North West Women's Regional League, Divison 1 (South) match

Sunday, 27 September 2015


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lizzie Brereton, Heather Scott, Rachael Philip, Judy Henson, Elina Parker, Gail Simpson, Louise Edleston, Jess Hartopp, Georgia Plant, Emma Booth, Alisha Palmer. Substitutes: Lucy O’Dwyer, Alisha Palmer.


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies opened their home season by welcoming FCUM Ladies to Mersey Valley. Like Altrincham, the visitors had gained promotion at the end of last season so a competitive exchange was anticipated.

Altrincham were able to name a squad of 13 players, a number of whom had again been asked to play in unfamiliar positions. It is testament to the spirit within the group that each and every player did so with no complaint and gave their all, enthusiasm and commitment more than compensating for inexperience.

Altrincham lined up with a 4-4-2 formation.

Lizzie began in goal behind a back four of Rachael, Louise, Elina and Heather. Gail and Judy formed the central midfield pairing with Georgia on one flank and Jess on the other providing the width. Up front Emma partnered Cloe Altrincham kicked off and initial skirmishes were quite even as both teams sought to work out their opponents and in fact Alty were the first team to apply any concerted pressure although this was dealt with by the well drilled FCUM defence.

On five minutes the visitors suffered a blow when their most prolific forward had to leave the field, having suffered what seemed a surprisingly serious knee injury in an innocuous challenge with Louise. Georgia, making her first start of the season, was penetrating well down the Alty left and two minutes after this her good run and cross sadly came to nought.

Play was end to end and, having forced the first of a number of corners, on ten minutes FCUM were guilty of wasteful finishing, blasting a clear opportunity well over the bar.

Although Alty were holding their own all over the pitch it seemed at this point that FCUM perhaps had a spot more penetration. This should not be a surprise as the majority of their squad have been together for some considerable time. The visitors fashioned two more chances in as many minutes, firstly hitting the base of the post, the rebound being blazed over and then a good cross from the Alty left being headed wide of the target.

Having ridden the storm Alty pushed on and, on twenty five minutes, the ball having been won back by industrious midfield play, Emma was marginally offside when the through ball was delivered. FCUM were almost immediately back on the attack and, when Lizzie was unable to claim a corner the ball was headed over once again.

On twenty nine minutes Lizzie connected with a clearance, the ball evading the visiting defenders. Emma adroitly chested the ball around the approaching keeper but some alert defending prevented her from opening the scoring. Lizzie continued to demonstrate the fine form she had shown last week at Ellesmere Port on the half hour, plunging to her left to save impressively at the near post.

Once again on thirty seven minutes Lizzie was alert in coming out to block a shot on the edge of the area. From this Georgia went up the other end but her cross was well blocked and the danger cleared. On forty minutes the FCUM keeper was called into action, saving well from Georgia’s well struck shot.

This was a much tighter affair than last week had been but once again all the Altrincham players were acquitting themselves admirably. Rachael again looking as though she was born to be a Right back, Heather demonstrating her versatility, playing on the opposite side to normal and Louise and Elina steadfast in the centre of the defence.

Gail and Judy were indefatigable in their chasing and closing of opponents, providing excellent protection to the defence whilst also, when possible, launching attacks with incisive passing. Jess and Georgia patrolled up and down the flanks, one minute, supporting their own full backs and the next pressuring the opposition whilst Emma and Cloe fully occupied the central defenders of FCUM.

It was therefore somewhat disappointing when FCUM took the lead on forty four minutes. A ball down the Alty right was switched across the area where the visiting striker drove it across Lizzie into the far corner before the defence had time to react.

Far from being deflated though Alty went in search of an equaliser and, in the second minute of stoppage time a through ball landed between the FCUM keeper and Cloe. Cloe bravely challenged for this, despite being second favourite, and got enough purchase to send the ball into the net.

So half time arrived with honours even,


Keith and his Management Team declared themselves fairly content with the first half, making some suggestions of minor changes which may prove beneficial and encouraging the home players to engage the visitors higher up the pitch if possible.

Alisha came on at half time to replace Emma and immediately went on a great run down the Alty right before being dispossessed. The ball then went almost immediately back up to the Alty end where Lizzie pulled off yet another excellent save pushing away a shot across goal at the cost of a corner.

As in the first half every Alty player was giving their all, Georgia being the next to put in an impressive defensive block as FCUM applied early pressure in the second half. Just after the fifty minute mark Judy showed good responsibility in seeing off another FCUM sortie.

Play then settled down to become a very entertaining, end to end contest with both sides pushing yet also defending admirably. On the hour mark ex Altrincham player Olivia Gannon got free in front of goal and struck a fierce shot which Lizzie did brilliantly to turn away. Unfortunately in doing so she sustained what, it soon became apparent, was a very serious arm injury.

Altrincham First Team Sports Therapist Alan Ainsley came on to assist in tending to her but, after initial assessment ,it was apparent that Lizzie was in far too much pain to even attempt to move her and an ambulance was called. After play had been suspended for shortly over an hour and with still no sign of the ambulance, referee Mr Little abandoned the match.

Disappointingly it was almost a further hour and a half before any assistance arrived by which point Lizzie, supported by Alan and various team mates had been lying in agony for two and a half hours. Special mention must be given to Elina who never left Lizzie’s side throughout and then went to the hospital with her, where it was found that she had suffered a displaced fracture of the wrist.

Under the circumstances no Manager's or Players' Player of the Match awards were made as concern for their stricken team mate made for a sombre dressing room. Judy was selected as Player of the Match by the opposition. Once again though, every player is worthy of commendation on their commitment, endeavour and selflessness.

Next game for the Ladies is next Sunday, October 4th when we visit Liverpool City Ladies Community FC in Childwall. Kick Off is 2.00pm and all support will be most welcome.