ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES (0) 1
CHESTER CITY LADIES (0) 0
Sunday, 3 May 2015.
ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lizzie Brereton, Heather Scott, Louise Edleston, Kathryn McIntyre,Cghloe Brereton, Racahel Philip, Gail Simpson, Georgia Plant, Kate Bryan, Brogan Walsh, Tracey Blanchard-Webb. Substitutes: Emma Booth, Elina Parker, Caroline Moran and Becci Hailes
Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.
The Ladies welcomed Chester City Ladies to the J Davidson Stadium, Chester having kindly agreed to reverse the fixture to allow it to be played as part of the Altrincham FC Beer Festival.
Altrincham had defeated Chester earlier in the season although it had been a close game, well contested.
Once again Alty lined up in a 3-2-3-2 formation. Lizzie in goal, with a back three of Heather, Cyprus, and Louise; Gail and Chloe sitting just in front of them and screening. Further forward in midfield were Rachael, Kate and Brogan. The attacking impetus being offered by Tracey and Georgia.
Following an impeccably observed minute's silence in remembrance of Chloe’s Mum, who had sadly passed away the previous evening, Altrincham kicked off and were soon pressing forward.
It took only three minutes for the first chance of the game to be fashioned, Kate supplying an inch-perfect pass to Georgia who beat her defender before delivering an excellent cross, which just evaded Rachael’s run at the back post.
Rachael herself almost turned provider two minutes later when a neat turn allowed her the space to feed a ball into Brogan, who was unfortunately thwarted by some strong defending.
It seemed that Altrincham’s experience of the large Moss Lane pitch, together with the formation and tactics, were giving the hosts a palpable advantage.
On eleven minutes Chloe broke up a Chester move and played an excellent pass which bisected the Chester central defenders. Brogan ran onto it and unleashed a powerful shot which was well held by the impressive Chester keeper.
A further five minutes had elapsed when, following a monster clearance by Lizzie, Tracey adroitly manufactured herself an opportunity to shoot, despite the efforts of a number of visiting defenders. Unfortunately for Altrincham, this brought yet another good save from the Chester custodian.
Altrincham seemed as this point to be very much in the ascendancy. Lizzie, although not called into serious action, was tidying things up nicely and using possession creatively. Heather Louise and Cyprus, remaining tight together, were not only defending admirably but also, where appropriate, stepping forward to support their team mates.
Chloe and the seemingly indefatigable Gail were patrolling responsibly in the area just in front, snuffing out the majority of Chester’s attacking forays as well as instigating a good number of Altrincham’s attacks with simple yet effective use of the ball.
Rachael and Brogan, holding their width when attacking were causing the visiting full backs a number of problems and delivering quality balls into the middle whilst Kate linked effectively with the front two.
The pace, perseverance and skill of Georgia and Tracey up front were moving the Chester defence all over the field and making space for others as well as posing a significant threat to the visitors' goal.
On twenty-one minutes Alty once again unlocked the Chester defence. A superb cross-field pass by Louise released Rachael on the right flank, whose excellent cross was headed narrowly wide by Tracey.
As is only to be expected, Chester began to find their feet and it took some good defending as a team to deal with a Chester attack on 25 minutes, albeit at the expense of a corner.
Lizzie claimed the corner impressively and released it quickly. The Chester defender misread the bounce and Brogan was set free to run toward goal. Hoping to catch the Chester keeper unawares, she struck a powerful shot from about 25 yards which whistled past the keeper before striking the near post and rebounding to safety.
Altrincham continued to control proceedings without the spot of luck one might argue they deserved in the final third. An excellent ball by Georgia just evaded an excellent run by Tracey whilst, on more than one occasion, Chester defenders managed to get a block in to stop dangerous passes.
Alty were reminded that they would not going to get it all their own way on thirty-eight minutes though. Louise misjudged her header from a high ball down the middle, this released the speedy Chester No 7 who shot powerfully but fortunately a little too high to concern Lizzie.
Brogan was posing the Chester defence all manner of problems and almost opened the scoring on forty-two minutes, when a neat take and turn allowed her to fire a shot at goal which was well saved at the keeper's near post.
The final notable action of the first half came merely a minute later when Kate’s accurate cross was firmly met by Tracey’s head. The keeper once again thwarting Alty.
Half Time was reached with the game still scoreless.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES 0|
CHESTER CITY LADIES 0
Having returned to the Moss Lane dressing room, Keith and his management team expressed themselves happy with the majority of the first half. A minor bit of tactical tweaking and a plea for patience, whilst continuing to play how they had in the first half, saw the Ladies return to the field for the second half.
Chester commenced the second half and, as one would expect, were quickly out of the blocks trying to impose themselves on the game before Alty could slip into their rhythm. The impressive Chester No 7 got a firm shot away after forty-nine minutes from the Altrincham right but it went wide of the near post with Lizzie watchful of its progress.
This chance perhaps expedited Alty getting back into the swing of things and restoring their apparent superiority.
On fifty-one minutes Kate flicked a ball on to Tracey who, uncharacteristically, seemed to snatch at the chance which passed just wide of the post. Again a minute later Kate moved forward impressively and delivered an excellent ball into the six-yard box which just evaded Tracey’s leaping attempt at a header.
Brogan was continuing to torment the right-hand side of the Chester defence and, when she was crudely fouled on fifty four minutes just outside the left edge of the penalty area, it provided an excellent opportunity for a strike on goal. Georgia was entrusted with the free kick and struck it very well but again the visiting keeper was equal to the task.
A seemingly innocuous free-kick just inside the Alty half led to the first goal of the game on fifty-seven minutes. Elina struck the ball deep into the Chester area and, under significant pressure from Kate, the previously very impressive keeper misjudged the trajectory and the bounce, allowing it through her legs and over the line.
Altrincham now tried to step up the pressure, Georgia making one of her trademark powerful runs, and excellent link up play down the left involving Kate and Brogan only coming to an end when the ball ran away from Brogan and out for a goal kick.
A minute after this there was some sublime play, once again down the Alty left. Brogan fed Tracey who, in turn created an opportunity for Kate to fire a powerful shot at goal which, sadly once again, passed just wide of the target.
Georgia intercepted a ball in midfield a mere two minutes later before beating two opponents and hitting a shot which, yet again, drew a good save from the Chester keeper.
A single goal lead is always precarious though and, following one of their forays into Altrincham territory, Cyprus was required to clear off the line from a corner. Once again though, Altrincham applied pressure, Heather having a shot from the edge of the Chester penalty area well saved.
There were a couple more attempts by Altrincham on the Chester goal before the final whistle, although the game finished on a somewhat concerning note when Chloe, in attempting a strike on goal, appeared to have quite seriously damaged her foot.
First team therapist Alan Ainsley was on hand to take control of the situation and, after three or four minutes of treatment, a clearly distressed Chloe was stretchered off to applause from the crowd. Subsequent investigations happily showed that no structural damage had been suffered but that Chloe has a very badly bruised foot.
So Altrincham came out winners by a single goal in a tight but entertaining game. Every single one of the fifteen Altrincham players had not only participated but had contributed significantly to the result.
Management Player of the Match was Gail, whose ceaseless running, fearless tackling, intelligent use of the ball and organisational ability saw her just pip Georgia to the honour. As said earlier, though, every player is worthy of honourable mention .
The Players' Player of the Match Award was a three-way tie between Gail, Brogan and Elina. Everyone at Altrincham FC Ladies would wish to send their sincere condolences to Chloe and her family on their loss.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES 1|
CHESTER CITY LADIES 0