Match Report - Altrincham

Half Time:

Kettering Town FC: 1

Goals

Dan Nti 00

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Substitutions

Altrincham: 0

Goals

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Substitutions


Full Time:

Kettering Town FC: 1

Goals

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Substitutions

Altrincham: 1

Goals

Toby Mullarkey 45

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Substitutions


Match Report

Altrincham v Kettering Town

Vanarama National League North

Saturday 8th February 2020   3:00pm

 

Altrincham

Kettering Town

 1

 Tony Thompson

 

 1

 Paul White

 

 2

 Shaun Densmore

 

 2

 Gary Stohrer

 

3

 Connor Hampson

 Off 41

 3

 Matt Taylor

 

 4

 James Jones

 

 4

 Luke Graham (Capt.)     

 

 5

 Tom Hannigan

 

 5

 Michael McGrath

 

 6

 Jake Moult (Capt.)

 

 6

 Ben Milnes

 

 7

 Dan Mooney

 Off 78

 7

 Daniel Nti

 

 8

 Josh Lundstram

 

 8

 Tre Mitford

 Off 70

 9

 Jordan Hulme

 

 9

 Connor Kennedy

 

10

 Josh Hancock

 

10

 Alistair Smith

 

11

 Craig Mahon

 Off 78

11

 Lindon Meikle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Substitutes

 

 

Substitutes

 

12

 Max Harrop

 On 78

12

 Aaron O'Connor

 On 70

14

 Luke Wall            

 

14

 Brett Solkhon

 

15

 Lewis Walters

 On 78

15

 Michael Richens

 

16

 Toby Mullarkey

 On 41

16

 Jason Law

 

20

 Joel Torrance

 

17

 Jordan Aghatise

 

 

Referee: James Wesgate   Assistants:  Paul Cooper and Martin Conroy

Kettering reverted to a flat back four with Luke Graham and Michael McGrath as the centre back pairing with Brett Solkhon on the bench. With Marcus Kelly not being risked after his hamstring injury Alistair Smith was selected to make his first league start for the club. Ben Milnes was given the number 6 shirt and was employed in the holding midfield role. After scoring two goals in mid-week Tre Mitford was preferred to start up front ahead of Aaron O'Connor. Jordan Aghatise was another player to benefit after a good performance in the Hillier Cup being rewarded with a place on the bench.

The pitch looked in good condition except for small areas of wear in each goalmouth. Kettering were hoping for a result as different as that of the playing surface after the disappointing 2-0 defeat at the boggy Latimer Park 10 days ago. With storm Ciara on its way the weather was perfect for an early February fixture being mild, dry and only the merest hint of a breeze blowing.

Kettering in blue and white stripes kicked off in Altrincham's tidy ground before a large attendance no doubt assisted by the fact no Premier League games were being played. Altrincham, in red and white striped shirts with black shorts, were first on the attack and after four minutes their new signing from Fleetwood, Mooney cut inside Lindon Meikle and had a long range attempt which drifted across the face of the goal and wide of the far post. Two minutes later Mooney was involved again down Kettering’s left. This time he fed the ball inside to Densmore in a central position but his shot from 20 yards passed over the bar. 

 Kettering’s first threatening probe into Altrincham’s territory was after twelve minutes when an interchange of passes between Meikle and Taylor set Smith free down Altrincham’s left. Alistair mis-timed his run however and was flagged off-side. A minute later and the game had its first booking. In an incident unseen by the majority in the ground including the referee but spotted by the linesman who vigorously waved his flag to attract Mr Westgate’s attention, who on conferring with the linesman invited Moult over for a conversation. Whatever had transpired was obviously considered serious by the referee who produced the first of several cautions in a game which at no time was a dirty game and played in a sporting manner by both teams. Altrincham were trying to play the ball out from the back at every opportunity with their keeper eschewing the long clearance downfield. Kettering countered this by pressing high up the pitch with Mitford, Kennedy and Smith forming the first line of Kettering’s defence inside Altrincham’s half. With Altrincham’s impressive home record this season and their dominance of the reverse fixture the home side appeared to be unsettled by these tactics being forced to pass the ball across their back line and as frustration built would resort to a hopeful downfield punt with invariable fell to a Kettering player. 

On eighteen minutes Smith caught an Altrincham player in possession in the centre circle and stole the ball off him. Alistair advance a few yards towards the Altrincham goal before picking out Meikle, in space just outside the left-hand edge of the penalty area. Dunsmore tried to close Lindon down but he skipped past him with ease to the by-line and lifted the ball into the middle of the goal mouth where Nti headed in back in the direction it came from about two yards out giving Thompson no chance of stopping the ball from going into the net. Dan celebrated with the joy of a player who has failed to find the net for an extended period but not for want of trying.0-1 Kettering 18 mins.

Three minutes later Kettering were on the attack again down Altrincham’s left with the ball being fed back to the advancing Stohrer whose ball into the penalty area went behind which despite claims for handball a goal-kick was awarded. Hampson had gone down though and needed treatment on what appeared to be a hip injury. 

On twenty-eight minutes Taylor picked up a caution for a tackle on Mooney on the halfway line with the forward falling awkwardly onto Matt and hurting himself. Just under ten minutes later McGrath joined him in the book after making a perfect tackle on an Altrincham player making contact with the ball with the outside of his right foot causing the forward to trip over unmoving ball with the defender making to contact with the man. Michael was aggrieved at the decision letting the referee know his feelings in contrast to other occasions when so punished when he has accepted it without complaint. The fact that the booking will lead to a two-match suspension under accumulation of cards didn’t improve Michael’s displeasure.

With five minutes to go of the half Hampson went down for a third time with the same injury which led to him being replaced by Mullarkey. 

Deep into the four added minutes at the end of the half Kettering were awarded a free kick just outside the corner of the penalty area. Miles and Nti stood over the ball but Dan’s kick went low into side netting with Thompson scrambling across his goal.

 Half Time: Altrincham 0 Kettering Town 1

Altrincham came out for the second half with, no doubt, manager Phil Parkinson half time talk ringing in their ears in a more positive manner. Five minutes into the half a ball was played into Kettering’s area ending up in White’s hands with loud claims for a penalty ignored by the referee. Two minutes later and a shot by Hulme was deflected behind for the first corner of the game. The in-swinging corner from the right was met by Mullarkey but he put his free headed over the bar. 

Ten minutes into the half and Mooney was cautioned for an innocuous looking challenge. Four minutes later Kennedy joined him in the book when he caught an Altrincham defender just outside their penalty area right in front of the linesman.

Just after the quarter hour mark and Kettering had a chance to double their lead. A long ball down-field was collected by Mitford who was forced out wide by a defender he manged to generate some space for himself and crossed the ball back into the middle where Smith received the ball some two yards out. Alistair didn’t manage to get his desired contact on the ball and instead of leathering the ball into the net merely tickled into the arms of the relieved Thompson. Play was quickly switched to the opposite end and a ball was played through for Hulme to run onto giving him a 1v1 against White. Hulme struck the ball low and hard looking to put it between White’s legs but Paul reacted quickly and knocked the ball behind with his left heel. Kettering hadn’t learned their lesson from the first corner though and once again an in-swinging kick from the right picked out Mullarkey. This time he made the most of the opportunity forcing his header home from close range.  1-1 Altrincham 63 mins.

Three minutes later and Mitford again chased a long ball being forced wide out to the left by a pair of defenders. Tre managed to make room and fed the ball into Meikle whose shot went wide. With twenty minutes to go Kettering were guilty of putting themselves under undue pressure when playing the ball around in their own penalty area White was rushed into a clearing kick which he spooned up into the air and under the influence of the freshening wind almost span out for a corner. Stohrer spared his blushes but the ball couldn’t be effectively cleared and Altrincham ended up being awarded a free kick on the angle of the penalty area. The kick was lifted in towards the far post but Kettering were assisted by an offside flag from the linesman. At this point Kettering made their only change with O’Connor replacing Mitford.

Kettering then had their best spell of the second half with AO’C presenting a different problem for the Altrincham defence to solve. Four minutes after coming on AO’C found himself in possession some twelve yards out, centrally placed. His fierce shot was blocked by a defender throwing himself into the ball’s path. It thundered into his chest, if it was a foot higher it would have knocked the player cold. The ball rebounded out and a long-range effort was deflected behind for a corner. Milne’s corner from the right was headed back out towards him and he then picked out Smith whose shot went just wide. Altrincham were wanting to make a double substitution but held off as Kettering were rocking the hosts on their heels. As the pressure was eased, Walters and Harrop replaced Mooney and Mahon withdrawing more attacking players as if settling for a draw.

With ten minutes to go Mr Westgate evened up the teams in his notebook by adding the name of Hulme to his list.

Kettering were finishing strongest and with less than ten minutes a loud shout for a penalty for a foul on Smith was ignored by the referee. Two minutes later Kettering won a corner after good work by AO’C and Nti on Altrincham’s left had led to a good low cross being put behind by Jones. Another loud shout for a penalty this time for a pull-on Smith was declined and the game entered three minutes of added time. In the first minute of injury time Taylor fired in a fierce shot from outside the area but too close to the keeper. Even though he was well positioned such was the power of the shot that Thompson could hold onto the shot spilling it forward. AO’C tried to pounce on the fumble but was too far away and Thompson gratefully dropped on the ball to snuff out the attack. Kettering had one final chance from a corner a minute later but Altrincham held out and were the team most thankful to hear the final whistle.

Full Time: Altrincham 1 Kettering Town 1

Another excellent display from Kettering giving 100% effort. After the sorry capitulation to this team at Latimer Park the travelling faithful could have been excused for thinking the worse for their side’s prospects of achieving anything from the game. Paul Cox has however installed belief and confidence in his players and on a playing surface suitable for intelligent passing football Kettering rose to the challenge of erasing the shame of the home fixture and matched a team vying for a play-off berth who would have left the pitch knowing that they had been in a battle and accepting a point as a more than acceptable outcome. Once again Kettering performed better on their travels and even the home supporters were complimentary of the visitor’s performance.

Altrincham yellow cards: Moult, Mooney, Hulme - fouls

Kettering Town yellow cards:  Kennedy, McGrath, Taylor – fouls    

Attendance: 1357

Kettering Town Man-of-the-Match – Ben Milnes - The whole team performed well but Milnes employed in the holding midfield role showed a different facet of his game. Tigerish in his tackling and continuously making the host’s aware of his presence closing opponents down quickly and not allowing them time on the ball and when he gained possession looked for a constructive use ball rather than an aimless hoof downfield.


Team Sheet

Location: Away (Moss Lane)
Kick Off: 08th Feb 2020
Kettering Town FC
Blue
Captain:
0 Dan Nti
Altrincham
Red
Captain:
0 Toby Mullarkey