ALTRINCHAM (2) 2 BLYTH SPARTANS (2) 2
played on Tuesday, 6 December 2016, at 3pm
On the day they parted company with manager Jim Harvey, Altrincham had to field a much weakened side with six players out, either through injury or ineligibility, (Cyrus, Lenighan, McDonald, Morrison-Derbyshire, Patterson, Wilkinson). And they lost Tom Hannigan before half time as well.
Reserve midielder Laurence Taylor started and team-mate Will Foster was on the bench, along with Shaun Densmore who had been out injured for more than a year.
Alty started well and took a tenth-minute lead when Hobson nodded on the ball and Moult headed home. Blyth levelled when Armstrong got behind Goodall, playing at left-back, and Rivers headed home (23 mins).
A penalty for handball allowed Moult to hammer in his spot-kick off the bar to restore Alty's lead in the 39th minute. But, just three minutes later, with Hannigan having to go off, Cain was moved to right-back and, moments later, Blyth got in a shot from the left which was blocked before Reid netted the loose ball.
Both sides had second-half chances but the score remained at 2-2 despite Richman hitting the woodwork, and a replay now takes place at Croft Park this Saturday (3pm) to see who hosts Macclesfield Town in the next round. A big positive of the game was an impressive return to action for Shaun Densmore who played the final half an hour of the match.
- 10 mins: Jake MOULT (ALTRINCHAM 1 Blyth Spartans 0)
- 23 mins: Jarrett RIVERS (ALTRINCHAM 1 Blyth Spartans 1)
- 39 mins: Jake MOULT (penalty) (ALTRINCHAM 2 Blyth Spartans 1)
- 42 mins: Sean REID (ALTRINCHAM 2 Blyth Spartans 2)
REFEREE: Mr M Woods
Cyrus and Wilkinson were injured, Lenighan, McDonald and Morrison-Derbyshire were all ineligible, Patterson was ill, so Reserves' midfielder Laurence Taylor started and team-mate Will Foster was on the bench, as was Shaun Densmore who had been out injured for more than a year. Additionally, Sean Miller was not fit enought to start.
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts and white socks): 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Andy McWILLIAMS, 3. Alan GOODALL, 4. Laurence TAYLOR, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 5. Tom HANNIGAN, Alan 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Craig HOBSON, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Harry CAIN. Subs 12. Shaun DENSMORE, 14. Phil MARSH, 15. Sean MILLER, 16. Will FOSTER, 20. Andrew DAWBER,
BLYTH SPARTANS (Yellow shirts, green shorts): 1. Paul Woolston (gk), 2. Andrew Cartwright, 3. Michael Liddle, 4. Damen Mullen, 5. Nathan Buddle, 6. Ryan Hutchinson, 7. Jarrett Rivers, 8. Matthew Wade, 9. Daniel Maguire, 10. Luke Armstrong, 11. Matty Pattison. Subs: 12. Richard Pell, 14. Sean Reid, 15. Chris Bell, 16. Alex Nicholson, 17. Adam McHugh (gk),
Mike Garnett provides a statistical summary of our previous encounters:
- Home P7 W5 D1 L1 F14 A7
- Away P10 W2 D5 L3 F14 A15
- Overall P17 W7 D6 L4 F28 A22
For a thrice-arranged FA Trophy tie between clubs a 350-mile round-trip apart on a December midweek evening a small crowd was to be expected and so it proved as 276 spectators watched a depleted Altrincham side kick off towards the Golf Road end. A good run up the left soon led to an Altrincham corner but nothing came of this (2 mins).
Altrincham were deploying midfielder Jake Moult at centre back with Tom Hannigan, whilst Alan Goodall was in an unaccustomed left-back role as Andy McWilliams was moved to right-back. After a foul on Armstrong, 25 yards from goal, Pattison took a wild freekick (6 mins). Altrincham won their second corner in the ninth minute. Firstly, Reeves nodded it across the goal area, before a Hobson nod directed the ball towards Moult, who completed a treble of successive Alty headers by finding the back of the net to give his side the lead (10 mins).
On the touchline, acting manager Matt Doughty was being assisted by former Alty manager Graham Heathcote and ex-Robins' captain, Robbie Lawton, as Lawrie cleared the bar with an effort from thirty yards (12 mins). Blyth responded with a fierce shot from the left which landed on the roof of the net before the act was repeated at the other end where Richman scooped his effort onto the roof of the net at the end of a good Altrincham move (14 mins).
And then, for the third time in as many minutes the ball again landed on the roof of the net, as Woolston clawed a ball over his bar for an Alty corner. From this, an Alty header had to be cleared off the line as the home side enjoyed the ascendancy (16 mins).
However, it was soon Alty's turn to make a goal-line clearance as Goodall hooked the ball away after Deasy had juggled a shot towards his own line. A Blyth corner resulted (19 mins).
Play now continued in end to end fashion. When Goodall lost the ball, Moult had to clear the ensuing cross but Blyth soon had the lead. Armstrong got round Goodall on the Spartans' right and from the Spartans' right-byline his cross was headed into net by Rivers for the equalizing goal. With Rivers and Cartwright both wearing a no.2 shirt, identification was not straightforward!
The equalizer prompted a nervous spell from Alty but then Maguire went down and had to be replaced by Reid (27 mins). On the half hour Altrincham were again opened up but, this time, Rivers's header cleared the bar.
Goodall's skied ball forward was brilliantly brought down by Hobson, who turned and shot firmly but the ball flew across the face of goal. At the other end Cartwright was allowed to run into Alty's box and shoot but Deasy blocked, then gathered, the ball (33 mins).
Blyth had enjoyed the better of things after they had scored and they now won a corner (35 mins). When Hobson gathered the ball deep in his own half and advanced upfield, it led to a shot from Hannigan which the referee judged to have been handled. Mr. Woods pointed to the spot and Moult hammered his penalty home, the ball hitting the underside of the crossbar en route to making it 2-1 (39 mins).
Before the game could be restarted Hannigan had to go off, apparently with a back problem, and he was replaced by Miller (41 mins). Miller almost immediately nearly got on the end of a good ball from Hobson but Blyth went up the other end and equalised for the second time in the match. The ball was played diagonally towards their left where Cain, who had just been switched with McWilliams to go to a right-back role following Hannigan's departure, raced back to cover. But Blyth got in a shot which was blocked but which fell to Reid who hit it home from close range (42 mins) .
So the sides finished the half level with an already weakened Altrincham having had to change their back four, where Goodall was now central with Moult, (neither of them recognised centre-backs), whilst McWilliams had moved to left-back from the right and Cain had dropped in at right-back from the left-wing where he had started the match.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2|
BLYTH SPARTANS 2
Barely ninety seconds after the restart, Miller was tripped as he got clear just inside the Blyth half and Hutchinson was booked for his foul (47 mins). Play was fairly even and with no goal threat before Hobson, who was playing well, got the ball to Richman, who relayed it to Miller, whose shot was blocked before Reeves fired wide (53 mins).
Five minutes later Blyth introduced Pell for Hutchinson, after which an Alty freekick led to Miller winning a corner as rain now poured down (60 mins). On 61 minutes, Shaun Densmore made a welcome return to an ovation from the crowd as he replaced young Laurence Taylor. Taylor, a youth and reserves' graduate of the club, had done an efficient job in midfield in his second first-team outing, following a previous CSC outing. This prompted another change as Densmore went to right-back and Cain moved forward (61 mins).
Alty were having slightly the better of things without creating any real openings. Having missed 49 successive league matches through injury, Shaun might have been forgiven for easing himself back, but he soon got in a trademark tackle to the delight of the home crowd (68 mins). Soon Densmore also had to cover well as Blyth now enjoyed a good spell in the rain (70 mins).
Another change saw Marsh replace Hobson (72 mins), just before Richman was booked for a foul (73 mins).
Next, Miller and then Richman both had shots blocked but the game looked as if it could go either way. Miller was again impressing and his industry led to a Richman shot from outside the box which hit the bar with Cain unable to turn the loose ball into the net (77 mins).
Play again became end to end as each side won a corner. Next Woolston had to beat out another Richman shot (83 mins). After McWilliams had lost the ball, Rivers played in Reid but he was thwarted by a great block by Deasy (84 mins). Now Bell came on for Cartwright for the visitors (85 mins) after which a Lawrie shot was saved after Miller had again done well. But Deasy had to be alert from a Rivers effort as the sides traded blows.
Despite four added minutes neither side could settle the tie and so a further meeting is necessary, on Saturday at Croft Park, to determine who hosts Macclesfield Town in the next round.
Considering the depleted Alty squad and the upheaval off the field with a pre-match managerial change, Altrincham had put in a good performance. Yet again, however, defensive errors had been their Achilles heel.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2|
BLYTH SPARTANS 2