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Vanarama National League North match
played on Wednesday, 1 January 2020 at 3pm


During a disappointing first-half in which Altrincham failed to translate plenty of possession into a serious threat of a goal, Curzon took a 29th minute lead when a right-sided corner evaded Tony Thompson and Calverley headed home. Johnston's header wide from close range was the nearest to an Alty goal in the first 45 minutes.

A scrappy start to the second half was forgotten when Altrincham scored twice in two minutes. Their equalizer arrived folllowing a Johnston freekick for a foul by Baillie on the Alty wingman. The ball came out to Jake Moult who drilled the ball into the net (56 mins).

The goal had an instant effect in upping the tempo for Alty and, following a right-side advance, Harrop found White whose low shot gave his side the lead.

With Altrincham looking in control they suffered a blow in the 75th minute when Harrop's off-the-ground challenge near halfway earned him a straight red card on his 100th appearance for the club.

But ten-man Alty rode out the final stages of the game quite comfortably aided by Curzon making poor use of the ball when in possession.


REFEREE: Mr Richard Holmes, who oversaw Alty's 1-1 draw at Chester FC in August.

Illness had affected at least five of the Alty squad last weekend when they beat Southport and Sean Williams had been injured in that game. Today, Alty were without Williams but also James Jones, presumably through illness, which meant he missed his 100th start for the club.

The injured Sean Williams was replaced by Simon Richman whilst Toby Mullarkey came in for Jones. The illness victims from last Saturday had recovered to be named in the squad.

Curzon were without Nicky Wroe, who had captained The Nash in the Boxing Day clash. Former Stockport man, Dimaio came into the side.

Ex-Alty player Sean Miller was in the Curzon team.


ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts and 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. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Max HARROP. Subs: 12. Luke WALL, 14. Ethan WALKER, 15. Connor HAMPSON, 16. Tom PEERS, 20. Joel TORRANCE

CURZON ASHTON (Grey shirts and shorts, blue socks): 1. Cameron Mason, 2. Andy Halls, 3. Liam Davies, 4. Robert Evans (c), 5. Daniel Shaw, 6. Mohamud Ali, 7. Sean Miller, 8. Michael Calveley, 9. Andrew Scott, 10. Connor Dimaio, 11. James Baillie. Subs: 12. Charlie Jolley, 14. Joshua Askew, 15. Lewis Doyle, 16. Cody McCann, 17. Jack Sloan.


This was the return fixture of the Boxing Day clash at the Tameside Stadium, which Altrincham had won 1-0 to record their first away win of the season. Coincidentally, on Saturday, Curzon had themselves won their first away game, a commendable 1-0 victory at Chester.

Curzon started the game with a good record in previous matches at Moss Lane, as the late Mike Garnett's data reveal:

Curzon won the corrsponding game at Moss Lane last season 2-0.


Curzon kicked off on a dry but cold afternoon and the opening stages were fairly undistinguished. A Harrop shot at Mason was the first effort on target (8 mins).

Altrincham were enjoying more of the ball. When Johnston won a freekick just outside the "D", Harrop's excellent curling freekick had to be smartly tipped over the bar for a corner by Mason (14 mins). But when Johnston fed Harrop soon afterwards, the number eleven's effort, this time, was well off target.

For Alty Mullarkey was regularly running forward out of defence but Alty were not creating any real chances as Johnston now hooked a shot well wide (16 mins).

After Richman had been upended by Evans, Harrop took another freekick, from more or less the same position from which he had tested Mason earlier. This time the ball went lower and Mason spilled it, a corner resulting.

On the counter, Miller fed Dimaio whose well struck shot was well saved at the base of the near post by Thompson (20 mins). Alty continued to have the majority of possession without troubling Mason before a 25 yarder from Dimaio at the other end earned a corner from Thompson's save.

A second corner followed, from the right, for which Thompson came. But the keeper did not get the ball and it fell for Claveley to head home to put The Nash one-up, against the run of play (29 mins).

There was no immediate response from Altrincham but they did win a corner some time later (37 mins). But, shortly before the break, Alty missed a great chance to level the score when a fine cross from the right by Harrop was met by Johnston at the back post but he put his header wide from close range (42 mins).

Half time duly arrived with Alty trailing after a first half in which their predictable passing had allowed the Nash to close them down repeatedly and they had lacked the tempo to unsettle the Curzon defence.


The second half started scrappily, with both sides conceding possession cheaply before Alty won a corner which Mullarkey headed wide (50 mins). Following a Richman foul on Baillie, 40 yards out, Alty nevertheless brought all ten outfield players back to defend it.

The first booking of the game saw Baillie cautioned for bundling over Johnston (55 mins). It was to prove costly. From 45 yards out on the left, Johnston's freekick came back to Moult who drilled a low shot into the net to make it 1-1 (56 mins).

After the goal, Mason stupidly refused to give the ball back, which annoyed Hulme, and the visiting keeper was booked for his pointless behaviour. From the restart Alty's immediately moved up a gear. They got up the right and the ball came via Harrop to Andy White who drilled a low shot past Mason to give Alty a 2-1 lead (58 mins).

This torrid two minutes forced Curzon to be more adventurous as, first, a Miller cross just evaded Calveley and then Miller's nod down allowed Dimaio a shot whch just cleared the bar (62 mins).

As the Nash presed forward, Thompson had to save a 25-yarder from Miller (63 mins). Alty responded wth two corners as the increased pace of the game made it a much better spectacle than the first half had been.

Jolley now replaced Dimio (67 mins) before White was booked for a foul on the substitute just two minutes later (69 mins).

Alty's first change saw Peers replace Hancock (73 mins). Next, a poor clearance from Mason gave Johnston a chance which he fired disappointingly wide. Moments later, Harrop put in a challenge near half way on the Alty left and, though contact was minimal, the Alty man was shown a red card, as his tackle had been with both feet off the ground (75 mins).

Two minutes later the next booking was for Miller, for what looked like dissent, at which point Hampson came on to replace Hulme (77 mins). Curzon were unable to take advantage of their one-man superiority and the next booking was for one of their men as Halls, who had been fortunate to avoid a card for a poor challenge shortly beforehand, now transgressed again (82 mins).

At this point Askew came on for Scott. Alty continued to manage the game well before Evans was very fortunate to escape a card for a trip (86 mins). The Nash were not showing many signs of levelling the score as Alty now went the closer to scoring when Densmore burst into the box and put a Johnston feed narrowly wide (90 mins).

Four added minutes were decreed during which Johnston did well to win a throw near the corner flag at the Curzon end. The visitors' passing remained indifferent as their forward probes faltered and their decision-making was also questionable, never more so than when Ali launched a 35-yard shot miles off target (90+3 mins).

Why Doyle was brought on for Calveley with just fifty seconds of the four added minutes remaining was a mystery and, predictably, it made not the slightest difference to the 2-1 scoreline which Alty held till the final whistle.

This was Alty's third win on the run, their best run of the season, and the victory lifted them to twelfth with games still in hand on most of the division.