ALTRINCHAM FC MATCH REPORTS
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ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC (1) 2
played on Saturday, 17 March 2018, 3pm
For the second time in a week, Altrincham surrendered three home points in a match. This time it was in a game played in a biting wind and blizzard conditions. Their league lead has now been cut to three points by Warrington Town.
After starting the better side, Alty fell behind in the 17th minute when Wolfenden found himself unmarked and scored with a low shot. Altrincham dominated the second half but could not unlock the Celtic rearguard with substitute Richman's shot, cleared off the line, the nearest to a leveller.
Alty suffered a double blow in the closing stages when the already booked Dickinson clattered Hampson who was unable to continue. The ten men of Alty then conceded a second goal in the 88th minute, through a mistake by Hannigan, which allowed Hughes to cross for Dickinson to net from close range.
Altrincham got a consolation goal in added time when Johnston netted after a corner.
- 17 mins: Matthew WOOLFENDEN (ALTRINCHAM 0 Stalybridge Celtic 1)
- 88 mins: Liam DICKINSON (ALTRINCHAM 0 Stalybridge Celtic 2)
- 90(+1) mins: John JOHNSTON (ALTRINCHAM 1 Stalybridge Celtic 2)
REFEREE: Mr Conor Brown
Shaun Densmore and Tom Hannigan returned to the starting eleven after recent injury lay-offs, in place of Andy White and James Jones respecively.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks) (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks) 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Max HARROP, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. James POOLE, 11. Tom PEERS. Subs: 12. Josh HANCOCK, 14. Andrew WHITE, 15. Simon RICHMAN, 16. Sam HEATHCOTE, 20. James JONES
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC (Green shirts and white shorts) 1. Aidan Winterbottom, 2. Harrison Holgate, 3. Alex Honeyball, 4. Danny Morton, 5. Luke Ashworth, 6. Ross Killock, 7. Greg Wilkinson, 8. Oliver Roberts, 9. Liam Dickinson, 10. Matthew Wolfenden, 11. Connor Hughes. Subs: 12. Theo Bailey-Jones, 14. Jake Charles, 15. Tom Brown, 16. Jack Taylor 17. Oliver Crowley.
The two sides had drawn at the Bower Fold earlier this season. Celtic had improved in recent games but were still near the wrong end of the table as they arrived in Altrincham.
As the teams emerged a mini-blizzard erupted to add to the already biting, gusty wind which was affecting the J Davidson Stadium. Altrincham kicked off towards the Hale end and won an early corner, following a Densmore advance on the right (3 mins). Soon after this, Hulme got towards the byline, right of goal, to win another corner, which was overhit by Poole (4 mins).
Alty had started quite well and keeper Wintervbottom had to beat out a Harrop cross-shot from under his crossbar. A third Alty corner of the afternoon arrived in the fifth minute as the snow temporarily eased off.
Alty continued to get forward as Poole fired over the bar (8 mins) but Celtic gained their first corner in the ninth minute, which was swiftly followed by a second won as Thompson clawed the first corner away from under his bar.
Next, Harrop surged forward and was fouled but he got the ball to Johnston, whose low cross just evaded Hulme (11 mins). Although Celtic now began, gradually, to come into the match, it was Alty who won the next corner through Peers's shot which had been set up by Johnston (13 mins). Not for the first time in recent games a short corner routine proved counter-productive for Altrincham.
Then Celtic took the lead, against the overall run of play, with their first real shot on goal. An Alty defensive lapse on their left allowed Wolfenden to be put clear and he netted with low a shot (17 mins). It was a reprise of last Tuesday night when Workington had similarly taken an unexpected lead with their first real threat on goal.
After taking the lead, however, Celtic now enjoyed more of the ball and, after twenty-four minutes, they won two corners, the second gained from a Hughes shot.
Next, after Moult had fouled an opponent, Stalybridge's freekick earned his side a corner (26 mins). But Alty replied with two of their own, just five minutes later but, again, they lacked sufficient guile from these dead balls to trouble the visitors (32 mins).
In open play, too, Altrincham were struggling to create any openings and their best effort at this stage was a Poole shot into the sidenetting (36 mins).
Following an Alty freekick won for a foul on Hulme, some 30 yards out, Celtic's Holgate advanced and a resulting shot earned a rare Stalybridge corner (40 mins).
As half-time approached, Alty remained second best. But it was the visitors who saw a yellow card for a foul by Dickinson. Before the resulting freekick could be taken, Densmore talked his way into the referee's book as well (44 mins).
So, in poor conditions, comprising a strong gusty wind and frequent snow and sleet showers, Alty had started well but Celtic had grown into the game and by the interval were looking more worthy of their lead than had been the case at the time that the goal was actually scored.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 1|
Stalybridge kicked off the second half and, in the first five minutes, Harrop was twice fouled and then Hulme was tripped on the front edge of the box. From left of goal, Peers's freekick was saved by Winterbottom at the second attempt (52 mins).
An Altrincham corner came and went as the weather deteriorated and a blizzard swept across the pitch. On the right, Densmore got forward and his cross was hammered against the back post from close range by Poole (56 mins). Visibility was quite poor in the snow as Alty spent most of this phase of the match in the Celtic half. Hulme now did well to allow Peers to win a corner but this, again, was wasted.
At the other end Wilkinson fired over from 20 yards in the blizzard.
Alty made a change on 64 minutes as Hancock, returning after illness, replaced Moult (64 mins). Immediately, Johnston won a corner from which Hancock forced the keeper to tip an effort away, with another Hancock shot also being saved a couple of minutes later (67 mins).
Next Richman replaced Moult in midfield (68 mins) and the sun now came out. Another Alty corner soon arrived as the one-way traffic towards the Celtic end continued. This led to a goalmouth scramble and, a minute later, Winterbottom was again in action to save from Johnston.
After 73 minutes, Brown replaced Wilkinson for Celtic and Bailey-Jones came on for Roberts. Having seen little action, Alty keeper Thompson almost gifted the visitors a goal as he took a touch too many before kicking and was closed down. He redeemed himself by blocking the resultant shot.
Heathcote replaced Harrison after 76 minutes, the substiute going up front as the centre-back was withdrawn. Alty's best effort of the half arrived as Richman hammered a fine, low shot at goal but it was cleared off the line (78 mins).
Incredibly Thompson had not learnt his lesson and again took an extra touch before trying to kick a back pass clear. As a result he was again closed down and was very fortuinate to see the ball rebound just the wrong side of the post from Celtic's viewpoint (83 mins).
When the already booked Dickinson brought down Hampson heavily, near halfway, he was extremely fortunate to escape a second yellow. Hampson was less fortunate, having to be helped off, leaving his side with ten men as they sought an equalizer (85 mins).
Thompson's kicking problems continued as, now, he kicked the ball straight to an opponent from a freekick. And the errors continued as, first Hancock passed to an opponent and then Hannigan allowed Harris to get free on the right and his low cross fed Dickinson who lifted the ball into the roof of the open net at the back post, from very close range. So, for the second game in a week, Alty found themselves 2-0 down at home (88 mins).
Alty's ten men won a corner in the 90th minute. This was poorly taken by Poole but the ball somehow came to Johnston who netted with a low shot to make it 1-2 (90+1 mins).
A Charles now replaced Dickinson, who left the pitch at a snail's pace (90+2 mins). As the clock ticked away, Harrop's shot ballooned up towards goal but the keeper got it away. Alty's last chance came when Harrop was fouled, 30 yards out, and Charles was booked. However, Harrop's freekick was held by the keeper at the second attempt (90+5 mins)
From a strong league position in the New Year, an indifferent run of results has seen Alty's lead cut to three points. As on Tuesday against Workington, Altrincham enjoyed the majority of the attacking and won the corner count but were undone once more by defensive lapses.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 2|