Lancit Haulage Lancashire League Match
played on Wednesday, 5 October, 2005, at 7.45pm


ALTRINCHAM RESERVES (Red & white striped panels on black shirts, black shorts and socks): 1. Billy BLOWER, 2. Paul MONAGHAN, 3. Kirk HILTON, 4. Colin McALLISTER (capt), 5. Laurence BALL, 6. Nehru McKENZIE, 7. Michael SUTTON, 8. Conall MURTAGH, 9. Lutel JAMES, 10. Pat McFADDEN, 11. Daniel HEFFERNAN. Subs: 14. John MALONEY, 15. Ashley BROWN, 16. Michael BROWN.


As usual there were several changes to the Reserves' line-up as first team squad members were given match practice. Into the line-up came Nehru McKenzie in midfield, Kirk Hilton at left-back and up front, there was a first appearance in a competitive match for Altrincham for Lutel James who had been away at Garforth Town regaining fitness after joining the club in the summer. Laurence Ball came in at centre-back and these four replaced the first teamers who played in the last Reserves' game, Gary Scott, Steve Aspinall, George Melling and Rod Thornley. Ashley and Mike Brown both moved to the bench where they were joined by John Maloney. Paul Monaghan returned at right-back and Daniel Heffernan and Mike Sutton also both started tonight.

Kick off was delayed by 12 minutes as Workington had only arrived after their long journey at around 7pm. Alty won an early corner from Hilton's cross but overall were slow to start. James's flashing shot over the bar after 13 minutes was the first goalmouth action of note. It looked as if the freescoring feats of recent games would be unlikely against a well organised Workington side and, indeed, Alty soon fell behind. The goal came when a ball from their no.10 up the middle set their no.11 free and, with no offside flag being raised, he clipped the ball over the advancing Blower and into the net as defensive cover arrived too late to keep the ball out (18 mins).

Play remained fairly even, with McFadden's underhit shot, as he crossed the front of the box, Alty's best effort in the next ten minutes. This yielded a corner from which James found the side netting. But Altricham were giving the ball away with regularity and looked a different side from the fluent unit which had won by large margins in their last two matches. However, James got in another shot but he curled the ball badly away from goal, to bisect the gap between the upright and corner flag. Two more corners followed for Alty, the latter won by James who was to win at least half a dozen more before the night was out (38 mins). From the second of these corners, McAllister rose well but headed over the bar. Workington caused some problems when the Alty defence allowed a freekick to bounce in their own box but half-time arrived with just the one goal on the scoresheet.


At the interval Ashley Brown came on at left-back for Kirk Hilton in what was, presumably, a pre-arranged swap as Hilton could well be involved for the first team this Saturday. Alty started a little more brightly than they had played in the first period but Heffernan's shot over the bar from 25 yards was their best effort at this stage. For their part Workington's no.8 sliced over the Alty bar (48 mins) before Mike Brown replaced Mike Sutton for Altrincham (50 mins). James then won three corners in as many minutes, all of which came to nothing. Monaghan's foul on the visitors' no.11 gave Workington a freekick on the front left edge of the Alty box but from this the no.10 shot wide (58 mins). James won yet another corner from which Heffernan nodded Brown's kick wide (62 mins). Alty were now enjoying a lot of possession but made another change with Maloney replacing Heffernan (64 mins). A magnificent saving tackle by Ashley Brown on the Workington no.9 as he entered the box was a highlight of the second half, following which Workington brought on no.17 for no.11. A Workington corner was now sandwiched between two more for Alty, both won by James. Then Workington's no.16 came on for no.7 (70 mins).

A fine ball forward by McKenzie for James was just reached by the Reds' keeper ahead of the Alty man and then Mike Brown fed his brother Ashley for a shot which he sliced well wide. Soon afterwards, Monaghan shot even further off target as it looked like defeat loomed for Alty, deapite their dominance of the second half (81 mins). Workington now brought on no.14 for no.8 (84 mins) but there was still drama to come as McAllister arrived late to take the no.17's legs from under him just outside the left-side of the Alty box. McAllister unfortunately compounded his tackle by employing "foul and abusive language" and was promptly shown the red card by the referee (90 mins). So, Alty appeared both to be going to lose and finish with ten men, a view strengthened when Workington wound down the clock by winning two corners in added time. But then, out of nothing, McFadden got onto a ball up the middle and, though driven right by the keeper, kept his head to score a fine goal from a sharp angle to secure a draw and extend Alty's unbeaten run to eight games (90+1 mins).

Whilst not playing at their best, Alty's improved second half performance and their persistence had got their reward against a side that it was hard to believe were near the bottom of the league table.