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EvoStik Premier match
played on Saturday, 24 February 2018, 3pm


Three defensive lapses cost Altrincham two points. In 2018 they have now conceded 11 goals in seven league matches having only conceded ten in their previous 19 league games (and five of those ten were in one game at Workington, where they were reduced to ten men).

Altrincham started the game on a bobbly pitch at Ashton well but did not get the breakthrough till the 32nd minute when Johnston converted a penalty after a foul on Poole. But they fell asleep from the restart and Pritchard equalised a minute later.

After a lacklustre start to the second half, two goals in a five-minute spell around the hour mark seemed to have secured an away victory. A superb counter-attack was finished off by Johnston to make it 2-1 then a Jones header span into the net to make it 3-1 (62 mins).

But, five minutes later, a foul by Moult gave Ashton a freekick from the front edge of the box which Pritchard curled home and in the 89th minute Hampson failed to make a clearance. Posssession was lost, Ashton struck the bar and Chadwick nodded in the loose ball.


REFEREE: Mr Matthew Sowerby

With Shaun Densmore out following his recent knock, Andy White came into the starting eleven at right-back. On the bench, Tom Hannigan had recovered from his recent injury absence.


ASHTON UNITED (Red and white) 1. David Carnell, 2. Dom Smalley, 3. Lewis Baines, 4. Josh Granite, 5 Aaron Chalmers, 6. John Roberts, 7. Daniel Mooney, 8. Mark Lees (c), 9. Matthew Chadwick, 10. Liam Tomsett, 11. John Pritchard. Subs: 12. Richard Smith, 14. Deane Smalley, 15. Jamie Hinchcliffe, 16. Nicky Platt, GK Josh Ollerenshaw.

ALTRINCHAM (Purple) 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. James JONES, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Max HARROP, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. James POOLE, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. Tom PEERS, 14. Simon RICHMAN, 15. Mason WALSH, 16. Tom HANNIGAN, 17. Josh AMIS


The sides had played each other twice this season with goals aplenty. In the Integro Cup Alty had won a penalty shoot out after a 3-3 draw, whilst in the league, Alty had let a 3-0 lead slip to end up only narrow 3-2 victors.


It was a sunny but very cold and blustery afternoon at Hurst Cross as Altrincham kicked off and they started brightly. An early Johnston run was followed by Hulme's blocked shot. Soon afterwards, Hulme played in Poole who won a corner as Alty's good start continued (4 mins).

The pitch was proving to be bobbly and the tricky wind also made passing football difficult though Altrincham were endeavouring to play their normal game. Next, a Hulme effort trickled to the keeper from 40 yards. And, following a run by Harrison, a home defender let the ball go but Ashton cleared their lines (9 mins).

The first real action for keeper Thompson arrived when he had to come out smartly to smother the ball (13 mins). But Altrincham soon got forward again when the lively Poole fed Harrop, whose well struck shot was well stopped by keeper Carnell's foot, a corner resulting (14 mins).

Hampson's inswinging corner was then tipped over the bar for a second, but less threatening, corner kick. At the other end, Mooney shot at keeper Thompson and, several minutes later, the same player's run and shot forced a much more testing, diving save from Thompson which yielded a corner for United (20 mins).

Next a well-hit Poole volley hit team-mate Hancock before a brief stoppage for treatment to Hulme. At this point, despite the bitingly cold wind, Hampson and Jones discarded their undershirts before play resumed (25 mins).

Altrincham continued to hold the upper hand as the ball pinged around Ashton's box. Then, Johnston got into the box and fed Hulme whose clever back heeled shot was well saved. The lively Johnston next beat his man but overhit his final ball (28 mins).

From a Poole freekick, 40 yards out, a stretching Hancock's header went over the bar. The influential Poole was then fouled in the box, after an impressive breakaway by Alty which had been started by his own superb pass. A penalty was awarded and, for the second game running, Johnston converted it to give Altrincham a deserved 1-0 lead (32 mins).

Joy turned to disappointment as within a minute of taking the lead, Ashton had equalised, as the Alty defence parted allowing the unmarked Pritchard to slot the ball home past an exposed Tony Thompson (33 mins).

When Chalmers went up for an aerial challenge, he fell awkwardly and it was apparent that the injury was serious. After a couple of minutes' treatment, the former Alty trialist was placed on a stretcher. It later emerged that he had a ligament injury and was to be seen on crutches later in the afternoon. He had apparently exacerbated an earlier ligament injury (40 mins).

Ashton introduced Deane Smalley to replace the stricken Chalmers (41 mins). As half-time approached, Poole won a corner after another Johnston run but he overhit this one. In the first of what proved to five added minutes, Johnston burst into the box but his shot was underpowered and was saved (45+1 mins).

In the fifth and final added minute, Hulme shot narrowly wide after holding off a challenge (45+5 mins).


Ashton started the second half better than they had begun the first half. An early Lees shot had to be beaten out by Thompson (47 mins) and, when White was penalised, just outside his own box, Pritchard's freekick found Granite who misheaded the ball wide (49 mins).

Next, Ashton earned a corner after Thompson failed to hold the ball as Alty continued to try and regain their first-half form. When Harrop was caught very late, Deane Smalley was booked (54 mins). Following a Jones miskick, Hampson conceded a corner which came to nothing. More threatening, a couple of minutes later, was a fierce shot from Chadwick which had to be beaten out by Thompson. But this close shave at one end led to a goal at the other.

A superbly fluent counter-attack by Altrincham ended with Johnston scoring from left of goal, despite Carnell getting his hand to the ball, to make it 2-1 to Alty (57 mins). Next, a fine Johnston run along the byline came to nothing before a poor challenge on White saw Lees deservedly booked (61 mins).

From a corner won by Johnston, Jones's header span up and as Carnell went to retrieve it the ball found its way into the net. Carnell got up and ran over to his bench for his hand injury to be addressed before returning to goal. So Alty were 3-1 up (62 mins). Having held a 3-0 lead in the reverse fixture earlier this season, before scraping home with a 3-2 victory, Alty would know that their task was not complete and so it was to prove once again.

On 65 minutes Walsh came on for Hancock. Within a minute, Moult was penalised on the front edge of his own box. Despite his and his team-mate's protestations, the freekick was awarded and Pritchard expertly curled the effort home to make it 2-3 (67 mins).

Before play resumed, Carnell again visited the technical area for more treatment to his hand injury. Next, Alty made another change as Richman replaced Harrop in midfield (70 mins).

Ashton responded with a further change of their own as Platt came on for Roberts (74 mins). As in the reverse fixture, Alty again found themselves on the back foot after surrendering a comfortable lead and holding just a single goal advantage.

Next, a Platt shot deflected out for a corner, which Thompson dropped, and a few minutes afterwards, White conceded a corner which, again, Thompson dropped but, this time, he won a freekick. Alty at last got to the other end, where a Richman shot earned a corner, which Poole overhit. After this, Poole was fouled and the offender booked (82 mins).

The closing stages were now tense for Altrincham and in the 88th minute Ashton won a corner. After this, Alty had the opportunity to clear their lines but Hampson, in a right-back position, opted not to clear first time and possession was lost. A resulting Ashton effort came down off the cross bar and Chadwick had an easy task of heading home from close range to level the score at 3-3 (89 mins).

Four added minutes were proclaimed and, in the first one, Mooney's well-struck shot had to be beaten out. But Altrincham managed to see out almost five minutes of added play before the referee concluded proceedings.