December 2018

31 December 2018


Alty entertain Stockport County on New Year's Day (3pm).

Stockport County report that they "Will enter the new year occupying third place, after a late goal from Sam Minihan saw off fellow play-off contenders Kidderminster Harriers at Edgeley Park.

There remained three minutes of normal footballing time for the Hatters in 2018, when Minihan headed home a Scott Duxbury corner to register his first goal of the season, as well as County’s first league win over the Harriers, following six straight defeats against them, since 2012/13.

The Hatters took to the field showing two changes from their Boxing Day starting line-up against Altrincham in SK3. Both Jordan Keane and Jake Kirby were ruled out due to illness, resulting in recalls for Sam Walker and Elliot Osborne as part of a 4-2-3-1 formation, while the team was led out by Paul Turnbull, as the captain prepared to make his 200th appearance in a County shirt.

Alas for Walker, his first start since the late sending-off at Spennymoor five games previously lasted no longer than eight minutes – when a tight hamstring prevented him from continuing. Darren Stephenson replaced Walker, as the Hatters reshuffled but also proceeded to enjoy the better of things as the contest, after a cagey start, began to open up. They earned four corners within three minutes...

The visitors, for their part, were restricted largely to efforts from distance... A seventh corner for the Hatters, four minutes before the break, almost proved to be a lucky one, as Osborne’s delivery from the left was headed on by Ash Palmer to Frank Mulhern, who nodded into the net only for the goal to be disallowed, following Palmer’s foul on Hall...

County supporters began to contemplate that they might be about to witness their first scoreless draw in over 15 months... With three minutes remaining, Warburton had another attempt deflected behind. And from Duxbury’s resulting Cheadle End corner on the right, which was aimed towards the near post, Minihan glanced his header into the far-top corner in a manner uncannily reminiscent of that which had led to Mulhern’s 94th-minute equaliser against Brackley six Saturdays earlier".


Next Saturday Altrincham make the long cross-country trip to Boston United who report that on Boxing Day "United fought out a dramatic 2-2 draw with leaders Bradford Park Avenue, who nicked a point courtesy of a stoppage time leveller.

The Pilgrims trailed to Lewis Knight's 36th minute free-kick but turned the tables after the break through Ben Davies's penalty and Max Wright's deflected effort within a three-minute spell.

United looked well set for victory until Ben McKenna sailed home his own deflected effort four minutes into time added on.

Pilgrims’ boss Craig Elliott had made three changes to his side ahead of kick-off, with Mansfield Town loanee Lewis Gibbens handed his first start. Jay Rollins started a game for the first time since March.

George Willis, named man-of-the-match on Boxing Day, continued his fine form...

Bradford took the lead in freak circumstances nine minutes before the break when KNIGHT saw his audacious 35-yard free-kick deceive Willis and creep into the top corner of the net...

United levelled six minutes after the break when Killock was adjudged to have fouled Nicky Walker in the box and DAVIES lifted home his first goal in Boston colours. The Pilgrims completed the turnaround three minutes later when WRIGHT blazed an effort into the bottom corner, via a deflection off Killock, following industrious play from Andi Thanoj initially and then Walker...

United rattled the crossbar through Wright, following Rollins’ cutback from the left, as Boston’s chance to edge two goals to the good passed them by... But Avenue finally grabbed their equaliser deep into stoppage time when McKENNA saw his 20-yard drive take a big deflection and nestle into the corner.

Boston (4-4-2): George Willis; Ben Davies, Ryan Qualter, Lewis Gibbens, Ashley Jackson; Max Wright, Brad Abbott, Andi Thanoj, Nicky Walker (Jonathan Wafula 83); Gavin Allott (Spencer Harris 89), Jay Rollins (Jordan Slew 68). Subs (not used): Tai-Reece Chisholm, Danny Rowe."


Saturday 29 December:
  • AFC Telford United 4-1 Leamington att.1196
  • Blyth Spartans 2-1 York City att.1122
  • Boston United 2-2 Bradford (Park Avenue) att.1061
  • Brackley Town 3-1 Nuneaton Borough att.506
  • Curzon Ashton 0-1 Chorley att.490
  • Darlington 2-1 Ashton United
  • FC United of Manchester 1-3 Spennymoor Town att.2069
  • Guiseley 2-2 Altrincham att.791
  • Hereford FC 2--0 Chester FC att.2775
  • Southport 2-1 Alfreton Town att.1023
  • Stockport County 1-0 Kidderminster Harriers att.3784


On Saturday, former Alty striker Tom Peers was sent off as FCUM lost 1-3 at home to Spennymoor.
30 December 2018


For the ninth time, Altrincham failed to win after a trip to Guiseley but they rescued a point with an injury-time equalizer.

The first half was goalless and largely uneventful.

The second half had an early goal which sparked the match into life. It came six minutes after the break from loanee Ashley Hemmings after Johnston and Hancock had been involved in the build up.

Alty spurned further chances to extend their lead and paid the price as Guiseley scored twice in the final twenty minutes. Heaton's header levelled things in the 73rd minute before Hatfield put the hosts ahead in the 85th minute.

Just before that goal Hemmings put a great chance onto the bar from close range.

Alty managed to get their equalizer just before the game went into added time. Following a Johnston run, Hampson netted with a cross-shot to make it 2-2.

ALTRINCHAM 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. James JONES, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT, 7.John JOHNSTON, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Chris SANG, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Ashley HEMMINGS. Subs. 12. Max HARROP, 14. Sean WILLIAMS, 15. Ben HARRISON, 16. Kallum MANTACK, 20. Elliot WYNNE


On New Year's Day, for the fourth time in a little more than a fortnight, Altrincham play their neighbours Stockport County. County have already knocked Alty out of the FA Cup and the FA Trophy, as well as beating them on Boxing Day in the league at Edgeley Park. In those three previous encounters this season, Altrincham have failed to score. They will, however, have back their joint leading goalscorer in the league, Jordan Hulme, who has now completed his three-match suspension.

Going into the Boxing Day clash Altrincham had a nine-game unbeaten league record, (seven wins, two draws) stretching back to September. Following defeat that day, the record can be read in much gloomier light as three matches in all competitions without a win, following the Trophy and league defeats by County and a draw with Darlington last Saturday.

As Mike Garnett's staistics illustrate, we have won just once against the Hatters in an all first-team fixture.

  • Home: 4-1-0-3-8-8
  • Away: 4-0-1-3-0-7
  • All: 8-1-1-6-8-15

That solitary victory came in our Cheshire clubs' first-ever league meeting at first-team level. That was in a Skrill North match played on Saturday, 24 August 2013. Altrincham cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win.

Above: Alty take a well-earned break after the final whistle at Moss Lane in 2013.

Earlier wastefulness by Walshaw was forgotten when he steered home a 42nd minute goal. Unforced errors cost County as Reeves headed a second goal from Densmore's cross in the 50th minute. Then Walshaw put Reeves clear and he finished well to make it 3-0 after 70 minutes. Altrincham should have added more but they were more than happy with a 100% start to the season which left them in second place in the table.

In Alty's line up Leather, Richman, Walshaw and Clee all came in for Doughty, Rodgers, Lawrie and Smikle. Former Altrincham midfielder Ian Craney was in County's team whilst ex-County men Luca Havern and Danny Boshell started for Altrincham.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Mike WILLIAMS, 4. Jake MOULT, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Scott LEATHER, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Danny BOSHELL, 9. James WALSHAW, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 12. Matt DOUGHTY, 14. Carl RODGERS, 15. James LAWRIE, 16. Kyle PERRY, 17. Brian SMIKLE

STOCKPORT COUNTY: 1. Ian Ormson, 2. Kyle Jacobs, 3. Stephen O'Halloran, 4. Aman Verma, 5. Jordan Fagbola, 6. Kieran Charnock, 7. Jamie Hand, 8. Ian Craney, 9. Phil Jevons 10. Kristian Dennis, 11. Iain Howard. Subs: 12. Rhys Turner, 13. Lewis King, 14. James Tunnicliffe, 15. Brandon Windsor, 16. Adriano Moke.


As was chronicled here on 15 December, Stockport's last visit to Altrincham for a league match was for a Vanarama National League North match on Saturday, 3 September 2016, in which Altrincham allowed a 2-1 lead to turn into a 2-3 defeat. It was the fifth time in that disadtrous season that Altrincham had scored first but failed to win. James Lawrie put Alty ahead from a feed by Miller in the 14th minute before Clark was allowed an unhindered header to equalize from a 26th minute freekick.

Altrincham went ahead again in the 35th minute when Miller finished a Reeves cross superbly. Substitute Spencer levelled with a shot from outside the box after Alty had failed to challenge him as he advanced 20 yards. That was with fifteen minutes left. And another headed goal from a corner won it for County in the 87th minutes, Smalley being the scorer.


Saturday 29 December:
  • AFC Telford United 4-1 Leamington
  • Blyth Spartans 2-1 York City
  • Boston United 2-2 Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • Brackley Town 3-1 Nuneaton Borough
  • Curzon Ashton 0-1 Chorley
  • Darlington 2-1 Ashton United
  • FC United of Manchester 1-3 Spennymoor Town
  • Guiseley 2-2 Altrincham
  • Hereford FC 2--0 Chester FC
  • Southport 2-1 Alfreton Town
  • Stockport County 1-0 Kidderminster Harriers

29 December 2018


Bradford's Telegraph & Argus informs us that "Guiseley joint-manager Russ O'Neill says his side must bounce back from a heavy Boxing Day defeat when they entertain Altrincham tomorrow [Saturday]. The Lions fell to 17th after they crashed to a 5-1 reverse to Vanarama National League North leaders Bradford (Park Avenue), but now have a tricky-looking chance to recover when they welcome fifth-placed Altrincham to Nethermoor.

O'Neill said 'We've got to make sure we don't get beaten up on Saturday. That is our next game and we can't have a repeat of Boxing Day. We got rolled over and need to take it on the chin.'"


Above: Alty warm up before the game in 1999 at Nethermoor.

If you believe in omens, the fixtures have thrown up a worrying duo of post-Christmas matches for Altrincham. Hot on the heels of a defeat at Stockport on Boxing Day at Edgeley Park, where Alty have never scored, never mind won, since County became a non-League side, today (Saturday) the Robins face their ninth trip to Guiseley from where they have emerged winless on the previous eight occasions!

Right: Altrincham captain Chris Timons and manager Bernard Taylor at Guiseley, 1999.

Mike Garnett's data confirm the grim Altrincham record at Nethermoor...

  • At Altrincham: P7-W4-D3-L1-F14-A9
  • At Guiseley: P8-W0-D3-L5-F8-A17
  • Overall: P15-W4-D5-L6-F22-A26

Altrincham's first visit to Nethermoor was for the final fixture of the 1998/99 season when Alty had already made certain of winning the UniBond NPL championship. A disappointing performance from the champions-elect saw them lose 2-0 to the Lions.

After the match, the Bradford Telegraph & Argus reported that "Altrincham came to Nethermoor Park to celebrate their UniBond League Premier Division Championship win and they were intent on celebrating in style. The biggest home crowd of the season saw the Alty choir in full voice but they were soon silenced by a Guiseley side which responded to the challenge and gained themselves their highest ever UniBond finish with third place.

Left: Mick Carmody and Leroy Chambers at the end of that game, with Keith Russell in tracksuit, applauding in the background.

Guiseley stifled the Alty celebrations with a tenth-minute penalty awarded when Stewart Airdrie was brought down. Guiseley's quandry was who was to take the kick as usual spot kickers Peter Atkinson, Steve Hook and Simon Parke were all out injured. Up stepped young Simon Phillips and he drilled his effort home...

Altrincham showed the football that has brought them promotion to the Conference but they were unable to prevent Bobby Davison's fired up side from grabbing a fine victory with which to sign off their season... Before the kick-off a minute's silence was observed and the Guiseley flag fluttered at half mast in tribute to Sir Alf Ramsey...

Mick Morrell [who later joined Altrincham] exasperated the home crowd with some missed chances but it was he who grabbed the second goal to seal victory for Davison's boys... in the 65th minute...

Altrincham had their chances but generally their shooting was wayward... Manager Bobby Davison... and his assistant Neil Parsley [who had briefly played for Alty] have certainly had a season to be proud of producing an attractive style which the crowd have enjoyed".

Despite the result, Alty won the title by four points.


Blyth Spartans confirm that "Spartans' away trip to Altrincham has been rearranged for next Tuesday, January 22, with a 7.45pm kick-off. This fixture has been rearranged due to Spartans’ continued involvement in the Buildbase FA Trophy". The Alty v Blyth match should have taken place on 12 January and that date is now the day on which Altrincham travel to Chorley, as previously annpounced.


Good quality video highlights from the Boxing Day match at Stockport are here. And there is also an interesting video interview with manager Jim Gannon after the match.


According to NL Daily, "Stafford Rangers have accepted the resignation of manager Steve Burr... Assistant-manager Andy Fearn and Alex Meechan will be in charge of the team in the interim".


According to the Chester Standard, "Chester joint boss Bernard Morley was left questioning some of his players' mindset after a dreadful Boxing Day performance saw them go down 3-0 at local rivals Southport. The Blues were left chasing the game at half time following goals from Bradley Bauress and Sandgrounders skipper David Morgan with another strike from Morgan late on putting the seal on one of Chester's worst displays of the season.

Despite the heavy defeat, the Blues remain in third place in National League North, seven points behind leaders Bradford Park Avenue, but with a tough away game at Hereford to come before another clash at home against Southport on New Year's Day, Morley insisted his squad needed to think hard about what went so badly wrong at Haig Avenue.

'In the first half, I feel like we looked petrified,' said Morley. 'We looked scared and we looked like a young side that was up against the wall. It’s a 3-0 loss and I’m really gutted. I’ve been there before and I’m going to try any pick the bones out of why and it’s simple; we didn’t work hard in the first half. We looked scared, balls were bobbling everywhere and they exploited that and fair play to Southport for doing that.

'Lads moan and knock on the door and ring you up disappointed when they’re not playing. They get their opportunity to play in front of a great crowd and another great following and they buckled. It’s as simple as that. There’s not a player in there that can tell me any different with what I’ve seen.'

Morley and fellow boss Anthony Johnson received a blow before kick off with the news that in form striker Akwasi Asante had not recovered from a knock he received in the victory over AFC Telford and with Gary Stopforth and Danny Livesey also missing, the managers were forced to shuffle their pack with disappointing results.

'I think we all are aware of what the problems may have been before the game,' said Morley. 'What could we have done different? That’s for me and Jonno to go away and reflect on what we’ve done. Ultimately, if you take that experience out of the side, you're lessening your chance to go and win a game. However, we could have worked 10 times harder than what we did in the first half and could have shown 10 times much more desire and determination and we might not have been 2-0 down at half-time.

'What can we do as managers to combat not having those players? All we can do is pick players that are available, but we all saw the line-up and they looked great on paper, the team we picked today. If it was FIFA, you’d be smiling, but unfortunately it’s not. It’s a man’s game and maybe we had a little bit too much youth out there today.'

Morley admitted the injured trio were all doubts for Saturday's trip to Hereford who go into the clash at Edgar Street on the back of a win thanks to a James Roberts penalty against Kidderminster Harriers.

'Asante was 50/50 for today's game and Livesey was the same but what we don't want to do is risk them and then they're out for three to four weeks,' he said. 'Christmas is such an important period and you have to take as many points as you can so we will do everything we can to get them back. We have to show belief in the players and we've just said to them in the changing room that they can go one of two ways; they can go home and feel sorry for themselves or they can go and correct today's performance.

'At half time we had our rant and there was nothing coming back from them. There needs to be reasons why they've applied themselves the way they have. Was it my warm up? Was it because it was Christmas? What I will say is that it is certainly not acceptable at this football club.'

With five goals in three games, Asante was a huge miss and with Saturday due to be the last game of his month loan period from Tamworth, Morley insisted the club were doing all they could to keep the Dutchman at the Swansway Stadium.

'We'd be stupid not to extend his stay and we're trying everything in our will to do it,' he added. 'It's whether the clubs can come to an agreement and it will be a great Christmas present if it gets done'".

And another club trying to extend a loanee's stay with them is the subject of news in the Northern Echo which claims that "Tommy Wright s eager to extend Andrew Nelson’s time with Darlington after the striker started his month on loan with a bang. He has scored four goals in his first three games, including two penalties in Boxing Day’s 5-1 win against York City. The 21-year-old also netted twice on his debut away to Chorley, two coolly taken chances when one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and there are sure to be clubs higher up that would like Nelson in their squad.

But the grass is not always greener is Wright’s message, and he said 'Sunderland will want him to play as high as he possibly can. As a player, you want to be playing every week and you want to score goals; he is doing that here. He’s adored by the fans because he has made a really positive start to his time here, and he will have a decision to make. Sunderland would be happy for him to stay, but it’s going to come down to what other offers he gets.

'He’s got to weigh it all up and I will be talking to him, Kevin Ball and probably Jack Ross too.'

Nelson is one of five players currently with Quakers on a temporary basis, Wright having bolstered what was a threadbare squad with additions that have helped improve fortunes. Having lost 3-2 at Chorley and drawn 3-3 at Altrincham, Quakers have scored ten times in three games. They will be gunning for more tomorrow at home to second-bottom Ashton United, who have the worst defensive record in the division having conceded 55 times in 22 matches.

Also on loan is Williams Kokolo, who was unavailable against York due to personal reasons, Will Smith, Romal Palmer, both from Barnsley, and Leeds’s Alex Wollerton. Wright added 'Kolo is on a youth loan so that will run as long as you want, it’s the same with the Barnsley ones.'"

Next Saturday (5th January), Altrincham visit Boston United from where the Boston Standard informs us that manager "Craig Elliott is hoping Gavin Allott will be fit to face league leaders Bradford Park Avenue. The Pilgrims’s five-goal striker missed Boxing Day’s defeat to Alfreton Town due to illness...

Elliott said 'It’s a bug but hopefully he’ll be fit. We need to regroup and work on a few things.'

Bradford arrive for Saturday’s clash top of the National League North... And Elliott hopes that their form this season, the culmination of hard work and good player recruitment as opposed to an inflated budget, will give hope to other teams with ambitions of challenging at the top. He added 'I think they’ve had consistency and kept 90 per cent of the squad from last season. They’ve had luck with injuries, not had to change the team too much, but they’ve done well and good luck to them. I watched them play at Hereford and they have good discipline.

'But we have to do get back to picking up points.'”

At Bradford (Park Avenue), the Telegraph & Argus reports that manager "Mark Bower says he plans to freshen up his table-topping Bradford (Park Avenue) side... Avenue extended their lead at the top of Vanarama National League North to three points following a commanding 5-1 win at Guiseley on Boxing Day... They travel to 11th-placed Boston United tomorrow.

Avenue have a clean bill of health for the weekend clash. Centre back Luca Havern will not start his three-match ban for his straight red card against Guiseley until his side's league clash at Stockport County on Saturday, January 5. But Bower says... he has been especially pleased with the manner of his side's two victories over Christmas, as their dominant victory over the Lions followed them grinding out a 1-0 home win over Hereford last Saturday.

Bower says... 'Boston is a tough place to go, we've not had much luck there. They can beat anyone on their day. They have had an up and down season so far, but they have the quality there. We know what they are about and we will respect them, but impose ourselves on them. I have never really set any targets of how we will get on. Being top is not something that is being talked about in our dressing room. We will take each game as it comes.

'The lads are enjoying playing with each other. The lads in the team know that there are other players that can come in and replace them. It keeps them on their toes and keeps their standards up... The temptation when you play really well is to play the same team for the next game, but that can give you a problem further down the line. I have players I can trust in my squad to come in and do a job. It was good to take four players off, if you include Luca in that as well, and rest them, with 25 to 31 minutes left, against Guiseley on Boxing Day.

'At the minute we are grinding out results. We will just keep going, it's enjoyable for the lads to be playing and enjoyable for the supporters. Who knows where we will end up? Guiseley was an enjoyable win for us, we had a big lead early on. It was a strange feeling for the last few minutes.'"

The Shropshire Star states that "AFC Telford United are out to make it back-to-back home wins as they face Leamington, a side Gavin Cowan is tired of hearing are underdogs... They are currently 12th and, given their modest budget, Paul Holleran is seen to be doing a great job...

'I’m tired of hearing about Leamington being the underdogs and overachieving,' said Cowan. 'They’ve been at this level now for a good couple of years and they’re a good team at this level. They’re not an overachieving team. They’re a good team and they’ll pose us a tough test. It’ll be hard work to go and beat them, but I’m sure if we put everything together and the stars align, we do what we know we can do, we’ve got a very good chance'...

Leamington are making the trip with some familiar faces. Forwards Anthony Dwyer and Jordan Murphy both played for the Bucks last campaign, while midfielders Kieran Dunbar and Callum Gittings have also had spells in Shropshire... Cowan said 'I’m sure they’ll be keen to impress their manager. They ain’t going to be worried about impressing me, they’ll be worried about impressing him... Whether they’re in the team or not, it’s going to be a tough game'...

Daniel Udoh, who is thought to have turned down a move to Leamington in the summer, after impressing on loan there last term, is expected to start again for Cowan’s charges. He opened the scoring in the 3-1 triumph against rock-bottom Nuneaton Borough on New Year’s Day, taking his goal tally for the campaign to 15 in all competitions. Cowan has to decide whether to stick with Amari Morgan-Smith alongside Udoh or bring Andre Brown, who scored in the reverse fixture against the Brakes, into the starting line-up.

Jon Royle was the man of the match against Nuneaton so is also expected to remain in the XI, but Cowan has hinted a couple of players may be brought back in. Midfielders James McQuilkin and Henry Cowans were unused substitutes on Boxing Day, and the Bucks chief says he is ‘going to need to them’ for this encounter... Skipper Shane Sutton is suspended for a match after his red card at Chester last weekend. "


Barnet report that their respected manager "John Still has announced his retirement from football management after over 40 years of being in the hot seat. During this time, John has won the National League title a record three times with Maidstone United, Luton Town and Dagenham & Redbridge, getting the latter further promoted to League One.

He was in his second spell managing Barnet having previously taken them to two League 2 play-off positions in three years during his first spell at the turn of the millennium. John has overseen the reshaping of the technical football side of the whole Club during his second spell here and will remain with Barnet FC as Head of Football allowing him to continue his progressive work in this area. He will oversee Peter Gill, the Academy Manager; Luke Swindlehurst, the London Bees Head Coach and Darren Currie who will continue in his role as First Team Coach and take temporary charge of all first team affairs.

Over the next few months, John will continue his good work in re-shaping the football structure here at Barnet FC and advance the Club’s scouting network and youth development programme".

And there have been two managerial casualties in the National League over the last few days "Maidstone United have become the second club inside 24 hours to part company with their manager. The Stones have confirmed Harry Wheeler has left after three months in charge. The club are deep in relegation trouble and things haven’t picked up since he replaced Jay Saunders...

Chesterfield axed manager Martin Allen on Thursday after they returned to the bottom four."

28 December 2018


On Saturday, Altrincham travel to Guiseley, hoping to end a three-match winless run.

Guiseley's Evan Seaman reports that "It might be the season of goodwill but it was an unhappy return to action for Guiseley as the Lions were heavily beaten by Bradford Park Avenue side led by GAFC’s former manager, Mark Bower. In a game which featured five former GAFC players in the Park Avenue line-up, the Lions were thrashed 1-5 at Nethermoor Park in front of a Boxing Day crowd of 1,150.

BPA immediately sprinted out of the blocks as GAFC could not deal with their high pressing; this set the tone for the rest of the match"

Already 0-3 down at the interval "GAFC’s fortunes did not improve as they conceded a penalty 8 minutes into the second half which allowed Beesley to complete his hat-trick to make it 0-4... Connor Branson put the icing on the Christmas cake for BPA on the 57th minute as he put them 0-5 up...

Smith’s brief stint at right-back came to an abrupt end when he was brought off in the 62nd minute for Will Thornton, who ensured that the Lions’ nightmare return to their home ground did not get any worse as he used his strength on a few occasions to shield the ball. Thornton’s solid substitute performance, albeit when the game was effectively over, has left many of the Lions supporters scratching their heads as to why he didn’t start the game ahead of Smith.

There was some festive cheer for the GAFC fans as Alex Purver was able to score a consolation goal with about half an hour remaining... However any celebrations from the home crowd were short-lived because despite Gianluca Havern being sent off for a nasty challenge on Hatfield, the Lions were unable to take advantage of the extra man as the game finished 1-5 to BPA... Guiseley FC have slipped to 17th, just 2 points above the drop zone, but the Lions do still have 3 games in hand."

Guiseley add that "They finally got their act together and started to play some football against the Avenue’s ten men after Gianluca Havern had been dismissed for a two footed tackle on Will Hatfield on 69 minutes... The Lions finally made an effort to plug the gap that had been created by playing striker Scott Smith at right-back with defender Will Thornton coming on to replace him...

But, despite a late flurry it was a question of a little far, far too late from the Lions who had been all but been outclassed by Mark Bower's men...

Team: 1 Green, 2 Smith (Thornton 62), 3 Heaton, 4 Cummings, 5 Halls, 6 Purver, 7 Felix, 8 Harvey (Walsh 71), 9 Liburd, 10 James (Clayton 78), 11 Hatfield. Subs: 12 Morrison, 14 Odejayi, 15 Clayton, 16 Walsh, 17 Harvey"


Following Altrincham's defeat at Edgeley Park on Boxing Day, Stockport Vital Football reports that "Over 4500 turned out at Edgeley Park to cheer County home to another valuable victory against promotion rivals Altrincham, and into fourth place in the division...

County gave a performance, the maturity and sheer excellence of which was truly astonishing at times.

Altrincham did what you would expect a team pushing for promotion to do, they got forward, attacked, and played the ball about nicely at times, but with County in their current form this was just not enough. Each determined Alty attack was met with resolute defence that always allowed the visitors time on the ball, but also added threat on the break to deeply thoughtful defending.

To get another clean sheet against a side with the free scoring reputation that Altrincham have is superb work. In this respect if Stott was inspirational from start to finish, no one in blue shirked a shift, and despite defending for long periods, County never gave the impression that they were about to ship a goal.

Simply excellent!... Altrincham busied themselves well enough playing the ball across the park nicely but without ever looking likely to penetrate the County cover... All that said though Hemmings did clip the outside of a post with a shot 6 minutes in, but Hinchliffe did not dive for it, and he would have, had the need been there!...

Credit to Altrincham, they were not overly cowed and kept pushing forward... The quality of County’s defending was awesome at times... Game over – 3 points won, in impressive style!"


From Nortumberland's Chronicle Live comes news that "Blyth Spartans has landed a new sponsor; a firm promoting trips to North Korea. Fans were left stunned when the new billboard appeared at Croft Park on Boxing Day. The club has since confirmed it isn't a prank and fans have seen the funny side.

'We've had a few comments about possibly serving dog at the next match,' admitted Mark Scott, the club's commercial manager. He was the first to be approached about the new billboard after receiving a mysterious email from a potential advertiser. 'It was very cryptic, stating they wanted to advertise but wouldn't say what it was,' said Mark. 'I said as long as it wasn't illegal or offensive, I didn't care who we sold it too.'

It turned out to be a University of Sunderland student behind the website, The firm runs travel packages to the secretive Asian state... But crucially for non-league Spartans, the advertiser paid the £150 fee upfront.

And Mark added 'Who am I to judge? The guy running this is going over to visit the country, not shake hands with Kim Jong-un, so we have no problem with it.' And seemingly, nor do the fans. Some even posted mock-up pictures of the Supreme Leader in a Blyth shirt.

But one questioned how effective the campaign will be, tweeting 'You’d struggle to get anyone to visit Ashington in here never mind PRNK'.

Regardless, Mark is pleased with the investment and said the deal was done 'very professionally'.

The club even issued a statement and wrote in the matchday programme to reassure fans the link-up wasn't some Pyongyang ploy. Signed by Mark, it read 'Visit North Korea provides expert led travel with an emphasis on engagement in the world's most secretive country, The Democratic Republic of Korea. Having never visited the Far East before, I was quickly calling club Chairman Tony Platten who had just returned from Japan and Nepal to reveal the latest enquiry and he was as intrigued as me...

The travel firm, which has over 10,000 Facebook followers, offers packages costing up to £2,495 to visit North Korea...

A statement from the firm said 'Although it is unique and unconventional, Visit North Korea is nevertheless proud to be able to help support the great English game at a local level'...

However for Mark and Blyth Spartans, the deal is already proving a winner. 'He's used us to gauge a response, and we are fairly cheap. He didn't want to chuck money at Sunderland or Newcastle,' he added. 'And us and them are both getting publicity off it and any publicity is good publicity'".

Footnote: Older fans may recall that there are also historical football links between the North East and North Korea. During the 1966 World Cup, North Korea played all of their group stage matches at Middlesbrough's Ayresome Park stadium, which included a win over Italy.

York Press reports that "York City boss Sam Collins cast aspersions on his side’s Christmas Day behaviour following a 5-1 thrashing at Darlington. The Minstermen chief allowed his players to spend December 25 with their families rather than train the day before the derby clash but was left searching for explanations after a performance he described as 'flat after ten minutes'...

'They were a really young team, whereas we have plenty of experience in our side and it worries me in terms of what our players did on Christmas Day because I can’t understand for the life in me why we were so flat, and I’ve got to get to the bottom of that. I feel let down, very angry and frustrated. The Darlington lads probably had the same schedule, but they looked full of energy and wanted to have a fight and get on the ball and play. The goals we conceded were also totally unacceptable, coming straight down the heart of the pitch.'

Having passed the season’s midway point, City now find themselves sitting 14th... with Collins admitting... 'If we are consistent with our attitude and work-rate then I believe we have some good footballers to get us results but, if we have too many of those days when that’s not there, then it becomes a bit of a struggle,' he admitted.

Collins selected the same starting XI that defeated Brackley 2-1 at the weekend and, while keeper Adam Bartlett was again a clear man-of-the-match winner and skipper Jordan Burrow was absolved of blame again...

'I didn’t change the team, but I wished I had,' Collins declared. 'You want to rely on people, but you can’t apart from three or four in certain positions and that’s not enough to win games on a regular basis... I don’t think the sending off even changed the game because we were already two goals down and we looked flat after ten minutes.'

New on-loan Harrogate Town midfielder Liam Agnew was given his debut, meanwhile, as a half-time substitute for the ineffective Joe Ironside, with Collins taking some solace from his display. 'We saw signs of the good footballer that he is,' the City chief said. 'He created the goal and has lots of energy. He was also honest in terms of how he played. He knows a couple of lads from the past, but not many and he came in and had a go at a few people, which says a lot about him because he’s not going to stand for what he saw.'

Collins revealed, meanwhile, that Alex Harris has missed recent games due to a hamstring problem and that the temptation to rush Simon Heslop back too soon following knee surgery must still be resisted."

"The following is a statement from the Chester FC Board of Directors.

Without doubt, 2018 has shown the positive impact that our supporters can have. We are proud to have had fantastic travelling support both in the National League last season when things on and off the pitch were not going to plan and also within the National League North this campaign.

Whilst everyone connected was disappointed with yesterday’s result away at Southport, a very small minority of the travelling supporters let both themselves and Chester Football Club down with their behaviour, in particular during the second half. Entering the field of play during the game at any time is unacceptable behaviour and may see the Club charged ,and even fined, by the Football Association. Such behaviour not only has consequences for Chester FC, but also the individual, through potential banning orders enforced through the courts. As such, we remind supporters to stay off the field of play at all times.

In addition to this, Chester Football Club are also aware of a number of issues raised through social media regarding the behaviour of some of our supporters towards fellow fans and the families of the players and management team.

Chester Football Club condemns and will not tolerate such behaviour. Anyone who is identified to have acted in a way that would be considered hostile, threatening or violent will be dealt with as appropriate to their actions.

Nevertheless, these messages should not distract from the superb away support that was received yesterday. The vast majority have been, and will remain a credit to this Community Club.

We would also like to update supporters that feedback from Chester FC fans relating to the Stockport County game earlier this month has been progressed to the authorities. We seek assurances that our fans travelling to away games in the Greater Manchester area will be treated fairly in future".

This followed an earlier report from Chester that the club would "be expressing concerns to Greater Manchester Police about the incident and look to gain an understanding in the reasons behind the actions taken that resulted in those supporters missing the game".

On January 5th, Altrincham are away at the Jakemans' Stadium from where the Boston Standard tells us that "Liam Agnew was left ‘gutted’ after his Boston United loan spell was not extended. Pilgrims manager Craig Elliott was hoping to extend the midfielder’s stay and had agreed a deal with parent club Harrogate Town. However, he says the move fell through on Christmas Eve when Town asked for further stipulations to be added to the deal, which led to the former Sunderland player joining York City instead.

'It was all agreed and then things have happened, to do with insurance,' Elliott said. 'It happened too late for me to do anything about it on Christmas Eve. Everything was agreed and you think it was going to carry on as it was. It’s not great for me or Liam. Liam wanted to stay and he was gutted.'

Elliott didn’t wish to elaborate upon the caveats added to Agnew’s move. Harrogate’s change of tack could have been swung by Jordan Thewlis’s recent loan spell at Boston, which saw him injured on his debut and ruled out of action for up to four months. Agnew, who has had three spells at Boston, made his York debut off the bench during their 5-1 Boxing day defeat at Darlington."

And the Boston Standard also informs us that "Craig Elliott has been left frustrated by Boston United’s lack of firepower this season, admitting his squad are missing a ‘clinical marksman’. Speaking after yesterday’s 1-0 defeat to Alfreton, the Pilgrims boss conceded that... despite using 11 recognised strikers so far in 2018-19, [he] believes he is still in need of a goalscorer who can deliver the goods more regularly.

'It’s just deja vu. Nothing up front, it’s been like that all season,' he said. 'I don’t think we defended brilliantly but we did enough to stay in the game. You just feel we haven’t got that finisher, a clinical marksman at this level to make a difference.'

Winger Nicky Walker, who has been pushed up front at times this season, is currently the Pilgrims’s leading scorer with six goals, followed by target man Gavin Allott with five. Out-of-favour Andre Johnson has three while Jordan Slew and Ahkeem Rose both have two, but fellow strikers Adam Marriott, Jonny Margetts, Craig Westcarr, Gregg Smith, David Parkhouse, Danny Rowe and Jordan Thewlis, who was injured on his debut, have mustered just two between them.

Wingers Nathan Arnold and Max Wright have added to the tally, along with midfielder Brad Abbott, all netting three times. Jay Rollins, another attacking option, is returning from a long-term injury and is yet to start. Allott has scored five times in 11 appearances since joining Boston, but he missed the Boxing day clash due to illness.

'There’s been a few people who have tried this season,' Elliott added. 'Gav’s done better than most but he’s ill. We lost him late in the morning. He’s been sick all night, these things happen.'

Former Blackburn Rovers forward Slew deputised for Allott yesterday, missing a golden opportunity as he forced Wright’s cross over from close range. 'There’s no excuses,' added Elliott, who has previously stated that the Pilgrims’ location, salary and the desire for full-time football has seen him miss out on a number of targets 'It was a good little move, we got the ball wide and that’s what number nines are there for. He’s not even hit the target, which is disappointing. I’m disappointed for him as he’s looked brilliant in training. But it’s about doing it here on the pitch. We just don’t have that top National League North striker.'

PILGRIMS' ATTACKERS THIS SEASON: Adam Marriott P 9 (8+1) G 1; Nathan Arnold P 10 (10+0) G 3; Jonny Margetts P 6 (4+2) G 0; Andre Johnson P 10 (2+8) G 3; Nicky Walker P 23 (19+4) G 6; Craig Westcarr P 6 (1+5) G 0; Max Wright P 15 (9+6) G 3; Ahkeem Rose P 4 (3+1) G 2; Gregg Smith P 6 (5+1) G 1; Gavin Allott P 11 (11+0) G 5; Jordan Slew P 10 (4+6) G 2; David Parkhouse P 3 (0+3) G 0; Danny Rowe P 4 (1+3) G 0; Jordan Thewlis P 1 (0+1) G 0; Jay Rollins P 5 (0+5) G 0.

PILGRIMS SCORERS: 6 - Nicky Walker; 5 - Gavin Allott; 3 - Andre Johnson, Nathan Arnold, Brad Abbott, Max Wright; 2 - Ahkeem Rose, Jordan Slew; 1 - Ryan Qualter, Adam Marriott, Jonathan Wafula, Grant Roberts, Gregg Smith, Josh Hine."

The Stoke Sentinel reports on a player who briefly joined Altrincham in the summer. "Port Vale winger Brendon Daniels scored a wonder goal for AFC Telford United in their 3-1 Boxing Day victory at home to Nuneaton Borough. The 25 year old, from Smallthorne, joined the National league North side on a month's loan at the end of November and showed what he is capable of with a stunning free kick to help them to their latest victory.

He had headed just wide before he got his chance 31 yards from goal in the second half. What followed was pure quality as he bent the ball around the wall and into the top corner, giving Nuneaton keeper Cameron Belford no chance. Daniels joined the Valiants in the summer on a six-month contract and was loaned to Altrincham before his latest spell at Telford. He has started their last two games having had to bide his time on the bench in the opening weeks of his loan."

Lincolnshire Live adds that "Boston United endured a Boxing Day to forget as they slipped to their first ever home defeat to Alfreton Town. Reece Styche scored the only goal of a game just six minutes into the National League North clash.

Jordan Slew wasted the Pilgrims’ best chances".

From Alfreton Town comes confirmation that "Town registered an historic first-ever win at Boston United as Reece Styche's sixth-minute cracker secured three points in another solid display on Boxing Day.

Billy Heath made just the one change from Saturday's positive 1-1 draw with Stockport as Tom Platt came in for Michael Collins in midfield. Callum Chettle made the bench... With six minutes gone, the Reds took the lead as Clifton's throw from the right reached Styche who controlled brilliantly and blasted the ball into the bottom left corner with stunning technique to the delight of the travelling faithful behind the goal.

The opener appeared to have stunned the hosts who were wayward with a back pass and rushed within the back-line... The game lacked tempo and free kicks were in abundance throughout the first half, although we were creating the better openings...

Boston were dominant in the early stages of the second period but the Reds had their moments... The Reds held on for a massive three points and continue to look much improved since the Spennymoor display. Four points from the last two games and up to 13th in the table has given us a spring to our step with confidence in the side far better and Alfreton's performances are showing great solidity again...

Attendance: 1,393 (56 Alfreton)".

The NL Paper reports on a former Vanarama North boss as "Hednesford Town have announced the appointment of Nicky Eaden as the club’s new first team manager. Eaden arrives at Keys Park having left National League North strugglers Nuneaton Borough in November".

27 December 2018


The Bradford Telegraph & Argus reports on Altrincham's next opponents, Guiseley, who lost 1-5 at home to Bradford (Park Avenue) on Boxing Day.

"Awesome Avenue were far too good for Guiseley in a blistering opening spell and it set them on the road to a big victory that keeps them three points clear at the summit of National North. It was a game that looked like being too close to call with the neighbouring rivals both going into the Boxing Day derby on the back of league wins.

The visitors were much higher in the table than the Lions but with a partisan Nethermoor crowd behind them and the derby element, it was widely expected to be a finely balanced contest. But Bradford and their former Guiseley manager Mark Bower, returning for the first time since he was sacked in August 2016, had other ideas and they went from kick-off to express train mode in the blink of an eye.

The deadlock was broken in the third minute as Avenue cut through the Guiseley defence like a hot knife through butter. A good break from deep in the midfield by Alex Hurst ended with him laying the ball back for Nicky Clee, whose superb through ball found Oli Johnson, one of five former Guiseley players in the Park Avenue squad, and he slotted a low shot under home keeper Joe Green.

Relentless Avenue pressure continued and it was no surprise when the visitors doubled their lead in the 19th minute... and Jake Beesley side-footed past Green... In the 27th minute, Avenue plundered a third goal. This was probably the pick of the three as Hurst broke from deep again, looked up to see Beesley sprinting forward and threaded a superb through ball to the striker, who took it in his stride and calmly dinked it over the onrushing Green.

The home side, and their supporters, were stunned going into the break and there was worse to come... As Hatfield stooped to shield and control a ball in the area the referee deemed that he only gained possession by the use of an arm. Beesley stepped forward to claim his treble but with a gasp of relief after Green had dived to reach the ball, only to see it rebound off him and high into the net.

Four soon became five as a fierce shot from Hurst from the edge of the area was palmed for a corner by Green. The deep flag kick was headed back into the goalmouth and Conor Branson nodded in.

Although the home side snatched a consolation goal and Avenue finished with ten men, it was clearly the visitors’ day... Purver and Hatfield had been the only two Guiseley players not to let their heads drop.

The Avenue player to take the long walk was centre back Luca Havern, who was shown a straight red card for a lunge at Hatfield.

A delighted Bower said 'I thought they stood off us a bit too much early on and with the way we started, with the high tempo, it played into our hands really. We were excellent in midfield and the quality of our runs and the through balls was clear and that was matched by the quality we showed up front. The final balls for the goals were fantastic and the finishes were very good. There were two down sides because we didn’t keep a clean sheet and we had Luca sent off. I didn’t think it was a red card to be honest. Luca has gone in with one foot and it’s not high.

'He did catch their lad but the player wasn’t injured. We’ve had this referee before and he always seems to give something against us and he’s given a straight red which is a three-game ban for Luca. I thought it was a foul, it was late and he didn’t get the ball but it wasn’t dangerous so, for me, it’s a yellow card and get on with the game.'

Guiseley joint manager Russ O’Neill was disappointed but honest in his assessment. He said 'We’re absolutely devastated but, from minute one, we’ve just been done, one to eleven, by a better team who were on the front foot and we’ve just got to face up to that today... We’d be kidding ourselves if we thought we could have got anything out of that. We got done by a much better team on the day. They proved why they’re top and we proved why we’re not.'"


Stockport made it three wins against Altrincham this season and the visitors, who have never scored at Edgeley Park against a County first-team, maintained that unwanted record. After Hemmings had struck an upright in the sixth minute, Altrincham did not seriously threaten to score, with home keeper Hinchliffe largely limited to making comfortable saves from long-range efforts.

County took a 25th-minute lead, following a right-sided corner. Kirby sent a looping header towards the back post where Stott headed home from close range. The game was decided in the 52nd minute when a long ball forward by former Alty loanee Paul Turnbull was expertly taken down from the air by the foot of Frank Mulhern. The impressive Stockport striker then slotted the ball into the net, past the advancing Thompson.

Right: Ashley Hemmings in action at Stockport.

Altrincham saw plenty of the ball in the second half but, with the game drifting away from them, they did not make any personnel changes till the 73rd minute when Simon Richman replaced Williams in midfield and debutant Bury loanee-striker, Chris Sant, replaced the booked midfielder, Max Harrop.

The result means that the hosts move above the visitors into fourth place with Alty dropping to fifth, the clubs being separated only by goal difference. However, despite ending their run of nine league games without defeat, Alty have a game in hand on three of the clubs above them.

STOCKPORT COUNTY: 1. Ben Hinchliffe, 2. Sam Minhan, 3. Scott Duxbury, 4. Jordan Keane, 5. Ash Palmer (c), 6. Jamie Stott, 7. Adam Thomas, 8. Paul Turnbull, 9. Frank Mulhern, 10. Matty Warburton, 11. Jake Kirby. Subs: 12. Sam Walker, 13. Ian Ormson, 14. Elliot Osborne, 15. Darren Stephenson, 16. Nyal Bell

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Shaun Densmore, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Josh Hancock, 10. Max Harrop, 11. Ashley Hemmings. Subs: 12. Kallum Mantack, 14. Simon Richman, 15. Ben Harrison, 16. Chris Sang, 20. Elliot Wynne.


As the Christmas season closes, there is sad news for Altrincham supporters as the death of longstanding club supporter Isabel Riley has been announced. Isabel died in Wythenshawe Hospital in the early hours of Boxing Day after suffering a heart attack. She was about to be discharged from hospital after treatment for an unrelated condition when her unexpected death occurred.

With her husband, Stan, Isabel was a fixture at Altrincham games home and away for many years until, in recent years, ill health meant that she was unable to attend. As well as being well known to a very wide circle of Altrincham supporters of all ages, she was also a popular figure at many away stadiums. All who knew her will extend their condolences to her devoted husband, Stan and their children Malcolm and Alison.

Isabel is pictured, right, at a birthday celebration in the Manchester Glass Sponsors' Lounge at the J. Davidson Stadium.


In The Times on Boxing Day there was a double-page interview with former Altrincham winger Duncan Watmore, who moved fro Moss Lane to, then Premiership club, Sunderland and remains with the Wearsiders as they now ply their trade in League One.

Left: Duncan at Alty in 2011/12 season.

It has been a period of mixed fortunes for Duncan, who has experienced playing regularly in the Premiership but has also suffered two very serious injuries and two club relegations.

"When I was 19, and playing for Altrincham in the Conference North, that's as high as I thought I'd get. If you [had] said then that one day I'd be playing in League One, I'd be 'Wow, cool!' I never ever thought I'd make it as a full-time footballer. This is all a bonus".

After his two major injuries, Duncan adds "I haven't felt like a footballer for two years. It's almost like I'm relearning a skill... Before my first injury, it felt so natural. Now it doesn't...

"If I look at what I've achieved at the age of 24, even with these injuries, I've got more out of this game than I ever thought; won a tournament with England, played 40 times in the Premier League, I play for one of the biggest clubs in the country.

"If you'd told me that a few years ago, I'd have laughed. I was studying at Manchester University and playing part-time for Altrincham. I went straight from there to the Premier League. What? Wow!...

"There are so many negative headlines... so many people in bad situations. And I think to myself, at the end of the day, it's only my knee...

"My ambitions in the short term are to stay fit and help get Sunderland promoted".


Non-League Daily reports that "One of the more disappointing occurrences over Christmas happened at Curzon Ashton. The Nash had organised a Christmas morning breakfast for the homeless, lonely and socially-isolated of the area.

However, disgustingly, it had to be cancelled after mindless thieves broke in and smashed up the venue in the early hours of Christmas Eve". And to make matters worse, Curzon loast the Tameside derby against Ashton United on Boxing Day.

York Press informs us that "Dreadful York City were given a 5-1 Boxing Day thumping at Darlington. First-half goals from Andrew Nelson and Jay Saunders put the hosts in the ascendancy prior to a mindless red card for on-loan Rotherham winger Alex Bray on the stroke of half-time. Nelson went on to convert his second penalty of the game after the restart, before Jordan Nicholson added a fourth goal.

Sub Jake Wright replied for City with almost his first touch, but Liam Hughes rounded off an appalling afternoon for the visitors on 80 minutes...

A dismal half for Sam Collins’ men was compounded by terrible ill-discipline from Bray on the stroke of half-time. Having had his name taken on 40 minutes for a high challenge on Darlington right-back Luke Trotman, he was dismissed for a second bookable offence when he crashed into Tom Elliott in the home half after being the victim himself of a yellow-carded tackle by Palmer just seconds earlier".

And another side left disappointed on Boxing Day were Chester FC as the A href="" target="_blank">Chester Standard reports. "Like leftover turkey Chester will be sick of the sight of Southport come the end of Christmas after their third clash with the Sandgrounders this winter ended in a chastening 3-0 defeat which put the brakes on talk of a tilt at the title in 2019.

Having faced the Sandgrounders twice in the FA Trophy in November, clashes which saw the Blues exit the competition after a goalless draw, joint managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson's side fared no better on their latest visit to Haig Avenue in a match in which the home side dominated for long patches and secured their first home league win of the season with an excellent first half display.

In fairness, Chester received a double blow before kick off with the news that in-form striker Akwasi Asante had failed to shake off a knee injury he picked up in the win against AFC Telford while the inspirational Gary Stopforth also missed out with Gary Roberts and Dan Mooney coming in as replacements.

A scrappy opening saw the Sandgrounders gradually gain the upper hand... Looking lethargic and lacking the ever willing Asante to aim at, Chester looked pretty bereft of ideas going forward... Five minutes before the break the deadlock was broken and it was Southport who deservedly took the lead after Dion Charles bundled his way through some weak challenges down the right before slipping in David Morgan who slotted home coolly beyond the onrushing Shenton.

It was no more than the Sandgrounders were due but things were about to get a lot worse for the Blues who capped one of their worst 45 minutes of the season by going further behind on the stroke of half time when a Reagan Ogle long throw caused mayhem in the visitors' box before the ball found its way to Bauress who drove the ball through the crowd into the net from 18 yards.

Southport looked a different side from the one which had started the season so badly... With the fog rolling in, Chester at last began to create some chances... Then came a boost for the Blues as fans finally got a glimpse of George Green who came on for his debut in place of Noble to a warm reception from the visiting supporters...

With 20 minutes left Johnson and Morley changed to a back three with Deane Smalley coming on for the excellent Matthew Thompson as the Blues tried to conjure up something in the gathering gloom... Threadbare at the back at pushing forward at every opportunity there was always a risk Chester would be caught out and it was left to the superb Morgan to round off a miserable day for Chester as the game entered added time, with the skipper finding space on the edge of the area and drilling a low shot past Shenton. A chastening day all round."


Altrincham's next away game after today's Boxing Day clash at Stockport, is at Guiseley on Saturday, 29 December. Details of fares and times for the supporters' transport to this game are on the Away Travel page.


  • AFC Telford United 3-0 Nuneaton Borough Attendance 1,524
  • Blyth Spartans 2-2 Spennymoor Town 1133
  • Boston United 0-1 Alfreton Town 1393
  • Brackley Town 2-2 Leamington
  • Curzon Ashton 2-4 Ashton United
  • Darlington 5-1 York City 2286
  • FC United of Manchester 1-4 Chorley 2366
  • Guiseley 1-5 Bradford (Park Avenue) 1150
  • Hereford FC 1-0 Kidderminster Harriers 3210
  • Southport 3-0 Chester 1644
  • Stockport County 2-0 Altrincham 4549


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records chronicle previous Altrincham matches played on next Saturday's date, 29 December.
26 December 2018


Wednesday 26 December:
  • AFC Telford United 3-0 Nuneaton Borough
  • Blyth Spartans 2-2 Spennymoor Town
  • Boston United 0-1 Alfreton Town
  • Brackley Town 2-2 Leamington
  • Curzon Ashton 2-4 Ashton United
  • Darlington 5-1 York City
  • FC United of Manchester 1-4 Chorley
  • Guiseley 1-5 Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • Hereford FC 1-0 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Southport 3-0 Chester FC
  • Stockport County 2-0 Altrincham


Altrincham travel to Edgeley Park today (Boxing Day) to meet their Cheshire neighbours who have been something of a bogey team in recent years. As well as beating Altrincham twice this season in cup competitions, County also did the league double over Alty when the clubs last met in the league during the disatrous 2016-17 campaign.

The Robins visit to County that season was for a Vanarama National League North match on 17 December 2016, which the Hatters won 3-0. Despite a run of six successive league defeats, Altrincham supporters arrived at Edgeley Park with a modicum of optimism after an encouraging display in the FA Trophy win at Blyth seven days earlier. And the re-signing of crowd favourite Nicky Clee, as well as the signing of the experienced Gary Jones and young defender Kyle Brownhill had lifted the spirits to some extent. Of the new arrivals only Jones started, with the other two on the bench. They were without the injured Simon Richman, John Cyrus and Greg Wilkinson. So the only change to the starting eleven from the previous Saturday, at Blyth, was that Jones replaced Richman.

Right: Tom Hannigan was arguably Alty's best player at Stockport. Here he clears his lines at Edgeley Park.

However, Altrincham could have no complaints as they sank their seventh successive league defeat, leaving them 13 points away from safety in the table. Making just one change from the side that had played so well for much of the game at Blyth last Saturday, Alty gave new signing Gary Jones his debut in midfield in place of the injured Simon Richman.

Altrincham started fairly well but County soon got the upper hand, though their opening goal owed everything to a very dubious decision from the junior of the assistant referees who failed to flag what looked to be an offside Lloyd. The Stockport man was allowed to play on and finished well with a shot, from the left, past Deasy in the 26th minute.

Alty made a double change at the break with McDonald coming on for Goodall and Clee for Hobson, both the replaced players having received yellow cards in the first half. But the visitors failed to trouble the home defence whilst County wrapped up the points when Ross headed home a fine cross from Ball in the 77th minute. County could have added more before they finally did so in the first added minute when Minihan rifled home a shot from right of goal.

The attendance was 3,991 (including 410 in the away section).

STOCKPORT COUNTY: 1. Ben Hinchliffe, 2. Sam Minihan, 3. Scott Duxbury, 4. Lewis Montrose, 5. Michael Clarke (c), 6. Chris Smalley, 7. Kaine Felix, 8. Gary Stopforth, 9. Kayode Odejayi, 10. Jimmy Ball, 11. Danny Lloyd Subs: 12. Mark Ross, 14. John Marsden 15. Courtney Meppen-Walters, 16. Josh Amis,

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Andy McWILLIAMS, 4. Jake MOULT, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Alan GOODALL, 7. Sam PATTERSON, 8. Gary JONES, 9. Craig HOBSON, 10. Sean MILLER, 11. James LAWRIE. Subs 12. Damian REEVES, 14 Nicky CLEE, 15. Clayton McDONALD, 16. Sam HEATHCOTE, 17. Kyle BROWNHILL


There could soon be two Altrincham links to the current Preston North End squad as the Lancashire Evening News reports that "Walsall manager Dean Keates has confirmed a bid has been lodged for winger Josh Ginnelly [left] with Preston North End strongly linked. Reports emerged on Saturday morning that the Lilywhites were interested in the former Burnley youngster and the Saddlers boss took the decision to leave the 21-year-old out of his squad for the 1-1 draw with Peterborough.

'Josh is not here today. There are one or two things going on,' Keates told the Express and Star. 'We have had an offer for him and I had to make a decision that was best for the group. He hasn’t travelled with us. A concrete offer has been tabled and I had to make a decision for the football club and I think that was justified today. What happens over the next two weeks with Josh will happen'...

Ginnelly has scored four goals this season having joined Walsall after being released by the Clarets in the summer. Having moved to Turf Moor from Shrewsbury in 2015 he had loan spells with the Saddlers, Lincoln, [Altrincham] and Tranmere among others during his time in East Lancashire".

Should he join the Deepdale club, a team-mate will be Louis Moult, brother of Altrincham FC captain, Jake.

25 December 2018


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On Boxing Day, Altrincham take their nine-game unbeaten league run to Edgeley Park to meet a Stockport County side which has beaten them twice this season in cup competitions. And Alty's hopes of scoring against the Hatters after two goalless matches against them this season have not been helped by striker Jordan Hulme's continued suspension. But Josh Hancock, who has netted seven times in the last seven league fixtures, has now joined Hulme as joint top scorer for Altrincham in the league, with ten goals.

Altrincham supporters will be located in the covered Vernon (South) Stand, which is all seating. Away fans are asked to enter through turnstiles 3 and 4.

Stockport County report that "The following prices are for Vanarama National League North matches at Edgeley Park...

  • Adults (18+): £15
  • Students: £10
  • Age 65+: £10
  • Disabled Fans: £10
  • 6-17 year olds: £5
  • 5 years & under: FREE. Under 6s require a FREE ticket from the Ticket Office to gain entry.

Students must be in full time education – valid ID must be provided. Disabled fans – proof of disability that may be required from supporters wishing to sit in any of the accessible areas, can be any of the following: i) A statement of high mobility/living allowance as issued by the Department of Work & Pensions; or ii) Receipt of either the Severe Disablement Allowance or Attendance Allowance; or iii) Blind or partially sighted registration certificate; or iv) Enhanced Personal Independence Payment (PIP)."


Duncan Watmore's rehabilitation from long-term injury continued on Saturday with a start for Sunderland in League One. He was substituted after 49 minutes as he regains fitness.


It is a measure of the way that AFC Fylde's loanee winger, Ashley Hemmings [right], has settled in at Altrincham that, despite only making his league debut on Saturday, he was the club's only representative in the National League team of the weekend.
  • Goalkeeper: Sam Ramsbottom (Alfreton Town)
  • Defenders: Danny Morton (Curzon Ashton), Mark Ross (Bradford Park Avenue), Steven Howson (Chester FC)
  • Midfielders: Jarrett Rivers (Blyth Spartans), Adrian Moke (York City), Dion Charles (Southport), Adam Thomas (Stockport County)
  • Strikers: Rowan Liburd (Guiseley), Anthony Dudley (Chester FC), Colby Bishop (Leamington)
  • Substitutes: Reece Styche (Alfreton Town), Jamie Holmes (Blyth Spartans), Kurt Willoughby (FC United of Manchester), Jamie Stott (Stockport County), Ashley Hemmings (Altrincham)
  • Manager of the Weekend: Alun Armstrong (Blyth Spartans). Blyth Spartans have looked unstoppable in recent weeks and backed up their play-off ambitions with an incredible win away at Chorley. Armstrong masterminded just Chorley's second home defeat of the season."


Next Saturday, 29 December, Altrincham travel to Nethermoor to face Guiseley. The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that "Guiseley gained an early Christmas present with a 3-1 win at Nuneaton Borough... [who] entered this game bottom of the table, but under new manager Jimmy Ginnelly had won the previous week at Darlington.

The Lions made a perfect start when a through ball by Scott Smith set Rowan Liburd one on one with Nuneaton goalkeeper Cam Belford. The striker made no mistake placing his shot into the bottom right-hand corner...

It was then almost a repeat of the opening of the first half as Guiseley again took the lead through Liburd, this time the finish was even better, as the forward collected a pass in the area and on the turn curled an effort past Belford who had no chance. Nuneaton’s afternoon went from bad to worse, when a straight red card was shown to Nat Kelly, this was after the full-back clattered into Kaine Felix.... The winger would moments later double Guiseley’s lead when Walsh ran into the area and unselfishly passed to Felix who had a tap-in...

After the match Guiseley joint-manager Russ O’Neill said 'This is an important three points for us and it sets us up nicely going into the next week. We knew how tough this game would be against a side who had the new manager bounce and won last week'"

The Post adds that "Next up for Guiseley is Boxing Day’s home clash against leaders Bradford Park Avenue. Mark Bower’s men returned to the top of the league following a hard-fought 1-0 triumph over Hereford. Lewis Knight’s 70th-minute tap-in proved the difference for Park Avenue...

Jordan Burrow secured a 2-1 win for York City at home to Brackley. Burrow converted his fourth penalty of the season to win the points on 49 minutes after Adriano Moke’s opening goal had been cancelled out by away skipper Gareth Dean."

Meanwhile the Shropshire Star informs us that "Gavin Cowan has challenged his AFC Telford United side to be more reliable and deliver the loyal fans the Christmas presents he feels they deserve... Cowan watched on as his side threw away a 1-0 goal lead, to go down for the third consecutive league game against Chester on Saturday.

He expressed his frustration at the officials for disallowing his side a goal, but also expressed his dismay at his players' performance. However he wants to see a reaction in the double header with Nuneaton on Boxing Day and New Years Day, and against Leamington on December 29.

He said... 'We did well in spells, but I could come out here and say we deserved a draw, but we come to win games. And when the opposition are better than you, without showing real quality with no disrespect, that is not the team I put out there, and I was surprised to see the lack of application. The support was amazing to see, people clapped us out and no one left. But I want to reward them with three points, it is nice to take see them stic[k]ing by us, but I want to wish them a Merry Christmas and I hope the next three games we can bring them some presents.'

In a full and frank assessment of his side at the Swansway Stadium, Cowan admitted his troops need to be strong minded and not wait to go behind to start playing... He added 'We will re-coup [re-group] now and sit down and see how we go about it. But the lads need to improve and we need to get back to winning ways, and they need to be more reliable, and be committed to the plan... I want us to be more risky, take more risks in the final third. We need to take the safety catch off and gamble a bit. We have been banging on about it now for a few weeks, so I am not sure what the lads are [?not] quite getting.'"

And the Shropshire Star adds that "Chester, and indeed at times the officials, were in no mood to give Telford a gift... On the balance of play, Chester... probably deserved to win. However, a flashpoint on the hour mark when a perfectly good Telford goal was ruled out changed the course of the game... Gavin Cowan opted for two changes and reverted to a back four to combat Akwasi Asante... Amari Morgan-Smith replaced Andre Brown, with Brendon Daniels being handed his first start in place of Ryan Barnett...

But after absorbing the early onslaught, Telford grabbed the lead after 20 minutes... That sparked jubilant scenes among the 200-odd travelling fans, who let off a smoke bomb to celebrate the opener... A long ball was flicked on by Dudley and Asante sprung [sprang] the offside trap to hold off Theo Streete and slot the ball home. Chester were the side on top and playing for their £2,500 per win bonus, split across the squad, that was dangled in front of them by businessesman Stuart Murphy earlier this week...

Six minutes into the second half, and with Cowan’s instructions still ringing in their ears, Telford were undone... From then on, despite a few counter-attacks from Chester, it was all Telford. Then came the big talking point. Daniels’s corner was hooked back in by Cowans, Streete headed it across the box and keeper Grant Shenton came but spilled the ball, with Morgan-Smith sweeping home. It appeared he had been impeded by one of his own players, but referee Sam Barrott was having none of it and waved away the Bucks’ protests.

His performance was summed up by Cowan after as playing up to the crowd. And although that may not be the general consensus, he certainly got this one wrong... It’s three National North defeats on the spin for Telford".

The National League reports that "Bromley have confirmed they have been charged by the Football Association in relation to their FA Trophy tie with Sutton United... Bromley were due to play Spennymoor Town in the second round in January.

'The club can confirm that it has been charged by the FA with an alleged breach of competition rules in the FA Trophy,' they said... 'The club will be attending a personal hearing with The FA, week commencing 31st December. The club would like to apologise to supporters for the uncertainty this will cause with regards to the next round of the competition'"

According to the Chester Standard, "Chester's joint manager Anthony Johnson was full of Christmas cheer after goals from Akwasi Asante and Anthony Dudley ensured Chester came from behind to beat AFC Telford... With the best home record in the division the Blues are heeding bosses Bernard Morley and Johnson's desire to turn the Swansway Stadium into a fortress and this was a deserved eighth victory of the campaign in front of their own fans and sweet revenge for a 3-1 defeat in Shropshire earlier in the season.

'I think we deserved to win with the chances we had and we were superb in the first half,' said Johnson... 'On the counter attack we were very, very dangerous and could have had a couple on top of that, but to be absolutely honest me and Bern are fuming about the last 10 minutes. We were poor in managing the game and that wasn't good enough. But we'll learn from that and it's a massive three points against a side that are going to be up there and amongst it, and it's a little bit of redemption for us as a group after what happened down there. All in all it was a fantastic win.'

Chester supporters had waited three weeks for a match at the Swansway but they were rewarded for their patience with a Christmas cracker of a first half as two of the league's promotion hopefuls did battle with no thoughts of goodwill or charity... It was a shock then when the goal did come it went to AFC Telford... Chester responded brilliantly and were level almost immediately through Asante, whose excellent form since his arrival on loan from Tamworth continued...

The Bucks were dogged and determined though and more than happy to put in a tackle or two with referee Sam Barrott doing well to keep his cards in his pocket... On 51 minutes the deserved breakthrough came and it was Dudley who was on the receiving end of a big slice of luck when his first shot from the edge of the area was blocked only for the rebound to come back to the Salford City loanee who placed his second effort carefully past a diving Wycherley... In such a feisty game a red card always looked likely and with 20 minutes left Sutton obliged with an obvious pull on last man Dudley who had beaten the Bucks' captain to the ball before advancing on the area.

With Asante limping off Johnson and Morley shuffled their pack, bringing on Cain Noble and handing a Chester debut to winger Bradley Jackson who arrived this week from Ashton United...

'Anthony (Dudley) was unbelievable,' added Johnson who was full of praise for the goalscorers and assured supporters that Asante's injury was not serious. 'I'm so glad he got his goal as he's been through a bit of a drought. He'll get 20 goals that fella this season and I think his performance since Akwasi has come in has been really high. There are not enough superlatives for Akwasi, but it's what he does for everyone else's game. Since Akwasi has come in everybody's performances have markedly improved. He is the focal point of the team, sets the ethic up top and everyone loves him'".

At Leamington, "Paul Holleran has added Solihull Moors winger Jordan Murphy to his squad as he looks to build on the team's recent good form... 22 year old Jordan signed for Solihull in the summer, having spent last season with AFC Telford United. He began his career at Stourbridge but was signed up by Walsall in 2014, featuring for the Saddlers' first team. He has also spent loan spells in our division with Kidderminster Harriers and Worcester City.

Jordan has played 11 times for Solihull so far this season, scoring the winner in their recent FA Trophy tie at Southport, and was involved in the recent FA Cup replay at Blackpool.

Of his new loanee, Holleran said 'We have brought Jordan in for a month to give us another option during a busy period of fixtures. He will offer us something different to what we already have.'"

News of a former Altrincham player comes from Chorley where "The Magpies have completed the signing of veteran ‘keeper Tony McMillan on a dual registration deal from Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division promotion hopefuls Warrington Town. The 36-year-old has been a mainstay at Cantilever Park over the last couple of seasons after previously starring in over 200 games for Southport, as well as enjoying stints with Barrow & Stalybridge Celtic [and Altrincham].

'We need a bit of cover in goal at the moment and, because Tony was available and has plenty of experience at our level, it made sense to get him on board to make sure we’re set over the next few games' " said manager Jamie Vermiglio.

FC United "picked up a hard fought point on the road with a 2-2 draw with Leamington FC in a typical game of two halves. The home side took...the lead on 3 minutes when a corner caused confusion in the FC defence. Lloyd Allinson was challenged for the ball, in his view unfairly, but Mr McNamara in his first game back since his recent bizarre suspension, saw nothing wrong with the challenge. The ball dropped and was scrambled in by Colby Bishop...

[Mr McNamara had been suspended after using the "Rock, paper, scissors" game to determine who kicked off a recent game, after forgetting to bring a coin for the toss-up.]

Just after the half hour, FC were deservedly level when a Mike Donohue corner was headed home by Josh Wallen... Bishop, who was totally unmarked in the FC box, made no mistake from close range to give the home side the lead again. It looked as if FC would go into the break behind but deep into injury time, a crisp, good passing move involving a number of players, saw the ball with Willoughby about 30 yards from goal. He flicked the ball round his marker and fired towards the net, the ball went through the keeper's grasp and nestled in the bottom corner of the net...

Overall, the draw was a fair result, with FC being the ascendency in the first half, Leamington in the second".

Ashton United chairman Terry Hollis says “We can look forward to the New Year with optimism. As 2019 draws to a close I wanted to look back over the past year and reflect upon just how successful we have been. Promotion from the EvoStik Northern Premier League at the end of the 2018/19 was an outstanding achievement for our club and was reflective of the massive efforts of everyone, on and off the pitch...

We have struggled for results of late but that in no way reflects the effort and commitment of everyone to turn things round. We have for many years, and probably will always suffer from the big boys cherry picking our better players. Still we have remained resilient and continued to work hard to achieve our success...

Off field we have been hampered somewhat by efforts to secure a new lease that would help us attract grant funding. Still we wait for TMBC [Tameside MBC] to sign a new lease despite our agreeing the same and signing acceptance. Hopefully this will be settled early in the New Year allowing us to progress towards securing the Grade B ground grading certificate needed to compete at National League North.

Our partnership with Ashton United in the Community continues to support local people, ostensibly through offering volunteer opportunities and training via the club".

"A vastly improved Alfreton Town battled to a draw against promotion pushing Stockport County as both sides produced a compelling contest...

Billy Heath had a close-to-fresh squad to choose from and saw returns for Josh Wilde, Adam Curry and Michael Collins. Jordan Sinnott returned to the bench. The game started at a very quick pace with the Hatters having a dominant opening five minutes... in front of the large away following at the Alma Street end.

David Lynch had our first effort... but the midfielder's low effort was held well in the box by Hinchliffe... Both sides had their moments of dominance in the first half. The second half continued at the same pace as the first... On 63 minutes Alfreton were awarded a penalty after a trip in the box, Clifton stepped up but could only blast the penalty over the bar... The game then got even crazier as the Reds were given another penalty just two minutes later for another trip in the box, this time on Allan. Styche stepped up this time to send the goalie the wrong way and give the Reds a deserved lead.

We had our tails up at this moment... But with 80 minutes gone former Red Nyal Bell timed his run well to half-volley a finish following a cross from the right into the bottom corner past Ramsbottom in the box... The contest was an excellent one and a draw seemed the fair result. Alfreton looked back to their best".

24 December 2018


Assuming he plays on Boxing Day against Stockport County, Alty midfielder Simon Richman will be making his 300th appearance for the club. Simon was Lee Sinnott's first signing back in summer 2011. Before that he had progressed through the Bolton Wanderers' academy and the Port Vale youth system. He broke through into the Valiants' first team in League One in 2007-08 and made 48 League appearances for them in all, mostly in 2008-09 in League Two, when he was voted the club's Young Player of the Season. Simon then suffered a groin injury which kept him out of action for several months and, though he made five first-team League Two appearances for Vale in 2009-10, he was released at the end of that campaign. In summer 2010, he had trials with Southport and Worcester City, before joining City and making eight league appearances in the Blue Square Bet North.

Summer 2013 saw him as an integral part of the Great Britain Universities' team which won the silver medal in the World Games in Kazan, Russia. His energy in midfield is an important feature of the team. Outside football, Simon has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Manchester.

To date, Simon has made 244 starts and 55 appearances from the bench. He has netted 23 goals.


Altrincham are away to Stockport County on Boxing Day, a club which has beaten Altrincham twice in cup competitions this season and has secured a clean sheet against us on both occasions.

Last Saturday County drew at Alfreton, 1-1. Stockport Vital Football reports that "County found it hard going at the Impact Arena today where hosts Alfreton Town frustrated their efforts to replicate the heroics of Tuesday evening at Ashton. Indeed, at times County looked somewhat second best as Town, no doubt, fully motivated by Billy Heath, and smarting from their Spennymoor Town experience, played as though they really wanted it today.

It wasn’t that the home side created masses of chances, if anything, particularly in the first 20 minutes or so, it was the white-shirted Blues who racked up these, but without putting any of them away. The result was that at half time the teams were level, and with Alfreton opening the second half very much on the front foot, things began to look a tad precarious for JG’s men.

That said, they defended well enough, until they didn’t, and a foul in the box gifted County’s opponents a penalty. Clifton managed to miss the target by a distance with this, only for referee Aaron Jackson to blot his copybook for the first time by giving Town a second spot kick after Wilde had gone down in slow motion in the box. Styche stepped up and slid this one home, giving the home side a 1-0 lead, much to the tiny home following’s delight.

JG was ringing the personnel changes by this stage bringing [ex-Alty loanee] Bell on for Cowan and Osborne for Mulhern who had got no change all afternoon out of [ex-Alty midfielder] Dave Lynch. The final change came with just 15 minutes left (Walker for Turnbull) and that was possibly a crucial move as within 5 minutes County were level as Nyal Bell snaffled a typical poacher's goal, to make it 1-1.

Much of what followed was one way traffic (towards Sam Ramsbottom’s goal) but it was too late, and in the end a share of the points was probably a fair reflection of how things went".

Stockport County line up: Hinchliffe, Cowan ( Bell 65), Palmer, Stott, Duxbury, Keane, Turnbull ( Walker 75), Thomas, Mulhern ( Osborne 67), Warburton, Kirby. Subs not used: Ormson, Minihan."

From the opposition, the Derbyshire Times adds that "Alfreton Town boss Billy Heath was left delighted with the graft of his side after their 1-1 draw with Stockport... But they were denied a morale-boosting win ten minutes from time former when Alfreton striker Nyal Ball steered home James Kirby’s deep cross via the foot of the back post.

Heath was left full of praise for the applicaton of his side and the commitment on display. 'l thought we played really well, l thought we were excellent,' he said. 'l said to the players at this level, in any game, you have to be prepared to work hard. Forget formations, forget tactics, forget shape, forget moving counters around and trying to make this game sound like splitting the atom; you’ve got to work hard. All my teams work hard and that’s what we’ve seen today. They have been honest and players were backing each other up. They were committed, tackles were going in, it was really good game...

'l think we deserved to win the game,' added Heath... 'It is a point at home against a very, very big football club... First half was a pretty even affair with not a massive amount of chances. The second half going up our slope, where we’ve had problems before, we had three or four really good chances and on another day could have come away winning three or four one.'"


On the eve of Saturday's draw with Darlington, Alty signed 19 year-old striker Chris Sang on loan from Bury.

Given the state of the game yesterday, which ended 3-3, Chris did not get on the pitch for his debut but he is seen, right, in the warm up.


Altrincham have played 82 times on Boxing Day before this year's clash at Stockport County. Last year's Boxing Day trip was to Marine, where Altrincham won 3-0. The full list of previous Boxing Day fixtures and results is on Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years data.


Darlington have a video interview with "Darlington striker Harvey Saunders [who] nearly scored a last minute winner at Altrincham; he relives the moment".

And the Northern Echo reports on "A six-goal thriller and a point that Darlington would’ve taken before the game give they were playing away to a team in third place before kick-off. That they were unable to win having been 3-1 up is frustrating, but at least the losing run is over.

Darlington's goals were by Tom Elliott, Harvey Saunders and Jordan Nicholson".

The Northern Echo adds that "Darlington left Moss Lane with mixed feelings and a well-deserved point from a thrilling 3-3 draw. With two more loan signings [from Barnsley], defender Will Smith and midfielder Romal Palmer in the team, Quakers played some fast football and built a 3-1 lead, including a Christmas cracker of goal by Jordan Nicholson.

But they left the back door open, allowing third-placed Altrincham, who had won their previous five league games, to hit back and snatch a draw...

Manager Tommy Wright said 'It should have been three points. The lads are disappointed with only a point. We need to manage games better than that, we shouldn’t have given Altrincham a sniff. We should have made sure that by killing the game after our third, we would have gone into half-time at 3-1. The second goal allowed them to put their tails up. For us, the desperation for the three points and some nerves have got the better of us in the end. Many would have taken the point here before the game, but we need to start turning these draws into wins. We can compete with anyone in this league, but we keep falling on the wrong end of stuff'...

Wright added 'The lads who we’ve brought in for the last couple of games have made a really positive difference and they’ve given everyone a new lease of life. I think they’ve shown a lot of quality and energy, but we need to stop conceding so many goals. To score three away from home should mean three points. But we must take the positives from it and take them into the York game on Boxing Day. We scored three great goals, but did Altrincham have to work hard for theirs? I don’t think so. We can pin it down to bad defending, we’re not working hard enough to stop crosses coming in.

'We knew that their overloads in the wide areas would cause us trouble, so we tried to nick a fourth before we made the changes. We made those changes to try and stop the crosses but, in their first attack after we did so, they got down the right for a free cross and a free shot at goal. We nullified it in the end, but that wasn’t the reason for the changes; they were meant to prevent a third one. For the neutral and for both sets of fans that was probably a good game to watch. But we left with a little bit of frustration and with a good performance'".


The official Altrincham FC website reports on how Jacqui Forster, the club's late Honorary Inclusion & Diversity Officer left her shares in the Club to her nephew, with player John Johnston performing the handover. For details please follow the above link.


The NL Paper quoted AFC Telford manager Gavin Cowan after the Bucks had lost 2-1 at Chester FC. Clearly the result was not his fault. "I thought the officials were poor... The referee played up to the crowd... We had a perfect plan and the lads didn't work to it".

Meanwhile, NL Daily reports that "Jimmy Ginnelly, the new manager of Nuneaton Borough, has returned to his former club, Barwell, for his first signing. Ginnelly has been re-united with midfielder Lee Hildreth at Liberty Way.

Hildreth began his career with Coventry City, making his way through the academy and captaining the under-18 side. He made one appearance for the Sky Blues` first-team before joining Tamworth for the first of two spells with the Lambs. The well-travelled 30-year-old has also taken in stops at Brackley Town, Corby Town, Rushall Olympic, Sutton Coldfield Town and Nuneaton Griff, before signing for Barwell."

NL Daily report that "Hereford FC signed central midfielder Theo Wharton ahead of [the] 1-0 defeat at leaders Bradford Park Avenue. Wharton was on the bench as the Bulls ran the leaders close at the Horsfall Stadium.

A St Kitts & Nevis international, the Welsh-born central midfielder started out with the Cardiff City under-23s. He made two appearances for the first-team, coming off the bench in FA Cup games against West Bromwich Albion and Macclesfield Town during the 2012/13 season. He joined Weston-super-Mare on loan in 2017 before signing for York City on a one-year deal, spending time on loan with Tamworth.

The 24-year-old, who has also represented Wales at under-17, 19 and under-21 level, signed for Nuneaton Borough in July."

Blyth Spartans "manager Alun Armstrong issued another rally cry for the Green Army as his side face two huge home fixtures in the National League North. Spartans welcome Spennymoor Town on Boxing Day before York City visit on Saturday December 29.

And the former Ipswich Town striker said the Spartans faithful are the catalyst to the club’s success. 'We need 1,000 at each game, it is as simple as that. Without that we can’t kick on, that revenue will help me strengthen.' Spartans have managed crowds over 800 just twice so far this campaign, with attendances down on last season...

'Big attendances are huge for us, they help me, they help the chairman and they help the board. We are doing okay as we are, but I want us to kick on, I have the ambition to take us forward, the players want to push on, but we simply need more revenue.'

The 43-year-old praised chairman Tony Platten and the executive committee for their running of the club:

'I might moan, the fans might moan, but Tony runs this club properly, runs it extremely well with a sustainable model. There will always be a club at the end of the day, Tony is making sure of that'... and Armstrong insists there is not much more he can do to entice the fans to Croft Park. 'We’ve won seven games in a row, that is an unbelievable achievement for a team of our standing at this level. We won twelve in a row in the league below but, I’ll be honest, winning streaks like that should have been the norm at that level'.

Blyth have rocketed up the table and are now level on points with Stockport County in the final play-off spot...

'Two months ago there was a lot of talk that I wasn’t doing the job, the players weren’t good enough. Over the last three or four years Blyth have got accustomed to winning week in, week out. This is a tough league and we are working really hard to achieve on the pitch. The fans can be that twelve [twelfth] man. If we are to kick on, they will be key to our success.'"

Some player moves involving Vanarama National League North clubs are:

  • Darren Thornton from Ashton United to Colwyn Bay
  • Niall Cummins from Curzon Ashton to Marine Short Term Loan
  • Szymon Czubik from Stockport County to Mossley Youth Loan

23 December 2018


In an end to end game at the J Davidson Stadium, a draw was ultimately a fair result after Altrincham had fallen 3-1 behind shortly before the interval.

Darlington first went ahead in the eighth minute when Elliott converted after goalkeeper Thompson had saved an earlier shot. But Hancock's header from a Johnston cross levelled things less than three minutes later.

Above, Altrincham celebrate Hancock's goal.

An impressive Darlington move led to them regaining the lead as Saunders converted Palmer's low cross from the right in the 26th minute. The home support was stunned as Nicholson made it 3-1 in the 44th minute with a superb 25 yarder which went in off the underside of the crossbar. But Alty responded to make it 2-3 with a Harrop header from a left-side cross in added time before the interval.

In a sometimes feisty second half yellow cards were waved with freuency, Alty picking up four. Altrincham made it 3-3 in the 65th minute when Hemmings scored from close range following a Johnston cross from the right. Alty thought they had won it in the seventh added minute of the game but the effort was ruled out for offside.


Press and Media Officer, John Edwards, has provided a match report on the official Altrincham FC website.

Folowing Saturday's 3-3 draw with Altrincham, Darlington reported that "Quakers gave high flying Altrincham a shock at Moss Lane but, despite some of their best football of the season, couldn't hold on to a 3-1 lead.

Goals from Tom Elliott, his first for the club,- Harvey Saunders and a goal of the season contender put Quakers 3-1 up in 44 minutes, but they let Altrincham back into the game almost immediately..

Quakers took the lead on 8 minutes. Williams Kokolo won the ball just outside the Darlington box, found Tom Elliott who surged forward, tried to find Harvey Saunders, a defender got a tackle in, but the ball ran for Elliott to pick up, and he ran through and beat Thompson with a left foot shot...

But Altrincham were level on 10 minutes when the ball was chipped into the box from the right, and Josh Hancock glanced the ball into the top corner.

Quakers bounced back... Quakers went back in front on 26 minutes. Nicholson and Elliott combined well for Nelson to slot the ball into the six-yard box for Saunders to touch past Thompson, his sixth league goal of the season.

There was a delightful move that started with a delightful flick by Nelson for Elliott and Palmer to combine and set up Nicholson, who nearly got away but was tackled in the box.

Quakers nearly got a third on 38 minutes when Palmer pounced on a poor back pass, and as the keeper advanced, slipped the ball past the post.

Quakers went 3-1 up on 44 minutes with a tremendous goal. Palmer ran forward, found Nelson on the edge of the box, and he set up Nicholson who fired into the top of the net from the edge of the box.

But Altrincham got one back on the brink of half time, and Max Harrop scored with a close range header from a left wing cross.

Saunders’s pace caused Altrincham problems, and Thompson came out of his box to try and clear, but miskicked, and Saunders couldn’t take advantage... But just after Quakers made three subs, Altrincham equalised when the ball came in from the right and Hemmings slid the ball in at the far post.

It was an exciting end to end after that with the game at a fast pace, but no real chances created, until the last minute. Agonisingly, Saunders chased a long ball downfield, headed it past the keeper, but the ball went inches wide.

And in the seventh minute of stoppage time, Maddison did well to parry a powerful shot from Harrop in the air, and Hemmings reacted first to head the ball into the net, but was flagged for offside but an Altrincham winner would have robbed Quakers of a well-deserved point".


In its weekend review, the National League reports that "Chester joint manager Anthony Johnson knows the full value of his team’s win over AFC Telford. In a day of dropped points at the top of the National League North, the Seals kept up the pressure. They may still be four points behind the new leaders Bradford (Park Avenue) but Johnson says their 2-1 win was all about keeping to their end of the bargain and damaging another side vying for promotion.

'It was a six pointer, Telford would have gone level on points with us had they won so it was important we didn’t let that happen,' he told Chester TV. 'They’re a good side, even with ten men. It was just about getting the job done but we played really well. We went in and saw other sides have dropped points but that’s going to happen. We’ll all have blips along the way it’s the nature of the beast.

'We’ve put ourselves in a great position going into Christmas,' Johnson added. 'Coming back from going a goal down, that’s big physiologically. Their goal upset us a bit but the result and performance were fantastic and it gives us real momentum.'"


Vanarama National League North
  • Att. 825 Alfreton Town 1 - 1 Stockport County
  • Att.1076 Altrincham 3 - 3 Darlington
  • Att. 286 Ashton United 1 - 2 Southport
  • Att. TBC Bradford (Park Avenue) 1 - 0 Hereford
  • Att. 2079 Chester 2 - Telford 1
  • Att. 1076 Chorley 2 - 4 Blyth Spartans (Josh O'Keefe and Elliot Newby netted for Chorley)
  • Att. 1407 Kidderminster Harriers 1 - 1 Curzon Ashton
  • Att. 725 Leamington 2 - 2 FC United Of Manchester
  • Att. 872 Nuneaton Borough 1 - 3 Guiseley
  • Att. 2119 York City 2 - 1 Brackley Town

22 December 2018


Saturday 22 December 2018
  • Alfreton Town 1-1 Stockport County
  • Altrincham 3-3 Darlington
  • Ashton United 1-2 Southport
  • Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-0 Hereford FC
  • Chester 2-1 AFC Telford United
  • Chorley 2-4 Blyth Spartans
  • Kidderminster Harriers 1-1 Curzon Ashton
  • Leamington 2-2 FC United of Manchester
  • Nuneaton Borough 1-3 Guiseley
  • Spennymoor Town P-P Boston United
  • York City 2-1 Brackley Town


The official Altrincham FC site reports that the club has signed 19 year-old striker Chris Sang on loan from Bury.

Bury confirm that "Striker Chris Sang has been recalled from his loan spell at Marine, [managed by Neil Young], and has immediately joined Altrincham. Chris joined Marine in October and made a total of eleven appearances for the Rossett Park side".

The Shakers also say that "Chris joined the Shakers in July 2017 from Wigan Athletic and has made three appearances for the club. During his time at Bury, Chris has had one previous loan spell with Southport where he made ten appearances, scoring one goal".

Altrincham now have three loanees; the other two are Ashley Hemmings (from AFC Fylde) and Josh Langley (from Southport).


The official Altrincham FC website has an audio interview by Brian Flynn with Shaun Densmore (right).


Altrincham's opponents today, Darlington report that the "Manager Tommy Wright signed Will Smith and Romal Palmer on Friday, and they go into the squad for the tough away game at Altrincham, who are third in the table at the moment.

Quakers went down 3-2 at Chorley last Saturday, but nevertheless produced a good performance, with on loan striker Andrew Nelson scoring twice.

Striker Harvey Saunders is also in good form, having scored a hat trick in the midweek Durham Challenge Cup tie against Stockton Town.

'To score three in a game is special, especially as it’s my first for the club at any level,' he said. 'Jordan Nicholson set up two for me, he could easily have gone on and tried to score himself, but he set me up instead... It was nice to win a game. We’ve been playing well recently, but not got anything points-wise'...

Darlington away form: played 10, won 2, drawn 5, lost 3, goals scored 19, goals against 22, points 11 out of 20

Defender Liam Hughes and forward Simon Ainge are both out injured, Alex Henshall is fully fit. New loan signings Will Smith (centre half) and Romal Palmer (attacking midfield) come into the squad, which means that Tommy Wright has five loan signings in his squad, the others being Andrew Nelson – who scored twice last week at Chorley – Alex Wollerton and Williams Kokolo.

Leading scorer: Jordan Nicholson 6. Position in form table of last six matches: 21st...

Altrincham home form: Played 10, won 5, drawn 2, lost 3, goals scored 20 goals conceded 11, points 17 out of 34. Position in form table of last six league matches: top...


Today (Saturday) Altrincham are set to play Darlington, in their current incarnation, for just the fourth time, as Mike Garnett's statistics demonstrate.

  • At Home: P1-W0-D1-L0-F2-A2
  • Away: P2-W1-D0-L1-F4-A3
  • All: P3-W1-D1-L1-F6-A5

As chronicled yesterday, Altrincham won the reverse fixture 3-0 back in August.

On their last visit to Moss Lane, in 2016-17, Darlington 1883, as they then were, left with a 2-2 draw.


Cheshire Live report that "Chester FC have finally landed their man after securing the signing of Ashton United winger Brad Jackson. The 22-year-old, who can play out wide or at full back, has put pen to paper on a deal with the Blues, bringing an end to their pursuit of him over the past few weeks.

Chester bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley thought they had got the deal over the line prior to the game against Stockport County earlier this month but have now completed a deal. Jackson has netted five tines for Ashton this season including a late consolation for the Robins in their 4-1 loss at Chester earlier in the season, a game where he was their stand out performer by some distance.

Jackson started his career at Burnley before loan spells at both Bangor City and Southport last season. He joined the Robins, promoted from the Evo-Stik Premier Division via the play-offs at the end of last season, at the start of the campaign and has been the subject of interest from other National League North sides.

But despite interest from Stockport County, the Blues have managed to get a deal for Jackson done...

Ashton boss Jody Banim confirmed the news regarding Jackson in his post match interview after they were beaten 6-0 by Stockport County on Saturday [actually Tuesday], a game Jackson wasn't involved in.

'We've lost Brad Jackson to Chester which is a massive blow,' said Banim. 'We can't afford our best players to be cherry picked, which is what is happening at this moment in time. We can't afford to replace the players that have gone.'"

Alfreton Town announce that they "make a long awaited return to league action as we welcome high-flying Stockport County... It's been a period of reflection for the management team and the players as we return to action for the first time in 10 days after our 2-0 win over Buxton in the Derbyshire Senior Cup...

It's been a difficult and anxious middle portion of the season for Alfreton after such a promising start to the campaign which saw us beat York City at Bootham Crescent before registering four straight league wins... Tom Denton would then join Chesterfield in September for an undisclosed fee before a brilliant run to the FA Cup First Round followed which brought fantastic funds into the club...

A return to the early season form and momentum will be a must for the Reds as we look to recover a disappointing middle part of the season which has seen us exit the FA Trophy... and league form which has seen us slip from potential play off contenders to mid-table... We have won just two of our last 11 league games and three of our last 12 in all competitions.

The ten day rest has no doubt allowed all to recharge and reset the batteries...We head into tomorrow's meeting with Stockport... Home form has been a troublesome with the Reds winning just once (3-1 v Nuneaton) in the last six home league fixtures".

Blyth Spartans are set to take on league leaders Chorley... Alun Armstrong’s side are in excellent form heading into the fixture, winning six in a row and are unbeaten in their last seven games. Spartans are also unbeaten in their last five away games and have won 11 of their last 15 games in all competitions... Chorley have won just four times in 12 games, recording all five of their draws in that span.

They visited Croft Park in August and came away 2-1 winners thanks to second half goals... before Courtney Meppen-Walter was sent off and Robert Dale converted a penalty.

Spartans won eight of the first nine meetings between the two sides, but recently the tide has turned in favour of the hosts on Saturday. They’ve won five of the last seven meetings".

In its weekend preview, the National League says that "There are festive crackers everywhere you look in the National League North this weekend.

The game of the day is at Victory Park where Jamie Vermiglio’s Chorley side look to have ended their recent slump to reach the summit once again. But it will take a huge performance to dampen Blyth Spartans’ spirit after their recent remarkable form that has fans dreaming of a play-off spot.

Altrincham have looked unbeatable recently and the games keep coming thick and fast. Alty have lost just once in their last ten games. Tommy Wright has vowed to fight on at Darlington but a trip to the North-West could prove tricky.

York City boss Sam Collins blasted his side after their poor run of form continued last week. Both the Minstermen and Brackley Town will be hoping for a better score-line than their goalless draw earlier in the season.

Jimmy Ginnelly will be hoping his first win for Nuneaton Borough will be a sign of things to come... and the Boro will fancy their chances against an out-of-form Guiseley side.

Chester have one of the best home records in the whole country despite their recent hit and miss form. No pressure then for AFC Telford United who make the journey up to the Swansway.

Alfreton Town host Stockport... after their 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Spennymoor Town... The feel-good factor seems to be back at Hereford after three wins in three for Marc Richards. But it doesn’t get any easier for the Bulls who travel to title-challengers Bradford (Park Avenue)...

In-form Southport travel to Ashton United who will be looking for a response to their midweek 6-0 defeat.

Leamington’s form has turned a corner recently... FC United of Manchester are in town looking to spoil the party.

Free-scoring Spennymoor Town host Boston United at the Brewery Field.

Kidderminster Harriers have dropped off recently with seven points from as many games. Curzon Ashton are in town and are desperate for a win.

Curzon Ashton "announce that striker, John McAtee has today joined on loan from Shrewsbury Town. The striker joined Shrewsbury Town from Burnley in 2015 and had a productive two-year scholarship. He made his debut for the Town in 2017 and has since gone on to have loan spells at Halesowen Town, Ashton United and AFC Telford."

Meanwhile, York City "boss Sam Collins is hoping a close relationship with Burnley can prove fruitful in the January transfer window. Collins is currently one player short of the five loan signings that can feature in a matchday squad with Lewis Hawkins having returned to Hartlepool.

The futures of Alex Bray, Joe Davis, Kennedy Digie and Joe Ironside are also uncertain once their loan spells come to an end in the New Year and Collins is drawing up contingency plans with Burnley’s head of recruitment Nicky Law, the father of City utility man Josh Law, expressing an intention to assist City’s management team, having operated at the same level with Alfreton...

Collins said 'I went to watch Nottingham Forest under-23s against Crewe under-23s this week and (assistant-manager) Stuart (Parnaby) went to Sheffield United under-23s against Burnley under-23s. But the problem we are finding is that Football League clubs are reluctant to let players go out until January, even though there are no restrictions on us taking them now, other than from Premier League clubs who you can’t do loan deals with until the window reopens.

'I think it would be a great experience for young players coming to play at this level. They’re not playing real football for the under-23s and their fixtures have finished for the year now anyway, so they could come to us and play four or five games before January. All I can do is keep asking the question and some want to help us, with Burnley being one. Josh Law’s dad Nicky has been great with us.

'We’ve watched Burnley’s under-23s three or four times and identified three or four players we really like. We might look at that situation in January, but the problem we have got, with the ones that are really talented, is there are now four divisions between us and Burnley. They might look at sending a 19-year-old to us, though, for their first loan, before looking at League One or Two for their next loan, because they can afford to let them progress over a period of time. Other teams won’t have any 18-year-olds who have played a senior game yet, like I did and Nathan Dyer is doing for us now.

'That can’t be good for their development and I don’t think the comfort zone benefits them.'

Collins went on to reveal that he has appointed Lee Abbott, the son of former Carlisle manager and Bradford City caretaker chief Greg Abbott, as the Minstermen’s new head of recruitment in an attempt to enhance the club’s scouting network.

'Lee’s young like us but he has been doing the same job for his dad for numerous years', Collins pointed out. 'He’s been looking at players for us and putting together a database, which can be here for years, because it’s the right thing to do for the football club, even if we’re not here. We’re all going out to games two or three nights a week between us and watching players at numerous clubs. We watched Chesterfield play Basford because they’ve got a player scoring lots of goals.

'There’s also a lad at Tadcaster Albion who keeps getting mentioned to us and there are plenty of players out there at numerous levels who we think can make us stronger.'

Collins is also hoping Simon Heslop can bolster his squad... In his absence, seven of the last 11 fixtures have resulted in defeat... Collins added 'He’s joined in training a couple of times but needs to get the strength back into his legs first'".

The Lancashire Evening Post says that "Chorley may be top of the National League North but boss Jamie Vermiglio says he has not had any interest in his star men in recent weeks... The new boss would not stand in any player’s way but... he would reluctant to see anyone depart as the Football League transfer window re-opens on January 1.

He said 'I have had no contact over the last three or four weeks but before then, I had contact over three or four of the players. I’ve had honest conversations with the players and let them know who is interested in them and that we would not stand in their way... A lot of them have stipulated if they are going to get a move somewhere else it would have to be a good move or a special move because they are all enjoying their time here'...

The future of defender Courtney Meppen-Walter is still up in the air after he admitted a charge of drink-driving earlier this month. Striker Wes Fletcher and Reuben Noble-Lazarus left the club this week, with Jordan Lussey joining Witton Albion on dual registration. Fleetwood loan keeper Matt Urwin’s hamstring injury will see him sidelined for a number of weeks...

The Chorley boss secur[ed] a youth loan deal for Fleetwood Town’s Lewis Baines on Friday morning. The defender could make his debut against Blyth... He said 'There are lots of players being offered around, a lot of players contacting me because they want to come and play here... Chorley have been renowned for being a strong and aggressive side who can get the ball forward quickly and kind of win the scraps. But we have evolved over the last couple of years and more so this year.

'The condition of the pitch is good,our groundsman does a fantastic job, stuff like that makes a big difference. Attracting players is not an issue but when you have two or three clubs competing for the same player, we are always lower on the pecking order because of some of the financial resources that some of the top clubs have.'"

According to the Yorkshire Evening Post "When it comes to the National League North, Guiseley have unfinished business. The Lions take the field in a league game for the first time since November 17 at Nuneaton Borough, with co-manager Marcus Bignot seeking evidence of his side’s capacity to respond following a ‘blot on the copybook’ in the shape of their shock FA Trophy replay exit to Lancaster City earlier this month.

The defeat means that Guiseley, aside from their West Riding County Cup commitments, are now focusing purely on league matters and playing catch-up for the rest of the winter... 16th-placed Guiseley have games in hand on all of their rivals...

Bignot said 'The remit of the club when we came in was to consolidate. First and foremost, we have got to make sure that happens. But ultimately, we feel we should be in the top half of the table with the ability we have got and, if we can be there by the end of January, anything is possible.

'The Trophy loss was a massive disappointment and a first blot on the copybook in terms of the manner we went out... After our FA Cup exploits, I think it has been just over a month since we last played in the league. We believe we are in a false position, but the reality is if you don’t win those games, that is where you could possibly be'...

It has been a tough season for tomorrow’s opponents Boro, although the Midlands outfit were afforded some welcome light at the end of the tunnel in the shape of their impressive 2-1 victory at Darlington last time out. The win was Nuneaton’s first success in the league since the end of September...

Bignot added 'They have just brought in a new manager in Jimmy Ginnelly, who I know well. He has got his dream job and is a Nuneaton boy and you can see the effect he has had straightaway with going in and winning away at Darlington... It is going to be a difficult task physically and they will also be in a better place mentally.'"

We are informed by the Shropshire Star that "Boss Gavin Cowan is confident AFC Telford United can get back to winning ways in the league against Chester... having lost their last two National League North outings...

'To go there and win, that’s the aim,' said Cowan... 'Even though we’ve lost our last couple of games in the league to Altrincham and Bradford Park, we’re in a good place'...

Two players hoping to be involved, to boost the chances of extending their Bucks stays, are wingers Brendon Daniels and Yusifu Ceesay. Neither has started a match since joining on one-month loans, but Cowan has urged them to follow Ryan Barnett’s lead. Barnett, on loan from Shrewsbury, has broken into the team and impressed after a quiet first few weeks with Telford.

'We are bringing players in for a month with the idea that they’ll be with us for longer,' said Cowan. 'They have to train brilliantly to get in the team and stay there... In the first month, it’s not necessarily about playing week in and week out. They have to learn how we play in the first month, and then if they show the right signs, we’ll look to extend their stay'". 21 December 2018


Altrincham play their first return fixture of the season when they entertain Darlington on Saturday at the J. Davidson Stadium. When the sides met in August at Blackwell Meadows, Altrincham won 3-0, thanks to a second-half brace from Jordan Hulme after John Johnston had put Alty ahead on the half-hour mark with a penalty. There can be no repeat of that on Saturday as Jordan Hulme starts his three-match suspension for his dismissal last Saturday against Stockport County.

Right: James Jones (4), Jake Moult (6) and Sean Williams (8) keep a close watch on Darlington's Simon Ainge in the match at Blackwell Meadows back in August.

Altrincham go into Saturday's match on top of the league form guide. However, back in August when Alty played at Darlington, Phil Parkinson reacted to two home defeats in the preceding week by making five changes to his starting eleven, having made four for the previous Saturday's game against Boston United. Into the side for this match came goalkeeper Elliot Wynne who, like loanee winger Owen Dale (from Crewe Alexandra) was making his Alty debut. Restored to the starting eleven were central defenders Shaun Densmore and James Jones as well as midfielder Sean Williams, whilst out of the starting eleven went goalkeeper Tony Thompson, defender Conor Hampson, centre-back Liam Goulding as well as midfielders Max Harrop and Simon Richman.

The only downsides to a fine performance, which resulted in Alty's first clean-sheet of the season and featured a fine midfield performance from Sean Williams, were an injury to John Johnston which led to his hobbling off early in the second half.

DARLINGTON 1. Jonathan MADDISON, 2. Luke TROTMAN, 3. Ben O'HANLON, 4. Liam HUGHES, 5. Jonathan BURN, 6. Terence GALBRAITH, 7. Jordan NICHOLSON, 8. Tom ELLIOTT, 9. Reece STYCHE (c), 10. Simon AINGE, 11. Stephen THOMPSON. Subs: 12. Mitchell GLOVER, 14. David SYERS, 15. Dominic COLLINS, 16. Harvey SAUNDERS, 17 Kieron DUNN

ALTRINCHAM 1. Elliot WYNNE, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Andrew WHITE, 4. James JONES, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Sean WILLIAMS, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Owen DALE. Subs: 12. Max HARROP, 14. Brendon DANIELS, 15. Bay DOWNING, 16. Liam GOULDING, 20. Tony THOMPSON.


John Edwards writes in the Sale & Altrincham Messenger that "Phil Parkinson rallied round top scorer Jordan Hulme after a straight red card for the Altrincham striker proved a turning point in their 1-0 FA Trophy defeat to Stockport County... Alty were hopeful of overturning County’s slender advantage, until being rocked by a controversial 45th-minute dismissal for Hulme, who caught Jamie Stott with his studs as the defender lunged into a sliding challenge.

Referee Elliott Swallow deemed the contact to be deliberate and gave danger man Hulme his marching orders...

'I thought the 10 men were outstanding,' added Parkinson. 'I was pleased the players who came in, all first-teamers, not reserves, showed they’re up for it, if needed over the busy Christmas period.'"


Stockport Vital tells us that on Monday night Stockport "County served up a treat for their travelling support.. making light of the challenge from Ashton United at Hurst Cross with a scintillating 6-0 win.

It was yet another well crafted team showing from James Gannon’s boys, so full of energy and ideas up front where Thomas had a terrific night before being substituted early in the second half. He was not alone either; if Mulhern and Turnbull deserved their goals, Warburton probably deserved 3 or 4, and Kirby was probably disappointed not getting a hat-trick having to settle for a brace with Warby.

The forwards were regularly joined by the excellent Scott Duxbury who, on another night, might have notched a couple himself, whilst the spine of the County effort had the imperious Paul Turnbull at its hub, and he was simply immense, controlling everything that moved all evening, in the manner of a nineteen fifties' copper dealing with a cheeky kid. I particularly liked Jordan Keane’s input too, as he again showed his value at both ends of the park from the off.

But I have singled out several now, and I really should not have done, as all 11 starters and subs were top performers on a night that simply nothing went wrong for the yellow shirted blues.

Ashton must have been demoralised; already 3 down at half time, seeing the quality of County’s replacements who were summoned to duty thereafter. If Thomas going off offered them relief, Minihan as his substitute offered none, neither did Bell for Mulhern or Osborne for Warburton. The goals kept coming and the final margin did not flatter County at all, as they completed a brilliant night`s work with another immaculate clean sheet.

That takes us into the play-off positions at seventh spot in the division, and the manner of the performance augurs well for what is to come this season."

20 December 2018


Altrincham FC Club Secretary, Derek Wilshaw, has written an excellent piece for the official Altrincham FC website in which he explains the difference between contract and non-contract players, how to get international clearance and a number of other issues in an Update from the Boardroom.


The Shropshire Star tells us that "On-loan midfielder Ryan Barnett is determined to be a regular starter for AFC Telford United after getting his first goal for the club. Barnett, who is with the Bucks until March from county neighbours Shrewsbury Town, struck in the weekend’s 4-3 FA Trophy win against Farsley Celtic.

It was the 19-year-old’s second start in a row after not having much game time in his initial month-long stay with Gavin Cowan’s side.

'Gav’s got his own way; how he wants to press, how he wants to play,' said Barnett. 'My first month here, I wasn’t really in the team. I was just seeing how they play. But now I’m fitting into it and hopefully I can keep my place. You’ve got to be patient. I’ve learnt that being on the bench at Shrewsbury.

Gav’s put me in and I’m just trying to take that chance with both hands.'

Barnett has played twice for Town this campaign too. He is keen to turn at heads at Telford...

'It’s important for my development. When you’re 19 years-old, you want to be playing football,' said Barnett. 'If I can show I can play first-team football at this age, who knows what can happen in the future? If Shrewsbury see me doing well, they might call me back. Or they might put me in after my spell here. You never know.'"

Alty's next opponents are Darlington, this Saturday. The Northern Echo tells us that "Darlington striker Harvey Saunders scored a first-half hat-trick as Quakers moved into the quarter finals of the Durham Challenge Cup with a comfortable 4-0 win over Stockton Town at Blackwell Meadows...

In the second half, Stockton rallied and Darlington keeper Jonny Maddison pulled off two good saves... Two academy players combined for the fourth [goal], when Harry Stansfield’s effort was fumbled by the keeper, and Brandon Morrison tapped in. Maddison, Trotman (sub Banks 78), O'Hanlon, Lycett, Burn, Galbraith, Stansfield, Glover, Nicholson (sub Lingthep 61), Thompson, Saunders (sub Morrison 61) Subs: Hoare, Hall".

The Wharfedale Observer states that "Marcus Bignot says his Guiseley side need to regroup ahead of a busy run of festive fixtures after their second cup exit in a week.

The Lions crashed out of the FA Trophy at the third qualifying round stage, losing 2-1 at home to Lancaster City in a replay on Tuesday night.

This came eight days after they were beaten by League One Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup second round.

But Bignot says his side now need to lick their wounds and regroup, as they have a rare free Saturday from action... Instead they travel to Harrogate Town in the West Riding FA County Challenge Cup on Monday night.

Guiseley will then return to Vanarama National League North action on Saturday, December 22, when they go to rock bottom Nuneaton Borough. Guiseley are 16th in the table on 20 points after their league clash with Hereford at Nethermoor last Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Bignot is also gearing up for a busy programme of games over Christmas and New Year. The Nuneaton clash is the start of four games in 10 days, which includes a festive double header with leaders Bradford (Park Avenue) and a home clash with Altrincham on December 29.

19 December 2018


The Altrincham FC official site announces that the date of Altrincham's rearranged league match at Chorley has been changed again. Having been rearranged for Tuesday 8 January, it will now be played on Saturday, 12 January thanks to Blyth Spartans' progress in the FA Trophy. The Spartans were due to visit Altrincham on 12 January which is the date of their next Trophy match.


  • Ashton United 0-6 Stockport County


The last time Darlington visited Altrincham for a league match was on the opening day of 2016-17 season when the Quakers were a newly promoted side in the National League North. And who knows whether that disastrous season might have turned out otherwise had Alty held on for a 2-1 win rather than conceding an equalizer from the pemalty spot in the fifth added minute at the end of the ninety? Alty would have to wait for game thirteen of the season to secure their first league win.

Above: Jake Moult puts Alty 2-1 up from the penalty spot.

In the August game, Altrincham could not really complain at the sharing of the spoils with Darlington. Before Galbraith had rolled his equalizing spot-kick home, Altrincham had twice gone ahead. Their opener had arrived in the fourteenth minute when a fine cross from the left by Patterson, one of seven Altrincham debutants in the starting eleven, was met by a close-range header from James Lawrie.

Darlington enjoyed plenty of the ball but did not equalize till ten minutes from time when Burgess powered home a header from a corner. Then Altrincham went 2-1 up in the 89th minute when Jake Moult hammered home a spot-kick following a melee in the visitors' box caused by a James Lawrie freekick. In the last of the minimum of four added minutes found by referee Tankard, Burgess was brought down and Darlington's penalty made it 2-2.

For this game, manager Neil Young's options were reduced with four of his squad already ruled out through injury or illness (Densmore, Hasler-Cregg, Joyce and Hattersley) but the starting eleven comprised seven debutants for the Club. Heathcote was at right-back with Patterson on the left. Up front, Damian Reeves was supported by Sean Miller and James Lawrie, with Jake Moult and David Lynch behind them. Holding midfielder Alan Goodall was named as captain.

ALTRINCHAM - 1. Andrew DAWBER, 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Sam HEATHCOTE, 4. John CYRUS, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Alan GOODALL (capt), 8. Jake MOULT, 11. David LYNCH, 7. James LAWRIE, 9. Sean MILLER, 10. Damian REEVES, Subs: 12.Jamie MENAGH, 14. Simon RICHMAN, 20. Callum PRESTON, 16. Craig HOBSON, 15. Simon GARNER.

DARLINGTON 1883 - 1. Peter Jameson, 2. Liam Marrs, 3. Terry Galbraith, 4. Phil Turnbull, 5. Kevin Burgess (capt.), 6. Gary Brown, 7. Adam Mitchell, 8. Leon Scott, 9. Amar Purewal, 10. Nathan Cartman, 11. Josh Gillies, Subs: 12. Tom Portas, 13. Mark Bell, 14. Lewis Nightingale, 15. Adam Nowakowski, 16. Liam Hardy.


Bulls' News reports that "Head Coach Marc Richards says he concentrates on the football and ensuring players are ready for each game, and it's not his place to discuss which players are on contracts.

It's believed that Hereford's most recent signing Josh Gowling has signed on a contract until the end of the season, but Richards didn't give anything about his terms.Hereford said the 35-year-old centre-back had reached a settlement with Torquay United where he was contracted until the end of the current season. The Gulls reported this was cancelled by mutual consent.

Marc Richards said the signing took a little time due to Gowling being on loan to Alfreton... 'I'm not sure what's gone on with that (the settlement), I stay completely out of that which is quite nice for me! I concentrate on the football.

'I don't think from me in my position as Head Coach to talk about who's on contract and who's on non-contract. I concentrate on making sure the lads are ready to go and are as prepared as they possibly can be week in week out'".


The Daily Post reports an about turn by an ex-Alty player and assistant manager. Graham Barrow "was officially unveiled as the Dragons' new boss today after a stint as caretaker manager at The Racecourse. A 4-0 FA Cup defeat to Newport County helped persuade Graham Barrow he wanted to take on the Wrexham manager’s job on a full-time basis.

Barrow steps up from the role as caretaker manager, taking over in the Racecourse hot seat on Tuesday after former manager Sam Ricketts left...

The manager, who recently signed a two-and-a-half year extension to remain at the Racecourse until the summer of 2021, revealed his level of pride at being appointed. 'My first thoughts are delighted, but also proud as well', said Barrow, who was brought to the club in the summer as assistant by Ricketts. 'I’ve been here long enough now to know the pride there is about the club. It is one of pride, you get to my time of life and maybe I thought these days had gone if I am being honest. But you never say never and it is the way it has turned out, and I will give it my best shot.

'Hopefully it (continuity) is a major thing. It is dead easy to say the dressing room is fantastic and the lads are great, but it is a fact here...

Barrow had intimated he was not interested in taking over the role on a full-time basis after Ricketts’ departure. Read More. However, after overseeing the FA Cup defeat at Rodney Parade, Barrow was so impressed by the manner of his charges that he felt he wanted to see out the job.

He added 'I was never really not interested. When you work with people and managers I think there has to be a cooling off period... It was probably the away game at Newport, where we were down to 10 men after 10 minutes, the response from the players was fantastic... The response from the players that night certainly outweighed beating Eastleigh 2-0, these lads are always going to be in every game and they are going to give you everything, so why not stay with them?'"

18 December 2018


TASC Travel Coordinator, Mark Eckersall, informs us that "We're making plans for travel over the festive period beginning with Guiseley on Saturday 29th December. As usual we will not be running travel to Stockport County due to its close proximity but will be taking coaches to Guiseley, Boston United and Chorley in the coming weeks.

Details for Guiseley will be released later in the week ready for the Darlington game. We're hoping to be able to keep prices at the level they were in 2015 so we hope you'll join us.

Thanks to all who have supported the coaches so far in 2018, our away league record of 19 games played, 11 won, five draws and just three defeats have made it a pleasurable 12 months after some testing times. We look forward to your continued support and hope you and your families have a great Christmas and New Year".


Phil Parkinson explains his team-selection decisions for last Saturday's FA Trophy match in an interview with Brian Flynn on the Altrincham FC official site.


From the National League we learn that "Stand-in Graham Barrow expects Wrexham to appoint their new manager this week. The Red Dragons have been without a boss since Sam Ricketts left to join Shrewsbury Town. Barrow has been in caretaker charge ever since but stresses that he doesn’t want the job full-time. Having signed a new long term contract, he will work with the new manager whenever he is appointed.

That, the coach says, should be sooner rather than later... 'I would expect somebody in before next Saturday,' he said.

Barrow may have signed off in style with the new era fast approaching. Wrexham comfortably beat Boston United 3-0 to advance in the FA Trophy on Saturday. 'It was a good all-round performance from the players,' he said".


In Monday's First Round replay...
  • Southport 0-2 Tranmere Rovers - gate 5,414; winners at home to Tottenham Hotspur.

Stockport County, Alty's victors in last Saturday's First Round tie, have a home fixture in Round Two.

The National League comments that "The draw for the second round of the FA Trophy has been made and it’s thrown up some fantastic ties... There are some eye-catching ties as holders Brackley Town go to Hereford.

Truro City will visit Stockport County early next year while last year’s finalists Bromley are at free-scoring Spennymoor. AFC Telford go to Richard Money’s new side Hartlepool while Salford City or Gateshead host Dagenham & Redbridge.

The next round will be played on Saturday January 12.

The draw in full:

  • Ramsbottom v Weymouth
  • Hartlepool United v AFC Telford United
  • Woking/Maidstone United v Maidenhead United/Oxford City
  • Hereford FC v Brackley Town
  • Salford City/Gateshead v Dagenham and Redbridge
  • Blyth Spartans v Boreham Wood
  • Hemel Hempstead v Wingate and Finchley
  • Barnet v Dorchester Town
  • AFC Fylde v Biggleswade Town
  • Spennymoor Town v Bromley
  • Stockport County v Truro City
  • Dover Athletic/Havant and Waterlooville v Harrogate Town
  • Chesterfield v Aldershot Town/Bedford Town
  • Carshalton Athletic v Salisbury/Braintree Town
  • FC Halifax Town v Solihull Moors
  • Wrexham v Leyton Orient"


According to the Shropshire Star "Gavin Cowan is hoping some of the money earned through the club's progression in the FA Trophy could be spent on bolstering his AFC Telford United squad. His side scraped through by the odd goal in seven on Saturday, as a plucky Farsley Celtic pushed the Bucks to the very end in the 4-3 victory.

Clubs earn £6,000 if they progress through the first round proper of the competition.... The Bucks' chief said 'I think anyone is thankful for it really. I think with our situation, we are moving in the right direction financially and I think the chairman said that recently. Things are great, the community and businesses are re-engaging with us, we are on the up and that money can really help us'.

The 452 fans who braved the cold on Saturday, to see the Bucks hold out to progress were treated to an end to end topsy-turvy tussle. Telford went in front but were pegged back, before five goals in 30 minutes set the game alight. And Cowan reserved praise for the band of supporters who came out on a bitterly cold afternoon.

He added 'They've been amazing and I keep waxing lyrical about the supporters. It was brilliant to have a bit of banter with them behind the dug out. They were helping us through it, cheering the team and it is brilliant... We are going to have a good season this season.'

In recent weeks, against Altrincham and Bradford Park Avenue, the Bucks have performed well without getting their rewards. On Saturday, despite the performance not being as good as it has been, Cowan was pleased his side showed they could win ugly. He added 'The last two weeks we have come off the back of two losses and played well. It wasn't the prettiest of performances, but it was a win'".

Cheshire Live informs us that "Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley may have built up a reputation as screamers and shouters, something reinforced by their starring role in the BBC and Sky documentary that charted their time at Salford City. But while the TV cameras showed the now Chester FC bosses to be hard taskmasters it also the players under their charge bought into the culture that they had created...

In a candid interview with when quizzed on what the biggest lesson he had learned was, Johnson said 'Believe it or not, that you don’t have to scream and shout about everything. The best way I can describe it when we went to Salford was we were like cowboys kicking down the saloon door. It obviously didn’t work for the whole time we were there, but I felt at that time like I had to stamp my authority on things and, again, I don’t know if that sat right with certain people, but that was my style of doing things.

'I’ve gone full circle, but listen, I can still go for it. I smashed a bin up the other day in the changing room, to be fair! So I can still snap, but that comes down to if I see a player jog when they’re closing someone down, I can go apoplectic, because that’s not what we agreed we’d be...

He and Morley are still only in their mid-thirties but have five promotions on their CV... And Johnson says there is a pathway there now for managers who started way down the non-League pyramid...

Johnson added 'I’m hungrier, which is bizarre to say because I was starving when we started. I look at the Cowleys (Lincoln City), I look at Ryan Lowe at Bury... You look at Neil Warnock; there’s a pathway for you. It’s keeping yourself up to date and staying relevant, because when I was 25/26 years old, I was desperate to go past Tony Hancock at New Mills, desperate to go past Danny Johnson and to catch Liam Watson and Neil Young. Liam Watson’s won four promotions from Conference North but he’s still at this level, Jim Gannon’s a UEFA Pro Licence coach, Jon Flanagan’s just been sacked by Curzon Ashton, which is staggering, by the way, all these people that me and my mate are going up against, we came from the North West Counties...

'I look at Jamie Vermiglio who had to wait his turn, Mark Bower at Bradford got told he couldn’t do it; it’s funny how football works. These are good coaches, good men, and I enjoy spending time with them and listening to them.. We don’t quite get the credit we deserve as managers, and that’ll carry on, because we’ve been on the TV, we’ve worked for the Class of ’92 and people hate Man United, and people are waiting for you to fail because they don’t feel you deserve to be where you are because of the helping hand you might have had'".

And from Cheshire Live we learn that "Anthony Johnson says he is 'hopeful' that he and Bernard Morley can add to their Chester FC squad in time for the visit of AFC Telford United on Saturday. The Blues bosses had hoped to tie up a deal for [a] player... earlier in the month but the deal failed to materialise... But it now appears that a deal is back on the agenda...

'We'd like to do something and we're hopeful that we might now be able to get something done this week all being well,' said Johnson... 'We're a bit closer than we were but finances dictate what we can and can't do. If we could get the lad in then it would be a big boost and then we've got the likes of George Green on the verge of a comeback and Scott Burton back in training and, before you know it, things are looking healthy again going into the New Year.'

Green could come into contention for the weekend clash and has been back in full training for the past couple of weeks... Danny Livesey may be a concern as he bids to shake off a calf injury... but Jon Moran is close to fitness after a rib injury."

York Press reports that "Wes York has insisted that he is a 'fighter' as York City boss Sam Collins looks for the battling qualities needed to lift his team up the National League North table.

Following his summer move from Gateshead, the 25-year-old winger started the first five games of the season under previous manager Martin Gray but had only kicked off two fixtures in Collins’s 20-match tenure prior to earning a first XI recall for Saturday’s 2-1 FA Trophy defeat at Harrogate Town. York even failed to make the bench eight times during that period but, with Collins questioning the commitment of some of the squad’s players following the 2-0 loss at Boston United, he turned to the ex-Wrexham attacker, who believes he has the desire needed to help improve City’s 14th-placed position...

'I’ve always been a fighter and, while some people might be impatient, I’ve just been waiting for my chance, even if you do want to be knocking on the door and saying: "Pick me, pick me", York reasoned. 'Before Saturday’s game, the gaffer told me he thought I deserved a chance more than anybody else and I like to think I went out there and tried to take it. It’s all about the gaffer’s opinion. He’s got a good squad and a big one, which is a difficult challenge for him, but I’ll always run, work and put my body on the line for any team I’m playing for, because that’s the way I am.'

Fellow winger Alex Bray was also restored to the starting line-up at Wetherby Road and York feels the pair’s speed down the flanks can trouble teams at sixth-tier level, adding 'Pace is the biggest threat in football if you can apply it properly. Nobody likes to defend against it and it’s what we both offer, I guess'.

City are now preparing for this weekend’s home match with a Brackley Town... York is expecting a strong contest from Saturday’s visitors, who will boast his former Nuneaton manager Kevin Wilkin in the dugout...

'I have a lot of respect for their manager and he’s just a lovely bloke who you know wants the best for you even if he does have a temper as well when needed,' York pointed out... 'They have got a good work ethic and there are no easy games in this league. I don’t think there’s much difference with the division above and we’ve got to make sure we perform as well as they do'...

With seven defeats from the last 11 matches and a recent league return of five points from a possible 24, York knows results are all that matter as the season reaches its midway point... York argued... 'We need to start winning. There are no excuses for not doing that and we’ve just got to get our heads down and graft.'

Now playing for a third season with ex-Gateshead team-mate Jordan Burrow, meanwhile, York declared that it comes as no shock to him that the Minstermen’s top scorer this term has netted 11 times... York said... 'He’s high on confidence and playing with a bit of freedom, which helps massively.'

York is also hoping for a warmer afternoon at Bootham Crescent than the freezing conditions everyone braved against Harrogate [last week]. 'It was the coldest I have ever bee'... he confessed...'It was when the ball was on the other side of the pitch and you were waiting to be involved that it was worse.'"

17 December 2018


Alty TV has its customary high-quality match highlights from Saturday's game against Stockport County.


Stockport Vital Football report that "County won through to the Second Round of the FA Trophy today with a 1-0 win away to high flying Altrincham at Moss Lane, which was ravaged by the foulest of weather... County’s hardy supporters excelled themselves making up the majority[?] of a fairly decent crowd of just under 1000, many braving the weather’s worst excesses on the open terrace.

Right: Alty's recent signing, Kallum Mantack, and a Stockport defender get to grips with each other during Saturday's match.

If the victory was welcome it must be said that County did make rather heavy weather of it, Alty being reduced in numbers to 10 almost on the stroke of half time. County were already 1 up at that stage thanks to another opportunist effort from Ash Palmer, and a considerable ‘assist’ from Mulhern but after that, and particularly playing against the wind in the second half, they surrendered the initiative rather too often to the home side, who enjoyed more possession than their numbers demanded at times.

That said, Altrincham are third in the division and were clear favourites before the start with the bookies, so a win is a win is a win...

Mulhern... latched onto a loose clearance from Ossie’s corner to thrash a fierce drive goalward where, shades of Tuesday evening at Spennymoor, it took a deflection off Palmer into the net, to give James Gannon’s side the lead...

County, and particularly Jamie Stott, were defending with panache and determination. This aspect might just have weighed on Hulme’s mind, no matter his stamp on Stott got what it deserved, a red card, as Alty now faced the prospect of facing County with 10 men for the last 45 minutes... In the end, as I say, a win is a win, is a win and we were second favourites going into the game, so well done County!"


Altrincham FC Reserves went five points clear at the top of The Hallmark Security Cheshire Football League Premier Division with a 5-0 home win over Denton Town on Saturday. Alty also have a game in hand on second-placed Pilkington FC. Their next two league matches are away. On 29 December they travel to Congleton Vale Royal and on 5 January they are at FC St. Helens.


Like the Reserves on Saturday, Altrincham FC Youth found the net five times this Sunday as they won away at Ashton Athletic, 5-1. They lie third in the NWYA Premier Division, but have a game in hand on second-placed Chester who are three points ahead of them. The leaders are Hyde United who have played four games more than Alty and are five points ahead of them.

Next up the Youth team play in the Open Cup on 6 January 2019 against the Southport FC Development Squad in the Open Cup 3rd Round at Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP.


On Sunday, Altrincham FC Ladies lost 1-0 away to Didsbury FC Ladies. They now lie third in the North West Regional League, Division One South table with the leaders, Liverpool Feds Reserves having put eleven goals without reply 11 - 0 against Wythenshawe Amateurs.


The draw for the Second Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy will be broadcast live on Talksport 2 during the Ray Stubbs Show which starts at 12.45pm


The National League reports that "A number of National League matches have been re-arranged following cup commitments and poor weather.
  • Ashton United v Stockport County was 1 December, now 18 December
  • Nuneaton Borough v AFC Telford United on 1 January now is a 1pm kick off
  • Southport v Guiseley was 10 November, now 8 January

The advises us that "Chorley manager Jamie Vermiglio says Saturday’s second half show of strength proves his team have title fight. The Magpies reclaimed top spot in the National League North after a 3-2 win over Darlington. It was the division’s solitary match ...

But going into the break 1-0 behind, the manager was happy with how they turned things around after half-time.

'We didn’t get to grips with the conditions at [before?] half-time,' he told the club’s video service. 'In the second half it was all about composure. We changed our shape and showed we’re good enough. We haven’t scored enough goals recently and that was the main subject of my team talk to the players. We know we needed to play on the front foot and we did. We knew the goals would come and we managed three. It was a really good second-half performance.'”

Following earlier reports of supporters behaving badly at Chorley, the Chorley Citizen now adds that "Chorley FC fans caught being aggressive towards visiting supporters will have to sign a pledge to change their attitude, or face a ban from the club. Lancashire Constabulary has been issuing so-called ‘acceptable behaviour contracts’ after recent incidents 'grabbed the force’s attention', according to Temporary Chief Inspector Gary Crowe.

A scrutiny committee at Chorley Council heard that the club was assisting with attempts by police to tackle a small minority of thuggish supporters...

Crowe said, 'This more loutish element has recently decided to have a little bit of sport with away fans, but we are taking punitive action against them. If we ultimately have to bring them before the courts, we can say that we have tried to sort it out between ourselves, but it hasn’t worked,' the senior officer added.

Chorley FC chairman Ken Wright played down the problem and said he was aware of only one incident".

Confirmation comes from the Northern Echo that "York City boss Sam Collins has lost Lewis Hawkins after Hartlepool United recalled the midfielder following Richard Money's appointment. Now Collins has admitted he could dip into the transfer market again, after losing Hawkins who picked up a knee injury in Saturday afternoon’s 2-1 FA Trophy defeat at neighbours Harrogate Town.

A decision to recall him from his loan had already been made by Pools... The Middlesbrough-born 25-year-old has netted once... during nine outings for the Minstermen. With fellow midfielder Simon Heslop still completing his rehabilitation from minor knee surgery, Collins is ready to put the feelers out for a potential replacement.

Collins told the York Press 'Losing Lewis (at Harrogate) was a bit of a hammer blow, because he’s really good in that position... and he’s also been called back by Hartlepool, so it was his last game for us. I’m disappointed to lose him, because I think he’s done great for us... But we’ll have to see if there’s anybody out there, who fits in with what we are trying to do and, if there is, I’ll then ask the question and see if we can sort something out. The option is there for us now to bring another loan player in, as I couldn’t do it before while we had five here.”

On-loan Rotherham winger Bray opened the scoring for City at Harrogate, but the hosts progressed to the second round with replies from Dominic Knowles and Liam Kitching".

The >Yorkshire Post adds that after defeat by Harrogate "York boss Sam Collins felt his side deserved at least a replay. 'I thought we were the better team in the first half and played some really, really good football on a fast pitch,' he said. 'We had more than enough chances to win the game, so I’m disappointed not to get something out of it, but I was really pleased with the reaction I got from the Boston performance.'"

The Post adds that "Farsley Celtic manager Adam Lakeland was left proud but defeated as his side lost 4-3 to AFC Telford. Telford took the lead against the run of play through Daniel Udoh but Farsley got the goal their play deserved when Nathan Cartman bundled home.

Ryan Barnett and Jon Royle gave Telford a two-goal advantage but Celtic were not done yet, Jack Dyche heading home Lewis Turner’s cross. And even when Henry Cowans restored Telford’s two-goal advantage, Dyche looped aheader home to ensure hosts could not rest easy.

Lakeland said 'I felt we were the better team, I really did... although it’s always difficult to come from behind against teams that have pace on the break. I’m so proud of how we played, to say that they’re in the playoffs in the league above, having only lost one home game, I felt we made an unbelievable account of ourselves.'"

16 December 2018


Whilst, to many, the dismissal of Jordan Hulme on Saturday seemed harsh, the NL Paper quotes manager Phil Parkinson as saying of his striker, "He has let himself down, it was a moment of madness". The manager also said "Jordan is a human being, he's not a robot. He gets kicked all day and he's finally snapped. I see a lot worse every week".

Right, we see Hulme and Stockport's Stott (no.6) before the incident between them that prompted the red card for the Altrincham man.


Kevin Ellison netted for Morecambe as they lost 1-3 at Lincoln City on Saturday and ex-Alty loanee Jonny Margetts's late goal for Lee Sinnott's Gainsborough Trinity could not prevent the Northolme side from a home defeat against Buxton.

Also on the losing side, despite scoring, was Sefton Gonzales whose penalty for Droylsden was followed by a Leek Town winner at the Butcher's Arms.


Stockport County report that "Palmer Deflects A-SHot, And Hatters Are In The Hat! The Hatters will go into the new year for the third season running with an ongoing interest in the FA Trophy, after they overcame, by a single goal at a wild and wintry Moss Lane, near-neighbours Altrincham, who were reduced to 10 men before half-time when Jordan Hulme was sent off.

Acting captain Ash Palmer’s deflection from a Frank Mulhern shot midway through the first half proved the difference between the two Cheshire sides, and saw County eliminate the ‘Robins’ from a second knockout contest in as many months, following their Cup meeting on 20 October..

Left: For Altrincham, one positive aspect of Saturday's game was the successful return to action of centre-back Ben Harrison, seen here in the pre-match warm-up. Ben was an ever-present for the first 37 league games of last season before injury sidelined him for the run-in. Before the match yesterday with Stockport he had started just once this season, back in August, before his injury again sidelined him.

Two changes were made to the Hatters’ starting line-up from that which had taken to the field at Spennymoor Town, after skipper Paul Turnbull and Sam Walker were left with knocks from the League match there four nights earlier. Dan Cowan and Elliot Osborne were recalled to replace them, as County reverted to a back four with a 4-3-3 formation.

A week of plummeting temperatures reached its climax with rain and wind thrown in to make playing conditions challenging, although the Hatters, with the gusts behind them, camped out in the home half for the opening minutes... The hosts eventually responded with a series of attacks, albeit without unduly troubling the County defence...

But, with 22 minutes on the clock, County’s fourth corner was to be of more consequence. Osborne’s delivery from the left was initially cleared away from the near post, although only partially, before Mulhern tried his luck with an effort that ricocheted off Palmer to wrong-foot home goalkeeper Elliot Wynne and give the Hatters the lead....

As half-time approached, Hinchliffe, after 41 minutes, showed superb reactions in parrying at point-blank range a volley that leading scorer Hulme flicked on from a nod-down by Jake Moult.

But Hulme’s afternoon then came to an abrupt end. In added time, he was shown a straight red card after reacting to Jamie Stott’s challenge with a stamp on the Oldham loanee.

Altrincham emerged after the break a goal and a player down, but with the weather swirling in the direction of County’s end that threatened to even up the dual numerical disadvantages...

But it was ultimately an ‘A’-okay conclusion for the Hatters who, following their first of three successive contests against opponents with names to be filed under the first letter, now go into Monday’s draw for the Second Round".


With the FA Trophy in progress, there was just one Vanarama National League North on Saturday.
  • Att. 737: Chorley 3-2 Darlington

Chorley report that they "Hit the front again in the Vanarama National League North promotion race with a gutsy come-from-behind victory over struggling Darlington at Victory Park.

Andy Teague and Alex Newby returned to the starting XI for the home side. Darlington brought in new loanees Alex Wollerton and Andy Nelson to their starting line-up.

Chorley began the game in slightly sloppy fashion, as the rain cascaded down. However, as the game progressed so did Chorley’s quality of football... Completely against the run of play, Darlington’s Andrew Nelson latched onto a poor pass back and calmly lofted the ball over Matt Urwin for a debut goal.

Chorley started the second half very brightly and their constant pressure through the half meant Darlington had just three shots. Straight from the whistle Chorley were knocking on the door and when the Quakers were unable to deal with a corner Carver was there to smash the ball home.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for The Magpies, as substitute keeper Danny Eccles, who replaced the injured Urwin at half time, was forced to make a brilliant close range save.

Galvanised, the home side push on and scored the go-ahead goal when Andy Teague ventured into the opposition’s box to finish off a great pull back from Adam Blakeman after 67 minutes. Almost straight from the restart visiting ‘keeper Maddison made an unfortunate error which Alex Newby was the quickest to react to. The game had been turned on its head and The Magpies were heading back to the top of the table.

There was one last scare, despite the visitors’ lack of creativity throughout the second half, when Nelson grabbed his second with another delightful chip, but it was merely a consolation".


York City report that "The Minstermen have gone out of the Buildbase FA Trophy after losing 2-1 to North Yorkshire neighbours Harrogate Town. On-loan winger Alex Bray had seized on a mistake by Town goalkeeper James Belshaw to give City the lead in the first half but Town, who are third in the National League, fought back in atrocious weather conditions to secure a narrow victory and progress to the second round.

Manager Sam Collins had made five changes to his side following last week's defeat at Boston United with Nathan Dyer, David Ferguson, Josh Law, Wes York, and Bray replacing Joe Tait, Sean Newton, Adriano Moke, Alex Harris, and Macaulay Langstaff. The shake-up so nearly paid off and, despite the defeat, the performance still offered encouragement for the rest of the season...

Although a floodlight went on the blink near the Town penalty box towards the end of the second half, City were unable to take advantage of the faded light... [At 1-1] City conceded the decisive goal at a corner in the 66th minute.

And another National League North club to lose to a National opponent was Boston United whose "involvement in the Buildbase FA Trophy came to an abrupt end following Saturday's 3-0 reversal at Wrexham. The National League high-flyers proved to be too strong at the Racecourse Ground and took a stranglehold on proceedings with Chris Holroyd's first minute effort. Mike Fondop-Talom and Paul Rutherford wrapped up the Red Dragons' progression before half-time.

United boss Craig Elliott had named an unchanged XI for the fourth match in succession but the Pilgrims found themselves a goal down inside 58 seconds... The hosts took a two-goal lead nine minutes later... Wrexham... effectively killed the contest with Rutherford finishing expertly on the run.

The second half was played out in bitter temperatures and torrential rain and ex-Boston keeper Christian Dibble and his opposite number Willis made late respective saves".

Gloucestershire Live informs us that "Cheltenham Town striker Liam McAlinden has joined Brackley Town on an initial month's loan [A] summer signing from Exeter City... McAlinden joined the Robins on a two-year deal in the summer after leaving Exeter.

He started his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers and has also appeared for Fleetwood Town, Shrewsbury Town and Crawley Town on loan. The 25-year-old has started four League Two games this term, along with two substitute appearances."

On a more successful note, Blyth Spartans tell us that "Spartans secured a safe passage to the Buildbase FA Trophy second round in horrendous condition at the Giant Axe. Michael Liddle’s 15th minute free-kick set Alun Armstrong’s men on their way, before two goals in five minutes from Dan Maguire and Jamie Holmes on the hour mark sealed the tie for the visitors.

Lancaster then had two defenders sent off for denying goalscoring opportunities... Spartans made three changes from the side that won 2-0 against Ashton United a week ago, Damen Mullen replacing Kieran Green,– the midfielder captaining the side on his 200th appearance for the club, whilst Holmes and Nathan Buddle replaced Robert Dale and Aaron Cunningham... A well fought game in 50mph winds and non-stop rain, with the temperature never rising above zero, feeling more like minus 5".

15 December 2018


With Altrincham having fielded a starting eleven lacking seven regulars, this 0-1 outcome may not have been wholly unexpected, but the loss of Alty's leading scorer Jordan Hulme to a very controversial red card will be seen as a much bigger loss to the club. Hulme was shown a straight red by referee Swallow, having caught Jamie Stott with his studs when the front-man was quite clearly trying to avoid the prostrate County man. Earlier, County had taken a deserved, but very fortunate, lead midway through the half when Palmer's speculative shot from outside the box took a deflection which left goalkeeper Wynne wrong-footed (22 mins).

Following Hulme's dismissal in first-half added time, ten-man Altrincham had the better of most of the second half against an unimpressive County team, in a tie which was played in appalling conditions of heavy swirling rain and a gusty wind.

ALTRINCHAM: Wynne, Richman, Densmore, Harrison, Langley, Moult, Mantack, Williams, Hulme, Hancock and Hemmings. Subs: Gabidon, Johnston, Jones, Hampson and Thompson.


Right: In an Altrincham starting eleven which included no fewer than eight players who had made only a single-figure total of starts in all competitions this season, centre-back Josh Langley was one of the two full debutants.

Saturday 15 December 2018

The Buildbase FA Trophy First Round; northern section.

  • 1 Southport 0-1 Solihull Moors
  • 2 Lancaster City 0-3 Blyth Spartans
  • 3 AFC Fylde 5-1 Stratford Town
  • 4 Salford City P-P Gateshead (frozen pitch!)
  • 5 Chesterfield 5-1 Basford United
  • 6 Wrexham 3-0 Boston United
  • 7 Barrow 1-2 FC Halifax Town
  • 8 Harrogate Town 2-1 York City
  • 9 Leamington 0-1 Hartlepool United
  • 10 Workington 0-0 Ramsbottom United
  • 11 Spennymoor Town 4-0 Barwell
  • 12 Altrincham 0-1 Stockport County
  • 13 AFC Telford United 4-3 Farsley Celtic
  • Brackley Town 4-2 Hayes & Yeading (att.268)


Saturday 15 December 2018
  • Chorley 3-2 Darlington


Altrincham go into the FA Trophy clash with Stockport on the back of excellent league form, having won seven and drawn one of their last eight Vanarama North matches, including victories in the last five league matches which have been played at home. But that record will count for little in an FA Trophy tie which is also a local derby, against the club who pitched the Robins out of the FA Cup earlier this season.

Meanwhile, Ashton United report that, on the other hand Stockport, who are their scheduled league opposition next Tuesday, are "in a mixed run of form with the Hatters on a two-match unbeaten run after a 3-1 victory away at Spennymoor and a 1-1 draw at home to Chester.

From Stockport’s opening 19 games the Hatters are sat in 11th place on 28 points and are 3 points outside the playoff places with a game in hand on AFC Telford who are sat in 7th place. However Stockport’s biggest achievement this season has been their FA Cup run with the Hatters beating Yeovil in the first round but falling at the second hurdle with a loss to Barnet.

Mathew Warburton is a player for both Ashton fans and players to keep a watchful eye on when Stockport travel to Hurst Cross. Warburton joined County in May of 2017 and contributed 21 goals in 45 appearances in his first season for the club. Warburton 26, has also been a mad hatter this season scoring 10 goals in 24 appearances this season. Warburton has played for multiple Manchester based clubs with the striker having represented Salford and Curzon Ashton".


Stockport County visit Altrincham today (Saturday) for a Buildbase FA Trophy First Round tie.

The last time that County visited the J. Davidson Stadium was for a league match on Saturday, 3 September 2016 when Alty let a 2-1 lead slip to go down 2-3 in the Vanarama National League North match. Already in five matches this season 2016-17 season Altrincham had scored first but failed to win on any of those occasions. This time they were undone by two goals in the last fifteen minutes of normal time.

James Lawrie put Alty ahead from a feed by Miller in the 14th minute before Clark was allowed an unhindered header to equalize from a 26th minute freekick.

Altrincham went ahead again in the 35th minute when Miller finished a Reeves cross superbly. But Alty rarely threatened the visitors' goal in the second half and substitute Spencer levelled with a shot from outside the box after Alty had failed to challenge him as he advanced 20 yards. That was with fifteen minutes left. And another headed goal from a corner won it for County in the 87th minutes, Smalley being the scorer.

Following four successive defeats, Altrincham were still looking for their first win of the campaign. For the second match in succession the players' triumvirate of Densmore, Goodall and Moult were in charge of the team, as Alty looked for a new manager following the previous week's resignation of Neil Young.

Right: In pouring rain Alty celebrate their first goal against County.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Sam HEATHCOTE, 3.Sam PATTERSON, 4. Jon MORAN, 5. John CYRUS, 6. Adam GOODALL, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Jake MOULT, 9. James LAWRIE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Sean MILLER. Subs: 12. David LYNCH. 14. Harry CAIN, 15. Emile SINCLAIR, 16. Craig HOBSON, 17. Andrew DAWBER.

STOCKPORT COUNTY: 1. Ben Hinchliffe; 2. Mark Ross, 3. Scott Duxbury; 4. Courtney Meppen-Walter, 5. Michael Clarke, 6. Chris Smalley, 7. Sam Minihan, 8. Lewis Montrose, 9. Kayodi Odejayi, 10. John Marsden, 11. Danny Lloyd. Subs: 12. Craig Carney, 13. Ian Ormson, 14. Glenn Rule, 15. Scott Spencer, 16. Josh Amis.


Altrincham's next league opponents are Darlington (22 December) and the Northern Echo reports that "Darlington will have two new players in their squad for tomorrow’s match at Chorley having brought in some fresh blood on loan.

Alex Wollerton has arrived from Leeds United with Andrew Nelson making a temporary switch from Sunderland, both joining for a month. Quakers have six games in that time and the squad clearly needed strengthening; all five substitutes were no older than 17 for last weekend’s game against Nuneaton Borough.

Wollerton, described as a right-sided midfielder by Darlington, is 19 and has previously played for Leeds’s Under-18 and Under-23 teams.

Nelson, a striker, is 21-years-old and has some senior experience having played on loan for Harrogate Town, Hartlepool United and Falkirk. Last season he scored four times in 12 appearances while with Falkirk. Nelson makes the move to Blackwell Meadows from Sunderland a week after winger Williams Kokolo did the same.

Alex Henshall has returned to training from a hamstring strain but is unlikely to dislodge Kokolo from the left-wing, while manager Tommy Wright is not optimistic about the chances of Liam Hughes and Simon Ainge playing tomorrow due to their respective injuries."


An enigmatic statement has been issued by Chester FC stating that "Chester Football Club are aware a large number of fans missed out on admission to the match at Stockport County last Saturday, due to an incident involving Greater Manchester Police.

We will be expressing concerns to Greater Manchester Police about the incident and look to gain an understanding in [sic] the reasons behind the actions taken that resulted in those supporters missing the game.

We have had feedback from fans who have contacted us already about this incident, and we would like to encourage anyone who was also involved to contact us... We will also be seeking assurances that our fans are policed and treated fairly in future matches inside the Greater Manchester area".

The Manchester Evening News reports that "A disgraced ex-Manchester City footballer who went to prison for killing a brother and sister in a road smash is facing jail again after he was caught drink driving following a night out at the Christmas markets. Courtney Meppen-Walter, 24, was found to be more than twice the alcohol limit after he was arrested on Monday following a 3am tussle with a police patrolman in Manchester city centre.

Officers had pulled their patrol car in front of the former Blues starlet's car after they saw him crash into a kerb and then stall the vehicle at a set of red traffic lights. When he was stopped Meppen-Walter, who now plays for non-league Chorley, initially refused to get out of the car and had to be hauled out. He was said to have resisted the officer and was eventually pulled to the floor with the help of two passers-by, Manchester Magistrates' Court heard.

On Friday the defender admitted driving with excess alcohol and driving with the front wheel cord on his tyre exposed. He could face up to six months in jail. He will be sentenced in the New Year following the preparation of reports. He appeared in court from police cells but was freed on unconditional bail and was allowed out of a side door to avoid waiting photographers.

Meppen-Walter, who was wearing a grey jumper and jeans, looked tired and shook his head in the dock as details of his latest arrest emerged. He was seen to hold his head his hands when lawyers discussed his previous driving history.

Prosecutor Miss Laura Keegan said... 'The defendant wasn’t listening to the officer and was resisting him so the officer tackled him to the floor and was assisted by two members of the public. He was asked to provide a sample of breath by the officer but said he was unable to do so as he had just eaten, so he was taken to the local police station where he provided two samples of breath... He does have one previous conviction in 2013 for death by careless driving.'

Tests showed Meppen-Walter of Heywood, Rochdale, had 85 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg. His lawyer Miss Leveene Hill said... 'He tells me he got into a mood and drove home. He didn’t consider where he was over the limit or what would have happened... You know of his previous, he went to a Young Offenders Institution. He was a young man at the time. There has been no other offending. He was arrested shortly after 3.20am'...

In February 2013, Meppen-Walter, then 18 was locked away for 16 months after a silver Mercedes Elegance CDI car he was 'showboating in' ploughed into a red Nissan Micra while travelling nearly twice the 30mph speed limit in Cheetham Hill. The impact killed Kulwant Singh, 32, who was driving the Micra and his 37-year old sister Ravel Kaur who was a front-seat passenger. Mrs Kaur's two sons Amjid and Parveen, 16 and 17 were sat in the back and were left fighting for life with serious injuries and had to be cut free from the mangled wreckage.

Meppen-Walter was released after serving just four months of his sentence... Meppen-Walter began his career with Manchester City but was released from the club after his conviction for two charges of causing death by careless driving. After his release from jail he joined Carlisle United before signing for Conference North club, Chorley in March 2016.

His criminal trial was told how the double death crash in September 2012 occurred just five months after Meppen-Walker was caught speeding at 54mph in another 30mph zone in Bury. The former £1,000 a week defender who represented England at under-17 level was travelling in convoy with a friend in a VW Golf. He had been to a Shisha bar in Rusholme, Manchester with friends and went home to get ready to head out to One Central bar in the city centre. He was driving a Mercedes Elegance CDI whilst friends were in a VW Golf and the two cars were 'jockeying' around for position, accelerating and swapping lanes."

Before Saturday's games, the Shropshire Star announced that "Skipper Shane Sutton has warned his AFC Telford United team-mates to be prepared for a battle against Farsley Celtic in the FA Trophy... Sutton and Co are the favourites as they are a tier above Celtic, but the no-nonsense centre-half said 'They might be a division below, in the Northern Premier, but they’re above Warrington who knocked us out of the FA Cup. That’s often what it’s all about with cup games, the psychological part of it'...

Telford boss Gavin Cowan made the final of the competition as a player with Canvey Island so is keen to do well in the competition...

'We want to build momentum and if we all go and perform at eight or nine out of ten, that should, hopefully, be enough to get a good win at home, and see us through to the next round,'" concluded the captain.

Ashton United "are back at home this Tuesday evening as they take on Stockport County in an all-Manchester affair... After losing 2-0 to Blyth Spartans last time out Ashton will be keen to bounce back to winning ways. Against Blyth, Ashton fell to two second-half goals... Ashton were also reduced to ten men when Sheridan was sent off in the 93 minutes.

Ashton comes into the game in horrific form with no win in three league games. Ashton have also failed to score in their last three games as well.

The EvoStik League reports that "After announcing he was leaving Vanarama National League North club Hereford FC to 'go travelling', striker Harry White has now signed for Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division Central side Redditch United...

The 24-year-old started out as a member of the Coventry City academy and had spells with a number of non-League clubs, as well as spending a year playing College Soccer in the USA, before settling into the Gloucester City first-team in 2014. The Birmingham-born forward went on to make over 30 appearances for the Tigers before being snapped up by Barnsley in 2015 for an undisclosed fee.

His spell at Oakwell, where he was a member of the development squad, saw his game-time limited and he was sent out on loan to Kidderminster Harriers and Boreham Wood, before making a permanent switch to Solihull Moors at the start of the 2016/17 season for a nominal fee."

Also at Hereford "The board of directors welcome and support the recent extension to the ACV [Asset of Community Value] filed by the Hereford United Supporters' Trust. The board believe that the ACV works in parallel with the long-held plans to remain at Edgar Street for the foreseeable future.

We have worked hard over recent seasons to not only ensure an extension to the lease for Edgar Street, but to work with the Council in reviewing and improving facilities for supporters. Improved facilities will also help to generate additional revenue streams that, with support from fans, will contribute to the development of the club.

Edgar Street has proved to be a fantastic asset for the local community over the years... The stadium itself is ideally situated at the heart of the community, and we are delighted to welcome people from all walks of life".

From the BBC we learn that "Wrexham are likely to make changes for Saturday's FA Trophy first round against Boston United. The game will be the first meeting between the sides since Wrexham beat Boston on the final day of the 2006-07 season.

Wrexham's 3-1 win in May 2007 secured Football League survival at the expense of Boston. Wrexham won the FA Trophy in 2013 and were runners-up in 2015. Boston were beaten finalists in 1985."

The Hartlepool Mail reports that "Richard Money is set to lead his new Hartlepool United side into action for the first time at Leamington... Hartlepool, fresh off the back of a first win in eleven games,will be heavy favourites for the FA Trophy tie given their stature.

But new manager Money will know that reputation will count for little... Money has spoken this week about having to respect Leamington... We take a look at the side aiming to knock Pools out the competition at this early stage:

Who are Leamington and where do they play?... The Brakes were a strong force in the Southern Premier League and deservedly secured promotion from the league after a highly-successful 2016/17 season...

Who are Leamington's key players? Former Notts County youngster Colby Bishop is one player Pools will need to keep a close eye on, with the striker having netted three in his last two outings. Bishop was highly-regarded at Meadow Lane... Impressive in midfield is former Walsall youngster Reece Flanagan, who is more than happy to pull the strings from the engine room if afforded the opportunity...

Paul Holleran is the man in charge of Leamington having led the club for almost a decade. Formerly of Rushall Olympic, Holleran took over at the Brakes in 2009 and has guided the side to a period of unparalleled success... and is able to call upon experiences from a playing career which saw him represent Birmingham City.

Leamington enter the clash full of confidence off the back of a six game unbeaten run which sees them sat safely in the National League North table. While the last two outings have ended in stalemates, against strong sides in York City and Chorley, the Brakes will take confidence from the four wins prior to that".

The Hartlepool Mail adds that "Richard Money is planning on naming an unchanged side when Hartlepool United travel to Leamington in the FA Trophy... Money feels it would be wrong of him to alter personnel and shape after such a positive result, even if it isn’t the system he would usually utilise...

'It’s a good game for us,' added Money. 'You can trawl through the press cuttings, there will be statements from me talking about this trophy when I was the manager at Luton and being very detrimental that it was a hindrance and everything else. But I can tell you now, we won it at Cambridge and it was fantastic. I said to the players... 'Don’t think about Leamington away, think about walking out at Wembley'".

Southport announce that their "National League North game at home to Guiseley has been rescheduled for Tuesday 8 January... The fixture was originally due to be played in November but was rearranged due to the involvement of both teams in the Emirates FA Cup."

Nuneaton Borough announce that "With finances stretched are [over] the festive period, Nuneaton Borough have announced that they will be dropping the price of admission for the Vanarama National League North clash with Curzon Ashton. It will cost just £5 admission for adults and concessions... Car Parking and Stand Transfer will still be £2 each for the match.

Chairman Nick Hawkins said 'We have to think of the community at this time of the year and we want to give something back. It will also, hopefully, generate a bumper crowd for a crucial match. We want old, existing and new fans to back the Boro' moving forward and this may show those people that have stayed away, or those that have not ventured down, that we are a club on the up! I have a present for those season ticket holders who invested in that at the beginning of the season, everyone wins here!".

Bradford's Telegraph & Argus informs us that "Two months into their working relationship, Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower has lauded the brains behind the club’s day to day operations, Bradford Bulls’ commercial director Damian Irvine...

He feels that Irvine, who has a dual role with Avenue and Bulls, has been crucial in turning things around, saying 'He’s got great experience with Bradford Bulls and that means he’s very thorough in what he does. Things were not quite right behind the scenes here and Damian has addressed that, putting us on a sound footing for the future.

'We’re doing well on and off the pitch, and the latter is important because we’ve got to be thinking about our long term future at this club now.'

Avenue have taken another step towards a brighter future with the introduction of a rectangular pitch side fence, which will be in place by next month. The 'Fence the Fortress' campaign is also calling on businesses to pledge their support in a citywide effort to 'Circle the Wagons' around the Horsfall pitch. This entails getting the public involved, with businesses able to buy packages for up to £1,000 in return for pitch side advertising, match tickets, a listing on the club’s business sponsor directory and a party/event room for up to 30 people.

Bower is thrilled to welcome the initiative, saying 'The pitch side advertising just gives fans and businesses the opportunity to sponsor us and get involved. It’s been a great season so far. More and more eyes are on this league now, thanks to the available highlights packages, our crowds are increasing, the fans are closer to the pitch and if we can get more businesses to support us, that's even better.'"

The National League reminds us that "Harrogate Town and York City meet and for the first time since there was a shuffle in the Yorkshire pecking order... The Minstermen are now below Harrogate in the pyramid...

After saying the York players are solely responsible for their unimpressive season, manager Sam Collins is looking for a reaction.

'Just because things have changed it doesn’t mean we go there with fear. We’re looking forward to it', [he said]. Collins confirmed Jon Parkin is back in contention after patching up their issues."

14 December 2018


Altrincham entertain Stockport County on Saturday in the Buildbase FA Trophy, their second encounter with Jim Gannon's men following a 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Edgeley Park. The tow sides have yet to meet in the league but have a double-header over Christmas and New Year.

Altrincham will probably be again without James Poole and supporters will be hoping that right-back Andy White is fit after he limped off last Saturday. However, Shaun Densmore covered more than capably for Andy when he replaced him as a substitute in that game. It is hoped that Sean Williams, who took part in last Saturday's pre-match warm-up, will be fit for selection after his injury lay-off.

Mike Garnett reminds us of the record in previous encounters with the current County club...

  • Home: P3-W1-D0-L2-F8-A7
  • Away: P3-W0-D1-L2-F0-A5
  • All: P6-W1-D1-L4-F8-A12

Mike also reminds us that in Altrincham's last three matches in Round One of the FA Trophy the Robins have required a replay each time and have lost the two most recent of those games.

  • 2015-16 Leamington H 1-1 355 Reeves
  • 2015-16 Leamington A 2-1 332 Rankine 2 (1 pen) aet
  • 2016-17 Macclesfield Town H 1-1 717 Miller
  • 2016-17 Macclesfield Town A 1-2 548 Cain
  • 2017-18 Warrington Town A 0-0 545
  • 2017-18 Warrington Town H 1-2 453 Hulme


The NL Paper reports that "The FA Trophy and FA Vase sponsor, Buildbase is giving clubs taking part in the competitions the chance to have their facilities transformed.

The '£100k Transfer Deal' will give away £25,000 worth of renovation building materials to four clubs this season (2018/19). There will be two opportunities for clubs taking part in the Buildbase FA Trophy or Buildbase FA Vase to enter their projects... The first round of applications is now open and invited through until 27 January 2019. The second renovation programme will re-open for entries in Spring 2019.

Over the coming weeks Buildbase branches across England will be helping clubs to plan and cost their projects. The merchant is also offering a discount on building materials to clubs taking part in the Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase as well as their fans.

Paul Roche, Managing Director of Buildbase said... 'We’re supporting grassroots football at every level. This year we’re giving away more opportunities for clubs to transform their facilities. Benefiting not just the teams but local communities too, it’s a win-win all round.'

Clubs taking part in the £100k Transfer Deal will be calling on fans to support their application through the Buildbase website and social media. The club with the most votes will score a 'golden ticket' with automatic entry to the final. Buildbase and the FA will select a further five finalists. All six shortlisted clubs will be invited to pitch their renovation plans to a panel of judges at Wembley Stadium.

The Buildbase renovation programme has been running since the builders’ merchant became the title sponsor of the FA Trophy and Vase in 2016. So far, building materials worth up to £200,000 have been given away. Previous winners have included Hanwell Town, Cleethorpes Town, Cheadle Town and Needham Market."


AFC Telford United state that they "Take on Farsley Celtic in the FA Trophy first round this Saturday as the Bucks look to bounce back from their unmerited 3-1 league defeat to Altrincham.

Telford have now reached this round of the competition for the last nine years in a row, but a win at the New Buck's Head this weekend will see them trump last year’s First Round exit to Blyth Spartans. Celtic find themselves a league below Telford but that doesn’t mean they’re to be taken lightly. The Villagers sit in third place and turned over Bucks' rivals Alfreton Town 2-0 in the last round...

When speaking to the Shropshire Star just after the cup draw, Cowan... 'We could be playing Celtic from Scotland; it doesn’t matter who you play, what level they’re from, if you are not at 100 per cent, you will most likely get punished. I’ll do plenty of research on them to make sure we are fully prepared for the game as we are determined to do well in the Trophy.'

The good news for the Bucks is that top scorer Daniel Udoh ended his goal drought at the weekend after failing to score in the five games prior to the Altrincham defeat. The Nigerian now has an impressive 13 goals for the season.

The cup fixture also breeds an opportunity for new signings Brendon Daniels and Yusifu Ceesay to make an impact on Cowan’s team, having featured only briefly against Altrincham and Bradford Park Avenue.

Telford fans will be relieved to hear that the issues surrounding the club’s alcohol licence has been amended, meaning fans can finally enjoy a pint in the stadium for the first time".

The Shropshire Star adds that "The Bucks go into Saturday’s FA Trophy first round tie with lower-ranked Farsley Celtic looking to halt a run of consecutive defeats. Defeats against Bradford Park Avenue and Altrincham have not seen Telford outplayed, but Cowan’s men have been guilty of not creating more for their dominance or taking their chances.

Right: "We were in control (at Altrincham) and felt very good", said the Telford boss of last Saturday's game, a scene from which is pictured right.

'I’m looking at the overall performance. It’s just the final ball at times, we just have to switch on our composure in the final third', said the New Buck's Head chief. We were in control (at Altrincham) and felt very good. It’s just about getting the lads together and understanding where we are. We’re in a position that nobody expected us to be'...

With 25, the Bucks are the lowest scorers in the National League North’s top 13 sides.

'We do a lot of analysis work which I believe is a really positive thing,' he added. 'The players don’t want to be in a classroom, they want to be out on the grass. We’ll identify three or four positions and how we want to work them. Then we’ll have good 20 or 30 minute sessions on those. But football’s very unpredictable and the players have to use their intuition. Composure in the final third is all I’m looking for. I firmly believe if we’d have taken even half of our (missed) chances we’d be even better off now, it’s the gilt-edged chances where you’ve got to score. It’s not like we’re not creating chances, but we’ve got to be more composed and clinical'", he opined

Bradford's Telegraph & Argus informs us that "Marcus Bignot says his Guiseley side need to regroup ahead of a busy run of festive fixtures after their second cup exit in a week. The Lions crashed out of the FA Trophy at the third qualifying round stage, losing 2-1 at home to Lancaster City in a replay on Tuesday night. This came eight days after they were beaten by League One Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup second round.

But Bignot says his side now need to lick their wounds and regroup, as they have a rare free Saturday from action... Instead they travel to Harrogate Town in the West Riding FA County Challenge Cup on Monday night.

Guiseley will then return to Vanarama National League North action on Saturday, December 22, when they go to rock bottom Nuneaton Borough. Guiseley are 16th in the table on 20 points after their league clash with Hereford at Nethermoor last Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch...

The Nuneaton clash is the start of four games in 10 days, which includes a festive double header with leaders Bradford (Park Avenue) and a home clash with Altrincham on December 29. He has challenged his players to produce both on and off the ball during matches and turn their 'too many draws' so far this season into wins to help them into the top half of the table.

Bignot said 'It was hugely disappointing to go out out the FA Trophy. It's disappointing to be out of a competition that we could realistically go out and win. It is the first really disappointing moment of the season so far. I hope it's the only one. It felt bad after we had a really encouraging performance against Fleetwood in our last match.

'As a group we have got to score more goals and keep more clean sheets. It is a collective problem for us and we have to find a solution. We want to be in the other half of the league table, and out of the bottom half. But we have drawn too many games so far. We have games in hand and that's why we are where we are... We are going to have to be ready for a game to game spell. We have four games over Christmas, no training. As a management staff, we know what we want the team to do; play well on and off the ball. We have to bring those two characteristics together.'"

Southport Football Club "are pleased to announce that Zehn Mohammed has joined the club on loan from Accrington until the start of January. Born in Blackburn, he signed a professional contract with Stanley in the summer of 2017, along with Reagan Ogle, and has spent time on loan at Clitheroe at the start of this season. The 18 year-old defender trained with his new team-mates today as they returned to the training base in Skelmersdale".

From the Boston Standard we learn that manager "Craig Elliott believes that an FA Trophy shock could be just the medicine he neeeds to help soothe the pain of his Boston United cup record. Elliott described this season’s 2-0 FA Cup exit to Peterborough Sports as a ‘disaster’.

And the Pilgrims boss wasn’t much happier following July’s Lincs Senior Cup defeat to Lincoln United, which saw five players make their first and only appearances for Boston as he pledged sweeping changes to the squad.

'After the FA Cup disaster it was important we tried to do well in the FA Trophy... I’d have picked a different opposition, if I could. They are the hardest one we could have got, but its good to be underdogs. We’ve got great away record this year, so you never know... If you want to do well in the FA Trophy you need a few big wins against National League sides, that’s what we look to try to do,' he continued.

United’s 5-0 win at Ashton in the qualifying round was Elliott’s first cup success with Boston, his other experiences being a draw and replay defeat to Kidderminster in last year’s FA Trophy and a County Cup shootout defeat at Gainsborough. But he has a proud record in knockout football, taking Shaw Lane to the FA Cup First Round last season, eventually being defeated by Mansfield Town.

So what’s is the secret? ... 'You do need a bit of luck, the bounce of the ball and everyone to be available'.

Interim boss Graham Barrow looks set to take charge of the Dragons on Saturday following the departure of manager Sam Ricketts, who has joined Shrewbury Town... 'It changes it,' he said. '(Ricketts) might have tried to look at the rest of his squad. But with a new manager I say he’ll pick his strongest side and want to make a point.'"

According to the Harrogate Advertiser, "Harrogate Town are 'looking forward' to a mouth-watering home clash with derby rivals York City in the first round of the FA Trophy. Less than 20 miles separate the two clubs who, having never met in a competitive fixture until last season, will play each other for the third time in the space of 15 months when they face off on Saturday afternoon.

'It’s a draw to get excited about,' Town boss Simon Weaver said. 'The game will attract a big crowd and I am sure there will be a great atmosphere in the stadium, just as there was last season. This is the kind of draw that you want at this stage of the competition. There will be local bragging rights at stake and both sets of supporters will no doubt be looking forward to the match.'

Town won both of last season's meetings by a 2-0 scoreline, and although they are now playing their football a tier above the Minstermen following their promotion from National League North, Weaver insists that their North Yorkshire rivals cannot be underestimated.

'Looking at their squad, I think York are a fair bit stronger now on paper than they were this time last year,' Weaver added. 'They’ve taken Alex Bray on loan from Rotherham, for example, and added Jordan Burrow who is a proven goal-scorer at National League level. These are good players. They've got experience at the back and lads who have plenty of games under their belt at a higher level than National League North.

'You look at Jake Wright who did so well for us towards the back end of last season and he can’t get a game for them at the moment, so that tells you that they must have real quality... York can’t be underestimated... There’s no reason why we can’t go all the way to Wembley,' he said. 'We’ve competed against all the best teams in the National League so far and we don’t fear anyone.'”

From the other side, York City say that manager Sam Collins said of the Trophy game, "I have let all the players know, in no uncertain terms, that we will have one hell of a game on our hands. They are flying high in a level above where they were last year. The work ethic about their group is fantastic, they have a certain style that works for them, and it is getting them results week-in and week-out. If there is a blueprint in terms of the way you have to go about things, their team does it.

"We have to play with spirit, heart, and a bit of fight. Anyone who is related to this club can relate to that. I am hoping that we do get that from everyone who I put on that pitch... These are the type of games that get you going, that get a little bit of fire in your belly. Go and show everybody how good you are against a good team."

The Sunderland Echo reports that "Sunderland striker Andrew Nelson is poised to join Darlington on a... 28-day loan deal. Nelson will team up with Sunderland teammate Williams Kokolo at Darlington, the versatile 18-year-old having joined on loan earlier this month.

The loan spell at Darlington will be a good opportunity for Nelson to build-up his match fitness and get some competitive first team action under his belt following a lengthy spell out injured this season. Nelson, it is understood, is in line to leave on a longer term loan deal in January, with a host of clubs keeping close tabs on him. The Echo understands there is interest in Nelson from clubs in the bottom half of the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Championship plus clubs in League One and Two in the Football League in England...

The 21-year-old began pre-season in the first team set up but picked up a foot injury that Ross says the medical staff 'had never seen before'. Nelson made his comeback for the U23s recently... Whilst on loan at Falkirk last season he suffered a fractured cheekbone and during his first loan spell at Hartlepool in 2017 he suffered knee ligament damage."

13 December 2018


On Saturday, 15 December, Altrincham entertain Stockport Countyin the FA Trophy Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records chronicle previous Altrincham matches played on that date.

On Tuesday night in the Vanarama National League North, Stockport Vital Football imforms us that "A scintillating performance from James Gannon’s Stockport County team saw them romp home in fine style taking all the points with a 3-1 win at Brewery Fields against fifth-placed Spennymoor Town. This was just the sort of response that JG would have been looking for in his widely underestimated team, and against opponents on a roll!

Town came to the fixture in hot form, having scored 15 goals in their last 2 games, and won their last game 7-1 away from home, so anyone who says that this game was a shoo in for County is well wide of the mark.

No, it was a terrific showing containing superb attacking play from the Hatters. This was particularly the case before the break, when with the returning Jake Kirby illuminating the wintry landscape with an all action performance that only lacked a goal, they looked well in control of proceedings. The second half asked more from County defensively, and a clinical and near flawless performance in this respect warmed old bones on the coldest of north eastern evenings!

Paul Turnbull was back in the starting line up, and his partnership with the amazing Sam Walker was central to County’s showing throughout the 90 odd minutes. Goals were the only missing element until Warburton obliged on 35 minutes with a belter, and Walker did even better slotting a terrific free kick home with 4 minutes left of the half.

It stayed 2-0 to County until 20 minutes from the end when the referee gifted Town a glorious chance to score, which they duly did, Brogan firing the cheapest of free kicks home...

[Gannon's] late substitution of the hard working and impressive Frank Mulhern with [ex-Alty loanee] Nyal Bell, with 7 minutes left, was a veritable master stroke. Mulhern left to an ovation, and 12 minutes later so did Bell after he had scored a poacher's goal in fine style to send the travelling County fans home happy...

Walker (who had been grossly assaulted just a few minutes earlier) got a second yellow...

Stockport County line up: Hinchliffe, Thomas, Palmer, Stott, Duxbury, Keane, Turnbull, Walker, Mulhern (Bell 83) Warburton (Cowan 72), Kirby (Osborne 62). Subs not used : Ormson, Minihan".


Guiseley report that "On a freezing cold night at a foggy Nethermoor it was the visitors Lancaster City who deservedly went through to set up home tie against Blyth Spartans in the Buildbase FA Trophy First Round Proper on Saturday.

In complete contrast the Lions now have a free date with their next game being a trip to Harrogate Town [in the West Riding County Cup] on Monday night...

Although they drew first blood after just nine minutes when Kaine Felix broke free of his marker and crossed for Rowan Liburd to score at the second attempt it was Lancaster who showed the greater determination and they equalised in the 21st minute through Matthew Blinkhorn.

Having been awarded a contentious looking free-kick, the ball as floated over the wall for the unmarked Blinkhorn to head into the top corner... Matters didn’t improve much in the second as the home side struggled to get a grip on the game. The decisive goal came in the 71st minute when Guiseley failed to clear their lines and Steve Williams had the easy task of poking the ball home... Despite three substitutions and going three at the back the Lions huffed and puffed to no effect and exited the Trophy with a whimper."


Hereford FC report that "Harry White is set to leave Edgar Street by mutual agreement, with the young striker deciding to take advantage of an opportunity to spend some time travelling. White has seen his game time limited at Edgar Street recently and spoke to the club about his desire to take up an opportunity to go travelling with his girlfriend".

Meanwhile, the unofficial Bulls' News tells us that Hereford's "Supporters’ Trust [HUST] is pleased to announce that it has applied for the renewal of Edgar Street football ground as an Asset of Community Value. The original application was made in 2013 and it is eligible for renewal every 5 years.

Trust Chairman, Richard Tomkins, says 'This is probably the most important document I will ever sign, as I’ve done so on behalf of all Hereford FC supporters. I believe we have an even stronger case now than we did 5 years ago'.

In summary our Edgar Street home:

  • Promotes the enjoyment of sport throughout the community, and through activities of the Hereford FC Academy
  • Serves as a focus for community pride, providing Hereford with a shared history and heritage
  • Helps build a sense of community identity, bringing together a range of ages and social and economic backgrounds
  • Provides local people with an inclusive social environment
  • Engages fans in the support of local charitable causes
  • Provides economic benefits to local traders. Increased customer footfall in the city has been very evident on matchdays. Fans Surveys of the past 2 years tell us that 40% of those attending a match also patronise those local businesses and over 70% bring others with them for shopping
  • Is the subject of considerable coverage in the local and national media, the club having achieved three successive promotions from a regional league to National North, the sixth tier of English football, and playing high profile FA Cup matches
  • Represents the city and county nationally, for instance the FA Vase Final at Wembley was watched by over 20,000 Hereford fans and a national television audience."

According to Cheshire Live, "Bernard Morley hopes that the free weekend for his and Anthony Johnson’s Chester FC side will allow experienced centre back Danny Livesey to overcome a calf injury. Livesey, 33, was substituted just 22 [minutes] into the 1-1 draw at Stockport County at the weekend, with striker Deane Smalley forced to play as a makeshift centre-back.

Blues co-boss Morley confirmed after the game that Livesey had suffered a calf injury... With Jon Moran out after suffering two dislocated ribs and unable to take part in full training yet, Chester are light with options at the centre of defence, with Simon Grand now utilised as a left-back.

Morley said 'It’s very unlike Danny Livesey to come off a football pitch... It’s his calf so we’ve got 14 days to try and get it right. He’ll get treatment as he’s full time with Salford and then he’ll get treatment with us'...

Moran has been out of the picture with the Blues since the loss at Leamington on November 17 owing to his injury. Morley said 'He is recovering from two dislocated ribs and a bad back so he is on the sideline for the next week or so at least... We'll still work hard in training and work on a few things but hopefully the little break might have come at the right time for us'".

FC United of Manchester announce that "On Saturday 15th December FC United play host to Chadderton FC in a friendly match at Broadhurst Park. The game will also hopefully keep the momentum from last week’s first home win against Curzon Ashton going.

Due to our early exit from the FA Trophy, and to the way the fixtures have fallen in November and December, (only two home games in that period), cashflow at the club is very tight. We are very grateful to Chadderton for agreeing to this match at short notice, and we urge all supporters who can to get to the game. If you are unable to attend but wish to support the club financially; or if you wish to donate over and above the match admission price you can now make a donation to Club Funds via Paypal".

At Bradford (Park Avenue) "Bradford’s own Bradford (Park Avenue) table-topping National League North club are fending off all challenges heading into the busy Christmas period, remaining at the top of the league...

In a long-awaited initiative, the club is installing a rectangular pitchside fence around the Horsfall Stadium playing surface in January... Bradford (Park Avenue) are bringing the crowd closer to the action in a move that will enhance everything that is good about a Saturday afternoon cheering on a team battling against the odds week in week out.

The 'Fence the Fortress' campaign calls on businesses of all shapes and sizes to pledge their support in a citywide effort to 'Circle the Wagons' around our Horsfall pitch and provide tangible and much needed financial support to assist capitalising on the club's peak position and form and protect our lead into the business end of the season. This limited time campaign combines a unique package of pitchside advertising for business with match tickets and event space hire and we hope to see the businesses of Bradford join our current pitch board sponsors on the new perimeter fence up close and personal to the action in 2019!

We are flying and we need your support to keep us going!".

York Press reports that "York City boss Sam Collins will not accept Harrogate Town’s 3G pitch as justification for another below-par performance this weekend. Collins admitted after last weekend’s 2-0 National League North defeat at Boston United that he was 'sick of hearing excuses' from City’s 14th-placed squad and their next test is an FA Trophy first-round trip to upwardly-mobile neighbours Harrogate...

Collins insisted that Harrogate’s synthetic playing field will not be cited as a reason if his side fall short of the standards he expects again on Saturday, given his own squad’s familiarity with the all-weather turf.

'We’ve been training on York St John University’s 4G pitch at Haxby Road and, whilst it takes a bit of adjusting to in terms of the speed of the ball, the players have got more comfortable on it the longer the week has gone on and we’ve done some good work,' Collins pointed out. 'Quite a few players in this group will have also grown up being at academies or playing five-a-side with their friends on these surfaces, because they are being used more and more and we’ve been using them the odd day anyway when the conditions have been bad at our training ground, so there can’t be any excuses about the pitch. Whatever happens on Saturday won’t be because we’re playing on an artificial pitch.'

First-year professional Harry Thompson, meanwhile, has been released by the club, having failed to break through into the first-team squad and spent spells on loan at Northern League duo Shildon and Billingham Town this season".

Also from York Press we learn that "Veteran York City striker Jon Parkin has defended himself after criticism for being filmed drinking alcohol in the morning at a UK airport. City chief Sam Collins questioned Parkin’s conduct after seeing a Twitter video of the 36-year-old forward carrying a pint on his way to watching the Feyenoord v PSV Eindhoven match...

Supporters of the club have also taken to social media to criticise Parkin and question his commitment to the club.

In response, Parkin... said 'There were no instructions about not drinking on the trip. Fair enough, it doesn’t look great being filmed drinking at an airport in the morning but I had the next two days off and I’m trying to make a career for myself after football and that type of thing is the way we are going with the podcast. I had a day off for the Holland trip sanctioned six weeks ago for the Monday after the FC United game.

'I wasn’t involved in that game and I then got a message back from the physio (Ian Gallagher) saying that I wouldn’t be involved in the Tuesday night game against Leamington and that he would see me Wednesday morning, so I took it from that I wasn’t wanted in and around the squad. Everything was signed off. I didn’t just say "Right, I’m going". But it seems like I’m taking the brunt for things now, when nothing was said about it before I went on the trip. Everyone is coming for me and stuff is being thrown at me, but I haven’t started a game for three months and I’m not in the squad now.

'If the club aren’t happy with me going on the trips, then they should say so. I’ll have a chat with the manager and see what he says, because I thought it was totally uncalled for to dig me out when it was a team that I wasn’t playing in that had been nowhere near good enough in a 2-0 defeat at Boston and a 2-2 draw with Leamington. Surely, those results are more to do with the players who were picked and would anything have been said about me if the team had won on Saturday?'

Parkin went on to contend that neither of his off-the-pitch projects – the undrthecosh podcast and his book Feed the Beast – had unduly impacted on his commitments to City as a full-time professional footballer.

'When Sam took over as caretaker manager, I started a couple of games but, then, he told me I wouldn’t be playing much and he said he understood about all my other stuff away from football, like the podcast and the book,' Parkin added. 'From my point of view, there is a good chance that I will be finished as a player at the end of this season and I’m trying to bed myself in for something after football.

'He told me to ask him if I needed any days off, but I think I’ve only had two for undrthecosh-related stuff and none for the book. I did a book signing on a Friday night at Barnsley after I had been told I wouldn’t be in the squad for the Kidderminster game that lunchtime. We also did a trip to Germany for undrthecosh at the end of September that had been arranged five months ago and I okayed that with Sam. The Nuneaton game was then re-arranged for the Tuesday after that weekend, but I went with the blessing of the club and, knowing I was in the squad for Nuneaton, I only drunk [sic] coffee and water on the trip and then scored to get us a point when I came back, so nothing was said about my weekend away then.'

Parkin has been challenged by fans online, meanwhile, to honour a statement he made earlier this season, suggesting that he would tear up his City contract at Christmas if he wasn’t involved in the team. But, with reflection, he admitted that is not something he is willing to do and, despite at least one of City’s National League North rivals being interested in taking him on loan, he is not in favour of a temporary move from Bootham Crescent either.

'I perhaps made that contract remark in a radio interview, but I don’t think I could do that,' the former Championship campaigner confessed. 'I’ve got a contract that the club have given me and I don’t think anybody would do that, so why should I? '"

12 December 2018

2-0 WIN

In Tuesday night's friendly match at Alsager Town, of the Hallmark Security (NW Counties) League Division One South, the Altrincham starting eleven comprised nine reserves/youth players plus first-team squad members Elliot Wynne and Josh Langley. Centre-back Langley (right), a Southport loanee, was making his first appearance in Altrincham colours after arriving from Haig Avenue in mid-November.

Our unpaid special correspondent at the game commented, "We won 2-0 with two first-half goals from Ben Elliott and we had numerous chances in the second half to add to the lead. Most of the play went through Sam Heathcote playing in midfield. Alsager offered nothing really. We made a flurry of substitutions in the second half. Crowd 30 to 40".

Brian Flynn's match report is on the official Altrincham FC website.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Elliot Wynne, 2. Matt Cook, 3. Richard Platt, 4. Callum Jones, 5. Josh Langley, 6. Sam Heathcote, 7. Joel Swift, 8. Sam Curbishley, 9. Ben Elliott, 10. Jack Ryan, 11. Tom Westall. Subs: 12. Tom Clarke, 14. Stavros Tserpes, 15. Harry Sheridan, 16. A Trialist, 17. A Trialist.


Altrincham's opponents this Saturday in the Buildbase FA Trophy First Round, Stockport County announce that "County fans should enter through turnstiles 1-4... Should a replay be required, this will take place at Edgeley Park on Tuesday 18th December in a 7.45pm kick-off. This would replace the league fixture at Ashton United, also scheduled for this date".

Admission prices for the replay would be

  • Adults – £10.00
  • Concessions – £7.00
  • Aged 6-17 – £4.00
  • Under 6s – £2.00
Please note that the Vernon Stand will be closed for home fans in the event of a replay."

The EvoStik League confirms that "After signing Connor McCarthy to boost their striking options, Warrington Town have lost on-loan forward Jake Kirby... He came off the bench in Saturday's 4-0 win over North Ferriby United, a game in which Kirby scored the third goal.

Kirby, 24, only had his loan deal from Stockport County extended last week, but he has now been recalled by the National League North side".

NL Daily adds that Kirby "will go straight into the Hatters squad for [Tueday] night’s trip to Spennymoor. The former Tranmere winger, 24, has been training with the Hatters throughout his time at Warrington".


Tuesday 11 December 2018

Vanarama National League North

  • Spennymoor Town 1-3 Stockport County

The FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round Replays

  • Guiseley 1-2 Lancaster City

Derbyshire Senior Cup Quarter Final

  • Alfreton Town 2-0 Buxton (Att. 136)


The EvoStik League reports that "Buxton are targeting a new centre-back to replace captain Greg Young, who left to join Frickley last week. Young, 35, made more than 185 appearances for the Bucks but drops down to the EVO-STIK League East Division for a player-coaching role under former boss Martin McIntosh".

And the EvoStik League adds that "Mossley have signed goalkeeper Josh Ollerenshaw. Ollerenshaw, 28, is an active soldier and has recently returned from a three-month tour of duty in Kenya. He last [?played] with Ashton United but has a lot of experience in non-league, playing for Curzon Ashton, Colwyn Bay, Fleetwood Town, Stalybridge Celtic, Warrington Town and Hyde United.

The 6’5” stopper will join the Lilywhites ahead of Saturday’s clash at Widnes".


NL Daily reports that "Colne have announced the signings of Josh Hine and Richard Baker. 27-year-old forward Hine joins after spells at Southport, Chorley, Salford City, Warrington Town, Marine and Boston United. Hine joined Craig Elliott’s Boston United in October on dual-registration terms from Marine.

Midfielder Baker, meanwhile, made over 100 Football League experiences for Bury after spending several years as a youngster at Manchester United. The 30-year-old has represented North West clubs in non-league including Stockport County, Curzon Ashton and AFC Fylde."

From NL Daily comes news that "The Spennymoor Town board of directors has released a statement following the postponement of the Vanarama National League North game against Kidderminster Harriers on 1 December 2018. The game was called off with more than 24 hours until kick-off, sparking fears of another spate of season-disrupting postponements...

Tony Wilson, Managing Director of Spennymoor Town, said "Postponements arguably cost us a place in the National League North play-offs last season. I was surprised myself in the build up to the Kidderminster game at the pitch’s inability to deal with the rain we’d had and the management team of the club has been working constantly throughout December to investigate and resolve issues. We invested in new pitch irrigation at the start of the season, which we thought would have prevented a reoccurrence of last season’s waterlogging. But we’ve since uncovered more than one problem which was preventing the system from having an impact.

'Firstly, I’d like to dispel a rather peculiar rumour in circulation that there is a stream running beneath the ground. We’re in possession of a map of the area from the late 1800s and early 1900s that shows there was a stream nearby, but it forked either side of the ground with plenty of room to spare. This has not been a contributor.

'What we have found, from taking a cross-section of the pitch, is that historical treatment with large amounts of sand has created a dense layer between the pitch turf and the irrigation system, preventing effective drainage. The good news is that we’ve been able to rectify this using a verti-drain and make this layer porous, enabling the irrigation to do its job. Whilst we’ve done this before, it became apparent that a standard approach was not penetrating the dense layer and a more powerful method was needed. The bad news is that this will be required more than once and we’ll need to invest in the costly equipment required.

'In addition to this, we’ve decided to invest in further irrigation beneath and around the pitch, to divert water away and into the local drainage system. Finally, we’ve been surprised by the sheer volume of water that we’re draining away. I’m currently liaising with Northumbrian Water, who have been most helpful. We are currently chemically testing the run-off water to determine whether it has come from drinking water being transported by Northumbrian Water and, hence, whether there are any nearby leaks. The results of this are imminent.

'In the interest of preventing water reaching the pitch in the first place, the club is investing in new, state-of-the-art pitch-covers, which will further protect the pitch and be easier to use than our current options. This is being installed this year. The most important message from this announcement is that we have made significant improvements thanks to the investigation over the last couple of weeks. The pitch is more durable than ever before; and this will increase further upon the completion of our work with Northumbrian Water.'"

Nuneaton Borough "have confirmed that full-back Rhys Davies has been recalled by Shrewsbury Town. The young defender appeared 10 times for the Boro' and scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw at home to Kidderminster Harriers".

Leamington announce that "With an above avearge attendance anticipated for this Saturday's Buildbase FA Trophy 1st Round clash with Hartlepool United FC, we are asking supporters of both sides to help with travel and parking by using the ‘Match Day Bus Service' or by car sharing or using the Brakes Trust Mini-bus service...

Although there is parking for approximately 450 vehicles, there is NO alternative ‘on street parking’, as we are located on a busy country road with no pavements and surrounded by farmland...

This tie will be played to a conclusion with extra-time and penalties if required. The match will NOT be segregated".

Brackley Town have signed "Former Coventry City midfielder Jack Finch".

The EvoStik League reports that "Ben Purdham, who has played the last six games for Mossley, has now returned to parent club Curzon Ashton."

Blyth Spartans report that "Alun Armstrong praised an all-round team performance as Blyth Spartans made it five wins on the bounce in a comfortable win over Ashton United. Goals from Sean Reid and Robert Dale in the second half secured all three points for Blyth. Spartans [are] now just two points outside of the play-off places in ninth.

But Armstrong was keen to temper expectations... 'We know that when we are fully fit, we are a match for any team in this division, but we saw earlier in the season how injuries can decimate our squad. We played for a month with three teenagers on the bench. We have a tough few games coming up, Chorley... Then we play Spennymoor Town twice, who are in excellent form... And we have York City in between those two games... The five wins are vital for us, we had to win the majority of those games with the fixtures we have coming up...

'As I’ve said a number of times, we are a confidence side. We’re a streaky side and when we are in-form we are difficult to beat.'

Robert Dale is now just one goal away from 200 in a green and white shirt, whilst Sean Reid continues to contribute goals from midfield, and the 43-year-old praised his dynamic frontline over the winning run. 'Everyone is contributing at the top of the pitch, and that’s giving me a headache... I know we are always capable of scoring goals. I turned around to the bench and I had Jamie Holmes and Bradley Fewster sitting there, Adam Wrightson wasn’t even available today; we have so much talent going forward...

'“Defensively we were outstanding, no last-ditch tackles, to diving stops on the line. Peter Jameson came into the dressing room with a clean jersey, that tells you the story of the game.'

Lewis Horner came into the side for Alex Nicholson at right-back, and Armstrong was delighted with his defender’s contribution. 'It was fantastic display by Horner, he’s done well at right-back over recent weeks and with performances like he is making it impossible for me to leave him out. He’s fully fit and you can see his undoubted quality, it’s taken a while due to injuries and fitness but he’s beginning to show the talent that had him featuring in the Scottish Premiership.'"

the other side, Ashton United report that they "slipped to their third successive league defeat against their in-form hosts who duly won for the fifth successive match. With the Robins having picked up 3 injuries on Tuesday, James Jones was making his full debut at centre back with Matt Regan switching to left back...

Dale got the better of [Liam] Goulding out wide and saw his cross converted from close in by Reid. Goulding then reached the by line at the other end and saw his cross helped over by Anghel before the same player made space but fired past the far post... With 3 minutes left a quick break saw Rivers and Maguire combine to put Dale in for a calm finish and after Maguire had hit the post again Sam Sheridan was dismissed somewhat mysteriously after receiving a second yellow card.

Team: Pilling, Stead (Chalmers 17), Regan, Jones, Goulding, Kay, Jackson, Sheridan, Chadwick (Howarth 73), Tomsett, Anghel (Crowther 66 ). SNU: Roberts, Hill.."

Before Tuesday's win in the Derbyshire Senior Cup, Alfreton Town reported that "Alfreton Town host neighbours Buxton in the Derbyshire Senior Cup Quarter Final at the Impact Arena tonight. The Reds will need serious improvement after a horrendous display on Saturday against Spennymoor with the Moors romping to a 7-1 win at the Impact Arena, our worst ever home league defeat...

A massive reaction is now needed following Saturday with another tough assignment tonight, it was yet again another set-back in the Reds league season with inconsistency and constant team changes due to injuries being a huge downfall so far for Alfreton in the National League North. Billy Heath will expect a totally different display tonight and for the Reds to right the wrongs of Saturday's performance thus restoring some belief back into the side.

We head into tonight's clash with just two wins in our last 11 games in all competitions. We have lost our last three games at the Impact Arena and have recorded just one win (3-1 v Nuneaton) in our last seven games at home".

11 December 2018


Having already met Stockport County in the FA Cup, Alty meet the Hatters again on Saturday, this time in the Buildbase FA Trophy. And on the near horizon there is also a double-header with County over Christmas and New Year in the league.

Last Saturday, Stockport drew 1-1 at Edgeley Park against Chester FC who have "All the action from Saturday’s draw at Edgeley Park as the Blues are pegged back by a controversial penalty decision".

Meanwhile, Cheshire Live tells us that "Stockport County manager Jim Gannon was less than impressed with some aspects of his sides performance in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Chester FC. An Akwasi Asante goal on 33 minutes for Chester was cancelled out by a dubious Sam Walker penalty on the stroke of half time after Deane Smalley was adjudged by referee Adam Herczog to have handled.

Chester had the better of the chances at Edgeley Park... and the Blues can feel aggrieved to have come away with just a point. Stockport, too, had chances and Gannon was unhappy with their inability to convert and also their structure in the lead-up to the Blues' opener. When asked if a draw was a fair result, Gannon told the club's official YouTube channel 'It depends. Do you talk about chances, possession or penetration? The result is what it is. You get players and managers who think tiddlywinks football, I think chess. I look back to a poor foul, and I'm not sure if it was a foul, and then our structure was poor and Asante is getting free in the box and having a shot and we conceded a corner from that.

Left: John Johnston in action at Stockport in October's FA Cup clash.

'I was disappointed we didn't deal with it. Credit to them if they found a soft spot in our defensive make up, credit to them, but I was disappointed with the layers that lead up to it'...

Stockport had chances through Matty Warburton, Adam Thomas and Frank Mulhern but failed to really test Chester stopper Grant Shenton. And Gannon intimated that changes could be on the way if his National League North side don't improve.

He added 'We have been doing a lot of work on the training ground but there are still players playing their own game. The one thing that Jason Oswell said to me when he walked away from here was 'I've learned so much about crosses and what works and what doesn't work'. He scored 12 goals from near-post crosses on the deck and took that away with him but we have players who don't understand the value of that cross. We can't talk about potential anymore we have to talk about players fulfilling tactics. You have got to be taking stuff off the training ground and delivering.

'I don't know if it the stage or if it's players not doing what we work on in training. These are the things we need to iron out. I am having to say the same things to the same players over and over again. My patience is running out with a few and unless we start seeing a few delivering more than their potential then we're going to have to freshen the group up with players who have the nous and the quality.

'We should be able to get out from the back and work our way up the pitch, whether that be goal kicks, throw-ins or free-kicks. But I think there are a lot of players who don't really think about what they are doing, what we are trying to achieve and why we are trying to do it. Once players get the "why" they become thinking footballers.

'Confucius has a saying that if you give a man a fish you feed him for the day but if you teach a man how to fish you feed him for life. I think we have too many players that we are giving fish to and they just don't know how to fish.'"


Last week, Cheshire Live reported that "Owen Dale has been ‘toughened up’ during loan spells in non-league, and is now ready to push for a place in the Crewe Alex team. That’s according to manager David Artell, who called the 20-year-old striker back after a successful loan spell at Altrincham last week.

The academy graduate impressed in a three-month spell with the Conference North outfit, scoring three goals in 10 league starts. Alty boss Phil Parkinson wanted to extend the loan deal, but the pacy attacker, who can play central or wide, will be added to the Crewe squad.

Right: Owen is congratulated on his goal against Alfreton Town.

Manager Artell said 'He needed toughening up. People think I mean getting kicked up in the air by that, and that’s part of it. But it’s also learning to play Saturday–Tuesday. We’ve seen players in our first team now who couldn’t play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday not long ago. Owen has done that in someone’s first team now. Phil has been brilliant with him, and it’s helped Owen. He scored an absolute cracker for the under 23s on Friday, then he got walloped by George (Ray) in training on Monday.

'Twelve months ago he’d have rolled around the floor and gone in. But he just got up; it’s a real positive mindset he’s learned from being elsewhere'...

Dale made six appearances for the Railwaymen last season, but had the bulk of his first-team football on loan at Witton Albion, where he played 25 times and found the back of the net on five occasions. He signed a new contract with Crewe in the summer, extending his stay for two years with the option of a further two years...

The boss added 'The gap between U23s football and the first team is widening all the time, and we have to bridge that with loans where we can. They generally come back better players, they see something different from this club and understand there’s a big, wide world to football. It’s part of their development and they see a bigger picture. We are hoping others go out on loan too. It’s not always easy, but it’s not a financial thing either.'"

And on Monday, Cheshire Live added that "Owen Dale says he's ready to make an impact at Crewe Alex after 'learning how to win' on loan at Altrincham. The 20-year-old striker is back after a successful three-month spell with the National League side, and was put straight into the squad for Saturday's 2-0 home defeat to Oldham.

Dale... says the spell there and a previous one at Witton have been a positive learning curve for him. Dale said 'It's been great for me, I've learned a lot and grown up a lot. I think I've learned how to win, I think we went nine or 10 unbeaten. Hard work is the main thing, it doesn't matter how much talent you've got, if you work hard you'll go a lot further. It feels like the hard work has paid off a bit. I feel I'm more ready than I was a year ago, a lot's changed and I've improved a lot.

'I know I've still got a long way to go to make an impact, but I feel like the time is now for me. Hopefully I can help the team get results.'"


The extended highlights of the Alty v AFC Telford United game last Saturday are now on AltyTV.

The Shropshire Star adds that "AFC Telford United need to discover their cutting edge in the final third of the field to kick-start another run in the National League North, according to boss Gavin Cowan. The Bucks chief watched his side slip to a second successive defeat at high-flying Altrincham on Saturday.

The Bucks went six games unbeaten prior to last week’s defeat at home to Bradford PA and, after Saturday’s loss at Moss Lane, Cowan called for his side to start turning possession into chances and goals. He said 'I feel we dominate in and out of possession but have had no real cutting edge and what we need to bring now is that cutting edge. We’ve got the players to do it, we have players with a history of being clinical.

'Someone said to me recently, look after the performances and the results will look after themselves and I think that will come. We aren’t being out-fought and it isn’t like the opposition are better than us, but there are areas that we need to be better in. Defensively we were not as reliable as we have been, we were jumping in and making rash challenges. That isn’t needed when you’re up against a team that is doing well away from home. For some reason the lads’ belief has deserted them. The performances aren’t bad but the results need to improve'...

He added 'Last week I apologised to the lads because afterwards I said they’ve let themselves down, but looking back I realised they didn’t. I was just disappointed, and it is a good development for me because I know I can’t be so rash, that is why I haven’t spoken to the players straight after and have given myself time to take the game in.'"


NL Daily reports that "Ashton United have signed Salford City defender James Jones on loan. Youngster Jones joined Salford from Chester FC at the end of June, signing for the Ammies on a two-year deal. Neither club have confirmed as yet how long the loan is for.

Jones started for Jody Banim’s side in Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Blyth Spartans".

Cheshire Live reports that "It hasn't taken long for Akwasi Asante to hit the ground running at Chester FC. A hat-trick on his debut last week and another one [goal] in 1-1 draw at Stockport County at the weekend sees him on four goals in his first two games for the Blues since his loan move from Tamworth at the start of the month.

He has already started to forge what looks to be a dangerous partnership with Anthony Dudley and, with Chester harbouring aspirations of a promotion push this season in the National League North, keeping Asante could prove vital. But Chester only have the Dutchman until the end of the month and, while the club intimated that there was a chance to make it permanent, whether that can transpire is another matter.

Speaking after the draw at Edgeley Park, Chester joint-manager Bernard Morley said 'He’s given us a real platform and he’s what you’d call a real centre-forward. He does the right things. I still think he needs minutes in his legs but, for what he’s contributed in that short space of time since he’s been here, he’s been unbelievable. To score four goals against Darlington and Stockport is obviously a dream come true for him.

'Decisions like that are out of our hands unfortunately. We love him, the lads love him and I think he's enjoying himself. It's still early days for him but all we can do is see out the 28 days and see what the future holds for him. If the opportunity is there to make it permanent we'll push everything and do everything we can to make that happen.'

Chester are without a game this weekend due to their exit from the FA Trophy but return to National League North action on Saturday, December 22 when AFC Telford United are the visitors. Chester will have Dan Mooney available once again after he served a one-match ban on Saturday."

Nuneaton Borough "have confirmed that full-back Rhys Davies has been recalled by Shrewsbury Town. The young defender appeared 10 times for the Boro' and scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw at home to Kidderminster Harriers".

Alfreton Town remind us that "Way back in 1960 petrol cost 23 pence [i.e. four shillings and seven pence?] per gallon, John F Kennedy had just been inaugurated as President of the USA, Coronation Street was shown for the first time on TV, the farthing was still legal tender and Alfreton Town lost 1-7 to Belper Town in their first ever FA Cup tie and, until this weekend, that record had stood as the worst Reds' home defeat.

Cue the arrival of Spennymoor Town on Saturday and a repeat of that score-line has given Alfreton the unwanted record of their worst League defeat ever at home.

Billy Heath made two changes with Danny O'Brien and Michael Collins coming in for their debuts. The game started in a tight fashion... But with six minutes gone, we gave away yet another penalty with handball being given against Riley from a cross on the left. Leading league scorer Glen Taylor stepped up and converted the penalty to give the visitors the lead... After 29 minutes Spennymoor were lucky not to be sent down to ten men as a late challenge on Tom Allan after the ball had gone by Chandler, looked to have been with two feet off the ground, Chandler was booked and a few minutes later the visitors doubled their lead.

Taylor went down easily after an aerial challenge and Brogan stepped up and bent a lovely free kick into the far corner. Two minutes later it was three, Taylor's shot was blocked by Riley high into the air and the ball looped towards the far post where Chandler showed great pace to beat Ramsbottom to it and convert.

Just before the break we pulled one back as Styche converted a corner from Clifton at the far post with a neat header... With the rain pouring down and rendering the pitch surface to a lot of standing water, the Reds nightmare continued as Spenny grabbed a fourth goal before the break in first half stoppage time.

Taylor grabbed his second of the game slotting in from close range just two minutes after we looked to have got back into it. It capped off a truly horrible first half, although there were at least three key decisions that went against us in terms of the penalty awarded, the Chandler challenge and the free kick which led to the second goal, there were no excuses for our defending and a reaction was needed after the break.

The second half proved worse for us with the ball holding up on the surface due to the standing water... Spennymoor made it 5-1 on 55 minutes with Taylor grabbing his hat-trick at the Impact Arena in consecutive seasons with an unchallenged header from a corner, it was far too easy for the Moors going forward with the Reds struggling on nearly every offence.

62 minutes it became 6-1, Riley's back pass to Ramsbottom held up on the surface and didn't reach the Reds goalkeeper, Tuton raced onto it and took it past Ramsbottom and slotted into the empty net.

Spennymoor were running riot... with Reds' resistance coming from Styche who hit the bar from distance and David Lynch who forced a save from Gould who palmed his effort away from inside the D.

However Alfreton's embrassment got worse on 84 minutes as Johnson tapped in from a yard out after a header hit the post from a far post corner... The Reds were out-classed and suffered a damaging defeat in which Billy Heath will need to lift the players again and look to respond with the visit of Buxton in the Derbyshire Senior Cup quarter final".

10 December 2018


The National League has goal highlights from Saturday's match, a game in which AFC Fylde loanee, Ashley Hemmings (right) made a favourable impression in a substitute's role.


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years remind us that when Altrincham face Stockport County on 15 December in the FA Trophy First Round, it will be three years to the day that Alty drew at home to Leamington in the same round of the Trophy, a result which led to a replay saga. The replay was finally played on the sixth selected date, a sequence which included an abortive trip for the team and supporters to the Warwickshire club for a very late postponement.

The original tie should have been played on Saturday, 12 December but in 2015, as in 2018, there had been heavy rain and on that occasion the fixture was postponed to the following Tuesday.

On that date, 15 December 2015, the match ended 1-1. With Altrincham leading 1-0 and less than 14 minutes remaining, an uncharacetristic mistake by left-back Adam Griffin (left) gifted Leamington an equalizer. Following an Alty corner, Leamington keeper Breedon collected the ball and kicked upfield. Griffin missed the ball, allowing substitute Ogleby, who had literally just joined the game, a clear run at exposed goalkeeper Tim Deasy whom he beat with his shot.

Altrincham had taken the lead in the 70th minute when Breeden failed to hold a Rankine shot and Reeves netted the loose ball. Earlier an Alty effort by Lawrie had stuck in the soft pitch as it was about to cross the line after evading Breeden and Sinnott had also hit the post with a fine shot.

ALTRINCHAM: 17. Tim DEASY, 20. Jordan SINNOTT, 5. Luca HAVERN (capt), 6. Scott LEATHER, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Jake MOULT, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 19. Ryan CROWTHER, 7. James LAWRIE, 9. Michael RANKINE, 10. Damian REEVES. Subs 11. Nicky CLEE, 23. Callum WILLIAMS, 18. George BOWERMAN, 24. Rhain DAVIS, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE.


On Sunday Altrincham FC Youth's away fixture against Tranmere Rovers was postponed.

Alty Youth lie third in the NWYA Premier with 18 points. Leaders Hyde United have 26 points from five more games, whilst second-placed Chester FC have a perfect 24 points from eight fixtures.

Altrincham's next match is away at Ashton Athletic who lie eleventh in the twelve-team division.


Altrincham FC Ladies' home league game against Curzon Ashton FC was postponed on Sunday. Their next match is away to Didsbury FC Ladies next Sunday. Alty Ladies lie second on the same points as leaders West Didsbury & Chorlton and third-placed Liverpool Feds Reserves. West Didsbury have 21 points from seven games, Alty have that total from 10 matches whilst Liverpool Feds have played eleven matches.


Josh O'Keefe (right) netted a last-gasp equalizer for Chorley on Saturday.

NL Daily reports that "Colwyn Bay have announced the return to the club of last season’s top scorer Astley Mulholland following his departure from Barrow. The 30-year-old has agreed to come back to the Bay where he scored 19 goals in 49 previous appearances for the club, prior to him signing for Barrow in the summer, where he has struggled to get game time.

Manager Craig Hogg commented, 'We are delighted that Astley has agreed to return to Colwyn Bay FC. It was clear that a number of parties were interested in him after leaving Barrow recently but, after speaking to him over the past week, he expressed an interest in returning and was very excited with what the management team are trying to achieve. We are delighted we’ve been able to agree terms with him. Astley has been a good player for the Bay and made the Evostik North Team of the Year last season during his last spell with us, producing a good goal scoring return along the way, and we hope he can replicate that form again for us'...

Mulholland, who has previously been with Ashton United, Altrincham, FC United, Chorley and Glossop, will be available for selection once international clearance comes through from the FA of Wales. A number of clubs had been interested but he commented... 'A few clubs have been in touch with me, but there is no point signing a contract with somebody if you’re not sure you are going to be happy.'"


The next league visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium are Darlington. The National League reports that "Tommy Wright refuses to throw in the towel at Darlington despite a costly defeat on Saturday... 2-1 at home to bottom club Nuneaton. It was the Quakers’ third National League North defeat in a row and they are now just two points above the drop zone.

Wright spoke to the Northern Echo... 'I’m not resigning, I’m determined to turn this around,' he told the website. 'I won’t let this situation beat me. I understand football, I know how these situations work. At the end of the game, I told the lads in the dressing room that I won’t be resigning, and I said the same to the directors. The majority of people don’t know the circumstances that we’re working under, and that it’s difficult to build a team at the moment. I still think that we’ll be fine, and we’ll sort this out. We’ll all keep trying hard.'"

Also from the National League we learn that "Sam Collins says the fault for York City’s unraveling season lies squarely at the feet of the players. The Minstermen’s 2-0 weekend defeat at Boston United made it just one National League victory since mid-October.

Furious Collins let rip at his squad after their eighth loss of the season left them seven points off the play-off spots. He said 'There’s no one else at fault here. There is nobody else to blame except the players. I’m sick of hearing excuses. The fans and the chairman here are different class but it means nothing if the players don’t want to stand up and fight. The performance was weak, it was soft and there was little bravery.

'I saw an attempt to go and scrap from two of three maybe. To be honest, I have felt like that for a couple of weeks. I stood there for ten minutes in the dressing room and let them talk. All I heard was excuses. They change excuses every week. I have told them to go home, look in the mirror and ask if they are giving everything they have got to this club.'

The manager added 'There are three or four that do, but we have 20-odd players here. We have 20-odd players that are on good money. I’m a proud man and I’m disappointed. I have been in football all my life and the one thing I pride myself on is fighting. I would try every day. We have 20-odd players. Are they doing that? Not really.'"


According to NL Daily, "FC Halifax Town chairman David Bosomworth says the club is committed to the full-time model it adopted over the summer, the Halifax Courier report. The Shaymen switched from training two nights a week to at least three mornings a week this season, and have established a base at the University of Leeds’s sports centre near Weetwood.

'We want to develop it, not come back from it,' said Bosomworth... 'At the moment we’re three mornings a week, so can we get to four mornings a week?'....

On the transition to full-time, Bosomworth said 'You do have different things, like salaries, players in digs or more training and the costs with infrastructure. But, at the end of the day, it gives us a better chance,and that’s what we’re striving to develop moving forward.'"

9 December 2018


Above: Alty celebrate the opening goal; left to right we see Simon Richman, Kallam Mantack, Josh Hancock and John Johnston.

Although Altrincham ultimately achieved a comfortable margin of victory, for much of the afternoon AFC Telford United looked as if they would not emerge from the game empty-handed. After the visitors had started well, it was Altrincham who took a nineteenth-minute lead in the match. Johnston took advantage of a defender's failure to cut out a through ball before getting into the box and feeding Hancock who netted. But Udoh equalised for the Bucks in the 25th minute, when he converted a nod-down after Altrincham had failed to clear the ball in their own penalty area.

In a match played on a pitch which was sodden from the start, Altrincham regained the lead in the 74th minute. Densmore was chopped down on the front edge of the box as Mantack laid the ball off to him. From the freekick Connor Hampson curled a superb freekick into the net. The icing on the cake was Hancock's second and Alty's third goal in the 87th minute, which came from a corner. Hemmings, who made an impressive debut as a late Alty substitute, received the ball in the box and calmly laid it off to the unmarked Hancock who scored for the tenth time this season.

The win left Altrincham third, level on points with second-placed Chorley and fourth-ranked Chester, four points behind leaders Bradford (Park Avenue).

The official Altrincham FC site also has a match report and a post-match interview by Brian Flynn with Connor Hampson.


It would not have been a surprise to see Saturday's game postponed after a lot of rain through the preceding week and on the match-day itself. But hard work by groundsman Neil Brown, volunteer assistant Bryan Ford and other club volunteers paid off and referee Ben Speedie bravely elected to start the game in steady rain on a sodden surface. His optimism paid off as the rain stopped and held off for the rest of the match - resuming shortly after the final whistle.

Above we see volunteers helping to brush water off the goalmouth covers before kick-off.


Altrincham FC chairman Grahame Rowley sponsored Zoe Taylor as he cut off a length of her hair at Saturday's match against AFC Telford United. He was sponsoring Zoe to the tune of £100 for the benefit of the Little Princess Trust, a charity which provides wigs for children undergoing cancer treatment.

The Little Princess Charity, which has been awarded the MBE for volunteer groups, adds that "The Little Princess Trust provides real-hair wigs, free of charge, to children and young people up to the age of 24 that have sadly lost their own hair due to cancer treatment and other illnesses".

Above, we see Grahame cutting off a long plait of Zoe's hair. Santa was also a visitor to the J. Davidson Stadium on Saturday and he is seen keeping dry, and his beard well away from the scissors, in the new Manchester Glass Supporters' Corner, whilst safety officer Nigel Bunce braves the torrential rain.


The Shropshire Star reports that "Gavin Cowan believes his AFC Telford United side were the instigators of their own downfall after slipping to a 3-1 defeat at Altrincham.

The Robins, who had won their last five in all competitions, took an 18th minute lead after John Johnston skipped past two tackles, before finding former Buck, Josh Hancock, who slotted home. Hancock sealed the win with a goal late on, after Connor Hampson's super curling free kick had got the hosts in front 16 minutes from time.

The Bucks chief believes his side had control of the game for large parts, but errors cost his team on a wet afternoon at the J Davidson Stadium. He said, 'They were difficult conditions but they were the same for both sides so there is no argument there. I think we had a couple of chances in the first half we didn't put away, but I felt we controlled the game in parts.

'We were comfortable in open play and we nullified them for the most part, but we were the instigators of our own downfall, and that is not really us. We are quite a reliable team, individually and as a team. I was frustrated because we work hard through the week on specific things, and rely on the lads going over the white line.

'We did that in the first 18 minutes and controlled the game and, then, four players have gone jumping and sliding into tackles and that is uncharacteristic.'

Daniel Udoh drew his side level after 25 minutes of the game, but apart from that the Bucks never forced goalkeeper Tony Thompson into a save.

Cowan introduced Brendon Daniels and Yusifu Ceesau from the bench late on in a bid to grab an equaliser, but the Bucks got overrun and Hancock sealed the win with his second.

The manager took the blame for the third goal, and said 'In the second half we took control again and, as staff, we were talking about when we should go for the jugular. We tried to stay in the game as long as we could, and the third goal was my fault really because I have gone gung-ho. I felt we were in control of the game for parts, but we were not threatening in our attacking phases.

'In the final third it was a little bit hopeful, and we need to get back to the way we were and back to that belief.'"

The Shropshire Star adds that "Midfielder Josh Hancock came back to haunt AFC Telford United as his brace condemned the Bucks to a second straight defeat... The man who spent a season at the New Buck's Head back in 2014, handed his side a first half lead with a tap in on 18 minutes...

Telford struggled to create any real clear cut chances against their in form hosts...

The game passed an 11am pitch inspection, but even after the Bucks arrived at the ground the game remained in doubt. Referee Benjamin Speedie took to the field 45 minutes before kick off, testing the roll of the ball on the surface. He deemed it playable, shortly before the heavens opened again to make the sodden surface even damper.

Gavin Cowan said his troops were not good enough in last week's first home defeat of the season and he opted to make two changes against one of the league's form sides. Shrewsbury Town loanee Ryan Barnett impressed enough in his 30 minute spell from the bench last week to warrant a start. He replaced Amari Morgan-Smith, with Dom Smith missing out as defender Theo Streete returned from suspension.

The game got under way in what could only be described as testing with the rain lashing down, and the ball holding up a number of areas of the pitch. If the rain had got any heavier, referee Speedie may have been forced into a decision. As it was, the rain stopped but the surface remained difficult...

The water on the surface was hampering proceedings, and played a part in Altrincham taking the lead with their first real chance on 18 minutes. The ball held up on the surface during a Bucks move, leading to the hosts pinching possession and breaking. A cross field ball was misjudged by Ross White, allowing John Johnston to skip past him and drive towards goal.

The winger avoided Shane Sutton's lunging tackle, before squaring for Hancock to tap home from six yards.... The Bucks... drew themselves level, as Udoh ended his recent dry spell in front of goal. Barnett's cross from the right was met by Ellis Deeney at the back post, and his blocked header fell to Udoh who fired home from close range through a cluster of Altrincham bodies.

Both sides were trying to play passing football, but the surface wasn't particularly helping, especially down one flank with the ball continually holding up throughout the half...

The hosts had the momentum in their favour, and they managed to make their sustained spell of pressure pay 16 minutes from time. Mantack skipped inside and found Shaun Densmore on the edge of the box, who was upended by Deeney.

Left back Hampson stepped up and fired a free kick over the wall and into the corner of the net, leaving Wycherley with absolutely no chance... Hancock put the game beyond all doubt two minutes from time".


On a day when Altrincham's first team won 3-1, so too did the Reserves, away at Billinge. They are top of the table with two games in hand on second-placed Middlewich Town. Altrincham FC Reserves' next game is at home to Denton Town, who are second from bottom.


Judy Henson, who many Altrincham fans will know thorugh her previous role in the Community Sports Hall at the J. Davidson Stadium, is now employed by the EvoStik League. She was recently at our neighbours Trafford FC as the Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports...

"Trafford manager Tom Baker was handed October's manager of the month award by Evo-Stik League officer Judy Henson, while football secretary and groundsman Graham Foxall, collected the Club of the Month prize to make it a double for the Shawe View side after a good run of form in the West Division".


In the Evostik West Division, our neighbours Trafford also faced Shropshire opposition in the form of an away match at Market Drayton Town. Trafford won 4-1 thanks to a hat-trick from Darius Palma and a penalty from Aaron Burns, all netted in the opening 38 minutes.

Radcliffe FC beat Chasetown 2-1 with ex-Alty trialist Elliot Rokka netting for the Greater Manchester side.


Right: James Jones in action against AFC Telford United.

Vanarama National League North

  • Att. 235 Alfreton Town 1 - 7 Spennymoor Town
  • Att. 895 Altrincham 3 - 1 AFC Telford United
  • Att. 588 Blyth Spartans 2 - 0 Ashton United
  • Att. 1143 Boston United 2 - 0 York City
  • Att. TBC Bradford (Park Avenue) 2 - 2 Southport
  • Att. 1064 Darlington 1 - 2 Nuneaton Borough
  • Att. 1645 FC United of Manchester 2 - 0 Curzon Ashton
  • Att. 1288 Kidderminster Harriers 2 - 0 Brackley Town
  • Att. 568 Leamington 1 - 0 Chorley
  • Att. 3714 Stockport County 1 - 1 Chester


Bradford PA "were denied victory by a stunning strike from Southport’s Bradley Bauress in a 2-2 draw at the Horsfall Stadium. The early stages yielded little in the way of entertainment as both sides wrestled with the conditions and struggled to find any rhythm.

However, the visitors pounced in the 13th minute to edge themselves ahead. Dean Winnard connected with Bradley Bauress’s corner delivery and directed his header past a helpless Steven Drench.

The goal rallied Bradford, who struck back through Conor Branson just four minutes later... The hosts took the lead in the 74th minute through stand-in skipper Oli Johnson, who raced away from Richards and steered past Hanford from the left-hand side of the box.

The Sandgrounders took just three minutes to produce a response and did so in sensational fashion. A stunning long-range strike from Bauress levelled proceedings after nestling in the bottom corner".

From the other side, Southport relate that "Southport extended their unbeaten run to ten games with a point at leaders Bradford (Park Avenue)...

'I asked questions of the players before the game and I said I would learn more about them today,' said manager Liam Watson. 'It was down to the lads to roll up their sleeves on a horrible day in difficult conditions and that’s what they did. That really makes me proud and it shows that there is a lot of potential in the squad. A cup run brings finances and that gives us the chance to strengthen the squad'...

It was a tight game for the most part with little between the teams".

According to the Chester Standard "A fourth goal in two games by Chester's new goalscoring hero Akwasi Asante ensured the spoils were shared in an entertaining Cheshire derby at Stockport's Edgeley Park.

Asante, who scored a hat-trick on debut last week against Darlington, followed up last week's heroics with another fine display with the Blues feeling they did more than enough to beat the Hatters following a barnstorming second half in which County keeper Ben Hinchcliffe denied Chester again and again after Sam Walker had converted a penalty for the hosts on the stroke of half time...

Jut as Chester looked to be gaining control of the game their momentum was halted half way through the first half when centre back Daniel Livesey limped off and with no defender on the bench had to be replaced by striker Deane Smalley. Despite his height, Smalley immediately looked ill at ease...

Chester settled and with Asante's touch and strength causing untold problems for the Hatters' back four it was hardly a surprise that the big Dutchman was central to the breakthrough as he brought down the ball in the box and with a stunning piece of skill turned and shot with Ben Hinchcliffe making a good save. From the resulting corner the ever industrious Craig Mahon swung in a dangerous ball which flashed across the six yard box, evading Hinchliffe's grasp before finding Asante at the far post who side footed home.

Despite taking what was on balance a deserved lead, Chester looked shaky at the back and vulnerable to Stockport's pace on the break with the unfortunate Smalley sticking out like a sore thumb in the makeshift defence.

A minute before half time the Blues finally paid for Livesey's absence when a free kick from the left by Scott Duxbury was allowed to bounce in the area where it struck Smalley on the arm leaving referee Adam Herczeg little choice but to point to the spot from which Walker made no mistake with the resulting penalty.

With the game evenly poised at half time what followed was disappointing as a series of niggly fouls broke up the play and a lack of entertainment starved the sizeable crowd of 3,000+."

However, Cheshire Live adds that "Chester FC joint-manager Bernard Morley believed his and Anthony Johnson's side 'were robbed' after they were denied three points at Stockport County... [A] dubious penalty was awarded to Stockport on the stroke of half time after substitute Deane Smalley, on in place of the injured Danny Livesey, was deemed to handle the ball by referee Adam Herczog.

But Morley was far from impressed with the performance of Herczog in the 1-1 draw and his decision to award the penalty and then wave away shouts for a similar handball for the opposition late in the game...

'I've got to choose my words wisely here. I feel like we were robbed today,' said Morley. 'I’ve been managing for 10 years and it’s not often that I’ve said that, but it was a game of two halves. I felt the decision in the first half it was, from where I was stood, diabolical. Equally in the second half, he’s had the chance to, if you want to call it even it up, with what I believe is a stonewall penalty. I think he’s controlled it with his arm but he’s not given it.

'We made two fouls in the game and he’s booked two of our players and they’ve made 15 or 16 fouls and he’s not booked a single one. I need to go back to the drawing board and see what the rules are, but I’m really frustrated and all I can say is we’ve been robbed today.'

Livesey hobbled off with a calf injury on 22 minutes and with no defensive cover on the bench the Blues bosses looked to Smalley, a striker, to pay alongside Steve Howson at the heart of the back four. Morley said 'You can never legislate for what happened to Danny today. It was a gamble putting Deane in there, we all know that, a centre forward who’s not really had many minutes, but we believe in him.

'He’s experienced and he’s played at a good level. We asked him just to do the easy things right and, to be fair, he tried to be a little bit clever as soon as [he] came on and got caught, but from that he grew into the game and I think he finished the game really strong. His experience is valuable and I’m disappointed for the boys. I thought in terms of application, heart, desire and determination, they ticked every box today and 100% deserved the three points.'"

8 December 2018


Saturday 8 December, Vanarama National League North
  • Alfreton Town 1-7 Spennymoor Town
  • Altrincham 3-1 AFC Telford United
  • Blyth Spartans 2-0 Ashton United
  • Boston United 2-0 York City
  • Bradford (Park Avenue) 2-2 Southport
  • Darlington 1-2 Nuneaton Borough
  • FC United of Manchester 2-0 Curzon Ashton
  • Guiseley P-P Hereford
  • Kidderminster Harriers 1-0 Brackley Town
  • Leamington 1-1 Chorley
  • Stockport County 1-1 Chester


In advance of Saturday's game at the J. Davidson Stadium against AFC Telford United, a pitch inspection was held at the J Davidson Stadium on Saturday morning. The outcome, as of 11.25am, is that the match goes ahead as planned.


Brian Flynn conducted an interview with Andy White [right] following training on Thursday evening.


According to the Shropshire Star, "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan hopes on-loan winger Brendon Daniels can show what he is about at old club Altrincham tomorrow. The 25-year-old has joined the Bucks for a month from Port Vale, where his deal is due to expire in the New Year.

Daniels (left), who had a spell on loan with the Robins earlier this campaign [see below*], is keen to impress and earn a Vale extension – and Cowan says it is a ‘no-lose’ situation after seeing him shine for Harrogate Town, AFC Fylde and Alfreton Town in non-league over the past few years.

[*Daniels made 4(+3) appearances for Altrincham earlier this season.]

'It’s a no-lose situation for us. He comes in, we have him for a period of time and, if he performs like we know he can, we’re in for a real player on our hands,' said Cowan. 'We’re hoping he can add something to the group. He knows what’s in front of him. It was good to get him some minutes (off the bench against Bradford Park Avenue last weekend). He’s starting to understand our philosophy so it’s good to have him on board.'

Telford go into the clash fifth in National League North, while Altrincham are fourth, both teams upsetting the odds so far.

The Bucks suffered their first home loss of the season last weekend, but Cowan is feeling positive ahead of the trip to Moss Lane.

'It’s going to be a very tough game for us,' added Cowan. 'They’re probably the form team in the league, after our loss to Bradford last weekend. They’re going well, like us. Going back to last weekend, I didn’t think it was unacceptable. We just didn’t have those standards in front of goal. The performance was pretty good, but it was a seven out of 10.

'We’re used to being at eight or nine out of 10, so we want to get back to that at Altrincham. The task for the lads is to find that final part.'"

Mike Garnett reminds us of the previous record against AFC Telford United. As can be seen, Altrincham have yet to beat AFC Telford United though, of course, they have beaten their previous incarnation, Telford United.

  • Home: P3-W0-D1-L2-F2-A5
  • Away: P3-W0-D0-L3-F2-A6
  • All: P6-W0-D1-L5-F4-A11


At FC United of Manchester the club is "delighted to welcome centre-forward Chris Sharp (32) to FC United. The son of ex-Everton forward, Graeme Sharp, joins the Reds from Stalybridge Celtic, and has proven experience at National League North level having been a regular starter for Alfreton Town, Bradford Park Avenue and Stockport County over the past few seasons.

Chris started his career at Rhyl in Wales and went on to sign for Bangor 2008, scoring 33 goals in 41 appearances. In 2010, he signed for TNS and was top scorer in his first season, which included scoring a Champions' League goal against Anderlecht.

At the start of the 2011/12 season, he made the switch to AFC Telford United, where he scored 15 goals for the Bucks, before signing for Hereford United in 2013. Chris made 56 appearances for Hereford before being sent on loan to Lincoln City in 2013. In 2014 he joined Stockport County where he would play 31 times, as well as being called-up to the England C team.

At the start of the 2015/16 season, he moved back to Wales to join Colwyn Bay, though in the November, he was lured to join the revolution at Salford City but, after just a month, moved to Marine FC. In the 2016/17 season he played 42 times for Bradford Park Avenue... Last season he made 28 appearances for Alfreton Town, scoring 7 goals.

Chris moved to Curzon Ashton at the start of this season, but with first-team football not forthcoming at the Tameside stadium, he moved across the borough to join Stalybridge Celtic at the start of September going on to make 19 appearances.

Manager Neil Reynolds said, 'I am delighted to secure the services of Chris Sharp. Chris is a player that I have long admired and was someone I tried to get to the football club in my first week. I have pursued Chris for the last few weeks and I am really happy that he has accepted the chance to play for FC United. He will give us another option and a different dimension to our attacking play'...

Other squad updates: Jamal Crawford has joined Stalybridge on a month’s loan. Mike Jones joins him at Stalybridge on dual registration. Joel Logan has joined Hednesford on a month’s loan"

The Banbury Guardian reports that "Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin will want to avoid back-to-back defeats ahead of the club’s Buildbase FA Trophy tie. Saints go into Saturday’s Vanarama National League North clash at Kidderminster Harriers still smarting from only their second defeat in 16 outings.

It came against in-form Altrincham at St James Park and Saints have now lost ground on the pacesetters.

Wilkin said 'Up to Saturday’s game, we had only lost one in 15 but we hadn’t taken enough points during that run with too many draws. From a winning perspective, we’ve not done enough and that’s why we’ve fallen away in recent games. But we have to keep everything in perspective and realise the quality of the teams we are up against, there is quality above and below us.'

Harriers were the early season pacesetters but have been pegged back in recent weeks... He said 'It was a long time before Kidderminster lost a game but since then they have lost a few in succession. If they had kept going like they were they would have got to the top. They’ve been rocked by recent results but it will still be a tough place to go, it always is. We don’t want to go into the FA Trophy tie with back-to-back defeats. There will be plenty of challenges for us to deal with on Saturday but if we get back to what we’re capable of then there should something in the game for us.

'We’d rather be in this position, trying to prove ourselves week-in, week-out, than at the other end of the table. I knew it would be the toughest test on Saturday so far for us and so it proved. We had a similar record to Altrincham but they were the best side we’ve played. I felt that would be the case before the game and that’s how it panned out.'"

Alfreton Town report "the signing of experienced midfielder Michael Collins. Michael, 32, was the former manager at League One Bradford City in September, where he took charge after his role as the Under 18s Lead Coach; his first team role at Bradford named him as the youngest manager in the Football League.

Michael as a player has featured for Huddersfield Town, Scunthorpe United, Oxford United, Leyton Orient and his most recent club being Halifax Town. Collins signed for the Halifax in December 2017 on a deal until the end of the season. Michael had last played for Leyton Orient in 2016/17 and announced his retirement after leaving the O’s at the end of the season when they were relegated out of the Football League.

However, the midfielder was goaded out of retirement by an offer from his home-town club, signing a contract at Halifax until the end of the 2017/18 season; he was named amongst the starters on his first game.

Billy Heath [commented]... 'We tried to get Michael in the summer before he opted to take on the opportunity at Bradford City. I’ve worked with him before and he provides us with massive experience, it’s a top signing for us. He is a good midfielder and he had a break away from Halifax to get into management but he has always been a fit player so it might take him a few games to get to top level but Michael joining us really adds to our squad in both quality and experience'".

The ML Paper reports that "National League North Player of the Month is David Morgan of Southport. Southport have cleaned up with this month’s awards; new captain David Morgan has capped off a superb month for the Port with the Player of the Month accolade. Having been made skipper of the side at the end of October, the midfield general has gone on to put in a number of dominant performances that has seen the Port fight on three fronts through the month...

National League North Manager of the Month: Liam Watson of Southport. If a week is a long time in football, what about a month? Back in October, Liam Watson didn’t know what to do with himself as Southport’s season just couldn’t get started however hard he tried... But thanks to a brilliant November the club’s painful start is a thing of the past.

Three fantastic away league wins set the tone. Kidderminster Harriers torn apart in front of their own fans before Hereford and Boston United were also well beaten. Port achieved FA Trophy progression too as in-form Chester were eventually seen off, with of course a victory in the FA Cup at home to Boreham Wood."

Meanwhile at Boston United "midfielder Jonathan Wafula has linked up with Matlock Town on a dual registration deal. The 24-year-old, who has scored once in 11 appearances so far this season for the Pilgrims, has joined Dave Frecklington's resurgent Matlock outfit in a quest for regular game time. Wafula will still remain available to United boss Craig Elliott over the festive period should the need arise."

The National League confirms that "Jimmy Ginnelly is the man who has been chosen to perform Nuneaton Borough’s escape act. Ginnelly leaves Barwell after eight years and he replaces Lee Fowler, who took over from Nicky Eaden last month.

Born in the town, the manager says he is up for the challenge of saving his local club. Nuneaton are six points from safety in the National League North. They travel to Darlington on Saturday for his first game at the helm.

Ginnelly, 55, said on the club’s website 'I’m delighted to have this opportunity to manage my home town club. I’ve had success with Stockingford, Atherstone and Barwell and the time is right to try and do the same at the Boro. I’m looking forward to the challenge'...

Chairman Nick Hawkins added 'He has a proven record of over-achieving and a hard working mentality to create success. Hopefully this will be the change in fortunes on the pitch that we need. There's no denying this will be a popular appointment with the fans and, as I've stressed throughout, we are in this together. Jimmy and his team, which will be announced shortly, have a huge task on there hands to keep us in the division, but it's one I think we can achieve'".

We learn from the Lancashire Evening Post that "Jamie Vermiglio has called on Chorley to do what they failed to do last weekend and be prepared to battle from the start at Leamington. His second-placed National League North side drew 1-1 with Boston at Victory Park last time out.

Vermiglio is expecting a physical test tomorrow and says his side need to learn from that draw... He said 'It will be tough. You cannot go to Leamington and just play football and expect to win. You have to roll your sleeves up and be prepared to be in a battle.

'The pitch is not usually the best and they are a big physical side. We will need to do that and I think that is what we did not do against Boston on Saturday. We did not roll our sleeves up quickly enough. They made an impression on the game and we needed to respond, rather than the other way round.

'When we have been good this season it is us who have been taking the game by the scruff of the neck and we have made the other team feel like they need to stand up and be counted. But I think we were quite reactive on Saturday... We need to be up there from the off, not wait until we are invited into the game.'

Vermiglio was pleased to see striker Louis Almond getting his rewards for his work ethic with a goal against Boston. He said 'Louis can be a nightmare for defenders to play against. Unfortunately he has not got as many goals as he would have wanted, but for him to get his goal I think it was just rewards for all the hard work and effort he has been putting in'".

The Chorley Guardian adds that "Chorley FC fans caught being aggressive towards visiting supporters will have to sign a pledge to change their attitude or face a ban from the club.

Lancashire Constabulary has been issuing so-called ‘acceptable behaviour contracts’ after recent incidents 'grabbed the force’s attention' according to Temporary Chief Inspector Gary Crowe. A scrutiny committee at Chorley Council heard that the club was assisting with attempts by police to tackle a small minority of thuggish supporters.

Members were told of one instance in which a home fan tried to 'attack' a rival supporter, directly in front of an officer. 'He couldn’t see the problem,' Ch Insp Crowe said. 'He told my colleague, "It’s just a bit of football rufty-tufty". Well, that’s not how it works in Chorley.'

Anybody identified as having caused a problem will be given a warning about their conduct and invited to sign a commitment to behave themselves in future. If they breach the contract, they could be banned from attending Magpies' matches.

'Chorley FC is aware that some individuals are being a little more lairy than the club is comfortable with,' Ch Insp Crowe said. 'This more loutish element has recently decided to have a little bit of sport with away fans, but we are taking punitive action against them'"

7 December 2018


Altrincham entertain AFC Telford United on Saturday. In advance of that game, the Shropshire Star reports that the "AFC Telford buzz helps the club’s coffers. Interim chairman Andy Pryce says AFC Telford United’s rise up the table has helped improve the club’s financial footing. The Bucks, who have had well-documented money troubles over the past few years, are currently fifth in National League North.

And, while funds are still fairly tight, the improvement under Gavin Cowan has boosted home crowds.

'We are here, and we are OK. Things have been improving,' said Pryce. 'I am not going to say we have a lot of money because we haven’t. Things on the pitch have helped because people want to see a winning team. There is a real buzz around the club, but a lot of hard work goes into things every day. A few people have bought shares, and we are always looking for investment.

'We are having more fans in. Attendances are around 1,150 and hopefully, it will be up to 1,200 to 1,250 by the end of the year and we had the odd game, like Hereford, where we had 1,800. We are going the right way, and we believe in the process.'

For the second game running, Altrincham are playing the club immediately below them in the league table. After last Saturday's encounter with Brackley Town, this time around the opposition is fifth-place AFC Telford United. The Bucks are below Alty on goal difference but have played a game more. Their games have tended to be tight this season with just 24 goals scored and 22 conceded in 19 matches. Apart from Chorley, they are the only team in the division that Altrincham have not yet faced this season in either the league or FA Cup.

Their main strike threat comes from 22 year-old Nigerian striker Daniel Udoh who graduated through the Luton Town youth system before having a spell at Stevenage. He joined Kidderminster Harriers in 2014, from where he went on loan to Ilkeston. Crewe Alexandra then signed him and whilst there he enjoyed a productive spell on loan at Leamington. He joined Telford following his release by Crewe in summer 2018.

Altrincham last encountered Udoh when he played against them as the Robins defeated Halesowen Town 3-0 at Moss Lane in October 2017. His other encounters with Alty include being a substitute for Crewe Alexandra in a pre-season game in 2016.


Altrincham FC chairman, Grahame Rowley, will be sponsoring Zoe Taylor as he cuts off her hair at Saturday's match against AFC Telford United. He is sponsoring Zoe to the tune of £100 for the benefit of the Little Princess Trust, a charity which provides wigs for children undergoing cancer treatment.

The Little Princess Charity, which has been awarded the MBE for volunteer groups, adds that "The Little Princess Trust provides real-hair wigs, free of charge, to children and young people up to the age of 24 that have sadly lost their own hair due to cancer treatment and other illnesses".


The Sale & Altrincham Messenger carries John Edwards's interview with Altrincham assistant manager, Neil Sorvel. Discussing the win at Brackley, the article includes Neil's view that 'That was probably a big statement today. They are the highest-ranked team from last season still in the division, and they won the FA Trophy, so it was always going to be a big ask for us...We thoroughly deserved the points and we’re delighted with that.

'Jake Moult does a great job for us, both defensively and offensively, in terms of keeping possession. He fills gaps, screens the back four and wins headers, but he gets us playing as well as the link through midfield. That holding midfield role gets derided a bit, as I know from playing there myself, but it is valuable to the team... It’s going really well at the moment and long may that continue.'

James Poole [right] and Sean Williams are still not quite ready to return from injury, as Alty face promotion rivals AFC Telford United at home on Saturday."


In the Hallmark Security League the Reusch Goalkeeper of the Month for November is an ex-Alty man, Craig Ellison. "During November, Craig maintained the high standards he set over the opening three months, and kept five clean sheets out of six matches played and only conceded one in the other game".

Following a clean sheet against Ashton Athletic "Altrincham away in the Cheshire Senior Cup presented more of a problem with Craig forced to make two smart saves early on as the hosts pressed. With the Bears 2-0 up at half time, on the hour mark Craig made a crucial double save from close range to deny Alty their chance to get back into the game. His "form in the opening months of the campaign sees him gain his third Reusch Goalkeeper of the Month award this season."


The Coventry Evening Telegraph reports that "Nuneaton Borough’s boss has left the club after a reign of just two games. It has been announced that Lee Fowler, who only took over as manager on Thursday, November 22, has left the club by 'mutual consent'. Fowler had only been in the hot seat for two weeks and that included two matches; a 3-0 FA Trophy defeat away to Brackley Town and a 3-1 home defeat to Blyth Spartans in the league.

But the club says it expects to announce a new manager ahead of the trip to Darlington on Saturday. Chairman Nick Hawkins said 'We were hoping for an immediate lift when Lee took over as manager. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, it hasn't happened. He's a great motivator, a very good coach and has been a pleasure to work with day in, day out'.

He went on 'We all know how difficult a task it has been here and people have seen his effort and application, that he doesn't fold under pressure and that whatever the circumstance, he just knuckles down and gets on with things. In the right conditions he'll thrive, we're very disappointed to be losing him.'"

Lee Fowler took over as manager from Nicky Eaden, who he had been assistant to since the summer. When the pair came in the club had virtually no staff in place and had to build a squad two months after their counterparts had concluded their pre-season plans. Fowler was keen to thank the club for its support... 'Managers and players come and go but the club is always bigger than any individual and considering how close we came to losing the club, I'm proud to have been part of what was achieved in keeping the Boro afloat. I've worked under extremely difficult circumstances and have continually given my all, but, after discussions with Nick, we felt it was best to move forward to try and keep the club in the division with a new appointment'".


The Coventry Evening Telegraph reports that "Nuneaton Borough’s boss has left the club after a reign of just two games. It has been announced that Lee Fowler, who only took over as manager on Thursday, November 22, has left the club by 'mutual consent'. Fowler had only been in the hot seat for two weeks and that included two matches; a 3-0 FA Trophy defeat away to Brackley Town and a 3-1 home defeat to Blyth Spartans in the league.

But the club says it expects to announce a new manager ahead of the trip to Darlington on Saturday. Chairman Nick Hawkins said 'We were hoping for an immediate lift when Lee took over as manager. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, it hasn't happened. He's a great motivator, a very good coach and has been a pleasure to work with day in, day out'.

He went on 'We all know how difficult a task it has been here and people have seen his effort and application, that he doesn't fold under pressure and that whatever the circumstance, he just knuckles down and gets on with things. In the right conditions he'll thrive, we're very disappointed to be losing him.'"

Lee Fowler took over as manager from Nicky Eaden, who he had been assistant to since the summer. When the pair came in the club had virtually no staff in place and had to build a squad two months after their counterparts had concluded their pre-season plans. Fowler was keen to thank the club for its support... 'Managers and players come and go but the club is always bigger than any individual and considering how close we came to losing the club, I'm proud to have been part of what was achieved in keeping the Boro afloat. I've worked under extremely difficult circumstances and have continually given my all, but, after discussions with Nick, we felt it was best to move forward to try and keep the club in the division with a new appointment'".

Hereford FC "report that the loan of Kyle Finn has been extended up to and including the 5th January 2019. Finn has made six appearances for The Bulls since arriving on an initial one-month loan deal, his performance during the 2-1 win over Alfreton Town saw the Coventry City youngster named in the National League North Team of the Week."

At Boston United "On-loan Harrogate Town attacker Jordan Thewlis will play no further part in his loan spell. The 26-year-old was stretchered off just 21 minutes into his United debut at Chorley at the weekend and the damage has since been confirmed as an avulsion fracture and ligament damage to his left ankle. He will technically remain on loan with the Pilgrims until New Year's Day but will be undergoing treatment and rehab with his parent club."

And the National League adds that "Boston United manager Craig Elliott has challenged his players to start producing away performances in front of their home fans. The Pilgrims boss is impressed with his team’s displays on the road. But at York Street it’s a different matter. They have lost their last two home games to Brackley and Southport...

York City are the visitors on Saturday and the manager isn’t taking the Minstermen’s current position for granted.

'It’s good to be disappointed to only get a point at Chorley but we now need to try and get wins and performances in place at home because our away record has been pretty decent,' Elliott told Lincolnshire Live. 'It’s a big game against a big team in York and it’s important to try and put on a performance for the fans. It’s a hard month, but we have got off to a half-decent start and hopefully we can build on it.'"

Bradford (Park Avenue) "will be looking to tighten their grip on top spot after retaining it with a 2-0 win over AFC Telford United last Saturday. Mark Bower’s side return to the Horsfall Stadium for the first time in three weeks to host a Southport side that are hovering precariously over the relegation zone.

The Sandgrounders, however, have embarked on a tremendous run of form after a difficult start to the campaign. Saturday’s opponents haven’t lost since October, completing a 4-1 rout of Kidderminster Harriers and knocking Boreham Wood out of the Emirates FA Cup along the way. Despite their recent results, the Port will be wary of a Bradford side that have set the standard in the Vanarama National League North. Their ascension to the league summit has been a fascinating one to watch and they put in-form Telford to the sword in convincing fashion last week.

Mark Bower faces a selection headache ahead of the game after several changes were made in the victory at New Buck's Head. Mark Ross deputised in the heart of defence and shone in Shane Killock’s absence, whilst Jamie Spencer will be pushing for a recall after stepping off the bench and notching Bradford’s second".

Also in Yorkshire, Guiseley report that "The Lions return to league action on Saturday with a first-ever visit from Hereford. League games have been rare of late for The Lions with the last coming against Spennymoor Town on 17th November just 9 days shy of a month ago come kick-off on Saturday. Focus has been on the Emirates FA Cup campaign which sadly came to an end on Monday night with a 2-1 defeat to Fleetwood Town. Coupled with the start of our involvement in the Buildbase FA Trophy [it] has lead to a glut of cup games.

Hereford however picked up their first league win since 14th August on Saturday beating Alfreton 2-1... The Bulls have picked up their form of late under Tim Harris’s management...

Speaking after the Emirates FA Cup second round defeat Marcus Bignot said 'It was a close cup game, we were on the wrong end of the half-time scoreline we could have gone in ahead... We have run a very good League One team close and we were always in the game... I was delighted for Alex Purver. There’s no secret he was really despondent with the football club in the summer in terms of the way it was going and himself personally but since we have come in he has embraced everything we want to do and he will be a huge part of us moving forward'...

The Joint First Team Manager added 'Ultimately we are going to be judged on the league, it is important we learn from these losses'...

Alex Purver will go down in the history books for being the first ever Guiseley AFC player to score a goal in the Emirates FA Cup second round and what a goal it was! When asked about the game as a whole Purver said 'I think especially in the first half we pushed them and were the better team, obviously two mistakes for the goals we have conceded but I was happy to score. I am massively disappointed as I think the game was there for us...

'It has been a long time since we have played in the league and I am really looking forward to getting back into it, we are in a position where I don’t feel it represents how we have been playing this season.'”

6 December 2018


On Saturday, 8 December, Altrincham entertain AFC Telford United at the J. Davidson Stadium.

Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records chronicle previous Altrincham matches played on that calendar date.

The most recent such encounter was six years ago, in 2012, at Moss Lane, when Altrincham lost 0-1 to Gainsborough Trinity. That was a match in which Altrincham were the better side in a goalless first-half. Some wild shooting by Ryan Brooke and Paddy Lacey offset some good approach play by Alty with Jordan Sinnott having a promising debut.

Right: Damian Reeves and Jordan Sinnott form a two-man wall as Jake Moult and Shaun Densmore provide back-up cover in the 2012 game at Moss Lane.

In a second half, played in pouring rain, the deadlock continued with few real chances. Then, against the run of play, Barraclough jinked into space and scored with a low shot (74 mins). Alty dominated the closing stages but could not score and paid the price for failing to take any of their chances.

For the match Carl Rodgers and James Lawrie were back after injury, but were named on the bench, where they were joined by Duncan Watmore as Alty opted for new loan-signing Jordan Sinnott on the right and Patrick Lacey replacing Simon Richman in central midfield. Richman was suffering from complications from a throat infection. Centre-back Danny Hall was suspended and striker Danny Mitchley was unavailable as he had gone out on loan to Marine. So, Alty could muster only four names on the bench.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 4. Patrick LACEY, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Scott LEATHER, 7. Jordan SINNOTT, 8. Jake MOULT, 9. Ryan BROOKE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 14. Carl RODGERS, 16. Duncan WATMORE, 15. James LAWRIE, 18. Adam REID (gk)


Cheshire Live reports that "Former Chester City player and manager Graham Barrow does not want the Wrexham boss's job on a permanent basis. The 64-year-old is currently in interim charge of the Dragons after Sam Ricketts left the Racecourse Ground earlier this week to take up the manager's job at League One side Shrewsbury Town. Barrow had been assistant to Ricketts after the former Wales international was appointed as boss in May.

Left: Graham Barrow (right) with John King.

And though he is now in the job in a temporary capacity, he does not envisage becoming the next permanent manager of the National League side.

He told the BBC 'I enjoy what I'm doing but I don't enjoy some of the stuff that goes along with management. I prefer to be on the training pitch and in the dressing room and helping the manager. It's a dream position. Everybody knows the club is in a healthy position on and off the field. I think there will be a queue around the stadium if it was advertised...

'They've taken managers on here and they've moved on to Football League clubs so their recruitment has been good. But they've also paid the price for it as well.'

As a player for the Blues, signed by the late, great Harry McNally in 1986, Barrow made almost 250 appearances in an eight-year spell. He also had several spells as manager, first combining it with his playing career as an assistant to McNally, before taking up the role between 1992 and 1994. He returned in 2000 but was dismissed the following year, before returning once more in 2006 as assistant to manager Mark Wright, but the duo were sacked in April 2007."


According to the National League, "Over half the league are averaging over 1,000 fans per game this season so far...

Hereford fans have been more than loyal this season despite their less than perfect form. An average of 1,937 supporters has pitched up at Edgar Street this season. Stockport County are one of the league's form sides and their fan numbers reflect that, Jim Gannon's men getting over 2,000 bums on seats and actually have the sixth best average in the entire National League.

There's not much to pick between the previous leaders with just a few hundred fans separating Chester, Kidderminster Harriers and Chorley.

  • 1. Stockport County 2,425
  • 2. Hereford 1,937
  • 3. York City 1,865
  • 4. FC United of Manchester 1,838
  • 5. Chester 1,565
  • 6. Darlington 1,319
  • 7. Kidderminster Harriers 1,313
  • 8. Chorley 1,237
  • 9. Altrincham 1,191
  • 10: AFC Telford United 1,180
  • 11. Boston United 1,150
  • 12. Southport 1,097
  • 13. Alfreton Town 1,031
  • 13. Leamington 1,010
  • 15. Spennymoor Town 995
  • 16. Guiseley 985
  • 17. Blyth Spartans 980
  • 18. Bradford (Park Avenue) 919
  • 19. Brackley Town 787
  • 20. Curzon Ashton 764
  • 21. Nuneaton Borough 758
  • 22. Ashton United 752


The National League reports that "Curzon Ashton were flying the flag for the National League at the Football Supporters' Federation awards, taking home the Community Club accolade. Curzon saw off competition from many big names to secure the award. Andrew Cheshire, one of a number of people who give their time to the cause, says... 'As a community club, this award is recognition of the enthusiasm and effort that every single member of the club puts in on a daily basis to be of benefit to our local community. It’s lovely to be recognised nationally for the work that is ongoing in Tameside, of which none would be possible without our partners, our volunteers and the small team of staff that we have'".

News of Altrincham's next opponents is to be found in the Shropshire Star, which reports that "AFC Telford boss Gavin Cowan has been impressed with Ryan Barnett’s impact but is looking to take the Shrewsbury loanee to the next level.

Attacker Barnett, 19, gave his brightest display in a Bucks' shirt to date in a 30-minute appearance from the bench in defeat to leaders Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday. He is yet to start a game for the New Buck's Head side but, despite his initial month-long loan finishing next week, Cowan believes the youngster can progress.

'He’s a very good player, that’s why I brought him in,' Cowan said of the Wellington-born youngster. 'He’s extremely good in possession. He’s got a lot to learn out of possession, but you can see he’s got another level to go to. He came on to take his opportunity and he’s impressed again, so it’s another chance for us to assess the team going into next week.'

Town academy graduates Ryan Sears, John McAtee and Barnett have spent time with the Bucks this term and Cowan believes such loans are ideal for development. He added on links with former side Shrewsbury, 'I’ve always been keen to try to establish a good relationship with them. They’re my old club and the reason I moved to Shropshire really. It’s important a club like theirs and a club like ours have a good relationship. I understand the rivalry, but we’re on completely different levels at the moment so there’s no need for that to come between anything. Whatever we can do to help them develop some of the younger players, like Ryan who has helped us, that’ll be great.'"

And NL Daily reports that "Curzon Ashton have announced the appointment of Will Ryder as assistant manager. With over 15 years experience in the professional and semi-pro game, Ryder brings a wealth of knowledge to his new role at the Nash, having previously held positions at Manchester City, Stoke City and Wigan Athletic as well as [having had] a playing career at a number of non-league clubs....

Manager Mark Bradshaw said 'I appointed Will as Assistant Manager as I feel he will bring new, modern ideas to the role and it will give the players a new face at the club... He is a highly qualified coach and coach tutor who came with high recommendations from several people within the pro game'".

And the Shropshire Star adds that "Gavin Cowan feels ‘unorthodox’ attacker Yusifu Ceesay can spring a surprise on AFC Telford United’s rivals. The Telford boss brought in former non-league star Ceesay on loan from League One Blackpool last week but he is yet to make his Bucks' bow after remaining an unused substitute in Saturday’s defeat to Bradford Park Avenue.

The 23-year-old Spaniard, who made his name in non-league for the likes of Smethwick, Sporting Khalsa and Alvechurch, sealed a move to the professional game in September by penning a two-year deal with the Seasiders. And Telford boss Cowan feels the pacy attacker’s unpredictability will be an asset to his high-flying side.

'He’s very quick, very direct, very unorthodox,' said Cowan of his latest capture, who is with Telford on a one-month loan deal. 'I think he’s one of those where you never really know what you’re going to get from him. But we believe, having seen what we’ve seen, that you can get something positive out of him.'"

The Kidderminster Shuttle advises that "Kidderminster Harriers Football Club Ltd, the company behind the town's football team, have warded off moves to wind them up over unpaid tax by paying up before the court hearing. HM Revenue & Customs had lodged a petition at the Insolvency and Companies Court seeking the company's winding up over an unpaid tax bill for an undisclosed amount....

The barrister for HMRC told Chief Registrar Judge Nicholas Briggs on Wednesday that the debt had now been paid in full and a result he asked for the winding up petition to be dismissed. The judge agreed and dismissed the petition. If the move to wind up the company had succeeded, its affairs would effectively have been handed over to an official receiver. His job would then have been to do his best to ensure that debts are paid off by selling any assets available and then bringing business to a close.

A spokesman from Kidderminster Harriers said, 'This relates simply to a cashflow issue, one that almost any club in the country experiences. We'd reiterate that the matter never reached the stage of a formal hearing and never would have. Our Tax and PAYE commitments to HMRC are fully up to date so on that front there is absolutely no concern.'"

5 December 2018


The official Altrincham FC site reports that Altrincham have signed AFC Fylde's 27 year-old winger Ashley Hemmings on a one-month loan. AFC Fylde reported on Tuesday that "Forward Ashley Hemmings has today joined Vanarama National League North side Altrincham on loan. Hemmings was signed in the summer from Salford City, just two months after joining them from National League North side Boston United.

Hemmings has been regularly featured in the side this season, appearing 17 times, with 14 of these appearances being from the bench... The loan move provides Hemmings with the chance to gain more first-team opportunities over a busy festive fixture [schedule]. His short-term loan will run until January 14th, although AFC Fylde have the option to shorten it to a 28-day loan should circumstances require".

After starting out at Wolverhampton Wanderers (2009-12), for whom he made two appearances, Lewisham-born Hemmings had loan spells at Cheltenham Town (2009), Toruqay United (2010/11) and Plymouth Argyle (2011/12). He racked up 33 appearances in that period, 23 of those games being for Plymouth.

2012-14 saw him at Walsall, where he made 56 appearances but, after a loan at Burton Albion (2014), he joined Dagenham and Redbridge (2014-16), for whom he played 80 times. Mansfield Town (2016/17) and Boston United (2017/18) were his next employers before his move to Salford City (2018) and then AFC Fylde. He was also an England under-17 international.

On a less serious note, Ashley becomes the eighth current Altrincham player whose surname starts with the letter "H" after Connor Hampson, Josh Hancock, Tom Hannigan, Callum Harris, Ben Harrison, Max Harrop and Jordan Hulme!

Meanwhile, Altrincham centre-back Liam Goulding (above, left), who has recently been on loan at Witton Albion is now starting a loan spell at Ashton United. Liam played the entire game for Ashton on Tuesday night in their defeat by Alfreton Town (see below).


The last time AFC Telford United played a league match at the J Davidson Stadium was on 22 October 2016 in the Vanarama National League North when the visitors won 2-0.

The website reported at the time that "A very poor performance from Altrincham saw them fortunate to go in at half-time just 0-1 behind, after the visitors had hit the woodwork three times. Telford had taken the lead in the 24th minute when, following a throw-in, Goodall missed the ball and McCarthy drove his shot past Deasy. Goodall was withdrawn before the interval as Altrincham continued to labour.

Telford's second goal arrived in the 58th minute when Reid caught Deasy in no-man's land and lobbed him from wide-right of goal, outside the box. Despite changing to a back three and pushing men forward, Altrincham made little impact and could not complain at the outcome".

On that occasion the gate was 1,074 with 76 in the away end. Andy McWilliams made his Alty debut after joining the club in midweek. Tom Hannigan was out, suspended, but Danny Hall returned to the squad after injury. Luca Havern and Sean Williams [now back at Altrincham] were two ex-Alty men in the Telford eleven.

Right: Alan Goodall and Andy McWilliams seen during the 2016 game between the two clubs.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tim DEASY 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Andy McWILLIAMS, 4. Jake MOULT, 5. John CYRUS, 6. Alan GOODALL (c), 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Greg WILKINSON, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Sean MILLER. Subs: 12. Craig HOBSON, 14. Phil MARSH, 15. Danny HALL, 16. Billy HASLER-CREGG, 20. Andrew DAWBER.

AFC TELFORD UNITED: 1. James Montgomery, 2. James Hurst, 3. Ben O'Hanlon, 4. Ben Bailey, 5. Paul McCone, 6. Luca Havern (capt), 7. Jonathan Royle, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Bradley Reid, 10. Connor McCarthy, 11. Jack Rea. Subs: 15. Josh Wilson, 12. Danny Reynolds, 14. Dwayne Samuels, 16. Jordan Sangha, 17. Alfie Crooks.

Sean Williams, who faced Alty in the 2016 game may be involved against his former employers this Saturday, as he recovers from injury.


Tuesday 4 December, Vanarama National League North
  • Ashton United 0-2 Alfreton Town - att. 154!
  • York City 2-2 Leamington - att. 1,938


Altrincham FC will be visiting Alsager Town on Tuesday, 11th December to play a friendly, which kicks-off at 7.45pm. Admission will be £3.

Tuesday's match is likely to be a tighter match than Altrincham's last encounter with the Bullets, which was in a Cheshire Senior Cup Semi-Final in February 2011, at Moss Lane. Alty won that one 12-1, thanks to goals by Robbie Williams 12 minutes, Clee 22, Baynes 26,57,77,82 Beesley 35,36, Hewson 64,67 and Wedgbury 80,86.


Tranmere Rovers announce that "Rovers' FA Cup second round replay at Southport will be shown live on BT Sport on Monday 17th December, 7.45pm kick-off at the Merseyrail Community Stadium. Rovers will travel to the Sandgrounders knowing a victory will seal a third round place in the prestigious competition against Premier League outfit, Tottenham Hotspur".

The National League adds that the "tie was interesting enough already before the draw for the Third Round was made. The winner of the game will welcome Premier League powerhouses Tottenham Hotspur in January. Southport earned the chance thanks to a brilliant performance at Prenton Park on Sunday.

Manager Liam Watson said 'I couldn’t be prouder of the players. They were absolutely magnificent. We fully deserved it all well and the lads should rightly be thrilled by what they have done'".


Before Tuesday's match, York Press reported that "Leamington will travel to York City as one of National League North’s three most in-form teams. The 11th-placed Brakes, along with Altrincham and Blyth, who currently lie fourth and tenth respectively, have won their last four contests; a 2-1 FA Trophy home win against Witton Albion being preceded by league triumphs over Alfreton (2-1), Chester (1-0) and Nuneaton (2-0).

It is a run that places Paul Holleran’s men within one game of setting a new club record, having never racked up four consecutive league successes during their four-season stint, over two separate spells, at sixth-tier level. Ex-Kings Norton, Solihull Borough, Halesowen Town and Rushall Olympic manager Holleran is now enjoying his tenth season in charge of Leamington.

Since he took the reins at the Warwickshire spa-town club, City have had seven different permanent managers - Martin Foyle, Gary Mills (twice), Nigel Worthington, Russ Wilcox, Jackie McNamara, Martin Gray and Sam Collins, as well as three caretaker chiefs in Andy Porter, Steve Torpey and Richard Cresswell, making for ten in total.

Holleran’s team, who lie seven points adrift of the play-off positions and eight clear of the relegation zone, have scored in all nine of their away games this term, prior to this tonight’s North Yorkshire visit and that sequence stretches to 11 if last season is taken into account with the last time Leamington failed to net on the road [being] eight months ago during a 1-0 loss at Bradford Park Avenue.

The Brakes’ top scorer, meanwhile, is still Matt Stenson on eight goals despite his October move to National League Solihull Moors. Jack Edwards has the next highest tally with five, although former Notts County forward Colby Bishop has hit the target four times in six games since his return to the team. Leamington have enjoyed four away victories this season, although all have come against teams outside the top-nine places with Alfreton, Nuneaton, Blyth and FC United of Manchester their victims."

Also in advance if Tuesday's games, Alfreton Town were looking "for an immediate response to Saturday's poor defeat as we head to Hurst Cross to face Ashton United... After a hugely damaging defeat on Saturday to then second bottom Hereford, the Reds arrive at Hurst Cross certainly knowing that tonight's contest is 'must win'.

After starting the game fairly well on Saturday, the Reds fell behind after 18 minutes after a cross found its way to Symons, a yard out, after Sam Ramsbottom parried; the striker converted to give the hosts the perfect start. We clawed our way back into the game on 87 minutes thanks to Craig Hobson's header from a Reece Styche cross only to concede another last-minute penalty in stoppage time.

Roberts stepped up and scored to give the Bulls a deserved win and a first league win since August. It was another poor result for Alfreton who, with the quality of the side, should be challenging for the play-offs but league form has been a struggle and it was another set back on Saturday. We head into tonight's game with just one win in our last nine games in all competitions and one win in our last ten league games which came against Nuneaton in mid-November.

The Reds haven't won on the road in the league in our last five outings with our last away win coming in September at Darlington (0-1)... Ashton head into the game this evening having lost their last two games in all competitions, to Boston United in the FA Trophy at Hurst Cross 0-5 and at Bradford (Park Avenue) 3-2 in the league two weeks ago. The Robins are unbeaten in their last three league games at home but their most recent home outing was that defeat at home to Boston in the Trophy."


The News & Star reports that "Workington Reds' runs in the two main knock-out competitions this season have been life-savers for a club floundering near the bottom of the Evo-Stik Premier League.

Reds have so far banked £12,250 from the FA Trophy, with power to add, while another £15,000 was netted from the FA Cup run. Without those extra incomes, the club admits it would have been in a perilous state, given that the average crowds have fallen to their lowest level in six years.

After nine home league games the average attendance is just 324, around 200 less than the break-even figure which has not been achieved yet in an Evo-Stik fixture. The only time that was reached came in the FA Cup tie when 558 watched the home tie with Kidsgrove Athletic which finished 0-0. Reds lost the replay 2-1 after extra-time.

When Reds were relegated from National North at the end of the 2013/14 season, the average attendance was 356. For the first time since then, it has fallen below that figure this season. The average home crowd in 2014/15, when Reds finished runners-up in the league, was 548. A year later, when they again made the play-offs, the average crowd was 517. A third play-off followed in 2016/17 and the average crowd had dipped to 450, disappointing but manageable.

The decline in attendances continued last season when Reds slipped from second in the league at Christmas to finish 11th in the final table and the crowds had dwindled to an average of 381.

Although the league position is the one that needs to be improved with a string of good results, the club clearly has to have an eye on the home game with Ramsbottom on December 15 when the FA Trophy first round proper tie offers £6,000 to the winners. Victory then would take Reds’ knock-out earnings over the £30,000 mark and, in view of the falling attendances, its value cannot be over-estimated.

Only 301 watched Reds produce their best second-half performance so far, turning a 2-1 half-time deficit into a 4-2 win on Saturday. Best supported club in the league this season is South Shields, newcomers to the competition, who can boast an average home crowd of 1,418. They are followed by Scarborough Athletic on 1,177. If Reds could pull home gates like those, their financial problems would be taken care of".

4 December 2018


Altrincham's away match at Chorley, postponed from 20 October due to our involvement in the FA Cup, has been rescheduled for Tuesday 8 January at 7.45pm. This will now be the fourth away game in a sequence of five league fixtures starting on Boxing Day.


Altrincham's next opponents, AFC Telford United, report on their defeat last Saturday. "Bradford Park Avenue brought an end to AFC Telford United’s 11 game unbeaten home run as Mark Bower’s men turned over the Bucks two goals to nil in this top of the table clash.

League leaders Bradford extended their unbeaten run to seven games... with two second half counter attacking goals proving the difference. In a tight affair, the away side took 52 minutes to break the deadlock, Jake Beasley’s close-range shot was parried by Andy Wycherley but only to the feet of Lewis Knight who slotted the ball into an empty net...

Substitute Jamie Spencer then put the nail in the Bucks’ coffin in the 92nd minute, Beasley won the tussle with Bucks captain Shane Sutton on the left wing before squaring the ball to Spencer for a simple finish.

Telford were fast out the blocks, Daniel Udoh rolled his defender on the edge of the penalty area only to scuff his effort at goalkeeper Steven Drench within the opening seconds of the game. Bradford were wary of the Nigerian forward, who has netted eight times this season for the Bucks and set up to give him a troublesome afternoon, being fouled six times by the Avenue...

Bucks fans saw one of their two new signings in action this afternoon as electric left-winger Brendon Daniels came off the bench in the 78th minute for Amari Morgan-Smith. Daniels had an instant impact on the game and showcased his pace to the Bucks fans, blistering down the left wing...

Fellow new signing Yusifu Ceesau didn’t make it off the bench against league leaders Bradford but will be itching for a chance to prove himself against Altrincham on Saturday. The defeat sees Telford drop to fifth position in the National League North, but next week’s opponents Altrincham sit above them in fourth, the perfect opportunity for Gavin Cowan’s men to bounce back."

The Shropshire Star adds that "AFC Telford United chief Gavin Cowan has called for his players to get back to their usual high standards following an ‘unacceptable’ display... Cowan felt Telford let themselves down and wants a reaction at Altrincham this coming weekend.

'For the standards that we’ve set, I suppose the term is "unacceptable” said Cowan, after the first New Buck's Head defeat of the season. 'It was unacceptable from our perspective, but I take nothing away from Bradford. Teams are coming here with a different mindset. Bradford changed their game here. But from our perspective, we let ourselves down. I’ve asked if anyone is unsure on whether they believe in our footballing philosophy, and the answer was no. They just didn’t do it (on Saturday).'"


Altrincham FC has announced that the club is promoting an 'Early Bird' offer to all supporters, both home and away, between 1pm and 2pm for our game next Saturday vs AFC Telford. There will be pie, mash, peas and gravy or pie, chips, peas and gravy available for the reduced price of £4 as well as a 'Two pints for £5' at the Community Sports Hall bar. A wide selection of alternatives is available; just call in and take your pick

Entry to the ground for this 'Early Bird' offer will be via Turnstile 5 at the front of the ground on Moss Lane.

Also, showing on the big screens will be the National League game between Boreham Wood and Leyton Orient. Following our game we will also be showing the Chelsea vs Manchester City game. So, why not stay around for a drink and watch this top of the table clash?"


Altrincham FC is offering supporters half-season tickets. "Starting with the epic clash with local rivals Stockport on New Year’s Day, the half-season ticket entitles you to entry for the remaining ten matches of the season. Prices are as follows:
  • Adults: £100
  • Concessions: £80
  • Juniors (12-16): £25
  • Under-12s: £10


The National League reports that "Graham Barrow thanked the Wrexham fans for helping the team through a challenging day. The National League title chasers announced before Saturday’s FA Cup game with Newport County that manager Sam Ricketts wouldn’t attend the tie. The decision was made following intense speculation that he is in line for the Shrewsbury Town job.

Wrexham fans responded and lifted their side... Neither side could break the deadlock but stand in boss Barrow was quick to credit the Racecourse faithful.

'It’s been a tough day and it’s a bit sad that it came to that,' he told the club’s website. 'When they asked me to take the match there was never a second thought. The passion about the club has always impressed me, so I was only too pleased; I just wish it was different circumstances'".

NL Daily reports that "FC Halifax have announced that midfielder Simon Lenighan (right) has left the club. He made 12 starts for the Shaymen and one substitute appearance after joining Town in August 2018. Lenighan is a former Leeds United youngster who has spent time with Alfreton Town, Rotherham United, Altrincham and Guiseley in his career to date".


Emirates FA Cup Round Two:
  • Guiseley 1-2 Fleetwood Town

The Third Round draw in the Emirates FA Cup included...

  • Southport or Tranmere Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur


At Hereford FC "Keyon Reffell continues to work hard on his rehabilitation following an operation on his foot injury that the Bulls midfielder suffered in pre-season, he underwent surgery in October.

Reffell currently undergoes rehab work with Bulls Sports Therapist Jonny Evans at training each week which includes strength and conditioning work in the gym, and Keyon also has sessions with physiotherapist Jonny Harper... Keyon was in a protective air-cast boot for 6-weeks following the operation, but is now walking without the cast.

Head of Football Tim Harris says... 'He’s extremely positive and very determined, he’s putting a lot of effort into his rehabilitation and he can’t wait to get back and playing. I think it’s too early at the moment to put a date on when he will be back'...

Treatment... has included running on an anti-gravity treadmill, the treadmill allows the injured athlete to train at just 20% of their actual weight. In Keyon’s case, this means that he can undergo an aerobic workout without risking further injury to his damaged foot".

The National League adds that "It's been a long wait but Hereford finally claimed all three points in a league game. The Bulls beat Alfreton Town 2-1 with a last-gasp penalty, their first National League North win since beating Leamington by the same scoreline on August 14.

It looked to be one of those days when Craig Hobson equalised three minutes from time for the away side but a James Roberts penalty snatched the win for Marc Richards's side.

'It does feel good, I'm not going to lie,' Richards told the club's YouTube service after the game. 'It had been coming and it's just good to get over the line. When we conceded the equaliser I was worried we would crumble so it's really pleasing to see the players get through it and get the penalty'".

NL Daily informs us that "Nuneaton Borough have announced that midfielder Michael Tweed has joined Leicester Road on loan. The arrangement for Tweed is initially for a month. He has made seven appearances for the Boro’ this season and had a successful loan spell with Romulus FC".

The National League North team of the weekend included two Alty players in the squad...

  • Goalkeeper: George Willis (Boston United)
  • Defenders: Tom Hannigan (Altrincham), Spencer Harris (Boston United), Andy Teague (Chorley), Luca Havern (Bradford PA)
  • Midfielders: Jarrett Rivers (Blyth Spartans), Nicky Clee (Bradford PA), Adriano Moke (York City), Kyle Finn (Hereford)
  • Strikers: Akwasi Asante (Chester FC), Dan Maguire (Blyth Spartans)
  • Substitutes: Danny Livesey (Chester FC), Simon Richman (Altrincham), Tom Owen-Evans (Hereford), Lewis Knight (Bradford PA), Adam Bartlett (York City)
  • Manager of the Weekend: Mark Bower (Bradford PA)

Not for the first time this season, and probably not for the last time either, the Park Avenue manager won the big 3rd vs 1st game at AFC Telford with a bit to spare. They remain the surprise leaders".

Meanwhile, at Alfreton Town the club is "delighted to confirm the loan signing of defender Adam Curry from Hull City until January 1st and winger Danny O’Brien until the end of the season.

Adam, 21, joined Hull City from South Shields in November 2015 and, after recovering from a long-term injury, has been a regular feature in City’s Under 23s set up. He signed a new one-year deal with the Tigers in May 2018... Bench appearances for league fixtures against Leeds, Blackburn and Stoke have all come for Adam this season.

Curry has also had spells at both Boston United and Spennymoor Town in the 2017/18 season so will be no stranger to the National League North.

Danny, 22, joins us after starting his career at Aston Villa, before joining Wigan Athletic... Loan spells at Wrexham and Chester followed in 2015 before making his senior debut for Wigan in August 2016... A return to Chester for a second loan spell came in January 2017 before Danny would move abroad to Finland after being recalled and released by Wigan...

Manager Billy Heath said... 'Adam and Danny joining us are big additions into the squad. Adam has been training with Hull City’s first team ever since pre-season... He can play at left back and centre back and is still a young lad at 21. He has National League North experience too after a few spells in this league. We have some defensive injuries at the moment so its important to cover that and in turn cover that with quality...

'Danny... is a skilful player also with experience and quality and it’s a solid signing for us.'" Boston United, "have bolstered their attacking options with the acquisition of Harrogate Town forward Jordan Thewlis. The 26-year-old, who started for Harrogate in their National League defeat to Salford City on Tuesday evening, has linked up with the Pilgrims on an initial month’s loan. His loan period will run until New Year’s Day and he links up with fellow Harrogate man Liam Agnew at The Jakemans Stadium".

FC United of Manchester "have brought left-back Caleb Richards to the club on loan from Norwich City until 6th January 2019. The Salford-born defender joined Norwich from Blackpool this summer and has started 10 matches for Norwich’s under-23 squad so far this season.

Richards, who turned 20 on 8th September, got a brief taste of first-team football last season when he came on as a late substitute for Blackpool during a 2-1 loss at Wigan in the League Cup first round. He also started a 4-1 victory over Middlesbrough U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy group stages and won the Player of the Round award for his performance at right-back".

The Telegraph & Argus tells us that "Mark Bower expressed his delight after Bradford (Park Avenue) bounced back in style to beat AFC Telford and go three points clear at the top of National League North.

His side were on the end of a 4-0 hammering at Altrincham in the FA Trophy last week but they delivered the perfect response with a 2-0 victory at their third-placed hosts.

He said 'It's a fantastic win as they haven't lost there all season and it's such a tough place to come... We played well. In the first half we were the better team and had by far and away the better chances. We didn't start the second half that well but we knew the way they press we could pick them off.'

Second-half goals from Lewis Knight and Jamie Spencer did the job for Avenue... Bower said 'We felt really comfortable. Telford are a very direct side, they put it on you and there is no messing about. We stood up to that really well. I can't remember them having real chances of any note. We did what we had to do and it was a classic away performance in the second half where we soaked up the pressure and caught them on the break. They didn't ask us too many questions. We knew what to expect but knowing it's coming and dealing with it are two different things.'

Bower admitted he had considered changing formation to deal with Telford's challenge but opted against it. He said 'As a sign of respect to Telford we worked on playing with a back five on Tuesday night and considered going with that. But we are top of the league, we've got the most points, won the most games and scored the most goals so we decided not to change...

'We lost Shane Killock in the warm-up and Conor Branson was suspended. They are two of our stand-out performers this season so for the lads to put on that performance shows the strength we have got. (Mark) Ross stepping across to centre half was superb for us and Luca (Havern) won everything in the air.'"

3 December 2018


Tony Thompson is making it difficult for Elliot Wynne to reclaim the goalkeeping jersey; he has let in just three goals in the last six league games. Above he is seen at Brackley on Saturday.

The National League has brief video highlights from Saturday's game at Brackley.

For more on the match including images, see below.

The official Altrincham FC website has a match report.


AFC Telford United "have completed the loan signing of Yusifu Ceesay from Blackpool on a month’s loan. Born in Spain, the left-sided attacking midfielder was a key player for Non-League side Alvechurch last season, as the club achieved promotion.

The 23 year-old signed a two-year deal with Blackpool in the summer following a successful trial in a pre-season friendly at Nantwich Town. Yusifu, who has also had a loan spell at Boston this season will join the Bucks on loan until the 1st January.

Gavin Cowan 'Yusifu comes into our group having good Non-League pedigree earning him his move to Blackpool in the summer. He is extremely fast and unorthodox and has a real ambition to prove himself in the game. We’re very happy to have him on board'".

The Shropshire Star adds that "The Bucks went into what was a tight affair on a 12-game home unbeaten streak across all competitions but were made to pay for a glaring miss. Lewis Knight struck for Avenue, a few minutes after Darryl Knights, with the goal gaping, fluffed his lines.

Jamie Spencer then put the game to bed in stoppage-time. A case of fine margins. Not the greatest performance from Gavin Cowan's charges, but still plenty for him to be pleased about in the grand scheme of things. They are now fifth in National League North.

Telford made two enforced changes from the team that beat Darlington 2-0 in the FA Trophy. Theo Streete and Steph Morley, both suspended, were replaced by Dom Smith and Ellis Deeney as Cowan stuck with the usual 3-5-2 system. New loan signings Brendon Daniels and Yusifu Ceesay were among the substitutes...

The first half an hour was pretty even... Both teams displayed why they are flying high in the division, moving the ball at a good tempo, defending solidly, and 0-0 was a fair score going into the break... Beesley broke through on the counter-attack. Wycherley did well to keep him out, only for Knight to poke home. It was ruthless from Avenue.

Telford then turned to their bench in search of some magic as Ryan Barnett, Andre Brown and Daniels all entered the fray. Barnett had a decent half-volley saved and showed quality in his 30-minute cameo. And there was a goal, but for Avenue as Spencer slotted in late on...

Telford (3-5-2): Wycherley; Smith (Barnett, 61), Sutton (c), White; Cowans, Royle, McQuilkin, Knights (Daniels, 77), Deeney; Morgan-Smith (Brown, 77), Udoh. Subs not used: Bramley (gk), Ceesay".


On Sunday, Altrincham won 6-0 away against City of Liverpool Ladies. The Alty Ladies now lie second on goal difference but have played three games more than the leaders West Didsbury & Chorlton. Third-placed Liverpool Feds Reserves like the two leaders also have 21 points but inferior goal difference.


Bradford's Telegraph & Argus reports that "Ten years after sinking holders Chelsea with a far-post header which sent Barnsley into the semi-finals, Kayode Odejayi is eager for the chance to create another FA Cup fairytale tomorrow [Monday]... But a decade on, Odejayi, now 36, juggles playing commitments with a job as a personal trainer and will just be grateful for a spot on Guiseley's bench for their second-round clash with League One Fleetwood.

'I'm not one to bring it up but people often do and, when it happens, I'm happy to talk about it,' Odejayi said. 'Obviously it was a massive achievement and it's something I'll never forget'...

Odejayi missed a glaring chance at Wembley and his Barnsley career quickly petered out, but not before he had earned his solitary international cap for Nigeria... Loan spells and short-term deals followed before Odejayi dropped out of the league to join Stockport in the National League North in 2015, moving on to Guiseley in July last year.

'It is every boy's dream to play football and I still feel blessed to be doing it at my age,' added Odejayi... 'Like Barnsley, we're the underdogs and no-one gives us any kind of chances'...

Odejayi has not started for the National League North side since October... At the other end, the Guiseley rearguard is rooted around ever-present Cliff Moyo, who earned his first call-up to the Zimbabwe national team in March this year. Moyo, a 25-year-old PE teacher, represented the country of his birth in front of a crowd in excess of 30,000 fans in Zambia...

'It is my dream to continue playing for the national team but for Guiseley the dream is to reach the third round and get a chance against one of the big boys,' said Moyo".

And the Telegraph & Argus adds that "Guiseley have had a major boost ahead of their upcoming Emirates FA Cup Second Round game against Fleetwood Town... Centre back Jo Cummings and winger Louis Walsh have had their deals with the club extended until the New Year. This means both will be available for selection for the prestigious game...

Cummings, an imposing 20 year-old, initially joined the club on a month’s loan from Charlton Athletic. This weekend he re-signed for the club, while Barnsley winger Walsh also had his loan extended. Sheffield-based Cummings linked up with the Addicks from Sheffield United towards the end of the 2016/17 season, following a successful trial...

Barnsley U-23 prospect Walsh joined Guiseley on a one-month loan from Barnsley FC and made an excellent debut at Darlington... Walsh signed for Barnsley in July 2018 after some fine performances at U-23 level during the 2017/18 campaign. Blessed with incredible acceleration and terrific technique, the flying winger ghosts past defenders with ease and frequently provides teammates with assists, while contributing with goals himself".

Tranmere Rovers tell us that "Manager Micky Mellon spoke to the local media following Sunday's 1-1 draw in the FA Cup against Southport. Jonny Smith's first half goal was cancelled out by Brad Bauress 30-yard strike with 20 minutes to play...

Speaking to the press after the game, Micky said, 'It was a tough game and we were made to defend every time the ball goes up the pitch or every time a free kick goes against us. They have a big presence up front and their striker gave us a hard time. It was difficult to get out but we will learn from it... We know we have to be better when we face them again and we will work on it. "It was a proper FA Cup battle'".

Barnet "booked their place in Round Three of the Emirates FA Cup after [beatimg] Stockport County 1-0 at The Hive... The Barnet number 11 found himself on the score-sheet... A cross was whipped in by Cheye Alexander and he was on hand to head the ball home to give the hosts an early lead...

Frank Mulhern then had a glorious chance to equalise just past the hour mark after Cousins lost grip of the ball, falling to the County man who poked it wide from close range... Attendance: 2826 (1542 visitors)"


Cheshire Live tells us that "Leaders Bradford (Park Avenue) march on while Altrincham move just behind Chester FC...

It was a memorable day yesterday for Chester FC as the Blues got back to winning ways and fans were given a new hero. Akwasi Asante scored the perfect hat-trick as the Blues ran out 3-1 winners against Darlington... It was the first time Chester had found the back of the net since the defeat against Altrincham last month and also ended a run of five games in all competitions without a win...

Bradford (Park Avenue) remain top of the table after a 2-0 win against fellow promotion hopefuls AFC Telford United at the New Bucks Head...

Altrincham continued their impressive march up the table and are now just a place behind the Blues after a 2-1 victory against Brackley Town on the road...

There are two midweek games on Tuesday evening as Ashton United play hosts to Alfreton, while York are at home again, this time to Leamington."

The Telegraph & Argus reports that, at Telford, Bradford (Park Avenue) "downed their third-placed hosts with a disciplined and professional display, and extended their lead over Chorley, who were held to a 1-1 home draw by Boston United.

Mark Bower’s men suffered a setback at the New Buck's Head before kick off though. Shane Killock was on the team sheet as captain but he picked up an injury in the warm-up. Hasty changes were made, with Mark Ross elevated to the starting line-up and the armband handed to striker Oli Johnson...

It was an end to end first half... Bradford broke the deadlock... following a good counter attack. Beesley raced through and shot and when Wycherley could only parry, Knight took a touch and netted from close range. Drench made two fine saves to deny Telford substitute Ryan Barnett and it was Avenue who had the final say.

With the hosts pushing for an equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time, Beesley laid the ball to substitute Jamie Spencer and he slotted in to clinch the win."

According to the Derbyshire Times "Yet another below par performance by Alfreton Town allowed Hereford FC to record their first National League North win since mid-August. The Reds were beaten thanks to a soft last minute penalty at Edgar Street, just three minutes after conjuring up an outstanding equaliser, to lose 2-1

What came before those final few minutes was tame at best with neither side looking particularly confident in front of goal... Far too infrequently Alfreton tried to push forward after the break, but they were at last rewarded in the 87th minute when Reece Styche whipped in a superb cross for fellow sub Craig Hobson to head sweetly past home keeper Matt Yates.

On to the final minute and an innocuous tackle by Martin Riley on Symons was enough for referee James Bell to point to the spot, with James Roberts delivering the penalty low to Sam Ramsbottom’s right. One bright beacon for Reds’ fans was the debut of on-loan defender Adam Curry, whose contribution at the back was pretty solid."

At Chorley, "The Magpies fought back from a difficult first half to claim a share of the points against Boston United on a wet and miserable afternoon at Victory Park. Chorley made two changes from the previous Saturday with Alex Newby & Marcus Carver returning to the starting XI for Jake Cottrell & Josh Wilson. Boston were unchanged after thrashing Ashton United in the FA Trophy.

A scrappy game only really came to life when Boston ‘keeper George Willis handled outside his area after 20 minutes. Luckily for the visitors’ number one, he was equal to the resulting Adam Blakeman set piece. The Magpies started to get on top thereafter... Elliot Newby forced Willis to save comfortably... and Willis suffered from a severe case of butterfingers just before half time, but still the hosts couldn’t find a goal.

The second half was also a scrappy affair for the first 10 minutes as Chorley looked to gain some momentum". It ended 1-1.

2 December 2018


Above: Simon Richman (8) moves in to score as the ball comes across the face of goal from the right.

Altrincham moved up to fourth in the league with this deserved win in Northamptonshire. Facing a Brackley team lacking its leading scorer, James Armson, Altrincham took a fortieth-minute lead. The goal arose from a mistake by the home goalkeeper, Lewis, who failed to hold a shot and the ball ended up with Simon Richman who netted from six yards. But, just a minute later, the scores were level again. The lively Miles got up the right wing and crossed to Adam Walker on the left. His cross from the left was headed home by Glenn Walker.

Eight minutes after the interval Altrincham scored the deciding goal. Right-back Andy White advanced and cut in from the right before firing a fine, left-footed, low shot past Lewis. After that Altrincham largely controlled the game.

Above: Richman is cheered by some of the good number of travelling Altrincham supporters after scoring his goal. Meanwhile (foreground), Brackley's Shepherd Morombedzi hangs his head in disappointment.


After Saturday's game, Brackley Town reported on a "Rare defeat for Saints.

In-form Altrincham continued their march up the table with a deserved victory at St James Park as Saints fell to a first home defeat in the league since early August. An even and tightly contested first half gave way to a controlled second-half performance by the visitors to earn three points that lifts the Robins into 4th place and keeps Saints in 8th.

'On the day the mistakes we made ended up costing us the game,' Kevin Wilkin said. 'They passed the ball well but, for me, the two goals we conceded were gifts and, in a big match, those mistakes have cost us. Once they were ahead they managed the second half well but we had too many players who weren’t where they needed to be today. Overall it was the flattest performance of the season so far. The first half was quite even and we had some decent moments but it can be all important to get your noses in front and then to control the game. It is a really intense league and today is something we have got to learn from.'

Jordan Hulme saw his chance snuffed out midway through the half when well placed while for the home side Connor Franklin’s fierce effort deflected off James Jones bringing a fine save from Thompson in a first period of otherwise few goal chances until the latter stages.

Simon Richman capitalised on a defensive mix-up to give Altrincham a 39th minute lead. But Brackley found an instant reply as Glenn Walker headed low past Tony Thompson from Adam Walker’s cross to send the sides into the break on level terms.

The Robins were again ahead after 52 minutes when full-back Andy White tucked his shot inside Danny Lewis’s post from distance.

This time there was to be no come-back from the Saints however as Altrincham managed the game well restricting Brackley’s possession and sights on goal. Hulme had only Lewis to beat late on to double his side’s lead but the Brackley keeper saved well at close quarters. Despite some late pressure Brackley could not carve out the equalising opportunity as the visitors recorded a sixth win in seven games.

Brackley Town: Lewis; Myles, Franklin (Fairlamb 74), Byrne, Dean, Hall, G.Walker, Murombedzi (Jeffers 74), Ndlovu (Nti 79), Lowe, A.Walker. Subs unused: Noon.

Altrincham: Thompson, White, Hampson, Jones, Hannigan, Moult, Johnston, Richman, Hulme, Hancock, Mantack (Harrop 92). Subs unused: Gabidon, Densmore, Langley, Wynne".


Managers are rarely believed when they claim to be down to the bare bones but, were he to make such a claim (and he hasn't), Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin would have every justification for such a statement. Yesterday's visit to St James Park confirmed that, this season, the Saints have used just sixteen players in their 18 league matches and four of those players have started three matches or fewer! Against Altrincham, they named only four subs and one of those was the assistant manager who has yet to play a game this season.

And the Northamptonshire club should also be praised for an excellent 56-page all-colour matchday programme, professionally produced and containing interesting articles, and marketed at just £2.


Saturday 1 December 2018, Vanarama National League North, 3pm

The National League reports that "Spennymoor’s home match with Kidderminster Harriers this weekend has this [Friday] afternoon been called off. Following an inspection by a local referee on Friday, the game has been postponed. The National League North match was due to be played at Brewery Field but a waterlogged pitch has put paid to the game".

  • Att. 1468 AFC Telford United 0-2 Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • Att. 510 Brackley Town 1-2 Altrincham
  • Att. 1934 Chester 3-1 Darlington
  • Att. 1047 Chorley 1-1 Boston United
  • Att. 2082 Hereford 2-1 Alfreton Town
  • Att. 505 Nuneaton Borough 1-3 Blyth Spartans
  • Spennymoor Town P-P Kidderminster Harriers
  • Att. 2583 York City 2-0 FC United of Manchester

Sunday 2 December, Emirates FA Cup Round Two, 2pm

  • Barnet v Stockport County
  • Tranmere Rovers v Southport

Monday 3 December, Emirates FA Cup Round Two, 8pm

  • Guiseley v Fleetwood Town


On Saturday, in The Hallmark Security Cheshire Football League Premier Division, leaders Altrincham FC Reserves drew 3-3 at home with Middlewich Town, who trail Alty only on goal difference. However, the mid-Cheshire club has completed three more fixtures than Altrincham.

Next Saturday, Altrincham are away at third-placed Billinge before a home fixture with Denton Town on 15 December.


At Darlington David Johnston, Chief Executive Officer states "Given the recent personnel changes at the club, I am writing to update you on what is happening off the field. As you are aware, we are a fan-owned club with no external investment and, as such, our finances need to be supported from our excellent fan base. In addition, the club has a responsibility to not only manage our finances effectively but to also communicate to you all, as things develop.

We entered this season with an improved financial position having utilised the transfer and legends income generated last season to pay down debt accrued over the previous two years. This and the fantastic Boost The Budget pledges allowed us to assist Tommy in his summer recruitment. However to date our financial performance this season has been below forecast. Gate receipts, pre-season income, sponsorship and commercial are all below budget. As a fan-owned club this means we have to adjust the playing budget.

When Alfreton therefore, made an offer for Reece Styche, I decided we needed to accept this to help balance the books. Reece did not want to leave this club but understood my decision to let him go and he holds this club with high affection and we remain on good terms.

This week we have also agreed to let Dave Syers move to Farsley; his former club have chased his signature since the summer and [they are] one that Dave wished to return to at some point due to family and work commitments...In addition, Dom Collins who has been unavailable through injury since the end of August has also officially left the football club today after his contract was mutually terminated. Dom is due to have an operation in the near future...

Alongside these departures Tommy has been working hard this week in the local loan market to bring in some fresh faces to improve our squad and we hope to announce some additions early next week.

This is a challenging backdrop for Tommy and Alan to work within... Discussions have been ongoing with both the Sporting Village and Darlington Rugby Club and I will shortly be speaking to you all about the two different options that we have to consider for our long-term future. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and both will require capital to move this club forward. This is an interesting point as the financial demands will be placed upon the fan base as we do not have the benefit of wealthy benefactors as other clubs do. We will obviously look at grant support but with limited finances the speed of our development will ultimately be slower.

In summary, I appreciate that this message may be hard to receive but can I ask that as fans you get behind Tommy and Alan who are working tirelessly to get this right on the pitch. It is my decision to cut the budget, Tommy and Alan will work within this remit and look to our local professional clubs to support us moving forwards.

Off the field we have recruited Craig Morley on a full-time basis to improve our commercial revenues and good progress has been made since his appointment".

The Guardian told us, before Sunday's FA Cup ties, that "Now in his third stint as manager, Jim Gannon is aiming to bring back the good times, starting at Barnet in the FA Cup on Sunday. 'Sustainability' is a word Jim Gannon often uses when discussing Stockport’s upward trajectory and ambition to become fully professional again. The 50 year old, two years into his third stint in charge, having played 505 games for County – takes his National League North side to Barnet in the FA Cup on Sunday while playing the short and long managerial game.

His first, four-year tenure ended when he was sacked when Stockport went into administration in 2009. He was appointed for the second time in November 2011 but financial constraints again proved insurmountable and he was relieved of his post, this time in January 2013.

So when the current ownership, headed by the chairman, Richard Park, alongside his fellow major shareholders Chris Bramall and Simon Bellamy, talk of going professional to try to regain the Football League status they lost in 2011, Gannon ponders whether a hybrid system might be wiser in the short term.

'Sustainability,' he says. 'The financial commitment of going full-time can be huge. You’re suddenly moving players on to contracts for 52 weeks and that creates other challenges. We’ve got some very good part-time players who we can’t afford to turn full-time because of their jobs. Someone like [the forward] Matty Warburton is a school teacher, Ben Hincliffe, my goalkeeper, is a lorry driver, and the club captain until recently, Ash Palmer, is another teacher.

'So there’s a hardcore of very good part-timers, some good full-time players, and also a new group, Scott Duxbury, Dan Cowan, Adam Thomas, they’ve got other things going. Trying to find that balance is key.'

To reach Sunday’s cup tie with John Still’s National League side, Stockport have beaten South Shields 2-1 (away), Corby 3-0 (home), and Altrincham 2-0 (home), before a fine 3-1 win at Yeovil in the first round proper... Gannon says 'We had a run of 11 games without defeat [in all competitions] and that came to an end at Blyth Spartans [10 days ago], that’s the problem we have with the FA Cup. It means three league games were moved from a Saturday to a Tuesday night and when they’re difficult away trips like Blyth, Spennymoor and local derbies like Ashton we’re concerned about the effect it will have on our league form. But as each couple of weeks goes by we seem to be stronger. And fortunately this week has been free, so we can fully focus on the one game.'

Gannon...holds a Uefa pro licence and likes to operate a three-line midfield with a passing style. Barnet are mid-table in the National League...

'I like John Still', Gannon says. 'I crossed swords with him at Dagenham. He always puts together a good, hard-working side and often uses a 3-5-2. They’ve got the usual strong players from the National League, a couple he knows from Dagenham and Luton, and a sprinkling of young players who have come through at Barnet and other clubs. He’s used the loan market well.”

Gannon, who began his well-travelled playing career at Dundalk in 1987, is in Stockport’s hall of fame. 'When you’ve been associated with the club for 28 years you can’t help but be part of it,' he says. 'I met my wife through Stockport connections and many fans have turned into friends. The club is a special place for me. I’ve always been true to the supporters and the belief that this is a great club, with a big part to play in the town....

'I was asked after the Yeovil [FA Cup] game "Is this the best day of your career?" I said: ‘I played when we beat West Ham [December 1996], Blackburn [October 1996] and Southampton when Matthew Le Tissier scored [January 1997].’ We beat Middlesbrough at the Riverside [March 1997], so I’ve had some incredible moments. Our current position belies that history. We have to keep an eye on what we want to achieve as a club. I’ve always been a medium or long-term thinker – it’s not just about being promoted from this league, it’s about being competitive at the next level and aspiring to get back in the Football League.'"

On Saturday, Boston United "battled their way to a creditable point on the road at Chorley... The Pilgrims led 1-0 at half-time courtesy of Nicky Walker's fifth goal of the season, but were pegged back by a 58th minute header from Courtney Meppen-Walter. United subsequently required some fine saves from George Willis to preserve a point, although Andi Thanoj did rattle the crossbar in the dying moments.

United's afternoon ended on a sour note when debutant Jordan Thewlis left the pitch on a stretcher with a serious-looking ankle injury".

Altrincham's next league opponents are AFC Telford United from where the Shropshire Star reports that manager "Gavin Cowan insists AFC Telford United simply were not good enough as they lost at home for the first time this season. They fell to a 2-0 defeat to table-toppers Bradford Park Avenue, halting a 12-game unbeaten run at the New Buck's Head.

Lewis Knight and Jamie Spencer scored for the visitors, after Darryl Knights spurned a gilt-edged opportunity for the Bucks.

'If we'd have taken one of the numerous chances we had, it would've been very different,' said Cowan.'That's one of a few things I wasn't happy with. I just don't think we were good enough. In the first half, we didn't press like we've been pressing. We didn't really earn the right to get on the ball. We were very back to front, almost long-ball-type, which was completely uncharacteristic for us. We like to get the ball forward, but we didn't do it with any sort of quality...

'We didn't press high enough out of possession. We didn't work smart,' added Cowan. 'On too many occasions, their back four were allowed more than two touches... we didn't work hard enough to get on the ball between lines. Very disappointed'".

From the other side, league-leaders Bradford (Park Avenue) report that they "retained their grip on top spot with a hard-fought victory over AFC Telford United. Supporters were treated to a fast and fiery first-half, during which both sides created several opportunites and tempers threatened to flare on numerous occasions...

Clee proved to be a thorn in Telford’s side throughout the first-half and found Knight with a superb lofted pass... Clee then skipped past two players with some deft footwork before teeing up Nicky Wroe...

The Bucks began to take control in the late stages of the half yet failed to capitalise on the opportunites they created...

Bradford were ahead through Knight, who tucked the ball away in a vacated net after Wycherley parried Beesley’s curling effort. Telford’s frustration was clear for all to see... The trailing hosts desperately searched for an equaliser but found themselves unable to break the visitors down. Bradford’s defence remained resolute, forcing Telford to resort to speculative strikes from long-range...

As the game entered its final ten minutes, pressure began to mount upon Bradford... Bradford soaked up the pressure heaped upon them and launched a swift counter-attack to seal the three points in stoppage time. Beesley squared to Spencer from the left and the midfielder made no mistake in steering past Wycherley with admirable composure....

AFC Telford United: Wycherley, White, Deeney, McQuilkin, Sutton (c), Smith (Barnett 62’), Cowans, Royle, Morgan-Smith (Daniels 78’), Udoh, Knights (Brown 78’). Unused substitutes: Bramley, Ceesau."

Cheshire Live tells us that "Chester FC have been toothless in the final third in recent weeks and moved to address their problems in front of goal on Friday with the signing of striker Akwasi Asante on loan. A day later and Asante was the toast of the Swansway Chester Stadium after he ended the Blues' five-game winless streak and four-game barren spell in front of goal in spectacular fashion.

The 26-year-old, on a 28-day loan from Tamworth which could turn out to be a permanent switch, netted the perfect hat-trick, scoring with his head and both feet in 10-men Chester's thoroughly deserved 3-1 success over Darlington. And Chester joint-manager Anthony Johnson was understandably thrilled with what he and Bernard Morley saw from Asante, who became the first player since the legendary Stuart Rimmer in 1985 to score a hat-trick on his debut.

'He was unbelievable, but not just his goals, his actual hold up play and his work rate, so everything was there if you take the goals away,' said Johnson. 'It was one of the best hat-tricks I’ve ever seen. His second goal was absolutely out of this world and he could have had a couple more. He had a header cleared off the line in the second half as well. There was one where Gary Stopforth has rolled it across to him and he cramped up. But that’s his first start in months.

'I know there’s people questioning about why we’ve signed him and why he couldn’t get in Tamworth’s team, but he signed for Tamworth in February from Grimsby and they were fifth in this league believe it or not at that time and they didn’t win again and they got relegated. He basically told them that wasn’t what he signed up for. He was honest with the manager had no problem with that but he said "Look, you’re not going to be playing if you don’t want to be here".

'So we’ve been very lucky that we got him in weird circumstances, but we knew exactly what he was about, you all knew what he was about because of what he did at Solihull and our job is to try and get the best out of him. But as an individual performance he was fantastic.'

The victory, which was achieved with 10 men after Dan Mooney was red carded for a second bookable offence on the half hour mark, was one of Chester's most encouraging of the season. The way the team pressed the ball when not in possession and their willingness to pick up second balls saw them prove too strong for a weak Darlington side, despite the Quakers having a numerical advantage for an hour.

And Asante's arrival provided them with the kind of running in behind that they have missed so much since Matty Hughes' season-ending injury back in October.

Said Johnson 'I think the obvious thing is that we’ve been crying out for someone that will offer us something in behind. I think you saw early doors in the game, the ball went into Akwasi’s body, set to Duds and Anthony Dudley loves coming onto the ball. He then gets the ball past the man to score, rather than him being the focal point, he’s a great player coming onto second balls, Anthony Dudley. But it’s something that we’ve been looking for since we’ve been at the club, but they don’t exist.

'Every single club at our level and the league above is looking for them. But we haven’t been overly concerned whatsoever with our performances. We’ve played some good stuff but we’ve just looked a bit toothless in that final third, but we knew that would come back. We’ve got to replicate that every single week.'"

1 December 2018


Altrincham travel to Northamptonshire to take on Brackley Town today (Saturday). Alty are expected, again, to be without midfielders Sean Williams and James Poole but new signing Kallum Mantack (right) should be involved after his cameo goalscoring debut last weekend. The match is likely to see five of the league's top dozen scorers in action in the shape of Alty's Jordan Hulme, John Johnston and Josh Hancock, as well as Brackley's Lee Ndlovu and James Armson. The five players in question have netted 41 league goals so far this season.

Mike Garnett's records show that in previous encounters between the two clubs Altrincham have only lost once in four visits to St James Park.

  • Home: P4-W2-D0-L2-F5-A8
  • Away: P4-W2-D1-L1-F4-A5
  • All: P8-W4-D1-L3-F9-A13

This time, the clubs go into the match with virtually identical league records...

  • Position 7th: ALTRINCHAM P17 W8 D4 L5 F36 A24 GD12 PTS28
  • Position 8th: BRACKLEY TOWN P18 W7 D7 L4 F34 A22 GD12 PTS28


In spite of maintaining its Vanarama National League North status despite consistently low attendances, it comes as a surprise to read that Curzon Ashton "regret to announce that, due to recent results, a decision has been taken to replace John Flanagan as the Curzon Ashton manager. Over the past 7 years John has done a tremendous job, gaining two promotions resulting in Curzon playing at the highest level in its history. We would like to thank John for his hard work over the years and wish him well for the future."

Curzon are currently fourteenth in the 22-club league. Since beating Altrincham 2-0 at the JDS in September, 'The Nash' have lost just three of their subsequent nine league fixtures. In that league sequence they have won twice (away at Leamington, at home to AFC Telford), drawn four times (at home to Brackley and BPA and away at Spennymoor and Southport), and their three defeats have been at home to Stockport and Boston and away at Blyth.

Curzon Ashton have already announced Flanagan's successor. "The club can confirm that Mark Bradshaw has been appointed First Team Manager. Mark, who has been at the club for over a decade as Head Coach, has been a vital part of the Curzon Ashton junior, youth and first team set up. Mark will take up the position with immediate effect and will be in charge of next weekend's game at F.C. United."


Before the postponement at Spennymoor, the National League reported that "There’s eight National League matches on offer this weekend and none bigger than the game at the New Bucks Head.

AFC Telford’s rise has been supersonic, up to third and in sight of the title despite last season being spent struggling against the drop.

That’s all changed under Gavin Cowan. They welcome leaders Bradford (Park Avenue) having won their last three.

Mark Bower’s men are needing a response following last weekend’s 4-0 FA Trophy whitewash at Altrincham.

Second place Chorley are in action against Boston United. They may have let in ten goals in their last two cup matches combined but they got their National League North campaign back in motion by thrashing Kidderminster 4-0 last time out.

York City hope their win at Kiddy - in the Trophy last weekend - can kick-start their season.

The Minstermen are just three points off the bottom three and are in desperate need of a result at home to FC United of Manchester...

Nuneaton will see a home game with Blyth Spartans as an ideal opportunity to close the six-point gap between themselves and the sides on the other side of the dreaded dotted line.

Chester still have eyes on the title and welcome Darlington aiming to put more pressure on. Hereford have yet to kick on under their new manager Marc Richards. With the Bulls second bottom they know they need to turn the corner soon in the league and hope a home match with Alfreton can begin their recovery.

Brackley, meanwhile, welcome Altrincham as seventh plays eighth."

Chester FC "announce two departures from the Swansway Chester Stadium. John Pritchard has joined Buxton FC on loan for a month. He links up with a fellow Blues loanee, goalkeeper Theo Roberts who has spent this season with the Bucks. Pritchard has made seven starts in all competitions for the Blues this season, with nine sub appearances. He had scored four goals this term including a brace against City of Liverpool in an FA Cup win in September.

Winger Luke Jordan has signed dual registration forms with Lancaster City, who play in the same division. Luke has made two starts for the club since arriving from Ramsbottom in September.

Joint Manager Anthony Johnson said 'Both lads are going out to benefit from more action, as both clubs can promise Luke and John first time football. We feel that their development would be best served with time away from the club and getting lots of minutes'".

And from Cheshire Live we learn that "Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have bolstered their attacking options ahead of the weekend clash with Darlington with the loan signing of striker Akwasi Asante from Tamworth. The 26-year-old Dutchman has signed for Chester FC on an initial 28-day loan, but should he impress it is understood that the Blues have the capacity to make the signing a permanent one.

Former Birmingham City junior Asante arrives at Chester looking to get his career back on track having been one of non-league football's hottest properties two years ago. Asante top scored for Solihull Moors back in 2015/16, helping Moors, then managed by former Chester boss Marcus Bignot, to promotion from the National League North, netting 17 league goals in the process. His good form continued with 11 in 22 in the National League the following season before he was signed by Bignot after he had taken the managerial position at League Two Grimsby Town.

But injury hampered his progress at Grimsby and he made just nine appearances, scoring once, before a loan move back to Solihull last season. He the made a switch to Tamworth on an 18-month deal in February but could not prevent the Lambs relegated to the Evo-Stik Premier League at the end of last season, and he has been searching for a route back up the footballing pyramid. Born in Amsterdam, Asante played in the youth team at HFC Haarlem before his family moved to the UK when he was 13, where he eventually found his way into the Birmingham City Academy."

Kidderminster Harriers report that "Boss Neil MacFarlane has added some extra bite to his back-line with the acquisition of defender Aaron Phillips. The 25 year old has joined Harriers on a short-term deal after impressing the boss over the course of the last number of weeks in training.

MacFarlane has worked with Phillips, a robust full-back, during their time at Coventry City, the player having racked up the better part of 100 senior appearances at League 1 level, as well as dipping into non-league with a loan spell at Nuneaton. He began last season in the EFL with Northampton Town but suffered a serious hip injury that curtailed his season. Now back fighting fit, he’s settled into the surroundings within the Harriers squad over the last month".

Also at Aggborough, Kidderminster Harriers report "the permanent appointment to the club’s coaching staff of former Birmingham City and Derby man Kevin Poole. The 55-year-old has been working with the staff at Aggborough for the last few weeks but will now be sticking around for good.

A veteran of more than 500 senior career appearances in the Premier League, EFL and non-league, Kevin is one of the most recognised and widely-respected coaches in the Midlands. After hanging up his gloves, the Bromsgrove-born shot-stopper transitioned into coaching with Burton Albion, holding similar roles at the Blues and Derby County. At Aggborough, Poole will work not only with the club’s goalkeepers but will also bring tremendous knowledge to the first-team camp in general".

AFC Telford United "have completed the loan signing of Yusifu Ceesay from Blackpool on a month’s loan. Born in Spain, the left-sided attacking midfielder was a key player for Alvechurch last season, as the club achieved promotion. The 23-year-old signed a two-year deal with Blackpool in the summer following a successful trial in a pre-season friendly at Nantwich Town.

Yusifu, who has also had a loan spell at Boston this season will join the Bucks on loan until the 1st January. Gavin Cowan [said] 'Yusifu comes into our group having good Non-League pedigree... He is extremely fast and unorthodox and has a real ambition to prove himself in the game'".

We learn from the Boston Standard that "Defender Lewis Gibbens has joined Boston United on a month-long youth loan. The 19-year-old will become the 39th player to feature for the Pilgrims this season if he makes an appearance at Chorley tomorrow.

Gibbens joins on a youth loan from Mansfield Town until New Year’s Day, following James Jones’s return to Salford and Ben Middleton’s foot injury."

Also, "Ryan Qualter believes Boston United have nothing to fear as they prepare for a hectic festive period. The Pilgrims face four tough matches in December... as well as a tasty FA Trophy clash at National League Wrexham. Boston kick off the month’s action away at second-place Chorley on Saturday. This will be followed by visits of York City, Alfreton Town and current leaders Bradford Park Avenue, as well as a trek to fourth-placed Spennymoor Town.

But Qualter believes Craig Elliott’s side are up for the challenge. He said 'To be honest, I think we’re better against the so-called stronger teams. You shouldn’t, but I think you get up for them a little bit more'".

Nuneaton Borough report "that goalkeeper Ross Etheridge has joined Stratford Town on loan for the remainder of the season. Ross made four appearances for the Boro' this season".

In Yorkshire, North Ferriby United tell us that "Guiseley’s young Academy midfielder Luke Hogg has joined North Ferriby United on a month’s loan... Doncaster lad Luke, 18, has come through the Academy at Guiseley AFC and trained with the first team squad through the summer. He signed first team forms and has appeared on the subs bench for The Lions.

Luke played for his home town club Doncaster Rovers before coming to Nethermoor. This is Luke’s second loan spell after a period at Stocksbridge Park Steels earlier on this season."


The Hallmark Security League reports that "1874 Northwich have announced plans to move to a newly built stadium on a 60 acre site in Northwich. The new development will include various facilities including a medical centre that will offer full injury treatment and rehabilitation, several artificial grass football pitches as well as six natural grass fields.

The development is being headed by the Cheshire FA, who announced their intention to open a world class football facility in Northwich earlier this year

The club have issued the following statement... 'Cheshire FA’s announcement earlier this year in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council and ION Developments of their intention to open a unique world class football facility in Cheshire has been a major boost to football within the county. 1874 Northwich FC are delighted to announce that following extensive discussions with Cheshire FA, a memorandum of understanding has been signed between the two parties to work towards 1874 Northwich FC becoming a tenant at the 3,000 capacity stadium on site. This agreement will see us working together with Cheshire FA to form a more formal partnership when the site is completed'".