ALTRINCHAM (1) 2 DARTFORD (0) 1
played on Saturday, 6 September 2014, at 3pm
Apart from a shaky opening ten minutes, during which the home defence twice parted, Altrincham largely dominated this match and the margin of victory should really have been greater. The hosts, who brought Kyle Perry and Ryan Crowther into the starting eleven, lost Nicky Clee to injury early on. But Damian Reeves put them deservedly ahead in the 42nd minute. From a Lawrie freekick, Marshall's powerful header was blocked but Reeves converted the loose ball.
And three minutes after the interval, Reeves was on hand again, stretching to put a low ball into the roof of the net after Crowther had got to the byline, left of goal. But seven minutes from time Altrincham conceded a poor goal when a cross from the right was converted by Elliot Bradbrook.
- 42 mins: Damian REEVES (ALTRINCHAM 1 Dartford 0)
- 48 mins: Damian REEVES (ALTRINCHAM 2 Dartford 0)
- 83 mins: Elliot BRADBROOK (ALTRINCHAM 2 Dartford 1)
REFEREE: Mr Stephen Ross
ATTENDANCE: 1,571 (77 in away end)
Ryan Crowther and Kyle Perry came into the starting eleven as Lee Sinnott again rotated his squad; Simon Richman and Steven Gillespie were the ones who moved to the bench.
Shaun Densmore remained sidelined by injury. There was again no place in the squad for Greg Wilkinson.
Dartford also shuffled their pack as, like Altrincham, they went in search of a second victory of the season. Dartford had been reprieved from relegation last summer, a situation all too familiar to Altrincham who had the same benefit three times from other clubs' mismanagement when last in the Conference's national division.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 17. David PARTON, 6. Scott LEATHER, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 16. Tom MARSHALL, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 19. Ryan CROWTHER, 25. Peter CAVANAGH (capt), 18. Sean WILLIAMS, 11. Nicky CLEE, 14. Kyle PERRY, 10. Damian REEVES. Subs: 1. Stuart COBURN (gk), 4. Jake MOULT, 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Steven GILLESPIE.
DARTFORD (Blue shirts and socks, white shorts): 1. Jason Brown, 15. Nathan Collier, 14. Mat Mitchel-King, 4. Rory McAuley, 3. Adam Green, 16. Peter Sweeney, 5. Elliot Bradbrook (capt), 9. Luke Daley, 10. Andy Pugh, 8. Lee Noble, 11. Danny Harris. Subs: 17. Harry Crawford, 7. Ryan Hayes, 6. Max Cornhill, 21. Deren Ibrahim, 23. Tom Bradbrook.
Mike Garnett provides the details of previous meeetings between Altrincham and Dartford
- At Altrincham: P3-W2-D1-L0-F4-A1
- At Dartford: P5-W1-D0-L4-F4-A8
- All games: P8-W3-D1-L4-F8-A9
Today's crowd was boosted by it being Non-League Day, a reduced price admission for holders of other clubs' season tickets, and a child-friendly admission scheme.
Dartford kicked off towards their supporters and almost immediately conceded a foul, on Griffin. But, inside two minutes, Noble and Collier combined on the right to carve Alty open and win a corner kick.
Alty's defence was again burst open in the fourth minute when it took a fine block by the advancing Parton to halt Harris, who needed prolonged treatment before being able to resume. It was a nervy start by Alty's defence.
But the stop-start nature of the game continued as the third foul of the game committed by the opponents left Nicky Clee injured near half way (6 mins). Again, lengthy treatment was needed, before Clee returned to the fray.
Altrincham now began to settle and get forward a little themselves but another foul on Clee, as he carried out defensive duties, not only halted the flow of the game, once more, but ensured that Clee was unable to continue. So, in only the 14th minute, James Lawrie came on, prompting Crowther's switch from right to left flank.
Almost immediately, Lawrie was involved in a combination with Reeves but the end product was an underhit shot from Perry which also went wide. When Williams lost possession and the Darts won a freekick, just inside the Altrincham half on the left, Parton had to concede a corner. From this, a flying header cleared the Alty crossbar (17 mins).
Damian Reeves was working hard and his endeavours won the ball near the right corner and, moments later, Reeves was almost played in on goal by some neat passing. The industrious Reeves now beat McAuley to win a throw.
At the back, Griffin was alert as Noble broke forward, before an impressive Lawrie run up the middle ended with a well-struck shot being saved by Brown. Altrincham were now settling and getting on top. In the 27th minute Williams, Reeves and Crowther linked well to set up another fine shot by Lawrie, which was saved. Next, Brown had to stop a Perry 20 yarder, followed by successive crosses from the lively Crowther and Leather.
Fouls by Cavanagh and Reeves were followed by Bradbrook slicing wide from the edge of Alty's box (32 mins). But the home side continued to dominate as another Lawrie effort, this time a 30 yarder, hit the keeper's arms and, fortunately for him, flew over the bar for a corner.
An impressive Crowther run and cut-in from the left saw him unleash a powerful shot which the busy Brown pushed out for a corner, followed by two more corners in quick succession (39 mins). The bombardment continued as centre-back Marshall fired at goal from the left, prompting another save from Brown as his side were under the cosh. Next, Perry won the ball and was held, earning a freekick.
From 40 yards out, slightly left of centre, Lawrie's freekick was met towards the back post by a powerful Marshall header. This was blocked as it arrowed goalwards but the loose ball fell for the predatory Reeves to notch his fourth goal of the campaign (42 mins).
After the restart it took an important Leather tackle in Alty's box to prevent a possibly instant response. With three minutes added to the half following the injuries to Harris and Clee, a Crowther cross just cleared Perry who was felled off the ball in the box, Green being booked as a consequence. So, Alty led at the interval and deservedly so, after a slow start.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 DARTFORD 0|
In the third minute of the half, Crowther got to the left byline and from his cross, a stretching Reeves put the ball into the roof of the net to make it 2-0 (48 mins).
Altrincham continued to enjoy the better of things over the next few minutes before Crowther was upended and Collier was booked (57 mins). After Lawrie had overhit a freekick, Dartford's Crawford and Tom Bradbrook came on for Pugh and Noble (58 mins).
A fine ball from Williams fed Reeves, up the middle, but the advancing keeper did just enough to stop the marauding striker. After the hour mark, Dartford won a corner, but this came to nothing (63 mins).
After Marshall had halted a Dartford attack well, a good Altrincham move ended as Perry fed Crowther but his shot hit the side netting (66 mins). Now Hayes replaced Harris for the visitors before Parton caught a Hayes cross smartly. Then Tom Bradbrook fired into the side netting after getting beyond Marshall, left of goal.
Altrincham continued to have the better of things and, under Reeves's pressure, keeper Brown cleared to Perry, but his 22 yard volley bisected the line between corner-flag and net. Another long shot from Lawrie went over the bar but moments later the same player almost found Reeves in the box before his pass was cut out (77 mins).
With ten minutes remaining Williams was replaced by Moult and, a couple of minutes later, a Dartford corner was won, from which a McAuley header was held at the second attempt by Parton. But then a cross from the right was not dealt with and after an initial block the ball came for Elliot Bradbrook to score from close range. It was a disappointing goal to concede and left Alty without a clean sheet this season (83 mins).
Straightaway, Richman replaced Crowther (84 mins). After a Lawrie shot had been blocked, Moult won a corner from a Leather feed. Lawrie, who had been dropped last week, was determined to make an impression on his recall and, in addition to his numerous shots at goal, he now won an important tackle in his own half.
As the game went into its minimum of three added minutes, a wild shot from Dartford relieved some of the pressure on Altrincham's defence as the visitors went for an equalizer. Two minutes into added time the visitors won a corner, following which Griffin cleared at the back post. The final whistle confirmed a deserved and important second win of the campaign for Altrincham who moved clear of the relegation places.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 DARTFORD 1|