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Vanarama NAtional League match
played on Tuesday, 17 January 2023 at 7.45pm


Alty made it ten games unbeaten in all competitions and moved up to tenth in the National League with this win over Maidenhead which should have been more comfortable than it was.

Maidenhead took the lead against the run of play when Alty headed a visitors' freekick out to Reece Smith. He fired an unstoppable shot past Byrne from outside the box (18 mins).

But Conn-Clarke levelled seven minutes later, direct from a freekick (25 mins). Then, from a Conn-Clarke cross, Kaja got a touch towards goal before Dinanga finished it off to give Alty the lead (33 mins).

Having largely dominated the first half, Alty's occasional defensive sloppiness gave Maidenhead an equaliser in the first added minute of the half. A long ball got McCoulsky in behind James Jones and he volleyed home to make it 2-2 at the interval.

Another wonderful freekick by Conn-Clarke, after he had been fouled, deservedly made it 3-2 and Alty looked set to secure a comfortable win (64 mins). But after taking the lead, they took their foot off the gas and sloppy defending gave Maidenhead occasional openings. But the Robins got to the end with the three points intact.


REFEREE: Mr Robert Massey-Ellis



Alty had signed Chesterfield winger Michael Gyasi on a season-long loan, a move announced on the eve of this match, but he was not in the squad for this game. However, there was a surprise new name in the squad in the form of Manchester United loanee midfield teenager, Maxi Oyedele.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Oliver Byrne, 5. Toby Mullarkey, 26. James Jones, 6. Lewis Baines, 2. Eddy Jones, 4. Isaac Marriott, 8. Josh Lundstram, 16. Chris Conn-Clarke, 30. Marcus Dinanga, 9. Jordan Hulme (c), 33. Egli Kaja. Subs: 18. Ben Pringle, 10. Elliot Osborne, 32. Zak Goodson, 35. Connor Jennings, 28. Maxi Oyedele.

MAIDENHEAD UNITED (Green shirts, white shorts, black socks) 31. Alexis Andre Jr, 2. Zico Asare, 10. Kane Ferdinand, 11. Dan Sparkes, 5. Cole Kpekawa, 9. Shawn McCoulsky, 14. Emile Acquah, 15. Idris Odutayo, 17. Reece Smith, 24. Alan Massey (c), 27. Charlee Adams. Subs: 7. Sam Barratt, 8. Ashley Nathaniel-George, 15. Sam Beckwith, 23. Adrian Clifton, 20. Koby Arthur.


Altrincham went into the game unbeaten in seven league matches and in nine games in all competitions, whereas Maidenhead were in poor National League form. Their last league outing had been a humbling 3-0 at basement club Scunthorpe.

Since then, however, they had won 2-0 away at Dagenham in the FA Trophy.

Before kick-off, Altrincham sprang a surprise when they named previously unannounced loan-signing Maxi Oyedele from Manchester United, in their squad for tonight's game.

The game had been in some doubt after recent sustained rain as well as a threat of snow and sub-zero temperatures but the fixture went ahead and survived an early snow shower after kick-off.


Maidenhead won a freekick in the opening minute before Altrincham reciprocated with their own freekick (5 mins). But neither side came close to scoring in the opening stages.

There was some early concern for Alty when Byrne opted to punch instead of collecting a ball but the resulting loose ball was fired well over the bar (6 mins).

Alty were not keeping the ball well with Marriott uncharacteristically twice being the guilty party (8 mins). As Altrincham settled, Dinanga fed Kaja but the Albanian could only find the side netting (11 mins). A better chance then came for Eddy Jones but he spurned the oportunity (13 mins).

As Alty improved, they won their first corner (15 mins). Then a good move culminated in a swerving shot from Conn-Clarke which Andre saved (16 mins).

The hosts then conceded an unnecessary freekick, towards the by-line. Although a home defender headed the freekick, it fell for Reece Smith who, from the edge of the box, fired an excellent volley past Byrne to give Maidenhead the lead against the run of play (18 mins).

ALmost immediately Altrincham went very close to an equaliser as Mullarkey put in a good cross which Kaja volleyed, only for Massey to make a fine headed clearance off the line for a corner (20 mins).

From this, Dinanga had an effort blocked and another corner resulted. Alty continued to impress before Hulme was pulled down, just outside the box fairly centrally, by Odutayo who was rightly booked for a crude challenge (24 mins).

Maidenhead paid a high price for the offence as Conn-Clarke, not for the first time this season, fired an excellent freekick into the net, the ball going in to the net off the inside of the upright, to level the score at 1-1 (25 mins).

With Alty loking more likely to socre again than Maidenhead, the Berkshire side nevertheless went close when Reece volleyed an effort at goal, this time left-footed (28 mins).

There was more concern for Altrincham, too, when Conn-Clarke lost the ball but McCoulsky scuffed his resulting shot (29 mins).

But Altrincham recovered their equilibrium and took the lead after an impressive passing move ended with Conn-Clarke's fine cross from the left, which was helped on towards g oal by Kaja, only for Diannga to tap the ball over the line to make it 2-1 (33 mins).

As the interval approached Altrincham went close to scoring again when Marriott fed Conn-Clarke who forced a good save by Andre, to his right (41 mins).

But disaster struck in the one added minute of time before the break. A long ball evaded James Jones and McCoulsky volleyed impressively over Byrne to make it 2-2, at then end of a half in which Altrincham had been the better side (45+1 mins).


Alty were attacking the Golf Road End in the second half and they started well enough, with Dinanga almost getting on the end of a promising ball (48 mins) before Hulme had a shot blocked and Conn-Clarke forced Andre to claw an effort over the bar for a corner (50 mins).

Conn-Clarke then forced anothe save (54 mins) before a good passing move led to a home corner (59 mins).

A poor challenge by Kpekwa on Conn-Clarke gave the loanee from Fleetwood another chance to demonstrate his deadball expertise. And the Irishman duly obliged, beating the wall and the keeper, to fire his side ahead 3-2 and record his ninth league goal of the season (64 mins).

Immediately, Pringle came on for Hulme (64 mins) and, just a little while later, Sparkes was replaced by Barratt for the visitors, with Nathaniel-George also coming on, for McCoulsky (70 mins).

Next, goalkeeper Andre was almost caught dwelling on the ball by Dinanga before Nathaniel-George earned an early booking for "diving" in the box (71 mins). when Kaja gave way to Osborne, Altrincham looked comfortably in control (76 mins).

But Alty were to surrender much of the initiative for a significant portion of the closing stages. First, a Barratt freekick narrowly cleared the bar and earned a corner which Byrne, again, opted to punch.

After Osborne had replaced Kaja (76 mins), Altrincham were then forced on the backfoot, once more, by a Pringle foul but Barratt's freekick hit the wall and his follow-up flew high and wide (79 mins).

Alty did then counter-attack well, prompted by Pringle, but Dinanga's resulting shot was saved (82 mins). <

Alty were also conceding unnecessary freekicks befoe Jennings came on to replace Dinanga (86 mins). Despite more pressure from the visitors, Alty rode out four additional minutes to secure a win which lifted them up to tenth in the National League.

Conn-Clarke was again Alty's outstanding player and they will miss their leading scorer when, as seems inevitable, he returns to his parent club, Fleetwood Town, at the end of January.