February 06, 2023
No substitute for strength in depth as Alty bench sees them through tough cup test
Failsworth 1 Altrincham U-18s 3
Report by Alty player Tom Jones
Altrincham's under-18s underlined the importance of having a strong bench as second-half substitutes Raftery and Murphy made a positive impact for the young Robins and helped them through a tough Manchester County Cup tie at Failsworth.
Alty started the first couple of minutes well, with Camara and Comber linking up nicely with the wide men of Jones and Kelly.
Defensively solid, Smith, Bailey, Evans and Edwards progressed the ball nicely into the opposition half, which helped lead to the opening goal.
Evans passed to Dixon, who took his man on with ease and played an inch-perfect cross for Mallen to place a cool glancing header into the corner of the goal to open the scoring.
As the game went on, a lack of concentration from the Altrincham players led to Tyson having to make some strong and important saves to maintain the lead, but the Robins keeper could do nothing about Failsworth equalising with a nicely-placed finish into the corner of net after 35 minutes.
Altrincham started the second half more brightly and created chances, with Kelly going particularly close after a weaving run.
Aldcroft replaced Evans at right-back and played a good second half, linking with the likes of Jones and Comber, whilst Raftery came on for Mallen.
A few questionable challenges from Failsworth caused both Kelly and Smith to come off for Murphy and the youngster Shaw.
Shaw and Edwards are both from the under-16 squad and both played a solid game, comfortable on the ball and impressively promoting the way our player development provides a pathway within the squads.
Raftery and Aldcroft both impacted the game, exerting pressure on the opposing left-back and midfield player.
With all this pressure from Altrincham, they finally scored another to take it to 2-1 after 75 minutes, thanks to a powerful header by Murphy from a looping cross by Raftery.
As Failwsorth tried to push for another goal, to take the game to penalties, a mess-up at the edge of the box involving home defenders gave Jones the chance to unleash a thunderous volley that flew just inches wide of the top corner.
However, the hard work paid off for Alty as Camara passed to Edwards, who delivered an inviting ball to the back post for Raftery to finish with aplomb in the final minutes of the game.
1. Noah Tyson
2. Dylan Evans
3. Lucas Edwards
4. Joel Bailey
5. Mike Smith
6. Mike Comber
7. Tom Jones
8. Sekouba Camara
9. Ollie Dixon
10. Jake Mallen
11. James Kelly
George RafterySam Murphy