ALTRINCHAM FC MATCH REPORTS
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MAIDENHEAD UNITED (0) 0
ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
played on Tuesday, 26 September, 2023 at 7.45pm.
A narrow, but deserved, win for Alty was achieved through a quality goal by Conn-Clarke.
In a goalless first half it was Altrincham who had the better of things though they only forced a couple of saves from the home keeper.
Craig Ross's first save was not until the 39th minute when he pushed out a Banks header for a corner. And then debutant Sithole forced a save, low down at the near post.
However, Maidenhead were a threat themselves at times, without ever troubling Ethan Ross before the break.
The second half was largely disappointing in terms of quality. Alty created nothing in the way of a clear chance and Maidenhead's few shots were wayward.
That was until the 73rd minute when Osborne took a quick, short freekick to Conn-Clarke who scored from nearly 30 yards with a superb shot into the upper reaches of the net. Craig Ross got a hand to it but could not stop the ball.
The visitors managed the closing stages well to end the evening in a play-off position of seventh in the National League.
- 73 mins: Chris CONN-CLARKE (Maidenhead United 0 ALTRINCHAM 1)
REFEREE: Mr Andrew Humphries
For Altrincham there were three changes as Gez Sithole made his debut with Lewis Banks and Joey Jones also starting.
On the bench James Jones returned from injury and was joined as a substitute by Sam Roscoe, with Dior Angus, Justin Donawa and Elliot Osborne all moving to the bench.
For Maidenhead, there were also three changes as Golding, Parsons and Smith came in for Omilabu and Clerima and Keech.
MAIDENHEAD UNITED (Black & white stripes, black shorts, red socks): 13. Craig Ross, 2. Zico Asare, 3. Sam Beckwith, 6. James Golding, 10. Kane Ferdinand, 4. Will De Havilland, 7. Harry Parsons, 11. Jayden Mitchell-Lawson, 14. Tobi Sho-Silva, 16. Casey Pettit, 17. Reece Smith. Subs: 1. Daniel Jinadu, 21. Chanka Zimba, 26. Lewis Kinsella, 19. David Omilabu, 12. Bradley Keetch.
ALTRINCHAM (All dark blue with yellow sash on shirts): 29. Ethan Ross, 2. Lewis Banks, 15. Jake Cooper, 4. Lewis Baines, 3. Eddy Jones, 22. Joey Jones, 8. Isaac Marriott (c), 11. Justin Amaluzor, 28. Alex Newby, 10. Chris Conn-Clarke, 28. Gerald Sithole. Subs: 5. James Jones, 6. Elliot Osborne, 14. Dior Angus, 16. Sam Roscoe, 17. Justin Donawa.
Maidenhead lay bottom of the National League form guide, having lost their last four games. Whilst Alty were beating Ebbsfleet United 6-1, Maidenhead had lost 3-0 at Gateshead, a defeat that dropped them into the relegation places of the National League.
Maidenhead started the season reasonably well with just one defeat in their opening seven fixtures. However, goal-scoring had been a problem with just one goal netted in their previous seven fixtures.
Altrincham played up the marked slope at York Road in the first-half, after Maidenhead had kicked off. Beforehand, the stadium's occupants had paid their respects to a recently deceased supporter of the home side.
After a few uneventful minutes of the game, Alty created the first half-chance. It came after Amaluzor had advanced and, via Sithole, Banks got in a cross which was marginally too high for the head of Eddy Jones, arriving at the back post (7 mins).
And it was the visitors who also gained the game's first corner, as Joey Jones's long ball located Banks on the right and he won the flag-kick at the by-line (10 mins).
Altrincham continued to set the pace with a couple more promising passing moves but neither resulted in a meaningful effort at goal (12 mins). However, Eddy Jones had to be alert at the other end, despite his side's dominance at this stage, when he halted Smith's incursion on the Maidenhead right (14 mins).
Maidenhead's Beckwith then skied a long-range shot way over the bar whilst the home side enjoyed a better spell in the middle of the first half. Overall the match quality was mediocre with Amaluzor looking Alty's main threat but lacking a final pass or accurate shot to complete his promising runs forward.
Neither keeper had been tested at all until the 39th minute when an Alty move ended with Eddy Jones's cross from the left and Banks's header which Craig Ross pushed away for a corner. Newby wasted the corner by failing to clear the near post defender.
Mitchell-Lawson's duel with Amaluzor continued but the Maidenhead winger picked up a booking for holding back his opponent (44 mins).
Alty were to test Craig Ross for a second time before the interval when another Amaluzor run ended with a low shot by the hard-working Sithole towards the near post, which Ross saved at the base of the upright (45 mins). From the corner Joey Jones headed wide.
Maidenhead won an added-time corner before the interval arrived but, with Ethan Ross yet to be tested, the score remained blank at the break.
Half-Time: MAIDENHEAD UNITED 0
Although Altrincham were now playing down the slope it was Maidenhead who started the better. Soon, Oxford United loanee Golding got in a ball across the Alty box which went unconverted (47 mins). However, Alty then won a freekick, 35 yards out, in a central position, when Newby was fouled.
Conn-Clarke's ambitious shot at goal from the freekick was comfortably saved (50 mins).
Gez Sithole then won a corner before Maidenhead enjoyed a spell on top in which they earned two corners, the second coming after Ross had had to tip the first corner over his crossbar.
Alty soon had to make a substitution following an injury to the left ankle area of Joey Jones's leg (59 mins). It was Osborne who took over from the injured midfielder.
The visitors were causing no threat to the hosts at this stage as Maidenhead got forward again but Beckwith's shot into orbit was the best they could offer in way of a goal threat.
A foul now earned Pettit a yellow card (63 mins). After a stoppage for treatment to Newby (70 mins), Conn-Clarke was felled by Ferdinand, getting on for some 35 yards from goal. Quickly, Osborne took the freekick short to Conn-Clarke and, from some 30 yards or so, he launched a superb shot which, Ross got a hand to, but could not prevent sailing into the upper reaches of his net, to his right.
So Alty had broken the deadlock from their first serious threat on goal of the second half (73 mins).
Maidenhead repsoned by bringing on Keetch for Sho-Silva who had been well policed by the Alty defence (79 mins).
Next, an Eddy Jones effort earned a corner (80 mins) which led to a second one for Alty, this time earned by Amaluzor (82 mins).
At this point Angus replaced Sithole at the top of the Altrincham attack (82 mins).
Changes were then made for both sides as Omilabu replaced Pettit for United (84 mins), before Donawa came on for Amaluzor and Zima replaced Mitchell-Lawson (85 mins).
Altrincham now successfully contained the hosts' attempts to equalise and, in the 90th minute, after Angus had got past De Havilland, Conn-Clarke lifted a shot from the edge of the box over the bar.
Six added minutes were announced in which Marriott worryingly picked up his fourth yellow card of the season, for a foul (90+3 mins). Two home corners followed but Altrincham managed the game to its conclusion to rise up to seventh in the table, and a play-off place, at the end of the evening.
It had not been a game of high quality and Conn-Clarke's winning goal was a rare moment of class against a side which struggled to cause Ethan Ross any real trouble throughout the evening.
Full-Time: MAIDENHEAD UNITED 0