Match Reports, 2005-06


NW Allied Trophies
Neil Thomason Trophy Match
Sunday, 27 November 2005 at 1.30pm


ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH (Pale blue shirts, dark blue shorts & socks) : 1. Danny CHEBRIKA, 2. Tom BARCLAY, 3. Ashley McGRATH, 4. Kieran RAYNES, 5. Michael RISK, 6. Astley MULHOLLAND, 7. Richard GRESTY (capt), 8. Andy KEOGH, 9. Ben DEEGAN, 10. Matty WILLIAMS, 11. Anthony DAVIES. Subs: 12. Ben SHANKS-PEPPER, 14. Curtis CONNELL, 15. Michael DARBYSHIRE, 16. Daniel GRAY.


From the side which played for the Altrincham FA last Sunday, Ashley McGrath came in at left-back replacing Tom Bane, who has decided to leave the club. Hassan Zareh-Ourang was ill today, so centre-back and captain Richard Gresty moved to fill Hassan's customary central midfield position. Kieran Raynes, in turn, partnered Michael Risk in central defence. Leigh had beaten Altrincham recently in a league match at their ground so the home side were looking for revenge. Also, they were looking to honour Neil Thomason, the former Alty Youth coach, after whom the Allied Trophies League's Premier Cup competition has been renamed.

In the opening minutes the sides traded attacks with, first, an astute pass from Keogh setting Davies up to win a home corner and then, at the other end, the RMI no.7 ran 40 yards but was headed off at the cost of a throw-in. Next, Leigh won the game's first corner. and the visitors were causing Alty some problems. Indeed, it took a fine tackle by Risk to see off the no.10 inside the Alty box soon afterwards and the Alty management, George Heslop and Tony Spilsbury, were unhappy that their side was giving the ball away too often.

Nevertheless, Richard Gresty did win them their first corner (18 mins). Indeed, Alty were now beginning to get forward but Leigh were dangerous on the break, especially up their right flank. Soon Ben Deegan fed Astley Mulholland but his shot was not hit with full power. Nevertheless, the speedy Alty winger was causing his markers some difficulties (20 mins). But a minute later Matty Williams went on a powerful run in the channel to the left of goal and after passing a defender he crossed accurately to the back post where Ben Deegan rose, unmarked, to head home the opening goal, his second of the weekend after scoring on Saturday for the Cheshire FA side (21 mins).

After Leigh had won a corner, Deegan went close, getting onto a header from Gresty before firing across the face of goal. Barclay then overlapped well on the right and got in a good cross before Gresty's excellent pass again set Deegan going forward. This time, his fierce shot from right of goal forced the keeper to make a fine save, tipping the ball over the bar for a corner (30 mins). Following Davies's corner from the right, the ball came back to him and he fired in another good shot which, again, the keeper did well to tip over the bar.

But despite these threats to the Leigh goal, it was the visitors who equalised soon afterwards. The goal came when the Leigh no.7 got past McGrath on the Alty left and the ball came out from his cross to the no.11 who had time to compose himself before beating Chebrika from 15 yards with a deflected shot through a crowded goalmouth into the net (34 mins).

Following a foul by Leigh, an Alty freekick 30 yards out yielded a corner kick on the left. Deegan rose to meet Davies's flag-kick but headed over the bar (38 mins). Alty almost scored a second goal when Mulholland fed Deegan, who got to the by-line on the right and crossed low into the goalmouth where Williams's attempted finish was cleared off the lline (43 mins). Half time arrived with the scores level.


Leigh brought on no.12 for no.3 at the break and each side had an early attack which was seen off. But then Leigh's no.11 fired in a shot which went narrowly wide only to be countered by a surge forward by Keogh who ran 40 yards up the middle before firing just wide (51 mins). Leigh made a second change soon after this, their no. 14 replacing the hobbling no.7. Leigh then went ahead when a long ball up the middle over the Alty defence forced Chebrika to come out to try to clear but a Leigh man got to it first and hooked it over the Alty keeper leaving Leigh's no.9 with a tap into the unguarded net (54 mins). It could have been worse moments later when McGrath had to head clear off the line from a header following a Leigh corner. Another Leigh corner followed on the hour mark before the visitors' no.2 was booked for a late foul on Gresty in midfield (67 mins).

After being rocked by Leigh's second goal, Alty began to get back at Leigh and went on to dominate the closing stages. First Keogh fired just wide from a move started by Risk (72 mins). Then Deegan got to the by-line but his cross was cleared (75 mins). But with time ticking away, Leigh made their third change, no.16 replacing their first goalscorer, no.11 (81 mins). However, Alty continued to press forward and the pressure finally paid off when Deegan laid the ball off to the advancing Keogh who powered up the middle to plant the ball past the keeper and make it 2-2 (83 mins).

Alty were now completely on top and a fine cross from the left by Davies found Williams but he was unable to turn the ball into the net.(85 mins). After a stoppage for treatment to a Leigh player, Alty finally got the winner when Williams fed Deegan and he smashed the ball home from the edge of the box, just right of goal (86 mins). After the restart an audacious 50 yard lob by Deegan almost found the target but Altrincham saw out the 90 minutes and a generous five minutes of added time to secure their place in the next round.