AFC TELFORD UNITED (1) 2 ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
played on Wednesday, 12 November 2014, at 7.45pm
Altrincham's lamentable record against teams at the bottom of the league continued as, for the sixth time this season, they failed to overcome a team in the current bottom five places. Just a single point has been gleaned from those six matches. At Telford, they were without the suspended Jake Moult as well as the injured Nicky Clee and substitute goalkeeper Dave Parton was also sidelined, by a back problem.
In a game of genrally poor quality, Altrincham had slightly the better of the opening stages but bottom of the league Telford opened the scoring after twenty-five minutes when they found space on the Alty left and a low cross was put into the net at the back post by Smith.
After a mediocre start to the second half, Altrincham brought on Damian Reeves and things improved in the latter stages. However, the Robins' best chance was wasted when Alty's leading scorer was put clear, five minutes from time, but he could not beat the keeper.
Telford wrapped up the game in the 90th minute when a freekick was missed in the air by goalkeeper Coburn and Farrell netted at the back post.
When Williams's shot was parried by the keeper, Kyle Perry's tap-in made it 2-1 in the sixth minute of added time.
- 25 mins: Sam SMITH (AFC Telford United 1 ALTRINCHAM 0)
- 90 mins: Adam FARRELL (AFC Telford United 2 ALTRINCHAM 0)
- 90+6 mins: Kyle PERRY (AFC Telford United 2 ALTRINCHAM 1)
REFEREE: Mr Brett Huxtable
ATTENDANCE: 1,417 (89 in away end)
Altrincham were without Nicky Clee (broken toe) and Dave Parton (back) whilst Mike Williams was unavailable. In addition, Jake Moult was suspended for five cautions. Up front, Damian Reeves moved to the bench as Kyle Perry and Steven Gillespie started up front together for only the second time. Tom Marshall was also moved to the subs' bench as Peter Cavanagh returned in midfield whilst, in the back four, Scott Leather and Luca Havern were reunited at centre-back as Adam Griffin reverted to left-back.
Telford also made changes from last Saturday as Hall replaced Hedge in goal. Cooke moved to the bench, as Hancock came into the side.
AFC TELFORD UNITED (All white with black trim): 25. Freddy Hall, 23. Ryan Higgins, 16. Rod McDonald, 4. Neill Byrne, 24. Andy Parry, 20. Godfrey Poku, 14. Josh Hancock, 6. Mike Grogan, 11. Sean Clancy, 9. Adam Farrell, 18. Sam Smith. Subs: 1. Jonathan Hedge, 8. Charlie Barnett, 12. Sean Cooke, 21. Andy Todd, 10. Tony Gray.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (c), 5. Gianluca Havern, 6. Scott Leather, 3. Adam Griffin, 8. Simon Richman, 18. Sean Williams, 25. Peter Cavanagh, 7. James Lawrie, 9. Steven Gillespie, 14. Kyle Perry. Subs: 10. Damian Reeves, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 16. Tom Marshall, 24. Josh Samberg, 19. Ryan Crowther
Despite being clear champions of Conference North last season, Telford started the game bottom of the national division of the Vanarama Conference, whilst a win for Altrincham tonight would lift them to 14th or 15th depending on results elsewhere.
Telford were looking to keep a first league clean-sheet of the season.
Following a pre-match minute's silence for Remembrance Day, Altrincham kicked off, defending the away end. Bizarrely, they kicked the ball straight to Telford's Bermudan international keeper, Hall. And Hall was soon fielding another ball, as Perry's intended pass ran to him (2 mins). The crowd were soon treated to the first of numerous long throws from Farrell, with three of these occurring in the opening three minutes.
Two Telford freekicks and another Farrell projectile kept Alty on the back foot for the first eight minutes. However, following a Griffin throw, a Lawrie 20-yarder was saved by Hall (9 mins). After a Higgins effort had been blocked at source, a McDonald header sailed over the bar from a cross.
For Alty, Gillespie was looking lively but his ambitious shot from 25 yards cleared the bar (12 mins). Next, after Gillespie had won a throw, he fed Richman who was unmarked in the box but, as he shot, a desperate defender's block diverted the ball for a right-side corner (14 mins).
Alty's improvement continued as Densmore got forward but was halted after receiving a good ball from Gillespie, whose next act was an underhit shot, from long distance, to Hall (17 mins). But the Alty front man soon won his side a corner with a deflected shot from a Lawrie feed (18 mins).
So, each side had had about ten minutes apiece of ascendancy before play went through a pretty nondescript patch, in which Alty were playing marginally better than Telford. But, just then, the hosts took the lead. They advanced up their centre-right, before a telling ball was played diagonally behind the Alty backline, from where a low cross by Hancock somehow went right across the goalmouth towards the back post. There, Smith bundled it into the net from a matter of feet, rather than yards (25 mins).
Alty had previously fallen behind twelve times this season in league and cup games and had not recovered to win any of those matches, though they had salvaged one draw (at Alfreton).
The goal deflated Alty for a while as, first, a Lawrie freekick gave Telford a goalkick and, then, from Perry's feed, Richman was unable to locate the threatening Lawrie in the home penalty area (27 mins). Another underwhelming passage of play from both sides was endured, punctuated by throws and freekicks. After Gillespie had lost possession in the centre of the pitch, Cavanagh made a poor challenge and was booked for the seventh time this season (32 mins).
Now Perry won a freekick, in his own box, following which a Lawrie ball ran to keeper Hall. But, after Gillespie had been fouled in the Alty left corner, an excellent Lawrie freekick located the unmarked Perry but he put his free header over the bar (35 mins). At the other end, Farrell headed wide but was given offside, anyway.
Another uneventful few minutes passed before an ambitious overhead shot by Richman sailed well over the bar. Hall was now warned for timewasting and, two minutes before the break, Gillespie was felled and the offender, Parry, was cautioned (43 mins).
So, half-time arrived with Alty 1-0 down in a game which had been generally low on quality; neither team was playing with much confidence.
|Half-Time: AFC TELFORD UNITED 1 ALTRINCHAM 0|
The Bucks' Grogan had hobbled off at the interval so looked unlikely to reappear and it was not surprising, therefore, that before his side kicked off, former Southport man Gray replaced him. After a Clancy 45-yarder way had gone way off target, Lawrie had a half chance but delayed his shot and was robbed of possession (47 mins).
A foul on Gillespie to the left of the box gave Lawrie a freekick, which he overhit beyond the back post. There followed two poor crosses by Williams and a Cavanagh pass which went to the Bucks' keeper. Next, a poor cross from Telford sustained the second half's low standard to date (51 mins). Much better was a well-hit shot by Richman, from a Lawrie feed, but it went wide (52 mins).
However, the overall standard of the match remained disappointing as a poor Telford cross was followed by a Coburn slice into touch. Next, a Perry cross gave Alty another half-chance but Gillespie nodded it over the bar (55 mins). Moments later, Gillespie worked himself into a good position in the box but shot wide (56 mins).
Now Telford's Hancock was replaced by Cooke (56 mins). When Clancy kicked the ball away after conceding a freekick, he was not booked (61 mins). Play was fairly sterile again, epitomised by a 65th minute shot from Telford, which was so off-target that it went for a throw-in. Telford soon won a corner, off Leather. Though half-cleared, with all eleven Alty men back, there was no outlet for Altrincham's defence. So, the ball was played back into the box by the Bucks and Havern had to clear off the line as Telford kept Alty pinned back (66 mins).
The errors continued, as Lawrie mis-headed into touch and a Telford corner followed. This was followed by a second corner. After 69 minutes Reeves arrived, replacing Lawrie. When Clancy fouled Densmore, the ex-Alty man was booked (70 mins). A good Densmore cross now cleared Perry before a home player again escaped sanction for kicking the ball away after a freekick award to Altrincham (73 mins).
An excellent left-wing advance by Luca Havern saw his good cross nodded on by Perry and Gillespie's back-post effort was saved well by Hall at the foot of his right post (74 mins). An Alty corner by Densmore was cleared before Gillespie again got into the box, before being halted. Next, Reeves headed over the bar from a Gillespie cross as Alty stepped up their game (76 mins).
A good, low cross by Densmore was cleared after a freekick was awarded for another foul on Gillespie (80 mins) and, soon afterwards, a Gillespie volley just cleared the bar. Now Wilkinson replaced Gillespie, who had been lively on his return to the side but who had been unable to complete several half-chances. Crosses from Densmore, then Griffin, were followed by Poku's foul on Richman. Though Alty were now on top, time was ticking away.
Then, Reeves was played in on goal, up the middle, but his effort struck the advancing Hall and only a corner resulted (85 mins). Two minutes later, Wilkinson's shot flew just wide and now Crowther replaced Richman (88 mins). For Telford, Smith was subbed by Todd (89 mins). A foul by Sean Williams 40 yards or more from his own goal on the Telford left gave the Bucks some respite and a freekick. Coburn came for the long freekick but did not touch it, the ball dropping for Farrell to slot in Telford's second goal, against the run of play (90 mins).
In added time, two Telford injuries delayed things. So, despite a minimum of four added minutes being earlier announced, the game was into its sixth added minute when a low Sean Williams shot from the edge of the box was parried by Hall, and Perry was on hand to tap it home for his fifth goal of the season. At a goal for every 200 minutes of pitch time this season, Perry is approaching Damian Reeves's goal frequency, this season, of a goal every 194 minutes.
Once again, poor finishing and defensive lapses meant that Altrincham had failed to beat a relegation-place team, though they had arguably had the better of the game, especially in the closing stages.
|Full-Time: AFC TELFORD UNITED 2 ALTRINCHAM 1|