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Evo-Stik League Premier North match
played on Saturday, 12 August 2017, at 3pm


Pre-season optimism at the J. Davidson Stadium was dealt a heavy blow with this heavy home defeat by a Stafford Rangers team which gave its hosts a lesson in both defending and taking chances. Alty were without the injured Disney and Miller, the ill Amis and the suspended Poole but nevertheless enjoyed more than their share of the ball and, in terms of the corner-kick count, they were comfortable winners. But they lacked incision in and around the box and were prone to defensive lapses.

Rangers took a tenth-minute lead against the run of play as Briscoe cleverly fed Westwood, whose low shot beat Deasy, just inside his left post. Thomas made it 2-0 just before the break, with a goal out of nothing as he volleyed the ball impressively over Deasy from the edge of the box.

Although Johnston harried Rangers throughout the afternoon, they defended solidly and wrapped up the game seven minutes after the break when Batchelor, one of the smaller men in their team, stooped to head home a corner unchallenged. The final blow to Alty came in the 85th minute when Moult's penalty was saved, low to his left, by keeper Whitehouse, the kick being awarded for a foul on Peers.

REFEREE: Mr Dale Baines

Alty were without the suspended James Poole and the injured John Disney and Sean Miller as well as striker Josh Amis who has had to have an operation for appendicitis. However, Phil Parkinson recruited winger Max Harrop from Nantwich on the eve of the game.

Also, shortly before the game, Stafford signed the experienced Exodus Geohaghon as well as defender Jordaan Brown but neither was to get onto the pitch today.

Stafford were captained by former Alty striker Mat Bailey, now an established defender. But Kyle Perry, their leading scorer, was only a substitute against his former club.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Lewis SHORT, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME 10. Sam SHERIDAN, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. Laurence TAYLOR, 14. Tom PEERS, 15. Max HARROP, 16. Chris LYNCH, 20. Tony THOMPSON

STAFFORD RANGERS (Orange shirts, grey shorts and socks) 1. Adam Whitehouse, 2. Sam Griffiths, 3. Kai Davis, 4. Kieran Morris, 5. Mat Bailey (c), 6. Jack Langston, 7. Joe Thomas, 8. Izak Reid, 9. Dan Westwood, 10. Louis Briscoe, 11. Richard Batchelor Subs: 12. Exodus Geohaghon, 14. Kyle Perry, 15. Jake Heath, Rich Gregory, 16. Levi Reid, 17. Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson.

This was the first competitive match for new manager Phil Parkinson after a generally positive series of pre-season friendlies.


Breaking the habit of the past few seasons, Altrincham went to the Golf Road for the pre-match formalities end. Rangers then kicked off, defending the away end.

There were two early stoppages as, firstly, Rangers' Batchelor went down for treatment before the first corner of the match could be taken by Altrincham. When this corner came out to Richman, the midfielder hit it hard towards goal but it struck Bailey in the face, prompting another pause for treatment (4 mins).

When Hannigan cleared the ball out of the ground, Johnston took advantage of the break to change his boots (7 mins). Soon, an excellent Short cross gained Altrincham another corner on the right after Hancock had done well. After taking the corner, a follow-up ball by Sheridan went for a goal kick.

But, against the run of play, Briscoe got the ball 20-odd yards from goal and, instead of unleashing his trademark shot, he cleverly fed Westwood whose low shot beat Deasy inside the keeper's left post to make it 1-0 to the visitors (10 mins).

Alty responded with two Hancock shots; the first went just wide and goalkeeper Whitehouse batted away the second, fired from left of goal, for another home corner (10 mins). Next a Moult 25-yarder cleared the bar. But, for all their attacking momentum, Altrincham were making unforced errors.

A fine Johnston run got him into the box, where his effort was blocked before a Richman shot won another corner, from which Alty's fifth corner followed. After this Whitehouse totally mispunched a cross and corner number six was the outcome (18 mins).

Alty's dominance continued as another well-struck Richman shot tested Whitehouse who had to beat the ball out from 20 yards. A further brace of Alty corners arrived in quick succession (22 mins). The second of these was poorly taken by Sheridan.

Stafford now got upfield and Deasy had to smother Briscoe's through ball after Thomas had done well. After good work by Short, a badly misdirected shot by Sheridan flew miles over the bar (24 mins). Better was a well-struck, low Hancock shot, which had to be pushed away by Whitehouse (26 mins).

Johnston was proving to be Alty's main threat with his trickery on the right wing but no clear chances were coming for the hosts as Stafford defended well. Next, Whitehouse just got to a through ball ahead of Hulme (29 mins). The pressure on the visitors continued as a fine Sheridan ball found Johnston, whose shot hit a defender.

But the visitors kept the home side quiet for the next few minutes, though Thomas was a little fortunate to escape with just a lecture for a foul on Johnston (37 mins). Alty were now faltering as, first, Sheridan lost the ball and, then, Johnston did so, too. Up front, Hulme was not getting much service. And then it got worse for Alty as once more the visitors gave their hosts a lesson in finishing.

From just outside the box, in a fairly central position, Thomas volleyed an impressive shot which looped over Deasy into the corner of the net, making it 2-0 (44 mins).

In the two added minutes, Alty gained their eighth corner of the first half but not one of them had seriously threatened to be converted into a goal. They had largely dominated the first half hour of the match but went into the break with a two-goal deficit, with Deasy scarcely troubled otherwise.


After a fairly uneventful few minutes, Stafford won a corner and showed Alty how to capitalize on such situations. But they were aided by poor marking as Batchelor, one of their smaller players, actually stooped to head home from the centre of the goalmouth. 0-3 down, inside the hour-mark and at home, was not the scoreline that Altrincham supporters had expected (52 mins).

Altrincham were not playing as well as in the opening half-hour of the match before Johnston won his side yet another corner. Corner number ten immediately followed from a Johnston cross. This prompted some desperate defending but Stafford finally got the ball clear (59 mins).

After another Johnston run to set up Hancock, the Alty left-wing man mishit his shot to the keeper. On 63 minutes a good move won Alty yet another corner, before flag-kick number twelve came from yet another Johnston advance. But, once again, it was poorly taken, after which Peers replaced Sheridan who had been out of sorts. It was almost Johnston against the world as yet another good run from the no.7 was produced but his shot was saved (65 mins).

Next Stafford withdrew Heath for Batchelor (69 mins). Peers was deployed on the left wing, with Hancock moving to the no.10 role. A double change came on 73 minutes as Taylor and Harrop came on for Richman and Hulme, with new signing Harrop occupying the left wing.

Four minutes afterwards, Fortnam-Tomlinson replaced Westwood but there was no real sign of an Altrincham comeback. However, with six minutes remaining, a Johnston run led to Peers winning a penalty from the keeper diving at his feet. There was a delay for treatment to a Rangers' player before Jake Moult smote the penalty, low to the keeper's left. Whitehouse seemed to have moved early but his save was allowed to stand to deepen Alty's frustration (85 mins).

Levi Reid now replaced Thomas (86 mins). His namesake, Izak, blasted a chance over the bar from a Short clearance as the game approached four additional minutes. There was to be no consolation goal for Altrincham who must now improve their performance markedly as they face away fixtures at Nantwich and Matlock over the next seven days.