Match Reports, 2003-04


NW Youth Alliance
League Match
on Sunday, 28 March, 2004, at 2pm.


ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH (Pale blue shirts, white shorts, pale blue socks): 1. Chris ROWLEY, 2. Adam DOUTHWAITE, 3. Matt TOOTH, 4. Steven HOWARTH, 5. Josh COLLINS, 6. Kelvin LUGSDEN, 7. Paul LEWIS, 8. Andy THORPE, 9. Sam CAWTHRA, 10. Steve LUNT (capt.), 11. Danny GRIMSHAW. Subs: 12. Adam BALL, 14. Stuart COOK, 18. Barry GEORGE (gk).

ASHTON ATHLETIC YOUTH (Red and black hooped shirts, blue shorts and socks)


Visiting the grounds of NW Youth Alliance teams spectators become aware of the excellent facilities available at many of the smaller clubs in the North West. Ashton Athletic, for instance, whose first team plays in the Air Miles Manchester League Division One, have a fine club house and two pitches for use by all age groups, located next to the M6 at Ashton in Makerfield. The club has been going through some recent difficulties at youth level and had only been able to field seven players in a couple of recent games. Today, however, they had a full eleven but several players were starting the game whilst less than fully fit. Despite these dificulties and being at the wrong end of the table, they gave a creditable performance today.

Altrincham themselves were without six regulars, all of whom were County capped players (George, Frost, Chambers, Taylor, Connor and Kieran Lugsden). Indeed, Connor had been forced to drop out at the last minute through injury, having been named on the teamsheet, whilst George ran the line having suffered a hand injury which prevented him from playing today. His absence gave a chance to Chris Rowley in goal, whilst recently signed players Sam Cawthra and Danny Grimshaw also got starts today.

Alty had the ball in the net inside 45 seconds, through Lugsden, but the goal was ruled out for offside. However, they did take the lead legitimately after three minutes when Lunt and Cawthra exchanged passes up the left and the Alty captain finished off the move. They almost doubled the score a minute later but Cawthra sliced his shot wide. The visitors were pasing the ball about well even though the pitch was bobbly after the recent dry spell. But it was Ashton who won the game's first corner and soon after this, Chris Rowley did well when Ashton's no.9 got free and the Alty keeper had to rush out to block his effort. Generally, however, Collins and Howarth were forming a solid central defence for Altrincham with Douthwaite and Tooth as dependable as ever on the defensive flanks.

After Kelvin Lugsden had had two shots blocked, Alty won two corners in quick succession before Cawthra got in a shot from 20 yards which went wide (15 mins). Cawthra then had an even longer range shot which the keeper held before Lunt curled a 25 yarder just wide (22 mins). Rowley briefly saw some action as he kicked clear and then he also caught a freekick well, from the left (24 mins). Alty soon won two corners as they enjoyed the lion's share of the game. A Kelvin Lugsden shot was then saved as Alty created more chances but failed to convert them. Next, Lunt advanced well to the left of goal but his shot went across the face of the target (34 mins). A fine cross from Tooth then almost produced an own goal by Ashton before a Thorpe half volley prompted a good save after excellent work from Lunt and Cawthra on the left (37 mins). Lugsden then headed wide before Alty won another corner.

At this point Ashton brought on their number twelve for the injured number five (40 mins). Cawthra had another effort saved as half-time approached but the interval arrived with all of Altrincham's pressure only producing a one-goal lead.


The lead was doubled immediately after the break. An early Altrincham corner, from the right, was sliced into his own net by an Ashton defender to make it 0-2 (46 mins). Andy Thorpe then broke the offside trap but was tackled as he shot. The keeper saved his shot well and Andy was hurt in the process (49 mins). Another Alty corner soon followed which the keeper punched clear whilst his Alty counterpart remained a spectator at the other end, until called upon to make a good catch (58 mins). Thorpe was then clattered near the half way line and got up to exact revenge which resulted in a booking for him and the Ashton number eleven (61 mins).

After Collins had been off the pitch briefly for attention to a facial injury, Ashton now enjoyed a spell of possession. But soon Lunt had a shot blocked from 20 yards before Kelvin Lugsden was hurt by a fierce tackle in midfield (74 mins). When, soon afterwards, the Ashton number eleven brought down Steve Lunt inside the box it was a clear penalty and also brought a second yellow card for the offender. With Ashton now reduced to ten men, Tooth compounded their misery by sending the keeper the wrong way from the spot to make it 3-0 to Altrincham (75 mins). Now, Kelvin Lugsden had to limp off to be replaced by Stuart Cook.

Cawthra was then tripped on the edge of the box but Tooth drove the freekick well over the bar before Adam Ball came on for Grimshaw (80 mins). A foul on Lunt, again just outside the box, saw another Alty freekick driven over the bar, this time by Lewis. A late attack by Ashton saw the no.8 get clean through but Rowley came out well to save. Cawthra then wrapped things up for Alty when he was played in behind the defence and finished well (88 mins).

For a side with so many enforced changes, this was a good performance from Altrincham and their result was made all the better with news that their title rivals St Helens Town had lost to Marine this afternoon.