Match Report


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


Altrincham, without the indisposed defenders Sam Patterson and John Cyrus, again had to ring the changes. So, midfielder Simon Richman played at right back and was to acquit himself well, whilst Tim Deasy returned in goal. Greg Wilkinson had to go off before the interval, prompting a further reorganization.

Two Tamworth goals in an eight-minute spell, both netted by Louis Briscoe, underlined Altrincham's continuing defensive frailities. The first, in the 20th minute saw the burly midfielder dribble through a series of ineffectual challenges before scoring.

His second came when he got a fortuitous rebound off a defensive block and he poked home his resulting shot.

Altrincham got back in the game after 32 minutes when a Wilkinson freekick came back off the wall and Miller laid the loose ball off to Lawrie, who scored with a fine, left-footed shot from the edge of the box which went in just inside the keeper's left post. Alty showed some spirit in the second half but could not get a second goal whilst Tamworth spurned a few half-chances and, from one excellent cross, Tomassen headed onto the bar fron close range when he should have scored.


REFEREE: Mr Richard Wild

Alty defenders Sam Patterson and John Cyrus were ill, so changes had to be made, with Simon Richman deployed as an emergency right-back and Alan Goodall joining Tom Hannigan at centre-back. There was also a change in goal where Tim Deasy returned in place of Andrew Dawber. New signing Clayton McDonald was on the bench, with fellow central defender Luis Morrison-Derbyshire.


ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts and white socks): 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Simon RICHMAN, 3. Andy McWILLIAMS, 4. Jake MOULT, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Alan GOODALL (capt), 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Simon LENIGHAN, 9. Greg WILKINSON, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Sean MILLER. Subs 12. Phil MARSH, 14. Craig HOBSON 15. Clayton McDONALD, 16. Luis MORRISON-DERBYSHIRE, 20. Andrew DAWBER.

TAMWORTH (Yellow shirts and socks and red shorts) 1. James Belshaw (capt), 2. Andy Burns, 3. Stephen Morley, 4. Ben Fox, 5. Luke Jones, 6. Jack Lane, 7. Louis Briscoe, 8. Joe Clarke, 9. Danny Newton, 10. Ross Dyer, 11. Connor Taylor. Subs: 12. Stephen Tomassen, 14. Jed Davies, 15. Aaron Opoku, 16. Andy Morrell, 17. Louis Ezewele.


Mike Garnett provides a statistical summary of our previous encounters:

So, Tamworth had never previously scored in a league match at Moss Lane but they arrived pushing for a play-off place while Altrincham were still in search of a first home league win in their tenth fixture at the J. Davidson Stadium in the Vanarama National League North.


Tamworth kicked off towards their 37 supporters in the away end. But, in just the second minute, a mistake by Lane allowed Reeves a run towards goal but his low cross was cleared.

Four minutes later, Tamworth responded as their robust striker Newton got clear but he delayed to bring the ball onto his left foot and Alty were able to block his effort. The ball came back to Newton but he shot wide from 15 yards.

It was an end to end opening to the game as, now, Miller won Altrincham a corner on their left, which Goodall headed wide from Lawrie's kick (10 mins). For Alty, Miller was looking their most lively player and he now almost played in Reeves as Alty continued to play quite well.

They survived a scare when Hannigan, in trying to prevent the ball going for a throw-in, lost possession. But he got back well to make a vital recovery tackle inside the box (14 mins). An equally vital defensive touch was made by McWilliams on the edge of his own box as Newton again menaced (18 mins).

Altrincham then allowed Briscoe to dribble up the inside left channel, through two or three half-hearted challenges, to score, sidefooted, from 12 yards (20 mins).

Spotting Belshaw off his line, Moult tried a 40-yarder but his effort drifted over the bar (21 mins). For the Lambs, the lively Newton now shot wide. The Lambs' striker again proved a handful as he turned past Hannigan, but Goodall covered well (25 mins).

Before a freekick for a foul on Hannigan, Taylor was lectured by referee Wild. A Lenighan error followed the freekick and, soon afterwards, Briscoe got a fortunate rebound off an Alty defender and poked home his, and his team's, second goal (28 mins).

Soon after the re-start, a clever volley by Briscoe flew over the bar.

Altrincham responded with a Lawrie 20 yarder, which forced a good diving save to keeper Belshaw's left. Moments later, Clarke fouled Miller, some 28 yards out from goal. Wilkinson's freekick went into the wall but Miller laid off the loose ball to Lawrie who scored well, with an excellent left-footed drive which flew in just inside the keeper's left post (32 mins). So, Alty were back in the game.

Buoyed by their goal, Wilkinson beat his marker and fired in a shot which Belshaw could only hold at the second attempt (34 mins). At the other end, Newton turned past Goodall but his shot just cleared the bar.

In the 38th minute, Hobson came on for Wilkinson who went down the tunnel with physio Alan Ainsley, presumably for treatment. Hobson was twice penalised over the next few minutes and received a referee's lecture for his misdemeanours (45 mins).

During a surprisingly long three minutes of added time, Lawrie lost the ball but Briscoe cleared the bar on a counter-attack.

Alty had done well to get themselves back in the game after conceding two disappointing goals.


The opening minutes of the second half were relatively uneventful before Newton got to an excellent cross from the right ahead of Deasy. Newton's header seemed goalbound but somehow was cleared off the line by Moult after seeming to come back off the inside of the post (52 mins).

Miller continued to look Altrincham's main attacking threat and, next, a shot from him deflected to Belshaw (54 mins). The visitors now enjoyed some dominance with a corner being followed soon afterwards by Morley heading the ball into the net but he was clearly offside and the effort was ruled out.

But Altrincham lifted themselves again with a magnificent Miller run up the inside left channel, after he had lost the ball initially. However, Belshaw came out to block Miller's shot (57 mins). When Hobson appeared to be sandwiched by two opponents, in the air, Mr. Wild surprisingly gave the freekick to the visitors and booked the bemused Hobson (58 mins).

Alty were in danger when a ball over the top saw Newton outpace Hannigan but his lob over the advancing Deasy dropped wide. Altrincham now replaced central-midfielder Lenighan by Marsh, who slotted in on the right of midfield (59 mins). Lenighan has now made three starts but has yet to get beyond the 64th minute.

Tamworth had been looking fairly comfortable with their lead but an end to end spell ensued as Altrincham now showed some spirit. Newton was booked after a foul on Hannigan, presumably for persistent offending during the game (70 mins). After 73 minutes Altrincham brought on six feet six inch Clayton McDonald for his first appearance, replacing Goodall (who must be some nine inches shorter) at centre-back (73 mins). McDonald became the Club's 32nd player to make a debut (or second debut on returning to Alty) this season and the 37th player to be used in league and cup fixtures since August.

After 75 minutes, Tamworth brought on Davies for Taylor but two minutes later a Miller shot gained a corner on the left for Altrincham. After 79 minutes, Tamworth's debutant loanee, Fox, was booked for a foul on Miller and two more minutes after this, Briscoe went off and was replaced by Thomassen (81 mins).

The sub should have settled the game in the 83rd minute when he headed a fine cross by Davies onto the bar from close range. Tamworth managed to play out the remainder of the match and four added minutes without too many alarms and, so, Alty completed their tenth home league match of the season without a win.

Nuneaton's win today leaves Altrincham twelve points from safety with almost half of the season gone. However, there were some encouraging signs, particularly in the shape of Sean Miller, but the defence remains unsettled and, at times, porous. But the time left for a recovery becomes ever shorter.