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EvoStik Premier match
played on Tuesday, 6 February 2018, 7.45pm


3-0 up with eight minutes to play, Altrincham were on the verge of a comfortable and deserved three points. Jordan Hulme had cleverly netted the third Alty goal with a run along the byline in the 72nd minute only for him, and injured centre-back Jones, to be subbed a minute later.

So, left-back Connor Hampson, who had played well, was shifted to centre-back and it was he who conceded an 82nd minute penalty against Evangelinos, which Chalmers converted to prompt the visitors' revival.

Then, in added time, Harrop's foul led to Pritchard hitting a superb freekick against the underside of the bar before Alty then blocked a follow-up on the goal-line.

But, just a minute later, a Harrison foul on the front edge of the box, gave Pritchard another freekick and this time he beat Thompson and the crossbar to make it 3-2.

In the first half Altrincham had made an impressive start with Harrop scoring a fine 25-yard goal after just ninety seconds. Then James Poole's header from a Hampson cross had made it 2-0 after just 15 minutes. Ashton came a little more into the game in the second half but Hulme's goal seemed to have wrapped up proceedings before Alty's lapses allowed Ashton to make the outcome much closer than it should have been.


REFEREE: Mr Martin Woods

Ashton United had at least seven players with Altrincham connections. Player-manager Jody Banim, player-coach Simon Woodford, ex-loanee Liam Tomsett, ex-trialist Aaron Chalmers, keeper Josh Ollerenshaw, Cavell Coo and Mark Lees had all turned out for Altrincham previously as had Ryan Crowther, who was sadly long-term injured.

For Alty, John Johnston remained injured so Tom Peers started on the right wing for Alty. With Tim Deasy also injured, Cameron Terry joined the bench as substitute goalkeeper, for the first time in a league match. Centre-back Tom Hannigan also remained sidelined by injury.


ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks) 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. James JONES, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. Tom PEERS, 8. Max HARROP, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. James POOLE, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. Sean MILLER, 14. Simon RICHMAN, 15. Andy WHITE, 16. Sam SHERIDAN, 20. Cameron TERRY

ASHTON UNITED (All purple) 1. Dave Carnell, 2. Cavell Coo, 3. John Pritchard, 4. Josh Granite, 5. Aaron Chalmers, 6. John Roberts, 7. Mark Lees (c), 8. Liam Tomsett 9. Matthew Chadwick, 10. Daniel Mooney, 11. Nic Evangelinos. Subs 12. Jamie Hinchliffe, 14. Richard Smith, 15 Alex Johnson, 16. Nicky Platt, 17. Josh Ollerenshaw.


Although the two teams had not met previously in the league this season, they had clashed in the Integro Cup, when Altrincham won but only thanks to a penalty shoot-out following a 3-3 draw in normal time. Likewise, fourth-placed Ashton had lost a penalty shoot-out to Warrington Town in the FA Trophy, which was their only defeat in their previous ten cup and league fixtures. And they had conceded just once in their last five league fixtures.

Mike Garnett's statistics reveal the historical record between Altrincham and Ashton United;


Hard work by the groundsman, Neil Brown, and volunteers had enabled this match to take place after last Saturday's postponement and the additional sleet and rain of the previous 24 hours. The match kicked off almost five minutes late thanks to the late emergence of the teams and officials and a subsequent minute's silence to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Manchester United air crash at Munich.

With Alty defending the Golf Road end, Ashton kicked off and, well within the opening minute, a Peers cross was dropped at the near post by Carnell to concede a needless corner, which Ashton only just managed to clear. But the respite was short as around the 90-second mark, Harrop was allowed time and space to advance up the middle before firing home with a fine, rising shot from 25 yards to make it 1-0 (2 mins).

Ashton soon won themselves a corner, from a Mooney cross, which Harrison had to clear (5 mins). And they gained a second corner, two minutes later, from a rare instance of miscontrol from Ben Harrison.

When James Poole delivered a superb long pass to Hancock, on the left, the ball was then relayed to Harrop who, this time, mishit his 20-yard effort wide (10 mins). But Alty's bright start continued as Hancock had a shot saved after another raking pass from Poole.

For Ashton, left-back Pritchard was getting forward but Altrincham held the upper hand. They made it 2-0 after good work from Hancock on the left led to an excellent Hampson cross which Poole, leaning forward, headed home to make it 2-0 (15 mins). After this Poole audaciously tried to beat Carnell from the halfway line, having spotted the Ashton keeper off his line, but his effort went wide. The Ashton keeper was having a nervy game and he now was almost dispossessed by Hulme as he dribbled clear.

Altrincham's pressure continued with a blocked Hancock shot followed by a Moult 20 yarder, which rose just over the bar (20 mins). Next, an ambitious volley from the right by Hulme flew wide after Harrop had again done well in midfield. An entertaining game was brought to a temporary halt when Tomsett clattered Moult but Poole sent the resulting freekick to Carnell (26 mins).

Ben Harrison then made a run which was followed by Poole's 20-yard shot, which was saved by the keeper. The first real danger to Alty's goal came when Chadwick burst towards the right side of the box and was fouled byb Hampson, who was booked. But Chadwick's freekick hit the wall, although it did earn a corner (31 mins).

And, four minutes later, the Ashton striker won another freekick, this time just outside the "D" of the Alty penalty area in a fairly central position. Again the striker's freekick hit the defensive wall. But in the aftermath, Roberts won Ashton a corner (36 mins). This was marginally too high for the leaping Granite and then Thompson tipped the ball away from the follow-up.

Altrincham had a fine chance to make it 3-0 when Poole put Hulme through in a one-on-one against Carnell but the Alty man's shot struck the keeper's legs, though it did win a corner (38 mins).

When another Hulme effort won a freekick, for handball, just outside the box, Alty put the ball into the net but it was well after the referee's whistle. From this freekick, the ball deflected to Peers who put it into the net but was given offside. After this a still jittery Carnell cleared the ball straight to an Alty player and the hosts gained a corner (42 mins).

Although this corner was half-cleared, Hulme then went past a defender and seemed to be brought down but no penalty was awarded, to manager Phil Parkinson's annoyance (43 mins).

A minute later, Carnell was again in difficulty as Hulme closed him down but somehow Ashton escaped. Added time was brightened by some excellent ball juggling by Harrop to keep possession but the half ended with a warning that a two-goal lead might not be enough as a thunderbolt from Chadwick, from the right, forced Thompson to beat the ball away for a corner. The Alty keeper was less impressive with the corner as he missed it in the air but Ashton could not take advantage (45+3 mins).

Despite their general dominance Alty had not managed to kill the game off as the interval whistle sounded.


For the second half, former Guiseley forward Alex Johnson replaced Mooney for Ashton. Alty kicked off towards Golf Road and, soon, impressive play by Hampson on the edge of the box saw him fire just over the bar (47 mins).

The next action saw Thompson have to save well after a good run by Pritchard and then Johnson had a shot blocked (51 mins).

At the other end, Hulme harried Granite to earn a corner. After a promising build up, Harrop then fired over the bar from 20 yards (55 mins). And two minutes later a stretching Poole hit the back post after Hulme had done well on the right but offside was given in any case (57 mins).

When Harrop was caught late, Roberts was booked (60 mins). Alty now enjoyed a good spell as a Densmore overlap was followed by Peers's well-hit shot and then Hampson gained a corner (62 mins). Five minutes later, Carnell had to save from Hancock following a Hampson feed. At this point Platt came on for Roberts (67 mins).

Now Hancock again did well but his shot flew across the face of goal. The visitors made strong appeals for a penalty after an untidy Hampson challenge on Chadwick but, two minutes later, Alty seemed to have wrapped up the points with a third goal.

It arrived when Poole fed Hulme who got along the left byline, past a defender, to score with a low shot from a very acute angle to make it 3-0 (72 mins). The goal scorer was immediately withdrawn as was Jones who had picked up a knock. Miller came on up front and White slotted in at left-back as Hampson moved to partner Harrison at centre-back (73 mins). At the same time Smith came on for Ashton and, three minutes later Jody Banim introduced Hinchliffe for Chadwick (76 mins).

Two minutes later and another change occurred as Sheridan replaced Moult and Densmore assumed the captaincy (78 mins). When Platt flattened Poole, the Ashton man escaped with a lecture.

With Alty looking comfortable with a three-goal cushion, Miller was flagged offside as Peers put him clear. Play switched to the other end where an offside-looking Evangelinos got behind Hampson and was brought down by the defender. The referee awarded a spot kick. Chalmers appeared to stop in his run up but was allowed to convert the spot-kick to the annoyance of goalkeeper Thompson. So it was 3-1 (83 mins).

The goal lifted Ashton but Alty had the next two half-chances as, firstly, Peers slipped over in the Ashton box and, then, Miller fired over the bar (89 mins).

Harrop was then penalised at least thirty yards from his own goal and Pritchard's impressive freekick beat Thompson, came down off the underside of the bar, and then had to be hacked off the line for an Ashton corner (90+1 mins). After this, Harrison was adjudged to have committed a foul on the front edge of the box. This time Pritchard executed an even better freekick as, again aiming for Thompson's top left-hand corner, he found the back of the net to make it 3-2 (90+2 mins).

There was still time for Poole to have a run and see his shot saved before the final whistle confirmed the win for Altrincham. But the closing stages had become far more tense than they should have been. Altrincham will point to the dubious penalty award which got Ashton back in the game but the visitors deserved credit for keeping going when 3-0 down and Pritchard's freekick for the second goal was certainly impressive.