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Vanarama National League match
played on Saturday, 2 January, 2021 at 3pm
behind closed doors


In snowy conditions at Edgeley Park, Stockport County totally dominated the first twenty minutes but had only one goal to show for it before half-time, thanks to a couple of fine saves by goalkeeper Thompson.

County went ahead in the fifth minute when Southam-Hales beat Hampson on the hosts' right wing and his low cross was steered into the roof of the net by Reid.

Although Alty saw more of the ball as the half developed they failed to test Hinchliffe until just before the break when the County keeper almost presented Alty with a goal as Ceesay closed him down and his attempted clearance rebounded to safety.

Alty fell two down after 56 minutes when John Rooney hit a superb shot into the top corner of the net from 20 yards.

However, Alty hit back with two goals in four minutes. The first came in the 71st minute when Hampson got to the byline and, via Smith, Ceeesay netted from close range.

Ryan Colclough then hit a 25 yarder past a statuesque Hinchliffe (75 mins) to make it 2-2. And Tom Peers had a great chance, at the death, but his shot was blocked by the keeper.


REFEREE: Mr Simon Mather, who had overseen a previous Alty match between these teams back in 2016 at Moss Lane.
ATTENDANCE: Behind closed doors.

Alty were without Harrison Holgate who, contrary to media reports, had not been recalled from his loan by Fleetwood Town but was ill. So, Ritchie Sutton, who was returning from injury, came in to play alongside Tom Hannigan. Otherwise, Andy White, Jamie McDonald, Andy Dales, Fisayo Adarabioyo, Byron Harrison and Sean Williams all remained outside the atchday squad, all having been injured in recent weeks.

Phil Parkinson made three changes other than the one enforced by Holgate's departure. Kosylo was suspended, and both Hancock and Peers were named on the bench. Into their starting places came Colclough, Mooney and Blyth.

County made one change as Rooney returned in place of Jennings.


STOCKPORT COUNTY (All blue): 1. Ben HINCHLIFFE. 4. Liam HOGAN (c), 6. Lois MAYNARD, 8. John ROONEY, 9. Richard BENNETT 14. Mark KITCHING, 15. Jamie STOTT, 16. Jordan KEANE, 17. Macaulay SOUTHAM-HALES, 18. Ryan CROASDALE, 19. Alex REID. Subs: 2. Sam MINIHAN, 7. Adam THOMAS, 21. Josh BARNES, 11. Jordan WILLIAMS, 22. Harvey GILMOUR

ALTRINCHAM (Red shirts with white chest panel, black shorts, white socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. Ritchie SUTTON, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 24. Joel SENIOR, 6. Jake MOULT (c) 29. Alistair SMITH, 7. Dan MOONEY, 9. Jacob BLYTH, 34. Ryan COLCLOUGH, 11. Yusifu CEESAY. Subs: 20. Shaun DENSMORE, 30. Simon RICHMAN, 23. Tom PEERS, 25. Toby MULLARKEY, 10. Josh HANCOCK,


The sides had played out a 1-1 draw seven days before this match, on Boxing Day. Since then County had gone above Alty in the National League, thanks to a win over Wrexham the previous Monday to this match whilst Alty had lost at Halifax.

But, although only possessing one point more than Alty, County were five places higher in the league table at kick off, lying fourth. County also had three games in hand on their visitors.


With a dusting of snow on the pitch and more snow falling lightly, the players observed a minute's applause after a reading of the County-associated names of those who had died during 2020. So it was nearly four minutes past three when County eventually kicked off, attacking the end which is normally unused at Edgeley Park.

County were immediately well on top and went ahead in the fifth minute. Southam-Hales skipped past Hampson on the Alty left as Alty's former Stockport defender dived in for a tackle. The County winger's low cross was expertly turned into the roof of the net at the near post by Reid, leaving Thompson berating his left-back colleague.

And it could quite easily have been 2-0 a minute later as the Alty defence parted to allow Reid a clear run at Thompson but the keeper advanced from his line to make a fine block. As County threatened to overrun Alty, a Rooney cross now landed on the roof of the Alty net (9 mins).

At last Alty gained a toehold in the game as Ceesay's shot was blocked at source and a corner was won. This was taken dreadfully, too low and too short (12 mins). Next, County had the ball in the net after 15 minutes when a Reid effort looped off a defender and dropped for Croasdale to head home, but he was given offside.

A home corner then came and went before Southam-Hales went past Ceesay and his shot had to be beaten out by an alert Thompson. Thompson then berated Ceesay before County gained a freekick left of goal.

Thompson made an impressive catch from this and his side was indebted to its keeper for keeping them in the game (25 mins).

After Alty had finally put together a decent passing move, Mooney lost the ball to Reid who advanced up the middle and, via Croasdale, the ball came to Rooney whose effort was pushed round the post by the busy Alty keeper for a corner (30 mins).

Heavier snow was now falling as Altrincham belatedly started to get into the game and enjoyed a good ten minutes or so before the interval. Indeed, they almost pulled back a goal in odd circumstances as Hinchliffe made a hash of tryimg to clear and the ball cannoned off Ceesay but not into the net (42 mins).

Half-time arrived with Stockport having only scored once after dominating the first quarter of the game.


Three substitutes came on at half-time. Minihan and Williams replaced Southam-Hales and Reid for the hosts whilst Blyth was replaced by Hancock for Altrincham.

As a consequence, Ceesay went up front with Colclough and Mooney deployed still on the flanks. Within three minutes of coming on, Minihan was booked for a foul. Alty's Mooney then wasted another corner and the winger next lost possession which led to Sutton having to make a key interception (52 mins).

Soon after Rooney had fired wide from the edge of the box, he got another opportunity from similar range. He was allowed time to take aim and he launched a superb shot into the very top corner of the net, the ball bouncing down off the underside of the bar into the net (56 mins).

After the restart Ceesay was bundled over in the box by Hogan but no penalty was awarded. However, Ceesay soon win his side a corner which was taken short and led to another corner which, for once, was taken well and saw Hancock glance a header wide (60 mins).

Alty had responded positively to falling two behind and midway through the half brought on Mullarkey, back from injury, to replace Sutton (68 mins).

And, within three miutes, Alty were back in the game with a goal. An excellent move up the left culminated in Colclough setting Hampson running to the left byline, from where he pulled the ball back.

Smith had a stab at the ball, which directed it forward to Ceesay, who netted from close range to make it 2-1 (71 mins).

Immediately Peers replaced Mooney (72 mins). Three minutes later it was 2-2 as Colclough's speculative twenty-five yarder seemed to bemuse Hinchiffe who stood rooted to the spot as the ball cannoned off the base of his right upright and into the net (75 mins).

Jim Gannon, in his 500th game as a County manager, now introduced Thomas for Bennett (76 mins). His side then won two corners as Alty were kept on the back foot (82 mins).

But Alty responded when Senior won his team a corner at the other end, followed by a second (87 mins). Later, with the game well into added time, Alty had a great chance to snatch all of the points as Smith, who had another fine game, fed Senior.

From the right, his low cross saw Peers slide in but, from about 12 yards, he could only hit the ball straight at the advancing Hinchliffe.

So, it all ended 2-2 with Alty's fightback winning them a hard-earned point in a game which Stockport had threatened to win comfortably in the first half.