Cheshire Women's & Youth League, Division 2
Sunday, 23rd March 2014


Squad - Lizzie; Becci, Louise, Cyprus, Sam; Natalie, Gail, Aimee, Heather; Tracey and Sue. Substitute: Tallulah, Sarah, Beth, Cloe and Hayley


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

Altrincham Ladies made the trip up the motorway to Heswall hoping to return to winning ways after the disappointment of last Sunday at Warrington.

Rachel, Caroline, Chloe, Hannah and Brogan were unavailable for selection, whilst Sam Jones has sadly decided to curtail her footballing career and compete in Triathlons. All at Altrincham Ladies would wish to thank Sam for her efforts and wish her all the best for the future.

The team, playing a regular 4-4-2 formation, was Lizzie in goal, a back four of Becci, Louise, Cyprus and Sam. In midfield, the central pairing of Gail and Aimee were joined by Natalie and Heather on the flanks and, as previously mentioned ,Tracey and Sue provided the attacking focus. Substitutes were Tallulah, Sarah, Beth, Cloe and Hayley.

Following a joint team photograph, the hosts kicked off on a dry, somewhat bobbly pitch which would have an influence on how the game could be played.

Within two minutes, however, Heather found herself free and unmarked in front of goal; sadly though, she was unable to finish, lifting her shot over the bar. Two minutes later an incisive ball down the left was collected by Tracey, whose cross-shot was well saved by the Heswall goalie, who touched the ball wide of the far post.

The subsequent corner was cleared but Altrincham, who were playing with a lot of positivity at this point, regained possession and fashioned yet another chance for Heather, who was again unable to finish.

The new strike partnership of Sue and Tracey bore fruit on thirteen minutes. An excellent through ball by the industrious Sue was efficiently finished by Tracey to give Alty a 1-0 lead. Despite some apparent defensive shortcomings Heswall carried a threat going forward and, on fourteen minutes Lizzie was forced into a fine double save to keep a clean sheet after incisive play down the Altrincham right.

Six minutes later and, having broken up the play, Heather moved the ball onto Tracey whose cross was cleared for a corner. Again the corner was cleared but Altrincham, taking a grip on proceedings, were, in the main, stifling attempts to move forward by Heswall. As a result of this, Tracey was able to receive a through ball and, having skilfully manufactured herself some space, she finished very well to double the lead.

Their attempts to play through the Altrincham midfield having been, in the main, thwarted, the hosts hoisted a long ball over the Alty defence. Lizzie however, having taken up an excellent starting position, effected a good clearance to assuage the danger.

On twenty five minutes Altrincham registered again. Aimee chased down a ball which she had not been favourite to win and finished expertly, sliding the ball into the corner of the net.

Heswall came straight back though and, after a missed challenge on the Alty right a twenty-five yard shot flew into the top corner of the goal giving Lizzie no chance whatsoever.

Having had a shock, Altrincham once again set about trying to play their way up the field and to get behind the Heswall defence and, on the half-hour mark, a passing move involving three Alty players allowed Tracey to turn her marker and register her third goal and the team's fourth. Despite the bobbly nature of the pitch, which was a source of frustration to both sides, Alty continued to try to play the way we have all season, this with no little success as, at times the passing moves would not have looked out of place at a higher level.

It was from one such move that Gail struck a shot at goal which was saved, Aimee alertly took possession well before a precise finish made it 5-1 in the thirty-third minute.

Three minutes later, Cloe, who had come on as a substitute, ran onto an astute pass from Tracey, beat a defender and clipped the ball into the top corner from all of twenty-five yards. Two minutes later it was seven. Aimee broke up play in midfield and slid a ball through for Tracey who finished with her characteristic aplomb.

There was time for Alty to make one more clear chance before half-time. A positive run by Gail allowed her to free Tracey once again but this time her shot was saved. So, at half time Altrincham led 7-1

Keith seemed to be fairly content at half time although, even with a lead such as this, we had sometimes seemed to make hard work of things at times. He asked that the players continue to pass and move and to play the way they had been doing in the first half. In addition he expressed a wish that some of the things which had been worked on in training last Thursday be incorporated.


As would be expected, Heswall came out for the second half with a different outlook, however and, within fifteen seconds of kicking off Alty had conceded a second goal. A pass from Aimee, intended for Gail was intercepted and, having raced through the middle, the Heswall striker impressively held off a couple of challenges before firing past Lizzie.

Defensively far more obdurate, Heswall were limiting the opportunities Altrincham were able to create much more than had been the case in the first half.

This more resolute performance, allied to a second half performance by the Altrincham players who, it seemed, had already got the game won and were therefore trying some different methods of play, retaining possession and trying to build more slowly from the back, meant that the second half contained less opportunities to score.

However Altrincham still dominated possession and on fifty-one minutes, strong play by Cloe teed up Tracey whose effort went just wide of the post. Six minutes later Cloe again made progress down the Heswall left and put in a cross which was cleared for a corner.

On sixty-five minutes Heswall breached the Altrincham midfield and Cyprus was forced to cover impressively to see off the danger. Seventy-eight minutes had elapsed when the next significant opening was created. Tracey running on to a through ball and loosing a shot which was well saved at the near post.

A further six minutes on and Hayley, who had by this time entered the fray, struck a firm shot which, sadly from her perspective and that of the team, went straight to the keeper. The final chance of the game came on eighty-seven minutes when Tracey fashioned an opportunity which went just wide.

Despite the comfortable scoreline it was a somewhat frustrated team and management which left the field of play at the final whistle. We had played some exceptional football on a very testing surface and had restricted Heswall to very few attacks on goal.

However, the fact that we had been unable to build upon and move forward from the first half, in fact losing the second half 1-0, was the source of some discussion and debate. Next Sunday Altrincham host Runcorn Linnets at Beech Avenue , kick-off 2.00pm. Runcorn, together with Wilmslow are challenging Altrincham for a third-place finish and a good game is anticipated. We have not met Runcorn previously but they are on a good run at present so the Alty Ladies will need to be on form as well.