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EvoStik Premier match
played on Monday, 9 April 2018, 7.45pm


After falling behind to Benbow's tenth-minute freekick, an injury-ravaged Alty dominated the second half and deservedly levelled in the 76th minute. Richman won a penalty but Johnston failed to beat keeper Gould, only for Hancock to net the rebound.


REFEREE: Mr Simon Brown

Altrincham were without the injured Connor Hampson, Ben Harrison, Tim Deasy and James Poole, while Max Harrop was also unfit to start. Josh Samberg replaced Andrew Jones on the bench and Tom Peers started in place of Harrop.


STOURBRIDGE (Red) 1. Matt Gould, 2 Darryl Westlake, 3 Brad Birch, 4. Paul McCone (c), 5. Stuart Pierpoint, 6. Josh Cooke, 7. Tom Tonks, 8. Leon Broadhurst, 9. Luke Benbow, 10. Chris Gallagher, 11. Nicu Carnat. Subs: 12. Luke Shearer, 14. Brandon Hague, 15. Anontio Edilson, 16. Lewis McPike, 17. Joe Collingridge

ALTRINCHAM (Purple) 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Andrew WHITE, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. James JONES, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Tom PEERS, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. Max HARROP, 14. Chris MERRIE, 15. Sam HEATHCOTE 16. Theo BAILEY-JONES, 20. Josh SAMBERG


In the reverse fixture, Altrincham won 4-1 after a superb first-half performance. They went into this match leading the table by eight points but with five of their remaining fixtures being on the road.

Alty left the sunny north west to find a very soggy Stourbridge, where it had rained for hours and was to continue to do so throughout the match.


Referee Simon Brown got the game under way with Alty attacking the clubhouse end at the three-sided War Memorial ground, where the fourth side is a cricket ground.

An early advance up the right wing by Peers was halted and then a Johnston shot won a corner on the left, from which Hulme flicked an effort into the sidenetting (4 mins).

Following a Stour long throw, the hosts got in a long shot, which went well wide. Alty had started the better side and now another corner was won by Johnston on the left. Hannigan lifted this over the bar from six yards, central, to his clear disappointment (6 mins).

The hosts improved as a Benbow shot rolled to Thompson before Carnat beat Densmore but his cross was cleared. Play switched again and a Johnston shot drifted well wide from 25 yards (7 mins).

When Gallagher went down as he advanced towards the box, the referee harshly booked Jones. From the freekick, 20 yards out in a central position, Benbow beat the wall and goalkeeper Thompson to put the Glassboys ahead with a fine goal (10 mins).

Alty won their third corner, after Hulme had been blocked, but this was cleared (14 mins). Three minutes later White went down on the unpopulated cricket side of the ground and, after prolonged treatment, he was unable to continue having suffered a bad cut near his eye. So an already injury weakened squad had now lost another player but the injury gave Wigan loanee Chris Merrie a chance to impress as he came on (19 mins).

Merrie went to central midfield, Densmore to left-back and Richman to right back. Nothing was going for Alty at this stage as now Stour won a corner off Densmore.

Compared with their supine performance in the reverse fixture, the Glassboys were certainly more fired up tonight. The game now became a midfield attritional battle on a difficult, soft surface and in steady rain.

Merrie was soon making a favourable impression and he was lucky to emerge unscathed from a crude challenge by Benbow which left the offender injured and, to compound his suffering, the striker was booked too (27 mins).

Both Johnston and then Densmore had shots blocked before Hulme was also halted inside the box (31 mins). The sides then exchanged efforts which both cleared the bar, from Densmore and Carnat respectively (34 mins).

When Hulme was penalised soon afterwards, he was very annoyed and was extremely fortunate not to be booked for dissent. Instead he was lectured with his captain as witness (36 mins).

With pouring rain continuing, Richman fouled Benbow just outside the box. Richman stood on his own goal line for the freekick, which Benbow put over the bar (38 mins).

Next, a Benbow shot bisected the line between corner flag and goal as the game moved uneventfully towards the interval. Things improved as a Richman cross flew across the box. In the first of three added minutes, a Merrie 30 yarder went into orbit and miles wide before Thompson saved well from Benbow's 25 yarder.

Merrie then cleverly found Hulme who chipped the keeper but the ball went wide. Next, Richman covered superbly to halt Carnat before Thompson only just dribbled clear of a home forward (45+3 mins).

Altrincham had improved as the interval approached but had been unable to create a clear chance.


Alty kicked off the second half, defending the clubhouse end. There was an early scare when Merrie stayed down, hurt, after crossing the ball but he recovered (46 mins).

With rain sweeping down the pitch, a Richman overlap won a corner which Stourbridge scrambled clear before Merrie shot wide (50 mins).

Alty were enjoying plenty of forward momentum as a Peers shot went across the face of goal (54 mins). After a Densmore shot had been blocked, Peers was fouled just outside the box. However, Hancock hit the freekick weakly into the wall (58 mins).

Next, Peers got into the box but hit his shot to keeper Gould. A Benbow foul on Hannigan was followed by Hulme winning a corner as Alty dominated (60 mins). Next, Johnston was tripped, just left of the box, and Tonks was lectured. But Johnston then overhit his freekick.

An Alty corner was now won but poorly taken before a Densmore cross had to be headed off the line for a corner as Stourbridge stayed deep and soaked up the pressure. From a Peers and Densmore interchange, Peers shot over the bar as the one-way traffic continued (66 mins).

Merrie now almost played in Johnston but a goalkick resulted. The Glassboys soon made a change, as McPike replaced Tonks (67 mins).

On a rare advance by the hosts, Westlake advanced up the right and his effort had to be cleared off the line by defender Jones (70 mins).

For Alty, Richman won a corner, which was cleared (71 mins) but the makeshift right-back's next incursion was decisive. As he burst into the box, right of goal, he was brought down. Mr Brown gave nothing until the linesman flagged vigorously to confirm it was a penalty, which seemed to be an obvious decision.

Johnston's penalty was saved but it worked its way to Hancock who netted the loose ball to make it 1-1 (76 mins).

Stourbridge immediately introduced Shearer for Cooke and, two minutes later, Hague for Benbow (78 mins).

Alty continued pressing as Stourbridge sat deep, with a Johnston long shot flying wide. After a stoppage when Hannigan and an opponent clashed heads, play resumed with a contested dropped ball (85 mins).

A freekick from 30 yards for Stourbridge was cleared before four added minutes were decreed. There was a late concern as Jones gave the ball away and Stour won a corner but this was cleared (90+3 mins).

With the game into the fifth added minute Altrincham brought on Harrop for Hancock before the final whistle confirmed that an injury-weakened Altrincham side had gained a well-deserved point. A bonus was an assured performance from Chris Merrie on his first lengthy appearance for the side.