Altrincham FC Youth Team
Match Reports

After extra time, Altrincham won 4-3 on penalties
FA Youth Cup 2nd Qualifying Round match
played on Thursday, 6 October, 2011


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white stripes, black shorts, red socks): 1 Adam Reid, 2. Alan Tansinda, 4. Ben Hamilton, 5. Joe Coombs, 3. Sam Grimshaw, 7. Liam Rutledge, 6. Matt Fearon (capt), 8. Oliver Riley, 11. Declan Barry, 9. Derryn Ofori, 10. Duncan Watmore. Subs from: 12. Jack Martiny-Schofield, 14. Redmond McGuire, 15. Nathan Gray, 16. Jordan Mainoo-Hames, 17. Josh Palmer, 18. Cody Wharton (gk)

LANCASTER CITY YOUTH (Blue): 1. Jared Bitner, 2. Jack Hindle, 3. Rob Lofthouse, 4. Asa Melville, 5. Sam Hibbert, 6. Andrew Fitzgerald, 7. Kieffer Cunningham, 8. Chris Lawson, 9. Joe Bunney, 10. Mark McLoughlin, 11. Dan Wadsworth. Subs from: 12. Jordan Jones, 14. Ben Jakes, 15. Dan Sutcliff, 16. James Dixon, 17. Sam Arrowsmith (gk).


Lancaster City do not have a youth team which plays in a regular league so their representatives in the FA Youth Cup are actually a squad from Myerscough College, near Preston. As such, they were something of an unknown quantity to Altrincham before tonight’s match, but having beaten Vauxhall Motors Youth to reach this round, they were clearly a very capable team.

Altrincham Youth had lost regular central midfielder Ryan Barry to an Achilles injury on the eve of the match, so captain, Matt Fearon, played in that position, as Alan Tansinda took over at right-back. Duncan Watmore had been an injury doubt but was fit enough to start for Alty. As the game kicked off rain started to fall and it was the visitors who had slightly the better of the opening stages, though the nearest to a goal threat was in the 12th minute when Bunney laid a cross-cum-shot across the Alty goalmouth but no one was around to convert it. City did have the ball in the net two minutes later, however, when a freekick, awarded somewhat harshly against Fearon for handball, was headed home by Bunney. But the linesman's flag ensured the goal was chalked off.

Around the 20-minute mark, rain re-started with a vengeance, becoming absolutely torrential for a spell. Alty's Ofori then needed treatment for a facial cut and was only allowed back on at the second attempt as the officials were not satisfied the wound had been staunched. Alty's Matt Fearon now forced a good save with a powerful run forward (24 mins) as Alty enjoyed a good spell. But following a Lancaster corner, Alty did not fully clear the ball and City again had the ball in the net, only for the effort to be disallowed once more for a foul (28 mins).

Just after he had put a 35 yard freekick well wide, midfielder Oliver Riley more than made recompense when he got on the end of a Watmore cross from the left to score, after the Alty number ten had done well to get free, following a Sam Grimshaw throw-in (31 mins). Alty's goal was followed up by a corner but soon afterwards they had to make a change as the unfortunate Ofori, now limping as well as suffering his facial injury, had to give way to Jack Martiny-Schofield, who had missed the last round of the Youth Cup through injury (37 mins).

Lancaster now won three corners in four minutes. Following the first, Reid made an important save, pushing the ball round the post. But from the third of this sequence of corners, the ball came from the right to beyond the back post. It was played back in and Bunney headed it into the net for the equaliser (43 mins). Just before the break a Fearon freekick just cleared the bar but Lancaster ended the half strongly.


Lancaster kicked off towards the Golf Road end but Alty had the first real opening when Martiny-Schofield showed good strength to hold off a challenge but put his shot over the bar (48 mins). Alty went on to enjoy the better of the opening period, winning two corners before the hour mark. At this point rain started again, falling heavily as if switched on with a tap. Injury forced another Alty change as left-winger Declan Barry gave way to Josh Palmer (65 mins).

Despite the poor conditions, Alty now took the lead with Sam Grimshaw instrumental in the goal. A fine shot from the left back from 40 yards was well tipped over the bar by Bitner for a corner. Next, a flash of lightning in the sky preceded Sam's enterprising run towards the left by-line. Here he was upended, inside the box, and a penalty was awarded.

Watmore's spot kick was almost saved by Bitner, the ball being directed to the keeper's right but deflecting off his hands into the opposite corner of the net (69 mins). More lightning crackled around Moss Lane as the players and officials suffered a dousing. Palmer then had a double chance from a Watmore feed, but both efforts from left of goal were blocked by the keeper (76 mins). At this point Lancaster brought on Jones for Wadsworth.

After two Lancaster corners, Fearon was cautioned for a tackle and from the resulting freekick, a City effort just cleared the Alty bar.

Alty got on top again and a corner was won but came to nothing (84 mins). Tansinda was impressing on the Alty right and further up that wing Rutledge earned applause for chasing a lost cause but blocking a clearance in the process. With the game into the last minute of normal time, Alty made a final swap, as McGuire replaced Watmore up front. Soon afterwards McGuire was put clear on goal but as he drew the keeper he directed his shot across goal and wide of the far post (90+2 mins). But with just over two and a half minutes of added time having elapsed, City took the game to extra time when a cross from the right was headed home by Hibbert (90+3 mins).

After tossing up, the players changed ends again to start extra time. Rain was again falling torrentially as Palmer got back smartly to cover for his defenders and see off a Lancaster probe. But the half-time of extra time arrived with deadlock still at 2-2. In the second period, each side won a corner but Alty suffered yet another injury when Tansinda had to be treated. Though he returned after a few minutes' absence, he was not fully mobile (110 mins). Lancaster went close again two minutes from time but they were ruled offside in any case.

With a minute left Lancaster brought on Sutcliff for Lawson, presumably with a view to a penalty shoot-out. And, indeed, that is what followed soon afterwards.

The Golf Road end was selected for the shoot-out. A fine save from Adam Reid stopped Sutcliff's kick but then Sam Grimshaw saw his effort saved by the Lancaster keeper, low to his left. Reid almost kept out Lofthouse's penalty before Matt Fearon hammered home his effort to make it 1-1.

Melville rolled in his spot kick but Martiny-Schofield made it 2-2 though Bitner almost kept the shot out, the ball diverting into the net off the upright. Reid was again the hero as he kept out Jones's spot-kick and when Coombs comfortably scored, Alty were ahead in the shoot-out for the first time, at 3-2. Fitzgerald converted his penalty well before Oliver Riley sealed the win for Altrincham with a well-taken effort. The Alty players fell into a celebratory heap but both teams, management and the match officials deserved the generous applause of the 133 spectators for putting on such an exciting game on a wet and windy evening of Biblical proportions.

Alty now take on Darlington's youth team, who have a good record in the FA Youth Cup.

Alty won 4-3 on penalties.