Vernum Rowland was soon in evidence as he surged forward on the right of midfield but as he passed to Pearson, an offside flag was raised (3 mins). Then Prestwich responded with Edgerton getting past Rowland and shooting just wide. Next, Evans, on the Heys right, got behind the Alty defence on the right and fired in a superb shot which just cleared the angle of crossbar and Jordan Broxson's left upright (7 mins). Paul Nelson was soon showing some good touches on the left of the Alty midfield and another newcomer, Connor Morris also won the ball well in central midfield as Altrincham settled down. Rowland then instigated a fine passing move involving Ian Taylor and ending with a shot from Nelson, which went wide (14 mins). At the back Bailey and Frost dealt with more Prestwich attacks before another Alty attack saw Lunt, Morris and Nelson combine well. Paul Glynn then put in a long cross from the right which found Nelson beyond the back post from where his shot forced keeper Scott to save the ball, low down (20 mins). Francis Evans, who had played ninety minutes the night before for Alty Reserves and who had made a promising start to this game, was then tripped about 35 yards out from the Heys goal. After treatment he was unable to continue and hobbled off to be replaced by Sean Eastwood (21 mins).
Glynn then advanced on the right and received a neat return pass from Pearson before advancing into the box but his shot went just wide (27 mins). Although there was plenty of attacking play from both sides, neither keeper had much to do at this stage as few clear openings were made in front of goal. Michael Bailey cleared up a threat from Prestwich's Evans and their no.17 on their right flank (37 mins) as Altrincham continued to play some good football despite the unfamiliarity of most of the players in the team to each other. After Edgerton had lost possession for Prestwich some 25 yards out from his own goal, Steve Lunt picked up the loose ball and got clear of the defence but he stroked his left foot shot wide of goal (41 mins). After Ian Taylor had ended the next Heys' attack, Alty had another good chance when Paul Glynn's fine cross found the head of Pearson but the ball was glanced wide (44 mins).
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM YOUTH 0 PRESTWICH HEYS YOUTH 0|
Prestwich brought on their number nine instead of the number three, at left-back; however, the new player appeared to be Wharton, listed as number three on the team sheet! Heys won two early corners in succession but these were cleared, the latter by Bailey (50 mins). Prestwich continued to have the better of the opening stages of the second half as Alty struggled to regain their first half rhythm. However, Nelson did get in a shot from a selfless Rowland feed but the keeper saved the effort (53 mins). Alty then switched goalkeepers, the regular number one Jordan Broxson giving way to 15 year-old Stephen Leigh (59 mins). Altrincham soon began to get back into the game and took the lead after Steve Lunt dispossessed the Heys number five on the edge of his box. The ball came through to Pearson who rounded the keeper before shooting high into the net to give Alty their opening goal (68 mins). Almost immediately Altrincham put together an excellent move when Morris's fine ball found the overlapping Pearson who, from the left, shot well but over the bar (69 mins). Then Rowland did well on the right flank and cut in on goal only for the keeper to make a fine block (70 mins). However, a second goal soon arrived in a move which saw the ball pinging around the goal mouth. The sequence of events appeared to be that Nelson got in a shot from the left which the keeper parried well. The ball came out for a shot from the edge of the box by Pearson; the ball then struck the right upright from an effort by Lunt and was put into the net on the rebound by Connor Morris (71 mins).
Stephen Leigh made a fine save from Harris and Alty's other substitute, Eastwood also showed some determined play in midfield. Soon, another shot from Nelson went narrowly wide (75 mins). Michael Bailey continued to impress at the back and Heys's best effort at this stage was a rising shot from Holt which cleared the bar (77 mins). Alty Youth's regular captain, Paul Tilley, now came on for Vernum Rowland in midfield (80 mins). Prestwich continued to battle and Edgerton did well with a 25 yarder which went just wide of goal (85 mins). However, at the other end, good work from Tilley set up Lunt for a left footer which went narrowly wide (86 mins). Alty almost went three up when Frost, Taylor and Lunt linked well to get Morris to the by-line. He laid the ball in for Pearson who smashed the ball against the cross bar from six yards (87 mins). With Morris and a Heys player both off the pitch injured, play continued to the other end where Harris volleyed the ball home to make the score 2-1. Alty continued temporarily with ten men and rode out the final three minutes to record a deserved win. It was a pity that their only defeat to Prestwich in four encounters this season came in the Open Cup Final last week. Youth team manager George Heslop will have been encouraged by an excellent performance from his "new" team in this last encounter and there are signs already that George and coach Neil Thomason will be putting together another strong league and cup challenge next season.
|Full Time: ALTRINCHAM YOUTH 2 PRESTWICH HEYS 1|
ALTRINCHAM TEAM: 1. Jordan Broxson, 2. Paul Glynn (capt.), 3. Ian Taylor, 4. Alex Frost, 5. Michael Bailey, 6. Vernum Rowland, 7. Francis Evans, 8. Connor Morris, 9. Steve Lunt, 10. Liam Pearson, 11. Paul Nelson. SUBS: 12. Paul Tilley, 14. Sean Eastwood, 18. Stephen Leigh (gk).
PRESTWICH HEYS TEAM: 1. Colin Scott, 2. Ryan Holliday, 3. Matty Wharton, 4. Kevin Holt, 5. Bernard Morley, 6. Sean Kelly, 7. Mark Pollard, 8. Mark Edgerton, 9. Danny Smith, 10. Chad Smith, 11. Christian Evans. SUBS: 12. Craig Doble. NBIn fact, Prestwich played a no.17 from the start and no no.9. The No.9 appeared at half-time and appeared to be Wharton, listed as no.3.