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CURRENT NEWS IN FULL



26 January 2015

MOBILE MAINTENANCE

Owing to unscheduled maintenance by this site's web hosting company, the mobile version (only) of this site cannot be updated tonight. It is hoped to update it tomorrow.

BATH CITY 1 ALTRINCHAM 0

Right: Mike Ripley's image shows Steven Gillespie being tackled by David Pratt of Bath on Saturday. More of Mike's images are on his website.

Match report here.

GOOD RESULTS ALL ROUND

Altrincham FC Youth drew on Sunday, 1-1, away to Curzon Ashton. It was their first match since 7 December.

Phil Taylor advises us that on Sunday, "Alty Ladies took on the previously unbeaten and top of the table Warrington Wolverines in the first round of the League Challenge Cup. Altriincham took an early lead through Aimee Gibson but Warrington equalised and that is how it stayed through to 90 minutes and also an additional 20 minutes of extra-time. The game was decided by the sixteenth penalty with Chloe Brereton securing the win 5-4. There will be a report when I have calmed down a bit!"

In their first game since 8 November, Altrincham FC Reserves won a league cup match 9-1 away at Moore United on Saturday. Kane Hughes grabbed a hat-trick and the others came from Ryan Goodwin (2), Matt Christie, Craig Goulden, Iwannis Stouppis and Connor Sutton.

MIDWEEK GAMES

Tuesday 27 January

Vanarama Conference

  • Chester FC v Lincoln City
  • Eastleigh v Grimsby Town >/li>

Cheshire Senior Cup

  • Alsager Town v Stockport County
  • Cammell Laird 1907 v Winsford United
  • Crewe Alexandra v 1874 Northwich
  • Northwich Flixton Villa v Congleton Town

FA Trophy Round 3

  • Braintree Town v Ebbsfleet United
  • Dover Athletic v Woking
  • FC Halifax Town v Dartford

Wednesday 28 January

  • Gateshead v Wrexham

GREG INTERVIEWED

Stockport County has a video interview with Alty loanee Greg Wilkinson - the sound is a bit iffy but the content is interesting.

SATURDAY GAMES

Vanarama Conference

  • Altrincham v Aldershot Town
  • Braintree Town v Macclesfield Town
  • Dartford v Bristol Rovers
  • FC Halifax Town v Barnet
  • Forest Green Rovers v Nuneaton Town
  • Grimsby Town v AFC Telford Utd
  • Kidderminster Harriers v Eastleigh
  • Lincoln City v Dover Athletic
  • Southport v Gateshead
  • Welling United v Chester FC
  • Woking v Alfreton Town
  • Wrexham v Torquay United

25 January 2015

BATH CITY 1-0 ALTRINCHAM

Altrincham saw plenty of the ball but rarely looked like scoring as they exited a cup for the third time this season to lower league opposition. Walsh headed in a 78th minute freekick as Bath deservedly won the tie after an evenly balanced first half. Match report here

Right: Tom Marshall sees off a challenge from Bath's David Pratt.

According to the Non-League Paper, "Altrincham manager Lee Sinnott felt his side did not deserve to lose... He said, 'I can't fault my players' effort and how they went about the game. Our fault was that we had a lot of the ball but we just didn't do enough with it when we got to the final third. That's what's cost us.

The Trophy was important to us. We were certainly not taking it lightly but Bath made us pay. Their goal was a great freekick and a great header'"

SATURDAY FIXTURES

FA Trophy 3
  • Bath City 1-0 Altrincham
  • Braintree Town P=P Ebbsfleet United
  • Dartford 2-2 FC Halifax Town
  • Farnborough 0-2 North Ferriby United
  • FC United of Manchester 3-1 AFC Fylde
  • Hemel Hempstead Town 0-2 Torquay United
  • Woking 3-3 Dover Athletic
  • Wrexham 1-1 Gateshead

Vanarama Conference

  • Alfreton Town P-P Forest Green Rovers
  • Barnet 4-0 Southport
  • Chester FC 1-0 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Gateshead v Welling United POSTPONED - Gateshead in FA Trophy
  • Macclesfield Town 3-0 Lincoln City
  • Nuneaton Town 0-2 Grimsby Town

GREG SCORES

Alty midfielder Greg Wilkinson, on loan at Stockport, scored for County yesterday with a long range shot. Greg awaits suspension after his red card last week.

OLD BOYS

Former Alty loanee keeper Ben Williams was in goal for Bradford City in their historic FA Cup win at Chelsea yesterday.

On "Burns' Night" we learn that striker Aaron Burns has joined Chorley from Nantwich Town.


24 January 2015

BATH CITY v ALTRINCHAM: MATCH COVERAGE

You can follow the Bath City v Altrincham match (Saturday, 3pm) via this website's minute by minute updates or via Radio Robins. Click on the appropriate icon below to go to your preferred means of following the game. For Twitter and Facebook links see the icons on the side panel, right.

updatesPC updatesMOBI radiorobins

Brian Flynn advises that "Radio Robins, sponsored by Ashley Mowers Garden Machinery, will be broadcasting full live coverage of Saturday's game. The match commentary sponsors are Barry and Carol Pond. The commentators are Laurence Howarth & Brian Flynn with Ian Wilkinson as the match summariser.

Coverage starts at 2.50pm with the game kicking off at 3.00pm. You can listen to Radio Robins on the internet at www.radiorobins.com.

Mike Garnett advises us that Alty and Bath City have never previously met in a cup competition. He provides our historical record against The Romans:

  • Home P.17 W.9 D.3 L.5 F.24 A.14
  • Away P.17 W.7 D.6 L.4 F.23 A.19
  • Overall P.34 W.16 D.9 L.9 F.47 A.33

The clubs first met on 13th October 1979 (APL) when the outcome was Alty 4 Bath City 0. Our most recent meeting was a 0-3 defeat at home to Bath on 22nd January 2011.

BATH CITY VIEWS

The Bath Chronicle reports that "Bath City players have their say on big FA Trophy showdown with Vanarama Conference Premier side Altrincham

Bath City's players believe they have every chance of beating higher-league Altrincham and reaching the FA Trophy quarter-finals for only the second time in their history, if they can channel the spirit of Bristol Rovers and Whitehawk.

City's victories and performances in the previous two rounds were arguably their best of the season and they will be looking to repeat that form when they host Conference Premier opposition on Saturday (3pm).

Andrew Kerslake of Bath City Internet Radio asked four players what they thought of the big match, only City's second in the third round in the past decade...

  • Sekani Simpson (defender) 'It's going to be a tough match, but whoever you draw at this stage its going to be tough. When we were in the Conference Premier I don't think I played in the game up there [which City won]. They are probably the slight favourites but we will go out there with every confidence that we can win'.
  • Chris Allen (midfielder) 'I think it's a good draw for us, although it doesn't really matter who you get at this stage. All you can hope for is a home draw and that's what we have got. Any game is winnable and at this level its probably just about who plays better on the day - hopefully that will be us.
  • Ashley Kington (midfielder) I was talking to Chas Hemmings and we agreed that any team at this stage was going to be tough game. But we can also give them a tough game, we have no need to be afraid. We need to get the fans behind us and hopefully get a good crowd in. I fancy us to win if we play as we did against Bristol Rovers'.
  • Dave Pratt (striker) 'I have never played against them before so I will be looking for video footage of them this season. Nowadays there is always material about teams that you can look at. I like to check out what a team's defence is like, who I am going to come up against, whether they are big or small and how they tend to play'".

TICKETS IN ADVANCE FOR MACC GAME

Altrincham FC has been advised that the away game at Macclesfield on Tuesday, 10 February, is not all ticket. However, Macclesfield Town has sent tickets to Altrincham for pre-match sale. There are two advantages in purchasing in advance; the price is lower and pre-purchase facilitates entering the ground. On the night of the fixture you have to go to the ticket office to buy a ticket to present at the turnstile as no cash is taken at the turnstiles. Although there is a dedicated away supporters' ticket office, it can get busy at evening games as everyone tends to arrive in a narrow time band.

Advance prices are:-

  • Adults: Seated £16 Standing £12 (on the day £2 extra for both categories)
  • Concessionariess, Seniors (65+): Seated £12 Standing £9 (on the day £14 and £10 respectively)
  • Juniors, Under-18/Students: £4 (on the day £5)
  • Juniors, Under-12: £2 on the day £3)
  • Helpers/Carers: Free
Tickets can be bought from the new offices in the Community Sports Hall at the J Davidson Stadium, (entrance on corner of Golf Road/Moss Lane), between 9am and 5pm on weekdays. It is also hoped to have arrangements in place to purchase tickets next Saturday at the game against Aldershot Town.

CAR PARKING FOR ALTY GAMES

Altrincham Football Club is pleased to announce that it has come to a reciprocal agreement with Aecom on Moss Lane, (the former Riley's Snooker Hall), over the use of car parking. Aecom will have use of the club's car park (which is not available for public use on matchdays) during the day on weekdays and Altrincham Football club will have use of Aecom's car park on Tuesday nights and Saturday afternoons when a game is being played at the J. Davidson Stadium.

Chairman Grahame Rowley adds, "We urge supporters to use the car park and thus alleviate the parking problems around the ground and surrounding roads. The Aecom car park will be open on Saturdays from 10.30am and will be locked at 7pm and on Tuesdays will be open until 11pm. The address and post code of Aecom is 179 Moss Lane Altrincham WA15 8FH and a map is here

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

NL Daily tells us that "Alfreton Town manager Nicky Law has strengthened his squad further with the addition of talented central defender Niall Heaton. The eighteen-year-old has transferred to the Reds from Bradford City and has penned an eighteen-month contract with Alfreton.

Leeds-born Heaton began his career with City's Academy/Centre of Excellence before moving to Liverpool, where he impressed in their under-18s side and gained England Schoolboy honours. He rejoined Bradford City two years later in May 2013 and signed a one-year professional contract with City in May 2014 and has had recent loan spells with both Ossett Town and Bradford Park Avenue.

Commenting on the latest signing, Legend Football Partners' Michael Hitchcock said, 'We are excited to make another important signing for the club. Niall Heaton will add depth to the spine of the team. Our collective goal in this transfer window was to add key players who would not only assist Alfreton Town in our battle to stay in the Vanarama Conference, but also to establish a foundation for the future of the club'.

Niall will wear squad number 26 and he becomes the fifth player to join the Reds in the January transfer window following on from goalkeeper Jason Mooney, on loan from York City; striker Joe Ironside who has transferred from Sheffield United and signed an 18-month contract; former Crewe Alexandra winger John Johnston who has also signed an 18-month contract and central defender Callum Howe, on loan from Scunthorpe United."

NL Pitchero adds that "Busy Nicky Law, manager of Alfreton Town, has bolstered his squad with a sixth January transfer window signing. Law has brought in Joe Leesley, 20, on contract to the end of the 2014/15 season after the player became available earlier in the week when he was released by Matlock Town. Leesley is a tall, bustling left-back who has had trials with Bradford City and played for Winterton Rangers in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League before joining the Gladiators where he was named young player of the season during the 2012/13 campaign.

'We have been trailing him for a while and are pleased he has joined us. He is certainly one for the future', said chairman Wayne Bradley."


23 January 2014

TEAM FOR SATURDAY

Manager Lee Sinnott has confirmed that Peter Cavanagh will not be fit for Saturday's FA Trophy tie at Bath but Shaun Densmore is expected to be available after suffering a dead leg when fouled during the Torquay game last Saturday. Sean Williams is suspended for Saturday's game following his dismissal last Saturday.

TASC COACH TO BATH

There is still time to book on the TASC supporters' coach to Bath City on Saturday but don't forget to ring the club on (0161) 928-1045 before 5pm on Friday evening to book your place. Timings and fares are on the Away Travel page.

NEIL TOLSON ON TORQUAY GAME

Alty TV has Brian Flynn's post-match interview with assistant manager, Neil Tolson, in which he talks about the game against Torquay United.

FA TROPHY OPPONENTS: BATH OPTIMISTIC

The Bath Chronicle reports that "Dan Bowman says Bath City’s status as underdogs for Saturday’s home FA Trophy showdown with Altrincham (3pm) can help them reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 25 years.

The Cheshire side beat Torquay United 2-1 on Saturday to make it three Vanarama Conference wins on the trot and currently sit 14th in non-league football’s top-flight. However, City have already knocked out Bristol Rovers en route to the last 16 and produced perhaps their best performance, other than that one, when they won 3-1 at Wealdstone in round two. Bowman’s display in that game was described as 'fantastic' by coach Lee Howells and he followed it up with a man-of-the-match effort in Saturday’s 2-1 home success over Staines Town in the league.

'Playing against Altrincham is a good challenge', said the 21-year-old wing-back. 'We have already beaten a side from a higher league, at Rovers, although that was a bit different because that was a local derby but we have shown we can beat a side above us. For me personally I have always wanted to go up and I want to push myself as far as I can. It’s always good to come up against opposition that should be better than you, at least on paper.– I think that gives us an extra edge as we are definitely the underdogs. If we can reproduce the football we have been playing over the last couple of weeks then I think we can really produce an upset'.

Bowman had a hand in City’s second goal against Staines as a third win in four league outings lifted them to 11th in the Conference South table. 'It was part of the plan against Staines for me to press down the right and try and push them back a bit', he said. 'We thought that, given their results recently, it would be hard for them to come back at us. For the defence I was definitely the ‘out ball’ today. Overall, it was a really good start from the boys. We knew we had to go at them from the off, press them hard and win the ball back. It was nice to get the early goal but we could have had two or three. In the second half it was frustrating. We were going down the hill and always like attacking that end of the pitch'".

OLD BOY

From NL Pitchero comes news that "Trafford`s latest signing is the vastly experienced 33-year-old defender Matty Doughty from Warrington Town. A former Altrincham favourite, the left-back first joined Alty from Halifax Town in mid-June 2008.... He made his Alty debut in August 2008 and he became one of the team's most consistent players, as well as its penalty taker, but he sadly suffered cruciate ligament damage against Salisbury City in February 2010. This injury effectively ended his initial spell at Moss Lane.

After leaving Altrincham, he joined Witton Albion before moving on to Hyde FC... Doughty gave up football after his release from Hyde and a short spell with Warrington but, after a year, he returned to Altrincham in 2012 and went on to make a further thirty-four appearances before leaving to re-join Warrington."

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

The Football Conference tells us that "Paul Carden, the newly-appointed manager of Southport, has brought the highly-experienced Alex Russell in as his assistant. The new management team will be on the bench at The Hive on Saturday when Southport take on league leaders Barnet.

Russell has an impressive playing career making 101 appearances for Rochdale, 153 at Cambridge and 56 at Bristol City, while also playing for Burscough at the start of his career in 1993, Cheltenham, Exeter City, Bath City, Northampton Town and Yeovil Town. After retiring from playing Alex has been assistant-manager at Tranmere Rovers and chief scout at Oldham Athletic.

His father was a Southport legend playing in both Southport's promotion squads under Billy Bingham and Jimmy Meadows scoring Southport's Fourth Division Championship clinching 90th minute equaliser against Hartlepool in April 1973. Carden said, 'It is great news for me, the squad and the club that Alex has agreed to join us at such short notice. Alex is like me a young coach with lots of energy and he has an excellent knowledge of north-west football. We both see huge potential at Southport Football Club and are excited about the job ahead'".

Following on yesterday's news, "Torquay United have confirmed they have appointed a team headed by former Oxford United chairman Kelvin Thomas to look at all aspects of the Vanarama Conference club. Thomas has been involved in various businesses in both the US and the UK and his background includes a very successful spell as chairman of Oxford United, where, under his stewardship, the club gained promotion back into the Football League from the Football Conference, plus he oversaw revenue growth from £1.9 million to £3.2m and increased average attendances from 4,300 to 7,200 upon his departure".

Elsewhere, "Vanarama Conference North leaders AFC Fylde's progress up the leagues is going a little faster than was originally planned. This, combined with the delay in building the new ground which the club now plan to have open by February 2016, has led to speculation in certain quarters that the current ground is not up to Conference standards. In simple terms this is true and, if the club did nothing, they could not go up. The Conference has very high standards and rightly so.

The Board of Directors understand this and, based on the current league position, have decided to invest the money necessary to meet the Conference grading requirements at the current ground. There are three main areas that the Coasters have to upgrade. Firstly, the floodlights LUX reading which must be a minimum 180. This was done some weeks ago and the information submitted to the league.

Secondly, they need to have 500 covered seats. At present they have 283 so the club have ordered a new 250-seated stand which will be installed in late March and situated at the south end of the ground behind the goal.

Finally the club have to have a ground capacity of 4,000 and this will require the installation of new safety barriers in and around the ground and, in particular, upgrading the perimeter fencing; again, this is all in hand. The total cost of all the new upgrade will be over £75,000 which sounds a lot of money for something the club won’t need in twelve months' time. However, you can’t halt progress and, if Dave Challinor and Colin Woodthorpe keep up the good work on the pitch, the club want to ensure is doesn’t fail off it".

According to NL Daily, "The Bucks were dumped out of the FA Trophy with a 4-0 thumping at the Conference North leaders' Kellamergh Park [Fylde]. The defeat, which was Kittrick's first in six games as Bucks' boss, came just three days after the Bucks had hammered Wrexham by the same scoreline.

And the Bucks boss was uncompromising in his assessment of his team's performance, saying, 'We were poor. I have told the players that and it's not acceptable. As good as we were against Wrexham on Saturday, we have been as poor as we've been all year here. People haven't wanted to put a foot in, they have not been working hard and I think, psychologically, some of them have turned up and thought, after Wrexham, we'll beat these easy. I knew it was going to be different to that game and I said it that to them. We needed to be mentally strong enough. But I was disappointed that I took two players out of the squad and we have not looked the same team as we did on Saturday. They got about us in the first 10 minutes and there was only (going to be) one winner for me'.

A Danny Rowe brace and further goals from [ex-Alty loanee] Liam Tomsett and Josh Wilson did the damage... Kittrick questioned the desire of some of his players and added, 'If people don't want to be here, just come and see me and I will release you. I want a team of lads who are going to work hard, even if it is not bouncing for them'.

He added that on-loan Notts County defender Kyle Dixon, who was cup-tied last night, had requested to be allowed back to his parent club so that he can go on loan at Boston. He said, 'He rang me on Sunday and, because he's not playing, he wants to go back to Boston, but he's signed with us and has got to stay with us'".

In the Western Gazette, "Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson has revealed he is pursuing 'a couple' of transfer targets that will command a small fee, including Forest Green Rovers' defender Chris Stokes. The former Bristol City and Bolton Wanderers youngster is training with the Glovers in a bid to convince Johnson that he would be able to cut it in Sky Bet League One".

In the Chester Chronicle, "Steve Burr has revealed Chester FC missed out on Gateshead's Danny Wright, who joined Kidderminster Harriers on Tuesday.... Burr said he had not been in a position to meet the 30-year-old's demands and admitted his surprise when Wright moved to Kidderminster, where manager Gary Whild had seen his budget reduced.

'I enquired about Danny myself so I know the type of figures they were looking at so I was quite surprised at that', said Burr. 'Gary keeps telling me he's got no money there but that was one we missed out on. We're still a club where the Michael Gashs and Danny Wrights are out of our reach at the minute but the lads we have got in come within our structure and with a hunger to do well. For us at the minute, it's still about bringing in young lads from Football League clubs if we can or bringing the ones like George Thomson and Kane Richards through from lower down and we'll work with them and try and improve them.

Hopefully, in seasons to come, we can get stronger where we can maybe go an afford the Michael Gashs and the Danny Wrights of this world'.

Having settled Danny Harrison's contract this week, Burr still has some funds available to strengthen but doesn't think there will be further additions in the immediate future. Instead, the manager plans on moving a couple of players out on short-term arrangements with 19-year-old forward Tom Peers heading to Marine and an unnamed club making an approach for left winger Peter Winn".

At Kingfield, Woking "can confirm that Charles Banya has joined on loan from Crawley Town until the end of the season, with Dean Morgan moving on loan in the opposite direction. Reece Beckles has also gone on loan to Farnborough for a month. Charles Banya will be familiar to Cards’ fans, having made 10 appearances on loan from Fulham last season".


22 January 2015

LEE'S ASSESSMENT

Joint Press and Media Officer, John Edwards, based this week’s Messenger and Advertiser articles on an interview he did with Lee Sinnott after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Torquay. Here are Lee’s thoughts in full.

‘I thought our best spell came after the opening few minutes of the second half, when we saw a response to what had been said in the changing room at half-time. The players got a bit of a rollicking, because I just thought we were a bit slow in mind and body in the first half. If we had moved the ball around as we can, we would have asked them a few questions, and that’s certainly what we did in the second half.

I go back to that saying about the lazy racehorse and how you sometimes need to get the whip out and give it a crack. That’s what we did, and I was delighted with the reaction. It is a quality result.

OK, they will point to a couple of opportunities they had and say they should have scored, and maybe so, but it was still a top-notch result for us and one we deserved.

I just thought, in the first half, we were a bit sluggish in mind, not moving the ball around, or moving ourselves around, as we can. I was bored with it, to be honest. I remember at one stage, just after our first goal, I shouted to Tom Marshall (right), and when he came over, I said: ‘Tell them I’m bored.’ I’m not going to sit there and think that if we carry on the same way we’ll be OK, just because we’ve scored. The fact is, we probably wouldn’t have been OK. That’s why they had a heads-up at half-time. We had to up our energy levels, and our awareness levels, and apart from the first five minutes in the second half, bang, we moved it up a notch or two and went at them.

Apart from those opening few minutes, and a spell near the end after they scored, we were the team in the ascendancy. It was a decision I had to take to deliver a few stern words, because otherwise you wonder whether we were doing enough to get through the game. I don’t think we were.

They had a couple of opportunities they might have done better with, but we manufactured ourselves a 2-0 lead with two very well-taken goals, both of them really well converted. It was a great header from Reevesie for the first, and I thought he was excellent for the second. It was a good, clean first touch, and he had only one thing in his mind after his turn opened up a shooting opportunity. Good for Ryan Crowther, too, that he was alert to the possibilities after the keeper parried it, and, of course, he had a hand in the opener as well.

At 2-0 up, a third goal can make it deckchairs and sombreros time, but equally there’s the risk of being pegged back to 2-1 and having to see the game out. That’s what happened, and I wasn’t at all happy with the way we allowed Louis Briscoe to pull one back for them. We let him step into a pocket and pull the trigger, and with the quality he’s got, it’s in the back of the net before you know it.

In my view, we switched off a bit. We had a lot of bodies around him but put no pressure on the ball, and he was always likely to make us pay. That seemed to shake us a bit, because there were too many instances after that of allowing people to pick the ball up in the final third and drive at us.

Saying that, I was delighted with the way we held out. You’ve got to have the capability to do that, and we showed at Eastleigh and Kidderminster that we have that about us. Maybe that stood us in good stead, because, once more, we saw the game out really well. I’m always going on about putting bricks on the wall, and that’s another one in place.

Of course, Sean Williams’s second yellow for a supposed dive was a talking point, but there’s not much I can say. From my vantage point, it was right over the other side of the pitch, but Sean (left) says he did not dive, so we will leave it at that. It’s just disappointing that we will lose him for the FA Trophy tie at Bath City on Saturday, but I would expect Peter Cavanagh to be for after a bit of stiffness in his Achilles. The other debate was over whether Nicky Clee might have had a penalty in the second half, when he weaved into the area. If he had gone down, it surely would have been a pen. In fact, to be honest, I don’t know how he stayed on his feet! He was certainly given enough of a clip to have gone to ground without anyone thinking anything untoward of it. There was a theory he was mindful of already being on a yellow and how the ref might have interpreted it, if he had tumbled. That may well have been the case, especially the way bookings for simulation are so readily dished out these days.

Overall, though, I have to say I’m delighted with the result and the way the players went about it in the second half, but no-one is getting carried away. I know the gap between us and the play-offs is getting a mention, but I’ll reiterate once more that we’ll just keep rolling the dice and seeing where it takes us. I make no apologies whatsoever for saying we will simply move on to the next game and do our best to try and win it. That is the best way to approach it. People may say we are only so many points from one end of the table or that many clear of the other, but I’m not going down that road. Who knows how many points we can put on the board? It would be madness to do anything other than focus all our attention and energy on the next game.

What I would say, though, is this group of players can get better. The second half against Torquay was the best spell of football we have produced for a good few weeks. Whereas it took resilience at Eastleigh and Kidderminster, two strong teams who forced us to dig in for the result, we had more of the ball against Torquay and did better with it. That’s why I believe there is more to come from these players. We are what we are, and it doesn’t matter who we are up against – Barnet or Bristol Rovers at the top or Telford down near the bottom – we will stick to our way of playing. You won’t find us lumping it, because we can’t play that way. We’ll keep passing, keep moving.

Bristol Rovers is coming up on the horizon, and we will go down there with the intention of playing our football. Not only that, we will strive to do it better, because I know we can improve even more. We have shown we can dig in as well, but it’s about having the courage to play your football, regardless of the surroundings or occasion. There may be 6,000 at Bristol, but we can’t be put off our stride and resort to an ale house approach. To grow as a club, we must have the mentality that wherever we go and whatever the challenge, we play our way. We play to our strengths. This is what we are, and this is what we do.

So far, I think the players have earned their 42 points. You look back at the first few games and think, if we carried on like that, we’d be heading for serious problems. But full credit to them for what has happened since. We have played everyone in the league now, and every game has brought its own challenge. I’m not saying we have cracked it yet, but we have become accustomed to what it’s all about and what is required.

Shaun Densmore (left) had to go off with a dead leg but should be all right for Bath. He has shown repeatedly this season what a useful outlet he is for us, with his attacking forays down the right, just as Adam Griffin has down the left. I’ve started calling them Ant and Dec, because they are in the same car school and always seem to be together. They are a great outlet for us, though. They’ve both got the appetite to get forward and deliver dangerous balls into the area. That really adds to our attacking options. Nicky Clee was hobbling a bit after a kick on the Achilles, but he always hobbles! He’s a 50-year old occupying a 29-year old body! He looked to have run it off by the end, to be fair, so I think he should be fine".

MIKE WINS AWARD

The Football Conference reports that "The January winner of Vanarama 'Pic of the Month' is Mike Ripley of Altrincham FC".

OLD BOY

From NL Pitchero we learn that "Jeff King has left Kendal Town to join Trafford FC. King joined the Mintcakes from Trafford`s league rivals Nantwich Town in October, having signed for the Dabbers two months earlier from Altrincham. King, who lives in Liverpool, was finding the travelling to Cumbria too much on his own."

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

Chester FC "are delighted to announce that George Thomson is set to join the club from from King's Lynn Town.

A deal has been agreed between the two clubs and Blues' fans will be familiar with Thomson from pre-season, when the bearded midfielder featured for the club...

Steve Burr was pleased... 'We wanted to sign George earlier, but we weren't able to do so after his spell in pre-season with us, however I have followed his progress since he returned to Kings Lynn, and he's done very well for them, scoring plenty of goals. He's the type of player that will fit in well at the club and I'm sure the fans will be pleased with the news'.

After starting his career with three years at Nottingham Forest, Thomson moved to Spain and joined the Glenn Hoddle academy before playing for Jerez Industrial, Hinckley United and then Histon prior to his move to the Walks.

Thomson has been in fine goal scoring form this season, scoring 22 times in the league, including hat tricks against Ilkeston and Fylde, as well as converting a number of penalties. The midfielder is expected to complete paperwork in the next 24 hours.

In other news, Danny Harrison has left the club with immediate effect after the midfielder agreed to cancel his contract".

We learn from Dartford that "After a visit to his consultant, Tom Bradbrook has to unfortunately undergo surgery for his groin injury. Once Tom has had the operation, we will know more regarding the length of time he will be unavailable.

Obviously this is a major blow to the squad, however on a more positive note, Andy Pugh’s received the great news that he’s been given the all clear to resume full training with the team".

Meanwhile, "Forward Lewis Guy has left Gateshead after his contract was cancelled by mutual consent. The 29-year-old made 15 appearances during his six-month stint at the International Stadium, scoring three goals.

The Penrith-born frontman, who began his career at Newcastle United, joined the Heed in July, after leaving Carlisle United".

According to Get Hampshire, "Shots' chairman Shahid Azeem said the appointment of a new manager will not be a 'knee-jerk reaction'

The Shots' chairman claimed Andy Scott will be always be remembered for stabilising the club but insisted 'We had to make a change'.

Aldershot Town FC chairman Azeem told Get Hampshire, 'It was a difficult decision to make because we are not a club that wants to sack managers for the sake of it. We want to give as much time and patience as we can, especially in Andy's case as he stuck by us during our period administration, working unpaid for four months, and pieced together a squad from nothing at the start of the season.

He stabilised us and stopped the rot and he will always be remembered for that. However, using the old cliche, it is a results-driven business and results have not gone our way these last few weeks and the board felt we had to make a change'.

Mr Azeem continued, 'Andy [Scott] and Terry Bullivant come as a pair but in Chris [Barker] and Matt Gray we have two men who can give us that continuity with the team. Chris Barker has been there, done that, got the T-shirt. He is well respected and valued by the team, the board and the supporters, he is club captain and if there's anyone you want in the interim then he's your man. It was a no-brainer.

He's helping us out but we are in no hurry to make a decision on the new man quickly. It has to be the right one, it will not be a knee-jerk reaction. We are extremely grateful to Andy, he is very hard working, very ethical and a very good football manager. He's been loyal through difficult times, stopped the rot and given this club a lot a happy memories. I just hope he stays in football and gets another chance to show his true worth'".

We learn from the Western Morning News that "Former Oxford United chairman Kelvin Thomas has emerged as a key figure in talks which may lead to a sale of Torquay United.

Thomas, who left the 'U's in 2012 after four years at the helm, is advising a group which is currently negotiating with United’s chairwoman and major shareholder Thea Bristow.

Mrs Bristow, Thomas and Tristan Lewis, currently assistant manager of struggling Conference South club Hayes & Yeading United, met the club’s playing and backroom staff, including manager Chris Hargreaves, yesterday.

That meeting was designed to calm growing anxieties around the Plainmoor club, but it confirmed earlier reports that Mrs. Bristow is seeking new investment – or even a sale.

Following that meeting, United issued a statement which revealed that Thomas has been enlisted 'to look at all aspects of the club'.

The statement added, 'Kelvin’s role will primarily be to work closely with chairman Thea Bristow, the board of directors and the club’s existing staff to offer direction and guidance to help drive the club forward'.

Mrs. Bristow added, 'It is well known that I have been subsidising the club for three years and I would like to make some changes, so that the club can grow in a more sustainable manner.

“It is also well known that I have no experience at running a football club and making these type of changes, so I have made the decision to seek external help in this area. Kelvin has been highly recommended in this role, and I am looking forward to working with him over the next few weeks.

There has also been speculation in regards to additional investment or a purchase of the club. I can confirm that I have had talks with various parties about additional investment, but obviously nothing has been completed, and these talks will be ongoing. My love for the football club hasn’t changed, and my role now is to ensure, if there is additional investment and new parties introduced, that it has to be beneficial for the football clb. The football club’s future comes first'...

Thomas commented, 'Having met Thea and been approached to help, it was quite an easy decision. She has immense love for this club, but has found herself in a position where she feels quite lonely in her role. Hopefully, during this initial three-week period, I will be able to use some of my experience and expertise to help her and the club'.

Thomas, who knows Gulls team boss Hargreaves from their time together at the Kassam Stadium, has spent much of the last four years in the United States, where he has business interests. It seems that he is advising a group, fronted by Lewis, which is interested in buying United.

West London-based Lewis, who is also the UK director of several youth football coaching franchises, was a guest of Mrs. Bristow’s at Torquay’s 2-1 Conference Premier defeat at Altrincham last Saturday. The ‘three-week period’ referred to by Thomas is thought to be part of a ‘due diligence’ process.

But it may also give any other possible suitors the time and chance to get solid bids together".

WEDNESDAY FA TROPHY 2ND ROUND

  • Gateshead 3-2 Grimsby T. after extra time.

21 January 2015

NEXT LEAGUE OPPONENTS SACK MANAGER

Aldershot Town announced this morning that, "Following the Club’s recent run of results, Aldershot Town have relieved manager Andy Scott and assistant Terry Bullivant of first-team duties for the remainder of their contracts. The Club recognise, and are grateful for, Andy’s contribution to Aldershot Town FC through a very difficult period of relegation and administration, but have now taken this tough decision to safeguard the team’s immediate prospects in the Vanarama Conference.

Until a permanent new manager can be appointed, Club Captain Chris Barker will take charge of the first-team, assisted by coach Matt Gray. The Club hope that supporters will give their full backing to Chris, and will be unified behind a new manager in building a successful future for Aldershot Town". Despite beating Alty 3-1 on the opening day of the season, Aldershot are now nine points behind us, after winning just one of their last 12 games in all competitions.

The Shots have no match before they travel to the J. Davidson Stadium, a week on Saturday (31st, 3pm). They were due to meet Dover Athletic this Saturday but the Kent side, like us, are in FA Trophy action that day.

AFTER THE MATCH

Quays News has a report and a post-match interview with Lee Sinnott from Saturday's victory over Torquay United.

NEW PORTALS

Now that the Community Sports Hall is operational at the J. Davidson Stadium, the administrative offices of Altrincham FC have moved into the new premises from their previous location adjacent to the Manchester Glass Ltd Sponsors' Lounge. So, if you need to visit the club, the new entrance is on the corner of Moss Lane and Golf Road. The former entrance gate, further up Moss Lane, will now be closed. The offices are normally open on weekdays from 9.30am to 5pm though this may vary on match days, so check before travelling (0161 928-1045).

And the Community Sports Hall has also launched a remodelled website, which is well worth a look.

SPORTSMAN'S DINNER WITH DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM

The first Sportsman's Dinner to be held in the new Community Sports Hall at Altrincham Football Club is on Friday 27th February 2015, starting at 7.30pm, when Danny Higginbotham [right] will be our guest speaker. There will be a three-course meal, a raffle and an auction. Ticket prices are £25 per head with a 10% discount for a table of 8.

All proceeds from the dinner will go to the Community Sports Company (Registered Charity no. 1154394). Book your tickets by ringing the club (0161 928-1045) or by e-mailing the club.

TUESDAY SCORES

Vanarama Conference:
  • Aldershot Town 0-1 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Chester FC v Lincoln City POSTPONED - FROZEN PITCH
  • Dover Athletic 2-0 Wrexham
  • Macclesfield Town v AFC Telford Utd -POSTPONED AS TELFORD IN FA TROPHY
  • Southport v Braintree Town POSTPONED - FROZEN PITCH

Also postponed on Tuesday night was our FA Trophy opponents Bath City's game at Whitehawk in Conference South.

Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round

  • Alsager Town v Stockport County POSTPONED - FROZEN PITCH
  • Cammell Laird 1907 v Winsford United POSTPONED - FROZEN PITCH
  • Crewe Alexandra v 1874 Northwich POSTPONED - FROZEN PITCH
  • Northwich Flixton Villa v Congleton Town POSTPONED - FROZEN PITCH

FA Trophy

  • AFC Fylde 4-0 AFC Telford United

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

Southport report that manager "Gary Brabin has joined Everton to be part of the coaching set up at Goodison up to Under 21 level. Southport Football Club would not stand in the way of Gary Brabin when he informed Chairman Charlie Clapham on Monday afternoon he had been head-hunted to be part of Everton's coaching regime.

Paul Carden takes immediate charge at the Merseyrail Community Stadium with an assistant to be announced shortly.

Chairman Charlie Clapham said, 'We gave Gary a manager's post after a couple of years out of the game. It is a complement to both Gary and Southport FC that Everton want our manager for such a prestigious role. It's Gary's lifelong ambition to be part of Everton Football Club and, sometimes in life, things happen when you are not expecting them to. I would not want to stop Gary achieving his ambition and genuinely wish him all the best. Gary made an immediate impact here and I want to thank him for that and our FA Cup run culminating at Derby County. Paul Carden now has the task of building on Gary's foundations over the last four months and getting us to a safe position as quickly as possible'".

According to NL Pitchero, "Kidderminster Harriers have completed the signing of Danny Wright from rivals Gateshead. Wright has signed a contract until the end of the season and will be available for Monday's game at Aldershot Town.

The 30-year-old joined Forest Green Rovers in 2013 and made forty appearances, scoring 8 goals, but had not featured for the club this season before signing for Gateshead at the end of August 2014. The striker can count Wrexham, Cambridge United and Histon amongst his former clubs, and has scored over 80 goals in almost 300 appearances throughout his career.

'I’m delighted to join Kidderminster', Wright said. 'In the end, things didn’t quite work out how I thought they would at Gateshead, and Kiddy are closer to home to my family near Gloucester. I’m hoping to settle down somewhere and get my career back on track. It’s a good move for everyone involved, so hopefully I can hit the ground running and help kick Kidderminster on towards the play-offs. I’ve scored 10 goals already for Gateshead this season in a relatively short period of time so I’m looking to do the same for Kiddy.

I’ve been in and around the play-offs with Wrexham, which is where I know Mark Creighton from, and I got there with Histon when we finished third in the Conference in 2009. I’ve had plenty of experience in this league and hopefully I can use that to bring to the squad and give us a boost... It’s just nice to get back down south, get amongst the lads and get playing again. I’ll be working hard, which is a big part of my game. I put in a lot of hard work as a big target man'".

At Welling United report that "The Wings trip to the International Stadium at Gateshead on Saturday in the Vanarama Conference is still in the balance. With Gateshead due to play at home versus Grimbsy Town in an FA Trophy replay on Wednesday and the weather being among the obstacles for the Wings to form their travel plans.

If Gateshead’s FA Trophy match is postponed on Wednesday, the Wings' match on Saturday at Gateshead will be postponed and need to be rescheduled as Gateshead will attempt to play their FA Trophy replay on Saturday. If Gateshead play on Wednesday night and progress in the FA Trophy then the Wings game on Saturday at the International Stadium will be postponed on Saturday as well, as the Heed will be playing in the FA Trophy on that day.

If Wednesday’s game goes ahead and Gateshead are knocked out of the FA Trophy then the Wings game on Saturday at Gateshead will go ahead weather permitting."

From the BBC, we learn that "Bristol Rovers has [sic] confirmed it will be taking supermarket giant Sainsbury's to the High Court in a bid to force through the sale of its ground. The club wants to move from the Memorial Stadium to a new purpose-built arena and had agreed to sell the ground to the supermarket. But Sainsbury's has threatened to pull out of the deal.

The supermarket said the action was a 'just a continuation' of current proceedings between the two. Bristol Rovers new stadium would be located alongside the University of the West of England in Stoke Gifford and would be financed partly by the sale of the Memorial Stadium.

In a statement the club said, 'Most of you will have read an article in today's edition of The Post detailing our intention to take Sainsbury's to the High Court regarding their contract to purchase the Memorial Stadium site. It is with regret that we have felt it necessary to revert to High Court action to complete our contract with Sainsbury's but it was felt that this course of action was necessary to allow us to invest in our new stadium at UWE'.

The case is due to be heard in the High Court on 23 February."

NL Pitchero reports that "Aldershot Town have signed midfielder Jim Stevenson on loan from Luton Town until February 21st. The 22-year-old has already made a dozen appearances for the Hatters this season, following six games last season as Luton won the Conference title.

Stevenson also played twenty-three games for Dartford in another loan spell, from December 2013 to April 2014... The dynamic, box-to-box midfielder joined Luton in May 2013 on a two-year deal from then Conference North outfit Histon, for whom he made 113 appearances in three seasons, scoring 16 goals."

Elsewhere, "Woking have confirmed that Jack Marriott has been recalled by his parent club, Ipswich Town, ahead of his proposed loan to Colchester United. Marriott played twenty-five times in all for the Cards this season in two separate spells and scored 5 times [including one in two appearances against Altrincham]. It was the 20-year-old's third temporary spell at Kingfield".


20 January 2015

COUNCIL SALUTES ALTY INITIATIVE

Trafford MBC reports that "Trafford Council congratulates Altrincham Football Club on the completion of its new Community Sports Hall and is asking local people to help it thrive.

The new facility, which opened to the public in December 2014, houses a fantastic new space for community use and has been made possible through grants, donations and fundraising. Trafford Council has supported the club by agreeing a new lease to accommodate the Community Sports Hall and a Community Use Agreement for public use of the new facility, which will offer a range of activities for all ages including fitness classes, Tumbletots, after-school clubs and Scouts.

There is an opportunity to hire the hall for a range of classes and functions.

Sean Anstee, Leader of Trafford Council and Chair of the Altrincham Forward Board, Altrincham’s public and private sector partnership in the town, said, 'I am extremely pleased to see how the Sports Hall has come together and both the Council and Altrincham Forward will support the club in promoting it as one of the fantastic venues and assets in the borough.

'I can also see how this new facility will firmly bring the community and the club closer together. The team have already achieved a lot by being promoted this season and I look forward to seeing them and this business and community opportunity thrive. On behalf of Trafford Council and Altrincham Forward, I wish them every success in this venture'".

SIR ALEX AT ALTY

According to the Sale & Altrincham Messenger "Former Manchester United chief executive, David Gill, was instrumental in securing a visit from Sir Alex Ferguson to open Altrincham FC’s new community sports hall, it has been revealed.

The Manchester United legend will visit Moss Lane on February 9 to cut the red ribbon on the £750,000 community hall facility.

Altrincham FC chairman, Graham Rowley said, 'A lot has been said about who should conduct the opening ceremony, but you cannot get a bigger name anywhere in football than Sir Alex Ferguson. We could not have wished for anyone better. It was with the help of former United chief executive, David Gill, that we managed to secure the services of Sir Alex. David was a regular visitor when United's reserves used to play at our ground and he has occasionally come along to watch us, when his busy schedule has permitted. We are grateful to him, as well'.

Completed in November 2014, Altrincham FC’s new community sports hall has been open for business since December. Around £550,000 for the new facility was secured through grants, but the rest has been raised by the community with a wide range of fundraising activities. Although construction is now complete, a further £63,000 still needs to be raised to cover the cost. With the arrival of Manchester United’s former manager on the horizon, it has already got local people talking about the sports hall and gaining more interest.

The hall is currently running yoga, Slimming World, Scouts, Beavers, Cubs, karate, boxing, senior aerobics, socials, after school clubs and mini kickers.

It is also the venue for Altrincham FC’s match day food and drink, as well as being available for private hire. For more information, visit the website, email: sportshall@altrinchamfootballclub.co.uk, or phone 0161 928 1045".

TROPHY SIMILARITIES

There are a number of similarities between Altrincham and Bath City, both of whom were founder-members of the Football Alliance, the precursor to the Football Conference in 1979. Both clubs started this season poorly before climbing towards mid-table. Both have lost matches to lowly teams yet The Romans have done the double over league leaders Boreham Wood. Similarly, Altrincham have a much better record against the top six than the bottom six in their division.

Bath knocked out Bristol Rovers 2-0, away, in the FA Trophy but crashed 7-1 at East Thurrock United in the FA Cup. Likewise, Alty have beaten Macclesfield and Kidderminster in the FA Trophy but crashed out of the FA Cup at Blyth Spartans.

OLD BOYS

James McCarthy has moved from Kidsgrove Athletic to Trafford, where he rejoins manager Graham Heathcote, who has signed him three times.

TORQUAY MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Make your own mind up about the controversial Sean Williams sending off on Saturday by viewing the excellent Alty TV highights (right), which also show the excellent finishes from Damian Reeves and Ryan Crowther. Few would agree with the referee's decision about Sean and it clearly took reminders from the Torquay players before he realised that, barely ten minutes earlier, he had booked the Alty midfielder, so had to send him off. For some reason, appeals are not permitted against second yellow cards so Sean now has to sit out Saturday's game at Bath.

GULLS GUTTED

After Saturday's match Torquay United says that "There was no hiding the intense disappointment for Torquay United boss Chris Hargreaves after his team slipped to a frustrating 2-1 defeat at Altrincham on Saturday. The Gulls spurned a big chance early in the game when Duane Ofori-Acheampong fired over and the hosts came back with the opening goal from a crafty looping header by the dangerous Damian Reeves.

The same player was involved in Altrincham’s second, forcing a good save from Jordan Seabright and the rebound was easy for Ryan Crowther. Substitute Louis Briscoe pulled one back for United...

'We created the chances to win the game but we weren’t ruthless enough in front of goal', said Chris. 'Some of the chances fell to the wrong people at times and they had a striker [Reeves] who was cleverer than us on the day. Duane had one of those chances where you expect the net to ripple but he didn’t manage to get over it, and it could have been a goal to help us calm down a bit. The first goal was a disappointing one to concede. Krystian Pearce has lost his man and Jordan Seabright got caught on his heels. It was a mistake and their first shot on target. Jordan had a bit of bad luck on the second goal and they reacted first.

Louis has that sort of goal in his locker and he’s a good player. He’s been suffering after basically having a year out of football. We worked him hard in pre-season and we’ve used him sparingly, but it was still a very disappointing result'".

More comes from the Western Morning News, which states that "Torquay take step backwards as their struggles in Conference combat continue...

Not only did the result drop the Gulls into the bottom half of the Conference Premier table for the first time, but Chris Hargreaves and his squad, without a win in six league games, face renewed problems as they prepare to travel to Hemel Hempstead Town for a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy next weekend. A tenth booking of the season for skipper Luke Young will earn United’s talismanic midfielder a two-match ban...

Hargreaves is also anxiously awaiting fitness reports on his leading scorer Ryan Bowman and promising young centre-back Angus MacDonald. Twelve-goal Bowman missed the Altrincham defeat with a chest complaint and MacDonald, who was out with a knee injury, may need surgery after a scan on a possible ligament problem.

United were undone at Altrincham by the home side’s prolific striker Damian Reeves, who has averaged 25 goals a season since he joined from local rivals Northwich Victoria in 2010. Just to show that he cannot only do it in the Conference North, he took his tally to 17 in all competitions this season with the opener on Saturday...

Without Bowman, United were lightweight up front... 'We had a shout for handball in the box at the end, but their player pretended that the ball hit his face, and the referee bought it' said Hargreaves... He is still waiting for a go-ahead to sign French defender Olivier Gueguen on non-contract terms. Gueguen, 24, who has trained with Torquay for the past fortnight, travelled with the squad to Altrincham, but is held up by an international clearance delay anyway".

BUCKET COLLECTION

Saturday's TASC bucket collection at the J. Davidson Stadium raised £50.77. Donors and collectors are thanked by the club.

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

Southport report that "Joining goalkeeper Callum Burton on loan from Shrewsbury is winger James Caton. Gary Brabin concluded the loan on Monday morning, adding the ex -Bolton and Blackpool player to Tuesday night's squad versus Braintree".

Another player leaving the Shrosphire club on loan is the subject of a piece from the Worcester News which says that "Shrewsbury Town midfielder Aaron Wildig has joined Kidderminster Harriers on a month’s loan. The 22-year-old will remain at Aggborough until February 21".

On Monday, Gateshead reported that "Tonight's FA Trophy Second Round replay between Gateshead and Grimsby Town has been POSTPONED after the pitch at the International Stadium failed a second inspection this afternoon... The pitch passed a first inspection at 11.45am, conducted by Football League referee Geoff Eltringham. However, after incessant rainfall this afternoon, a second inspection was arranged, with the game called off because of a waterlogged pitch shortly after 2.30pm. The tie is now scheduled to take place on Wednesday night, with kick-off at 7.45pm."

Dartford "would like to advise that Adam Green, after mutual consent, has had his contract terminated".

The Shropshire Star tells us that "AFC Telford boss Steve Kittrick says he is closing in on the final pieces of his January transfer project. The Bucks chief, whose team are bottom of the Conference Premier, has already brought in four new signings since taking over the managerial reins in late December.

And, if he can land two further targets, that would probably conclude his player hunt during this transfer window. He said, 'We are down the line with a couple of players. If we get the couple of players that I want, I think that will be it. I’m looking at utility players. I like players that can play in two positions'.

Kittrick has signed midfielder Jack Rea from Bradford Park Avenue and ex-Chester full-back John Disney. He has also secured loan deals for full-backs Kyle Dixon and Ben McLaughlin from Notts County and Everton respectively, and versatility has been a constant theme.

He said, 'Kyle Dixon can play in midfield or at right-back, Ben McLaughlin can play either side of defence, and Jack Rea anywhere in midfield'. Rea can also turn out at right-back, while Disney can operate at either left-back or right-back. Defence has been Kittrick’s main priority in the market as he aims to plug the division’s worst rearguard. He is confident that if his team can keep clean sheets, as they did in Saturday’s 4-0 win at Wrexham, they have enough firepower at the other end.

He was delighted with forwards Tony Gray and Sam Smith at the Racecourse Ground on Saturday and he revealed that he has set both players a goal target. Gray’s brace against Wrexham took him to 12 for the season while Smith’s second-minute opener was his sixth. Kittrick said, 'I have told Smithy him how many goals I want and he is one nearer and Tony is two nearer to what I have asked of him, so that is fantastic for us'."


19 January 2015

SATURDAY REFLECTIONS

After Saturday's 2-1 win over Torquay United, manager Lee Sinnott told Dave Stringer of the NL Paper, "That was probably they best we have played for a few weeks. We moved the ball about well and had a really good spell for five minutes after I had words at half-time. Their goal rocked us but we held on for a good win".

Right: Gavin Rathbone captures Ryan Crowther as he celebrates his goal against Torquay. More of Gavin's images are on his GR Photography website.

On the Torquay Fans website, we read of Saturday's game "Make no mistake about it, we deserved to lose today. We weren’t bullied by a stereotypical run-of-the-mill non-league side full of big and ugly bruisers. In fact, they [Altrincham] had quite a few small players. We were simply outplayed by a part-time team who played some neat football on the deck and showed more heart and desire...

We were lucky to go into the break only one down but it was only a matter of time before they would score a second after we swapped ends. Seabright parried a shot and their player was quickest to react to slot in the rebound. At that point I was resigned to defeat – until Briscoe scored a peach out of nothing, firing into the far corner from the edge of the box. Their goalkeeper didn’t move. After that I thought we’d throw the kitchen sink at them but it wasn’t until they had a player sent off – his second yellow for a dive which was a good call by by referee – that we threatened to snatch an equaliser".

TROPHY OPPONENTS - BATH CITY

Alty travel to Bath City next Saturday. Last Saturday Bath beat bottom club Staines Town 2-1 in the Conference South and M. Tanner Sports has a report by Kevin Porter and video of the game. It includes, "Bath City recorded their third consecutive home victory in Vanarama Conference South... The Romans were indebted to Dave Pratt for two goals before the break which were just reward for a dominant first half performance, but they almost paid the price for not taking full advantage of their supremacy,,,

City were in almost total control, and the only effort that the visitors could muster was a long range shot... It was, therefore, hugely against the run of play, and somewhat out of the blue, when Staines equalised on 40 minutes. A corner from the left was flicked on at the near post, and skipper Max Worsford hooked the ball high into the net from close range.

To their credit Bath responded within a minute, following Bowman’s cross into the box. Watkins squared to Pratt in front of goal and, despite Turner catching the latter’s point blank shot, the linesman indicated that the ball had already crossed the line.

The only remaining incident of the half was a lengthy injury to Ball who was pole-axed by his own keeper’s punch following a Town corner. The defender eventually rose back to his feet, but was substituted ahead of the resumption by Pat Keary.

The second period was completely different in character, as the home side struggled to regain their momentum, and The Swans pushed more men forward...

City were worthy of their victory by virtue of their first half performance but, in truth, the three points should have been secure well before the interval, and their inability to convert their dominance into goals could have proved costly..

BATH CITY - Jason Mellor, Dan Bowman, Dan Ball (Pat Keary 45), Phil Walsh, Andy Gallinagh, Ben Adelsbury, Chas Hemmings, Ashley Kington (Naby Diallo 70), Frankie Artus, Dave Pratt, Andy Watkins (Ross Stearn 74). Subs not used, Nick McCootie, Chris Allen".

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

Given the recent tales of Kidderminster's financial problems, it comes as a surprise to read in Stroud Life that "The career of Lee Hughes at Forest Green appears to be over, with Kidderminster Harriers keen on re-signing the veteran striker on loan. Hughes did not travel with the Rovers squad to Braintree Town on Saturday and has been suffering from a chest infection, but it has since transpired that the 38-year-old watched Kidderminster's 2-0 defeat to Macclesfield Town at Aggborough.

Harriers' boss Gary Whild said, 'No disrespect to Forest Green because I don't like to talk about somebody else's player but Lee is a local lad and started his career at Harriers and he'd be keen to come back and that would be a godsend'.

Rovers' manager Ady Pennock suggested, after his side's 2-1 win at Braintree, that the future of Hughes, who moved to the New Lawn from Port Vale a year ago, would become clearer in the coming days. Pennock said, 'Lee has been poorly but there may be a little bit more information about him next week'. ..

Hughes was sentenced to six years in jail in 2004 after fleeing the scene of a fatal road accident, eventually resuming his football career in with Oldham Athletic in 2007 and moving on to Blackpool, Notts County and Port Vale. He then became one of the most high-profile signings in Forest Green's history, and he scored eight goals in 21 appearances last season, although his wage demands could yet be too high for Kidderminster...

Pennock said, 'Over the last month or two Jon (Parkin) has been absolutely outstanding. He's getting his rewards for working hard on the training ground and, more importantly, in matches'”.

The Torquay Herald Express reports that "Talks between Torquay United chairwoman Thea Bristow and at least one set of investors appear to be gathering pace. Mrs Bristow, the Gulls' major shareholder and benefactor, has made no secret of her efforts to attract new money to her depleted board. There has been no announcement that the Plainmoor club is for sale, a move which might broaden the field of potential suitors.

But a representative of at least one interested party is believed to have been at United's 2-1 defeat at Altrincham on Saturday when the Gulls, relegated from the Football League last April, slipped into the bottom half of the Conference Premier table for the first time this season. If Mrs Bristow is prepared to sell the club, it would be a move which may well alert other possible buyers. The current regime has been in place since May 2007, when they bought United following the club's first relegation to the Conference.

The 2006-07 season had seen a group headed by Chris Roberts try and ultimately fail to purchase the club from former owner-chairman Mike Bateson. The major backers of the 2007 takeover were the late Paul Bristow, who died in 2010, and Mrs Bristow, who had won £15 million on the National Lottery. Mrs Bristow has carried on her husband's work, helping to fund the building of the Bristow's Bench grandstand and supporting the club financially in recent years. Her son Alan also joined the board 18 months ago.

Although four directors, ex-chairman Alex Rowe, brothers Mark and Cris Boyce and Ian Hayman, have stepped down in recent months, the current board is still nine-strong. Mrs Bristow is supported by joint vice-chairmen Simon Baker and Bill Phillips, Tony Carter, Eric Coote, James O'Dwyer, Brian Palk, Alan Bristow and James Perry."

According to the Bristol Post, "Director Brian Seymour-Smith has dismissed claims that Bristol Rovers declined the opportunity to make their match at Woking all-ticket after up to 200 away supporters were turned away from the Kingfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

A Woking spokesperson last night said that the club had no choice but to bring the shutters down after all away areas of the ground sold out on a pay on the day basis and added that Rovers had turned down the opportunity to make the game all-ticket, which would have served to prevent the fiasco. Almost 1900 of the 3853 crowd were travelling supporters and although the ground was not completely full, segregation meant that Woking were unwilling to allow away fans into areas designated for home supporters.

Mr Seymour-Smith, who wasn’t at the game, explained that chairman Nick Higgs had been in touch with Woking in a bid to get the locked out supporters into the ground soon after being notified of the situation at 3.20pm... Mr Seymour-Smith wrote...'The staging of a home game is the responsibility of the home club and their decision is final. However, in my own personal view, and again I was not there, is that it is safer to have people in a stadium rather than outside on the street, providing there are sufficient facilities to accommodate them. I am disappointed this did not happen'.

Mr Seymour-Smith continued, 'Nick makes it absolutely clear that Woking were advised by BRFC that we were expecting in excess of 1,500 supporters to attend the game. It was Woking's decision therefore not to make the game all ticket and to charge on the gate. Clearly, they felt they had sufficient room in a stadium, catering for over 6,000 to do this. They no doubt appreciated that the Rovers' allocation would have been greatly restricted, possibly to 600 on an all ticket game, and this would have had an effect on matchday revenue. They must also have been aware from our other away games that Rovers away support is constantly in excess of 1,200 and this attendance yesterday was not uncommon'.

Liam Gulwell, 28, was one of the unlucky supporters denied entry to the ground after having trouble to find anywhere to park around the congested streets of the Kingfield Stadium.... Mr Gulwell said, 'I think someone has misread the amount of demand for tickets considering that it is a relatively short trip... In fairness to Woking I saw one of their officials arrange to let one Rovers' supporter with two young kids into the home end, but I can understand why they wouldn’t want to let another 200 away fans into the same area. There were a few people around having a bit of a moan and groan, but I didn’t see any trouble. I thought people were pretty well-behaved considering the circumstances'".

The next league visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium are Aldershot Town and Get Hmpshire reports that "Aldershot Town crashed to their eighth defeat from the last nine league games after going down 3-1 at Lincoln City. Andy Scott gave full debuts to all three of his new signings... Andy Scott believes there is no pressure on his job... The Shots' boss claims his side put in their best display for some time in the opening half an hour at Sincil Bank, only for three goals in the space of 17 minutes either side of the break to leave them empty-handed.

Scott's men now lie just six points clear of the relegation zone ahead of another tough test on Tuesday night when play-off chasing Kidderminster Harriers visit the Electrical Services Stadium. But the boss, who handed full debuts to new trio Danny East, Matt Saunders and Ryan Jarvis, insists it's not time to press the panic button just yet.

'There's definitely no pressure, in fact, the first half today was probably as well as we have played in a long time', Scott said. 'We were on the front foot then, all of a sudden, their lad scores one of the best goals I have ever seen in all my time in football. Then, just after that, we get punished for a poor individual error, whereas if we gone in at half time 1-0 down it's there for the taking. The third goal was scrappy and killed us off, especially as it came so soon after the break. The second and third goals came at the worst possible times to concede. People will look at the scoreline and think it was comfortable for Lincoln, but it wasn't.

There are positives today; the three new players all had good games we moved the ball well, created good chances and our ball retention was as good as it has been in a while. It's my job now to get the lads to respond in time for the next match on Tuesday, and that's what I'll do. We've got to stop these silly mistakes because that's what's killing us'.

As Scott surmised... totally against the run of play, it was Lincoln who broke the deadlock on 31 minutes with a goal to grace any stage. Midfielder Charlee Adams, on loan from Birmingham City, picked up a loose ball and let fly from a full 35 yards... The Shots forced a remarkable 12 corners in the first half alone, yet they somehow found themselves 2-0 down eight minutes later when Imps' top scorer Ben Tomlinson capitalised on a weak back header from Shots captain Glenn Wilson to prod past Smith from 12 yards...

They didn't have to wait long for the killer third goal after the break".


18 January 2015

SIX WEEKS OF INACTION

Today's Altrincham FC Youth game at home to Chester FC has been postponed owing to an unfit pitch at Clay Lane. It was 7 December when the Youth team last played a game!

However, in a rearranged fixture, Alty Youth are now set to travel to Ashton Athletic on Tuesday, 27 January, k.o. 7.30pm.

ALTRINCHAM 2
TORQUAY UNITED 1

This third successive league win was well deserved and lifted Altrincham to 14th...

Match report here.

Right: Damian Reeves is congratulated on his goal against Torquay United.

GULLS' VIEW

Torquay United report that "United slipped to a frustrating defeat at Altrincham and it was a simple case of the home side taking their chances when they came.

The Gulls, on the other hand, were wasteful in the big moments and a cute header from Damian Reeves gave Altrincham the advantage at half-time. Ryan Crowther forced home a decisive second just after the hour and, despite Louis Briscoe pulling one back with a stunning strike, the points remained at Moss Lane...

Reeves found his range on 37 minutes, looping a header back over the header of Seabright and the frustrating reality was Altrincham kept piling on the pressure toward the end of the first period. Briscoe and Ashley Yeoman were introduced in an attempt to change Yellow fortunes but it continued to be Altrincham sweeping forward, and they soon doubled their advantage when a Reeves shot was saved by Seabright, leaving an easy rebound for Crowther.

United desperately needed a quick riposte and Briscoe provided the answer with a thunderbolt from 20 yards, and defender Aaron Downes very nearly forced home the equaliser moments later.

Referee Ryan Johnson decided to unnecessarily spice up a fairly tepid game by waving his yellow card at just about anyone he could find, all of which left United with six bookings and two for Mike [Sean] Williams left Altrincham with ten men for the closing minutes.

One more chance for salvation fell to Downes in the box and he connected well with the volley, but when the ball sailed over, it was the end of the road on a frustrating day".

And the Torquay Herald Express says that "United’s chances of reaching the Conference Premier play offs are fading after yet another disappointing goal-shy performance saw them end up 2-1 losers at Altricham. It was the home striker, the prolific Damian Reeves, who showed Torquay’s attackers how the job should be done, scoring one goal and making the other, while Duane Ofori-Acheampong, in for the ill Ryan Bowman, failed to provide the kind of spark that the Gulls needed up front.

Reeves headed his 17th goal of the season to give the home side the lead in the 37th minute. His control, movement and awareness was a constant threat, and it was his shot on the turn, parried by Jordan Seabright, which set up Ryan Crowther's second goal for Lee Sinnott's side in the 61st minute.

Briscoe fired a rasping 25-yarder to haul United back into contention only five minutes later, and United dominated the closing stages, but in pursuit of an equaliser that would just not come.

Hargreaves said, 'We had plenty of chances to win the game; we just weren’t ruthless enough in front of goal. Some of the chances fell to the wrong people at times. There was a striker that was cleverer than our two centre halves today'...

But Reeves, who had forced Seabright to one good save, struck in the 37th minute, looping a clever header over the Gulls’ goalkeeper from Crowther's cross... Reeves took one of his good first touches, turned, shot, Seabright parried his swerving drive and Crowther reacted quickest to drill home the rebound for 2-0.

United picked themselves up, and Briscoe gave them some hope in the 66th minute. There seemed no real threat when he unleashed a savage 25-yarder which flew low past Coburn, who hardly twitched a muscle.

Alty did threaten to catch United on the counter in the closing stages, but they were under increasing pressure, when referee Ryan Johnson wasn't waving his cards all over the pitch. He ended up sending off home midfielder Sean Williams for two cautions, and showed another nine yellow cards, six of them to Torquay players.

The captain Luke Young's was the most damaging – he will now miss the next two games after chalking up 10 yellow cards...

Hargreaves said, 'It’s tough being a ref and I can’t make excuses because no one wants to hear it. He was a bit card happy and he sort of got confused. The lad even handballed it at the end in the box and he pretended it was his face and the ref bought it. When you are not getting those decisions with a minute to go for a penalty you know that perhaps it is not your day. I feel like it but I don’t want to lose players by ranting and raving because, for the last 30 minutes, it was just constant pressure and I was expecting us to get the goal. But the effort is there, the desire to try is there. But I suppose we have to say that at times some aren’t good enough'.

United now have a free week before their FA Trophy third round tie at Hemel Hempstead Town – and that is a competition Hargreaves is desperate to go further in. He said, 'I am looking forward to it. I am obviously desperate for some success for the fans and the players. The fans were here today in numbers and it’s great. They are frustrated and I can tell you that I am but I can’t do anything at the moment. I need to shuffle the pack in the summer because I want a team that steps on to the field and dominates. I have had that at times this season but it needs work, it needs constant work, on a full -sized grass pitch and, when we get these things sorted and I can shuffle the pack again, I will produce that. But at the moment it is frustrating for me, it’s frustrating for the fans and I’ve got no excuses'".

VANARAMA CONFERENCE GATES

Saturday, 17 January 2015:
  • Altrincham 2-1 Torquay United (gate 1,223)
  • Braintree Town 1-2 Forest Green Rovers (661)
  • Dover Athletic 6-1 Dartford (1,042)
  • FC Halifax Town P-P Eastleigh (Frozen pitch)
  • Grimsby Town 3-1 Barnet (3,116)
  • Kidderminster Harriers 0-2 Macclesfield Town (1,761)
  • Lincoln City 3-0 Aldershot Town (3,022)
  • Nuneaton Town 0-2 Gateshead (637)
  • Southport 0-0 Chester FC (1,894)
  • Welling United 2-3 Alfreton Town
  • Woking 0-0 Bristol Rovers (3,853)
  • Wrexham 0-4 AFC Telford Utd (3,194)

17 January 2015

ALTRINCHAM 2 TORQUAY UNITED 1

This third successive league win was well deserved and lifted Altrincham to 14th...

Match report here.

Right: Black skies surrounded a sunny Moss Lane for much of the game, before the match finished in light sleet.

WILKO AND OUT

Sean Williams was not the only Altrincham player sent off on Saturday. Stockport County had loan player Greg Wilkinson sent off as they lost 2-0 at Gainsborough Trinity.

VANARAMA CONFERENCE FIXTURES

Saturday, 17 January 2015:
  • Altrincham 2-1 Torquay United
  • Braintree Town 1-2 Forest Green Rovers
  • Dover Athletic 6-1 Dartford
  • FC Halifax Town P-P Eastleigh (Frozen pitch)
  • Grimsby Town 3-1 Barnet
  • Kidderminster Harriers 0-2 Macclesfield Town
  • Lincoln City 3-0 Aldershot Town
  • Nuneaton Town 0-2 Gateshead
  • Southport 0-0 Chester FC
  • Welling United 2-3 Alfreton Town
  • Woking 0-0 Bristol Rovers
  • Wrexham 0-4 AFC Telford Utd

ALTRINCHAM v TORQUAY UNITED: MATCH COVERAGE

You can follow the Altrincham v Torquay United match (Saturday, 3pm) via this website's minute by minute updates or via Radio Robins. Click on the appropriate icon below to go to your preferred means of following the game. For Twitter and Facebook links see the icons on the side panel, right.

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Brian Flynn advises that "Radio Robins, sponsored by Ashley Mowers Garden Machinery, will be broadcasting full live coverage of Saturday's game. The match commentary sponsor is 'E-Cignature' a locally based company supplying a full range of high quality E-Cigarettes & E-Liquids.Their website is here.

The commentators are Ian Watmore and Ian Wilkinson, with Joe Barry as match summariser. Coverage starts at 2.50pm with the game kicking off at 3.00pm & you can listen to Radio Robins on the internet at www.radiorobins.com

MACC GAME DATE

The Macclesfield Town v Altrincham league game, postponed from 24 January owing to Altrincham's continuing involvement in the FA Trophy, has been rearranged for Tuesday, 10 February, at 7.45pm.

BEFORE THE MATCH: ALTRINCHAM v TORQUAY UNITED

Torquay United report that "United have fitness concerns over Ryan Bowman ahead of the weekend trip to Altrincham, as the striker is struggling with a chest complaint.

Defender Angus MacDonald is also battling a knee problem but manager Chris Hargreaves is confident he has the squad to achieve a vital result on the road.

A strong start will be massively important to the Gulls and we will also be looking for that stroke of luck that can so often prove the difference in a tight encounter.

'We haven’t started many games badly but the ones where we have been slow out of the blocks have seen us come unstuck', said Chris. “We didn’t start well at Braintree and we need to be on the button on Saturday. 'In the most part, we’ve started well and we’ve just been missing that little piece of luck. I know we don’t like to talk about it but the Bristol Rovers’ games spring to mind.

We have to look at each team we play and work out the right system. It is dependent on who is fit and Ryan Bowman is a doubt, as is Angus MacDonald'".

Also "Torquay United have 16 more games to go in the Conference season and the dream of reaching the play-offs is still very much alive. The Gulls are currently tenth in the table and there is no doubt we need to put together a run of victories to get back in the mix, starting with three points at Altrincham tomorrow.

'We’ve still got a great chance of making the play-offs and the players have to believe that as well,' said manager Chris Hargreaves. 'There is plenty of ability in the squad to do that. We just need to get some momentum and turn the draws into wins. It is definitely possible and I would say that it’s still possible with five or six games to go, but we need to start now.

'We will prepare the players and we’ve had Altrincham watched, looking at their strengths and weaknesses. We work on that and send the players out to hopefully nail it, but you can’t give them the experience of that stadium or that pitch on that day. It is impossible to do that in a training session but they have to be mentally focussed on getting a result because we need to be coming back with a result'”.

According to the Torquay Herald Express, "Young striker Duane Ofori-Acheampong is set for a recall and should get the chance to prove himself when Torquay United take on Altrincham in the Vanarama Conference tomorrow, with fellow striker Ryan Bowman doubtful for the Moss Lane game.

Twelve-goal Bowman is likely to miss the match because of a chest complaint, but the manager Chris Hargreaves will be reluctant to wander far from the 4-4-1-1 formation which proved too good for Bromley (4-0) in the FA Trophy last weekend, with Toby Ajala highly effective playing just behind Bowman.

So a place for Ofori-Acheampong, who’s scored six goals from 16 starts this season, could be the one change. United have been trying to rush through the non-contract signing of French trialist defender Olivier Gueguen, because centre back Angus MacDonald is hampered by an ongoing knee problem. But there have been issues over international clearance, and teenage Academy defender Levi Ives may be added to the squad.

Ives, 17, has just returned from a post-New Year break at home in Belfast, but he has a job on to oust Tom Cruise from the left-back spot. Hargreaves has been quick to praise the recent form of Cruise, 23. The former Arsenal starlet found Ives preferred to him several times before Christmas, but Hargreaves said, 'Tom has responded really well. He’s shown some good fight and he’s done well of late. He’s giving himself a chance to get himself another club or get himself another, longer contract here'.

Apart from Bishop’s Stortford in the FA Trophy, United haven’t won on the road since they beat leaders Barnet (3-2) at The Hive on November 11, and their last three league games have all ended in draws. Hargreaves knows that his squad need to improve on that form.

'Even with five or six games to go, it’s usually still possible to get in the play-offs, but we need to get in there sooner than later,' he said. 'We just need to get some momentum going, and turn these draws into wins. We haven’t started many games badly, but when we have started slowly, we have come unstuck. So we have to mentally focus on the day, and be on the button from the off'.

Lee Sinnott’s Altrincham, promoted last May, started the season with only two wins and eight defeats in their first 12 games, but those days appear to be behind them. They’ve now lost just two of their last 12, are up to 15th place, through to the last-16 of the Trophy and their remarkably consistent leading scorer Damian Reeves has hit 16 goals in all competitions.

Reeves has averaged more than 25 goals a season since he joined Alty in 2010, although several of those campaigns were spent in the Conference North. Goalkeeper Stuart Coburn, 38, and captain Shaun Densmore are both survivors from the last time the teams met – a 1-0 win for Torquay in March 2009.

The referee is Lancashire’s Ryan Johnson. Johnson has sent off six players in eight games so far this season, including three the last time he refereed Altrincham - a 3-2 win at Wrexham on November 22.

Torquay United from: Seabright; Berry, Pearce, Downes, Cruise, Chapell, Young, Harding, Cameron, Ajala, Ofori-Acheampong, Rice (gk), Briscoe, Yeoman, McQuilkin, Richards, Ives, Gueguen.

Unavailable: Tonge (knee), Bowman (illness), MacDonald (knee), Benyon, Chaney and Parcell (all out on loan)".

The Western Morning News tells us that "Torquay United are expected to make a move for French defender Olivier Gueguen as cover for their centre-back roster. Gueguen, 24, has trained with the Gulls for the past ten days, and the Conference Premier side want to sign him initially on non-contract terms. His availability could be timely because of a knee injury for resident centre-back Angus MacDonald.

'Olivier has been with us since the start of last week, after he was recommended by a couple of good contacts', United manager Chris Hargreaves said, 'He has trained with us, he obviously knows the game, and he has looked good'. Gueguen has played French league football for Brest, Amiens and Plabennec, with Hargreaves adding, 'He’s also been in the USA for a while'.

MacDonald, 22, has had a scan on the knee injury which has been worrying him in recent weeks. United are waiting for the results. The former Reading and Salisbury City player was a second-half substitute in last Saturday’s 4-0 FA Trophy win...but Hargreaves reported that he is now a doubt for tomorrow’s Conference Premier trip to Altrincham.

United also released young centre-back Jake Hutchings recently, hence the option of Gueguen as back-up for Krystian Pearce and Aaron Downes. Another released Plainmoor youngster, Plymouth-born forward Danny Sullivan, is currently having talks with Truro City manager Steve Tully.. and Tully is keen to sign him".

TASC QUESTION OF SPORT

Brian Flynn advises that on Saturday evening the start time for the Question of Sport Quiz Night is 6pm. The event will take place in The Community Sports Hall and tickets can be obtained from the TASC desk in the Hall at Saturday's match against Torquay United.

SPECIAL OFFER ON KITS

Ian Senior of SKkits reminds us that "Throughout January, any away shirts purchased will entitle the buyer to a free pair of away shorts of any size (usually £15). Please contact Jenny Heslop at the club (061 928-1045) with your requirements. In addition, at Saturday's game with Torquay, you can have a free name and number on any shirt sales, which usually costs £10.

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

BT Sport "announce two further matches from the Vanarama Conference in February.
  • Sat 21 Feb: Nuneaton v Kidderminster 12.45pm
  • Sat 28 Feb: Eastleigh v Macclesfield 12.45pm."

Walsall report that "talented Walsall striker Amadou Bakayoko has today joined Southport on loan for another month. Bakayoko scored three goals in fifteen appearances".

A report from Cheshire Today says that "Macclesfield Town manager John Askey is refusing to join in fans' pressure for club owner Amar Alkadhi to release funds to cement a play off place are a superb start to the season.

The fans’ point to Alkadhi’s statement made at a forum last year that if the club was in danger of relegation, or indeed in contention for promotion, he would make money available... Askey refuses to be drawn on the issue but indicated that he was satisfied with the backing he had received thus far.

'We might sign someone this afternoon or next week but nothing so far', he said, pointing out that the club had re-signed both Alex Grant and Demi Johnson on loan until end of the season. 'We are after another centre half and a decent left back, but there will be no great expenditure. If there is anything spare it will go to the players we have already got; it is only fair that we reward them first'".

From the Football Conference, we learn that "Dover Athletic have announced the signing of midfield duo Solomon Taiwo and Adam Mekki. Taiwo joins on a permanent basis following a loan spell at the club earlier in the season, whilst Mekki was a free agent after leaving league rivals Barnet earlier this month.

Taiwo, 29, initially joined the club on loan in September 2014 and made nineteen appearances for Whites before returning to Luton Town. His tough style of play made him an instant fans` favourite and adds options to manager Chris Kinnear’s midfield...

Mekki, 23... a winger... spent five years at Aldershot Town between 2009 and 2014, making 100 appearances and scoring scoring 6 goals. After loan spells at Oxford City, Carshalton Athletic, Dorchester Town and Basingstoke Town, Mekki joined Barnet in August 2014 but left in order to find first-team football.

Both players have signed deals until the end of the season, with a view to extending them both until the end of next season."

Elsewhere, "Chester FC boss Steve Burr has confirmed that Matty Hughes's loan spell with the club has been extended until the end of the season. Fleetwood Town have agreed to allow Hughes, 22, an extended stay".

Also "Chester FC have signed highly-rated Canadian-born goalkeeper Jonathan Viscosi. The 6`2”, 23-year-old goalkeeper... only arrived in the UK on January 6th after making the 2,700 nautical-mile trip from his home-town Ottawa, [and] trained with the club just three times before Burr was keen to sign the Canadian shot-stopper".

Over the border, "Wrexham have announced the signing of centre-back Luke Waterfall. Born in Sheffield, Waterfall began his career in the youth set-up at Barnsley, but after not being offered a professional contract at Oakwell, he joined Tranmere Rovers for the 2008/09 campaign...

The Yorkshireman moved on to Ilkeston Town... He then moved on to Gainsborough Trinity and enjoyed three successful years at the Northolme... His eye-catching displays resulted in a transfer to Scunthorpe United in May 2013, and he made ten appearances as the Iron...

Waterfall had a seventeen-game loan spell with league rivals Macclesfield Town and is only just back from a temporary stint with Mansfield Town... Waterfall has signed a contract until the end of next season".

NL Daily says that "Having been charged by the Football Association under FA Rule 20(a) - player mass confrontation - both FC Halifax Town and Forest Green Rovers have been sanctioned[?] by an Independent Regulatory Commission following misconduct at the conclusion of their Conference fixture played on Tuesday 2nd December 2014.

The charge against FC Halifax Town was found proven, with a fine of £1,250. The charge was admitted by Forest Green Rovers, with a fine of £2,000. Each club was severely warned as to its future conduct.

In separate sanctions, three Forest Green Rovers players received match suspensions which related to violent conduct and remarks made to a match official. Both club fines are subject to a right of appeal, whereas player suspensions imposed have already been served."

According to NL Pitchero "Nuneaton Town have signed Rob Ogleby and Jack Nardiello. Ogleby has signed for Nuneaton after being released from his contract with Scottish Championship outfit Livingston. The 23-year-old former Coventry City Academy winger is expected to be included tomorrow...

He was signed for Hearts development squad before a move back to England with Wrexham... Last May he returned north of the border to Livingston...

Nardiello hails from nearby Coventry, although the 20-year-old striker started his career with Leicester City. He is now in his fourth season with Stoke and is a Wales under-19 international. He becomes the latest Potter to move to Liberty Way on loan."

Elsewhere, "Giant goalkeeper Jason Mooney has joined Alfreton Town on loan from York City for the remainder of the season. Mooney signed for the Minstermen in June 2014. The tallest man to date to play for York, Mooney stands 6`9” tall which makes him amongst the tallest professional footballers in the history of the game!

He arrived on a two-year deal having turned down terms at Tranmere Rovers, his previous club and second club in England, having started playing football in Ireland for Ards and Bangor amongst others...

He was snapped up by Wycombe Wanderers, then sent out on loan to Oxford City, where he played a full season in goal and helped them win promotion into the Conference North. Mooney came to the professional game late, having played football on an amateur basis and at 25 is looking to make up for lost time."

Aother tall story... "Teenage goalkeeper Aidan Grant has today joined Lincoln City on non-contract terms. A 6`6” former Newcastle United and Aston Villa youngster played a handful of games for home-town team South Shields at the beginning of the season before joining Peterborough United on a non-contract basis in September.

An unused substitute on nine occasions during his time with Posh, Grant, 19, has been on trial with the Imps this week".

In Kent, "Dartford have signed Christian Doidge, a 22-year-old striker from Dagenham & Redbridge on an initial one month`s loan. Doidge signed for the Daggers in August 2014...

The tall striker started his career at the Bristol Rovers youth academy but after being rejected, signed for Welsh League side Croesyceiliog. He impressed enough to earn himself a move to home-town club Cwmbran Celtic then on to Barry Town... Carmarthen Town signed him in 2013".

FC Halifax Town report that "manager Neil Aspin has signed 20 year-old defender Ross Killock on a season-long youth loan from neighbours Leeds United... He had a loan deal at Alfreton Town in the 2012/13 season making 17 appearances and has been on loan at Chester FC this season".

In Stroud Life we learn that "Relaxed Ady Pennock is in no rush to extend the contracts of further players at Forest Green. Defender Danny Coles recently became the 11th player to commit his services to Rovers beyond the end of this season, but several other first-team regulars are due to become free agents this summer.

They include goalkeeper Sam Russell, defensive trio Dale Bennett, Luke Oliver and Aarran Racine and the influential Marcus Kelly and James Norwood. The futures of experienced strikers Jon Parkin and Lee Hughes also remain unresolved, while Eddie Oshodi, Kieron Forbes and Magno Vieira are all expected to move on in May.

Pennock said 'There will be people signing contracts over the next few weeks but I don’t think there is any rush or panic from the club’s point of view. I would rather have my players concentrating on their football than worrying about off-field stuff. I’ve just brought in Corby Moore on a deal until the end of the season and he has got the opportunity to show he deserves a longer one. “The same goes for the other lads who are out of contract in the summer'...

Midfielder Moore... [is] a product of the much-vaunted Southampton academy; the 21-year-old has spent the last six months plying his trade in the North American Soccer League with Indy Eleven. He said... 'Southampton was my club for 12 years, I had been there since I was eight... I’d like to think of myself as an attacking midfielder who can create things'"


16 January 2015

ALTY v TORQUAY UNITED ON SATURDAY

Following Thursday evening training, manager Lee Sinnott said that James Lawrie, who has missed recent games with a hamstring injury, is expected to be available for selection on Saturday against Torquay United. However, Peter Cavanagh is a doubt for the game.

The referee for Saturday's game at the J. Davidson Stadium is Mr R. Johnson. He is the man who officiated at the re-played FA Trophy match at Colwyn Bay last season, after the referee of the original match was unable to complete the game through injury.

Our visitors, Torquay United lie tenth in the table, five places above Altrincham, with three more points from the same number of games as Altrincham. The respective form guides over the last six league games are as follows:

  • Altrincham: WWLWDD
  • Torquay United DDDLLW

Alty have yet to beat The Gulls, and Mike Garnett reminds us of the outcome of previous clashes between our teams:

  • Home: P2-W0-D1-L1-F1-A2
  • Away: P2-W0-D1-L1-F2-A4
  • All: P4-W0-D2-L2-F3-A6

SEEING YELLOW

The latest Conference official statistics include a section on each club's disciplinary record. To date, in league matches alone, Altrincham have picked up 48 yellow cards and four reds. Whilst Peter Cavanagh is the clear leader in terms of yellow cards, with nine, James Lawrie has committed just as many fouls as Peter, 35, yet James has only picked up three cards!

And, a different picture emerges (right) if the booking statistics are mapped onto the details of time spent on the pitch. When this is done, Peter is only the fifth most prolific offender.

The ratio of yellow cards to fouls is also interesting. Here Peter has the misfortune to average a booking once every 3.9 fouls, whereas Jake Moult's ratio is a yellow card once every 8.4 fouls. Although Alty captain and defender, Shaun Densmore, sees yellow once every 4.25 fouls, surprisingly, it is strikers who generally seem to get booked more often per offence than defenders.

Thus Damian Reeves is booked once every 4.75 offences and Steven Gillespie is cautioned for every five offences, whilst defenders Luca Havern (once every 8), Tom Marshall (every 6 if red cards are omitted), Scott Leather (every 9.5) and Adam Griffin (one in thirteen) are much less commonly cautioned even though one might expect them to make more tackles.

The Conference figures do not give the nature of each caution so dissent may account for some of the above anomalies.

OLD BOYS

New Trafford "manager Graham Heathcote is to appear on the BBC Manchester Radio on Monday 19th January with presenter Jimmy Wagg at 6.00pm till 7.00pm".

From the EvoStik League we learn that "Mark Beesley won the right to manage Burscough on a permanent basis on Wednesday when officials at the Linnets confirmed his appointment as the permanent successor to [another ex-Alty player] Derek Goulding. Beesley, pictured, agreed to hold the fort at Victoria Park in November, when Goulding left the First Division North club to join Neville Southall's management team at Bangor City".

BATH CAPTAIN AIMS FOR WEMBLEY

A report from the Western Daily Press informs us that "Skipper Andy Gallinagh says there is no reason why Bath City cannot go all the way to Wembley in the FA Trophy. An impressive 3-1 victory at Wealdstone on Saturday put City one step away from a first quarter-final appearance in 25 years and saw the club bank another £6,000 in prize money.

In order to reach the last eight, they will need to overcome in-form Conference side Altrincham at Twerton Park on Saturday, January 24.

'Winning on Saturday adds something to our season', said Gallinagh. 'As players, we want to progress and if we could get to the final then we get to play in a really nice stadium. It's also good for the club finance-wise and its definitely a competition we can progress in if we play to our best. Obviously, when we beat Bristol Rovers in the previous round it was something special with a big crowd and it being a local derby. But Rovers were probably one of the favourites to get to the final, so it shows if we can beat them then there is no reason why we cannot get there'.

Gallinagh played in an unfamiliar left-back role against Wealdstone. He admitted, '"I'm not naturally a left-back, and I prefer to be on the right, but I am more than willing to do a job there. I have to say I thought Sekani was tremendous. He saved us from conceding three or four goals and was communicating well at the back'".

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

According to the Football Conference, "'I chose Alfreton Town'. Important words, significant words, exciting words. Joe Ironside spoke these words after the striker turned down offers from Football League clubs to sign with Vanarama Conference club Alfreton Town.

'I'm extremely excited to sign with Alfreton Town', Ironside [who scored against Alty earlier this season] said. 'I enjoyed my time with the club on loan earlier in the season and I can't wait to get started again. I am really pleased to be back and am hopeful I can help keep the club up. With the recent announcements, it's obvious that the club has ambitious plans. While I had opportunities to sign with Football League clubs, I chose Alfreton Town because I believe in the direction of the club. I'm looking forward to playing football for the supporters of Alfreton who were great to me during my previous time there'.

The recent announcements Ironside is referring to is the infusion of support from the American investment group Legend Football Partners, which has joined Wayne Bradley at the Alfreton table. Ironside has appeared for Sheffield United and most recently Hartlepool United. Bradley knows full well Ironside’s exciting capabilities after his loan stint with the Reds, where he bagged four goals in sixteen appearances for the club.

'We are extremely happy that Joe made the decision to sign with Alfreton when he had a number of other options', Bradley said. 'Joe is a quality player who will help Alfreton Town'...

The addition of Ironside marks the second significant signing during the current transfer window for the Reds. Former Crewe Alexandra winger John Johnston was added on an eighteen-month contract to keep him with the Reds through to the end of the 2015/16 season.

Jonathan Collura from Legend Football Partners added, 'Ironside is an excellent example of the focus that we have going forward and the commitment that we have to developing young talent'".

Elswhere the Conference adds that "Conference South club Hemel Hempstead Town have today agreed to transfer Matt Saunders to Aldershot Town. The 25-year-old was signed by Hemel from the Shots' league rivals Dover Athletic in November. He had joined Dover just two months earlier from Hemel's league rivals Whitehawk. Saunders graduated from Fulham's academy and in January 2010 he joined then League Two club Lincoln City on a one-month loan deal, later re-joining them for another loan and made a total of eighteen appearances for the Imps, scoring 3 goals.

In February 2012, he joined Dagenham & Redbridge on an eighteen-month contract and went on to make forty-one appearances for the Daggers and scored 4 goals. He signed for Whitehawk last summer."

NL Pitchero says that "Macclesfield Town have announced the signing of Stoke City`s under-21 forward Tomi Adeloye and former Macclesfield youth team goalkeeper Conor O’Keefe. O’Keefe made one appearance for Macc in the 2012/13 campaign and it came in the Cheshire Senior Cup second round. He followed this up in the 2013/14 season by coming on as a second half replacement for Richie Branagan in the semi-final of the cup against Northwich Victoria.

O`Keefe, more recently with Ashton United and Mossley AFC, has now registered with the club to help strengthen the squad. Manager John Askey has also managed to bring Adeloye to Macc where he will join up with Alex Grant, who is also from the Stoke under-21s. The young forward will bring another attacking threat to the side as the Silkmen aim for promotion into the Football League. Adeloye has previously played for Charlton Athletic and Millwall under-18’s before joining Stoke."

And "Dover Athletic have announced that Tom Bonner has rejected offers to stay at Crabble past his loan spell, instead opting to sign for Vanarama Conference South side Ebbsfleet United. The 26-year-old joined Whites on-loan from Cambridge United in August, and made twenty-nine appearances... With the central defender's loan set to expire after this Saturday's league fixture against Dartford, the club put an offer on the table to sign him on a permanent deal - but Bonner has chosen to play for ambitious Kent rivals Fleet".

According to Kent Online, "Dover boss Chris Kinnear is making plans to bolster his attacking options ahead of Saturday’s clash with Dartford at Crabble. But he wasn’t prepared to reveal all, just yet.

Kinnear said, 'I’ve been around this game far too long to know that nothing is certain until the ink is well and truly dry on a contract. All I can say is that hopefully I’ll complete the signing of someone tonight (Thursday). He can play either in an attacking midfield role or ahead of that'.

Stefan Payne and Tom Murphy have done an impressive job of leading the attack since they first started together in a league game at Macclesfield in October. Payne is Whites’ leading scorer with 11 league goals while Murphy has bagged four to help Whites climb to 13th....

Kinnear added, 'We are going really well, and have been for a while now. That doesn’t mean changes to the squad cannot be made. I am always looking to strengthen'...

Former Hartlepool forward Greg Rutherford has left the club while fellow striker and Bury man, James Poole’s loan spell has also ended. With Nathan Elder out on loan at Maidstone, that leaves Jake Reid, who was also put on the transfer list last November, as the only other frontman on the books. Kinnear said he had the faith in Reid to deliver...

He said, 'Jake started the season really well before he picked up an injury and struggled to get over it. Now he’s back and he’s starting to show us what he’s capable of again.'

Kinnear is also hoping to complete a deal to bring back Solomon Taiwo from Luton Town on loan. The midfielder spent three months at Crabble earlier in the season. As for the game against Kent rivals Dartford, it will mark the end of defender Tom Bonner’s loan spell before he heads back to Cambridge United".



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