ALTRINCHAM ACES 2-4 BILLINGHAM BOMBERS 29 SEPTEMBER 2002
Aces entertained Billingham for their first home League game of the season. Aces would be without the suspended Jason Hewitt (2 of 2) and Arran Richardson (2 of 3). Steve Michie made his Aces debut.
Nick Crawley was unlucky early on, hitting the outside of a post from a Steve Daly pass. Other Aces chances were well dealt with by Billingam goalie, Michael Snook, as the Bombers also kept Phil Verstappen on his toes at the other end. Aces had lost Brian Worrall to a knee injury before Billy Price was sent off in seemingly strange fashion. Billy appeared to just flick up the puck to the linesman to save time but Referee Gibson interpreted this as hitting the puck at the linesman and Billy departed with a Game for Abuse of Official. Greg Allen had a short range chance saved with the clearance setting up Paul Windridge on a break and his shot was kicked out by Phil. The period ended scoreless with the Aces having had more chances (helped by the penalty count against the Bombers).
The second period saw an early goal for Billingham with an Andy Thornton shot being deflected in off Kevin Cassidy's skates. A short handed Billingham effort was then waved off which had looked close to crossing the line. Aces' lack of available squad members was beginning to tell as they struggled to get past the Bombers defence. An equalizer eventually came with Greg Allen netting from Luke Stretton's pass from the corner but the good work was undone eighteen seconds later when Martin Lewis was freed on the break to put the Bombers ahead again.
Simon Mills missed the target early on in the third on a chance that looked to have Goal written on it before Phil Verstappen came out of his net to meet the puck, missed it and presented Simon Hehir with an open net. This completely ruined what had been one of Phil's better performances. Russ Richardson pulled us back into the match skating around their net and netting from the far side on a powerplay but Aces still seemed to be chasing the game rather than looking like gaining control. With Nick Crawley now gone to injury, Aces were left with just nine skaters. We were slow for a face off in our end and Scott Ward was allowed a free shot before firing home a rebound. Aces kept on trying without much success and Phil Verstappen made a good save to deny David Thomas. The last minute of a powerplay and an extra skater for the goalie still couldn't see us get a goal despite one good effort and Billingham ran out 4-2 winners, the stronger squad on the night.
0-1 20.33 Thornton from
1-1 35.58 Allen from Stretton and Keelan PPG
1-2 36.16 Lewis from Richardson
1-3 44ish Hehir from Lewis and Thomas
2-3 47.42 Richardson from Mills PPG
2-4 52ish Ward from Windridge
Kevin Cassidy, Greg Allen
1+0(MoM), Russ Richardson, Steve Michie, Brian Worrall,
Nick Crawley, Simon Mills 0+1, Stephen Elliott, Billy Price, Luke Stretton 0+1, Steve Daly,
Phil Keelan 0+1,
Phil Verstappen (32s, 4g, 87.5%), Danny Higgin
SOG 44-32 Pens 28-26