Return to News Page


Vanarama National League match
played on Saturday, 22 January 2022 at 3pm


Despite a spirited performance, Altrincham fell to a narrow defeat and their cause was not helped by conceding in just the sixth minute. Torquay took advantage of a clever ball from Danny Wright to set Lemonheigh-Evans free inside the box. He rounded Thompson before slotting the ball into the unguarded net.

Alty responded when centre-back Mullarkey picked up the ball more thanthirty yards or so from goal and he advanced to hit a fine, low shot into the bottom corner of MacDonald's net, just inside the keeper's right upright (30 mins).

What proved to be the deciding goal was gifted to the Devonians and it arrived very early in the second half when Digie played a sideways pass straight to Wearne who scored comfortably past the exposed Thompson.

In a rousing final Colclough hit the bar with a superb freekick but Altrincham's winless run continued.


REFEREE: Mr David Richardson
ATTENDANCE: 1,744 (316 in away end)


Dean Furman had left the club in the run up to this game, on completion of his short-term contract, and Tom Hannigan was out, injured. Matty Kosylo was also sidelined by injury whilst Andy White gave way at left-back to Kevin Bekoe, a loanee from Salford City, who was making his first start.

For the visitors, Joe Lewis and Dean Moxey were self-isolating and midfielder Tom Lapslie had a groin injury.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks): 1 Tony Thompson, 19. Jamie Morgan, 25. Toby Mullarkey, 18. Kennedy Digie, 24. Kevin Berkoe, 6. Jake Moult (c), 8. Elliot Osborne, 7. Dan Mooney, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Ryan Colclough, 29. Jordan Hulme. Subs: 2. Shaun Densmore, 17. Ben Pringle, 27. A-Jay Leitch-Smith, 30. Steven Drench, 32. Isaac Marriott.

TORQUAY UNITED (All pale green): 37. Shaun MacDonald, 2, Ben Wynter, 3. Dan Martin, 5. Ali Omar, 7. Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 8. Asa Hall, 9. Danny Wright, 10. Armani Little, 12. Stephen Wearne, 14. Chior Johnson, 15. Stephen Duke-McKenna. Subs: 1. Mark Halstead, 16. Keelan O'Connell, 19. Klaid Lolos, 29. Joe Felix, 30. Dan Holman.


Altrincham went into the game with just two wins from their previous twenty matches in all competitions. The Gulls, however, were in good form having recovered from a slump earlier in the season.


On a dull afternoon, with the floodlights already on and light drizzle falling, Jake Moult kicked off with his side attacking the away end, which housed 316 fans from Torquay, an excellent number given the distance, though the local Manchester Gulls group were part of the turnout as their flag denoted.

Alty started reasonably brightly with Morgan getting forward up the right. But, having conceded at the start of the last 45 minutes that they had played (at Grimsby), Altrincham again saw their defence breached soon after a kick off.

Torquay took advantage of a fortunate rebound on the right side of the box and, via Wright, Lemonheigh-Evans found himself free, inside the penalty area. He calmly rounded the advancing Thompson before slotting the ball into the empty net in just the sixth minute.

Alty were then kept on the back foot as The Gulls won three corners. From the second of these, a header smacked against the Alty bar but the hosts did then get to the other end, where a promising move ended with Hancock being blocked as he shot at goal (12 mins).

The third Torquay corner was earned by veteran striker Wright, off Digie, but this flag kick was safely caught by Thompson (15 mins).

Meanwhile Jordan Hulme was getting little of the ball at the front of the Alty attack before Torquay earned a fourth corner, off Mullarkey (21 mins).

However, after Mullarkey had advanced up the middle, he found Mooney whose low, curling shot went inches wide of the base of the post (22 mins). This heralded an improvement for the home side but their only real threat before the half-hour mark was a low Colclough shot which ran easily to the keeper (27 mins).

Nevertheless, Altrincham then drew level from an unexpected source. From the left, the ball came to Mullarkey, slightly right of centre, some fifteen yards inside the opposition half. He advanced a few yards before hitting a powerful, low shot, from about 30 yards, which left keeper MacDonald flat-footed as it arrowed into the bottom corner, to the keeper's right (30 mins).

After this, Colclough, on the right, now started a promising Alty move which ended with a Morgan cross at the end of which Hancock went down in the box but it was not a penalty (38 mins). Alty threatened again soon afterwards when a deep cross from the right by Morgan found Colclough beyond the back post but his diving header went comfortably off target (41 mins).

The hosts went close again when a mis-pass by Torquay set Colclough in on goal but, instead of shooting, he tried to locate Hulme, to his left, but failed to do so (42 mins).

At the other end, Thompson made a fine save from a downward header, following a deep Torquay cross. But the Alty keeper could not hold the ball and had to kick the ball away hastily (44 mins). Torquay then won two successive corners but, when the second, was played out to Little he badly shanked his shot well over the bar (45+1 mins).


During the interval, all of the Popular Side floodlights went out and both teams went off the pitch. The referee would not restart the game and for a short time, the Main stand floodlights were also extinguished. Getting on for ten minutes late, the second half finally got underway.

And for the third successive half of football, and the fifth in the last six halves of football played by Alty they once more conceded soon after a kick off. Torquay had already won two more corners to add to their first-half tally (46/47 minutes) before Digie played a careless pass sideways, to his right, across the front of the Alty box, straight to Torquay loanee Wearne.

He duly beat Thompson with a low shot to make it 2-1 to Torquay (49 mins). The visitors soon won another corner before Hulme was tripped a couple of feet outside the side of the box, to the left of goal. Colclough hit a superb freekick which smacked against the crossbar (55 mins).

Alty soon threatened again as Murphy, on the right, fed Hancock whose low shot was well saved by MacDonald. The loose ball ran to Hulme who hit it well over the bar (58 mins).

Digie then got away with another pass to the opposition before left-back Berkoe had to act smartly to halt Lemonheigh-Evans.

The same Gulls'player then created and wasted a great chance to extend his side's lead. He made space superbly with a neat turn to get past the combined efforts of Digie and Berkoe but, with only Thompson to beat, he hit his shot badly, well over the bar (64 mins).

Following a freekick the visitors gained another corner as Alty's probes towards the other end were hampered by recurrent mis-passing of the ball to the opposition with Mooney twice culpable in this spell. After the second occurrence, a superb shot by Duke-McKenna from thirty yards saw Thompson bat the ball away impressively (66 mins).

The mis-passing continued as, now, it was Colclough who lost the ball but Alty roused themselves to win a corner (68 mins). Before this could be taken, a double swap saw Leitch-Smith and Pringle replace Hulme and Mooney (69 mins).

The final twenty minutes witnessed Alty going for an equaliser with Torquay largely on the back foot but still eliciting two fine saves from Thompson.

Next, from the left, Colclough sold a dummy to the defence before hiting a shot which arrowed towards the top corner of the net only for MacDonald to make a fine save, at the cost of a corner (76 mins).

Torquay now brought on Holman for Wright and, within seconds, another slip by Digie gave Holman a great chance but his well-struck, low shot was tipped round the post by Thompson for a corner (77 mins).

Alty made their final change as Marriott replaced Hancock (78 mins). Altrincham were getting forward repeatedy and, next, Leitch-Smith got in a low shot before his side won a corner (85 mins). At this point Torquay's Felix replaced Duke-McKenna (85 mins).

Leitch-Smith threatened again shortly afterwards as he swivelled and shot but he saw his effort blocked. Torquay were now hanging on and O'Connell was introduced for Wearne (89 mins). Light rain was faling as four added minutes were decreed.

Berkoe won a freekick on the front edge of the box and Marriott hit this through the wall, with a slight deflection, but the keeper adjusted to produce a fine save and scramble the ball round the upright.

From the resulting corner, a header was cleared off the line by Torquay. There was to be one last chance as a third dangerous freekick in the closing stages was conceded by the visitors when Marriott was felled to the left of goal. This time Colclough's freekick was off beam and rose comfortably over the bar.

A draw would not have been an unfair result though, equally, Torquay might have won comfortably but for Thompson's saves.

Ultimately, it was one of too many unforced errors which cost Altrincham this game. It is now two wins in 21 games and ten successive National League games without a win for Altrincham as they travel to Solihull next Saturday with all of the four clubs immediately below them having games in hand, and all lying just two or fewer points behind the Robins. As a consequence, although Alty remain sixteenth, on PPG they are now twentieth.