Cheshire Women's & Youth League, Division Two.
Sunday, 23 November, 2014.


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Beth Crellin, Tallulah Anton, Sam Briggs, Louise Edleston, Heather Scott, Elina Parker, Gail Simpson, Annie Nelson, Kathryn McIntyre, Aimee Gibson, Tracey Blanchard Webb. Substitutes: Rachael Philip, Georgia Plant, Charlotte Dudley, Emma Booth and Becci Hailes


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies took the M56 to Runcorn to take on a Linnets team which was surprisingly poorly positioned in the table. Previous fixtures against Runcorn have been well contested and close affairs, always played in excellent spirit by two Clubs who try to play in the right manner.

Alty, fresh from a convincing win last week but without a number of the squad, lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Beth in goal, with a back four of Heather, Tallulah, Louise and Sam, and Annie, Elina, Gail and Cyprus across midfield. The attacking focus being offered by Tracey and Aimee.

On a chilly November afternoon, under clearing skies, Runcorn kicked off the game but Alty were soon on the offensive, Cyprus having a shot well turned around the post after only three minutes by the impressive Runcorn goalie. Altrincham gained the initiative very early on with the central midfield duo of Gail and Elina quickly establishing control of that area, whilst Annie and Cyprus on the flanks were a thorn in the side of the home defenders. Aimee and the indefatigable Tracey up front were giving the Runcorn central defenders real problems.

Tracey’s running brought about two free kicks within two minutes of each other, both resulting from desperate challenges. Elina took both, the first sailed gently into the arms of the keeper but the second struck the bar with the keeper beaten. Unfortunately, the Alty attackers were unable to capitalise though.

On thirteen minutes the home keeper was again called into action, saving impressively from Tracey, who had been well set up by Aimee. The Altrincham defence had been efficient in dealing with the sporadic attacks of the home team and also effective moving forward, no more so that after sixteen minutes when Sam brought the ball out of defence, travelling fully sixty yards, before getting a shot away which was comfortably saved.

On eighteen minutes the move of the match to date almost allowed Altrincham to open the scoring. A great run down the right by Annie was followed by an adroit ball into Tracey, who took the ball to the line before crossing to Aimee, whose shot was brilliantly clawed away, again sadly, with nobody able to convert the loose ball.

It was therefore something of a shock to the Alty Ladies when, somewhat against the run of play, Runcorn took the lead on nineteen minutes. Tallulah was turned by an attacker who ran toward goal before striking a firm shot which eluded Beth at her near post before crossing the line.

Altrincham were soon back on the offensive, though, and it took a desperate clearance by the Runcorn defence to prevent Annie getting a cross into the area. Not to be thwarted though, Alty equalised on twenty three minutes. An exquisite ball from the right delivered, once again, by Annie was met by Cyprus, who eluded her marker to head firmly past the Runcorn custodian.

The equaliser seemed to prompt Altrincham to step up another gear, Aimee, having made a good run down the Alty left, being just unable to find Tracey on twenty-six minutes, and Tracey shooting marginally wide almost immediately after, following good delivery by Cyprus. On the half hour Annie was forced to withdraw as a result of injury with Rachael replacing her on the right flank.

Thirty-three minutes had elapsed when Aimee was released by an incisive through ball, the home defender being forced into an excellent challenge to halt her progress. Alty continued to apply pressure, with excellent service into the front players by Gail, Elina and the two wide players but, frustratingly, the Runcorn defence and goalkeeper continually thwarting the efforts.

As the pressure built the Runcorn play became more direct and on forty-four minutes a long ball evaded both the Alty centre backs leaving the home striker a free run on goal. Heather, however, was not for allowing an easy chance and sprinted back heroically to clear the ball to safety.

This passage of play seemed to encourage Runcorn and, barely a minute later, Heather had to repeat her efforts, this time probably even more impressively as, following a misjudgement, the Runcorn player was again allowed a free run. Half-time arrived with the scores level at 1-1.


Although generally pleased with the football played, on what was a challenging pitch, some of which had been excellent, Management expressed a view that this had been achieved with still more to give from some players.

If Alty did the job in the second half and produced that little bit extra then the victory would surely come. Altrincham restarted play and it was obvious from the outset that the half- time words had been taken on board. Runcorn, as was to be expected had also come out for the second half in determined mood and, for a period seemed to take the initiative without ever really threatening.

This was down, in no small part, to the hard work and closing down being done by each and every Altrincham player. On fifty-five minutes Charlotte replaced Aimee, who had worked really hard in trying circumstances and been a touch unlucky in front of goal.

Having weathered the storm, Altrincham took a deserved lead on fifty-eight minutes. Excellent play by Gail set up Tracey who, again, took the ball to the dead ball line before crossing for Charlotte who finished comprehensively. Having got a taste of goal, Charlotte unleashed another fine effort three minutes later which the home goalie again saved impressively.

However, the pressure was again building and, on sixty-two minutes, Alty extended their lead. A run down the right by Rachael culminated in a cross, which the Runcorn keeper was unable to hold, and Tracey, demonstrating her predatory instincts, was on hand to finish and make the score 3-1 to Altrincham.

On sixty- seven minutes Gail regained possession in midfield with an outstanding tackle before feeding Charlotte whose cross just evaded Emma who, by this point, had replaced Tracey. A little later and Rachael made a barnstorming run down the right before shooting narrowly wide of the near post. Aware that there was a lot of pace available going forward with Georgia, Rachael and Charlotte, Altrincham rejigged the formation, dropping Elina in to make a back five with Charlotte sitting in midfield with Gail and Emma ploughing a lone furrow up front.

On seventy-nine minutes Georgia’s pace and trickery allowed her to get to the goal line before pulling back a ball which Charlotte was unable to keep from going narrowly over. Altrincham saw out the remainder of the game with the only real concern being a ball into the box confidently punched away by Beth to register a satisfying and fully deserved 3-1 victory.

Both players and Management selected Heather as player of the match, although every player who participated had played well today. Beth, deputising for Lizzie in goal had been secure and the players in front of her had all worked very hard to offer protection. The back four had been resolute in defence whilst also looking to play positively. The various personnel to operate across midfield, be it centrally or in wider areas, had worked industriously in both defensive and attacking areas and the strikers had worked hard, causing problems all day.

The next scheduled fixture for Altrincham is a League Challenge Cup tie at home to the always impressive Warrington Wolverines on Sunday December 14th, kick-off 2.00pm. All support is, as always, most welcome.