ALTRINCHAM (0) 2 SOLIHULL MOORS (0) 1
played on Wednesday, 13 March 2013, at 7.45pm
A goal, twenty seconds from the end of normal time, finally put paid to a robust Solihull Moors, who were to finish the match with just nine men. After a largely forgettable first half, but in which a Bogle header hit the Alty crossbar, Altrincham were awarded as clear a penalty as you will ever see as Watmore was crudely bundled over by Langdon, who was deservedly shown a red card (54 mins). But, yet again, Alty missed from the spot as Densmore's weak penalty kick was comfortably saved by Singh.
Alty finally got ahead on the hour mark with a goal as untidy as the game itself when Reeves's close range effort ricocheted off a defender into the net. But the home side were unable to take advantage of their additional man and the Moors equalised after 83 minutes when the home defence parted, allowing three Moors men to get clear, before Angus scored with a low shot.
Substitute James Lawrie scored from 12 yards in the final minute of the ninety, after being played in behind the Moors' back line. And, then, in what turned into seven and a half minutes of injury time, after Watmore had beaten man after man down the right touchline, a fracas broke out on the by-line. After consulting his assistant, Spencer was shown a red card to reduce his side to nine men.
This was a game with barely a clean shot on goal from either side but Altrincham will be relieved to have got past this physical test with all three points.
REFEREE: Mr P Wright
Altrincham brought back Danny Hall in central defence, Matt Doughty at left-back and both Jake Moult and Carl Rodgers came back into the side in midfield. Lacey, Lawrie and Leather moved to the bench whilst Ben Mills was out following his injury at Droylsden and his loan spell has now effectively ended.
This game had been postponed from 19 January. Mike Garnett's statistics told us that the previous record between the clubs was:
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, red shorts & socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 4. Carl RODGERS, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Danny HALL, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Jake MOULT, 9. Duncan WATMORE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE., Subs 12. Scott LEATHER, 14. Patrick LACEY, 15. James LAWRIE, 16. Ryan BROOKE, 18. Stephen BULLEN (gk),
SOLIHULL MOORS (White shirts, black shorts and black and white hooped socks): 1. Jasbir Singh, 2. Stuart Pierpoint, 3. Dominic Langdon, 4. Jay Denny, 5. Karl Broadhurst, 6. Danny Spencer, 7. Ryan Beswick, 8. Reece Fleet, 9. Omar Bogle, 10. Junior English, 11. Michael Blackwood. Subs, 12. Luke Connolly, 13. Sheridon Martínez, 14. Dior Angus, 15. Darryl Knights, 16. Gary Birch
In front of a disappointing crowd on a cold but dry night, Alty kicked off towards Golf Road. In a fairly uneventful opening, the visitors' Blackwood looked lively on their left wing. But little of note happened until the tenth minute when Duncan Watmore danced through the opposition but dragged his shot wide of the left post (10 mins).
And, a minute later, a poor clearance from Singh gave Alty possession. From this, a low cross from Doughty just evaded the sliding Reeves in front of goal (11 mins). Altrincham were now having the better of the game but, though this produced three throws in the opposition half, there was no goal threat till Clee saw his shot saved.
For Solihull a Denny long-shot was comfortably held by Coburn (20 mins). Alty then threatened when Reeves did well, right of goal, but his cross was poorly directed and found no team mate. After Coburn had been treated for a knock, Denny pulled back Watmore but the resulting freekick from 27 yards by Densmore went to the keeper (27 mins).
The Moors were defending solidly but were not afraid to take a physical approach if danger threatened. The sides continued to nullify each other before a stoppage was needed when Bogle and Hall clashed heads. The absence of goalmouth action continued until the 38th minute when a Beswick cross from the right was met by a firm Bogle header, which slammed against the crossbar.
Another foul on Watmore yielded a freekick but this, like the others in this half, came to nothing. There were too many misplaced passes and vague long balls to make this a lively spectacle but the Moors sent Alty another warning signal as Fleet was allowed time to shoot but he hit the ball over the bar from 25 yards. Moult did get in a good shot for the Robins but this was well saved, as the match went into three added minutes before the break.
In the last of these, Beswick shot just wide after an Alty error but half-time came with the match goalless.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 SOLIHULL MOORS 0|
At the interval Angus replaced Blackwood for the Moors, who kicked off. Hopes of an improvement in the quality of football were unrealised in the opening stages which was characterised by many hurried and aimless balls forward from both sides before Bogle fired over following a poor clearance (48 mins).
After 52 minutes we got a decent Alty move but it ended in a disappointing final ball by Clee. But then, as Watmore got into the box, he was clearly brought down by Langdon for as blatant a penalty as you will ever see. The defender was dismissed but Shaun Densmore underhit the spot kick and Singh saved easily, to his right. It was Alty's seventh miss from the spot this season, a lamentable statistic.
No sooner had Watmore recovered from the knock received in winning the penalty than he was tripped by Pierpoint as he again raced towards the box. The defender escaped with a yellow card and the freekick was driven into the wall (58 mins). Finally, the breakthrough arrived as a long looping aerial ball dropped to Watmore inside the box. Though he was blocked by a challenge, the ball fell for Reeves whose effort seemed to hit a defender and then Reeves again before trickling over the line (60 mins).
Alty were now enjoying a lot of the ball but kept giving it away as the Moors closed them down well. It took an important Coburn save to keep out Angus, after 66 minutes; a corner resulting, which Pierpoint nodded wide. The Moors now brought on the burly Gary Birch for Denny (67 mins).
As Alty tried to play the ball forward with a passing game, they kept on losing possession. When the Moors countered, Clee was booked for a trip (70 mins). The visitors were now pressing for an equalizer and won another corner, which the unmarked Fleet headed over the bar. At this stage the ten men were matching Altrincham's eleven. The crowd's frustration began to be voiced as a shot high and wide came in from Moult.
After 78 minutes Lawrie replaced Clee before Watmore was again upended, this time by Spencer. A smart Densmore freekick caught the Moors asleep and put Reeves clear but the keeper blocked well. But the Moors now equalised with a low shot after no fewer than three of their men got clear on the left side of the Alty box. It was Angus who drove a low shot past Coburn to make it 1-1 (83 mins).
After 85 minutes, Lacey came on for Moult and, three minutes later, Connolly replaced the Moors' Beswick, who had just been named the away Man of the Match, with Havern the home recipient. With just twenty seconds of normal time remaining, the ball broke for Lawrie who slotted it home from 12 yards to restore Altrincham's lead (90 mins).
In the announced five added minutes an impressive Watmore dribble along the right touchline ended in a Moors goalkick. A melee then kicked off on the byline, in front of the Family Stand. Moors captain Spencer was shown a red card following a consultation between referee and linesman (90+4 mins). Seemingly, the Moors man had picked up the ball and thrown it towards his goalkeeper but it had struck Alty's Patrick Lacey on the head. As he trudged off Spencer continued to protest his innocence, to no avail.
When play resumed Brooke came on for Watmore (90+4 mins). In all seven and a half added minutes were played before the final whistle. This hard-earned win lifted Altrincham back into the play-off positions. It wasn't pretty to watch but they stuck to their task.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 SOLIHULL MOORS 1|