Match Reports, 2004-05


Lancashire League Match,
played on Tuesday, 15 March, 2005
at Abbey Hey FC, 7.45pm


ALTRINCHAM RESERVES (red & white striped shirts, black shirts, red socks): 1. Spencer LIDDIARD, 2. James MARSDEN, 3. Ashley BROWN, 4. Wayne LEATHER, 5. Laurence BALL, 6. Adam BRINDLE, 7. Paul MONAGHAN, 8. Lewis CHALMERS, 9. Anthony WEALLE, 10. Rico RICHARDS, 11. Danny GRIMSHAW. Subs: 12. Michael BROWN, 13. Todd CUNLIFFE (gk), 14. Kieran W?, 15. Lee NEVILLE, 16. Pat CONNOLLY.


Paul Tilley was rested in advance of his potential involvement in the first-team's Cheshire Senior Cup final and that match also meant that none of the other first-team fringe players were available for the Reserves tonight. Rico Richards was back after illness, up front alongside Anthony Wealle, who had been unavailable for the last game. At the back, Wayne Leather and Adam Brindle returned in an experimental new formation, employing Leather, Brindle and Ball at the back. James Marsden and Ashley Brown were the right and left wing-backs.

Before the match started, manager Neil Brown dropped a bombshell revealing that the popular Alan Ainslie's job as physio was in serious jeopardy as the Alty boss intended to emulate tonight's opposition and advertise for a new physio with a requirement for all candidates to be young, female, six foot tall and blonde.

The Abbey Hey pitch was very muddy, especially on the clubhouse side and it was therefore not surprising that most of Morecambe's early attacks went up the far side. Their first effort of note was a shot just over the bar, which was soon followed by an offside "goal" from a move up the middle (8 mins). Although Morecambe were seeing more of the ball, Alty were looking fairly comfortable and Wealle was making plenty of forward runs but the tall Morecambe back line was giving little away. At the other end, Ball did well to force the Morecambe no.9 to shoot wide when he got the ball in a threatening position inside the box before a foul on Grimshaw gave Alty a freekick 20 yards out to the right of goal. Chalmers's freekick yielded a corner on the Alty left, taken by Monaghan. The corner-kick prompted a scramble in the Morecambe box and the ball was half-cleared to Richards but he unfortunately directed his close range shot over the bar (16 mins).

Morecambe were soon awarded a dubious corner after the Alty defence had allowed the ball to run out of play but Liddiard punched this well clear. There was plenty of solid tackling as both sides displayed a competitive edge. Leather soon had to be alert to see off the Morecambe no,7 but, following a harsh award against Marsden, just inside the Morecambe half on their left flank, the visitors were awarded a freekick. The Alty defence failed to mark the Morecambe no.9 and when the free-kick came to him he had a straightforward task of sliding the ball past Liddiard from close range to make it 1-0 to the visitors (25 mins).

As well as the gluepot of a pitch, the players were also having to contend with a strong, gusty wind, blowing into the Altrincham end. Chalmers continued to make an impression in midfield but, when he appeared to be tripped in the penalty area "D", he was not awarded a freekick. After Brindle had made an excellent tackle, Morecambe came back with a long ball forward from the right. Liddiard and the visitors' no 9 both went for the ball in the air in the outer reaches of the Alty box and the keeper managed to knock the ball away. Unfortunately, the Morecambe man recovered quickly and knocked the loose ball into the empty net to make it 2-0 (31 mins).

A fine ball from Chalmers to Richards led to a move which ended with Wealle being fouled and then a neat move started by Richards was ended by an offside decision (37 mins). More skill from Richards then set up a decent shot from 25 yards by Wealle. As the interval approached Morecambe brought on no.16 for no.8 (41 mins) and the half ended with Alty caught offside, a pattern to be repeated frequently in the second half.


Any hopes that Altrincham had of a comeback disappeared 45 seconds into the second half when Morecambe made it 3-0. Once again the goal was a close range effort after a ball into the Alty box had found Leather alone with two attackers. Whilst he shepherded one of them away from the ball, the other (no.10) had a simple task of netting from close range (46 mins).

In response Richards got to the by-line and won a corner for Alty. Soon, from Monaghan's feed, Richards again got to the by-line, right of goal, and this time he was able to cross to Wealle who knocked the ball into the net from close range to make it 1-3 (51 mins). But as Alty pressed to get another goal a quick break by Morecambe's no.9 up the inside right channel saw his ball into the box half cleared by Leather only for the no.10 to score his second and Morecambe's fourth goal (55 mins). All four goals had been close-range efforts which had exploited loose marking in the box.

Alty immediately made a change with Richards replaced by midfielder Kieran W. so Danny Grimshaw was now pushed forward alongside Wealle. Just 2 minutes after his appearance the sub went down injured but limped on after treatment. Liddiard produced a good save from Morecambe's no.7 before Alty won an unexpected corner when the visitors' keeper allowed the ball to run out of play thinking it was a goalkick. The corner, from the left, was cleared off the line before Alty were forced to take off Kieran, as well as Wayne Leather, and replace them with Lee Neville and Mike Brown (62 mins). A Morecambe attack up the right produced a low cross which was almost turned in by an attacker before Wealle turned well at the other end to shoot over the bar (65 mins).

A fearless tackle from Marsden saw him and Morecambe's no.11 injured and the Morecambe man had to be carried off (69 mins) and was replaced by no.15 (71 mins). Next, a Monaghan freekick won his side a corner, which was immediately followed by two more flag-kicks but Morecambe held firm despite this pressure. The visitors made another change with no.12 replacing the two-goal no.9 as Alty continued to have the upper hand at this stage. But Liddiard had to make a good block when the no.16 broke away (86 mins). For Alty, Wealle was getting frustrated as he was repeatedly caught offside. With the game in added time Ball's timely clearance preceded a long range Morecambe shot from the right which kissed the top of the Alty cross bar.

Though the scoreline suggested a heavy defeat, Altrincham had enjoyed a lot of possession especially in the second half and had won the corner count comfortably but defensive lapses were punished harshly by the visitors' impressive strikers, at least one of whom had first-team experience.