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


A promising start for the hosts tailed off into a comprehensive defeat as Altrincham were left still seeking their first win at Moss Lane on the opening-day of a season since 2006. And to compound the misery, Sean Williams was sent off with 17 minutes remaining.

Altrincham had taken a 12th minute lead when James Jones firmly headed home a Johnston corner. And the lead seemed reasonably secure till around the half-hour mark when York belatedly woke up. Dan Maguire fired a warning when he hit the bar and three minutes before the interval the Alty goal was again fortunate to survive as Maguire had an effort blocked.

But Alty's luck did not hold out and, in the 44th minute, York were level. Not for the first time, left-back Ferguson was allowed too much space on the Alty right but his lowish cross from the left somehow was allowed to find the far corner of the net, seemingly off a headed deflection from James Jones.

The second half was largely one-way traffic as, time and again, Alty tried to play the ball out of defence only to lose possession. But York's second goal came, like Altrincham's opener, from a corner. From the right, the corner found a York player deep in the box. He relayed the ball back to the right of the goalmouth to Tait who swept it home (52 mins).

Disaster struck on the hour mark when Drench, who had a mixed game but was nevertheless made the Altrincham Man of the Match, played Branson into trouble with a pass up the middle. Branson lost possession and fouled his opponent but play was waved on and Burrow finished off the move with a low drive to make it 3-1. To compound his woe, Branson was booked and received a facial cut.

Thereafter, Altrincham were never in the game and did not help themselves by bringing everyone back for corners when the less than mobile McNulty was left as York's last man but had no Alty man to mark. Things got worse in the 73rd minute when Sean Williams was outpaced by Moke and fouled the York player to pick up a second yellow and the inevitable red as a consequence.


REFEREE: Peter Shacklady

The Alty ranks were depleted by the absences of captain Jake Moult (recovering from an operation), Josh Hancock (suspended) and Simon Richman (injured). Steven Drench was preferred to Tony Thompson in goal, whilst James Jones partnered Tom Hannigan at centre back.

Over the summer, Altrincham had witnessed four departures (Wynne, Poole, Harrison, Chadwick) and five arrivals (Arnold, Branson, Mullarkey, Peers and Walters).

For their part York had seen a rebuild over the summer and were installed as the bookies' title favourites.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Steven DRENCH, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON (c), 4. James JONES, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Conor BRANSON, 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Sean WILLIAMS, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Max HARROP, 11. Nathan ARNOLD. Subs: 12.Tom PEERS, 14. Lewis WALTERS, 15. Shaun DENSMORE, 16. Toby MULLARKEY, 20. Tony THOMPSON

YORK CITY (Dark blue shirts and whiyte shorts and socks): 1. Peter Jameson, 2. Kallum Griffiths, 3. David Ferguson, 4. Sean Newton, 5. Steve McNulty (c), 6. Joe Tait, 7. Adriano Moke, 8. Andy Bond, 9. Jordan Burrow, 10. Dan Maguire, 11. Alex Kempster. Subs: 12. Paddy McLaughlin, 14. Kieran Green, 15. Macauley Langstaff, 16. Harry Spratt, 18. Ryan Whitley


For the fifth successive season Altrincham kicked off the season at home, but they had not previously won any of those games. In fact, it was back in 2006 that Altrincham had last won a first match of the season played at Moss Lane.

It had been an extremely wet week in Altrincham but dry weather over the preceding 48 hours had allowed the pitch to recover.

Whoever decided to change the colour of the numbers on the Alty shirts to black on a red background has obviously never had to identify players under floodlights on a wet night in midwinter.


After a minute's applause in honour of the late Noel White and two former players, and in front of strong travelling support, York kicked off towards the Golf Road in bright sunshine.

Alty started promisingly and won the game's first corner through Johnston's deflected shot (4 mins). From a freekick York responded by winning a corner of their own four minutes later.

When Ferguson clattered White with a late challenge the York left-back was fortunate to escape without a card (9 mins). Drench, brought into the side partly for his calm assuredness, then belied his reputation by allowing Maguire to charge down his kick but the ball was cleared.

An Alty corner in the eleventh minute was firmly met by Branson's head but was diverted by a fine save for a second corner. This time, Johnston's flag-kick was met by a fine header from Jones, which powered past Jameson to give Altrincham a 12th minute lead.

Drench's nervy start continued as he hit a goalkick into touch. Meanwhile York were showing little of their pre-season promise which had seen them unbeaten over the summer. Altrincham then wasted a golden chance to double their lead. A ball deflected off a York defender to Hulme who was unmarked and had only Jameson to beat. But the striker, who had failed to score in pre-season, hooked his effort wide from eight yards (18 mins).

A miskick by Jones soon gave York a corner, shortly followed by another after Andy White had joined the growing list of players on both sides to give the ball away cheaply (24 mins).

But Alty continued to look good value for their lead as Harrop advanced to feed Jonhston whose shot went inches wide of goal (26 mins).

A foul by White on Ferguson gave City a freekick from 30 yards which Newton lifted high into Golf Road (28 mins). Next Jameson had to dive desperately to tip away a low Johnston cross as Hulme closed in.

But York now began to come to life and a good move ended with former Blyth forward Maguire which forced a fine save from Drench (33 mins). However, York were still not looking fluent and Kempster underlined the disharmony by bellowing at team-mate Ferguson.

Altrincham now lost possession cheaply, first through Hampson and then Branson, before Williams's error allowed Moke into the box. From this incursion Maguire had a shot impressively blocked by Drench, low down, in the goalmouth and the follow up from Burrow was also diverted by the prostrate Drench for a corner (42 mins).

Next, a 20-yarder from Bond forced a good save from Drench but the visitors' pressure finally told, albeit in a slightly bizarre fashion. Ferguson was allowed too much space on the left but his lowish cross seemed unexceptional only for it to creep into the net at the far post, seemingly off a James Jones deflection, to make it 1-1 (44 mins).

In the second added minute, Alty almost regained the lead as Hulme's effort was blocked and the otherwise subdued Arnold's follow-up found the side-netting (45+2 mins).


Two early corners were won by Altrincham (49 mins) and then a Harrop cross brushed Arnold's head in the centre of the goalmouth as the hosts started the more brightly of the two teams.

But when York won themselves a corner, it was played from the right deep into the box. From there a York player knocked it back towards the near post wher Tait slid it into the net to give the Minstermen the lead (52 mins).

Next, after Williams had lost the ball, Drench had to be alert to tip away Kempster's low cross. Altrincham were still an occasional threat at this stage as Harrop beat his man on the right of the box and hammered a shot goalwards which Jameson did well to puh over the bar for a corner (55 mins).

After Ferguson had been booked, Alty's Williams followed him into the book when Moke outpaced him and was pulled back by the midfielder (54 mins).

The outcome of the game was effectively sealed when Drench kicked the ball up the middle towards Branson who was about 25 yards away. However, the midfielder was marked and he lost possession. Despite Branson then fouling the opponent, play was waved on and the ball was worked forward for Burrow to hammer the ball past Drench to make it 3-1 (60 mins).

For his pains Branson was booked and needed treatment to a bloodied face.

Four minutes later Mullarkey and Walters replaced Arnold and White as Alty switched to a back three, allowing Hampson to get forward.

But Alty were now under the cosh and Drench had to make another good save, from Bond's 25 yarder before Burrow spooned a chance over the bar a few minutes later. Alty were now getting picked off with regularity as they tried to bring the ball out of defence and midfield.

Peers replaced Johnston, who had been playimng his 100th game for the club, soon after the latter had gone close from 20 yards (71 mins). Alty then lost the ball three times in a minute through Peers, Harrop and finally Williams. Williams responded by bringing down his man and was duly shown a second yellow and a red card to compound Alty's misery (73 mins).

McLaughlin replaced Kempster for York (75 mins) before the pattern of losing possession continued with Hampson twice being the culprit. Harrop was then booked for a foul on Maguire (80 mins).

Green now replaced Moke who had played well for York. After Jones had become the next player to lose the ball as he tried to advance, Langstaff replaced Maguire for City (84 mins).

McLaughlin was added to the referee's notebook when he fouled Harrop (87 mins). Alty did win a corner deep into added time but they had shown little likelihood of retrieving the game after the hour mark.

Hopefully, York will prove to be the best side in the division and Alty will not meet any stronger sides this season. But the impending suspension of Williams gives manager Parkinson another headache to add to the unavailability of Moult, Richman and Hancock for the immediate future.

Next up is a trip to Chester FC where Alty will seek to get the show back on the road.