Return to News Page


Vanarama National League match
played on Tuesday, 9 March, 2021 at 7.45pm
behind closed doors


An eventful first half at the J. Davidson Stadium ended all square at 1-1. The visitors had the better of the opening stages before Alty lost striker Montel Gibson to injury on 22 minutes, with Tom Peers replacing him.

Two minutes later Cass's high tackle on Kosylo earned the Pools defender a straight red card. Against ten men, Alty then enjoyed a better spell but fell behind when Hartlepool's star man, Molyneux made progress up the right. His low cross was bundled in from close range by Oates (34 mins).

The visitors then looked fairly comfortable in defending their lead until the second of four added minutes before the interval. At that point, Colclough fired in a decent shot from the left which Killip should have stopped but the keeper fumbled the ball into his own net at the near post to level the score (45+2 mins).

Despite dominating the early part of the second half Altrincham were unable to convert several half-chances and, in the closing stages, seemed to run out of invention against the ten men, who defended resolutely and did, themselves, force a good save from Tony Thompson in the closing stages. Alty remain eleventh.


REFEREE: Mr Martin Woods, who had overseen Altrincham's win at Boreham Wood earlier in the 2020-21 season. Further back, he was in charge of Alty's 4-1 defeat at AFC Fylde in 2017.
ATTENDANCE: Behind closed doors.

For this game, Tom Hannigan was suspended following his sending off last week, whilst Andy White (ankle) and Shaun Densmore (fractured wrist) remained sidelined by injuries. Alty had also been without the attacking threat of Hancock and Mooney in recent games but Mooney returned tonight on the bench where Sean Williams was also a welcome sight after his long lay-off.

Toby Mullarkey stepped in to replace Hannigan in an otherwise unchanged starting line-up for Altrincham. So the hosts again had a very young back four of Senior, Zouma, Mullarkey and Ogle, two of whom had only joined the club in the previous week.

The only change for the high-flying Pools was that Crawford replaced Sterry.


ALTRINCHAM (Red shirts with white chest panel, black shorts, white socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 24. Joel SENIOR, 35. Yoan ZOUMA, 25. Toby MULLARKEY, 19. Reagan OGLE, 29. Alistair SMITH, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 15. Matty KOSYLO, 11. Yusifu CEESAY, 34. Ryan COLCLOUGH, 33. Montel GIBSON. Subs: 3. Connor HAMPSON, 23. Tom PEERS, 32. James HARDY, 7. Dan MOONEY, 8. Sean WILLIAMS.

HARTLEPOOL UNITED (All blue): 1. Ben Killip, 3. David Ferguson, 6. Mark Shelton, 2. Lewis Cass, 15. Ryan Johnson, 4. Gary Liddle, 8. Nicky Featherstone, 10. Luke Molyneux, 11. Rhys Oates, 22. Tom Crawford. 29. Luke Armstrong. Subs: 5. Timmy Ousina, 9. Enigbokan-Bloomfield, 14. Gavan Holohan, 17. Josh MacDonald, 33. Jake Cooper.


Altrincham started the game in eleventh place (16th on PPG) and eleven points behind their guests from the North East who were in a three-way tie for top spot with Torquay United and Sutton United.

Alty, lying eleventh (16th on PPG) had missed a penalty in the reverse fixture which had cost them a win in a game which ended 1-1.


Hartlepool kicked off and started the game the better, winning the game's first corner in the fourth minute. But it was Altrincham who had the first good chance as Mullarkey fed Ceesay to the right of goal. But the wingman fired disappointingly well over the bar (6 mins).

The game was becoming more even and Alty's Colclough was setting an example to his team mates in getting back to help out with the threat of Molyneux on the Pools' right-wing (15 mins). It then needed a fine recovery tackle, inside his own box by Smith, to halt a Hartlepool incursion (16 mins).

Hartlepool won another corner as they again looked the more threatening side, but Molyneux's 25-yard effort, well off-target, was the neaeest they came at this stage to troubling Thompson (18 mins).

There was a blow for Alty when Montel Gibson, making only his second start for the club, sat down and, after treatement, had to be replaced by Tom Peers (22 mins). Moments after play had restarted, Hartlepool struck the inside of the post, to Alty's relief, before a high tackle by Cass on Kosylo, near half way on the Alty left, led to a consultation between the referee and his asistant which culminated in a red card for Hartlepool's Cass (24 mins).

It was a reverse of last week's situation, against Woking, in which Alty themselves had played much of the game with only ten men.

After protracted treatment to Kosylo's knee, play resumed and, on 28 minutes, Alty pressure led to Killip making a hash of a Senior cross, scooping the ball away rather than dealing decisively with the threat. But no danger to their goal resulted for the visitors.

Indeed, with Altrincham getting on top thanks to their numerical advantage, it was Hartlepool who took the lead. Molyneux, thus far the best player on the pitch, made the goal with another advance on the right and his low cross was converted, from close range, by Oates, as he got to the ball just ahead of Thompson's arrival on the scene (34 mins).

Hartlepool defended resolutely with two bands of four. Altrincham enjoyed plenty of possession with a seventeen-pass move a notable highpoint but they were unable to create any clear sights of goal (41 mins).

Four minutes of first-half added time were decreed, mostly for the injuries to Gibson and Kosylo. In the second such minute Colclough got in a well-hit, but not world-beating shot, from about 20 yards out left of goal. Killip, who had earlier made a meal of a rare bit of action, now failed to stop this shot at midriff level and fumbled the ball into this own net at the near post to restore the match's parity (45+2 mins).

Hartlepool were briefly in disarray, as Smith put a teasing ball into their box a minute later. Killip and two defenders went for the ball, with the latter duo colliding but they escaped without conceding further.


At the interval, defender Ousina replaced the goalscorer Oates for the visitors, as Altrincham kicked off, looking to make their one-man advantage tell.

The hosts dominated the opening stages in terms of possession but were not creating any meaningful chances of scoring. As in the first half, it was Ceesay who was guilty of missing the best opportunity as he fired disappointingly wide from a Senior feed (55 mins).

Next, Colclough won a corner after which, from a perceptive Mullarkey ball, a stretching Peers did well to force a fine reaction save from Killip. The ball rebounded out and was put into the Pools' net only for the effort to be ruled out for offside (56 mins).

Altrincham continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession as they won a corner on the hour mark. With the Robins dominating Ceesay then fed Peers but he volleyed disappointingly wide from a decent opening (63 mins). .

Hartlepool soon introduced Holohan, for top scorer Armstrong who had been a peripheral figure in the second half as his side sat deep to defend (64 mins). The one-way traffic continued as a Colclough shot rebounded off Peers for a goalkick. A Peers shot and a Colclough cross were then dealt with by the Hartlepool defence as it seemed a winning goal for Altrincham was on the cards.

Altrincham now introduced Mooney for Ceesay (70 mins). Injuries had meant that Mooney's cumulative game time in the league amount to fewer than six full games this season and, sadly, his rustiness was only too evident over the remainder of the game as he took up his customary righ-wing role.

Hartlepool's first meaningful attack at the Alty ended in a poor effort by Crawford (72 mins), which was matched by a poor cross at the other end from Mooney at the end of a promising Alty move.

Ogle, who had a good game at left-back, then got himself booked for a foul on Holohan as the Alty man tracked back through midfield (76 mins). Almost immediately, Ferguson was booked for a foul on Kosylo.

But Altrincham's dominance in the seond half was fading in the closing stages as they failed to find a way through resolute Hartlepool defending. No chances were now being created by the hosts and it was actually Hartleopol who now went the closer to scoring a second goal.

Molyneux got to the byline and his cross shot from the left had to be beaten round the post for a corner by an alert Thompson, who had seen little if any previous action in the second half (82 mins). Although a second Hartlepool corner followed, the score remained 1-1 before Hardy replaced Kosylo for Alty (84 mins).

Altrincham seemed to have run out of inventiveness in the closing stages and Killip had a quiet time in the final stages of the game.

In the first of three added minutes Bloomfield repaced Molyneux for the visitors as the Pools emerged with a hard-earned point, leaving Alty to ruminate on a second failure this season to take all three points aginst Hartlepool, having missed a penalty in the reverse fixture and now failing to capitalise on a one-man advantage for an hour of playing time. Alty remained eleventh in the table, fifteenth on PPG.