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Vanarama National League North match
played on Tuesday, 19 November 2019, at 7.45pm


A fine performance from Altrincham secured a surprisingly comfortable 3-0 win over a Gateshead side which had only let in twelve goals in its previous 1eague games this season. The home side played well, after a quiet start, and on his 100th start, goalkeeper Tony Thompson had only a couple of routine saves to make.

Altrincham took a 23rd minute lead and, as last Saturday, it was a centre-back who opened their account. Lees's armlock on Hulme gave Alty a freekick left of centre. A Gateshead attempt to clear only resulted in the ball looping across to an unmarked Mullarkey in the goalmouth and he coolly slotted the ball past James, the visitors' keeper, from close range.

The second goal, again mirroring last Saturday, was netted as then by Jordan Hulme, who was played in by a superb ball up the middle from Williams and he coolly slotted the ball, low, past the advancing keeper (39 mins).

Gateshead started the second half with a much better tempo than they had shown before the interval but it was Alty who were to score again. Shaun Densmore, in yet another echo of the win over Hereford last time out, burst into the penalty area but, whereas he had scored on Saturday, this time he was brought down. From the resulting spot-kick, Josh Hancock hammered the ball into the upper reaches of the net (55 mins).

The win lifted Alty to fifteenth with a game or more in hand on most of the rest of the division.


REFEREE: Mr Michael Barlow, who oversaw Alty's last league defeat, at Kidderminster on 14 September.

Today marked goalkeeper Tony Thompson's 100th appearance for Altrincham. Traffic problems caused James Jones to be delayed on his way to the match so Toby Mullarkey took over in central defence, alongside Tom Hannigan who had recovered from the back spasm which had seen him substituted on Saturday against Hereford.

Otherwise, Alty were unchanged.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Andy WHITE, 4. Toby MULLARKEY, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Sean WILLIAMS, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Luke WALL. Subs: 12. Max HARROP, 14. Simon RICHMAN, 15. Connor HAMPSON, 16. James JONES, 20. Joel TORRANCE

GATESHEAD (White shirts, sky blue shorts, blue socks): 1. Brad JAMES, 2. Alex NICHOLSON, 3. Scott BARLOW, 4. Nicky DERVERDICS, 5. Toby LEES, 6. Michael NELSON (c), 7. Dominic TEAR, 8. Liam AGNEW, 9. Josh KAYODE, 10. Greg OLLEY, 11. JJ O'DONNELL. Subs: 12. Paul BLACKETT, 13. Sam GUTHRIE, 14. Jordan PRESTON, 15. Elliot FORBES, 17. Connor OLIVER.


This was a meeting between the two National League North teams to have played the fewest number of league games this season due to postponements and cup involvements. Both clubs had played just 14 league games so far, and Gateshead arrived having played just five times away from home, the lowest such total in the division. On the contrary, it was at home where Alty had appeared rarely; last Saturday's game being only their sixth league match at Moss Lane this season.

Before kick-off, The Heed had earned six more points from Alty but, given the skew of each team's home and away fixtures, that imbalance in points was arguably misleading.

Gateshead last visited Moss Lane in 2006 and that, too, was a midweek trek for the Tynesiders. This time around the reason for an evening game was the postponement of the scheduled Saturday fixture on 28 September, due to a waterlogged pitch at the J. Davidson Stadium.

Altrincham went into this match unbeaten in eight games; three in the league and five in the FA Cup.

Gateshead had achieved a respectable finish in the National League last season before being demoted for financial reasons but they have maintained their full-time status under manager Mike Williamson.


Gateshead kicked off towards Golf Road but, for the second game running, the referee required a restart, presumably for encroachment by the home side. Gateshead started confidently but, in the fifth minute, Alty signalled their intent with a 23-pass move.

As Alty gradually got on top, the defences remained secure at each end with no meaningful acton for either goalkeeper. Shaun Densmore was soon impressing again as he won two headers to halt the visitors' progress.

There had still not been a shot on target when Alty won a freekick about 25 yards out, left of centre, for a foul on Hulme by Lees as he grabbed the Alty striker. The freekick caused the defenders some problems and the ball seemed to loop into the centre of the goalmouth, from the left, possibly off a Gateshead player. The ball fell to Mullarkey who, faced only by keeper James, kept his head to slot the ball past him to give his side a 23rd minute lead.

Alty continued to have the upper hand but were grateful that Thompson's miskick to an opponent was not punished as a defender took advantage of the Gateshead man's hesitation (30 mins).

After Mullarkey had missed some action as he changed a boot (32 mins), Altrincham soon put together another multi-passing move.

However, clear sights of goal remained scarce before Williams gained possession in the centre circle and slotted a low ball up the channel for Hulme. The Alty leading scorer latched onto it and, as James came out of his goal, Hulme slotted a low shot into the net to the keeper's left (39 mins).

When Hannigan was penalized against Kayode, the freekick led to four successive corners for The Heed (43 mins), the first being tipped over his own bar by Thompson, and the next two headed out of play by Alty defenders. The last of the decreed two added minutes witnessed Gateshead's first shot on goal as Olley fired at Thompson who saved routinely (45+2 mins).


Gateshead came out early for the second half and started it with an increased tempo and determination. At the break they had brought on Preston for O'Donnell and soon they threatened the home goal as a Tear effort forced an unconventional kick clear from Thompson (46 mins).

Gateshead were now enjoying their best spell of the game as they sustained some forward momentum. But a Densmore interception led to a Johnston counter-attcak and a low cross which flew across the goalmouth unconverted (53 mins). And, soon afterwards, it was Densmore who burst into the opposition penalty area, only to be upended by a defender.

Referee Barlow awarded a penalty which Hancock emphatically drove into the upper reaches of the net to make the score 3-0 (55 mins).

Altrincham were now preparing Richman and Hampson to come on but they did not replace Wall and Williams until a few minutes later, on the hour mark. Wall, in only his second game, had again given a promising performance.

After a Gateshead corner had come to nothing, Oliver replaced Agnew for the visitors (63 mins). There was little to report over the next few minutes before Harrop came on for Hancock (70 mins). Gateshead did force Thompson into action on 74 minutes when he saved a Kayode effort. At this point Blackett came on for Kayode.

Two Altrincham corners soon followed and, as Alty remained comfortable with their three-goal lead, a third corner arrived in the 82nd minute, won by Densmore. A freekick for a foul on Hulme followed as Altrincham successfully kept Gateshead at arm's length until the conclusion of three added minutes at the end of the ninety.

The win extended Alty's unbeaten run to nine games and lifted them three places to fifteenth. They still have games in hand on virtually everybody else as they prepare for two cup clashes, at York in the Trophy and then Portsmouth in the FA Cup.

After their impressive trio of wins in the past fortnight, against York (FA Cup) and Hereford and Gateshead in the league, Altrincham will go into the next two weekends with confidence.