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NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 22 January 2022
TORQUAY UNITED (Home) 3pm
Vanarama National League match


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17 January 2022

NEXT MATCH: TORQUAY UNITED

Next Saturday gives Altrincham the opportunity to secure a first double of the season as they welcome Torquay United to the J Davidson Stadium following a 3-1 win at Plainmoor in the opening match of the season.

As well as starting this season together, Alty and Torquay had also played against each other in the last match of the previous 2020-21 campaign when they played out a drab goalless draw.

The Gulls' last visit to Moss Lane before that was when they drew 1-1 on Saturday, 31 October, 2015. In that match, after a poor 45 minutes from the home side, The Gulls were deservedly leading at the interval through a 24th-minute goal scored by Tyrone Marsh. That had come from Hurst getting past O'Keefe in midfield and feeding the Torquay striker, left of goal. Marsh somehow managed to squeeze the ball past the combined efforts of goalkeeper Deasy and centre-back Leather near the foot of the post.

Right: Josh O'Keefe, Adam Griffin and Jake Moult in action during the 2015 match at Moss Lane.

As manager Lee Sinnott's cup of tea hit the deck, the Alty manager strode off at the interval and was clearly going to have serious words with his underperforming team. Despite a slow start after the break, Altrincham finally got on top and dominated most of the second half. The introduction of substitute Ryan Crowther made a difference and, three minutes after his arrival, Altrincham levelled in the 66th minute. A corner, won by Crowther, was cleared out to Moult who hit a superb shot from 30 yards into the top corner of the net.

Alty's cause was helped when referee Johnson stopped play and showed a straight red to goalscorer Marsh, for reasons which initially baffled the spectators. It later emerged that the Torquay striker had raised his hands in the face of team mate Butler. But, despite playing against ten men for eleven minutes plus added time, Altrincham could not get a winner and were to be relegated at the end of that season.

Two seasons later, in 2018, it was the Devon side's fate to be relegated but they immediately bounced back, winning the National League South division in 2019.

After a fourteenth-placed finish in the curtailed 2020 season, they were runners-up last season but failed to win through the promotion play-offs. This season has seen them start poorly but achieve mid-table security currently. They arrive at Altrincham in twelfth place with five more points than Alty from one fewer fixture.

200 FOR TOM

Tom Hannigan (right) completed his 200th appearance for Altrincham on Saturday; 201 appearances if you count his start against Dover Athletic last season, a match which was subsequently expunged.

Now 33, Tom joined Altrincham on 23 May 2016, under Neil Young's management, after being captain at AFC Fylde who, at the time, were going full-time. He had been at AFC Fylde for two seasons after leaving Vauxhall Motors, who were then in Conference North. In his first season with Fylde he was named "Manager’s Player of the Season". Earlier in his career, Tom was released by Tranmere Rovers, aged 16, and then studied for ‘A’ levels before completing a degree at Hallam University.

He made his Altrincham debut on 6 August 2016 at home to Darlington. Sadly, Tom picked up a knee medial ligament injury in only his second competitive game and was ruled out for a substantial period. His season was further disrupted by suspension and another injury, in Spring 2017, which prematurely terminated his season.

However, he recovered to start the 2017-18 campaign and put in some assured performances before injury again sidelined him in late October 2017. However he again recovered and his consistency and experience were an important factor in Alty's strong run-in for the league title in 2018.

2018/19 saw him again as first-choice left-sided centre-back, a role he continued to execute with consistently good performances each season since then

Appearances to date 196(+5)*, goals 10. (*inc void match against Dover)

200 FOR JOSH

Last Saturday also saw Josh Hancock (left) hit the 200 mark, in his case that is if the Dover void game last season is included. Otherwise, his next appearance is that landmark.

Now 31, Josh was signed from Nantwich Town in May 2017, having come through The Dabbers' youth set-up before moving on to Winsford United (2009-10). Next, he joined Witton Albion and made more than 150 appearances and scored some fifty times there.

He next joined AFC Telford United before a return to Witton, which preceded a move to Salford City and then a return to Nantwich Town in January 2016.

After making his Alty debut on 12 August 2017 at home to Stafford Rangers, he started the season at Alty with four goals in his first six appearanes in league and cup matches and remained the leading scorer for the club in the league into mid-November.

By March 2018 he had become the club's leading scorer in the league with 14 goals and ended the season as the club's top scorer in the league with twenty goals to his name.

He started 2019-20 suspended after being sent off in the play-offs at Chorley in May 2019 and then he picked up a calf injury to interrupt further his 2019-20 season, albeit briefly.

2019-20 saw him a regular starter in the no.10 shirt. A season highlight for Josh was his goal at Fratton Park against Portsmouth in the FA Cup and he ended up the leading scorer in the league.

In 2020-21 he was the club's leading league goalscorer for the third successive season, aided by five penalties.

His current total of appearances, including the void Dover game is 180 starts, 20 appearances from the bench, and 78 goals.

AND TWO MORE RECENT PLAYER LANDMARKS

As well as Tom Hannigan and Josh Hannigan reaching their 200th appearances for Altrincham, two other players have played landmark games in the last fortnight.

Saturday's game at Grimsby was Dan Mooney's fiftieth appearance, if his role in the subsequently voided match against Dover last season is excluded.

To date he has made 36(+14) appearances for Altrincham excluding that match against The Whites.

Amazingly in those fifty games he has only completed ninety minutes on eight occasions, since he arrived from Fleetwood Town for an undisclosed fee and made his debut in February 2020. In fact, his time on the pitch in his almost two years at the club equates to fewer than 26 full matches!

His 2020-21 season was disrupted by injury and he made just 13 starts and ten appearances from the bench.

Team-mate Ryan Colclough (right) reached fifty appearances in a much shorter timescale in the recent match against Barnet and has now made 44(+8) appearances and scored 13 times.

Colclough made a surprise debut from the Altrincham bench against Bromley on 24 November 2020, having been signed that day on a short-term contract after departing from Scunthorpe United.

On 12 December 2020, after just one start and two appearances from the bench for Altrincham, Ryan signed for the club until the end of 2021/22 season.

BOREHAM WOOD v ALTY MATCH POSTPONED

With Boreham Wood remaining in The Buildbase FA Trophy, Altrincham's away game against The Wood scheduled for 12 February, has had to be postponed. As yet, no new date has been arranged.

GRIMSBY v ALTY VERDICT

After the 2-0 home win at Blundell Park against Altrincham, the Grimsby Telegraph reports that Grmsby Town "ended a run of six matches without victory with a comfortable win at Blundell Park, helped by two marvellous individual goals.

It helped settle the nerves after a tetchy first half, in which the visitors took every opportunity to slow the game down and eke out every second from the clock.

From the moment McAtee's strike hit the back of the net, the points were staying at DN35, with the Mariners dominant throughout the contest...

The first half was an all-too-familiar tale of watching Grimsby dominate but grow frustrated against a packed defence... They had plenty of territory but the breakthrough alluded [eluded] the Mariners. A moment of inspiration was needed and how they got it.

It's too simplistic to put the recent struggles down to McAtee's absence but their magician-in-chief pulled a rabbit out of the hat to settle the nerves around the ground. It's something they have really missed.

From then on, it was one-way traffic. Maguire-Drew's effort was a carbon copy of the strike that smacked the bar against Halifax Town but this time it was an inch lower, to the delight of everyone.

Amos was in for the injured Adam Crookes and on Saturday's showing, he will offer serious competition at left-back... Smith's adaptability and versatility earn him big brownie points. With one day's training under his belt, and only four appearances all season, he slotted in seamlessly at right-back...

It might go under the radar but that was Town's first shutout since beating Southend seven games ago. They have been far from leaky, conceding solitary goals against Chesterfield and Halifax, home and away...

This can't be a one-off. The Mariners now need to build some momentum".

RESERVES START 2022 WELL

Altrincham FC Reserves have played two matches so far in 2022 and won them both.

On Saturday 8 January, the Reserves won the Altrincham Derby with a 4-0 win in the Altrincham FA Senior Cup competition away to Old Alts. To a hat-trick by Lewis Billingsley was added a goal from substitute Sean Higgins.

The Altrincham squad for the game comprised Lewis Billingsley, Morgan Chilton, Joseph Cooney, Rhys Cosquer, Madison Davis, Amaar Hussain, Scott Johnston, Raheem Mercurius, Ryan Morton, Kwame Osigwe and Harlan Rodgers-Morris. On the bench were Niall Butchart, Bryan Hamo, Sean Higgins, Ali Khral and Logan Taylor.

At home, on Saturday 15 January, they won again, beating Crewe FC 3-1 in a Cheshire League match, thanks to a brace from Amaar Hussain and a goal from Ryan Morton.

The squad for the match was Ryan Forde in goal and the outfielders comprised Lewis Billingsley, Joseph Cooney, Madison Davis, Amaar Hussain, Scott Johnston, Raheem Mercurius, Ryan Morton, Kwame Osigwe, Matthew Plested and Harlan Rodgers-Morris with the bench made up of Dionicio Bohe, Niall Butchart, Thomas Jones, Sami Mhar and Louis Morrison.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

According to Football Scotland, "Hearts have been linked with a move for Chesterfield goal machine Kabongo Tshimanga.

Robbie Neilson has made no secret of his desire to add more firepower this month.

Tshimanga has been in red-hot form in the National League, scoring 19 goals in 23 appearances. And The Scottish Sun reports that the 24-year-old has emerged as a possible target for the Jambos.

Tshimanga is under contract until 2024 though, so the Tynecastle club would have to pay a fee.

The DR Congo-born forward started off his career at MK Dons and was actually at the club during Neilson's reign in charge... He's since had spells at Boston United, Oxford City and Boreham Wood before joining Chesterfield in the summer...

Tshimanga will likely be attracted to the prospect of playing in Scotland's top-flight, as well as the lure of European football".

And the Derbyshire Times says that former Altrincham player "Jeff King believes Chesterfield are the ‘strongest team’ in the National League by a ‘country mile’ and says they will only have themselves to blame if they don’t get promoted.

The wing-back, who joined the Spireites on a free transfer from Halifax last summer, scored his first goal for the club in the 4-1 win against Barnet on Saturday. That came after he assisted Kabongo Tshimanga’s second of the afternoon at The Hive...

'I think we are the strongest team in the league by a country mile,' King told the DT after the final whistle. 'I think we have got a massive chance until the end of the season of staying top and it will only be our own fault if we don’t because our squad is more than good enough and a lot stronger than other squads in the league so I think we are going to be the winners'...

Jeff King scored and created a goal in Chesterfield's win against Barnet. 'I think with the squad we have got and experience we have, teams are going to fear us a lot more a lot more than we are going to fear them but we have got to respect every team around us.'

The 26-year-old said... 'I was welcomed in from day one and I feel part of it now. I thought I started quite slowly and then picked up a little bit of form but then I was unfortunate to pick up an injury. I will start coming back into my own again, start hitting a bit of form, I’ve had six-seven weeks out so it is important for me to get back to basics and do the right things.

'Last season I hit about seven or eight goals and I was wanting to beat that this year. I haven’t found my form, I am not too sure why, but assists I am doing quite well. I don’t know whether you get assists for penalties but I have won a few! I think I am up there for assists but I would like to score a lot more goals.'

Reflecting on the win against the Bees, King said it was a ‘deserved’ victory... Both strikers in Tshimanga and Asante got on the scoresheet...

He said 'The two of them up front are powerful and dangerous. People are scared of them, you can tell straight away. As soon as they see their names on the teamsheet they must get a little bit worried.'"

North Wales's Leader Live reports that Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson "looking to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window, has been linked with a number of Football League players including Gillingham striker Vadaine Oliver, AFC Wimbledon forward Ollie Palmer and Jay Mingi, a midfielder who is on loan at Maidenhead from Portsmouth.

Talks are on-going with potential targets... Parkinson, who saw his side beat Folkestone Invicta 5-1 to reach the last 16 of the FA Trophy on Saturday [said]... 'We are trying to get one or two things done but when you are looking for quality in terms of improving what we have got, it is never easy because we have got some good players...

'We could sign three or four players tomorrow, definitely, but they may not be the ones which are going to make a difference. Myself and the rest of the staff identify the players, then the negotiations are left to Shaun Harvey and the owners, and they are working hard but it is never straightforward.

'We will have a valuation for a player in terms of if there is a fee involved and the player's salary, and it is important that we stick to in and around that.'

Wrexham return to league action following a three-week break next Saturday at Yeovil".

From Essex, the Echo reports that "Southend United's FA Trophy clash at Dagenham & Redbridge was halted for close to four minutes in the second half due to crowd trouble.

In the aftermath of Dagenham’s second goal, a fan situated among Southend’s support from behind the goal ran to the left hand side of the pitch before confronting the home side’s supporters.

Items were thrown by both sets of fans and Blues' boss Kevin Maher explained at the final whistle why referee Sam Purkiss had been reluctant to restart the game straight away.

'He was worried about the linesman going near it,' said Maher.

A section of Southend’s support had started the game far closer to Dagenham’s fans before being moved behind the goal.

Dagenham won the FA Trophy fourth round clash 2-0".


16 January 2022

AFTER THE GAME

Following the 2-0 defeat at Grimsby, Altrincham assistant manager Neil Sorvel told the NL Paper, "We found it tough. We struggled to get a foothold in the game and control many aspects of it.

"Defensively we were better than we have been but we were quite restrictive in terms of chances created and we didn't deserve anything out of that performance.

"We are disapppointed but it's a tough place to come".

GRIMSBY TOWN 2-0 ALTRINCHAM

Altrincham slumped to another defeat as the home side controlled the match.

Match report here.

ALTY'S RUN

Everything looked good for Altrincham after ten games of the current league season as the club lay seventh in the National League, having won six and drawn one of those matches.

Right: The season started well for Alty; early victories included a comfortable win over King's Lynn Town which featured a goal from Ryan Colclough, who is here congratulated by team-mates.

With hindsight, we can now see that four of those early wins were against clubs which constitute the current bottom four in the National League.

In contrast to that early season optimism, Saturday's defeat at Grimsby means that Altrincham have now gone fifteen National League games with just one win, whilst in all competitions the record is just two victories in twenty matches in a three-month period.

The two wins were both away from home. One was at Weymouth, in the league, against opposition reduced to ten men after 23 minutes, and the other was an FA Cup victory at lower division Southport.

The last home win and the last victory over a National League side which finished with eleven men was on 9 October against Maidenhead.

Next, Alty face Torquay United hoping to bring an end to their poor run against the side which they beat on the opening day of the campaign at Plainmoor.

GRIMSBY VIEWS ON ALTY GAME

Grimsby Town's unofficial site, The Fishy reports that "Grimsby picked up their first win since Autumn with a deserved 2-0 victory over Altrincham. The Mariners took the lead shortly after halftime from a superb McAtee volley then Maguire-Drew curled the ball into the net with 5 minutes to go to seal the points.

It was a match that Grimsby dominated and Town got the three points they deserved.

Two new signings, Andy Smith and Danny Amos came straight into the back four, with the third Scott Burgess on the bench.

Grimsby had the lion's share of the first half but goals and chances eluded them in the opening minutes, with Alty looking to waste time at every opportunity...

After the break Town won another corner and this time they struck gold. Maguire-Drew's corner kick was initially cleared but fell perfectly for McAtee who struck the sweetest of volleys which was a goal the moment it left his foot...

A second goal was needed to be certain of the points. A poor clearance fell to Maguire-Drew who curled it into the top corner with the 'keeper marooned on his line."

And the Grimsby Telegraph reported that "Paul Hurst heaped praise on debutants Andy Smith and Danny Amos after they impressed during Grimsby Town's 2-0 victory over Altrincham...

Smith, on loan from Hull City, particularly caught the eye of the Town boss...

Hurst told the media, 'Andy played in a position that wasn't his most favoured but we discussed it prior to the game.

'He had a terrible habit of passing to his team-mates. I'm not sure he'll fit in here (joke)...

'Their wide players are big threats, they [the home debutants] did very well.'

'I think it was great to see two goals of that quality,' Hurst added on the performance...

'We're really pleased. We all craved the win. We have to try and be more ruthless still. We were unlucky, a blatant handball and a header from Luke that was saved, one off the line.

'The goalkeeper wasn't overworked but we get in great positions that we have to make more of. They're good situations and we have players that are capable. It was a deserved result.'"

ALTRINCHAM OLD BOYS AND LOANEES

In the EFL, Alistair Smith scored as Sutton United drew 3-3 at Stevenage. AT Buxton, Warrington Town also drew 3-3 with Sean Williams on the scoresheet.

Although Alfreton Town went out of the FA Trophy against FC Halifax Town after a penalty shoot-out, Conor Branson scored The Reds' goal during the match itself.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

The Dorset Echo confirms that "Weymouth have completed the signing of striker Jordan Greenidge.

Greenidge last Thursday had his contract terminated by Sky Bet League Two side Newport County by mutual consent, a day after turning 22.

He is understood to have trained with Weymouth the same evening.

The former Stoke City youth man had played six times for the Welshmen... He counts Cypriot top tier side Omonia and Spanish Segunda B outfit Badajoz among his former clubs.

Before his departure this week, ex-Weymouth manager Brian Stock was influential in completing the deal and said Greenidge would give the Terras a new 'focal point' up front.

'We’ve got Jordan in, a six-foot-four striker, he’ll give us a different dimension up front,' he said...

Weymouth now have five strikers at the club, including skipper Brandon Goodship, Brad Ash, Ben Thomson and Martell Taylor-Crossdale.

Skipper Josh McQuoid provides a sixth option, although the Terras have mostly used the ex-Bournemouth man in a deeper midfield role this season."

MIDWEEK MATCHES

Tuesday 18 January

Friday 21 January

SATURDAY MATCHES

Saturday 22 January


15 January 2022

GRIMSBY TOWN 2-0 ALTRINCHAM

Altrincham slumped to another defeat as the home side controlled the match.

After a nervy start from Grimsby they soon got on top and dominated the first half. A fine save by Thompson from a Pearson header just before the interval kept the scoresheet goalless at the break.

It took Grimsby barely a minute of the second half to take a deserved lead as McAtee fired home from 25 yards following a corner. The Mariners continued to dominate the game before Alty replaced Hulme with Leitch-Smith (64 mins) and Pringle replaced Mooney (71 mins).

The only surprise was it took Grimsby till the 83rd minute to secure the game with a second goal. Pressure on Pringle and Thompson forced a hurried clearance which Maguire-Drew drove back into the net from 25 yards.

For Altrincham, striker Jordan Hulme returned to the starting eleven as centre-back Kennedy Digie moved to the bench where new loanee signing Kevin Berkoe was also named.

Grimsby Town: 21. Max Crocombe, 6. Luke Waterfall, 26. Andy Smith, 5. Shaun Pearson, 22. Danny Amos, 4. Ben Fox, 8. Giles Coke (c), 18. Erico Sousa, 25. Jordan Maguire-Drew, 10. John McAtee, 29. Ryan Taylor. Subs: 16. David Longe-King, 31. Evan Khouri, 30. Scott Burgess, 19. Max Wright, 20. Joel Grant.

Altrincham: 1 Tony Thompson, 19. Jamie Morgan, 25. Toby Mullarkey, 5. Tom Hannigan, 20. Andy White, 6. Jake Moult (c), 8. Elliot Osborne, 7. Dan Mooney, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Ryan Colclough, 29. Jordan Hulme. Subs: 17. Ben Pringle, 18. Kennedy Digie, 24. Kevin Berkoe, 27. A-Jay Leitch-Smith, 28. Dean Furman.

SATURDAY LEAGUE FIXTURES

Whilst most National League clubs have sat out league fixtures this week, Altrincham and Grimsby, who met today, had two games to play, having both also turned out (and lost) on Tuesday night. With both clubs having had Covid issues recently, the League has been rearranging games as quickly as possible to avoid potential backlogs later in the season.

Saturday, 15 January 2022

BUILDBASE FA TROPHY

Saturday 15th January

NEXT OPPONENTS: GRIMSBY TOWN

When Altrincham travel to Grimsby they will be hoping that striker Jordan Hulme (pictured below) has recovered from his groin strain to play a part in getting the Robins back on the winning road after a run of eighteen games in which just one league and one FA Cup win have been achieved.

Alty have gone eight league games without a win and taken just three points from the last 24 available. Althorugh those three points have all come away from home, in Grimsby Town they face the club with the joint-fourth best home record in the division.

From the other side, the Grimsby Telegraph says that "Danny Amos will be hoping to make his Grimsby Town debut this weekend when the Mariners host Altrincham.

Paul Hurst's men confirmed the left-back as their first signing of the January transfer window on Thursday, after agreeing to a contract until the end of the season.

The defender will provide competition at left-back for Adam Crookes following the exit of Seb Revan earlier this week... and adds another body to their defensive options after Michee Efete's hamstring injury...

The left-back came through the youth ranks at Doncaster Rovers in League One. He made his first-team debut in 2016... before moving to the National League on loan.

He joined Hartlepool United in 2019, making seven appearances for the club before returning to Doncaster. Amos made a further 20 appearances at the Keepmoat Stadium before leaving the club in the summer to join Port Vale on a six-month contract.

Amos can play at left-back, left wing-back or as a left-sided defender in a back three... Amos made three appearances for Port Vale in six months at the club... He left the club last week".

BERCOE TO BECOME NUMBER 24, 16 AND 33

Press and media officer, John Edwards. announces that Altrincham FC "have added strength and power to their back four after landing left-back Kevin Berkoe on a month's loan from League Two Salford City.

The 20 year-old, renowned as a forceful presence on the left flank, has joined the Robins until February 13th and goes straight into the squad for tomorrow's Vanarama National League game with Grimsby Town at Blundell Park.

His timely arrival provides manager Phil Parkinson with an important extra option, as Andy White builds up his match sharpness after only recently returning from injury and Connor Hampson (left) continues his recovery from a groin problem that has kept him out of the last four games.

Initially part of Chelsea's youth set-up, Berkoe, who will wear squad number 24 for Alty, continued his teenage development at Wolves, where he had three seasons as a regular in their under-18 side before signing for Oxford United in May, 2019...

He was snapped up by Salford, on his release from Oxford United, at the start of the 2020-21 season... before joining AFC Telford United on a month's loan... prior to Salford recalling him two months ago".

Footnote: Whilst his Alty squad number is 24, he will become the Robins' sixteenth debutant this campaign and the 33rd player to appear in a league or cup match for the club in 2021-22. .

ALTY OLD BOYS

There is no mention of his stay at Altrincham this season but AFC Fylde has announced "the signing of midfielder Danny Whitehead (left) from League Two side Port Vale on a permanent deal until the end of the 2022/2023 season, with a further one-year option open to the Club.

Danny began his career at Stockport County, breaking through into the first team in the 2011/12 season and went on to catch the eye at Edgeley Park, earning him a move to West Ham United in 2013... Whitehead had a brief spell at Accrington Stanley before making a move in 2015/16 to Macclesfield Town in the National League. Some great performances for the Silkmen led to Wigan coming in for the Trafford born man, although he returned to Macclesfield on loan for most of the 2016/17 season. At the beginning of the 2017/18 season, the deal was made permanent, and he was a key figure in their promotion back to the Football League that season... before joining his old Manager, John Askey, at Port Vale in 2020...

Coasters Manager Jim Bentley said... 'He’s a good all-round midfielder, he’s hungry to do well, and he is still at a good age to get even better. It’s a really good signing for the Club'".

Whitehead played 6(+4) times for Altrincham.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

The world of football is almost but not quite as leaky as the UK government but the generally reliable Football League World tells us that "Wrexham have made a bid worth £180,000 for AFC Wimbledon striker Ollie Palmer, sources have exclusively informed Football League World.

The National League club made the most of their new financial might in the summer window, signing the likes of Aaron Hayden, James Jones, and Ben Tozer from EFL clubs, and it appears they’re keen to do the same again in January as they look to boost their promotion hopes.

Football League World understands that Wrexham have submitted an offer worth £180,000 for Palmer as they look to give manager Phil Parkinson more firepower... When available, the 29-year-old has been a regular fixture for the Dons this season and is their joint-top goalscorer in all competitions...

Wimbledon manager Mark Robinson told South London Press earlier this month that Palmer was '100%” a player that he did not want to lose' but it seems that the National League are determined to test their resolve".

And also Wrexham "confirm that, following [a] Welsh Government update, we will be welcoming supporters back to the Racecourse Ground for our Vanarama National League fixture against Grimsby Town on Tuesday January 25...

Outdoor sports events in Wales... will be back open to full capacity from next Friday (January 21)...

Tomorrow’s home game against Folkestone Invicta will still be played behind closed doors. The Buildbase FA Trophy fourth round tie, which kicks off at the Racecourse Ground at 5.30pm, will be live streamed as a result".

iNews believes that "In 2021, the lines between the lowest tier of league football and the highest tier of non-league football became more blurred than ever before. Phil Parkinson, whose previous two jobs had been in League One, was appointed by Wrexham. Dave Challinor, who had just been promoted to League Two with Hartlepool, left for the manager’s job at Stockport. Paul Mullin, League Two’s top scorer in Cambridge United’s promotion, dropped down two divisions. So too did Ben Tozer and Paddy Madden.

This new market of movement down the leagues as well as up raises questions about what 'league' and 'non-league' actually mean... The gap is virtually non-existent. There is clearly no longer any stigma about dropping into the National League. It is an excellent environment for the development of young players. In terms of attendances, eight clubs in League Two have average crowds this season of more than 5,000 compared to six in the National League.

In the FA Cup last season alone, 12 different league clubs were knocked out by non-league teams. Of the last 10 clubs to gain promotion from the National League, as many of them (Lincoln City) are now in League One than have been relegated back to non-league (Macclesfield) and the current top four in League Two contains three recently former National League clubs (Forest Green, Tranmere Rovers, Sutton United). In Macclesfield’s case, their demise was down to financial mismanagement that ultimately ended in liquidation.

The same is true of those clubs who are relegated from the EFL. The last time a club was promoted at the first time of asking were [sic] Cheltenham in 2015-16. Last season’s relegated pair, Southend United and Grimsby Town, are 18th and 10th in the National League respectively even with their EFL parachute payments...

More clubs are now fully professional. The average age of players in the division has decreased. So too has the average age of the coaches. Eleven of the 23 managers in the National League are aged 41 or under...

This season’s promotion race in the National League is like no other. It has a mix of former EFL clubs (Notts County, Chesterfield, Dagenham & Redbridge) who have taken their time to get back on two feet, non-league stalwarts (Borehamwood, Bromley) a phoenix club (FC Halifax Town) and clubs under new owners with significant budgets (Wrexham, Stockport). The competition is ludicrous: the current top six have lost one of their last 30 combined matches. That fight is intensified by the salary cap that will be introduced from the start of next season.

But then this bottleneck was always inevitable. While there are four promotion spots from League Two to League One, there are only two out of the National League despite the gaps between the two divisions being measurably smaller...

It would take agreement from EFL clubs for extra promotion places to be created and that requires turkeys to vote for Christmas. And so an impasse is reached...

And under the current rules, [EFL clubs] become doubly damned when they are eventually relegated because they are thrust into a division with clubs of at least as high a level and with only one automatic promotion place to fight for. So they become stuck in suspension, waiting for a new dream to come along. Eleven of the league’s 23 clubs are former league sides.

Time has come for change, whether clubs are persuaded to vote for it or it is foisted upon them for the good of the game. There is simply no good reason why double the number of clubs are promoted from League Two as are relegated."

In the Halifax Courier, "Town keeper Sam Johnson says The Shaymen don't want to take their foot off the pedal ahead of Saturday's FA Trophy clash at Alfreton.

Halifax go into the match four points clear at the top of the National League, and unbeaten in their last seven games. If they beat Alfreton, they would be just three more rounds away from a second Wembley appearance, having won the competition in 2016 with Johnson in goal against Grimsby...

Said the Town keeper... 'We don't want to take our foot off the pedal, we want to keep the wins rolling'...

The Shaymen moved four points clear thanks to Tuesday night's 1-0 win over Grimsby. 'I think it was a great win, we owed them one after the late goal last week,' said Johnson. 'They're a decent, physical side. We knew what they were going to do, and worked hard all week on it, and I think we nullified all their threats really well.

'We were gearing ourselves up for it, we knew it was a massive game... The gaffer's keeping us all grounded, we've had a mentality all season that we'll just look at the next game...

'I've played for this club when we've been in 14th, 15th, so looking at the table now, it puts a smile on everyone's face...

'It probably starts from the gaffer bringing in the right people at the right time. This season he's recruited really well'...

The Town keeper says this is the best Halifax team he has played in during his time at the club...

The win over Grimsby was Halifax's 13th clean sheet of the season".

The Southend Echo tells us that "Jason Demetriou is keen to continue a new found feel-good factor at Southend United.

The Shrimpers head into tomorrow’s FA Trophy clash at Dagenham & Redbridge after securing back to back wins for the first time this season...

'I haven’t felt like this here for a very long time'... said the defender. 'People have come in and tried their hardest to get it going but for some reason it hasn’t worked. But the three (Kevin Maher, Darren Currie and Mark Bentley) have come in and given us a lift...

'We’ve got ourselves going and the last two games have been quite impressive'...

Blues beat Yeovil Town 2-1 last time out, with Demetriou scoring the opening goal... And the 34-year-old felt.. 'Tuesday was our best performance this season and in quite a while'...

Blues are now lining up in a 3-4-3 formation and Demetriou is enjoying having more freedom to get forward.

'We’ve got momentum and we haven’t had this feeling for a long time'", he concluded.

According to Kent Online, "Gillingham midfielder Henry Woods’s loan spell at Dover has been extended until the end of the season.

The 22 year-old, who moved to Crabble in July, has made 21 appearances in all competitions for the National League side.

He had been due back at Priestfield from this Monday but will now remain with Whites, ahead of their match at Wealdstone this weekend...

The news comes after winless Dover brought in former Leyton Orient defender Myles Judd on a non-contract basis.

It leaves Whites still with four loan players in their first-team squad - Woods, defender Harry Ransom, goalkeeper Adam Parkes and striker Alfie Pavey.".

Also at the wrong end of the National League, the Eastern Daily Press reports that "King's Lynn Town head to Tonbridge Angels on Saturday for an FA Trophy fourth-round tie ...

Tommy Widdrington will be hoping striker Gold Omotayo has turned a corner after breaking his scoring duck at King’s Lynn Town, and silenced his detractors at the same time.

The summer signing scored his first league goal, at the 18th attempt, in the midweek defeat to Notts County.

Omotayo had been under obvious pressure, but... 'I keep saying, it is all right blaming the strikers for not scoring enough goals but, if you don’t service them, then you can’t expect them to score goals, and you give him that sort of service he will score goals,' said Widdrington, after watching Omotayo power in a header from Michael Clunan’s pinpoint cross...

'I hope a lot of people get off his back, if you like,' said the Linnets' boss. 'The style of football that he has been part of does not suit him. Now it does, because we want to service the guy. The guy is robust, he is big, he is a nuisance, he is technically not bad but he is a handful and if you have a handful then use it.

'We need to service him better, we need to give better service in the box to him. It isn’t about pumping balls forward to him, that’s not what I want. I want balls put into areas where he can either effect a chance on goal himself or create and help other people get chances.

'I thought he was excellent again tonight... He ran his trollies off and put himself in great positions in the first half for us to be able to go in leading the game'..

Said Widdrington 'Change of scenery on Saturday, a different competition. I wish it was a league game if I am being honest. I want to get a bit of momentum going, because I think we are very close to spanking somebody and I would rather that be in the league than anything else'".


14 January 2022

ALTY v STOCKPORT REVISITED

There are highlights of Altrincham's 1-4 defeat to Stockport County and a post-match interview with Phil Parkinson on Alty TV.

NEXT OPPONENTS: GRIMSBY TOWN

Altrincham face Grimsby Town at Blundell Park on Saturday.

Right: Altrincham will be hoping for a better outcome than that achieved on their last league visit to Grimsby, a 5-0 defeat as they sank towards relegation in 2016 and the Mariners headed for promotioon back to the Football League. Above: Omar Bogle nets Grimsby's second goal.

Ahead of the match, the Grimsby Telegraph reports that "Grimsby Town have completed the signing of Danny Amos on a free transfer after the defender left Port Vale.

The 22 year-old left the League Two club last week after the end of his six-month contract and becomes the Mariners' first January transfer addition.

Amos can play at left-back or as a left-sided centre-back in a three-man defence and is available for Saturday's match against Altrincham, where he could make his debut.

Amos made three appearances for Port Vale after signing in the summer, but now joins Town on a contract until the end of the season.

On the acquisition, Paul Hurst told Grimsby Live 'He has joined us until the end of the season... He was at Doncaster and so he was someone I was aware of. He will bring us competition in that left-back area with Seb (Revan) going back to Aston Villa. It's important we don't just have Adam Crookes there.

'He could play left wing-back or left-sided defender if we change systems into a three. It gives us flexibility... I guess he wants to kick-start his career a little bit, he might have a point to prove. He's found it difficult at his last couple of clubs'".

However, the Grimsby Telegraph also reports that "Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst has accused some agents of being 'disrespectful' to the club as he bids to bolster his options in the January transfer window.

The Mariners are working hard to bring in new faces after losing five loan players in the last month, in addition to the exit of Ryan Sears.

On Monday, Hurst revealed that a contract had been offered to one player until the end of the season, whilst a loan bid had also been submitted for another player. That loan deal is now looking unlikely, with the Town boss openly airing his frustrations at the lack of respect some agents have shown towards the club...

'Since Monday, yesterday in particular, there have been a lot of conversations. Things that look like they might happen and then haven't happened... It's frustrating because some information you get isn't correct or people have a change of heart and various other things...

'Whether people like it or I like it, we're Grimsby Town, we're in the National League,' he added. 'We're not everyone's first choice. No matter how proud we are of our football club, how good we think it is, it's not always the first thought on the outside, to the point where people don't understand how professional the football club is run and what we can offer...

'People who haven't been here or haven't been involved in this league can be disrespectful to it. I am convinced that the top ten upwards, and maybe a few below, would hold their own and more in the league above. I'm convinced of that. I don't think we'd be anywhere near relegation trouble. We went through a bad run of results but this squad is better than what it was when I came. I'm sure we wouldn't have that trouble.

'The problem is getting out of this league, that's the hardest part. There's three or four that can kick on again in the league above and compete at the top. Sometimes it gets a little frustrating, the tag and how people think you go about your work. We could be in League Two, League One, the budget would be more and we might have a new piece of equipment but nothing would change, in general.

'We are a professional football club and we try to do things right. The workload doesn't change. It stays the same and that is important from my point of view.

'With players, I get it. If you're not on Quest on a Saturday night or you talk to friends and it's like "who do you play for - what league are they in?", it's not as attractive. I get that. At the same time, there are some players out there that need to, in my opinion, see what's important. Is that being in the squad where you don't play, or playing football?

'Overall, maybe they're not the ones you want if stature and a higher division is more important even if they're not contributing'".

Also from the Grimsby Telegraph we learn that "Grimsby Town will almost certainly be without Michee Efete this weekend for their home clash with Altrincham.

The Mariners' right-back was taken off on Tuesday night with a hamstring injury, making him a major doubt for the weekend.

Paul Hurst has revealed the defender has been unwell in recent days and still needs to be assessed on his hamstring complaint...

Hurst told Grimsby Live... 'We're on Thursday, the game is Saturday, I can't see him realistically being involved'...

With Efete unavailable, Ryan Sears departed and Harry Clifton suspended, Town are short of cover at right-back. David Longe-King played that role in midweek as a substitute and he could be required to fill the void again".

And Grimsby Telegraph adds that "Paul Hurst... The Mariners boss confirmed on Monday that two offers have been placed by the club.

Paul Hurst has admitted Grimsby Town will be looking to add another right-back and central midfielder after the departures of Alex Hunt and Ryan Sears.

Sears' contract was mutually terminated by the club on Sunday, whilst Hunt's loan expired...

Having already confirmed plans to recruit a centre-back this month, Hurst confirmed central midfield and right-back would be areas to address...

'We can certainly get by for the time being but we need competition... You can only name 11 in the starting line-up and 16 in the squad but you need more than that, with injuries, suspensions'...

Hurst added on the right-back scenario. 'I wasn't expecting to have to look at that... With half the season remaining, we need to look at options there and see if we can find someone to come in and be direct competition for Michee (Efete)."

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

Football League World claims that "Wrexham have submitted a bid for Gillingham striker Vadaine Oliver...

Oliver has chipped in with five of Gillingham’s 18 league goals this season, with the forward proving to be a regular starter when available.

The 30 year-old enjoyed a prolific debut season... finding the back of the net 17 times in 43 League One outings...

The Gills now find themselves in an extremely difficult position where the goals have dried up, and subsequently, they are currently operating inside the relegation zone."

According to the BBC "A new stadium for Southend United has cleared a major hurdle after it was confirmed the plans would not face a planning inquiry.

Southend Borough Councillor Carole Mulroney....sid, 'The legal agreements are to be concluded. Permission won't be issued until that is finalised.

'They will have to submit detailed planning applications for certain aspects of the scheme so we shouldn't expect spades in the ground just yet but it is good news.'

The new stadium will include a 107 bed hotel, 1,461 homes, a club shop, restaurant and conference space... The club's current home at Roots Hall will be redeveloped into 502 new homes for rent once it has relocated."

The Maidenhead Advertiser reports that "Maidenhead United boss Alan Devonshire will be hoping his players are in the mood to cause a few upsets in the coming weeks, as they prepare for a raft of matches, both home and away, against sides looking to challenge for promotion.

Having played just twice since the middle of December, the Magpies are desperately short of match practice going into a hectic schedule of four matches in just 11 days. But, when they have managed to get themselves on the pitch in recent weeks, performances have been good.

Their 1-0 home win over Bromley on December 27 lifted the gloom... while Saturday’s 1-1 draw was further evidence the club can drag themselves clear of relegation danger.

The 1-1 draw at the Recreation Ground... lifted the Magpies four points clear of the bottom three...

Focus now switches to home games against second placed Chesterfield on Tuesday and new National League leaders Halifax Town the following Saturday...

[Devnshire] said, 'We were the better side in the first half, and they were probably the better side in the second...

'It’s our second game in a month so we got a little bit tired and that’s when they scored. But it’s a point and after the win against Bromley, it’s four points out of six.

'We’ve now got four massive games. We’ve got Chesterfield and then Halifax, who are second and first. Then we’ve got eighth-placed Stockport County and Wrexham who are fifth...

'We’ve only played two games in a month which isn’t ideal. But the atmosphere is good, the mood is a lot better so we will see how we go'...

Maidenhead played Brentford’s B side in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Tuesday, losing 5-1...

'The friendly gives me an opportunity to hand minutes to those who need it and we’ve got another couple of trialists coming in to play as well'".

The Dorset Echo reveals that "'High calibre' applications have been flooding in for the vacant managerial position at Weymouth, interim boss Paul Maitland has revealed.

Weymouth parted company with manager Brian Stock after a run of seven league losses... Sean O’Driscoll, who managed Stock at Bournemouth and Doncaster, has also exited along with assistant Louis Langdown...

Maitland said, 'I've not seen all the applicants... There are some really high calibre names. We saw this last time round. When you speak to some of these people, their expectations, they're not realistic to our model...

'Potentially there might be a bit more pain to come for us all before we get to what we want... We can wallow in self pity, feel sorry for ourselves or we can roll our sleeves up and go to war; that's what we've got to do...

'Clearly, we can’t take the time that we took with Brian,' he told BBC Solent Sport. The phone hasn’t stopped. The emails haven’t stopped. There have been a couple that are really interesting and a few that are just not what we’re looking for...

'We’re not going to be going into the Football League and taking a manager from there... There aren’t too many National League managers out there that are out of work that at present would consider Weymouth as an option...

'Somebody with some management experience at the level we’re at, or somebody just beneath it, would certainly be a box ticker for us.'"


13 January 2022

AFTER ALTY'S DEFEAT

Altrincham FC press and media officer, John Edwards, wrote after the 1-4 defeat to Stockport County " of the masterclass that did for Alty.

Phil Parkinson will look at the way the game turned in the space of 60 seconds early on, and how his side contributed to their own downfall at times, but credit where it’s due - Stockport were irresistible, outstanding in all facets of the game.

Strong and powerful enough to match the most physical teams in the league, they have a quicksilver passing style that Alty struggled to live with and a speed of thought and deed that put them out on their own as the best side to visit Moss Lane this season...

Safeguarding National League status is the main focus for Alty now".

From the other side, Stockport County we learn that "County took to the field showing just one change from the starting line-up at Solihull two Tuesdays previously – with Sarcevic, having served his one-match suspension, returning in place of Ollie Crankshaw. New signing from Port Vale, Ryan Johnson, was named among the substitutes, whilst an ex-Hatter most recently of Stevenage, Elliot Osborne, who had arrived at Moss Lane since the turn of the year, started in midfield for the hosts".

NEXT OPPONENTS: GRIMSBY TOWN

On Saturday, with both clubs dumped out of the FA Trophy, Altrincham travel to Cleethorpes to face Grimsby Town. After a tremendous start to the season, Grimsby have been on a dreadful run, with nine defeats from their last eleven games and just one win in that sequence, a 1-0 home triumph over Southend United.

But the statistics conceal Grimsby's very good home form as they have won seven and drawn one of their ten home league fixtures this season. They lie seven points ahead of Alty with two fewer games played. And they were impressive winners at Moss Lane early this season.

But Saturday's match now pits the two teams who occupy 20th and 21st place in the form guide, with only Weymouth and Dover below them in that respect.

However, the Grimsby Telegraph reports that "Grimsby Town loanees Sebastian Revan and Will Bapaga have returned to their clubs after their season-long loans were cut short.

Revan arrived at Blundell Park from Aston Villa and Bapaga from Coventry City, both on deals until the summer.

However, after discussions between Town boss Paul Hurst and their clubs, agreement has been reached for the duo to be recalled early. Both young players showed promise at times in the early stages of the season, but as Town’s form declined, first team opportunities became few and far between.

Their departure frees-up two loan slots for January incomings as Hurst looks to revitalise his squad for the second half of the season. A club statement said...'Revan made a total of nine appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring twice... Bapaga made a total of 12 appearances in all competitions for the Mariners, scoring on three occasions".

Meanwhile Sheffield's Star reports that "Alex Hunt’s time at Grimsby Town ended after they were asked to pay 100% of the youngster’s wages by Sheffield Wednesday...

The 21-year-old midfielder impressed in 18 appearances for the Mariners in the National League but is back at Wednesday... with Grimsby boss Paul Hurst making clear he felt it was unlikely Hunt would return to continue his progress at Blundell Park.

Hurst claimed the terms of the arrangement put to Grimsby had changed and while it is not known exactly what percentage of Hunt’s wages were being paid by the National League side during the first half of the season, sources have confirmed to The Star that they were told they would have to stump up his entire wage if the arrangement was to be extended."

THROUGH THE YEARS: 15 January

Saturday 15 January sees most National League teams playing in the FA Trophy and, indeed, that is what Alty have been doing on the last two occasions that they have played a game on that date (in 2005 and 2011). But in 2022, the 15 January sees Altrincham playing a league match after being dumped out of the Trophy by Gateshead.

Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years data show us Alty's past record on that date.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

In the Nottingham Post "The Magpies' head coach was asked about transfers following last night's thumping 4-2 win at King's Lynn.

Ian Burchnall admits Notts County have received transfer bids for some of their talented players but insists the club is not 'interested' in letting their prized assets leave.

Ruben Rodrigues, Kyle Wootton and Callum Roberts have all been linked with Football League clubs over the last month... But Notts' owners the Reedtz brothers have made it clear that they have no desire to sanction any exits unless it significantly benefited the ambitions of a return to the EFL..

'We've had bids, but we're not interested,' he said... Chesterfield were understood to have made an offer for Roberts last week... The bid fell way below Notts' valuation of the former Newcastle winger...

'There will be noise around some of the other talented players that we have got because they are playing and performing well'".

At Dover Athletic, "Manager Andy Hessenthaler has added to his defensive options after completing the signing of former Leyton Orient defender Myles Judd on a non-contract basis.

The 22 year-old right-back, who will wear the number 30 shirt for us, made 66 appearances in all competitions for the O’s. A member of the O’s team that won promotion from the National League in the 2018-19 season, Judd also played nine games while on loan at Barnet last season...

At the end of the 2016/17 season, he won the LFE Apprentice of the Year for League Two... making 20 appearances in Sky Bet League Two".

The Halifax Courier reports that "Town manager Pete Wild has praised the 'phenomenal' team spirit which has helped propel his side to the top of the National League...

'Because the players give us everything they've got every week, it's all about the players,' Wild said when asked what had been the most important factor in Town's season so far... We can put plans together, we can do our analysis, our homework, we can explain how to exploit teams, but if they don't go out and deliver then you've no chance...

'We've got a phenomenal dressing room here... We're over two points a game... It's a good return, we've just got to keep going... We're only 23 games in. There's some big teams that are on the coat tails, waiting for us to slip up, we're waiting for them to slip up, so let's just keep getting points on the board.

'Let's see if we can get to that magical 50, then fingers crossed we won't get relegated, and then we'll see where we are after that'".

The Bournemouth Echo picks up on the story that "Weymiouth have parted company with manager Brian Stock...

Former Wales international and Cherries [AFC Bournemouth] midfielder Stock exits Weymouth having lost seven successive National League matches, leaving them in the relegation zone. Stock had been working in Cherries' academy before taking over from Mark Molesley at the Terras in September 2020.

He won just 17 of 69 games in charge, but did turn fortunes around last January on his way to helping the Terras finish 18th on their return to the National League last season, following an 11-year absence.

His final game was Saturday's 1-0 defeat to relegation rivals Southend United, the loss leaving Weymouth in 21st, four points from safety with 23 matches remaining.

During the match against Southend, Stock was subjected to boos and chants calling for his departure from irate home fans. The ex-Doncaster midfielder told the Dorset Echo post-match that he did not fear for his future, however 96 hours later he has been relieved of his first job in management...

The Dorset Echo understands some members of Stock's backroom staff are likely to follow him out of the door. Weymouth are also expected to be managerless for the FA Trophy fourth round tie at Dartford on Saturday, with the Terras thought to be favouring a temporary in-house caretaker".

In the Leader Live, Wrexham's "Phil Parkinson has challenged a fit-again Dior Angus to play his part in Wrexham's promotion challenge after extending the striker's contract by 12 months.

Angus joined from Barrow on transfer deadline day last February, putting pen to paper on an 18-month deal, and the club has elected to take up the option to secure the 27 year-old striker’s services for anther year, keeping hin at The Racecourse until the end of the 2022-23 campaign.

Opportunities have been limited this season with Angus making three league starts and nine substitute appearances, scoring once... But Reds' boss Parkinson feels the 27 year-old, out of action for nearly two months due to a knee injury and illness before making his comeback... has a lot to offer during the second half of the campaign...

Said Parkinson...'He is now back to full fitness and we are looking for him to really push on and make a contribution'..

Angus said, 'It’s nice that the manager has showed some faith in me. I want to repay it by getting out there and scoring more goals but we’ve got a good squad so you just have to be patient, and take your chance when it comes.'"


12 January 2022

CURT DEPARTURE FOR WEYMOUTH BOSS

Just one line on the Weymouth website says that "Weymouth Football Club this morning, can confirm, following a meeting of the board, that 1st Team Manager Brian Stock and the club have parted company".

It adds "Further details will follow".

The BBC adds that "Manager Brian Stock has left Weymouth with the club in the bottom three of the National League after seven consecutive defeats.

The former Bournemouth and Wales midfielder, 40, took over at the Terras in September 2020.

This season Weymouth have won four of their 21 league matches and sit four points from safety having played one game more than the teams above them".

ALTRINCHAM 1-4 STOCKPORT COUNTY

Alty suffered a second heavy defeat in a fortnight by their neighbours as Stockport County ran rampant at the J. Davidson Stadium.

Match report here

TUESDAY GAMES

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

ALTY LOAN WATCH

Altrincham's Marcus Dinanga was an 81st minute substitute for Kidderminster Harriers on Tuesday night when his new side (on loan) beat Farsley Celtic 2-1

LAST SATURDAY: BARNET REPORT

Barnet have produced a match report from Saturday's draw with Altrincham. It says that "T he Bees left it late to earn a point against Altrincham in the Vanarama National League – drawing 1-1 at The Hive London...

The Robins’ first chance of the afternoon arrived in the 23rd minute as a corner was sent towards the back post. Toby Mullarkey got on the end of it and shot goalwards to force the Bees defence to throw bodies in front of the strike and eventually clear their lines.

Oxborough was called into action as the first-half came to a close when Dan Mooney picked up the ball and found space inside the box. The Robins’ No. 7 rifled it towards the bottom corner, with only a diving save from the Bees’ stopper preventing Phil Parkinson’s side from finding the opener.

Altrincham looked to score their first of the match in the 51st minute after Josh Hancock dibbled along the edge of the box before firing just over the crossbar.

The Bees responded... Adam Marriott rose highest and flicked his header goalwards to make Thompson pull off a reaction save and tip it over the crossbar.

The deadlock was broken just after the hour mark when Thompson’s long ball forward was brought down by Hulme towards the byline. He held the ball up before passing to Ben Pringle on the edge of the box who curled it into the far corner to give his side the lead...

Dean Brennan’s side levelled deep into stoppage time after Harry Taylor crossed into the centre of the box following a long pass forward by Oxborough. Marriott took the ball under control before laying it off to Mitch Brundle who hit a first-time half volley into the bottom corner to rescue a point for the Bees".

NEXT OPPONENTS: GRIMSBY TOWN

When Grimsby Town visited the JDS in August they looked every inch the top of the table side that they were. They had arrived at Alty after nine games of the 2021-22 season, of which they had won six, drawn two and lost just one and they went on to extend that sequence to ten wins and two draws and one loss from thirteen games in all competitions.

They then collapsed, losing eight of their next nine matches before securing a home draw with the Shaymen on New Year's Day. And they lost again last night on the road.

Before last night's return fixture with FC Halifax Town, the Grimsby Telegraph reported that Grimsby Town were "expected to make one change to their team to face Halifax Town at The Shay... eight days after earning a 1-1 draw...

It was the least Town deserved from a spirited performance at Blundell Park and translating that level of display on the road is their biggest challenge.

Paul Hurst's side have lost their last six successive away matches in all competitions and will need to show a renewed level of solidity against the Shaymen.

After such a strong performance last Monday, Hurst has just a few positions to consider for this encounter.

The return of John McAtee from suspension is the greatest with their top-scorer now available again after serving a three-match ban.

The spotlight is on Max Crocombe too after his error in the 1-1 draw, with James McKeown hoping to regain the gloves.

Grimsby Town's defence should stay the same, with Michee Efete, Luke Waterfall, Shaun Pearson and Adam Crookes across the back.

Alex Hunt has returned to Sheffield Wednesday but Giles Coke, who came off with an injury last week, is fit to partner Ben Fox and Harry Clifton in midfield.

McAtee could replace one of the wide players, with Maguire-Drew most likely to drop out despite his goal last weekend. That would leave Erico Sousa on the opposite flank to support Ryan Taylor.

That XI could start in a 4-3-3 with McAtee off the left-hand side, with the flexibility of switching to 4-2-3-1 and Clifton coming out wide.

Predicted Grimsby Town XI: Crocombe; Efete, Waterfall, Pearson, Crookes; Fox, Hunt, Clifton; Sousa, McAtee, Taylor".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

The Derbyshire Times tells us that "Saturday’s third round tie at Stamford Bridge was the first time Chesterfield had been involved in a game with VAR...

'We got a letter from the FA the week before saying that the cost of it would be deducted from the expenses of the game so between us and Chelsea we had to pay over £9,000 for VAR to be in operation on Saturday,' Spireites chief executive John Croot told BBC Radio Sheffield.

'It was a bit of a shock to me...

'We were surprised because obviously we have never had VAR before so we did not know'...

An FA spokesperson said 'Its cost of £9,250 is a match expense, and is therefore shared equally by the competing clubs from gate receipts'".

Peterborough United report that "United goalkeeper Dan Gyollai has turned his loan deal at Vanarama National League side Maidenhead into a permanent switch.

The 24 year-old has made two appearances for Maidenhead after joining the club just before Christmas, a 1-0 victory over Bromley and a 1-1 draw at Aldershot Town. Gyollai joined Posh in the summer of 2020 and made four appearances for the club in the EFL Trophy".

Right: Dan Gyollai played for Altrincham at Whitchurch Alport in a 2019 pre-season game after his release by Stoke City.

Peterborough Today adds that "The 24 year-old has left on a free transfer...

Gyollai joined Posh from Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2020... He failed to make a single League One appearance and was placed on the transfer list at the end of last season".

The Hungarian stopper had a tough time in a friendly on Tuesday as Brentford reported that "Brentford B picked up a victory in their first match of 2022 as they beat National League side Maidenhead United 5-1 at York Road.

The goals came courtesy of a Nathan Young-Coombes hat-trick whilst Jude Russell also notched two on the day.

Neil MacFarlane had a strong B Team squad to choose from... The opening stages were relatively even...

The opener then came on 22 minutes when Young-Coombes grabbed his first... It got even better for The Bees just four minutes later when they were awarded a penalty after tenacious running from Trevitt paid off as he was fouled by Gyollai and the referee pointed to the spot. Young-Coombes then stepped up to fire his effort home...

His hat-trick then came on 31 minutes when a ball back to the youngster saw him hold his run before finishing low into the bottom left-hand corner as he claimed his 22nd goal of the season across B Team and Brentford XI fixtures.

The Bees were running riot in a sensational period...

On 39 minutes Maidenhead pulled a goal back when a ball from the right went behind the Brentford back line and Reece Smith slotted under Winterbottom to reduce the deficit.

Jude Russell got his first goal for the Club in stoppage time in the first half as he got on the end of a corner...

The second half continued in similar form as The Bees started brightly... and the fifth and final goal arrived shortly before the hour...

Maidenhead United: Gyollai, Wells, Parry, Asonganyi, Burley, Scheckleford, Smith, Acquah, Mingi, Trialist, Trialist. Subs: De Havilland, Clerima, Donnellan, Kelly, Adams, Trialist".

Southend United "have completed the signing of right-back Leon Davies on a permanent deal until the end of the season.

The 22 year-old rose through the ranks at Cambridge United, making 66 appearances for the League One side.

He spent time on loan at fellow National League side Weymouth earlier in the season, making three appearances.

Head Coach Kevin Maher said 'He comes with great pedigree, he’s played 60+ games for Cambridge and helped them get promoted last season from League Two. He’s had a tough time with injuries but he’s been back and played a few games.

'It was an opportunity that came up to get a player of his calibre in and provide healthy competition in that area. I have to say Jason [Demetriou] has done ever so well in that area and played brilliantly on Saturday, but Leon comes in and I think he will be good for us.

'He’ll be looking to kick start his career again after the injuries that he’s had'...

Leon said 'I’m really happy. I know the stature of the Club and how big it is so, to get it over the line, is really exciting and I can’t wait to get going.

'There’s not been too much football over the past year for me so to have someone want me to come and play for them is really exciting. I met the manager last week and... I got good vibes from him and for what he’s trying to do for the Club moving forward so it was a no-brainer in the end'".

The Daily Mirror tells us that "Non-League pair Kidderminster and Boreham Wood land big paydays. Just two non-league sides remain in the world's oldest cup competition and both will be hoping for TV coverage in round four, with Harriers welcoming West Ham and The Wood travelling to Bournemouth...

The financial impact can also be huge for those lower down the footballing pyramid. Kidderminster Harriers ply their trade in the National League North, the sixth tier. But they belied a 79-place difference between themselves and Reading last weekend to dump the Championship side out.

Kidderminster started in the second qualifying round way back in September against Sporting Khalsa.

Now, after Sunday's fourth round draw, they will welcome top flight side West Ham United to Aggborough next month. The game against the Hammers will be Kidderminster's eighth game of the competition. They have already banked £157,000 in prize money and with their upcoming tie likely to be screened by either the BBC or ITV, a further cash windfall is surely on its way.

Manager Russell Penn said of the weekend's events 'I'm stuck for words. I'm so proud of the players and the football club... Did we expect to win? No, we thought we had a chance but we are shell-shocked. We deserved the victory and the chairman was like the Grinch at Christmas, his smile went from ear to ear'...

As for Boreham Wood, of the National League, they have so far beaten Barnet, Eastleigh, St Alban's City and AFC Wimbledon. They have done so by winning all four games without conceding and their current total earned is £148,000.

They travel to Championship leaders Bournemouth in round four and will be hoping TV coverage can boost that figure even further".


11 January 2022

NEXT OPPONENTS: STOCKPORT

The return fixture against Stockport County takes place tonight after being postponed on New Year's Day because of Covid in the Altrincham camp.

After County thrashed Alty 5-1 on Boxing Day they won again on 28 December, 1-0 at Solihull, and they now lie eighth.

BARNET v ALTY HIGHLIGHTS

Barnet have short video highlights of the draw with Altrincham last Saturday.

YOUTHS' MIXED FORTUNES OVER CHRISTMAS

Altrincham FC Youth bounced back from a heavy defeat at AFC Fylde with a 3-0 home win against Curzon Ashton, following a goalless first half.

After Bailey had put Alty ahead against The Nash, around the hour mark, Morton doubled the lead. A third goal followed from McGeady to complete the scoring.

Altrincham's line up was Ryan Forde, Michael Vale, Aiden Kelly, Ewan McGeady, James Cook, Lucas Aldcroft, Joel Trevor, Joe Holt, Angus Bailey, Liam Evans, Nathan Wall. Subs: Danny Watson, Jayden Matthew, Tom Jones, Ryan Morton, Ben Lawson.

Altrincham now find themselves third in the NWYA Premier Division, a point behind leaders Chester FC.

Before Christmas, in a home match played on 5 December, the youths beat Prestwich Heys Youth 5-0 before travelling to AFC Fylde the following Sunday where they were beaten 4-1 by the young Coasters.

Alty's goals against Prestwich were scored by Bailey, Hussain, Morton, Lawton and Vale. The team that faced Prestwich was Michael Vale, Ewan McGeady, James Cook, Lucas Aldcroft, Morgan Chilton, Amaar Hussain, Jayden Matthew, Ryan Morton, Angus Bailey, Joel Trevor, Nathan Wall. Subs: Joseph Cooney, Liam Evans, Aiden Kelly, Ben Lawson, Danny Watson.

The Altrincham players who experienced defeat at Fylde were Angus Bailey, Morgan Chilton, James Cook, Joseph Cooney, Amaar Hussain, Aiden Kelly, Harlan Rodgers-Morris, Joel Trevor, Michael Vale, Nathan Wall, Loui Williams. On the bench were Liam Evans, James Kelly, Jayden Matthew. Alty's goal came from Joel Trevor.

ALTY OLD BOYS

Former Alty goalkeeper Craig Dootson is the new manager of Kendal Town. Recent signing Jude Oyibo recorded an "assist" for Spennymoor Town at the weekend and Craig Mahon scored for Curzon Ashton as they beat Blyth Spartans.

When Warrington Rylands beat Mossley on Saturday, Callum Dolan netted for Rylands and Mason Fawns did so for the Lilywhites.

The Bradford (Park Avenue) team on Saturday included Luca Havern, Nick Clee (as a used sub), Simon Richman and Dylan Mottley-Henry.

CHESHIRE NEWS

Cheshire Live reports that "Chester FC have found themselves at the centre of a dispute about football crowds and Covid regulations because the Deva Stadium straddles the border with England and Wales.

Crowds are allowed in England but the club has revealed it has been warned by North Wales Police and Flintshire Council about playing further home games with fans because of the Welsh Government’s Covid rules which effectively ban crowds from matches.

Over to Chester FC chairman Andy Morris... 'There have been a lot of conversations and a lot of opinions over the weekend. The situation we are in as a club is we want to start actually talking to these people who are in power and are making the decisions that are impacting on our football club.

'Yes, a proportion of our ground is in Wales, however, a proportion of it is also in England... What we are saying is that, as an English club, and the way we function and have been governed for the last 30 years, the club should be treated as English...

'The fact that we could erect a screen in the car park and could have 2,000 people stood in our car park watching the game, or could play the game in another stadium, shows for me that this issue is a political one rather than actually ensuring the safety of spectators.

'If that is put forward as a potential alternative, it shows to me it is more about enforcement and not playing football in the stadium to make a political point than the well-being of the match-going spectator...

'There is one entrance to the stadium, that is in England. The registered offices are in England, the front door is in England. What we have seen this weekend is the ability of a number of people to screenshot a print of a map and draw a line on it. Nobody has ever denied that the pitch is on the border, everybody has known that...

There needs to be a level of common sense that needs to work for the club. Usually the front door and the entrance to the building is the primary address. We have been used as a political football, I have absolutely no doubt about that..

'It was delightful to actually speak to people. We have seen this played out on social media, nobody had actually sat down and spoken to us...

'“We have been in dialogue with the National League through this. Obviously they are very concerned, as are the English FA. At the moment, the guidance would be that they would wish that the game be played behind closed doors or alternative arrangements are made... Back in 2018, the costs and charges we were quoted to play at other grounds runs between £5,000 and £10,000 on occasions... Financially that may not be a viable option'".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

BT Sport and the Vanarama National League have announced the next round of televised National League games:

The Leader Live tells us that "Wrexham have been dealt a blow with the news that injured striker Jake Hyde is facing another eight weeks on the sidelines.

The 31 year-old has not featured since the Reds' 1-0 home win against Weymouth on December 11 when he was forced off at half-time with a calf problem.

Manager Phil Parkinson revealed that Hyde, who has scored three goals in 13 league appearances since making the switch from Halifax Town last summer, will be out for even longer after undergoing a scan...

'They have found there is a split in the tendon,' said Parkinson, who is looking to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window... 'And he is going to be out for eight weeks'...

Wrexham, without a league game at the weekend, are back in action on Saturday against Folkestone Invicta at The Racecourse in the fourth round of the FA Trophy, and there has been a change in kick-off time. Under the current Welsh Government Covid-19 regulations, the match is due to be played behind closed doors with no supporters allowed to attend.

But the club has agreed with Folkestone to move the kick-off time to 5.30pm so the tie can be streamed live. All profits from the stream will be split between both teams".

From Hampshire, the Daily Echo reports that "FC Halifax Town registered an easy 4-0 win over Ben Strevens’s travelling Eastleigh to go top of the National League.

Jordan Slew opened in the first-half before completing his brace after the break, when Jamie Allen and Matt Warburton made it a rout in the north.

The Spitfires dropped to 13th in the division following the result

Halifax took the lead 22 minutes in when Slew won the ball and calmly hit it past goalkeeper Joe McDonnell...

The Shaymen doubled their lead through Slew again, who found the net with a long-range shot in the 65th minute.

Substitute Allen scored the third in the 73rd minute and Warburton smashed the ball into the top corner for Halifax's fourth 10 minutes from time".

In the Grimsby Telegraph, "Paul Hurst has revealed Grimsby Town have made two offers for players in the transfer market whilst Alex Hunt is 'unlikely' to return to the club...

Ryley Towler and Sam Bell have both returned to Bristol City, whilst Alex Hunt was pictured playing for Sheffield Wednesday's Under-23s on Monday, scoring twice.

Hurst has revealed that the club have made two offers, one a permanent contract until the end of the season, the other a loan deal, and he remains hopeful of adding fresh blood to the squad... 'We're waiting to hear back from those to see if we get a positive... I feel like I am spinning plates at the minute. Lots of conversations, lots of time on the phone.

'This is part and parcel of the job, it's that time of year, you get used to it. A lot of it isn't in my hands so it's difficult to put a timeframe on it. The sooner the better, realistically... We can't wait forever on these things... One was a loan, one was a permanent deal but for the remainder of the season,' he added.

'I did say I want permanent players and that would be the ideal scenario but that is proving extremely difficult for the players I'd like. The loan market is the easiest one to get deals done in and then there are others where they are free agents or the clubs have made them available'..

Alex Hunt has returned to Sheffield Wednesday after his loan expired, with Hurst admitting... that the terms the Owls were looking for on an extension were more than the club were willing to pay".


10 January 2022

ALTY'S ANNUAL UPS AND DOWNS

The impact of Covid on football at Altrincham FC is perhaps nowhere more starkly revealed than in the comparison between the quantity of games played in the calendar years 2020 and 2021.

By way of context, the calendar years before Covid, 2018 and 2109, each saw Alty play roughly the same number of competitive league and cup games; 52 in 2018 and 51 in 2019.

But in 2020, with the league season curtailed, the following season 2020-21 starting late and the curtailment of cup competitions, Alty played just 33 times competitively.

In 2021 calendar year that total shot back up to 56. The starkest increase within that figure was the much higher number of league games from the 2020-21 season which were played during 2021 calendar year. That figure was 27 matches, which was five matches more than in any previous calendar year from 2018 to date.

In terms of results, 2021 was disappointing compared with previous campaigns. 2021 saw the lowest win rate since the disastrous 2016 year when Alty were in the midst of what proved to be two successive relegations. However, the number of defeats in 2016 was almost matched in 2021, with 27 losses in 2021 and 28 in 2016, albeit from four fewer fixtures in 2021.

The 17 wins in all competitions in 2021 matched the 17 in 2020 but from considerably more games (56 against 33 the previous year).

In terms of league points, in 2021, Alty earned 53 points from 48 league games; in 2020 they gained 52 points from far fewer games, just 30 league matches.

League goals scored by opposing teams in 2020 totalled just 31 from 30 games but goals were conceded by Altrincham at a far higher rate in 2021, when 76 goals were let in from 48 matches in 2021.

ALTY MANAGER ON RECENT SIGNINGS

In an audio interview, Altrincham FC manager "Phil Parkinson, spoke to Brian Flynn about the signings of Elliot Osborne from Stevenage and Jordan Hulme on loan from AFC Fylde and also provided an update on players involved in other loan deals".

ALTY OLD BOYS AND LOANEES

On Saturday James Berry continued his loan season at Macclesfield FC. Although The Silkmen lost 4-2 at home to Wythenshawe Town, James scored one of his side's goals.

As Kidderminster Harriers caused an upset in the FA Cup by beating Reading, Ashley Hemmings was involved in one of their two goals. For the opposition, an ex-Altrincham resident if not an ex-Alty player, Danny Drinkwater, played for Reading.

Alty TV has Brian Flynn's interview with Jordan Hulme after he rejoined Altrincham.

In another interview with Brian Flynn, Phil Parkinson revealed that Brad Jackson (left) "broke down" in his first game on loan at Buxton and has been brought back to Moss Lane for treatment. Likewise, Will Hall suffered an injury for Ashton United on his loan and he, too, has had to return to base for attention to his injury.

he alsoindicated that Curtis Miller would be returning to the club from his loan at Trafford.

FA CUP DRAW

In Round Four of the FA Cup, Kidderminster Harriers have drawn the plum tie. The draws for the remaining non-League teams are:

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

Grimsby Town "have confirmed Ryan Sears has left the club after his contract was mutually terminated.

The Mariners' right-back was charged with drink driving in November but, after a spell out of the team, featured in their 4-0 defeat to Stockport County last month.

The right-back made eight appearances for Paul Hurst's side in total after arriving in the summer.

Hurst previously worked with Sears at Shrewsbury Town and despite his reintroduction into the squad, the two parties have decided to go their separate ways.

A club statement said... 'Sears signed a one-year deal at the Club back in the summer of 2021'".

Y Clwb pel Droed confirms that JD Cymru Premier club Newtown AFC "have started their January transfer business by re-signing hometown defender Ryan Sears.

He has put pen-to-paper on a deal which will keep him at the club for the next 18 months...

Sears returns to his hometown club after making 31 apps for the Robins during a loan spell from Shrewsbury Town back in the 2017/18 season.

He began his professional career with the Shrews and was handed his first professional contract with Paul Hurst, who later signed him for Grimsby.

After appearing in all but one Cymru Premier match in 2018, he returned back to the New Meadow.>.

The right-back was sent out on loan to AFC Telford United for one match before COVID-19 truncated the season. A further five appearances would follow under new boss Steve Cotterill last season but that was mainly as a substitute.

He was not kept on and was released in the summer".

Meanwhile the Grimsby Telegraph reports that "Grimsby Town have released full details on how to vote on the club's new crest.

The Mariners released a digitalised and updated version of the badge over Christmas but the changes were not well received by some supporters. However, after a backlash over communication around the changes, the club have opened the decision up to a poll, which is available on the new Grimsby Town website.

Owner Jason Stockwood has continually reiterated his backing for the new crest, designed by Apple designer Rich Lyons, but has offered the opportunity for fans to cast their verdict.

The new crest has a few subtle changes... In summary, the badge has been redesigned for a more digital world. It has been geometrically recalibrated to suit a new era. In addition, there has been a flag placed upon the trawler, which reads '1878', the year the club was founded".

Also from the Grimsby Telegraph we learn that "It's Town's results on the road that need to change to get them higher up the table.

The performances, by and large, have been consistent at Blundell Park... However, on the road, the Mariners have shown a soft centre and lost their last six away from home.

Performances at Solihull Moors, Dagenham and Redbridge, Aldershot Town and Wealdstone all struck a similar tone of starting poorly and being unable to break down the opposition...

If there was any doubt that McAtee is Grimsby's most influential player before this run, those have now been subsided.

The Mariners' top-scorer has only started once since the end of October 23, which marked the start of their poor run after losing to Wealdstone.

Injury, suspension and postponements have extended that period of absence but it's clear Town are a much, much better proposition when he's on the pitch.

Hurst believes Taylor & McAtee's combination play could be as important as signing a new striker...

Town need three signings this window. A striker, centre-back and another central midfielder...

Hurst has tinkered with the team a lot, which is understandable given the poor form... Continuity is what the club must try to achieve this month, particularly in defence."

FC Halifax Town "defeated Eastleigh in the first game of 2022 played at the Shay Stadium. In what was a 4-0 victory, the middle of the pitch was dominated by Kian Spence...

Spence played a pivotal part in individual battles to help Halifax to a comfortable win, and he gave an assessment on the game, 'The first-half wasn’t as good as we would have expected at home,' Spence began. 'We’re in form at the Shay, and we always play good football... As the game went on it got more and more comfortable for us'".


9 January 2022

"WE WILL BE A REAL FORCE" SAYS PARKY

After the draw at Barnet, Alty manager Phil Parkinson told the NL Paper, "When you concede late on, it does feel like a defeat but the positives that I will take from this game are that we've travelled such a long way and put up a great performance, some lads playing after only one training session, having been off with Covid.

"The long balls into our box we dealt really well with but, of course, it's really disappointing at the end.

"You have to concentrate for the entirety of the game.

"We had a few counters which we could have done better with but, if the lads perform like that off the ball, and when we start to play with the new players we have brought in, we will be a real force in this division".

BARNET 1-1 ALTRINCHAM

A goal deep into added time gave Barnet a 1-1 home draw against an Altrincham side featuring three new faces and which gave an encouraging performance to start 2022.

Match report here

COMINGS AND GOINGS

The arrival of Jordan Hulme, announced on Friday, brings the number of players involved in comings and goings at Altrincham to (at least) eighteen players in the three-month period from October 2021.

In addition, James Berry and Curtis Miller have remained on loan at Macclesfield FC and Trafford FC respectively.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

From the FA Cup, The Independent reports that "Boreham Wood manager Luke Garrard was 'on top of the world”' after his National League side upset AFC Wimbledon to reach the FA Cup fourth round for the first time.

An early goal from Tyrone Marsh and a late strike from substitute Adrian Clifton sent the League One Dons spinning to a 2-0 defeat...

It was a memorable afternoon for Garrard, who as a player made more than 100 appearances for Wimbledon and helped them to two promotions.

Garrard said, 'I’m on top of the world. It is my biggest achievement as the manager here for six years. It hasn’t sunk in yet'".

Kent Online report that "Dover's scheduled National League game against Notts County on Saturday was called off, hours before kick-off.

With persistent rain coming down throughout the day, the decision was made at Crabble by the referee at around 1pm.

Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler had been due to miss their match...

Meanwhile Notts County fumed 'Despite receiving no warning whatsoever of a pitch inspection or the match being in doubt, the referee has arrived at the stadium and called the game off, stating the pitch is totally unplayable'..

. Dover chairman Jim Parmenter gave his thoughts... 'Really disappointing. I don't know exactly why the referee has made that decision!

'He said he's done it for the welfare of the players; well, I don't know what they are used to playing on these days, but the pitch was much worse when we played Dagenham.

'I think it's the wrong decision. I believe he is a new referee, so maybe he is not that experienced. But the game could have, easily, gone ahead (so I'm) very disappointed in the decision...

'I was here from 10am this morning and the pitch was great. There was very light rain, and the pitch was perfect for playing. The rain got a bit heavier at about 11.30am or 12 o'clock.

'The referee arrived at about quarter to one and decided that, because the weather forecast was that it was going to continue to rain this afternoon, he was going to call the game off.

'He has called it off, in my opinion, based on the view of the weather forecast, rather than the actual state of the pitch because the pitch is clearly playable.'"

The Southend Echo confirms that "Siuthend United moved four points clear of the National League drop zone with a vital 1-0 victory at relegation rivals Weymouth this afternoon.

An early effort from Matt Dennis saw the Shrimpers secure all three points at the Bob Lucas Stadium.

And Blues were not made to pay for wasting a succession of good chances in the second half.

Kevin Maher’s side bagged the only goal of the game after just five minutes, with Dennis on target for the third game in succession.

The on-loan Norwich City youngster latched onto a long defensive clearance and nipped in ahead of a hesitant Ollie Hartfield before sprinting clean through on goal from the halfway line and scoring with an excellent low finish into the right hand side of the net...

With the Shrimpers still on top, Dalby blazed a right footed effort over the crossbar from a decent position following a dangerous ball from Dennis... but the Shrimpers did not need a second goal as a poor Weymouth side posed few problems late on and the visitors started 2022 with a win".

According to Devon Live "Torquay United were 2-0 up in 12 minutes against Dagenham & Redbridge at Plainmoor this afternoon, but had to settle for a point in their second National League match of the year after the visitors fought back and were much the better side in the second half.

In the end, it felt like a point well won rather than two lost, but after such a positive start, there was some disappointment...

It was Asa Hall who got the first goal, on just 19 seconds, and Danny Wright who made it 2-0 on 12 minutes.

But Dagenham came back before half time and after lots of pressure in the second half got the equaliser with 19 minutes to go. Torquay had to do a whole lot of defending after that but held out.

There was a debut for Stephen Wearne, who joined on loan from Sunderland in the week, while Harry Perritt, who had supposedly returned to Accrington Stanley after the end of his loan spell, was named in the starting 11...

There was no Armani Little in the squad after the midfielder suffered a dead leg in training, with Keelan O'Connell coming in... There was also no Joe Felix in the 16 either".

Both sides were trying to win the game in the three minutes that were added on - there was no time-wasting - and Lewis made a good block with his head from a Balanta shot, with the same player putting another chance over. But it was still 2-2 when the game ended - and a point".


8 January 2022

BARNET 1-1 ALTRINCHAM

The match remained goalless at half-time after Barnet had had the better of the early stages in a match of moderate quality. But, after seeing little of the ball in the opening stages, Altrincham grew into the game and Mooney forced a good save from goalkeeper Oxborough (38 mins). The visitors finished the half on the front foot.

For Altrincham, Andy White made a welcome return to action after missing the last 39 League games, through injury, whilst Dan Mooney was also back in the starting elven. However, after illness, Ryan Colclough was only named on the bench. There were two Altrincham players making their debuts; Elliot Osborne and Jamie Morgan, whilst the returning Jordan Hulme was making his second debut for the club.

Just moments after Alty had subbed Mooney in favour of Colclough, Kosylo appeared to tweak his hamstring and Pringle came on in his place (59 mins). And just four minutes later the red-haired midfield substitute hit a superb left-foot curler past Oxborough to give Altrincham a 1-0 lead (63 mins). The goal came from a clever feed by Hulme from a long freekick by goalkeeper Thompson.

But Barnet conjured an extremely late equaliser in the 93rd minute when Brundle scored after two other attempts had been blocked.

Match report here.

SATURDAY LEAGUE FIXTURES

Saturday, 8 January 2022

EMIRATES FA CUP TIES

Third Round

Ties involving non-League clubs are:

Saturday 8th January

NEXT OPPONENTS: BARNET

After an enforced lay-off since 28 December because of Covid, Altrincham travel to Barnet today with three of their starting eleven in that last fixture no longer at the club. Adam Porter has returned to Stoke City at the end of his loan whilst full-backs David Fitzpatrick and Joel Senior have also departed. Fitzpatrick's short-term deal has concluded whilst Senior has signed for EFL2 club Carlisle United.

And it seems likely that there will be at least three debutants in the squad at Barnet as Alty have signed Jamie Morgan, Jordan Hulme and Elliot Osborne this week, to join another very new face in Isaac Marriott, who only made his own debut in the game against Wrexham on 28 December. However, Isaac went off injured on his debut so it remains to be seen how fit he is for today's fixture.

If Jordan, Jamie Morgan and fellow recent signing Elliot Osborne all get on the pitch today, they will take the total to 31 of players to have turned out for Altrincham in a league game this season.

NUMBERS: JORDAN HULME

It was announced yesterday that 31 year-old Jordan Hulme had rejoined Altrincham on loan from AFC Fylde, just a day after the arrival of Elliot Osborne had also been unveiled as a new signing, as Phil Parkinson aims to rebuild his squad after a clear out over the last three months which has seen a dozen players go on loan or leave the club permanently.

Jordan originally signed for Altrincham on 13 July 2017, just after he had left Salford City where he had scored ten times and provided eleven assists in 48 appearances in 2016-17 in National League North. At the time Alty were in the tier below, the Northern Premier League. The previous season he had netted 18 times in 54 appearances for the Ammies.

Jordan's earlier clubs included CMB Sports Club, Walshaw Sports Club, Shevington, Padiham, Ramsbottom United (2012) and New Orleans Jesters (USA). At Ramsbottom, he had scored more than thirty goals in 100 or so appearances before following the Rams' management duo of Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson to Salford City in January 2015.

A versatile player, at previous clubs he has turned out as a right-winger and right-back, as well as striker. By mid-November he had established himself as Alty's leading scorer in all competitions and crowned a fine season as Alty's top scorer, breaking the 30-goal barrier, and the NPL's Player of the Season.

He started 2018-19 with seven goals from eight starts before being suspended for a game and then missed further game time with a persistent eye problem. Nevertheless, he netted nine times in his first ten games of the campaign.

However, a flurry of yellow, and two red, cards meant that he missed more than a quarter of the club's first 30 fixtures in 2018-19 through suspension. Nevertheless, he still finished the season as joint top scorer in all competitions, with twenty goals. When the 2019/20 season was prematurely ended Hulme was again the club's leading scorer in that competition.

In summer 2020 he signed a new two-year contract but, just weeks later, he opted to take lower league AFC Fylde's offer of full-time football, his departure being announced just twenty hours before the start of the 2020-21 season.

His appearances for Alty, to date, comprise 132 starts and seven more games from the bench. He netted more than a goal every two apperances, with a tally of 70 goals for the Robins.

NUMBERS: ELLIOT OSBORNE

Thursday saw the announcement of the signing of Elliot Osborne by Altrincham. The former Stevenage and Fleetwood Town man also counts Nantwich Town in his ex-club list.

He thus became at least the eighth member of the current Altrincham squad to have played for The Dabbers, Phil Parkinson and Neil Sorvel's former club, with two other players having gone the other way, on loan to Nantwich this season (Matty Gould and Curtis Miller), to make a total of ten players who have featured for both Cheshire clubs. The eight who played for the Dabbers from before the Parkinson-Sorvel period began at Altrincham are Morgan, Mullarkey, Sutton, White, Osborne, Hancock, Kosylo and Peers.

When he steps onto the pitch, Elliot Osborne (or fellow new face Jamie Morgan!) will become the fourteenth player to make his club debut in any competition this season.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

There is news of one loanee departing temporarily and one staying for longer at Notts County from whom "Sunderland have recalled Anthony Patterson from his loan due to Covid cases at the Stadium of Light; but the goalkeeper will return to Meadow Lane next week.

The Black Cats have recorded a number of positive cases in their first-team squad, meaning Patterson is required for their Sky Bet League One matches against Wycombe Wanderers (Saturday) and Lincoln City (Tuesday).

Patterson will then return to Meadow Lane to resume his loan spell until the end of the season".

Meanwhile, Notts County confirm that "Jayden Richardson has extended his loan stay at Meadow Lane until the end of the season.

The 21 year-old Nottingham Forest wing back initially joined us for a month in December and has enjoyed a 100% win record since his arrival, contributing two assists and a goal in his three matches so far...

'Keeping Jayden is a huge boost for us,' said head coach Ian Burchnall. 'He’s added another dimension to our attack with his pace and power, and he’s shown what an excellent end product he has, too... Both Forest and Jayden... are really happy with the environment we’re providing and the style of play we’re implementing.

'Being able to loan such talented young players like Jayden, Anthony Patterson, Connor Parsons and Zak Brunt shows what an attractive proposition we are and can only bode well for the future.'”

Port Vale "confirm that Ryan Johnson has joined Stockport County for an undisclosed fee.

Director of Football, David Flitcroft said... 'He was one of the stand out defenders in the National League last season and was a mainstay in Hartlepool's promotion winning back four.

'His involvement in the play-offs meant he joined us later and needed more time to get match ready, unfortunately for him this coincided with a good period for our team and it was a struggle for him to get the game time he would've liked.

'The decision to let Ryan leave is a difficult one but ultimately it is best for all parties for him to move on to a Stockport side where he will get the minutes he deserves. Ryan would have remained in the clubs plans moving forward, however a deal was presented to the club that offered us really good value for the player and will provide us with an opportunity to reinvest this money back into other areas of the club.

'This aligns with the clubs new player trading philosophy, looking to extract value from its assets in a variety of different ways to help maximise the growth and improvement of the football club'".

The Eastern Daily Press discusses how "Tommy Widdrington defends his 100pc home record on Saturday as King’s Lynn Town begin a 'brutal' spell of games.

Woking head to The Walks before the rearranged clash against Notts County on Tuesday and then the FA Trophy trip to Tonbridge in a week’s time.

The good news for the Lynn boss is that players are steadily returning to the fold; only Kyle Callan-McFadden, Tyler Denton and Arthur Iontton remain sidelined by injury, while the squad has remained Covid-free.

'I have got to give the lads a pat on the back,' said Widdrington. 'For all these big clubs that seem to be riddled with Covid and getting games called off left, right and centre, they have been superb in their efforts to stay clear of it, which is difficult. From that point of view I am really delighted with the lads sticking to their guns with that and hopefully long may it continue... The lads who had it have all come back to train...

Tyler Denton (knee) is expected to rejoin training next week and could even be in contention for the trip to Southend on January 21 while Callan-McFadden (knee) is perhaps a week behind his team-mate...

'Kyle has probably played too early and returned to training too much, he should have been managed a little bit more...I think now at his age he realises he was part of it, making a decision to come back too early. But he isn’t a million miles away...

'With the postponement of the Notts County and Grimsby games,' he said, 'Both have been reassigned to dates probably earlier than I thought they were going to be... but it has just moved the very brutal period at Christmas to a brutal period in January.'

Widdrington has had four games in charge, a home win over bottom side Dover and an FA Trophy victory over Nantwich, and defeats at Halifax and Chesterfield, the teams who are leading the battle for promotion. It’s those two away performances which have firmed up his belief...

'In the four games I have been here I’d like to think can see a pattern to what is happening', he said. 'I definitely think... the team look harder to beat. People will argue that we are not scoring enough goals – well... at least we’re not shipping a load of goals in...

'People who have been programmed to play in a certain way for a certain period of time, it takes a long time to re-program. I don’t want to re-program the whole lot because a lot of it is good. They are a technically proficient group of players, they just need to become a little more street-wise, a bit more Kyle McFadden if you like. If we had three or four more of them in the team with the mentality he’s got I could see the group being really strong.'"

Chesterfield report that "Ahead of the Spireites’ trip to Stamford Bridge, manager James Rowe spoke about the importance of the FA Cup third round tie against Chelsea...

He said, 'It’s exciting for us. It’s a nice break from the league... I trust the changing room. We will go there to try and win the game'...

Rowe said 'It’s exciting for me to go against Thomas Tuchel. His background is similar to mine. I like to concentrate on, not the resources he’s got, but his game-plans... Hopefully I get time to sit down, talk to him and learn what I can...

'You’ve got to dream,' Rowe said'...

'The result will look after itself. We’ll perform to our maximum like we have done all season. It’s been a rocky road over the past five or six years and we’re on the up'".

In Devon Live we learn that "Torquay United manager Gary Johnson will have a new loan player in the squad to face Dagenham & Redbridge at Plainmoor on Saturday;- 21-year-old attacking midfielder Stephen Wearne.

Having lost Sinclair Armstrong, Jack Sparkes and Harry Perritt, who all returned to their parent clubs after the 2-1 win at Yeovil Town on January 2, Wearne's arrival from Sunderland, where Gary's son Lee Johnson is the manager, is a big boost...

Wearne recently made his first team debut in the Papa John's Trophy and scored against Lincoln City. He has signed for Torquay until the end of the season...

Johnson said 'Clubs are certainly not going to move out any of their more experienced players. So generally you are looking at an age group below that and probably players who are not close enough to the first team.

'In January though you start looking at next season as well, whether you can take somebody that might be available now. Instead of them being released by their club at the end of the season, maybe you can take over the contract... Everyone is waiting until the end of January to see what's what; certainly all the players are'...

He explained it had been a tough week leading up to the game with a few loan deals falling through and the recall of Armstrong and Sparkes, who he would have liked to have kept hold of...

Returning from his one-match suspension will be leading goalscorer Armani Little, who has 10 goals from midfield, and after Dan Holman's brilliant winner at Yeovil, he will be hoping for a start up front.

Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, whose sublime chip over the Yeovil defence led to Holman's goal, seems to be coming right back into form. Whether the cut that Dean Moxey got on his foot at Yeovil was bad enough to keep him out remains to be seen; and Tom Lapslie and Byron Moore are out injured.

Dagenham will be without a few injured players too, including striker Scott Wilson and midfielder Harry Phipps - although Paul McCallum, Kenny Clark and Dean Rance have all returned to training."


7 January 2022

JORDAN HULME COMES BACK

Press and media officer at Altrincham, John Edwards, writes that "A familiar face is back at The J.Davidson Stadium and he is vowing to carry on where he left off as the goalscoring centre-forward Altrincham have been scouring the country for.

By common consent, Alty have struggled to find a fully-functioning, free-scoring number nine since Jordan Hulme left for the chance of full-time football with AFC Fylde at the start of last season.

He may be wearing 29 this time, but the irrepressible striker was as confident as ever that he will deliver what is required and the search can be called off after he returned to his spiritual home on loan from Fylde for the rest of the season".

Above: Jordan netted the last Alty goal before lockdown, against Spennymoor Town in March, 2020. In goal was Matt Gould now, of course, also an Altrincham player, albeit he is currently out on loan at Nantwich Town.

Hulne said of his return to the club after his shock departure to AFC Fylde, "It looks like I’ve got some making up to do with some people, so let’s hope I can do it... But I’m glad to be here and can’t wait to get going. It hasn’t been the best 15 months for me, football-wise. It’s nobody’s fault, but it just didn’t happen for me at Fylde, and when I got the call to come here, I thought let’s give it a go.

"This is where I’ve been happiest and played my best football. Parky always believed in me and believed in me again by bringing me back, so I’ve got to pay him back, haven’t I?

"Great times, great lads and a great manager. That’s how I remember my first spell here, and I want those moments back again. I’m taking a step up at a place I love, and I’m buzzing at the thought of getting out there with the lads again.

"I’m fit, available and raring to go. To be honest, it feels like I’m back home. It’s great to be here again", he concluded.

THURSDAY'S NEW SIGNING

Altrincham FC via press and media officer John Edwards announces that "Altrincham are delighted to announce a significant addition to their midfield ranks after completing the signing of Elliot Osborne from League Two Stevenage.

The 25-year old['s]... all-round dynamism and goalscoring flair featured prominently in Stockport County's 2018-19 National League North title triumph and... earned him elevation to the Football League with Stevenage...

He clocked up a remarkable 22 goals from central midfield in a single season under the tutelage of Phil Parkinson and Neil Sorvel at Nantwich Town!".

Osborne observed 'I played my best football under them, and it earned me a really good move (to Fleetwood Town). That is why I am here now. I trust them both and I trust the process they follow...

'A new manager came in at Stevenage, and it hasn't gone the way I wanted it to, but I'm delighted to be signing for Altrincham'...

The six-foot tall Stoke-born Port Vale Academy graduate created considerable interest from League clubs with his sensational scoring record at Nantwich before opting for Fleetwood, who loaned him out to Tranmere Rovers, Stockport and Morecambe, prior to Southport snapping him up for an undisclosed fee in 2018.

Stockport took him on loan again and followed up by signing him on a permanent basis... In all, he scored 10 goals in 72 appearances for County...

As Elliot signs in, central midfielder Adam Porter has ended his loan spell at Alty and returned to Stoke City...

In addition, Alty forward James Berry has extended his loan spell at Macclesfield FC and will remain with the North West Counties League club for the rest of the season."

Another signing is to be announced tomorrow.

NEXT GAME: BARNET

Altrincham are on the road for the twelfth time this season in the National League, having played just ten matches at home so far.

The away trips so far have gleaned three wins (at Dagenham & Redbridge, Torquay United and Weymouth) and three draws (at Chesterfield, Yeovil Town and Aldershot Town). However, just one away win has been achieved on the last seven away journeys.

Five defeats have come at FC Halifax Town, Stockport County, Eastleigh, Woking and Wealdstone.

JAMIE MORGAN INTERVIEW

Alty TV has Brian Flynn's audio interview with new signing from Chester FC Jamie Morgan who outlines his emergence from Sandbach via Crewe, Nantwich and Chester.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

The Nottingham Post reports that "Notts County are understood to have rejected a bid from Chesterfield for winger Callum Roberts.

Nottinghamshire Live has been told the bid fell way short of the club's valuation of the winger who is regarded as one of the best in non-league. Several sources have told Notts Live that it has been made clear that he is not for sale for any price to any club in the National League.

Head coach Ian Burchnall... stressed the winger remains an integral part of the club's ambitions.

It comes amid mounting speculation that Spireites striker and top scorer Kabongo Tshimanga is wanted by Championship clubs after a stellar start to the campaign.

It is understood Chesterfield are looking at targets should he depart during the transfer window with EFL clubs free to do business again until the end of January.

Discussing Roberts, Burchnall said 'He's played really well this season in the moments he has had. He missed last week's game because he was out all week ill. But he can play a variety of positions in the system we play. He can play as a 10, an eight and he can play wide... A fully fit and firing Cal Roberts is really important to us'".

According to Football League World, "Wrexham are interested in signing Ibou Touray from Salford City during this month’s transfer window as they seek to bolster their promotion bid further...

The defender has been a regular for Salford this season with him making 17 appearances in League Two, providing four assists in the process, and so it underlines Wrexham’s ambition in targeting such a player.

With Salford struggling for form this year, meanwhile, there is every chance that the two sides could meet in the fourth tier next season...

Born in Liverpool but representing The Gambia at AFCON this month, Touray could have a new club by the end of the tournament".

Also from the Leader Live comes news from Wrexham's Howard Ker who discusses "our frustrating trip to Notts County on January 2 where, I wouldn't say nothing went right, but after one thing went very right, everything else went very wrong.

Reece Hall-Johnson's goal was the very definition of a rocket, Harry Lennon's Morecambe and Wise-style skip saw the ball strike his hand so close to the goal line the referee couldn't help but dive into his family-size value pack of cards and the next 80 minutes of toil and disappointment was set in motion.

Add to that some 50-50 decisions that didn't go our way, a missed penalty and a County third that remains the subject of some fierce debate and you have the perfect recipe for a January Blues inducer...

Our next two league fixtures present us with the perfect opportunity to get back on track and exact some revenge on two teams in Yeovil and Grimsby who have both taken three points off us this term...

We are at the exact halfway point in our season, based on games played... The club has been hit pretty hard in recent weeks [by Covid] both off and on the field, though we are collectively pulling through the worst of it... We as a club are not out of the woods yet and we wait to see what steps the Welsh Government are going to take in regards to fans in stadiums over the next few weeks...

Our January transfer operations are in full swing... We are working on bringing in reinforcements. We want to get them right. We will let you know as soon as we have done".

The Hammy End reports that "Boreham Wood have extended goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond’s loan from Fulham until the end of the current campaign.

The 22 year-old custodian has kept seven clean sheets in ten appearances since joining the Wood last October. He kept the latest of those clean sheets in Saturday’s goalless draw with Barnet at Meadow Park. Ashby-Hammond has conceded just four goals in almost 1,000 minutes of first-team action...

Garrard told the Boreham Wood official website, 'I’m very happy to finally get Taye tied down for the season, as he has been a real positive since arriving back in October. In truth, he had huge boots to fill when replacing Nathan Ashmore, but his stats have been immense since taking the number one spot. Seven clean sheets from ten matches is an unreal return.

'The players and staff have all taken to Taye and to know we have his services until the end of the season is a real positive.'”

Brentford report that "Brentford B play their first match of 2022 when they take on National League side Maidenhead United on Tuesday 11 January... behind closed doors.

Having returned to training just prior to the new year following a short break over the Christmas period, the side have been hard at work...

The young Bees will be aiming to continue what had been a positive finish to 2021 where they were five matches unbeaten".


6 January 2022

NEXT GAME: BARNET

Altrincham travel to The Hive London seeking to end their worst run under Phil Parkinson's management, a sequence of two wins in their last sixteen matches in all competitions. In league games, Alty have not won in their last six outings and will seek to avoid emulating the run of seven winless National League matches towards the end of last season.

Above: Back in 2014 was the last time Alty supporters could watch their team play a league match at Barnet as last season's match was played behind closed doors. In 2014, the travelling fans saw a 5-0 win for the hosts. Here Stuart Coburn tips Luisma Villa's freekick over the bar after the Alty keeper had come on as a substitute.

On Saturday, Altrincham will also hope to end a run of three games without scoring; the only goal netted for them in that trio of games was an own goal by Stockport's Croasdale.

Curiously, the Robins go into the match without either of the two full-backs who each completed ninety minutes of their most recent fixture, with both having left the club in the past week. Left-back David Fitzpatrick departed on completion of his short-term contract, whilst right-back Joel Senior left to join Carlisle United for an undisclosed fee.

Indeed, at Barnet, it will be the first time this season that the Robins go into a league match without Joel Senior in their starting line up. He had played every minute of every league game so far this season.

However, on a more positive note, his replacement, Jamie Morgan may be involved in the game on Saturday although manager Parkinson has hinted that the former Chester defender may need time to adapt fully to his new club.

After Saturday, Alty will have completed 22 games, the half-season marker. So far they have amassed 25 points. Last season they had picked up 30 points after 22 completed fixtures.

TONY WEBBER R.I.P.

Altrincham FC supporters may have read recently of the death of former player Tony Webber, whose best years were spent with Morecambe but who also played for The Robins.

Courtesy of Terry Rowley comes detail of Tony's footballing career.

"Born in Wigan he was with Bolton Wanderers as a youth before joining Horwich RMI. Roy Rees, then Skelmersdale’s manager, signed Tony along with Malcolm Woodward in July 1971 for a large fee. Unfortunately, Tony fractured his leg early in August, ironically against Altrincham and missed the rest of season.

Skelmersdale United Ladies section raised £37 for him by holding a dance. The following season,1972/73 an ankle injury meant he did not play from August until August till late October. On his return, he showed enough for Morecambe to sign him in July 1973.

Tony scored on debut and went on to play a total of 124(+3) League games in addition to scoring 24 goals in 38 cup games He scored 22 goals in the 1974/75 season and 29 goals in the following (1975/76) season. His last game came on 5th October 1976 as a substitute against Great Harwood. He won an FA Trophy winner's medal in 1974.

He joined Altrincham in December 1976, scoring on debut, along with Jeff Johnson in a 4-1 win over Gainsborough Trinity.

However, Tony never settled at Moss Lane. His Altrincham record was modest and, after the arrival of John Rogers, his participation was minimal. His Altrincham record was:

After Altrincham he joined Lancaster City then briefly joined South Liverpool in April 1980 before gong on, also briefly, to become player/manager of Rossendale United in 1980/81. He moved on to Glossop, first as a player and then as manager, finishing his football career as manager of Horwich RMI, before resigning in February 1987.

Outside football, Tony was a teacher, and lived in Blackrod, near Bolton".

THROUGH THE YEARS: 8 January

Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years data confirm that it is 11 years since Altrincham played on next Saturday's date, 8 January, when this year they travel to Barnet.

On that occasion in 2011 they secured an excellent 2-1 away win at Nene Park against Rushden and Diamonds.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

The Leader Live reports that Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson "hopes the three-week break from National League action will give Wrexham the chance to get to the root of leading scorer Paul Mullin's injury problem.

Mullin continues to be plagued by a hamstring injury but Wrexham, beaten 3-1 at Notts County on Sunday, don't have a game this weekend because scheduled opponents Boreham Wood are on FA Cup duty while the Reds entertain Folkestone Invicta in the FA Trophy fourth round on Saturday, January 15.

The next league match is at Yeovil on Saturday, January 22 and Parkinson is keeping his fingers crossed that time is a healer for 12-goal striker Mullin who will be 'ready to come out flying'...

'Mulls has still got a problem coming from his back and his hamstring,' said Parkinson... 'We [sic] had an epidural which we thought would solve it but it hasn't quite solved his problem...

'There are one or two other things we need to get right before Yeovil. We have got to use these three weeks to assess everything about the squad, look at the stats of the team, what we have done well, what we can improve on and obviously the January transfer window as well.

'Look to see if we can make some strategic improvements into the squad which will really give us a great chance in the second half of the season.'"

According to the Grimsby Telegraph, "Paul Hurst has insisted Grimsby Town are in no rush to send Will Bapaga back to Coventry City despite a lack of minutes for the Mariners.

The 19 year-old has been left out of Town's last two National League squads and has struggled for game time in recent months. Bapaga was a regular at the start of the season but the Mariners' poor run of form has coincided with a lack of opportunities for the young winger.

Coventry have the option to recall Bapaga from Blundell Park this month but despite Hurst having seven options to fill two wide spots, he is in no rush to terminate the loan early...

'I'm sure, or I would hope, that they will look at it and think "Is there another option?" At the same time, we are not in a rush to do anything... With the current situation, we don't know what can happen from one minute to the next.

'I'm hoping we have got it all out of the way but not every single player has had it. I know someone went down today with it who hasn't been near anyone but has still caught it... It's seemingly inevitable that we all get it at some point'...

Hurst admitted that Bapaga's absence has been purely down to selection... 'At the minute, he's simply not been to the standards of the other players that can make the difference. If you look at it, Maguire-Drew came in, Max Wright came back into it and had a good impact. We have Erico (Sousa) who carries the ball for us and gets us up the pitch.

'We have good options and I might want to add to that. Competition is strong and if you're not absolutely at it (you won't play).'"

We learn from the Eatstern Daily Press that "Tyler Knowles left his mum in tears at the news he had signed his first professional deal at King’s Lynn Town.

Knowles is the latest product to come through the KES academy and sign for the Linnets. The 18 year-old and his family are lifelong fans of the club...

'My mum is ecstatic; the gaffer rang me up on Friday and spoke to the chairman (about getting a deal). She was in tears, it really is a proud moment for me' it's brilliant.'

Manager Tommy Widdrington has been impressed at how Knowles has adapted to life around the first team and made his debut in the 2-1 win in the FA Trophy over Nantwich Town last month...

'I was saying last year that my ambition was to get into the first team and it’s brilliant that I have signed a contract', [he said].

The business model at Lynn includes the development of young players and... to sell them on at a profit to sustain the club...

'I’d love to be playing regularly, starting in front of the fans and having a local lad come through would be excellent' he said".

The Halifax Courier informs us that FC Halifax Town "boss Pete Wild says his side will face a different challenge when they host Eastleigh on Saturday.

Halifax recorded hard-fought back-to-back draws at promotion rivals Chesterfield and Grimsby over the Christmas and New Year period and will go top of the National League if they win against the Spitfires.

Eastleigh are 12th in the table, having won nine of their first 20 league games, and come into the game on the back of three straight victories.

When asked if, after two tough away games, the onus will be back on Halifax to break down the opposition, Wild said '"Probably, yes, so it's a different challenge... We need to be us, be what we've been all season, move the ball around, keep the ball, look to hurt them in wide areas. That's what we'll be trying to do on Saturday.'

On what he is expecting against Eastleigh, Wild said 'Big, strong, Ben (Strevens, manager) always puts excellent teams together who can play. They've got robustness, they've got a bit of everything, Ben always has a bit of everything in his teams'...

Wild said, 'We're at the halfway point on Saturday, so let's hope we're at the 44-point mark on Saturday and if we are we'll be right on course'...

Six of Town's last seven matches have been away, with the visit of Eastleigh the first home game for Wild's men in just under a month...

On any potential new signings to come, Wild said 'It depends what we do in the wide forward areas, we obviously need to replenish that at some point, and I'll take the rest from there... Just because it's January doesn't mean we need to start going doing stuff'...

Forward Jack Vale has returned to Blackburn Rovers after his loan expired. Wild is hopeful that left-back Jack Senior will be available for Saturday's game. 'Jack was ill over the weekend'/...

Wild said Dom Tear's loan expires on January 12, while Jamie Cooke is around halfway through his loan deal with Curzon Ashton".


5 January 2022

NEXT OPPONENTS: BARNET'S UPS AND DOWNS

Since that memorable 1990-91 season when Altrincham's end of season fixture backlog facilitated Barnet's promotion to the Football League, the two clubs' fortunes have ebbed and flowed. We all know of Altrincham's relegations and promotions in the last thirty years but the Bees have also endured plenty of ups and downs; four promotions, four relegations and a reprieve from relegation as well.

Having gained Football League status in 1991 in what was then Division Four, Barnet almost won promotion immediately to Football League Division Three having reached the play-offs in their first season in the Football League. But they lost to Blackpool in the 1992 Promotion semi-finals.

The next season, 1992-93, Division Four had been re-badged as Division Three and this time Barnet did win promotion to the next tier up (then called Division Two, nowadays EFL One). They were immediately relegated back down to the fourth tier (then called Division Three) in 1994.

By 1998 they had again qualified for the promotion play-offs but again were unsuccessful, losing out to Colchester United at the semi-final stage.

Their third failure in the play-off semi-finals occurred in 2000 when they lost out to Peterborough United. The following sesson they plummeted out of the Football League and back to the Conference (2001). Alty at this time had been relegated, in 2000, to the Northern Premier League so the clubs did not meet.

A fourth failure for Barnet in promotion play-off semi-finals occurred in 2004 when Shrewsbury beat them on penalties.

But in 2005 they regained their Football League status as champions of the Conference. This meant that they missed playing Alty once again as the Robins were only promoted back to the Conference in the same year.

After eight years, the Bees were relegated again to the Conference level (2013) but, two years later, they regained their League status as champions for the third time of non-League's top flight.

By now the fourth tier was known as Football League Two. But three years later they suffered a third relegation from the EFL (2018). They were spared a relegation to Conference South at the end of the 2019-20 season when they finished rock bottom of the National League but relegation was not implemented because of Covid having halted lower-league football.

PARKINSON INTERVIEW

Press and media officer Brian Flynn interviewed Alty manager Phil Parkinson after the departure of Joel Senior and the arrival of Jamie Morgan. This audio interview can be heard on the Altrincham FC website.

In the interview, the Alty boss also hinted at likely further departures in the summer of which he is already aware.

COUNTY GAME RE-ARRANGED

The Altrincham v Stockport County league game, postponed on 3 January because of Covid in the Altrincham camp, has been rearranged for Tuesday 11 January at 7.45pm.

ALTY OLD BOYS

Joel Senior made an 81st minute appearance from the bench to make his debut for Carlisle United on Tuesday, but the Cumbrians lost to Harrogate Town in the EFL Trophy. In the same competition, his former team-mate at Alty, Alistair Smith (right) played the whole game as Sutton United defeated Colchester United.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

The Sheffield Star reports that "The future of Sheffield Wednesday’s Alex Hunt remains up in the air, with Grimsby Town’s manager confirming that ‘conversations are happening’.

Hunt has impressed during his time with the Mariners, and played his 19th game of the season on Tuesday night against Halifax Town. But at this point it may be the last time he turns out for the club.

The 21 year-old midfield man will see his Owls contract expire at the end of the season, and Darren Moore said over the weekend that the club wanted him to stay with Grimsby in order to keep up his development as he picks up regular game time in a senior setup.

But there don’t seem to be any guarantees that he will remain at Blundell Park, with Paul Hurst saying that things aren’t ‘particularly straightforward’... The Mariners boss said of the loan players... 'There are some changes I'd like to make and that's not trying to be critical of the players we have. How we do that without stockpiling players is something I have to consider.'"

News of another Sheffield-based loanee comes from Notts County who have completed the signing of Sheffield United midfielder Zak Brunt on loan until the end of the season.

Brunt, 20, is a product of the Blades’ academy and is fresh from a tremendously successful loan spell at our fellow National League side Southend United, who he joined at the end of August...

Ian Burchnall believes Brunt will give us a huge boost as we head into the second half of the season. 'Zak’s someone we’ve had our eye on for a while,' revealed the head coach. 'He played against us for Southend a few weeks ago, which gave us a chance to take a look at him up close, and his performance only reaffirmed our thoughts that he’s a quality player with a bright future.

'He And according to the Nottingham Post, "Ian Burchnall says it wouldn't be 'smart' to go through the rest of the season with two goalkeepers as he explained Anthony Patterson's return to Notts County.

The Magpies sealed the signing of the Sunderland goalkeeper for the rest of the season with the highly-rated stopper plunged straight into the team which beat Wrexham 3-1 on Sunday. Patterson produced an excellent performance against the big-spending National League side, saving a second-half penalty from Paul Mullin to stop Wrexham from making it 2-2...

'It's fair to say when Patto was here earlier in the season, he was excellent,' he said. 'We are in a situation, for me, where we could lose on or two players from Covid. That could be a goalkeeper. I don't think it's smart to go through the rest of the season with [just?] two goalkeepers... We've had a good dialogue with Sunderland and they were really happy with what he was doing here.

'They were quick to send him back and for me knowing how many long throws and crosses Wrexham put in, Patto has been so strong.'

Patterson is highly rated by Sunderland and will provide competition to Sam Slocombe who started the campaign as the club's regular number one...

And the goalkeeper... says he has returned to help Notts achieve their aim of sealing promotion. "I got recalled from my first spell when the goalkeeper at Sunderland got injured," he said... 'But I am buzzing to be back and playing. I really enjoyed it here first-time aroun... The manager(Lee Johnson) at Sunderland said I needed to play 20 to 25 games this season and see how I am after that... There are a great bunch of lads here.'"

Football League world claims that "Morecambe have had a bid rejected by Halifax Town for midfielder Kieran Green...

Stephen Robinson’s side picked up a crucial 4-3 win over Doncaster Rovers over the weekend to haul themselves up and out of the relegation zone in League One... Football League World understands that Morecambe have seen a bid rejected for Green, with Halifax holding firm when it comes to the 24-year-old at this early stage of the transfer window.

Green, though, continues to attract interest from a number of EFL sides... The midfielder has struck twice in 21 appearances this season, as well as registering four assists in an ever-present league campaign so far".

Meanwhile, at Southend United, the Shrimpers "announce the signing of midfielder Harrison Neal on loan from Sheffield United until the end of the season.

The 20 year-old has spent time out on loan at National League North side Kettering Town this season... [and] was on the scoresheet for the Poppies in their 3-1 win over Brackley Town on Sunday. [He] is described as a ball playing midfielder.

Head coach Kevin Maher [said]... 'We’ve had a couple of injuries and a couple of people missing in midfield on top of that. Harrison’s a great character and everything we’ve found out about him, speaking to those at Sheffield United, from what Darren [Currie] knows about him and from what we've watched of him, there was nothing but good things.

'He’s been playing for Kettering on a regular basis and done ever so well for them, in a tough league as well, so that’s a bonus that he’s ready to hit the ground running... [Sheffield United] have been brilliant to deal with,' he added... Darren knows them well, so it’s a good relationship that we have, both ways.'"



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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