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Cheshire Senior Cup
Quarter-Final match
played on Wednesday, 20 March 2018, 7.45pm


This was the second game in 24 hours for Altrincham, following their 1-1 draw with Mickleover Sports. Winsford had also played earlier this week but they started with a more settled eleven.

After a fairly even first half, Winsford had the better of the game after the break. The decisive goal arrived seven minutes after the interval when the lively Scott Taylor got in a cross from the right byline, which Perry Bircumshaw headed home from close range.


REFEREE: Mr Darren Rogers

After three home league games, which had yielded a single point, Altrincham made eleven changes for this Cheshire Senior Cup tie. The starters comprised a mixture of first-team squad members, two recent signings, and players from the youth and reserve set-ups.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks) (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks) 1. Tim Deasy (c), 2. Callum Jones, 3 Dontai Gabidon, 4. James Jones, 5. Sam Heathcote, 6. Chris Merrie, 7. Theo Bailey-Jones, 8. Max Harrop, 9.Tom Peers, 10. Rhain Davis, 11. Darius Palma. Subs: 12. Harry Sheridan, 14. Tom Westall, 15 Dylan Scanlan, 15 Scott Smith, 20 Cameron Terry.

WINSFORD UNITED (All blue) 1. Matthew Green, 2. Jason Fowles, 3. Damian Skolorzynski, 4. James Rothwell, 5. Jamie McLellan, 6. Will Foster (c), 7. Scott Taylor, 8. Ryan Hopper, 9. Michael Koral, 10. Callum Gardner, 11. Perry Bircumshaw. Subs 12. Daniel McLaughlin, 14. Jordan Johnson, 15. Mike Taylor, 16. Lee Duckworth, 17. Daniel Osborne.


In the previous round, Altrincham had actually won at Winsford but that was against the visitors' ground-share partners, 1874 Northwich.


Defending the Golf Road end, Altrincham kicked off on a dry but chilly night at the J. Davidson Stadium. With manager Phil Parkinson, assistant Neil Sorvel and coach Chris Parkes, as well as Reserves' manager Chris Rowley, all occupying the technical area at various points in the game, it was an opportunity for players to impress at various levels.

Alty were marginally the better side in the opening stages but there was no real goalmpouth incident at either end. Having previously allowed an Alty "foot up" to go unpunished, the referee now awarded a freekick to Alty when a Bircumshaw scissor-kick, likewise, caught an Alty player (10 mins). Otherwise, the ref had a good game. Steady, but fairly light, rain was now falling as former Alty youth defender Will Foster, now Winsford's captain, pulled back Davis as he was getting clear. Rather surprisingly, there was no caution from the referee, just a freekick. From 30 yards or more, Harrop executed a superb freekick which marginally cleared the bar before rippling the net (13 mins).

Winsford now came more into the game, but were caught offside and then wasted a freekick. Harrop was soon involved again for Altrincham as his through ball won a corner (20 mins).

Neither keeper had been seriously tested until Bailey-Jones fed Peers and he forced a save from Green (23 mins). Next, Chris Merrie, Alty's recent loan signing from Wigan, (who had representatives at the match), started a promising move from central midfield but it came to nothing.

Next, Palma won the ball but his pass proved too long for Peers, whilst at the other end James Jones, one of three Joneses in the Alty team, cleared the ball as the rain got steadier (28 mins). Davis, who was having a good game and dispalying plenty of energy, now did well but was bowled over by a chellenge. Alty were getting forward repeatedly but moves were breaking down in the final third.

Winsford responded when Bircumshaw, first, got in a cross from the left which flew across Deasy's goalmouth and, then, the same player fired over the bar moments later (34 mins). Alty were then caught offside twice in a minute before a powerful surge up the middle, from his own half, by Peers was met with an unceremonious foul by former Alty Youth player, Jamie McLellan, who was booked.

Omce again Harrop took an excellent freekick and his effort, once more, narrowly cleared the bar (38 mins). By now, the rain had eased, as Winsford enjoyed a good spell. Shortly before the interval Bailey-Jones had a shot saved and Winsford won a corner but the score remained goalless at the interval after an end to end game which lacked any decisive quality to break the deadlock.


Before Winsford kicked off the second half, Altrincham brought on youth player Harry Sheridan at right-back for Callum Jones. In the opening stages a Bailey-Jones shot went wide before Palma went down in the box but earned no penalty (49 mins).

Seven minutes into the half, Sam Heathcote, on the visitors' right wing, tried to secure a goalkick from Scott Taylor. But the experienced Taylor managed to get in a cross from the byline which Bircumshaw, towards the back post, headed home from close range to give his side the lead (52 mins).

From a Winsford corner, soon afterwards, Deasy punched the ball then saved a long shot as United continued to have the better of things at this stage. Altrincham made a change as Harrop gave way to Alty Reserves' Scott Smith (58 mins).

But Winsford continued pressing and a Scott Taylor run led to a shot which went just wide (61 mins). There had been zero threat from Alty since the interval but midway through the half Gabidon almost got clear before Smith fired just over the bar after a one-two with Palma. Alty were slowly improving but at the other end, Gardner hooked a shot wide and then Deasy had to make a smart save at the feet of Bircumshaw (70 mins).

James Jones was then hurt after a challenge and needed treatment before resuming (74 mins). At the same point McLaughlin came on for Gardner for United.

Alty's first real threat of the half arrived when a Davis header, from a right-wing cross, was met by an impressive point-blank save by Green (77 mins). Next a Peers shot was saved. As the minutes ticked away Winsford's Koral won a corner. Next Michael Taylor replaced goalscorer Bircumshaw (82 mins).

A minute later Alty reserve, Tom Westall, came on for left-back youth-teamer, Dontai Gabidon (83 mins). With five minutes left Merrie produced the best through ball of the game but keeper Green managed to block Davis's attempt.

Michael Taylor was booked for pulling back an Alty man (88 mins) and in the final minute of the ninety, James Jones's run saw him tripped and this prompted a booking for Rothwell (90 mins). Three added minutes saw Alty pressing, but unsuccessfully, for an equalizer.

And so, Alty exited the Cheshire Senior Cup. The amalgam of first-, reserve- and youth-team players had worked hard but lacked the punch to break down the Winsford defence. Merrie had a steady game in midfield and there were occasional flashes from fellow new signing, Theo Bailey-Jones but, of the remaining Alty players, no one really made a huge impression on the game, although Harrop's freekicks were impressive.