Match Reports, 2004-05


Lancashire League Match,
played on Wednesday, 3 November, 2004
at Abbey Hey FC


ALTRINCHAM RESERVES: 1. Spencer LIDDIARD, 2. James MARSDEN, 3. Matt TOOTH, 4. George MELLING, 5. Adam BRINDLE, 6. Pat CONNOLLY, 7. Mike BROWN, 8. Paul TILLEY, 9. Kieran LUGSDEN, 10. Rod THORNLEY, 11. Peter WRIGHT. Subs: 12. Stevie TAYLOR, 14. ADIO Marchant, 15. Wayne WELBECK, 16. Danny GRIMSHAW.


The notes that follow are based on information from Neil Brown, the Alty Reserves' manager. Any errors are mine.

On a very difficult, bobbly surface and watched by first team manager Graham Heathcote , Altrincham got off to a good start. Fielding three first-teamers (Lugsden, Thornley and Wright) up front, Alty adopted a 3-4-3 formation. Lugsden played on the right, Wright on the left and Thornley in the centre. The back three comprised Connolly on the right, Brindle on the left and Melling as the central defender. In midfield, Tooth was on the left, Brown on the right with Tilley and Marsden in the centre.

Alty took an early lead following a free kick, 30 yards out. Wright took the kick and the ball was nodded down before it ran to Brindle who ran onto the ball and hit it low and firmly into the net from 12 yards (5 mins).

The game went through a scrappy spell but Chorley's speedy left winger caused Alty some problems. Altrincham scored their second goal after winning a corner. As Brown placed the ball for the corner, Wright made a run for a short corner but then peeled off back into the area. Wright then turned back at the last minute and met Brown's low, firmly hit corner with a flick which took the ball into the top of the net (12 mins).

Up front Lugsden was showing his usual high degree of effort and both he and Thornley made some good runs on goal. In response to Alty's early dominance, Chorley switched things to pit three strikers against the Alty back three from about the 20-minute mark. However, Alty boss Neil Brown now decided to switch to 4-4-2 to handle the Chorley threat, with Tooth moving to left-back. But Alty continued to do well, especially on the right through Brown, Lugsden and Thornley, who had a couple of close efforts. Alty then made another tactical switch with Marsden reverting to right-back as Connolly moved into midfield.

The game went through a niggly patch which saw a Chorley player yellow-carded after a skirmish with Marsden. But half-time came with Altrincham still two up.


At half-time Altrincham determined to use space and low fast balls into the danger areas rather than attempt to play neat football on the bobbly surface. After 50 minutes Stevie Taylor came on for Connolly. So, Tilley moved into right central midfield as Taylor occupied the left. Tilley had another fine game for Altrincham and Taylor was soon showing great determination as he closed down the opposition tenaciously.

The game was now evenly contested but a couple of dubious offside decisions stopped threats from Rod Thornley, whilst Kieran Lugsden also continued to impress up front. Soon after the hour mark Alty brought on Adio Marchant for Mike Brown as play continued from end to end. After 67 minutes Altrincham brought on debutant Welbeck for Tilley, who had given a man of the match performance.

Goalkeeper Liddiard had little to do but really excelled with a magnificent diving catch from a close-range volley which was hit with great power (70 mins). But then a good aerial leap by Peter Wright saw him win a header but in his headed follow-through he caught the back of the head of his opponent and went down injured (72 mins). At first his injury did not look too bad and after going off for treatment he came back on with about ten minutes left. But after a couple of minutes manager Neil Brown saw that he was more badly injured than first thought and overrode the player's wish to stay on the pitch. After the match Rod Thornley took Wright to Hope Hospital where, after an x-ray, he was found to have fractured his cheek-bone. He is likely to be out of action for three or four weeks.