Fine finish by Okpe but young Robins are defeated at Fylde
Fylde U-18s 5 Altrincham U-18s 1
Report by Peter Arogun
Altrincham’s U-18s Division H Academy changed their formation from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 but ended up losing 5-1 away at Fylde.
The first half started with a short spell of Alty possession, which came to a halt after the ball was given away.
Unfortunately, Altrincham were not able to create a solid goal-scoring opportunity with their short spell of dominance and Fylde soon made them pay.
The ball was quickly worked over to Fylde’s right wing-back, and his cross led to a penalty when Nodding climbed on top of an opponent, in an attempt to clear the danger, and was penalised for the challenge.
The spot-kick was confidently dispatched, and, to make matters worse, Nodding found himself unable to resume the game because of an ongoing knee pain he had felt throughout the week. This resulted in Ajani Oshodin coming on as substitute.
After being subbed on, Ajani gave a somewhat deflated Altrincham side a small sparkle of life, with his first touches, dribbling and passes allowing the Robins to apply pressure against their opposition and putting them into position to let off attempts from distance.
Around 15 minutes after the penalty, Ajani latched on to a ball from Ceesay and, after beating his man, returned it to his team-mate, who took on two players to find himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Looking up once, Ceesay then slotted the ball inches past the post. This was Altrincham's first clear-cut chance, first actual opportunity to tie the game up.
Fylde took this as a warning that they couldn’t underestimate the young Robins. This led to them moving up a gear and having a short spell of possession that led to a ball being played towards Ajani Oshodin's side that left him in a 2v1 situation as Ollie Fiedor was caught too high out of position.
The Alty sub was sucked out towards the ball, and when it was suddenly tapped past him, Fylde’s free man wrapped it into the top right corner from a left-footed attempt across goal, doubling the home side’s advantage.
This caused Alty to drop their heads, and it became 3-0 when a long ball caught the Robins’ defence unawares, and a Fylde forward fired beyond a stretching Nassief.
Something needed to change in the second half, and Alty prepared for it by sending on all their remaining substitutes, Charles Okpe coming on for Ali Abdullah, Cosgrove replacing Mannie and Arogun coming on for Jake Mallen and playing on the right of midfield to allow Fiedor to move into the centre alongside Mo Ceesay.
With fresh legs around the field, Alty stepped it up, and Fylde were met by a wave of pressure from a newly-determined Robins side.
Altrincham were now looking dangerous, and when Charles Okpe drifted past his opposing wing-back and travelled inside towards the box from the left, Jose made a bursting run overlapping his team-mate.
Faking to shoot, Okpe slid in a reverse pass to a screaming Jose, who delivered a strong cross into the box that flew past the late run of Gratzer at the front post and travelled towards the feet of Arogun, who was denied by a defender.
Possession was momentarily lost by Altrincham when Crosgrove played a misplaced pass intended for Fiedor. However, Arogun, using his body to get in between the ball and the man, was able to dispossess the Fylde midfielder.
After regaining possession, the ball was passed into Ceesay, who set himself with a good first touch and played it over the top to Okpe, who brought it down comfortably. Wanting to be direct, Okpe drove into the box, weaving past defenders, before swiftly cutting on to his left foot and placing a shot past the goalkeeper to make it 3-1, just 16 minutes into the second half.
This gave the determined Alty boys even more confidence, allowing them to maintain pressure on their opponents.
The game was still quite end-to-end but now in favour of Altrincham, who were bringing their wide men Arogun and Okpe into play and enabling them to link up with their full-backs or get crosses into the box.
The best of which came from either side - Arogun whipping in a cross from the right that Dixon couldn’t quite connect properly with and the overlapping Jose creating danger from the left with a delivery that just eluded Arogun.
As Altrincham became more frustrated at failing to capitalise on chances, they started to force things, allowing Fylde to pick up possession and have short spells where they controlled the game.
This led to a fourth goal for Fylde, when a shot from just inside the box was parried on to the crossbar by Abdulelah Nassief and a home forward reacted quickest, darting into the box and tapping the ball straight into the back of the net.
Conceding this goal completely deflated the Robins, and Fylde wrapped up a 5-1 win with another tap-in with the last kick of the game.
GK- Abdulelah Nassief #29
LB- Ian Jose #3
LCB- Niyah Richards Gray #5
RCB- Josh Mannie #4
RB- Dan Nodding #2
LM- Ali Abdullah #11
LCM- Jake Mallen #8
RCM- Mo Ceesay #6
RM-Ollie Fiewdor #7
CF- Alvin Grazter #9
CF Oliver Dixon #10.
Subs - Charles Okpe #15, Ajani Oshodin #16, Peter Arogun #12 and Ethan Crossgrove #14.