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EvoStik Premier match
played on Tuesday, 20 March 2018, 7.45pm


It was deja vu for Altrincham as for the third home match in succession they started the better side, only to fall behind through an individual error. This time it was Andy White's cross-field pass which allowed Jack Walsh to nip past an exposed team-mate to score in the 38th minute, though Hannigan clearly had been pulled to the ground in front of the inattentive officials in the build up to the goal. Altrincham laid seige to the visitors' goal in the second half and finally equalised in the 71st minute when Jake Moult headed home from close range. With Sports employing spoiling tactics, which the referee failed to clamp down on, the game ended in acrimony.

After taking just four points from four consecutive home games, Alty now face seven away fixtures from the remaining eleven games of the league season.


REFEREE: Mr Christopher Porter

Connor Hampson was out injured so Andy White moved to left-back and Simon Richman replaced Max Harrop in midfield.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks) 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Andy WHITE, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. James POOLE, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. Tom PEERS, 14. Max HARROP, 15. Chris MERRIE, 16. Sam HEATHCOTE, 17. James JONES.

MICKLEOVER SPORTS (Blue shirts and socks, white shorts) 1. Lewis King, 2. Reece Horne, 3. Alex Morris, 4. John McGrath, 5. Morgan Williams, 6. Tom Burgin (c), 7. Jak Hickman, 8. Louis Briscoe, 9. Matthew Barnes-Homes, 10. Lewis Belgrave, 11. Jimmy Phillips. Sub: 12. Evan Garnett, 14. Andy Dales, 15. Jack Walsh, 17. Clinton Morrison, 18. Pablo Mills.


This was Mickleover's first visit to Altrincham. In the reverse fixture, Alty had won 2-1 in Derbyshire in September but the Robins were keen to recover from two successive home defeats in the past week.


A minute's applause before kick off for Altrincham supporters Kenny Palin, Dr Alan Johnson and Mark Rae, who had all died recently. As the referee and teams had emerged late for kick off the match did not get underway till some six minutes after the scheduled time. Awareness of the passage of time was not to prove Mr Porter's strong point throughout the night. And when they emerged, Sports fielded a no.16 who it transpired was actually the player numbered 3 on the team sheet, Alex Morris. For his trip on Hancock, there was an early yellow card for Horne. After a poorly taken freekick, Densmore and Phillips went down after a collision (8 mins). Although both resumed following treatment, Phillips was soon unable to continue and was replaced by Walsh (12 mins).

Although Alty had made a promising start they were not seriously threatening King's goal until Hulme was put through, one on one, against the keeper but the keeper blocked the striker's effort and Johnston's shot was deflected over the bar for a corner, which Sports hacked clear. Alty kept attacking as a Densmore cross was cleared and, then, Johnston and Poole combined to feed Hulme, whose shot from right of goal was saved (18 mins). Next, a good move up the left ended with a Johnston shot at the keeper.

The visitors did then get to the other end and won a corner, from which a header was collected by Thompson (21 mins). After a Poole ball had deflected to the keeper, a Briscoe ball likewise deflected to Thompson. Following a Sports throw, player-manager McGrath was inches wide with a good shot from 18 yards after Alty had been sold a dummy by a Sports player in the build-up (26 mins).

But Alty, overall, remained on top as a Johnston cross earned a corner after a good passing move. Then a Hulme shot was blocked before smart work by Densmore was needed to halt Mickleover after a Johnston mistake. For all Altrincham's promising approach play, it was Mickleover who next landed another shot on target when Briscoe's effort was saved by Thompson on the half-hour mark.

After this, Barnes Homer was off-target from a Walsh feed as the Sports enjoyed a good spell. This was ended when Johnston won a corner from a Densmore feed. A short corner routine gained another corner, with Phil Parkinson encouraging his men to take it short again. They did, but possession was lost (32 mins).

Alty continued to apply pressure and after a couple of runs from Johnston, a White cross caused defensive panic but Sports cleared the ball. Next, Hancock headed a Poole cross wide after which the referee talked to keeper King, apparently about timewasting (37 mins).

When Hannigan was attempting to clear a ball on the left touchline, he was blatantly pulled over by the arm by Barnes-Homer with the linesman a few yards away. Play was inexplicably allowed to continue. There still seemed little danger to Alty as White was on the ball in the left-back position. But his pass, inside, intended for Harrison was a little short. Walsh nipped in and got past the central defender which allowed him to plant a shot past Thompson. So, for the third game in succession at the J. Davidson Stadium, Alty had fallen behind after having been the better side (38 mins).

Altrincham pressed for a leveller and, after King had halted a shot, a goalmouth melee ended in the ball being cleared by the Sports (41 mins). A couple of minutes later, Hickman won the visitors a corner and, after this, Burgin's arm caught Hulme's head but was not seen by the referee or nearby linesman. As half-time approached King was again wasting time.

In added time, Hickman had a shot saved and Alty's White was caught offside. Once more, King wasted time and escaped censure from the referee to the home crowd's annoyance (45+2 mins). There was still time for Johnston to win a corner, which Hannigan headed over the bar before a Sports man sat down, apparently injured, before making a sudden recovery before treatment was needed.

So, for the third match running in an eight-day period, Alty found thenselves goalless and trailing at the interval despite having enjoyed more possession and attacking momentum. But Mickleover's more direct approach had produced several shots on target to keep Altrincham on their toes.


At the interval Mills came on for the booked Horne. After Hancock had been felled by Williams, the same Alty man's freekick, from just outside the front of the box, was saved (49 mins). Altrincham were trying to stick to their passing game but, over the next few minutes, it was not creating any openings at the Mickleover end. As the hour mark approached, there was constant Alty pressure but the visitors' defence was standing firm.

Following a wild Richman shot over the bar, goalkeeper King was again timewasting to gain respite from the siege of his goal. Strong penalty appeals following an Alty corner were now waved away as Alty had nine men in the opposition box with Harrison and Hannigan joining the attack. Indeed, Harrison hit the post as he tried to turn home a loose ball but Sports soaked up the pressure (66 mins).

After a Hancock cross had been cleared, a foul on White, near the left corner, maintained the pressure with a freekick. Hancock's freekick pinged around the box till Moult headed it home near the post to make it 1-1 (71 mins). In the aftermath the Sports keeper grabbed Alty captain, Jake Moult but he escaped with a yellow card (71 mins).

Before play resumed the referee also booked Poole and Briscoe.

But Alty did not immediately build on their equalizer, as Sports now gained two successive corners. More timewasting was ignored by the referee at each of the corners and when goalkeeper King again did so, it went unpunished by what should have been a second yellow card. Just after Belgrave had been caught offside, he was subbed by Garnett (78 mins).

There was more ineffectual refereeing when Richman was hacked down with impunity by Morris. The visitors now won another corner after which Johnston got almost clear but was driven right of goal (80 mins).

With five minutes remaining, White won a corner. Then, after a Morris foul on the Alty right, a Johnston shot gained a corner. When Hancock took a freekick on the front edge of the box he fired the ball well over the terrace roof into Golf Road (86 mins). Unforced errors did not help the home cause as Thompson's sliced kick badly into touch was followd by White's miskick to an opponent (89 mins).

Another Mickleover man was now booked for a foul before five minutes of added time began. In the fourth of these, Moult had an effort saved and then Poole fired over the bar from six yards.

After the whistle a fracas broke out in front of the main stand with Sports' Clinton Morrison having to be restrained by his players. So a frustrating night ended for Alty who have dropped eight points in eight days from three successive home games.