Match Reports, 2005-06


NW Allied Trophies Open Cup 3rd Round
Sunday, 19 February 2006, at 2.00pm


ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH (Red & white striped shirts shirts, black shorts & red socks) : 1. Lewis BISHOP, 2. Tom BARCLAY, 3. Ashley McGRATH, 4. Richard GRESTY (capt), 5. Danny GRAY, 6. Astley MULHOLLAND, 7. Hassan ZAREH-OURANG, 8. Andy KEOGH, 9. Matty WILLIAMS, 10. Richard CRAWFORD, 11. Anthony DAVIES. Subs: 12. Ben SHANKS-PEPPER, 14. Dean WHITE, 15. Danny BROWN, 17. Kieran RAYNES, 18.Mike PERKINS.

BOOTLE YOUTH (Blue and white) 1. James ARMSTRONG, 7. Jake JOHNSTON, 11. Shaun HARRIS, 15. Carl SAUNDERS, 5. Tom SWEENEY, 4. Tom LONG, 6. James DALEY, 9. --- HARDMAN, 12. Dale WRIGHT, 14. Chris MITCHELL, 20. Stuart SMITH. Subs: 8. Lee CHESWORTH, 19. Chris METCALF, 2. Karl DAVIES, 3. Anthony HANSARD, 17. Ryan CALDWELL.


The Bootle team sheet showed two changes from the starting line-up of a fortnight ago against Altrincham in a tempestuous league match, which Bootle had won 1-0. For their part, Alty had two enforced changes as Ben Deegan and Michael Risk were both suspended following their sendings-off in (and in Ben's case, after) that previous match against today's opponents. Into the Alty side came Danny Gray, replacing Risk at centre-back and Richard Crawford, replacing Deegan up front.

Above: Bootle head for goal against Alty Youth.

Alty took the early initiative but it was Bootle who earned the first corner, after 8 minutes. From this, a Bootle player headed narrowly wide. An excellent ball forward by Zareh-Ourang then found Williams but he was closed down. However, soon afterwards Barclay played another fine ball, fifty yards forward, which Williams headed narrowly wide (14 mins). Bootle responded when Wright got past Gray but the ball was shepherded out by the Alty defence to concede a goalkick.

An excellent Alty passing move up the right orchestrated by Mulholland but also involving Keogh, Crawford and Williams, ended with a fine save by Armstrong from Mulholland's snap shot (18 mins). From the resulting corner, Williams headed over the bar. Gresty was doing well in defence at the other end and he saw off an advance by Hardman. But soon Harris got in a good shot for Bootle which Bishop did well to tip round the post for a corner. Bootle's Long rose well but headed the corner-kick over the bar (24 mins).

Alty then had a corner at the other end, which came to nothing, whilst Bootle replied with a passing move through the Alty midfield . A foul by Wright on Keogh earned him a lecture but the referee was keeping good control of the game which, unlike the previous league encounter between these sides, was played in a generally good spirit.

Next, Alty put together another good passing move, at the end of which Williams shot narrowly over. Then, from a freekick on the left, Mulholland's low kick caused consternation in the Bootle box and after Keogh's effort had been blocked, Gray headed the loose ball against the upright (37 mins). From another freekick from a similar position, left of goal, the Bootle keeper saved the ball at the second attempt. However, the half ended with a Bootle corner, which was won when a shot was well deflected out by Gray, but the interval arrived with the scoresheet blank. Alty had had more shots on goal but Bootle had also created some threatening chances.


Alty started the second half slowly and manager Heslop exhorted his team to "Lift it"! Play was largely compressed along the Alty right in the opening minutes, when more width might have been more productive.Things improved when Mulholland did well to find Davies who fed McGrath on the left and his cross was nodded just wide by Williams (52 mins). In midfield Andy Keogh was having an excellent game but he was rather harshly booked for a trip on Hardman (55 mins). Soon Keogh was shooting narrowly wide and then a good ball from McGrath fed Davies, whose shot from left of goal forced a good save (60 mins).

Bootle's Hardman had to limp off and was replaced by Chesworth whilst Alty brought on White for Crawford (62 mins). A Bootle corner soon followed but, from it ,Wright shot high over the bar. Alty won the next three corners of the game as they upped the pressure. The first came through Williams from Gresty's feed . But all three corners were seen off before Bootle won another corner for themselves as White was forced to head off the line at the near post. Altrincham finally got the breakthrough after 69 minutes when Keogh and Mulholland combined and a ball up the middle was missed by a Bootle defender leaving Williams free to smash home the loose ball from a central position. After this, Harris was spoken to, for a trip on White but then good work by Davies allowed McGrath a shot which he did well to keep down, but the aim was wide. After a move started by Zareh-Ourang had been halted, Gresty did well to to stop a counter-attack, at the cost of a corner which prompted some mayhem in the Alty box until Daley shot just wide (77 mins). Alty now brought on Brown for Keogh, who hobbled off holding the back of his thigh (78 mins). Brown was soon impressing in midfield and won a freekick 25 yards out (80 mins). Mulholland hit this well but the keeper saved his shot.

Bootle now had another substitute, Metcalf, on the pitch but Alty continued to have the upper hand. Davies then cut into the box but his shot was saved (84 mins). A minute later Bootle brought on Caldwell for Wright. An excellent tackle by Gray stopped Smith at the cost of a corner (88 mins) but, after this, McGrath was booked for a foul near half way on Chesworth.

As the game went into injury time, Alty continued to go forward with some controlled passing and McGrath did especially well to get to the by-line, left of goal, but the score remained 1-0 at the final whistle, which followed shortly after this. This was a good win for Altrincham in a well contested match and was all the more impressive for being achieved without two regulars, Deegan and Risk.