Match Report


Vanarama National League North match
played on Tuesday, 25 October 2016, at 7.45pm


Jim Harvey has had some mountains to climb in his managerial career but Altrincham is shaping up to be his Everest.

Playing against bottom club, winless Bradford Park Avenue, Altrincham got off to a good start as James Lawrie's fine goal put them ahead in only the eighth minute. But it was BPA who enjoyed the majority of the first-half momentum and they will have been disappointed to be trailing at the break with Deasy having done well to beat out a Sinclair effort. For their part Alty barely threatened the Avenue goal.

The Yorkshiremen did draw level six minutes after the break when, following a quick BPA throw, conceded unnecessarily by Cyrus, the visitors won a freekick. A rehearsed routine was not read by Alty and McKenna fired home from the edge of the box.

Ex-Alty striker Sinclair who, two minutes earlier, had missed a sitter when he rounded Deasy but fired well over the bar, then waltzed through the weak Alty defence and netted BPA's second in the 62nd minute. During the second half the home defence had looked shaky almost every time BPA attacked and the score got worse after 75 minutes. Alty lost possession 30 yards out and the ball was played for Wroe to convert comfortably and make it 3-1.

Belatedly Alty did show a bit more urgency and Miller scored with a fine shot from outside the box but with only seven minutes remaining, plus five more of added time, Alty could not get level.

REFEREE: Mr Simeon Lucas

Altrincham were without the injured Greg Wilkinson (hamstring) and the suspended Tom Hannigan. Simon Richman moved to the bench as Phil Marsh came in for his first start and Danny Hall for his second start since returning to the Club. Indeed, with the season already a third completed, Altricham were still determining their best squad. In addition to newcomers Hall and Marsh, Andy McWilliams was making only his second appearance for the club and the bench included Billy Hasler-Cregg and Harry Cain, who have both yet to start for the club in a league match.

BPA included ex-Alty defender Ryan Toulson and former striker Emile Sinclair but Danny Boshell was not included in tonight's squad.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and white socks): 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Andy McWILLIAMS, 4. John CYRUS, 5. Danny HALL, 6. Alan GOODALL (capt), 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Jake MOULT, 9. Phil MARSH, 10. Damian REEVES, 11, Sean MILLER. Subs 12. Simon RICHMAN, 14. Billy HASLER-CREGG, 15. Sam HEATHCOTE, 16. Harry CAIN, 20. Andrew DAWBER.

: BRADFORD PARK AVENUE (Green and white hooped shirts, white short and green socks) 1. Jon Worsnop, 2. Ryan Toulson (capt), 3. Matt Hill, 4. Adam Nowakowski, 5. Shane Killock, 6. Luke Dean, 7. Nicky Wroe, 8. Ben McKenna, 9. Emile Sinclair, 10. Chris Sharp, 11. Nicky Boshell. Subs 12. Joe Kearns, 14. Sanchez Payne, 15. Lee Spires, 16. Jack Ryan, 17. Dan Eccles.


Mike Garnett's records summarise previous results between our clubs:

Bradford PA arrived without a win all season but under new manager, the former Guiseley Boss Mark Bower they had apparently put in a good performance last time out, away to Gloucester City. For their part, Altrincham were seeking a first home win in the league this season.


Altrincham started with a back-three of Hall on the left, Cyrus on the right and Goodall central, which was yet another new back-line for a team which has been unable to field a settled team this season. With Patterson and McWilliams implicitly given licence to operate as wing-backs the intention seemed to be to compensate for the squad's general lack of wingers.

On a cool but dry night, BPA kicked off towards the away end. The visitors started the more brightly of the two teams and former Alty man Sinclair should have done better than spoon a shot poorly over the bar, and wide, from left of goal in only the fourth minute.

But against the run of early play, Altrincham took an early lead. A fine run up the middle by Miller led to his feeding the ball to his left. From outside the box, left of centre, James Lawrie curled a superb shot just inside the keeper’s left-hand post to give Altrincham the lead (8 mins).

Two minutes later, a fine McWilliams cross gained his side a corner after a promising move. From this, a goalward flick from Lawrie was saved. AT the other end, Goodall chested a ball down to BPA's Sharp but he shot wide (11 mins). After a corner, won by Reeves, had been cleared a Reeves shot drifted wide from 20 yards (14 mins).

BPA threatened when Sharp beat both Marsh and Moult but his cross was cleared. Next, Sinclair outpaced Cyrus but Deasy blocked his shot well and then saved impressively from a follow-up long shot at the cost of a corner. From this, a Killock header dropped to Deasy (22 mins).

After Goodall headed out a BPA cross for a corner, Alty left three men upfield for the kick. Alty were slow to react to the corner but Boshell's shot was blocked.

The next few minutes were fairly scrappy but Alty boss Jim Harvey was certainly more vocal than usual on the touchline as he sought to turn around his under-performing side. However, BPA were enjoying a lot of the ball and Altrincham were making too many unforced errors to be convincing with their 1-0 lead. Bradford's Sharp went close with a shot which flew inches wide from the edge of the box, whilst Alty were not threatening at other end (36 mins).

Things looked up as Goodall's excellent long ball located Marsh but he crossed the ball to keeper Worsnop, from right of goal (38 mins). As the interval approached Lawrie fired well over after he had started a good move and McWilliams had got in a cross. The interval was reached with Alty's lead intact but BPA would feel that deserved to be level as they have had enjoyed more of the forward threat.


Early in the second half a Miller run led to a foul on Lawrie, 27 yards out but the victim took a poor freekick (47 mins). Altrincham continued to look far from comfortable at the back as Cyrus's mis-control led to a throw on the BPA left, which was smartly taken and Goodall was drawn into a foul to halt the visitors' advance, just outside his own box.

The two Bradford men standing over the ball played the ball from one to the other and then, a short distance right to the unmarked McKenna as Altrincham failed to read the danger. McKenna's shot from outside the box put Bradford level (51 mins).

Patterson was hurt as the goal was scored but he resumed after treatment. On the game's resumption, a Moult trip earned him a yellow card (54 mins).

Soon, Patterson's low cross won Altrincham a corner on right but nothing came of this. It was Bradford who next went closer to scoring as it needed a fine save by Deasy to tips Nowakowski's long-range shot round the post for a corner (59 mins). Bradford were on the front foot now as Boshell fired just over the bar from the edge of the box. Alty were making their situation worse with their own errors as, now, Moult lost the ball and Sinclair rounded Deasy and seemed certain to score. But the big striker inexplicably fired miles over the bar to spare his former club from punishment (60 mins).

The respite for Alty's poor defending was brief. Following a Lawrie foul, near half way, Sinclair walked through Alty's defence on the visitors' left of goal and this time scored comfortably from close range to give Avenue the lead (62 mins).

Alty responded with the arrival of Hasler-Cregg for Reeves. Patterson and Jim Harvey then exchanged words after an error by the defender as Altrincham looked rattled.

Their lack of confidence was evident in a badly misplaced sideways pass by Cyrus, which conceded a throw. However, they nearly got a respite as McWilliams seemed to be pushed over in the box but Mr. Lucas waved play on (66 mins).

The errors continued as Lawrie lost the ball then fouled his man near half way and then Hall allowed a ball to bounce over him but Deasy just collected it in time. Alty were now hitting balls hopefully forward rather than crafting openings but hopes were raised by Lawrie's 20 yarder which Worsnop had to tip over the bar for a corner. Following this, Goodall shot just wide.

Soon after Goodall had almost played Marsh in on goal, Miller was bundled off the ball some 30 yards from his own goal. From the right Boshell laid the ball inside for former Barnsley man Nicky Wroe to make it 3-1 for the Avenue (75 mins).

Three minutes later Hasler-Cregg was knocked over in the box but, again, the appeals fell on deaf ears. BPA should have scored again when Sinclair got past Cyrus and McWilliams had to clear off the line. Sinclair then hit the cross bar from the loose ball as Alty suffered again for their poor defending (81 mins).

Each side made a change as Richman replaced Goodall and Spires came on for BPA's McKenna (82 mins). Altrincham were then offered a lifeline as Miller advanced from slightly left of goal and his shot came down off the crossbar to make it 2-3 (83 mins). Alty had scored two fine goals which both owed much to individual technique rather than being created from a well-crafted move.

BPA now delayed the restart and got a booking for that. Soon Lawrie almost played in Marsh as the home side displayed some belated urgency. However, at the other end Deasy now had to punch clear but Boshell won a time-consuming corner and then Spires gained a freekick. At this point Kearns replaced the hobbling Nowakowski (90 mins).

In the four added minutes BPA could not capitalise after a Cyrus clearance was blocked by Sinclair. Then, with Cyrus apparently injured, Alty prepared Sam Heathcote to come on but this was not accomplished before the final whistle sounded on the second disappointing home game in succession, following last Saturday's defeat by AFC Telford United. This was BPA's first ever win at Moss Lane.

Manager Jim Harvey faces an uphill struggle to turn around Altrincham's poor season and to establish a settled side, especially in defence. For the second game running Altrincham looked extremely fragile at the back and the opposition could have scored more goals but for the profligacy of their strikers.