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Vanarama National League match
played on Tuesday, 25 May, 2021 at 7pm


Altrincham were unfortunate not to take all three points against an uninspiring Eastleigh who never looked like credible promotion candidates on this performance.

After a first half devoid of clear chances, Eastleigh took a 52nd minute lead. The goal came when Alty keeper Thompson rushed a freekick, awarded against Eastleigh for handball, his low kick going straight to an opponent. The ball was worked to the visitors' left and, from the resulting cross, Barnett outjumped Hannigan to nod the Spitfires into the lead.

After that, Altrincham dominated the final half-hour and got their deserved reward after 78 minutes. Referee Parsons played a good advantage after a virtual rugby tackle of Hancock.

The ball broke forward to Peers, who fed the ball left to Colclough, and he fired across keeper McDonnell, the ball going into the net at the back post.

Alty continued to press forward, with Thompson a virtual spectator, but Eastleigh held out for a point.


REFEREE: Mr Tom Parsons

ATTENDANCE: 900 max. home supporters only

Shaun Densmore made his first league start in 31 games and Tom Hannigan was the other returnee to the starting eleven. Kosylo and Ogle were the two players who moved to the bench to accommodate them.

Densmore's return, at right-back, meant that Senior moved across to left-back.


ALTRINCHAM (Red shirts with white chest panel, black shorts and white socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 20. Shaun DENSMORE, 25. Toby MULLARKEY, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 24. Joel SENIOR, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 36. Connor KIRBY, 29. Alistair SMITH, 7. Daniel MOONEY, 34. Ryan COLCLOUGH, 10.Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 8. Sean WILLIAMS, 15. Matty KOSYLO, 19. Reagan OGLE, 32. James HARDY, 23. Tom PEERS.

EASTLEIGH (All blue with white upper panel on shirts): 1. Joe McDonnell; 2. Joe Partington (c), 6. Andrew Boyce, 5. Pierce Bird, 3. Michael Green, 8. Jack Payne, 4. Cavaghan Miley; 10. Tyrone Barnett, 17.Joe Tomlinson, 18. Ben House, 19. Danny Hollands (c). Subs: 7. Abdulai Baggie, 9. Dan Smith, 11. Sam Smart, 20. Ryan Hill, 22. Adam Marriott


This match had been postponed from 8 May when the Moss Lane pitch was waterlogged. Since then the visitors had extended their good run to five wins out of six and this was their game in hand as they pressed for a play-off place.

And this match was also in some doubt after overnight rain but a dry afternoon allowed the game to proceed, with Eastleigh this time travelling up on match day to avoid any repeat of their abortive trip a fortnight earlier.

One significant change since the reverse fixture had been the arrival at Eastleigh of King's Lynn striker Adam Marriott, who has escaped from his imposed furlough in Norfolk to play for the Hampshire team.

This was the second home game to which home-only spectators were admitted, with a ceiling increased to 900 on this occasion.

It was almost six years ago, in September 2015, that Eastleigh had last played at Altrincham. Both of their previous visits to Moss Lane had ended in draws.

Indeed, the historical record was very even. In their five previous league meetings, there had been three draws and a home win for Eastleigh and an away victory for Altrincham.


On a bright evening, Altrincham kicked off in front of home support for just the second time in more than 14 months. Eastleigh started the better and, after House had put a first-minute effort high and wide, the visitors went closer, following a freekick from half-way, when they won a header in the box before Alty hacked the ball clear (7 mins). An Eastleigh corner soon followed.

Before Eastleigh won a second corner in the 14th minute, Altrincham had begun to settle without creating any threat to the visitors' goal. Indeeed, ALty's best effort so far arrive around the midway point of the half, in the 23rd minute, with Colclough's rasping snap-shot from 30 yards flew inches wide.

The sides continued to cancel out each other. From Alty's point of view several promising passing moves came to nothing but neither keeper was seriously tested until the 34th minute when a long-range short from Eastleigh had to be shovelled away by the arms of Thompson, to his left.

After a brief stoppage for treatment to his counterpart McDonnell, who sat down for reasons which were unclear, play meandered unevntfully towards half-time. However, there was ana alarm in the 43rd minute as House broke into the box and went down under a Mullarkey challenge but, amidst his side's penalty appeals, referee Parsons booked the Eastleigh man for simulation and awarded Alty a freekick.

Alty responded as Colclough won a corner, which he himself curled onto the roof of the net. Two minutes of added time were insufficient to break the deadlock in a first half in which the visitors had started the better bur Altrincham had had the upper hand in the latter twenty minutes or so.


In bright evening sunshine, Eastleigh started the second half, attacking the Hale End but the first action of note was a long shot from Mooney which was well off target. From the resulting goalkick came the loudest cheer of the game so far from the Golf Road end as McDonnell slipped whilst taking the kick and ended up on his backside. Following a foul by Colclough on Partington, the Eastleigh freekkick was handled by a visiting forward in the Alty box. Thompson rushed the resulting freelick with a low kick which went about 35 yards to an opponent. The ball was worked to the Spitfires' left. From there, a cross was headed by Barnett into the net, as he rose above Hannigam near the penalty spot.

So Eastleigh had the lead and a place in the play offs at that point (52 mins).

Alty responded well, putting together a lengthy passing movement some five munutes later but without creating a clear opening.

The visitors, far from building on their lead, were now largely penned back in their own half. When Colclough was cynically fouled by Hollands, as the Alty winger got past him, the Eastleigh captain was deservedly booked (62 mins).

Densmore's freekick from about twenty yards, just left of centre, went narrowly wide.

Altrincham now brought on Kosylo for Mooney (63 mins) as they continued to dominate possession and forward momentum.

Next Tom Peers came on for Smith (67 mins). After Alty had cleared one of those all too frequent, but ridiculous, freekicks awarded for handball when a player kicks the ball against an adjacent player's hand, Peers won his side a corner. Taken by Kosylo, Hannigan won a header from it but the ball hit a defender (70 mins).

With Alty well on top, a foul by Green earned him a booking (74 mins). Eastleigh remained second best as Hancock moved up the middle and was cynically fouled about forty yards from goal. Referee Parsons played a good advantage as the ball ran forward to Peers. Under a challenge he got the ball, left to Colclough.

From an acute angle the ex-Scunthorpe man fired a low shot across the keeper and into the net near the base of the far post to give his side a well deserved equaliser (78 mins).

Unfortunately, the referee did not go back and book the player who fouled Hancock in the build-up.

Eastliegh's recatio was to enact a double substitiuion whilst Alty's was to abandon a planned introduction of Hardy who had been waiting for some time to come on before the equaliser. Esstleigh's new men were Hill and Marriott, who replaced Barnett and Hollands (79 mins).

Next, from a Kosylo cross Senior got the ball and hit a fine 30-yard shot which the keeper did well to tip away from under the bar, though a corner resulted (82 mins). Play continued to be dominated by Altrincham with Eastleigh looking far from a promotion prospect. They brought on Smart for Green after 86 minutes but remained second best to the end of the match (86 mins).

Alty finally made their last change in the 89th minute as Williams, rather than HArdy replaced Hancock (89 mins).

Four added minutes were played out with the final act seeing Peers go inches wide from a Williams feed (90+4 mins).

This was a fine second-half performance from Altrincham and a pretty mediocre one from Eastleigh. The result confirmed Altrincham as finishing seventeenth regardless of the outcome of Saturday's final fixture.

Eastleigh ended the evening still as one of five teams vying for the final two play-off positions but had now used up their game in hand.