Match Reports, 2003-04

after extra time.

FA Youth Cup, 1st Preliminary Round Match
played at Stainton Park,
on Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, at 7.30pm.


RADCLIFFE BOROUGH YOUTH (White shirts, black shorts and socks): 1. Greg HALL, 2. Luke LACEY, 3. Robert MASSEY, 4. Matt MALONEY, 5. Sean DEVLIN, 6. Adam McMAHON, 7. Barry HUNT, 8. Thomas THORNE, 9. Chris McMAHON, 10. Alex ROWE, 11. James HICKMAN. Subs: 12. Robert MARSH, 14. Scott DYER, 15. David CLARK, 16. Matt ELWORTHY, 17. Antony LOWE.

ALTRINCHAM YOUTH (Red & white striped shirts, white shorts, red socks): 1. Will ALLMAN, 2. Adam DOUTHWAITE, 3. Matthew TOOTH, 4. Alex FROST (capt.), 5. Michael BAILEY, 6. Kelvin LUGSDEN, 7. Lewis CHALMERS, 8. David NEVILLE, 9. Kieran LUGSDEN, 10. Stephen LUNT, 11. Stevie TAYLOR. Subs: 12. Josh COLLINS, 14. Stuart COOK, 15. Andy THORPE, 16. Paul BREIDENBACH, 18. Clint WALKER (gk).


Radcliffe were an unknown quantity so far as Altrincham were concerned as they were a newly formed team, which had yet to play its first league game in the Altrincham & District Sunday League. However, any suspicion that they would prove easy opposition was immediately dispelled when they twice got behind the Alty defence in the opening couple of minutes. On the first occasion, Rowe shot over the bar when in space and on the second occasion, Alty keeper Allman caught the ball but overstepped the right edge of his penalty area to concede a free-kick, from which Boro' were offside.

Stevie Taylor helped to settle his side by winning a corner at the other end before good work by Neville and some well judged through balls from Chalmers and Douthwaite further helped to calm the Altrincham nerves. After Kieran Lugsden had spent a few minutes off the pitch having attention from Neil Thomason, a Douthwaite cross won another corner for Altrincham on their right. This was soon followed by Frost's winning and taking of a corner on the left. A third corner in as many minutes followed when Neville won one on the right (18 mins). From Douthwaite's kick the Boro' keeper came off his line but could not hold the ball in the air as he was challenged. With Kieran Lugsden and Lewis Chalmers in close attendance it was the former who hooked the ball home to give Alty the lead (19 mins).

From the restart Radcliffe surged up the right through the speedy Hunt but as a cross was driven low into the Alty box, the linesman raised his flag so, although a Radcliffe forward converted the cross, the "goal" did not stand (20 mins). "Let that be a warning to you", shouted Alty manager George Heslop to his defence. Altrincham were now on top as the back four settled down . The Boro' captain, Adam McMahon was booked for a foul on Neville before a shot from Tooth was held from 22 yards by the Boro' keeper. He gave the ball to a nearby defender, on his left, but this player and a colleague interchanged passes across the front of their own box rather then clearing the ball to safety. They were harried by Steve Lunt who dispossessed Maloney, took a couple of strides, and beat keeper Hall comprehensively from inside the box (28 mins)

Alty were now playing some good passing football and keeper Allman was seeing little action at the other end but after a foul by Bailey, a Radcliffe free-kick from their left evaded all the attackers and defenders in the centre of the box and fell to the unmarked Hunt only some 6 yards out, near the right-hand post. He seemed certain to score but somehow the ball seemed to get stuck under his feet and he was challenged and the chance disappeared.

For Alty, Kelvin Lugsden was making some good moves up the right and following one of these his brother won a corner on the right. The sides then exchanged a further corner each following which Kieran Lugsden headed over the bar from Chalmers's astute pass (35 mins). The first half had been littered with various minor injuries and other stoppages so when Alty won another corner after some 42 minutes of elapsed time, half-time was actually to be a further eight minutes away. Altrincham seemed to be fairly comfortably in control until Radcliffe advanced at pace up the right flank and from the resulting low cross, Adam Douthwaite, with his face to goal, turned the ball into his own net as he attempted to clear (39 mins). Radcliffe immediately replaced the limping Massey by Dyer but the score remained 2-1 as referee Cottam blew his whistle for the interval six minutes later to conclude a half which had lasted a generous fifty minutes.


Altrincham won two corners early in the second half as they now attacked down the Stainton Park slope. From the second of these, Lunt got in a good shot from left of goal but he struck the outside of the keeper's right upright (51 mins). Lunt and his striking partner Lugsden then combined well and, when Lunt's shot was blocked, Lugsden had a clear shooting opportunity but dragged his effort across goal and just wide of the keeper's left post (55 mins). Altrincham seemed to be in control but another rapid raid up the Boro' right wing saw Rowe cut in near the by-line and bury a fine left-foot drive into the roof of the Alty net from an acute angle to make it 2-2 (58 mins). Soon afterwards Devlin was booked but Chalmers's resulting free-kick hit the defensive wall. Allman then had to make a good save with his legs from Rowe after good work by Thorne (60 mins). Radcliffe sustained their pressure with two corners in quick succession before Alty replaced Kieran Lugsden up front with Andy Thorpe (74 mins). The dangerous Rowe got in another shot which Allman saved.

Alty made another change when Josh Collins came on for Stevie Taylor (80 mins). A good cross from Douthwaite then saw the Boro' keeper save from Chalmers before the hosts made another change, Adam McMahon being the player replaced (83 mins). After Thorne had hobbled off, Clark soon came on as another substitute for Boro' (86 mins). Having played 50 minutes in the first half, Mr Cottam, who had a good match, somehow found almost nine minutes of added time before normal time ended after a second period approaching 54 minutes in length!

As extra-time began, Alty replaced Bailey by Cook which meant that Kelvin Lugsden moved to partner Frost at centre-back. It took Alty five minutes to restore their lead when Steve Lunt drove home a low shot from the right-centre of the area from a pass from the right. After the breakthrough Altrincham dominated the next few minutes and Collins and Lunt combined for Cook to shoot narrowly wide (97 mins). A blocked Lunt shot yielded an Alty corner soon after this. Shortly before the extra-time break, a fine cross from the right by Douthwaite was met by an excellent header from Chalmers in the centre of the box which made it 4-2 (103 mins). Immediately Boro's keeper Hall switched his jersey with another Boro' player, who took over from him in goal. Hall then donned the no.14 shirt and proceeded to play the rest of the game in midfield, standing out from his team-mates in his yellow goalkeeping socks.

In the second period of extra-time, after some early attacking by Radcliffe, an error by the home side let in Collins for a shot which went just wide (112 mins). As the game entered its last five minutes Neville was booked for a foul. There was then the odd sight of Radcliffe's original keeper Hall, having a pot at Alty's keeper, Allman who made another good save with his legs. As the end approached, Radcliffe won two corners in succession and for the second one their new keeper joined their former keeper in the Alty box to produce a rarely seen spectacle of three goalkeepers simultaneously in the one penalty area. Although the corner was half cleared the ball came out to Lacey, just outside the right front-edge of the box. The full-back delivered a fine shot which sailed into the top of the Alty net from 20 yards to make the score 3-4. Moments later Mr Cottam blew his whistle on proceedings (120 mins).

After a jittery start, Altrincham had seemed to be in control of the tie by the half-hour mark as they led 2-0 but the home side's goal just before the interval switched the impetus to Radcliffe, especially after Alty had failed to convert a couple of early chances in the second half. However, Altrincham were able to raise their game again in extra time but Radcliffe gave them a tough time throughout the tie.

After this Preliminary Round match, Altrincham should have now met Lincolnshire side Louth United in the First Qualifying Round. However, Louth have been in turmoil this summer and withdrew their first team from the Northern Counties East League several weeks ago. Although they have reformed as Grimsby United in the Lincolnshire League, they have withdrawn from the FA Youth Cup and so Altrincham now meet either Chadderton or the Yorkshire side Pickering Town in the Second Qualifying Round at Moss Lane on a date to be determined before 20 September. The winners of that tie have a home match in Qualifying Round Three against either Barrow or one of three Yorkshire teams, Frickley Athletic or Hallam or Pontefract Collieries, in a match to be played by 4 October. Like Louth, Frickley have been having some off-field difficulties and have reportedly disbanded their under-19s' side for this season but presumably will still compete in the Youth Cup.