23 to 29 December, 2004
In Tuesday's games Ian Craney (Accrington) conceded a late penalty but Alex Hay (Rushden) and Kevin Ellison (Chester) were both on the scoresheet.
In contrast, This is WCFC says that "Worcester City chairman Dave Boddy described the decision to postpone Boxing Day's derby fixture with Nuneaton Borough as 'shocking'... Burton referee Roy Burton called off the match 90 minutes before kick-off after deeming that two separate areas of the St George's Lane pitch near to the stand were frozen and unsafe... Boddy said: 'It was a shocking decision by the referee. Myself and Graham met at the ground at 8.30am and we both agreed that we did not need an inspection. That's a decision we made and we are both ex-class one referees...The referee was the only person that did not believe the game was playable... It has cost us £10,000. We would have got that through gate receipts, programmes and selling burgers among other things'".
The Midweek Visiter has a back page about Southport FC which largely concentrates on iys youth set up and what is claimed to be the "largest youth sponsorship in the country" by Caterforce, a corporate hospitality company which supports the Haig Avenue youth set-up.
The Up the Boro site also has a report which says that "Unfortunately, in a game that deserved to be a draw, Altrincham had a large slice of luck just after the hour... A free kick (which in my opinion should have been a Stafford one anyway) was looking a comfortable take for Tomlinson in the Boro' goal before clipping the heel of Wayne Daniel and finding its way into the back of the net".
For this site's report, click here.
Above: Eddie Hussin is the Alty player nearest the ball in this shot of the match at snowy Stafford. For a further picture and a report on the match, see below.
"The financial meltdown at Nationwide North club Hucknall Town is threatening to overshadow the excitement generated by the derby duels with Alfreton Town. For commercial manager Daniel Lewis has become the latest victim of the cost-cutting at Watnall Road". Lewis had been "a full-time employee to oversee fundraising, sponsorship and advertising and the running of the new Talk Of The Town social club... But now the position of commercial manager has been dispensed with. Lewis has been laid off... saving the club his annual salary of between £20,000 and £30,000 a year. The bombshell is the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures that have afflicted Town since their main sponsors, chairman Brian Holmes's company, commercial building contractors Parkfield Projects, hit severe financial problems last month. Holmes has since ordered the playing squad to be cut, which resulted in the departure of popular midfielder Danny Mayman to Northwich Victoria. And it is possible that other players could leave...Striker Gary Ricketts has been the subject of a THIRD approach, again from Northwich, who are managed by former Hucknall boss Steve Burr. But they balked at the asking price" reports Hucknall Today.
Runcorn's Site reports that "The club has signed Tyrone Grant, a Manchester lad, 18 year old, 6 feet plus, left sided central defender/full back. Tyrone has been released from Manchester City's Academy... [But] The injuries still mount. Ged Nolan, Robbie Moore, Kieron Durkan, Martin Molyneux are all unavailable for selection at this present time".
L. to R. Gary Talbot, Colin Little, Val Owen, Steve Aspinall, Eddie Hussin and Gary Scott await a throw-in at Marston Road, whilst Stuart Coburn appears to be exchanging pleasantries with Stafford fans behind the goal.
On a snow-covered surface, Altrincham ended Stafford's unbeaten home record with a goal from Colin Little, deflected from a free-kick from a central position 20 yards out.
Match report here.
Leeds Today quotes Bradford PA boss Carl Shutt, "We have got to stop being naive, cut out the silly mistakes and keep our concentration for the full 90 minutes... We have been playing teams up near the top, and outplaying them at times, but we are only getting draws or losing because of mistakes. It is a young team we have got, and young lads do make mistakes". He added "I hope they can be disciplined off the field as well over the Christmas period. I want the players to enjoy themselves, but not too much... The most important part of the season for us will be in January. We have a run of five games where we play teams around us - Barrow, Stalybridge twice, Moor Green and Vauxhall Motors".
However, John Reed, manager of BPA's Boxing Day opponents, Harrogate Town, said "The Alfreton game simply wasn't good enough and I am expecting better against Bradford... I'm certainly not under-estimating Bradford, they are the only side to beat us at home this season". Reed told This is York "Championships are not decided in December and I think this one will go all the way... I feel we will still be up there among them come April and May".
This is Staffs says that "Stafford Rangers aim to close the gap on the Nationwide Conference North play-off pack over the Yuletide period. Rangers entertain old rivals Altrincham on Boxing Day (3pm) and, in the absence of other local non-league attractions, expect to pull in their biggest league crowd of the season. A win would give Phil Robinson's outfit four wins in a row and leave Rangers poised to overtake Altrincham in the New Year's Day return... Rangers were spared a Staffordshire Senior Cup tie at Sutton Coldfield on Monday due to the weather, but midfielders Craig Lovatt and Rob Heath are both doubtful for the Altrincham clash due to niggling injuries". Alty fans may wish to know that admission prices at Stafford are £9 (£5 concessions), an extra £2 for a stand seat and entry is £2 for children 12 and under accompanied by an adult.
The NL Paper has a piece on the late Harry McNally, who came from a different football world from the Beckhams. Harry was reserve team manager at Altrincham (c.1980/81) at the time when Graham Heathcote was a player at Moss Lane. Graham said, "Harry was one of football's great characters... He always had a joke to tell you.... But more importantly than any of that, he had a great football brain, a fantastic eye for a footballer and a passion to win. You put that in a package and you've got a football man. That's what he was". Another ex-Alty player Graham Barrow recalled how McNally, before his time in insisting on correct diets for players, told Mrs Barrow, "You can't be giving him pies. He's an athlete"!
Paul Ellender has spoken to This is Lincs about Sunday's game against Lincoln, who beat Ellender's Boston last Boxing Day when the ex-Alty defender conceded the deciding penalty. "I didn't think it was a penalty... To lose like that was a sickener - but we are all determined to make up for it".
The NW Evening Mail says Barrow boss Lee Turnbull "has been scouring the market in a bid to bolster his wafer-thin Bluebirds squad. But the Barrow AFC boss has met a dead end in his efforts to bring fresh blood to Holker Street... Turnbull said 'Iíve been on the blower to quite a few clubs about players but theyíre very reluctant to let them go at this time of year'".
The Portchat site quotes from the Southport Visiter where Port manager Liam Watson says that he "felt his side lacked 'quite a bit of quality at Altrincham'" and "will be looking to see if he can strengthen his squad to add impetus for the 2005 championship chase". The defeat by Alty "was the Sandgrounders' first league defeat since September 25 but draws with Worksop and Lancaster plus Saturday's setback were missed opportunities to break away from the pack. The treacherous Moss Road [Road?!] pitch was only just playable after two pitch inspections but there could be no excuses from the Sandgrounders". Watson added, "Altrincham were worthy winners and a number of our players did not put in the performances I expect from them. It was an awful start from us. We started poorly, they set the tempo and it is hard to recover from that. It is not usual but they looked like they wanted it more than us. The conditions were not great but that is no excuse".
Worksop Today says that "Town were this week given an ideal Christmas present. The long-time stumbling block to building work at Sandy Lane, problems with parking, could at last have been removed. And that means the Tigers are hoping to start work early next year in January or February".
IC Cheshire says tha "Alvin McDonald has urged everyone to stick together in a bid to arrest Runcorn's slump. The Linnets haven't picked up a point from their last 15 and the optimism of a few short weeks ago is being replaced by criticism". The manager said, "Supporters are entitled to their opinion and everyone is frustrated but none more so than me and (assistant) Peter (Carroll). But we are playing teams who are spending an awful lot of money on squads - Droylsden were one of the teams who thought they were going to win the title this year... I've inherited the squad and everyone's had a fair crack. It's now coming to the time where it becomes my squad. We've got to put a stop to this run. We've got to do it sooner rather than later before we are dragged into the relegation zone. We remain upbeat. I look at these teams who have spent a lot of money getting settled squads, thinking they are going to win this league. I can't say I have walked away thinking they are a million miles better than us". Meanwhile "McDonald hopes loan deals for two full-time professionals from Manchester City's academy will come to fruition before the weekend... One of the targets is a left-sided centre back and the other a left winger with good dead-ball delivery". Alty fans wil be interested that "The Linnets have already signed 21-year-old Jordan Burke, a left-sided midfield player who has served Vauxhall, Altrincham and Burscough and Phil McDiarmid, a ball-playing midfielder formerly with Leigh RMI".