HEDNESFORD TOWN (0) 1 ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
played on Saturday, 1 February 2014, at 3pm
It looked for a long time that this game between the divisions's two highest-scoring teams would end in a goalless draw. After an even and well-contested first half the weather conditions worsened and dominated second-half proceedings. As Alty played into the elements, Hednesford had the better of the second period. The Pitmen seemed to have won the game when Taylor volleyed home in the 86th minute.
But a goal struck by Shaun Densmore, deep into the third added minute, snatched a draw for Altrincham. Clee advanced upfield and, via Walshaw and Richman, fed Densmore, whose excellent finish from the edge of the box, produced the equalizer.
- 86 mins: Kris TAYLOR (Hednesford Town 0 ALTRINCHAM 1)
- 90(+3) mins: Shaun DENSMORE (Hednesford Town 1 ALTRINCHAM 1)
REFEREE: Mr J Hunt
Nicky Clee returned from suspension as Altrincham again started with Perry and Reeves up front. Scott Leather returned to partner Luca Havern in central defence.
HEDNESFORD TOWN(White shirts and black shorts)
|1.. Daniel Crane, 2. John Disney, 3. Darren Campion, 4. Paul McCone, 5. Francino Francis, 6. Kris Taylor, 7. David McPherson, 8. Wayne Riley, 9. Neil Harvey, 10. Marvin Robinson, 11. Tom Thorley. Subs: 12. Paul Sullivan, 14. Ben Bailey, 15. Jamey Osborne, 16. Nathan Woolfe, 17. Robbie Thompson-Brown.|
ALTRINCHAM(Red and white striped shirts, red shorts and socks)
|1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (capt), 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Jake Moult, 5. Gianluca Havern, 6. Scott Leather, 7. Joe Mwasile, 8. Simon Richman, 9. Kyle Perry, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 12. Carl Rodgers, 14. Greg Wilkinson, 15. James Lawrie, 16. James Walshaw, 18. Josh Samberg.|
Mike Garnett gives us the details of previous encounters between Altrincham and Hednesford Town
- At Altrincham P4-W1-D1-L2-F4-A6
- At Hednesford P4-W1-D1-L2-F5-A10
- All P8-W2-D2-L4-F9-A16
Altrincham elected to change ends, a decision they may have rued in the second half when they had to battle against a strong, gusty wind and swirling rain. So, it was the Pitmen who kicked off the first half as what had been a sunny afternoon, turned into a wet one.
Alty had the best early chance as Densmore advanced impressively on the right and got into the box. His shot was deflected upwards and backwards by keeper Crane but, as it looped towards goal, a defender cleared off the line. Next, as the floodlights came on, Reeves was caught offside.
Now Hednesford put together a slick forward move starting with Disney, via Harvey, to Robinson, who lifted the good chance over the bar (8 mins). Alty now conceded two fouls, in fairly quick succession, after which a Thorley cross caused Alty some problems but a goalkick resulted (13 mins).
For the second time in the game, Mwasile was halted as he tried to get forward, with the game now settling into an even contest. The rain stopped and the sun started shining as Reeves was felled but no freekick was awarded (17 mins). Alty were doing quite well as Mwasile won a freekick, 40 yards out, then a Densmore shot was blocked and, finally, a Clee run threatened Hednesford (21 mins).
Alty soon won a freekick, when Richman was tripped, and another when Reeves was pushed over 25 yards out. But Moult's freekick just cleared the bar (25 mins).
Town got back on the front foot when they won a corner, following a freekick. From this, Clee broke away but was halted as he tried to feed Mwasile, to his left. After 33 minutes Altrincham might have gone ahead but, following more good work by Clee, just as Moult drew back his foot to shoot from the edge of the box, Mwasile inadvertently took the ball away from him (33 mins).
Town's next threat came from former Worcester City man, Tom Thorley, whose shot was comfortably fielded by Coburn after 37 minutes. At the other end, when Clee put Richman clear up the middle, the Alty midfielder's effort was blocked by the keeper. As play switched again, we saw a very wild shot by Riley, the former Northwich Vics' forward (38 mins).
Overall, Alty were doing well in a fairly even game. When Richman was fouled by Thorley, on the left, Moult's freekick was held by the keeper (40 mins). As half time approached, Richman missed a midfield challenge and, as a consequence, Disney got in a low cross from the right, which was flicked into Coburn's arms by Harvey, who should have done better (43 mins).
Then Moult did well, allowing Densmore a shot which, unfortunately, hit Perry but the divisions' two leading scorers had produced a goalless first half.
|Half-Time: HEDNESFORD TOWN 0 ALTRINCHAM 0|
After Alty had kicked off the second half, they struggled to get out of their half for some time. They were now facing a wind which seemed to have stiffened during the interval and had an early scare when the impressive Havern seemed to push Robinson in the penalty area but the big striker went down too easily to impress Mr Hunt (49 mins).
Alty then did get forward, as Clee won a corner on the right, followed by one on the other flank (49 mins). After a Thorley freekick had been cleared, a 30 yarder fizzed just wide from Taylor. The Pitmen next won a corner, as the rain intensified, and afterwards they kept the pressure on, without creating a clear opening, as the game passed the hour mark.
After 62 minutes, Coburn tipped a swirling cross out for a corner, which was followed by a second flag-kick. Alty now made a double change as Walshaw came on for Mwasile and Lawrie for Perry. Three more Hednesford corners soon arrived but Altrincham defended solidly (66 mins).
At last, Altrincham got upfield, prompting the Town keeper to kick a clearance out of the ground. From the throw, a strong Walshaw shot found the side netting.
In the 70th minute, Hednesford brought on their new signing Sullivan, for Robinson. With rain pouring down Alty were again penned back. But then Reeves put Walshaw through the middle and, as he was about to shoot, he was tripped. Mr Hunt seemed to signal a penalty and Walshaw prepared to take it. But then a protracted discussion with his assistant led Mr Hunt to award a freekick on the very edge of the box. He booked the offender, McCone, but then also booked Walshaw, presumably for objecting to the reversed decision. McCone might easily have seen red.
After some two minutes delay for the officials to sort out this confused situation of their own making, Densmore put the freekick over the bar (78 mins). Immediately, Town's Thompson-Brown came on for MacPherson. Conditions were now very poor, with heavy rain and a strong wind.
However, Altrincham were now getting forward a bit better than previously, thanks in part to the introduction of Lawrie and Walshaw. The latter was then just unable to turn home a feed from the former before Woolfe replaced Riley for the Pitmen (83 mins).
After a Town corner in the 85th minute, a ball was lumped forward up the middle and Taylor, who had got free of his marker, volleyed home impressively with the outside of his boot, from 15 yards right of goal (86 mins). It appeared to have settled the game. After another Town corner had passed, three added minutes were signalled. The hosts kept the ball in the Alty half for the first two of these before Clee got forward up the middle and fed the ball to his left to Walshaw. The ball came out to the right, via Richman, to Densmore. From the edge of the box Densmore drove a superb shot into the far corner to level the scores (90+ 3mins).
After an impressive first half, the conditions had helped Hednesford to pen the visitors back for much of the second period. But the Altrincham substitutions and a spirited late showing earned a deserved equalizer.
|Full-Time: HEDNESFORD TOWN 1 ALTRINCHAM 1|