Match Report


Vanarama National League match
played on Saturday, 31 October, 2015, at 3pm


Referee Joe Johnson had the misfortune to witness Alty's worst 90 minutes of this season when he officiated at Alty's 0-4 defeat by Braintree Town and now he had the misfortune to endure another poor 45 minutes from the home side, against Torquay United. The Gulls were deservedly leading at the interval through a 24th-minute goal scored by Marsh. That had come from Hurst getting past O'Keefe in midfield and feeding the Torquay striker, left of goal. Marsh somehow managed to squeeze the ball past the combined efforts of goalkeeper Deasy and centre-back Leather near the foot of the post.

As Lee Sinnott's cup of tea hit the deck, the Alty manager strode off at the interval and was clearly going to have serious words with his underperforming team. Despite a slow start after the break, Altrincham finally got on top and dominated most of the second half. The introduction of substitute Ryan Crowther made a difference and, three minutes after his arrival, Altrincham levelled in the 66th minute. A corner, won by Crowther, was cleared out to Moult who hit a superb shot from 30 yards into the top corner of the net.

Alty's cause was helped when referee Johnson stopped play and showed a straight red to Torquay's Tyrone Marsh, for reasons which initially baffled the spectators. It later emerged that the Torquay striker had raised his hands in the face of team mate Butler. But, despite playing against ten men for eleven minutes plus added time, Altrincham could not get a winner.


REFEREE: Mr Joe Johnson

There was good news in that Ryan Crowther had recovered from injury and illness to join the bench but also bad news as Nicky Clee was unfit and excluded from the squad. So Alty again went into action minus six regulars (Coburn, Densmore, Marshall, Rankine, Clee and the also injured Parry has returned to Luton from his loan).

Torquay's new player-manager, Kevin Nicholson, included new loan signing Campion on the bench and brought in Lavercombe in goal.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks): 17. Tim DEASY, 6. Scott LEATHER, 5. Luca HAVERN, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Jake MOULT, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 7. James LAWRIE, 10. Damian REEVES 20. Jordan SINNOTT, 18. George BOWERMAN Subs: 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 19.Ryan CROWTHER, 24. Rhain DAVIS, 21. Joel SWIFT 25. Ioannis STOUPPIS.

TORQUAY UNITED (All yellow): 21 Dan Lavercombe, 29 Durrell Berry, 5 Angus MacDonald, 16 Courtney Richards, 24 Kevin Nicholson, 18 Nathan Smith, 2 James Hurst, 26 Simon Heslop, 3 Dan Butler, 10 Tyrone Marsh, 17 Alex Fisher, Subs: 11 Shepherd Murombedzi, 23. William Hancox, 27. Achille Campion, 1 Fabian Speiss, 7. Louis Briscoe.


Lower league opposition had put Torquay out of the Emirates FA Cup last week whilst Altrincham went into the game with one eye on a clash with Barnsley in the Cup next weekend.

Mike Garnett provides the statistical record of games between Alty and today's opponents:


Altrincham kicked off towards Golf Road but it was Torquay who enjoyed the better of the opening moments as Fisher headed a cross well wide inside the second minute. And it was Fisher who threatened again, in the fifth minute, as his volley was deflected for a corner on the right.

It was not until the eighth minute that the home side put together a decent string of passes, on their right, but a throw-in was all that materialised from the move. However, Moult's 25-yarder soon produced a corner but this was poorly taken by Lawrie, too low and too short. Immediately, Torquay countered and gained a corner from which Fisher's header went to Deasy.

After Marsh's low cross-shot had been saved by Deasy, Richards tripped Reeves near half way. But symptomatic of Alty's display so far, Leather took it, short, only for Marsh to nip in and dash forward to force a double save from Deasy (12 mins).

Marsh continued to look lively but then Lawrie won the ball well and this led to a Moult's shot winning a corner, after a Sinnott effort had been blocked. Unfortunately, Lawrie took another poor corner, the ball going straight to a United player.

Alty continued to labour under a sequence of mis-passes, poor control and aimless balls hit forward. But, out of the medicocrity, there came a fine Lawrie cross, which was headed away by Nicholson (22 mins). However, it came as no real surprise when the Gulls took a deserved lead.

Hurst had just got past Griffin but overhit his cross when the same Torquay player advanced again on the right and, this time, got the better of O'Keefe in midfield. He fed Marsh, further forward and to the left of goal. From near Deasy's right post, Marsh squeezed the ball past Leather and Deasy, with the aid of a deflection, to score (24 mins).

Lawrie was having a curate's egg sort of a game and now his good dribble prompted a Richman shot wide but, at the other end, a Hurst ball only just evaded Marsh. Alty continued to labour as a Sinnott clearance went straight to Fisher, whose low shot squirmed off Deasy's hands for a corner (34 mins).

A freekick was now won as McDonald fouled Bowerman. Following the Sinnott freekick, a Leather header went over the bar.

At this stage, Alty were lacking in invention and as half-time approached, both Moult and Bowerman added to their team's epidemic of errors by losing the ball. After a poor first-half performance from Altrincham, they were perhaps fortunate to reach the break only one goal behind.


For the second half, Murombedzi replaced former Barnsley midfielder, Heslop, for the visitors. Encouragingly, Lawrie won an early corner on left but this only led to a Bowerman air-shot. There was little from either side,at this stage, to animate the supporters till a Marsh dribble and shot forced a Deasy save (54 mins).

At last Altrincham began to enjoy a better spell, which led to a Lawrie cross earning a corner, quickly followed by another and, then, a freekick. This was well taken by Sinnott but it was just too high for the unmarked Leather at the back post (59 mins).

Torquay responded as, once again, Hurst got forward and his cross came off Leather for a corner, soon followed by one at the other end for Alty. From this, a Leather header bounced off the keeper on his line and led to another corner. From the second corner, a Bowerman effort was blocked; then Havern actually netted but was offside.

At this point, Crowther came on for Bowerman, on the left (63 mins). Crowther soon impressed with a run which gained a corner on the left. This was cleared to Moult who cleanly hit a superb 30-yard screamer into the top corner of the net off the inside of Lavercombe's left upright (66 mins).

Immediately, Campion, a new loanee striker from Port Vale, came on for Fisher for Torquay. It now took a great save by Deasy from an excellent Nicholson freekick from 22 yards to keep the score level; a corner resulted (71 mins).

Crowther continued to cause problems and when he was tripped, a booking for McDonald was the outcome (73 mins). Alty now were on top and Lawrie saw a freekick punched away before his 22-yarder was also pushed away by Lavercombe.

Crowther drew another foul and, this time it was Berry who was booked (75 mins). Alty continued to dominate but, just after Crowther had fired over, the referee stopped play and delivered Marsh a straight red. It later emerged that the Torquay striker had raised his arms against team-mate Butler to earn his dismissal (79 mins).

Against the ten men, a fine Sinnott ball won a corner, which Richman headed wide. Though Altrincham were enjoying most of the forward momentum, it was Torquay who won the next corner, after Lawrie had lost the ball. Richman responded to win Alty a corner (87 mins) before Briscoe came on for Hurst for the visitors (88 mins).

Despite three added minutes, Altrincham were unable to make their man advantage count and, so, once again, had failed to overcome a team in the bottom four of the table. But a draw was a fair outcome after the visitors had been the better side in the first half and Altrincham had only really played well in the final half hour. They remain 19th in the Vanarama National League, a position they have occupied since 12th September.