ALTRINCHAM (0) 0 ALFRETON TOWN (1) 1
played on Saturday, 1 November 2014, at 3pm
Altrincham could have no complaints as Alfreton went home with all three points. Throughout the 90 minutes, the Robins scarcely tested the visitors' keeper in a lacklustre display.
However, Altrincham had started quite well, before they lost the initiative. Alfreton won two corners and the unmarked Graham headed home the second of these to give the visitors a lead after 20 minutes. Alty lost Clee to injury to compound a wretched first half.
Altrincham again struggled to create chances in the second period but raised their game in the closing stages without ever really looking like scoring until Reeves's toe-ender span wide of the post in the closing stages. Keeper Dawson became the Reds' hero as he saved Gillespie's injury-time penalty, a spot kick which the substitute had himself won.
After the game Clee went to hospital with a suspected broken toe; coincidentally, today's referee Mr Holmes was also in charge when Shaun Densmore broke his toe at home to Lincoln City back in August.
- 20 mins: Luke GRAHAM (ALTRINCHAM 0 Alfreton Town 1)
REFEREE: Mr Adrian Holmes.
Adam Griffin was serving the final element of his three-game ban, whilst Ryan Crowther remained sidelined with a back injury. Alty brought in Perry to partner Reeves up front.
Alfreton were without the suspended Hawley.
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; 25. Peter Cavanagh, 11. Nicky Clee, 7. James Lawrie, 10. Damian Reeves, 14. Kyle Perry, Subs: 8. Simon Richman, 9. Steven Gillespie, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 17. Dave Parton 18. Sean Williams.
ALFRETON TOWN (All blue): 20. Cameron Dawson, 5. Luke Graham (capt), 3. Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, 25. Tom Davies, 2. Bradley Wood, 7. Nathan Hicks, 12. Tom Shaw, 11. Anthony Howell, 9. Paul Clayton, 10. Daniel Bradley, 17. Justin McDonald, Subs: 14. Jake Sheridan, 15. Jordan Keane, 18. Joe Ironside, 4. Duane Courtney, 6. Chris Smith.
Although there are six clubs against whom Altrincham have yet to play this season, this was the second encounter with Alfreton Town. Alty secured a late draw (1-1) at Alfreton back in September.
Altrincham were without the suspended Adam Griffin and the injured Ryan Crowther, while Mike Williams remained on loan at Stalybridge. For Alfreton, Hawley was suspended. Richman was named on Alty's bench as Perry started, alongside Reeves up front, a change from recent games where Lawrie has played the no.10 role behind Reeves.
The game got underway under floodlights, an overcast sky and with rain swirling along the pitch. Altrincham kicked off towards the Golf Road end and, inside the first minute, a left-wing cross from Clee just cleared the bar from a Perry feed.
Alty enjoyed the brighter start and when Reeves fed Densmore, his excellent cross was headed just over the bar by Lawrie from a central position in the goalmouth (3 mins). For Alfreton, a Clayton shot was blocked after a move up the left. Next, a long ball upfield led to a first-time effort from Reeves which rolled harmlessly to the keeper. A second good Alty move ended with another Densmore cross, but it went to keeper Dawson (6 mins).
Watched by a small but vocal group from Alfreton, which included a couple of bare-chested fans braving the rain, Alfreton's Shaw got in a long shot which was comfortably pouched by Coburn (8 mins). Alty continued to have the better of the opening stages as, first, Reeves and then Clee had crosses cut out and a Densmore run was halted.
The first of too many Altrincham offsides halted another probe before a Perry shot from the edge of the box was saved (12 mins). A trip on Lawrie, a blocked Moult shot and a Clee cross turned to the Alfreton keeper by an offside Reeves underlined Alty's superiority at this stage. But it was soon to change.
After 18 minutes, a Clee mis-pass led to an Alfreton bicycle-kick shot, which was deflected for a corner on Alfreton's right. Next, a Town freekick yielded another corner, this time on the visitors' left. From this, an unmarked Graham rose to head towards goal where the ball seemed to take a deflection before entering Coburn's net and giving the Derbyshiremen the lead (20 mins).
Altrincham heads seemed to drop for a while as Alfreton now won a freekick before McDonald fired in a shot, which went well over the bar, as Alty laboured. Two fouls in quick succession by Perry led to a Graham shot which had to be blocked near the goal line after Coburn had been stranded by a cross from the Alfreton left. Two more Alfreton corners kept Altrincham on the back foot (27 mins).
Things improved a bit in the 32nd minute when a Lawrie cross gave Perry a header, which looped up and dropped just beyond the back post. But Coburn soon had to make a save from McDonald, after the Alfreton man had got behind Marshall. After this, Moult and then Clee, were fouled before Alty's improvement continued as Dawson flapped at a Lawrie freekick to give Alty a corner. Alfreton cleared this but only after something of a melee in their box (35 mins).
As Clee limped on, Reeves let a long ball run out but a goalkick was awarded and not the corner which Alty's striker had expected. It was clear Clee could not continue and, after the winger had gone down for treatment, physio Alan Ainsley signalled for a substitution. So, Richman replaced Clee (39 mins).
From a Moult feed, Dawson had to smother the ball at the feet of the marauding Densmore (41 mins) before a Clayton arm caught Marshall's face, to concede a freekick. Three minutes later McDonald now caught Cavanagh in the face and received a lecture from the referee (45 mins). In added time, Lawrie's freekick won a corner, after which Perry headed over the bar (45+1 mins).
A disappointing first half had left Altrincham chasing the game.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 ALFRETON TOWN 1|
A scrappy opening to the second half preceded Moult winning a corner, following which Bradley broke quickly upfield and won a corner off the covering Cavanagh (49 mins). After a Rowe foul on Cavanagh, Reeves was blocked in the box but Leather got in a shot, which was saved (53 mins).
Neither side was creating anything remotely like a goal before Alfreton gained a corner on their left off Marshall, followed by one on the other flank (59 mins). After Moult had won the ball well, Perry was caught offside again (63 mins). Next a fine Moult ball to Richman only produced a poor cross and an Alfreton counter-attack. After 66 minutes from a Densmore cross, Moult let the ball go to Perry who delayed his shot before firing well over the bar (66 mins).
Soon, Richman got in a cross across the face of goal and later an Alty corner was won by Cavanagh (72 mins). Alty now brought on Gillespie and Williams for Perry and Cavanagh (73 mins) and Alfreton introduced Keane for Hicks (74 mins), a move which produced farce as the fourth official showed the wrong numbers twice before getting them right.
Fourteen minutes from time, Marshall's 30 yarder was well hit but went just over the bar but Alfreton were still a threat as Bradley won a corner two minutes later. An overhit pass from Williams and a Reeves offside underlined that Altrincham were below par as the game went into its final ten minutes. Then Altrincham almost grabbed an equalizer as Densmore, source of many of Altrincham's better moments, got in a low cross from the right which span off Reeves's foot in front of goal and brushed the outside of the post (81 mins).
In the closing stages Alty were on the front foot and the best they could do was to win a corner after 86 minutes. As four added minutes were announced Sheridan replaced McDonald for Alfreton. A visitors' corner was seen off but as the seconds ticked away, as Gillespie went for a long ball into the box, he was brought down by Graham and a penalty was awarded. Gillespie himself took the kick but Dawson, diving low to his right, pushed it away to preserve all three points for Alfreton.
Defeat at home to one of the clubs below them in the table, the loss of Nicky Clee to injury and a missed penalty summed up a wretched afternoon for Altrincham, who slipped to twentieth in the table and who have now failed to score in six of their last nine league matches. Next up is a midweek trip to Lincoln City.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 ALFRETON TOWN 1|