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Vanarama National League North match
played on Saturday, 7 December 2019, at 3pm


Alty's clash with bottom club Bradford (Park Avenue) turned into a case of the day after the Lord Mayor's Show as the impressive performance at Portsmouth last week dissolved into a sub-standard effort at the Horsfall Stadium.

Nicky Clee came back to haunt his former club as his pass was turned home by Tom Clare in the twelfth minute. Jordan Hulme did hit the woodwork in the first half but, otherwise, Alty laboured to produce a goal threat. To make matters worse, John Johnston pulled up injured and had to be subbed by Luke Wall during the first half.

There was little improvement from the visitors in the second half. Despite seeing a lot of the ball, the home keeper was scarcely troubled.

BPA then added a second in the 89th minute as a counter-attack saw Clee feed Oli Johnson, who rounded Thompson to score.


REFEREE: Mr Peter Shacklady

Altrincham made one change, with Tom Hannigan being replaced in the starting eleven by Toby Mullarkey.


BRADFORD (Park Avenue) (Red, amber and black): 1. Joe Green, 2. Ryan Toulson, 3. Reece Staunton, 4. Keith Lowe (c), 5. Billy Priestley, 6. Jon Royle, 7. Lewis Knight, 8. Alex Hurst, 9. Tom Clare, 10. Oli Johnson, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 14. Lewis Rathbone, 13. Steve Dickinson, 15. Isiah Bazeley, 16. Andre Johnson, 17. Adam Nowakowski.

ALTRINCHAM (All grey): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Andy WHITE, 4. James JONES, 5. Toby MULLARKEY, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Sean WILLIAMS, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Tom PEERS. Subs: 12. Max HARROP, 14. Luke WALL, 15. Simon RICHMAN, 16. Tom HANNIGAN, 17. Connor HAMPSON.


Bradford started the game bottom of the table whilst Alty lay sixteenth, but with at last two games on virtually everyone else in the division. They had bowed out of the Cheshire Senior Cup last time out but that had been with eleven changes from the starting team which had done so well against Portsmouth in last Saturday's FA Cup tie.


Bradford kicked off on a bobbly pitch in a swirling breeze. A fairly uneventful start was punctuated by a short break to reaffix the goal nets to the stanchion at one end of the pitch (9 mins).

Soon afterwards, on the counter-attack, Nicky Clee came to haunt his former club. Hurst advanced on the left and he fed Clee in the penalty area. The ex-Alty man fed Clare who netted, with a tap-in, to give his side the lead (12 mins).

It might have got worse six minutes later as Thompson saved his side when he stopped the unmarked Knight's header.

But when Bradford's Green misheaded the ball, Hulme rounded the keeper only to hit his shot against the crossbar, striking the framework of the goal for the second successive game (23 mins).

Alty again threatened, just before the half-hour mark, when Hulme's shot from Johnston's feed was saved by Green (30 mins).

However, Alty suffered an injury blow when Johnston pulled up and had to be substituted by Wall (35 mins). Then, after Thompson had gathered a dangerous low cross from Clee, Alty won two corners before the interval. But as in the rest of the match their dead balls proved ineffective.

The second of these corners arose after Hancock had beaten two opponents and got in a low cross, which Toulson cleared (44 mins). Three added minutes left the score unaltered at the interval.


The second half started quietly until Mullarkey had to make a smart challege to halt Hurst (52 mins).

Hancock became the first person to be booked for a challenge on Staunton which was quite low on the scale of offending (56 mins). Alty were still not playing well and it was BPA who threatened again as Royle forced Thompson into another good save just before the hour mark.

Following a booking for a home player, Alty brought on Richman for Moult (62 mins). By now steady drizzle was falling to add to the fdifficulties presented by the wind and the playing surface.

At halfway point of the half Oli Johnson was booked for a foul on Hancock. Alty's third change saw Peers replaced by Harrop (68 mis).

Clee's crude challenge on Hancock earned him a deserbved booking (70 mins). When the already booked Oli Johnson b rought down Densmore he was fortunate that the referee took the easy way out by giving a corner rather than a freekick and a second yellow card for the offender (73 mins).

Bradford were now sitting deep as they protected their lead. Bazeley soon replaced Knight (77 mins).

Alty were still labouring to create any real difficulty for the BPA defence. And when they lost possession and Bradford counter=attacked, Clee fed Johnson, who rounded the exposed Thompson, to net a second goal for the hosts (89 mins).

The Avenue's final change saw Nowakowski replace the goalscorer, Johnson (90 mins).

Five added minutes were decreed, during which Staunton was booked for time-wasting. Despite sending Jones up front, there was no real sign of Alty even gaining a consolation goal, and so it proved, when a poor performance was terminated by the referee's final whistle.

So a run of ten games without defeat had become a sequence of three successive defeats during the past seven days!