Match Report


Blue Square Bet North
played on Saturday, 18 August 2012, at 3pm


Altrincham were comprehensively beaten on this, the opening day of the 2012-13 season, by newly promoted Brackley Town in a game which echoed the first encounter of the 2002-03 season when another newly promoted club, Harrogate Town, thumped Alty 4-0 at Moss Lane.

Things started to go wrong before kick off when centre-back Luca Havern suffered a back spasm in the warm up and had to be replaced by Scott Leather. And, with five players making their competitive debuts for the Robins, Altrincham never looked like a threatening unit today.

They went behind in the 20th minute to a slightly dubious penalty awarded when Sandy went down easily under a challenge in the box by Densmore. Sandy got up to beat Coburn from the spot. Though second best, after 26 minutes Altrincham produced a good passing move to get themselves level, the ball ending up with Duncan Watmore, who cut in from the right before firing a superb shot into the top of the net from outside the box.

But any thoughts of an improved performance in the second half were dashed after just seven minutes when Mulligan nodded home from close range, following a corner. With Altrincham creating very little going forward, Brackley extended their lead ten minutes from time when a counter-attack led to Story being allowed inordinate time and space in the right of the box to pick out Mulligan who, unmarked, headed home to make it 1-3.

It got worse as Rodgers opted to dribble out of defence only to lose possession. The resulting Brackley ball into the box was overhit but substitute Robinson chased it and retrieved it with an overhead kick as Alty failed to react. As Alty dithered, the ball came out to Winters who drove it home from 22 yards to make it 4-1 to the Saints after 89 minutes.

So it is back to the drawing board for Altrincham as they try to reverse this dreadful start to the season, their next game being at Harrogate Town.


  • 20 mins: Elliot SANDY (penalty) (ALTRINCHAM 0 Brackley Town 1)
  • 26 mins: Duncan WATMORE (ALTRINCHAM 1 Brackley Town 1)
  • 52 mins: Gary MULLIGAN (ALTRINCHAM 1 Brackley Town 2)
  • 80 mins: Gary MULLIGAN (ALTRINCHAM 1 Brackley Town 3)
  • 89 mins: Tom WINTERS (ALTRINCHAM 1 Brackley Town 4)

    REFEREE: Mr Ian Dudley



    Altrincham welcomed back Duncan Watmore, who had missed the last part of pre-season, on holiday. Having lost midfielder Scott Phelan to his job commitments in the week leading up to the new season, Alty suffered a further problem when centre-back Luca Havern suffered a back spasm in the warm up. So, Scott Leather was promoted from the bench and Sam Grimshaw took his place as a substitute. In all, Alty had five players making their competitive debuts for the club today. Lee Sinnott opted to continue with Nicky Clee at left-back rather than further up the pitch and went for Patrick Lacey and Carl Rodgers in the central midfield of a 4-4-2 set-up. Ryan Brooke came in to partner Damian Reeves up front.

    Town were without Michael Corcoran but included a host of seasoned ex-Conference players including keeper Billy Turley, defenders Wayne Hatswell and Curtis McDonald, as well as Eddie Odhiambo and former Kettering man, Brett Solkhon.


    The game was played in a very warm atmosphere, with about thirty Brackley fans having made the journey to watch their team play at its highest level in the footballing pyramid.


    ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, red shorts, red socks) : 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Nicky CLEE, 4. Carl RODGERS, 5. Scott LEATHER, 6. Danny HALL, 7. Duncan WATMORE, 8. Patrick LACEY, 9. Ryan BROOKE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. James LAWRIE. Subs. 18. Adam REID (gk), 12. Sam GRIMSHAW, 14. Matt DOUGHTY, 15. Simon RICHMAN, 16. Daniel MITCHLEY

    BRACKLEY TOWN (Yellow): 1. Billy Turley, 2. James Clifton, 3. Curtis McDonald, 4. Eddie Odhiambo, 5. Wayne Hatswell, 6. Josh Green, 7. Owen Story, 8. Brett Solkhon, 9. Gary Mulligan, 10. Elliot Sandy, 11. Glenn Walker. Subs: 12. Tom Winters, 14. Will Green, 15. Steve Diggin, 16. Marvin Robinson, 17. Jamie Grimes.


    The game started several minutes late, for reasons best known to the match officials, and, after Alty had kicked off they conceded a freekick on the edge of their own box after fewer than 30 seconds. But Story fired the dead-ball well over the bar. After a Brackley long throw had been nodded to Coburn, a Lawrie freekick went off Reeves for a goal kick.

    But Altrincham, well supported by their vocal fans, were soon conceding regular freekicks for needless fouls, as was epitomised when Lacey fouled Mulligan, only for Leather to concede another kick moments later. At last, Alty landed a shot on target as an effort by Lawrie from 20 yards following a freekick, went to Turley (12 mins).

    But the visitors were beginning to get the upper hand as, firstly, a throw from the right by Clifton led to a corner and then McDonald fed Sandy who turned smartly and shot narrowly over the bar. On 17 Minutes another Brackley corner was won as Altrincham continued with their faltering performance.

    The visitors took the lead in the 20th minute when Sandy went down under a challenge in the box by Densmore, which convinced referee Dudley, if not the Altrincham players and bench, that a penalty should be the outcome. Sandy got up and after a stuttering run, beat Coburn from the spot to give the Saints the lead. Just as in last season’s opener at Harrogate, Alty had fallen behind to a spot kick.

    Up front, Reeves and Brooke were seeing little of the ball and Watmore, too, was starved of possession. Reeves, however, was looking lively when the ball did come to him but when he was brought down no freekick resulted, one of several such decisions from the referee which displeased Altrincham.

    With play stopped for treatment to a Brackley player, Alty took a drinks break on what was a sultry afternoon. It must have done them some good as, soon afterwards, their best move to date, a nine-pass sequence, ended with Watmore in possession to the right of the field. The teenager moved inside and from outside the box struck a superb shot into the top of the net to level the scores (26 mins).

    When Wayne Hatswell committed a foul just inside his own half, Lawrie almost emulated Michael Welch's 70-yarder as he almost lobbed Turley from 60 yards, but the ball just cleared the bar (29 mins). The equaliser had spurred Altrincham to an improved level of performance but it was Brackley who won the next corner, following another freekick conceded by Altrincham.

    After a good run from Watmore had been halted, the referee again upset the home faithful as he declined to give a freekick for an apparent foul on Brooke. Not long afterwards, after riding a challenge well, Brooke fired very wide from 35 yards

    As half time approached, another Brackley corner arrived and when Alty countered a poor ball from Lawrie went straight to Turley. After Reeves had been felled, Lawrie sent his freekick to Turley. Following this, a Clee throw saw the ball played back to the left-back, who got to the by-line and won a corner.

    So, the half ended with Altrincham having improved after equalizing, but still with much more required of them to overcome a strong and well organised Brackley Town team.


    An early Alty freekick yielded a corner but nothing came of it, as they now attacked the Golf Road end (47 mins). Then, a good run by Watmore led to Clee shooting from 30 yards. Turley made a hash of saving it, the ball squirming out of his hands towards goal but the veteran keeper managed to gather it before it reached the line.

    Next, Sandy fired wide from a right-wing cross but the Saints soon won a corner on their right, through Walker. Alty defended this poorly and the unmarked Mulligan headed home from close range after a team-mate's effort was diverted to him (52 mins). Immediately, Turley decided he needed treatment to his hand in the Brackley technical area as the home crowd barracked him for timewasting.

    Lawrie's unhappy afternoon continued as he received a booking for a foul (54 mins). Another Brackley corner soon followed, off Rodgers, but Alty scrambled it clear. Lawrie was now withdrawn in favour of Doughty, allowing Clee to move forward on the left. Almost immediately, Clee got forward and crossed, but a goal kick resulted. Then an advance by Doughty won a corner. Next, Green tripped Clee and it was not his first offence. As a consequence the referee booked the Brackley offender.

    After 66 minutes a minor fracas broke out as Mulligan kicked the prostrate Leather but no card was produced by Mr. Dudley. Altrincham were still struggling to get their forwards into the game as they continued to give the ball away in midfield. A hopeful appeal for a penalty by Densmore went unheeded before Brackley counter attacked and shot wide. Altrincham were not to learn their lesson about the visitors' counter-attacks.

    Altrincham now took two of their debutants off, central midfielder Lacey and striker Brooke, with Richman and Mitchley, respectively, replacing them (75 mins). Brackley almost scored straight after this but Coburn made a good stop from Sandy's close-range header. Alty now had Densmore in centre midfield and Rodgers at centre-back as Watmore was flagged offside.

    For the second time in ten minutes Altrincham claimed a penalty, this time having a good case for handball by a Brackley player. But with the referee unresponsive, Brackley again counter-attacked and the ball found Owen Story unmarked in acres of space to the right of the goal. He had what seemed an eternity to pick out a team mate and his cross was neatly headed home from inside the goalmouth by Mulligan to make it 1-3 (80 mins).

    After Watmore had got into the box and seen his shot saved, Town brought on Winters to replace Sandy. After Clee had been tripped by McDonald, Watmore had a shot saved and then Brackley made another swap as Marvin Robinson replaced Mulligan (87 mins). Dreadful defending then allowed Brackley a fourth goal. First of all, coming out of defence Rodgers opted to dribble rather than clear and lost the ball. Brackley's resulting long ball into the box was overhit and appeared to be drifting out of play beyond the back post. Alty allowed Robinson to pursue it, stick out a foot and direct it back from the by-line into play. Alty had a chance to clear again but Brackley got the ball out to Winters, who drove it home from 20 yards to deepen Alty's woe (89 mins).

    And in the four minutes of added play, Altrincham were bereft of ideas as twice Brackley threatened to add to their tally, only to be halted by the offside flag. This was not the start to the season which Alty had wanted and a vast improvement will be needed next Tuesday at Harrogate - traditionally not a happy hunting ground for The Robins.