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

Sunday, 25 October 2015


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lucy O’Dwyer, Louise Edleston, Rebecca McConnell, Elina Parker, Judy Henson, Roisin Stone, Alicia Taylor, Kate Bryan, Georgia Plant, Jess Hartopp, Cloe Allsop. Substitutes: Rachael Philip, Lucy Smith, Sue Roberts & Emma Booth.


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies welcomed a strong Merseyrail Bootle side to Mersey Valley for this League encounter. The teams had met once before, in a friendly prior to the 2014/15 season where Bootle had shown themselves an accomplished team, well able to look after themselves physically.

Altrincham lined up in a 3-1-4-2 formation. The back three, in front of Lucy being Louise, Bex and Elina with Judy positioned just in front to provide a shielding presence. The midfield four were Jess, Kate, Liss and Georgia with Cloe partnering Rosie up front.

Altrincham kicked off and set about trying to establish a grip on proceedings and, in general, were more than holding their own as play centred around the midfield areas. Unfortunately, the hosts were forced into a very early reshuffle as Liss suffered an ankle injury after only six minutes and was replaced by Rachael.

Play was still fairly even at this point as the Altrincham players tried to come to terms with the adjustments required after this change. Bootle clearly sensed the disquiet amongst the Altrincham players and stepped up the physical pressure on the Altrincham players and the verbal pressure on referee Mr Morais.

On eighteen minutes the deadlock was broken as a good ball lifted over the Altrincham defence was crisply volleyed into the corner of the net to give Bootle a 1-0 lead. Before Altrincham had the chance to forge any sort of response the deficit was doubled as a shot from distance squirmed under the diving Lucy and into the net.

The visitors now had the bit firmly between their teeth and it was only an offside decision on twenty one minutes which truncated more incisive play as they attacked incessantly. On twenty four minutes Lucy did well to hold on to a firm strike whilst Rachael covered impressively shortly afterward to see off another attack.

Altrincham escaped the siege a minute later, a first time strike by Georgia going narrowly wide. Seeming to be getting some sort of foothold in the game, and having recovered from the double strike, Alty started to play a bit. An impressive run by Rosie resulted in her cross being cleared only as far as Rachael whose shot was well saved.

Continuing to apply pressure Rosie forced another corner and it seemed that Altrincham were starting to impose themselves. Unfortunately, from this corner, a Bootle player was struck full in the face by a fierce clearance which left her stricken on the floor and requiring a good three minutes of treatment.

Whether this took some of the wind out of the Alty sails is uncertain but they were unable to maintain the pressure and, just after the half hour, the visitors' lead was further extended. Bex. Making her full debut attempted to head the ball back to Lucy only for a visiting forward to nip in, round Lucy and slide the ball home.

Despite the three goal disadvantage, Altrincham continued to pressure the ball and on thirty five minutes some excellent defending forced a Bootle forward to shoot wide of the target. A minute later Judy calmly swept up the danger as Bootle threatened again.

Bootle extended their lead even further just shy of the forty-minute mark. Their third good passing move in as many minutes this time defeated the defensive efforts of Altrincham before the ball was crisply driven into the net.

To their credit the Altrincham players kept going and, following a good move through the middle of the park, Cloe fed Jess who ran on toward goal before shooting narrowly wide. The final notable effort of the half was again provided by Altrincham as Judy got a shot away after some encouraging combination play earlier in the move.


Although the score was perhaps not entirely representative of the half of football and, maybe, slightly flattered Bootle, Keith and his Management Team had a number of points to identify where improvement was clearly required if we were to have any chance of getting anything at all other than a heavy defeat out of the game.

Bootle commenced the second half but it was Altrincham who started more encouragingly. Georgia demonstrated her speed by easily outpacing her marker before delivering a cross which was well claimed by the visiting goalie. Next, Judy made a great run but the ball unfortunately ran through to the keeper.

Georgia then released Rosie down the flank but her cross sailed harmlessly behind. On fifty-four minutes Emma came on for Cloe, who had worked hard up front but had been on the receiving end of some robust challenges. Despite the good start Altrincham hadn’t really troubled the visiting keeper overly much.

Just prior to the hour came a brutal reminder that, having now reached a higher level of football, it is vital that one takes chances as they arise. What seemed at the time to be a decent clearance by the Alty defence was intercepted twenty five yards from goal and driven into the top corner of the net to make the score 5-0.

From the restart Jess made another of her incisive runs before setting up Emma whose twenty-yard shot was just over. Things got even worse on the hour mark when another shot from distance evaded Lucy to make the deficit six.

Jess hared back to cover impressively on sixty-five minutes before Kate was cautioned for a challenge a minute later, the like of which had not even merited a foul earlier in the game. Jess again proved her industry on sixty-eight minutes blocking a shot before Lucy Smith came on to make her debut in place of the increasingly irate Kate.

Two minutes later the visitors made it seven. A somewhat contentious free kick was well saved by Lucy but the attacker reacted quickest to poke it home. Bootle pressed again, attempting to extend their lead even further but good defending by Rachael on the cover, Elina with a goal line clearance and Georgia with an excellent example of shepherding an attacker away from goal thwarted them.

Georgia was in action at the other end with a quarter of an hour to go, making an excellent run down the left before having her cross picked out of the air by the visiting custodian. A minute later Lucy O came out bravely at the feet of a Bootle striker and seemed to be kicked in the shoulder although no free kick was forthcoming.

Next a promising run by Rosie was truncated when she was apparently kicked on the ankle although, once again, Mr Morais must have been unsighted. Possession having been regained, Emma set off on a marauding run up the centre of the pitch, her efforts resulting in a corner. In the penultimate minute Lucy made an excellent close range save, again falling bravely amongst the boots.

The match finished 7-0 to Bootle, a score which arguably did not reflect accurately the gap between the two teams. Keith and the Management highlighted that, at this level, every error is punished and every chance must be taken.

So we dust ourselves down and prepare for the next fixture, away to our old adversaries Warrington Wolverines at Orford Hub next Sunday November 1st.