Cheshire Cup First Round match

Sunday, 24 January 2016


ALTRINCHAM FC LADIES: Lucy O’Dwyer, Lucy Smith, Louise Edleston, Bex McConnell, Jess Hartopp, Liss Taylor, Kate Bryan, Bliss Molyneux, Heather Scott, Gail Simpson, Kye Brown. Subs: Cloe Allsop, Elina Parker & Alisha Palmer.


Report courtesy of Phil Taylor.

The Ladies returned to competitive action for the first time since November 28th, welcoming Chester City to Mersey Valley in the first round of the Cheshire Cup.

The two teams are old adversaries, having met a number of times prior to the Alty Ladies promotion at the end of last season and games between the two are usually hard fought but played in good spirit.

Altrincham named two debutants in the starting line-up. Both Bliss and Kye having recently joined from the sadly defunct Urmston Meadowside Team. Altrincham lined up in a 4-1-3-2 formation. The back four in front of Lucy O being Lucy S, Louise, Bliss and Heather. Just in front of them, Bex was deployed as a screening player. This would potentially allow the midfield triumvirate of Jess, Gail and Kye to push a little further forward at times to offer support to strikers Liss and Kate.

Altrincham kicked off and Kate immediately set Jess free down the right flank. Sadly though, her cross came to nothing.

The first attempt on goal of the game same from a somewhat unexpected source, Bex driving a firm shot narrowly wide before the first minute had elapsed as Altrincham applied early pressure to the visitors defence. The breakthrough the hosts were looking for was not long in coming, however.

On three minutes Kate linked well on the Alty right before delivering a cross which narrowly evaded Kye. The ball was retrieved by Liss who, in turn, played it back into the penalty area. Although the Chester Keeper got hands to the cross she was unable to hold on to it giving Kate an easy tap in.

Kate almost doubled both her and Alty’s tally shortly afterwards. The Chester keeper once again unable to get a firm grip on a ball played in from the flank. This time though a defender hacked it clear. The Altrincham team was totally in the ascendancy by this juncture, the passing and movement shown by all players leaving the visitors chasing shadows in an attempt to stem the waves of Alty attacks.

Kye was terrorising the right hand side of the Chester defence and following swift interplay down that side she put in a cross on seven minutes which Liss put just wide of the post. Next Gail and Bex worked an opportunity to free Kye in the area but she was beaten to the ball by the visiting custodian.

The Chester keeper was again out impressively just before the quarter hour mark, diving bravely at Kate’s feet to stop a cross by Jess. Just after the quarter hour Heather struck a long raking ball to Liss who took control of it before moving menacingly forward. On this occasion though a Chester defender effected a good tackle to bring the move to an end.

On nineteen minutes Alty doubled their lead. Heather picking the ball up in her own half moved purposefully forward, passing a number of defenders before striking a thunderous shot from all of thirty yards. The shot cleared the keeper and headed goalwards only to strike the crossbar. Liss however, showing excellent predatory instincts was on hand to tuck away the rebound.

Altrincham continued to press, playing some exquisite football in the process. Every player was comfortable in possession and was presented with a number of options when they chose to pass it. Play was not rushed but the ball was retained and recycled until an opportunity could be created.

On twenty-five minutes Chester managed their first sortie into the Altrincham half but Lucy S defended the situation admirably and the danger was averted. In addition to the flowing football the Altrincham players were tenacious in the tackle. One such challenge by Liss almost freeing Kate before running to safety.

The Chester Keeper again performed impressively on twenty seven minutes when more incisive play released Kate down the Altrincham left to fire a shot on target. The ability and willingness of the Alty players to interchange whilst retaining their shape was causing Chester no end of problems and another flowing move allowed Kye to fire another powerful shot just wide.

Just past the half hour mark Altrincham further extended their lead when Liss, having received a smart pass twenty yards from goal struck an unstoppable shot past the bemused keeper. The Chester goalie was being called into action with increasing frequency and she had to save impressively twice in three minutes as the forty minute mark approached.

On forty one minutes Altrincham registered a fourth goal. Heather advancing up the left flank before playing in Kye who hammered her shot in at the near post. Less than a minute later Bex once again moved forward with purpose and, when Kate intelligently headed the ball back to her, struck a shot narrowly over the bar from forty yards out.

There was a moment of some concern when Kate sank to her knees in midfield. Following treatment on the side-line though she was able to continue and to some effect. Re-entering the field of play she dispossessed a defender before driving a vicious cross into the Chester penalty area. Unfortunately a visiting defender, in trying to block the cross, succeeded only in diverting it into her own net to give Altrincham a fifth goal.

Half-time came almost immediately after Chester had restarted play with Altrincham holding a 5-0 lead

Keith and his management team were understandably very pleased, not only with the score but also how the team had played. Passing and movement had been crisp and incisive and there had been a number of attempts at goal in addition to those which had been scored.

It had been an excellent performance thus far by every player. Lucy O had been calm and commanding in what had been a quiet half for her, maintaining her concentration and dealing intelligently with the ball when it reached her. The back four had not only defended efficiently and effectively when called upon but had also supported those further forward. Bex had been outstanding in the different role she had been asked to play, breaking things up and, again providing support to those in more attacking positions.

Jess and Kye, had caused their respective defenders all manner of problems whilst also being responsible and dropping in when Alty didn’t have possession whilst Gail had given her usual perpetual motion display, switching the point of the attack and totally commanding the centre of the pitch. Kate and Liss had terrorised the Chester defence from the first whistle their movement, skill and intent being more than the visitors could handle. With encouragement to go out and do the same things ringing in their ears the Alty players returned to the pitch.


It has been known in the past for teams holding a substantial half time lead to take their foot off the gas, concede an early goal and then put themselves under pressure.

This was not going to happen today as Altrincham further extended their lead barely three minutes after the restart. Another move down the Alty right culminated in Liss putting a cross into the area which, having eluded all the Altrincham players was cleared. The clearance however only found Jess, some twenty yards from goal, who drove it back past the keeper and into the net to register her first goal for Alty.

Three minutes later the Chester keeper again did well to collect a cross following excellent combination play between Jess and Liss.

On fifty three minutes Alisha was introduced, replacing the impressive Kate who had not only led the line impressively and scored but had also linked exceptionally well with Liss and the supporting midfielders. On fifty six minutes the second Altrincham substitution saw Elina come on in place of Bex who had been very impressive in a role somewhat different to that which she normally fulfils.

It took a short period of time for the Altrincham players to adjust to the changes and as a consequence first Liss and then Jess were caught offside at the end of impressive moves. On sixty three minutes Alisha picked up the ball in the midfield area, turned and ran impressively toward the Chester area only to be thwarted by a fine challenge.

Not to be denied, though, less than five minutes later she timed her run onto a perfect through ball from Jess before clinically sliding the ball past the onrushing keeper to make the score 7-0. Almost immediately from the restart Altrincham regained possession before a splendid move swept across the field ending up at the feet of Kye whose cross was blocked.

On sixty-nine minutes Cloe replaced the indefatigable Gail who had once again seemingly covered every blade of grass at least twice. This resulted in a tactical rearrangement to a 4-3-3, Cloe joining Liss and Alisha up front. The change almost yielded immediate results as Cloe struck a left footed shot narrowly over the bar from the edge of the area.

On seventy seven minutes Elina clipped an astute ball in from a midfield area which Liss met acrobatically on the volley only for the effort to go very narrowly over. The eighth goal was not long in coming though, on seventy nine minutes Elina slid a slide rule pass through to Jess who rounded the keeper before tapping the ball into the empty net.

Although having different attributes to Kate, Alisha has proved herself to be a dangerous striker and she almost registered her second goal a minute later, turning on a sixpence before shooting just wide. Number nine however would not be long in coming. Cloe showing great vision to free Kye on the left edge of the box who buried her shot into the far corner.

For over eighty minutes Lucy O had been a virtual spectator, dealing only with back passes and over hit through balls. However on eighty five minutes she showed that her concentration had not waned when she cleanly collected a difficult cross ball.

With two minutes remaining Liss finally secured her hat trick. A Chester defender in trying to clear the ball drove it fiercely across the area. Liss reacted brilliantly, not only to get a foot on it but to control the finish and make it 10-0

So Altrincham progress to the quarter finals of the Cheshire Cup for the third successive season after an excellent performance by all fourteen players involved. Credit is due to the Chester City players who kept playing right to the end and in a fair and sporting manner.

Thanks also to the quite sizeable crowd, including representatives of some of the Junior Girls' teams, who gave the players a wholly merited round of applause at the final whistle. Although, as has been previously stated, every Altrincham player is worthy of mention, both the Players' and Management Player of the Match awards went to Kye Brown on her debut.

Next game for the Ladies is again at Mersey Valley, next Sunday, January 31st when Mersey Girls are again the visitors. Kick Off is 2.00pm and all support is both welcome and valued.