Match Report


Emirates FA Cup 3QR match
played on Saturday, 10 October 2016, at 3pm


The final score was rather flattering to Altrincham who, for much of the game, laboured to impose themselves on their visitors from Northumberland. The Highwayman had the better of the opening exchanges. But, four minutes before the end of the first 45, a magnificent ball into the box from Greg Wilkinson was met by a fine header from Damian Reeves, playing his 300th game for the club. His header, back across goal, looped in off the upright.

Altrincham improved in the second half but were still far from fluent and they failed to add to their lead till the 76th minute. Just a minute after coming on for his debut, as a substitute, Phil Marsh put in a fine, low cross, from right of goal, which Miller converted from close range. Earlier Alty had lost Tom Hannigan to injury in his first game back after a long lay-off.

Morpeth's afternoon was marred by a bad-looking injury to Chilton. After lengthy treatment he was stretchered off in a neck brace after being caught in the back in a melee in the Alty goalmouth. Alty took advantage of the one-man advantage to net a third, against the ten men, as Marsh's shot was pushed onto the post by the keeper, only for Richman to net the loose ball in the fourth minute of added time.

REFEREE: Mr David McNamara.

Loanee left-back Josh Doherty and striker Craig Hobson moved to the bench as Charlie Joyce returned from suspension and Tom Hannigan from injury. So, Goodall was moved to left-back. Lawrie was deployed on the right flank, with Miller on the left and Reeves was the lone man "up top".

Phil Marsh had now received his international clearance and so was named on the bench today. Damian Reeves's 300th appearance for Altrincham was marked by a pre-match presentation.

Morpeth included their 45 year-old FA Vase winning hero, Chris Swailes, at centre-back.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts): 1. Andrew DAWBER 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Alan GOODALL (c), 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. John CYRUS, 6. Charlie JOYCE, 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Jake MOULT, 9. Greg WILKINSON, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Sean MILLER. Subs: 12. Craig HOBSON, 14. Simon RICHMAN, 15. Phil MARSH, 16.Harry CAIN, 17. Danny HATTERSLEY, 18. Josh DOHERTY, 20. Tim DEASY (gk).

MORPETH TOWN (Blue & white striped shirts, blue shirts and socks) 1. Karl Dryden, 2. Damen Mullen, 3. James Novak, 4. Ben Sayer, 5. Chris Swailes, 6. Charles Reid, 7. Sean Taylor (c), 8. Jordan Fry, 9. Liam Henderson, 10. Michael Chilton, 11. Paul Robinson. Subs: 12. Luke Carr, 13. Robert Provett, 14. Matthew Grieve, 15. Michael Hall, 16. Matias Fondato, 17. Steven Anderson, 18. Stephen Forster.


Altrincham and Morpeth Town had never played against each other, previously.


On a cloudy, cool but dry afternoon at the J Davidson Stadium, Alty kicked off towards Golf Road. In only the second minute, a fine Wilkinson ball found the overlapping Patterson but he fired over the bar from right of goal.

Two minutes later, a low Patterson cross found Reeves at the near post but he got his attempted flick at goal wrong and the ball was sliced well wide (4 mins). Morpeth responded with an incisive move which culminated in Robinson striking the side netting from left of goal, from a feed by Chilton (6 mins).

After Henderson had won a throw on the right, a Morpeth corner followed. Alty were not yet playing well; they had lost the ball cheaply several times already (8 mins).

The visitors continued to pose a threat as a Henderson 20 yarder was saved by Dawber. Next, Goodall lost the ball and Taylor fed Robinson but he shot high and wide (10 mins). Alty had been decidedly second best so far.

Cyrus now underhit a back pass but Dawber just cleared befor Miller saw his shot saved after a clever backheel by Wilkinson (13 mins). Alty then had to scramble the ball clear after Morpeth had advanced menacingly into the box on their left.

At the other end, Reeves connected with a good Moult ball but Dryden saved well, one-handed to his right (19 mins). Alty made nothing of a corner won after a Swailes misheader but they went close when a Wilkinson cross cum shot flew across the face of goal. Next, a Miller 25 yarder and a Wilkinson effort were blocked but the loose ball was headed wide by Reeves (21 mins).

Alty were now settling a bit better but had a scare when Hannigan hurt himself as he made a challenge; it appeared to be a left-leg problem, but he played on (23 mins).

The game's first booking arrived when Lawrie was tripped from behind and Chilton was booked. Play continued relatively uneventfully with Altrincham enjoying plenty of the ball but still not playing fluently. And there was a scare when Cyrus took the ball towards his own goal, past the advancing Dawber, and the centre-half's clearance went to an opponent before the danger was cleared.

Next, Reeves was put clear but his shot was saved at Dryden's second attempt (39 mins). But, out of the blue, Wilkinson sent in a superb ball from near the left touchline, a good 40 yards from goal. Reeves rose well at the back post and planted a looping header back across goal where it went into the net off the framework of the goal to give Altrincham a 1-0 lead (41 mins).

When Wilkinson won the ball and was tripped on the edge of Morpeth's box, Reid was booked (44 mins). As the match went into three added minutes, Patterson stayed down for lengthy treatment after he had got into Town's box to receive another fine through ball from Wilkinson, who was orchestrating play in midfield.

Richman had been kitted out and prepared to replace the Alty right-back but he was stood down as Patterson resumed. In the fifth added minute, a Morpeth freekick was hit against Hannigan from 25 yards out from Alty's goal.

The first half had not been a classic but a good goal had separated the sides.


For the second half, Anderson came on for Morpeth for Henderson as the Northern League side kicked off towards Golf Road. Just two minutes into the half, Hannigan went down hurt and, in his comeback match after injury, the centre-back had to go off. His replacement was loanee Josh Doherty, who went to left-back, so Goodall moved to centre-back (49 mins).

In the 53rd minute, Wilkinson played in Reeves who was blatantly held by the already booked Reid. The referee and his assistant apparently did not see the incident as they took no action.

A Joyce 30 yard daisy-cutter flew just wide. Soon afterwards, Miller went down as he got into the box, under pressure from Swailes. The referee booked Miller, presumably for simulation (56 mins). Altrincham were now playing a bit better than previously but when Lawrie played in Reeves, he was caught offside. Crosses from Patterson and then Joyce maintained the momentum.

Now Richman replaced Joyce (62 mins) but, three minutes later, a Patterson foul near halfway got him booked (65 mins). Marsh was now prepared to come on but for some reason Alty opted to delay the change, perhaps because the visitors were enjoying some forward pressure. Indeed, a fine Taylor shot had to be tipped smartly over the bar by Dawber for a corner.

Next, Lawrie gave the ball away as Morpeth continued to apply pressure (68 mins). Finally a good Lawrie run into the box relieved the pressure. However, Cyrus now gave away a corner with a poor pass intended for Dawber. After this Cyrus hacked clear as Alty remained under pressure.

Morpeth brought on Carr for Robinson and, finally, Marsh got on the pitch for his debut, replacing Reeves (75 mins). Within a minute, the ball broke to Marsh on the right. He lay in a low cross from the right and Miller converted from close range to make it 2-0 (76 mins).

Soon afterwards, a Marsh lay off for Wilkinson saw the latter fire over the bar (78 mins). On 80 minutes Grieve replaced Sayer. Then, Altrincham survived strong penalty appeals in a goalmouth melee. In this episode, Chilton was caught accidentally in the back and seemed to twist as he fell to the ground. A lengthy stoppage for treatment was ended as the unfortunate player was stretchered off in a neck brace, five minutes after first going down (86 mins).

Having used their subs, Morpeth played on with ten men. Seven added minutes were announced during which Moult fired over, Marsh dragged a shot wide, Wilkinson saw a shot blocked and a Lawrie shot was beaten out before keeper Dryden impressively blocked Cyrus's point-blank follow up.

But the pressure finally told as a good move ended with a Marsh shot, which Dryden pushed onto his right post, only for Richman to net the loose ball (90+4 mins).

Curiously the ref terminated the game after six rather than the seven added minutes that had been announced. The final score had been harsh on the visitors who had remained in the game for much of the proceedings. It is to be hoped that Chilton's injury proves not to be as serious as it appeared at the time.