ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH (Yellow shirts, blue shorts, yellow socks): 1. Chris WALKER, 2. Daniel FRADLEY (capt), 4. Tom COSGRAVE, 5. Dominic BATES, 3. Chris FRANCIS; 7. Callum GARNER, 6.John BENNETT, 8. Dan SHAW, 11. Joel BROWNHILL; 9. Blaine WHITESIDE, 10. Paul CORDOCK. Subs: 12. Lewis KILKENNY, 14. Tyrone WATSON, 15. Daniel MILLEN, 16. Josh SMITH, 18. Ryan NICHOLAS (gk).
CREWE & DISTRICT FA YOUTH (Red & white shirts, red shorts & socks): 1. Joel DAVEY, 2. Declan WAKEFIELD, 3. Anthony SWINDELLS, 4. Daniel EDGE, 5. Adam DAWSON, 6. Jack McKEY, 7. Steve McNICHOL, 8. Liam PRINCE, 9. Josh HANCOCK, 10. Sean TURNER, 11. Nathan SOUTHERN. Subs: 12. Danny LLOYD, 14. Barny HUXTABLE, 15. Marcus COOPER.
Altrincham were without several of this season's regular starters for this third group-stage game in the Cheshire FA District Youth Cup, of which they are the holders. So Altrincham were fielding a very young side against a Crewe team, which included five County players. But having lost their two previous group matches this season, an Altrincham win today was essential to any hope of their qualifying for the knock-out stage. Amongst the opposotion was former Alty defender Declan Wakefield, one of several Nantwich Town players in the visitors' squad.
In a game played in breezy, dull conditions, Crewe got off to the better start, keeping Altrincham in their own half for much of the opening stages. Alty were grateful to captain Don Fradley when he cleared off the line after Hancock had got running McKey up the right wing and his cross was fumbled by Walker (16 mins). Then some poor defending by Altrincham saw two of their players allow a cross to come in from the right, where the visitors' attacks were almost exclusively focused, and the ball bounced inside the box where Turner was permitted a diving header but the ball went wide.
At the other end, Whiteside was working hard to try and hold the ball up for his team but Alty did not seriously threaten the opposition goal at this stage. Crewe eventually got the breakthrough in the 24th minute when McKey again surged up the right, getting behind Francis who was playing in an unaccustomed left-back position and, from the Crewe winger's cross, Hancock side-footed the ball firmly past Walker into the net.
Alty responded with Francis making an interception and feeding Cordock but the striker was blocked off on the edge of the box (26 mins). But Crewe continued to be dangerous with Hancock getting up the left and crossing a dangerous ball, low across the Alty goalmouth. Next, a Crewe corner was seen off (32 mins) before Alty began to enjoy a bit more success which led to a good passing move culminating in a fine swerving shot from more than 25 yards by Garner, which beat the keeper but came back off the crossbar (34 mins). Soon after this a Francis advance on the left led to Cordock gaining an Alty corner (37 mins). Finally Alty's hard work earned them an equalizer two minutes before the end of the half. It came when Whiteside chased a seeming lost cause into the box only for the visitors' centre-back and keeper to get in a muddle and allow the Alty striker to score (43 mins).
Before the break there was time for Crewe's McNichol to fire narrowly over the Alty bar and for Turner to cross from the right with Prince just failing to convert at the back post. The interval arrived with Alty having been second-best but, none the less, on level terms.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM & DISTRICT FA YOUTH 1|
CREWE & DISTRICT FA YOUTH 1
Altrincham were soon on the backfoot after the interval when Southern got free and it took a good save from Walker to keep out his shot (46 mins). Then, Alty were caught offside at the other end which prompted a freekick which caught Alty unprepared. McKey, Southern and Hancock combined neatly for the last-named to score with time to spare (49 mins). A Crewe corner soon followed and, after that, captain Daniel Fradley limped off, being replaced by Lewis Kilkenny at right-back, with Dan Shaw taking on the captain's armband (56 mins).
Despite this setback and the danger from Crewe, Alty responded well with a freekick from Francis leading to the ball coming out to Shaw whose well-hit shot forced a superb save by the visiting keeper who clawed the ball out of the top corner, to his right, onto the crossbar (59 mins). But hopes of an Altrincham comeback were dashed a minute later, following a Crewe corner. The ball was allowed to come over a static Alty defence from the left to Wakefield who volleyed home at the back post to record a goal against his former club. It was now 3-1 to Crewe (63 mins), who now brought on Lloyd for Turner. Walker had to save well again from a Crewe shot before the home side made a promising move up the left. In the 69th minute, Daniel Millen replaced Alty's Garner and, three minutes later, Crewe's Huxtable replaced Southern.
Alty continued to battle before making another change with Whiteside being withdrawn in favour of Watson (81 mins). Two late corners by Crewe came to nothing. Alty had a late chance when the Crewe keeper handled outside his box as he kicked clear but this did not produce a goal and the final whistle sounded immediately afterwards.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM & DISTRICT FA YOUTH 1|
CREWE & DISTRICT FA YOUTH 3