VAnarama National League North match
played on Saturday, 13 August 2016, at 3pm


Alty have now taken the lead with a James Lawrie goal in all three fixtures this season but ended up drawing each game 2-2! This time it felt better as they secured a point with a hard-earned 90th minute equalizer, after falling behind 2-1.

Lawrie's opener came from Lynch's feed and was impressively netted from close range, left of goal.

The hosts levelled in the 24th minute when Shiels shot home after a team mate had won a header, following a corner. The first half saw both sides lose their number nines to injury, in Alty's case Craig Hobson had started well but had to give way to Danny Hattersley in the 26th minute.

Town then lost their other striker, Knowles, to injury in the 35th minute.

Ainge headed Harrogate ahead eleven minutes after the interval, when he got to a freekick ahead of Dawber. But having used all their subs and with Leesley limping, they surrendered the forward momentum to Altrincham. The visitors kept battling and got their leveller in the 90th minute. Lawrie's corner was nodded forward by Cyrus for Reeves to nod home and make it 2-2.


REFEREE: Mr Glen Hart

Alty ring the changes again. Reeves returned and Joyce made his debut. Hannigan and Metz were out injured but Hattersley returned to the bench. Heathcote, Hasler-Cregg and Charlton were the unused players today. Town made one change as Burrell comes in.

Simon Richman was deployed at right-back with Sam Patterson on the left whilst Joyce, Moult and Lynch comprised the midfield,


HARROGATE TOWN (Yellow & black striped shirts, black shorts and socks) 1. Peter Crook; 2. Warren Burrell, 5. Simon Ainge, 6. Luke Shiels, 3. Ben Parker, 4. Andi Thanoj, 7. Lloyd Kerry, 18. Joe Leesley, 11. Andy Gascoigne, 9. Jordan Robertson, 10. Dominic Knowles. Subs: 12. Chib Chilaka, 16. Danny Ellis, 15. Jack Emmett, 14. Jon-Paul Pittman, 17. Tom Platt

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, red shorts, red socks) 1. Andrew DAWBER, 5. Simon RICHMAN, 4. John CYRUS, 6. Alan GOODALL (capt), 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Charlie JOYCE, 8. Jake MOULT, 11. David LYNCH, 7. James LAWRIE, 9. Craig HOBSON, 10. Damian REEVES. Subs: 12. Sean MILLER, 14. Jamie MENAGH, 15. Danny HATTERSLEY, 16. Simon GARNER, 20. Callum PRESTON


It was a breezy but bright and dry afternoon at the CNG Stadium, which has acquired a new 3G pitch as well as a new covered terrace since our last visit here.


Harrogate kicked off towards the Club house but it was Altrincham who started the better of the sides. However, there was little in the way of a goal threat before Hobson fed Patterson, who advanced and fired over the bar. Then Hobson won a corner from Reeves's feed.

But play was stopped when Robertson went down for treatment in the centre circle and had to hobble off to be replaced by Pittman (9 mins). Alty then got a short corner routine wrong but regained possession. Hobson fed Lynch, whose lay off to Lawrie led to his firing a firm shot past Crook from left of goal to secure a tenth-minute lead for Altrincham. It was the third successive game in which the former Northern Irish international had netted Alty's opening goal this season.

Harrogate had not got going yet as Altrincham played the more fluent football on the new playing surface. Surprisingly this had been heavily watered before kick off and some of the players seemed to struggle to keep their feet during the game.

However, the hosts began to settle and it took a fine Dawber block from close range after Leesley had been put clear to keep them out. A resulting cross won Town a corner on their right. It had been Town's first meaningful attack (18 mins).

At the other end, a Lawrie 25-yarder was deflected by a defender for a corner, which the keeper collected (21 mins). Next, a shot from Richman, from the right, was saved after Alty had again found plenty of space in the centre of the pitch. But Dawber was becoming the busier keeper as a Burrell 25-yarder had to be well saved but at the cost of a corner (23 mins).

A Harrogate head won the ball, from the corner, and the knock-down was lashed in by Shiels from 12 yards to make it 1-1 (24 mins).

Moments later Hobson, who had been playing promisingly, went down for treatment and had to be subbed. So, both number nines had now succumbed to injury. In this case, Hattersley replaced Hobson (26 mins).

At the back an excellent Goodall tackle was followed by another Cyrus clearance; the big centre-back was again impressive. However, Harrogate's Knowles was then played into the goalmouth but Dawber spread himself well to save.

Dawber resumed after treatment and when Lawrie won the ball, Lynch got in a well-struck shot but it flew just wide. Patterson was again excelling at left-back before the third injury of the match meant that Knowles had to give way to Chilaka. Knowles seemed to slip as he chased the ball to the byline and left the field holding his hamstring (35 mins).

Town now had a good spell and, when Burrell played a ball into the box, Alty conceded a corner (41 mins). Altrincham then threatened, as Lynch executed a clever dummy which allowed Joyce a shot but he fired over the bar.

In the three added minutes a bad challenge by Kerry on Patterson left the Alty man needing treatment and the Harrogate player booked (45+2 mins).


After Altrincham had kicked off, from a home freekick, Dawber was beaten to the aerial ball by Pittman but a goalkick resulted (47 mins). For Alty, Lawrie tried an ambitious volley from a throw-in which had been played to him, (as in his fabulous goal against Macclesfield), but he cleared the bar comfortably (48 mins).

Altrincham threatened, after 54 minutes, when Reeves was played in by Hattersley but he slipped as he shot and the ball slid wide of far post. Next, Thanoj was booked for a foul from behind on Lawrie. Two minutes later, Moult was penalised for a push, some 35 yards out from his own goal, on the Alty left. Dawber came to meet Leesley's freekick but he was just beaten to the ball by Ainge, who headed the ball into the net to make it 2-1 for Town (56 mins).

In response, Hattersley won a freekick, 20 or so yards from Harrogate's goal, but Lawrie's freekick went into the wall. Town counter-attacked and Gascoigne headed the ball over from a cross from the left. Next, Garner replaced Joyce which prompted a reshuffle as Patterson moved to right back so that Garner could slot in at left back. Richman was moved to right midfield.

After Garner had covered well, Harrogate won a corner, which was poorly overhit. Next, after Lawrie had been robbed of possession, Goodall was drawn into tripping Gascoigne and was booked. For Alty Garner's cross from the left was met by a flicked header from Reeves but it went well wide (66 mins).

Next, Ainge tripped Reeves 25 yards out centrally and the home keeper missed Lawrie's freekick. In the resulting melee, Hattersley went down in the box but no penalty was given (69 mins). Just after Town had countered and got in a shot across the face of goal, Gascoigne was replaced by Emmett (70 mins). Emmett was soon looking lively on the right and he won a corner, off Goodall. Harrogate were on top at this stage before a Garner cross led to a Reeves header which was deflected for a corner. Goalkeeper Crook gave a textbook lesson in catching crosses as he took the ball off the head of Cyrus who looked set to score (76 mins).

On 79 minutes, Miller replaced Richman in right midfield, after which Hattersley was penalised in a promising move by Alty. The visitors were now getting forward as Harrogate looked to hold their lead. Leesley appeared to be moving with difficulty which was a factor in their loss of impetus.

With Alty seeing a lot of the ball, Garner overhit his cross before Hattersley stretched and almost reached a cross from Moult. After this a well-struck 35-yarder from Moult was saved by Crook (85 mins). When Chilaka's foul gave Alty a freekick right of goal, 40 yards out, Lawrie's freekick was nodded back from beyond the back post by Moult and Miller's effort went wide. Another threat came as another Alty freekick from half way led to a Cyrus header and then Miller nodded wide from a difficult position (87 mins).

The freekicks kept coming as, now, Patterson was fouled 40 yards out. Crook fumbled the ball for an Alty corner. From the right, Lawrie’s corner was met by Cyrus's nod goalwards. Reeves was there to head the ball on, into the net, and make it 2-2 in the final minute of the ninety. Harrogate had paid the price for losing the initiative for the last ten minutes.

Leesley hobbled on with an apparent hamstring problem but the hosts were otherwise reduced to ten men in the fourth added minute when Kerry's trip on Patterson earned him a second yellow card and he was dismissed.

After another minute, or so, the final whistle sounded to confirm Altrincham's third successive 2-2 draw of the campaign. Altrincham dropped to joint fourteenth but all three of their opponents to date, like Altrincham, remain unbeaten this season, underlining how difficult a hand of fixtures Alty have been dealt so far.