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

Sunday, 11 October 2015


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lucy O’Dwyer, Heather Scott, Louise Edleston, Elina Parker, Judy Henson, Gail Simpson, Kate Bryan, Georgia Plant, Jess Hartopp, Cloe Alsopp, Alisha Palmer. Substitutes: Emma Booth.


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies once again made the trip along the M62, this week braving a partial closure of the M62 and the subsequent diversions, to take on Liverpool Feds Reserves in the second of the three consecutive away fixtures in Liverpool.

Altrincham welcomed back Judy, Kate and Elina Altrincham lined up in a 3-1-4-2 formation. In front of Lucy were Louise, Elina and Heather. Just in front, providing additional protection was Judy. The midfield four comprised Gail, Kate, Georgia and Jess whilst Cloe and Alisha headed up the attack.

Altrincham kicked off the first half and were immediately into their stride. In the first minute Kate played a ball through to Georgia but, unfortunately, the ball bounced higher than anticipated and Georgia’s lobbed effort cleared the bar.

Barely another minute had passed when Cloe and Alisha exchanged passes with Cloe getting a shot away which was saved by the Feds keeper.

After last week’s defeat this was a very positive and encouraging start by Alty and Alisha continued this with a good run down the inside right channel before her attempted pass to Cloe was intercepted. The triumvirate of Judy Gail and Kate, in association with the two wide players had taken a grip on the central area of the park and on eight minutes, some sharp interplay in midfield released Cloe who had sadly strayed offside.

Shortly afterward Jess made a strong run down the Alty right before delivering an accurate cross into the near post area. Alisha having made an intelligent run got a foot to it but was just unable to apply sufficient force to get it past the keeper. From the resultant corner, superbly delivered by Georgia, it took a goal like clearance to prevent Altrincham taking what would have been a fully deserved lead.

As has been evident thus far this season every team is able to hurt you and Feds, having seemed to find their feet, were soon on the attack requiring good defending from both Heather and Elina either side of an excellent one on one save by Lucy in the thirteenth minute.

Lucy was again in action just after the quarter hour, getting down well to push a shot around her right hand post. Any neutral in attendance cannot help but have been entertained as play switched from end to end. Louise went on a sortie up field before releasing Alisha whose firm strike was well saved. Jess picked the ball up and produced an excellent cross which just evaded both Alisha and Cloe.

Disaster struck for Alty on twenty one minutes when a ball into the box was rifled home despite a gallant attempted challenge by Jess, leaving Lucy with no chance to affect the outcome. Undeterred Altrincham continued to press, Jess once again moving purposefully down the right before playing the ball into Kate who moved it swiftly onto Cloe, Sadly though once again determined defending blocked the effort.

This was a much better all-around performance than that of the previous week. Lucy in goal looked significantly more confident and was handling the ball cleanly. The back three of Heather, Louise and Elina had, in the main, kept the Feds attack fairly quiet, very much helped by the midfield patrolling and tenacious tackling of Gail and Judy in particular. Kate operating when possible further forward was linking up with both wide players as well as getting forward to help Cloe and Alisha.

Georgia was seeming to get the wrong end of a number of decisions but, in her normal combative way, continued to battle tenaciously whilst Jess was causing the left hand side of the Feds defence any number of problems. Up front Cloe and Alisha made innumerable adroit runs, pulling the defence out of shape and making room for others whilst also linking well together to create chances of their own.

Just shy of the half hour Alisha once again received a ball in space before moving forward and releasing a shot which forced a sprawling save from the home custodian. Shortly after that Georgia threw off the shackles of her opponent and some contentious decisions, making an excellent run down the left and forcing another Altrincham corner.

The corner came to nothing but less than a minute later Alisha closed down the keeper and, having controlled a rebound off a defender rounded the keeper. At this point it seemed that she had been tripped but, to her credit, she retained her balance and tried to get a shot on target only for it to be blocked.

It was both somewhat against the run of play and also a reminder that danger is never far away when Feds doubled their advantage on forty minutes. An excellently measured through ball bisecting the Altrincham defence to leave the striker with the simplest of finishes past a powerless Lucy.

Still Altrincham pushed and when Jess was fouled on the edge of the area Georgia stepped up to take the free kick. Her firmly struck effort though cannoned into the wall with Kate’s follow up shot being saved by the Fed’s keeper

Half Time was reached with the score Liverpool Feds Reserves 2 Altrincham FC Ladies 0


Keith and the management team were far from downcast after the first half performance and urged the players to feel pleased and positive with their efforts. The play had been excellent, passing, movement, communication all had been there and there was much to be optimistic about. Keith reminded the players, lest it be required, that the step up in level meant that opponents were more clinical in front of goal and that the Ladies must strive to be the same. A couple of minor tactical tweaks and the highlighting of the Feds more dangerous players having been delivered the Alty team stepped back onto the pitch ready to try to get back into the game.

Liverpool Feds kicked off the second half but, again, it was Altrincham who were first on the offensive, Cloe intelligently switching the point of the attack from left to right before steadfast defending by the hosts blotted out the opportunity. In fact, Altrincham maintained the pressure for the next few minutes, playing some excellent football but without unduly troubling the Feds goalkeeper.

On fifty four minutes Alisha who had worked tirelessly up front and caused numerous problems with her movement was replaced by Emma, perhaps a more direct type of forward. Emma was immediately into the game pressing a home defender impressively to force a corner. The corner was once again expertly delivered by Georgia and met by the head of Judy. The hurried defensive clearance finding Jess who was unable to keep her shot under pressure below the crossbar.

Eventually, after being under incessant pressure for the first fifteen minutes of the half, Feds began to express themselves in a more attacking vein and Heather had to cover across impressively after fifty seven minutes to curtail a home attack.

On the hour mark the Feds' No 7, who had impressed all game, managed to wriggle her way free in the Alty penalty area. Judy however was alert and cleared the danger with an excellent tackle. Altrincham were tireless in their pursuit of an equaliser though, attacking regularly down both flanks and making the hosts defend vigorously to retain their clean sheet,

On sixty six minutes the Liverpool No 7 once again threatened down the Alty right. On this occasion it was Louise who came across and effected a text book block tackle. Unfortunately the Feds player was injured in the process and required a period of treatment before she was able to continue. Still Alty persevered and it took an excellent tackle to stop Emma as the game entered the last fifteen minutes. Cloe, stretching to meet a cross had her shot saved as Alty further ramped up the pressure.

As the Alty Ladies pushed on though the speedy Feds attack tried to exploit the gaps and Elina was called upon to defend strongly to prevent the lead being extended further. On seventy eight minutes Kate hit a powerful shot which was well saved by the Feds keeper. Emma completed the job, poking the ball across the line but was penalised. With seven minutes remaining Lucy produced yet another impressive save at her near post.

The game continued in the same pattern until the final whistle with Altrincham pressing and Feds resisting effectively. The only noteworthy incident was a caution for Gail who made what was deemed an inappropriate comment to the Referee following one of a number of haphazard decisions.

So the Full Time Score was Liverpool Feds Reserves 2 Altrincham FC Ladies 0.

Altrincham still search for their first point of the season but today had been much more encouraging, arguably the best performance of the season to date Keith and his management team, whilst clearly as disappointed as the players by the result, expressed themselves more than satisfied with the performance. The team had played the way they can play with excellent passing and movement on display.

If this sort of performance can become the norm then it will not be long before points are on the board and the team is climbing the table. Thanks are due to the family members who had travelled to offer their hugely appreciated support to the team. Next week the Ladies return once again to Liverpool to take on Mersey Girls – kick off 2.00pm.