January 2019

31 January 2019


Altrincham's next game is a week on Saturday at Broadhurst Park against FC United of Manchester.

Mike Garnett reminds us of the grim record for Alty in matches between the two clubs.

  • At home: P2-W0-D0-L2-F1-A5
  • Away: P2-W0-D1-L1-F2-A3
  • All: P3-W0-D1-L3-F3-A8

FC United beat Altrincham at the J Davidson Stadium, 2-1, back in August but the last time Alty played at Broadhurst Park was on New Year's Day 2017.

For that match, Altrincham were making their first visit there for a first-team fixture. And, at kick-off, after eight successive defeats, Alty were already fourteen points from league safety. FC had won the reverse fixture on Boxing Day 3-0. But this time (2019) the tables are turned as it is FC United rather than Alty who are fighting against possible relegation.

Above: Alty line-up before kick off at Broadhurst Park on New Year's Day, 2017.

In the 2017 game, Altrincham took a deserved point, despite the worst possible start. They fell behind after just 38 seconds when an FC United advance, on their right, led to a goal from Jason Gilchrist. But, after their jittery start, Altrincham settled and equalised in the twentieth minute when Andy Owens, making his full debut for the club, netted after his first attempt had been blocked.

Owens was a menace to the United central defence and fellow debutant, loanee Elliot Newby, also impressed as Alty enjoyed the better of the twenty minutes or so before half time. Then, just before the end of the half, a strong tackle by former Trafford man Harry Winter on Alty's Jake Moult led to a mass melee, from which the outcome was a red card for Moult as well as for United's Ashworth.

3,030 spectators watched the game, for which Altrincham had Simon Richman, Sam Patterson, Craig Hobson, Alan Goodall and Sean Miller all ruled out by injury. James Lawrie moved to the bench, as did Andy McWilliams, with Kyle Brownhill taking over his left-back duties.

FCUM were without Sam Sheridan, who had been injured in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day.

FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER: 1 Adriano Basso, 2 Dale Tonge, 3. Chris Chantler, 4. Tom Brown, 5. Scott Kay, 6. Luke Ashworth, 7. Kieran Glynn, 8. Harry Winter, 9. Jason Gilchrist, 10. Jerome Wright (capt), 11. George Thomson, Subs: 12. Tom Greaves, 14. Matthew Wolfenden, 15. Jake Williams, 16. Sam Baird, 17. Nathan Lowe

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Kyle BROWNHILL, 4. Jake MOULT, 5. John CYRUS, 6. Tom HANNIGAN, 7. Nicky CLEE, 8. Gary JONES, 9. Andy OWENS, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Elliot NEWBY. Subs 12. Greg WILKINSON, 14. James LAWRIE, 15. Clayton McDONALD, 16. Andy McWILLIAMS, 17. Sam HEATHCOTE".


Above: As Neil Sorvel gives instructions, Phil Parkinson (far right) and the bench watch the game at Leamington last Saturday. Left to right, sitting on the bench itself, we see coach Chris Parkes, physios Tommy Uda and Ryan Murray, substitutes Kallum Mantack, Shaun Densmore, Sean Williams and Nathan Waterston (behind Neil) and kitman Steve Foster.

According to the National League "Phil Parkinson hopes two new signings will bring the real Altrincham back. The unhappy manager pulled no punches after the Robins’ 3-0 loss at Leamington on Saturday. It came two weeks after the club lost 4-1 at Chorley...

He hopes the addition of Joe Piggott, a striker, from Wigan and goalkeeper Steve Drench from Bradford Park Avenue can help turn the tide.

He said after Saturday’s defeat 'I have no idea where that performance came from. I’m soul-searching, to be honest, and we deserve all the criticism we get, particularly for what happened in the first half. That cost us the game. We have an identity at Altrincham. I have tried to promote that and instil it in the players ever since I arrived at the club. I didn’t recruit players to play that way, yet that’s what we did consistently throughout the first half,' he told the club’s website.

'People may write it off as a bad day, but it was worse than that for me. I can only apologise to the fans. They must be disgusted with that performance'".


Lincolnshire Live reports that "Boston United boss Craig Elliott was a frustrated man after leaving the northeast empty-handed on Tuesday evening. The Pilgrims were beaten 1-0 by Spennymoor Town at the Brewery Field as they fell to a second half goal from the division’s leading marksman Glen Taylor.

In a match disrupted by a knee injury to referee John Matthews and a dislocated shoulder for United’s on-loan Mansfield Town defender Lewis Gibbens, it was a night to forget in freezing Durham conditions.

'We came here and gave a good account of ourselves,' reflected Elliott. 'We created chances, limited them to not many but obviously their red-hot striker, who is probably the best in the league, had one chance and scored, albeit from a mistake. He is one of the best but I felt we did a good job on him generally.

'It was a double whammy because young Gibbo has not only got caught for the goal but he dislocated his shoulder too. The pitch did not help because it is absolutely horrendous. The pitch gave way and Gibbo fell very awkwardly.'

Elliott is not giving up on the Pilgrims gatecrashing the play-off picture, but feels the top five are well set, leaving sixth and seventh up-for-grabs for other teams chasing the play-offs.

'I think the top four or five are sorted and Spennymoor are definitely a top five team,' added Elliott. 'You can clearly see what it takes to be a top-five team because in both boxes, they have got that bit more nous. They have got that finishing but they have also got it in their defending box where they can see games out. In general, our performance was good and I do not want to hammer the players too much because we have been on a decent run and played well here too'...

The first half [was]... held up for 15 minutes when referee Matthews suffered an injury and was eventually replaced by his assistant David Carr, once a replacement had been found to run the line."

Meanwhile, Boston United "striker [and former Alty loanee] Jonny Margetts has linked up with Matlock Town on an initial month's loan. The 25-year-old, who returned from a three-month loan spell with Gainsborough Trinity last week, has now joined forces with Dave Frecklington's Gladiators".

From the Shropshire Star we learn that "Boss Gavin Cowan has described AFC Telford United marquee signing Marcus Dinanga ending his goal drought as ‘huge’. The 22-year-old striker scored in Saturday’s 4-0 win at Southport, doing so for the first time since returning to the club earlier this month.

He was prolific on loan from Burton Albion last season, scoring 25 goals, but the Bucks signed him on a permanent basis following a goalless stint on loan at Hartlepool.

'We’ve been saying that with the FA Trophy run we’ve had, it’s been a bit stop-start for him, being cup-tied,' said Cowan. 'But it was brilliant for him to come in on Saturday, get some minutes under his belt and get that goal. It’s huge'...

Dinanga’s close-range finish came in his third appearance after coming back to Telford in a deal which Burton inserted a sell-on clause."

>Following Steven Drench's move to Altrincham, Bradford (Park Avenue) "are excited to announce the signing of Hull City goalkeeper, Charlie Andrew on loan for the rest of the season.

Charlie joins the Avenue following a successful loan spell at NPL Division One East side, Pickering Town, having made well over 50 appearances for the Pikes despite having only turned 18 at the start of January. During his time with Pickering, the young stopper has won man of the match a number of times and has picked up numerous awards, including the Manager’s Player Of The Year Award for 2017/18.

A rising star within the Hull City academy, Charlie has made 18 appearances for Hull City Under-18s and a further 13 appearances for their Under-23 side. The 6ft stopper joins Bradford through to the end of the season."

NL Daily informs us that "Adam Blakeman has followed Matt Urwin in pledging his future to Chorley by signing a new deal until the end of the 2019/20. Enjoying his third season at Victory Park, the former Southport full-back has scored 10 times in 31 appearances so far this campaign, with his overall tallies for the club standing at 126/14.

Blakeman said 'I’m delighted to sign on for another year. Chorley’s a great club to play for and I’ve really enjoyed my football the last few years. We’ve got a fantastic group of lads who put in a shift for each other week in, week out. Vermo’s been brilliant with me since I’ve been at Chorley, so it was an easy decision for me to make'...

Manager Jamie Vermiglio said 'He’s a very important part of our team and someone who is well respected in the dressing room. There’s no question he’s one of the most technically gifted players at the club'".

30 January 2019


Altrincham FC have announced a second new arrival in 24 hours with the news of the signing of Wigan Athletic's Joe Piggott, a striker, on a "youth loan" until May 2019.

Piggott (d.o.b. 23 June 1999 in Nantwich) has recently been on loan from Wigan to Morecambe. In his earlier career he spent time at Rochdale and Everton. However, early in the 2017-18 season he joined Dundee United. After being released by the Scottish club, he joined Warrington Town in early 2018 before joining Wigan at the start of the current season.

He was loaned out to Morecambe, an arrangement which has just ended. His arrival comes just under a year since another Wigan loanee, Chris Merrie, played eight games on loan for Altrincham.


For their part, Wigan Athletic state "Wigan Athletic’s development squad striker Joe Piggott has joined Altrincham on a youth loan until May. Piggott, 19, featured nine times for Morecambe earlier this season, scoring once.

The Nantwich-born forward links up with Phil Parkinson’s Alty after an impressive recent run in Latics’ development squad fixtures, including a recent hat-trick in a 6-0 win over Mansfield Town".

On joining Morecambe, on loan, in August 2018, the Shrimps' manager Jim Bentley said, "Joe’s highly regarded at Wigan and has been scoring plenty of goals, he’s a good size, technically good and has got very good potential. We’re looking forward to working with him and hopefully he improves and gets a few goals for us in the time he’s here". His nine appearances at Morecambe comprised six League Two games and three in the EFL Trophy, in which he scored a goal.

And whilst at Dundee United, the Daily Record reported that "Joe Piggott admits he has modelled his game on Dundee United legend Duncan Ferguson. The one-time Everton kid plied his trade at Goodison Park under the guidance of ex- Scotland and Tangerines star Ferguson.

Piggott arrived on Tayside as a free agent on transfer deadline day after previous spells at Oldham and Rochdale. The 19-year-old striker made his first start in three months as United continued their defence of the Irn-Bru cup by defeating League One Alloa 3-1 to book a place in the third round.

And Piggott revealed Big Dunc passed on more than a few handy tips on how to play the centre-forward role. Piggott said 'I was at Everton from Under-10s to 16s. I have been a huge fan since I was a kid. I played with lads such as Tom Davies who is in the first team and Kieran Dowell who is at Nottingham Forest now. I was coached by Kevin Sheedy and Ferguson. Big Dunc did striker training with us and always had a laugh with us.

'He is a great lad and a good coach. He taught me a lot, like throw some elbows out there! Seriously, he just told me to compete for everything in the air, hold the ball up and get shots off. I was only told a few weeks back he had started his career at Dundee United. I was young when he was playing for Everton but I have seen videos of him and he was class. When I was a kid I tried to be like Duncan as a player, a big striker trying to hold on to the ball like he did. I wasn’t as tall as him so I have had to change my game slightly'...

'I came here about a month ago but got injured in training. I came back up two weeks ago and thankfully I signed'".


Altrincham's new signing, goalkeeper Steven Drench, has played against his new employers in at least twelve fixtures, (in addition to one unused sub appearance), whilst representing four different clubs, three of them from Yorkshire. In these matches, Steven has played at least eight times at Moss Lane, which is more than most players have done before they have joined The Robins.

He also has the probably unique distinction of playing against Altrincham three times in a single season in two different campaigns, for two different clubs (for Guiseley in 2013-14 and for BPA in 2018-19).

Steven is pictured, right, playing for BPA against Alty in September 2018. His list of appearances against Alty includes...

  • 10 October 2006: Altrincham 0 Morecambe 2, Nationwide Conference National
  • 13 March, 2007: Morecambe 0 Altrincham 1, Nationwide Conference National
  • 30 October 2012: Altrincham 1 Guiseley 3, Blue Square Bet North
  • 11 April 2013: Guiseley 1 Altrincham 1, Blue Square Bet North
  • 5 October 2013: Altrincham 4 Guiseley 1, Skrill North
  • 21 December 2013: Guiseley 2 Altrincham 2, Skrill North
  • 10 May, 2014: Altrincham 2 Guiseley 1, Skrill North Promotion Final
  • 11 August, 2015: Guiseley 1 Altrincham 0, Vanarama National League
  • 4 February 2017: Altrincham 0 FC Halifax Town 1, Vanarama National League North - Steven was an unused substitute.
  • 29 July 2017: Bradford (Park Avenue) 2 Altrincham 4, 29 July 2017, Pre-season friendly match
  • 15 September 2018, Bradford (Park Avenue) 2 Altrincham 3, Vanarama National League North
  • 6 October 2018: Altrincham 4 Bradford (Park Avenue) 2, Emirates FA Cup Third Qualifying Round match
  • 24 November 2018: Altrincham 4 Bradford (Park Avenue) 0, Buildbase FA Trophy, Third Qualifying Round

When Steven starts his first Alty game, he will become the tenth player to make his league debut for the club this season.


Last Saturday witnessed Connor Hampson's fiftieth appearance for Altrincham and fellow defender Ben Harrison (right) will emulate his team-mate when he next takes to the field for Altrincham. For the first 36 games of last season, Ben was an ever-present, until injury curtailed his season at that point. His recovery has been protracted and, during this campaign, he has managed just one start (against FC United of Manchester in game 4 of the campaign). In addition, he has made three league appearances from the bench this season but, as the most recent appearance was in Alty's most recent game, at Leamington, he could make his fiftieth appearance on 9 February when, coincidentally, FC United are again the opposition.


Tuesday 29 January 2019
  • Spennymoor Town 1-0 Boston United


A summary of the recently reported goings-on at Bradford is provided by the local newspaper, the Telegraph & Argus which says that "Bradford (Park Avenue) have reassured fans that their aim remains promotion to the National League following the departure of three senior players this month.

Ben McKenna and Nicky Wroe have left to join rivals Chester and Boston respectively, and it was confirmed last night that goalkeeper Steven Drench has signed for Altrincham. With no player incomings during January yet, that has led to concern among some fans but the club insist they remain active in the recruitment market as they look to revitalise their promotion campaign after a faltering start to 2019.

Director Jonathan Collura spoke earlier this month of creating a sustainable business model at Park Avenue. And the club, currently fourth in National League North, emphasised that they can be sustainable should they reach the non-league top flight".

A club statement issued by BPA was on this website yesterday and may be read here.

In advance of Tuesday night's fixture, the Boston Standard reported that manager "Craig Elliott says his Boston United side must respect Spennymoor Town as the two sides meet this evening. The Pilgrims will travel north to Brewery Field, looking to register their first victory over the Moors since their promotion to the National League North.

'We’ve got a difficult game at Spennymoor where I may have to respect them and change things a little bit,' said Elliott, who has stuck with the same starting XI for the past three matches. The Moors recorded a 2-0 victory in Boston earlier this season, added to a 3-0 success from the previous campaign. Last season’s away fixture, a goalless draw, was played at Harrogate Town due to issues with the Spennymoor pitch.

Moors currently sit third in the National League North and a victory could see them move to within three points of second-place Stockport County. However, United will also be eyeing a win which would move them to within a point of the play-off spots...

Elliott is viewing the campaign as a marathon and not a sprint. 'I’ve been fairly calm this season,' he added. 'A couple of wins and you’re flying, but a couple of losses, you’ve got to take that this year, it’s so close'".

From the other side, Spennymoor Town tell us that "A month of serious progression comes to a conclusion this evening as Moors look to build on four consecutive wins at home to Boston United.

Ryan Hall and Glen Taylor scored a goal in each half in a 2-0 victory over Chester on Saturday, a result that left Moors third in the National League North... Boston are currently sitting in 11th, the midway point in the division, but are just four points away from the play-off spots. They are the only team in the league to have won and lost the same amount of games, and they rarely draw, having recorded just five stalemates this campaign.

The Pilgrims have recovered from a dip in form over Christmas which saw them pick up two points from a possible 12, collecting seven points from the last nine available. A remarkable 5-4 win at Guiseley [last Saturday] was the first time The Pilgrims have scored five in a game since a 5-1 win at North Ferriby on 20th January 2018, and it’s the first time they have conceded four in the league since a 4-1 loss at Brackley on 27th March 2018

  • Boston have drawn just five of their 26 National League North games this season, the joint fewest along with Ashton United.
  • Despite losing more games (11) than four of the ten sides below them, Boston have conceded the sixth lowest amount of goals in the league (33).
  • Moors have won four games in a row for the first time since a five-game winning streak between 26th December 2017 and 13th January 2018.

We got the views of Boston United stat man, Christian James... 'Two wins in the last twelve have done significant damage to our league position. I don’t think the side has over or underachieved, the well-documented turnover of players exposes the fact that our playing talent has not been up to Elliott’s standards. The starting eleven is becoming more consistent as the incomings have slowed down, but it is swiftly approaching now-or-never time if the play-offs are going to be achievable. We desperately need a good run of form to inspire fans and players alike for the remainder of the season'.

Which players have impressed you this season and who should we look out for?

'I’ve got over 40 to choose from! In terms of consistent performances: George Willis. The ‘keeper has admittedly made a couple costly of errors throughout the campaign, but they’ve been more than made up for with outstanding shot-stopping... On their good days, Nicky Walker and Max Wright have been unplayable, but being typical wingers, they are prone to ‘going missing’ in games. Ashley Jackson has been an impressive find, and Jay Rollins’s return has been welcome, adding an extra dimension to the forward line".

And Lincolnshire Live adds that "Newcomer Nicky Wroe made his Boston United debut on Saturday, but admitted the move was not even on his mind a fortnight ago... It was only a dramatic change in circumstances at high-flying Bradford Park Avenue which led to his move to Lincolnshire.

The experienced 33-year-old, who has put pen-to-paper on a contract until the end of next season, has been on manager Craig Elliott’s radar for some time and departed the Horsfall Stadium with a number of senior players told they were free to find new clubs...

'With the way we were going at Bradford, all was good but we got told about things coming out of the club and it kind of shifted my opinion on a few things and those of quite a few other lads there, to be fair, and it was a bit disappointing. As soon as somebody like Boston comes in, I had briefly spoken to Craig during the summer, it was quite an easy decision and I am looking forward to getting going.'

Wroe, who is scheduled to be back in action at Spennymoor Town tonight, is relishing the move, particularly with fellow Yorkshire-based [ex-Shaw Lane] players Ryan Qualter and Spencer Harris in close proximity. 'You can always overcome things like that [the travelling],' added Wroe. 'I spoke to my wife and did the logistics side of things and it is definitely doable. I went ahead and did it. I have been asking around, trying to find out where everybody is from and sharing makes it a more enjoyable journey and obviously travelling together is good fun and good for the group.'

Saturday’s victory at Guiseley, in which Jay Rollins scored twice to mark his 100 competitive start for the Pilgrims, completed United’s first league double of the season. Wroe’s arrival boosted a squad which has also seen goalkeeper Dylan Parkin and striker Jonny Margetts return from their respective loan spells with Cleethorpes Town and Gainsborough Trinity, although loanee Tai-Reece Chisholm has returned to parent club Barnsley."

According to the Shropshire Star "Boss Gavin Cowan insists Jon Royle is proving he has what it takes to be AFC Telford United’s midfield dynamo. Royle scored his first National League North goal of the season as the Bucks beat his old club Southport 4-0 at the weekend.

The 24-year-old Welshman, the club’s longest-serving current player, is known more for his defensive work, but... 'We ask him to play a lot further forward, more so when we’re out of possession in the press,' Cowan said... 'We saw the fruition of that on Saturday in possession... He’s got all the attributes... He’s trusted me and he deserves all the credit.'

Royle originally joined Telford on loan from Southport in September 2016, with the deal being made permanent a few months later. He has played under three different Bucks managers; Rob Smith, Rob Edwards and Cowan, who he has found a new lease of life under.

Another who continues to impress under Cowan is defender Ross White. Also formerly of the Sandgrounders, he played an important role as Telford kept a clean sheet at Haig Avenue.

And Cowan said 'Ross is really coming into his own. He’s buying into our footballing philosophy and really reaping the benefits. He’s solid as a rock.'

Cowan, as a former defender, was delighted with his side’s defensive display... 'That’s defenders, they’re the unsung heroes,' added Cowan... 'And they were brave as well, playing a footballing game out from the back, which we don’t normally do.. We alleviated that pressure as I told them if they made a mistake, it was my fault, not theirs.'”

The Chester Standard informs us that "Chester skipper Scott Burton has assured Blues' fans that the club will reach this season’s play offs despite the side’s dramatic loss of form. Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s men were beaten 2-0 at fellow promotion hopefuls Spennymoor on Saturday, a result that saw the Blues drop out of the play off positions after one win in the last six games.

But the one bright spot to emerge from the defeat was the return of Burton, who has faced a long lay off due to knee surgery...

'It’s been four months since my operation'... said Burton, 31. 'I didn’t expect to play the full game, but we had injuries again so I had to and, for the last 15 minutes, I was gone but there wasn’t a lot we could do about it. I tired but I looked at the bench and thought I’ve got to get my head down and get on with it... The fans haven’t seen the best of me yet... We’re having no luck with injuries and when the other team scores I don’t think we think we can score, so we just defend. There is something missing at the moment and we don’t really know what it is.'

Despite the Blues’ poor form which has seen them collect just five points from the last six games, they remain in touch with the promotion chasers..

'There is no need to worry yet and we’ve got plenty of time,' he said. 'We’ll make the play offs and we’ve been here before. I’ve won this league and I think this team is good enough to get in the play-offs and win them. The fans don’t need to worry. At the end of the day if you look at our injuries we’ve got our best strikers coming back for the next game.'

As captain, Burton admits he must shoulder some of the responsibility for raising the morale of a dressing room the management has suggested is lacking in confidence, continuing 'We had that discussion at full time saying they expect more out of me as a captain and they’ll get that. It was my first game back and I’m the type of guy who will push my players and get them playing better. At the moment it’s just not going for us and we can’t put our finger on it.

'On the pitch I’m a shouter but, off the pitch, I think people can talk to me and we’ll get there once we get players back from injury. All the senior players have had our say about what needs to happen and what we need to do and hopefully we can do it at Kidderminster. The message is don’t panic. There’s only a few points in it so with a couple of wins we’re back on the road.'

Kidderminster, who tackle Chester at Aggborough on Saturday, February 9, have appointed Mark Yates as their new manager. 'I can’t do anything about the last 28 games, but I’ve come into a club that’s two points outside the play-offs,' said Yates".

NL Daily confirms that "Brackley Town have announced the further development of their St James Park stadium.

The club’s ambitious plans for the future will take a further step forward this summer with the construction of a new ground entrance, new classroom facility, toilets and hospitality suite. The development will provide bespoke facilities for the new Academy the club plan to launch in 2020, improve the standard of accommodation available for use outside of match-days and will enhance the match-day experience of spectators.

Of special significance will be the provision of the infrastructure for an academy that will offer talented young footballers in the Brackley area the opportunity to enjoy high quality football development with continued academic study. Based at the club, the two-year, full-time course will be fully funded with Brackley Town FC working alongside partners to deliver an outstanding programme that will provide pathways onto university or into the world of sport, business and the leisure industries.

The initial work to submit planning approval and undertake design work for the development is underway".

Stockport County confirm that defender Jamie Stott has been recalled by Oldham Athletic from his loan spell with the Hatters.

Jamie has made 13 appearances for County since his January [sic] move but will return to Oldham... Everyone at Edgeley Park would like to thank Jamie for his contribution over the last three months, helping County to claim a place in the Play Offs".

The National League "The National League is pleased to announce a rebranding of its title sponsorship from the Vanarama National League to the Motorama National League from next season.

‎In doing so, the new agreement adds a further three seasons to a sponsorship arrangement with the Autorama Group which has enjoyed great success for both parties over the past five seasons.

Motorama, sister brand of Vanarama, is a personal car-leasing broker and the latest arm of the Autorama Group. The involvement of Motorama with The National League will see the introduction of a brand new affiliation scheme, which will provide supporters with an opportunity to earn money for their Club with every vehicle leased.”

29 January 2019


Above: Steven Drench lines up with ex-Alty men Luca Havern and Nicky Clee as Bradford (Park Avenue) prepared to face Alty on 24 November 2018.

As outlined below, Bradford (PA) are allowing players to leave and Altrincham have reaped the benefit by signing their goalkeeper Steven Drench on Monday evening.

Drench (born in Salford on 11 September 1985), is well known to Altrincham supporters. After starting out at Blackburn Rovers (2005), where he now works as a coach, Steven played for Morecambe (2006-08) alongside Alty assistant manager Neil Sorvel when the Shrimps gained promotion to the Football League. Next, he joined Southport (2008-09), and subsequently followed Port manager Gary Brabin to Cambridge United on loan.

After leaving the Sandgrounders he signed for Leigh Genesis where he played 45 times (2008–10). A trial at York City came to nothing and, instead, he joined Guiseley, racking up well over two hundred appearances and earning promotion, before moving on to Bradford PA in 2017, following former Lions' manager Mark Bower to the Horsfall Stadium.

A line and a half on the BPA website on Monday evening announced the transfer, stating simply that "Bradford (Park Avenue) can tonight confirm goalkeeper Steven Drench has left the club on a permanent transfer to Altrincham FC".

The official Altrincham FC website has Press & Media Officer Brian Flynn's interview with Steven Drench.


Following ex-BPA midfielder Nicky Wroe's interview with a Boston newspaper (reproduced below) in which he said that "everybody [at the Bradford club] would have their name circulated" to other clubs, Bradford (Park Avenue) have issued a statement ...

"As outlined at a recent Fan Forum and in a statement as recently as Friday, Mark Bower and the Board are working closely together to refresh and re-balance the playing squad during January.

We operate a small squad with no reserve team, and the balance between having enough depth, and the luxury of having players not involved week to week is a delicate one at a club of our size and means. In order to recruit fresh faces to push forward into the Play-off Race, we, like many clubs, listed some players for transfer in order to gauge interest. This was done only 14 days ago. Some of these players had requested more game time and opportunities; others have served the club very well in recent seasons however were not in the clubs plans for 2019/2020. Five players were listed in total with one player requesting a move prior.

Two players have departed the club in the past two weeks, both for healthy contracts elsewhere through to the end of the 2019/2020 season. Negotiations are continuing regarding one other player transferring.

Disappointingly there have been reports and misrepresentations made around this very normal business for a football club in January.

We remain consistent with the strategy and re-build of the club that has been communicated openly by Directors in recent months. We aim to build the most competitive squad under Mark Bower's stewardship as possible, with the aim and ambition to win every match we play and push for the play-offs and promotion. Retaining and extending our exciting group of core players is prudent and a priority.

We are working hard to improve Horsfall Stadium with pitch perimeter fencing being installed, and we are working with the FA to ensure Horsfall is compliant with Ground Grading Guidelines for the National League should Mark and the teams brilliant work to date this season achieve a play-off series appearance.

As outlined to fans very transparently recently, we can be sustainable should we reach the National League and we strive to achieve that goal.

We are active in the recruitment market and will be announcing more news in due course in-line with our strategy to invest our playing budget and generously donated supporter player fund monies in a prudent and efficient manner.

We expect to have settled on our transfer business by the end of the month and are all focused on winning football matches and extending the enjoyable season our supporters have been provided deep into the play-off race, and beyond".


Leamington have twenty minutes of very good quality video highlights from Saturday's match. Unfortunately the off-the-ball incident which led to Jordan Hulme's dismissal was missed by the camera.

The Kenilworth Weekly News reports that "Brakes ended their ten-match winless sequence courtesy of a ruthless first-half performance at home to play-off-chasing Altrincham, writes Paul Okey....

Despite the visitors knocking on the door in the second half, wayward finishing and resolute defending ensured the hosts were able to see out the game in relative comfort... Leamington were on the back foot in the opening stages, however, with John Johnston blazing over after just 30 seconds and Connor Hampson showing excellent footwork in the box to negotiate two defenders only to balloon his shot out for a throw-in.

The home side were guilty of being sloppy in possession but their first threatening moment, in the 11th minute, led to the opening goal of the game. Jordan Murphy, whose loan spell has been extended to the end of the campaign, unleashed a fierce shot from 25 yards which took a slight deflection and flew past the angle with keeper Anthony Thompson flat-footed. Thompson was more mobile from the resultant corner, rising to palm away James Mace’s goalbound header. Jack Lane picked up the pieces but was unable to work a shooting opportunity and the ball rebounded to Bishop whose backheel was poked over the line by English.

Above: Mace, the Brakes' number six heads goalwards in the lead-up to their first goal. Tony Thompson beat the header away but it was worked through to Junior English to score.

The goal was somewhat against the run of play and completely changed the momentum, with Brakes now assuming control of proceedings.

Altrincham were looking susceptible to the excellent dead-ball delivery of Murphy... Andrew White was then in the perfect place to clear an Edwards header off the line after Bishop had won the initial ball at the far post.

Brakes doubled their lead on the half-hour, with Murphy the instigator. The pacy wideman picked up possession just inside his own half and set off on a driving run which took him all the way to the visitors’ box. Murphy had just the advancing Thompson to beat but was unable to pull the trigger as a nudge from the backtracking [Hannigan] sent him tumbling to the turf. Hampson [Hannigan] escaped further censure and Bishop meted out the perfect retribution with his spot-kick proving too fierce for the Altrincham number one despite Thompson getting a hand to it.

It was Brakes’ first two-goal cushion since the opening week of November and it was to get even better for the home side a minute before the interval. Joe Clarke’s clever return pass allowed English plenty of time to measure up his cross from the right flank and he used it wisely, picking out Bishop who cleverly guided his header beyond the reach of Thompson...

Brakes were almost gifted a bizarre fourth after Thompson flapped at a cross from the left. Murphy, arriving at the far post, sent his header towards goal and Hannigan’s clearance off the line hit a retreating Thompson and ricocheted just over the bar...

The home side were managing the game well and their task was made even easier when Hulme was needlessly sent off following an altercation with English, the volatile striker having taken offence to a perceived elbow by the defender on Nathan Waterson. The ten men were unable to even fashion a consolation, Johnston hitting the post from a tight angle after Lane had been caught out by a crossfield pass".


More news of Nicky Wroe's surprising move from Bradford (Park Avenue) comes from the Boston Standard which reports that "Nicky Wroe says joining Boston United was an ‘easy decision’ after being told the entire Bradford Park Avenue squad were being put up for grabs.

The former Barnsley, York City and Preston North End midfielder has been part of the BPA side which reached the National League North play-offs last season and spent much of this campaign on top of the table. But Wroe told The Standard manager Mark Bower had been warned his players were free to leave the Horsfall Stadium.

'Basically, a couple of weeks ago, the gaffer had a team meeting and said that, instead of getting backing, he was getting his budget cut and that everybody would have their name circulated at the request of the chairman and people above him,' Wroe said. 'He was obliged to inform us as soon as anybody came in. It’s real strange, I’ve never encountered it before. Basically, they’ve come out and said, behind the scenes, they’re not ready to go up. But when are you ready to go up? What does that say to the players?'

Despite spending much of the campaign in top spot, Park Avenue have dropped to fourth in the table, 11 points off leaders Chorley and failing to register a win in their past six games...

Wroe says he is looking forward to helping Craig Elliott and assistant Lee Stratford push for the play-offs. 'I’m happy to be here, I know Strats and I’ve seen what Craig’s done in recent years', added Wroe, who has won promotions with Torquay United and Shrewsbury Town and skippered FC Halifax Town to victory in the 2016 FA Trophy . 'They came in and got it over the line pretty quickly. It was an easy decision to make to be at a club that’s wanting to be ambitious, four points off the play-offs.

'What we did at Bradford, there’s no reason that can’t be replicated with this club.' Elliott attempted to bring Wroe to Boston in the summer".

But, last Friday, Bradford (Park Avenue) were more cryptic than Wroe, saying that "Avenue have today agreed to release Nicky Wroe from the remainder of his contract. A popular midfielder and clubman, Nicky Wroe joined the club in 2016 and has been a regular first team stalwart. Mark Bower, The board, and everyone involved at the club would like to wish Nicky all the very best and thank him for his substantial contribution and professionalism during his time at Horsfall.

All player movements should be considered in the wider context once we have completed our trading. As outlined at the recent Fans' Forum, we are active in the recruitment market and will be announcing more news in due course in-line with our strategy to invest our playing budget and generously donated supporter player fund monies in a prudent and efficient manner'"

Altrincham's next opponents, FC United of Manchester, "can confirm that the club has been found to be in breach of Article 9:1 of FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players in relation to its failure to obtain international clearance for a player and received a written warning from the FA.

The club has been charged by the National League and will appear at a personal hearing in due course.

We also regret to inform supporters that we have been found to be in breach of rule 23.01 of the Frank Hannah Manchester FA Premier Cup competition rules and we have received confirmation from the Manchester FA that we will be expelled from this year’s competition. We accept the decision and will not be appealing.

At this time the club would like to apologise to our supporters and players. As the formal process is ongoing there will be no further comment until its conclusion".

Meanwhile, Kidderminster Harriers "confirm the appointment of Mark Yates as Manager until the end of the season. Yates is no stranger to Aggborough having twice played for the club and also managed the team between 2006 and 2009.

The 49-year-old has taken charge of Cheltenham, Crawley, Macclesfield and Solihull Moors since leaving the managerial post here, and returns looking to bring a spark to the club’s final 14 games of the term. The ‘new’ manager will this week’s training sessions and began with the squad on Monday. Owing to a previous commitment, he’ll oversee his first matchday when Harriers entertain Chester next weekend (9th).

Jimmy O’Connor and Russ Penn, having assisted with team management in the last few weeks, will continue to aid Mark during the run-in."

The unofficialHarriers Online adds that "Mark Yates, returned to the club for a fifth time today to take over the managerial reigns from caretaker manager Colin Gordon following a run of poor results since the sacking of Neil MacFarlane at the beginning of the month.

The move has come on top of an unsettled fan base who, following Saturday's home defeat to struggling Alfreton Town, have been calling for a permanent appointment sooner than later otherwise we’d be facing a mid-table finish to the season.

In his two stints as a player with us he became a dependable club captain who took no prisoners and that rubbed off onto his managerial career with us from 2006 until 2009 when he left us to manage Cheltenham Town. He was the same with them and at Crawley Town too until he lost the job there in April 2016.

He returned to Aggborough for a while in charge of our U23 side but left that to become the Solihull Moors manager in November 2017 when he saved them from almost certain relegation and built a foundation at the club that has seen them riding high in the National Premier this season. He left the Moors to take over at Macclesfield Town and it was there that he first met a setback that saw him last only four months before getting the sack.

Now back with the Harriers for the remainder of the season we’ll be hoping that he can get us back into the play-off push. Knowing how Yates likes his teams to play it’ll not be what Colin Gordon has supposedly instilled into the club but will be a more direct route to goal with a tougher defence added too".

Joey Barton's Fleetwood Town "announce that goalkeeper Matt Urwin has joined Chorley on a permanent deal. Urwin has spent the first half of the season on loan at Victory Park, and has now joined The Magpies permanently after his contract was mutually terminated with the club."

From Cheshire Live we learn that "It's fair to say that Chester FC have lacked the killer instinct in the final third for a number of weeks.

Ever since Akwasi Asante was forced off with an injury in the 2-1 home win over AFC Telford United on December 22, a result that sent them third in the National League North, Chester have laboured up front and their efforts have been hampered still [more] in the past fortnight with Anthony Dudley being ruled out with a hamstring strain. Dudley... looked to be forging quite the partnership with Asante, now a permanent addition at the Blues following his signing from Tamworth, netting five in three loan games and Dudley benefiting enormously from his strike partner's presence.

And while the 2-0 loss at Spennymoor Town on Saturday saw Chester tumble to eighth and out of the play-off places, there is genuine hope that the duo will be back to lead the line again for the Blues the next time they see action at Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday, February 9.

Both Asante and Dudley were back on the pitch on Saturday, joining in the pre-match warm-up ahead of the loss to the Moors, but Bernard Morley... [says], 'We need to make a decision whether we think we can make the play-offs with Akwasi Asante and Anthony Dudley or without them... (Saturday at Spennymoor) is the first time where we can't make excuses with the side that we've turned up with. We could have been a little bit stronger with one or two but we were strong today. We had good options on the bench and we had a good XI, we had no excuses in terms of squad.

'We can improve over the next couple of weeks and it is looking likely that Akwasi and Anthony will be available for the Kidderminster game... We've got to wait 14 days. It becomes a massive game for us'... Chester have a blank weekend coming up owing to Blyth Spartans' progression in the FA Trophy and the trip to Aggborough will be the next time that the squad will see National League North action."

The Chester Standard adds that "Joint manager Bernard Morley did not hold back after watching his side fall to a second successive defeat as they fell to a 2-0 loss at fellow promotion chasers Spennymoor Town.

Goals in either half from Ryan Hall and the prolific Glen Taylor ensured the Blues, for whom Gary Roberts missed a 55th minute penalty, lost more ground on those teams around them...

'It's not acceptable,' said Morley. 'I just feel in terms of quality we are really lacking in a lot of areas; the final ball, the desire to be on the front man and the desire to get numbers in the box was non-existent today and it has been over the last couple of weeks. We've lost our identity and I don't know what we are anymore. In terms of application it’s not what we are. In terms of desire and determination, we’ve lost that bit between our teeth which we need to get back as soon as possible before it’s too late.

'When you see three or four players wanting to take the penalty when they all know who the penalty taker is, it's never a good sign and it shows a lack of character in the dressing room. What we were was really hard to beat and all of a sudden we're getting undone by the basics of football which we can't coach; it's down to the individuals in terms of decision making and that was what was poor today and that was collectively all over the pitch.'

A much changed Chester line up saw new signing George Waring make his debut up front with Scott Burton returning in midfield to skipper the side following a long lay off. Matty Thomson also retuned at right back with Dan Mooney and Craig Mahon dropping to the bench...

'Maybe it's a lack of confidence,' added Morley, who now has a free Saturday next week to further prepare the team for a trip to Kidderminster. 'We got ourselves to third in the league and we had numerous chances to go top but we never took them so there was a sign early doors that we weren't brave enough. I look back on the last seven weeks and we've won two games in our last nine but we're still there in and around the mix for the play offs. If we can put any sort of form together we're back in it. Today is the first time we can't make excuses with the squad we've turned up with'".

At York City, "Centreback Tom Bradbury has agreed to join City on loan until the end of the season from Scottish Premiership side Dundee, subject to international clearance. Bradbury, 20, moved north of the border last summer after spells with the Milton Keynes Dons academy and Southern League Premier division side Banbury United.

He is the third new arrival at Bootham Crescent this week following the loan signings of Hartlepool United midfielder Paddy McLaughlin and Bury midfielder Scott Burgess".

28 January 2019


The official Altrincham FC match report on Saturday's defeat for Altrincham at Leamington comes from John Edwards, who says "Altrincham managed to retain possession of the final play-off place, but little else went their way at Leamington on Saturday... There were no excuses afterwards from Parkinson, who vowed to make full use of the two-week gap, before our next game at FC United of Manchester, and also step up his search for attacking reinforcements."

Right: During a break in play at Leamington, at 2-0 down, Phil Parkinson called over his players for a tactical talk.

And the official Altrincham FC website also has Phil Parkinson's reaction to Saturday's defeat.


Leamington report that "Paul Holleran was understandably delighted with the win over Altrincham.

‘We’re really delighted with the result. I think the first half, although we perhaps had a slight advantage with the conditions, was a fantastic forty-five minutes. We didn’t let them breathe and, in among recent games where we haven’t been able to turn draws into victories, there’s been some good performances, and the group deserve that today, because you go back to last Saturday at Boston - lads were dropping like flies on Friday and Saturday morning. We’ve realistically got twelve fit players, and then Kieran Dunbar fractures the top of his shin after eight minutes, so they’ve really had to dig in and work hard. We had a couple of bodies back on Tuesday night, we’ve got another couple back today.

‘We were excellent today. We scored good goals... We worked on it on Thursday night, we spoke about getting the ball in quicker, beating that first centre half and asking questions. It was as good a first forty-five minutes as we’ve had for some time. People start asking questions when you haven’t had such a great run, and it’s been a while since our last win, but we haven’t lost many either, and we’ve shown lots of character. We’ve still been picking up points and that’s important. In amongst all the injuries and suspensions and everything else, we’ve kept at it in this division, we’ve competed'".

Leamington add that "While a ten match run without a win might sound ominous on first glance, Leamington have still been picking up points and keeping their heads well above water in the National League North since their last victory, on the road at Alfreton Town at the back end of November. This heartwarming victory and performance against a good Altrincham side who are fully in with a shout of a play off place was a fantastic way to put that unwanted sequence to bed, however.

With the squad looking a little healthier as Callum Gittings returned from injury, along with Paul Holleran extending the loan of Solihull Moors man Jordan Murphy until the end of the season and also snapping up striker Mikey Taylor after he left Tamworth, there was hope that Brakes could build on a promising second half performance against Stockport on Tuesday, and they most certainly did that.

There was little indication of how the afternoon would unfold in the opening minutes, the visitors’ John Johnston latching onto a pass from Jordan Hulme inside the penalty area before rifling a powerful drive just over the bar as most people were still settling into their positions for the afternoon.

Brakes were struggling to find their rhythm and were misplacing passes, but a spark suddenly changed the complexion of this game, and it came from the boots of Murphy, who cut in from the right and drove at the Alty defence, thumping in a powerful strike that looked to be on target before being deflected just over the bar for a corner, from which James Mace saw his header cleared off the line. The ball then found its way to Jack Lane, who momentarily looked to have the chance to shoot, but as he was closed down Colby Bishop was able to backheel into the path of Junior English, who forced home his third goal of the season.

The visitors were rocked back on their heels by the goal, and never really regained their composure from then on in...

It was another spectacular driving run from Murphy that gave Bishop the chance to add Leamington’s second goal just past the half hour, the livewire wingman almost beating the entire Altrincham defence as he surged into the penalty area, his run ended by a foul from Connor Hampson. Bishop stepped up and found the bottom corner off the inside of the post, Thompson diving the right way but unable to keep the ball out.

The confidence was oozing through the side now and at times they were playing some lovely football. A highly satisfactory first forty five minutes was topped off in style on 44 minutes when a delightful right wing cross from English was met by a powerful stooping header from Bishop that thundered into the net, his sixteenth goal in just nineteen games...

Tony Breeden had to make his only real save of the afternoon after 65 minutes when fielding a low drive from substitute Sean Williams. The visitors began to apply pressure, a shot flying over the bar after a lengthy scramble in the penalty area, but their afternoon went from bad to worse when Hulme was shown a red card after an apparent kick at English".


Immediately following their run of seven wins in nine unbeaten games in the league, Alty have now become much more inconsistent. In their last eight league matches they have lost each alternate game.

Defensively, too, inconsistency has struck. Either side of keeping a commendable clean sheet against in-form Southport, Altrincham conceded four goals in 38 minutes at Chorley and then three in 32 minutes at Leamington.

Altrincham have a blank Saturday coming up, owing to Spennymoor Town's continuing involvement in the FA Trophy, so the next opponents will be FC United of Manchester on 2 February. FC won at the J. Davidson Stadium in the reverse fixture.


On Sunday, Altrincham FC Youth entertained Stockport Georgians and beat them 10-0. There were hat-tricks for Ben Elliott and Daniel Lewis and the other goals were scored by Billy Matthews, Dontai Gabidon, Danny Lewens and Billy Hadfield.

Altrincham lie fourth in the NWYA Premier, six points behind Chester FC, the leaders, who have played one more fixture than Alty.


Altrincham FC Reserves remain top of the Cheshire League thanks to a 4-0 home win on Saturday against Billinge FC. Alty are two points ahead of Pilkington FC with a game in hand. Pilkington are seven points ahead of third-placed Poynton.

Next Saturday, Altrincham FC Reserves are at home to seventh-placed Knutsford FC.


Sunday's league match for second-placed Altrincham FC Ladies at Warrington Wolverines was postponed. Next Sunday, the Ladies are at home to third-placed West Didsbury & Chorlton.


A week on Saturday, 9 February, Altrincham travel to Broadhurst Park, Moston, to take on FC United of Manchester.

From there, FC United of Manchester report that they "lost 2-1 at home to second place Stockport County on Saturday afternoon as The Hatters fought back from 1-0 down to snatch all three points in front of 2,987 supporters.

Kurt Willoughby gave the Reds an early lead but County equalised on the stroke of halftime before sealing victory at the death. Willoughby broke the deadlock on 10 minutes, driving the ball home after beating two defenders on the left-hand side of the box.

It was the perfect start but the Reds were unable to find a second goal in an entertaining, end to end encounter. Frank Mulhearn equalised seconds before the interval with a clever chip and Jamie Stott scored what felt like an almost inevitable winner with two minutes to go."

From the other side, Stockport Vital Football says that "County served up a rousing barnstorming finish, with a dash of the fairy tale about it away to FCUM today, as a late goal from Jamie Stott in his last game for the Blues (for a while anyway) made it 2-1...

It was a good win, but one that looked in doubt when the Moston side took the lead 9 minutes in. After that County did most of the pressing, but the more infrequent attacks from the home side seemed to be more incisive, thus it was more than a slight relief when chief nicker of trifles, Frank Mulhern, poached the equaliser smack on half time.

That revitalised County, who had the game by the scruff of the neck upon the restart... For long periods it looked like a County goal was inevitable but it just would not come" until late in the day.


Scott Leather opened the scoring for Chorley on Saturday, whilst Josh Amis hit a hat-trick for Warrington Town. Also on the mark on Saturday was Danny Mitchley for Marine who defeated Hyde United for whom James Poole went off, injured. As well as Amis and Mitchley, a third ex-Alty centre forward, Craig Hobson, netted Ashton United's winner at Nuneaton.


The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) slipped another place to fourth in the Vanarama National League North after suffering a fourth defeat from their last five league games, losing 3-0 at Brackley Town.

Since the calendar year began Avenue have banked just one point from a possible 15 and two players have gone through the exit door as Nicky Wroe departed on Friday, following Ben McKenna the previous week.

Both players have gone to direct rivals as Wroe signed for Boston United, making his Pilgrims debut from the bench against Guiseley at Nethermoor yesterday, while McKenna joined promotion rivals Chester.

However, Avenue travelled to St James Park looking to build on the point they earned from a home draw against Blyth Spartans. It was the Saints who gained though as their win propelled them into the play-off places, Brackley are now sixth and just four points behind Avenue...

Carl Baker sent in a long range effort that Drench saved but the forward found the back of the net minutes later. Baker picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and lashed a superb shot into the top corner...

Mark Bower was looking for a second half comeback from his players but it didn’t come..>

Drench... was beaten for a second time just before the hour mark... The third was made by Matt Lowe as he beat his marker and laid the ball into the path of Baker who fired in off the underside of Drench’s crossbar.

The only bright spot for Park Avenue was the appearance of Danny East from the bench 10 minutes from time. East ruptured his Achilles tendon in a pre-season friendly and has been sidelined since."

Still focused on Yorkshire, the Telegraph & Argus reports on "Guiseley 4 Boston United 5. Rowan Liburd bagged a hat-trick as Guiseley scored four at home but they still failed to win as Boston United plundered a five-goal haul...

The Pilgrims started the scoreboard clicking on the quarter hour mark... Two goals in quick time saw the match turn in the favour of the home side... But Boston hit back just as quickly as Jay Rollins was put through by a superb through ball from left back Ash Jackson and the striker did well to steer the ball past Dewhurst while off balance.

Before the half hour mark the Pilgrims were back in front and it was Rollins again, from close range after visiting centre back Lewis Gibbens had hooked the ball back into the middle of the six-yard box following a corner...

Liburd was back in the thick of the action two minutes into the second half when he slotted in to make it 3-3... Boston made sure of all three points with two goals in a five-minute spell late in the second half... The Pilgrims ran the clock down but Liburd grabbed a consolation in the third of four minutes of time added on when he nodded in at the far post.

Joint Guiseley manager Russ O’Neill said 'The game ebbed and flowed but we gave some horrendous goals away. We’ve been struggling for goals so we opened up a bit and scored four but conceded at the other end. We’ve scored four goals at home and lost the game, it’s scandalous. It could have been 7-6 it could have been anything with two teams slugging it out'".

The Northern Echo reports that "Without a game this coming weekend, Darlington have plenty of time to ponder their situation, both on and off the field. Sixteenth in the table, play-off hopes shelved for another season, they’re able to focus on staving off being sucked into survival fight.

They are six points above the drop zone, most teams beneath them have a game in hand, though performances over the last month or so have been encouraging and results generally okay: three wins and three draws in eight league games.

Saturday was typical of recent fare, a pleasing performance though Darlington were disappointed to draw 1-1 at Curzon Ashton... Given they had fallen behind early in the second half, Quakers could take encouragement from Tommy Wright instigating a fightback by changing tactics with half an hour to go, resulting in Tom Elliott scoring a cracking goal.

He said 'Simon Ainge going up front and switching to 4-4-2 had an effect. We should’ve come away with three points, so I can’t fault the lads because they gave us everything and pushed to the very end... There’s been games this season when we would’ve folded at 1-0 and not been able to do anything about it.'

The game provided a distraction from the slight sense of unease generated by the previous evening’s annual meeting for shareholders, who were told next season will see a reduction in the amount spent on the squad.

A heavier reliance on loaning players from the beginning of the season will be implemented, while again there shall be an appeal for supporters to boost the budget...

Supporters... are used to their team not winning away from home, Saturday’s result making it eight in a row since last enjoying a three-point haul on the road. Statistically their prospects looked bleak by half-time at which point it was 0-0; the 15th time Quakers have failed to score in the first 45 minutes, and on each of the previous occasion they had not gone on to win.

And so that sequence continued...

In the pouring rain on a grim day in Greater Manchester, the pitch saturated and the players becoming filthier, Darlington’s mucky kit representing a challenge for kitman Gary Smith, what had been a largely even contest saw the visitors finish by striving for a winner... Given that Curzon had won four in a row before Saturday and beat Darlington on the opening day of the season, Wright’s side can take some satisfaction in earning a draw, which means they have two points more than at this stage last season".

27 January 2019


Action from the first half at Leamington.

Against a Leamington side without a win in eleven outings, Altrincham put on one of their poorest performances of the season.

Yet there had been a bright start from Altrincham before they fell behind in the twelfth minute. The Robins, having failed to threaten from any of their own three early corners, failed to deal with Leamington's first flag-kick. From the corner, an effort from Mace was blocked but Alty then failed to clear the resulting loose ball in a melee inside the box, from which English scored from close range.

From that point on it was as if a switch had been flicked as Altrincham became distinctly second-best. Leamington doubled their lead twenty minutes later from the penalty spot. The Brakes' Solihull loanee Murphy got away from Hampson and the pursuing Hannigan brought down the Brakes' player inside the box.

Goalkeeper Thompson got a hand to the spot-kick by Bishop, but could not keep it out.

A minute from the end of the first forty-five, Bishop netted his second when he outmuscled Jones to nod home a cross from the right by English.

Altrincham saw more of the ball in a second half played in increasingly blustery and, latterly, wet conditions.

But the visitors created little threat to Breedon's goal before Jordan Hulme got himself needlessly sent off. Altrincham's substitute debutant loanee, Nathan Waterston, had gone down under a challenge from a defender inside the box. When no penalty was signalled and the offender, English, indicated that Waterston had no cause to claim a penalty, Hulme got himself ridiculously sent off for aiming a kick at the Leamington man. The referee missed the incident but his linesman alerted him to it and a straight red card was shown.

Hulme will probably now be looking at a four-match ban, having already seen red this season. And, to complete a sorry afternoon, post-match news from elsewhere indicated that Alty's James Poole had limped off for Hyde whilst playing for his loan club.

Having conceded four goals in the final forty-five minutes at Chorley in the last away game and, now, three in the first forty-five at Leamington, Alty have conceded seven times in ninety-minutes of away football.


Altrincham gave a debut, from the bench, to Barrow striker Nathan Waterston (left) at Leamington on Saturday. A tall striker, Nathan has joined Alty on a loan deal as he recovers match fitness after a shoulder injury.

However, his sporting prowess is not limited to football as he is also an accomplished cricketer in local cricket in Cumbria, where he plays for Barrow-based Furness CC. Indeed, Nataham topped the club's aggregate runs total for last season with 970 runs, a total which included an unbeaten knock of 129. In 17 innings (5 not out) he averaged 80.83 runs per innings!

In October 2017 Nathan was named as the N.L.C.C.L 2017 Under-21 Player of the Year winner as well as lifting the Premier Division batting award.

Meanwhile, Chris Sang, Alty's loanee striker from Bury, has returned to Gigg Lane after one start and four susbtitute appearances for The Robins.


Saturday 26 January 2019
  • Blyth Spartans 2-3 Hereford FC (att. 783)
  • Brackley Town 3-0 Bradford (Park Avenue) (487)
  • Curzon Ashton 1-1 Darlington (394)
  • FC United of Manchester 1-2 Stockport County (2,987)
  • Guiseley 4-5 Boston United (725)
  • Kidderminster Harriers 0-1 Alfreton Town (1,315)
  • Leamington 3-0 Altrincham (569)
  • Nuneaton Borough 0-1 Ashton United (655)
  • Southport 0-4 AFC Telford United (1,052)
  • Spennymoor Town 2-0 Chester FC (863)
  • York City 1-4 Chorley (2,669)

26 January 2019


Altrincham travel to Leamington on Saturday, for the return fixture against the Brakes, so called because of their forerunner club's association with AP Automotive Products. For Alty fans the game offers the prospect of a first sighting on new loan striker from Barrow, Nathan Waterston. Hopefully the game will also include the further rehabilitation of James Poole whose injury has limited him to one start and six appearances from the bench in the league so far this season.

Leamington FC advise that their "admission prices to First Team Vanarama National League North league matches at The Phillips 66 Community Stadium for Season 2018/2019 are as follows:

  • Adults: £12
  • Over 60s: £8
  • Students (with NUS card): £6
  • Under 18s: £3
  • Under 12s: FREE
  • Matchday Programme: £2.50".

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

  • Home: P3-W1-D2-L0-F6-A5
  • Away: P2-W2-D0-L0-F3-A1
  • All: P5-W3-D2-L0-F9-A6


A former Altrincham FC youth team goalkeeper is the subject of a report by the Hallmark Security (NW Counties) League that Daniel Havern, nephew of Luca, has moved to Atherton LR.

Meanwhile a week on Saturday witnesses a clash in the Buildbase FA Vase 5th Round between two former opponents of Altrincham as Histon entertain Northwich Victoria.

Before the game, the Leamington Courier reported that "Leamington boss Paul Holleran says the club’s recent struggles are what happens when you refuse to settle for an easy life. Brakes’ winless National League North sequence extended to ten games with Tuesday night’s narrow defeat to Stockport following on from a 1-1 draw at Boston on Saturday.

It threatens to undo all the hard work of November which saw Brakes waltz through the month unbeaten in both league and cup competitions. But despite not having tasted a league win since November 20, Holleran says the challenge of mixing it with a string of former League clubs and established non-League heavyweights is one to be relished.

'The league is relentless,' said Holleran. “'But this is what we worked so hard for and what we want. It would be easy for me to be a decent side at Step 3, plodding along around the play-offs. Or, do you want to be in the best part-time league in the country?

'We’ve played two ex-League teams in the last few days and we’ve gone 1-1 and 1-0 with depleted teams. Stockport are a big, strong, powerful side and we matched them for long periods. You couldn’t argue that they weren’t the better side on the night but we could easily have got a 1-0 or a 1-1 and it’s been like that the last few weeks.

'I’d much rather have times when when you ask questions of yourself. I’d much rather be here than where we used to be and that is what we are striving for.'

Despite having to go back to November for their last maximum, Brakes have lost only three of their last ten and Holleran is still in a positive frame of mind ahead of the visit of Altrincham tomorrow.

'Having everyone available is key for us,' he said. 'We’ve got a run of games now when we can get some positive results. The points we have picked up have kept us away from the danger zone and now we need one or two wins to allow us to play with a bit of freedom.' Holleran has moved to cover for the injury Kieran Dunbar sustained at Boston by signing West Bromwich Albion youngster Sam Wilding on loan."


The National League reviews its North division saying, "With three months to go, things at the top and the bottom really are becoming rather interesting. Chorley are still title favourites according to Stockport County manager Jim Gannon...

The leaders face a tricky trip to York City, where Steve Watson gets to meet the club’s home fans for the first time. They lost to County last week of course and, after rising to second and going to within four points of top spot on Tuesday, Stockport have a short trip to FC United of Manchester. Bradford PA have work to do but don’t rule them out yet, especially if they can earn three points at Brackley.

Two promotion contenders meet as Spennymoor and Chester go head-to-head. Two sides who have very much enjoyed the past few months meet as Liam Watson’s Southport welcome AFC Telford and both now have play-off ambitions after a slow start to the season. It’s now or never for Nuneaton Borough; the bottom club are adrift but, if they manage to see off fellow strugglers Ashton United, then not all hope is lost.

Hereford manager Marc Richards says things aren’t as bad as they seem but his players must start picking up wins. They try their luck at Blyth Spartans, while Altrincham travel to Leamington. Kidderminster are two points off the play-offs and will fancy their chances at home to Billy Heath’s Alfreton.

The winner of Curzon Ashton’s game with Darlington will fire themselves well clear of immediate danger while Guiseley’s need is greater - they face Boston United badly needing points on the board."


NL Daily tells us that "Chester FC have signed big forward George Waring following his departure from Tranmere Rovers by mutual consent. The 6'5" Waring, who has recently had a second spell on loan at Kidderminster Harriers, made his last appearance for Rovers back in September 2017 and he only played three times in his 18 months or so at Prenton Park.

He actually began his career with the 'old' Chester City club as a youngster before going on to join Everton and then Stoke City.

Whilst on the Potters' books, he had loan spells with Barnsley, where he made 19 appearances and scored 6 goals, Oxford United, for whom he made 14 appearances with one goal, Shrewsbury Town (13 games) and Carlisle United (9 matches). After being released by Stoke he signed for Tranmere in the summer of 2017."

The National League informs us that "Stockport County have bolstered their squad with the signing of a talented central defender. Fleetwood Town’s Lewis Baines joins on loan. He shone at Ashton United for a few months earlier this season and now joins the battle at the other end of the National League North.

Gannon says the towering centre-half is a perfect fit and could play this weekend at FC United.

'He’s a six-foot-three left-sided centre-back, a good footballer, good defender, another really good young player that’s maturing well,' Gannon told the club’s website. 'We’ve got some good options, such as Dan Cowan and Jordan Keane, as well as some good young lads maturing behind the scenes. But, psychologically, I felt that we needed to have another defender so we weren’t disrupting other elements of the team.

'I thought it was really important to have a good left-footed defender who can play left side of a two or a three and, if an emergency situation arose, could possibly play at left-back, one of the areas where we haven’t got a lot of depth, so he’s a perfect signing for us at this stage.'"

Herefordissued a "Board Comment on Guiseley Post-Match Incident".

It says "Following the game at Guiseley there was an unsavoury incident close to the players tunnel. The levels of abuse witnessed were totally unacceptable, and those involved will be contacted by the club in-the-near-future to discuss their conduct. Hereford FC ‘Respect’ Director Andrew Graham said 'We have an incredible set of very loyal fans who travel across the Country in all weathers to support the team.... Whilst we all appreciate that football is a game of opinions and emotions, there are times when constructive criticism of the team and/or management progresses to unacceptable level of personal abuse. I would, therefore, ask supporters to refrain from the personal abuse of any club employee in the future.

Future misconduct from fans may result in sanctions being imposed upon us by the FA.”

The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that "Guiseley's current league placing of sixth-from-bottom may not be an overwhelming one, as it stands. But in the greater scheme of things, a six-point buffer above the relegation zone and, with the potential of consolidation towards the safe confines of mid-table in a season that was always destined to be a transitional one at Nethermoor, is a position that many realists may [have] taken before a ball was kicked in August.

With the club having cut their cloth accordingly following the painful financial mistakes of last season, a campaign that was tough and sobering on every level for the Lions, the ship has been steadied by joint managers Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill, who have earned the respect of the club’s hierarchy and supporters in the process. Of course, the pair want much more, with the team’s current placing of 17th being one which the duo are keen to improve between now and the end of the season.

But fulfilling the season’s brief of consolidating in the sixth tier of English football comfortably looks to be within their remit. Analysing the season so far, Bignot, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s home game with Boston United, told the YEP, 'We would have won the league based on what we have achieved financially in terms of reducing the liability! I am sure the owner, chairman and board are delighted with what we have done. But ultimately, we want to win football matches.

'Come the end of the season, I am confident of where we will be and that we will look back at it as a massive step in the right direction at this football club again... The signs are that we can still have a strong end of the season and that is what we are working towards'...

Guiseley’s injury count has been added to ahead of the home encounter with the mid-table Pilgrims. [Ex-Alty loanee] Josh Langley, Niall Heaton and Kaine Felix were forced off in the 1-1 midweek draw with Hereford, which represented Guiseley’s 12th draw of the season. Up front, the Lions will again rely on in-form veteran striker Kayode Odejayi, who has struck four goals in his past six matches.

Co-manager O’Neill said [about injuries] 'We have had an horrendous run of them, all season, right from the first game... We were a bit disappointed to only get one point against Hereford, but if we can back it up with three on Saturday we would have taken four points over the two games'...

Meanwhile, "Mark Bower’s Bradford Park Avenue make the trip to Brackley tomorrow... Avenue, who now find themselves in third spot, are seeking their first win of 2019 and have not won in their past five games."

Southport "bounced back from their first league defeat since October with victory over Marine midweek in the cup; now Liam Watson’s side will hope to resume winning ways in the National League North against Telford.

The defeat last Saturday against Altrincham would’ve been a weird feeling for a side that has been unbeaten for so long. Prior to the game at Moss Lane, the Port hadn’t lost a league game since the 27th October at home against Blyth Spartans. From there Watson’s side went on a superb run of form...

Despite losing to the Robins there is no reason why Southport can’t continue their fantastic rise up the table...

The Bucks enter this game sitting in the playoff places in 5th, and eight points ahead of Southport... [who] come up against Telford at what could be a good time, as they enter this game on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Kidderminster last weekend. Nonetheless, prior to that defeat, The Lillywhites had been in good form at the back end of 2018 and the start of the new year...

The key player for Gavin Cowan has been striker Daniel Udoh, who has 11 goals so far in the league.... Another attacking threat for Southport to deal with will be Amari Morgan-Smith...

There was much hope at the start of the season; it took a while to finally come to fruition but now, despite defeat last, Southport can go into any match expecting something."

From the Lancashire Evening Post we learn that "Chorley are not only top of the National League North but top of the goalscoring charts too. And [ex-Alty] midfielder Josh O’Keefe credits the signing of [ex-Alty loanee] Elliot Newby for their attacking style.

The Magpies and Spennymoor Town have both netted 56 times this term. And though they have increased their goals return, the Magpies have not lost their mean streak in defence, Jamie Vermiglio’s side, along with second-placed Stockport, have conceded 22 goals this season. They have a four point cushion on in-form Stockport as they prepare to travel to struggling York City this weekend.

O’Keefe has shifted to the holding role in a 3-5-2 with Elliot and brother Alex Newby just in front in the midfield three. He said 'Elliot has come in and he has been a great signing. He has brought all sorts to the team; hard work, a bit of flair and he has added to our attacking threat, which is probably something that we lacked really. We were always great at keeping clean sheets, winning 1-0. Now we are winning by three or four and it is really good to be involved with.'

Alex Newby made it seven for the season, as Josh Wilson and Adam Blakeman both hit the double- figures mark at the weekend. O’Keefe is one off the 10-goal mark, with Marcus Carver also on double figures and Elliot Newby on six. And O’Keefe says the brothers do not just aid the attack but make space for others.

'They help me because they get us 20 yards up the pitch. They can carry the ball. It has created more space for me and the players in those higher areas.' He added 'I’m playing that deeper role and we have a laugh that I am babysitting the two Newbys and I go and let them off the lead and they can do what they want going forward. As long as they are getting back and helping, they can do that because on the ball they are brilliant and they can open anyone up.'"

At Aggborough, Kidderminster Harriers "have added two goalkeepers to their squad. Following injuries picked up at AFC Telford United last weekend, Tom Palmer (quad) and Brandon Hall (leg) have missed training time this week. While they’ll be assessed again before the game against Afreton Town, Harriers have bolstered the ranks in that department with the addition of Jake Weaver.

Jake joins on a one-month loan from Birmingham City where he is thought of highly, a 21-year-old with experience of this level after a spell with Hungerford Town in National League South this season... Also signing forms for Harriers is teenage stopper Kieran Boucher. The 19-year-old has played for Lye and Halesowen Town this season".

25 January 2019


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

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

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

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

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


Hopefully Altrincham's Saturday's fixture at Leamington will go ahead unlike the 2016 encounter in a FA Trophy Round One replay which was finally played on Saturday, 16 January, 2016 at the sixth attempt. Two of the earlier dates for the tie had witnessed postponements only after Altrincham and their supporters had travelled to Warwickshire. Hard work by the Leamington ground staff and volunteers had succeeded in producing a pitch was far better than had been expected after all the rain and drainage problems that it had endured.

Left: James Lawrie in action at Leamington in January 2016.

The replay had been caused by a 1-1 draw in the original tie at the J. Davidson Stadium in December 2015.

Finally, after extra time, Altrincham squeezed past Leamington in this tie. Altrincham got off to an excellent start when Jamie Hood's blatant holding on Michael Rankine produced a fifth-minute spot kick for the visitors. The defender escaped with a yellow card but Rankine firmly drove his penalty kick past keeper Breeden. However, far from building on this advantage, Alty barely troubled the Leamington keeper for the rest of the afternoon.

In contrast, Alty goalkeeper Tim Deasy several times stood between Leamington and an equalizer. And, if Alty's first half had been disappointing, their post-interval showing was even more so. But the visitors somehow held out until The Brakes' striker Mackey headed home following a last-minute corner kick.

Ten minutes into extra time, a magnificent through-ball from substitute Sam Heathcote set Michael Rankine at goal. From more than 20 yards, he powered an excellent shot past Breeden to restore Altrincham's lead and see them through to Round Two, which was to involve a 500-mile round-trip the following Tuesday to the Sussex coast to play Bognor Regis Town. That match too had its weather-related problems as Alty fans will recall!

For the game at Leamington Damian Reeves was fit to return to the bench but Altrincham started with Josh O'Keefe in midfield and Michael Rankine as the front man. Once again, Alty were without the experience of the long-term injured Coburn, Marshall, Clee and Densmore. Both of their recent loan signings, Josh Ginnelly and Dylan Mottley-Henry were not signed in time to participate in this game.

LEAMINGTON (Gold and black) 1. Tony Breeden (capt), 2. Ben George, 3. Connor Gudger, 4. Joe Magunda, 5. Jamie Hood, 6. Jamie Tank, 7. Lee Moore, 8. Richard Taundry, 9. Ben Mackey, 10. Jack Edwards, 11.Lee Chilton. Subs: 12. James Fry, 14. Will Green, 15. Rob Ogleby, 16. Ross Oulton, 17. Eddie Caviezel-Cox

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white stripes, red shorts, white socks): 17. Tim DEASY, 20. Jordan SINNOTT, 5. Luca HAVERN (capt), 6. Scott LEATHER, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Jake MOULT, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 7. James LAWRIE, 19. Ryan CROWTHER, 9. Michael RANKINE. Subs: 23. Callum WILLIAMS, 18. George BOWERMAN, 10. Damian REEVES, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 24. Rhain DAVIS".


Altrincham FC has announced that, on Friday evening, the Community Sports Hall at the J. Davidson Stadium will be open to all for live viewing of the Arsenal v Manchester United FA Cup game from 7pm (k.o. 7.55pm).

Special offers on the night include San Miguel or Guinness at £2.50 a pint and all other draught beers at £2 per pint.

In addition, there will be homemade pizza available from the club's official caterer, Richie Bentley, all prepared in his new pizza oven! So why not come along and support the Club whilst enjoying top football action?


The Kenilworth Weekly News reports on Leamington's 0-1 defeat by Stockport on Tuesday saying that "Brakes went to toe to toe with the National League North’s in-form team and though few could argue that Stockport deserved the three points, they were pushed all the way by Paul Holleran’s side, writes Paul Edwards.

The only goal came courtesy of a fortunate deflection in the 37th minute that left Darren Stephenson with a simple close-range header to delight the sizeable travelling support who already seem convinced that they are on the way to promotion..

The visitors engineered several half-chances before extending Breeden just past the half-hour... Leamington used the wings well in the first half and Ahmed Obeng beat Sam Minihan on the left but picked the wrong pass and Stockport were comfortably able to clear the danger. The visitors edged in front with the only goal of the evening eight minutes before half-time.

Warburton picked up a cross from the right and fired in a shot that clipped the heels of Joe Clarke and looped towards goal. Stephenson timed his dart away from the line of Brakes defenders just right and had the simple task of nodding the ball in from close range, Breeden looking on helplessly.

It was a disappointing way to concede but Leamington pushed forward in search of a leveller... West Bromwich Albion youngster Sam Wilding was introduced for his debut just past the hour-mark, and the loan man, along with Obeng, saw a shot blocked as Leamington attempted to make an impression on the Stockport goal.

Brakes began to enjoy more of the ball as the game entered its closing stages but, despite some bright approach play, the visitors were in no mood to surrender their advantage...

[Manager] Holleran was not too downbeat, however, at the final whistle, praising the fighting spirit of his patched-up side.

'We were hoping to have Connor Gudger back tonight, we did a bit of work in training with him on Thursday and then again at Boston on Saturday and we spoke to him on Monday but really it’s not quite right. We’ve got to be careful because it’s an injury that, if we rush him back, it could keep him out for even longer.

'Jack Lane did really well in that position tonight, it’s a role we know he can do, so that was good. Kieran Dunbar has had a scan and we’re waiting for the results of that. We think that there could be a fracture in there, so that’s one that could go on for a bit as well. So yeah, we’re a little bit stretched but I thought that the players who were out there really battled, fought, scrapped, showed some good quality at times, but just in that final third, that little bit of composure and quality that you need, we didn’t have it.

'And you need it against these sorts of teams because the intensity of the way they play, the way they defend and close you down. You can see why they have gone on the run they are on, you really can, but we gave them something to think about tonight. They’ve been rolling some sides over quite comfortably lately but when they leave here tonight they’ll know they’ve been in a game and we can’t do much more than that.'"

Brakes: Tony Breeden, Junior English, Jack Lane, Joe Clarke (Sam Wilding, 64), James Mace, Jamie Hood, Jordan Murphy, Reece Flanagan (Connor Taylor, 69), Colby Bishop, Jack Edwards, Ahmed Obeng. Subs not used: James Bowen, Callum Gittings, Ben Newey.


Hereford FC "can unfortunately confirm that Keyon Reffell suffered a broken ankle during the game at Guiseley on Tuesday evening. The incident happened towards the end of the match when Keyon attempted to attack a cross in the closing stages of the game.

'We’re all gutted for Keyon', said Head Coach, Marc Richards. 'We were hoping, and our initial reaction was, that it wasn’t too serious an injury, but as we travelled home on the bus it became apparent that it was worse than feared.' Jonny Evans continued to treat Keyon on the journey home, and placed Keyon’s foot in a protective boot to give additional support. Keyon had an x-ray first thing on Wednesday morning which confirmed the break.

Richards added 'suffering a broken bone is bad enough for any footballer, but we really feel for Keyon after he had battled back so well from his broken foot earlier this season. Keyon is a good character, and has already showed exceptional attitude in his rehab this season. I am sure we will see him return even stronger after this injury'...

Although it is early days, Keyon is expected to be sidelined for at least 6-8 weeks".

According to the Shropshire Star, "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan is not ruling out a tilt at the National League North play-offs this season. But the Bucks boss stresses his No.1 target is to secure Telford’s position in the division’s top half before looking up further.

Cowan’s initial aim was to better last season’s 14th-placed finish, but the boss led his side on a storming run of five straight wins before Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Kidderminster, as well to the last 16 of the FA Trophy.

'The runs always come to an end. It’s not Arsenal, we’re not the Invincibles,' said Cowan. 'But we’re growing as a group. Like I’ve always said, we wanted to stay away from relegation and now the aim is to stay in the top half. It’s very difficult to try to keep a lid on people’s expectations, but we’ve got to remind people of where we’re at. What happens with hope is that sometimes it turns into expectation.

'If we’re just a bit more reasonable and have a bit more logic, let’s get the points to stay in the top half initially, then we might look at the play-offs, and so on and so forth.'"

The Banbury Guardian says that "Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin will be looking for his side to extend their unbeaten run against third-placed Bradford Park Avenue.

Wilkin was delighted to see his side pick up their first Vanarama National League North victory on the road since October. Saints earned a 1-0 win at Alfreton Town on Saturday with a battling performance and a late goal from substitute Daniel Nti. Now Wilkin will be looking for three more against Bradford on Saturday...

Wilkin said 'That’s six games unbeaten now but, given the competitive nature of this league, we are not getting carried away with things. If I am being honest, we are not quite at the level that I would like us to be or quite where we were at this stage last season. We have young players who are on sharp learning curves but if they can learn and develop quickly they can have a good effect through to the end of the season.'"

Well before the weekend, Cheshire Live announced that Chester FC had already "been in dialogue with weekend opponents owing to the adverse weather conditions. Chester FC say that Spennymoor Town 'are taking all measures' to make sure that Saturday's encounter between the two sides goes ahead as planned. The wintry weather of the past 24 hours has made for treacherous conditions across the north of England...

This weekend would be Chester's first trip to Brewery Field and an important encounter between two sides with play-off ambitions this season. Jason Ainsley's Spennymoor were the first team Chester faced this season, drawing 0-0 at the Swansway Chester Stadium back in August. The Moors, who have former Chester striker Shaun Tuton in their ranks, sit fourth in the table, two points ahead of the Blues with two games in hand making it a major six-pointer for Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley's side."

The National League states that "Glen Taylor says he had no hesitation extending his Spennymoor Town stay and doesn’t regret turning down full-time football for a minute. Despite interest from elsewhere, the National League North club have announced the 21-goal striker is staying.

Taylor, 28, commits until 2021 by which time he will be closing in on a decade at the Moors. He told the club’s website 'It’s a brilliant club, but I ultimately made the decision due to happiness. I have a nice balance at the minute with my family, my job as a teacher and obviously playing at the club. The squad here are a great set of lads and it’s a brilliant dressing room to be a part of. In the end it was an easy decision for me.

'I could have potentially gone on and played full-time football and, as a young boy, your dream is to become a pro footballer but, for me, being nearly 29, happiness comes before the status of being able to say you are a professional footballer. Moving on to a full-time contract would have changed a lot of my life as I would have had to give up my job and relocate. My wife has a good job too, so everything just felt right to stay here.'”


Chester FC "confirm details for when the Blues will travel to face Nantwich Town in the Cheshire Senior Cup Quarter Final. Our game will take place on Tuesday 12th February, with a 7.45pm kick off at the Weaver Stadium... Nantwich are the defending champions of the competition, with a 3-0 Final win over Stockport Town last year. They beat Crewe in the previous round, whilst the Blues were 4-0 victors away at Winsford."
24 January 2019


The Leamington Observer reports that "Leamington came away from Tuesday night’s encounter with Stockport County pointless, after a 1-0 loss at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.

Darren Stephenson’s goal before half-time was enough to give the visiting Hatters a win on the road... with the Brakes forced to rue being second best for the majority of the game.

Stockport started strongest... The hosts continued to weather Stockport’s dominance in possession and were thankful for the intervention of Breeden to keep themselves level in the game – as the Brakes shot stopper magnificently tipped a first-time effort from Matthew Warburton around the post.

But the resistance would end there after Stephenson gave Stockport a 37th minute lead, Adam Thomas’ cross found Warburton who cracked a shot at goal, deflecting cruelly into the path of the Hatters midfielder to head home... County’s corner threat continued in the second-half with their captain Ashley Palmer squandering a header after a run to the far-post...

The chances continued to flow for the visitors with Leamington still on the back foot... Leamington sought to change their fortunes and looked to loanee signing Sam Wilding from West Bromwich Albion to cause an impact from the bench, but [he] was unable to turn the Stockport tide as the visitors looked good value to make it eight wins in a row.

It was almost game over, albeit for the excellent Breeden, who was forced to tip away Sam Minihan’s cross that deflected into dangerous territory, before keeping out the snap-shot from Sam Walker after the ball fell into his path.

On Alty's last visit to Leamington on 16 January 2016, in an FA Trophy replay, Josh O'Keefe and Jake Moult were in seemingly synchronised action. Alty won 2-1 after extra time.

The Brakes managed to muster a couple of opportunities to muster shots at goal, but both efforts from Ahmed Obeng and substitute Wilding were blocked...

Leamington must now look ahead to Saturday’s home fixture with Altrincham (3pm), when Phil Parkinson’s promotion chasing side do battle with the Brakes."

Off the field, Sports Management announced on Tuesday that "Plans to build a new football stadium for Leamington FC have reached a 'key milestone', following a deal to acquire a piece of land for the venue.

Warwick District Council (WDC) has purchased land from Warwickshire County Council close to the Warwick Technology Park, identified as the best location for the stadium. Plans for the site include a 5,000-capacity football stadium with a 3G artificial pitch, conference facilities, a health club, café and community facilities.

WDC has also tabled proposals to build 375 new homes, a new primary school, community hall, medical facilities and improvements to the road network and cycle links.

'This is a key milestone in our ambitions to create a new home for our club,' said Leamington FC chairman, Jim Scott. 'A new stadium with improved access and facilities will help us fulfil our aspirations to move into higher leagues. It will also allow us to develop and expand our presence in the community through our programme of football-related activities'".


On Tuesday night Guiseley report that they "spurned the chance to put some daylight between themselves and Hereford who sat directly below them as the teams played out a one-all draw at a frosty NethermooR, as Kayode Odejayi’s opener was cancelled out by Eliot Richards's equaliser.

After Saturday’s disappointing defeat the home team showed three changes as Cliff Moyo and Will Hatfield both returned from injury while Paul Clayton started up front in place of Rowan Liburd who dropped to the bench. In a quiet first half Marcus Dewhurst pulled of an excellent save to deny Mike Symons early on before Odejayi produced the only other moment of note when he scored on 26 minutes with a clever backheel from a Niall Heaton free kick...

The equaliser came two minutes in to the second half when Symons's shot took a wicked deflection to give Dewhurst no chance... The ever-alert Dewhurst denied the Bulls a winner with a fantastic double save at the death but the truth is that this was two points wasted by the Lions against a side who looked to have little to offer in the first half but improved in the second."

News of a former Altrincham loanee comes from the Boston Standard in a piece which says that "Boston United goalkeeper Dylan Parkin and striker Jonny Margetts have both returned to The Jakemans Stadium.

Parkin has been recalled from his season-long loan spell at Cleethorpes Town while Margetts's three-month stint with [Lee Sinnott's] Gainsborough Trinity has reached its conclusion".

Also from the Boston Standard we learn that "Andre Johnson has been challenged to force his way back into contention at Boston United, while Jonny Margetts’s future could be determined this week. Johnson returned to the United squad on Saturday after his dual registration spell with Hednesford Town came to an end.

'Andre went to get some games at Hednesford and it’s not worked out how he wanted,' manager Craig Elliott said... 'There was never a falling out or anything, so he’s more than happy to come back. I’m happy to work with him in training and he gets on well with the lads'. Johnson will, however, have to force his way ahead of Jay Rollins, Gavin Allott and Jordan Slew in the pecking order if he is to add to his three Boston goals.

Elliott added 'Jay and Gav have done pretty well without scoring the goals they deserve with their performances. But there’s a point where that has to improve. If they don’t there’s Jordan Slew and Andre, and I’m working hard to bring another striker in.'

Margetts has returned to Boston following a three-month loan spell at Gainsborough Trinity. Speaking on Saturday, Elliott said the striker’s future is yet to be resolved 'I’m not sure to be honest, I’ve genuinely not spoken to the lad'".

At Southport "Jason Gilchrist’s second-half double was enough to sink Marine in the first round of the Liverpool County FA Senior Cup. Two goals in four second-half minutes from the forward was [were] enough to set Port up with an opportunity to seek revenge on Tranmere Rovers in the next round, after they knocked them out in the FA Cup Second Round, earlier in the season.

Questions were raised prior to kick off if the game would go ahead after every weather condition possible battered the pitch but the hallowed Haig Avenue fought off the adverse circumstances and temperatures. A tense first half saw little action from either side but the visitors enjoying the majority of the chances..

Morgan Homson-Smith, Jordan Richards and Devarn Green all provided an outlet for Southport in the first half with Richards and Green linking up well down the right-hand side but they struggled to create any guilt [gilt]-edged opportunities. With the game lacking in quality as the second half began and penalties on the horizon, both teams upped their game...

As the hour mark approached, the play-off-chasing National League North side turned on the style, finding further joy down as they did in the opening 45. Australian full-back Reagan Ogle rode two tackles before plopping the ball on Gilchrist’s head, only for last season’s top goal scorer to force Joe Hilton into a relax [reflex] diving save.

But two minutes later, they were in front. Paddy Lacey, making only his first start since signing in January, found Gilchrist on the edge of the Marine six-yard box and he drilled Southport into the lead. It never rains but pours at Southport and one goal quickly became two, with Homson-Smith and Gilchrist linking up. An incisive, defence-splitting pass from the Port winger left the forward bearing down on Hilton, who coolly slotted through the legs of the Everton-loanee to make it 2-0...

The hosts ran out 2-0 winners setting up a quarter-final clash with Tranmere Rovers.

Southport (4-4-2) Tibbetts, Richards, Ogle, Edwards, Parry (capt) (86′ Hollins), Lacey (68′ Doyle), Green, Davies, Gilchrist, Archer, Homson-Smith. Subs not used: Sampson, Charles, Hanford.

We learn from the Shropshire Star that "AFC Telford United will be able to give themselves the best preparation possible for their FA Trophy last-16 tie at Spennymoor Town, thanks to a donation from the supporters’ association.

The Bucks face their National League North rivals on Saturday, February 2, having already beaten them twice this season. A third victory over the Moors would put them two rounds from Wembley in a competition won three times by the previous incarnation of the club, Telford United.

And with Spennymoor a 394-mile round trip, fans of the Bucks have dipped their hands in their pockets [with £600] to make sure Gavin Cowan’s charges can stop over for the night" on Friday.

"York City’s on-loan midfielder Liam Agnew has returned to neighbours Harrogate Town" according to York Press. The Sunderland-born, 23-year-old made five National League North appearances for the Minstermen during his one-month spell, whilst he also scored and was sent off during the 6-1 North Riding Senior Cup quarter-final home victory over Redcar Athletic.

Agnew’s departure means there are no longer any loan players on the Bootham Crescent books, with Alex Bray, Joe Davis, Kennedy Digie and Joe Ironside having returned to their parent clubs earlier this month.

New boss Steve Watson, therefore, currently has 16 fit senior professionals at his disposal; Adam Bartlett, Hamza Bencherif, Jordan Burrow, David Ferguson, Kallum Griffiths, Alex Harris, Alex Kempster, Macaulay Langstaff, Josh Law, Adriano Moke, Sean Newton, Jon Parkin, Dan Parslow, Joe Tait, Jake Wright and Wes York. Injured midfielder Simon Heslop, meanwhile, remains sidelined, with the squad bolstered by teenage trio Nathan Dyer, Reiss Harrison and Ryan Whitley.

Watson and assistant-manager Micky Cummins will meet City supporters tomorrow night in The 1922 Bar for a question-and-answers session. It is a 'ticket-only' event, with tickets limited to two per person".

Barnsley Football Club "confirm that Romal Palmer has joined Darlington FC on loan until the end of the season. The young midfielder, who scored the only goal as our U23s beat Burnley a couple of weeks ago, was on a youth loan at Blackwell Meadows but will now be with Tommy Wright’s side until Saturday 4 May.

Palmer made his Darlington debut in a 3-3 draw against play-off chasing Altrincham Town [sic] on 22 December and has since gone onto play five times for the Vanarama National League North side. He joins U23s teammate Will Smith at the Quakers after the Reds’ defender also signed until the end of the campaign last week. Both players have received praise for their performances on social media." How they have done on the pitch is unclear!

And the Northern Echo, writing before Wednesday's match said that "Darlington could be taken out of the record books tonight by Manchester City. City can set a new League Cup record if they post a three-goal winning margin against Burton Albion in the second leg of their semi-final.

After winning the first leg 9-0, City will set the biggest aggregate winning margin with a three-goal win at the Pirelli Stadium. The current record stands at 11 goals, with Quakers one of five clubs to have suffered such a drubbing in the competition. It happened in the 1987-88 season when the competition was sponsored by Littlewoods and it was Dave Booth’s first season as Darlington manager, with Watford the opposition for a keenly-anticipated second round tie.

Watford were a top-flight club and attracted Quakers’ highest attendance of the season of 5,005... Watford ran out 3-0 winners against a Darlington team which included Phil Bonnyman, Gary MacDonald, Ward and Currie. Booth’s team crumbled in the second leg two weeks later at Vicarage Road, losing 8-0 with Watford featuring seven different goalscorers on the night... The Hornets had the recently-appointed Dave Bassett in charge...

At least they were not on their own in losing so heavily, as Exeter, Bury, Fulham and Wrexham have also lost by 11 goals over two legs". Footnote: City only beat Burton 1-0 so Darlington remain joint record-holders!

According to Cheshire Live "It has been the source of much discussion for Chester FC over the past few months but Blues fans may have to wait a little while longer to see firm plans of what the Swansway Chester Stadium could look like.

Blues donor Stuart Murphy pledged £1 million to help build the infrastructure at the football club and there had been hope that plans would be able to be presented to fans by January. Sketches have been presented to the Blues board by Murphy and his team around what they believe the development should look like, but with the plans suggested looking set to exceed the initial donation the club have started to liaise with Cheshire West & Chester Council, the landlords of the Swansway Chester Stadium, about how things could progress...

Said Chester chairman David Harrington-Wright... 'The biggest single issue that governs all this is that we don't own the stadium and we don't own the land around it. Any development has to be in conjunction with the Council as I don't know where we are going to get the extra two, three of four million pounds to make a substantial change to the club when we have 45 years left on the lease and we don't own the land. I don't know where we are going to raise that money from. Is it from Stuart and his contacts? I don't know. There would have to be a redress in the business return on that and that is what we are in the process of discussing with the Council.'

Said Harrington-Wright 'At the moment it is stick your finger in the air stuff. I could sit down with you and you could tell me what you would like the Swansway to look like. A massive East Stand, stuff in the car park and all the things that go with it but we don't own the land so we can't commit to anything yet. But things have moved considerably since the first discussion where there was £1 million pledged. We have used some of that money, Stuart has authorised some of that money to go into the playing budget, so that supported the transfer in of a fairly influential player (Akwasi Asante), and he has pledged his support for that.

'That is where we are at. It is going to take a bit longer but we can't rush it and is has to be right. It has to be right for everyone, that is the people investing or donating and also from the club. There is no point just throwing money at something and in two or three years time going bust'.

Harrington-Wright said... 'The way the stadium is constructed, and I'm not an architect, we could actually do substantial remodelling of the East Stand that wouldn't affect the day-to-day running. It is a steel structure and we could build externally and then do the other work in the end of this close season if we were quick enough this year. The King's School have just built a massive extension and just wrapped it round the existing building and then took the inside bit down. That means that they haven't had to disrupt the day-to-day running of the premises. That is what we would need to do'...

Murphy himself has said that the donation could rise depending on what the scale of the project was and if it would be something that would generate a return on the investment for the football club. He said in June of 2018'It is £1 million but it could be quite a bit more depending on some projects and how far we want to go with the infrastructure... I have got a lot of enthusiasm and some great ideas but we are going to need a few permissions if we are going to expand the infrastructure of the club so that we can attract 3,500 supporters or more to every home game'"


The Leader Live reports that "Graham Barrow says shirts are up for grabs this weekend as Wrexham attempt to end their dismal run of form. Wrexham go into Saturday's home game against Maidenhead United on the back of five successive defeats, with the Reds failing to score during that sorry period.

Barrow has been active in the January transfer window but recently-signed strikers Jason Oswell and Cole Stockton were only included on the substitutes bench for Saturday's 2-0 loss at AFC Fylde, while on-loan winger Ben Tollitt did not even make the squad.

However, Barrow has indicated that everyone has a chance for the visit of the Magpies and it is down to the players to impress this week in training.

'It should be obvious to them that it is there for them,' said Barrow... 'They are a great bunch of lads but you can be too nice in this game and we need to find a ruthless streak in ourselves... We will have to look at every option this week and see who really stands out and wants to play... It is amazing from not having any problems, apart from injuries, a few weeks ago,' said Barrow.

'I can remember when we were winning games and we had 16 players basically, we could only just put a team and a bench out. We have added to the squad and then it seems to be problem after problem. I think they need to clear their heads a little bit; you feel like shaking some of them!... I would say five or six of our players weren't their normal selves'".


SkySports confirms that "David Beckham has bought a 10 per cent share in National League promotion chasers Salford City, making the Class of 92 majority shareholders in the club.

Beckham joins former Old Trafford team-mates Gary and Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes as part-owners of the club, who are in the running for promotion to League Two".

Peter Lim holds 40 per cent of the club, whilst 󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Gary Neville, 󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Phil Neville, 󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Nicky Butt, 󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Paul Scholes, 󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Ryan Giggs and David Beckham each holds 10%.

According to Kieran Maguire, the University of Liverpool's Lecturer in Football Finance, "One reason why David Beckham may be investing in Salford City is that the club lost nearly £12,000 a week in 2016/17 whilst in the National League North. Losses likely to increase if now full-time in National League".

23 January 2019


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

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

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

  • Home: P3-W1-D2-L0-F6-A5
  • Away: P2-W2-D0-L0-F3-A1
  • All: P5-W3-D2-L0-F9-A6
Altrincham also played the earlier Leamington club, AP Leamington, in the Alliance Premier Football League over three seasons from 1979-82. In those games the record was:
  • Home: P3-W2-D0-L1-F9-A4
  • Away: P3-W3-D0-L0-F9-A3
All: P6-W5-D0-L1-F18-A7

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    22 January 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    21 January 2019


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

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

    So what can be inferred from these statistics?

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Right: Marlon Broomes is congratulated on his goal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    20 January 2019


    Above: Jake Moult in action against Southport.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    19 January 2019


    Vanarama National League North
    • AFC Telford United 0-1 Kidderminster Harriers (gate 1714)
    • Alfreton Town 0-1 Brackley Town (369)
    • Altrincham 1-0 Southport (1102)
    • Ashton United 1-0 FC United of Manchester (845) (Aaron Chalmers scored the goal).
    • Boston United 1-1 Leamington (885)
    • Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-1 Blyth Spartans (373)
    • Chester FC 0-1 Curzon Ashton (1671)
    • Chorley 3-0 Guiseley (1314)
    • Darlington 1-2 Spennymoor Town (1664)
    • Hereford 2-2 Nuneaton Borough (2112)
    • Stockport County 3-0 York City (4664)


    The visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium today are Southport. Mike Garnett's records summarise previous meetings with Southport...

    • At home: P19-W10-D5-L4-F27-A22
    • Away: P14-W4-D3-L8-F19-A26
    • All: P33-W14-D8-L12-F46-A48

    The match will witness a marked contrast in the current form of the two clubs. Whilst Southport are unbeaten in their last twelve league games, Altrincham are currently on their worst run of the campaign, and their worst sequence under Phil Parkinson's management, with just one league win in six matches. Ironically, the Robins' current run of indifferent form has immediately followed the team's best sequence of the campaign, namely nine league games unbeaten including seven victories.

    The Sandgrounders lie four points and four places behind seventh-placed Alty, having had a wretched start to the season before their current excellent run of form.


    When Altrincham entertain Southport today (19th), Altrincham FC is offering an early dining deal in the Community Sports Hall by which supporters can get a pie/chips/gravy or burger or hot dog/chips/gravy for £4-50 and also receive a voucher for £1 off their first pint. This deal is available from 1.30pm to 2.15pm only.

    Also Altrincham FC has announced that "Following the success of selling Kaltenberg lager to the Stockport County fans on New Year's Day, we have decided to conduct a trial amongst our own fans with regard to their choice of lager on matchdays. Therefore, on Saturday when we play Southport, we are proposing to serve Kaltenberg lager from all the Fosters' pumps so that home supporters can taste the product. Forms will be available to cast spectators' votes and these will influence future purchasing for the bar. Thank you for your help - enjoy!

    Tasting Notes: Light and sparklingly refreshing Kaltenberg Lager with just 3,8% alcohol. A full-bodied decision for knowledgeable beer fans who want to enjoy an active day without compromising on taste".

    And Altrincham FC also announces that ponchos will be available to Altrincham supporters, for a small deposit, at Saturday's and future home games.


    Nuneaton Borough "have confirmed the signing of James Baxendale on loan from Kidderminster Harriers. The former Leeds United midfielder will go straight in to Jimmy Ginnelly's squad for the trip to Hereford tomorrow. After a spell with Doncaster Rovers, Baxendale made over 100 appearances for Walsall in the Football League before spells with Mansfield Town, Alfreton Town and a stint in the United States with Orange County."

    Still at Nuneaton, the National League reports that "Back in December, Jimmy Ginnelly was tasked with arguably one of the most difficult jobs in England, saving Nuneaton Borough from a drop into Step 3 for the first time in almost a decade.

    A Nuneaton boy, born and bred, the 55-year-old is currently living his boyhood dream at Liberty Way. But, after a bad injury effectively ended his playing career at a young age, a career in management became a sound way of overcoming the disappointment.

    'I played for the Nuneaton Borough youth and reserve teams back in the early days of my time in football,' he explains to the National League’s Oli Osborn. 'At the time it was a real pinnacle for the Club and very difficult to get into the first team. I picked up a bad knee injury at 23 and never really recovered, then began to have problems with the other knee, so my focus moved away from the playing side of the game at that point.

    'My local pub team had recently lost their manager who was moving abroad,' he continues. '“An opportunity came up to run the Reserve team and, within two weeks, was on the touchline in charge of the first team at Stockingford AA. It led to a very successful ten years. Every season we’d be winning league titles, alongside cup silverware at almost every opportunity but we got to a point where we just couldn’t take Stockingford AA any further.

    'I got frustrated with the situation, and then took up a position at Atherstone Town, where we finished third in Step 4 and won the Southern Football League Cup in 2009.'

    After a successful spell at Atherstone Town, Ginnelly took some time away from management before returning as part of the coaching setup at Barwell the following season... Ginnelly went on to lead the Canaries to their highest ever league finish, a spell that would catch the eye of new Nuneaton Borough owner Nick Hawkins...

    'It was an incredible time at Barwell,' he said. 'When the offer to become Nuneaton Borough manager came up, it was such a tough decision to leave the Club. I have so much time for the people who I have had to leave behind. There’s this thing pulling on my heart strings saying ‘football in Nuneaton is dead and has hit rock bottom. Can I be the man to bring that back to this community?’ This is the only job I would have left Barwell for...

    'I want to generate the crowds and buzz back around this football club... I’ve almost taken over a sinking ship,' he said. 'But I know the fans are right behind what we’re trying to do, both on the pitch and with the "feel-good" factor we’re trying to create. It feels like the town is backing me. The attitude of everyone involved, from staff to players to supporters has been top drawer. Behind the scenes, we’re putting a structure in place to help the Club in the long-term and the supporters who are here week in week out can see the progress of that. We are working tirelessly to get anything right at the Club, both on and off the field, whatever happens at the end of the season.

    'We’re aware how big of an achievement it would be for us to stay up, given the circumstances. That doesn’t mean we won’t be given it our all to make it happen.'

    News of an ex-Alty loanee comes from Cheshire Live. It says that "Chester FC defender Jon Moran has left the club on a month-long loan to Hednesford Town. The 21-year-old signed for the Blues on a one-year deal over the summer from Forest Green Rovers. But he has now departed the Swansway Chester Stadium for the next month...

    Moran [right] has turned out 19 times for the Blues this season, including 15 starts for the club. He began his career at Crewe Alexandra in their youth set-up before later joining close neighbours Nantwich Town. During his time with the Dabbers there was also a loan spell for Altrincham [see below], before moving to Gloucestershire side Forest Green as part of a squad which was promoted to League Two in 2017."

    Moran actually joined Altrincham on a one-month loan from Forest Green Rovers on 25 August 2016. In June 2016 he had joined FGR from Nantwich Town, having previously progressed to the Crewe Alexandra under-18s. Altrincham appearances: 5(+1).

    Reports in the Yorkshire Evening Post tell us that "Marcus Bignot says that he and fellow joint Guiseley manager Russ O’Neill are targeting a couple of ‘shrewd and clever’ signings to top off their transfer business this month.

    The Lions, who visit leaders Chorley tomorrow, have already brought in some key additions this month to bolster their depleted squad, with young Sheffield United midfielder George Cantrill and experienced centre-back [and ex-Alty loanee] Josh Langley making their loan debuts at Chester last weekend...

    Bignot said, 'Another couple more additions would help the group, to be honest... We are still governed by the financial situation at the football club, so we will have to be shrewd and clever. But a couple more would certainly help. A couple from the academy are also emerging, which is a boost, with Kieron Cessay playing on Tuesday night. Tabish Hussain has also just returned from injury'...

    Professing his delight at the timely capture of loan pair Cantrill and Langley, who have boosted the club’s outfield options, he added '“We were running thin and when you look at our recruitment from the summer, we have nearly lost the entire back four in terms of Louis Swain, Scott Garner and Terry Kennedy and Reece Thompsone. We have been decimated with injuries... we brought Jo Cummins and Louis Walsh in, who have returned back to their parent clubs and we also lost Will Hatfield and Cliff Moyo last weekend.

    'So it was a much-needed boost to get the pair. Especially a player with the ability and experience of Josh Langley, who has won this league and got a promotion out of it. To get someone with the technical ability and potential which was on show with George Cantrell is terrific as well. The two of them bring some much-needed quality to the squad in terms of the ball. We have got two at different ends of the spectrum; one player with experience and one with potential. That is the kind of recruitment vehicle we want to go down'...

    He said [of Chorley] 'We go there with confidence on the back of a lot of positives from Tuesday. We have taken the County Cup really seriously... It was a really good night, result and performance. We are now looking forward to Chorley'".

    We are informed by York Press that "Jon Parkin can still play a part in York City’s season if he responds well to an increase in training-ground intensity. The 37-year-old veteran has not played a first-team minute for two months since a second-half substitute outing during the 3-0 National League North defeat at Altrincham on November 17.

    Ten games have passed since and he last started a fixture on September 1... But new City chief Steve Watson was assistant manager to Lee Clark at Huddersfield Town when the then League One outfit took Parkin on loan from Fleetwood for two months in 2011/12 and believes last season’s 25-goal top scorer can prove an asset at some point in the remainder of the campaign if he ups his fitness levels.

    Parkin scored the first goal in Tuesday night’s 6-1 North Riding Senior Cup victory over Redcar Athletic and went on to play the full match. A difference of opinion over Parkin being filmed drinking alcohol at an airport on a Sunday morning contributed to his marginalising under previous boss Sam Collins, but Watson is prepared to give the heavyweight forward an opportunity to resurrect his Bootham Crescent career.

    'Jon’s a great character and a great player and I’ve had him before,' Watson pointed out. 'He’s the type of player who needs to be constantly training and playing and the Redcar game was his first 90 minutes for a long time. You could tell that at times so, if Jon is going to be of use to us and play a part this season like I hope he will, we’ve got to get him training at the right tempo every day, so the sharpness will come back.'

    Watson went on to reveal that he is happy for striker Jordan Burrow to continue as the team’s skipper but has challenged other members of the squad to demonstrate their credentials for the role. 'I’ve not really made my mind up about the captaincy yet but there’s no reason to change it at the moment,' the ex-Gateshead boss reasoned... 'For now, we know Jordan will give us everything and go through a brick wall for us. His preparation will also be spot on, so he’s a great choice, but I’m open to anybody else who wants to take the bull by its horns.'

    Watson also confirmed that former captain Sean Newton is now available for selection following the unexplained disciplinary matter that saw him not considered during the final days of Collins’ reign."

    As previously reported here and now reiterated by the National League, "Boston United believe they are making significant progress in their attempt to secure a new stadium. The Pilgrims are ready to leave their historic York Street home as they look to be a part of a fantastic new project in the town.

    The £100 million Quadrant development will include the football stadium, more than 500 homes and retail outlets either side of the A16... The club must, of course, fund it and chairman David Newton says it’s getting closer". The above link takes you to an illustration of the planned stadium

    And the Boston Standard says that "Craig Elliott believes that scoring first is the key to beating Leamington. The Boston United boss has suffered back-to-back defeats against the Brakes as Pilgrims boss, a 2-0 loss at the New Windmill Ground in August and a frustrating 1-0 reverse at the Jakemans Stadium last season where a dogged defensive display from the away side ended United’s nine-game unbeaten run.

    'I’ve watched them three or four times this year, they don’t change, they sit in and just love defending,' Elliott said. 'They love to counter attack and nick a goal. Fair play to them, I think they know what they need to do to stay in this league and they’re good at it... [The] key against them [is], you need to take your chances and get that first goal to make them come out. If they get the first goal it’s hard to win against them as you open yourselves up.

    'But it’s another hard game, this league’s crazy. The good thing about it is every Saturday you fancy yourselves to win a game of football.'"

    FC United of Manchester "are delighted to welcome midfielder Dale Whitham (26) to FC United, joining us on a month’s loan from Chorley. Whitham will come in to replace FC midfielder Michael Potts who will be undergoing surgery on a groin injury at the end of the month, that will keep him out for 4-6 weeks.

    FC Manager Neil Reynolds explains 'Mike Potts complained about a groin strain a few weeks ago. We sent him for a scan as well as being seen by Preston North End’s first team physio. The physio immediately diagnosed that Potts showed signs of a hernia. After the scan results came back it was clear that Potts has a sportsman’s hernia that requires immediate surgery. His operation date is 31st January. This is a big blow, losing my captain and a player of his ability. We are hopeful that he will be back for the last two months of the season.'

    Reno added, 'Now we know the extent of Potts’s injury, we have brought in Dale Whitham from Chorley on a month’s loan. I have been a long admirer of Dale, and when we found out about his availability, this was a no brainer. Dale is very experienced at this level and will be a real asset to the squad. Dale joined the FC squad on Tuesday 15th January'...

    Whitham is Chorley’s longest serving member of the first team squad having joined them in 2010. During his time at Chorley he has made 362 appearances, scoring on 29 occasions. This season, due to an injury, Whitham has only started 3 times and has made 14 appearances as a substitute. He is now back to full fitness, and Chorley were keen that he got some game-time on loan for a month.

    Before joining Chorley, Whitham played... at Leigh Genesis... In the summer of 2010 Whitham followed [manager] Flitcroft to Chorley and would become a permanent fixture in the Magpies squad that saw them climb from the Northern Premier Division One to the current league leaders of the National League North."

    Also from FC United of Manchester we learn that the club is delighted to welcome midfielder Josh Hmami (19) to FC United, joining us on loan from Welsh Premier League side TNS and striker Dominic McGiveron (22), who joins us from Norwegian fourth-tier side Valdres.

    Josh Hmami was born in Oldham on 17.12.1999 and began his football career with Bolton Wanderers... before moving to Barnsley where he spent a season... Josh then joined Accrington Stanley on a two-year scholarship where he became the captain of their under-18s side... Hmami’s big break came on 30th December 2017 where he made his first-team debut for Accrington against Grimsby Town. Last summer he joined The New Saints... and has been a regular in their first team squad.

    Dominic McGiveron (22), joins us from Norwegian fourth-tier side Valdres. Born in Liverpool, he joined Liverpool FC as a youngster where he would spend six years. After a brief spell at Bootle FC in 2014/15, he signed for Nike Academy... McGiveron also played in the Nike Academy’s 2–1 win over FC Barcelona at Wembley Stadium on 21 November 2015, scoring the winning goal.

    On 12 April 2016 McGiveron signed a professional contract with American side Kitsap Pumas. On his return to England, he spent a short time with Morecambe FC Development Squad, before being offered a trial in Finland with SJK 07... On 14 March 2018, McGiveron signed for Norwegian fourth-tier side Valdres. Both Hmami and McGiveron have been training with FC United for the last two weeks, whilst awaiting international clearance".

    Hereford FC "confirm that young striker George Lloyd has returned to Edgar Street on loan until the end of the season. Lloyd originally joined The Bulls on loan from Cheltenham Town in October and went on to make 14 appearances before being recalled by his parent club at the start of January.

    Lloyd said 'When the opportunity to come back here came up again I was straight on it, I enjoyed my time here, it’s a good club and recently we’ve put in some good performances. Playing regularly every week is a big positive for me, I thought as a team we were getting better, so it’s nice to be back. I know the boys, I know the management so its not really starting again'...

    Head of Football Tim Harris said 'He will give us pace, attacking options, and he knows the lads and what we are about as a club'".

    In the Telegraph & Argus we read that "Mark Bower hopes his Bradford (Park Avenue) side can stop the rot and end a run of three successive league defeats tomorrow. Avenue have slipped to second... after losing their last three games against Guiseley, Stockport County and FC United of Manchester...

    They host eighth-placed Blyth Spartans at Horsfall Stadium. Avenue will be boosted by the return of midfielder Nicky Clee, while Jamie Spencer is back after serving a one-match suspension... Bower remains optimistic of a quick turnaround but has called on his charges to be more clinical in front of goal and keep more clean sheets...

    Bower said 'We go into tomorrow’s game fairly confident still, we are second in the league. Blyth are going really well in the league and the FA Trophy. It is going to be a tough game for us... We need to stop this run and get back to winning ways. Blyth come into the game probably thinking it’s a good time to play us. But we are not playing too badly, we have just been on the end of a few tight ones.

    'The Guiseley defeat was really tight, Stockport are the form team in the league at the moment and we were well beaten for 45 minutes when we played them. The last game against FC United of Manchester we had more possession, more shots and more chances. That was a tight game too. We haven’t played any worse in the three defeats than we did at the start of the season when we were winning against teams like Spennymoor and Boston United.

    'If we continue to create chances, we are going to win far more matches than we will lose. We need to get back to keeping clean sheets, that gives us a good base. We have got to get back to being clinical in front of goal. We have just got to keep working hard.'”

    18 January 2019


    Altrincham FC has announced the departure of Board member Rob Esteva [right] owing to family and professional commitments. He had joined the Board in January 2018. For details, please visit the official site


    In the Sale & Altrincham Messenger "Phil Parkinson admitted Altrincham are no longer in the running to be National League North champions after their latest setback, but insisted they are ‘more than capable’ of securing a place in the promotion play-offs... after seeing league leaders Chorley turn 1-0 half-time arrears into a 4-1 win at Victory Park.

    But, in a frank assessment of their second defeat in three games since the turn of the year, he set his players a target they must reach to avoid this season being labelled a failure.

    'For me, the league has gone now, because we’ve lost too many games," he said, ahead of Saturday’s home fixture with Southport. 'I thought Stockport on New Year’s Day was one too many, but this latest one certainly was. But we are more than capable of securing a play-off place, and that has to be our sole focus between now and the end of the season. We have to make sure we go into every game as if it’s a cup final.

    'That has to be our approach, because, for me, if we don’t make the play-offs, we will have failed. There is no other way of looking at it, because we have shown we are more than good enough. Full credit to Chorley for the way they came back in the second half, but I was ever so disappointed with the players. I was particularly disappointed with the application and willingness to go out and win from 1-0 up, away from home, at half time.

    'We have spoken about each player’s contribution, the way they conducted themselves in terms of their communication and output physically, tactically and technically, and you couldn’t give many of them above a seven. We put a lot of trust in them, but one or two have not quite been at it the past couple of weeks, and they’ve been told. If they don’t buck their ideas up, there will be players coming in, because I want to progress this club.'"

    And the National League reports that "Phil Parkinson thinks Altrincham must start taking their chances if they are to cement at National League North play-off spot...

    Ahead at half-time, had they been more decisive in front of goal... Parkinson said he didn’t 'roar' at his players but told them their second half collapse can’t be repeated...

    'We could have been 3-0 up at half-time at Chorley but we weren’t,' he said. 'We spoke at half-time about how we weren’t clinical enough and how that allowed them to come back at us and it did... When you are a goal ahead at the league leaders you need to show character. Chorley came at us all guns blazing... My teams always fight until the bitter end and we didn’t and that’s a real frustration,' Parkinson added.

    'I believe in the group we’ve got and I’ll stick by them but they have got to start learning quickly'".


    Alty's next opponents, Southport report that last Saturday "A rampant second-half performance against Leamington saw the Port continue their fantastic run in the league, and are now looking to make it 13 unbeaten [in all competitions] against high-flyers Altrincham.

    Heading into half-time trailing against the Brakes may have had some worrying the fantastic run could be coming to an end, but a superb five-goal performance after the break sent out the message that Liam Watson’s side are far from done. Braces for Bauress and Charles, and one from Morgan helped the the lads in Old Gold towards their biggest league win of the season... This weekend... they take on... Altrincham.

    The Robins find themselves in a bad run of form of late, winning only one in their last six league games and will be even more vulnerable after their last match, suffering a humbling 4-1 defeat to league leaders Chorley, despite going into half-time with the lead... Despite a recent dip, that pre-Christmas form shows they can not be underestimated with plenty of quality in their side.

    Two players who are certainly a threat, were both on the scoresheet of Altrincham’s 2-1 victory over Boston United a few weeks ago. Both Jordan Hulme and Josh Hancock have 11 goals so far this campaign, being part of a strong attack that is has the third highest amount of goals in the league with 49.

    Along with former Salford striker Hulme, Liam Goulding and John Johnston were on the scoresheet when the Robins met Southport earlier on in the season. The 3-1 defeat made it back-to-back defeats for Liam Watson’s side in the opening two games of the campaign, with the Port’s form being far off what it is now. The side now looks completely rejuvenated and will be desperate to close the gap between them and this weekend’s opponents.

    Any thoughts of a relegation battle are now completely forgotten, with a play-off push being more and more realistic each ongoing week."

    Also from Southport we learn that "When the Southport players made their way off the pitch at half-time, few home supporters could have envisaged how this match would finish.

    Trailing at the break, the Port staged a clinical comeback embellished with classy finishes to extend a remarkable run of form which has filled their fans with a growing sense of anticipation.

    Brad Bauress and Dion Charles both scored twice while captain David Morgan also found the target during a stylish, swashbuckling second half as they put Leamington to the sword to register a fifth win in seven Vanarama National League North games.

    Overall, it is 12 without defeat in league matches for Liam Watson’s team, scoring 27 goals in the process, and the standard of the finishes here emphasised the quality now being displayed by this group of players...

    But by the time a shot from Jack Edwards was deemed to have crossed the Port goal-line ten minutes before the interval, their performance had fallen flat, prompting Watson to make some changes. Call it Devarn intervention. On as a half-time substitute, Devarn Green played a part in three Southport goals and caused all manner of problems for the visiting defence, as the Port scored five goals in one half of a league game for the first time since 2011.

    That Southport were able to raise their level of performance after the break is testament to the character of the players and their current momentum. It has been a relentless period for Watson’s team, this was their 19th game in all competitions in the ten weeks since the start of November, and their will to win has only strengthened.

    In that time, no players has shone more than Morgan, the captain who has quickly become the driving force of this team, and his goal here took his tally to four in eight games from the centre of midfield...

    It was a sensational second half to extend what is quickly becoming a splendid run of form.

    Southport (4-2-3-1) Hanford, Winnard (Richards 38), Parry, Edwards, Ogle, Morgan, Wood, Charles, Gilchrist (Green 46), Bauress (Homson-Smith 85), Sampson. Subs not used: Tibbetts, Davies".


    Saturday's visitors to Altrincham, Southport, beat Altrincham's next away hosts Leamington last week. The Brakes' line-up for that defeat was (4-4-1-1): Breeden, Mace, Edwards, Lane, Bowen (Taylor 84), Dunbar (Obeng 80), Gittings, Clarke (English 80), Murphy, Flannigan, Bishop.Subs not used: James, Newey."

    From Warwickshire, the Leamington Courier reports that "Leamington manager Paul Holleran says his side cannot afford to drop their levels if they are to remain competitive at National League North level. Five second-half goals saw the division’s form team Southport turn around a one-goal half-time deficit to claim a 5-1 win and follows on from similar humblings at the hands of Kidderminster and AFC Telford.

    'After looking back at the 90 minutes, from 46 minutes to an hour it was a pretty even game. Then to concede three goals in ten minutes is bitterly disappointing. It reminded me of Kiddy. Don’t get me wrong, some of it was down to good play. But, if you’re not bang at it and not doing things properly ,there are teams in this league that will punish you.'

    Three goals in 13 second-half minutes did the damage on Saturday and Holleran admitted his side showed an alarming lack of resilience. 'It’s disappointing we didn’t get through that period and we have to be harder to beat and more compact. It was all a bit too easy. We had three of the back four out but I thought the team we put out was good enough to compete. From where we were in the game at 1-1 to go to 4-1 is poor from us. We’ve got to show a lot more character.'

    Brakes are on the road again on Saturday, with Connor Gudger and Jamie Hood sitting out the final games of their three-match bans at Boston, before hosting Stockport County on Tuesday."


    Darlington report that "Central defender Will Smith has signed on loan for Quakers until the end of the season. Will initially signed for us on a month’s loan from Barnsley, and made his debut in the away game at Altrincham. Since then, he has been very impressive for us in defence".

    Less happily, Darlington have issued a "statement from chief executive officer David Johnston about Liam Hughes. 'Liam has been suffering from significant personal problems for some time and as a result, is now receiving professional help. The club is fully supportive of Liam and we wish him well as he goes through the recovery process. Consequently he will not be available for selection for a number of weeks but Liam wanted to let our fans know the reason behind his absence.

    Despite his current problems, he has managed to deliver some outstanding performances for the club and I would be grateful if you could support and respect Liam as he takes these steps along the road to recovery.'

    The Northern Echo explains that "The 26-year-old is at the Sporting Chance Clinic in Hampshire, a charity first set up by former Arsenal defender Tony Adams, aimed at providing specialist addiction and recovery treatment for athletes".

    Also according to the Northern Echo "Darlington have revealed a new shirt sponsor[ship] with a communications company. Sunderland-based Nice Network Ltd will have their logo emblazoned on the back of Quakers’ shirts above the players’ number.

    The deal will last for two years and a half years... Darlington commercial director Craig Morley said 'I first came across Nice Network in a previous role, and always stayed in touch with them'.

    'With Nice Network rebranding in the last six months, it is the perfect fit for the ‘Back of the Shirt’ sponsorship to gain national coverage for a north-east based firm.' Nice Network, previously known as CCS Talking Business, are a unified communications company".

    Another recent player move at Blackwell Meadows is reported by the Northern Echo, which tells us that "Harvey Saunders has signed for Fleetwood Town. He will remain with Darlington on loan from Fleetwood for the remainder of this season before permanently joining Joey Barton's League One side in the summer.

    The 21-year-old, who only last month quit his job as a barista at Mango Bean in Darlington town centre, leaves Blackwell Meadows for an undisclosed sum, understood to be a five-figure fee, with clauses added.

    Darlington manager Tommy Wright said 'Harvey has improved immensely this season, and he’s proved that he’s ready to make that step up to Football League level. Not only does he score goals, but he does a lot of positive things that people don’t see. He is eager to learn, and he takes everything on board'...

    In total the youngster from Staindrop has netted 11 times in 71 games for Quakers, though 43 of those appearances have been as a sub. He has used his blistering pace and high workrate to become a first-choice player at Darlington this season, scoring seven goals in 26 games...

    In the first half of 2016-17 Saunders spent time on loan in the Northern League at Dunston UTS and Ryhope CW, eventually making his first senior appearance in Quakers colours when coming off the bench in January 2017 against Nuneaton... Saunders’ first 22 appearances were all as a substitute, though Wright was more willing to select the striker in the starting XI after he became manager midway through the 2017-18 season."

    From NL Daily comes news that "Crewe Alexandra youngster Josh Lundstram has joined Nuneaton Borough for a month. The 19-year-old has recently returned from a productive one month spell at Kidsgrove Athletic and has thus earned himself a stab higher up the non-league pyramid at Nuneaton.

    Lundstram had previously been playing regularly in the Alex’s Under 23 side since summer 2017 when he signed his first professional contract after graduating through the Alex academy. He joins the Alex contingent of Lewis Reilly [Curzon Ashton] and Billy Sass-Davies [FC United of Manchester] in the National League North".

    On Tuesday night, Altrincham entertain Blyth Spartans. NL Daily informs us that "Blyth Spartans defender Jordan Watson has decided to extend his stay at Croft Park until 2020. The 25-year-old’s contract was due for renewal at the end of this season. The former Sunderland Academy graduate has made 137 appearances in his Blyth Spartans career to date, notching two goals.

    'It’s great to sign a contract extension at Blyth. The fans have been great this season, obviously we had a slow start to the season but they stuck by us, we are flying now and hope we can continue this run.'

    The Northern Irishman is still in the process of recovering from his third cruciate ligament injury of his career, but has shown he’s once again reaching his peak during a 13-game unbeaten run.

    'I just want to thank the management team for showing confidence in me after my injury. They stuck by me and the gaffer was true to his word, he said get back fit, get back in the team, show us you’ve still got it and there will be a new contract waiting for you'".

    And NL Daily tells us that "Boston United chairman David Newton believes that ‘things are dropping into place’ as the Pilgrims close in on vital funding needed for their new stadium, the Boston Standard reports.

    The club has been awarded a grant of £250,000 from the Football Foundation’s Football Stadia Improvement Fund, while another multi-million pound bid could be close to being rubber stamped.

    'We’re just waiting to finalise the funding through the Housing Infrastructure Fund,' Mr Newton said of a further bid, which has been made in conjunction with Boston Borough Council. 'Last February we were shortlisted for funding of £3.5m for the Quadrant development, and some of the funding can be used towards the stadium. We are currently going through the due diligence process on that and are hoping to have it finalised soon. We are also finalising a bid to the Premier League and FA Facilities Fund for funding towards the 3G pitch and associated changing, parking and community facilities. Commercial sales are also progressing.'"

    At Kidderminster Harriers "Colin Gordon insists the new Harriers boss will be 'obsessed' with the job, as he continues to search for the man to take the team forward. Chairman Colin, along with senior players Russ Penn and Jimmy O’Connor, have been overseeing first-team affairs in recent weeks.

    He’s admitted, however, to already being inundated with interest and applications for the role. While the original thought was that the current trio would stay in post until the end of the season, Colin accepts this may change in the event the right candidate becomes available sooner... Colin was adamant that a first-in, last-out approach is a bare minimum for whoever is to take up the mantle of driving the team onwards...

    He commented 'It’s not easy, and anyone who thinks that it is something that I wanted is absolutely crazy. I know where my strengths are... Can I do the job? Yes. Do I understand the game? Yes. Am I qualified? Yes. Have a played the games and got the t-shirt? Of course I have. Do I want to do it? No.

    'I want to find another young and hungry manager who wants to be up at 5 o’clock in the morning and be the last out the building. [They] need to realise that, to be a top football manager, you have to live and breathe it every single day. You have to be prepared to watch obscure tapes from Bolivia or wherever, because a coach is interesting to look at. You have to be absolutely obsessed now. I want that type of person, and not just someone who is quite happy to be in a non-league set up, because we’re not happy to be in a non-league set-up'...

    He added 'People can make rush decisions based on circumstances, and then realise that they’ve walked down the aisle with the wrong bride. We need to avoid that at all costs. We have absolutely got to get it right'".

    In the Chester Standard "Anthony Johnson says there is added pressure on Chester to deliver a victory in Saturday’s home clash with Curzon Ashton. The Blues' joint-manager was left frustrated by a lack of quality from his players as they laboured to a 1-1 draw at home to 10-man Guiseley last weekend.

    Johnson insists his side must be ‘technically better’ in all areas... He said 'Obviously we were short up front again last weekend, with the likes of Akwasi Asante, Matty Hughes and George Green all out. We miss their quality when they’re not available to us, but I still felt we had the ability out there on the pitch to see off Guiseley, particularly when they went down to 10. But we lacked that bit of guile, that creative spark to break them down when we really should have punished them.

    'The fact that we’ve failed to do that adds a little more pressure to the Curzon game now, because ultimately our home form will shape our final league position. We need to be technically better on Saturday to find that killer pass and be that little bit smarter in our build-up play'.

    Chester made light work of Curzon in August’s reverse fixture... But the managerial appointment of Mark Bradshaw in late November has heralded an upturn in form, with Ashton notching three successive league wins this month.

    'They’re one of the best passing sides in the division and probably haven’t picked up as many points as they’ve deserved this season,' added Johnson. 'But with players like Olly Crankshaw on the wing, whose been loaned back to them from Wigan, they’re able to cause most teams problems. As a club I think they’ve been benefited from a new manager bounce and they certainly look more than capable of pushing themselves up the table based on current form.'

    George Green returns from suspension to bolster Chester’s attacking options, while Scott Burton could return following his recovery from knee surgery. "

    Ashton United "are back at home this Saturday as they take on FC United of Manchester... Ashton’s game last weekend was postponed due to AFC Telford FA Trophy game... However Ashton’s last league game was a 3 -1 lost to Brackley Town... On the other hand, FC United of Manchester gained a vital three points away at Bradford Park Avenue with the Reds winning 3-2 in Yorkshire.

    Ashton United come into the game in frightful form with the Robins having only picked up 1 win in the last 9 games. The last time Ashton picked up three points was on Boxing Day when the Robins beat local rivals Curzon Ashton 4-2. Ashton have also failed to win a home match since November. FC United, on the other hand, are on a similar poor run of form with the Reds having only picked up 1 win in their last 5 games. However FC United in their last game did pick up a 3-2 win over promotion chasing Bradford".

    According to York Press "City's new manager Steve Watson is unlikely to field a back three for his first senior game in charge at in-form Stockport on Saturday.

    The former Everton and Newcastle defender experimented with a defensive trio in the second half of Tuesday night’s 6-1 North Riding Senior Cup victory over Redcar Athletic when he selected a fully-professional squad. Watson used that system in his previous job at Gateshead but, on the evidence of the quarter-final tie, feels it might be a system that needs time to bed in at his new club.

    'We had a look at three centre-backs to see if it’s something we could go with in terms of the personnel we have got, but it didn’t look like we were particularly ready for that,' Watson confessed. 'We’ll maybe look at it again if recruitment goes our way as the season goes on.'

    Watson did, nevertheless, regard the midweek contest as a valuable first exercise... 'I learned a lot more than I would have done from a training session about what we need to work on and the cultural changes we need in terms of tempo and intensity, even though they won’t happen overnight because we have come here in mid-season rather than at the start of pre-season.'

    Alex Kempster, meanwhile, could have forced himself into the reckoning for a first start since August. The 23-year-old attacker kicked off the first four games of the season under Martin Gray, before managing just one substitute outing during Sam Collins’s four-and-a-half month reign and being sent out on loan to Spennymoor.

    Watson played the ex-Whitley Bay campaigner in an advanced central-midfield role during the first half against Redcar and, then, at left-wing back for the second period and, having played every numbered shirt from two to 11 for Newcastle, the new City boss stressed that Kempster is firmly back in the frame under his stewardship.

    'When you haven’t got a massive squad, you recruit along the lines of finding players who aren’t just one-trick ponies and can be used in different positions,' Watson reasoned... 'It’s good that Kemps can do that and I thought he did pretty well against Redcar. I actually watched him at Whitley Bay and was interested in taking him to Gateshead, but he then went to Port Vale on trial and ended up signing for York. He’s got good energy and was one of a couple of players on Tuesday who kept trying to be positive and break lines to get in the box. We can’t go to Stockport and expect to just soak up pressure for 90 minutes.

    'We’ve got to test them the other way with people who will go beyond, so Kemps did himself no harm against Redcar in that respect. Griff (Kallum Griffiths) also did very well at right back.'

    Stockport, along with City, are the two National League North clubs Watson regards as having Football League potential despite their current positions two rungs down the ladder...

    Watson explained 'The pressure is off a little bit, because Stockport have been flying and scoring plenty of goals. People will expect them to be favourites because they are the league’s form team at the moment, but this is a new start and, hopefully, the players will be looking to impress and there might be some who are involved that haven’t been recently, because I’ll be picking a team from what I’ve seen and one that suits the shape...

    'The good teams in this league could certainly hold their own in the league above and the same applies for the top sides in the National League in terms of League Two,' he argued. 'I don’t think there’s a massive difference between the three leagues, but it gets tougher after that.'"

    The Shrospshire Star clains that "The momentum just keeps on building for AFC Telford United, it has been that snowball effect. They are putting in superb performances and picking up results week in, week out. Their latest victim was Hartlepool in the FA Trophy, coming away with a 2-1 success...

    The Bucks have got another one coming up in the last 16 at Spennymoor, but I do not think they’ll be fazed by it at all... Telford are determined to put themselves back on the map again and they are certainly going the right way about it. And it’s great to see Gavin and his assistant Phil Trainer enjoying such success as they are proper football people who love the club. That passion has filtered through to the players."

    17 January 2019


    Altrincham welcome Southport to the J. Davidson Stadium for the first time since a Vanarama National League match played on Monday, 28 March 2016.

    Right: Luca Havern was named Alty's Man of the Match; here he heads clear against Southport. Also seen is no.14 Josh O'Keefe, who faced Alty last Saturday for Chorley.

    In the 2016 game, Altrincham dropped back into the bottom four following this draw.

    In the match itself, after an uninspiring first half dominated by throw-ins, freekicks and errors, the second half improved when Alty took a 61st minute lead. Keeper Viscosi should have stopped Josh Ginnelly's shot but failed to do so. However, Port were level just a minute later when the ball was cleared out to Gary Jones whose instinctive shot from outside the box went into the net off the underside of the bar.

    Alty did have the ball in the net on two other occasions, through Ginnelly and Leather, but both were ruled out for offside.

    Sam Heathcote was out, injured and fellow defender Marcus Holness remained unfit too, too. So Jimmy Phillips started for the first time, during his loan from Gateshead. Josh O'Keefe replaced Simon Richman in midfield and Ryan Crowther returned from injury on the bench. Port included two ex-Alty loanees in Andrai Jones and Jonny Margetts.

    ALTRINCHAM: 17. Tim DEASY, 20. Jordan SINNOTT, 6. Scott LEATHER, 5. Luca HAVERN, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Jake MOULT (capt), 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 7. James LAWRIE, 15. Josh GINNELLY, 26. James PHILLIPS, 10. Damian REEVES. Subs: 9. Michael RANKINE, 23. Callum WILLIAMS, 24. Rhain DAVIS, 19. Ryan CROWTHER, 8. Simon RICHMAN

    SOUTHPORT: 19. Jonathan Viscosi, 20. Mark O'Brien, 3. Alex Whittle, 4. Liam Nolan, 18. Andrai Jones, 5. Josh Thompson, 16. Paul Rutherford, 11.Gary Jones (capt), 23. Steven Hewitt, 27. Jonathon Margetts, 17. Louis Almond, Subs: 25. Max Crocombe, 8. Andrew Wright, 9. Craig Westcarr, 2. Matty Challenor, 24. Jack Ryan


    As already announced Altrincham's game on 2 February at home to Spennymoor will have to be rearranged and now the National League has confirmed the full list of league games on that date which will be affected by FA Trophy involvement.

    • AFC Telford United P-P Guiseley
    • Altrincham P-P Spennymoor Town
    • Chester P-P Blyth Spartans
    • Darlington P-P Brackley Town
    • Stockport County P-P Southport


    Cheshire Live states, "'If you ask me, there will be another relegation on this club's CV if it is not careful. This is really a defining moment and it feels like it could go again'.

    When Marcus Bignot uttered those words during the dying embers of his reign as Chester FC manager last season I believed every single word of it. Such was the chaos behind the scenes it seemed beyond comprehension that anything like a competitive team could be pieced together in time for the start of the National League North season.

    Bignot was already on his way out by the time he had said this... The manner of his sacking in the car park of a youth team game a stain on our recent history.

    Like Hyde and Altrincham had done in previous seasons, Chester looked destined to plummet further. A small budget, a tainted football club that would not have appealed to some potential candidates and looked like freefall... They settled upon Neil Redfearn before he then decided against taking the job.

    Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley weren't supposed to be National League North managers this season. After winning the title with Salford City last season it seemed as if they would get their first ever crack at National League management, with a CV that boasts six promotions in nine seasons...

    For them, this season was supposed to be another step closer to their Football League dream. For us it was supposed to be a disaster.

    Thrown together by a chance set of circumstances... From the outside looking in it looked as if this was a marriage destined to end in an early divorce. The fact that Johnson revealed in a recent interview that he and Morley were told 'don't touch Chester with a bargepole' speaks volumes about the dim view of the football club that was held in footballing circles.

    After all, Johnson and Morley had been used to working under the likes of Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt, aided by the financial muscle of billionaire businessmen Peter Lim. Here at Chester only months before we had been rattling buckets and trying to preserve a football club despite having been given a wet fish to the face by it when the January financial meltdown became public.

    Some of the lads who had served them so well on their rise with Ramsbottom United and Salford but who had been made surplus to requirements for their new era soon arrived. Tried and trusted players who they knew they could rely on to do a job.

    There is a lot of money floating around the sixth tier of English football. Some clubs have budgets close to £1 million for this season and are way behind Chester in the league standings. Money doesn't buy you success and nor does it give some managers a clue.

    At Chester it was a case of getting in players who would at least give the Blues a fighting chance this season for next to nothing. The recruitment was successful.

    Stuart Murphy's £1m donation to the infrastructure was a huge boost during the summer, and some money was made available for the transfer budget. But that budget also had to be lightened by the departure of two of its highest earners, Kingsley James and Ross Hannah. That happened reasonably swiftly.

    A good start was soon followed by that 8-1 mauling at Blyth, a game of the likes I don't think I will ever seen again, nor do I want to. But even then it didn't feel like a 'here we go again' moment. It felt like what it has turned out to be. A freak.

    Then there is the inability to play home games for a month because of the flood damage to the stadium... And then there is the injury crisis that has dogged this football club for the duration of this season, the loss of players who were to form the spine of what we were all about. Scott Burton, George Green, Matty Hughes all injured and, more recently, the losses of Gary Stopforth and Akwasi Asante...

    Aside from the Murphy help in signing Asante, who we have only seen in three games, all that has been achieved so far has been done within the confines of a small budget.

    But paying great money doesn't always get you great results... We are into the second half of this season and we are nine points off top spot and just three behind second place...

    The issues are many and varied off the pitch and we remain operating on a skeleton crew of directors and volunteers... It takes time to repair the damage that was done and winning football is usually the best way to go about that.

    In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, Johnson and Morley said that the promotion with Chester would mean more than anything they have achieved previously...

    Those words of Bignot are still relevant. This football club could 'go again'. But it seems more likely that 'going again' means finally shaking off the mediocrity and abject failure of the past five years and carrying the baton further that had been done before. Twelve months ago this football club was on its knees but now there is genuine reason to get excited...

    This season was supposed to be a disaster but it could yet end up being one of our finest moments."

    Also from Cheshire Live we learn that "Chester FC are continuing to push to get a loan deal for a striker over the line in time for the visit of Curzon Ashton on Saturday.

    With Akwasi Asante out until the beginning of February, Chester are light on options in the final third with just Anthony Dudley, Deane Smalley and 17-year-old Lloyd Marsh Hughes to choose from...

    'It's important we don't just fall away from the position we're in,' said Johnson. 'We've got Akwasi to come back but we need a striker in for this weekend, we just have to get something done... If we're talking about bringing 17-year-olds in then we've already got one of those (Lloyd Marsh-Hughes, currently nursing a groin injury) and you'd be hard pushed to find one better than him.

    'But we do need that extra experience and goal threat for us. We've had some positive talks and there is some scope for getting something done until the end of the season... We need to add something in that department to make sure we keep pace'...

    'People are saying how Stockport are flying and how they could win it but the fact is they are two points ahead of us,' said Johnson. 'We're still in the mix and we know that when we get some bodies back and if we get another striker in then we'll only get stronger. There doesn't seem much chatter about Chester anymore but we are confident in our chances and nothing has changed in that respect...

    'Despite all the injuries and what we've had to contend with in that respect, we're still well in the mix and in a great position'".

    According to the Hartlepool Mail "AFC a name="190117bucks">Telford showed Hartlepool United how to play non-league football, that's the view of Richard Money.

    The Pools' boss believes his side are ill-equipped to challenge at the top end of the division, lacking the fundamentals of those who are challenging at the higher echelons... Lacking any real height, size, pace and dynamism from front to back, it is the view of Money privately that a complete rebuild of the team is needed...

    On paper this was a cup shock, a team from a division lower beating one recently relegated from the Football League. Scratch the surface, though, and this came as a shock to few who'd seen both this season with Telford looking like a National League team in waiting as they chase the sixth tier title and Pools sliding closer to the bottom four...

    'Play the way Telford play,' he said when asked by the Mail about what Pools must do to arrest their decline. 'You win every first header, you win every second ball and when you can play in the opposition's area, you play. You don't pass backwards, don't have 10 passes in your own half and go nowhere. This league is a forward-thinking, forward-running, forward-passing.

    'Nobody wants to ask anybody in any team to just kick the ball forward but you can do it with quality. You can play into the channels with quality, win second balls, and play from there. The more passes and possession you have the more risks, the more you open yourselves up. One ball has been getting us into trouble. We have to play in a different way'...

    Money has won just one of his seven games in charge at Pools so far, his first outing at Leamington in round one of the FA Trophy".

    News of the visitors to Altrincham next Tuesday comes from their opponents this Saturday, Bradford (Park Avenue), who report that they "make a swift return to the Horsfall Stadium on Saturday, hosting high-flying Blyth Spartans.

    The Spartans haven’t lost since early November, embarking on an impressive run that included a Buildbase FA Trophy upset against Boreham Wood last week.The run has taken them to within a point of the play-offs and Alun Armstrong’s side could break into the top seven with a win in Yorkshire on Saturday.

    Bradford, however, have made a slow start to the year and haven’t tasted victory since Boxing Day. Despite consecutive defeats to Guiseley, Stockport County and F.C United of Manchester, Saturday’s hosts remain second and are just six points adrift of league leaders Chorley".

    Knowing The Opposition:

    Robbie Dale: Dale made his 600th appearance for the Spartans on the opening day of the 2018/19 season, having netted a hat-trick on his debut against Wakefield & Emley in March 2005. The winger was named the Evo-Stik Premier Division Player of the Year in 2015 and turned down a contract with Oxford United as a 21-year-old. The Blyth stalwart was instrumental in both of the club’s recent FA Cup runs, featuring in the 3rd round in 2009 and 2015.

    Daniel Maguire: A talented forward, Maguire will head into Saturday’s game with confidence after notching the winner in last week’s win over Boreham Wood. The 26-year-old has been capped by the England ‘C’ side and featured for the Spartans when they reached the 3rd round of the FA Cup in 2015."

    Meanwhile, Blyth Spartans themselves "are delighted to announce that Michael Liddle has decided to extend his stay at Croft Park until 2020.

    The 29-year-old’s contract was due for renewal at the end of this season and Alun Armstrong has worked quickly to extend the defender’s contract. The former Sunderland Academy graduate has made 98 appearances in his Blyth Spartans career to date...

    'I’m very happy, very happy, what a great place it is to be, you wouldn’t want to play anywhere else would you? It’s a great place, great people, great lads. It’s perfect for me for both football and non-football reasons, you have to enjoy being where you are or it’s pointless and I love playing here'.

    Liddle has been an ever present in the 13-game unbeaten run that has ignited Spartans season in both the league and the FA Trophy. The triple award winner at the end of season awards has made 25 appearances, scoring once against Lancaster City:

    'The gaffer has been saying all season we’ve had this type of run in us, and the camaraderie in the dressing is a huge part to why we have picked up our form. I don’t think a team could go on a run like we have with out having the closeness between them, everyone in there would work their socks off for one another and that’s the key to the success over the last two months'...

    'I didn’t even realise,' commented Liddle as he approaches 100 games for Blyth, 'I literally just saw that the other day, I saw on twitter that Pete (Jameson) had made his 75th and I thought I’d take a look at how I was doing. It’s crazy as it feels like I’ve not been here that long but thinking about it it’s probably the only place I’ve got close to playing 100 games... I couldn’t have done it at a better place'".

    And NL Daily adds that "Blyth Spartans have announced the return of centre-back Louis Laing to the club. The defender played four games for Spartans this season after a plethora of injuries befell the Spartans back line. But the 25-year-old had looked to secure an international transfer, but as soon as it fell through he was back on the phone to Alun Amrstrong.

    'I had a little time to think about what I wanted to do and coming back to Blyth was on the top of my list'...

    Spartans are currently on a 13-game unbeaten run [in all competitions], and Alun Armstrong has brought in Laing to replace the departed Aaron Cunningham and Ian Watson.

    'Laing will be a massive boost for us,' said Armstrong, 'He was just starting to show what he’s capable of before he got an offer to play abroad. I’ll be honest, I’m delighted his deal fell through from a selfish point of view, and that he contacted me right away to come back'".

    Altrincham's next away trip will be to Leamington on 26 January. Commenting on their most recent game, a 5-1 defeat by Alty's next guests, Southport, Leamington report "Reaction from the Manager".

    The article says "The lights well and truly went out for Brakes in the second half at The Merseyrail Community Stadium today against Southport. Manager Paul Holleran gave his thoughts on the defeat on the journey home…

    ‘Obviously I’m bitterly disappointed... It was as poor as we’ve been, in terms of a defensive structure. It was just far too easy to get balls wide, to get round the back of us and get crosses in. It’s a really poor day for us... They scored five and they could have scored more, and as much as that’s down to some good play from them, we haven’t helped ourselves'"

    FC United stopped the rot of fourth consecutive defeats with a priceless 3-2 victory at second place Bradford Park Avenue with goals from Chris Sharp, Kurt Willoughby and Jack Banister.

    Neil Reynolds entered the game with a depleted squad with Tom Peers and Mike Donohue both suspended, Chris Lynch injured and Mike Potts also only named on the bench due to injury. He was forced to name two 18 year old loanees at centre-back in Zehn Mohammed from Accrington Stanley and William Sass- Davies from Crewe in his starting line up...

    FC haven’t scored a goal all season between the minutes of 46 and 60 and this wasn’t to change at Bradford but they did take the lead on 64 when Banister blasted home from 25 yards into the top corner of the net. The lead was doubled just over a minute later when Willoughby was released down the left and he finished superbly into the far corner.

    BPA did come into the game and pulled a goal back on 78 minutes with a well taken free-kick from Knight that found the top corner... Allinson, who has had some well documented sticky moments in the last few weeks ensured that FC took the three points home with a wonderful reflex stop deep into injury time, tipping a powerful drive onto the crossbar.

    This is a well won and deserved three point for Reynold’s men and sets the side up nicely for the crunch clash at Ashton United next Saturday".

    16 January 2019


    Following a tricky Christmas and New Year in which Stockport County loomed large, and having just played the league leaders, Chorley, it gets no easier for Altrincham as, next, they face two of the in-form sides in the division in Southport (on Saturday) and Blyth Spartans (next Tuesday) at the JDS. After both sides had indifferent starts to the season, neither club has lost for more than ten league fixtures!

    Southport have won eight and drawn four league games since their last league defeat, back on 27 October at home to... Blyth Spartans! Before they visit Altrincham, six of the Sandgrounders' previous ten most recent fixtures have been away from home and they won four and drew the other two of those games. Alty did win the reverse fixture at Haig Avenue early in the current season but they will find their opponents a different proposition in 2019.

    As for Blyth, in their unbeaten run they have won six and drawn four of their last ten matches in the league. Six of those games were at home whilst, on the road, they have won two and drawn two of the four trips in that sequence. They beat Altrincham 2-1 in the reverse fixture at Croft Park earlier this season so will be looking for a double on Tuesday night.


    The National League reports that "Jamie Vermiglio doesn’t want Chorley to become known as a second-half team. A four-goal blitz after the break put Altrincham to the sword on Saturday. The manager could have few complaints about the 4-1 win but he did pick up one thing...

    'It was clearly a great result and really good performance,' he said. 'We played a good team who are having a great season and we did it after coming from behind which shows spirit. But we’re making a bit of a habit of starting sluggishly. We do keep letting sides in and we seem to have to wait until the second half to get ourselves going. We want to be able to play like that in both halves and that’s really something we need to work on.'"

    News of a striker who played against us this season for Nuneaton Borough comes from the National League which relates that "Barrow have boosted their striking options by signing Dior Angus on loan until the end of the season. The 24-year-old scored goals for fun at Nuneaton earlier this season despite Borough’s struggle in the National League North.

    He was recalled by Vale at the end of 2018 and now gets another chance from some games as the Bluebirds hunt down the National League play-off places. It’s another boost for Barrow after manager Ian Evatt collected the Manager of the Month award".

    The Yorkshire Post informs us that "Steve Watson has not ruled out a late dash for the National League North play-offs by York City, but admits he needs to hit the ground running in order for them to do so.

    The 44-year-old former Newcastle United, Everton and Sheffield Wednesday player was appointed as the successor to Sam Collins last Thursday and formally met his new Minstermen squad when overseeing his first training session, alongside assistant Micky Cummins. He will get a chance to see some of his players in action for the first time at Bootham Crescent tonight [Tuesday] when they host Redcar Athletic in the quarter-finals of the North Riding Senior Cup, although he already has one eye on Saturday’s trip to third-placed Stockport County in the league.

    Watson arrives in Yorkshire having forged a good reputation for himself at National League outfit Gateshead, who he guided to the semi-finals of the FA Trophy last season and to the fringes of the play-off positions this time around... Having spent the majority of his 15 months at Gateshead operating on a limited budget, Watson sees York as a club with huge potential and one that matches his own ambitions.

    'There are 17 games that we have left this season,' said Watson, 'and the question is, can we put enough wins together to make a real dash at it (the play-offs)? We’ll never give up until it is mathematically impossible, obviously, but if that is not to be, if it is too far gone, then so be it but, also, I will know by the end of the season who exactly here will be able to take us to that next level.'

    Ahead of Saturday’s trip across the Pennines, the Minstermen sit down in 17th spot, nine points adrift of the sixth and final playoff spot...

    'I’m a big believer in you are where you are for a reason, so there’s obviously been something amiss,' he added. 'All I can do is go back to square one regarding me as a manager and go through the process I would with any team and the results at the end will dictate how well I’ve done. But the first two or three results will be a work in progress. We do need to hit the ground running and we do need results immediately especially if we’re going to climb the table.'"

    Also, "Steve Watson is a fan of the three Gateshead players he lost to his new club last summer. Current City skipper and top-scorer Jordan Burrow, fellow striker Macaulay Langstaff and winger Wes York were all in the Heed’s ranks under Watson last term but moved on to North Yorkshire at the end of the campaign.

    Burrow established himself as a mainstay of the City team under Watson’s predecessor Sam Collins, while Langstaff has been in and out of the side and York used sparingly but, offering his assessment of the trio’s talents, the new Bootham Crescent chief said 'I like them all and, if (City sporting director) Dave (Penney) had not been so sharp over the summer, I might have been able to talk them into staying at Gateshead. Wes has great attributes and a great attitude. He did well for me in a number of positions, particularly at wing-back for a spell.

    'Macaulay got better and better as the campaign went on and would probably have played more of a part this season as we went with youth and Jordan is a manager’s dream really, because you always know what you will get with him every day on the training field and out on the pitch...

    He reasoned 'I’ve asked Dave (Penney) about players’ best positions, but I’m also looking at as much DVD footage of our games as possible too and will be making judgements from what I see in games and during training. Training is rarely poor wherever you are, though, and, while that’s how it has to be obviously, I don’t want training ground players. They have to be able to transfer that to games on Saturday afternoons'...

    Watson is hopeful that he can devise a game-plan designed to gain a positive result at Edgeley Park even though City have lost their last seven league games on the road. 'I watched Stockport at the weekend, so I’ve got a good idea of what we need to do to compete with them and beat them,' Watson claimed. 'Truro weren’t fantastic on the day, but I feel I saw enough to put something in place to help us get a good result.'

    Watson added that he has a preferred formation, with Gateshead often lining up 3-5-2 under his stewardship, but he accepts it might take time and the right personnel to implement that system at a club that has been operating with a flat back four and lone central striker in recent weeks. The new City chief is committed to playing an attractive brand of football, though, reasoning 'I believe the style we have been playing at Gateshead brings results, so we might change system here, but I’ll have to see if, and when, we can do that with the current squad.

    'At Gateshead, we’ve been beaten by the better teams in the league this season but, outside of those clubs, I believe we were one of the best footballing teams in the division and I feel we can look to do the same here.'

    On his working relationship with assistant Micky Cummins, who has followed him to North Yorkshire, Watson added 'We got on well with each other straight away when I went to Gateshead. He’s loyal, but we don’t always think the same way and that’s exactly what a manager needs. He’s a very good coach and probably deserves to coach a bit more than I allow him to, but I know I can leave the team with him and they will be in good hands.'"

    At Kidderminster Harriers "Dan Bradley has returned to former club AFC Fylde. The 27-year-old had joined Harriers, for what was his second spell, from the Coasters in the summer of 2017. In the season and a half that have followed, he made 37 starts for the Reds.

    Fylde have been keen to recapture their former talisman, and had an offer accepted by Harriers this week. An undisclosed fee has been agreed along with future incentives, allowing the former Tamworth player to return to Mill Farm ahead of their next match this weekend."

    In the Chester Standard "Chester FC joint boss Bernard Morley has warned his players that no one is assured of their future at the club after the Blues failed to beat ten man Guiseley at the Swansway Stadium on Saturday.

    An error-strewn performance from the hosts saw them have to come from behind to beat the Yorkshire outfit [actually it was a draw] who are co-managed by former Chester manager Marcus Bignot.

    The Blues were boosted by the sending off of the Lions' captain and ex-Chester player Andy Halls in the first half but despite enjoying the majority of possession after the break they were unable to break down the stubborn visitor's defence and missed the chance to break into the National League North's top three despite Anthony Dudley's 55th minute equaliser.

    'It’s not acceptable,' said Morley. 'We’ve seen one or two players go out of the club over the last couple of weeks because of the same thing and it will happen again. If people continue to be complacent in those areas of the pitch, we can’t work with them moving forward...

    'Steven Howson has been immense this season,' he continued. 'He really has stepped up to the plate and today he’s let himself down and he’s let the lads down. It happens, we know that, individual errors happen, but not to that extent, especially with him being so consistent. Hopefully he’ll brush that one under the carpet and we won’t see that again before the end of the season, but it punished us. I think they’ve had two shots in the whole game. We ourselves know that we’ve been down to 10 men over the last couple of weeks and managed to go on and win a game, so we still believed that maybe there were guys that would offer a little bit more than what they did in the second half and that’s what’s really frustrating, the fact that we’ve played 45 minutes in their half and not managed to score one goal.'

    With the likes of midfielder Gary Stopforth and striker Akwasi Asante likely to remain out injured for a few weeks yet, Morley admitted he and fellow boss Anthony Johnson were looking at making new signings which could mean bad news for those they beleive are currently underperforming.

    'We're trying to get something in, definitely,' added Morley, who handed latest signing Sean McAllister his debut on Saturday. 'We've worked so hard this week to try and get some options going forward but it's not been the case. People have not been giving us answers or decisions which is really frustrating as it is either a yes or no for us. We'll work hard this week and try and add something up front.'"

    Altrincham's next away trip is to Lemington on 26 January. From Leamington we learn that 'the lights well and truly went out for Brakes in the second half at The Merseyrail Community Stadium [on Saturday] against Southport. Manager Paul Holleran gave his thoughts on the defeat on the journey home…

    ‘Obviously I’m bitterly disappointed. I thought we started the first half poorly but we grew into the game. With the conditions in our favour and a strong end to the first half I was looking for us to maybe kick on but, as a good as they were, it was as poor as we’ve been, in terms of a defensive structure. It was just far too easy to get balls wide, to get round the back of us and get crosses in. It’s a really poor day for us.

    Telford was poor a few weeks ago but we were well in that game but, today at times in the second half, for what we have got in the team, we were far too naive and we’ve got to do better. We were out of our depth in the second half, there’s no ifs or buts about it. They toyed with us. They scored five and they could have scored more and, as much as that’s down to some good play from them, we haven’t helped ourselves.

    'We’ve got some work to do. It’s a little bit of a kick up the backside for us at the moment. This was always going to be a tough period. I’m so disappointed on the back of such a good performance last week, and to get to half time 1-0 up at half time at Southport, then for a 45 minute performance like that. We were miles away from where we need to be really. We’re going to have to look at one or two things, and we will this week. Obviously shuffling the pack with injuries and suspensions isn’t helping, and players seem to be able to do well for short periods, but not for 90 minutes or for two or three games, so it’s something we’ve got to look at, and we will do.’"


    Monday 14th January, Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round
    • Stockport Town 3-1 Tranmere Rovers - ex-Alty man Gavin Salmon scored one of Town's goals in front of a gate of just 85.

    Tuesday 15th January, Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round

    • Macclesfield Town 0-1 Runcorn Town Att. 181. (Goal scored by Carl Rodgers)


    Tuesday 15th January, FA Second Round Replay
    • Weymouth 1 Ramsbottom United 3

    15 January 2019


    With loanee Josh Langley leaving Altrincham recently after his spell at the club, it is timely to look at some of the other players who have been on Alty's books this season but have moved on.
    • Lloyd BANNISTER (aged 22)

      After a spell at Wigan Athletic, right-back Lloyd played in Belgium (2016/17-2017/18) for Patro Eisden in Maasmechelen. He also played in the 2017 Caribbean Club Championships before joining Altrincham at the end of pre-season in July 2018. International clearance problems ruled out any involvement at the start of the league season 2018-19 but Lloyd had moved on to Atherton Collieries by early September 2018 without making any competitive appearances for Altrincham. He then joined Atherton Collieries but sadly suffered an ACL injury early in the campaign. Altrincham appearances: 0.

    • Owen DALE (aged 20)

      A lively winger, Owen joined Altrincham on a month's loan in time to make his debut at Darlington on 25 August 2018. He had previously played against Altrincham whilst on loan at Witton Albion in 2017. He made his Crewe first-team league debut in September 2017 and, including cup matches, he had made six senior outings for Alex in 2017/18. Owen proved to be a good addition to the Altrincham side and his loan was renewed for a further period in September 2018. Sadly, Crewe took him back at the end of November 2018. Altrincham appearances: 13(+3), 3 goals

    • Brendon DANIELS (aged 25)

      Brendon's signing, on a one-month loan from Port Vale, was announced on 28 July 2018. He is a left-winger who started out at Crewe Alexandra in May 2011 before former Alty boss Neil Young signed him for Chester FC on a month's loan. Next came a brief spell at Gateshead before he joined Tamworth at the start of 2014-15 season, at the end of which he signed for Harrogate Town.

      For the following season he joined AFC Fylde (May 2016) but, once more, he made a summer move, this time to Alfreton Town for 2017-18 season. In May 2018 he joined Port Vale, initially on a six-month contract. Altrincham appearances: 4(+3) 0 goals

    • Bay DOWNING (aged 22)

      Bay (right) was signed in late July, 2018 after playing in three pre-season games, operating primarily on the right wing. He went to Millfield School before spending time in the USA where he played for Tampa Spartans (2015-17). After making his debut for Alty as a substitute against FC United of Manchester, and one further appearance from the bench at Darlington, he signed dual registration forms with Wiltshire side Salisbury during August 2018 and scored for them several times in his opening games for the Step Three club. Altrincham appearances: 0(+2).

    • Anthony DWYER (aged 22)

      Anthony was manager Phil Parkinson's first new signing of summer 2018 when he joined on 17 May 2018. Ironically, his last game of the 2017-18 season had been against Altrincham for Hednesford Town, a club he had joined in March 2018 from AFC Telford United. He had joined Telford in the summer of 2017 before his move to the Pitmen in March 2018. He started out at Mansfield Town in the Stags' under-19s in 2015/16 before joining Stafford Rangers in November 2016. He soon moved on to Matlock Town and also had a spell with Ilkeston before he joined AFC Telford United.

      Anthony's departure from the club, by mutual agreement, was announced on 6 July 2018, without his having made an appearance. Altrincham appearances: 0.

    • Callum HARRIS (aged 22)

      Callum made his debut as a substitute against Curzon Ashton after signing for Altrincham early in September 2018. After starting off at Manchester City he joined Wolverhampton Wanderers. Before joining Alty he had a spell in Belgium with Patro Eisden. He made his debut as a used substitute in the game against Curzon Ashton on 15 September 2018 and then turned out for the Reserves as well as for Trafford FC, the latter role being on dual registration forms with our neighbours. On 11 October 2018 it was announced that Callum had signed dual registration forms with Winsford United. In December 2018 he joined Ashton United. Appearances to June 2018: 0(+1).

    • Sam HEATHCOTE (aged 21)

      Sam was a junior striker at Manchester United and, following his release, he graduated through Altrincham's youth team and reserves to sign Conference forms, as a back-up for the first-team, in March 2015. Converted to a centre-back in the Alty Youth and Reserves' teams, he was first included in the first-team squad for 2015-16. He made a remarkable debut for the first team, coming on as an injury-time substitute against eventual champions Cheltenham Town on 5 September 2015. Within some ninety seconds he had scored the winning goal! With his opportunities in the first team limited, after making 5(+4) appearances in 2016-17, Sam went on loan to Hyde United. On his return he re-established himself as a regular member of the matchday squad.

      On 26 July 2017 it was announced that Sam had opted to leave the club after manager Phil Parkinson had indicated that he could not be promised a regular place in the starting eleven. He then joined fellow ex-Altrincham team-mates Kyle Brownhill and Jerome Wright at Ramsbottom United where he reverted to a striker's role. However, he made a welcome return to Altrincham on 1 March 2018 but moved to Hyde United in May 2018 in search of more regular starts. A spell with Trafford followed before he turned out for Wythenshawe Town. Altrincham appearances: 35(+26), 1 goal.

    • Ashley HEMMINGS (aged 27)

      On 4 December 2018, Altrincham signed AFC Fylde's 27 year-old winger Ashley Hemmings (right) on a one-month loan, which was cut short on 31 December when he was recalled. He had joined Fylde earlier in 2018 after a brief spell with Salford City. However, he has a rich Football League pedigree. Having played four times for England's under-17s, Hemmings then had loan spells from Wolverhampton Wanderers 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 (16 goals in 41 appearances in 2017/18) were his next employers before his move to Salford City (2018) and then AFC Fylde. Ashley made an impressive debut as a substitute against Telford on 8 December 2018 and despite his curtailed stay, he made a positive impression. Altrincham appearances: 4(+1), 2 goals.

    • Josh LANGLEY (aged 26)

      Josh arrived on loan from Southport on the eve of Alty's home game with York City on 17 November 2018, for which he was an unused substitute. His early career was with Wigan Athletic but he then joined AFC Fylde on loan in July 2014, before signing for the Lancashire club and playing more than a century of games in a four-year stay which included playing in the 6-0 thrashing of Alty at Moss Lane in 2016 which pre iptated Neil Young's departure as manager.

      Early in 2017-18 season he suffered an ACL injury. In July 2018 he joined Southport on a one-year contract and again played against Alty, at Haig Avenue, in August 2018. However, he had lost his place in the first-team at Southport before his loan to Alty. In his month at Altrincham he did not start a league game, his only game being a start in the FA Trophy against Stockport County. On completion of his stay at Alty, Southport loaned him straight out to Guiseley where he immediately played 90 minutes on his league debut on 12 January 2019. Altrincham appearances: 1.

    • Sean MILLER (aged 23)

      Right-sided midfielder Sean Miller was signed in early June 2016 from Connah’s Quay Nomads. A speedy winger, he had earlier been in Chester's youth system, when Neil Young was manager there. At Connah's Quay he was Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year as well as being top scorer. He was also named Welsh Premier League Young Player of the Year in 2015. He missed most of 2016-17 pre-season through injury, making his first appearance in a friendly against Witton Albion on 1 August 2016. He made his Altrincham debut as a substitute on 9 August 2016 at FC Halifax Town.

      Despite suffering a couple of injuries, Sean made a very positive impression at Altrincham, with 10 goals in 19(+5) appearances up to the point where he signed an extended contract on 14 January 2017. But he then missed several months of the season through injury and remained in rehabilitation into September 2017. After returning as a substitute he went on a month's loan to Colne, to regain full match fitness, from the start of November 2017. In February 2018, Sean went to Trafford on loan.

      Sean was back at Moss Lane for 2018-19 pre-season but, after a number of pre-season friendlies, manager Phil Parkinson allowed him to leave. He then joined Chester FC before moving in January 2019 to Curzon Ashton. Altrincham appearances: 22(+15), 11 goals.

    • Tom PEERS (aged 23)

      Born in Warrington, Tom came through the Chester FC youth system (2013-16) where he made 3(+21) first-team appearances under manager Neil Young. Tom then went on loan to 1874 Northwich FC and, in January 2015, he started a month's loan at Marine.

      In December 2015 he went on a month's loan to Salford City, with a similar loan stay at Hednesford Town following that. In 2016 he briefly joined Hednesford before a summer 2016 move to AFC Telford United. However, he soon moved on to Warrington Town (Sept. 2016) and then Droylsden (Dec. 2016 to Feb. 2017). At that point he joined Nantwich Town and followed manager Phil Parkinson to Altrincham in summer 2017.

      Although his Altrincham appearances in 2017 were more often from the bench than from kick-off, by mid-November 2017 he had participated in more Altrincham games than any other member of the squad and had weighed in with some important goals. 2018-19 also saw him primarily deployed as a substitute and on 1 November it was announced that he had opted to move to FC United in the hope of more consistent game time. Ironically he left Moss Lane whilst top of the chart for goals scored per minutes played in 2018/19 season! Altrincham appearances: 30(+29), 14 goals

    • Charlie SCOTT (aged 21)

      Released by Manchester United in summer 2018, Charlie had earlier had a brief spell in early 2018 on loan at Hamilton Academical in the Scottish Premier, where he made two appearances. He joined Altrincham on 2 November 2018, having earlier trained with the club. Charlie can play either in midfield or defence. His only appearance for Altrincham was in a Cheshire Senior Cup tie against Congleton Town where he featured at centre-back. He left the club in late November 2018. By January 2019 he had signed for Newcastle Town. Altrincham appearances: 1.

    • Laurence TAYLOR (aged 22)

      A dependable central midfielder, Laurence made his first-team debut in the Cheshire Senior Cup on 3 February 2016 and on 6 December 2016 he also started the first-team FA Trophy match against Blyth Spartans. Prior to that he had been captain of the Altrincham FC Youth team, with whom he won the league, and after that was a Reserves' player. Laurence again signed first-team forms, for then manager Jim Harvey, in September 2016 and made several appearances in cup competitions before he made his league debut on 14 January 2017. He was named Altrincham FC Man of the Match on his debut and, the same day, it was announced that he had signed a contract with the club until the end of 2017-18 season. By the latter part of 2016-17 season he was a regular starter in central midfield but his 2017-18 season was affected by injury in September 2017, which sidelined him for several weeks.

      Laurence went on a month's loan to Hednesford Town at the end of November, 2017 and, after a brief return to Altrincham, started a month's loan at Trafford in mid-January 2018, which was renewed in mid-February. In the close season of 2018 he signed for our Shawe View neighbours. Altrincham appearances: 25(+6), 0 goals.


    When Altrincham entertain Southport this Saturday (19th), Altrincham FC is offering an early dining deal in the Community Sports Hall by which supporters can get a pie/chips/gravy or burger or hot dog/chips/gravy for £4-50 and also receive a voucher for £1 off their first pint. This deal is available from 1.30pm to 2.15pm only


    Just before Christmas, Wythenshawe Town reported "the signing of Sam Heathcote. Sam, the son of former Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote, has had experience of playing at a higher level with the likes of Hyde United, Ramsbottom, Altrincham and Trafford.

    On joining Town Sam said 'I left Trafford to go and play for Altrincham Reserves with my friends to get his enjoyment back for football. Now returning to play at a higher level, I have plenty of ambition as ultimately I want to secure promotion with the club'.

    Manager James Kinsey said 'Sam is a big, physical presence that we’ve been lacking in the side. He’s a bonus signing as he can play as a centre-half but is also proven to have scored goals playing as a centre-forward. Since leaving Trafford he has been playing at a lower level to tick over and we are hopeful that he can hit the ground running.'"


    On Sunday in the Argyle Sports Cup 1st Round, Altrincham drew 2-2 at Workington Reds but went on to won the penalty shoot-out 5-4. In the 2nd Round, Alttrincham Ladies are away again...

    • Chester v Northwich;
    • Didsbury or Cammell Laird v Penrith;
    • FC United of Manchester v Blackburn Community;
    • Merseyrail v Altrincham;
    • Mossley Hill v Tranmere Rovers;
    • Sir Tom Finney v Warrington;
    • Stockport County v Bury;
    • West Didsbury v Curzon.

    And in the County Cup on Sunday 20 January 2019...

    • Cammell Laird v Chester
    • Upton v Northwich Vixens;
    • Warrington Wolverines v Altrincham.


    Like the first team, Altrincham FC Youth were away at Chorley FC last weekend. But the game was abandoned at 2-2.

    Meanwhile in the NWYA Open Cup, Altrincham will be away to Chester FC Youth at Boughton Hall Cricket Club CH3 5EL.

    Next up for the youths is a league match on 20 January at home to Curzon Ashton FC Youth at Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP


    The Chester Standard reports that "Bernard Morley admitted the Blues lacked the quality to overcome a a stubborn Guiseley outfit despite playing over 50 minutes against 10 men.

    The visitors had taken the lead in the 19th minute when Kayode Odejayi nodded home but they faded as an attacking force following the dismissal of former Blue, Andy Halls, allowing Chester to draw level in the second half through Anthony Dudley’s header after which the Blues dominated possession but were unable to score a winner.

    'We got ourselves back in the game after 55 minutes and you’re thinking we can really push on and maybe win,' said Morley, who watched the game from a seat in the stands. 'But sometimes you look at some of your players and you think they’re just not good enough to unlock sides like that and that’s what the frustrating thing is for us today. We said at half-time to be patient and that it might take until the 85th minute to get the first goal and then we push on from there. I don’t think we were desperate in our approach in the second half, but we need players to be able to unlock a game and add that little bit of special finish.

    'I think that if we’d had that little bit more quality out wide today, especially when we came inside, we’d have got more quality into the box, but everybody’s worked hard and everybody’s disappointed in the changing room. It’s just those little things that we need to tweak here and there that will make us a good side consistently.'

    Things started badly for Chester and barely improved for the next 40 minutes as the injury-ravaged side struggled for any kind of fluency in their passing...

    Chester got a break when a loose ball in midfield saw both Gary Roberts and Halls dive in for the challenge with the Guiseley skipper getting there fractionally after his opponent and subsequently receiving a red card from referee Amy Fearn. The Guiseley bench erupted in protest but Halls’s foot was off the ground and he had little control of the challenge. Moments later Guiseley’s ire increased when Fearn refused their appeals for a penalty prompting some ugly scenes as former Chester boss Marcus Bignot and others on the visitors’ bench encroached on the pitch and hurled abuse.

    Buoyed by the prospect of facing 10-men, the Blues began the second half in far better fashion... An equaliser look likely and it duly arrived...

    'It looked like a circus at times,' added Morley reflecting on some of the behaviour of the Guiseley bench. 'There were five or six of them standing on the byline at times but it comes down to the officials and they’ve got to manage that. To be honest though that’s the least of my problems and I’m more worried about what we’ve done and I’m disappointed not to get the three points.'"

    Kidderminster Harriers send their good wishes to "Academy striker Jaiden White this week, who heads to Premier League club Fulham! The 16 year old will spend a trial period with The Cottagers’ U18s group after a number of impressive performances for Harriers’ National League U19s Alliance team, as well as in the FA Youth Cup, where Harriers reached the First Round, facing Port Vale at Vale Park.

    Having been one of numerous Academy players to train with the Harriers first team during the current season, White made his first team debut against Spennymoor Town on 8th January aged 16 years and 282 days, making him one of the club’s youngest players ever. Fellow Academy players Reiss Taylor-Randle and Harry Stratford have also made their first team debuts this season, with the duo featuring against Atherstone Town in the FA Cup.

    Striker Taylor-Randle and midfielder Stratford, both second year students, have spent trial periods with a EFL Championship club, with the former currently currently impressing during a trial spell with a EFL League Two club. Additionally, 16 year old Academy left back James Dutton is set for a trial with a Championship club."

    Nuneaton Borough "have announced that attacking midfielder Ryan Jennings has left the Club. Jennings made seven appearances for the Boro’, including the Birmingham County Cup victories against Solihull Moors and Highgate United."

    Also "Nuneaton Borough have announced that midfielder Carl Baker has left the Club. Baker made 22 appearances for the Boro’, including a Man of the Match performance on his debut in the victory at Curzon Ashton. Baker scored once and had three assists in his time at the Club."

    Blyth Spartans "announce the departure of Ian Watson who has taken on the assistant manager role at National League side Gateshead.

    The popular left-back has been a vital part of the dressing room and coaching staff at Spartans since returning in the summer of 2017, and will be a big miss.

    ‘Busted’ has made 90 appearances for Blyth Spartans in his two spells with the club, scoring on two occasions including a thunderbolt winner in the FA Trophy last season.

    'It’s too good of an opportunity to turn down for him,' said Spartans manager Alun Armstrong, 'but he’ll be a miss as he’s a great character on and off the pitch. He’s the most professional part-time footballer you are ever likely to see.'

    The 33-year-old has made 10 appearances this season."

    And the National League adds that "If you’re looking for a form side in the National League North, look no further than Blyth Spartans... They look unstoppable.

    The Croft Park side bagged 16 goals, including impressive wins against Nuneaton Borough, Ashton United and FA Trophy progression at Lancaster City. Over Christmas, victories versus Chorley and York City, as well as a brilliant comeback draw at Spennymoor Town, took the Spartans to within touching distance of the play-off places.

    Striker Daniel Maguire found the target five times in total during the final month of 2018, a haul that took him into double figures for the campaign".

    Meanwhile "Before Blyth Spartans FA Trophy match against Boreham Wood, Jarrett Rivers was presented with the Port of Blyth Player of the Month award by Colin Bassam from Port of Blyth Training Services.

    The award is decided by averaging the three top players in each of the month’s games." According to the National League "Stockport County are enjoying arguably their best season in many years and the fans think it’s thanks to one man.

    Jim Gannon has masterminded a National League North title assault when it appeared not so long ago that it was a play-off push at best. Due to a December to die for, County are on the charge...

    Last month started slowly, limping out of the FA Cup and picking up a point at Chester but they soon found their range. Just when they needed it the most, they did what few sides do, win at an in-form Spennymoor Town.

    They followed that up with FA Trophy victory over Altrincham, who they were about to beat three times inside three weeks. Thrashing Ashton United 6-0 away from home, they then grabbed a crucial point at Alfreton Town.

    The Hatters ended December strongly, with win number two over Alty followed up by a solid if unspectacular 1-0 triumph against Kidderminster Harriers.


    The draw for the Second Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy, to be played on February 2nd is as follows:
    • Ramsbottom United or Weymouth v AFC Fylde
    • Spennymoor Town v AFC Telford United - as previously reported this means the Moors' league visit to Altrincham will have to be arranged.
    • Carshalton Athletic v Barnet
    • Chesterfield v Brackley Town
    • Leyton Orient v Blyth Spartans
    • Hemel Hempstead Town v FC Halifax Town or Solihull Moors
    • Salford City v Maidstone United
    • Harrogate Town v Stockport County"

    14 January 2019


    The National League has brief highlights of the Chorley v Altrincham match, last Saturday.


    Altrincham's next opponents, Southport "announce that Patrick Lacey has signed for the club. ‘Paddy’ is a hard-tackling central midfielder and is an experienced footballer after enjoying spells at Altrincham, Accrington Stanley, as well as National League North success with Barrow in 2014/15, during his three-year stint at the Bluebirds.

    He returns to the club after eight years following a previous loan spell with the club, reuniting once again with Manager, Liam Watson.

    'To get Paddy on a 18-month deal is great business for the club. He is the type of player every successful team needs, he is a proven winner, his best years are in front of him and even more important I like him as a person and [he] is someone I have known for a long time'.

    The 25 year-old has signed a contract with the Port until 2020 after initially joining on non-contract terms with the side before the FA Trophy fixture against the Moors in mid-December."

    Lacey, now aged 25, was at Altrincham from 26 July 2012, having impressed as a trialist for Morecambe in a pre-season game against Altrincham, a few days earlier. In all he made 12(+21) Altrincham appearances.

    After that, in Auguste 2017, the Liverpol Echo reported that "Former Accrington Stanley star Paddy Lacey, from Crosby, was arrested one month after receiving a 14 month FA ban. Paddy Lacey, who has been sentenced to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty at Bristol Crown Court to two counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of counterfeit money...

    Lacey, was locked up after being found with Class A drugs and counterfeit cash at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. The former Accrington Stanley midfielder, from Crosby, is currently serving a 14 month FA ban after he tested positive for cocaine following a match last season. Lacey was found with 20.3 grams of cocaine, 16.8 grams of MDMA, and £520 in counterfeit £20 notes at Glastonbury in July.

    He pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a controlled substance, and passing as genuine an item which he knew to be a counterfeit...

    At the FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission Hearing in May Lacey’s representatives argued his use of the drug was not intentional and there was no significant fault on behalf of the player. Lacey, of Manor Avenue, had given evidence that over the previous four years he had been suffering from depression, without receiving professional help, and used alcohol and cocaine to cope. He told the FA’s head of integrity that since the test he had been 'undertaking therapy to address his problems and was making progress'.

    The Commission accepted it was 'cognitive impairment' that caused Lacey to breach the anti-doping rules and were satisfied that it was a case of 'no significant fault or negligence'...

    Lacey, who also had a stint with Southport, was forging a successful amateur boxing career too , winning the 75kg class B category of the prestigious Haringey Box Cup in June."


    Above: The road to Wembley? Bognor exhausted every avenue to get the game played in January 2016. Above we see six cars, with engines running, parked on the pitch, on a yellow line (of sand), to ward off the frost before kick-off.

    Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years remind us that next Saturday, when Altrincham host Southport, is the third anniversary of that memorable midweek visit to Bognor Regis in the FA Trophy when the game was only played after several cars had been deployed on the pitch, (as seen above), with their engines running to prevent frost formation!


    On Saturday, Marine won 3-0 at Buxton, with Danny Mitchley the scorer of one of the goals. And James Walshaw netted the goal as Scarborough Athletic beat Warrington Town 1-0.

    At Trafford FC Elliot Wynne kept goal again on Saturday, whilst Darius Palma also played and Aaron Burns came on from the bench. "Trafford made a sloppy start to the second half with several misguided passes and a drop in tempo and in the 57th minute on-loan goalkeeper Elliot Wynne saved brilliantly to thwart Niall Flint... Aaron Burns drilled a shot over from 20 yards following a neat turn that bamboozled the Chasetown defence and the points were finally secured five minutes from time when Burns released Matty Bryan down the left, Bryan outpaced his full back and crossed hard and low for Liam Ellis to net at the back post.

    Elliot Wynne uncharacteristically fumbled a Niall Flint shot in the dying seconds but the 3-0 victory meant that Trafford now sit just one point outside the play-off positions. On Saturday Trafford make the journey over the Welsh border to play Colwyn Bay for a league fixture that, due to floodlight problems, kicks off at 1 p.m."



    Tuesday 8 January 2019: Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round

    • Runcorn Linnets 1 - 1 Stalybridge Celtic (Runcorn Linnets won 5 - 4 on penalties).

    Wednesday 9 January 2019: Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round

    • Crewe Alexandra 1 - 2 Nantwich Town. (Owen Dale scored the Railwaymen's goal).


    Mon 14th Jan 2019: Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round

    • Stockport Town v Tranmere Rovers

    Tue 15th Jan 2019: Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round

    • Macclesfield Town v Runcorn Town


    After Saturday's game, Chorley reported that "The Magpies produced a stunning second half display to swat away a dangerous Altrincham side and open up a six-point lead at the top of the table.

    Chorley made one change to the side that drew at Hereford, with Scott Leather returning in place of Lewis Baines. Altrincham were unchanged from their win at Boston United.

    The visitors had the better of the first half and took the lead with the first real chance. John Johnston cut in from the right and forced Matt Urwin to palm out at full stretch; unfortunately the ball fell to Max Harrop who returned it with interest past the Chorley number one.

    Josh Hancock almost doubled the Robins’ lead, but luckily his 30-yard free kick pinged off the top of the bar. Chorley grew into the game thereafter but couldn’t get close to an equaliser, apart from when Adam Blakeman’s long range drive was deflected wide by teammate Alex Newby.

    A much-improved Chorley grabbed an equaliser 10 minutes into the second half, after a succession of corners had put the visitors under pressure. Alex, growing more into the game, picked the ball up, played a one-two with Josh Wilson and buried his effort low past Tony Thompson.

    The go-ahead-goal was even better. Marcus Carver hit a diagonal ball into the box and Wilson chested the ball past a defender before hammering home past the onrushing Thompson.

    Alex’s second settled matters six minutes from time, when a mis-hit cross from Blakeman fell to Chorley’s number seven who hit a low volley into the corner from 20 yards.

    Courtney Meppen-Walter’s fourth, a header from Blakeman’s injury time corner, put the icing on the cake of what was a superb second half display".


    Chorley report that "Northern Irish forward Adam McGurk [has become] Jamie Vermiglio’s first January signing, signing on at Victory Park for the rest of the season. The 29-year-old, who’s played up to under-21 level for his country, made 34 appearances for Morecambe in League Two last season before spending the first half of this campaign with Nuneaton Borough, featuring 17 times.

    'We’re delighted to have brought Adam on board. He’s an excellent footballer who’s played at a very good level and he’s a player who’ll add competition for places and hopefully be able to chip in with some goals and assists as we get towards the business end of the season'" said manager Jamie Vermiglio.

    13 January 2019


    Former Altrincham forward, Sean Miller, has joined rivals Curzon Ashton. Sean was an unused sub for The Nash in yesterday's win at Nuneaton Borough.

    Sean joined Altrincham in early June 2016 from Connah’s Quay Nomads, having earlier been in Chester FC's youth system, when Neil Young was manager there. Despite missing much of 2016-17 at Altrincham, through injury, he nevertheless finished as the club's top scorer that season.

    Sean was back at Moss Lane for 2018-19 pre-season but, after a number of pre-season friendlies, manager Phil Parkinson allowed him to leave. In September 2018, the 23 year-old joined Chester FC before his move, on a free transfer, to Curzon on 5 January 2019.

    His Altrincham appearances totalled 22 starts and 15 appearances from the bench. He netted 11 goals.


    Altrincham slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season at Victory Park, despite having led at the interval. The Robins had taken a deserved 23rd minute lead when Max Harrop arrived at the back post to slot the ball home, after a John Johnston shot had been parried by keeper Urwin.

    Chorley came out on the front foot for the second half and, after winning five corners inside the opening five minutes, levelled in the 55th minute. The Alty defence parted too easily to allow Chorley to advance up the inside left channel with Alex Newby scoring from a Carver pass.

    Right: Altrincham celebrate their goal.

    Ten minutes later, Chorley went ahead when Carver's speculative lofted ball to the right of the box was dispatched into the roof of the net by Wilson.

    Chorley's third goal arrived in the 84th minute and was a disaster for the Alty defence. A miscued "up and under" from Chorley dropped on the front edge of the Alty box and two defenders failed to get either of their heads onto it. Instead, it fell for Alex Newby to score with a well-struck low shot into the bottom corner to Thompson's right.

    And the final nail in the coffin arrived deep into added time when Meppen-Walter scored with a free header from a right-wing corner. On a day when the BT Sport cameras were recording highlights of the game, this second-half performance was not what Altrincham wanted to show to the nation's TV viewers.

    Chorley are now six points clear at the top whilst Alty remain seventh.


    Spennymoor's progress in the FA Trophy today means that the league fixture at Altrincham, scheduled for 2 February, will have to be rearranged as that is the date of the next round of the competition.


    After his month's loan at Altrincham, during which his only appearance was in the FA Trophy against Stockport County, Southport loanee Josh Langley (right) has now joined Guiseley on loan.

    In addition to his sole start against County, Josh was named in five matchday squads (4 league, 1 cup) but remained unused on the bench in those fixtures.

    More on him, below...


    Next Saturday, Altrincham welcome Southport to the J. Davidson Stadium and the Sandgrounders will be much tougher opposition than when Alty won at Haig Avenue early in the current season.

    Southport report that on Saturday "Brad Bauress and Dion Charles both scored twice as Southport hit five in the second half to complete tremendous turnaround.

    Trailing to a goal from Jack Edwards at the break, the Port turned on the style to extend their unbeaten run in the league to 12 matches, registering their fifth win from seven games. The home team could have been in front on 16 minutes when Bauress smashed a shot against the post from a Charles cross.

    But Leamington took the lead ten minutes before the break, as Reece Flannigan’s deep free-kick was met at the far post by Edwards, whose shot was judged to have crossed the line.

    Southport introduced Devarn Green at half-time and the substitution reaped immediate dividends, as his run and cross set up Bauress, who turned home the rebound after his initial shot was saved by goalkeeper Tony Breeden.

    Green was to have a hand in three goals, providing a cross on 66 minutes which was touched by Bauress into the path of David Morgan and he scored with a composed finish.

    Bauress added Southport’s third, receiving another pass from Green before taking a touch to set himself and finding the bottom left-hand corner.

    Charles got onto the scoresheet after Morgan had combined with Jordan Richards, and Charles struck again in stoppage time having exchanged passes with Jack Sampson".


    Altrincham FC Reserves remain top of the Cheshire League following a 1-1 draw on Saturday at Middlewich Town.


    Vanarama National League North, Saturday 12 January 2019, 15:00
    • Attendance 648: Alfreton Town 0 - 0 Darlington
    • Attendance 713: Bradford (Park Avenue) 2 - 3 FC United of Manchester
    • Attendance 1759: Chester 1 - 1 Guiseley
    • Attendance 1549: Kidderminster Harriers 1 - 2 Boston United
    • Attendance 915: Nuneaton Borough 2 - 3 Curzon Ashton
    • Attendnace 892:Southport 5 - 1 Leamington


    Before Saturday's game, Guiseley reported that "The Lions hope to have two new faces in their squad today at Chester. Two loan signings have been made in Sheffield United’s young midfielder George Cantrill and Southport’s experienced centre-back Josh Langley [right], both of whom join the Lions for a month.

    Cantrill, 19, played in the Sheffield United Development Squad alongside current on loan goalkeeper Marcus Dewhurst. The pair were among six scholars who signed professional contracts for The Blades last March.

    Langley, 26, was a scholar and then a pro for four years at Wigan, the club where his father Kevin holds the record for most appearances. Warrington-born Langley left Wigan in March 2014 to sign for AFC Fylde, where he became a lynchpin of their defence making over 100 appearances for The Coasters. He joined Southport in July 2018 and this season has had a loan spell at Altrincham. [He started just one game at Altrincham, in the FA Trophy].

    The pair are looking to make their debuts for Guiseley pending league and FA approval." In fact, both loanees played the ninety minutes of the game at Chester.

    Langley's parent club, Southport add that "Zehn Mohammed returned to Accrington Stanley on Monday after his month loan... [Meanwhile, the loans of] Marcus Wood, Liam Edwards, Jordan Archer and Reagan Ogle have all been extended at the club until the end of the season...

    Loaned Out:

    Dan Cockerline has finished his loan at Hednesford Town for the first half of the 2018/19 season and will now join up with Stalybridge Celtic to the end of the season.

    Josh Langley has completed his month loan at Altrincham, has been back training with the Port and has now joined Guiseley for a month.

    Billy Priestley has extended his stay with his local side Colne FC for the remainder of the season.

    Andy Hollins & Lewis Doyle; both have returned from their spell together at Droylsden and are back in training with the first team"

    At FC United of Manchester "Manager Neil Reynolds has strengthened his squad this week by bringing in two new loan players; defenders Zehn Mohammed (18) and Billy Sass-Davies (18) join us on loan...

    Blackburn-born central defender Zehn Mohammed (b 28.02.2000) has joined FC United on loan from Accrington Stanley. Zehn signed a two-year professional contract with Accrington Stanley in March 2017. In December 2017 he had an extended loan period at Ramsbottom and was voted their player of the month in January 2018.

    In September 2018 he went out on a month’s loan with Clitheroe where he made 8 appearances. In December 2018 he joined Southport on a month’s loan making one appearance for the Sandgrounders in their FA Trophy defeat at home to Solihull Moors. On his return to Accrington, the 18 year-old made his first team debut this week in their Checkatrade Trophy match at home to Bury...

    Central defender Billy Sass-Davies (18) has joined FC United on loan from Crewe Alexandra. The Welsh under-19 international signed professional terms with Crewe in July 2017. After being on the substitutes bench for the opening five games of the season, he made his first team debut, aged 17, on 29 August 2017, in Crewe’s EFL Trophy group stage game against Newcastle United U21s at Gresty Road. Last season he enjoyed a productive loan spell at Colwyn Bay, and in November 2018 he joined Northern Premier League side Leek Town also on loan.

    We hope to be in a position to announce a third new player in due course as and when it has been confirmed with the FA."

    Bradford (Park Avenue) "were condemned to their third consecutive defeat after an old rivalry was renewed against F.C United of Manchester...

    The difficult conditions stifled the frontlines of the two sides as the strikers were given little in the way of service. Through balls and crosses hung in the air or stuck in the mud of the pitch. When the hosts did advance into the opposition’s box, they failed to keep their composure... A player renowned for the clinical nature of his finishing, Oli Johnson, did eventually break the deadlock with a low strike that rolled through a sea of bodies and nestled in the bottom corner.

    However, former Bradford forward Chris Sharp etched his name on the scoresheet to put F.C. United back on level terms. On the stroke of half-time, he cut in from the left and rifled into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

    Two goals in quick succession put F.C. United ahead shortly after the hour mark. Jack Banister found the top corner in sensational fashion, just two minutes before Willoughby fired into the bottom corner after a mazy run down the left flank.

    The visitors weren’t allowed to cruise until the final whistle as Bradford piled pressure on the leaders. They were eventually rewarded for their pressure when Knight found the top corner with a stunning free-kick... A late corner was only cleared as far as Nicky Wroe on the edge of the box and the midfielder was visibly frustrated when his deflected effort struck the crossbar".

    For Cheshire Live's report on a Chester FC 1 Guiseley 1, the headline is "Blues lack guile to break down 10-men Lions...Chester FC came from behind to pick up a point against 10-men Guiseley but will be kicking themselves at not taking all three after being unable to make their dominance in possession count.

    The Blues... found the Lions to be a stubborn opponent, particularly given they had seen Andy Halls red-carded on 38 minutes for a poor tackle on Gary Roberts. Kayode Odejayi had headed the visitors into the lead from a Halls free kick on 19 minutes before the latter was sent off. Anthony Dudley levelled things up with a fine header on 55 minutes but Chester couldn't conjure up another, try as they might.

    And with Guiseley offering little going forward, a solitary point was one that could, and should, have been three.

    The clash with the Lions marked a first return to the Swansway Chester Stadium for former Chester boss Marcus Bignot since his controversial sacking last year. And there were also familiar faces for Blues fans in the shape of Kingsley James and Andy Halls, both members of Bignot's squad last season with the Blues.

    Chester managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley had moved to address their deepening injury crisis on Friday with the signing of 31-year-old former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Sean McAllister. And he made his debut for his new club alongside Gary Roberts in midfield, with Deane Smalley earning a recall to the starting line up. Cain Noble dropped to the bench with George Green serving a one-match ban.

    The game was a scrappy but open affair in the opening exchanges and the visitors could, and should, have taken the lead on four minutes...

    No doubt there would have been plenty of talk during the week about the strength of Guiseley at set pieced, particularly Odejayi. But when former Chester defender Halls whipped in a fine left wing free kick on 19 minutes the Blues were caught napping and the big striker's run wasn't followed and he was on hand to head home from close range. The manner in which the goal was conceded would certainly have irked Johnson and Morley.

    The goal didn't see Chester spring into life and their play was laboured, once again missing a focal point in the final third and any real cutting edge, with Mahon and Dan Mooney peripheral figures... The visitors were comfortably dealing with what the Blues had to offer...

    Roberts was on the wrong end of a reckless tackle from Halls and the former Chester man was red carded by referee Amy Fearn after she consulted the linesman. The Guiseley bench were incensed and were onto the pitch to remonstrate in some pretty ugly scenes. It was the correct decision from the referee. That saw Chester improve for the next five minutes but they failed to carve out anything meaningful and had to weather some late pressure from the visitors...

    But 10 minutes into the second 45 saw the Blues haul themselves level... Dudley was on hand to pick his spot and head expertly and powerfully beyond Dewhurst from 12 yards... The Blues were now in the ascendancy and their wide players coming into the game more...

    The Blues were dominating but with Guiseley sitting deep and soaking up the pressure, aided by the first half introduction of Will Thornton after the sending off of Halls, there was little in the way of incision with Dewhurst kept relatively underworked".

    Kidderminster Harriers "were left tasting defeat once more on an afternoon of controversy and frustration at Aggborough against Boston United. The Pilgrims were the brighter to start and went ahead early through a Wright goal on six minutes.

    After finding their feet, the hosts finished the half the far stronger, pulling level through Joe Ironside after earlier hitting the bar.

    Boston would be awarded a penalty late in the 45, though, as what looked to be a questionable call saw Heaton penalised for the award of a penalty that Davies converted. Harriers had an effort cleared off the line in the second half and pushed hard for an equaliser but United stood tall, despite huge claims for a handball in the area deep into injury time".

    From the other side, the Boston Standard tells us that "Craig Elliott says the credit belongs to his players following their 2-1 win at Kidderminster Harriers... After demanding better from his squad last week [who lost against Altrincham], Elliott dished out the credit where it was due.

    'It was all about the players today to show that courage and resilience,' he said. 'We knew we’d have to defend today, but I’m proud of them all, they all put a shift in. We deserved the win'...

    The contest finished with a scuffle in the tunnel involving Boston’s Ryan Qualter and Harriers defender Lee Vaughan. Elliott confirmed referee James bell had taken no further action.

    He added 'Ryan’s had a bit of verbals with their player and he’s gone past him. I’ve seen their player run after him and get involved. It’s something of nothing. It’s all been dealt with.'

    Elliott also confirmed that Nicky Walker was omitted from the starting XI due to injury... He said 'He’s done the warm up but didn’t feel fit enough to go on the pitch. We could have done with him.'"

    Reporting on the FA Trophy, the Hartlepool Mail says that "Hartlepool United have crashed out of the FA Trophy at the second round stage after a 2-1 home loss to AFC Telford.

    Goals from Amari Morgan Smith and Daniel Udoh ensured the sixth tier side progressed to the next stage of the competition, while Pools suffered their second Super 6 Stadium defeat in eight days. Myles Anderson added a late consolation.

    Despite saying he would stick with a similar team to the one beaten last time out in the National League, Richard Money made four changes on home turf, two of which were enforced. With Jake Cassidy cup tied, due to his involvement in the first round while at Maidstone United, and Liam Noble injured, Money handed a debut to on loan full-back Danny Amos, while pushing Mark Kitching further forward. Carl Magnay slotted into the back four, while Nicky Featherstone, Paddy McLaughlin and Niko Muir got starting XI recalls.

    Last weekend Pools were caught on the break at will by then 23rd-placed fifth tier side Maidstone, it was no different this time out against a team a division but just five places lower.

    And it was the speedy, athletic National League North frontline of Udoh and Morgan Smith, who took full advantage; the former's cross was only half blocked by Harvey Rodgers and squirmed through to the latter who tapped home from close range for 1-0.

    Despite the manager picking out his defensive group as a particular problem area last week, it was a weakness again this. An error by Magnay, handed the armband in the absence of Noble and following the exit of Andrew Davies, allowed Telford to again break at pace...

    The visitors were easily the better of the two sides in the opening 45, but they did not have it all their own way... Money, looking to halt his side's limp exit from the competition made two changes at the break. Off came the under-performing Kenton Richardson and Kitching and on went Josh Hawkes and Anderson. A switch to three at the back ensued.

    Caught rather cold, Anderson was in the action from the off, failing to deal with a ball over the top before getting done for pace as Udoh's effort was cleared off the line by Amos. It could, and should, have been 2-0 to the visitors...

    Pools had diced with death in a defensive sense and they weren't about to be let off again by Telford who could smell blood in the tie. Udoh, head and shoulders the best player on the park, was the only man to react in a congested area when a Shane Sutton shot cannoned back off the post and, as easy as you like, he made it 2-0.

    A replay would have been on the cards for both sides, with Tuesday night down in Shropshire already pencilled in, had the game ended level. There was never really any fear of that happening as the visitors held on with relative ease, although Anderson's late header did ensure Pools got something out of the day."

    12 January 2019


    Saturday 12 January 2019
    • Alfreton Town 0-0 Darlington
    • Bradford (Park Avenue) 2-3 FC United of Manchester
    • Chester 1-1 Guiseley
    • Chorley 4-1 Altrincham
    • Kidderminster Harriers 1-2 Boston United
    • Nuneaton Borough 2-3 Curzon Ashton
    • Southport 5-1 Leamington


    Saturday 12 January 2019 - Second Round Proper
    • Ramsbottom United 2-2 Weymouth
    • Hartlepool United 1-2 AFC Telford United
    • Maidstone United 1-0 Oxford City
    • Hemel Hempstead Town 4-2 Wingate & Finchley
    • Barnet 2-1 Dorchester Town
    • Hereford FC 1-3 Brackley Town
    • Salford City 2-0 Dagenham & Redbridge
    • Blyth Spartans 1-0 Boreham Wood
    • AFC Fylde 1-0 Biggleswade Town
    • Spennymoor Town 3-0 Sutton United
    • Stockport County 5-0 Truro City
    • Dover Athletic 1-2 Harrogate Town
    • Chesterfield 1-0 Bedford Town
    • Carshalton Athletic 4-1 Salisbury
    • FC Halifax Town 2-2 Solihull Moors
    • Wrexham 0-1 Leyton Orient


    Altrincham travel to Chorley today (Saturday) for their first encounter of the season with the Magpies.

    Mike Garnett's records summarise previous meetings with Chorley...

    • At home: P15-W10-D3-L2-F45-A18
    • Away: P16-W3-D5-L8-F16-A21
    • All: P31-W13-D8-L10-F61-A39

    Admission prices at Victory Park are:

    • £12 adults
    • £9 over-60s/NHS/first responders/armed services
    • £7 students
    • £5 12-16s
    • FREE under-12s

    For those not attending the match, in addition to the normal Radio Robins coverage, BT Sport is covering the game on its Score programme from 2.30pm and this will include live updates and interviews.


    Altrincham midfielder James Poole has joined centre-back Liam Goulding and goalkeeper Elliot Wynne in leaving Altrincham for a spell on loan at a local club. James has joined Hyde United for a month's loan, whilst Liam is also in Tameside, at Ashton United, and Elliot is at our neighbours, Trafford.

    Left: James Poole (right) warms up with Shaun Densmore (left) before the match at Boston on 5 January 2019.

    Having missed the last ten league matches of a 2017-18 league season that saw him start only 28 of the 46 league fixtures through various injuries, James had not recovered over the summer to be named in the squads for the first six fixtures of 2018-19 league campaign. However, he was a used sub in five of the next six fixtures and also came on during three cup ties as a substitute. He did not make his first start of 2018-19 until the league match against Ashton United. Injury in that game led to another spell of ten matches when he was unable to be named in a league squad, before he made a late appearance from the bench at Boston United last weekend.

    So, this season James has made one start and nine appearances from the bench. In his Alty career overall, he has to his credit 35 starts, 11 sub appearances and a commendable thirteen goals.

    Hyde United add that The Tigers "have added a quality forward to the squad on a one month's loan. With news that Connor Simpson would not be re-joining the Tigers after being recalled to Preston North End on Christmas Eve, they felt they needed to strengthen the squad and get cover for our main striker, Chib Chilaka.

    So, in talks with Altrincham FC, it was agreed that James Poole would come to Ewen Fields in a one month's loan. James isn’t just a striker, he can play anywhere across the front line, so provides cover and competition for those places. He has spent most of his playing career in the Football League, having picked up an FA Youth Cup winners medal with Manchester City, where he started his playing career. He has also had spells at Hartlepool United, Bury, a loan spell to Dover Athletic and Salford City before joining Altrincham".


    Altrincham goalkeeper Elliot Wynne (right) made his Trafford FC loanee debut last Saturday, with the Shawe View club winning 6-1 away at Skelmersdale United. In the same starting eleven was Darius Palma, whilst Aaron Burns was a 76th minute substitute who netted an 88th minute goal. Skem's goal arrived in the 90th minute to deprive Elliot of a clean sheet on his debut.


    NL Daily reports that "Kidderminster Harriers have signed West Bromwich Albion winger Nick Clayton-Phillips. The 19-year-old joins on loan until the end of the season... The youngster is no stranger to Aggborough; as well as a promising performance in the summer friendly against Harriers, he has also featured regularly for the Baggies' U23s side this term, who play some of their matches here. Clayton-Phillips has just finished a similar spell in non-league after spending time with National League side Braintree Town".

    Shrewsbury Town confirm that their new manager "Sam Ricketts confirmed that young midfielder Ryan Barnett will see out the rest of the season at AFC Telford United... Ryan was recalled from AFC Telford to play in the Checkatrade game at Port Vale but the intention was for him to go back this week on a new extended loan. Ryan impressed the Town manager and fans with a solid performance on Tuesday night in the Checkatrade Trophy.

    When asked about Ryan's future at the club this is what Ricketts had to say. 'Ryan has gone back to Telford now. It was important on Tuesday, I wanted to see him play. It was a good game for him to come back and play in. He’s gone back to Telford to finish the season there. He did well the other night, there’s interest in him from other clubs as well but we feel it’s right for him to go back to Telford and continue his development for the rest of the season. The most important thing is they need to be playing games, but then it’s also important that they are around the building as well. It’s good because Ryan can train with us for a few days but then he can get his matches at Telford'".

    According to NL Daily "Chester FC have brought in experienced midfielder Sean McAllister to help combat their injury crisis. The 31-year-old came through at Sheffield Wednesday and played a part in five Championship seasons for the club. After 73 appearances and four goals, he was released in 2010 after the Owls’ relegation to League One. He went on to represent Shrewsbury Town, Port Vale, Cowdenbeath, Scunthorpe United, Grimsby Town and York City (on loan). He left Grimsby at the end of last season.

    Joint-manager Anthony Johnson said 'I think everyone is aware of our injury crisis at the moment and with George Green now serving a one-game ban as well, we needed to move quickly to bring a recognised central midfielder in. Sean has played at a very good level and at 31 is at an age where he still has lots to offer. He looked superb in training and so we’re delighted to be able to bring him in short term with a view to longer.'"

    Meanwhile, Darlington "Striker James Caton has left the club by mutual consent... James signed for us in August 2017, and made 28 appearances, scoring one goal."

    Also by the NL Paper we are informed that "Alfreton Town have moved to strengthen their back line with the signing of defender Dominic Smith on a month’s loan deal from AFC Telford United. The 22-year-old brings a degree of versatility to Billy Heath’s squad as he can play at both centre back and right back if required. Smith came through the youth system at Shrewsbury Town and signed his first professional contract in February 2014.

    A loan spell at Tamworth followed in the 2014/15 season before further loan spells came at Barrow in 2016 and Southport in 2017. The highly rated defender has also represented Wales at Under 19 and Under 21 level. After Smith’s contract with Shrewsbury was cancelled by mutual consent in March 2018 he signed for AFC Telford on a short term basis before putting pen to paper on a one year deal in the summer."

    Hereford FC "confirm that Martin Horsell has left Edgar Street by mutual consent. Everyone at Edgar Street would like to thank Martin for his contribution to the success of Hereford FC since arriving in December 2015.

    Head of Football Tim Harris said 'We understand that supporters will be disappointed that he has decided to leave. However, Martin feels that he needs to be playing football week in week out. We certainly respect his decision and have no intention of standing in his way as he looks for a return to regular football.

    Horsell said 'I’ve had an amazing three years here at Edgar Street. Without a doubt they have been the best years of my footballing career and deciding to leave has been a very tough decision. However... I really want to be playing first-team football. Matt Yates came in after my concussion and although it’s been a frustrating time for me, having not played since October, there’s no hard feelings between myself and him... To hear the fans chanting "Horsell is Superman" is an absolute privilege and my time here is one that I will look back on fondly.'”

    11 January 2019


    Altrincham are away at Chorley on Saturday (12 January). TASC is providing its customary excellent supporters' travel service.

    Details of times and fares are on the Away Travel page. Seats can be booked by calling the club during weekday normal office hours on 0161 928 1045.


    The Lancashire Evening Post tells us that "Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio has dismissed rumours linking [ex-Alty loanee] Elliot Newby with a move [back to] Barrow.

    Newby, 23, has netted six times for the Magpies, who currently top the National League North table. Along with injury-hit twin Alex, Elliot has been a key figure in midfield and that form has sparked rumours of interest from his home-town club. But Vermiglio has reassured fans that the Magpies have had no bids for any of his players, ahead of Altrincham’s visit to Victory Park on Saturday.

    He said 'There were some rumours on social media about Elliot but it is a load of rubbish.' Newby was Vermiglio’s first signing from AFC Telford in the summer, when the 36-year-old stepped up from assistant manager to take the reins. Vermiglio says the attack-minded midfielder has brought something different to his side. He said 'When I was signing Elliot I was looking at being more attacking and having the potential to play with wingers or three forwards and he was one of those.

    'But then as pre-season evolved after a couple of games I got this idea of playing with some attacking midfielders centrally. The way he plays just fits the bill. His endeavour, his effort, his will to win and the graft he puts in; he is not afraid to put a few tackles in. His attitude around the place is fantastic. Elliot was my first signing at the club and I wanted to get my first one spot on and I’m happy we managed to do that with the help of (assistant boss) Jonathan Smith, who watched Elliot a lot.'

    And Vermiglio confirmed... that there has been interest in loan deals for some of his squad. He said 'I have had interest at different points in the season but in this last month or so I have not had any interest in certainly the contracted players. When you see some of the players who are not playing a little bit, there is a lot of interest for loans. That is always there from teams who are lower in this league or the league below, and are looking for a quick fix for a month. There is a lot of interest in a few of our players from that but no transfer news in terms of anyone making a bid.'"


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger has John Edwards's report that "Josh Hancock continued his ‘out of this world’ response to losing his Altrincham place earlier this season as Phil Parkinson’s side returned to winning ways in impressive style at Boston United on Saturday.

    Alty’s attacking midfielder had to settle for a place on the bench four games running in September and October but he has roared back since with no fewer than nine goals to move into third place in the National League North scoring charts, alongside team-mate Jordan Hulme, on 11 overall...

    'Josh [left] has been out of this world ever since he came back from being left out of the team,' said Alty boss Parkinson. 'We’ve been having a bit of a joke with him in the changing room about how it seemed to have the desired effect. But the fact is we didn’t just sit him on the bench, we gave him a lot of information about what we expected from him, and he took it on board. He is a clever, bright lad and he has certainly scaled the heights since. In fact, he has probably exceeded expectations, because he has reached levels I haven’t seen from him before.

    'I hope our fans can take heart from the way we played, as well as the result, and the fact we are back in the play-off positions. We could have been five up by half time [at Boston] and certainly should have been out of sight, but that’s what we’re all about; playing attacking football, not just trying to stop the opposition. The second half was always going to be tougher but full credit to the players. People have questioned whether they can defend, but they showed they can.'

    Alty, who are away to league leaders Chorley on Saturday, hope to bring in at least one striker on loan in the next few days".


    The National League reports that "Steve Watson has been confirmed as the new manager of York City. The Gateshead boss resigned his position... and steps down to the National League North. York have only been without a boss since parting company with Sam Collins on Saturday night...

    Watson has taken the Heed into play-off contention in the National League... City's board of directors released a statement reading 'We are delighted to welcome Steve Watson to the club as first team manager along with his assistant Micky Cummins. The board conducted a series of interviews with a number of candidates but Steve impressed with his considerable experience as a player and coach, his knowledge of the game at all levels, and his vision for the club. He has demonstrated an ability to be successful on a limited budget at Gateshead and is prepared to step down from a higher league to strive for success at York City Football Club'".

    York City add that "Steve Watson has been outlining his immediate goals after taking over as City manager. The former Newcastle United and Everton defender will start work on Monday morning... City, whose next league game is at third-placed Stockport County on January 19, are currently nine points off the play-off places...

    However, speaking to the official website, Watson, 44, said 'The challenge of taking this club back through the leagues is an exciting one for any young manager... There are probably only two clubs in National League North that are 'League clubs' waiting to happen again and York is one of them. There is huge potential here and my job is to realise that potential.'

    Watson, who made over 500 appearances during a playing career that spanned two decades, moved into coaching when injury curtailed his career nine years ago. He briefly stood in as caretaker-manager of Sheffield Wednesday but moved into coaching at Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City and was assistant-manager at Macclesfield Town. He has spent the last 15 months in charge of Gateshead and has led the club to the brink of the play-off zone on a limited budget.

    'My immediate job is to get every ounce of effort and energy out of the current squad for the remainder of the season and then look at where we are in the summer when I can put my own stamp on it,' he said. 'Every player at this club now has a fresh start and the chance to get us out of the position we are in and higher up the league. I want to create a really positive environment around the whole club. Not just at the training ground but among the fans, the media, and around the city. My job is to lift the whole place, create a positive environment, and the results will follow.

    'Coming to any big club, you accept pressure,' he added. 'If you don't, you are in the wrong job. I accept the pressure that this season's target is still the play-offs. It is achievable, it is going to be tough, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. The immediate aim is to get back on a winning streak and bring back the feelgood factor and get some momentum going again and see what we can do. There is always one team that comes from nowhere and makes a late push for the play-offs and I hope that will be us. I understand how tough a task it will be but it is mathematically possible so that has to be the aim.

    'The club's league status was immaterial in my thought process,' he added. 'It was all about the potential, with the new stadium and the training facilities, and what we can achieve here,' he added...

    Watson said 'I am an open book and I am very honest. At Gateshead, we have been playing as good a football as any team in that league. I like fast, attacking football with a really solid base and that's how I like to set my teams up'".

    News of attendances comes from the National League. It says that "After some huge crowds over the festive period, what kind of impact has it had on the Attendance Table?... We've got over ten sides breaking the 1,000 mark with two breaking 2,000 and even one, Stockport County a few short of the 3,500 mark!...

    National League North Attendance Table:

    • 1. Stockport County 3,454
    • 2. York City 2,487
    • 3. Hereford 2,428
    • 4. FC United of Manchester 1,898
    • 5. Chester 1,854
    • 6. Kidderminster Harriers 1,698
    • 7. Darlington 1,461
    • 8. Chorley 1,401
    • 9. AFC Telford United 1,368
    • 10: Altrincham 1,308
    • 11. Boston United 1,138
    • 12. Southport 1,051
    • 13. Spennymoor Town 850
    • 14. Guiseley 757
    • 15. Blyth Spartans 731
    • 16. Leamington 680
    • 17. Nuneaton Borough 638
    • 18. Brackley Town 548
    • 19. Bradford (Park Avenue) 539
    • 20. Alfreton Town 531
    • 21. Curzon Ashton 497
    • 22. Ashton United 353

    Also from the National League we learn that "Bradford (Park Avenue) director Jonathan Collura has announced plans aimed at making the club more sustainable...

    'The primary objective as a director of a football club is to help install and manage a sound business model,' a statement reads on the club's website. 'This model needs to be built on the extensive history of the club and further it by installing sound infrastructure and management systems to give Bradfordians a club to enjoy decades to come.

    'One thing that I have found is that the Park Avenue supporters are not without opinion. These opinions have helped us in establishing the foundation and basis of the Club; a foundation established by a set of lifelong supporters and those who give time selflessly to the club. While attendances at this level have gone up, we haven’t seen such an incline in gate (despite funding a competitive budget). So, we must find a way to fund the Club outside of the matchday income. We must build the community and ultimately the club’s sales.

    'You will see some changes coming. Each will focus on sustainability, advancement of the squad and the ultimate goal of attaining Football League status. As you can tell we intend to focus on youth development and finding the best talent. We have some new innovative ways to do so that we are just at the beginning of implementing. Change isn’t easy. People don’t like it. But it is something we must commit to if we are to move to the next stage of Bradford (Park Avenue) and the development of Horsfall.'"

    NL Daily informs us that "Young Derby County goalkeeper Matt Yates has extended his loan spell with Hereford FC until the end of the 2018/19 season. Yates has made 15 appearances for the Bulls so far this season, keeping two clean sheets, and has seen them rise up to 19th in the table.

    Yates previously enjoyed a loan spell with Gloucester City this season where he made 14 appearances. Meanwhile, central defender Ethan Wassall will return to the Derby County Under-23s squad following the completion of his loan spell with Hereford FC."

    "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan has added Matt Barnes-Homer to his backroom staff in a bid to have a ruthless strikeforce", the Shropshire Star reports. "Veteran forward Barnes-Homer, 32, has been appointed striker coach after finding game time hard to come by for the Bucks. And it is hoped the move can help marquee signing Marcus Dinanga, top scorer Daniel Udoh, Amari Morgan-Smith and Andre Brown get the goals needed to sustain a National League North play-off push.

    'They’re being mentored by Matt really well,' said Cowan, who brought Barnes-Homer back to Telford last summer... 'Matt is sort of a member of staff now; well, he is a member of staff. I’ve brought him into the staff, and he mentors them really well'".

    The Shropshire Star adds that "AFC Telford United have signed Ryan Barnett on loan from Shrewsbury Town again. The 19-year-old midfielder returns to the Bucks until the end of the season. Town recalled him from Telford for Tuesday's Checkatrade Trophy loss at Port Vale, as Sam Ricketts wanted to see him in action for the first time".

    And Hartlepool United report "ahead of Saturday’s FA Trophy tie against AFC Telford United at The Super 6 Stadium... Visiting boss Gavin Cowan clinched the permanent signing of Marcus Dinanga from Burton Albion last week following the end of his loan spell with Pools and he made his debut in their win over Spennymoor Town on Saturday.

    However, the young striker won’t be able to play against Pools this weekend due to being cup-tied after featuring in Richard Money’s first game in charge at Leamington last month. Omari Morgan-Smith will hope to earn a recall to the starting eleven in attack, while on-loan keeper Josef Bursik was preferred in goal last weekend and will aim to keep his place for the FA Trophy tie."

    According to the Telegraph and Argus "Guiseley are in the midst of an important month in their season, according to joint-manager Marcus Bignot. The Lions are languishing in 17th place... following a 1-0 defeat at Southport on Tuesday night.

    Guiseley have now won just six games from 23 league games this season, although they have also recorded 10 draws. Now Bignot wants a response from his charges as he comes up against his former club, sixth-placed Chester, on Saturday. The 44-year-old managed the club during the 2017-18 campaign, as Chester suffered relegation from the Vanarama National League Premier.

    Guiseley have become depleted following winger Louis Walsh returning to parent club Barnsley last month. Bignot said 'The lads are giving us everything. We are down to the bare bones. We need to bring in a couple of fresh faces. We have come out of a busy period and we are now at a big period of the season. We are no different to most clubs. Once we have got to the end of January we will know what we are about...

    'If we had won at Southport on Tuesday we could have gone up to 11th. The league is still unpredictable. We still have a couple of games in hand, so the table does not show a true reflection of the league at the moment. We were operating on a squad of 17 or 18 players but we've had injuries. Louis Walsh has left us and returned to Barnsley and Will Hatfield is injured. We will now have a look at our academy players for the first team and give them a chance.

    'Chester is going to be a good game, a tough one for us. It is no different for me going there than it was going to Southport on Tuesday night'...

    Bignot also had sympathy for fellow managers Sam Collins and Neil MacFarlane, who lost their jobs at fellow Vanarama National League North sides York City and Kidderminster Harriers respectively this week. Bignot added... 'It shows that at every level there needs to be success. This year we wanted to bring the feelgood factor back to the club and address the financial liability and make massive inroads in that. We have had to number crunch in a different remit for us this season. We have made good work with that and need some work on the pitch too.'"

    At Kidderminster Harriers "Jimmy O'Connor is enjoying the challenge of grasping new responsibilities as part of the Harriers management. The experienced former defender, alongside team mate Russ Penn, is assisting Colin Gordon with the running of team affairs at Aggborough currently.

    His first game in the role was the lengthy trek to Spennymoor Town on Tuesday night, Harriers looking a little more like their old selves despite going down to a 2-1 defeat.... The former Walsall favourite admits he’s taking advantage of the opportunity as much as he can...

    He said, 'Coming in and seeing it from a different place, it’s a big learning curve'...

    The game itself saw Harriers go close a number of times to taking the lead. As it was, Aaron Phillips’s first half-header was an equaliser to cancel out a Moors chance just a minute prior. It was an end-to-end affair, after which O’Connor, who missed playing in the game itself due to an injury, admitted 'It was a bit of an eye opener! It was a typical game at this level and it was settled by a couple of mistakes, and it was really disappointing to come away with a defeat. We played some really good stuff on a terrible pitch'".

    Lincolnshire Live says that "Callum Chettle is hoping to have a big impact during his loan spell at Boston United. The 22-year-old Alfreton Town midfielder made his debut as the Pilgrims suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat at the hands of Altrincham...

    'I spoke to Billy [Heath] at Alfreton and said that if I was not in his plans at the moment that I would love to go out and get some minutes and that’s what I intend to do,' said Chettle... 'I have come here for a month and we will take it game-by-game'...

    Chettle believes the Pilgrims will need to show their resilient side..., particularly after such a limp showing against Altrincham.

    'Altrincham were very good in the first half, but we were not close enough to them,' added Chettle. 'We could not get a foothold in the game and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb. George [Willis] made four, five or six very good saves... Every game in this league is a battle and a scrap and you are not going to get anywhere if you are not willing to fight.'

    The Pilgrims welcomed Chettle into the fold on the same day striker Danny Rowe completed a return to former club Braintree Town. He became the second frontman to depart inside a matter of days following Andre Johnson’s dual registration switch to Hednesford Town on New Year’s Eve. Long-serving attacker Jay Rollins, having started back-to-back matches against Bradford Park Avenue and Alfreton, missed out on Saturday having over-exerted himself following a long injury lay-off but United manager Craig Elliott is hopeful of having him available for this weekend’s trip to Kidderminster."

    10 January 2019


    Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records chronicle previous Altrincham matches played on next Saturday's date, 12 January, when Alty travel to Chorley. Remarkably that will be Altrincham's seventh successive away game on that date - of which only one match was won!

    Right: Alty line up a defensive wall at Worcester.

    The last game on 12 January was a goalless draw away to Worcester City in the Blue Square North. After a goalless first half, poor on quality, but in which the hosts had the upper hand, the second half was a better spectacle, with Alty getting forward the better of the two teams, especially after the 53rd minute introduction of Duncan Watmore. But neither side could break the deadlock. So, Alty recorded their first goalless draw in the league since February 2011.

    Altrincham were without the injured James Lawrie (foot). Matt Doughty was on the bench, as he had been suffering from flu, so Scott Leather [who we face at Chorley this weekend] started again at left back.

    The match was Alty's last visit to Worcester's ground before its planned redevelopment.

    WORCESTER CITY : 1. Glynn Thompson, 2. Tyler Weir, 3. Ellis Deeney, 4. Tom Thorley, 5. Stuart Whitehead, 6. Lee Ayres, 7. Kyle Patterson (Birley 70), 8. Rob Elvins, 9. Michael Symons (Taylor 79), 10. Danny Glover, 11.Greg Mills (Breeze 82). Subs 12. Michael Taylor, 14. Matthew Breeze, 15. Jacob Rowe, 16. Matt Birley, 17. Jason Dormand. ALTRINCHAM : 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Scott LEATHER, 4. Carl RODGERS, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Danny HALL, 7. Jordan SINNOTT (Doughty 89), 8. Jake MOULT, 9. Simon RICHMAN, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE (Watmore 52). Subs: 12. Matt DOUGHTY, 14. Patrick LACEY, 15. Ryan BROOKE, 16. Duncan WATMORE, 18. Adam REID (gk).


    The National League reports that "York City aim to have their new manager in place by the next time they play. The Minstermen travel to Stockport County on January 19...

    City are well off the play-off pace after a poor season... Dave Penney is in caretaker charge but if all goes to plan he will not have to take control of a game. Managing director Steve Kilmartin has given an interview to the York Press and he says... 'There are already a number of applications and there are some very credible applications,' Kilmartin said.

    'We have had a considerable flurry of people interested in this position because of it being York City, which in many ways is extremely reassuring. We are preparing a list with the intention of interviewing some of these people later in the week. Things are moving forward quickly. There are names in there that would be well-received by the fan base, by people who do follow football.'"

    Alfreton Town report that "Alfreton Town produced a[n] organised and solid display on the road as a controversial offside decision in the second half denied the Reds all three points at Croft Park on Saturday.

    Billy Heath rung [rang] the changes with Josh Clackstone, Jordan Sinnott, Martin Riley all coming into the starting line up. Dec Bacon, Danny O'Brien and Danny Clarke all returned to the bench...

    On 33 minutes the Reds took a deserved lead when Tom Allan headed Sinnott's corner in at the far post. But five minutes later, Blyth were level when Ramsbottom raced out to intercept a clearance and was booked for handball. A free kick was awarded and up stepped Robbie Dale to fire low to Sam's left corner for his 200th Blyth goal...

    The second half saw us keep the pressure on... On 65 minutes a controversial offside call was given when Sinnott's free kick on the left was nodded on by a Blyth defender and the outstanding Shiels slid in a the far post to convert but the Referee deemed the goal offside despite the touch coming from the Blyth player...

    However the game would finish level in a contest which the Reds should have won, it was a solid performance and a solid point on the road but perhaps it should have been three in the end".

    Meanwhile Alfreton Town "confirm that forward Craig Hobson has left the club after his contract was cancelled by mutual consent.

    Craig joined the Reds in October 2018 from Ashton United and featured for the likes of Stalybridge Celtic and Stockport County in 2012 where Craig made 26 appearances for the Hatters, scoring six times. Spells at Guiseley, Chester and Altrincham followed before joining Ashton ahead of the 2018/19 season and then the move to the Reds.

    Hobson made four starts and eight appearances off the bench, scoring twice".

    also "ATFC can confirm that Sam Hird has left the club to join Barrow. Sam joined the Reds in October 2018 on a non-contract basis and made four appearances before a knee injury ruled Hird out of contention in the starting eleven. Barrow have offered Sam a contract and Hird has agreed on the move thus he departs the Reds."

    According to the Shropshire Star, "AFC Telford United are hopeful of securing a new loan deal for Ryan Barnett after Shrewsbury Town recalled the teenager for their Checkatrade Trophy clash last night. Midfielder Barnett was among a much-changed Salop side which was knocked out of the Trophy on penalties at Port Vale. The 19-year-old scored from the spot in the shoot-out, which Town lost 4-3 after drawing 1-1 in normal time, becoming the club’s youngest-ever player to net from 12 yards.

    His inclusion came as a blow to Telford, who are aiming to reach the National League North play-offs, as they were due to have him until March, after extending his initial one-month spell.

    But they are seeking to seal a new loan deal which will see him return to the New Buck's Head for the remainder of the season. Barnett has made four appearances for Salop this campaign, one in League One, three in the Trophy. He had played eight times in National North for Gavin Cowan’s Bucks, four as a starter, four as a substitute. He also scored in the 4-3 FA Trophy win against Farsley Celtic."

    Cheshire Live informs us that "Chester FC managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have been handed more injury woe after scans came back revealing the extent of injuries to key players Gary Stopforth and Akwasi Asante.

    Midfielder Stopforth and striker Asante have been missing for Chester since the 2-1 home win over AFC Telford United on December 22...

    Stopforth has a torn meniscus in his knee and will require an operation meaning a considerable spell out of action while Asante, who became a permanent addition to Chester's ranks last week when he signed from Tamworth for a club-record fee, took some damage to the tendon behind the knee that will need rest and rehabilitation for what is a Grade Two strain...

    Said Johnson, 'Gary looks like he is going to need surgery on his injury and he is going to be out for the foreseeable future, which is a massive blow for us as he has been first class. Akwasi took a bang to the back of his knee against Telford. The recovery period was four to six weeks from time of injury and he had a little setback with it but hopefully we'll have him back in the next four weeks as he will be massive for us in the run in.

    'The injury situation is like nothing I've ever known. We've just got to get through it and see if we can bring in some bodies in the short term to help with numbers.'

    Chester remain hopeful of having a central midfielder in the building in time for Saturday... Scott Burton is expected to be back in contention before the month is out provided he suffers no setbacks... Johnson and Morley are also looking to add a striker for a short period to help ease the burden while Asante is out.

    Chester have been ravaged by injuries this season with Matty Hughes out for the campaign and Burton forced to watch much of it from the sidelines.

    Academy prospect Rhain Hellawell is also out for some time with a knee injury while Lloyd Marsh-Hughes picked up a groin injury during the pre-match warm-up prior to Chester's 4-0 win in the Cheshire Senior Cup at Winsford United".

    Yorkshire's Telegraph & Argus says that "Guiseley spurned the chance to put some daylight between themselves and the bottom five from one of their games in hand as they went down to a 1-0 defeat at Southport [on Tuesday]. There was little between the two sides but, given that it took 75 minutes for the Lions to muster their first meaningful shot on goal, the result was probably fair.

    In an evenly-contested first half, Guiseley forced several corners without really threatening the home goal and it was Southport that went closest when Bradley Bauress’ free kick was plucked out of the top corner by young keeper Marcus Dewhurst. The on-loan England Under-17 stopper then had lengthy treatment after Buaress had challenged for the ball and gone in with his feet high. The Southport man was perhaps lucky to only receive a stern warning from referee Scott Simpson.

    The defining moment of the game came in the 54th minute, when substitute Jack Sampson gave Dewhurst no chance as he hit a swerving shot into the top corner with the outside of his left foot for the only goal of the game. The Lions failed to muster a response and were thankful to Scott Smith for a goal line clearance just after the hour...

    The succession of misplaced passes and hopeful balls pumped forwards eventually changed when Rowan Liburd picked the pocket of Andrew Parry, only to see Dan Hanford smother his effort...

    After the game, Guiseley's joint-manager Russ O'Neill said 'It was one of those games of fine margins and we've come out on the wrong end of it... When you bring your substitutes on they've got to make an impact and I think they did that. Southport were hanging on to a 1-0 and they sat a little bit deeper. We tried to go more physical and it did make a difference. If we had equalised, I think only one team would have gone on to win it.'"

    From the Boston Standard comes news that "Callum Chettle wants Boston United to make him feel ‘happy’ - beginning with three points at Kidderminster Harriers.

    The 22-year-old midfielder made his Pilgrims debut during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Altrincham, arriving on a month’s loan from National League North rivals Alfreton Town... The former Peterborough United player is keen to make his mark.

    'As long as I’m playing football I’m happy,' said Chettle, the son of former Nottingham Forest defender Steve. 'It’s been difficult, I’ve not played as much as I’d have liked'...

    Manager Craig Elliott brought in Chettle, who also has experience of this division with Nuneaton, to fill the role vacated by Liam Agnew...

    'I think your first game’s always hard, new faces. It was the first time I met them (teammates), but they made me feel welcome,' he said. 'We’ve got an opportunity to put things right at Kidderminster... They’re a good side... There’s a lot of teams who want to get the ball down and play, Kidderminster being one of those'...

    Boston, who lost 2-0 to Kidderminster in the reverse fixture, are hoping to welcome Jay Rollins back this weekend after the attacker pulled out of Saturday’s squad due to feeling sore in the warm-up. He has recently overcome a long-term groin injury".

    At Darlington "Striker Andrew Nelson has returned to Sunderland at the end of his month's loan. Andrew scored an amazing six goals his five games with us; he also had a couple of assists and he scored one of the goals of the season, the piledriver against Ashton United".

    Stockport County report how "The Hatters edged through to the last eight of the Cheshire Senior Cup, following a first-ever meeting with 1874 Northwich but literally won at the last minute, and in the face of a spirited performance in SK3 by the North-West Counties League Premier Division visitors.

    A quality strike by Elliot Osborne on the cusp of full-time saw County prevail, after the fans-run 1874, formed half a dozen years ago by disillusioned members of the then Northwich Victoria Supporters’ Trust, had spent an hour of the game down to 10 men.

    As had been the case for the previous round, several first-team regulars were rested for the tie, although Ian Ormson and Connor Dimaio, who had both played in the November meeting with Warrington Town, started again, alongside fellow senior-squad members Dan Cowan (who was made captain for the night), Nyal Bell and Osborne, and six Academy members or graduates also used in the course of the match at Cantilever Park...

    Just ahead of the half-hour mark, the cause of 1874 looked to have been dealt a severe blow when Steve Mason was shown a straight red card for a two-footed challenge on Elhassan. But the dismissal served to galvanise, rather than demoralise, the visitors for the remainder of the first half...

    County’s Number One for the evening produced a hat-trick of second-half wonders... Having endured a spell of fits and starts in attempting to make their extra man count, the Hatters embarked upon some more focused possession as the prospect of extra-time, and possibly penalties, loomed... But cometh the hour and a half, cometh the man. With 90 minutes just up, Osborne, for it was he, concluded an entertaining evening’s fare with its ultimately decisive moment, by way of a sweetly-struck low drive from outside the area that fizzed past Rigby and into the bottom-right corner to settle the tie".

    9 January 2019


    Alty's Max Harrop is in the National League 'Team of the Week'. He is seen, right, leaping above his opponents at Boston last Saturday.
    • Goalkeeper: Grant Shenton (Chester)
    • Defenders: Rhys Sharpe (Nuneaton Borough), Josh Gowling (Hereford), Oliver Thornley (Curzon Ashton), Scott Duxbury (Stockport County)
    • Midfielders: Matthew Lowe (Brackley Town), Brendon Daniels (AFC Telford United), Kingsley James (Guiseley), Max Harrop (Altrincham)
    • Strikers: Stephen Thompson (Darlington), Matthew Warburton (Stockport County)
    • Substitutes: Luke Shiels (Alfreton Town), Will Smith (Darlington), Anthony Dudley (Chester), Frank Mulhern (Stockport County), Gareth Dean (Brackley Town)
    • Manager of the Weekend: Jim Gannon (Stockport County)


    Altrincham drop to seventh after Spennymoor's win on Tuesday night.

    Tuesday 8 January 2019

    • Southport 1-0 Guiseley Att. 701
    • Spennymoor Town 2-1 Kidderminster Harriers. Att. 575


    Tuesday 8 January 2019
    • Winsford United 0-4 Chester FC
    • Cammell Laird 3-3 Alsager
    • Congelton Town 6-1 Sandbach United
    • Runcorn Linnets 1-1 Stalybridge Celtic (Runcorn won 5-4 on penalties)


    The National League tells us that manager "Tommy Wright hopes that his Darlington are really starting to turn a corner. Three National League North wins from four has given the Quakers a huge lift following a mid-season slump. They have strolled past two of the league’s big hitters, York City and Kidderminster, in that sequence to push themselves away from trouble.

    The Darlo boss has paid tribute to his players’ hard work after coming through a late 2018 rocky patch. Just last month he was telling fans he was the right man to steer the ship back on course and he has delivered his promise.

    He said 'I thought the boys were unbelievable against Kidderminster. They smashed the game plan right out of the park, it was a fantastic performance. We re-grouped after New Year’s Day, the York game was probably a match too far for them. But they were outstanding and to man they were excellent. We’re on a good little run now and we just want to keep climbing up that table as quickly as we possibly can'".

    Following a terse statement on the departure of manager Sam Collins, one day later comes an even shorter announcement about his assistant as York City state "The club can confirm that Stuart Parnaby has left his role as assistant-manager. The club's board would like to thank Stuart for his hard work and professionalism"

    Alfreton Town "are delighted to confirm the signing of forward Nyle Blake on a month's loan from neighbours Mansfield Town. Nyle, 19, came through the Stags' academy to sign his first professional deal in May 2018. Blake... likes to play off the shoulder of the defence and enjoys making runs in behind the back line. He has electric pace and a real eye for goal, meaning he has all the attributes to enable him to play the lone striker role.

    Not only this, but Blake has versatility in his locker, and was utilised in a wing-back role in Stags' first team's 2018-19 pre-season fixtures".

    On Saturday Brackley Town beat Ashton United 3-1. "Brackley were comfortable winners in a game that never hit the heights...

    'We went about our work very well today,' Kevin Wilkin said. '“I am disappointed to concede the goal at the end, we just haven’t been keeping enough clean sheets and have given away a sloppy goal in added time, and also not to have scored more given the chances we created. I am delighted with the win but I am far from satisfied with where we are at the minute. If we are to be serious play-off contenders we need to sharpen up and improve in key areas.'"

    FC United of Manchester confirm that "In order to generate additional playing budget, Manager Neil Reynolds has made the extremely difficult decision in asking Jamie Milligan, FC United’s Assistant Manager, to leave the club.

    Reynolds explained 'I spoke to Jamie at length and he fully understands the reasons. The saving we make from Jamie’s departure will go towards the playing budget, as I look to strengthen the squad for the last 17 matches of the season. I want to thank Jamie for all his efforts whilst at the club. He will be a big loss on the coaching side and assisting me. For the interim period I will not be having an Assistant Manager but will continue to rely on the support of my back-room staff.'

    Milligan, who is a UEFA A qualified coach and runs his own academy, joined FC United in October alongside Manager Neil Reynolds. As well as being Assistant Manager, Milligan also made three appearances for the first team".

    And FC United of Manchester add that "Manager Neil Reynolds promised to improve the squad, and has acted quickly by bringing in experienced right back Danny Morton. Danny Morton (26) joins the Reds from Curzon Ashton. Having joined the Nash in the summer, he has been a regular starter, and played against FC United in the recent fixture between the two clubs.

    After spending time at Burnley and Blackburn as a youngster Morton joined Clitheroe from Barnoldswick in 2013 and would go on to captain the side... In 2015/16 he joined Stockport County, before moving to Stalybridge for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 season playing 77 times and captaining the side".

    In the Yorkshire Evening Post we learn that "Guiseley are looking to extend their unbeaten run to four matches when they travel to Southport tonight [Tuesday].

    The Lions began the new year with an impressive 2-1 away victory at second-placed Bradford Park Avenue to avenge the 5-1 mauling suffered in Boxing Day’s reverse fixture.

    Guiseley, who were held 1-1 by Leamington on Saturday, travel to a Southport side who are on a run of form themselves... The Sandgrounders are managing to move steadily away from the drop-zone and sit one place and one point above Guiseley in 16th. They are to be without Ryan Astles, however, who has been ruled out for two to three weeks after the midfielder tweaked his medial ligaments, but Liam Edwards and Marcus Wood, both on loan from Bolton, have had their loans extended recently.

    The trip to Merseyside is yet another match in a gruelling and unforgiving schedule for Guiseley that sees the side play no fewer than six more times before the end of January.

    While the Lions sit seven points above FC United of Manchester, who currently occupy the third and final relegation place, they have three games in hand on all of the bottom three sides.

    But Guiseley’s co-manager, Russ O’Neill, insists his side would much rather be playing twice a week and getting points on the board to help build momentum for the second half of the season. He said 'Everybody’s in the same boat and with [other teams having] FA Cup runs you get a lot of games in hand and that’s where we are now. We’re playing Saturdays and Tuesdays but I think if you ask the lads they’d rather be playing Saturday Tuesday than training twice a week.

    'Southport are a real good team, they’ve got real good players and it will be another physical test'...

    Tonight’s match marks the start of four consecutive away games for the Lions, with trips to Chester, Yorkshire Amateur and Chorley to come in less than two weeks. Meanwhile, Guiseley’s 17-year-old striker, Kieron Ceesay, has signed first-team forms with the club. Ceesay, who was on the books at Manchester United between the ages of nine and 16, has netted seven goals in five games for the Academy so far this season.".

    Meanwhile Southport "are pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached to extend Jordan Archer’s loan from Bury to the end of the 2018/19 season. Jordan joined from the EFL League Two club on an initial two-month loan in November, making seven starts and five appearances as substitute, scoring on four separate occasions...

    Jordan signed a two-year contract with Bury at the start of this season and has also spent time on loan at Maidenhead United earlier on in the campaign.

    'Jordan has fitted in well since joining us. He is another great option in attack and has already contributed with some really good goals and performances. It’s of mutual benefit to extend his loan here'" said manager Liam Watson.

    Kidderminster Harriers report that "Russ Penn and Jimmy O’Connor will have a big part to play for Harriers between now and the end of the season, says [chairman] Colin Gordon.

    The trio will oversee first team affairs until the end of the season, with the influential and experienced players called upon to provide their own expertise... with Colin saying today 'They both came here with an eye on the future. We are creating a coaching culture at the club and they both want to go on to be coaches in their careers. Who better than [them] to get two people in who know the club inside out, what we want to achieve and how we want to do it?'

    Harriers travel to Spennymoor Town on Tuesday looking to arrest a troublesome run of form... Added Colin 'We’ve been caught up too much with how things are going to look in May and forget about what things will look like on Monday. We can’t worry about anyone else’s results other than our own and put the work into being as good as we can be'".

    8 January 2019


    Above: The teams greet each other before the game in January 2017.

    On Saturday, Altrincham travel to league leaders Chorley. Alty last met the Magpies at Victory Park almost exactly two years ago, on Saturday, 21 January 2017, when the hosts won 2-0 in a Vanarama National League North match

    Two first-half goals from Chorley left Altrincham chasing the game. After 12 minutes a Whitham freekick from the left earned a corner off Sam Heathcote. Sampson, making his debut on loan from Macclesfield, headed this home.

    The score became 2-0 in the 26th minute when Cottrell headed in from 12 yards. Alty improved after the break with loanee Elliot Newby being brought on at the interval. Though they had much more of the attacking play, Altrincham were unable to conjure a consolation goal.

    With leading scorer, Sean Miller, sidelined by injury, for this game Altrincham also had Jake Moult suspended while Shaun Densmore, Craig Hobson and Alan Goodall were also all missing through injury.

    CHORLEY: 1. Ritchie Branagan, 2. Matthew Challoner, 3. Will Beesley, 4. Scott Leather, 5. Kieran Charnock, 6. Stephen Jordan, 7. Adam Blakeman, 8. Dale Whitham (c), 9. Marcus Carver, 10. Jack Sampson, 11. Jake Cottrell. Subs 12. Robbie McDaid, 14. Andy Teague, 15. Josh O'Keefe, 16. Waqaz Azam, 17. Adam Roscoe,

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Sam HEATHCOTE, 4. Laurence TAYLOR, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. John CYRUS, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Gary JONES (c), 9. Andy OWENS, 10. James LAWRIE, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs 12. Oluwatomisin ADELOYE, 14. Elliot NEWBY, 15. Kyle BROWNHILL, 16. Andy McWILLIAMS, 17. Damian REEVES.

    Mike Garnett's records reveal the statistics of previous encounters between the two clubs:

    • At home: 15-10-3-2-45-18
    • Away: 16-3-5-8-16-21
    • All: 31-13-8-10-61-39


    As reported yesterday, Boston United manager Craig Elliott was unhappy with his team's showing against Altrincham. More reaction from him is reported by Lincolnshire Live which reports that "Elliott lambasted a ‘spineless’ first half performance from his Boston United players... The Pilgrims suffered a seventh home reversal in a dozen encounters so far this season after losing 2-1 to Altrincham...

    'The first half was very poor,' admitted Elliott. 'I cannot deny that and, in fact, it was terrible. We were spineless with a lack of effort and a lack of aggression. I feel the players were well off [the pace] and I am hurting because I did not see that coming. I think we have been half decent over the last three or four weeks but, to perform like that in the first half, I am gutted for everybody, including the fans. That should not happen at home.

    'We got lucky. If you are being honest, it could have been four, five or maybe even six at half-time and 2-0 certainly flattered us. We came out in the second half and were better, but we could not have been any worse. I could have made a host of changes and I think it shows how bad the first half was. We were just way off it.'

    United had actually got off to a positive start, with Gavin Allott and Grimsby Town loanee Max Wright both going close in the opening stages. Altrincham gradually asserted control over proceedings and were good value for their lead by the time Josh Hancock made a 24th minute breakthrough. He finished off a flowing move involving Max Harrop down the left-hand side and coolly rolled the ball past Willis, who was soon to take centre stage with a string of fine saves.

    Willis was powerless to stop Jordan Hulme adding the visitors’ second goal 10 minutes later as Altrincham’s top goalscorer touched home Andy White’s cross from the right.

    Willis made various saves to deny Hulme, Hancock, Harrop and John Johnston either side of half-time and it actually kept the Pilgrims in contention, particularly when Davies fired home his second spot-kick in three games after Allott had been fouled by Jake Moult.

    United were unable to force an equaliser though and it was hard to argue that they deserved anything from the contest".


    The EvoStik League reports that "Stafford Rangers' Theo Bailey-Jones has won the latest Goal of the Week award, in association with Chetwood Finance. He opened the scoring in their draw at home to Workington on Saturday."


    Altrincham FC Ladies defeated the league leaders, Liverpool Feds Reserves, on Sunday, 2-0 at Mersey Valley FC.


    For Altrincham FC Reserves, a 5-0 home win over Denton Town on 15 December was followed by a 2-0 away win at Congleton Vale Royal on 29 December. But the New Year got off to a disappointing start with a 4-1 defeat at FC St Helens. Nevertheless, Alty remain top of the Premier Division of The Cheshire Football League.


    Following the departure of the York City manager, a second Vanarama North boss has lost his job following Saturday's matches as Kidderminster Harriers report that "Following mutually amicable discussions, it has been agreed that Neil MacFarlane and the Club will part company with immediate effect...

    Senior players Jimmy O’Connor and Russ Penn will join Colin Gordon in overseeing first team affairs for the remainder of the season."

    The Harriers have won just two of their last ten games in all competitions but still lie a respectable ninth in the table.

    The unofficial Harriers Online adds that "It had been coming for a while but, earlier this morning, Kidderminster Harriers announced a parting of the ways with manager Neil MacFarlane after seven months with the club. A poor run of results in recent months, and rumours of unrest within the squad, led to the decision being made that it wasn’t working out anymore and we would begin to look elsewhere. That looking won’t happen until the end of the season though with the chairman Colin Gordon having put himself in temporary charge, again, and working with Russ Penn and James O’Connor as coaches.

    In his short time with the Harriers MacFarlane oversaw twenty seven games winning just eleven and losing nine. For a club with aspirations of promotion it just wasn’t good enough and the football was a mixture of what he wanted and what the chairman wanted leading to ‘pig's ear’ football that resulted in unadventurous passing back and forth with no real cutting edge up front...

    Earlier today, possibly due to pressure from the supporters, Joe Ironside was re-called early from his disastrous loan spell at York City. A loan that he only started two games out of ten and failed to score. Now we have to accept that the club are no longer making promotion the priority and will now tread water until the summer when, if, a new manager comes in".

    NL Daily informs us that "Aaron Cunningham has now returned to Hartlepool United at the end of a loan spell with Blyth Spartans. The versatile youngster has spent the first half of the 2018/19 campaign on loan with the Croft Park outfit, during which he’s made 17 appearances and scored two goals. However, his temporary deal with Spartans expired after Saturday’s game and Cunningham will now return to Pools where new boss Richard Money is keen to take a closer look at him."

    Also from NL Daily comes confirmation that "Kidderminster Harriers have recalled striker Joe Ironside from his loan spell with York City. Ironside returns to the squad at Aggborough and will be available for Tuesday night’s trip to Spennymoor Town"

    From Cheshire Live we learn that "Chester FC bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley are working on bringing in a midfield addition to aid their depleted side in time for the visit of Guiseley on Saturday.

    Former Blues boss Marcus Bignot, now co-boss at the Lions, returns to the Swansway Chester Stadium for the first time since his sacking last season this weekend, taking on a Chester side who are struggling for midfield options.

    Scott Burton is closing in on a return to action but this weekend will come too soon for him while Gary Stopforth is awaiting the results of a scan on a knee injury and faces more time on the sidelines. Then there is George Green who will serve a one-match ban this weekend after being red-carded midway through the second half in the 2-0 win at FC United of Manchester on Saturday for two bookable offences.

    That leaves just Gary Roberts and Academy prospect Cain Noble. And, with the Blues looking to keep themselves in the promotion mix, the Blues bosses are looking at adding another option, most likely for the short term.

    'We're struggling for numbers at present and with George Green missing this weekend then that is Plan C gone,' said Johnson. 'We don't want to go and bring in a player for the sake of it, and for a lengthy period, because we've got Gaz Stopforth and Scott Burton to come back. We've got a few options that we're looking at and we're trying to do something before Saturday if we can.'

    Chester are in Cheshire Senior Cup action tomorrow night at Winsford United where Johnson and Morley are expected to field a side of fringe and Academy players."


    The EvoStik League reports that "Gavin Skelton has quit as manager of Workington after just six days in the post. Skelton resigned immediately after the 1-1 draw at Stafford Rangers, only his second game in charge, much to the surprise of the club's board and fans.

    In a statement, the club said 'His decision came as a shock to the Board of directors, who felt they had appointed the right man to take the club forward. Chairman, John Mackay, worked tirelessly over the Christmas period to negotiate his release from Carlisle United, and was understandably disappointed by the news. The Board had structured a full-time post for Skelton, which would have seen him combine his managerial duties with the community side of the club.

    The directors will review the situation over the next few days and remain grateful to Lee Andrews as he continues to lead the first team as he has throughout what has been a difficult period for all concerned'.

    Workington sit second from bottom in the EVO-STIK League Premier Division".


    The EvoStik League tells us that "Basford United chairman Chris Munroe has apologised to the club's fans after they were beaten 8-3 at home to Hyde United on Saturday. They suffered only their third home defeat of the season, but the manner of which came as a shock to everyone, with them trailing 5-0 at half-time against mid-table Hyde.

    In a statement, the club said 'The Chairman has issued an apology on behalf of the club for the performance v Hyde. Hyde were superb and totally dismantled us, but from a Basford supporters perspective you will know our high standards this season. The facts of yesterday that have come to light is on top of the club missing seven established first team players for various reasons, in addition no fewer than five players reported in Sat am with the remnants of the flu bug but were advised they needed to play due to the stretched nature of the squad.

    'Whilst not exonerating the level of performance it does partially explain a lacklustre and fatigued performance in many quarters. In hindsight the club should have requested a late fixture cancellation due to unprecedented circumstances and, failing this request, put out Academy Players to fill the absentees. Basford United have not lost a game by a score line like this for over 50 years; it was a clearly a score-line not representative of the current campaign and all officials, management and players have been deeply upset by this.

    'The club is committed to its targets for this season and whilst we have an incredibly difficult home game this Saturday against title favourites South Shields, we as a collective will do everything in our power to get back on track over the next few weeks, when a normality of fitness and availability will return'.

    The club will refund all fans who attended the Hyde game on Saturday at South Shields. Season Ticket holders have the option to either claim a free meal or donate the applicable money to charity."

    7 January 2019


    Following the departure of the York City manager, a second Vanarama North boss has lost his job following Saturday's matches as Kidderminster Harriers report that "Following mutually amicable discussions, it has been agreed that Neil MacFarlane and the Club will part company with immediate effect...

    Senior players Jimmy O’Connor and Russ Penn will join Colin Gordon in overseeing first team affairs for the remainder of the season."

    The Harriers have won just two of their last ten games in all competitions but still lie a respectable ninth in the table.

    The unofficial Harriers Online adds that "It had been coming for a while but, earlier this morning, Kidderminster Harriers announced a parting of the ways with manager Neil MacFarlane after seven months with the club. A poor run of results in recent months, and rumours of unrest within the squad, led to the decision being made that it wasn’t working out anymore and we would begin to look elsewhere. That looking won’t happen until the end of the season though with the chairman Colin Gordon having put himself in temporary charge, again, and working with Russ Penn and James O’Connor as coaches.

    In his short time with the Harriers MacFarlane oversaw twenty seven games winning just eleven and losing nine. For a club with aspirations of promotion it just wasn’t good enough and the football was a mixture of what he wanted and what the chairman wanted leading to ‘pig's ear’ football that resulted in unadventurous passing back and forth with no real cutting edge up front...

    Earlier today, possibly due to pressure from the supporters, Joe Ironside was re-called early from his disastrous loan spell at York City. A loan that he only started two games out of ten and failed to score. Now we have to accept that the club are no longer making promotion the priority and will now tread water until the summer when, if, a new manager comes in".


    Boston United have "Video highlights of Saturday's Vanarama National League North defeat to Altrincham".

    Above: A hundred yards away from the Altrincham supporters (and the camera), housed behind the other goal, Josh Hancock turns to celebrate, with the ball nestling in the right corner of the net. Also seen are Jake Moult (no.6) and left to right Simon Richman, Jordan Hulme, Andy White and John Johnston. Below, Tony Thompson makes a save in the first half.

    The Altrincham FC official site has a post-match interview with Phil Parkinson.

    Away Days has 21 minutes of video of that match between "Boston United and Altrin-CHAM Town".


    The funeral of longstanding Altrincham FC supporter, Isabel Riley, will take place on Wednesday, 16 January at Altrincham Crematorium, Dunham Massey, at 11am.

    As previously reported, Isabel sadly died on Boxing Day at the age of 92.


    Making his first appearance in a first-team league squad for Altrincham last Saturday, at Boston, was striker Ben Elliott (right). As such he became the 29th player to be named in an Altrincham league matchday squad this season.

    A graduate of the Altrincham youth team, Ben first made a mark in pre-season 2018 when he netted twice in a friendly against Rhyl. After a substitute's appearance in the Cheshire Senior Cup, his first inclusion in the first-team squad was at Boston United on 5 January 2019 when he was an unused substitute. Before that, two goals in a mid-season friendly at Alsager Town in December 2018 had further enhanced his reputation.


    Evergreen 39 year-old Kevin Ellison scored a fine goal for Morecambe in their draw with Crewe Alexandra on Saturday. Joel Brownhill netted as Northwich Vics won in the FA Vase. There was a brace for Carl Piergianni for Salford City in their win at Leyton Orient.

    Josh Amis also scored twice, for Warrington Town against Farsley Celtic. Theo Bailey-Jones scored in Stafford Rangers 1-1 draw with Workington.


    Altrincham FC announce that "Friday February 1st sees "Killer on the Loose" bring their unique brand of Murder Mystery themed nights to Altrincham FC. Following on from their first appearance last year with a football-themed night, this evening will be based on 'The X Factor'.

    Tickets are just £15 each and include a hot buffet.

    What better way to start February - get a group of friends / colleagues together and come on down for what is guaranteed to be a fun filled but intriguing night?

    Please phone the office on 0161-928-1045 to book your places or email".


    Altrincham travel to league leaders Chorley this Saturday (12th). Chorley's admission prices are as follows...
    • Adults £12
    • Concessions £9
    • Students £7
    • 12 to 16 year-olds £5
    • 11 and under- Free

    NB: Concessions – Over-60s + NHS/first responders & armed services (with valid ID), Students – 16-to-22-year-olds with valid student ID; 12-to-16 years – Children attending secondary school; 11 and under – Children up to the end of primary school".

    Last weekend, the Lancashire Evening Post reported on the 1-1 draw at Hereford.

    "A goal in the sixth minute of added time denied Chorley victory after a dour struggle with a Bulls’ side whose gutsy display deserved its reward... after the referee had signalled just four minutes of additional time. The visitors’ cause, moreover, was not helped by the dismissal of substitute Louis Almond eight minutes from time following an off-the-ball incident.

    Chorley started brightly but Hereford gradually came more into the game, though neither side seriously worked the opposing goalkeeper at any stage in the match. The hosts adopted the tactic of pumping a succession of crosses into the box which kept the league leaders’ defence on its toes...

    Chorley improved on the resumption... before the Magpies went ahead on 59 minutes. Following a long throw-in, the ball reached Josh O’Keefe and he steadied himself before driving a powerful shot into the top corner of the net... Chorley looked to have seen the game out as the added minutes stretched to five.

    But with virtually the last kick of the match Josh Gowling rescued a point for the Bulls with a superbly-struck shot which flew into the top corner.

    Defeat for Bradford Park Avenue at Stockport enabled the Magpies to extend their lead at the top of the table to three points and manager Jamie Vermiglio was not too disappointed afterwards. 'We battled really well but Hereford are maybe in a false position and put us under sustained pressure in going for the equaliser. Fair play to him, the lad has scored an absolute "worldie" of a goal right at the end. But it’s a good point for us away from home and we’ll set up now for two home games and be ready to go again for the three points.'

    CHORLEY: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Baines, Meppen-Walter, A. Newby (Cottrell 76), O’Keefe, Carver (Hooper 90), Wilson (Almond 73), E Newby. Subs (not used): Leather, Eccles".

    Chorley FC themselves add that "Gowling’s injury time equaliser denied the Magpies all three points on a testing day in Herefordshire... The Magpies made one change from New Year’s Day, as number one goalie Matt Urwin returned from injury to replace temporary signing Tony McMillan...

    Next up: Our first meeting of the season with Altrincham; Saturday (3pm) at Victory Park, rescheduled from October due to the FA Cup, then re-rescheduled from January 8 because of Brackley’s ongoing participation in the FA Trophy"


    Tuesday 8th January 2019 - 1st Round
    • Cammell Laird 1907 v Alsager Town
    • Congleton Town v Sandbach United
    • Stockport County v 1874 Northwich
    • Winsford United v Chester FC


    According to York Press, "Dave Penney will not be considered for York City’s managerial vacancy and the club plan to make a new appointment before the trip to Stockport a week on Saturday. Sporting director Penney will take training this week after Sam Collins was relieved of his duties last night following the 1-0 defeat at Curzon Ashton.

    But The Press understands that the Wakefield-born 54-year-old, who won back-to-back promotions with Doncaster in 2003 and 2004, has no interest in becoming Collins’s successor, having not managed a team for eight years since being sacked at Bristol Rovers, following other spells at the helm of Darlington and Oldham.

    The intention, meanwhile, is for the interview process to start immediately as City search for a third boss this season, with former youth-team coach Collins having taken over from the dismissed Martin Gray in mid-August. More than a hundred applications were received following Gray’s departure and it is anticipated that the level of interest will be similar, despite the club currently sitting 15th in the National League North standings.

    City are not understood to have a preferred candidate in mind and, despite speculation linking ex-Rotherham boss Ronnie Moore to the position, he is not believed to be in the running. Collins will receive a financial settlement in relation to the remainder of his contract at Bootham Crescent, but it is not expected to be a substantial package.

    Defeat at Curzon meant the former Hartlepool caretaker manager had overseen a run of seven straight away league defeats at sixth-tier level and, in total, he won ten, drew five and lost 11 matches, although four of the victories came in FA Cup and FA Trophy contests.

    Prior to his dismissal, Collins had revealed that he was going to cancel planned time off for the players during the two-week break from action. He also spoke of the need for 'leaders' to be recruited during January, with the next fortnight expected to witness several comings and goings as the loan terms of Alex Bray, Joe Davis, Kennedy Digie and Joe Ironside expire, while the length of Alex Harris’s contract remains unclear.

    Complaining after the Curzon loss, Collins said 'I know it’s part of my job but why is it up to me to tell people to get themselves going from the sidelines? It needs to come from out on the pitch as well, even if it’s just a centre-half winning a header or somebody making a tackle. Teams that are successful keep fighting even if they’re not playing well and make sure something eventually falls their way and I need to find some leaders. That’s not just people who shout and bawl, but people who are brave enough to get on the ball when things aren’t going well.

    'In the dressing room afterwards, Liam Agnew asked why everybody had stopped taking the ball off Adam Bartlett and some of these players have to be tougher mentally, not physically, if they’re going to pick up results at places like Curzon. There was a determination and character about our play when we were on the front foot in the first half, but where did that go in the second?'

    Curzon claimed all three points when Bartlett spilled a long-range Ryan Brooke effort and Shenton pounced to tap in the rebound, with Collins lamenting a first half that lacked a cutting edge and a second period in which the visitors’ display fell flat.

    'We should have been out of sight by half-time,' he argued. 'We were dominating the game with the chances we had and should have had them dead and buried. They never had a chance and probably only had one in the whole game, which was a mistake because it had to be saved from 25 yards out and we should have been following up as well. But the second half was flat again and we didn’t manage a shot until the keeper made a brilliant save from Joe Ironside right at the end.'

    One of the most infuriating features of his team’s performance for Collins, meanwhile, was the inability to clear the first man from corner kicks with Josh Law the biggest culprit.

    'That drives you crazy, because we do enough work on them,' the City manager confessed. 'That’s just simple, schoolboy stuff and people have to be better than that because, when we did get deliveries in the box, we attacked the ball well.'

    Second-half substitute Harris also incurred the wrath of the former Hull and Huddersfield defender, who added 'I was really disappointed with Alex Harris and told him that. The first four of five times we gave him the ball, he gave it away. He’s been frustrated because he’s not been playing, but he’s got to show he deserves to play.'"

    Amidst comments from others in the same source "eyeofyork" provides "NOTES FOR THE NEW MANAGER" which includes...

    • Adam Bartlett - great shotstopper at this level but if he remains we have to expect an expensive clanger every 3 games.
    • Josh Law - unacceptable skill levels for a full back. Looks vulnerable when attacked, only ever makes blocks and never makes a tackle, immobile, can't head or cross a ball with any accuracy.
    • Hamza Bencherif - Overweight and easily turned. Prefers to retreat until opposition shoots rather than tackling...
    • Joe Davis- Dives into challenges without winning the ball.
    • David Ferguson - Another full back that does not tackle. Seems to think jockeying on the retreat and attempting to block crosses is enough. Has pace going forward but cannot ever get back after one of his raids down the left. Usually unable to provide a telling delivery.
    • Kallum Griffiths - Our only bona fide tackler is combative and closes down space in the middle of the park but lacks pace. Needs to return to his best position of full back.
    • Adriano Moke - Like watching a washing machine - he swishes to the left and then swishes to the right before turning a full circle. Great engine and exciting on rare occasions he gets forward but no left foot and never any telling crosses or passes.
    • Liam Agnew - willing combatant and distributor but gets far too little ball to make a useful contribution.
    • Jake Wright - Good potential but has got nowhere in his career due to lack of focus. Jake must change his attitude, stop petty fouling and his constant challenging of every decision made by the officials and concentrate on his job to score goals.
    • Jordan Burrow - Captain and leading goalscorer albeit most from penalty spot. Jordan has a great engine but rarely punches his weight in the penalty area. Seems to be totally unable to jump more than 12 inches off the ground and is unable to instinctively shoot preferring to pass the ball hard rather than trying to burst it.
    • Macaulay Langstaff - Too easy to knock off the ball. Good pace but not enough goals.
    • Alex Harris - came "to put himself in the shop window". Unfortunately the shop window is not at Wiggy Road so we are yet to see his alleged superlative skills.
    • Joe Ironside - After great expectations a total disappointment. No doubt he will return to his parent club and then start smashing them in.
    • Nathan Dyer - Taught a lesson at Darlington and still a lot to learn. Definitely a good prospect.
    • Ryan Whitley - Another Nick Pope IMO and surely not too long to wait for this young giant to be given his chance.
    • Kennedy Digie - Another loanee with good potential. I would like to see him in the midfield holding role where any errors would not be too costly.
    • Joe Tait - sparkled and shone then the bulb went out. Not good enough at centre half duties.
    • Dan Parslow - a great servant to the Club. Still a steady centre half but ball distribution hopeless and the clock continues to tick so not one for the future.
    • Jon Parkin - his revelations regarding Dover has ruined the twilight of his career. Too fat and unfit and now regarded as a liability and a joke whenever he is selected.
    • Sean Newton - Does not want to play. Unprofessional - get rid.
    • Simon Heslop - local lad who was point of ridicule 2 years ago and now stands out amongst the rubbish surrounding him. I'm finding it hard to accept that we actually need him.
    • Wes York - certainly a flier but cannot shoot and not a man to have with you in the trenches.
    • Alex Bray - Certainly has speed and a touch of class. Only plays for 60 minutes and looks too much like an airy fairy winger to go far in the game.
    • Alex Kempster - Showed great potential early doors then played largely out of position. Seemed to care more about his hair and cool look to be taken seriously as a full time professional footballer.

    Cheshire Live reports that "It’s been a long time coming, but Chester FC... won three points away from the Swansway Chester Stadium for the first time since mid-September with the 2-0 victory at Broadhurst Park over FC United of Manchester.

    Goals either side of half-time from Anthony Dudley and at the death by Gary Roberts sandwiched a second half where the Blues were down to 10 men after George Green was dismissed for a second yellow card".

    Over the Pennines, the Telegraph & Argus reported that "Bradford (Park Avenue) remain second in the Vanarama National League North despite slipping to a second successive defeat, as third-placed Stockport County closed the gap to just one point with a 3-0 win.

    The hosts forced Avenue on to the back foot from the off and they were rewarded with an early goal...

    [Goalkeeper] Atkinson was in the starting line up with regular number one Steve Drench on the bench and the teenager was in the thick of the early action... The visitors suffered an injury, with Nicky Clee needing treatment. He carried on briefly, and had a shot that went wide, but had to give in to the injury on the half-hour mark. Nicky Wroe replaced him in midfield....

    Stockport had a storming start to the second half... Another goal seemed inevitable for the hosts and they soon put the game beyond Bradford’s reach with two goals in a six minute spell midway through the second half... B(PA) are now just one point better off than Stockport and the chasing pack of AFC Telford United, Chester and Altrincham all won."

    We learn from the Derbyshire Times that "Angry Alfreton Town boss Billy Heath could not hide his frustration as a refereeing mistake cost his side two points. Luke Shiels’ 66th minute goal in the 1-1 draw at Blyth Spartans was ruled out for offside, despite a home defender clearly heading Jordan Sinnott’s free-kick to the back post.

    Heath said 'If the referee does his job today we win the game. There were some big decisions. One in the first half (saw) Richard Peniket virtually rugby-tackled in the box. Then the offside goal was just beyond belief. Jordan Sinnott crossed the ball, it came off their man and he (the referee) gives offside. l don’t want to be a paranoid manager, but we’re getting decisions against us because we’re Alfreton; we’re not fashionable at times. l don’t think we get anything during the games. l think we pick up more yellow cards than anybody because we’re Alfreton. We don’t get the decisions because of what we are. l don’t see any of that changing.

    'It was a great game, with Blyth playing their part, but there were too many big decisions that were just wrong.'

    The Reds deserved their 33rd minute lead after taking the game to the hosts, who were on an unbeaten 11-match run, despite a bare squad of 16 players being available through mounting injury problems... From Sinnott’s corner Reece Styche headed on to the far post where Tom Allan made sure from close range. The Reds only held the’ advantage for four minutes before veteran midfielder Robbie Dale scored directly from a free-kick...

    Overall this was arguably the Reds’ best performance of the season, attacking whenever they could whilst restricting the hosts with a degree of comfort."

    Closer to home, FC United of Manchester report on a "Fourth straight defeat as FC United lose at home to Chester... keeping FC United third from bottom... [Goalkeeper] Allinson may be running low on confidence after a couple of errors in recent weeks and it was about to get worse. Dudley’s header from a left wing cross should have been a routine save but the ball somehow ended up in the net, to the obvious disappointment of the home crowd... United went into the halftime break 1-0 down despite having 63% possession..

    The game took an interesting twist as it entered the final half hour, George Green received a second yellow and with it his marching orders. The home side pressed and probed for an equaliser... As the board went up to indicate five added minutes of stoppage time, Chester launched a counter attack. The ball was moved quickly towards the Lightbowne Road End and found captain Roberts, who slotted neatly into the corner...

    The result leaves FC United still languishing in the bottom three. However, there were encouraging signs for the weeks to come. Morton didn’t put a foot wrong on his debut, Simoes was a constant threat going forward, the defence as a whole didn’t give up many chances to a well drilled Chester outfit... Chris Lynch was a warrior at the back putting his body on the line time and time again".

    Hartlepool United tell us that "Aaron Cunningham has now returned... at the end of a loan spell with Blyth Spartans. The versatile youngster has spent the first half of the 2018/19 campaign on loan with the Croft Park outfit, during which he’s made 17 appearances and scored two goals. However, his temporary deal with Spartans expired after Saturday’s game".

    Kidderminster Harriers "slumped to another league defeat, going down 3-0 to Darlington at Blackwell Meadows. Though the Reds controlled much of the early part of the game and dominated possession, there wasn’t so much as a single serious effort on target for the travelling fans to cheer.

    Darlington went in front on 11 minutes as Steven Thompson chipped Brandon Hall – two goals swiftly after the break sealing a comfortable win for the home side".

    In the Telegraph & Argus we learn that "Guiseley missed the chance to leapfrog Leamington as their opponents earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw to remain three points better off than the Lions... The home side enjoyed a good start and took an early lead but the visitors came into their own in the second half, with a point apiece probably the fairest outcome for both sides...

    Odejayi... struck to open the scoring... The visitors produced an equaliser on the stroke of half time... The visitors began the second half well and grew in confidence. They should have gone in front in the 56th minute but the Guiseley goal appeared to have a charmed life...

    Guiseley's joint manager Russ O’Neill said 'We feel a bit disappointed. We looked at three points and if you’d stopped the game after 20 to 25 minutes, you would have been disappointed. But as it’s gone on Leamington, and fair play to them, have come back into it. The overriding emotion is one of frustration but Leamington have gone seven games unbeaten. They make it hard for teams and the longer the game went on they hung in there and finished strong."

    6 January 2019


    Right: Jake Moult wins a header in the Alty midfield.

    Altrincham put an end to a run of five games in all competitions without a win with this deserved victory at the Jakemans Stadium.

    After an undistinguished start to the game, Altrincham began to apply some pressure and they got their reward with a 24th-minute goal. Th is was scored by Josh Hancock, with a low shot from the edge of the box after good work by Max Harrop on the left. Ten minutes later it was 2-0 to the visitors when John Johnston's cross from the right was met by Jordan Hulme's glancing header into the far corner of the net.

    However, Alty did not build on their interval lead and spent much of the second half in their own half. But, despite seeing plenty of the ball, Boston lacked the bite to break through the Alty lines until they won an 80th-minute penalty, conceded by a foul challenge by Jake Moult. Davies just about got the spot-kick past Thompson's dive to his right to set up a potentially nervy ending. But Altrincham rode out the closing stages, and five added minutes, without any really serious alarms.

    The three points lifted Altrincham up to sixth place. With Ben Harrison taken ill on the team coach en route to Lincolnshire and loanee Chris Sant also missing this match through illness, Altrincham will be hoping for their recovery ahead of the club's visit next Saturday to league-leaders Chorley. In that respect they were boosted by the reappearance of James Poole as a late substitute in this game, following his long injury lay-off.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Andy White, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Simon Richman, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Max Harrop. Subs: 12. Kallum Mantack, 14. Sean Williams, 15. James Poole, 16. Shaun Densmore, 17. Ben Elliott.


    After Saturday's defeat, Boston United reported that "Ben Davies scored his second penalty inside a week but Boston United were beaten 2-1 at home by Altrincham ... Davies' 80th minute spot-kick was a mere consolation as the Robins left The Jakemans Stadium with a deserved three-point haul.

    First half strikes from Josh Hancock and Jordan Hulme did the damage, which could have been much worse but for some inspired goalkeeping from George Willis. United had actually made the brighter start... The Pilgrims’ afternoon soon started to unravel though and Willis had to make a fine save to thwart Max Harrop, before Lewis Gibbens blocked Hulme’s rebound.

    The visitors went in front in the 24th minute when Harrop cut the ball back from the left for HANCOCK to steer an angled effort into the far corner of the net... The Robins took a two-goal lead in the 34th minute when HULME touched Andy White’s cross from the right into the far corner...

    The Pilgrims were finally presented with a lifeline when Jake Moult fouled Allott and DAVIES tucked home the resulting penalty with 10 minutes to play. United’s grandstand finale never really got going... George Willis was awarded player of the match for Boston United

    In a post-match interview, manager Craig Elliott described his team's first half as "spineless" and added "2-0 flattered us".


    From the EvoStik League comes news of moves involving some Vanarama National League North players, including two involving Altrincham.
    • Charlie Scott from Altrincham FC to Newcastle Town
    • Elliot Wynne from Altrincham FC to Trafford Short Term Loan
    • John Pritchard from Chester FC to Buxton Long Term Loan
    • George West from Stockport County to Clitheroe
    • Tyrell McKenzie from Curzon Ashton to Colne
    • Todd Jordan from Alfreton Town to Frickley Athletic
    • Alex-Ray Harvey from Guiseley AFC to Hednesford Town
    • Leon Carling from Marske United to Whitby Town

    In a terse statement York City announced on Saturday night that manager "Sam Collins has left his role as manager of York City Football Club with immediate effect. Sporting Director Dave Penney will oversee training until a new manager is appointed. The club's board would like to thank Sam for his hard work and professionalism".

    This action was taken after The Minstermen lost 1-0 at Curzon Ashton; they now lie 15th in the National League North.

    The National League adds that "Defeat at Thameside [sic!] on Saturday was York’s third loss in four matches. Collins only officially took over in October after being handed the job on a full-time basis when Martin Gray was sacked".


    • Att. 1205 AFC Telford United 2 - 1 Spennymoor Town (Brendon Daniels scored one of the Bucks' goals).
    • Att. 706 Blyth Spartans 1 - 1 Alfreton Town
    • Att. 964 Boston United 1 - 2 Altrincham
    • Att. 431 Brackley Town 3 - 1 Ashton United
    • Att. 427 Curzon Ashton 1 - 0 York City
    • Att. 1123 Darlington 3 - 0 Kidderminster Harriers
    • Att. 2260 FC United of Manchester 0 - 2 Chester
    • Att. 683 Guiseley 1 - 1 Leamington
    • Att. 2168 Hereford 1 - 1 Chorley (Josh O'Keefe netted for Chorley, who had Louis Almond sent off)
    • Att. 976 Southport 1 - 1 Nuneaton Borough
    • Att. 4105 Stockport County 3 - 0 Bradford (Park Avenue)

    5 January 2019


    Saturday 5 January 2019
    • AFC Telford United 2-1 Spennymoor Town
    • Blyth Spartans 1-1 Alfreton Town
    • Boston United 1-2 Altrincham
    • Brackley Town 3-1 Ashton United
    • Curzon Ashton 1-0 York City
    • Darlington 3-0 Kidderminster Harriers
    • FC United of Manchester 0-2 Chester
    • Guiseley 1-1 Leamington
    • Hereford 1-1 Chorley
    • Southport 1-1 Nuneaton Borough
    • Stockport County 3-0 Bradford (Park Avenue)

    Tuesday 8 January 2019

    • Southport v Guiseley
    • Spennymoor Town v Kidderminster Harriers


    Altrincham are again expected to be without James Poole for the trip to Boston as he continues his rehabilitation but supporters will be hopeful that midfielder Max Harrop has recovered from the knock that kept him out of the New Year's Day match. However, goalkeeper Elliot Wynne [left] will not be at Boston as the official Altrincham FC site announces his move on loan to our neighbours, Trafford FC.

    After a run of six league starts, in the subsequent dozen league fixtures Elliot has not started a match in the Vanarama National League North.

    From Lincolnshire, Boston United report that "United will contest their first home fixture of 2019 when they entertain Altrincham on Saturday. Fresh from Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Alfreton Town, the Pilgrims will be targeting a return to winning ways when they play host to Phil Parkinson's play-off chasing Robins.

    United won 2-0 at Moss Lane earlier in the campaign and have the opportunity to complete their first league double of the season. Boston boss Craig Elliott is poised to select from a predominantly unchanged squad, with defender Ben Middleton still sidelined.

    The Robins are winless in their last four league encounters and have dropped from third to ninth in the process. Altrincham's last visit to Boston culminated in a 1-0 victory in March 2017.

    Saturday's match referee is Dean Watson, who last took charge of the Pilgrims in September 2017 against Darlington".


    In the home match against today's hosts, Boston United, Altrincham lost 0-2 on 18 August. Action from the game is seen, right..

    Altrincham could have no complaints about the result of a match in which they failed to land a shot on target. A well-organised Boston side efficiently closed down an Alty team which lost possession too often and, at times, too easily. After a goalless first half, Alty went behind in the 49th minute. Harrop opted to pass rather than clear the ball, 35 yards from his goal. Thanoj gained possession and fed Marriott who thumped home a fine, low shot from outside the box.

    Altrincham's attempts to build from the back were frustrated by Boston but it was not till the 88th minute that the Pilgrims sealed the game. Moult was dispossessed in midfield and substitute Westcarr fed Arnold. From left of goal, the former Lincoln and Grimsby man's rising shot beat Thompson.

    Coincidentally the referee for that game was Matt Corlett who also oversaw the New Year's Day defeat by Stockport County.

    For the August match with Boston, Alty had made four changes from the team beaten in midweek by FCUM, as the previously injured White and Goulding returned to the back line, Richman came into midfield and Hancock also returned after his knock.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. Liam GOULDING, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Max HARROP, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Simon RICHMAN, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. Tom PEERS, 14. Brendon DANIELS, 15. James JONES, 16. Sean WILLIAMS, 20. Elliot WYNNE.

    BOSTON UNITED: 1. George WILLS (capt), 2. Ben MIDDLETON, 3. Ashley JACKSON, 4. Andi THANOJ, 5. Spencer HARRIS, 6. Toby LEES, 7. Nathan ARNOLD, 8. Brad ABBOTT, 9. Adam MARRIOTT, 10. Nicky WALKER, 11. Jonathan WAFULA. subs: 12. Grant ROBERTS, 14. Craig WESTCARR, 15. Jonny MARGETTS, 16. Andre JOHNSON, 17. Jordan GOUGH".


    Bulls' News reports that "Former Hereford United midfield Josh O'Keefe has agreed a new deal with Chorley until the end of next season. O'Keefe scored twice for Chorley on New Year's Day. 'His presence around the changing field is second to none,' said manager Jamie Vermiglio. 'So. to secure a player like that is huge'".

    According to the National League, "AFC Telford United have completed the permanent signature of striker Marcus Dinanga who has been on loan from Burton Albion.

    Ashton United have another striker as Jorome Slew signs up [from Chester FC].

    Kidderminster Harriers have moved to sign defender Ryan Johnson to a permanent deal following his impressive loan spell while defender Josh Heaton joins from Scottish side St. Mirren.

    Southport manager Liam Watson says he is 'delighted' to extend the loan terms of Liam Edwards and Marcus Wood with the pair both impressing so far.

    Jimmy Ginnelly is making his mark at Nuneaton Borough and has added defender Rhys Sharpe to his ranks following his release by Tamworth. He's also added Yusifu Ceesay Ceesay on loan from Blackpool.

    Lewis Reilly's scoring spree at Halesowen has earned him a move further up the pyramid to Curzon Ashton. He joins on an initial one-month loan from Crewe".

    Also, Nuneaton Borough "have announced that Michael Tweed has left the Club. The Academy graduate appeared for the first team seven times this season and also had loan spells with Romulus and Leicester Road, scoring for both Clubs".

    We are informed by the Northern Echo that "The door is not closed on James Caton and he may yet make a remarkable return to the Darlington team, says Tommy Wright. The winger has been out on loan since the beginning of the campaign and returned to Quakers this week, though he is not immediately available for selection due to injury.

    His contract with Darlington runs until the end of this season, but he appeared very much out of favour when Wright allowed him to join Warrington Town in August. After that loan spell ended, he headed to Stalybridge Celtic, also in the NPL, where he made ten appearances without scoring, a calf injury affecting his time at Bower Fold.

    Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s home game with Kidderminster Harriers, Wright said '“He’s a Darlington player and will be treated just the same as everybody else. It’s up to him now. He went out on loan because he wanted to play week in, week out. But, if he comes back and shows the right attitude and is sharper and brighter than everyone else, then I’m not going to ignore him. I get on quite well with James, but he wants to play every week and until now I’ve not been in a position to give him that.

    'Once he’s fit he will train and it’s up to him. We always knew it would be a possibility he would be back, so it’s up to Cates to get himself fit. He has a grade two calf injury so is another two or three weeks away from fitness. If the phone rings and an opportunity comes for him to play week in, week out he will be informed and it will be up to him and his agent what he does with that, or he gets his head down at this club. The door is not closed on anyone. Jonny Burn is not in the team, it’s up to him to get his shirt back and the same goes for Alex Wollerton, Stephen Thompson and Simon Ainge.

    'It’s nice that we can have these conversations because it means I’ve got a squad and it means lads getting left out that two or three weeks ago were starting at a time that I didn’t have enough players.' Caton, who turns 25 today, was brought to Darlington by Martin Gray in the summer of 2017 after impressing while on trial, but after showing initial promise he faded from the first-team picture".

    Bradford's Telegraph & Argus reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower is keen to bounce back quickly from his side's disappointing 2-1 New Year's Day defeat to Guiseley and is excited by the prospect of a title scrap at Stockport County...

    He said 'I've listened to their manager, Jim Gannon, and he mentioned this game as a "cup final" for his team. It's a big game for us both and it's good to have Stockport looking at us like that. They shouldn't really be in this league. They'll have 4,000+ fans there tomorrow, which shows they should be much higher up the pyramid. It will be a great occasion and an opportunity to bounce back from the Guiseley defeat. It will feel like a Football League fixture, and fortunately, we have plenty of Football League experience in our dressing room.'

    Bower admitted that the jam-packed Christmas schedule had taken its toll. None of their games were called off, which Bower felt was a factor on Tuesday. He said 'We played against Southport before Christmas in atrocious conditions and I think that took its toll on the pitch. It was difficult to play football on. Those conditions meant it suited Guiseley, whereas they suited us at Nethermoor on Boxing Day. Guiseley are a good side in a false league position and they have some players that we can't afford. They improved in the New Year game and it was much tighter.

    'We were unfortunate with some key decisions though. Having looked at the foul on Nicky Clee in the first half again, I'm 100 per cent sure it should have been a penalty to us, not a free-kick... We ground out a good victory against Hereford and played very well at Guiseley. We were unlucky to draw with Boston United, as I thought we did enough to win and things just didn't go for us at home to Guiseley, so we're keen to bounce back.'

    Ben McKenna was Bradford's super sub over Christmas, with the creative midfielder's highlight being a last-gasp equaliser at Boston. Bower enthused 'The substitutes played a massive part over Christmas, and Ben and Adam Nowakowski were vital in getting us a point at Boston. Our subs have been great throughout the season. Ben has been unlucky. He started the season brilliantly but got injured. Lewis Knight came in to replace him and has been magnificent'".

    Still in Yorkshire, York Press informs us that "Curzon Ashton will entertain York City having failed to keep a clean sheet at home all season. The Nash’s poor form in front of their own fans has also only reaped one win at their Tameside Stadium, 2-1 against Telford on October 20, in a dozen games this term, whilst a return of eight league home goals represents the lowest haul in National League North.

    A tally of six points on their own soil is also the league’s joint-lowest, only being matched by bottom-of-the-table Nuneaton. No other team in the division, meanwhile, is without a home shut-out during 2018/19. Alfreton Town have suffered the same fate in the league, but managed to keep FA Cup visitors Sutton Coldfield and St Neot's Town at bay in autumn.

    Ahead of the Minstermen’s visit, Curzon have taken just one point from a possible 12 at their Greater Manchester base, but that did come in a 1-1 draw against title-challengers Bradford Park Avenue on November 10. Since then, Curzon have parted company with the most-successful manager in their history, John Flanagan. In seven years at the helm, Flanagan won back-to-back promotions, reached the second round of the FA Cup and kept Curzon at their highest-ever level for the four successive seasons.

    He was relieved of his duties at the end of November six games into a run of ten games without a win, Curzon’s longest sequence since promotion to the sixth tier in 2015, which has only just ended following the 2-1 New Year’s Day triumph at Ashton United. That victory was the first for Flanagan’s successor Mark Bradshaw, who has coached nearly every Curzon side from under-five to senior level during the last 12 years...

    Flanagan is not the only face familiar to City fans to have moved on from Curzon either. Winger Joe Guest has netted three times in the five previous meetings between the two clubs but made his farewell appearance against Ashton, as he prepares to pursue a footballing career in Australia, having been an integral performer for the club over the last five years. Striker Niall Cummins, who hit a hat-trick during last term’s corresponding fixture, won’t figure this weekend either.

    The 31-year-old forward moved on loan to Marine in December having, remarkably, failed to net a league goal for Curzon since that mid-February treble against the Minstermen... But away supporters will recognise one player in the hosts’ ranks with ex-Bootham Crescent midfielder Danny Racchi... following his move from FC United of Manchester. Defender James Baillie will not be available, having broken his leg in October and, at the other end of the pitch, New Year’s Day marksmen Ryan Brooke and Oliver Crankshaw are top scorers with a modest six apiece for a team that are currently fifth-bottom and four points above the relegation zone."

    Southport "are delighted to announce that the loans of Liam Edwards and Marcus Wood from Bolton Wanderers have been extended. Liam, 22, and Marcus, 20, have both made big impressions in their two months with the club... Liam, the Bolton U23 captain, has made 12 appearances in the centre of the defence... helping the Port keep five clean sheets in those games.

    Marcus has also been in outstanding form having joined in October, striking up a fine partnership in midfield with David Morgan during his 16 games".

    In the Yorkshire Evening Post we learn that "Everyone at Guiseley will be acutely aware of the phrase ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’.

    After a thrilling start to the New Year, which saw the Lions avenge their Boxing Day mauling at the hands of high-flying Bradford Park Avenue with a dramatic 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture at the Horsfall Stadium, the club’s management team are wise to the notion of not wasting such a splendid result ... The Lions... host mid-table Leamington tomorrow with the Nethermoor outfit seeking to make inroads up the table in the coming weeks... The Lions face six league games before the end of January.

    After facing Leamington a quick turnaround sees 16th-placed Guiseley visit a team in their vicinity of the table in Southport before a tougher trip to sixth-placed Chester on Saturday week. That is followed by a third league away game in a row, an arduous trip to promotion-chasing Chorley on January 22, before home games to finish off the month against Hereford and Boston United.

    It promises to test all the resources of the club... Co-manager Marcus Bignot quipped 'My hopes for 2019 are that we can talk about being league leaders. It is an important year for the football club, we are looking forward to seeing how far we can go... . It is important this week we rest and are fresh and ready to go for the busy period that is coming up...

    'We have one or two tired bodies in there as they have been through it physically and mentally. We will... hopefully get everyone refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to go'.

    On the reinvigorating victory over Avenue... Bignot added 'I am really delighted for the chairman, board of directors and most importantly the supporters who are the most important people at the football club. They suffered at the home fixture but, hopefully, we have gone some way of repaying them now and as we walked off they showed their appreciation so I am delighted for them. It is nice to have your front two scoring. I thought they were superb and set the tone throughout with everything we did...

    'We are trying to get this group of players to get to their ability, but understand the process and what it takes and balancing that with winning football matches as well.'

    Young goalkeeper Fletcher Paley has joined Steeton AFC on loan until the end of the season. Fletcher, who recently celebrated his 19th birthday, was a key member of last season’s all conquering Academy side. Meanwhile, midfielder Alex-Ray Harvey has left the club by mutual consent".

    The Shropshire Star reports that "Boss Gavin Cowan has warned his AFC Telford United side need to be better in order to extend their winning run to four matches by beating Spennymoor tomorrow. The Bucks need another win to make it 12 points from a possible 12 over the Christmas and New Year period...

    The boss said 'Make no mistake, we need to be better. We need to be better against Spennymoor, but we’re at home and we fancy ourselves at home against anyone. The good thing about getting away with the win at Nuneaton, well, I say getting away with it, I think we deserved the win, is that there’s a lot of opportunities to learn. We came away with the three points despite not being at our best'...

    Cowan has a decision to make between the sticks after this week’s transfer business saw a change in loan goalkeeper. Max Bramley returned to parent club Leicester City and the Bucks swooped to bring in young Stoke City shot-stopper Josef Bursik, 18. England under-19 keeper Bursik comes highly-rated after a promising loan spell at Hednesford Town. Bramley lost his place in the Telford team to local lad and boyhood fan Andy Wycherley, who has played every match since breaking into the team in late October".


    Wednesday 9 January 2019, Cheshire Senior Cup First Round
    • Crewe Alexandra v Nantwich Town

    4 January 2019


    As The Pilgrims prepare to face Altrincham on Saturday, the Boston Standard reports that "Craig Elliott wants to put Boston United firmly on the map, but believes location, location, location is becoming a stumbling block.

    Last season’s Player of the Year [ex-Alty loanee] Ashley Hemmings was among those he had hoped to bring to the Jakemans Stadium this term. But after United agreed a loan deal with AFC Fylde, Hemmings opted to move to rivals Altrincham, a team closer to his Lancashire base.

    'That was all agreed with Fylde, but he didn’t want to come back due to the travelling,' Elliott told The Standard. 'I believe he’s based in Fylde. Last year it was difficult for him as well. That was the main thing for him wanting to leave, the travelling. It’s one of the biggest barriers to overcome here.'

    Hemmings, last season’s leading scorer with 16 goals, despite commutes from Wolverhampton, looked set to make his return to Boston on Saturday as part of the Robins' squad for a crunch National League North contest (KO 3pm), only to be recalled by Fylde on New Year’s Eve.

    But... Elliott continues to look to bolster his squad - a task which can often become frustrating. 'You take money aside, the biggest problem I’ve had as manager here is encouraging people to come because of the location,' he added. 'Certain clubs, without using excuses, have a good catchment area where it’s easier to convince players to come'...

    He added, 'We’re not the biggest payers in the league, but you’d like them to see the attractions of playing here; the crowd, the ground. But the reality is, the modern-day footballer, that’s not the first thing on his mind. The travelling and money side is difficult to overcome...

    'I’ve missed out on players in the summer who purely wanted to play for a full-time team in that environment.'”

    The Boston Standard adds that "‘Freak’ Lewis Gibbens looks set for more Boston United action as defender Ben Middleton has suffered an injury setback. The Mansfield Town teenager has extended his loan spell at the Jakemans Stadium into a second month after impressing during his first two starts for the Pilgrims.

    Gibbens looked accomplished in the backline as Boston drew against league leaders Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday, also giving as good as he got against a combative Alfreton Town side on New Year’s Day.

    'He’s a freak at the minute, in terms of being an academy player who loves to defend. A bit of an old school defender type,' manager Elliott said of the 19-year-old Stag... 'They all want to play football and look pretty, but he likes to get stuck in and make some big challenges...

    'I was interested to see how he would do as you’re not going to come across more physical teams than Alfreton', Elliott added...

    Middleton remains out of action after breaking a bone in his foot while training in the gym in early November... 'He was one of my bigger signings in the summer and he’s just had a bit of a stop-start season... We’re looking probably mid-February before he’s back.'

    Fellow right back Ben Davies has extended his contract, which ran out on January 1, until the end of the season.

    Reflecting on the 1-1 draw at Alfreton, Elliott was left fuming by two decisions he felt went against his side.

    Nicky Walker saw a second goal of the day ruled out for offside, slotting home after teammate Max Wright snuck the ball past Reds keeper Sam Ramsbottom, while referee Aaron Bannister [who oversaw Guiseley v Alty] refused to give Boston a stoppage-time penalty after Gavin Allott was floored in the box".


    The Sale & Altrincham Messenger has John Edwards's article which says that "Phil Parkinson issued a heartfelt plea for unity after Altrincham dropped out of the National League North play-off places... An afternoon of frustration for Alty meant they have taken just two points from their last four games, while County have now beaten the Robins four times this season without conceding a goal...

    'Stockport are the best out-of-possession team we have faced all season,' said the Alty boss. 'I never thought any side would be able to keep us out for four games, so full credit to them for doing that. We threw everyone forward in the last 10 minutes, including one of the centre-backs, and went fairly direct.

    'People may wonder why we didn’t do that from the start, but we would have lost by four or five. We nearly conceded on the break as it was, they would just have picked us off. The players are frustrated, everyone is, but I would just send a plea out to the fans that we must remain positive, because it’s not all doom and gloom.

    'I’ve said ever since I arrived here there will be a tough period, and maybe this is it. But we’ve lost twice in the league in three months. It’s not the apocalypse.

    'There were positives. I keep hearing we can’t defend corners, but we faced more today than we have all season and dealt with them all against a side who specialise in exploiting them. We also showed we have a group of lads who will keep going to the bitter end. I thought we got stronger as the game wore on.

    'I’m certainly not panicking. The pendulum can swing very quickly, and we need to build momentum again, because we’ve had a taste of being in the play-offs and it’s a realistic aim to get back in there.'"


    Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records chronicle previous Altrincham matches played on next Saturday's date, 5 January.

    Left: Danny Hall heads clear against Harrogate Town.

    The last time Alty played on 5 January was in 2013 they beat Harrogate Town 3-0 at Moss Lane. Despite being without the injured Duncan Watmore and James Lawrie, Altrincham lifted themselves into the play-off places for the first time in that season with an ultimately comfortable win. For the second time in five days in an Altrincham home game the opposition had its goalkeeper sent off in the first half and did not have a substitute keeper. The Robins were already ahead, when Town were reduced to ten men, thanks to a 31st minute goal which Simon Richman converted from close range after Jake Moult's low cross had been helped on, from right of goal, by Damian Reeves.

    Reeves's chip had hit the bar as early as the second minute and Town goalkeeper MacGillivray had made several decent saves before he was sent off when he tripped Reeves as he poked the ball beyond him. With no keeper on the bench a lengthy debate led to Nowakowski donning the gloves. He then saved Doughty's penalty to leave Alty just one up at the interval. It was Alty's fifth penalty miss of the season.

    Whereas Alty had laboured to overcome ten-man Stalybridge and their makeshift keeper on New Year's Day, this time they pressed home the advantage more effectively. Carl Rodgers's header from the back post made it 2-0 after 48 minutes. Finally, Damian Reeves's low drive made it 3-0 after 73 minutes before Danny Forrest saw his penalty, awarded against Havern, saved by Coburn (81 mins).

    Altrincham were without the injured Duncan Watmore (ankle) and James Lawrie (toe) but Nicky Clee had recovered from his hamstring problem to start this game. There was a first appearance in a first-team squad for youth team midfielder Callum Mooney, whilst his team-mate, 16 year-old goalkeeper Steven Bullen was involved in the warm-up with Stuart Coburn and Adam Reid.

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Matt DOUGHTY, (capt), 4. Carl RODGERS, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Danny HALL, 9. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Jake MOULT, 7. Jordan SINNOTT, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 12. Scott LEATHER, 14. Patrick LACEY, 15. Ryan BROOKE, 16. Callum MOONEY 18. Adam REID (gk)


    Alty TV has its customary high-standard of match highlights from the game with Stockport County on New Year's Day.


    Chester FC "are delighted to announce the permanent signing of striker Akwasi Asante from Tamworth FC. Asante has joined the club for an undisclosed club-record fee.

    We would like to acknowledge and formally place on record our thanks to Stuart Murphy who assisted the move through his financial contribution. The striker completed a medical at the Swansway Chester Stadium on the 1st January, putting pen to paper on an 18-month contract.

    The 26-year-old forward has certainly started in style during his initial loan spell from the Lambs. He has five goals to his name in three games, including a ‘perfect’ hat-trick over Darlington. His 17 goals in 39 appearances spearheaded Solihull Moors to the National League North title under former Blues boss Marcus Bignot back in 2015-2016.

    This came after a spell at Kidderminster following his release from Birmingham City in 2014. Asante actually made his Birmingham senior debut in a Europa League tie, coming on as a sub as they beat Portuguese side Nacional 3-0.

    Akwasi, who was born in Amsterdam, continued his scoring feat following promotion with 11 goals in 22 National League games; before he was signed by League Two Club Grimsby for an undisclosed fee. The 26-year-old then joined Tamworth on an 18-month deal in February 2018 following his release from the Mariners that same month."

    His former club Tamworth add that "the Dutch born striker, who leaves The Lamb having made thirty Tamworth appearances, scoring on six occasions. Please join us in wishing him all the best for the future."

    And news of another signing comes from Chester FC who "are pleased to announce the signing of winger Bradley Jackson from Ashton United. The 22 year-old started his career coming through the ranks at Burnley, along with loan spells at Bangor City and Southport whilst at Turf Moor.

    He joined fellow National League North side Ashton United in August and has chipped in with six goals so far this term...

    Joint Boss Anthony Johnson said 'We saw Bradley last season at Southport whilst he was on loan from Burnley and really got our eye. His performance against us for Ashton in a couple of different positions was outstanding and we feel he will give us a different outlet to anything else we’ve got with his lightning and direct pace and his terrific ability on the ball.

    'He’s also already scored six goals in all competitions so far for Ashton too so knows where the goal is.'"

    From York Press we hear that "Goalkeeper Adam Bartlett is hoping 2019 will prove a 'new beginning' for York City following the end of a year he described as a 'tough old slog'. The Minstermen... ended last season in mid-table and have been in the bottom half of the standings since October 30 this term.

    A 4-0 New Year’s Day home victory over Darlington lifted spirits, though, following back-to-back Christmas defeats to the Quakers (5-1) and Blyth (2-1), with a cautious Bartlett stressing that the win must not represent another false dawn for a team that hasn’t managed back-to-back league successes since last January.

    'We can’t say 2019 is a clean slate, because it isn’t,' Bartlett confessed. 'But, hopefully, it’s a new beginning and we can look to grab on to the teams that are chasing the play-offs and get in there ourselves.

    '“We can only look at it on a game-by-game basis, though, because it’s been a very frustrating period. The Darlington result has lifted morale in the dressing room after a Christmas period that wasn’t good enough, even though the worst-case scenario at Blyth should have been a draw because there was nothing wrong with Macaulay Langstaff’s disallowed goal.

    'We needed a bit of positivity about the place after that and, hopefully, the win will spark us into life come this weekend and beyond, because it has to be the start of something after a 2018 that was a tough, old slog for everybody involved. But we’ve shown that we can be a good team before and inconsistency has been a massive problem'...

    Bartlett added that the team cannot under-estimate Curzon either, having failed in his previous two attempts as City keeper to beat the Greater Manchester minnows...

    'They turned us over at their place last season and this season it was Martin Gray’s last game in charge when we drew 1-1 and, to be honest, we were lucky to get a result,' Bartlett pointed out...

    'They’re a good footballing team, who have had a change in management, but they won 2-1 at Ashton United on New Year’s Day, which was a bit of a six-pointer down near the bottom of the table. We’re in a bit of a wilderness, seven points off the play-offs and nine above the relegation zone, and, if we don’t keep turning up like we did against Darlington and have a few more negative results, then we’ll be looking at that end of the table again...

    'With a two-week break from games afterwards, it’s especially important that we get a positive result'...

    City travel to Curzon having failed to take a point from their last six away matches, whilst 11 from a possible 15 have been picked up at home. During those respective runs, meanwhile, three goals have been conceded at Bootham Crescent and 17 shipped on the road, with Bartlett adding 'The difference between our home and away form has been discussed in the changing room.

    'Results have been good at Bootham Crescent, even if the performances haven’t always been up to scratch but, away from home, we’ve conceded too many goals'...

    'Even though I’ve been making quite a few saves, it’s quite often been a case, apart from against Brackley, of keeping the goal-against tally down, which is disappointing. “Darlington was our tenth clean sheet of the season, but we had to wait seven games for one'...

    Hamza Bencherif and Joe Davis represented the eighth different centre-back pairing Bartlett has played behind during the last 14 matches... 'The changes to the defence are difficult from my point of view, but I suppose they are understandable, because the manager hasn’t been happy with performances and results on enough occasions', Bartlett reasoned...

    'I’m hoping we can settle on a team that is the right way to go forward'"

    Also from York Press we are informed that "City boss Sam Collins has earmarked two potential loan signings to strengthen his ranks during the final four months of the season.

    The Minstermen currently have five borrowed players (the permitted number in a matchday squad) on their books – Liam Agnew, Alex Bray, Joe Davis, Kennedy Digie and Joe Ironside – but Collins expects 'a couple' to return to their parent clubs following Saturday’s National League North trip to Curzon Ashton.

    Aside from Agnew, the other players’ current temporary terms will expire after this weekend and a series of comings and goings could then be overseen... On the loan situation, Collins said...'I feel the areas we need to strengthen now are different than they were before. Hopefully, we can bring in the targets we have in mind, because I think they will really strengthen us again. They are young players with the right attitudes, who want to do well.

    'There are a couple that I’ve known for a long, long time and, if one comes off, I’d be absolutely delighted, because he’s a really good kid, who is energetic, works hard and plays in an area where we are a bit light on bodies.'

    City look likely to be without Simon Heslop at Curzon after he suffered a back injury... on his return to the first XI following knee surgery in mid-October. Macaulay Langstaff is doubtful too due to a groin niggle, meaning Collins could be forced into a couple of unwanted changes, although the City chief went on to point out that, with Kennedy Digie fit again and Kallum Griffiths in with a chance of being in contention, he would have possibly looked to reshuffle his pack despite the club’s biggest league win in 17 months...

    [Next opponents, Curzon Ashton] "got a good result on New Year’s Day when they beat Ashton United and have got some decent players. They change system quite a bit and have played 3-5-2 and 4-4-1-1 recently, but Darlington played a different formation to us and, if you play with energy, it doesn’t cause you problems.

    'It’s also a nice little stadium with a good pitch, which should suit us with the players we are using and I want to be going to Stockport after our two-week break with a bit of form, so we can look forward to a big game in front of a big crowd.'”

    News of Alty's next opponents comes from Alfreton Town. "ATFC can confirm that winger Callum Chettle has joined fellow National League North side Boston United, on a month’s loan. Callum featured throughout our pre-season campaign and has made eight starts and 12 substitute appearances, scoring twice.

    Billy Heath... [said] 'Callum has needed minutes and hasn’t featured regularly for us; he’s been on the bench more times than he has played and it’s important for him to get games. Boston is a good opportunity and a good move for him and it’s a good fit in terms of location and we have already played them twice now so it’s not a case of him coming up against us this season so that side of things is irrelevant.

    The Chorley Guardian confirms that "Chorley FC have vowed to stand by footballer Courtney Meppen-Walter...

    A club spokesman said, 'Following the recent conviction of Courtney Meppen-Walter for drink driving, we can confirm that the player has been severely reprimanded and fined in accordance with club rules to the maximum extent and stipulations have been put in place regarding future conduct while playing for Chorley Football Club.

    'Manager Jamie Vermiglio has expressed a wish to support Courtney with his rehabilitation... However, we would like to reassure supporters; the decision to retain Courtney comes after several in depth discussions between board members, manager, player, family, solicitors, as well as Chorley FC’s legal advisers. It is not a decision that has been taken lightly'...

    Manager Jamie Vermiglio added 'As a club and as the manager of the club, we, like supporters, feel let down and disappointed with the actions of Courtney... Courtney has shown contrition, he’s very ashamed of what’s happened and has been left in no doubt what is expected from him in the future'...

    Meppen-Walter said 'I am very conscious of the fact that I have let down a lot of people by my actions, which I deeply regret... Obviously, I must make up for a terrible error of judgement and I intend to do so, first by accepting the fine and punishment handed down by the court and subsequently by my future actions.'”

    The Shropshire Star states that "Brendon Daniels joining AFC Telford United on a deal until the end of the season shows the club are heading in the right direction.

    Getting a player of his calibre in from Port Vale, after initially impressing on loan, suggests the Bucks are going to do their utmost to seal one of those National League North play-off places. It is a statement of intent and Daniels has certainly given the side a big boost, setting up both goals to start the new year with a 2-1 win at Nuneaton.

    He chipped in with a couple of goals over his loan spell as well and is a dead-ball specialist...

    Gavin Cowan has lifted spirits in his first season as a manager, which I am so pleased about, and things are very much on the up again at the New Bucks Head. It is a big club and they are getting back in that limelight, where they should be".

    Kidderminster Harriers announce that "defender Ed Wagner has left Harriers after his contract at the club came to an end. ‘Ned’ signed in the summer at Aggborough after impressing on trial. While not making the breakthrough to the first team, he did go on to captain Redditch United during a loan spell."

    Nuneaton Town's "top scorer Dior Angus has returned to parent club Port Vale after a fantastic loan spell at Liberty Way. The striker showed brilliant form throughout his time at the Boro', totalling 14 goals and two assists. He became a vital part of the side after signing for the club in July and will be sorely missed.

    Angus said '[The loan spell] has been massively helpful. The club means a lot to me anyway because of my Dad’s previous time here. I’m really thankful for everyone for letting me come and play here'... The 24-year old also voiced his backing of new boss Jimmy Ginnelly saying 'We looked a lot better since he came in. Once they can be a bit more solid I think they’ll be a good side.'”

    Port Vale's unofficial ONe Vale Fan adds that "Angus is now in contention for a place in the Vale first-team squad".

    According to the Northern Echo "Striker Andrew Nelson faces a race to be fit for what could be his final Darlington game on Saturday. On loan from Sunderland, the 21-year-old played only the first 45 minutes of the New Year’s Day game at York City having suffered a knee injury late in the first half.

    He left the pitch clearly in discomfort as he headed for the changing room, and has since had treatment at Sunderland. Quakers play against Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday at Blackwell Meadows and, having scored six of the team’s last 12 goals, being without Nelson would be a blow to Darlington manager Tommy Wright.

    Speaking on Thursday, the manager said... 'I don’t think it’s serious but it needs to settle down if he has any chance of playing on Saturday.' Nelson’s one-month loan expires after the match, and while Wright has told Sunderland he wants the player to stay, as do Quakers’ supporters, he is unable to offer any assurances...

    Meanwhile, Wright says he has received an apology from the referee who did not apply the laws of the game by failing to send off a York player during Tuesday’s 4-0 drubbing. It was 2-0 at the time when Joe Davis denied a goalscoring opportunity by hauling down Tom Elliott without making an attempt to win the ball, yet referee Nathanael Cox only cautioned the York defender...

    Wright said 'I went in to see the referee after the game. I told him that I’m not one to hammer referees, but 100 per cent he got that one wrong. He gave me his version, which was that he didn’t feel Tom had the ball under control and that it wasn’t denying a goalscoring opportunity

    'He said he would apologise if he was wrong but, in five years of management, I’ve never had an apology. Then he emailed the club on Wednesday to pass on a message to me to apologise, saying it was a red card... But there’s no guarantee it would’ve changed the game, there’s no guarantee we would’ve scored one let alone two.

    'We all make mistakes. I make mistakes, the players made mistakes because they conceded four goals, and he made one. It was a ridiculous decision, but he missed it and he’s held his hands up.'" The Forest youth team product made 18 appearances for the Posh between 2016 and 2018 and also has experience with AFC Fylde, Ilkeston Town and Nuneaton Town."

    3 January 2019


    Before the New Year's game against Stockport County at the JDS, club chaplain Rev. Andy Barclay-Watts of LifeChurch, Sale, read the annual Roll of Honour over the tannoy. The Roll, which comprises a list of those connected with the Football Club who have died in the past twelve months, was admirably observed by the large crowd by means of a one-minute period of applause.

    Right, we see the Altrincham players taking part in the Roll of Honour commemoration.


    The winners of the December Monthly Draw at Altrincham FC were:
    1. Jonathan Moore - £500
    2. Jim Thompson - £75
    3. Pat Ball - £25
    4. Nigel Davis - Hospitality Package
    5. Stan Riley - Replica AFC Shirt
    6. R Cummack - AFC Polo Shirt


    This Saturday, Altrincham travel to Boston United, their third longest away journey of the season (after Blyth and Spennymoor, with Brackley being just a mile shorter trip).

    Right, Alty's management duo, Robbie Lawton and Matt Doughty, had a thankless task when they took over the management of a rock-bottom Altrincham side two seasons ago. But one moment of joy for them came in the 2017 match at Boston, as shown here, where they saluted the travelling supporters after the final whistle. Behind them were Laurence Taylor, Nicky Clee and Sam Patterson. Robbie was in the crowd for the New Year's Day 2019 match at the JDS against Stockport and he has attended several Altrincham matches this campaign.

    Although the Pilgrims beat Alty earlier this season at the JDS, 2-0, they currently lie four places below the Robins in eleventh place, with six fewer points than the hosts. Goalscoring has been their main problem with only six teams having netted fewer than Boston's 28 goals this season. But they more than compensate for that by having the third meanest defence in the whole division, having conceded just 24 times compared with Alty's 33 defensive breaches. Boston supporters have seen 52 goals this season in league matches (for 28, against 24), the third lowest total in the division, whereas Alty fans have witnessed 79 goals (for 46 against 33), which is the highest aggregate in the Vanarama National North.

    Boston have drawn just once at home in the league this season, having otherwise won five times and lost on six occasions at the Jakemans' Stadium this season.

    The sides last met in a Vanarama National League North match played on Saturday, 11 March 2017. In that disastrous season, Altrincham lifted themselves off the bottom of the table with a deserved win in Lincolnshire, where home supporters had yet to witness a league win on a Saturday that season. For the match Alty were again without Jake Moult, Shaun Densmore, Sean Miller, Craig Hobson, Tom Hannigan, Tim Deasy and Kyle Brownhill. Micah Evans was also not in the squad.

    Although Boston had more of the first-half attacking momentum, and hit the post through Hilliard, Alty took a 32nd minute lead when Elliott Newby finished well from a smart feed by Nicky Clee.

    Boston laboured after the break and were hampered further for the final stages of the game by an injury to Robinson who had to limp on after all three substitutions had been made.

    BOSTON UNITED: 1. Ross Durrant, 2. Kalern Thomas, 3. Jan Yeomans, 4. Harry Vince, 5. Tom Batchelor, 6. Josh Robinson, 7. Adam Chapman (c), 8. Ben Gordon, 9. Alex Simmons, 10. Colby Bishop, 11. Lewis Hilliard, Subs: 12. Marcus Marshall, 14. Shane Clarke, 15. Joe Fitzpatrick, 16. Jay Rollins, 17. Charlie Gatter

    ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart TOMLINSON, 2. Chris LYNCH (c), 3. Andy McWILLIAMS, 4. Laurence TAYLOR, 5. Sam HEATHCOTE, 6. John CYRUS, 7. Elliott NEWBY, 8. Gary JONES, 9. Simon RICHMAN, 10. James LAWRIE, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 12. Sam PATTERSON, 14. Alan GOODALL, 15. Damian REEVES, 16. Andy OWENS, 20. Andrew JONES.


    Alty meet Boston United on Saturday. From Lincolnshire Live we learn that "Boston United boss Craig Elliott was left disappointed after seeing the Pilgrims concede a last-gasp equaliser for the second match in succession.

    United closed 2018 with a 2-2 draw against Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday, having led deep into stoppage time, before sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Alfreton Town on Tuesday, to kick-off 2019 by conceding a last minute leveller.

    Elliott felt Bradford had deserved their point at the weekend, but was less enamoured by Alfreton’s late fightback.

    'It was different to Saturday, because I felt Bradford deserved something,' reflected Elliott. 'As an away team [at Alfreton], I thought we did more than enough to win. A couple of refereeing decisions did not go our way and I am upset by that and disappointed for the players.

    'Leading up to the goal was not great. Nicky Walker had a bad header, and he had a great game and was really good going forward, but that header led to a corner and you cannot concede corners against Alfreton because they are so big and they are going to get their chances at some point.'

    Walker had handed the Pilgrims a second minute lead at the Impact Arena but the Pilgrims were unable to find a second goal to kill off the Reds.

    'I thought we were superb in the opening 20 minutes and caused them lots of problems,' continued Elliott. 'Jay, Nicky and Max were all getting in and I was disappointed that we could not get the second goal. You are looking at whether we could keep a clean sheet but we switched off from the corner, so it’s disappointing'...

    Pilgrims: Willis, Davies, Jackson, Thanoj, Gibbens, Qualter, Wright (Wafula 82), Abbott, Allott, Rollins (Chisholm 72), Walker (Harris 90). Subs (not used): Slew, Malkowski (gk)."


    The official Altrincham FC website has Brian Flynn's Alty TV interview with Simon Richman. As previously reported, the midfielder made his 300th appearance for the club on Boxing Day.

    The official site also has manager Phil Parkinson's comments following the defeat by Stockport County on New Year's Day and director Bill Waterson's fascinating review of big attendances at Moss Lane, prompted by the 3,383 gate on New Year's Day. Apart from the promotion play-off with Guiseley in 2014, New Year's Day crowd was the largest league gate at the ground since April, 1970 against Macclesfield Town (3,606).


    NL Daily reports that "Midfielder Billy Murphy has left Hereford FC, the club have confirmed. The 23-year-old joined the club from Bath City just over a year ago... Hereford posted the following....

    'After seeing his first team opportunities limited of late, the club have agreed to release Billy Murphy by mutual consent'".

    From Cheshire Live we learn that "Bernard Morley was full of praise for his and Anthony Johnson’s veteran centre half pairing who provided a clean sheet for Chester FC to start 2019. With Chester ravaged by injuries Simon Grand moved into his more accustomed role of centre back alongside the consistently excellent Steve Howson for the 0-0 draw with form side, Southport, on New Year’s Day.

    Grand and Howson were exceptional and were flanked by some strong performances from both Brad Jackson and Matty Waters...

    'They’ve both done what it says on the tin today and more,' said Morley post match. 'I thought Simon Grand, it’s not an unfamiliar position for him for his career, but certainly in the last six months he’s been playing left-back and to come in and dominate the way he did against two good, physical centre forwards. His mate beside him, Steven Howson, has been immense today and he’s not put a foot wrong. I think he’s one of them players that are that consistent in them central areas and he needs a pat on the back.

    'I think Bradley Jackson was immense for us today. He got us up the pitch and Matty Waters coming in has done really well as well and got us up the pitch. It was just that final ball from wide areas (that was missing), but there’s loads of positives to take out of the game.'

    While Chester lacked the necessary guile in the final third to break down a stubborn Sandgrounders rearguard, Morley was more than happy with the application of the players... He said 'I think all the hard work we’ve put in over the last six or seven weeks was starting to sort of fade away, and it was important that the lads put that right today themselves. There’s only so much that me and Jonno can affect... but what we can do is try and pick that shows some resilience which they did today. We’ve wanted it as much as Southport, if not more today, and that’s the reason we’ve managed to get a result, because Southport had probably a full strength side.

    'They’ve got the luxury of four centre forwards and four wingers and they’re a handful with a massive platform for them to build on.'"

    The Yorkshire Post reports that "Guiseley gained revenge after their heavy 5-1 loss to Bradford Park Avenue by beating them at the Horsfall Stadium 2-1.

    Guiseley joint-manager Marcus Bignot said 'I’m delighted with how we played, to come to the side who are top of the table and win, it is a big three points. The players have worked really hard and to get this victory means a lot'...

    Bradford boss Mark Bower said 'I thought it was a tight game, the pitch suited them a little bit more than us, I’m disappointed with the way we lost.The reaction from the players is key now, we know we can go on another unbeaten run."

    Also, from the Yorkshire Evening Post comes news that "Guiseley academy product Jake Young has signed for Championship outfit Sheffield United until 2020/21... Huddersfield-born Young has been part of Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill’s first-team squad since pre-season...

    Two further products of the Academy, Will Thornton and Scott Smith, are currently in Guiseley’s first-team squad".

    Meanwhile Guiseley "confirm that Alex-Ray Harvey has left the club by mutual consent. The central midfielder arrived at the end of October 2017... Harvey made 37 appearances in total for The Lions and leaves the club with the best wishes from everyone at Nethermoor."

    The Lancashire Evening Post informs us that "Chorley FC defender Courtney Meppen-Walter has been banned from the roads for 22 months after he was caught drink-driving.

    Meppen-Walter, 24, told magistrates he was 'embarrassed' by the driving offence. The former Manchester City youth player was stopped by police in Manchester city last month and found to be twice the legal drink-drive limit. In 2013 he was sent to prison for 16 months for causing the deaths of Kulwant Singh, 32, from Salford, and his sister, Ravel Kaur, 37, by careless driving when he hit their Nissan Micra in his grandfather's high-powered Mercedes C220 saloon in September 2012.

    Moments earlier, the then 18-year-old had been 'jockeying' and 'playing games' with a friend in a Volkswagen Golf... before he travelled at nearly double the 30mph speed limit and hit the Nissan as it emerged from a side street in Manchester...

    [In the more recent case] Risha Seth, prosecuting, said the officer stated he had to take Meppen-Walter from the car because he would not get out and then needed the assistance of two passers-by as he restrained him to the ground... He gave a positive reading of 85 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit being 35mcg...

    Caitriona McLaughlin, defending, said... 'It was a mistake and it is the one and only drink mistake on his record'...

    Before passing sentence, chairwoman of the bench Margaret Hutchinson asked Meppen-Walter if he wanted to say anything about the current case. He replied... 'I will probably get called every named under the sun and I deserve it. I'm just embarrassed'...

    Meppen-Walter, of Heywood, must also serve a 12-month community order, complete 80 hours of unpaid work and pay court costs totalling £170. He indicated he wanted to take a drink-drive awareness course which would reduce his ban by 22 weeks.

    The Lancashire Post have approached Chorley FC for comment and are awaiting a response... with manager Jamie Vermiglio stating last month... 'We have made the decision that we are not going to terminate his contract we are going to support him'"

    2 January 2019


    Alty travel to Boston on Saturday, seeking s first win in five league outings.

    The Stoke Sentinel tells us that "Hednesford Town have bolstered their attacking options with the signing of striker Andre Johnson on a dual registration deal from Boston United.

    The 23-year-old, who scored twice within the Pilgrims’ first three league matches of this season, has been registered in time to be able to take his place in the squad for today’s visit of Farsley Celtic".

    And the Boston Standard adds that "New Year, same outcome. Boston United began 2019 as they finished last year, conceding a late goal to drop vital points.

    Following Bradford Park Avenue’s 94th-minute leveller on Saturday, Nathan Hotte repeated the feat at the Impact Arena, heading home a 90th minute equaliser to cancel out Nicky Walker’s early opener.

    United battled, grafted and showed a bit more of that streetwise attitude which served the hosts so well in the reverse fixture seven days earlier. Quite frankly, they out-Alfretoned Alfreton for much of the game.

    The return of Gavin Allott and another starting role for Jay Rollins also offered Boston a little more to throw at their hosts this time around. But Alfreton pressure finally paid off at the death.

    It was an early goal which settled Boxing Day’s meeting between the two sides and, once again, it didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken.

    On this occasion Boston, unchanged from Saturday’s draw with Bradford, drew first blood, Nicky Walker needing just 78 seconds to slot through Sam Ramsbottom’s legs from close range...

    In a first half packed with robust challenges which referee Aaron Bannister let go unpunished, danger man Rollins saw two attempts beaten away by Ramsbottom and Max Wright’s hopeful lash at the ball was always curling away from goal.

    For the Reds, Reece Styche, scorer of Alfreton’s winner in Boston, put three efforts off target while Tom Platt tested George Willis with a stinging 25 yarder...

    But when Hotte was granted his opportunity he took it to leave United thinking what might have been once again...

    UNITED: Willis, Davies, Jackson, Thanoj, Gibbens, Qualter, Wright (Wafula 82), Abbott, Allott, Walker (Harris 90), Rollins (Chisholm 72); Subs: Slew, Malkowski".


    Vanarama National League North
    • Att. 665 Alfreton Town 1 - 1 Boston United
    • Att. 3383 Altrincham 0 - 1 Stockport County
    • TBA Ashton United 1 - 2 Curzon Ashton
    • Att. 665 Bradford (Park Avenue) 1 - 2 Guiseley
    • Att. 1984 Chester 0 - 0 Southport
    • Att. 2021 Chorley 4 - 0 FC United Of Manchester
    • Att. 2745 Kidderminster Harriers 2 - 1 Hereford
    • TBA Leamington 0 - 0 Brackley Town
    • Att. 763 Nuneaton Borough 1 - 2 AFC Telford United
    • Att. 1129 Spennymoor Town 2 - 2 Blyth Spartans
    • Att. 3265 York City 4 - 0 Darlington


    Bradford (Park Avenue) "were condemned to their first league defeat since October 2018 by Guiseley, in a Yorkshire derby somewhat marred by controversy.

    In contrasting fashion to the Boxing Day encounter, Guiseley carved open more opportunities than Bradford did in the early stages...

    Bradford, however, grew into the game and began to cause problems of their own as the half progressed...

    Guiseley remained in contention despite an increase in the frequency of Bradford’s attacks and another goalmouth scramble ensued on the half-hour mark. Several players saw shots blocked before Oli Johnson managed to blast clear...

    Clee found himself furiously appealing for a penalty after being bundled to the ground by Kingsley James. Despite the protests from an incensed group of Bradford players, the referee deemed the incident to have taken place outside of the box.

    The deadlock was broken by Guiseley on the stroke of half-time when Kayode Odejayi met Alex Purver’s free-kick delivery and nodded beyond the outstretched glove of Drench...

    Former Nethermoor favourite Johnson drew level with 25 minutes remaining on the clock, steering home from close-range after the ball fell kindly to him inside the box.

    However, celebrations were short-lived as Guiseley’s advantage was restored just five minutes later. Liburd advanced before flicking beyond Drench and into the bottom corner.

    With fifteen minutes remaining, Bradford substitute Jamie Spencer was shown a second yellow card following a scuffle with Niall Heaton. To the fury of the home supporters, the Lions defender didn’t receive his marching orders for his involvement in the fracas.

    The ten-man hosts failed to trouble the visitors in the late stages, miscuing crosses and shots whilst struggling to find any sort of rhythm".

    One Vale Fan reports that "The local media in Shropshire suggest that AFC Telford could be interested in a permanent move for Port Vale winger Brendon Daniels.

    Daniels signed a six-month contract at the start of the season but has played just 35 minutes of a Checkatrade tie against Walsall for the Valiants. After a spell with Altrincham the 25 year-old is currently on loan at AFC Telford United.

    His six-month contract is set to expire and there is some doubt over whether he will get a new contract at the Valiants".

    And the Stoke Sentinel adds that "Winger Brendon Daniels has left Port Vale to join Telford on a permanent deal, the non-league club has confirmed."

    According to the Yorkshire Evening Post "Guiseley gained revenge after their heavy loss to Bradford (Park Avenue) by beating them at the Horsfall Stadium 2-1.

    And Guiseley joint-manager Marcus Bignot marvelled at his players’ performance, and work rate.

    'I’m delighted with how we played,' he said, 'To come to the side who are top of the table and win, it is a big three points. The players have worked really hard and to get this victory means a lot.'

    Park Avenue boss, Mark Bower, added 'I thought it was a tight game, the pitch suited them a little bit more than us, I’m disappointed with the way we lost. The reaction from the players is key; we know we can go on another unbeaten run'...

    After the 5-1 win just under a week ago, Avenue entered this full of confidence at the top of the National League North... With moments to go until half-time, Guiseley took the lead when Purver put in another great delivery, this time Kayode Odejayi was well placed and flicked his header in...

    An ex-Guiseley player levelled the scores when Nicky Clee crossed and Oli Johnson took the knockdown and, after a fine touch on the angle, scored. Momentum seemed to be with Avenue but Guiseley went up the other end, and a low cross found Rowan Liburd who improvised a finish to give the Lions the lead again. Avenue were reduced to 10 men moments later when Jamie Spencer was sent off for two bookable offences.

    Guiseley saw the game out".

    Nuneaton Borough report that "Northern Irish striker Adam McGurk has left Nuneaton Borough after three months with the Club. McGurk made 17 appearances, scoring in the away games at Stockport County and Chester, whilst also contributing three assists".

    1 January 2019


    Above: Alty defend a first-half corner.

    Six hours of football against Stockport County have not witnessed a goal for Altrincham this season. And there were scant occasions when that looked likely to happen in this match as an efficient and well organized, rather than exciting, County side completed a league double over their Cheshire neighbours.

    The visitors deserved the win but the manner of the game's only goal was somewhat fortunate. An Alty clearance some 30 yards out from goal hit the nearby Simon Richman and laid him low, with the ball rebounding to a County man. The ball was worked up the middle of the Alty defence for Warburton to score in the 28th minute.

    Neither keeper was to be overworked for the rest of the afternoon and, in Alty's case, the team was unable to provide any real service to striker Jordan Hulme, who was returning after suspension.

    Alty did have a decent spell around the hour mark but Stockport managed the game well, slowing things down at every opportunity. A late flurry from Alty produced a shot narrowly wide from Hancock but that was about as good as it got. With the Hatters winning the corner count by a large margin there could be no complaints from Altrincham at the outcome of the match. Altrincham dropped to ninth with this result.

    ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Andy White, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Simon Richman, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Kallum Mantack. Subs: 12. Chris Sang, 14. Sean Williams, 15. Ben Harrison, 16. Shaun Densmore, 20. Elliot Wynne.

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


    Tuesday 1 January 2019, Vanarama National League North
    • Alfreton Town 1-1 Boston United
    • Altrincham 0-1 Stockport County
    • Ashton United 1-2 Curzon Ashton
    • Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-2 Guiseley
    • Chester FC 0-0 Southport
    • Chorley 4-0 FC United of Manchester (P'Keefee and Elliot Newby socred a brace apiece after FCUM had been reduced to ten men)>
    • Kidderminster Harriers 2-1 Hereford FC
    • Leamington 0-0 Brackley Town
    • Nuneaton Borough 1-2 AFC Telford United
    • Spennymoor Town 2-2 Blyth Spartans
    • York City 4-0 Darlington


    Altrincham welcome Stockport County to the J Davidson Stadium today (New Year's Day) for the fourth meeting of the clubs this season. County have won all three previous matches (League, FA Cup and FA Trophy) and have yet to concede a goal to the Robins in the 270 minutes of action.

    Phil Parkinson played a much changed team against County in the FA Trophy match, which was, nevertheless, the closest of the three defeats as Alty only lost 0-1 at Moss Lane. In the away league game at Edgeley Park on Boxing Day and The FA Cup match in October the score was 2-0 to County.

    Stockport start the New Year game third in the table, two points ahead of Altrincham but having played an additional game. Alty have scored seven more goals in the league than County but have conceded twelve more than the visitors at the other end.

    Alty will have Jordan Hulme available again after completing his three-match suspension but, as reported below, loanee winger Ashley Hemmings has returned to AFC Fylde, which may mean a start for Kallum Mantack.


    The Lytham St Anne's Express reports that "Ash Hemmings [right] comes into AFC Fylde’s squad for the New Year's Day rematch with Barrow after ending his loan spell with Altrincham a fortnight ahead of schedule...

    A shortage of bodies has prompted Fylde boss Dave Challinor to recall the 27 year-old early. Fellow winger Danny Williams and Jim Kellermann both end their loan spells at Mill Farm after tomorrow's home game, while Lewis Montrose and James Hardy are injured. Challinor said 'We are short on numbers and needed to have Ash with us. The loan has done what we’d all hoped. He’s been well received there and it may be something we can look at doing in the future if his game-time here becomes limited.' Hemmings joined the National League North club on December 4 and has scored twice in five Altrincham appearances."

    Footnote: Ashley made 4(+1) appearances for Altrincham and scored twice.


    As the above statistics show, the calendar year 2018 witnessed the same number of Altrincham wins as 2017, 26 victories in all competitions. However, the 2018 total was amassed from eight fewer games. Likewise the fewer games in 2018 were no barrier to Alty scoring more goals in 2018 than in 2017 (106 v 104).

    However, in 2018 there were 29 home and only 23 away whereas in 2018 there were 27 at home and 32 away in the respective calendar years.

    The contrast between 2018 and 2016 is unsurprisingly stark with the number of wins and losses and goals for and against being not far from mirror images of the one year to the other.

    John Edwards, Press & Media Officer at Altrincham FC has produced an article on ten memories from Altrincham FC's 2018 successes. The article is on the Altrincham FC official site.


    Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records remind us that last New Year's Day, there was a seven-goal "thriller" at the J. Davidson Stadium as Altrincham lost to Witton Albion.

    Altrincham's 16-game unbeaten run in the league came to an end in a match played in atrocious weather, in which they led twice but succumbed to two late goals. It was their first league defeat since a loss in equally atrocious weather at Workington in September 2017. Manager Phil Parkinson had indicated that he would rotate his squad for the game, given that Alty had only played 48 hours earlier. The changes that he made were to move Hannigan and Densmore to the bench and bring in Jones and White, respectively, to start.

    On an already soft pitch, heavy and increasingly squally rain fell from the kick-off but Alty took a sixth-minute lead when the visitors' keeper was unable to hold a Poole shot and Hulme netted the loose ball. However, Albion levelled just three minutes later when Tom Owens made space on the edge of the box and scored a fine goal with a rising shot which went in, off the post.

    Witton then took a deserved lead as Foley slotted home from close range after Witton had struck the crossbar in the 24th minute. After their disappointing first-half showing, Alty improved in the second period with Johnston looking more dangerous on the less sodden side of the pitch. They levelled after 54 minutes when Poole poked the ball home after good work in the box from Hulme.

    Next, debutant full-back Andy White's low 25 yarder gave Altrincham a 3-2 lead after 67 minutes.

    Altrincham looked to have the game in their hands at that stage but eight minutes from time a good Witton move up the right allowed Owens to net his second and Albion's third goal. The outcome was decided when an uncharacteristic misheader by Ben Harrison fell to Will Jones who volleyed past Thompson to clinch the game for the visitors in the 88th minute.

    ALTRINCHAM : 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. James JONES, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. James POOLE, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. Tom PEERS, 14. Sean MILLER, 15. Shaun DENSMORE, 16. Tom HANNIGAN, 20. Tim DEASY


    Following last Saturday's draw, the Yorkshire Post reports that "Late drama was the order of the day as Guiseley and Altrincham drew 2-2. Goals from Niall Heaton and Will Hatfield for the Lions had cancelled out then bettered a Ashley Hemmings effort before Connor Hampson ensured the points were shared.

    After the match Guiseley joint-manager, Russ O’Neill, said 'We got the reaction we wanted, yet it is frustrating to not win it with the timing of the goal. The way played is something we will take the positives from. On another day, we could have won; we will now be ready for Bradford (Park Avenue).'

    Both teams were looking for a reaction after being defeated on Boxing Day by Avenue and Stockport County respectively... It didn’t take long in the second half for the Robins to take the lead as Chris Sang delivered a low cross across the area and Hemmings took a touch and delivered with a calm finish.

    Altrincham had several half-chances saved by Dewhurst, who really impressed, stopping efforts from both Chris Sang and Josh Hancock. The hosts levelled with 20 minutes to play when an Alex Purver corner found Niall Heaton, who powered a header into the top corner.

    Guiseley thought they had won it thanks to Hatfield being in the right place to score with a tap-in after Liburd had seen his shot saved. But, with time running out, Hampson was in the right place when he collected a pass on the edge of the area and curled his effort past Dewhurst and into the bottom right-hand corner. This ensured the points were shared."


    The Liverpool Echo reports that "Southport FC bosses fear an inside job after power tools were used in a raid at the club’s stadium. Thieves broke into the Merseyrail Community Stadium, on Haig Avenue, at around 11pm on Saturday before attempting to break into a safe stored in an office.

    But in attempting to open the safe using an angle grinder, they triggered a fire alarm and fled from the scene empty handed, leaving their equipment behind. Thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused during the raid... After seeing the damage the following morning, director and co-owner Phil Hodgkinson said he was ‘100% certain’ the burglary was carried out by someone with information from the inside.

    'They had far too much inside knowledge,' he said.

    According to Mr Hodgkinson, the burglars cut cabling linked to the stadium’s WiFi, used player kits from the kitroom to cover up windows, only entered rooms with a direct use to the operation, and had the exact length of extension cables needed to reach the safe.

    The raid comes just months after hundreds of thousands of pounds was spent on a major renovation of the stadium’s main stand, which houses the area affected by the burglary, and just weeks after the club’s Skelmersdale training ground was badly hit by an arson attack. There is no suggestion that the fire and the break-in are linked, but both attacks caused thousands of pounds of damage and come as the Southport bosses work to put the club back into the centre of the community.

    Despite the latest setback, Mr Hodgkinson remained defiant that the club would not be deterred from achieving its aims on and off the pitch. He said 'It is frustrating but we’ll just crack on. Strength in adversity is needed and that’s what we’ll do.'

    Southport Football Club "can confirm that... the club are extremely devastated, as substantial damage has been caused in a part of the main stand in what was a well-prepared and thought-out attack. There is currently an on-going investigation with Merseyside Police and the club would like to thank local residents, volunteers and staff who alerted and attended shortly after the break-in". Later the club added, "It is very much business as usual from tomorrow though. Most of the damage and mess has been cleared and plans are in place to ensure security is heightened as a result. The club will now unfortunately have to foot the bill of 24-hour manned surveillance in the short term. In addition, no cash will be, or is ever, left on-site overnight and new steel shutter doors will be installed across the main stand.

    As a club we would now like to move on swiftly so we can focus on the upcoming football fixtures and our community work, whilst the police investigation continues".

    On the field at Haig Avenue, Cheshire Live tells us that "Southport boss Liam Watson admits he'd swap places in the table with Chester FC ahead of their fourth meeting this season. The Blues welcome the Sandgrounders... with both clubs experiencing different fortunes with their form as of late. Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson's side go into the clash on the back of successive defeats on the road where they have conceded five goals with none in reply.

    The first of these was the 3-0 Boxing Day defeat to Watson's side at Haig Avenue... The Sandgrounders meanwhile are one of the form teams in the National League North at present. They have won six of their last eight games in the division, including their last three on the bounce, and last tasted defeat in the competition at the end of October at the hands of Blyth Spartans. They are now 14th in the division and sit 10 points behind the Blues going into tomorrow's match.

    And though both clubs have very different recent form, Watson admitted he would swap places with Morley and Johnson's side who are fifth in the table as he praised the Blues management team for the success they have experienced now at several places in their careers... Watson said 'Chester have got two good managers, they’re both proven winners now at not just one club, now it’s at three clubs. They’ll have them organised and they’ll have them right. They’ve got good players and I know you might turn around and say they’re on the back of a couple of defeats, but you’d swap places with them now, wouldn’t you, with where they are?

    'I think they’ve had to put a squad together at the start of the season, so I know for a fact it’ll be a very, very difficult game and it’ll be a difficult afternoon for us, but all we’ve got to do is try and make it a difficult afternoon for them.'"

    The Chester Standard informs us that "Chester's display against Hereford [was] branded 'absolute nonsense' by joint boss Anthony Johnson.

    Chester's miserable Christmas continued as they fell to a second consecutive away defeat after going down 2-0 to old Football League rivals Hereford. Despite a difficult start to life in National League North, the Bulls had enjoyed a run of four home wins in all competitions before this fixture and, with Chester only winning twice on their travels this season, this always looked a tricky prospect, especially without the injured trio of Akwasi Asante, Gary Stopforth and Danny Livesey.

    And, after goals in each half from Danny Greenslade and Mike Symons condemned the Blues to another defeat on the road, joint manager Anthony Johnson was left regretting a performance which saw Chester slip to fifth in the table, eight points behind leaders Bradford Park Avenue.

    'From minute one, defensively we looked all at sea and they got in behind us two or three times,' said Johnson, whose problems mounted when full back Matty Thomson was stretchered off with a serious leg injury after 15 minutes. 'Matty picks his injury up and everyone shuffles across one. Matty Waters comes into the team and it was a struggle at times. Having said that, in the first half their keeper has pulled off two of the best saves I think I’ve ever seen live, but if we’d have scored either of them, I’d have been absolutely astounded and shocked because we didn’t deserve anything going our way at that point.

    'I’ll be honest with you, that group today, excluding the youth team boys, lacked leadership. It lacked aggression. It lacked what I would say is a hallmark of mine and Bernard’s sides, which is a very high work ethic and a winning mentality. But then, as I turned round and I see who is stood behind me, Danny Livesey, Scott Burton, Gary Stopforth, Akwasi Asante, Matty Hughes, and I’ve got my answers as to why we lacked them things. It’s still a group and it’s still a squad but, ultimately, some of those players that are in that group need that experience and need that leadership next to them'...

    'I’m not looking to make excuses for anybody, but when six of your seven or eight top earners, best players, whatever you want to call them, are stood there, they’re your reasons as to why we’re seeing what we’re seeing on the pitch in the last two games,' added Johnson, who confirmed that discussions were 'ongoing' with Tamworth about signing Asante on a permanent basis following the end of the striker's loan period. 'It’s not acceptable. In no way, shape or form some of the stuff I’ve seen today is acceptable.

    'It’s not an excuse, but people have seen what we look like with the ball when we’ve got our players, but that’s rubbish, that’s absolute nonsense what I’ve just watched and what I watched on Boxing Day. But having said that, I said to the lads this is the reason why. That’s what happens in the sixth level of English football when your best players are missing and you come to a place like Hereford who got a great win on Saturday. Fair play to them, the best team won on the day.'"

    And Cheshire Live adds that "Chester FC joint-boss Anthony Johnson believes none of the club's contingent of injured players are likely to return to the fray for the New Year's Day clash against Southport...

    Saturday's game was Asante's last of his loan spell from Tamworth, though Johnson revealed that, though the forward did not play against the Bulls, the Blues are looking to close in on a permanent deal for the striker. Midfielder Gary Roberts was due in hospital for a scan yesterday on an inflamed bowel, while new signing Bradley Jackson went under the knife only last week for a nose operation, the joint-boss said...

    When asked if the Blues would be getting any bodies back for tomorrow's game, Johnson said 'Probably not. Actually, we’ve probably picked up another two today. It is what it is. Unfortunately it’s a long season, we’ve had an unbelievable run of injuries, and I’m not talking hamstrings, I’m talking knee injuries and it’s just been non-stop... When they’re all missing at once, it’s tough. It’s hard work, but we’re still in a fabulous position when you consider everything that we’ve been through and you consider what we’ve got to come back into the group for the second half of the season, we’re in a good position.

    'At this moment in time it just seems to be one step forward and two back... We’re just a wreck at the minute. Bradley Jackson had a nose operation two days ago. I am making excuses and giving reasons, but it’s tough at the minute.'"

    From Cheshire Live we read that "Hereford FC boss Marc Richards felt his side were 'excellent' in their first half performance against an injury-hit Chester FC side as they extended their unbeaten run at Edgar Street to five matches. The Bulls claimed a 2-0 over the Blues...

    Richards acknowledged the situation the Blues found themselves in with missing players, but... said 'I thought in the first half we were very good, a little bit sloppy at times in the second half, but managed to do enough to see the game out, so I’m really happy. We looked at the last couple of games and we did our analysis on what we were to expect. I think they were struggling a bit to be fair to them. I think they had probably four out.

    'Obviously it didn’t help with the early injury to the right-back as well. I think they were a bit depleted, but to be fair to the boys, I thought in the first half they were excellent. Going in at 1-0, we said ‘look lads, you get a clean sheet in the second half, then it takes care of itself’... The whole team really defended well and to see that last five to 10 minutes out, I’ve put Harvey on just to hopefully shore it up and luckily it worked and we got a 2-0 win'".

    In their last match, Stockport County snatched a late win over Kidderminster, from where the unofficial Harriers Online tells us "The Harriers left Edgeley Park downbeat and defeated by a resurgent Stockport County...

    Stockport pushed and pushed but kept seeing efforts flash across the goal... Restricted to half chances and pot shots the Harriers were on the back foot... County began to swarm forward and put the Harriers backline under severe pressure before the breakthrough was finally made by right back Sam Minihan from a Scott Duxbury corner, won from a tussle between Warburton and Johnson.

    Deflated and downbeat, it’s a poor end to 2018 for Harriers as County go from strength to strength".

    Kidderminster Harriers tell us that they "have recalled Joel Taylor from his loan spell at Halesowen Town. Taylor had been featuring heavily for The Yeltz during his few weeks there, but has been brought back with the Reds camp struggling with illness and injuries.

    According to York Press "York City’s soft centre must be addressed. York City boss Sam Collins has repeatedly stressed the need for fight in his team, but that desire has to be commensurate with the choice of players in his starting XI. A lack of bite in midfield was again evident at Blyth and has become a team trait that is proving especially costly away from home, where the last six National League North contests have all ended in defeat.

    The backbone of the team needs stiffening and that has been evident since Simon Heslop’s two months on the sidelines with injury coincided with Russ Penn’s departure to Kidderminster. Both players have their critics, but their ability to anchor in front of the back four made the Minstermen a more resilient team on the road.

    Three out of City’s four away victories this term were achieved with Penn in the side. Heslop, meanwhile, has not been on the losing team in an away match that he has kicked off since the opening game of the season at Chorley.

    An out-of-position Kallum Griffiths tried valiantly to fill the void left by the pair, but always looked in need to more assistance in the engine room and Heslop, who returned to action as a second-half substitute at Blyth, immediately had his name taken for a determined tackle on Adam Wrightson. He could take some time to get back up to speed after missing 13 games following knee surgery, but City must provide greater resistance in the central areas of the park if they are to reverse their reputation as sixth-tier pushovers on their travels.

    A 4-2-3-1 formation, at least outside of Bootham Crescent, could prove the way forward for the Minstermen, with two defensive-minded anchor men shielding an oft-exposed back line. Collins could consider employing a centre back in one of those positions too, with Dan Parslow and Kennedy Digie, who have both performed there in the past, capable of providing the steel required in that area of the pitch.

    Sam Collins is nowhere nearer knowing what his best central-defensive pairing is... Collins has now named seven different centre-back pairings in the club’s last 13 fixtures; Hamza Bencherif and Joe Tait, Tom Allan and Tait, Sean Newton and Joe Davis, Kennedy Digie and Davis, Tait and Davis, Tait and Dan Parslow, and Digie and Bencherif. With the exception of Digie, the other seven players have all performed at a higher level and five, Bencherif, Allan, Newton, Davis and Parslow, are former Football League campaigners. Allan remains on loan at Alfreton, but Collins must now decide on which two players he can place the most trust in and construct a defensive shape to the whole team aimed at rectifying a sorry sequence of two clean sheets from 17 league fixtures...

    Jake Wright deserves a sustained run in the team... This term, Jordan Burrow heads City’s score-charts on 12 goals, but only six of those efforts have come in the league and four have been from the penalty spot... having otherwise endured two six-match droughts during the season. In contrast to Wright’s first half at Blyth, whole 90 minutes can pass without Burrow getting a sniff at goal and there remains a belief that his biggest strength might lie as a foil for a more natural marksman, rather than being the focal goal point.

    The squad is in need of trimming during January. Even with Kallum Griffiths injured and Tom Allan and Alex Kempster both out on loan, the Minstermen still left six experienced senior players – Alex Bray, Sean Newton, Jon Parkin, Dan Parslow, Joe Tait and Wes York - at home for Saturday’s contest. Such an over-swollen squad is unique at sixth-tier level.

    York Press also tells us that "Simon Heslop could be restored to the York City starting line-up for [the] New Year’s Day home clash against Darlington... In his absence from the first XI, due to minor knee surgery, the Minstermen have lost nine of their last 14 games and manager Sam Collins has confessed... 'Hessie is in contention to start a game again'...

    Kallum Griffiths, meanwhile, has missed the last three matches due to a groin problem, but Collins is also hoping the former Spennymoor right back might be back... City’s new-look centre-back partnership of Hamza Bencherif and Kennedy Digie could be given another opportunity to prove their worth too, despite the 2-1 loss at Blyth... 'It’s difficult because you’re trying to find a formula that works with a pairing,' Collins admitted...

    The City boss went on to challenge his team to exact revenge on Darlington... 'After what happened there, we need to go out and ram it straight back down their throats and do the same to them,' he declared.

    The Leamington Courier reports on the Brakes' 4-1 loss to AFC Telford United, saying "This was far from an ideal end to the year but while Telford were deserved winners, a crazy final ten minutes distorted the scoreline and, more worryingly, may create more lasting problems in the forthcoming weeks for Brakes.

    It had all started so well. Kieran Dunbar forced a fourth-minute corner on the Leamington right, delivering the dead ball himself from which Colby Bishop connected from six yards to send the ball rolling slowly towards the net. Junior English may have impeded keeper Andy Wycherley’s view and his dive was in vain as the ball rolled almost apologetically over the line.

    Yet from a winning position, for the second game running Brakes found themselves behind at half-time. Leamington failed to clear their lines following an 11th-minute free-kick and Brendon Daniels picked up the ball on the edge of the box and crashed in a powerful effort... Just 16 minutes after going in front, Leamington found themselves behind, Amari Morgan-Smith converting from the spot after going down under the challenge of Joe Clarke...

    Former Brakes skipper Stephan Morley was involved in the clinching third goal which arrived in the 79th minute... Leamington’s challenge disintegrated in the closing stages however, beginning when Gudger was shown a straight red card for a challenge mid-way inside his own half. On first viewing it looked a harsh decision and was certainly the precursor for what followed.

    The ball was launched out of the Brakes defence down the left and substitute Jamie Hood’s first touch was poor. He attempted to atone for this as he went in to challenge Deeney, appearing to win the ball but having used both feet the referee deemed it to be a sending off offence. It was left for Udoh to drive the final nail into the coffin."

    Meanwhile, the Shropshire Star tells us that "Gavin Cowan has admitted he will have a selection headache when it comes to picking his defenders after Dom Smith’s impressive performance against Leamington. Smith, who has found starts hard to come by this term, replaced the suspended Shane Sutton who served a one-match ban in the 4-1 win over the Brakes.

    Cowan insists... 'Dom was immense, he was different class. I think I can say he has been patient, because he had a difficult start to the season when he was suspended for the first three games. Then there has been the quality of performances of the other lads who have come in. But he came in and took his chance and I am really pleased for him. It does pose me a selection headche... His attitude and the way he is, it’s different class.

    'He is one of those who puts his heart on the pitch, and he has been immense around the rest of the lads. There has been no sulking or moments when he has put his head down, he has waited for his chance and taken it so Nuneaton will be a tough one.'

    That was the only change against Leamington as Cowan again left out James McQuilkin, Henry Cowans and Steph Morley, three of the top performers for the Bucks over recent months. Cowan said that is the luxury he now has as Bucks' boss, which isn’t something all other managers can enjoy.

    He added 'Just look how lucky I am? I am fortunate to be able to bring on the lads I did, and they are first-team regulars. It is the difference from other teams, we are fortunate enough to have that strength in depth now.'"

    According to NL Daily "Boston United have signed attacking midfielder Tai-Reece Chisholm on a month's loan from Barnsley. Chisholm joined the Tykes on a one-year deal in July. The diminutive midfielder spent the latter end of last season on trial with the Reds and put in a number of impressive performances with the under-23s... The 18-year-old, who began his career with Birmingham City, has a quick turn of pace and an eye for goal@.

    Also, Boston United report that "Striker Andre Johnson has linked up with Hednesford Town on a dual registration deal. The 23-year-old, who scored twice within the Pilgrims' first three league matches of the season, has found opportunities hard to come by during the winter months and has linked up with the Staffordshire club in pursuit of regular first team football. The Pilgrims will retain Johnson's National League registration."