ALTRINCHAM FC RESERVES (2) 2
KNUTSFORD FC (0) 2
Hallmark Security Cheshire Football League Premier Division match
played at The J. Davidson Stadium
on Monday, 26 September 2016, k.o. 7.30pm
ALTRINCHAM FC RESERVES (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Andrew JONES, 2. Callum JONES, 3. Tom WESTALL, 4. Laurence TAYLOR, 5. Sam HEATHCOTE, 6. Marcus DIBBLE, 7. Josef FAUX, 8. Ryan BARRY, 9. Joel SWIFT (capt), 10. Rhain DAVIS, 11. Harry CAIN. Subs: 12. Boris MELINGUI, 14. Will FOSTER, 15. Callum CHARLTON, 16. Jude OYIBO, 17. Ioannis STOUPPIS.
KNUTSFORD (All blue): 1. Sam MOORE, 2. Scott BEATTIE, 3. Sean LYNCH, 4. Graham BROTHERTON, 5. Steve JENYONS (capt), 6. Ebbie REZAYAN, 7. Lee MANNION, 8. Micky CARTNER, 9. Liam CRELLIN-MYERS, 10. David OWENS, 11. Dean NOLAN. Subs: 12. Tom RUTTER, 14. Robert SPILSBURY, 15. Richard SMART, 16. Scott DIGNAN.
Referee: Darren Brown
Altrincham Reserves, watched by Jim Harvey, took a 2-0 lead inside 15 minutes and they looked on course for a comfortable win. The goals came from Rhain Davis and Joel Swift. But Altrincham lost the initiative and Knutsford deservedly gained a draw with two second-half goals.
Alty included current first-team squad members Sam Heathcote and Harry Cain in the starting eleven but Tom Hannigan, who had been expected to play some part in the proceedings, was sidelined with a dental problem. Callum Charlton made his first competitive appearance for an Altrincham side as a second-half substitute left-back.
Watched by Altrincham's new first-team boss, Jim Harvey, this match started in steady rain, which was to fall throughout the proceedings. Within thirty seconds Alty almost fell behind as a Knutsford lob from left of goal dropped just wide of the right post.
After Altrincham skipper, Joel Swift, had fired over the bar, Knutsford got up the other end and into the box to win the game's first corner (9 mins). However, Altrincham then put together a good move, which seemed to have been ended by a fine tackle from Beattie inside his own box. But the ball ran loose and, as Cain and the keeper went for it, it fell free to Davis who efficiently completed the formality of putting it into the empty net (10 mins).
Next, an excellent freekick from the halfway line by Heathcote led to a blocked shot by Taylor. But Altrincham soon doubled their lead. Taylor's ball led to a Faux advance on the right and his low cross was converted by Swift (15 mins). At this stage it looked as if a comfortable win might be on the cards for the home team. But Crellin-Myers soon reminded everyone that the visitors were not out of the game as his shot forced a save from Andrew Jones (17 mins).
After Owens had been dispossessed by Swift, the Altrincham captain now advanced to the edge of the box where he went down and was cautioned, without too much complaint, for "simulation" (18 mins). At the other end, Owens dribbled superbly into the Alty penalty area and he, too, went down but this time it was amidst unanswered calls for a penalty (20 mins).
A Cain shot from 22 yards was held by Moore at the second attempt a few minutes later. However, Knutsford then threatened when an attempted clearance by Taylor rebounded and set Owens free up the middle but the Knutsford man lost his footing in the box to give Alty a let-off (27 mins). Next a 30-yarder from Heathcote flew narrowly wide before the visitors won a corner.
As half-time approached an excellent freekick by Crellin-Myers had to be beaten away by Jones in the Alty goal and a visitors' corner soon followed (43 mins). Indeed, the more experienced visitors had enjoyed the better of the closing stages of the first half, against their younger opponents, after their two early concessions.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC RESERVES 2|
KNUTSFORD FC 0
At the interval Altrincham brought on Will Foster and Callum Charlton for Tom Westall and Marcus Dibble. Foster went to centre-back and Charlton, making his first competitive appearance for the Club since arriving on trial in the summer, was deployed at left-back.
Five minutes into the half an Owens shot sailed high into Golf Road before his side won two successive corners, which came to nothing. Knutsford got back in the game on 62 minutes when Crellin-Myers got into the box, sold his marker a dummy, and fired a powerful shot past Jones to make it 2-1.
Soon afterwards, Nolan forced a save from Jones but Altrincham responded with two corners. Between these Heathcote went down for treatment. He had earlier come to the touchline for a water-bottle, looking less than 100% healthy. After treatment from physio Alan Ainsley the centre-back had to be helped from the pitch by the physio and Neil Tolson, who was assisting Chris Rowley in the Altrincham technical area, following the recent departure of manager Craig Malbon.
Alty resumed with ten men but, after a Swift shot had been beaten out for a corner, Boris Melingui replaced Heathcote. At the same time Knutsford brought on Rutter for Rezayan (69 mins).
Two Knutsford corners followed, before an impressive Alty move ended with a fine shot from Davis, from 20 yards, which Moore saved at the cost of a corner (75 mins). Just after another Alty corner, Knutsford made two changes. On 83 minutes Smart replaced Cartner and a minute later Crellin-Myers went off to be substituted by Spilsbury.
Knutsford were rewarded for their second-half performance when they equalised five minutes from time. A strong shot from Owens was half stopped by the diving Jones near his left-hand post but the ball seemed to come back off the upright before hitting the prostrate keeper and entering the net for the levelling goal (85 mins).
Altrincham almost snatched all three points in the final minute of the ninety as Faux's left-foot shot from the edge of the box was deflected off a Knutsford player and struck the goalpost. But in the second minute of added time Knutsford also almost scored as Rutter's shot had to be saved, at full length, by Alty keeper Jones (90+2 mins).
A draw was a fair outcome to a game in which Altrincham had set the early pace but Knutsford had seized the initiative in the second half.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC RESERVES 2|
KNUTSFORD FC 2