ALTRINCHAM FC MATCH REPORTS
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MAIDENHEAD UNITED 0
played on Saturday, 5 March 2022 at 3pm
In a fairly even game, Maidenhead and Altrincham could not be separated as the Robins completed their first goalless draw of the season. Stand-in keeper Steven Drench was tested only once as he kept goal in the absence of Tony Thompson who was ill.
Despite their ever-changing personnel this season, Alty played well in patches, with just four players in their starting eleven today who had played for the club last season. They came the nearer to breaking the deadlock when Ryan Colclough's effort came down off the underside of the cross bar and was ruled not to have crossed the goal-line.
REFEREE: Mr Scott Jackson
After two successive games for which five changes had been made, the starting eleven against Maidenhead was a little more predictable, not least because of the confidence gained from the impressive win at Dagenham, last time out, which had been only Alty's second league win in the last fifteen attempts.
In fact, Altrincham made just two changes for this game. Matty Kosylo replaced Josh Hancock but more significantly, they were without regular keeper Tony Thompson (left), as he was ill. Tony had started 27 of Alty's 30 league games to date, with injury keeping him out for the other three fixtures, when Matt Gould stepped in, between the posts. Tony had also captained the side on several occasions this season in the absence of Jake Moult and, today, that role fell to a loanee, albeit the former Alty striker, Jordan Hulme, an AFC Fylde employee currently.
So 36 year-old Steven Drench stepped in to keep goal; the keeper/coach had last played for Alty in 2019 and had not appeared for the first team this season. He had retired the following year (2020) after playing his final season at Farsley Celtic.
Drench's goalkeeping counterpart today, Dan Gyollai, had kept goal for Alty in pre-season in summer 2019, and was formerly at Nantwich Town under Alty boss Phil Parkinson.
MAIDENHEAD UNITED (Black & white striped shirts, black shorts and socks): 1. Dan Gyollai, 4. Will De Havilland, 9. Nathan Blissett, 10. Kane Ferdinand, 11. Dan Sparkes, 15. Sam Beckwith, 16. Ryheem Sheckleford, 19. Ryan Upward, 22. Josh Kelly, 24. Alan Massey (c), 27. Charlee Adams. Subs: 20. Shawn McCoulsky, 5. Manny Parry 17. Reece Smith, 18. Emile Acquah, 8. Shaun Donnellan,.
ALTRINCHAM (Yellow shirts and socks, blue shorts): 1 Steven Drench, 23. Harry Perritt, 25. Toby Mullarkey, 14. Jake Cooper, 28. Eddy Jones, 8. Elliot Osborne, 32. Isaac Marriott, 7. Dan Mooney, 15. Matty Kosylo, 11. Ryan Colclough, 29. Jordan Hulme (c). Subs: 2. Shaun Densmore, 17. Ben Pringle, 20. Andy White, 27. A-Jay Leitch-Smith, 24. Kyle Ferguson.
Altrincham had won two of their previous three league games, following a wretched winless run of twelve league fixtures. Maidenhead, likewise, had been in poor form this season until, after a sequence of eight winless games in all competitions, they underwent a revival which brought them just one defeat in ten games, albeit that included four draws.
Coincidentally, both teams had played Dagenham last time out, with Maidenhead losing 3-0 in East London in midweek whilst Alty had triumphed 3-0 at home against the Daggers the previous Saturday.
Altrincham kicked off on the sloping pitch at Maidenhead, this being the first opportunity for the visiting supporters to see their team play at this ground as last season's encounter had been played behind closed doors.
After trading freekicks, the game's first corner was won off Mullarkey by the hosts (2 mins) and it was soon followed by a second, this time conceded by Colclough (4 mins).
As the hosts continued to make the early running, a long-range volley from Blisett brought Drench into early action and he made good save at the cost of a third corner to Maidenhead (10 mins).
Alty then dealt with a freekick, conceded by Jones (11 mins), before the visitors began to settle as Kosylo fed Mooney who mishit his effort wide of the goal (12 mins).
Colclough's probing was then seen off before Kelly was allowed a shot at the other end which went wide (16 mins). The improvement continued as Mooney shot narrowly wide (19 mins). However, neither keeper was being seriously tested but around the half-hour mark, Alty won three corners in as many minutes but none produced a real goal-threat (33 mins).
Maidenhead captain Massey nowpicked up the game's first yellow card for a foul on Colclough (39 mins) but, just before the interval, Mr Jackson called across Hulme, in his captain's role, to witness his lecture to Kosylo, presumably about dissent (45 mins).
After just a single minute of added time, the interval was reached with the game still goalless.
Half-Time: MAIDENHEAD UNITED 0
As in the first half, the hosts started the second half the better side but it was Alty who won the first corner of the second period.
Altrincham now improved and Colclough presented Marriott with a decent chance but he shot straight at Gyollai (55 mins).
Just after Blissett had put a chance wide at one end, Colclough, from the left, hit the underside of the bar with Gyollai beaten, but the ball was ruled not to have crossed the line before being cleared (58 mins).
The game then went into an extraordinary four-minute spell which wuitnessed no fewer than five bookings! First to go into the book in this sequence was Jones, for a foul about which he could have no complaints (59 mins). Next Ferdinand tripped Kosylo toearn his card (60 mins) before Hulme got cautioned for dissent (61 mins).
Next, a challenge on Kosylo by Adams saw him booked, it was a foul which provoked a melee, the aftermath of which was a booking for Mooney for pushing an opponent (63 mins). Then Adams's challenge on Osborne elicted calls for his second yelow card but Mr Jackson thought otherwise and the previously booked Adams remained on the field (65 mins).
After this torrid few minutes, play was further disrupted by three substitutions in a five-minute period. First of all Maidenhead's McCoulsky replaced Blissett (67 mins) before Smith came on for the booked Adams (70 mins); finally Altrincham brought on White for Jones who was also carrying a yellow card (72 mins).
Altrincham now enjoyed a good spell, with Colclough winning a corner (78 mins), before Pringle replaced Mooney (79 mins).
Play was fairly uneventful now as the personnel changes continued; Donnellan replaced Ferdinand (83 mins) and then Densmore came on for Altrincham in right-midfield, replacing Kosylo (85 mins).
After Kelly had been tripped, Cooper kicked the ball away and he, too, picked up a needless booking (90 mins). Five added minutes did not break the deadlock and both sides emerged with a point which was a reasonable outcome for two well-matched sides.
It was Altrincham's first goalless draw of the season and left them in seventeenth place. Their recent poor run has now been transformed into a sequence of one defeat in five fixtures as their place in the National League for next season looks ever more secure.
Full Time: MAIDENHEAD UNITED 0