Cheshire Women's & Youth League, Division Two
Sunday, 12 March, 2014.


Squad - Lizzie, Sam B, Chloe B, Cyp's, Becki, Brogan, Hannah, Gail, Sarah, Tracey, Cloe A, Caroline, Tallulah, Heather, Sue, Aimee


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

Despite what had been a dry week with little or no rainfall, heavy showers overnight had made an impact and it took the Altrincham players and staff to get the surface to a state where the referee was happy to sanction play.

This resulted in a slight delay to kick-off but, eventually, play got underway on a breezy and overcast afternoon.

A variety of reasons meant that Rachel, Natalie, Beth, Louise and Sam Jones were unavailable whilst Hayley, who can consider herself unlucky to be the seventeenth player in a squad of sixteen, showed how excellent team spirit is by coming down to support her team mates.

Altrincham once again lined up in a flexible formation, which alternated between 3-1-4-2 and 4-4-2 depending on which team had possession, with a back three of Becci, Chloe and Sam Briggs in front of Lizzie in goal.

Cyprus occupied a position just in front of the three, dropping in to make it four when Alty were defending.

Sarah, Hannah, Gail and Brogan made up the midfield four and Tracey was joined, up front by Cloe.

Subs were Caroline, Sue, Heather, Tallulah and Aimee.

Despite having only ten players, Irby arguably started the game more effectively than a somewhat sluggish and disjointed home team. However, after three minutes, Alty clicked into gear when good play down the left led to a chance for Hannah, which went just wide.

Irby however continued to try to play a passing game and to apply pressure.

Altrincham, following their “sticky” start, began to play with a bit more fluidity and a good run by Tracey, again down the Alty left, allowed Cloe to get a shot away, which was well saved by the Irby goalie.

On twelve minutes, though, the keeper was beaten and Altrincham took the lead. Good control, a skilful turn and an adroit through ball by Cloe put Hannah through into a one on one situation, which she finished clinically.

This seemed to lift the confidence of the Alty players and, after sixteen minutes, a corner by Sarah was cleared to the back post where Hannah poked the ball just wide.

The second home goal, however, was not long in coming and, after sixteen minutes, Hannah returned the compliment by putting Cloe through the Irby defence where she finished very efficiently.

Six minutes later and skilful play by Becci in the right back position released Cloe, whose ball into the recently introduced Sue was touched just wide of the post.

Altrincham appeared, at this point, to have found their passing game and, on twenty four minutes, an excellent passing move ended with Tracey once again shooting just wide.

The pressure continued to build on Irby and, only two minutes later, following an incisive move, Tracey had a shot well parried by the impressive Irby custodian. It seemed, however, that Cloe, following in at the back post, would certainly score until an Irby defender made an exceptional goal-saving tackle.

Despite being a player light, Irby continued to play passing football, on more than one occasion, cutting through the middle of the home defence and necessitating some alert keeping from Lizzie. The inequality of numbers did, however, mean that Altrincham were able to continue to mount attacks with some regularity, making particularly good use of both flanks.

On twenty eight minutes, once again, incisive play down the Altrincham right led to another chance for Sue, whose shot passed harmlessly wide of the far post.

Although clearly in the ascendancy, the home team could not relax as Irby stuck to their principles and tried to play their way out of pressure situations and toward the Altrincham goal. Considering the somewhat challenging pitch conditions both teams were producing an entertaining game of passing football.

On the half hour Cloe was released down the Altrincham right, once again, and her shot drew another good save from the Irby goalkeeper, this time at her near post.

Three minutes later and, following an Altrincham corner, the ball was prodded home from the edge of the six-yard box by Chloe to give the home side a three-nil lead.

Irby, to their immense credit, did not allow this to deter them and, in fact, within a minute had reduced the deficit. An impressive run down the Alty right resulted in a cross not being properly cleared and the ball was driven, clinically, past Lizzie in the Altrincham goal.

Once again, despite the inequality of numbers, the game, whilst flowing from end to end, remained quite equal for a while, with neither keeper overly troubled. On forty-two minutes, incisive interplay between Cloe and Heather resulted in yet another impressive save by the Irby goalkeeper.

A minute later and Tracey, having evaded a couple of challenges, put Sue through on goal. Unfortunately for Sue, whose day this seemingly wasn’t to be, her shot, once again, went marginally wide.

Half-time arrived with Altrincham leading 3-1. Both teams had contributed to a good half of football. The home team had been forced into three changes by injury and illness but, irrespective of their numerical superiority, had been good value for the lead.

Manager Keith Edleston asked that the performance level be maintained, whilst warning against complacency, given the manner in which Irby continued to try to play.


The second half was barely three minutes old when, once again, the Irby keeper saved impressively. This time from Heather, who had loosed a shot from outside the area.

The respite however was short and, after forty nine minutes, Tracey stabbed the ball into the corner of the net to make the score 4-1. Again though, almost immediately, Irby retaliated. An astute ball through the middle of the Altrincham defence, one of a number played by the visitors, was well finished to reduce the home side’s lead back to 4-2.

Aimee had, by this point, entered the fray and, on fifty one minutes, she progressed well down the left before the ball was well cleared by the Irby defence. A minute later though, and following some tenacious closing down by Heather, Tracey once again finished clinically to make the score 5-2.

Not unsurprisingly, the Alty Ladies had, by now, gained a strong grip on the game. On fifty five minutes a shot by Cloe struck the crossbar before being cleared and, a minute later, after Cloe had delivered a corner, the unfortunate Sue once again saw an effort pass just wide.

Despite having no luck in front of goal Sue worked tirelessly running the channels and making space for others on the team to exploit and, following such good work, on sixty two minutes, Tracey shot across the keeper to make it 6-2.

From the kick-off Altrincham immediately regained possession and Cloe, running onto an expertly weighted through ball, poked the ball just wide of the post once again.

The seventh Altrincham goal came a mere three minutes later, Sam Briggs picking up the ball before moving forward purposefully and firing a shot past the Irby goalkeeper into the bottom corner of the net.

As the Irby players tired, Altrincham increased the pressure. On sixty eight minutes, Caroline passed incisively up the line to Tracey, whose left-foot strike went just the wrong side of the post from her perspective.

Irby, despite their fatigue, defended resolutely and, when they could, still tried to play their way out of trouble with passing football rather than just a big boot.

Pressure will, of course, always tell and, on seventy six minutes, Tracey ran onto a through ball and, although her first shot was well saved by the slightly overworked Irby goalie, she slotted home the rebound to make the score 8-2.

Altrincham’s final goal was scored in the eighty-fourth minute and it was worth waiting for. Tracey, having gained possession, spread the play out to Hannah on the right flank who then turned inside a defender before despatching an inch-perfect left-footed shot into the top corner of the net. The Irby keeper had performed heroically but, such was the quality of the finish, she was rendered helpless.

There was however one last chance for the industrious, yet unfortunate, Sue to register her first goal for Alty on eighty-nine minutes. A quickly taken throw by Tracey allowed her to get a shot away which beat the keeper but was cleared off the line.

The Blue Dog Player of the Match, selected by Ian Langford and Steve Foster, was Sue Roberts, the Player’s Player of the Match being Tracey Blanchard Webb. There were a number of impressive performances from other players as well.

Irby, despite the scoreline, performed extremely well, sticking to their principles and never giving up. They play the game in the right manner and are worthy of praise for their performance today.

Next for Alty is the League Challenge Cup Semi Final (our first ever Semi-Final) next Sunday, away at Urmston Meadowside who play in Division One. The game is at Lees Field in Davyhulme and Kick Off is 2.00pm.