ALTRINCHAM (0) 2 WORCESTER CITY (0) 0
played on Saturday, 23 March 2013, at 3pm
After an unmemorable and goalless first half, in which Altrincham played into a stiff Arctic breeze and snow flurries, the home side moved up a gear after the interval. Both sides had come close to scoring in the first period. First, Stuart Coburn had to make a vital save from Khan before a Reeves header struck the post at the other end.
A period of Altrincham pressure finally paid off in the 54th minute when Scott Leather interchanged passes up the right wing. After Simon Richman's effort had been blocked, Nicky Clee was on hand to lift the ball into the net. Moments earlier a fine dribble from Duncan Watmore had led to the keeper deflecting his shot on its path towards goal but Tyler Weir was able to clear off the line.
Alty's second goal arrived after Danny Boshell won a left-sided corner. James Lawrie's kick was knocked on by Richman and Damian Reeves scored from close range (58 mins). Altrincham were fairly comfortable after that, though City did try to get forward as they made three substitutions. The win lifted Altrincham back into the play-off positions.
REFEREE: Mr A Greenwood (York)
Danny Boshell, on loan from Guiseley, was making his home debut but club captain Shaun Densmore was out with a toe injury sustained in training. So Matt Doughty returned to the starting eleven and Scott Leather moved to right-back. Given the snow across the Pennines, Nicky Clee, Damian Reeves and Danny Boshell had done well to get to Altrincham, as had referee Mr Greenwood, from York. Worcester, too, had had a journey through plenty of snow en route to the game.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, red shorts and socks): 1. Stuart COBURN (capt), 2. Scott LEATHER, 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 4. Simon RICHMAN, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Danny HALL, 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Danny BOSHELL, 9. Duncan WATMORE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 12. Pat LACEY, 16. Ryan BROOKE, 15. Carl RODGERS, 14. Jake MOULT, 18. Stephen BULLEN (gk)
WORCESTER CITY (All green): 1. Matt Sargeant, 2. Tyler Weir, 3. Danny Edwards, 4. Tom Thorley, 5. Matthew Breeze, 6. Shabir Khan, 7. Charlie Reece, 8. Rob Elvins, 9. Danny Glover, 10. Ethan Moore, 11. Matt Birley. Subs: 14. Greg Mills, 12. Michael Symons, 15. Michael Taylor, 16. Kieron Morris, 17. Lee Ayres
Mike Garnett has the statistics on previous encounters between Altrincham and Worcester City.
Worcester had been vying for a place in the play offs earlier this season but a run of seven successive defeats brought them to Moss Lane in low spirits. On the contrary, Altrincham had won their previous four matches.
Snow had caused the postponement of most of today's BSBN programme but Moss Lane had been completely spared any of the white stuff. However, it was bitterly cold and a stiff wind was blowing as Worcester won the toss and elected to change ends. So, it was Alty who kicked off, attacking the away end but playing into the wind and, as the match started, a steady shower of sleet.
City started the better and in just the second minute, following a short freekick from the left 40 yards from goal, the ball was worked to Thorley whose well-struck shot forced a full length save. Fortunately for Altrincham the loose ball went to a City player who slipped as he tried to control it.
Indeed, it was Worcester who started the game the better and Alty boss Lee Sinnott was exercising his vocal chords to raise his team's performance. This had an effect as in the sixth minute. A Watmore effort was blocked before Richman chipped a shot wide from a good feed by Boshell. Soon after this, a fine ball from Lawrie found Watmore, who won a corner (7 mins).
The next event was note was a Watmore run but, as happened a few times this afternoon, the tricky surface got the better of his close control. But after 12 minutes it was the young striker’s cross which won his side a corner.
Two minutes later Watmore repeated the achievement, winning another corner, this time after his darting run had got him to the left byline. This was cleared but City were defending in depth and Moore found himself isolated up front in the counter attack (15 mins).
With light snow still swirling across the ground, the first half reached its half-way point as Watmore again did well and won a freekick 45 yards out, but Alty wasted this potential opening. In fact, neither side was showing itself able to keep the ball for any length of time in the difficult playing conditions.
After a Lawrie trip had given City a freekick on the left of the box, a Birley shot won the visitors a corner from which a second followed, this time on the right side. This came to Moore at the back post. His shot from 10 yards, or fewer, forced a great save from Coburn, who then did even better to block Khan's follow-up shot from point blank range. The Alty keeper, who was also captain today, hurt his head in the process and needed treatment from Alan Ainsley.
With 32 minutes gone the lively James Lawrie won a freekick, near half way. This was relayed to Watmore but he lost his footing. However, the ball broke for Simon Richman, whose shot was saved by Sargeant.
With the sleet now having stopped, An Alty counter-attack up the left ended with Watmore feeding Clee, whose cross evaded the defence but Reeves's impromptu header at the back post struck the upright (38 mins).
After Reeves had won a throw, Clee earned a corner, which was cleared. Despite a couple of added minutes a rather disappointing first half ended with the game goalless.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 WORCESTER CITY 0|
The opening few minutes of the second half were in the same pattern of the first period but then Altrincham began to get their attacking movement more fluid. Firstly a promising move saw Watmore find Boshell and then Lawrie, before Richman was closed down. Then, a Doughty cross located Watmore but he, too, was blocked. And, next, an impressive dribble by Watmore ended as his shot had the pace taken off it by the keeper but was still heading for the net before Weir cleared off the line for a corner (50 mins).
From the corner, Clee fired wide, with his right foot and, soon, the same player had another shot deflected to the visitors' keeper. Finally Alty's growing momentum produced a breakthrough as Scott Leather impressively advanced up the right, via an interchange of passes. This led to a Richman shot being blocked but the ball fell, to his left, to Clee, who calmly lifted a rising shot into the net from 12 yards to make it 1-0 in the 54th minute.
Boshell then saw his freekick cleared before he won Alty a corner on their left. Taken by Lawrie, Richman headed it forward in the goalmouth to Reeves who scored from close range for his 33rd league goal of the season and his 38th in all competitions (58 mins). So, two of the snowbound Yorkshire based players had netted the two goals, making their efforts to get to the ground well worth the trouble.
There was brief concern at the back as Havern and Leather, who both otherwise had good games, got into a little mix-up but the ball was cleared. City had not scored in their previous five games and now they brought on one striker, Symons, for another, Glover (63 mins).
Alty were looking comfortable before City won a freekick against Boshell, 25 yards out. The ball came to Moore, who shot wide after executing a smart turn in the box. After 69 minutes Moore might have done better as he headed a cross wide, at which point Mills replaced Birley for the visitors (69 mins).
Worcester were now getting forward better as their subs had some effect. Meanwhile, Altrincham had changed their set up as Clee and Doughty swapped defensive and midfield positions on the left. Next, Lawrie fired wide at the end of a good move but there was little goalmouth action before Altrincham made a substitution. This arrived in the 79th minute when Carl Rodgers came on for Matt Doughty; so Leather went to left back and Clee reverted to a midfield role on the left.
A further change occurred after 83 minutes when Ryan Brooke made a 22nd substitute appearance of the season from the bench, replacing Watmore. Simultaneously, City's Taylor came on for Moore. From the restart, City won a corner off Hall.
Hall himself cleared the ball well to Brooke and his lay off saw Boshell hit the base of the right post with a side-foot shot (84 mins). A minute later Reeves had the ball in the net but was ruled offside from a Clee feed. Now Jake Moult replaced Clee, with five minutes of normal time remaining.
Two substitutes combined well as Brooke almost got Moult free and into the box. Alty then kept possession well as the game went into three added minutes. Stuart Coburn was named the home Man of the Match and his double save in the first half was indeed crucial in preventing Worcester from taking the lead.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 WORCESTER CITY 0|