the target.
Soon Droylsden won another freekick on the front edge of the Alty box but Logan hit this into the base of the defensive wall (32 mins). AT the back, Havern was again excelling for Altrincham as goalkeeper Coburn was allowed to enjoy a quiet game.
Reeves won a corner off a long ball but this came to little before a feed from Watmore, 25 yards out, seemed destined to be intercepted by Karim. But the defender somehow missed the ball, leaving Mills onside and in the clear. The Chester loanee drove the ball cleanly past Latham to record his first goal for Altrincham which doubled their lead (37 mins).
A wild challenge on Watmore by Ahmed earned him a caution (38 mins) before another error by Karim let in Reeves but he was halted before he could cause more damage. After this, threats from Lawrie and then Reeves had to be halted soon afterwards. But with the game into its second of three added minutes, Reeves' lay off allowed Watmore to fire home from eight yards or so, to give Altrincham a very healthy 3-0 advantage at the interval.
|Half-Time: DROYLSDEN 0 ALTRINCHAM 3|
At the interval another ex-Altrincham player, striker Matt Berkeley, came on for Altrincham to replace Gómez Dalí and Alty's Danny Hall came on for Scott Leather.
Soon Watmore was tearing through the Droylsden defence but his chip over the keeper was just grabbed by Latham to prevent what would have been an impressive addition to the teenager's catalogue of excellent goals this season. But then Ben Mills was left in a heap by a foul challenge near half way on the Alty right by Carlos Logan (48 mins). The former Alty man was very fortunate to escape a booking but Mills was not so fortunate. After physio Alan Ainsley had tied the injured player's legs together, the Chester loanee was stretchered off with suspected knee ligament damage.
Altrincham brought on Rodgers for the stricken Mills and Droylsden replaced Karim with Langford (51 mins). Alty had to regroup, as Watmore moved up front and Rodgers slotted into central midfield whilst Richman moved to the right flank.
Watmore was enjoying a good second half and another good run from him almost got Reeves in on goal but the leading scorer was just unable to gather the ball in his stride (54 mins). When Logan now brought down Densmore, referee Graham did book the defender (56 mins). After an Altrincham corner had come and gone, Droylsden's Ahmed got in a shot but it was well off target. At this stage Alty seemed understandably subdued following the injury to Mills.
More robust challenges came in from Droylsden as, now, Langford fouled Reeves. Indeed, the game was going through a fairly nondescript period as Droylsden introduced Watson for Joe O'Neill (66 mins). A Lacey foul on Berkeley earned the young midfielder a word from Mr. Graham before another foul by Langford on Reeves earned him a yellow card (68 mins).
A wild shot over the bar by Cox preceded another magnificent run from Watmore. He picked the ball up smartly on the left touchline, just inside the Droylsden half before accelerating past Byron and laying the ball off for Reeves to score easily in the goalmouth (72 mins). This prompted a change as Doughty came on for Lacey (73 mins).
It should have been 5-0 after 80 minutes when a shrewd ball from Clee got Reeves free, assisted by a slip from his marker. But Reeves spurned a good chance for his hat-trick as his shot cannoned off the crossbar. Then Lawrie blazed over but was offside in any case.
Lewis Chalmers became the next Droylsden man in the referee's notebook as he brought down Lawrie. Some very robust challenges were coming in from the frustrated Bloods and, next, it was Richman who was felled inside the box by the already booked Langford. The Droylsden substitute evaded a second caution but the clearest of penalty kicks was duly awarded to Altrincham. Given the litany of missed spot kicks this season, captain Shaun Densmore took the responsibility. His confident shot, high into the net, made it 5-0 (84 mins).
Droylsden continued to look poor in defence and when Richman again broke forward to feed Watmore, his pass just evaded Reeves in the box. Then Langford had to clear near his own goal-line as six added minutes were announced. During this period, Altrincham won a corner and had a low, well-struck shot by Reeves turned round the post by Latham.
After Watson had fouled Hall, the Droylsden man then confronted the Alty defender and the referee booked them both (90+2 mins). In the sixth and final minute Logan scuffed a shot which Coburn comfortably dealt with at the near post, which was arguably the most energetic that the Alty keeper had had to be all night.
Satisfaction at a job professionally executed by Altrincham was tempered at the final whistle by the injury to Mills and all at Moss Lane and Chester will hope that it turns out not to be as bad as feared. The on-loan striker had just scored his first Altrincham goal and was beginning to settle well into his loan period.
|Full-Time: DROYLSDEN 0 ALTRINCHAM 5|