Altrincham FC Youth Team
Match Reports

NW Youth Alliance Premier Division game
played on Sunday, 14 August, 2011
at Clay Lane, Timperley, 2.30pm


ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Adam REID, 2. Matt FEARON (capt), 4. Jake BARNABAS, 5.Joe COOMBS, 3. Sam GRIMSHAW, 7. Liam RUTLEDGE, 8. Ryan BARRY, 6. Oliver RILEY, 11. Declan BARRY, 9. Jack MARTINY-SCHOFIELD, 10. Redmond McGUIRE. Subs: GK. Cody WHARTON, 12. Nathan GRAY, 14. Jack COTTRILL, 15. Jack SHAW, 16. Finney CASSIDY.


Chester arrived at Altrincham FC Youth's new home on Clay Lane, Timperley, with a formidable reputation, having recently beaten Tranmere Rovers' youth team more than once, as well as defeating Nantwich Town. For their part, Altrincham were fielding several new players as the age limitations of the NW Youth Alliance ruled members of last year's squad for this season. Manager George Heslop also had a number of players unavailable, including Derron Opori who suffered an asthma attack before the game.

Over the summer, goalkeeper Adam Reid and defenders Joe Coombs, Matt Fearon and Jake Barnabas had all taken part in Alty's first team's pre-season, which had been beneficial to them all but which meant that they had not played in much of the youth team's pre-season.

The game kicked off on a good surface at the former British Airways' sports ground, now the home of Bowdon RUFC. Altrincham started very impressively and, in the third minute, a well struck shot from captain Matthew Fearon went narrowly wide of the Chester goal. Alty also won an early corner and a freekick, from which Oliver Riley struck the crossbar (5 mins).

Right: Jack Martiny-Schofield turns as the ball enters the Chester net as he headed Alty into the lead.

Altrincham were playing well, with pace up the wings from Liam Rutledge and Declan Barry and accurate passing through the midfield pair of Ryan Barry and Oliver Riley, leaving Adam Reid a virtual spectator. Another Alty corner came and went before the visitors' keeper briefly needed treatment after colliding with the oncoming Martiny-Schofield. Chester's first threat of any note came after Coombs was harshly judged to have fouled the visitors' number 11. But Reid saved the freekick and the ball was cleared (16 mins).

Another freekick, again arising from a Coombs challenge on the number eleven, saw Chester drive the ball into the Alty wall but a follow up shot from the number eleven only just cleared the bar. Although Altrincham now won another corner, play was becoming more even after the home side's impressive start.

Altrincham had to make an adjustment after 35 minutes when Barnabas injured his knee in making an impressive covering tackle to the left of his own goal. The substitute was Nathan Gray, who slotted into the back four. Chester won their first corner shortly before half time but it was Altrincham who took the lead as the game neared the interval. A foul on McGuire, near the left touchline, gave Alty a freekick. Riley's kick was met by a firm header in the goalmouth from Martiny-Schofield which hit the back of the net to make it 1-0 (43 mins). Altrincham now got back on top as the half was extended by more than three minutes of added time.


Altrincham had to make another change at the interval as Declan Barry succumbed to a back injury and his place was taken by Jack Cottrill. Altrincham got back to the good form of the early stages of the first half as they took the game to Chester. A neat move involving Cottrill and Martiny-Schofield led to Riley getting into the box but he delayed his shot and the opening disappeared. Soon afterwards, a fine run from Cottrill, operating on the left, led to a good shot from Riley which was saved (49 mins).

With Altrincham now well on top, Riley threatened again with a neat turn and a shot which came back off the crossbar, the loose ball falling to Fearon who lashed a shot across the face of goal (53 mins). Next, it was Rutledge who went close, his shot narrowly clearing the bar.

A rare Chester counter-attack ended with a comfortable take by Reid. Chester were handed a lifeline after 58 minutes when Coombs was judged to have brought down Carl Pleavin to the right of goal. The Chester no.9, Sean Miller, drove the penalty against Reid's right post and the ball was cleared.

Soon afterwards, Riley advanced up the middle and his well-struck shot went into the top of the net, despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball (61 mins). Cottrill then won Alty a corner as the home side continued to dominate the game with some impressive passing.

Martiny-Schofield went close from another Cottrill feed, just before Chester replaced their no.6 by a no.14 (70 mins). The visitors looked rattled as they conceded three unnecessary fouls in the next few minutes. They made another change soon afterwards as their no. 11 gave way to a number 10. The new player immediately got into trouble by trying to block an Alty freekick.

Cassidy now joined the game, as Alty's pressure led to another chance for Riley, which was followed by a fine cross from Fearon which Cottrill headed off target. Riley then fired narrowly wide from 30 yards (83 mins). Chester got in a rare shot soon afterwards, but Reid saved this comfortably (84 mins).

From a long throw on the left by Grimshaw, the ball came to Riley who scored another well taken goal from 20 yards, the ball entering the net just inside the post, to make it 3-0 (85 mins). Alty now took their foot off the pedal allowing Chester a late flurry of attacks and it took a great block from Gray to stop a shot from the visitors's number eight (86 mins). But Alty rallied in the final minutes with some good play from Rutledge leading to Riley yet again going close to a goal as Chester once more failed to close him down (90+1 mins).

Overall, this was an excellent performance from Altrincham's new look team and gives hope for a successful season ahead.