County Cup, Preliminary Round.
Sunday 8 December 2013, at Crossford Bridge, Sale.


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES SQUAD - Lizzie, Talullah, Caroline, Cyprus, Sam B, Gail, Nat, Hannah, Beth, Cloe A, Tracey Blanchard-Webb, Becki, Sarah, Hayley, Chloe B.


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies entered the County Cup at the Preliminary Round stage, playing a Macclesfield Town Ladies team who play two levels higher up the pyramid.

Due to the requirements of the Competition the game was played at Old Alts FC ground, Crossford Bridge, Sale, and thanks must go to our ‘landlords’ for kindly allowing this.

Although progressing well from her training injury, Heather was not quite ready for a return so continued in her spectating role. Louise, Brogan and Sam Jones were unavailable but Sarah returned to the bench.

Altrincham therefore lined up in an unfamiliar 4-1-4-1 formation with a back four of Tallulah, Caroline, Cyprus and Sam Briggs in front of Lizzie in goal.

Gail was patrolling the area just in front of the back four with Cloe, Beth, Hannah and Natalie making up the midfield four and Tracey ploughing a lone furrow up front. The subs were Chloe, Sarah, Becci, Hayley and Heather.

Following pre match ceremonials, the observance of a minute's silence, in recognition of the recently deceased Nelson Mandela, and the regular joint photo demonstrating support for Mark Maddox and the Football v MND Campaign, Macclesfield kicked off and were quickly onto the attack but their early sorties were rebuffed by a resolute Altrincham defence.

The Alty Ladies gained an early foothold and, following good battling play by Tracey, a shot by Cloe brought a save from the Macclesfield Goalkeeper.

The Ladies were defying the difference in levels and taking the game to Macclesfield. Eight minutes in Tracey fired just over, following good build up play, which resulted in her putting in a cross, which just evaded Natalie.

The midfield areas were closely contested with both teams trying to play passing football on a somewhat spongy pitch. In the twelfth minute, Tracey ran on to a superb through ball from Cyprus before shooting narrowly over.

Much credit must be given to the Macclesfield goalkeeper as her positional play had been a significant contributory factor to Tracey being unable to finish any of the chances thus far.

Although Alty seemed to be in the ascendancy, it was far from being all one way traffic and, on sixteen minute,s Cyprus had to defend purposefully to prevent a shot at goal. The resulting corner was cleared by the Alty defence.

Play came to a temporary halt on 20 minutes when Caroline suffered a facial injury after an accidental collision. After treatment however she was happily able to continue.

Excellent play on 27 minutes once again released Tracey but, as previously, she was thwarted by a good save by the Macclesfield custodian.

Running on to a through ball after thirty four minutes Tracey struck a superb volley which left the goalie grasping at thin air. Sadly, however, instead of nestling in the net, the ball struck the top of the crossbar and went out for a goal-kick.

Thirty eight minutes had passed when some excellent interplay between Tracey, Nat and Cloe gave Tracey yet another opportunity to open the scoring. Once again, however, she was frustrated by the Macclesfield keeper.

Macclesfield seemed at this point to step up their performance and it took some determined defending by the Alty rearguard to keep them out. Despite the best efforts of the Alty Ladies, however, Macclesfield broke away on forty one minutes and a good ball across the Alty goal was touched just wide of the post by an onrushing attacker.

There was just time before half-time for Tracey to get on the end of yet another through ball. This time she drew the keeper but, unfortunately, shot just wide.

At half time it was 0-0, with Altrincham having had the better of the chances in the first half.


Keith expressed himself to be very happy with the first-half performance, asking only that the Ladies try to maintain the same level of commitment and ability.

Following slight treatment to Natalie, Altrincham kicked off the second half and, only one minute in, a foul in midfield gave them a free kick. This was taken by Cloe but easily saved by the Macclesfield keeper.

As expected at the beginning of the second half, Macclesfield seemed to have stepped up their performance levels and, on forty-eight minutes, Cyprus was called upon to make an excellent clearance.

On fifty-two minutes, following what seemed a fairly speculative ball into the Alty area, Cyprus was adjudged, arguably harshly, to have pushed her opponent and a penalty was awarded to Macclesfield. Altrincham hearts were in mouths as it seemed all the hard work today would be undone. Lizzie stood tall, however, and was not for being beaten. She dived expertly to her left and saved the penalty before being engulfed by her grateful team mates.

The problems for Alty were not quite over yet though, as the resulting corner hit Tallulah at the far post and was heading into the goal until Lizzie again saved well, this time with her feet.

On fifty-seven minutes Alty broke the deadlock, taking a deserved lead. A long kick from Lizzie was picked up by Tracey who ran toward goal before getting her shot away. Once again the Macclesfield keeper made a good save but Tracey was, on this occasion, able to slot home the rebound.

Macclesfield, understandably went on to the offensive and on the hour mark Cyprus had to make another excellent block to prevent a shot getting through.

Immediately after this Tallulah, who had worked hard and defended resolutely, was withdrawn and replaced by Chloe.

Altrincham were not in any way settling for what they had and, on 64 minutes, the Macclesfield goalkeeper claimed a good through ball, reaching it just before the onrushing Cloe

Three minutes later, Alty doubled their lead. Tracey doing extremely well, under lots of pressure from a posse of defenders, to round the keeper, and slide the ball home.

Yet again Keith identified this as a good time to make a change, Cloe who had worked hard all game being replaced by Sarah

To their credit Macclesfield refused to give up with more excellent defending from the Alty back line required on seventy-seven minutes as the pressure built

The final change permitted for Alty was made in the eighty-third minute, with Becci replacing Natalie.

Despite Macclesfield continuing to press, the Altrincham players were resolute in their closing down and tackling, with Macclesfield unable to fashion even one more clear chance.

In fact, Altrincham almost extended their lead on eighty- nine minutes, a superb shot from Sam Briggs was tipped onto the bar by the visiting keeper but, sadly, when Sarah put the rebound home she was adjudged to be offside

The game finished with the score 2-0 to Altrincham. A fully deserved victory following an exceptional team performance.

Player of the Match was Cyprus for an excellent performance in a slightly unfamiliar position, although it could be argued that every single player's performance was worthy of recognition.