Cheshire Women's & Youth League, Division Two.
Sunday 24th November 2013, at Cairns Crescent Playing Fields, Blacon, Chester


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES SQUAD - Lizzie Brereton, Sam Briggs, Caroline Moran, Louise Edleston, Chloe Brereton, Nat Thornley, Hannah Shufflebotham, Beth Crellin, Hayley Macardy, Tracey Blanchard-Webb, Cloe Allsop, Gail Simpson, Tallulah Anton, Becki Hailes.


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies made the long trip to Shropshire to take on Whitchurch for the first time on a damp and overcast afternoon. A training injury meant that Heather, complete with crutches, was reduced to a spectating role, whilst Sarah and Brogan had been forced to withdraw late on and Cyprus had a work commitment. Hannah, however, had made the comparatively short trip from Shrewsbury to bolster the Altrincham ranks.

Whitchurch kicked off and were quickly onto the attack and, after only two minutes following a straight through ball, a Whitchurch attacker got free and slotted past Lizzie to give the home team a very early lead.

Altrincham were very slow to get started and it took until around the quarter hour mark for them to create their first real chance; good play from Tracey resulted in her putting in a cross which just evaded Natalie.

This seemed to galvanise the Alty Ladies and, in the 19th minute, a Whitchurch defender was adjudged to have handled in the area, with a penalty the outcome. Following a delay for the ball to be retrieved Tracey stepped up to take the penalty. The Whitchurch keeper gambled and stood her ground as Tracey’s driven shot down the middle was saved. However Tracey responded faster than anyone to net the rebound and equalise.

Altrincham continued to be a little lacklustre and had a fortunate escape on 27 minutes when a lob cleared Lizzie but rebounded off the inside of the far post to safety.

On the occasions when the Altrincham Ladies came near to playing as they can do, Whitchurch were put under some pressure and this was made to pay on 36 minutes when Tracey finished well with a strong left-footed shot to give Alty the lead.

Altrincham seemed to sense that they had gained some sort of ascendancy and, on 40 minutes, Tracey ran on to a through ball from Hannah but, unfortunatel,y could only steer it wide. On 41 minutes Tracey once again shot narrowly wide after running onto a good through ball. Altrincham were putting the home team under significant pressure and, before the end of the half, Tracey had another near miss and Beth had a goal disallowed as a team mate was offside.


Despite the somewhat improved performance as the first half had gone on, there had been too many errors for it to be an entirely happy half time conversation. For the second week on the run there had been some sloppiness in the Ladies' performance. The importance of starting the second half well, keeping it simple and trying to continue as we had finished the first half was stressed.

At the beginning of the second half Gail replaced Beth, who had taken a slight knock in midfield, another step on her welcome return from injury.

It seemed that what had been said at half time had escaped the Altrincham Ladies as, only 3 minutes into the half, a combination of defenders were unable to clear the ball and a Whitchurch striker finished with the help of a slight deflection.

Fortunately, Altrincham were not deflated by this and after 48 minutes a good ball by Tracey was put just over the top by Cloe.

Four minutes later a cross shot from Hannah following a strong run just evaded Cloe at the back post.

The superior fitness and technique of the Alty team was starting to show and, despite still not performing as they can, the Ladies were gaining the upper hand and exerting significant pressure on their hosts.

Hannah was putting in a strong performance in the midfield and, after 59 minutes, she fashioned another chance for Tracey who again went close. Despite having the upper hand, Altrincham could not make the breakthrough to retake the lead and ease the pressure.

The Ladies continued to press the home team and went close again on 68, 70, 76 and 77 minutes. Was the third goal ever going to arrive?

The answer came on 78 minutes when an excellent run down the right by Natalie was followed by a good ball to the near post, which Tracey expertly finished to complete her hat trick.

Whitchurch’s valiant efforts were starting to wane as they visibly tired giving the Alty team more time and space to play.

On 80 minutes a good passing move up the right-hand side allowed Tallulah to play an excellent through ball, which Natalie ran on to and, having outpaced the defence she finished well, expertly shooting across the keeper.

There was time for one more Altrincham effort on 88 minutes, with Tallulah and Natalie again combining well up the right, but Natalie’s shot just cleared the bar. However, this had not been a vintage performance with too much sloppiness and too many rushed passes.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Sam Briggs for an excellent performance both defensively and also in supporting down the left-hand side.