St Helens Town U-17s 3 Altrincham U-16s 3
Report by Alty skipper Lucas Edwards
Altrincham U-16s travelled to St Helens U17s in the North West Youth Alliance to face a side the boys had recently met.
Alty made a few changes from the team that drew at home to Irlam the week before. Though the opening part of the game was scrappy, with both teams struggling to find a rhythm however, Altrincham created the better chances and, with better decision-making in the final third, would have gone ahead.
Harrison Howells eventually broke the deadlock to give Alty a deserved lead midway through the first half, tapping home at the far post after the ball was delivered from Mo Elnagi.
Soon after, a lovely reverse pass from Jack Chandler, as he cut in from the left, found Howells, who took the ball past the keeper and slotted home his and Altrincham’s second of the day.
The boys therefore went into the second half 2-0 up and having allowed the opposition to have few attempts at keeper George Huyton.
After the break, St Helens came out firing and eventually got their breakthrough with a well-taken goal.
They were starting to enjoy more possession, so manager Adam Bond brought on last week’s goal scorer James O’Gara up front and switched to a 4-4-2 formation.
It was also good to see Lewis Lambkin return from injury, fitting in at centre-back for a large part of the second half.
Altrincham had a number of chances to extend their lead and should have been more decisive and clinical in front of goal.
The home side began to apply more pressure to the Altrincham back line and found themselves 3-2 up after equalising from a free-kick and then quickly adding a glancing header at the near post.
This was a real test of character for Altrincham after going behind in the game for the first time, particularly so late on. They kept their calm but it looked like they were going to run out of time.
There was a reward for not giving up, though, and it came when St Helens conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position deep into added time. Up stepped captain for the day Lucas Edwards to finish directly from the set-piece, rescuing a much-deserved point for the young Robins.
A draw in the end was probably a fair result, though Alty were left to rue their missed chances.