Match Report


Cheshire Senior Cup First Round match
played on Tuesday, 3 February, 2016 at 7.45pm


A young Altrincham side went down 6-0 to a Crewe Alexandra under-21 side in this Cheshire Senior Cup tie at Gresty Road.



Crewe had indicated in advance of the game that they would field what was essentially their under-21 side and Altrincham, likewise, named a young team which, nevertheless, included amongst its starting eleven, eight players who had played in a first-team fixture or had been named in a first-team squad, (including last year's CSC competition). Crewe's starters included Callum Saunders, son of former Wrexham boss, Dean.


CREWE ALEXANDRA (Red shirts and socks and white shorts) 1. Dave Richards, 2. James Baillie, 3. Matt Neal, 4. Oliver Finney, 5. Toby Mullarkey, 6. Joe Kearns, 7. Charlie Kirk, 8. Callum Ainley, 9. Callum Saunders, 10. Andre Brown, 11. Joe Howell. Subs: 12. Aaron Dowsett, 14. Tom Quinn, 15. Jamie Morgan, 16. Tom Lowery, 17. Johnny Higham

ALTRINCHAM (Yellow shirts and socks and blue shorts) 1 Callum Williams, 2. David Brown, 3. Tom Westall, 4. Laurence Taylor, 6. Marcus Dibble, 5. Tom Clarke, 7. Adam Saville, 8. Ryan Barry (capt), 9. Joel Swift, 10. Rhain Davis, 11. Harry Cain. Subs: 12. Jossef Faux, , 13. Daniel Havern, 14. Will Foster, 15. Dom Newton, 17. Boris Melingui.


This match had been postponed in January owing to the Leamington replay saga in the FA Trophy and a consequent clash with the game at Bognor Regis. As elsewhere, the pitch at Gresty Road had absorbed a lot of water in recent weeks so was soft but eminently playable.


Rain started to fall heavily immediately before kick off on a cold evening at Gresty Road. The hosts were soon keeping possession well as they were watched by former manager Dario Gradi amongst a decently sized crowd for this competition.

Crewe had the first chance as Saunders was played in by Brown but his under-powered shot ran to Williams in the Altrincham goal (4 mins). Altrincham's first significant effort arrived in the tenth minute from a Cain advance on the left, when a Swift shot was blocked.

After Kirk had fired over the bar for Alex, the same player made an impressive diagonal run which culminated in a shot from Howell which went wide, across the goal, from the left (11 mins). Altrincham had to work hard as Crewe held more of the possession and a fine tackle-back, inside his own box, by Cain epitomised their work rate.

Williams was called to save a header, at the second attempt, from Andre Brown (16 mins) before the Alty goalkeeper was in action again as he saved a shot from the impressive Kirk (18 mins).

But then, after Clarke had been penalised against Andre Brown, 35 yards out, Alex took the lead. A Baillie cross from the right evaded the defence, allowing Howell to steal in and head home at the back post (19 mins).

Crewe were now dominating possession but their second goal arose when Altrincham gave the ball away from a freekick of their own. Crewe advanced and Andre Brown hammered home a shot from the edge of the box to make it 2-0 (23 mins).

Alty responded with an impressive run from Saville but his shot went just wide, across the face of goal from the right. Then, a Davis shot was saved before a smart Taylor interception got Swift running but he was flagged offside.

After 26 minutes Crewe made a change as Lowery came on for Finney and the rain had now eased off. After Crewe had taken a corner poorly, a Barry freekick from nearly 30 yards went to keeper, Richards.

Crewe were briefly reduced to ten men as Ainley went to the sidelines for treatment as the home side continued to keep the ball well. Next the returning Ainley had a shot blocked after Alty had stopped, expecting a freekick (37 mins). A Crewe corner came and went before Kearns won possession but fired over from 30 yards.

After a stoppage for treatment to Barry after a clash of heads, Saunders was put clear but his shot went across the face of goal and narrowly wide (43 mins).

Crewe were deserving of their two-goal interval lead but Altrincham had kept their heads up despite having to do a lot of chasing the ball.


At the break Crew brought on Morgan for Ainsley who had taken a first-half knock.

Soon, Cain won Altrincham a corner but after 50 minutes David Brown had to concede one at the other end. From this a flick on allowed Mullarkey header which was saved by Williams. Crewe were again playing some pleasing football and they scored for a third time after 55 minutes. A good run by Howell led to a superb volley, from the back post left of goal by Kirk, the ball flying into the top of the net.

Altrincham brought on Melingui for Barry, whose recent illness made him not fully match-fit. Clarke assumed the captaincy. Melingui soon made an impact as he chased down Crewe's keeper to force a hurried clearance. At the other end, a ball across the face of goal from left by Neal was put in the net by Baillie at the back post to make it 4-0 (59 mins).

After a physical challenge by Clarke, just outside the Alty box, Saunders scored directly with a low shot from the centrally located freekick - so it was 5-0 after 63 minutes.

Crewe introduced their third sub as Higham came on for Andre Brown (64 mins). A minute later Altrincham introduced Faux and Newton for Davis and Cain and, almost immediately, a Newton run and combination with Taylor, produced a corner for the visitors.

Arguably Alty's best move of the game was then started and almost finished, via Newton, with help from Melingui, but Newton's shot went narrowly wide (70 mins). After a foul on Melingui, just outside the Crewe box, David Brown's freekick cleared the crossbar. But the two subs had improved Alty's attacking threat.

Next, a sliced clearance by Clarke gave Alex a corner, following which a Kirk 25 yarder flew just wide (74 mins). They completed their scoring a minute later as they broke up the right flank and the resulting low cross was tapped in by Saunders (75 mins).

After an Alty shot had gone over the bar from Newton, Crewe won a corner and then applied further pressure. Saville went down with cramp and Alty continued for a few minutes with ten men. After 83 minutes Higham did net a Saunders cross but was offside.

A Melingui shot was blocked, before Crewe's Higham won another corner. In the ninetieth minute Melingui was fouled as he got past a defender and though nothing came of this, soon a Westall snap shot gained Alty an injury-time corner. From this, Dibble poked the ball over the bar at the back post.

Whilst there cannot be much pleasure from a six-nil defeat, the young Altrincham side kept battling to the end and some of the Crewe play was pleasure to watch, as they kept possession and played the ball across and up the pitch.

Dario Gradi must have been content that his style of play remains alive and well in Alex's current crop of youngsters.