Match Reports, 2004-05


Lancashire League Match,
played on Wednesday, 15 December, 2004
at Abbey Hey FC


ALTRINCHAM RESERVES: 1. Spencer LIDDIARD, 2. James MARSDEN, 3. Matt TOOTH, 4. George MELLING, 5. Adam BRINDLE, 6. Alex HIGGINS, 7. Paul TILLEY. 8. Lewis CHALMERS, 9. Adio MARCHANT, 10. Adie ORE, 11. Sean SMITH. Subs: 12. Ashley BROWN, 14. Anthony WEALLE, 15. Paul MONAGHAN, 16. Mike BROWN, 18. Sam FOX (gk).



In contrast to their experienced opposition, Sean Smith, Matt Tooth, Paul Tilley and Lewis Chalmers were Alty's only players with any first team experience and they had only made one or two sub appearances each this season. For The Robins, Spencer Liddiard returned in goal after becoming a father last week and Wayne Leather returned at centre-back so Adam Brindle moved to left-back. Lewis Chalmers returned to central midfield where there was a debut for Alex Higgins (23), whose previous clubs include Sheffield Wednesday, Queens Park Rangers, Chester City, Stalybridge Celtic and Boston United.

For their part, Northwich included six players from last Saturday's first-team squad in the Conference, (Connett, Royle, McCarthy, Carratt, Hughes and Quayle) and others were experienced first-teamers not involved last Saturday (Foran, Norris). There were also two old Alty faces in their line-up; Mark Quayle and Jason van Blerk. With Jonny Allan and Neil Brisco suspended and others injured, Vics were looking for replacements for this Saturday's game which explained the presence of Vics' manager Steve Burr, who was accompanied by his chairman, whose son was keeping goal. Alty first-team manager Graham Heathcote was also a spectator.

Player identification was difficult as Vics wore first-team shirts emblazoned with names and squad numbers which were only correct so far as Connett, Foran and Quayle were concerned. In contrast the team sheet numbered the players 1 to 11, so a player wearing, say, no 8 and Garvey's name on his back may or may not have been the no.8 on the teamsheet!

The Goredale Avenue pitch is in heavy use by a number of different teams as well as the Abbey Hey club itself and as a result is quite churned up, producing a very bobbly surface. In the circumstances, the two sides did well to produce an entertaining match.

The first goalmouth action of note came when Tilley's pace on the right got him to the by-line and his low cross caused some problems to the Vics' defence before the danger was cleared (2 mins). Then, a good ball forward from Melling found Marchant who unfortunately lost possession (7 mins). Following a freekick, Vics' Hughes shot over the bar to set a pattern of inaccurate shooting from the visitors. There were few clear openings in the next few minutes with crosses from Tilley and Smith being Alty's most dangerous moments before the 20 minute mark. At the back, the Alty back four was dealing well both with the opposition and the uneven bounce and bobble of the pitch. One of a number of fine tackles from Chalmers in midfield won a freekick but that came to nothing and his central partner, Higgins, was also impressing not only with his control and composure but also with his guidance to his younger team-mates.

The Vics should have scored after 31 minutes when Hughes put a shot over the bar after a cross from the right by the player wearing the no.11 shirt, whose skill and pace on the right were impressive but Brindle, at left-back, was doing a good job on him. Northwich then beat the offside trap up the left but the player in Hadland's shirt (No.7) headed wide (33 mins). Then Quayle too sprang the offside trap but after turning a defender, shot well wide of the far post (34 mins).

Though play had been fairly even, the Vics had the more shooting opportunities in the latter stages of the half but were not hitting the target. Alty were putting together some good approach play but Foran and his defensive colleagues were eating up anything in the air and keeping Ore and Marchant generally under control. But there was a chance, albeit a difficult one, after 43 minutes when Connett came out wide to the right of his goal and cleared the ball to Adio Marchant. Adio teed the ball up for a volley towards the empty net from about 30 yards but, in having to hurry, he put the effort well wide. Then Adio got in a good low shot after excellent work by Ore and Tilley but Connett saved comfortably. Half-time arrived with the game scoreless but with Altrincham having comfortably matched their more experienced opponents.


The second half saw Ore shoot over the bar from 25 yards (47 mins) before Northwich won a freekick. Following this, Quayle fed a colleague for a shot which Liddiard did very well to beat out from left of his goal (53 mins). After a stoppage for a facial injury to Leather, Quayle forced another great stop by Liddiard as the former Alty striker tried to chip the ball over him. However, the offside flag had been raised, in any case. This was Quayle's last involvement as he was substituted by Maxwell. Altrincham then went close as Tilley and Marchant fed Higgins on the right and from his cross, Smith headed just wide at the back post (59 mins). Chalmers continued to get stuck in to his tackling in midfield and from a neat turn by him Tilley was just caught offside in a promising position. Alty now brought on Tony Wealle up front for Adio Marchant, the newcomer having his knee heavily bandaged (62 mins). Almost immediately, Wealle was involved on the right and he found Ore who made space well before shooting narrowly wide from 20 yards (64 mins).

Next, Paul Monaghan came on for Paul Tilley (65 mins) and Ashley Brown replaced Adam Brindle at the same time. Sean Smith moved to left back as Brown took over on the left flank and Monaghan on the right. Altrincham soon won a corner, a rarity in this match. Next, a fine clearance from Melling almost set Wealle free but the striker was just unable to gather the long ball to him.

The game continued in competitive vein and then Northwich made a double change with Glover and Davis replacing nos. 2 and 7 (76 mins). Following a van Blerk foul on Monaghan, Alty won another corner which came out to Melling who lashed a shot over the top. Alty were now on top as Ore fired over the bar from 30 yards; shots were being fired in but none was forcing Connett to any serious action. Alty did get the ball in the net after 82 minutes when Monaghan's shot from right-centre was tapped in at the far post by Wealle, but he was offside. Altrincham continued to look the better side as another tackle from Chalmers got the ball to Ore, who drove wide. Northwich came back in the closing minutes but a draw was probably a fair result and a very creditable one for Altrincham given the number of players with first-team National Conference experience in the Vics' side.