Match Report

after extra time

Skrill North Promotion Final
played on Saturday, 10 May, 2014, at 3pm


With virtually the last kick at the end of extra time, substitute Greg Wilkinson, who had just joined the game, secured Alty's place back in the top level of non-League football. The ball fell to him after Kyle Perry had battled well to get onto a ball up the middle.

In a close encounter, Alty started the first half the better but the visitors had the better of things as the half wore on. However, Altrincham started the second half well and took a 51st minute lead when James Lawrie converted with a low shot after Clee had got the ball to Walshaw, who laid it off for the Northern Ireland international.

Guiseley equalized after 70 minutes when Lawlor rose well to head a corner but it was former Halifax man Danny Forrest who was credited with the goal. Neither side could add to the score so extra time was played in which Altrincham had more of the forward momentum. But it looked as if penalties were looming when Reeves was replaced by Wilkinson in the 120th minute. However, with his first touch, the young midfielder earned a place in Alty folklore when he scored just moments later.

In front of Altrincham's biggest crowd for years, 4,632, there were delirious scenes at the end. Guiseley's management duo did their club immense credit in applauding the award of the trophy to Altrincham and their supporters, too, did their club proud. Having now lost four successive play-offs, we wish them success in the future.


REFEREE: Mr John Brooks

Guiseley were without two regulars. Wayne Brooksby had suffered a broken jaw in the semi-final at North Ferriby whilst Danny Boshell was ruled out under the terms of the transfer agreement when he left Moss Lane for Nethermoor earlier this season. Steven Drench returned in goal after illness. Former Alty men Danny Hall and Kevin Holsgrove were in the visitors' squad.

Altrincham were unchanged.




(Red and white striped shirts, red shorts and socks)
1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (capt), 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Jake Moult 5. Gianluca Havern, 6. Scott Leather, 7. James Lawrie, 8. Simon Richman, 9. James Walshaw, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs. 12. Tom Marshall, 14. Matt Doughty, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 16. Kyle Perry, 18. Russ Saunders.


(All yellow)
1. Steven Drench, 2. Andy Holdsworth (capt), 3. Ben Parker, 4. Danny Hall, 5. Danny Ellis, 6. Jake Lawlor, 7. Michael Potts, 8. Oli Johnson, 9. Adam Boyes, 10. Alexander Johnson, 11. Gavin Rothery. Subs. 12. Rhys Meynell, 14. Danny Forrest, 15. Kyle Harrison, 16. Kevin Holsgrove, 18. Steve Dickinson


Courtesy of Mike Garnett, we have "Altrincham v Guiseley – the full record".

Key: ULP – Unibond League Premier Division, BSBN – Blue Square Bet North, SN – Skrill North, PSF – Pre-Season Friendly


Rain started to fall again just before kick off but it did not dampen the vocal support from the large contingent of Guiseley supporters in the open end, whose numbers were swelled by free transport across the Pennines, laid on by the Club. With no rival matches in the vicinity today, the crowd reached 4,632, the highest at the stadium since 1982. Amongst them were former Manchester City stars, Dennis Tueart and Shaun Goater and ex-Alty players including Robbie Lawton, Rod Thornley and Colin Potts.

The players came out past a plinth on which stood the trophy at stake for winning today's game. Guiseley kicked off towards their own fans but Altrincham won a corner after just 25 seconds. But there was no threat on goal, even after Holdsworth had fouled Griffin, as Lawrie badly overhit the freekick (5 mins).

Altrincham had a great chance to take an early lead when Clee put Reeves through on goal. The striker aimed for the keeper's top, left corner but the ball went over the bar as Drench came out to close the angles.

Guiseley then won a corner from a deflected shot before Clee got a fortunate rebound and put in a cross, but it evaded his team mates. The even game continued as former Stockport man, Oli Johnson, won a corner off Griffin, before the home side won themselves another flag-kick, on their right (11 mins)>

Another Altrincham threat soon arrived as a Reeves cross came in. By the time a well-struck 30 yarder had flashed just wide, Alty were shading the game. Rain was pouring down as Lawrie hit an effort well over the bar (17 mins). When Ellis miscued, Guiseley conceded another corner. After this, a testing ball from Clee just evaded both Walshaw and Reeves (21 mins).

The corners continued as Reeves won one off Hall's attempted back header and this, in turn, led to another corner kick, from which Leather headed over the bar (24 mins). At the other end, a Guiseley cross was half cleared before Alex Johnson headed over the bar from another cross.

Guiseley's best chance came when the lively Oli Johnson jinked past Griffin into the box and got in a cross from the right but Alex Johnson put the chance over the bar, to his dismay (29 mins). The next few minutes saw plenty of effort but the next goal action was a Walshaw 30-yarder, which was held by Drench. There was a more serious threat when a Densmore one-two got the captain into the box but his hurried shot went over the bar from 12 yards (36 mins).

For Guiseley, a Rothery long shot was held at the second attempt. After 40 minutes a Densmore foul was soon followed by a foul on the Alty defender himself. Then Guiseley almost scored as another Oli Johnson cross from the right was deflected over the bar from Alex Johnson's close-range shot. From the corner, Coburn dived to save but, on the line, Moult cleared the ball.

As half-time approached a defensive error by Guiseley took Reeves by surprise before a Rothery run threatened before the ball ran to Coburn. Just before the one added minute at the end of the first half, Clee lost possession and Rothery got in a cross which evaded attackers and defenders alike.

So the first half ended goalless, after Alty had started the better before Guiseley had grown more influential before the interval.


In the econd minute of the second half Ellis, at the back post, had a shot saved well by Coburn following a freekick. Alty responded as Lawrie fed Walshaw, who turned well but shot just over the bar (48 mins). The game's opening goal arrived when some Clee trickery in the inside-left slot saw him get the ball to Walshaw. He slipped the ball to Lawrie, who slotted home a low shot to the keeper's right, just inside the post. So it was 1-0 after 51 minutes.

When Clee was clattered by Potts, the Guiseley man was cautioned. After treatment Clee resumed but not before Guiseley had introduced Forrest for Alex Johnson (56 mins). After a couple of throws, Alty won a corner which Drench just punched out only for Clee to scoop a shot well over the bar, right-footed, from the edge of the box (59 mins).

Play remained end to end as the rain started to fall again and the second half passed its midway point. Then Rothery had a shot blocked by Moult before Forrest tried to place a shot which was deflected for a corner (69 mins). From this, Lawlor rose well to head at goal but Forrest was credited with the equalizer as he got a touch on the ball (70 mins).

Guiseley now enjoyed some momentum as a Lawlor run forced a Coburn save before Moult completed the clearance to concede a corner. In the 74th minute Altrincham withdrew their leading scorer and former Guiseley forward, Walshaw, for Perry. The rain was now intense as Oli Johnson's shot was deemed to have won a corner (77 mins). For Alty, Richman did well on the left and got in a cross to Reeves, whose lay off gave Perry an opening but his effort was blocked in front of goal (78 mins).

Altrincham continued to attack as Reeves was halted, a Perry cross was cleared and a Griffin cross was too short to reach a colleague (82 mins). After Lawrie had delayed a shot in the box, Forrest saw his shot saved by Coburn at the Golf Road end. Next, Meynell and Holsgrove came on to replace the ailing Forrest and, more surprisingly, Oli Johnson (86 mins).

Perry was now involved with a nod for Reeves followed by a half chance from a Reeves feed. Densmore halted a Holsgrove surge before the otherwise impressive referee got in the way of a Moult pass and this led to Coburn having to save a shot.

A smart turn by Perry led to his being tripped on the front corner of the box; Ellis was booked for this (90 mins). In the three added minutes, Densmore's freekick forced a good save. Then a Holsgrove and Havern battle near the byline saw the Alty defender booked. But the scores remained level at the whistle, prompting extra time.


Guiseley kicked off towards the away end and, soon, Perry was upended by Holdsworth, who was booked (90+1 mins). Two minutes later the watchful Coburn tipped a Holsgrove up and under over the bar for a corner. Out of nothing a rasping 25-yarder from Perry hit the Guiseley crossbar ((90+7 mins) and just afterwards, Perry won the ball but Reeves could not quite turn in his cross. It was Alty who were getting forward the more in this period.

After 103 minutes Marshall came on for Griffin, a switch which allowed Densmore to get forward in front of a back three. When Lawrie hindered an attack after a Clee back-heel had gone wrong he was lucky not to be booked. From the freekick a nod almost fell for Boyes but the ball ran on to Coburn (105 mins).

Alty started the second period attacking the away end to a crescendo of noise from both sets of supporters. Parker's good work led to Boyes forcing a save but after 109 minutes a fine Densmore cross yielded a corner.

Richman now needed treatment and Wilkinson got ready to come on but Richman recovered and played on (113 mins). The deadlock continued and when Perry hooked wide in the 119th minute it looked inevitable that a penalty shoot-out would be required to separate the teams. When Wilkinson replaced Reeves in the 120th minute it meant that any shoot-out would not feature Altrincham's two most prolific goal scorers.

But if ever a substitution was inspired this was it. A ball up the middle saw Perry battle for it inside the box. It ran loose off goalkeeper Drench and the advancing Wilkinson kept his head to sweep it into the net with his first touch (120+1 mins). A minute or so later, after Wilkinson had been booked for removing his shirt in celebration, the final whistle sounded to trigger a pitch invasion from the jubilant Altrincham supporters. The sides had been well matched but Altrincham had shown more attacking momentum in extra time to earn the win.

For Guiseley it was a desperately disappointing fourth play-off defeat in succession. But they had played well and showed great sportsmanship throughout. After the Guiseley players had been given a standing ovation by the home fans as they left the field, the management duo of Boshell and Bower demonstrated their class by applauding Altrincham as the winning team came out for the trophy presentation.

So, Altrincham have now reached the Conference National for the fourth time in their history and will look forward to trips to the likes of Bristol Rovers next season. For the management of Lee Sinnott and Neil Tolson today was a just reward for three seasons of hard work but, for them, summer will not be a holiday as they look to build a squad able to withstand the increased pressure of a higher division of football. From past experience we know just how hard it is to compete at that level but it is a challenge that the Club will relish.