Cheshire Women's & Youth League, Division Two.
Sunday, 26 October, 2014.


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lizzie Brereton, Heather Scott, Louise Edleston, Sam Briggs, Elina Parker, Hannah Shufflebotham, Gail Simpson, Georgia Plant, Charlotte Dudley, Aimee Gibson, Brogan Walsh. Substitutes: Cloe Allsop, Emma Booth, Caroline Moran, Beth Crellin and Chloe Brereton.


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies welcomed Vauxhall Motors Ladies, another team who had operated in the higher division of the League last season, to Mersey Valley Sports Club as they tried to bounce back from last week’s defeat at Warrington.

The teams had met once before, much earlier in Altrincham’s history, with Vauxhall winning comfortably on that occasion.

Altrincham welcomed Hannah, Louise and Charlotte, Cloe and Caroline back to the matchday squad with a number of players unavailable for various reasons. Alty lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Lizzie in goal, with a back four of Heather, Elina, Louise and Sam. Brogan, Hannah, Gail and Georgia across midfield. The attacking duties being entrusted to Aimee and Charlotte.

Altrincham kicked the game off on an overcast afternoon, although the forecast rain did fortunately hold off and they were quickly on the offensive, down the Vauxhall right. Vauxhall, in possession, were also trying to progress and, on balance, the game had got off to a fairly even start, both teams trying to play attractive passing football.

Altrincham have occasionally displayed an unfortunate fragility defensively early in games and, once again, this was the case today. The Vauxhall no.9, Amy Whittle, who was to have an extremely impressive game, effected a skilful turn before releasing a team mate who finished well to convert the first opportunity Vauxhall had created.

It is also the case, however, that the Altrincham Ladies have shown excellent powers of recovery and within sixty seconds of conceding had equalised. Hannah and Charlotte linked well to put Aimee through on goal and, having rounded the visiting keeper she, in turn, finished well from a narrowing angle.

Parity was however short lived as, on nine minutes, a free kick just outside the Altrincham penalty area was floated into the box where a deft header evaded the best efforts of a diving Lizzie to restore the visitors' lead. Once again, though, Alty came back immediately with a cross in from the left by Brogan ricocheting away to safety and a freekick, taken by Elina, being blocked by a brave defensive wall before parity was again restored.

Aimee this time turned provider with a clever pass into Charlotte, who took the ball around the Vauxhall keeper before sliding the ball home. Altrincham, at this point were enjoying a short period of superiority and another free kick by Elina was well held at her near post by the Vauxhall Keeper.

Vauxhall’s no.9 was always a threat though, dropping into space to pick up the ball before trying to influence play positively and it took a good save from Lizzie on twenty one minutes to prevent her giving the visitors a lead for the third time, Lizzie plunging to her left to turn away a strong effort.

This was proving to be a very tight game between two good footballing sides with further chances at a premium for the remainder of the half. In fact, the only notable opportunity fell the way of the hosts on thirty five minutes when an intelligent header on by Aimee opened up a shooting chance for Charlotte, who was unable to hit the target.

So half time was reached with the score at 2-2. Keith and his management team, whilst pleased with the football being played, particularly going forward, had genuine concerns about the chances Vauxhall had been able to create. The visiting number 9 being a particular source of worry. He reinforced some points which had been made previously and the importance of the next goal was stressed.


Caroline and Emma joined the game at half time, replacing Heather and Charlotte respectively.

Vauxhall kicked off the second half, which continued in a similar vein to that which had gone before, both teams playing good passing football whilst trying to wrest the initiative from their opponents.

On forty six minutes Lizzie once again responded quickly at the feet of a Vauxhall attacker to smother an attempt on goal. Two minutes later, Hannah played Aimee in but her shot was just wide of the target. A further three minutes had elapsed, with play switching from end to end, when the Vauxhall no.9 once again impressively made space for herself before shooting just over.

On fifty four minutes the breakthrough was achieved, Altrincham taking the lead for the first time in the game. Caroline played a ball out of defence which Aimee, evading the Vauxhall offside trap, took forward before finishing confidently. Things improved even more on fifty six minutes when Emma confidently struck an unstoppable shot from outside the box leaving the Vauxhall keeper helpless and doubling the Altrincham lead.

The very impressive Vauxhall no.9 once again threatened as the visitors tried to recover, Louise being called upon to defend impressively just short of the hour. Despite being under pressure at times, the Altrincham rearguard was, in the main, performing quite well. Louise and Elina, once again playing in an unfamiliar role, were commanding the centre whilst Sam, Caroline and, in the first half, Heather, had kept the flanks tight, supported by Brogan and Georgia. The central midfield duo of Hannah and Gail had worked industriously to close down as well as trying, where possible to create attacking opportunities.

Aimee and Charlotte, in the first half, followed by Emma in the second, despite being frustrated by the visitors offside trap had foraged purposefully and linked well with their colleagues. It appeared that the best chance Vauxhall had of getting back into the game would come either from their most impressive player or a touch of fortune and so it was to prove.

A ball landed between Lizzie and Sam in the Altrincham penalty area, somehow it was not dealt with comprehensively and the opportunist Vauxhall striker effected an accurate lob over Lizzie to reduce the deficit to 4-3. Fortunately, Altrincham were not excessively unnerved by this and pushed forward in an attempt to restore the advantage they had recently enjoyed.

An excellent run by Brogan created a chance for Emma, which was well saved on sixty two minutes. On seventy five Aimee bravely challenged the onrsushing Vauxhall custodian, winning the ball and taking it around her. Sadly though, the angle became just too tight and her shot passed narrowly wide.

Altrincham continued to push on with chances being created for Charlotte, on seventy-seven minutes, which went just wide and for Emma, on eighty-three, which was thwarted by an excellent covering challenge. Altrincham’s pressure mounted, Georgia going close on eighty-nine minutes and, having intercepted a pass, striking the bar with a cross shot on ninety.

Vauxhall, to their credit, and despite seemingly being under the cosh, would not give up and, when possible, strove to get forward in search of an equaliser. Their efforts bore fruit in the third minute of stoppage time when a ball in from the Altrincham left evaded everyone in the six-yard area, with the exception of the Vauxhall attacker, who gleefully poked it home to make the score 4-4.

Creditably, Altrincham poured forward in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to regain the lead, forcing four consecutive corners in the fifth minute of additional time before teferee Mr Langford finally brought proceedings to a close.

Although this had been an impressive performance going forward, once again the defensive uncertainties which have haunted Altrincham this season had cost them dear. It is hoped that soon it will be possible to play the same defensive unit in more than one successive fixture.

Both of the Management Players' Player of the Match awards went to Brogan who had performed excellently on both flanks.

Next week Altrincham make the short journey along the M60 to take on Stockport County H&R.