BOGNOR REGIS TOWN (0) 2 ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
played on Tuesday, 19 January, 2016 at 7.45pm
The absence of seven first-choice players proved too much for Altrincham on a cold night in Sussex. Long-term absentees Coburn, Densmore, Marshall and Clee were joined on the absentee list for this match by Griffin (hip), Havern (broken nose) and Richman (taking his University exams).
The match only started after half a dozen cars were parked on the pitch with their engines running to help warm up a frozen area.
In a fairly even first half, Alty had the better chances, the best falling to Rankine who blasted a lay-off from Reeves over the bar.
But the visitors rarely theatened after the interval. Bognor took a 76th minute lead when Robson headed home a cross from the right. Altrincham equalised when Lawrie lifted the ball over the keeper from O'Keefe's cross and found the net in the 81st minute.
Then, in the 85th minute, a fine 25-yard shot, off the upright by Crane, secured a win for the Rocks and an away tie at Sutton United.
- 76 mins: Craig ROBSON (Bognor Regis Town 1 ALTRINCHAM 0)
- 81 mins: James LAWRIE (Bognor Regis Town 1 ALTRINCHAM 1)
- 85 mins: James CRANE (Bognor Regis Town 2 ALTRINCHAM 1)
REFEREE: Mr Chris Powell (Poole, Dorset)
Altrincham's injury-ravaged season continued as Luca Havern was sidelined by a broken nose and Adam Griffin with a hip injury, both sustained at Leamington in midweek. To add to manager Lee Sinnott's problems, Simon Richman was unavailable as he was sitting his University of Manchester final degree examinations.
So three of the fit players had to be deployed out of their best positions in a 4-4-2 set-up; midfielder Jordan Sinnott continued at right-back, fellow midfielder Josh O'Keefe was named as left-back and forward James Lawrie featured in central midfield. Up front, Damian Reeves returned for his first start after injury and was not expected to complete ninety minutes. In the absence of Densmore and his deputy captains Coburn and Havern, Jake Moult wore the armband tonight.
Recent loan signings, Josh Ginnelly (Burnley) and Dylan Mottley-Henry (Bradford City) were eligible to make their debuts tonight; Josh started the game on the left whilst Dylan was named on the bench.
The Rocks were without the injured Alex Parsons and went into the game on a five-match unbeaten run.
BOGNOR REGIS TOWN (White shirts with green trim, green shorts) 1. Grant Smith, 2. Snorre Nilsen, 3. James Crane, 4. Doug Tuck, 5. Chad Field, 6. Craig Robson, 7. Stuart Green, 8. Dan Beck, 9. Jason Prior (capt), 10. Ollie Pearce, 11. Alfie Rutherford. Subs: 12. Sami El-Abd, 14. Gary Charman, 15. Daryl Woller, 16. Jordan Warren, 17. Lewis Boughton.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white stripes, black shorts, white socks): 17. Tim DEASY, 20. Jordan SINNOTT, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 6. Scott LEATHER, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 4. Jake MOULT (capt), 15. Josh GINNELLY, 7. James LAWRIE, 19. Ryan CROWTHER, 10. Damian REEVES, 9. Michael RANKINE. Subs: 23. Callum WILLIAMS, 18. George BOWERMAN, 24. Rhain DAVIS, 26. Dylan MOTTLEY-HENRY, 21. Joel SWIFT.
This long midweek trip came just 72 hours after Altrincham's narrow win at Leamington in the previous round, a tie which had been postponed five times and for which Alty and their players had travelled to the Midlands on three occasions but only played once. In that sense the 660-miles expended on those games comfortably outstripped tonight's 500=mile Tuesday evening round-trip.
Quite bizarrely, supporters arrived to find half a dozen cars parked on the pitch, with their engines running. The aim was to warm up an area near the touchline that the referee was not happy about because of ice/frost. Thankfully, the ploy was a success. Not for nothing, it seems, do Bognor's shirts carry the sponsorship logo of a local car-dealership.
The dapper Steve King, former manager of MAcclesfield Town and now boss of another Sussex club, Whitehawk, was a spectator at the match, presumably assessing a Bognor player as an addition to his squad.
After The Rocks had kicked off in the frosty conditions, a fine Moult ball found Ginnelly, on the left, and he won a corner. Moult was then penalised twice in the first five minutes as the players tried to adjust to a surface made slippery by the frost.
The first serious goal effort arrived after a Lawrie mis-pass. Dangerman Prior got in a cross, which was half cleared before another cross from the right led to a Green lob which went just over the bar (9 mins).
Next, Prior nodded over the bar at the back post, before four successive Sinnott throws were taken on the right. Reeves now almost latched onto a Rankine nod on (13 mins).
Both sides were making mistakes on the tricky surface; a Crowther mis-pass was followed by a risky back pass by Beck and then Leather missed the ball to allow a corner to Bognor.
Ginnelly was beginning to make an impression up the left but, after 25 minutes,he and Crowther swapped wings. The latter was then halted as he advanced with a shrewd pass from Lawrie.
Play was earnest rather than skilful as the game approached the final ten minutes of the half. But then what was to be Altrincham's best chance so far arrived. An impressive ball from Heathcote was taken up by Ginnelly, whose cross from the right was laid off by Reeves to Rankine. The big striker swivelled but struck his firm shot well over the bar (34 mins).
The game now improved as, first, a low shot from Crane went to Deasy before a Ginnelly cross-cum-shot had to be shovelled hurriedly over the bar for a corner by the back-pedalling Smith. The corner was poorly taken by Lawrie but,from his follow-up cross, a Leather header was cleared (38 mins)>
BRT responded when a throw-in led to a corner off O'Keefe. Indeed as the interval approached The Rocks enjoyed a good spell. However, in added time, a good Ginnelly cross had to be cleared.
So the first half ended goalless. Alty had had the game's best chance but, overall, it had been a fairly even contest.
|Half-Time: BOGNOR REGIS TOWN 0 ALTRINCHAM 0|
After Alty had kicked off, there was an uneventful start to the second half.
Seven minutes into the half, Deasy held a Pearce shot after O'Keefe had been beaten. For Alty a good Ginnelly cross was blocked after Rankine had started the move. The visitors went close when a Crowther drive hit the top of the bar from a Rankine feed.
When Smith miskicked the ball into a team-mate, Alty got possession but failed to capitalise. Slips by Lawrie and then Heathcote led to a BRT corner. This was taken dreadfully; low and behind the at the front post. However, Leather soon had to concede another corner after O'Keefe had been beaten by Pearce (56 mins).
Pearce continued to trouble O'Keefe, who was now booked for a foul on him (59 mins). Just after the hour mark, Alty were on the back foot as Mottley-Henry arrived to replace fellow debutant loanee, Ginnelly, who had shown some good flashes on the left wing. At the same time Bowerman replaced Reeves (68 mins).
Henry, as Mottley-Henry's name was displayed on his shirt, was on the right wing with Crowther on the left. Soon Rutherford was booked for a foul on Henry, 45 yards from goal (73 mins). Following a BRT freekick, some 45 yards out, a cross came in from the Bognor right and the unmarked Robson headed The Rocks 1-0 ahead (76 mins).
Alty's discomfort continued as Heathcote tripped Rutherford and was booked (77 mins). Alty had created little in the second half but then equalised out of nothing. An O'Keefe cross from the left was smartly lifted over keeper Smith by Lawrie from close range (81 mins).
Despite the equalizer Alty went ahead with a planned change as young striker Joel Swift came on for Crowther (82 mins). As thoughts turned to a replay next Tuesday, a fizzing 25 yarder from Crane flew into the net off the post after Alty had made a clearance (85 mins).
The Rocks immediately brought on Charman for Green (86 mins). In the final minute of normal time, Bowerman did get the ball in the net but was offside. Four added minutes did not change the outcome. A Moult 25-yarder flew well over the bar and out of the ground, which was their last effort, as Bognor was added to the list of less than happy hunting grounds for Altrincham in Sussex, alongside Crawley, Eastbourne Borough and Lewes.
|Full Time: BOGNOR REGIS TOWN 2 ALTRINCHAM 1|