Match Report


Vanarama National League match
played on Saturday, 26 March 2016, at 12.45pm


Altrincham threw away a potential three-point haul against a side which played with ten men from the 52nd minute, with a poor performance at The Shay. They wasted several clear chances, three of them one on ones, with Ginnelly's effort which struck the post the nearest to an Alty goal. Ironically, from that incident, the depleted Shaymen went to the other end and scored.

Conditions were made difficult by a bobbly pitch and a gusty wind but the standard of play in the first half suggested that neither side was in a false position at the wrong end of the table.

The standard only improved after the 52nd minute dismissal of Bolton for bringing down Reeves as he got free just outside the box. Five minutes later Ginnelly failed to beat keeper Johnson in a one on one and ten minutes after that he beat the keeper from a similar situation but his shot trickled against the inside of the post and was cleared off the line by Hibbs.

Play immediately switched to the other end where a fine tackle by Leather was followed by the ball rebounding to Hughes who slotted the ball past Deasy's legs to give the ten men the lead,

Alty struggled to produce any fluent football but Reeves missed a good chance in injury time, guiding Moult's pass beyond the back post.

Halifax now move above Alty, whose position looks perilous, before vital clashes with Southport and Kidderminster in the coming week. Torquay's heavy defeat at Dover means Alty remain 20th, outside the relegation place but only on goal difference.


REFEREE: Mr M Salisbury

Altrincham were without Marcus Holness (back) and Ryan Crowther (infection), as well as their four long-term absentees (Coburn, Marshall, Clee and Densmore). Jimmy Phillips, Alty's loanee from from Gateshead was on the bench. Sam Heathcote came in, at right-back, for his first start in six matches, so Scott Leather moved to centre-back, allowing Jordan Sinnott to play in right midfield.


FC HALIFAX TOWN (Blue): 23. Sam Johnson, 2. James Bolton, 4. Kingsley James, 3. Scott McManus, 6. Hamza Bencherif, 14. Matt Brown, 15. Kevin Roberts, 35. Nicky Wroe (capt), 19. Waide Fairhurst, 17. Josh MacDonald, 9. Jordan Burrow. Subs: 1. Jordan Porter, 24. Connor Hughes, 16. Jake Hibbs, 40. Shaquille McDonald, 12. Richard Peniket.

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks): 17. Tim DEASY, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 6. Scott LEATHER, 5. Luca HAVERN, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Jake MOULT (capt), 8. Simon RICHMAN, 20. Jordan SINNOTT, 15. Josh GINNELLY, 7. James LAWRIE, 10. Damian REEVES. Subs: 26. James PHILLIPS, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 9. Michael RANKINE, 23. Callum WILLIAMS, 24. Rhain DAVIS


This game had been moved from Friday afternoon to Saturday lunchtime to accommodate the BT Sport cameras which were transmitting the game, live.

Mike Garnett's records show the historical statistics of Altrincham games with FC Halifax Town...


Alty kicked off defending the away end of the main stand. Heathcote was deployed at right back, with Leather in the centre. Alty started the more brightly of the sides as a Lawrie cross was cleared before Ginnelly was flagged offside as his chip hit the bar (4 mins).

Next, a Sinnott left footer had to be saved at full stretch by Johnson. There was good vocal support for Alty as their team held the advantage in the early stages.

After Sinnott had found Ginnelly, Richman went down in the box but it was not a penalty (12 mins). However, when Reeves was barged over near half way, a freekick was awarded.

Play stuttered on without any real fluidity from either side. After Lawrie had been harshly penalised in his own half, McManus's free kick to Deasy was symptomatic of the standard of play (24 mins).

Halifax then had to bring on Hibbs for Brown who seemed to have a head injury (26 mins). The game was into its 30th minute before the match's first corner arrived. It arose from a Macdonald cross, which Heathcote missed but Griffin covered at the expense of the flag kick.

Deasy saw some rare action as he saved from James after a Griffin clearance had been blocked (33 mins). Next Fax won another corner, this time off Heathcote.

Two minutes before the end of first half normal time, Griffin was booked for holding the lively Macdonald, though the left-back claimed his shirt was being held.

Deasy punched McManus's freekick clear (44 mins).

Alty had started quite well but, overall Halifax had enjoyed more of the forward momentum, albeit to little effect.


Halifax kicked off after BT Sport camera and interviewees finally left the pitch. Soon, Havern was penalised on the front edge of the box against MacDonald. In keeping with the lamentable standard of play so far, the freekick went straight into the Alty wall.

Next a Macdonald shot was saved but the game's overall mediocrity continued as unforced errors from both sides prevented any rhythm being established in the proceedings. Alty had carried little forward threat so far but then Reeves got free up the middle and was brought to ground by the retreating Bolton for a freekick on the front edge of the home box. Mr. Salisbury produced a deserved red card and it was now 11 versus 10. Sinnott's freekick was saved low down by Johnson (53 mins).

Halifax responded as James forced a Deasy save before the Shaymen brought on midfielder Hughes for Fairhurst (55 mins). Two minutes later Alty had a great chance to go ahead. Ginnelly was put through up the middle but could only poke a weak effort at the keeper's legs. From a follow-up, Sinnott's cross was too high (57 mins).

On the hour mark, Alty brought on striker Rankine for defender Heathcote, which prompted the relocation of Sinnott to right back. Next, as the game actually became a bit livelier, a Lawrie shot was fumbled clear by Johnson but then Ginnelly cross went directly to the fortunate keeper (61 mins). There was a strange moment when Rankine let a ball go out for what he believed was a corner even though it had not come close to touching an opponent.

After Ginnelly had been tripped on the Alty left, his freekick went straight to the keeper. Halifax then swapped the impressive Macdonald (Josh) for McDonald (Shaquille). Almost immediately, Reeves put Ginnelly in the clear up the middle. But for the second time the loanee failed to finish. This time he did get the ball past the onrushing Johnson but it trickled onto the inside of the base of the post and was cleared off the line by Hibbs. Play immediately switched to the other end where, despite a fine Leather tackle on the edge of the box, the ball ran free to the unmarked Hughes who put the ball through Deasy's legs to make it 1-0 (68 mins).

Following this, a Richman shot reared up into the Halifax keeper's face and led to an Alty corner, which Lawrie wasted. Johnson was soon involved again, smothering the ball ahead of Richman.

After 73 minutes, Alty introduced Gateshead loanee Phillips for Lawrie. There was then a stoppage for treatment to Ginnelly but Altrincham were looking far from convincing despite their one-man advantage.

Hughes escaped without punishment when he dived to the ground despite Deasy withdrawing from a potential challenge (79 mins). Alty continued to labour with a misplaced pass from Sinnott, followed by one by Griffin and then a weak Ginnelly shot, before Richman was robbed by Wroe.

After a Rankine shot had been blocked, Sinnott fired well off target before Rankine was penalised for backing in to Bencherif. When Hughes was allowed to dribble into the Alty box it underlined the seeming gap in confidence between the ten men and the eleven.

Four minutes from time, O'Keefe replaced Richman in midfield. But the unforced errors continued as time ticked away. However, Reeves now won a corner but this came to nothing and, from it, Moult volleyed miles over from Leather's knock down beyond the back post.

Into injury time and a Griffin cross yielded another corner, which again came to nothing. But in the third of the five added minutes, a fine ball from Moult, who was about 30 yards out, located Reeves, unmarked in the box. But the striker was only able to guide the ball wide. There was still time for another corner, won by a Rankine shot. Even keeper Tim Deasy came up for this but it ended with a Havern effort to keeper Johnson (90+4 mins).

And so, Altrincham had disappointingly let slip a glorious opportunity to put some space between themselves and the bottom four against a side reduced to ten men. The only good thing to emerge from the day was the outcome of the games played later in the afternoon. Torque’s 5-0 reverse at Dover dropped them back below Alty and Guiseley's defeat kept them within range of Alty, who have a game in hand over the Yorkshiremen. But it will need a vastly improved showing on Monday against Southport to ensure that Alty keep their heads above water.