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23 January 2019

SUPPORTERS' TRAVEL TO LEAMINGTON

TASC Travel Coordinator Mark Eckersall writes that "TASC will be running a coach to Leamington on Saturday, 26th January and your support would be most welcome as ever. The next coach trip after this one will be to York City on Saturday, 9th March.

For your planning and, as with similar trips, the games at FC United (9th Feb.) and Curzon Ashton (23rd Feb.) are too close to provide financially viable trips for passengers, with many different ways of getting to the games.

Come and join us on the road to Leamington, we'll have a 30 minute stop on the way down for refreshment and welcome passengers of all ages.

You can book by calling the club in office hours on 0161 928-1045".

Details of timings and fares are on the Away Travel page.

NEXT MATCH: LEAMINGTON

On Saturday, Altrincham travel to Warwickshire to face Leamington. Ahead of Tuesday's fixture, The Brakes entertained another Cheshire side, Stockport County, on Tuesday night. Before that midweek fixture, the National League reported that "It’s all eyes on Stockport County... County’s great run has seen them catapult themselves into second place, but they are still seven points off the relentless table toppers.

If they can win at Leamington this evening the lead with be cut to four... The Brakes are draw specialists but haven’t won since November. Paul Holleran’s side, though, have only lost twice in seven games".

Mike Garnett's records reveal the following record for Altrincham when playing against Leamington:

  • Home: P3-W1-D2-L0-F6-A5
  • Away: P2-W2-D0-L0-F3-A1
  • All: P5-W3-D2-L0-F9-A6 Altrincham also played the earlier Leamington club, AP Leamington, in the Alliance Premier Football League over three seasons from 1979-82. In those games the record was: All: P6-W5-D0-L1-F18-A7

    Although Alty and the teams from Leamington have never drawn in the 11 encounters chronicled above, Leamington this season are the second-leading draw specialists in National League North having chalked up eleven draws in their 27 matches. They currently lie 14th in the table with 32 points whilst Altrincham lie sixth with 42 points from 26 fixtures. In thirteen league matches at their New Windmill Ground they have won three matches, drawn six and lost four times during this campaign.

    As Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records show, Altrincham have never played a National League North match previously on Saturday's date, 26 January. Last time they had a game on that date was in 2016 when Alty beat Woking 3-1 at Moss Lane.

    JAKE NAMED IN TEAM OF WEEKEND

    The National League reports that "It’s never an easy task selecting the National League South [?] Team of the Weekend, even after reading all the match reports!...

    • Goalkeeper: Tom Palmer (Kidderminster Harriers)
    • Defenders: Luke Ashworth (Ashton United), Courtney Meppen-Walter (Chorley), Conor Branson (Bradford (Park Avenue)
    • Midfielders: Matthew Lowe (Brackley Town), Jake Moult (Altrincham), Mike Calveley (Nuneaton Borough), Tom Owen-Evans (Hereford), Mohamud Ali (Curzon Ashton)
    • Strikers: Glen Taylor (Spennymoor Town), Matthew Warburton (Stockport County)
    • Substitutes: Luke Shiels (Alfreton Town), Jonathan Hunt (Curzon Ashton), Alex Newby (Chorley), Sam Minihan (Stockport County), Lee Ndlovu (Brackley Town)
    • Manager of the Weekend: Mark Bradshaw (Curzon Ashton)

    TUESDAY GAMES

    Tuesday 22 January 2019
    • Altrincham P-P Blyth Spartans
    • Guiseley 1-1 Hereford att. 481
    • Leamington 0-1 Stockport County

    SATURDAY GAMES

    Saturday 26 January 2019
    • Blyth Spartans v Hereford
    • Brackley Town v Bradford (Park Avenue)
    • Curzon Ashton v Darlington
    • FC United of Manchester v Stockport County
    • Guiseley v Boston United
    • Kidderminster Harriers v Alfreton Town
    • Leamington v Altrincham
    • Nuneaton Borough v Ashton United
    • Southport v AFC Telford United
    • Spennymoor Town v Chester
    • York City v Chorley

    VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

    Before Tuesday's games, the National League reported that "Marcus Bignot accepts Guiseley’s meeting with Hereford could be season-shaping... These are the two sides sitting just outside the bottom three in the National League North... A home win will see his team move eight points away from the drop zone...

    Joint boss Bignot told the club’s website 'Tuesday night is certainly a crunch fixture, we were mindful of that on Saturday... It is an opportunity to bounce back from defeat at Chorley on Saturday and I am looking forward to see how the lads respond... We came in at half-time and spoke about the first half and the positive was the 1-0 scoreline, we were still in the game. To concede so early on was a blow, it was a very good goal from them and then the game ran away from us. If we can learn from the defeat we will be better for it.'"

    Another departure is recorded by Nuneaton Borough who announce that "midfielder Joe Lyne has left the Club. Joe made nine appearances for the Boro' and had one assist, the winning goal at Darlington. He impressed in his debut, the 2-0 County Cup victory over Solihull Moors, but had found his opportunities limited over recent weeks."

    Cheshire Live informs us that "Chester FC midfielder Gary Roberts will be available for the trip to Spennymoor Town on Saturday...

    There had been some initial concern at the weekend that Roberts, who has been Chester's stand-in skipper in the absence of Scott Burton, would miss the clash with the The Moors after picking up another booking in the 1-0 loss at home to Curzon Ashton on Saturday.

    Roberts' yellow card was his 10th of the season and a suspension arrives after 10 bookings, but cautions are now competition specific. Roberts has picked up eight yellows in the National League North so far this season as well as bookings in the FA Trophy and FA Cup. But it is only when 10 bookings are reached in a particular competition that the two-game suspension rule applies meaning that Roberts will be available once again for the Blues this weekend.

    It is a boost for a midfield that also now has Burton back available following a lengthy lay-off as well as recent addition Sean McAllister for the visit to Spennymoor."

    From the Chester Standard we learn that "Chester joint manager Anthony Johnson has admitted it is proving difficult to sign a striker as the Blues' goalscoring woes continue.

    Chester have managed just three goals in their last six league matches with two of those coming in the away win at FC United of Manchester. The drought has seen Johnson and co-manager Bernard Morley's side slip to seventh in the table, 12 points behind leaders Chorley and Saturday's home defeat to Curzon Ashton meant it is just one win in six for the Blues who... make a difficult trip to Spennymoor Town this week.

    Things had looked very different at the start of December when the newly arrived Akwasi Asante scored a hat trick on his debut in the 3-1 defeat of Darlington, but following a knee injury, the Dutch striker has been unavailable and faces up to three weeks more on the sidelines.

    With Matty Hughes out for the season and Anthony Dudley suffering a hamstring strain last week, Morley and Johnson were forced to start 17-year-old striker Lloyd Marsh-Hughes in the game with Curzon Ashton and although Johnson was happy with the teenager's performance he admitted it is not the ideal scenario...

    Spennymoor lie in fifth place, two points above the Blues and Johnson is in no doubt about the challenge that awaits Chester following the long trip to the North East. 'They're having a really good season and I was really impressed with them in the game we played here,' he said. 'You talk about scoring goals and they've got the big fella up front Glen Taylor and Tuton and Ryan Hall and Robert Ramshaw in midfield who is real quality.

    'But for a team I've just said are doing so well and are scoring goals, we're not that far off them. It's brilliant because we're going to start to find out what we're about now and there's plenty of work for Bernard and I and the team to do and sort out.'"

    We learn from the Boston Standard that "Boston United have recalled Dylan Parkin from his loan spell at Cleethorpes Town. The former Chesterfield keeper has been out of action since breaking a bone in his foot in December.

    But in recent weeks he has been warming up with the Pilgrims before matches as he continued his rehabilitation. Today Town confirmed that 20-year-old Parkin has been recalled by Boston boss Craig Elliott... When he returns to full fitness Parkin, who has remained training with Boston during his loan, will battle for a place in goal alongside regular number one George Willis and former Poland international Sebastian Malkowski."


    22 January 2019

    NEW LOANEE STRIKER AT ALTY

    Altrincham FC have announced the loan signing of striker Nathan Waterston (d.o.b. 13 May, 1997) from Barrow. A Barrovian, he was with the Bluebirds as a youngster before having spells with Penrith and then Workington.

    Cumbria's NW Evening Mail adds that "Barrow AFC striker Nathan Waterston has joined National League North side Altrincham on a one-month loan deal, as he looks to regain match sharpness.

    The 21-year-old Barrovian hasn’t featured since the Bluebirds’ 2-1 home defeat against Solihull Moors on September 1, after which he succumbed to the shoulder injury that had been plaguing him since pre-season. Waterston, who joined AFC a year ago from fellow Cumbria side Workington, underwent surgery on the problem at the end of that month, whereupon he was ruled out for close to four months.

    He has been slowly building up his fitness over the last month, first being seen going through some gentle exercises on the Holker Street pitch with physio Callum Walters before the Boxing Day fixture against AFC Fylde.

    This week, he was able to join in first-team training but, with stiff competition for places up front at Barrow, he will now be at the Moss Lane club to gain some much-needed minutes until Saturday, February 23. Had it not been for the match being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, Waterston would have made his debut for the Robins in their home fixture against Blyth Spartans tonight. He’s joining a confident side, as Altrincham are currently sixth in National League North and are chasing a second successive promotion after climbing out of the Northern Premier League last season under manager Phil Parkinson".

    Earlier, Barrow stated that "Nathan was born locally and was a member of the club’s under-18 development squad before leaving the club in 2015 in search of senior football. He spent a season [with Penrith] in the eBac Northern League First Division before joining Workington in the Evo-stik Northern Premier League Premier Division.

    He scored seven times in thirty first-team appearances for the Reds this season [2017-18] to add to the four goals he scored last season in fifty-four appearances, the majority of which came from the bench. He re-joined Barrow in early March 2018 and made his debut as a substitute at Macclesfield Town".

    On 27 September, 2018 the NW Evening Mail informed us that "Homegrown striker Nathan Waterston has given Barrow AFC’s pre-season plans a big boost by signing a new contract. The Barrovian youngster has penned a one-year-deal with the Bluebirds... Waterston graduated through the AFC Performance Centre up to under-18s level, before joining Workington Reds.

    He scored 10 times and claimed seven assists in 33 appearances for the West Cumbrians before rejoining Barrow in March. Waterston made his first-team debut for AFC at Macclesfield Town and played an important role in the Bluebirds’ successful battle against relegation from the National League.

    AFC managing director Andrew Casson said, 'We are very happy to have Nathan back with us for next It is great to have local talent in the squad, and he showed what he can do when he joined us for the run-in last season, with some great performances and scoring his first goal against Fylde. We’re sure he can push on next season and get even better by having a full season with us.'"

    In early December 2018, the NW Evening Mail reported that "With Barrow AFC being able to welcome back several key players back from long-term injuries of late, it’s sometimes been forgotten that the recovery of striker Nathan Waterston is still ongoing.

    Waterston is expected to remain on the sidelines until the New Year after undergoing surgery on a shoulder injury at the beginning of October. The 21-year-old Barrovian had been troubled by the problem since pre-season, but was able to soldier on until the home game against Solihull Moors on September 1, when the need to fix it became more urgent... Waterston will thankfully be able to step up his comeback soon.

    Manager Ian Evatt said 'Nathan’s only just able to drive again, so we’ve got to go through a process of strengthening him up again. He’s been back with us at Hopwood from Monday. It’s been a long process for him, but we’ve looked forward to having him back in the building.'"

    MATCH POSTPONED

    After heavy overnight and morning rain and sleet, tonight's match against Blyth Spartans has had to be postponed. A pitch inspection was carried out at 11am and the decision was announced after that.

    NEXT OPPONENTS: BLYTH SPARTANS

    Blyth Spartans make the long midweek trip to Altrincham tonight (Tuesday), a consequence of their continuing involvement in the FA Trophy which caused the cancellation of the original fixture. As Mike Garnett's statistics show, the Spartans have won only once at Moss Lane in eight visits. But they will arrive at the J. Davidson Stadium on an unbeaten run of 13 games in all competitions. In the league, four of their last five matches have been draws, however.

    Right: Mark Maddox, followed by Gary Scott, leaves the pitch after the 2003 defeat by Blyth, as club photographer Alan Johnson talks to Neil Dawson on the pitchside..

    • At Moss Lane P8-5-2-1-16-9
    • At Blyth P12-3-5-4-18-19
    • Total: P19-8-7-5-34-28

    We have already looked at Blyth's last visit to Altrincham in 2011 (below), but Blyth's only victory in Altrincham came in a UniBond Premier League Match, played on Saturday, 4 October, 2003, when the visitors won 2-1.

    In that game Altrincham missed at least four good chances in the first half but reached the break trailing to Graham Fenton's 22 yard free-kick. In a game of many free-kicks, Altrincham gave away a second goal, five minutes after the break, when a long ball went over Maddox and Woodhouse got in to beat Williams. Alty hemmed Blyth back for much of the second half and Maddox headed home an Adams freekick after 71 minutes. But, even though McAlindon was dismissed two minutes from the end of normal time for a foul on Adams, Alty could not level the scores and dropped to 18th and still had not won at Moss Lane that season.

    Alty were without Dave Gardner, so Michael Reynolds started his first game for the Robins, on the right. The only other change from midweek saw Steve Aspinall join the bench in place of Reynolds. Mark Maddox was the Alty captain despite the presence in the side of Rod Thornley. Blyth had former Aston Villa star Graham Fenton in their side following a recent absence with injury.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Ben WILLIAMS, 2. Gary SCOTT, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Mark MADDOX (capt.), 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Stephen ROSE, 7. Michael REYNOLDS, 8. Ian CRANEY, 9. Peter BAND, 10. Rod THORNLEY, 11. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH. Subs: 12. Nick WELTON, 14. Jason van BLERK, 15. Steve ASPINALL.

    BLYTH SPARTANS 1. Craig TURNS, 2. Andrew LEESON, 3. Mark ATKINSON, 4. Michael LAWS, 5. Richard FORSTER (capt.), 6. Gareth McALINDON, 7. Gareth WILLIAMS, 8. Chris ROBERTSON, 9. Graham FENTON, 10. Anthony WOODHOUSE, 11. Ian CURTWELL. Subs: 12. Ian DIXON, 14. Chris BELL, 15. Chris ROBERTSON.

    NEXT AWAY OPPONENTS: LEAMINGTON

    On Saturday, Altrincham travel to the New Windmill Ground, from where Leamington tell us that "After 3 away games in succession, the Brakes host Stockport County on Tuesday night. The Brakes come into this game after a 1-1 draw with Boston United; Colby Bishop once again on the scoresheet as the Brakes were pegged back by a Boston penalty after James Bowen gave it away...

    The Hatters’ unbeaten run has now stretched to 11 in all competitions.. I watched County in their solid New Year’s derby win over Altrincham, with Alty finding it hard to break the Hatters' defence. Stockport had most of the ball...

    The Brakes and the Hatters have only met on 7 occasions, all of them being in the National League North. Stockport failed to beat the Brakes in the first two games, but since then have triumphed in every game between the two sides. Brakes' win came in 2014, Danny Newton scoring twice late on to overturn a 1-0 deficit".

    The Leamington Courier adds that "A threadbare Leamington side scrapped and battled their way to a creditable point at the Jakemans Stadium, frustrating their hosts with the kind of defensive performance that deserted them at Southport, writes Paul Edwards.

    Hamstrung by Connor Gudger and Jamie Hood’s suspensions and the unavailability of Joe Clarke and Reece Flanagan, Paul Holleran’s squad was almost down to the bare bones, but those available to him gave every ounce as they added another digit to their National League North tally. Brakes got off to the best possible start after just three minutes... Leamington moved upfield and won their first corner, Dunbar delivering into the six-yard box where Colby Bishop, who spent a seven-game goalless spell with the Pilgrims in 2014 prior to joining Leamington, met the ball with a glancing header which a defender and the goalkeeper were unable to keep out on the line.

    Leamington were dealt a blow with just eight minutes played when Dunbar, clearly struggling, had to be replaced by Connor Taylor...

    Boston were deservedly level in the 36th minute after Bowen lunged in on Max Wright on the edge of the box, Ben Davies sending Breeden the wrong way from the spot... Boston’s tails were up now... The aerial bombardment resumed in the second half...

    Craig Elliott introduced all three substitutes as Boston continued to press and the final 20 minutes were a real backs to the wall effort from Leamington... Brakes were able to break forward and eat up some valuable seconds in injury time, earning warm applause from the travelling faithful at the final whistle, fully appreciative of the effort put in.

    Brakes: Tony Breeden, Junior English, James Bowen, Jack Edwards, James Mace, Jack Lane, Kieran Dunbar (Connor Taylor, 8), Callum Gittings, Colby Bishop, Jordan Murphy, Ahmed Obeng. Subs not used: Tom James, Martyn Naylor, Ben Newey."

    SOUTHPORT MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

    Alty TV has twelve minutes of video highlights from Altrincham's victory against Southport.

    CHESHIRE SENIOR CUP NEWS

    The Hallmark Security League tells us that "Stockport Town enjoyed one of the best nights in their short history last Monday night, when they defeated League Two opponents Tranmere Rovers in the Cheshire FA Senior Cup.

    It's a competition that has already brought the club some memorable moments, after their appearance in the final last season... With a quarter final tie against fellow First Division South side Cammell Laird 1907 to come next month, the Lions will no doubt fancy their chances of success once again.

    Another of our clubs to record a victory over Football League opponents were Runcorn Town, who inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Macclesfield Town at the Moss Rose. A spectacular goal from [ex-Alty man] Carl Rodgers from 30 yards out was the highlight of the evening for Town... Another big name in Stockport County await them in the quarter final, but with home advantage Chris Herbert's men will go into the game in confident mood."

    VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

    In the Hereford Times we learn that "Midfielder Tom Owen- Evans said that the Bulls 'killed themselves' with a sloppy first half display which allowed Nuneaton to take a point from a bottom of the table clash. The 21-year-old capitalised on a goalkeeping error to put his side ahead after 25 minutes.

    However, Mike Calveley bundled home from a free-kick before heading a corner home to give Nuneaton a 2-1 lead at half-time. Despite Owen-Evans earning and scoring a second half penalty the Bulls had to share the points.

    'I think we have killed ourselves in the first half as, at half-time, we didn't deserve to be winning even though we got ourselves in a position where we were 1-0 up,' said Owen-Evans. 'In that position we didn't do what we should have done by being street wise and go from there. We gave away too many silly free-kicks and they scored from two set pieces. They didn't really create a lot of chances but we found ourselves 2-1 down at half-time. We just didn't really come out of the traps and were sloppy and throughout the team it has stayed there.

    'In the second half we have had a go and dominated the game but we couldn't get the win unfortunately'.

    With Hereford 2-1 behind Owen-Evans was dragged down for a 52nd minute penalty. The midfielder confidently slotted the ball down the middle of the goal sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

    'Their defender has headed it and I'm chasing the loose ball and I've been pulled back as I'm running onto the ball', added Owen-Evans... 'I felt confident that I was going to score as I scored against Billericay Town in the cup'...

    Following the penalty Hereford were now on top and substitute Keyon Reffell had a golden chance a minute after coming on... but, under pressure, the midfielder fired wide....

    However, it was nearly a disaster in the last minute of the game as Harvey Smith headed back to the goalkeeper and Yusifu Ceesay intercepted the ball and chipped over the stranded Matt Yates, luckily the ball fell narrowly wide. Despite sitting just above the bottom three Owen-Evans is confident Hereford can pick up form.

    'It's a weird division where teams anyone can beat anyone on their day,' he added. 'You've seen over Christmas we had Kidderminster Harriers and Chester at home and beat both of them.'"

    Cheshire Live reports that "The inability to convert chances into goals was once again prevalent for Chester FC on Saturday. The Blues had 17 chances to Curzon Ashton's six on Saturday and had 12 corners to the visitors' two. But those statistics counted for nothing as the Nash claimed a 1-0 victory thanks to an Oliver Crankshaw goal 15 minutes from time.

    It was another case of 'What if?' for Chester as, for the second time in seven days, they missed a golden opportunity to glean maximum points and strengthen their hand in the National League North promotion race. As it now stands, one point from home games against a 10-men Guiseley side and Curzon Ashton can't be sugar-coated and the Blues have dropped to seventh in the table ahead of a difficult trip to fellow promotion hopefuls Spennymoor Town on Saturday.

    With Anthony Dudley missing at the weekend with a hamstring strain, Akwasi Asante still around three weeks from fitness and Matty Hughes out for the season, Chester's attacking arsenal has been severely depleted, with 17-year-old Academy prospect Lloyd Marsh-Hughes leading the line at the weekend... Chester bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley had been working hard over the past fortnight to bring in a striker on a temporary deal.

    They were close with a couple of targets, including one from the Football League, but found themselves priced out... but nothing is imminent with regards to an incoming.

    Said Johnson 'It's the same conversation we're having every other week or every other day with the press. Matty Hughes our first signing, Anthony Dudley, Akwasi Asante, Shaun Tuton, it's a common conversation. I don't want to say this but we're down to our fifth and sixth-choice centre-forwards at times. I'm really pleased with Lloyd's performance, absolutely fantastic but, in terms of support play and what we want to be offering in those areas, we are sort of bubbling [bumbling?] along.

    'To get a player that is going to replace those type of players comes at a cost. We're creating and we're not getting battered in games, we can see where the problem is and a lot of the time you look in the stand and some of them are sat in there. But let's go and score of a set piece, one of the centre-backs get a header, let's go and win 1-0 and wait for some of the lads to get back. But at this moment in time we look a bit transitional'".

    FC United of Manchester's "explosive winger Elliot Simoes (19) has joined League One side Barnsley for an undisclosed fee. Having joined FC United at the age of 16, he progressed through FC's Academy, Youth and Reserve Teams. Simoes made his first team debut in April 2018 and would go on to make 23 appearances for FC United."

    Kidderminster Harriers inform us that "Following a hectic festive period where Harriers unfortunately picked up a number of injuries, we are now able to go Behind The Scenes to discover more about those injuries, and the recovery process.

    Midfielder Billy Daniels sustained a knee injury on Boxing Day against Hereford, and is due for a return to match action in February.

    In the same match, Ed Williams picked up an ankle injury which, combined with a period of illness, has seen the Harriers top scorer miss several weeks of action... He’s closing in on a return soon.

    Against Darlington, captain Jimmy O’Connor suffered a quad strain and is also due to return to the pitch within the next month, while full-back Aaron Phillips should be back sooner after taking time to recover from a hip injury that saw him miss the weekend game at AFC Telford.

    During the match at New Buck's Head, goalkeeper Brandon Hall sustained a dead leg. While the custodian attempted initially to play through it, he was eventually withdrawn and will need to be assessed further going into this Saturday’s clash with Alfreton Town.

    While on loan with Halesowen Town, midfielder Liam Truslove suffered a fractured foot. It’s a painful injury he’s thankfully now recovered from, with the former Birmingham youngster now building back up his fitness levels. Kennedy Digie injured his hamstring during the final days of his loan spell of York City, and is currently in the recovery process."

    News of some loanees in the National League North comes from Crewe Alexandra who report that "Lewis Reilly helped Curzon Ashton to a 1-0 victory at Chester FC as the Nash won their fourth straight game in the National League North. Reilly played 75 minutes of the contest at Chester's Deva Stadium,...

    In the same division, Josh Lundstram played 90 minutes on his debut for bottom side Nuneaton Borough as they drew 2-2 at Hereford United. Billy Sass-Davies, too, played the 90 minutes for FC United of Manchester as they fell into the relegation zone with a 1-0 defeat to fellow relegation-zone occupant Ashton United".

    According to the Boston Standard, "Gavin Allott believes Boston United were left ‘fighting a losing battle’ as they were held by Leamington. The Pilgrims' striker found himself in the thick of the action during Saturday’s 1-1 draw, and he believes referee Aaron Jackson got some big decisions wrong.

    Allott agreed with manager Craig Elliott that the hosts should have been awarded three further penalties for fouls on himself, Jonathan Wafula and Nicky Walker, while believing Brakes full back Junior English should have picked up a second booking after catching the target man with a flailing arm.

    'We’ve had two blatant penalties in the second half, maybe another one,' Allott said. 'The keeper’s pulled off a few good saves but everyone’s gutted. I’ve gone through and there’s a defender either side, the one on the left’s come and missed the ball completely and wiped me out on my legs. The ref’s decided not to give it. When they don’t give it there’s nothing you can do about it. The second one on Nicky, it’s another blatant one. I don’t understand how he hasn’t given both of them, it baffles me.'

    Turning his attention to English’s challenge, Allott added 'The number two got away with three, maybe four challenges, first half he should have been off. I think the ref didn’t want to send their men off or give us a penalty, we’re fighting a losing battle... One out of four isn’t bad, I suppose,' Allott added."

    York Press assesses the Minstermen's first match under new management. It states "Steve Watson won’t accept players failing to follow instructions... Since his appointment, Steve Watson has regularly stressed that he wants to see midfielders breaking through defensive lines and, when Adriano Moke failed to make a positive run down the right flank to give an option for the man on the ball, it was telling that he was subsequently hauled off 12 minutes into the second period...

    Moke’s replacement Wes York, who played for Watson last season at Gateshead, went on to stretch the Stockport back-line with a darting off-the-ball run to the byline that led to the first goal the hosts had conceded in open play for nine games. The message was clear; if Moke, who is yet to claim a goal assist this season, is to figure in Watson’s plans going forward, he must demonstrate an ability to take on board and act upon the information he receives from the new boss.

    Forgotten man Alex Kempster’s stock has risen immeasurably. Unlike Moke, former PE teacher Kempster appears to have grasped Watson’s philosophy immediately... Kempster made just one substitute appearance under Watson’s predecessor Sam Collins and there was a fear that he lacked the physicality to prosper at National League North level, but the former Whitley Bay attacker appears to have bulked up a little following his loan spell at Spennymoor and his well-taken goal was suggestive of a player who does know where the net is...

    The search for a dependable centre-back pairing continues. Hamza Bencherif and Sean Newton became the ninth different central-defensive partnership York City have fielded during the last 16 fixtures at Edgeley Park and, in that time, 31 goals have been conceded, meaning that three goals, on average, have been needed at the other end to win a game of football. It is probably fair to assume, however, on Saturday’s showing, that Watson could look to audition a tenth duo this weekend.

    Both Bencherif and Newton were beaten in the air as Stockport won three consecutive headers before Matty Warburton volleyed home the match’s opening goal... A third goal, later described as “unforgivable” by Watson given its source straight from the restart following Kempster’s 74th-minute reply, then saw Newton turned by his man before recovering to get a toe in, only for the centre-backs to get in each other’s way... presenting Warburton with a simple chance...

    Stockport attacker Warburton’s hat-trick was his third of the season. In contrast, City have only seen one player, Jon Parkin, manage that feat during almost nine years... The Minstermen have lacked anybody with that priceless ability to take the game away from the opposition...

    This season and, indeed, across the whole of 2018 when defender Sean Newton scored the highest number of league goals with nine, City have lacked that match-changing potential. It has coincided with Parkin’s marginalisation and, although the wisdom of relying on a 37-year-old veteran whose out-of-shape appearance heralded widespread laughter from home supporters when he was introduced from the bench should be questioned, he nevertheless took a matter of three minutes to play the intuitive pass the team had been crying out for to set the move in motion that led to Kempster’s goal.

    Parkin, due to his lack of fitness and age, does not appear to be the short or long-term fix in that respect, but Watson will be looking for a little craft to complement the graft, provided by the likes of Jordan Burrow and Jake Wright, in the Minstermen’s forward positions. The latter must also be seen more centrally, rather than repeatedly conceding free kicks on the flanks, if he is to be of more offensive use to the team...

    Many of the current City squad continue to be more reactive than proactive... The swiftness demonstrated at throw-ins by the Hatters represented a marked contrast to the manner City normally saunter over to take set-pieces and helped set an infectious tempo for the home team. Likewise, when defending dead balls, it was evident for all to see how quickly all ten outfield players were back taking up positions in their own penalty box. It can be no coincidence that such intense focus and sense of purpose has contributed to the division’s joint-best defensive record, while City continue to concede a succession of embarrassing goals"

    The Curzon Ashton website informs us that "boss Mark Bradshaw admits he only has to say one thing to his players at the minute... 'same again'.

    Bradshaw's side got a fourth win on the bounce at the weekend, beating Chester by a single goal..

    'If we dig in, work hard and stay organised, you earn these sort of runs. I won't overload the lads with information because it's just a case of continuing doing what they're doing.'

    Curzon now find themselves ten points clear of the relegation zone and eight away from the play-offs with a game in hand. Despite their change in fortunes however, Bradshaw isn't getting carried away.

    'We rode our luck today and had to work hard,' he said".


    21 January 2019

    SYMMETRY

    Altrincham have played 26 matches so far this season in the league and their home and away records show the same number of wins, draws and defeats achieved at home and in the away games (see table below). Also, as the above table shows, Altrincham have already played nine of the other ten clubs in the top half of the table away from home but only four of the bottom half on their own grounds.

    Conversely, Alty have played ten of the bottom eleven away at Moss Lane but only met four of these clubs away from home.

    So what can be inferred from these statistics?

    Before the Southport game last Saturday, assistant manager Neil Sorvel in Altrincham Today said "One aspect of our remaining fixtures that we are happy about is that eight of our nine remaining home fixtures are against teams in the top half of the league, whilst seven of our remaining eight away games are against teams in the lower half of the table".

    50 FOR CONNOR

    Left-back Connor Hampson's next appearance for Altrincham, presumably on Tuesday against Blyth Spartans, will be his fiftieth for Altrincham. Connor (right) joined Altrincham, initially on a month's loan, from Stockport County on 2 November 2017. He had been at Edgeley Park since February 2017, when he had joined from Curzon Ashton, but injury sidelined him before the end of the 2016-17 season at County. Connor had previously been at the Tameside Stadium since 2011. His impressive performances for Alty prompted an extension of his loan period into 2018. He missed several games in the Spring through injury before returning for the run-in where he played well at centre-back.

    Having been released by Stockport, Connor was signed by Altrincham. Unfortunately, a broken hand kept him out of the side during August and September 2018 before he returned to be a regular starter at left-back.

    To date he has made 48(+1) appearances and netted four goals.

    NEXT OPPONENTS: BLYTH SPARTANS

    Blyth Spartans visit Altrincham on Tuesday night. Blyth Spartans report that "Peter Jameson believes Blyth Spartans’ 1-1 draw at Bradford Park Avenue is a sign of their progression in recent months, although [he] admits Steven Drench’s late penalty save was 'a kick in the teeth'.

    A second-half, where Alun Armstrong’s men led courtesy of Sean Reid’s 26th-minute header, was largely uneventful before the game burst back into life in the final quarter of an hour. Jameson and co were breached via a fortuitous goal from Conor Branson in the 77th-minute after Mark Ross’s header deflected home off the face of the midfielder.

    The afternoon looked to be heading in the home side’s favour when a few minutes later, substitute Jarrett Rivers was controversially sent off, however it’d be Blyth who squandered a golden opportunity gain all three points. Because in the third minute of stoppage time, Robbie Dale, who became the club’s all-time leading appearance holder (626), was denied a last-gasp winner on his landmark outing with Drench guessing correctly to his right-hand side.

    And while Jameson rued Drench’s save and his side’s miss chances throughout the 90 minutes, the Blyth shot-stopper insists it is a firm indication of their progress after extending their unbeaten run to 14 matches.

    He said 'It’s a kick in the teeth because I think first-half; the chances we’ve had and even in the second-half, we sat a bit deep but we’ve had chances to kill the game off. Obviously with the penalty right at the end and going down to 10 men, it’s tough but, if we reflect on last season and in previous months, maybe we might have come down here and lost. This point could be important come the end of the season, plus it keeps the unbeaten run going, which we are determined to do.

    'Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have the two extra points but we’ll bounce back on Tuesday [at Altrincham], we’ll prepare right and look to get a result against another good side'...

    It’s a quick turnaround for Armstrong’s men, who head to 6th place Altrincham knowing a win will put them in reach of the playoff places, something which looked extremely unlikely just a few months ago...

    Jameson added 'We got the late penalty decision and you think, with Robbie (Dale) stepping up, I would have put my house on him scoring. But Robbie’s got a great attitude, he’ll bounce back from it 100%. Even in the dressing room now, his head isn’t down, he’s talking to the lads. I feel for him because it was a special occasion, breaking the appearance record, but Robbie has had a lot more, and will have plenty more good memories at this football club.'"

    From the other side, the Telegraph & Argus reports that "There was late drama at Horsfall Stadium as Blyth Spartans were awarded a last-gasp penalty but Bradford (Park Avenue) keeper Steve Drench pulled off a stunning save to ensure a 1-1 draw.

    It brought an end to the home side's three-match losing streak but the point gained was not enough to keep them in second place. They slipped to third... The referee’s decision to award the spot kick had the Avenue bench leaping up and down in incredulity. Spartans forward Danny Maguire went down as Conor Branson poked the ball away from the striker’s feet. The contact looked minimal but referee Barry Lamb gave himself some thinking time before pointing to the spot.

    Blyth legend Robbie Dale placed the ball but Drench waited until it was struck before hurling himself to make the save, and as soon as he parried the ball the final whistle was blown.

    Avenue manager Mark Bower was far from impressed with the penalty decision. He said 'It’s a good job that was saved because it was never a penalty in a million years... We’ve had a lot of those decisions going against us over the last few games but that tends to happen when you’re on these little runs when your luck is out. It was important that we got something out of the game. It’s been a difficult week for everyone at the club and in the dressing room (after three straight defeats, the last at home to relegation-threatened FC United of Manchester), and if that penalty had gone in it would have been a travesty...

    'I thought we had done enough to win it and at 1-1, when their player got sent off I felt we would win. We just couldn’t find that bit of quality in those last few minutes to create the chance to get the winning goal.'

    Blyth were reduced to ten men when substitute Jarret Rivers launched into a horror challenge on Jamie Spencer. The assistant referee on that side of the pitch raced on to the field of play as players from both sides became involved in a melee".

    THE LAST VISIT: BLYTH SPARTANS

    Blyth Spartans visit Altrincham on Tuesday night, almost seven years since their last league visit. In the interim Altrincham have, of course, already played the reverse fixture this season losing 2-1 at Croft Park. And there have also been two other trips to Northumberland for Altrincham in the intervening years...
    • FA Trophy3QR on 10.12.16 Blyth Spartans 2-3 Altrincham. The Alty scorers were Miller (2) and Hobson 44.
    • FA Cup 1 on 9.11.14 Blyth Spartans 4-1 Altrincham. Alty scorer, Perry.

    Right: Marlon Broomes is congratulated on his goal.

    In the last league match between the clubs at Moss Lane, in a Blue Square Bet North Match played on Saturday, 28 January 2012, a new-look Altrincham squad took to the field. The team included four players who were making their Moss Lane debuts and the team made heavy weather of overcoming a spirited Blyth side, which had the chances to take something from the game but lacked composure in front of goal. After a scrappy start in difficult breezy conditions, Altrincham went ahead in the 34th minute when Lawrie did well on the right and his low cross was put into the net by a stretching Marlon Broomes. When some tricky dribbling from Lawrie drew a foul challenge very early in the second half, Damian Reeves blasted the ball home the penalty for his 33rd goal of the season.

    But Blyth then came back into the game and pulled a goal back when Graeme Armstrong headed home after 54 minutes. Despite having substitute Mason sent off by a straight-red offence, off the ball against Clee in the 84th minute, the ten men from Northumberland still had a lot of the attacking play but Altrincham hung on to claim the three points.

    Despite the season being well advanced, Altrincham fielded a back five which was largely new to the Moss Lane faithful. Loanee-goalkeeper Joe Collister and central defender Marlon Broomes had made just one previous start but, in each case, this had been in an away game, whilst left-back Mark Lynch was making his club debut. At right-back Kieran Walmsley was making his sixth start, of which only three had previously been in the back line, whilst Matty Flynn, who had six Alty appearances under his belt, was nevertheless starting for the first time at centre-back.

    Though today's central midfield was more familiar, Shaun Densmore and Chris Lynch had only started together three times in those positions previously. Nicky Clee reverted to the left side of midfield after his last three starts had been at left back, whilst James Lawrie was starting his first game in the no.9 shirt, in tandem with Damian Reeves up front, after previously playing on the flanks predominantly.

    As well as Mark Lynch, Alty had made another signing since their last game, in the shape of forward, John Miles, also from Stockport County. John was named on the bench so there was no place for James Holden or Adam Flynn today, whilst goalkeeper Stuart Coburn continued his recovery from his elbow injury.

    Alty rested Jack Redshaw as he had been working hard with his new club Morecambe during the recent spell of Alty inactivity, so he was named on the bench today, as his loan spell back from the Shrimps neared its conclusion.

    Though the sides had met previously three and half weeks earlier only six Spartans and seven Alty players started both today's game and on that occasion.

    ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, balck shorts, red socks): 1. Joe COLLISTER, 2. Kieran WALMSLEY, 5.Matt FLYNN, 6. Marlon BROOMES, 3. Mark LYNCH; 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 4. Chris LYNCH, 11. Nicky CLEE; 9. James LAWRIE, 10. Damian REEVES. Subs: 12. Mark LEES, 14.John MILES, 15. Michael TWISS, 16. Jack REDSHAW, 18 Adam REID (gk).

    BLYTH SPARTANS (Green & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks): 1. Robert Birdsall, 2. Dan Groves, 3. Joe Kendrick, 4. Sebastian Anzavui, 5. Wayne Buchanan, 6. Jordan Mellish, 7. Shaun Utterson, 8. Neal Hooks, 9.Graeme Armstrong, 10. Glen Taylor, 11. Wayne Phillips. Subs: 12 Jamie Mole, 17 David Knight, 14. Sam Hodgson, 15. Phil Cave, 16. Lee Mason.

    In advance of the 2019 match, Mike Garnett's record of previous games between the clubs tells us that Altrincham's tally is as follows:

    • At Moss Lane P8-5-2-1-16-9
    • At Blyth P12-3-5-4-18-19
    • Total: P19-8-7-5-34-28

    LIAM WATSON'S VIEW

    Manager Liam Watson's views on his team's defeat by Altrincham are recorded in an audio interview on the Southport website.

    LADIES UPDATE

    Altrincham Ladies' next scheduled match (27 January) is away to fifth-placed Warrington Wolverines. Alty currently lie third in the division.

    There were some big socres in last Sunday's matches:

    • City of Liverpool 0-9 Liverpool Feds Reserves
    • Curzon Ashton FC (Tameside) Women's 12-1 Didsbury FC Ladies

    DEFEAT FOR YOUTH TEAM

    In Sunday's league match at home to Curzon Ashton, Altrincham Youth lost 1 - 2 to Curzon Ashton. Their next match (27 Jan) is at home to bottom club Stockport Georgians.

    VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

    The Northern Echo reports that "There's been some terrific Darlington versus Spennymoor Town games, the latest instalment not being one of them and it will instead be remembered for the wrong reasons.

    There was a fracas among fans after the match, both clubs had to publish strongly-worded statements on Saturday evening, the visiting club were mocked on the PA system and the police had to speak to Moors’ Jamie Chandler about his conduct.

    The game itself? All a bit tame and largely forgettable. Neither side did enough to warrant a win and a draw would have been a fair result.

    After Darlington had been the better side before the break when Stephen Thompson opened the scoring with a penalty, two Spennymoor set-pieces were the difference at Blackwell Meadows, including a screamer by top scorer Glen Taylor to equalise and then Stephen Brogan sealed a 2-1 victory that bolsters Moors’ promotions hopes.

    In recent times these clubs were promotion rivals, Quakers usually having the upper hand, unbeaten in seven league games plus a play-off match, but Moors were always going to have their day at some point and are now able to rejoice in overcoming their neighbours.

    Moors manager Jason Ainsley admitted... 'In the first half we were nowhere near, second best all over the park, and I read the riot act at half-time,' he said. 'It didn’t feel like a derby in the first half, it felt flat, we weren’t at the races and couldn’t string two passes together'...

    His is an experienced team, one that will very likely finish in a play-off position, whereas Wright’s side is a work in progress. He has a handful of loan players to supplement the best of what’s left after a damaging first half of the season, but there is encouragement to be found. Results and performances have improved since Christmas, and the manager can take solace from largely negating fourth-in-the-table Moors, who have scored the division’s joint-highest number of goals.

    He said 'Neither team outdid the other one. Two teams came up against each other and nullified each other’s threats really well. Everyone had a good game. Defensively they did what was asked of them, we shut out Spennymoor... That shows progression, but we need to get back on the bike now. There was only one team in it in the first half. We had total control without necessarily carving out opportunity after opportunity.'

    The opportunity Darlington took was a penalty on 17 minutes... [At] half-time some tactical tinkering altered the game in Spennymoor’s favour. Ainsley explained, 'Credit to Paul Midgley and Tommy Miller. At half-time we talked about the shape, we explained what jobs they needed to do out of possession and they carried it off to a tee in the second half.' The equaliser eight minutes after the restart saw Chandler make his first contribution of note, going to ground after Tom Elliott’s challenge, hoodwinking referee Sam Barrott into awarding a free-kick.

    'Chandler bought that,' said Wright. 'That’s an experienced player who knows he’s got himself in a pickle and conned the referee'... But what a free-kick it was. Taken short to Taylor, he rifled home from around 30 yards... All good rivalries need a villain, and ex-Quaker Chandler fitted the bill. He marked the moment with an offensive hand gesture towards Quakers supporters, who once adored him, but no longer hold him in high esteem.

    Brogan’s winner, on 67 minutes, came after Terry Galbraith fouled marauding right-back Callum Williams, Ainsley describing it as an 'absolute wonder goal', which is kind on Maddison... Brogan’s free-kick was preventable.

    Wright admitted 'It was a floated shot and it wasn’t in the top corner, so you’re always going to ask could the goalie have done more? But we win, lose and draw as a team, and we move on now.'

    Again it was Chandler’s cue for an offensive gesture, different from the first one but no less provocative and not one that can be described in a family newspaper. His actions were caught on camera, both by The Northern Echo and by Darlington’s own cameraman, and he will be lucky to avoid punishment either from the police, the FA or his own club, who cannot condone his behaviour and an apology is surely forthcoming. Such actions are unacceptable in any circumstances, let alone from someone with Chandler’s connection to Quakers.

    Perhaps he needs reminding that during the time of Darlington's administration in 2012 he was on the team bus to Barrow and among the beneficiaries when Craig Liddle divvied up cash that sympathetic supporters had raised, around £8,000, to give to players whose wages had not been paid. Yet here he was making offensive gestures to those very same set of supporters. Heat of the moment? Yes. Provoked? Absolutely...

    Chandler turned down the chance to return to Quakers to sign for Spennymoor, so he was targeted by frustrated fans as is par for the course in football. It happens. Instead, Chandler, nearly 30 and a coach in Sunderland’s academy, showed no class and brought shame on himself and his club... Not for the first time this season there was off-the-field issues at Blackwell.

    A Spennymoor statement read 'There is no place in football for the extent of abuse that our officials, management, players and supporters experienced from a minority of Darlington supporters.' Moors also said there was an incident in the car park with a visiting supporter sustaining a 'minor' injury. Darlington officials must now reflect on the folly of enforcing segregation during a game that ended in acrimony, yet then allowing supporters of both sides to leave the venue at the same time...

    Footballers, however, goading already irate supporters can only succeed in heightening animosity, and for that Chandler takes a share of the responsibility... This was a big victory for Moors, and the last word went to the man on the PA system who, in a sarcastic and perhaps crass nod to the exuberant nature of their celebrations, said 'Congratulations to Spennymoor Town on winning your cup'".

    According to the Telegraph & Argus "Chorley extended their lead at the summit to seven points with a comfortable 3-0 home win over struggling Guiseley. The Lions remain fifth from bottom and Tuesday’s home game against Hereford takes on greater significance as the Bulls are now just three points behind.

    Chorley looked like champions in waiting as they cruised to victory at Victory Park at the expense of a visiting side who have picked up just two points from a possible 12 since... New Year’s Day. It was a former Guiseley man who put the Magpies in front, Josh Wilson giving the home side a tenth minute lead...

    Guiseley were left with a mountain to climb a minute after the interval, however, when Adam Blakeman collected a good through ball and stroked a low shot past Dewhurst. Alex Newby hit the Magpies’ third just after the hour mark...

    Lions’ joint manager Marcus Bignot pulled no punches in his post match interview. He said 'It was a very tough game against the top of the table outfit. They are there for a reason and are certainly the best side we’ve played this season. If anyone asked my opinion I would say put a few bob on them to see it through and go on to win it.

    'We came in at half-time, spoke about the first period and the positive was that it was only 1-0 and we were still in it. But to concede that second goal so early on in the second half was a blow... Chorley have been at this for quite a few years now, trying to get promoted from this league and it takes time'".

    York Press report on the Minstermen's defeat at Stockport. "Footballing phenomenon or fallacy? The validity of the new manager bounce has divided opinion for many years... From the last eight bosses to take the reins, only Martin Gray has got off to a winning start, while Steve Watson has now joined Gary Mills, Jackie McNamara, caretaker Richard Cresswell, Russ Wilcox and Nigel Worthington by losing his opening match in charge.

    Watson’s predecessor Sam Collins, meanwhile, fared better than most, having begun his four-and-a-half month tenure by sharing the spoils at Brackley.

    But, in the majority of the above cases, the situation inherited handicapped the next man in the hot-seat and ex-Everton and Newcastle right-back Watson could certainly point to such extenuating circumstances, inheriting an under-performing squad that has also been shorn of four loan signings since their last contest.

    Avoiding an eighth straight away league defeat, therefore, was always going to be a tall order at a Stockport side that were bidding for a fifth consecutive home success. And so it proved, with the impressive Matty Warburton, seemingly operating at least two divisions beneath the level his talent merits, grabbing his third hat-trick of the season and second in as many matches by capitalising on some severely slipshod defending.

    In doing so, the former Salford and Curzon Ashton attacker also mustered one more shot on target than a City team, who are the second-lowest away marksmen in National League North.

    Both visiting efforts came from Alex Kempster... the second an emphatic first-time finish at the end of, arguably, the best move of the match to reduce the deficit to 2-1 on 74 minutes. Frustratingly, for Watson and the 455 travelling fans, the Minstermen contrived to concede virtually straight from the restart...

    Earlier... Stockport went on to forge in front on four minutes when Adriano Moke conceded a corner that was swung in from the left by Adam Thomas and, after home players won three aerial balls, an unmarked Warburton profited from statuesque defending to crash a ten-yard volley into the roof of the net...

    Bartlett dived to his right to keep out Nyal Bell’s downward header from a Minihan centre, before the visitors became the first team to net in open play against the Hatters for nine matches. Jon Parkin slid the ball through the left channel for fellow sub Wes York to chase and when he laid the ball off to Ferguson, the former England C international swept in a low cross from the left that Kempster sidefooted in from eight yards.

    All hopes of a fightback, though, were quickly extinguished as... Warburton [squeezed] a low eight-yard shot inside Bartlett’s right-hand post... as the gap to the play-off positions widened to 12 points, while the advantage over those clubs in the relegation places remained at six".

    FC United of Manchester "lost 1-0 at fellow strugglers Ashton United on Saturday afternoon as an Aaron Chalmers goal settled the tie with 15 minutes to go.

    On a bitterly cold afternoon in Tameside, on a pitch where the going was definitely soft to heavy the six-pointer resembled a game between two of the bottom three in the league, with chances and entertainment sadly going missing for the afternoon.

    Both teams struggled to get much going in the game, but with two sides that have conceded a total of 113 goals in a combined 51 league games this season you always felt there was going to be a goal somewhere along the way...

    As the temperature dipped even further in the second half the tension built, with both teams knowing that one goal would probably be enough to seal a massive three points. On FC’s part they really didn’t create too much, with balls into the box being dealt with easily by an Ashton centre back pairing that more resembled a pair of prop forwards than semi-pro footballers.

    With 15 minutes to go, Ashton hit the ultimate sucker punch as Chalmers took advantage of a poor clearance from a corner to fire past Allinson and score the goal which settled the tie".


    20 January 2019

    ALTRINCHAM 1-0 SOUTHPORT

    Above: Jake Moult in action against Southport.

    With this deserved win, Altrincham made amends for a second-half beating at Chorley last time out.

    In contrast today, there was a dominant second half from Altrincham, after a goalless opening 45 minutes, as the home side put an end to Southport's 12-game unbeaten league run. The result also completed a league double for The Robins.

    After a fairly even but also pretty uneventful first period, Altrincham took a deserved 59th minute lead when Jake Moult scored, following a corner whose award the visitors had disputed.

    The afternoon got worse for Port, who had already had five players booked, when Edwards picked up a sixth Southport card, and his own second yellow, to earn a dismissal. To compound their misery, second-half substitute Winnard had to be stretchered off when he hurt himself fouling Jordan Hulme (89 mins).

    Phil Parkinson's post-match interview with Brian Flynn is on the Altrincham FC official site.

    VIEW FROM THE PORT SIDE

    Southport report that their "unbeaten run came to an end with Jake Moult’s second-half strike was the difference as Altrincham scraped past the Sandgrounders in a feisty playoff crunch match.

    Defender Liam Edwards was given his marching orders 18 minutes from time for a second yellow card after cynically pulling down Robins' winger Max Harrop, while Dean Winnard was stretchered off with a suspected knee injury, five minutes before the end...

    Southport enjoyed the better chances in the first half with Leamington match-winner, Devarn Green, having the best of the visitors’ chances in the opening 45, proving to be a menace in the Alty box from set-pieces. Captain David Morgan threatened Tony Thompson’s goal on three occasions, his best opportunity coming before the break when his cross-cum-shot fizzed past the post.

    After a slow start, the Robins sprang into life after the restart, piling the pressure on Liam Watson’s side. Jake Moult’s winner came just two minutes before the hour mark as he was the quickest to the loose ball in the Port area after Simon Richman’s right-footed effort travelled through a sea of bodies before ricocheting in the direction of the skipper who poked home his second goal of the season.

    Altrincham talisman, Jordan Hulme, came within inches of doubling the lead, 10 minutes after the opener, when he met John Johnston’s whipped delivery but the forward couldn’t keep his effort down and blazed his effort over the bar...

    Referee Nathanael Cox was kept busy on Saturday afternoon, as he brandished five yellow cards just to the visiting team. The official had no option but to send Bolton Wanderers loanee, Edwards, for an early bath in the latter stages of the game after first booking the 22-year-old on the hour mark for his late tackle on Hulme.

    Southport struggled to gain a foothold in the second half... Second half substitute Dean Winnard replaced an already booked Jordan Richards at the break and left the pitch on a stretcher after a seemingly innocuous incident where Hulme appeared to land awkwardly on the full-back’s knee. The extent of the injury is yet to be confirmed.

    Top scorer Jack Sampson came close in stoppage time but couldn’t force Alty’s shot-stopper into making a save. Defeat is something the Port fans haven’t tasted since late October".

    ALTY OLD BOYS

    As AFC Fylde beat Wrexham 2-0 on Saturday, ex-Alty loanee Ashley Hemmings netted both goals.

    DRAW FOR ALTY RESERVES

    On Saturday at Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds, Altrincham FC Reserves drew 3-3. They remain top of the table with a game in hand on the second- and third-placed teams Pilkington and Poynton.

    Next Saturday, Altrincham FC Reserves are at home to Billinge FC, who lie sixth.

    NEIL'S CHORLEY ANALYSIS

    Altrincham Today quotes Neil Srovel after defeat at Chorley last weekend. The Alty assistant manager says "It was always going to be a big test to play the leaders on their own ground and it really was the proverbial game of two halves. We were very pleased with our first-half performance but we started the second half poorly conceding some unnecessary corners which allowed Chorley to put us under pressure immediately.

    We knew that Chorley had the capability to play through teams and would be a threat from set pieces and crosses and in the second half we fell down in all three of these areas.

    At 1-1, we had a really good chance when John Johnston skinned Courtney Meppen-Walter and delivered a good ball across the six-yard box, which was really well defended by Andy Teague and in some ways that showed the difference between the two sides as they took almost all of the chances created to finish up 4-1 winners.

    Chorley deserve to be top, having won 15 of their 25 games to date...

    It was a good benchmarking exercise for us and we are striving to be as good as they are and when we reach that point, we will be able to mount a challenge for the title".

    In advance of the clash with Southport, Sorvel added "Liam Watson’s side had a very poor start to the season but are rising up the table rapidly on the back of a 12-match unbeaten run in the league that stretches back to October. I went to see them grind out a hard fought 1-0 victory over Guiseley at their Merseyrail Community Stadium a week last Tuesday. It was a game of few chances but Southport took one of theirs and that was the difference.

    They are full-time with one of the highest budgets in the division and should be making the play-offs as a minimum. We won 3-1 there on our opening away game of the season and will be facing quite a different side with four to five loan players drafted in that have added bite, energy and power to their game.

    They also pose an attacking threat, particularly Dion Charles, who looked sharp against us back in August...

    We have got a clean bill of health player wise… everyone trained on Tuesday and Thursday night this week. We have been trying to strengthen the squad over the last two weeks as we look to increase competition for places but there will not be any additions before Saturday’s game, possibly though for the home game with Blyth Spartans on Tuesday...

    One aspect of our remaining fixtures that we are happy about is that eight of our nine remaining home fixtures are against teams in the top half of the league, whilst seven of our remaining eight away games are against teams in the lower half of the table.

    With 17 games to play in 15 weeks, it promises to be an exciting and enthralling last three months of the season".

    VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

    The Shrospshire Star reports that "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan admitted he can't quite believe how his side came away from their derby clash with Kidderminster Harriers empty handed.

    The Bucks were the form side going into the game, but were left shell-shocked when Nick Clayton-Phillips scored on his debut for the Harriers after three minutes. In the second period, the Bucks, despite not being at their best, pegged the visitors back and pepper[ed] the Harriers box.

    Chances came and went, and it just wasn't to be the Bucks' afternoon.

    Boss Cowan said... 'I think everyone is in complete disbelief that we have come away and lost 1-0, it was completely one-sided all through the second half. We were not reliable or efficient enough in certain areas, certainly in the big moments.

    'I don't know how they kept our attempts out, there were bundles after bundles, after blocks and it is crazy to sit here now saying we have lost 1-0'...

    He added 'We suffered from our slow start, which is very unlike us. They got ahead and it was a pretty even first half, but we dominated the game in the second half. Credit to them for digging in, they're on a downward spiral at the moment, but they are not my concern. I thought we deserved to win the game. You don't always get what you deserve, but you have to be more reliable.'

    Referee Elliot Swallow was the centre of attention in the first half, waving away what looked like a big penalty shout on Daniel Udoh. He then didn't produce a second bookable offence when Josh Heaton took down Amari Morgan-Smith. It could have also been argued he should have dismissed Darryl Knights too, for a late foul, and Cowan thought the referee got a number of decisions wrong.

    He added 'For me, it was another weak performance from Elliot... 'There were some blatant decisions for both sides. The penalty, and how their number six hasn't been sent off when he was on a booking. I asked him if he would have booked him if he wasn't on a yellow card, and he said yes, so surely he should have been sent off'".

    The National League informs us that "Jim Gannon told his Stockport County side to keep the heat on leaders Chorley after putting York City to the sword. Matt Warburton hit another hat-trick as the 3-1 win ruined Steve Watson’s first game in charge...

    'I always felt this was always going to be a more difficult task with a new manager... Our structure seems to be a match for full-time sides. We finished the game really strongly today. What pleased me most was conceding and then kicking off perfectly and keeping the two-goal cushion.

    'Leamington on Tuesday is a tough task and hopefully we can go there and put some pressure on Chorley.'

    And, of course, Leamington's following fixture is at home to Altrincham next Saturday.

    According to the Birmingham Mail "Former Wolves striker Liam McAlinden has moved to Kidderminster Harriers. The Cannock-born youngster was a Wolves academy graduate who was tipped for a big career at Molineux.

    It didn't quite happen for McAlinden in gold and black after fourteen appearances and just one goal. After loans spells at clubs like Shrewsbury, he ended up at Exeter and Cheltenham Town. Now he has moved on a month-loan to help out Harriers."



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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