REVIEW OF THE SEASON, 2011/12
It is often quoted that manager Lee Sinnott said his prime aim in 2011/12 was to restore the smile to the faces of Altrincham FC supporters. In most respects, he achieved that aim:
But on the other side:
Altrincham spent 2011-12 outside the national tier of non-League football for the first time since 2004-5 season - which was their only previous season at Conference North level.
Over the summer of 2011, Ken McKenna and Stuart Bimson elected to leave their managerial positions at Moss Lane and were replaced by Lee Sinnott, the former Port Vale and Farsley Celtic boss, who brought in Neil Tolson, the former Hyde manager and player as his assistant. Both men had a wealth of league as well as non-League experience.
From the relegated squad, Mark Beesley, Chris Denham, Craig Dootson, Dale Johnson, Marc Joseph, James Smith and Rob Williams all left; some from choice others were not offered terms. Moreover, several of the senior players from the previous season who had stayed at Moss Lane also left during the 2011-12 season for a variety of reasons, these were Ryan Brown, Anthony Danylyk and Robbie Lawton. So the new management team spent much of the season on a rebuilding job which saw XX players make their first-team debuts for Altrincham in 2011-12. In addition, seven of the players (excluding loanees) who joined in 2011-12 departed before the end of the season (i.e. Adam Flynn, Paul Jones, Mark Lees, Astley Mulholland, Josh Ollerenshaw, Jack Redshaw and Brian Summerskill).
Player turnover was further increased by substantial use of the loan system with its inevitably variable effect of success in some cases and failure in others. Loanees who had left before the end of the season were Joe Collister, Adam Dodd and Adie Hawes.
Once again no transfer fees changed hands in 2011-12, in or out; Alty have not paid a penny in transfer fees for a player for well over a decade.
In 2010-11 Alty failed to win any of their first nine games and again in 2011-12 they made a slow start, winning just one of their first seven matches before 5 wins in 6 games lifted them up the table. However, a disappointing run-in, with just two victories in ten outings meant that the play-offs remained out of reach.
Yet again it was a disappointing season in cup competitions, with Altrincham bowing out of all three competitions at the first hurdle. Particularly disappointing was a 2-0 home defeat by Witton in the FA Cup, with the 2-1 loss away to FCUM in the Trophy only marginally less so. Once a proud FA Cup giant-killing team, Altrincham have now not scored in any of their last five FA Cup matches over the past four seasons.
Altrincham's 61 points was their best yield over a season since 2004-05 when 69 points secured a play-off place in Conference North. The first half of the 2011/12 season saw 32 league points won, whilst the latter half witnessed 29 points gained.
The biggest contrast with 2010-11 season was in goalscoring. In 10/11 just 47 goals were netted in 46 matches, whilst in 11/12 Damian Reeves alone hit 44 league goals out of a team total of 90. That was the highest team total in a season for the club since 1978/79 when 93 goals came in 44 matches. For a 42 match season you have to go back to 1967-68 when 108 goals were scored in 42 Cheshire League matches to better the 11/12 total. In each of those previous seasons, Altrincham finished second in their league, compared with eighth in 11/12.
In 2010/11, 87 goals were let in during 46 matches, compared with 53 in 2009-10. Those goals conceded were the highest number since 1960-61 when Alty were in the Cheshire County League. So, the 2011/12 total of 71 goals conceded in 42 matches was an improvement, disappointing though it was.
The first half of the 11/12 campaign yielded 48 goals in 21 matches compared with a meagre 18 goals in 23 matches in the first half of last season. In the latter half of 11/12 the scoring declined slightly to 42 goals in 21 matches but was nevertheless a good return.
At the back, 35 goals were conceded in the first half of the 2011/12 season and 36 in the final 21 games. An unwanted statistic was the run to the end of the season when, in 29 successive games (27 in the league), Altrincham failed to keep a clean sheet this season. In fact, only three clean sheets were achieved all season in 42 league and 3 cup matches) and all were in home games (v. Histon, Nuneaton Town and Eastwood Town).
HISTORICAL LEAGUE RECORD
Below is Alty's league record since 1998-99. The 2009-10 season shows both the full record, including the expunged games against Chester City, and the official league record. For Alty's historical league record (excluding play-offs), click here
* 2005-06 Alty's deduction of 18 points reduced their official total to 23 points and sent them to 22nd and bottom place.
PLAYERSIn 2011/12, Altrincham used seven loan players, two fewer than last season (M Flynn, Walmsley, Collister, Dodd, Hawes, Williams, Tomsett)
15 players (incl. 4 loanees) who were named in Alty squads this season were no longer at Moss Lane at the end of the season (Brown, Collister, Danylyk, Dodd, A Flynn, Hawes, Jones, Lawton, Lees, Mulholland, Ollerenshaw, Redshaw, Summerskill, Tomsett, Williams). Player turnover was also high in 10-11 with 15 players turning out for the club but leaving before the end of the campaign.
Exactly the same number of players as last season, 38, were named in league squads for Altrincham in 2011-12 season. Of these four did not actually make a league appearance (Coombs, Grimshaw, Ollerenshaw, Tolson).
After two seasons in which Altrincham only completed a league double of victories over a single team, in 2011/12, two clubs were beaten home and away - Histon and Eastwood Town. But whereas eight clubs did the double over Alty in 10/11, only 3 did so in 2011/12 (Hyde, Gainsborough and Bishop's Stortford). Alty achieved five wins over top ten clubs in 2011/12 compared with just two such successes in 10/11.
Alty gleaned 21 points from the top half of the table finishers and 40 from the bottom eleven. In 2010/11 Alty likewise picked up 21 points from top-half finishers but only 23 from bottom-half teams.
Damian Reeves started every league game and two of our three cup matches.
These totals were significantly less than in recent seasons when the leading appearance maker played in 50 or more games.
LEAST APPEARANCESIn addition to Coombs, Grimshaw, Ollerenshaw and Tolson, who were on the bench in the league but did not get onto the pitch, two players did not start a game though they did make substitute appearances:
The following made a single league start:
GOALSIn 2011/12 Alty scored 90 league goals and 4 in cups. 49 league goals came at Moss Lane and 41 on the road. They commendably scored in every home league game but drew blanks four times on the road (Worcester, Solihull, Gainsborough, Bishop's Stortford).
In 2010/11, Alty scored only 47 league goals in 46 matches but thanks to the Cheshire Senior Cup, they also scored 22 cup goals in 7 matches, including 12 in a single game against Alsager Town. At home in 10/11, Alty scored 29 league goals and a further 18 away from home. They failed to score 17 times that season - eight times at home.
For and against, Alty supporters witnessed a remarkable 161 league goals in 2011/12 season, compared with 134 in 10/11.
Sixteen different players scored league goals for Alty this season. The outfield player who played most games without scoring was Chris Lynch 30(+6) but he did get 2 cup goals. Fifteen players scored league goals for Altrincham in 2010/11.
With a remarkable 44 goals in 42 league matches, Damian Reeves was Alty's highest scorer in a season since the days of Jack Swindells. The second top scorer was James Lawrie with 10, though Leighton McGivern did get 19 in the BSBN, but 15 of these were for Vauxhall Motors before he joined Altrincham.
Despite only starting 35 games (+11 as sub), Damian Reeves was top scorer in 2010/11 with 19 goals in all competitions; 15 of these came in the league where he played 33(+9) games.
GOAL TIMESIn 2011/12 Alty scored exactly half of their 90 league goals in each half of games i.e. 45 in the first and 45 in the second half. 17 goals were scored between the 41st and 50th minutes, which includes first-half added time. 4 goals came in added time after the regulation ninety.
In 2010/11, just 14 of Alty's 47 goals were scored in the first-half of games.
Alty only failed to score in five league games in 11/12 (twice against Bishop's Stortford), whereas in 2010/11 Alty failed to score a phenomenal 17 times in the league; 8 at home and 9 times away.
Alty netted six goals three times, twice of which were away (Colwyn Bay and Eastwood), the other was at home to Boston United; all those games ended 6-1.
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.
Right: Damian Reeves in action against GAinsborough; picture courtesy of Gavin Rathbone of GR Photography.
|1 to 10 mins:||5||3||2||6||3||10||5||2|
|11 to 20 mins:||12||2||5||2||4||3||3||7|
|21 to 30 mins:||12||3||9||9||3||9||4||7|
|31 to 40 mins:||8||4||9||4||6||3||4||2|
|41 to 50 mins:||17||3||5||6||8||7||5||13|
|51 to 60 mins:||5||12||2||5||7||4||1||8|
|61 to 70 mins:||12||3||8||6||10||5||6||11|
|71 to 80 mins:||10||6||5||1||8||3||8||7|
|81 to 90 mins:||9||11||12||10||7||9||4||13|
HEAVY WINSRemarkably, Alty won three times by a 6-1 margin and twice these wins came away from home (Colwyn Bay and Eastwood Town). The home 6-1 win was against Boston United. Alty also hit five against Droylsden and Harrogate at Moss Lane.
The best they could do in 2010/11 was to score four against Hayes & Yeading United.
In 2011/12 Altrincham converted eight spot kicks in league games (all by Reeves) but also missed a couple more. At the other end, a phenomenal 15 penalties were conceded, 12 of which were converted. Even so, Altrincham won the divisional fair play title.
In 2010/11 Altrincham converted five league penalties in 2010-11, with Reeves netting three and Densmore two, and three more were missed.
There was nothing to compare with the 7-0 drubbing at Crawley in 2010-11, but Alty did get turned over 5-1 by Stalybridge Celtic. The heaviest home defeats were 1-3 by Hyde and 0-2 by Bishop's Stortford.
Altrincham finished the season on a run of 27 league games without a clean sheet - 29 games if you count cup matches. No clean sheet at all was recorded on the road. The three home clean sheets recorded were versus Histon, Nuneaton and Eastwood.
In 2010/11, a much better 9 clean sheets were recorded in the league, compared with 13 in 2009-10.
2011/12 witnessed 48 yellow cards in 42 games with 3 more seen in cup games, a vast improvement on the 79 league (in 46 games) and 7 cup cautions in 2010/11.
As for red cards, 3 were shown to Alty in 11/12 (Adam Flynn, Danylyk, McGivern). This compares with 10/11 when Alty got to game 24 without seeing a red card and then suffered seven dismissals in the final 22 matches.
No player was suspended simply for amassing yellow cards in 2011/12. The most booked player was Chris Lynch (7 times), followed by Matt Flynn (5) with Simon Richman, Shaun Densmore and Michael Twiss all seeing four yellows, though one of Shaun's was in the CSC.
The player with most cautions in 2010/11 was Shaun Densmore with 9 from 32 league starts.
In 2011/12 Jack Redshaw played the most games (14) without recording a single card.
Alty's best run of successive league wins was four (games 10-13) but, as that was punctuated by the FA Cup defeat to Witton, the best run without any defeat was three (games 23-25), the same as in 10/11. Three was also the longest sequence of successive league defeats (games 37-39) but four matches in a row were lost in November (including two cup matches).
In 0/11 Alty's longest run of successive league defeats was 7 games (games 3 to 9) and their longest run without a win was 9 (games 1 to 9). Their best run of wins was three (games 37 to 39). They went five games unbeaten between matches 37 and 41 in 10/11 but only managed two runs of four games without defeat in 11/12.
Altrincham's faltering run-ins have become a regular occurrence. They finished 11/12 with just two wins in ten matches, compared with one win in the final seven in 2010/11 and Alty lost five of the final six games in 2009-10
Although relegation inevitably saw a fall in league attendances the 2011/12 average of 826 was a vast improvement on the 665 average who saw our last Conference North campaign seven years ago. The average home league gate in 2010/11 was 1,038.
The biggest home gate was 1,291 (v FC Halifax Town), one more than watched us play Hyde. The lowest home gate was 625 on a Tuesday night versus Hinckley United though in the CSC only 243 bothered to watch us lose to Stockport County. The lowest gate at an Alty away game was 239 at Eastwood Town and the highest was at Halifax (1,414).
In 2010/11 the home match with Wrexham provided Moss Lane's best gate; 1,928. The 558 souls who saw Hayes and Yeading visit Alty constituted the lowest home gate. Away, 6,665 saw Alty at Luton on the opening day of the season whilst just 274 saw Hayes entertain Altrincham.