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Vanarama National League match
played on Saturday, 3 December 2022 at 12.30pm


Despite a decent first-half showing, an unchanged Altrincham trailed 2-1 at the interval but came back to secure a deserved point in the second half at Roots Hall.

The hosts took a 27th minute lead when a deflected Wreh shot fell for an easy conversion by Bridge, the best player for the home side in the first half.

Altrincham levelled eight minutes later when a fine shot from the right by Newby came back off the bar but Colclough drove home the rebound from left of goal.

The hosts regained the lead after 42 minutes when Byrne saved well from Hobson but Wreh had an easy task to put the loose ball into the net.

Alty's second equaliser was a result of a terrible mix-up between Lopata and goalkeeper Noukeu. As the Polish defender attempted to shepherd a flick-on by Jennings to his keeper, Noukeu both kicked the ball and collided with his team-mate and the ball broke free for Newby to take it on and put it into the empty net (59 mins).

The latter stages were marred by a bad injury to ex-Alty man Mooney who, after being treated and subbed left the field, only for a stretcher to be summoned to carry him back to the dressing room.


REFEREE: Mr Scott Simpson


A lunch-time kickoff limited the away attendance to 48.


Right-back Ross Barrows had completed his three-match suspension but had then suffered a broken ankle in midweek, so he and winger Matty Kosylo were both sidelined by injury but neither Marcus Dinaga nor Jake Copper also made the match squad.

The only change to the squad saw keeper Matt Gould replace striker Marcus Dinanga on the bench.

Southend made three changes. Goalkeeper Blondy Nna Noukeu, Harry Taylor and Chris Wreh replaced injured keeper Collin Andeng Ndi whilst both Ollie Kensdale and Aaron Cosgrave dropped to the bench.

Nathan Ralph moved to centre-back and Jack Bridge and Gus Scott-Morriss were the wing-backs.

With three centre-backs the others were Kacper Łopata and Shaun Hobson with Cav Miley and Harry Taylor in midfield. Up top "number ten" Fonguck supported former Altrincham winger Dan Mooney who was at the top of the attack.


SOUTHEND UNITED (Blue shirts and shorts, white socks): 40. Blondy Nna Noukeu, 22. Kacper Lopata, 2. Gus Scott-Morriss, 7. Jack Bridge, 5. Shaun Hobson, 3. Nathan Ralph (c), 16. Harry Taylor, 19. Chris Wreh, 17. Cavaghn Miley, 18. Wesley Fonguck, 10. Dan Mooney. Subs: 4. Louis Lomas, 6. Ollie Kensdale, 20. Aaron Cosgrave, 24. Jason Demetriou, 36 Henry Sandat

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Oliver Byrne, 5. Toby Mullarkey (c), 26. James Jones, 6. Lewis Baines, 2. Eddy Jones, 8. Josh Lundstram, 4. Isaac Marriott, 28. Elliot Newby, 11. Ryan Colclough, 16. Chris Conn-Clarke, 35. Connor Jennings. Subs: 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Elliot Osborne, 18. Ben Pringle, 21. Matt Gould, 17. Brad Jackson.


This match, like all in the National League, had been switched to lunchtime to avoid a clash with World Cup group deciders. Strangely, however, a full schedule of VNL games remains in place for 13 December when a WC Semi-Final is scheduled for the same evening.

Southend started the game in fifth with Altrincham sixteenth. But the Shrimpers had lost their previous two fixtures.


Altrincham kicked off seeking to extend their three-game unbeaten run. Following an early Colclough shot which had gone way off target (2 mins) Fonguck wasted a much better opening for his side after Mooney and Wreh had combined. Fonguck could only shave the outside of the post with Byrne on his heels in the Alty goal (5 mins).

Next, Colclough's foul on Scott-Morriss was followed by Mooney feeding Fonguck who, for the second time, failed to trouble Byrneunduly as the Alty keeper made a comfortable save (7 mins).

Scott-Morriss was to find himself in the book very early in the game, for a foul after just 8 minutes before Fonguck missed another presentable chance with a weak shot at Byrne (11 mins).

It was proving to be an open game before the ill-starred Finguck mishit his fourth attempt at goal. Shortly afterwards, Alty won the game's first corner when Noukeu kept out a Jennings effort though the on-loan forward perhaps should have fed Conn-Clarke who was in space.

Next, Jennings had to be seen off by Lopata (16 mins) as Alty enjoyed a good spell. A promising passing move by Alty was ended by Miley's foul on Jennings but the referee went back to give the freekick for an earlier foul on Colclough (18 mins).

Following Conn-Clarke's freekick, Newby got to the byline and found Colclough who gained another corner off Miley. Mooney responded by earning his side a corner, gained off Mullarkey (21 mins).

Ralph now headed high and wide from a cross (22 mins). Although Southend seemed to target the Alty right-back position, where centre-back Mullarkey was deployed, the Alty captain showed his quality as he burst forward to feed Conn-Clarke but he was halted (24 mins).

Next, the reliable Baines saw off a Southend attack after Bridge had got the better of Mullarkey (25 mins). It was fitting that Bridge, his side's best player at this stage, was the man to break the deadlock as he scored comfortably at the back post after a Wreh shot had been deflected (27 mins).

Southend now continued in the ascendancy with a Bridge freekick gaining a corner before Eddy Jones did well to clear a telling cross across the box by Mooney (32 mins).

However, Altrincham now equalised and it all stemmed from James Jones pursuing Mooney back into the Southend half and winning the ball, despite the winger's appeal for a foul. The ball then found Newby advancing up the right and his well-hit shot beat the keeper but hit the crossbar, coming out to Colclough, left of goal. He drove the ball low into the net to make it 1-1 (35 mins).

He is the only Alty employee to have scored in the last eight games, his three goals being more than matched by goals from loanees Newby and Conn-Clarke.

Alty soon threatened again as Newby broke forward and fed Conn-Clarke but the Fleetwood loanee mishit his shot (39 mins).

Just as it looked as if the interval would be reached with the sides level, a lapse in concentration saw the hosts regain the lead. Following a Southend throw-in, a Hobson effort was saved by Byrne but the loose ball came out to Wreh and the former Banbury man had a tap-in to make it 2-1 (42 mins).

Southend won a corner and, after this, Byrne mis-punched an aerial ball but Alty got through three added minutes without further conceding.


Southend began the half brightly, keeping Altrincham penned back in the opening stages (51 mins).

However, Alty did create a chance as a good Mullarkey cross came to Jennings but he was unable to convert it. Fonguck's misfortunes continued as he scuffed another shot at Byrne (57 mins). Altrincham then equalised in bizarre circumstances.

Jennings nodded an aerial ball towards the home penalty area but Lopata was well-placed to shepherd the ball back to his advancing goalkeeper Noukeu.

However, when almost on top of Lopata and as the ball entered the right-hand corner of his box, the keeper seemed to kick the ball against his team-mate and it rebounded into space behind them both, as they collided. The alert Newby was on hand to get to the loose ball and almost walk it into the unguarded net as Lopata vented his fury at his goalkeeper (59 mins).

It was Newby's fourth goal in successive matches during his loan from Stockport County.

The goal seemed to affect Southend badly as Ralph tripped Conn-Clarke on the edge of the box and was duly booked (60 mins). Soon afterwards Mullarkey's impressive run took him past three opponents to get in a shot (62 mins).

But the hosts began to improve as Alty failed to clear their lines and conceded a corner, which they allowed to bounce across their box (66 mins).

Relief almost game as Jennings got free but he was outpaced by Hobson. The game was going through an end to end phase before Jennings now hit the post with a header from a Newby ball but offside was decreed in any case (70 mins).

After Mooney had avoided a yellow card for a foul on James Jones, Newby was felled on the edge of the box and Hobson was booked. The resulting freekick by Colclough forced a good save (77 mins).

After a stoppage for a head injury to Scott-Morris the contested dropped ball was won by Colclough who exchanged passes with Jennings before seeing Noukeu smother his shot at the near post (79 mins).

Mooney then went down injured and, after treatment, had to hobble off with what seemed to be an ankle injury. He was replaced by Cosgrave (82 mins). Having left the pitch, a stretcher was needed to get the ex-Alty man to the dressing room.

As time ticked away, Ralph put a decent chance over the bar before Taylor became the fourth home player to be booked, for dissent (89 mins).

Five added minutes produced a couple of long throws as well as a Southend corner but the final whistle signalled a well-earned away point for Altrincham who completed the match without having used a single substitute.