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Vanarama National League match
played on Saturday, 5 August, 2023 at 3pm.


This first National League match under the new refereeing rules lasted approximately 108 minutes yet it witnessed no major injury stoppage nor anything very significant in the way of time-wasting. Having kicked off two minutes late after a minute's silence to honour the lives of football administrator John Moules and Alty supporter Graham McLaren, it meant that the final whistle did not sound until getting on for ten-past five.

The match itself started in dry conditions but was beset by heavy rain around the 19 minute mark, which fell on an already sodden pitch after more than half an inch of rain overnight. Despite the adverse conditions the teams produced a watchable if goalless first half.

The visitors started the second half the better but Altrincham had the better of things overall before the 80th minute when a neat move on the right, involving the substitutes Donawa and Angus, fed Conn-Clarke who rifled home his shot.

Despite spurning several presentable chances, it looked as if the hosts had done enough to break their opening-day hoo-do at Moss Lane, which had lasted since 2006, only for the Daggers to equalise in the eighth of what turned into some 10 minutes of added time. The equalising goal came just after a superb save by Ross had given the visitors a corner on their right. The corner was nodded forward by a Dagenham man for Phipps to loop a header over the defence and keeper and into the net to the delight of the 115 sodden travelling supporters in the open end of the stadium.


  • 80 mins: Chris CONN-CLARKE (ALTRINCHAM 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 0)
  • 90(+8) mins: Harry PHIPPS (ALTRINCHAM 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 1)

REFEREE: Mr David McNamara

ATTENDANCE: 1,779 (115 in away end)

Altrincham almost named a numer one to eleven in squad numbers but for Ethan Ross (no.29) having replaced Ollie Byrne (no.1) in goal. Angus, Roscoe, Joey Jones and Donawa, who have all had minor knocks in pre-season, were joined by George Wilson on the bench. Jake Cooper, Matt Gould and Lewis Brockbank were not in the squad.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Ethan Ross, 2. Lewis Banks, 3. Eddy Jones, 8. Isaac Marriott, 5. James Jones (c), 4. Lewis Baines, 7. Matty Kosylo, 6. Elliot Osborne, 9. Regan Linney, 10. Chris Conn-Clarke, 11. Justin Amaluzor. Subs: 17. Justin Donawa, 14. Dior Angus, 16. Sam Roscoe, 20. George Wilson, 22. Joey Jones

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE (Blue & white hooped shirts, white shorts and socks) : 1. Elliot Justham, 2. Josh Hare, 5 Tom Eastman, 6 Jake Hessenthaler, 7 Frank Vincent, 8 Josh Rees, 9 Inih Effiong, 11 Myles Weston, 15 Lewis Page, 16 Harry Phipps, 19. Sam Ling. Subs: 4 Nikola Tavares, 13 Josh Strizovic, 17. Charlie Kenall, 22. Sydney Ibie, 23. Conor Lawless


Altrincham were starting the 2023-24 season with their eighth home fixture on a season-opening day in the past nine league campaigns yet they were still seeking their first win at Moss Lane in that sequence! The last home win on opening day had been back in 2006.

In the 24 opening days of league seasons since the start of the current millennium, Altrincham have now enjoyed home advantage sixteen times but had won only four times in the previous fifteen such matches on home turf to start a season.


On a pitch that was particularly wet in front of the main stand, and with dark clouds approaching, the Daggers kicked off and won a corner after just 25 seconds. A second corner immediately followed, which led to Hare's shot being comfortably saved by Ross (2 mins).

After the second of two Alty freekicks for minor fouls, Kosylo lashed a shot over the bar (8 mins).

With the skies darkening, Eddy Jones had a shot comfortably saved as Alty now had the ascendancy (12 mins). After a fine run by Osborne, Amaluzor showed his upper body strength in getting the better of a defender but his cross from the right came to naught (15 mins).

Rain began to lash down (19 mins) before an Alty freekick initaited an impressive move of six or seven passes which culminated in Linney finding the net, only for the goal to be ruled offside (24 mins).

Dagenham responded well as a run up the left culminated in a fierce shot by Weston which Ross impressivvely beat away at his near post for a corner (25 mins).

Play again switched to the other end with Amaluzor again impressing before being halted; the ball ran to Conn-CLarke but he fired over (29 mins).

The rain now eased as Amaluzor put a ball across the goalmouth from the right (31 mins).

Osborne now won an Alty corner before a foul on Linney brought Hare a yellow card (35 mins) and, when Eastmen felled Conn-Clarke, he, too, was deservedly booked (38 mins).

A vital block by Marriott blocked an Effiong shot at the cost of a corner (44 mins) and as we spectators naively though that half-time was approaching, Banks was booked for a trip on Page (45 mins).

There was an audible gasp as a prodigious eight added minutes were decreed which were immediately increased as Linney needed treatment.

Following a freekick the restored Linney stung Justham's plams with a goalbound shot from the left which earned a corner (45+5 mins).

Therw was time not only for another Altrincham corner (45+7 mins) but also for an Amaluzor shot which deflected to Justham (45+9 mins). After 53 minutes and 50 seconds the referee finally blew his whistle.

Although goalless, it had been an entertaining first half.


Marcel Proust would have enjoyed the spectacle of regaining nine minutes of his life as the stadium clock reverted to 45 minutes for the start of the second half.

The early phase of the second half was scrappy but included a Dagenham corner (50 mins) though little else other than honest endeavour before the hour mark approached.

On 58 minutes there were appeals for a penalty as Conn-Clarke went down in the box, followed by a run by Kosylo which won a corner and was followed by a second flag-kick. Following this, Baines had a clear sight of goal but his effort well over the bar (61 mins).

When Dagenham won a corner soon afterwards the Daggers likewise wasted a good opportunity as Eastman emulated his fellow centre-back Baines by slicing his effort off target (61 mins).

The sides were cancelling each other out and the stalemate was not to be broken by a penalty despite Alty's apeals as Linney went down in the box (65 mins).

Midway through the half each side brought on a number 17. For Alty it was Donawa who replaced Amaluzor, whilst Kendall came on for Dagenham's Vincent (67 mins).

Rain was again falling steadily as the fourth official implemented another of the new rules by asking Neil Sorvel to leave the technical area which must now only accommodate one person.

Kosylo then outjumped a taller opponent to lay on a chance for Alty but, again, it fell to a defender; this time it was Banks who missed the target (70 mins).

Next Conn-Clarke chipped an effort to Justham's hands before Kosylo was again involved. His effort was beaten out by Justham to Linney who blasted over the bar. So Alty had had at least three presentable second-half chances and spurned them all (74 mins).

The very tall Ibie now replaced Weston for the visitors (75 mins) and Effiong showed that his side were not out of the game with a fierce long-range shot which Ross saved, the ball spinning into the air before it was cleared (76 mins).

Angus now replaced Linney (77 mins) before a good Alty move led to a long shot from Osborne which Justham saved (78 mins). Moments later Kosylo's well struck curler went narrowly wide (79 mins).

Justham was pulled up for timewasting at a goalkick but moments later he was picking the ball out of his net. The breakthorugh arrived when Donawa won a header on the right touchline and the ball was relayed forward by Angus to an unmarked Conn-Clarke who struck the ball past Justham to give his side the lead (80 mins).

Just after a Kosylo 30 yarder had gone wide, Lawless replaced Page (84 mins) for Dagenham.

Shortly after James Jones had been booked for pulling back Effiong, his namesake Joey Jones came on for Conn-Clarke (86 mins). To differentiate the two J. Joneses, Joey had J.D. Jones on his shirt back.

Dagenham almost levelled soon aftewards as Ross saved at the base of his upright from a header before Effiong headed a cross wide (87 mins).

After the first half extension, spectators were not surprised to learn that the referee had found nine additional minutes to add on after the regulation ninety.

Dagenham's strong finish then forced a superb save by Ross, to his left, from a well struck Rees shot (90+7 mins). From the resulting corner the ball reached Phipps, whose header looped into the net for a very later equaliser (90+8 mins).

A Dagenham player was booked for over-celebrating.

And at the death Alty were fortunate that Kendall was not quite able to convert an Effiong header (90+10 mins).

So an eventful game ended all-square which was fair enough. Alty had spurned several chances to take a two-goal lead. However, in the closing stages, but for Ross, the visitors could have taken all of the points.

The addition of what amounted to more than 20% of the standard ninety minutes' game time was dificult to justify. If this pattern continues, it may well have implications for player injuries, not to mention spectators missing their buses or trains, and overtime for security staff!

So Altrincham's wait for a home win to start a season goes into its eighteenth year.