Match Report


Vanarama National League match
played on Saturday, 2 January, 2016, at 3pm


A spirited performance from Altrincham saw them deservedly share the spoils with their Cheshire neighbours. Altrincham started the game well and Michael Rankine, who was to have a fine game, smacked a shot against the upright in only the third minute. But it was the hosts who took the lead in the 20th minute. A fortunate deflection took the ball to Ross Hannah, who jinked past both Griffin and Leather to score from close range.

Altrincham brought on Nicky Clee for Josh O'Keefe at the break and the wingman sparked a revival. The equalizer arrived in the 60th minute when Michael Rankine got above his marker to head a Sinnott cross past Worsnop. But Clee's afternoon ended soon afterwards when he broke down as he attempted to cover a Chester attack.

In the six minutes of added time it was Altrincham who went the closer to scoring the winner as Worsnop parried a Rankine shot into the path of Bowerman but the Chester keeper managed to block Bowerman's follow-up.


REFEREE: Mr Robert Jones

Altrincham remained without keeper Stuart Coburn, right-back and captain Shaun Densmore and centre-back Tom Marshall. Ryan Crowther was also out today, with a virus, so Josh O'Keefe started. Manager Lee Sinnott was also absent with a virus.


CHESTER FC (Blue and white): 1. Jon Worsnop, 2. Ryan Higgins, 3. Johnny Hunt, 5 Luke George, 6. Ian Sharps, 7. Craig Mahon, 8. Tom Shaw, 9. Ross Hannah, 22 Ben Heneghan, 25 Danny Hattersley, 26. Ryan Lloyd. Subs; 10. John Rooney, 11. Jordan Chappell, 13. Dylan Forth, 19 Craig Hobson,16 Steven Hewitt

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white stripes, black shorts, white socks): 17. Tim DEASY, 20. Jordan SINNOTT, 5. Luca HAVERN (capt), 6. Scott LEATHER, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Jake MOULT, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 7. James LAWRIE, 9. Michael RANKINE, 10. Damian REEVES. Subs: 11. Nicky CLEE, 23. Callum WILLIAMS, 18. George BOWERMAN, 20. Joel SWIFT, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE..


This was Alty's sixth away game out of their last seven fixtures and their fourth successive league game away from home.

Altrincham went into this match after three successive league defeats without a goal being scored by them. However, 16 corners won against Tranmere last time out gave rise to hope for an upturn in goalscoring.

Mike Garnett's records show the outcomes in previous matches between today's clubs.


The game kicked off three minutes late on a greasy surface after earlier rain. Chester kicked off and, after a foul on Lawrie, a neat move Alty move culminated in a wild Rankine shot (1 min).

Alty started the game the better of the sides and a fine O'Keefe pass soon found Rankine who struck an excellent low shot but it came back off Worsnop's left upright (3 mins). Two minutes later, a good Griffin ball just evaded Rankine as Alty dominated the opening stages.

Chester came to life as a Mahon cross from the byline left of goal was toe-poked over the bar by Shaw (6 mins). Alty then allowed Lloyd to run 40 yards at goal, unchallenged; a corner resulted, which Moult cleared.

Sinnott saw a shot saved, before a Rankine cross gained a corner after more good work by O'Keefe (12 mins). Following a freekick against Moult, a Mahon cross from the byline was headed over by Hattersley.

Chester grew into the game and now a slick move led to a cross from the left, from which a Hattersley header was headed off the goal line by Leather for a corner (16 mins).

Soon after Reeves had almost got on the end of a through ball, Chester scored. A ball from the left took a fortunate deflection off a player's heel and found Hannah, right of goal. Both Griffin then Leather slipped as they successively tried to challenge but Hannah jinked round them and scored smartly from close range (20 mins).

A minute later Alty were fortunate that a Lloyd and Hannah mix-up in front of goal spared them further embarrassment.

More Chester pressure came in the 28th minute as a desperate clearance by Leather led to a corner off Sinnott. After Leather had half cleared the ball was played back in and Deasy punched clear leaving Hattersley down for treatment which consisted of no more than a talk with the physio.

After George had fired well wide from 20 yards, Hunt won a corner which Leather cleared. Alty went through a nervous spell as Richman, Sinnott and Havern all mis-passed in succession. After a good start Alty were now looking nervous.

Chester won two corners in succession to maintain their superiority and in the 39th minute it needed a great save from Deasy from Higgins's 20 yarder to keep out Chester. Alty were under the cosh as, next, Lawrie conceded a corner.

More errors followed as O'Keefe and then Moult lost the ball. However, the visitors had a chance after 41 minutes when a Sinnott throw bounced across the Chester box but Richman's shot was straight at the keeper (42 mins).

When Havern held Hannah on a counter attack, near half way, Alty's captain was booked (43 mins). Heneghan headed the freekick wide. In added time, a wild 40 yard shot from Lawrie flew well wide.

1-0 was a fair reflection of play at the interval.


Alty brought on Clee for O'Keefe at the break. Soon Hattersley got behind Sinnott but his cross deflected for a goalkick. On 49 minutes, Hattersley's cross won the first of two successive corners. After these, a Moult clearance went to an opponent and it required another fine save from Deasy to stop a Chester shot from the edge of the box (50 mins).

Now Clee began to have an impact with a jinking run on the left after which Lawrie did well to win a corner. Moments later a Sinnott shot gained another corner.

An impressive Clee spin and run led to a cross which was spooned well over the bar by Lawrie (54 mins). Soon Clee did well again and, after a throw, Moult's ball was just too long for Lawrie as Alty again started the half well.

Altrincham equalised in the 60th minute as, from the right, a fine Sinnott cross from Lawrie's feed right was headed home by Rankine. It was Alty's first league goal for five and a half hours.

Clee and Rankine continued to cause Chester problems. But it was Jake Moult's excellent dummy on the left byline which produced the next chance. From his cross Reeves's effort was deflected over for a corner (63 mins).

When George used both arms to manhandle Richman just feet away from the linesman, it beggared belief that the official saw no offence. Reeves now went down, possibly after getting a knock with his earlier shot, and Bowerman hurriedly got ready and replaced him (65 mins).

But disaster struck on 68 minutes as Clee pulled up as Alty conceded a corner. After a long stoppage delayed by the slow arrival of a stretcher, Clee was carried off to add more misery to his injury ravaged season. Clee had made a real difference after coming on.

Before play resumed, Hewitt came on for George and Hobson for Hattersley for Chester, whilst Heathcote replaced Clee. Heathcote went to right back as Sinnott moved to right midfield. The four-minute Injury stoppage disrupted Alty's rhythm (73 mins).

Following a Chester corner, Heathcote was penalised on the front, left edge of his own box. Alty now regained their composure but when Heathcote committed another foul on Alty's right near the byline, the teenager was booked (82 mins).

From the freekick, Hewitt fired well over the bar after a melee in Alty’s box. It then needed excellent cover from Richman as Alty were opened up (84 mins).

Chester went close from another from corner before Bowerman was given offside from a Griffin cross (90 mins). Six added minutes were decreed and Alty went forward. Bowerman and Rankine broke well on the left, the move ending as a Rankine header was saved.

Chester then applied some late pressure but the visitors almost snatched the game in the fifth added minute as Worsnop spilt a Rankine shot then saved the follow up from Bowerman.

A draw was probably a fair outcome but Altrincham had shown good spirit to come back from their half time deficit. The loss of Clee looks like reducing Alty's already small squad still further as they face a heavy January fixture list which continues on Tuesday at Leamington in the FA Trophy.