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NEXT FIXTURES:
  • Sat. 27 Jan. 2018: WARRINGTON TOWN (Home) 3pm
  • Sat. 27 Jan. 2018: BILLINGE (Home) 2pm
  • Sun. 28 Jan 2018: HYDE UNITED (Away) 2.30pm
  • Sun. 28 Jan 2018: WEST KIRBY (Away) 1pm


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OTHER HEADLINES


23 January 2018

ALTY SUPPORT ANTI-HOMOPHOBIA CAMPAIGN

The EvoStik League reports that "League leaders Altrincham are backing next month's international efforts to kick homophobia out of football.

The community-minded Robins are supporting Football v Homophobia's 2018 global Month of Action when they kick off against Sutton Coldfield Town on Saturday 17 February after dedicating the top-flight fixture at Moss Lane to worldwide efforts to tackle the issue at all levels of the game.

Organised by the FARE Network, the umbrella organisation of more than 150 groups and organisations in over 40 countries combating all forms of discrimination, this season's campaign is also being supported by the EVO-STIK League Premier Division club's Inclusivity & Diversity team to coincide with nationwide efforts to promote LGBT History Month in the UK during February.

In partnership with Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion organisation, they are inviting local individuals, groups and organisations to run activities or stalls on the day at the J Davidson Stadium and over the weekend [they] used their Twitter account to get the message out, @AltrinchamFCInc tweeting, 'We are proud to be supported by @farenet & @FvHtweets to celebrate Football v Homophobia month. Why not join us for @FvHtweets match against @sctfc on Saturday 17th February and join our cause to make football an enjoyable and safe environment for all.'

FARE's commitment to tackle discrimination through football’s inclusive power is based on the principle that the game, as the most popular sport in the world, belongs to everyone. FARE combats all forms of discrimination, including racism, far-right nationalism, sexism, trans- and homophobia and discrimination against disabled people. For more information visit: farenet.org

For more information on Football v Homophobia's international initiatives visit their website.

Altrincham FC's Inclusivity & Diversity team was set up to make the club inclusive to all members of the community and last year hosted a designated fixture to back the work of Kick It Out. For more information on their upcoming initiative, email them.

The Northern Premier League is a supporter of UEFA's #EqualGame initiative and before Christmas was congratulated by Europe's governing body for helping to promote the contribution of Cleethorpes Town midfielder Liam Davis after he became the only openly gay player in English senior football and agreed to front the campaign in a video message telling his story."

LADIES BEAT THE WEATHER

Although their away cup fixture was postponed on Sunday, Altrincham FC Ladies managed to play a friendly at another venue. Alty Ladies' manager Keith Edleston informs us that "It was a good workout yesterday as the first team took on Stockport County Development team at Stockport Sports Village. In a hastily arranged friendly, and in some not very nice weather, both teams played some great football.

Stockport opened the scoring early on but goals from Kye, Jade, Sadie and an own goal meant the lady Robins ran out 4-1 winners. Good luck for the rest of the season to Jay Astley and his Stockport Development team and thanks again for accommodating us at such short notice".

MIDWEEK FIXTURES

Monday 22 January 2018: Cheshire Senior Cup 17-18 - First Round

Tuesday 23 January 2018: The EVO-STIK Premier Division

EVO-STIK PREMIER NEWS

According to NL Pitchero, "Sutton Coldfield Town may not have kicked a ball at the weekend, but it’s still been a busy time for the club`s new manager Neil Tooth. Progress has been made with the management team and both Phil Male and Andy Ling will be re-joining Tooth with immediate effect. Tooth will continue to consider his options regarding an additional coach to his management team.

Meanwhile, on the player front, it's one in, two out. Jacob Wedderburn joins from league rivals Rushall Olympic. Wedderburn is a young and versatile defender, accomplished at centre-half, full-back or in a defensive midfield role. The two departing players are Michael Townsend and Louis Briscoe. Townsend has brought his second spell with the Royals to an end and has joined Rushall Olympic and Briscoe has joined Mickleover Sports after a brief spell at Coles Lane."

On Monday, Grantham Town reported that "The play-off race for Grantham is still on as they face a Tuesday night trip to Leicestershire to play Barwell. With Saturday's fixture against Stalybridge Celtic being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, Grantham managed to remain second in the table after teams around failed to capitalise.

The Gingerbreads could also close the gap to just seven points at the top should top of the table Altrincham lose. [Alty are not actually playing this midweek]. Currently, Town boast just one defeat in their past five games, with the most recent result being a 2-2 draw at home to Farsley Celtic.

Leicestershire outfit Barwell are also enjoying a similar run of form, registering just one defeat in their past five games. Furthermore, Barwell were able to secure an impressive 2-0 away win at Workington, leaving them in 12th place and ten points off Grantham.

Grantham boss Adam Stevens has been preparing his team well for Tuesday night's game and believes his side are good enough to get the three points... 'With our excellent support behind us, we will give it our all so that we come away with the three points.'

Tom Batchelor (suspension) and Luke Shaw (long term injury) are the only confirmed absences for Tuesday night. Zayn Hakeem could make his first start for the club since signing on loan from Mansfield Town. The rest of the squad is available to play."

Over at Crosby, NL Pitchero says that "Marine AFC have confirmed a bit of an overhaul of their squad with five players arriving and two leaving the club. Tony Donaldson, 19, is a central midfielder who began his career at Skelmersdale United under current Mariners boss Tommy Lawson. He joined Doncaster Rovers on a professional contract in January 2017 and has also had spells at AFC Telford United, Runcorn Linnets and Widnes.

John McGrath is a 20-year-old winger who joins the club after impressing at City of Liverpool in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division. Spencer Myers is a highly-rated young player who started his career with Everton. The Torquay born 20-year-old can play as a left-sided defender or midfielder and has previously been with Fleetwood Town and had a loan spell at Vanarama National League North outfit Southport.

Samuel Razavet, 27, is a defender who has most recently been with Evi-Stik League North side Radcliffe FC. He has played previously for a number of lower league clubs in his native France, most notably Marignane.

And finally, the Mariners have signed young striker Niall Watson on loan from Accrington Stanley. Watson, 17, is the son of Marine championship winner and former Southport boss Liam Watson and has already made his first-team debut for Accrington. He is an attacking player who can play anywhere across the front three.

Meanwhile, Michael Grogan and Max Hazeldine have both left the club."


22 January 2018

NEXT UP: WARRINGTON TOWN

On Saturday, Altrincham start a sequence of six league games, of which five are at home. First up is the visit of Warrington Town, for what is already our fourth meeting with our near neighbours this season. Following two grim 0-0 draws in the league and the FA Trophy, both at Cantilever Park, Alty conceded two late goals which allowed Warrington to knock us out of the FA Trophy in a replay. In the Trophy, Town went on to beat Ebbsfleet Town, also after another replay, and now face a further lengthy trip, to Wealdstone, in the next Round.

Like Alty, Warrington were unable to play a fixture last Saturday. They are now twelve points behind Altrincham with two matches in hand.

OPEN CUP DEFEAT FOR YOUTH TEAM

Altrincham FC Youth went down, 1-3 at home to Southport in the North West Youth Alliance Open Cup on Sunday. Their next fixture, on 28 January, is away to Hyde United in the Neil Thomason Cup at Ewen Fields (2.30pm).

SHAW LANE FACE POINTS DEDUCTION

The Barnsley Chronicle reports that Shaw Lane face a fine and possible points deduction for fielding James Pollard in December against Warrington Town, a match which the Ducks won 5-0. The former Farsley player allegedly should have been serving a suspension at the time.

EVO-STIK PREMIER NEWS

Marine "are pleased to announce the youth loan signing of Accrington Stanley striker Niall Watson. Niall, 17, is the son of Marine championship winner Liam Watson and has already made his first team debut for League Two side Accrington. He is an attacking player who can play anywhere across the front three".

At Nantwich Town "Boss Dave Cooke says he was 'over the moon' with his team’s win over Lancaster City on Saturday after seeing his side claim a convincing 3-0 victory. Harry Clayton’s first half header and a brace from Sean Cooke in two second half minutes made it three wins in a week for the Dabbers, and one that Cooke was delighted with.

He said, 'I’m really made up, we’ve carried on from last week, three wins and three clean sheets, I can’t ask for anymore from the players. They were absolutely superb. I’m over the moon, because the last time we played at home we lost 5-1 in one of those games where everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong'...

The victory was the first home success since the 2-0 win over Stourbridge in December having lost the last two against Mickleover and Hednesford... 'We said to the lads at half time that this was the eighth game we hadn’t conceded a goal in the first half. However we’ve committed 'harry carry' in the last two home games. Nigel (Deeley) said at the break "I’m going to say one word, 'Mickleover’". We told the lads although we aren’t conceding goals we’ve gone out second half sloppy in the last two games and we don’t need to. If we end up winning this game 1-0 then I’ll be more than happy.'

Clayton’s first half strike saw the forward net his fifth goal in six games and score his tenth of the season... 'Harry was one of the first lads I wanted to bring back because I’ve known him since he was a kid at Crewe and he’s a great lad. His work rate is second to none, and even when things aren’t going for him he will still put a shift in and you can’t buy that, and he deserves the ten goals he has'".

From over the Pennines, This is Futbol states that "Former Leeds United midfielder Billy Whitehouse has joined non-league oufit Tadcaster Albion, it has been announced. The Northern Premier League side confirmed that Whitehouse, 21, had agreed to join from seventh tier side Shaw Lane as he completed yet another move to a Yorkshire club.

Whitehouse joined Leeds from Doncaster in the summer of 2016 after signing a one-year contract. But the creative midfielder was not given a new deal that would have enabled him to return for a second year at Elland Road and was released when his contract expired last June. He then joined non-league outfit Alfreton Town, before heading to Shaw Lane last September."


21 January 2018

LADIES: ONE ON, ONE OFF

Today's scheduled Ladies' Cheshire County Cup (first team) match at West Kirby has been postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. The tie will now be rescheduled for next Sunday at the same time, 1pm.

However, the Ladies Development Team have arranged a friendly today (4pm) at Stockport Sports Village.

IT'S NOT CRICKET WEATHER

Altrincham spent a disappointing day cruising up and down the M6 and M5 yesterday as a combination of snow, sleet and rain put paid to their planned game at Stourbridge. The above image from the supporters' coach shows the snow falling near Stourbridge on the way to the game.

Above, one of the sodden goalmouths at Stourbridge which led to the postponement of Saturday's game.

Below: Like Barwell, Stourbridge's ground is adjacent to a cricket pitch but, in this case, there is no structure, other than a fence, between each sport's playing areas.

Sean Densmore was robbed, by the bad weather, of the chance to make his 350th appearance for Alty. Meanwhile, former Alty striker Kyle Perry, spotted in the bar after the match had been postponed, missed his chance to be named against Altrincham for a third different club this season on Saturday. He had been an unused substitute for Stafford Rangers against Altrincham back in August, he then scored for Barwell against us in September and is now on the Glassboys' books.

RESERVES' MATCH OFF TOO

Alty reserves' fixture away to Linotype Cheadle was postponed on Saturday. Next Saturday they are set to entertain Billinge.

SATURDAY FIXTURES

Saturday 27 January 2018: The EVO-STIK Premier Division

EVO-STIK PREMIER NEWS

Barwell "made it seven away games without defeat when they picked up a 2-0 win away at Workington AFC. The game took a little while to settle, with Workington restricted to the amount of chances they could create. They could not cause any trouble for the Barwell defence. The game burst into life on 32 minutes, when Canaries midfielder Brady Hickey was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Matt Stenson stepped up, but Aaran Taylor got down well to save to his left-hand side.

Barwell reacted well and opened the scoring ten minutes later. Brady Hickey won the ball and smashed it into the top corner from 15 yards... With fifteen to play, Barwell winger Owen Story sealed three points when Jamie Mellen played a short pass and Story intercepted to fire past Taylor."

NL Pitchero reports that "Coalville Town have confirmed that former favourite Ant Carney has re-signed for the club. The 28-year-old has been away for almost four years after departing for local neighbours Barwell, who at the time were a level higher. He enjoyed a successful time there before picking up a serious knee injury that has kept him out from football for over a year.

The club and Carney himself are keen to stress that from now until the end of the season he will complete his comeback from the injury and be an impact substitute, with next season very much the plan for a starting spot. He described the move back as 'the right choice' due to his relationship with the fans and chairman and it was a no brainer after a discussion with manager Tommy Brookbanks that Coalville was the place he wanted to come too".

On Saturday, the News and Star reported that "It appeared that Workington Reds were still nursing a hangover from their FA Trophy success in midweek and it was Barwell who benefited from the league points on offer. It is a hit to the club's promotion aspirations as they fell out of the play-off places following the result.

Reds struggled to get going in this game, which was in total contrast to the efforts of Tuesday night. Barwell, who have a good away record, looked the better side for the majority of the game and caused a lot of problems for the home defence. Both goals for the visitors came from defensive errors as Reds appeared a little sluggish in their actions...

In reality this game will have to be written off as they look to regain their footing in the league campaign".

SATURDAY GATES

The EVO-STIK Premier Division
20 January 2018

STOURBRIDGE v ALTRINCHAM: POSTPONED

Today's match at Stourbridge was called off around 1.55pm after rain, sleet and snow had been falling all morning.

FIXTURES

Saturday 20 January 2018

The EVO-STIK Premier Division

STOURBRIDGE VIEW

Alty's next opponents, Stourbridge "welcome first-time visitors ALTRINCHAM to the War Memorial Ground this Saturday... Alty will be known to many supporters as one of Non-League football’s biggest names, but recent seasons have seen them suffer something of a downturn in fortunes and the current campaign is their first at Step 3 since the pyramid was formalised in 1979. However, at the time of writing they look very much determined to make their stint here as brief as possible, with last Saturday’s 2-0 win at Stafford Rangers extending their lead at the top to ten points.

Having taken the 'horses for courses' option in the summer when they tempted manager Phil Parkinson away from Nantwich Town, the Robins actually made a sluggish start to the campaign, taking only one point from their opening three matches to leave them next to bottom. Four successive wins got their campaign going, before a 2-5 reverse at Workington set them back. It was a temporary blip, however, and a run of 14 wins, four draws and just one defeat since then, 3-4 at home to Witton Albion on New Year’s Day, saw them climb to the top of the table in mid-October, and there they have remained ever since.

The scale of the task facing the Glassboys on Saturday can be summed up in three numbers. Altrincham boast the most prolific attack in the Division (62 goals scored), the meanest defence (21 conceded), and consequently the biggest goal difference (41 – more than double any other team with the exception of second-placed Grantham Town and fourth-placed Shaw Lane)... The 19 League games played since the defeat at Workington have seen just eight goals conceded...

Alty will no doubt see their current upturn in fortunes as long overdue after two successive relegations from the National League in 2015/16... Their 11 seasons in the NPL saw them finish outside the top half only once, but they were never quite able to secure the Championship, with a best finish of second in 1978/79... The national challenge brought by the APL seemed to suit them better, though, and they were to lift the title in each of the first two seasons, and finished in the top five each season between 1983/84 and 1986/87.

Thereafter, Alty’s record tailed off, despite finishing 3rd in 1991 and 4th in 1995, and they were eventually relegated back to the NPL in 1997, to all intents and purposes their first time outside the top tier of Non-League football. Since then Alty have 'yo-yoed' somewhat between Steps 1 and 2, with three promotions in 1999, 2005 & 2014, and three relegations in 2000, 2011 & 2015, before the cycle was broken last summer as they dropped again into the NPL...

Stour and Altrincham have never previously met in any competition, and playing links are few and far between. However, the Glassboys squad is likely to include former Robin, Kyle Perry, on Saturday, whilst Junior Smikle and George Bowerman have also featured for both clubs in recent years...

There will be a minute’s silence before kick-off on Saturday in memory of former Stourbridge player and coach Archie Styles, who passed away recently".

PHIL BEFORE THE MATCH AT STOURBRIDGE

Brian Flynn has forwarded pre-match comments from Phil Parkinson to appear in Altrincham Today..

"We are on the road for the fourth consecutive game today as we travel down to Worcestershire to take on Stourbridge, hoping to make it seven consecutive away league wins, a run that started back in the middle of November on the 3G pitch at Sutton Coldfield.

Stourbridge were one of the pre-season favourites to win the league but, following a decent start, they hit a bit of a bad patch, before recovering well during the last month.

They are currently eleventh in the table, but with games in hand, I fully expect them to be pushing for a play-off place from now on and wouldn’t be surprised to see Gary Hackett’s side in the top five come the last Saturday in April.

The game may well be a very tight affair with two very good defences that, between them, have conceded just forty-eight goals in fifty-two league games played by the two sides.

Stourbridge are a direct and physical side but we have shown that we are more than capable of dealing with that during the season.In Luke Benbow and Kaiman Anderson, who is on loan from Southport, they have two very dangerous forwards and, like us, they are a strong all-round team.

Tom Hannigan will not be involved today. He has seen a specialist to assess his thigh injury and both Tommy Uda and Ryan Murray have been doing a lot of strength conditioning work with him to try to correct a muscular imbalance. James Jones came in at Stafford last week and had a very good game and we are very fortunate to have three high quality centre backs at the club in James, Tom and Ben Harrison.

We have played on some terrible pitches recently, but the playing surface at the War Memorial Athletic Ground is usually very good, therefore I am hoping that the playing conditions suit our passing game today.

It’s a longish trip, being the best part of a hundred miles, but I’m sure that we will once again have very good travelling support, as we did in the 2-0 win at Stafford last week when, once again, the numbers and vocal support were fantastic and the singers certainly seemed to enjoy gaining revenge on Stafford for that opening day defeat in August".

OLD BOYS

Goole "are delighted to announce the signing of forward Emile Sinclair, who joins us from Ossett Town."

Recent registrations in the Hallmark Security league include Cavel Coo at West Didsbury & Chorlton, and former reserves Daniel Grimshaw (Abbey Hey) and at Padiham, Josef Faux.

EVO-STIK PREMIER NEWS

From the Lancashire Evening Post we learn that "Lancaster City need to get themselves in the mix sooner rather than later according to boss Phil Brown. The Dolly Blues drew 1-1 against Barwell at Giant Axe on Saturday meaning they sit 13th in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, eight points shy of the play-off places with games in hand on the majority of sides around them.

Fixtures being juggled around means City travel to Nantwich Town on Saturday before the teams immediately play the return fixture at Giant Axe next Tuesday night. Brown has always targeted a top-10... 'I think we are on track for the top 10,' the Blues boss said. 'But if we have any aspirations to finish higher than that then we need to make our move now and show more consistency. We need to stop putting in performances that get us just one point or no points... We’ve got 20 games left which is one or two more than other teams. We’re in there and we’ve got a good chance getting in and around the play-offs and the top eight which would be a good achievement... We’re just lacking a bit of consistency'.

[As for] the Nantwich double-header... 'It’s a bit of a quirk of the fixtures but these things happen,' said Brown... 'We’ll have a little bit more information on them come Tuesday but we look at things one game at a time and Saturday is all I’m thinking about.'

Brown has plenty of numbers to choose from this weekend with Rob Henry’s knee problem set to be assessed. Steve Williams is seven to 10 days away from a return as the defender-turned-striker battles to overcome a hamstring problem...

'We have a relatively healthy squad at the moment,' Brown said... 'We're still looking to bring players in'...

On the out-going front, [ex-Alty man] Adam Sumner has joined Evo-Stik First Division North side Ramsbottom United on loan. The left-footer will be looking to get games under his belt having just recovered from shoulder surgery. Rammy are currently 16th in the league below Lancaster".

NL Daily reports that "Stafford Rangers have completed the signing of Tyrell Waite from Boston United on a loan until the end of the season."

On Friday, Grantham Town reported that there would be "a pitch inspection at Stalybridge Celtic on Saturday morning at 9am."

Barwell announce the "signing of Craig Reid from Coventry United. Reid, who has played as high as League One with Cheltenham and Stevenage, is a 32-year-old striker. The Coventry-born front man was in the Football League as recently as last year, when he played for Newport County under Graham Westley.

Following his release at the end of the season, he signed for local club Coventry United. So far this season, he has scored 14 goals in the Midland Football League Premier Division. Reid also boasts the likes of Aldershot Town, Kidderminster Harriers, Lincoln City and Gloucester City (to name a few) on his impressive CV."

In the Yorkshire Evening Post we learn that "After a highly encouraging performance in their 2-2 draw against promotion-chasing Grantham last week, Farsley Celtic manager Adam Lakeland has expressed plenty of optimism ahead of another tough outing at home to Buxton...

The Celts had to come from behind three times to rescue a 3-3 draw when they last played Buxton in November, but Lakeland feels... 'We’ve improved a great deal [since we last played Buxton],' said Lakeland. 'A lot was made of us losing James Walshaw and obviously the goals that he scored speak for themselves. But I feel like we’ve become a better all-round team since he left. We’ve also got quite a lot of lads who haven’t played at this level before, but now they’re 20-odd games into the season and are much more experienced. So, providing we all stick together and continue to put work in on the training pitch then I’m sure we can continue to get some more good results'".


19 January 2018

CHESHIRE SENIOR CUP ROUND TWO

The draw for the Cheshire Senior Cup Round Two has dealt Altrincham a home tie against either Winsford United and Warrington Town who are due to play their First Round match on Monday 22 January.

Whoever wins that First Round tie, it will be a case of deja vu as Alty have already met both clubs in 2017. They played away at Winsford in a pre-season friendly on 1 August, (as well as visiting the Barnton Stadium for their recent match with 1874 Northwich).

And, if Alty are to meet Warrington, it could be the fifth encounter between the two clubs this season. Alty have already played Town away in the league and in a Trophy tie and also met in the home replay. They are also set to entertain Warrington in the league on 27 January.

The full Second Round draw is:

Mike Garnett adds Altrincham's record in this round of the CSC against the two clubs...

v Winsford United

v Warrington Town

All of our CSC games v Warrington have been at this stage of the competition and all were at Moss Lane because, in the 1980s, Warrington did not have floodlights.

BOOK YOUR SEAT TO STOURBRIDGE

Times and fares for the TASC supporters' coach to Stourbridge on Saturday (20th) are on the Away Travel page. The trip includes a service stop (traffic permitting).

STOURBRIDGE MATCH ARRANGEMENTS

Altrincham are away at Stourbridge on Saturday, 20 January. Their stadium is the War Memorial Athletic Ground, High Street, Amblecote, Stourbridge DY8 4HN

Admission prices for the fixture are:

Stourbridge FC add, "Please take note of the alternative routes to the ground, given the major M5 roadworks. Fortunately, West Bromwich Albion are away that Saturday so there won’t be any extra ‘football traffic’, but the M5 roadworks are a major nightmare!

ALL supporters now enter the ground via the turnstile block behind the Church End goal (on the main road passing the ground), there is no cash admission through the old Archway entrance; this is solely for Players and officials only...

There is also NO supporter parking on site although any disabled supporter will, of course, be allocated a space. If this is the case, then please email the club secretary directly, at least 24 hours before kick-off, with name and vehicle registration number.

Stourbridge FC – Alternative Routes to avoid roadworks on M5 between Junctions 1 & 2.

There are major roadworks on the above section of the M5, which are due to last until October 2018. As a club, we strongly recommend that this section of the elevated M5 is avoided if at all possible, as delays are likely to be severe, and Highways England are recommending avoiding the section if at all possible. The roadworks have very narrow contraflow lanes and a restricted 30mph speed limit over the 2 mile stretch of works being carried out.

Some possible alternative routes are detailed below...

For supporters, Stourbridge Town Railway Station is a 15 minute walk from the ground.

From North West:

Leave the M6 south at either Junction 13 (taking either the A449 to and through Wolverhampton), or Junction 12 (and take the A5 west to join the A449). Follow the A449 through Wolverhampton (this will take you right past Molineux) but note that Wolverhampton Wanderers are at home Saturday).

Keep following the A449 around Wolverhampton’s ring road (will now be signposted Kidderminster), and then branch left onto the A491 at the traffic island where the A491 meets the A449 (signposted Stourbridge). Keep following this road and the ground will then be seen on the right hand side of the road, just as you pass the Stourbridge Motor House Vauxhall Garage / Magnet Kitchen Showroom – (you will see the floodlights as you drive up the hill).

From North East / Yorkshire / East Midlands

If travelling down the M42, we recommend staying on this and following this around to join the M5 northbound at Junction 4A, leaving this at Junction 4 and following the A491 towards Hagley, where you can pick up the route as supplied in the league handbook. It is further than joining the M6 North, but you will avoid the roadworks on the M5.

From A38 Southbound – this is difficult as any alternative route will add time to your journey – you could look to travel west on the A5 to cross over the M6 at Junction 12 and follow the A449 as detailed above, or you could travel east on the A5, to join the M42 at Junction 10, and follow the alternative route immediately above.

From the M6 North – again, join the M42 southbound at Junction 4A of the M6 north and follow this around as detailed above".

EVO-STIK PREMIER NEWS

The Evostik League tells us that "Stopper Ed Wilczynski has signed for Shaw Lane on a permanent basis after impressing Ducks' boss Paul Quinn. The 21-year-old signed on Thursday from Darlington for an undisclosed fee after initially arriving at Sheerien Park in December on a month's loan from the Quakers.

The Yorkshire-born keeper, of Polish and Irish ancestry, kicked off his career as a youngster at Huddersfield Town, working his way up... to U21 level before being released in the summer of 2016. Wilczynski, who joined the Quakers from Bishop Auckland in the middle of last season and made a dozen appearances, has also enjoyed loan spells at Trafford, FC United of Manchester and AFC Fylde.

Quinn said, 'Ed has impressed since coming to Shaw Lane, both in terms of his on field performances and his professionalism off the field'".

Alty's next opponents, Stourbridge announce that they "will now host Shaw Lane on Saturday, 3rd February as part of some changes made to our league schedule for next month. With Workington progressing to the F A Trophy 3rd Round, our scheduled home league game with the Cumbrian side on February 3rd is now off. The NPL have now brought our home league match with Shaw Lane forward a couple of weeks from February 17th to Saturday, 3rd February as a replacement. The Ducks had also been left without a fixture on this date because of Warrington Town's FA Trophy success.

In addition, our home league game against Buxton that had been re-arranged initially for Monday, 5th February has been put back and will now take place on Saturday, 17 February".

Meanwhile, there is already a pitch inspection scheduled at Workington for 7.30am on Saturday morning ahead of the visit of Barwell.

From the EvoStik League we learn that "Mickleover Sports have signed two of the most well-travelled and experienced strikers in Non-League football. Sports manager John McGrath will be able to call on the services of forwards Matthew Barnes-Homer and Louis Briscoe when his side host Marine after snapping the pair up on Tuesday.

Briscoe, 29, arrived at Station Road from Sutton Coldfield Town. His most notable spell since kicking off his career at Port Vale in 2005 came at Mansfield Town where he made 175 appearances and scored 34 goals while helping the Stags win promotion to the Football League.

AFC Telford United and former England C striker Barnes-Homer,switched to the Don Amott Arena after playing on dual-registration with Halesowen Town. As well as spells in the United States and Sweden since starting out at Wolverhampton Wanderers, he has scored goals for a host of clubs including Aldershot Town, Brackley Town, Bromsgrove Rovers, Cambridge United, Farnborough, Forest Green Rovers, Hednesford Town, Kettering, Kidderminster Harriers, Luton Town, Macclesfield Town and Whitehawk."


18 January 2018

BEN HARRISON INTERVIEWED

Alty Press & Media Officer, Brian Flynn, spoke to Ben Harrison (with musical accompaniment) after Altrincham's 2-0 victory at Stafford Rangers. You can listen to the interview here.

NEXT OPPONENTS: STOURBRIDGE

Alty travel to Stourbridge on Saturday. The Glassboys report that they "are disappointed to announce that midfielder Richard Batchelor has left the Club without making an appearance. We confirmed Richard's signing from Stafford Rangers after the recent 1-1 home draw with Mickleover Sports. Unfortunately, Richard is unable to commit to the travelling required in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier at the moment and subsequently informed boss Gary Hackett. Richard has now signed for Midland League Premier side Highgate United, a club much nearer to his family home."

CHESHIRE SENIOR CUP

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Cheshire Senior Cup 17-18 - First Round

EVO-STIK PREMIER NEWS

Matlock Town report that "Following the recent release of Nathan Whitehead, who has joined Leek Town after 3 months with Matlock, two further players Rhys Sharpe and Nico Degirolamo have also been released. Nico has been with the club for almost two years and turned in some very good performances in his central defender role but over the last few months has not been able to retain a regular starting role and is therefore allowed to seek regular football within the NPL.

Rhys Sharpe joined Matlock for the second part of last season playing both as full-back, central midfield and also wide-left and, after some good performances, was retained for 2017/18. Rhys has been a regular in the squad, whilst not having a starting role in every match, but his versatility will I am sure enable him to find a suitable role with a new club."

In fact, the Derbyshire Times reports that "It’s been three in and three out at Matlock Town during the last week as joint bosses Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins freshen up their squad in the midst of a winless six-game run in league and cup.

The Gladiators’ 2-0 defeat at Mickleover was their third on the bounce when a trio of loanees made their debuts. Full back Jan Yeomans and midfielder Harry Vince came in from Boston United while striker Harry Limb arrived from Burnley. Leaving the DCJ Group Arena is midfielder Nathan Whitehead who has joined Leek Town for a second time, [as well as] Nico Degirolamo and Rhys Sharpe.

'We want to thank Nathan, Nico and Rhys for their efforts in their time with us', said Kirkwood. 'The Nico one is particularly tough as he’s been with me and Hoppo for the last eight or nine years but he’s found it hard to get in particularly with Adam Yates and Dwayne Wiley there.' Kirkwood... despite the disappointment of defeat against Sports, who he and Hopkins managed before making the switch to Matlock 18 months ago, [said] 'There were one or two positives from the day, the two lads from Boston were excellent and Harry up top has definitely got something, that 90 minutes will do him the power of good,' he said...

'It was the same old story, we left ourselves too much to do as we’ve done a lot this season. We were lucky only to be one goal down at half time, Mickleover played really, really well,' said Kirkwood. 'Andy Dales is a massive player for them. We knew that but knowing it and actually stopping him isn’t easy. We tried to bring him here when we first came and again last summer but his loyalties are with Mickleover, he should be playing at a far higher level..

'We looked like getting back into it after half time, but we switched off and gave an experienced former Football League player with 500 games under his belt a free header from a corner, you simply cannot do that for he’ll punish you. We missed Joe Doyle-Charles who’d had the flu all week, he still wanted to play but he was walking about looking really off it, so there was no way we could have included him, and also Willo (Michael Williams), but you just have to get on with it. Ted Cribley was excellent in the the second half so we’re hoping it’s a sign of better things for him'...

'We’ve still got lads not playing as well as we know they can, so that’s disappointing... We’ve got to learn to shut up shop in the first half, get to half time level or even in front but, in short ,we’ve got to defend better as a team... We’re doing nothing different to last year, but we’re not getting the results,' he said...

While Matlock remain comfortably clear of the one relegation place this season with a league reorganisation imminent in the summer, they need to halt their bad run as soon as possible. Further arrivals look likely following the departures of Whitehead, Degirolamo and Sharpe... 'We’re making loads of phone calls and with the best part of a week before the Farsley game, there’ll probably be one or two coming in.'

Walsall report that their "midfielders Jordon Sangha and Milan Butterfield have extended their loan deals with Rushall Olympic until the end of the season. Sangha has made 12 appearances for the Pics, while Butterfield has featured on 14 occasions...

Said Sangha, 'I started playing in central defensive midfield but then I got moved into the number ten role. It’s very different, as you don’t work back as much and you’ve got to find ways to get on the ball. Playing senior football toughens you up, coming up against men week in week out. At first it was hard because I’m used to playing football on the ground and you come up against some teams who just lump it forward. I feel I’ve learned both sides of the game, where you need to do the ugly side and the pretty side. I’ve enjoyed my time there and I want to score more goals during the second half of the season.'

Butterfield commented, 'I’ve enjoyed being around the players and I’ve enjoyed playing... It’s much harder than reserves football, there’s more pressing and it’s more physical. The standard is good and I feel I’m progressing a lot'...

There is a 24-hour recall option in the Saddlers’ favour".


17 January 2018

LOANEE UPDATE

Right: Mason Walsh

Brian Flynn, Press & Media Officer, writes that "In addition to Laurence Taylor's loan move to Trafford, announced last night, Mason Walsh's loan spell at Hednesford has been extended for a further month. Mason has been a key factor in Hednesford's continued recent improvement, that has seen the Staffordshire side move to within one point of the play-off positions.

Sam Sheridan has returned from his one month loan spell at Stalybridge Celtic, where, despite a number of postponements, he made three appearances, including the impressive 5-2 victory over Lancaster City on New Year's Day and last Saturday's creditable 2-2 draw at Buxton.

Josh Amis sustained a hamstring injury during the first half of Trafford's 1-1 draw at Glossop North End on Saturday and is likely to be out of action for six weeks. During Josh's time at Trafford, the Evo-Stik North outfit were unbeaten, winning four and drawing two games."

LAURENCE GOES ON LOAN AGAIN

After returning to Altrincham from a month's loan spell at Hednesford Town, midfielder Laurence Taylor (right) is now going on a 28-day loan to our neighbours Trafford. After starting, or being a used substitute, in Alty's first six league fixtures of this season, Laurence was injured and, since his recovery, has been unable to command a regular place in the matchday squad. A spell at Shawe View should give him the chance to push for a return to first-team action at the J. Davidson Stadium.

MIDWEEK GAMES

Monday 15th January 2018 - Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round

Tuesday 16th January 2018 - Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round

Derbyshire Senior Cup 17-18 - Quarter Final

Tuesday 16 January 2018 - Walsall Senior Cup 17-18 - Quarter Final

The FA Trophy 17-18 - Second Round Replays

REVISED FA TROPHY THIRD ROUND DRAW

Ties are to be played on February 3rd with £8,000 prize money for the winners. Following replays the draw is now...

EVO-STIK PREMIER NEWS

Nantwich Town "confirm that captain Sam Hall has left the club by mutual consent to pursue new opportunities elsewhere... The midfielder signed for the Dabbers at the start of the 2015/16 season from Leek Town, and ends his time at the club with 128 appearances scoring four goals. Sam has been a major presence around the club, a consummate professional and a great captain and in this role, he led the Dabbers to some great success that will live long in the memory and for this he has our sincere thanks."

Still in Cheshire, Witton Albion announce that "As we don't have a game this Saturday, we are going to be fitting a new drain into the pitch, but we need your help! Come down to Wincham Park this Saturday. Tea and coffee available ".

OLD BOY

Barnsley report that their "Lightning paced winger is rewarded with new deal after impressive performances. Barnsley Football Club are delighted to announce that 20 year-old Dylan Mottley-Henry [seen, right, in his time as an Alty loanee] has extended his contract at Oakwell until 2020.

After joining the Reds in the summer of 2016, Mottley-Henry has shown consistent upward progression whilst with Paul Harsley’s U23s side, as well as more recently out on loan with National League side Tranmere Rovers where he made 14 appearances, scoring one goal whilst also contributing multiple assists. A tricky and direct winger, with bags of skill and pace, the 20-year-old likes to get the ball out-wide and attack fullbacks before beating them and putting a ball into the box. His exciting forward thinking nature has seen him gain numerous plaudits and the Reds were keen to make sure he remained at the Club for the foreseeable future.

Paul Heckingbottom has involved Mottley-Henry in and around his first team squad on various occasions as well, although he is yet to make an appearance. Dylan returned to the Reds in January and has now been rewarded for his progression with a new contract".

TROPHY OPPONENTS' MANAGER LEAVES

Back in November, Alty won at Alfreton Town in the FA Trophy and now NL Pitchero reports that "Alfreton Town have confirmed that they have parted ways with manager John McDermott with immediate effect. The club can also confirm that assistant-manager Karl Lenighan and first-team coach Chris Millington have also left the club.

McDermott was appointed Reds boss in May 2017, following his departure from the position as director of football with Cleethorpes Town. As a player, he was a right-back from 1987 to 2007, spending his entire twenty-year playing career at Grimsby Town, and holds the club’s all-time appearance record...

McDermott began coaching at the Grimsby Institute Academy before being appointed assistant-manager at Harrogate Town in 2010... However results this season have contributed to a difficult campaign thus far and have left the Reds in eighteenth place in the National League North, a point clear of the drop zone".

RELEGATION OR PROMOTION?

BT Sport says that "National League chief executive Michael Tattersall has warned Bromley, Maidstone United and Sutton United he will relegate them to the sixth tier if they choose their artificial pitches over promotion to the English Football League.

The National League decided to let teams to play on 3G pitches last season but asked each club to sign an 'irrevocable undertaking' that they would be willing to rip them up if promoted to League Two, which does not allow artificial pitches, or face relegation. With Sutton third in the table and Bromley just a point off the play-offs in ninth, the prospect of that dilemma presenting itself has grown, and in August the three clubs wrote an open letter to the EFL calling on it to 'show leadership' by making 3G legal.

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey responded in December by telling the league’s 72 teams he was 'mindful of the commercial and financial opportunities clubs could gain access to by operating dual-use stadiums which may otherwise remain empty outside of match days'. In a statement, Harvey said the potential use of 'synthetic or artificial grass surfaces' would be discussed as part of an ongoing review of stadium criteria but noted that any change to the rules would need the backing of a majority of EFL clubs at June’s annual general meeting and would not come into force until the season after next, 2019/20.

The last time EFL clubs held a full vote on whether to allow 3G pitches in Leagues One and Two in November 2014, the vote was tied 34-34, with four abstentions. Three months later, a follow-up meeting shelved the issue without a vote when it became clear that opposition had hardened. Press Association Sport understands the situation has not significantly changed, as Championship clubs remain keen to align themselves with the Premier League’s insistence on grass and even many League One clubs are unconvinced of the economic arguments.

There is interest in League Two, where a potential new revenue stream of £100,000 a season could make a difference (as well as the benefits associated with bringing the reserves, youth and women’s teams to one site), but allowing League Two clubs to install 3G would only see the current National League/EFL issue replicated one tier higher.

The Football Association is in favour of clubs installing modern artificial pitches, which can be used for up to 50 hours a week, but the old stereotypes about 'plastic pitches' causing carpet burns and injuries to joints mean the Professional Footballers’ Association is against the idea. Speaking to Press Association Sport, Tattersall said the National League 'had crossed that Rubicon' and was supporting clubs that wanted to play on 3G but the issue of promotion/relegation was more important.

'If we don’t send the EFL two eligible clubs they will reprieve the 91st club and we will have undermined our raison d’etre,' Tattersall said. He explained the league was founded in 1979 to settle the issue of which team was best qualified to replace the 92nd club in the pyramid, on merit. Before that, the champions of regional leagues had to convince the EFL they were the most deserving, which often led to the 92nd club being re-elected.

'Why else are we playing games on a national basis at this level? That is fundamental to what we’re about and 3G is not as fundamental as that,' Tattersall said. 'I don’t want to relegate a club on this basis, nobody wants to do that. But the irrevocable undertaking was not a work of fiction. You have to bloody mean it and, if you fail to live up to it, we’re not just going to tickle your tummy. It sounds draconian but it’s necessary. Should we hold a play-off final if one team isn’t going to accept promotion? (The relegation rule) is the least bad solution.'"


16 January 2018

NEXT OPPONENTS: STOURBRIDGE

Altrincham pay their first ever visit to Stourbridge on Saturday. "The Glassboys" are one of just three clubs in the EvoStik Premier who Altrincham have yet to play this season; (Ashton United and Shaw Lane are the other two).

The club was founded in 1876 as Stourbridge Standard. Under their current name, Stourbridge only joined the Northern Premier League (EvoStik Premier) in 2014/15 when a geographical reorganization moved them from the Southern League.

After finishing 16th in their inaugural NPL season, in 2015-16 they reached the FA Cup Second Round Proper for the third time in five years but they lost, at home, to Eastleigh. They finished that season in sixth place in the NPL.

In 2016-17 they did even better, reaching the FA Cup Third Round, after beating Northampton Town in the previous round. They went out of the competition 2-1 at Wycombe Wanderers. In the league they finished third and beat Workington in the play-off semi-finals before losing 1-0 at Spennymoor Town in the play-off final.

Their manager Gary Hackett has now been in charge for fifteen seasons and, after losing several key players over the summer to higher-placed clubs, he has steered the Glassboys to eleventh place currently.

On Monday night, Stourbridge defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Birmingham Senior Cup.

Admission prices are:

The matchday programme costs £2.50 and is available from the hut immediately adjacent to the Church End turnstiles as you enter the ground, and also from the Club Shop.

The Glassboys Bar is located at the Church End of the ground, to your right as you enter through the turnstiles. The Bar is open before, during and after every home game and offers "a warm welcome to all visiting supporters and, indeed, neutrals".

As previously reported here, there are major roadworks at the north end of the M5 so Stourbridge recommend travelling via Wolverhampton instead of staying on the M6.

CHANGE TO LADIES' FIXTURES

Next Sunday Altrincham FC Ladies will not be away in the Argyle Sports Cup to West Didsbury and Chorlton Ladies as originally planned but, instead, will be away to West Kirby in the Cheshire County Cup. Kick off is at 1pm.

MIDWEEK GAMES

Monday 15 January 2018

Birmingham Senior Cup 17-18 - Second Round

OLD BOY

News of a popular former Alty loanee comes from NL Daily which reports that "Tranmere Rovers have completed the signing of young winger Josh Ginnelly on loan until the end of the season from Burnley. The 20-year-old was in the youth ranks at Aston Villa before going on to do a two-year scholarship with Shrewsbury Town. Then-Shrews' manager Micky Mellon handed Ginnelly his Football League debut at the age of 17 when he came on as a substitute against Luton Town, before making a further two appearances for the club.

In August 2015, he joined Burnley for an undisclosed fee and has been a part of the Clarets’ development squad. To gain further senior experience, Ginnelly first went out on loan to National League Altrincham in 2015-16 where he played 21 games and scored five goals.

At the beginning of the following season, he made a temporary move to League One Walsall before spending the second half of the campaign with Lincoln City, helping the club to the National League title and promotion into the Football League. He rejoined the Red Imps on loan at the beginning of this season and made 19 appearances, scoring three goals for the League Two outfit."

EVO-STIK PREMIER NEWS

NL Daily reports that "A last-gasp equaliser was perhaps worthy of marking a special milestone for Hednesford Town manager Rob Smith after he clocked up 300 games in charge of the Pitmen during their home match against Coalville Town...

'I’m just really proud. I think in this day and age it is an achievement. I have got to say that barring the first few weeks of being back this time I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I do feel as though it is a perfect fit for me being here. I’m really at my most relaxed here and I’m enjoying the journey again. It is a great place to be', [he said].

Smith’s first game at the helm came all the way back on 2nd October 2010... Smith returned to Keys Park in September 2017 and oversaw a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Sutton Coldfield Town in his first game back at the club, resulting in a progressive rise up the table leaving the team on the fringe of the top five."

Also on the managerial front, the EvoStik League tells us that "Neil Tooth has swapped one EVO-STIK League relegation battle for another after leaving Romulus to make a sensational return to Sutton Coldfield Town. Tooth accepted an offer to return as Royals boss on Monday with immediate effect to succeed his own successor Richard Sneekes less than 48 hours after the Dutchman's departure on Saturday night.

The former West Bromwich Albion midfielder and legend was relieved of his duties after just over two years at the helm at Coles Lane after a late penalty saw the rock-bottom Royals lose 4-3 at home to Rushall Olympic.

Tooth, who led the club to promotion to the Northern Premier League, is now looking forward to maintaining their hard-won status as [he] starts putting his back room together in preparation for his first game back in charge, Workington at home on Saturday 27 January."

Shaw Lane AFC report that on "Saturday the Ducks took on Whitby Town here at Sheerien Park. Despite some long range efforts from Spencer Harris and the visitor’s penalty appeal, neither side could find the back of the net.

One of the key talking points was a double first half penalty appeal from Whitby following a free kick into the box. One appeal was for an alleged elbow by Kelvin Lugsden on their striker Matty Tymon, while a second was waved away for handball. It truly was a tale where both defences swallowed up every attack and limited efforts on goal. Ed Wilczynski and his counterpart Ryan Whitley had to make just two saves each. Debutant Jake Picton showed the experience required for his new team with a solid performance at the back.

Plenty of shots missed their target, including an acrobatic volley by Chib Chilaka, before new captain, Harris, finally forced a save from Whitley. The long range effort from the midfielder on 39 minutes was the best of the first half action. The pace picked up in the second half with a change in formation which saw Alex Bryne playing more centrally. Again shots were peppered wide, but not even regular super-sub Damian Reeves could impact on the score line following his introduction 15 minutes from time...

Whether it was the weather, the pitch or rustiness from not having played since New Year’s Day manager Paul Quinn was happy...

'I think in hindsight, with a makeshift four and with the conditions, it’s another point in the right direction,' said manager Paul Quinn after the game. 'We huffed and puffed in the first half but we picked up the pace in the second half and I thought we were pretty much on top. Obviously disappointed not to get the maximum three points but, with things happening behind the scenes with signings and things, I thought it was going to be one of those days.

'I’m really pleased with Jake Picton. We only signed him Friday night about six o’clock once we found out Jimmy [Pollard] was suspended. Players will be back next week, including Paul Clayton and we’ll start getting back to where we want to be. Credit to Whitby. I can’t take anything away from them as they worked hard. They set themselves up to frustrate us and they did that.

'Kieran Lugsden came in at right back and I thought he did a cracking job for us there. We spoke midweek and said we had a couple of lads lined up [as signings] but we probably couldn’t get them through in time and would Kieran be happy doing the job and, without hesitation, he said yes. We went with Chib Chilaka today with a midfield five or two wingers with Chib to try and give us some physicality up front. We’ve got three good strikers at the club and when we play this system someone has to miss out.'

Duck’s Line-up: Wilczynski, Kieran Lugsden, Gordon, Kelvin Lugsden, Picton, Norris, Byrne, Harris, Chilaka (Reeves 75), Abadaki, Walker (Payne 89). Unused Subs: Rothery, Orlando-Young, Serrant".

From the Midlands, the Halesowen News reports that "Halesowen Town fans, led by chairman Karen Brookes and president Colin Brookes, have launched a fundraising scheme to help finance a takeover of the club. Around 200 supporters attended a meeting on Sunday to hear about the current financial situation at The Grove and how the Brookes family plan to acquire the club from its current owners.

The Yeltz are currently owned by the Lynch family, which took over in 2011 and helped save the club from collapse. However, continued anger and frustration at how the club is being run has led to takeover plans gathering pace in recent months. The situation was made worse at the start of the season when former chairman and owner Steve Lynch was banned from football activity for two years by the Football Association. The Yeltz were fined and Lynch banned following an investigation into rule breaches.

The charges, three for Lynch and nine of the club, include issues surrounding Lynch's former involvement with Eastwood Town and his alleged failure to disclose his interest in the Yeltz at the same time. Other charges for the club included breaches of rules regarding a loan in 2012 and problems with the reporting of accounts covering from October 2011 to March 2013.

Now, Karen Brookes and father Colin have called on fans to help raise £30,000 towards the cost of buying the club. Karen Brookes explained, 'Initially, it's all about claiming the club from the present owners. I've seen from my time at the club that things need to change. There is potential for the club to be self-sufficient but you have to have everything in place for that to happen. It's now about the long-term sustainability of the club. We eventually want to return it to the fans.

'We've put money into the club and will have to do that again for the rest of the season but we now need the fans to support us to get their club back. We need fans through the gates and we need fans to support the fundraising too. The majority of fans want the ownership to change, that is our main reason for this. It's a club with a long and rich history since 1873, including a lot of ups and downs over the last 10 years, and we want to put it back on an even keel once more.

'Financially it probably isn't worth the money we will pay but it's worth it to be able to secure it for the fans'...

Brookes also added that there are still a number of options available even if a deal can't be done, including dropping down in level by forming a new club and using the money raised to start again".


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