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Buildbase FA Trophy First Qualifying Round match
played on Saturday, 28 October 2017, 3pm


Altrincham overcame both the adverse weather conditions and a hardworking Clitheroe side to advance into the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy at a wind- and rain-swept J. Davidson Stadium. But the afternoon was marred by the red card shown to captain Jake Moult for comments that displeased the referee.

Playing into the wind and rain in the first half, Altrincham reached the interval goalless. Nine minutes after the break a Johnston shot went through keeper Thompson's hands to give the hosts the lead. Eight minutes later the referee stopped play and flashed a red card at Moult after he had complained about an elbow in his face.

However, the ten men went on to score twice more through substitute Tom Peers. His first came nine minutes from time when he headed home a Poole freekick. And the third goal arrived in added time as excellent work from Harrop got Johnston up the right and his low cross was turned in by Peers.

REFEREE: Mr Kristian Silcock

Once again Altrincham were without the injured Disney, Taylor, Hannigan, Amis, Miller, Sheridan and Short, whilst Jones had been added to the list following Tuesday's game. But it was good to see Amis and Taylor able to take a part in the warm-up.

So Phil Parkinson deployed as strong a side as he had available, with reserve Callum Jones coming in at right-back and Bembo-Leta moving to centre-back.


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

CLITHEROE (Blue) 1. Chris Thompson, 2. Jacob Gregory, 3. Stephen Rigby, 4. Ryan Ellison, 5. Ian Rowlands (c), 6. Thomas Smyth, 7. Charlie Russell, 8. Brad Carroll, 9. Kurt Willoughby, 10. Alex Newby, 11. Joe Mitchell. Subs: 12. Robbie Bromley, 14. Ross Dent, 15. Adam Bolton, 16. Brad Knox, 17. Daniel Byrnes


This was the first meeting of the two clubs. Clitheroe were lying 15th in the 22-strong EvoStik League First Division North with 17 points from 14 games, whilst Altrincham started as league leaders in the Premier Division.

Altrincham wore black armbands as a sign of respect for Andy Reid, the former Alty player, who died recently, aged 55.


On a dull, drizzly and breezy afternoon, under the already illuminated floodlights, Clitheroe won the toss and elected to play with the gusty wind and rain behind them.

Altrincham posed an early threat when Johnston got into the box and, from his pass, a stretching Hancock poked the ball onto the crossbar (4 mins). With swirling rain sweeping up the pitch, Desmore was fouled 25 yards out. However, Hancock's freekick cleared the bar (6 mins).

Alty got themselves in a mess when, first, Thompson miskicked but, fortunately, the ball went to Moult only for him, in turn, also to miskick, this time to an opponent who, again fortunately, did not test Thompson with a weak shot. Clitheroe's Smyth, playing in a face mask, halted Johnston's advance but it was the wingman who looked Alty's most threatening player as, soon afterwards, he beat two defenders. From his testing cross, the ball just evaded a stretching Hancock in front of goal (12 mins).

And when Poole fired over, that too came from a low Johnston cross which had been cleared to him on the edge of the box. After 15 minutes, Thompson had to get his hand to a low shot. And, after Johnston had lost the ball, albeit claiming a foul against him, Gregory dragged another Clitheroe shot wide (17 mins).

After Newby had been upended by Callum Jones, 35 yards from goal, Thompson gathered the ball but only at the second attempt. When Carroll came in late on Moult, after the Alty man had tried to get to an underhit Densmore pass, the offender was lectured with his captain (20 mins).

The visitors were well in the game and they now won a corner, which Rowlands headed into the side-netting. Alty were not yet playing fluently but conditions were difficult. "Be quicker" yelled Phil Parkinson to his team.

Next, a Clitheroe throw won them a corner off Bembo-Leta's head and, after this, Alty gained a fortunate freekick to end any danger. But the visitors soon won a further corner, from which Smyth won another, before a third corner followed off Harrison. This was an inswinger which had to be beaten off the goal-line by Thompson, who ended up in the back of his own net (31 mins).

Alty had been on the back foot for the last few minutes and when Densmore ran into trouble and lost the ball, Willoughby was only just halted in Alty box by Bembo-Leta (35 mins).

At last Alty got forward as a Hulme effort was blocked before Poole won a corner, which was poorly taken. Soon afterwards, Rowlands's clearance was followed by another corner for Alty, after which a Bembo-Leta header was cleared off the line (38 mins).

As half-time approached neither side seriously threatened to break the deadlock of a disappointing first half, played in tricky conditions.


The rain had almost stopped over the interval before the visitors kicked off towards the Hale end. Almost immediately, Hulme was played in but was flagged offside. Next, a Johnston cross had to be punched away after a good throw-out to Jones by Thompson. Poole then went inches wide with a well-struck shot as Alty showed a bit more purpose now they had the wind behind them. "That's much better" shouted manager Parkinson.

The bright play continued as a Johnston shot won a corner and, soon afterwards, Poole and then Hulme were each halted on the edge of the box. As on Tuesday, Alty had upped a gear after the interval.

But then Clitheroe responded as a Russell shot had to be pushed round the post by Thompson for a corner from which a Rowlands header gained another corner. However, just when it looked as if the visitors had weathered the opening threat from Alty, they conceded an unfortunate goal. Johnston flicked rather than struck an 18-yard shot to which the keeper got both hands. But as JJ half turned away in disappointment, the ball went through the keeper's hands for a goal (54 mins).

Following another in a series of erratic Thompson kicks, the Alty keeper did better with his hands as he fielded a shot. At the other end, Johnston earned a corner, from which Bembo-Leta shinned the ball over the bar from five yards out (57 mins).

An excellent Jones cross was then headed over the bar, under pressure, by Hancock. When Densmore was fouled, 30 yards out, he dissented and was lectured by the referee. Wiloughby went inches wide from the resulting freekick.

Harrop came on for Jones (61 mins) so Richman moved to right back. Then, as play moved towards the Alty goal, Moult went down off the ball. The referee suddenly stopped the game and immediately brandished a red card at Moult. Spectators were mystified but it later emerged that the Alty captain had felt he had been elbowed and that the referee had ignored the incident. Moult's observations on this incident had prompted the referee to produce his red card (63 mins).

Play eventually resumed with a Clitheroe freekick and soon the referee was writing in his book again as he cautioned Carroll for a foul (66 mins). Following a Harrop foul just outside Alty's box, Willoughby's freekick won a corner (67 mins).

Alty responded to losing a man by getting forward as Johnston and then Poole had shots blocked. The visitors made a double change as Russell and Gregory were replaced by Dent and Bromley (72 mins) before a Johnston cross was cleared off Hancock's toes on the goal-line.

Rather than try to hold on with ten men, Phil Parkinson brought on striker Tom Peers for Hulme (75 mins). Two minutes later, Clitheroe took off Smyth and brought on Byrnes.

Clitheroe's Willoughby put a freekick into Golf Road but Alty then gained a freekick themselves, when Ellison fouled Johnston. Poole's curling freekick from the right was smartly headed home from close range by Peers to make it 2-0 (81 mins).

With Harrop playing well as the holding midfielder in Moult's place, Altrincham's ten men were looking comfortable. Inside the four added minutes, Harrop got the ball and did well to move forward up the middle before finding Johnston on the right. Johnston's low cross was turned into the net from close range by Peers to complete the scoring (90+2 mins).

In the end it proved a comfortable win but Altrincham had had to work hard to overcome the visitors, the elements and the referee's dismissal of their captain. With an extensive injury list and suspensions for Richman and Moult in the offing, Alty's resources will be tested to the full in the coming weeks.