Cheshire Women's & Youth League, Division Two.
Sunday, 19 October, 2014.


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lizzie Brereton, Tallulah Anton, Sam Briggs, Heather Scott, Elina Parker, Gail Simpson, Emma Booth, Becci Hailes, Georgia Plant, Aimee Gibson, Tracey Blanchard Webb. Substitutes: Chloe Brereton and Brogan Walsh


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies took the M62 to Warrington to take on a Warrington Wolverines Team boasting a 100% record this season. Previous fixtures against Warrington, without doubt the best team in the League, have all gone in favour of the Wolverines.

Alty, with a number of the squad unavailable and having been hit by further late withdrawals, lined up in a 4-4-2 formation; Lizzie in goal, with a back four of Heather, Tallulah, Elina and Sam, and Becci, Elina, Emma, Gail and Georgia across midfield. The attacking threat being offered by Tracey and Aimee.

It must be mentioned at this point that a number of players were playing either out of their normal position, with injuries or having not trained as much as would have been ideal. It is testament to the team spirit that so many players were willing, without complaint, to do this for the team.

Having, unfortunately, lost the toss, Altrincham kicked off into bright sunlight and a strong wind, both of which would have an influence throughout the game. Altrincham started well with Tracey getting the first shot of the game away, left-footed, after only two minutes. Sadly, from an Altrincham perspective however, it passed narrowly wide.

The good start continued with Altrincham putting some significant pressure on the home defence, forcing two corners within the first five minutes, although both came to nothing. It could be argued, then, that Warrington taking the lead after seven minutes was somewhat against the run of play.

Possession was lost in midfield and an intelligent ball released the hosts down the Altrincham right. With the Alty defenders rushing back toward their own goal the ball was cleverly cut back to an onrushing striker who smashed it home from about 25 yards, giving Lizzie no chance whatsoever.

Altrincham seemed a bit fazed by this, whilst the hosts gained confidence and momentum, and on nine minutes Tallulah had to defend impressively to see off a Wolverines attack. Two minutes later, however, and Warrington doubled their lead. Lizzie made an excellent save to thwart the hosts but was unable to prevent the rebound being turned in.

Although not in any way performing badly, Alty fell further behind a mere two minutes later when a strong run, this time down the left flank of the visitors, resulted in a good cross which was clinically finished. So, from being very much in contention and, in fact, arguably playing the better football, Altrincham found themselves three goals down.

Laudably though, Alty stuck to their principles with Tracey causing all manner of problems to the home defence with her strong and resolute running, backed up by Aimee, with Georgia giving her full back a torrid time down the Altrincham left. More pressure was being exerted by the visitors who seemed to have cleared their heads now, excellent link up play between Becci and Aimee bringing a shot, which was well turned away by the home keeper at the expense of yet another corner.

Despite being three goals in arrears Alty were most definitely taking the game to their hosts. Attacks were being launched down both flanks with Tracey and Aimee both working hard, pulling the Warrington defence around. Emma, in an unfamiliar central midfield role, was putting in a fine effort in combination with Gail, trying to break up Warrington’s rhythm whist also looking to start attacking moves.

The back four, although coming under pressure when Warrington managed to break, seemed at this point in proceedings, to have regained their equilibrium and were making some telling interceptions. On twenty-five minutes a free kick from the Alty left narrowly evaded Elina whilst, a minute later, a fine strike from outside the area by Emma was turned over for yet another Alty Corner.

Pressure mounted and, only a minute later, from the latest in a series of free kicks forced by Alty pressure, Elina’s shot passed just wide. Surely it would only be a matter of time before the visitors deservedly reduced the deficit as great football down the Alty left led to a hasty and somewhat panic driven clearance.

Sadly though, despite all the pressure, it was Warrington who scored again when a corner from the Altrincham right seemed to be caught by the wind and evaded Lizzie to make the score 4-0.

So, half time was reached with the hosts holding a 4-0 lead. It could be argued with some justification that this was not a true reflection of the half with Altrincham, despite the problems caused by the conditions, having a significant amount of the play. Warrington had not, at any point, torn the Alty team apart as had happened in previous encounters. It could be said, in fact, that the goals were actually results of Altrincham not quite getting things right.

Keith was understandably disappointed at the source of the goals whilst seemingly encouraged that, at times, some of the football had been excellent. The consensus was that the next goal would be vital and that if Altrincham were to get it then it might just cause a Warrington wobble.


The hosts kicked off the second half and were immediately on the offensive, bringing a good save out of Lizzie, who turned aside a strong shot within sixty seconds of the restart.

Altrincham responded positively though and strong play by Tracey was followed by a firm strike which was fumbled by the Warrington goalie. Unfortunately Aimee, following up, saw her effort put behind for a corner. Play was switching from end to end at this point and, on fifty two minutes, a Warrington shot rebounded from the crossbar with Lizzie beaten. Before it could be turned home, however, Heather gathered possession and the danger was averted.

As in the first half the Alty players were causing problems when the chance to attack presented itself, Tracey working very hard on the right flank to create a chance which was, once again, cleared by the home defence. Just short of the hour a through ball bounced between Tracey and the outrushing Warrington keeper. Showing admirable determination, Tracey won the ensuing challenge but, as the ball ricocheted, she was unable to settle it down and her shot on target was blocked by a covering defender. The clearance fell to Chloe who had, by this point, replaced Becci but she was unable to finish, putting her first time shot wide.

Possibly having been a little stung by this Warrington came again strongly. A positive move down the Altrincham left opened up the chance for a shot which was excellently tipped over the bar by Lizzie. On seventy-three minutes some incisive play down the Altrincham right presented Chloe with the opportunity to deliver a testing cross. However this was well cut out by the home custodian. Lizzie was again in action on seventy-six minutes, producing another excellent save following Warrington having made inroads down the Altrincham left.

Despite Lizzie seemingly being called into action more frequently after the half time break Altrincham appeared more defensively sound than had, at times, been the case in the first half. Additionally, the visitors' attacking moves were causing the home defence increasing problems, demonstrated by the number of times they were forced just to clear the ball rather than being able to play their way out of trouble.

It was following one impressive passage of play that Altrincham forced a corner on eighty-two minutes. Aimee delivered a superb ball in which, frustratingly, cleared all the attacking players before drifting out for a goal kick. Three minutes more elapsed before, with Alty on the attack, a long ball over the top released a Warrington attacker whose shot was once again expertly saved by Lizzie. With two minutes remaining Altrincham forced their final chance of the game but Tracey, running onto an incisive through ball, saw her shot once again saved.

The final whistle sounded with Warrington 4-0 victors. It could be argued that the scoreline may have been somewhat flattering but Lizzie had been called upon to make a number of saves. That being said, the second half performance had been much better with periods of sustained pressure and some good football having also been played.

The Management Player of the Match was Elina, who had dropped into the back four at very short notice and, with Tallulah, had performed excellently. There had been a number of other good performances from Altrincham players with Lizzie making a number of impressive saves. Not one Altrincham player had performed badly and all should be commended for their perseverance.

Players' Player was Tracey who had foraged tirelessly in the team cause.

Next Sunday the Ladies entertain Vauxhall Motors at Mersey Valley. This should, hopefully, be a good game as both teams try to play attractive passing football. All spectators are welcome for a 2.00pm kick-off.