The outcome of this match was decided by one of the assistant referees who, barely two minutes into the second half, prevailed on referee Khatib to show Alty loanee Elliot Newby a red card for an alleged elbowing offence which few, if any, people in the ground had seen.
Newby, who had equalised for the visitors with a finely taken goal, was distraught at his dismissal. In his fifteen previous games for the Club he had not previously even seen a yellow card. And Alty, who started the game with nine players unavailable through injury, then lost Kyle Brownhill to an injury picked up in the first half.
Alty had fallen behind, after 16 minutes, and, once more, it was a goal conceded to a counter-attack. Heathcote had just launched an excellent long, diagonal freekick to Newby, deep in the oposition half, only for BPA to gain possession and advance unhindered through the central midfield. Johnson was then put clear and he beat the exposed Deasy with a low shot.
The equalizer came in the 28th minute when another fine Heathcote freekick from his own half was excellently controlled by Newby. The Barrow loanee brought the ball under control before firing a low shot past Worsnop.
BPA got the winner ten minutes from time when a long-range header by Sharp beat Deasy and came back off the top of the upright and fell for Hill to put into the net.
REFEREE: Mr Billy Khatib
Altrincham were without Stuart Tomlinson, Shaun Densmore, Alan Goodall, Sean Miller, Craig Hobson, Gary Jones, Laurence Taylor, Clayton McDonald and John Cyrus, but there was a surprise return in goal for Tim Deasy and Micah Evans, and on the bench for Tom Hannigan. Sam Heathcote, who had been stretchered off in last Tuesday's game, had recovered to join the starting eleven.
On the eve of the game, BPA had signed Jamie Spencer on loan from Huddersfield Town. Alty had four ex-BPA players in their squad today (Deasy, Patterson, McWilliams, Reeves). BPA included ex-Robins, Toulson, Boshell and Sinclair.
BRADFORD PARK AVENUE (Green and white hoops) 1 Jon Worsnop, 2. Jake Hibbs, 3. Matt Hill, 4. Nicky Wroe (c), 5. Shane Killock, 6. James Knowles, 7. Wayne Brooksby, 8. Danny Boshell, 9. Emile Sinclair, 10. Oli Johnson, 11. Gavin Rothery, Subs 12. Ryan Toulson, 13. Ed Hall, 14. Jamie Spencer, 15. Chris Sharp, 16. Aidan Chippendale,
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and socks) 1. Tim Deasy, 2. Sam Patterson, 3. Andy McWilliams, 4. Jake Moult, 5. Sam Heathcote, 6. Chris Lynch (c), 7. Simon Richman, 8. Kyle Brownhill, 9. Andy Owens, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Elliot Newby. Subs 12. James Lawrie, 14. Nicky Clee, 15. Micah Evans, 16. Tom Hannigan, 20. Andrew Jones
Alty had lost the reverse fixture 2-3 when BPA were bottom of the league; today the roles were reversed.
Mike Garnett's data show previous outcomes in matches between the clubs.
On a bright, sunny afternoon, Bradford kicked off after there had been a minute’s silence for the Westminster terrorism victims. Following a BPA freekick, Sinclair nodded a header to Deasy before Alty responded as Owens delayed a shot and a goalkick to the hosts resulted (2 mins).
Alty had deployed Lynch at centre-back in the absence of Cyrus, and Patterson was starting for the first time in nine league matches. Up front Reeves, making his first league start in 13 games, and Owens were Alty's strikers as yet again the Robins were forced to make changes through injury. It was a quiet start to the game and Owens's half volley which flew miles over the bar from left of goal was as good as it got at this stage before BPA's Johnson outpaced Lynch to win a corner (8 mins).
Next, Patterson mirrored Owens's effort with a wild half-volley of his own which also flew very high over the bar from 25 yards. Alty were looking shaky at the back as Sinclair outmuscled Heathcote but his weak shot went comfortably to Deasy (12 mins).
Following an impressive 70-yard crossfield freekick to Newby, from deep in his own half by Heathcote, possession was lost. BPA fed the ball up the middle and unchallenged, Johnson got clear on the counter-attack and slotted the ball past the exposed Deasy to make it 1-0 (16 mins).
Following a BPA corner on the left by Wroe, a BPA header landed on the roof of Deasy's net. Deasy was clearly not fully recovered from his recent injury and it was Heathcote who was to take all of the goal-kicks for the Alty keeper.
Alty got a fortunate corner from a Killock miscue and Moult's corner, from the left, beat keeper Worsnop and thumped against the crossbar but a goalkick followed (24 mins).
Worsnop's shaky game continued as he kicked the ball to Reeves who fed Owens but he overhit his cross. For the third time in the game a BPA forward now turned past an Alty defender, this time it was Sinclair getting behind McWilliams but Johnson could not control his pass and a goalkick resulted.
Altrincham made it 1-1 after 28 minutes. An almost identical Heathcote freekick to the one that had preceded the BPA goal was hit superbly over 60 yards to Newby. He brought the ball under control impressively, moved to his right and drove a fine, low shot past Worsnop (28 mins).
The next few minutes were fairly uneventful but then, when McWilliams was unable to complete a clearance, Johnson got free but fired poorly, well over the bar (35 mins). After Newby had got to the byline, Brownhill was caught by a defender in the act of shooting. He went down and stayed down but BPA went forward and won a corner. Before it could be taken Brownhill received lengthy treatment to his ankle area (39 mins).
Brownhill hobbled on to half-time and during three added minutes, Deasy saved from Sinclair as yet again Alty were exposed by a BPA counter-attack.
|Half-Time: BRADFORD PARK AVENUE 1
with the sun now behind them, Altrincham kicked off but, for some reason, it had to be retaken. Barely a minute had passed when Brooksby went down, writhing, off the ball near to the corner flag in the Alty left-back position. After talking to the linesman, Mr Khatib surprised pretty well everyone by flashing a red card at a totally shocked Newby. Having never even been cautioned in fifteen appearances this season, the Barrow loanee, who has been a model player for Altrincham, was dismissed (48 mins). The best guess for the reason was said to be a stray elbow. Brooksby recovered.
After play had resumed Deasy saved at full length but the shot had been drifting wide (50 mins). Moult then almost turned a Sinclair cross into his own net before Brownhill went down again and had to be replaced by Lawrie (55 mins).
A minute later, Clee replaced Owens.
Though the home crowd was growing restless, BPA were passing the ball around to tire Alty. Alty continued to look insecure at the back as Patterson just managed to nod a ball back to Deasy but got away with holding Johnson as he did so (62 mins). Then Heathcote let a ball go, so that Lynch was drawn to foul an opponent and pick up a booking, his fifth in the last seven league fixtures.
Referee Khatib then allowed Sinclair to manually haul Heathcote off the ball but the forward's shot was tame and hit Deasy.
Alty's final change saw Evans, returning from injury, replace Reeves (66 mins). Just two minutes later Clee's fine cross found Evans but he hooked the ball miles wide across goal for a goalkick. None of the three strikers deployed by Alty in this game seriously threatened a goal.
Clee got in a shot, which was blocked as BPA's defence was in disarray (71 mins). The hosts then introduced Sharp for Sinclair (72 mins).
Another half chance came for Alty as Moult nodded over the bar from a Clee long throw; the home crowd remained restless as BPA failed to impose themselves on the ten men of Altrincham.
Two successive fouls by Moult preceded the introduction of Chippendale for Rothery (78 mins). Next a Hill 30 yarder went well over the bar but, moments later, the defender had netted for BPA. The goal came after a Clee foul inside the BPA half. Following the freekick, a Sharp long range header beat Deasy and struck the top of his right post. It bounced back into play to Hill who put it into the net from very close range to make it 2-1 (80 mins).
Following an Evans foul, Mr Khatib called over Moult and booked him for dissent (81 mins). six minutes later the ref stopped play again to lecture Lawrie for a foot up offence against keeper Worsnop.
In the first of four added minutes, Clee was tripped but nothing was given. At the next break in play Clee had words with the ref over this incident. With the match into a fifth added minute, Evans won a corner, which Worsnop unconvincingly tipped out for another corner. But the keeper collected this at the second attempt to confirm his side's narrow and unconvincing win.
Starting th afternoon with nine players out injured, then having a dubious red card and losing another man to injury during the game, underlined that when you are at the wrong end of the table, nothing seems to go your way.
|Full-Time: BRADFORD PARK AVENUE 2