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Cheshire League Memorial Cup Final
played at The J. Davidson Stadium, Altrincham FC
on Tuesday, 29 October 2019, at 7.45pm


On a cold Tuesday night at the J. Davidson Stadium, Altrincham lifted the Cheshire Football League Memorial Cup after overcoming Whaley Bridge Athletic 4-1.

Altrincham went ahead in the fourth minute. But James O'Hara paid a high price for netting the opening goal, at the back post from a corner, as he ended up in the back of the net and, after lengthy treatment, had to be stretchered off with a leg injury.

Max Harrop netted a second goal in the 16th minute when his 25 yard freekick evaded the visitors' keeper. A fine run and finish by Luke Wall made it 3-0 in the 24th minute.

The second half was a more even affair but Alty added a fourth goal in the 52nd minute when Curtis Miller finished smartly. Athletic's German scored a consolation goal following a Whaley Bridge corner in the 70th minute.



First-team manager Phil Parkinson was a spectator as an Altrincham starting eleven that included Toby Mullarkey, Max Harrop and new signing Luke Wall, took to the field after more than a month's first-team inaction at the J. Davidson Stadium due to postponements and away cup ties.

In the Alty midfield was 35 year-old David Fox, who has a substantial pedigree in the EFL. Having started at Manchester United, a loan to Royal Antwerp was followed by a spell at Shrewsbury Town. A three-year stay at Blackpool followed from 2006 and he made nearly 100 appearances for the Seasiders. After time at Colchester United, Norwich City, Barnsley and Crewe Alexandra, he made well over 100 appearances for Plymouth Argyle. He also has England representative caps at under-16, -17, -19 and -20 level.

Alty also included Dontai Gabidon and Lewis Salmon who have both been playing for Trafford this season under dual registration arrangements. Many of the remaining Reserves' line up comprised players who have been on the fringes of the first team in recent years, with captain Rhain Davis a notable example.


ALTRINCHAM RESERVES (Red & white striped shorts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Joel TORRANCE, 2. Callum GRAHAM, 3. Dontai GABIDON, 4. David FOX, 5. Toby MULLARKEY, 6. James O'HARA, 7. Curtis MILLER, 8. Max HARROP, 9. Lewis SALMON, 10. Rhain DAVIS (c), 11. Luke WALL. Subs: 12. Tom CLARKE, 14. Max POUNCEY, 15. Billy MATTHEWS.

WHALEY BRIDGE ATHLETIC (All dark blue) 1.Joel Fletcher, 2. Will Bailey, 3. Rick Hindley, 4. Dan Gilbride (c), 5. Mark German, 6. David Dunn, 7. Bill Sutton, 8. Rob Potter, 9. Georgi Whyment, 10. Liam Millen, 11. Owen Pentfield. Subs: 12. Jack Gregory, 14. James Gemmell, 15. Sam Leadbetter, 16. Jason Broome, 17. Jamie Kay.


Altrincham were in this Memorial Cup Final between the Cheshire League winners and league cup winners by default, having been pipped to the title last season by Rylands, who have since moved to the NW Counties Football League. The game should have been played months ago but the protracted reservoir-dam problems at Whaley Bridge had led to a delay.


After Altrincham had won a first-minute corner, a second home corner arrived shortly afterwards. From the right, the ball was allowed to bounce in the Bridge goalmouth and James O'Hara bundled it in at the back post (4 mins). As he scored O'Hara was knocked into the net/upright and suffered a leg injury which necessitated some five minutes treatment in the goal-net before he was sadly stretchered off. The substitute was fellow defender Tom Clarke, also an Alty Youth team graduate (10 mins).

After another Alty corner had proved unproductive, Altrincham won a freekick 25 yards out, right of centre. Max Harrop took the kick and his low drive evaded keeper Fletcher to make it 2-0 (16 mins). Whaley Bridge made a change in the eighteenth minute as Broome replaced Sutton. This was unexpected as Sutton had just put in a testing cross from the right but none of his team-mates had got on the end of it.

Altrincham made 3-0 in the 24th minute, thanks to a fine goal from debutant Luke Wall, Alty's recent arrival from Witton Albion. The tall left-winger went past two men as he glided forard and inwards from the left before stroking a right-foot shot past the exposed keeper.

Alty were well on top as Gabidon went on an impressive run but he put his shot just wide (25 mins).

Whaley Bridge's first meaningful shot went over the bar just after the half-hour mark. Next, Salmon was unable to convert an excellent cross from Wall before Broome was booked for a foul on Gabidon (38 mins). After Bridge had made a second change with Leadbetter replacing Whyment (41 mins), Millen was then booked for a wild challenge on Gabidon which the left-back fortunately managed to avoid (42 mins).


The visitors started the second half on a better note but, seven minutes after the break, Altrincham made it 4-0. Harrop, Salmon and Miller combined before the last named jinked past a challenge inside the box before slotting the ball into the net (52 mins).

Following an Alty corner won by Gabidon, Whaley Bridge made their final change as Gemmell replaced Pentfield (59 mins).

Salmon then hit the sidenetting as Alty enjoyed spells of passing the ball accurately around the back and midfield. Next, Whaley Bridge won a corner, through their captain Gilbride, whose effort was deflected narrowly wide. From the right, the corner-ball evaded goalkeeper Torrance's jump and, in similar fashion to Alty's opening goal, it was bundled home at the back post by German (70 mins).

Max Pouncey now came on for Graham (76 mins) and, three minutes from time, Whaley lost a man to cramp and completed the game with ten men. The final whistle signalled a comfortable victory for the hosts.