ALTRINCHAM (0) 2 FC HALIFAX TOWN (0) 0
played on Tuesday, 23 April 2013, at 7.45pm
After a fairly low-key first-half in which Halifax just about shaded the play, without either side seriously testing its opponents' goalkeeper, Alty stepped up a gear to secure a deserved win. Halifax supporters were saying they had fielded a second-string but they can have no complaints about the outcome after two well-worked goals left them comfortably beaten.
The first goal arrived in the 48th minute when Clee won the ball well, received a smart return pass from Rodgers, and placed a left-foot shot wide of keeper, Glennon. After Alty had withdrawn Boshell and Rodgers, they scored an impressive second goal in the 68th minute. A slick one-touch passing movement took the ball forward up the left channel and was finished off by a well-placed right-foot shot by Matt Doughty, who was playing against one of his former clubs.
REFEREE: Mr L Metcalfe
Scott Leather and Duncan Watmore rejoined the starting line up after recent injuries, but Simon Richman remained sidelined.
Halifax's squad showed nine changes from their last match as they attempted to deal with their heavy fixture schedule by resting players.
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, red shorts and socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 4. Carl RODGERS, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Scott LEATHER, 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Danny BOSHELL, 9. Duncan WATMORE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 12. Danny HALL, 14. Pat LACEY, 15. Jake MOULT, 16. Ryan BROOKE, 18. Tony McMILLAN (gk),
FC HALIFAX TOWN (Blue and white) 1. Matt Glennon, 2. Adam Jackson, 3. Jason St Juste, 4. Liam Hogan, 5. James Knowles, 6. Ryan Toulson, 7. Osebi Abadaki, 8. Liam Needham, 9. Danny Glover, 10. Alexander Johnson, 11. Gareth Seddon. Subs: 12. Phil Senior, 14. Josh Messer, 15. George Wycock, 16. Matty Pearson.
Mike Garnett has the statistics on previous encounters between Altrincham and FC Halifax Town:
Alty had won the reverse fixture at The Shay but needed to complete a double tonight to strengthen their attempt to finish fourth rather than fifth. Both teams had already qualified for the end of season play-offs.
This match had been postponed from Saturday 20.10.12, Tuesday 13.11.12, Tuesday 18.12.12 and Saturday 26.1.13!
With Halifax's heavy schedule, caused by multiple postponements of matches, both their line up and support were weaker than usual. Nine of the players in their squad for the previous game were not involved tonight and their followers were reduced in number presumably because of the cost of frequent games and the fact that each side had already secured a play-off place. Altrincham needed to win the game to improve their chances of finishing fourth rather than fifth in the league table as the visitors had a game in hand on them and a better goal difference at kick-off.
Defending the Golf Road end, Altrincham kicked off the match which was to have a quiet opening spell. The first suggestion of a goal came when Densmore just failed to intercept a ball in midfield and Johnson advanced behind him. He then cut past the covering Leather but his cross went safely across the face of goal (8 mins).
ALty's first decent move arrived three minutes later and ended with a corner kick, won by Clee. Alty now enjoyed a good few minutes, with Clee prominent but neither side had looked like scoring till Johnson again got clear but shot over the bar from 20 yards (15 mins).
Alty then gave the ball away cheaply, twice, before Havern conceded a foul. Play was otherwise uneventful till the 23rd minute when Glover won a corner off Leather on their left. When Jackson knocked over Reeves in the box, nothing was given by referee Metcalfe and a Town corner resulted at the other end, on the right.
Play was suspended for several minutes after a clash of heads involving Leather and Knowles, with the latter coming off worst. After lengthy treatment both on and off the pitch, he finally reappeared five minutes later with a bandaged head (34 mins). After Jackson's bad challenge on Lawrie, his second offence, he was fortunate to find a lenient referee who settled for a lecture not a booking.
The game remained cagey and lacking in quality before Watmore was manhandled and, once more, Mr Metcalfe allowed play to continue. Halifax's Johnson was looking their main threat as, now, he turned past Densmore but, again, fired over the bar (37 mins).
Alty were barely using the right wing and on the left Clee and Doughty had by now swapped positions. In the three added minutes a mishit shot by Lawrie fell for Reeves but he spooned it over the bar, being given offside in any case. So the first half ended goalless with the visitors having had slightly the better of things.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 FC HALIFAX TOWN 0|
Altrincham started the second half with a better tempo and soon Clee freed Watmore to win a corner on the left, which Lawrie overhit. But then Clee won the ball near halfway and advanced via an interchange of passes with Rodgers, before finishing the move with a controlled left-foot shot past Glennon to give his side a 48th-minute lead.
Almost immediately Boshell came off and Moult came on, as Alty were now playing well (50 mins). Doughty was back at left back again this half and, soon, he, Lawrie and Clee were part of an excellent move, which ended with a defender having to put Doughty's cross over his own bar for a corner (55 mins). Following this, Lawrie got to the byline and blasted a shot from a narrow angle which went wide.
Halifax now introduced Messer for Abadaki, a former Alty youth player. Next, St.Juste won the Shaymen a corner on their left, before Lacey replaced Rodgers for Altrincham (58 mins). On the hour, an Alty cross caused mayhem in the box but Halifax scrambled the ball clear and then Needham had to come off with a facial cut.
After 65 minutes Doughty won a corner, from which a rehearsed move almost came off, following which Needham returned to the game, now wearing no.40 on his back. Alty secured a two-goal lead with an excellent goal, which was the culmination of a series of slick first-time passes up the left. From the edge of the box, left-back Doughty scored against a former club with his right foot.
Town responded by trying to get forward but Alty defended well, though they were fortunate when St.Juste got to the left by-line that his cross across the goalmouth was not turned in by any team-mate (76 mins).
Next, Clee came off and Brooke replaced him before Halifax won a corner, which had to be cleared off the line for a second corner, which was headed wide. Inside the final ten minutes the visitors were trying to press forward but at the other end a fine pass by Watmore set up Moult but his effort was blocked in the box (82 mins). With a rather premature chant of "Que sera, sera, we're going to Brack-er-ley" ringing round the ground, Alty continued to hold their lead comfortably.
After 88 minutes Brooke saw his shot held by Glennon as the Men of the Match were announced as Matt Doughty and Halifax's Alex Johnson. The three added minutes ended with an Alty corner which there was no time to take. So Alty moved ahead of Halifax into fourth place and a three point lead. But the Yorkshiremen have a game in hand and a six-goal buffer in goal difference.
The win completed a league double for the Robins and sees them heading for the play-offs as the form team of the four clubs involved, having lost just once in fifteen outings, and that defeat was by the champions, Chester FC.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 FC HALIFAX TOWN 0|