ALTRINCHAM FC MATCH REPORTS
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STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 0
played on Saturday, 30 September 2017, 3pm
Altrincham wasted a chance to move closer to league leaders Shaw Lane with this disappointing goalless draw at a very wet Bower Fold against a Stalybridge side which had Julien sent off in the 76th minute for a second yellow-card offence.
Lacking the guile of the injured John Johnston, Altrincham nevertheless won numerous corners but created few clear openings. Had James Poole done better with a good chance in the match's opening thirty seconds, things might have been different. However, in the latter stages, following the home side's introduction of substitute Theo Bailey-Jones, Altrincham could have lost all three points but for a good block from goalkeeper Thompson.
Alty also finished the game with ten men when substitute Josh Amis had to hobble off after injuring himself making a challenge.
Alty, who remain fifth, have not dropped a single point in six matches against teams in the top half of the table yet have now managed just one win in six attempts against teams in the lower half of the league.
REFEREE: Mr Martin Ashworth
Disney, Miller, Johnston and Taylor were all again missing for Altrincham as they recovered from their various injuries but Max Harrop returned from suspension to join the bench. Both teams' starting elevens were unchanged from midweek. So the only changes were on the benches, where Celtic replaced Greg Wilkinson by new signing Edmilson and Alty named Harrop in place of keeper Tim Deasy.
Joel Bembo-Leta was playing for Alty against one of his former employers.
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC (Blue shirts and shorts and white socks) 1. Jack Walton 2. Oliver Crowley 3. Alex Honeyball 4. Tom Brown 5. Luke Ashworth (c) 6. Ross Killock 7. Aidan Chippendale 8. Oliver Roberts 9. Liam Dickinson 10. Jake Charles 11. Sebastian Julien. Subs: 12 John Cofie, 14 Lee Neville, 15 Theo Bailey-Jones, 16 Liam Tongue, 17 Edmilson.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks) 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Joel BEMBO-LETA, 3. Shaun DENSMORE, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. Tom PEERS, 8. Sam SHERIDAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. James POOLE, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs 12. Simon RICHMAN, 14. Lewis SHORT, 15. Josh AMIS, 16. James JONES, 17 Max HARROP.
Mike Garnett's records reveal the statistical record of matches between the two clubs...
- Home: P66-W36-D16-L14-F129-A80
- Away: P71-W20-D12-L39-F112-A148
- Neutral: P5-W1-D1-L3-F5-A7
- All: P142-W57-D29-L56-F246-A235
Stalybridge kicked off up the slope but, within thirty seconds, Alty saw a Hulme shot blocked then Hancock put the loose ball wide of the keeper's right post.
Celtic's shaky start continued with an unforced error as Honeyball's throw-in went straight to Peers who won the game's first corner (3 mins). A foul by Julien on Poole was followed by a freekick for offside against the visitors (8 mins).
After Densmore had been penalised on the Alty left, the Celtic freekick from wide right was punched out by Thompson. Soon after this, Densmore was felled as he got past Chippendale but there was no card for the offender (11 mins). With the Alty fans in good voice, their side was not yet playing to its capabilities.
Indeed, Celtic had had marginally the better of the opening fifteen minutes as a Honeyball shot, right footed, won a corner. The corner reached Chippendale beyond the back post but Ashworth put Chippendale's first-time cross wide. Steady rain was falling as a Hancock 20 yarder flew high and wide at the other end.
Altrincham's wayward shooting continued as Poole fired a shot over the bar from a Densmore cross from the left. Alty threatened again as a good Bembo-Leta run led to Peers's low cross/shot to keeper Walton (20 mins).
The sides traded freekicks before a Charles handball conceded another, which once again came to nothing. Overall, the game had been fairly even so far, and neither keeper had been much troubled (28 mins). Heavy rain was falling as Hancock won the ball and located Peers, whose shot was blocked for a corner on the right.
Another corner soon followed as Hannigan won possession and found Hulme, whose smart back-heel allowed Poole a shot which produced another corner which immediately led to another (31 mins). Alty then wasted a freekick for Brown's foul on Poole, 35 yards from Celtic's goal; the kick went straight to the keeper.
Altrincham were now on top as a Poole cross was cleared after a smart back-heel by Peers. Their pressing continued as a Bembo cross was cleared whilst the rain got even heavier (35 mins). Half chances continued to be spurned as, next, Sheridan lofted his 20-yarder well over the bar.
Eventually Celtic got up the pitch but a Killock ball ran harmlessly to Thompson (42 mins). The goalless score at the interval was a reasonably fair reflection of a half in which Celtic had not looked a bottom of the table side. Alty had been the more threatening side going forward but Walton had been under-employed in the home goal.
|Half-Time: STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 0|
The rain had eased over half-time and the second half got off to a scrappy start. The first event of note was a Harrison advance, which fed Peers and was followed by a Poole shot which was blocked (53 mins). After Chippendale had been halted halfway, he won the ball back off Densmore and team-mate Brown won Celtic a corner on their right. Following this, a weak Dickinson header was mishandled by Thompson and went for a cheap corner. The corner went straight to Thompson.
First Hulme and then Peers were now halted in the Celtic box and moments later the pressure intensified as, first, Hulme and then Poole, no fewer than three times in succession had shots blocked. Alty now won a freekick, in a central position, 25 yards out, an offence for which Julien was booked. But Hancock hit it straight into the wall (57 mins).
Mistakes were creeping into Alty's game as Steve Burr made a double swap; Cofie and Bailey Jones came on for Chippendale and Honeyball (62 mins).
Almost immediately, Cofie got clear and Thompson did well to beat out his shot; it had been Celtic's clearest opening of the game (63 mins). Alty continued to be wasteful as Peers now fired over the bar. Alty made a substitution on 64 minutes as Short came on at left-back for Densmore.
It was not long before Celtic's other substitute, Bailey Jones, was also making an impact as he had a shot blocked. At the other end, an air-shot by Poole came from a Sheridan pass (66 mins).
A second like for like change was made by Alty as Richman replaced Sheridan in central midfield (67 mins). When Moult fed Hulme, he turned past his man and won a corner which, once more, came to nothing (69 mins). Next, a Peers cross won a corner on the right. In the 71st minute Altrincham opted to bring on striker Amis rather than winger Hancock and Hancock was taken off.
Moult’s poor clearance now led to a Celtic corner on their left, after which Brown fired over from 25 yards. Yet another Alty corner followed but Poole's kick was too low for Hulme to head with any force. There was controversy when Julien steamed into a touchline challenge near halfway on Tom Hannigan. Despite dissent from the Celtic contingent on the pitch and off it, Mr. Ashworth produced a second yellow for Julien and so the hosts were down to ten men (76 mins).
By now, the pitch had taken such a soaking that the ball was not running smoothly in the Celtic right-back area as Altrincham tried without success to make the extra man count. At the other end, Bailey Jones skipped past Short to win a relieving throw. Altrincham continued to try to make patient build-ups but their nearest to a goal threat in this spell was a Bembo cross which came off Hulme's head and went wide (86 mins).
A Peers foul further dented Alty's momentum and when Thompson missed the freekick in the air, Altrincham were relieved to clear the ball (87 mins). A Short cross won a late corner, from which an aerial challenge by Amis caused the big striker to injure himself. After treatment he was unable to continue (89 mins).
Three added minutes were proclaimed during which neither side was unable to break the deadlock. So Alty's disappointing record against clubs in the bottom half of the table continued. Having a 100% record in their six matches against top-half clubs, they have won just once in their half a dozen encounters with bottom-half clubs. But, more encouragingly, for the first time since October 2003, Altrincham today recorded their fourth successive league clean-sheet.
|Full-Time: STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 0|