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Match abandoned after 55 minutes.

North West Youth Alliance Premier Division match
played at Valley Road, Flixton, on Sunday, 3 September 2017, at 2.30pm

REFEREE: Mr John Leech

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Matt LOIZOU, 2. Shaun WALKER, 9. Connor TOLAN, 4. Ollie OKWUNDU, 3. James O'HARA, 6. Harry BRACEGIRDLE, 8. Fergus GROGAN, 5. Harry SHERIDAN (capt), 7. Joe MATHER, 11. Reiss HUGHES, 10. Bailey RICHARDSON. Subs: 12. Max LEWENS, 14. Will HALL.


Altrincham FC Youth's final Sunday game of the NWYA season 2016-17 had been a home match at Flixton against Prescot Cables and, by chance, their opening home fixture of 2017-18 was, likewise, against the same Merseyside opposition. Sheridan, O'Hara, Mather and Hall were the only players in today's Alty squad to have been involved in the 2016-17 fixture as manager Paul Fay had had the annual summer task of any youth team boss of re-building a squad to comprise players who matched the league's under-18 age criteria.

For 2017-18 season the match officials in the NWYA are now miked up, like their more senior counterparts, and in charge of today's game was the experienced John Leech.

On a cool, blustery and damp afternoon Prescot kicked off and, after Bracegirdle had been dispossessed some 35 yards from goal, Prescot won a corner on their left. From this, a Cables player headed the ball downwards and into the near corner of the Alty net to give the visitors a second-minute lead.

After five minutes or so, Altrincham began to settle a little and Sheridan got in a low shot at the Prescot keeper. But the visitors remained on top and, after another Cables' corner had been punched away by Loizou, the visitors put together an impressive passing movement from their own half. This culminated in their no.9 being put clear and he slid a low shot past the Alty keeper to make it 0-2 after only 12 minutes.

Two more Prescot corners followed but, between these, Alty had a good chance to pull back a goal. Mather, Hughes and Richardson combined but the last-named lifted his shot over the bar from about 12 yards (13 mins).

Following Prescot's fourth corner of the match, the ball was half cleared but the follow-up shot was only narrowly wide of the Alty upright (16 mins).

With the light rain now getting heavier, Alty made an early swap as Hall replaced Walker at right-back (24 mins). As the game progressed, Alty got more into it with Mather's cross finding the head of Richardson but he could only head a difficult chance at the keeper (33 mins). Five minutes after this, a well-struck Grogan effort flew narrowly wide. Alty made a second change on 40 minutes when a no.15 replaced Grogan.

Alty survived a Prescot effort from their no.9 which went narrowly wide before Alty's Mather fired over the bar from the right as half time neared.


Prescot brought on Lewens for Richardson, four minutes after the re-start, at which point Mather was booked, presumably for dissent.

After Okwundo had covered impressively to halt the visitors' no.10 on the edge of the Alty box, Sheridan got in a twenty-yarder at the other end, which was saved (53 mins).

When Mather went in to a committed challenge for a 50/50 ball just inside the Prescot half near the centre circle, he sadly suffered an injury which immediately became clear was serious (55 mins). Play was suspended and an ambulance called. This arrived a little over half an hour later and the Alty winger was lifted into an ambulance, which drove onto the pitch and stopped in the centre-circle. Once the stricken player had been placed in the ambulance, conversations took place which concluded in the match being abandoned, more than an hour after the injury had occurred.

All who witnessed the accident as well as both Clubs will wish Joe Mather a full recovery.