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Vanarama National League North match
played on Saturday, 27 April 2019, at 3pm


In a match whose quality matched the poor weather in which it was played, a much-changed Altrincham team was unable to get the better of relegated Ashton who played for more than half of the match with ten men. And, had Liam Tomsett's late shot not come back off the upright, the outcome might have been worse.

Manager Phil Parkinson opted to rest numerous players in advance of Wednesday's play-off at home to Blyth Spartans. Six of the team which had started against Hereford last time out did not start today and several of the survivors were played out of position.

Ashton took a second-minute lead when Alty failed to challenge an advance up the middle and Tomsett was played in. The former Alty loanee made it 1-0 as he slotted the ball past Elliot Wynne who had been left exposed. Altrincham levelled in the 19th minute when Moult headed home a Harrop freekick.

With the hosts' Ashworth having been dismissed for a second offence, Alty saw a lot of the ball in the second half but Poole's misdirected header from a Johnston cross was the nearest they came to winning the match.


REFEREE: Mr Matt Corlett

With an eye on Wednesday's play-off qualifier, Phil Parkinson had been expected to rest players and he did so. Six changes were made to the starting eleven as Wynne, Jones, Richman, Dolan, Harrop and Poole all came in and with White out, injured, six other players were rested (Hampson, Johnston, Hannigan, Harrison, Hulme, Thompson).

Dolan was making his first Alty start, whilst Poole and Chadwick were making only their third starts in the league this season, whilst Wynne was making his seventh league bow, his last being 31 league games earlier. So, to put it mildly, it was a relatively untried starting eleven, a situation exacerbated by several position changes.

Midfielders Richman and Moult were respectively on the right and centre in the back four, where Densmore was deployed on the left rather than right of the defenders. Poole was deployed as the main striker, whilst Williams was the deeper of the two central midfielders, the other being Harrop, who had only started six league games in that role this season.

Ashton included numerous ex-Alty players and former Moss Lane loanees or trialists. These were Mantack, Chalmers, Sheridan, Hobson, Tomsett and Woodford.


ASHTON UNITED (Red & white shirts, red shorts and socks) 1. George McMahon, 2. Kallum Mantack, 3. Matthew Regan, 4. Aaron Chalmers, 5. Luke Ashworth, 6. Scott Kay, 7. Paul Ennis, 8. Sam Sheridan, 9. Craig Hobson, 10. Connor Dimaio, 11. Liam Tomsett. Subs: 12. John Roberts, 14. Ionut-Casian Anghel, 15. Simon Woodford.

ALTRINCHAM (Purple shirts and shorts, white socks): 1. Elliot Wynne, 2. Simon Richman, 3. Shaun Densmore, 4. James Jones, 5. Jake Moult (c), 6. Sean Williams, 7. Matt Chadwick, 8. Max Harrop, 9. James Poole, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Callum Dolan. Subs: 12. Jordan Hulme, 14. John Johnston, 15. Yusufi Ceesay, 16. Tom Hannigan, 17. Connor Hampson.


It had been a contrasting season for these two clubs, who had been relegated together last summer. Altrincham started the match already certain of a play-off place whilst Ashton had already been confirmed as a relegated team.


On a horrible day, wet, windy and cold, Ashton kicked off on a pitch which showed no major ill efects from the overnight and morning downpours. Just inside the two-minute mark, the relegated club took the lead against the promotion aspirants. Hancock lost possession in midfield and Ashton surged unchallenged up the middle. The ball was played to Tomsett who finished, with a low shot to Wynne's left.

Alty finally got forward in the fifth minute but Densmore's cross was overhit from the left. Five minutes later Densmore fed the pacey Dolan whose good, low cross from the left went across the goalmouth.

After a well off-target 35-yarder from Harrop (13 mins), the Alty defence worryingly parted for the second time in the match leaving Hobson one-on-one with Wynne. The young keeper made a good block to spare Alty blushes (14 mins).

As Alty began to settle, Poole fed Dolan whose fine shot was deflected out for his side's first corner, which came to nothing (17 mins).

Next, a clever pass from Harrop set Chadwick advancing on goal and he won a freekick, with Regan being booked for the foul (18 mins). Harrop took the freekick from a fairly central position about 35 yards from goal. Moult rose at the left-hand post to head the ball into the net for the equalizer (19 mins).

Soon, there was another moment of concern for Alty when Jones let the ball go, allowing Tomsett to gain possession but he shot narrowly wide of goal (24 mins).

At the other end, keeper McMahon was nearly beaten when a back-pass evaded his attempted kick and went out for a corner (26 mins). It was an afternoon, so far, of more mistakes than quality from both of the teams.

Next, Chadwick adavanced on the right and won a corner off one of his former team-mates at Hurst Cross. After this Poole was brought down by Ashworth who was duly booked (34 mins).

Soon afterwards Poole was played in but his shot was blocked as the game continued in difficult windy conditions with often swirling rain. As the game drifted towards the interval Dolan was brought down by Ashworth, who was shown a second yellow and a red to reduce his side to ten men (42 mins).


Altrincham kicked off the second half against Ashton's ten-men side, with rain again falling. Poole and Dolan had shots blocked and, six minutes into the half, Harrop was booked after a foul on Sheridan (51 mins).

Following that altercation, Hancock was involved in another similar feisty moment, this time involving Hobson. The former Alty striker was injured and, after treatment, was replaced by Roberts (54 mins).

The second half was proving a more dire affair than the first half before Poole headed narrowly wide from a Dolan cross just after the hour mark. Two minutes later a decent Alty move earned a corner, from which an Alty header was blocked.

Johnston now replaced Harrop, and Ashton introduced Anghel for Ennis (63 mins). Alty now won a freekick, when Chalmers tripped Dolan and Johnston's freekick was tipped out for a corner as the rain eased briefly (65 mins).

Next, Hampson came on for Moult at centre-back, another Alty player deployed in a role secondary to his main position (67 mins).

Despite being a man down, Ashton went close through Dimaio after a good move on their left. Soon after this they also won a corner as Alty laboured to impose their man advantage (71 mins).

Although play was largely towards the home goal, keeper McMahon was hardly tested. On 79 minutes Ceesay came on for Dolan who had made a good impression. Alty then missed a golden chance to win the game as Johnston's excellent ball was headed badly wide by Poole from close range (84 mins).

Ashton nearly took all of the three points in the 89th minute when Dimaio fed Tomsett whose well-struck shot hit Wynne's left-hand post. In the decreed three added minutes Poole shot narrowly wide before this very mundane game thankfully came to an end.

Altrincham will now look to regain their momentum after this encounter, when they will field their best available side against Blyth Spartans in Wednesday's play-off qualifier. Altrincham's last six games having featured just two wins whilst Blyth arrive in Cheshire with seven wins from their last eight matches.