Cheshire Women's & Youth League Challenge Cup Second Round
Sunday, 8 March, 2015.


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lizzie Brereton, Heather Scott, Louise Edleston, Elina Parker, Sam Briggs, Annie Nelson, Kate Bryan, Gail Simpson, Georgia Plant, Aimee Gibson, Tracey Blanchard-Webb. Substitutes: Chloe Brereton, Kathryn McIntyre, Emma Booth, Brogan Walsh, Caroline Moran.


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The hosts had held a 3-1 advantage when the previous fixture had been abandoned so both teams had a point to prove.

Alty lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Lizzie in goal, with a back four of Heather, Elina, Louise and Sam. Annie, Kate, Gail and Georgia across midfield and Aimee and Tracey up front.

Wallasey began proceedings and the initial exchanges were cagey but even. The Altrincham players, however, soon got into their stride and, after four minutes excellent pressing by Aimee forced a corner. Aimee herself took the corner which was eventually cleared.

The Alty front pairing has worked well together this season and, on eight minutes, Tracey managed to feed Aimee who sadly fired wide. Wallasey were not just allowing themselves to be forced backward though and Lizzie, not for the only time in the game, had to be smartly off her line on 13 minutes to deal with a through ball, Elina easily clearing the subsequent cross.

Alty welcomed Georgia back into the team, after her recent swimming exertions, and she was soon impressing on the Alty left. On the quarter hour she left her marker in her wake and delivered a delicious cross which the hosts managed to clear under pressure.

Recent signing Kate, who has already shown signs of an impressive midfield partnership with Gail, showed good responsibility a minute later, covering a Wallasey attack and effecting a good clearance. It was somewhat against the run of play when Wallasey took the lead on seventeen minutes. A somewhat harsh free kick was chipped into the Alty area where the Wallasey striker seemed to evade her marker and deftly flick a header into the net, giving Lizzie no chance.

Altrincham had a free kick of their own on twenty minutes after Georgia was fouled by her increasingly harassed full back. Elina’s shot from twenty yards passed narrowly wide. On twenty two minutes the hosts doubled their lead when a straight ball down the middle bisected the Alty defence, leaving the onrushing striker a simple finish past the exposed Lizzie. Things got even worse merely two minutes later when impressive play down the Alty right released a Wallasey player who drove the ball high into the net from a tight angle to make the score 3-0.

Despite being clearly shocked, Altrincham pushed forward, trying to reduce the deficit as soon as possible. Georgia once again skinned her full-back, on twenty seven minutes, and set up Aimee, whose shot was again just wide. Kate was the next instigator of an Alty attack, running strongly on twenty nine minutes before passing to Aimee who was well marshalled by an impressive piece of defending.

Alty made the breakthrough, which their play had arguably deserved, just after the half hour mark. Aimee flighted a corner to the edge of the penalty area, away from the home defence. Kate skilfully set up Tracey, who finished well with her left foot. Alty continued to mount pressure and the home advantage was nearly reduced further two minutes later. Aimee linked well with Georgia who beat a defender and rounded the keeper. Unfortunately, her shot from an increasingly narrow angle was scrambled away to safety.

The pressure was almost incessant now and, on thirty-six minutes, an excellent run and cross by Aimee was met by Tracey whose glancing header passed just wide. Despite what had been a somewhat inauspicious period, Altrincham now seemed to have taken control. The back four and Lizzie were looking much more secure. Annie and Georgia were incisive down the flanks whilst Gail and Kate had begun to exert a firm grip on the centre of the park. Aimee and Tracey were working hard and causing the hosts any number of problems.

On thirty eight minutes Tracey made a strong run down the Wallasey left flank before delivering an excellent ball in to the area. Unfortunately, from an Alty perspective, Aimee was just beaten to the ball and the opportunity went away. The hard work being put in by the Alty players meant that Wallasey had little time to play their football, Tracey and Aimee perpetually harassing defenders whilst Annie and Georgia prevented any escape down the flanks, pushing both full backs toward their own goal.

On forty-two minutes Georgia once again left her full-back for dead before delivering yet another excellent ball which, sadly, evaded those on the centre of the goal. Annie, though, was following up on the far post but her effort was blocked. The final action of the first half once again featured Georgia skinning her full back before delivering yet another excellent cross, this one being hacked away for a throw in.

Half-time was reached with Altrincham trailing by 3-1 despite, arguabl,y having the majority of the play and creating a number of chances. Too many unforced errors and misplaced passes during the first twenty five minutes had handed the initiative to the hosts.

Although clearly unhappy Keith and his Management Team could see that if Alty continued to play as they had for the majority of the half and cut out the errors, it was still more than possible that the situation could be rescued.


Altrincham kicked off the second half and were on the offensive from the outset. In fact, it took only eighteen seconds for the deficit to be reduced even further. An excellent ball by Kate found Annie whose cross cum shot found its way into the far corner of the Wallasey net. Altrincham could barely have wished for a better start.

The pressure continued to build upon the Wallasey rear guard, Sam moving forward on forty-nine minutes to place a shot just wide following yet another Alty corner. Georgia continued to pose her full back all manner of problems, once again putting in an exceptional cross from the left which Aimee was just unable to keep below the bar. Immediately afterwards, Kate once again provided an incisive ball to Tracey but, this time, the home custodian saved well at her near post.

Tracey continued to show great industry with a strong run down the right flank, her cross being cleared. On fifty-seven minutes Annie, who had toiled industriously, was withdrawn, Brogan coming on to replace her. This resulted in Georgia switching to the right flank with Brogan picking up the left wing berth. The change almost provided an immediate return but Georgia’s ball through to Aimee was blocked off.

Tracey once again almost turned provider on the hour but her astute ball just evaded Georgia’s incisive run. On sixty-six minutes a very impressive move involving Georgia and Kate released Aimee on the left flank whose cross was headed narrowly wide of the near post by Brogan who had made an intelligent run into that area. Five minutes later and Tracey was once again on the verge of putting Aimee through on goal but she was beaten to the ball by the Wallasey keeper.

Play was now all heading in one direction and the home goal was under incessant pressure. Tracey ran onto a through ball on seventy-seven minutes but her shot went wide. Six minutes later Emma, who had replaced the hard working but unfortunate Aimee managed to manufacture a chance for herself on the left flank but, again, the effort went harmlessly wide. Tracey once again pressed down the Alty right and created herself yet another chance which was thwarted by the home team then immediately afterward had a shot saved by the Wallasey custodian.

On eighty-eight minutes Alty finally got the equaliser their pressure warranted when Emma struck a curling shot beyond the keeper from fully twenty yards. All which was required now was to keep it tight until full time and to allow the Alty players' seemingly superior fitness levels to come into play.

Unfortunately, though, ambition seemed to get the better of pragmatism and Alty pushed for a winner in normal time.

The trumpets having been sounded and the majority of the Altrincham team having responded by galloping forward, we were undone by a speculative ball over the top which evaded the Alty defence. Lizzie came to narrow the angle and the Wallasey striker lifted a shot over her. Lizzie leapt and got fingertips to the shot, possibly sustaining an injury in the process but was unable to apply sufficient force to prevent the ball crossing the line to restore the Wallasey lead.

Although clearly deflated, Altrincham pressed for the remaining few minutes but were unable to force another equaliser and so exited the competition at the Quarter Final stage.

This had been a frustrating game for players and management alike. Unforced errors and defensive frailties had given Wallasey a helping hand and, despite having the better of the majority of the game and making numerous chances, Alty had been unable to convert sufficient of them to progress from a tie, which it was well within their capabilities to have won.

However, such is football and all at AFC Ladies would want to wish Wallasey every success in the remainder of the competition.

Next Sunday the Ladies travel once again. This time to Winsford in the Cheshire County Women’s Cup. Winsford operate at a higher level than the Ladies, so it will be a challenging task. Kick Off is 1.30pm at the Barton Stadium and all support will be most welcome.