Above: Promotion seemed a long way off back on August Bank Holiday Monday when Alty lost their first match of the season, away at Hinckley United. Here Stuart Coburn prepares a goalkick at a ground now vacated by United..

After finishing 12th in the UniBond Premier in 2003-04 and only narrowly qualifying for inclusion in the new Nationwide North division, Altrincham supporters had expected a testing season of consolidation in which a mid-table finish would have been a good achievement. Clearly the new signings Colin Little and Colin Potts had a major attacking impact on the season. A third new face, midfielder Eddie Hussin made less of an immediate impact as he fought to recover fitness after a close-season knee operation but he soon became team captain and, from then on, led by example. The arrival of Val Owen, after a long lay-off from football, further improved the side.

As recently as September 2003 Alty had lain 22nd in the 23-team UniBond Premier League but in 2004-05 the heady heights of top of the table were attained in the first week of the campaign and the side was in the top ten all season. They also won the Cheshire Senior Cup with a convincing victory over Crewe Alexandra in the Final whilst the 5th Round of the FA Trophy was reached before an exit to the eventual competition winners, Grays Athletic.

  • In 2001-02, 44 points were won from the first half of the 44-game campaign and 22 from the second half. But since then, Altrincham have always done markedly better in the second half of each season. In 2002-03 we won 25pts in the first half of the season and 35 in the second. In 2003-04 we won 27pts in the first half of the campaign but 36 in the second. In 2004-05, with only 42 league games played (excluding the play-offs) rather than the 44 contested in the above seasons, 31 points were gained in the first 21 games and 38 in the last 21 games. The play offs in 2004-05 produced three more wins to underline the strong finish to the season.

    Below is the record for each half of the 2004-05 season.

    Games 1-21
    Games 22-42

    Below is Alty's league record since 1998-99. For Alty's historical league record (excluding play-offs), click here

    1998-99 UNIP 42 23 11 8 67 33 80 1
    1999-00 CONF 42 9 19 14 51 60 46 21
    2000-01 UNIP 44 20 10 14 80 58 70 7
    2001-02 UNIP 44 19 9 16 66 58 66 9
    2002-03 UNIP 44 17 9 18 58 63 60 14
    2003-04 UNIP 44 16 15 13 66 51 63 12
    2004-05 NN 42 19 12 11 66 46 69 5
    inc playoffs NN 45 22 12 11 72 50 [78] 5

  • Only 33 players appeared for Altrincham in league or cup games in 2004-05 with 3 more named on teamsheets but never getting off the bench (Adam Brindle, Joey Roberts and David Holt). This compares with 40 players used in 2003-04 and 43 in 2002-03. In 2004-05, 30 different players appeared in league matches, whilst 30 also played in cup games.

  • Alty did the league double over only two teams in 2004-05 (Stafford and Gainsborough) compared with four in 2003-04 (Droylsden, Runcorn, Whitby Town and Radcliffe Borough). But nobody at all did the double over Altrincham in 2004-05, (two clubs did so in 2003-04, the top and the bottom finishers in the division - Hucknall Town and Wakefield & Emley). Just as last season the lower finishing teams caused Alty disproportionate problems. Alty took just 8 points out of 18 from the three relegated teams. Indeed, Alty did not beat any of the bottom three in 2003-04, taking just 3 points from a possible 18 against these teams.

  • Despite playing in a smaller league division, Altrincham played 59 competitive games (45 league and 14 cup) in 2004-05 as opposed to 54 (44 league and 10 cup) last season. Long runs in the CSC and FA Trophy accounted for the increased number of games. This season (2004-05) no player appeared in every game. Colin Little (right) started 56 games but was robbed of a full house of appearances by his sending off after a Runcorn player's "simulation". Stuart Coburn played 55 games in goal, Gary Talbot started 53 times and Chris Adams 52. Eddie Hussin played 51+1 games whilst Colin Potts, with 52+5 was involved in more games than anyone else (57). Steve Aspinall made 49+1O appearances and the others playing 40 times or more were Gary Scott 43+5, Mark Maddox 40+3 and Rod Thornley 28+12.

    Over the last two seasons, only one player has clocked up 100 competitive games for Alty: Gary Talbot with 100+1 appearances - not bad for the oldest player at Moss Lane.

  • Steve Aspinall 95+3
  • Stuart Coburn 92
  • Chris Adams 90

    The fact that all of the above are defenders may have had some influence on the good defensive record in 2004-05.

  • The only player making 0+1 appearances in 2004-05 was: Matt Tooth but Sean Smith and Stuart Wright made only 0+2 appearances. The only players who made one start but no more were all goalkeepers, Richard Acton, Martin Campbell, Dave Cummins and Ian Senior.

    Adam Brindle sat on the bench for 10 league games but, sadly, never got onto the pitch.

  • A pleasing aspect of 2004-05 was the emergence of players who came through the youth team and/or the newly re-formed Reserves. The following all played in the Reserves before making the first-team squad this season, whilst those bracketed (Y) were also previously in Alty Youth's side: Adam Brindle, Lewis Chalmers (Y), Kirk Hilton, George Melling, Val Owen, Joey Roberts, Sean Smith, Paul Tilley (Y), Matt Tooth (Y), Steve Torpey and Stuart Wright. Another first-teamer who graduated in 2003-04 from the youth team was Kieran Lugsden.

    Most heavily used subs in 2004-05 were Kieran Lugsden (5 starts and 30 sub apps), Marcus Hallows 20+14, Rod Thornley 28+12, Jonathan Mitten 5+10 and Lewis Chalmers, 4+10.

    Alty used five goalkeepers this season: Richard Acton, Martin Campbell, Dave Cummins, Ian Senior and Stuart Coburn.

  • .

    Altrincham netted 66 goals in 42 league games and six more in 3 play off games, making 72 goals in 45 games. Last season Alty also scored 66 league goals but in 44 league games. Compared with last season there was a marked imbalance between goals scored at home in the league and away. 45 Alty goals came in the 21 home matches and only 21 were netted away, plus 6 in the 3 neutral venue play-offs. In 2003-04, 36 goals were scored at home and 30 away in the league. Only 3 teams scored more league goals over the 42 games than Alty in 2004-05.

    16 different Alty players scored in the league in 2004-05 compared with 19 last season. Alty were the recipients of 3 own goals (all in the league). Only one player scored a cup goal but no league goals (Peter Band). In 2004-05 Alty failed to score in 7 league matches (9 last season) and scored 4 goals five times in the league. Apart from goalkeeper Coburn, Chris Adams (for the second season running) played the most games in the season without scoring (52).

    Leading scorers in all competitions:

  • Colin Little hit 24 league goals and 14 in the cup, making 38 in all. Two league goals were penalties as was one cup goal. Despite his broken leg, second top scorer was Marcus Hallows (left) 11 (6 league and 5 cup) in 20+14 appearances, followed by Rod Thornley and Colin Potts each with 9 goals (8+1). Last season, too, Marcus Hallows was second highest marksman, with 11 goals from 28 +2 games. 2003-04's top scorer, Ian Craney, scored just 12 times (all in the league) in 54 appearances.

  • Altrincham scored 27 first-half goals and 43 second-half in the league and 2 extra-time goals in the play-offs. An amazing 7 goals were scored in the last or added time minutes in the first half and another six in the 90th minute or later (excluding extra time). In cup games there is a similar pattern with 14 first-half goals and 19 second-half strikes - and another 3 goals in the 90th minute or later.

    League game goal times are shown below. Cup goals are shown in brackets:

  • 1 to 10 mins: 2 goals (3)
  • 11-20 mins: 7 (4)
  • 21-30 mins: 7 (3)
  • 31-40 mins: 2 (3)
  • 41-50 mins: 13 (2)
  • 51-60 mins: 8 (4)
  • 61-70 mins: 11 (3)
  • 71-80 mins: 7 (5)
  • 81-90 mins: 13 (6)
  • Extra time: 2

    Gavin Rathbone's excellent photos of Alty's matches this season have been a great record of an excellent season. The one above needs no caption. To view and purchase Gavin's images, please visit his website.


    Altrincham scored all nine of the penalties awarded to them in 2004-05, Steve Aspinall getting 6 and Colin Little 3, whilst all four spot-kicks were converted in the shoot-out at Nuneaton. Steve Aspinall has scored all 11 penalties he has taken in the last two seasons since joining Altrincham.


    Letting in four goals in the last game at Hucknall cost Alty the best defensive record in Nationwide North; in the end they conceded 46 times, beaten only by Southoport and Nuneaton (45) and Stafford (44). Last season Alty conceded 51 league goals.

    In 2004-05 15 clean sheets were recorded (13 last season) and three goals or more were conceded in only 3 games (4 games in 03-04). Only Hucknall scored 4 against Alty in the league this season; no one did so last season.

    In cup matches Alty lost 6-2 at Ashton United in the Carthium Cup, their heaviest defeat in any competition.

  • Yellow cards increased to 48 in the league and 16 in cups making 64 in total in 59 games, compared with 55 yellow in 54 league and cup games in 2003-04. Last season 5 reds were awarded but only one was received this season (Colin Little) and that was a gross mistake by the referee who was conned by Runcorn's Barry Jones's playacting. Little otherwise was not booked once and was the "saint" of the team for 2004-05.

    Indeed, over the last three seasons, those receiving red cards have invariably not been serial offenders as regards yellow cards. Last year Gary Talbot got 2 reds but only 1 yellow all the rest of the season! This recalls 2002-03 when Gary Scott picked up 2 red cards but only received 2 other yellow cards all season in 44 games. Equally oddly, Chris Adams got one red in 01-02 but otherwise was never booked in any of his 27 league or cup games that year and almost repeated the feat in 02-03 when he picked up 1 red and just 1 yellow in 36 starts.

    The "serial" yellow-card offenders in 2004-05 were Eddie Hussin (12 yellows in 51+1 games), Mark Maddox (12 in 40+3), Chris Adams (7 in 52), Steve Aspinall (6 in 49+1) and Val Owen (5 in 35+2). In 2003-04 the chief offenders were Mark Maddox with 8 yellows and 2 reds, Steve Aspinall (9 yellows) and Barry Shuttleworth (6 yellows, 1 red). In 2002-03 Mark Maddox picked up 11 yellows.

    Apart from goalkeeper Stuart Coburn, Richard Norris played the most games 13+8 without getting booked.

  • RUNS
  • Alty's longest league run without defeat in the league in 2004-05 was 12 matches (games 19-30) compared with a maximum run of 6 last season. Alty also finished the 2004-05 season with a run of just one defeat in 11 matches. Alty won three games on the run twice in the league and playoffs in 2004-05. The worst run was four successive league defeats.

  • Alty's biggest home league gate this season was for the visit of Redditch United on 23 April. Here Alty defender George Melling is in the opposition goalmouth as he received a corner kick from the left in front of the massed Alty ranks at the 20/20 End.

    Gates were up in 2004-05 - the league average gate at Moss Lane was 665 (584 in 2003-04). The highest home league gate was 1,076 v Redditch United, the lowest 478 v Vauxhall Motors. In 2003-04 the highest league home gate was 874 v Runcorn FC Halton. The highest away league gate in 2004-05 was 1,033 (Stafford) followed by 1,029 (Kettering). In the play-offs 1,532 watched the game at Nuneaton, 2,285 at Kettering and 2,839 the play-off final at Stoke v Eastbourne Borough. The lowest away gate was at Vauxhall (330). The highest home cup gate was 1,119 v Barrow (FAT4) and the lowest 161 v Cammell Laird (CSC1).

    In 2003-04 the highest away attendance was 1,138 at Barrow. The lowest home gate in the league was 434 v Spennymoor and the lowest away gate was 220 at Spennymoor. Lowest home gate in cup matches in 2003-04 was 235 v Stalybridge (CSC).