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EvoStik Premier match
played on Saturday, 14 April 2018, 3pm


Although Altrincham ran out comfortable winners in the end, for the first half-hour it was Barwell who were the better side, but they spurned three decent chances. Alty then switched Johnston from the left to the right and, after a short spell of pressure, they scored twice in two minutes to turn the match.

Man of the Match, Shaun Densmore, was instrumental in the scoring of both goals. The first came in the 38th minute when Hulme did well and Densmore burst through to drive the ball home. Two minutes after this, a fine Densmore run led to Hancock's low shot past Castle to make it 2-0.

The game was over three minutes after the interval with the goal of the game from Johnston. He ran from his own half, controlling the ball at pace despite a few bobbles, before driving a shot across Castle into the far corner of the net. The fourth goal was scored by Hulme from a Johnston feed following a corner (59 mins).

Alty now need five points from five games to secure the title, assuming their far superior goal-difference is not eroded!


REFEREE: Mr Michael Herzog

Last Monday, at Stourbridge, Altrincham were without the injured Connor Hampson, Ben Harrison, Tim Deasy and James Poole, while Max Harrop was also unfit to start. Harrop started today but the other four remained sidelined.


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

BARWELL (Lime shirts and yellow shorts and socks) 1. Liam Castle, 2. Jacob Whitmore, 3. Edward Nisevic, 4. Craig Stanley (c), 5. Elliot Percival, 6. Owen Story, 7. Jake Heath, 8. Tom Bates, 9. Michael Piggon, 10. Brady Hickey, 11. Matthew Stenson. Subs: 12. Guy Hadland, 13. Michael Turner, 14. Jake Warmington, 15. Ryan Baldwin, 16. Declan Towers


The reverse fixture back in September had seen Altrincham win 3-1, although the third goal had not arrived till late into added time. The Altrincham scorers were Harrop 17, Hancock 40, Peers 90+5 minutes. Almost inevitably, it was ex-Alty man Kyle Perry who netted the Barwell goal, though he has since moved on.


The game kicked off three minutes late after the teams had changed end, Barwell having won the toss. So Alty were attacking the Golf Road end but it was the visitors who had the first real shot as Piggon fired wide after a freekick (3 mins).

Alty had started sloppily, now losing the ball from their own throw before Johnston was dispossessed just inside the Barwell half. This allowed right-back Barwell Whitmore to break forward but White covered and a goalkick resulted.

After Harrop also lost the ball, Johnston came to the touchline to change his boots (6 mins). The sloppiness continued as Thompsom tried to dribble clear and was fortunate to concede no more than a corner after being closed down. Indeed the visitors were shutting down Alty energetically all over the pitch.

However, an error by Barwell captain, Stanley, now allowed Hulme a well-struck shot, which was well beaten away by Castle (7 mins). Following a Hannigan foul on the front edge of his own box, Bates's freekick flew into the wall (8 mins).

Alty continued to struggle to find their fluency as a Johnston pass was cut out before Peers fired over from 20 yards in what was developing into an end to end contest (12 mins).

The visitors threatened again as Piggon had a shot blocked before his follow-up hit the outside of the post after a good build up (13 mins). Alty continued to misfire as, now, Peers lost the ball but Jones covered well to concede a corner (15 mins).

And the Canaries went close again from the corner, from the left by Stanley, which gave Hickey a free header which skimmed the crossbar (16 mins).

Soon afterwards, a White and Johnston misunderstanding gave Barwell a goalkick before the visitors threatened once more. A good move up their right ended with a cross which the stretching Nivesic could only direct wide of the target from deep inside the box (19 mins). On another day Alty could have been a couple of goals down by now.

Alty's bext chance, so far, arrived from a Hulme lay off but Hancock, leaning back, skied it over the bar (22 mins). Next, a White 20 yarder flew very wide.

Play stopped for treatment to Percival, which allowed the players to have a drinks break but, more importantly, for the Alty management to speak to the players. After play had resumed, Johnston operated on the right rather than the left where he had started.

Just after the half-hour, a Johnston cross won a corner from Harrop's feed. Alty continued to improve as, next, a Hulme shot had to be well saved then a Hancock effort produced an equally good stop by keeper Castle (32 mins).

Soon, Hulme did well again but Johnston sliced his shot well wide. He did better moments later when his fierce shot had to be beaten out by Castle for a corner after Peers's good work. Although the corner was initially cleared, Alty got the ball back; Hulme advanced and Densmore burst past him to drive the ball home and make it 1-0 (38 mins).

Whilst Barwell were coming to terms with falling behind, despite having had the better of the first half hour, they conceded a second goal. This came after Densmore surged up the inside right channel before Hancock netted with a low shot into the keeper's right-hand corner (40 mins).

Before the break, Castle did well to hold a cross from the irrepressible Densmore (44 mins). Two minutes of added time ended with Johnston winning a corner which there was no time to take.

Barwell had paid a high price for failing to take their chances in the opening half hour.


For the second half, Baldwin came on for Bates for Barwell, who kicked off towards Golf Road. It did not take long for Hulme to get into the box but the ball was cleared after a couple of Alty shots from him and Johnston had been blocked.

Johnston then picked up the ball inside his own half and raced up the right wing, outpacing a Barwell player and keeping the ball impressively under control on a slightly bobbly surface. He kept going into the box before driving a low shot across Castle and into the far corner of the net for a quite superb solo goal (48 mins).

Things improved when a Johnston shot from the edge of the box was only just held by Castle (57 mins). When Moult dwelt on the ball and lost it, Barwell failed to take advantage. This proved costly as Alty went upfield where Hulme twisted inside the box and his shot forced a save and won a corner. Taken short, the corner was relayed to Johnston, who drifted inside from the left and fed Hulme who scored from six yards to make it 4-0 (59 mins).

Next, a Peers shot hit a defender as Alty dominated. And then Peers dribbled into the box to win a corner, after which a Harrop 30 yarder cleared the bar.

Warmington now replaced Stanley (63 mins) and, at the same time, Wigan loanee Chris Merrie replaced Hancock. Barely seconds after appearing, Warmington struck the base of the Alty post before, at the other end, Hulme rounded the keeper on the left but a defender cleared the ball off the goalline with a corner resulting (64 mins).

Another change came as Bailey-Jones replaced Johnston on the right-wing (66 mins).

AFter a few uneventful minutes, a Harrop foul produced a final warning from the referee, Mr Herzog (71 mins). A minute later, Richman came on in midfield, replacing Hannigan, with Moult moving to centre-back.

A couple of minutes after coming on, inside the goalmouth, Bailey-Jones sidefooted a great chance over the bar from Peers's excellent pass from the left (74 mins).

Inside the final ten minutes, Heath's shot was blocked but he gained Barwell a corner, after which Stenson fired narrowly wide (82 mins). At the other end, Hulme was halted in the box after a good ball from Merrie.

The closing stages passed without major incident before Mr Herzog blew the whistle with fewer than thirty seconds of added time played, which was curious given there had been five substitutions. The final action had seen a Richman shot hit Hulme and the latter's chip just clear the retreating keeper and the crossbar.

So, Alty now need five points to be virtually sure of promotion given that their goal difference is more than 20 goals better than any of the chasing pack's.