LLANDUDNO JUNCTION LADIES 3
ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES 4
Sunday, 7 December, 2014.
ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lizzie Brereton, Caroline Moran, Sam Briggs, Louise Edleston, Heather Scott, Elina Parker, Gail Simpson, Rachael Philip, Kathryn McIntyre, Emma Booth, Tracey Blanchard Webb. Substitutes: Chloe Brereton, Georgia Plant, Charlotte Dudley, Elena Ilka, Jasmine Anderton, Annie Nelson, Beth Crellin and Becci Hailes
Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.
The Ladies took a trip to North Wales to play Welsh Premier League side Llandudno Junction Ladies in a friendly. The game was moved from Llandudno to Glan Conwy FC, and was played on a bright but chilly day, on a heavy but well grassed pitch.
Alty, using the game to test themselves against higher level opposition, look at some potential players and allow injured players a gentle return to action, lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Lizzie in goal, with a back four of Heather, Caroline, Louise and Sam, and Rachael, Elina, Gail and Cyprus across midfield. The attacking focus was offered by Tracey and Emma.
On a chilly December afternoon Llandudno kicked off the game but Alty were soon on the offensive, Tracey making a strong run down the Alty left before her cross shot was cleared to safety. Altrincham gained the initiative very early on with the central midfield duo of Gail and Elina quickly establishing control of that area and Rachael and Cyprus incisive down the flanks. On two minutes Rachael delivered an excellent ball into Tracey at the near post but she was shut out by good defending.
Llandudno went straight on the attack and Lizzie was called into immediate action clearing a through ball expertly. Altrincham were more than holding their own against the hosts and could arguably be said to have had the upper hand in most areas of the pitch. It was therefore somewhat against the run of play when Llandudno took the lead, a ball played over the top of the defence was clinically finished by the onrushing Llandudno striker who gave Lizzie no chance to save.
At this point both Heather and Louise were forced to withdraw due to injury, Chloe and our new German player Elena being introduced as replacements. Not downhearted, Alty were immediately back on the offensive and on ten minutes another excellent ball by Rachael split the home defence and afforded Chloe a shot on goal which went narrowly wide. Continuing to apply the pressure, Alty were awarded a penalty on fourteen minutes when a Llandudno defender handled a firm shot by Gail in the box.
Emma stepped up to take the penalty, going for power straight down the middle. The home keeper however stood her ground and pushed the penalty over the crossbar.
Alty continued to hold the upper hand with the midfield duo of Gail and Elina breaking things up but also setting the wide players and strikers loose when possible. The now somewhat rearranged defence was holding out quite comfortably, Sam, up against a Welsh international was showing what an accomplished defender she was whilst Caroline and Cyprus were dealing with forays through the centre and Elena, on her debut, made some well-timed interventions. On twenty six minutes Alty gained the parity which their play had deserved. Tracey closed down a defender before laying the ball off to Emma who struck it home from twenty yards.
Disaster almost struck shortly after this though when a rash challenge by Louise resulted in a penalty to Llandudno. The well struck penalty was excellently saved, however, Lizzie plunging to her left and not only stopping it but holding it to prevent any rebound.Alty went straight up the other end and were awarded an indirect free kick when the home custodian picked up a back pass. Emma touched the ball to Elina whose shot was touched away by the relieved goalie
On thirty two minutes Rachael got a strong shot away following good build up by Alty but this was easily caught by the keeper. Keeping the pressure on, Alty continued to play progressively, an excellent through ball by Cyprus releasing Tracey but the Llandudno goalie was off her line very quickly to clear the danger. The increasing Alty pressure told, on forty two minutes, when they took the lead. Tracey again releasing Emma who adroitly lobbed the keeper left footed to make the score 2-1.
As half time approached and the respective management teams considered their half time comments, an erudite ball was played inside Sam for an attacker to run onto. Lizzie seemed to have the near post shot well covered but unfortunately it took a huge bobble and evaded her to equalise the scores. So Half Time was reached with honours even at 2-2.
|Half-Time: LLANDUDNO JUNCTION LADIES 2 |
ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES 2
The Altrincham management team were more than content with the events of the first half when we had more than matched a team which operates at a significantly higher level than us. Whilst warning that the hosts would probably apply more pressure in the second half, the view was that the game was eminently winnable.
There would be more changes in the second half to allow players game time and also to try a couple of little adjustments. Becci withdrew before the restart as she was experiencing some residual discomfort from her long standing back injury.
Alty kicked off and were once again immediately on the offensive, Tracey once again feeding Emma whose left footed strike passed just wide of the post. Keeping the pressure up Caroline advanced up field in the forty ninth minute but her shot also passed harmlessly wide. On fifty three minutes, Lizzie produced arguably the save of the day thus far pushing away a powerful shot.
The game’s third penalty was awarded on sixty one minutes when Tracey was fouled in the area. Lizzie trotted the full length of the pitch before driving the ball decisively into the bottom corner to restore Alty’s advantage. Once again the whole, and regularly changing, Alty team was outperforming their more illustrious hosts in all areas of the pitch. On sixty four minutes a ball into Tracey by Annie was expertly flicked on to Charlotte whose shot was well saved.
Immediately afterwards, proving that they were still in the game, Llandudno attacked incisively and Lizzie was again forced into an excellent save. Her best effort however was to come on sixty eight minutes when despite appearing to have been lobbed she stretched up and finger tipped the ball onto the bar before it was cleared. Both sides having made changes and the heavy pitch perhaps starting to have some effect the game, although still pulsating, slowed a little for a period as the two teams battled evenly.
It was the seventy ninth minute when the next real notable event took place, excellent hold up play and distribution by Charlotte releasing Tracey whose passage to goal was closed off by some excellent defending. An excellent and inventive corner routine by Altrincham on eighty three minutes almost created a fourth goal. The ball being knocked back out to Georgia who crossed to the back post where Charlotte shot just wide.
On eighty seven minutes following a period of concerted pressure Caroline was forced to concede a corner with an excellent interception. The corner was driven to the back post, Lizzie, perhaps impeded, unable to get a touch and it was bundled in to once again bring the scores level.
Had the game finished at that point the Alty contingent would have had every right to be both extremely pleased and very proud of achieving a draw against such a good team. Alty Ladies however, as has been shown numerous times, always play until then end and it really was no more than they deserved when the lead was restored for a final time in the eighty ninth minute, Tracey expertly lobbing the keeper, left footed from outside the penalty area.
The final whistle went with Alty coming out narrow 4-3 winners after a performance of which every single player can be proud.
Players Player of the Match went to Lizzie for her excellent goalkeeping performance and her goal whilst the Management PoM was awarded to Sam who had not only effectively marked a current Under 19 international out of the game but had also got forward when possible to support.
Thanks must go to Altrincham FC Community Sports Company for allowing us the use of a Coach for this game, to Llandudno Junction Ladies, not only for a good game, played in excellent spirit but also for being great hosts and finally to Glan Conwy FC for accommodating the game.
Next for the Ladies is a League Challenge Cup fixture versus the always impressive Warrington Wolverines at Mersey Valley Sports Club next Sunday, December 14th Kick Off 2.00pm. As always, any and all support will be most welcome.
|Full-Time: LLANDUDNO JUNCTION LADIES 3 |
ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES 4