NWYA Neil Thomason Trophy game,
played on Sunday, 23 September 2012 at Clay Lane, k.o. 2pm


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


Altrincham showed several changes from the team which had beaten Northwich Victoria in its last match. Into the side came goalkeeper Ben Hall, winger Jordan Hames and defender Sam Rowley.

The game got under way after a minute's silence for Neil Thomason, the former Altrincham coach whose untimely death in 2005 prompted the NW Youth Alliance to name this cup competition after him.

Apart from an attempted chip from Callum Mooney, it was Morecambe who had the better of the early stages of this game. And when the visitors' number 11 got into the box a penalty was awarded against Sam Rowley (3 mins).

But referee Martin Howe ordered a re-take of the penalty kick, which had been converted successfully, and Morecambe's number eleven scored from the second spot-kick (4 mins). The Shrimps continued to get forward with pace before Altrincham began to get into the game in the ninth minute, when they won the first of three corners in quick succession.

But, following a throw-in on the right, Morecambe doubled their lead as their number eight headed home (15 mins). It looked as if it was going to turn into a one-sided contest but then Altrincham hit back with three goals inside a remarkable ten-minute spell.

From Mooney's pass, Hames received the ball, but with the assistant referee raising his flag for offside it took a good decision from the referee to wave play on as the offender was not interfering with play, and this allowed Hames to find Ofori, who scored from close range (19 mins). Morecambe seemed to wobble for the next few minutes as Hames made it 2-2 in the 23rd minute, finishing well from left of goal from Ofori's feed.

And the turnaround was completed in the 29th minute when Ofori was set racing up the middle. He did well to hold off a defender's challenge before netting his second goal of the game, which gave Alty a lead which had seemed highly unlikely only ten minutes earlier.

However, the home team's momentum was disrupted when Alex Weatherby had to limp off with what seemed to be a hamstring problem. He was replaced at the back by Tom Lyons (31 mins). Almost immediately Morecambe's number 6 pulled up injured but, as he recovered, the visitors' number 4 went off and the Shrimps played on with ten men. Finally, they brought on their no.12 to restore parity in the number of players on each side (32 mins).

Former Chester player, Mooney continued to impress on the Alty right and he almost set up Bezzina for a fourth goal but the striker was unable to turn the ball home (41 mins) Soon, the first half ended, with Alty retaining their narrow lead.


The second half started eventfully as Hall in the Alty goal was unable to gather a deep, looping cross from the Morecambe left and the loose ball ran to the visitors' number 11 who netted his second goal, to level the game at 3-3 (47 mins). Harkin was booked in the aftermath, presumably for dissent.

As in the first half, it was the visitors who set the pace again, and they soon went ahead when their no.6 scored from 20 yards (54 mins) after Alty had failed to close him down. Morecambe continued to dominate and their no.9 hit the post after 57 minutes. Alty did then win a corner, following a freekick, after Ofori had been brought down heavily. But the Alty front men were generally seeing little of the ball. Next, Alty brought on former Chester player Robert Gilroy for Rory McGoldrick in central midfield (65 mins).

But Morecambe continued to have the better of things and, after winning three successive corners, their no.6 scored their fifth goal from the edge of the box. It almost became 6-3 when he Alty were carved open but this time the Morecambe effort landed on the roof of the Alty net.

Alty now brought on Hand for Rowley at right back (78 mins). Alty at last did get forward a bit more in the closing stages as Gilroy began to make an impression in midfield but slack marking allowed Morecambe to make the score 6-3 after 88 minutes when their no.8 was allowed time to gather the ball, turn and shoot past Hall.

It then took a good stop from Hall to stop the score getting worse (89 mins). In added time Alty did go close when Gilroy set up a goalmouth scramble in which Bezzina had a shot beaten out and the follow-up from a team-mate was also kept out by Morecambe.

And so Alty's participation in the competition came to the end and no one could dispute that the better side had won the game. Morecambe had been better at finding their men and had also taken most of the goalscoring chances which came their way whilst Alty, apart from their purple patch midway through the first half had struggled to achieve any sustained fluency, as passes repeatedly went astray.