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Vanarama National League match
played on Tuesday, 28 March 2023 at 7.45pm.


No one would dispute that Notts County were the better side and deserved winners of this match but the manner in which referee Jacob Miles facilitated their two goals left home supporters disgruntled. That was not the first time that the official had made contentious decisions at Moss Lane, having sent off Matty Kosylo in 2020 before the appeals panel overturned his error.

After an entertaining opening quarter of the game, Ben Pringle, making a rare start in an Alty side selected with one eye on Saturday's FA Trophy semi-final, committed a needless foul just outside the penalty area "D".

As the freekick was being positioned and the Alty defence was sorting out its defending, Mr Miles allowed Notts to take the freekick without, it seemed, blowing his whistle.

This allowed Langstaff to virtually walk the ball past a static Alty defence to make it 1-0 (26 mins).

But Altrincham then won a clear penalty, when Linney was put clear and brought down by last man Cameron. A penalty was awarded but the visitors' captain escaped with a yellow card. Up stepped Linney, who had converted three league penalties in the previous six weeks. However, this time, County's loanee keeper Mair made a fine save, to his right.

Mr Miles intervened in proceedings once again in just the third minute of the second half. Nemane cut in from the right and hit a hopeful shot which Mr Miles interpreted as being handled by a hapless Elliot Osborne. Needless to say, Rodrigues converted the spot-kick to make it 0-2.

The game declined into a pretty boring spectacle for most of the remainder of the half as Notts played keep-ball but barely landed more than a shot or two on target, whilst Altrincham's makeshift eleven spent much of the half penned into their own half of the pitch. But Alty raised their game in the closing stages and substitute Burgess, one of five loanees deployed by Alty during the game, saw his shot hit the bar.


REFEREE: Mr Jacob Miles who was refereeing this fixture for the second season running.

ATTENDANCE: 2,011 (638 in away section)

With an FA Trophy semi-final just four days away, Alty made five changes and Josh Lundtsram captained the side in the absence of Jordan Hulme, who was absent with a minor foot injury.

Miles Welch-Hayes, James Jones, Aaron Bennett, Jordan Hulme and Joe Hugillall dropped out of the starting line-up, as Harry Perritt, Elliot Osborne, Regan Linney, Ben Pringle and Tyrese Sinclair came in.

Just as in the last encounter between these teams at Moss Lane, in 2021, Notts County keeper Sam Slocombe was sidelined by injury. Today his place was taken by loanee Archie Mair.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Oliver Byrne, 30. Harry Perritt, 5. Kyle Ferguson, 6. Lewis Baines, 2. Eddy Jones, 8. Josh Lundstram (c), 4. Isaac Marriott, 10. Elliot Osborne, 18. Ben Pringle, 29. Regan Linney, 35. Tyrese Sinclair. Subs: 11. Luke Burgess, 21. Matt Gould, 26. James Jones, 27. Aaron Bennett, 39. Joe Hugill

NOTTS COUNTY (Lavender shirts and socks, grey shorts): 13. Archie Mair, 4. Kyle Cameron (c), 16. Geraldo Bajrami, 5. Connell Rawlinson, 23. Adam Chicksen, 11. Aaron Nemane, 24. John Bostock, 18. Matt Palmer, 20. Ruben Rodrigues, 8. Sam Austin, 9. Macaulay Langstaff. Subs: 6. Jim O'Brien, 10. Jodi Jones, 17. Frank Vincent, 2. Richard Brindley, 12. Tiernan Brooks


A match four days before an FA Trophy semi-final was the last thing Altrincham wanted but the National League imposed this fixture on Altrincham. It should have been played on the following Saturday according to the original fixture list, a date which clashed with Alty's FA Trophy game against FC Halifax Town.


Isaac Marriott kicked off for Altrincham, towards the away end which was well populated by 638 Magpies supporters. Linney and Lundstram soon combined to earn Altrincham a second-minute corner but nothing came of it.

When Sinclair made a smart interception he was tripped by an opponent but the resulting freekick was ineffective (4 mins). Notts then came to life, when Chicksen and Austin combined on the left to earn a corner in what was now an even start to the game (6 mins). Next, referee Miles gave what was to prove one of a number of strange decisions as he allowed Bajrami to haul down Linney without seeing anything wrong.

County were now getting on top and a Cameron shot deflected out for a corner on the left, which Alty just about managed to get clear (13 mins).

But Altrincham were also a threat at the other end as a long ball up the middle set Sinclair chasing, only for Mair to come well out of his box to head clear (16 mins). Once more Linney appeared to be fouled without Mr Miles thinking so and this time the Alty striker needed treatment as a consequence (18 mins).

Both sets of supporters were giving good vocal support to their teams before Pringle committed a needless foul on an opponent, just outside the "D" of the penalty area. As Alty sorted out their defensive positions, to everyone's amazement, and without a whistle being blown, Mr Miles allowed Notts County to take the freekick which left Langstaff with little more than the task of stroking the ball into the Alty net. Despite protests, the goal was awarded (26 mins).

For some reason Rawlinson appeared to be booked in the aftermath (27 mins). A trip on Sinclair then went unpunished before Cameron was booked, des[pite the home crowd baying for a red, when he brought down Linney who had got forward into the box from a ball up the middle.

The striker was cutting inside to get in a shot as he was clattered (31 mins). Mr Miles rightly pointed to the spot to present Regan Linney with the chance of converting his fourth league penalt in only his eleventh league appearance for the club.

But, after three successful conversions from the spot, this time Linney's effort was saved by Mair, diving low to his right and only a corner resulted (32 mins). In the exchanges surrounding the penalty, Marriott picked up a yellow card (32 mins).

Alty then withdrew Marriott for Burgess, the recently arrived loanee from Oldham Athletic (39 mins). Presumably Marriott's withdrawal was precautionary with an eye on Saturday's Trophy semi-final.

Notts won two corners before three minutes of added time were decreed, during which Burgess fed Eddy Jones who hit a superb cross-shot into the net from left of goal but he had been flagged offside (45+3 mins).

Altrincham were always going to find it tough against the title chasers and with the distraction of their most important match of the season on Saturday looming large in their team selection and thinking, they could have done without Mr Miles's decision that gifted the visitors their goal; but for the missed penalty they could not blame the referee.


As in the first half, Altrincham won a very early corner when Pringle's interception fed Sinclair (47 mins).

Yet, somehow, from their corner at their opponents' end, Altrincham contrived to relay the ball back via various passes to their own keeper, Byrne. His clearance was poor and possession was lost. County then worked the ball to Nemane. He cut in from the right and with litle else on, he opted for a hopeful shot into the body of players between him and the goal.

Mr Miles then produced his second stunning decision in the visitors' favour as he awarded the Magpies a penalty for a dubious handball against Osborne, right on the front of the penalty area. Burgess was booked before Rodrigues's hesitatnt run-up saw him plant the ball comfortably into the net to make it 0-2 (48 mins).

That effectively killed the game and the next half hour was largely Notts keeping possession and Alty hemmed in to their own half.

Alty replaced penalty-taker Rodrigues with the experienced Jim O'Briem (55 mins) before they won two corners in the next few minutes (61 mins).

After Sinclair had been hobbling, he was replaced by fellow loanee Joe Hugill (62 mins) but Altrincham were not able to get any forward momentum in the face of the visitors' slick passing.

i Next Bennett replaced Pringle (65 mins) and Brindley replaced Rawlinson for the visitors.

The evening now had the air of a training match as time passed with Notts dominating possession but not creating much with it before Vincent came on to replace Nemane (73 mins).

A momentary improvement saw Austin end a penetrating run with a shot which just cleared the bar from 18 yards (74 mins) and it was the same player's run not long afterwards which produced a corner (79 mins).

But with the contest having largely petered out for the previous half an hour, Alty belatedly came to life as Osborne's fine ball up the middle set Burgess running at goal but, as he got into the box he stumbled. Nevertheless, he was able to get in a shot which clipped the top of the cross bar, which was his side's best effort of the night (80 mins).

Alty continued to get forward more than they had for the majority of the second half but it was Notts who then went close to scooring again as a Langstaff effort struck the top of the bar (90 mins). Three added minutes ended a game in which a deliberately under-strength home side kept a potentially rampant Notts County at bay save for two interventions from Mr Miles.

Miles, who is also a tennis umpire, has "form" with Alty having sent off Matty Kosylo at Moss Lane in November 2020 in a 0-1 defeat to Bromley. On that occasion the football authorities overturned his decision; sadly there was no comeback to his performance in this game.