ALTRINCHAM (Yellow shirts): 1. James THORN, 2. Ryan SHAWCROSS, 3. James SMART, 4. Liam BROMILEY-BLACKBURN, 5. Rory BRADBURY, 6. John BENNETT (capt), 7. Joel BROWNHILL, 8. Jamie BROWN, 9. Blaine WHITESIDE, 10. Michael LINNEY, 11. Niall SHERIDAN. Subs: 12. Dan SHAW (capt), 14. Dominic BATES, 15. Kieran MADDEN, 16. Harry McAUGHTRIE.
Match report, courtesy of George Heslop.
From the Altrincham side which started Tuesday's FA Youth Cup tie, two changes saw Liam Bromiley-Blackburn come into defence in place of Dominic Bates, whilst Michael Linney started in place of Dan Shaw who, like his team-mate Blaine Whiteside, had played in two England Schoolboy trial matches the previous day.
The gusty wind was the real winner in this cup game at Wythenshawe Town. Both sides found it difficult to play the ball on the ground and to get passing movements going as the wind ensured that the ball spent a lot of time in the air. Altrincham started the better and looked confident, playing up the slight slope and with the wind behind them. Despite the conditions, Alty appeared to be starting to settle into their passing game but this impression proved premature.
The first significant event came when Bennett drove a shot against the crossbar, with the assistance of the wind, but the rebound did not fall to one of the Alty forwards. But in general Altrincham were making too much use of the long ball. The conditions, the longish grass and some of the refereeing led to frustration amongst the players and Bradbury and one of the Liverpool players found themselves being booked (35 mins). Indeed, the visitors were at times too concerned in talking to the referee.
After 38 minutes, Blaine Whiteside found himself in a good position but he got too much power on his shot, which went over the bar. Nothing much else happened before the interval arrived, though it ws clear that Whiteside was feeling the effects of having played his international trial games 24 hours earlier.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH 0|
AFC LIVERPOOL YOUTH 0
Bates came on to replace Whiteside at the interval. As Bates dropped into central defence, Bradbury moved to central midfield; Brown moved to the right midfield and Brownhill went up front with Linney. The second half started in much the same vein as the first half but Alty's fortunes changed in the 65th minute. Altrincham were awarded a freekick, against the wind, which Bradbury drove fiercely into the top right hand corner of the keeper's net. Though the goalkeeper got his hand to the ball, the shot's power took it past him to make it 1-0.
With twenty minutes left, Shaw, who had been rested from the starting line-up after taking part in the previous day's two-game England Schoolboys' trial, replaced Bradbury in central midfield. The lesson to be taken from this is that top class youth footballers are being required to play too much football and unless clubs, such as Altrincham, rest them, these players will be burnt out before Christmas.
But the change of personnel did not immediately improve Altrincham's fortunes as AFC Liverpool equalised in the 80th minute. A ball was played up their left side and a diagonal cross came in, across the Alty goalmouth. Carried on the wind, the ball evaded goalkeeper Thorn who came out to pursue it. But a Liverpool player got to it first and fired a shot back across goal into the far corner.
Following the hard FA Youth Cup match in midweek, Alty made their third change, seven minutes from time, when Madden replaced Brownhill up front. Brownhill had strained his groin chasing the ball. Extra time arrived and, though Altrincham looked the stronger, the conditions did not help them to impose themselves on their opponents. And, so, a penalty shoot-out resulted.
Liverpool won the toss but missed their first spot-kick. Ben Shawcross promptly fired Alty ahead before AFC made it 1-1 with their second penalty. Bennett made it 2-1 to Altrincham before the Liverpool captain saw his effort brilliantly saved by Thorn, despite the kick being well struck. Niall Sheridan made it 3-1 and then Liverpool pegged the score back to 3-2. The deciding penalty was taken by Bates who stepped forward confidently and successfully converted his spot-kick to give Alty a 4-2 win with one penalty to spare.
Altrincham now meet either New Mills or Fleetwood Town in the next round, in a home tie to be played on 29th November at 1.30pm.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH 1|
AFC LIVERPOOL YOUTH 1
after extra time, Altrincham won 4-2 on penalties
Compiled by John Laidlar