Cheshire Women's County Cup Round One
Sunday, 8 February, 2015.


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lizzie Brereton, Heather Scott, Sam Briggs, Caroline Moran, Louise Edleston, Annie Nelson, Gail Simpson, Hannah Shufflebotham, Brogan Walsh, Tracey Blanchard-Webb, Aimee Gibson. Substitutes: Chloe Brereton, Becci Hailes, Kate Bryan, Emma Booth, Natalie Thornley


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies entered the County Cup at the First Round stage, playing a Macclesfield Town Ladies team who play one level higher up the pyramid. Altrincham had defeated today’s visitors in the preliminary round of this competition last season so revenge was a likely item on the Macclesfield agenda.

Altrincham lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Lizzie in goal with a back four of Heather, Sam, Caroline and Louise. Midfield was made up of Annie, Gail, Hannah and Brogan whilst the strike force comprised Tracey and Aimee Altrincham kicked off the game, the very initial stages of which were quite even before Alty started to exert some degree of authority.

On three minutes a ball was played down the Alty right into the run of Tracey whose early cross was cut out. Almost immediately though the hosts took the lead, a ball through the Macclesfield defence being clinically finished, left footed, by Aimee.Altrincham kept their foot on the pedal and impressive play, this time down the Alty left freed up Hannah for a shot which was saved by the visiting keeper.

It was therefore somewhat against the run of play when Macclesfield equalised with what was a poor goal to concede from the Alty perspective. A ball was played forward and, a visiting player appearing well offside, the Alty defenders stopped and waited for the whistle to blow. This player however was coming out and taking no part in the play unlike her colleague who ran from a clearly onside position before crossing the ball to the striker who finished easily past the totally exposed Lizzie.

Undeterred Altrincham pressed forward again. On thirteen minutes Brogan galloped onto a through ball but sadly her cross went behind for a goal kick. The Macclesfield keeper was again in action on the quarter hour coming out swiftly to deny Aimee and Tracey as they converged on a ball through the middle before safely holding a firm cross shot by Brogan.

The pressure once again told on seventeen minutes though, Brogan played a ball down the line to Tracey whose excellent cross was converted by Aimee to restore the Alty lead. This seemed to be a somewhat different Macclesfield side to that which had visited last season and almost from the restart Lizzie had to be smartly off her line to clear a dangerous through ball to safety. This was turning into yet another very good game of football with both teams trying to attack whenever possible. It was Altrincham however who were in the ascendancy overall.

The back four were offering solid protection to Lizzie whilst Gail and Hannah seemed to be exercising control over the middle of the park. Annie and Brogan probed repeatedly down the wings and the tireless running and intelligent movement of Tracey and Aimee up top was a continual source of problems for the visitors. On eighteen minutes Aimee created another chance for herself by putting good pressure on a Macclesfield defender but was unfortunately unable to finish.

Another opportunity came Aimee’s way shortly afterwards, this time courtesy of Annie’s through ball. This time the ball was well cleared by a defender. A third chance in a very short time almost presented itself to Aimee once again on the half hour but the ball was played just behind her and she was unable to get it under control. Despite Altrincham’s apparent superiority, the visitors continued to try to play and on thirty three minutes once again equalised.

A slightly rash challenge on the outer edge of the Altrincham area by Louise was punished with a free kick which was expertly placed in at the post despite the best efforts of Lizzie to keep it out. Once again though, the hosts set about trying to regain their advantage. Tracey had a shot well saved by the Macclesfield goalie on thirty five minutes and just before the break some excellent play involving Annie and Hannah once again opened up an opportunity for Tracey which was well defended.


Keith and his management team, whilst generally content that Altrincham had bossed the half were less impressed by the manner in which we had conceded. That being said the comments were generally positive in so much as a similar half offensively should be sufficient to win the game.

Macclesfield began the second half but Altrincham soon recovered possession and began, once again to probe. Yet more impressive link up play between Aimee and Tracey sadly came to nought when the final ball was adjudged to have run out of play.

On forty nine minutes, Hannah, who seemed to have picked up a painful knee injury was replaced in midfield by debutant Kate. Alty continued to pour forward and Brogan had a firm shot well saved at the keeper’s near post. From the resulting corner Kate almost announced her arrival in the best possible manner but her header passed just wide of the post.

With what may well have been their first attack of the half Macclesfield took the lead for the first time in the game on fifty five minutes. A ball into the home penalty area was not properly cleared and the smart, first time, left footed strike flew into the corner, once again giving Lizzie no chance to affect matters. At this point Natalie replaced Brogan, Annie moving over to the left and Natalie taking up a position wide on the right.

Altrincham, clearly somewhat stung by the latest concession, once again piled on the pressure. Aimee’s intelligent flick on finding Tracey whose effort went narrowly wide.Roles were reversed two minutes later, this time Tracey released Aimee whose shot was saved at the near post.

It seemed destined not to be Alty’s day just after the hour when a firm strike, once again by Aimee, hit the inside of the post with the goalie comprehensively beaten, only to bounce out away from goal evading the other Altrincham players in the vicinity. Once again the pressure was cranked up, Natalie firing wide of the near post after sixty six minutes and Aimee being once again thwarted by the Macclesfield keeper after a superb pass by Gail.

It was important however that Alty remained alert to the potential threat the visitors carried as on seventy minutes a through ball was prodded narrowly wide by a Macclesfield attacker as Lizzie raced out to close down the opportunity. Play then, once again switched back to the Macclesfield end of the pitch as Altrincham turned the pressure up once again, Kate once again meeting a corner with a firm header which this time just cleared the crossbar.

Parity was restored on seventy seven minutes when the incessant Alty pressure finally told. An attempt, by a Macclesfield defender, to clear a well taken corner by Aimee, nestling in the corner of her own net. Altrincham could smell a winner at this point and continued to bombard the Macclesfield goal. Tracey flicking on for Aimee who was, yet again, frustrated by the visitor’s keeper.

In an attempt to win the game in normal time Keith went to three at the back, replacing Caroline, who had performed excellently throughout, with an additional striker in the form of Emma. The change bore fruit immediately when persistent harassing of the defence by Kate and Annie presented Aimee with another chance to register her hat trick which she took, clinically sending the ball past the despairing keeper and into the net.

To their credit Macclesfield did not give up and in the final minute Lizzie once again had to be alert in coming to the edge of her area to save well. Full time was reached with Altrincham having won an exciting game 4-3 to reach the quarter final of the Cheshire County Ladies Cup . Once again this had been a great advertisement for the Women’s game watched by a crowd of thirty two including Altrincham FC First Team Goalkeeper Stuart Coburn and his two sons.

Both the Players Player of the match and the management award went to Aimee Gibson although every one of the players had contributed handsomely to the result.

Next week the Ladies welcome Wallasey Wanderers to Mersey Valley for a league fixture. Kick Off is 2.00pm and all and any support will be greatly appreciated.