NWYA Premier League
Sunday, 15 February 2015


ALTRINCHAM 1. Jamie Burrows, 2. Sam Heathcote, 3. Jake Foy, 4. William Foster, 5. James Campion, 6. Laurence Taylor (capt.), 7. Shaun Arrowsmith, 8. Rhain Davis, 9. James Clancy, 10. Reece Dwyer, 11. Harry Cain. Subs: 12. Jimi Folagbade, 14. Aaron Goldman, 15. Marc Bellingham.

ABBEY HEY (Dark blue): 1. Josh Thompson, 2. Matthew Robinson, 3. Jack McCarthy, 4. Mark German, 5. Benjamin Smith, 6. Dan Booth, 7. William Bailey, 8. Nash Pickering, 9. Ryan Masterson, 10. Tom Sloan, 11. Jamie Fleming. Subs: None


This game was almost over before it started as questions about the eligibility of an Abbey Hey player were raised with the referee before kick-off. Players who are contracted to any football club are ineligible to compete in the youth league and one of the visitors was allegedly in that category. Earlier in the season, Abbey Hey had been thrown out of the NWYA Neil Thomason Cup for fielding an ineligible player against Altrincham and have been hit with several fines for infractions of league rules previously this season.

The referee was not in a position to rule on the matter in question today and so he opted to go ahead and play the game, leaving the League to resolve the eligibility issue afterwards.

On a bobbly pitch, the game started fairly quietly with an Abbey Hey corner and snap-shot from Altrincham's Clancy, which went narrowly wide, these being the only events of note in the opening eleven minutes.

alty centre-back Campion then had to leave the field with a bloodied nose but he returned a little later in a replacement shirt. Next, Dwyer had a shot saved (15 mins) but there was little threat of a goal until Arrowsmith did well on the right but his cross across the face of goal was not anticipated by any team-mate (21 mins).

Altrincham were on top but Abbey Hey now went the closer of the two sides to opening the scoring when a Masterson shot was parried by Burrows and Campion had to do well to hook the ball off the line as an opponent closed in (23 mins).

From an Alty corner, Heathcote headed narrowly wide and, after a Foy run and cross, Arrowsmith was just off target (29 mins). Altrincham continued to press without making a clear opening. As half-time neared, Foy was fouled but his response saw him being booked rather than the original offender (42 mins).

with the first half almost over, Clancy and Arrowsmith conspired to feed Dwyer, up the middle of the box, where he was brought down. Dwyer took the resulting penalty kick to give Altrincham the lead. German, the offender, was booked and when keeper Thompson kicked the ball away after the penalty, he too was cautioned. Immediately the half-time whistle sounded.


Altrincham had a great chance to double the lead early in the second half when Clancy put Dwyer clear before the ball ran to Arrowsmith on the overlap but his effort clipped the bar (48 mins). Another Abbey Hey player, McCarthy, was booked soon afterwards for a foul on Arrowsmith who, after 54 minutes, was replaced by Goldman.

Abbey Hey now enjoyed a good spell and, in the 66th minute, they equalised. The goal arrived when Masterson got free, with Altrincham claiming a foul in the process. Though Burrows stopped his first effort, Masterson, who had been a substitute for Hyde FC the previous day, netted. Immediately, Altrincham made a double change as Folagbade and Bellingham replaced Dwyer and Cain.

In the 71st minute a limping Heathcote was replaced by the returning Arrowsmith. Just a minute later, the visitors were reduced to ten men when McCarthy's foul earned him a second yellow card. However, the ten men now went close as Bailey got into the box but shot wide (75 mins).

Alty now switched to a back three with Folagbade sent upfield. But, within seconds, Bellingham fed Clancy, who fired an impressive shot into the net, just inside the keeper's right post (76 mins). Immediately, Alty reverted to a back four in a 4-4-1-1 set up.

The re-start was delayed as the referee lectured Abbey Hey's Bailey. Play now got feisty and, when the assistant referee on the far side of the pitch alerted the referee, the senior match official sent off the visitors' acting manager (80 mins).

A superb goal by Clancy settled the outcome in the 83rd minute. Foy, who had a good game, fed Dwyer in the inside-left channel. The striker turned and curled an impressive shot over the keeper from 30 yards. Soon afterwards, Masterson was fouled on the touchline near half way (89 mins). The Abbey Hey striker lost his composure and jumped in on an Alty player in retaliation. A mass brawl developed with Masterson's actions earning him a straight red. Before play resumed, the linesman on the near side spoke to the referee and, as a consequence, Alty keeper Burrows was also red-carded for allegedly raising his hands against an opponent. Despite protests he had to go and Sam Heathcote assumed the goalkeeping role for the closing minutes (90+1 mins).

Some three more minutes of added time did not change the score in a match which was eventful but ultimately for the wrong reasons.