Match Reports, 2005-06


NW Allied Trophies League, Neil Thomason Trophy Final.
Tuesday, 30 May 2006, at 7.45pm. at Woodley Sports FC


ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH (Red & white striped shirts, red shorts and red socks): 1.Stefan FIELDING, 2. Tom BARCLAY, 3. Ashley McGRATH, 4. Michael RISK, 5. Danny GRAY, 6. Astley MULHOLLAND, 7. Hassan ZAREH-OURANG, 8. Dean WHITE, 9. Ben DEEGAN, 10. Matty WILLIAMS, 11. Anthony DAVIES. SUBS: 12. Michael RAYNES, 14. Daniel BROWNE, 15. Rick CRAWFORD, 17. Reza ZAREH-OURANG, 18. Lewis BISHOP (gk).

MORECAMBE "A" YOUTH (Yellow shirts & socks, black shorts): 1. Ross DERBYSHIRE, 2. Andy LEIGH, 3. Rico COLUNO, 4. Phil MEEKS, 5. Andy LANGFORD, 6.Michael WEST, 7. Jack HELM, 8. Gary BALL, 9. Callum RUTLEDGE, 10. Tom PICKERSGILL, 11. Paul JARVIS. SUbs: James SHEATH, Craig JENNIS, Lewis WILKES, Danny WISDOM, Chris ANDERSON (gk).


With only four and a half weeks to go to the first team's first pre-season friendly, Altrincham Youth were still completing the 2005-06 season tonight. This was their third cup final of the season, as Altrincham FC, and their fourth if you count their triumph as the Altrincham & District FA side in the Cheshire County FA's District Youth Cup. They had won all three cups to date. Tonight's match was the first playing of the Neil Thomason Memorial Trophy (formerly the Premier Cup). Neil had been the coach of the Altrincham FC Youth team before his untimely death last summer and so manager George Heslop and coach Tony Spilsbury's team was especially keen to win the trophy as a mark of respect to Neil. But Alty were without their centre back and captain Richard Gresty, who is on tour with the English Colleges squad in Italy, and the Players' Player of the Year, Andy Keogh, who has a broken metatarsal bone.

Before the game, NW Allied Trophies League Premier Division champions, Marine "A" were awarded the championship trophy.

With Morecambe first-team manager Sammy McIlroy amongst the spectators, Alty kicked off on a sunny but chilly evening and won the game's first corner. From this, White's back-header took the ball across the goalmouth where Gray, Mulholland and Deegan all had close range efforts kept out, somehow, by the scrambling Morecambe defence (3 mins). Play immediately switched to the other end, where the Shrimps won a freekick, 22 yards out. This kick forced a fine save from Fielding, at the cost of a corner. From the corner, Fielding was jostled off the ball and Morecambe "scored" but the goal was ruled out for a foul on the keeper. Alty's bright start continued as an impressive run up the middle from Mulholland was only halted by a foul just outside the box. Davies's well-hit freekick came back from the keeper and, from the right, Deegan crossed to Gray whose goalbound header was somehow kept out by the Morecambe defence.

Above: Anthony Davies has just scored from 30 yards and is congratulated by Ashley McGrath. Meanwhile, Ben Deegan emerges form the net, in which the ball can still be seen.

Alty continued to have slightly the better of the entertaining game as they won a corner but, after this had been cleared, an Alty defender headed narrowly past his own post to concede a flag-kick to Morecambe, from which a second corner immediately followed. Pickersgill fired narrowly over after the corner before a fine interception by Gray saw the Alty centre back advance and find Williams. The Alty striker curled an excellent shot at goal from outside the box but the Morecambe keeper made a fine save. Next, Alty prompted the third desperate scramble of the game in the Morecambe box but the danger was cleared once again. But, just when it seemed that the Morecambe goal was leading a charmed life, Davies's shot from 30 yards looped up off an opponent and dropped over the keeper into the net to give Altrincham the lead (28 mins).

Morecambe went close to an equaliser after 32 minutes, when a shot went just wide, but Alty came back again, firstly winning a corner and, then, seeing Matty Williams surge forward before the ball ran to the keeper. End to end play continued to entertain the crowd up to the interval but there were no further goals before the break arrived.


Alty had the first real chance of the second half when Williams and White combined well, but the keeper did well to save White's fine shot (49 mins). But Morecambe soon began to assert themselves and kept Altrincham largely penned back in their own half. However, Alty created another good chance on the breakaway when Williams did well to find Deegan and the latter's lay off was met by Mulholland but his shot was sliced well wide (52 mins). Alty remained on the back foot but they only conceded an equaliser to a penalty, awarded against Ashley McGrath when a cross from the left bounced up against his arm. West sent Fielding the wrong way from the spot, to make it 1-1 (57 mins). Moments later Zareh-Ourang went down and, despite lengthy treatment , was unable to play on. Soon, Danny Browne came on to replace him in central midfield (60 mins).

Morecambe continued to press but Alty suffered another blow when both Williams and Deegan went down injured at the same time. Deegan went off for more treatment and, as Alty continued with ten men, they conceded a second goal. A ball across the box was missed by the defence and, though Fielding made a superb save from Morecambe's resulting shot, the ball came out to Ball who nodded the ball into the net (70 mins).

Deegan returned to the pitch after the goal but his strike partner Williams was now unable to carry on and had to be helped off the pitch. His replacement up front was Crawford (72 mins). The game now went through a quieter spell and gradually Altrincham began to get forward, pressing for an equaliser. However, following a Morecambe corner, Fielding again saved well from Coluno. Then Risk made a good run forward before being fouled 35 yards out. However, Mulholland's freekick went to the keeper. After McGrath had been fouled just outside the Morecambe box, Mulholland's freekick from 21 yards just cleared the bar. But, moments later the game was sealed as Morecambe went 3-1 up. A cross from the left by Jarvis was met by a pinpoint header from Helm which went across goal into the corner of the net (87 mins).

Alty centre-back Gray now went up front as Alty tried to snatch two late goals.Morecambe made their first change bringing on a no.16 for Pickersgill (90 mins). In the first minute of added time, Morecambe made it 4-1 when Barclay and Fielding got in a mix-up and a Morecambe player took advantage to nod the ball into the net (90+1 mins). In the remaining minutes of added time, Morecambe made two more substitutions but there was no way back for Altrincham. The final score was a little harsh on Altrincham and a disappointing end to a cup final which they had desperately wanted to win to honour their former coach, Neil Thomason. The league officials paid deserved homage to Neil on the pitch after the game, before the medals and cup were awarded to a jubilant Morecambe..


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