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BARNET (1) 3

Vanarama National League match
played on Saturday, 24 April, 2021 at 3pm
behind closed doors


In a game where they were coasting at 2-0 after sixteen minutes, Alty threw the game away gifting Barnet a goal in first-half added time before conceding poorly twice more in the final two minutes of normal time in the second half.

Altrincham had got off to a good start with their earliest league goal of the season, scored from more than 20 yards by Colclough after a freekick had been recycled (4 mins). Colclough was also involved in a second Altrincham goal in the 16th minute. His shot from outside the box was pushed away by Azaze. The ball came to Sutton on the left and his cross was cleverly headed into the far corner by Smith.

The rest of the half saw Altrincham in clear control as Barnet created no danger apart from one good corner, which Thompson punched away from under the bar. But disaster struck for the hosts in added time before the break as Barnet put a huge punt upfield. Thompson came rushing out of his box, just as Mullarkey attempted to head the ball towards his goal. The ball ran free and Baker-Richardson had a simple task to put the ball into the vacated net to give the half-time score a more even look than the play had warranted.

In a mediocre second half, in which neither side created a great deal, Alty looked like hanging on till Jake Moult's uncharacteristically poor sideways pass went straight to Mason-Clark who advanced, and beat Thompson with a low shot (88 mins). Two minutes later it got even worse when Mason-Clark hooked the ball forward to ex-Alty loanee and Barnet substitute, Tomi Adeloye, who scored the third goal for The Bees.



ATTENDANCE: Behind closed doors.

Altrincham made a number of changes as Sutton, Mooney, Bell, Smith and Kirby all came in to start; for Bell and Kirby it was a full debut for the club. Ceesay and Williams dropped to the bench, where Hardy came in. Notable absentees from the home squad today, who had started the previous match, were Tom Hannigan, Josh Hancock and Joe Piggott.

In addition injuries meant the continuing absences of Matty Kosylo, Fisayo Adarabioyo, Andy White, Shaun Densmore, Yoan Zouma and Connor Hampson.


ALTRINCHAM (Red shirts with white panel, black shorts, white socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 4. Ritchie SUTTON, 24. Joel SENIOR, 25. Toby MULLARKEY, 19. Reagan OGLE, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 29. Alistair SMITH, 34. Ryan COLCLOUGH, 36. Connor KIRBY, 7. Daniel MOONEY, 17. Nyal BELL. Subs: 30. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Sean WILLIAMS, 23. Tom PEERS, 11. Yusifu CEESAY, 32. James HARDY

BARNET (Amber shirts, whiste shorts, black socks ): 24. Aymen Azaze, 5. Matt Preston, 38. Liam Daly, 7. Alexander McQueen, 16. Harry Taylor, 20. Lee Vaughan, 27. Ephron Mason-Clark, 15. Themis Kefalas, 23. Sam Beard, 25. Sam Skeffington, 20. Courtney Baker-Richardson Subs: 17. Ben Richards-Everton, 19. Xander McBurnie, 10. Michael Petrasso, 21. Tomi Adeloye 12. James Callan.


Barnet arrived bottom of the League but their form had picked up recently, after a change of management, and they arrived unbeaten in their last three games whereas Alty had lost their last three fixtures, all without scoring a goal.

In contrast to their present league position, the last time that The Bees visited Altrincham, they had won 3-1 in a Vanarama Conference match played on Saturday, 28 February, 2015, as they headed towards promotion back to the Football League at the end of that season.


On a bright afternoon, Barnet kicked off towards the Golf Road end. A foul on Colclough on the Alty left yielded an early freekick. This found its way back to the taker, Colclough, after a Mooney shot had been blocked. The former Scunthorpe winger's shot from left of centre, twenty yards out, beat the diving teenage keeper Azaze to his right (4 mins).

It was Alty's first league goal this season that had been scored inside the opening ten minutes of a match.

Barnet's first effort of any note followed a freekick from the left which Thompson punched clear. The ball came out to Mason-Clark but he fired well wide (10 mins).

Having opened the scoring, Colcough was also involved in Alty's second goal in the 16th minute. Skeffington fouled the Alty winger, 30 yards out in a central position. Azaze pushed away Colclough's freekick to his right where the ball came to Sutton on the Alty left. His cross was smartly headed into the far corner of the net by Smith from the centre of the goalmouth.

Barnet did win a corner soon afterwards (18 mins) but Altrincham looked well in control and Azaze had to be alert to the threat of a third goal, soon afterwards, as he rushed out to block a Colclough incursion (19 mins).

When Bell was felled 25 yards out it was Senior rather than Colclough who took the next Altrincham freekick but the right-back hit the ball well over the bar (23 mins).

Alty nearly gifted Barnet a way into the game when Thompson slipped over with the ball at his feet and he was fortunate that Mason-Clarke failed to take advantage... on this occasion (28 mins).

Next, Thompson redeemed himself by punching away a testing, inswinging corner from under the bar (31 mins).

But Altrincham might have added to their lead when Kirby fed Smith who seemed to be clipped inside the box but play was waved on by Mr Richardson (38 mins).

Alty continued to look comfortable without creating any more clear chances as half-time approached and Barnet were not troubling the Alty goal.

Indeed the hosts might again have added to their haul as Azaze had to keep out a 20-yarder from Colclough, which yielded a corner (44 mins). Next Mooney went close with a curling effort from right of goal (45 mins).

In added time Senior got forward and was only halted by Beard inside the visitors' box. The ball was immediately hoofed seventy yards, long and high, upfield.

Thompson rushed out of his goal as Mullarkey retreated towards the it. The ball came off the centre-back's attempted header as Thompson passed him in the opposite direction, having failed to get the ball, which carried on towards the goal, leaving Baker-Richardson clear to roll it into the empty net and gift Barnet a goal.

The 2-1 scoreline suggested that the first-half had been a much closer affair than it truly had been (45+2 mins).


At the break Petrasso replaced Skeffington for Barnet. The gift of a goal had buoyed up Barnet and they started the half better than they had been playing in the opening half. Once again, Thompson was almost caught out trying to dribble the ball but just about got away with it (47 mins).

Play was more even in the second half but of no great quality from either side with Baker-Richardson nodding a freekick wide for Barnet and Ogle firing miles wide, across goal, from the left for Altrincham, being as good as it got at that stage (53 mins).

A Smith effort did produce a corner but, soon afterwards, Kirby was booked for a foul on his debut (63 mins).

Following a Barnet corner the ball then came out for a shot, which Thompson beat out, low down (64 mins). Little more of note happened till McQueen headed over the bar from a good Petrasso cross (71 mins).

Next, Alty brought on Peers in place of Mooney after 74 minutes as Alty went through a phase of giving away too many cheap midfield freekicks to a side which specializes in such opportunities.

Each team soon won a corner, Alty's arriving after a bit of dubious keeping by Azaze (80 mins). Colclough yet again hit the corner low and short, a ruse which worked once this season but such a fluke is unlikely to be repeated despite his attempts to try to do it so.

Ceesay soon came on for Bell, whose first start after six appearances from the bench had not been productive (80 mins).

Ex-Alty loanee Adeloye now came on for Barnet's Kefalas (83 mins).

Once more a kicked clearance by Thompson went to an opponent as the keeper's dodgy afternoon continued (84 mins). And it got worse in the 88th minute as Moult uncharacteristically mis-passed the ball, inside, to where Mason-Clark got to it ahead of Smith and levelled the score with a low shot (88 mins).

In what must be a contender for the most multi-syllabic substitution ever in an Altrincham game, Baker-Richardson was replaced immediately by Richards-Everton (88 mins).

Drained of confidence Alty conceded a third time in the ninetieth minute as Mason-Clark hooked the ball forward to Adeloye, who turned and got the better of Smith before beating Thompson.

So Alty have now lost four on the run but the manner of this latest reverse was particularly galling as they surrendered a two-goal lead through their own errors.

Deep into added time Alty almost fashioned a leveller but Beard got in an excellent block to stop Moult from scoring (90+4 mins).

A visit to Altrincham by well-resourced Notts County next Saturday is an unlikely recipe for a turnaround in the home side's results.

In mitigation, Alty have a significant injury list but the management now also has a task of rebuilding fragile confidence amongst the fit players after the manner of today's defeat on top of a mauling in the previous game against Sutton.