Match Reports, 2005-06


NW Allied Trophies L:eague, Neil Thomason Memorial Trophy, Semi-Final
Sunday, 26 March 2006, at 2.15pm


ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH : 1. Lewis BISHOP, 2. Tom BARCLAY, 3. Ashley McGRATH, 4. Richard GRESTY (capt.), 5. Michael RISK, 6. Astley MULHOLLAND, 7. Hassan ZAREH-OURANG, 8. Andy KEOGH, 9. Richard CRAWFORD, 10. Matty WILLIAMS, 11. Anthony DAVIES. Subs: 12. Kieran RAYNES, 14. Dean WHITE, 15. Danny BROWNE, 17. Ben DEEGAN, 18. Danny CHEBRIKA (gk).

FLEETWOOD HESKETH YOUTH: 1. Jonathon HINE, 2. Ryan JOHNSON, 3. Joe TIERNEY, 4. Neil PIKE, 5. Neil RAMSDEN, 6. Adam PINCH, 7. Shaun FOSTER, 8. Michael BIRKS, 9. David BROOKS, 10. Kieran BELL, 11. Darren PORTER. Subs: 12. Jimmy MARRIOT, 14. Leon ASHBY, 15. Lewis JOHNSON, 16. Mark CHADWICK.


This was the third successive Sunday that Alty should have played Fleetwood Hesketh but this was the first of those three matches actually to take place, the first having been lost due to bad weather in Southport and and the second game being called off when the match officials failed to show. Even the kick off of this afternoon's game was delayed for fifteen minutes after two of the match officials got lost en route. The game finally started in dry but dull and blustery conditions, with Fleetwood having the wind behind them. Alty made an unexpected change with Deegan demoted to the bench after he arrived late for the pre-match routines. Crawford took his place up front.

Alty won the game's first corner (9 mins) but Fleetwood Hesketh soon won one of their own (12 mins). Soon afterwards, the best chance of the opening stages fell to Rick Crawford, put through by a fine pass from Mulholland, but Hine in the visitors' goal did well to block the Alty striker. Almost immediately afterwards, McvGrath made a fine run into the box left of goal but ran out of space at the by-line.

With Alty now on top, Williams was the next to threaten in the Fleetwood penalty area but Alty's defence had to be alert as Brooks ran 30 yards forward but was shepherded out to the left. Next, Gresty won the ball well and, via Davies, a corner was won for Alty on their left. In midfield Andy Keogh was impressing for Alty as they continued to have the upper hand despite the wind blowing in their faces. McGrath then fed Williams, whose low cross from the left, was cleared to Zareh-Ourang whose shot went wide (21 mins).

Fleetwood Hesketh then had a chance to go ahead when Johnson got past the Alty defence on the visitors' right and fed Birks but from a good position, he pulled his shot wide of the far post (22 mins). But then Alty responded as centre-back Gresty powered his way up impressvely up the middle past several challenges before shooting towards the top corner of the net only for keeper Hine to make a fine save at the cost of a corner to Alty on their right. Davies's inswinging corner was just tipped over the bar for another corner kick on the left. Mulholland's corner kick was fumbled over the by-line by the keeper but a goalkick was awarded.

Fleetwood had a couple of long range freekicks before an excellent tackle by Risk saw off Foster, who was the visitors' best player on the afternoon. But finally Alty got the goal they had been seeking when Williams produced a pinpoint cross from the right which Keogh met with a firm header which seemed to go through the keeper's hands (32 mins). Davies soon threatened again for Alty but Fleetwood Hesketh 's Foster forced an excellent save from Bishop in the Alty goal, the keeper diving to his right to push the ball out with a defender completing the clearance (37 mins).

After Zareh-Ourang had found Wiliams, the Alty striker was fouled from behind. From 35 yards out, Mulholland's kick tempted the keeper to come out but Crawford back-headed the ball over him and into the net to make it 2-0 (39 mins). Alty put the result beyond doubt two minutes later when Mulholland won possession and the ball came through to Williams inside the box. He calmly lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net for a very well-taken goal, making the score 3-0 (41 mins). But soon afterwards, Fleetwood drove a freekick from 35 yards only narrowly wide. Then, just before the interval, another excellent tackle by Risk ensured that Fleetwood remained goalless in the first half. As half time began, rain started to fall.


The rain intensified during the interval and, although Alty put together a good passing movemnent soon after the start of the half, it was Fleetwood who won the first corner. Indeed, the visitors were now doing better than in the first half . Soon Risk was harshly booked for a tackle as Alty remained on the back foot. Then, a foul by Pinch on Davies was spotted by the ref but he allowed play to continue before booking the Fleetwood man (61 mins). Some good clearing work at the back by Gresty led to a corner for Alty at the other end but the home side were not playing as well as they had in the first period.

Hassan Zareh-Ourang, who seemed to have taken a knock, was then replaced by Danny Browne (64 mins), before Fleetwood won a corner as the visitors continued to have more of the play in the second period. Bishop then had to be alert to save a 35 yard freekick which evaded everyone else as it came through the goalmouth. Risk was then hurt, apparently by an accidental kick from team-mate Andy Keogh, and though he recovered he was soon replaced by Kieran Raynes who came off the bench (76 mins). The rain briefly eased before Williams gave Crawford a chance which he could not turn into the net (79 mins).

Soon Deegan came on for Williams (82 mins) and with rain now falling steadily again, Fleetwood Hesketh brought on Ashby for Birks (85 mins). Alty won a late corner but the lacklustre second half ended as the first half had finished, with the score at 3-0 to Altrincham, and a place booked in the inaugural Neil Thomason Trophy final. Winning that trophy would mean a lot to Altrincham, as it is named after their late youth team coach, who sadly died last summer.