Match Report

BARNET (2) 3

Vanarama Conference match
played on Saturday, 28 February, 2015, at 3pm


Just as in the reverse fixture at The Hive, Altrincham conceded an early goal to Barnet. This time it came even earlier as a ball over the top allowed Akinde, despite offside doubts, to barge into the box where Marshall brought him down. The Alty defender was sent off leaving Alty with an uphill fight after Akinde had converted the spot kick (6 mins). Barnet doubled their lead in the 29th minute when Villa's freekick from wide left was allowed to drift across the goalmouth into the far corner of Coburn's net, though Gash claimed a touch.

But Alty responded positively and, after a good spell just before the break, the already booked N'Gala, who had committed numerous other fouls without further sanction from the referee, brought down Alty's Man of the Match, Simon Richman. Mr Coy failed to produce the deserved second yellow for N'Gala. Ironically the same player had likewise avoided a merited sending off for an assault on Jake Moult when already booked in the reverse fixture. But, whilst Mr Coy could not find a reason to book N'Gala for a second time, his manager clearly saw what a liability the big defender was and replaced him at the interval.

But Nicky Clee's penalty was lifted well over the bar to waste a golden opportunity to make a real contest of the game. However, three minutes into the second half, Reeves got the better of Vilhete and slotted the ball home. The ten men continued to perform well and at times Barnet looked rattled. But Gash was allowed to head home a soft goal after Mr Coy had judged Reeves to have committed a foul. The ref allowed Barnet to take it from the wrong place (62 mins).

Even so, Altrincham continued to go forward and, when Macdonald injured himself committing a foul, both sides were down to ten men for the closing stages. Late on, a wonderful cross from Jordan Sinnott was headed wide by Reeves and Alty's leading scorer also rounded the keeper but saw his goalbound effort cleared off the line as Barnet were penned back.

Referee Coy left the field to a rich chorus of boos as Altrincham's spirited performance ended in disappointment.


REFEREE: Mr Martin Coy, who had previously been in charge of Alty this season away at Blyth Spartans and at home to Chester. In 2007 Mr Coy was involved in a curious incident in an Altrincham game. He was the linesman of our match at York City. He raised his flag for offside. The referee, Mr Webb very clearly waved play-on before York's debutant keeper Henderson inexplicably picked up the ball, handled it outside his box and dropped it down for a freekick. Alty's Chris Senior, playing to the non-existent whistle, took the ball and drove it into the empty net. Mr Webb disallowed the goal and restarted the game with a freekick to York and Henderson stayed on the pitch.

Altrincham were unchanged, except on the bench where Ryan Crowther replaced Sean Williams. However, Barnet made several changes which included the return from suspension of leading scorer Jon Akinde. Stuart Coburn was equalling the Altrincham FC appearance record today - 678 games.


ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks) 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (capt), 5. Gianluca Havern, 16. Tom Marshall, 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Jake Moult, 8. Simon Richman, 7. James Lawrie, 11. Nicky Clee, 10. Damian Reeves, 14. Kyle Perry, Subs: 6. Scott Leather, 17.Dave Parton, 26. Jordan Sinnott, 19. Ryan Crowther, 25. Peter Cavanagh

BARNET (Orange and black striped shirts, white shorts, black socks) 1, Graham Stack, 17. Sam Muggleton, 16. Mauro Vilhete, 6. David Stephens, 5. Bondz N'Gala, 15. Luisma Villa, 3. Elliot Johnson, 41. Connor Clifford, 8. Curtis Weston, 9. Jon Akinde, 40. Michael Gash. Subs: 11 Lee Cook, 4. Jack Saville, 10. Charlie MacDonald, 18. Luke Gambin, 30. Harry Taylor.


Altrincham had lost the reverse fixture 5-0 but since then, their form had improved. Barnet had been knocked off the top of the Conference in midweek but had a game in hand on the new leaders, Bristol Rovers.

Mike Garnett advises us of the historical record between Altrincham and Barnet. Alty's record at Moss Lane is excellent whilst the Bees have been almost equally dominant at their home stadium over the years.


After a delay whilst Barnet completed their bonding huddle, Alty kicked off towards the Golf Road end. But although a Richman shot was fumbled by goalkeeper Stack, after just 33 seconds, the Robins started a little shakily at the back. The pattern for the referee's performance was set in the second minute when, following a freekick for Vilhete's foul on Clee in the Alty half, the freekick was taken quickly and Stephens clearly held Reeves as he looked to get on the end of it. Mr Coy waved play on.

Following a wild clearance by Marshall, Akinde barged Coburn after he had gathered the ball and Marshall, too, was left hobbling by the striker's challenge. At the other end, Reeves almost charged down a Stack clearance. But when the ball was played forward into the Alty box, Akinde's strength got him past an initial challenge, only to be bundled over by Marshall. A penalty was awarded and Marshall sent off, in just the fifth minute.

Coburn dived to his left and Akinde rolled the spot kick into the vacated right of the keeper's net (6 mins). After Johnson had fouled Densmore, N'Gala gave Alty another freekick, 25 yards out. This was poorly taken by Clee and moments later some idiot in the away end threw an orange smoke bomb in front of Coburn, which caused a halt in play.

Alty had moved Moult into their back four to replace Marshall before a poor Vilhete cross got a fortunate deflection for a corner, which was cleared. Just after Weston had won another corner, centre-back Scott Leather was brought on to fill in for Marshall and James Lawrie was the unlucky player who had to make way (15 mins).

A couple more Barnet corners arrived as Alty remained on the back foot. Next, a great Leather tackle halted Barnet before N'Gala fouled Reeves and was booked. Following this, Moult's well hit 35-yard volley cleared the Golf Road terrace roof. After Akinde had deliberately fallen over an Alty leg looking, unsuccessfully, for a freekick, another N'Gala foul went unpunished before Alty did gain a freekick for another Barnet offence (20 mins).

Mr Coy failed to act when N'Gala was all over Perry and when the defender repeated his manhandling of the Alty forward, he was fortunate that offside was deemed to have preceded his foul. Curiously, Mr Coy decided to lecture both N'Gala and Perry. Unbelievably, just moments later, N'Gala was again holding and again got away with it. N'Gala should have been sent off in the 40th minute of the reverse fixture at Barnet, when he clattered Moult after being previously booked and he was equally lucky today to find another sympathetic referee.

After 26 minutes, Perry fouled Villa and he was booked; a fair decision but not an even-handed one, which prompted Alty captain Shaun Densmore to speak to Mr Coy. Coburn parried, then held Villa's freekick. A Densmore foul gave the Bees another freekick, to the left, outside the penalty area. Villa's freekick drifted across the box and into the far corner of the net. Gash wheeled away, claiming a touch.

In the 34th minute, Vilhete was booked for a foul on Clee. Densmore's freekick won a corner and, from it, a Griffin shot was smartly nodded on by Reeves but saved by Stack. Six minutes from half-time, Reeves was fouled on the front edge of Barnet's box. Clee's freekick rebounded off a defender and flew off Perry over the bar. Next Griffin got to the by-line as Alty again got forward and played some good football.

When Clee spotted Stack well off his line, he tried to lob Barnet's keeper from inside his own half but his effort was a little too high. As the game went into two added minutes, Akinde was halted on the by-line as he powered through a challenge. But then N'Gala bundled over Richman to concede a penalty. Pretty well everyone in the ground expected there to be a second yellow card for the already booked serial offender. However, Mr Coy simply pointed to the spot but took no further action.

To compound things, Clee blasted the penalty comfortably over the bar, in what proved to be the final action of the half.


If Mr Coy had declined to remove N'Gala from the field of play in the first half, the Barnet defender's manager was made of sterner stuff and, presumably pre-empting a potential red card in the second half, Martin Allen replaced the centre-back by Saville.

Despite a two-goal deficit and playing with ten men, Altrincham responded by scoring in the 48th minute. A ball was played forward and Reeves got the better of Vilhete and slotted home from left of goal, his 16th league goal of the season.

Saville took over where N'Gala had left off as he tripped Richman on the edge of the box. Clee's freekick went into the wall and the follow up was well hit by Moult, but just over the bar (52 mins). Barnet were looking rattled by Alty's ten men. Next, Clee did well on the left but Perry headed his cross over the bar.

Altrincham were taking the game to Barnet and, after 59 minutes, Macdonald replaced Villa. Next, Moult was fouled after the ball had gone but the referee took no action. However he reached for his whistle when Reeves was penalised in a 50-50 midfield challenge. Clee tried to stop the freekick being taken in the wrong place but the referee allowed it to be taken with the Alty man only feet away from the ball. From this, a cross was played into the box and a Gash header was permitted to drop into the net as Alty remained static; so it was now 1-3 (62 mins).

Immediately, Cook came on for Muggleton, after which Gash pushed over Griffin to concede a freekick (65 mins). Alty continued to get forward until Barnet won two corners in succession (72 mins). When Griffin was fouled by Macdonald, the Barnet sub came off worse and, after treatment on and off the pitch, was unable to return to the match, leaving it ten each a side (77 mins).

Altrincham brought on Cavanagh and Sinnott for Perry and Clee in the 79th minute. A Clifford trip on the impressive Richman earned him a word from Mr Coy. Akinde now went down looking for another penalty before Griffin was penalised versus Vilhete. Barnet were seeing the game out but Altrincham continued to press. As the four added minutes commenced, Richman was clattered for a freekick. Soon after this a Sinnott feed reached Reeves, who rounded the keeper, but his goalbound shot from right of goal, was cleared off the line.

After Akinde had caught Moult with his arm in an aerial challenge, a fine Sinnott cross found Reeves but he headed wide at the near post and, with that, any hope of a late consolation was gone.

Altrincham had given a spirited performance, despite playing for 85 minutes with ten men. Conceding an early penalty, losing a player to a red card and then missing a spot kick of their own proved to be too much of a self-imposed handicap to overcome, especially when so many decisions went against them throughout the game.