Cheshire Women's & Youth League, Division Two
Thursday, 3 April, 2014.


Squad - See below


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

An Altrincham team diminished in numbers but certainly not in endeavour or commitment took on Wilmslow Town on a dreary Thursday evening.

Circumstances meant that Altrincham had a squad of thirteen from which to select, with one of those players, Caroline, destined to arrive after kick-off due to work commitments and Rachel making her long awaited debut after a lengthy injury absence.

The injured Chloe, Beth and Heather, once again demonstrating the excellent spirit within the team, came down to offer support to their team mates.

This was the second meeting of the teams this season, Altrincham having come out on top by 5-3 at Wilmslow in December.

Wilmslow, whilst a reasonably successful side, are not renowned proponents of what may be called “The Beautiful Game”, playing very direct football up to a striker who is always a handful.

With this is mind, Altrincham retained the previously used 4-1-4-1 formation with a back four of Becci, Tallulah, Cyprus and Sam Briggs in front of Lizzie in goal.

Gail occupied a position just in front of the four, the intention being that she would ‘front screen’ offering defensive support at the same time as releasing the midfield to express their creativity. Sue, Hayley, Cloe and Aimee made up the midfield four, with Tracey up-front being supported, when possible by the midfield. Subs were Rachel and Caroline.

Altrincham began the match and, from the first whistle, appeared keen to try to persevere with the passing football which has been such a feature of the season. Despite some recent rain the pitch remained somewhat bobbly and troublesome but this did not deter the Alty Ladies.

The robust style employed by Wilmslow allowed them to win the ball back, though, and Lizzie had to come out smartly to clear in the second minute. Despite this, Altrincham were exerting early pressure and it was somewhat against the run of play when Wilmslow took the lead on six minutes.

The recurrent Wilmslow tactic of driving high balls up to the lone striker paid off when she capably lifted one such “route one” ball over Lizzie and into the net.

This seemed to lift the visitors and, on twelve minutes, some alert defensive play by Tallulah resulted in a corner. Wilmslow packed the box and tried to make it difficult for Lizzie and the Altrincham defence, as a result of which Altrincham had something of a let off when the corner hit the crossbar and bounced to safety.

In addition to a direct style when attacking, Wilmslow defend very robustly and there were a number of free kicks throughout the game as a result of this. From one such free kick, on twelve minutes, Cloe headed just over the bar after excellent delivery from Aimee.

Altrincham were not to be denied, though, and on fourteen minutes, following an Alty corner, Tracey executed a neat turn and an excellent left-footed finish to bring the scores level. Altrincham were now very much in the ascendancy and, on seventeen minutes, following good pressure, Hayley shot narrowly over.

Two minutes later and Cloe put a teasing ball into the Wilmslow area. Tracey jumped with the Wilmslow keeper and, in fact, beat her to the ball only to see her effort drift harmlessly wide. The whole Altrincham team were showing admirable commitment and no little skill. Mention ought to be given to the newly constituted defence and midfield units, who were strong and resolute in the face of some attempts to bully them from both on and off the field of play.

Altrincham persisted in playing the game in what they consider to be the correct way, utilising passing, movement and, where possible, shifting the point of attack and, on twenty-five minutes, following one such passage of play, Aimee clipped the ball through to Tracey whose header went just wide.

Despite operating in isolation for periods of the game, Tracey ran the channels tirelessly, not allowing defenders a moment's peace and applying pressure which allowed the midfield to push on to Wilmslow and stifle them.

The remainder of the first half was played out in a very similar fashion with Alty having very much the upper hand and exerting some measure of control on the game without being able to create much in the way of clear cut chances. Half-time was reached with the score even at 1-1.


Keith expressed himself more than satisfied with the performance of the team in the first half. Players who may not be regular starters had played extremely well in trying circumstances. With a warning that the direct route was all that Wilmslow had fresh in their ears the Alty Ladies went out for the second half in determined mood.

The second half, kicked off by Wilmslow, settled into an almost identical pattern to that in which the first half had ended. Altrincham were trying to play a passing game whilst the longer the game went on the more direct Wilmslow became, both in respect of their attacking and also their defending. A number of Altrincham players would finish the game with more bumps and bruises than they started it with.

As the half went on Gail, in the front screening role, became increasingly influential whilst the tireless Sue and Aimee, just in front of her, chased and tackled as though their lives depended on it. Cloe and Hayley, both creative in their outlook normally, worked hard, Hayley covering every inch of the left flank backwards and forwards supporting Sam and also both getting forward when possible to aid Tracey.

Becci, replaced on the hour by Caroline, and Sam kept the flanks secure from a defensive perspective whilst Tallulah and Cyprus joined battle with the focal point of the Wilmslow attack, never for a second shirking the physical demands of playing against a player of this type.

When the ball did get through Lizzie’s alertness and excellent starting position meant that she was in exactly the right place to deal with the problem. On fifty six minutes industrious closing down and a thunderous tackle by Sue allowed Tracey to let loose a drive from all of twenty-five yards which just cleared the bar.

As the game went on the light, as one would expect, began to deteriorate which led to problems for both teams, the referee, and those spectating.

Altrincham were persevering with the style of play and the commitment which had allowed them to dictate play almost since Wilmslow had scored. Sadly though, on sixty two minutes, a hurried Wilmslow clearance found its way over the entire midfield and back four to the lone Wilmslow striker who tucked the chance away despite the best efforts of Lizzie and the chasing defenders. This seemed to invigorate the Wilmslow players and, more particularly the heretofore, almost anonymous, Wilmslow side line and, for a brief period, more pressure was exerted by the visitors, rebuffed on each occasion however by the resolute Altrincham players.

On seventy minutes Rachel replaced Hayley, who had performed excellently on the left side of midfield. This was a much delayed debut for Altrincham by Rachel, who had suffered a serious foot injury very early in the season.

Creditably, Altrincham continued to press for an equaliser and, as the pressure built, so did the free kick count.

Unfortunately though, despite the best efforts of all Altrincham players, the equaliser remained elusive and the score remained 2-1 to Wilmslow.

Despite being defeated this had been an exceptional performance by each and every one of the Altrincham players who had been, without doubt the better side for almost the entire game. Wilmslow, who had celebrated at the final whistle as if they had won the league and not just a match were clearly aware of how lucky they had been to take the points.

The Ladies have no game this Sunday (April 6th) but are back in action, at Beech Avenue, on April 13th when Heswall are the visitors. Kick-off is 2.00pm.