Match Report


UniBond Premier League match,
played on Monday, 2 December, 2002 at 7.45p.m.

  • 86 mins: Peter BAND (Marine 0 Altrincham 1)

    REFEREE: Mr. Paul Brabin

    Despite heavy rain for most of the day, this game went ahead after several pre-match inspections before the gates were opened at 7.15pm. There were also strong gusty winds to contend with as play started on a pitch already showing standing water in patches. It was a tribute to the groundsman that the game was played at all and also to the players who showed plenty of commitment in such poor weather. The Altrincham supporters' coach arrived with less than ten minutes to spare after encountering major traffic jams on the way.

    Marine had climbed above Altrincham last weekend but the Crosby side have been getting poor results at home, having won just twice in the league at Rossett Park this season in the league.


    In a match played in awful conditions, - a gusty wind, squally rain and an increasingly sodden pitch - Altrincham seemed to have squandered a chance to take all three points when Rod Thornley had his 73rd minute penalty comfortably saved by Billy Stewart. Rod had also missed a penalty last year at Rossett Park. The first half had been fairly even but Marine had enjoyed the better of the second period until the penalty.

    Alty then finished strongly, forcing Stewart to two fine saves before an 86th minute Adams corner produced the winner, which appeared to be scored through a crowded goalmouth by Band, though the tannoy awarded it to Craney. In fact, the ball was cleared by a defender but the linesman flagged that the ball had previously crossed the line. Alty fielded three debutants in their squad and it was their third successive 1-0 win.


    There were three "new" faces in the Altrincham squad. In goal was Kurt Edginton, who had been at Moss Lane last season as Stuart Coburn's cover-keeper. Regular goalkeeper Richard Acton was suspended after handling the ball outside his area against Hyde two weeks ago. Although Peter Band also saw a red card in that game, he was not suspended tonight as his dismissal came after the final whistle and a disciplinary hearing apparently has to be convened before any punishment can be applied.

    Also returning to the Altrincham side was Barry Shuttleworth, who started on the bench, after being signed from Accrington in the last few days. Barry played seven games for Alty last season whilst on loan from Macclesfield Town. The third new face was that of James Robinson, a young striker, loaned to Altrincham by Crewe Alexandra.

    Alty were without Gary Talbot as well as the longer-term injured, Danny Murphy, Neil Ryan and Vernum Rowland. Band played tonight at the back in place of Talbot whilst Rod Thornley played despite suffering a trapped nerve in his back at Bradford on Saturday.

    The Marine side included at right-back Neil Murphy, who was released by Alty earlier this season. It was strange not to see long-serving Jon Gautrey in the Marine side; the veteran midfielder has taken a break from football in what will be his final season.


  • MARINE (White shirts, black shorts and socks): 1. Billy STEWART, 2. Neil MURPHY, 3. Dave NOLAN, 4. Rick BAINBRIDGE, 5. Paul McNALLY, 6. Gary RANDLES (capt), 7. Will DOLAN, 8. Eddie HUSSIN, 9. Neil BLACK, 10. Michael KEEGAN, 11. Jon WAREING. Subs: 12. Paul PROCTOR, 14. Paul CULSHAW, 15. Dave THOMPSON.

  • ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, white shorts, red socks): 1. Kurt EDGINTON, 2. Gary SCOTT, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Mark MADDOX, 5. Peter BAND, 6. Stephen ROSE, 7. Jason GALLAGHER, 8. Ian CRANEY, 9. James ROBINSON, 10. Rod THORNLEY (capt.), 11. Sean SMITH. Subs: 12. Steve LUNT, 14. Andy TUNNICLIFFE, 15. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH.


    With the lashing rain, the muddied shirts obscuring players' numbers and the fact that the stand at Marine is behind one of the goals, it was not always clear who was doing what at the far end of the pitch. However, nothing could obscure the fact that we were very lucky to have a game to watch at all and Mr Brabin must have agonised over whether to start the proceedings or not. Neil Murphy soon showed no respect for his former team-mates when he tripped Ian Craney in the first minute. Indeed, Altrincham started the game well and enjoyed the better of the opening ten minutes or so.

    However, there was little cultured football as the players adjusted to the slippery conditions and the fact that the ball stuck in the mud in the centre of the pitch and the goalmouths but skidded off the surface on the flanks. Indeed, after 7 minutes, Thornley threatened the Marine goal from inside their penalty area but was beaten as much by the ball getting left behind him on the sticky surface as by the defenders. Murphy again tripped Craney, who was showing excellent skill in the difficult conditions, just outside the box after 9 minutes. Rod Thornley's free-kick, from the left of goal, was comfortably caught by Stewart, who clutched the ball to his midriff.

    After Randles and Stewart had almost got in a muddle over a back pass, Marine cleared their lines and soon afterwards the keeper had to be alert to smother the ball as Rod Thornley arrived on the scene. The rain temporarily eased as Marine now began to get into the match. Keegan pushed over Craney to concede another free-kick but, soon, a testing cross from the right by Murphy saw a Marine player go down in the box. However, Mr Brabin showed no interest in the Marine appeals for a penalty (20 mins).

    The home side now enjoyed some possession but on the breakaway Thornley got behind McNally. He handled the ball as he did so, to concede a free-kick deep in the home side's half. Thornley was showing no sign of his injury but play soon had to stop for Murphy to be treated. Following the restart, Nolan nearly put Marine ahead in bizarre fashion when, literally on the left touchline about 20 yards out, he sent in a cross which in the wind became a shot and kissed the top of the crossbar as Edginton scrambled to try to cover it.

    Despite the poor conditions both sides were providing very reasonable entertainment though errors were inevitable as passes stuck in the mud or skimmed off the surface. An Alty breakaway then saw Scott advance up the right and find Craney whose ball for Thornley skidded out of play before the striker could reach it at the by-line (30 mins). Following a throw on the Alty left, Craney, with fine close control, made a neat turn and got in a firm shot which went just over the bar (32 mins). The rain was now lashing down again as the spectators huddled at the back of the two covered sides of the ground to keep dry. Marine's Wareing was man-marking Thornley and he soon got in a great tackle to stop another Thornley threat. After Keegan's handball, Adams's freekick saw Thornley and Stewart going for the ball but it was scrambled clear by Marine.

    Marine now won successive corners on the right and, then, left before the latter effort was scrambled away. The end to end play continued but following a goalkick by Stewart the ball stopped in mid-air and started to come back to the keeper, powered by the strong, gusty wind. Following a free-kick for a trip on Band, Robinson challenged and won the ball in the air but received a knock in the face in the process. After treatment, play resumed with what passed for a bounce-up on the muddy surface (43 mins). As the "one minute" board was shown for added time, Maddox put a clearance onto the roof of the terrace to end a neat Marine passing movement.

    Half-Time: MARINE 0 ALTRINCHAM 0

    During half-time the rain resumed with intensity and young James Robinson appeared from the changing-rooms with a gauze plug where one of his front teeth should have been, following his knock just before the interval. Steve Lunt came on to replace him, up front, for the second half, which Marine started. Smith was penalised 25 yards out soon after the kick-off but the free-kick was put well over the bar. Then, Will Dolan got past the defence on the Alty right and sent a fine shot towards the top corner which Edginton saved brilliantly, tipping the ball out for a corner, which was hit just too long for McNally at the back post. A goalkick resulted (48 mins).

    Marine now applied some pressure and Band and Maddox were kept busy for a few minutes at the heart of the defence for the Robins. A cross from the left then found Bainbridge who had got behind the defence but his effort was marginally too high (54 mins). Next Dolan got in a cross shot from the Marine right which beat Edginton but also just cleared the bar as it went across the face of the goal at an acute angle. Torrential rain was still falling as Band got in a fine saving tackle on Black as he was about to shoot.

    Alty now brought on Shuttleworth in a straight swap for Gallagher on the right of midfield (61 mins). An Adams free-kick and subsequent throw-in were both cleared by Marine as the visitors tried to mount a decent attack but all the play was in the Alty half at this stage. Thornley did eventually make some progress up the middle and got the ball to Lunt but he was closed down. A foul by Adams earned him a lecture but Mr Brabin refereed sensibly throughout, giving players the benefit of the doubt in the slippery conditions. After treatment, Sean Smith hobbled off to be replaced by Andy Tunnicliffe (69 mins). Then a Marine free-kick bounced over Band inside his own box and Edginton had to be alert to tip the ball over for a corner to Marine on their left. Shuttleworth was then hit by the ball and felled but play continued as he lay prostrate and Marine won a free-kick just outside the Alty box, left of goal.

    This produced another Marine corner, on their right, which Dolan headed into touch (71 mins). With Marine on top, Altrincham suddenly had a golden chance to go ahead. A ball forward for Thornley saw him expertly spin past his marker, Randles, only to be felled in the process. Mr Brabin unhesitatingly pointed to the spot. Rod Thornley had blasted a penalty wide at the same end of the Marine ground last season and once more he missed from the same spot. This time, Stewart dived to his left and Rod underhit a low shot which the experienced keeper saved fairly comfortably (73 mins).

    Soon afterwards, Proctor replaced Nolan for Marine (75 mins). For the second time in succession, Adams threw a throw-in straight into touch as the wind caught the ball. Then Marine followed suit with a similar throw-in in a bizarre couple of minutes. Randles restored normality when he got in a shot after Edginton's underhit kicked clearance but the keeper caught the shot easily (78 mins). Marine now brought on Thompson for Black (78 mins) and soon Rose had to concede a corner to Marine. Edginton palmed this away before Tunniclffe won his side a corner at the other end to mark what was to be the start of a late surge by the visitors as the weather calmed down and the rain stopped. From Adams's in-swinging corner from the right, Maddox rose well only for Stewart to make an excellent save (83 mins).

    Then an Adams free-kick was met by Band, on the volley, and Stewart produced another top-class diving save (84 mins). Next, Lunt did well to win a corner to the right of goal and Adams again fired in an in-swinging corner which was hit at goal by a cooleague through a crowded goalmouth and seemingly cleared by a defender before being knocked back in towards goal and then out again. However, in this confusing high-speed sequence of events at the far end of the ground, the linesman signalled that the ball had crossed the line and the referee awarded a goal. The announcer credited Craney with it but spectators nearby awarded the goal to Peter Band (86 mins).

    There was time for Marine to respond, with Edginton palming out Thompson's effort to Hussin, who lifted it over the bar from eight yards (87 mins). Altrincham rode out the last three minutes of Marine pressure as the tannoy announced Jon Wareing as the home side's man of the match. For Altrincham it would be difficult to single out one player on a night when once again the team showed a strong collective purpose, recording their third successive 1-0 victory after wins over Frickley and Bradford Park Avenue.

    Full-Time: MARINE 0 ALTRINCHAM 1