Altrincham Academy 1 Notts County Academy 1
Report by Alty player Tom Jones
Picture by Luke Reynolds Photography
The young Robins faced a title-contending Notts County side in the NLFA Under-19 North Division and rose to the challenge with a performance that came within five minutes of yielding a notable win.
It was a controlled start to the game from Alty, knowing they would be playing against a solid ball-playing team.
The back four of McGeady, Igeze, Bailey and Bonney-Phillips battled fiercely in their defensive half, with Byron in the sticks rarely having a save to make. Throughout the first half, Altrincham played the ball nicely in possession with Byron playing some nice passes into the full-backs and midfield trio of Chambers, German and Njie, who dictated the play to such an extent that County barely had a sniff of the ball.
German and Chambers linked the ball very nicely with Lynch and Njie, switching the play out to both Jones and Williams to attack down the wings.
Williams was extremely lively throughout the whole match, causing a lot of pressure on the defenders and creating multiple chances for Lynch and Njie to come close.
After excelling in the first half, the Robins remained on the front foot on the resumption, with chances created by Williams and Njie, whose shots went just wide.
Igeze and Bailey continued their excellent form in the second half, battling and winning aerial duels against County's physical striker.
McGeady's ball-carrying skills were great in transition, finding good space for German and Chambers to show their ability in the centre of the pitch, opening the pitch out wide for the wingers, like in the first half.
After 65 minutes, Altrincham countered off a well-defended corner, with Williams leading the charge down the right wing. Williams' great run led to a goal, as he placed the ball right in front of Jones for an easy tap in, with the goalkeeper having no chance.Substitutions were made after 70 minutes, with Dixon coming on for Jones, Adeniyi for Bonney-Phillips and igbanke for Lynch up front. The team showed no sign of resting, with Igbanke testing the goalkeeper from the edge of the box. However, a slight lack of concentration around the edge of the box was punished by a thunderous, top corner strike that hauled County level with just five minutes left.
The lads dug in for the last few minutes, pushing for a winning goal, with Adeniyi going close from distance. In the last few minutes, Dixon created a few chances, weaving in and out of his full-back, but Alty couldn't quite find a late winner.