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Vanarama National League match
played on Tuesday, 1 November 2022 at 7.45pm


Facing a part-time Wealdstone side which had travelled more than 150 miles to play at Altrincham on a damp Tuesday night, and which had just endured six successive defeats in which they had conceded a shedload of goals, their newly full-time hosts might have expected a comfortable three points tonight.

But the lacklustre Robins were second best in the first half before falling behind very early in the second period.

The Stones' goal came in the 47th minute when Olomola got to a low, near-post ball from the left, just ahead of an Alty defender, to turn the ball into the net. Beforehand, the visitors had looked the better side in the first forty-five minutes with pacey attacks and a solid defence which belied the team's recent record.

The Stones were then largely on the back foot during the second half as Altrincham laboured to create openings and, when they did, they could not cpnvert them. Indeed, Alty did have the ball in the net in the 86th minute when substitute Malone netted at the second attempt, having hit the post with his first attempt, but he was flagged offside.


REFEREE: Mr Greg Rollason, who had reffed Altrincham's win over Chesterfield in March 2022.

ATTENDANCE: 1,262 (52 away fans recorded but as the game was unsegregated, there were some other away fans in the ground).


Altrincham made two changes, with Hulme replacing Dinanga and Kaja making his full debut in place of Malone. There was a welcome return on the bench for Lewis Baines who had missed the last ten league games with injury. It was also good to see Isaac Marriott taking a small part in the warm-up as he too recovered from injury, whilst PNE loanee Aaron Bennett was also present but not participating.

For the Stones, there were three changes to the starters as Kinsella, Elerewe and Dyer came in for Akinola, Hutchinson and Mundle-Smith.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Oliver Byrne, 22. Ross Barrows, 23. Jake Cooper, 26. James Jones, 2. Eddy Jones, 10. Elliot Osborne, 8. Josh Lundstram, 11. Ryan Colclough (c), 16. Chris Conn-Clarke, 33. Egli Kaja, 9. Jordan Hulme (c). Subs: 6. Lewis Baines, 17. Brad Jackson, 18. Ben Pringle, 30. Marcus Dinanga, 31. Dan Malone,

WEALDSTONE (Blue shirts, white shorts and socks) 13. Sam Howes, 2. Jack Cook (c), 3. Lewis Kinsella 5. Deji Elerewe, 7. Tarryn Allarakhia, 12. Giovanni McGregor, 9. Olufela Olomola, 14. Micah Obiero, 18. Alex Dyer, 24. Charlie Barker, 28. Sam Habergham. Subs: 11. David Sesay, 17. Dom Hutchinson, 21. Jordy Mongoy, 23. Jaydn Mundle-Smith, 25. Sam Matthew


This game had been postponed in September as it was the mourning period for Queen Elizabeth II. However, despite both clubs having been knocked out of the FA Cup, whose next round was on the following Saturday, the game had not reverted to a daytime weekend fixture on 5th November when, now, both teams will have no game.

Both sides had leaked four goals on the preceding Saturday but the visitors were in the much worse form, having lost six games on the run, and conceded eighteen in their last four matches alone. They had recently also lost their top scorer to Woking and had suffered a wretched run of injuries.

Despite this recent poor run, the Stones remained above Altrincham at kick-off, by a point and one place in the league table. That was due to an excellent start to the campaign by the north-west London club which, before its current run of winless games, had lost just twice in the National League's opening eleven league matches.

There had been a lot of rain in the hours before kick-off but it had become more intermittent as the game got under way in front of the lowest home gate of the season so far, an attendance which almost certainly would have been doubled had the game been on a Saturday afternoon.


Altrincham kicked off towards the away end and the sides were to exchange attacking probes in the opening stages. Altrincham spurned a decent chance to take an early lead when a shot by Barrows was blocked and came out to Lundstram. Unfortunately, from inside the box, the midfielder lifted his shot miles over the bar (4 mins).

A minute later, there was also an early shout for a home penalty, which was not to be the last such incident in this game. It came as Kaja chased Kinsella towards his own goal into the visitors' box. The defender slipped to the ground before reaching the ball and Kaja went down over the prostrate defender. Referee Rollason viewed it, very debatedly, as a collison rather than a deliberate foul by the defender, much to the annoyance of the Altrincham bench and supporters.

For their part the visitors were looking useful with some promising and speedy attacks, albeit without threatening a goal.

Eddy Jones won his side the game's first corner (8 mins), which was taken short and messed up. But Lundstram soon won another flag-kick for his side (10 mins), after which Alty made another vain penalty appeal as Colclough went down in the box.

At the other end a fine tackle by Barrows halted Allarakhia (12 mins) as an entertaining game unfolded. Wealdstone did not resemble a side which had lost its previous six games and conceded many goals in the process. Next, as McGregor struck a well-hit shot at goal, the ball freakishly rebounded twenty yards back to Jordan Hulme who was left clear running up the middle towards the other goal. But the striker mis-controlled the ball and a defender halted his progress (15 mins).

Wealdstone then won two successive corners before, moments later, goalkeeper Howes sat down for treatment before continuing and seeing out the whole of the match (19 mins).

Despite both sides showing attacking intent neither keeper had yet been troubled as the midway pint of the first half was passed.

Colclough then won a freekick to ironic cheers from the home supporters, which were directed at the referee. But the freekick was put comfortably over the bar (26 mins). Around the half-hour mark Wealdstone almost took a freakish lead as a firm cross cum shot from the right was deflected by the head of Lundstram over Byrne and onto the top of the crossbar.

For the third time in the half Alty then appealed for a foul that was not granted by Mr Rollason as Conn-Clarke went down, arguably cheaply, on the front edge of the box (32 mins). The ire directed at the referee increased when, almost immediately, he gave a freekick for a clear foul on Allarakhia. Mr Rollason also booked Cooper but the freekick was badly wasted by Habergham.

Jordan Hulme made use of his captain's prerogative to have words with the referee about his decisions.

Hulme next did well to feed Colclough, whose excellent shot curled just wide of the far post (36 mins). After this, Barrows won his side a corner, which came to nothing.

Weladstone were to enjoy the better of the closing stages of the half, winning no fewer than four corners in that spell. Olomola won the first of these (40 mins), after which Conn-Clarke again went down easily and was ignored by Mr Rollason. Indeed, the Fleetwood loanee was extremely lucky shortly afterwards when his frusraartion saw him make a crude tackle from behind and not earn what could have been a red card (44 mins).

Two added minuutes witnessed James Jones slice an attempted clearance, as he faced his own goal, but the ball span off for a corner rather than an own goal (45+1 mins).

Another corner for the visitors came and went before the interval arrived with Mr Rollason booed off the pitch by some of the home supporters for what they saw as his failure to award their side penalties or freekicks. In truth one or two of his decisions were certainly questionable but he was justified, on more than one occasion, not to reward players looking for freekicks by going down too easily.


Altrincham started the second half well with Kaja involved in winning an early corner (46 mins). But this went straight to the arms of the visitors' keeper. Wealdstone went straight to the other end, via the left wing, from where a low cross by McGregor was turned into the net at the near post as the scorer, Olomola, arrived an instant before a stretching defender. So the visitors had a 0-1 lead (47 mins).

A melee, seemingly over a throw-in on the Popular Side, saw Olomola booked (51 mins). After this, a deflected Conn-Clarke shot earned the home side a corner, following which Colclough cut in from the left but his well-struck, low shot seemed to clip the outside of the far post at the Golf Road end from about 20 yards (55 mins).

A measure of Altrincham seeming out of sorts came when, for only the second time this season, Osborne failed to complete ninety minutes in a league match, being replaced as early as the 56th minute by Stoke loanee Malone in midfield. At this stage, Howes in the visitors' goal had yet to make a meaningful save as Alty seemed short of ideas on how to unlock the visitors' defence.

There was no immediate effect from the change of personnel as Wealdstone proceeded to win three corners in succession with the home crowd beginning to show a degree of restlessness (60 mins).

Colclough now went over in the box and, again, appeals for a penalty were ignored by the referee (66 mins) before Kaja was withdrawn in favour of Pringle (68 mins). The Albanian wingman, Kaja, had impressed in earlier cameo roles as a late substitute in games but he had little impact, perhaps understandably, in this, his first start of the season.

Next, Malone was booked when he pulled the shirt of a Wealdstone man who had got the better of him in midfield (71 mins). As often is the case, Colclough was looking Altrincham's most likely attacking threat and his smart backheel soon allowed Eddy Jones to win a corner (73 mins)

Wealdstone were now slowing the game down and, perhaps as a result, another melee developed on the Popular Side of the pitch from which James Jones and the visitors' captain, Cook, were both booked (75 mins). At this point Dinanga came on for Hulme and Colclough took over the Altrincham captaincy (76 mins).

Play was now very largely in the Wealdstone half. Alty came close to a goal when Malone was played in but Howes made a fine block and, from the rebound, Malone was off target (78 mins).

Having played attractive largely forward-thinking football in the first half, the visitors were now timewasting but they nearly conceded an equaliser when Eddy Jones's low cross from the left semed to be touched by Dinanga in the goalmouth, close in, but he could not turn it goalwards (81 mins).

Next Mongoy replaced the goalscorer Olomola for the visitors (84 mins) before Altrincham though they had an equaliser.

A clever chip over the back line by Conn-Clarke set Malone in on goal but he could only hit the left-hand post, before converting the rebound from six yards or so. However, a linesman's flag rulled out the goal (86 mins).

An Alty corner soon followed and then ashot by Colclough, which was beaten out, before Howes saved the follow-up shot (89 mins).

Wealdstone continued to wind the clock down as Sesay and Mundle-Smith came on for Kinsella and Barker (90 mins). It was a surprise when seven minutes were announced as being added on, not because the visitors had not been wasting time but because the referee did not seem overtly to have warned them for those tactics.

In added time Colclough was lucky not to receive punishment when he unnecessarily shoved an opponent off the pitch into the surrounding fence (90+3 mins). But the mercurial winger then did much better as he struck a superb long, diagonal ball to Pringle on the right but the substitute's well struck effort was cleared (90+4 mins).

Shortly afterwards, Obiero got himself booked for throwing the ball away (90+5 mins). Alty continued to dominate as a Pringle cross was cleared to James Jones but the centre-back's shot ended up in Golf Road (90+6 mins).

The final effort of the night was a very wide effort from Colclough (90+7 mins).

Alty had dominated the final half-hour and, on their second-half performance, they would have deserved to take something from the match had they managed to score.

Although goalkeeper Howes generally sent goalkicks upfield with long kicks rather than playing out through shorter passes, Wealdstone are certainly not a direct side in the mundane style of some of the physically large teams in the National League. Instead they deployed speedy players who got forward determinedly, in the first half especially, and who also closed down Altrincham effectively.

In the second half they were largely hemmed in their own half and had Alty been more clinical they would not have left with all three points.