8 April 2004
ALTY STAY 12th
Blyth S. 0 Lancaster C. 0
Runcorn FC Halton 2 Alfreton T. 2
Alty stay 12th in the table.
Chairman's Cup Final 1st Leg
Hyde U. 1 Leek T. 0
President's Cup Final 1st Leg
Barrow 3 Workington 2
At Moss Lane tonight Man Utd Reserves comfortably beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0, with goals from Richardson and Cooper in the second half. Bolton's Pezzarossi was dismissed in the second period. Sir Alex Ferguson was amongst the spectators.
CATCH THE BUS
Alty are away to Blyth next Wednesday. STAR will be running a full-size executive coach with washroom facilities. Organizer, Mark Eckersall says, "Our plan is to stop on the way up there for half an hour to get some food and arrive at the ground around seven o'clock to have a pint in the social. As always, the coach leaves straight after the game in order to get people home as quickly as possible. We have a full age range of travellers from youngsters to pensioners and you'll be made welcome. Please consider supporting the team in the quest for Conference 2 and also the coaches". Bookings can be made with Mark at the Burscough game or in the Robins' Shop at the Alfreton match, or by ringing the club on 928-1045. Click on Away Travel for Burscough and Blyth coach times (Blyth fares to follow).
FOUR IN A WEEK
Alty have four games in the next week:
Saturday 10th - v Burscough (A)
IC Sefton states that "With a real chance of now making the play-offs for Conference North, Burscough entertain Altrincham on Saturday... The win at Blyth, the failure of others to make their games in hand count, meant that the Victoria Park side climbed out of the bottom three for the first time since September. Press officer Stan Strickland, said: 'With only four goals conceded in our last six games we are proving a difficult side to beat... Saturday's game will be a real battle, with Altrincham also desperately in need of points to qualify for a top 13 placing'".
Monday 12th - v Alfreton Town (H).
Alfreton's win on Tuesday was their eighth successive game without defeat and they were Team of the Month for March. "Much of this season's success has been based on a sound defence", says their website - a goal conceded last Saturday was the first against them in 665 minutes of action. Though Mick Godber is probably out for the rest of the season, his "strike partner Mick Goddard is hopeful of a return to action before the end of the campaign with his injury thankfully not as serious as first feared. Meanwhile, Anthony Tansley has returned from a loan spell at Belper Town to boost squad strength".
Wednesday 14th - v Blyth Spartans (A).
Paul Baker, manager of Blyth, told his club website before Tuesday's 1-5 defeat to Droylsden,
"The last five games have unfortunately been disappointing, not only have we failed to win any of these games but we have not had any sort of reply in the way of goals scored. The story as it has been this season is that we are creating good opportunities but the ball will not hit the back of the net... What you and indeed myself will not tolerate or continue to put up with is non-commitment to the cause".
In the game against Droylsden NL Daily reports that "Andy Leeson had to come off injured, but Blyth had already made three substitutions to leave them down to nine-men... [Then] Richard Forster had to be helped off the pitch, leaving Blyth with only eight players to finish the match".
Saturday 17th - Whitby Town (A)
Whitby beat Runcorn on Tuesday "despite having another defender, Tony Hall, sent off for shoving Ged Courtney". Back in action was "playmaker Dave McTiernan... [while] Adam Reed and [South African] Graham Robinson, fresh from suspensions, were on the Whitby bench... The Seasiders suffered a setback when former England Youth forward Anthony Ormerod had to limp off".
Over the last 6 games, Alty are 8th in the form guide; Burscough are 17th, Alfreton are 3rd, Blyth are 23rd and Whitby are 10th.
Alty's neighbours Trafford played their last match of the season on Tuesday. This should free-up Liam Ralph and Andy Lundy, signed on UniBond forms last week by Graham Heathcote, should he need to use them.
Chris Downey scored again for Mossley on Tuesday. Despite needing an operation, Wes Wilkinson hopes to land a new contract at Oldham Athletic.
The UniBond League reports that on "Tuesday night. Of the 13 games to survive the weather more than half attracted their poorest attendances of the season to date. These included games at Blyth Spartans, Harrogate Town, Spennymoor United, Whitby Town and Worksop Town". Though the gate at Spennymoor v Ashton Utd was just 84 on Tuesday night, the game had everything; a missed penalty, a half-time skirmish in the tunnel, the Ashton keeper sent off soon after half-time, his manager Gerry Quinn dismissed from the dugout, and an Ashton goal disallowed in injury time.
Gainsborough boss Paul Mitchell "believes Conference Two could signal the start of a non-League recession for overspending clubs next season". Mitchell said, "I think if you look at what has happened over the season, Conference Two has caused some teams to panic buy. Some of the clubs in the top half, who think they might not qualify, have really spent some big money on transfers to help them out. But even then teams at the top have done the same too. Take Alfreton, for example. They had a slide in results, lost a few games in a row then went and spent a healthy four-figure fee on Mark Hume from Barrow. It may strengthen your team to bring in good players, but what about when everything has settled down and the clubs are still shelling out big wages?". He added, "We have dropped down in the league, but we haven't had the cash to bring in more players to strengthen. If we make it with a squad of 16, five of which are 17 and 18-year olds, it would be the biggest achievement of my career", he told This is Lincs.
Lancaster Today quotes striker Jamie Hughes on his sudden departure from the Giant Axe last week to join Swedish side Ostersund FK. "It came out of the blue. I got a phone call from someone at the club asking if I would go over. I had been recommended by a coach I knew when I was at Cardiff who had noticed that I was doing well.
The offer was too good to turn down, in the summer I would not be getting paid and would have had to get a part-time job". Manager Phil Wilson said: "Hopefully we can still get him back here at the end of their season in Sweden, that is a definite possibility".
On IC Cheshire Runcorn boss Chris Lightfoot said, "I was disappointed there was only 180-something there [at Halton] on Saturday, especially when Blyth brought 20 or 30... There is no atmosphere or anything at home matches. It is quiet on the pitch and it is quiet in the stands. It is just not right". Runcorn's "Adam Carden has joined Witton Albion and Neil Larkin has been axed. Larkin's last chance was in the 3-0 defeat by Altrincham on Tuesday, March 16. The following Thursday, he had missed training for personal reasons and Lightfoot says he hasn't heard from him since".
7 April 2004
Players with 30+ starts in 2003-04:
48 - Band and Craney both 38 league + 10 cup
44+3 -Rose 35(+3) + 9
43 - Talbot 33 + 10
42+2 - Aspinall 32(+2) + 10
38 - Adams 29+9
31 - Coburn 24+7
11 - Craney (all league)
9 - Hallows (8 league + 1 cup) in 23+1 app's overall.
6 - Aspinall (all league, 4 pens), Hardy (3+3)
5 - Thornley (in 24+4 games)
See the Statistics page for more data.
More pictures of the Alty Youth team's cup final win are on the Youth page.
Manchester United Reserves host Bolton Wanderers on Thursday 8th at 7pm at Moss Lane. Because of the Easter holidays chief steward Darren Gregory is looking for volunteer stewards. If you can help, please contact the club on 928-1045 or e-mail Darren here.
STAR recently made a donation to the Football Club for new floodlight
bulbs, whcih have now been installed. Further work is to be done, when the
weather is fine, to check out the floodlighting electrics.
Last night, Jez Illingworth scored after 15 secs for Guiseley and Leroy Chambers netted for Droylsden.
As recently reported, Danny McGoona hit a hat-trick for Conwy United and
the Welsh side are using another ex-Alty hero Ken McKenna, "who hit 40
goals during the League of Wales season in which Conwy qualified for
Europe... to help organise [a] reunion match against the current new-look
Conwy side... Kenny was a hugely popular player when he was at Conwy and we
are very grateful to him" reports the Welsh Premier.
The Hucknall site's very fair
match report attributes Monday night's own goal to Ged Kielty rather than
Barry Shuttleworth. It adds that Town "had been given a thorough
examination by the home side". Indeed, it states, "An excellent first half
finished all square, with the home side the more dominant".
Harrogate Town have appointed
director Phillip Sanderson as Director of Football. "Phil spends most weeks
watching matches all over the region, looking at players, and reporting
back to [manager] John Reed".
6 April 2004
Alfreton T. 3 Gainsborough T. 1
Blyth S. 1 Droylsden 5
Frickley A. 0 Bradford PA 1
Harrogate T. 3 Radcliffe B. 0
Southport 0 Marine 0
Spennymoor U. 3 Ashton U. 2
Vauxhall M. 1 Stalybridge C. 1
Whitby T. 1 Runcorn FC Halton 0
Worksop T. 4 Wakefield & Emley 0
The injuries to Stephen Rose and Stephen Aspinall may turn out not be as bad as they first looked last night but the next 48 hours will determine the extent of the damage. More good news is that although Peter Band picked up a booking last night, UniBond rules mean that no suspensions are applied for five accumulated cautions at this late stage in the season.
ALTRINCHAM 2 HUCKNALL TOWN 3
Match report here.
Above: Stuart Coburn shows that defeat hurts as he leaves the pitch. .
Congratulations to Hucknall who are effectively champions now.
Danny McGoona hit a hat-trick last week for Conwy United and Tony Hemmings has gone on loan from Alfreton Town to Grantham.
Alty meet Alfreton on Easter Monday. Both their main strikers, Godber and Goddard are currently injured. Indeed "Mick Godber looks set to miss the remainder of the season", reports the club site.
WHAT IT TAKES
The UniBond site says that "Over the last ten year period a Premier Division club would have required an average of 57.3 points from a 44 match season" to finish 13th in the league... The lowest total required has been 55 points, which almost certainly will prove to be insufficient this time round... It seems, therefore, that 61 points in the top tier give a cast iron guarantees of a top thirteen finish". Alty now have 53 points.
5 April 2004
SOME GOOD NEWS
Jamie Baguley and Matt Bailey, both on loan from Stockport County, will now remain at Moss Lane till the end of the season.
Burscough's Linnets on Line report that on "April 10th, The Linnets take on the Robins from Moss Lane in the shape of Altrincham. Our old rivals pay Victoria Park a visit in what will prove to be crucial match for both teams. Altrincham find themselves in the border region of the top 13 places that will ensure automatic qualification for the new Conferance North. Therefore they, and what is sure to be a decent away following, will be hoping for the three points in order to aid qualification. The Linnets of course still have ambitions to reach the Conferance North".
The following Wednesday, Alty go up to Blyth, who have 6 games in 11 days, of which the Alty match is the 5th. Before then they play Droylsden, Lancaster and Harrogate (all at H) on 6th, 8th & 10th, Barrow (A) on 12th, then Alty (H) on 14th. On 17th they travel to Vauxhall.
ALTY YOUTH WIN CUP
In difficult conditions, Altrincham Youth won the NWYA Premier Cup today by beating Morecambe 3-2 at Bamber Bridge. Alty captain Steve Lunt scored all three goals to keep his side on course for a "double". Alty are currently top of the updated league table which is in the youth pages. Match report & more pictures in the Youth pages.
Above: Alex Frost admires his medal, flanked by Matt Tooth and Sam Cawthra.
Above: George Heslop holds the trophy aloft, picture courtesy of Steve Lunt's sister, Jo.
4 April 2004
LANCASTER CITY 1 ALTRINCHAM 0
The table shows, Alty cannot now finish in the bottom three so have, at worst, qualified for the play-offs. Our points-maximum is currently the 10th highest in the league.
Right: Hallows (centre) goes close in the first half.
The Pink has an interview with Graham Heathcote who says, "We've taken just three points from our seven games so far against the current bottom four and I can only put that down to the fact we've been complacent in those matches. Hopefully, we've now learned our lesson but it's something I'll be pinpointing". The article adds, "Heathcote believes Marine, Whitby and Runcorn Halton pose the only serious threat to the Robins' finishing in the top 13 and Alty still have to face the latter pair. Meanwhile...Niell Hardy had a knee scan on Friday and is awaiting the results. Fellow absentee Gary Scott is back in light training but, like Hardy, isn't expected to play again this season".
VOTE FOR CRANEY!
The NLP reports on the Non-League National Game Awards. In the Young Player section, three UniBond players are mentioned who "have caught the eye of our reporters". They are Danny Byrne (Droylsden), Danny Bacon (Hucknall) and Ian Craney of Altrincham. Voting forms will appear in the NLP or you can vote by e-mail.
The Northern Echo says that "Spennymoor United have signed their seventh goalkeeper of the season... Moors' boss Tony Lee has moved to sign Liam Sutcliffe from Harrogate Town, because Gareth Downey returns after Saturday's game to Scarborough at the end of his loan spell".
Crewe v Rotherham yesterday featured opposing ex-Alty goalkeepers; Ben Williams and Mike Pollitt who kept clean sheets. Other ex-Alty keepers had contrasting fortunes - Richard Acton won with TNS, but Dave McCarthy let in four on his Stalybridge debut, in a match where Terry Bowker also netted an own goal. The upturn in Stockport's and Lincoln's fortunes since the respective arrivals of Danny Adams and Kevin Ellison continued yesterday as they both won. Ex-Alty youths Mario Daniel and Graham Tench both played for Leigh RMI, whilst Wes Wilkinson played for Oldham. The Pink reports that Langley Rangers have "introduced a string of new faces, among them ex-Hyde and Altrincham centre-half Paul Taylor, now happily back in action after being forced to call time on his semi-pro career due to persistent knee trouble". Langley play in the Middleton League. A now shaven-headed Paul Edwards was sent off for Wrexham and Chris Downey scored again for Mossley and is pictured in The Pink.
3 April 2004
Alfreton T. 1 Spennymoor U. 1
Ashton U. 1 Gainsborough T. 1
Barrow 0 Whitby T. 0
Bradford PA 1 Wakefield & Emley 2
Droylsden 2 Worksop T. 2
Harrogate T 4 Stalybridge C. 3
Hucknall T. 1 Marine 1
Lancaster C. 1 Altrincham 0
Radcliffe B. 1 Southport 3
Runcorn FC Halton 1 Blyth S. 0
Vauxhall M. 2 Frickley A. 1
ALTY WIN GROUSE
The UniBond League "Premier Division March monthly award for the Fair Play League goes to Altrincham. Altrincham were by far the best behaved team of the month with only 1 player finding the referee's book... Each month the winning club receives a 1.5l bottle of "Famous Grouse" whisky and a presentation certificate kindly supplied by the sponsor". For the season, Altrincham lie 11th in the Fair Play table.
Ken McKenna's TNS report that Richard Acton has signed non-contract forms for the Welsh side and "will remain there until the end of the season". There are video highlights of Richard in the TNS v Aberystwyth game on the BBC site. Alty now have Youth keeper Barry George signed to UniBond forms as cover.
Gary Warrington is again organising an Altrincham Internet Player of the Year vote. You can cast your vote on the Alty Fans' Forum here.
And... don't forget to get your votes in for the STAR Player of the Year competition as well.
The Frickley FC video of the game against Altrincham is now available. Whilst the action was not the best to be seen this season, the video makes an interesting record and also includes the Golf Road choir on the soundtrack! It costs just £4 +p&p and a DVD is also available; see the Frickley website for details.
Alty entertain league leaders Hucknall Town on Monday night. "With just 7 more points required to secure their first Unibond League title, boss Steve Burr is pleased that nearly all of his squad are fit for the final run in... but Simon Brown's season is over, after he had knee surgery... The Marine game [today] is followed quickly on Monday by a trip to Altrincham, and Burr is aware how difficult both of these games will be... Hucknall squad - Pettinger, Asher, Barrick, Miller, Gaunt, Winder, Hunter, Adams, Davies, McSweeny, Ward, Mayman, McCarthy, Todd, Ricketts, Bacon, Colley", reports the club site.
Hucknall Today says "excited fans are counting down to the days to the party that will crown Hucknall Town as league champions... And with games coming up tomorrow and on Monday, supporters reckon it is almost sure to be settled during next Easter weekend".
The UniBond League reports that "Witton Albion this afternoon (Fri) received a communication from the Football Association informing them that their claim for wrongful dismissal on player Brian Pritchard in the UniBond Cheshire FA Senior Cup Final at Altrincham on Wednesday March 24th has been upheld following the FA Video Advisory Panel's viewing of the relevant information and reports... The red card has been rescinded and therefore no period of suspension will have to be served by Brian Pritchard".
"Blyth striker Ray Booth admitted today: 'We have let our fans down. We all thought Blyth would have a much better season but it hasn't worked out that way. Ask any of the players and they will agree we have let everybody down - the spectators and the manager, the directors and ourselves. But at least we showed the right sort of spirit against Stalybridge".
This is Lincs states that Gainsborough's ex-Alty striker Lee Ellington "believes his team-mates will not crack under pressure as the Conference Two qualification clock begins to countdown... As they embark on a seven-match stretch which will decide their fate ahead... Five of those games will not provide home comfort for Paul Mitchell's men, who currently occupy 13th place in the UniBond League Premier Division table - the last qualification spot for next season's Conference Two. Ellington said, "We know we have dropped down in the table. But in recent weeks we have been excellent, we just haven't got the results we have deserved. We can put that right, and I am positive we will qualify".
Harrogate boss John Reed "confirmed the club had completed the signing of young forward Sam Warburton from Knaresborough Town and... feels he may have a big future at the club -'But we won't know until he is on the battlefield'" said the manager.
Runcorn boss "Chris Lightfoot completed his last transfer business of the season this week when Anton Lally gave Runcorn a vote of confidence", says IC Cheshire. Midfielder Lally was being targeted by former club Marine but opted to join the Linnets... Lally, who did well on his debut on Tuesday night, was released by Vauxhall in December... Player-manager Lightfoot explained: 'He is big mates with Lee Kissock... and Lee told me he was keen to come here'... The manager had [been] on the lookout for a central defender following the injury blow which prevented General Chemicals' Robbie Moore from coming on board. But Lightfoot said: 'I can cover in central defence myself and David Ness has been playing there and doing well'".
2 April 2004
ALTY FAN SALUTED
Today's NL Paper has a colour feature, on page three, on Alty supporter John Cudlip, whose 28,000 mile journeys, either side of watching the Frickley v Altrincham were chronicled on this site (below) on 27 March.
In this week's SAM Graham Heathcote refers to the 8 games in 3 weeks that face his squad. "At the moment I am trying to conserve the players' energy and not make them do too much - simply because there are so many matches left to play". Graham also confirmed that he is asking Stockport County to extend the loans of Matthew Bailey and Jamie Baguley till the end of the season.
Referring to the Frickley game last week, he said "It's difficult to play good football on a surface like that... It's a draw, it's another point". Graham has no new injury worries for the trip to Lancaster.
Alty travel to the Giant Axe on Saturday but have already played there this season in the FA Cup, losing 2-0 on 27 September. The Alty side that day was: 1. Ben WILLIAMS, 2. Gary SCOTT, 3. Jason van BLERK, 4. Mark MADDOX, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Stephen ROSE, 7. Steve ASPINALL, 8. Ian CRANEY, 9. Peter BAND, 10. Rod THORNLEY (capt.), 11. Chris ADAMS. Subs: 12. Dave GARDNER, 13. Ashley TIMMS, 14. Nick WELTON, 15. Danny HOOPER, 16. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH. Only 7 of those 16 players can be involved tomorrow, with Williams, van Blerk, Gardner, Hooper, Timms and Welton having left and Scott, Adams and Thornley out injured for the rest of the season.
Above: Nick Welton (14) and Danny Hopper (15) replace Rod Thornley and Stephen Rose in the FA Cup match at Lancaster in September.
From Andrew Lincoln of the Saints Alive (TNS) website comes news that Alty keeper "Richard Acton (left) played his second Welsh Premier League game for Total Network Solutions on Saturday, as the Llansantffraid-based Saints beat Aberystwyth Town 1-0 to go joint top of the table. Although rarely troubled by the visiting attackers, Acton again impressed with his authority in the area and made a crucial save from Aberystwyth's Marc Lloyd Williams [an ex-Alty man, too] late in the game... The Saints are hoping to keep Acton on loan until the end of the season".
Meanwhile, Stalybridge Celtic "have announced the signing of goalkeeper Dave McCarthy (right). Dave joins us on loan for the rest of the season from UniBond rivals Worksop Town". Dave played 3 games on loan to Alty in September, 2003 before regaining his place at Worksop when Ian Bowling was injured.
Andrew Britton (Sheffield U. loan extended to Bradford PA)
Dominic Moyles (Selby T. to Frickley A.)
Aaron Downes (Bolton W. to Frickley A.)
Robert Nelthorpe (Rotherham U. to Frickley A.)
Lee Wilkinson (Brodsworth MV to Frickley A.)
Grant Black (Leigh RMI to Gainsborough T.)
Michael Di Diccio (Easington to Spennymoor U.)
Liam Sutcliffe (Harrogate T. to Spennymoor U.)
Andrew Watson (Sheffield to Wakefield & Emley)
Yomi Dada (Scarborough to Whitby T.)
Stephen Morley (Darlington work exp. to Whitby T.)
Adam Carden (Runcorn FC Halton to Witton A.)