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Vanarama National League match
played on Tuesday, 23 February, 2021 at 7.45pm
behind closed doors


In difficult, windy conditions, the first-half was goalless but Altrincham had more than held their own, despite the hosts starting with plenty of possession. Indeed, Altrincham had the better chances inthe first half, twice through Ceesay's skill on the left and then when Kosylo was put clear but was halted by a fine recovery tackle from Maguire.

Then, for the second time in a week Alty started the second half poorly, failing to play the ball out successfully from the back and, just as on Saturday, they conceded a goal in the 48th minute. Maguire advanced and found Whittle whose cross from the right was nodded home by Asante.

Chesterfield showed little real desire to add to their goal in a pretty dismal second half spectacle before Alty were awarded a rather debatable penalty when Ceesay went down under the keeper's dive at his feet. But Joe Piggott's 76th minute spot-kick was saved by Grant Smith and Alty slipped to a fourth successive loss, their worst run under Phil Parkinson's four-season tenure.

Altrincham dropped to tenth in the National League, thirteenth on PPG.


REFEREE: Mr David Richardson
ATTENDANCE: Behind closed doors.

For Altrincham, Toby Mullarkey replaced Ritchie Sutton at the back whilst Ryan Colclough (injured) and Connor Hampson (suspended) both dropped out of the squad. Tom Peers started as did Andy White, whilst new signing James Hardy was named on the bench.

Chesterfield's squad had experienced a great deal of change since Alty had beaten them earlier in the season and they were now under the management of James Rowe, the former Gloucester City manager.

For the hosts, Tom Whelan was suspended. Adi Yussuf made his full debut in place of Marcus Dinanga, whilst Alex Whittle and Liam Mandeville replaced Joel Taylor and Gavin Gunning.


CHESTERFIELD (All blue): 27. Grant Smith, 5. Will Evans, 6. Laurence Maguire, 2. George Carline, 10. Liam Mandeville, 26. Haydn Hollis, 8. Curtis Weston, 29. Alex Whittle, 17 Jak McCourt, 9. Akwasi Asante, 39. Adi Yussuf. Subs: 11 Marcus Dinanga, 15. Joel Taylor, 16. Jack Clarke, 28. Jonathan Smith, 33 Gavin Gunning.

ALTRINCHAM (Red shorts with white chest panel, black shorts, white socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 25. Toby MULLARKEY 24. Joel SENIOR, 29. Alistair SMITH, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 15. Matty KOSYLO, 11. Yusifu CEESAY, 23. Tom PEERS, 28. Byron HARRISON. Subs: 9. Joe PIGGOTT, 20. Shaun DENSMORE, 30. Simon RICHMAN, 32. James HARDY, 4. Ritchie SUTTON.


Altrincham had played once before in Chesterfield and had gone home with a victory on that occasion. However, that was not a win against the Spireites but, rather, a victory over Gainsborough Trinity in the 1998 UniBond League Cup final played at Chesterfield's historic Saltergate stadium, now defunct.

Nevertheless Alty had won the reverse fixture against Chesterfield this season, securing a 3-2 win at the J Davidson Stadium which had been the final nail in then manager Pemberton's coffin before he was sacked.

Altrincham travelled to Chesterfield for this game seeking to avoid a fourth-successive defeat in the National League against the team which was heading the National League form guide over the past ten fixtures under their new manager.


In light but swirling rain and a gusty wind, the hosts kicked off and were to have the better of the opening stages in terms of possession and territory. But they failed to trouble Thompson with their first effort, when Maguire hit a speculative thirty-yarder wide of the target (5 mins). Moments later, another long pot-shot, this time from McCourt, was likewise off-beam (6 mins). Former Chester man Asante soon won the game's first corner, which Thompson punched clear (8 mins).

But it was Altrincham who posed the first real threat of a goal when Ceesay did well on the left, where he turned past a defender and his cross-shot was beaten away by the keeper (11 mins).

At the other end, Alty suffered what they seemed to view as double jeopardy when Mr Richardson waved play on for a foul on Asante by Moult, just outside the box, and this allowed Yussuf to get in a shot which went well wide. But the referee brought play back for a freekick to the hosts on the edge of the box. McCourt's freekick struck the wall and earned a corner (13 mins).

But soon it was Altrincham who again went closer than their hosts to breaking the deadlock. Once more it was Ceesay who threatened, as he made a fine run into the box before goalkeeper Smith kept out his goalbound shot with his feet (15 mins). At the other end, Asante responded with a half-hit shot which deflected off Thompson and went for a corner (16 mins).

Midway through the half, Peers won the ball in midfield but seemed to be bundled over; however, play was allowed to continue with Kosylo running free up the middle towards goal. However, Maguire had tracked back and made a fine tackle to halt the Alty man from getting in a shot (23 mins).

End to end play continued as McCourt's instinctive jab at a speculative ball saw it pass narrowly wide of Thompson's right-hand upright (24 mins).

After the hosts had enjoyed more of the ball in the opening period, without seriously threatening a goal, Alty were now more than holding their own as Kosylo won a corner (26 mins).

Next, after dealing with a home corner, Alty again got forward with Kosylo only halted this time as he got near the byline. A fine run, cutting inside from the right, saw Joel Senior fouled twice to gain his side a freekick. From the front edge of the box the right-back took the freekick himself but skied the ball over the bar (32 mins).

Next, Asante hit a 25 yarder, which was a arare Chesterfield effort on target, but the shot was comfortably saved (35 mins). So, as half-time approached, Altrincham had got themselves well into the game and were good value for the level but goalless score at the interval.


Alty kicked off the second half and Ceesay was immediately caught offside. But Thompson then tried to play the ball out with short passes between him and his defenders. Although they managed to get the ball to Ceesay near halfway he was dispossessed and Maguire advanced. He played the ball, right, to Whittle, whose chipped cross was headed in from close range by Asante to give his side a 48th minute lead. It was the second time in three days that Alty had conceded straight after the interval.

A trip on Senior by Carline saw the home player booked (54 mins) before the hosts introduced Dinanga in place of Yussuf (56 mins).

Alty then had a good chance to level as Peers, Senior and Smith combined to get Kosylo running into the box. Inexplicably he elected not to shoot and was closed down, with just a corner being gained (56 mins).

After a stale period of play in which Chesterfield showed little inclination to add to their lead and Alty lacked the guile to pose a further threat at the other end, Alty replaced former Spireite Harrison with Joe Piggott, the recently arrived ex-Wigan striker (61 mins). More disruption to the game's flow came two minutes afterwards as Taylor replaced Whittle for Chesterfield (63 mins).

After an Alistair Smith shot had been blocked, Taylor won a home corner, after which Ceesay shot wide from 25 yards (70 mins).

Next, Hardy made his Alty debut, replacing Peers (72 mins). When Kosylo fed Ceesay the big wingman ran into the box where goalkeeper Smith dived at hiss feet. The Alty man went down and Mr Richardson pointed to the spot for what was a slightly questionable penalty award.

With Josh Hancok not playing it was Joe Piggott who took responsibility for the spot-kick. He hit ehe ball fairly well but at a good height for goalkeeper Smith to save it, diving to his right (76 mins).

Mandeville was now replaced by Clarke (78 mins) as the home side seemed happy with containment rather than a more adventurous approach to the closing stages of the game.

Clarke was soon booked for hindering the taking of a freekick (82 mins) and he was promptly followed into the book by Kosylo, acquiring his ninth yellow card of the season, eight of which were in league matches (86 mins).

Densmore now got a rare call from the bench to replace White at left-back (86 mins) before Alty's last chance arrived. A freekick, from the left by Kosylo, was headed at goal, apparently by Mullarkey, but Smith made a decent save (89 mins).

Five added minutes of an uninspiring second half could not change the result and Alty succumbed to a fourth successive leage defeat after a preceding run of one defeat in ten matches.

They are now tenth in the tbale, thirteenth on PPG. However disappointing the current run may be, Alty can take encouragement from being far from outclassed by a well-resourced Chesterfield side.