ALTRINCHAM (red & white striped shirts, black shorts and socks): 1. Richard HARRISON, 2. Adam DOUTHWAITE, 3. Kelvin LUGSDEN, 4. Alex FROST, 5. Greg BYRNE, 6. Paul GLYNN (capt.), 7. Jon McEVOY, 8. Andrew SMART, 9. Stephen LUNT, 10. Keiran LUGSDEN, 11. Stevie TAYLOR. Subs: 12. Josh COLLINS, 14. Michael BAILEY, 15. James CARTY, 16. Andy THORPE, 18. Barry GEORGE (gk).
With another game to play within 24 hours and a further match on Sunday, playing resources had to be juggled. So, only six of the same players who started the Open Cup Final last Sunday started tonight. Into the starting line-up came Adam Douthwaite, the Lugsden twins, Andrew Smart and Jon McEvoy, whilst Mark Griffiths, Josh Collins, Michael Bailey, Todd Hayes and Joel Ekolongeni were rested. Josh and Michael were on the bench.
Right: Andrew Smart in action against Prestwich, with Stevie Taylor in the background.
The game kicked off at 6.45pm after some confusion about whether it should be a 6.30pm or 7pm kick-off. Altrincham were pressing forward for most of the opening ten minutes, with a shot from Smart, arising from a Glynn feed from the right, the nearest to a goal (8 mins). However, against the run of play, Prestwich took the lead when a long aerial ball allowed the Prestwich no.9 to get behind Alex Frost to the left of goal, and he advanced a few paces before driving a firm shot past Harrison's right hand into the corner of the net (10 mins).
Altrincham continued to press and after a Kelvin Lugsden free-kick, Steve Lunt went close (18 mins). A neat passing move yielded an Alty throw in the right corner and soon a corner-kick arrived on the same side, won by Paul Glynn. This came to Smart at the back of the area but his header cleared the bar (24 mins). The defences were both proving solid at this stage, but the visitors' no.10 did get in a firm low shot which Harrison saved comfortably (31 mins). Then, from a Paul Glynn free-kick on the left, Steve Lunt's header narrowly cleared the bar (33 mins). But Harrison soon had to come out smartly to clear, after an attacker had won possession off Greg Byrne. Despite plenty of possession few shots at goal were resulting for Altrincham though Lunt got in a header from build-up work by Glynn and Keiran Lugsden. This cleared the bar. However, within a minute, Steve had headed home after getting in front of the Prestwich keeper after preliminary work involving Douthwaite, Glynn and Keiran Lugsden on the Alty right (43 mins). Before the interval arrived Glynn did extremely well to get to the by-line in the right corner but his cross was well cut out by the keeper as Altrincham finished the half strongly.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH 1 PRESTWICH HEYS 1|
Stevie Taylor progresses up the left wing.
Early in the second half Stevie Taylor began to make a strong impression on the left and he soon won his side a corner but this was headed clear (47 mins). Next, a free-kick from Smart was deflected out by a colleague for a goalkick to Prestwich. After good work from Douthwaite and Glynn, Keiran Lugsden then did well in getting to the by-line but no one could turn in his cross. As in the first half, early Alty dominance was almost undone by a Prestwich strike. A pass from the Prestwich no.10 to the no.8 found him with time to measure a shot which beat Harrison but came back off the crossbar from 20 yards (53 mins).
The Altrincham pressure resumed with McEvoy shooting wide and then a poor Heys goalkick came to Glynn, whose shot also went wide of the target (56 mins). After treatment to a rib injury to Smart, Paul Glynn 's chipped shot was fielded by the keeper and soon afterwards Smart's advance up the left ended with a cross which the keeper also held (60 mins). Taylor continued to probe up the left flank before Lunt advanced into the box to win a corner on the Alty right. Another Alty corner soon followed from a wayward back-pass. A further shot from Smart was saved before Keiran Lugsden miskicked a good goalmouth chance from a Glynn pass (66 mins). Lugsden did much better soon afterwards when Lunt fed him and this time Keiran's header was well tipped over the bar by the keeper (67 mins).
The keeper saves well from Keiran Lugsden's header after 67 minutes.
Soon after Glynn had won a corner, he was replaced by James Carty (69 mins) and Alex Frost assumed the captaincy. At the back, Alty had seemed to be solid but an uncharacteristic error by Greg Byrne saw him lose possession and a Prestwich player seized on this to drive the ball past Harrison (72 mins). Once again a goal had been conceded against the overall run of play. Prestwich now won a corner, which Harrison caught well. Carty then got in a good shot which was saved, low down, before a Taylor feed led to Kelvin Lugsden's shot which rose just over the bar (80 mins). Alty now replaced Lunt with Thorpe up front (80 mins). Next, from Kelvin Lugsden's pass, McEvoy's 20-yarder rose over the bar. Soon, Alty won a corner on the left which Prestwich only cleared at the third attempt. Then Carty did well on the right but Thorpe was unable to turn home his low cross from close range (84 mins). Once again Alty pressure was nearly undone when a Prestwich breakaway ended with the no.9's shot narrowly clearing the Alty bar (86 mins). Alty then won another corner, through Thorpe and Carty's combined efforts. This was cleared but, following a throw on the left, the ball came across the Heys penalty area where Carty executed a fine volley from six yards, with the outside of his foot, to make it 2-2 (88 mins).
A draw was the least that Altrincham deserved from the game but for the third game in succession they had found it difficult to convert a lot of possession into goals. With two more league games to play this season, (Friday and Sunday), and a number of players with work commitments, manager George Heslop will no doubt have to ring the changes again.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH 2 PRESTWICH HEYS 2|
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