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Vanarama National League North match
played on Mondday, 22 April 2019, at 3pm


With five regulars missing from the starting eleven (White, Johnston, Williams, Hancock and Jones), Altrincham led a lead slip for the third time in five games (losing seven points in the process) but mathematically confirmed their place in the play-offs with this point, which is a great achievement for Phil Parkinson and his newly promoted team.

Alty nearly opened the scoring in the tenth minute when Hulme rounded the keeper but his goalbound effort was cleared off the line by a defender and, five minutes later, Ceesay was denied what looked a stonewall penalty when he was brought down on the byline.

But, after a goalless first half against draw specialists Hereford, Altrincham took a fifty-fourth minute lead for the second game running. This time the goal arose when Poole got possession and was fouled just inside the Hereford half. The referee, who had earlier denied Alty a stonewall penalty, this time allowed Alty the advantage as Hulme broke forward before smacking the ball into the net.

The Bulls equalised ten minutes later when, 35 yards out, Hannigan tried to clear but the ball rebounded off Owen-Evans who advanced to shoot past Tony Thompson.

Despite an impressive cameo from substitute Dolan, Altrincham could not get a winner and Hereford themselves also looked a threat. But, although there were five added minutes, the game ended level. Alty remain fifth and cannot finish any lower. If Spennymoor lose their last game and Alty win theirs, Alty would be fourth on goal difference.


REFEREE: Mr Andy Sykes.

With a place in the play-offs all but confirmed 48 hours earlier at Nuneaton, Phil Parkinson, with an eye on the extended season, did not risk a number of first-teamers who were carrying minor knocks. So, Altrincham went into this game without five regular starters in the shape of Andy White, John Johnston, James Jones, Sean Williams and Josh Hancock, with only the latter two being on the bench.

Back into the side from injury came Yusifu Ceesay whilst James Poole, Connor Hampson and Max Harrop also returned to the starting eleven. Matt Chadwick continued on the right wing after his full debut 48 hours earlier.

Hereford had become the division's draw specialists, having racked up six in their last twelve matches. They lay 18th in the table at kick off but had drawn with Alty at Edgar Street earlier in the campaign.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Shaun Densmore, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. Ben Harrison, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. Matt Chadwick, 8. Max Harrop, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. James Poole, 11. Yusifu Ceesay. Subs: 12. Josh Hancock, 14. Sean Williams, 15. Callum Dolan, 16. Simon Richman, 20. Elliot Wynne.

HEREFORD FC (Yellow shorts and shorts, black socks): 1. Matt Yates, 2. Jak Hickman, 3. Danny Greenslade, 4. Kieran Thomas, 5. Jordan Cullinane-Liburd, 6. Josh Gowling (c), 7. Eliot Richards, 8. Tom Owen-Evans, 9. Rowan Liburd, 10. James Waite, 11. Mike Symons. Subs: 12. Louis Ezewele, 14. Theo Wharton, 15. James Wesolowski, 16. Kyle Finn, 17. Tommy O'Sullivan.


Altrincham needed a point to be absolutely certain of a play-off place but, in reality, their goal difference meant they were as good as qualified before kick-off today.

This was the first-ever visit of Hereford FC to Moss Lane since their rebirth from the ashes of Hereford United in 2014.


Just 48 hours after both teams had played their respective opponents on Saturday in sweltering heat, it was The Bulls who kicked off today, once more in warm sunshine. As Alty attacked the away end, Chadwick made a mazy dribble on the right wing before being halted (3 mins).

Chadwick soon impressed again with a low cross to Hulme who was halted by a defender (6 mins). As some light cloud helped tp keep the temperature within reasonable bounds, a smart flick forward by Poole set Hulme in on goal. He rounded keeper Yates but his goalbound shot was cleared off the line as was his follow up (10 mins).

At the other end, a fine tackle by Densmore halted the burly Symons inside the Alty box (14 mins). There was dismay a minute later when Ceesay got to the left byline and appeared to be brought down. Referee Sykes waved play, much on to the annoyance of Phil Parkinson and the vocal home crowd.

Altrincham continued to show the more attacking intent but Hereford were more than holding their own, with Gowling marshalling his defence well. The next goal threat came in the 24th minute when Poole fired over after a good passing move.

After a freekick for a Gowling trip, Ceesay had a shot deflected by a team-mate for a goalkick. From a pass by Hulme, Chadwick fired in a fine shot from the right, which Yates did well to tip over the bar for a corner (32 mins).

Chadwick continued to impress on the right as, now, his dribble led to his cross which just evaded Harrison at the back post. At this point Liburd sat down for treatment (33 mins).

After 37 minutes, Hereford won their first corner and, as ever, Alty withdrew all ten outfield players.

Following an Alty counter-attack, which was ended by keeper Yates smothering the ball at Ceesay's feet, Alty again pressed towards the away goal. As half-time beckoned, Densmore hit a 22 yard freekick into the wall, following a foul on Poole (45 mins). So, for the second game of the Easter weekend, the first half had been goalless.


Hereford brought on Finn for Liburd at the interval, the ex-Guiseley striker having been treated for an injury in the first half. Greenslade's trip on Hulme gave Alty an early freekick on the right which was poorly taken by Chadwick (49 mins).

An error by Hampson then allowed Hereford their best effort so far as Finn's curling shot from the right forced an excellent tip round the post by Thompson, for a corner. After this Chadwick won the ball and ran clear in the inside-left channel, with Poole inside him. But Chadwick's pass went behind Poole and a good opening had been wasted (51 mins).

Soon afterwards, Hereford again lost possession in midfield but, as Poole stole the ball and advanced, he was tripped just inside the Hereford half. Referee Sykes played a good "advantage" and Hulme raced clear with the ball before firing firmly past the exposed Yates from the edge of the box to give Alty a deserved 54th-minute lead. It was his 20th goal in all competitions this season. In the aftermath the Hereford player who had fouled Poole was booked.

Next Ceesay was tripped just outside the box but the freekick came to nothing (55 mins).

Harrop then committed two fouls in quick succession before Ceesay executed a clever turn with his resulting cross being just marginally too high for Moult to get a good conncetion with his header (60 mins).

O'Sullivan now replaced the injured Richards for the Bulls (63 mins). From the restart, Hannigan attempted to kick clear, about 30 yards from his team's goal. But Owen-Evans charged down the attempted clearance and the ball broke for the Hereford man. He advanced on goal before beating Thompson with his shot to level the score at 1-1 (64 mins).

The goal seemed to dispirit Altrincham for a while and Harrop was now extremely fortunate to escape a booking for his fourth foul of the second half. A resulting Hereford corner was cleared but, as ever, there was no one upfield so possession was conceded straightaway.

In the 72nd minute Altrincham made a double change as Dolan replaced Chadwick and Richman replaced Harrop. Young Dolan had not apperaed in any of Alty's last eight matches but he now slotted in on the left wing, as Ceesay moved to the right.

When Alty won a freekick near half way, Owen-Evans steamed in to stop it being tgaken and came off worse from an accidental clash with the foul-victim, Jake Moult. So he suffered both an injury that needed treatment and a yellow card for his behaviour (76 mins).

Alty's last change saw Hancock replace Poole (77 mins). Soon afterwards, Alty almost snatched a winner when a Hampson cross from the left seemed to come off Densmore and drop just inside the back post where keeper Yates grabbed it on the line to deny the hosts (78 mins).

Dolan was looking lively on the left but he did waste a corner with a poor, low kick (82 mins). The young substitute then got back to clear an Alty corner but had to lump it aimlessly upfield as all the Altrincham players were behind him. Next Hancock hit a freekick into the Hereford wall (86 mins). Richman now picked up a yellow card for a foul (89 mins) before five added minutes were decreed.

The nearest Alty came to a late winner was when Dolan fed Moult but the home captain hit a wild shot, high and wide (90+5 mins).

So, for the third time in five games Alty had failed to hold a lead and conceded another two points in the process to add to those lost in recent games at Telford and against Brackley at home. Nevertheless, Altrincham have made certain of a play-off place which is a fine achievement for a team only prompted back to this division last August.