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Altrincham FC Review of Season 2007-08
 

 FULL ARCHIVE INDEX
ALTY  LEGENDS
CLUB HISTORY


REVIEW OF THE SEASON, 2007-08

Above: Loan players played a major role at Altrincham in 2007-08. Here Tom Cahill, loaned from Rotherham United, is seen in action at Rushden.

Unlike 2006-07, which had started well which started with a win over Stevenage Borough and which had seen Altrincham looking safe in the Spring (lying 13th in late March), season 2007-08 was an uphill struggle from the start as Altrincham went down heavily at home to Exeter on the opening day and failed to win any of their first ten games. With the bottom four almost cast adrift from the off, Altrincham only escaped the relegation places briefly, in February/March, when they climbed over the drop zone by virtue of having played more games than their rivals. In the end, in season 2007-08 the club recorded their second successive 21st place finish. But for the third season running, Altrincham were spared relegation by financial mismangement elsewhere, which underlined the wisdom of the Alty board's financial prudence. This time the reprieve - at the cost of Halifax Town- came soon enough for manager Graham Heathcote to know where he would be the following season after two summers where the club looked to be heading for Conference North until the league's June AGM.

Although they only missed the relegation places by a point, Alty actually recorded ten points fewer than last season as the league polarised into the haves and have-nots, with all four bottom places being occupied by truly part-time clubs from the northern half of the country. With the promoted clubs from the BS North including Kettering, and the two clubs from BS South coming from the south coast, the southern slant of the BSP increases year on year.

On a more positive front, it was the best season in cup competitions for some time, with Altrincham reaching the Cheshire Senior Cup final and also progressing to Round 1 of the FA Cup with a match at home to Millwall.

Off the field, the club's Board continued its excellent work and, aided by the supporters' trust, STAR, it recorded another modest profit for the financial year.

The youth team also had a fine season being runners up in the league and lifting the Neil Thomason Memorial Cup as well as the Cheshire County FA District Cup (for the third successive season), this latter trophy being won under the banner of the Altrincham and District F.A.

  • STATISTICS
  • Unlike last season when 25 points were earned in the first half of the campaign and 26 in the second, this was a much more unbalanced campaign with just 15 points coming from the first half and 26 from the final 23 games of the campaign. Three more goals were scored in the season but 15 more conceded than last season.

     
    P
    W
    D
    L
    F
    A
    GD
    PTS
    Games 1-23
    23
    3
    6
    14
    26
    48
    -22
    15
    Games 24-46
    23
    6
    8
    9
    30
    34
    -4
    26

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

    SEASON LEAGUE P W D L F A PTS POS
    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
    2005-06 CNAT 42 10 11 21 40 71 41 18*
    2006-07 CNAT 46 13 12 21 53 67 51 21
    2007-08 CNAT 46 9 14 23 56 82 41 21

    * 2005-06 Alty's deduction of 18 points reduced their official total to 23 points and sent them to 22nd and bottom place.

  • PLAYERS
  • Right: Darren Tinson captained Alty throughout the season, lifting several Man of the Match awards in the process. here he is seen with Brian Flynn after the Stevenage game at Moss Lane.

    2007-08 witnessed Altrincham's heaviest ever use of the loan player system with the total use of such players reaching double figures. In all, 38 different players were named for Altrincham first-team league games in 07-08, with 36 of them actually getting on to the pitch - youth teamers Danny Browne and Tom Bailey were the unlucky exceptions. Only 25 players took part in Alty's Conference matches in 2006-07 compared with 31 in the shorter 2005-06 season. These totals compare with the 43 players used as recently as 2002-03.

  • DOUBLES
  • Alty did the league double over just one team in 2007-08 (Droylsden) compared with doubles against two teams in 2006-07 (Stevenage Borough and St Albans City). In the previous season of 2005-06 Alty managed only one double, versus Aldershot Town.

    Nine teams completed the double over Altrincham in 2007-08, one more than in 2006-07, whilst only five clubs beat Alty twice in the league in 2005-06 (Accrington, Halifax, York, Burton and Woking - all top eleven finishers). In 2007-08 Forest Green were the only top 11 club beaten by the Robins. More than half of the club's points, 21, came from the other teams in the bottom seven of the final table. In 2007-08 Alty lost just 5 games to teams finishing in the bottom half of the table, compared with 6 last season and 5 in 2005-06 when the division was smaller. As Graham Heathcote has pointed out, it is a mini-league at the bottom of the Conference.

  • CUPS
  • For once Altrincham enjoyed some cup success. The reached the final of the Cheshire Senior Cup and the 1st Round of the FA Cup, having gone out at the first hurdle in 2006-07. But once again they fell at the first stage in the FA Trophy as they had done in the previous year, too. They also fell at the first hurdle in the new Setanta Shield competition. On top of their 46 league games, Alty played eight cup matches, making 54 competitive matches - four more than in 2006-07 (discounting the abandoned game that season at Tamworth). In 2005-06 Alty were likewise knocked out of the Trophy and FA Cup at the first hurdle but lasted two rounds in the Cheshire Senior Cup, so only played 46 competitive games whereas they played 59 competitive games (45 league and 14 cup) in 2004-05 and to 54 (44 league and 10 cup) the previous campaign.

  • APPEARANCES
  • As in 2006-07, Robbie Lawton again led the way with the most league appearances, 45 and the highest total of appearances in all games. In 2007-08 the leaders were:

  • 52 appearances: Robbie Lawton 51+1 (being 45 league and 6+1 cup games)
  • 51 appearances: Darren Tinson 51 (45 league and 6 cup)
  • 51 appearances: Warren Peyton 48+3 (41+2 league and 7+1 cup)
  • 50 appearances: Joe O'Neill 29+21 (23+6 league and 6+2 cup)
  • 47 appearances: Colin Little 42+5 (34+5 league and 8 cup)
  • 46 appearances: Chris Senior 35+11 (28+10 league and 7+1 cup)
  • 45 appearances: Chris Lane 39+6 (32+6 league and 7 cup)
  • 43 appearances: Stuart Coburn 43 (37 league and 6 cup)
  • 40 appearances: Ryan Shotton 40 (34 league and 6 cup)

    Leading appearances in 2006-07 came from:

  • 50 appearances: Robbie Lawton (pictured right) 50 (46 league + 4 cup)
  • 50 appearances: Warren Peyton 49(+1) (45+1 league + 4 cup)
  • 49 appearances: Lewis Chalmers 44(+5) (40+5 league + 4 cup)
  • 48 appearances: Joe O'Neill 45(+3) (41+3 league + 4 cup)
  • 43 appearances: Karl Munroe 41(+2) (37+2 league + 4 cup)

  • LEAST APPEARANCES
  • Three Youth team players were named in first-team squads but never played - Tom Bailey, Danny Browne and Dominic Lillie. Two other first-team squad players made no starts but did manage a single appearance from the bench. They were Rod Thornley and Cavell Coo. Three other men played as subs in the Conference but made no starts in that league: Matty Berkeley (2 sub), Colin Potts (13) and Carlos Roca (7).

    In 2006-07 Danny Heffernan and goalkeeper Anthony Cummins were both registered as Conference players but were never named in the first-team squad whilst both George Melling and Paul Collins were named as subs but never got on the pitch. In the Conference, three players made appearances as subs but never actually started a league game, they were Eddie Hussin, Lee Hendley and Justin Bowler. Bowler and Hendley did each make one start for Alty but these matches were in cup competitions. Players making the most league appearances from the bench were Rod Thornley (20) and Pat McFadden (19). Kieran Lugsden brought his career total of sub appearances to 71 in 2006-07, a record for the club.

  • GRADUATES
  • As mentioned, Altrincham FC youth teamers Tom Bailey, Danny Browne and Dominic Lillie all made the first-team squad in 2007-08..

    Lewis Chalmers, a graduate of the youth and reserve teams cemented his place in the first-team in 2006-07 and was also capped by the National Game XI before making a successful move to Aldershot Town and gaining promotion to League Two for next season.

    GOALSCORERS

  • In 2007-08, Alty netted 71 goals, 56 in the league and 15 in cups. At home in the league they scored 31 times and away 25 times. They failed to score in 10 league matches. Altrincham scored in 15 league games which they ended up losing.
  • In 2006-07 Altrincham scored 55 goals, 53 of them in the 46 league matches. At home they scored 28 times and away 25 times in the league. They failed to score in 15 league matches in 2006-07 and twice more in cup games. Alty scored in 9 league games which they went on to lose and did the same twice in cup games i.e. scored but were defeated. In 2005-06 only at Exeter and Woking did Alty score and then lose.

    14 different players scored league goals (excluding 2 own goals from opponents). Of the outfield players, the ones to play most games without scoring in any competition were Gary Scott 20(+5), Liam King (17 starts), Ryan Toulson 14(+2) and Gareth Whalley 10(+6).

    For the fourth year in succession Colin Little topped the Altrincham goalscoring charts, finishing third in the national charts - despite not starting in more than a quarter of the league games. He scored 24 times in all, 21of them in the league. The second leading scorer was Chris Senior with 13 goals (8 league and 5 cup). In 2006-07 Colin Little netted 13 goals, all but one in the league. He netted 17 goals in 2005-06, all in the league. In season 2004-05 he scored 24 league goals and 14 in the cup, making 38 in all. Second top scorer in 2006-07 was Joe O'Neill with 8 goals, (7 in the league).

  • GOAL TIMES
  • In contrast to recent seasons, Altrincham scored far more second-half goals in 2007-08 - they scored 21 first-half goals and 35 in the second half. Alty scored three times in the second-half period of added time.

    In 2006-07, in the league Altrincham scored 30 first-half goals and 23 in the second half. Five goals came in added time at the end of a half, three times this was the first-half and twice in the second period.

    In 2005-06 Altrincham netted 20 first-half league goals and 20 in the second half, compared with 2004-05's totals of 27 first-half goals and 43 second-half in the league and 2 extra-time goals in the play-offs. Five goals were scored in added time either at the end of the first half (twice) or after 90 minutes (3 times).

    25 of Alty's league goals came in the final half-hour in 2007-08. As can be seen, below, Alty scored very rarely early in games. During 2006-07 Altrincham's most prolific periods were the first 10 minutes when they scored 10 times.Next best periods were the last ten minutes and the ten minutes before the half-hour, in each of which they scored 9 times.

    .

    League game goal times are shown below. Because of added time the periods 41-50 and 81-90 actually contain more time than the other time slots. ..2006-07 times are shown in {curly brackets}, 2005-06 times are shown in square brackets; 2004-05 totals are shown in round brackets:

  • 1 to 10 mins: 3 {10} [5] (2)
  • 11-20 mins: 4 {3} [3] (7)
  • 21-30 mins: 3 {9} [4] (7)
  • 31-40 mins: 6 {3} [4] (2)
  • 41-50 mins: 8 {7} [5] (13)
  • 51-60 mins: 7 {4} [1] (8)
  • 61-70 mins: 10 {5} [6] (11)
  • 71-80 mins: 8 {3} [8] (7)
  • 81-90 mins: 7 {9} [4] (13)

    PENALTIES

    Altrincham scored four league penalties in 2007/08, compared with five in 2006-07 when they also missed 3 times from the spot. Altrincham scored 4 league penalties in 2005-06. With spot-kick expert Steve Aspinall no longer a regular starter, the penalty scoring in 07-08 was shared between Colin Little (2) and one each for Warren Peyton and Jake Sedgemore.

    DEFENCE

    Despite conceding 15 more goals than in the previous season, Altrincham conceded five goals in a game just once, at home to Stevenage Borough. They also conceded four at home to Exeter City and another four away to Oxford United. The Robins conceded 82 league goals in 2007-08. In 2006-07 Alty conceded five goals to Dagenham for the second successive year at Moss Lane, but also scored five themselves, twice, against Cambridge United and St Alban's City. They conceded 67 league goals in 46 matches, compared with the previous season when they conceded 71 league goals in four fewer matches. In 2005-06 Altrincham conceded five goals three times in the league - at York and Forest Green and at home to Dagenham, but scored five themselves against Aldershot Town..

    Just six clean sheets were kept in the league in 2007-08. In 2006-07 Alty kept 11 clean sheets from 46 games compared with only 6 clean sheets from 42 matches in the league in 2005-06.

  • CAUTIONS
  • Once again the yellow-card count was down in 2007-08, with 61 being collected but the red card total increased to six. A seventh red card came in the FA Cup but all the red cards went to different players. Altrincham's discipline had also improved in 2006-07 with 72 yellows and 3 reds picked up in 46 matches compared with 83 league yellow cards and 4 reds in 42 Conference matches in 2005-06. Chris Senior with six and a red was the most cautioned player in 2007-08 followed by Chris LAne (5 yellow and 1 red), whilst Ryan Shotton picked up 7 yellows but no reds. Two of Ryan's cautions were in cup games.

    In 2006-07 the player with most yellow cards was Karl Munroe with 14 (13 in league), followed by Steve Aspinall with 9 (in the league). In 2005-06 those receiving the most yellow cards were Mark Maddox 9 (8 in the league), Val Owen 8 (all league), Chris Adams and Colin Potts 7 each, Warren Peyton 6 and Karl Munroe 5.

  • RUNS
  • Above: Altrincham celebrate their first away win of the season, at Crawley.

    In 2007-08 Alty went 10 league games from the start of the season without a win. Their longest run without defeat in the league was just three games, which they achieved twice (one win and two draws on each occasion).

    By comparison, Alty's longest run without a league defeat in 2006-07 was 5 (1 win and 4 draws from game no. 10 to 14 of the season, inclusive). From game 34 to 39 Alty won five and lost one of the six games in question, with 3 successive wins being the best sequence. Alty lost 4 games on the run (matches 27-30) which was their worst pointless sequence.

    In 2005-06 Alty's longest run without defeat was four games, achieved twice - 3 wins and a draw in August/September and 3 draws and a win around Christmas/New Year. 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 in 2003-04.

    Alty won only one of their last six games in 2007-08, a similar finish to the previous season when they won only one of the final seven games of the 2006-07 season. In 2005-06 they won only one of their last 13 league games, picking up just 5 points out of a possible 39 in these games. The worst run of consecutive defeats in 2005-06 was four, the last four games of the season. These years contrast with the 2004-05 season which ended with a run of just one defeat in 11 matches.

    GATES

    Altrincham's largest home gate in 2007-08 was 1,851 versus Northwich Victoria whilst the lowest was 715 for Crawley's midweek visit. Home gates were slightly down on the previous campaign with a Moss Lane average of 1,063 spectators, 103 down on the previous year.

    In 2006-07 Alty's biggest home league gate was 2,330 versus Northwich Victoria. Their lowest was 829 versus Grays Athletic on a Tuesday night. Overall, home gates improved further on the sizeable rise experienced in 2005-06. The average home gate in 2006-07 was 1,166. The average home gate in 2005-06 was 1,048 whereas the league average gate at Moss Lane was just 665 in 2004-05 (up from 584 in 2003-04). In 2005/06 the lowest home gate was 688 v Gravesend and Northfleet.

    The highest away league gate in 2007-08 was 3,950 at Oxford United; in 2006-07 the biggest gate away from home was 5,938 also at Oxford United. The lowest gate for an Alty away game in 200708 was 645 at Farsley for a midweek game, compared with 680 at St Albans City in 06-07. In 2005-06 the highest was 3,134 at Exeter City and the lowest away gate was 835 at Canvey Island, which was a lunchtime kick-off.

    The cup matches in 2007-08 saw 2,457attend Moss Lane for the FA Cup visit of Millwall. In contrast just 195 saw Alty overcome Vauxhall at Rivacre Park in the CSC semi-final. In 2006-07 cup matches, just 140 watched Alty lose to Chester City in the Cheshire Senior Cup, compared with last season's 151 who attended the Woodley Sports v Alty's Cheshire Senior Cup match.


    Copyright: ©
    Compiled by John Laidlar