ALTRINCHAM (1) 2 BISHOP'S STORTFORD (0) 1
played on Saturday, 13 April 2013, at 3pm
This was a game Altrincham should have wrapped up in the first half hour when they totally dominated but only scored once. That goal arrived in the third minute when Nicky Clee, who had a fine game, crossed from the left. The ball came to Rodgers, towards the back post, and he seemed to knock it goalwards with his leg rather than foot. But his effort had just enough power to trickle over the line.
In the latter stages of the first half the visitors got back into the game and they also made the second half a more even contest before more good work from Clee, from Doughty's feed, led to a well-struck goal by James Lawrie in the 67th minute to make it 2-0. Alty would have been home and dry had Damian Reeves taken either of two one-on-ones but he shot wide on the first occasion and his touch was too heavy in the second instance.
But Stortford's Woodall drove home a shot from outside the box in the 83rd minute to give Altrincham an edgy closing few minutes. Having started the game without the injured Duncan Watmore, Alty lost Simon Richman to injury midway through the first half of this game.
REFEREE: Mr Rocky Wootton
Danny Boshell, on loan from Guiseley, returned to central midfield, displacing Jake Moult. Also back in the starting line-up was Nicky Clee who had had tonsilitis. But missing was Duncan Watmore, with a groin injury which is also likely to keep him out at Bradford this Wednesday. However, Simon Richman had recovered from his eye injury sustained on Thursday.
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. Scott LEATHER, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Danny BOSHELL, 9. James LAWRIE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 12. Danny HALL, 14. Jake MOULT, 15. Pat LACEY, 16. Ryan BROOKE, 18. Tony McMILLAN (gk),
BISHOP'S STORTFORD (All blue): 1. Carl Pentney, 2. Ben Sampayo, 3. Johnny Herd, 4. Reece Prestedge, 5. Adam Bailey-Dennis, 6. Sean Francis, 7. Matt Johnson, 8. Alli Abdullahi, 9. Brian Woodall, 10. Billy Lobjoit, 11. Harry Baker, Subs: 12. Callum Webb, 14. Harry Mattock, 15. Rene Sappleton, 16. Lewis Wilson, 22. Haydn Dodge
Mike Garnett has the statistics on previous encounters between Altrincham and Bishop's Stortford.
This game was taking place just 41 hours or so after Alty had completed their game at Guiseley last Thursday.
Before kick off Alty manager Lee Sinnott received the BSBN Manager of the Month award from the Football Conference's Bill King, a former Alty chairman. Also before kick off, Alty Youth player Rob Gilroy was photographed with the trophy won this week by the English Schools team, of which he was captain. The England lads won 3-1 against Scotland at St Johnstone's ground in Perth.
This was likely to be our last encounter with Bishop's Stortford, as they may well be transferred to Conference South next season.
After a bright morning, rain began to fall before Altrincham kicked off, attacking the away end at Moss Lane. After a couple of uneventful minutes, Altrincham took a third minute lead. The goal arrived shortly after a Densmore cross had been blocked when Clee crossed the ball from the left. It cleared the players in the centre of the box but landed at the feet of Carl Rodgers, towards the back post. The Alty midfielder did not seem to make a clean contact but the ball came off his legs and trickled past Pentney into the net.
The goal prefaced an excellent spell, which started with a Doughty ball which was only just too long for Reeves. Next there was a superb dribble up middle by Richman but unfortunately, he stroked his shot wide of the right post from left of centre, 12 yards out (5 mins).
Most of Altrincham's attacks were coming up the left side where Clee was impressing and one of his crosses, from a Rodgers feed, now won a corner (9 mins). Doughty, too, was getting forward on the left but his next pass was only just too long for Clee to gather.
The visitors' first shot of note was a Baker long-range effort which hit a defender, before Prestedge also had a shot blocked.
An excellent Clee cross was just taken off Reeves's toes in the goalmouth (16 mins), as traffic was now mostly one-way. After Lawrie had shot wide from a Richman feed, Boshell was caught late by Abdullahi but the freekick, from 40 yards out, came to nothing (20 mins).
Next a Richman cross from the left produced another Alty corner on their right, after which a Clee cross was cleared after Havern had nodded it back from the by-line.
The visitors' Woodall got in a shot but he was well wide from 20 yards or more. Though Alty were dominant they needed another goal to feel more comfortable. But the next corner was the Bishops’ first, arriving after Leather's excellent tackle.
But Alty soon resumed their sequence of crosses into the goalmouth at the other end, first from Doughty and then from Densmore from a Rodgers feed. The latter move, with the ball being played quickly, ended with Reeves's header just clearing the bar (30 mins).
But the visitors now began to improve and Coburn had to palm away a Lobjoit effort, after which Havern halted the same player's advance on goal. To underline their resurgence a Woodall 25- yarder forced Coburn into a full-length save from the Dagenham loanee.
But Alty responded as Pentney had to smother Clee's feed for Lawrie, before a looping Densmore cross from the right almost found the far top corner of the net (38 mins).
There was a setback for Alty when Simon Richman had to go off with a leg injury, his replacement being Jake Moult, who slotted into right midfield (40 mins). After the visitors' Johnson had glanced a header wide, Clee won a corner on the left, from which Rodgers headed to the keeper (42 mins).
After Moult had been penalised just outside the box in a central position, Johnson wasted the freekick by ballooning his shot over the terrace roof into Golf Road (45 mins). Alty conceded another freekick in added time, as Reeves was judged to have fouled Bailey-Dennis. But half time arrived at the end of a 45 minutes in which Altrincham had dominated for half an hour but had not managed to translate that into more than a single goal.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 BISHOP'S STORTFORD 0|
With the floodlights on, the visitors kicked off the second half towards the away end. After a good Alty move, a low Densmore cross just evaded Reeves in the goalmouth (47 mins) before Alty wasted a freekick won for a foul on Lawrie.
There was a scare for Alty when Woodall fed Johnson who beat his man but shot poorly over the bar (52 mins). In fact, the Bishops were looking a better side this half and after Leather had conceded a freekick, Prestedge's freekick flew inches wide.
Alty replied with a good move in which Moult did well and, from a Densmore pass, Lawrie fired over the bar. There was a brief stoppage when Coburn needed treatment to his hand after being caught as he gathered the ball after a Stortford corner (57 mins).
On the hour, Wilson came on for Abdullahi for the Blues and, soon afterwards, Alty had a great chance to extend their lead. Reeves was put clear by Clee but as he rounded the keeper he put his shot wide. The visitors were still well in the game as, now, Lobjoit got behind Leather and found Baker, but he shot wide (63 mins).
At least, Altrincham got some breathing space when Doughty fed Clee and his excellent cross was smashed home from the outer reaches of the box by James Lawrie to make it 2-0 (67 mins). Five minutes later, striker Rene Sappleton replaced defender Sampayo for the visitors, but straightaway another testing cross by Clee prompted Lawrie to win a corner. This was soon followed by another corner, won on the byline by a combination of Boshell and Lawrie.
The visitors made another swap as Webb came on for Lobjoit but Alty were now on top again. Indeed they should have gone three up when a threaded pass by Rodgers put Reeves clear but a heavy touch as he rounded the keeper saw a goalkick result. It was not Reeves's day! (77 mins).
As steady rain fell, Stortford won a corner and then a Sappleton run was well halted by Havern. But the visitors now won a freekick, which was played to Woodall who sold a dummy before planting a low shot into the bottom corner of the Alty net from 20 yards (83 mins).
A Densmore shot whistled just over the bar at the other end, after a good move started by Clee, who had an excellent game. Alty nerves were tense as the visitors won a late corner, through Woodall (88 mins).
Altrincham made a late couple of changes with Brooke on for Reeves and Hall for Clee (89 mins) but there was still time for concern as a Leather error allowed in Sappleton but he shot wide from right of goal. Deep into the four added minutes, Lawrie relieved the tension by winning a corner and Alty soon gratefully heard the final whistle.
This was a game that Altrincham should have wrapped up earlier but they showed character in hanging on for the three points, especially in the absence of Richman and Watmore. Rodgers was named Man of The Match but Nicky Clee must have run him close.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 BISHOP'S STORTFORD 1|