Cheshire Women's & Youth League, Division Two.
Sunday, 28 September, 2014.


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lizzie Brereton, Caroline Moran, Louise Edleston, Sam Briggs, Heather Scott, Elina Parker, Hannah Shufflebotham, Gail Simpson, Georgia Plant, Cloe Allsop, Aimee Gibson. Substitutes: Tracey Blanchard Webb, Charlotte Dudley, Beth Crellin, Tallulah Anton and Becci Hailes


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies played their first home Sunday fixture of the 2014/15 season by welcoming Crewe Alexandra to Mersey Valley Sports Club. Both teams play an attractive style of passing football and recent meetings have been close, excellent games to watch.

Altrincham welcomed Tracey, Hannah and Charlotte back to the matchday squad with Hayley and Rachael both unfortunate to miss out on inclusion after strong performances in the previous fixture. Altrincham once again lined up in a 3-5-2 formation. Lizzie in goal, with a back three of Caroline, Louise and Sam. Hannah, Heather, Elina, Gail and Georgia across midfield. The attacking threat being offered by Aimee and Cloe

Crewe kicked off the first half and initial exchanges were fairly even as the two teams tried to settle into their play and work out their opposition.

One minute in, a clearance fell to Aimee, who had a shot saved whilst, in the next minute, steadfast defence was required to repulse a Crewe attack. On seven minutes, having collected a Crewe through ball, Lizzie released a long pass, which Cloe was just unable to get onto the end of. As anticipated both teams were trying to get the ball down and pass their way to success and the majority of the play was taking place in the central third with both teams working hard.

Alty almost fashioned another opportunity on fourteen minutes. Slick interplay involving Cloe, Gail, Elina and Georgia seemed to release Aimee but she was adjudged to have been offside and the opportunity was lost. Crewe were also threatening, when the opportunity presented, and on seventeen minutes the Altrincham defence was exposed down the right. A fierce shot was loosed but Lizzie flung herself across, making an excellent save to push it away. The game was being played at a good pace on a hot and sunny day and, on twenty one minutes, Tracey was introduced in place of Cloe.

It took only seven minutes for this substitution to bear fruit as, following a good turn by Aimee, Georgia got away a shot on target which the Crewe keeper couldn’t hold onto, Tracey, following up, finished clinically to give Altrincham what was probably a deserved lead.

Things improved a minute later when a ball forward from Elina was misjudged by a Crewe defender. Tracey moved onto the ball, taking a touch before finishing off the inside of the post. Despite Altrincham having the lead, Crewe continued to press with the movement of the midfield, in particular, causing some problems for the home team.

Robust defending by both midfield and defenders, and alert goalkeeping was keeping them at bay, although a number of corners were forced. It was from one of these that Crewe reduced the Altrincham lead on thirty three minutes. As the players took up position for the corner, from the Altrincham left, Georgia became involved in a bit of a tussle with an opponent, both players holding on and jockeying for position. Unfortunately, just as the attention of referee Mr Lever was brought to this, the Crewe player let go of Georgia leaving it appearing that she was the victim of a foul. A penalty was the result which was confidently finished to make the score 2-1.

Despite initially being somewhat downcast by this, and encouraged by her team mates, Georgia was soon back on the front foot, narrowly failing to link up with Tracey on thirty-eight minutes when, following good link play, a return pass was cut out. From the resulting Corner, taken by Aimee, Hannah headed just over the bar.

The game continued to be hard fought in the central areas with not a lot of chances being created. On fort- two minutes, however, the Altrincham midfield was bypassed and it took some good covering by Louise to avert the danger, albeit at the cost of a corner. The final meaningful action of the half came on forty-three minutes, Tracey heading on to Georgia, whose attempt to lob the keeper sailed just wide.


Although clearly pleased to be in front at half time, it was noted that the movement, particularly of the Crewe midfielders, was beginning to cause problems as they were generating far too much space for Altrincham’s comfort. The Altrincham players were urged to get tighter to their opponents and, when possession had been gained, to play to their strengths.

Altrincham kicked off the second half and, as hoped, started brightly. A shot by Tracey, following a through ball, being deflected wide and Elina’s header from the resulting corner passing just over. Aimee played Tracey in, on forty-eight minutes, and her firm shot drew another good save from the Crewe custodian.

At the other end, four minutes later, Lizzie had to come out quickly and decisively to sweep up a through ball. After the slower start, Crewe then had a period of ascendancy and put increased pressure on the hosts, a shot clearing the Altrincham bar on fifty-three minutes being a demonstration. A minute later and the increasing pressure told as Crewe equalised. An excellent run down the Altrincham left was followed by a good delivery into the box and a clinical finish.

Altrincham were stung by this and on fifty-eight minutes, following a ball into the channel, Tracey struck a shot from fully twent-five yards which went narrowly wide. From this, Crewe went straight down toward the Altrincham goal, a cross shot from the Altrincham left drawing yet another impressive save from Lizzie, followed immediately after by some calm and accomplished defending by Tallulah to see the ball to safety.

From the resulting corner, however, a failure by the Altrincham defence to adequately clear the danger presented an opportunity for Crewe to take the lead, which was gleefully accepted. To the credit of the Alty players, despite the turnaround in fortune and score, they kept playing the way which Keith and his staff would want them to.

Georgia attempted again to lob the keeper, this time from all of thirty-five yards, but her effort, on sixty-three minutes was easily saved. Barely a minute later and Tallulah, once again, had to defend calmly under pressure to see off another Crewe attack. This was proving, as has so often been the case in games between the sides, to be an excellent game of football and a great advert for the Women’s game.

On sixty-nine minutes Altrincham drew level, Tracey this time turning provider, sliding a pass through to Hannah who finished confidently. Five minutes later, Hannah almost returned the favour but, sadly ,Tracey’s effort again went just wide. As the pace and heat of the game began to have an effect, play became a little more stretched, no more so than in the seventy-fourth minute. Hannah had a cross blocked on the Altrincham right before, seconds later, Tallulah again defended steadfastly on the edge of her own box.

Two minutes later and Crewe must have thought that they were on course for a winner when an incisive pass released one of their strikers. Sam, howeve,r was not for having this and got across to cover, making an excellent challenge. Arguably, a draw would have been a fair result to this game, as both teams continued to attack incisively and defend resolutely until the final minute when the game was settled by a superb strike.

A ball into the heart of the Altrincham defence was headed clear, only to be met by a thunderous volley from all of about twenty-five yards, which flew into the Altrincham net. Having restarted play following this goal the Altrincham players tried to fashion another opportunity but, sadly, time ran out with the score Altrincham FC Ladies 3 Crewe Alexandra Ladies 4.

Every Altrincham player had given their all in this game and it had taken an excellent strike to settle it. The crowd, in excess of fifty, had been treated to a superb game played by two teams who had stuck to their principles throughout. Despite the defeat there were many positives for Altrincham to take away although, clearly, also some areas which still require refinement.

Next game for the Ladies is this coming Sunday (October 5th) when Chester City are the visitors to Mersey Valley. Admission is free and all support is welcomed.