ALTRINCHAM RESERVES (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Anthony CUMMINS, 2. Aaron EDWARDS, 4. Karl MUNROE, 12. Stephen ROSE, 3. Keith WEDGE (capt), 7. Lewis CHALMERS, 6. Cabba BAGDIGI, 8. Daniel HEFFERNAN, 11. Pat McFADDEN; 9. Lee HENDLEY, 10. Astley MULHOLLAND. Subs: 1* Chris ROWLEY (gk), 14. Kieran LUGSDEN, 15. Lee MANNION, 16. Colin McALLISTER, 17. Mike BROWN.
Both teams had their problems before kick-off. Alty centre-back Colin McAllister was involved in a traffic accident and only arrived after kick-off so the team had to be re-jigged, with the versatile Aaron Edwards moving to right-back, having started the last friendly game up front. Guiseley were delayed by heavy traffic, in which a factor was the England international up the road at Old Trafford. So, after arriving just before the official kick-off time, Guiseley got changed and were then given ten minutes out on the pitch to warm up before the game got under way at 8pm. In the period of delay there was nothing to be done but sample one of Keith Davey's excellent Cornish pasties in the new mobile refreshment facility at Moss Lane! It was a dull evening, which was to turn increasingly wet and soon the floodlights had to be switched on but a decent crowd of eighty or so were there to witness an entertaining game played in a good spirit.
Altrincham included six members of the first-team squad in their sixteen tonight but none of them had played more than 11 minutes of Tuesday's Conference game at Stafford. Altrincham got off to a great start, going ahead after five minutes following a Chalmers throw when Hendley curled a shot into the net, with a slight deflection as he was tackled. Two minutes later, following another throw, this time from the left by Alty captain, Keith Wedge, Hendley won the race with the keeper to reach a low cross from the left and make it 2-0. But as he scored, Hendley went down in obvious pain and after several minutes treatment had to be chaired off the pitch by physio Alan Ainsley and substitute Mike Brown. The injury was later diagnosed as a bad sprain. Kieran Lugsden came on to replace Hendley (9 mins)
Alty continued to press, with Mulholland firing narrowly wide and then Lugsden won Alty a corner. Following this Chalmers, who had a very good game, crossed for Mulholland whose shot forced a very good save. Soon afterwards, McFadden cleverly won a corner whilst Heffernan, too, was looking dangerous going forward. But Guiseley now came back into the game, though for Alty, Rose was looking assured at the back. However, Guiseley then got past Munroe and put in a good shot which came back off the woodwork (20 mins) Then a Guiseley shot forced a save, low down, from Cummins, followed soon by a 20 yard effort which Cummins also stopped (23 mins). Rose was next called in to make an important clearance as Guiseley continued to go forward and they now won a corner. From this, their no.8 had a free header, which went just over the bar. But having defended for some time, Alty went to the other end where Lugsden fed Mulholland for a shot which came off the post and then was cleared for a corner (29 mins). After this Mulholland had two more shots narrowly off target (30 mins).
Alty's powerful midfielder Bagdigi became the first booked player, for a foul, as Guiseley now came back at Alty but soon a Lugsden effort won Alty another corner, followed shortly after by a second earned from a Bagdigi shot which was deflected. From this, Rose slid an effort over the bar. Next, Heffernan forced a fine save with a well hit shot from 30 yards, from which another Alty corner resulted. But Alty's catalogue of unconverted chances continued as Mulholland struck a shot against a defender then Bagdigi forced a decent save. But Guiseley too had their chance as the no.11's 30-yarder dipped just over the bar and as half time approached they won two corners but Rose cleared the second one to preserve Alty's two-goal cushion.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM RESERVES 2 GUISELEY RESERVES 0|
Guiseley started the second half where they had left off, winning another corner before play stopped for lengthy treatment to Stephen Rose's ankle (48 mins), but eventually Alan Ainsley got the defender fit again. Soon, Bagdigi did well and Lugsden and Chalmers forced a defender to concede a flagkick. Then, Lugsden fired a shot over the bar but it was soon his turn to need attention from the physio, from which he emerged fit to play on. A few minutes later Guiseley's no.6 was booked for tripping Chalmers as he advanced to the edge of the box after combining well with Lugsden. Bagdigi put the freekick just wide before Guiseley made a double switch as numbers 14 and 15 replaced 3 and 8. Guiseley won another corner before Alty brought on Lee Mannion and withdrew Bagdigi from midfield (62 mins).
Alty now had McFadden and Lugsden up front, with Mulholland on the right of midfield and soon McFadden won a corner. And Alty came close to a goal soon after this when a great ball from Chalmers set Lugsden on goal and for the third successive match, Kieran saw a shot come back off the frame of the Hale End goal. Alty now swapped Edwards for McAllister at right back (66 mins), the young sub showing no obvious ill effect from his road accident (66 mins). Mannion now forced another good save from the visitors' keeper, with a low shot (67 mins). However, McFadden got an unnecessary booking for kicking the ball away at a throw-in (69 mins) just before Guiseley brought on their no.12. The chances continued to come as a slick Alty move ended with Lugsden sliding the ball just wide. Chalmers was much involved at this stage but it was McFadden's turn to be the next Alty player to fire narrowly off target.
However, Guiseley then won a corner but after this Alty had yet another pot at goal when McFadden's curling shot went narrowly wide of the far post. The same player forced a save after 83 minutes as it began to look as Alty would not add to their two very early goals. Three minutes later Mulholland shot wide before Chalmers fired over following a corner. Chalmers then needed treatment but with the game into the fourth added minute, Kieran Lugsden was brought down just inside the box. Lewis Chalmers despatched the spot-kick calmly, finding the bottom corner of the net, to make it 3-0. On the one hand, the final score was perhaps a little harsh on the visitors who had contributed a lot of attacking football to an entertaining match in wet conditions, but Alty had also failed to convert a hatful of chances.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM RESERVES 3 GUISELEY RESERVES 0|
Compiled by John Laidlar