NUNEATON TOWN (1) 2 ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
played on Saturday, 30 August 2014, at 3pm
Playing a team which had failed to score in its opening five matches of the season, Altrincham started the better side. However, once again, promising approach play was undone by an inability to unlock defences and to shoot accurately. So, just as at Southport in their last away game, Altrincham fell behind and were unable to recover.
Nuneaton took a 35th minute lead when Starosta's cross from the right was headed home by Brown; headed goals from crosses are becoming a regular occurrence this season. They doubled the lead after 67 minutes when Dyer scored with a low shot after lapses on the right by Altrincham. Reeves got a consolation goal after 87 minutes but despite more than seven added minutes, there was again no way back for Altrincham, who dropped into the relegation zone after this fifth defeat in six outings.
- 35 mins: Anthony BROWN (Nuneaton Town 1 ALTRINCHAM 0)
- 67 mins: Jack DYER (Nuneaton Town 2 ALTRINCHAM 0)
- 87 mins: Damian REEVES (Nuneaton Town 2 ALTRINCHAM 1)
REFEREE: Mr Daniel Cook
Shaun Densmore remained sidelined by injury. There was no place in the squad today for James Lawrie or Greg Wilkinson, as Nicky Clee and Steven Gillespie returned to the starting eleven.
For Nuneaton, striker Ben Hutchinson was suspended but Andy Brown and Anton Brown had recovered fitness. On Friday, Nuneaton had signed Lee Fowler and Craig Curran, but only the latter featured today.
NUNEATON TOWN (Blue and white striped shirts, white shorts and socks) : 1. Reice Charles-Cook, 2. Ben Starosta, 3. Connor Franklin, 24. Exodus Geohaghon, 12. Jordan Cranston, 22. Jack Dyer, 7. James Armson, 17. Ryan Smith, 10. Andy Brown, 25. Craig Curran, 11. Theo Streete (capt). Subs: 19. James Wren, 6. Adam Walker, 16. Magno Vieira, 8. Jorrin John, 18. Anton Brown
ALTRINCHAM (Yellow shirts with blue trim, and blue shorts and socks):17. David PARTON, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Scott LEATHER, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Steven GILLESPIE, 11. Nicky CLEE, 10. Damian REEVES, 16. Tom MARSHALL, 18. Sean WILLIAMS, 25. Peter CAVANAGH (capt). Subs: 4. Jake MOULT, 14. Kyle PERRY, 21. Jeff KING, 19. Ryan CROWTHER, 1. Stuart COBURN (gk)
Mike Garnett reminds us of previous encounters between the two sides:
- At Altrincham: P1-W1-D0-L0-F2-A0
- Away: P1-W0-D0-L1-F1-A2
- Overall: P2-W1-D0-L1-F3-A2
Altrincham kicked off in overcast conditions and it was they who started the game the better. Clee won an early freekick but it was poorly taken by Williams, setting a pattern of poor deadball kicks and off-target shooting which the visitors maintained for almost the entire game.
After an aerial ball had evaded Marshall, Parton was hurt as he punched clear but he soon recovered (6 mins). When Gillespie was crudely taken out by Streete, a freekick 45 yards out, but no card, was the outcome (8 mins). Having already overhit a freekick, now Williams did the same with a corner.
New signing Curran was arguing about every decision against him but his spirit helped to instil some confidence in a Nuneaton side who were without a goal or a win all season to date. A long throw from Geohaghon was cleared but although Altrincham were looking the better side, so far as passing the ball was concerned, they had nothing to show for it in terms of chances in front of goal.
Indeed, it was Nuneaton who now threatened as a Cranston freekick was met by Geohaghon's header, which was saved low down by Parton (22 mins). Following a foul on Richman, a Clee freekick went to the keeper. Just as at Southport in their last away game, Alty were on top but had again landed no shots on goal to reflect their dominance (27 mins).
In attempting to clear, Griffin now conceded a needless corner on the Nuneaton left. Though this was cleared, a resulting throw was only partly dealt with and a Streete cross from the right was headed just wide by Curran (28 mins). The signs of an improvement in Nuneaton's game were starting to be evident.
Next, after an Alty freekick on the left, a 30 yarder from Griffin went well wide, as Alty's shooting continued to be disappointing (34 mins). Soon after this, Starosta advanced on the right and his cross evaded Marshall and was headed home by Brown from six yards to record his club's first goal of the season (35 mins).
Altrincham won and wasted two more freekicks, the second arriving after a foul on Clee. This freekick, 45 yards out, drifted out of play from Williams (40 mins). There was a breeze blowing but Altrincham seemed strangely unable to come to terms with it as they consistently overhit their passes and shots.
As half time approached Williams conceded a freekick, following which Marshall's clearing header conceded a corner, which Parton punched away well (44 mins).
The first half had been a re-run of the Southport match. Alty had been the better side initially but had proved unable to hit the target before conceding a goal. Then, the home side had enjoyed the better of things.
|Half-Time: NUNEATON TOWN 1 ALTRINCHAM 0|
After Havern had again been penalised for a push, Curran headed a freekick wide. At the other end, Williams advanced but shot high and wide (49 mins). Cavanagh then prompted an attack but Griffin's resulting cross was cleared. Alty's best shot to date came from Leather, whose 35-yard well-struck effort was saved (54 mins).
After Cranston had handled the ball, he blatantly refused to retreat but saw no card for his behaviour (54 mins). Next, Leather headed a Cavanagh cross wide before Cranston now blocked a freekick, awarded for a foul on Gillespie. This time he got a deserved caution (56 mins).
In the 58th minute, Walker came on for Armson for Nuneaton. For Alty, Gillespie intercepted a pass and fed Reeves but his intended return pass was cut out (59 mins). Four minutes later, Altrincham introduced Crowther for Richman. Almost immediately, Clee fed Crowther who relayed the ball to Williams but his shot cleared the bar (64 mins).
A stoppage to allow Streete to replace his boot was soon followed by a second goal for Nuneaton. First Clee missed an attempted clearing header, allowing Walker to get free and cut in from the Nuneaton left. From him, the ball came to Dyer whose low, well-placed shot found the far corner of the net to Parton's left (67 mins).
Before the re-start, Havern argued his way into the referee's book.
Now, Kyle Perry, who was listed in the match programme as Nuneaton's Marketing and Design Officer, came on for Gillespie (70 mins). After a Clee long throw had been cleared, Reeves got onto a loose ball but the keeper blocked his shot, however the rebound hit Reeves in the face. After treatment for a bloody nose, Reeves left for more first aid before being able to resume.
Perry now won a freekick, after being pushed, but Williams's freekick cleared the bar (77 mins). At the other end, a Dyer shot was blocked before Parton had to race out to kick clear. With ten minutes of the ninety left, Moult replaced Griffin.
There was little sign of Alty saving this game and a slick Boro move on their left ended with a close shave as a cross led to a ball being scooped just over the Alty bar. After 85 minutes Havern was beaten in the air by Brown and Curran got free. He almost scored a replica to Dyer's goal, with a low shot, but this one went just wide of the far post.
Good interplay between Crowther and Perry saw the latter's cross put Reeves clear to poach a close range goal (87 mins). This prompted blatant winding down of the clock from Nuneaton. First of all, they made two changes in as many minutes as John replaced Smith and Anton Brown also came on, for Curran (90 mins).
Next Moult got into the box but his shot was blocked. There was then a farce as Alty won a freekick 25 yards out. The wall repeatedly refused to move back but the referee took no disciplinary action as his instructions were ignored. In the end the game had more than seven minutes of added time before the final whistle condemned Altrincham to a fifth defeat in six outings.
Off-target shooting, overhit passes and an inability to get the better of physically strong defenders were the main factors which undid some decent approach play from Altrincham today.
|Full-Time: NUNEATON TOWN 2 ALTRINCHAM 1|