ALTRINCHAM (1) 1 BRAINTREE TOWN (0) 0
played on Saturday, 18 October 2014, at 3pm
In a match of attrition, rather than flowing football, Altrincham opened the scoring much against the run of early play. The goal arrived in the 27th minute when Nicky Clee finished, right-footed, after Shaun Densmore had got into the box and played a one-two with James Lawrie. Referee Toner almost lost control in the second half when he booked six players, four of them in a five-minute spell, after he had failed to give a clear foul against Damian Reeves.
- 27 mins: Nicky CLEE (ALTRINCHAM 1 Braintree Town 0)
REFEREE: Mr Ben Toner
Along with Sean Williams, the suspended Adam Griffin gave way as Tom Marshall and Peter Cavanagh returned to the starting line-up. Griffin's suspension prompted the move of Scott Leather to left back.
Alty were also without the injured Ryan Crowther and Mike Williams, who remains on loan at Stalybridge Celtic. The Iron included Omar Sowumni, their new six-feet five-inch loan signing from Ipswich Town.
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1 Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (c), 5. Gianluca Havern, 16. Tom Marshall, 6. Scott Leather; 4. Jake Moult; 8. Simon Richman, 4. Jake Moult, 25. Peter Cavanagh, 11. Nicky Clee, 7. James Lawrie, 10. Damian Reeves. Subs: 9. Steven Gillespie, 14. Kyle Perry, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 17. Dave Parton 18. Sean Williams.
BRAINTREE TOWN (Orange and white): 1. Nick Hamann, 23. Ryan Peters, 3. Sam Habergham, 2. Mitch Brundle, 6. Alan Massey, 26. James Mulley, 8. Kenny Davis (capt), 4. Chez Isaac, 7. Dan Walker, 18. Jordan Cox, 21. Omar Sowunmi. Subs:, 17. Ryan Case, 9. Sean Marks, 14. Stephen Smith, 29. Carl Pentney, 11. Daniel Sparkes.
This was the first ever meeting between these two clubs.
Braintree kicked off in bright sunshine, attacking the end where their supporters were accommodated. The Iron had the better of the early stages, with Davis's twenty-yarder being the first serious effort, but it went wide. Play was punctuated by intermittent fouls before the visitors won a corner. At the other end, an eleventh-minute shot from Lawrie was blocked. This prompted two corners for the home side and, from the latter of these, taken by Lawrie, Marshall's header was saved by Hamann (12 mins).
For Braintree, Mulley then went close, as his shot, from outside the penalty area, hit the bar with Coburn beaten (14 mins). The visitors continued to have the better of things, as a Sowumni header was blocked and, then, a corner was won for The Iron (17 mins). Altrincham then got forward but Clee's long range shot was dragged wide (21 mins). When Reeves had a shot saved by Hamann (24 mins) it underlined an improvement by the home side.
When Densmore made impressive progress on the right, he played a one-two with Lawrie but the Alty captain's shot was blocked. However, the ball came out to Clee who showed composure to finish coolly with a right-footed finish to give Altrincham the lead against the overall run of the game to date (27 mins).
The game continued to be littered by minor fouls but was now a much more even contest than in the opening stages. Two Braintree corners came and went (33 and 40 mins) but, before the interval, Altrincham replied with two corners of their own (43 mins). In added time a Lawrie shot went wide before Alty left the field a goal to the good. The first half had been a fairly low-key affair, with defenders at both ends impressing more than the attacking forces.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 BRAINTREE TOWN 0|
The opening five minutes maintained the pattern of the first half until a fine through ball from Lawrie set Reeves running up the middle. The striker held off a challenge and hit his shot well but, sadly, over the bar (51 mins). Alty soon threatened again, as Lawrie fed Clee, whose cross was nodded down by Reeves before it was cleared (52 mins).
After a Clee cross had won a corner it was taken, disappointingly, by Lawrie before The Iron also gained a corner through the endeavours of Isaac (58 mins). But the afternoon remained fairly subdued as the two sides slugged it out before a Braintree header cleared the bar from a corner (58 mins).
Left-back Leather now got into the box and Braintree had to concede a corner, from which Leather's own header forced a good save from Hamann, low at the foot of the post (60 mins). At this point came a memorable substitution as Braintree brought on Marks and Sparkes for Isaac and Walker (61 mins).
After Moult had won, then lost and regained the ball before shooting wide, a Densmore 25-yarder cleared the bar from a Lawrie feed. In short, Altrincham were doing better than they had in the early stages of the first half. Next, the hard-working Densmore put in a cross which struck the woodwork as did retreating keeper Hamann, who went down hurt. Shaun could not restrain a smirk, which gave away that his effort had been a cross and not a shot! When play resumed, Alty felt that the bounce-up should have been a contested one but Mr Toner, to Lee Sinnott's annoyance, forced Alty to give possession to Braintree by putting it out of play (64 mins).
Next, a Moult thunderbolt was blocked painfully by Habergham, who understandably went down after Densmore's resulting shot had gone wide. However, when Mulley tripped Lawrie in midfield, the visitor's midfielder also went down but seemed to be trying to escape a booking rather than suffering an injury as he soon recovered when he saw he was not being cautioned. However, Densmore was much more unlucky as he now saw yellow for a challenge (68 mins).
Play again went through a scrappy and uneventful spell before Sowumni clearly pushed Reeves as he advanced towards goal but Mr.Toner failed to award a freekick. As the ball ran out of play, Reeves pushed the giant defender, who retaliated, prompting a melee. Reeves and Sowunmi were both booked (72 mins). This incident sparked a mad few minutes as, now, Densmore was tripped by Habergham in the same move which had seen Richman pushed over without sanction. Habergham was now booked. No sooner had play resumed when Richman was flattened and Brundle booked (74 mins). Five players had now been booked in a six-minute period.
After a Clee volley had gone wide from 20 yards (75 mins), a wild shot flew over the bar from Braintree as the game drifted on in uninspiring fashion (77 mins). Alty now introduced Perry for Reeves (78 mins) before the already booked Cavanagh transgressed again but escaped further sanction. Marshall, who had a good game alongside Havern, now cleared the Alty lines.
A great save was needed from Coburn to stop Marks but the Braintree man was offside anyway (80 mins). Soon, Richman won a corner, from a Perry feed, before Altrincham had a close shave when a Davis shot came down off the crossbar before the loose ball had to be stopped acrobatically by a Coburn save. Finally, relief for Altrincham came as Braintree fired a shot wide (84 mins).
Next, Gillespie came on for Clee (85 mins) and then Perry did well, firstly nodding on a ball to Gillespie and, afterwards, side-footing a shot at goal (87 mins). Altrincham were keeping all eleven men back in their own goalmouth which, in turn, invited pressure on their goal. Four added minutes were proclaimed, during which a Braintree corner was won. In the third added minute, Perry felt he had been fouled and went down, grabbing the ball in the process. He was booked for deliberate handball as the referee interpreted events differently from the Stubblemelt vocalist.
This was an important win from Altrincham which was gained by hard work, especially at the back and in midfield, rather than by attacking flair. The points lifted Alty out of the bottom four once more.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 BRAINTREE TOWN 0|