GUISELEY (1) 1 ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
played on Tuesday, 11 August, 2015, at 7.45pm
Altrincham lost this game with a poor first-half performance in which they failed to play the ball to feet. For their part Guiseley's slick passing got its reward in the 16th minute. But once again it was failure to defend a corner which cost Alty the decisive goal as Atkinson's bullet header powered past Coburn, who was to be his side's Man of the Match.
Alty were much improved in the second half when they moved to a back three, as Moult moved into the back line, but they could not effect a breakthrough. A bad night was made worse by the loss of Havern to a hamstring injury in the first half.
- 16 mins: Rob ATKINSON (Guiseley 1 ALTRINCHAM 0)
REFEREE: Mr Michael Salisbury
Guiseley were without suspended former Robins' midfielder Danny Boshell, whilst Alty again lacked the injured Simon Richman and Nicky Clee. Both teams were therefore unchanged from Saturday.
GUISELEY (White and Navy): 1. Steven Drench, 25. Rob Atkinson, 19. Nicky Boshell, 24. Zac Thompson, 4. Danny Lowe, 5. Adam Lockwood, 6. Jake Lawlor, 14. Will Hatfield, 10. Tom Craddock, 9. Adam Boyes, 7. Wayne Brooksby. Subs: 2. Ryan Toulson, 11. Gavin Rothery, 12. Danny Hall, 16. Liam Dickinson, 17. Dan Atkinson
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.
Both teams had lost their opening match of the season by a 1-0 margin. This was the clubs' first meeting since the promotion play-off final in 2014, which Alty had won in dramatic last-gasp fashion.
Alty kicked off on a fine evening at Nethermoor and they saw an early Rankine shot blocked from a Reeves feed. It did not take long for Guiseley to find their stride as a great ball from Craddock led to Boyes's shot being saved (3 mins).
After Moult had won the ball, Reeves turned well and shot just wide (6 mins). The next few minutes were a bit scrappy before Craddock advanced past Densmore but his cross went to Coburn. Guiseley were now getting on top and, next, Boshell controlled the ball well but shot wide (12 mins). Two minutes later, Lowe outpaced Densmore and won a corner and in the 15th minute it took a great save by Coburn to keep Boshell out after a good passing build-up by The Lions.
The respite was short as, for the second successive game, Altrincham conceded a goal from an unmarked player. This time it was a bullet header from the unmarked Atkinson which put Altrincham 1-0 down (16 mins).
The next threat arrived, five minutes afterwards, as Coburn smothered an effort from the impressive Craddock, following his slick interchange with Boyes. Altrincham were not matching Guiseley's neat passing football, too often pumping poorly directed balls forward, in the air.
The next threat to Alty came from an impressive Brooksby dribble, following which a Craddock effort went just wide as Alty were carved open (23 mins).
Things briefly looked up as a strong Rankine run won Alty a corner on their left. Then Rankine's header hit the top of the crossbar from Sinnott's corner (25 mins). However, Alty remained largely on the back foot as Havern had to cut out a Craddock cross then an important Marshall tackle was needed to halt a further probe from the hosts.
But Havern was now down off the pitch by the side of Alty's goal. As play continued, physio Alan Ainsley arrived to help the centre-back and the injured defender limped to the dugout. After the game Luca confirmed he had damaged his left hamstring so is likely to be out for several weeks (29 mins).
So, in the 30th minute, Leather came on for Havern. Alty continued to have difficulty in finding their team-mates until a good Densmore ball located Rankine in the box but he was blocked before he could shoot (32 mins). Next, a 25 yarder from Lawrie ran easily to Drench before an overhit cross from Densmore ended their next probe.
At the other end Boshell sliced wide from the edge of the box before Guiseley's slick passing won the hosts a corner. Again Atkinson won a header but coburn tipped it over for a corner (37 mins). Following an important Densmore tackle on Craddock in the box, Guiseley were awarded another corner.
Alty were providing no service to Reeves and had posed no real threat to Drench's goal until Lawrie, from the right, powered a long-range shot goalwards, which Drench batted out onto the woodwork from where it was cleared (41 mins).
In added time Reeves was held as he turned well near half way but the freekick was cleared. Before the interval, Densmore had to cover smartly to halt Brooksby.
So, Guiseley led deservedly, despite Alty twice hitting the woodwork.
|Half-Time: GUISELEY 1 ALTRINCHAM 0|
Guiseley kicked off the second half and were soon offside. Griffin got in two early crossses as Altrincham now pushed forwards with more purpose. But it was Guiseley who threatened more seriously as a Craddock header had to be well saved by Coburn from a right wing cross, after some more excellent build up play from The Lions (50 mins).
After Lawrie had been flagged offside, following Rankine holding off a challenge, Guiseley's Nicky Boshell fired just over after another good passing move. The hosts were giving Alty a lesson in playing the ball to feet (55 mins).
The Lions also continued to pack the stronger punch as, now, Brooksby's fierce low shot was saved well by the busy Coburn. Griffin and Densmore were now pushed forward with Moult moved into the centre of a three-man back line with Marshall on the left and Leather on the right.
The change of formation was helping Altrincham who were now enjoying some forward momentum. Next, a shot by O'Keefe from 22 yards was saved before Rankine slipped and lost the ball in Guiseley's box.
Guiseley brought on Rothery for Nicky Boshell after 63 minutes. Immediately, Densmore surged into the box and seemed to be tripped but the referee was unimpressed (64 mins). This had been Alty's best spell of the game so far and they now won a corner from a Griffin cross,
On 66 minutes, Bowerman replaced Reeves and he soon got in a cross from the byline. In defence, Leather saved the day after O'Keefe missed a through ball and Guiseley had counter attacked. Then Densmore lost the ball and Boyes beat Marshall, forcing Coburn into another important block. Boyes hit the loose ball into ground and it reared up onto the crossbar (69 mins).
Ex-Alty full-back Ryan Toulson now came on for Thompson (70 mins) before a poor cross from Rankine came from a Bowerman feed. Following a freekick for Leather's high challenge, Marshall headed the ball out to Lawlor who fired over the bar (75 mins).
Guiseley remained a danger on the counter-attack but Leather covered well as Brooksby broke away past Marshall. For Alty, a Griffin cross was only just too high for Densmore in the centre of the goalmouth (79 mins).
Nine minutes from time, Crowther replaced the now deep-lying Lawrie. At the back, Moult blocked well from Brooksby after he had again got clear behind Marshall as Alty pushed forward (82 mins). Coburn was soon in action, once more, as he smothered a Brooksby cross. In response, a Bowerman run gained Alty a corner.
Alty had dominated the last 30 minutes but had not created a clear opening. A Leather foul brought him a booking and, moments later, a tug from O'Keefe saw him cautioned, too, for the second successive game (86 mins).
Ex-Trafford and Stockport County front man Liam Dickinson now replaced Craddock (87 mins). Yet again Brooksby streaked clear in a counter-attack but his poor low shot was saved by Coburn. Then Leather covered the next surge by Guiseley, as time ran out for the visitors.
Alty had been much improved in the second half but had had to chase the game after a poor first 45 minutes, in which they had scarcely strung together any sequence of passes to feet. The loss to injury of Luca Havern, who joins Nicky Clee and Simon Richman on the sidelines, was a further disappointment.
|Full-Time: GUISELEY 1 ALTRINCHAM 0|