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CURRENT NEWS IN FULL


27 April 2015

BRAINTREE TOWN 4 ALTRINCHAM 2

Match report here

YOUTHS STILL ON TRACK

Right, Alty centre-back Will Foster, in action against Ashton Athletic.

Altrincham FC Youth kept the pressure on league leaders Chester FC with a 3-2 win against Ashton Athletic on Sunday. Alty fell 2-0 down after just seven minutes before securing a late victory.

There is a match report here.

Chester won 6-2 on Sunday so, With three games left, Alty are seven points behind Chester but have two games in hand. However, the final match of the season is Altrincham v Chester and this could prove to be the deciding encounter for the Premier League title.

The league table is here.

On Tuesday, Alty are at home to Warrington Town at Hale Country Club (6.30pm).

NEXT SEASON'S KIT

Ian Senior reports "There are no changes to playing kit planned for next season, except the HOME kit will feature white socks, as worn by Dave Parton at Braintree, and AWAY kit will have the reverse to those used this season, i.e, YELLOW with ROYAL BLUE trim".

LADIES' BIG WIN

Altrincham FC Ladies won 5-0 away at Vauxhall Ladies on Sunday. Next up is a home game against Egerton FC at Mersey Valley FC on Wednesday evening.

HAVERN A LAUGH?

An amusing misprint appeared in Braintree Town's otherwise excellent match programme on Saturday. On the team sheet page, Altrincham's number five was named as Gianluca Heathcote!

FESTIVAL BREWS

Steve Foster of TAsc has announced the second list of beers to be available at the forthcoming Altrincham FC Beer Festival, 1-4 May 2015.

  • Tatton Brewery – Stamford Bitter – Best Bitter 4.2% - Sponsored by Altrincham FC Development Squad. Stamford is a full bodied best bitter with a complex blend of hops, and a slightly dry finish.
  • The Lymm Brewing Company - Lymm Dam Strong Ale – 7.2% Sponsored by Dave Tracey. English Strong Ale
  • Dunham Brewery – Honey Beer 4.3% - Sponsored by Altrincham FC Players. Duerr's Blossom Honey Beer is an award winning seasonal beer. Light, refreshing and bitter-sweet, made with lashings of Duerr's Blossom Honey.
  • Thwaites Brewery – Spring’s Sprung – Amber Ale 3.8% - Sponsored by One Stop Fencing. Refreshing amber ale, bursting with spicy and citrus hop characteristics.
  • Thwaites Brewery – Hoodie – 4.1% - Sponsored by Mark Embury. Golden - Hopped using Mount Hood to give a clean hopped character with herbal and grapefruit notes.
  • Hambleton Brewery -Taylor’s Tipple – 5% - Sponsored by The Flaggers. Copper - Rich malty and fruity hop nose, copper coloured with a balanced hop body and good hop linger.

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

The Coventry Telegraph confirms that "Nuneaton Town have announced that manager Liam Daish is to “step down” after Thursday’s Birmingham Senior Cup Final. The 46-year-old former Sky Blues defender took over at Liberty Way from Brian Reid in September but couldn’t steer Boro to Conference safety during a traumatic campaign on and off the field.

Daish saw his side lose 5-3 at Chester in the final league clash of the season, in which they have finished bottom with 36 points, and will take charge of the team for the last time at St Andrew's against his former club Birmingham City [in the Birmingham Senior Cup]...

Chairman Lee Thorn said, 'Liam has carried out his role professionally, he has worked extremely hard to bring in players and has developed a strong mentality throughout the club. After an open and honest meeting last week we unfortunately failed to agree terms. It was concluded that the BSC final at St Andrews on Thursday would be his last game'".

According to the BBC "North Ferriby United defender Nathan Peat claims the FA Trophy winners are facing voluntary relegation from the Conference North. Peat, one of several players to post messages on the subject on social media on Saturday, said the club could be demoted 'one, maybe two leagues'.

A club statement released later on Saturday did not address Peat's claim. North Ferriby are owned by Eman and Steve Forster, the daughter and son-in-law of Hull City owner Assem Allam. The pair have been in charge since late 2013 but announced the club was for sale on 16 April.

The news of their intention to sell came just over a fortnight after the small East Yorkshire club, who have an average attendance of around 365, beat Wrexham on penalties to win the FA Trophy in a thrilling encounter at Wembley. Among a series of social media postings, former Hull and York City player Peat alleged the owners had pulled 'every penny' from the club.

In response, the club said the owners would 'continue with the club until they can transfer to new owners', adding, '"Contrary to comments already made there is no money being pulled out of the club, in fact the opposite is the case, more money has to be put in by the Forsters to ensure the club's continued survival'.

The statement said the club's "commerciality and fan base have not matched" recent successes on the pitch, and claimed it was "'totally reliant on the continued injection of monies from Steve and Eman Forster'. Striker Ryan Kendall, who scored twice in the victory over Wrexham, had earlier said on Twitter that the players were now 'free to find new clubs'. 'A sad day for North Ferriby today. The best season of our lives just turned into the worst. Will miss everyone at the club,' Kendall said.

He added, 'Unfortunately for us as a club businessmen don't see the consequences of their actions, that's the way they work...ruthless. Villagers' midfielder Tom Denton added, 'Gutted about the news at Ferriby today really enjoyed my football this season.' Peat also claimed North Ferriby's players have been invited by the Allam family to parade the FA Trophy at the KC Stadium during Hull's game with Liverpool this Tuesday. Despite his obvious unhappiness, Peat said, 'Just to let everyone know!! Every player will be parading the trophy at half time on Tuesday! To show the biggest achievement in Hull.'

North Ferriby, who are managed by Billy Heath, narrowly missed out on promotion to the Conference National last year. They finished 10th in the Conference North this term, their season ending with Saturday's goalless draw at home to Bradford Park Avenue."

North Ferriby United provide a "Club Statement of Facts.

  • 2011/12 Club in major financial problems...Money injected
  • 2012/13 Club stabilised financially and with new signings promoted to Conf Nth
  • 2013/14 Continued investment...Required ground improvements and NFU runners up in Con Nth
  • 2014/15 Continued investment...FA Trophy winners
  • 2015/16 NFU to move to a more sustainable future...Club for sale with all existing commitments being met".
NFU have also issued a statement by Steve and Eman Foster...

"The last 2 years have seen an injection of over a quarter of a million pounds into North Ferriby United. This has undoubtedly led to the recent success that all involved in the club have enjoyed and experienced. This injection has allowed the focus at the club to be on the quality of its football and resulted in North Ferriby United being 2nd last year, in the Conference North League, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion to the Conference Premier and of course winning the FA Trophy at Wembley this year. An absolutely magnificent time and these achievements will be part of the club's history for ever.

However, the commerciality and fan base have not matched the success nor have they matched the above mentioned funding. The club is totally reliant on the continued injection of monies from Steve and Eman Forster, even after the success at Wembley.

With this realisation, the club’s only way forward for 2015/2016 is to trade within its own means and build on strong foundations going forward. The owners will endeavour to achieve this, in the hope that the recent success at Wembley and the high profile will encourage others to become involved with the club.

The Forster’s have enjoyed their 2 years at North Ferriby United and will continue with the club until they can transfer to new owners. Contrary to comments already made there is no money being pulled out of the club, in fact the opposite is the case, more money has to be put in by the Forster’s to ensure the club’s continued survival."

Comment on the situation comes from the Hull Daily Mail. It says that "North Ferriby United’s owners have told all of the club’s players they are free to find new clubs... The players were informed their current deals will not be renewed when they expire.

The decision has been taken by the Forsters to allow the club to reduce its outgoings, which they are currently responsible for... The Mail understands at least one player at the club has been earning in excess of £700 per week, with many others on contracts which are also worth hundreds a week. Whilst these deals have resulted in unprecedented on-the-field success, gaining promotion to the Conference North and winning at Wembley, the owners no longer wish to plough in as much cash as they have been for the past two years.

Having decided to reduce their spending, the owners are allowing every player at the club to leave if they wish to. However, the Mail understands none of the players have been told they have no future at the club and they can play for the Villagers again next season if they want to accept vastly-reduced terms...

It is still unclear, though, whether the club will be seeking a voluntary relegation, as has been widely reported".

The LIverpool Echo says that "Tranmere will be visiting a host of non-league grounds for the first time, as well as entertaining rivals Chester, Wrexham and Southport... and a likely Christmas and New Year derby against Southport.

But the Prenton Park outfit will be making journeys across the country to play a host of teams for the very first time in the Vanarama Conference. The Superwhite Army will grace the likes of Braintree in Essex, Bromley in Greater London and quite possibly one of Conference North play-off teams Chorley, Guiseley or AFC Fylde.

Here is our brief guide to the famous - and not-so-famous - names that make up the top tier of non-league football... [It includes]:

Part-timers Altrincham were promoted from the Conference North in 2014 and have spent a number of seasons yo-yo-ing between the two divisions. Altrincham have a proud history of giant-killing in the FA Cup, holding the record of knocking out more League sides than any other non-league team. The Robins exceeded expectations to finish 17th this year.

Bromley - Fortress Stadium (capacity 5,000). Bromley secured promotion after winning the Conference South title. The Ravens will play in the national division for the first time. The Fortress Stadium is shared with Cray Wanderers - the oldest football club in London and the joint second oldest in the world."

According to the Daily Post "Carl Darlington admits to an uncertain time ahead over the coming weeks as the wait for a new Wrexham manager continues. The Dragons had been given permission to speak to Gateshead boss Gary Mills last Tuesday, but the saga took a major twist on Friday as the Heed chief revealed a Football League club, believed to be Tranmere Rovers, who ironically were relegated to the Conference on Saturday, had sought permission to approach Mills...

There is an air of uncertainty surrounding the Racecourse at present with only a handful of the current squad under contract for next season, with the majority becoming free agents now the campaign has ended. There is also a sense of the unknown for the coaching staff at the club, and whether any new manager who is appointed will bring in his own backroom. Darlington, along with fellow coaches Michael Oakes, Lee Jones, and with help from Andy Davies and Joey Jones, had been tasked solely with leading the team while the club was hunting for a new boss...

'I haven’t got a clue and the players don’t understand either what is going to happen in the summer,' said Darlington... 'From the staff’s point of view we are all uncertain about our jobs and our futures and the same for the players as well, so it is not a great situation to be in... We have actually finished joint ninth on points, and when I came in we were 17th in the table. We are joint ninth now, so it shows you how much we have leaped on...

Since Valentine's Day, the players have been playing Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday. For Manny (Smith) that will be his 61st game of the season, I can’t speak highly enough of the players'...

He added, 'I used to go and watch Wrexham play when I was a boy with my dad on the Kop... I always wanted to be a player, I should have brought myself on today to get my dream, but I always wanted to lead the team out and look after the team, and I have got that opportunity over the last eight games, and taking the team out and it has been great. It has been an absolute privilege for me to look after Wrexham for eight games and I want to stay on, I am a fan, I am a pro licence holder, I have shown that we can win games and be organised and be structured and I want the opportunity to help the club and, if I get the opportunity, I am sure we will go to higher things'".

Meanwhile, Gateshead say that their manager "Gary Mills remained non-committal over his future at Gateshead following last night’s 2-0 defeat at Barnet... The 53-year-old held talks with fellow Conference side Wrexham on Wednesday, and revealed on Friday that a second club had approached him for his services..

Speaking immediately after the game, he said, 'At this moment in time, I think I know what I’m doing, but now isn’t the time to say it. I’ve done my job today, and now I have to go back and get things right for myself. If I am in charge next season, then we have to be stronger and better. If I am not in charge, then somebody else will hope to achieve more'".

Also discussing their management are Aldershot Town who say that "With the season now complete, the Board of Directors are pleased to confirm that there will be an announcement at 12.30pm tomorrow [Monday] to introduce the football management team who will lead The Shots next season".


26 April 2015

BRAINTREE TOWN 4 ALTRINCHAM 2

Altrincham's season ended with a fourth succcessive defeat after another lacklustre display and especially poor defending.

Mulley headed The Iron ahead in the 36th minute from a Sparkes freekick. Somewhat unexpectedly Alty levelled four minutes later as Lawrie scored past a wrong-footed goalkeeper.

Two early second-half goals settled the outcome. Cox got them both in a four-minute spell (51 and 55 mins). The first came from a bad error by Havern, who missed a long ball and Cox half-volleyed home. Braintree's third was an unchallenged header by Cox from Sparkes's cross from the left.

Alty grabbed a potential lifetime when substitute Perry scored a fine goal with a low, drilled shot from wide left in the 78th minute. But when Mensah outsprinted Marshall the game was over at 4-2 (82 mins).

Match report here

PIcture, right, Dave Parton punches clear but he suffered a minor nose injury in the process.

FIXTURES

Saturday 25 April - all are 5.15pm kick-offs
  • AFC Telford Utd 1-2 Wrexham
  • Barnet 2-0 Gateshead
  • Braintree Town 4-2 Altrincham
  • Bristol Rovers 7-0 Alfreton Town
  • Chester FC 5-3 Nuneaton Town
  • Dartford 0-0 Lincoln City
  • Eastleigh 2-1 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Forest Green Rovers 0-0 Dover Athletic
  • Grimsby Town 3-1 Aldershot Town
  • Torquay United 1-1 Macclesfield Town
  • Welling United 0-1 Southport
  • Woking 3-2 FC Halifax Town

25 April 2015

BRAINTREE TOWN v ALTRINCHAM: MATCHDAY COVERAGE

You can follow Saturday's fixture via this website's minute by minute text updates by clicking on the icon below. Alternatively Radio Robins' coverage of the game is outlined below as well.

updatesPC updatesMOBI radiorobins

Brian Flynn advises that "Radio Robins, sponsored by Ashley Mowers Garden Machinery, will be broadcasting live coverage full live commentary of Saturday's game. The match commentary sponsor is Go Goodwins Coaches. The commentary team is Mike Reeves and Ian Wilkinson; the match summariser is Brian Flynn.

Coverage starts at 5.10pm and you can listen to Radio Robins on the internet at www.radiorobins.com.

CHEERS!

Steve Foster of TASC has announced the first group of beers which will be available during the Altrincham FC Beer Festival (at-4th May) at the J. Davidson Stadium.
  • Tatton Brewery – White Queen 4.2% - Sponsored by Sally Cooper. White Queen is a Belgian white Wheat beer and is spiced with coriander, Curacao orange peel, and cardamom. It’s a naturally cloudy wheat beer, a whiter shade of pale.
  • Brewsmith - Brewsmith Bitter - 3.9% - Sponsored by Barry and Carol Pond. A pale session bitter. Moderate bitterness, pronounced floral/citrus hop aromas.
  • Thwaites Brewery – TBC (Thwaites Best Cask) – 3.8% = Sponsored by GR Photography.
  • Amber Ale. A lovely fresh hop aroma with a balanced hop/malt flavour throughout.
  • Timothy Taylor – Landlord – Pale Ale 4.3% - Sponsored by The Old Roebuck. Refreshingly reliable, nationally renowned, this full drinking Pale Ale with a complex and hoppy aroma has real "Pulling Power"
  • Thwaites Brewery – Original Cask – 3.6% - Sponsored by SK Kits. A clean dry tasting and refreshing session bitter with a glowing amber appearance. Brewed using premium grade Maris Otter malt and a blend of traditional English Hops, including Goldings and Fuggles, to give a malty flavoured beer with a delicate dry finish.
  • Bank Top Brewery – Old Slapper – Premium Ale 4.2% - Sponsored by AFC Ladies. Note of grapefruit with pale cereal malts in the aroma and flavour. Good hop presence with a dry bitter aftertaste".

RACE NIGHT 2015

Steve Foster, vice-chairman of TASC says that "TASC are delighted to announce that the Race Night 2015 was a great success. The total amount raised from the event comes, in total, to £1818.50.

We would like to thank all the people who supported events, whether by buying horses, sponsoring races, or attending the event. Not only was the night a success profit wise, but everyone seemed to have a great night at the event too!

I would like to pass on my thanks to Brian Flynn, George Heslop, Karen Rowley, Peter Foster, Simon Ainsley, Mike Ford, Judy Henson, Dan Jones, the bar staff, and Ange and Kev Lawley for all their help in organising and running the event".

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

The Braintree & Witham Times reports that "Mark Sansom won’t be throwing his hat in the ring to be Braintree Town’s new manager.

The club’s former Reserve team boss and current Academy manager has ruled himself out of the running to succeed Alan Devonshire in charge of the Iron, despite taking charge of the first-team in a caretaker capacity for their final two games of the season.

Sansom is also a member of the club’s Board, in a sales and marketing role, as well as having his Academy duties and, even though he was honoured to be asked to be caretaker, he said he didn’t wish to jeopardise those positions by becoming manager on a permanent basis.

He said, 'It’s a hell of a story for me and really has been from the Rec to the Racecourse. I’ve gone from coaching kids on the local Rec to managing Braintree Town as caretaker in the Conference at Wrexham and that’s amazing but I won’t be applying for the job as I’ve got too much to lose here. Don’t get me wrong, I love this club to the core.

I started working here at 13 years of age, opening and closing the boardroom door when the directors went in and out and I love it. It has been a great honour to have been given the chance to lead the first team for these final two games but I couldn’t risk losing the club if I got the job permanently and it went wrong. From my point of view, I will support the next man who comes in as much as I supported Devs [Alan Devonshire]'".

Coincidentally, the Iron's last opponents are also without a permanent manager as the Daily Post reports that "Wrexham’s search for a new manager took a twist today as Gary Mills revealed interest from a Football League club had given him some 'tough decisions' [to make].

Gateshead boss Mills appears the favourite for the job at the Racecourse, Wrexham being given permission to speak to Mills on Tuesday by the Heed. However, the North East club arranged a press conference today, where Mills revealed a second approach, this time from a Football League club, with speculation suggesting it may be Tranmere Rovers.

A spokesperson at Prenton Park refused to comment on Friday, insisting the club at present were simply focusing on their fight to avoid relegation to the Conference. Mills also didn’t rule out staying on Tyneside, describing himself as ‘very happy’ and will remain in charge for Saturday’s clash at Barnet, before taking ‘a few days’ to make any decision.

'I always try to be as honest as I can and you appreciate you can’t always say everything until it’s right and proper to say it,' said Mills. 'What I will say is that there’s another (Football) League club come in in the last 24 hours who want to speak to me, the chairman’s given them permission to do that, so there’s another spanner in the works.

At this stage I’m deciding whether or not I’m going to talk to them. So it’s a bit of a hectic and busy period for me, mentally. We’ve got one game to go and then things, hopefully, will settle down a bit. I’ve got to make some decisions. This is possibly the toughest (decision) I’ve had to make because I love the area, the people. I’m happy up here, it’s a great place to live.

I came here to get Gateshead out of this league. We got close last season and, although things haven’t gone as swimmingly as we’d like this season, I still think there’s a strength been built here, we’ve built a respect within the league. People know what Gateshead are about now, and the way they play the game. We’ve achieved a lot in two years.

I was building on that, a lot of people want to get involved with Gateshead now; sponsors, and people want to come and watch us. We had 1200 last week without anything really to play for. When I first came we were getting 500, 600. All these things are important to me, and of course to the football club. So, yeah, it’s a big decision. We were talking about next season, about players and decisions we’d have to make.

Then out of the blue there’s a spanner in the works and is it me who’ll take the club on now? That’s down to me now, and I’ll be fair and honest with everybody, and make a decision at the right time. But, to repeat, Saturday’s game has got to be done in the right way because I want to get a result at Barnet'...

He added, 'Whichever decision I make, whether people believe it or not, it’s a tough one. Wrexham are, traditionally, a big football club. But I’ve worked hard here for two years to build something, to give Gateshead strength and move the club forward, and that was still on my agenda for next season until this stirred things up a bit.

You just never know in this game, who wants you, who doesn’t, whether you’re still going to be in work. I’ve experienced all of those, and it’s a situation now that’s got to be done in the right way and I will make my decision for the right reasons. So that’s where we are. Hand on heart, at this moment in time I honestly haven’t got a "Yes" or a "No" either way because it’s a big decision for me.

Like anyone, it’s always nice to be wanted. Wrexham have been out of the (Football) League for eight years, like York (City) were before I took them back. So perhaps they see me as someone who can hopefully and eventually get them out (of the Conference), which is lovely for me. But I have to decide whether that’s right for me and my family'...

Mills says he and Gateshead owe it to Bristol Rovers to give it 100% at the Hive on Saturday... 'I want to finish this season with a result down at Barnet. We’re on the television, so my team [needs?] to go and put on a show, to show their passion and desire and ability.. We’ve got to show our professionalism. We owe that to Bristol Rovers...

There’s still a chance I’ll stay. I’m happy here. It’s come out of the blue... If didn’t do my job because I’ve been unsettled, it’s not fair on anybody. But anybody who knows me knows I’ll be putting a side out tomorrow to go and get a result at Barnet'".

Bulls'News tells us that "Former Kidderminster Director John Davies has written an open letter, published on his company website, to the club's shareholders.

Davies, who quit the Board last week, says the club has relied on former Directors Ernie and Kath Lane to support it for the last three years. In the 2012/13 season, Davies says the club could only afford a playing budget of £300,000 to £350,000 but spent double that after the Lanes agreed to underwrite a shortfall.

When Jamille Matt was sold for £240,000 the money was effectively written off from the sum the Lanes were due to put in, leaving the club no better off having already spent the cash. The Lanes also agreed to fund a £300,000 loss for the 13/14 season, eventually handing over £100,000 after an FA Cup run and the sale of Joe Lolley lessened losses.

That figure only came after the pair quit the board, and threatened to call in the Fraud Squad to the club over claims of sums of up to £400,000 being missing from the club. Davies says every penny was accounted for and eventually the Lanes further agreed to cover a six figure sum for the 14/15 season.

Davies, whose firm sponsors the club's shirts, says he has already paid money to continue his sponsorship two weeks ago".

The open letter is here and includes the following...

"Having had time to read and digest the story in last week’s Shuttle which is very derogatory towards me and the role I undertook as Director at Kidderminster Harriers I feel the need to respond with the facts that have actually led to the club being in the position it is in.

Anyone who read the article would assume I have no experience or ability to run a business however, for the last thirty years I have successfully run Hire It, employing twenty local staff through two recessions. I took this experience to the Harriers and with directors Ken Rae and Gino Ruffinato helped the club through a period where we inherited a number of large financial commitments brought about by sacking of two previous managers. We all worked diligently, within our means and were assisted by the generous contributions of supporters, KHIST and Ernie and Kath Lane.

The club is actually in a much better financial position than it was in nine months ago but the situation where players and staff were not paid was a huge embarrassment.

I feel that Ken, Gino and myself have been made to look responsible for problems at KHFC and would like to share the events with you so you can make your own minds up and perhaps avoid such situations in the future".

He adds that "Matters within the Club worsened when Steve Burr was approached and interviewed by Forest Green Rovers for their vacant manager’s job... It was agreed Steve Burr would stay on as the manager of KHFC, although it was subsequently unanimously agreed by the directors at a board meeting that he should leave. Mark Serrell provided details of Andy Thorn who he proposed be appointed as the new manager, this decision was unanimously agreed by all of those present, including Kath and Ernie Lane. As is subsequently well recorded Andy Thorn's tenure was terminated, together with his assistant. The Club therefore had to enter into financial settlements not only with Steve Burr but also with Andy Thorn and his assistant".

He concludes, "Whilst we’d all like to have people giving over money and bank rolling our football clubs, you can see the instability it can cause. We, the directors budgeted on the promises made by the Lanes, promises made in front of fans at a fans forum and directly to the playing staff. When the money didn’t materialise we had no way of paying the staff. The reason why the players were calling for a meeting with the Lanes is because the people who told them they would pay their wages, were in fact withholding the money. This is probably why the Lanes didn’t turn up to the meeting and ultimately why I resigned".

The Football Conference reports that "Chris Hargreaves, manager of Torquay United, has informed Elliot Benyon and Dale Tonge that there will be no new deal on the table this summer.

The experienced duo have now played their last game for the Gulls, as the boss continues the restructuring of his squad following confirmation that Duane Ofori-Acheampong has also departed. Benyon first moved to the Launa Windows Stadium in the summer of 2007...

Prolific form in front of goal earned him a big-money move to Swindon and he later signed for Southend before moving back to TQ1 on loan, and then signing a new permanent deal two years ago.

Dale Tonge also joined in the summer of 2013 and was a regular at right-back for much of last season, but the current campaign has been blighted by injury for the former Rotherham and Barnsley defender".


24 April 2015

TWO BACK, TWO STILL OUT

Of the four first-teamers who missed last Saturday's defeat by AFC Telford United, two remain sidelined by injury, (defender and captain Shaun Densmore and goalkeeper Stuart Coburn), but the two suspended players (midfielders Peter Cavanagh and Jake Moult) both return to the squad after completing their bans. Jake (right), was last week named the Players' Player of the Season.

SUPPORTERS' COACH TO BRAINTREE

Altrincham's last away game is on Saturday 25 April, 5.15pm at Braintree Town. TASC is running a 49-seater supporters' coach and this may be booked by visiting the TASC table in the Community Sports Hall or by ringing the club during weekday office hours.

Those who have already indicated their interest to Mark Eckersall will be on the list already so need not sign up again.

Timings and fares are here.

IRON PRICES

Altrincham's game at Braintree Town is one of The Iron's "Category B" matches and, prices are as such,
  • Standing: Adults £16, OAPs £11, U16 £6, U11 £4.
  • Seating Adults: Adults £17 Concessions £12

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

The Essex Chronicle reports that "Braintree Town chairman Lee Harding is excited about the candidates lining up to replace Alan Devonshire... Since it was announced last Friday that Devonshire would not be returning as the Iron boss, after rejecting a new contract amid interest from a Football League club, one at Conference Premier level and one below, more than 70 applications have flooded into the Essex club.

Harding has been impressed by many of the applicants and expects to have a shortlist of six drawn up this weekend before interviews take place in the ensuing days. Appointing a female manager would certainly place the Iron among the most forward-thinking clubs around, with Stirling University boss Shelley Kerr the first, and currently only, woman to manage a senior men's team in the semi-professional and professional levels of British football.

'We've been inundated with applications. We've had some very good ones and some prank ones,' said Harding. 'But we've had two international managers apply and one of the best female managers apply, so that's of interest. She's a young lady with an excellent CV with all her badges, not just a UEFA B badge, but the A one as well. She's a very well coached young lady. We've had some very good applications from all over the world, ones from Uruguay, Brazil, the United States and Europe'.

He added, 'We'll complete the process, probably on Saturday, of drawing up a shortlist. We've probably got four of the six lined up to speak to from Saturday or Sunday onwards. Hopefully we can then move quickly and get someone in to start planning for next season'.

Devonshire told the Chronicle that he wanted to wait until the season had finished before giving his side of events. Harding was disappointed to see the former West Ham man depart... 'We did everything we could to encourage him to stay. We matched the deal we offered him last season. Last season his playing budget was increased because of player sales, which of course we're not going to have for next season', he said...

'As with any club, it's not just about one man. We like to think it's easier for a manager to build on solid foundations. At Braintree we're not the most high profile or biggest spending club, but we like to think we've got our feet on the ground. There's other clubs out there chasing dreams, spending money they don't always have. That's not our way. We always make sure everything's as it should be. That gives a bit of stability and Alan was part of our success story.

But there's other parts to it as well. We've got a good groundswell of volunteers, some excellent players, a hardworking board and some very good coaches. Alan will be missed, but we've had good managers before that have been replaced and presumably there will be ones to follow'".

The Football Conference says that "It is unable, due to circumstances outside of its control, to confirm the full play-off semi-final schedule at the moment.

Having prepared the schedule twelve months ago the competition has been asked in the past few days, by Avon & Somerset Police, to take into account Bristol City’s final fixture of the season and its planned open-top bus tour to celebrate success in the Sky Bet League One and the Johnstone's Paint Football League Trophy.

BT Sport also asked to reschedule one of the second leg ties to Bank Holiday Monday but, since the game scheduled to be moved involves Grimsby Town FC, Humberside Police has raised concerns regarding this proposal, as it will not have sufficient resources to cover all other events in the area, which include a Premier League fixture at Hull City and Beverley Races"

Later we learnt that "The Football Conference is pleased to announce, following further discussion, which included respective police authorities and our television broadcast partner, we are able to confirm the agreed dates and respective kick-offs for the Vanarama Conference play-off semi-finals. All matches will be screened LIVE by BT Sport... Avon & Somerset Police has agreed to a slight amended change in kick off time should Bristol Rovers finish 2nd after the final regular season matches played this Saturday.

This amended kick-off time will remain even if Barnet finish second. Each home club is responsible for their own match arrangements including ticketing.

Confirmed play-off details:

  • Wednesday 29th April – Fifth-placed club v Second-placed Club (7.45pm KO)
  • Thursday 30th April – Fourth-placed club v Third-placed club (7.45pm KO)
  • Sunday 3rd May – Second-placed club v Fifth-placed club (12.45pm KO)
  • Sunday 3rd May – Third-placed club v Fourth-placed club (3.30pm KO)

Surprising news about Welling United's former manager comes fom the Football Conference. It says that "Ebbsfleet United have announced that manager Jamie Day has been issued notice to terminate his contract. His assistants Barry Ashby and Dean Frost have also had their contracts with the club terminated with immediate effect. A further comment will be made in due course regarding the future football management structure at the club."

The Conference adds that "Academy manager Daryl McMahon and chief scout Steve Gritt will take charge of the team for the final home match against Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday".

According to NL Pitchero "Jared Hodgkiss is contracted to Kidderminster Harriers next season after triggering an appearance-based contract extension. The versatile and experienced defender was a 2014 summer signing for Harriers.

Stafford-born, Hodgkiss began his career with Wolves and West Bromwich Albion, featuring under Tony Mowbray in the Championship for the Baggies. A switch to Aggborough moved him back closer to home after a number of successful seasons with Forest Green Rovers in the Conference...'Yaz,' as he is known in the dressing room... was the club’s big winner at the end of season awards as he was named player of the season by manager Gary Whild and was also the fans’ and his team-mates’ choice."


23 April 2015

PATRONS' SCHEME 2015-16

Altrincham FC is again running its Patrons' Club. Chairman Grahame Rowley writes:

"It doesn’t seem a few weeks since I wrote this letter last season, but what a first season we have had in the Vanarama Conference. We’re now asking for people to join the 2015-16 Patrons' Scheme.

For the bargain sum of £50, your name will appear throughout the season 2015-16 in the matchday programme for every home game and on the club’s official website as a Patron of the Football Club.

In August, every Patron will be entered into a prize draw with the winner being match sponsor for an appointed game along with 9 guests. Second prize will be hospitality for 5 people and third prize hospitality for 3 people in the Sponsor Lounge; the value of the 1st prize is £550.

If you are interested in becoming a Patron again this season or joining for the first time please forward a cheque payable to “Altrincham FC” for £50 for the attention of Grahame Rowley.

If you require further information, please speak to me on 07720-606897 or e-mail me.

We need your support even more for the forthcoming season, as we look to 'push on' in the Conference National, so please help the club through the close season by joining up today.

Thank you.

CHESHIRE SENIOR CUP

In the Cheshire Senior Cup Final on Tuesday, Macclesfield Town "beat Northwich [Victoria] 3-2 win the trophy. A superb late strike at the Weaver stadium from Danny Rowe ensured the Silkmen got their hands on some silverware this season despite a heroic comeback attempt from Northwich Victoria who trailed 2-0 in the opening half an hour..

With Macclesfield holding the record of being victorious in the Cheshire cup twenty times compared to Northwich Victoria's nineteen it was always going to be a fiery affair with the Evo-Stik Division North side eager to equal the Silkmen's record...

With manager John Askey in the stands taking a back seat for the evening, stand-in manager, his assistant, Efe Sodje will have been pleased with the creativity the side were displaying. Sodje had handed starts to some of the younger players of the squad with the likes of Jack Disney, Jack Hunter and Dan Cowan all named in the Silkmens starting eleven. Waide Fairhurst looked like he was going to score every time he got the ball to his feet".

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

The BBC confirms that "Conference strugglers Welling United have appointed Loui Fazakerley as their new manager on a permanent basis. The 30-year-old defender had been in caretaker charge of the Wings since 3 March, when Jody Brown was sacked.

'The board have been impressed by Loui and his team since they have taken charge', Welling general manager Barry Hobbins told the club website. 'They have displayed plenty of passion and qualities that we look for in our club, and we wish him every success.'

Fazakerley has won three of his 10 games in charge of Welling, who are currently 20th in the table and above the relegation zone on goal difference. The former Eastbourne Borough player will remain in charge at Park View Road even if the Kent side are relegated this weekend. 'I would like to thank the board for putting their faith in us and giving us the opportunity to manage the club on a full-time basis next season,' Fazakerley said.

'I say us because I wouldn't be able to do this job without both head coach Matt McEntegart and first-team coach Paul Barnes. All three of our skill sets compliment each other and we all bring something different to the table. I truly believe the three of us can create something special here.'

Heading into the final round of league games on Saturday, Welling must equal or better Alfreton's result to stay up. The Wings host Southport, immediately above them in the table, while Afreton go to second-placed Bristol Rovers, who are chasing automatic promotion".

And Bristol Rovers "will be looking to eclipse the current Conference record for attendance in a regular season fixture. The current record is held in the Boxing Day fixture between Oxford United and Woking back in 2006 and stands at 11,065. With today's news that Rovers have sold out of their allocation the club eagerly anticipate final figures coming in from Alfreton Town so we can calculate the anticipated attendance.

Bristol Rovers would like to take a moment to thank you Gasheads for your fantastic support throughout the season both on the road and at the Memorial Stadium and we hope to see as many of you as possible come 5:15pm Saturday."

According to the Football Conference, "Striker Duane Ofori-Acheampong has left Torquay United at the end of his one-year contract. The young striker scored six goals from sixteen starts and fourteen substitute appearances.

Manager Chris Hargreaves explained, 'The decision is mutual because, although I am not offering him a new contract, Duane also wants to get closer to his family in London after a very difficult year for him. He’s gone through the mill', added Hargreaves. 'He’s a fantastic lad'".

The Leader Live claims that "The prospect of Gary Mills being Wrexham’s new manager was the main topic of conversation from Reds' fans last night at Aldershot. While the Reds were picking up an away point at The Recreation Ground, Mills spoke for the first time about reports linking him with a move to The Racecourse and admits he won’t be fazed by the expectation levels at Wrexham if he is appointed manager.

Gateshead boss Mills has been given permission by his club to speak to Wrexham over the vacancy and will hold talks with the Board in the next 24 hours. And although he is still employed by Gateshead, Mills, who led York City to promotion via the Conference play-offs in 2012, admits it would be a privilege to be in charge of Wrexham.

'Wrexham want to speak to me. They have shown an interest in me and we will have talks,' said Mills. 'It is a massive club and it is a great privilege that they want to interview me to possibly be the new manager of Wrexham. But at this time I am still Gateshead manager and I have had some great times here. I am not going to be disrespectful and start shouting about the situation'

It is a tough Conference division with ex-League clubs but, whoever is manager, will have to go and do that[?] and if it is me, that is the aim'...

As Wrexham caretaker manager Carl Darlington [was] away in his job as Technical Programmes Manager for the Welsh Football Trust, backroom staff Michael Oakes and Lee Jones were in charge for last night’s 1-1 draw [at Aldershot]. Wrexham’s penultimate game of the season ended in a stalemate but at least it means Wrexham continued their improvement since Wilkin’s dismissal, with the Reds only losing once in the last seven games". "

More comes from the BBC to the effect that "Wrexham coach Lee Jones criticised the players after their 1-1 draw against Aldershot on Tuesday.... 'If I was a new manager looking at that I would say probably [only] one or two I would look to keep,' he said. 'I think whoever the new manager may be, he'll... probably want to bring in new players as well because, over the past couple of seasons, this current group have shown that they are not good enough.

We're a middle table team when we should be play-offs minimum'... They were beaten in the final of the FA Trophy by Humberside village side North Ferriby United on penalties... 'I don't think the FA Trophy was any big success even if we had have won it this year,' said Jones. 'It's been a really really disappointing season.'"

At Dover Athletic, "The club are pleased to announce that we have extended Tom Murphy's contract until the end of the 2015/16 season. There was an option in Tom's contract enabling us to sign him for the next campaign and this has been taken up."


22 April 2015

"PLAYERS HAVE BEEN MAGNIFICENT" SAYS LEE

"Here are manager Lee Sinnott’s post-Telford thoughts, in an interview with joint press and media officer John Edwards.

‘The supporters can see, in our last three performances, we have been below-par, but there are understandable reasons for that. You don’t want it to happen but, sometimes maybe, it is part of the price you pay for all you have put into previous games.

You have goals for the season, and all credit to the players when they are attained. But the downside is this (the performance against Telford), and it is frustrating to watch. They are a good, honest bunch of lads, but the game was flat, and that is not what we are about.

The first 20 minutes is key to any game. It starts your engine running, and, if you are off and running and sharp, you can build from that. But if you are playing catch-up after 20 minutes, it’s hard.

You have to say neither keeper had a great deal to do. We scored a goal and hit both posts with a free-kick in a spell late on where they didn’t have a single opportunity, but we still ended up losing 2-1, which was disappointing.

You have to look at the picture in its entirety, though. I don’t like to say it, really, but you have to be honest and ask, would we have accepted the position we are in, going in to the last game of the season? Yes, of course we would.

What would our thoughts have been about having a productive season but three out of four games near the end might be a bit disappointing? I think everyone would have gone for that.

So, though there is a general feeling of disappointment at how our final home game of the season has gone, the players have been magnificent.

It is a small squad, and there are only so many times you can go to the well. But, to be honest, it could be a 25-man squad, and there’s nothing to say this wouldn’t still have happened.

It’s that time of year for performances like this. You don’t get them at the beginning of the season. There may be a bit of rustiness and players not up to speed in the opening weeks of a campaign, but that’s different.

These performances you see at the end of every season in every division. I thought we showed glimpses at times, but really that just mirrors the previous two games.

If we had 25 players, it would be 25 players who knew we were safe and perhaps subconsciously allowed that to affect them. You can always tell that is happening from the tempo, and the tempo was always lacking against Telford.

We did not move either ourselves or the ball as we can. When that’s the case, you are easier to play against. There are no killer balls being played. There is a lack of momentum, whereas the better performances we’ve had this season have come when we’ve played on the front foot.

To be fair, it was another really good goal (by Nicky Clee [right]) to add to the collection. We haven’t been bobbling them in or knocking them over the line off someone’s backside, have we? Mind you, that might not be a bad idea every now and then. We could probably do with adding a few scruffy goals to our repertoire, because are we going to score wonder strikes all the time?

You can never guarantee the outcome in any game, but I like to sit there and be entertained, and if we had moved the ball round a bit quicker, I can’t help feeling it might have made a difference.

We do create opportunities, and have attempts at goal, but the percentage of them on target needs to improve. That has been a criticism of us and is something we need to address.

I sent Joel Swift [left] on because I wanted to have a look at him, and there’s s no doubt he did well. What he did was inject energy into the game in the last 15-20 minutes, and, to be fair, that was probably our best spell.

We started to exert a bit more pressure, and Joel was very much to the fore. We wanted to have a look at him and see how he handled a first- team appearance, and he was enthusiastic and lively.

We are on 56 points, but I feel we could have had more, though I dare say everyone in the division will be saying that. We are the epitome of a part-time team operating in the company of full-time ex-League clubs, and I have to say the players have been first-class in the way they have taken on the challenge. Now, as the summer break approaches, we will have a look at things and have a think about the direction we will go in for next season.

I don’t like to lose. It makes you miserable. I said to the players at half-time:, ‘Come on, it looks like you are playing with a bit of a burden on your shoulders. You’ve not been relegated. You have survived on your own merits, go and express yourselves.’

That was the message, but sometimes that impetus you need can be a bit elusive. I have been in the game long enough to recognise that, once it is in their minds that they are safe, it is human nature to respond to no longer having a fear factor stalking you.

Fear can work both ways. For as long as it is there, perched on your shoulder, telling you points are still needed, it drives you on. But once you look round and see it has gone, what do you do? You try to keep going, of course, but it is human nature that you let out a sigh of relief. That’s when flatness creeps into your game.

But if that’s the price you have to pay for safeguarding our Conference status early, I’m sure we would have accepted that at the start of the season. And I say that through gritted teeth, because I don’t like standing on the touchline and not enjoying what I’m seeing from my team.

But then I go in the dressing room at the end, have a look around and think to myself, ‘They are not doing it deliberately – they are probably goosed.’

They have been running on vapours, to a degree, because it is a small squad, and suddenly it’s "Phew, we’ve done it." It’s not just one or two, either. There were probably nine or so who looked jaded at Torquay, and it wasn’t much different here today. Now we have to go again one more time and do our utmost to make it 59 points at Braintree next Saturday. There are a few walking wounded we need to monitor as the week unfolds, but at least Peter Cavanagh and Jake Moult are available again after suspension'".

ALTY YOUTH 2 PRESCOT CABLES YOUTH 0

With four more matches to play, Altrincham FC Youth moved to within four points of leaders Chester with a game in hand with a 2-0 win on Tuesday night. Their opponents, Prescot Cables, fielded only ten men but worked hard to restrict Altrincham to a 2-0 win.

Match report here

Right: Boris Melingui fights for possession against Prescot Cables.

ALTY RESERVES DEFEATED

ALtrincham FC reserves lost 3-2 at Witton Albion on Tuesday evening.

TUESDAY GAME

Tuesday 21 April
  • Aldershot Town 1 Wrexham 1

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

The BBC confirms that "Wrexham have had an official approach accepted to speak to Gateshead manager Gary Mills about becoming their new boss. The Dragons sacked Kevin Wilkin in March 2015.

Mills, 53, led York City to the FA Trophy and promotion to the Football League in 2012 and took over the Tynesiders in September 2013".

The Football Conference reports that "With the climax to the Vanarama Conference season this coming Saturday (25th April), BT Sport has confirmed [its] final regular season presentation will come LIVE from The Hive, where Barnet will be seeking the win required against visitors Gateshead to lift the championship trophy.

With just one match to go the Bees lead at the top has been reduced over recent weeks to just one point so it certainly is a winner take all afternoon. Additional coverage will come from the Memorial Stadium the home of Bristol Rovers who will be seeking a victory and the three points required against Alfreton Town, which will allow them to become champions if Barnet fail to win.

The Reds, however, will be fighting for their own survival because they know they can only escape the trap door to relegation by turning over the form book.

It could not be closer, so make sure you tune in via BT Sport2 and due to so much at stake the programme will start at 4.30pm. All matches in the Vanarama Conference kick off at 5.15pm, and BT Sport will keep everyone up to date with goals and reports from all the other matches, especially those involving Eastleigh, Forest Green Rovers and Macclesfield Town who will be striving to make the play-off semi-finals along with Grimsby Town who are already assured of a play-off berth.

So Saturday is certainly set to be a great finish to a VANTASTIC VANARAMA season."

OLD BOYS

The EvoStik League says that "England C manager Paul Fairclough handed out the accolades at the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League's 2015 Players of the Year Awards on Sunday night.

The Three Lions Non-League manager... was the guest of honour... at the four-star Brooklands Holiday Inn near Barnsley. The biggest winner on the night was undoubtedly forward Robbie Dale at Blyth Spartans. He was named in one of the three divisional 'teams of the year', collected the coveted NPL Facebook Group Pitchero sponsored Fans' Player of the Year Award and also took home the event's top accolade after being unveiled as the top flight's 2014-15 Player of the Year...

The annual awards are unique in the top levels of Non-League football with the focus purely on recognising the league's star players with the winners being chosen by the league's managers and coaches.

EVO-STIK Players of the Year 2015 Roll of honour, [all of the following played for Altrincham or were trialists].

First Division North

  • Left Back - Cavell Coo, Salford City
  • Centre Back - Christopher Lynch, Salford City
  • Midfield - Scott Metcalfe, Warrington Town
  • Midfield - Sam Madeley, Salford City

Premier Division

  • Liam Brownhill, FC United of Manchester
Trafford reproduce an article from their matchday programme, Written by Graham Heathcote for Tuesday's game versus Blyth Spartans.

"I knew after Stamford game I would be going.

Well these are my final notes for Trafford FC and I wish to start by thanking everyone involved in the club for their help and warmth they have given to myself and Chris [Adams].

When we took over this job it was an honour and I firmly believed we would be here for a few seasons and hopefully enjoy some success, alas the problems I have encountered with players have dampened my enthusiasm for the job, obviously no one can lose as many players as we did so quickly and I can honestly say I only let two players go, the rest asked to leave some without even meeting me but that was their choice and if they had found better clubs than Trafford they have done well but if they are not playing regularly they have achieved nothing.

I thank the players that have come in and have done their best but it is hard to gel so many so quickly and the results have not come which has made it extremely difficult for everyone concerned and from my point of view is has not been enjoyable and that is the bottom line for me.

I knew what I was going to do the day I was sent to the stands against Stamford, I was going to always be in trouble with the officials at this level and I have not been able to be myself and I didn't want that so my managerial career is over I will still enjoy watching my son Sam play and will help Trafford FC is I can as I have done in the past, I wish the club and everyone involved in it much success and look forward to the battle to gain promotion again. 45 years in football mostly enjoyable never dull it just never took off here, good luck next season"


21 April 2015

FROM THE CHAIRMAN: THE CLUB NEEDS YOUR HELP!

The following article by Grahame Rowley appeared in Saturday's Robins' Review...

"What a fantastic first season it has been back in the Vanarama Conference. There've not been too many seasons, whilst I've been on the Board, that we haven't been involved in promotion/relegation issues come the start of April. So, it's nice to be in our present position, where safety is secured and we look to finish the season on a high with a maximum of 62 points to look towards.

However, as well as our on field activities there have been many things going on off field that have put a great strain on the personnel who work day in day out to ensure that the Football Club flourishes and these strains are beginning to produce cracks. These cracks will only widen if we don't take remedial action now.

There's too much expected from too few volunteers and it will come to a point when those volunteers will have had enough and call it a day - and then the club will be in trouble - so let's do something about this before it reaches crisis point.

We, as a club, need more people to step forward and strengthen the infrastructure of the club, be that as an occasional volunteer-helping the club, to joining the Board and helping run it.

The success of the season does have its down side and it's one which shows up the frailties of a club like ours, which is mainly run on volunteers.

When things are going well everyone believes that there's no need to step forward and offer help because 'everything's fine'; that's not the case and, if we are to progress this club, then we need more people to step up to the plate and offer some help, be it half an hour to paint a railing to taking on board a bigger project around the stadium.

The Community Sports Hall is a classic example itself. When it was in the planning stage everyone was very supportive of the venture. When it neared completion everyone rallied around to pay for the AV system within the Hall but now it’s open and fully functional everyone's forgotten that we still owe up to £50k on the build cost and this money has to be found/raised as quickly as possible to ensure that it doesn’t impinge on other club activities. Perhaps there are supporters out there who might like to organise a fundraiser on behalf of the CSH. I have noted that Andrew Brennan is running the Manchester marathon later this month, a commendable effort and many thanks for all at AFC. He already has over £1,000 of sponsorship.

As the saying goes, ideas are cheap, it’s the implementation of them that takes the time and effort. I can name 20 ways we could raise more finance for our Football Club but I haven't got the time to implement them - have you?

Let's not just sit back and enjoy the good times, let's try and move this football club forward. With your help I'm certain that we can achieve continued success, without it there's only one way we're going.

If anyone would like to discuss matters further please feel free to give me a call on 07720-606897

Thank you for reading this article.

Grahame Rowley, Chairman".

TELFORD MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Alty TV has highlights of the Altrincham v AFC Telford United match on Saturday, here.

LADIES' VERY LATE DEFEAT

Phil Taylor reports that "for the second time this season the Ladies lost to Crewe by way of a stoppage time goal. Georgia Plant had given us the lead after 19 minutes and we were the better side. Crewe equalised after 86 minutes and scored the winner in the 93rd minute. The Altrincham players were excellent. I will be preparing a report in the near future" which will appear on the website.

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NEWS

According to the Times Series, "Barnet's title decider at home to Gateshead on Saturday (5.15pm kick-off) has been chosen for live television coverage by BT Sport. The clash at The Hive will be shown live on BT Sport, with cameras also in place at the Memorial Ground, where second-placed Bristol Rovers take on Alfreton Town.

A win for Martin Allen's Bees will be enough to take Barnet back into the Football League after two seasons away. Equalling Bristol Rovers' result against relegation-threatened Alfreton is the minimum requirement for Barnet."

The Essex Chronicle says that Alty's next opponents, "Braintree Town, fell to a 3-0 defeat at Wrexham in their first match of the post Alan Devonshire era... Academy boss Mark Sansom took charge and it was a baptism of fire as Wrexham made it 11 Vanarama Conference Premier games unbeaten at the Racecourse Ground, though the scoreline was harsh on the Iron, who had the better chances in the first half.

Louis Moult scored twice in the second half to put the home side in the driving seat before Andy Bishop added some gloss with a third in time added on. The Iron made two changes from the team that won 2-0 at Southport on Tuesday night, Carl Pentney returned between the sticks for his second start of the season, while Sean Marks replaced Jordan Cox up front... Hudson went off with an ankle injury and Marks carried on before he was replaced by Cox five minutes before the break, after picking up another injury.

In between the substitutions Chez Isaac hit a fantastic shot on 34 minutes that was destined for the top corner before home keeper Andrew Coughlin managed to tip the effort over the bar... Early in the second half Braintree were forced into a second substitution when Matt Paine picked up another head injury, Simeon Akinola coming on... The Iron were more than holding their own but on 62 minutes the hosts went ahead as Pentney spilled a close range effort and Moult reacted quickest to fire home from six yards.

Isaac was the next to go down with an injury, and was replaced by James Mulley on 65 minutes... Braintree Town: Pentney, Brundle, Habergham, Isaac (Mulley 67), Paine (Akinola 53), Massey, Davis, Marks (Cox, 40) Sparkes, Mensash, Clerima. Unused subs: Hamann, Maybanks."

From Kent Online we learn that "Winger Tom Murphy completed a hat-trick for Dover Athletic after being the third player to agree to stay at Crabble in three days. Murphy, who has scored 11 times in Vanarama Conference this season, has had his contract extended until to the end of next season. The club announced at Saturday's awards night that defender Sean Raggett and midfielder Ricky Modeste had also both agreed to new deals".

In the Nuneaton News, we read that "Liam Daish was left full of regret on Saturday as his Boro side ended their home campaign with a 1-1 draw with play-off chasing Woking. Daish, who has been at the club since September, was left frustrated after the result as he admitted a different set of circumstances when he walked into the club could have meant a different end to the 2014/15 season...

The former Republic of Ireland man said, 'Do I think things would have been different if I had been at this club sooner? Yes, I think they would have been. I have said it before but I think, maybe, this division was too big for the club this season. For us to stay in it we needed a lot of things to go for us. We needed the right players in at the right time, we needed help with injuries, we needed to keep the three points and we needed to have things go our way at certain stages.

But, I think we needed to start off well and the club did not do that. I am confident things may have been different, but that is all too late now'.

Daish believes that a lack of quality when he first came to the club played a large part in the relegation they eventually succumbed to this season. He said, 'More than half of our budget was taken up by players that were not good enough at the time. I am talking about dross basically. Players that were not here for the right reasons or were just not right for the club. We had to work against that and also a few problems with the first lot of loans we got in. If you look at how things have been since then, with some of the loan players we have brought in, it has been a lot better.

It has also kickstarted much better performances from those who were already at the club'. Daish refused to confirm or deny whether he would be at the club next season or not, admitting things had to be right for him to stay. He said, 'I want to be at a club that wants to succeed. I want to be successful'".

Reports of another unhappy manager are in the Halifax Courier where "Neil Aspin admitted changes will be made at FC Halifax Town after they were beaten 2-0 by Torquay in their final home game of the season. The Town boss described his side as 'not good enough' over the last few weeks as their play-off hopes fell away and said there will be personnel changes in the summer.

He said, 'I’m not really looking at the 90 minutes, I’m looking at the bigger picture. In the second half of the season, and especially in the last few weeks, we’ve not been good enough... and we’ve got to make a lot of changes. I need to make changes. That’s been more than evident over the last few weeks. The players have had a good chance to show they want to stay here and it’s clear that we’re a long way off where we need to be. It’s got to be addressed, it’s as simple as that.”

Asked whether he could take any positives from the game, Aspin said, 'Not really no. We’re not scoring goals and we’re conceding goals and if you’ve got that combination you’re not going to win matches. We’re fortunate in some respects that we had a good start and got a lot of points early on. That’s helped us to finish in a reasonable position but I’m not kidding myself because if the season was finishing now then we’d get relegated. The performances have been poor and the only good thing it’s not pulled the wool over my eyes and I’ve got a chance to address that.

It’s going to be a busy time but that’s what I’ll have to do as manager'. The Town boss admitted the end to the season had left a sour taste in the mouth, and said the state of the Shay pitch had been a contributing factor in his side’s recent slump,,, 'The pitch, you can say it’s the same for both sides, but our players are having to play on it every week, twice a week sometimes. We’ve certainly struggled since the rugby game destroyed the pitch. Whether we would have struggled with a nice pitch or not I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. But I’m not going to make excuses because we haven’t been good enough'".

And a dissatisfied coach talked to the Lincolnshire Echo. "David Preece has said a change of players next season will mean no repeats of the sort of performance that saw Lincoln City falter against Eastleigh. The Imps were beaten 2-1 as they played out their final home game of the Conference Premier campaign in lacklustre style.

It was galling for the 2,000 Imps fans present and did not make pretty viewing for those who had tuned in to see the game live on BT Sport on Saturday. Goalkeeping coach Preece accepts the display was not good enough, but insisted the management team are determined to eradicate such performances next season.

'We are looking to next season. And I can speak for the coaching staff when I say we will not have performances like the one against Eastleigh on a regular occasion, things we will be much different,' said Preece. 'There will be different personnel and there will be a change of mindset to make sure this doesn't happen again. Players will only be brought in if they can improve the team. It is not just ability, it is down to character and we have to make sure that runs like what we have been on doesn't happen.

It is black and white. If we can get players to improve the squad then we bring them in and swap them for the ones who are here. If there are players here that are still good enough, or can improve, we'll keep them'.

Lincoln City chairman Bob Dorrian confirmed to the Echo recently that the playing budget is unlikely to change for next season. It means the Imps will be still working with a restricted amount of cash, something Preece acknowledges will make recruitment a challenge. 'The club is still an attractive proposition for players,' said Preece. 'We might not have the financial clout of the likes of Eastleigh, or Forest Green Rovers. However, the facilities are great here. The manager has a clear idea of what he wants to do and the way he wants to do things. If that's to happen the right players have to come in. I think they only have to chat to the manager for two minutes to convince them to come here'"



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