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NEXT MATCH: Saturday, 21 September, 2019, 3pm
Away v. CHESTER FC
Emirates FA Cup Second Qualifying Round


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21 September, 2019

BEFORE THE GAME AT CHESTER

Mike Garnett's records reveal the past record in matches between Altrincham and Chester FC. Altrincham have not lost at Chester on their last four visits.

Chester FC report that "After a storming start to the new National League North campaign, attentions shift across to the Emirates FA Cup. The Second Qualifying Round is three wins from the First Round proper and what would be an opportunity to face EFL opposition. The Blues have been handed a home draw, however it promises to be a tough test as Altrincham visit.

Last season's play-off semi-finalists, the Robins have made a slow start to the new National League North season but their quality is apparent and it could be a close match. Should it be a draw, a replay would take place this coming Tuesday at Moss Lane. The draw for the Third Qualifying Round is this Monday.

Chester made it three successive victories, all by a scoreline of 3-1, in September last weekend. AFC Telford’s New Buck's Head saw a 775-strong Blues following and a sublime Akwasi Asante hat-trick. The only downside to the game was a red card and suspension for Jamie Morgan. With fellow right back Kevin Roberts sidelined through injury, there is a big decision for Blues' bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley to make for this match.

Kick off tomorrow is 3pm at the Deva Stadium. The postcode for the ground is CH1 4LT.

This game is simply is simply pay on the gate. Admission prices are the same as NLN matches, which are as follows:

Please note supporters aged 5-17 and 18-21 should pay on turnstiles as normal, however are requested to have proof of identity or age if asked by the turnstiles operator. Disabled supporters’ carers will be admitted free of charge.

We will have a special 16-page Emirates FA Cup edition of The Cestrian programme on sale for the game. Featuring the thoughts of the managers, a look at the opposition, the story of the season so far in pictures and our recent history in the FA Cup. Lots of content, and just £1.50".

FA CUP FIXTURES

On Saturday, Altrincham enter the Emirates FA Cup at the Second Qualifying Round, when they travel to Chester FC. Second Round Qualifying winners earn £6,750 whilst this year even the losers are rewarded, to the tune of £2,250. The prize is a place in the Third Qualifying Round where winners earn £11,250 and losers £3,750.

The Draw includes:

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Telegraph & Argus informs us that "Bradford (Park Avenue) assistant manager Lee Fowler has urged his players to be 'cuter' ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup Second Qualifying Round clash at home to Morpeth Town.

He felt that they were not subtle enough with their game management in last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Spennymoor Town, with the large chunk of time added on enough to see the visitors equalise in the 95th minute through ex-Bradford man Adam Boyes. They will hope to shake off that disappointment when Morpeth visit. The North-East outfit are in the tier below Avenue, in the Northern Premier League...

He said 'It will be tricky because they’ve got some good players, and they even had David Carson move to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the summer. They have five or six players who are over six foot four so they’ll be a threat from set plays. They have a strong defence and Liam Henderson and Joe Walton are brilliant finishers. But we need to start winning games, whether that’s in the FA Cup, the league, the County Cup or whatever.

'There’s a level between us and Morpeth so we’ve got to be on the front foot, while making sure we don’t give away many corners or free-kicks.'

They also don’t want to give away any last-minute equalisers like last week against Spennymoor, something Fowler felt 'was naive because this was the first game since Marcus (Law, Avenue’s manager) and I arrived that we had a gameplan in place where we felt we had a good chance to win. We asked the players if they could delay throw-ins and free-kicks but they overdid it and it bit us. It alienated the referee. He added a lot of time on and they got the equaliser. We just need to be cuter with our game management.'

Bradford also need to improve their finishing but Fowler is hopeful of a new signing up front. He mused '“He would take the pressure off Lewis Knight, Alex Hurst and Brad Dockerty. A number nine is the key ingredient we’ve been missing. We should have been 3-0 up on Saturday... Avenue announced yesterday that Frenchman Nelson Digbeu, who joined the club in August, has left."

And the Telegraph & Argus adds that "Riccardo Calder is fully embracing his second chance... Jailed in November last year after being found guilty of assaulting a 24-year-old woman following a minor car accident, he was released 10 weeks into his nine-month sentence.

Despite being sacked by his then club, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Bradford (Park Avenue) interim manager Marcus Law, who already knew Calder, came to his rescue, offering him a footballing lifeline... After previous stints with Lincoln City, Doncaster Rovers and a loan spell at Dundee, he has also played on the international stage, winning four caps for England's Under-17s in 2012.

Since his move to Avenue last month Calder has provided a much-needed sprinkle of class for a struggling young side.

He said 'I've just come back to play football, trying to do my best. I just want to forget about it all. I'm here and I'm here to impress... Every team I've played for, I have always given 100 per cent. I have to do better than everyone else...

'Starting off, a lot of teams, not just us, have had a bad start. I feel like Lee (Fowler, Avenue assistant manager) and Marcus can turn things around... I want to go as far as I can with this club. I want to get promoted at Bradford. It's a lot to ask at the minute. They have given me that platform. They understand what I've been through. They have taken me in. I want to give back to them'...

The former Aston Villa academy product, who joined them aged nine but failed to make a first-team appearance for the Premier League side, has taken inspiration from one of his youth team-mates at the club who has recovered from off-field problems to make a name for himself. Calder cites Jack Grealish as a role model in his footballing comeback".

But Bradford (Park Avenue) "have some news that might make a tough start to the season taste a little bit sweeter... There are a few stories to tell of years gone by that prove the season might be about to turn a huge corner – let us explain.

This time last season, Blyth Spartans found themselves in a similar position. They were fourth from bottom with ten points to their name; where did they finish? In the play-off places!... Last season also showed that the Avenue absolutely love back-end of the calendar year. From the end of September until the very end of 2018, Mark Bower had masterminded eight wins, four draws and just a single defeat.

If Marcus Law can get that that same tune from his players, it could be about to take off in West Yorkshire".

Hull City Tigers tell us that "Charlie Andrew has joined Alfreton Town on a month’s loan. The 19-year-old goalkeeper, who signed a new one-year deal with the Tigers this summer, will go straight into the Alfreton squad for their FA Cup Second Qualifying Round tie against King’s Lynn Town on Saturday.

Andrew impressed between the posts in a five-month temporary spell at Bradford Park Avenue last term, making 15 appearances and keeping four clean sheets to help Park Avenue reach the National League North play-offs after securing a seventh-place finish.

The custodian has also previously experienced time on loan at Pickering Town, playing 60 times in two spells with the Pikes during the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns."

Alfreton Town add that they "face King's Lynn Town in the FA Cup...

The Reds suffered a shock league defeat last weekend at Kettering Town, handing the Poppies only their second league win of the season. It was a performance which was far below the standards set in the ten games prior to last weekend's defeat.. The game started in the worst possible way with Alfreton conceding two in the opening four minutes, the first a penalty after just 20 seconds...

We never gained momentum and we fell to a poor defeat with the performance disappointing and Billy Heath stating the defeat was a deserved one for his side. However we have made a positive start to the new campaign with the Reds in 5th place after 11 games and attention now moves to the FA Cup tomorrow. We head into the game having lost two of our last three games but we remain undefeated at the Impact Arena this season, which bodes well ahead of tomorrow's tie.

The Reds are aiming for a fifth straight win in all competitions at home... The Linnets head into the fixture off the back of two straight draws in the league but they are unbeaten in their last ten games. Tomorrow's tie pits two of the National League North's highest scorers with the Reds bagging 23 goals this season and Kings Lynn scoring 24."

Macclesfield Town's "midfielder Peter Vincenti has agreed a loan deal with Hereford FC.

The 33-year-old heads out to Edgar Street in a deal which initially runs until January 2020".

And at Edgar Street, Hereford FC add that "Russell Slade has added to his squad ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup game against Truro City, bringing in midfielder Peter Vincenti on loan from League 2 Macclesfield Town...

Slade said 'Peter is comfortable in a number of positions, which is a real bonus for us. He can play on the left, in the middle or on the right of midfield and he can also be a threat in the box as well. He’s someone with a lot of experience in the Football League and he will bring us some added composure on the ball. Peter has played with Jarrod [Hodgkiss] so they will know each other’s game inside out. I am sure he is the type of player who will be able to forge partnerships quickly whichever position he plays in, but it is certainly a positive that he has played with Jarrod before'...

Vincenti said 'This is a good club, it obviously had its troubles in the past but is now working it’s way back up the leagues. I’ve been keeping an eye on the results and I’m really excited to be here. I’ve not really got a preferred position, I’ve played in a number of roles through the years, I don’t think I’m nailed down to one to be honest with you. I’ve predominantly been in midfield areas and I had a bit of success out wide for Rotherham, but I’m just happy to play anywhere that the manager wants me to play'".

Boston United face an FA Cup "trip to county neighbours Stamford AFC. Saturday's encounter... will pit Craig Elliott's side against a Daniels outfit they have already beaten (3-0) in the Lincolnshire Senior Cup this season.

Graham Drury's side have since made a strong start to life in the BetVictor NPL South East Division... Elliott has a full squad to select from, with the exception of striker Jake Wright who is continuing his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury.

On-loan Mansfield Town defender Lewis Gibbens could come into contention to start having emerged as a substitute during last weekend’s defeat at Gateshead. Stamford could include former Pilgrims Dan Haystead, Harry Vince and Liam Adams, plus Pearson Mwanyongo, who signed for United in the summer of 2017 but left without making an appearance."

At Brackley Town The Saints "take on Southern League Division One South side Cinderford Town...

Saints come into the game after a fine win at Curzon Ashton last Saturday and a 6-1 win on Tuesday in the Hillier Cup. After Gateshead’s defeat at Hereford in midweek we lie in 7th place in the National League North table, two points off fourth-placed Guiseley.

Cinderford are currently tenth... but yet to win away from the Causeway Ground, their Gloucestershire home... The Foresters finished fifth in the league last season and exited the FA Cup at this stage...

Brackley’s FA Cup record is a proud one in recent seasons reaching the first and second rounds no fewer than three times in the last six seasons and coming agonisingly close to reaching the third round draw."

And Darlington "are hoping to progress in the FA Cup when we travel to Trafford in Manchester on Saturday. We are overdue some FA Cup success, but this will be a tricky game against a team that plays two levels below us, and has won twice at home already in the competition this season...

Team News: Right back Luke Trotman is ruled out for the season with an achilles problem, while striker Jamie Holmes is out for some months with a cruciate injury. Defender David Atkinson is out for at least two months with an ankle injury. Defender Louis Laing will have a fitness test on a hamstring injury. Striker Tyrone O’Neill has been cleared to play by his parent club Middlesbrough.

Defender Michael Liddle suffered no reaction to his injury last week when he came on as sub against York, so he’ll probably start...

Trafford manager: Tom Baker – former player at Barnsley, Altrincham, Gainsborough, Halifax and Droylsden. Now in his fifth year of management having retired from playing because of injury. Guided Trafford to the Integro League Cup last season". Darlington's list of Trafford players includes "Harry Sheridan, Darius Palma, Tom Schofield, Dontai Gabidon, Lewis Salmon, Laurence Taylor" who have all worn the Alty shirt as players or trialists.

Meanwhile, King's Lynn Town "hit the FA Cup trail for the first time this season on Saturday with a tough looking trip to rivals Alfreton Town.

The hosts are unbeaten at North Street to date this season having scored an impressive 13 goals in five games and conceding only three in the process. Lynn though will take great heart from the hard-earned 3-2 victory over Saturday’s opponents achieved at The Walks in early September...

The Linnets will have to make do without Rory McAuley who serves the second match of his three-game ban for the red card received ironically against Alfreton. It is understood that striker Harry Limb is still unavailable for selection following illness."


20 September 2019

SUPPORTERS' TRAVEL AND MATCH ARRANGEMENTS

Mark Eckersall, TASC Travel Coordinator, advises that "TASC are running coach travel to Chester FC for Saturday's FA Cup tie. Thanks to all who have supported the travel so far. Please book as early as you can so we can ensure we book the right-sized vehicle for the trip. Please call the club on 0161 928 1045 from 10am to book your place".

Details of fares and pick-ups are on the Away Travel page.

Chester FC will be opening two turnstiles for away supporters. They will have the option to enter via turnstile 8 and sit behind the goal, or via turnstile 7 and sit at the side of the pitch, towards the corner, which is the same area that was utilised for away supporters in the league fixture in August.

SATURDAY'S OPPONENTS: CHESTER FC

ALtrincham's FA Cup opponents on Saturday, Chester FC remind us that they "have made a great start to the season but, to maximise our chances of gaining promotion to the National League, we need help from fans to boost the playing budget!

We want to more than double the amount raised by Squadbuilder last season and hit £20k. This is YOUR chance to help Bern & Jonno to #PushForPromotion. YOUR chance to make a difference!"

Meanwhile, Cheshire Live tells us that "Chester FC won't be appealing the red card shown to right back Jamie Morgan in the 3-1 win over AFC Telford United at the weekend. Morgan, 21, was shown a straight red by referee Ed Duckworth at the New Buck's Head on Saturday with nine minutes of the contest remaining after a needless challenge on Telford winger Chris Lait.

Morgan was clearly attempting to win the ball but the challenge was deemed too reckless by Duckworth who handed the summer signing his marching orders to sour what had otherwise been another impeccable performance by the ex-Crewe Alexandra and Nantwich Town man. Lait was visibly hurt after the challenge, which occurred near to the halfway line by the touchline, with the winger left limping around for the remainder of the game after Telford had used all their substitutes.

Telford manager Gavin Cowan wasn't convinced himself that it was a straight red card and neither were Chester bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley after they reviewed the footage. The bosses had considered making an appeal to the FA but Johnson understood the call the referee made, even if he wasn't in full agreement. Johnson said 'You have to be careful sometimes and you don’t want to be appealing everything, there will be times when you have a real case,' said Johnson.

'Jamie’s challenge was aggressive but I’m not sure that it was a red card, although I can see why the referee gave it, as Jamie gave him a decision to make. It was a needless tackle and I think Jamie will learn from that. It’s a massive shame for him because he was having another superb game. We’ll get by and whoever we put there will be more than able to do a job.'

Morgan's ban and Kevin Roberts' hamstring injury mean that Chester have issues to contend with at right back for this weekend's FA Cup second qualifying round clash at home to Altrincham. Matty Thomson is struggling with injury and the Blues are reluctant to utilise Brad Jackson in the position given his superb form on the right wing so far this season, so the door could open for Gary Roberts, James Jones or Matty Waters to operate in the right back role."

NEXT LEAGUE OPPONENTS: GATESHEAD

According to Chronicle Live "Former Newcastle United defender Mike Williamson has enjoyed his first taste of management so far, despite a summer of turmoil which pushed Gateshead FC to the brink of extinction.

'Iron Mike' enjoyed a spell as player-coach at the Heed last season as the club defied the odds to secure a ninth-place finish in the National League. But the centre-back's return to Tyneside looked to be cut abruptly short as the club faced the very real prospect of going out of business... but the Heed suffered relegation to the National League North as a result of breaching financial rules.

Williamson says it was 'no-brainer' when he was offered the chance to take over as player-manager in the summer... He said 'I've always been intrigued by the tactical side of it. When you're playing games where you're getting the run around or you're under performing, you try to look at different elements of the puzzle as to why. Obviously I've been very fortunate to work under some very successful managers, and it's always intrigued me how they've handled themselves, and their strengths they bring to the team'...

The 35-year-old defender enjoyed playing under a host of managers such as Tony Adams, Brendan Rodgers, Chris Hughton, and Alan Pardew in a career which included stints at Portsmouth, Watford and Wolves...

He said: 'I think anybody who goes in to management and coaching is basically an amalgamation of all of their experiences. You pick up personality and character traits off people that you respect... I wouldn't really describe my style as anything other than I do my best, and I'm open and honest with the lads as much as I possibly can. I would never ask them to do anything I wouldn't do. I try and keep the people's levels as high as possible, try and keep raising that, and if anyone comes away from doing the basics we require as a group for the team then I'll get on their case'...

Williamson was left with a "complete rebuild" to build a squad up from scratch. A number of key players such as JJ O'Donnell were quickly re-signed in an attempt to retain an element of the club's identity... Williamson added 'We were starting two or three weeks later in terms of the recruitment, and we had zero players and staff... The fact you've got no players is not filled people full of confidence... When lads were seeing the quality of players we were signing it kind of built the confidence in further targets'...

The player-manager admits his long-term goal is to return to the Heed to the National League. Williamson finished 'It's a brand new squad, it does take time to adapt and to build in that philosophy we want to get'".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The BBC reports that "When Southport played Tranmere Rovers in a televised FA Cup replay last season, Russell Benjamin was in prison counting down the days to his release. Sentenced in 2015 to nine years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs, the non-league midfielder was nearing his release date after serving half his time, having remained in custody since his arrest in July 2014.

This summer, Benjamin was handed a one-year contract by Southport, a club whose manager Liam Watson is all about giving players a second chance. After spending 18 years working at Ashworth high security hospital near Liverpool, which treats some of the UK's most disturbed criminals, Watson has learned how to help people turn their lives around.

As well as Benjamin, Southport's squad to face Scarborough Athletic in the FA Cup second qualifying round on Saturday is likely to include [ex-Alty midfielder] Paddy Lacey, jailed in July 2017 for possessing Class A drugs and counterfeit money at the Glastonbury Festival.

Last season, Watson had former Liverpool academy keeper Michael Kinsella, who has spent time in prison for drug offences, as Southport's goalkeeper coach. 'People make mistakes,' Watson, 48, told BBC Sport. 'Those who show genuine remorse, realise they've made a mistake and want to make amends, I think they should be admired. They deserve a second chance'...

Watson started work at Ashworth in 1995 after his career as a forward at Preston was cut short by injury at the age of just 23... Watson worked in the hospital's intensive care unit, rehabilitation ward and high-dependency unit until 2013, when Telford offered him the chance to go into full-time management after leading Southport to two sixth-tier titles.

By then Ashworth had become an 'extremely dangerous place to work', according to Liverpool-born Watson. 'One member of staff had his throat slashed when I was there,' he added. 'I was assaulted. I think everyone who has worked there has been assaulted. A lot of the patients were extremely volatile, committed criminals who had a mental illness or a personality disorder. There were high-profile patients, infamous murderers.'

Liam Watson is in his third spell as Southport's permanent manager and takes charge of his 496th game at the Merseyside club on Saturday... 'Working at Ashworth gave me an insight that even good people can make mistakes,' said Watson. 'I've stayed in touch with one former patient, I speak to him regularly. Whether it was drugs or whatever, he had issues. I'd take him with me to matches at Telford or Southport. He'd stand behind the dugout while I was managing. I liked him and he's since gone on to do really well for himself.'

Benjamin, now 27, was 22 when he was arrested following a dawn raid by police. He had just joined Stockport County from Telford, then managed by Watson, and had yet to make an appearance for his new club. During his trial, at which he pleaded guilty, Benjamin was described as the ringleader in a Merseyside drugs gang.

'I don't think I've ever been so shocked when they were telling me he was involved,' added Watson, who had rushed to Widnes police station where Benjamin was being held following his arrest. Having known him since he was a 16-year-old at Southport and brought him back to the club as a 19-year-old after he was released by Rochdale, Watson felt compelled to support Benjamin, even though the midfielder was no longer his player. That support continued throughout Benjamin's four-and-a-half years inside jail...

Right: Paddy Lacey, who made 12 (+21) appearances for Altrincham before joining Barrow in summer 2013.

'Russell held his hand up, he pleaded guilty and showed remorse,' said Watson. "He's served his sentence and deserves another chance'... Watson used his contacts in non-league football to arrange for him to train and play at nearby Warrington Town on day release from prison... Benjamin continued to play for the Northern Premier League part-timers before linking back up with Watson this summer at Southport, where he has been one of the club's most consistent performers...

Benjamin says he had been left 'playing catch-up' in life by a combination of failing to secure a contract in the Football League and 'seeing some lads up to no good driving nice cars... Going to prison was a shock to the system... When I heard the judge say nine years, I asked myself "Is this the end of the road?" Liam kept in contact and let me know that it was not the end of the world because I'd made one mistake... Liam sorted it for me to go to Warrington Town.

'I don't think they wanted the public to see that I was out playing football, having fun, when I was supposed to be serving a sentence... Towards the end of my sentence, they started letting me go to away games as well. I couldn't have asked more of Liam. I owe him because I feel like I have been given a second chance........ I try to help others who I see going down the same path I did', he said...

Like Benjamin, Lacey is also benefiting from being given a second chance by Watson. In May 2017, the midfielder was sacked by Accrington Stanley after being given a 14-month drugs ban by the Football Association. Two months later, Lacey was jailed after being caught with Class A drugs and counterfeit money.

'When things go wrong, people often turn their back on you,' added Watson, who signed Lacey in January. 'I know Paddy is a good person. When Paddy was going through his FA ban, I did a character reference for him'...

Southport's average crowd in the sixth tier of English football this season is 930. Some of those remember when the club fell out of the Football League and replaced by Wigan Athletic in 1978. Will signing former prisoners harm Southport's image as a family club, which the club has worked hard to achieve? 'I've made mistakes in my life,' added Watson... 'Both Russell and Paddy know this is last-chance saloon.'"

In the Telegraph & Argus, "Marcus Bignot says Guiseley can only reap the rewards from his appointment onto the England coaching staff. The former QPR defender has been named as one of two specialist coaches for the nation's Under-18s' side, working under head coach Ian Foster this season.

Bignot has just returned from helping to oversee an unbeaten start to his time with England as they hosted a mini-tournament. This saw England grab a 2-0 win over Korea Republic, a 1-1 draw with Brazil and a 3-2 victory against Australia, all played during the recent international break. His appointment is part of the next phase of an Elite Coach Placement Programme working across England men’s teams throughout this season. The programme initially rolled out in 2018 to help solve the challenge of under-representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) coaches.

Now back preparing for Guiseley's home FA Cup second qualifying round clash with Stockton Town on Saturday... the 45-year-old said 'I got all of the encouragement I needed to put my name forward. I had to go for an interview. I'm pleased I got the role. It is a massive honour to be able to work for the country and work for the Football Association. For my career point of view it is a really good opportunity to gather a whole lot of knowledge and can be a springboard for me.

'I've been blessed to have stayed in football since the day I left school... I want to go in there and impact it and effect [sic] and it to be productive... I'm now working on the world stage. I am working with players from the best teams in the country... The work and time spent with England can only benefit the club. I'm coming back a better coach with better knowledge and what that can bring. I can see it having plenty of positives for Guiseley.

'We are after producing our own, people can see the direction we are going in. A younger group... Everyone knows about the success we got last year in the FA Cup. It only brought attention to the football club and helped us financially. It had an effect on our league form'...

Following a 3-0 victory over Hereford, which included an Aaron Martin hat-trick, Bignot added 'The encouraging thing was that, even though we won 3-0, we were disappointed in our performance.,"

AFC Telford United "begin season’s FA Cup campaign with a second qualifying round tie against Nantwich Town at the New Buck's Head. The Dabbers finished 4th in the Northern Premier League Premier Division last season, subsequently succumbing 4-1 to Warrington Town in the playoff semi-final. And the Cheshire club look like they’ll be in and around the promotion picture again. Nantwich won their opening three games this campaign before then losing their next three league games. However, a 3-1 home win over Grantham Town in the first qualifying round has seen the Dabbers progress in the FA Cup, while last weekend saw the Cheshire side score three goals in six minutes to record a seemingly improbable win over Scarborough Athletic; Nantwich were 2-0 down with 16 minutes to go.

Former Northwich Vics boss and Shrewsbury Town assistant Dave Cooke is the man in charge at the Weaver Stadium. And Cooke’s squad includes former Bucks Sean Cooke, James Lawrie, Ben Harrison and player/coach Steve Jones...

Gavin Cowan’s men have conceded three goals in each of their last four home games so will be looking to put in a solid defensive display next weekend".

The Chad informs us that "Lewis Gibbens was devastated when a shoulder injury brought last season to an abrupt end but now the defender believes his time on the sidelines will be the making of him. The Mansfield Town teenager has returned to Boston United on a three-month loan, looking for the match experience...

It was while playing for United that he dislocated his shoulder in the 1-0 defeat at Spennymoor Town last January.

'When I dislocated my shoulder I was in the gym for six months and that developed me a lot. I’m seeing the benefits now,' said the 19-year-old. 'It was horrible (the injury). I was playing some of my best football at the time, feeling very confident and improving... I’ve reacted positively and I’m in a better place now.'

Gibbens now finds himself competing with experienced National League North campaigners Luke Shiels, Simon Ainge and Ben Middleton for a place in the heart of the Pilgrims’ defence.

'There’s good centre backs here already,' Gibbens added. 'The competition’s healthy so I’m looking forward to it. I want to get more minutes and develop more as a player. This level’s very good. Hopefully, it can get me ready for League Two football.'"


19 September 2019

STEVE MURRAY R.I.P.

Altrincham FC fans were saddened to hear, last month, of the death of steward and long-time supporter Steve Murray. Steve died on 30 July but, as his family requested a quiet funeral, his many friends and colleagues at Moss Lane did not attend when Steve was buried at Brooklands Cemetery, Sale, on 9 September.

So, as a permanent reflection of the affection in which he was held at the J. Davidson Stadium, a commemorative plaque is being ordered to be added to the Wall of Memories beside the main stand at Moss Lane. Once this has been installed a further update will be provided.

NEXT OPPONENTS: CHESTER FC

On Saturday, Altrincham visit Chester FC in the Second Round Qualifying of the Emirates FA Cup. Simon Richman will be available after suspension but centre-back James Jones had to go off in the first half at Kidderminster on Saturday so must be a doubt for Saturday. Also not expected to be fit for the Cup tie are loanee winger Yusifu Ceesay and long-term injured goalkeeper, Steven Drench.

Earlier this season Alty were unlucky not to win at Chester in the league, a late equalizer allowing Chester to snatch a point. Mike Garnett's records reveal the past record in matches between Altrincham and Chester FC...

In advance of the game, Cheshire Live reports that "Chester FC are selling a vision to their talented group that sticking with the Blues for a little longer will help them achieve their football ambitions. The Blues currently sit second in the National League North after a super start to the season under bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley, Chester losing just once in the opening 11 games of the season and improving with each passing game.

The fine form has seen the supporter base re-energised and dreaming of a promotion push this season.

Key cogs in Chester's success thus far have been a number of their younger players, players who were deemed fairly low-key signings when they arrived but who have kicked on a notch or three since pulling on the blue and white stripes. Players like Brad Jackson, Joel Taylor and Anthony Dudley are all 24 and under and have enjoyed a new lease of life under Johnson and Morley.

All three, like the managers, are out of contract at the end of this season and, while no talks have taken place as yet over extending any contracts, it is something that is on the minds of club officials and something that they are moving towards.

'In terms of planning for next season then things have already started with talks with kit suppliers for next season and we're not even that far away from looking at pre-season friendlies,' explained club vice-chairman Andrew Morris. 'In terms of the playing staff and managers then it is a really difficult situation. This club itself has learned about giving contracts too early and deals now would tie people in until May 2021, which seems like a lifetime away at the moment.

'But at some point, and it will be some point soon, we need to start planning the long term strategy from the playing side of things. There are players out there for us who are absolute assets to this club and you can see how well they are playing. We need to have conversations with those players about where they see their futures.

'It's never as simple as "let's just give the lad a contract". Some of these lads may not want to tie themselves down for another year but we need to be selling the vision and the dream about the managers and the club."'

Chester have been burned for acting too fast and too slow in the past when it comes to handing out contracts. The decision to extend Jon McCarthy's deal by a further two years proved a major millstone around the club's neck after the team's form declined massively just a few short weeks after the deal was signed, and Chester's inability to spot a loophole in Scottish football allowed Motherwell to swoop and land Ben Heneghan for nothing, the defender going on to make a £500,000 move to Sheffield United, Chester unable to receive a cut.

But there have been success stories. Antoni Sarcevic and Sam Hughes both moved for in excess of £100,000 to Fleetwood Town and Leicester City, respectively, proof that Chester can be a fine move for younger players, something also demonstrated by the loan spells of Oli McBurnie and Matty Taylor.

'My personal view is for a club like us, to sell a player to a higher level like we did with Sam Hughes to Leicester City, that is a success and an achievement,' said Morris. 'It's not even about just selling lads that come through our Academy, there are examples of guys with us now who have dropped out of the professional game and are building themselves back up again. If we sell them for money in the future then that is a success story...

'We want to sell a vision to the lads who are here with us that it is not about a short-term move or moving to another National League North or National League team for a bit more money, you've got to aim higher and by staying with a team like us for a bit longer where they are thriving and playing the best football of their career then it will work out better for them in the longer term.'"

NEXT AT ALTY: GATESHEAD

The next visitors to Moss Lane, baring an FA Cup replay, are Gateshead, who lost 2-1 at Hereford on Tuesday night.

"It took just over an hour for the deadlock to be broken when Josh Kayode put the Heed ahead, only for Jordan Nicholson to level the game up four minutes later for Hereford. Tommy O’Sullivan struck deep into injury time to hand the visitors their second defeat of the season, despite a positive performance.

Mike Williamson opted not to alter a winning side too much and made just the one change from Saturday’s win over Boston; a straight swap between himself and Michael Nelson. In truth, the opening half-an-hour of proceedings offered up very little in the way of entertainment for the crowd at Edgar Street... with Hereford on the back foot for much of the opening 45...

The Heed looked to open the second half on the front foot and again saw the first sight of goal... It would be Kayode, who had been lively all night, who put Gateshead in front with just over an hour gone. The forward cut in from the left and beat his marker with raw pace, before sending a shot crashing off the post and back off Bulls 'keeper Hall before nestling in the net.

Unfortunately, the lead would last just four minutes as Hereford drew level with their first real chance of the half. Kieran Thomas’s ball in from the left wing was missed by Williamson in the box, and Nicholson was able to slot home unmarked at the back post to bring things back to square one...

But there was a twist in the tale to come and, at the death, Hereford found a second goal to steal the three points from under Gateshead noses. A defensive mix-up saw the ball fall the way of O’Sullivan with only Brad James to beat, and the Bulls' substitute slotted home from close range to ensure the points stayed in Hereford...

Gateshead XI: James; Nicholson, Lees, Williamson, Barrow (c) (Blackett, 85’); Deverdics, Agnew (Forbes, 80’); Tear (Preston, 73’), Olley, O’Donnell; Kayode. Unused subs: Guthrie, Nelson".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

According to York Press, "New York City signing Kyle McFarlane could be in line for a debut start for Saturday’s FA Cup visit to Irlam, manager Steve Watson has said.

On Saturday, York announced that McFarlane had penned a short-term deal with the club after his release from Birmingham City in March...

'It is a chance for a few lads to make an impression,' said Watson of the cup tie... 'Josh King, Nathan (Dyer) and Paddy (McLaughlin) need 90 minutes and then you’ve got Kyle (McFarlane), Macca (Steve McNulty) and Wes (York). There are lads that need games. I’ll have a look at it and make sure that we’ve got a strong side that we can rely upon. We can’t just make 10 changes and hope it goes well.'

McFarlane, 22, spent 12 years at Birmingham, scoring 11 goals in 21 in his final season with the club’s under 23s' side. Watson, a former coach at Birmingham, explained... 'I remember Kyle from Birmingham when I was there... Kyle is someone that we nearly got last season. He was meant to be coming to us for a Friday session and he hurt his knee on the last training session with Birmingham on the Thursday, which put him out for the rest of the season.

'We’ve had him in for two or three weeks now, off and on. And, I’ve seen enough to know that he’s back to somewhere like he was previously. He’s different to what we’ve got at the moment. Dan (Maguire) is not going to be available for us for another three or four weeks... It’s just a short-term deal for both us and him, to see where he’s at.

'We really need to organise a couple of training ground games to have a proper look at him. There’s very little that you can tell about a player when you’re doing possession (drills) and five-a-side games, particularly players that play on the shoulder and have really good pace, like Kyle...

The York manager... made it clear that he won’t be thinking of Irlam as a light touch. 'We’ve got to find that happy medium,' he said about his team selection for the game. 'The club deserves to have a good cup run. It’s important for us, not only financially, but the club and our fans... But, there may not be another opportunity to give these lads the rest and recuperation that they need. But, make no mistake, we’re focused on getting through to the next round of the cup, we have to be.'"

Lynn News informs us that "Manager Ian Culverhouse has urged King’s Lynn Town fans to remain 'realistic' about their National League North position... After back-to-back 2-2 draws against Spennymoor Town and Gloucester City, the Linnets chief has issued a stark warning about the difficulty of the club’s new surroundings.

Culverhouse said 'I think we need to get some realism about the place, because we haven’t got a right to beat anyone in this league. We are going to play 42 games and in 42 games we will be underdogs. So we have no right to beat Gloucester; we have to earn the right in every single game, and fair play to Gloucester, they took their chances and we didn’t.'

Culverhouse, whose side preserved their unbeaten home record with a last-gasp equaliser against the Tigers on Saturday, added 'What we are doing at the moment is unbelievable, it’s unbelievable what they are doing. And the character they showed at the end, and they could have given up halfway through because it wasn’t going right,but to actually get the goal in the end showed the immense character of this squad of players'...

'We have to lay foundations and small building blocks. The first 10 games everyone is just "wow, unbelievable start", but this is about building things for next year. If we can stay in this league this year we will only be better next year... we will know what it is about, the foundations will have been laid to push it on further...

We have got out of one league we are dipping our toe into the next one and we are enjoying it at the moment. Can we sustain it? That is the challenge for this group of players now.'”

At the other geographical end of the league, Blyth Spartans Chairman Tony Platten says "I’m a little surprised by the start to the season, it’s a bit strange. Pre-season went well with some good results and we were scoring goals, so there were positive signs. But the step up from the Northern League for some of our younger players is a big jump.

Stitching a side together, virtually from scratch, is never going to be easy but we are bringing in more experienced players now when they become available. Last season we started poorly and improved, plus there are still eight months of the season to go. At the moment, we’re getting no luck.

We played reasonably well for the first ten minutes against Southport and then new signing Jack Hunter was injured, quickly followed by Ryan Hutchinson who was just back from an injury. It meant two of our most experienced players were off the pitch early on.... For 60 minutes or so, we played some good attacking football but lacked punch right up front and in the penalty area. We conceded a goal from a free header; we weren’t concentrating and didn’t attack the ball.

Their other goal was the penalty which, depending if you’re a Southport or Spartans fan, was either stitched on or dubious...

We started the season with a poor hand of cards as a result of what happened at the end of last season [they lost their manager and numerous players went with him to Darlington or joined York City] and it’s hard to rebuild things overnight... Crowds have held up very well and they’ve been good recently in getting behind the side. That helps a lot.

We remain confident in Lee [Clarke] and his management staff to turn things around. We can’t start chopping and changing things. Lee must be given time to gel the team and get the best from them. He has some great connections in football which can be very useful to us. Budget wise, we are currently operating within [it] and increased sponsorship from the likes of Texo has helped. In addition, Lee himself has been responsible for some new deals too".


18 September 2019

ALTY DROP A PLACE

Following Tuesday's midweek game, Altrincham dropped to sixteenth in the league table. Hereford's late win took them up five places to eleventh.

THROUGH THE YEARS

Alty travel to Chester FC in the FA Cup on 21 September and Howard Watts's and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records tell us that it is 56 years since Alty played an FA Cup game on next Saturday's date. Back in 1963 Alty won 2-0 at Skelmersdale United which was, like this Saturday's tie, a Second Qualifying Round match.

In fact, Alty have played six FA Cup ties on that date since their first such fixture in 1907 which was an 8-0 win over Hyde. Two of the other FA Cup matches have been wins over local rivals Macclesfield Town, which both ended 4-3 (in 1935 and 1957).

The last Alty league fixture played on Saturday's date was a less happy occasion, a 2-1 defeat at North Ferriby United in the Skrill North in 2013.

CUP OPPONENTS: CHESTER FC

Altrincham are away at Chester FC on Saturday in the Emirates FA Cup. From there, we learn that Chester FC "confirm that highly rated midfielder George Glendon has opted to extend his stay for a further few months with the Blues. The 24-year-old joined on a short-term basis at the end of last month after the Blues lost Garys, Roberts and Stopforth, to injury.

Nevertheless, Glendon, who has been in demand from EFL sides since the end of last season, has rejected offers, to stay with the club for the near future. George was released from Carlisle United at the end of last season. From Manchester, he was previously at Fleetwood Town where he made close to 50 appearances for the Cod Army. Glendon started his career at Manchester City and captained their Elite Development Squad as well as playing for England at Under 16 and Under 17s' level.

Blues' Joint Manager Anthony Johnson said 'After having a number of offers of clubs higher up the pyramid, George has decided that his immediate future lies at Chester. Even in the small amount of time he’s been here you can see the impact he’s had on the group. For us to tie down the calibre of player George is shows that he believes in what we’re doing'".

ALTY LADIES FRUSTRATE CHESTER FC

As reported earlier, Altrincham FC Ladies drew with Chester FC last Sunday. Chester FC report that "Rachel Lever was on target again as Chester FC Women gained a point with a 1-1 draw at Altrincham. Despite creating a number of good chances throughout, the Blues were unable to make the pressure count and manager Martin Fitzsimons admitted it was a frustrating result.

Lever fired Chester ahead in the first half with an excellent long range strike, however Alty levelled things before the break and defended well to earn a share of the spoils...

Fitzsimons said 'On paper it was a good result, however we should have taken all three points. In the first half we used the ball and created a few chances, looking particularly dangerous down the left hand side. The pressure on that side of the pitch paid off when Rachel Lever hit the top corner from 25 yards to make it 1-0. The next 10 minutes were more even and Altrincham drew level but that seemed to wake us up and for the rest of the half we were camped at their end.

'The second half was much the same. The midfield controlled the game but despite our best efforts and a number of chances we couldn’t find that second goal. Overall it was another promising performance but it felt like a defeat because it was a game we should have won... We need to be a little more clinical in front of goal'".

UNITED DOUBLE-HEADER

It is the under-19 Manchester United team and not the under-23s (as was originally announced by AFC) who are playing tonight at the J. Davidson Stadium...

Altrincham FC has announced that "Wednesday, 18th September will see the J Davidson Stadium host a double header of Manchester United youth team games. At midday Manchester United U21 Ladies face Ipswich Town Ladies. Entry is free.

Later, at 7pm, Manchester United's U19 side host Hertha BSC II in a friendly game. Entry is free. Please use the turnstiles next to the Sponsors' Lounge, where you will also find full bar and catering facilities. The Community Sports Hall will not be open for this game".

CANCER RESEARCH AT ALTY

Altrincham FC announces that on 28 September "Altrincham take on Gateshead here at the J. Davidson Stadium, and we’re delighted to announce that this game is dedicated as our ‘Cancer Research UK matchday’, supporting the UK’s only charity funding research into all 200 types of cancer.

As our dedicated matchday we are calling on supporters of both teams to come together and help us blow the whistle on cancer.

One in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives so there’s no better time to play your part in the fight against the disease which kills over 160,000 people in the UK every year.

We’re proud to welcome an army of Cancer Research UK volunteers who are collecting donations at various points around the stadium. We encourage fans to give generously and help thousands of scientists, doctors and nurses to deliver life-saving work and accelerate progress".

By way of background the charity advises that "Cancer Research UK is the only UK charity funding research into all 200 types of cancer. Today, thanks to progress, as many people survive cancer as die from cancer. But there’s still much more work to do, to bring forward the day when all cancers can be cured.

Supporters are encouraged to donate generously to Cancer Research UK, with several ways to do so.

Every pound donated, and every gesture of support will play a vital role in beating cancer, supporting ground-breaking research which is taking place right here in the North West and across the UK".

ALTY OLD BOYS

The BetVictor NPL reports that "Star players across the BetVictor Northern Premier have been collecting the first Bowland Brewery Player of the Month awards for 2019/20.

Throughout the campaign, Bowland Brewery will sponsor the awards presented to the respective player from each of the 62 clubs, with clubs encouraged to decide themselves how they select their best player, be it a manager choice, fans' vote or another method.

Clubs are to publish their choices on social media, with the players receiving a crate of cask ale. Here are some of the winners from August.

Also from the BetVictor NPL we learn that "It’s all change at Buxton with injuries and recalls forcing them in to two new signings. They remain winless in the BetVictor Northern Premier, having gone down 2-1 at Morpeth Town on Saturday, with... defensive midfielder Aaron Chalmers making his debut. Chalmers joined on loan from rivals Ashton United."

Also at Buxton, Alty's rivals, "Spennymoor Town have recalled Jake Hibbs early from his own... Jude Oyibo was absent, and missed the trip to Morpeth. The Bucks have managed three draws and five defeats from their eight games so far, leaving them languishing in the relegation zone". Also reportedly on loan at Buxton is Lewis Walters though he was not in the squad at the weekend.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Gateshead "announce the extension of Dom Tear's loan deal until October 15th, 2019.

The Huddersfield loanee originally joined the club on a one-month deal in August, and has been handed the extension after impressing against Boston United on Saturday. The 19-year-old netted his first goal for the Heed in his first start, and has also made two appearances as a substitute."

Cheshire Live reports that "Ben McKenna is a picture of positivity in 2019. Healthy, happy and rarely seen without a smile on his face, the former Chester FC winger is an infectious personality and even a few minutes in his company can't help but lift your mood.

He left Chester in the summer on good terms and he's back in the National League North and enjoying his football at Spennymoor Town. Life is pretty good at the moment for the Burnley native, the future brimming with possibility.

And while the smile and the bubbly personality has always been there it is only this past year where behind the grin there hasn't been a secret that he had been battling to keep from bubbling to the surface...

At its best, McKenna's relationship with gambling was losing the odd £10 or £20 here and there. At its worst he was pawning jewellery, lying to loved ones, thousands of pounds in debt and using pay day loan companies to survive month to month. It's been just over a year since McKenna had a bet and, true to his personality of wanting to be the best he can be and help those around him, he now feels it is a story he can share.

'I knew I needed to do something, it was getting out of control,' said McKenna. 'I had a problem with gambling, not with alcohol, but the two would kind of go hand in hand. I'd go out and get hammered to try and forget how much trouble I was in with my gambling and it was a vicious cycle. I thought that if I can stop drinking for six months and stay in and save up then I would be able to pay off my debts by January. I stuck to it and I did it by December and I've not looked back since".


17 September 2019

SUPPORTERS' TRAVEL TO CHESTER

Mark Eckersall, TASC Travel Coordinator, advises that "TASC are running coach travel to Chester FC for Saturday's FA Cup tie. Thanks to all who have supported the travel so far. Please book as early as you can so we can ensure we book the right-sized vehicle for the trip. Please call the club on 0161 928 1045 from 10am to book your place".

Details of fares and pick-ups are on the Away Travel page.

CHESTER MATCH ARRANGEMENTS

Chester FC announce that "This Saturday, the Blues kick off what is hopefully a fantastic adventure in the oldest cup competition in the world.

It’s an all National League North affair at the Deva Stadium as Altrincham make the trip to CH1 for the second time this campaign. These two sides met in the league last month and the shares were spoiled [spoils were shared?] thanks to a Gary Roberts injury time goal.

Prize money at the Second Round Qualifying Round stage sees the winners pocket £6,750 and losers receive £2,250.

This game is simply pay on the gate. Admission prices are the same as NLN matches, which are as follows:

*Senior citizens / Student card holders / Unemployed with proof of unemployment / Armed Forces. Please note supporters aged 5-17 and 18-21 should pay on turnstiles as normal, however [they] are requested to have proof of identity or age if asked by the turnstiles operator. Disabled supporters’ carers will be admitted free of charge.

We will have a special 16-page Emirates FA Cup edition of The Cestrian programme on sale for the game, featuring the thoughts of the managers, a look at the opposition, the story of the season so far in pictures and our recent history in the FA Cup. Lots of content, and just £1.50."

FA CUP OPPONENTS: CHESTER FC

Altrincham travel to Chester FC on Saturday as they start their FA Cup campaign.

From there, Cheshire Live tells us that "Chester FC were able to hand minutes to some of their squad on Monday afternoon in a behind-closed-doors clash with AFC Fylde.

The Blues sent some first-team members to Kellamergh Park, the former home ground of the Coasters, for the clash, with the home side prevailing in an entertaining 5-3 win.

The game provided Chester managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley with the chance to give some fringe players valuable minutes, with Danny Elliott, Iwan Murray and first-year senior Stuart Crilly all on the mark in the defeat.

Jamie Morgan, Matty Waters, Gary Roberts, James Jones, George Waring and Cain Noble joined Murray, Elliott and Crilly as well as a number of trialists on the Fylde coast.

Chester were 3-1 up at the break but the home side, who fielded a number of first team regulars, came on strong in the second half with a brace from ex-FC United of Manchester man Kurt Willoughby...

Chester: Trialist, Waters, G Roberts, Jones, Trialist, Morgan, Crilly, Trialist, Waring, Elliott, Murray. Subs on: Noble, Trialist."

KIDDERMINSTER HIGHLIGHTS

Kidderminster Harriers have "Extended highlights of the 2-0 home win over Altrincham at Aggborough Stadium."

After the game Kidderminster Harriers "Manager John Pemberton praised the “outstanding” performance of his players in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Altrincham... the side recording a much-needed first home win of the term in the process...

The boss gave mention to attacking duo, Richard Peniket and Ashley Chambers, who he described as 'magnificent'. 'It’s nice to get the monkey off the back as they say,” he said, the win being the team’s first Aggborough league win since early April. I thought [it] was an unbelievable performance. [On Friday] we trained, and I didn’t have a team, due to a couple of the lads being ill, and one or two were carrying knocks.

'So, to say that they’ve done that this afternoon is massive, massive praise to every one of them, they’ve been magnificent. We could have scored four or five goals, but I was pleased to see the two go in to be fair as we got that bit of luck that we’ve needed.

'Off the ball, we were fantastic and that was the main thing that pleased me because they’re a good side'".

JOIN THE BONUS BALL DRAW!

One of the fundraising schemes to raise funds for Altrincham FC is the Bonus Ball competition. This week the initiative will see the 691st draw since the Club started the scheme more than 13 years ago!

Members of the scheme invest £1 a week and, based on the Lotto (National Lottery) Bonus ball drawn each Saturday, the person holding the same number wins £25! The remaining monies go towards the Club's funds.

Currently, the following numbers are available - 7,12,21,30,33,34,35,36,42,46,47,and 49.

Participants can pay as many weeks ahead as they wish, by standing order, cash, cheque or card.

So why not give yourself a chance to win some money whilst helping the Football Club? To join the scheme, please either e-mail or visit the Club offices.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The News Post Leader reports that "Spartans’ slow start to the season continued as they suffered another defeat in a game that was hampered by injuries.

Southport took the lead in the 66th minute when Zehn Mohammed got his head on the end of a corner. Southport then doubled their lead in the 71st minute when they were awarded a penalty after Correia was brought down in the box. David Morgan stepped up to take it and hammered it past Harker into the bottom corner.

The defeat, Blyth’s ninth in 11 games, came on the back of a 5-0 loss at the hands of Spennymoor in midweek.

Spartans have yet to win a game and the now find themselves at the bottom of the National League North table with only two points, Bradford above them on six.

Manager Lee Clark is naturally frustrated at the situation and says 'We need to be better in possession and we must keep working at our game. We need to rekindle the desire and passion we showed in the recent Kidderminster fixture, get some luck and just keep going.

'We had a lot of changes in the squad over the summer and have had to make more recently, so it’s difficult, but we are what we are.'

Last week Clark made a new addition to his squad in the shape of former Newcastle United central defender Jack Hunter. The 21 year-old was released by the Magpies last summer despite captaining the U23s and was quickly snapped up by Gateshead, where he made 37 appearances as The Heed just missed out on the play-offs".

According to Lincolnshire Live "Boston United boss Craig Elliott was ‘shell-shocked’ after watching the Pilgrims concede three times inside an eight-minute spell after half-time at Gateshead on Saturday.

United were good value for the 0-0 scoreline at the interval, but imploded after the break to concede quickfire strikes to home attackers Nicky Deverdics, JJ O’Donnell and Dominic Tear.

It left Elliott ruing dropped points as the Heed extended their impressive start to the campaign to just one defeat in 10 contests to date.

'I am a bit shell-shocked,' reflected Elliott at the final whistle. 'I thought we were excellent in the first half and went in at half-time ticking all of the boxes of where we wanted to be in the game against a strong wind. We defended really well and had probably the two best chances so I was looking forward to the second half because I felt with a bit of wind [in our favour] that we would go on and win the game.

'We came out as a different team and I cannot put my finger on it too much. We were very poor and there is no denying that'...

He added, 'The reaction from going a goal down was what hurt because we should have allowed the game to settle down and slowly work ourselves back into it. It was a bizarre sequence of goals because that is not like us. We have been looking solid and I thought we were outstanding in the first half because Gateshead are a good team.'”

Bulls' News says that "A brightish start to the season followed by a slide down the table, a lack of midfield bite leaving the defence exposed, and a manager hinting that he’ll have to take time to bring his own players in to arrest the slide. This season is becoming a mirror image of the last.

Supporters will be hoping that this situation doesn’t continue for too much longer because another winter bumbling about in the bottom six wasn’t in the script when the board were looking at a season in and around the play-off positions in their pre-season pronouncements.

Admittedly that slide is partially explained by the two postponed games, but no win in four matches, and only four goals scored in the last five, has contributed more significantly.

The Bulls host full-time Gateshead on Tuesday evening... with Gateshead only beaten once in ten games this season... They finished 17th in the division above last season following a nine-point deduction for financial skullduggery, but without that deduction would have been an impressive ninth. They were also demoted...

As for the hosts, it was something of a surprise to see Slade exclude Simeon Maye from his starting XI in the timid capitulation to Guiseley on Saturday, so hopefully one of the more promising new recruits this season will get his place back for this one...

There are clearly issues at the back, with a belief among fans that the Bulls were lucky to avoid cricket scores against both Chester and Guiseley. New loanee Jack Bodenham looks like a solid presence, but despite some last-gasp goal-line clearances on Saturday Jordan Cullinane-Liburd has looked unsettled of late.

Playing capable right-back Jared Hodgkiss out of position at left back merely compounds the problem. With Raheem Hanley looking like a lost sheep in that position when tried there, some news on a date for Danny Greenslade’s return would be welcome. Club captain Josh Gowling looks like a logical replacement for Cullinane-Liburd...

Up front, Rowan Liburd continues to Brexify fans, leaving them seemingly divided fairly equally between believing him to be either languid or lazy, although the lazy lobby does now seem to be edging the vote".

Welearn from Gloucestershire Live that "Gloucester City boss Mike Cook was proud of his team after they came agonisingly close to pulling off a shock win at King’s Lynn.

The Tigers were leading 2-1 in stoppage time against the side that started the day top of National League North but they were denied victory by Adam Marriott’s 94th minute equaliser.

'I can’t be too disappointed to be honest,' said Cook. 'For us to come to the top of the league and for large portions of the game we’ve done brilliantly, we’ve been the more dominant team, particularly in the first half...

'They were knocking on the door for a few minutes and possibly a draw is a fair result on reflection.'"

The Shropshire Star reports that "Angry boss Gavin Cowan summed up AFC Telford's 3-1 defeat to Chester, admitting 'They wanted it more than us'...

Chester, with just one defeat in 10 before Saturday, put the Bucks firmly in their place, Akwasi Asante scoring a hat-trick.

Cowan said 'I don’t like losing, but certainly not in the manner in which we lost. I don’t want to stand here and say we were competitive, because I don’t think we really were for a big course of the game. We lacked that desire, and it pains me to say it but Chester wanted it more than us. They had more energy, were first to every ball, and we just didn’t have that...

'This see-saw type of season isn’t what I enjoy... I don’t want to get too emotional about it, because Chester are a very good side and they’ve come and been the better team,' he added...

'Everyone was doing just enough, and sometimes they weren’t even managing to do that'”.

BUILDBASE SCHEME RE-LAUNCHED

NL Daily announces that "Buildbase is giving away £100,000 worth of building materials as it launches its programme to renovate non-league football clubs for the fourth year.

This season (2019/20), the “£100k Transfer Deal” will give away £25,000 worth of building materials to four clubs taking part in the Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase competitions.

The first round of the programme is now open and clubs taking part in the competitions are invited to apply through Buildbase.co.uk until 17 November 2019. Buildbase will re-open for the second round of entries from January 2020.

Judges, including those from Buildbase and the FA, will be looking for clubs that demonstrate a feasible renovation project that benefits players and supporters as well as the local community.

Clubs will be encouraged to get fans to support their application through the Buildbase website and social media. The club with the most votes will score a 'golden ticket' with automatic entry to the final. Six clubs will be shortlisted in total and they will be invited to pitch their renovation plans to a panel of judges at Wembley Stadium...

The Buildbase “£100k Transfer Deal” has been running since the builders’ merchant became the title sponsor of the FA Trophy and Vase in 2016".


16 September 2019

KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 2-0 ALTRINCHAM

Above: Tony Thompson awaits developments as Toby Mullarkey attempts a clearance in the second half at Aggborough. Also seen are Jordan Hulme (left), Tom Hannigan and Jake Moult..

Match report here

Assistant manager Neil Sorvel was interviewed by Brian Flynn after the defeat at Aggborough; the conversation can be heard here.

The unofficial Harriers Online says that "The Harriers welcomed one of last year’s high flying teams, Altrincham, to Aggborough today with John Pemberton’s side still searching for their first home win, whilst Phil Parkinson’s Robins were looking to avoid a fourth consecutive away defeat. Rumoured to be signing for Harriers at numerous points throughout the last two months, Ashley Hemmings, the former Wolves left-sided attacker, took his place in the visiting starting lineup hoping to show Harriers just what they allegedly missed out on.

Pemberton made four changes from the draw with Blyth Spartans with Tom Palmer replacing the crocked Cameron Gregory in goal, whilst Milan Butterfield and Rhys Williams returned from international duty and to the first eleven; Ed Williams the other change at the expense of Ollie Shenton...

In a fast paced game the Harriers looked to dominate and put the visitors onto the back foot. It came as no surprise, therefore, when the hosts broke the deadlock with just eleven on the clock; Correy Davidson playing the ball into Ashley Chambers who stepped onto it and lobbed Tony Thompson in the Altrincham goal.

For the visitors Jordan Hulme was trying to be a nuisance, backing into the Harriers centre halves and drawing questionable free kicks...

Approaching half time Peniket again was involved... embarking on a slaloming run, beating two defenders, but was sadly denied an effort on goal by an excellent covering tackle. Four minutes later he was again denied, this time by the post after he curled an effort from just inside the box through a melee of legs.

The second half started where Harriers had left off with the high press employed to full effect... Such was the domination for Harriers that even Sam Austin almost got in on the act... As we passed the halfway mark in the game the lead was finally doubled. A long ball forward from Austin [Weeks] picked out Chambers who expertly controlled the ball and raced away from the chasing defenders before firing a venomous effort in via the near post. It was just what Harriers had deserved and after the travails of the season thus far it was refreshing to see the freedom in their play. It was like a weight had been lifted.

Thompson was forced to Altrincham’s rescue, time and again".

JOEL TORRANCE

Six-foot plus goalkeeper Joel Torrance [right] became the youngest player to be included in a first-team matchday squad this season when he was named on the bench at Kidderminster on Saturday. It has been a busy time for Joel in recent weeks. He starred in the youth team's FA Youth Cup match against Curzon Ashton on 5 September, making several impressive saves during the match which went to extra time and ended 2-2.

He further excelled in the penalty shoot-out, making fine saves to three of the Nash's seven spot-kicks. Sadly, Alty still lost the shoot-out 3-4.

Joel is not yet seventeen and a half years of age. With Steven Drench out long-term with an Achilles injury, Joel may well feature again in the matchday squad as cover for first-choice custodian, Tony Thompson.

In recent decades the youngest player in the Altrincham first-team squad has probably been striker Mario Daniel who, on 11 November 2000, broke into the first team as a 16 year-old sub in a home defeat by Gainsborough Trinity in the Northern Premier League.

NEXT UP: CHESTER FC

On Saturday, 21 September, Altrincham travel to Chester for the second time this season, having been denied a 1-0 win in the league match by a very late equalizer.

Right: 5 August 2019, Alty celebrate their goal, which was designated an own goal by a Chester player.

Altrincham have not lost at Chester on their previous four visits. Mike Garnett's data on previous encounters is below.

Altrincham should have Simon Richman back from suspension but centre-back James Jones must be a doubt after being injured on Saturday. Steven Drench and Yusifu Ceesay will miss the match through injury.

Since the league draw back in August, Chester have risen to second in the league table, whilst Alty go into the Cup match in fifteenth, though that could be sixteenth if Hereford FC win their midweek game.

Last time out, Chester FC report that "Akwasi Asante’s hat-trick moved Chester up to second after a commanding 3-1 victory at the New Bucks Head over AFC Telford United. A first-half brace from the Dutchman was coupled with a close-range finish after the break to put the Blues out of sight after just an hour on the clock.

However this wasn’t without drama. Substitute Lewis Reilly nodded the hosts back into it and a late red card for Jamie Morgan [who will therefore miss the Alty clash] had the visitors worried briefly, though they held on and showed great strength.

Asante moves to 11 goals... The Blues made two changes to the side that beat Guiseley 3-1 last weekend. Danny Livesey returned to the fray in place of James Jones, having served his suspension, whilst Morgan replaced the injured Kevin Roberts...

A floated ball from Matty Hughes on the right side of the penalty area gave Asante a headed opportunity at the near post which he nodded across Andrew Wycherley to give Chester the lead after just eleven minutes... The loud, proud support were in tremendous voice and well behind their side.

Forget groundhog day, it was groundhog minute as, in a mirror image of the first goal, Asante found himself in front of goal and tucked an effort wide shortly before adding yet another to his tally. The Dutchman was sent through one-on-one by full-back Taylor, his pass opening up the Telford defence. He dinked a woodwork-bound shot beyond Wycherley but slammed home the rebound to recommence the raptures in the packed away section. Two up on 22 minutes...

Chester were still in control with an hour gone, despite Telford needing to chase the game. On his goals-to-minute average, Asante was predicted to complete his hat-trick on 61 minutes. Just 11 seconds out, he netted his third. Great work from Jackson down the right channel saw the winger beat two white shirts and cross. Wycherley made a mess of gathering the ball and parried towards the Dutchman who, on the half volley, found the back of the net and his 11th of the campaign...

Eventually the home side got their breakthrough with 20 left to play, as Chris Lait crossed for Lewis Reilly and his headed effort couldn’t be kept out.

A tremendous travelling support of 775 Chester supporters was confirmed as a poor challenge on Lait from Morgan saw referee Ed Duckworth forced to dismiss the youngster on 81 minutes... Still, despite the one man deficit, Chester looked dangerous on the counter with substitutes George Waring and Danny Elliott leading the line...

A game that looked beyond reach for Telford suddenly felt a lot closer and a challenge from Simon Grand on the edge of the penalty area gave the hosts a questionable free-kick. Brendon Daniels stepped up and smashed [it into] the left corner of[f] Griffiths’ crossbar...

The Blues begin their FA Cup journey on Saturday with a tough game at home to Altrincham...

CHESTER: Griffiths, Morgan, Taylor, Burton, Livesey, Grand, Jackson, Glendon, Asante (Waring 70), Hughes (Roberts 67), Dudley (Elliott 73). SUBS NOT USED: Mahon, Jones".

NEXT LEAGUE VISTORS: GATESHEAD

Gateshead are the next league visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium (28 September). And from south Tyneside, Gateshead report that "Greg Olley felt the Heed proved their point with a scintillating second half display in Saturday’s win over Boston... Three goals in eight minutes from Nicky Deverdics, JJ O’Donnell and Tear saw Gateshead run out 3-0 victors.

Midfielder Greg Olley was delighted, 'In the first half we were a bit sluggish, we didn’t really get going or pass the ball very well... We came back out in the second half and wanted to prove a point, obviously scoring three goals shows that.'

Olley, who has been deployed both on the wing and behind the striker this season, was back into his favoured role with the introduction of Tear on the right-wing.

'I prefer it in the middle but, if the gaffers want me elsewhere, I’ll happily play there,' he admitted. 'Today I felt more comfortable getting on the ball in the centre and trying to get through the gaps, and it eventually worked in the end'. The 23-year-old also praised the 1,143-strong crowd at the International Stadium, adding 'It’s great when you see the fans flooding in! Now that we’ve not lost in a while, hopefully they’ll come back and we can put on a show like we did today'"

YOUTHS BEAT CHESTER

On Sunday, Altrincham FC Youth secured a 2-0 home win over Chester FC Youth. This followed a 0-3 home defeat by Hyde on 11 September.

Next Sunday they are at home to joint leaders Curzon Ashton at Manchester Health Academy, M23 9BP.

LADIES NEWS

Everybody at Alty is playing Chester these days; the first team travel there in the FA Cup next Saturday, the Youth team beat Chester on Sunday and the Ladies had a 1-1 home draw against Chester FC Ladies, also on Sunday, at Egerton Sports Club.

The League website tells us that the Ladies are at home to Didsbury FC Ladies at Egerton Youth Club on Sunday, 29 September. Before that the Ladies compete at home next Sunday in the FA Women's Cup against... Chester FC.

ALTY OLD BOYS

Conor Branson, who left Altrincham last week, was an unused sub for his new club, Alfreton Town, on Saturday. Lewis Walters, who went on loan to Buxton recently, was not in their squad as they lost at home to Morpeth on Saturday.

Last season's loanee striker Joe Piggott, now on loan from Wigan Athletic at Stockport, came on as a sub and netted for County in their defeat on Saturday. Former Alty striker Aaron Burns turned out for Droylsden, whilst at Shawe View summer trialist Lewis Salmon netted a late leveller for Trafford.

In the FA Vase, Cheadle Heath Nomads, with Ashley Stott in their side, lost 2-1 to Vauxhall Motors.

MIDWEEK

Tuesday, 17 September.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The Hereford Times reports that "Hereford manager Russell Slade said that defensive lapses cost his side as the Bulls suffered a third away defeat of the season. Guiseley striker Aaron Martin capitalised on a Jordan Cullinane-Liburd error to put his side ahead after just 10 minutes.

As the Bulls tried to find a late leveller Jared Hodgkiss was beaten by Andrai Johnson, who pulled it back for Martin’s second. With the points settled Cullinane-Liburd was judged to have fouled Johnson inside the box, [conceding a penalty] which Martin dispatched.

The defeat meant the Bulls slipped to 16th...

'Overall you’ve got to be disappointed as I asked them afterwards in terms of scoring themselves out of 10 and there wasn’t [sic] many scored themselves over a five or six to be honest,' said Slade. 'The three goals we conceded were very disappointing today as we’ve actually had, for the away team, a fair amount of the ball, but we were toothless in terms of final third play and at the back we made crucial mistakes which proved costly.

'They (Guiseley) are a big, physical team and I think we struggled against that at times today for sure... There’s a lot to do, there’s a lot of work to be done'...

Slade admits... 'Do I know my best team at the minute? Probably not, I’m learning about them and I’ve got to learn about them very quickly. At the same time if I feel they’re not going to get to the level required to push us up the table then we need to look at the recruiting side a lot closer than we are right now. We will improve there is no doubt about that, but we’ve got to do that very quickly...

'They’ve got a striker who has scored 14 goals which is a tremendous return... So it was a tight game but, when you’ve got a striker on the pitch who can just do that at the minute and just finish a game off or turn a game on its head it makes a huge difference. We need that and we need one or two stepping up to the plate. There are players capable of better performances than what I’ve seen today, from what I’ve seen in training and on the clips.'"

Meanwhile, Guiseley report that "Another hat-trick from Aaron Martin eventually ensured a comfortable win for Guiseley against a Hereford side that had not played for two weeks due to international call-ups... The Bulls performance this afternoon will have shown him the size of the task that lies ahead.

In a scrappy first half punctuated by a flurry of stoppages, primarily from the visitors as they did everything they could to disrupt Guiseley’s flow, it was another goal from Aaron Martin that separated the two teams at the break...

The second period saw the visitors finally try and play some football and although they had plenty of possession, they hardly troubled the Lions’ defence... Martin was on hand to steer the ball into the bottom corner for his and the Lions’ second.

Minutes later Guiseley were awarded a corner and as it was floated in referee Sam Mulhall pointed straight to the spot having seen Johnson being pulled back by Cullinane-Liburd. Martin stepped up to dispatch the penalty and complete his hat trick in the process with his fourteenth goal of the season."

The Telegraph & Argus adds that "Guiseley and Farsley Celtic both moved up one place in the play-off zone after earning 3-0 victories in differing circumstances.

The Lions were home to Hereford and the Bulls had their tails between their legs as they headed back down south following a hat-trick from Guiseley’s red-hot striker Aaron Martin. The summer signing from Brighouse Town was the first in the division into double figures and that earned him the August Player of The Month accolade...

Farsley followed suit as their 3-0 win, arguably a harder-earned one as they were away at Leamington who were five places higher than Hereford, saw the Celts climb to sixth... Adam Lakeland’s Celts finally broke the home side down five minutes before the interval.

A flowing move saw Jordan Richards find Tyler Walton and he spotted Jimmy Spencer in a better position and laid it off for the former Huddersfield Town and Notts County striker to slot home... and eventually the Celts doubled their lead.

On-loan York City defender Tom Allan sent in a low drive and his fellow centre back Adam Clayton steered it past Leamington keeper Jake Weaver.

Nathan Cartman was sent on in a double substitution by Lakeland in the 70th minute and less than two minutes later the striker wrapped up the scoring".

Shropshire Star tells us that "The Bucks’ frailties when playing in front of their own fans were writ large when faced by opposition who have lost just once this term and who looked a formidable unit throughout.

Although visiting striker Akwasi Asante claimed the match ball with a hat-trick, it was by no means a one-man show from these performing Seals... and afterwards Cowan lamented his side’s lack of desire to match their visitors...

Chester fans chanted 'We are going up', perhaps a little prematurely for mid-September, but based on this display it was easy to understand... Chester’s high-energy approach seemed to induce panic when they had possession...

Cowan stuck with his starting eleven until an hour in, when Chris Lait replaced Theo Streete, the Bucks changing shape from four to three at the back... They were even given a helping hand when a needless and crude challenge from right-back Jamie Morgan from behind on Lait brought a straight red card. The extra man brought more possession but the Bucks lacked conviction... In truth, any reward would really have been an injustice; Chester were as good as the Bucks were poor".

Blyth Spartans' "slow start to the season continued as they suffered another defeat in a game that was hampered by injuries. Southport took the lead in the 66th minute when Zehn Mohammed got his head on the end of a corner.

Southport then doubled their lead in the 71st minute when they were awarded a penalty after Correia was brought down in the box. David Morgan stepped up to take it and hammered it past Harker into the bottom corner.

The home side started strong[ly]... The first of the injuries came in the 9th minute when debutant Jack Hunter was forced to come off and was replaced by Tom Devitt... Spartans then suffered another injury blow when Ryan Hutchinson was forced to come off and was replaced by Ursene Mouanda.

It was Southport’s turn to be dealt an injury blow in the 24th minute when Dean Winnard was forced off and replaced by Zehn Mohammed... Southport won 2-0 and dealt another blow to the Spartans slow start to the season."



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Alty Files Website Index

The following pages, which initially replicate those pages with the same web addresses which formed part of the official Club website, will be re-branded from 2018 as part of this new unofficial Alty Files site.

A/Z Site Index to The Alty Files at www.altrinchamfc.co.uk