Match Report


Vanarama Conference match
played on Sunday, 28 December 2014, at 3pm


Nuneaton Town completed a double over Altrincham who lost for the seventh time in nine matches against teams below them in the league table at kick off today. On a pitch made bobbly in places by overnight frost, Alty were the better side in the first half and had a Tom Marshall goal ruled out for offside. Nuneaton started the second half with a greater tempo and took the lead after 69 minutes when Michael Gash converted after a right-wing cross had been nodded down to him.

Altrincham went for a leveller and twice Reeves was denied when one on one against keeper Burton. Whether it was the after effects of a draining match on Boxing Day, or the enforced absences of Densmore, Richman and Cavanagh from today's team, this was a disappointing show from Altrincham. But, having said that, they created more than enough chances to have scored but were repeatedly thwarted by the keeper with Reeves, alone, being thwarted four times by Burton.


REFEREE: Mr Rob Jones


Three regulars were ruled out today for Altrincham by mixture of illness and injury. They were captain Shaun Densmore and defenders Simon Richman and Peter Cavanagh.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart Coburn, 6. Scott Leather, 5. Gianluca Havern (c), 16. Tom Marshall, 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Jake Moult, 7. James Lawrie, 19. Ryan Crowther, 10. Damian Reeves, 18. Sean Williams, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 9. Steven Gillespie, 14. Kyle Perry, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 17.Dave Parton, 20. Joel Swift

NUNEATON TOWN (Orange and white): 1. Callum Burton, 17. Ryan Smith, 11. Theo Streete, 4. Gavin Cowan, 3. Connor Franklin, 9. Adam Dawson, 7. James Armson, 18. Anton Brown, 6. Adam Walker, 14. Michael Gash, 28. Onome Sodje. Subs: 32. Liam Richards, 2. Ben Starosta, 5. Gareth Dean, 21. Ryan Quinn, 26. Lee Fowler.


Mike Garnett's record of previous games between our two clubs shows:


Alty kicked off, playing towards Golf Road and won an early freekick for a foul on Moult. In fact, Altrincham made a fairly bright start as Reeves won a throw and then a Lawrie 30 yarder was held by Burton at the second attempt (3 mins).

The home side started with Clee on the right and Crowther on the left, where the pitch was still partly covered in frost. After an unexceptional few minutes, Reeves got onto a ball from Leather but he could only find the side netting from right of goal (8 mins). Next, a fine through ball from Williams set Reeves on goal. He elected to shoot early and the keeper blocked his shot and also recovered to stop Clee's follow up (9 mins).

After this Leather headed over the bar following a short corner routine and the same Alty defender now had a shot saved from a Clee lay off, as Altrincham set the early agenda. The next ten minutes produced little to stir the crowd as the players attempted to come to terms with the conditions. The pitch was perfectly playable but turning on it was difficult on the main stand side. And the surface was also a bit bobbly where pockets of frost remained.

At last there was some excitement as a fine, low cross from Griffin only just evaded the stretching Reeves in the goalmouth (23 mins). Following a fine Leather tackle, Clee then curled a shot wide from right of goal. Nuneaton's first effort of note arrived when Crowther lost the ball and, from a Gash feed, Walker mishit a shot to Coburn (26 mins).

Just before the half-hour, Gash got in a shot which went off Coburn, at full stretch, for a corner, which Dawson wasted by hitting the ball into the side netting. But another Nuneaton corner soon followed. But then a bad error by Streete saw him donate the ball to Clee but he overhit his intended pass to Reeves who would have been free on goal otherwise (32 mins).

Nuneaton's improvement continued as Sodje gained a corner on their right.

However, after 35 minutes, Clee was tripped 30 yards out. Lawrie's freekick from a central position towards the left post was firmly volleyed into the net off the goalpost by the unmarked Marshall. But the big defender's run, left of goal, had been slightly mistimed and he was ruled offside (36 mins).

Clee now switched to the left and Crowther to the right and after 39 minutes a Clee and Lawrie combination won a corner. After this a Crowther cross from the right was headed just wide by Lawrie (40 mins). Two minutes before the break, Moult fired over the bar after Clee had started the move and Leather had seen his cross blocked. The goalless half soon ended; Alty had been the better side but had been unable to convert this into goals.


Nuneaton started the second half at a higher tempo and Altrincham were penned back for much of the opening stages. Seven minutes into the half, a great run by Smith led to his shot striking the top of the crossbar. Then Coburn stopped but did not hold a Walker long shot and a corner resulted (53 mins).

At last Alty got forward and won a corner following a Crowther cross (56 mins). However, Crowther's corner was very poor. After an uninspiring few minutes, Altrincham should have taken the lead. An impressive looping cross from the left by Griffin located the unmarked Reeves about six yards out. But his header was too close to the keeper and Burton arched well to push the effort over the bar. Again the corner was wasted; this time Clee put it into the side netting at the near post.

After Clee had volleyed over from 20 yards (61 mins), Wilkinson came on for Crowther who had got little change out of the strong Nuneaton defence (63 mins). A Clee surge into box signalled a bit better from Altrincham in terms of forward momentum.

Near halfway, Marshall was booked for a foul. Following the freekick, just inside the Alty half, the ball was nodded down from near the back post and Gash swept it into the net to give Nuneaton the lead (69 mins).

Altrincham's response was tepid but after several minutes Nuneaton had to make a change as Smith hobble off to be replaced by Dean (75 mins). Now Coburn had to beat out a fierce 30 yarder, and a Nuneaton corner followed. At this point, Perry replaced Williams (76 mins). Then there was a long stoppage of almost four minutes as Clee needed treatment and had to give way to Gillespie (81 mins).

Soon Gillespie had a shot saved by the keeper and Reeves's follow up hit the diving keeper (82 mins). Soon Lawrie gained a corner on the right, immediately followed by one on the left. With three minutes left, Quinn came on for Walker for the visitors. Alty kept going forward and a Perry shot was blocked.

Six added minutes started with a Gillespie shot over the bar but Altrincham were unable to threaten again till the game had gone into a seventh added minute when a Reeves shot was saved one handed by Burton. But there was no way back for Altrincham. So yet again Altrincham had lost to a lower-placed team to undo all their excellent work at Chester on Boxing Day. The absences of Densmore, Richman and Cavanagh were clearly felt but, even so, Alty's wastefulness in front of goal cost them the points, a fact underlined by their being the Conference team with the highest number of shots executed to goals scored ratio during the season to date.