ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES (0) 1
WARRINGTON WOLVERINES (1) 3
Cheshire Women's & Youth League
Sunday, 8 February, 2015.
ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lizzie Brereton, Sam Briggs, Caroline Moran, Heather Scott, Chloe Brereton, Gail Simpson, Hannah Shufflebotham, Georgia Plant, Aimee Gibson, Emma Booth, Elina Parker. Substitutes: Becci Hailes, Beth Crellin.
Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.
Match Report Altrincham FC Ladies v Warrington Wolverines – February 8th 2015 For the second time in three matches the Ladies welcomed the unbeaten League Leaders to Mersey Valley, this time for a first versus second Cheshire League fixture. The pitch was again a little damp and sticky but many thanks and much credit is due to Mersey Valley for their hard work in getting the surface playable. If this game was to be anything like the recent League Cup meeting, then a treat was in store for the spectators
Alty once again lined up in a 3-4-3 formation. Lizzie in goal, with a back three of Heather, Caroline and Sam. Aimee, Chloe, Gail and Georgia across midfield. The attacking threat being provided, on this occasion by Elina, Hannah and Emma.
Warrington kicked off and were immediately on the offensive, applying pressure to the Alty defence from the off. It was apparent, even at this early stage, that the visitors were keen to take their revenge for the narrow defeat after extra time and penalties two weeks earlier and, as early as the fifth minute, Lizzie needed to be alert, coming to the edge of her area to sweep up a through ball.
Altrincham fought back though and, within a minute ,some intricate play involving Aimee, Elina and Emma almost produced a chance but the ball was cleared to safety. The clearance was intercepted however, the ball finding its way once again to Elina, who turned neatly before firing off an impressive strike from outside the area which was well touched over the bar by the Warrington goalie.
As in the previous fixture, and despite the difficult conditions, play was end to end. On nine minutes a Warrington attack pierced the Altrincham defence and the striker bore down one on one with Lizzie before firing in a firm shot which Lizzie not only saved but kept hold of, preventing any rebound and frustrating the visitors. A further three minutes had elapsed when Georgia and Emma linked well down the Alty right but unfortunately the final ball in toward goal was cleared.
Thirteen minutes in and a well directed free kick from the left, delivered accurately by Aimee was headed narrowly wide by Emma. Warrington were clearly intent on avenging their defeat and all the Altrincham players were working creditably hard to repel their attacks.
On the quarter hour, though, an example of the incisive football style favoured by both teams unlocked the right flank of the Alty defence but the ultimate strike on goal cleared the crossbar quite easily. Alty’s response was immediate, a great run and cross by Georgia was met at the near post by Aimee, whose shot was saved. Georgia showed her awareness of her defensive responsibilities on twenty minutes with an excellent tackle to concede a corner when the Alty defence again came under pressure. From the corner a Warrington player seemed to escape their marker but headed narrowly wide of the near post.
Every single Altrincham player was battling hard on behalf of their team but it would be fair to say that Warrington were having the upper hand in the game, demonstrating quite what a good side they are. Caroline, operating as the central element of the back three was called upon to cover impressively, ushering the Warrington attacker away from goal as the pressure mounted.
Unlike the previous fixture between the sides the central midfield battle was not going the way of the hosts with impressive interplay and movement off the ball by the visitors causing a number of problems. That being said however the hard working Altrincham players had restricted Warrington to comparatively few clear opportunities. Gail and Chloe were making challenges in midfield as though their lives depended on it with a very impressive tackle by Gail in the twenty seventh minute being particularly worthy of mention.
Despite the pressure, Alty did continue to try to get at their visitors. Aimee turning particularly impressively on twenty eight minutes to release Elina down the Alty left but the ball was cleared. The Warrington pressure finally bore fruit on thirty one minutes although there was a certain degree of fortune about the goal.
Hannah was fouled on the edge of the Altrincham penalty area but tried to play on rather than go down. Referee Mr Lever chose to play advantage but, unfortunately ,the ball was lost and prodded back into the Altrincham area where the Warrington attacker narrowly beat Lizzie to the ball poking it goalwards from whence it crept agonisingly over the line.
Alty were not downcast by this concession though and, three minutes afterward,s a strong run out of defence by Emma resulted in a home throw in deep in Warrington territory. Over recent games Lizzie has produced some excellent saves but on thirty seven minutes, it could be argued that she excelled all which had come before. Coming out to narrow the angle of a shot she seemed to slip just as the ball was lobbed over her but somehow stretched and arched to touch it away.
The Alty back three of Heather, Caroline and Sam were performing admirably, ably supported by the two central midfielders who, as has been reported, were battling hard in a very sticky area of the pitch. The Alty wide midfielders, on this occasion Georgia and Aimee, normally such an attacking force, were also defending responsibly, offering support to their team mates whilst Emma, Elina and Hannah worked hard to try to prevent Warrington playing out from the back. Hannah had a shot saved by the Warrington keeper on thirty nine minutes as Alty relieved the pressure with a good attack On forty two minutes, in the last noteworthy incident of the half, Hannah clipped an opponent about thirty yards from the Altrincham goal but the free kick eventually sailed well over the bar.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES 0|
WARRINGTON WOLVERINES 1
Whilst accepting that Warrington were indeed playing very well, Keith and his Management team urged more from the Alty players, particularly in trying to close down Warrington’s three central midfielders who were threatening, despite the best efforts of the Alty players, to take control of the game.
Altrincham began the second half on the front foot, Georgia beating her full back and delivering a teasing ball into the middle which was cleared to safety. Despite this encouraging opening, Warrington very soon began to have the better of the second half and, on fifty four minutes, doubled their lead when, despite their best efforts and some heroic defending Alty were unable to clear the box and an ultimately simple chance was easily converted.
Lizzie was called into action again on fifty nine minutes saving impressively to prevent the lead being extended before excelling herself less than a minute later, plunging to her right to save at impressively at the near post. Altrincham seemed, at this point, to rally significantly and, for a good while, had much the better of proceedings.
On sixty three minutes, a well struck free kick by Elina was saved and two minutes later, good play by the recently introduced Becci opened up another opportunity for Elina, sadly on this occasion, the shot went wide. By this point Beth had also entered the fray, replacing Chloe who had suffered a blow to the foot.
Aimee, who had moved into a striking role since the withdrawal of Emma, linked well with Hannah to force a throw in deep in Warrington territory before, having been put through on goal, being thwarted by a last ditch challenge. The visitors fired back and Sam was called upon to clear off the line after seventy five minutes.
Heading straight back onto the offensive, Altrincham continued to build pressure with another good, forceful run by Elina being followed, almost immediately by a shot from Hannah which was again well saved by the Warrington keeper. Altrincham pressure paid off on seventy nine minutes however when, following some concerted attacking which led to an Altrincham corner. Caroline ventured forward and picked up a clearance, skilfully turned and spread the ball wide to Becci at the back post who drove her first time shot firmly past keeper and defenders to halve the deficit.
Matters improved even more two minutes later. A shot into the area striking a Warrington defender and Altrincham players and staff appealing more in hope than expectation. Mr Lever however adjudged a hand to have been used and awarded the penalty.Lizzie strode forward to try to register an equaliser but her firm shot was well saved and she had to sprint back toward her own goal whilst the remainder of the Altrincham team held up the progress of the visitors.
As proof of how cruel a game football can be Warrington restored their two-goal advantage on eighty four minutes. A ball into the Alty area bobbling around with claims by both sides for infringements, before hitting the back of the net. Creditably, Altrincham did not give up and in the first minute of stoppage time, having forced a corner, Emma was just unable to convert a near post header.
An ultimately disappointing result for the Altrincham Ladies which brings to an end their recent run of success. Warrington, it must be said, are the best team in the League and it is to the huge credit of the Altrincham Ladies that, once again, they gave them a real test. It is a sign of the progress made that there were disappointed faces at the end.
Players' Player of the Match went to Caroline Moran, whilst the Management considered Sam Briggs to have been most impressive. That being said, many players had performed admirably in what had, once again, been a great game and a superb advert for Women’s Football
Next up for the Ladies is a home Cheshire County FA Ladies Cup fixture next Sunday (February 15th) when we take on Macclesfield. Kick Off is 1.00pm to allow for the possibility of extra time and penalties and, as usual, all and any support will be both welcome and appreciated.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES 1|
WARRINGTON WOLVERINES 3