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Vanarama NAtional League match
played on Tuesday, 24 January 2023 at 3pm


Altrincham put in a good first-half performance and could have led, had Dinanga shown more composure when through one on one against Covolan.

In the goalless first half Chesterfield did force one good save from Byrne, from a Mandeville effort but otherwise created little in the way of clear openings.

The Spireites upped their game in the second half but Altrincham defended stoutly until their defence was breached from a corner, with Palmer getting the better of James Jones to head home as the game went into the 88th minute.

Considering their weakened team, Altrincham had given a good account of themselves but Chesterfield deserved the points.


REFEREE: Mr Steven Copeland

ATTENDANCE: 5.447 (130 in away section)


In the run up to the match Alty had signed Chesterfield winger Michael Gyasi on a season-long loan but he had not yet made his debut for The Robins and that opportunity was denied him again tonight by his parent club's understandable embargo on his playing against his employers.

A second recent Altrincham loan signing, Manchester United teenager, Maxi Oyedele, had been an unused sub a week ago and was on the bench tonight. A third new loanee, Miles Welch-Hayes from Harrogate Town, had also yet to make an appearance, but he started tonight at right-back.

This was also to be Altrincham's first match without loanee Connor Jennings, who had followed Elliot Newby and Ryan Colclough in departing the club over the Christmas and New Year period. Indeed, Colclough was now a Chesterfield player and faced his former club tonight, albeit from the bench, as did another ex-Robin in Jeff King, who started the game.

Altrincham were without injured defender Toby Mullarkey, so new loan signing Welch-Hayes took his place at right-back. Mullarkey was named on the bench but given the limited number of players available there was probably no intention of his taking part.

Palmer, Banks and Quigley were all restored to the home eleven.


CHESTERFIELD (Blue shirts and socks, white shorts) 31. Lucas Covolan, 33. Bailey Clements, 21. Ash Palmer, 5. James Grimes (c), 20. Jeff King, 28. Ollie Banks, 35. Mike Jones, 17. Armando Dobra, 7. Liam Mandeville, 19. Akwasi Asante, 27. Joe Quigley. Subs: 12. Tyrone Williams, 4. Tim Akinola, 10. Ryan Colclough, 18. Jesurun Uchegbulam, 26. Darren Oldaker.

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Oliver Byrne, 34. Miles Welch-Hayes, 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: 5. Toby Mullarkey, 21. Matt Gould, 18. Ben Pringle, 10. Elliot Osborne, 28. Maxi Oyedele.


Alty had seen their away game at Yeovil postponed last Saturday, but due to FA Cup involvements and the weather, Chesterfield had not played a league match since New Year's Day, their only intervening action being two FA Cup ties against West Bromwich Albion.

The Spireites went into the game with one defeat in their last ten league matches whereas Alty were unbeaten in eight NL games and ten games in all competitions. The hosts lay fourth with four games in hand on leaders Notts County who had played four additional games.

Alty lay tenth at kick-off, 13 points behind the Derbyshire side despite having played three more games. Chesterfield had won the reverse fixture back in AUgust, 2-1


Altrincham kicked off on the excellent surface of the imnpressive Technique Stadium in front of more than five and a half thousand spectators and they won two corners inside the first seven minutes as the hosts looked out of sorts following their FA Cup exit to WBA at the weekend.

Conn-Clarke as ever was looking Alty's liveliest player and Kaja was also beginning to show a bit more spark on the left wing after his lengthy injury absence which had only ended recently. For Chesterfield, Banks was impressing and he and Dobra were instrumental in setting up a Mandeville shot which Byrne beat away, with the ball soon going out for a corner.

In fact another home corner soon followed but none of the two corners apiece in the opening twelve minutes produced a serious goal threat.

Two more Alty corners soon followed, the first arising after Kaja had got past Mike Jones to the byline. But both corners by Conn-Clarke went straight to Covolan's hands (15 mins).

When Conn-Clarke then lost the ball to Mandeville, the home no.7 fired well over the bar from twenty yards (18 mins). Soon afterwards, from a Conn-Clarke counter-attack, Lundstram did get in a shot but the effort went over the bar (21 mins).

And then, after a foul on Welch-Hayes, the same player headed over the bar at the back post from Conn-Clarke's freekick. The visitors continued to give a good account of themselves as Marriott, Dinanga and Kaja fed Conn-Clarke, who got past Jeff King, but his shot only found the side-netting (30 mins).

Then came the best chance of the game so far when Hulme did well to thread a ball into the path of Dinanga as he ran towards the oncoming keeper Covolan. But Dinanga disappointingly sidefooted the ball past the keeper's right side but also comfortably wide of the net from the edge of the box (33 mins).

After Altrincham's bright play, the hosts now belatedly began to get the upper hand. The impressive Banks fired a shot from 30 yards which Byrne could only shovel away to his left for a corner and a second corner soon followed for the Spireites. From this, Byrne managed to pat the ball away (37 mins).

As half time approached Altrincham were well in the game with Conn-Clarke involved in most of their better movements going forward, while Marriott and Lundstram were also impressing in midfield. New man Welch-Hayes was also having a solid debut at right-back.

The half ended, goalless, soon after a corner for the hosts. Mr Copeland added no time onto the initial forty-five minutes, something of a rarity these days.


Chesterfield kicked off the second half and the first incident of note was Dinanga getting himself ridiculously booked as he persisted in standing over the ball at a Chesterfield freekick (48 mins).

The hosts were soon getting the upper hand and Alty remained penned back in their own area as two corners were won by the Spireites. Byrne then did well to save a Mike Jones shot following the second flag-kick (52 mins).

Next, Mike Jones erred as Conn-Clarke dispossesssed him but the Fleetwood loanee's shot from 25 yards was saved by Covolan (56 mins).

Altrincham made an early change as winger Kaja was replaced by midfielder Osborne (57 mins). The Albanian winger had enjoyed a good first half so the move was presumably tactical and also took account of Kaja's recent lack of game time

Next, a Lundstram shot was deflected out for a corner but it was was poorly taken by Conn-Clarke (58 mins). An error by Banks then set Conn-Clarke free but he had no support (62 mins).

There were a few signs of the home crowd getting restless as Alty remained, fairly comfortably, on level terms past the hour mark. Things did not improve for Chesterfield when Banks was booked for a foul on Osborne (66 mins).

Marriott then instigated a good passing move but he sadly made ahsh of the final ball when it came back to him (68 mins).

But from around the seventy-minute mark, Chesterfield were to dominate the game. They brought on Colclough for his debut agains his former club, with Quigley being replaced (72 mins).

A minute later Hulme gave way to Altrincham debutant Oyedele, a loanee from Manchester United, deployed on the right flank (73 mins). Lundstarm assumed the captaincy from Hulme. Howwever, Alty were still a threat on the counter attack but when Marriott won the ball and fed Conn-Clarke, the Alty man was unlucky not to win a feekick for a foul (78 mins).

Each side made another change on 79 minutes; Pringle came on for Dinanga and Uchegbulam replaced Mandeville for the hosts.

Chesterfield now applied sustained pressure, winning three corners in four minutes. From the first of these Colcough, who was to have little impact on the game, headed well over the bar (84 mins). The third corner arose after Byrne had pushed away an Asante effort. From this, the tenth corner for the hosts, Palmer beat James Jones to the ball and his downward header beat Byrne to his right to put his side one up (88 mins).

Pringle then got himself booked, presumably for dissent.

Chesterfield brougt on Akinola for Dobra (90 mins) before five added minutes were decreed. Although Alty won two successive corners, and Byrne raced upfield belatedly for the second of these, Chestre=rfield rode out the added time to secure a win which, whilst probably deserved, did not display convincing promotion credentials.

Defeat put an end to Alty's ten-match unbeaten run, eight of which games were in the National League. Given the threadbare nature of their squad, in which two loanee debutants were deployed, it was a creditable performance from the Robins.