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Long Crendon Ladies (A)
Sun Dec 6
14:00

Next match

Team logo
Long Crendon Ladies (A)
Sun Dec 6 14:00
Thames Valley Counties Women's Football League
1st
18pts

Rebels' red card rage

| League
Att: 648
Altrincham
0 - 1
Slough Town
West (66 pen)
Neil Catlin
Not one for the fainthearted this - you won't see a side forced to work harder for their three points. Altrincham finished the match with only eight players left on the field and the Rebels lost Mark Pye, after the sort of match the tabloids label 'a disgrace to the sport.' The repercussions will be felt for a long while yet.

The fun - if you can call it that - began in the seventh minute. Home captain Butler went up for a challenge with Cliff Hercules, who fell to the floor clutching his head. Mr Shaw showed no mercy and off he went, leaving Altrincham with an instant uphill battle.

As with most 10-man sides, they battled on bravely for a while but insisted on doing all they could to remove as many of their players as possible. Five names went into the book in all, and the tussle between Neil Catlin and Vinny Jones lookalike Greg Challender often looked like a dress rehersal for the Tyson-Bruno fight. When he fell at Clement's feet inside the box, penalty protests were waved away and Prance was lucky not to be booked for a tussle with Hercules.

Altrincham kept. their composure for quite a while and looked particularly solid at the back, but Chris Honor in particular stroked the ball around purposefully and displayed the patience needed to break them down gradually until he went off on 43 minutes with an injury. When a Mark Fiore corner fell to Catlin, he should have done better than fire over, and 'keeper Collings was kept nicely busy.

But the off-the-ball incidents were captivating. Catlin and friend came closer and closer to fisticuffs, while the ref hid increasingly behind his notebook. The tell-tale signs were glaringly obvious, but instead of taking the pair in hand he let them get on with it.

The hosts thought they had the lead on 54 minutes, but France's shot on the turn struck Trevor Baron's thigh and cannonned off the bar, while debutant 'keeper Chuck Moussadik (who never really had enough to do to prove himself) reacted quickly to Hughes' testing drive.

Heesom was called on on the hour to stop Catlin's goalbound shot, after Alan Paris' long drive had left the 'keeper sprawling on the ground. But that was where normality ended - enter now the farcical world of non-league football. On 66 minutes, Catlin forgot his ongoing feud and charged into the area with typical enthusiasm and power, swapping passes with Fiore and carrying the ball past three defenders. Collings got his hands on to ball/foot, and the midfielder fell with a thud.

The ref pointed to the spot. Mark West's kick was a formality. Altrincham were seething, and ready to fight. One minute later, they got their chance. A Hercules challenge got the supporters enraged, and the players reacted - 18 of them in fact, who all piled in, fists blazing. Mark Pye was well-involved, Clement had to pulled out from the middle of it, and Catlin and Challender appeared to be wrestling on the floor.

As soon as they were all separated, the ref turned his back and they started again - Pye was dismissed when they had finally calmed down, with Hughes the token Altrincham sending-off, but the two main offenders had got off scot free.

Before the action could restart. Mr Shaw had to spent several minutes more in each dugout, calming down the managers and coaches who had rushed onto the pitch to join in. By this point. Altrincham knew they had no chance of getting back into it.

Garfield Blaekman produced one fine save, and Reid was forced to head off the line as the nine men resigned themselves to their manager's wrath. With a couple of minutes left, Challender finally got what he deserved when he walked for hacking West to the ground his sad trot hack to the dressing room summed up his side's sad attitude to what could have been a very pleasing game.

Collings had the last laugh, getting down to deflect West's spot-kick away from goal, but that was scant reward for anyone.

Altrincham Line up

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