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Vanarama National League North

Play-off Semi-Final match
played on Saturday, 25 July 2020 at 3pm
Behind Closed Doors


Behind closed doors once more, Altrincham advanced into next Saturday's Vanarama National League North play-off final with this deserved 2-0 win at York. In that final, they will travel to Boston United where The Pilgrims today defeated Gateshead 5-3, partly thanks to two contentious penalties awarded to them when Gateshead were leading 1-0.

At York, The Robins took an eighth-minute lead when Josh Hancock's shot looped off keeper Jameson and span into the net after good work from Mooney on the right wing. The referee then failed to clamp down on the home side's physicality, allowing the booked McLaughlin to escape a second yellow for felling Lundstram.

But Alty finished the half confidently and led 1-0 at the interval.

York started the second half well, but without creating any clear chances.

Despite losing Mooney and White to injuries during the second half, Alty made the game safe with a second goal in the 77th minute. After good work by Connor Hampson, Jordan Hulme headed against the bar and substitute Tom Peers swept in the rebound (77 mins). It was Peers's third goal in three matches at Bootham Crescent this season.

Alty have ended York City's FA Cup, FA Trophy and promotion runs this season, in each case at Bootham Crescent and in each case without conceding a goal and with Tom Peers scoring in all three matches.


REFEREE: Mr Scott Tallis
ATTENDANCE: Behind Closed Doors

Both Shaun Densmore and Sean Williams had not been in the previous match squad against Chester FC, Shaun having been an expectant father last weekend and a new one before this weekend! Williams was named on the bench today in place of James Hooper.

Another regular starter, James Jones, was sitting out all of the play-offs as he awaited a close-season transfer to a higher-ranked club and would not want to risk injury jeopardising that move.

Loanee Josh Lundstram from Crewe Alexandra had featured against Chester last Sunday and did so, again, today as Alty fielded an unchanged starting eleven.

Before the match, York manager Steve Watson had reported some unspecified injuries in his club's preparations for this game but, nevertheless, they put out every bit as strong a side as expected.

Alty's Elliott Durrell, who counted York City as one of his former clubs, with six goals in five games, was looking to emulate club legend Jack Swindells who scored in seven succesive matches for the club. Durrell's record to date was even more remarkable for his six goals in five matches had arrived in his first five appearances of his Altrincham career and they had all been matches in which he had not once completed ninety minutes on the pitch!


YORK CITY (Maroon shirts, white shorts and socks) 1. Peter Jameson, 2. Kallum Griffiths, 3. David Ferguson, 4. Sean Newton, 5. Steve McNulty, 6. Joe Tait, 7. Patrick McLaughlin, 8. Adam Buxton, 9. Jordan Burrow, 10. Keiran Green, 11. Alex Kempster. Subs: 12. Andrew Bond, 14. Adriano Moke, 15. Dan Maguire, 16. Harry Spratt, 17. Macaulay Langstaff, 18. Ryan Whitley

ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. Toby MULLARKEY, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. Daniel MOONEY, 8. Josh LUNDSTRAM, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Elliott DURRELL. Subs: 12. Craig MAHON, 14. Max HARROP, 15. Tom PEERS, 16. Simon RICHMAN, 17. Sean WILLIAMS, 20. Elliot WYNNE


For the second successive match of the play-offs, Altrincham were facing opponents who they were playing for the fourth time in the season, having beaten Chester FC last week after two FA Cup ties and a league match against each other. In this case Alty had met York in the League, FA Cup and FA Trophy this season, prior to today.

By coincidence, the originally scheduled fourth encounter between the clubs had been the first Altrincham away fixture of 2019-20 to be postponed by Covid-19 concerns, back in March, so it was appropriate that today's game between the two clubs should also be Altrincham's first away game as well as York's first home game since lockdown measures were eased a little.

This fourth meeting of the campaign was also the third time that Alty and York had met at Bootham Crescent in 2019-20, Alty having won there in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy. However, York went into the game as the bookies' favourites. In addition to their home advantage, the Yorkshiremen had finished second in the PPG-revised league table whereas Altrincham had lain in fifth place at the cessation of the regular fixtures in March.

The visitors went into today's match with ninety-minutes in an empty stadium under their belt, against Chester FC, whereas for York it was their first experience of such vacant surroundings and of competitive action.

Despite Alty's two wins at Bootham this season, York had won, 3-1, at Altrincham on the opening day of the league season, which was now almost a full twelve months ago!

York had been given permission to play this match in their historic maroon shirts with the "Y" frontal design in what, in normal circumstances, might have been the last-ever game at Bootham Crescent. However, that landmark now seems less likely to be attached to this game as there is still a need to certificate the Minstermen's newly built out-of-town stadium by holding test events, none of which are currently feasisble due to Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

So Bootham Crescent may well yet be hosting further games, as and when 2020-21 season commences.

The late Mike Garnett's data, updated since his untimely death, reveals the visitors' record in previous matches against York City.


The first chance of the afternoon arrived for the hosts when Burrow's lay-off set up Kempster but he fired badly, well over the bar (4 mins). But then Alty put together a move which culminated in a Mooney cross.

Altrincham were soon seeing more of the ball than York and they capitalised by taking an early lead. Moult fed Mooney, who advanced on the right, his low ball into the right of the box finding Hancock. He stabbed the ball towards goal, and it looped upwards off the advancing keeper and span into the net as Hulme closed in ready to finish it off, had that been necessary (8 mins).

York responded by gaining two corners, as they placed their attacking emphasis up their left flank. But the nearest they came to a goal threat at this stage was Burrow's header which went well over the bar (15 mins). Next, Griffiths was fortunate to escape a card for a foul on Hampson (19 mins).

Ferguson continued to threaten on the left and, now, his low cross deflected off an Alty defender to Thompson. Hampson then exacted retribution on Griffiths with a lunge at his earlier assailant (22 mins).

When Hancock fed Durrell, the no.11 had a great chance to extend his run of goalscoring but this time he steered his shot wide (23 mins). Next, Burrow's late challenge on Hannigan saw the referee again showing unaccountable leniency (24 mins).

No drinks break had been taken before a clash of heads between White and Ferguson necessitated a stoppage for their treatment (26 mins).

When play resumed, York's robust approach saw McLaughlin clatter Mooney, who needed treatment. This time a yellow card was forthcoming (29 mins).

Next, it was another late York challenge which halted proceeedings, this time by Green on Lundstram (31 mins). However, Alty soon constructed a neat move to win a corner before Buxton made a hash of a long range effort at the other end, the burly midfielder being yards wide of the target (34 mins).

York's best moment of the half arrived, after two successive corners, when Griffiths got past Hampson on the York right, and into the box, but his shot was beaten away by Thompson, the Alty keeper's first significant save of the game (38 mins). Shortly afterwards, another York attack ended up in Thompson's arms.

Near the left-hand corner at the York end, Hulme got the better of McNulty who hauled back the striker and earned himself a booking (40 mis). From the resulting freekick by Durrell, Alty won a corner but this was overhit by Mooney. Alty were having the better of the closing stages of the first half when Burrow committed another foul as he sprawled over Moult (41 mins).

It was clearly not going to be Durrell's day as he now miskicked another shot (43 mins) but, soon after this, the visitors earned another corner, but this came to nothing (44 mins).

The already booked McLaughlin then flattened Lundstram but the referee ducked out of a second yellow card for the offender (45+1 mins). Mr Tallis also failed to grasp the nettle when Mooney was clearly being fouled and he allowed the play to continue. The aggrieved Mooney exacted his own revenge and found himself in the referee's notebook as a consequence, the Alty man making clear his annoyance at the ref's failure to spot the foul on him (45 mins).

Half-Time: YORK CITY 0

The second half had barely started when Durrell joined Mooney in the book for a reckless challenge (46 mins). Soon after this, Burrow glanced a header wide as the hosts started the half well. But it was Altrincham who gained the first corner after the interval, and from a good move. Durrell's corner, however, went straight to the keeper (50 mins).

York manager Watson made a double swap eight minutes into the second period, bringing on Moke and Maguire for McLaughlin and Maguire's former Blyth team-mate, Green.

After York had failed to capitalise on a corner, Mooney got clear but instead of opting to outpace the sole defender, McNulty, he tried a highly ambitious 45-yard shot which he executed poorly (55 mins). But Alty now had a great chance to double their lead as Hancock played Lundstram into the left side of the box but the young Crewe loanee toe-ended his shot wide at the near post (57 mins).

Altrincham were enjoying a good spell as the hour mark approached, with a promising move ending as Mooney swung a boot at the ball but skied his shot over the target (59 mins). Next, Durrell mishit another shot wide and, soon afterwards, the same player had a shot blocked as, too, was Hancock's follow up. Alty were looking good value for their lead (63 mins).

Now Phil Parkinson withdrew Mooney, who had taken a knock, and introduced Peers (64 mins). York's Buxton soon hobbled off after treatment before Maguire nodded a chance comfortably wide (66 mins). Burrow likewise spurned a chance, miskicking in front of goal.

Andy White went down off the ball, with what seemed to be an ankle injury and, in the continued absence of Shaun Densmore, he had to be replaced by Simon Richman at right-back, a position the midfielder has capably filled on previous occasions (70 mins). Ferguson's foul on Thompson now necesitated a brief stoppage before Moult somehow got away without being penalised for a tug on Kempster (74 mins).

Burrow's unhappy afternoon continued as he headed wide of goal and, moments later, Bond replaced Buxton for the hosts (75 mins).

However, it was not long before Alty doubled their lead. Hampson got forward and fed Hulme, whose header beat Jameson but came back off the crossbar for Peers to steer home near the back post (77 mins). It was the third successive game at Bootham Crescent this season that Peers had scored, his previous goals having accounted for York in both the FA Cup and Trophy.

Immediately, Langstaff replaced McNulty as Steve Watson went for broke. A few minutes later Alty introduced Mahon and Williams for Durrell and Hancock (80 mins).

York now enjoyed some pressure but without much penetration. Inded it was a fine dribble into the box by Hulme which next took the eye, the striker putting in a hardworking performance all afternoon.

The game went into six added minutes during which an unspecified York player earned a booking but despite some pressure from the hosts there was no way back for them, as they faced the reality of a sixth season in the sixth tier of English football. But they could not complain about today's outcome as Altrincham merited their place in the play-off final, in which they will travel next Saturday to another historic stadium shortly to be consigned to demolition, York Street, Boston, where they lost 5-0 earlier this season!

Full Time: YORK CITY 0