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21 Febuary 2019

AWAY TRAVEL UPDATE

TASC Travel Coordinator, Mark Eckersall, writes: "Just a reminder that we won't be running transport to this Saturday's fixture at Curzon Ashton in line with our usual policy on very local games. With the ground being just 20 minutes drive from Altrincham, we know we will have our usual excellent away support there.

Coaches will return for the visit to York City on Saturday 9th March and details will be released soon, in time to book at the Blyth and Chester home games coming up. Thanks for your support so far this season".

ALTY AT CURZON: THE LAST TIME

On Saturday, Altrincham are away to Curzon Ashton, who beat Alty 2-0 in the reverse fixture. Altrincham's last league visit to the Tameside Stadium was on Friday, 14 April 2017 when they secured the final win, 3-2, of their relegation season in the Vanarama National League North.

In that game, Altrincham snatched an injury-time winner after all their efforts seemed to have been denied by the controversial award of a Curzon equalizer, when Tim Deasy was deemed, by an assistant referee, to have collected the ball after it had crossed his own goal-line, following a corner.

In the first half, Altrincham had been the better side but had fallen behind after 42 minutes from a counter-attack, after Lynch had lost possession in the Curzon half. Guest broke forward and Warburton netted despite a last-ditch tackle from the retreating Laurence Taylor. But Alty equalized in the 45th minute when a push gave the visitors a spot kick which Jake Moult converted confidently.

Alty then took the lead with another penalty from Moult after James Lawrie had been brought down as he jinked across the penalty area (62 mins). But then came the controversial equalizer, awarded to Curzon's Hunt, fourteen minutes from time.

Above: Jake Moult celebrates with team-mates after putting Alty 2-1 ahead.

However, the hard-working Robins had the final say as Simon Richman bundled the ball home after good work on the left from Clee and Evans, in the first added minute at the end of the ninety.

Goalkeeper and wrestler Stuart Tomlinson was in the warm-up but not in the squad having recently deputised for Tim Deasy. Given the latter's injury problems that season, it was surprising that, on Tim's return, Tomlinson was not named on the bench. Once again, Sean Miller, Craig Hobson, Tom Hannigan, Alan Goodall and John Cyrus all missed this game through injury, whilst Gary Jones also sat out this fixture.

Clayton McDonald, signed just before manager Jim Harvey's departure in December, made his full league debut alongside Jake Moult at centre-back, whilst Kyle Brownhill returned from injury in midfield.

CURZON ASHTON: 1. Cameron Mason, 2. Oliver Thornley, 3. Joe Guest, 4. Jonathan Hunt, 5. Daniel Shaw, 6. Alex Brown (capt), 7. Jordon Wright, 8. Luke Clarke, 9. Niall Cummins, 10. Matty Warburton, 11. Chris Rowney. Subs: 12. James Baillie, 14. Paul Ennis, 15. Ryan Jennings, 16. Tyrell McKenzie 13. Hakan Burton (gk).

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tim Deasy, 2. Chris Lynch, 3. Andy McWilliams, 4. Laurence Taylor, 5. Clayton McDonald, 6. Jake Moult (capt), 7. Simon Richman, 8. Kyle Brownhill, 9. Micah Evans, 10. James Lawrie, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 12. Shaun Densmore, 14. Sam Patterson, 15. Damian Reeves, 16. Sam Heathcote, 17. Darius Palma

Following this game in 2017, bottom-placed Altrincham had taken eleven points from their last eleven games; that is curiously similar to the 2019 situation as Alty start this match with 12 points from their previous eleven fixtures.

JORDAN TO BE EASED BACK

This Saturday, Jordan Hulme [right] completes his four-match suspension, incurred for his second red card of the season. The following Tuesday, 26 February, Jordan is expected to be named in the Altrincham FC Reserves' team which entertains its landlords, Egerton FC, in a Cheshire League match which has been transferred to the J. Davidson Stadium, (7.45pm).

Before then, this Saturday (23/02/19 at 2pm), league leaders Altrincham play against Poynton FC at Egerton Youth Club, Knutsford. Both Alty and Egerton lost their league games last Saturday. 11th placed Egerton went down 3-0 at Knutsford FC, 3-0, whilst Whaley Bridge Athletic defeated Altrincham FC Reserves 2-1.

MOORS' VIEW

Following Tuesday's game, Spennymoor Town report that they "recorded a sixth successive victory courtesy of goals from Mark Anderson and Rob Ramshaw on a damp night at Altrincham.

The home side, who are in contention to seal a play-off place this campaign, tested Matt Gould’s concentration on several occasions in the first half, but it was Moors who led thanks to Anderson’s long-range drive.

Glen Taylor saw a goal controversially ruled out for offside moments before the break, but Ramshaw sealed the three points just after the hour mark with a calm finish past Steven Drench...

Moors, dressed in all yellow, began the game on the back foot and had to withstand some early pressure from the tricky Yousifu Ceesay. After Joe Piggott tested Gould from distance, Ceesay attempted a rabona on the by-line, but the Moors keeper collected it comfortably.

Altrincham applied a high level of pressing in a fairly one sided first half without carving open a determined and dogged Moors backline on too many occasions.

The defining moment of the game which swung events in favour of Moors arrived with seven minutes of the half remaining, and it was the left foot of Anderson, who has chipped in with some vital goals this season, who was the finisher. The midfielder picked up a loose ball in midfield before advancing towards the box unattended, before fizzing a glorious strike into the bottom corner beyond the helpless Drench...

Anderson closed down James Jones’ clearance before lofting a ball to the onrushing Jamie Chandler. He opted to square the ball to Taylor instead of going for goal, but after the striker finished the move, Moors’ players were staggered when the linesman raised his flag.

The hectic nature of the first half was in sharp contrast to a subdued and flat second, but that suited a professional and polished Spennymoor side who added a second shortly after the hour mark.

The move started with a thunderous Scott Harrison challenge, and when the ball fell to Anderson in space, he threaded a pinpoint ball through to Rob Ramshaw who slid a low shot beneath Drench. The home side rarely threatened as Moors stood firm in tricky conditions, clipping the top of the bar on two occasions".

WEDNESDAY SCORE

Wednesday 20 February 2019:

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

At York City, "The Board of Directors is 'extremely disappointed' by news of a delay in construction of the Community Stadium. The delay, which is out of our control, will inevitably have financial implications for York City Football Club with the loss of four high-profile pre-season fixtures and the cancellation of several commercial events which were designed to mark the club’s departure from Bootham Crescent.

Our supporters should not be alarmed by the news and the Board of Directors wishes to stress that the club will not be leaving Bootham Crescent until the Community Stadium is ready...

The delay means that the club will start the 2019-20 season at Bootham Crescent.

In a statement, a City of York Council spokesperson said 'We understand there will be a delay to the completion of the York Stadium Leisure Complex. This would mean a handful of games would not be able to take place in the new stadium as planned... A significant amount of progress has been made to date, both on and off site, with all stands now visible...

'Work will continue with all partners to minimise any delay and open the York Stadium Leisure Complex as soon as possible'".

Southport "slipped to defeat to a rampant Stockport County on Tuesday going down 3-2.

The match started with a number of good openings for County as they took the game to the visitors but a combination of poor finishing and some fine saves from Dan Hanford in the Southport goal saw the visitors ride the storm.

The game turned on its head in the 19th minute when Southport were awarded a free kick 20 yards out. Up stepped Jordan Richards who bent a low shot around the wall and under the arms of Ben Hinchliffe in the County goal. 1-0 to Southport... In the 32nd minute Southport were in dreamland... The ball broke to Jordan Archer who... cleverly found Dion Charles who produced a fine finish to make it 2-0...

But just as the home team were becoming frustrated they struck in the 45th minute with a fine goal from 30 yards by Jordan Keane... The second half saw a rejuvenated Stockport side come out all guns blazing... In the 49th minute it was all square as Darren Stephenson finished from close range.

Two minutes later and we fell behind when Sam Walker hit a free kick directly into the goal to make it 3-2. It was all one way traffic for 20 minutes but Southport did come into the game more as the half wore on without creating any real chances...

Stockport were worthy winners which manager Liam Watson readily acknowledged after the game. He said 'I made a few changes to put a team out that could stifle the opposition and the game plan worked well for 44 minutes but one lapse of concentration cost us and we were on the back foot after that as County got back into the game and had a great second half.'"

Nuneaton Borough "have announced an open trial for their first team on Tuesday the 5th of March.

Players are invited to pre-register for the trial and come along for the afternoon with the chance to earn a place in a side that will face the first team later that evening. The trial costs £50 and interested players should email the Club for registration and payment details. The trial will be limited to 50 places...

The trials will begin at approximately 14:30 and end in time for a break whilst the coaches select the players that have made it through to the trial match at 19:30".

Kidderminster Harriers report that "After his return to the side, Joel Taylor wants to contribute as much as he can to Harriers’ run-in ahead of Saturday’s game with York City. The full-back put in a strong showing in the 4-1 win over Chester at Aggborough a week ago.

It came after a two-month spell with Halesowen Town in which the former Stoke youngster featured extensively...

'Going out on loan is to benefit you if you’re not playing at the team you’re at,' he explained. 'It did help me with the minutes that I played and, coming back in, I’ve got to take the confidence from those games and come back in and do what I’m supposed to do. The Chairman told me before I left that I still had a part to play and that they’d be keeping an eye when I was at Halesowen.

'I went there and did the best I could for the team and now I’m back. I have a part to play and we’ll see where that goes to the end of the season'.

Taylor was influential in the Chester victory... What’s important now is that the team follow up the performance with a good showing against the Minstermen... The 22-year-old... knows that, now more than ever, its important for Harriers find form...

'We aren’t where we want to be in the league. Following up [last week]... we’re going to have to try and... get as many points as we possibly can to get us back to where we know we should be'...

After a lengthy injury lay off, it’s hoped Billy Daniels may be able to play some part in the game this weekend. Russ Penn likewise is progressing well and is close to a return, while Josh Heaton is also back in full training. Jimmy O’Connor and Tom Palmer remain out of action. Kane Richards is also back available to Harriers after several weeks out serving a suspension".

that "Cheltenham Town have recalled young striker George Lloyd from his loan deal with immediate effect. Lloyd first arrived at Edgar Street in October and went on to make 12 league appearances before being recalled by Cheltenham Town at the start of 2019.

His recall didn’t last long though, and Lloyd was back at Edgar Street on loan on 18th January. During his second loan-spell, Lloyd has made a further 7 appearances for The Bulls... Head of Football Tim Harris thanked George... ‘Lloydy has been great to have around, he’s always smiling, a real positive character and we all seriously wish him all the very best for the future'.

Harris also confirmed that with striker James Waite still serving two more games of his three-match suspension, The Bulls will be looking to strengthen the squad."

Ashton United inform us that "Ashton twice came from two goals down at Hurst Cross before eventually succumbing to play-off chasing Telford in a seven goal thriller. With leading scorer Matty Chadwick departed, the hosts gave a debut to Connor Dimaio and welcomed Craig Hobson back into the attack but it was the Bucks forced into a change after just 5 minutes as Henry Cowans was helped off after a challenge with Sam Sheridan...

20 minutes in and the hosts moved ahead as Knights’s left wing cross found Morgan-Smith unmarked 6 yards out and he headed home comfortably...

On the half hour strike partner Daniel Udoh picked up a long clearance and beat both centre backs before providing an assured left foot finish but within a minute the Robins were back in it as good work saw Liam Martin reach the by line and an attempted clearance saw the ball rebound home off Sam Sheridan...

Within 6 minutes of the restart Telford struck again as Udoh’s clever pass found Morgan-Smith and he cut inside for a confident finish.

On 70 minutes Ashton found a lifeline as Sheridan’s free kick was headed on by Jennings for fellow sub Kallum Mantack to squeeze his effort in at the near post and within two minutes the winger cut inside and saw his shot squirm underneath Bursik for the equaliser. The visitors were clearly rattled but showed their class as a neat build up saw Deeney’s cross guided home by Udoh for his fourth goal this season against the Robins".

There were six players who have worn the Alty shirt in the Ashton United squad: McMahon, Crowley, Swaby-Neavin (Chalmers 59), Regan, Ashworth, Kay (Mantack 55), Sheridan, Goulding, Martin (Jennings 55), Hobson, Dimaio. SNU: Tomsett, Reed."


20 February 2019

ALTRINCHAM 0-2 SPENNYMOOR TOWN

Altrincham's play-off aspirations were struck a further blow as visitors Spennymoor Town struck twice without reply at a wet J. Davidson Stadium. Manager Phil Parkinson had made three changes as White, Williams and Ceesay started tonight in place of Densmore, Harrop and Richman.

Altrincham enjoyed the majority of possession throughout the game but lacked the guile to convert it into meaningful chances. Efforts from Piggott and Johnston kissed the top of the crossbar in the second half but they were as good as it got against the well organized Moors' defence.

Right: Alty's pre-match huddle.

Spennymoor took the lead seven minutes before half-time when Altrincham stood off and allowed Anderson to fire home from just outside the box. The second half again saw the Moors happy to sit back and absorb Altrincham's largely ineffective probing before Ramshaw made it 2-0 from close range in the 63rd minute after Hancock had lost possession near half-way.

Disappointing freekicks and corners underlined Altrincham's absence of a goal-threat which means that they have now won just three of their last eleven league games. Although they remain in the play-off places, Altrincham lost ground on three of the teams above them as both AFC Telford United and Stockport County won tonight, in addition to Spennymoor's victory.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Steven Drench, 2. Andy White, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Joe Piggott, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Yusufi Ceesay. Subs: 12. Max Harrop, 14. Simon Richman, 15. Mason Fawns, 16. Shaun Densmore, 20. Tony Thompson

Before Tuesday's game Spennymoor Town reported that

MIDWEEK GAMES

Tuesday 19 February 2019:

NEXT OPPONENTS: CURZON ASHTON

Altrincham travel to Curzon Ashton's Tameside Stadium on Saturday. Earlier this season The Nash won 2-0 at the J. Davidson Stadium. For Altrincham fans it will be a chance to renew acquaintance with Sean Miller, who was top scorer at Moss Lane in 2016-17 before injury hampered his development. Sean recently joined the Tameside club after a spell with Chester FC.

Mike Garnett provides the historical record in matches between the two clubs:

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Before Tuesday's fixtures, the Shropshire Star reported that "Gavin Cowan is ready to lock horns with good friend and ‘like-minded’ fellow boss Jody Banim at Ashton United tonight... The AFC Telford manager and his Robins counterpart met through mutual friend and former Shrewsbury Town winger Sam Aiston, as well as [via] several battles on the pitch in their playing careers.

Ex-forward Banim, who played for Town between 2003 and 2004, is battling to keep Ashton in National League North after last season’s play-off success. His side are in the bottom three, six points adrift of safety. Bucks chief Cowan, whose side are winless in three league games, has clear admiration for his opposite number and will not be counting his chickens tonight.

'He nut-megged me and I forearm smashed him a few times,' laughed Cowan. 'We get on really well, we’re very like-minded. I’m just a taller, better-looking version of him! We get on great, the texts have been quite humorous. He’s a great guy, doing a really good job. After we’ve beat them I hope he can keep them up.'

The Telford boss added 'You can’t take anyone for granted. Teams do have off-days and other teams can be on fire. We’re both battling for different things. If we do what I know we can then we can win.'

Cowan’s side have not been winless in four league games this season... Telford are aiming to respond from Saturday’s 3-2 reverse at Stockport Country, where Cowan feels his side did not give a true reflection of themselves... But Cowan is taking the viewpoint that the recent run of one point from a possible nine can work for his side and have a positive impact.

'There’s 13 games left and sometimes a run like this can be a blessing in disguise,' said Cowan. 'All teams go through these spells but then they can find momentum at the right time. I’m a big believer in always looking for the positive. Some teams can be on form now and have a tough time at a crucial moment. Sometimes the lads have to take responsibility and they’re ready to do that. I’m excited to see who shies away and who pushes their chest out and finds some energy'".

Glouscestershire Live informs us that "Cheltenham Town have recalled young striker George Lloyd from his loan spell at Hereford FC... Lloyd, 19, was due to spend the rest of the season with the National League North side, where he has impressed and been monitored by Premier League clubs.

His move back to Cheltenham ends his second loan stint at Edgar Street this term, having already spent time with the Bulls earlier in the season. In his latest spell he made seven appearances and found the net with a stunningly taken lob in an away victory over Blyth Spartans."

And Hereford FC also report that "After the draw at Ashton United on the weekend, Bulls Head Coach Marc Richards gave an update on his attempts to bring in a back-up ‘keeper as cover for Matt Yates. Richards explained that Hereford had agreed for Jahquil Hill, a former Bulls trialist, to come in almost a month ago, but have seen delays due to waiting for international clearance.

'We’re trying to sign Jahquil, but we’re having problems with getting the international clearance through,' said Richards. 'Whilst The Bulls wait for that clearance to arrive, Richards acted to ensure that there was cover on the bench for the weekend’s game at Ashton. We bought in Marco Radovanovic over the weekend as cover, we just wanted to make sure that we didn’t leave ourselves short' explained Richards. 'I haven’t always been running with a goalkeeper on the bench, but it’s nice to have that option.'

Richards admits to being frustrated by the delays in waiting for clearance but was thankful to Marco for agreeing to come in as short-term cover".

According to York Press "York City manager Steve Watson wants his full-backs to stay on the attack ahead of this weekend’s home match with bottom-of-the-table Nuneaton Borough. Right-back Kallum Griffiths scored his first goal for the Minstermen and claimed an assist for Scott Burgess’ 83rd-minute winner during Saturday’s 2-1 win at Kidderminster... Left-back David Ferguson, meanwhile, has scored twice this term and has contributed the club’s third highest number of assists, with four, despite only starting just over half of City’s fixtures this term.

The ex-England C international also arrived at Bootham Crescent last season as Darlington’s five-goal, joint-top marksman two months into the 2017/18 campaign.

Watson had a preference for wing-backs at his former club Gateshead but, after eight goals were conceded by his new team in the three matches he employed a 3-5-2 formation, the one-time Everton right-back switched to 4-2-3-1. With that system, City have secured their first back-to-back wins for 13 months and only shipped one goal... But Watson has also been pleased with the manner in which his team have continued to threaten down the flanks despite dispensing with wing-backs and he has praised the ability of 30-something centre-halves David Mirfin and Sean Newton to start attacks from deep too.

'It helps having full backs who can attack and, when one goes forward, the other one tucks in really well and does his job correctly,' Watson reasoned. 'They know what we want to do, and your full-backs have to be a threat as part of modern-time football. It’s also good to have two centre-halves who give us balance and can play because we’re telling the players to be patient on the ball.'”

At Kidderminster Harriers, manager "Mark Yates insists the target of reaching the play-offs is still 'well achievable' as Harriers approach their final dozen games of the term. It’s been one win and one defeat for the gaffer since his return to Aggborough...

Ahead next for the Reds is the prospect of two tough trips to Blyth Spartans and Ashton United... The gaffer refused to use a damaging sickness bug in the camp as an excuse for the result [defeat by York] despite it wiping out a large portion of the squad for much of the last week...

'It’s up to me, Jimmy and Russ to pick them up again. We have 12 games to get to where we want to go, and that’s still well achievable.'

Of the York defeat, which was of contrast to the Chester performance [a 4-1 win], Yates added 'We just didn’t do what we intended to do. I can’t criticise their effort but, when we needed to slow it down and have a little bit of quality, we played at 100 miles an hour... Last week was a good start but we didn’t get to those standards [on Saturday]'".

Cheshire Live tells us that "It was an opportunity that Matty Waters wasn't sure would come round again but it's one that he's determined to make the most of. The 21-year-old left back put in a strong performance on Saturday as Chester FC ended a winless sequence of five games to get themselves up and running again... with a 4-1 home win over Boston United .

Waters, in his third year at Chester having progressed through the Academy system before signing a professional deal with the club in the summer of 2016, has seen chances limited this season and has been unable to get an extended run in the team. Loan spells at Runcorn Town and Widnes arrived earlier in the season with varying degrees of success but the door to the first team and the chance to impress Blues bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley arrived following the injury to Simon Grand who had been playing as a makeshift left-back ever since John Pritchard made the loan switch to Buxton, having struggled to make his mark at Chester.

'Obviously losing Simon Grand to injury is a blow to us but you have to take your opportunities when they come along and the door has opened for me a little bit,' said Waters, who lives in Farndon. 'I've just come in and tried to express myself as much as I can and do what the gaffers ask of me and try and offer as much as I can to the team. I thought I played pretty well on Saturday and I felt good and I felt confident and I was able to get further up the pitch and play the kind of role that I'm used to and that I enjoy.

'I did OK at Nantwich and I feel I was able to carry that into the game against Boston. I've not been able to get a run in the team but, since the turn of the year, I think that I've done OK when I've had the chance. The gaffers want us to play attacking football and that suits my game but it's been a big bonus to play alongside the likes of Simon Grand, Danny Livesey and Steve Howson this season. It's the most experienced side I've ever been a part of at Chester and it's beneficial when you're a younger player to have that.

'Even though Simon is out injured he is a big part of the dressing room and comes in and tells you how he saw the game and offers some advice on how you might be able to tweak a few things. That kind of stuff plays a big part.'

Waters, who has made 38 appearances and netted four goals in all competitions during his three-years as a professional at Chester, didn't enjoy a happy time at Widnes earlier in the campaign.

'Runcorn Town was great and I really enjoyed it but when I went to Widnes I was played out of position and just didn't really enjoy the spell there,' said Waters... With Grand's absence set to continue for some time yet, Waters is likely to get another chance to shine. But there could be competition for places with Johnson and Morley keen to bring in another full back".


19 February 2019

EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS

Above, Alty line up before the kick-off of last Saturday's fixture against Bradford (Park Avenue).

The official Altrincham FC website has extended highlights of the game.

SPENNY IN TOP FORM

Spennymoor Town make their first visit to Altrincham tonight (Tuesday) as the form team in the division, having won all five of their most recent league fixtures. As chronicled below, their predecessors, Spennymoor United, last visited Altrincham in 2003-04 season and secured a 1-1 draw. Altrincham will again be without the suspended Jordan Hulme, in addition to the injured Ben Harrison.

As the Moors website explains, the original Spennymoor club was founded in 1904. However, "The Moors social club was burned to the ground in an arson attack on Christmas Day 2003 and, from then on, the club had no income and, despite the appointment of a new chairman, things got worse. In 2005 the club could not fulfil their fixtures and Spennymoor United AFC were removed from the UniBond League and the club sadly went out of existence after 101 years of senior soccer". So, "Spennymoor Town FC was born in the summer of 2005 following the demise of both UniBond Premier Division club Spennymoor United AFC and Northern League Second Division club Evenwood Town FC".

Nowadays, The Moors lie third in the league with seven points more than Altrincham and having played one fewer game. In the league, they have scored five more goals than the Robins and conceded 13 fewer times.

Spennymoor Town state that "Moors have the chance to move within one point of Stockport County as they travel to seventh place Altrincham on Tuesday evening. The sides shared eight goals in a memorable encounter at The Brewery Field in August, with Glen Taylor’s late strike earning a point in a 4-4 draw.

Alty took the lead on three occasions that afternoon and showed glimpses of a side that would be in the play-off hunt, and they have lived up to that billing since, currently occupying the final top seven spot. Moors head to The J.Davidson Stadium on the back of a 2-0 win over basement boys Nuneaton Borough on Saturday, consolidating third spot and earning an eighth away win of the campaign.

Jason Ainsley’s side now boast the finest away record in the National League North, albeit on goal difference, and only Stockport County have conceded fewer goals on the road this season".

ALTY OLD BOYS

The EvoStik League reports that "Warrington Town ended South Shields’ long unbeaten home run with a 2-1 win in the Premier Division on Saturday. Josh Amis’s ninth goal in seven games and a stunning solo strike from Jack Dunn gave the Yellows a 2-0 lead in the first half... That win puts Warrington five points clear of third placed Shields...

Right: Josh Amis.

Maintaining their place at the top of the table on goals scored are Farsley Celtic, who came from behind to win 2-1 at Matlock Town. On-loan winger [and ex-Alty loanee] Jonathon Margetts had put the Gladiators in front after just 11 minutes, before Will Hayhurst equalised. Jack Higgins popped up just four minutes from the end to secure a valuable three points for the Yorkshiremen...

The form team in the league are Marine [managed by ex-Alty boss Neil Young], who registered their sixth win in seven games as they won 1-0 at Hednesford Town".

And the EvoStik League also informs us that "Ramsbottom United have boosted their squad ahead of a promotion push with the signing of midfielder [and ex-Alty trialist] Tom Schofield. Schofield, 28, moves from West Division rivals Trafford FC and has also played for Congleton Town this season. His previous clubs include Colwyn Bay, Curzon Ashton and Witton Albion".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Hereford Times reports that "Hereford Head Coach Marc Richards says the next two away games against relegation rivals Ashton United and FC United are like any other game. The Bulls sit eight points above Saturday's opponents Ashton in 20th, but having played two more games.

The following match Hereford head back up North to play FC United in 21st, who currently sit 10 points behind Richards' side.

'I think they are just like any other game as you can only get three points from a win so it doesn't matter if we pick that up against Ashton or FC United or a Stockport at the top of the table, it's still only three points,' Richards said'...

Bulls' defender Josh Gowling said that both ties are 'six pointers'. 'We spoke a couple of weeks ago and said that we wanted to get to this point in the season and have a gap which we have done, but it's not enough,' added Gowling. 'We need to kick on and go there (Ashton) looking to get three points. They are six pointers and we've always said you can't lose to teams around you... When you play the better teams they are a bit more free flowing and it can be an easier game sometimes. When there are teams down there fighting it's tough'".

And according to NL Daily "Hereford FC have signed goalkeeper Marko Radovanovic, who had a place on the bench for Saturday’s match against Ashton United. The Australian goalkeeper was given a trial with the Bulls against Pegasus Juniors in the summer before going on to play his football elsewhere.

Most recently Radovanovic was playing for Liverton FC, who play in the South West Peninsula League East".

From Guiseley comes news that "We’re delighted to announce the signing of nineteen year-old striker Akeel Francis from Accrington Stanley. Having joined Rotherham United as an eight year-old Akeel progressed through The Millers’ ranks but did not make a first team appearance. Francis had a loan spell at North Ferriby before leaving Rotherham to join Accrington in January 2018.

He has had periods in the current season at Wrexham and Rochdale"

Darlington "have provided an update on the two players who suffered injuries in Saturday’s home game with Southport. Sam Muggleton and Terry Galbraith were both taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital for treatment after sustaining injuries during the match.

Muggleton has sustained two injuries, a partial fracture of his femur, and knee ligament damage caused by a dislocation. He will be having a further scan to assess the extent of the damage. Galbraith has suffered a partial concussion, and will be ruled out of Wednesday’s home game against Brackley".

The National League's North Team of the Weekend comprises:

It’s not gone as well as Billy Heath hoped it would at Alfreton but there are signs next season could see a challenge if they can’t put a late surge together. A win over leaders Chorley has fans hoping."

The Shropshire Star reports that "Boss Gavin Cowan has revealed AFC Telford will do away with walls at free-kicks in the wake of the 3-2 defeat at Stockport County. The Bucks boss was left angered by his side’s performance for the large majority of their narrow defeat to the Hatters, who extended their unbeaten run to a post-war record 13 games.

Telford twice battled back to level, before two-goal hero Matty Warburton won the spoils for his side 20 minutes from time.

Captain Shane Sutton headed his side level, before Warburton curled in a free-kick just six minutes into the second half to give his side the lead again. Josef Bursik got a hand to it, but it wasn’t enough to keep it out and Cowan revealed after[wards, that] the on-loan Stoke shot-stopper [had] held his hands up for the goal.

The Bucks' chief also revealed he would dispense with having a wall in place for free-kicks, because it would give his keepers a better chance of keeping the set-piece out.

He said 'I don’t understand this with goalkeepers, putting a wall in front of the goal. We said it to Andy Wycherley in one game, if you put that lad 18/20 yards out, just him and Joe, no one around, the lad will score one in 10 if he is lucky. If a wall is there they have ways to benefit from it. A wall in the middle of the goal is so difficult. Joe has held his hands up for the goal, but that doesn’t help us in the short term.'

Cowan said apart from a short spell in the game, his players were not good enough and lacked professionalism at times. He said 'The way we play has worked until now, so why go off script? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. We didn’t play the way we normally do. I would say it was a lack of professionalism that was very apparent for me'".

York Press says that "Full-backs can be just as effective marauding forward as wing-backs. When Steve Watson recalled Kallum Griffiths and David Ferguson into the starting XI after reverting to a back four, he described the pair as 'proper full-backs', insinuating that the defensive side of their games would probably help stem the tide for a team that had shipped eight goals in the previous three fixtures when the former Gateshead manager’s previously-preferred 3-5-2 formation was employed.

Just one goal conceded in three hours of football since the switch offers plenty of support for such an assertion, but the pair are also proof that defensive discipline in wide areas doesn’t have to lead to the sacrifice of attacking thrust down the flanks.

Ferguson has only started 21 of City’s 37 league and cup contests this term, but his assists’ return of four is only beaten by two players; Jordan Burrow (ten) and Alex Harris (five). He has also netted two times this season, meaning he has been directly involved in six goals, either assisting or scoring, with only strikers Burrow, Macaulay Langstaff and Jake Wright, as well as midfielder Harris, boasting higher contributions.

Former Spennymoor defender Griffiths, who has also been in and out of the side, claimed a goal and an assist against Kidderminster and missed an easier opportunity to get on the scoresheet during the second half. He has now directly teed up three goals for team-mates in 2018/19 and the duo’s stats compare favourably with the assist figures of Wes York (three) and Sean Newton (one), who had been tasked with providing forward impetus as wing-backs prior to the tactical change...

City’s travails on their travels have been long-established. Martin Gray finished last season by taking just one point from a possible 24 in the club’s last eight away fixtures... This season, meanwhile, before winning 3-2 at Alfreton, the Minstermen had endured a miserable run of eight straight league defeats... Before the Alfreton match, just ten points from a possible 66 had been taken in the 22 journeys undertaken since the 5-3 January 2018 triumph at Telford...

When asking current and past players about Steve Watson’s qualities as a manager one of the recurring themes has been his unflappable personality... For the first time this season, the Minstermen didn’t make a substitution... That faith in the 11 players selected and refusal to panic might have just translated on to the pitch, where the team stuck to the game-plan and merited the rewards that came their way following Scott Burgess’ 83rd-minute winner".

Kidderminster Harriers report that "Fraser Horsfall was disappointed that Harriers weren’t able to take any points from Saturday’s Aggborough encounter against York City... It was the away side who would take the lead in the latest encounter through a superb first half strike from Kallum Griffiths.

Joe Ironside equalised for Harriers with 16 to play, but Scott Burgess put his side back in front nine minutes later to send York home with a victory.

Following the match, Harriers’ defender Fraser Horsfall felt... 'It’s a tough one to take because we thought we played OK; not amazing, but I think we did deserve something from the game... We like to play forward and maybe, at times, the balls forward weren’t of high enough quality to Joe [Ironside] and Kane [Richards] up there... Obviously, they’re two great strikes but we weren’t organised from throw ins, which I’m sure is something that we’ll look at and get right'".

From Cheshire Live we learn that "Boston United manager Craig Elliott said he was 'struggling to get his head around' quite how his Pilgrims side were put to the sword 4-1 at Chester FC at the weekend.

The Blues showed their early season form on Saturday as they produced a fine team performance to overcome a Pilgrims side who had won their previous two National League North games and had been beaten on the road just once since November.

Goals from Akwasi Asante , Anthony Dudley, Craig Mahon and George Waring sealed the success for Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley's side while former Chester City midfielder Ben Davies, who left the Blues some 13 years previous, rolled back the years to bag a consolation for Boston with a superb free kick...

Elliott told the Boston Standard 'Strange game, I’m struggling to get my head around it because I didn’t think "Wow, Chester are a brilliant team and they deserved to win 4-1". I came away thinking we contributed a lot to the defeat today. I need to compose myself a little bit. It didn’t feel like a 4-1 game at times, especially first half. I felt it was really harsh on us being 2-0 down, I thought we had chances, hit post twice and had two other good moments. I felt we were a bit fragile in our own box today'...

But goals win games and Chester's clinical finishing proved the decisive factor.

Said Elliott'My gut (instinct) is that there didn’t seem to be much in it in general play. It wasn’t as if George (Willis) was making save after save. I’ve been involved in 4-1 losses before and you think "Yep, they’ve torn you to bits". I didn’t feel that today, I just felt we weren’t clinical and they had chances and they scored them'".


18 February 2019

ALTY'S UPS AND DOWNS

It has been a curiously up and down season for Altrincham. In their first ten league fixtures they won 3 games, lost 4 and drew 3, acquiring 12 points; in their ten most recent league fixtures they again won 3, lost 4 and drew 3, acquiring another 12 points. But, in between those two identical sequences, in the ten games from game 10 (which overlaps with the previous sequence) to game 19, they won eight, drew once and lost once!

SIMON'S 300TH MARKED

As previously reported, Simon Richman reached his 300th appearance for Altrincham on Boxing Day. At last Saturday's game he was presented with a shirt, by chairman Grahame Rowley (right), to mark the achievement. He has now made 308 appearances with the game against BPA being his 251st start for Altrincham.

ALTRINCHAM 1-1 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)

Brief video highlights of the game are here.

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Danny East came off the bench to rescue a point for Bradford (Park Avenue) as they went head to head with play off rivals Altrincham... East missed the first half of the season after picking up a serious knee ligament injury in pre-season and manager Mark Bower heralded East’s return to fitness as being like a new signing.

The versatile full-back, who can also operate in midfield, joined actual new signings Macauley Langstaff and Romaney Critchlow-Noble on the bench, while Charlie Andrew made his Avenue debut in goal. All three newcomers are on loan deals, young keeper Andrew from Hull City, 19 year old Critchlow-Noble from Huddersfield Town and 22-year-old striker Langstaff from National North rivals York City...

The home side... opened the scoring on the break. Avenue centre back Luca Havern was beaten to the ball near the halfway line and the Robins poured forward. A pass was played into the path of Josh Hancock, who took it past Andrew to slot the ball in. The visitors had been on top and they continued to pile the pressure on through to half time. Avenue had the Robins cooped up and forced plenty of corners but they were not getting the rewards their play deserved...

It was a double substitution in the 78th minute that paid dividends. Centre back Shane Killock made way for Critchlow-Noble while East came on for Alex Hurst. Just six minutes later Lewis Knight and Nicky Clee combined well to get a ball into the danger zone that had the home defence struggling to clear. Step forward East, who got the final touch as the ball went past Drench into the Altrincham net to make it 1-1.

Not satisfied with merely getting back into the game Avenue went all out for a late winner but it proved elusive and they had to settle for a point."

NEXT OPPONENTS: SPENNYMOOR TOWN

On Tuesday, the visitors to Altrincham are Spennymoor Town who tell us that on Saturday "Two goals in the final fifteen minutes saw Spennymoor record a fifth consecutive league win against a stubborn Nuneaton side.

The struggling hosts frustrated Jason Ainsley’s side for large parts, but Glen Taylor’s header thirteen minutes from time broke the deadlock. Mark Anderson swept in from inside the box with five minutes to go to kill off any lingering Nuneaton hopes as Moors secured their spot in third place.

Jason Ainsley made three changes to the side who were beaten by Telford in the FA Trophy, with Scott Harrison coming in for his debut, while Liam Agnew and Mark Anderson also returning to the starting eleven.

In a flat first half, both sides struggled to create openings... The second half saw Moors raise their game and they sprang into life immediately after the restart...

Andrew Johnson became more of a threat as the game went on, and the winger came close with a low drilled shot on the angle... As time began to work against Moors the chances kept arriving, and with frustration growing, Taylor added another to his ever-growing collection to ease any potential worries.

Stephen Brogan sent in a pinpoint corner which was met by Taylor for his 25th goal of the season, sparking wild celebrations amongst the travelling Moors fans behind the goal. The first goal signalled the end of Nuneaton’s resistance and Moors soon added a goal to make the score line more reflective of the game.

Substitute Ryan Hall delivered a high cross into the area towards the head of Taylor, who, despite being wrestled to the floor by a defender, managed to tee up Anderson who fired into the bottom corner past Belford. The result leaves Moors in third place in the National League North, five points ahead of fourth place Brackley Town and seven behind leader Chorley".

The Moors' line up was: 1. Matthew Gould, 2. Callum Williams, 3. Stephen Brogan, 4. Jamie Chandler, 5. Scott Harrison, 6. James Curtis, 7. Mark Anderson, 8. Liam Agnew , 9. Glen Taylor, 10. Robert Ramshaw, 11. Andrew Johnson. Subs: 12. Kris Thackray, 13. Christopher Elliott, 14. Ryan Hall, 15. Shane Henry, 16. Adam Boyes.

Nuneaton Borough reported that "A controlling second-half display saw Spennymoor Town defeat Nuneaton Borough by a two-goal margin at Liberty Way... It was Boro however who would provide the early pressure...

Moments after Miles Addison headed over from an Edmunds' corner, the visitors, to Boro’s frustration, opened the scoring. A ball into the area found the head of Taylor who beat Cam Belford with a bullet-like effort into the top corner.

Nuneaton’s woes were compounded when, with five minutes remaining, Spennymoor struck for the second time. Midfielder Mark Anderson picked the ball up on the edge of the box before dispatching low into the far corner.

Jimmy Ginnelly’s side were unable to strike back, ensuring they are now without a win in ten matches."

THE MOORS' LAST VISIT

Altrincham welcome Spennymoor Town to the J. Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night.

In the reverse fixture in County Durham this season, an entertaining game ended 4-4. Alty fell behind after 11 minutes then led the Moors three times before, just as this Saturday against BPA, an 84th minute equalizer arrived for Alty's opponents.

This Tuesday will witness Spennymoor Town's first visit to the JDS but the County Durham club's predecessor, Spennymoor United last visited Moss Lane back in 2003-04 season.

That fixture, which ended 1-1, was a UniBond Northern Premier League Match and, like this year's match will be, was played under floodlights, on Tuesday, 7 October, 2003.

In that 2003 match, a messy equaliser, credited as an own goal by Chris Adams, five seconds from the end of the final minute of a generous four minutes of added time, cost Altrincham their first home win of the season. In a very entertaining first half Altrincham had taken the lead after 38 minutes when Ian Craney advanced powerfully up the middle and found the net, although keeper Kearney got a hand to the ball.

But, with Spennymoor playing attacking football throughout and winning the corner count 10-2, it was hard to begrudge them their late point. Alty's eighth draw in 13 games helped them rise to 17th in the table.

Spennymoor started and ended the game nine points ahead of Altrincham in the table but were to finish below Alty at the end of the campaign. In 2003, the Moors' recently appointed manager, Tony Lee, (who almost joined Alty at one point), had previously been a thorn in the Robins' side as manager of Bishop Auckland and his new side arrived at Moss Lane as the only team with five away wins in the league that season.

After a good opening day to the season, the Moors had had some poor results prior to Lee's appointment. Amidst many changes of playing personnel, he had guided them into the top six by the time they visited Altrincham.

Alty striker Rod Thornley was away again on England FA duty, but David Beckham's good friend, Dave Gardner, was available to play after missing the previous game due to business commitments. Nick Welton, (right, seen at the end of the match), got his first league start up front.

Manchester United keeper Ben Williams was on loan at Alty for this match; he is currently with Bolton Wanderers.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Ben WILLIAMS, 2. Gary SCOTT, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Mark MADDOX (capt.), 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Stephen ROSE, 7. Michael REYNOLDS, 8. Ian CRANEY, 9. Peter BAND, 10. Nick WELTON, 11. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH. Subs: 12. Steve ASPINALL, 14. Dave GARDNER, 15. Jason van BLERK.

SPENNYMOOR UNITED: 1. Martin KEARNEY, 2. Leigh GRANT, 3. Chris LYNCH, 4. David GOODCHILD, 5. Jonathan MILROY, 6. Nicky MOHAN (capt.), 7. John CULLEN, 8. Neil BISHOP, 9. Steve PREEN, 10. Danny BRUNSKILL, 11. Stuart BRIGHTWELL. Subs: 12. Philip BRUMWELL, 14.Jason AINSLEY, 15. Craig RAND.

ALTY OLD BOYS

In the Macron Cup Quarter Finals, Congleton Town defeated Cammell Laird 1907 6-0 with Billy Hasler-Cregg on the scoresheet. And in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division, Tom Bailey netted a penalty but his West Didsbury & Chorlton side lost 1-2 at home to Charnock Richard.

LADIES' HEAVY DEFEAT

On Sunday, Curzon Ashton FC (Tameside) Women beat Altrincham FC Ladies, 4-1. The result leaves Alty fourth, nine points behind the leaders Liverpool Feds Reserves with three games in hand. But second placed West Didsbury & Chorlton have six matches in hand!

The next match is on 24 February away to Northwich Vixens, who are eighth, eleven points behind Alty with three matches in hand.

YOUTHS' VERY HEAVY DEFEAT

In the NWYA Open Cup on Sunday, Alty Youth crashed to a 7-1 defeat at Chester FC Youth.

Next Sunday they have a cup match away to Salford. On 3 March they are at home in the league to Ashton Athletic.

GARNETT'S GUIDE

Mike Garnett's Guide in the Robins' Review reminded us that "On this day, 16 February, it is 28 years to the day since the Robins enjoyed a 9-2 win over Merthyr Tydfil in the GM Vauxhall Conference (as it then was). I still have a recording of most of the report broadcast that evening on S4C (the Welsh language Channel 4); my Cymraeg is limited to say the least and the images are not of the best quality but however snowy they be they still serve to bolster a pleasant memory! Alty were unbeaten in 15 League games and had only lost once in any competition since early October – a 1-2 reverse on this ground in the FA Cup 1st Round against Huddersfield Town (whatever happened to them?) in mid-November.

1,083 spectators saw hat-tricks from Ken McKenna and Nicky Daws, a brace from Nigel Shaw and a further goal from Paul Showler as the Robins ran amok and put the hapless Welshmen to the sword. Alty’s unbeaten run in all competitions lasted almost another month until Macclesfield Town won a Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final 2nd leg tie 2-0 at the Moss Rose; they continued undefeated in the league till a 0-1 reverse at Holker Street, Barrow late in April. We have met opposition from Yorkshire twice before on February 16th – in 1976 we entertained Goole Town in the Northern Premier League, a 1-1 draw being the outcome, while nine years later we made the trip to Seamer Road, Scarborough for a Gola League encounter and were defeated by the odd goal in three".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Northern Echo states that "Darlington’s recent signing Sam Muggleton will be out for the rest of the season after suffering a bad injury that tainted their a goalless draw against Southport. Medical staff were worried about moving the left wing back after he suffered a dreadful leg injury that needed over ten minutes of treatment on the field. There was clearly a high degree of concern when one of the medical staff was seen to be talking on his mobile phone next to the incident.

But eventually they felt assured enough to move him, and after the game was finished, he was taken away in an ambulance. He had some company alongside him though, because fellow defender Terry Galbraith joined him for the trip to hospital after suffering concussion following a collision with his team-mate, keeper Jonny Maddison.

Taking the loss of two key players into account, a bobbly pitch, a couple of strange refereeing decisions and some over-physical tackles, then a point against a team who beat the league leaders in their previous match wasn’t a bad result for Quakers on a day when their cut price admission offer attracted a 1400 plus crowd.

Manager Tommy Wright said 'The injury to Sam overshadowed the game. I’ve been involved in games in the past when players have suffered leg breaks, and it unsettles everybody. The lads do get shocked when they see things at close quarters, like the David Busst one at Old Trafford a few years ago. The game became flat after that, there were half-chances, but I don’t think any team was going to win it. I was pleased with the clean sheet, and for our defenders. Southport have been in great form, and they beat the leaders not so long ago. They are a handful, and the goalkeeper has a really long kick on him that causes a few problems at times'.

Darlington defender Liam Hughes played his first game at Blackwell Meadows since his return from a month’s leave of absence and said 'Many teams might have caved under Southport’s pressure, but we stood up to them. We ground out what could be an important point'...

The huge throw of Muggleton was always a threat; he comfortably threw the ball 50 yards into the heart of the Southport area on three occasions, two of which nearly led to a goal... The stalemate means Southport are within seven points of the play-off places, they travel to promotion-chasing Stockport County on Tuesday, who have just set a post-war record for number of games unbeaten".

The National League reports that "They've pulled well away from danger and burst Kidderminster's bubble on Saturday. But don't try telling York City manager Steve Watson that his side have found their feet in the National League North. York won 2-1 at Aggborough thanks to Scott Burgess' winner seven minutes from time. They are now in sight of the top half after back-to-back victories.

But Watson was quick to play down the improvement when he spoke to the York Press after the game. 'I am here to change things and be successful and we’re making small steps in the right direction,' Watson said. 'But I’d never say we’ve turned a corner, because I want the players to keep improving and wanting to better themselves every week. We’ve won two on the trot but it’s only when we can make that four or five that we can maybe start talking about being where this club wants to be and should be.

'Nobody is getting carried away, but there have been too many low points at this club over the last four seasons. It’s my job to raise positivity and the standards of the players and their expectations.'”

Altrincham travel to Curzon Ashton next Saturday. Last Saturday, according to Buckingham Today, "Carl Baker bagged a brace as Brackley Town got back to winning ways. Saints bounced back from the midweek defeat at leaders Chorley with an accomplished 2-0 victory against in-form Curzon Ashton on Saturday to move up to fourth in the table.

After a quiet opening Saints started to dominate possession and, after Matt Lowe had gone close with a shot pushed away by keeper Cameron Mason, Kevin Wilkin’s side took the lead in the 13th minute when Baker was found in the box and with a classy first touch his shot found the far corner of the net...

Saints continued to press after the restart and soon doubled their advantage in the 55th minute when Lee Ndlovu got free on the left and squared for Baker to score with a first-time shot into the corner of the net. Saints had more chances to increase their lead. Byrne had a header cleared off the line and moments later substitute Daniel Nti hit Mason’s legs when clean through. Baker had further chances to complete his hat-trick before Sean Miller’s curling shot came back off the upright"

NW NEWS

The Welsh Premier League reported that "Connah's Quay Nomads became the first non-Scottish side to reach the IRN-BRU Cup Final after they beat Edinburgh City in a dramatic shootout. 1-1 after extra time, the shootout went to sudden death, with Danby saving from Ciaran Danby after George Horan had converted for the home side.

The visitors raced out of the blocks and were ahead in the second minute... Nomads had been causing trouble from Jake Philips’ long throws into the City box and it was from one of these that the equaliser came. Callum Morris fired one goalwards, and the shot was deflected into the path of Michael Wilde, who fired in from yards out to level...

[Ex-Alty trialist] Bakare was then brought down on the edge of the City box after breaking clear in stoppage time. The midfielder took the free kick, but couldn’t keep it down and it flew over the top, and Extra Time ensued.

City had the opening chance of extra time, a corner being whipped in which Danby failed to deal with, [ex-Alty man, John] Disney eventually scrambling it clear from under the bar... The game went into penalties.

The first seven kicks were all converted, before Danby saved from Craig Thompson. A Wilde conversion would have ended it, but Antell saved low to his left, and Blair Henderson forced sudden death. George Horan scored, and Danby again saved from Ciaran Danby to send the Nomads into the Final."


17 February 2019

ALTRINCHAM 1-1 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)

On an afternoon which will probably remembered more for the rainbow shirts worn by Altrincham than for the quality of the match itself, a late goal earned Bradford (Park Avenue) a point. Alty could not complain too much at the outcome of a game in which both sides struggled to create many chances.

Right: Max Harrop and BPA's Luca Havern contest an aerial ball.

With Harrison, White and Waterston all sidelined by injury after last Saturday's match and with Sean Williams absent ill and Jordan Hulme suspended, Altrincham restored James Jones and Simon Richman to the starting eleven.

Altrincham took a 22nd minute lead when Hancock rounded the keeper after Joe Piggott had dispossessed Luca Havern some 40 yards from goal.

Bradford enjoyed plenty of possession without creating any real threats. But four minutes from time, Clee was allowed to get along the left byline and, though Alty half-cleared the ball, a second clearance then cannoned off East into the net to make it 1-1.

ALTRINCHAM: Drench, Densmore, Hampson, Jones, Hannigan, Moult (c), Johnston, Richman, Piggott, Hancock and Harrop. Subs: Poole, White, Fawns, Ceesay, Thompson.

STILL TOP, DESPITE DEFEAT

Despite losing 2-1 at Whaley Bridge Athletic, Altrincham FC Reserves remain top of the Cheshire Football League Premier Division by a margin of five points. Second-placed Pilkington have one game in hand.

Next Saturday, Altrincham FC Reserves are at home to Poynton FC.

BPA VIEW

After Saturday's game, Bradford (Park Avenue) reported that "Mark Bower’s Bradford (Park Avenue) side faced Altrincham away from home...

Altrincham looked to display their prowess on the counter-attack, doing so on a number of occasions, using the pace of Piggott and his strike partner, Josh Hancock to trouble the Bradford defence...

The football became a slight back-story, with the referee showing he was happy enough to use his whistle on a number of occasions...

Killock was central to the action once again, minutes later. Good work from the Altrincham front line led to Hancock trying to square the ball, but the Avenue skipper stuck out a leg to prevent the hosts opening the scoring.

However, that only proved to be a delay to the inevitable. Luca Havern was swivelled on the half-way line, allowing the hosts to break. Piggott realeased Hancock who rounded debutant Charlie Andrew and slotted home for the opening goal...

The game went a long time without significant action... It was actually the hosts who looked the more likely to score... Mark Bower sensed something needed to change and as a result he took off Oli Johnson, introducing Macauley Langstaff in the process, as he came on to join the search for an equaliser, on his debut...

With the game coming into the final few minutes, Bower threw on the last two substitutes at his disposal. Romaney Critchlow-Noble and Danny East making their way onto the field, meaning a change of shape.

Duly, it was that change of shape that contributed to the equaliser, more bodies flooded forward and it was East who bundled home the equaliser after good work from Knight and Clee".

SATURDAY GATES

SATURDAY GAMES

Saturday 23 February:

BUILDBASE FA TROPHY

Fourth Round, Saturday 23 February:

ALTY OLD BOYS

Altrincham FC Reserve Stavros Tserpes has signed EvoStik forms at Droylsden, whilst former Alty striker Aaron Burns has moved from Trafford to Radcliffe FC.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Northern Echo reports that "Darlington drew 0-0 with Southport, the tedious encounter being almost entirely devoid of entertainment and marred by two players being taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Quakers’ Sam Muggleton was stretchered off after suffering a knee injury at the end of the first half, and Terry Galbraith joined him having suffered concussion early in the second 45 minutes.

Galbraith had collided with team-mate Jonny Maddison, while Muggleton was on the wrong end of a challenge with Southport’s Marcus Wood.

Darlington’s left-back, who only joined on loan a week ago from Chesterfield, remained on the Blackwell Meadows pitch for around ten minutes before medical staff were able to remove him from the field of play.

Referee Aaron Bannister had encouraged strong tackling by taking a lenient approach to a number of first-half challenges, particularly in the moments preceding Muggleton’s injury.

Southport’s David Morgan escaped unpunished for a poor challenge on Romal Palmer, one of several bizarre Bannister decisions and led to him being strongly criticised by Darlington supporters who had little else to focus on given the lack of entertainment on offer...

Set-pieces posed the greatest chance of a goal and Southport’s Jason Gilchrist should have done better than to shoot wide after a throw into Quakers’ penalty area... Southport had very strong penalty appeals when Charles’ cross was diverted by Luke Trotman’s hand. Typical of his afternoon, however, Bannister spotted no infringement.

The hapless official then, somehow, failed to spot Southport’s Liam Edwards hauling Harvey Saunders to the floor inside the centre-circle by grabbing his shirt.

Saunders had been sent on as a sub, manager Tommy Wright having named an unchanged starting XI, when Galbraith had to be substituted, leading to Ainge dropping into defence...

Southport, who last week scored five against leaders Chorley, were generally made to look blunt by Quakers, but they spurned the best chance came in injury time, Jordan Archer off-target with only Maddison to beat.

It was Darlington's fourth clean sheet in six league games, so they can take heart from that and will hope for another one on Wednesday at home to Brackley".

In the Yorkshire Post we read that "Guiseley were left frustrated after only leaving FC United of Manchester with a 3-3 draw... After the draw Guiseley joint-manager Marcus Bignot said 'I’m really disappointed for the players, at 3-1 we looked to be in total control, they got the penalty and the momentum really shifted in their favour.

'We are in the business end of the season now and we haven’t lost any ground, Ashton drew so we are still six points clear from the drop zone and with another game gone as well.'

This game had the feeling of the proverbial six-pointer and the visitors made a great start, a corner found Niall Heaton at the near-post and he had a simple finish, with his header going into the back of the net... FC United levelled thanks to a fine free-kick from Kurt Willoughby who placed his shot past the wall and into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

The very next attack saw Guiseley reclaim the lead, Rowan Liburd was able to pass two FC United defenders and after a strong run, he made sure his effort went in...

The Lions were looking quite comfortable and would go 3-1 up, as they broke with Will Hatfield finishing calmly.

Twenty minutes were left to play when a penalty was awarded for the hosts for some pushing in the area from a corner and Willoughby would grab his second.

FC United were now in the ascendancy and would level the scores with Tom Peers rounding Marcus Dewhurst. A point wasn’t really what either side wanted from this and both pushed players forward late on, yet there was no late drama and the points were shared."

In the Shropshire Star we read that "AFC Telford United are now three games without a win in the National League North after they were undone by the odd goal in five against the in-form Stockport County...

Nyal Bell fired the Hatters in front after just ten minutes... It was a tale of two free kicks early in the second period as match winner Matty Warburton's set piece was cancelled out nine minutes later by [ex-Alty loanee] Brendon Daniels.

However the Bucks just couldn't keep Stockport's potent attack quiet for long, as Warburton flicked in what proved to be the winner 20 minutes from time...

Gavin Cowan opted for the three changes against the high flyers, and also tweaked the Bucks' system. Marcus Dinanga was dropped to the bench, leaving Udoh to lead the line by himself, with Henry Cowans and James McQuilkin acting as two number 10s behind the front man. Steph Morley and Darryl Knights also missed out, with wing men Brendon Daniels and Ryan Barnett recalled after sitting out the midweek draw against Guiseley...

The Hatters were the favourites going into this one, given their sparkling form that had seen them avoid defeat in the league since late November. They had lost twice in 20 outings and were unbeaten in 17 games...

It bizarrely got a bit tasty between the two dugouts on the quarter hour mark, as Bursik went down for treatment and Cowan called his troops in for a team talk. It seemed the Stockport bench were unhappy with this, with a few words exchanged between the two sets of back room staff."

Chorley report that "The Magpies were undone by a mad 60 second-half seconds [that] saw Alfreton score twice to take the spoils on a windy afternoon in Derbyshire.

The Magpies made three changes from Tuesday as Stephen Jordan, Jake Cottrell and Adam McGurk started in place of Scott Leather, Josh Wilson and Elliot Newby...

A rough and ready first half produced few moments of quality, with a Jordan Sinnott overhead kick that just cleared Matt Urwin’s bar the best of the early chances. Three bookings were handed out as the meaty challenges tested the referee’s patience.

The Magpies started to calm the game down from the frantic opening pace and took the lead on 37 minutes when Adam McGurk turned his man on the edge of the box a produced a brilliant low cross for Marcus Carver, who prodded home from close range.

Within 11 mintues of the restart Alfreton had turned the game on its head. First Danny Clarke nodded home to equalise, via a big deflection, after Andy Teague had superbly blocked a goal-bound effort off the line. A minute later Danny O’Brien beat Matt Urwin from almost halfway with audacious effort.

Jordan Sinnott had the chance to make it 3-1 from the spot after Andy Teague brought down Clarke in the area. However, the hosts’ number 10 skied his spot kick out of the ground".



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Alty Files Website Index

The following pages, which initially replicate those pages with the same web addresses which formed part of the official Club website, will be re-branded from 2018 as part of this new unofficial Alty Files site.

A/Z Site Index to The Alty Files at www.altrinchamfc.co.uk