Match Report


Vanarama National League North match
played on Saturday, 12 November 2016, at 3pm


Manager Jim Harvey rang the changes, leaving senior players Jake Moult, Damian Reeves, Tim Deasy, Simon Richman and Alan Goodall on the bench as Altrincham started with only one player who had been at the club last season (James Lawrie). There were three league debutants for this match (Obeng, Lenighan and Morrison-Derbyshire) but the afternoon ended with another defeat and The Robins are now nine points from safety.

Salford started the better but Altrincham were growing into the game when the visitors took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Phenix got in behind the defence, to the right of goal, and put his side ahead after goalkeeper Dawber had earlier made a couple of fine stops to keep the Ammies out.

Hope of a revival were undone as early as eight minutes after the interval when Allen's low shot from outside the box found the net.

Although Altrincham enjoyed some belated forward momentum late in the game, Miller's fine shot which hit the upright was the nearest they came to taking anything from the match.

REFEREE: Mr P Marsden

Altrincham had Wayne Thomas available after being cup-tied last Saturday and he started but Tom Hannigan had been injured in the match at Lincoln and was out today. Jim Harvey made multiple changes with John Cyrus his new captain today. Out of the starting eleven were Reeves, Moult, Deasy and Richman. On the eve of the match, Altrincham had signed defender Luis Morrison-Derbyshire and he started as did the other recent arrivals, Curtis Obeng and Simon Lenighan.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Andrew DAWBER, 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Andy McWILLIAMS, 4. John CYRUS (capt), 5. Luis MORRISON-DERBYSHIRE, 6. Wayne THOMAS, 7. Greg WILKINSON, 8. Simon LENIGHAN, 9. Curtis OBENG, 10. James LAWRIE, 11. Sean MILLER. Subs 12. Damian REEVES, 14. Jake MOULT, 15. Alan GOODALL, 16. Simon RICHMAN, 20. Tim DEASY.

SALFORD CITY (All blue): 1. Jay Lynch, 2. Michael Nottingham, 3. Patrick Brough, 4. Scott Burton, 5. Simon Grand (c), 6. Jack Deaman, 7. Jordan Hulme, 8. Sam Walker, 9. Mike Phenix. 10. Nicholas Haughton, 11. Richie Allen. Subs: 12. Billy Priestley, 14. Craig King, 15. Matt Warburton, 16. Chris Atkinson, 17. James Poole.


This was the first competitive match between the two clubs. At least one of the visitors' celebrity owners, Nicky Butt, was in the crowd today.


Following a minute's silence to commemorate Remembrance Day, Salford kicked off, towards their fans in the away end.

After making his debut in the FA Cup last week, Curtis Obeng was deployed in a more advanced position, whilst Simon Lenighan was in central midfield and Luis Morrison-Derbyshire was the left of three centre-backs, flanking Thomas, with Cyrus to the right.

City won the game's first corner, following which Walker blasted a shot miles over the bar (7 mins). Alty had been on the back foot since kick off and, now, a Wild tackle by Thomas gave away a freekick, 30 yards out centrally, to Salford. But Walker’s kick went to Dawber.

Altrincham's first sniff of a goal came with Lawrie's thirteenth-minute low cross which only just evaded the incoming Obeng in the goalmouth. Obeng impressed with a clever dummy which let in Miller but he mis-placed an attempted pass (14 mins).

For the Ammies, full-back Nottingham got Phenix to the right byline but City spooned the resulting chance over the bar. The impressive Fleetwood Town loanee, Haughton, was now allowed to run at goal but he fired over the bar (16 mins).

When Wilkinson lost a ball in midfield, it took a fine save by Dawber to keep out a Haughton shot (20 mins). It was an open game but Salford had had the better of the play so far. Derbyshire was making a steady debut but his ball was now just too long for Obeng.

Salford threatened as a Haughton cross just evaded Phenix at the back post. Dawber then let a City ball run out of play, wide right of his goal, and it was almost retrieved by an opponent, on the byline.

A Miller run led to Lawrie's intended pass being cut out but he earned a corner, which came to nothing as Obeng was penalised. On the half-hour mark a curling shot from Obeng went comfortably to goalkeeper Lynch.

Soon, after a fine tackle by Thomas, Salford won a corner from which a Walker shot was saved by Dawber as it hit him on the line and rebounded to safety (31 mins).

Two minutes after a Lawrie effort had flown just wide, Jake Moult came on in central midfield for Lenighan, who did not appear to have been injured (34 mins).

Altrincham now enjoyed their best spell so far. Obeng did well to feed Patterson but he got his feet mixed up inside the box. Then Keeper Lynch just got to a Lawrie ball ahead of Miller (38 mins).

For City a Haughton shot won a corner after a Cyrus miskicked clearance. And then a Phenix cross also gained a corner, this time off Derbyshire. It took a great point-blank save by Dawber from a Deaman header to keep it at 0-0 after the ball had been played into the box.

From a freekick, won when Lawrie was upended 40 yards out, Thomas headed Wilkinson's ball over the bar. Next, a Patterson ball flew across the face of City's goal as Alty continued to enjoy a good spell in an entertaining game for the neutral (43 mins).

But in the final minute of the forty-five, the Salford keeper's punt upfield led to McWilliams being beaten in a heading duel, which led to Phenix getting in between Derbyshire and Dawber to score from right of goal.


Salford's best player, Haughton, hit the base of the post after making space well for a shot, just three minutes into the second half. But he was soon down needing treatment, the second Salford injury requiring their physio's attention inside the opening minutes of the second half.

Referee Marsden stopped play and booked Grand, presumably for protesting that the official had allowed play to continue with Haughton down injured (50 mins). After two Altrincham freekicks had come and gone, full-back Nottingham's speculative long-range shot deflected to Allen who scored with a well-placed, low shot from the edge of the box, to make it 2-0 for The Ammies (53 mins).

Immediately striker Damian Reeves replaced defender Wayne Thomas for Alty with Patterson now becoming a more orthodox right back rather than wing-back. As Alty rocked after this setback, City won a corner from which Dawber made an impressive save, tipping the ball over the bar for another corner (56 mins).

After Cyrus got stranded upfield, Patterson did enough to force a wild shot from Allen before a similarly off-target effort at the other end from Wilkinson, which flew over the bar from 20 yards out (61 mins). Salford now replaced the injured Haughton with King (62 mins).

As Alty waited to take a corner, Salford also brought on Atkinson for Allen. Having executed a poor corner, Lawrie now got in a better cross for Miller who sliced an attempted volley off target (63 mins). The second half was proving less open than the first 45 minutes but on 69 minutes, Obeng headed over the bar a McWilliams cross after a good move initiated by Wilkinson.

City's final change came as Warburton replaced Phenix (74 mins). A City corner ended with a header over the bar but there was little sign of a comeback from the home side. When Lawrie had an on-target shot easily saved, it elicited ironic cheers from a section of the crowd (82 mins).

It presaged a belated late bit of forward momentum from Altrincham as, now, Miller advanced on the left and his shot hit the outside of the back post (83 mins). Two minutes later, a cross from McWilliams produced a glancing Reeves header which went just wide (85 mins). Next, a Moult effort won a corner before some idiot with a blanket over his head (said to be meant to resemble a chicken) ran onto the pitch and the game had to be stopped.

On the resumption, Lawrie was fouled and the ref stopped the game to book Burton with the irate Moult on the ball and advancing towards the box (88 mins). Then, Hulme tripped Patterson and was also booked (89 mins). Hulme then relieved the pressure as his shot won City a corner (90 mins). Five added minutes were played but Altrincham did not seriously threaten to score and so fell to their eleventh league defeat of the season. To make things worse, results elsewhere widened the gap between them and safety in the league to nine points.

With seventeen games gone, Altrincham remain far from a settled side and the radical changes of line-up today certainly did not produce a quick fix as the Alty boss seeks that elusive winning formula.