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Emirates FA Cup First Round match
played on Saturday, 30 November 2019, at 3pm


After a quiet start to the match, Pompey saw a goalbound header well blocked by Jones before Hulme got round Hawkins at the other end, only to be brought down but referee Nield saw no penalty offence (11 mins).

Later, after Portsmouth's Harrison had hit the post, the lively Hulme drew a foul just outside the box but Densmore's freekick was poor.

Following a Johnston advance, Hulme struck a well-hit shot, across the keeper, but it smacked against the post (43 mins). Immediately, at the other end, a cross led to Harrison forcing a fine save, low down, by Thompson (44 mins).

The better football had come from Altrincham but half-time arrived goalless with both sides having struck the woodwork and the visitors denied what seemed a clear penalty.

Despite Alty having the better of the opening stages of the second half, for which Pompey had made two half-time substiutions, Close smacked home a goal out of the blue for the hosts (56 mins). The goal had come against the run of play, following a mis-clearance from Densmore.

However, Alty kept going and Hulme won a penalty in the 82nd minute which Hancock converted. But, with almost the last kick of the game, Pitman converted a home corner to snatch an undeserved win for the League One side.


REFEREE: Mr Thomas Nield
ATTENDANCE: 8,539 (622 from Altrincham)

James Jones was making his 100th appearance for Altrincham. Luke Wall, who started last week at York in the FA Trophy was cup-tied for this match, so John Johnston returned to the starting eleven in the only change from last week's team at York. Yusifu Ceesay and Steven Drench remained sidelined by injury.

Portsmouth had pre-match injuries to Tom Naylor and Ross McCrorie (both hamstring), Jack Whatmough and Bryn Morris.


PORTSMOUTH (Blue shirts and white shorts, red socks): 1. Craig MacGillivray (gk), 38. Brandon Haunstrup, 6. Christian Burgess, 9. Oli Hawkins, 3. Lee Brown (c), 2. Anton Walkes, 10. John Marquis, 33. Ben Close, 11. Ronan Curtis, 19. Marcus Harness, 22. Ellis Harrison. Subs: 35. Alex Bass (gk), 13. James Bolton, 14. Andrew Cannon, 20. Sean Raggett, Andy Cannon, Gareth Evans, 7. Ryan Williams, 8. Brett Pitman.

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


This First Round tie was Altrincham's the latest in the club's sequence of eight successive away draws in cup competitions this season. Although there were three rungs of the football pyramid separating the clubs today, Altrincham went into the tie with a confidence emanating from an unbeaten run of ten matches in all competitions but Portsmouth, likewise, had hit good form recently.

This was Alty's first Round Two game in the FA Cup since a very late goal by Colchester United had robbed Alty of a deserved draw, or even a victory, in Essex in 2015. The last time Alty had reached the Third Round was in 1995, against Tottenham Hotspur.


In front of more than 600 vocal Altrincham supporters, Alty kicked off towards the visiting supporters' section and, in the opening few minutes, they played soundly. The first meaningful action came, not long after Eire international Curtis had headed narrowly wide, across goal, when a Marquis shot deflected off Hannigan to Thompson (5 mins).

Then, Alty had a narrow escape when Jones did well to block a goalbound Marquis header after Thompson had miskicked the ball to a Pompey player (5 mins). Next, Harness shot straight at Thompson (9 mins).

Things looked up for the Robins as Hannigan fed Hulme, who went down under a Hawkins challenge but no penalty was awarded, which seemed a poor decision by referee Nield (11 mins). Soon, a Williams effort went well wide as Alty enjoyed a decent spell (13 mins).

Next, a Portsmouth corner saw their big players, notably Burgess, go upfield but nothing came of the flag-kick (19 mins). Now, Marquis was beginning to impress for Portsmouth in the number 10 role. There was soon an escape for Alty as they lost possession and Pompey broke forward to hit the post, through a Harrison effort (24 mins). But Alty responded with a dangerous cross from Johnston which just evaded Hulme's head (26 mins).

Alty created further danger when Hulme won a freekick, just outside the box, with some impressive dribbling (32 mins). But Densmore's freekick was disappointingly hit into the wall. However, Alty continued going forward and, from a corner soon afterwards, Peers hooked a corner off target (35 mins).

After a Johnston advance following a home error, Hulme struck a well-hit shot, across the keeper, but it smacked against the post (43 mins). Immediately, at the other end, a cross led to Harrison forcing a fine save, low down, by Thompson (44 mins).

The better football had come from Altrincham but half-time arrived goalless with both sides having struck the woodwork and the visitors denied what seemed a clear penalty.


Kenny Jackett's dissatisfaction with his Portsmouth side was translated into a double change at half-time as Williams and Pitman replaced Curtis and Marquis (46 mins).

Alty started the second half well and their supporters were making more noise than the numerically superior Portsmouth contingent. Another foul on Hulme led to a shot from the same player, which went wide from a rehearsed freekick routine (48 mins).

But disaster struck when a poor clearance by Densmore came to Close who hit the ball into the top of the net to give Portsmouth a scarcely deserved lead (56 mins).

There was further danger, in the 62nd minute, when the ball was gathered well by Thompson and the referee decreed it to have been a deliberate back pass to him from Hannigan. From just six yards out, the freekick was well saved by Thompson.

Alty were still battling well and, near halfway, Jones was crudely fouled by Harness and the Pompey man was deservedly booked (67 mins). Soon afterwards, Johnston's run earned a corner but this was cleared.

Referee Nield compounded his generally poor performance by not showing a red card when the booked Harness brought down Johnston. The freekick award was not followed by the showing of a second yellow and red card as it should have been. Moments later, Harness himself burst into the box and won a corner from a fine save by Thompson (72 mins).

Haunstrup now went close and earned a corner as the referee decreed Thompson had diverted his shot, which the Alty keeper denied. A second corner followed but came to nothing (77 mins).

Max Harrop now replaced Tom Peers for Alty (81 mins) after which a Williams effort won a corner but this only led to a Portsmouth counter. Soon after Alty won a penalty through Hulme's industry. Hancock took it and levelled the score with a spot-kick to the keeper's right (82 mins).

Alty made a second change as Richman came on for Williams (84 mins). Next, Hampson replaced Johnston to complete the changes for the visitors (87 mins).

Portsmouth pressed for a winner with a series of corners but Alty defended well. Three minutes of added time saw Alty win a corner themselves but this was cleared (90+1 mins).

Sadly, a very late corner for Portsmouth won it, very fortunaetly, for the hosts as Pitman scored, despite Thompson getting a hand to his effort (90+3 mins).

It was almost a rerun of the equally last-gasp defeat in Alty's last Round Two appearance at Colchester in 2015.


Altrincham's next game is a very different affair; an away trip to Stalybridge Celtic on Tuesday night in the Cheshire Senior Cup.