Tuesday, 21 May, 2013, at 7.15pm at Warrington Town FC, Cantilever Park.
The District Cup final had been delayed by the requirement for Altrincham to replay their semi-final match against Runcorn, which the referee of the original game had abandoned for reasons unconnected to Altrincham's behaviour.
The entire Altrincham FA squad comprised Altrincham FC players but, as this Cup has now become an under-17s' competition, the team tonight was a mixture of the younger members of George Heslop's Altrincham FC Youth team and the Altrincham FC Juniors' under-17s, managed by Paul Woolley. The coach was Chris Millington.
ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH (Yellow shirts, red shorts and socks). 1. Stephen BULLEN, 2. David BROWN, 4. Tom CLARKE, 5. Matt GRAETZER, 3. James FARRINGTON; 7. Spencer CUNLIFFE (capt), 6. Pat CRILLY, 8. Matt TODD, 11. Rob GILROY, 9. Max POUNCEY, 10. Louis POTTS. Subs: 12. Rory McGOLDRICK, 14. Nick OSBORNE, 16. Lincoln GRIDLEY, 17. Greg STREET, GK. Josh SAMBERG.
The game kicked off in sunshine on a cool evening on a pitch still well covered with grass despite the late date in the season. Altrincham started brightly and took an early lead. The goal came when the Chester keeper came out of his box to clear but his clearance went to Pouncey. He held off a challenge before slotting the ball into the unguarded net (5 mins).
Though Altrincham were enjoying better possession in the opening ten minutes, it was Chester who went on to win four corners by the 24th minute. The second of these came from a superb reaction save by Bullen after the Chester no.10 had got in a low volley from a ball from the right (21 mins). And Bullen repeated the act with another fine tip round the post, low to his left, again from Chester's no.10 after 24 minutes.
Bullen continued to keep his side in the lead with another good stop after the number ten had beaten his marker to get in a goalbound shot (27 mins).
Having weathered the storm, Altrincham should have doubled their lead after 31 minutes when Potts and Pouncey combined well but, from close range, the former was unable to turn the ball past the keeper from the latter's feed from the right. Bullen continued to frustrate Chester as a ball deflected to the Chester no.11 who drew another excellent save from the Altrincham keeper (35 mins).
Down at the other end, Altrincham were to spurn two more good chances to get a second goal. A fine run up the right by Brown led to Potts's cross for Pouncey but his effort was blocked (37 mins). And, after 43 minutes, roles were reversed as the hard-working Todd won the ball, fed Cunliffe and then Gilroy before Pouncey's pass ran for Potts, who shot wide from six yards. Between these two incidents, as Alty finished the half well, they also won a corner. The half, which easily could have ended 3-3, concluded with a volley from Gilroy which the keeper saved comfortably (45 mins).
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM & DISTRICT FA YOUTH 1 CHESTER & DISTRICT FA YOUTH 0|
After claims from Chester for a penalty when Bullen smothered the ball at the feet of an opponent, who went down, the Alty keeper had to make another save after a Chester freekick drifted across his box dangerously (52 mins). But, with Chester on the front foot, Alty's opponents drew level when another freekick led to a scramble in the box from which the number nine scored (55 mins).
However, Alty almost went ahead again three minutes later when Brown put Potts through but he shot wide. Play was now end to end with Alty going close as Cunliffe volleyed wide from Potts's pass (62 mins). Alty had an escape when Chester's number ten got clear, to the right of goal, but he fired well over the bar. Alty now brought on McGoldrick for Farrington. The new man went into central midfield so Crilly dropped to centre-back and Graetzer moved to left-back.
Three Chester corners followed in quick succession before they also made a substitution. Altrincham's catalogue of squandered chances grew more extensive as Pouncey was unable to convert a chance (68 minutes), after which Potts's cross was headed over the bar by Cunliffe (69 mins).
Alty were now enjoying a dominant spell and Gilroy twice got up the left flank to underline this. On the second occasion, after the Chester no.4 had lunged at the Alty winger, Gilroy found Cunliffe, who tried to round the keeper but was thwarted (73 mins).
Chester then took the lead when a player got free up the left and fed the ball inside where the no.10 converted the chance (75 mins). But Altrincham drew level five minutes later when Potts hammered home a chance after a spell of Alty possession (80 mins). Just before the end of normal time Matt Graetzer, who had had a good game, suffered a leg injury and had to be replaced by Osborne (90 mins).
Extra time started with an early Chester corner but, just two minutes into the first half of extra time, a long ball from Bullen deceived a Chester defender who could only deflect the ball into the path of Pouncey. He expertly chipped the keeper to restore Altrincham's lead in impressive fashion (92 mins). Two Alty corners followed, from the first of which Potts's header was cleared off the line and, after the second, Pouncey shot just wide (96 mins).
The game was decided when Cunliffe dribbled into the box and was brought down by the keeper. The Alty captain impressively converted the penalty with a shot into the roof of the net (100 mins) to make it 4-2. Altrincham were now in control and the half ended with a deflected Gilroy shot winning a corner.
In the second half of extra time Gilroy gave way to Gidley (108 mins). Altrincham saw out the remaining time without many alarms to lift the trophy for the Club for the tenth time since 1949. Altrincham FC Youth go in search of another trophy next week, when they take on Hyde in the semi-final of the Manchester FA youth competition. If achieved it would be a double which would provide a great ending to a season of mixed fortunes in the league where the team finished sixth in the eleven-club NWYA Premier League.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM & DISTRICT FA YOUTH 4 CHESTER & DISTRICT FA YOUTH 2|
after extra time.
Compiled by John Laidlar