Match Reports, 2003-04


FA Youth Cup, 2nd Preliminary Round Match
played at Moss Lane,
on Friday, 19 September, 2003, at 7.45pm.


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

PICKERING TOWN YOUTH (All yellow): 1. Andrew SLAUGHTER, 2. Tom PRINGLE, 3. Carl COOK, 4. Ryan MERRON, 5. Paul HODGSON, 6. Mark BARBER, 7. George ROSS (capt.), 8. Dean CRAIG, 9. Drew NcCOUBREY, 10. Steven BAXTER, 11. Damian COX. Subs: 12. Alex MACRAE, 14. Andy WAGGITT, 15. Tom BARKER, 16. Gary WARDELL, 17. Rob MacKENZIE (gk).


With Barry George called up to play as the sighted goalkeeper for the England Partially-Sighted XI, Alty brought in former Manchester City youngster Ashley Timms in goal. Ashley has featured in two Alty first-team games recently and last season played in City's Youth team which reached the semi-finals of this competition. The only other change from the last Round of the Youth Cup was that Josh Collins started tonight whilst David Neville was on the bench.

As in the last round against Radcliffe, Pickering were something of an unknown quantity though manager George Heslop had watched their win in the previous round at Chadderton. The North Yorkshire side soon proved they would be strong opposition when they took a two-goal lead inside seven minutes. The first goal came from a low corner on the left taken by Pringle which Merron knocked in, unchallenged, from close range at the near post (5 mins). Then Pringle fed Baxter whose low cross from the right was knocked in by Cox from almost the same spot from which Merron had scored the earlier goal (7 mins). Altrincham were reeling as George Heslop and Neil Thomason exhorted their team to settle down. Rain was now pouring down and after a Collins move with Lunt had been ended, Pickering won another corner on the left, but this was cleared. At last Altrincham put together a good move when, from one of many superb clearances from Timms, Collins put Lunt clear and his cross found Kieran Lugsden arriving in the box but, under a good challenge, the Alty man could not turn the ball into the net (15 mins).

This signalled an overall improvement in the home side's play and soon an effort from Kelvin Lugsden needed a good save from Slaughter (18 mins). Then, from Frost's free-kick, Kieran Lugsden's back-header just evaded Steve Lunt and ran to the keeper. Collins then drove well over from 30 yards (24 mins) before Slaughter just beat Kieran Lugsden to Chalmers's flick but the keeper injured his right shoulder in the process (25 mins). After treatment, Slaughter had to come off and MacKenzie took over in goal for Pickering.

Pickering's Hodgson was soon booked for a foul from behind on Kieran Lugsden and from Tooth's fine free-kick the new keeper punched clear well. Next, a superb cross from Collins on the left found Kelvin Lugsden unmarked in the box but his header from about 12 yards out went over the bar (30 mins). Pringle then conceded a corner to Alty; Douthwaite's corner was cleared out to Frost whose shot just cleared the bar. Even at this early stage MacKenzie seemed in no rush to keep proceedings moving as he went into Golf Road terrace to retrieve a ball and then chose not to climb the fence but to walk slowly back behind the barrier to the corner flag before re-entering the field of play. Shortly, after another good ball from Collins had been taken by the keeper, Merron became the second Pickering player to be booked for a foul on Lunt near half-way. Following the free-kick, Collins lashed in a shot which was blocked but the rebound fell to Lunt whose effort was also blocked (37 mins). With Alty now on top, Kieran Lugsden shot over from 22 yards (38 mins). Yet another lengthy clearance from Timms found Kelvin Lugsden in the clear but he shot wide of the keeper's right upright (41 mins).

Pickering enjoyed some pressure in the closing minutes of the half but McCoubrey cleared the bar from 20 yards with his shot (44 mins). Half time arrived with Alty still two behind but playing well enough now to suggest that the game was not yet over.


Pickering kicked-off the second half attacking the Golf Road End. An early ball into the box from Kelvin Lugsden saw the keeper fumble a routine catch (47 mins). As in the first half, Pickering won a fairly early corner but this was cleared (50 mins). It was now raining again as Chalmers won possession well and Kelvin Lugsden found his brother, whose header was well saved (53 mins). However, Pickering soon won another corner. After this, Kieran Lugsden was brought down as he advanced from his brother's pass. The offender Merron had already been booked, and was arguably the last man, but a free-kick was the only action taken which was probably a fair decision in the context of a game that was played in a good spirit (57 mins). Frost drove the free-kick well over the bar from 30 yards. The half had been fairly even and with relatively few goal chances till Chalmers advanced on the right and from his ball into the box, defender Cook's header skimmed backwards to Lunt who fought off a challenge to poke the ball past the keeper from close range from much the same spot as the game's previous two goals had been scored (59 mins).

Cox won his side another corner on the left which was cleared before an error from MacKenzie, who missed the ball as Lunt challenged, saw the ball run wide to Kieran Lugsden, right of the goal. He got the ball to Chalmers whose well struck low shot was well saved by the keeper (62 mins). Soon Chalmers took a long throw from the Alty right which Kieran Lugsden nodded on near the penalty spot to Lunt, at the back post and he found the net again from close range to level the scores (64 mins).

Pickering now brought on Barker and soon won another corner, their fifth of the half, which Timms half-punched clear. Timms, whose lengthy kicked clearances had impressed so far, then made a superb 60 yard throw-out to a colleague on the right to set up another attack from which Kieran Lugsden was fouled. Another freekick soon followed with Chalmers the victim. Timms took the kick from just outside the centre-circle, some 40 yards from goal. He struck fiercely and with a low trajectory. Chalmers bravely got his head in its way and produced a finger-tip save by McKenzie, which gave Alty a corner. Altrincham were now on top as Neville came on for Bailey who appeared to have injured himself a few minutes earlier when making a tackle (72 mins). Kelvin Lugsden now moved to centre-back to accommodate Neville in midfield.

Douthwaite then did well to promote an attack which ended with a good save (76 mins). Timms now made a very uncharacteristic error with a double mis-kick but McCoubrey's shot failed to take advantage and Timms regained possession. Pickering began to come back a bit more into the game before Alty made a swap with Stuart Cook replacing Josh Collins (83 mins). Neville then had an effort blocked and Pickering broke away with Baxter feeding McCoubrey who had got behind the Alty defence. Timms rushed out and made an excellent save with his legs from the Pickering striker's shot (87 mins). This was the turning point. Shortly afterwards, Cook found Chalmers whose fine ball found Lunt. Steve's close-range shot seemed to go through the keeper and into the net to make it 3-2 (88 mins). Immediately, Pickering replaced by Barber by Waggitt. Altrincham then played the ball about well with Douthwaite and Cook prominent on the right and earning a corner. The final whistle arrived soon afterwards with Altrincham having secured a narrow but eventually deserved win after a slow start.

Steve Lunt's hat-trick of goals was backed up by a good performance from the whole team once they had settled down, following their traumatic opening ten minutes. Alty now meet Hallam, who beat Barrow in controversial circumstances tonight, their winner allegedly coming after a handball. The next round has to be played by 4 October with the winners progressing to the 1st Round Proper where league teams enter the competition.