TRANMERE ROVERS (0) 2 ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
played on Tuesday, 18 March 2014, at 7.45pm
Whilst Tranmere Rovers fielded their reserve team, Altrincham started with five youth team players in their starting line up and a sixth was used as a substitute. The clash provided a fairly close encounter with the decisive second goal for Rovers only arriving at the very end of the match.
An even opening saw few goalmouth chances. Altrincham brought on Carl Rodgers at centre-back to replace Luca Havern at the interval. But five minutes into the half Alty's centre-back Tom Clarke was hurt by a poor challenge from Rovers' Gumbs, which put the youth defender out of the game.
The nearest to an Alty goal came midway through the half when Carl Rodgers's header from a James Lawrie corner just cleared the bar and, later, keeper Mooney had to be smart to smother the ball at the feet of Lawrie as he was put through on goal.
However, Tranmere took a 74th-minute lead when defender Boland headed home a corner. After Rovers' Stockton had missed a sitter at the back post, he took advantage of Matt Doughty's lax back pass to get past Samberg and tap the ball into an empty net in added time to make it 2-0.
Alty's mix of youth and first-team players had acquitted itself well but defeat leaves the club now able to concentrate on its promotion push in the Skrill (Conference) North division.
- 74 mins: Antonie BOLAND (Tranmere Rovers 1 ALTRINCHAM 0)
- 90(+2) mins: Cole STOCKTON (Tranmere Rovers 2 ALTRINCHAM 0)
REFEREE: Mr Robert Jones
From last Saturday's league game, only Jake Moult, Luca Havern and James Lawrie started this game. So, Lee Sinnott brought in five youth teamers and three first-team members to start the match. Alty's youth players in tonight's starting eleven included Jeff King, nephew of the legendary John King.
TRANMERE ROVERS(All white)
|1. Jason Mooney, 2. Callum Morris, 3. Evan Horwood, 4. Max Power (capt), 5. Antonie Boland, 6. Evan Gumbs, 7. Leo Riley, 8. James Rowe, 9. Cole Stockton, 10. Lewis Moynes, 11. Ben Jago. Subs: 12. Joe Newton, 13. Sam Ramsbottom (gk), 15. Connor Shackleton, 16. Mitch Duggan, 17. Ben Maher.|
ALTRINCHAM(Red & white striped shirts, red shorts and socks)
|1. Josh Samberg, 2. David Brown, 3. Matt Doughty (capt), 4. Jake Moult, 5. Gianluca Havern, 6. Tom Clarke, 7. Max Pouncey, 8. Jeff King, 9. Kyle Perry, 10. Greg Wilkinson, 11. James Lawrie. Subs: 12. Adam Griffin, 14. James Walshaw, 15. Damian Reeves, 16. Carl Rodgers, 17. Spencer Cunliffe.|
Mike Garnett's reveals the record in all matches between Alty and Tranmere Rovers' first team
- At Altrincham P4-W1-D2-L1-F11-A13
- Away P5-W1-D1-L3-F11-A16
- All P9-W2-D3-L4-F22-A29
Against Tranmere Reserves...
- At Altrincham P42-W25-D7-L10-F123-A66
- Away P41-W11-D4-L26-F69-A115 + one unknown
- Neutral P1-W1-D0-L0-F4-A1
- All P84-W37-D11-L36-F196-A182 + one unknown
Tonight's game was a ninety-minute affair; no extra time, no penalties. So there would be a replay if the scores were level at the conclusion of the match.
Altrincham kicked off and the game started in fairly even but uneventful fashion. After 11 minutes Lawrie had a shot blocked and, four minutes later from a Pouncey overlap, Rovers' keeper Mooney had to clear from a back pass. At the other end, Stockton fired well over the bar from Moynes's feed as neither keeper was seriously troubled at this stage (17 mins).
For Altrincham, Kyle Perry was up front on his own in a 4-5-1 set-up. Another wild Rovers' shot from 30 yards went far too high before a Moult shot ran to keeper Mooney after a decent build up on the Altrincham right. But now Tranmere won the game's first corner only for the taker, Rowe, to pass the ball straight to an Alty player (21 mins).
After Riley had won another corner, this time on the left, Doughty blocked Jago's shot. Another corner arrived soon afterwards after Moynes had dribbled into the Alty box (25 mins). Tranmere were now having the better of the game but Altrincham's goal was not seriously threatened.
The youth players were acquitting themselves well and, indeed, the visitors had a good spell round the half-hour mark. However, when Perry picked up the ball, turned and shot, his effort went wide (29 mins). Next, Lawrie was robbed of the ball on the edge of Tranmere's box before King blocked Rowe's long-range effort at the other end.
After 39 minutes, Tranmere won two successive corners, which came to nothing. Neither keeper had been seriously tested yet (36 mins). But, following a Moult mis-pass, a fierce Stockton shot was beaten out well by Josh Samberg in his first piece of meaningful action (42 mins). Just before the break, Stockton headed wide from a Rovers' cross but the interval arrived with the score still goalless.
|Half-Time: TRANMERE ROVERS 0 ALTRINCHAM 0|
Presumably in a pre-planned change, Carl Rodgers came on for Havern at centre-back.
Inside the opening minute of the half it took a good, saving tackle by Wilkinson in Alty's box to keep out Rovers. Alty then had half a chance from a Doughty cross but Pouncey mis-kicked. There was another glaring miss by Stockton at the other end, soon afterwards, as his mis-hit effort landed closer to Row Z than the back of the net (48 mins).
The game was marred by a poor tackle by Gumbs on Clarke which led to a minor melee. Gumbs was rightly booked but, after lengthy treatment, Clarke was unable to continue, with what looked to be a right ankle problem. After a couple of minutes of playing with ten men, Alty brought on youth team midfielder Spencer Cunliffe for his first-team debut (54 mins). Jake Moult moved to centre-back to replace Clarke so Alty now played with two midfielders at the heart of defence.
Sadly, there were then two more poor Tranmere challenges in as many minutes, the first on King, the second on Pouncey, as the game briefly threatened to degenerate into a bad tempered affair. Referee Jones produced no further cards but matters cooled down afterwards.
From a fine Doughty freekick, Pouncey miskicked in the goalmouth (56 mins). Then, Duggan replaced the Tranmere captain, Power (59 mins).
Two efforts from Rowe missed the target by large margins before Altrincham went close to taking the lead. An excellent Lawrie corner was met by a header from Rodgers which just cleared the bar and then Lawrie himself went close from the edge of the box (67 mins).
As Alty enjoyed a good spell, David Brown's testing cross was taken by the keeper. After a Moynes shot had hit Rodgers for a corner, King was tripped by Rowe, who was fortunate to escape a booking from Mr. Jones. After another Brown cross had been cleared, Alty had a worrying moment as a Rodgers back pass bobbled as Samberg went to kick it. Fortunately, the ball only went for a corner (71 mins).
A good ball from Wilkinson to Lawrie, saw the Alty man glide past a defender but the keeper came out smartly to smother the ball (72 mins). But, just as Alty were doing quite well, a cross from Rovers gained them a corner. From the right, the corner found Boland, who headed home to give his side the lead (74 mins).
There was now some Tranmere pressure, as they lifted their game after their goal. Rodgers provided some fine cover as Duggan crossed the ball into the goalmouth but two more Rovers' corners followed.
At last, Alty got forward and, from a Lawrie cross, won themselves a corner.
Alty did not elect to bring on a striker for the closing stages but they kept going forward with crosses from, first, Doughty and, then, Wilkinson (85 mins). At the other end a fine Brown tackle stopped Rovers on the edge of the box. After this, the wayward Stockton shot wide again from a Rowe feed.
Following a Lawrie mispass in the opposition box, Rovers countered and, from a Morris cross, Stockton missed a sitter at the back post (89 mins). Alty responded as Perry headed wide from a Wilkinson ball. Well into the three added minutes at the end of the game, Matt Doughty's suicidal back pass left Josh Samberg having to try and block Stockton but the ball broke to the forward from the keeper's block tackle and he slotted it into an empty net to make it 2-0 (90+2 mins).
There was still time for a Stockton shot to deflect off an Alty defender onto the cross bar for a corner but the final whistle soon ended the game.
Alty's much-changed and inexperienced line-up had done well against a Tranmere Reserves' team well used to playing together.
|Full-Time: TRANMERE ROVERS 2 ALTRINCHAM 0|