Match Report


Cheshire Senior Cup Round One Proper match
played on Wednesday, 11 January 2017, at 7.45pm


Altrincham progressed to Round Two of the Cheshire Senior CUp with this win at a breezy Runcorn Town. Town gave a spirited performance but were two down at the interval thanks to two superbly struck goals by Andy Owens (21 mins) and James Lawrie (39 mins).

Altrincham got the upper hand in the closing stages and added two goals in three minutes. First, Owens tapped home a Patterson cross (76 mins) before John Cyrus headed home a Lawrie corner to complete the scoring.

REFEREE: Mr Jon Kenny

In the context of their poor league season, Altrincham fielded a strong starting line-up for this Cheshire Senior Cup tie in the hope of building confidence amongst a squad that had yet to become a settled formation. The only Reserve in Altrincham's squad was midfielder Laurence Taylor, previously a graduate of the youth team, who had previously made a good impression in first-team cup games this season.

Town started with two ex-Alty players in striker Phil Marsh and midfielder Carl Rodgers. And on the bench was assistant manager Marc McGregor, another former Robins' player. Runcorn were without their prolific goalscorer, Craig Cairns but did include a player with Premier League experience, for Wigan Athletic, in the shape of Joe Holt.

RUNCORN TOWN (Pale blue shirts and socks, dark blue shorts) 1. Louie Mackin, 2. Joe Kearns, 3. Joe Heath, 4. Marcus James, 5. Liam Hollitt, 6. Carl Rodgers, 7. Joe Holt, 8. Paul McManus, 9. Simon Thelwell, 10. Phil Marsh, 11. Kevin Exell, Subs 12.Danny Jarrett, 14. Oli Nugent, 15. Marc McGregor, 16. Josh Maguire, 17. Craig Cairns.

ALTRINCHAM (All yellow) : 1. Andrew DAWBER, 2. Sam PATTERSON, 5. Sam HEATHCOTE, 3. Andy McWILLIAMS, 4. Laurence TAYLOR, 6. Tom HANNIGAN (c), 7. Simon RICHMAN 8. Greg WILKINSON, 9. Andy OWENS, 10. James LAWRIE, 11. Kyle BROWNHILL. Subs 12. John CYRUS, 14. Damian REEVES, 15. Clayton McDONALD, 16. Gary JONES, 17. Nicky CLEE


Runcorn Town were formerly known as Mond Rangers FC. Altrincham had played against General Chemicals on the same site as today's fixture, but not on the same pitch, (their pitch is now derelict and adjacent to Town's stadium), but had more recently visited The Pavilions (25 July 2006), for a pre-season friendly when a Reserves' side took on Runcorn Town and came away with a 2-0 win, with Ashley Stott netting twice inside the first ten minutes.

And on 23 September, 2013, Altrincham FC Youth had beaten Runcorn Town 5-4 in a pulsating FA Youth Cup, 1st Qualifying Round match, which was played on the current stadium's pitch. The pitch has a slope which runs across its width rather than particularly favouring one end or the other.

Town gave Altrincham a very friendly welcome and produced a superb 52-page colour programme which put many of our league rivals in the National League to shame.


Altrincham kicked off and it was they who won the game's first corner, in the fifth minute, and it was gained by Wilkinson. This was half cleared and came back to Lawrie whose shot was blocked and ran harmlessly to keeper Mackin (6 mins). In these early stages, James Lawrie was seeing plenty of the ball but neither side was creating any real openings. So the opening stages were fairly even, with Altrincham deploying Wilkinson on their right flank and Brownhill on the left. Soon after an Owens incursion into the box had ended with him going down but getting no response from the referee, Alty's tall striker found the back of the net. The goal came from Heath’s mispass, the ball then being fed to Owens whose superb shot flew just under the crossbar from 20 yards to give his side the lead (21 mins).

Soon afterwards, Owens had another shot but this was blocked before he was penalised for a foul (23 mins). Three minutes later it took a magnificent tackle from Hannigan to halt Thelwell as he got into Altrincham's penalty area.

Laurence Taylor was again playing well for Altrincham in central midfield but on a rare excursion up the right wing he gained the visitors a corner on the half-hour mark. Town cleared this and counter-attacked with Marsh getting round McWilliams, arguably with the help of a push, but the striker slipped over inside the penalty area.

Holt now got behind Heathcote to win a corner but there was no real save for either keeper to make at this stage (35 mins). Town applied some pressure and three times Alty made only half clearances before the hosts were flagged offside. Alty now doubled their lead with another excellent strike as Owens laid the ball off to Lawrie, whose fine shot from more than twenty yards flew into the net off the inside of the keeper's right post (39 mins)>

As the interval approached, Wilkinson fired wide after a one-two with Lawrie had got him well into the penalty area, right of goal. Unusually for matches these days, the referee added no additional minutes which was appropriate given the absence of stoppages.


An early challenge on Heathcote saw McManus cautioned (46 mins). Patterson now advanced and his cross was sliced by a defender but ended up as a home goalkick (48 mins). Six minutes later it was Alty's Taylor who was cautioned after a trip on an opponent.

As the hour mark approached, Town were doing more of the attacking again but were caught offside more than once. At the other end, Richman found Owens who got to the byline and located Lawrie but he was halted as the defences held the upper hand in the game (60 mins).

After Brownhill had been fouled he needed treatment but the simultaneous substitution saw Richman being the player taken off as Nicky Clee came on (62 mins). Soon afterwards, Clee fed McWilliams whose cross almost found the back of the net as it flew past the back post (64 mins).

Just after Marsh had been replaced by Nugent (66 mins), the pacey substitute barged Heathcote into the concrete wall behind Alty's goal. Thankfully no lasting damage seemed to have been done to the Alty centre-back.

Alty were then grateful to a vital interception by McWilliams. Next, Town's keeper stretched to try to prevent a corner but got stranded out pf his goal allowing Owens to steer a shot just wide of empty net from wide right of goal (68 mins).

Town were still well in the game as they won a corner on their left, for which Alty pulled all their outfield players back, before Dawber collected a deflected ball (70 mins). Now John Cyrus replaced Heathcote (71 mins) before Town brought off Hollett off and Maguire came on (72 mins).

The sequence of changes continued as, now, Wilkinson was replaced by Reeves (74 mins). Reeves was soon tripped on the left edge of the home box. Clee's freekick was headed over the bar by Lawrie. But the respite for Runcorn was short as, a minute later, an excellent Patterson cross was converted smartly from close range by Owens at the near post, making it 3-0 to Alty (76 mins).

Alty soon won a corner, as they held the upper hand. From Lawrie’s corner from the right, Cyrus rose to head firmly past Mackin and make the score four-nil (79 mins). Town had now brought on Jarrett to complete the substitutions. Apart from a late corner for Altrincham there was no real threat of a goal at either end in the closing stages.

So, Altrincham had secured a place in Round Two and had scored some excellent goals. But Runcorn had given a good account of themselves and will now concentrate on securing their promotion from the Hallmark security (NW Counties) League Premier Division, in which they currently lie second with a game in hand on the leaders.