TORQUAY UNITED (1) 2 ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
played on Tuesday, 12 April 2016, at 7.45pm
Altrincham were without injured captain Jake Moult and the suspended Marcus Holness and opted to start with Josh Ginnelly on the bench.
They fell behind after 18 minutes when Luke Young fired home from 30 yards and suffered a further blow when Simon Richman limped off ten minutes later, to be replaced by Reeves.
After a poor first half, Alty were sent out for the second half barely five minutes into the interval. The introduction of Ginnelly for the second half lifted Alty but as they appealed justifiably for Gerring's foul on Reeves, United broke forward for Harrad to poke the ball through Deasy's legs to make it 1-0 on the hour mark.
Alty kept going but could not get back into the game, the closest to a goal being O'Keefe's effort which was cleared off the line.
- 18 mins: Luke YOUNG (Torquay United 1 ALTRINCHAM 0)
- 60 mins: Shaun HARRAD (Torquay United 2 ALTRINCHAM 0)
REFEREE: Mr D Treleaven
Altrincham were in a weakened state. In addition to the long-term absentees, (Coburn, Densmore, Marshall and Clee), they had loanee defender Marcus Holness suspended, captain Jake Moult and loanee Jimmy Phillips out injured. Also missing from the starting eleven, for tactical reasons, were Josh Ginnelly and Damian Reeves. So Heathcote, O'Keefe and Crowther all started. Three of Alty's bench were yet to be involved in a league game. .
TORQUAY UNITED (Yellow) 26 Brendan Moore, 3. Dan Butler, 4. Josh Rees, 5. Angus MacDonald, 7. Iffy Allen, 8. Luke Young 12. Shaun Harrad,16. Courtney Richards, 17. Nathan Blissett, 22. Ben Gerring, 25. Aman Verma. Subs: 19. Sam Chaney, 28. Andre Wright, 14. Toby Ajala, 1. Grant Fisher, 6. Exodus Geohaghon
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks) 17. Tim DEASY, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 6. Scott LEATHER, 5. Luca HAVERN (capt), 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 20. JordanSINNOTT, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 7. James LAWRIE 19. Ryan CROWTHER, 9. Michael RANKINE. Subs: 15. Josh GINNELLY, 10. Damian REEVES, 23. Callum WILLIAMS, 24. Rhain DAVIS, 27. Adam SAVILL
This game had been postponed from 31 January so Altrincham now faced a 500-mile return mid-week trip to the Devon coast.
Alty went into this game in 22nd place, three points behind The Gulls but with a slightly better goal difference.
On a sunny evening at Plainmoor, but with the floodlights on, Torquay kicked off towards the away end. Alty started playing a 4-2-3-1 formation with Sinnott and O'Keefe the midfield two and Crowther, Richman and Lawrie in front of them. Heathcote was at right back with Leather and Havern in the centre.
In the third minute, an Allen cross went off Heathcote for a corner. After several uneventful minutes, Crowther beat Allen but was then forced over the byline for a home goalkick. Soon after Griffin had halted Allen, a snap shot by Richards from 25 yards flew just wide (12 mins).
Alty had made a decent start but, after a Lawrie mishit shot, the Gulls broke and a Blissett header flew just over the bar from a cross from the left by Butler. The lively Allen then skipped past Griffin who tripped him on the edge of the box, right of goal. Griffin was lucky not to get booked (17 mins).
The freekick came out to Young who hit a strong, low shot from 25 yards which took a slight deflection before flying into the net to make it 1-0 (18 mins). To make it worse, Guiseley were already 2-0 up against Wrexham.
A half chance arose when a ball dropped from Rankine to Richman who shot wide, under pressure, and hurt himself in the process. But he limped on as a Heathcote 35 yarder was diverted by Rankine and cannoned off Lawrie to safety (22 mins). After Richman had been unable to run off his injury, Reeves replaced him, forcing a change to 4-4-2 in the process, with Sinnott and O'Keefe in the centre, Lawrie on the right and Crowther on the left. (27 mins).
Alty had yet to trouble the Torquay keeper. After Richards had fouled Crowther, 35 yards out, Sinnott's freekick was cleared. O'Keefe then dived in, missed his man but was booked for his lunge (31 mins). Next, Harrad was given offside and it would have been a penalty, otherwise, against Griffin for a foul on Harrad (32 mins).
Alty were playing without confidence but things looked up when a Reeves 30-yarder which seemed to be going just wide was pushed round the post by Moore for a corner, which the keeper collected at the second attempt (36 mins). Heathcote and then Havern had to block Gulls' shots before Deasy beat out a 30 yarder from Young (40 mins).
The Alty keeper soon had to make another save, as he pushed the ball away from a 20 yard shot as Alty were kept on the back foot (41 mins). Three minutes later, Harrad turned well but lifted his shot well over the bar (44 mins). Just after this, Reeves was caught on the ankle by Richards and needed treatment before resuming but no freekick was given.
By the interval, Alty had not caused Torquay any serious alarms and could have been further behind than their one-goal deficit.
|Half-Time: TORQUAY UNITED 1 ALTRINCHAM 0|
Fewer than five minutes of the interval had elapsed when 10 of the Alty players came back onto the pitch, Rankine being the missing man. They had a huddle and there seemed to be some exchanges of views before coach Matt Doughty gathered them together for further discussions. Rankine was duly subbed by Ginnelly before the second half started.
The loanee teenager from Burnley made an immediate impact, lifting Alty's tempo with an early run and cross from the right. Immediately Torquay had two men marking the winger who was now clearly held but no foul was given.
Following a foul on Reeves 35 yards out, Lawrie won a corner as Alty enjoyed their best spell so far. But there were no clear sights of goal before a Crowther 30 yarder sailed well over the bar. Alty were doing better this half but that was not very hard after their poor first half.
It was Torquay who won the game's next corner, which was cleared to Young who fired narrowly over (56 mins). Crowther, who looked as lively as anyone for Alty, now got into the box but Ginnelly poked his shot wide under pressure. A minute later, a good Lawrie ball led to Ginnelly winning a corner, which was followed by a low Heathcote cross which was cleared. As Altrincham continued to press, Gerring baulked Reeves but, again, the referee took no action (59 mins).
Play immediately broke to the other end where a ball up the middle found Harrad free and he poked his shot through Deasy's legs to make it 2-0 and stifle Alty's comeback (60 mins).
Four minutes later, Wright replaced Harrad. Alty were not helped by por refereeeing decisions, one of which saw Ginnelly pulled over without punishment and likewise Reeves was pushed over without a freekick. However, Sinnott could not complain when he tripped his man and got booked (69 mins). Young's freekick from left of the box just cleared the angle of bar and back post. Allen was soon narrowly wide from 18 yards as the home side showed Alty how to make more telling attacks.
Next, Heathcote slid in for a tackle at the byline and fouled his man, for which he was booked; the third card for Alty tonight.
Alty almost got a goal back on 74 minutes when a Ginnelly cross was not held by the keeper and O'Keefe's header had to be cleared off the line by a defender. There was a quite unbelievable moment when Ginnelly was pushed over, two handedly in the back and right in front of the linesman, who incredibly saw nothing wrong! However, the visitors soon gained a corner, after which Lawrie had a shot blocked by the keeper which was then cleared.
At the other end, Heathcote blocked an Allen cross for a corner following which an excellent counter-attack ended with a cross by Ginnelly which Lawrie met well but which he pulled just wide (78 mins). After O'Keefe had been fouled 35 yards out, Young blocked Sinnott's freekick and was booked. When retaken the shaky Moore needed two attempts to gather the ball.
Next, from a good Lawrie cross, the keeper just tipped the ball out for a corner as Crowther closed in. An awful corner was taken by Lawrie before debutant Savill came on for left-back Griffin (82 mins).
After a great ball from Sinnott to Ginelly, he fed Savill but he took too firm a touch and the ball ran over the byline left of goal (83 mins). Soon, a Sinnott 25 yarder cleared the bar with Crowther clear on his right.
Torquay introduced Ajala for Allen on 85 minutes before a home corner came and went. Indeed, despite three added minutes, neither side looked like altering the score which left United well placed to avoid relegation but left Altrincham in deep trouble and with a much depleted squad as they travel to Eastleigh on Saturday.
Alty had shown some fight in the second half after a poor first period but they had created few real openings throughout the ninety minutes. With two wins in twenty league games and a squad weakened by injuries it is going to need some strong performances to escape the drop.
|Full-Time: TORQUAY UNITED 2 ALTRINCHAM 0|
Copyright: 2016 Altrincham FC