Match Reports, 2003-04

MARINE "A" (1) 1

NW Youth Alliance
Premier Division game
on Sunday, 2 May, 2004
at Moss Lane, k.o. 2pm.


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

MARINE A (Yellow shirts, green shorts & socks). 1. Andy McGURGAN, 2. Peter LONG, 3. Neil MORGAN, 4. John McGURGAN, 5. John KEARNEY, 6. Mike SANTANGELLI, 7. Terry ETIM, 8. Andy SUMMERS, 9. Neil RIMMER, 10. Kevin GIBBONS, 11. Larry MILLER. Subs: 12. Ben BARNES, 14. Gary LEE, 15. Robbie DILLON, 16. John MAGUIRE.


Altrincham were already the NWYA Premier Division champions before kick-off but a point today would ensure a second-place finish for Marine.

After their game away to Leigh RMI yesterday, Alty made some changes, with Josh Collins starting on the bench as Alex Frost returned to the starting line-up. Up front, Danny Grimshaw started in place of Stuart Cook, who was named as a substitute.

The game and Altrincham, in particular, got off to a quiet start, with Etim's shot wide of the target one of the few moments of note in the opening stages (11 mins). Play was largely taking place in the Altrincham half as Marine set out to win points rather than defend the status quo as they sought to secure the runners-up spot. But, against the run of play, Altrincham took the lead with an impressive goal. Douthwaite's well-judged ball up the right yielded a throw-in to his side. From the throw, the ball came to Grimshaw, who turned past his man and lashed a superb shot into the top of the net from 20 yards out towards the right touchline (18 mins).

For Marine, Long was looking impressive on the right but Alty soon had to re-adjust when Stevie Taylor had to limp off with what looked like a knee injury. He was replaced on the left by Josh Collins (24 mins). Almost immediately, Josh got in a shot from the left which cleared the bar (25 mins). Marine continued to press and when a cross from John McGurgan from the right was headed clear by Douthwaite, it fell to Santangelli who rifled it, low into the net to the right of Barry George to make it 1-1 (26 mins).

Alty responded with a good combination on the left between Collins and Grimshaw which ended with the latter's rasping shot just clearing the bar (34 mins). Soon afterwards, Chalmers fed Lunt for a half-hit shot which went just wide of the goal (36 mins). Alty then won a corner on the right, taken by Lewis. Grimshaw tried to flick the low ball in as it crossed the goalmouth but it was cleared (38 mins). Lunt then went down in the box but no penalty resulted as Alty enjoyed their best spell of the half. A foul on Lewis Chalmers on the Alty left yielded a freekick 25 yards out. Tooth's freekick was well headed by Grimshaw but Andy McGurgan did well to tip it over the bar for another corner to Altrincham on their right (42 mins). After this had been cleared, Douthwaite did well to ease out Gibbons and the ball ran to George's waiting hands (44 mins). As halftime approached, Lugsden headed clear a Marine freekick and the interval arrived with the score level.


Alty brought on Adam Ball for Paul Lewis at the interval. Rimmer fired in an early shot at Alty's goal but it drifted wide across goal (47 mins). Then Ball's cross at the other end saw Connor's header clear the bar (49 mins). Rimmer was soon in action again forcing a save from George, low down. Two Marine corners then followed as the visitors again pressed forward. But Alty then won a corner themselves (67 mins) before the third Marine injury of the half needed treatment.

Marine went close soon afterwards when a header hit the bar and the rebound evaded George's grasp, but was eventually cleared (71 mins). Marine now brought on Dillon for Summers (72 mins). But Alty won the next corner though Tooth's flagkick was cleared before Douthwaite halted any Marine thoughts of a counter-attack.

Alty went ahead after 74 minutes when a fine shot from distance by Tooth came back off McGurgan's right upright and fell for Lunt. He managed to get his foot over the awkwardly bouncing ball to knock it into the ground and into the net to record his 29th youth-team goal this season and to make it 2-1. Lunt was substituted ten minutes later, with Stuart Cook replacing him up front. Marine pressed for an equaliser but George saved well once again before their substitute, Maguire shot wide (89 mins). Three minutes into added time, goalkeeper Barry George made a huge downfield kick which caused his opposite number some difficulty. The Marine keeper was drawn forward, in case the ball reached the lurking Grimshaw, and as a result had to scamper back when the ball cleared him. However, the keeper managed to get a hand to the ball to divert it for a corner and prevent George from scoring. Another long kick by George then set Cook free but he elected to shoot from distance and his effort went wide of the target, with an unexpected six minutes of added time already on the clock. Finally the referee concluded the proceedings after a 52-minute second half.

Alty stepped forward to receive their trophy and medals from former Manchester United goalkeeper, Jack Crompton. Today's win rounded off a highly successful season which had also seen the team win the NWYA Premier Cup. Since their last defeat, at Marine in February, Altrincham had finished the season with seven straight league wins and their second goal today was their hundredth in all competitions this season. As well as the lads themselves, the management duo of George Heslop and Neil Thomason are to be applauded for this great achievement.