ALTRINCHAM FC MATCH REPORTS
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ALTRINCHAM (0) 0
STOCKPORT COUNTY (1) 1
played on Saturday, 15 December 2018, at 3pm
With Altrincham having fielded a starting eleven lacking seven regulars, this 0-1 outcome may not have been wholly unexpected, but the loss of Alty's leading scorer Jordan Hulme to a very controversial red card will be seen as a much bigger blow to the club's leaghue aspirations. Hulme was shown a straight red by referee Swallow, having caught Jamie Stott with his studs when the front-man was quite clearly trying to avoid the prostrate County man. Earlier, County had taken a deserved, but very fortunate, lead midway through the half when Palmer's speculative shot from outside the box took a deflection which left goalkeeper Wynne wrong-footed (22 mins).
Following Hulme's dismissal in first-half added time, ten-man Altrincham had the better of most of the second half against an unimpressive County team, in a tie which was played in appalling conditions of heavy swirling rain and a gusty wind.
- 22 mins: Ash PALMER (ALTRINCHAM 0 Stockport County 1)
REFEREE: Mr Elliot Swallow
A combination of minor knocks, illness and, presumably, one eye on the demands of five matches in ten days over the Christmas and New Year period, meant that only Jake Moult, Simon Richman, Jordan Hulme, Josh Hancock and Kallam Mantack remained in the starting eleven from last week's league victory over AFC Telford United. And one of those survivors, midfielder Simon Richman was deployed at right-back, with Shaun Densmore coming back into the line-up, albeit at left-back.
To say that Altrincham's team was made up of players unfamiliar with each other was an understatement. Overall, eight of the eleven starters had previously started fewer than ten games in any competitions this season and two were making their full debuts. Loanee Ashley Hemmings had previously played a cameo role against Telford as a late substitute whilst fellow loanee Josh Langley had only previously appeared in last Tuesday's friendly at Alsager Town. Added to the unfamiliar nature of the team, both Ben Harrison and Sean Williams were making welcome returns after injury lay-offs.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Elliot Wynne, 2. Simon Richman, 3. Shaun Densmore, 4. Ben Harrison, 5. Josh Langley, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. Kallam Mantack, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Ashley Hemmings. Subs: 12. Dontai Gabidon, 14. John Johnston, 15. James Jones, 16. Connor Hampson, 20. Tony Thompson.
STOCKPORT COUNTY (Blue): 1. Ben Hinchliffe, 2. Dan Cowan, 3. Scott Duxbury, 4. Jordan Keane, 5. Ash Palmer (c), 6. Jamie Stott, 7. Adam Thomas, 8. Elliot Osborne, 9. Frank Mulhern, 10. Matty Warburton, 11. Jake Kirby. Subs: 12. Sam Minhan, 13. Ian Ormson, 14. Paul Turnbull, 15. Darren Stephenson, 16. Nyal Bull
Stockport had put Altrincham out of the FA Cup earlier this season but they lay six points and nine places below third-placed Altrincham in the National League North.
Mike Garnett reminds us of the record in previous encounters with the current County club...
- Home: P3-W1-D0-L2-F8-A7
- Away: P3-W0-D1-L2-F0-A5
- All: P6-W1-D1-L4-F8-A12
For the second week running, the hard work of the Altrincham groundstaff had got this match "on" despite awful weather conditions. Although, this Saturday, the pitch was not waterlogged in places from the kick-off, as it had been against Telford, nevertheless it had a soft surface and the game was to be played in almost incessant swirling rain and a strong, gusty wind.
Altrincham kicked off into the wind, towards the away end, but it was the visitors who started the better. After Williams had been caught in possession inside his own box, Stockport maintained some pressure as they gained three corners in succession, starting in the fifth minute.
Altrincham's first real attack did not arrive till the eighth minute, initiated by Richman winning the ball. Hemmings advanced on the left but his shot cleared the bar. As Alty improved, a good build up, five minutes later, was halted by Hancock's misplaced return pass inside the opposition box.
Next, a Moult shot was comfortably saved before Williams's shot earned a corner. Taken short, corner led to Hennings's cross from the left from which a Hancock header was saved by Hinchliffe. As Alty continued on the front foot, Hemmings hit an effort over the bar (19 mins).
With rain lashing down, Stockport won a corner through Mulhern. This came out to Palmer, just outside the box in a central position. His speculative shot hit someone in the box and wrong-footed goalkeeper Wynne before finding the keeper's left-hand corner and putting the visitors ahead (22 mins).
The goal reinvigorated County and they won the game's next four corners. The third of these was won when Mulhern played in Warburton but Wynne made an impressive block to divert the ball over the bar (26 mins). And the fourth corner was almost converted at the foot of the back post (27 mins).
Just after the half-hour mark, with County enjoying the better of things, a Duxbury freekick from wide on the right kissed the top of the Altrincham crossbar (31 mins).
After a further Stockport corner had been dealt with, a Richman cross was nodded down by Hancock and Hulme flicked it goalwards. But Hinchliffe made a fine save (41 mins). When Mr Swallow, not for the first time, ignored strong Alty claims for a freekick, he stopped play to have words with the dissenting Hulme and his captain, Moult.
In heavy rain, the game went into one minute's added time just after an Alty corner had been and gone. As Hulme and Stott went for a ball near the Alty right touchline, the Stockport man went down in the challenge and Hulme was unable to avoid his foot landing on the opponent's prostrate body as he untangled himself from the coming together. Controversially, Mr Swallow somehow deemed the Alty man to have committed a red-card offence and dismissed the club's leading scorer (45+2 mins). It was the team's first red card of the season
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0|
STOCKPORT COUNTY 1
Altrincham's ten men at least had the stiff breeze behind them in the second half. The sides traded two corners apiece in the opening ten minutes, with the second Alty one arriving soon after the introduction of substitute Johnston in the 59th minute. He replaced Mantack. Johnston was to operate primarily on the left so Hemmings moved to the right.
From Johnston's corner, the ball skimmed off Hancock's head across the face of goal. (62 mins). In the visitors' goal Hinchliffe had a sometimes nervy afternoon but he managed to turn a Williams effort round the base of the upright for Alty's third corner of the second half. Before it could be taken, ex-Alty loanee Turnbull replaced Osborne and Hampson came on in place of Alty's Williams (65 mins).
Another Alty corner followed but came to nothing. With the ten men looking the better side, another ex-Alty loanee, Bell, came on for Kirby (69 mins).
Soon after Hinchliffe had had to come out of his box to clear, a County defender sliced a clearance to his keeper as Alty looked quite capable of equalizing and they soon won another corner (72 mins).
But County then raised their game and, from a left-wing cross, Mulhern's cushioned header kissed the outside of Wynne's right upright (75 mins). Just after Altrincham's sixth corner of the second half, Gabidon replaced Hemmings and County's Stephenson came on for Mulhern (80 mins). After Harrop had been fouled, Keane was booked for County (83 mins).
Richman was then cautioned for reasons that were not altogether clear (84 mins). Stockport finished the game with their best spell of the half as they forced Alty into three successive, hacked goalmouth clearances (87 mins). Johnston then became the third Alty man in Mr Swallow's book for a foul on Thomas (88 mins).
Three minutes of added time were proclaimed but the final whistle did not sound till well into the fifth such minute, leaving Altrincham to concentrate on their league campaign without their suspended leading-scorer.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0|
STOCKPORT COUNTY 1