ALTRINCHAM(2) 2 TRANMERE ROVERS (0) 1
played on Saturday, 29 August, 2015, at 3pm
Altrincham deservedly beat their guests from The Wirral with their best performance of the season so far, led by a Man of the Match performance by Michael Rankine and some resolute defending in the closing stages. Alty took an eighth-minute lead when Rankine won an aerial ball and located Lawrie. His shot was well saved by Davies but the loose ball ran to Bowerman, who finished confidently to maintain his impressive scoring sequence.
The lead was doubled after half an hour. Rovers game the ball away cheaply, allowing Rankine to find Lawrie. His cross, from the right, was headed into the net by Rankine past a flat-footed keeper.
Altrincham looked quite comfortable in the second half until the 85th minute when they momentarily lost concentration, immediately after the substitution of Lawrie by debutant midfielder Griffith. Maynard was allowed to advance and poke the ball beyond Deasy who, otherwise, had only a few routine saves to make on his own debut for the Club. Successive defeats at the hands of Boreham Wood and Altrincham have underlined to Tranmere supporters the difficulty of bouncing back to League Two at the first attempt.
- 8 mins: George BOWERMAN (ALTRINCHAM 1 Tranmere Rovers 0)
- 30 mins: Michael RANKINE (ALTRINCHAM 2 Tranmere Rovers 0)
- 85 mins: Lois MAYNARD (ALTRINCHAM 2 Tranmere Rovers 1)
REFEREE: Mr R Martin (Weston super Mare)
Altrincham went into this game with serious injury problems. Four first-choice players were missing from their small squad: central defenders, Tom Marshall (broken leg), Luca Havern (hamstring), goalkeeper Stuart Coburn (calf) and Nicky Clee (groin). Thankfully, left-back Adam Griffin had recovered from the back spasm which prevented him completing the game last weekend.
So, whilst goalkeeper Tim Deasy made his start and loanee Andrew Parry made his home debut, the bench included Anthony Griffith, who had yet to make an appearance for Altrincham since his summer signing and Sam Heathcote who, likewise, had never played for the Altrincham first team.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks): 17. Tim DEASY, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 6. Scott LEATHER, 22. Andrew PARRY, 4. Jake MOULT, 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Michael RANKINE, 18. George BOWERMAN, 20. Jordan SINNOTT. Subs: 15. Anthony GRIFFITH, 10. Damian REEVES, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 19. Ryan CROWTHER.
TRANMERE ROVERS (All fluorescent yellow): 1. Scott Davies, 2. Richie Sutton, 3. Liam Ridehalgh, 6. Marcus Holness, 11.Lois Maynard, 15. Martin Riley, 8. Jay Harris, 4. Steven Jennings (capt), 17. Adam Mekki, 18. Cole Stockton, 19. Jonathon Margetts. Subs: 14. Andy Mangan, 13. Iain Turner, 9. Nathan Blissett, 7. Marlon Jackson, 12. Michael Ihiekwe.
Mike Garnett's record of games between the two clubs shows that we have met Tranmere before in league matches at 1st XI level - in the Lancashire Combination from 1911-12 till 1916-17. Mike is provding fuller details in Saturday's Robins' Review programme but below is his summary...
- At Altrincham: P9-W2-D4-L3-F17-A19
- Away: P10-W2-D1-L7-F14-A26
- All: P19-W4-D5-L10-F31-A45
Mike also advises us of Alty's record against Tranmere Rovers Reserves (1920-2014):
- Home P42-W25-D7-L10-F123-A66
- Away: P42-W11-D4-L27-F 69-A117 (one result unknown - 1925-26)
- Neutral: P1-W1-D0-L0-F4-A1
- All: P85-W37-D11-L37-F196-A184
For a minute's silence before kick-off in honour of the victims of the Shoreham Airshow accident, the players of the two teams lined up alternately.
Altrincham kicked off towards Golf Road and, inside the opening minute, a Parry nod won a corner. This was taken short, after which Rankine was unable to capitalise on a half-chance. At the other end, a Harris effort went just wide after he had dispossessed Sinnott (2 mins). Following a Moult foul, Ridehalgh's freekick from the right just evaded everyone as it crossed the Alty box (5 mins).
On eight minutes, Altrincham scored. Rankine won the ball in the air and the ball broke to his right, to Lawrie. His shot was well blocked by keeper Davies but ran to the keeper's right. Bowerman netted the loose ball past a covering defender to record his third goal in three successive matches.
After a Bowerman run and cross from the left had been cleared, Margetts's 30-yarder cleared the bar comfortably. It was a good, open game, as an Alty freekick 35 yards out was followed by a Lawrie foul. In the 15th minute, Moult was booked for his second transgression of the game, a foul on Mekki.
For the hosts, Rankine continued to impress. And, over the next few minutes, Alty continued to work hard as Sinnott halted Stockton, Moult harried Maynard to pass back to his keeper, Bowerman beat Mekki and Rankine closed down Riley.
But Altrincham picked up a second booking when Parry came through the back of Margetts (25 mins). Tranmere's freekick was chipped weakly to Deasy.
The visitors were masters of their own destruction as they gave the ball cheaply, allowing Rankine to advance and feed Lawrie. His cross from the right, front edge of the box was headed in, unchallenged, by Rankine past the flat-footed keeper. So it was now 2-0 to Altrincham (30 mins). Play resumed after a short delay as Tranmere fans threw some items onto the pitch.
Alty soon threatened again as Sinnott intercepted the ball allowing Rankine to feed Bowerman but his backheeled return pass went astray. After a foul by Densmore on the edge of his own box, the freekick was put poorly over the bar by Mekki (34 mins).
On his debut Deasy had little to do as the best Rovers could muster at this stage was a weak shot wide by Mekki from 20 yards. Rankine continued to dominate in the air. After Moult had won the ball, Rankine was caught offside from a Bowerman pass.
Deasy did have to make a save after 40 minutes but only after the ref had allowed Stockton to pull over Leather in the build up to his shot (40 mins). Next, Moult won the ball, allowing Rankine a fierce shot from 30 yards, which cleared the bar. Alty were on top and playing very well.
The most worrying aspect for Altrincham was the accumulation of yellow cards as Densmore joined Moult and Parry in Mr. Martin's book. And fears were only intensified by the fact that today's referee, Mr. Martin, had sent off three Alty men in the last two games involving the club that he had overseen.
Altrincham won a late corner from a Sinnott throw from which Moult volleyed miles over the bar from 30 yards (45+1 mins). A minute later, Lawrie seemed to be fouled as he was shooting inside the box but no punishment followed. There was time for Parry to block a Mekki shot before the interval arrived (43 mins).
Alty well deserved their 2-0 lead at the break.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 TRANMERE ROVERS 0|
Tranmere lost the ball soon after kicking off, allowing Sinnott to feed Rankine, whose first-time shot was saved (46 mins). But Tranmere, no doubt benefitting from a half-time talking-to, soon threatened. After a Mekki dribble had been halted, a low cross from their right was stopped on the line by Densmore and deflected to the grateful, already grounded Deasy (51 mins). The large following of Tranmere fans were encouraged by their team's start to the half.
After 56 minutes, Mekki won a corner off Lawrie, which Moult cleared. Tranmere's Harris was booked for a late challenge on Richman (58 mins). Altrincham looked a threat on the counter attack and, from a Lawrie through ball, a Rankine shot deflected wide but the referee awarded a goalkick (60 mins).
Two Alty throws led to a corner which keeper Davies mispunched out of play for another corner on the Alty left (62 mins). The keeper now fumbled a cross before he gathered the ball. A double change now arrived as Mangan came on for Stockton and Blissett for Margetts (63 mins). Mekki, who played for Barnet against Alty last season, looked Tranmere's best forward and from his cross, a Blissett downward shot bounced over Deasy's bar (65 mins).
Midway through the half, Bowerman turned well but saw his shot saved (67 mins). Now Tranmere pressed forward but Parry cleared well for a corner. However, Altrincham continued to be a danger at the other end as, now, a Lawrie 20 yarder flew just over the bar.
On 73 minutes, Jackson replaced Ridehalgh for Rovers before Deasy palmed away a cross from Tranmere's left by Mekki. When Jackson fouled Griffin in the air, a freekick was awarded but no card shown. One of a number of questionable decisions allowed Jackson a handball before Blissett missed his fellow substitute's cross.
Alty now made a swap as Reeves replaced Bowerman (76 mins). Two minutes later, Densmore won a corner after Rankine had again done well. From the corner, a Reeves layoff saw Sinnott blast a shot just over the bar from the edge of the box. Next a great Lawrie dribble got him free in Tranmere's box only to slice his shot badly off target from 12 yards (79 mins).
Lawrie's disappointment was compounded as he was now booked (81 mins) but Alty continued to pose questions to Tranmere as, now, a Densmore shot flew across the face of their goal. Further back, a great Richman tackle got the ball to Lawrie who fed Rankine but he was just offside.
In the 85th minute, Griffith came on for his debut in place of Lawrie. From the restart, Aly lost concentration, allowing Maynard to advance and poke home a goal out of nothing (85 mins). Alty had been comfortable but, potentially, now faced a tricky closing period. Alty now introduced O'Keefe for Sinnott (88 mins) before the dependable Parry conceded a corner on the Rovers' right. The late pressure continued as the visitors gained another corner, this time off Griffin. But Maynard headed wide from this (90 mins).
In the four added minutes, a Harris shot deflected to Deasy but the visitors were not able to threaten seriously again before the final whistle. Altrincham had secured a much deserved win with their best performance of a stuttering campaign to date. This was all the more remarkable for being achieved without four first-choice players. Alty will look to build on this platform when they travel to Southport on Monday, a ground on which they have not enjoyed a lot of good fortune in recent years. The win today lifted Alty up to seventeenth.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 TRANMERE ROVERS 1|