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Vanarama National League match
played on Tuesday, 23 November, 2021 at 7.45pm


As at Dagenham earlier this season, when the London side were the league leaders, Altrincham once again staged a very late comeback with two goals in the final six minutes, plus added time. On this occasion they earned a point against the current league leaders, Chesterfield, after trailing 2-0.

In front of a gate of 5,273, Chesterfield had taken a tenth-minute lead when a Liam Mandeville shot had deflected off Toby Mullarkey and, over Tony Thompson, into the net. And just before the interval Alty conceded a second time as Kabongo Tshimanga got a touch on a team-mate's header from a corner (43 mins). So, at half-time it was 2-0 to the hosts.

Having played five at the back, Alty changed things for the second half as striker/winger Peers replaced centre-back Digie. AFter early Alty pressure had been seen off, the majority of the second half was a fairly mundane event as the hosts seemed comfortable with their two-goal lead and their solid defence kept Alty at bay till the exciting closing stages.

After 84 minutes, Leitch-Smith set Kosylo in on goal and he netted with a good shot from twenty yards to make it 2-1. Buoyed by their goal, Alty finished the game largely on the front foot and in the fifth added minute A-Jay Leitch-Smith scored a fine equaliser to claim an ultimately deserved point (90+5 mins).


REFEREE: Mr Aaron Jackson

ATTENDANCE: 5,273 (166 away fans)


Altrincham brought Connor Hampson and Kennedy Digie into the starting eleven and played with three centre-backs in a five-man back line; Jake Moult was again only named on the bench so goalkeeper Tony Thompson was the captain again. Fitzpatrick dropped to the bench and forwards Mooney and Hancock were not in the squad, presumably injured. For Hampson it was a first league start of the season, though he had started one FA Cup game. Digie was also making his full debut in the league.

Without Dan Mooney and Josh Hancock, Alty were lacking two of their three joint leading scorers in the league this season.

Chesterfield named only four substitutes after warning of an injury crisis before the game. The Spireites boasted the meanest defence in the National League season and had kept clean sheets in half of their matches, as manager Rowe reminded people in the run-up to the match. Their only change saw their injured ex-Alty man Jeff King replaced by Mandeville.


CHESTERFIELD (Blue): 1. Scott Loach, 4. Manny Oyeleke, 29. Alex Whittle, 21. Luke Croll, 8. Curtis Weston (c), 12. Tyrone Williams, 22. Jamie Grimes, 16. James Kellerman, 28. Saidou Khan, 10. Liam Mandeville, 19. Kabongo Tshimanga. Subs: 13. Melvin Minter, 17. Jak McCourt, 18. Nathan Tyson, 23. Stefan Payne

ALTRINCHAM(Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON (c), 24. Joel SENIOR, 18. Kennedy DIGIE, 25. Toby MULLARKEY, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 29. Daniel WHITEHEAD, 8. Adam PORTER, 15. Matty KOSYLO, 11. Ryan COLCLOUGH, 9. Marcus DINANGA. Subs: 6. Jake MOULT, 17. Ben PRINGLE, 19. David FITZPATRICK, 23. Tom PEERS, 27. A-Jay LEITCH-SMITH.


Alty had been buoyed by a 4-1 win, last time out at Weymouth, which had ended a barren run in league and cup matches. In Chesterfield, Alty were facing the top team in the National League for the fourth time this season, The Robins having already played Grimsby Town, Dagenham & Redbridge and Boreham Wood when they had led the table.


Altrincham kicked off towards the home end and they won the game's first corner (3 mins). A fairly uneventful opening then saw Chesterfield reciprocate with an eighth-minute corner of their own which, like Alty's, came to naught.

But the Spireites were enjoying more possession and in the tenth minute, Khan advanced up the middle and fired narrowly over the bar. The respite was short as Mandeville got forward and scored with a deflected left-footed shot which looped over Thompson, just a minute later (11 mins).

Altrincham responded promisingly as Hampson and Kosylo played a one-two before the left-back got in a low cross, which unfortunatley did not locate the incoming Dinanga and Grimes cleared the danger (13 mins).

After several uneventful minutes, referee Jackson awarded Alty a freekick some twelve yards out after goalkeeper Loach had handled a back-pass from Grimes. With Loach curiously positioning himself in front of the nine-man wall, he rushed forward to block the freekick by Colclough (21 mins).

Although Altrincham were still in the game, Chesterfield had the upper hand and won two corners in as many minutes just before the half-hour mark. However, fouls on Colclough and then Dinanga helped Alty regain momentum (32 mins).

The home captain Weston became the first player to be booked, for a foul on Dinanga (35 mins). The Spireites then got in a couple of crosses as Alty went through a rocky spell, making unforced errors. However, they looked like getting to the break with just a single-goal deficit.

However, Grimes then headed a Mandeville corner towards goal only for Tshimanga to turn and poke the ball past Thompson to make it 2-0 after 43 minutes.


Both teams made a change at the interval with Alty bringing on Peers for Digie and changing their shape from a back five to a back four. McCourt came on for the hosts, replacing Oyeleke (46 mins).

Alty started the half well although Khan did get in a shot for the home side, which went over the bar (49 mins).

After a foul on Dinanga, Alty constructed a good move as Porter and Hampson got the ball to Colclough on the left. But his low shot was saved by Loach (53 mins).

Soon afterwards, a Kosylo run saw the ball go off Grimes for a visitors' corner (55 mins) before Weston cleared off the line when Senior prompted a header from Dinanga (56 mins). Next, Porter hit a thirty-yarder over the bar.

Alty's good spell was ended, at least momentarily, by a miskick from whitehead to concede a needless corner (62 mins).

Alty now brought on Leitch-Smith to replace Dinanga (69 mins) with the hosts making a change themselves two minutes later as Stefan Payne came on for Kellerman (71 mins). Chesterfield seemed largely content to sit on their lead and when Hampson had to concede a corner, the game had gone into the final ten minutes (81 mins).

Next Tyson replaced Khan for the home side (83 mins) as the three points looked fairly safe for Chesterfield.

But then Altrincham stunned their hosts when Leitch-Smith threaded the ball through to Kosylo and, from more than twenty yards, he fired past Loach to make it 2-1 (84 mins).

Two minutes later Pringle came on for Porter as manager Parkinson signalled his attacking intent (86 mins).

Chesterfield successfully ran down the clock further before Colclough was injured making a tackle but, after treatment, he was able to hobble back into the action (90+1 mins). Whilst this was going on, four added minutes were proclaimed which, obviously would have to be extended due to the stoppage.

Alty continued to press as play resumed and, into the fifth minute of added time, a Mullarkey shot had to be saved by Loach. However, the danger was not over for Chesterfield and, to the dismay of the home throng, Leitch-Smith looped a well-struck shot over Loach to level the game at 2-2 (90+5 mins).

So, as at Dagenham earlier in the season Alty had struck twice in the last few minutes to turn a potential defeat to the league leaders into something more positive. This draw left Alty in eleventh place with a game in hand on many other clubs as they prepare to face Southend United next Saturday.

Once again the team's character had shone through with a late comeback.