Match Report


Skrill North Match
played on Wednesday, 1 January 2014, at 3pm


For the second time over the Festive Season, Altrincham beat Stalybridge 5-0 and, on each occasion, there were five different scorers, four of them being the same players to score in each match. This time it was Clee who started the onslaught against a poor Celtic team when his long-range shot went through Ellison's hands into the net after just 6 minutes.

Alty's second arrived after 17 minutes when Reeves chased down Ellison and the keeper's kicked clearance was won 45 yards out by Richman, whose cross was converted by Moult, via a deflection, into the net. A smashing goal from Scott Leather, after a slick one-two with a team-mate on the right, made it 3-0 in the 31st minute.

After the break Nicky Clee's well struck long shot was diverted by Kyle Perry into the net, making it 4-0 (50 mins). The scoring was completed after 58 minutes when Damian Reeves headed home Perry's cross after Clee had won the ball on the by-line off Tunnicliffe.


REFEREE: Mr D Meeson (Chesterton)

Shaun Densmore was welcomed back to the squad after having to miss the last two matches due to a serious family illness. There was no place for Junior Smikle in the matchday squad, for the first time this season, as Altrincham's starting eleven remained unchanged from the Boxing Day encounter.

Compared with their Boxing Day team, Celtic, who had lost at home to Colwyn Bay 2-3 on Saturday, had brought in Joel Bembo-Leta at the back with Warburton moving to replace to Prince Hayward. Parkhouse replaced Ennis on the left flank.


STALYBRIDGE CELTIC (Blue and white) 1. Craig Ellison , 2. Kelvin Bleau, 3. Andy McWilliams, 4. Joel Bembo-Leta, 5. James Tunnicliffe, 6. Kristian Platt, 7. Adam Pepper, 8. Callum Warburton, 9. Phil Marsh, 10. Sean McConville, 11. Adam Parkhouse. Subs: 12. Obi Anoruo, 14. Conal Platt, 15. Paul Ennis, 16. Louis Hatch, 17. James Cookson,

ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, red shorts and socks) 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Scott Leather, 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Carl Rodgers, 5. Gianluca Havern, 6. Tom Marshall, 7. Simon Richman, 8. Jake Moult, 9. Kyle Perry, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 12. Shaun Densmore, 14. Matt Doughty, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 16. James Walshaw, 17. James Lawrie.


Altrincham had won the reverse fixture 5-0 at Moss Lane but The Bower Fold has not been a happy hunting ground for Altrincham in the past, as Mike Garnett's pre-match data showed.

(A small number of results is missing from the above data).


Playing conditions were not good as a strong, cold and gusty wind blew along a pitch softened by steady rain earlier in the day. Nevertheless, despite its softness, the pitch itself was in good condition as, under the floodlights, Alty kicked off down the slope of the Bower Fold.

Inside the first minute, Perry did well and found Clee whose cross/shot, from the left, curled wide across the face of goal. In the third minute, Altrincham almost scored when a Richman shot hit a defender and fell for Moult, whose effort was scooped over the bar by Celtic for a corner. Soon after this a Clee long throw led to a Rodgers overhead shot, which hit the bar. Alty’s bright start continued as Ellison saved another Altrincham effort.

The breakthrough arrived, as it had done on Boxing Day, through an unfortunate goalkeeping error, as now Ellison failed to hold a Clee 30 yarder and the ball went through his hands into the net (6 mins). Soon afterwards, Ellison allowed a Moult cross to go across goal but he had rightly judged that it would curl just wide for a goalkick (9 mins).

Rain was now falling as Altrincham continued to dominate the opening stages. When Scott Leather got forward, his cross won a corner off Bembo-Leta, which led to a second corner. Marshall headed this left-side corner from the back post to Moult, who struck the outside of the upright (12 mins). When a freekick was awarded for a foul after 16 minutes it was probably the first such offence of a well-mannered game up to this stage.

With Lee Sinnott shouting to Damian Reeves to chase down Ellison as the ball ran towards him, the striker did so. Though Ellison did not make the same mistake that he had on Boxing Day, when he raced almost to the touchline and found his vacated goal breached by Jake Moult's 40-yarder, his kick clear on this occasion was pounced upon by Simon Richman, who got the better of an opponent before crossing from the right as he surged forward. His cross was turned home by Moult, the ball hitting a defender before it entered the net to make it 2-0 (17 mins).

The Celtic keeper did well a little later when he made a fine save from Rodgers's piledriver (20 mins). But Alty remained in total control as a foul on Perry soon earned a freekick but Clee fired this over the bar.

When Celtic did eventually get forward, Marsh went down in the box but saw a yellow card for "simulation", a decision against which he did not protest (23 mins). But the Tamesiders finally got in a meaningful shot, two minutes later, which slipped from Coburn's grasp and went for a corner.

Celtic were now getting a bit more cohesion in their play but they were undone again after 31 minutes. Scott Leather, who had a fine game at right-back, exchanged passes with a team mate on the right flank, some 30-plus yards out. When he got the ball back, he moved inside and placed a fine shot into Ellison's bottom right-hand corner, to record his third goal of the season, all of which have come in the last six league matches.

The one-way traffic continued as Moult had a shot saved (32 mins) and, after Reeves had been fouled, Moult then hit the 25 yard freekick into the wall (37 mins). Perry was also making an impression and he now won a throw in the left corner. This led to a sliced shot from Leather, followed by a Richman scissor-kick over the bar (39 mins). Following a foul on Moult, Ellison caught the freekick well. But Alty kept coming at the Celtic goal as, now, a Reeves, Perry, Richman combination led to Moult only being halted inside the box (42 mins).

Despite their comfortable lead and good play, manager Sinnott was keen to keep his players on their toes as he kept up a constant stream of instructions from the technical area. Just before the break, Celtic did win another corner but, soon, the players went for the interval after a very one-sided first half, which had ended, like the Boxing Day encounter, in a 3-0 lead to The Robins.


For the second half, Anoruo came on for Pepper, with Alty now playing up the slope. Celtic started on the front foot, just as they had after the interval on Boxing Day but, once again, they conceded early in the half. This time, after some pressure, a well-struck, low Clee shot, from 25 yards or more, was smartly diverted past Ellison by the toe of Perry from the edge of the box, to make it 4-0 (50 mins).

Celtic's frustration now led to captain Kristian Platt being booked after a late lunge on Moult, near half way (51 mins). Anoruo was making a bit of an impact but, from a Marsh feed, he blasted well wide. Soon, Moult was again felled, this time after a good pass from Richman. Again the offender, this time Warburton, was cautioned (53 mins).

From Clee's freekick, right of goal, the ball diverted to Ellison off Reeves. There was a comic moment when McConville's challenge saw him end up on top of Clee, both players being on the deck. Clee then got up, giving the Celtic man a pantomime horse ride!

Celtic's improvement after the break continued with an excellent run by Marsh but Alty cleared the resulting danger from Warburton, who then fouled Leather. Referee Meeson called over his captain to warn Warburton, in his presence, that he was in the Last Chance Saloon (57 mins).

Alty made 5-0 when Clee's opportunism saw him steal the ball off Tunnicliffe on the byline, on Alty's left. From this, Perry crossed and Reeves rose to nod home his 11th league goal at the post. So, for the second time in a week against Stalybridge, five different players had scored for Altrincham, with four of them (Moult, Perry, Reeves and Leather) scoring in each match.

Although Altrincham were playing some impressive football, their management was still exhorting them to make more effort.

Anoruo now won a corner, which led to a second corner for Celtic. Soon after this, Rodgers was booked for a foul 35 yards out. The midfielder had inadvertently timed his fifth caution to perfection as the New Year "amnesty" now allows players to amass up to ten yellows before the end of the season before they are suspended.

From Celtic's freekick Bembo-Leta's goalbound header was headed off the line by Leather, who was thanked by his keeper, Coburn. At the other end, more chasing down by Reeves won a corner on the right. There was then some extravagant play from Alty as Clee and Perry, in succession, successfully back-heeled the ball to team mates whilst Alty lay siege to the Celtic goal, with rain lashing down.

There was no card when Bleau clattered Clee but, after this, Perry turned and hit a deceptively powerful shot, which hit the Celtic bar from 25 yards (73 mins).

Ellison prevented things from getting worse when he just got back in time to gather the ball after a back pass had been played towards the net when he had gone out of his goal. Next, Perry was just wide from a Reeves feed, before Celtic's Hatch came on for Warburton (78 mins), followed by a double change for the visitors. This saw Densmore replace Leather and Walshaw come on for Reeves (79 mins).

After a Marshall error had given Celtic the ball, they eventually won a corner through McConville. After this, Platt just cleared the bar with a shot. Five minutes from time, an underhit back-pass almost allowed Perry to block Ellison's clearance before Marshall fouled Hatch. From the freekick on the right, McConville tried to catch out Coburn at the near post but he only found the side-netting.

Alty's final change was to introduce Doughty for Clee, so Griffin moved to left-midfield (86 mins). Then an injury to Parkhouse meant he had to give way to Ennis for Celtic (87 mins). Shots wide by Perry for Alty and Hatch for Celtic were the last significant action of a very one-sided match, which saw Altrincham climb to fourth place. This was Altrincham's sixth away game out of the last eight fixtures, a run which has produced a respectable 14 points.

The next test is at home, against in-form Leamington, on Saturday. With the new players, Griffin and Marshall, having settled in well, Altrincham now have further competition for places which can only assist a sustained challenge for the promotion places. It is also impressive that 13 players have scored this season in the league and, for the first time in many years, Altrincham have two strikers in double figures as the New Year starts. Indeed, this win was achieved with the luxury of leading scorer James Walshaw being rested till the closing stages.