Altrincham FC Youth Team
Match Reports

FA Youth Cup, Preliminary Round match
played on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 at Moss Lane, k.o. 7.45pm


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, red shorts, red socks): 1. Stephen BULLEN, 2. Callum HARKIN, 4. David BROWN, 5. Alex WEATHERBY (capt.), 3. Joseph HAND; 7. Spencer CUNLIFFE, 6. Rory McGOLDRICK, 8. Oliver RILEY (capt), 11. Michael KING; 10. Derryn OFORI, 9. Adam BEZZINA. Subs: 12. Louis BROWN, 14. Jordan HAMES, 15. Sam BOWLES, 16. Thomas LYONS, 18. Ben HALL (gk).

MACCLESFIELD TOWN FC YOUTH (All blue). 1. Tim HUGHES, 2. Josh GREEN (capt), 3. Matt HARRIS, 4. Liam LEARY, 5. Dan COWAN (capt.), 6. Liam BAKER, 7. Paul LEWIS, 8. Will BAILEY, 9. Joel SWIFT, 10. Alex EGERTON, 11. Jake PRESCOTT. Subs: 12. Darnell SMITH, 13. Connor O'KEEFE, 14. Tom STOTT, 15. Matt DOLAN, 16. Nathan HAYNES.


Heavy rain before the game had threatened to make this a repeat of the atrocious conditions in which Alty opened last season's FA Youth Cup competition against Lancaster City but, fortunately, this time the rain held off for the start of the game. Alty were without Sam Rowley so Joseph Hand started at left-back.

Altrincham conceded a couple of needless freekicks in an opening spell which was fairly even and uneventful. But then the Silkmen almost took a 10th minute lead when one of their players got to the by-line, left of goal, and though Bullen palmed away his shot, the ball rolled along the goal line before being cleared by an Altrincham player.

Macclesfield were now beginning to get the upper hand though Altrincham, marshalled by Alex Weatherby, were defending well and preventing any more clear sights of goal for the visitors. Then a speculative effort from a fair distance by Macclesfield forced Bullen to tip the ball over the bar for the game's first corner (19 mins). Following this, the lively winger, Prescott, fired narrowly wide for Town.

Despite their best efforts, Altrincham were finding it difficult to get forward as the game went through the half-hour mark. Bullen was the busier of the keepers but even he was not overworked though he did have to react smartly to deal with a Bailey shot (36 mins).

Macc won another corner in the 38th minute and from this, their captain, Cowan, rose to head at goal. Though Altrincham cleared the ball as it crossed the line, assistant referee Mr. Hines flagged that the ball had crossed the line and a goal was awarded despite some Altrincham protestations (39 mins).

Following good work by Bezzina, who was repeatedly hindered in this game by having his shirt held by his marker and not being given freekicks, Cunliffe won his side their first corner, two minutes before the interval was due. But this was cleared and half time arrived with Alty a goal down.


Torrential rain fell during the half-time break but, fortunately, it stopped a couple of minutes after the re-start. After Prescott had headed wide, a mix-up following an Alty throw allowed Macclesfield to counter attack at speed, but Prescott's shot was beaten out by Bullen (50 mins). Alty's best chance of the game to date arrived when Cunliffe's diagonal ball evaded a defender and was met near the back post by the incoming King (52 mins). He was tackled as he shot and not only was his effort blocked but he suffered an injury. After lengthy treatment on and off the pitch by coach Joe Reid it was confirmed that he could not continue and Jordan Hames replaced the unlucky wingman (54 mins).

Four minutes later Macc also made a substitution as Dolan replaced Egerton. After a Leary shot had won a corner, Altrincham enjoyed a good spell , though the next corner was again to fall to the visitors (65 mins).

Next, Smith replaced Bailey for the visitors (68 mins) but then a combination of Cunliffe and Ofori, who was operating from the right flank, yielded a corner. Weatherby rose well but could not direct his header on goal (70 mins). Following a Macclesfield freekick, the visitors got their second goal in controversial circumstances. Bullen had kept out an initial effort but the ball ran loose and he seemed to be impeded as Dolan scrambled the ball into the net to make it 2-0 (75 mins).

Rain was now falling again as Bezzina threatened to get free only to have his shirt pulled by Baker who again escaped without conceding a freekick (78 mins). With the rain now falling heavily, Altrincham got a goal back. It stemmed from a good advance from the right by Ofori, who found Bezzina. The former Rochdale FC youngster controlled the ball well before lobbing the keeper expertly from outside the penalty area to record his fourth goal in nine days for the Robins (83 mins).

A couple of Altrincham players were now suffering with cramp before two late substitutions were made. Louis Brown replaced Cunliffe (87 mins) before Sam Bowles came on for Rory McGoldrick (88 mins). But, despite four or more minutes of added time, Altrincham could not get the equalizer.

Despite the slightly questionable nature of both Macclesfield goals the result was a fair outcome on the balance of play. But Altrincham had given a very good account of themselves against a strong Macclesfield team and the experience will hopefully benefit them for the remainder of the season.