NWYA Premier League
Sunday 17 August, 2014

ALTRINCHAM (Blue & black striped shirts, white shorts, blue socks) 18. Jamie BURROWS, 2. James CLANCY, 4. James CAMPION, 5, Sam HEATHCOTE (capt), 3. Jake FOY; 17. Joe COFFEY, 6. Obajimi FOLAGBADE, 8. Laurence TAYLOR, 11. Shaun ARROWSMITH; 9. Benjamin REED, 10. Adam BOND. Subs: 12. Marc BELLINGHAM, 14. Aaron GOLDMAN, 15. Luke COUSINS.

Referee; Martin Reeves.


In a game played mostly in bright sunshine and a gusty wind but interspersed with short, sharp showers, Altrincham kicked off and almost scored within 30 seconds. From the left, Arrowsmith's well-struck shot was diverted onto the crossbar for a corner.

Altrincham had the better of the opening stages of this match, played on an artificial surface at the Egerton Club on the outskirts of Knutsford. Abbey Hey rallied and their no.9 forced a save from Burrows before Altrincham won two more corners before 15 minutes had elapsed.

Arrowsmith was looking the main attacking threat and his 25-yard shot needed a good save to stop it. Another Altrincham corner was won in the 20th minute as Altrincham continued to have marginally the better of the match. Indeed, the Altrincham corner tally rose to five by the half hour mark but they were not creating clear openings from this pressure.

In fact, they fell behind after 34 minutes. The Abbey Hey goal came from a free kick, left of goal, awarded for a trip on the Abbey Hey no.11 by Clancy. The hosts' captain took the kick and it sailed across goal into the far, top corner to give the Mancunians the lead.

Moments later, Bond was booked for shirt-pulling and for a while, Altrincham lost their composure. Next, Coffey was booked and, soon afterwards, the right winger was taken off and replaced by Aaron Goldman (41 mins).

When a pass to Arrowsmith saw him bundled off the ball in midfield, Abbey Hey's no.9 advanced and crossed from the right to the Abbey Hey captain (no.4) who scored with a low shot to the keeper's right, to make it 2-0 (43 mins).

After making a substitution, Abbey Hey had their no.2 booked as he struggled to deal with the pace and skill of Arrowsmith. But it was to get worse for Altrincham before the interval. Following a quick free kick, taken after a foul by Heathcote, Campion was drawn into fouling the opposition no.8, just to the right of the penalty box.

The Abbey Hey no.9's frekick was not touched by anyone as it curled across the box into the far corner of the net, giving his side a seemingly unassailable 3-0 interval lead (45+1 mins). All three goals had come in an 11 minute spell and all from freekicks, either directly or indirectly.


Altrincham brought on Bellingham for Reid at the interval but Abbey Hey started the half the better side. When the Abbey Hey no.11 fouled Clancy, both players were treated for a clash of heads but the Abbey Hey man came off worse and had to be replaced, having suffered a cut above his right eye.

Altrincham began to get back into the game and things also improved when Coffey returned to the game, on the left, replacing Bond (66 mins). However, it was Abbey Hey who continued to pass the ball better. Campion became Alty's third booking, for a late challenge on the keeper (74 mins). Then Bellingham talked himself into the referee's book after complaining about a foul awarded against him (76 mins).

Altrincham enjoyed their best spell of the game in the closing stages. Goldman on the right and Coffey on the left were adding significantly to the Altrincham attacking intent. Next, after Coffey had won a corner, Goldman's header just cleared the bar (78 mins).

Goldman then shot narrowly wide from 30 yards (82 mins) and a corner soon followed. Reid then replaced Arrowsmith (84 mins) before Altrincham won another corner. They put together their best spell of passing in the final five minutes but, of course, it was all too late to affect the result of a game which they had effectively lost in the closing stages of the first half when lack of concentration cost them two goals.