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Vanarama National League North match
played on Saturday, 10 August 2019, at 3pm


In each of their three games this season Altrincham have scored the match's opening goal but on each occasion they have failed to hold the lead, gleaning just two points from the nine available to date.

They should have settled this match in the first half when they were playing into a strong wind. They had taken a 12th minute lead when James Jones swept home a John Johnston freekick from the left. And, before half-time, they had chances to stretch the lead as Jordan Hulme spurned a great chance and Lewis Walters hit the post.

The second half was a different story as Alty failed to make good use of the wind behind them. Just five minutes after the interval they conceded the equalizer. A mistake by Simon Richman led to Max Harrop conceding a freekick. Immediately after it was taken, Harrop transgressed again and was booked; his third yellow card in three matches.

To make matters worse Hanks then drove the ball from some twenty yards out past the end of the Alty defensive wall and into the net for the hosts.

Alty still had chances to win the game, notably when Hulme was played in against the keeper and when Simon Richman did well to get to the byline and feed Tom Peers, but his shot was saved. Alty were also justifiably upset when Simon Richman looked to be brought down in the act of shooting from inside the box but no spot-kick resulted.


REFEREE: Mr Dean Watson

Altrincham were without the suspended duo of Josh Hancock and Sean Williams, as well as the recuperating Jake Moult. Simon Richman returned from injury to replace Williams. Nathan Arnold was on the bench after missing the game in midweek with illness.


GLOUCESTER CITY (Red shirts with amber panel, red shorts and socks): 1. Zach Jeacock, 2. Josh Yjomas, 3. Vincent Harper, 4. Spencer Hamilton (c), 5. Ioan Richards, 6. Chris Knowles, 7. Joe Parker, 8. Joe Hanks, 9. Marlon Jackson, 10. Jake Jackson, 11. Fabien Robert. Subs: 12. Zack Kotwica, 14. Sam Avery, 15. Kieran Smith, 16. Alex Hainault, 19. Tom King (gk).

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


Following a defeat and a draw, Altrincham were looking for a first win of the season, whilst City had a win and defeat to their name before kick-off.

Altrincham had not won previously in any away games against Gloucester City, who now play at Evesham United's ground as their exile from their home city, caused by floods in 2007, continues.

Mike Garnett's data on previous encounters is below.

Very windy conditions affected the game throughout the ninety minutes. Broadly, the wind was blowing against the team at the clubhouse end of the ground but it was actually gusting diagonally towards the main stand, too.

Since our last encounter with the Gladiators, they had changed their team colours from amber and black stripes to an all red outfit, with a gold panel on the shirt. Whether this was to match the predominant red colour of their landlord's stadium was unclear. Coincidentally, the landlords, Evesham United, share Altrincham's nickname of The Robins.


Gloucester won the toss and elected to change ends so that Altrincham kicked off into the stiff wind for the first half. Almost immediately Gloucester's Parker won a corner but this came to naught. When Harper advanced up the middle, Andy White clipped his heels and found himself with a ywllow card to his name inside just three minutes of the match.

Hanks hit the freekick firmly and low to Drench's right but the Alty keeper got down well to save the shot (4 mins). After Marlon Jackson had escaped a card for barging over Hannigan, the game continued with frequent petty fouls by both sides as they tried to come to terms with the difficult windy conditions.

One of these fouls, on Johnston, gave the visitors a freekick towards the left wing, which Johnston himself took. His low delivery was steered into the net by James Jones from near the penalty spot where he somehow found space despite having three defenders in the vicinity (12 mins). History had repeated itself as centre-back Jones had put Alty ahead at exactly the same stage in midweek against Chester FC. With two goals at the right end as well as an own goal at the wrong end, Jones has had an eventful start to the campaign.

The petty fouls continued, with a trip on Richman. Soon afterwards a fine ball from Harrop found Hulme who laid the ball off for a Johnston shot which Jeacock saved (14 mins). After Gloucester had started the game the better, the goal had prompted Altrincham to up their game and they soon went close to doubling their lead in bizarre fashion. On the left Walters took advantage of the swirling wing to loop a 35-yarder towards the top corner but Jeacock did well to stop it (16 mins).

Five minutes later, Drench had to deal with a similar effort, launched onto the wind, but he managed, watchfully, to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.

Midway through the half, Hulme got the ball inside the opposition box but Jeacock blocked his effort (23 mins). Next, the Alty no.9 battled to win his side a corner, following which Johnston's cross was met by Hulme's flashing header with flew across the goal and narrowly wide; however, he was given offside (28 mins).

After White had slipped over, Parker wasted an opening by mis-hitting his effort very wide (28 mins). A blatant trip by Knowles on Walters soon earned Gloucester their first yellow card (33 mins).

Altrincham continued to have slightly the better of the game but, after Hulme's underpowered shot at Jeacock, a neat City move ended with Parker again not getting hold of his shot, which this time ran to Drench (36 mins).

Gloucester were fortunate to evade another yellow card when Johnston was held back as he got free of his opponent, a freekick being the only punishment from Mr. Watson. Next Hulme was played into the clear, right of centre, but he poked his effort disappointingly wide when a goal looked on the cards (41 mins). It was to be a frustrating afternoon for the hardworking Hulme.

And nearing half-time, Altrincham spurned another chance to extend their lead as a fine move ended with Hulme feeding Walters whose shot from left of centre shaved the far post (45 mins). So, Alty held a deserved lead at the interval but should have had the game more firmly in their hands by this stage.


Conditions remained bright but very windy as Gloucester kicked off into the wind. Inside the first minute Altrincham had another good opportunity as Hulme faced Jeacock after a defensive slip up by City. But the keeper blocked the striker's effort once again (46 mins). Soon afterwards, Hulme fed Johnston whose deliberately sliced shot just cleared the bar (47 mins).

Altrincham were about to pay for their failure to take their chances. A mistake by Richman led to Harrop committing a foul a couple of yards outside the box, fairly centrally.

As the freekick was taken, Harrop transgressed again and this time was booked. The freekick was now slightly further left of centre, about 22 yards out. Alty's wall was lined up but Hanks, who had given Alty a first-half warning with an excellent freekick, identified a gap and drove the ball past the left-end of the wall and just inside the post. The diving Drench was unable to stop it at the base of his left post.

So it was 1-1 and, for the third successive game, Alty had taken a lead, failed to build on it and then conceded an equalizer (50 mins).

Soon afterwards, Hanks again tried his luck, with a freekick from slightly further out than his successful effort but, this time, the Alty wall did its job. At the other end, Hulme won a freekick some 25 yards out towards the right. Harrop took a superb freekick curling the ball towards the nearside top corner, only for Jeacock to make a fine flying save to tip the ball away for a corner (58 mins).

Avery replaced Richards in the game's first substitution (57 mins) before a Johnston cross prompted a big appeal for handball by a Gloucester defender in the home box, but only a corner resulted, which Jones headed over the bar.

A second substiution by Gloucester witnessed Kotwica replace Jake Jackson (58 mins). Thomas then received a yellow card for a late challenge on Hampson, on the hour mark.

When Johnston fed Richman inside the City box, the midfielder was in the act of shooting when he was brought down. To Alty's amazement play was waved on despite their protestations (62 mins).

Alty soon perceived more injustice from officialdom. Alty's Andy white was booked this week for picking up the ball after a freekick had been given against him and then putting it down, seconds later, a couple of steps away. Now, Marlon Jackson not only fouled Hannigan and picked the ball up, but he also held onto it and even wrestled with Tom Hannigan as the Alty defender tried to retrieve it. Jackson was not booked.

After a foul on Harrop, the victim's freekick yielded a corner, which was badly wasted by a bad short corner effort from Johnston who, in trying to retrieve the situation, got himself booked for a foul (69 mins).

Hanks now forced Drench into a good save which conceded a corner, after which Tom Peers joined the game in place of Walters (72 mins). After Hampson had gained Alty a corner, Arnold came on for Harrop (77 mins).

Another Altrincham chance came and went when Richman excelled in getting to the right byline, via a neat one-two. He found Peers who dug out a shot but it was saved comfortably by Jeacock (80 mins).

Smith replaced Thomas in Gloucester's final substitution (81 mins).

Mr Watson, who had had a decent first half before some erratic decisions in the second period, now awarded a home goalkick instead of a clear Alty corner (84 mins).

In the final minute of normal time Gloucester nearly snatched the points with a good shot by Marlon Jackson which Drench beat out. But Alty likewise had a late chance as Hulme fed Johnston whose shot was saved (90+1 mins). Four added minutes were decreed and the final action saw a Johnston effort saved (90+5 mins).

So, once again, Alty had failed to capitalise on taking the lead and had allowed their opponents back into the game. Altrincham certainly had the chances to win this match but this draw left them in nineteenth position in the table.