ALTRINCHAM (0) 1 BARROW (0) 2
UniBond Premier League Match,
played on Tuesday, 5 November, 2002 at 7.45p.m.
REFEREE: Mr.I.L. Faulkner
This was Altrincham's fifth consecutive game against top-six opposition. Barrow, however, had not won at Moss Lane since January 1968 and Altrincham's recent uplift in form promised a good match.
In the first half Barrow played well and won a number of corners, but Altrincham also gave a good account of themselves. Ian Craney gave Alty an early second-half lead with a fine goal, only for a doubtful penalty to level the scores midway through the half. An unfortunate deflection gave Barrow a late winner to deprive Altrincham of a point.
For the first time this season Alty fielded an unchanged team. Barrow included recent signing, Ian Arnold, up front. Grant Holt returned to their side after suspension, replacing the injured Tarrant and Hall continued at full-back for the also injured Rogers.
As a family illness meant that I could not attend this match, I am grateful to my wife and several fellow supporters for providing the following information.
The game kicked off after a minute's silence for Mark Pover, the 17 year-old Alty Youth player who collapsed and died a week last Saturday. Once play had started, against a backdop of fireworks, an early Thornley shot was blocked before Barrow won a corner (3 mins), followed by another soon afterwards (7 mins). Next, Gaughan shot just wide of the post before Sean Smith replied for Altrincham with a shot which rose just over the cross bar (11 mins). Altrincham came very close after 16 minutes when, from a Thornley centre, Craney hooked the ball into the cross bar (16 mins). After this Acton caught a free-kick conceded by Rowland before Alty won a free-kick themselves for a foul on Band.
The attacking play continued with a Craney shot over the top followed by Holt's shot at Acton (21 mins). Immediately after this a Thornley centre found Rowland but he was unable to capitalise on the situation. Another three Barrow corners followed by the 28th minute but a pass from Band almost let in Craney at the other end, but Barrow keeper Bishop got to the ball first. A good run by Scott then allowed Thornley a shot which went just past the upright (42 mins).
In added time Peter Band was booked for pushing a defender (45 mins). The first half had seen plenty of attacking football, with Barrow having marginally the upper hand though Altrincham had given a good account of themselves. The visitors had had more of the possession but had created few chances against a resolute Altrincham defence.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 BARROW 0|
Alty were now attacking the 20/20 End and a good Rowland back header saw off Barrow's first attack. Following an Alty throw Scott made a fine pass to Craney, who juggled the ball and turned past two defenders to score an excellent goal (48 mins). Then a good ball by Rowland was just too long for Thornley to get onto. However, Barrow won a corner after a run by Maxfield was halted by Rowland. As Graham Heathcote and Dalton Steele encouraged the Altrincham side from the touchline, Barrow won another corner when Acton could not hold the ball. Following this corner, Arnold headed onto the bar and the ball went out of play. Next, Scott and Thornley combined well with Craney finishing the move with a shot over the bar (58 mins). Alty then won themselves a corner before Band needed treatment for a minor injury (60 mins). A Maxfield shot soon won the visitors yet another corner, from which Holt shot wide.
The game turned on a decision by referee Faulkner to award Barrow a penalty for what he saw as a foul tackle on Warren just inside the box by Gary Talbot, who had an excellent game at the heart of the Alty defence. Although there was a strong protest bu the Altrincham defence against the decision, Gaughan converted the spot kick (65 mins), sending Acton the wrong way. Soon afterwards, following a foul on Scott by Holt, Band had a fine shot just tipped over the bar for a corner. This was cleared and a few minutes later Barrow won another flag-kick of their own, from which Arnold's deflected shot won another corner.
Another good pass from Rowland saw Thornley pushed over to win a free-kick on the edge of the box, right of centre. Smith took this and from it Maddox hit the bar. At the other end, Acton had to make a fine stop from Housham (72 mins). An Alty free-kick then led to a shot by Rowland which won Altrincham a corner (79 mins) before the Barrow keeper had to rush out to clear from the advancing Thornley. Then from a free-kick for a foul on Maxfield, Anthony shot wide (80 mins). The winning goal was a fortunate one and came just five minutes from the end when Rose cleared a Barrow shot only for the ball to rebound off Housham into the net. Craney had a shot saved soon after the restart and then Bishop caught a Thornley cross (88 mins) as Alty pushed for an equaliser, which did not come.
Altrincham put up a very good performance against an impressive Barrow side, especially in the second half, and can count themselves extremely unlucky to have succumbed to a contested penalty and a deflection. Even Radio Cumbria said "Lady Luck shone on Barrow tonight", but after nearly 35 years without a win at Moss Lane, Barrow fans may think it was perhaps overdue! Gary Talbot was named Man of the Match for Altrincham for a sterling defensive performance.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 BARROW 2|