Return to News Page


Buildbase FA Trophy First Round match
played on Saturday, 14 December 2019, at 3pm


This FA Trophy match was played in filthy weather, especially in the first half, but it was referee Aspinall who ended the game as the main talking point with his bizarre handling of a second-half episode in which he blew his whistle before a Farsley man netted the ball.

He appeared to give the goal before a touchline discussion concluded with his resuming the match with an uncontested dropped ball to Alty and a no-goal decision!

Alty had got a perfect start as Williams's low cross found Hulme whose first effort was blocked by ex-Alty keeper Wynne, only for Hulme to poke the ball home from a prostrate position (2 mins).

Spencer levelled the score after 17 minutes with a low drive from the edge of the box.

Alty started the second half well and regained the lead after Wynne had sliced an attempted kick high ino the air. As it dropped, Hulme headed the ball towards the empty net but only found the inside of the post. Hulme reacted more quickly than the keeper to tap the ball over the line (57 mins).

Mr Aspinall's debacle occurred four minutes later but it was not until the 75th minute that Syers finally levelled the scores as he poked the ball through Thompson's legs after a corner.

The teams will replay the game on Tuesday night at Moss Lane and both are to be applauded for providing an entertaining game in adverse conditions.

Footnote: Mr Aspinall was also involved in another strange incident involving Alty, in 2018. The start of a home match against Ashton United was delayed when he belatedly decided that the visiting keeper's top was too similar in colour to the outfield players' shirts. The other 21 players emerged and waited several minutes for a new jersey to be found before the game could start.


REFEREE: Mr Richard Aspinall

New loan signing Ethan Walker (from Preston North End) joined the Altrincham squad and made his debut on the left wing. John Johnston had gone off injured in Alty's last game, at Bradford, so was missing today but centre-back Tom Hannigan, who had sat out last Saturday's defeat, returned to the starting eleven.

Toby Mullarkey replaced James Jones and Connor Hampson came on for Andy White, with both of the displaced players being on the bench. Youth team goalkeeper Liam Blackburn came into the squad in place of fellow youth keeper Joel Torrance.

Farsley's former Alty keeper Elliot Wynne had missed recent games through injury but he started today.


FARSLEY CELTIC (Green and white hooped shirts, green shorts and socks) 1. Elliot Wynne, 2. Jordan Richards, 3. Matty Regan, 4. Jack Higgins, 5. Danny Ellis (c), 6. Chris Atkinson, 7. Ben Atkinson, 8. Dave Syers, 22. James Spencer, 10. Nathan Cartman, 11. Will Hayhurst. Subs: 12. Luke Parkin, 13. Kyle Trennery (gk), 14. Tom Allan, 15. Adam Clayton, 16. Akeel Francis, 17. Tyler Walton

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. Toby MULLARKEY, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. Tom PEERS, 8. Sean WILLIAMS, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Ethan WALKER. Subs: 12. Max HARROP, 14. Luke WALL, 15. Simon RICHMAN, 16. James JONES, 17. Andy WHITE, 20. Liam BLACKBURN


Altrincham were playing their twelfth away game in their last fifteen fixtures and were seeking to halt a run of three successive defeats in all competitions.


On a dismal afternoon under the already illuminated floodlights, the game kicked off and was soon being played in horrendous conditions with rain and hail lashing down and the visitors playing into a gusty wind. Appropriately, the tannoy played Gene Kelly's "Singing in the Rain" as the sparse crowd left the two uncovered sides of the ground uninhabited.

Before kick off Shaun Densmore was presented with a commemorative shirt by chairman Grahame Rowley, to mark the defender's 400th appearance for the club.

Despite the adverse conditions, Altrincham got off to a great start as they took the lead inside two minutes. Williams put in a testing low cross from the left and Hulme steered the ball at goal only for former team-mate Elliot Wynne to block. But the loose ball was hooked into the net from virtually on the line by a prostrate Jordan Hulme.

The folly of Altrincham's black numbers on their red shirts was soon apparent in the gloom as players were recognizable only by their familiar body shapes rather than by the numerals on their shirt-backs.

Farsley should have tested Thompson in the sixth minute when Cartman dribbled his way into space inside the box only to fire wildly off target. As the rain lashed down Farsley gained two corners (7 and 12 minutes), with the pitch now cutting up markedly to add further to the players' difficulties.

Celtic got themselves level after 17 minutes when the lively Cartman was blocked inside the box but the ball ran, to his right, to Spencer and the home side's chief marksman drilled home a firm, low shot from the edge of the box.

The rain now eased off for a spell as the players showed endeavour but, given the atrocious conditions, not a lot of flowing football. When Ben Atkinson got hold of a shot from outside the box he saw it hit a team-mate in the midriff as neither keeper was much troubled at this stage of proceedings.

When Farsley were penalised for alleged handball some 25 yards from goal, Williams's freekick led to Hannigan and Wynne colliding, as the home keeper punched the ball away. Both were hurt but Wynne needed the lengthier treatment (31 mins).

Altrincham's attacks were predominantly up the right, with Densmore prominent, meaning debutant Walker was seeing relatively little of the ball as his side won the game's next three corners (37 mins).

However, Alty were grateful to keeper Thompson as he stood up bravely to a rasping shot from Spencer which hit him full on the chest (43 mins). But half-time arrived with the sides deservedly level.


The wind had dropped for the second half, which denied Alty the meteorological benefits which Farsley had enjoyed in the early part of the game. Alty started the second period the better of the two teams but Hulme then got himself booked for reasons that were far from clear as the ref stopped the game and spoke to his linesman (50 mins).

After a Farsley corner had led to an Alty freekick, visibility was getting worse as evening approached. Next, from a Hulme pass, Hancock poked wide but Alty then regained their lead in a bizarre fashion. Elliot Wynne came to the right of goal to kick clear but only managed to sky the ball upwards. As it fell, Hulme had a free header at the unguarded goal but managed to strike the inside of the far post.

The ball came back across goal where Hulme stabbed it over the line to make it 2-1 as Wynne and his defence seemed to freeze (57 mins).

Now Harrop replaced Walker (59 mins). Soon afterwards a Farsley attack led to Mr Aspinall clearly blowing his whistle a few seconds before Cartman found the back of the net (61 mins). The referee seemed to award the goal and the players turned back towards the centre spot to restart the game. The tannoy played its celebratory music but as Alty remonstrated with him Mr Aspinall went over to the touchline and chaos ensued for a couple of minutes with no one knowing what was happening.

After more than two minutes of uncertainty, Mr Aspinall strode towards the Alty box, ball in hand, and arranged a non-contested bounce-up with Tony Thompson (64 mins). The goal had been ruled out but no one knew what on earth had happened to change the referee's mind.

A goal cannot be given after a referee has blown his whistle so eventually we had the right decision albeit via the wrong route. Who needs VAR for football controversy when the National League has refereeing like this?

After Harrop had wasted an opening with an underpowered shot to Wynne (73 mins), a thunderous Farsley shot from 25 yards out, right of goal, was well beaten away by Thompson, with a corner resulting, followed soon after by another home corner (75 mins).

From this second corner, Ellis stabbed the ball forward for Syers to poke through the legs of the exposed Thompson from close range. So it was 2-2 (75 mins).

Substitutions saw Richman replace Williams (81 mins) and then Farsley's Walton come on for Hayhurst (82 mins). Thompson continued to be the busier keeper as he now saved well from Spencer (86 mins). At the other end Hancock did force a stop from Wynne before the home side made two further changes with Parkin and Francis replacing Ben Atkinson and Cartman (90 mins).

Thanks to the three minute farce concerning the "goal that never was", six minutes of added time were decreed and although Alty won two late corners, the latter being in the 97th minute, the score remained 2-2 and a replay next Tuesday at Altrincham was going to be necessary.

Overall a draw was probably a fair score. Alty were not at their best but conditions were at times atrocious and the players of both sides fully earned their match fees today.