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Vanarama National League North match
played on Tuesday, 16 April 2019, at 7.45pm


What started as a promising evening when Max Harrop's 38th minute deflected freekick gave Altrincham a 1-0 interval lead, ended in huge disappointment when Tony Thompson's air-kick allowed Tom Hannigan's back-pass to roll into the net in the 94th minute. Brackley had deservedly equalized in the 70th minute of a second half in which Altrincham created few openings. Ndlovu netted the equalizer from close range after Ceesay had allowed a Brackley player to get behind him and cross from the right. The defeat left Altrincham fifth when a win would have lifted them into third. And, to add to their woes, they lost two defenders to injury during the game; James Jones had to be replaced after 21 minutes and Connor Hampson succumbed in the 85th minute.


REFEREE: Michael Barlow

Andy White was suspended for this game but Connor Hampson came back after injury to play at left-back. Josh Hancock returned, but only on the bench, where Ben Harrison joined him after returning from his loan spell at Witton.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Shaun Densmore, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Yusifu Ceesay. Subs: 12. James Poole, 14. Josh Hancock, 15. Matt Chadwick, 16. Simon Richman, 17. Ben Harrison.

BRACKLEY (All yellow) 1. Danny Lewis, 2. Shepherd Murombedzi, 3. Glen Walker, 4. Shane Byrne, 5. Connor Hall, 6. Gareth Dean (c), 7. Matt Lowe, 8. James Armson, 9. Lee Ndlovu, 10. Carl Baker, 11. Adam Walker. Subs: 12. Ellis Myles, 14. Luke Fairlamb, 15. Daniel Nti, 16. Oran Jackson, 17. Omaru Sterling-James.


This was a clash between third and fifth in the league and was a game rearranged after a March postponement caused by bad weather

Mike Garnett reminded us of the historical record between the clubs before tonight's contest.


With Stockport manager Jim Gannon an interested spectator, Brackley kicked off against Altrincham in a match which would determine who would lie third in the table at the end of ninety minutes.

Brackley won a second-minute corner, though it was difficult to see who was involved as the visitor's white numbers on yellow shirts were illegible beyond close range.

Jordan Hulme soon impressed with a jink past two defenders near the right byline at the Brackley end. His low cross was sidefooted wide by Ceesay at the near post. Hulme was annoyed that a foul on him in the build up was not awarded by the referee (4 mins).

Two minutes later, Hulme again dribbled cleverly inside the box, after which he needed treatment to a foot injury before resuming (6 mins).

For Brackley, Armison then made an impressive run up the middle, from which a corner resulted for the visitors (12 mins). Jones headed this clear but was injured in the process, though he resumed after treatment.

Altrincham were now shading the game and an eighteen-pass move, ending in a shot from Hulme which the keeper, Lewis, saved, underlined this. However, the visitors remained dangerous on the counter-attack and one such foray culminated in a sidefooted shot over the bar.

Altrincham now suffered their second injury blow, after Hulme's need for treatment. This time Jones went down for treatment again and now was unable to continue. He was replaced by Ben Harrison, the centre-back having been recalled from his loan at Witton Albion (21 mins).

Next, the hosts threatened when a superb pass from Moult to Johnston led to the wingman's low cross which just evaded Hulme in the goalmouth (23 mins). For their part Brackley were proving a well-organized team and one which looked more impressive than the previous visitors to Moss Lane, Chorley.

After strong appeals for handball by a Brackley defender, Alty now had to settle for a corner, with Brackley winning one for themselves soon afterwards (28 mins).

After Thompson had done well to cut out a Brackley cross (31 mins), a quiet few minutes passed before a foul on Harrop yielded a home freekick 30 yards out in a central position. Harrop himself took the kick and was fortunate that his low shot took a strong deflection off a defender, which wrong-footed Lewis, and entered the net to the keeper's right (38 mins).

There was little to excite the pulse in the remainder of the first half which concluded with Altrincham holding a narrow but deserved interval lead.


After he had had a quiet first half, Ceesay came to life at the start of the second period and he won an early corner (47 mins).

A deflection then allowed the Saints to win a flag-kick of their own, three minutes later. Following Murombedzi's foul on Johnston, Hampson was harshly booked for a subsequent challenge (52 mins). Soon afterwards, Thompson excelled to beat out a twenty-yarder from Brackley.

For the second time in the game a low Johnston cross just evaded Hulme in the goalmouth (58 mins) as Alty continued to hold the upper hand, winning a corner through Ceesay just before the hour mark.

Brackley made a change with Fairlamb replacing Walker (65 mins). When Ceesay fouled Armson, Thompson again did well to save the resulting freekick from just outside his box (67 mins).

Just after a multiple-pass move had ended with Ceesay, the loanee left-winger from Blackpool was caught out in a defensive position. He allowed his man to get behind him on the Brackley right and the resulting low cross was turned in from close range by Ndlovu to level the scores (70 mins).

There was then a case of double jeopardy suffered by Hampson who was not only penalized in the Brackley box, when he appeared to be the victim, but he also came off worse from the incident and needed tratment. Next, Lowe was booked when he did not retreat at a Moult freekick (73 mins).

Alty made their second change as Hancock replaced Harrop (77 mins). Thompson soon had to be alert to cut out a Brackley cross before Sterling-James replaced former Coventry City man, Baker. A minute later Richman came on for Hampson who had gone down injured just as Ceesay was about to be the man withdrawn. A hasty change of mind by the manager left the left-winger on the pitch.

Hampson's position was covered by Densmore as Richman slotted in at right-back (85 mins).

Brackley's Sterling-James then steered a good chance narrowly wide as Alty were largely kept on the back foot in these closing stages of the evening.

Four minutes of added time were proclaimed but, as the game seemed to drift to an honourable draw, calamity struck. A back pass from Hannigan to Thompson led to the goalkeeper making an air-shot and the ball carried on towards the line. Thompson scrambled to retrieve it but was unable to stop it rolling into the net for a Brackley winner (90+4 mins).

It was a desperately disappointing end to the game for Altrincham and, especially, for Thompson, who had played well throughout the game to this point. The result left Alty fifth and Brackley third.