ALTRINCHAM (0) 0 FOREST GREEN ROVERS (0) 1
played on Saturday, 8 August, 2015, at 3pm
Forest Green Rovers powered their way to a 1-0 win over Altrincham on a hot afternoon at the J. Davidson Stadium. Altrincham had some half-chances in a goalless first half but, after the interval, the visitors dominated, winning a further 11 corners to add to their three first-half flag-kicks. Predictably they won the game from one of these corners, in the 74th minute, when Parkin was allowed a free header at the near post from Frear's left-wing kick.
At the other end, Alty scarcely threatened in the second half with the succession of FGR corners being defended by all eleven players leaving them on the back foot for much of that period.
- 74 mins: Jon PARKIN (ALTRINCHAM 0 Forest Green Rovers 1)
REFEREE: Mr S Rushton
Before kick-off Altrincham were hit by the absence of Simon Richman (ankle) and Nicky Clee (groin).
FGR keeper, Maxted, making his debut, curiously wore a jersey of very similar colour to that of the team's outfield shirts.
ALTRINCHAM.(Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Jake MOULT, 5. Luca HAVERN, 16. Tom MARSHALL, 7. James LAWRIE, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 9. Michael RANKINE, 10. Damian REEVES, 20. Jordan SINNOTT. Subs: 6. Scott LEATHER, 15. Anthony GRIFFITH, 17. Tim DEASY, 18. George BOWERMAN, 19. Ryan CROWTHER.
FOREST GREEN ROVERS : (Green and black ) 23. J. Maxted; 2. Dave Pipe, 6. D. Bennett, 16. A. Racine, 10. M. Kelly, 17. Kurtis Guthrie, 8. S. Wedgbury, 11. E. Frear; 7. A. O'Connor, 19. Rob Sinclair, 20. J. Parkin. Subs: 3. J. Jennings, 9. K. Marsh-Brown, 12. C. Kamdjo, 13. P. White; 15. D Sam-Yorke,
This game took place on a hot, sunny afternoon, as the teams opened the Vanarama 2015-16 National League season.
Immediately before kick off FGR indulged in a seemingly choreographed warm-up which involved all of the players coming together and then running outward to create a circle. Just eight seconds after they had kicked off O'Keefe committed a foul near half way. Following this Parkin set up Frear, whose shot from the left won the game's first corner.
Alty responded with a corner on their right gained by Lawrie. The best chance of the early stages fell to Altrincham as Lawrie fed Sinnott, whose cross came off Reeves and went narrowly wide (6 mins). Moments later a Reeves header was blocked in FGR's box as the home side made a promising start, encouraged by their vocal support behind the Golf Road goal, which they were attacking.
After a Densmore pass had gone astray, Frear gave O'Connor a shot which yielded a corner. Things remained fairly even as Griffin's 30 yarder was taken cleanly by keeper Maxted (15 mins).
FGR wasted a good chance as Alty left former Alty loanee, Wedgbury in acres of space but his cross was poorly headed, wide, by Parkin (17 mins). The game was hardly proving an attractive spectacle as the sides cancelled each other out.
Next a Kelly cross was tipped out for a corner by Coburn before a Rankine cross was headed by O'Keefe but it went wide (27 mins). Soon afterwards a Sinnott cross was blocked from O'Keefe's feed and, then, a Moult ball reached Maxted just ahead of Rankine (29 mins).
After half an hour Densmore was taken out by Frear who escaped with a lecture, unlike when the roles were reversed in the second half. An excellent ball from Sinnott set Reeves running from left of goal and his shot forced a diving save from Maxted (32 mins). Soon play on this hot afternoon stopped for a water break.
After the resumption O'Keefe's challenge was late on Wedgbury and the Alty midfielder was rather harshly booked on his debut (37 mins). Next Guthrie fouled Griffin without caution. There was a hint of danger after 40 minutes when Coburn ran out of his box to head clear and Wedgbury tried a lob from 45 yards but the ball went well over the bar and Alty's retreating keeper.
As half-time approached, FGR were having the better of the game but Alty had worked hard to prevent them creating much in the way of a serious goal threat. Added time witnessed a well-hit 35-yarder from Marshall, which Maxted saved, so the interval arrived with the game goalless.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 FOREST GREEN ROVERS 0|
Alty kicked off the second half and went through a nondescript spell before Guthrie got past Griffin and won a corner on the right (51 mins). Alty brought all ten outfield players back and were soon conceding a second corner, won by Frear off Havern (54 mins).
The corners continued to come as Alty struggled to get out of their defence. Now a Sinclair cross produced a corner off Densmore. Brief respite came as Reeves was fouled, 30 yards out, but Densmore's freekick was just too high for Marshall. At the other end, Marshall fouled the dangerous Guthrie, 40 yards out. Following this a Coburn mis-punch made the ball loop onto the top of his own net for another corner.
As Alty defended, Densmore was booked for a foul on Frear. Although the freekick by Sinclair was cleared, Alty had no one upfield so the ball came back at them. Alty were again grateful for respite from an FGR foul as Racine pulled back Rankine and was booked.
After 63 minutes, the lively Sinnott won Altrincham a corner on their right but soon Marshall had to concede a corner to FGR from Frear's cross after Kelly had surged upfield (65 mins). Alty cleared again but FGR came at them again to gain a further corner kick, which was followed by a second moments later as Marshall halted an FGR attack. Guthrie headed the corner wide (68 mins).
An excellent Havern block and then surge upfield led to a promising pass which unfortunately clipped Reeves's heels as he tried to gather it. Immediately afterwards, Reeves was replaced by debutant Bowerman (70 mins).
The FGR corner tally increased as Frear won a flag-kick. This time Alty allowed Parkin time and space to head home, off the goal frame, from a position towards the near post (74 mins). The goal had been coming and a corner had seemed the only way FGR would score as, otherwise, they hardly landed a shot on Coburn.
Once more, Frear won a corner, this time off Densmore, before Leather replaced O'Keefe. Leather went to the right side of a back three allowing Densmore and Griffin to get forward more (78 mins). After 81 minutes ex-Lincoln forward Sam-Yorke came on for O'Connor. Soon Sam-Yorke won his side yet another corner (82 mins).
Alty won a freekick but Maxted punched away Sinnott's kick (84 mins). A minute later ex-Barnet man Marsh-Brown came on for Frear. Next Coburn tipped out a Kelly freekick for a further corner. When Lawrie was taken out, as he broke forward, Bennett was booked and had to come off with a nosebleed before resuming with a numberless shirt.
Five added minutes were proclaimed but despite sending Marshall forward, Altrincham were unable to threaten the FGR goal. So the new season had started disappointingly. The hot conditions and FGR's physical strength had made it a difficult game which produced little goalmouth incident. Next up is a trip to Guiseley, for the first clash since the two sides contested the Conference North promotion play-off final in 2014.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 FOREST GREEN ROVERS 1|