ALTRINCHAM FC MATCH REPORTS
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ALTRINCHAM (0) 3
SOUTHPORT (0) 0
played on Saturday, 28 December, 2019 at 3pm
A poor Southport side were fortunate to escape with just a 3-0 defeat as, after a slow start, Altrincham dominated against a visiting eleven which bore little resemblance to a team lying third in the table at kick-off.
But for several excellent first-half saves by Albinson, the Sandgrounders would have been behind before the break. After the goalless first half, in which Alty lost both Sean Williams and Andy White to injury, the visitors were on the back foot for almost all of the second period.
It was John Johnson who opened the scoring in the 50th minute when Jordan Hulme's pass led to the wingman planting a superb shot, from left of goal, into the far corner of Albinson's net.
Next, a Johnston advance led to him feeding Josh Hancock, who scored Alty's second goal with a well-placed, low shot past the exposed Albinson (71 mins). The third well-worked goal of the afternoon arrived when Hulme bundled his way past Winnard before setting up Johnston, who calmly slotted the ball into the net in the 75th minute.
- 50 mins: John JOHNSTON (ALTRINCHAM 1 Southport 0)
- 71 mins: Josh HANCOCK (ALTRINCHAM 2 Southport 0)
- 75 mins: John JOHNSTON (ALTRINCHAM 3 Southport 0)
REFEREE: Mr Nathanael Cox, who reffed the same fixture in January 2019.
ATTENDANCE: 1,519 (175 in away end)
With illness in the camp, neither Tom Peers nor Luke Wall were included in the squad today. So, into the starting eleven in Peers's place came Max Harrop for his first start in twelve league fixtures.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Andy WHITE, 4. James JONES, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Sean WILLIAMS, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Max HARROP. Subs: 12. Simon RICHMAN, 14. Ethan WALKER, 15. Connor HAMPSON, 16. Toby MULLARKEY, 20. Joel TORRANCE.
SOUTHPORT (Gold shirts, black shorts and socks): 1. Charles ALBINSON, 2. Charles OLIVER, 3. Jack DOYLE, 4. Dean WINNARD, 5. Ryan ASTLES, 6. David MORGAN (c), 7. Russell BENJAMIN, 8. Marcus WOOD, 9. Raul CORREIA, 10. Jack SAMPSON, 11. Morgan HOMSON-SMITH. Subs: 12. Connor WOODS, 13. Devarn GREEN, 14. Zehn MOHAMMED, 15. Regan OGLE, 16. Daniel HANFORD.
Southport arrived in third place in the league whilst Alty were seventeenth, 13 points behind, albeit with four games in hand on the visitors. Although the Sandgrounders had won the reverse league fixture 2-1, Alty had won 3-1 at Haig Avenue in the FA Cup earlier this season.
Although the weather at kick off was quite bright, the floodlights were already on as Southport started the match attacking the Golf Road end. The opening stages were fairly scrappy with Altrincham conceding a number of needless freekicks which are often meat and drink to Southport but not on this occasion.
The nearest to an early Alty goal threat came when Densmore burst into the Port penalty area but he was halted (11 mins). At the other end, Correia turned to shoot just outside the box but the full force of his effort went into the right foot of the covering Sean Williams. The contact was heard all around the ground and Williams remained prostrate as the physio came on.
After lengthy treatment to his right ankle area, Sean limped off to be replaced by Connor Hampson (16 mins). Immediately after the restart, a high boot from Homson-Smith almost made contact with Densmore's head, prompting an Alty freekick (17 mins).
Play continued in a fairly scrappy manner with Astles's agricultural hoick into the adjacent allotments a rare noteworthy incident. It was not until midway through the half that the first corner arrived, won by Correia (22 mins).
At last the fare on offer to a sizable crowd improved as Hancock got hold of a firm shot at goal which Albinson impressively tipped over the bar for a home corner (24 mins). A melee ensued from the corner and a Southport defender had to clear off the line.
But just as things were looking up, Andy White sat down for treatment and he became the second enforced substitution for the hosts in only the 27th minute. Connor Hampson was his replacement.
Altrincham now got a grip of the game and went on to win six corners in the next five minutes. The first was won by Harrop on the left (28 mins). After the third successive corner, Harrop went down, looking unsuccessfully for a penalty.
The fifth penalty of the sequence was earned by a fine 20-yard shot from Richman after a Hulme lay-off. Albinson tipped this impressively over the bar for corner number six (33 mins).
After this flurry of excitement the next few minutes were relatively uneventful. Correia was looking Southport's main threat but a fine Hannigan tackle saw him off in a rare foray forward (40 mins).
After a Moult effort had gone wide, Wood was even further off target at the other end (43 mins). A much better effort came from Richman; his 25-yarder bounced in front of Albinson but the keeper gathered it at the second attempt (44 mins).
Although three added minutes were announced, only two were actually played before the interval. After a slow start to proceedings, Altrincham had dominated the twenty minutes before the break.
Alty will be hoping that the injuries to Williams and White are not bad though the former was to be seen on crutches during the second half.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0|
Alty kicked off and Hulme had won a freekick inside 15 seconds. But Johnston's freekick was poor, hitting the nearest man as his team-mates waited 40 yards away inside the penalty area.
Alty were playing well and, just five minutes into the second half, they got their deserved reward. The ball was played up to the hardworking Hulme who laid the ball off to Johnston, on the left. The wingman hit a superb shot across the keeper and into the far corner to put his side ahead (50 mins).
Southport responded to falling behind as Correia did well but fired narrowly over the bar (51 mins). When Benjamin tripped Hulme after the Alty man had got the better of him, Mr Cox was inexplicably lenient and did not produce a yellow card (53 mins).
Johnson attempted another long shot from the left but this time was well off target (56 mins). Densmore then put a good chance wide as he burst into the box and connected with a low cross from the right (57 mins).
Two minutes later Max Harrop was booked for a foul (59 mins). Though deserved it was no worse a foul than that by Benjamin earlier which had avoided a yellow card.
On the hour mark Albinson produced his third fine save of the afternoon, tipping a well-struck Hancock effort over the bar for a corner. After this, Green replaced Homson-Smith for Southport (61 mins). Southport then won a rare corner before Winnard was cautioned for a poor challenge, from behind, on Hulme (65 mins).
Moments later the booked Winnard was all over Hulme before Astles actually halted the Alty striker with a foul. Neither was booked (68 mins).
Another Alty corner came and went (69 mins). But a second goal did arrive soon afterwards. In a counter-attack, Johnston played the ball, left, to Hancock who had intelligently run into space. Hancock kept his head and slid a low shot past Albinson for this side's second goal (71mins).
Straightaway Harrop was replaced by Mullarkey (72 mins). Mr Cox's leniency was again displayed as he allowed what seemed a backpass to go unpunished when Albinson picked up the ball. A third Alty goal arrived when Hulme bundled his way past Winnard, whose appeals went unheard by Mr Cox.
From the left Hulme advanced before feeding Johnston, to his right, and the number seven calmly slotted the ball into the net (75 mins). At the other end, Thompson had been a spectator for virtually the whole second half as Alty continued to dominate proceedings.
Ogle now replaced Winnard (77 mins) and, after another Alty corner, Woods came on for Sampson (85 mins).
Alty comfortably got through the closing stages which included four added minutes. In the last of these Wood was booked, presumably for dissent, the number eight having previously moaned to the referee on more than one occasion.
This was an excellent performance from Altrincham after an unremarkable opening twenty minutes of the game. It was all the better for having taken place with Alty weakened by pre-match illnesses and two first-half injuries. The heavy festive schedule continues with a New Year's Day return fixture against Curzon Ashton before a trip to Leamington on 4 January.
This win lifted Alty to fourteenth but still with several games in hand on most other clubs.
|Full Time: ALTRINCHAM 3|