ALTRINCHAM (0) 0 BRAINTREE TOWN (2) 4
played on Saturday, 19 September, 2015, at 7.45pm
This was Altrincham's worst performance since a similar 4-0 home defeat by Welling last season. The home side was second best all over the pitch and could easily have lost more heavily as The Iron twice struck the post whilst Altrincham never looked like scoring. With Jake Moult out injured but Simon Richman returning from injury, Alty started with a 3-5-2 formation. An injury to Densmore caused a move back to a back four during the first half.
Alty fell behind in the eighth minute when a cross from the right by Akinola allowed Cheek, at the back post, to scuff the ball across a wrong-footed Deasy and into the net. As the interval approached Parry saw a Braintree ball go over his head and, as he retreated, he brought down Cheek. Davis converted the spot-kick comfortably (42 mins).
Both Cheek and Edgar hit the woodwork for Braintree in the second half and Edgar also had a goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Leather before the visitors scored two goals in added time. In the second of the added minutes Edgar scored a superb goal from 40 yards as he lobbed the Alty keeper, having spotted Deasy off his line. And, with the game running into the fifth added minute, Taylor hit an impressive freekick past Deasy from just outside the box.
Altrincham remain nineteenth but are now the division's joint lowest scorers (9 goals) and have the worst goal difference (-11). On the positive side, Altrincham have two more points than at this stage last season.
- 8 mins: Michael CHEEK (ALTRINCHAM 0 Braintree Town 1)
- 42 mins: Kenny DAVIS (penalty) (ALTRINCHAM 0 Braintree Town 2)
- 90+2mins: Anthony EDGAR (ALTRINCHAM 0 Braintree Town 3)
- 90+5 mins: Miles TAYLOR (ALTRINCHAM 0 Braintree Town 4)
REFEREE: Mr J Johnson (Merseyside)
Altrincham were again without Stuart Coburn, Nicky Clee, and Tom Marshall but Jake Moult had joined those sidelined with injury after a knock to his knee on Tuesday night. However, Simon Richman had returned to the squad after his injury lay-off of three matches.
Altrincham elected for a 3-5-2 formation with Parry on the left and Leather on the right of centre-back Havern. So Densmore and Griffin were deployed as wing-backs, whilst Reeves and Rankine formed the strike force.
Braintree made three changes as Remy Clerima, Alex Woodyard and Michael Cheek came into their starting eleven.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks): 17. Tim DEASY, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 6. Scott LEATHER, 22. Andrew PARRY, 5. Luca HAVERN, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 7. James LAWRIE, 20. Jordan SINNOTT, 9. Michael RANKINE, 10. Damian REEVES. Subs: 18. George BOWERMAN, 19. Ryan CROWTHER, 4. Jake MOULT, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 14. Josh O'KEEFE
BRAINTREE TOWN (Sky blue and white striped shirts, sky blue socks and white shorts ): 1. Will Norris, 2. Remy Clerima, 5. Matthew Paine, 3. Sam Habergham, 15. Mark Phillips, 8. Kenny Davis, 4. Chez Isaac, 10. Simeon Akinola, 11. Daniel Sparkes, 23. Michael Cheek. 30. Alex Woodyard. Subs: 9. Sean Marks, 18. Jordan Cox, 22. Anthony Edgar, 14. Taylor Miles, 7. Mitch Brundle.,
Mike Garnett kindly provides details of our record against Braintree Town...
- At Altrincham: P1-W1-D0-L0-F1-A0
- Away: P1-W0-D0-L1-F2-A4
- All: P2-W1-D0-L1-F3A-4
On a sunny afternoon at the J. Davidson Stadium, Braintree kicked off towards the away end. After an early stoppage for the visitors' Paine to receive treatment, the first corner of the game was gifted to Altrincham by a wild back pass. In the fifth minute Richman fed Rankine who beat two men but was then halted. But Braintree immediately counter-attacked and a header looped just over the Altrincham crossbar (6 mins).
After Reeves had battled well in the opposition box, Richman fired wide. At the other end, Akinola looked lively and he got in a good cross from the right. At the back post, Cheek, under a defensive challenge, scuffed the ball back across goal and it dribbled into the net past a wrong-footed Deasy to give The Iron the lead (8 mins).
After Lawrie had fired over the bar from a good pass from Densmore, Parry had to concede a corner on the Iron's left. This led to a mix up as Griffin ducked to let the ball run to Deasy who was unable to gather it gather at the first attempt. From a Sinnott freekick, 45 yards out, Alty gained another corner on the right but this came to nothing.
A third Altrincham corner of the afternoon arrived through Richman but the keeper caught it comfortably (17 mins). For the visitors, Sparkes's 18-yarder forced a save by Deasy as Altrincham struggled to get a rhythm or pose any serious threat to Norris's goal.
Midway through the half, Braintree won a corner on their left, after which Cheek slid in at the back post but could not turn in a cross from the left which had crossed the goalmouth. Soon the visitors had another corner as a Paine shot came off Havern. Braintree were now on top (25 mins).
Braintree secured another corner through midfielder Isaac, again off Havern who was looking assured at the back for the Robins. Alty now enjoyed some possession before Richman was robbed and Cheek got free. From the right his low shot went narrowly past the far post (31 mins).
Not long after this, Densmore pulled up and after referee Johnson had spoken to Iron keeper Norris, seemingly about timewasting, Crowther came on for Densmore (35 mins). The substitution necessitated a change of formation with Alty reverting to a back four as Griffin moved to left back, Parry to the centre with Havern, and Leather to right-back.
Altrincham continued to lack much spark in their game and the visitors looked comfortable with their lead. But just as it seemed Alty might get to the interval and regroup with just a one-goal deficit, they conceded a second goal. A ball over Parry's head on the Iron's right, allowed Cheek to get into the box. The retreating Parry clearly locked arms with the Braintree man and the inevitable outcome, as Cheek went down, was a penalty. Kenny Davis sent Deasy the wrong way as he slotted the ball to the keeper's right to make it 2-0 (42 mins).
It almost became 3-0 as Akinola stretched to poke the ball just over the Alty bar from six yards (44 mins). In the two added minutes before half time, Reeves was flattened and the offender cautioned. From the freekick on the front edge of the box, Sinnott's effort was blocked. In the closing moments Richman received the ball on the edge of the box but delayed his shot and then fired over the bar.
So Alty went in for their half-time break 2-0 down and deservedly so after a performance lacking energy and guile.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 BRAINTREE TOWN 2|
Four minutes into the half, Norris in the away goal was called to make a routine save from a Lawrie header which had resulted from a Leather cross. It was about as threatening as Altrincham had been in the match so far (49 mins).
Soon, Crowther introduced some urgency as he got to the byline, where he was halted. After Norris had come out of his penalty area to kick clear, Lawrie tried to lob him from 55 yards but his shot landed comfortably in the retreating keeper's arms (53 mins).
Again Crowther went on a good run into the opposition box but his shot was parried. It was by a considerable distance the best bit of Alty attacking play in the match, so far (58 mins).
Braintree now introduced Taylor for Sparkes as the game remained pretty flat; Braintree were comfortable with their two-goal lead and Alty could not rouse themselves to a sufficient tempo to get back into the match. After Akinola had fouled Leather, an Altrincham corner followed but was cleared (62 mins). Disaster almost struck as Richman and a team mate stopped to allow each other the ball only for Cheek to get the ball and hit the post when, probably, he should have scored (63 mins).
After Rankine had won a corner, he then gained a freekick on the right. Parry headed Lawrie's freekick over the bar. Now Bowerman replaced Rankine and went into a central role rather than his customary position on the flanks (66 mins) Havern had to concede a corner, which Parry cleared.
Alty had concerns when Deasy came out of his goal but did not get the ball. Cheek's lob from the left was goalbound until it was headed off the line by Leather, at the cost of a corner (72 mins). Two minutes later O'Keefe came on for Parry and Braintree's Edgar replaced Akinola (74 mins).
Sinnott now adopted a more defensive position at right-back. However, an excellent Iron move on their right led to a Cheek cross which had to be blocked, with some urgency, by Sinnott as Edgar was about to score (76 mins). Two minutes later the busy Cheek gave way to another striker, Marks.
After Davis had fouled Reeves, 45 yards out, Sinnott's freekick went to Norris. Alty wasted a half chance when O'Keefe hit a poor shot, well over the bar from 25 yards (84 mins). Braintree again showed Altrincham how to attack as substitute Edgar smacked a shot against the near post, from the left. In short, Braintree look livelier all over the pitch, all afternoon.
In the final minute of normal play it was Braintree going forward rather than Alty. A Griffin error led to Deasy having to beat out a shot before four added minutes were decreed, at which point a Crowther ball ran to Norris just ahead of Reeves.
In the second of the added minutes, Edgar spotted Deasy off his line and scored from 40 yards with a superb lob over the Altrincham keeper (90+2 mins). It could not get worse, could it?
It did, after an O'Keefe foul on the edge of his own box. Substitute Taylor freekick hit a fine freekick into the upper reaches of the net to Deasy's left to make it 4-0. Memories came back of the 4-0 defeat at home by Welling almost exactly a year ago, which had arguably been the low point of last season. Hopefully, today's result will serve as a wake-up call to a team which has been able to beat full-time Tranmere Rovers, Grimsby Town, Cheltenham Town and drawn with Eastleigh this season yet lost to all the part-timers they have played against.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 BRAINTREE TOWN 4|