ALTRINCHAM FC MATCH REPORTS
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NOTTS COUNTY (2) 2
ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
played on Saturday, 18 December, 2021 at 7.30pm
Altrincham bowed out of their third and final cup competition of the season with a narrow defeat at a misty Meadow Lane.
In an entertaining first-half, Altrincham gave a good account of themselves but trailed 2-1 at the interval, despite having had seven shots at goal.
They fell behind in the fourteenth minute when Furman's rash challenge on Palmer, in the outer reaches of the box, conceded a spot-kick which Rodrigues converted, sending Thompson the wrong way.
Altrincham were gifted an equaliser when a hopeful lob into the box was met by a gentle looping header from Kosylo, with his back to goal, some fifteen yards out. Slocombe made a hash of collecting the ball and Hannigan was on hand to tap the dropped ball into the net (22 mins).
But, just before the break, a good County move on the right saw Richardson cut the ball back for Wootton whose shot seemed to go through Mitchell and a defender, and past the unsighted Thompson into the net to restore the Magpies' lead (45 mins).
Despite plenty of attacking play Altrincham could not find a second-half equaliser with Colclough's effort which struck the outside of the post the nearest to achieving that. There was also some controversy in the final minutes when Senior was brought down but the referee judged it as a freekick, just outside the box, and not a penalty kick.
- 14 mins: Ruben RODRIGUES (penalty) (Notts County 1 ALTRINCHAM 0)
- 22 mins: Tom HANNIGAN (Notts County 1 ALTRINCHAM 1)
- 45 mins: Kyle WOOTTON (Notts County 2 ALTRINCHAM 1)
REFEREE: Mr Daniel Middleton
ATTENDANCE: 1,248 (162 from Altrincham). The attendance was affected by Covid requirements for all spectators to demonstrate vaccination/negative test credentials and by the fact the match was streamed live, through which medium it was watched by a further 971 subscribers.
The Altrincham line-up included no recognised striker, though three forwards were available on the bench. Two changes were made compared with the most recent league outing as Pringle and Furman replaced Hancock and Leitch-Smith. Once again Dan Mooney and Brad Jackson were absentees.
Notts County made three chages but benefitted from the postponement of their scheduled midweek fixture because of Covid at their prospective opponents, Chesterfield. This allowed the Magpies to select players against Alty who, otherwise, might have been rested, as the Magpies' manager admitted pre-match.
NOTTS COUNTY (Black & white stripes, black shorts, white socks): 1. Sam Slocombe, 2. Richard Brindley, 5. Connell Rawlinson, 4. Kyle Cameron, 18. Matty Palmer, 20. Ruben Rodrigues, 17. Frank Vincent, 9. Kyle Wootton, 7. Kairo Mitchell, 22. Connor Parsons, 25. Jayden Richardson. Subs: 10. Callum Roberts, 12. Tiernan Brooks, 14. Ed Francis, 19. Elisha Sam, 23. Adam Chicksen, 24. Alex Lacey.
ALTRINCHAM (Yellow shirts and socks, blue shorts): 1. Tony Thompson, 24 Joel Senior, 5 Tom Hannigan, 25 Toby Mullarkey, 3 Connor Hampson, 6 Jake Moult (c), 8 Adam Porter, 28. Dean Furman, 17 Ben Pringle, 11 Ryan Colclough, 15 Matty Kosylo. Subs: 9 Marcus Dinanga, 10 Josh Hancock, 18 Kennedy Digie, 19. David Fitzpatrick, 21. Matt Gould, 23 Tom Peers, 28. Daniel Whitehead
At the request of the local police, this tie had been moved back to 7.30pm owing to a clash with a Nottingham Forest home game at 3pm. Friday night had not been an option as an alternative because Altrincham had part-time players who would not be available to play, whilst Sunday was ruled out owing to the proximity of the Magpies' Tuesday fixture.
Notts Sounty were the only team in the current top ten of the National League which had been beaten by Altrincham in the league this season.
Alty went into the match with just two wins in their previous fourteen games in league and cup.
In front of a largely empty stadium, with both ends closed and the Jimmy Sirrell Stand only housing away supporters, Notts County kicked off on a misty evening. The Magpies won a couple of corners in the first five minutes but Altrincham were holding their own before a thirty-yarder from Colclough sailed well wide (10 mins). Shortly afterwards a promising passing move led to a Kosylo shot which deflected to the keeper (11 mins).
With no recognised striker on the pitch, Alty were operating a fluid attack with Kosylo, Colclough and Pringle all popping up at the front end of the team at this stage.
But the fairly even start was undone when Hampson was unable to halt a home advance up the inside right channel, allowing Palmer to get into the box where a clumsy challenge from Furman conceded an unquestionable penalty. As the referee's whistle blew for the award of a spot-kick, Vincent put the ball in the net but, of course, that effort as ruled out. Rodrigues's penalty beat Thompson as the ball went to the taker's right and the keeper to the left (14 mins).
A home corner was soon followed by a good move (18 mins), before Alty responded with Pringle firing at goal from twenty yards and gaining a corner as the ball went over the bar (20 mins).
Altrincham were then gifted an equaliser. A hopeful lob into the box from left of centre was headed towards goal by Kosylo from about 15 yards. Kosylo had headed blindly, with his back to the goal. As the ball looped fairly gently to Slocombe, the experience Notts keeper dropped it, allowing Hannigan to steal in and convert the chance from close range (22 mins).
Uplifted by the goal, Alty went close to snatching the lead when Hampson did well on the left but Porter was unable to convert his low cross into the goalmouth (26 mins). Colclough then became the match's first booking for a poor challenge (27 mins).
Altrincham continued to enjoy the upper hand at this stage but an underpowered shot by Colclough to Slocombe was the nearest to a goal for the visitors (32 mins). However, Notts began to threaten again when Cameron's fine, low shot from thirty yards forced a good diving save by Thompson at the cost of a corner (36 mins).
The Alty keeper was soon in action again, this time getting a hand on a County cross. Shortly afterwards the referee had words with Thompson for reasons that were not entirely clear (37 mins).
Kosylo, likewise, received a lecture from Mr Middleton soon afterwards but, in his case, the reason was patently clear; a poor challenge on an opponent (40 mins).
After a wild shot from Notts County, the hosts regained their lead. On the right, Richardson laid the ball, diagonally back, to Woottton. From the outer fringes of the penalty area the leading scorer hit a low effort towards goal. The ball headed for Mitchell, who was standing in front of an Alty defender, a couple of yards ahead of an unsighted Thompson on the line. Mitchell seemed to let the ball pass through his legs and it also evaded the defender and Thompsonr to find the back of the net. So 2-1 it was (43 mins).
It could have got worse in the 45th minute as Vincent's 25-yarder forced a good save, low down, from Thompson who pushed the ball away. However, there was time for a response from Altrincham as Porter fed Colclough whose shot from the left was deflected away for a corner. But half-time arrived with Alty a goal behind after putting in a decent first-half performance.
Half-Time: NOTTS COUNTY 2
At the break Francis replaced Wootton for the hosts before Moult kicked off the second half. His side soon gained a corner after Kosylo had got to the byline (47 mins).
This corner was half-cleared to Colclough but he mishit his effort from twenty yards to Slocombe. At the other end, Vincent likewise shot from distance but only also only found the keeper's hands.
An excellent surge upfield by Mullarkey won his side a corner but neither this, nor a second flag-kick afterwards, produced a goal threat. At this stage it was five corners apiece as the visitors displayed positive intent (51 mins).
Slocombe's punch from the corner was poor and the ball looped up behind him but Hannigan was unable to convert the half chance as he put the ball over the bar at the back post. The home keeper was having a very nervy game and when Colclough spotted him off the line, the Alty winger ambitiously tried to lob him from fifty yards but his effort was well off target (55 mins).
Thompson at the other end was having to work harder than his opposite number, however, and he now had to produce a fine, left-handed save, low down, from a Mitchell shot (57 mins).
A Notts County corner soon led to a Furman clearance in the goalmouth before play halted for treatment to Porter (60 mins).
After Francis had fouled Senior, Porter's freekick led to Moult volleying at goal at the back post, earning a corner.
Now Alty made an attacking substitution as Hancock replaced Furman (64 mins) before Lacey came on for Rawlinson in the home defence (65 mins). Midway through the half, Pringle got forward but his shot went across the face of goal from the left (67 mins).
Next, Thompson made an unconventional save from Mitchell, shovelling the ball away (68 mins) before a fine piece of covering work by Senior halted another Mitchell threat. When Colcoough next got up the left wing, his cross-shot struck the outside of the back post with Slocombe stranded (70 mins).
Alty were enjoying a spell of dominance as, next, Kosylo fired narrowly wide (71 mins) before Pringle forced a save with a twenty-yard shot and then Colcough fired over the bar from twenty yards (76 mins).
The momentum continued in Alty's favour as Mullarkey won Alty's seventh corner (79 mins) but, again, nothing cam of it.
Each side made a change in the 80th minute, with Roberts replacing Vincent for the hosts and Dinanga coming on for Kosylo for Alty.
A foul on Mullarkey led to a lengthy stoppage whilst copious bandaging was applied to the defender's head (81 mins). After resuming, this injury did not stop the dfeender once more marauding forwards to the opposition byline soon afterwards.
But as time ticked away, County won a late corner to frustrate Altrincham (88 mins). Inside the first of the minimum of five added-minutes, Senior burst into the box and went down but Mr Middleton awarded a freekick on the right edge of the box rather than a penalty. Porter curously played the freekick backwards to a team-mate for a wild shot at goal rather than playing the ball into the penalty area.
After that Notts County wound the clock down well, denying Alty much possesion in the final two minutes and even earning themselves a time-consuming corner (90+4 mins).
So after FA Cup and CSC defeats, Altrincham exited their third cup competition in barely a month, all by single-goal defeats. On this occasion, unlike the two earlier cup exits, Altrincham had given a good account of themselves but the need for a clinical finisher was underlined once again by the match itself and emphasised by the pre-match selection of a starting eleven devoid of a striker, whilst three forwards were available on the bench.
Full Time: NOTTS COUNTY 2