Match Report


Vanarama National League North match
played on Saturday, 1 April 2017, at 3pm


This result confirmed Altrincham's relegation but they should have emerged with at least a point, if not all three, following a spirited performance. Referee Marsden was the centre of controversy as he denied the visitors three very strong penalty appeals whilst granting Salford a more questionable spot-kick which got The Ammies back into game after they had trailed at the interval.

Altrincham had taken a deserved 38th minute lead when Gary Jones netted with a superb 30-yard strike. But thirteen minutes into the second half Sam Heathcote was penalised in his own box and Walker netted from the spot. The goal prompted the hosts best spell of the afternoon and they took a 62nd minute lead when Simon Grand scored from close range after Tomlinson had saved well from King's shot.

Alty finished strongly; they hit the bar through Owens, and referee Marsden waved away appeals for penalties when Owens was bundled over and when a defender appeared to stop the ball on the line with his hands. But, in the end, even a win for Alty would only have delayed the inevitable relegation which has been beckoning for some weeks.

And to compound their woes, Alty, already lacking eight injured players at kick-off, lost Tom Hannigan to another injury during the first half.

  • 38 mins: Gary JONES (Salford City 0 ALTRINCHAM 1)
  • 52 mins: Sam WALKER (penalty) (Salford City 1 ALTRINCHAM 1)
  • 62 mins: Simon GRAND (Salford City 2 ALTRINCHAM 1)

REFEREE: Mr Paul Marsden

Altrincham were without eight players; Shaun Densmore, Alan Goodall, Sean Miller, Craig Hobson, Clayton McDonald, Kyle Brownhill and John Cyrus were all sidelined whilst Tim Deasy was only fit enough to be on the bench. Tom Hannigan was starting only his twelfth league game of the season and this was his first start in nine league fixtures.

City had former international, Steve O'Halloran, returning from injury but Bradley Barnes was suspended.


SALFORD CITY (Red and white) 1. Jay Lynch, 2. Michael Nottingham, 3. Steve O'Halloran, 4. Scott Burton, 5. Simon Grand (capt), 6. Billy Priestley, 7. John Johnston, 8. Sam Walker, 9. Mike Phenix, 10. Harrison Panayiotou, 11. Nick Haughton. Subs: 12. Fraser Horsfall, 14. David Norris, 15. Craig King, 16. Jordan Hulme, 17. Josh Hine

ALTRINCHAM (Yellow shirts, shorts and socks) 1. Stuart Tomlinson, 2. Chris Lynch, 3. Andy McWilliams, 4. Laurence Taylor, 5. Jake Moult (capt), 6. Tom Hannigan, 7. Simon Richman, 8. Gary Jones, 9. James Lawrie, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs 12. Sam Heathcote, 14. Micah Evans, 15. Andy Owens, 16. Sam Patterson, 20. Tim Deasy


Alty needed to win today and for Worcester City to lose to ensure their stay in the division lasted for another week before an inevitable relegation was sealed.

Salford had won the reverse fixture 2-0.

The stadium had been transformed since last season with a new seated stand along the previously largely vacant Moor Lane side and a new covered terrace behind the goal at the Kersal end of the ground. A new stand is to be erected later this year at the clubhouse end of the ground whilst the historic concrete main stand is due to be demolished and replaced by a new structure.


Altrincham had an early chance as Lawrie sliced a shot just over the bar from the edge of the box inside the first minute. At the other end, Johnston's cross from the right only just evaded the incoming Phenix (4 mins).

But Alty threatened again in the eighth minute when a clever cut-back by Clee, who was as ever Alty's most constructive player, got Reeves running into the box but his progress was blocked. There was an early concern as Hannigan went down injured after a challenge in only the tenth minute.

Following treatment the centre-back continued. Altrincham continued to impress as Richman struck a fine shot from outside the box, which Lynch beat out well (14 mins). Though play had been fairly even, Alty had had the two best shots of the match.

But it was Salford who won the game's first corner, conceded by Moult (19 mins). When Reeves was clearly tripped, the referee played advantage, but Reeves's cross was sliced to safety by a defender for a corner (21 mins). Clee's corner from the right was headed off the line for another corner, this time on the left (23 mins).

When Laurence Taylor won the ball in midfield, he initiated the best move of the game so far when, via Clee, Lawrie, Richman, Jones, and Lynch the ball came to Clee whose dinked shot cleared the bar from 18 yards (27 mins). At the back, Hannigan was caught as he cleared the ball and moments later he went down and made clear that he could not continue. For Altrincham's major signing of the summer, from AFC Fylde, this was the latest setback in his injury-ravaged season.

So Heathcote came on to replace the stricken defender (30 mins). He played at right-back with Lynch moving to centre-back.

Johnston was looking lively for City but his progress was now blocked as he dribbled into the box from the right. Just after this a low cross led to a home corner whose award was questionable. Soon after this Lawrie was upended but Mr. Marsden saw nothing amiss, just as he did when an arm around Lawrie’s neck passed unnoticed. However, a Heathcote header from a Clee throw did earn Alty a corner. This was cleared out to Jones who hit a superb shot from 30 yards that whistled past Salford keeper Lynch to give Altrincham a 1-0 lead (38 mins).

Two fouls, by Moult and Lynch, gave Salford some hope but these were dealt with before another stoppage was needed to deal with a knock to Moult. As the Alty captain was being treated a spectator ran on to the pitch and lay down on the centre-spot. Nobody attempted to remove him but thankfully he got up and staggered off where he was joined by another spectator waving a plastic beer glass who had encroached on the pitch but not the playing area itself. Again no action seemed to be taken to deal with them (42 mins). Next a fine 25 yarder from Haughton went narrowly wide (43 mins) and soon afterwards, Tomlinson had to tip an effort round the post after Moult had conceded a freekick.

In the three added minutes, Taylor controlled the ball well and fed Lawrie whose flick towards goal elicited strong penalty appeals from the visitors to which Mr. Marsden turned a deaf ear (45+1 mins).


the second half began in bright sunshine but Alty started shakily. A Heathcote foul led to a freekick which Tomlinson missed, but the keeper complained of a foul on him in the process.

But Mr. Marsden attracted more serious controversy when he pointed to the penalty spot. Salford had advanced on the right and a foul challenge outside the box had been ignored as he quite reasonably played advantage. But when play moved into the box, the official spotted an alleged infringement and pointed to the spot. Heathcote was booked before Walker sent Tomlinson the wrong way from the spot (52 mins).

This got City back into the game, with a Grand header kissing the top of the Altrincham crossbar (56 mins). A double swap was made by the Ammies as King and Hulme replaced Panayiotou and Johnston (57 mins).

Soon after a Heathcote freekick had just cleared the bar (60 mins), a Nottingham long throw led to a shot from King, which Tomlinson beat out to his right. But Grand was hand to steer the loose ball into the net to give City a 2-1 lead they scarcely deserved (62 mins).

But with their heads up City threatened again with three corners in succession. Alty responded with their own double swap as forwards Owens and Evans replaced Jones and Reeves (69 mins).

Altrincham were going forward for an equalizer and a fine run up the right by Evans led to a cross and a diving header from Owens which narrowly cleared the bar (72 mins). When, a minute later, Owens appeared to be clearly pushed over from behind, referee Marsden surprisingly waved play on. Former Salford captain Chris Lynch was booked for his protestations (73 mins).

After Norris had replaced Phenix for City (80 mins) a Clee long throw was cleared and City counter-attacked. The covering James Lawrie was booked for his foul to halt City's progress (81 mins).

Following an Alty freekick on halfway by Heathcote, Lynch played the ball into the box where Owens' impressive overhead shot hit the crossbar (85 mins). Alty continued to threaten as a Lawrie shot was blocked before Moult volleyed over the bar (8 mins). Hulme was then booked for a foul on Lynch. There was more controversy for Mr. Marsden as a Moult shot was blocked and a follow-up seemed to be handled on the line. Alty assistant boss Robbie Lawton was justifiably annoyed as he berated the linesman for what he saw a "Third time" that a penalty had not been awarded. On the field, Moult was cautioned for his protest at the referee's decision (90 mins).

Despite more pressing in the five added minutes, Altrincham could not get an equalizer. The result confirmed their relegation, with five fixtures to play. but they had shown spirit in this match and with a more amenable referee would surely have taken at least a point from this game.