CHESTER FC (0) 0 ALTRINCHAM (1) 2
played on Friday, 26 December 2014, at 3pm
Goals from both of Alty's central defenders, Tom Marshall and Gianluca Havern, secured Altrincham a deserved win against a Chester side lacking much in the way of forward bite. Altrincham were without Damian Reeves and Sean Williams, and Stuart Coburn returned in goal. Alty's senior professional made a magnificent save from a John Rooney freekick, early on, before Marshall rose to head home a Densmore freekick after 25 minutes. As the heavy rain, which started before the match, turned to snow, Alty added a second when Havern arrived to head home a corner.
Chester applied some pressure after this but Altrincham's defence stood firm.
- 25 mins: Tom MARSHALL (Chester FC 0 ALTRINCHAM 1)
- 59 mins: Gianluca HAVERN (Chester FC 0 ALTRINCHAM 2)
REFEREE: Mr Darren England (Barnsley)
Stuart Coburn returned in goal after his groin injury whilst midfielder Sean Williams and Damian Reeves were out with injuries. Ryan Crowther came in for Nicky Clee and Reeves's replacement was Kyle Perry who played as a lone frontman.
CHESTER FC (Blue & white shirts, blue shorts and white socks): 1. Jon Worsnop, 4. Michael Kay, 5. Matty Brown, 6. Kieran Charnock, 7. Craig Mahon, 8. Kingsley James, 10. John Rooney, 15. Kane Richards, 16. Sean McConville, 19. Craig Hobson, 25. Ibou Touray, Subs: 13. Connor Roberts, 14. Jamie Menagh, 18. Wayne Riley, 21. Tom Peers, 22. Ben Heneghan
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (c), 5. Gianluca Havern, 16. Tom Marshall, 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Jake Moult, 8. Simon Richman, 25. Peter Cavanagh, 7. James Lawrie, 19. Ryan Crowther, 14. Kyle Perry. Subs: 6. Scott Leather, 9. Steven Gillespie, 11. Nicky Clee, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 17.Dave Parton
Mike Garnett reminds us that the record between Altrincham and their Boxing Day opponents, Chester FC, is as follows:
- At Altrincham: P1-W0-D0-L1-F2-A4
- At Chester P1-W0-D0-L1-F0-A2
- Overall: P2-W0-D0-L2-F2-A6
On a bitterly cold and wet afternoon, Altrincham kicked off defending the end where a good number of their supporters cheered them on. Cavanagh was pulled up for a foul after just 15 seconds, before a fine Densmore tackle halted an early Chester attack (1 min). Alty did not threaten in the early stages though Perry almost got on to a Rooney back pass in the fifth minute.
Following this, a good Altrincham move led to a Perry cross, which was blocked, before Richman drove a decent shot over the bar from 25 yards (6 mins). A fine Havern tackle cleared a Chester threat but then Alty got off the back foot, thanks to a Cavanagh-prompted attack and a Moult long-shot which was blocked.
Following a poor Richman pass, Cavanagh was drawn into tripping an opponent on the front edge of the box. Rooney's freekick arrowed towards Coburn's bottom left-hand corner, only for the Alty keeper to get town and push it round the post (13 mins). Brown headed the resulting corner wide. At the other end a Lawrie 30-yarder bounced to the keeper and Alty threatened again when a Chester pass errantly passed to Densmore, whose cross was only just too high for Perry in the goalmouth (16 mins).
Rain was now pelting down. When Moult lost the ball, Richman committed a foul, barely five yards outside the Alty box (21 mins). A corner resulted, once more, from Rooney's freekick. Alty almost conceded when Richman blocked the corner only for Coburn to misread the bounce and the ball went over his head. As the ball headed towards goal, Havern kept his head and nodded the ball over his own bar to safety (22 mins). Chester's keeper, Worsnop, who was wearing a protective face-mask, now had a worrying moment of his own as he dropped a Crowther effort but got away with it.
When James upended the industrious Cavanagh near halfway, Altrincham were awarded a freekick. Densmore's excellent freekick from left of centre dropped perfectly for Marshall to head home unchallenged towards the post to give Altrincham the lead (25 mins). Immediately, Marshall was doing equally well in his defensive role as he got in an important tackle to halt James in Alty's box.
Play was fairly even for the next few minutes before another instance of mishandling by Worsnop following an Alty corner was almost costly (34 mins). As the rain intensified, Altrincham were more than holding their own against a Chester side which was making unforced errors. When referee England failed to give Densmore a freekick for what seemed a clear foul against him, he then annoyed the home contingent as well as he turned down strong appeals for a penalty as a Havern tackle led to a Chester man going down in the box (40 mins).
Crowther now lost possession before Mahon hit a wild shot wide. Now Lawrie also surrendered possession before a Griffin miskick underlined the difficult conditions under which the teams were playing. After Perry had been upended in his own half, Worsnop had to smother a through ball ahead of Richman (45 mins). In the two added minutes, Marshall blocked a Hobson shot for a corner, after which Havern blocked a shot with his head. Half-time arrived with Alty just about deserving their lead.
|Half-Time: CHESTER FC 0 ALTRINCHAM 1|
The rain was now even more torrential as the teams emerged for the second half. As the rain turned to sleet and then snow, Hobson turned and curled a shot well off target. Indeed, Alty remained on the back foot for most of the opening ten minutes of the half but Chester did not seriously threaten to score and Coburn was scarcely employed as his defence kept Chester at bay.
Two home corners came and went before, from a Densmore cross, Crowther got in a goalbound shot which was cleared for a corner (58 mins). From this Havern headed home his first goal of the season and Altrincham's second of the match (59 mins). With snow now falling heavily, but not settling on the wet turf, Rooney's off-beam shot flew miles wide (61 mins).
Chester boss Steve Burr opted for a double swap as Heneghan came on for Charnock and Menagh for Mahon (65 mins). Next a jinking run by Lawrie got him into the Chester box before being halted. In the 68th minute, Clee replaced Crowther. Densmore now emulated Lawrie with an impressive run up the middle but his shot hit team-mate Simon Richman (70 mins).
Although Chester now won an unproductive corner, Altrincham looked the more dangerous on the counter attack and it took a trip to halt Lawrie as he threatened to get free near half way (72 mins). Soon afterwards, a Clee shot earned a corner and a few minutes later, Densmore shot wide from right of goal as Altrincham looked very comfortable with their lead.
With 12 minutes left the home side made its final change as Riley replaced the former Stalybridge man, McConville. The home side did win a corner but it was cleared as the snow continued to pour down. The subs helped to keep Alty penned back for the next few minutes but still without creating any clear chances to score. Having allowed a surprising two added minutes in the first half, Mr. England went for the same amount of second-half added time. A minute into the extra time, Leather replaced Perry for the visitors. The home club sponsors had picked Perry as the Alty Man of the match, a decision which brought an audible intake of breath from the large contingent of travelling supporters.
This was not because Perry had done anything wrong so much as that more obvious choices appeared to be Peter Cavanagh or any of the defence. Altrincham saw out the added time without any alarms to record a hard-earned but deserved victory in atrocious weather conditions. As the match ended snow was beginning to settle leaving supporters with a tricky journey home.
|Full-Time: CHESTER FC 0 ALTRINCHAM 2|