THE Motormen's last hopes for silverware this season were dashed at Rivacre Park last night as a sending off for goalkeeper Tim Dittmer midway through the first half cost them dearly in their Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final, writes Christopher Beesley.
However, the hosts, bidding to reach their first ever final in the competition and first of any sorts for five years, put on a brave show and went out all guns blazing in contrast to their FA Trophy exit a week earlier.
Manager Owen Brown said: 'It was a tremendous performance and we gave it a real go. We were well on top before Tim's sending off and at the end Altrincham looked like they were the side with 10 men. I thought he made a genuine attempt to get the ball and it should have been just a penalty, not a sending off.'
A slick move on 17 minutes put Vauxhall ahead as Carl Nesbitt picked out Robbie Lawton with a measured passallowingtheVaux-hall skipper to cut inside from the right firing low at Stuart Coburn and although his shot was saved, Karl O'Donnell was on hand to force home the rebound.
The game was turned on its head five minutes later as Colin Little beat the home side's offside trap and raced through one-onone with Dittmer who hauled him down in the area and was given his marching orders for a professional foul.
Darren Wright was forced to go in goal and although he guessed correctly, going to his left for the resultant spot kick, he was unable to keep out Rivacre Park old boy Steve Aspinall's penalty.
Altrincham failed to test the stand-in custodian again before the break but took the lead on 52 minutes as Little tapped in at the back post from Marcus Hallows' low left-wing cross.
They extended their advantage 11 minutes later as substitute Kieran Lugsden exploited Wright's inexperience between the sticks, beating him with a 40-yard shot that bounced cruelly over his head.
Vauxhall were given a lifeline on 72 minutes when Altrincham's Val Owen handled a Chris Noone header and Wayne McDermott rasped in the penalty. Despite some late pressure they were unable to find an elusive equaliser.
Vauxhall: Dittmer, Woodyatt, Mc-Dermott, Spellman (Griffiths 74), D Wright, Brazier, Nesbitt, Lawton, O'Donnell (A Wright 82), Olsen, Noone. Attendance 207.
The Motormen have no fixture on Saturday because of scheduled opponents Hucknall Town's FA Trophy involvement.