Match Report


Blue Square Premier match
played on Saturday, 6 February 2010, at 3pm


Above: John McAliskey challenges in the first half.

Altrincham recorded their first five-goal haul at Moss Lane since March 2007 (against Cambridge United) and their first in the Conference since April 2007 (at St Albans City) with this win over Salisbury, who actually enjoyed plenty of possession, especially in the first half. The visitors also came up against Stuart Coburn who made a couple of brilliant saves during the game. Alty went ahead in the 16th minute when Greg Young headed home at the near post from a Nicky Clee corner. Clee had just come on to replace the injured Matt Doughty and it was the substitute who doubled Alty's lead with an excellent lobbed goal from wide left in the 38th minute. Salisbury continued to enjoy a lot of the ball after the break but Alty extended their lead just after the hour mark when Densmore's shot from 25 yards was touched onto the underside of the bar and into the net by keeper Bittner. Chris Senior added a late brace; both of them excellently taken. The first, after 81 minutes, was an excellent 25-yarder and his second, in the first added minute after the ninety, was an excellently placed shot, low into the far corner from Densmore's low cross from the left. Report to follow.


  • 16 mins: Greg YOUNG (Altrincham 1 Salisbury City 0)
  • 38 mins: Nicky CLEE (Altrincham 2 Salisbury City 0)
  • 62 mins: Shaun DENSMORE (Altrincham 3 Salisbury City 0)
  • 81 mins: Chris SENIOR (Altrincham 4 Salisbury City 0)
  • 90(+1) mins: Chris SENIOR (Altrincham 5 Salisbury City 0)

    REFEREE: Mr P A Davison




    Robbie Lawton and Colin Little were both unfit to take part, so Chris Denham and Robbie Williams returned to the Altrincham starting line-up. Alty's only signing in the "window", midfielder Peter Doran made his first appearance, on the bench, following his arrival from Welshpool Town. He was joined there by Alty Youth midfielder John Bennett. Tom Kearney, John McAliskey and Stuart Coburn all overcame midweek injury doubts to start the game.

    Though six places and eight points behind Alty, Salisbury had better form than this fact suggested, having been docked 10 points for financial problems. Despite that problem and the threat of expulsion from the Conference if they do not fully pay off their debts by mid-May, the visitors had managed to sign five new players in the January "window". These were defender Chris Giles from Crawley, Aldershot reserve Ryan Connolly, goalkeeper Ryan Pryce and the "old Bull and Bush" in the shape of the much travelled Ronnie Bull and teenage defender Chris Bush. But another defender, Dan Webb, was out injured.

    The Whites had not conceded a goal in 2010 before this match.


    Right: Man of the Match Nicky Clee celebrates his goal.

    ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. James SMITH, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 5. Greg YOUNG; 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 4. Tom KEARNEY (capt), 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 10. Chris DENHAM, 17. John McALISKEY, 19. Chris SENIOR. Subs: 13. Russell SAUNDERS, 11. Nicky CLEE, 20. John BENNETT, 24. Adam CARDEN, 21. Peter DORAN

    SALISBURY CITY (Orange shirts, white shorts and orange socks): 1. James Bittner, 2. Sean Clohessy, 5. Jamie Turley, 18. Chris Giles, 3. Luke Ruddick, 12. Ben Adelsbury, 7. Robbie Sinclair, 8. Darrell Clarke (capt), 4. Stuart Anderson, 14. Bradley Gray, 10. Matt Tubbs. Subs: 21. Chris Bush, 20. Ronnie Bull, 17. Chris Flood, 15. Reece Connolly, 23. Ryan Pryce.


    After changing ends, Salisbury kicked off playing towards the Golf Road end and into the winter sun. Alty adopted a 3-4-3 formation but Salisbury started the better, though Clarke's first-minute shot went miles over the bar. Play then went through a scrappy few minutes with the ball in the air too much. After Tubbs had also fired comfortably over the bar, a long ball forward from Greg Young went out for a corner off a City defender. Doughty's corner went across the goalmouth but evaded everyone (7 mins). Play stopped soon afterwards when Doughty went down, beating the ground with pain as he did so. A stretcher was soon called for, but then Doughty managed to hobble off for further treatment but, after coming back on briefly, he had to be substituted by Nicky Clee on the left of midfield (15 mins). Almost immediately the sub laid on a goal. From Clee's corner from the right, Young arrived to head the ball home at the near post without having to lift his feet off the ground to do so (16 mins).

    Soon afterwards Alty won another corner, after a Densmore overlap. A few minutes later the visitors got their first corner and, from Sinclair's kick, Coburn missed his punch but the danger was cleared. Altrincham were still not firing on all cylinders and the Whites were enjoying more of the possession. They won another corner after a slip by Williams (23 mins). Altrincham, with all eleven men back, struggled to clear the ball and the danger only ended when a cross was narrowly headed over by Anderson. Alty almost fell behind after this when the defence stood off Sinclair on the edge of the box and his shot forced a brilliant one-handed save from Coburn. The loose ball went to Gray on the Salisbury left and his low shot across goal only just missed the back post, having taken a deflection for a corner.

    Denham broke the Salisbury period of dominance with a run up the right but he got blocked off. As the game passed the half hour, Danylyk put in a fine tackle to stop another Salisbury attack. Another Salisbury corner soon arrived following which Clarke fired narrowly wide from 22 yards or so, following approach work from Gray and Anderson. Gray soon threatened again with a fine cross from the left.

    Seven minutes before the break, Clee doubled Altrincham's lead with a fine goal. He jinked past a couple of players before sending in a looping shot from wide left which dropped into the far corner of Bittner's net (38 mins). After the match Nicky insisted he had been aiming at goal rather than making a cross but he did concede that he had been aiming for the near post! Alty almost slipped up soon after this when an error, by the otherwise reliable Smith, drew Williams to commit a foul five yards outside the Alty box. But 20-goal Tubbs's free-kick shot hit the wall and went for a corner, which was half cleared and a subsequent cross was hooked over the bar by Turley.

    As half time approached Altrincham gained a corner through Denham with Salisbury replying with one of their own, just before three added minutes were started at the end of the forty-five. Salisbury continued to press in added time but some fine play from Clee led to a foul for which Clohessy was booked after the referee had done well initially to allow an Alty advantage. With the game well into a fourth added minute, Densmore's excellent freekick was well met by McAliskey's head but Bittner saved well to leave the score 2-0 at the interval to the home side, though the visitors will have felt, with some justification, that this did not truly reflect the pattern of play.


    Salisbury were out on the pitch very early, going through an extensive exercise routine, before Alty got the second half under way. The first-half pattern continued as the visitors were soon again on the front foot. They should have scored three minutes into the second half when, from a ball from the left, Anderson contrived to clear the Alty bar with a hooked effort from barely 6 yards out. Alty boss Graham Heathcote was not happy with his team, accusing them of being "too tippy-tappy" as they passed the ball about to little productive effect at this stage. But the home team did now begin to get more into the game and, eight minutes into the half, they and Salisbury each made a change. The Whites brought on new signing Ronnie Bull for Luke Ruddick and Alty replaced McAliskey by their debutant, Peter Doran, which prompted a change of formation to 3-5-2 as Doran slotted in on the right.

    Clee then miscued a shot wide but the flag was up in any case. Sinclair won his side a corner off James Smith before play stopped for treatment to Robbie Williams's head. Three more Salisbury corners arrived before the hour mark as the Wiltshire side continued to press for a toehold in the game. After the second of these corners Sinclair was set free in the box but Coburn produced a brilliant point-blank save to deny the visitors.

    Doran finally relieved the pressure with an impressive run up the right wing as Altrincham showed their counter-attacking prowess. After 61 minutes Salisbury brought on Flood for Gray. But a minute later Alty got their third goal. Doran was involved before the ball came to Densmore whose cracking shot from 25 yards, in a central position, was tipped by Bittner onto the underside of his crossbar and into the net (62 mins). Soon, Doran impressed again as he adapted well to his transition from Welsh Premier football.

    Danylyk picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on Clarke, following earlier fouls by Clee and Smith which had broken up the rhythm of the game at this stage. After this, Clarke sliced a shot over the bar as Graham Heathcote exhorted his side to "Be ruthless". Another Salisbury corner followed, however, before a fine Densmore counter-attack ended with the Alty man upended in the box but with no penalty being given (74 mins).

    Both sides made a further change as Carden replaced Denham for Altrincham (76 mins) and Bush replaced Giles for City (77 mins). Alty now just had Senior up front with Doran behind him, and it was Alty's leading scorer who soon showed great determination to chase down Turley to win a corner (78 mins). Manager Heathcote was still not happy with his side, telling them to "Stop playing five a side; put the ball in the final third!". Almost immediately Senior picked up a ball from Williams 25 yards out and lashed it impressively past Bittner to make it 4-0 (81 mins).

    Williams, Alty's 6ft 3inch centre-back then gained applause from the home crowd as he deftly back heeled a cross towards goal. With the crowd calling for a fifth goal, Altrincham were now dominant and, when a fine ball from Danylyk found Clee, his pass allowed Doran a fierce volley but it went wide (87 mins). However, just after the four added minutes board had been displayed, Alty did get a fifth and it was another excellent strike. Densmore advanced on the left and from his cross Senior expertly placed the ball into Bittner's bottom left-hand corner from left of centre (90+1 mins).

    Salisbury won a corner three minutes into added time as the Alty fans in the Golf Road End sang choruses of "Part time and we've paid our bills" to underline the achievement of their team in cementing its top-half league place despite financial prudence evidenced by not having spent a penny on transfers throughout the seven and a half-year managerial tenure of Graham Heathcote. Nicky Clee was named Man of the Match but there were fears that the man he replaced during this game, Matt Doughty, might have suffered cruciate ligament damage. On the positive side Peter Doran made a very promising debut and looks an excellent prospect.

    Salisbury had the greater proportion of possession during the game but, on the odd occasion when they got themselves clear scoring opportunities, they fluffed their lines. Altrincham had one of those days where virtually every shot went in the net and spectators would have been hard pushed to see better goals than most of those scored today even in the Premiership where Trafford's other team, Manchester United, also won 5-0 today but needed three scrappy own goals to help them do so!!