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26 January 2021

ALTRINCHAM v WEALDSTONE

At what promises to be a very soggy J. Davidson Stadium tonight, Altrincham's National League match at home to Wealdstone is set to kick off at 7.45pm.

As usual the Club is streaming the match and access can be purchased here.

The Robins will be looking for revenge after suffering a narrow defeat in the reverse fixture earlier this season. The Home Coumnties club arrives after a poor run of form, having lost six and drawn two of their last nine league fixtures. Their only win in the League since mid-November has been a 2-1 victory at home to Weymouth.

Altrincham have won four and drawn three of their last eight matches, their only defeat coming at FC Halifax Town. Tonight is just the second home league match for Altrincham in the last two months, the exception being the Boxing Day game against Stockport County.

COMPLETING THE SEASON

The Times reports that "Funding disputes, quarrels with government, Covid-19 fears, league suspensions; is another National League campaign about to fall victim to the pandemic?

'I think we’re looking at the collapse of the National League season, and with that, I fear that there are some clubs who won’t make it through the summer,' Steve Thompson, the Dagenham & Redbridge managing director, says....

Back in October, you may recall, the National League only agreed to kick off its season because of a £10 million grant, brokered by the government and secured through the National Lottery promotional fund, to cover lost revenue over the first three months of the season.

Clubs say they were led to believe that grants would continue for as long as supporters were denied access to stadiums. In November, Mike Tattersall and Mark Bullingham, the chief executives of the National League and FA respectively, left a meeting with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) with the same impression.

Now, however, the DCMS refute that funding was 'promised as all grants', and have offered £11 million of low-interest loans instead. 'The majority of clubs across all three divisions indicated that they didn’t want the league to mortgage its future, which would be a millstone round our neck for the next 20 years, to finish the season,' Thompson, who is also a National League board member, says.

By Thursday, meanwhile, a number of clubs, including Havant & Waterlooville, had already taken the decision not to play their upcoming fixtures until routine testing had been implemented in line with other ‘elite’ leagues. The Havant kit man, Richie Pope, spent eight days in intensive care with coronavirus before Christmas. Their chairman, Derek Pope, and his wife, Sue, were both seriously ill. The father of their winger Roarie Deacon died...

All levels below the National League have been suspended since November, where another season looks likely to be lost to the pandemic. If the National League follows suit, however, the £10 million National Lottery grant may as well have been poured 'down the drain', as Marc White, the Dorking Wanderers chairman/manager, says. And as White suggests, the cost to the taxpayer of furloughing staff would exceed the cost of a grant by several million pounds.

King’s Lynn chairman, Stephen Cleeve, told The Non-League Paper 'Let’s just say this was a limited company, and I said it would cost £17 million to do this, or £11 million to do that, which would you rather do? You’d pay the £11 million,' he said..

'Unless some money, in the form of a grant, materialises, I don’t believe there will be the appetite in our league, or the National League South, to play on,' Jason McGill [York City] says. And at Step One there may well be a split. 'What if six or seven clubs say they can’t afford to carry on?' Thompson says. 'Do you expunge their records, and ask the rest to continue? Or do you run them into the ground?'"

Elsewhere in The Times, "A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said 'It is untrue to suggest funding to the National League was ever promised as all grants and they have been unable to substantiate this claim. If any individual Step 1 and 2 National League club can demonstrate it is in critical need of support and would be unable to repay a loan, grant applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. This will of course be through the same rigorous process that we apply to other sports.'"

MIDWEEK GAMES

Tuesday 26th January

Wednesday 27th January

TELEVISED VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE GAMES

All of the clubs in the latest list of televised matches are ex-League clubs.

ON THIS DAY: 26 January

Above: Mace, the Brakes' number six heads goalwards in the lead-up to their first goal. Tony Thompson beat the header away but it was worked through to Junior English to score.

Two years ago today, in a Vanarama National League North match played on Saturday, 26 January 2019, against a Leamington side without a win in eleven outings, Altrincham put on one of their poorest performances of the season.

Altrincham started with the same eleven that had begun the match when Alty lost heavily at Chorley recently but which had also won impressively against both Boston and Southport. The visitors' bench included new loan signing Nathan Waterston from Barrow.

Belying the eventual result, there had been a bright start from Altrincham before they fell behind in the twelfth minute. The Robins, having failed to threaten from any of their own three early corners, failed to deal with Leamington's first flag-kick. From the corner, an effort from Mace was blocked but Alty then failed to clear the resulting loose ball in a melee inside the box, from which English scored from close range.

From that point on it was as if a switch had been flicked as Altrincham became distinctly second-best. Leamington doubled their lead twenty minutes later from the penalty spot. The Brakes' Solihull loanee Murphy got away from Hampson and the pursuing Hannigan brought down the Brakes' player inside the box.

Goalkeeper Thompson got a hand to the spot-kick by Bishop, but could not keep it out.

A minute from the end of the first forty-five, Bishop netted his second when he outmuscled Jones to nod home a cross from the right by English.

Altrincham saw more of the ball in a second half played in increasingly blustery and, latterly, wet conditions.

But the visitors created little threat to Breedon's goal before Jordan Hulme got himself needlessly sent off. Altrincham's substitute debutant loanee, Nathan Waterston, had gone down under a challenge from a defender inside the box. When no penalty was signalled and the offender, English, indicated that Waterston had no cause to claim a penalty, Hulme got himself ridiculously sent off for aiming a kick at the Leamington man.

The referee missed the incident but his linesman alerted him to it and a straight red card was shown. Hulme was looking at a four-match ban, having already seen red that season. And, to complete a sorry afternoon, post-match news from elsewhere indicated that Alty's James Poole had limped off for Hyde whilst playing for his loan club.

Having conceded four goals in the final forty-five minutes at Chorley in the previous away game and, now, three in the first forty-five at Leamington, Alty had conceded seven times in ninety-minutes of away football.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Andy White, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Simon Richman, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Max Harrop. Subs: 12. Kallum Mantack, 14. Sean Williams, 15. Nathan Waterston, 16. Shaun Densmore, 17. Ben Harrison

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

NL Daily reports that "Bromley have signed midfielder Jack Bridge.

The 25 year-old’s career so far has included time with the likes of Carlisle United and Northampton Town.

The former Southend United youngster has more recently been with Concord Rangers in the National League South".

And Bromley> add that "For the second Tuesday in succession we welcome Woking Football Club to Hayes Lane, this time for the first of this season’s Vanarama National League fixtures.

It was just seven days ago that the Surrey club visited for a 4th round FA Trophy tie, and they went home with a 7-6 penalty win after the match had ended all square at 1-1 after ninety minutes".

The Hartlepool Mail says that "The current campaign hangs in the balance... The DCMS allocated £11 million to be distributed as loans but this offer was subsequently rejected by the vast majority of the National League's 66 member clubs.

Some clubs, including Hartlepool United and Notts County, were in favour of the National League taking on the loan and redistributing it to its clubs as grants in order to allow the season to continue. But following a board meeting on Friday, the league made a u-turn on this option and informed clubs that it would no longer be viable.

Others, mostly in the National League North and South, favoured suspending the season to allow more time for the National League and DCMS to come to a satisfactory solution...

While National League matches continued over the weekend, the latest u-turn has cast serious doubt over the season continuing as planned. The National League will be holding a meeting with the DCMS over Zoom on Monday, January 25 in an attempt to find a resolution...

Hartlepool manager Dave Challinor didn’t hold back when asked his views. '[The National League] have taken a lot of criticism for how they run things and they’ve done themselves absolutely no favours whatsoever with the decisions that they’ve made', he said. 'They’ve made themselves look even more unprofessional with the way things are being run. There’s been no decisiveness in their actions. You look at circumstances and clubs were asked to put forward their thoughts with the understanding that a decision would be made from that.

'Then it comes out that the National League North and South wouldn’t play. I don’t get the understanding behind why emails are being sent to National League clubs on Friday night when teams are preparing for a game within 12-hours. In what world does that need to happen?... The next few days I imagine will be quite telling.

'But the hope we had in our league from the majority of teams to continue having voted for option two, that hope has been dashed. As far as the National League are concerned, that option that was there no longer is for some unknown reason'".

Notts County "have reversed this week’s Vanarama National League fixture against Solihull Moors, with the game now taking place at Meadow Lane on Wednesday.

Solihull were due to host us on Tuesday but they this morning contacted us with concerns about their pitch following heavy snowfall at the weekend.

We have therefore agreed with the National League to bring the home fixture forward to Wednesday 27 January (7.45pm), with our away trip now taking place on Tuesday 13 April (7.45pm).

The Meadow Lane playing surface is currently under snow which will be left in place overnight to protect the turf from the forecasted heavy frost. Staff will then work throughout Tuesday to remove the snow and give the match the best possible chance of going ahead".

King's Lynn Town report that "Following on from Saturday’s last minute defeat against Dagenham & Redbridge, Lynn are back in National League action at The Walks on Tuesday evening with the visit of Stockport County.

Stockport, one of the pre-season league favourites, are currently 4th... Despite being in the play-off positions long serving manager Jim Gannon was sacked last week... Gannon had been in charge for over 500 matches and the club could possibly have a new manager in place by tomorrow’s game.

Leading scorer for County is John Rooney, brother of Wayne, with 8 goals closely followed by Alex Reid with 7...

Saturday’s defeat, very much a game of two halves, saw Lynn end the day in 19th place 8 points above the bottom three. This will be Lynn’s first home game since 9th January and is the start of a tough run of games with Wrexham at home this Saturday followed by a trip to Chesterfield next Tuesday.

Rory McAuley returns to the squad following suspension. Tyler Denton could make his full debut after coming on as a sub on Saturday but Alex Kiwomya is likely to miss out with a hamstring injury picked up in the first half against Dagenham.

Stockport have only lost one of their last 5 league games, however 4 of these have been draws. They were impressive against West Ham in the FA Cup losing to a late goal. Lynn, prior to Dagenham, had gone 3 games unbeaten and the win at Eastleigh was their first in the league since November".

According to the Halifax Courier, "Town boss Pete Wild says any positive result at Wrexham on Tuesday night would be a fantastic way to follow their win at Bromley at the weekend.

Goals from Luke Summerfield and Jamie Allen saw Town win 2-1 at Bromley on Saturday, keeping them sixth in the National League table...

'We’re all in a good place after Saturday, but we’re now desperate to repeat how we played on Saturday tomorrow night,' said the Town boss. 'I think it’s going to be a similar sort of game, Wrexham are quite direct, like to get the ball forward, into forward areas, early, like Bromley. So I expect another physical encounter with a team that will probably play a similar way to Bromley.'

Wild added... 'Any points you can pick up in the road always help, and if you can back them up with wins at home, then it’s good form'...

Wing-back Danny Williams is rated at 50-50 to play due to swelling on his ankle. On loan striker Lewis Mansell returned to training today so should return to the squad, but midfielder Martin Woods missed training today so isn’t expected to feature.

Wild is hoping to have striker Jake Hyde back among the squad in the next seven days, and is hoping midfielder Reuben Noble-Lazarus will be in contention within the next 10 days".

Weymouth "introduce Joan Luque as our latest signing.

The Barcelona-born 28-year-old, Luque joins the Terras from National League South side Maidstone United.

A 6ft 1 winger, Luque started his youth career with Spanish giant Barcelona’s academy before making his senior debut with UDA Gramenet in 2012.

Luque made the move to England in July 2017 when he impressed during a trial with Heybridge Swifts, there he scored 17 league goals in 38 games.. He then earned a move to Lincoln City before spells with Dagenham & Redbridge and Concord Rangers".

Also at Weymouth the Terras "welcome Andrew Dallas to the Bob Lucas Stadium.

Dallas, 21 years-old, joins the Terras on loan from League Two side Cambridge United.

The 5ft 10 forward started his career with Scottish Premiership side Rangers... Dallas made his professional debut whilst on loan at Stenhousemuir...

The Scotsman was then signed by Cambridge United in July 2019 on a two-year-deal for an undisclosed fee".

The Norttingham Post confirms that "Wes Thomas has left Notts County after the club 'reluctantly accepted' his request to terminate his contract.

The forward had been absent in recent weeks after refusing to train with the first team due to his concerns over Covid as the club gave him a bespoke programme to keep him fit at Meadow Lane.

Notts moved to fill his position by signing Inih Effiong on loan from Stevenage until the end of the season as they waited for Thomas in the hope he would return when he felt it was safe. But the club has now confirmed his departure in a brief statement...

It said 'We have this afternoon reluctantly accepted Wes Thomas’ request to terminate his contract. The forward, who joined us in 2019, cited family reasons behind his decision and departs with our best wishes for the future.'"


25 January, 2021

AFTER THE GAME AT BARNET

Following the win at Barnet on Saturday, Alty manager Phil Parkinson told the NL Paper, "I thought we put in an outstanding performance and not just because of the win. I thought we dominated possession from the start to the end. We were patient in our build up. It was always going to be a game of very few chances because Barnet had so many behind the ball.

These players have got the desire and the understanding of how [to] win a game and play through a team.

The quality on display was brilliant, the performance was top drawer", he concluded.

KOSYLO INTERVIEW

Brian Flynn, press and media officer, interviewed Matty Kosylo after the win at Barnet on Saturday. The audio interview can be heard here.

NEW ALTY DIRECTOR OUTLINES HIS AIMS

Altrincham FC press and media officer John Edwards writes that "Altrincham's prospects of continuing to move in the right direction took another turn for the better on Friday when it was announced that two Vancouver-based businessmen had been appointed to the board of directors at The J.Davidson Stadium.

Chris Parry and Scott Burton both expressed their delight at becoming Alty directors... Chris, an Australian by origin who runs Equity Guru, an information provision and analysis company focusing on millennial investors...

'Hi. I’m Chris Parry, new Altrincham FC investor and board member, and the latest of the cadre of Canadians choosing to take their Football Manager skills to the next level by buying into a non-league club...

I’m a financial journalist, born in Australia, living life in Vancouver, a ‘born into it’ West Ham fan..., and have been involved in football as a player, coach, or community club board member... I’m on the board at my local Richmond FC and have had a blast helping take that from a small boys’ club to a prosperous, innovative, all-gender organization...

Recently I set out to take that experience to the next level and strike an item off my bucket list by finding a UK club to buy into...

Altrincham FC Co-Chairman Lawrence Looney [left] called me back and immediately spoke the words I didn’t know I wanted to hear 'We don’t really need your money, we’re profitable as things stand. So what skill set can you bring to the club that we don’t already have?'...

Here was a team... with a plan to responsibly transition to fully pro, to responsibly upgrade a stadium in a manner that won’t drag the organization under financially, and with a board that shares a common belief that they’re in place to protect a century of history, while gradually upgrading infrastructure and the squad and connection to the local community so fans can enjoy ongoing success for years to come...

To answer his question about what I can add to the board; I deal with investors and financiers and bankers, CEOs and family offices and brokers, all day every day. When the time comes that Alty needs a financial injection for infrastructure improvements to meet League Two standards (and if on-field success continues as it has, that time may be soon), I’m someone who can help bring those pieces together. Streamlining the business plan, the investor documentation, the share structure – that’s my jam...

The FA has determined I’m a fit and proper person, and the Alty board wants to get that Sponsors’ Lounge upgrade finished, so here I am, your new foreign overlord, setting my alarm for 7am on a Saturday to watch the Robins put the full-timers to shame...

What does that mean for you, the Altrincham faithful? Well, more of the same, really... It, frankly, leaves me feeling thoroughly hacked off when I see some big money guy swan into a team with a century or more of history behind it, blow through a few million in quick time, and leave the thing burning behind them when the bills come in...

To me, being a shareholder means being a guardian of that history and having a chance to contribute to it, not using it as a means of pumping my ego or squeezing it for profits. I come to Altrincham with the confident belief I may never see a return on my money, other than to see it being put to good use on the pitch, and that’s more than enough for me.

Let’s keep building on what the board and coaching staff have put in place already, give Parky and the lads everything they need to keep winning, and I’ll help when called on in every way I can".

CHESHIRE NEWS: NEW COUNTY BOSS

The new manager at Stockport County has played against Alty as a right back for Northwich Victoria, Crawley Town as well as for York City. He will now pit his wits against Phil Parkinson from the County dugout.

The Athletic confirms that "Simon Rusk is on course to end a nine-year association with Brighton and Hove Albion by becoming the manager of National League side Stockport County, reports Andy Naylor.

Right: On Boxing Day 2007, playing for Northwich Victoria against Alty, the man on the ball for Vics is Simon Rusk who went on to play for York City and Crawley Town in games against Altrincham.

The 39 year-old Under-23s' coach is set to succeed Jim Gannon, who was sacked by Stockport on Thursday.

Rusk was a midfielder at Boston United, York City and Crawley Town during his playing career. He has been under-23s' coach at Brighton for six years after three years as under-18s' coach.

Rusk will now become the Stockport manager, making his first step into a role as a first-team boss."

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

According to the Derbyshire Times "Goalkeeper Kyle Letheren has left Chesterfield after six months at the club and is thought to be joining League Two Morecambe.

The 33-year-old was signed by former manager John Pemberton in August as a replacement for Shwan Jalal, who departed in the summer.

Letheren made 16 appearances for Town this season, recording seven clean sheets, including five in a row from December to January.

His last game for the Blues was the late defeat to Solihull Moors in January 2, in which his mistake cost Chesterfield a point...

The Spireites said 'Keeper Kyle Letheren’s departure from the club by mutual consent has been confirmed... following the arrival of Adam Przybek and Grant Smith earlier this week."

Also from the Derbyshire Times, comes news of another potential departure from Chesterfield as "Swindon Town have made an approach to sign Chesterfield captain Will Evans on a permanent deal in the last week, we understand.

No agreement was reached and it has not developed any further since.

If it was to happen, it would mean Evans, 29, would link up again with former Spireites manager John Sheridan, who made him skipper last season.

In the Halifax Courier "FC Halifax Town boss Pete Wild says the National League season must continue as... Football in the National League North and South was suspended this week...

Wild, speaking after Town's 2-1 win at Bromley on Saturday, said that... the season, in the fifth tier at least, should carry on.

'We've got to keep going, and prove to the league that we can fulfil the fixtures, and we only do that by playing them...I think we'll be fine, we've just got to keep playing...

'We've got to prove as football clubs that we can fulfil the fixtures, so when I saw all the fixtures were on in our league I was over the moon because that's proving to the league, to whoever's giving us the grants etc etc, that we can finish this league...

'I'm employed to be a football manager, I don't want to sit at home for five months, nobody does.'"

According to the Witney Gazette, "Malachi Napa has joined Woking on loan for the second time this season.

The Oxford United winger completed the move before yesterday's 0-0 draw with Maidenhead United in the Vanarama National League, where he was a 79th-minute substitute.

Napa, 21, has joined on a one-month loan after his move earlier in the campaign was cut short by injury.

He joined Woking in October and played four times, scoring once".

>The Derbyshire Times tells us that Wrexham manager "Dean Keates said the late defeat to Chesterfield was ‘massively frustrating’.

Akwasi Asante struck the winner in the 89th minute, slotting past goalkeeper Rob Lainton after a clever assist by Liam Mandeville.

Asante had given Town the lead in the first 10 minutes before the visitors equalised from a controversial penalty which Luke Young tucked away...

Keates said, 'Massively frustrating. In possession we did not move it and we did not keep it good enough. In the second half we got pinned back in.

'We defended okay at points, but the sheer volume of them to be in our final third was too much. The first goal we concede is a mistake. He does not know where their centre forward is, he has tried to head it back to the goalkeeper, their centre forward has gambled and tucked it away.

'For five or 10 minutes after that, we struggled, they got on top of us... They kept flicking between the two shapes, it was very contrasting from what we tried to do and what they tried to do. They used the bottom of their box to make passes better than what we did.'”

>It is reported by Devon Live that "Manager Gary Johnson praised his players after they ground out a ‘good point’ with a goalless draw at Notts County...

'It was important that we stopped them winning the game. We went for it, they went for it, it made for a very competitive game. There was no time-wasting in the game at all because both teams wanted to get a win, which was good, so credit to both sets of players.

'Because it was a bit scrappy, there probably wasn’t lots of fine, beautiful football being played, because both sets of teams were trying to close down very quickly'...

Starting for the first time up front was Billy Waters, who got the nod ahead of Umerah and Rob Smart, the Crystal Palace loan youngster taking his place on the substitutes’ bench...

Josh Umerah for Torquay and Kyle Wootton for Notts had the best chances to win it but a share of the points was probably a fair reflection of the effort put in by both sides.

Johnson said...'I genuinely believe it’s a much better point for us than it is for them.'”


24 January, 2021

AFTER THE GAME AT BARNET

Following the win at Barnet on Saturday, Alty manager Phil Parkinson told the NL Paper, "I thought we put in an outstanding performance and not just because of the win. I thought we dominated possession from the start to the end. We were patient in our build up. It was always going to be a game of very few chances because Barnet had so many behind the ball.

These players have got the desire and the understanding of how [to] win a game and play through a team.

The quality on display was brilliant, the performance was top drawer", he concluded.

BARNET 1-2 ALTRINCHAM

Altrincham had the better of the first half but fell behind against the run of play in the fourteenth minute through an individual error...

Match report here

OPPOSITION VIEW

After Altrincham's 2-1 win at The Hive, Barnet report that "The Bees fell to a 2-1 defeat to Altrincham in what was quite a cagey affair. It was the perfect start to the game, as the Bees went ahead early on when JJ Hooper finished neatly after running nearly the whole length of the pitch. However, Matty Kosylo's goal on 36 minutes meant the sides went into the break level. Despite the second half having few chances, the Robins snatched the win in stoppage time thanks to Josh Hancock.

The Bees were looking to get their first win of 2021, in what was only their second game of the new year...

A cheeky interception from Hooper allowed him to break on a 30-yard sprint and finish calmly past Tony Thompson in the Altrincham goal.

Altrincham were having more of the ball, but weren't really offering much in the way of clear cut chances... There was very little to separate the two sides with much of the play happening in the middle of the pitch.

This was until just under ten minutes until the halfway point when Kosylo managed to find a way to squeeze an effort past Scott Loach to get his side back into the game and bring the scores level...

The visitors were inches away from going in front in the first minute after the restart, after a long ball and flick on found Byron Harrison with an open goal, but he was unable to find the net.

The Robins continued to dominate the proceedings as the Bees struggled to find a way out of their own half, as the pressure mounted from their opponents... Altrincham looked the most likely to take the three points and as the game went into stoppage time they did just that, as Hancock finished past Loach to give his side the win late on".

A BIT OF A BREATHER

After a two-week lay-off which ended on Saturday, over the next few weeks Altrincham face another bit of a respite from the relentlessness of the fixture list this season.

Weather permitting, they host Wealdstone at Moss Lane on Tuesday in the first return fixture of the season.

But they have no game the following Saturday as they were supposed to be facing Macclesfield Town on that date and, of course, the Silkmen are no longer extant in the National League.

So there is an eleven-day gap after Tuesday's game before Alty travel to Plainmoor to face league leaders Torquay United on 6 February.

The relatively light schedule allows other clubs to play catch-up as Altrincham, currently, have played more games (19) than any other club in the National League. They lie fifth in the league table but on a PPG basis they would be eleventh.

NEXT OPPONENTS: WEALDSTONE

Wealdstone are due at the J. Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night and if it's goals that you want, the Stones are the team to watch. Despite only squeezing past Altrincham 1-0 earlier this season, in their seventeen games to date 63 goals have been witnessed, for and against. 37 of those goals have gone into their own net, the joint worst tally in the National League and a dubious honour shared with Alty's last opponents, Barnet, whose record is from two games fewer.

And Saturday was a case in point as the Middlesex side let in four goals in losing 3-4 at home to Aldershot Town who report that "Goals from Joel Nouble, Jermaine Anderson, Chike Kandi and captain Josh Rees secured a win for Aldershot Town in a seven-goal thriller against Wealdstone FC at Grosvenor Vale...

Joel Nouble got his first goal of the season with a close-range strike for Aldershot Town before Dennon Lewis curled beyond Mitch Walker for the equaliser.

Alex Dyer put Wealdstone in front before Jermaine Anderson equalised after confusion in the box. Chike Kandi helped to regain Aldershot Town’s lead with a low finish past Stuart Moore before Rees scored the winner with a smart finish into the near corner.

Moses Emmanuel scored a penalty to set up a nervy end to the game but the Shots held out for the victory....

Danny Searle kept the same lineup as the one against Solihull Moors in the Buildbase FA Trophy. Ricky Miller was not on the bench against Wealdstone...

The early pressure from Aldershot Town paid off when Kandi and George Fowler linked up well on the right-hand side to pick out an unmarked Nouble who had time to fire beyond Moore for his first goal of the season...

Out of nowhere, Wealdstone got the equaliser through Lewis as Wealdstone counter-attacked... Wealdstone were piling on the pressure... The pressure paid off moments later when Wealdstone took the lead. A cross from the right-hand side found Dyer who side-footed into the far corner...

Shots equalised shortly before half-time.... Moments later, Aldershot Town regained their lead...

The pressure from Aldershot Town paid dividends when Fowler’s cross picked out Bettamer who passed the ball back into the area to find Josh Rees and the captain smashed home into the near corner. Shortly after, Wealdstone got a penalty after a foul from Alex Finney with Emmanuel converting from the spot to set up a nervy finish.

Wealdstone applied late pressure onto the Aldershot Town defence but they stayed resolute".

The Wealdstone XI: 1 S Moore (G/K), 2 M Efete, 6 J Okimo (C), 7 M Phillips, 8 C Smith, 10 D Green (Lench 77′), 11 D Lewis, 17 J Mendy, 18 A Dyer, 19 M Emmanuel, 24 J Meekings (Cawley 45′). Unused Subs: 25 J Askew (G/K), 12 C Hughes, 13 D Wishart.

ON THIS DAY: 24 January

Three years ago today, Altrincham faced a long midweek trip to a very foggy Northamptonshire, where Brackley Town were the hosts to relegation threatened Altrincham. They emerged with a credtable 1-1 drawin this Vanarama National League North match.

Jake Moult had just fulfilled his three-match ban but Sean Miller, Shaun Densmore, Craig Hobson and Alan Goodall were all missing through injury. There was a further blow when Tom Hannigan failed to emerge for the start of the game, a hip injury meaning he had dropped out to be replaced by midfielder Simon Richman, wearing number 14. So Moult was drafted into the back line alongside Cyrus and Heathcote.

During the match, Altrincham lost two centre-backs to injury but put in a battling performance to secure an away point at promotion chasing Brackley.

Nicky Clee's fine chip gave Altrincham a sixth-minute lead after keeper Laurie Walker had elected to punch away Sam Heathcote's freekick when he could have gathered it.

However, following a Moult foul, Brackley were awarded a spot-kick but Armson's penalty smacked the bar and Byrne's follow-up went narrowly wide. Four minutes later Armson atoned for his miss when he headed home Glenn Walker's cross, from the left, to make it 1-1.

Alty lost Heathcote to a throat injury which necessitated a lengthy stoppage in the second half.

As fog descended ever more thickly on a, by now, freezing St James Park, it was difficult to see what was happening on the far side of the pitch. Although Brackley had more of the second-half attacking play, Altrincham could have snatched a win at the end when substitute Adeloye was brought down and Brackley captain Dean received his marching orders for a second cautionable offence.

But Adeloye's freekick was blazed over the bar.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Sam HEATHCOTE, 4. Jake MOULT (c), 5. John CYRUS, 7. Kyle BROWNHILL,14 Simon RICHMAN, 8. Gary JONES (c), 11. Nicky CLEE, 10. James LAWRIE, 9. Andy OWENS. Subs 12. Oluwatomisin ADELOYE, 15. Damian REEVES, 16. Laurence TAYLOR, 17. Elliot NEWBY.

SATURDAY FIXTURES

Altrincham have no game this Saturday as they should have been facing Macclesfield Town.

Saturday 30th January

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

Hartlepool United report that "A resilient Weymouth held on to beat Hartlepool 1-0 at the Bob Lucas Stadium.

A dominant first half of possession from Pools saw very few clear chances... Pools would continue to dominate possession...

39 minutes in, a long ball forward from Weymouth resulted in Harfield being fouled by Odusina with the defender receiving a yellow card. The free kick that followed was headed in by the captain Josh McQuoid to put the hosts 1-0 up going into half time.

Pools thought they were level on 62 minutes. A ball into the box was headed by Bloomfield but it was fantastically tipped wide by Ross.

Things went from bad to worse for Pools on 68 minutes. A Luke Molyneux high boot was deemed a red card by the referee and Pools were reduced to ten men. Despite Pools continuing to dominate possession and put continuous balls into the box, the hosts held on for the 1-0 victory".

Another report of a losing former Football League side comes from the Leader Live which tells us that "Wrexham slipped to a first defeat of the year as the Reds lost 2-1 against Chesterfield at The Technique Stadium...

Keates named an unchanged side, keeping faith with the starting XI that helped get the better of Dover that took Wrexham up to eighth place in the National League.

Wrexham's hopes of making it two wins in a row took an early blow as Chesterfield went ahead in the ninth minute. Reece Hall-Johnson did not get enough on his header back to Rob Lainton from Jack McCourt's cross and Akwasi Asante beat the Reds' goalkeeper with a neat volley.

Wrexham were struggling to string passes together... However, the Reds were back on level terms after they were awarded a controversial penalty on 20 minutes. Jordan Davies' shot deflected off McCourt who was adjudged to have handled the ball, although it seemed harsh on the Spireites midfielder.

Young stepped up and converted his spot-kick for the second successful [sic] game to make it 1-1.

There was an improvement from Wrexham after the goal... and the Reds forced a series of corners without creating anything of note...

The Spireites were quick out of the blocks when the second half kicked off and Marcus Dinanga's header struck the crossbar...

With six minutes remaining Elliott Durrell and Paul Rutherford replaced Ponticelli and Hall-Johnson. However, Chesterfield scored the winner with two minutes remaining.

Liam Mandeville put Asante through on goal and the former Chester striker slotted past Lainton".

Lynn News reports that "King's Lynn Town surrendered a two-goal defeat at Dagenham and Redbridge as their three-game unbeaten run was ended in bitterly disappointing fashion this afternoon.

Despite finding themselves on the back foot for much of the first half, goals from Alex Kiwomya and Michael Gash put the Linnets in control going into the break.

But three second-half goals saw the Essex side complete the unlikeliest of comebacks as they turned their overall dominance into goals.

Linnets manager Ian Culverhouse kept faith with the same starting eleven which secured a 1-0 victory over Eastleigh on Tuesday night. The only change came on the bench, where recent signing Tyler Denton was named among the Lynn substitutes.

Dagenham enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening quarter of the contest...

But they [got]... their noses in front as Kiwomya netted with an outstanding finish... Deep into first half stoppage time, Cameron King delivered a peach of a ball from the right and Gash was on hand to bundle the ball home...

The home side's relentless pressure eventually paid dividends as Callum Reynolds reduced the deficit with a header in the 72nd minute.

Five minutes later they were on level terms as Andrew Eleftheriou's cross-cum-shot bamboozled Mair to find the back of the net.

The drama continued late into the game as Dagenham and Redbridge were awarded a penalty. Mitch Brundle saw his spot-kick brilliantly saved by Mair and the Linnets thought they had done enough to go home with a share of the spoils.

But Brundle went from zero to hero in the space of a few seconds as he made amends for his penalty miss by scoring the winner from the resulting corner kick".

"After a disappointing night on Tuesday when Boreham Wood faced defeat against Torquay United in the FA Trophy, Luke Garrard would have been wanting a very different performance from this game, and he definitely got one! This afternoon at Edgeley Park, Garrard’s men were superb and they should consider themselves unlucky not to have got all three points against high flying Stockport County... after a 1-1 draw.

Boreham Wood made three changes from Tuesday night with Krystian Pearce, coming straight into the side to make his debut, Zaine Francis-Angol and Gus Mafuta who started in place of David Stephens, Corey Whitely and Matt Rhead.

After a lively opening, Stockport’s John Rooney gave the home side the lead from a trademark freekick after just six minutes of play, from then on it was pretty much all Boreham Wood for the remainder of the first half...

Stockport were better in the second half and started to take the game to Wood...

After fifty-nine minutes Boreham Wood finally got their deserved equaliser when the excellent Tshimanga got the goal that his teams performance warranted when he beat Hinchcliffe at the near post... The Wood defence held out impressively by restricting Stockport to half chances... As the match entered its final phase, Wood looked more likely to snatch the points, however, the home side held out for the draw".

to Devon Live, "Torquay United and Notts County played out a frustrating 0-0 draw at Meadow Lane this afternoon – but the result meant the Gulls extended their lead at the top of the National League table to nine points because second-placed Hartlepool United were beaten at Weymouth.

On Tuesday night they play Sutton United at home, the team that replaced Hartlepool in second with a 3-0 home win against Eastleigh. With three games in hand, Sutton are currently Torquay’s biggest rivals for the title...

Both Torquay and Notts had a chance to win the game in the second half with Josh Umerah unable to get his feet around a low and dangerous cross from four yards out, and home attacker Kyle Wootton putting an 90th minute chance wide when he really should have hit the target.

There was a debut for 20-year-old Max Sheaf on loan from Hull City, who lined up in the centre of midfield alongside Adam Randell, with Asa Hall missing because of a thigh injury.

The game started at quite a pace, both teams looking to assert their dominance from the get-go. It was a hundred miles an hour... Torquay were better and the home side were beginning to make a few mistakes. Notts were probably grateful when the first half ended...

Notts looked a bit more dangerous as the game moved into the last 20 minutes... Notts had two great chances... the first shot in the box was blocked by Cameron before Ruben Rodrigues’s follow up was saved well by MacDonald...

The miss of the match though was in the 90th minute when Wootton, standing on the six-yard spot, hit the ball wide from a dangerous low cross right to [the keeper's] feet".


23 January 2021

BARNET 1-2 ALTRINCHAM

Altrincham had the better of the first half but fell behind against the run of play in the fourteenth minute through an individual error.

A long ball forward should easily have been cleared by Senior, near the centre spot, but he took a poor first touch and JJ Hooper dispossessed him. The Barnet man ran some 40 yards up the middle before slotting the ball past captain for the day, Tony Thompson.

Altrincham responded well and had most of the forward momentum. The pressure paid off when Mooney got into the box but was initially halted.

However, the ball came out to Kosylo from Mooney and, from 18 yards in a central position, he slotted a low shot into the net off the keeper's right hand post (36 mins).

Harrison should then have put Alty ahead but sidefooted wide. Half-time arrived with the score level at 1-1.

Immediately after the break Harrison missed an even better chance as Kosylo fed him with the ball in front of an empty net. But the ex-Barnet striker somehow contrived to stumble over the ball and put it wide.

Alty had much the better of the second half without creating too clear an opening before Hannigan headed narrowly wide at towards the end of normal time. So, it looked like Barnet would escape with a draw. But good work on the left between substitutes Ceesay and White allowed the left-back to put in a low cross which Hancock steered into the net to win the game deservedly (90+2 mins).

Altrincham, without captain Jake Moult and winger Ryan Colclough, had given a first start to Byron Harison in their unsettled role of striker, with Yusifu Ceesay dropping to the bench. Tom Hannigan returned to the defence and Dan Mooney started.

Match report here

SATURDAY GAMES

Saturday 23 January

TWO JOIN ALTY BOARD

Altrincham FC has announced that two businessmen based in Vancouver, Canada, have joined the club's Board. Press and Media Officer, John Edwards, writes that "Chris Parry and Scott Burton are the two new faces on an increasingly dynamic, forward-thinking board after both became significant Alty shareholders...

Both based in Vancouver, Chris is an Australian by origin who runs Equity Guru, an information provision and analysis company focusing on millennial investors, while Scott is CEO of FansUnite Entertainment, a sports and entertainment company focused on technology related to online sports betting".

Background information:

Equity Guru says "Equity.Guru is a business news and stock analysis outlet powered by Chris Parry, award-winning journalist, directed content pioneer, former Director of Editorial at Stockhouse.com, former Manager of Digital Products at the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers, and long-time online feature writer and corporate communications professional.

Our niche is legitimacy; we analyze and cover your company in text, through audio podcasts, video pieces, and via email newsletter to a discerning audience of younger investors or all genders, cultures, and risk tolerance levels.".

Gambling News reported in late December 2020 that "FansUnite CEO Scott Burton is at the helm of a company leading in iGaming, sports and esports gaming innovation.

At our core we are a technology company that has been building and launching betting and iGaming products since 2013".

The Board of Altrincham FC therefore, as listed in the latest digital version of the Robins' Review, plus the two new appointees, now comprises:

NEXT: BARNET PLAYER UPDATE

Altrincham travel to play 22nd-placed Barnet today (Saturday). Streaming passes for the game are available from Barnet FC.

From The Hive, Barnet report that their new manager "Tim Flowers is looking forward to potentially being able to welcome Michael Petrasso back into the fold for tomorrow's crucial National League fixture with Altrincham". Flowers made the following comments about various players...

"Michael Petrasso has been training fully for about 10 days, so he is certainly right back in the equation...

Xander McBurnie has had a slight problem and has had a slight setback on his recovery... He certainly won't be knocking around for tomorrow.

Tyrone Duffus has been... doing a lot of physical work and joined in with us on the grass yesterday... He is filtering back in but isn't ready just yet."

Matt Preston [is] making real strides now. He has been working very hard in the gym, albeit he hasn't made it back out onto the grass again just yet.... There is light at the end of the tunnel...

JJ Hooper... is in full training. He is looking very sharp out there and he is a terrific athlete. He has a good pace and strength, so now he has to get that out of his locker on a weekly basis... He will be a major asset if he can find that form.

Eliot Richards... We're now supporting him ahead of his next operation...

Wes Fonguck has had an operation on his ACL on Tuesday and he will now begin his rehabilitation work...

Josh Walker... has spent this week at St George's Park rehabilitating from his injury which he aggravated in our defeat to Boreham Wood. Our number 22 remains sidelined.

Myles Judd and Ben Fox remain suspended for tomorrow's fixture with the Robins".

NATIONAL LEAGUE'S REGIONAL SUSPENSION

The National League Board has issued a statement, as follows...

"Following the review of the feedback from Clubs in connection to the recent Clubs' meeting, a Board meeting this morning decided to halt the participation in the North/South Divisions for a two-week period, effective immediately.

As a result, tomorrow's games are formally postponed".

The National League itself continues, however.

The BBC adds that "National League clubs started the season thanks to £10m in grants from the government, but are now being offered government loans to continue playing.

However, many have said they are worried about the financial implications of taking on loans to cover costs incurred by the coronavirus pandemic and competing behind closed doors.

Clubs met on Wednesday and were told they would either have to take out loans or suspend their season.

Twelve National League North sides called for the league's 'immediate suspension' in a joint statement on Thursday".

ALTY OLD BOY

Some 25 years ago, in the Vauxhall Conference, Jerome John was an Altrincham FC goalkeeper on loan from West Ham United. He had joined Alty in October 1995, commuting from London to play for Alty. Having made his debut in a 4-0 win over Warrington Town in the Cheshire Senior Cup, in November 1995, he made his league debut and kept a clean sheet in January 1996.

He was set to play in the next match but woke up on the Saturday morning to find his car had been stolen and he then missed the train that would have got him to Moss Lane on time. Subsequently, for midweek games at Alty, he had to take an overnight National Express coach to get home to London!

Seven games after his travel disaster he regained his place for the match at Morecambe on 17 February 1996. It was a disaster for Alty as they lost 7-0 though John was not held more culpable than the team as a whole and he retained his place. The Robins then started an unbeaten run and he retained the no.1 jersey until the end of the season.

After Alty, he moved on to a host of southern clubs which included Kingstonian, Enfield, Grays Athletic, Billericay Town, Fisher Athletic and Tonbridge Angels.

In 2021 comes news from the Daily Mail that the "West Ham have sacked academy goalkeeping coach Jerome John over accusations that he bought equipment with club money with the intention of selling it privately.

Sportsmail understands that the decision to terminate John's employment was taken following an internal investigation at the end of last year...

John was suspended pending club enquiries before a decision was made to dismiss the coach."

ON THIS DAY: 23 January

Eleven years ago today, in 2010, the Blue Square Bet Premier League assigned Alty a home match against Hayes & Yeading United from Middlesex. Because of wintry weather, this was Altrincham's first home league game since 1 December, nearly eight weeks earlier.

The better side did not win this match as Alty somehow conjured a victory despite being second best for most of the afternoon. The Robins were indebted to several magnificent saves from goalkeeper Stuart Coburn, restored to the side after injury, and to some indifferent finishing from Hayes.

John McAliskey and Adam Carden were cup-tied in mid-week and Stuart Coburn also missed the game at Wimbledon, through injury. Carden did not make the squad but both Coburn and McAliskey started today as Graham Heathcote made four changes. Nicky Clee and Colin Little also both came into the starting line-up, as Tom Kearney, Matt Doughty, Chris Denham and Russell Saunders all dropped to the bench.

Starting with a 3-4-3 formation, Alty went two down and were forced to remodel as 4-4-2.

Above: Colin Little (second left of the Alty players) celebrates his goal.

Nevertheless, Alty did start the game well, with McAliskey hitting the bar after 10 minutes but then Hayes took over. Toby Little put Hayes ahead in the 21st minute when Alty stood off the lively James on the right and his low cross seemed to be touched in at the back post though the tannoy gave the goal to the winger.

It was 2-0 seven minutes later when, again, Hayes advanced unchallenged and Green's 25 yarder deflected off Williams into the net. Alty got a goal back after 30 minutes when Densmore's freekick was met by McAliskey's flicked header. As the ball crossed the line, Williams arrived to make sure.

Colin Little levelled the score in the fortieth minute when Clee's throw was nodded on by McAliskey and Little arrived at the back post to score.

It seemed that having recovered to parity at half time, Alty would go on to win the game but they spent most of the second half on the back foot. They were hugely grateful to goalkeeper Coburn who made three brilliant saves to keep his side in the game.

Alty's winner arrived in the 80th minute when Colin Little chased a ball up the middle and a defender's superb tackle saw the ball run, fortunately, to Senior. With the keeper stranded, Senior stroked the ball into an empty net from 25 yards. Hayes had a glorious chance to level in injury time but Ruby's effort landed on the roof of the net.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 2. James SMITH, 12. Robbie WILLIAMS, 5. Greg YOUNG; 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 11. Nicky CLEE; 19. Chris SENIOR, 17. John McALISKEY, 9. Colin LITTLE. Subs: 13. Russell SAUNDERS 4. Tom KEARNEY, 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 10. Chris DENHAM, 18. Michael WELCH.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

Devon Live says that "While worries over the future of the National League this season continue to threaten Torquay United’s promotion ambitions... the leaders [are] taking on seventh-placed Notts County at Meadow Lane...

With second-placed Sutton United... to visit Plainmoor on Tuesday night, too, it will be an important four days for the team. Johnson has called both games ‘six-pointers’...

Torquay’s first win of 2021 came on Tuesday night when they beat Boreham Wood 4-0 in Hertfordshire to book a place in the last 16 of the FA Trophy. It was only their second game of the year however following a three-week break...

Manager Gary Johnson said... 'The league table looks like we have been pretty consistent over a period of time. We are scoring our goals and we are getting enough wins at the minute and we have just got to keep going really'.

There could be debuts, probably from the bench, with midfielder Max Sheaf joining on loan until the end of the season from Hull City after striker Rob Street had done the same from Crystal Palace.

Another player joined on loan this week, too; 25 year-old goalkeeper James Hamon came in for a month from Truro City... With Shaun MacDonald the first-choice shot-stopper, Hamon will provide cover for the injured Lucas Covolan, who has an ankle problem".

At Notts County "New signing Inih Effiong... joined us from Stevenage earlier this month...

'Whenever I’ve played against Notts County I’ve always thought they would be a dream to play for because they create lots of chances and move the ball well. I’ve always admired the way they’ve played and the way the manager shapes up his teams.

'When I was at Dover last season, Notts passed us off the pitch... Everyone in the league knows that Notts are a good passing team... I know how well looked-after players are here, too. I couldn’t ask for more really...

'I haven’t played for a while, so I’m excited to put on the shirt... I’m going to bring aggression and hard work, and I’ll hopefully score a few goals... Torquay will be on their ‘A’ game... We know what they’re about and we’re going to bring it to them, 100 per cent.'”

Dover Athletic "confirm that the loan deal of Hull City midfielder Ryan Hanson has been extended until the end of the season.

Ryan initially joined us in November and made his debut in our National League game at Kings Lynn Town on November 21st".

The Hartlepool Mail advises that "Hartlepool United defender Gary Liddle getting 'closer and closer' to National League return after three months out. The Pools centre-back has been reduced to just three appearances this season after suffering a grade three tear to his groin...

Manager Dave Challinor feels the 34-year-old is ready to complete a full 90-minute run out. Despite this, Liddle hasn’t made the journey down to Weymouth... with Challinor explaining his side is ‘more or less picking itself’ following four straight wins...

'We’re hoping to arrange a friendly for Tuesday, similar to what we did against Sunderland in order to get Lidds close to 90-minutes,' Challinor told The Mail...

Elsewhere in the squad, Pools have had no other major concerns with Ryan Donaldson back in contention following a heel injury and Lewis Cass expected to make his return after sitting out the last four games due to a hamstring problem. But Aaron Cunningham, who is currently on loan at Blyth Spartans, has been sidelined with a shin injury".

According to the Derbyshire Times, "Chesterfield’s busy transfer activity is about ‘short-term pain for long-term gain’, says manager James Rowe.

The new boss has brought in 12 new signings in less than two months, including three this week, and the Spireites have more than 30 players on their books now. However, outgoings are expected...

Said Rowe, 'I am not stupid, we have obviously got a lot of numbers in the squad at the moment. There will be outgoings but sometimes you have to act on players that become available. We are changing the financial outlay of the club so it looks like we are spending more now but in reality we are making a saving for the future and that is what we have got to remember.

'It is short-term pain for long-term gain. To achieve the objectives we want in the next 18 months to two years there are obviously going to be casualties along the way, not everyone can come on the same journey as you.'

Securing outgoings has been made more difficult with the seasons in the National League North and South looking in doubt, but so far the communication from clubs in Chesterfield’s division appears to be that they want to carry on. Chesterfield certainly don’t want the season to be curtailed".

Lynn News tells us that "King's Lynn Town striker Adam Marriott hopes King’s Lynn Town’s National League prospects aren’t scuppered by the on-going funding crisis.

The Linnets go into tomorrow’s crunch clash with Dagenham and Redbridge on an unbeaten run of three matches, having conceded only once in their last three matches. Marriott, who netted his seventh goal of the season during the 1-0 win at Eastleigh on Tuesday night, said 'I try not to think too much about it really, it’s not in our hands at the end of the day... We are showing some good signs as a team. I really do think we can go on and do well'...

Lynn’s improved defensive displays have coincided with the recent arrival of Kyle Callan-McFadden and the Linnets frontman admitted that the former Norwich City Youth Cup winner has made a big difference on the pitch... 'He’s not just a centre-half who boots and kicks it, he tries to get us playing from the back. We’ve now got three really good centre-halves in Rory (McAuley), Smudger (Chris Smith) and Kyle fighting for the places and that’s what you need...

'There’s some tough strikers in this league, a lot of 6ft 2, 6ft 3 players who are in your faces so it is really important whoever is playing that they’ve got that [horrible streak] in their game. We’ve got that type of player in Gashy (Michael Gash)...

'It’s been great to have him back and he’s been brilliant,' he said. 'I don’t know how he’s doing it, but he seems to be getting better the older he gets... We do look a better side with him back in the team.'"

The Halifax Courier starts its article with "Try telling Harrison Davison-Hale he has to settle for being back-up keeper at FC Halifax Town.

The 20 year-old accepts he is understudy to Sam Johnson, but isn’t playing second-fiddle without a fight. Davison-Hale is yet to make his competitive debut for Town...

'I’ve accepted when I came here that Pete (Wild) was like "you’re going to be second choice but it’s up to you to fight for that spot"... It’s been half-a-year and I’ve probably progressed more in that time than I did at Huddersfield for two years, just down to the coaching and being in the first-team environment..

'I know I’m going to be on the bench but then it’s up to me at the end of the day to show it in training'...

And Davison-Hale says playing at National League level wouldn’t faze him... Davison-Hale was... in Doncaster when he was spotted by a scout from Leeds United... before going to Sheffield United.

'But the travelling got too much for my dad so I took a year out, played non-league for the likes of Ossett Albion and teams like that in Wakefield,' he said. 'Then the academy goalkeeping coach at Huddersfield Town came to one of the games... So I went to Huddersfield as a scholar aged 16...

Davison-Hale left The Terriers. ... 'I tried at Carlisle and was in and around the first-team for a week, week-and-a-half, did really well there'... then the manager got sacked... Got an agent and they got me a move to Halifax.'"


22 January 2021

A HAPPY SENIOR MOMENT

Ian Senior not only played in goal for Altrincham, he was for many years the club's goalkeeping coach and he remains the club's longstanding kit supplier through his SKkits company.

Left: Ian Senior, facing camera, warms up with then Alty goalkeeper Dean Greygoose (2000).

Friday's edition of The Times has an extensive interview with Ian on the occasion of one of his other former clubs, Chorley, taking on Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup.

The Times reminds us that "The 60-year-old was the man who kept goal in Chorley’s last encounter with Wolves on the night of November 24, 1986. On that evening, the part-time side beat Wolves 3-0 in a second replay to qualify for the second round of the competition for the first time.

It was, until this year, the biggest win in the club’s history, and the fact that Chorley have drawn Wolves again this time around has given Senior a much-needed lift... After spending 32 years as a fireman, Senior set up his own kit company, called SKkits, which supplies jerseys for local non-League teams...

'As you can imagine, business is very quiet at the moment,' Senior [right] said... 'So having this interest has given me a reason to get up in the morning... I have had BBC Sport website on [to me], BT Sport, yourselves, and the Chorley Guardian are all over it. I’m not going to complain. It’s been really nice'...

Senior said 'I have all my cuttings from when I started playing'...

Senior would go on to play for over 30 amateur teams in the North West and farther afield... He has recordings of three matches against Wolves. 'My mum was a teacher and one of her work colleagues at school, her husband was a director at Granada TV and he was present at all the games they had covered. Once they had done with the tapes, I got them. I watched the 3-0 last night. I didn’t have a lot to do...

'When I feel a bit miffed or pissed off or whatever, I just get my scrapbook out and it’s there, I’m in the headlines again. It’s always good to have something to pick you up and you certainly need it in this day and age.'".

INTERVIEW WITH ALISTAIR SMITH

Brain Flynn's interview with Alty's most recent signing, Alistair Smith, is on the Altrincham FC website.

Following a loan spell at the J. Davidson Stadium, from Mansfield Town, Alistair has recently left the EFL club and signed for Altrincham till the end of next season.

STOCKPORT SACK GANNON

Stockport County have issued a "Statement from the Board of Directors:

Stockport County Football Club have today parted company with Manager Jim Gannon.

This has been an extremely difficult decision for the Club’s Board to take and not a decision taken lightly. The decision is not results based but is centred around culture.

We thank Jim for his longstanding service to the Club as both player and manager; he has rightfully been immortalised into the Club’s Hall of Fame and will always be a huge part of County’s history.

We want to reassure fans that every decision made, we believe to be in the best long-term interests of the Club.

Assistant Manager Dave Conlon will take interim responsibility whilst a new Manager is appointed.

There will be no further comment until a new appointment is made".

BARNET STREAM

On Saturday, Altrincham visit Barnet who are offering a streaming service for supporters to watch the match.

Supporters can acquire a streaming pass here.

The Bees point out that "streaming passes can only be used on a single device; do not open your purchased pass until you are ready to view using your preferred device.

The streaming service requires a web browser and uses the Brightcove viewer. This may not be compatible with all web browsers and devices". A list of compatible browsers is available.

ON THIS DAY: 22 January

On that occasion they faced Bath City at Moss Lane in a Blue Square Bet Premier game. The game was preceded by awards by Altrincham FC chairman Grahame Rowley to Stuart Coburn, Robbie Lawton and Rob Williams. Stuart's was to commemorate 500 appearances for the club, Robbie's for 200 games and Rob was presented with his latest Wales semi-professional international cap.

Right - Wes Baynes, right, was later to be sent off against Bath. Here he is seen with Mark Beesley.

This was only Altrincham's second home league game in ten weeks. Alty were unbeaten in four league games in 2011 before kick off. They should have beaten Bath in the reverse fixture, having led 2-0 but they only drew 2-2.

Stuart Coburn and Carl Piergianni had recovered from injury to start, but Nicky Clee, Chris Denham and Anthony Danylyk were only fit enough to be on the bench. Craig Dootson had joined the substitutes after signing for the club on the eve of the game.

Referee Mr S.J. West was again on the end of home crowd booing, just as he had been in November at Moss Lane, when he awarded Luton Town's winning goal despite protests that the ball had been cleared off the line. This time he awarded Bath a freekick when Jones appeared to go down without any contact from James Smith.

Mr West then allowed the freekick to be taken very quickly, whilst he was still talking to Alty's players, and Bath scored the game's opener, through Lee Phillips (35 mins).

A second controversial incident saw Wes Baynes sent off after 70 minutes when he brought down Mohamed, who had appeared to handle the ball as he went forward. Mr West and his assistant judged that Baynes's challenge had been inside the the Alty box and pointed to the spot.

Leading up to this incident, the referee had allowed "advantage" after the crudest of challenges by Jobarti on Piergianni inside the Bath half, only for Alty possession to be lost, and Mohamed to break free. To add insult to injury after sending off Baynes, he acknowledged the original foul and went back and booked Jobarti.

Coburn saved the penalty superbly. Next, when Densmore was "taken out" inside the Bath box a few minutes later, play was waved on before Mohamed made it 2-0 following a corner, nine minutes from time. The third goal for Bath was also mired in controversy as Clee was brought down and play again continued, leading to Phillips's goal in the 87th minute.

Despite all this incident, Alty's ten men had three good chances in the closing stages. Piergianni lashed a shot over the bar from 8 yards; Densmore headed wide in front of goal, and Reeves ballooned a shot over the bar at the back post.

But, overall, this was a disappointing showing from Altrincham who, after a promising start, created few openings at the Bath end of the pitch until the closing stages and the visitors ran out deserved winners. LINE-UPS ALTRINCHAM (Red & White striped shirts, black shorts, red socks) 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. James SMITH, 26. Carl PIERGIANNI, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 19. Mark BEESLEY, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 8. Damian REEVES, 9. Michael TWISS, 17. Wes BAYNES, 20. Sam HEWSON, Subs: 11. Nicky CLEE, 15. Ryan BROWN, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 10. Chris DENHAM, 30. Craig DOOTSON >

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

Two Essex sides have reacted to the recent news that the National League may have to continue with the help of government loans rather than grants. Dagenham & Redbridge state that "The Club is extremely concerned that, despite indications that if supporters were no longer allowed into stadiums by January that the initial grant funding would be continued for a further three months, clubs have now been told that this is not the case and any future support will be made via loans.

Many clubs have indicated that this is not an option and the prospect of our season being cancelled is now a real threat.

Dagenham & Redbridge FC are amazed that the resultant furlough claims on the treasury made as a result of such a cancellation is calculated to be in excess of the grant funding originally indicated and is urging the Rt. Hon. Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to reconsider this option...

Earlier this week, Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham & Rainham and Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford had also written to Mr Dowden on our behalf.

Meanwhile the BBC adds that "The chairman of National League South side Concord Rangers says his team will not play again until concerns over the funding of elite non-league sides and Covid-19 testing are addressed...

Concord, who are 18th in National League South, were due to host Havant and Waterlooville on Saturday but the game has been postponed as The Hawks are self-isolating".

According to Lincolnshire Live "Former Lincoln City goalkeeper Grant Smith has been snapped up by Chesterfield.

The 27 year-old joined the Spireites ahead of the FA Trophy game at Boston United... although he couldn’t play in the game.

Smith is set to play against Wrexham on Saturday though with regularly keeper Kyle Letheren sidelined through illness. Smith was part of the Imps squad which won the League Two title in 2018/19... However, he made just two appearances following Michael Appleton’s appointment in September 2019".

And a second goalkeeper has also joined Chesterfield as "Ipswich Town keeper Adam Przybek has joined the Spireites on loan until the end of the season.

The Derbyshire Times adds that "Following the signing of free agent Grant Smith, 27, on Wednesday, Town have also brought in Przybek, 20, until the end of the season...

With goalkeepers Kyle Letheren, Luke Coddington, Dylan Wharton, Smith and Przybek in the squad, it looks like the Spireites are close to shipping one out. Wharton... was the hero in the [midweek FA Trophy] penalty shootout, while Coddington is working his way back from injury".

And yet another signing for Chesterfield is revealed as "James Rowe has made defender Gavin Gunning his latest signing for the Spireites.

Gunning, who started out at Blackburn Rovers, was a free agent after leaving Gloucester City.

He has had spells at various clubs including Rotherham United, Grimsby Town, Port Vale and Dundee United. The 29-year-old Irishman has penned an 18-month contract".

Another club acquiring a goalkeeper is Torquay United, who report that "Goalkeeper James Hamon has joined Torquay United on a one-month loan deal from Truro City.

Following an injury to resident glovesman Lucas Covolan Cavagnari, Torquay manager Gary Johnson wasted little time in ensuring that United are well covered between the sticks.

'Lucas is going to be out for 3 or 4 weeks with an ankle injury so, because of the Covid situation and because we needed someone pretty quick, we needed someone local,' said Johnson.

'We spoke to Truro because he lives in our region, and it was a no brainer because he’s not playing games for Truro at the moment, and was happy to come in, sit on the bench if necessary, and do a bit of training with us. It was the perfect scenario for everybody really.'

Hamon, 25, arrives at Plainmoor having made 37 appearances for Devon neighbours Exeter City during six years at St James Park, before joining the Cornish side in the summer of 2019.

'He’s more experienced than Andy (Collings) because he played for Exeter in League 2, and has played regularly for Truro'...

James has also shown his prowess at golf, having won the Guernsey golf championship prior to his move into professional football... 'The free golf lessons that he promised me has nothing to do with it,' quipped The Gulls boss".

And Torquay United "Midfielder Matt Buse has joined National League South side Chippenham Town on loan for a month.

Having enjoyed an excellent first season at Plainmoor, United manager Gary Johnson feels that a temporary switch to Hardenhuish Park will benefit the player".

The Halifax Courier claims that "He might have the name of a French fashion designer, but Jean Leroy-Belehouan possesses the background, attitude and voice of a tough-tackling Mancunian...

The 20 year-old is approaching his loan at The Shay, having joined from Sheffield United for the rest of the season.

'I’ll bring my attributes to the team in terms of my pace, my defending one v one, reading the game, and I’d say scoring as well,' he said... 'I like to compete, I don’t back out, I like the physical game. I can rely on my pace in-behind but I like to get tight to players and get stuck in. And I think talking is one of my biggest assets, I don’t care who’s around me, I’ll always talk because talking’s the most important thing in the game, especially where I play'...

Belehouan is relishing the prospect of playing competitive football rather than the more cosseted environment of academy football...

Belehouan was playing for a team in his native Salford when he was scouted by his boyhood club Manchester United... where he started playing as a right-back, before a growth spurt at 15 saw him convert into a centre-half...

'When I came to Sheffield United I learned a lot about the physical aspect more than just playing with the ball'" he added.

The Hartlepool Mail tells us that "Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor welcomes EFL interest in his players during January transfer window...

'If we have interest in our players it means we’re doing something right,' he told The Mail... A number of the club’s players are being looked at by Football League clubs...

Pools have had a number of trialists training over the past month including former Leeds United and Sheffield United academy midfielder Connor Leak-Blunt and ex-Leeds, Guiseley and Östersunds midfielder Alex Purver among others...

'Everyone is for sale at the football club but that’s the case at most football clubs at our level. If we haven’t got interest in our players... then I’m not doing my job properly. If I’m not doing my job properly then I’m out of a job. So long may [the interest] continue...

'Hopefully we can keep the group together and keep that special feeling and keep that feeling that there is something there for us that we want to go and grab'" the manager concluded.

In the Dorset Echo "Weymouth boss Brian Stock stressed no player is guaranteed a starting spot after a difficult past three months.

Since a 2-1 win at pre-season league favourites Stockport on Halloween, Weymouth have won just once, a 3-2 FA Trophy third round tie against Maidenhead... losing from winning positions against Dagenham, Wealdstone and Wrexham and just missing out on a point against leaders Torquay.

Weymouth secured draws against Eastleigh post-Christmas but in the respective 3-0 and 1-0 losses to Yeovil and Darlington failed to register a shot on target.

Weymouth face second-placed Hartlepool on Saturday...

Asked what he wanted to see this week, he said 'A reaction. We’ve said a lot of things in that changing room and it comes to a point when the same messages are wearing thin. If something doesn’t change, the personnel’s going to have to change...

'If I’m being truthfully honest, I don’t think any player over the last eight to 10 weeks can say they’re going to start next week. As a manager the ideal scenario is that you have a team that’s performing well and you can roll out the same team the following week'".

Confirmation comes from the South Wales Argus that "Defender Kyle Howkins has left Newport County AFC to join Solihull Moors.

The 24 year-old centre-back has joined the National League side on loan until the end of the season, when his contract at Rodney Parade expires. Howkins started 2020/21 on the right of a back three... The 6ft 5ins defender continued in the side... but suffered a hamstring injury after his fourth appearance of the campaign against Barrow...

David Longe-King has slotted in... That has led to West Midlander Howkins, who made 23 appearances in the coronavirus-curtailed 2019/20, to head to Solihull. It sees the West Bromwich Albion academy graduate reunited with coach Jimmy Shan...

'I first worked with Jimmy at my previous club (West Brom), he was my first coach at under 10’s. I’m really looking forward to working with him once again'".


21 January 2020

ALTRINCHAM INPUT TO NATIONAL LEAGUE

Altrincham FC reports that "The National League has held meetings with Member Clubs today [Wednesday] to discuss further information regarding the Government’s Winter Survival Package.

A presentation was given to Member Clubs at today’s meetings to assess various options. The National League wishes to place on record its gratitude for the approach of Member Clubs at each meeting.

Interim General Manager of The National League, Mark Ives, has requested each Member Club to provide views on three points:

The purpose of feedback is to assist the Board in understanding views of all 66 Clubs. The Board will be meeting before the end of the week.

Altrincham Football Club is working with The National League to provide input into this process".

PARKINSON PLEASED

In the Sale & ALtrincham Messenger press and media officer John Edwards writes that "Phil Psrkinson has significantly boosted Altrincham’s hopes of continuing their recent outstanding form after turning Mansfield midfielder Alistair Smith’s loan into a permanent move...

The talented 20-year old had signed a deal with the Robins for the next 18 months. It is a massive coup for Parkinson that he managed to convince Smith, in the face of rising competition from rival clubs, that his career prospects would be best served at The J.Davidson Stadium after Mansfield agreed to release him...

The Alty manager said... 'He expressed a desire to sign permanently for us, and after negotiations with Mansfield, we were able to come up with an agreement to make it happen. I think everyone can see the impact Ally has had since joining us, and it would have been remiss of us not to try and sign such an exciting young talent on a permanent deal, once we knew it was possible'...

Smith, a multi-talented midfielder who mixes elegance with a hard, competitive edge, arrived on an initial one-month loan in mid-November... He has since reeled off 11 league and cup starts".

NEXT OPPONENTS: BARNET

Altrincham take on Barnet on Saturday. The Barnet & Potters Bar Times reminds us of the recent news that Barnet have recently "bolstered their squad with three new signings as they try and arrest their poor form from the start of the season.

The Bees currently sit second bottom in the National League table, eight points behind 20th place Yeovil Town, but have made moves to try and lift them up the table.

Ben Richards-Everton was the first to sign for Tim Flowers’ side after his contract with Bradford City was terminated... [He] has signed a contract with Barnet which will run until at least the end of the 2022-23 season, with an option of a further year included in the deal...

He said, '’ve got experience in the league previously, obviously I’ve been in League One and Two mainly, but I have played in the Conference and Conference North as well and hopefully I can use my experience to bring some more confidence into the defence'...

Richards-Everton is joined in defence by two other new arrivals in the shape of Themis Kefalas and Liam Daly. Daly has signed from National League North side Gloucester City and has previously worked under Bees’ boss Tim Flowers at Solihull Moors...

Kefalas meanwhile has arrived on loan from Queens Park Rangers, initially until February 28, with a conditional option to extend the deal until the end of the season".

ON THIS DAY: 21 January

Nine years ago today in a Blue Square Bet North Match played on Saturday, 21 January, 2012, four goals from Damian Reeves ensured Altrincham got revenge on Harrogate Town for a defeat at Wetherby Road on the opening day of the season.

Right: Kieran Walmsley (2), Mark Lees (6) and Adrian Hawes (5) seen during the game.

Altrincham had been hit by injuries to goalkeeper Stuart Coburn and defenders Marlon Broomes and Matt Flynn, whilst another defender, Adam Flynn, was only fit enough for the bench. So, youth team keeper Adam Reid made his league debut for Alty and there were two "new" faces on the bench, where James Holden, who had figured briefly for Alty Reserves as a teenager, and assistant manager Neil Tolson, made their first appearances in an Altrincham league squad.

With Liam Tomsett having finished his loan from Blackpool, Shaun Densmore returned to the starting line-up as captain. 30 players had so far been named on an Alty squad list that season for league games, underlining the transitional nature of the campaign.

Pre-match speculation about Jack Redshaw, who had spent a couple of days on trial at Morecambe before today's game, came to nothing as he again lined up for Altrincham.

This return fixture was played in a strong, gusty wind, which was behind Alty in the first half. After a scrappy opening, Damian Reeves put Alty ahead with a smart finish from Richman's right-wing cross in the 14th minute.

Eleven minutes later Harrogate got a route back into the match when Lees conceded a penalty which Brayson converted after 35 minutes. Alty then went off the boil and early in the second half, Harrogate levelled when an error by Hawes let in Brayson who gave Alty keeper Adam Reid no chance (51 mins).

But Altrincham responded well as, first, Redshaw made it 3-2 when he scored at the back post from a Clee free kick, which had evaded Richman and Reeves (58 mins). Then Reeves scored the goal of the game in the 61st minute with a brilliant first-time finish, off the post, from outside the box following Lawrie's good work.

Sixteen minutes from time Reeves tapped in his fifth from a Richman cross to make it 5-2. He now had 31 goals in 25 league outings and was unsurprisingly named Man of the Match.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Adam REID, 2. Kieran WALMSLEY, 5.Adrian HAWES, 6. Mark LEES, 3. Nicky CLEE, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 4. Chris LYNCH, 11. James LAWRIE, 9. Jack REDSHAW, 10. Damian REEVES. Subs: 12. Brian SUMMERSKILL, 14. James HOLDEN, 15. Michael TWISS, 16. Neil TOLSON, 17. Adam FLYNN

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

FC Halifax Town report that after "FC Halifax Town’s 2-1 loss against Southport, manager Pete Wild spoke...

'You simply cannot have that many chances at goal and only score one. If you want to win a football match, then we need to do better. In the first half I thought Southport were non-existent, but my team, both with and without the ball, should have been about 5-0 up at half time. We were rubbish, we should have been five up.

'Then in the second half we had two glaring opportunities in the first five minutes. But we just did not score. When we were not taking the chances, you could see it coming from a mile off... I felt we were weak as a team tonight'...

'We had to make some changes to try liven things up and get some pace on the pitch. We may have had all the ball but if you don’t take your chances, you get punished... We will have to be a lot better than that to beat Bromley'" in the next match.

Devon Live reports that "Torquay United will go to Southport of the National North division in the last 16 of the FA Trophy after beating fellow National League side Boreham Wood 4-0 in their delayed fourth round tie on the northern outskirts of London.

It was 0-0 at half time but second-half goals from Asa Hall, Billy Waters, Adam Rendell and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans did the damage. The record books will show a trashing but this was far from that and goals two, three and four all came in the last 10 minutes with the home side finally beaten down.

Ahead of Torquay's return to league action at Notts County on Saturday, the win will be a huge fillip for Gary Johnson's team, who... hadn't played a competitive game since losing to Yeovil Town 2-1 on January 2.

Josh Umerah got the nod to start up front ahead of loan striker Rob Street, who took his place on the bench. Also among the substitutes were Armani Little, who suffered a hamstring injury on Boxing Day...and fit-again forward Waters.

Notably missing from the 16 were goalkeeper Lucas Covolan and defender Fraser Kerr. New loan signing Max Sheaf travelled with the team but was unavailable because he was not registered in time for Saturday, the original date of the game...

In the 49th minute, Hall picked up the ball 10 yards from goal, turned well, and found the net with a fine left-footed strike.

Torquay were back under pressure after the goal, but Boreham Wood failed to make their possession pay... Little and Waters came on for Umerah and Aaron Nemane, who had been having a quiet game...

It was 2-0 in the 82nd minute when Waters hit the ball home from close range. The chance was set up by Whitfield. A minute later, Randell made it 3-0 with a lovely curled right-footed strike from 16 yards that gave the diving Ashmore no chance.

Jake Andrews came on for Hall after the third goal but the scoring wasn't done, with Lemonheigh-Evans netting the fourth from close range after a good team move and a final pass from Waters".

Also from Devon Live we learn that "Torquay United’s season could be under threat amid claims that a further £11m in funding to help clubs finish the National League campaign will be in loans instead of grants... Torquay are eight points clear at the top of the National League, and any cancellation of the season because of a threatened strike of clubs would be disastrous...

Officials at several National League clubs in the South and North divisions have now spoken out insisting it has put the season in jeopardy... The news comes with fears over the season already starting to mount because of the number of games called off due to the pandemic.

Torquay return to league action at Notts County on Saturday having not played an NL game since... January 2. Since then, manager Gary Johnson has extended the loans of Adam Randell and Sam Sherring, and brought in striker Rob Street on loan from Crystal Palace and midfielder Max Sheaf on loan from Hull City".

"After an initial short-term deal, Aldershot Town are delighted to announce that midfielder Jermaine Anderson has signed a new deal until the end of the 2020/21 season!

The 24 year-old has made seven appearances so far for the club, including scoring a brace in his first derby game against Woking back on Boxing Day...

Manager Danny Searle... said 'We’ve secured Jermaine for the rest of the season so that’s good news for us and it adds a little bit more competition for us and a little bit of spice in the dressing room... here’s a few happy faces and a few thinking another one! But it’s all in good spirit and we go to Wealdstone in good form.

'He’s quality. He’s a really good player. He brings a calming influence to the team at times, but he also brings an intensity and when you’ve got a player like him whose played as many league games as he has and the business we’ve done and credit to everyone involved because he’s a proper player'".

We learn from Kent Online that "Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler believes they can bring other teams into the relegation dogfight.

Whites are eight points from safety in the National League but there are a number of sides in the bottom half of the table who might end up looking nervously over their shoulder in the weeks ahead.

'We need to get a bit of consistency if we can,' said Hessenthaler... 'and put some pressure on the teams above us... There’s always a team that has a bad run and drops down. Hopefully we’ve had our bad run now and we’re going to go on a good one'...

Whites saw their National League trip to Wealdstone called off for the third time in as many months on Tuesday due to the hosts being in FA Trophy action. It was the 12th match Dover have had postponed this season, the vast majority due to Covid. They were set to go 10 days without another league game again as they were scheduled to play Macclesfield in the original fixture list this weekend...

But the National League have moved quickly to bring forward the re-arranged home clash with Solihull Moors to this Saturday to avoid a blank date in the calendar... Moors were without a fixture at the weekend after scheduled opponents Yeovil were unable to play due to a Covid-19 outbreak...

Hessenthaler said... 'We had five out still at the weekend but two came back into training at the start of this week and we might have two or three back at the end of the week...

'They are all big games now, we’re not silly, we’ve all seen the league table... We need to get the away form up and running and keep picking up points at home... We’ve only played 13 league games so it’s still early days'...

Ade Azeez picked up a calf injury at Wrexham but he should recover in time to face Solihull while Josh Passley remains suspended after his red card against Dagenham".


20 January 2021

BARNET, THE LAST TIME

As Alty travel to The Hive to face Barnet on Saturday, they will be hoping for a better outcome than on their last visit when, in September 2014, they lost 5-0 to the soon-to-be champions.

For the game, Shaun Densmore returned to the squad after injury whilst Simon Richman (suspended) gave way to Nicky Clee in the starting eleven.

In that Vanarama Conference match, a fairly even start to the game was undone in the twelfth minute when referee Lugg allowed a questionable challenge on Reeves to go unpunished and Barnet to go on and score, through a well struck shot by the impressive Spaniard, Villa.

Barnet then converted a penalty after goalkeeper Dave Parton had come out to dive at Akinde's feet but the big forward got the ball first and was upended by Alty's keeper. Hurt in the process, Parton recovered to face the penalty but had to be subbed immediately afterwards with what looked like a head injury (30 mins). Stuart Coburn was on the bench and he took over in goal.

Above, Stuart Coburn tips Luisma Villa's freekick over the bar after the Alty keeper had come on as a substitute at Barnet in 2014.

After 40 minutes, Barnet's N'Gala should have been sent off when, already booked, he flattened Moult, but he escaped unpunished.

With 44 minutes gone, it was still 2-0 but, by half time, the Barnet lead had been doubled. Firtsly, another penalty was conceded, this time by Scott Leather, and this was again converted by Akinde (45 mins), before the striker completed his first-half hat-trick from a Nurse feed (45+4 mins).

Hoskins, on his debut, made it 5-0 with his first touch (49 mins) but Altrincham recovered their composure to complete the game without further goals being conceded but nine goals conceded in two away games this week have plunged them into the bottom four. However, Alty did manage to finish the season seventeenth and earn another season in the top-flight.

Altrincham: 17. Dave Parton, 6. Scott Leather, 5. Gianluca Havern, 16. Tom Marshall, 3. Adam Griffin, 25. Peter Cavanagh (capt), 4. Jake Moult, 7. James Lawrie, 11. Nicky Clee,14. Kyle Perry, 10. Damian Reeves Subs: 1. Stuart Coburn, 9. Steven Gillespie, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 12. Mike Williams, 2. Shaun Densmore

MIDWEEK LEAGUE GAMES

Tuesday 19th January

MIDWEEK FA TROPHY GAMES

Monday 18th January

Tuesday 19th January

Wednesday 20th January

ALTY OLD BOYS

Luca Havern and John Johnston scored for Bradford (PA) and Chester FC on Tuesday night in a 3-3 draw in National League North.

ON THIS DAY: 20 January

Back on this day in 2009, Alty won a place in the UniBond Cheshire Senior Cup Final with a 4-0 win at Moss Lane against Witton Albion.

Manager Graham Heathcote took the opportunity to play several players who had seen little action recently. Chris Denham started for the first time since, coincidentally, Alty's first Cheshire Senior Cup game that season in mid-September against Vauxhall Motors. He has been out with an eye injury following an accident at work.

Right: Action from the game against Witton.

Alty were also pleased to welcome back their captain Robbie Lawton from an injury which had prevented him from starting a game since late November.

With Denham's inclusion, and both Alex Meechan and Joe O'Neill coming into the side, Colin Little, Chris Senior and Dale Johnson all dropped to the bench. Anthony Danylyk, suspended for the next game, was also stood down as Lawton started in midfield. James Smith, too, returned from injury, allowing Mark McGregor a night off.

For their part Witton included former Alty players in the shape of James Olsen, Kieran Lugsden, Gary Scott and Lee Thompson. After a poor start to the season, Witton had improved their league position in the UniBond Premeier recently under new manager Gary Finley.

Alty started well and took the lead in the 32nd minute when Denham scrambled home Doughty's cross. Densmore made it 2-0 in the 43rd minute with a well-struck freekick. Denham made it three just after the hour mark, a goal made by Greg Young's surge up the left. The scoring was completed by Chris Senior with a deftly executed chip over the keeper, ten minutes from the end.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 22. James SMITH, 2. Chris LANE, 5. Greg YOUNG, 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 21. Shaun DENSMORE, 7. Robert LAWTON (capt), 11.Warren PEYTON; 10. Chris DENHAM, 12. Joe O'NEILL, 15. Alex MEECHAN. Subs: 4. Mark McGREGOR, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 14. Dale JOHNSON, 19. Chris SENIOR, 9. Colin LITTLE.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

Boreham Wood "announce the signing of experienced defender Krystian Pearce on an 18-month deal at Meadow Park following his departure from rivals Solihull Moors.

Pearce, 31 years-old, who has been affectionately known throughout his career as ‘the Chief’ at his former clubs by his teammates and by the supporters, began his career at Birmingham City... Despite a host of loan moves away from St Andrews, that included spells with Notts County, Port Vale, Scunthorpe United, Peterborough United and Huddlesfield Town, he never made a senior appearance...

A short spell at Huddersfield Town on a permanent basis in 2010 was quickly followed by a permanent move to then Football League side Notts County... ollowed by a move to the south coast, where Pearce signed for Torquay United on a two-year deal... His deal was not renewed by the Gulls at the end of the 2014/15 season, which set him up for a return to the Football League with Mansfield Town...

Pearce was named in the 2018/19 League Two Team of the Year... Pearce joined Solihull Moors on a short-term deal until January 2021".

National League North Bradford (Park Avenue) "have signed Luke Rawson from Chesterfield on a 5 week loan deal until the 23rd of February.

The tall striker has played 8 times for Chesterfield in the National League this season scoring twice, he also enjoyed a loan at our divisional rivals Alfreton scoring once in 2 appearances. Luke will be... adding some possible variance to our attacking style with his strength and size...

The club would also like to announce the non-contract signing of Liam Bennett. Liam has been training with the club for the last couple of months after returning to the UK from the USA where he studied and played for the Louisville Cardinals after his release from Leeds United".

Meanwhile, NL Daily confirms that "Midfielder Milan Butterfield has returned to Chesterfield.

The Bermuda international has been on loan in the National League North with Guiseley, joining the club last month. Having made four appearances for Guiseley, he is now back with his parent club.

A summer signing from Kidderminster Harriers, Butterfield has been recently linked with a permanent move away from the Spireites".

In the Dorset Echo, "Brian Stock hinted the Terras’ old guard of players could be at risk if they do not meet his tactical demands...

Prior to promotion to the National League and ex-boss Mark Molesley’s departure, numerous contract renewals were agreed well ahead of the 2020/21 season.

Stock’s preferred style of play is based on a high press to meet the requirements of National League intensity. But he indicated change may be necessary...

Stock said 'I wouldn’t say I owe the players anything. They’ve warranted their contracts and the club have identified them as a quality of player that is needed for this level. I do think fitness is a factor. It’s something we need to address. With the way I want our team to play, I’ve brought in fast defenders because I want us to press high, close the gaps.

'I want us to be a team that come out of the blocks. If those players that have been put in those positions are not doing that, then it’s a problem.'”

In the Hartlepool Mail "Ben Killip reveals how he deals with mistakes...

The 25 year-old... insists he has learned to deal with it thanks to his experience... not looking to do something out of the ordinary to prove he is a good keeper...

'If you lose a game and it’s your fault as a keeper then it’s the loneliest place to be in the world... It’s one where you’ve just got to deal with it and move on and look at it after the game... You don’t have to make up for it or do anything to try and prove you’re a good goalkeeper which is something I’ve been guilty of in the past'...

Meanwhile, there has been little transfer activity this month but Dave Challinor has made tying Jamie Sterry, 25, down until the end of the season a ‘top priority’ this month following some impressive displays. The former Newcastle United defender feels... 'It’s nowhere near my best... I’ve only played seven games this season so I’ve got so much more to give. I’m learning how the team play because it’s obviously hard coming into a new team part-way through the season and I’d only trained twice before my first game.'".


19 January 2021

LOANS NOT GRANTS TO COMPLETE THE NATIONAL LEAGUE SEASON

The BBC reports that "National League clubs have been dealt a major blow after being told future funding will be issued as loans and that grants will only be handed out in exceptional circumstances.

The National League's three divisions kicked off in October after securing a £10m grant from the government for the opening three months of the campaign.

However, that grant funding has expired and a total of £11m, part of the government's £300m rescue package for sport, is available to clubs to claim as loans over the next three months.

BBC Sport was told by a number of clubs in January that they only agreed to start the season during the coronavirus pandemic and in the absence of fans on the understanding that continuing costs would be covered.

Interim National League chief executive Mark Ives, who replaced Mike Tattersall after he stood down at the end of December, is due to address the situation with clubs on Wednesday".

Nottinghamshire Live quotes the reaction of various clubs. "Director of Chester FC, Jim Green, whose club play in the National League North, said on Twitter 'Unfortunately I fear this spells the end for @TheVanaramaNL this season'...

Dorking Wanderers... said 'If the National League were to be cancelled it would cost over 14 million from the Furlough Scheme. It would appear @DCMS are yet again struggling to comprehend the impact of no crowds, in addition this is moving the goalposts on what was agreed.'

The chairman of Concord Rangers, Ant Smith, added 'I personally would 100 per cent be behind any clubs who wish to make a stand in not playing their fixture this Saturday. I’m pretty sure it is the only way we will get the attention that is required, we have seen how long it takes to get answers if you just nod your head and say okay.'".

FA TROPHY DRAW

The Fifth Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy is to be played on Saturday 6 February, with prize money of £6,000 to be earned by the winners, whilst the losers pick up £1,750. The draw was made on Monday...

ON THIS DAY: 19 January

Five years ago tonight, Altrincham had made the long midweek trek to Sussex to take on Bognor Regis Town.

This long midweek trip came just 72 hours after Altrincham's narrow win at Leamington in the previous round, a tie which had been postponed five times and for which Alty and their players had travelled to the Midlands on three occasions but only played once. In that sense the 660-miles expended on those games comfortably outstripped this 500-mile Tuesday evening round-trip.

Quite bizarrely, supporters arrived at the match to find half a dozen cars parked on the pitch, with their engines running to help warm up a frozen area. The aim was to warm up an area near the touchline that the referee was not happy about because of ice/frost. Thankfully, the ploy was a success. Not for nothing, it seems, do Bognor's shirts carry the sponsorship logo of a local car-dealership.

Above: Bognor exhausted every avenue to get the game played. Above we see six cars, with engines running, parked on the pitch, on a yellow line (of sand), to ward off the frost before kick-off.

But, the absence of seven first-choice players proved too much for Altrincham on this bitterly cold night in Sussex. Long-term absentees Coburn, Densmore, Marshall and Clee were joined on the absentee list for this match by Griffin (hip), Havern (broken nose) and Richman (taking his University exams).

So three of the fit players had to be deployed out of their best positions in a 4-4-2 set-up; midfielder Jordan Sinnott continued at right-back, fellow midfielder Josh O'Keefe was named as left-back and forward James Lawrie featured in central midfield. Up front, Damian Reeves returned for his first start after injury and was not expected to complete ninety minutes. In the absence of Densmore and his deputy captains Coburn and Havern, Jake Moult wore the armband tonight.

Recent loan signings, Josh Ginnelly (Burnley) and Dylan Mottley-Henry (Bradford City) were eligible to make their debuts tonight; Josh started the game on the left whilst Dylan was named on the bench.

In a fairly even first half, Alty had the better chances, the best falling to Rankine who blasted a lay-off from Reeves over the bar.

But the visitors rarely theatened after the interval. Bognor took a 76th minute lead when Robson headed home a cross from the right. Altrincham equalised when Lawrie lifted the ball over the keeper from O'Keefe's cross and found the net in the 81st minute.

Then, in the 85th minute, a fine 25-yard shot, off the upright by Crane, secured a win for the Rocks and an away tie at Sutton United.

ALTRINCHAM: 17. Tim DEASY, 20. Jordan SINNOTT, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 6. Scott LEATHER, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 4. Jake MOULT (capt), 15. Josh GINNELLY, 7. James LAWRIE, 19. Ryan CROWTHER, 10. Damian REEVES, 9. Michael RANKINE. Subs: 23. Callum WILLIAMS, 18. George BOWERMAN, 24. Rhain DAVIS, 26. Dylan MOTTLEY-HENRY, 21. Joel SWIFT.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

From Norfolk, Lynn News claims "King's Lynn Town's National League season thrown into doubt over financial support...

It is understood that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has indicated to the National League that their £11m of funding for the remainder of the season will be in the form of loans, not grants.

Grants will only be available to clubs in exceptional circumstances and the National League is now encouraging clubs to contact their local MPs to ask them to lobby DCMS.

Linnets chairman Stephen Cleeve recently called on the government to stop playing 'Russian Roulette' with clubs and their futures.

Cleeve felt that many clubs would not have agreed to start the current season behind closed doors had they known it involved taking on further financial obligations".

News at Den has a "Millwall loan watch" which focuses on players from Millwall who are on loan elsewhwere, including the news that "Isaaac Olaofe scored his sixth goal of the season for Sutton United as they defeated Dagenham & Redbridge 3-1 in the fourth round of the FA Trophy at the weekend.

Olaofe bagged the second in the 61st minute to help his side through. Olaofe, 21, had his loan deal with the National League side extended last week until the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Rob Strachan and Harry Ransom were again denied chances to add to their senior experience as Welling United and Dover Athletic’s games were postponed in National League South and National League, respectively, as positive tests for Covid-19 continue to cause havoc in the non-leagues".

The Derbyshire Times states that "There is a lot of talk about what Chesterfield might be able to achieve next season.

James Rowe will have completed the reshaping of his squad next season, the fans will be back next season, they will be better off financially next season. But next year the expectations will be higher, bringing about more pressure, the bookies will have them listed as one of the favourites and all eyes will be on them again...

So while the pressure is off and the players can play with freedom, it makes it the perfect time to go under the radar and be that team who makes a quiet surge up the league table... Nobody, except us who have watched them under Rowe, will be looking at the Spireites in 17th and thinking they are a threat to the top seven... There is nothing to fear and everything to play for...

Once Covid has settled down and Chesterfield can put a run of games together, I believe they will be ready to push on.

Between me and you, the Spireites can get promoted this season. Just don’t tell anyone".

Meanwhile, the Derbyshire Times reports that "Chesterfield transfer target Gavin Gunning reportedly rejects new contract at Gloucester City. The 29-year-old centre-back has ‘turned down’ the offer and is ‘expected to leave’ the National League North club, according to Gloucestershire Live.

Town are interested in signing him but agreed not to make an approach for any more contracted Tigers players after manager James Rowe and striker Akwasi Asante moved to the Technique Stadium.

Whether Gunning rejecting a new contract means Gloucester would change their stance remains to be seen.

Defenders George Carline and Alex Whittle have since joined Rowe and Asante at the Blues, but only after becoming free agents. Chesterfield chairman, Mike Goodwin, insists... "that in terms of the players we have taken from Gloucester that we have not broken any regulations or any agreement that we might have had with Gloucester and we have spoken to their chairman before we have actually signed any of those players so the chairman has been quite happy about that'...

Gunning started his career at Blackburn Rovers and his previous clubs include Dundee United and Forest Green Rovers

We learn from the Dorset Echo that on Saturday, "Weymouth lacked a 'cutting edge' as Darlington dumped Brian Stock’s Terras out of the FA Trophy fourth round with a 1-0 win at the Bob Lucas Stadium.

Pre-match, all the talk had been of Stock’s impressive capture of highly-rated Aston Villa defender Dominic Revan and his fellow centre-back Jacob Mensah. The duo duly delivered a strong performance but it was in the final third where Weymouth’s demons laid as Stock’s men failed to register a shot on target for the second successive game.

Only Jordan Ngalo and Sean Shields tried their luck, both firing off target from 20 yards out in the first-half, while an Ollie Harfield free-kick sailed over in the 89th minute.

For hard-working Darlington, victory was fully warranted after... Will Hatfield’s 20-yard winner...

Stock said 'Our main objective was to be in the next round and that’s not the case. When you look at the performance, analyse everything we’ve worked on all week, things we’ve got on the board, reminders at half and full-time, we’ve not done any of that. Again, a disappointing result and performance...

'We’ve been working on it all week, so I’m almost at a loss as to why we turned down opportunities to play the ball in behind...

He said 'We got into some good areas, especially second half, and turned down opportunities to cross the ball. Again, I’m scratching my head to understand the reasons why, because we’ve done it really well this year. Realistically, we lacked a cutting edge in the final third'...

Stock revealed... 'We are actively speaking to two or three other players – forward-minded players... to try and improve the squad.'”

According to the Nottingham Post, Notts County "will step-up their search for a left-back after a deal to sign a defender from the Premier League collapsed at the last minute.

The Magpies had hoped to bring the player to Meadow Lane to help bolster their backline for the remainder of the season and and he had been training with the club. But despite Notts signing the paperwork and believing the deal would go ahead, the Premier League club's manager had a last-minute change of heart.

That has now left boss Neal Ardley needing to change targets and he is also now on the lookout for a new central defender after Sam Graham returned to the Blade... That proved to be a rare start for the defender and it is his lack of minutes on the pitch which have prompted the Blades to recall him".

Lynn News tells us that "King's Lynn Town have signed defender Tyler Denton from National League rivals Chesterfield.

The 25-year-old moves to the Walks on a permanent deal to give the club even more options at the back.

On Denton's arrival, Linnets director of football Robbie Back said 'Tyler is another player with league experience who arrives here with a very good pedigree. He's a left-back who likes to get forward and his arrival gives us more cover in that department'"

the Derbyshire Times adds that at Chesterfield, "The 25-year-old was signed by former Town manager John Pemberton but has not started a game under James Rowe.

In total the left full-back made five appearances for the Blues this season...

Denton’s chances of game time became slim following the signings of Joel Taylor and Alex Whittle, who both play in his position. He joins striker Alex Kiwomya at the National League club, who also left the Spireites last month.

Denton said 'King’s Lynn are an ambitious club and one I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with. The style of football at King’s Lynn is very attractive '... Director of football, Rob Back said... 'Having played alongside Kiwomya at Chesterfield, we see this as a natural fit for the squad.'”

The BBC confirms that "Covid-hit Yeovil Town have been forced to request the postponement of two more National League fixtures.

After the postponement of Saturday's game with Maidenhead United, matches against Notts County and Solihull Moors have also been called off.

The Glovers say they have had one positive case and the person will isolate until Monday 25 January.

It means four successive postponements for Yeovil, whose trip to Barnet on 10 January was also called off. That fixture, postponed because of Covid cases within the Barnet camp, has now been rearranged...

The next scheduled date for the club, who have not played since 5 January, is at home to Dover on Saturday 30 January".

The Leader Live tells us that "The gift of a case of gin, from the Hollywood stars keen to buy Wrexham Football Club, to the historic pub alongside the stadium is helping a family support charity backed by North Wales’s policing chief.

Regulars at the famous Turf Hotel alongside the club’s Racecourse Ground have been enjoying 18 bottles of Aviation Gin donated by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, with the cash from the sales raising £1,300.

The football club, Wales’s oldest, was actually formed at a meeting at the pub in 1864 and the ground is the world’s oldest international football stadium. Before the new stand was built customers could watch games free from its rear balcony.

Now Turf landlord Wayne Jones has handed over £500 of that windfall to Home-Start, the charity based in the town which helps families struggling to cope with raising young children...

Wayne said 'We just received this parcel with a case of 18 bottles of Aviation Gin and a note from Ryan Reynolds saying "To Wayne, see you soon and see you often". It’s not every day a Hollywood superstar sends you 18 bottles of expensive gin'".

Bromley "share the news that Michael Cheek has signed a contract extension with Bromley Football Club.

The prolific striker joined up with Neil Smith ahead of the 2019/20 season and has since gone on to make a huge impact at Hayes Lane.

The 29 year-old is a seasoned performer at National League level, having made his name at Heybridge Swifts, before moving on to Chelmsford City... He made the move to Braintree Town... His prolific spell earned him a move to fellow Essex outfit Dagenham & Redbridge... In the Summer of 2018, Cheek signed for Ebbsfleet United...

In the cut-short 2019/20 season Cheek scored 15 goals in all competitions, and this season he already has double figures with 11 in all competitions".

The Halifax Courier reports that "Cheltenham Town striker Tahvon Campbell has joined FC Halifax Town loan for the rest of the season.

The 24-year-old forward has made more than 100 senior appearances and started his career at West Brom... His first taste of senior football came in a loan spell at Kidderminster... [and] a loan spell at Yeovil in League Two... before a goalless two-month stint at League Two Notts County...

Campbell scored once on loan at Solihull in... the 2017-18 season. He then joined Forest Green on loan in League Two... Campbell was released by West Brom at the end of the 2017-18 season, and joined Forest Green on a permanent basis...

He joined League One Gillingham on loan at the end of January 2019, but failed to score in six games... After leaving Forest Green that summer, Campbell joined League Two side Cheltenham but failed to score in 14 appearances during the 2019-20 season.

Campbell spent time on loan at National League North club Gloucester earlier this campaign, scoring five goals in eight matches, and has made just one first-team appearance for Cheltenham this season, as a substitute".

According to the Hull Daily Mail "Torquay United boss Gary Johnson wasted no time in securing the services of Hull City midfielder Max Sheaf, once he was made aware of the youngster’s availability, so highly is he rated.

The 20 year-old will spend the remainder of the campaign on loan at the National League leaders it was confirmed on Monday, much to the delight of the experienced Johnson.

Sheaf excelled during a loan stint at Johnson’s former club Cheltenham Town last term ...

'As soon as he became available I was very interested. He gives us a player that will allow us to get through the number of games we play in a short space of time for the rest of the season'" said Johnson.


18 January 2021

NEXT MATCH: BARNET

Altrincham's last league match against Barnet was in September 2014 when they crashed to a 5-0 defeat in the National League at The Hive, early in a season in which Barnet were to regain their Football League place,

Altrincham's historical record against the Bees is very much one of home dominance by each of the sides, which produces a fairly even overall record in matches between the clubs...

ON THIS DAY: 18 January

This time last year, Altrincham travelled to the International Stadium where they lost 2-0 to Gateshead.

It was a Vanarama National League North match played on Saturday, 18 January 2020 and Altrincham could have no complaints at the outcome as their weakened team lost to a well organized Gateshead.

This was Alty's first visit to Gateshead since 2015, a game which ended 2-2. Both clubs had since dropped a level in the non-League pyramid.

Above: Andy White cleared this 40th minute effort off the line, following a corner, and an Altrincham freekick was given for a foul, in any case. But, just three minutes later, from their next corner, Gateshead scored. Having beaten Gateshead 3-0 in Cheshire earlier in the season, Alty arrived at the International Stadium in seventh place, with games in hand on several of the teams above them. However, Gateshead had played the fewest games in the division. They had one game in hand on Alty and were three points and six places below the visitors in a congested league table.

Without the suspended Harrop and the injured Williams, Richman and Peers, and with the recalled Walters not yet re-registered after being recalled from loan, Alty nevertheless saw plenty of the ball in the first half.

Fielding debutant loanee Josh Lundstram in midfield and with Luke Wall brought in on the left, Alty were unable to convert their possession into a clear opening after they had had a goal disallowed for offside early on.

Gateshead had not created a lot themselves before they took a fortuitous 43rd minute lead. The goal came direct from an inswinging right-wing corner by former Dover man Deverdics. As the ball dropped in the goalmouth goalkeeper Thompson failed to deal with it before it crossed the line.

Gateshead doubled their lead in the 67th minute when a cross from Nicholson from the right was hit against the near post by debutant Middlesbrough loanee Curry before rebounding back off him and into the net.

Alty never looked like recovering and scarcely troubled keeper James in the home net. Alty dropped to tenth as a result of this defeat which ended their seven-game unbeaten run.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Andy WHITE, 4. Toby MULLARKEY, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Josh LUNDSTRAM, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Luke WALL. Subs: 12. Curtis MILLER, 14. Sean WILLIAMS, 15. Connor HAMPSON, 16. James JONES, 17. Joel TORRANCE.

BLYTH JOINS GATESHEAD

After three appearances for Altrincham at the back end of 2020, Gateshead have announced that the "are pleased to confirm the signing of Jacob Blyth until the end of the 2020/21 season.

The six foot three striker arrives on Tyneside having most recently spent time with Altrincham in the latter part of 2020.

The 28 year-old made 19 substitute appearances in League Two for Macclesfield Town during the 2019/20 season prior to injury in March, and appeared 24 times for Barrow in the Vanarama National League the season prior.

Blyth [right] also spent time in the Football League with Blackpool, Burton Albion, Cambridge United & Northampton Town before heading to Scottish Premiership side Motherwell in 2016".

Interviewed by the Gateshead website, "Jacob Blyth revealed that Gateshead were the club [that] ‘stood out’ to him after completing his move on Friday... and [he] is raring to go on Tyneside.

'I’m delighted to finally get things over the line,' he said. 'I’ve been so impressed with the setup and the way the gaffer and Ian [Watson] go about their work. I had a few offers from other clubs in this league but Gateshead stood out to me because the setup is just brilliant with stadium, the training ground and the fact that this is a full time club. It was really appealing to me from the outside.'

The 28 year-old had to contend with an injury lay-off during uncertain times over the summer after suffering a knee injury while with Macclesfield Town in 2020. Blyth has since been back in action during a brief spell with Altrincham at the end of 2020, playing three games with the National League club, and believes he can offer an alternative style in Gateshead colours.

'I had surgery in the summer and then I went in to train with Altrincham for a few weeks,' he added. 'Once I was asked about coming here it was a no brainer for me to come straight up... I class myself as a bigger striker and I can always give the team that plan B while also executing the plan A'".

Jacob made three appearances for Altrincham, two of them against Stockport County over Christmas and New Year. After training with Alty for a fortnight or so, his debut came as a substitute in added time of the home game against County, but he started the reverse fixture before being substituted at half-time. In between those games he played the final half-hour at FC Halifax Town.

An ex-Macclesfield Town forward, Jacob had earlier been at Barrow (2018-19) and Motherwell. That was after four years with Leicester City from which club he had loan spells with Burton Albion, Notts County, Northampton Town, Cambridge United and Blackpool.

His earlier career was at hometown club Nuneaton Griff and then with Bedworth United.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NEWS

The Derbyshire Times reports that "Chesterfield are working hard to move some players out of the club, chairman Mike Goodwin has confirmed.

With nine new signings through the door since [new manager] Rowe was appointed at the end of November, some Spireites fans have been concerned about the club’s financial situation given the lack of outgoings.

But Goodwin said... 'I can understand the worry about that because we have now brought nine new players in and not a lot of players have disappeared the other way...

'That is not for the want of trying. We have been trying to move some players out who are not in the manager’s thoughts but what I can reassure them of is that we always said John Pemberton had got money before he left us and the new manager had that up front, which was a small amount of cash for him to deal with, but on the proviso that should he wish to extend that then there would have to be some reciprocal arrangements with players leaving the club.

'Certainly the work and the business he (Rowe) has done so far has been really good. There have been a number of players who have come in on greatly reduced salaries in terms of some of the players that we have already got so what we are trying to do is continue to do that and reduce the cost of the squad.

'It is difficult at this moment in time because not a lot of people are actually signing players on during this window. There is a bit of uncertainty about the continuation of this season so we are finding it difficult to do that but that is our aim. The cost of the squad will not increase and players will have to leave to balance that up and the manager knows that.'

Meanwhile, Goodwin said they are hoping to hear some news shortly about the amount of funding they will receive from the National League for January, February and March...

In other news, more than 100 season tickets for the 2021/2022 campaign have already been sold, raising about £25,000... to help reshape the squad now and create a cashflow for now. But fans have been reassured that the majority of the funds generated will be ring-fenced for next season.

The live streaming of the two home matches in December against Brackley Town and Solihull Moors brought in about £17,000, with Brackley receiving a portion of the money because it was an FA Trophy game."

Woking "will be aiming for a first win in four when they travel to Bromley on Tuesday evening for the next round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.

The Cards have only won one game in the competition in the last five years, the 2-1 victory over Dover Athletic a month ago...

They will be hoping that a two-and-a-half week break since their last league outing... will have helped freshen up a stretched squad which has recently lost loanees Saul Shotton and Josh Davison, who have returned to West Bromwich Albion and Charlton Athletic, respectively.

Bromley have won their last four home games against Woking... The Ravens haven’t played since before Christmas... in the last round of the Trophy...

[Manager] Dowse will be hoping that he’ll have completed at least one new signing ahead of the Bromley game following the departure of Josh Davison. Ben Gerring is also expected to make his first appearance of the season for the Cards after recovering from his pre-season injury."

According to the Manchester Evening News "Stockport fell to a second cup defeat of the week, as National League rival Notts County snatched a late 1-2 win in the FA Trophy at Edgeley Park on Saturday.

In a largely quiet affair at Edgeley Park... chances came at a premium before the visitors took the lead after a rather flat opening half-hour.

The lively Enzio Boldewijn burst through the heart of the Hatters’ defence and teed up Mansfield loanee Jimmy Knowles to cleverly toe poke past Josh Barnes.

Gannon’s side pressed for a leveller before the interval, and it came just four minutes following the opening goal when the returning Ash Palmer bundled home Macauley Southam-Hales’ near-post corner.

In an equally quiet start to the second half with no chances of note for either side... before Magpies sub Kyle Wootton did win the tie when he drove home via a deflection in the final minute".

The Leader Live claims that "All eyes will now be fixed on Wrexham AFC this week after hints of a ‘fun week’ ahead by Hollywood owners.

Posted by “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” actor and one of the club’s owners-elect Rob McElhenney.. the A-lister said, 'Should make for a fun week. Amongst other things...'

Many speculated that the final takeover could be announced within a matter of days."

In the Hartlepool Mail we learn that "Dave Challinor is hoping it will be third time lucky for Hartlepool United when they face Halifax Town next month.

After two frozen pitch postponements, including one an hour before kick-off on Tuesday evening, the match has been given a third scheduled date... on February 2...

Club president Jeff Stelling even called for an investigation into Halifax’s handling of the late postponement on Tuesday night after the club deemed an afternoon inspection unnecessary.

And the fact Pools were able to get their match against Wealdstone on at Victoria Park last weekend despite harsher conditions than those in Halifax also didn’t sit right with many...

'I don’t blame Halifax at all,' he told The Mail. 'They are completely different situations with different teams. Halifax’s ground is a council ground that they’re not in control of in the same way we are of ours. I’ve been at teams before that don’t have the luxury of frost covers, but we do...

'As much as it’s about the ground staff, it’s about the equipment you’ve got and our frost covers did a brilliant job... That’s not been the case at Halifax, you can point fingers if you want but it’s part and parcel of the environment that we’re in'".



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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