FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER (1) 1
ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
played on Sunday, 1 January 2017, at 3pm
Altrincham took a deserved point at Broadhurst Park despite the worst possible start. They fell behind after just 38 seconds when an FC United advance, on their right, led to a goal from Jason Gilchrist. But after their jittery start Altrincham settled and equalised in the twentieth minute when Andy Owens, making his full debut for the club, netted after his first attempt had been blocked.
Owens was a menace to the United central defence and fellow debutant Elliot Newby also impressed as Alty enjoyed the better of the twenty minutes or so before half time. Then, just before the end of the half, a strong tackle by former Trafford man Harry Winter on Alty's Jake Moult led to a mass melee, from which the outcome was a red card for Moult as well as for United's Ashworth.
United had the better of the second half but Altrincham had their moments, too, but there was to be no further scoring.
- 1 min: Jason GILCHRIST (FC United of Manchester 1 ALTRINCHAM 0)
- 20 mins: Andy OWENS: (FC United of Manchester 1 ALTRINCHAM 1)
REFEREE: Mr S Copeland
Altrincham had new signings Elliot Newby and Andy Owens starting today but injury ruled out Simon Richman, Sam Patterson, Craig Hobson, Alan Goodall and Sean Miller. James Lawrie moved to the bench, as did Andy McWilliams, with Kyle Brownhill taking over his left-back duties.
FCUM were without Sam Sheridan, who was injured in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day; he was replaced by Kieran Glynn who had impressed when replacing Sheridan during the Boxing Day game.
FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER (Red shirts, white short and black socks): 1 Adriano Basso, 2 Dale Tonge, 3. Chris Chantler, 4. Tom Brown, 5. Scott Kay, 6. Luke Ashworth, 7. Kieran Glynn, 8. Harry Winter, 9. Jason Gilchrist, 10. Jerome Wright (c), 11. George Thomson, Subs: 12. Tom Greaves, 14. Matthew Wolfenden, 15. Jake Williams, 16. Sam Baird, 17. Nathan Lowe
ALTRINCHAM (Yellow shirts and socks, blue shorts): 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Kyle BROWNHILL, 4. Jake MOULT, 5. John CYRUS, 6. Tom HANNIGAN, 7. Nicky CLEE, 8. Gary JONES, 9. Andy OWENS, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Elliot NEWBY. Subs 12. Greg WILKINSON, 14. James LAWRIE, 15. Curtis MCDONALD, 16. Andy McWILLIAMS, 17. Sam HEATHCOTE.
Altrincham kicked off the second half of the season with this match at Broadhurst Park, their first visit there for a first-team match. After eight successive defeats, Alty went into this match fourteen points from league safety. FC had won the reverse fixture on Boxing Day 3-0.
FC United had barely kicked off on a bright but cold afternoon at Broadhurst Park when they found themselves a goal to the good. After an advance on their right flank, the ball found its way to Gilchrist, who scored with a shot from 15 yards past the exposed Deasy, with just 38 seconds on the clock.
Altrincham's jittery start continued as a Cyrus error led to a half-clearance before Deasy had to beat out a Wright shot from left of goal (5 mins). Alty's keeper was soon in action again as he came out to smother a through-ball ahead of Wright (7 mins).
Alty's defensive uncertainty soon surfaced again as Densmore allowed the ball, as he thought, to run to Deasy who was coming out of his area to the left of his own goal. But, now near the touchline, Deasy was beaten to the ball by an opponent, but just managed to block the ball. However, the ball fell to a United player whose cross from the left towards the vacant ball found Hannigan manhandling an opponent as he cleared the ball. Fortunately no penalty was awarded. Alty had been at sixes and sevenses (11 mins).
After left-winger Newby, on loan from Barrow, had been fouled, left of United's goal, his testing freekick had to be punched out for an Altrincham corner on their right. Following this, a Clee shot was fumbled by the less than assured looking Basso, but Reeves was unable to turn in the loose ball (14 mins).
So Alty were slowly improving, an impression reinforced as a Clee shot had to be saved at the base of Basso's right post after Owens had won a header. A fortunate rebound from an Alty clearance let an FC player in on goal and as he raced back to cover, Cyrus brought down his man just out side the penalty area to concede a freekick and receive a booking (17 mins).
Not long after Deasy had cut out a low cross from Glynn from the left, Altrincham equalized. From Reeves's flick on, Owens got into the box in a central position and, though his first shot was half stopped by Basso, Owens managed to beat a covering defender to poke the ball home (20 mins).
When Winter fouled Clee twice, his second challenge earned a freekick, 30 yards out, in a central position. However, Clee fired the freekick well over the bar (22 mins). For FCUM, a Wright shot flew across the face of goal as Tonge was allowed to advance into the box (25 mins).
Ashworth once more fouled Owens and this time the referee punished him with a freekick (28 mins). Following this, an Owens header was blocked and then he headed wide from Moult's cross. Altrincham now had the initiative and, after 35 minutes, Owens beat Kay and advanced on goal, his shot winning his side a corner. This was taken by Moult but headed wide by Owens.
Next, another Basso miskick allowed Reeves to feed Owens, but he was given offside as the keeper closed him down. When Owens was fouled yet again, Ashworth was booked (41 mins). Next, Jones was fouled near halfway by Brown.
As the interval approached, a Newby cross was half-cleared to Jones whose well-hit volley cleared the bar (44 mins). With the half into the second minute of added time, former Trafford FC midfielder Winter put in a strong challenge on Moult. The Alty man went down but a few seconds later got up and a mass melee ensued just outside the home penalty area.
After a minute or so the referee showed Moult a red card and then likewise sent off Ashworth who showed a marked reluctance to leave the pitch. Winter was not deemed to have committed a foul and play resumed with an FC freekick (45+3 mins)
After a poor start Alty had been the better side for the last twenty minutes of the half with Owens particularly impressing on his second debut for Altrincham.
|Half-Time: FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER 1|
For the second half, Heathcote replaced Densmore at right-back. It was FC who seized the early initiative in the second half as the two ten-man sides resumed their battle. FC won an early corner after they got behind Heathcote and had a cross headed and deflected over the bar.
But Altrincham carved out a good chance in the 51st minute but Reeves sidefooted his effort over the bar after Newby had got Owens to the left byline. Jones (who since half time had been the captain) now needed treatment but hobbled back on a minute later.
After Heathcote had halted Wright, a Glynn shot struck Brownhill to gain FCUM a corner.
On the hour mark, a Newby shot cleared the bar from the left but there was a scare when Deasy came way out of goal, near the touchline. But his kick failed to find touch and went to an opponent but Alty cleared the danger.
Next, the combative Winter fouled Owens and moments later Clee was fouled and the perpetrator, Wright, was lectured. In the 64th minute, Wilkinson came on for Reeves. Soon, Owens almost got onto a long Clee ball but Basso cleared.
Clee was enjoying a good spell as, first his pass located Owens in the box but he was halted, and then the Alty wingman beat two opponents before being halted. His play drew Glynn to commit a foul on him but the resulting freekick just evaded Owens.
With twenty minutes remaining, FC brought on Greaves for Wright and Nathan Lowe for Thomson. Soon Clee was again probing the FCUM defence but this time he stumbled.
Two successive FC corners came and went before each side withdrew its goalscorer. For Altrincham, McWilliams replaced Owens and Wolfenden came on for Gilchrist (76 mins). Newby was now moved up top for Altrincham and he was soon fouled by Glynn (77 mins).
Cyrus headed Heathcote's freekick well wide but then Brownhill got to the byline, left of goal, but a goalkick resulted. The sides exchanged freekicks as the game went into its final five minutes of normal time.
In the 89th minute a Wilkinson challenge was mistimed and he was booked. Inside the three added minutes, Basso executed another poor kick but FCUM applied some late pressure with two successive corners. But Altrincham saw the game out and emerged with a well-earned point, their first in the league since 8th October at Stalybridge.
They are now thirteen points from safety but with debutants Owens and Newby having a positive effect, this was an encouraging performance. After a midweek trip to Macclesfield in the FA Trophy, Alty entertain Gloucester City next Saturday in the league.
|Full-Time: FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER 1|