Match Reports, 2003-04


NW Youth Alliance
Premier Division game
on Sunday, 2 May, 2004.


Some of the RMI players' names were illegible on the teamsheet and the subs' numbers were not correct...

LEIGH RMI ACADEMY (Colours: all yellow) : 1. RALPH, 2. JONES, 3. ?, 4. FISHER, 5. JOHNSON, 6. HALLEWELL, 7. COOK, 8. SMITH, 9. WALLACE?, 10. DAVENPORT?, 11. DUNN?. Subs: 12. TUNNICLIFF?, 14. WILSON, 15. O'NEIL

ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH (Colours: blue shirts & socks, white shorts): 1. Barry GEORGE, 2. Adam DOUTHWAITE, 3. Matt TOOTH, 4. Josh COLLINS, 5. Kelvin LUGSDEN, 6. Joe CONNOR, 7. Lewis CHALMERS, 8. Paul LEWIS, 9. Steve LUNT, 10. Stuart COOK, 11. Stevie TAYLOR. Subs: 12. Alex FROST, 14. Adam BALL, 15. Andy THORPE, 16. Danny GRIMSHAW, 18. Tom READ (gk).


Finding the ground of Pennington FC at Howe Bridge, between Leigh and Atherton, is not easy. From one direction the sign on Leigh Road is obscured by a House for Sale sign and from the other, a new lamp-post has been placed in front of the notice! After an abortive visit to the Howe Bridge Sports Centre half a mile away, where a cricket match was in progress, and where nearby Atherton Town's ground lay empty, and also to some other disused football pitches round the corner, your correspondent arrived a little late for kick-off.

The ground itself sits on a hill and has a sloping pitch covered in daisies and dandelions. The first thing to get accustomed to was seeing Leigh wearing former first-team shirts emblazoned with their ex-owners' names, including that of Altrincham's Ged Kielty (no.8)!

It took Alty some time to get used to the bobbly, sloping surface and the opening stages were fairly unmemorable all round. Cook headed over the bar after 18 minutes but it was RMI who took the lead after 27 minutes. Following a mix-up involving Kelvin Lugsden and Josh Collins, the ball came to Leigh's no.11 who drove a low shot along the bobbly surface from 20 yards which beat George to enter the net off his right-hand post.

Alty responded with a shot by Chalmers, following a Stevie Taylor throw on the left. Another defensive mix-up gave Leigh a freekick on the front edge of the box but this came to nothing (33 mins). At last, Alty upped their game and from a cross by Taylor, Lunt laid the ball off for Cook, whose well-struck shot went narrowly wide (34 mins). A minute later, however, Lunt got clear and finished well from 15 yards (35 mins).

Alty were now playing well and Taylor and Lunt soon threatened again. Then Chalmers's well judged pass found Taylor on the left and his cross found Cook for a header, narrowly wide (39 mins). Alty continued to dominate the closing stages of the half and, when Lunt got free on the left, Ralph did well to hold his cross as it was deflected by his own centre-back's header (39 mins). Half-time arrived with the scores level and Alty's performance having improved as the half had progressed.


With another game tomorrow to consider, Alty brought on Thorpe for Cook up front at half-time. Alty won three early corners but in the early stages of the half manager George Heslop was concerned that his side were playing without enough width (55 mins).

Leigh already had a no.14 on the pitch when no.19 joined him in place of Jones.

A neat move between Chalmers, Thorpe and Lunt saw the last-named shoot wide (65 mins). A freekick for handball was then driven well over the bar by Chalmers before Leigh won a corner. Next, after a foul on Lunt in midfield, a Stevie Taylor cross just evaded Chalmers at the back post (67 mins). Goalkeeper Barry George and his defence were seeing little of the ball but he caught a Leigh freekick well (69 mins).

Thorpe then threatened at the other end but the keeper held the ball at the second attempt (72 mins). Thorpe also nearly took advantage when Ralph took two attempts to hold a 25-yarder from Tooth (73 mins).

Alty now brought on Grimshaw for Taylor on the left (75 mins). A corner soon followed and from Lewis's well struck flag-kick, Lunt headed just over the bar. Leigh used their third sub when a no.17 replaced the no.8, Smith, who had had a good game. Thorpe then sprang the offside trap but shot just wide (79 mins).

Next, Lunt shot over the bar from the edge of the box as Alty continued on top (80 mins). After good work from Lewis on the right, Grimshaw was closed down by the Leigh defence. However, Alty got ahead when an excellent cross from the left by Tooth was expertly and firmly volleyed home from close range by Lunt from 10 yards (82 mins). Then, a fine move involving Grimshaw, Connor, Chalmers and Connor saw the last-named shoot just over the bar (83 mins). When keeper Ralph's clearance set the Leigh no.17 clear, George rushed out to make a good block on the edge of the box (84 mins). Then Alex Frost came on to replace Kelvin Lugsden at centre-back (84 mins).

Another Tooth cross found Lunt but the ball ran to the keeper before Alty wrapped the game up with a third goal. This came when Chalmers found Lewis, whose pinpoint cross from the right found Grimshaw at the back post and he headed the ball firmly into the net (87 mins).

Alty's win was their seventh league double of the season in a league of eleven teams and they have now hit 98 goals in competitive games in 2003-04.