Altrincham FC Youth Team
Match Reports


Manchester County FA Youth Cup Semi-Final

Sunday, 26 May, 2013, at 2pm at Egerton Youth Club, Knutsford.


This match had been delayed by the need for a County disciplinary panel to eject Altrincham's quarter-final opponents from the competition.

The Altrincham team for this match comprised a mixture of under-18s and under-17s and was played under the competitions "rolling substitutions" rules.


ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH (Red & white striped shirts, red shorts and aquamarine socks). 1. Josh SAMBERG, 2. Callum HARKIN, 4. David BROWN, 5. Alex WEATHERBY, 3. Tom LYONS; 7. Spencer CUNLIFFE, 6. Andy ROYLE, 8. Oliver RILEY (capt), 11. Michael KING, 9. Adam BEZZINA, 10. Derryn OFORI. Subs: 12. Jamie McLELLAN, 14. Rob GILROY, 15. Louis POTTS, 17. Matt TODD, GK. Steve BULLEN.


This game was played on a warm afternoon on the "3G" pitch at Egerton Youth Club, Mereheath Lane, Knutsford. After a fairly uneventful opening, Hyde won the game's first corner, after ten minutes, as the visitors began to settle the better of the two sides. Four minutes later the Tamesiders took the lead with an excellent shot from 25 yards by their number eight, which found the top corner of the net to Samberg's right (14 mins).

Altrincham almost levelled when a fine dribble by Cunliffe ended with a shot from the outside of his foot which struck the outside of the upright of the Hyde goal (18 mins). But, a minute later, Altrincham were two goals adrift when the Hyde no.11 made an impressive run up the right and fed his number eight, inside him. He drew the keeper and slotted the ball into the Altrincham net (19 mins).

The referee now booked Bezzina, presumably for dissent (21 mins) as Altrincham continued to be second best. But then good interplay between Cunliffe and Ofori, right of goal, got the ball to Bezzina, whose well placed shot rolled into the corner of the Hyde net to make it 2-1 (26 mins).

The goal lifted Altrincham's performance, though Hyde came close to adding a third when their number 3 shot just wide (35 mins). A foul by the number four on Ofori saw the Alty forward needing treatment and so began the first of the rolling substitutions as Potts came on (36 mins).

From the resulting well-flighted freekick by Harkin, Potts's first touch of the game was to rise well and head the ball narrowly over the bar. Moments later a Cunliffe feed led to Riley forcing the Hyde keeper to tip his shot onto the post and out for a corner. From Riley's well placed corner, Brown headed firmly against the crossbar as the woodwork again saved Hyde (40 mins).

Alty were now on top and Royle, Cunliffe and Bezzina combined well before the last named's shot went wide. Moments later, a good bit of skill from Potts allowed him to turn sharply and fire in a shot which was only just off target (44 mins). After several minutes of injury time, the interval arrived with Altrincham still a goal behind but having finished the half well.


At the break Alty brought on Todd and Gilroy for Riley and Lyons. Just four minutes into the half Gilroy's well judged pass fed Potts who, again, turned well to wrong foot his marker before scoring an impressive goal into the corner of the net to make it 2-2 (49 mins).

After a clever feint from Cunliffe had drawn a foul on the edge of the box, King's well struck freekick hit the post, the third effort to strike the woodwork from Altrincham (54 mins).

After Hyde's no.9 had been booked for dissent, Hyde won a corner. Soon after this, Harkin was cautioned for a foul (57 mins).

Alty survived when the Hyde no.10 got clear but put his shot just over the bar (60 mins). The same player forced a corner after Samberg had to save his shot a couple of minutes later. Both sides were now making regular substitutions, with McLellan being the fourth Alty player to come off the bench (65 mins).

Altrincham were having the better of the game as Bezzina forced a good save from a Potts feed and, soon afterwards, Potts won a corner. Alty sustained their pressure after the corner and the ball came to Bezzina who powered home a shot from 20 yards to give Altrincham a 3-2 lead (71 mins).

After a subsequent foul on Bezzina, a second excellent freekick by King was helped over the bar by a combination of the keeper's hand and the crossbar. With Ofori now back on the pitch, for Bezzina (74 mins), Hyde won a corner at the other end, before Lyons replaced Harkin in defence.

Potts was now put through on goal by Ofori but dragged his shot wide (78 mins). Alty had another chance to settle the game when a long ball up the middle was nodded on and left Cunliffe clear. He lobbed the keeper smartly but, for the fifth time, the woodwork saved Hyde as the ball came back off the crossbar (81 mins).

Before Hyde could take a late corner, the referee and one of his assistants consulted at length, the outcome being bookings for the Hyde no.5 and their goalkeeper. As play resumed, the assistant's flag again attracted the referee's attention and, after further consultation, a second yellow and inevitable red were shown to the Hyde keeper for "offensive language". The Hyde no.7 now went in goal (88 mins).

An impressive 60-yard run got Gilroy past defenders to the left-by line from where he fed Ofori who then lifted his shot over the bar from close range.

Hyde tried to get forward but on a counter-attack the stand-in keeper had to rush out 35 yards to head clear from the advancing Ofori (90+2 mins). The game ended soon afterwards with Altrincham having deservedly secured a place in the final after showing good character in coming back from a two-goal deficit.

With a disciplinary committee set to decide who will be Altrincham's opponents in the final, it has been an eventful debut in the Manchester FA Youth Cup for Altrincham. With several of the under-17s stepping up impressively into the side, manager George Heslop has grounds for confidence not just in the final but also for next season.