Cheshire Women's & Youth League, Division Two.
Sunday, 5 October, 2014.


ALTRINCHAM : Lizzie Brereton, Heather Scott, Tallulah Anton, Kathryn McIntyre, Sam Briggs, Elina Parker, Rachael Philip, Gail Simpson, Georgia Plant, Hannah Shufflebotham, Aimee Gibson. Substitutes: Cloe Allsop, Charlotte Dudley, Beth Crellin, Caroline Moran and Becci Hailes


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies welcomed Chester City Ladies to Mersey Valley Sports Club for the second of three successive home League fixtures. Altrincham defeated Chester last season on the way to the Challenge Cup Final.

Altrincham welcomed Cyprus and Rachael back to the matchday squad with Louise, unfortunately, forced to withdraw late on Saturday due to a minor niggle.

In an attempt to provide a little more defensive security Alty lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Lizzie in goal, with a back four of Heather, Cyprus, Tallulah and Sam. Rachael, Elina, Gail and Georgia across midfield. The attacking impetus being offered by Aimee and Hannah.

Chester kicked off and, unfortunately for the hosts, took the lead within the first minute. The restructured defence failing to cut out a ball through the middle. This allowed a Chester attacker an unfettered shot at Lizzie’s goal, one which she converted clinically.

This start seemed to somewhat perplex the Altrincham players as, two minutes later, a ball down the Altrincham right again evaded the defence with the ensuing shot narrowly clearing the crossbar. Altrincham’s first attacking foray came on five minutes when, having received a pass from Georgia, Aimee fired in a shot which was saved at the near post.

The same two players once again combined on eight minutes with the outcome the same – a save by the Chester Keeper, who was to have a good game. Play was now somewhat more even, Altrincham applying pressure but with no tangible end product. Despite the improvement, though, Keith and his management team were still exhorting their charges to greater efforts as Chester were still causing problems to the Alty team.

On sixteen minutes play, once again, progressed down the Altrincham right and Lizzie was forced into an excellent save, pushing a fierce strike wide of the far post. On nineteen minutes Aimee, having collected the ball, moved purposefully into the Chester penalty area only to be once again thwarted by the visiting custodian who advanced swiftly and bravely to save at her feet.

Five minutes later Cloe, having replaced Rachael who had sustained an injury, advanced down the Alty right but her cross was well claimed by the Chester goalie. Altrincham, by now, seemed to have settled after the early setback and were, in the main, on top. Aimee had another shot easily saved following more good work on the flank by Cloe and a fine cross, this time from the left by Georgia which found a Chester penalty area occupied exclusively by defenders.

On the half hour mark, though, Alty drew level when, following an incisive pass by Tallulah, Aimee successfully defeated the the advancing Chester keeper in the challenge before taking the ball around her and calmly sidefooting it home. The hosts now tried to capitalise on the pressure they were creating with Sam moving forward with purpose on thirty six minutes. However, her long range strike was easily claimed by the visiting goalkeeper.

Another two Alty chances cleared the bar, one from Aimee and the other by Georgia before, on forty two minutes, some excellent football gave the hosts an advantage which they would extend as the game progressed. Tallulah began the move, changing the play with a sideways pass to Cloe who, having moved forward, played an insightful ball into the path of Charlotte. Having steadied herself, Charlotte struck a powerful shot goalwards, which was well saved by the Chester goalie. However, Aimee was on hand to finish the job and give Altrincham what was, by this point, a well deserved lead.

Charlotte almost extended the lead, and opened her Alty account in the final minute of the half striking yet another powerful shot toward goal. Once again, though, she was thwarted by an exceptional save by the visiting custodian. Half Time arrived with Altrincham holding a 2-1 lead.

Although clearly pleased to have a lead Keith and the management team expressed concern that at times Alty had been lacking in midfield areas which had presented opportunities to the visitors. It was fortunate that, after the initial difficulties, Lizzie and the defence had been steadfast and that the attacking play had been constructive and creative. The message for the second half was that Altrincham were much the better side and, provided the side maintained discipline and focus, a win was well within their grasp


Altrincham, having kicked off the second half, picked up where they had left off. Cloe galloped down the wing before putting in an excellent cross which was headed back across goal by Georgia to Aimee, whose shot was smothered. It took only two more minutes for the hosts to extend their lead though. An excellent ball in from the left was emphatically thumped home, left footed by Charlotte, registering her first goal for Alty.

It was nearly four, merely a matter of minutes later, when another incisive ball by Cloe was controlled and crossed by Charlotte but, once again, Aimee was frustrated by another excellent save. The attacking threat previously offered by Chester had by this point been well and truly blunted and the game went through a quiet and somewhat disjointed phase with very few remarkable events. One such event, though, did occur on sixty one minutes. Cyprus intercepted an attempted through ball before travelling purposefully toward the Chester goal and releasing a shot which passed narrowly wide of the post.

The entire Altrincham team were working hard and, having identified the possibilities to be gained by exploiting the flanks, were feeding the ball out wide whenever possible. A number of opportunities were being created but a combination of luck and inspired goalkeeping kept the score to three, that is until the eighty first minute when, after a ball into the area by Hannah, Charlotte read the trajectory slightly quicker than the approaching Chester keeper and lifted it deftly over her and into the empty net.

The game at this point was clearly beyond Chester’s ability to wrest back from the hosts and Altrincham saw it out with no alarms. Charlotte almost made it five in the penultimate minute after intercepting a backpass but she was prevented from registering her hat trick by an excellent challenge

Full time was reached with Altrincham coming out deserved 4-1 winners. The trials and tribulations of the opening skirmishes, although now seeming lost in the mists of time, should be of concern to players and management alike as giving opponents a head start can cause problems.

A number of hopefully minor injuries had caused some disturbance but the substitutions had not unduly affected the balance of the team and there had been some impressive performances.

The Players' Player of the Match was Charlotte who had made an impact after coming on, in addition to registering her first goals for the Ladies. There were a number of other candidates for the award.

Next week the Ladies complete a run of home fixtures by welcoming AFC Stockport to Mersey Valley. AFC having made some signings, have begun impressively and it will be a challenging fixture. Kick Off is once again 2pm and all support is, as always, very welcome.