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Evo-Stik League Premier Division match
played on Saturday 9 September 2017, at 3pm


Altrincham, with both Joel Bembo-Leta and Max Harrop making their first starts, were deserved winners against a physical Barwell side which, with another referee, might have finished with fewer than eleven men.

And it was Harrop who put Altrincham ahead in the seventeenth minute when quick thinking by Short led to his throw giving Johnston a chance, which the keeper beat out towards the goalscorer.

After Stanley had brought down Hancock, the Alty man got up to hit a superb freekick into the net from 20 yards, five minutes before the interval.

Barwell made a double change at the break and got back into the game when Kyle Perry poked the ball home after 64 minutes, against his former employers.

However, after seeing off a brief period of home pressure, Altrincham finished the game well, with the hardworking Hulme manufacturing a goal for Peers in the fifth minute of added time.

REFEREE: Mr Richard Eley

Joel Bembo-Leta and Max Harrop made their first starts for Altrincham as Densmore moved to the bench and James Poole had to be replaced on the teamsheet after problems in the warm up. The visitors were also without Laurence Taylor, John Disney, Simon Richman and Sean Miller through injury, though Ben Harrison returned to start today.


BARWELL (Green & yellow) 1. Liam Castle, 2. Jack Whitmore, 3. Elliot Percival, 4. Craig Stanley, 5. Michael Townsend (c), 6. Nigel Julien, 7. Jake Heath, 8. Ryan Seal, 9. Kyle Perry, 10. Eddie Nisevic, 11. Dec Towers. Subs: 12. Owen Story, 14. Tom Bates, 15. Cameron Gilchrist, 16. Ryan Baldwin, 17. Ryan Robbins

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


Altrincham were playing their first ever league game against Barwell today. Alty's only previous encounter with the Leicestership club had come almost three years earlier in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round. On that occasion the Robins secured a 3-0 win with a goal in first-half injury time by James Lawrie being followed by second-half goals from Kyle Perry and Damian Reeves. Ironically, Kyle had recently joined Barwell.


After torrential rain in Manchester and en route, the sun was shining at Barwell before kick off. The teams changed ends before Kyle Perry kicked the game off. Despite clear holding by Perry, Barwell were awarded a freekick which Deasy beat away as Heath's effort headed for the bottom corner (2 mins).

In an uneventful opening, Johnston was prominent for the visitors but play was stopped after eight minutes when Sheridan took a blow and had to go off briefly for treatment to a bloodied nose (8 mins).

A Whitmore cross was headed out for the match's first corner by Jones. For Alty, Sheridan's fine long ball almost set Johnston free on the left (13 mins).

A quickly taken Short throw allowed Johnston a shot which Castle kept out but the ball ran to the right to the unmarked Harrop who swept his shot, from 15 yards or so, into the bottom corner of the net inside the near post to give Alty the lead (17 mins).

Next, Sheridan won the ball twice in a minute but Barwell cleared their lines (21 mins). However, after this, a Jones misheader towards Deasy allowed Barwell to win a corner but this came to nothing.

Castle then just managed to kick clear as Hulme closed him down (26 mins) but the game was not proving to be a flowing spectacle.

Johnston now won a corner off Townsend after another Alty throw had almost caught out Barwell again (29 mins). And, moments later, Harrop won Alty another corner on their right. Castle palmed this away for a throw, after which an Alty appeal for hands in the box went unheeded.

At the back, Bembo-Leta was having a steady debut whilst further forward Alty were now sustaining some pressure on Barwell. A Hulme shot was blocked before a smart Harrop turn led to a Sheridan cross (33 mins).

When Percival pushed over Harrop, the Barwell man then appeared to kick the grounded Alty man which prompted a melee from which Percival escaped with a yellow card (36 mins).

Goalmouth action was scarce and, when Perry headed a towering cross wide, that was as good as it got at this stage (38 mins).

Barwell's no-nonsense approach saw Hancock tripped deliberately 25 yards from goal. It should have been a booking for Stanley but Hancock thumped home a superb freekick to make it 2-0 (40 mins).

Towers now fouled Jones from behind as the physical challenges continued. But, as halftime approached, it was Alty in the dock as Sheridan fouled Nisevic and escaped with a word from the referee (43 mins).

When Townsend's studs raked the back of Bembo-Leta, the referee produced a yellow card both for the offender and an Alty man who seemed to be Deasy, presumably for dissent (44 mins). So, Alty deservedly led at the interval.

Half-Time: BARWELL 0

For the second half, Barwell introduced two subs in Baldwin and Robbins, for Whitmore and Seal but, before he came on, Robbins answered a call of nature behind the dug out!

After Alty had kicked off, following a fine Hancock ball, a Harrop shot was blocked. Once again Hulme chased a seeming lost cause towards the Barwell keeper and almost got the ball, leaving Castle briefly stranded outside his box before Barwell cleared the danger (48 mins).

Play continued fairly scrappily before a Hancock ball fed Johnston, whose shot was half-stopped by the keeper but the ball ran on and hit the post before Castle could gather it (50 mins).

At the other end, Percival did well before Robbins sliced a good chance wide for Barwell (51 mins). After this, an opportunist 20-yard volley by Hulme was only just off target after Townsend had made an error.

Now, after Jones had been penalised versus Robbins, heavy rain started to fall. Next, a foul left Sheridan needing treatment and the offender was lectured. Soon after this, Nisevic won a corner on the left. From this, Jones was clearly fouled but another corner followed, which Deasy collected (60 mins).

When Deasy miskicked to a Barwell man, Jones headed clear the resulting shot directed at the vacant goal. With rain pouring down, a bizarre offside was flagged against Johnston when the offender was a team-mate not involved in the play, and, from the resulting freekick, Barwell went up to the other end. A Robbins ball was chipped over the defence and Perry slid the ball into the net from close range to make it 1-2 (64 mins).

Alty responded to this setback by bringing on Peers for Harrop (66 mins). As Barwell seized the initiative, Deasy now had to save from Percival after a Perry knock down, before Percival won a corner .

Gilchrist now came on for Towers for Barwell as the home side took two successive corners. From the second, Townsend seemed to be pulled over in box but Alty survived strong appeals. For Alty, Deasy resumed after treatment for a knock received in the above incident, with the rain still pouring down (71 mins). Next Peers was caught out at his own back post but Deasy saved the day as the heavens opened torrentially.

Altrincham had twice led leads of two or more goals slip in games earlier this season so there was some concern in the visiting supporters' ranks as Barwell enjoyed their best spell of the afternoon.

In what was now a rainstorm of Biblical proportions, Hulme won his side a corner and further relief came for Altrincham in the shape of a freekick when Harrison was caught late by Baldwin who was booked for his second questionable challenge of the afternoon (77 mins). Amazingly, just seconds later, Jones was fouled by the recently booked Baldwin as he pushed his luck.

As quickly as it had started, the rain now almost stopped and, after two successive Short throws, Sheridan fired in a superb 20 yarder from a central position but it flew inches over the bar (81 mins).

Altrincham had now weathered the storm, both from the elements and from Barwell, as they managed the game's conclusion efficiently. Next, the busy Hulme robbed Stanley but saw his well-struck shot saved, then Julien brought down Hancock about 25 yards from goal. Hancock could not emulate his earlier freekick, as this time he hit the ball firmly into the defensive wall (84 mins).

Alty introduced defender Tom Hannigan on for winger John Johnston and adopted a back line of five for the closing stages (86 mins). Up front, more impressive running by Hulme won his side a throw at the Barwell end. In the final minute of normal time, Peers won a freekick but then spoilt it by getting booked for timewasting (90+1 mins).

Five added minutes were decreed as Alty worked hard to keep the ball upfield. In the fifth added minute, Townsend felled Short and then appeared to stand on the defender but referee Eley saw nothing amiss. Yet another good run from Hulme now took him along the left by-line where he drew the keeper before slipping the ball across the goalmouth to Peers who had a routine task of scoring, which he duly did, to make it 3-1 (90+5mins). There was still time for another foul as Hulme was tripped on the very edge of the Barwell box, left of goal, but Alty opted to play down time rather than go for goal (90+6 mins).

This was an efficient performance from an Alty side still significantly affected by injuries. Both debutants, Harrop and Bembo-Leta had good games, while striker Hulme was particularly hard working up front without the reward of a goal. It was also good to see how, when their two-goal cushion was punctured, Altrincham regrouped and finished the game strongly. A tough week continues with two more lengthy trips, to Workington on Tuesday night and to Shildon on Saturday, but this win lifted them to eighth in the league with a game in hand.

Full-Time: BARWELL 1