ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH (Red & white striped shirts, red shorts and socks). 1. Stephen BULLEN, 2. David BROWN, 17. Jamie McLELLAN, 5. Alex WEATHERBY (capt.), 3. Callum HARKIN; 7. Callum MOONEY 6. Oliver RILEY, 8. Spencer CUNLIFFE, 11. Matthew KEMP; 9. Adam BEZZINA, 10. Derryn OFORI. Subs: 12. Rory McGOLDRICK, 14. Greg STREET, 15. Thomas LYONS, GK. Joe HANKINSON
This game was played on a bobbly pitch in a cold, gusty wind, conditions not conducive to flowing football. To make matters worse, the early stages were characterised by frequent stoppages for freekicks and bookings, as four Prescot names went in the referee's book in the first twenty-five minutes for a mixture of fouls and dissent.
The first caution arrived after just six minutes, for a mis-timed tackle. The opening goal arrived after another Altrincham freekick, taken on their right wing. Callum Mooney received the ball just outside the box, made space well and beat the keeper with a low shot (8 mins).
The visitors' number five became Cables' second booking, for dissent (11 mins). Another stoppage arose soon after this when Ofori and the booked Prescot centre-back received a lecture; another Cables player was spoken to for dissent moments later. The visitors'number eight soon became the third booked player, in the 19th minute.
Prescot then won a corner after which Bullen cleared to Ofori, whose shot went wide. Cables' number four became the fourth man to see yellow after a linesman called over the referee to complain about a comment made by the Prescot player in question (24 mins).
At this stage it semed unlikely that the game would end with 22 men on the pitch but, thankfully, things settled down.
Altrincham did not cause much threat to the Cables' goal for the rest of the half but, likewise, Altrincham's defence was not allowing the visitors to convert their possession into any real danger to Bullen's goal.
After the visitors had won another corner (40 mins), at the other end, Cunliffe lifted a shot over the bar (42 mins). Cables' best effort of the half arrived after 44 minutes when their no.9 shot narrowly wide from a feed by the no.7.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH 1 PRESCOT CABLES YOUTH 0|
Prescot brought on their number twelve for the booked no.4 at the interval and it was the visitors who started the half the better side. However, as the hour mark approached, Alty won two corners, after which Ofori was halted as he advanced up the middle (59 mins).
Next, Bezzina had a shot blocked by the keeper but, soon afterwards, the striker, who had taken a first-half knock, was replaced by Street (64 mins). Prescot almost levelled when their no.9's effort had to be tipped over the bar for a corner by Bullen.
Prescot brought on another sub and moments later they levelled the score when their no.8 netted with a shot from a central position near the edge of the box (66 mins). When they went forward, Altrincham were being caught offside at regular intervals and were also not utilizing their flanks to good advantage as the half progressed.
Lyons replaced Cunliffe (80 mins), allowing McLellan to adopt his more normal midfield role. Soon afterwards a firm shot from Ofori was well saved and then Riley forced a goalmouth block as the home side gathered themselves for the hunt for a late winner. Weatherby did, indeed, have the ball in the net after 87 minutes but was ruled offside.
Moments later, Cables got forward and one of their players went down, left of goal towards the by-line, under a diving challenge for Bullen. A spot kick was the outcome and their captain and number eight confidently scored with a penalty kick high into the roof of the net (88 mins).
So, the visitors took all the points in a match in which Altrincham played some good first-half football but did not match that level after the interval.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH 1 PRESCOT CABLES YOUTH 2|
Compiled by John Laidlar