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WOKING (2) 2

Vanarama National League match
played on Saturday, 5 February 2022 at 3pm


Altrincham were a goal down inside 15 seconds, then missed a penalty after nine minutes, but two second-half goals from Ryan Colclough earned a deserved point against Woking.

Disaster struck initially when debutant centre-back Cooper's ball upfield went to an opponent who played in team-mate Effiong. The big striker slotted a low shot across the exposed Thompson to make it 1-0 (15 secs).

Alty seemed to have a way back into the game when lively debutant Conn-Clarke was brought down and a penalty was the clear outcome. But Osborne's spot-kick, though well hit, was impressively saved by keeper Smith.

Then, Altrincham's naive defending was exposed again when Lofthouse was allowed to stride unchallenged, up the middle from halfway, before firing past Thompson from outside the box. So it was 0-2 after 34 minutes.

The second half saw Alty dominate possession but, initially, fail to land an effort on the Woking goal. However, midway through the second half, Mooney's curling corner from the right was back-headed into the net by Colclough (66 mins).

And it was Colclough who scored again to level the game at 2-2 with a superb shot fom left of goal after his trickery had got him past Lofthouse towards the byline (84 mins). Alty pressed for a late winner but Woking were not content to sit back and they too went for the three points. Alty were indebted to goalkeeper Thompson for several one on one saves and he was named man of the match.

However, neither side could break the deadlock and it ended two apiece.


REFEREE: Mr Andrew Miller
ATTENDANCE: 1,334 (96 in away end)


Altrincham made six changes for this match and fielded a starting eleven that included four loanees, three of them debutants.

The three loanee debutants were central defender Jake Cooper from Rotherham United, attacking midfielder Chris Conn-Clarke from Fleetwood Town and left-back Eddy Jones, who had been loaned by Stoke City.

Another loanee, left-back Kevin Berkoe, had been sent off last time out, and consequently he had returned to his employers at Salford City, so once again the Alty backline had a makeshift appearance. Another defender, centre-half Tom Hannigan remained sidelined by injury.

Matty Kosylo had been dismissed last Saturday but had won his appeal against suspension and he was named on the bench. Striker Jordan Hulme had not been available for that game but he returned to action here.

Jake Moult, Dan Mooney and Jordan Hulme returned to the starting eleven whilst Marriott, Digie, Peers and Pringle dropped to the bench. There was no place in the squad for Hancock, Densmore and Tom Peers.

Woking, meanwhile, had Annesley back from suspension, and brought in Allarakhia.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks): 1 Tony Thompson (c), 19. Jamie Morgan, 25. Toby Mullarkey, 14. Jake Cooper, 28. Eddy Jones, 6. Jake Moult, 8. Elliot Osborne, 7. Dan Mooney, 31. Chris Conn-Clarke, 11. Ryan Colclough, 29. Jordan Hulme. Subs: 17. Ben Pringle, 18. Kennedy Digie, 27. A-Jay Leitch-Smith, 15. Matty Kosylo 32. Isaac Marriott.

WOKING (All blue): 1 Mark Smith, 2 Kyran Lofthouse, 3 Josh Casey, 6 Moussa Diarra, 7 Jamar Loza, 9 Inih Effiong, 11 Tyreke Johnson, 16. Louie Annersley, 17 Tarryn Allarakhia, 23 Jermaine Anderson, 24 Rohan Ince. Subs: 5 Joe McNerney, 8 Solomon Nwabuokei, 13 Craig Ross, 18 Nicke Kabamba, 20 Jake Keles.


Altrincham were seeking to end a home sequence of seven winless games and a record of just two wins from their previous twenty-two matches in all competitions. Woking were also in indifferent form with just five wins and draw from their previous nineteen outings.

The match took place on a thoroughly wet day in Cheshire and the 96 travelling fans were to be applauded for enduring two hours standing out in the sodden open end of the J. Davidson Stadium.

The match was preceded by the reading by Rev. Andy Barclay-Watt of the Roll of Honour of the names of deceased supporters, players and officials associated with the football club who had died in the past year. A minute's applause followed the reading, immediately before kick off.


Alty's much changed side, featuring three loanee debutants, got off to a dreadful start, conceding after some fifteen seconds, despite having kicked off the game themselves. Moult kicked off and the ball was worked back to Cooper whose long ball forward only found an opponent, Ince.

He fed Loza, who slotted a pass through to Effiong, who had little trouble in getting behind the back line and finishing impressively with a low shot across Thompson which went into the far corner of the net to open the scoring (12 secs).

This added to a lamentable record this season of conceding early goals at the start of a match or after the interval.

Another Alty debutant, Conn-Clarke, was impressing with his quick movement and equally quick feet and when he was clearly upended in the centre of the box by Annesley, the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty to Altrincham (8 mins).

Osborne was entrusted with the spot-kick and he hit it quite firmly but keeper Smith dived to his left and made a fine save, at the cost of a corner (9 mins).

It almost got worse for Alty when Thompson had to be down smartly to smother a cross across his goalmouth and, moments later, a Woking effort from Allarakhia was deflected onto the top of the crossbar at the cost of a corner (11 mins).

Mooney was then caught offside as he poked a deep cross from Colclough wide of the mark. Conn continued to look the brightest of the Alty players as they struggled to land a glove on the visitors.

As with the Woking goal, the centre of the Alty defence parted again as two passes put Loza free and Thompson had to beat his effort away (19 mins).

Next, a foul on Colclough led to his own freekick from 30 yards, which was low and well struck but went the wrong side of the keeper's right upright (20 mins). At the other end Alty continued to look suspect as the lively Johnson's shot was blocked by a defender.

Alty were enjoying a lot of possesion but their build-ups were generally slow and frequently ended up being a series of lateral or backward passes, leaving Smith untroubled in the visitors' goal as the game neared the half-hour mark.

Smith was, at last, called into action when a long shot from Colclough reared up off the turf but the keeper shovelled it away safely (29 mins).

Morgan then got in a testing low ball, across the visitors' box, but it hit Conn's legs and went for a goalkick as the rain continued to fall (33 mins).

Out of nothing Alty conceded again and it was another case of woeful defending.

Woking defender Lofthouse was allowed the freedom of Altrincham to advance unchallenged up the middle from halfway before firing a fine, low shot past Thompson from about 22 yards. So, 2-0 it was for The Cards (34 mins).

For the ten minutes or so to half-time Alty again enjoyed the majority of the possesion but did nothing productive with it.

And it could easily have been 0-3 in the 45th minute when Johnson fed Ince and, though Conn-Clarke made a challenge, he could not gain possession and it needed a smart stop from Thompson to keep the deficit in goals to two as the half-time whistle approached.


At the break, there was little optimism in the home support, which took solace in refershments and beverages at the various outlets, a privilege not accorded the 70,000 spectators at Trafford's other stadium the previous night in Manchester United's FA Cup exit.

No changes were made at the break as Altrincham again started the half badly, almost conceding within a minute as a cross evaded Thompson, but he was relieved to see a freekick awarded in his favour.

The atmosphere was as flat as it had been all season at the start of the second period and the body language of one or two of the players did not bode well.

Alty weathered their poor start to the half but were relieved to see a decent chance for Woking wasted as the ball was spooned over the bar (54 mins).

Woking continued to close down Altrincham efficiently but Woking were a little over zealous and the offender earned a caution for upending Colclough (56 mins).

Altrincham had a very good claim for a penalty when Hulme seemed to be cleaned out by goalkeper Smith as they went for a 50-50 ball (60 mins).

Soon, at the other end, Thompson was again Alty's saviour as he made a diving save from an excellent curving freekick from Johnson (63 mins).

Moments later a strange incident involved Jones, arguably being fouled and falling on top of the ball deep inside the Alty box, as referee Miller declined to award a freekick to the home defender.

After his lively first half, Conn was less effective in the second half and the game seemed to be drifting along with litle danger being created to the visitors' two-goal lead.

But then Casey picked up a booking for fouling Colclough on the far right as Alty almost exclusively favoured that wing for some reason.

Mooney's curling freekick was met at the near post by a backward header from Colclough which, out of the blue, got Alty back into the match at 1-2 (66 mins). For some reason Hulme seemingly picked up a booking in the aftermath of the goal (67 mins).

The goal lifted Alty's spirits and they were to have their best spell in the final twenty minutes or so of the game.

Mooney now wasted a half-chance with a shot which went over the terrace roof into Golf Road (70 mins) and he then got himself booked a minute later. At the other end a Lofthouse effort narrowly cleared the junction of crossbar and upright.

Perhaps sensing that Mooney had got himself too wound up, the management withdrew him in favour of Pringle (72 mins). This change replaced a planned introduction of Kosylo who had been waiting on the touchline as Alty had scored their goal.

Woking likewise made a change with Kabamba replacing Loza (75 ins).

Next Pringle fired over the bar (76 mins) before Alty nearly committed suicide at the back when Jones tried to dribble out of the home box but lost the ball. It needed another fine save, point blank, by Thompson to prevent a Woking goal (77 mins).

Alty's second change saw Leitch-Smith replace Hulme (80 mins) but Woking were still looking reasonbly safe with their lead as Conn now shot well wide (82 ins).

Kosylo finally got onto the pitch after 83 minutes, replacing Conn.

Altrincham got themselves level through Colclough's individual skill. He got the better of Lofthouse on the Alty left and hit a magnificent shot from a tight angle into the far corner of the net to make it 2-2 (84 mins).

Next, Nwabuokeinow replaced Allarakhia to test tannoy announcer Ian Wilkinson's linguistic skills (85 mins).

Alty went for a winner, which had seemed implausible at half-time. After Leitch-Smith had gone close and won a corner the visitors made a final change as Keles replaced Anderson (90 mins).

Four minutes of added time were played but the score remained 2-2 in what had been a game of the proverbial two halves.