Match Report

MARINE (1) 1

UniBond Premier League match,
played on Tuesday, 24 September, 2002 at 7.45p.m.

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  • 26 mins: Anton LALLY (Altrincham 0 Marine 1)
    REFEREE: Mr. W.D. Lomas

    After three successive defeats (two league, one cup) and a blank fixture last Saturday, Altrincham had slipped to 18th in the league, whilst Marine were only just above them on goal difference.


    In their programme notes, Bernard Taylor and Andy May wrote of the recent defeat at Ashton, that "if we had taken our first-half chances, we would have been well out of reach...When we are on top, we must drill home our advantage". Unfortunately, much the same can be said of this match against Marine though a depleted Altrincham never quite played as well as in the first half at Hurst Cross ten days ago. Without the injured Rod Thornley, Altrincham lost, as at Ashton, to a 25 yard goal. This one was struck by Marine midfielder Anton Lally after 26 minutes.

    Alty created and missed several first-half chances before putting in a disappointing second half performance in which they failed to translate plenty of possession into goals. It was Alty's fifth blank scoresheet in ten league games and to make things worse, Neil Murphy picked up a suspension as he got booked for the fifth time this season.


    Altrincham were without the injured Rod Thornley and Gary Talbot whilst Richard Acton, the former Hyde and Runcorn keeper, was brought in to keep goal in place of Andy Moore, who has done such a good job since coming into the side, but was also out of this game through injury. So, three of Alty's regulars were missing. Neil Ryan returned to the side, after losing his place through suspension, and there was a new face on the bench in Jamie Phoenix, a youngster from Bolton Wanderers.

    On the bench he was joined by Adewale Ajetunmobi, who has yet to start a game, and the still not fully fit Jason Gallagher. Though suffering from a virus, Mark Maddox was named as captain. Simon Woodford was present but, sadly, on crutches after a workplace accident. Marine featured a number of players who have progressed through their Youth and Reserve sides, as well as the returning Ged Courtney who had a recent spell at Stalybridge in the Conference after leaving Marine.

  • ALTRINCHAM (red & white striped shirts, black shorts, black socks): 1. Richard ACTON, 2. Neil MURPHY, 3. Gary SCOTT, 4. Stephen ROSE, 5. Mark MADDOX (capt.), 6. Neil RYAN, 7. Ian CRANEY, 8. Andy McDONALD, 9. Chris YOUNG, 10. Peter BAND, 11. Danny MURPHY. Subs: 12. Jason GALLAGHER, 14. Jamie PHOENIX, 15. Adewale AJETUNMOBI.

  • MARINE (Yellow shirts with green trim, green shorts and socks): 1. Billy STEWART, 2. Jon WAREING, 3. Gary RANDLES, 4. Anton LALLY, 5. Paul McNALLY, 6. Jon GAUTREY, 7. Michael KEEGAN, 8. Rick BAINBRIDGE, 9. Gerrard COURTNEY, 10. Tom TAYLOR, 11. Will DOLAN. Subs: 12. Neil BLACK, 14. Paul CULSHAW, 15. Stuart GELLING.


    The game got off to a quiet start in front of a fairly disappointing crowd, as the alternative attraction of watching Manchester United on TV seemed to exert its influence on the "floating" element of the Altrincham support. Peter Band won Altrincham a corner (5 mins) which was very well taken by Ryan, curling towards the goal-line at the near post before Stewart beat it out. However, an offence was given against Altrincham so a free-kick resulted. Rose and Maddox saw off the early probing from Marine in what was a fairly even start which produced no shots at goal of note.

    Danny Murphy looked fairly lively on the Altrincham left as the game continued in a reasonably entertaining fashion. The best moment of the early stages came when Craney executed a good pass to Peter Band. Band's shot was half-blocked but looped towards the Golf Road goal, only for Billy Stewart to make ground to catch it (11 mins). Neil Murphy then did well to get on the end of a Young, Band and Craney move and advance into the box but he was dispossessed there by a solid Marine defence.

    However, Altrincham were now beginning to get on top and soon McDonald played Danny Murphy into the box but the quickly advancing Stewart drove the Alty man to the right of goal and from a very acute angle Danny could only turn the ball back gently towards the goal, from where it was cleared just before it reached the goal-line by a defender (15 mins). Marine then advanced up the left and a cross came off Scott to Keegan at the back post. He lobbed the ball towards the other post where it eventually ended in the arms of Acton (16 mins). Altrincham were getting caught offside fairly regularly at this stage and from a free-kick for such an offence, Marine won a corner on the left from a deflected shot. The corner curled behind Acton and the back post for a goalkick. There was almost a bizarre own goal when Rose, with plenty of time, steered a back pass well to Acton's right and the keeper had to race across his goal area to kick the ball clear as it threatened to cross the line into the net (19 mins).

    Next, Young found Band in the clear about six yards out and unmarked but the ball got under the Alty man's feet and all that resulted was a corner, won by Craney. Ryan's well struck corner from the left almost went directly into the net but was cleared off the line, back to him. Ryan's resulting ball into the box was then just poked over the bar by an Alty colleague (21 mins). Stewart then came out to kick clear a potential threat from Young as Altrincham continued to press. Next, from McDonald's lay off, Danny Murphy tried to place rather than drive his right-foot shot but Stewart knocked it clear. Moments later Danny Murphy missed the best chance of the game after Band had battled inside the box and the ball had broken, left, to the unmarked Alty flankman.

    With time and space, Danny should have buried the ball in the net from about eight yards but he failed to hit the target, knocking the ball a couple of feet wide of Stewart's right upright (25 mins). As is often the case, a miss at one end became a turning point at the other end. Keegan got free behind Scott and, from a left-wing cross, he drove the ball firmly but well over the bar. However, Mr Lomas detected a slight deflection and gave a corner to Marine. The corner was half cleared by the stretching foot of Craney but came to Lally, about 25 yards out in a central position. The ex-Kendal Town midfielder drove a well hit shot into the net off the underside of the Alty crossbar to give the visitors the lead against the run of play (26 mins). The shot was a good one but it entered the centre of the goal, with Acton possibly unsighted by a crowded goalmouth. As at Ashton, Alty had been undone by a fine, long-range effort.

    Alty's next attack saw Danny Murphy hustled off the ball by Gautrey, Marine's veteran defender. Altrincham continued to press but Danny Murphy's low shot at Stewart was their best effort (30 mins). However, Marine came much closer when following a throw-in, a low, driven cross across the Alty box found the incoming Keegan who steered the ball from close range towards the net only for it to be cleared in a blur by an Alty defender (Scott?) on the line (31 mins). Having survived this scare, Alty won a corner when Gautrey got in a tangle and had to hack the ball over the Golf Road roof to clear. The corner came to nothing and the sides then traded unproductive attacks.

    The goal shyness of the Altrincham side was underlined shortly before the interval when a good move involving Craney and Band saw the ball came to Young inside the box. Rather than shoot from a promising position inside the box, Young elected to pass, left, to Danny Murphy. He, in turn, seemed to hesitate between a shot and a return pass back to Young and managed to achieve neither (40 mins). Just before the "2 minutes" board was shown a neat turn by Courtney set the promising Taylor in for a shot but he hit it badly wide. Half-time came with Altrincham once again lamenting their missed chances and with an uphill struggle confronting them in the second half.

    Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 MARINE 1

    Culshaw replaced McNally in the Marine defence at half-time but it was Altrincham who won an early corner. However, soon afterwards, Neil Ryan had to make an excellent tackle to stop Taylor as he advanced into the home side's penalty area. A foul by Neil Murphy on Dolan then led to a free-kick which came in from the left and was almost turned into the net by Bainbridge (50 mins). The stuttering start to the half continued with Neil Murphy shooting very wide and high from 30 yards, McDonald being caught offside and then Craney misplacing a pass. Marine were comfortably holding their lead as neither side looked like troubling the goalkeepers.

    However, Craney then did well to get the ball to Danny Murphy but his shot was blocked. After a Scott shot had also been blocked, a superb forward ball from central midfield found Young advancing on Stewart in the outer part of the penalty area. Though Young hit the ball firmly from about 17 yards, he directed it straight at the advancing keeper who beat it away (59 mins). Craney then made a fine turn to create some space but he was fortunate that his resulting misdirected shot won a corner off a slight deflection. For once, Ryan's corner was poor and, following it, Black replaced Taylor for Marine (61 mins). A minute later Alty brought on debutant Jamie Phoenix for Andy McDonald, the youngster from Bolton slotting into the left side of midfield as Murphy switched to the right. Phoenix soon showed a great deal of pace as he surged forward 30 yards to win a corner (69 mins).

    Altrincham continued to enjoy plenty of possession and they won a free-kick when Gautrey climbed all over Young. The free-kick from just outside the box was taken by Phoenix who curled it just over the bar (73 mins). Black then got in two shots for Marine, the first he put over the bar and the second he took off the toes of Rose, but was narrowly wide (74 mins). Phoenix won Alty another corner soon afterwards and Ryan's corner-kick found Band but he was too close to goal to steer his header under the bar. A late tackle by Neil Murphy on Dolan then earned the Alty right-back a rather harsh fifth booking of the season and will lead to a suspension in due course (76 mins).

    Marine now brought on their third substitute, Gelling, for Lally (79 mins) as the remaining Alty subs remained on their bench. Finally, however, Altrincham brought on Adewale Ajetunmobi (for Young) with just eight minutes to go and the striker's body language as he slowly put on his shirt suggested that he too thought it was a bit too late to have much impact on the game. Ajet's first contribution was a foul on Randles but he then won a throw when the same player tackled him.

    Neither side had had a decent shot at goal for some time now and neither looked likely to disturb the scoreline for the remainder of the game. However, Dolan then got behind Gary Scott and shot over the bar and, coincidentally, just a moment later Scott was named as the Altrincham Man of the Match (87 mins). The game petered out to a conclusion with Altrincham losing their fourth successive match by a single goal margin. It is not that the team is playing especially poorly but rather, once again, this result stemmed from the failure to convert good scoring chances. The spate of injuries has also not helped the managerial team of Bernard Taylor and Andy May. Now it must be hoped that Rod Thornley (7 goals in 9 starts) will be fit to resume against Kendal Town in the FA Cup on Saturday when a vital £7,500 prize is at stake, as well as a place in the 3rd Qualifying Round.

    Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 MARINE 1