GAME OF THE WEEK
Altrincham 3 Halesowen Town 0
The Evo-Stik Premier Division
Programme: Unsure, forgot to get one
Due to an engagement in the evening, off to watch the excellent comedian Paul Chowdry, I had to stay local. A scan of all the nearby fixtures, I thought to myself that I hadn’t been to Moss Lane for a while, just shy of 8 months, and Alty were hitting a bit of form. No-brainer.
On a unseasonally warm afternoon the 245 carried me from Urmston to the centre of Altrincham and a 10 minutes stroll later I was at Moss Lane. I had been here 6 times before and quite incredibly for the run of form they have had in this period, I had yet to see them lose at home.
A ground for the those of us who love the older things in life. Well most of it is. The main side with it’s fairly brand new hall, less new main stand and family/sponsors stand looks fairly ok. Going in an anti-clockwise direction there is an open terrace, followed by my favourite part of the ground. The Popular Side Terrace is covered. A mixture of posts, scaffolding and anything else they could lay their hands on, it is a gem. Love it. The final end has covered standing and the home fans can make a fair noise when they get going from here.
So, on to the first half. Only there is not much to say at all. It was pretty shocking if I am honest. Best forgotten as quickly as is humanly possible.
Right, on to half-time, which although nothing happened was more bearable than the opening 45 minutes.
Whatever was said at half-time, in particular to the home team, worked. Straight from the off there was pace and purpose, this wasn’t the same team I had seen 15 minutes earlier. In less than a minute the Robins were 1-0 up. Neat play on the right, Hancock played in, finished low and hard into the far corner. That is why Alty are flying.
With that, the game sprang into life, the reds were bossing the game, Poole went close before a strange penalty decision. A Yeltz defender was caught ball watching in the area as a forward pinched the ball off his toes and was tripped by another defender, only the ball went out to the wing. The official signalled advantage. Yes, advantage. As the whole ground thought ‘What?’ He realised his error and correctly gave the spot-kick. Johnston tucked it away.
A pattern of play had been established now and continued until the final whistle, Alty controlling the game, creating chances whilst Town were left to breaking away, that said, if it wasn’t for two good stops by Thompson in the home goal they would have rather unfairly been back in the match.
Finally with just under 10 minutes remaining it was 3-0 as Poole finished with ease as Alty toyed with the Yeltz back line. What a difference half-time made.
I took my pal James to Maine Road on Monday for his first ever visit. It was my 21st. After Road hit the post early on it was Padiham who then took control. Taking the lead just after the quarter of an hour to a goal officially scored by Boyle. Looked like an own goal by the keeper to me.
The teams swapped chances and went close a couple of times before the interval. In the second half the Storks took control, Craig missed a glorious chance with a header before he slotted his sides second. With the visitors in total control the hosts pulled one back with a dozen or so minutes left. A cross from the left was turned into his own goal by Holden,
Step up Hart, picking up a ball around the halfway line, he ran 20 or so yards before chipping the keeper to perfection. Absolute class. Take a bow son. 3-1 game over.
For the second Friday in a row I was starting the weekend the right way. Over to Prestwich with the father-in-law on a windy evening. Both teams went for this one and to be fair I cannot think of a time when I have seen either in anything less than an entertaining match. Chaddy smashed one against the bar early on with the keeper beaten all ends up, Heys were slightly the better side when they took the lead on the half hour through Bruce.
A second followed through White from the penalty spot, a fairly soft award from the officials handing the hosts a 2 goal advantage at the break. Chaddy did have the ball in the net at the end of the half but it was ruled out for offside, coming in a spell where the visitors were on top.
Following the break Heys continued to dominate, Baguley put them 3-0 up on the hour and then Chaddy sprang into life. Son of the England International Scholes thumped a header home 3 minutes later, Iloube added a second for the visitors 5 minutes after that, Chaddy were flying.
For the next 10 minutes it only looked like a matter of time before Chadderton equalised, chances were coming, one had to be taken, surely? No. Heys added a fourth and could breathe again, Bruce claiming his second.
Most of the second half was spent in the company of Alan and Mark Riding, father and son combo from 1874 Northwich, who tried (and failed) to find a successful manager who has played under Fergie. Don’t try, there isn’t one.
Mon: Maine Road 1 Padiham 3
Fri: Prestwich Heys 4 Chadderton 2
Sat: Altrincham 3 Halesowen Town 0
Games since a 0-0: 40
Milestone: 750th Home goal – Bruce (Prestwich Heys)
Life in a Day – Simple Minds