HEDNESFORD TOWN (1) 2 ALTRINCHAM (1) 2
played on Wednesday, 30 April 2014, at 7.45pm
Altrincham started well and had more of the attacking play. They deservedly took a 14th minute lead when Clee won the ball on the left and his quick, low cross from the left was converted by Reeves. In one of their few meaningful first-half attacks Glover did well to feed Melbourne, who slotted the ball across Coburn to equalize in the 34th minute.
The scored remained 1-1 at the interval.
Out of the blue, a long pot from Glover gave Town a lead they did not deserve before a Walshaw header from Moult's ball into the box made it 2-2 on the hour. Alty had the better of a very entertaining game but failed to convert several chances.
So, the second leg will start on Saturday with neither team at an advantage.
- 14 mins: Damian REEVES (Hednesford Town 0 ALTRINCHAM 1)
- 34 mins: Alex MELBOURNE (Hednesford Town 1 ALTRINCHAM 1)
- 57 mins: Danny GLOVER (Hednesford Town 2 ALTRINCHAM 1)
- 60 mins: James WALSHAW (Hednesford Town 2 ALTRINCHAM 2)
REFEREE: Mr David Richardson
ATTENDANCE: 1,209 (286 in away end)
Altrincham were unchanged from the match at Histon and Hednesford reverted to their strongest line-up after resting players in their final league game.
HEDNESFORD TOWN(White shirts and black shorts)
|1. Daniel Crane, 2. John Disney, 3. Darren Campion, 4. Ben Bailey, 5. Paul McCone, 6. David Macpherson, 7. Wayne Riley, 8. Marvin Johnson, 9. Danny Glover, 10. Alex Melbourne, 11. Tom Thorley. Subs: 12. Marvin Robinson, 14. Paul Sullivan, 15. Francino Francis, 16. Michael Lennon,17. Kris Taylor|
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. James Lawrie, 8. Simon Richman, 9. James Walshaw, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 12. Tom Marshall, 14. Matt Doughty, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 16. Kyle Perry, 18. Russ Saunders.|
For the second year running Altrincham entered the play-offs but, this time, the semi-final saw them away in the first leg.
Mike Garnett gives us the details of previous encounters between Altrincham and Hednesford Town
- At Altrincham P4-W1-D1-L2-F4-A6
- At Hednesford P5-W1-D2-L2-F6-A11
- All P8-W2-D3-L4-F10-A17
The Pitmen kicked off towards the away end but Altrincham made the better start. A freekick for a foul on Richman was followed by throws by Clee and, then, Densmore before the visitors won three more Alty throws, all on the left.
After Richman had won the ball, Clee was fouled 35 yards out but Lawrie's freekick went to the keeper. The first hint of a home-team threat came when Bailey's long throw bounced up and just cleared the bar, albeit without any touch from any player (9 mins).
An arms-first challenge in the air by Macpherson left Griffin in a heap and earned the Town player a deserved booking. Another freekick arrived when Lawrie was tripped on the right, 40 yards out, but the victim overhit his freekick (12 mins).
After Coburn just smothered the ball ahead of Johnson, an underhit pass from Lawrie was won well by Clee, whose immediate cross was converted by Reeves's low, close-range shot to give Alty the lead (14 mins). Throughout the game, Clee was menace to the home defence.
Play was mostly in the Hednesford half as Altrincham played some fluent football. Hednesford's best effort, so far, came when Glover fired over the bar (20 mins). Shortly afterwards, Simon Richman escaped with a yellow for a very late challenge in midfield (21 mins).
For Alty, a Lawrie long shot went over the bar and, at the other end, Walshaw fed Lawrie, who again fired well over the target. Next, a Hednesford corner was nodded wide by Riley, the ex-Northwich man. After Clee had been fouled on the left, Lawrie's freekick was too low.
With Altrincham looking comfortable, Glover fed Melbourne whose shot from right-centre, inside the box, went across Coburn into the far side of the net to make it 1-1 (34 mins). Hednesford were lifted by the goal and it took an important Densmore tackle to halt the next attack.
Within a minute of each other the game's two booked players, Richman and Macpherson, each committed a further foul but both stayed on the pitch. Altrincham continued to be on top as, via Clee, Lawrie's shot won a corner, from which a Leather header was cleared (42 mins).
Next, a Clee, Lawrie, Richman, Densmore move ended in a goalkick before a Moult long ball just evaded Walshaw (44 mins). In added time, Reeves got to the by-line but Walshaw could not convert the half chance. So half-time arrived with the score level but Altrincham had played well and been the better side.
|Half-Time: HEDNESFORD TOWN 1 ALTRINCHAM 1|
After Altrincham had kicked off, Moult pinged a 55-yarder to the keeper. An early Hednesford freekick, some 40 yards out, led to a wild shot over the bar.
Alty were a danger on the break but, when Lawrie got forward, he played the ball just behind Walshaw (51 mins). From the second of two successive Hednesford corners, the ball was deflected onto the back post and cleared. Alty replied as Densmore and Richman won a corner on the right. From Lawrie's corner, a Walshaw header came back off the bar (54 mins).
Walshaw was just offside in the next two Alty moves but then, out of nothing, Glover scored with a looping shot from wide left, about 35 yards out to give Hednesford a lead their play had not merited.
Next, Griffin was flattened by Riley, who was booked. The resulting freekick was half cleared and Moult put it back into the box, and Walshaw nodded it home to make it 2-2 (60 mins).
Hednesford now brought off Macpherson and Taylor came on (61 mins). From a Hednesford freekick near half way, Alty had to clear off the line but play switched to the other end where Reeves fed Walshaw, whose shot was blocked by the keeper's leg. The entertainment continued as the Pitmen won a corner (64 mins).
Alty had a great chance from a fine Lawrie cross but Richman headed it over from close range. However, Altrincham continued to look bright as the Town keeper gathered a ball just ahead of Richman. The home side now brought on Robinson for Glover, who had played the second half with a bandaged head.
Alty remained on top in an lively encounter as Reeves was given offside. Moments later, Reeves got forward again but, this time, opted to pass, not shoot, and the recipient, Walshaw, was blocked (76 mins). When Clee was held as he got free of a defender, Disney was booked (78 mins). Alty continued to look the better side until the closing stages.
After 84 minutes, Sullivan replaced Riley but Alty soon threatened again as a great cross by Lawrie found Reeves but he nodded over from five yards. Alty had created most of the chances in this game (86 mins). Next, after Thorley had fouled Richman near half way, a Reeves header went to the to keeper.
Town got forward more persistently as the game went into added time. In the first of three added minutes, Reeves came off for Perry and Marshall came on for Clee.
So Altrincham emerged with a very well deserved draw and, but for Glover's wonder goal, would have been leaving Keys Park with a win. It was an entertaining game which leaves Saturday's second leg finely balanced.
|Full-Time: HEDNESFORD TOWN 2 ALTRINCHAM 2|