ALTRINCHAM FC MATCH REPORTS
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ALTRINCHAM (4) 6
EBBSFLEET UNITED (1) 1
played on Saturday, 23 September, 2023 at 3pm.
Ebbsfleet, without their leading scorer Poleon, had no answer to a scintillating first-half display from an Altrincham side lacking half a dozen injured players.
On a rare sunny afternoon, Alty took a fifth-minute lead when debutant loanee Alex Newby headed in at the back post from a Conn-Clarke cross.
It was 2-0 after 16 minutes when centre-back Lewis Baines netted a superb glancing header as he ran to the near post to meet a corner by Eddy Jones.
Justin Donawa made it 3-0 with a fine low finish into the bottom corner in the 32nd minute.
Ebbsfleet pulled a goal back in the 41st minute when a chipped ball forward was nodded in past a wrong-footed Ross by Odokonyero.
But Conn-Clarke's cool finish in the 45th minute made the half time score 4-1.
The second half was largely an anti-climax in which the visitors had the lion's share of the ball and territory but they spurned a great chance in the 81st minute when Ross saved a penalty awarded against substitute Lewis Banks for a foul.
Alty's on-loan keeper from Stockport County has saved three penalties in his last six games since joing the club this season. The previous saves were against Barnet and AFC Fylde.
However, in the seven minutes decreed for added time, Altrincham scored twice more.
The fifth goal was a thing of beauty as Alty broke forward and Marriott's clever back heel allowed Eddy Jones to advance up the left. His cross, via Angus, came to Conn-Clarke who netted his second goal of the afternoon (90+2 mins).
And the icing on the cake was a sixth goal for the Robins in the 95th minute when another excellent header from Baines flew past Cousins in the Fleet's net. It was the first time since February 1991 that Altrincham had scored six in the top level of non-League football.
- 5 mins: Alex NEWBY (ALTRINCHAM 1 Ebbsfleet United 0)
- 16 mins: Lewis BAINES (ALTRINCHAM 2 Ebbsfleet United 0)
- 32 mins: Justin DONAWA (ALTRINCHAM 3 Ebbsfleet United 0)
- 41 mins: Nathan ODOKONYERO (ALTRINCHAM 3 Ebbsfleet United 1)
- 45 mins: Chris CONN-CLARKE (ALTRINCHAM 4 Ebbsfleet United 1)
- 90(+2) mins: Chris CONN-CLARKE (ALTRINCHAM 5 Ebbsfleet United 1)
- 90(+5) mins: Lewis BAINES (ALTRINCHAM 6 Ebbsfleet United 1)
REFEREE: Mr Ruebyn Ricardo
ATTENDANCE: 1,683 (110 in away end)
Alty were without six injured first teamers in the shape of Ollie Crankshaw, Regan Linney, George Wilson, James Jones, Liam Brockbank and Matty Kosylo. New loanees Gerald Sithole and Alex Newby joined the squad.
Phil PArkinson made three changes for this match. Out went Joey Jones, Roscoe and Banks whilst the two Justins, Donawa and Amaluzor, as well as new loanee, Alex Newby all came in to the starting eleven. Newby was deployed on the left with Donawa at right-back.
The Fleet were missing their top scorer Dominic Poleon who had been withdrawn during their midweek game suffering fatigue. They also made numerous changes from their midweek game.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 29. Ethan Ross, 17. Justin Donawa, 15. Jake Cooper, 4. Lewis Baines, 3. Eddy Jones, 6. Elliot Osborne, 8. Isaac Marriott (c), 11. Justin Amaluzor, 28. Alex Newby, 10. Chris Conn-Clarke, 14. Dior Angus. Subs: 2. Lewis Banks, 16. Sam Roscoe, 22. Joey Jones, 32. George Burroughs, 28. Gerald Sithole.
EBBSFLEET UNITED (Fluorescent green shirts, wide shorts and socks ): 1. Mark Cousins, 4. Josh Wright, 7. Omari Sterling-James, 8. Ousseynou Cisse, 10. Craig Tanner, 11. Darren McQueen, 16. Franklin Domi, 20. Chris Solly (c), 21. Nathan Odokonyero, 23. Hayden White, 25. Shaq Coulthirst. Subs: 17. Toby Edser, 18. Billy Clifford, 22. Ben Chapman, 26. Haydn Hollis, 24. David Amoo.
This was Ebbsfleet's first visit to Altrincham since the opening day of the 2009-10 season when the Kent side secured a draw in a season which was to end in relegation for them.
After a very wet week, the pitch was nevertheless watered before the start but the match was to be played in bright sunshine.
However, the teams came out late so kick off was nearly three minutes behind schedule. From the off, Altrincham started brightly and barely 30 seconds had elapsed, after Alty had kicked off, before Conn-Clarke fired in a shot which only narrowly cleared the bar.
And it was just into the fifth minute when Altrincham's bright start was rewarded with a goal. Amaluzor supplied Conn-Clarke who got in a fine cross from the right which debutant Alex Newby headed in at the back post.
A crude challenge by Cisse, with his hand around Amaluzor's neck rightly earned him an early yellow card (7 mins).
Altrincham's attacking start continued as a fine shot by Amaluzor obliged a diving Cousins to push the ball away for a corner, to his right (9 mins). Unfortunately, Newby's corner was arguably one of the worst ever seen at Moss Lane as he hit a low ball which went straight out of play well short of even the front upright.
Belatedly the visitors got toehold in the game, winning a thirteenth-minute corner. Alty responded when Ross rolled the ball out for Donawa, who advanced up the right and got in a telling cross which earned a corner.
Taken by Jones from the right, the corner was brilliantly flicked by Baines's head as he timed a run towards the near post with perfection, the ball skimming off him into the far corner, across a flat-footed Cousins.
So, it was 2-0 after just 16 minutes.
However, there was no easing up for Alty as, now, Newby fed Donawa whose volley, from 20 yards, flew narrowly over the bar (19 mins). Another Altrincham corner came and went before Conn-Clarke was felled on the front edge of the box, left of centre.
Conn-Clarke who went on to have his best game of the season, hit an excellent resulting freekick which Cousins impressively tipped away, diving to his left, as the ball headed for the top corner of his net (23 mins).
The only blot on Alty's performance, so far, was a yellow card for Amaluzor for his foul on McQueen (25 mins). An impromptu drinks' break filled the gap when Marriott needed treatment. Not only did he need treatment to his right hand but a blood-shirt was also deemed necessary before he resumed.
Next, a Domi shot earned the visitors a corner but, following this, Newby was put clear for a one on one against Cousins but the keeper won the duel at the cost of a home corner (30 mins).
Any thoughts of Ebbsfleet getting into the game were extinguished soon afterwards when Donawa was put clear on the right by Osborne. He advanced into the box before slotting a well-placed low shot to the keeper's right and into the far corner of the net, making it 3-0 (32 mins).
When Alty gained another corner, after 38 minutes, it almost got worse for the visitors as Eddy Jones's corner almost became a carbon copy of Altrincham's second goal as Baines, once again, ran towards the near post and almost got his head on the ball for a second goal for the central defender.
However, Altrincham's general inability to keep a clean sheet, (apart from last week at Wealdstone), reared its head again as a chipped ball forward by Tanner was met by a nod from Odokonyero which dropped into the net with Ross flat-footed, making the score 3-1 (41 mins).
The visitors survived a penalty appeal when Amaluzor was barged over in the box. However, the respite for the visitors was short as Conn-Clarke completed his excellent first half by calmly slotting home a fourth Altrincham goal (45 mins).
Five added minutes were decreed, presumably largely accounted for by five goal celebrations during the half. The last significant action saw Cousins pouch a decent shot by Angus (40+5 mins).
So ended by far Altrincham's best half of the season.
Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 4
Each side made a change at the interval; Chapman replaced Sterling-James for Ebbsfleet whilst Amaluzor gave way to Banks. So, Donawa moved forward and Banks slotted in at right-bank.
There was an early injury for Osborne but he continued after a blow to his head (46 mins). Following an uneventful few minutes, Alty won a corner as Eddy Jones overlapped (51 mins).
The next corner was earned by the visitors' Chapman on the left (54 mins). The corner came out to Chapman himself, whose shot from 18 yards hit the bar. Next Edser replaced Cisse for the Fleet (55 mins).
This was the nearest to a comeback spell for the visitors as they now won a freekick on the front of the "D" from a Marriott foul. The freekick went straight to Ross (58 mins).
In this period Altrincham had surrendered the initiative and a defensive mix-up allowed Coulthirst a shot which earned a corner (61 mins). After this a Fleet move on the left gave Coulthirst a close-range chance at the back post but he misdirected a "sitter" wide.
Alty's wobble continued as Banks gave the ball away, under no pressure, which led to a Coulthrst shot which Ross had to push away (64 mins). Things did not improve for the hosts when Osborne sat down and, after treatement, had to be replaced by Joey Jones, who is differentiated from James Jones by the name J D Jones on his shirt (66 mins).
Within two minutes J D Jones had been booked for a foul on Chapman (68 mins). As Altrincham continued to be pushed back in their own half, manager Parkinson urged them to get higher up the pitch. But the immediate outcome was an Ebbsfleet corner won by Edser. Next the visitors brought on Amoo for Coulthirst (72 mins) as the second half continued to be a disappointment as a spectacle after the first 45 minutes.
Things improved with a quick attack which culminated in Conn-Clarke's cross from the left which was met by Angus's air-shot before Donawa did much better with his effort which earned a corner (73 mins).
Alty now prepared Sithole for his debut but the Bolton loanee was destined not to get on the pitch.
As play drifted on, with the visitors unable to create clear openings and Alty largely happy to contain their opponents, Banks clipped Domi as he ran over the by-line left of goal. A penalty was awarded but, for the third time in the last six league games this season, Ross saved it comfortably, diving to his right on this occasion to stop Tanner's kick (81 mins).
Newby was now subbed after going down for treatent and Roscoe replaced him (83 mins). So Banks was pushed forward as Roscoe joined the back line.
Ebbsfleet won another corner (88 mins) before seven added minutes were computed by Mr Ricardo.
And an eventful seven minutes they were to be. Two minutes in, Banks fed Marriott who cleverly let the ball go sideways to set Eddy Jones free up the left. His cross came to Angus, whose lay-off to Conn-Clarke saw the number ten keep calm and make space before firing home his second goal of the game from right of centre to make it 5-1.
Finally, following a corner, a ball was played in by Eddy Jones for Baines to execute another fine header to record his second goal, just as Conn-Clarke had done in this match (90+5 mins).
The two late goals meant the game ran well beyond the seven minutes announced but the game ended with Altrincham 6-1 winners as they moved into the top ten in the league. For Ebbsfleet it was an afternoon to forget; for Alty the only diappointments were not keeping a clean sheet and an injury to Osborne.
Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 6