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Tue. 9 March 2021, 7.45pm
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8 March 2021

NEXT OPPONENTS: HARTLEPOOL UNITED

On Tuesday, Altrincham entertain Hartlepool United who on Saturday became one of three clubs leading the National League table with 47 points after a 1-0 win at Torquay.

The Hartlepool Mail reports that "Pools had won just one of their last nine games away from Victoria Park but knew three points at Plainmoor would take them level on points with The Gulls, who hadn’t been in the best form themselves on home turf.

But all those away day frustrations were quickly forgotten about as Luke Molyneux’s early strike proved to be enough to separate the sides as Dave Challinor’s side claimed one of their biggest 1-0 victories of the campaign...

Defensive organisation, tenacity and resoluteness are becoming staples of these Pools performances that only bode well going into the business end of the season, as only goal difference denies them a place at the summit of non-league football. Admittedly, Torquay still have a game in hand and second place Sutton have three...

After a frustrating draw at Halifax Town, Pools were left doubting the fitness of key defenders Jamie Sterry and Ryan Johnson. Thankfully, the pair travelled down and were declared fit to play.

Midfielder Tom White also made the journey despite his short-term loan from Blackburn Rovers expiring ahead of the game. An extension couldn’t be agreed in time so the 23-year-old missed out but Pools remain hopeful of getting something sorted this coming week.

New defensive addition Jake Cooper was also with the team following his arrival on loan from Rotherham United, but didn’t make the squad.

The return of Rhys Oates to the starting line-up in place of midfielder Gavan Holohan brought a formation change to 3-4-3 with Oates and Molyneux playing either side of Luke Armstrong in attack.

The match itself proved to be a lively affair from the start... And just before the quarter-hour mark, Pools found a breakthrough. Armstrong picked up the ball and slid a well-weighted through pass to Molyneux who composed himself well before slotting past the onrushing Shaun MacDonald to make it 1-0...

The second half would see Pools manage the game brilliantly...

Pools’ last three away victories have come months apart but have all followed the same formula of starting well, getting the first goal and defending resolutely.

Saturday’s win means Pools have beaten Torquay, Sutton, Notts County and Stockport in their last 13 matches, all without conceding. They weren’t anything flash at Plainmoor... They were just a well-drilled and well organised outfit from front to back...

The return of Gary Liddle to the side cannot be understated. The fact Pools have kept four clean sheets in the six games Liddle has featured in since coming back is no coincidence... The 34-year-old just keeps things calm and organised throughout.

Sterry’s influence is also massive and the fact he was risked by Challinor for such an important game just shows how crucial he is. Despite being a doubt... the 25-year-old played the full 90-minutes...

The side have won nine and drawn two of their last 13 games and they’re hitting form at just the right time".

MIDWEEK LEAGUE GAMES

Tuesday 9th March 2021, 7.45pm unless stated

ON THIS DAY: 8 March

Six years ago today, with BT Sport televising a 1pm kick-off, Altrincham played the first half down the slope at Welling United in a Vanarama Conference match.

Right: Shaun Densmore, in the background, awaits developments as Kyle Perry and Simon Richman are nearest to the ball at Welling in 2015.

The match had been moved at short notice to a Sunday lunchtime to accommodate the BT Sport schedules, which meant that few away fans were able to attend and the club hastily had to arrange overnight accommodation for the team.

The preceding Monday, Welling had sacked their manager after a run of eight defeats and one draw in their previous nine matches. So, player Loui Fazackerley was in charge of today's game.

However, Welling had won the reverse fixture, 4-0 at Moss Lane, at which point Alty were second bottom of the table.

The match was notable as goalkeeper Stuart Coburn celebrated his record-breaking 679th appearance for Altrincham. He emerged with a clean sheet and the team gained three points in a far from flowing match on a bobbly surface. Alty were without the suspended Tom Marshall and the injured Nicky Clee, so Scott Leather and Jordan Sinnott came into the starting eleven.

The hosts had several threatening moments before they lost captain Joe Healy to a straight red card for a reckless tackle on James Lawrie in the 54th minute. After that Altrincham kept possession well as they worked the weakened opposition. The visitors got their reward after 76 minutes. The goal came from a low drive by substitute Ryan Crowther, who had only joined the game seven minutes earlier.

The win lifted Altrincham to 13th but left Welling in the relegation places.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (capt), 5. Gianluca Havern, 6. Scott Leather, 3. Adam Griffin, 26. Jordan Sinnott, 4. Jake Moult, 8. Simon Richman, 7. James Lawrie, 10. Damian Reeves, 14. Kyle Perry. Subs 17.Dave Parton, 19. Ryan Crowther, 25. Peter Cavanagh, 9. Steven Gillespie, 18. Sean Williams

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

The NL Paper reports that "Striker Adam Marriott is one of six King’s Lynn players to be put on furlough

King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve says the Linnets feel like they are completing the National League season with a 'gun against their head'.

The Norfolk outfit have put six players, strikers Adam Marriott and Dayle Southwell, midfielder Sam Kelly and injured trio Rory McAuley, Aaron Jones and Alex Brown, on furlough as they attempt to navigate their way to the end of the season...

On Tuesday night, 50 year-old goalie coach Paul Bastock.. was an unused substtiute...

Cleeve said, 'We either have to borrow a huge amount of money, which puts the club in debt, or... risk a points' deduction or relegation... it's a no-win scenario'"

According to Devon Live, on Saturday, "Hartlepool’s 14th-minute opener by Luke Molyneaux proved enough... Torquay remain top with 47 points from 25 games, Sutton are once again second but have played 23 games, while Hartlepool are back in third having played a game more than the Gulls. On paper, it is advantage Sutton then, but there is still a third of the season to go and Johnson says Torquay now need to ‘knuckle down’.

Once Hartlepool were ahead, they worked hard to defend their lead and although the Gulls played some good football at times, they couldn’t break through and get an equaliser, let alone anything more. New loan striker Scott Boden did well up front but looked isolated at times with the final ball missing when the Gulls needed to be clinical...

Johnson said 'It might make everybody pick up a little bit. You can’t be complacent when it is this close. Maybe they have got a little bit complacent, I am not sure... If you are top of the league you are under pressure, the same as if you are fighting relegation.

'And we have been up there for a long time, so maybe we will give someone else a go up there and we can be the challengers. At the moment we just need to knuckle down and keep going and see where it takes us'.

Midfielder Armani Little’s return to the team should have been a massive boost with defender Joe Lewis also back... Another player to return was goalkeeper Shaun MacDonald, who was suspended for the FA Trophy game at Woking, while up front Boden made his full debut with Billy Waters dropping to the bench.

Torquay had started well but suffered a sucker punch on the break in the 14th minute when a through ball from a counter attack cut the defence in half and Molyneaux placed the ball past MacDonald and into the far corner...

Torquay were building their attacks well and the passing was crisp, but there was no end product."

The Derbyshire Times tells us that "Yeovil Town boss Darren Sarll felt his team lacked their ‘normal punch’ as they were punished by Chesterfield on Saturday.

The Spireites had the best chances in the first half through Jak McCourt and Akwasi ASante but were denied by some good goalkeeping from the visitors’ Adam Smith. But Town were clinical after the break as Asante, Tom Whelan and McCourt ensured the in-form Glovers, who were 10th in the National League table before kick-off, suffered just their second defeat in seven matches.

'I did not think we packed our normal punch,' Sarll said after the game. 'The biggest disappointment for me is we did not have that normal thrust to us. At no point did I feel we were going to break anyone down today. What I said to them at half-time was that I felt like we were waiting for something to happen.

'I think when I put it into context we are still in great form, today does not stop that... It feels a bit like snakes and ladders this season. We roll the dice right one week and we climb the ladder quickly and you roll the dice wrong one week and you slip down the snake.

'I think it is important we put today in a little box because we can’t affect it. We have had our chance to affect it and we did not do that in any way shape or form.'”

In the Southern Daily Echo we read that "Bromley came from behind to win 2-1 at top-seven rivals Eastleigh and keep themselves in the National League play-off hunt.

Ravens forward Michael Cheek had an early one-on-one chance, but sent a tame effort straight at Spitfires goalkeeper Joe McDonnell, who then tipped a header from Jack Holland over.

Eastleigh, looking to bounce back after defeat by Chesterfield, took the lead just before the hour mark when Tyrone Barnett converted a cross from Ryan Hill at the back post.

Bromley, though, were soon level when Holland headed home from a free-kick in the 65th minute.

With just four minutes left, the Ravens secured all three points when winger Jack Bridge cut the ball back across goal and defender Mike Green diverted it into his own net."

The Dorset Echo states that "Weymouth earned a famous double over non-League giants Stockport County with a determined 1-0 win at the Bob Lucas Stadium.

Andy Dallas put the Terras into a fourth-minute lead and Weymouth never looked back, only looking in danger when Ethan Ross miraculously tipped James Jennings’s shot onto the post.

Weymouth were forced to make two goal-line clearances but Stockport, who enjoyed a large share of possession, could not find an equaliser...

Weymouth boss Brian Stock made one change to the side... Ben Thomson was the unfortunate man to miss out as skipper McQuoid returned from a hamstring injury. There was no place in the matchday squad for Josh Leslie-Smith or Cody Cooke but goalkeeper Gerard Benfield took his spot in the dugout after disciplinary issues.

Stockport were also without the injured John Rooney, brother of Derby boss and Manchester United hero Wayne, but top scorer Alex Reid started...

It would take just over three minutes for Weymouth to score as McQuoid touched the ball in front of his marker and galloped down the left. McQuoid cut inside and his blocked shot fell perfectly for Dallas to slot firmly into the top-right corner from 12 yards...

A rattled Stockport could not find a way past a resolute Weymouth defence as the Terras recorded a precious double over their opponents".

Meanwhile the Brent & Kilburn Times confirms that "Wealdstone let slip a first half lead as they were pegged back by a dominant FC Halifax Town side as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at The Vale.

A brilliant first half goal from Dennon Lewis put the Stones ahead, but second half strikes from Jake Hyde and Jack Earing sealed a deserved comeback for the visitors.

Wealdstone have signed Cheltenham Town defender Daniel Bowry on an initial one-month loan deal... The 22 year old Antigua & Barbuda international joined the Robins in the summer of 2019 following his release from Charlton Athletic, he has made a total of eight appearances in all competitions whilst at the Gloucestershire club so far...

The Shaymen enjoyed the lion’s share of possession throughout the early stages of the contest... The visitors continued to dominate...

Against the run of play, the Stones broke the deadlock in the 29th minute as Danny Green chipped a peach of a ball down the left channel for Lewis to latch onto, skip past a defender and swerve a sublime effort from outside of the box into the bottom corner.

Spurred by the goal, Wealdstone started to find cohesion and generate incisive build up play...

Halifax started the second half on the front foot... The Shaymen were rewarded for their persistence, profiting from a quick free kick to draw level in the 57th minute as Jeff King’s cross found Hyde who nodded in from close range... The Shaymen grabbed the winner as Earing cut in from the left wing and smashed a thunderous shot into the corner".


7 March, 2021

UNHAPPY ANNIVERSARY

Today is the unhappy first anniversary of the last game played in front of spectators, to date, at the J. Davidson Stadium - although no one knew it at the time. In fact Alty were set to play at York City the following Saturday befopre that match was postponed at a late stage because of Covid at both clubs.

But at least 7 March 2020 brought a good result, a 4-1 victory over Spennymoor Town in a Vanarama National League North match.

Right: Pictured on 7 March 2020, we see Jordan Hulme and Elliott Durrell who netted three of Alty's goals between them against Spennymoor. And little did we know that before the crowds would be admitted to Moss Lane again, Moors' keeper Matt Gould (far left) would be the only Altrincham player in the picture and even he has yet to appear in a league fixture for the club. Indeed, of the starting eleven a year ago today, only three players (Thompson, Hannigan, Moult) also started for the club last Tuesday against Woking.

The 2020 game against Spennymoor was not the one-sided affair suggested by the final score but, nevertheless, Altrincham were well-deserving winners.

The hosts got off to a great start as, in just the third minute, Elliott Durrell continued his run of scoring in every game for Altrincham with his fourth in four outings since joining the club. After Shaun Densmore had got forward and hooked the ball across the goalmouth from the right, Durrell fired the ball home, from left of goal, to make it 1-0.

Alty did not build on that lead and gradually Spennymoor got into the game and enjoyed a decent spell around the half-hour mark. But a superb cross-field ball from man of the match Josh Lundstram led to the second goal for Alty in the 39th minute. The pass having located Durrell on the left wing, the no.11's progress was checked but Alty kept possession. The ball was relayed, inside, to Hulme who fired home across the keeper to make it 2-0.

The Moors started the second half with a purpose and got back into the game in the 52nd minute. Right-back Forbes was allowed to advance in space before hitting a fine shot into the top left-corner of Thompson's net from nearly 30 yards.

In retrospect the turning point was a fine save by Thompson from Ramsdale, six minutes later.

Midway through the half Alty regained their two-goal lead when Tom Hannigan's diving header converted Mooney's corner from the left (68 mins).

Alty's fourth goal came in the last minute of normal time. Hulme was located in space, outside the box, left of goal. Almost nonchalantly he hit a superb dipping shot into the far, top corner of Gould's net.

The win restored Alty to fifth place on an afternoon when Alty's play-off cause was aided as rivals Chester FC and Gateshead lost, and Boston only drew.

And we all know what happend when the delayed play-offs took place four months later...

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. James JONES, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. Daniel MOONEY, 8. Josh LUNDSTRAM, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Elliott DURRELL. Subs: 12. Craig MAHON, 14. Andy WHITE, 15. Tom PEERS, 16. Toby MULLARKEY, 17. Simon RICHMAN

SATURDAY LEAGUE GAMES

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Altrincham have dropped from eighth to eleventh in the table on Saturday but remain sixteenth on PPG.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

The Northern Echo tells us that "Luke Molyneux scored the only goal of the game as Hartlepool moved second in the National League table, level on points with current leaders and opponents Torquay.

Molyneux grabbed the all-important goal in the 14th minute, calmly slotting the ball under goalkeeper Shaun MacDonald after being played in by Luke Armstrong.

Scott Boden went close to an equaliser for Torquay and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans was denied in the box by visiting defender Gary Liddle’s last-ditch tackle...

Lemonheigh-Evans was denied by Ben Killip’s brilliant save early in the second period and... Hartlepool twice went close to extending their lead in the closing stages when scrambled efforts from a corner were both cleared off the goal-line".

The Hartlepool Mail adds that "Pools went into the game knowing that a win would take them level with the National League leaders.

And Luke Molyneux’s first goal since November proved to be the difference between the sides as the winger gave Dave Challinor’s side an early lead that they were able to hold on to.

'We made a really positive start, we were outstanding in the first 25-minutes and I thought the game was there to be won for us,' Challinor told The Mail...

'In fairness to Torquay, they adapted to the shape we started with and came into the game themselves. The second half was just about real grit and determination to do our jobs... The outfield work the 10 did was the key part in it'...

Challinor’s side have beaten fellow challengers Sutton United, Notts County, Stockport County and now Torquay in their last 13 matches without conceding...

'We know that when we score first we tend to win games,' Challinor added. 'We’ve scored first 14 times this season and won 12 games from it and drawn two with the second coming at Halifax Town the other night'".

FC Halifax Town report that "Second half goals from Jake Hyde and Jack Earing helped FC Halifax Town to overturn a half time deficit and return from North West London with a 2 -1 victory. The win was a just reward for a dominant display in which Sam Johnson was largely a spectator.

Martin Woods returned to the starting eleven following injury with Jamie Allen dropping to the bench. This change allowed a return to the sweeper system Pete Wild has adopted for the majority of the season with Niall Maher dropping back from midfield.

The Shaymen dominated the first half showing plenty of attacking intent from the first whistle... It was completely against the run of play that Wealdstone took a 30th minute lead. A long ball forward was taken by Dennon Lewis on the right side of the penalty area. He beat Niall Maher’s challenge and finished neatly from 12 yards out...

The deserved equaliser came in the 57th minute. A free kick in the right was taken quickly by Neill Byrne who found Jeff King on the right and his pinpoint cross was headed home by Hyde for his 5th goal in a FC Halifax Town shirt...

Chadwick shot over but moments later he found Jack Earing in the left hand side in space and his unstoppable shot nestled in the far corner of the Wealdstone net and Town finally had a deserved lead...

There was a late red card for debutant Dan Bowry for a poor challenge on Jack Earing as The Shaymen saw out the final moments of the game for a thoroughly deserved 3 points."

Boreham Wood "had to settle for a draw despite seemingly cruising at two goals up with less than twenty minutes to go. It was former Wood star Angelo Balanta who turned what seemed like a comfortable 2-0 scoreline into a draw with a late equaliser for the Daggers.

Boreham Wood made two changes to the starting line-up from Tuesday night’s defeat at Wealdstone with now fit skipper Mark Ricketts replacing Keiran Murtagh in the midfield. And it was Shaquile Coulthirst, who made his first start since the corresponding fixture at Meadow Park in November, in place of Junior Morias.

To be fair to Dagenham and Redbridge, they did control the first half...

Wood took the lead against the run of play. After some excellent work from Kane Smith and Gus Mafuta, a cross by the former Salford City player was tapped in on the goal line by an alert Corey Whitely... on the brink of half time.

The second period couldn’t have started any better for the visitors. On forty-eight minutes, an excellent run from former Dagger, Whitely enabled him to put in a cross that was parried by Justham and put in by Coulthirst for his first Boreham Wood League goal...

Seemingly from nowhere, on seventy-three minutes the Daggers were back in it. Angelo Balanta jumped well to head in against a seemingly static Wood defence to halve the deficit.

The home side were suddenly in the ascendancy... It was at eighty-nine minutes when Dagenham equalised after Balanta struck a fantastic shot from the edge of the area that gave Ashmore no chance."

King's Lynn Town boss "Ian Culverhouse made three changes from the team that drew at Notts County on Tuesday with Kyle Callan-McFadden returning from suspension, Alex Kiwomya and Michael Gash replacing Michael Clunan & Ryan Jarvis, with Ross Barrows missing through injury...

Woking started getting into the game and it was them [sic] who took the lead on 28 minutes, a Loza cross from the right hand side finding debutant Sam Ashford who headed past Archie Mair...

Lynn made a change at half time with Michael Clunan replacing Cameron King who was still struggling with the injury he picked up on Tuesday...

A number of corners were forced by Woking, Mair tipping one over and Gash heading one behind as Woking threatened a second goal...

Woking did eventually score their second on 80 minutes, Smith not clearing the ball by the touchline leaving Jayden Wareham free to run at goal and his pass finding an unmarked Loza to roll the ball into an empty net.

Woking got their third on 90 minutes when Ben Gerring tapped home a Charlie Cooper free kick from close range.

Overall, a game where Lynn had their chances and plenty off the ball but Woking were more clinical...

Next up for the Linnets is a trip to Wealdstone this Tuesday (7.45pm), but with more players likely to be furloughed in the next few days Ian Culverhouse will have a very different squad to choose from."

At Chesterfield "Akwasi Asante's tenth goal for the club set the Spireites on their way to a 3-0 win over Yeovil Town, a sixth consecutive league win at the Technique Stadium.

James Rowe made two changes... with Liam Mandeville and Jak McCourt replacing Jack Clarke and Martin Smith... This game struggled to have an influx of chances in the opening exchanges...

The 23rd minute brought the first shot on target... Yeovil were restricted to pot shots and blocked shots...

Asante... as rewarded for his efforts in the 48th minute. Tom Whelan played the striker through on goal, he rounded the keeper and slotted home to add a goal to his newly signed contract...

In the 68th minute, Whelan added another goal, which provided the safety needed. The former Yeovil man picked the ball up 25-yards from goal launched a rocket into the net that wrong-footed A. Smith.

Ten minutes later, the Blues were awarded a 3-0 lead. A lovely Whelan lay-off allowed substitute Joel Taylor to run down the left-hand side and lift a cross over to McCourt, who finished with aplomb."

At Eastleigh "Late heartbreak sees the Spitfires lose 2-1 to Bromley at the Silverlake Stadium.

Tyrone Barnett’s eighth goal of the campaign opened but Jack Holland and Courtney Duffus’s headers snatched the points, in a closely contested affair.

Bromley should have taken the lead inside five minutes through Michael Cheek after a misplaced header left him inside the area with the goal at his mercy, but he scuffed the shot...

Somehow neither side had found an opener by the break...

Barnett inside the area in the 57th minute had all the time needed to sweep home with a right-footed shot.

The opposition then had the ball in the net at the back-post just under ten minutes later, but the referee bizarrely stopped play for a foul by Green and awarded a free-kick instead.

Despite that stroke of fortune, Jack Holland rose highest from the set-piece to bury, with no respite from the referee on this occasion...

Bromley stole the points after Duffus’s header was unable to be cleared off the line, before Abdulai Baggie had a late goal disallowed for offside and then a handball inside the box was deemed ‘too near’ for a Spitfires penalty."


6 March 2021

HANNIGAN APPEAL FAILS

Altrincham FC's press and media officer, Jophn Edwards, confirms that the club has "appealed against Tom Hannigan's straight red card against Woking but been informed by the FA that the decision will stand.

Right:Tom Hannigan

The Alty centre-back was sent off in the 33rd minute of the Robins' 1-0 win after referee Andrew Miller judged a challenge on Jayden Wareham to be a foul that denied the Woking striker a clear goalscoring opportunity.

After studying video footage of the incident and concluding Tom made contact with the ball initially and any subsequent contact could be deemed mutual and accidental, Alty decided to lodge an appeal.

At a meeting of the FA's regulatory commission, members of the panel considered Alty's case but ruled it was not an instance of wrongful dismissal.

A decision letter was relayed to the club yesterday, and Hannigan will now serve a one-match suspension, meaning he will miss Tuesday's home game with Hartlepool United".

ALTY ON SATURDAY

For the seventh Saturday this season Altrincham have no game today. This time the blank arises owing to the planned opponents, Dover Athletic, having furloughed their players.

The other six blank Saturdays have been...

In these circumstances, Altrincham FC co-chairman Bill Waterson has announced that last Tuesday night, when Alty entertained Woking, "Due to technical issues with the live stream, our fans were without a picture for much of the first half, though normal service was resumed for the duration of a compelling second 45 minutes...

Though the night ended on a high note, we make no attempt to brush the earlier difficulties under the carpet, difficulties that have already been analysed, assessed and scrutinised in an attempt to guard against any repeat... With that in mind, we wish to make amends...

So, as a thank you to those who missed out on the first half on Tuesday, as well as reaching out to a wider audience on such an enthralling return to winning ways, we are broadcasting the whole game as a YouTube Premiere at 3pm tomorrow (Saturday) free of charge.

In addition, all our fans who bought the Woking stream have been contacted with a discount code for Tuesday's game against Hartlepool United...

We have been working hard to uncover the reason for the picture loss on Tuesday, and we believe we have tracked it down to faulty software. We have upgraded that particular element of our technology stack, and it has been running for over 30 hours now without incident. We have renewed confidence, therefore, that our streaming capability will prove more resilient going forward. But once again we apologise to all those inconvenienced on Tuesday night.

So please join us on Saturday afternoon for a special package that includes a re-run of Altrincham v Woking in its entirety, the Jake Moult interview, reflecting on his 400 Alty appearances, at half-time and Phil Parkinson's post-match interview at the end of the game".

NEXT OPPONENTS: HARTLEPOOL UNITED

News of Tuesday's visitors to Altrincham comes from the Hartlepool Mail which tells us that "Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor admits he’s slightly in the dark when it comes to the National League’s player registration deadline this season.

Previously, the registration deadline has been on the fourth Thursday in March, which this season would be March 25. But with the 2020-21 campaign extending into May, Challinor expects to see a bit of flexibility from the National League regarding player registration.

With the season now in March, the league are yet to make it explicitly clear to clubs as to whether the deadline will be altered or not..

Defenders Jamie Sterry and Ryan Johnson are both doubts for Saturday’s crucial away trip to Torquay United...

Challinor told The Mail... 'We’re speaking around recruitment and what we need to do so that’s a discussion that will take place and we’ve got to make sure we’re well and truly covered until the end of the season and there is still some uncertainty over what is happening with the North and South and what players could potentially be available.

'There will be more clarity in the next couple of weeks over what’s happening and what we can do for certain'.

The National League... told The Mail that the topic of registration deadlines will be discussed at the league’s upcoming board meeting".

And Hartlepool United announced on Friday "the signing of Jake Cooper. The defender joins on loan from Rotherham United till the end of the season.

Rotherham Academy graduate Jake Cooper penned a new deal back in March 2020, keeping him at [Rotherham] until 2022... The 19-year-old... put pen-to-paper on a professional deal back in June 2019.

Cooper then went out on loan for the second half of the 2019/20 season with fellow North East club Gateshead FC and also spent the first half of the current campaign with the National League North Side...

Dave Challinor [said] 'Jake is someone we looked at earlier in the season. He has great experience for someone still young'".

ON THIS DAY: 6 March

Fourteen years ago, in 2007, today Altrincham had a memorable 5-0 home win over Cambridge United in a Tuesday night match in the Nationwide Conference National.

Right: After keeping a clean sheet, Alty keeper Stuart Coburn leaves the pitch at the end of the game against Cambridge United.

With just 3 wins in their previous 22 league games, Alty were meeting a United side enjoying a revival in its fortunes and unbeaten in its last 7 matches. However, having played more games than anyone else in the division, the "U's" were still far from safe from the threat of relegation. Defeat, or even a draw in this match would have seen Altrincham go bottom if Tamworth were to collect a point in their game the smae evening.

Altrincham were again without the supended Karl Munroe and the starting line-up remained unchanged from the last game, at Burton. On the bench, the only change was that left-back Andy Scott was replaced by striker Peter Thomson.

The five-goal margin did not flatter Altrincham against an abject Cambridge United. Alty played some excellent football, in the first half-hour especially, and went ahead with a fine freekick from 19 yards by Peyton which punished a cynical foul on Bushell.

Within 30 seconds of Cambridge kicking off in the second half a tremendous run by Chalmers saw him pick up O'Neill's lay off and sprint into the box before beating keeper Herbert with a low shot (46 mins). Next a good ball from Lawton set Little at goal and as he jinked round Duncan he was brought down. Little took the resulting spot kick which Herbert saved, but could not hold, and Little gratefully converted the loose ball (56 mins).

Joe O'Neill made it 4-0 after an impressive 50 yard run by Lewis Chalmers (67 mins) and substitute Chris Senior netted his first goal for Altrincham's first-team when he dribbled round Herbert from Little's feed (76 mins). Cambridge barely troubled Coburn all night but the visiting supporters creditably supported their team to the end in competition with the ecstatic home fans who had only once before this season seen their side score more than two goals.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 3. Gary SCOTT, 4. Peter BAND, 11. Warren PEYTON; 7. Robbie LAWTON, 6. Steve BUSHELL, 8. Val OWEN, 14. Lewis CHALMERS; 9. Colin LITTLE, 12.Joe O'NEILL. Subs: 5. Gary TALBOT, 10. Rod THORNLEY, 16. Peter THOMSON, 18. Pat McFADDEN, 19. Chris SENIOR.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

One club is both signing new players and furloughing others as Lynn News reports that "King's Lynn Town have today announced the loan signing of defender Jak Hickman from League Two side Bolton Wanderers.

The 22 year-old will be at The Walks for the rest of the season, as the Linnets look to bolster their threadbare squad for their remaining National League fixtures.

A number of Linnets players are being furloughed because of the club's perilous financial situation.

Hickman, a former Coventry City youth player, joined Bolton last summer, and has made seven appearances for them in all competitions. He has also played for Ashton United, Bromsgrove and Hereford".

The Maidenhead Advertiser reports that "Magpies boss Alan Devonshire has been frustrated by the ‘ridiculous situation’ of Dover Athletic refusing to play matches and believes that without swift action from the National League to give clubs clarity on the situation the integrity of this season’s competition could be called into question.

United had been due to visit Dover on [last] Saturday for a rearranged fixture and host them on Tuesday at York Road, however, neither match went ahead with the south coast club currently refusing to fulfil their fixtures, and the National League threatening to bring sanctions against them for it.

For Devonshire it’s left his club with another frustrating period without matches, having already kicked their heels through two long periods of inactivity, and he’s calling on the league to take swift action against Dover to restore some credibility to the league and ensure others don’t follow their lead...

United haven’t been in great form of late, and are without a league win since January 30...

'No, the rest is not good, it’s really frustrating,' Devonshire said. 'Touch wood, we’ve had no COVID and we’ve played fewer games than most. We had a game fixed up for Tuesday (March 2), it was agreed and then suddenly the other team changed their mind. It’s very frustrating.

'It’s a ridiculous situation, but I’m not going to get involved in it. I know what I think they (Dover) should do, but I’m not going to tell you that. We need clarity from the league now. We can’t have this dragging on and people asking, "what’s going to happen to them?". We need a decision now and clarity on all of this because other teams could choose to do it.

'If there’s no clarity on it, there’s nothing stopping other teams from adopting a similar stance I suppose. We need the league to act on this and act swiftly... If teams do this sort of thing it doesn’t reflect well on the league'...

Said Devonshire... 'What you’re going to get now, without relegation, is teams that are down near the bottom could play their youth players in matches. I don’t know how it’s going to work but we need a decision quickly from the league on relegation and the threat of sanctions for teams (who may be considering this). Those decisions need to be made quickly so we know what’s going on...

'The more this drags on the more likely it will be that teams will consider doing things they shouldn’t be doing... We’ve wanted to play all of our matches, but teams haven’t wanted to play us. The league will have to clamp down when they have to get all the games in, but they should have done that earlier.'

Maidenhead United’s home game with Altrincham on Saturday, March 27, has been selected to be shown live on BT Sport 2. The game against the Robin... will kick-off later in the afternoon at 6.15pm".

Devon Live reports that "Torquay United will face a 'totally different' Hartlepool in Plainmoor six-pointer...

Torquay United manager Gary Johnson will be hoping to have a few players back from injury for tomorrow’s home game against Hartlepool United but he isn’t giving away any inside information... Torquay’s lead at the top of the National League has been cut to a single point, and Sutton have two games in hand...

Last week, when the Gulls were knocked out of the FA Trophy by losing 1-0 at Woking, there were 16 players unavailable. Most were injured but four, Scott Boden, Olaf Koszela, Louie Slough and James Hamon, were cup-tied. Since then defender Fraser Kerr has signed for Chesterfield after being released, but Shaun MacDonald will be back after his one-game suspension...

When asked about the injury list... Johnson said, 'Unfortunately, supporters probably won’t get to know who is totally fit enough to play until the kick off. I know they would like to know before, but sometimes I don’t know, and as we speak on a Thursday, we haven’t trained yet and we have got to train tomorrow. So that gives some injured players that are close another couple of days...

'And sometimes, with all the podcasts and all the reports that all go on to social media, there is no doubt that every manager, including me, looks at all the managers’ comments pre- and post-games, always.'

Which is why Johnson is guarded about what he says... He said... 'I am doing it for the best reasons to help our football club win a football game'...

Danny Wright, the striker is still about a month away following his hamstring operation. Boden, on loan from Chesterfield, may get the chance ahead of Billy Waters, or Johnson could opt for two up front with Josh Umerah also available for that position".

Woking "confirm thetwo loan signings of Sam Ashford and Niko Muir.

Sam Ashford joins from Crawley Town on loan until the end of the season, whilst Niko Muir joins for one month from Hampton & Richmond".

NL Daily adds that "The pair significantly bolster the National League side’s attacking options.

Ashford joins Alan Dowson’s team for the remainder of the season from Crawley Town. The 25-year-old signed for League Two Crawley from Hemel Hempstead Town last summer.

Muir, meanwhile, arrives from Hampton & Richmond Borough, with the Beavers’ National League South season having been brought to its conclusion. The 28-year-old ex-Hartlepool United man joins on a one-month deal".

The Birmingham Mail reports that "Aston Villa under-23s midfielder Jack Clarke is out of contract in the summer and is spending the second half of the season on loan at National League side Chesterfield...

Chesterfield will consider signing the loanee on a full-time basis in the summer, manager James Rowe has said. Clarke, 22, cut short a loan spell at Yeovil Town in January to join National League rivals Chesterfield until the end of the season.

Having made only three appearances for Yeovil during the first half of the campaign, Clarke... made his first start for Chesterfield... this week.

Solihull-born Clarke... is set to be out of contract in three months’ time.

Rowe told the Derbyshire Times 'He has got masses of potential... and his attitude has been fantastic. I think he has got a real opportunity here and who knows what is going to happen at Aston Villa?'"

ALso at the Spireites, the Derbyshire Times adds that "Star man Akwasi Asante has signed a new contract at Chesterfield until the summer of 2024.

The striker has scored nine goals in 13 league games for the Spireites this season. The 28-year-old joined on an 18-month deal in November from Gloucester City when James Rowe was appointed manage...

Asante said 'I’ve been enjoying my football. We’ve been winning games and I’ve been scoring goals, so I couldn’t be happier. When the club offered me a new deal, I had no hesitation in accepting it'".

Meanwhile at Notts County Head Groundsman Matt Hallam spoke of his role, saying "It’s vitally important to have the right nutrition on the pitch and to test the soil on a regular basis.

Checking the weather is always important... In the summer we’ll give the pitch a double cut with out Dennis g860 mower. It only needs a single cut in the winter.

After that, it’s all about the finishing touches such as marking out the pitch. It’s important to keep a close eye on how the pitch is playing; how does the ball move across the surface? Are the players slipping, or do they have good stability?

You also need to put plans in place for half-time. If the surface appears to be lacking moisture, you need to be ready to get it watered.

Then, when the match is coming to an end, you need to establish whether the pitch is dry enough to be mowed, while also giving thought to how you can recover damaged areas ASAP."

According to NL Daily "Northern Ireland international Jamie Ward is back in contention for selection at Solihull Moors.

The 34 year-old forward has been out of action just recently, but manager Jimmy Shan has confirmed today that the ex-Derby County man is available for this weekend’s National League game with Maidenhead United.

Shan said 'Jamie Ward has trained and been back in and around the group so he’ll be up for contention.

'It’s most definitely not helping our cause in terms of not being able to put out a regular team, and build those connections and relationships.'

Ward, who has won 35 caps for Northern Ireland in his career, signed for Moors back in October."

The Halifax Courier reminds us that "When Pete Wild and Chris Millington first arrived at the club in summer 2019, they had less than two weeks until the start of the season, and a backroom staff containing a goalkeeping coach, a kit man and a physio.

Despite that, The Shaymen made an incredible start to the season, racing to the top of the table, and eventually finished in the play-off places.

Now, the backroom team has evolved and includes a first-team coach and head of recruitment, and sprouted different departments, including strength and conditioning, and video analysis, using specialised, qualified staff...

Says assistant manager Millington, 'The chairman runs a tight ship, there are some really good departments within the club, and I think the previous manager had moved things on...

'So it was increasing our levels of fitness, make ourselves fitter in terms of the ability to run further, to cover more ground, and to be able to challenge the teams who were fit last year, which were the likes of Harrogate and Notts County...

'There’s been a lot of work gone into the analysis side, through people coming in who are highly qualified to do the work and doing it to help move the club forward... We now feel we’ve got highly qualified people doing jobs within the club that last season, me and Pete were taking care of...

'In terms of our style of play, that’s starting to become more obvious when you watch a performance...

'Last season, all of the coaching fell on mine and the gaffer’s shoulders... whereas now having a first-team coach on board who is with us on a pretty much daily basis means we can rely on a very highly-qualified and excellent coach, but also we have the ability to stand back and take different parts of the role...

'We go through a thorough analysis process of the opposition, which means getting right under the skin of what they’ve been doing over a number of games in terms of the style of play, goal threat, defensive structure, team selections, threatening players, the ones who maybe offer us an opportunity to get in and use our strengths...

'There were three key objectives for us going into the season, and I think we’re showing that two of those are beginning to become part of our identity, and the third, which is around being really consistent in our defending, is the one I think will help kick us on further if we can start to achieve that over the next few games'"

In the eader Live, "Dean Keates hailed his fledgling strikeforce...

Kwame Thomas and Dior Angus were both on target in Saturday's 4-1 win over Wealdstone that leaves the Reds fifth in the National League.

Thomas now has eight goals this season, with five coming in February, and Angus has struck twice since arriving at The Racecourse from Barrow on transfer deadline day.

'There is a good relationship being built there and we have also got Jordan Ponticelli,' said Keates...

'Dior is mid to late 20s but he has not been a professional footballer for long so he is still learning... Kwame is getting the goals now that I believe the majority of the performances have deserved'...

Keates will be hoping the duo continue to fire at second placed Sutton who have won their last five games and are only one place behind leaders Torquay United with two games in hand.

He could be boosted by the return of Reece Hall-Johnson and Jay Harris from injury...

Shaun Pearson has been restricted to just three appearances this season because of a foot problem and the Reds' captain is closing in on a return."


5 March 2021

NEXT OPPONENTS: HARTLEPOOL UNITED

With no fixture this Saturday because of Dover Athletic's decision to stop playing their matches, Alty's next fixture is at home to Hartlepool United next Tuesday (9 March). Alty drew the reverse fixture earlier this season.

In a timely and, for Alty, an encouraging article, the informative Hartlepol Mail reviews "The stats behind Hartlepool United's contrasting home and away form in the National League. Hartlepool United’s last eight home and away games provide one of the starkest contrasts in form that you are likely to see from a side gunning for promotion.

Pools boast the best home record in the National League having won each of their last eight matches at Victoria Park, the club’s longest winning run on home soil in 14 years.

Meanwhile on the road, the side have won just one of their last eight league matches and sit 15th in the National League’s away table... Why are we seeing such a significant disparity between Hartlepool’s home and away form?...

Pools have netted an impressive 18 goals at Victoria Park in their last eight matches and conceded just three... Yet on the road, the side have scored just three times in eight matches, conceding nine. Simply put, Pools haven’t been scoring enough away from home...

Pools are a side who like to control matches... Over the last eight games respectively, Pools have averaged 55.25% possession at home and 52.125% possession away.

Yet every time they’ve kept 60% possession or more away from home (Wrexham, Weymouth and Woking), they’ve failed to score and every time they’ve scored away from home, they’ve kept 50% possession or under...

When Hartlepool are allowed to play in front of teams with the ball, they have found it difficult to break them down. It’s when they are able to get in behind teams with pace where they are most effective...

At home, Pools have only kept above 60% possession on one occasion during their eight game winning streak... Perhaps there is such a thing as too much possession.

Creating chances has never been an issue for Pools this season. At Victoria Park, they’ve managed an impressive 103 shots in their last eight matches, 40 of which have been on target... Away from home, they have been able to create... 84 shots and 27 on target in eight games...

Almost half of the side’s shots on target find the net at Victoria Park. Yet away from home, it is a completely different story. Pools’ conversion rate over the last eight away matches is a lowly 3.57% which raises [sic] to 11.1% for shots on target. They may be creating chances but their failure to put them away is proving costly...

Top scorer Luke Armstrong... has scored eight goals in eight wins at The Vic since joining yet has just one in seven matches away from home...

There is no huge difference in what Pools are doing at home or away in terms of possession and chances created to explain why the end results have been so different".

ALTY v WOKING HIGHLIGHTS

Highlights of Altrincham's victory over Woking are available via Alty TV. They include selected coverage of the period of the game when the live stream was not functioning on Tuesday night and, notably, the sending-off of Tom Hannigan.

ON THIS DAY: 5 March

Two years ago today, Blyth Spartans made the long midweek trip to Altrincham, after the Northumberland club's involvement in the FA Trophy had caused the postponement of the original fixture in January and then, in February, bad weather had caused a further postponement.

Altrincham went into the match on the back of a 6-0 win at Curzon Ashton and a 4-0 victory at home to Chester. The Robins lay in fifth place in the league, nine points ahead of fourteenth-placed Blyth. The Spartans had enjoyed a tremendous run of fourteen games unbeaten in all competitions before their current sequence of a single win in eight outings.

Above: The teams take to the pitch.

The outcome of this match was influenced by a decision by referee Lewis Smith. After Altrincham, playing fluent football, had taken a 21st minute lead through John Johnston's shot from the front edge of the box, Blyth equalised in questionable circumstances just six minutes later.

So all that Robbie Dale had to do was hit the ball into the upper reaches of the net from about seven yards, which he duly did.

Although Alty might have complaints about Mr Smith it has to be said that in the second half Altrincham did not reach the level of their first-half performance with too many attacks taking too long to develop. So the Robins dropped two points and lost ground on their play-off rivals.

Altrincham had fielded an unchanged starting eleven, but on the bench Max Harrop and Elliot Wynne returned, in place of Simon Richman and Steven Drench. So, again, there was no place for Mason Fawns nor for the injured Ben Harrison, Matthew Chadwick and James Poole.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Andy White, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Joe Piggott, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Yusifu Ceesay. Subs: 12. Callum olan, 14. Max Harrop, 15. Jordan Hulme, 16. Shaun Densmore, 20. Elliot Wynne.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

The Dorset Echo says that "Seven Weymouth players will be furloughed, according to manager Brian Stock. The Terras have been in active discussions with the seven, who were not present at training this week.

It is understood Weymouth will seek a 'flexi-furlough' to enable a seven-day recall on any of the selected seven. Weymouth are still waiting on some of the players to sign relevant paperwork in acceptance of being placed on the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme...

And the Terras are also keen to keep the names of the seven under wraps, although they are widely expected to be players that have struggled for game time this season...

Stock said...'It's up to us to come to an agreement on any money they might lose in comparison to what their contract states... We have spoken to seven players which I think the club can furlough. They weren't present at training on Tuesday, although some of them haven't signed the agreement.

'I've actively told the players it's not my decision to negotiate what money they might lose, that's down to the club... It won't come as a surprise for some of the players due to inactivity and not being involved in the squad for some time...

'They might come back in for a training session a week, or might (fully) come back. We've got that flexibility to do that.'".

According to Lincolnshire Live "Former Lincoln City forward Jordan Adebayo-Smith looks set to take his career to the US after leaving non-league Sutton United.

Adebayo-Smith was released by the Imps in October...

During his time with Lincoln, Adebayo-Smith had loan spells at Boston United, Gainsborough Trinity and Grantham Town. After several trials with other clubs, California-born Adebayo-Smith signed for National League side Sutton.

However, it has been announced he has left Sutton, having made just one substitute appearance for the south London club".

Wrexham "announce Ryan Austin has signed his first professional deal, putting pen to paper on a deal until 2022.

Lifelong Wrexham fan Austin, 18, has been training with the first team this season and has appeared on the first-team bench, as well as forming part of the travelling squad on several occasions.

Austin was part of Dan Nolan's successful youth team squad, which won their National League Alliance Division H title in 2019-20...

The powerful defender becomes the third member of that squad, which also reached the second round of the FA Youth Cup, to sign professional terms with the club, joining fellow defender Max Cleworth and striker Jake Bickerstaff.

Wrexham AFC are also delighted to announce both Cleworth and Bickerstaff have signed extensions to their contracts, and have joined Austin in committing until the end of the 2021-22 season.

Both Cleworth and Bickerstaff, who are currently on loan at Caernarfon Town, made their senior debuts in the Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Scottish Challenge Cup last season... Both players then signed pro terms in the summer, with Bickerstaff making six appearances this season and Cleworth one before moving to the Cofis for the remainder of the season".

Barnet have interviewed centre-back Matt Preston "to find out how his recovery from injury is coming along... after he recently returned to the training pitch after suffering a ruptured ligament in his right ankle back in November.

He said, 'The recovery is coming along well, it was a really bad injury, it was a complete rupture... Thankfully, I didn't have to have an operation so I have just have been rebuilding the muscles around it...

'Before I had picked up the injury, I hadn't been able to play many games, because of COVID, I had literally only played in a few games...

'The two new lads (Liam Daly and Ben Richards-Everton) have set a very good standard, I try to watch what they've been doing on the training pitch and take some bits from their game, so I can implement it in mine. They are both experienced lads, so it's helpful to try and learn some stuff from them and take some knowledge from them as well...

'All the boys get in early and leave late. Habits that are formed on the training pitch, should end up being carried over into matches. I think the gaffer is doing well to push everyone that little bit more and force good habits into people, which is key. We have to start to taking what's being drilled on the training pitch into matches and start showing a little more character'", he concluded.

According to Devon Live "Times have changed in the world of football, and these days social media means one unguarded comment can fly around the world in seconds.

On this week's podcast Gary Johnson joins us to talk about the perils of giving the game away to the rest of the football world in an era when every bit of news from every club in the land is on social media for all to see.

It explains why the Gaffer never gives much away about the progress of his injured players in the days leading up to an important fixture.

Gary also chats about the Woking cup game last weekend, and how two crucial refereeing decisions turned the game in the home side's favour. VAR would have made all the difference, but is that what we want at all levels of the game?".

Meanwhile Torquay United add that next "Tuesday night’s match against Aldershot Town at Plainmoor has been postponed after the Shots reported a Covid event within their first team."

Lancashire Live reminds us that "Tom White spent the first half of the season on loan at Bolton Wanderers from Blackburn Rovers and is currently at Hartlepool United....

Midfielder Tom White is set to see his loan spell at Hartlepool United extended until the end of the season. The 23-year-old joined the National League side last month on a 28-day loan at Victoria Park.

He had spent the first half of the season at League Two side Bolton Wanderers, where he made 14 appearances.

But White found game time restricted towards the end of his time with Bolton... His return to Rovers was confirmed at the start of February, before he later went out on loan to Dave Challinor's side.

He has played five times for Hartlepool and was an unused substitute in the midweek 1-1 draw against Halifax Town...

Pools boss Challinor is hopeful... 'Tom’s loan is due to expire before Saturday but we’ll have quick chat about that... The hope is we’ll be able to...get something sorted.#”

On Thursday, Aldershot Town confirmed "an incident of positive Covid-19 tests within the first-team playing staff. This unfortunately sees our next two league fixtures away at Notts County and Torquay United postponed".


4 March 2021

JIM VINCE R.I.P.

Altrincham supporters have been saddened to hear of the death on Monday of Jim Vince (senior), at the age of 77. He died in Wythenshawe Hospital.

Right: Jim Vince presents Alty Youth player Matt Fearon with an award at the Youth Team awards night in 2011.

A very well-known figure in local amateur football, Jim was also a long-term volunteer at Altrincham FC in a number of capacities. In addition, his son, Jim (junior), played for the Club before going on to manage football clubs which included Abbey Hey, Witton Albion, Congleton Town and Halifax Town where he succeeded non other than Chris Wilder, the current manager at Sheffield United.

For many years Jim (senior) was a great help to youth team manager the late George Heslop, both in terms of sharing his football knowledge but also in practical terms such as ferrying non-driver George to youth team matches and even acting as a mature ballboy, retrieving countless footballs during youth team games from the trees and undergrowth at numerous football playing fields. He also frequently carried out maintenance work around the ground at Moss Lane.

In latter years he was, with the late Dave Johnson, the welcoming face of Altrincham FC, receiving visiting teams, press and others at the front door of the J. Davidson Stadium.

Jim had not enjoyed the best of health in recent years yet had often turned up for his voluntary work when others would quite justifiably have stayed at home. His assistance to the Football Club will not be forgotten by those who knew him.

PARKY AFTER WOKING

In the Sale & Altrincham Messenger, John Edwards writes that Altrincham boss "Phil Parkinson promised drastic action to stop Altrincham’s losing streak but could hardly have expected it to succeed the way it did at The J.Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night.

Right: Altrincham's management team of Neil Sorvel and Phil Parkinson.

Stung by a fifth straight defeat at Bromley on Saturday, the Alty boss vowed to 'do something about it' and promptly brought in no fewer than three loan signings barely 48 hours later.

All three, striker Montel Gibson, centre-half Yoan Zouma and left-back Reagan Ogle, went straight into the starting line-up against Woking in a bold move aimed at reinvigorating the Robins and snapping them out of their losing run.

It looked to have been scuppered by a controversial straight red card for centre-back Tom Hannigan after only half-an-hour, but the 10 men stood firm, took the lead through Matty Kosylo and withstood late pressure thanks to an exceptional double save from Tony Thompson to chalk up an unlikely but thoroughly deserved 1-0 win...

Said Parkinson, ‘We’re up against it again, poor decisions going against us, a man sent off and you’re thinking what’s next; the Apocalypse? I’m not sure what Jake Moult’s goal was disallowed for and then Tom gets sent off moments after he gets chopped in half by a challenge that hits him halfway up his shin. It looked reckless, and I’m amazed he got up, but there was no red card for that.

'But I was never worried about the endeavour of the lads to keep going, and I thought they were absolutely immense, led by Jake Moult on his 400th Alty appearance. He was an absolute monster. He has been a true leader ever since I arrived here, and that was one of the best performances I have seen from him. A performance like that shows what it means to him to be at Altrincham and to be Altrincham captain.

'The new lads all showed up well, too, but that’s partly due to the group as a whole not sulking and playing their part in helping them settle straightaway. And that was top drawer from Tony Thompson at the end. I thought it was in, the header he kept out for his second save... But he showed what he’s all about and why he is unequivocally our number one.'”

CARDS FOLDED

Woking report that "After the elation of Saturday’s FA Trophy quarter-final win came despair in the North West for Alan Dowson’s Cards, the Surrey visitors increasingly bereft of ideas as battling Altrincham pulled off an unlikely win.

Up against a side coming into this league clash on the back of five straight defeats and reduced to 10 men within 35 minutes, Woking looked toothless when it mattered at Moss Lane... The subs who came off the bench at the weekend were rewarded with starts, Ben Dempsey, Tommy Block and Jayden Wareham all looking lively in the opening stages. Yet the hosts seemed more determined as time wore on...

Bookings in the first half-hour for Ben Gerring and Jack Cook did not bode well, the tenacious Tommy Block also in the book by the break.

However, the main incident of the first half was the 34th minute of dismissal of defender Tom Hannigan, one it seemed would turn the match in Woking’s favour. It wasn’t to be though, Phil Parkinson’s side... deserving their win...

Woking soon had the upper hand, a Wareham cross from the left next to cause flutters. That said, the home side netted at the midway stage, a searching free-kick from Matty Kosylo fired home from six yards by skipper Jake Moult, on his 400th Robins’ appearance. But the flag was raised for offside...

Then came the potential turning point, Wareham grounded after taking advantage of a poor back-pass, referee Andrew Miller deciding the striker, with just the keeper to beat, was tripped by Hannigan, and reaching for his red card. From my vantage point, I wasn’t overly convinced...

It wasn’t long before the visitors were camped in the opposition half after the break, and it seemed it was just a matter of time before they breached the home defence... However, it was Ross who made the first proper stop, tipping over a wildly-deflected effort by main threat Ryan Colclough...

Home boss Parkinson had changes... up the sleeve, Tom Peers replacing Gibson and within three minutes setting up Kosylo for a fine finish on the counter, Woking caught napping. The visitors never gave up, but... umpteen lofted balls into the area looking increasingly unlikely to prove significant, the home game plan working well under pressure...

You’d have been forgiven for thinking it was the Cards rather than Alty who were a man down...

Time was running out, the Cards devoid of enough imagination to make their possession count, Alty digging in and Thompson making further assured stops".

JAKE'S LANDMARK

As noted yesterday, Altrincham captain Jake Moult was making his 400th appearance for the club on Tuesday night against Woking.

The official Altrincham FC website has an extended interview with Jake to mark the occasion.

ALTY'S AUSSIES

Although, as mentioned yesterday, Jason van Blerk was [probably] the last Australian to play a league game for Altrincham, more recently another Australian, Rhain Davis, did make a start in the Cheshire Senior Cup as well as three substitute appearances in the league in 2017-18. He had previously made a start in 2015-16 in the CSC.

NEXT: HARTLEPOOL UNITED

Next Tuesday, Altrincham face Hartlepool United at Moss Lane, after sitting out Saturday's fixtures through their prospective opponents Dover Athletic's withdrawal from playing.

The Hartlepool Mail reports that "Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor was left thinking what could have been following his side’s 1-1 draw at Halifax Town on Tuesday night.

Mark Shelton put Pools in front early on at The Shay but the visitors failed to extend their lead before Kieran Green headed The Shaymen level 13-minutes from time.

It was another away game Hartlepool failed to win but one they felt they easily could have had they put their chances away...

'We had good opportunities but our quality and our ruthlessness let us down,' Challinor admitted...'If I’m being really critical we haven’t done enough. You’re going to be judged in both penalty areas and unfortunately we let ourselves down in both tonight and it hasn’t resulted in the points we perhaps merited'...

After Halifax drew level... Danny Williams was shown a straight red card for a last man challenge...

'[My anger] always translates into the dressing room afterwards,' admitted the Pools boss... 'It’s something I’m getting better at but I’m not the best at it and sometimes you need to bite your tongue and reflect and say nothing... If I have to apologise to a few of the players after that then I’m big enough to do that. I want the players to do well and I genuinely believe that they’ve got a really good opportunity this season and I want to make sure they don’t pass that up.'"

ON THIS DAY: 4 March

Four years ago today in 2017, Altrincham travelled to the New Buck's Head where they lost by the only goal of the match to AFC Telford United in a Vanarama National League North match.

By the end of Alty's game at Darlington the previous Wednesday they had ten players unavailable, (Jake Moult, Gary Jones, Shaun Densmore, Sean Miller, Craig Hobson, Tom Hannigan, Andy Owens, Alan Goodall, Tim Deasy, Kyle Brownhill). Of those absentees, Owens and Goodall were on the bench today but Reeves was not present owing to a family commitment.

Before this trip to Shropshire, 49 players had played a part in Alty's league fixtures this season and, with the debut in this game of keeper Stuart Tomlinson, that became fifty today.

Right: Stuart Tomlinson lines up between Gary Jones and James Lawrie.

For Telford, Lee Hughes and former Alty defender Luca Havern were doubts pre-match. but both started.

An injury-ravaged Altrincham deserved at least a point, if not all three, but were robbed of any reward at all for their good performance by a heavily deflected goal in the 87th minute.

The visitors ultimately paid the price for missing a number of half chances and also saw an Evans's effort pushed away along the goal-line by Telford keeper Burton.

With Alty goalkeeper Tim Deasy injured, new signing and ex-wrestler Stuart Tomlinson made his debut and, apart from a couple of saves, he had relatively little to do.

In a match riddled with petty fouls and played on a soft surface, there was too much scrappy play to make it a great spectacle but Altrincham, with John Cyrus again excelling at the back, put together some good attacking moves. But the injury jinx struck again as Nicky Clee had to come off at the interval, after a late challenge on him in the first half.

In addition to the Evans effort, Altrincham came closest to scoring when Richman's shot from three yards was blocked by a defender and when the same player lifted a late effort over the bar, both efforts arising from Newby crosses.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart TOMLINSON, 2. Chris LYNCH (c), 3. Nicky CLEE, 4. Sam HEATHCOTE, 5. John CYRUS. 6. Laurence TAYLOR, 7. Elliott NEWBY, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Micah EVANS, 10. James LAWRIE, 11. Gary JONES Subs: 12. Andy McWILLIAMS, 14. Alan GOODALL, 15. Andy OWENS, 16. Sam PATTERSON, 20. Andrew JONES

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

NL Daily tells us that "Scott Boden is confident of making the desired impact at new club Torquay United.

The experienced marksman joined the Gulls recently from Chesterfield... The 31-year-old said... 'I think you’ve always got something to prove, regardless of your age and what you’ve done in the past. It’s always the future anyway, it’s the here and now that’ll get you to your future.

'It’s probably stereotypical of me to say it’s game by game from now until the end of the season. Hopefully, touch wood, we are up there, where we currently sit.

'It has got unbelievably tight [at the top], to be fair, but the job in hand is concentrating on ourself. That is the key from now until the end of May...

'I know the team create a hell of a lot of chances, and if I can be in the right place at the right time when those chances are created, I back myself to put the ball in the back of the net. That’s what I will put pressure on myself to do, and I don’t mind that pressure, I like that pressure'".

"Following FC Halifax Town’s 1-1 draw against Hartlepool United, striker Jake Hyde spoke...

'It was a good game,' Hyde said. 'In the first half we didn’t have much of the ball, but... they didn’t do too much. In the second half we kicked-on and we were aggressive with them. I think that showed as we won the second half 1-0. If the sending off didn’t come, I think there is only one team that is going to win it.... There was a lot to be positive about and hopefully we can build on that for Saturday'...

'The more clinical teams will win the league,' Hyde told Shaymen TV... 'We created enough chances, without too many of them being too clear cut. We did hit the post and we should do better from our set-pieces. We are going in the right direction'...

Town equalised in the second half thanks to a Kieran Green goal. The Shaymen started the second half brightly and were fully deserving of the goal.

'I felt we could have gone on to win from that,' Hyde said... 'I felt we stepped it up a notch in the second half'

Halifax travel to face Wealdstone this Saturday... 'We definitely owe them one', Hyde told Shaymen TV. 'We had a couple of sending offs last time which really ruined the game a little a bit'".

The Halifax Courier adds that "FC Halifax Town boss Pete Wild says the appointment of Gareth McClelland as head of recruitment has taken the club’s recruitment 'to the next level'”.

McClelland rejoined the club in January having previously been chief scout under Neil Aspin and helping bring the likes of Marc Roberts, Dan Gardner, Matty Pearson, Liam and Scott Hogan and Lois Maynard to The Shay.

'I’ve known Gareth for years, I’ve been at games with him,' said Wild. 'I’d been asking the chairman for a while to help me in terms of getting a head of recruitment in. I can only do so much, I can’t do it all...

'He’s taken our recruitment to the next level. Already the preparation for, hopefully, me recruiting in the summer has started.. It’s his match analysis as well...

'That’s what we’re about. Players come here, they do well, they move on for more money, that’s the reality of the situation,' he said... 'We’ve got a great young squad here, that’s only going to get better, so we’ve got to get them on good contracts, and then we’ve got sprinkle on top with mine [sic] and Gareth’s and Chris experience of players.'"

In the Nottingham Post, "Neal Ardley admits Notts County's 'anxiety'...

The Magpies put in a nervy display as they conceded a last-minute equaliser against King's Lynn Town on Tuesday night.

Neal Ardley admitted his side created their own 'anxiety'... The Magpies turned the game on its head inside seven minutes with a Kyle Wootton brace, cancelling out Sonny Carey's sensational strike inside the first minute before the interval.

However, with only two minutes of added-on time remaining, a cheap free-kick saw Carey's delivery met by Kairo Mitchell, who snatched a point for the visitors.

'I thought we started terribly, their goal rocked us and we spent 20 minutes running around like headless chickens,' Ardley said. 'We made it easy for them to slice through the middle of us. We kept forcing the play, it's as if we felt we had to get the goals back and try to win the game straight away. We were very poor for the first 45 minutes.

'We got loads wrong. Ruben (Rodrigues) has a header to put the game to bed, he should hit the target. 2-1 is a scoreline where they can throw caution to the wind, we were defensive in our mindset, we give away a cheap free-kick, it's naivety and we have to snap out of giving away silly goals.

'We've got such a brutal schedule, we're going to lose games. We've only lost 1 in 11 but we're not playing well. I won't try to dress it up and say we're flowing and playing our brilliant best because we're not. We're finding ways to pick up points and win games. Sometimes you go through spells like that. At the moment, we're not playing great, we need to find our rhythm again but we have lost 1 in 11'...

Ardley felt his side lost their shape needlessly at times, not helped by their overreliance on centre-backs Connell Rawlinson and Alex Lacey, who started their sixth consecutive match in under three weeks.

Ardley said 'It's been tough, it's very strange at the moment. Players have been available for four, five, six weeks and then we've gone to move on them and now they're not available. As we get into this second phase of the season, clubs get a little nervous about what squad they have.

'We've knocked on six, seven, eight doors. It's not been easy but we're very hopeful to get two in by Thursday for training.'"

The Leader Live reports that striker "Dior Angus insists he and his team-mates were already driven by a desire to be successful for Wrexham before added financial incentives were put in place by the new owners...

Those that play in any game will now receive £200 for each win and £50 for a draw, as long as Wrexham remain in a play-off position, and a bonus pot of £250,000 if promotion is achieved this season...

Said Angus, 'The bonus structure wasn't in place anyway. It is normally sorted in pre-season, I think that was probably to do with the takeover but they have sorted it and it is all good stuff. It will put a bit of fire in the boys' belly but we want to win football games anyway; we are in the play-offs.

'It can come across that the bonus... is the incentive they need, but it's not. We are playing for this massive club'...

On the decision to publicly reveal the sum of money up for grabs, Angus added... 'I think it is more of an American thing to know what players earn. It is not the sort of done thing here but it is what it is, it is done'".

The Derbyshire Times conforms that "Chesterfield manager James Rowe has signed a new contract following an impressive start to his time at the Spireites.

The 37-year-old joined the Blues in November from Gloucester City and has overseen a remarkable turnaround from relegation candidates to play-off contenders. Town have lost just two of their 15 games under him and are playing an attractive style of football.

Rowe’s contract was set to expire at the end of the 2022/2023 reason but he has been rewarded for his promising start. It follows speculation in the national press that Rowe was starting to attract interest from some clubs in League Two.

The length of contract extension has not been disclosed by the club.

Spireites chief executive, John Croot, said... 'When we appointed James, we said that we would review the situation after a few months and we feel that the time is right to put a new contract in place... James has overhauled the squad and he deserves much credit for the job he has done so far'".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

York Press says that "York City could be given another crack at promotion after meetings between National League officials ended with proposals for a Step 2 competition being tabled...

A collection of 18 clubs put their names to proposals to form a supplementary competition with the chance to fight for promotion. The competition.... is proposed to be held between willing clubs from the National League's North and South divisions and will require approval from National League clubs, the Alliance Committee and the FA Council.

Clubs could have a clearer picture by Monday, when the Alliance Committee meet.

As many teams, including York, hoped, it is proposed that the competition would end in promotion, with between 15 and 20 clubs having registered interest in taking part. Clubs would have the chance to opt in or out before it started.

Among the selling points touted by interested teams are that the competition would allow them to continue to trade, ensure that the National Lottery grant is not wasted and maintain promotion".


3 March 2021

ALTRINCHAM 1-0 WOKING

Altrincham had made three loan signings on the eve of this game in which they were seeking to end a run of five successive defeats against a Woking side which was in good form and had just reached the semi-finals of the FA Trophy.

All three of the new faces (Gibson, Ogle and Zouma) went straight into Altrincham's starting eleven and Ryan Colclough returned after injury. Dropping out of the squad was Ritchie Sutton with Connor Hampson, James Hardy and Byron Harrison all moving to the bench.

And, despite playing for the best part of an hour with ten men after Tom Hannigan had been sent off, they fully deserved to end that bad run with an excellent goal netted by Matty Kosylo from a Tom Peers pass in the 69th minute. The goal was the culmination of a superb move of a dozen passes. In fact Altrincham had three or four excellent chances to score from second-half counter attacks.

Woking only seriously threatened to score in the dying seconds of added time when it took two magnificent saves from Tony Thompson to keep out The Cards. But Altrincham thoroughly deserved the victory which lifted them up to eighth (16th on points per game).

Match report here.

MIDWEEK GAMES

Tuesday 2nd March 2021

ALTRINCHAM GO INTERNATIONAL

Just weeks after adding two-Canadian based members to the Club's Board, Altrincham have signed two overseas players to their squad wuth the arrival thhis week of Australian Reagab Ogle and Frenchman, Yoan Zouma. Brian Flynn's interviews with each of the players are found on the Altrincham FC website.

Prpbably the last Australian to feature previously for the club was Jason van Blerk, whilst Gerard Léonard was almost certainly the last Frenchman to wear the Alty shirt in a league match in 2001, though Boris Melingui did make a Cheshire Senior Cup appearance from the bench in 2015-16.

Jason van Blerk

Jason was a left-sided defender/midfielder who signed non-contract forms at Altrincham on 19 September 2003. He was born in Sydney, Australia, and won 27 Australian under-21 caps and 1 full cap. His career started at Blackdown City in Australia before he moved in 1989-90 to the Low Countries with spells at Leichardt, St Truiden and Dutch League outfit Go Ahead Eagles Deventer. He left Deventer in 1994 for Millwall (73 games, 2 goals) where he stayed till moving to Manchester City (19 games) in 1997/98.

He then moved to WBA from 97/98 to 2000/01 (109 games, 3 goals) before spells at Stockport County (13 games) and Hull City (10 games, 1 goal) in 2001/02. In 2002/03 he made 23 appearances for Shrewsbury Town in Division 3, scoring once. Jason made his Alty debut at left-back at Southport on 23 September 2003 but was released in mid-October and had joined Colwyn Bay by 24 October but returned to Australia with Woollongong Wolves in early December 2003 before reappearing at Northwich in late 2004 before rejoining Colwyn Bay.

For Altrincham he made two starts and one appearance from the bench. Since 2013 he has been on the staff of Central Coast Mariners of Gosford, Australia.

Gerard Léonard

Gerard [right] was a 26 year-old French striker, who had played for Le Havre and Montpellier and in England had had trials at Bury and Macclesfield, before joining Altrincham. He made his debut at Frickley Athletic on 13 February 2001 and made one other sub appearance before disappearing off the radar but he re-appeared at Moss Lane as an Altrincham Reserve in summer 2001 before moving on again.

NEXT: HARTLEPOOL UNITED

On Saturday, Altrincham have no game owing to Dover's decision to place its squad in furlough.

So the next fixture will be on Tuesday 9 March when title contenders Hartlepool United make their first trip to Moss Lane for nearly fifty years, since they lost 1-0 to Alty in the First Round of the FA Cup in 1973-74 season.

The reverse fixture this season, at the Victoria Ground, ended in a 1-1 draw.

ON THIS DAY: 3 March

Nine years ago today, on Saturday, 3 March, 2012, in a Blue Square Bet North match, Altrincham won 3-2 in Cambridgeshire against Histon.

Above: Mark Lynch (in yellow) fights for possession at Histon.

Altrincham welcomed back goalkeeper Stuart Coburn, who had missed six games through an elbow injury. And with Jack Redshaw having left for Morecambe, striker Damian Reeves, a former Histon player, was partnered by Michael Twiss.

Nicky Clee missed this game with bruised ribs and Chris Lynch was unavailable for family reasons (sick child). Alty Youth players Sam Grimshaw and Duncan Watmore were forbidden to play for the first team today by Cheshire FA as they have been selected for the County side, so the Alty bench comprised two semi-fit players (Adam Flynn, Kieran Walmsley), a goalkeeper (Adam Reid) and two players (James Holden and Neil Tolson) who have not yet started a game for the club.

Simon Richman returned to the starting eleven but in an unaccustomed central midfield position. At the back, Mark Lees returned at right-back.

After a quiet opening, Altrincham went ahead when James Lawrie's speculative cross from the left evaded both keeper Stadelmann and the incoming Reeves and went into the net at the back post after 14 minutes. But a well worked Histon goal by Taaffe, converting a feed from the right, made it 1-1.

Alty played some patient, passing football and went 2-1 up when Reeves finished off a good move by turning well and shooting past the keeper after 27 minutes. Lawrie made it 3-1 with a superb volley after another good build up (34 mins).

But when Taaffe headed a second goal at the back post, just three minutes into the second half it signalled a difficult second half for Alty. The Robins survived thanks to the framework of the goal to record their first ever win at Histon.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Mark LEES, 5. Matt FLYNN, 6. Marlon BROOMES, 3. Mark LYNCH; 7.John MILES, 4. Simon RICHMAN 8, Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 11. James LAWRIE; 10. Damian REEVES, 9. Michael TWISS. Subs: 12. Adam FLYNN, 14. James HOLDEN, 15. Kieran WALMSLEY, 16. Neil TOLSON, 18. Adam REID (gk)

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

King's Lynn Town confirm, without elaboration, that "the next two National League fixtures will go ahead as scheduled. The club will issue a further full update in due course".

Owner Stephen Cleeve had previously suggested that the Linnets would stop playing and furlough their players though, of course, that remains a possibility in the future.

King's Lynn are due at the JDS on 23 March for a fixture which both last season and this has been jinxed by bad weather and Covid postponements.

At Chesterfield manager "James Rowe has added to his defensive options by signing Fraser Kerr from Torquay United.

The 28 year-old Scot, who plays in central defence, has joined the club on a permanent basis, signing a contract until the end of the season.

Rowe [said]... 'I’ve followed Fraser for quite some time and his attributes fit into the way we are trying to move forward'...

After starting out at Birmingham City, Kerr played in Scotland, spending three years in the Scottish Premiership with Motherwell.

He returned south to play for Gateshead and Hartlepool United before linking up with Torquay last year".

Off the field, the Derbyshire Times tells us that "The Spireites are looking into the possibility of building a new ‘state-of-the-art’ training ground.

The plans, which are at a very early stage, would include combining the facility with some classrooms for education. It would be at a new location from the current Hasland base, would be used by the first-team, academy and the general public and funded by grants.

Chief executive, John Croot, believes it would help them attract better players... Chairman Mike Goodwin, said... 'We would look at a new venue and start from scratch using the Football Foundation and grants and anything else that we can get... It won’t happen immediately but it is something we are starting to look at in terms of a feasibility study'...

Croot... added... 'The one thing the community trust does well, which we showed at the Hub, is going out and finding grants and putting financial packages together. We built the Hub and it did not cost the club anything to put that in place. I certainly think that is achievable. We have got a training ground but in modern day football and to move forward, I think we have got to work on getting a bespoke training ground somewhere across north east Derbyshire.'".

Altrincham recently signed James Hardy after the player negotiated his exit from AFC Telford United, following the termination of their National League North season. And similarily AFC Telford United "can confirm we have reached an agreement with Barnet FC for the permanent transfer of defender Lee Vaughan.

This agreement was made following our season becoming null and void, this will allow Lee the opportunity to play some football between now and the end of the season

Boss Gavin Cowan [said]...'It’s a great opportunity for Lee to continue playing and staying sharp. We wish him a prosperous few months at Barnet'".

Meanwhile, Barnet say that Vaughan "joins on a permanent transfer from National League North side AFC Telford.

The right-back makes the move to North London having previously featured for Manager Tim Flowers at Solihull Moors, where he made 35 appearances... The move signals a good fit for the Bees.

Vaughan started his career as a youth product of Birmingham City before moving to Portsmouth as an academy player. In his senior career, he has represented the likes of Kidderminster Harriers, Cheltenham Town and Solihull Moors, making 228 National League appearances in his career...

Flowers said...'He is a player that I know well, he is a player that I trust and most importantly he adds quality to our squad. Lee is aggressive on the pitch, he shows plenty of commitment to the cause and it represents a good move for him and the Club. His on-field qualities are exactly what I am looking for and... he was an integral part of my Solihull team...

'The deal is to the end of the season, so he joins with a point to prove'">

And the Shropshire Star adds that "The all-action full-back appeared 17 times in all competitions for Gavin Cowan's side in the 2020/21 season, including 15 outings in the league. He made his 200th appearance for the club in December...

Like almost all of his Bucks team-mates, Vaughan signed a one-year deal at the club last summer".

Also at The Hive, Barnet have "extended the loan deals for defenders Themis Kefalas and Myles Judd.

Themis Kefalas [a] young centre-back on loan from Queens Park Rangers has had his deal extended up until the end of May, he has made four appearances so far in an Amber shirt...

Right-back Myles Judd has impressed in recent matches and seems to have settled into life at The Hive London, his recent impressive displays has seen manager Tim Flowers extend his deal for another month".

Bermuda's Royal Gazette reminds us that "Jonté Smith’s Woking are one win away from a Wembley cup final.

Smith and his team-mates continued their superb run in the Buildbase FA Trophy via a narrow 1-0 home win over Vanarama National League leaders Torquay United at the weekend...

'It was a tough game; both teams had chances with the penalty miss by them,' Smith told The Royal Gazette. 'We had two cleared off the line as well. It could have gone either way and it probably wasn’t our best performance as a team. But part of becoming a winning team is learning how to win ugly in those tough and scrappy games'...

Torquay finally had the ball in the back of the net from a free kick in stoppage time. However, the goal was flagged offside. Smith and his team-mates then held on the rest of the way to finish the job...

Smith said 'We’re starting to get consistency with results with a few good wins under our belt. Winning against the team that’s top of the league shows the progress we’ve been making... Our whole team will continue to work hard and continue to try to improve until the semi-final'">

The Dorset Echo tells us that "Weymouth boss Brian Stock is unconcerned by the Terras’ tally of 20 lost points from winning positions this season.

Saturday’s 2-2 draw at King’s Lynn was the seventh Vanarama National League game in which the Terras were pegged back by their opponents.

Weymouth also lost a point against Torquay and Yeovil after equalising in their respective 4-3 and 3-1 losses.

Against King’s Lynn, Andy Dallas and Andreas Robinson both put Weymouth ahead at the Walks before Tyler Denton and Cameron King equalised. While Stock noted the statistic appeared poor, he emphasised the majority of lost points came before signing six players in January and the subsequent uptick in results...

'I’m fully aware of that. The demand and standard of this league is intense. The majority of those points we’ve dropped would’ve been at the start of the season.

'When you look at the team and fitness levels, we’ve improved. We’ve brought in six full-time players, he added...

Since the turn of the year, Weymouth have beaten Hartlepool United, Aldershot and Bromley. At the other end of the pitch, the Terras have solidified their defence with the introduction of keeper Ethan Ross, future Aston Villa star Dom Revan and ex-Crystal Palace centre-back Jacob Mensah".


2 March 2021

WOKING: BEFORE THE GAME

Before the match tonight at Altrincham, Woking reported on this being "the first-half of a National League double header against the Robins... The reverse fixture takes place in exactly two weeks at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.

After a miserable Christmas period, the Cards have quietly put together one of their best runs of the season, with back-to-back wins for the first time since mid-December and a run of just two defeats in eight games since the back-to-back losses against local rivals Aldershot Town. Of course, much of that has been down to the club’s enjoyable FA Trophy run, which included Saturday’s 1-0 home win over league leaders Torquay United, setting up a trip to National League North side Hereford in the semi-final later this month. It was a gutsy performance from Alan Dowson’s side, who had Craig Ross to thank for a first-half penalty save and yet another faultless goalkeeping performance, whilst Jamar Loza scored for the second game running with a well-taken effort mid-way through the first-half...

The Cards will be tempted to name an unchanged team for the third match in a row after two successful outings against Barnet and Torquay, where wide-men Jamar Loza and Malachi Napa have particularly impressed, alongside the solid back four. Captain Josh Casey will be one man looking to force his way back into the starting eleven, having been an unused substitute against the Gulls, whilst Jayden Wareham will be battling Jonté Smith for the central striker’s role".

... AND THEN THERE WERE THIRTY-SEVEN!

Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson has responded to an injury crisis and a fifth successive defeat by bringing in no fewer than three loan signings on the eve of the game against Woking.

The new recruits, assuming they are all named in the matchday squad, will bring to thirty-seven the number of players named on an Alty teamsheet in the National League this season.

Altrincham FC announces that the three new recruits, all loanees, are "striker Montel Gibson from Grimsby Town, towering centre-back Yoan Zouma from Barrow and versatile full-back Reagan Ogle from Accrington Stanley, and all three are available for tomorrow night's Vanarama National League fixture with Woking", writes press and media officer, John Edwards.

Barrow explain that "Yoan Zouma has joined Altrincham on a one-month loan deal.

The centre-back joined The Bluebirds at the beginning of October following his release from Bolton Wanderers and has made seven appearances in all competitions during 2020/21.

However, the 22 year-old has not featured in the First Team since November".

Montel Gibson (d.o.b. 15 Dec. 1997)

Left: Montel Gibson is marked by Tom Hannigan at Halesowen in 2019.

A forward, Gibson played against Altrincham for Halesowen Town in an Emirates FA Cup Third Qualifying Round played on Saturday, 5 October 2019.

He was signed by Notts County in 2016 from Midlands club Highgate United. He made five appearances for The Magpies but in 2016-17 he was loaned out four times to Romulus, Barwell, Hednesford Town and Sutton Coldfield Town.

A prolific spell at Ilkeston Town following his release from County led to brief spells with Redditch United and Bedworth United in the Midlands before another prolific spell with Halesowen Town in 2019-20.

He was signed by EFL2 club Grimsby Town in 2020 and has made 19 appearances for the Mariners.

Yoan Zouma (dob 6 May 1998)

Yoan is a tall French centre-back who is the brother of Chelsea's Kurt Zouma. Yoan moved to Bolton Wanderers in 2018 where he made 23 appearances but he was victim of a mass clearout by the financially troubled Trotters.

He then joined Barrow, where he has so far appeared seven times, four of those games being in League Two.

Reagan Ogle (d.o.b. 29 March 1999)

Right: Playing for Southport, Regan Ogle stalks John Johnston in the 2019 clash with Altrincham in the FA Cup.

Reagan's time with Accrington Stanley has included loans with AFC Fylde and Southport, and he has played against Alty for both of those clubs.

Reagan (right) was a used substitute against Alty for AFC Fylde in the FA Cup earlier this season and played four times for Southport against Altrincham in 2019.

An Australian, Reagan originally arrived at Accrington as a scholar in 2015.

TONIGHT'S OPPONENTS: WOKING

Altrincham return to the J Davidson Stadium tonight (Tuesday) after two home games played at Broadhurst Park to protect the Moss Lane playing surface.

Home form for Altrincham has not matched the away performances this season as Woking (17th on PPG) visit Altrincham (16th on PPG).

Recent matches have seen Alty short on attacking choices with forwards Josh Hancock, Dan Mooney, Ryan Colclough and Fisayo Adarbioyo all missing games through injury. And with left-back Connor Hampson limping off in Saturday's defeat at Bromley, the defence has also not been immune to injuries.

It will be Woking's first visit to Moss Lane since 2016 (see below).

Altrincham's historical record between the two clubs shows...

As usual, the match tonight will be streamed via Alty TV.

THREE PLAYER LANDMARKS

Depending on team selection and fitness, there could be three significant player landmarks recorded for Altrincham players as they face Woking tonight.

AFTER BROMLEY

Speaking to the NL Paper after the defeat at Bromley, Alty boss Phil Parkinson said "It was really poor defending today, that's the top and bottom of it.

In possession we do what we do but we weren't clinical enough. We were well beaten in terms of attack v defence, that's what it boils down to.

At the moment we aren't scoring enough and we're conceding goals. I need to address that".

The NLP statistics show Bromley having nine shots on target to Alty's two and winning the corner count 5-2.

ALTY'S MID-TABLE CONUNDRUM

Before Tuesday night's game Altrincham's National League results exhibited a strange pattern.

In eight games played against the current top six, six of which fixtures have been away from home, Alty have lost just once, a 2-1 reverse last time out at the JDS against Wrexham. So the return is 1.83 points per game.

And in the six matches played against the bottom six, they have likewise only lost once, a 1-0 reverse at Wealdstone, winning four times and drawing once in the other matches. The PPG is 2.17 against those clubs.

But in the twelve matches against the middle eleven clubs, Alty have only won three times, and lost the other nine fixtures with a PPG of just 0.75 points.

The PGG from home and away fixtures is likewise counter intuitive with just 11 points gleaned from 10 home games (PPG 1.1) but 22 points earned from 16 away games (PPG 1.375).

JAMES HARDY

Sunday's NL Paper has an interview with Altrincham's most recent signing, James Hardy.

After joining from AFC Telford United, Hardy said "I'm not thnking of anything further forward in terms of where I could go in a few months. I just want to enjoy my time here and then see where it takes me with the club.

"One thing I learnt from Fylde... [is that] for ages, I kept seeing rumours of clubs watching me... and I probably thought about it too much... If you're playing well, it will happen. If you're not, it won't...

"Before I first spoke to Altrincham last week, I looked at the amount of games; there's now 19 left. So basically it's like joining in January in a normal season.

"I know a couple of the lads [at Alty]... Match fitness-wise I've probably got a couple of weeks where I need to be training...

"I can see we've got a really good team" at Altrincham.

WOKING, THE LAST TIME

Tonight's visitors, Woking, have not been to Moss Lane since they lost there 3-1 in a Vanarama National League match played on Tuesday, 26 January, 2016. It was Altrincham's first home league match for nine and a half weeks.

Right: Michael Rankine and Josh Ginnelly greet each other before the Woking match in 2016.

The Robins had not won any of their previous five league matches whilst Woking arrived unbeaten in nine games in all competitions.

With Luca Havern having joined the list of long/medium term injured players at Altrincham had five senior squad players sidelined. They had signed Tranmere defender Marcus Holness on loan on the eve of this match and he made his debut. He was just one of four recent loanees in the injury-ravaged Alty squad.

Of the other three, Josh Ginnelly and Jonny Margetts started whilst Dylan Mottley-Henry was named on the bench. James Lawrie, Sam Heathcote, Josh O'Keefe and Damian Reeves joined him as substitutes whilst, exceptionally for that season, Alty named no substitute keeper.

In the game with Woking, Altrincham lifted themselves out of the bottom four with a spirited performance and deserved win. Alty took a 13th minute lead when Woking goalkeeper Cole flapped at an aerial ball prompting a goal-mouth scramble. Although the ball was then half cleared, Margetts was felled in the process and Rankine blasted home the resulting penalty kick.

Burnley loanee Josh Ginnelly, who again impressed both with his pace going forward and his willingness to get back and provide cover, made it 2-0 just before the break. He scored from close range after Simon Richman's effort had only been parried.

Woking got back into the game when Sole netted from a 20 yard freekick (57 mins). But another Altrincham loanee, Jonny Margetts made it 3-1 after 71 minutes when Rankine's nod forward saw him judged to be onside and he finished impressively.

The game got a little feisty but Woking could find no way back as Altrincham deservedly took the three points.

NEXT SATURDAY

Altrincham were scheduled to entertain Dover Athletic next Saturday, 6 March but the Kent club has formally advised Alty that they will not be travelling as they have furloughed their players.

So the next game after tonight is on Tuesday, 9 March, when Hartlepool United visit Altrincham for the first time since Alty knocked them out of the FA Cup at Moss Lane in 1973/74 season.

ON THIS DAY: 2 March

Above: Alty defend an Oxford City freekick.

Eight years ago, on Saturday, 2 March 2013, Altrincham defeated Oxford City 3-1 in a Blue Square Bet North match at Moss Lane.

Altrincham made one change for the match as Duncan Watmore came back into the starting eleven and Carl Rodgers moved to the bench. With the attacking quartet of Reeves, Watmore, Mills and Lawrie all starting, the bench comprised defensive and midfield players only. Scott Leather and Patrick Lacey retained their recently regained places in the starting formation.

Alty captain Shaun Densmore was making his 200th appearance for the club.

An impressive second half performance from Altrincham, which included two goals and two more efforts hitting the woodwork, settled this match. Duncan Watmore was the key figure and it was fitting that he hammered home the last goal, in the 81st minute, from Damian Reeves's feed. A minute earlier Reeves had netted his second of the match after substitute Carl Rodgers and Nicky Clee, also in good form, had done well.

Earlier, City had taken a 20th minute lead when Felipe Barcelos finished from 12 yards after Stuart Coburn had only been able to push a testing, low cross out to the Brazilian forward. Alty had levelled five minutes before the interval when James Lawrie did well at the by-line, right of goal, to get the ball across the face of goal to where Reeves headed home at the back post.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Nicky CLEE, 4. Patrick LACEY, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Scott LEATHER, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. James LAWRIE, 9. Ben MILLS, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Duncan WATMORE, Subs: 12. Matt DOUGHTY, 14. Danny HALL, 15. Carl RODGERS, 16. Jake MOULT, 18. Stephen BULLEN.

NW AND NE NEWS

The Chorley Guardian reports that "A famed Lancashire football club's stadium has been bulldozed to make way for a housing estate.

Above: Mark Maddox in action at Burscough, watched by Ged Kielty, in 2004.

The landlords of Burscough FC, the smallest club ever to win the FA Trophy, have dug up Victoria Park, its home throughout its 75-year history.

The club, which plays in the Premier Division of the North West Counties League... is building a replacement ground on land nearby. West Lancashire Council had insisted work to dismantle the old stadium must not start until the new ground was ready for games to ensure a 'seamless transition.'

Even though permission was only officially granted last week, foundations for what will be a development of 52 affordable homes have already been laid on what was the 3,000 capacity Victoria Park. But the new ground is almost complete and the North West Counties League season has now been officially abandoned, meaning football will not return until August.

Plans by site owners Torus Housing and Chequer Properties were given the go-ahead by the council on February 18 despite scores of objections from local residents...

One football fan said 'Skelmersdale lost its football ground in similar circumstances'. Another said 'The football ground was gifted to the people of Burscough and shouldn't be demolished'...

It was back in 2007 that the club first recognised its facilities at Victoria Park were 'falling far short of modern requirements.' It submitted plans to the council to redevelop the stadium. But, by 2010, the club had fallen into financial difficulties, owing around £800,000, and was forced to offer Victoria Park for sale on the open market to clear its debts and fund a new ground.

It was bought by Torus and the sale will now finance the new stadium, which was given the go-ahead by West Lancashire Council in 2015".

And the NL Paper confirms that "York City fans are bidding on items from their historic Bootham Crescent ground after the club completed their move to the LNER Community Stadium.

Everything from turf and seats to goalposts and toilets are up for a sale in a blind auction that was the brainchild of director Richard Parsons".

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

According to the Daily Mail "King’s Lynn need around £300,000 to finish their season... but are out of cash...

King’s Lynn [were]... unsure if a draw against Weymouth marked the end of their first campaign at this level. Chairman and owner Stephen Cleeve held an impromptu summit on the pitch after the final whistle with manager Ian Culverhouse and director of football Rob Back.

Culverhouse peeled away, clearly unhappy, eyes fixed on the turf as he strode back down the tunnel. The others followed and crisis talks continued indoors. Earlier Cleeve had paused to explain his dilemma, finding a quiet corner away from the pre-match buzz before going off to deliver co-commentary for his club’s streaming service.

King’s Lynn, he estimates, will need another £300,000 to complete the season, but are out of money and the only help available is in the form of a loan from Sport England...

Bottom club Dover refused to play on. Cleeve would like to do the same. It seems prudent but clubs voted 13-7 to continue the season so Dover have been charged by the league with failing to fulfil their fixtures. An independent panel will decide their fate, with power to impose any sanction ranging from a slap on the wrist to expulsion.

‘It’s already cost us a lot of money to get into this league,’ said Cleeve, having plugged a shortfall of £140,000 last season. ‘If we stop playing and don’t take the loan, which I’d like to do, the league will charge us. Then the independent panel might want to relegate us or deduct points or fine us and I’m balancing that with the cost of playing on and putting the club into debt for 20 years.

‘Imagine if I’d gone to the League at the start of the season and asked them to get rid of the clause that stops me borrowing money because I’d like to borrow £500,000, put it into the playing budget and have a real go at promotion. There’s no way they’d allow it and now that’s what they’re asking me to do. Only without having a go at promotion. Just to complete the season and so other clubs can be promoted.

‘We’re stuck in this horrible situation, whichever way you look it gives you a headache because every solution has repercussions.’ An appeal for funds instigated by Norwich fans quickly raised about £10,000. ‘They have been very kind,’ said Cleeve, but the shortfall remains huge...

However, King’s Lynn do look set to fulfil the fixture at Notts County. Weymouth, thought to be one of the seven who voted to stop, have since resolved to play on by cutting costs, utilising the furlough scheme for players not in the plans of manager Brian Stock, and searching for new investment.

They travelled from Dorset without club officials and could stretch to a night in a four-star hotel on the way. ‘We will go to the end of the season,’ said Stock, whose side led twice through Andrew Dallas and Andreas Robinson only for Tyler Denton and Cameron King to find equalisers.

The draw keeps Weymouth in the bottom three and King’s Lynn just above. Clubs have been told there will be no relegation if they complete the fixtures but verbal assurances are treated with suspicion. National Leagues North and South voted to stop last month... A plan is being hatched which might enable those North and South teams who want to play on to come together in a competition, perhaps reviving the chance of promotion".

At Notts County "Neal Ardley says he is working hard to make additions to his squad following injuries to Ben Turner and Tyler Golden.

The pair are likely to be missing for several weeks after Turner hobbled out of the warm up and Golden rolled his ankle in the first half of Saturday's FA Trophy victory against Oxford City...

And... [with] the continued absence of Richard Brindley and Damien McCrory, Ardley is determined to recruit extra bodies. 'We need another centre half and right back and whoever comes in has got to be ready to go,' said Ardley.

'As soon as Ben Turner walked in from the warm-up on Saturday, at around 2.45pm, I rang Richard Montague to tell him that he needed to get on the case over the weekend. Then, obviously, Tylor happened. I think Greg Abbott had about 20 minutes with his family yesterday, other than that he was on the phone all day, but it’s tough because not everyone answers on a Sunday...

'We’re doing everything we can to try and get a couple of really good bodies in really, really quickly.... It’s really important that fans understand I can’t pick the same team every week going forward,' he said.

'Connell Rawlinson and Alex Lacey, for example, have played five games on the trot and they’re almost at the point of cumulative fatigue and injury. If we lost either of them for six weeks everyone would be devastated, so I’ve got to look after their bodies.'".

And the Nottingham Post adds that "Alex Lacey and Connell Rawlinson are currently the only two fit centre-backs on the books...

Dion Kelly-Evans is now the only fit and available right-back for Notts whose options are becoming increasingly stretched..

'Ben is likely to be anything up to sort of two weeks to four weeks and it's the same with Tyler,' Ardley said. 'But the problem is that in those two weeks, there are another five games. And then that's another round of games that Connell, Alex and Dion Kelly-Evans have to play because we've got no alternatives. It's not possible'...

Notts already have five players on loan, which is the maximum you can name in any matchday squad, Ardley said it would be a situation he would have to manage".

Weymouth "boss Brian Stock joked the Terras’ 2-2 draw at King’s Lynn Town 'was like a basketball match'.

In a frantic first half, Andy Dallas notched his fifth Weymouth goal in the 12th minute after a fine interception and assist from Calvin Brooks.

King’s Lynn, also promoted to the Vanarama National League for this season, replied when Tyler Denton’s rocket beat Ethan Ross in the away goal.

Andy Robinson responded with a 25-yard missile of his own to restore Weymouth’s lead, but Cameron King’s neat finish capped a lovely team move as King’s Lynn levelled again.

With all four goals coming in the space of 23 first-half minutes, an open game gave way to a more cautious second half as the sides settled for a point.

It meant Weymouth were rewarded for spending money on a hotel for the game but, should struggling King’s Lynn follow Dover in pausing play, the Terras could lose the point if the Linnets’ results are expunged.

'It was like a basketball match,' Stock told Echosport... 'We had to switch formation, which was something we had up our sleeve in case we needed to. It’s important when you play teams that have got that little bit of flexibility that you have to have something to go to. We did, and it worked.'

Stock paid credit to King’s Lynn, adding 'I did say they are one of the best sides we’ve played. They are a very, very good outfit that cause teams a lot of problems...

'I thought it was quite a fair game, overall,' he said... 'Over the course of 90 minutes I’d say it was a fair result. It was important we didn’t lose the game given the situation of where we both are in the league. When we do things right, with a hotel, it’s important the result is there to get back on the coach, on a long journey back, and have something to show for it'".


1 March 2021

PHIL WILL "BE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THIS"

Altrincham FC reports via an Alty TV interview conducted by Brian Flynn that, after five defeats in a row, manager "Phil Parkinson... can reassure people I will be doing something about this",

THe club website adds that "Phil Parkinson tells us how annoyed he is with the way the team defended in the 3-1 reverse at Bromley on Saturday and looks forward to football returning to The J.Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night against Woking".

ALTY'S INVISIBLE MEN

No fewer than 21 players who have been assigned Altrincham first-team squad numbers for 2020-21 have not been seen in person in National League action by the club's supporters in this Behind Closed Doors season... unless they happened to see three of them when they spent spells with the club in previous seasons.

And, at least ten players who have been assigned 2020-21 squad numbers for Altrincham may never be seen by the supporters as they have already moved on before being seen "live" during the 2020-21 campaign.

The ten 2020-21 squad members who have already departed are...

In addition, another eleven players who have arrived at the club, or joined the first-team squad, this season still apparently remain with Altrincham but all the games for which they have been named in a matchday squad have been behind closed doors:

And, in addition to not seeing so many players, supporters have had to contend with the re-use of squad numbers...

No fewer than six squad numbers have been re-assigned in 2020-21.

Two numbers assigned to players who have left the club are no longer in current use:

NEXT GAME: WOKING

The National League fixtures originally dictated that Altrincham should have entertained Woking on Tuesday 8 December, a mere 400-mile midweek round trip. However, a waterlogged pitch put paid to that plan, hence next Tuesday's meeting.

So the return fixture, also on a Tuesday night, is just a fortnight later on 16 March. Although Alty go into this Tuesday's game six places and seven points above their Surrey opponents, they have played five more games. So, on points per game, Woking lie just one place lower (17th) in the pecking order.

For Alty, it is an opportunity to end a run of five successive defeats, their worst run since the disastrous National League North season of of 2016-17, which witnessed an eight-game losing sequence. There was a seven-game losing sequence from the end of 2014-15 to 2015-16 season at National League level but the worst run before that in one season at that level was in 2010-11 when seven successive matches were lost.

NOT ON THIS DAY: 29 February

Last year the day that followed 28th February was 29th February but, with 2021 not being a Leap Year, that is not the case as today is 1st March.

However, the match a year ago today should not go unremembered as Altrincham's trip to Hereford FC that day was to be the last away game of the 2019-20 season, apart from the much later play-offs, and was also the last time that Alty supporters were able to watch a National League match at an away ground, unless any disguised Alty fans got into Victoria Road to see Dagenham and Redbridge v Altrincham this season.

At Hereford, in a gate of 1,698, there were 98 away supporters recorded in the segregated section of Edgar Street.

This was Altrincham's first meeting with Hereford FC who had been reformed out of the ashes of Hereford United. Having risen rapidly back to this level of the pyramid, Hereford FC had hit the buffers since August 14 when they had recorded their last victory. A change of manager had taken place but former Gloucester City boss Marc Harris was seeking his first win today after two draws in his previous games in charge.

The trip to Hereford had taken the supporters' coach through flooded terrain in Worcestershire and this match was one of just four fixtures to defy the weather that day. With Storm Jorge battering the UK and seven matches postponed in the National League North, Alty consolidated their position in the play offs with a 2-0 win. But whilst the pitch was in excellent condition, strong and gusty winds and occasional hail showers made conditions difficult.

Alty's starting line-up was unchanged except that this was Elliott Durrell's first start, at the expense of Craig Mahon, who was on the bench, where Andy White was missing, along with Max Harrop, who was ill. So, Simon Richman returned to the bench whilst Sean Williams was involved in the warm up as he recovered from injury. James Hooper, Alty's recent signing was also present.

Altrincham took the lead as the game was about to go into first-half added time. On the left, Dan Mooney made space to get in a deep cross, which Durrell met with a superb volley from 12 yards.

Above: With the clock ticking down to halftime in the background, Elliott Durrell (no.11), sporting a new blond look, volleyed home Alty's opening goal at Hereford. It was his third goal in three appearances since joining the club, all in games away from Altrincham.

Hereford wasted three good chances to level in the second half, with Kelsey Mooney the culprit twice, poking an effort wide and later heading a corner over the bar. And Owen-Evans went close with a shot from the edge of the box.

Alty wrapped up the points when Richman, who had just come on as a substitute, reacted quickly to net a loose ball after a fine shot from Hulme had been parried out by Brandon Hall, with six minutes remaining.

Underlining the changes that have taken place this season, only three of the starters in the game at Hereford one year ago also completed ninety minutes at Bromley for Alty on Saturday, (Thompson, Moult and Hannigan).

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. James JONES, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. Daniel MOONEY, 8. Josh LUNDSTRAM, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Elliott DURRELL. Subs: 12. Craig MAHON, 14. Lewis WALTERS, 15. Tom PEERS, 16. Toby MULLARKEY, 17. Simon RICHMAN

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

The Nottingham Post reports on Notts County as "The Magpies booked their place in the semi-final of the Trophy with victory over Oxford City as Elisha Sam scored a wondergoal but behind the jubilation there was some concerning news.

Notts County are facing a potential defensive crisis after Ben Turner suffered a calf injury which has left the club with just two fit centre-backs. The former Cardiff defender was set to start the Magpies' 3-1 win over Oxford City at the weekend but had to pull out of the game after injuring his calf in the warm-up.

Connell Rawlinson was then forced into the heart of the defence, but boss Neal Ardley had admitted in the build-up that he had jarred his knee in last Tuesday's goalless draw at Stockport. But the former Port Vale defender came through the game okay although there are concerns about Turner's injury which Notts will now assess in the next 48 hours.

It is hoped the injury is not too severe given Notts only have Rawlinson and Alex Lacey as the only centre-backs on the books. Assistant manager Greg Abbott... did not rule out a potential raid on the transfer market...

He said, 'We can't go into the next period without another centre-back... We need Connell we need Ben, we need Alex. They are our three centre-backs and they're all capable players'".

Also from the Nottingham Post we learn that "Notts County are just one win away from booking their place in the FA Trophy final at Wembley after they overcame Oxford City in the quarter-final at Meadow Lane.

The Magpies had fallen behind against the Conference South side in the first half when James Roberts' strike deflected off Tyler Golden to deceive Sam Slocombe.

Trailing 1-0 at the break, the Magpies were far better after the break when Elisha Sam equalised with a fine individual effort and then struck a ridiculous backheeled volley in what was a goal of the season contender at any level.

Jimmy Knowles then wrapped the game up in stoppage time when he ran the full length of the pitch as Oxford City's goalkeeper went up for a corner and Notts broke allowing the forward to tap into an empty net.. Sam was extremely humble in his post-match interview despite the chaos his goal was causing on social media... It must have been an extremely challenging year given the striker’s family in Belgium are unable to visit because of the travel restrictions enforced by Covid-19..

But there were some shocks on the day as Torquay United were dumped out by Woking while Conference South side Hereford ended Aldershot’s journey by winning on penalties... Unsurprisingly, the bookmakers make Ardley’s side favourites to lift the trophy...

They were racked with indecision, played in risky areas, and countless passes went astray. In fact, everything that could have gone wrong in the first half invariably did. Neal Ardley rightly got the hump with the performance at half-time leading assistant boss Greg Abbott to admit how the Notts manager had steam coming out of his ears... They were fortunate that Oxford City, who had not played since the middle of February, were not able to capitalise on a number of unforced errors...

In the end, Notts ran out comfortable winners as the tactical switch allied with the players reacting to few verbal grenades thrown their way, proved decisive".

In the Hartlepool Mail, "Barnet manager Tim Flowers singles out Hartlepool United match winner Luke Armstrong...

The Salford City loanee scored his ninth goal in 13 league appearances for Pools to help the side claim a 1-0 win over The Bees at Victoria Park on Saturday evening. It was an eighth successive home win for Hartlepool against a Barnet side who have now won just one of their last 19 matches.

'We were competitive and worked hard,' Flowers told BT Sport after the match... We switched off for the goal and let Shelton get the ball in.'

On Pools’ goalscorer, the Barnet boss added 'Armstrong is miles better than this level, miles better and that goal was the difference between us'".

According to the Derbyshire Times "Stockport County manager Simon Rusk said his team ‘deserved’ their win against Chesterfield on Saturday.

Second-half goals from James Jennings and Alex Reid sealed the points for the Hatters. 'It was a tough fixture today and it was always going to be a tough, tight game,' Rusk said... 'We were facing a team in good form and who have strengthened so I am really happy we turned it into three points. We built pressure and we were the team on top from the start of the game...

'We felt at half-time that eventually there would be a space that appeared and Jennings had the ambition to get on the other side and he did and he took his goal fabulously.'"



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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