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WOKING (1) 1

Vanarama National League match
played on Saturday, 18 February 2023 at 3pm


Despite falling behind early on, Altrincham put an end to their run of three successive defeats with a deserved win against a Woking side which looked anything but third-place material in the National League.

However, Altrincham's weak spot with aerial balls came to haunt them again in the 14th minute when Marcus Dackers's unchallenged header from a Hessenthaler cross found the back of the net.

But a needless foul on Lundstram on the right byline gave Altrincham a penalty. Linney, making his full debut, netted the spot-kick confidently to make it 1-1 (27 mins).

Midway through the second half Isaac Marriott won possession and, despite Woking appeals for handball, surged forward to feed Linney who raced towards the byline, right of goal. In turn, he played the ball to his left to provide substitute Oyedele with a close-range second goal for Altrincham (67 mins).

The icing on the cake was a third goal netted by Josh Lundstram (87 mins). He started the move and after exchanging passes with Osborne, he fed Linney, whose cross came off a defender for Lundstram to convert. Woking had plenty of possession late in the game but were unable to retrieve anything from the afternoon.


REFEREE: Mr Aaron Jackson

ATTENDANCE: 1,828 (181 in away section)


Altrincham made one enforced change as the injured Tyrese Sinclair gave way to Regan Linney in the starting eleven. It was Linney's full debut after two appearances from the bench since his signing from FC United of Manchester.

On the home bench, goalkeeper Gould replaced winger Kaja.

For The Cards, Nwabuokei, Hessenthaler and Dackers came into the starting eleven.


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, 11. Danny Cashman, 9. Jordan Hulme (c), 10. Elliot Osborne, 29. Regan Linney. Subs: 18. Ben Pringle, 27. Aaron Bennett, 28. Maxi Oyedele, 31. Michael Gyasi, 21. Matt Gould.

WOKING (Amber shirts, navy shorts and socks) 1. Craig Ross, 2. Kyran Lofthouse, 3. Josh Casey (c), 10. Padraig Amond, 5. Joe McNerney, 8. James Daly, 12. Dan Moss, 14. Rhys Browne, 16. Solomon Nwabuokei, 19. Jake Hessenthaler, 20. Marcus Dackers, 24. Rohan Ince. Subs: 2. Kyran Lofthouse, 6. Luke Wilkinson, 8. James Daly, 15. Charlie O'Connell, 17. Jim Kellerman


This was Altrincham's fourth successive home match in the National League, having lost the three previous such fixtures.

Woking arrived in third place in the league and their last away game had seen them become the first club to take a point off Wrexham at the Racecourse.

Before kick-off there was a minute's silence to mark the recent deaths of Jenny Heslop and Brian Lee. Co-chairman Bill Waterson paid the club's respects to both over the tannoy.

Jenny had given many years service to the club, not least in running the club bar for many years.

Brian Lee, a product of Sale Grammar School had been an Altrincham FC player. His subsequent achievements included managing Wycombe Wanderers before rising through the administrative ranks of football to become chairman and then president of the Football Conference, nowadays the National League.

He had also managed the England semi-professional team.


Altrincham kicked off towards the away end and almost immediately Linney brought himself to the referee's attention with a gratuitous challenge on an opponent which earned him a warning.

But the opening stages were a pretty dreaful spectacle with the ball often in the air and neither side showing any composure or being capable of stringing any meamningful sequence passes together.

A Nwabuokei effort earned an early corner (2 mins) before Byrne kicked disappointingly into touch; this was followed shortly afterwards by the Alty keeper clearing the roof of the Popular Side with his next kick.

The keeper's afternoon improved when he made a fine save from a freekick by Amond (13 mins). That cost Alty a corner from which McNerney made a fruitless appeal for a penalty. However, the ball came out to Hessenthaler on the left wing.

His excellent cross was met by an unmarked Dackers, who headed cleanly into the net to give his side the lead (14 mins).

Trailing to the third-placed club and on a run of three consecutive home defeats, at this stage the afternoon looked as if it might become a long one for Altrincham.

But Altrincham raised their game and, following a pacey run by Welch-Hates, Hulme got in a cross-shot from the right which yielded a corner on the left. This was poorly taken but a second corner followed, taken by Osborne (20 mins).

There was soon concern when Hulme spent several minutes hobbling around the pitch but he recovered his fitness. Altrincham were now making a game of it and, when a cross from the right was flapped at by Ross, the ball fell to Linney, left of goal. The striker hit the post from an acute angle (25 mins).

Moments later, Lundstram pursued a ball which was running towards the byline, right of goal. With little immediate danger to the Cards' goal, Lundstram was brought down and a penalty was the outcome.

Linney stepped up and beat Ross confidently to record his first goal for the club and restore parity in this game (27 mins).

Alty were to be the better side for the next fifteen minutes. First, Lundstram got into the box but the ball got under his feet and then Osborne struck a good shot which just cleared the bar (29 mins). Not long afterwards another Osborne shot earned a corner (33 mins).

Whist a Woking player was receiving treatment for an injury all the Alty players gathered around the technical area for a tactical discussion with the management team (36 mins). On the resumption Alty continued on top until, as half-time approached, The Cards won a corner which Byrne punched clear (43 mins).

However, three added minutes saw Alty regain the initiative with a corner of their own (45+2 mins) before half-time arrived with the score level.


Wilkinson replaced McNerney for Woking before they kicked off the second half, with the floodlights now on.

Soon Hulme put in an impressive run into the box before being halted but, when James Jones got underneath a header, the Cards were gifted a corner. Following this a shot earned a second flag kick of the half for the visitors (50 mins).

However, Altrincham responded with two corners of their own before another duo of corners was won by Woking in an eventful opening eleven minutes of the half (56 mins).

Now Altrincham brought on Manchester United loanee Oyedele to replace Cashman in the no.10 role (57 mins). Next, there was a stoppage of some five minutes' duration whilst Marriott was treated for a head injury inflicted by a stray elbow. He resumed with his head bandaged (63 mins).

On the resumption, as Browne threatened to get away up the middle, Welch-Hayes "took one for the team" as he tugged back the Woking player. The manadatory yellow card for such fouls was duly brandished by Mr Jackson (64 mins).

Despite the flurry of earlier corners there had been no clear chances in the second half until Alty took the lead. The goal was made by Marriott who won the ball off Browne. He broke forward up the middle from his own half, despite appeals for handball led by Browne, before finding Linney, further ahead. He advanced towards the byline and, from right of goal, the striker laid the ball low across the goalmouth where Oyedele netted from close range (67 mins).

Woking responded as Lofthouse replaced Hessenthaler (70 mins) but, apart from a corner (76 mins), they showed litle sign of equalising. Marriott, who had a fine game, now embarked on a forty-yard run up the middle before going down under a challenge which was deemed not to be a foul.

As the game went into the final ten minutes Altrincham were playing well whilst Woking looked bereft of invention. They did win a corner through an Alty slip up (85 mins) but Altrincham settled the outcome with a third goal when Lundstram won the ball. After interchanging passes with Osborne, Lundtsram fed Linney who crossed, low, from the left. The ball came off a defender to the advancing Lundstram who made it 3-1 from close range and thus rose to the top of the goalscoring charts with three goals this season (87 mins). Gyasi replaced Linney at this point.

The injury to Marriott earlier in the game was a major element of the eight added minutes that were decreed at the end of the ninety. In this period, Woking put some pressure on the home goal but a fine Byrne save thwarted the Cards/ After the resulting corner, Woking struck the post (90+6 mins) but Altrincham saw out the game fairly comfortably with their 3-1 lead intact.