Gateshead 1 Altrincham 4
Match report by Alty player Lucas Edwards
The Altrincham FC Academy were up bright and early for a three-hour journey to face Gateshead in this UCFB National League U19 Alliance-North Division fixture.
Off the back of an opening day 4-1 win at FC Halifax Town, the young Robins were keen to make it six points from the first two games of the campaign.
Gateshead were playing their first game of the season.
The first 10 minutes saw minimal threat from both sides, but it was the home side who enjoyed most of the possession. The first blow was struck by Jack Chandler, capitalising on a poor ball from a Gateshead defender, running through on goal and finishing hard and low into the bottom corner from just inside the box to give Altrincham the lead.
Chandler struck again minutes later, as Kayden Powell, Lucas Edwards and Sam Chambers combined nicely on the left-hand side. Chambers played the ball through to Chandler, who danced his way elegantly through the heart of the Tynesiders’ defence and finished past a helpless keeper to double the lead.
Dane Byron was called into action a couple of times towards the end of the first half and dealt with the shots well, allowing Paul Fay’s side to maintain their two-goal advantage at the interval.
After the break, Heed again controlled the possession, but the Alty back four, led by captain Joel Bailey, defended well. Byron was called into action again, diving low to his left to save a driven effort from the edge of the box.
Midway through the second half, the visitors struck again, and it was Chandler on the mark to make it 3-0 and complete an impressive hat-trick. Chambers set it up with a skilful run on the right-hand side and deflected cross that was met by Chandler, who calmly put it away on the half volley, sending the keeper the wrong way.
Inside the final 15 minutes, the home side clawed one back. A corner from the right struck the post and bounced off the back of substitute Ajani Oshodin, the assistant referee flagging that the ball had crossed the line.
Altrincham restored their three-goal advantage when substitute Alfie Curwen found Kyran Webster, who spread the play with a beautiful cross-field ball, picking out Edson Cata, a substitute for the first team in the pre-season game at FC United of Manchester in July.
Cata cut inside to finish emphatically from the edge of the box to seal the points in a game played in the shadow of Gateshead’s International Stadium.
Two victories, away from home by a 4-1 margin, represents a very good start to the season, and it’s an even longer trip next time out, as Paul Fay’s side head to Northumberland to take on last season’s champions Blyth Spartans on Monday September 25th, kick-off 1pm.