1 to 30 September, 2006
Right: Joe O'Neill fights for posssession at Aldershot, as Robbie Lawton helps out.
Aldershot Town report that "Altrincham arrive at the Rec on Saturday afternoon with manager Terry Brown keen to erase the memories of last season's encounters with the Cheshire side. Graham Heathcote's team inflicted the double over the Shots and have started this season with some impressive results which has lifted them to a mid table placing in the Conference table although all four victories secured this season have been against sides in the lower half of the table. One player who is hoping for a return to the starting line up is Marcus Gayle... The former Jamaican international has been on the bench for the last four matches". Manager Terry Brown said, "I am continuing the pursuit of a loan deal but whether it will be this week or next is not confirmed at the moment. Darren Barnard is a playmaker for us and he is going in for an operation next week and I want it done as soon as possible. If needs be I could play him this weekend and have been told that it won't make any difference to the injury because he is already scheduled for the op. Darren has trained with us this week and I firmly believe that once Darren has the operation there are still plenty more years left in him. We have had a major blow with Mark Pritchard's injury.. it looks like an ankle ligament problem. It is up like a balloon and he won't be taking part for six to eight weeks... Dave Lee has looked a lot sharper in training this week and is about ready for a game. The positive thing about it is that he came to see me and said he is feeling more confident and is ready to play'.... Aware of the fact that Altrincham did complete the double over his side last season boss Brown said, 'It is about being professional and being up for these games. We won't take anything for granted off of any team in this league. We need to be a little bit more solid at the back. The reason that Oxford are top of the table is that they grind out results and keep clean sheets. We need to be doing that'".
And another twist in the Crawley Town saga comes from the club's website: "On Monday the 25th September 2006, Crawley Town Football and Social Club accepted an offer from Britannia Sports Management to purchase 100% share. The acceptance of this deal was based upon a number of conditions and reassurances. Failure by Mr. Pearson, who has been working closely with The Devils Trust, to provide funds for a deposit to prove his commitment to the Club and fulfil his promised obligations, has forced the Board to regretfully announce that negotiations have ceased. Crawley Town Football and Social Club will not enter into further negotiations with Matthew Pearson or Britannia Sports Management. The Board are disappointed that this deal has fallen through but are determined to push Crawley Town Football Club forward, and get back to focusing on the future successes of the team".
From the BBC we learn that "Kidderminster Harriers striker Dean Sturridge is to undergo surgery on an Achilles tendon injury. Sturridge, 33, has not played for three weeks and will have an operation on Saturday to repair his damaged tendon. The former Derby and Wolves striker has made just four Conference appearances, including one start, for Kidderminster since joining from QPR in the summer. Defender Jeff Kenna is also sidelined with a hamstring problem which may keep him out for two more weeks". But "Veteran Halifax Town defender Gus Uhlenbeek has agreed a deal to extend his stay at The Shay. The 36-year-old full-back joined Town on non-contract terms last month and has now signed a full contract. Uhlenbeek, whose previous clubs include Sheffield United, Fulham and Ipswich, has started eight Conference games for Chris Wilder's side. Halifax have also signed former Leeds United midfielder Nick Gray, 20, the son of Leeds legend Eddie Gray".
"Exeter City defender Jon Richardson has been rewarded with a contract until the end of the season. Richardson, 31, joined the Grecians for a second spell in the summer on a deal originally running until Christmas... He told the Express and Echo: 'To get the year's contract was something that I set out to achieve, so I am delighted it has happened'.
"Torquay have signed much-travelled Rushden & Diamonds striker Leo Fortune-West on a month's loan... Fortune-West joined Rushden during the summer after leaving Doncaster" states the BBC who also report that "Defender Matt Robinson is to join Forest Green Rovers. The 31-year-old has agreed a non-contract deal at the New Lawn after leaving Oxford in the summer. Robinson started 44 games for the U's during the 2005/06 season following earlier spells with Reading, Portsmouth and Southampton. Meanwhile, Rovers' boss Jim Harvey has released Guy Ipoua after deciding that the ex-Gillingham and Scunthorpe striker did not figure in his plans".
"Veteran goalkeeper Kevin Poole has agreed to stay with Burton Albion for another three months. Brewers boss Nigel Clough shook hands on a deal that will keep the 43-year-old stopper at the Pirelli Stadium until December 31st. And Clough has not ruled out the possibility of the Birmingham City academy coach hanging on to the number one shirt for rest of the season. Clough said: 'We'll sit down again with Kevin and discuss his situation when the transfer window re-opens. He's been our most consistent player after 11 games this season, but he might decide after twenty-five or thirty games that he's had enough. At the moment, though, we're delighted with his contribution, and it won't surprise me if he stays for the rest of the season'" reports tha Burton Mail.
Woking say that manager's son "Sam Cockerill has gone on a month's loan to Winchester City. Jerome Maledon played in a friendly for Ashford Town recently, purely a one-off for match practice. Saheed Sonkoh played for Cheltenham Town reserves this week, also a one off and he has travelled with the squad to Northwich for the match tomorrow".
St Albans City "have made their second signing of the week in 21-year old wingback Nathan Simpson.Nathan is a left-sided midfielder with plenty of pace who loves to get forward at every opportunity. He began his career in the professional game with Crystal Palace before injury kept him on the sidelines for some time. He returned to football last season".
Meanwhile Shots' keeper Nikki Bull said, "At the moment we're either really up or really down. We were dreadful on Friday night but against Stevenage the other week we could have honestly scored ten before half-time".
Alty now meet Worksop Town away in the next round of the FA Youth Cup. The winners of that match play either Morecambe FC or Vauxhall Motors (not Workington as Morecambe had previously reported). The Shrimps and the Motormen clash in the 2nd Round Qualifying Round at 1pm on Sunday 15th October. The date of Alty's trip to Worksop is yet to be confirmed.
Like Alty, the Aldershot News & Star reports that Saturday's opponents, Aldershot Town have an "injury crisis". Indeed, "young striker Mark Pritchard could face up to two months on the sidelines after he became the latest Aldershot player to pick up an injury. The former Swansea reserve forward damaged his ankle ligaments in a training ground incident on Wednesday morning and will face a lay-off of between four and eight weeks, according to the initial prognosis. The injury comes at a bad time for the Shots, who are already without Rhys Day, Mark Molesley, Louie Soares and Darren Barnard for tomorrow’s home match with Altrincham... However, the visitors also have an extensive injury list, with seven first team regulars in the treatment room, all unlikely to make the trip south. First choice keeper Stuart Coburn joins last year’s top scorer Colin Little, Steve Bushell and Gary Scott on the sidelines, while centre back pairing Gary Talbot and Peter Band are also out. Summer signing Peter Thomson has yet to play for the club due to a knee injury and will not feature at the Rec either. Despite his own side’s injury problems, the Shots’ manager is targeting six points from the home games with Alty and Tamworth. 'We expect to win our home games — anything less would be disappointing,” Brown said. 'Altrincham have a good team spirit and are very well organised. They inflicted defeats on us both home and away last season so we know that if they get their noses in front, they’re a real handful. We have to impose ourselves right from the word go. My concern is that the bulk of the squad are very young and we can’t carry them. Apart from Andy Edwards, the current backline are all quite young and while they have done very well, we need a bit more experience back there so I’m looking to bring someone in on loan. We have two or three targets in mind but the timing has to be right... We can’t have a back four that, apart from Andy Edwards, has no real experience'. Brown revealed that changes are expected for tomorrow’s game, with Marcus Gayle likely to return to the starting line-up".
On Tuesday night the Conference fixture computer has given us a long trip down to Cambridge - but you can travel in style on the STAR supporters' coach. The Cambridge Evening News reports that "new Cambridge United manager Jimmy Quinn. said it would not be an overnight task to transform his squad to the level of condition he wanted. 'As a squad, we need to get much fitter, but it's something we'll do gradually over the next couple of months', said Quinn. 'If you're fitter and stronger, you go into games with more mental strength.. If we want to get up the table and out of this position, we've got to be fitter and stronger'... Quinn added that his No 2 Steve Castle would play a big part in getting the squad to the required level... Meanwhile, Andy Duncan is set for another stint at Lilleshall as he continues his rehabilitation from a thigh injury... but is still two or three weeks' away from full training". But team captain Mark Peters "is set to be ruled out for at least two months with a heel injury... Meanwhile, Liam Marum hopes he will be handed the chance to make it three in a row for United at Tamworth on Saturday.The former Reading trainee striker has scored in both his last two games after being given his chance because of injuries to Danny Carey-Bertram and Robbie Simpson... 'I know that to stay in the first team I need to play better and score a few more goals', said Marum, who went off because of cramp after an hour against the Shots.... And with Carey-Bertram likely to be back in contention after a hamstring injury, Quinn may face a selection headache for the weekend".
Admission £5 for adults, £3 for concessionaries.
Former City players involved will include Peter Barnes, Asa Hartford, Andy Morrison, Steve Redmond, Andy Brightwell,Andy Dibble, Mark Lillis, Kevin Reeves, Dave Bennett. Ex-United players will be Clayton Blackmore, Lee Martin and ex-Macclesfield stalwart John Askey is also taking part, plus a few extra celebrity guests on the day !
The game will be kicked off by City legend Ken Barnes. And there will be pre-match entertainments including a 16-piece brass band, pan pipers, The Berzercus Circus and face painters as well as a pre-match raffle and a tombola.
"Manager Sammy McIlroy has vowed to revive Morecambe's fortunes following a disappointing start to the season. His side were among the pre-season promotion favourites but have won just three games so far and dropped four points from their last two home games. McIlroy told the Morecambe Visitor: 'It has been the worst week I've had since I've been at Morecambe but I can assure people that I'll turn it around. Once I get my first team out there, I know we will zoom up that league'" reports the BBC
"'Southport have signed Carlisle defender Dan Kirkup on a month's loan. The 19-year-old centre-back signed a one-year professional deal with the Cumbrians in the summer, but has not yet appeared for their first team. Playing matches will be fantastic experience for him and it should toughen him up' boss Neil McDonald told his club's website".
THANKS, IANSensport Kits, the company run by former Alty goalkeeper Ian Senior supplied a very smart new kit for Altrincham FC Youth last night for which all at the Club are very grateful.
In Wednesday night's FA Youth Cup match (right), Altrincham overcame Sheffield side, Handsworth FC 3-0, though for half the game such a margin of victory looked unlikely.
Match report in the Youth Team Section.
The Shots website says that "With a heavy schedule of four games coming up in a nine day spell starting with the visit of Altrincham on Saturday manager Terry Brown is considering making a loan signing due to the absence of key players at this current moment in time. Talking to The Shots he said, 'It is quite evident that we are like a Jekyll and Hyde outfit at the moment. We are utilising the services of some of our younger players far more than I would have liked to and whilst they have done a fantastic job and will be terrific players in the future the idea was to bring them through as and when there was a chance for them. I would have every confidence that they could come in and do a fantastic job for a short period of time but not all at the same time. Three of my back four are currently 20 or younger. These players should have been developing through the Pontins League and not en bloc in the first team'. The boss also explained that experienced defender Darren Barnard is to undergo a groin operation next week... The absence of the former Welsh international is compounded by the loss of his fellow countryman, Rhys Day, who has been sidelined since coming off with a knee injury in the 4-0 victory at home to Stevenage Borough a fortnight ago and midfielder Mark Molesley". Day is "a bit off playing a game" whilst Brown added that "Mark Molesley was, for me, our best player in pre season... He has a lower disc problem in his back and there is no magical cure for it. You don't just go and see a chinese herbalist who gives you a load of pills and cricks your neck and you are suddenly back and ready to play. It is a time thing". Meanwhile "Another player who has yet to appear in a competitive match this season is midfielder Dave Lee. The boss... said, "Ideally I need to get Dave Lee on loan. I am aware that people have been questioning why Dave hasn't been playing. It is a big ask to throw him straight back in after his ordeal. It may be a case that we have to but I would have loved him to have had a month somewhere and for him to come back match fit and hungry". Lee is recovering from a broken leg". Brown added that he and colleagues will "be viewing a number of midweek matches with the view of making a further loan acquisition".
The Cambridge Evening News says that "Defenders Rob Gier and Trevor Robinson are in line to be offered extended deals with Cambridge United. The full-back duo were brought in on month-long contracts by former manager Rob Newman on transfer deadline day... Gier, 26, who was released by Rushden & Diamonds at the end of last season, has proved to be a revelation at right-back while 22-year-old left-back Robinson, formerly with Millwall, was a worthy replacement during Tommy Jaszczun's recent three-match suspension". Robinson scored against Alty in the FA Cup whilst at Tamworth last season. Cambridge manager Jimmy Quinn said, "We haven't got the biggest squad at the moment and I'll be talking with the chairman when he comes back later in the week, because we need to have a look at both of these players. But we also need to see whether or not there are any better players out there who might help us improve Cambridge United as well". But "Quinn used his weekend off to spy on United's next opponents in their 2-0 defeat at Altrincham. 'Tamworth were a bit disjointed,... they couldn't have played any worse," As for United he said, He said: "It's the mental side of the game more than anything, they just need to go away from the Abbey, be positive and try to win every game rather than think about just getting a point". Meanwhile, Cambridge have confirmed that Mark Peters is out injured for 8 weeks.
Also, "Woking manager Glenn Cockerill has not ruled out bringing Stevenage striker Jon Nurse back to Kingfield. Nurse has returned to Stevenage following a successful loan spell with the Cards but Cockerill will continue to monitor the 25-year-old's progress. Cockerill told BBC Sport: 'Stevenage boss Mark Stimson knows I am interested in something if Jon isn't fulfilling his potential'".
This is United reports that "Oxford United striker Marvin Robinson will today find out the extent of his knee injury. The 26-year-old undergoes exploratory surgery on his right knee after picking up the injury in the televised win over Crawley last week... Robinson is yet to score for the U's since his move from Macclesfield a month ago... United physio Neil Sullivan said 'We know that Marvin had done damage to the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee... I would say that you are probably looking at between ten and 12 weeks'... There is good news on United's injury front however, with Gavin Johnson making good progress from his hamstring injury. Sullivan explained: "He would be looking for a reserve game in around a fortnight to get back into the swing of things'".
St Albans CIty "are pleased to announce the signing former Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Nicolas. The 23-year old London born player attended training last night... He played in two Premiership games for the Blues... As Chelsea's spending and squad grew Alexis found his opportunities limited and went... to Brighton... He played in 44 League games and two League Cup ties before leaving at the end of last season... As one player joins the club so another leaves with Josh Sozzo becoming the third departure from Clarence Park this week. Twenty-seven year old Josh signed for the Saints in the summer from county rivals Hitchin Town, the Canaries are believed to be one of several clubs interested in re-signing him".
The Dorset Echo says that "Andy Harris and Wayne Purser have been assured they still have long-term futures with Weymouth. The midfielder and striker are both set for first-team recalls after they return from loan spells at Nationwide South side Eastleigh".
Handsworth United Youth are from Sheffield, though they share their club name with a Birmingham team.
The Altrincham squad is 1. Lewis BISHOP, 2. Tom BARCLAY (capt), 3. Ben ROBSON, 4. Alex MURPHY, 5. Michael HOWE, 6. Marcus BAXBY, 7. Steven ROBERTS, 8. Michael BAXBY, 9. Tom BAILEY, 10. Rick CRAWFORD, 11. Anthony DAVIES (vice-captain). 12. James CORDINGLEY, 14. Ryan BURGESS, 15. Danny BROWNE, 16. Kirtis HOGAN, 17. Jack ENTWISTLE. GK. Scott BALL, 18. Reza ZAREH-OURANG, 19. Andy ASTON, 20. Kieran RAYNES.
The Alty team is a mix of last season's under-age players and some new faces. Ben Robson is the son of Manchester United and England star, Bryan Robson, who lives locally.
Right: Robbie Lawton in full flight against Tamworth, as captured by Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography.
SAM reports that "Few results this season will fill the Moss Lane crowd with the kind of satisfaction that accompanied Saturday's 2-0 win over Tamworth. This was about much more than Alty climbing above their rivals in the scramble to avoid relegation from the Conference, it was 'get your own back' time. During last season's Robinson-gate saga, Tamworth had seized the chance to alleviate their own relegation worries by becoming one of the more vocal advocates for a full 18-point deduction to be imposed upon the Robins. 'You tried, you failed, we stayed up' read a banner in the Golf Road End, but Tamworth did more than fail on their latest visit to Cheshire. The Lambs were absolutely wretched, left to wander haplessly around the pitch before being led to the slaughter by a far superior outfit. Alty had the measure of their opponents right from the start, their direct approach and intelligent runs giving the visiting backline no end of worries".
Meanwhile, "Gravesend and Northfleet have completed the signing of winger Chris Anderson. The Scot, 19, impressed during a pre-season trial and has now received international clearance to complete his move to the Conference club. Fleet boss Liam Daish told his club's website: 'We have done well so far this season but it is going to be a long and difficult campaign. We need as a many quality players on board as possible and Chris will boost what a very strong squad'" states the BBC.
Yet another twist to the Crawley saga... The club website has the following: "The Directors of Crawley Town Football & Social Club Limited announces today that on Monday September 25th 2006 that it has accepted an undisclosed bid from Britannia Sports Management to purchase 100% share of the company. Britannia Sports Management has been working closely with the Devils' Trust in preparing a bid for the Company. Speaking on the proposed sale, Interim Chairman Susan Todman said 'We have received a bid which is acceptable to the board of the Football Club. The aim of our Board has always been to see the Club progress and compete on a level playing field with all the teams in the Conference National and we now look forward to Mr Pearson substantiating his offer'. The Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) which was accepted by the creditors will still be honoured by SA Retail Limited, leaving Crawley Town Football & Social Club Limited clear from debt. The Football Club will not be making anymore statements until there are further developments".
The Crawley Argus adds that "Chas and Azwar Majeed last night accepted an undisclosed offer from the London-based sports management company. Chas Majeed said: 'It is not done and dusted yet, it is in the hands of solicitors, but we have agreed to sell the club to them'. Europa managing director Matthew Pearson said: 'It is great news. There is still a lot to sort out but things are definitely moving in the right direction'. The Majeeds are unlikely to see any money from the sale as most will go to paying off the club's £1.8 million debts. Creditors are owed almost £900,000, which must be paid by the end of October or the club will be liquidated. Chas Majeed says the decision to sell was made following Saturday's 1-0 home defeat against Grays. The brothers suffered abuse from a minority of supporters during the game and again outside the ground afterwards. The Majeeds have become increasingly unpopular with some fans unhappy with the way they have run the club since taking over 14 months ago... Chas said: 'There is only so much abuse you can take from fans. It is only from a small number but when you are putting money into a club and are then getting constant stick, you get fed up in the end. We've had enough of it. Everyone is saying we should sell up and that other people would do a better job than us, so now we have decided to do it and see if they are right'... Pearson said: 'All our money is in off-shore accounts, which is why you can't find details of our accounts on the internet. We definitely can afford to buy the club and to run it and are very serious about wanting to make the club a success. It is a great club and we feel it has massive potential if it was run in the right way and we are confident we can do that. We also see it as a business decision and believe it will help our company expand in the UK'".
York City Football Club has "announced that the dates for their home fixtures against Halifax Town and Woking during the Christmas period have been changed to the following: York City v Halifax Town – Saturday 23rd December, 3.00pm kick-off. York City v Woking – Friday 29th December, 7.45pm kick-off. The Club explained that the Halifax game has been moved to Saturday 23rd December due to a proposed increase in police charges for the bank holiday game. In order to stage this game on Boxing Day, the police charges for this fixture would have increased by 55%, a cost inflation the Club cannot afford. York City also confirmed that Woking approached the Club to change the fixture from Saturday 30th December to Friday 29th December. York City was happy to help as the fixture change will give the team an extra day of preparation before their trip to Morecambe on New Years Day. Also, Woking kindly agreed to a fixture change last season in order to avoid a clash with York Races and the Club was therefore pleased to reciprocate".
The Conference confirms that "Stevenage Borough manager Mark Stimson has confirmed that experienced midfielder Steve Guppy has re-signed for an extended period. Guppy has been in impressive form so far this season and has shown his commitment to the club by extending his original one-month contract which he signed on August 17th. The former England international, who despite only making one cap for his country is a quality player nonetheless, has played seven games for Borough this season and has made his wealth of experience count for his new team".
The informative This is United site says that "Midfielder Carl Pettefer believes the fitness of Oxford United's players is playing a big part in their stunning start to the season. The U's looked stronger as the game went on at Marston Road Stadium and by the end there was little left in the tank for many of the Stafford players. Pettefer said: 'We showed our superior fitness in the second half, which is down to us being full-time and them being part-time... If we're going to get promoted, these are the kinds of games that we need to win, as well as our home games. Stafford came up from the Conference North, so they are used to winning, which makes these big games. It was a good result for us'. Pettefer, who joined United from Southend in the summer, said 'It's not much different to League Two, to be honest. It's hard to get the ball down and play, you don't get much time, but we've shown that when we do that, we can tear teams apart... It's always a good sign. If you're not playing that well and are winning . . . those are the teams that are successful. And there's no doubt, if it does all come together for us, one day we're going to give a team a hammering. We played quite well against Northwich and beat them 5-1, and hopefully somebody's going to get a spanking from us". Meanwhile "Jim Smith's focus on a rock-solid defence, and his capture of Welsh striker Rob Duffy seem masterstrokes after... a comfortable 1-0 win at Stafford... United have now kept four clean sheets in their six away games". After the Stafford game, United boss Jim Smith said: "People always talk about you having to score goals, which you obviously need to win a game, but if you keep clean sheets it certainly gives you a lot better chance to win a game... Obviously the fitness levels came out because they're part-time"... Already without Phil Gilchrist, Gavin Johnson and Marvin Robinson, they were dealt a further blow with Andy Burgess unable to travel because of illness. Yet Oxford still had too much for their opponents".
Above: Gavin Rathbone's excellent photo of Val Owen's overhead kick in the Tamworth game. More of Gavin's photos are on his website and they can also be purchased in the Robins' Shop.
Right, for the first time since 23 April 2005, against Redditch United, club captain Eddie Hussin (no.23) takes to the field in a first-team match at Moss Lane. He is seen here coming on as a late sub. against Tamworth last Saturday, exactly 17 months later.
NL Daily reports from St Albans that "Following Saturday's defeat to Gravesend & Northfleet, Colin Lippiatt, manager of St Albans City, has released two players with more comings and goings at Clarence Park believed to be a possibility. Left-sided winger Adam Wilde, signed in the summer from Salisbury City, has been released along with recent signing Kurt Husnu. Wilde, 27, featured in ten of the Saints' eleven league matches this season, making seven starting and three substitute appearances. Husnu had one of the briefest City's careers on record, with the former Southend midfielder having only signed for the club on Friday. He played for the opening 45 minutes on Saturday and was then released two days later".
And Howard Watts's Through the Years files tell us what happened in previous years on the day we travel to Aldershot.
Match report here.
Above: Warren Peyton, Stephen Rose, Karl Munroe and Richard Acton keep Tamworth at bay.
The official website at Tamworth says "We didn't deserve anything. Lambs boss Mark Cooper blasted his side after their 2-0 away defeat to the hands of Graham Heathcote's Altrincham on Saturday. 'We simply weren't good enough. I said before the game that Altrincham will punish a side that isn't totally focussed and we allowed them the opportunity of scoring both their goals by creating a situation that shouldn't have been. Our defenders and our goalkeeper got mixed up between them and they caught us out because of it. They were hardworking and workmanlike but didn't really threaten us other than when we let them in. We obviously then had to score to get back into the game and Taiwo missed two golden chances late on, but at the end of the day we didn't deserve anything out of it on that performance. I feel let down by 5 or 6 of the side today who didn't look committed to the task and their spaces are not guaranteed in our next game'". The Tamworth site also has a match report.
Right: Alty's Peyton, Lawton, Owen and Potts are all in line as Tamworth's Atenio wins the ball. Lewis Chalmers looks on, left/
Leigh RMI report that "On the field as a substitute, debutant Carl Furlong looked terrific in his link-up play with both the RMI midfield and fellow striker Chris Simm, and is was through his ability that he managed to get himself in a position to lay the ball off to McAuley, who promptly fired a terrific, curving shot past Alfreton goalkeeper Dale Roberts and in to the top corner of the net".
Josh Mitten scored two as Flixton won 2-0 in the FA Vase, whilst former Alty Youth Deon Depeiaza netted for Trafford in the same competition. Stuart Schueber scored for Nantwich in the NWCFL.
Going on to discuss injuries, Graham added, "It's a complete nightmare". Nine players missed the game at FGR, which he described as the worst crisis "in his four-year tenure at Moss Lane". He said that against Tamworth, on Saturday, Alty could have "A case of mssing eight first team players - I already have six different teams in my head! They've all got various knocks. Bushell (right, pictured by Gavin Rathbone) is certainly out with his hamstring injury and the others don't look great". But, he went on, "I've never questioned the spirit of my side. They've always given their all. Our character shone through on Tuesday and gives us a lot of confidence. The players that came in showed tremendous heart". As for the visitors, he concluded, "Tamworth are a good side, a side who will come here fancying their chances against us, like they do most weeks against every other team".
The BBC says that "Altrincham midfielder Val Owen returns from suspension but Gary Talbot (calf), Steve Bushell (hamstring), Colin Little (ankle) and Gary Scott (knee) are out. Midfielder Peter Band (knee) remains a worry alongside Justin Bowler (foot) and goalkeeper Stuart Coburn (groin) is unlikely to feature. Tamworth welcome back midfielder John McGrath (bruised foot). But the Lambs will definitely be without defender David Bampton (knee) and midfielder Graham Deakin (ankle)".
As Alty fans know, Geoff's coach company Go Goodwins were the transport providers for the Australian cricketers on their last tour of England. And "Popeye" as Geoff is nicknamed by the Aussies because of his muscular arms revealed that England captain Freddie Flintoff had jokingly told him, "Popeye, you're a traitor" for his friendship with the tourists. In fact, Darren Lehmann and Glenn McGrath were recent guests at a charity dinner at Lancashire CCC, organised by Geoff and his wife Suzanne, from which a large portion of the proceeds went to the McGrath Foundation, which was established by Glenn and his wife for the provision of breast-cancer nursing. Geoff also told Wilson that when the Aussies came to watch Altrincham play a pre-season friendly last year, they turned down an offer of hospitality at Manchester United to do so.
The BBC reports that "Burton Albion defender Terry Henshaw has joined Hednesford Town on a month's loan. Brewers boss Nigel Clough allowed Henshaw to move to Keys Park for the chance of first-team football". And another departure from Haig Avenue to join ex-manager Liam Watson, "Southport forward Robbie Booth has left Haig Avenue to sign for Burscough. The move reunites Booth, 20, with former Port boss Liam Watson, and means a second spell with Burscough following a loan stint there last season. Booth, who joined Southport following his departure from Chester City in July 2005, had the remainder of his contract terminated by mutual consent. He had made six appearances for the Sandgrounders this season".
Friday's NL Paper says that Dagenham and Redbridge may sue the FA after the former Boston United manager and chairman were found guilty of fraud during their 2002 promotion season in the Conference. Dagenham would have been promoted had more severe sanctions been taken against Boston at the time.
This is United says tha "Oxford United have been dealt their second big injury blow of the season with the news that striker Marvin Robinson could be sidelined for ten weeks. The much-travelled 26-year-old, who only joined the U's from Macclesfield three weeks ago, has a torn ligament in his right knee... Manager Jim Smith said after training yesterday: 'He's having keyhole surgery either tomorrow or on Monday. He could be out of first-team action for ten weeks. It will be anything between six and eight weeks before he can start to play football again'... This is the second long-term injury United have suffered this season. Left back Gavin Johnson suffered a badly torn hamstring in the first half of the home game against St Albans which is sidelining him for six weeks. And with Oxford's squad not the biggest, it's of some concern, especially as reserve team striker Billy Beechers picked up an injury... in midweek... Robinson's injury means Rob Duffy returns up front alongside Steve Basham in tomorrow's game at Stafford Rangers".
And "Woking boss Glenn Cockerill is waiting to hear if they can extend the loan period of Jon Nurse from Stevenage. The 20-year-old striker is set to return to Broadhall way after Saturday's home match against Rushden and Diamonds. Cockerill told BBC Southern Counties Radio: 'He's enjoying it here, he likes the club and he's given us that extra bit we didn't have last year'".
"Aldershot defender Dean Smith has signed a new long-term deal at the Recreation Ground. Smith, 20, who joined the Shots after leaving Chelsea in the summer, has signed up until June 2008. He told Shots website: "I want to be part of Aldershot Town's future. I've discovered there are a lot of good players in the Conference and I'm really appreciating the fact I can play regular first-team football'".
NL Daily says that "Faced with mounting injuries to his strike force, Gary Mills, manager of Alfreton Town, pulled off something of a coup to land the experienced Mark Rawle in time for last Saturday’s game. Rawle, 27, was signed just over 24 hours before the game and despite not having played regularly since the back end of last season with Gravesend & Northfleet and Woking in the Conference National, he made his mark with a man-of-the-match all-action style display".
"Managerless Principality Welsh Premier club Caernarfon Town have signed experienced defender Steve Yates from Morecambe. Previously he was with Halifax Town, for whom he signed in January 2006 on a contract until the end of the season but he was released in May of this year and joined Morecambe and featured eight times for the Shrimps" says NL Daily.
SAM SAM says that "A Herculean effort from a patched up Alty side saw them claim a point at Forest Green on Tuesday night after the most unlikely of comebacks... With the final result seemingly a foregone conclusion and the home fans enjoying a chance to taunt their visitors, Altrincham hit back... But the performance on the pitch was marred slightly by the sending off of manager Graham Heathcote five minutes before half time. Heathcote was left fuming by the referee's decision Speaking to SAM Sport after the game, he said: 'After that, I don't know what way I'm going myself. If I got sent off for what the referee thought I said then I'm really struggling with that one. I said to him that he needed to be a bit more even with his decision-making and then said you are having a blinder. He told me not to make another comment like that or I would be sent off and when somebody behind me shouted something, he sent me off. I did explain it to him but he just told me it was too late because he had already sent me off and then ordered me into the stands. I can't afford to keep getting sent off like this but I really can't live with that decision tonight'". Of the game he said, "It was an absolutely fantastic show of character," he said. "We came here with eight injuries and had to sign three players yesterday to be able to even put a squad out. So after all that to go down and come back after all that, words can't express how highly I think of the players right now".
Right, are seen three players who, until a week ago, had not started a Conference game between them this season but who all excelled at Forest Green last Tuesday; Kieran Lugsden, Colin Potts and Rod Thornley.
Oxford's unofficial This is United site says that "Oxford United are reaping the dividends from ensuring they have a strong 15 or 16-man group of senior players... Midfielder Chris Hargreaves... said: 'When you look at our bench, the bench is strong. We had Eddie Hutchinson, who was playing in a higher division last year, John Dempster, who's a decent player, Yemi (Odubade), who keeps scoring when he comes on, Rob Duffy, who's done very well this season, and Chris Tardif. By sending on strong players from the bench it keeps the pressure on opponents when they're getting tired towards the end of games. That's the difference, we've got some firepower on the bench'". Manager Jim Smith added, "That was our strength at Crawley, it was a fantastically strong bench for this league, and that played a big part on the night".
Alty travel to Cambridge on 3rd October when Ritchie Hanlon should still be suspended, having picked up a four-game ban after being sent off last Saturday.
And from This is Glos we read that "If Jim Harvey is to haul Forest Green out of the pits of the Conference, he must eradicate the needless defensive errors that cost his side their first victory of the season at the New Lawn. They frittered away a comfortable two-goal lead in the second half against a mix-and-match Altrincham side. With only three first team regulars making the trip south due to the raft of injuries and suspensions damaging Graham Heathcote's ranks, this was the ideal opportunity for Rovers to end their winless run... Frustrations boiled over for the visiting contingent, with Heathcote sent from the dug-out after referee Simon Snartt took exception to the Altrincham boss's comments. The same happened last time he visited Nailsworth and it was the second time this season Heathcote has been sent to the stand - the last was against St Albans for a similar incident when his team were winning. This served to exacerbate the agricultural verbals from the travelling support and galvanise the Altrincham players".
NL Daily says that "Exeter City have taken former Portsmouth, Dundee and Livingston midfielder Neil Barrett on a week's trial. The former Chelsea trainee, 24, has been without a club since leaving Livingston last season. Barrett joins former Forfar winger Colin Marshall, who joined the Grecians on trial last week, and is set to remain with them for a few more days. City boss Paul Tisdale is also looking at striker Jake Reid from his former club, Team Bath".
The BBC reports that "Burton boss Nigel Clough said he was keen to keep veteran goalkeeper Kevin Poole after he helped the Brewers to their first home win of the season. Daryl Clare scored the winner as Burton beat Cambridge 2-1 on Tuesday. 'Kevin Poole was brilliant. In 10 games he's been immaculate', said Clough. 'So if Kevin is happy, we are happy for him to stay indefinitely'. Burton had lined up a loan deal for Crewe's Stuart Tomlinson but he has not yet been allowed to leave Gresty Road. Clough added: 'We're at a stage where we certainly can't keep waiting for ever and ever for Crewe'".
Above: Kick-off at The New Lawn - with Alty in blue.
An Altrincham side lacking nine of the first -team squad, (the injured Coburn, Scott, Band, Talbot, Bushell, Little, Thomson, Bowler and the suspended Owen), staged a fine comeback in the second half after trailing 2-0 at the interval and having manager Graham Heathcote sent off for alleged "sarcasm".
Match report here
Pictured by Gavin Rathbone are Richard Acton (left) and Eddie Hussin (right).
Into the side comes goalkeeper Richard Acton. Richard was the club's regular first-team keeper in 2002-03 but suffered a bad shoulder injury at Harrogate Town in August 2003 and did not play a league game at all for the rest of the season. In the following three years or more, he has started one league game, at Runcorn FC Halton in Nationwide North in October 2004, though he made two cup and a number of Reserves' appearances last season. Graham has also signed three players on Conference forms. One of these is Eddie Hussin, who will have squad number 23. Eddie Hussin was a major factor in the club's promotion to the Conference at the end of 2004-05 but he underwent a cruciate ligament operation that summer and has yet to re-appear in the first team. Midfielder Eddie is the club captain. So far he has played in several reserve games as part of his rehabilitation. Also signed are defender George Melling, who returned to the club recently from Leigh RMI, and former Manchester City reserve, Paul Collins, who is a young left-back. Paul has played two reserve games for Altrincham recently. All three players will be travelling to FGR today.
Pictured by Gavin Rathbone are Stuart Coburn (left) and Gary Talbot (right).
However, "On-loan Forest Green striker Charlie Griffin has been released from hospital after sustaining a head injury... Griffin, who is on loan from Wycombe Wanderers, was knocked unconscious and was kept in hospital until Monday... The ex-Swindon striker, 27, is not expected to play for the next week... while Arek Zarczynski is also out (Achilles)". The FGR Secretary writes on the club Forum that "Following the injury to Charlie Griffin... Jim Harvey worked with club officials late last night to secure the emergency loan signing of 27yr old Adriano Rigoglioso, which was completed this morning. Shelly (nickname) will be allocated squad No 23. He was originally with Liverpool as a youngster and besides Morecambe spent time in the Football League with Doncaster Rovers. The loan is initially for one month".
The referee for FGR v Altrincham will be Simon Snartt.
"Stafford Rangers have signed Stoke City defender Sean Robinson on loan... on a short-term deal... A second-year scholar, Robinson plays for Stoke's Academy and reserve sides and joined Rangers following a number of injuries at Marston Road" says the BBC.
NL Daily says that "Margate have announced the signing of Pat Sappleton, a central defender from Crawley Town... Meanwhile, it is expected that Hasim Deen will join Conference National outfit Stevenage Borough on a month`s loan with a view to a permanent transfer".
Meanwhile, the Football Conference says that "Paul Cook, manager of Southport, has secured the services of Nigerian striker Awan Douglas. The 6' 5" frontman arrived in England last week after plying his trade in Lithuania and has been training at Haig Avenue since. Secretary Ken Hilton has confirmed that Douglas's international clearance has gone through... The tall forward has previously been on trial with Brentford and Derby County and boss Cook will give Douglas a place on the bench to boost his options".
Altrincham enter the competition at the 4th Qualifying Round on 28th October.
The youth team's early season fixtures have now been released and are viewable in the Youth section.
The Woking official site reports that "An inspired fightback at Moss Lane led the Cards to their fourth win in five and to eighth place in the table, despite having gone 2-0 down within the opening twenty minutes. Goma Lambu led the show with two goals and countless mazy runs, but the energy for the comeback was primarily due to a team performance brimming in character. Truth be told though there wasn’t much of that character from an unchanged Woking line up in those first twenty minutes.. The team will face stronger sides than Altrincham over the course of the season, but there aren’t many sterner tests than overcoming a two goal deficit away from home".
This site's report is here.
Woking boss Glenn Cockerill said, "We were lucky that injuries hit Alty". At half time "I had to get at some of the players and I changed a few things around... we deserved the win thanks to our work in the last hour".
Above: Robbie Lawton takes the congratulations after putting Altrincham 2-0 ahead.
Injuries cost Alty dear after they had taken a two-goal lead.
Match report here.
And Blake Norton scored for Worksop Town.
Above: Colin Little receives the congratulations of Karl Munroe after scoring against Halifax last Tuesday as Robbie Lawton and Joe O'Neill arrive to join in the celebrations. This and more of Gavin Rathbone's photos can be ordered via the Robins' Shop or his GR Photography website.
In the NL Paper, Graham Heathcote says "Every game is tough for us and we treat them all the same... and we have the added problem of injuries... but, having said that, we beat Halifax despite these problems. We're a wiser club than we were last season but we do have a problem with recovery from injuries... Our home form has been good but we do have a problem on our travels and are picking up whatever results we can... Woking turned us over twice last season and we are expecting a physical game and a difficult one. But, whatever happens, we will remain level-headed. We don't plunge to the depths when we lose and but the same token we don't jump up and down when we win either". The Cards have a settled side with only one change in their last four games, the inoitroduction of Shola Oyedele to replace the injured Steve Evans in midfield.
SAM adds that "Last season the Cards out-muscled and embarrassed Alty at Moss Lane, running out 4-0 winners against their injury-hit hosts. The omens are not good ahead of this year's clash, with the Robins again facing something of an injury crisis. Colin Little is out after picking up a knock in midweek, while Gary Talbot is also still injured. Peter Band has a 50/50 chance of being fit for the game but it seems likely that the partnership of Karl Munroe and Stephen Rose will continue in the heart of defence. In midfield, Val Owen serves the second game of his three-match suspension, although Colin Potts will return to Moss Lane after three games on loan at Burscough. Fellow winger Justin Bowler will play in the reserves on Friday as he looks to regain full fitness, while Peter Thomson is also fully on the road to recovery after... four days' intensive training at Lilleshall next week. Thomson has organised the trip himself through the PFA and hopes to back playing within the next two weeks. But despite the long queue at their treatment room door, Alty are much better prepared to cope with the physical threat posed by Woking this time round. Against Halifax, Steve Bushell and Lewis Chalmers were colossal in the midfield engine room and the Robins will certainly not let themselves be bullied by anyone. Woking, meanwhile, have a fully fit squad to choose from, with both Ollie Berquez and Chris Sharpling returning from injury... After a poor start to the season, Woking have improved significantly and enter Saturday's game on the back of a four-match unbeaten run". Having suffered a hat-trick from Rushden teenager Simeon Jackson a week ago, Alty face a Woking teenage sensation in 18 year-old Giuseppe Sole who "graduated from the Woking Academy in the summer and has since scored four goals in four starts".
Meanwhile Woking say that "A repeat of last season’s 4-0 mauling would be very nice... Altrincham have made a steady start to this season".
Southport "Striker Tony Gray is almost certainly ruled out with a hamstring strain that has not responded to treatment as quickly as hoped. While James Olsen [ex-Alty] is definitely out. Coach Mike Marsh has this morning signed a Conference form and will have number 28 as his squad number. Fellow coach John Durnin has already signed a form and both can be utilised if and when required". Also, "Southport have re-signed goalkeeper Ryan Robinson on loan from local rivals Morecambe - with a view to a permanent move in the January transfer window. The 23-year-old ex-Blackburn trainee had previously joined Port on loan just before the start of the season. However, he was then recalled when Morecambe suffered injury problems. 'Ryan has indicated he wants to play here, and the acquisition adds strength to the squad', Southport manager Paul Cook told his club's website".
The BBC says that "Former Forfar Athletic winger Colin Marshall has joined Exeter on trial. The 21-year-old ex-Aston Villa trainee is a free agent after leaving Station Park in August, having made just seven appearances for Forfar. 'He is down for a week, and at the end of the week it might be a 'yes', a 'no' or it might be 'come back again',' boss Paul Tisdale told the Express & Echo".
Stevenage Borough have "signed 22 year old central defender Hasim Deen on loan from Margate after a 1 week trial. The Gambian defender has represented his country at U17 and U21 level and signed for Margate last season upon his arrival in the UK". The BBC adds that "Stevenage Borough boss Mark Stimson is hoping to extend winger Steve Guppy's stay at Broadhall Way. Guppy, 37, reaches the end of his initial month's contract... after Saturday's game against Cambridge United. Stimson told his club's website: "I will be having another chat and I'm hopeful that we can do something for another period of time. 'He does add that bit of quality to us', Stimson added".
The Argus says that "Crawley boss John Hollins is today bracing himself for the departure of one of his first team regulars...Hollins is waiting to see if the player turns up today when Reds travel to Southport for tomorrow's Conference game... Hollins said: 'I might be about to lose a player, we will have to wait and see. I can't say who it is but he is someone who has been in the 14 since the start of the season. I have spoken to his agent and now it is down to him. This is the problem we face, unfortunately, and we have to get on with it'.. Beyond the starting line-up, Hollins does not have strength in depth and admits it could become a problem... Hollins said: 'If we lose players we can't bring in any new ones because of the transfer window. If one goes that would leave us with 13 which is not a lot. It is very hard when you have such a small squad. It is not about tiredness because I don't like that as an excuse, it is about picking up knocks and suspensions... If we get a few injuries we would be in trouble so we have not been able to train players very hard just in case. People think because we have won a few games that it is going to be easy. We have to work very hard to squeeze everything we can out of the players and at the moment they are giving everything'".
Northwich Victoria extend "Congratulations to Steve Burr who was yesterday informed that he had won the Non- League Club Directory Manager of the Year award for 2005/06, for his achievements with Northwich Victoria & England. Steve will receive his award at the F.A. Headquarters in Soho Square at the launch of the 2006/07 Directory on the 14th of October".
Above: Gavin Rathbone's fine shot captures Lewis Chalmers in action against Halifax last Tuesday. Gavin's photos can be ordered via the Robins' Shop or his GR Photography website.
And the BBC says that "Halifax Town manager Chris Wilder has had a change of heart and is set to stay at The Shay. Wilder, 38, was poised to take over at Conference rivals Cambridge United... But after receiving assurances about future plans at Halifax, he is to continue his four-year tenure there. Cambridge had called a press conference for Thursday to unveil their new manager, while Halifax will now stage one of their own on Thursday afternoon".
Meanwhile "Cambridge United defender Adam Davies has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury... The Wales under-21 international faces a second operation to reconstruct the knee, which also sustained anterior cruciate ligament damage. U's physio Greg Reid told the club's website: 'He won't play this season'" .
The Football Conference reports that "Bradford City reserve goalkeeper Russell Howarth's proposed loan move to York City was blocked by red tape. Howarth was expecting to play for the Minsterman against Morecambe on Tuesday evening after their regular shotstopper Tom Evans was suspended following a sending-off. However, the deal was scuppered only six hours before kick off due to UEFA rules which state that clubs are not allowed to use an emergency loan to replace a suspended player. The Football League had given the go-ahead but the Nationwide Conference insisted the loan could not proceed. Howarth told the official Bradford City website: 'I started the day ready to play for York and ended up completely in limbo. It's unbelievable really'".
NL Daily says that "Garry Hill is ready to pledge his long-term future to Weymouth. The Terras' boss... says he is 'fully committed' to Weymouth and has ruled himself out of the vacant position at AFC Bournemouth".
The guests included large numbers of Reserve team players including first team graduates Lewis Chalmers and Pat McFadden. Graham Heathcote emphasized that whilst Altrincham FC may not be a wealthy club, it tries to treat its players at all levels in a professional way and this fundraising event for Ashley was one example of that.
We all wish Ashley a full and speedy recovery from his injury. In fact, he was one of three people on crutches tonight as chairman Geoff Goodwin is recovering from a cartilage operation and Karen Rowley, a tireless worker for the club and wife of Vice-Chairman, Grahame Rowley, is getting over a recent fall outside the club bar - no alcohol was involved!
Halifax Today also reports that "Town boss Chris Wilder was due to travel to Cambridge today for talks about taking over the hot seat at the Abbey Stadium. And all the indications are that he will be quitting the Shay eight games into his fourth season in charge... Wilder confirmed last night that, with Halifax Town's permission, he was going to have talks with Cambridge chairman, former Shay striker Lee Power. 'I am going to speak to Cambridge'," said Wilder, who rejected the chance to manage Hartlepool United in the summer. 'I have my reasons but I will keep them to myself at the mom'... But sources close to Wilder said that his decision to quit would be based on what were described to Courier Sport as 'off the field matters'. Wilder certainly gave the impression of a man on the verge of quitting following the final whistle at Moss Lane last night. Unusually, he spoke at some length with his backroom staff – assistant Wayne Jacobs, coach Lee Butler, physio Alan Russell Cox and Ian Helliwell – on the pitch immediately after the final whistle. And was then involved in lengthy discussions with chairman Geoff Ralph and other directors. Ralph declined to talk about his manager's position but it is understood that Wilder is under no pressure at board level... Wilder looked like a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders when he spoke after last night's 1-0 defeat. 'The players care', he said. 'That is plain to see from their reaction... but it's plain to see that we're not playing with the swagger or confidence we have over the past year or so'... Wilder conceded that Altrincham had deserved their victory and singled out a couple of former Shay players as the keys to the home side's success... 'Our quality in and around the box was not the best. We got in there numerous times and failed to pick a man out. Altrincham are game opponents who play a very expansive game. They played well and we lost out on a couple of battles. Colin Little did exceptionally well against Adam Quinn and Mark Roberts who didn't really get to grips with him and Steve Bushell gave the kind of wholehearted performance we know he can'".
Shaymen Online added that "Chris Wilder has resigned as manager of Halifax Town... Tuesday night’s defeat at Altrincham appeared to be the final straw. The full reasons are not yet apparent as to why he felt it time to end his reign... Where the summer was full of hope and anticipation, it will also have been full of promises on how the off field activities would be improved to aide the manager in his squad strengthening. If this is the case then these very promises have been broken which in turn has let down a manager who deserved much more. It is fair to say the conditions Chris Wilder has had to work with during his spell as manager at Halifax Town have been nothing short of amateurish. Whilst he has worked hard to improve the areas he could such as the training facilities, professionalism of the players and coaching etc, the same progress has not been made off the field".
The BBC says that "Forest Green Rovers defender Tony Butler has joined Conference South side Newport County on a month's loan. The former Bristol City and West Bromwich Albion man, 33, moved to Forest Green in the summer after ending a second spell with Blackpool". And "Veteran striker Bob Taylor has signed for Kidderminster Harriers on non-contract terms. The 39-year-old has been training with Harriers since the summer and made his debut in Tuesday's draw at Cambridge. The former West Brom, Bolton and Bristol City striker has spent the last two seasons with Tamworth. Meanwhile, defender Gavin Cowan has left Aggborough after being recalled from his loan spell a few days early by Shrewsbury Town".
Match report here.
Right: Robbie Lawton leaves the pitch after the game.
Middlesex Wanderers Tour 2006
By Stuart Coburn
After missing out on last year's tour to Japan because we were involved in the play-offs, I was delighted when I was invited to go on this year’s tour – the destination choice was a shock as I can’t say that I knew much about Botswana. Middlesex Wanderers were established in 1905 to promote good fellowship through football and as Bobby Robson, the club’s President, said “Make the most of the tour – opportunities like this don’t come along often”. I certainly agree.
I didn’t know that Gaborone was the Capital and that the currency is the Pula, but I had an understanding that it’s a developing country and I was aware that I was going to see and experience something very different.
The squad is made up of semi-pros, mainly from the Conference and the itinerary was packed with training, matches and a visit to the National Stadium to watch a four team tournament between Botswana, Madagascar, South Africa and Swaziland. From landing in Johannesburg it wasn’t long until the divide between our nations was evident. We had a 5 hour drive to Gaborone, our base for the tour, and as we travelled in relative luxury the view out of the windows was quite different – poverty is extreme and it makes you feel thankful for what you have. But, in meeting people in Botswana, you become humbled because of their passion that they have for their country and especially for their football.
The first couple of days that we were there, we trained and took in the social side of getting to know each other – mainly over a few beers!!! We also went to watch the Botswana National team who were playing in the 4 nation tournament, which they won by beating South Africa on penalties – it was the first time that they had ever beaten them and to see the fans celebrate was unbelievable. They partied for hours and our hotel was a good place to be as the National team were staying there.
Left: Stuart Coburn, pictured by Gavin Rathbone.
On our third day we played a local team, which we won 2-1. After coming on at half-time my first bit of action was to pick the ball out of the net after a shot from about 35 yards. Thought that I’d been set up and the lads didn’t let me forget about it for the rest of the tour. The next couple of days we just relaxed by having a round of golf and going on a safari tour. Our second and final game was played against a regional team who to look at we thought it was going to be an easy game but the commitment and fitness that they showed was tremendous. We won the game 1-0 so a clean sheet was much appreciated as there’s not been too many of them recently for me!!
So, a successful tour and some new friends made. Hopefully I made a good impression and represented Altrincham well and I’m hoping that I will get the opportunity to go on another tour – the talk of Argentina or the Maldives makes next year’s tour sound very attractive.
I can’t finish without mentioning “The Lamb” – the team’s mascot. All members must know the words of the club whisper which is rendered on all Wanderers occasions. I would also like to say a big thank you to everyone who made the trip a memorable experience for me and especially to Altrincham Football Club who funded my place on the tour.
Thank You, Stuart Coburn.
Whilst Alty have almost half a team of ex-Halifax players in the shape of Little, Bushell, Bowler, Owen and Munroe, the Shaymen have recently signed former Alty winger Steve Torpey. With Bushell limping off at Rushden on Saturday, a game which Bowler missed through illness/injury, and with Owen suspended, it may only be Little and Munroe who face their old team tonight.
Rushden Today quotes 19 year-old Jackson, "I'm absolutely delighted. If you don't shoot, you don't score and we should have got more than three goals". However, "Diamonds' boss Paul Hart played down Jackson's match-winning role by revealing: 'I haven't said anything to him after the game and that's what he's paid for'". But Rushden's "defensive midfielder Jon Ashton was left on crutches at the weekend. Ashton went off just before half-time against Altrincham with an ankle injury... Hart said: 'He went over on his ankle and it's very sore. It was just an accident and so innocuous that there wasn't even a challenge'".
The Stafford Rangers manager Phil Robinson says of Ged Murphy's red card on Saturday, "It’s obviously difficult when you are down to ten men against a team with the kind of talent that Stevenage have got...With 11 men we would have given a good account of ourselves and were confident we would got a positive result... I genuinely didn’t see it (the incident that led to Ged Murphy being sent off). I’ll have a look at the video but I’ve spoken to the referee who explained what happened. We have drawn a line under it and moved on. I won’t let it affect us".
Match report here.
Meanwhile at Moss Lane, FC United of Manchester defeated Trafford 1-0 in the NW Counties Division One.
Above: Rushden keeper Eyre tips an Alty corner out of play in the second half.
Altrincham's poor away form continued at Rushden but not after they had more than matched Rushden for the first half an hour. But things started to go wrong after Bushell had limped off injured (29 mins). Three minutes later, Jackson was crucially judged not to be offside,as he looked to be, and he beat Coburn from close range (32 mins). Fewer than three minutes after that, Scott's clearance cannoned off Chillingworth's hand and body, play continued, and Jackson scored with a low shot from 15 yards (35 mins). Rushden had the better of the second half, all the more so after Owen was mysteriously shown a straight red card for something that most of the crowd did not see (75 mins). On a breakaway, Jackson completed his hat-trick from Berry's low cross from the right (87 mins). And to make things worse, Talbot limped through the closing stages to add to the growing injury list.
Match report here.
Right: Val Owen is about to be sent off.
RUSHDEN AND DIAMONDS (All red): 1. Nicky EYRE, 2. Glenn WILSON, 3. Paul WATSON, 4. Jon ASHTON, 5. Chris HOPE, 6. Wayne HATSWELL, 8. Michael RANKINE, 10. Daniel CHILLINGWORTH, 11. Marcus KELLY, 12. Simeon JACKSON, 18. Tom SHAW. Subs: 7. David SAVAGE, 9. Leo FORTUNE-WEST, 13. Daniel CRANE (gk), 15. Tyrone BERRY, 16. Greg PEARSON.
ALTRINCHAM (Dark / pale blue shirts, pale blue socks and shorts.) 1. Stuart COBURN, 3. Gary SCOTT, 17. Karl MUNROE, 5. Gary TALBOT, 11. Warren PEYTON; 7. Robbie LAWTON, 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 8. Val OWEN, 6. Steve BUSHELL; 9. Colin LITTLE, 12. Joe O'NEILL. Subs: 2. Steve ASPINALL, 10. Rod THORNLEY, 19. Lee HENDLEY, 20. Stephen ROSE, 21. Kieran LUGSDEN.
SAM Sport reporter Connor Murphy has spoken to Rushden and Diamonds supporter Craig Freeman "to find out what Alty fans can expect". Amongst Craig's comments were, "We are only a mid-table team right now - no better, no worse. We have made some very poor signings and one or two great ones. However, I feel we have appointed the wrong manager, which is probably down to the fact we couldn't afford anyone better. We won't get promoted, but we won't get relegated either. I predict a very boring season... I would say Marcus Kelly is a fans' favourite and Greg Pearson is the biggest donkey, followed closely by Leo Fortune-West". What can Alty fans expect at Nene Park? "A pleasant afternoon for all. The fanbase at Nene Park is usually very good and everyone is good humoured.... Unfortunately, you will only hear a small amount of fans singing away, even though a nice little group of lads have moved to the North Stand for better vocal support".
If you are going to the match, don't forget that Rushden are offering an All Day Breakfast for £5.50 in their executive restaurant - up to 2.30pm. The prices at Rushden for Saturday's game are £15 for the stand and £10 on the terraces. Concessionaries pay £10 and £7 respectively, whilst u-16s are £4 and u-8s' free with an adult.
"Kidderminster boss Mark Yates says his side just need a bit of luck to end their barren spell in front of goal... Yates told BBC Hereford and Worcester: 'We just need one to go into the back of the net off somebody's backside and the floodgates would then open. It can be frustrating, but at least we are creating the chances'" he told the BBC.
"Cambridge United have approached former Dundee manager and Chelsea coach Jim Duffy to become their new boss. Duffy has confirmed to BBC Sport that he has held talks with the Cambridge chairman Lee Power and has asked for 24 hours to make his mind up. But it appears unlikely that the former Hibernian manager will be prepared to head back down south at this time. Duffy was director of football at Hearts for a spell last season.".
Aldershot Town report that "Two Players go out on loan; Kirk Hudson has joined Ashford Town Middx) FC for one month. Sean Ridgway has also gone out on loan, to Hayes FC, for the same period".
The Burton Mail says that Albion boss "Nigel Clough believes September could be the month that makes or breaks Burton Albion's Conference ambitions... The Brewers boss told Mail Sport today: "We made the best possible start to September with a great result at Grays, and we need to follow it up with more of the same. 'The league is still relatively tight, so three or four wins could put us in or around the top six. But if it goes the other way, we could find ourselves in the bottom six. The ultimate would be to go unbeaten in the seven games in September and put ourselves in a really strong position'". Clough also said: "I'm not surprised that Weymouth have made such a good start to the season. They're a strong side made up of established Conference players — even higher in some cases — and, like all Gary Hill teams, they won't sit back".
The Cambridge Evening News claims that "Lee Power is closing in on his man to take the reins at Cambridge United. The United chairman flew to Scotland to meet his No 1 target last night in an attempt to have him in place for the home clash against Kidderminster on Tuesday. Power is keeping his cards close to his chest, but former Hibernian and Dundee boss Jim Duffy and ex-Raith manager Gordon Dalziel have both been linked with the vacancy. However, if Power cannot land his target, there are several other candidates to succeed Rob Newman. John Cornforth, the former Wales international who began his managerial career at Exeter five years ago, has applied... He has since managed the St Vincent and Grenadines national side, Newport County and was brought in as a troubleshooter at Torquay in January. However, he was sacked with six games left three months later with the Gulls bottom of League Two. Cornforth said: 'I've got a decent record as a manager and I want to get back into it. If you look at Cambridge and their history, they've got a lot of potential. I'm a Geordie born and bred and I wear my heart on my sleeve and all my teams have been the same'. Keith Curle has already declared his interest in the job and other names linked include former Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler, now player-coach at Barnet, and former Peterborough boss Steve Bleasdale. Dion Dublin could be in the running despite reportedly being offered a playing deal with Southend. But Crawley boss John Hollins said last night: 'Not at the moment. I've got a job which I'm trying to keep working on'. And former Wales manager Bobby Gould, who was interviewed when Herve Renard was sacked, told the News last night he was not interested".
This is Glos says that "Jim Harvey pledged to bring stability to Forest Green Rovers after being unveiled as the club's new manager last night... The 48-year-old former Morecambe boss has signed a contract until the end of 2007/08 as successor to Gary Owers. Harvey said: "I'm delighted to be here. In the past when I've come here as manager of Morecambe I've always found this to be a friendly club and a family club... I was never quite sure to expect from a playing point of view at Forest Green because the teams have changed so much every year and there have been lots of different managers. It's never ideal for clubs to make changes too frequently and I think a lot of teams can benefit from managers being around for a while... My health is absolutely fine and I've just come off the back of a pre-season at Crewe Alexandra, where I was working with (manager) Dario Gradi. I feel great and I just can't wait to get started". Harvey "drew great cheers when he pledged to play 'possession football' in Rovers' quest to steer clear of the bottom four this season. While insisting his immediate priority was the first team, he also promised to keep a close eye on the club's youth system. Meanwhile, [assistant manager] Wanless said: "I'm extremely proud to have been given the chance to work alongside a manager of Jim's experience. We'll give the players the chance to prove how good they are and I believe they're good enough to get Forest Green further up the league".
The Thurrock Gazette says that "Brighton and Hove Albion failed in a last-gasp effort to prize star striker Aaron McLean away from Grays just hours before last week's transfer deadline, it has emerged. Seagulls boss Mark McGhee came in for the 23-year-old at 7pm last Thursday, five hours before the transfer window shut... The League One side did not make an official bid for McLean after being scared off by Blues' asking price and were later thwarted in their attempts to buy Barnet's former Thurrock striker Tresor Kandol. Grays chairman Mick Woodward said: 'Brighton were making inquiries about four or five players from various clubs. They asked how much we might be prepared to sell Aaron for. We gave them a figure, but we were a long way apart in our valuations'... The Gazette also understands that League Two Accrington Stanley also asked about McLean but held back from lodging an official bid. With Michael Kightly also heavily linked with a return to league football, Blues' boss Frank Gray admits he is relieved the transfer window is now shut and he has his key players on board for the next six months at least. Gray said: 'We have had no direct offers... I'm pleased we have kept everyone here. That's it now, we have got what we have until January".
Halifax Today says that ex-Alty man "Steve Torpey is set to make his second start for Town when they face Gravesend & Northfleet... He will play wide on the left with Lewis Killeen switching to the right to replace Danny Forrest who misses out though injury. Torpey has made just one Conference start since arriving from FC United in pre-season. But he made an immediate impact, firing the Shaymen ahead against Morecambe on Bank Holiday Monday. 'We have been careful with Steve as far as starting him', said Wilder... Wilder still has to decide whether fit-again Tyrone Thompson or Russell Fry gets the nod in midfield alongside skipper Martin Foster". The manager added, "Over the past three weeks I have seen a lot of good signs, signs that we are getting back to what we can do"... Saturday's match is the first of five in 15 days for the Shaymen, with Altrincham, Weymouth, Dagenham and Forest Green looming on the horizon... 'There are a lot of points to be won in September and things can change round', said Wilder".
Good news for the Shaymen is that their fellow tenants at The Shay "Halifax RLFC was saved today after former HBOS executive Howard Posner came to the rescue at the 11th hour. Fax had seemed destined to go into liquidation at Monday night's emergency meeting after failing to raise the final £35,000 of the £90,000 needed to cover an overspend on players' wages. But Mr Posner, who quit as Fax chairman in May citing 'fundamental' disagreements with some fellow directors, has personally stumped up the remainder of the cash needed to ensure the club survives into 2007". Posner said, "We can move forward – provided we also get support for the stadium from the local authority".
The Kidderminster Shuttle reports that "Harriers' prodigal son Iyseden Christie has rejected claims he has a frosty relationship with manager Mark Yates following his shock return to Aggborough. Last season's top scorer re-signed on a three-month loan from Rochdale... Christie's homecoming was a major surprise after Yates previously described him as a disruptive influence following his departure in January... Yates went on record as saying: 'Those of you who have got him as your big idol, if I told you some of the things that went on in the dressing room or my office regarding him, your opinions would change'... Speaking about Yates's comments, the former Mansfield and Leyton Orient frontman said: "I haven't mentioned it and he hasn't mentioned it. 'I'd like to think he's changed his mind because I think he might have seen what he was missing when the club let me go. Whether I like the manager and he likes me or not I'm only here to score goals and if they don't like me they can send me back to Rochdale... Although I might have looked lazy, when I left the club at the end of January I had scored 14 goals and I don't think anyone could complain about that... I`d rather be someone who doesn't run around a lot and scores... I was probably trying to be a bit cocky... I didn't want to leave in the first place but I certainly didn't think I'd be coming back so soon. It was a shock, but a nice shock... It's just a matter of me doing well and even if I do well then it's going to be hard for Kidderminster to pay me what I'm on at the moment. Even though I would like to come back, putting food on the table is the main thing".
Rushden Today reports that the Diamonds "take on Altrincham at Nene Park on Saturday following two wins, three defeats and last week's goalless draw at Kidderminster so far this season.. Hart's new-look squad have struggled to adapt to the non-League scene... But the former Nottingham Forest manager won't press the panic button just yet. Hart said: "We are not setting any points targets. The main thing at the moment is getting a degree of confidence and knowing what this league is all about. Once we get to October we can look at things again. We are just trying to find a way of playing because we are not physical or strong enough to win every close encounter'. Hart, meanwhile, must decide whether to recall August's player-of-the-month award winner Dave Savage this weekend having dropped him last Friday at Aggborough in favour of handing a full league debut to youth-team product Tom Shaw on the right of the 'diamond' midfield. Hart, who also previously rested Marcus Kelly and Dan Chillingworth despite successive victories, explained: 'Dave played in both games over the Bank Holiday weekend and he's in the twilight of his career. I need to look after players at both ends of their time as professionals'. Kelly and goalkeeper Nicky Eyre will both rejoin the squad after being involved with the England National Game Xl that lost 1-0 at the official opening of Conference club". Forest Green Rovers' New Lawn ground."
Halifax Today says that "Tyrone Thompson is expected to be available for Town's Conference clash with Gravesend & Northfleet at the Shay on Saturday. The midfielder missed the trip to Aldershot five days ago.,, and Wilder is also expecting Jake Wright to recover from the injury that forced him to limp off before half time at the Recreation Ground... Wilder has also had the chance to have a look at Tom Kearney in training for the first time after the former Bradford City man linked up with the Town squad after an extended summer break... 'We are delighted at the shape he is in', said Wilder... Wilder hinted that the 25-year-old could be in contention within a couple of weeks".
The Football Conference says that "Mark Cooper, manager of Tamworth, has completed the signing of former midfielder Paul Devlin. The 34-year-old returns to Tamworth after a 16-year gap, which has seen him go on to play for eight clubs and to earn 10 Scottish caps. 'I have always said I would like to return to the club where it all started for me', Devlin told the club's official website. 'I feel I have another couple of seasons in me'. Devlin joined Stafford in August 1991 and after a short stay he made a switch to Notts County for £40,000 and made 180 appearances... He then joined Birmingham for £250,000 in February 1996 and made 89 appearances, finding the back of the net 34 times. He then played for Sheffield United, returned to Notts County on loan, before two further spells with Blues, firstly on loan and then being transferred for £200,000 in May 2002. He went to Watford for £150,000 in September 2003 and joined Walsall on a free in January this year, leaving the Saddlers in April".
The BBC says that "Dagenham and Redbridge defender Shane Blackett has been told he does not require surgery to repair a knee injury sustained in pre-season. A scan showed that the England he had sustained medial ligament damage which should clear up with further rest".
St Alban's City "Manager Colin Lippiatt has released one player and let two others, in an effort to maintain match fitness, play for lower league clubs. All three individuals, Ben Lewis, Dean Cracknell and Dane Harper are non-contract players. Non-contract players are permitted to sign for clubs in different leagues but may not sign for two clubs in the same league at the same time... St Albans City thank Ben Lewis for his efforts during his time with the Saints and wish him every success at his new club... Dean Cracknell played for Staines Town in the Isthmian League earlier this week and is now expected to have an extended run with the Wheatsheaf Lane club. St Albans City retain Dean's Nationwide Conference registration... Dane Harper is in the same position as Cracknell in that he is free to join a club at a level below that of the Nationwide Conference while the Saints will retain his registration at this level".
Above: Stuart Coburn is beaten by Cadwallader's penalty in the shoot-out.
Match report here.
Alty are expected to be without Colin Little and Val Owen, who are carrying slight knocks, tonight.
And you can travel in a coach supplied by Geoff to Rushden this Saturday... details here.
Above: April 2000 - Alty attack Billy Turley's goal at Nene Park.
Altrincham will be visiting Nene Park to take on Rushden and Diamonds for the first time since 2000, when Alty went down 1-0 to the club which was promoted the following season to the Football League. With Alty comfortably in 12th place on 15th April 2000 and arriving with a run of seven games unbeaten, it was this defeat at Rushden which triggered a run of eleven games without a win and relegation on the last day of the season for Altrincham. In the 2000 game against Rushden, Alty were without their former Rushden left-back, Simeon Hodson. Gary Talbot is the only player still at Altrincham in the team that day:
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts): 1. Lance Key; 2. Steve Hawes, 3. Danny Adams, 4. Chris Timons (capt), 5. Gary Talbot, 6. Keith Russell 7. Jason Gallagher, 8. Shaun Goodwin, 9. Leroy Chambers, 10. Mick Morrell, 11. Kevin Ellison Subs: 12. Richard Landon, 13. Ian Senior, 14. Andy Lovelock, 15. Phil Power, 16. Mark Maddox
RUSHDEN AND DIAMONDS (White shirts, blue shorts): 1. Billy Turley, 2. Mark Peters, 3. John Hamsher 4. Gary Mills, 5. Jim Rodwell, 6, Ray Warburton, 7. Gary Butterworth 8. Simon Wormull, 9. David Town, 10. Jean-Michel Sigere, 11. Paul Underwood. Subs: 12. Mequel de Souza, 13. Stuart Naylor 14. Matty Stowell, 15. Darren Bradshaw, 16. Jon Brady
Amongst the current R&D squad, managed by Paul Hart, are a few players whom we have encountered before. These include defender Wayne Hatswell, (ex-FGR, Oxford Utd, Chester City and Kidderminster Harriers) who played against us for the Harriers in both our Conference encounters last season. Also, striker Daniel Chillingowrth scored at Moss Lane for the Darlington side which knocked us out of the FA Cup in Round Two in December, 2001. More recently, another Rushden forward, Michael Rankine (ex-Scunthorpe and Barrow) played a trial match for Altrincham against Witton Albion. But perhaps the Diamonds' best-known player is veteran 6ft 4inch striker Leo Fortune-West (35), who has more than 250 league appearances under his belt for Rotherham, Cardiff and Doncaster Rovers.
"Rushden & Diamonds keeper Nicky Eyre and St Albans City defender Chris Seeby have been given late call-ups to the England National Game XI 16-man squad. Manager Paul Fairclough has added the pair to his squad to play at Forest Green on Tuesday in a match to mark the opening of Rovers' new stadium. Eyre, 20, was picked after an injury to Woking's Shwan Jalal, and he joins Weymouth number one Adam Lee-Barrett. Seeby replaces injured Aldershot defender Dean Smith. Seeby joins Saints team-mates Tom Davis and Magnus Okuonghae in a squad of southern-based players" says the BBC.
Rushden Today reports that "Marcus Kelly has been told to 'deliver even more quality' as the Rushden & Diamonds winger prepares to make his England debut tonight... But Diamonds' boss Paul Hart believes Kelly still has plenty to prove – despite being named as their most improved player in his first full season. He missed just a handful of games although only scoring three times during the Coca-Cola League Two relegation campaign. Kelly, now featuring on the left of Hart's 'diamond' midfield, returned to the starting line-up for Friday night's goalless draw at old rivals Kidderminster Harriers after being surprisingly rested for the Bank Holiday home defeat against York City. Hart said: 'He came back and I thought he played very well again. Marcus impresses when he gets into the last third. But he has got to deliver even more quality by finishing off the moves with goals and assists. For all the talent he has got, Marcus must do more in those attacking areas of the pitch. But in terms of industry and work-rate he has been fantastic'".
Striker Luke Townsend, a 19-year-old former QPR trainee who came on as a substitute for Crawley Town last Saturday is now set to play for Cheltenham Town Reserves, reports the BBC.
Meanwhile, "Hereford United have extended the loan stay of Rushden and Diamonds' goalkeeper Scott Tynan for a second month. He has started six games for the Bulls since being signed as a replacement for the injured Wayne Brown. Tynan, 22, joined Rushden in January but slipped a spot in the pecking order following the signing of Nicky Eyre. Diamonds boss Paul Hart told his club's website: 'Scott has been playing well for Hereford and I am sure both teams will benefit from this arrangement'.
"Cambridge United's newly appointed temporary coach Chris Turner says he and chairman Lee Power will be expecting greater professionalism from the players. Turner told BBC Radio Cambridge: 'The players need to do the right things that Lee and I expect of them. They need to train properly and be here every day at the right time because some players are not doing that and that's a problem. Some players are turning up 40 minutes late and that can't be right'".
Scott McNiven, who recently rejected terms with his brother David's club, Morecambe, appears to have signed for Fleetwood Town.
The Conference website lists Robert Duffy (Oxford United), John Grant (Aldershot Town), Michael Kightly and Aaron McLean (Grays Athletic), Steve Morison (Stevenage Borough) and Michael Twiss (Morecambe) as its candidates for the August Player of the Month.
The unofficial Oxford site, This is United says that "Gavin Johnson looks set to be sidelined for the whole of September. Oxford boss Jim Smith said after the St Albans game that the wingback's hamstring injury 'looks like a month job'. That was confirmed yesterday by United physio Neil Sullivan, who said: 'It's worse than Steve Basham's or John Dempster's hamstring injuries as it's torn, but we'll know more after the scan'. However, new signing Marvin Robinson's dislocated finger was found to be not chipped. 'He was back in training on Monday with it taped up, so it shouldn't hinder him when he plays', Sullivan said".
Northwich Vics say that "the supporters are looking to raise funds to buy a new mascot".
"Forest Green Rovers Football Club have called a press conference and public meeting for 7.30pm on Thursday 7th September to announce and introduce the new 1st team Manager at the club... The new manager, together with other officials of the club will be available for interview at the press conference. Colin Peake, Football Secretary and Press Officer".
This is Glos adds that "Paul Wanless will be in temporary charge of Forest Green for the final time [on Tuesday] when the England National Game XI visit the new stadium (7.45pm). Rovers have confirmed they will unveil the permanent replacement to axed manager Gary Owers at a press conference on Thursday. Club chairman Colin Gardner held a meeting with fellow directors last night to consider a shortlist of candidates, which has been drawn up from of total of 36 applications. Ex-Morecambe boss Jim Harvey, who watched last Friday's home defeat to Woking from the stands, and former Northern Ireland international, Jimmy Quinn, are understood to be front-runners. Gardner said: 'We have called a press conference for Thursday and we want to keep it exciting for people. I don't expect the new manager to be at the ground tonight [Tuesday]'... The match has been organised to officially open the new stadium, which will finally be given a name after being dubbed the 'New Lawn' by fans".
Halifax Today says that "Halifax RLFC are still £35,000 short of the £90,000 needed to escape liquidation. And director Michael Steele has admitted the club still "has some distance to go" to avoid going out of business at next Monday's emergency meeting... They need to cover the players' wages between now and the end of November.'We have around £55,000 at the moment, but that is clearly not enough', said Steele. 'As far as I am aware, we have already approached everyone who can help us, but we will keep trying'. It now seems that Fax's best - and perhaps only - chance of survival lies with former chairman Howard Posner, who resigned in May, citing 'fundamental' differences of opinion with his fellow directors. The ex-Halifax Home Insurance chief, who now operates as a freelance business troubleshooter, confirmed on Friday that he had held discussions with his former boardroom colleagues over the current cash crisis and that more talks were planned for this week... It must be highly doubtful whether Posner would consider putting his hand in his pocket without the expectation of changes behind the scenes". If the Rugby Club folds, Halifax Town FC could find themselves in trouble, as the two clubs jointly pay the rent at The Shay.
This is York adds that "The chances of Halifax RLC staving off liquidation were expected to become clearer today when a total figure of cash raised so far is calculated. Fax need to find £86,000 by September 11 to cover projected overspend, otherwise the club will fold... It has been confirmed that administration is not an option being considered by the West Yorkshire outfit. Either the club raise the necessary funds to cover the overspend, in which case they will carry on in NL1... or they go into liquidation with the plug pulled immediately"
Halifax Today reports that "Tom Kearney was due to train for the first time with his new Halifax Town teammates today at the Marley Stadium in Keighley. The 25-year-old midfielder was one of boss Chris Wilder's first summer signings along with fellow former Bradford players Danny Forrest and Jake Wright. But a pre-planned trip abroad following his release by the Bantams has delayed his arrival.Kearney, who made 54 League appearances for Bradford after arriving from Everton in August 2002, will be some way behind his new colleagues in terms of fitness, but a new player arriving at the club could be just the boost the squad needs after the defeat at Aldershot on Saturday... Wright was the major casualty as far as injuries are concerned following Saturday's 1-0 defeat. He limped from the field towards the end of the first half... Wilder was checking on his fitness and that of Tyrone Thompson at training today. Thompson missed the trip to the Recreation Ground after suffering a dead leg... Full-back Steve Haslam underwent surgery on his injured knee yesterday and is not expected to be back in action for around eight weeks".
Tomorrow this site will look back to our last trip to Nene Park - a very significant game in our relegation season...
Meanwhile, Kieran Lugsden has been on loan at Radcliffe Borough and on that club's forum a correspondent writes that "The new lad Chris Downey [ex-Alty] looks distinctly useful and had a pleasing debut. Kieran Lugsden's persistence in chasing lost causes paid off big time and he curled in a goal from a tight angle after a tussle with their full back". And another fan writes "Good goal by Kieran, and he looked like a great partner for the impressive new signing, Downey".
"Halifax Town Supporters` Club have launched another fund raising effort... In conjunction with Tesco, King Cross, they are selling tickets at £1 each for a 2-minute Trolley Dash around the store. Tickets have been issued to Supporters` Club members and will be forwarded to season ticket holders this week... There are restrictions and electrical goods, alcohol and tobacco are not permitted". Now, what's the name of that superstore on Moss Lane?
Stevenage Borough report that it "was a busy transfer deadline Friday... but not all the hard work delivered results. The signature of midfield player Dwane Lee was secured from Kidderminster Harriers but Stimson missed out on two other targets that he had hoped to land... 'We were very close to getting another defender in but in the end that didn’t happen', he said. 'There was also another midfield player who was set to join us, but in the end he went somewhere else because they could offer more money than us'". But Lee, says the manager, "gives us more of a physical presence in midfield although he is not fully fit at the present". Meanwhile "four players left Broadhall Way on loan deals in addition to Jon Nurse who joined Woking on a month’s loan the previous week. Ieuan Lewis has gone on a season-long loan to Leighton Town, Dannie Bulman has gone to Crawley Town for a three-month loan and Sam Hatton and Hector Mackie are on 28-day loans deals respectively with Yeading Town and Cambridge City".
Harriers Online reports that "With Iyseden Christie back at Aggborough everyone was expecting a goal fest but it was never going to happen by continuing with the lone striker formation. As shown when Luke Reynolds finally arrived on the scene mid way through the second half the team suddenly came to life but still found it hard to escape the attentions of the solid Rushden defence. Former Harrier Wayne Hatswell had been designated to mark Christie and he did a decent job of it but Christie's case wasn't helped by the amount of high balls being pumped to him. High balls are meat and drink to Hats".
The Argus says that "John Hollins is preparing for a long, hard winter after admitting there are no funds to bolster Crawley's threadbare squad... The Majeed brothers have 60 days to pay up but even if they manage to clear the club's debts in that time they have warned Hollins not to expect any money for team strengthening. A crowd of just 778 turned out for Saturday's 2-0 home defeat to Northwich Victoria, the lowest at Broadfield Stadium since Crawley were promoted to the Conference two years ago and well below the level needed for the club to break even. A large section of supporters have vowed never to return while the Majeeds are still in charge of the club and Hollins admits the only way to change their minds is with results. Hollins said: 'Some of the teams we are competing against in this league have a budget of £20,000 a week and can bring in players at any time they want. We are down to the bare bones. We only have 14 players to choose from so we can't rotate our players like other teams... It does make things hard. I wouldn't mind a few quid to spend but I knew what I was taking on when I came here and have just got to get on with it. I will have to use every bit of experience I have got to get performances out of the players here'". But Crawley remain full-time...
Normal gate prices apply, as this is a requirement of the FA. These are:
Graham Heathcote has confirmed a new addition to the Altrincham squad. He is young Reserves' player, Danny Heffernan (right). Danny, who was previously with Oldham Athletic, has been assigned squad number 25, following another impressive display for the Reserves last Wednesday night. Danny is a versatile player who can operate on the left as well as in central defence or midfield. He has a strong left foot shot and is a tall player who is not easily shaken off the ball. He was a regular with Neil Brown's Altrincham Reserves last season. Whilst Kieran Lugsden, Lee Hendley and Lewis Chalmers have all broken through to the first-team squad after graduating from the Youth team to the Reserves, Danny came straight into the club at Reserves level, as did Pat McFadden, another member of the first team squad. Danny was signed after scoring in Altrincham Reserves' win over Wakefield on 30 August.
Above: Ouch! Val Owen contests an aerial ball against Dagenham.
Match report here.
After Crawley's home defeat by Northwich Victoria , manager John Hollins told the BBC: "We looked lethargic and heavy, for no good reason. Northwich worked extremely hard and mistakes from us led to both their goals. The overall performance was poor and I felt it was our worst display of the season so far. We have got the 10 point penalty back but Northwich were hungrier - like we were in our opening games".
The Cambridge Evening News confirms that "Rob Newman and Tony Spearing have been sacked following Cambridge United's worst start to a season for 76 years... a run of just one point from the first six matches of the campaign... Former Chester manager Keith Curle was spotted in the directors' box, but it is believed former United boss Chris Turner, who was a guest of Power last night, could help the chairman with team affairs for the time being. Power, who had cancelled a business trip to India to be at the game, said he felt he had no option but to axe former Norwich City team-mates Newman and Spearing after their 16-month spell at the helm. He said: "Tthe board has decided that results haven't gone our way and we needed a change... Things have conspired against them such as injuries and they haven't had the rub of the green. I was hoping last night that might change for them but it didn't. We're all shocked at the start of the season we've had.We've got a decent group of players and I believe we aren't where we should be with that team. The lads were trying to get us to change that decision and have them reinstated. I've sat where they're sat and it's unusual for players to chirp up that much so it shows how much respect they have for Rob and Tony... We're not going to rush into making a decision but people are going to be aware of what's happened and start applying... I want to get someone in sooner rather than later".
"The talent spotting of Dagenham & Redbridge boss John Still is paying dividends now and also promising a bright future for the Conference club... With money tight, the emphasis has been on finding untapped potential rather than the finished article, and the results have been impressive. 'When I came back to the club we were in a mess, financially, so everyone we have brought in has come from lower levels', Still told BBC Sport. 'It would have been nice to have brought in a couple of established players. That would have given us a boost. But four of the players we have brought in - two from Arlesey, one from Aveley and one from Bishop's Stortford - have all played for England, so it must be working. You can get into trouble by over-spending. The sort of club we are, as a members' club, means no-one puts large amounts of money into it. We started a process three seasons back and I think it will continue'. Craig Mackail-Smith, Scott Griffiths, Shane Blackett and Glen Southam are the quartet who have graduated from the lower levels of non-league football to the England National Game XI under Still's guidance... This summer, Still's 'shopping' brought in midfielders Dave Rainford and Sam Sloma - both from Conference South clubs. .. 'One of the most pleasing things about the start we've had is that we have done it despite an horrendous injury list', Still added. 'But I am lucky that I have got a really good group and it helps that a lot of them came as young players. They have been here for a couple of years and grown up together which has made the team spirit very good... You try to improve year-on-year, although sometimes that can be dictated by the sort of teams coming into the league,' Still said. 'With Oxford, Weymouth - who are big hitters - and Rushden & Diamonds as well that's three big ones in the league. If we can improve even a little bit on last year I will be pleased, although sometimes your improvement can be even greater. Gradually your younger players become older and more experienced and you might get that bigger improvement. Maybe that will be this year, maybe it will take longer'".
The Barking & Dagenham Post reports on the Daggers win over Cambridge United. "'Paul Benson thoroughly deserved his goal because he kept getting into goalscoring positions', said the boss who also saw Benson net in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Aldershot. 'I don't mind the fact that he missed a few because he kept getting himself in the box to be on the end of chances'". Still remarked, "They have really grown up since last season and become men". In their game at Aldershot, the Daggers' second goal "Remarkably, as with all six of Daggers' goals this campaign, came from a Sam Saunders' set piece, who with unerring accuracy found Benson's head with his flag kick".
"The Nationwide Conference has named Jim Smith, Frank Gray and Billy McEwan as joint managers of the month for August. The respective bosses of Oxford United, Grays Athletic and York City share the award after guiding their teams to the top of the Conference table. All three clubs gained 13 points from their opening five fixtures. But Weymouth boss Garry Hill has missed out despite steering the Terras to an unbeaten start and a dramatic 1-1 draw against Oxford last Monday".
Before Friday's match at Grays, Burton Albion were reportedly "so short of players they will not be able to fill their substitutes' bench — even counting Clough and goalkeeper coach Martin Taylor. Ryan Austin's appeal against his red card at York was thrown out the Football Association yesterday and four players are ruled out by injury. The quartet includes three defenders — Darren Tinson (hamstring), Gary Rowett (bruised ribs) and Terry Henshaw (ankle) — forcing Clough to opt for a makeshift central defensive partnership of teenager John Brayford and skipper Darren Stride. Winger Keith Gilroy, who aggravated a hamstring strain in Monday's game against Southport, also misses out.. but Andy Corbett and Andy Ducros return to action... though neither is 100 per cent fit. And striker Steve Scoffham will make the journey south as one of Albion's four substitutes' despite missing training because of illness". But Nigel Clough said, "Despite our problems, we're going to Grays full of optimism because overall we've played pretty well this season".
The Gravesend Reporter reports that "Charlie MacDonald and Luke Moore took their joint tally to seven for the season as they combined to seal the points for Gravesend and Northfleet on Bank Holiday Monday. In an action-packed first half, visitors Altrincham nearly drew first blood in the ninth minute... The second half saw a performance of the highest standard as the home side took the lead on the hour... Altrincham struck lucky within five minutes as they were awarded a dubious penalty after substitute Peter Hawkins was adjudged to have handballed in the box".
The Thurrock Gazette reports from Grays that "Lee Boylan expected to recover from a slight hamstring strain which kept him out of the Bank Holiday programme. Meanwhile, Stuart Thurgood's progress from a broken leg is continuing at pace with latest estimates suggesting he could be back playing in five weeks".
Rushden Today tells us that "Paul Hart has issued a warning to Rushden & Diamonds' rivals by insisting: 'There is still a lot more to come from us!'... Hart says he has seen nothing to worry about from any other teams since dropping out of the Football League. Hart said: 'I prefer not to talk about negatives as they have been few and far between. On reflection our players worked tremendously hard over two Bank Holiday weekend games and I'm absolutely certain we shouldn't have lost at home to York City. Last Saturday was an excellent performance away from home at Southport. We are aware that we've got to tighten up on a few things. But I don't think we've had the rewards which they deserve. I feel we have been pretty tight in most games... That's very encouraging considering we are an attacking team. The statistics show we have got into the penalty area more times than anyone in this division. We've also had more corners and we are one of the cleanest teams so we are doing an awful lot right. We know we need to score more goals from the chances being created. Little mistakes have cost us dearly. But we are a smidgeon off being a good side... I haven't been knocked out by anybody at this level just yet. But we've got to start getting results on board more consistently'. Hart is expected to recall Marcus Kelly and Dan Chillingworth to his starting line-up at Aggborough tonight while goalkeeper Nicky Eyre's place is under threat from Dan Crane after another mistake which gifted victory to York on Monday". IC Southport says that "Southport boss Paul Cook was thwarted in his attempts to boost his strike force before last night's transfer deadline. The Sandgrounders had five-figure bids for two frontmen rejected to leave Cook frustrated. He said: 'It's very disappointing because both players would have been fantastic additions to the squad. But we just couldn't agree a fee and we got to a point where it was just getting too expensive'... Cook is boosted by the news that striker Tony Gray could make his first competitive appearance for the club following a jaw injury. The striker arrived from Burscough in June but suffered a jaw injury in pre-season training. Alex Smith, Dino Maamria and Carl Baker, who all missed the win at Burton, are still struggling to prove their fitness. James Olsen is also a doubt after picking up a back injury".
The Southport Forums report that "Southport FC footballer, Carl Baker appeared before North Sefton Magistrates this morning (Friday 1st September 2006) for sentence. He pleaded guilty to using a motor vehicle without insurance cover and asked for both cases to be dealt with today. On the failing to provide charge, Magistrates banned him from driving for 3 years (to end on 21st August 2009), and ordered him to carry out 120 hours of unpaid community work (reduced to 80 hours for early guilty plea). On the no insurance charge, Baker’s licence was endorsed, plus 6 penalty points. He was also ordered to pay £70 costs. Baker agreed to take a driving rehabilitation course (pay costs himself) which would reduce his sentence by 8 months (to end 21st November 2008)".
From This is York, we learn that "City missed out on signing Halifax Town striker Ryan Sugden last night but stole promising Frickley Atheltic midfielder Martyn Woolford from under the noses of League Two outfit Hartlepool. Former Notts County midfielder Lewis McMahon has also agreed permanent terms with the Minstermen after a spell with the club on a non-contract basis. A move for Sugden is understood to have fallen through because Halifax were unable to bring in Stevenage front-man Darryn Stamp as a replacement striker. City boss Billy McEwan was also speaking to Burton yesterday about a possible return to KitKat Crescent for forward Jon Shaw.. but Brewers attackers Daryl Clare and Steven Scoffham have both picked up injuries, meaning nothing materialised before the transfer window closed at midnight". About Woolford, McEwen said, "He went on a pre-season tour with Stockport and Hartlepool wanted to take him so we are fortunate he has come to York. He's a part-time footballer who is training to be a surveyor so it's a big thing for him to go full-time".
NL Daily says that "Frickley Athletic have confirmed that left winger Martyn Woolford has signed a full-time contract for York City for an undisclosed five-figure fee. The club will also receive a percentage of any transfer fee received by York for Woolford in the future and the Minstermen have agreed to play Frickley in a friendly at the GMB Stadium prior to the 2007/08 season".
The Crawley Argus says that "John Hollins has ruled out signing new players ahead of tonight's transfer deadline after the club was saved from liquidation... Reds could still go out of business if the Majeed brothers fail to pay the debt within 60 days. Crawley are now allowed to sign players on contract but Hollins says there will be no rush to bring in new faces...Hollins said: 'We have got the players and the kids that we have got and that is it... We have to get the players sorted out now, so we have a lot of work to do until everyone is secured. The major fear for me has been that the players we have got could go off and sign for someone else. That could still happen so I'm not taking anything for granted until everyone is signed... We are professional people and whether we are going into liquidation or not, we do our job to the best of our ability'".
Stafford Rangers "have completed the signing of 30-year-old full back Mark Bailey from Peterborough United. Born in Stoke-on-Trent, he began his career at Stoke City and went on to feature for Rochdale, Northwich Victoria, Lincoln City and Macclesfield Town.. Richie Sutton's loan deal will expire at the end of December".
Forest Green Rovers "have signed another keeper, Lee Mathews on non-contract to cover for goalie Steve Williams, who produced an awesome display last Monday. Mathews was released by Burnley at the end of last season and has moved to the area recently".
Right: Steve Allen's camera captures Steve Aspinall in action against St Albans City.
And also from BBC: "Rochdale striker Iyseden Christie has rejoined Kidderminster Harriers on a long-term loan deal. Christie, 29, moved to Spotland in January after an 18-month stay at the Aggborough Stadium... [Kiddy Manager] Yates told the club website: 'He is a proven goalscorer at this level. It hasn't worked for him at Dale and we're more than happy to have him back'. Meanwhile, Harriers have released midfielder Duane Lee".
Meanwhile, "Walsall have allowed teenage midfielder Graham Deakin to join Tamworth on loan. Saddlers boss Richard Money said, 'Every youngster needs to experience what it is like to play competitive football in a 'men's league. A month in the Conference will be good for Graham's development'".
"St Albans City have signed central defender Magnus Okuonghae. The 20-year-old joins the Saints following a short spell as a non-contract player with Aldershot at the start of the season. Okuonghae started two games for the Shots, including their 5-3 win at St Albans earlier this month, before being released... He previously played for Rushden and Diamonds, making 22 League appearances".
"Crawley Town have extended the loan spell of Millwall defender Michael Bostwick for the rest of the season. The 18-year-old returned to the Broadfield Stadium on loan earlier this month, after a successful loan spell there last season... However, the Lions will be able to recall him in the January transfer window".
Crewe Alexandra defender Ritchie Sutton "is to stay on loan at Conference newcomers Stafford Rangers until the New Year".
Cambridge United have reportedly signed Trevor Robinson and Rob Gier on non contract terms. Robinson was on loan at the Abbey last season. Gier was formerly with Rushden.
Aldershot Town "Manager Terry Brown has secured the services of 19 year old striker, Joel Grant, from Watford along with 21 year old Ben Harding from MK Dons. Both arrive on 4 month deals and go straight into the squad for Saturday".
Crawley Town say that "Ben Hamer and midfielder Michael Bostwick have today extended their stays with the Reds. The pair who had originally joined on short term loan deals, have now agreed new loan deals to stay at the Broadfield Stadium until the end of the season... Hollins said, 'We are thankful to both Reading and Millwall for allowing us these deals. They are important signings for us... Reading are facing a massive season in Premier League but have still looked after us, not just with Ben but with Scott Rendell too who is with us until Christmas... and all the staff at Millwall have given us tremendous support'... Crawley Town has also signed central defender Bryan Glover from Leyton Orient... on non-contract terms... Abdul Osman, Mark Rawle and Mark E’Beya who were all training with the Reds during pre-season have all left the club".
Gravesend report that "Following a request from Southport today, we have been informed by that Conference that the kick-off for our match on Saturday has been changed to 3:00pm. We were asked earlier today whether we would be agreeable to the change on the basis that the England match will not kick-off until 5:00pm, but we declined on the basis that our travelling fans would already have made arrangements based on the earlier kick-off. However, we were informed by the Conference at 8:00 this evening that the kick-off time would be switched. The club wishes to apologise to the fans who may now have to change their arrangements but unfortunately the matter is completely out of our hands".
St Albans City report that "Damian Batt, a 21-year old Hertfordshire-born player, has signed... Predominantly a right-sided player he has played in both full-back positions as well as in midfield". He was previously at Barnet.
From Stevenage Borough we learn that "Borough have signed Dwaine Lee from Kidderminster. The 26 year old midfielder was previously at Barnet for 2 seasons where he made 59 appearances and scored 8 goals and before that at Exeter where he made 18 appearances.Going in the other direction midfielder Dannie Bulman has been loaned to Crawley Town for 3 months, although he can be recalled at any time after 30 days should Boro need his services".