ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES 3
LIVERPOOL MARSHALLS FEDS RES. 3
North West Women's Regional League, Divison 1 (South) match
Sunday, 15 November 2015
ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lucy O’Dwyer, Lucy Smith, Louise Edleston, Elina Parker, Jess Hartopp, Liss Taylor, Kate Bryan, Georgia Plant, Judy Henson, Cloe Allsop, Brogan Walsh. Substitutes: Heather Scott, Gail Simpson & Alisha Palmer.
Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.
The Ladies welcomed Liverpool Feds Reserves to Mersey Valley on an overcast but mild afternoon. The teams had already met this season, Feds running out 2-0 winners despite Altrincham being arguably the better side on the day.
Altrincham were again able to name a squad of 14 players, welcoming back Elina, Judy, Heather and Gail, the latter two after a trip to Australia. Altrincham lined up with a 3-4-3-formation.
Lucy O continued in goal in goal behind a defence comprising Lucy S, Louise and Elina. Kate and Judy formed the central midfield pairing with Brogan on one flank and Jess on the other providing the width. Up front Georgia partnered Cloe with Liss playing just behind those two.
The teams were led out by five year-old Ryan Coates, nephew of former Altrincham goalkeeper James. Ryan suffers from Type 1 diabetes and had been taken ill at a previous Ladies fixture. The team had offered him the opportunity to be mascot for the day when he was better and today, National Juvenile Diabetes Research Day was the first chance for him to take up the offer.
Altrincham kicked off and immediately an intelligent ball down the Alty right almost put Cloe in behind the defence but she was unable to prevent it from going behind for a gaol kick.
On two minutes there was the first controversial moment of the game. Brogan chased a ball which was running through to the Feds Keeper. The keeper seemed to have the ball but then inexplicably lost possession. Brogan knocked it around her on the inside edge of the penalty area at which point the keeper clearly appeared to grab her leg and bring her to the floor for what seemed a clear penalty. Referee Mr Coy however must have been unsighted as he waved play on.
From the resulting corner, taken by Georgia, Liss pulled away from her marker at the back post but was just unable to divert the ball into the goal.
All in all this had been an excellent start by Altrincham.
Liverpool Feds Reserves, though, are an established team at this level with some good players and lots of experience and their first sortie into Altrincham territory was not long coming, Lucy S clearing the ball impressively to bring it to an end Brogan and Georgia created an excellent move in the fifth minute but sadly Cloe was unable to get sufficient purchase on the eventual shot and the visiting keeper saved easily.
Cloe returned the favour shortly after and although Georgia made a fine connection; her shot went wide of the target. Although Altrincham clearly held the upper hand Feds were always likely to present a danger, particularly their Spanish striker Arantxa Medina and when she found herself with a clear run on goal Lucy O did very well to come out and force her sufficiently away from goal that she was unable to finish.
Feds were enjoying a period of greater possession now and Brogan had to track back well to clear impressively. There had already been a lot of action at both ends and only ten minutes had elapsed. This had the makings of yet another enthralling and entertaining fixture.
Judy, having won possession, threaded an impressive ball forward which was cut out by the Feds defence and hammered up field where Lucy O once again came out very impressively to block the opponent’s way to goal.
Kate was the next Alty player to almost unlock the visiting defence but her excellent pass couldn’t be controlled by Cloe and the chance, once again, was lost.
Georgia was demonstrating great industry, coming back into the midfield area to help out as well as causing the Feds defence all manner of problems and on the quarter hour she was very unlucky to be penalised when having tackled back ferociously, she was adjudged to have fouled an opponent.
Cloe was also working hard and covering lots of ground. On a number of occasions she dropped off the front to try to pick the ball up and switch play.
Altrincham were now, once again on top and the pressure almost bore fruit on twenty-five minutes when Jess shot from outside the penalty area but her effort passed narrowly wide.
Alty came even nearer to a goal barely minutes later. A free kick was excellently delivered by Kate onto the head of Elina at the back post but her effort was cleared odd the line and smuggled to safety.
As has been the case throughout the season though, Alty’s inability to find the net came back to haunt them once again on the half hour. Possession was lost in midfield and, following a direct run down the inside right channel an accurate cross was swept home by Arantxa Medina to give Feds the lead very much against the balance of play.
This was another reminder, were it needed, that Altrincham have stepped up a level in the pyramid and that chances, when created, must be taken.
Altrincham heads didn’t go down though and parity was restored within two minutes. A fine ball in from the Alty left by Georgia being tucked away by Judy, registering her first goal for Altrincham Ladies.
Again Altrincham tried to establish their superiority, excellent play releasing Cloe on the Alty right whose shot was well handled by the Feds keeper.
Two minutes later Lucy O made her best save so far. Once again Arantxa Medina was through on goal, Lucy came out and, as the attacker tried to go round her, she put in a crunching block tackle before quickly grabbing the ball and killing the attack. Brogan who had caused all manner of problems to the visiting defence once again moved purposefully down the Alty left forcing some desperate defending and yet another Altrincham corner.
As the half reached forty-five minutes Kate struck a thunderous shot which sadly went just wide.
There was time for one more effort in stoppage time when a corner won by Elina was played short by Georgia to Kate who returned possession straight away. Georgia’s firm cross was blocked again and Alty would have had another corner had Mr Coy not blown his whistle for half-time.
Half time was reached with scores level at 1-1.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES 1|
LIVERPOOL MARSHALLS FEDS RES. 1
Keith and his management team were generally quite pleased but highlighted a couple of areas where things might be done a little differently.
It had been a more than decent performance thus far by every player. Lucy O had been calm and commanding in goal and had, when required been quick and decisive off her line whilst the back three had kept the Feds attack generally quite quiet. Arantxa had often pulled onto Lucy S who, in the main had managed her very well but she had always had the support of Louise and Elina if required.
Jess and Brogan had caused their respective defenders all manner of problems whilst also being responsible and dropping in when Alty didn’t have possession.
Kate and Judy had shown admirable restraint and responsibility in ensuring that the central midfield area was sewn up tight. If one went forward to support the strikers the other one held station. Liss, playing just off the front and knitted things together exceptionally well, linking with not only the midfield players but also the twin strikers.
Cloe and Georgia had not given the Feds defence and keeper any respite. One minute closing them down and the next dragging them all over the field with intelligent runs and passes.
With the message that the game was there for them to win the Alty Ladies returned to the pitch for the second half.
Liverpool kicked off the second half but once again Alty were immediately about their business winning the ball back before some enterprising play by Georgia and Brogan once again put pressure on the defence.
Kate was demonstrating her fine range of passing from the central areas, turning the visiting defence and trying to play the flank players and strikers in behind.
Brogan had picked up where she left off; tormenting the Liverpool right back and her tricky play on fifty minutes forced yet another Alty corner. Unfortunately this was easily cleared by the Feds defenders.
As Liverpool made their first incursion into Altrincham territory Lucy O once again saved impressively, holding a firmly struck shot as attackers chased in for any possible rebound. Kate, having spotted the visiting custodian off her line tried a shot from within the centre circle but, with the keeper backpedalling frantically, the ball again went narrowly wide.
Ten minutes into the second half Liss demonstrated her athleticism, chasing back to put in an impressive block on the edge of the Altrincham six yard box.
The half had once again been bossed by Altrincham, although they had as yet been unable to turn that superiority into goals.
In an attempt to possibly change the point of the attack Cloe was withdrawn on fifty eight minutes having yet again worked tirelessly.
Gail came on to replace her, slipping into her normal midfield role with Kate moving up front to partner Georgia and perhaps provide some more aerial prowess.
On the hour mark Lucy O once again came out brilliantly at the feet of an attacker to thwart a Liverpool attack. As the game moved toward three quarter time Judy provided a sublime pass to Liss who brought an excellent save out of the Liverpool keeper. On sixty six minutes Brogan who had been on the end of a couple of somewhat robust challenges in the preceding few minutes was replaced by Alisha who moved up front to partner Kate.
Georgia moved out to her more accustomed left flank role so there was to be no respite for the Feds right back.
Alisha is the sort of striker who plays on the last defender’s shoulder and a couple of times she was adjudged to be offside when released to run at goal.
On seventy minutes though Altrincham took a much deserved lead.
Kate intercepted a pass and after feinting to pass to Alisha strode through the middle before dispatching the ball into the corner of the net.
Not being allowed by Keith and his management team to rest on their laurels Alty continued to press.
Jess making an excellent run before unfortunately the ball ran away from her.
There was another moment of controversy on seventy three minutes.
Georgia “skinned” her marker and ran into open space before being crudely dragged back. Mr Coy awarded the free kick but inexplicably not the caution such a challenge deserves.
With fifteen minutes remaining Jess tracked back responsibly to provide cover as Liverpool attacked. At this juncture Heather was introduced to replace the once again impressive Lucy S.
Four minutes later Altrincham doubled their lead. Alisha picked the ball up on the half way line, turned her opponent and set off toward goal. As the Liverpool keeper came out to meet her she skilfully rounder her before calmly sliding the ball into an empty net for her first League gaol for the Club.
Obviously somewhat stung by this Liverpool started to up the pressure and Lucy O once again had to claim a ball impressively with nine minutes remaining.
As the pressure mounted Louise produced a magnificent tackle to see off another Liverpool attack soon afterwards. Altrincham were now coming under pressure but still had the invention to create chances of their own. Liss going on an excellent solo run before shooting narrowly wide.
Next Judy moved forward impressively down the right before producing an excellent cross right onto the head of Liss just beyond the far post. Liss tried to head the ball just inside the post where the keeper would be unable to get it but sadly miscued slightly and the ball went wide.
With four minutes to go the Liverpool pressure told. A ball from the Altrincham right split the two centre backs and Arantxa Medina tucked the chance away clinically.
Liverpool tails were up now whilst the Alty players began to defend deeper than might be considered ideal. In the penultimate minute of the game Gail chased back impressively to prevent a shot at goal, diverting it away.
Disaster then struck for Alty as the ball was played in from the Liverpool left. A Feds' player momentarily escaped her marker and struck the ball across goal. Lucy O dived full length to save it but it hit Louise and crossed the line to give Feds a draw they arguably didn’t deserve.
So the final score was Altrincham FC Ladies 3 Liverpool Marshall Feds Reserves 3.
This had been a disappointing end to what had been an eminently decent performance overall. It is a sign of recent progress that the overriding feeling was disappointment although the game had not been lost. Again there are positives to take out of the game as well as harsh lessons to be learned.
Cloe Allsop was selected as Player of the match by the opposition with Louise Edleston taking the accolade from Management. The award for Player’s player of the match went to Judy Henson.
Next game for the Ladies is next Sunday, November 22nd, when we welcome Woolton to Mersey Valley. Kick Off is 2pm and all support will be most welcome.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES 3|
LIVERPOOL MARSHALLS FEDS RES. 3