ALTRINCHAM FC MATCH REPORTS
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ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS (1) 1
played on Tuesday, 24 October, 2023 at 7.45pm.
Despite dominating possession and territory for the vast majority of the evening, Altrincham were unable to find a way to win this match against an unambitious Kidderminster.
Altrincham made life difficult for themselves right from the start, conceding a dreadful own goal after just 75 seconds. Oxlade-Chamberlain's long throw from the left was headed back towards his own goal by an Altrincham player. In attempting to hook it clear Angus only succeeded in diverting ball across Ross and into the net off the back post for an own goal.
Altrincham got themselves level on the 28th minute when Banks took a throw on the right, to Amaluzor, ahead of him. He returned the ball to the right-back who advanced and planted a low left-footed shot into the far corner of the net.
The Harriers goalkeeper, Dibble, had been winding down the clock since early in the second half and continued to do so with impunity, the ineffectual referee only booking him finally in the 85th minute and failing to add on any meaningful time at the end of the game.
But Altrincham can only blame themselves for failing to convert their superiority into a second goal with several decent chances being wasted by errant shooting and many moves breaking down on the fringes of the opposition box. Meanwhile Kidderminster manager Russell Penn will be proud of his obdurate defence.
To compound a disappointing night, captain Isaac Marriott picked up his fifth yellow card of the league season.
- 72 secs: OWN GOAL (Dior ANGUS) (ALTRINCHAM 0 Kidderminster Harriers 1)
- 28 mins: Lewis BANKS (ALTRINCHAM 1 Kidderminster Harriers 1)
REFEREE: Mr James Westgate
ATTENDANCE: 2,077 (223 in away end)
Altrincham were unchanged from their FA Cup starting eleven. On the bench Justin Donawa came back into the squad.
For the visitors, McNally started in place of ex-Alty loanee Ashley Hemmings, whilst on the bench Zak Brown, McDonagh, Preston and McLean came in to the squad.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 29. Ethan Ross, 2. Lewis Banks, 15. Jake Cooper, 4. Lewis Baines, 3. Eddy Jones, 6. Elliot Osborne, 8. Isaac Marriott (c), 11. Justin Amaluzor, 30. Alex Newby, 10. Chris Conn-Clarke, 14. Dior Angus. Subs: 5. James Jones, 16. Sam Roscoe, 17. Justin Donawa, 21. Matt Gould, 28. Gerald Sithole.
KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS (Yellow and dark blue shirts, dark blue shorts and socks) 21. Christian Dibble, 2. Alex Penny, 3. Caleb Richards, 5. Krystian Pearce (c), 6. Reiss McNally, 7. Kieran Phillips, 9. Amari Morgan-Smith, 12. Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, 20. Sammy Robinson, 22. Barry Maguire, 24. Bailey Hobson. Subs: 14. Zak Brown, 10. Ashley Hemmings, 15. Gerry McDonagh, 16. Matt Preston, 19. Ryan McLean
Altrincham's previous fixture had been postponed owing to a waterlogged pitch at the JDS, whilst Kidderminster had played on Saturday when they lost their first league match in three against FC Halifax Town. The Harriers arrived second from bottom and the league's lowest scorers whereas Altrincham lay fifth with a game in hand.
Although Alty had lost their last fixture, an FA Cup defeat by Oldham Athletic, they had won their previous five National League fixtures on the trot, albeit that last league game had been two and a half weeks earlier.
A discount turnstile-price offer for half-term had boosted the crowd but it would have been even better had the game not clashed with nearby giants, Manchester United, being at home in the Champions League and that match was also being televised, live.
After a minute's silence in memory of Bobby Charlton, Kidderminster kicked off and, within seconds, had advanced on the left, forcing Banks to make an important block. Shortly afterwards, a long-throw from the left, about 25 yards from the corner flag was hurled into the box by Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Unfortunately, an Alty head could only help the ball backwards where Angus tried to hook it clear. However, he diverted the ball acorss Ross and it found the net off the far upright. Initially Pearce was credited with the goal, then X (twitter) declared it was Reiss McNally, before it was decided it had been an own goal by Angus. And there were barely 75 seconds on the stadium clock!
It did not immediately get much better for the hosts, who it took eight minutes or so from kick-off to gain some equilibrium, as Osborne won a freekick. Nothing came of this but a corner soon followed for The Robins on the left (9 mins).
Taken by Newby, the corner came out to Marriott who hit the ball from 22 yards but narrowly over the bar (10 mins). Altrincham's passing game was beginning to impose itself, from which another corner soon followed, on the right (13 mins).
The next ten minutes or more largely comprised Altrincham possession but moves were breaking down through either errant passes, or succcessful closing-down by the hardworking Harriers, who were aided in that task by some slow build-up play from the hosts.
Harriers keeper Dibble, whose father had kept goal for Altrincham, was soon inviting the derision of the home supporters with his deliberate slowing down of the game, However, the former Wrexham stopper was soon picking the ball out of his net at the end of Alty's best move of the evening so far.
Banks now took a quick throw on the right and fed Amaluzor, ahead of him. The winger returned the ball and Alty's right-back advanced to steer a low shot to the keeper's right and into the far corner of the net to level the scores and record his first goal in an Altrincham shirt (28 mins)>
As Dibble continued his slow-motion performance, Eddy Jones shot off target before an advance by Cooper led to Amaluzor shaving the crossbar (34 mins) in what was to become a litany of off-target efforts from the Robins
Kidderminster did finally get upfield themselves and force a routine save from a well-hit shot by Hobson (37 mins). Alty's next miss came four minutes later when Conn-Clarke, who had a night of mixed fortunes, shot narrowly wide from twenty yards from an Amaluzor feed (41 mins). Next, it was Angus who shot wide from a Marriott pass (43 mins).
As half-time approached Marriott got to a loose ball first but Hobson went down and stayed down as he too arrived at the ball. Players then indulged in some "handbags" before the referee booked the acting Altrincham captain (44 mins). For Marriott it was his fifth leagur booking of the season so it was a costly yellow card.
A susprisingly long five added minutes were decreed, during which the recovered Hobson won a corner for the Harriers (45+2 mins) and a Phillips effort went to Ross in the Alty goal (45+3 mins). At the interval Altrincham should have been ahead on the basis of their dominance of possession but parity remained.
Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1
After Altrincham had kicked off towards the home end, it was Kidderminster who first threatened but Robinson slipped over as he got into the Altrincham box (49 mins). After a collision between Maguire and Marriott, Alty gained a freekick 35 yards out which was relayed to Eddy Jones whose well-struck shot gained his side a corner on the left, which came to nothing.
Kidderminster had a man (Richards) booked for a crude trip on Amaluzor as he accelerated forward (53 mins). Conn-Clarke's freekick came to Newby in a central position but his shot execution was deficient and the ball flew well wide of the target (54 mins).
Kidderminster made a change now with Brown replacing Maguire (54 mins). Elsewhere, Dibble continued to dawdle before Amaluzor was again cynically taken out as he advanced and another booking resulted, for Phillips (56 mins).
Another Harriers foul came a minute later, followed by another foul, this time on Newby. Yet another foul came with the referee also failing to produce any card. Belatedly, Dibble's next bout of timewasting actually produced an ineffectual "hurry up" gesture from Mr Westgate, just before the hour mark.
Robinson now got past Eddy Jones and a resulting Harriers' shot was easily fielded by Ross (61 mins). Likewise at the other end an effort from the right by Amaluzor was comfortably held by Dibble (62 mins).
At this point, former Alty man Hemmings replaced Phillips (63 mins). Next an excellent advance by Cooper fed Conn-Clarke, whose clever oass located Angus but once again Alty missed the target as the striker fired over the bar (65 mins).
After yet another Kidderminster foul Altrincham brought on Donawa for Newby who had been efficient without overly influencing the game (73 mins). There was a warning for Alty, after their profligacy in front of goal, when Robinson was allowed into the home box but his effort went narrowly wide (74 mins).
Altrincham yet again failed to find the net when Amaluzor firstly had a well-hit shot blocked by Dibble, only to blaze the rebound miles, left-footed, over the bar (76 mins). After this Dibble stayed down for treatment for some reason.
WWhen play resumed Amaluzor played in Donawa but he was halted on the front edge of the box (78 mins). Alty made their second change in the 80th minute as Sithole replaced Angus. Immediately the Bolton loanee ran at goal but was halted.
Altrincham continued to dominate possession and forward momentum and when Altrincham won a corner which Dibble delayed, even Mr Westgate was moved to bbok the timewasting keeper (85 mins). Soon after the corner, Eddy Jones drew a save from Dibble before Donawa fired across goal from the left before Conn-Clarke did the same from the right as Altrincham continued to fail to find a way through (88 mins).
After Robinson had broken up play by sitting down for treatment, Alty won a 90th minute corner, at which point the referee decreed just four added minutes.
In the second added minute Sithole had a good chance but ballooned his shot wildly over the bar and off target. And that was that; Alty's winning run had come to an end but they can still bost an eight-game unbeaten league run.
Kidderminster will be proud of their defensive resilience but will also be grateful for Altrincham's failure to hit the target with several presentable chances.
Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1