February 2019

28 February 2019


In Tuesday night's match at the J. Davidson Stadium, Knutsford side Egerton FC took a 26th minute lead from the penalty spot. The visitors' striker, Darius Ofei, won possession but was brought down by Tom Clarke as he got into the box. The number nine got up to beat Andrew Jones from twelve yards.

Right: Alty salute Callum Dolan after his goal had made it 3-1. Left to right we see Dontai Gabidon, Matt Cook, Callum Dolan, Tom Clarke, Sam Heathcote and Jordan Hulme, with Reece Coley in the background.

Nine minutes later, Alty levelled the score when Jordan Hulme, playing to regain fitness after serving his four-match suspension, turned well and netted. The visitors had looked threatening up front but were disappointed to concede a second goal just before the interval when Reece Coley tapped in, after good work on the right by Dontai Gabidon.

The second half saw Altrincham impose themselves but the visitors matched the hosts' tally of three second-half goals. First of all, Alty made it 3-1, three minutes after the break, when a corner from the right evaded Sam Heathcote but fell for new signing Callum Dolan. From more than twenty yards he lashed a fierce drive into the net.

Substitute Ben Elliott made it 4-1 after 69 minutes when he worked himself an opening before finishing confidently. Two minutes later Hulme made it 5-1, with a neat dribble inside the box and a calm finish.

But, eight minutes from time, Egerton capitalised on substitute Sam Corbishley's mispass to score their second through Abzuhalli. And the visitors added a third, from the second penalty of the night awarded against Tom Clarke. This one seemed a little harsh but mirrored the sequence of the first spot-kick with Ofei both winning the penalty before converting it (90 mins).

ALTRINCHAM RESERVES (Red & white striped shorts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Andrew JONES (c), 2. Harry SHERIDAN, 3. Matthew COOK, 4. Callum JONES, 5. Sam HEATHCOTE, 6. Tom CLARKE, 7. Reece COLEY, 8. Ryan BARRY, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Callum DOLAN, 11. Dontai GABIDON. Subs: 12. Madison DAVIS, 14. Sam CORBISHLEY, 15. Max POUNCEY, 16. Matt GRAETZER, 17. Ben ELLIOTT.

EGERTON FC (Yellow shirts and socks, black shorts) 1. Nicolae Stinca, 2. Da'jour Buffonge, 3. Jordane Corme, 4. Rory Gorton, 5. Omar Mbowe, 6. Jim Chornoski (c), 7. Youssuff Abzuhalli, 8. Jack Guerney-Smith, 9. Darius Ofei, 10. Lion Donnerley, 11. Omar Holness. Subs: 12. Kisani Evans, 13. Dougie Pringle, 14. Reece Prescott, 15. Owen Farrell, 16. Josh Grosse.

Altrincham Reserves are eight points clear at the top of the Cheshire League Premier, with second-placed Pilkington having two games in hand. Third-placed Poynton are 21 points behind Alty with four matches in hand.

The next fixture for the Reserves is on Saturday, 2 March, at home to Crewe FC.


On Saturday 2 March, Chester FC visit Altrincham, followed by Blyth Spartans on Tuesday, 5 March. Those two clubs met on Deeside on Tuesday night with the hosts winning 2-0.

Cheshire Live reports that "If only Chester FC could find a way replicate their home form on their travels then they would be very dangerous indeed. Second-half goals from Craig Mahon and George Waring sealed a vital three points for the Blues against fellow play-off hopefuls Blyth Spartans to give their ambitions of a top-seven finish a massive boost.

It was a hard-working and determined performance with notable roles for Mahon, Scott Burton, Brad Jackson and Gary Roberts and one that extended Chester's wonderful home form, a 10th win in front of their own fans in 16 league games. While the pre-match chatter may have been playing down the notion of revenge, the manner of the 8-1 defeat at Croft Park earlier in the season would likely have been seared into the memories of the players present that day; it certainly was hard to forget for the fans.

Chester named an unchanged side from the one that was beaten 2-0 at Bradford (Park Avenue) on Saturday with Brad Jackson overcoming a knee injury to take his place in the side at right back... It had the feel of a must-win game for both sides. Chester began the contest in bright fashion and set about pressing a Blyth, side who had only arrived at 7pm after a long coach journey...

Chester were busy but lacking in a cutting edge with the visitors happy to let the Blues come at them at stifle the counter attack... In fact it took until the 63rd minute for the first chance to arrive, and what a chance it was! Burton broke and freed Mooney whose smart pass inside wrong-footed the Blyth defence and sent Anthony Dudley in one on one but his effort was denied by Jameson, cannoning out to safety.

But Chester didn't have to wait too much longer as three minutes later they had the breakthrough they had been seeking. Jackson did superbly to cut inside and thread a pass to Mahon in the box, with the diminutive Irishman calmly picking his spot in the far corner and beating Jameson...

The second goal would soon arrive, though, when Burton clipped in a central free kick and found Waring who had peeled off his marker and had the space to fire home an angled effort from close range...

Chester: Shenton, Jackson, Howson, Livesey, Waters, Burton, Roberts, Mooney (McAllister 78), Mahon (Murray 86), Waring (Marsh-Hughes 78), Dudley. Subs not used: King, Thomson.

Blyth: Jameson, Nicholson, Watson, Green, Buddle, Laing, Rivers (Reid 54), Mullen (Fewster 78), Maguire, Holmes (Wrightson 65), Dale. Subs: Oliver, Horner

Star man: Brad Jackson - Near flawless and set up Mahon's goal superbly".

After the match, the National League added that "Anthony Johnson says Chester need to start replicating their home form on the road if they want to be in the National League next season... After being out of form, Johnson said he knew all along his side would start producing.

'I don’t want to be disrespectful and say it was easy, but it was almost a complete performance', he told the club's Twitter. 'I’m made up for the lads because we’ve took some criticism, rightly so ,but what they’ve shown is what we’ve believed all long. The reason we’ve got a little bit upset with them is because we know how good they can be and (tonight) they were fantastic. You don’t beat Blyth without every single player being on it. The work rate and intensity off the ball was brilliant.'

With another crunch game with Altrincham in the offing this weekend, Johnson challenged his side to use the momentum on their travels.

'We said when we came in we wanted to make our home ground a fortress but we definitely need to sort out what’s going on on the road,' he said. 'You don’t win promotion or affect the top seven by being bottom of the league with the away record. But Alty are a good side and, if we’re not on it like we were tonight, they’ll take us to the cleaners. It’s a really tough game so we’ll enjoy tonight for an hour or so and then we start planning'".


Off the field news about Chester FC comes from Cheshire Live to the effect that manager "Anthony Johnson has slammed the Cheshire FA claiming an administration error at their end denied Chester FC the chance to appeal George Green's red card. Green was sent off in the first half of the Cheshire Senior Cup defeat at Nantwich Town earlier in the month and Chester sought to appeal the decision after footage showed that the Blues' midfielder appeared to win the ball fairly.

Chester felt they would have strong grounds to get the ban, which would be four games, due to it being Green's second red card, overturned but have been left furious at being unable to do so after it emerged that referee, Sam Mulhall, submitted his report eight days after the game. And with appeals having to be submitted within seven days of the incident, Chester and Green have been faced with a farcical situation.

The Blues, as is the case for all clubs, use the relevant online portal to deal with cautions, sendings off and appeals and appealed at the earliest opportunity they could, but the earliest opportunity only arose on the portal several days after the incident by which time the Cheshire FA told Chester that it was too late.

Speaking to the Chester Chronicle, a furious Johnson said 'It is a four-game ban because he has had two red cards and I think anybody who has seen it back agrees that it was never a sending off, not when you compare it to other sendings off that we have seen here, namely Andy Halls (against Guiseley which was overturned after appeal). We have been told as a football club that we can't appeal because the referee put his report in eight days after the game when you have to appeal within seven days. That is not acceptable but we can't do anything about it.

'If we keep losing games then me and Bernard are accountable as managers of a football club but who is holding people accountable for putting forms in late and not allowing us to appeal? And it's not just that, he (Green) is losing money. He has got two children to feed, he misses out on the football, the win bonus and vital minutes. George is flying in training and he hasn't shown the true version of himself yet and is now being punished for an admin error that was nothing to do with him, nothing to do with Chester Football Club.'

Johnson called for more accountability but said he wouldn't be holding his breath that the matter would be resolved in a satisfactory matter, with Green having already missed two games because of the error.

Johnson added 'God knows how many times it has happened this season when we have been reprimanded for not putting things in on time for the youth team and stuff like that. They say 'Oh yeah, sorry, it's our mistake', but that is no good to us. If they see the appeal are they then going to reimburse us his fine? No they're not, of course they're not. There needs to be accountability because players are missing out on football when really it was a good, honest challenge and I saw worse tackles tonight (against Blyth Spartans) and on Saturday and they were punished by a yellow card. It is almost that Mario Balotelli thing, it's like "why always George Green".

'We might as well talk to the wall. It has got to the point where, rightly or wrongly, George has tweeted the Cheshire FA asking why and he has spoken to them on the phone. But you might as well speak to that breeze block because you get as much sense back out them'. The Chronicle have sought a comment from the Cheshire FA over the matter but have yet to receive a response."

With/A> plenty of ex-Alty players involved, Ashton United report how "Another spirited performance saw Ashton come up just short against their visitors from the Midlands [Kidderminster Harriers] at Hurst Cross. With Connor Dimaio handed a start up front, the hosts were looking to build on their impressive win at Chorley and came close in the opening minutes...

With the interval approaching a fine move put Kallum Mantack into the area from where his cross saw Jennings bring a fine low save to his left out of Hall.

On the restart Sheridan whipped in a free kick which went right a cross goal beating everyone and Craig Hobson forced a tip away from Dimaio’s lay off.

Just past the hour the decisive moment arrived as Billy Daniels picked up a loose ball and rifled it home from 25 yards and, as Ashton tried to strike back, Sheridan won the ball in midfield but shot well wide. Hobson’s lay off then saw Jennings shot blocked from a promising position and Daniels’s pass found Chambers volleying over for Harriers.

Sub Liam Tomsett made a typical run along the by line before winning a corner and with two minutes left controversy rained as Tomsett appeared to be pushed over in the area from Reed’s flick with Mr Bannister unmoved and subsequently sending Ashton manager Jody Banim off for protesting.

Ashton Utd: McMahon, Crowley, Regan, Chalmers, Ashworth, Goulding, Jennings (Tomsett 77), Sheridan, Hobson (Reed 72), Dimaio, Mantack. SNU: Roberts, Kay, Swaby-Nevin."

According to the Shropshire Star, "AFC Telford United’s players intend on sticking together as long as they can to ‘create something massive’, striker Amari Morgan-Smith has declared.

The Bucks could well be on to something special as they are in the semi-finals of the FA Trophy, preparing to face Leyton Orient over two legs. And they are also sixth in National League North, on course to achieve a play-off place.

When asked if they would like to do both, win the Trophy, and achieve promotion,– Morgan-Smith said 'Definitely. We can only give it our utmost and see where we get... To a man, everyone’s bang at it. Hopefully, we can stay together for a long time and create something massive here at this football club'.

Personally, Morgan-Smith is in the midst of a hot streak in front of goal. He has scored three goals in Telford’s last two outings and would love to continue his run at Boston United in the league this weekend. Last season’s top scorer Marcus Dinanga returned to the club last month, but Morgan-Smith will keep him out of the team if he continues to score at a regular rate.

And, on if Dinanga’s arrival put him under pressure, he added 'Most definitely. It makes you pull up your socks a bit more. At the top level, they all have it, the big squads, so you have to produce week in, week out'".

Altrincham's next away trip is to Bootham Crescent, from where York Press announces that "York City forgotten man Alex Harris has re-emerged as a strong contender for a first XI recall, according to manager Steve Watson. The 24-year-old Scotsman has only started one of Watson’s first seven fixtures in charge...

He also failed to kick off any of the last six matches Watson’s predecessor Sam Collins oversaw, but he is forcing himself back into the Minstermen reckoning following an eye-catching substitute cameo during Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Nuneaton.

Harris’s sixth assist of the season, only Jordan Burrow has claimed more this term in City’s squad, teed up fellow replacement Hamza Bencherif’s 78th-minute goal at the weekend and the former Hibernian attacker also stung Nuneaton keeper Cam Belford’s hands during the latter stages. Having been used in the middle of the park previously by both Watson and Collins, Harris was given his chance on the right wing in the Minstermen’s 4-3-3 formation against Nuneaton.

It is a position the former Scottish Cup finalist believes suits him best and, while first XI slots are currently difficult to claim with ten players having started each of the team’s last three games that have all ended in victory, Watson now regards Harris as a different alternative to Wes York, who he replaced on the flank... Watson said... 'He let me know that a lot of his football has been played in wide positions. Most of his football for me has been played centrally, so I was keen to give him some time in a match setting in the position he likes to play, and I thought he was very good on the ball. I think he’s a very gifted player tactically and it suited him when the game opened up.

'While the team has not needed changing much during three wins on the spin, I’ve learnt that, when I need to shuffle the pack, he’s a good option and I certainly know he can do a different job to Wes out there. Wes is a little more direct and stretches teams with his running, whilst Alex is more of a dribbler, who plays one-twos and is tough to play against in that respect.'

With Bencherif also making an impact from the bench, Watson is still keen to use his squad to the full despite deciding on a settled side and revealed that Jake Wright, who was recalled to the matchday 16 after missing out completely the previous weekend at Kidderminster, retains strong claims for pitch time, especially if the team are in need of goals".

We learn from the Lancashire Eevening Post that, on Tuesday night, "Alex Newby’s sublime strike set Chorley on the way to a 2-0 win over Nuneaton Borough. And Magpies boss Jamie Vermiglio says that will not be the last fantastic goal from his midfielder. Newby hit double figures earlier in the month and added another to his tally in the 63rd minute.

He was then fouled in the box in injury time to earn a penalty with Adam Blakeman netting from the spot. That saw the Magpies restore their lead at the top of the National League North to three points over second-placed Stockport, although County and Spennymoor Town have games in hand on Vermiglio’s men.

Vermiglio said 'Alex has found some good form over the last five or six games and he deserved his goal. He is constantly plugging away trying to make little openings with the ball... Credit to the rest of the lads they plugged away and we got the result'.

Vermiglio had asked the fans to get behind the team after a subdued atmosphere in the 1-0 defeat to Ashton United on Saturday. And he praised the 900 plus crowd at Victory Park last night for their role in the victory. He said 'I’m more than happy with that because it could have gone the other way. It was getting a little bit nervy when it approached that 60 to 70-minute mark. We scored and they stuck with us. Just before we scored they started to sing; it is obviously a coincidence but it does help and lifts the players massively'".

By way of a correction, the Vanarama National League confirms the North division's promotion play-off dates.

Wednesday 1st May 2019

  • Qualifying Round - Match A - 5th place vs 6th place
  • Qualifying Round - Match B - 4th place vs 7th Place

Sunday 5th May 2018

  • Semi Final - 2nd place vs winner of Match A
  • Semi Final - 3rd place vs winner of Match B

Sunday 12th May 2018: Promotion Final".

27 February 2019


Above: Ben Elliott, right, is congratulated on his goal by Matt Cook, Jordan Hulme and Sam Heathcote.

There were two goals for Jordan Hulme on his return to action after completing his four-match suspension. Playing for Altrincham Reserves, and watched by manager Phil Parkinson, Hulme's goals contributed to a 5-3 league victory over Egerton. The other goals came from new signing Callum Dolan, Reece Coley and Ben Elliott. More on this match later...


Tuesday 26 February 2019
  • Ashton United 0-1 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Chester FC 2-0 Blyth Spartans
  • Chorley 2-0 Nuneaton Borough


  • Maidstone United 0-3 Stockport County


Before Tuesday's fixture, Altrincham's next opponents, Chester FC announced that "The Blues will be looking to bounce back this evening from Saturday’s defeat at Bradford Park Avenue, with Blyth Spartans making the journey from the North East.

A 2-0 defeat was perhaps a harsh scoreline on the weekend, with a controversial early goal putting the hosts in a good position to earn three points. Injury headaches have made life difficult for Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley and the situation isn’t getting any easier. They could be without several key players once again this evening.

Nevertheless, a strong home record this season always brings confidence when the Blues compete at the Swansway Chester Stadium. With nine wins and just two defeats from 15 matches, the Deva is a real fortress in the National League North this term... Blyth Spartans, [who travel to Altrincham next Tuesday], will leapfrog Chester with a win tonight and edge ever closer to the Play-Off hunt. On the flip side, a home success tonight narrows the gap for the boys in blue to just one point off the top seven."

And Cheshire Live add ""Forget revenge, Chester FC just want to get the job done against Blyth Spartans. The Blues take on a Spartans side tonight who inflicted an embarrassing 8-1 defeat on them back in August... A shambolic Chester were ruthlessly put to the sword 8-1 to hand the Blues their biggest defeat for decades...

And while the scars may remain of the trip to Croft Park earlier in the season, revenge isn't something that is at the forefront of Chester joint-manager Anthony Johnson's mind tonight, it's just a case of getting the job done.

'After what happened earlier in the season I would take a 1-0 win now. I'd pay a fortune for a 1-0 win', he told Dee 106.3. 'It's not about revenge or redemption or anything like that it is about us trying to find that way of winning again. There has been a lot of noise about the run of form we have been on, and rightly so. But at home we have been fantastic. Apart from the games against Curzon Ashton, the home draw with Guiseley and the draw with Southport our home record stands up against anybody's in the land. [Altrincham also won there, in November].

'We get excited about home games, especially big ones against sides around us like Boston were, but we don't look at it as we have got to go and score four or five because they beat us 8-1 because it was an absolute freak and my opinion, for what it's worth, is that we have probably put in two or three worse performances than what happened up there because everything they hit went in that day.'

Chester's injury crisis that has hit them so hard in recent months continues to bite. Gary Stopforth and Matty Hughes remain sidelined with long-term injuries while Simon Grand and Ben McKenna are both out and Akwasi Asante and Brad Jackson highly doubtful for the clash.

George Green remains suspended after his red card in the Cheshire Senior Cup, a red card that Chester had sought to appeal."

Also from Chester FC we learn that "Two of the players whose goal-scoring exploits made history for Chester FC are to be inducted to the club’s Hall of Fame. Hugh Ryden and Jimmy Humes were members of Chester’s ‘Famous Five’ forward line in a campaign which saw the team score goals at a rate scarcely believable in the current era. The team registered 151 goals in all competitive matches, with each of the five forwards (as there were, in those days) scoring at least 20 times...

Nominations for the Hall of Fame are made by the Chester Former Players' Association and approved by the club’s Board of Directors. Already in the Hall of Fame are: Grenville Millington, Gary Talbot, Daryl Clare, Peter Jackson, Stuart Rimmer, Trevor Storton, Derek Draper, Iain Jenkins, Mike Metcalf, Elfed Morris, Ken Roberts, George Horan, Michael Wilde, Ronnie Hughes, Milton Graham, Harry McNally, Graham Barrow, Neil Young, Graham Abel, and Ray Gill."

According to the NL Paper, "Nuneaton Borough have launched an appeal as they fight for survival. The National League North club have stated that they are currently looking at numerous options including a high-net-worth individual, a share issue for investors and potentially a bond issue.

The share issue is designed to raise £100,000 immediately, with an additional £100,000 per annum being invested in to the club. The bond issue is a longer-term plan that focuses upon installing a 4G pitch at the Liberty Way ground.

An appeal to the footballing community is asking for fans to donate as little as £1 to help the club raise much-needed funds to cover day-to-day costs and enable them to complete their fixtures this season as they investigate possible avenues to deal with the pressing concerns of a £31,000 bill from HMRC.

With debts that have more than doubled since November of 2018, the Boro’ are looking to use the potential share issue funds to pay off the HMRC debt, former players and staff as well as the current high court enforcement agents that are chasing the club on a weekly basis.

Three or four years of mismanagement have landed the club in a precarious financial position but current acting chairman and manger Jimmy Ginnelly is confident that, with the backing of the football community, he can get the Boro’ back on an even keel and give a solid basis that will breed enough confidence amongst local businesses for them to invest.

'It’s a must that we install a strong, diverse, board at the Boro,' said Ginnelly. 'That’s something we haven’t had in a long time and it has led to a lack of accountability at the Club. That has to change if we’re to get back to where the Boro’ should be. We’re not that far removed from having home crowds of over 3,000 in the playoff finals and against Luton Town.

'They now sit at the top of League One and the Clubs couldn’t be further apart. We took over 5,000 to Middlesborough in the FA Cup but we’re struggling to get 700 to turn up regularly as the fan base has been pushed away from the Club by poor choices from the top down. Between 2008 and 2014 the Club achieved three promotions, briefly topping the National League in 2013 and remaining debt free. We have a rich history and I think that has been overlooked in recent years.

'We’ve done everything we can to get the costs down over the past few months and we’re running on a shoestring budget with a skeleton staff. We’ve had tremendous backing from fans and other Clubs and been blown away by the messages of support, now we’re asking for everyone that can to give as little as £1 to help us sort out the mess we’ve inherited and get this Club up off its knees and give it a fighting chance.'

If you’d like to donate you can transfer direct in to the club bank account, sort code 20-23-60, account number 33128881 or donate via Paypal with the email address".

Cheshire Live adds that "There will be a game taking place in Kent that will have a knock-on effect on the Blues' fixture list. Stockport County, sitting second in the National League North and level on points with leaders Chorley, will be seeking to reach the last four of the FA Trophy this evening as they look to see off Maidstone United at the second attempt...

Should Gannon's side prevail then the scheduled clash between Chester and Stockport at the Swansway Chester Stadium on Saturday, March 23, will be rescheduled for a Tuesday night... A rearrangement for the Stockport game would not be ideal for Chester with a lower attendance likely, as happened with the rescheduled Hereford, Kidderminster Harriers and FC United of Manchester games earlier in the season".

NL Daily reports that "Stockport County boss Jim Gannon will not be able to manage from the dugout this evening [Tuesday] as he is forced to serve the second game of his three-match touchline ban.

At close of business yesterday, the FA had yet to provide the written reasons for the manager’s suspension. This is preventing the application of any potential appeal, so the second game of the touchline ban must be served at tomorrow’s FA Trophy quarter-final replay at Maidstone United. The FA had indicated that the written reasons are likely to arrive at ‘some stage’ this week.

The club says it is disappointed for Gannon that his ban remains in place without any potential for an appeal, ‘but unfortunately we have to accept the position.’"

Confirmation comes from the National League that "Kevin Wilkin has been rewarded with a new two-year contract at Brackley Town...

Wilkin has been at the helm since 2015 and will take his time at the club to six years with this new deal. Managing director Janene Butters says the club had no hesitation in offering new terms

'We are delighted that Kevin has committed his future to Brackley Town,' said the club’s MD. 'The club has a strong vision to build on recent successes and Kevin has an important part to play in this. We recently announced exciting plans for the further development of our St James Park stadium and Kevin has the backing from the club’s directors to pursue further success on the pitch. The club’s victory at Wembley in 2018 and place in the National League North play-off final were unprecedented and put Brackley Town on the map'".

The Lancashire Evening News tells us that "Chorley chairman Ken Wright says the aspirations of the board match those of the players and coaching staff as the Magpies bid to end a near 30-year absence from non-league football's top level.

The Magpies were relegated from the top tier in 1990 and have not returned since but manager Jamie Vermiglio has guided the club to the top of National League North.

If the Magpies can hold off Stockport County and Spennymoor Town to clinch the title, Wright admits there will be more financial strain but says plans are being put in place to deal with the challenges of promotion.

And Wright, who has been chairman since 2003 and became owner with Graham Watkinson in the summer of 2017, says that in all the time he has been involved as a player, manager and chairman/owner the club has always kept its head just above water.

But he says the club is now looking for extra investment.

When asked at a fans’ forum if the ambitions off-field match those on it, Wright said 'Certainly. My philosophy in football, as long as I have been in it, is that you are in it to win it... It will present a lot of problems for us; the travel aspect, the overnight stays and the income that needs to be generated to cope with this... and we are getting ready for that...

'The plan is to bring in investment'...

For Vermiglio... 'On the playing budget side, we are certainly punching above where we should be financially and resource-wise... We are certainly not in the top half when it comes to the playing budget, I can tell you that... There are a lot of things right but a lot of things that are not right. That is probably because we have had volunteers running the club for the last however many years... Are we going to stay where we were? To push on we need to keep growing, which is why we have other people on the board'".

And before Tuesday's game, the Lancashire Evening Post adds that "Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio needs his side to end their results slump, and fast, if their National League North title dream is to come true... After three defeats in their last four games, Stockport County have now moved level on 60 points... Spennymoor Town are just one point further adrift and have a game in hand.

Chorley have the chance to put Saturday’s home defeat by lowly Ashton United behind them this evening when Nuneaton Borough visit Victory Park.

Vermiglio says... 'I have no doubt that we will bounce back and get a result tonight'".

According to the Shropshire Star "Boss Gavin Cowan says AFC Telford United are full of excitement and without fear after being drawn against Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy semi-finals...

Orient are the favourites to win the competition but Cowan, who played for them as a schoolboy and had a spell under their chief Justin Edinburgh at Grays Athletic, would not have it any other way... Cowan said... 'You’ve got to play the cards you’re dealt, and it’s the toughest test we could have had... It was Solihull Moors at the weekend, and we won... We’re capable of beating any team in non-league'...

On taking on a team who were League One title contenders just five years ago, Cowan added 'It’s just a massive, massive tie, isn’t it?... I’ve played under Justin so I’ve got an idea what they’re about... I played for quite a few of the London teams, with Orient being one of them. Ledley King and Nicky Shorey were there at the time. They’ve got an amazing history, which we’re very respectful of while knowing we can beat anyone on our day'".


The EvoStik League reports that "Buxton have parted company with co-manager Steve Halford, enabling Paul Philips to take absolute control.The Bucks currently sit ninth in the table... though they do have games in hand on all the teams above them.

They suffered a 2-1 home defeat to lowly Hednesford Town on Saturday... A club statement said 'After a meeting of the board on Monday evening, Buxton Football Club have decided to take a change of direction with their management structure and continue the season with a single first team manager. To this end Paul Philips will be taking absolute control and Steve Halford, by mutual consent, is stepping down".

NL Daily informs us that "Geoff Thompson has rubbished reports that South Shields FC could merge with Gateshead, The Shields Gazette report. A newspaper report at the weekend claimed that the two clubs had held talks over a possible merger, which would see the Mariners, who play in the Evo-Stik Premier league, join forces with National League outfit Gateshead.

However, both clubs have played down the claims, though Gateshead have admitted that officials from both clubs did meet earlier in the season to discuss ways they could attract bigger crowds to the International Stadium.

Shields chairman Thompson, who has overseen a stunning transformation of the Mariners since taking over in 2015, has been open in his ambition to return the club to the Football League for the first time since 1930, and launched Project EFL in September".

Y Clwb Pel-Droed report that they "are to consider joining the Welsh pyramid system. Shareholders and supporters met to discuss the future of the club with three options discussed about the club moving forward.

The first option is to stay in England and possibly fold as a club in the next two years or, stay in England on a drastically reduced budget, or the final option would be to move into local Welsh football and build towards the aim of the Welsh Premier League football...

A statement by Colwyn Bay read 'The chairman and manager agreed their hearts want to stay in England, but their heads say return to local Welsh football and rebuild. The club needs £100,000 a year more revenue to stay competitive in the English system and, with lack support from the town in terms people coming to games and business investment, that is looking impossible.

'To try and stay competitive in England was no longer viable and would mean the club going out of business altogether inside two years.'

They are to hold talks with the FA of Wales later this week before making a final decision.

The club had the chance to join the League of Wales in its first season in 1992/1993 but opted to remain in England. They were part of the dubbed ‘Irrate Eight’ of Welsh clubs who had played their club football in England and wanted to remain. Colwyn Bay currently field a Reserve side in the Reserve Division of the Welsh Alliance League. They have also entered a Youth side into the FAW Youth Cup in previous years".

26 February 2019


Tonight (Tuesday, 7.45pm), Altrincham FC Reserves are playing at the J. Davidson Stadium against Egerton. Jordan Hulme (right) is expected to be included in the squad as he regains match fitness following his four-game suspension which has now been completed. It would not be surprising if one or two other first-team squad players are involved either.


Next Saturday, Altrincham welcome Chester FC to the J. Davidson Stadium. Tonight (Tuesday) Chester host Blyth Spartans who, by coincidence, are the visitors to Altrincham next Tuesday.

Before Tuesday's game, from Cheshire Live we learnt that "Bernard Morley says he and Anthony Johnson can ill-afford to rush into making signings 'for the sake of it'.

The Chester FC bosses watched their side fall to an eighth away defeat in 16 in the National League North on Saturday as two first-half goals from Jake Beesley earned Bradford (Park Avenue) a 2-0 success at the Horsfall Stadium and increased the gap between the play-offs and the Blues to four points.

Chester had looked to add a full-back prior to the win over Boston United earlier this month but were unable to get a deal over the line but they are also looking at other options across the pitch for the remaining 11 games.

'What we don't want to do is keep being desperate. At the moment it feels like a machine gun and we're just firing everybody and that isn't what we're about', said Morley. 'It needs to be the right signings and certainly needs to improve what we are at the minute. If there is a player out there who we feel can improve us then we'll try our hardest to do that but, at this moment in time, we just seem to be making signings for the sake of it, and these signings aren't making us any better.

'It isn't down to the new signings, it is down to us as a group. Have we made too many signings? Maybe. Are we changing the team too much? Possibly we are. That is where we will be criticised'.

Chester are back in action [on Tuesday] night when they welcome Blyth Spartans to the Swansway Chester Stadium...

'There are 11 games to play for and that doesn't change how many games I think we need to win on order to make the play-offs. It would have been easier if we would have done today (against BPA) against a side that, not being disrespectful, I don't think have any ambition to go up this year. They [I?] believe they have let three of four of their best players go (including Ben McKenna to Chester) and still we have been beaten by them'".

In the context of their visit to Altrincham next Saturday, it is interesting to read the Chester Standard, which states that "Chester fans endured another miserable away trip as the Blues went down 2-0 at Bradford Park Avenue... Here's how the players rated:

  • GRANT SHENTON: Not much to do but was guilty of hesitation a number of times when clearing the ball. 5/10
  • BRADLEY JACKSON: His worst game in a Chester shirt since joining and it was a horrible mistake for Bradford PA's second. 4
  • MATTHEW WATERS: A poor game for the full back who was given a torrid time by Lewis Knight. 4
  • SCOTT BURTON: Slowly getting back to his best but was lucky to stay on the pitch after an ugly challenge in the closing minutes. 6
  • DANIEL LIVESEY: Charged forward towards the end and went close with a couple of headed efforts. 6
  • STEVE HOWSON: Like the rest of the defence he was guilty of not playing to the whistle for PA's opener. 5
  • CRAIG MAHON: A poor display from the winger who was a passenger for most of the game. 4
  • GARY ROBERTS: Battling performance from the midfielder who received a head injury early on but kept trying to drive Chester on. 7
  • GEORGE WARING: Won little in the air and missed the chances he had. 4
  • ANTHONY DUDLEY: Wasted a gilt-edged chance early on and never came as close again to scoring. 5
  • DAN MOONEY: Rarely got past his man or supplied a cross of note. 4


  • LLOYD MARSH HUGHES: Produced some decent touches when he came on. 5
  • IWAN MURRAY: A nice cameo from the midfielder who supplied some fine balls into the box. 6"


Richie Bentley, official caterer at Altrincham FC, announces for visiting supporters that for Saturday's game against Chester FC at the J. Davidson Stadium, "We’re pleased to advise that our away end has a new catering unit for this season which has allowed us to expand the range of food and drink offered to visiting fans.

We are doing a familiar matchday meal deal for you of “Pie, Mash, Peas, Gravy” for £5, a 6oz Cheeseburger for £3.50 or a Jumbo Hot Dog for £2.50. We’ve plenty of hot drinks including Bovril for £1.50 and cold cans for £1. Our team look forward to serving you this Saturday. (Plus an alcoholic bar serving lager and ciders)".


Nuneaton Borough announce a "Fundraising Legends' match to take place at Liberty Way on Sunday 17th March. Commercial Manager Mark Grimes said 'This will be a great event to help raise some, much needed, funds to help save our Club. I’m very happy that so many Ex Boro’ players have made themselves available to play'...

That list [of players] includes Tony Simpson, Darren Bullock, Gez Murphy, Delton Francis, Jason Percival, David Blenkinsopp, Mark Rosegreen, Chris Tullin, Rob Oddy, Adam Cooper, Steve Burr, Jordon Stepien, Lee Moore, Mark Albrighton, Darren Acton, Paul London, Rob Foster and Gary Bradder with more to be confirmed in the coming weeks. Ian Drewitt, Paul Culpin and Peter Green can't play due to injury but are coming to help support the club.

The Boro’ legends will play against Jimmy Ginnelly's Allstars, a team that will be announced in the next week or two".

The Lancashire Evening Post informs us that "Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio has called on the Magpies supporters to roar his men to the National League North title.

The Magpies are top of the National League North, but after three defeats in their last four games, Stockport County have cut the gap and moved level on 60 points. Spennymoor Town are also just one point below with a game in hand.

Vermiglio is confident his side will clinch the title, but says to do so, they need the fans to be their 12th man. He urged the Magpie Family to bring the noise and get behind his men when they bid to bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to Ashton United against Nuneaton Borough on Tuesday, and for all of the final 11 games of the season.

He said 'It is a critical time of the season. I want the fans to get behind us.... The only way we are going to do this is by being together. The team needs the supporters to get behind them. They have been brilliant all season, especially away from home, when we have given them a lot to shout about. But we need everyone to be on board and support the players. Positive shouts of encouragement are only conducive to good performances. Negativity can work conversely'...

And Vermiglio says his men deserve to be top of the league, 'I have no doubt that we will bounce back and get a result on Tuesday. You don’t just turn into a team that cannot perform overnight. We certainly deserve to be where we are at.'"

And Chorley confirm that numerous ex-Alty men were involved as "The Magpies were stunned by a dogged Ashton United as Matthew Regan’s goal on the hour separated the two teams... Chorley started the game in determined mood with Alex Newby crashing a shot against the crossbar within four minutes after Josh Wilson had taken advantage of some dithering at the back by Aaron Chalmers.

Matt Urwin had to be sharp to stop Kallum Mantack on a rare breakaway for the visitors, but the pressure remained on the other goal. Alex was again denied, this time by ‘keeper George McMahon, with the rebound brilliantly blocked as Marcus Carver looked to pounce...

The second half was a low key affair until the visitors took the lead on the hour. Sam Sheridan’s flat corner was helped onto the far post where Matthew Regan finished into an empty net at the second empty. Quick as a flash The Magpies replied, only for the crossbar to deny Josh O’Keefe’s header from a corner. Apart from an Elliot Newby shot that went wide, Chorley mustered very little in the way of clear cut chances thereafter."

Also from the Lancashire Evening Post we learn that "Relegation-battlers Ashton defied pre-match bookmakers’ odds of 12/1 to nick the points against league leaders Chorley at Victory Park... It could all have been so different if a couple of the very close calls in the Ashton goalmouth in the opening half-hour had produced goals.

Keeper George McMahon kept the visitors in the game at that stage with a trio of superlative saves and when he was beaten he was fortunate that the crossbar came to his aid in both the first half and the second. However, to Ashton’s credit, once they went in front on the hour they rarely looked like surrendering the lead, so solidly did they defend...

A series of hold-ups disrupted the flow of the game, one of which led to Scott Leather leaving the field with a head injury".

And Ashton United themselves reported that "Ashton registered by far their best result of the campaign in beating the Magpies by a single goal at their Victory Park ground".

The Lancashire Evening Post adds that "Relegation-battlers Ashton defied pre-match bookmakers’ odds of 12/1 to nick the points against league leaders Chorley... The Magpies’ third defeat in four games leaves them clinging to top-spot on marginal goal difference and a win against bottom-of-the table Nuneaton on Tuesday has now become essential".

At Alfreton Town "Jordan Sinnott's first-half header secured back-to-back league wins for the first time since August for the Reds, as we scored away from home in the league for the 16th successive time, with a solid away display at Guiseley on Saturday.

Billy Heath made two changes to the side with Dec Bacon back from loan to start, Danny O'Brien also started with Richard Peniket back from injury to make the bench.

The Reds started the game well... Guiseley were struggling to get out of their own half as Sinnott delivered another dangerous cross towards the far post, Alfreton were pressing well all over the pitch with the hosts restricted early on...

The game was a tight battle throughout with no clear-cut chances... The contest was very even with the Lions coming back into it after the Reds early control...

However with 35 minutes gone, Alfreton took the lead with a rapid counter attack from a Guiseley corner which saw Johnson race forward and play the ball wide to O'Brien in the box, Danny's cross was then headed in from a yard out by Sinnott to the delight of the travelling Reds behind the goal...

Alfreton continued to soak up second half pressure with Heaton's long throws, corners and free kicks all being cleared away in a gradual increased onslaught from the hosts... Richard Peniket was introduced after the hour mark as Guiseley continued to press... Late expected pressure came with a few scrambles in our box involving former Red Paul Clayton but neither he or Purver could get an effort in... before we defended more throws and corners in a tremendous defensively display.

But it wasn't to be for the hosts as the Reds recorded back to back league wins in another solid and excellent performance. Alfreton will be looking to make it three league wins in a row on Saturday with the visit of Ashton United".

FC United of Manchester report that their "relegation worries continue after a nil-nil draw at Southport on Saturday afternoon but the Reds have moved a point closer to safety and are now two games unbeaten.

With Guiseley losing at home to Alfreton, Neil Reynolds’ side are now seven points behind their fourth from bottom West Yorkshire rivals with 10 games to go. However, that gap could have been cut to five points had FC United scored one of the two gilt-edged chances that came in each half on Merseyside.

Tom Peers somehow put a header wide from a fantastic Steve O’Halloran cross a minute before the interval... Positives and negatives seemed to be in equal measure for the 541 FC United supporters in attendance at Haig Avenue. After going four weeks without picking up any points, the Reds have now steadied the ship by earning two in the last two weeks and kept their first competitive clean sheet since 8th December against Curzon Ashton.

However, draws alone will not be enough to avoid relegation from the Vanarama National League North and FC United must find a match winner from somewhere. At the moment, it doesn’t seem obvious where that will come from.

United’s skipper and top goalscorer Willoughby was at the heart of most of United’s attacking play but the 21-year-old’s 14 goals so far this season need to be backed up by his teammates. The England C team striker couldn’t break the deadlock despite looking lively throughout... Blackburn Rovers loanee Andrew Fisher was looking equally commanding in the FC United goal and dealt with everything thrown at him in the first half...

The two draws in eight days have given the Reds a small amount of momentum but they must now convert that into a priceless victory next weekend when they host Hereford. FC United will be hoping to do the double over the Bulls after beating them 3-1 at Edgar Street back in November. A win for the Reds would have the added advantage of dragging fifth from bottom Hereford back into the relegation battle.

Website man of the match: Chris Lynch. Another solid performance at the back from the experienced defender. His commitment to the cause looks unquestionable."

And, finally, the Vanarama National League confirms the North division's promotion play-off dates.

Wednesday 2nd May 2018

  • Elimination Round - Match A - 5th place vs 6th place
  • Elimination Round - Match B - 4th place vs 7th Place

Sunday 6th May 2018

  • Semi Final - 2nd place vs winner of Match A
  • Semi Final - 3rd place vs winner of Match B

Sunday 13th May 2018: Promotion Final".


The National League announced the draw for the semi-finals of the FA Trophy is:

"Leyton Orient, who came from behind to beat holders Brackley Town on Saturday, will face AFC Telford United. The other semi will see AFC Fylde play Stockport County or Maidstone United.

The two-legged ties will be played next month with the winning clubs each collecting £20,000. The clubs who get through their clash will secure a place at Wembley in May for Non-League Finals Day, where both finals are played back-to-back at the national stadium.

  • Semi-Final first leg: Saturday 16 March 2019
  • Semi-Final second leg: Saturday 23 March 2019
  • Final: Sunday 19 May 2019

The final winners will bank a cheque for £60,000 while the runners-up will earn £30,000.

As previously noted here, Altrincham's scheduled league match at Telford on 23 March will now have to be re-arranged.

25 February 2019


Right: Sean Williams is congratulated after netting his first goal for Altrincham on Saturday.

Altrincham's second goal on Saturday at Curzon Ashton was Sean Williams's first in 62 appearances for Altrincham. He has made 43 starts and 19 appearances from the bench in his two spells with the club. The statistic is all the more curious as, last season, according to Warrington World, "Williams, 26, scored 15 goals from the centre of midfield as the Yellows finished third in the Evo-Stik Premier League".


Altrincham welcome Chester FC to the J. DavidsonStadium next Saturday. From Chester FC we learn that, last Saturday, "Two first half goals from Jake Beesley condemned the Blues to another away defeat this afternoon at the hands of Bradford (Park Avenue).

Beesley scored a controversial goal inside 30 seconds, and got his second on 35 minutes to seal a big three points for the hosts.

The Blues made one change at a sunny Horsfall Stadium, with Akwasi Asante missing out due to an injury picked up seven days ago. George Waring, who scored his first Chester goal against Boston United, took his place.

Within 30 seconds of the first whistle, the hosts were in front in bizarre circumstances. As Lewis Knight danced past Matty Waters on the right, everyone around the ball seemed to stop. Everyone apart from Jake Beesley that is, who tapped in at the post. The goal stood despite Chester protests.

Despite a first half scoreline going against them, Chester actually had the better of the chances in the first half...

Despite putting the home side under a lot of pressure, Bradford Park Avenue made it two on the counter. The Blues were the architects of their own downfall, giving away possession on the halfway line. Beesley strode clear for the hosts, and was initially denied well by Grant Shenton one-on-one, but buried the rebound.

Mark Bower’s side could have extended their advantage with two good chances just before the break...

One source of encouragement from the game was the positive introduction of Iwan Murray. His corners proved dangerous... The home side held on for all three points on a disappointing afternoon in Bradford.

CHESTER FC: Shenton, Jackson, Howson, Livesey, Waters, Mahon (Murray 73), Burton, Roberts, Mooney (Marsh-Hughes 73), Dudley, Waring. SUBS NOT USED: King (GK), Thomson, McAllister".

The Chester Standard adds that "A furious Bernard Morley admitted he was 'embarrassed' after watching Chester's faltering play off chances take another blow as two first half goals saw them lose at fellow promotion hopefuls Bradford Park Avenue...

'Even in the under-6s you play to the whistle and the whistle wasn't blown,' said Morley on Beesley's controversial opener. 'I will say the officials looked confused and we looked confused. All I know is that Bradford scored and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb straightaway. This is a place where you come and whenever you concede first they will slow the game down and hide balls and we knew that; that's game management and fair play to them, they frustrated us.

'The lads are going to get criticised and we are going to get criticised and rightly so because it’s laughable and I haven't got the answers. I'm actually a bit embarrassed by what I've watched today...

'We looked frail all over the pitch', added Morley, with Chester remaining in eighth place but four points off the play-offs. 'We don't look for excuses and we deserve whatever is thrown at us today and we have to take our medicine. It was a shambles. I get picked to manage a group of players and I won't pass the buck, it was not good enough. If these lads can’t learn from that then there’s nobody in the world that can coach them. It’s the basics that I think we aren’t getting right. It's been like that since Christmas, forget the injuries; the lads coming in can't do it either.

'We ran out of ideas and became predictable. For 90 minutes we chased our first touch throughout the team. I won't be defending anything that we've done or the lads have done today. It can only improve and it can't get worse than it was today. There will be criticism thrown at me and Jonno again and we deserve it.'"

And Cheshire Live adds that "Bernard Morley couldn't hide his anger and frustration at watching his and Anthony Johnson's Chester FC side put to the sword away from home yet again. While Chester's home form in the National League North this season has been nothing short of superb, their away form has been abysmal with the latest, a 2-0 away loss to fellow play-off chasers Bradford (Park Avenue) making it eight defeats from 16 on the road this season. Simply not good enough...

Said Morley, 'At no point do we want to start restricting the ability of players. If the ball’s there to play for we play forward; don’t take unnecessary risks, which we’ve done today twice. And when I’d call them error I’d call them really naive and stupid... It's becoming a common theme. Are they doing it on purpose? I don't think we are.... This was worse than the Kidderminster game, this was as bad as I've seen. We just weren't at the races and it's not good enough.

'Players for some reason like to go side to side, like to go backwards and look good on the ball. There’s no better player than one that looks up, goes forward; that’s what we want. That’s our principles, that’s what I did as a player. We’ve not done that twice with two opportunities today and we’ve been punished twice'...

Morley felt that only Gary Roberts really embodied what he and Johnson want from their sides... He said 'Gary Roberts covered every blade of grass, came off with a bandage on his head and that portrayed his performance today. I'm not saying he played well by any stretch but he worked hard and Robbo is starting to get what we are. If you are not playing well, work hard and effect the game that way'".


By coincidence on Tuesday night, Altrincham's next two guests at the J Davidson Stadium meet at Chester as Blyth Spartans are the visitors.

Like Altrincham, Blyth have had an excellent run followed by an indifferent one. From mid-November to mid January they went fourteen games in all competitions without defeat (11 of these in the league) but then lost four in succession (two in the league) before awin at Leamington was followed by a remarkable draw last Saturday. They lost keeper Jameson to a red card against Kidderminster Harriers and their forward, Robbie Dale had to keep goal. Howebver, Spartans recovered from 1-3 down to draw 3-3.

Off the field Blyth Spartans "are delighted to announce that former Gateshead General Manager and Head of Football Operations Mike Coulson has joined the Executive Committee at the club.

Mike has a wealth of experience during his 30-year association with the Tynesiders since first getting involved with the supporters’ club in 1999 and at one point owned the club.

After his departure from Gateshead, Spartans Chairman Tony Platten eagerly made contact to ask if he’d like to get involved in Spartans,,,

'I think their is a lot of potential here, Blyth has always struck me as a club who can work close with the community, if you don’t engage with the local community you’ll struggle to move forward'" he said.


Congratulations go to Kevin Ellison, now at Mroecambe, who was 40 over the weekend.

Kieran Lugsden netted for Ramsbottom United as they trounced Trafford 4-0 at Shawe View. Damian Reeves netted Gainsborough Trinity's fourth goal at North Ferriby, whilst Josh Amis maintained his goalscoring streak for Warrington Town, for whom Tony McMillan again kept goal. Both Astley Mulholland and Ashley Woods netted for Colwyn Bay as they put nine past a hapless Skelmersdale, and Stafford' Theo Bailey-Jones netted in their 2-2 draw on Saturday.


On Sunday, Altrincham FC Ladies lost 2-1 at Northwich Vixens. Alty now lie fifth, whilst the Vixens are eighth. the next game, on 3 March, is away to sixth placed Warrington Wolverines.


Guiseley's "search for a league win since 1 January goes on as a solitary goal from Jordan Sinnott proved to be all that Alfreton needed against an ineffective home attack. The defeat sees the Lions slipping perilously close to the relegation places especially with Ashton surprise win at Chorley which now puts them within three points of the Nethermoor men...

The second half saw several half chances fall the Lions' way but all too often Billy Heaths side had bodies back in order to cling on to their slender lead. With Curtis Morrison proving a constant danger down the left it was with some surprise that he was replaced by new signing Akeel Francis who, to be fair, came the closest of anyone in a white shirt to squaring matters as his looping shot bounced back off the bar with Ramsbottom beaten.

Paul Clayton and Jack Dyche were also thrown into the fray but despite having four strikers on the pitch the home side showed once again why they have struggled for goals this season as passes went astray and shots were blocked.

While the horrendous injury list hasn’t helped... the team now finds themselves in a scrap for National League survival".

The Telegraph & Argus informs us that "Bradford (Park Avenue) beat promotion rivals Chester 2-0 as a lightning quick start set Avenue on their way to their first victory of 2019.

Striker Jake Beesley bundled the ball into the net after just 25 seconds as the Blues' defence switched off... The Chester back line and keeper Grant Shenton remonstrated with the referee and his assistant but both the officials were well-placed and the goal stood...

Avenue manager Mark Bower was happy to bank his first win of the year, in the club’s only home game of February. He said 'We’re delighted with the win and I think it was a well-deserved one. The early goal gave everyone a lift and it was perfect for our game plan. I don’t know what the Chester defenders were complaining about, they might have thought the ball had gone out of play but you play to the whistle.

'It’s been a long time since our last win, at Guiseley, but I don’t think that we’ve got the rewards we deserved since then. Apart from the games at Stockport and Brackley where we were poor, the others were all close games. We had an experienced back four but the rest of the team was very young and inexperienced but we were delighted with the way they saw the game out. The second half was mainly a non-event but the players showed the right qualities and attitude and we didn’t give Chester many opportunities.

'We looked comfortable right up until the end when they went more attacking and threw bodies forward. There were a few chances for them then but we dealt with it very well'".”

According to York Press "Nuneaton Borough’s Love Island contestant Luis Morrison might hold the record for the dating show’s longest-lasting relationship, but he proved no match for York City.

Having spent large periods of a one-sided game trying to repel the Minstermen’s advances, centre-back Morrison, who is now separated from TV sweetheart Cally Jane Beech after three years together, could only look on as the hosts’ odd couple of Wes York and Hamza Bencherif proved unlikely match-winners.

York netted his first league goal since August 7, while Bencherif appeared on a City scoresheet for only the second time during three seasons at the club.

But, with Kallum Griffiths and Scott Burgess having opened their Minstermen accounts during the 2-1 win at Kidderminster seven days earlier, it appears the Bootham Crescent outfit’s over-reliance on 17-goal top scorer Jordan Burrow, who had netted in all 11 previous victories, is now being addressed. Indeed, Burrow was only responsible for one of the home side’s 17 goal attempts during a match that, for long periods, resembled an attack v defence training-ground exercise.

In a 5-3-2 formation designed to frustrate and nullify Steve Watson’s side, the visitors’ didn’t even field an orthodox centre-forward, asking front-two Taylor Allen and Ryan Edmunds to sit in front of City full-backs Griffiths and David Ferguson as the bottom-of-the-table strugglers defended for their lives.

Aided by some profligate finishing, with ex-Gateshead winger York most culpable, the tactics helped Nuneaton get to level terms at half-time and Adam Bartlett was even called on to make the best save of the opening 45 minutes from Edmunds just before the interval.

York and Bencherif’s second-half efforts then offered a reward for City’s patience and persistence...

Victory also meant that Watson, six weeks into his new job, has already achieved a longer run of consecutive league wins, with a modest three, than four of his five immediate predecessors, Sam Collins, Gary Mills, Jackie McNamara and Russ Wilcox, managed during their entire tenures".

24 February 2019


Against the team with the fourth-best defence in the league, Altrincham recorded their biggest away win since a 6-0 victory at Hinckley United in April 2013. On this occasion, it could easily have been double figures for the visitors. There was little sign of what was to come in the opening stages; Alty had started quite brightly in the opening minutes before the hosts upped their game, with former Robin, Sean Miller looking sharp.

Left: Yusufi Ceesay (left) takes the congratulations, from Joe Piggott, John Johnston and Josh Hancock, after scoring Alty's fourth goal on Saturday.

But, on the half-hour, Altrincham took the lead when a short corner was taken by Johnston to Ceesay, who returned the ball to JJ. Johnston drifted inside before hitting a fine shot into the net from outside the box.

If that goal was impressive, even more so was Sean Williams's effort from more than 20 yards which flew in off the inside of the upright just six minutes later.

Two minutes after the interval loanee striker Joe Piggott beat the advancing keeper to net the third goal, after Tom Hannigan had done well to win the ball in the air near halfway. Three minutes later it was 0-4 as Johnston found Ceesay and he converted the chance. Despite a triple substitution by the hosts (and a double one by Alty), the score became 0-5 after 54 minutes, when Piggott netted through the keeper's legs.

Curzon by now were in disarray and a triple substitution did not alter things markedly. Altrincham spurned several more chances as they carved open the Curzon defence almost at will. But Piggott completed his hat-trick in the 72nd minute when he chased a seemingly lost cause but managed to poke the ball past the keeper to make it 0-6.

Manager Phil Parkinson was interviewed after the match by Brian Flynn for the official Altrincham FC website.

The National League has the highlights of the game.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Thompson, 2. White, 3. Hampson, 4. Jones, 5. Hannigan, 6. Moult (c), 7. Johnston, 8. Williams, 9. Piggott, 10. Hancock, 11. Ceesay. Subs: 12. Dolan, 14. Richman, 15. Fawns, 16. Densmore, 20. Drench.


On saturday, Altrincham FC Reserves won 1-0 at home to Poynton FC. They are five points clear at the top of the Cheshire League, Premier Division. On Tuesday they host Egerton at the J. Davidson Stadium where Jordan Hulme is expected to play as he returns from suspension.


Right: Joe Piggott celebrates making it 3-0 to Altrincham at Curzon Ashton.

Wigan Athletic report on Alty loanee Joe Piggott's hat-trick on Saturday.

Headed "Development Squad striker gets off the mark in style in the National League North" the report continues...

"Joe Piggott and Olly Crankshaw:

It was the battle of two Latics Development Squad forwards in the National League North as Joe Piggott's Altrincham FC smashed Curzon Ashton 6-0, with the striker netting his first goals for Alty with a formidable hat-trick. All three goals came in the second half with Altrincham already 3-0 to the good, with the first in the 47th minute, the second in the 54th and the third in the 71st.

Nash forward Crankshaw was introduced in the 57th minute with his side already 5-0 down." [Crankshaw actually played the first 57 minutes of the match at number seven].


  • Att. 705 Blyth Spartans 3 - 3 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Att. TBC Bradford (Park Avenue)2 - 0 Chester 0 (Nicky Clee scored for BPA)
  • Att. 1326 Chorley 0 - 1 Ashton United
  • Att. 506 Curzon Ashton 0 - 6 Altrincham
  • Att. 402 Guiseley 0 - 1 Alfreton Town (Jordan Sinnott scored the goal)
  • Att. 1665 Southport 0 - 0 FC United Of Manchester
  • Att. 786 Spennymoor Town 1 - 0 Leamington
  • Att. 2355 York City 2 - 0 Nuneaton Borough


An unexpected name on the Altrincham squad list on Saturday was Callum Dolan who came on as a substitute in midfield against Curzon Ashton. Born on 29 September, 2000, his former clubs include Blackburn Roverswho in May 2017 reported that "Another pair of promising youngsters have put pen-to-paper on scholarship deals with the football club. Attacking duo Callum Dolan and Kyle Connell have both signed two-year contracts with the Academy and will link up with Billy Barr's Under-18 squad this summer.

Left: Callum Dolan during his debut at Curzon Ashton.

Dolan, who hails from Manchester and was previously with Manchester United, made two appearances for Rovers at the end of the 2016-17".

In September 2017, Blackburn Rovers stated that "Rovers' Academy kicked off their U18 Premier League Cup group with an encouraging 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Saturday... A first goal of the season from Callum Dolan early in the second half saw the Rovers level...

A corner from the right caused consternation in the Chelsea box and Dolan was on hand to apply the finishing touch from close-range. The first goal Chelsea have conceded this season, in over 500 minutes of football".

Moving on to December 2018, Stockport Town reported that "Callum Dolan of Stockport Town won the Macron First Division South Player of the Month award in December...

December was an amazing month for the youngster. After picking up the man of the match award when making his debut for the club on 24th November against Wythenshawe Town, he went on to get man of the match in the next 5 games. This included his first goal for the club against Cheadle Heath Nomads, and further goals against Sandbach Utd and New Mills".

In January 2019, Stockport Town added that "Stockport Town are victorious over League Two Tranmere Rovers, advancing into the Cheshire Senior Cup quarter final... The night got off to a positive start for Stockport, as Callum Dolan was presented his Macron League Player of the Month by NWCFL representative Ian Williams, after 6 consecutive man of the match awards...

Callum Dolan whipped in a dangerous corner for Tom Greenfield to smartly head home and make it 1-0...

Callum Dolan had what surely looked like a stone wall penalty waved away, safe to say he couldn’t believe the decision and neither could most in the ground. Dolan's persistent paid off, when into the final 15 minutes of the game he wrong footed his defender, took a strike on goal and the ball deflected past goalkeeper Passant to put Stockport back in the lead with 15 minutes to go, 2-1.

5 minutes to go in normal time and Callum Dolan was involved the action once again, feeding [ex-Alty trialist] Gavin Salmon on the 18 yard line who unleashed an effort at Passant’s goal, and beat the young goalkeeper to give Stockport an even comfier lead".


Leyton Orient report that "Orient are through to the FA Trophy Semi-Final of the FA Trophy after this afternoon's 1-2 victory at Brackley Town.

A second-half goal from Matt Harrold sparked the come-back before Dan Happe's late header sent us through to the next round... Brackley took the lead after 25 minutes when Lowe kept the ball in play on the left and sent a cross in for Ndlovu to tap home...

Newly introduced Matt Harrold popped up in the centre of the net to tape home from James Brophy’s low cross to draw us level on 74 minutes... Orient continued to apply pressure on the hosts and finally found the break-through to take the lead. Dan Happe got up highest at the back post to nod home from Maguire-Drew’s corner-kick.

The remaining eight minutes were wide open Brackley looked to send the tie to an equaliser but the O’s stood firm to progress to the Semi-Final of the FA Trophy".


We leran from the Yorkshire Post that "Guiseley find themselves just three points clear from the relegation zone after losing 1-0 to Alfreton Town. This was a match of few key opportunities, with a goal ten minutes before the break proving to be the difference.

Guiseley joint-manager Russ O’Neill said 'It is obviously very frustrating to lose this game'...

Before the match The Lions announced the signing of Kwame Boateng, with the ex Bradford City youngster starting on the bench for the side...

There was just over half an hour gone when Alfreton took the lead, they cleared a Guiseley corner and broke in numbers with Bobby Johnson crossing for Jordan Sinnott who scored with a free header...

The afternoon would get even worse for Guiseley thanks to Ashton United gaining a shock victory away at league leaders Chorley, with The Lions now fully involved in a battle to avoid back to back relegations".

Guiseley add that they "are delighted to announce the signing of former Bradford City defender Kwame Boateng. The 20 year-old spent four years in the City youth set up being in the same year as Guiseley’s Scott Smith, recent signing Akeel Francis and last season’s loanee Ellis Hudson.

Boateng, who made two appearances for City’s first team in the Football League Trophy in 2016-17, played against Guiseley for Harrogate Town in the County Cup earlier this season."

Still in Yorkshire, Bradford (Park Avenue) reported that "Mark Bower’s side returned to action at the Horsfall Stadium with a visit from Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s Chester FC side, looking for their first win of 2019.

It took barely 30 seconds for Bradford to open the scoring, and a bizarre goal it was. Lewis Knight’s cross looked to have gone out, however Jake Beesley played to the whistle and tapped in to score the opening goal...

Jake Beesley had Grant Shenton retrieving the ball from the back of his net a second time. Jackson’s slack pass was intercepted by the onrushing Beesley, who bore down on Shenton’s goal, who despite making a good initial save, couldn’t make the second one as he struck his second of the game... Bradford secured their first win of 2019 to end a bad run of form".

Chester FC visit Altrincham next Saturday. Their line up this weekend was Shenton, Jackson, Waters, Burton, Livesey, Howson, Mahon (Murray 73′), Roberts, Waring, Dudley, Mooney (Marsh-Hughes 73′).

From the visitors' side, the Chester Standard tells us that "Chester's faltering play off chances took another blow on the road as two first half goals saw them lose to fellow promotion hopefuls Bradford Park Avenue.

Hopes had been raised that the Blues were back on track after last week's excellent display in beating Boston 4-1 at home but an eighth away defeat of the season ensured Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson's outfit lost further ground on the top eight following a poor performance in West Yorkshire.

Most of the crowd of 705 were still taking their seats and basking in the sunshine when straight from kick off Matty Waters lost the ball down the right allowing Lewis Knight to lob a deep cross into the far post. The ball looked to have swirled out and back in and with the majority of players stopping there was general disbelief when Jake Beesley nodded the ball in and the referee, Lewis Smith, after glancing at his linesman, gave the goal with no more than 30 seconds on the clock.

It was a massive blow and so credit to Chester who rolled their sleeves up set about creating a number of chances from which they should have equalised... Disaster struck with ten minutes left of the half when, under no pressure, Jackson gave the ball away to Beesley close to the half way line with the forward sprinting clear towards goal and finishing well after Grant Shenton had saved his initial effort.

A two goal deficit was harsh on Chester who could argue they were the better side before the break which made what was to follow all the more disappointing as the visitors offered virtually nothing in the second period. With Avenue content to defend a bit of imagination was need to get past the back four but Chester showed none as long ball after long ball was headed away by the impressive Adam Nowakowski and skipper Shane Killock...

The double substitution of Iwan Murray and Lloyd Marsh-Hughes for the ineffective wing pair Mooney and Craig Mahon [did] little to shake things up... Chester now face a must win game against Blyth Spartans at the Swansway Stadium if they are to stay anywhere near the promotion shake up."

Kidderminster Harriers tell us that "Harriers threw away two points at the death after conceding twice against ten-man Blyth Spartans.

On an eventful afternoon, it was the hosts who scored first after 42 seconds as Maguire finished, but [Kiddy] levelled through Ed Williams. Blyth then had goalkeeper Jameson dismissed for bringing down Ironside in the area. The striker converted the penalty to make it 2-1.

Harriers then had a number of chances to extend their lead before eventually doing so through Williams with 20 left to go. That should have been that, but a combination of Blyth’s spirit and some unforgivable defending allowed the home side back in it – striking in the 88th and 93rd minute to steal a point they should never have been allowed to come close to getting."

At the bottom, Nuneaton Borough report that "York City scored two second-half goals as they claimed a 2-0 win over Nuneaton Borough at Bootham Crescent. Wes York and substitute Hamza Bencherif netted for the hosts, who recorded back-to-back wins in the National League North...

Boro had chances of their own in the opening 45 minutes, with Ryan Edmunds coming painfully close to handing the visitors in to the lead when his header was tipped around the post by keeper Adam Bartlett.

The home side eventually took the lead 12 minutes after the restart when Wes York made space for himself in the box to nod home from close range after a free-kick from the right hand side.

York City doubled their advantage late on in the encounter when substitute Hamza Bencherif volleyed in from six yards out following a teasing cross from Alex Harris".

And York Press adds that "York City boss Steve Watson believes people will be tipping his side as play-off 'dark horses' following a third straight National League North win.

A 2-0 home triumph over bottom-of-the-table Nuneaton Borough... saw the Minstermen move up to 12th in the standings, the club’s highest position since mid-November. The gap to the top seven remains seven points but only Spennymoor, who have taken maximum points in their last seven league matches, are now on a longer winning steak than Watson’s men in the 22-strong division.

On a change in mentality for the team, who only ended a 13-month wait for back-to-back league successes during the current run, the ex-Gateshead manager said 'I always say you have to go out expecting to win and I think the players now believe they can win games. My message to them now is just to keep winning games, even if that sounds far too obvious. I dare say people are looking at York now and saying "They’ve got a good squad of players and they could be dark horses", and I hope they are doing...

'We were very wasteful,' he admitted. 'We created a lot of clear-cut chances in the first half and some absolute sitters really, so you’re left scratching your head at half-time wondering how it’s still 0-0. In training, all those shots hit the back of the net, so we just need that bit of match-day confidence, but our energy levels were good in the second half and we were more clinical...

'We also did well, though, to create so many opportunities against a team whose strikers were even marking our full-backs, so we had to get through two banks of five and it was a real test in trying to pick a team apart'@.


The Daily News says that "Sholing's hopes of lifting the FA Vase for a second time in six years were sunk at Nor[th]wich Victoria this afternoon. Dave Diaper’s Boatmen lost their quarter-final tie 3-1 after extra-time having played 77 minutes with ten men.

Sholing were the better side and deservedly took the lead on 27 minutes through Lee Wort. But hero turned villain two minutes before the interval when Wort was shown a straight red card for a late tackle.

Northwich equalised with a flicked header in first-half stoppage time and, although ten-man Sholing had the better of the chances after the break, the tie remained deadlocked at 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Cruelly for the Boatmen they fell behind to a wickedly deflected Ryan Winder goal 22 minutes into extra time and their dreams were shattered by a Norwich third, scored by Darryhl Mason, four minutes later.

Elsewhere, Chertsey Town won 2-0 at West Auckland, while Cray Valley beat Willand Rovers 3-1. The Canterbury City v Biggleswade tie takes place tomorrow."

23 February 2019


Five of Altrincham's six goals today were scored by players who had never previously scored for the club in a competitive game; three for loanee Joe Piggott, one for loanee Yusufi Ceesay and one for Sean Williams who hit the back of the net today for the first time in his 62nd match for the club. Ironically, Sean had actually scored on his non-competitive debut in July 2014 in a friendly at Abbey Hey.


Today's FA Trophy results mean that Alty's scheduled trip to AFC Telford United on 23 March will now be postponed as the date clashes with the Bucks' second leg of the FA Trophy semi-finals. It could have been worse had Brackley also won in the Trophy today as Alty are scheduled to play them on the date of the first leg on 16 March.


Altrincham recorded their biggest away win since a 6-0 victory at Hinckley United in April 2013 but on this occasion it could easily have been double figures for the visitors


Saturday 23 February:
  • Blyth Spartans 3-3 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Bradford (Park Avenue) 2-0 Chester
  • Chorley 0-1 Ashton United
  • Curzon Ashton 0-6 Altrincham
  • Guiseley 0-1 Alfreton Town
  • Southport 0-0 FC United Of Manchester
  • Spennymoor Town 1-0 Leamington
  • York City 2-0 Nuneaton Borough


Fourth Round, Saturday 23 February:
  • Brackley Town 1-2 Leyton Orient
  • AFC Fylde 4-2 Barnet
  • Stockport County 1-1 Maidstone United
  • Solihull Moors 1-2 AFC Telford United
From the National League we learn that "It's been tough times for Bradford (Park Avenue) in recent weeks; Mark Bower's men are winless in seven. No better way then to turn the tide than a win over fellow promotion hopefuls Chester who bagged a crucial win over Boston last time out.

Blyth Spartans' promotion charge had seemed to stall in recent weeks but they'll be bouyed by their win over Leamington last time out. Mark Yates brings his Kidderminster Harriers side to Croft Park looking to close the gap to the top seven.

Liam Watson is still confident Southport can piece together a run to the play-offs. They entertain FC United of Manchester as they look to start their charge.

Spennymoor Town are looking for a seventh-straight win against Leamington with the Brakes winning just once since December.

After a rocky start, Steve Watson has three wins in four at York City. The Minstermen will be confident of keeping their good form going against bottom side Nuneaton Borough.

Guiseley know three points at home to Alfreton would do wonders for their survival hopes after claiming a win just once in 2019...

Curzon Ashton tasted defeat last week for the first time since the turn of the year. They are looking to bounce back against Altrincham."


Altrincham travel to Curzon Ashton's Tameside Stadium today (Saturday), in a return league fixture, Alty having lost the reverse match 0-2 in September thanks to goals by Connor Hughes and Ollie Crankshaw. Hughes cannot repeat his goal against Alty as this week he moved to Atherton Collieries.

By coincidence, Jordan Hulme was suspended for the home game as he now is, again, for this away game and, likewise, Ben Harrison is likely to be sidelined by injury for this fixture as he was for the September game at Moss Lane. similarily, James Poole was injured for the match at the JDS and will probably miss out again tomorrow as he regains fitness.

Above: Tom Hannigan's back-header goes narrowly wide of the Curzon Ashton goal.

In the September match, The Nash took a 42nd minute lead, when the impressive Crankshaw got the benefit of a ricochet against Shaun Densmore to advance on the right. Following a resulting cross-shot by Samizadeh amd a parry by Wynne, Hughes netted with a rising shot from close range at the back post. To compound Alty's defensive injury problems Densmore had to give way at half-time after seemingly picking up a knock.

The match's outcome was settled in the 58th minute when Crankshaw netted impressively from outside the box after Alty had stood off the advancing Curzon player. The nearest Alty came to a goal was when a Johnston freekick hit the top of the crossbar in the fourth minute of added time. Alty dropped to fifteenth after that match but go into Saturday's game lying seventh.

The teams were ALTRINCHAM: 1. Elliot Wynne, 2. Simon Richman, 3. Shaun Densmore, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Tom Peers, 10. Max Harrop, 11. Josh Hancock. Alty named only four on the bench: 14. Owen Dale, 15. Liam Goulding, 16. Callum Harris, 20. Tony Thompson

CURZON ASHTON: 1. Cameron Moore, 2. Daniel Morton, 3. Cameron McJannet, 4. Jonathan Hunt (c), 5. Daniel Shaw, 6. Chris Rowney, 7. Joe Guest, 8. Oliver Crankshaw, 9. Niall Cummins, 10. Alex Samizadeh, 11. Connor Hughes. Subs: 12. Paul Marshall, 14. James Baillie, 15. Mason Fawns, 16. Mohamud Ali, 17. Jack O'Leary.

Like Alty, Curzon have had an up and down season but, in their case, it also has included a managerial change which arrived when the long-serving John Flanagan was replaced by Mark Bradshaw. Former Robins, Sean Miller and Ryan Brooke, are on The Nash's books nowadays.

Before their 2-0 defeat at Brackley last Saturday, Curzon had won six and drawn one of their previous seven league fixtures; that fine run had come after a sequence of nine league matches without a win. Currently Curzon lie five points behind Alty in twelfth place, from the same number of games. They are the third lowest scorers in the division with 34 goals but have the joint fifth-best defence, having conceded 40 times. Indeed, only the top four have conceded fewer times that Curzon this season.

Mason Fawns was in the Curzon squad back in September and is likely to be in Altrincham's squad today. But Max Harrop is likely to miss out after picking up a hamstring injury in midweek.

Admission prices at the Tameside Stadium are £12 for adults and £6 for concessionaries. Students pay £6 whilst Under-16s go free.


The National League reports that "Chorley manager Jamie Vermiglio says title rivals Stockport County and Spennymoor need a lot of credit, and a lot of watching! The National League North championship tussle looks to be three way.

Tuesday night’s results really closed things up as County went level on points with the leaders. Ahead of their game this weekend at home to struggling Ashton, Vermiglio told the Lancashire Post that it’s a title race you can’t take your eyes off.

'Stockport and Spennymoor deserve a lot of credit to go on such a amazing runs recently,' said Magpies boss, whose team are top on goal difference. 'They’ve kept in touch and it’s going to make the final 12 games very exciting for everyone involved. It was always the expectation from everyone that Stockport would be title contenders – if they weren’t then their season would have been a failure to the majority of their fans.

'For Spennymoor and for us in particular, neutrals would never have imagined us being where we are at this stage. We deserve as much credit as anyone for getting to where we are and I’m confident that the group of players we have are strong enough to finish the season well.' Stockport are in FA Trophy action this weekend as Spennymoor host Leamington. "

FC United of Manchester announce that "The Reds travel to Southport on Saturday in another big game in the fight against relegation as we look to keep the momentum going from last weekend’s late draw against Guiseley. A win for FC United could see us narrow the gap from us and safety to five points and potentially go above Ashton United in the process.

Last weekend, we can only take positives from what as an all seemingly impossible situation to comeback from. Trailing 3-1 down with 15 minutes of normal regulation time to go, all hope seemed like it was lost but a fantastic comeback from the Reds spearheaded by top scorer Kurt Willoughby and Tom Peers got us an important point in the circumstances.

We must use that fighting spirit going forward especially with the season nearing its end. With that point at home to Guiseley, that was only our eighth point we have tallied at home for this season, however the fightback can only give us a slight bit of confidence heading into the game against Southport.

Our away record as well has been considerably better in the league, than our home form... Away from home this season we have picked up 17 points, however our last away win was on the 12th January... In our last five games, we have only picked up one point having drawn the previous game and losing the previous four.

As for our opponents Southport FC, they are currently 13th in the league... seven points off the play-off places... The home side come into this game on the back of a spirited 3-2 defeat against second place Stockport County... Southport are coming into this game on slightly better form than us, having picked up four points from their last 15 available in the league, winning once, drawing once and losing three times".

At Bradford (Park Avenue), "Goalkeeping coach Steve Dickinson has joined Mark Bower’s Bradford Park Avenue staff. Dickinson is vastly experienced having enjoyed long spells at Guiseley, Ossett Town and Southport and arrives at Horsfall to work with the first team and youth players, also providing depth and cover for starting ‘keeper Charlie Andrew.

Jack Atkinson has informed the club of his wish to consider his future options both within football and generally which sees his tenure at Bradford Park Avenue come to an end. Jack has provided excellent cover in the goalkeeper position this season and the club wishes Jack all the best in his future endeavours."

According to the Coventry Telegraph, "Nuneaton Borough FC fans have launched a fund-raising campaign to help their beloved club which is on the ‘brink of going into administration’. They have launched an online appeal to raise £5,000 to help the troubled side.

The Liberty Way-based club is, by its own manager’s admission, in huge financial trouble. Boro boss Jimmy Ginnelly has spoken frankly about the desperate need to get ten investors on board to save the club.

Now one of the club’s devoted supporters Simon Moore has launched a Just Giving page... By Friday afternoon £800 had been raised from 27 donations...

Earlier this week, the club announced it would have open trials for new first team players but with a catch. Anyone who wants to try out needs to pay £50.

Jimmy Ginnelly has previously said that they need ten investors to stump up £10,000 each now. This is believed to be enough money to see the club through to the end of the season... Earlier this month former chairman Nick Hawkins announced that he would be standing down from the role he held for three months".

York Press tells us that "York City boss Steve Watson has argued that the new community stadium will prove a big attraction for potential summer signings even though it won’t now be ready for the start of next season. The Minstermen had been scheduled to receive the keys to the new arena in May but, with the project now delayed until August 19 at the earliest, Watson will still need to complete any transfers at the club’s 87-year-old Bootham Crescent home.

But the ex-Everton defender does not regard that as a significant setback, saying 'I had a walk around the new stadium the other day and it’s going to be fantastic. It will be a huge draw to get players to sign for us and, for those who might be borderline about dropping down a division or two, things like the stadium, training ground, fan base and history will go in our favour when we’re recruiting in the summer. It would certainly have been a lot easier if the stadium had been ready, but that’s out of my hands. I don’t know if we can get players walking around in hard hats and wellies, so maybe I’ll get a decent 3D plan to show new recruits!

'But we’re still at a good stadium for this level and I just have to worry about getting things right on the training ground and the pitch'".

In the Chester Standard we learn that "Anthony Dudley hopes his blossoming strike partnership with Akwasi Asante can fire Chester into the National League North play-offs. The duo both found the net as the Blues ended a run of three successive defeats with a comfortable 4-1 home success against Boston United on Saturday...

'It clicked in his first game against Darlington,' said Dudley of his link-up with Asante. 'We’ve become mates off the field and obviously the partnership is working on the pitch, which is great for both of us. When the ball goes into me he knows what I’m going to do and when the ball goes into him I can judge the flight of the ball and make a run because I know he will flick it around the corner'...

Dudley, on-loan from Salford City, continued... 'As a collective unit we were very good, we dominated the game and deserved the three points... We had to bounce back... The performances of late weren’t up to the standards we set... We’ve got every chance of getting into the play-offs'...

Dudley scored an eye-catching effort on Saturday, explaining... 'The managers tell me to believe in myself and it has paid off. I demand quite a bit of myself, so if I keep believing every time I go out on the pitch, good things happen'".

The Shropshire Star reports that "‘Trust the process’ has become the mantra of AFC Telford United under Gavin Cowan and his coaching process began at tomorrow’s opponents Solihull Moors [in the FA Trophy].

Cowan’s fresh ideas have reinvigorated the Bucks, seeing them rise to fourth... And, set to be backed by a superb travelling support of 750, they are aiming to upset the odds against the Moors... On his time at Damson Park as part of former Telford defender Marcus Bignot’s backroom team, while playing the odd game as they won the National North title in 2015/16, Cowan said... 'It was my transition, really, from a player to a coach... I always liked to be a big character in the dressing room. It was difficult to do that because you’re on the other side of it; ‘the dark side’ as they call it... Obviously, we went on and won the league. That was a really big part of their history, and I was privileged to be a part of it'...

Defensive rock Theo Streete was the Moors’ skipper that year and has been one of the most consistent performers for Telford this campaign. Playmaker Darryl Knights has worked with Cowan at both clubs too. 'They bring a lot of experience. I’ve seen their character as a player, and now as a manager', said the Bucks chief...

'They’re big and physical from back to front [at Solihull],' added Cowan. 'They have got a lot of quality as well'...

Daniel Udoh is the dangerman for Telford, having chipped in with two goals in as many games in the competition."

The Yorkshire Evening Post believes that "Given Guiseley's experiences over the past week, those Lions supporters who converge at Nethermoor for the home game with Alfreton Town tomorrow would be forgiven for not knowing what to expect.

Following a see-saw 3-3 draw at fellow National League strugglers FC United of Manchester at the weekend, Guiseley almost plucked defeat from the jaws of victory in Tuesday’s West Riding County Cup semi-final with minnows Barnoldswick Town. After cruising into a seemingly unassailable 3-0 lead, courtesy of goals from Will Thornton, Scott Smith and Paul Clayton, Guiseley inexplicably allowed their opponents to draw level before a last-minute goal, and second of the game, from Clayton saved the day.

That said, there was a hollow feeling at the final whistle, even accounting for the fact that the club had reached a cup final.

Co-manager Russ O’Neill was rather more concerned about his side’s inability to manage games, following on from the action at FC United on Saturday, when the Lions let slip a 3-1 advantage achieved through goals from Niall Heaton, Rowan Liburd and Will Hatfield.

O’Neill said 'We were 3-1 up on Saturday and we have not managed the game well enough and we did not on Tuesday and fair play to Barnoldswick. We nicked it in the end, but it just shows how momentum can shift, but we do need to start managing games better. It was unbelievable and I was fuming (on Tuesday) and thinking "My god, what has happened here". Ultimately, we cannot be three and four-nil up every week, we have got to man up and manage games better and it is something we have spoken about...

'We have gone from (last) Saturday to Tuesday exactly the same and we need to learn to manage games better and learn from it'.

Guiseley’s injury count has been added to ahead of the game with O’Neill’s former club Alfreton, with Smith coming off just before half-time in midweek with a knee injury, which saw him go to hospital. Andy Halls also suffered a nasty knock in the cup victory and is unlikely to feature."

22 February 2019


TASC Travel Coordinator, Mark Eckersall, writes: "Just a reminder that we won't be running transport to this Saturday's fixture at Curzon Ashton in line with our usual policy on very local games. With the ground being just 20 minutes drive from Altrincham, we know we will have our usual excellent away support there.

Coaches will return for the visit to York City on Saturday 9th March and details will be released soon, in time to book at the Blyth and Chester home games coming up. Thanks for your support so far this season".


The official Altrincham FC site has an interview with Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson [right] after the 0-2 home defeat to Spennymoor Town. "I still believe in this group, but it’s up to them to back my judgement and show the faith I have in them isn’t misplaced", he stated.

The manager also confirmed that the withdrawal of Max Harrop just 15 minutes after coming on as a substitute on Tuesday night was due to his suffering a "hamstring problem". Meanwhile Ben Harrison and James Poole also remain on the sidelines through injury.


According to the National League, manager "Jason Ainsley believes there is a totally different mentality at Spennymoor to the one that threw in the promotion towel last season. A sixth win in a row on Tuesday night saw them keep the heat on at the top of the National League North.

The Moors are four points away from the leaders and have games in hand after a 2-0 success at Altrincham. But they had matches on their rivals last season and totally blew up and ended up missing out on the play-offs all together...

'We didn’t do ourselves any favours in the final few games of last season,' he told the club’s YouTube channel. 'We had matches to make up and let ourselves down. This year we have picked up nine points from our games in hand... That’s the different thing this time. We have a great group with a real togetherness'...

'What we have done is put ourselves in a really good position,' he adds. 'Altrincham, I think, are the best footballing side in the league. We weren’t really at it in the first half even though they didn’t really get in behind us much. Second half we were comfortable and we were a threat... Mentally it was a really tough match for us but I thought our organisation was exceptional'".


Next Saturday, Altrincham are away at Curzon Ashton. Mike Garnett and Howard Watts's Through the Years records remind us that The Robins' last game played on a 23 February date was in 2013, a 1-1 draw at home to Colwyn Bay in the Blue Square Bet North.

This was a disappointing draw against a Colwyn Bay side which had the better chances to win the game. It started well enough for Alty when Shaun Densmore converted Simon Richman's pass from the right in the tenth minute. But Alty then had to thank Stuart Coburn for two saves from Rob Hopley, the latter, a one-on-one in the 25th minute, being the Bay's best first-half chance.

After 57 minutes Hopley did level the scores with a smart volley after a corner from the Bay left had not been held by Coburn. Despite the introduction of Nicky Clee, Altrincham could not convert some late pressure into a goal and, indeed, Altrincham were grateful to Coburn for a smart block from Crowther in the closing stages.

The match was seen by 769 spectators (34 in away end).

For Altrincham, goalkeeper Joe Collister [right] remained sidelined but new loan signing Ben Mills started as Nicky Clee moved to the bench. Duncan Watmore moved to the left wing with Simon Richman on the right flank. Former Altrincham players Robbie Williams and Alex Meechan were returning to Moss Lane with Colwyn Bay; Robbie was on the bench but Alex started.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 4. Carl RODGERS, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Danny HALL, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Jake MOULT, 9. Ben MILLS 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Duncan WATMORE. Subs: 12. Scott LEATHER, 14.Patrick LACEY, 15.Nicky CLEE, 16. James LAWRIE, 18. Stephen BULLEN

COLWYN BAY: 21. Christopher Sanna, 2. Danny Taylor, 3. Michael Lea, 4. Frank Sinclair, 5. Tom Smyth, 6. John McKenna, 7. Gareth Evans, 8. Tom Roberts, 9. Rob Hopley, 10. Alex Meechan, 11. Charlie Joyce. Subs: 12. Robbie Williams, 14. Callum Byrne, 15. Anthony Miley, 16. Arthur Gnahoua, 17. Jamie Crowther.


The National League says that "National League North fans are flocking to see their club as we head towards the season's climax. We still have half our sides pulling in crowds over 1,000 on a consistent basis.

Stockport County still comfortably lead the way from Hereford and York City. FC United of Manchester have broken their attendance record for this season twice since Boxing Day.

At the other end, Curzon Ashton have seen a big boost in crowds since their incredible run of form under Mark Bradshaw".

National League North Attendance Table:

    1. Stockport County 3,625
  • 2. York City 2,469
  • 3. Hereford 2,384
  • 4. FC United of Manchester 1,978
  • 5. Chester 1,822
  • 6. Kidderminster Harriers 1,637
  • 7. Darlington 1,439
  • 8. Chorley 1,371
  • 9. AFC Telford United 1,360
  • 10: Altrincham 1,294
  • 11. Boston United 1,117
  • 12. Southport 1,073
  • 13. Spennymoor Town 827
  • 14. Blyth Spartans 791
  • 15. Guiseley 773
  • 16. Leamington 687
  • 17. Nuneaton Borough 649
  • 18. Brackley Town 544
  • 19. Bradford (Park Avenue) 539
  • 20. Alfreton Town 536
  • 21. Curzon Ashton 468
  • 22. Ashton United 383


One player who will not be facing Alty when they visit the Tameside Stadium on Saturday is the subject of a report from the EvoStik League which tells us that "West Division leaders Atherton Collieries have signed winger Connor Hughes on loan from Curzon Ashton.

Hughes, 25, came through the ranks at Oldham and played eight times for their first team before moving on to Hyde, Halifax Town and Worcester City. He played in the EVO-STIK League last season for Warrington Town and Stalybridge Celtic, before joining Curzon.

Colls manager, Michael Clegg, said 'We were made aware that Connor needed games at the time we lost Ben Conway. It’s an unbelievable signing for us at this stage of the season, to get someone in of Connor’s ability. He is an exciting player and fits in with how we play... He is desperate to do well and get back playing. I’d like to thank Mark Bradshaw for making it happen, we have had a really good relationship since he got the manager’s job at Curzon'".

The National League reports that "Southport manager Liam Watson refuses to throw in the play-off towel. A damaging defeat at Stockport County on Tuesday saw the club relinquish a two-goal lead to go home with nothing...

They are still seven points away from the top seven. Watson thinks they may need to win eight, or seven and claim three draws, to have any chance of seeing their season extended.

'We’ve got 12 games left. The challenge is now to take 24 points. If we do that we’ll be on 63 points and that might just be enough, who knows? If we took seventh place, would we be good enough to go and win three away games in the play-offs? Probably not at the moment but it’s one game at a time.

'We’ve got six home games left and six away. We really need to make Haig Avenue an enjoyable place to be at for those matches.'

Understandably, Watson wasn’t happy with the manner of the defeat at Stockport. 'You can’t ship three goals, not when you have taken a 2-0 lead,' he added. 'The game is played over 95 minutes, not 43 and that goal just before half-time has cost us'".

From Kidderminster Harriers we learn that "Liam McAlinden is to remain with Harriers until the end of the season after his loan was extended. The former Wolves youngster has been with the Reds since January, on loan from Cheltenham Town. He’s made four appearances thus far, starting the last three National League North games and weighing in with three assists.

He’ll now be staying at Aggborough until the conclusion of our campaign."

York Press insists that "York City could still pursue a deal for departed trialist Ryan Cresswell this summer. The Minstermen organised a practice match against National League Chesterfield this week with the intention of running the rule over the 31-year-old former Bury and Northampton centre back.

But Cresswell didn’t feature in the game and, instead, signed for Evo-Stik League Premier division strugglers Mickleover Sports.

City boss Steve Watson admitted, however, that he liked what he saw from Cresswell during his time training with the club and would not rule out future transfer talks if he proves his fitness levels at the Derbyshire part-timers.

'He’s been around the club for almost as long as I’ve been here, but he’s not trained as much as I needed him to,' Watson explained. 'He missed a couple of vital days’ training and I haven’t seen him play 90 minutes either, which I needed to before we moved forward, and we pretty much set the Chesterfield game up for him and a couple of other trialists.

'What I can say is that, when he did train, I could see there was certainly a player who would do well here and in this league. It might have been difficult to do something anyway this season, because we’re hardly short of centre halves; we’ve got three or four on the books that aren’t currently involved.

? 'But it might be something we can readdress in the summer if he gets more games and is closer to the match-fit player we need to see. At the moment, there’s maybe room to bring in one more player and we’ve still got two or three weeks to do that before the window closes.

'But they would need to be a guaranteed starter or a game changer and, while we’ve been close to bringing in a couple of those types, it hasn’t happened yet.'

Watson went on to state that he hopes Simon Heslop, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season having been told he needs a second operation on his knee, can return to training before May to enable him to make a judgement on the out-of-contract midfielder... Watson declared 'Another knee operation is a huge blow for the club and even more so for Hessie. His timing couldn’t be worse with a new manager coming in. Hopefully, there will be changes coming in most aspects of the club and, other than a couple of games when he played for the opposition and I was at Macclesfield, I’ve not seen much of him, so I can’t gauge where he’s at now.

'He won’t play for us again this season but, hopefully, he can get back into training before the summer and we can assess him a bit more then.'

Along with Heslop, Jon Parkin and Dan Parslow are both ruled out for Saturday’s home match with Nuneaton. Parkin lasted just ten minutes of the practice match against Chesterfield before picking up a calf injury and it is taking longer than anticipated for Parslow to get the green light from the medical profession to return to action following his head injury.

Teenage right-back Nathan Dyer, meanwhile, is not expected to feature in the squad, having yet to make a matchday 16 following Watson’s appointment. Dyer was named in all but two of the last 19 squads selected by former boss Sam Collins and the latter’s successor has, nevertheless, reassured the youngster...

'He’s a young lad and I’ve explained to him that he certainly has a future, but I don’t really need to rush into a decision on him, as I have to do with some of the others', Watson pointed out.. 'While there are players ahead of him and things he needs to work on, age is not an issue for me... He’s certainly part of York City’s future.'

Bottom-of-the-table Nuneaton will arrive at Bootham Crescent a massive 17 points from safety and in all sorts of turmoil off the pitch, but Watson is still expecting resilient opposition, reasoning 'They will set up to be hard to beat and it can be more difficult to play against teams like that who, under the old adage, park the bus, so we’ll have to move them around, be confident on the ball and finish the chances we make.'

During last weekend’s 2-1 win at Kidderminster, City didn’t make a single substitution for the first time in any match this term, but Watson added that he was unsure if that would be the case against Nuneaton. He said 'Sometimes, if the game is tight, it can be hard for a sub during those first five minutes to match the pace of the game, so I’d rather keep it the same in that situation unless somebody is injured or particularly fatigued, and I thought we looked fit against Kidderminster. At that stage of the game, if we’d have been looking to make a change, it would have probably been defensive-minded too and I didn’t want to do that.

'It would be great to think you could keep all 11 players on the pitch for 90 minutes and keep winning games, but that’s probably unrealistic and I can’t say whether it will happen again.”

21 Febuary 2019 h3>ALTY AT CURZON: THE LAST TIME On Saturday, Altrincham are away to Curzon Ashton, who beat Alty 2-0 in the reverse fixture. Altrincham's last league visit to the Tameside Stadium was on Friday, 14 April 2017 when they secured the final win, 3-2, of their relegation season in the Vanarama National League North.

In that game, Altrincham snatched an injury-time winner after all their efforts seemed to have been denied by the controversial award of a Curzon equalizer, when Tim Deasy was deemed, by an assistant referee, to have collected the ball after it had crossed his own goal-line, following a corner.

In the first half, Altrincham had been the better side but had fallen behind after 42 minutes from a counter-attack, after Lynch had lost possession in the Curzon half. Guest broke forward and Warburton netted despite a last-ditch tackle from the retreating Laurence Taylor. But Alty equalized in the 45th minute when a push gave the visitors a spot kick which Jake Moult converted confidently.

Alty then took the lead with another penalty from Moult after James Lawrie had been brought down as he jinked across the penalty area (62 mins). But then came the controversial equalizer, awarded to Curzon's Hunt, fourteen minutes from time.

Above: Jake Moult celebrates with team-mates after putting Alty 2-1 ahead.

However, the hard-working Robins had the final say as Simon Richman bundled the ball home after good work on the left from Clee and Evans, in the first added minute at the end of the ninety.

Goalkeeper and wrestler Stuart Tomlinson was in the warm-up but not in the squad having recently deputised for Tim Deasy. Given the latter's injury problems that season, it was surprising that, on Tim's return, Tomlinson was not named on the bench. Once again, Sean Miller, Craig Hobson, Tom Hannigan, Alan Goodall and John Cyrus all missed this game through injury, whilst Gary Jones also sat out this fixture.

Clayton McDonald, signed just before manager Jim Harvey's departure in December, made his full league debut alongside Jake Moult at centre-back, whilst Kyle Brownhill returned from injury in midfield.

CURZON ASHTON: 1. Cameron Mason, 2. Oliver Thornley, 3. Joe Guest, 4. Jonathan Hunt, 5. Daniel Shaw, 6. Alex Brown (capt), 7. Jordon Wright, 8. Luke Clarke, 9. Niall Cummins, 10. Matty Warburton, 11. Chris Rowney. Subs: 12. James Baillie, 14. Paul Ennis, 15. Ryan Jennings, 16. Tyrell McKenzie 13. Hakan Burton (gk).

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tim Deasy, 2. Chris Lynch, 3. Andy McWilliams, 4. Laurence Taylor, 5. Clayton McDonald, 6. Jake Moult (capt), 7. Simon Richman, 8. Kyle Brownhill, 9. Micah Evans, 10. James Lawrie, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 12. Shaun Densmore, 14. Sam Patterson, 15. Damian Reeves, 16. Sam Heathcote, 17. Darius Palma

Following this game in 2017, bottom-placed Altrincham had taken eleven points from their last eleven games; that is curiously similar to the 2019 situation as Alty start this match with 12 points from their previous eleven fixtures.


This Saturday, Jordan Hulme [right] completes his four-match suspension, incurred for his second red card of the season. The following Tuesday, 26 February, Jordan is expected to be named in the Altrincham FC Reserves' team which entertains its landlords, Egerton FC, in a Cheshire League match which has been transferred to the J. Davidson Stadium, (7.45pm).

Before then, this Saturday (23/02/19 at 2pm), league leaders Altrincham play against Poynton FC at Egerton Youth Club, Knutsford. Both Alty and Egerton lost their league games last Saturday. 11th placed Egerton went down 3-0 at Knutsford FC, 3-0, whilst Whaley Bridge Athletic defeated Altrincham FC Reserves 2-1.


Following Tuesday's game, Spennymoor Town report that they "recorded a sixth successive victory courtesy of goals from Mark Anderson and Rob Ramshaw on a damp night at Altrincham.

The home side, who are in contention to seal a play-off place this campaign, tested Matt Gould’s concentration on several occasions in the first half, but it was Moors who led thanks to Anderson’s long-range drive.

Glen Taylor saw a goal controversially ruled out for offside moments before the break, but Ramshaw sealed the three points just after the hour mark with a calm finish past Steven Drench...

Moors, dressed in all yellow, began the game on the back foot and had to withstand some early pressure from the tricky Yousifu Ceesay. After Joe Piggott tested Gould from distance, Ceesay attempted a rabona on the by-line, but the Moors keeper collected it comfortably.

Altrincham applied a high level of pressing in a fairly one sided first half without carving open a determined and dogged Moors backline on too many occasions.

The defining moment of the game which swung events in favour of Moors arrived with seven minutes of the half remaining, and it was the left foot of Anderson, who has chipped in with some vital goals this season, who was the finisher. The midfielder picked up a loose ball in midfield before advancing towards the box unattended, before fizzing a glorious strike into the bottom corner beyond the helpless Drench...

Anderson closed down James Jones’ clearance before lofting a ball to the onrushing Jamie Chandler. He opted to square the ball to Taylor instead of going for goal, but after the striker finished the move, Moors’ players were staggered when the linesman raised his flag.

The hectic nature of the first half was in sharp contrast to a subdued and flat second, but that suited a professional and polished Spennymoor side who added a second shortly after the hour mark.

The move started with a thunderous Scott Harrison challenge, and when the ball fell to Anderson in space, he threaded a pinpoint ball through to Rob Ramshaw who slid a low shot beneath Drench. The home side rarely threatened as Moors stood firm in tricky conditions, clipping the top of the bar on two occasions".


Wednesday 20 February 2019:
  • Darlington 0-2 Brackley Town


At York City, "The Board of Directors is 'extremely disappointed' by news of a delay in construction of the Community Stadium. The delay, which is out of our control, will inevitably have financial implications for York City Football Club with the loss of four high-profile pre-season fixtures and the cancellation of several commercial events which were designed to mark the club’s departure from Bootham Crescent.

Our supporters should not be alarmed by the news and the Board of Directors wishes to stress that the club will not be leaving Bootham Crescent until the Community Stadium is ready...

The delay means that the club will start the 2019-20 season at Bootham Crescent.

In a statement, a City of York Council spokesperson said 'We understand there will be a delay to the completion of the York Stadium Leisure Complex. This would mean a handful of games would not be able to take place in the new stadium as planned... A significant amount of progress has been made to date, both on and off site, with all stands now visible...

'Work will continue with all partners to minimise any delay and open the York Stadium Leisure Complex as soon as possible'".

Southport "slipped to defeat to a rampant Stockport County on Tuesday going down 3-2.

The match started with a number of good openings for County as they took the game to the visitors but a combination of poor finishing and some fine saves from Dan Hanford in the Southport goal saw the visitors ride the storm.

The game turned on its head in the 19th minute when Southport were awarded a free kick 20 yards out. Up stepped Jordan Richards who bent a low shot around the wall and under the arms of Ben Hinchliffe in the County goal. 1-0 to Southport... In the 32nd minute Southport were in dreamland... The ball broke to Jordan Archer who... cleverly found Dion Charles who produced a fine finish to make it 2-0...

But just as the home team were becoming frustrated they struck in the 45th minute with a fine goal from 30 yards by Jordan Keane... The second half saw a rejuvenated Stockport side come out all guns blazing... In the 49th minute it was all square as Darren Stephenson finished from close range.

Two minutes later and we fell behind when Sam Walker hit a free kick directly into the goal to make it 3-2. It was all one way traffic for 20 minutes but Southport did come into the game more as the half wore on without creating any real chances...

Stockport were worthy winners which manager Liam Watson readily acknowledged after the game. He said 'I made a few changes to put a team out that could stifle the opposition and the game plan worked well for 44 minutes but one lapse of concentration cost us and we were on the back foot after that as County got back into the game and had a great second half.'"

Nuneaton Borough "have announced an open trial for their first team on Tuesday the 5th of March.

Players are invited to pre-register for the trial and come along for the afternoon with the chance to earn a place in a side that will face the first team later that evening. The trial costs £50 and interested players should email the Club for registration and payment details. The trial will be limited to 50 places...

The trials will begin at approximately 14:30 and end in time for a break whilst the coaches select the players that have made it through to the trial match at 19:30".

Kidderminster Harriers report that "After his return to the side, Joel Taylor wants to contribute as much as he can to Harriers’ run-in ahead of Saturday’s game with York City. The full-back put in a strong showing in the 4-1 win over Chester at Aggborough a week ago.

It came after a two-month spell with Halesowen Town in which the former Stoke youngster featured extensively...

'Going out on loan is to benefit you if you’re not playing at the team you’re at,' he explained. 'It did help me with the minutes that I played and, coming back in, I’ve got to take the confidence from those games and come back in and do what I’m supposed to do. The Chairman told me before I left that I still had a part to play and that they’d be keeping an eye when I was at Halesowen.

'I went there and did the best I could for the team and now I’m back. I have a part to play and we’ll see where that goes to the end of the season'.

Taylor was influential in the Chester victory... What’s important now is that the team follow up the performance with a good showing against the Minstermen... The 22-year-old... knows that, now more than ever, its important for Harriers find form...

'We aren’t where we want to be in the league. Following up [last week]... we’re going to have to try and... get as many points as we possibly can to get us back to where we know we should be'...

After a lengthy injury lay off, it’s hoped Billy Daniels may be able to play some part in the game this weekend. Russ Penn likewise is progressing well and is close to a return, while Josh Heaton is also back in full training. Jimmy O’Connor and Tom Palmer remain out of action. Kane Richards is also back available to Harriers after several weeks out serving a suspension".

that "Cheltenham Town have recalled young striker George Lloyd from his loan deal with immediate effect. Lloyd first arrived at Edgar Street in October and went on to make 12 league appearances before being recalled by Cheltenham Town at the start of 2019.

His recall didn’t last long though, and Lloyd was back at Edgar Street on loan on 18th January. During his second loan-spell, Lloyd has made a further 7 appearances for The Bulls... Head of Football Tim Harris thanked George... ‘Lloydy has been great to have around, he’s always smiling, a real positive character and we all seriously wish him all the very best for the future'.

Harris also confirmed that with striker James Waite still serving two more games of his three-match suspension, The Bulls will be looking to strengthen the squad."

Ashton United inform us that "Ashton twice came from two goals down at Hurst Cross before eventually succumbing to play-off chasing Telford in a seven goal thriller. With leading scorer Matty Chadwick departed, the hosts gave a debut to Connor Dimaio and welcomed Craig Hobson back into the attack but it was the Bucks forced into a change after just 5 minutes as Henry Cowans was helped off after a challenge with Sam Sheridan...

20 minutes in and the hosts moved ahead as Knights’s left wing cross found Morgan-Smith unmarked 6 yards out and he headed home comfortably...

On the half hour strike partner Daniel Udoh picked up a long clearance and beat both centre backs before providing an assured left foot finish but within a minute the Robins were back in it as good work saw Liam Martin reach the by line and an attempted clearance saw the ball rebound home off Sam Sheridan...

Within 6 minutes of the restart Telford struck again as Udoh’s clever pass found Morgan-Smith and he cut inside for a confident finish.

On 70 minutes Ashton found a lifeline as Sheridan’s free kick was headed on by Jennings for fellow sub Kallum Mantack to squeeze his effort in at the near post and within two minutes the winger cut inside and saw his shot squirm underneath Bursik for the equaliser. The visitors were clearly rattled but showed their class as a neat build up saw Deeney’s cross guided home by Udoh for his fourth goal this season against the Robins".

There were six players who have worn the Alty shirt in the Ashton United squad: McMahon, Crowley, Swaby-Neavin (Chalmers 59), Regan, Ashworth, Kay (Mantack 55), Sheridan, Goulding, Martin (Jennings 55), Hobson, Dimaio. SNU: Tomsett, Reed."

20 February 2019


Altrincham's play-off aspirations were struck a further blow as visitors Spennymoor Town struck twice without reply at a wet J. Davidson Stadium. Manager Phil Parkinson had made three changes as White, Williams and Ceesay started tonight in place of Densmore, Harrop and Richman.

Altrincham enjoyed the majority of possession throughout the game but lacked the guile to convert it into meaningful chances. Efforts from Piggott and Johnston kissed the top of the crossbar in the second half but they were as good as it got against the well organized Moors' defence.

Right: Alty's pre-match huddle.

Spennymoor took the lead seven minutes before half-time when Altrincham stood off and allowed Anderson to fire home from just outside the box. The second half again saw the Moors happy to sit back and absorb Altrincham's largely ineffective probing before Ramshaw made it 2-0 from close range in the 63rd minute after Hancock had lost possession near half-way.

Disappointing freekicks and corners underlined Altrincham's absence of a goal-threat which means that they have now won just three of their last eleven league games. Although they remain in the play-off places, Altrincham lost ground on three of the teams above them as both AFC Telford United and Stockport County won tonight, in addition to Spennymoor's victory.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Steven Drench, 2. Andy White, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Joe Piggott, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Yusufi Ceesay. Subs: 12. Max Harrop, 14. Simon Richman, 15. Mason Fawns, 16. Shaun Densmore, 20. Tony Thompson

Before Tuesday's game Spennymoor Town reported that

  • Spennymoor have conceded 15 goals in 15 away games and have kept five clean sheets on the road, however, the 2-0 win at Nuneaton was the first time Moors have shut out the opposition since Saturday 29th September.
  • Altrincham have won one of their previous five home fixtures in all competitions, a 1-0 victory over Southport on 19th January.
  • Since an eight-game unbeaten stretch which featured seven wins and 22 points between 27th October and 8thDecember, Altrincham have collected just 12 points from the 30 available.
  • Moors are not only the division’s form side over the last five games, but they have also recouped the most points from the last 25 games, picking up 50 from a maximum of 75.
  • Altrincham are one of only two sides to score four times against Moors in a single game this season. The other was Brackley Town back in October.


Tuesday 19 February 2019:
  • Altrincham 0-2 Spennymoor Town
  • Ashton United 3-4 AFC Telford United (Ashton's goals comprised two from Kallum Mantack and a third by Sam Sheridan)
  • Stockport County 3-2 Southport


Altrincham travel to Curzon Ashton's Tameside Stadium on Saturday. Earlier this season The Nash won 2-0 at the J. Davidson Stadium. For Altrincham fans it will be a chance to renew acquaintance with Sean Miller, who was top scorer at Moss Lane in 2016-17 before injury hampered his development. Sean recently joined the Tameside club after a spell with Chester FC.

Mike Garnett provides the historical record in matches between the two clubs:

    Home: P2-W1-D0-L2-F5-A6
  • Away: P2-W2-D0-L0-F5-A2
  • All: P4-W3-D0-L2-F10-A8


Before Tuesday's fixtures, the Shropshire Star reported that "Gavin Cowan is ready to lock horns with good friend and ‘like-minded’ fellow boss Jody Banim at Ashton United tonight... The AFC Telford manager and his Robins counterpart met through mutual friend and former Shrewsbury Town winger Sam Aiston, as well as [via] several battles on the pitch in their playing careers.

Ex-forward Banim, who played for Town between 2003 and 2004, is battling to keep Ashton in National League North after last season’s play-off success. His side are in the bottom three, six points adrift of safety. Bucks chief Cowan, whose side are winless in three league games, has clear admiration for his opposite number and will not be counting his chickens tonight.

'He nut-megged me and I forearm smashed him a few times,' laughed Cowan. 'We get on really well, we’re very like-minded. I’m just a taller, better-looking version of him! We get on great, the texts have been quite humorous. He’s a great guy, doing a really good job. After we’ve beat them I hope he can keep them up.'

The Telford boss added 'You can’t take anyone for granted. Teams do have off-days and other teams can be on fire. We’re both battling for different things. If we do what I know we can then we can win.'

Cowan’s side have not been winless in four league games this season... Telford are aiming to respond from Saturday’s 3-2 reverse at Stockport Country, where Cowan feels his side did not give a true reflection of themselves... But Cowan is taking the viewpoint that the recent run of one point from a possible nine can work for his side and have a positive impact.

'There’s 13 games left and sometimes a run like this can be a blessing in disguise,' said Cowan. 'All teams go through these spells but then they can find momentum at the right time. I’m a big believer in always looking for the positive. Some teams can be on form now and have a tough time at a crucial moment. Sometimes the lads have to take responsibility and they’re ready to do that. I’m excited to see who shies away and who pushes their chest out and finds some energy'".

Glouscestershire Live informs us that "Cheltenham Town have recalled young striker George Lloyd from his loan spell at Hereford FC... Lloyd, 19, was due to spend the rest of the season with the National League North side, where he has impressed and been monitored by Premier League clubs.

His move back to Cheltenham ends his second loan stint at Edgar Street this term, having already spent time with the Bulls earlier in the season. In his latest spell he made seven appearances and found the net with a stunningly taken lob in an away victory over Blyth Spartans."

And Hereford FC also report that "After the draw at Ashton United on the weekend, Bulls Head Coach Marc Richards gave an update on his attempts to bring in a back-up ‘keeper as cover for Matt Yates. Richards explained that Hereford had agreed for Jahquil Hill, a former Bulls trialist, to come in almost a month ago, but have seen delays due to waiting for international clearance.

'We’re trying to sign Jahquil, but we’re having problems with getting the international clearance through,' said Richards. 'Whilst The Bulls wait for that clearance to arrive, Richards acted to ensure that there was cover on the bench for the weekend’s game at Ashton. We bought in Marco Radovanovic over the weekend as cover, we just wanted to make sure that we didn’t leave ourselves short' explained Richards. 'I haven’t always been running with a goalkeeper on the bench, but it’s nice to have that option.'

Richards admits to being frustrated by the delays in waiting for clearance but was thankful to Marco for agreeing to come in as short-term cover".

According to York Press "York City manager Steve Watson wants his full-backs to stay on the attack ahead of this weekend’s home match with bottom-of-the-table Nuneaton Borough. Right-back Kallum Griffiths scored his first goal for the Minstermen and claimed an assist for Scott Burgess’ 83rd-minute winner during Saturday’s 2-1 win at Kidderminster... Left-back David Ferguson, meanwhile, has scored twice this term and has contributed the club’s third highest number of assists, with four, despite only starting just over half of City’s fixtures this term.

The ex-England C international also arrived at Bootham Crescent last season as Darlington’s five-goal, joint-top marksman two months into the 2017/18 campaign.

Watson had a preference for wing-backs at his former club Gateshead but, after eight goals were conceded by his new team in the three matches he employed a 3-5-2 formation, the one-time Everton right-back switched to 4-2-3-1. With that system, City have secured their first back-to-back wins for 13 months and only shipped one goal... But Watson has also been pleased with the manner in which his team have continued to threaten down the flanks despite dispensing with wing-backs and he has praised the ability of 30-something centre-halves David Mirfin and Sean Newton to start attacks from deep too.

'It helps having full backs who can attack and, when one goes forward, the other one tucks in really well and does his job correctly,' Watson reasoned. 'They know what we want to do, and your full-backs have to be a threat as part of modern-time football. It’s also good to have two centre-halves who give us balance and can play because we’re telling the players to be patient on the ball.'”

At Kidderminster Harriers, manager "Mark Yates insists the target of reaching the play-offs is still 'well achievable' as Harriers approach their final dozen games of the term. It’s been one win and one defeat for the gaffer since his return to Aggborough...

Ahead next for the Reds is the prospect of two tough trips to Blyth Spartans and Ashton United... The gaffer refused to use a damaging sickness bug in the camp as an excuse for the result [defeat by York] despite it wiping out a large portion of the squad for much of the last week...

'It’s up to me, Jimmy and Russ to pick them up again. We have 12 games to get to where we want to go, and that’s still well achievable.'

Of the York defeat, which was of contrast to the Chester performance [a 4-1 win], Yates added 'We just didn’t do what we intended to do. I can’t criticise their effort but, when we needed to slow it down and have a little bit of quality, we played at 100 miles an hour... Last week was a good start but we didn’t get to those standards [on Saturday]'".

Cheshire Live tells us that "It was an opportunity that Matty Waters wasn't sure would come round again but it's one that he's determined to make the most of. The 21-year-old left back put in a strong performance on Saturday as Chester FC ended a winless sequence of five games to get themselves up and running again... with a 4-1 home win over Boston United .

Waters, in his third year at Chester having progressed through the Academy system before signing a professional deal with the club in the summer of 2016, has seen chances limited this season and has been unable to get an extended run in the team. Loan spells at Runcorn Town and Widnes arrived earlier in the season with varying degrees of success but the door to the first team and the chance to impress Blues bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley arrived following the injury to Simon Grand who had been playing as a makeshift left-back ever since John Pritchard made the loan switch to Buxton, having struggled to make his mark at Chester.

'Obviously losing Simon Grand to injury is a blow to us but you have to take your opportunities when they come along and the door has opened for me a little bit,' said Waters, who lives in Farndon. 'I've just come in and tried to express myself as much as I can and do what the gaffers ask of me and try and offer as much as I can to the team. I thought I played pretty well on Saturday and I felt good and I felt confident and I was able to get further up the pitch and play the kind of role that I'm used to and that I enjoy.

'I did OK at Nantwich and I feel I was able to carry that into the game against Boston. I've not been able to get a run in the team but, since the turn of the year, I think that I've done OK when I've had the chance. The gaffers want us to play attacking football and that suits my game but it's been a big bonus to play alongside the likes of Simon Grand, Danny Livesey and Steve Howson this season. It's the most experienced side I've ever been a part of at Chester and it's beneficial when you're a younger player to have that.

'Even though Simon is out injured he is a big part of the dressing room and comes in and tells you how he saw the game and offers some advice on how you might be able to tweak a few things. That kind of stuff plays a big part.'

Waters, who has made 38 appearances and netted four goals in all competitions during his three-years as a professional at Chester, didn't enjoy a happy time at Widnes earlier in the campaign.

'Runcorn Town was great and I really enjoyed it but when I went to Widnes I was played out of position and just didn't really enjoy the spell there,' said Waters... With Grand's absence set to continue for some time yet, Waters is likely to get another chance to shine. But there could be competition for places with Johnson and Morley keen to bring in another full back".

19 February 2019


Above, Alty line up before the kick-off of last Saturday's fixture against Bradford (Park Avenue).

The official Altrincham FC website has extended highlights of the game.


Spennymoor Town make their first visit to Altrincham tonight (Tuesday) as the form team in the division, having won all five of their most recent league fixtures. As chronicled below, their predecessors, Spennymoor United, last visited Altrincham in 2003-04 season and secured a 1-1 draw. Altrincham will again be without the suspended Jordan Hulme, in addition to the injured Ben Harrison.

As the Moors website explains, the original Spennymoor club was founded in 1904. However, "The Moors social club was burned to the ground in an arson attack on Christmas Day 2003 and, from then on, the club had no income and, despite the appointment of a new chairman, things got worse. In 2005 the club could not fulfil their fixtures and Spennymoor United AFC were removed from the UniBond League and the club sadly went out of existence after 101 years of senior soccer". So, "Spennymoor Town FC was born in the summer of 2005 following the demise of both UniBond Premier Division club Spennymoor United AFC and Northern League Second Division club Evenwood Town FC".

Nowadays, The Moors lie third in the league with seven points more than Altrincham and having played one fewer game. In the league, they have scored five more goals than the Robins and conceded 13 fewer times.

Spennymoor Town state that "Moors have the chance to move within one point of Stockport County as they travel to seventh place Altrincham on Tuesday evening. The sides shared eight goals in a memorable encounter at The Brewery Field in August, with Glen Taylor’s late strike earning a point in a 4-4 draw.

Alty took the lead on three occasions that afternoon and showed glimpses of a side that would be in the play-off hunt, and they have lived up to that billing since, currently occupying the final top seven spot. Moors head to The J.Davidson Stadium on the back of a 2-0 win over basement boys Nuneaton Borough on Saturday, consolidating third spot and earning an eighth away win of the campaign.

Jason Ainsley’s side now boast the finest away record in the National League North, albeit on goal difference, and only Stockport County have conceded fewer goals on the road this season".


The EvoStik League reports that "Warrington Town ended South Shields’ long unbeaten home run with a 2-1 win in the Premier Division on Saturday. Josh Amis’s ninth goal in seven games and a stunning solo strike from Jack Dunn gave the Yellows a 2-0 lead in the first half... That win puts Warrington five points clear of third placed Shields...

Right: Josh Amis.

Maintaining their place at the top of the table on goals scored are Farsley Celtic, who came from behind to win 2-1 at Matlock Town. On-loan winger [and ex-Alty loanee] Jonathon Margetts had put the Gladiators in front after just 11 minutes, before Will Hayhurst equalised. Jack Higgins popped up just four minutes from the end to secure a valuable three points for the Yorkshiremen...

The form team in the league are Marine [managed by ex-Alty boss Neil Young], who registered their sixth win in seven games as they won 1-0 at Hednesford Town".

And the EvoStik League also informs us that "Ramsbottom United have boosted their squad ahead of a promotion push with the signing of midfielder [and ex-Alty trialist] Tom Schofield. Schofield, 28, moves from West Division rivals Trafford FC and has also played for Congleton Town this season. His previous clubs include Colwyn Bay, Curzon Ashton and Witton Albion".


The Hereford Times reports that "Hereford Head Coach Marc Richards says the next two away games against relegation rivals Ashton United and FC United are like any other game. The Bulls sit eight points above Saturday's opponents Ashton in 20th, but having played two more games.

The following match Hereford head back up North to play FC United in 21st, who currently sit 10 points behind Richards' side.

'I think they are just like any other game as you can only get three points from a win so it doesn't matter if we pick that up against Ashton or FC United or a Stockport at the top of the table, it's still only three points,' Richards said'...

Bulls' defender Josh Gowling said that both ties are 'six pointers'. 'We spoke a couple of weeks ago and said that we wanted to get to this point in the season and have a gap which we have done, but it's not enough,' added Gowling. 'We need to kick on and go there (Ashton) looking to get three points. They are six pointers and we've always said you can't lose to teams around you... When you play the better teams they are a bit more free flowing and it can be an easier game sometimes. When there are teams down there fighting it's tough'".

And according to NL Daily "Hereford FC have signed goalkeeper Marko Radovanovic, who had a place on the bench for Saturday’s match against Ashton United. The Australian goalkeeper was given a trial with the Bulls against Pegasus Juniors in the summer before going on to play his football elsewhere.

Most recently Radovanovic was playing for Liverton FC, who play in the South West Peninsula League East".

From Guiseley comes news that "We’re delighted to announce the signing of nineteen year-old striker Akeel Francis from Accrington Stanley. Having joined Rotherham United as an eight year-old Akeel progressed through The Millers’ ranks but did not make a first team appearance. Francis had a loan spell at North Ferriby before leaving Rotherham to join Accrington in January 2018.

He has had periods in the current season at Wrexham and Rochdale"

Darlington "have provided an update on the two players who suffered injuries in Saturday’s home game with Southport. Sam Muggleton and Terry Galbraith were both taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital for treatment after sustaining injuries during the match.

Muggleton has sustained two injuries, a partial fracture of his femur, and knee ligament damage caused by a dislocation. He will be having a further scan to assess the extent of the damage. Galbraith has suffered a partial concussion, and will be ruled out of Wednesday’s home game against Brackley".

The National League's North Team of the Weekend comprises:

  • Sam Ramsbottom (Alfreton Town)
  • Defenders: Stephen Brogan (Spennymoor), Luke Trotman (Darlington), Sam Minihan (Stockport County)
  • Midfielders: Kieran Green (Blyth Spartans), Carl Baker (Brackley Town), Scott Burgess (York City), Bobby Johnson (Alfreton Town)
  • Strikers: Anthony Dudley (Chester FC), Matty Warburton (Stockport County), Kurt Willoughby (FC United)
  • Substitutes: Kallum Griffiths (York City), Danny O’Brien (Alfreton), Tom Owen-Evans (Hereford), Scott Burton (Chester FC), Rowan Liburd (Guiseley)
  • Manager of the Weekend: Billy Heath (Alfreton)
It’s not gone as well as Billy Heath hoped it would at Alfreton but there are signs next season could see a challenge if they can’t put a late surge together. A win over leaders Chorley has fans hoping."

The Shropshire Star reports that "Boss Gavin Cowan has revealed AFC Telford will do away with walls at free-kicks in the wake of the 3-2 defeat at Stockport County. The Bucks boss was left angered by his side’s performance for the large majority of their narrow defeat to the Hatters, who extended their unbeaten run to a post-war record 13 games.

Telford twice battled back to level, before two-goal hero Matty Warburton won the spoils for his side 20 minutes from time.

Captain Shane Sutton headed his side level, before Warburton curled in a free-kick just six minutes into the second half to give his side the lead again. Josef Bursik got a hand to it, but it wasn’t enough to keep it out and Cowan revealed after[wards, that] the on-loan Stoke shot-stopper [had] held his hands up for the goal.

The Bucks' chief also revealed he would dispense with having a wall in place for free-kicks, because it would give his keepers a better chance of keeping the set-piece out.

He said 'I don’t understand this with goalkeepers, putting a wall in front of the goal. We said it to Andy Wycherley in one game, if you put that lad 18/20 yards out, just him and Joe, no one around, the lad will score one in 10 if he is lucky. If a wall is there they have ways to benefit from it. A wall in the middle of the goal is so difficult. Joe has held his hands up for the goal, but that doesn’t help us in the short term.'

Cowan said apart from a short spell in the game, his players were not good enough and lacked professionalism at times. He said 'The way we play has worked until now, so why go off script? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. We didn’t play the way we normally do. I would say it was a lack of professionalism that was very apparent for me'".

York Press says that "Full-backs can be just as effective marauding forward as wing-backs. When Steve Watson recalled Kallum Griffiths and David Ferguson into the starting XI after reverting to a back four, he described the pair as 'proper full-backs', insinuating that the defensive side of their games would probably help stem the tide for a team that had shipped eight goals in the previous three fixtures when the former Gateshead manager’s previously-preferred 3-5-2 formation was employed.

Just one goal conceded in three hours of football since the switch offers plenty of support for such an assertion, but the pair are also proof that defensive discipline in wide areas doesn’t have to lead to the sacrifice of attacking thrust down the flanks.

Ferguson has only started 21 of City’s 37 league and cup contests this term, but his assists’ return of four is only beaten by two players; Jordan Burrow (ten) and Alex Harris (five). He has also netted two times this season, meaning he has been directly involved in six goals, either assisting or scoring, with only strikers Burrow, Macaulay Langstaff and Jake Wright, as well as midfielder Harris, boasting higher contributions.

Former Spennymoor defender Griffiths, who has also been in and out of the side, claimed a goal and an assist against Kidderminster and missed an easier opportunity to get on the scoresheet during the second half. He has now directly teed up three goals for team-mates in 2018/19 and the duo’s stats compare favourably with the assist figures of Wes York (three) and Sean Newton (one), who had been tasked with providing forward impetus as wing-backs prior to the tactical change...

City’s travails on their travels have been long-established. Martin Gray finished last season by taking just one point from a possible 24 in the club’s last eight away fixtures... This season, meanwhile, before winning 3-2 at Alfreton, the Minstermen had endured a miserable run of eight straight league defeats... Before the Alfreton match, just ten points from a possible 66 had been taken in the 22 journeys undertaken since the 5-3 January 2018 triumph at Telford...

When asking current and past players about Steve Watson’s qualities as a manager one of the recurring themes has been his unflappable personality... For the first time this season, the Minstermen didn’t make a substitution... That faith in the 11 players selected and refusal to panic might have just translated on to the pitch, where the team stuck to the game-plan and merited the rewards that came their way following Scott Burgess’ 83rd-minute winner".

Kidderminster Harriers report that "Fraser Horsfall was disappointed that Harriers weren’t able to take any points from Saturday’s Aggborough encounter against York City... It was the away side who would take the lead in the latest encounter through a superb first half strike from Kallum Griffiths.

Joe Ironside equalised for Harriers with 16 to play, but Scott Burgess put his side back in front nine minutes later to send York home with a victory.

Following the match, Harriers’ defender Fraser Horsfall felt... 'It’s a tough one to take because we thought we played OK; not amazing, but I think we did deserve something from the game... We like to play forward and maybe, at times, the balls forward weren’t of high enough quality to Joe [Ironside] and Kane [Richards] up there... Obviously, they’re two great strikes but we weren’t organised from throw ins, which I’m sure is something that we’ll look at and get right'".

From Cheshire Live we learn that "Boston United manager Craig Elliott said he was 'struggling to get his head around' quite how his Pilgrims side were put to the sword 4-1 at Chester FC at the weekend.

The Blues showed their early season form on Saturday as they produced a fine team performance to overcome a Pilgrims side who had won their previous two National League North games and had been beaten on the road just once since November.

Goals from Akwasi Asante , Anthony Dudley, Craig Mahon and George Waring sealed the success for Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley's side while former Chester City midfielder Ben Davies, who left the Blues some 13 years previous, rolled back the years to bag a consolation for Boston with a superb free kick...

Elliott told the Boston Standard 'Strange game, I’m struggling to get my head around it because I didn’t think "Wow, Chester are a brilliant team and they deserved to win 4-1". I came away thinking we contributed a lot to the defeat today. I need to compose myself a little bit. It didn’t feel like a 4-1 game at times, especially first half. I felt it was really harsh on us being 2-0 down, I thought we had chances, hit post twice and had two other good moments. I felt we were a bit fragile in our own box today'...

But goals win games and Chester's clinical finishing proved the decisive factor.

Said Elliott'My gut (instinct) is that there didn’t seem to be much in it in general play. It wasn’t as if George (Willis) was making save after save. I’ve been involved in 4-1 losses before and you think "Yep, they’ve torn you to bits". I didn’t feel that today, I just felt we weren’t clinical and they had chances and they scored them'".

18 February 2019


It has been a curiously up and down season for Altrincham. In their first ten league fixtures they won 3 games, lost 4 and drew 3, acquiring 12 points; in their ten most recent league fixtures they again won 3, lost 4 and drew 3, acquiring another 12 points. But, in between those two identical sequences, in the ten games from game 10 (which overlaps with the previous sequence) to game 19, they won eight, drew once and lost once!


As previously reported, Simon Richman reached his 300th appearance for Altrincham on Boxing Day. At last Saturday's game he was presented with a shirt, by chairman Grahame Rowley (right), to mark the achievement. He has now made 308 appearances with the game against BPA being his 251st start for Altrincham.


Brief video highlights of the game are here.

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Danny East came off the bench to rescue a point for Bradford (Park Avenue) as they went head to head with play off rivals Altrincham... East missed the first half of the season after picking up a serious knee ligament injury in pre-season and manager Mark Bower heralded East’s return to fitness as being like a new signing.

The versatile full-back, who can also operate in midfield, joined actual new signings Macauley Langstaff and Romaney Critchlow-Noble on the bench, while Charlie Andrew made his Avenue debut in goal. All three newcomers are on loan deals, young keeper Andrew from Hull City, 19 year old Critchlow-Noble from Huddersfield Town and 22-year-old striker Langstaff from National North rivals York City...

The home side... opened the scoring on the break. Avenue centre back Luca Havern was beaten to the ball near the halfway line and the Robins poured forward. A pass was played into the path of Josh Hancock, who took it past Andrew to slot the ball in. The visitors had been on top and they continued to pile the pressure on through to half time. Avenue had the Robins cooped up and forced plenty of corners but they were not getting the rewards their play deserved...

It was a double substitution in the 78th minute that paid dividends. Centre back Shane Killock made way for Critchlow-Noble while East came on for Alex Hurst. Just six minutes later Lewis Knight and Nicky Clee combined well to get a ball into the danger zone that had the home defence struggling to clear. Step forward East, who got the final touch as the ball went past Drench into the Altrincham net to make it 1-1.

Not satisfied with merely getting back into the game Avenue went all out for a late winner but it proved elusive and they had to settle for a point."


On Tuesday, the visitors to Altrincham are Spennymoor Town who tell us that on Saturday "Two goals in the final fifteen minutes saw Spennymoor record a fifth consecutive league win against a stubborn Nuneaton side.

The struggling hosts frustrated Jason Ainsley’s side for large parts, but Glen Taylor’s header thirteen minutes from time broke the deadlock. Mark Anderson swept in from inside the box with five minutes to go to kill off any lingering Nuneaton hopes as Moors secured their spot in third place.

Jason Ainsley made three changes to the side who were beaten by Telford in the FA Trophy, with Scott Harrison coming in for his debut, while Liam Agnew and Mark Anderson also returning to the starting eleven.

In a flat first half, both sides struggled to create openings... The second half saw Moors raise their game and they sprang into life immediately after the restart...

Andrew Johnson became more of a threat as the game went on, and the winger came close with a low drilled shot on the angle... As time began to work against Moors the chances kept arriving, and with frustration growing, Taylor added another to his ever-growing collection to ease any potential worries.

Stephen Brogan sent in a pinpoint corner which was met by Taylor for his 25th goal of the season, sparking wild celebrations amongst the travelling Moors fans behind the goal. The first goal signalled the end of Nuneaton’s resistance and Moors soon added a goal to make the score line more reflective of the game.

Substitute Ryan Hall delivered a high cross into the area towards the head of Taylor, who, despite being wrestled to the floor by a defender, managed to tee up Anderson who fired into the bottom corner past Belford. The result leaves Moors in third place in the National League North, five points ahead of fourth place Brackley Town and seven behind leader Chorley".

The Moors' line up was: 1. Matthew Gould, 2. Callum Williams, 3. Stephen Brogan, 4. Jamie Chandler, 5. Scott Harrison, 6. James Curtis, 7. Mark Anderson, 8. Liam Agnew , 9. Glen Taylor, 10. Robert Ramshaw, 11. Andrew Johnson. Subs: 12. Kris Thackray, 13. Christopher Elliott, 14. Ryan Hall, 15. Shane Henry, 16. Adam Boyes.

Nuneaton Borough reported that "A controlling second-half display saw Spennymoor Town defeat Nuneaton Borough by a two-goal margin at Liberty Way... It was Boro however who would provide the early pressure...

Moments after Miles Addison headed over from an Edmunds' corner, the visitors, to Boro’s frustration, opened the scoring. A ball into the area found the head of Taylor who beat Cam Belford with a bullet-like effort into the top corner.

Nuneaton’s woes were compounded when, with five minutes remaining, Spennymoor struck for the second time. Midfielder Mark Anderson picked the ball up on the edge of the box before dispatching low into the far corner.

Jimmy Ginnelly’s side were unable to strike back, ensuring they are now without a win in ten matches."


Altrincham welcome Spennymoor Town to the J. Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night.

In the reverse fixture in County Durham this season, an entertaining game ended 4-4. Alty fell behind after 11 minutes then led the Moors three times before, just as this Saturday against BPA, an 84th minute equalizer arrived for Alty's opponents.

This Tuesday will witness Spennymoor Town's first visit to the JDS but the County Durham club's predecessor, Spennymoor United last visited Moss Lane back in 2003-04 season.

That fixture, which ended 1-1, was a UniBond Northern Premier League Match and, like this year's match will be, was played under floodlights, on Tuesday, 7 October, 2003.

In that 2003 match, a messy equaliser, credited as an own goal by Chris Adams, five seconds from the end of the final minute of a generous four minutes of added time, cost Altrincham their first home win of the season. In a very entertaining first half Altrincham had taken the lead after 38 minutes when Ian Craney advanced powerfully up the middle and found the net, although keeper Kearney got a hand to the ball.

But, with Spennymoor playing attacking football throughout and winning the corner count 10-2, it was hard to begrudge them their late point. Alty's eighth draw in 13 games helped them rise to 17th in the table.

Spennymoor started and ended the game nine points ahead of Altrincham in the table but were to finish below Alty at the end of the campaign. In 2003, the Moors' recently appointed manager, Tony Lee, (who almost joined Alty at one point), had previously been a thorn in the Robins' side as manager of Bishop Auckland and his new side arrived at Moss Lane as the only team with five away wins in the league that season.

After a good opening day to the season, the Moors had had some poor results prior to Lee's appointment. Amidst many changes of playing personnel, he had guided them into the top six by the time they visited Altrincham.

Alty striker Rod Thornley was away again on England FA duty, but David Beckham's good friend, Dave Gardner, was available to play after missing the previous game due to business commitments. Nick Welton, (right, seen at the end of the match), got his first league start up front.

Manchester United keeper Ben Williams was on loan at Alty for this match; he is currently with Bolton Wanderers.

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. Nick WELTON, 11. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH. Subs: 12. Steve ASPINALL, 14. Dave GARDNER, 15. Jason van BLERK.

SPENNYMOOR UNITED: 1. Martin KEARNEY, 2. Leigh GRANT, 3. Chris LYNCH, 4. David GOODCHILD, 5. Jonathan MILROY, 6. Nicky MOHAN (capt.), 7. John CULLEN, 8. Neil BISHOP, 9. Steve PREEN, 10. Danny BRUNSKILL, 11. Stuart BRIGHTWELL. Subs: 12. Philip BRUMWELL, 14.Jason AINSLEY, 15. Craig RAND.


In the Macron Cup Quarter Finals, Congleton Town defeated Cammell Laird 1907 6-0 with Billy Hasler-Cregg on the scoresheet. And in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division, Tom Bailey netted a penalty but his West Didsbury & Chorlton side lost 1-2 at home to Charnock Richard.


On Sunday, Curzon Ashton FC (Tameside) Women beat Altrincham FC Ladies, 4-1. The result leaves Alty fourth, nine points behind the leaders Liverpool Feds Reserves with three games in hand. But second placed West Didsbury & Chorlton have six matches in hand!

The next match is on 24 February away to Northwich Vixens, who are eighth, eleven points behind Alty with three matches in hand.


In the NWYA Open Cup on Sunday, Alty Youth crashed to a 7-1 defeat at Chester FC Youth.

Next Sunday they have a cup match away to Salford. On 3 March they are at home in the league to Ashton Athletic.


Mike Garnett's Guide in the Robins' Review reminded us that "On this day, 16 February, it is 28 years to the day since the Robins enjoyed a 9-2 win over Merthyr Tydfil in the GM Vauxhall Conference (as it then was). I still have a recording of most of the report broadcast that evening on S4C (the Welsh language Channel 4); my Cymraeg is limited to say the least and the images are not of the best quality but however snowy they be they still serve to bolster a pleasant memory! Alty were unbeaten in 15 League games and had only lost once in any competition since early October – a 1-2 reverse on this ground in the FA Cup 1st Round against Huddersfield Town (whatever happened to them?) in mid-November.

1,083 spectators saw hat-tricks from Ken McKenna and Nicky Daws, a brace from Nigel Shaw and a further goal from Paul Showler as the Robins ran amok and put the hapless Welshmen to the sword. Alty’s unbeaten run in all competitions lasted almost another month until Macclesfield Town won a Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final 2nd leg tie 2-0 at the Moss Rose; they continued undefeated in the league till a 0-1 reverse at Holker Street, Barrow late in April. We have met opposition from Yorkshire twice before on February 16th – in 1976 we entertained Goole Town in the Northern Premier League, a 1-1 draw being the outcome, while nine years later we made the trip to Seamer Road, Scarborough for a Gola League encounter and were defeated by the odd goal in three".


The Northern Echo states that "Darlington’s recent signing Sam Muggleton will be out for the rest of the season after suffering a bad injury that tainted their a goalless draw against Southport. Medical staff were worried about moving the left wing back after he suffered a dreadful leg injury that needed over ten minutes of treatment on the field. There was clearly a high degree of concern when one of the medical staff was seen to be talking on his mobile phone next to the incident.

But eventually they felt assured enough to move him, and after the game was finished, he was taken away in an ambulance. He had some company alongside him though, because fellow defender Terry Galbraith joined him for the trip to hospital after suffering concussion following a collision with his team-mate, keeper Jonny Maddison.

Taking the loss of two key players into account, a bobbly pitch, a couple of strange refereeing decisions and some over-physical tackles, then a point against a team who beat the league leaders in their previous match wasn’t a bad result for Quakers on a day when their cut price admission offer attracted a 1400 plus crowd.

Manager Tommy Wright said 'The injury to Sam overshadowed the game. I’ve been involved in games in the past when players have suffered leg breaks, and it unsettles everybody. The lads do get shocked when they see things at close quarters, like the David Busst one at Old Trafford a few years ago. The game became flat after that, there were half-chances, but I don’t think any team was going to win it. I was pleased with the clean sheet, and for our defenders. Southport have been in great form, and they beat the leaders not so long ago. They are a handful, and the goalkeeper has a really long kick on him that causes a few problems at times'.

Darlington defender Liam Hughes played his first game at Blackwell Meadows since his return from a month’s leave of absence and said 'Many teams might have caved under Southport’s pressure, but we stood up to them. We ground out what could be an important point'...

The huge throw of Muggleton was always a threat; he comfortably threw the ball 50 yards into the heart of the Southport area on three occasions, two of which nearly led to a goal... The stalemate means Southport are within seven points of the play-off places, they travel to promotion-chasing Stockport County on Tuesday, who have just set a post-war record for number of games unbeaten".

The National League reports that "They've pulled well away from danger and burst Kidderminster's bubble on Saturday. But don't try telling York City manager Steve Watson that his side have found their feet in the National League North. York won 2-1 at Aggborough thanks to Scott Burgess' winner seven minutes from time. They are now in sight of the top half after back-to-back victories.

But Watson was quick to play down the improvement when he spoke to the York Press after the game. 'I am here to change things and be successful and we’re making small steps in the right direction,' Watson said. 'But I’d never say we’ve turned a corner, because I want the players to keep improving and wanting to better themselves every week. We’ve won two on the trot but it’s only when we can make that four or five that we can maybe start talking about being where this club wants to be and should be.

'Nobody is getting carried away, but there have been too many low points at this club over the last four seasons. It’s my job to raise positivity and the standards of the players and their expectations.'”

Altrincham travel to Curzon Ashton next Saturday. Last Saturday, according to Buckingham Today, "Carl Baker bagged a brace as Brackley Town got back to winning ways. Saints bounced back from the midweek defeat at leaders Chorley with an accomplished 2-0 victory against in-form Curzon Ashton on Saturday to move up to fourth in the table.

After a quiet opening Saints started to dominate possession and, after Matt Lowe had gone close with a shot pushed away by keeper Cameron Mason, Kevin Wilkin’s side took the lead in the 13th minute when Baker was found in the box and with a classy first touch his shot found the far corner of the net...

Saints continued to press after the restart and soon doubled their advantage in the 55th minute when Lee Ndlovu got free on the left and squared for Baker to score with a first-time shot into the corner of the net. Saints had more chances to increase their lead. Byrne had a header cleared off the line and moments later substitute Daniel Nti hit Mason’s legs when clean through. Baker had further chances to complete his hat-trick before Sean Miller’s curling shot came back off the upright"


The Welsh Premier League reported that "Connah's Quay Nomads became the first non-Scottish side to reach the IRN-BRU Cup Final after they beat Edinburgh City in a dramatic shootout. 1-1 after extra time, the shootout went to sudden death, with Danby saving from Ciaran Danby after George Horan had converted for the home side.

The visitors raced out of the blocks and were ahead in the second minute... Nomads had been causing trouble from Jake Philips’ long throws into the City box and it was from one of these that the equaliser came. Callum Morris fired one goalwards, and the shot was deflected into the path of Michael Wilde, who fired in from yards out to level...

[Ex-Alty trialist] Bakare was then brought down on the edge of the City box after breaking clear in stoppage time. The midfielder took the free kick, but couldn’t keep it down and it flew over the top, and Extra Time ensued.

City had the opening chance of extra time, a corner being whipped in which Danby failed to deal with, [ex-Alty man, John] Disney eventually scrambling it clear from under the bar... The game went into penalties.

The first seven kicks were all converted, before Danby saved from Craig Thompson. A Wilde conversion would have ended it, but Antell saved low to his left, and Blair Henderson forced sudden death. George Horan scored, and Danby again saved from Ciaran Danby to send the Nomads into the Final."

17 February 2019


On an afternoon which will probably remembered more for the rainbow shirts worn by Altrincham than for the quality of the match itself, a late goal earned Bradford (Park Avenue) a point. Alty could not complain too much at the outcome of a game in which both sides struggled to create many chances.

Right: Max Harrop and BPA's Luca Havern contest an aerial ball.

With Harrison, White and Waterston all sidelined by injury after last Saturday's match and with Sean Williams absent ill and Jordan Hulme suspended, Altrincham restored James Jones and Simon Richman to the starting eleven.

Altrincham took a 22nd minute lead when Hancock rounded the keeper after Joe Piggott had dispossessed Luca Havern some 40 yards from goal.

Bradford enjoyed plenty of possession without creating any real threats. But four minutes from time, Clee was allowed to get along the left byline and, though Alty half-cleared the ball, a second clearance then cannoned off East into the net to make it 1-1.

ALTRINCHAM: Drench, Densmore, Hampson, Jones, Hannigan, Moult (c), Johnston, Richman, Piggott, Hancock and Harrop. Subs: Poole, White, Fawns, Ceesay, Thompson.


Despite losing 2-1 at Whaley Bridge Athletic, Altrincham FC Reserves remain top of the Cheshire Football League Premier Division by a margin of five points. Second-placed Pilkington have one game in hand.

Next Saturday, Altrincham FC Reserves are at home to Poynton FC.


After Saturday's game, Bradford (Park Avenue) reported that "Mark Bower’s Bradford (Park Avenue) side faced Altrincham away from home...

Altrincham looked to display their prowess on the counter-attack, doing so on a number of occasions, using the pace of Piggott and his strike partner, Josh Hancock to trouble the Bradford defence...

The football became a slight back-story, with the referee showing he was happy enough to use his whistle on a number of occasions...

Killock was central to the action once again, minutes later. Good work from the Altrincham front line led to Hancock trying to square the ball, but the Avenue skipper stuck out a leg to prevent the hosts opening the scoring.

However, that only proved to be a delay to the inevitable. Luca Havern was swivelled on the half-way line, allowing the hosts to break. Piggott realeased Hancock who rounded debutant Charlie Andrew and slotted home for the opening goal...

The game went a long time without significant action... It was actually the hosts who looked the more likely to score... Mark Bower sensed something needed to change and as a result he took off Oli Johnson, introducing Macauley Langstaff in the process, as he came on to join the search for an equaliser, on his debut...

With the game coming into the final few minutes, Bower threw on the last two substitutes at his disposal. Romaney Critchlow-Noble and Danny East making their way onto the field, meaning a change of shape.

Duly, it was that change of shape that contributed to the equaliser, more bodies flooded forward and it was East who bundled home the equaliser after good work from Knight and Clee".


  • Att. 536: Alfreton Town 2 - 1 Chorley
  • Att. 1328: Altrincham 1 - 1 Bradford (PA)
  • Att. 469: Ashton United 0 - 0 Hereford
  • Att. 490: Brackley Town 2 - 0 Curzon Ashton
  • Att. 1648: Chester 4 - 1 Boston United
  • Att. 1462: Darlington 0 - 0 Southport
  • Att. 1775: FC United Of Manchester 3 - 3 Guiseley (Tom Peers netted one of FCUM's goals)
  • Att. 1598: Kidderminster Harriers 1 - 2 York City
  • Att. 523: Leamington 1 - 2 Blyth Spartans
  • Att. 510: Nuneaton Borough 0 - 2 Spennymoor Town
  • Att. 4708: Stockport County 3 - 2 AFC Telford United


Altrincham FC Reserve Stavros Tserpes has signed EvoStik forms at Droylsden, whilst former Alty striker Aaron Burns has moved from Trafford to Radcliffe FC.


The Northern Echo reports that "Darlington drew 0-0 with Southport, the tedious encounter being almost entirely devoid of entertainment and marred by two players being taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Quakers’ Sam Muggleton was stretchered off after suffering a knee injury at the end of the first half, and Terry Galbraith joined him having suffered concussion early in the second 45 minutes.

Galbraith had collided with team-mate Jonny Maddison, while Muggleton was on the wrong end of a challenge with Southport’s Marcus Wood.

Darlington’s left-back, who only joined on loan a week ago from Chesterfield, remained on the Blackwell Meadows pitch for around ten minutes before medical staff were able to remove him from the field of play.

Referee Aaron Bannister had encouraged strong tackling by taking a lenient approach to a number of first-half challenges, particularly in the moments preceding Muggleton’s injury.

Southport’s David Morgan escaped unpunished for a poor challenge on Romal Palmer, one of several bizarre Bannister decisions and led to him being strongly criticised by Darlington supporters who had little else to focus on given the lack of entertainment on offer...

Set-pieces posed the greatest chance of a goal and Southport’s Jason Gilchrist should have done better than to shoot wide after a throw into Quakers’ penalty area... Southport had very strong penalty appeals when Charles’ cross was diverted by Luke Trotman’s hand. Typical of his afternoon, however, Bannister spotted no infringement.

The hapless official then, somehow, failed to spot Southport’s Liam Edwards hauling Harvey Saunders to the floor inside the centre-circle by grabbing his shirt.

Saunders had been sent on as a sub, manager Tommy Wright having named an unchanged starting XI, when Galbraith had to be substituted, leading to Ainge dropping into defence...

Southport, who last week scored five against leaders Chorley, were generally made to look blunt by Quakers, but they spurned the best chance came in injury time, Jordan Archer off-target with only Maddison to beat.

It was Darlington's fourth clean sheet in six league games, so they can take heart from that and will hope for another one on Wednesday at home to Brackley".

In the Yorkshire Post we read that "Guiseley were left frustrated after only leaving FC United of Manchester with a 3-3 draw... After the draw Guiseley joint-manager Marcus Bignot said 'I’m really disappointed for the players, at 3-1 we looked to be in total control, they got the penalty and the momentum really shifted in their favour.

'We are in the business end of the season now and we haven’t lost any ground, Ashton drew so we are still six points clear from the drop zone and with another game gone as well.'

This game had the feeling of the proverbial six-pointer and the visitors made a great start, a corner found Niall Heaton at the near-post and he had a simple finish, with his header going into the back of the net... FC United levelled thanks to a fine free-kick from Kurt Willoughby who placed his shot past the wall and into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

The very next attack saw Guiseley reclaim the lead, Rowan Liburd was able to pass two FC United defenders and after a strong run, he made sure his effort went in...

The Lions were looking quite comfortable and would go 3-1 up, as they broke with Will Hatfield finishing calmly.

Twenty minutes were left to play when a penalty was awarded for the hosts for some pushing in the area from a corner and Willoughby would grab his second.

FC United were now in the ascendancy and would level the scores with Tom Peers rounding Marcus Dewhurst. A point wasn’t really what either side wanted from this and both pushed players forward late on, yet there was no late drama and the points were shared."

In the Shropshire Star we read that "AFC Telford United are now three games without a win in the National League North after they were undone by the odd goal in five against the in-form Stockport County...

Nyal Bell fired the Hatters in front after just ten minutes... It was a tale of two free kicks early in the second period as match winner Matty Warburton's set piece was cancelled out nine minutes later by [ex-Alty loanee] Brendon Daniels.

However the Bucks just couldn't keep Stockport's potent attack quiet for long, as Warburton flicked in what proved to be the winner 20 minutes from time...

Gavin Cowan opted for the three changes against the high flyers, and also tweaked the Bucks' system. Marcus Dinanga was dropped to the bench, leaving Udoh to lead the line by himself, with Henry Cowans and James McQuilkin acting as two number 10s behind the front man. Steph Morley and Darryl Knights also missed out, with wing men Brendon Daniels and Ryan Barnett recalled after sitting out the midweek draw against Guiseley...

The Hatters were the favourites going into this one, given their sparkling form that had seen them avoid defeat in the league since late November. They had lost twice in 20 outings and were unbeaten in 17 games...

It bizarrely got a bit tasty between the two dugouts on the quarter hour mark, as Bursik went down for treatment and Cowan called his troops in for a team talk. It seemed the Stockport bench were unhappy with this, with a few words exchanged between the two sets of back room staff."

Chorley report that "The Magpies were undone by a mad 60 second-half seconds [that] saw Alfreton score twice to take the spoils on a windy afternoon in Derbyshire.

The Magpies made three changes from Tuesday as Stephen Jordan, Jake Cottrell and Adam McGurk started in place of Scott Leather, Josh Wilson and Elliot Newby...

A rough and ready first half produced few moments of quality, with a Jordan Sinnott overhead kick that just cleared Matt Urwin’s bar the best of the early chances. Three bookings were handed out as the meaty challenges tested the referee’s patience.

The Magpies started to calm the game down from the frantic opening pace and took the lead on 37 minutes when Adam McGurk turned his man on the edge of the box a produced a brilliant low cross for Marcus Carver, who prodded home from close range.

Within 11 mintues of the restart Alfreton had turned the game on its head. First Danny Clarke nodded home to equalise, via a big deflection, after Andy Teague had superbly blocked a goal-bound effort off the line. A minute later Danny O’Brien beat Matt Urwin from almost halfway with audacious effort.

Jordan Sinnott had the chance to make it 3-1 from the spot after Andy Teague brought down Clarke in the area. However, the hosts’ number 10 skied his spot kick out of the ground".

16 February 2019


Above: There were more photographers than players at the J. Davidson Stadium on Saturday!

On an afternoon which will probably remembered more for the rainbow shirts worn by Altrincham than for the quality of the match itself, a late goal earned Bradford (Park Avenue) a point. Alty could not complain too much at the outcome of a game in which both sides struggled to create many chances.

With Harrison, White and Waterston all sidelined by injury after last Saturday's match and with Sean Williams absent ill and Jordan Hulme suspended, Altrincham restored James Jones and Simon Richman to the starting eleven.

Altrincham took a 22nd minute lead when Hancock rounded the keeper after Joe Piggot had dispossessed Luca Havern some 40 yards from goal.

Bradford enjoyed plenty of possession without creating any real threats. But four minutes from time, Clee was allowed to get along the left byline and, though Alty half-cleared the ball, a second clearance then cannoned off East into the net to make it 1-1.

ALTRINCHAM: Drench, Densmore, Hampson, Jones, Hannigan, Moult (c), Johnston, Richman, Piggott, Hancock and Harrop. Subs: Poole, White, Fawns, Ceesay, Thompson.


Right: Alty celebrate their goal.

Fixtures on Saturday 16 February are:

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


Altrincham entertain Bradford (Park Avenue) at the J Davidson Stadium on Saturday, in a return league fixture, Alty having won the reverse match 3-2 thanks to goals by Tom Peers, John Johnston and Max Harrop.

Altrincham's game last week at FC United of Manchester left them with three significant injuries. Ben Harrison and Connor Hampson were unable to complete the game and Nathan Waterston was clattered in the final moments. Nathan has had to accept that his season is over with the diagnosis of an ACL injury, whilst Connor's suffered a hand injury, which previously sidelined him for a number of matches earlier this season. Ben, meanwhile, looks to be out of action for a significant period.

With Jordan Hulme's continuing suspension reducing options even further, Wigan Athletic loanee striker, Joe Piggott (right), can expect to be involved this Saturday, as can centre-back James Jones, who replaced Harrison last Saturday.

BPA are likely to include former Moss Lane favourite Nicky Clee and Avenue also have two other Alty old boys in Luca Havern and Ryan Toulson at their disposal.

On the eve of the game, Bradford (Park Avenue) reported that "Having faced Altrincham three times already over the course of this season, Bower’s men will be well versed in what to expect from the opposition. The addition to the squad of classy new comers, Charlie Andrew and Romoney Crichlow-Noble may prove vital for the game. And, with the return of Danny East following a long term injury, Mark Bower and the Squad will be confident going into this weekend".

Don't forget that, after the match, the Newport County v Manchester City FA Cup tie will be shown live in the Community Sports Hall.


The Telegraph and Argus reports that "Mark Bower has urged his Bradford (Park Avenue) side to go out and prove people wrong again. Avenue have a crunch six-pointer away at seventh-placed Altrincham on Saturday after not playing for two weeks due to double postponements.

Bower said the circumstances weren't ideal, but that the team had worked hard during the forced halt in play. He said 'The week before last, there was no chance with the frozen temperatures, but last week's a disappointment when it's the only one off in the league, so it's not ideal but we just get on with it.

'There's no excuses, we've worked hard enough and we should be ready to go on Saturday.'

Avenue are still searching for a win in 2019, but Bower said... 'Each and every game there's three points to play for and we know a target we've got in mind that we'll need to get into the play-offs and every game's an opportunity to get closer to that target. I don't think, the position that we're in and what's gone on this season, anyone expects us to stay in these positions. The message to the lads is to go out and prove people wrong again and hopefully, if they do that, we'll pick up enough points to stay challenging amongst those top teams.'

Saturday's fixture at a hit-and-miss Altrincham gives Bower's men the chance to arrest their slide.

But, the Avenue boss expects a tough game against a side he described as being the best they've come up against this season. Bower said 'It's obviously a big game and a team that are up and around us in the league, so we know how important it is... They've strengthened their goalkeeper position as well, so it's going to be a really tough game'...

The Avenue Boss... is boosted by the arrival of striker Macaulay Langstaff on loan from York City for a month. The 22-year-old impressed at Billingham Synthonia in the 2017/18 season, where he scored 31 goals in 46 appearances. Bower said 'That goalscoring record he's got shows he's a good finisher and I think he'll compliment the players that we've got at the end of the pitch. Up until the last three or four weeks we were the top scorers in the league but recently we've been struggling to find the net, so it just freshens up that area and gives us a different option to what we've got'".


Sky Sports reports that 'We thought, "let's not do something subtle, let's do something significant", says non-league club's director Bill Waterson, as Football v Homophobia's Lou Englefield hails Alty's 'bold statement of inclusion'".

Altrincham players will wear the 'Football v Homophobia' rainbow kit in Saturday's National League North clash at home to Bradford Park Avenue

'Not all stripes are straight', began the tweet, in an official club statement issued on Transfer Deadline Day. Two weeks on, and Altrincham FC's eye-catching new arrival is now ready to take to the field for the first time on Saturday, having already made headlines across the globe. 'We believe it will be the first time anywhere in the world that a senior football club has worn a kit solely modelled on the LGBT Pride flag,' said the National League North outfit's director Bill Waterson in the announcement. 'Altrincham will, therefore, be creating a small moment of football history.'

Football fans everywhere quickly saw the significance, with an image of the rainbow shirt, emblazoned with the vibrant pink and black logo of the Football v Homophobia campaign, going viral via social media. Alty players will now wear the kit as a one-off for their league fixture at home to Bradford Park Avenue this weekend, with replicas having been on sale for the last fortnight on the club shop website.

'We're well into three figures now,' Waterson tells Sky Sports. 'We've sold it in mainland Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Oceania... It's had a reach far beyond what we were expecting.'

However, this surge in shirt sales was never the aim of the exercise. 'It's a nice little aside, and it helps to cover the costs of the investments we're making but it's not the reason we're doing this.'

Altrincham's embrace of diversity goes deep, and the special Pride flag kit is only the latest in a series of ventures undertaken by a club with a particularly strong sense of community. They have a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion officer (rare at this level of the pyramid) and, in the last few years, they have focused on going beyond the club's core demographic of fans to ensure everyone feels truly welcome in this friendly corner of south-west Greater Manchester.

There have already been fixtures in previous seasons designated to both the Football Supporters' Federation's 'Fans for Diversity' initiative - Alty were shortlisted for the inaugural FSF National Game Community Award last year - and the Football v Homophobia campaign, with the latter currently in its annual month of action.

It will be FvH, celebrating its 10th anniversary year, that will be front and centre on the rainbow shirts on Saturday...

Waterson, a lifelong Robins fan, says the local scrap metal dealers [J. Davidson] deserve to be commended for their role. 'They recognise the importance of this, and I'm very grateful'...

'Every single person we've dealt with, whether that's an Altrincham supporter, or Bradford PA, the FA, the National League, whoever it might be, everybody's been very supportive of what we're trying to do. That just shows how far football's come, because I don't think that would have been the case 10 years ago, and certainly not 20 years ago. There's been a couple of our older fans, I'm in my late 50s, so 20 or so years older than me, to whom we've had to explain what the rainbow flag is, believe it or not.

'But once they've understood what the occasion is about, they've got fully behind it. Even then, it's only been a few perplexed noises, 'why are we doing this? We play in red and white, don't we?' but I think that's all important education as well....

The six-colour pride flag has been around since the late 1970s, designed by US gay rights campaigner Gilbert Baker who passed away in March 2017...

'We had a number of designs we could have chosen from, some of which were perhaps more "aesthetically pleasing" and may have made better football kits than a solely Pride flag based kit,' explains Waterson. 'But I think if you're going to make your support for a cause clear, you may as well shout it from the rooftops. We thought, "let's not do something subtle, let's do something significant"'...

'Our diversity agenda is not just LGBT+, it's also anti-racist, it's different religions, it's making sure women who want to come to games unattended feel safe in doing so. It's about making our football ground a comfortable place for anyone to be in, regardless of their background or any circumstances that they bring to the game... Football is our national sport, part of our national psyche, and a football ground should reflect our national make-up as much as possible.'

Among the guests at the 6,085-capacity stadium on Saturday will be Baroness Williams, Minister for Equalities, with the Government Equalities Office's Twitter account among those to post about the shirt and the FvH campaign during February, which is also LGBT History Month in the UK...

'We do believe it's having an effect on attendances,' he says. 'If you look at the softer metrics, our crowd does seem more diverse now... Additionally, I do think we've got more younger supporters, those aged 15 to 25, coming to games, who I feel are encouraged by the work we're doing in this area'

For Lou Englefield, the campaign director of Football v Homophobia, the worldwide interest in Altrincham's activation... says 'Congratulations to Altrincham on having taken this step to visibly reflect the diversity of their local community, and for their year-round work on inclusion which is letting local people know that the J Davidson Stadium is truly welcoming of everyone'...

Leading Alty's inclusion drive is Jordan Tyms... 'To be imaginative and try a different approach, and to get such a good reception, is fantastic for the club,' he says... 'We really hope it makes LGBT+ people feel welcome at Alty, and having more people from that community coming to games would be a significant legacy outcome'...

'We are a great community club and we're doing great things,' says Waterson. 'What constrains us more than anything is bandwidth. Our board can only take on so much at certain times, it's quite a tight-run board and we're helped by volunteers around that. My feeling is, if there are people who like what we're doing and want to be a part of this, then we would welcome additional investment of manpower, brainpower, and of funds, and we have shares for sale. People coming and investing in the club off the back of this, and contributing, would be a great thing for us'...

Shirts worn by Altrincham FC players on Saturday will later be auctioned off to raise money for The Proud Trust. "

The Daily Telegraph also has an interview with Bill Waterson


Brian Flynn's interview with Sean Williams after the win at FCUM is on the official Altrincham FC website.


The National League claims that "The fixtures have fallen kindly in the National League North to give us a massive weekend of action. No fewer than four matches are clashes between huge promotion rivals while we have two six-pointers at the other end of the league.

AFC Telford will be well aware of the size of the task ahead of them as they travel to Greater Manchester. You'd have to go back to early-September for the last time their opponents this week, Stockport County lost a game at home.

Altrincham and Bradford (Park Avenue) incredibly meet for the fourth time this season... Curzon Ashton will do their play-off hopes no harm with a win at Brackley.

It's the first of four huge games for Chester against Boston at the Swansway... Ashton and FC United of Manchester will be looking to make good of their home advantage to rein in Hereford and Guiseley respectively.

It's been another turbulent week off-the-field for Nuneaton Borough. Spennymoor are in Warwickshire looking to pile on the misery for Jimmy Ginnelly's men. Blyth Spartans' promotion charge has stalled in the last few games and they travel to Leamington who have won just once at home since November.

Southport will be looking for another win at Darlington after toppling leaders Chorley last time out. It was a dream start for new Kidderminster boss Mark Yates last week and he now faces York City who are starting to get into gear with Steve Watson... Alfreton Town fans haven't had much to cheer at The Impact Arena with just one home win since October.

Chorley won't be looking to ease their home discomforts when they arrive in Derbyshire."

As Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years show us, Saturday is the anniversary of Alty's famous 9-2 win over Merthyr Tydfil in 1991.


Altrincham FC youth graduate Josh Samberg has joined Winsford United.


York Press reports that "Jon Parkin remains firmly in York City boss Steve Watson’s plans after making only his third substitute appearance since mid-November last weekend.

The 37-year-old veteran had not made the Minstermen’s matchday squad in the two previous games but has been hauled off the bench in three of Watson’s five matches in charge, despite not playing a minute of his predecessor Sam Collins’s final ten fixtures in charge.

Parkin last started a game on September 1... but Watson regards him as potential game changer, who could tip results in the team’s favour as the team go all out for victories if they reach a position where National League North safety is all but ensured... Watson said 'Technically and finishing-wise, Jon is still up there and he’s obviously a handful. We went 4-4-2 and brought him on against Ashton to try and win the game and, at times, we might have to do that again this season as, if we get in a position where we’re not looking over our shoulder, then we’ll just need to go for wins rather than draws.'

Fifteenth-placed City are now ten points clear of the relegation zone and nine adrift of the play-off positions, with Watson arguing that the team must approach the next quintet of games, in which they face bottom-two Nuneaton and FC United of Manchester and no side inside the top six, looking for a healthy points’ haul.

Ahead of this weekend’s trip to Kidderminster, who sit ninth in the standings, Watson declared... '[Next opponents] Kidderminster are a good footballing team, but there shouldn’t be any side that we get turned over by and we’ve got to get a good run going, even if that’s unbeaten games to get moving in the right direction.'

City have still failed to register back-to-back league wins since January 2018 and their longest unbeaten sequence in National League North this term stretches to just five games... but Watson is hoping that November’s 3-1 FA Trophy triumph at Kidderminster can have a bearing on this latest meeting...

'They are coming off the back of a good win (a 4-1 victory over Chester) and we are coming off the back of a much better performance (the 2-0 defeat of Ashton). We’re still nowhere near where I want to be, but it was a step in the right direction, because we were getting up the pitch a lot more, winning corners and, importantly, kept a clean sheet.'

Having switched to 4-2-3-1 against Ashton, meanwhile, Watson isn’t considering another tactical tweak ahead of the trip to Worcestershire, insisting 'I never look at changing system because of how the opposition are lining up. I always look at what I think will give us the best chance of winning a game and I don’t think the system will change this weekend. I like to have two forwards on the pitch and 3-5-2 allows you to do that'...

Paddy McLaughlin is fit again for selection after the hamstring injury that caused him to miss the Ashton game, but Dan Parslow is still being assessed by doctors following the concussion he suffered in the game before against Hereford. The Minstermen are also no closer to learning when midfielder Simon Heslop will be ready to return following a scan on his knee injury, with a chance that he could be ruled out for the rest of the season@.

And York Press also says that "Kidderminster Harriers top-scorer Ed Williams could start his first match since Boxing Day when York City visit Worcestershire tomorrow. The 23-year-old attacking midfielder attracted interest from Championship quartet Aston Villa, Derby, Leeds and Ipswich in the autumn after plundering 11 goals by October 20...

Williams’s season has subsequently been curtailed over the last two months due to an ankle injury and illness, but he returned with his 12th goal of the season during last weekend’s 4-1 home win over Chester... The ex-Cheltenham Town playmaker is now in line for a return to the first XI during the second game of Mark Yates’ second stint at the Aggborough helm...

Russ Penn is doubtful for the clash against the team he left in November... He has made 13 appearances, including two off the bench, following his move from the Minstermen. But two former Bootham Crescent attackers, who are the club’s joint-second top scorers this term with eight goals apiece, are set to feature against their old team in Ashley Chambers and Joe Ironside. Former double-Wembley winning hero Chambers has not hit the target in the Harriers’ last ten contests... Ironside, who has plundered more than 20 goals in each of his last two seasons at National League North level, has netted twice since returning to the Harriers in January having failed to make the scoresheet during ten outings with the Minstermen during a two-month loan spell...

The Harriers entertain City having conceded 25 goals at home, with only bottom-three Ashton United (28), FC United of Manchester (31) and Nuneaton (37) having shipped more times on their own soil@.

According to Cheshire Live, "Chester FC will appeal the red card shown to George Green during Tuesday night's 1-0 Cheshire Senior Cup quarter final defeat at Nantwich Town. Midfielder Green was shown a straight red by referee Sam Mulhall on 42 minutes for a slide challenge on Stoke City legend Ricardo Fuller, now at the Dabbers.

From the stands it looked like Green had won the ball cleanly but Mr Mulhall was having none of it and, despite having let Nantwich's James Lawrie and Chester's Scott Burton off with yellow cards for reckless tackles earlier in the half, handed Green his marching orders. It was Green's second red card in seven Chester games but there was a look of disbelief from the former Everton starlet and some of his team mates at the decision.

Nantwich released highlights of the match on YouTube on Wednesday and the incident involving Green is clearly shown and Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson believes it holds enough weight to launch an appeal against the red card and the club will be making their case. If the appeal is unsuccessful Green will serve a three-match ban but will be available for Saturday's visit of Boston United for what is a crucial National League North encounter...

Chester had been hopeful of adding a full back in time for the match with the Pilgrims on loan but that remains up in the air, although the Blues continue to try and work on sealing a deal in time".

In the Lancashire Evening Post we read that "Chorley goal hero Marcus Carver played through the pain barrier against Brackley in midweek...

Carver, 25, limped off at Victory Park with Adam McGurk replacing him in the 87th minute. But manager Vermiglio expects him to be fine for Saturday and says he will be a big player in the final 13 games of the season. He said: 'There was no way I was taking him off in a game like that of that magnitude because his work-rate, his endeavour. I don’t think there is any player in the team that can match him for that. It was important that he stayed on for the majority of the game.'

The Magpies boss believes the mid 80-point mark could be enough to clinch the title. And with his side sat on 60 points at the top, with 39 to play for, he is keen to go on another unbeaten run after they bounced back from a shock 5-3 defeat at Southport last weekend.

He said 'You probably look at the mid-80s to get it over the line. Someone would have to go on a really good run to get that but we see ourselves going on a good run ourselves. We need to keep churning out the three points. We got another home win on Tuesday against a very good Brackley side... We need to be really up for it if we are going to get anything at Alfreton. They will be a bit more direct than Brackley but we have prepared properly'@.

From the Northern Echo comes news that "Recording an impressive away win that came with the sort of defensive solidity that has sometimes been lacking this season means Darlington go into this weekend likely to name an unchanged team. Last week’s 1-0 win over Blyth Spartans was Quakers’ first away success since October, and saw Liam Hughes and Sam Muggleton come into the starting XI.

Joe Wheatley and Harvey Saunders both dropped to the bench and manager Tommy Wright admits he will probably stick with the same starting XI tomorrow when Southport visit Blackwell Meadows.

'Joe was ill all last week,' explained Wright. 'He missed the Bishop friendly and he didn’t train on the Thursday, so we decided to go with Tom Elliott and Romal Palmer in midfield as they did really well against Bishop Auckland and they did well again against Blyth. Joe has trained well this week. We have to weigh things up for the weekend but it would be harsh to make any changes.'

Saunders made way as Simon Ainge was used up front, his place in defence being taken by Hughes who made a return after a month away from the club due to personal reasons... The manager added 'We had spoken all week about going 4-4-2. We had caused Blyth problems playing that way earlier in the season and we switched to 4-4-2 in the previous couple of away games and done well with it, at Curzon we got an equalising goal from it, so all week that’s the formation we were thinking of starting with.

'That’s how we played at Bishop when Alex Henshall did really well, but it was so tempting to put Hughesy back in. I didn’t want him in a back-four, so I put him between Terry Galbraith and Will Smith and I think it worked. He was rusty and he needs to work on his fitness, but it gave the lads a lift. Tactically, having three centre-halves killed the space in behind for Dan Maguire and we kept him quiet'".

Nuneaton Borough report that "Cody Prior Returns to Doncaster Rovers. Midfielder's loan spell ends with the Boro'. Cody made three appearances during his spell with the Boro'."

Meanwhile, Nuneaton Borough also report that "Foday Nabay joins The Boro'. Former Fulham and England midfielder goes straight in to squad for match versus Spennymoor Town. Foday joined Fulham from Birmingham in a deal worth around £220,000. Aged only 14 at the time, he still managed to play 9 matches for the U18 squad in 2013-14. In the close season, he signed a scholarship deal with the Cottagers that would run until June 2017. An England youth international, he was released from the club without making a first team appearance.

Birmingham City’s Manager at the time, Lee Clark, was convinced he had a superstar on his hands, telling the Birmingham Mail 'I made it abundantly clear to Foday in several meetings with him that he had the potential to become the youngest ever player to play for Birmingham City Football Club’s first team this season, at the age of 15. That was how highly I rated him and how highly the club rated him. We wanted him to stay but, as a football manager, I couldn’t have done any more. I was offering him the opportunity that as long as he continued in the way he was with his development and continued to show the qualities that he has, then there would be first team openings for him.'

After a trial with Aldershot Town during pre-season of 2017-18, he remained at Fulham and signed a one-year extension for the 2017-18 season. He was released by mutual consent in March 2018. Now Jimmy Ginnelly will be looking to get him back to his best."

In the Shropshire Star we learn that "Upbeat manager Gavin Cowan believes AFC Telford have the perfect fixture on which to end a tough week. Cowan has seen his side drop points in their quest for a National North play-off place with defeat at Brackley Town and a draw at home to struggling Guiseley.

A trip to second-placed Stockport County would seem a tough clash for the Bucks to return to winning ways. But the New Bucks Head chief insists playing former Football League opposition can bring the best out of his players.

'I couldn’t be any more excited,' insisted Cowan. 'It’s one as soon as the fixture list comes out you look for it don’t you? I can’t wait to go there and pit our wits against them on a brilliant pitch in a brilliant environment and you know the lads will be up for it. I’ve thrown down the gauntlet to them and said the challenge is you’ve got to drive it yourselves, you’ve got to drive the team forward and make sure you’re ready.

'They’re a very good team so we are going to have to address different different challenges, so there will be a different challenge.'

The last two results have dampened some of the feel-good factor that was sweeping the Bucks following their FA Trophy success at Spennymoor that secured a quarter-final tie against Solihull Moors. But they still remain fourth in the table, three points ahead of eighth-placed Boston who sit just outside the play-off positions.

Cowan admits his side haven’t fired on all cylinders in the last two games but believes struggling sides like Guiseley can prove equally as tough as the like of Stockport.

'We won’t be the only team up there who have points taken off them by teams lower down,' he added. 'It’s almost because they’ve got nothing to lose and got to fight and scrap and give it everything and that’s what they do. I don’t think the performance was a poor one, I think we’re just disappointed because we didn’t get the win. It’s couple of games that we wanted to get more out of but ultimately it was another point on the board.

'You’ve got to recognise what didn’t quite go right on Tuesday and that was that was just a recognition of when to stretch the opposition and when to shorten our game up... We got drawn into playing a long game like they did and it became a battle, which is not what I wanted to do...

'Competition for places is huge... I think we’re in a good place with our squad. We’ve just got to get them mentally right... At the moment we’ve gone a little bit off script but I just want them to stick to the plan'".

15 February 2019


In added time at FC United Altrincham FC loanee striker Nathan Waterston was clattered twice in the same piece of action, the referee having blown for a foul by one player before another player upended Nathan. After treatment it was clear that he had a significant problem and now it has been confirmed that his season is over.

Nathan Waterston wrote on Twitter that "Due to the incident from Saturday's game I’m devastated to find out I’ve torn my MCL and ACL which will rule me out for the rest of the season... A massive thank you to the fans, players and staff of Altrincham for the past couple of weeks. I enjoyed being part of your club, although my time there has been cut short. I wish you the very best of luck in your push for promotion that you deserve".

Nathan (21) joined Alty on 22 January 2019 on a one-month loan from Barrow. He had been sidelined at Holker Street, since September 2018, by a shoulder injury. He made his Altrincham debut as a substitute at Leamington on 26 January 2019 and his second appearance, also from the bench, was late in the match at Broadhurst Park last Saturday.

Right: Ryan Murray treats Nathan after he had been fouled on Saturday. A concerned Andy White looks on.


Altrincham's rainbow shirts to be worn on Saturday, as part of the Football v Homophobia initiative, are the subject of a video interview by Granada Reports.


Following the win at FC United, the Sale & Altrincham Messenger carries Phil Parkinson' post-match comments to press and media officer, John Edwards.

"The tone was set inside the opening minute, when left-back Connor Hampson succumbed to a badly bruised hand, and there were real concerns in the Alty camp before half time, when centre-back Ben Harrison suffered what looked like a recurrence of knee ligament damage and had to be stretchered off.

Finally, on-loan forward Nathan Waterston was left hobbling after a stoppage-time challenge but, by then, Alty were closing in on a 2-1 win...

'The players showed an abundance of character and a real desire to win the game, and that’s what got us over the line,' said Alty boss Parkinson... 'It’s so important now to consolidate this win and get some real momentum going. We’ve got a tough month coming up, and the aim has to be to keep the back door shut as well as maintaining our goalscoring ratio.

'That’s one of the reasons why Steven Drench is here. You could see the quality of his distribution, feathering passes just out of reach of their full-backs and into the path of our wingers. It was absolutely spot-on. It’s just unfortunate the injuries overshadowed what was a must-win game, and it’s not looking great for Ben. It’s the same knee as before, and it’s just gone underneath him'".


The Lancashire Evening Post reports that "Chorley midfielder Alex Newby says extending their cushion at the top of the National League North to six points was a psychological boost going into the final 13 games of the season. The Magpies’ 2-0 midweek win over fellow promotion chasers Brackley Town moved them six clear of second-placed Stockport County.

And for Newby, 23... 'It was a massive three points. With Stockport not playing, from a psychological point of view, it is good to get three points and put some daylight between us and the rest... With 13 games left, all of the games are a cup final now. I know it is a cliche but it is in our hands and it is up to us, which is brilliant.'

Newby became the latest Magpies player to hit the double-figure mark by netting a hat-trick at Haig Avenue. He could not score for a fifth game in a row against Brackley but set up Marcus Carver, who made it 11 for the season, for the opening goal...

He said, 'I’m always going to judge myself on goals because that is one of my jobs in the team to create chances and score goals. But, at the end of the day, it is all about the three points and the team.' "

Despite their off-field worries, Nuneaton Borough "have confirmed the signing of James Baxendale following his release from Kidderminster Harriers. James had been on loan to the Boro' but was recalled earlier this week. During that loan spell, Baxendale made three appearances and had an assist on his debut, away to Hereford.

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."

The Boston Standard informs us that "Midfielders Brad Abbott and Andi Thanoj have become the latest Boston United players to sign contract extensions. The duo have been mainstays of Craig Elliott’s side since joining the club midway through last season, and will remain at the Jakemans Stadium until summer 2020.

Abbott, 24, has made 54 appearances for the club, scoring eight times, while 26-year-old Thanoj has turned out 50 times for the Pilgrims, but is yet to open his account.

The duo follow on from George Willis and Jay Rollins, who have also pledged their future to the club."

Hyde United report that "With leading goal scorer, Chib Chilaka, serving a three game suspension for the red card he picked up against Matlock, manager Darren Kelly has had to quickly find cover... So, we are pleased to annouce the signing of experienced striker Deane Smalley who has played most of his games in the football league.

Deane started his career with Oldham Athletic and had loan spells at Rochdale and Chesterfield before signing for Oxford United. From Oxford United he joined Plymouth Argyle and most recently Chester FC... Deane won’t be a stranger to one of our current squad as his brother is current Chester loan player, Dominic Smalley."

14 Febuary 2019


After Altrincham have played Bradford (Park Avenue) at the J. Davidson Stadium on Saturday, supporters are invited to enjoy a drink and food whilst watching the televised FA Cup tie between Newport County and Manchester City on the screens in the Community Sports Hall. Kick off is at 5.30pm.


Although Saturday will witness the fourth clash beyween Altrincham and Bradford (Park Avenue) this season, when they meet in the Vanarama National League North, the clubs have not faced each other at the J. Davidson Stadium in a league match since 2016. That was in a Vanarama National League North match played on Tuesday, 25 October 2016. Whereas this season the clubs meet as they both vie for promotion places, back then they were both in poor form.

Bradford PA arrived bottom of the league, without a win all season and having never won at Moss Lane. However, under their recently appointed manager, former Guiseley boss Mark Bower, they emerged with a 3-2 win against an Altrincham team seeking its first home win in what was to prove a disastrous season.

Jim Harvey's Altrincham got off to a good start as James Lawrie's fine goal put them ahead in only the eighth minute. But it was BPA who enjoyed the majority of the first-half momentum; for their part, Alty barely threatened the Avenue goal. The Yorkshiremen drew level six minutes after the break when, following a quick BPA throw, conceded unnecessarily by Cyrus, the visitors won a freekick. A rehearsed routine was not read by Alty and McKenna fired home from the edge of the box.

Above: Altrincham line up under the floodlights before kick off against BPA in 2016.

Ex-Alty striker Emile Sinclair who, two minutes earlier, had missed a sitter when he rounded Deasy but fired well over the bar, waltzed through the weak Alty defence and netted BPA's second in the 62nd minute. During the second half the home defence had looked shaky almost every time BPA attacked and the score got worse after 75 minutes. Alty lost possession 30 yards out and the ball was played for Nicky Wroe to convert comfortably and make it 3-1.

Belatedly Alty did show a bit more urgency and Sean Miller scored with a fine shot from outside the box but with only seven minutes remaining, plus five more of added time, Alty could not get level.

For the game, Altrincham were without the injured Greg Wilkinson (hamstring) and the suspended Tom Hannigan. Simon Richman moved to the bench as Phil Marsh came in for his first start and Danny Hall for his second start since returning to the club. Indeed, with the season already a third completed, Altrincham were still determining their best squad. In addition to newcomers Hall and Marsh, Andy McWilliams was making only his second appearance for the club and the bench included Billy Hasler-Cregg and Harry Cain, who had both yet to start for the club in a league match.

BPA included ex-Alty defender Ryan Toulson and former striker Emile Sinclair but Danny Boshell was not included in their squad.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Andy McWILLIAMS, 4. John CYRUS, 5. Danny HALL, 6. Alan GOODALL (capt), 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Jake MOULT, 9. Phil MARSH, 10. Damian REEVES, 11, Sean MILLER. Subs 12. Simon RICHMAN, 14. Billy HASLER-CREGG, 15. Sam HEATHCOTE, 16. Harry CAIN, 20. Andrew DAWBER.

BRADFORD PARK AVENUE 1. Jon Worsnop, 2. Ryan Toulson (capt), 3. Matt Hill, 4. Adam Nowakowski, 5. Shane Killock, 6. Luke Dean, 7. Nicky Wroe, 8. Ben McKenna, 9. Emile Sinclair, 10. Chris Sharp, 11. Nicky Boshell. Subs 12. Joe Kearns, 14. Sanchez Payne, 15. Lee Spires, 16. Jack Ryan, 17. Dan Eccles.

Mike Garnett reminds us that the overall record between the two clubs is as follows...

  • Home: P13-W9-D3-L1-F27-A10
  • Away: P13-W5-D4-L4-F21-A23
  • All: P26-W14-D7-L5-F48-A33


Nuneaton Borough have announced that chairman "Nick Hawkins has stepped down as owner of Nuneaton Borough with immediate effect. Having taken the club as far as he could, since taking control in the autumn, Mr. Hawkins has decided the future of the club would be best served in the hands of people from Nuneaton.

The shares in Borough Leisure Ltd., the parent company of the club, will be held in trust by Manager Jimmy Ginnelly until new shareholders can be found.

The club is completing a prospectus for interested parties and will be aiming to find 10 backers, who will take 10% of the shares each, for a rolling payment of £10,000 each season.

The finer details will be available, upon request, to all interested parties.

Mr. Hawkins will be appearing on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire at 6pm this evening (Tuesday the 12th of February 2019), to talk to Dave Sharpe about his tenure at Liberty Way.

He will not be listed as a creditor and does not hold any director loans to be repaid. The club would like to thank Mr. Hawkins for his work and wish him the best for his future endeavours"

And the Coventry Telegraph adds that "After just over three months in the post, Nick Hawkins has announced that he is leaving the stricken club, and a message posted on his Twitter account revealed that he is leaving 'with a heavy heart'...

The club are currently rock bottom of the National League North, and now face a desperate search for ten investors to come forward and form a consortium, in order to save the club from going bust... Boro boss Jimmy Ginnelly has been entrusted with the shares with the view of finding the ten investors, who will need to stump up around £10,000 each. This is believed to be enough money to see the club out until the end of the season.

But the ten would have to be rolling investors to the club and pay another £10,000 each every season.

In the statement, Hawkins... revealed that he will be at Liberty Way on Saturday to say thank you and goodbye. The statement, posted by Nick Hawkins's Twitter account read 'It is with a heavy heart that I have handed over the baton of this great club. To move the club in the direction it needs to, I feel it would be served with someone local and in touch with town, someone that can gain more commitment from the businesses of the town than I could.

'I came in during October and set out to make a contribution towards pulling the club through this season and beyond. We made significant in-roads to reducing the costs while making improvements to the ground and boosting morale. I cannot put in to words my appreciation for the tireless work and commitment of the likes of Carly, Adam, Grimesy, Phil and Barry who put into the Boro day in, day out. The club are very fortunate to have those people who continue to battle away and smile while doing it.

'I have absolutely loved my time at the Boro and found myself becoming a passionate fan... I apologise for the on-field showings, as you guys deserve more, and it will get better I’m sure, although I haven’t quite given you the joys of watching the wins at Liberty Way we have had a club to cheer on at least'...

[Manager] Jimmy Ginnelly warned about current state of the club during a post-match radio interview on Saturday. In the interview, following the 5-1 loss to Boston United, he said 'We need ten people and ten people really need to come to the fore and say ‘yes, I am going to help Jimmy Ginnelly to save the club. I am going to give it my best shot but it is getting very close that administration is going be the only way, or liquidation, is going to be the only way out, I would say in the next two or three weeks.

'If people don’t want to save this club and keep talking about it, then please leave the people who do want to save the club.'

He also spoke about the spat that played out among some players, the chairman and supporters on Twitter about the players not being paid. The Boro boss said it left a ‘bad taste’ in the players’ mouths. 'I don’t blame them at all this week as it has been so poorly run behind the scenes,' he said. 'But I gave the players a bit of a telling off on Thursday. After Dale and I had a meeting with the chairman, I spoke to the players, all 14 that were available, I told them my thoughts on it.

'I told them it was wrong to air our dirty laundry on social media. I am not a social media fan, I use it for an advert. I am 55, these are 25-30-years-old, it is a massive part of their lives. But I said to them after the game "the social media has caught up with you boys, you have took it into the game"'.

He added that he has asked the players, the chairman and the fans to leave social media alone, 'It does the club no favours at all'.

Nick Hawkins was announced as the new sole owner and chair of the club in a statement from Liberty Way On November 2. The former Chasetown player was given the all-clear form the National League to take control of the club which has been at the centre of turmoil for more than a year. During his time as chairman, he has seen two different managers leave, Nicky Eaden and Lee Fowler, before hometown boy Jimmy Ginnelly took over at the start of December. He has been an outspoken figure at Liberty Way, hosting Q&A sessions before home games and has also been embroiled in arguments on social media".

Alty fans will remember Jimmy Ginnelly as previously being the manager of Barwell, whom we faced last season in the EvoStik Northern Premier League.

According to the National League, "Chorley manager Jamie Vermiglio considered making wholesale changes after being slaughtered at Southport.But was rewarded for sticking by his players as the leaders beat tricky Brackley 2-0 last night [Tuesday]... and his players didn’t let him down to move six points clear at the top of the National League North.

'I’m over the moon,' the manager said to the club’s video service. 'They are a side with so much strength so this was a really good result for us. Brackley are one of the best sides we have played. I thought we were great from start to finish. To get the result after Saturday really gives us that extra bit of confidence now. We needed it because we were nowhere near at our best against Southport.

'I went home and reflected and by Sunday the entire team for Tuesday had changed! But I decided to stick with what we had been doing and it worked really well. The win gives us that little bit of breathing space at the top. It’s a big three points'".

Alfreton Town "confirm that the loan for defender Dominic Smith from AFC Telford United, has been extended until the end of the season. Dom has been a regular feature for the Reds since joining us in January. Smith has made six starts so far this season and also played the full 90 minutes in our Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final win at Matlock Town on Tuesday night."

Closer to home, Chester FC "confirm that striker Deane Smalley has left the club. The experienced forward is expected to join an Evo-Stik Premier Division side in due course. Smalley joined the club on the eve of the 2018-19 season following a successful trial period during the summer. He made 21 appearances for the Blues".

Meanwhile, Cheshire Live informs us that "George Green will be hit with a three-match ban after being shown a straight red at Nantwich Town on Tuesday night. The Chester FC midfielder was handed his marching orders somewhat harshly by referee Sam Mulhall on 42 minutes in the Blues' 1-0 Cheshire Senior Cup defeat at the Weaver Stadium after his slide challenge on Ricardo Fuller, with the ball running loose, was deemed reckless.

In truth it was a challenge that was less deserving of a red card than James Lawrie's horror tackle on Chester skipper Scott Burton early on and Burton's subsequent poor challenge on Lawrie a short time later. There could have been little to complain about had either of those ended with a red card but Green's looked dubious to say the least and the Blues may appeal once they have reviewed video evidence.

And while yellow cards are competition specific, red cards received count across all competitions meaning that Green faces the prospect of a three-match ban that further hampers a season that has not yet got going for the former Everton starlet who had been sidelined with injury until December. It was also Green's second red card in just seven games after he was sent off at FC United of Manchester in January for a second bookable offence.

'It has been an indifferent season for me, Jonno and George, it really has', said Chester joint-manager Bernard Morley. 'We know George's qualities but the Chester fans and the Chester committee are yet to see what George is capable of'".

Also from Cheshire Live comes news that "Chester FC joint-manager Bernard Morley revealed that the Blues were hopeful of getting a deal done for a new addition in time for this weekend's crunch encounter with Boston United. The Blues are on a three-game losing streak in the league and have tumbled to 10th in the division and in desperate need to rediscover their early season form...

Injuries have hit Morley and co-boss Anthony Johnson's squad hard this season and they remain faced with a lengthy list of absentees including Simon Grand, Sean McAllister, Ben McKenna, Gary Stopforth and Matty Hughes. And Grand's injury is one that has been felt by the Blues with the veteran 34-year-old to have a scan on a knee injury... Grand, a centre back, has been forced to play as a left back for much of the campaign after the initial plan to play summer signing John Pritchard there did not work out as hoped.

And the Blues bosses are aiming to add to their options at full-back and are aiming to secure a loan signing in time for the visit of Boston on Saturday after money was freed up following Deane Smalley's departure, the striker expected to sign for Hyde United.

'It was quite clear to see on Saturday that we are missing experience in important positions and there were some costly goals from across the back five, not that it was just the back five's fault. We are always looking strengthen and I spoke to one or two players today. If we can improve then we will improve. There are one or two who have gone out of the door (Deane Smalley to Hyde) which has released a bit of money for us'...

Chester were beaten 1-0 at Nantwich Town in the Cheshire Senior Cup quarter final on Tuesday night but the game did provide several players with some much-needed game time.

Akwasi Asante looked sharp on his cameo from the bench while Brad Jackson returned to action and will come into contention for the Boston game after missing the Kidderminster defeat with a hamstring issue".

In the Boston Standard we learn that "Spencer Harris believes his off-field friendship with Ryan Qualter is helping them perform on the pitch. Craig Elliott brought the two former Shaw Lane teammates to the Jakemans Stadium, where they have secured seven wins, including four clean sheets, and a draw in the 13 matches they have played together in central defence this season.

'We are good friends and do understand each other well,' said Harris of his travelling companion, adding that their friendship ensures they take nothing to heart on the pitch. 'It’s getting stronger each time, it’s good. I think on the football pitch you’ve got to be strong minded and brush it off, but we do have a good relationship and we’ll carry it on from there on the pitch.'"

Kidderminster Harriers "are proud to announce the news that another of its Academy talents has signed a professional contract with the club after Milan Butterfield penned terms. The promising 21-year-old has made a big impact on the first team in recent weeks, not least with this industrious showing in the 4-1 win over Chester on Saturday.

We’re pleased to say that the former Walsall man has inked an 18-month contract at Aggborough that keeps him with the club until the end of next season.

'I think I’ve been doing very well so far so I just want to keep on doing that,' Milan told 'I’ve enjoyed my whole time here'...

It’s another triumph for the club’s system, with defender Harry Higginson also signing a contract with Harriers earlier this month. Butterfield, who is also a Bermudan international, had began his Harriers career as part of our U23s side, which this season is making great strides towards a league title win'".


He managed Altrincham for almost five years (2011-16) and led them to promotion back to the national level of non-League football in 2014, but Gainsborough Trinity have announced that they have "parted company with management duo Lee Sinnott and John Reed following a disappointing run of results in which the team only picked up two wins in eleven home games, cumulating in 1-4 and 0-5 reverses at the hands of Warrington Town and Farsley Celtic, in recent weeks.

Right: Lee Sinnott on his appointment at Altrincham in 2014

Initially appointed on this day a year ago (13th February 2018), replacing former manager David Frecklington and Terry Fleming, the pair just failed in their bid to keep the Holy Blues in the National League North.

A summer rebuild offered hope of a promotion charge, yet inconsistent results prevented a prolonged push for the promised land. Lee Sinnott leaves the club sitting sixth, one place outside the play-off spots, four points behind 5th placed Scarborough having played a game more.

In 51 games at the helm, Sinnott oversaw 20 victories, with a win percentage of 39% scoring 58 goals, conceding 48. Across the two campaigns, under Sinnott and Reed, 64 points were gained since their first game on February 17th, but the attacking free-flowing football stuttered and results became more difficult to come by.

It is noted that supporters have been voting with their feet, as home attendances have tailed off in recent weeks and the slump in home form has done little to appease this. By moving to remove the management team with immediate effect, we hope to inject a fresh impetus about the place, starting with Saturday’s game against Stalybridge Celtic.

The players need you to show that you are behind them, so reunite with the group – and let’s give it one almighty push until the end of the season. There’s a long way to go and momentum can take a side a long way.#

[Ex-Alty loanee] Liam King has been placed in temporary charge of first team affairs, with an announcement on the managerial position to be made in due course. Liam has a wealth of coaching experience having obtained his UEFA B License and possesses a winners’ mentality, whilst running his successful Mini Kicks/Team Orange business".

Lincolnshire Live adds that "Gainsborough Trinity have sacked Lee Sinnott after a disappointing run of results... The Blues have sent the manager packing along with his assistant John Reed after just two wins in their last 11 home games... Trinity had harboured hopes of an immediate return to National League North but their league form has stuttered in recent weeks.

The 5-0 thrashing by Farsley Celtic in midweek proved the final straw for chairman Richard Kane with the club sitting in sixth place in the table, four points off a play-off spot having played a game more than their rivals. Attendances at The Northolme have also dwindled, and Liam King has been given the temporary task of trying to get supporters through the gate.

The club captain and central midfielder announced on Sunday, February 10 that he had agreed to mutually terminate his playing contract after struggling to regain full fitness after a serious injury... The 31-year-old has never managed at a senior level before but does have coaching experience".

13 February 2019


NL Daily reports that "Bradford Park Avenue have moved to further strengthen their promotion hopes by adding 22-year-old striker Macaulay Langstaff on a month’s loan from York City.

Following the addition of exciting prospects Charlie Andrew and Romoney Crichlow-Noble, and the re-signing of Conor Branson to extended terms last week, Mark Bower has further boosted his squad by bringing in the 5ft 9 product of Middlesbrough’s academy who helped Billingham Synthonia to promotion in 2017 by notching 31 goals in his 46 appearances .

Langstaff joined York City from Gateshead in June 2018 and arrives at Bradford (Park Avenue) immediately. He will be available for Mark Bower as the team travel to Altrincham this Saturday"

News of a BPA player who will not be facing Alty on Saturday comes from the And another player moving out of the National League North is the subject of a report from NL Daily which tells us that "Rushall Olympic have completed the signing of goalkeeper Ben Newey on a dual registration with Leamington... He joins the club after regular custodian, Joe Slinn, picked up an injury in training with Walsall, whilst Adam Przybek has been recalled from his loan spell by West Bromwich Albion."

Meanwhile, the Vanarama National League North fixture between Spennymoor Town and Bradford Park Avenue has been rearranged for Tuesday 12 March 2019.


Altrincham FC Youth's 3-0 win away at Southport on Sunday left them in fourth place in the NWYA Premier Division, five points behind the leaders, Curzon Ashton but with a game in hand. Dontai Gabidon, Daniel Lewis and Max Lewens were the Alty scorers.

The next scheduled match is in the NWYA Open Cup on Sunday, 17 February, away to Chester FC Youth. The following Sunday Alty are away at Salford.


Last Sunday the Altrincham FC Ladies lost their cup match away, against Merseyrail Ladies 3-1. Next Sunday the Ladies are away, again, for a league fixture at Curzon Ashton FC. Alty Ladies lie fourth in the league. Although they have three games in hand on leaders Liverpool Feds Reserves and are only six points behind, the title favourites are West Didsbury & Chorlton who are three points ahead of Alty and have three games in hand after winning all nine of their league games to date.


Tue 12th February
  • AFC Telford United 1-1 Guiseley
  • Chorley 2-0 Brackley Town

The FA Trophy 18-19 - Third Round Replay

  • AFC Fylde 4-1 Ramsbottom United


Tue. 12th Feb 2019: Cheshire Senior Cup Quarter Finals
  • Cammell Laird 1907 0-0 Stockport Town
  • Nantwich Town 1-0 Chester FC
  • Runcorn Linnets 4-1 Congleton Town

Derbyshire Senior Cup - Semi Final

  • Matlock Town 2-4 Alfreton Town

Wed. 13th Feb: Cheshire Senior Cup Quarter Final

  • Runcorn Town v Stockport County


Southport "confirm that defender Josh Langley has extended his loan with Guiseley for another month. The 26-year-old initially joined the Lions in January and will remain with our fellow National League North side. Part of the agreement is he cannot feature against the Port next month. Josh has made ten appearances for Southport after joining in the summer and has also spent time on loan this season at Altrincham."

Another ex-Alty loanee features in a report from the EvoStik League to the effect that "Gainsborough Trinity captain Liam King has had his contract cancelled by mutual consent, following injury problems. King, 31, has been out of action with a serious back injury picked up in October but recently made a cameo substitute appearance against Workington.

But he has since suffered a further set back in his quest for full fitness and approached chairman Richard Kane to relinquish his wage and concentrate on his long-term health and well-being.

He said 'I’ve done everything within my ability to get myself fit again, but I just need time to get my head straight, as well as my body. I play football for enjoyment and I am gutted that I am having to make this decision. I really believe that, if I was fit, I could have had an even bigger impact on the squad, leading by example. I have not ruled out playing again, I just need the time to get my health in order and regain fitness.'

Gainsborough [managed by Lee Sinnott] will retain King’s registration." Without King, Trinity lost 0-5 at home to Farsley on Tuesday night.


NL Daily tells us that "The FA have confirmed that Hereford’s James Waite will serve a three-match suspension following his sending off against Leamington on Saturday. Waite saw red in the second half of the game for ‘serious foul play’. The Cardiff City loanee will miss the trip to Ashton United on Saturday, FC United of Manchester on 2nd March and the home game against Darlington on 9th March."

Over at Guiseley, The Lions "are delighted to announce that George Cantrill’s loan move from Sheffield United has been extended. Cantrill will remain at Nethermoor until the end of the season... The 19 year-old has played both in midfield and defence in his four appearances so far since his switch to Nethermoor last month.

The deal has been signed just a few days after his man of the match performance in Saturday’s draw with Stockport where the youngster scored the only Lions goal".

In advance of their Tuesday match at Chorley, Brackley Town report that the game gave them "the opportunity to consolidate our position in the play-off places and reduce the gap between the two teams....

Brackley are in 6th place after an impressive unbeaten sequence of ten games in league and cup competitions and have 45 league points from 28 games. On Saturday, Brackley beat AFC Telford 3-1 at home, the team who are one place above us in the league. Everything points to an exciting but challenging game on Tuesday night".

Boston United "goalkeeper George Willis has pledged his future to the Pilgrims by signing a new contract. The 23-year-old shot-stopper, who is United's current club captain, has racked up 73 appearances to date since arriving from Gainsborough Trinity in the summer of 2017. The former Sheffield United youngster's new contract at The Jakemans Stadium will initially run until the summer of 2020."

York Press states that "York City are looking to bolster their attacking options having loaned striker Macaulay Langstaff to neighbours Bradford Park Avenue. Langstaff, 22, has agreed a one-month switch to the Horsfall Stadium, having failed to make the last three Minstermen matchday squads. He has netted five goals in 28 appearances this term but has not hit the target in any of his last 13 outings since the 2-1 defeat at Telford on October 27.

Langstaff remains the club’s joint-second top scorer this season with Jake Wright, but both players are well short of leading marksman Jordan Burrow’s 17-goal haul... But Burrow, Alex Kempster, York and Jon Parkin have all moved above Langstaff in the pecking order for striking places since with Watson reasoning 'There are a number of players ahead of Macaulay in the squad and you can only have five substitutes. I know about him and I rated him at Gateshead where I would have offered him a new deal. I am currently looking to bring in another striker or attacking player, so it is more beneficial if Macaulay is out there getting games. I hope that he comes back to us full of confidence for the last month of the season and gets back in our team. However, for now, a loan move is beneficial to both parties'".

Also from York Press we learn that "On-loan Mansfield Town defender David Mirfin is interested in a permanent move to York City. The 6ft 2in centre back will be out of contract at Field Mill in the summer and has agreed terms to stay at Bootham Crescent until the end of the current campaign.

But the ex-Scunthorpe and Watford Championship campaigner, who turns 34 next month, has now expressed a desire to stay with the Minstermen next term. Prior to his North Yorkshire switch, Mirfin had plied his whole career in the Football League but, having spent 14 months on the sidelines following a knee operation that required him to learn how to walk again, the Sheffield-born sentinel is just keen to prove his worth to City chief Steve Watson during the next two-and-a-half months, declaring 'I’d definitely be interested in a permanent move. It’s a bit of a gulf from what I’m used to but, equally, I have to prove that I am over my injuries and I’m not a liability for somebody to take a chance on me. It got to a stage at Mansfield where I’d played my first 90 minutes in the reserves, so my next step was to play competitively, but the gaffer said he didn’t think I was ready and that he’d prefer it if I went out and got some games.

'They’ve got the best defensive record in the League and the other defenders were miles ahead of me in terms of fitness and sharpness, so I didn’t want to go in and let the lads down either, because they’ve worked hard to get where they are. In my mind, I felt I might be looking at this kind of level next season because of my age and the injuries, so I had no hesitation about coming here to get used to the league. It suits me perfectly and I know how big a club York is at this level. I’ve played here two or three times in the League and I’m surprised to see the club where they are, especially from what I’ve seen now from the lads in training and in glimpses during games'...

Mirfin has completed three full games in the space of eight days with the Minstermen...

'I’ve been very impressed with how relaxed and calm the gaffer is and he is allowing me to use Monday and Thursdays more as recovery days to make sure I’m ready for games,' Mirfin explained. 'Playing three games in a week was chucking me in at the deep end really, having not played for 14 months, but I was told to do what I needed to get through the week, and I should be all right for the remainder of the season now whilst, hopefully, being where I want to be after five or six matches.'

Mirfin also argued that moving to the new Community Stadium next season makes the Minstermen a more attractive prospect for potential recruits, declaring 'I’ve seen pictures of the stadium and spoke to the lads about it and it’s a massive thing. Bootham Crescent is an old-school kind of league ground and they are being phased out at every level. If the club can get something more self-sufficient that can work seven days a week for them, rather than one Saturday every fortnight, it can only be a good thing because we’re seeing a lot of smaller clubs bypassing traditional clubs with more history and bigger crowds now'...

At the other end of the pitch, meanwhile, Jordan Burrow took his season’s tally to 17 with a match-winning late brace... 'His work-rate and physicality has surprised me,' Mirfin admitted. 'The ball never comes back from goal kicks, because he uses his body so well. He never gives defenders a free header, which is a massive thing because, sometimes, you don’t necessarily need to win the ball but just stop it from coming back and he deserved his goals for his overall play'".

Off the field, York City add that "A planning application has now been submitted to City of York Council by Persimmon Homes for the redevelopment of Bootham Crescent after the departure of the football club to the new Community Stadium... The application is based on a mixed scheme of 80 houses and apartments...

Stadium development director Ian McAndrew said 'Leaving Bootham Crescent is, to some people, controversial and will, undoubtedly, be emotional to all those involved with York City Football Club... and, in particular, those families who have scattered the ashes of their relatives there. I can assure everybody that this issue is at the forefront of our the discussions with both the developer and Historic England... I can confirm that an area within the public open space will be allocated as a place for remembrance as well as there being permanent reminders of the club's long history on the site'...

Mr McAndrew added 'When the club went into administration in 2003 it was saved at the eleventh hour by the supporters and it was necessary, in order to stay playing in the Football League, for the club to have a minimum secure tenure of 10 years. This was achieved with the support of the city council, giving guarantees whereby, if the club had to leave Bootham Crescent, it would be able to play at the former Huntington Stadium... Eventually, in 2005, and with the support of the Football Stadium Improvement Fund and mutual agreement with Persimmon Homes, the club bought back Bootham Crescent on the basis that York City Football Club would relocate to a new stadium in the future and Persimmon Homes would buy the site via the option granted to them once a new stadium had been built.

'Although, for many reasons, the initial timescales have not been achieved, the summer of 2019 will see the club moving to the new Community Stadium'".

Chorley announce "Vermo’s Budget Booster". Josh Vosper of CFC Supporters Trust explains that "With fourteen games of the campaign remaining everyone involved with the Football Club is working hard on and off the field to make the 2018/19 season a big success and we’re looking for your support to give the boys one last push to get over the line.

We’ve already started planning for next year, securing the signatures of Matt Urwin and Adam Blakeman, but there is still plenty to do... This is where you, the fans, can help, as we look to support Jamie in the promotion push through the Budget Booster fund. It could be to secure a loan signing, extend the contract of a key player or even help fund the rehabilitation of one of our stars if injury strikes.

The target is £2,500, with the hope that your contributions will be the difference as we hit the critical stage of the season. Please give what you can, however big or small, as all contributions will be gratefully received and every penny will go towards our continued success and goal of promotion to the National League".

Last time out Blyth Spartans lost 0-1 at home to Darlington as "Stephen Thompson’s controversial 34th minute penalty condemned Blyth Spartans to their fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions... Five minutes from time Bradley Fewster was brought down in a similar fashion in the Darlington area; this time referee Andrew Kitchen waved away appeals from the 1,597 strong crowd.

Alun Armstrong made one change from the side that lost 1-0 at Leyton Orient, Adam Wrightson replaced Nathan Buddle as Spartans re-jigged their formation... In the 33rd minute, the fatal penalty decision was awarded. Alex Nicholson appeared to win possession inside the penalty area before Watson shielded the loose ball. Jordan Nicholson tumbled under the slight contact and Kitchen pointed to the spot, to the dismay of everyone in attendance...

Spartans will be disappointed with the result but will look to regain their form when they travel to Leamington."

12 February 2019


Question: when did 'Stuart Coburn' keep a clean sheet in a match which Altrincham lost 0-3? Answer, when current Alty keeper Tony Thompson was wearing his shirt! Puzzled? Read on...

On Saturday, 16 February 2019, we host Bradford (Park Avenue). Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records remind us of Altrincham's last match on Saturday's date, 16th February. That was a 0-3 defeat at Moss Lane, by Chester FC, on a Tuesday night, 16th February 2016. Before that 2016 match, Alty had won just one of their previous nine league matches whilst, for Chester FC, the record was even worse; only one win in eleven league games.

The fixture had been postponed from Boxing Day 2015. Before kick off Alty had lost Jordan Sinnott with an ankle injury and, during the first half, also lost midfielder Simon Richman to injury. For the first 45 minutes, Altrincham did not once test new Chester keeper, who was none other than current Alty employee, Tony Thompson, who had arrived at Chester from Morecambe. Bizarrely, Tony was wearing Stuart Coburn's goalkeeping jersey for this game, complete with the legendary Alty custodian's name on his back!

Right: Under the Moss Lane floodlights in 2016, Tony Thompson greets Michael Rankine before the match.

O'Brien put the visitors ahead after 25 minutes. For Alty, mis-pass followed mis-pass before Chester's second and third goals arrived; they were virtually carbon copies of each other. In each case the ball was hacked into the net from a matter of feet away, after a melee following a corner. The first of these two goals came just before the interval from Astles and the second was scored on 76 minutes by Hannah, at the third attempt, after two blocks on the line.

It could have been worse as, almost immediately after the interval, Chester won a penalty which Hannah blasted over the bar. During the second half Alty threw on extra attackers in the shape of Reeves and Lawrie but were never seriously in the contest.

For this game, Michael Rankine had returned from a bout of flu, at the expense of Damian Reeves, and Sam Heathcote had come into the starting eleven at centre-back, prompting a move to right-back for Scott Leather. So Marcus Holness and Sam formed the ninth different centre-back pairing of this season, a litany mostly caused by injuries. Loanee Dylan Mottley-Henry was not in the squad as he had been injured in training with his parent club Bradford City..

ALTRINCHAM: 17. Tim DEASY, 6. Scott LEATHER, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 28. Marcus HOLNESS, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Jake MOULT (capt), 8. Simon RICHMAN, 19. Ryan CROWTHER, 15. Josh GINNELLY, 27. Jonathon MARGETTS, 9. Michael RANKINE. Subs: 10. Damian REEVES, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 7. James LAWRIE, 23. Callum WILLIAMS, 22. Harry CAIN

CHESTER FC: 13. Tony Thompson, 4. Danny O'Brien, 22 Ben Heneghan, 6. Ian Sharps, 7. Ryan Astles, 7. Craig Mahon, 10. John Rooney, 11. Jordan Chapell, 12. Sam Hughes, 26. Ryan Lloyd, 9 Ross Hannah, Subs: 23. James Alabi, 13. Kane Richards, 1. Jon Worsnop, 2. Ryan Higgins, 3. Johnny Hunt.


Video highlights of Saturday's match at Broadhurst Park are on the National League website.

Meanwhile, manager Phil Parkisnon's views on the match are on the official Altrincham FC website.

Altrincham's match at FC United of Manchester was also subject of an article in the leading French newspaper Le Monde. French journalist Maxime Goldbaum writes that "le FC United of Manchester s’est incliné deux buts à un, face à Altrincham, en dépit des chants qui n’ont cessé de résonner durant toute la partie, une ambiance irréelle pour tout spectateur français qui assiste à un match amateur le dimanche après-midi". (FCUM lost 1-2 against Altrincham, despite the constant singing which echoed around the ground throughout the game, an unreal atmosphere for any French spectator who attends a Sunday afternoon amateur match").

The Frenchman's presence at the match is explained by Welsh club The New Saints, whose media man Stuart Bloor reports "I enjoy football-related travel very much, and that was the case on Saturday just gone, as I made my way to Manchester. With TNS FC’s game being played the evening before, it was an ideal opportunity to catch up with [TNS player] Josh Hmami at the club where he is currently on loan, FC United of Manchester.

Working in media, you are always looking for something different so that you can get a fresh angle. Having a first team player at an English step two club until the end of the season is definitely worth covering, and it was a day out that I was looking forward to...

Although he didn’t feature in the game itself this time round, nevertheless we did two interviews, took some photographs and produced a video of the day.

In addition, while in the press box I got talking to several other media people, including Le Monde journalist, Maxime Goldbaum. He covers the French national games as well as Paris St Germain, and that’s why he was in Manchester, ahead of the Champions' League fixture. Killing two birds with one stone, he was also writing a feature on FC United of Manchester and, as part of our conversation, and becoming aware of why I was there, he then did an interview himself with Josh. I thoroughly enjoyed my day out at Broadhurst Park".


The National League "Team of the Weekend" squad has no one from Altrincham in it but does have an FC United defender who played against us, as well as ex-Alty forward, Sean Miller.

The League states "We pick the brains of club officials, managers and reporters around the grounds to make sure our team is as close to perfect as possible".

  • Goalkeeper: Jonny Maddison (Darlington)
  • Defenders: Ash Palmer (Blyth Spartans, Ryan Johnson (Kidderminster Harriers)
  • Midfielders: Dion Charles (Southport), Nicky Walker (Boston United), Liam McAlinden (Kidderminster Harriers), Matt Lowe (Brackley Town), Sean Miller (Curzon Ashton)
  • Strikers: Jordan Burrow (York City), Jack Sampson (Southport)
  • Substitutes: Danny Morton (FC United of Manchester), Jay Rollins (Boston United), Jordan Murphy (Leamington), Stephen Thompson (Darlington), Alex Newby (Chorley)
  • Manager of the Weekend: Mark Yates (Kidderminster Harriers)

Also from the National League we learn that "Mark Yates made a winning start on his Kidderminster second coming and vowed the team will get even better. A convincing 4-1 victory over Chester was the perfect way to celebrate his return after ten years away...

'It was great to get back out there on the grass. It’s what I think I do best,' Yates told the National League’s Oli Osborn. 'I have been twiddling my thumbs for for the past few months so this suits me perfectly. I think we were good, we deserved that win. We’re only going to get better hopefully.We responded superbly when Chester got their goal with an aid of a deflection.

'We have just start[ed] a 14-game season and we need to take it week-by-week and just work hard every day. We’ve got good players and I have walked into a good group,' he added. 'We train every day and we need to put that to full use over the next few months and see where it takes us. For now we’ve not got to worry about if we are in the play-offs or not. The only thing we need to worry about is being in there on that final day of the season.'"

According to Gloucestershire Live, "Cheltenham Town prospect George Lloyd is being watched closely by two Premier League clubs. The striker, who turned 19 on Monday, is currently on loan at Hereford FC until the end of the season.

Lloyd has so far made four League Two starts for the Robins... He has made a positive impact at Hereford, who are managed by ex-Robins pro Marc Richards, with four goals so far for the Bulls. Lloyd, who is from Gloucester, signed his first professional contract with Cheltenham in December 2017, running to the end of the 2019/20 campaign.

Boss Michael Duff is keen for him to build his senior first team experience at Edgar Street rather than sitting on the bench at his parent club".

York Press tells us "Things We Learned from York City's 2-0 win over Ashton United.

Steve Watson is prepared to be tactically flexible. A strict adherence to certain systems has proven the downfall of certain City managers in the past, encompassing Gary Mills’ attachment to 4-3-3... and his successor Nigel Worthington’s reliance on 4-4-2... Watson was a big advocate of 3-5-2 at Gateshead, as he defied pre-season expectations and off-pitch turmoil to establish the north-east part-timers as promotion contenders this season. But, with eight goals having been conceded during a hat-trick of consecutive games since the switch to a back three, the former Newcastle defender showed himself willing to deviate from the system he believes in most, and the fielding of a four-man defence undeniably closed gaps in that third of the pitch...

City remain over-dependent on Jordan Burrow. It is a remarkable statistic that ex-Gateshead striker Burrow has netted in each of the Minstermen’s last 11 wins... but City’s supporting cast certainly need to weigh in more. During that sequence of victories, Burrow has plundered 14 goals, with the next-best contributors defenders Hamza Bencherif and Sean Newton and fringe midfielder Alex Harris, who have each netted twice...

Set-pieces still need work at both ends of the pitch. City have been undone from dead-ball deliveries on many occasions this season and three of Ashton’s four goal attempts came from corners. The Greater Manchester outfit, otherwise, provided next to no menace from open play...

The Minstermen forced nine... at the other end during those opening 45 minutes, but only mustered one chance following an unimaginative series of floated deliveries...

Former Spennymoor right-back Kallum Griffiths has been the Minstermen’s most reliable performer in a squad short on dependability. It is somewhat surprising then that, disregarding injury, he has been dropped from the team on four separate occasions this season. Despite the quality of his crossing, there has been a reluctance on the parts of both Steve Watson and his predecessor Sam Collins to employ Griffiths in a wing-back role, with the pair preferring the energy of Wes York and Nathan Dyer respectively...

The new management team are undecided on Alex Kempster’s best role. Former Whitley Bay attacker Kempster filled two different roles against Ashton, operating in a number-10 role behind Jordan Burrow in the first half before moving on to the left flank in the second. Previously, he has performed as a left-wing back and an orthodox centre forward under Steve Watson... Watson will be pondering where best to position Kempster to capitalise on his eye for a goal, enthusiasm and willingness to drive at teams on the ball."

Reports in NL Daily say that "Matty Platt has signed on a one-month loan deal for Southport. A defender and an academy graduate from Blackburn Rovers, the 21-year-old has progressed quickly through the ranks. Last season saw him captain the Under-23s whilst spending time at Barrow on loan. He returned from Accrington Stanley in January on another spell away from his parent club. Now he joins the Port to keep up his development".

We learn from the Banbury Guardian that "Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin heaped praise on Matt Lowe and top scorer Lee Ndlovu following Saturday’s 3-1 success against AFC Telford United.

Carl Baker and Jimmy Armson got on the score sheet as Saints extended their unbeaten Vanarama National League North run to seven games against Telford. But it was Ndlovu, who bagged his 17th goal of the season, and Lowe, who set up two goals, who caught the eye for Saints and Wilkin was quick to praise both players.

He said 'Lee Ndlovu is pivotal to us in the way that we play and does a great job for us. Since the turn of the year especially he’s been so influential for us and that allows other players to develop in the final third. Matt Lowe’s two assists were terrific. Matt gets into some great positions for us and we did some work with him on Thursday to emphasise how important it is to deliver when he gets into those areas.'"

In the Shropshire Star "Boss Gavin Cowan insists AFC Telford United are having to manage defensive stalwart Theo Streete with extra caution for the rest of the season... after their 3-1 loss at Brackley Town.

And 31-year-old Streete, the second-oldest player in the squad behind Matthew Barnes-Homer, 33, did not start after recently battling through a minor injury. He has had knee problems in the past too, but Cowan says... 'It’s not so much his injuries because he’s over those injuries now. He’s had an injury over the last few weeks, which is just a standard injury which he’s over now. But he’s getting to that sort of age now, isn’t he?... When you approach your mid-30s you have to manage your body. It’s common-sense'.

Telford conceded all the goals at St James’ Park in the first half, when Streete was not on... Cowan said... 'We’ve got another 14 games to think about in the league. Of course you miss his presence, but I’ve got other big players on the pitch... Where we’re at now, we want to maintain that top half,' he added. 'If we can start gaining points, it’ll be the play-offs.'"

11 February 2019


Above: Before the match on Saturday, Alty's Joe Piggott, Connor Hampson and Andy White introduced themselves to former Alty forward, Tom Peers at Broadhurst Park.

Joe enjoyed a first start for Altrincham, and ninety minutes of action, on his loan from Wigan Athletic, whereas Connor had to miss virtually the entire match following a first-minute recurrence of a hand injury. Meanwhile, Andy was a happy man as the scorer of the winning goal.


Altrincham have signed five players in the past fortnight but, owing to there being no fixture on 2 February and to manager Phil Parkinson having to make two enforced defensive substitutions at Curzon Ashton last Saturday, Altrincham supporters have not had much opportunity to see the new players in action. So, to assist in "player-spotting", here are some images of the new recruits...

Yusufi Ceesay

Steven Drench

Mason Fawns

Joe Piggott

Nathan Waterston

So far, Ceesay and Fawns have yet to make their debuts. Drench and Piggott played ninety minutes last Saturday, whilst Waterston has made two appearances from the bench so far.


After a run of six away matches in their last eight league fixtures, a sequence caused to some degree by other clubs' involvements in cup competitions, Altrincham now contemplate a run of four home fixtures in their next five matches. However, before supporters get too optimistic, it should be remembered that Alty's home form is only very marginally better than form away from home. Indeed, Altrincham have collected 21 points from their 13 home games to date at an average of 1.61 points per game; away from home they have collected 24 from fifteen matches at an average of 1.60 points.

Those last eight Altrincham league games have been below par as they have yielded just ten points (1.25 per game); seven points from the six away games and three points from the two home games.

With exactly two-thirds of the season now completed, Altrincham have 45 points so, if they acquire points at the same rate, they are on course for a final total of 67 points. Their remaining games feature six home games against current top-half teams and just two matches at home to lower-half opposition. Away from home, Alty have only two away games at top-half clubs and four at bottom-half clubs.

So far, Altrincham have taken just three points from their four matches at home to top-half clubs (0.75 pts per game) but have more than twice as good a record in the corresponding away matches, namely 13 pts from 8 away games (1.62 pts per game) against those same top teams. Against bottom-half clubs, Alty have acquired 18 points from nine matches (2 pts per game) but only eleven points from their seven away visits to those teams (1.57 pts per game).

According to The Fishy, Altrincham are currently only tenth in the form guide, with three wins and three losses from their last six fixtures. Their next opponents, Bradford (Park Avenue) are bottom, with two points from their last six outings.

So what do all these statistics tell us about where Altrincham will finish up this season? Not a lot!


FC United of Manchester report that they "are now seven points adrift from safety in the Vanarama National League North after a fourth consecutive defeat, this time losing 2-1 to local rivals Altrincham...

Two deflected goals in each half gave the visitors victory in front of 2,215 supporters in Moston. Dale Whitham looked to have rescued a priceless point for the Reds with 13 minutes to go but United suffered another cruel, late and narrow defeat.

The Reds started with more new players with Andy Fisher in goal, Bob Harris at left-back and Louis Myers in attack. FC United made the early running and could have taken the lead inside the first minute...

On 25 minutes, The Robins took the lead when Max Harrop drove in on goal and fired a shot that was well saved by Fisher, the ball dropped to John Johnson who fired home via a touch from Zehn Mohammed.

Four minutes later, an almost identical chance occurred at the other end when Whitham found himself clear, his shot was blocked and the ball fell to Myers who stumbled at the vital moment and the chance evaporated.

Altrincham started the second half the brighter, Harrop and Johnson both making Fisher save... There were little in the way of chances in this half but FC did draw level on 77 minutes when a superb cross from Mike Donohue found Whitham who planted a free header in off the post.

On 83 minutes, FC hearts were broken yet again when a speculative long shot from Andrew White that seemed to be going wide took a wild deflection off Mohammed with the ball spinning off and into the net with Fisher totally wrong footed. The game ended in controversy with a very loud appeal for handball against an Altrincham defender in his own box but appeals were waved away by Mr Herczeg.

It was cruel for FC to lose to deflected goals, and the overall performance was decent but there was little in the way of many clear cut chances made by the home side. Website man of the match; Billy Sass-Davies. Another assured performance from the young loanee defender."


Sartorial Soccer reports that "Non-league Altrincham FC have received global praise after launching the world’s first football kit based solely on the rainbow colours of the LGBT+ pride flag. Each February, the Greater Manchester club dedicate a match to promoting Football vs Homophobia but this year, they will go a step further by swapping their usual red and white stripes for a one-off kit based on the LGBT+ Pride flag.

Messages of support have come from new Robins supporters as far away as Australia, Hong Kong and the United States and manufacturers SK Kits have worked hard to keep up with demand for the shirts which can be bought for just £25 from the club’s online shop.

Whilst VfL Bochum were early adopters of the look and teams such as St Pauli, Rayo Vallecano and CD Guadalajara have all shown solidarity with LGBT+ supporters in carrying elements of the rainbow flag on their shirts; it is believed that Altrincham will be the first club to wear a football shirt made solely of those colours in a competitive match...

Sponsor J. Davidson & Sons have kindly donated space on the shirt to Football v Homophobia, and SK Kits deserve an awful lot of credit for producing the bespoke set of shirts that will achieve cult status in years to come...

All power to Altrincham for their community efforts, the piece of history they will carve on February 16th, and for the social victories they help to win off the pitch. Altrincham will wear the one of a kind kits in their Vanarama National League North clash with Bradford Park Avenue on February 16th. The match-worn shirts will then be auctioned for charity with proceeds going to the Proud Trust, a LGBT+ youth charity from Manchester".


Next Saturday, Altrincham meet Bradford (Park Avenue) for the fourth-time this season. The visitors remain ahead of Alty by just a single point, but three league places, after a poor run of form since Christmas. In fact, The Avenue are currently bottom of the form guide for the division, having led the National League North for a number of weeks in 2018.

Coincidentally, the fixture on Saturday means that goalkeeper Steven Drench's home debut for Altrincham coincides with the visit of the club for whom he has played 28 league games this season. This comes after he has had to pick the ball out of his net against his new employers eleven times in three encounters this campaign.

The three previous encounters in a ten-week spell in 2018 all ended in Altrincham wins...

  • 15 September 2018: BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE) (1) 2 ALTRINCHAM (1) 3, Vanarama National League North.
  • 6 October 2018: ALTRINCHAM (2) 4 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE) 2, Emirates FA Cup Third Qualifying Round.
  • 24 November 2018: ALTRINCHAM (2) 4 BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE) (0) 0, Buildbase FA Trophy, Third Qualifying Round.

Mike Garnett reminds us that the overall record between the two clubs is as follows...

  • Home: P13-W9-D3-L1-F27-A10
  • Away: P13-W5-D4-L4-F21-A23
  • All: P26-W14-D7-L5-F48-A33

Altrincham's historical record on Saturday's date is revealed by Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years data.

Altrincham had a blank fortnight before meeting FC United last Saturday, but Bradford will arrive at Moss Lane three weeks after their last league game as the Telegraph & Argus reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) were frustrated by a second-consecutive postponement but, despite two Saturdays off, they remain in fourth place in the Vanarama National League North.

Avenue should have travelled to the north east to take on promotion rivals Spennymoor Town, but the home side were expecting local disruption due to the weather, so the game was subjected to an early morning pitch inspection. They had given Avenue notice of that on Friday afternoon so it came as no great shock to Mark Bower and his players that Storm Erik had claimed the fixture and they would have to make the trip up on a midweek night yet to be arranged.

It was destined to be third hosting fourth in an eagerly-awaited promotion battle, but the call off hasn’t done too much damage as the clubs remain in their respective positions. Avenue remain nine points off the summit...

Fifth-placed AFC Telford United lost 3-1 at sixth-placed Brackley Town, which leaves Avenue still above them on goal difference but now only one point better off than Brackley and seventh-placed Altrincham, who won 2-1 away at struggling FC United of Manchester."

Despite their inaction on the pitch, Bradford (PA) report that "Avenue midfielder Chris Dawson has joined Grantham Town for the next month. The short-term loan will see Chris join newly appointed joint managers Paul Rawden and Russell Cousins at the Gingerbreads who are looking to bring fresh quality into their squad ahead of their first match in charge on Tuesday ...

With starting opportunities limited recently and a lack of game time, Mark Bower feels a short spell with Grantham to get minutes under his belt is the ideal solution for Chris and the club. 'We feel a month of first team action elsewhere will prepare him for our final few months of the season on his return'" said the manager.


According to the National League, "Southport manager Liam Watson was happy to settle a very big score on Saturday. But even though his team flattened the National League North leaders, he feels Chorley will still go on to take the title. Port thrashed the Magpies 5-3...

Watson says that win set the record straight after his team put in their worst ever performance in his time in charge back in August when they went down 4-0 to the table toppers. 'That was one of the worst moments ever as a manager,' he recalled. 'It was embarrassing. Our fans really deserved a performance because of what happens that night. I don’t think many people who played at Chorley played in this game but they are wearing the same shirt. We have given ourselves a bit of pride back and Chorley can see for themselves how much we have improved.'

Watson added 'They are top of the league for a reason and I’m sure they are still going to go on and win the title... The game was always going to be wide open because they are such a strong side. It’s a fantastic result'".

Alfreton Town report how they "surrendered a two-goal cushion to lose 3-2 in a quite incredible game at the Tameside Stadium on Saturday afternoon, which saw a 24 minute first-half delay and three second half goals for the hosts.

Billy Heath named an unchanged side from the one that lost to York the previous Saturday, Curtis Bateson and Tom Allan made the bench.

The hosts started the game well with early advancements into our half but both sides were struggling to get a grip on the ball with possession being traded throughout the early minutes... With seven gone, a cross from the left from Josh Wilde was chested down by Reece Styche at the far post and he blasted the effort into the far corner to give the Reds the perfect start.

The goal saw us dominate the immediate proceedings... Later Styche was caught offside again, much to his frustration, and on 18 minutes the Reds striker was sent off with a straight red card following what looked like a heated discussion with the referee. This was yet another body blow in a contest for the Reds this season, a familiar feeling for Alfreton in games when the Reds are firmly in control...

Then, with 27 minutes played, the linesman pulled up with what looked like a calf injury. The game was stopped whilst a replacement was sourced, Reds' kit lady Pam Leaning was a qualified official and volunteered to run the line but the request was initially rejected by Curzon. With the game close to an abandonment, Curzon then agreed to Pam running the line; a mere 13 minutes after the initial offer. The game restarted after a 24 minute delay with Pam running the line on the far side.

After the restart, the ten men Reds incredibly doubled the lead on 33 minutes when Wilde was put through in the box and he lifted the ball over Mason and into the net to extend our cushion.

The Nash looked to react... Dom Smith should have made it three but his header went inches wide of the far post... Half time arrived at 4.15pm...

However the second half started in the worst possible manner with a different Alfreton greeting the second half. 47 minutes gone, Curzon pulled one back when Reilly tapped in Wall's cross from the right, then two minutes later it was 2-2; Crankshaw's cross from the left caused problems and was missed by the Nash forward and it hit Riley and squirmed into the bottom corner.

It was an implosion for the second game in a row after blowing a 2-1 lead against York, we looked to fight back with several corners earned... Clackstone was the Reds main source of pace but too often we had one or two players in the opposition half and our attacks fizzled out due to a lack of options...

On 82 minutes the hosts completed the comeback when McAtee powered a header from a left wing cross past Ramsbottom to sink the Reds yet again from a winning position. It could have been worse for Alfreton on 85 minutes when Crankshaw was tripped in the box by Ramsbottom following a counter attack but Sam stood firm as the Curzon winger dusted himself off, diving to his right to save the penalty.

However the Reds couldn't create another chance and will be once again bitterly disappointed to lose the contest from a two-goal lead. It was an incredible game which had it all and our thanks and love go to Pam who ran the line and ensured the game continued... We head to Matlock Town on Tuesday night for a Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final... We then face league leaders Chorley on Saturday at the Impact".

At Leamington manager "Paul Holleran gives his thoughts on an eventful afternoon against Hereford. ‘When Hereford went down to ten men we really got on top of the game... They put in some great blocks, put their bodies on the line. I thought Josh Gowling was fantastic for them.

First half we were bitterly disappointed, we didn’t deal with the conditions at all well... albeit there wasn’t a lot of quality in the game, but we’ll look back on the two goals we’ve conceded and will be disappointed...

'We just needed to get in the dressing room... but even though the [penalty] decision was harsh we’ve got ourselves into a mess... Fair play to them, they’ve shown great character and got a lot of blocks and challenges in.

‘We’re disappointed not to get a third but when you’re 2-1 down and against the wind, we showed a lot of character. It was just disappointing that we didn’t turn all that possession into another goal.’"

The Chester Standard informs us that "Chester fell to a third successive league defeat on a chastening afternoon for the Blues which saw them lose 4-1 at fellow promotion hopefuls Kidderminster Harriers.

With forward duo Akwasi Asante and Anthony Dudley both returning from injury there had been high hopes that Chester could get their play off push back on track after defeats to Spennymoor and Curzon Ashton.

But despite Asante giving the Blues a 38th minute lead, there was little the visitors could do as Kiddy roared back with two goals before half time before the Worcestershire outfit added two more in the second half and gave returning manager Mark Yates the perfect start to his second spell in charge.

Chester were under the cosh straight from the kick off... Despite Asante, George Waring and Dudley all playing in advanced positions, the trio quickly looked isolated with the Blues sporadic long balls easily dealt with by the home defence...

It was a huge surprise when the first goal went to the visitors... the big Dutchman [Asante] latching on to a through ball and slotting coolly past Brandon Hall. The goal was totally against the run of play but far from capitalising on their good fortune the Blues were almost immediately pegged back thanks to a stunning volleyed finish from the edge of the area by Declan Weeks... As the half entered injury time a corner from the far side found Ironside standing right by the keeper and with Shenton flapping he nodded into an empty net...

Kidderminster looked comfortable and with 20 minutes left they made the game safe with the third goal their dominance deserved.... The game was up for Chester who were increasingly chasing shadows across the Aggborough pitch and on 85 minutes Harriers scored a fourth... It ended a miserable afternoon for Chester who were totally outplayed by one of their supposed rivals for the play offs. On this evidence that ambition is fast disappearing."

And Chester FC add that "Chester made four changes to the lineup that lost 2-0 to Spennymoor two weeks ago. Ben McKenna, Bradley Jackson, Sean McAllister and Simon Grand were all ruled out to further worsen the Blues’ injury woes. Despite this, managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson were handed a boost with the return of Anthony Dudley and club-record signing Asante as starters. Craig Mahon and Matty Waters also came in... as Chester succumbed to a disappointing defeat on their travels."

Alty visit York in early March. Following their two late goals at home to Ashton United, which secured a 2-0 win, York Press assigned marks to their players.

  • Adam Bartlett 6 ...decision-making was good off his line
  • Kallum Griffiths 6 ...doing what was required defensively when needed
  • David Mirfin 7 – strong and positionally intelligent at one end and a presence in opposition box
  • Sean Newton 7 – rarely looked troubled in central role and cleared his lines sensibly
  • David Ferguson 7 – made key goal-line clearance in first half and looked to join in attacks when prudent
  • Scott Burgess 6 – not always prominent but fitness levels allowed him to contribute late in the game
  • Adriano Moke 6 – showed a bit of heart in midfield engine room and provided energy boosts
  • Wes York 7 – kept running throughout and claimed assists for both of Burrow’s late goals
  • Alex Kempster 6 – a little lost in supporting central attacking role and delivery needed to be better when moved to left
  • Jake Wright 5 – ran down a few blind alleys and directed two good chances straight at McMahon
  • Jordan Burrow 8 – won a succession of headers and his endeavour was rewarded with late goals
  • Substitutes: Jon Parkin 6 – nuisance (for Wright, 68), Josh Law (for Moke, 88).
  • Subs not used: Ryan Whitley, Hamza Bencherif, Alex Harris.
  • Star man: Burrow."

10 February 2019


Above: Joe Piggott (9), James Jones (15) and Jake Moult (6) all rise to contest an Altrincham corner-ball at Broadhurst Park, as Sean Williams (8), Max Harrop (11) and Tom Hannigan (5) await developments.

Two heavily deflected, albeit on-target, shots earned Altrincham the three points, but their afternoon was marred by first-half injuries to Connor Hampson and Ben Harrison, the latter having to be stretchered off. The game was only a minute old when Hampson went down with seemed to be a recurrence of his longstanding hand problem. Richman came on to at right-back, with White moving to the left to replace Hampson.

In a fairly mundane ninety minutes, Altrincham gave debuts to goalkeeper Steven Drench and striker Joe Piggott, whilst FCUM also had two debutants in goalkeeper Andy Fisher and defender Bob Harris.

Altrincham took a 26th minute lead when Harrop was put through against the keeper but his attempted chip was blocked. However, the ball fell for John Johnston to net with a strong shot which took a deflection on its way into the net.

FCUM missed a good chance to level just before the half-hour mark, some seven minutes later, following a corner for the hosts, Harrison went down and had to be stretchered off with a leg injury.

As the second half progressed, Altrincham defended increasingly deeply and paid the price when FCUM equalised as Whitham headed home a Wallen cross from the left in the 77th minute. But the visitors snatched a fortuitous winner, six minutes afterwards, when White's low shot from outside the box took a heavy deflection off a defender to wrong-foot the debutant keeper.

ALTRINCHAM: Drench, White, Hampson, Harrison, Hannigan, Moult (c), Johnston, Williams, Piggott, Hancock, Harrop. Subs: Ceesay, Waterston, Jones, Richman and Fawns.


Enforced substitutions, through injury, meant that Alty boss Phil Parkinson could not give debuts to two of his new players (Yusufi Ceesay and Mason Fawns) yesterday. But Altrincham FC Press & Media Officer, Brian Flynn, did catch up with the Mason (right) before matchday and his interview is on the Altrincham FC official site.


Both Liam Goulding and Kallum Mantak started for Ashton United on Saturday; they lost 2-0 at York City.

In the EvoStik League, James Lawrie netted for Nantwich Town but they lost 2-1 at Farsley Celtic. Also in Yorkshire, Scarborough Athletic beat Stafford Rangers 4-1, with James Walshaw netting a late penalty for the winners.

Josh Amis was on the mark again, with a brace, for Warrington Town as they defeated Hednesford Town 3-1.

NL Daily reports that "Harrogate Town have signed Barnsley winger Dylan Mottley-Henry on loan until the end of the season. The 21-year-old trained with Town Thursday morning... Described as quick and tricky by his current employers, Mottley-Henry has experienced League Two and National League football while contracted to The Tykes, with loan spells at Tranmere Rovers and Chesterfield.

'He’s an exciting player full of pace and power, Barnsley think a lot of him so we are really pleased to get him.', commented Town assistant manager Paul Thirlwell. 'He’s been out on loan to Tranmere already and helped them go up last season so hopefully he is going to come in and make a really positive contribution. We are upbeat and positive about the position we are in but to add that extra dimension to what is already a very strong squad is exciting for everyone.

'I think he’ll fit in well to the way we want to play, his difference is his out and out pace and power and hopefully he’s got that eye for a goal as well, adding that into the mix makes us stronger and improves that competition for places.'”


Cheshire Live says that "Anthony Johnson is not one to pull too many punches when it comes to assessing a poor performance.

And there was no sugar coating the woeful display of his and Bernard Morley's Chester FC side at Aggborough on Saturday as the Blues were taken to the cleaners by a Kidderminster Harriers side who gave their new manager Mark Yates the perfect start with a 4-1 win.

The returning Akwasi Asante had given Chester the lead on 37 minutes with a cool finish but two goals conceded before half time through Declan Weeks and Joe Ironside swung the pendulum back the way of Harriers. And when Ryan Johnson and Ed Williams added the gloss in the second half it made for another miserable afternoon for the Blues, condemning them to their third straight defeat.

And for a team that were third in the National League North the week before Christmas, Chester look a shadow of their former selves at this moment in time and their play-off bid is stuttering badly. It was a performance that was up there with the very worst of the season and one that Johnson was in little mood to make excuses for.

He said 'It’s difficult to put into words without effing and jeffing and being aggressive. It’s not acceptable. You come to Kiddy, a full-time side, you're 1-0 up with seven minutes until half time and concede two disgraceful goals. Second half you are looking for a response and we saw a response, it was the opposite of what we were looking for. It is not acceptable from any of us, from Bernard and me through to everybody else that was not acceptable, that.

'We got the goal and their supporters were abusing their players and singing anti-Kiddy songs and you think "brilliant, let's get to half time". Then we go and concede two of the most disgraceful goals I can imagine. One where a marker loses the man he marks and another where players are just looking at the ball.

'For 65 minutes of that game what pains me and hurts me is that we haven’t shown desire. Not often I can say that about our sides. We’re wallowing in self pity. We are looking to stand up and get hold of it and there is nothing, it's a disgrace. We get an hour a week on our pitch (at the Swansway Chester Stadium) to try and work on what our identity is. But, even in the first half when we were 1-0 up, that isn't what we play like, that's not us. The way we get back to where were were three months ago is a long journey, it doesn't just happen.

'We're miles away. That was a shambles, and that is coming off the back of two other defeats. That isn't off the back of five wins and thinking "don't worry about it". That was an absolute disgrace of a performance from us. Whether it was the team picked, the shape, it's not acceptable...

'There isn't a player who won a personal battle. But it falls on Bernard and I, there's no point pointing at players as we are picking the team, we are picking the shape and it falls on us. There are so many questions with no answers. You talk about the play-offs we are nowhere near. If you would have watched that today you would think we were rock bottom. It was absolutely awful, an awful standard of football and there were players there playing at 30-40% and it is not acceptable and can't carry on'...

Some Blues fans understandably stayed behind to voice their displeasure at what they had just seen...

'If we had a group of players who thought the season was going to fizzle out then I would pack it in, I wouldn't be here taking a wage out of the football club,' said Johnson. 'It might be that we don't make the play-offs but it won't be for the want of trying from me and Bernard. We have to find a way to win at the moment, and I thought we picked a side to do that today.

'The supporters waited at the end to have a moan and a boo and they are within their right. They have spent over £100 per person I would imagine. I don't want the happy clappers clapping the lads off and the lads thinking that it wasn't that bad, it was an absolute disgrace. I came on the back off Blyth and said it was a one off, of course it was a one off, it was 8-1 . But we've been beaten at Dunston, been beaten 4-1 off these (Kidderminster) and lost three on the bounce and there is a pattern forming here.

'As managers we are employed to stop the rot, whatever means that be to get back on the horse. We've looked good this season and people's expectations have changed throughout the season. But that is where we are at this moment in time'.

Chester are in Cheshire Senior Cup action on Tuesday night when they travel to Nantwich Town".

There is another unhappy manager, at Telford, from where the Shropshire Star reports that "Boss Gavin Cowan pulled no punches after AFC Telford United's 3-1 loss to fellow National League North play-off chasers Brackley Town... thanks to goals from James Armson, Lee Ndlovu and Carl Barker.

Marcus Dinanga replied for Cowan's charges at St James' Park but it was a sluggish display from them, and the Telford chief said 'I don't want to take anything away from Brackley. I thought they were better than us. We weren't ourselves, for whatever reason that may be. We didn't start fast like we normally do.

'The game-plan, that we normally put into practice at the start of the game, was completely non-existent. I don't know why that is... We didn't earn the right to get on the ball and play and create opportunities.'

The Bucks seemed short of energy after Tuesday's FA Trophy victory at Spennymoor Town. But Cowan refused to use that 400-mile round trip as an excuse".

before Saturday's match, FC United of Manchester reported that "Young striker Louis Myers has joined FC United from Radcliffe, having previously played for Chorley and Rambottom.

FC winger Jamal Crawford has joined Widnes on loan for a month. Crawford has made 20 appearances for FC this season, but has only featured once since the end of November...

We are delighted to announce the signing of experienced left-back Bob Harris (31) who has previously played in a Scottish Cup Final and FA Cup and League Cup Semi-Finals. Born in Glasgow, Harris started his career at Clyde. He then moved to Queen of the South in July 2007 where he would make over 100 first team appearances, including the 2008 Scottish Cup Final against Rangers. The following season he scored in the UEFA Cup.

Harris moved to England in 2011 and played for Blackpool and on loan at Rotherham before joining Sheffield United in January 2014. Later that season he featured in the FA Cup Semi-Final against Hull... In 2017 he joined Bristol Rovers where he would make 5 appearances before joining Telford."


  • Blyth Spartans 0 1 Darlington att. 1579
  • Brackley Town 3 1 AFC Telford United 601
  • Curzon Ashton 3 2 Alfreton Town 204
  • FC United of Manchester 1 2 Altrincham 2215
  • Guiseley 1 1 Stockport County 1296
  • Kidderminster Harriers 4 1 Chester 1769
  • Leamington 2 2 Hereford 1150
  • Nuneaton Borough 1 5 Boston United 655
  • Southport 5 3 Chorley 1542
  • Spennymoor Town P P Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • York City 2 0 Ashton United 2150


In Saturday's Buildbase FA Vase Fifth Round match, our neighbours Irlam lost 0-2 at home to Chertsey Town in front of 449 spectators.

Meanwhile, the Evostik League provides "The draw for the last four of the Integro League Cup... All three leagues in the NPL are represented, with Farsley Celtic and Buxton from the Premier Division, Belper Town from the East Division and Trafford FC from the West Division.

The draw is:

  • Farsley Celtic v Belper Town
  • Trafford FC v Buxton

Ties are due to be played on Tuesday, March 12."


Sat 16 Feb
  • Alfreton Town v Chorley
  • Altrincham v Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • Ashton United v Hereford
  • Brackley Town v Curzon Ashton
  • Chester FC v Boston United
  • Darlington v Southport
  • FC United of Manchester v Guiseley
  • Kidderminster Harriers v York City
  • Leamington v Blyth Spartans
  • Nuneaton Borough v Spennymoor Town
  • Stockport County v AFC Telford United

9 February 2019


Above: Alty celebrate their winning goal.


Saturday 9 February 2019
  • Blyth Spartans 0-1 Darlington
  • Brackley Town 3-1 AFC Telford United
  • Curzon Ashton 3-2 Alfreton Town
  • FC United of Manchester 1-2 Altrincham
  • Guiseley 1-1 Stockport County
  • Kidderminster Harriers 4-1 Chester
  • Leamington 2-2 Hereford
  • Nuneaton Borough 1-5 Boston United
  • Southport 5-3 Chorley
  • Spennymoor Town P-P Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • York City 2-0 Ashton United


Today (Saturday), Altrincham travel to Broadhurst Park for their return fixture against FC United of Manchester. Altrincham will be looking to avenge FC's victory at the J. Davidson Stadium earlier this season. Admission is by payment at the turnstiles which will open at 1.30pm.
  • £12 Adults
  • £7 Concessions
  • £3 under-18s.


Following the arrival of five players in the past fortnight (loanees Nathan Waterston, Joe Piggott and Yusufi Ceesay and signings Steven Drench and Mason Fawns), Altrincham FC have announced the departures of both Kallum Mantack (right) and Liam Goulding (left) to Ashton United.

20 year-old Kallum Mantack joined Alty in mid-November 2018, having previously progressed through the Oldham Athletic system and played once for the Latics' first team. A loan at Alfreton Town had followed, during which he made 11 appearances for the Derbyshire club. A single loan appearance at FC United of Manchester followed before another loan, at Stockport County. At the back end of 2017 he broke his leg playing for County at Alfreton. Kallum recovered to play in County's first team and, in all, he made seven appearances for the club, scoring twice.

He left Edgeley Park in early 2018-19 season. Kallum scored for Alty just three minutes after making his debut as a substitute against Bradford (PA) on 24 November 2018 and he went on to make 4(+3) appearances for the club.

Centre-back Liam Goulding arrived at Altrincham last summer from Warrington Town and started the season as a first-choice centre-back. He started four of the first five league fixtures but, subsequently, made just two more league appearances, both from the bench. On 2 November 2018 it was announced that Liam had gone to Witton Albion on loan and, in early December, he moved on for a loan at Ashton United, a club he has now joined.


It will not just be Altrincham who might be fielding a new goalkeeper on Saturday, following the arrival of Steven Drench, but also the Robins's opponents, FC United of Manchester. FC United announced on Friday "The loan signing of 20 year-old Andy Fisher, Blackburn Rovers’ third-choice goalkeeper. Described by the Championship club as ‘a confident and commanding keeper who is strong in the air and on the ground’, Fisher made three first team appearances for Blackburn in the EFL Trophy last season. In August 2018 the highly-rated young stopper put pen-to-paper on a fresh three-year deal to keep him at Ewood Park until 2021.

Having joined Rovers at the age of 14, Fisher signed professionally with the Lancashire club in January 2016 and has progressed through the Academy into the under-23 squad. Fisher has been Blackburn under-23 first choice keeper in the last three seasons. He will become the third Blackburn loanee to have appeared for FC United this season, following on from full-back Lewis Thompson and forward Lewis Mansell, who played for the Reds 14 and nine times respectively".


A new date has been announced for the Altrincham v Blyth Spartans match which was originally scheduled for 12 January. That date was scrapped owing to the Spartans' continuing run in the FA Trophy. The game was rescheduled for 22 February but that date fell victim to the weather. The new date for the fixture is Tuesday, 5 March at 7.45pm.

Altrincham will now play four of their five fixtures at home in the 17-day period between 16 February and 5 March 2019.


Altrincham FC Press and Media Officer, Brian Flynn, has been busy talking to new players at Altrincham FC. His latest two interviews are with...


Darlington have "signed striker Wilson Kneeshaw for the second time. Former Middlesbrough Under-23 player Wilson, has already had one spell with us, playing five games (scoring once) in the 2015-16 season after he’d had a trial at Chesterfield. He was released by Quakers after five games and then joined Blyth Spartans. He moved to the USA in August 2016 and joined Sacramento Republic, who play a level below Major League Soccer, until December last year, when he returned to his home town.

Quakers have finally received international clearance for the 24 year old, and manager Tommy Wright said 'Wilson will give us an extra option in the forward line, plus we’ve also signed him with a view to achieving something in terms of a contract for next season. I also like his pace and his personality; he seems to have hit it off with the lads in the dressing room.'"

Also at Darlington the Quakers have "signed defender Sam Muggleton from Chesterfield on loan for a month. Sam, 23, who started his career in the youth set up at Leicester City (his father Carl was a goalkeeper at the club in his career) and when he was 16 signed a two-year scholarship with Gillingham.

He made two appearances for the Gills before joining Barnet in the National Premier, making 68 appearances for them until January 2017 when he signed for Eastleigh, also from the National Premier. He moved to York in March 2017 and made 16 appearances for them, plus a six-match loan spell at Boston as well, before being released at the end of the season.

He signed for his previous manager, Martin Allen, at Chesterfield in the summer, and to date has made 20 appearances for them. Darlington manager Tommy Wright said 'He’s got plenty of experience at this level. He will be an asset, and his long throw could be useful for us'".

News of Altrincham's next two away hosts (Curzon Ashton and York City) after this Saturday comes from Alfreton Town who "head to Greater Manchester... as we face Curzon Ashton, [who are Alty's next away hosts].

After last weekend's disappointing defeat at home to York City, Billy Heath will want a quick reaction albeit against one of the divisions in-form sides.

The game against York had it all but it was the Reds who were once again on the end of a defeat at the Impact Arena, with home form proving yet another struggle; even against a side who had lost their last eight away league games. It started well for the visitors when Sean Newton finished superbly... However Reece Styche won a penalty after being dragged back in the box and gladly converted to level the scores on 34, before the Reds' striker took another opening well in the second half to finish under the goalkeeper...

Alfreton appeared to be comfortable at 2-1 and heading for another three points but when Styche missed a crucial penalty on 69 minutes, York's hopes lifted and the Minstermen pressure led to the Reds imploding with six minutes left to play... Burrow planted the spot-kick to seal an incredible win for York who showed unbelievable grit and desire in the final stages...

Working on finishing contests off with a more clinical eye for goal would have been top of the preparations list this week [as] we head to Curzon... We head into the game having won just one of our last seven league games; the Reds away form presents far better reading with Alfreton much better on the road than at the Impact. We have lost just once in our last five away trips...

Curzon Ashton sit in 12th place in the league table with 38 points from 28 games... The Nash have had a managerial change this season with long standing manager Jon Flanagan departing the club in November, new boss Mark Bradshaw and 'Manager of the Month' for January has steadied the ship... Curzon registered four successive wins in January to lift themselves to 12th. Curzon are unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions (W6, D1) their last outing came on Tuesday night with a 8-0 win at Chadderton FC in the Manchester Premier Cup. League form has seen the hosts win five of their last six league games.

Home form for the hosts has been a struggle with Curzon winning just one of their last six home league games (L3, D2)".

The National League adds that "It’s never easy to follow a legend... When John Flanagan left Curzon Ashton in late November it was the end of an era. Thankfully, in Mark Bradshaw they had a man already in place to carry the torch.

Four successive wins in January had everyone looking on with envy at one of the National League North’s lesser fancied sides. Moving themselves four points clear of bottom three having been level with the relegation zone going into 2019, they grabbed 13 points from five games. Curzon secured impressive wins over York City and Chester in a marvellous month. They also won at Nuneaton Borough and Ashton United; huge victories when you consider the league table."

And the NL Paper confirms that the North division "Manager of the Month is Mark Bradshaw (Curzon Ashton).

Player of the Month is Matty Warburton (Stockport County)... An incredible haul of nine goals from Matty Warburton was always going to set the title race alight. The attacking midfielder’s scintillating form has more than validated the Hatters’ title ambitions, taking his tally to 14 in the National League North this season.

Firing the winner at Altrincham on New Year’s Day must have given him the taste for goals as he went on to claim back-to-back hat-tricks against Truro City and York City".

Bradford (Park Avenue) have "announced the re-signing of highly-rated Conor Branson to the end of season 2019-2020. Branson joined BPA in the summer of 2018 after impressing in pre-season whilst on trial. The Former Barnsley under-18s' captain, who also spent time with Guiseley before joining Charleston Golden Eagles and Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the US, has proved a regular contributor to Mark Bowers team this season.

Manager Mark Bower [said]... 'We have been pleased with his progress so far this season... He is confident that we will be able to maintain our play off push this season and continue to match his ambitions next season'".

Nuneaton Borough "have confirmed that midfielder Reece Leek has left the Club. Reece made his debut in the 3-1 defeat at Alfreton Town and had eight further appearances, supplying one assist, but had found his opportunities limited over recent weeks."

The Leamington Courier reports that "Leamington are anxiously waiting on news of the injury picked up by Connor Taylor on Tuesday night. Taylor was forced off in the 41st minute of the Birmingham Senior Cup win over West Bromwich Albion and although early indications are that it was an impact injury, boss Paul Holleran is keeping his fingers crossed that the damage is not more serious.

With Kieran Dunbar loking set to be ruled out for at least six months after undergoing surgery on Monday, the loss of the former Tamworth midfielder would leave Brakes short in wide areas and Holleran admitted he is already thinking about reinforcements.

'We went into the night with everyone on the pitch and Connor Gudger back and it was the only downside,' said Holleran. 'I saw it first-hand and the early signs are that it is impact. But with Kieran Dunbar going under the knife for a fracture under the kneecap and to repair some cartilage; he has got a long, hard six months ahead of him.

'We’ll look at Connor and if there’s any damage that will leave us short in that area. As well as Ahmed Obeng and Jordan Murphy are doing, it is something we will have to look at.'

The injury to Taylor took some of the shine off an impressive win over West Brom’s youngsters, with Jack Edwards and Colby Bishop both notching two apiece in the 4-1 victory... and Holleran admits the competition provides a welcome diversion from the stresses of the league...

The midweek cup tie also gave Brakes a chance to blood youngster Connor Carson on the back of some impressive goalscoring form in the Leamington Sunday League and for the club’s Junior Premier League side. Carson came off the bench with 25 minutes to play and Holleran said the experience would do the youngster the world of good...

'He’s a local lad and he’s doing really well for the youth team... With one or two players cup-tied it was a decent opportunity to get him on to the pitch... There’s a massive step to be taken between the Junior Premier League but it gives guys an insight into what is required'...

Brakes return to league action tomorrow with the visit of Hereford... 'They are another good side and Tim is finally getting them playing the way he wants. They’ve picked up a couple of good wins at Blyth and at York and he has made some good signings... We’re not looking at it as going one on one with Hereford, though, we’re looking it as a chance to get closer to breaking through the 40-point barrier'".

Kidderminster Harriers "confirm more movement within the squad at Aggborough, including the news that Joel Taylor has returned from his loan spell with Halesowen. Bar one appearance on the bench for the Reds at New Year, Joel has spent the last two months at Halesowen, where he has been one of the team’s stand-out players.

He has been recalled early from his latest spell, however, and is immediately available...

Meanwhile, we can confirm defender Kennedy Digie has left Aggborough to join Guiseley. Digie, an Academy graduate, has made 12 first-team starts since 2014 and joins Guiseley for a nominal fee... After a short spell at Aggborough, full-back Aaron Phillips has opted to leave the club to pursue new opportunities.

8 February 2019


Altrincham have acquired five new faces in the past fortnight, with the arrival of three loanees [Nathan Waterston (from Barrow), Joe Piggott (from Wigan Athletic) and Yusifu Ceesay (from Blackpool)] and two signings Steven Drench [from BPA] and midfielder Mason Fawns [from Curzon Ashton], all of whom could make their first starts for the club on Saturday against FC United of Manchester.

In the Sale & Altrincham Messenger, Altrincham FC press and media officer, John Edwards, writes That "New signing Steven Drench is in line for an Altrincham debut at FC United of Manchester on Saturday and is determined to get a kick out of it in more ways than one...

[He] believes he can make as big an impact with his right boot, as well as his hands... 'One of my strengths is distribution, and the way Altrincham like to play football and build from the back is something I feel really comfortable about. But, as I showed in some of my appearances for Guiseley against Altrincham, I can hit it long as well. Perhaps I can go a bit more direct at times, look to hit the front man or the wingers to get second counter-attacks going...

'I hope I can bring that side of my game to the table and add another dimension to the attacking and defensive side of Alty’s approach'"

Meanwhile news of one of the club's other recent signings comes from Nuneaton Borough who "have confirmed that the loan of Yusifu Ceesay Ceesay has ended and that the forward has returned to parent Club Blackpool. In his time at the Boro' Yusifu appeared four times, scoring twice". As reported yesterday, Yusufi has since joined Altrincham on loan from the Seasiders.


The Shropshire Star reports that "Happy boss Gavin Cowan has told his AFC Telford side to put all thoughts of Wembley to the back of their minds. The Bucks booked a FA Trophy quarter-final trip to Solihull Moors with a 2-1 success at Spennymoor Town on Tuesday.

But it's back to National North business on Saturday as Cowan's fifth-placed side go to Brackley, who sit one spot and four points behind them in the table.

'We've got an exciting tie coming up at Solihull my former club, where we won the Conference North,' said Cowan. 'They're flying high and destined for huge things but we'll be relishing the opportunity to do what you do in a cup and that's go and cause an upset. Saturday will be a difficult test but I feel we can go anywhere and win, not just Brackley'".

The National League reports that "Marc Richards thinks James Waite could be the secret weapon to launching Hereford’s recovery. The forward, signed on loan from Cardiff City, scored the winner as the Bulls won a critical game at York City on Tuesday night.

The second half substitute, 19, earned rave reviews from the head coach as Hereford pulled themselves up to 16th in the National League North table.

'He showed a maturity and really took the game by the scruff of the neck,' Richards said on the club’s audio service. 'He’s got a low centre of gravity and isn’t scared to have a go. When we brought him in we thought he would be good enough for this level and higher and so far he is showing that. Credit to our scouting network for finding him and taking the time to watch him.'

On the York victory, the manager thinks it could prove to be a crucial result. 'We have had to defend our box really well and weather a few storms,' he added... 'York were the better team in the first half but [by?] a country mile we came out in the second half like a new side.'"

Bradford (Park Avenue) report that "It’s the perfect stage for Bradford (Park Avenue) to launch their promotion push this weekend as 3rd meet 4th in the clash at Brewery Field v Spennymoor Town.

The Moors enter the match on the back of 4 straight wins. However, they meet a determined Avenue who have used the January transfer period to freshen up the squad after a flat start to January. Avenue will welcome classy newcomers Charlie Andrew and Romoney Crichlow-Noble for the game and, with the added boost of Danny East returning following a long term injury, Mark Bower and the squad are settled and poised for a big promotion push."

7 February 2019


The new date for the visit of Spennymoor Town to the J. Davidson Stadium is Tuesday, 19 February (7.45pm). The original date for the fixture had been last Saturday (2nd February) when The Moors were supposed to be playing their FA Trophy tie against AFC Telford United. In fact, that match got postponed.


The official Altrincham FC site announes that the club has signed two more new players. This brings to five the number of players who, potentially, could make their first starts for the club at FC United of Manchester this Saturday, following the earlier arrivals of Nathan Waterston (who made a brief appearance as a substitute at Leamington), Steven Drench and Joe Piggott.

The even newer faces are midfielder Mason Fawns from Curzon Ashton and a winger, Yusifu Ceesay, who arrives on loan from Blackpool.

Fawns was a used sub for The Nash when they beat Alty at Moss Lane back in September.


Yusifu Ceesay was born in Barcelona, Spain on 21 March 1995. In the UK he started out at Black Country club Sporting Khalsa, where the Willenhall club said "Although his stay with the club was a short one, lasting barely a season, Yusifu’s impact on the club was impressive, playing a key part in Khalsa’s run to the quarter-finals of the FA Vase during the 2016-17 campaign".

He moved on to Worcestershire club, Alvechurch (2017/18), but he was signed on a two-year deal by Blackpool on 31 August 2018. Immediately, he was loaned out to Boston United, where he spent a month from 5 September 2018. He returned to Alvechurch for October and November 2018, having been loaned back to them by Blackpool.

At the end of November 2018 he joined AFC Telford United on loan from Blackpool. The Bucks' manager, Gavin Cowan, said at the time “Yusifu comes into our group having good Non-League pedigree earning him his move to Blackpool in the summer. He is extremely fast and unorthodox and has a real ambition to prove himself in the game".

On 8 December 2018, he was a late sub for The Bucks against Altrincham at the J. Davidson Stadium.

However, by 4 January 2019 he had moved on to Nuneaton Borough on a month's loan, so Altrincham will, remarkably, be the fourth team in the National North for whom he has played in the space of less than six months!


Mason Fawns (born in Manchester, 10 January 10, 1999) is a midfielder, whose youth football was played at Oldham Athletic where he made four first-team appearances for The Latics. From Spotland he had a loan spell with Ashton United and then with AFC Fylde (from January 2018 to the end of that season). He then joined Curzon Ashton and was a used sub for The Nash against Alty in September, 2018.


Spennymoor Town visit Altrincham in under a fortnight's time (19th February). On Tuesday night they lost 1-2 at home to AFC Telford United in the FA Trophy with the following line-up: Gould, Williams, Brogan, Chandler, Thackray (Hibbs 87), Curtis (c), Hall (Tuton 72), Henry (Boyes 41), Taylor, Ramshaw, Johnson. Unused Substitutes: Elliott, Anderson.

For that game, AFC Telford United reported that "On a night that tested their character, Gavin Cowan’s Bucks showed they possess plenty of grit in progressing to the quarter-finals of the Buildbase FA Trophy.

Goals from captain Shane Sutton and Andre Brown, allied to some late defensive heroics, earned the Bucks a shot at National League side Solihull Moors on 23rd February, as the Bucks maintained their hoodoo over Spennymoor, to whom Telford have never lost.

With the Brewery Field surface wet and heavy, it cut up underfoot quickly, and neither side were able to assert any real authority in a first half that was a war of attrition... Any thoughts that the second half would be a similar affair were blown wide apart early on. On 50 minutes, Bucks keeper Andy Wycherley had to show lightning reactions to race from his goal and deny Adam Boyes, the substitute put through but unable to beat Wycherley's outstretched leg as he looked to place the ball to his left. Moments later, home keeper Matt Gould was similarly busy...

Barnett was starting to find room against home right-back Williams, and from a corner earned by another probing Barnett run the Bucks took the lead, with Shane Sutton shaking off his marker to divert a close-range effort home past Matt Gould. The jubilation was short-lived as home marksman Glenn Taylor brought his side level within two minutes; from a ball played up to him, he showed the hallmarks of a man in form to place a beautifully weighted shot over a stranded Wycherley from 25 yards...

On 75 minutes, Barnett found room on the edge of the box, fired in a shot that Gould got a hand to, but Andre Brown, given his chance, took his chance, and pounced to bury the loose ball from close range.

With 15 minutes left, the Moors didn’t respond immediately, but in the final five minutes they threw proverbial kitchen sink at the Bucks".

For their part, Spennymoor Town added that "The Brewery Field witnessed a frantic second half of cup action as Moors exited the FA Trophy... after a dull and uneventful first period...

Jason Ainsley welcomed back Shane Henry into his side following the midfielders two game absence, and with Liam Agnew cup-tied, Henry’s return to fitness was perfectly timed. There were also three other alterations, with Kris Thackray, Ryan Hall and Andrew Johnson replacing Rob Atkinson, Shaun Tuton and Mark Anderson.

Telford, who themselves made four changes to the side who defeated Southport 4-0 in their last outing, created the more clearcut opportunities in a forgetful first half... However, the second half burst into life almost from the restart and continued to sway from end to end in what turned out to be a memorable cup tie".

After Tuesday night's league match, Hereford FC reported that "It was a game of two halves as The Bulls recovered from a first half deficit to secure a good 2-1 victory and a massive three points at York City...

Just as we were starting to put together a few neat passages of play, the home side took the lead with nine minutes on the clock when a long ball over the top was flicked on and Alex Kempster was able to fire the ball low beyond the reach of Matt Yates...

It was a half of few clear-cut chances at either end as our hosts saw plenty of the ball without hurting us too much, whilst we struggled to make an impact in an attacking sense.

Trailing by one goal to nil, the second period started with James Waite on for his Bulls’ debut... Our equaliser arrived on 77 minutes when a free-kick from Greenslade flew through the wall and beyond the ‘keeper for his second goal in as many games.

It was a deserved leveller and within minutes we had the lead when some sharp play ended with the ball pulled back into the path of Waite who controlled well before lashing home to make it 2-1 and give Bartlett no chance...

We managed the game well in the closing stages to secure the three points, which were richly deserved following an impressive second half showing".

Meanwhile York City tell us that "Late goals from Hereford's Danny Greenslade and James Waite condemned City to a 2-1 defeat in, possibly, the final game under floodlights at Bootham Crescent.

Striker Alex Kempster had scored his third goal in four games to put City on course for victory but the game was turned on its head as Hereford scored twice in the space of three minutes. City had been looking to secure back-to-back victories for the first time in 13 months and had controlled the game for the majority of the evening.

The loss of defender Daniel Parslow and striker Kempster with injuries at the start of the second half, however, was far from insignificant. Manager Steve Watson had made three changes to the side with Parslow, Wes York, and Alex Harris replacing Hamza Bencherif, Scott Burgess, and Kallum Griffiths...

But the game swung in Hereford's favour after 77 minutes when substitute David Ferguson fouled Elliot Richards on the edge of the box. The subsequent freekick from Greenslade slipped under the body of goalkeeper Bartlett on its way into the net. Waite scored the winner in the 80th minute...

It was a disappointing end to, possibly, the final game under floodlights at Bootham Crescent. City will only play at home under floodlights again in the event of a postponement, a play-off tie, or a home fixture in the semifinal of the North Riding Senior Cup."

Alty will make their final visit to Bootham Crescent on 9th March, with the Minstermen aiming to start next season in a new stadium.


Altrincham FC have announced that the replica versions of the rainbow shirts to be worn by Altrincham in their match against Bradford (PA) on 16 February "are now available to order via the club’s online shop. Shirts can be posted to anywhere in the world with the cost of this added to the shirt cost when ordering. If anyone cannot order this way then the shirt can be ordered by phoning the football club on 0161-928-1045. Payment can be taken by card over the phone and postage added to the cost appropriately. The turnaround for the shirts will be approximately fourteen days".


The National League confirms that "Wrexham boss Graham Barrow has stepped down as the club’s manager. The surprise news arrives after he replaced Sam Ricketts in December.

Although recent results have been challenging, the Red Dragons won their last game at home to Maidenhead...

'Wrexham Football Club can confirm that Graham Barrow has resigned from his position as First Team manager,' a club statement read. 'Graham has been a major part of our season to date and leaves the club four points from the top of the league with fifteen games remaining'".

6 February 2019


After a fortnight's lay-off, when Altrincham take to the field next Saturday against FC United of Manchester, travelling supporters should get a sighting of their club's three recent signings. But a regular name on the Robins' teamsheet will be missing.

The absentee will be striker Jordan Hulme, who starts his four-match suspension with this game, following his second red card of the campaign at Leamington.

However, another striker, Nathan Waterston (left), should be in the Alty squad, having made a late appearance by way of his debut at Leamington last time out. In that match he initially came on to play on the left-wing when Max Harrop was substituted. However, he finished the game up front after Hulme had been dismissed and the Barrow loanee showed promise as he returned to fitness after a lengthy lay-off with a shoulder injury.

A new arrival he may be, but Nathan has already rapidly risen up the Moss Lane seniority ladder as two even-newer faces have joined Altrincham since the Leamington game.

One is goalkeeper Steven Drench, who has joined from Bradford (Park Avenue) and whose experience, presumably, means that he will take over from Tony Thompson in goal. Thompson has started the last sixteen league games as well as the first five matches of the campaign, giving him 21 league appearances in his 24-game total for the 2018-19 season to date. Alty's other keeper Elliot Wynne has now extended his loan at neighbours Trafford FC so, clearly, he will not be involved at Broadhurst Park next Saturday.

The second recent Altrincham signing is forward Joe Piggott. Joe will be at the J. Davidson Stadium for the rest of the season, on a youth loan from Wigan Athletic.

So far, this campaign, Altrincham have used 27 players in their league campaign, four of whom have only appeared from the bench (Bay Downing, Dontai Gabidon, Callum Harris and Nathan Waterston).

In opposition, Altrincham can expect to face former forward Tom Peers who, with nine league appearances for Alty this season before his move to FCUM, has more Robins' games under his belt this season than five likely members of the visitors' squad on Saturday (namely Mantack, Harrison, Drench, Waterston and Piggott).

FC United of Manchester's line up in their most recent match comprised 1 Lloyd Allinson, 2 Danny Morton, 3 Stephen O'Halloran (capt), 4 Zehn Mohammed, 5 Billy Sass-Davies, 6 Josh Wallen, 7 Jack Banister, 8 Dale Whitham, 9 Kurt Willoughby, 10 Chris Sharp, 11 Mike Donohue. Subs: 12 Dominic McGiveron (for 10, 69 mins), 14 Josh Hmami (for 3, 69 mins), 16 Tom Peers (for 7, 69 mins).


The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Altrincham FC are collaborating with The Gym Group in a bid to improve fitness levels off the pitch as well as on it. In a welcome initiative towards the end of last season, The Gym threw open the doors of their Broadheath fitness centre to Alty’s players and coaching staff to try and ensure their Evo-Stik Northern Premier League title push stayed on track.

Alty were duly promoted as champions, and The Gym are now doing the same for club officials and supporters after chairman Grahame Rowley launched a sponsored fitness drive to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK.

'It’s a sponsored Get Fit, basically, and it just seemed a good opportunity to shake off the excesses of Christmas, as well as raise money for the Vanarama National League’s chosen charity,’ said Rowley. 'It is running until February 16, and The Gym kindly offered free passes for all entrants, meaning they can participate in all the classes there and really hone their fitness levels. We’re expecting to see some fine physical specimens by the end of it!

'One or two directors and other club officials are taking part, but it is open to anyone. We should all be a bit fitter for it, which is no bad thing, and it is supporting a very worthwhile cause, so if anyone would like to join in, they can contact the club on 0161 928 1045 for more details'".


Before Tuesday night's league and FA Trophy games, The National League reported that "Our sides are once again looking to progress in the FA Trophy after weather prevented some ties from going ahead. Salford City could set up a derby with Stockport County if they progress tonight...

AFC Telford United pulled off a great away win to seal [their] place in the third round. They'll need a similar display against Spennymoor Town who love their home comforts...

Back in league action, Steve Watson's York City will be looking to back up his first win against Alfreton at the weekend. Hereford are in town looking for only their second win in their last eight outings".

Vanarama National League North:

  • York City 1-2 Hereford FC

Buildbase FA Trophy:

  • Hemel Hempstead 0-5 Solihull Moors
  • Ramsbottom Utd 5-5 AFC Fylde
  • Salford City 1-1 Maidstone Utd
  • Spennymoor Town 1-2 AFC Telford United

York Press reported that "York City slumped to a 2-1 home defeat to Hereford as they failed in their bid to rack up back-to-back league wins for the first time in 13 months.

The Minstermen went ahead from the first shot of the game on nine minutes when Jordan Burrow headed on a long Adam Bartlett kick forward and Alex Kempster charged clear before slipping a low eight-yard finish past advancing keeper Matt Yates’s right arm.

But the tables were turned with two visitors’ goals within three second-half minutes.

First, on 77 minutes, sub David Ferguson was penalised for fouling Elliot Richards and Danny Greenslade’s resulting free kick was curled around the home wall before skidding under the body of Bartlett.

Then, a poor clearance by Bartlett led to Tom Owen-Evans raiding down the left and his cross picked out sub James Waite, who beat the City keeper with a smart 12-yard shot on the turn".


According to NL Daily "Four players have departed Boston United, three of whom have completed their loan spells at The Jakemans Stadium.

Lewis Gibbens and Callum Chettle have returned to Mansfield Town and Alfreton Town respectively at the end of their loan spells, which both expired on Saturday. Gibbens is sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained at Spennymoor Town on Tuesday, while Chettle made just one start and one substitute outing during his month with the Pilgrims.

Barnsley loanee Tai-Reece Chisholm had already returned to Oakwell after two brief substitute appearances for United.

Goalkeeper Sebastian Malkowski, meanwhile, has linked up with Evo-Stik Division One East side Belper Town on a dual registration basis."

And four have also left Darlington as well, "Four academy players have joined Northern League Ashington on dual registration; defender Tom Lycett. midfielders Harry Stansfield and Sanny Lingthep and striker Brandon Morrison have all joined the Colliers on dual registration which means that they can also play for our Academy

Ashington FC’s interim manager Ian Skinner has boosted his wafer-thin squad by signing four players... Skinner said of each player:

Brandon Morrison: 'A centre forward who is a traditional target man. He’s a big strong boy, probably 6’ 2” tall who has a good physique on him, a good touch from what we saw in training. He holds the ball up and links the play well.'

Sanny Lingthep: 'Has bags of pace. He has got a trick in him and loves to run with the ball and dribble and we might need to develop him as to when and where to dribble.'

Harry Stansfield: 'Looks like a composed midfielder. Darlington manager Tommy Wright likened him to Manchester United’s Michael Carrick as he has a similar sort of stamp. Harry likes to get on the ball; find good areas and keeps it nice and simple.'

Tom Lycett: 'Is a big centre back. Originally from Southampton and has been on trial at Leicester City as well.'"

According to NL Daily "The Derbyshire Times reports that Chesterfield’s top goalscorer Tom Denton has turned down moves to a pair of National League North clubs. The target man has said no to going on loan to both Alfreton Town and Boston United. Both deals would have seen him loaned until the end of the season. Denton was bought from Alfreton for an undisclosed fee in September and has since hit 10 goals, albeit just two in the National League.

Before arriving at the Proact he’d already found the net six times for the Reds this season. He’s been somewhat of a cup specialist for Town, scoring a brace against Fylde in the FA Cup and getting all three of Chesterfield’s goals in an FA Cup win at Billericay."

The Lancashire Evening Post informs us that "They sing about him being on fire and Chorley wing-back Adam Blakeman will be lighting up Victory Park for another season after signing a new deal. The 27-year-old raced on to nine goals for the term by October. An early season aim to add more goals to his game is paying dividends as he and Chorley raced to the top of the National League North, and top of the goalscoring charts.

Blakeman made it nine with a double in the FA Cup win at Peterborough Sports in October but a man who seemed destined to hit the double-figure mark first for Jamie Vermiglio’s promotion chasers had to bide his time to make it 10.

Striker Marcus Carver hit the tally first but Blakeman ended his barren spell by netting in the 3-0 win over Gusieley last month. Forward Josh Wilson also hit double figures that day with his fellow midfielder Josh O’Keefe and the Newby brothers Alex and Elliot hot on their heels.

A tally of 57 for the year has been shared around the whole pack, just keeper Matty Urwin without a goal from the starting line-up that beat York City 4-1 last time out..

The wing-back [Blakeman] was dubbed the most technically gifted player in his pack by boss Vermiglio. And with the Magpies on a high Blakeman has signed on the dotted line to extend his stay at Chorley until at least the summer of 2020. The Southport native is now targeting three things; more goals, promotion and to keep on enjoying his football...

He said 'I thought I was doing okay last year but I felt I needed to add goals to my game. Thankfully this year I have been in the right place at the right time and just stuck a few in. I think scoring so many early on was a bit of a thing really because I have not scored that many for so many years... Hopefully I can kick on now and score a few more before the end of the season'...

He started out in Liverpool’s academy before moving to Bolton Wanderers. He left full-time football aged 21, going to Hyde, Ayr United, Southport and then finally Chorley. But the left-footer could have been celebrating more than his third season at Victory Park, as he explained that he could have joined the Magpies earlier than his 2016 switch...

He said, 'When you first come out of full-time football it is quite hard to get to the grips of non-league. Now at Chorley I’m thoroughly enjoying it... I was at Liverpool from nine to 16 and at the time that was probably one of the best places to be because they had the best coaches. When I was 16 I went to Bolton and had five years there, enjoyed it. I could not get a full-time club after that and went part-time in non-league but I’ve really enjoyed it since then. I went from Hyde to Ayr. I enjoyed my time up there then came back to Southport and on to Chorley.

'It was funny actually. The former Chorley manager Matt Jansen and Jamie Vermiglio both spoke to me in the December before I signed and wanted me to sign then, but I was at Southport at the time and we were doing okay. So it was not a time I wanted to move but, in the summer as soon as the season finished, I spoke to them both again and they were both eager to bring me in... and I signed.'

The defender has not looked back since... He believes it is the strongest squad he has ever been involved in... The Magpies have lost in the play-offs in Blakeman’s previous two terms...

He said, 'I don’t think we have done as well as we could or should have done over the past few years... Over the past few years we’ve gone on runs and had spells but I think this year the belief is there... Being consistent is key.'”

Before Tuesday's clash, York Press told us that "Hereford travel to York City having scored fewer times on their travels than any side in National League North this season. The fourth-bottom Bulls have netted just 11 away goals, but did manage to win 3-2 at Blyth during their last road trip on January 26.

A return of 11 away points, including just two victories, remains the second-lowest tally in the division, just one more than bottom-of-the-table Nuneaton, but Marc Richards’s men are aiming to go three matches undefeated on the road for the first time this term with a 1-1 draw against Guiseley having preceded the Blyth win.

The West Midlands outfit’s only other league triumph outside of Edgar Street in 2018/19 was a 1-0 success at Curzon Ashton in August. Hereford’s worst struggles have come in front of goal, with ex- Falkirk attacker Tom Owen-Evans the leading marksman on six. His league haul of five, meanwhile, is matched by former Halesowen Town forward James Roberts.

Fellow strikers Keyon Reffell (broken ankle) and Lance Smith (foot problem) are ruled out for the Bootham Crescent contest and midfielder James Wesolowski will play no part either, having suffered a hamstring injury 14 minutes into his Bulls' debut in November. Calvin Dinsley could be back in contention, though. following a recent knock and ex-City midfielder Theo Wharton will be in the squad... following his December arrival after parting company with Nuneaton a month earlier."

The Shields Gazette reports that "Newcastle United have announced all proceeds raised in Tuesday night's Northumberland Senior Cup will be generously donated to Blyth Spartans. The Magpies U23s host the FA Cup giant killers side at Whitley Park with a place in the semi-finals of the competition up for grabs.

Blyth, managed by ex-Newcastle youngster Alun Armstrong, released a club statement a few weeks ago stating 'changes are required to ensure the club can be financed at an appropriate level to be competitive.'

Spartans, who currently compete in National League North, continue to punch above their weight with the part-time outfit competing against the likes of Stockport County and York City, who are both full-time. While the club are in no immediate financial difficulties, the Blyth board want to ensure their finances match the level they are playing at. And Newcastle have kindly decided to come to Blyth’s aid, donating all this evening’s proceeds to the non-league side".

"In an effort to sustain and build upon the progress made over recent years, Ashton United FC is delighted to announce the appointment of two new Directors to the Board. Father and son, David and Jonathan Burke, bring to the club a wealth of business experience, with both very successful in their chosen fields, albeit vastly different disciplines. David is a local businessman with interests in property, construction, and IT whereas Jonathan, now London-based, works in theatre and television as a writer, actor and producer under the name Jonathan Sayer. He is the Company Director of Mischief Theatre Ltd working in both the UK and internationally.

Club Chairman Terry Hollis said, ‘I am absolutely delighted to welcome David and Jonathan to the Board. We have been looking for some time to bring in, not just anybody to make up the numbers, but people with the right fit. With a family affinity to the Robins, father/grandad John played and captained Ashton United in the 60s, both have strong links to the club and the local community. Their business acumen and contacts will prove invaluable to Ashton United and I firmly believe we can look forward to an exciting future. These appointments will bring about a step change to the club.'

In fact, the late Johnny Burke is the current Club record appearance holder with 410 games (19 goals) making his debut on 19th August 1953 to his last appearance on 16th April 1964... Jonathan Burke said 'Having grown up watching Ashton United both my dad and myself are looking forward to working with the rest of the executive to create an exciting period for the club and the local community'".


Today, 6 February, is 61 years since eight Manchester United players were amongst the 23 victims of the Munich air disaster, as the team returned from a 3-3 draw against Red Star Belgrade.
5 February 2019


Altrincham's neighbours, Trafford FC announced on Monday evening that "We have today extended the loan of goalkeeper Elliot Wynne [right] from Altrincham for a further month".

On 4 January 2019, it was announced that Elliot had gone on a month's loan to Trafford FC. Trafford currently lie fifth in the Evostik League's First Divsion West. Elliot has made nine first-team starts for Altrincham this season after joining last summer from Abbey Hey.


FC United of Manchester confirm that "On Saturday 9th February, FC United welcome Altrincham FC to Broadhurst Park, for another derby match in the National League North kick off 3.00 pm.

After taking an early lead at Boston last Saturday, FC failed to capitalise on their good start and slumped to our eighth loss in nine matches. Time is now running out and FC need to start getting points urgently starting against Altrincham as we look to do the double over them.

Admission is by payment at the turnstiles which will open at 1.30pm...

  • £12 Adults
  • £7 Concessions
  • £3 under-18s.

Supporters will be able to reserve seats in one block of the Main Stand on a first come, first served basis, by calling the FC United office on Friday 25th January on 0161 769 2005. A maximum of 4 seats can be reserved per person. Those who have reserved seating need to collect a wristband from the FC United office accessible through the main reception on the day of the match. These wristbands will only be available until the kick off time of the match.

There will be three bars open... The Club Shop is accessible at the front of the ground to the right of the Main Reception. It will be open before the game and for 15-20 minutes after the final whistle. Please note: There is no entry to the shop at half-time...


The FREE shuttle bus will make 3 journeys from Manchester and 4 journeys from the Railway Pub (adjacent to Newton Heath & Moston Metrolink stop), to Broadhurst Park. The bus will also pick supporters up at the Fairway Inn on Broadway.

  • TRIP #1 Departs: 12.00pm – Crowne Plaza Hotel at Shudehill
  • TRIP #2 Departs: 1.00pm – Crowne Plaza Hotel at Shudehill
  • TRIP #3 Departs: 2.00pm – Crowne Plaza Hotel at Shudehill
  • trop #4 Departs: 2.45pm – Railway Pub adjacent to Newton Heath/Moston Metrolink

After the match the shuttle bus will make two trips back to The Crowne Plaza in Manchester via Newton Heath / Moston Metrolink stop. The first trip will leave immediately after the match from Lightbowne Road at 4.50pm. The second will leave at approximately 6pm from the club car park. Supporters can also take the 181/182 First Bus service from Lever Street in Manchester city centre, alighting outside the ground on St. Mary’s Road.


We would urge supporters to use the car parks we have available for a charge of £5.00 at the ground, and for £3.00 at the nearby St Matthew’s School, only 3 minutes’ walk from the ground. We are under a duty to ensure areas such as St Mary’s Road and the north of Nuthurst Road are not used by visitors to Broadhurst Park.

Supporters should be mindful that there is no parking on:

  • St Mary’s Road and the streets off St Mary’s Road; including Teddington Road, Merridale Road, Worthington Street and Tymm Street.
  • Nuthurst Road;
  • The West side of Moston Lane and the streets off it".

In addition to the options described by FCUM, you can take the Metrolink from Altrincham, change in Manchester (e.g. Castlefield) onto the Rochdale line and alight at Newton Heath, from where it is just under a mile's walk to the ground.


Altrincham's opponents on Saturday, FC United of Manchester report how, last time out, "FC United suffer narrow defeat at Boston. It was middle of the table Boston United who prevailed in Baltic conditions at York Street, coming from behind to deny the Reds three precious points.

In the two previous visits the sides had shared 13 goals and clean sheets have been rare for both sides in 2018-19. Skipper Harry Winter was absent through illness, so Stephen O’Halloran was given the captain’s armband after passing a late fitness test... The match began at a furious pace, with the visitors taking the game to the opposition. Within the opening minute they won a corner, and after eight minutes took the lead.

Willoughby fed Jack Banister down the right flank, his deep cross was cushioned back into the danger area by Donohue for Chris Sharp to powerfully volley past a helpless George Willis in the Boston goal.

Boston’s full-back Ben Davies was fouled by Josh Wallen close to the FCUM corner flag in the 17th minute. He took the free kick and striker Gavin Allott got in front of his marker at the near post to power a header low down which Lloyd Allinson got hands to but could not keep out. After a good opening period the Reds had failed their first real defensive test of the afternoon...

Reds wingers Banister and Donohue were having to drop back and do their share of defensive duties...

Another FCUM attack broke down, and Nicky Walker released Allott on the counter. The big man outwitted Mohammed inside the box and teed up Walker to fire in a second goal for the Pilgrims from close range. Neil Reynolds decided to make three substitutions at the 68-minute mark, O’Halloran, Sharp and Banister being replaced by Hmami, McGiveron and Peers... Peers (left) raced in behind the home side defence as the game neared the end, but Willis blocked his effort...

FCUM had again been outplayed in a second half of a game, which has been a worrying feature of this campaign. The 179 travelling fans went away disappointed with FCUM still entrenched in the relegation zone and 13 games remaining to secure their National League North status for another season.

Man of Match: Zehn Mohammed".


According to Bulls' News "Hereford FC winger Keyon Reffell has a fracture clinic appointment tomorrow to check on how his ankle is healing. Reffell was injured in game at Edgar Street at Guiseley two weeks ago. He had only just returned to the squad after several months out.

Meanwhile James Wesolowski is coming back from injury.

'He's starting to do some strength conditioning work, some running which is really positive,' said head coach Marc Richards speaking to BBC Hereford and Worcester. 'He had a grade two hamstring tear in what was the first fifteen minutes of his debut at Edgar Street... Hopfully, he'll be back in contention some time in February. We're absolutely gutted for him'".

Meanwhile the Hereford Times reports that "Defender Danny Greenslade said that there was [sic] ‘more positives than negatives’ from their 2-1 defeat by Curzon Ashton. Despite scoring the opening goal with a strike from the edge of the box in the second half the visitors levelled before stealing the points in the final minutes.

'It turned out to be quite a disappointing day so the strike and that goal means nothing,' said Greenslade following the defeat. 'To be honest with you, I couldn’t see the ball as the sun was in my eyes so I just thought I’d get it out of my feet and give it a go really and luckily it flew into the top corner. I think the first half we played quite well and were the team on top and had a few more chances. I think Symons goal was harshly disallowed as I think he might have been on-side,

'Fair play to Curzon they stuck at it and came back before having a great goal at the end, We all wanted to put in a good performance in front of our own fans as, again, they have shown their frustration, which they are more than entitled to. I think we have played reasonably well away from home but we can’t, for whatever reason, seem to replicate that at home so far this season...

'The goals from Curzon are both sloppy from us and there might be an element of concentration'...

The 25-year-old left-back who signed for Hereford in the summer has been playing as a wing back in a new formation implemented in recent weeks by Head Coach, Marc Richards. 'I’m probably better going forwards than I am backwards sometimes and I’m open enough to admit that but it gives me a licence to go forwards and play one-twos around the corner and stuff,' Greenslade added. 'It gets more balls into the box and hopefully more goals as well. Our performances haven’t been terrible and while they haven’t been great either I think we are slowly getting somewhere'".

Bulls' News adds that "Hereford FC's next four fixtures are all away and, given that the Bulls are currently in 19th position, they need to pick up some points on their travels... Three clubs are relegated from the National North so Hereford are currently too close to that zone for comfort.

Next Four Fixtures: York City (A), Leamington (A), Ashton United (A), FC United Of Manchester (A).

Luckily for Hereford, all these clubs are currently in the bottom half of the table. York are 16th, Leamington are 14th, Ashton are 20th and FC United 21st."

In the Shropshire Star '"Boss Gavin Cowan says the standard of AFC Telford United training is exceptionally high, as the players know one 'off' session will see them dropped... They are on course for a play-off finish in National League North and are in the last 16 of the FA Trophy, heading to Spennymoor Town tomorrow.

'You have to be on your mettle in every single training session,' said Cowan. 'You really have to train well with us. The competition is very good, so you can’t afford to miss a training session or not put the effort in. I expect them all to train exactly the same way as they play in games...

'If their attitude and application is the same as it is on a matchday, they’ve got a good chance of being in the team for the next game', added Cowan".

According to Cheshire Live "It has been a frustrating six weeks for both Chester FC and Akwasi Asante. Turn the clock back to December 22 and Chester went third thanks to a 2-1 home win over fellow play-off chasers AFC Telford United. Asante was on target that day, bagging his fifth goal in three league games during a loan spell from Tamworth.

There was a real buzz around the Blues following that result, but it was a result that came at a cost with both Gary Stopforth and Asante picking up injuries that have seen them sidelined since that game. The Blues' form has suffered.

Just one win since that Telford game has seen Chester stumble to eighth and in need of a run of form to catapult themselves back into the play-of places... Goals have been hard to come by for Chester these past six weeks and Asante has been forced to watch on in frustration... following his move from Tamworth on an 18-month deal at the start of January. Damage to the ligaments at the back of his knee following the win over Telford proved worse than first thought and what was expected to be a short lay off has turned into a lengthier spell on the sidelines.

But with a crunch encounter at Kidderminster Harriers this weekend, another side with promotion ambitions, Asante is hoping he can play his part once again.

'It's been horrible if I'm honest,' said the Dutch-born 26-year-old former Birmingham City, Solihull Moors and Grimsby Town striker.. 'We've been going through a tough patch and I have felt guilty that I haven't been able to get out there and help the boys. You want to be contributing. I was in good form as well which makes it even more tough but this is all part of football, things like this happen. It feels longer because of the amount of games we've had to play over the Christmas period but I've just been concentrating on trying to make sure I get myself right and make sure I can play my part again soon'...

Asante, along with fellow sidelined striker Anthony Dudley, was back out on the grass prior to the defeat at Spennymoor Town on January 26 and taking part in the pre-match warm up...

'I'm back in full training for the first time,' said Asante. 'I've felt great everytime I've upped my running and I've been sprinting and changing direction and feeling good. Now is the time for me to get back into training properly. My match sharpness won't be what it was but, when I arrived first time, I was lacking in match fitness... Hopefully, I will be able to get through this week fine and be considered for Saturday. The managers have been doing this a long time and they will know what's best and how they want me to come back into the team'..

'When I scored a hat-trick on my debut it was amazing,' he said. 'You don't expect things like that. But the whole thing felt right, I just had a feeling when I stepped out onto the pitch, I got a great vibe from the crowd and I just felt like I had my shooting boots on and that I couldn't miss. As a striker you need confidence and this spell at Chester has already given me a massive boost. It has been frustrating to watch from the stands these past six weeks but I'm still that confident player.

'It may take some time to get sharp again but I did it before'".

Guiseley "confirm that midfielder Lewis Walters has today left the club to pursue first team opportunities elsewhere. The 23 year-old joined The Lions in September".

York Press informs us that "York City boss Steve Watson wants to register the club’s first back-to-back league victories in 13 months and then target a third consecutive win at the weekend. The new Minstermen chief succeeded in ending an eight-game losing National League North away streak with a 3-2 success at Alfreton on Saturday and now aims to end another sorry sequence.

City have not won two sixth-tier contests on the trot since five consecutive victories were racked up in January 2018. But the next two matches will see the 16th-placed Minstermen host bottom-four clubs Hereford and Ashton United tomorrow night and on Saturday respectively.

Maximum points against the Bulls will mean that Watson’s side have climbed six positions in the league standings in just four days and, on ending another hoodoo, the former Gateshead boss reasoned 'All these records are just coming to light for me, but my job is simple; I just want to win every game I’m involved in.

'Hearing about these things doesn’t change my mentality, but records are there to be broken so, if we can put that one to bed and win two successive games, all the better and I want three back-to-back wins. If you find a level of consistency in this division, you can soon travel a fair distance up the table and, if we can keep playing with the same energy and gusto that we finished the last match, then I can see us climbing.'

Watson still hopes to have a fifth signing in place for the visit of the Bulls to Bootham Crescent, but the move has hit a little snag, with the ex-Everton defender revealing 'The player picked up a bit of an injury and has had to have a scan as a precautionary measure so we’re waiting to see whether we can have him in the squad for tomorrow.'

Right-sided centre-back Hamza Bencherif, meanwhile, is not expected to feature after an ankle injury saw him hobble out of the action at Alfreton, with a recall for club stalwart Dan Parslow one possibility.

'People have the right to say "the team have been struggling all season, so don’t I deserve my chance", and some do,' Watson added. Josh Law dropped back from midfield into the centre of the back three at the weekend but, while Watson suggested he is unlikely to repeat that switch from the start against Hereford, it is an option he could consider moving forward.

'Josh almost sees himself as a sweeper or a deep-lying midfielder and I have to be allowed to see what players can do with my own eyes,' Watson declared. 'He has impressed me with his reading of games and being in the right position. I probably wouldn’t play him at the back for the next game, but I might look at it in the future.'

Watson expects Hereford to field his favoured formation of 3-5-2 and admits the system is now one he wants to proceed with at his new club, having lined up in that manner for the last two fixtures.

'I don’t want to change systems every week and, whilst it might seem a little difficult to justify because of the goals we have conceded (six in two matches), most have been down to individual errors that we can cut out,' the former England under-21 international argued. 'It’s a formation that I believe in and works if you do it right with a good balance.'

Centre-back David Mirfin, 33, is set to make his home debut after impressing at Alfreton, with Watson willing to allow the on-loan Mansfield defender to oversee his own workload to get the best out of him on the pitch. 'David’s situation is similar to when I brought Mike Williamson in at Gateshead,' Watson pointed out. 'He hasn’t played a lot of football, but they are both good pros who manage themselves well in between games. I’m allowing him to go through his own injury programme, so he wasn’t involved in training today, but he will be ready and raring to go, having done everything absolutely correctly for himself.'

The City boss has also given a pep-talk to rookie centre-half Tom Bradbury ahead of the Hereford contest after he was given a chastening experience at the hands of cunning journeyman striker Reece Styche over the weekend.

'I’ve had a chat with Tom about certain aspects of Saturday’s game and he was quite philosophical, because he’s level-headed,' Watson explained. 'At his age, players are like sponges and I like to have that in my squad, along with the right sprinkling of experience.'"


Fourth Round draw:
  • Brackley Town v Leyton Orient
  • Ramsbottom United or AFC Fylde v Carshalton Athletic or Barnet
  • Stockport County v Salford City or Maidstone United
  • Hemel Hempstead Town or Solihull Moors v Spennymoor Town or AFC Telford United


The Hallmark Security League reports that "The draw for the Quarter Finals of the Buildbase FA Vase was made at Wembley Stadium on Monday. Northwich Victoria were rewarded for their victory over Histon on Saturday with a home tie against Southampton side Sholing. The Boatmen are currently runaway leaders in the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division, having won 21 of their 22 League games this season and remain unbeaten in their League Campaign. Having scored 71 goals in the process and only conceding 12, they will be tough opponents for Vics but, with home advantage, Steve Wilke’s side will be confident of reaching the semi finals.

Vics will be watching out for Sholing front men of Dan Mason and Lee Wort who have scored an incredible 83 goals between them in all competitions this season.

Irlam’s reward should they progress through Saturday’s Fifth Round tie, will be a tough trip to Northern League opponents, either Hebburn Town or West Auckland Town. Just like with Irlam, that 5th Round tie also fell to the weather on Saturday.

The quarter final draw was:

  • Hebburn Town or West Auckland Town v Irlam or Chertsey Town
  • Canterbury City v Biggleswade
  • Willand Rovers v Cray Valley
  • Northwich Victoria v Sholing

Ties to be played on Saturday 23rd February 2019."

4 February 2019


Sunday's scheduled league match for Altrincham FC Ladies at home to West Didsbury & Chorlton was postponed. The next scheduled game is in the Argyle Sports Kit North West Regional Cup next Sunday (10/02/19) away to Merseyrail Ladies.


Following Saturday's 2-0 home win, Altrincham FC Reserves are now five points clear in the Cheshire Football League. After 24 games, Alty have 51 points, with second-placed Pilkington FC on 46 points from the same number of matches. Third are Poynton FC who have 39 points from one fewer game.

The next match (9/2/19) is away to Daten FC.


Altrincham FC Youth's next league game is away to Southport on 10 February.

Having only played ten fixtures, Alty lie fourth in the table, eight points behind the leaders Curzon Ashton FC Youth who have eight more points but have completed two more fixtures.


The Derbyshire Times reports that "Disappointed Alfreton Town manager Billy Heath told his players to keep their chins up after a late collapse saw them lose 3-2 to struggling York City.

The Reds conceded two late goals to the visitors after squandering a 70th minute penalty, one of three in the match, to make it 3-1 and remain 15th in National League North.

Heath said: “We deserved to win the game. The result will say otherwise, but there was only one team that deserved to win the game. We got ourselves 2-1 up going down the slope and, if we scored the (second) penalty, we surely go on to win'.

Reece Styche, who had netted a first-half penalty to make it 1-1, saw his second spot-kick smash against the bar as he attempted to complete a hat-trick.

York then levelled five minutes from time through an audacious overhead kick from Alex Kempster at a corner. Three minutes later Martin Riley was judged to have impeded Paddy McLaughlin and Jordan Burrow lashed home the third penalty of the afternoon to seal an unlikely York victory.

Heath added 'We defended well enough all game and then literally from the corner we defend the first header but the lad hooks it right into the stanchion, almost in slow motion. Then, obviously, the penalty decision. (It was) a difficult one. I’m not convinced, but the referee’s given it.

'Everyone’s bitterly disappointed, but l said to the players to get their chins up, because they were magnificent. Taking on a full-time side with massive resources, massive support and for large parts of the game we were far better. l was pleased with the performance. (In the) first half we got ourselves back in the game after giving away a poor goal, then when we scored the second goal.

'We knew from their reaction where we could cause them problems and we did exactly that. It’s a hard one to take, probably one of the hardest ones all season, but like l say it’s always ‘Catch 22’ because the players have been great again'".

At Boston United, "Gavin Allott and Nicky Walker added to their burgeoning goal tallies as Boston United chalked up three valuable points on Saturday afternoon. The Pilgrims came from a goal behind to defeat FC United of Manchester at The Jakemans Stadium, who had led through Chris Sharp's eighth minute strike.

Allott equalised nine minutes later with his seventh goal of the campaign and he turned provider for Walker to score his eighth of the season 17 minutes after half-time.

The Pilgrims’ afternoon had got off to the worst possible start when Michael Donohue crossed from the left and Sharp slammed home a thunderous effort beyond the reach of George Willis. United levelled in the 17th minute when Ben Davies delivered a pinpoint free-kick delivery and Allott powered a header through the grasp of visiting keeper Lloyd Allinson...

The Pilgrims went in front in the 62nd minute when Walker freed Allott down the left before advancing to sweep home the resulting cross from six yards".

The Telegraph & Argus informs us that "It was a rare weekend off for Bradford (Park Avenue) after their Vanarama National League North fixture against Leamington was postponed at a frozen Horsfall Stadium...

Avenue manager Mark Bower said 'It was covered in snow and the ground underneath was rock hard. So it was no great surprise when the decision was made the day before the game. We decided not to get the players in for an extra training session because we’d had two really good sessions in the week and done a lot of work.

'When you think about it the players have come through a tough schedule over Christmas and New Year and a tough January so we decided to give them the weekend off.'

It also gave Bower, his assistant Danny Boshell and first-team coach Ryan Toulson time to review the situation. January was a nightmare month on the pitch as Avenue dropped from leaders to fourth following four defeats and one draw from their five games and a squad overhaul was begun.

Three players have departed, all to promotion rivals with Ben McKenna joining Chester, Nicky Wroe signing for Boston United and keeper Steve Drench linking up with Altrincham.

Two new players have been drafted in on loan until the end of the season. Charlie Andrew has big gloves to fill as he comes in as a replacement for Drench and Romoney Crichlow-Noble will be looking to impress in the centre of defence or at left-back. Andrew’s parent club is Championship side Hull City and they were keen to see their young prospect in the National League set-up after the player spent a loan spell at Pickering Town in the Evo-Stik Division One East.

Crichlow-Noble has made his way up through the under-18 and u23s with Huddersfield Town and has penned a pro deal with the Terriers.

Bower added 'There have been three players who have left us and two that have come in at the moment but with having Danny East back from injury that’s like another new signing. We’ve been without Danny since pre-season so to have him back is a real boost and there may be another one coming in but there’s nothing developing with that one at the moment.

'We are always looking for potential signings and, if someone becomes available that we think will improve us, we will be interested. But at the moment we’re just looking forward to getting the two new lads settled and to working with them. Charlie has been playing real man’s football at a very good standard with Pickering and I’ve seen a lot of footage of him and he looks a very good prospect'...

Bower explained 'We had a bit of blip around this time last season and we got that upturn with a win against Leamington. It was a tough game and we had given a penalty away but Drenchy saved it and we went on to win against Leamington last year and it started a five-game winning run that got us into the play-offs... You get little runs when everything seems to go against you but usually they even out over the course of a season.'"

"Louis Laing felt Blyth Spartans matched National League leaders Leyton Orient in their late FA Trophy defeat on Saturday. Spartans were six minutes away from setting up a replay... before Jamie Turley inflicted a cruel blow on Alun Armstrong’s men.

It came in front of the excellent 289-strong travelling supporters at the Breyer Group Stadium, who showed their appreciation for Blyth’s tireless efforts at the full-time whistle.

'It’s disappointing, it’s not what we deserved,' said Louis Laing, after completing his second consecutive full game. Armstrong opted to field three central defenders, Louis Laing, Nathan Buddle, Jordan Watson, in order to nullify the hosts’ attack, and Laing believes the system had a positive impact...

'I thought we matched them everywhere. We got the formation right. It was just one of them things. Sometimes it happens in football. All the lads are obviously very disappointed but we can take the positives from it and take them into next week'...

Laing said... 'I know they might have rested a few players, but the players that they bring in are still top players... We’ve matched them throughout the full 90 minutes. It was a sucker punch at the end'...

Next up for Blyth is Darlington in the National League on Saturday, with Tuesday night’s Northumberland Senior Cup clash with Newcastle U23s set to provide an opportunity for fringe and reserve team players to stake a claim".

Kidderminster Harriers "confirm that young defender Harry Higginson has signed a first professional contract with the club. The 20-year-old has made a big impression in the first team this season...

Harry is very much a home-grown prospect, playing pivotal roles in both the U19 Academy team and, this term, the table-topping U23s' outfit... The club have secured him to an 18-month contract".

Darlington report thsat "Defender Terry Galbraith has signed a one-year extension to his contract, which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2019-20 season.

Terry signed for Quakers in December 2012... Since then, Terry has started 229 league games and 18 cup games, scoring 56 goals in total, and won a Northern League winner’s medal, an EvoStik League winner’s medal, and an EvoStik First Division North play off winner’s medal. He is playing in central defence at the moment, but he has also played at left-back, left wing-back and left midfield.

Darlington manager Tommy Wright said 'Tez has been great under me, and is always mister reliable. In fact, over the last ten games, I think he’s got better and better.'"

3 February 2019


Above, Ben Elliott (9) nets the opening goal.

An Altrincham Reserves' team, including five first-team squad members in its starting eleven, overcame Knutsford 2-0 on Saturday afternoon. Altrincham led at half-time thanks to a close-range goal from Ben Elliott after a Gabidon shot came out to him in the 18th minute.

Soon after the interval, an impressive freekick from Max Harrop, awarded for a foul on him, found the top corner of the net. The visitors hit the post twice in as many second-half minutes but Alty's win keeps them top of the Cheshire League.

Above, Max Harrop (just off picture to the left) puts his second-half freekick into the net.

The first-team squad members involved were Shaun Densmore, Sean Williams, Kallum Mantack, Max Harrop, Dontai Gabidon. Along with manager Phil Parkinson, the rest of the first-team squad were in attendance as spectators, including new signing Steven Drench.


Vanarama National League North
  • Att. 655: Alfreton Town 2-3 York City
  • Att. 1070: Boston United 2-1 FC United Of Manchester
  • Att. 2081 (48 away): Hereford FC 1-2 Curzon Ashton


Altrincham FC Ladies' manager Keith Edleston and coach Dave Grundy have left the Club. On Alty Ladies Twitter Keith stated that "Unfortunately we have to announce that both myself and Dave the 1st team coach have left Altrincham FC Ladies with immediate effect. We would both like to say a massive thank you to all our sponsors and friends that we have made in our 8 years at the club".


Saturday, 2 February: The Buildbase FA Vase 5th Round
  • Histon 1-3 Northwich Victoria (AET, 1-1 after 90 mins)


Curzon Ashton's winner at Hereford on Saturday was scored in the 88th minute by substitute Sean Miller [right].

In the EvoStik League, "Warrington Town went top of the Premier Division on a weather affected weekend. The Yellows hit four past Gainsborough Trinity in an impressive 4-1 victory away from home... Damian Reeves scored a consolation for Gainsborough, who spent the last 15 minutes with 10 men after left-back Ben Gordon was given a straight red for raising his hands to Mitch Duggan...

There were just two games that survived the weather in the West Division, and in one of those Trafford sealed a win to move in to the play-off places. Dec Rydings’ first half goal was enough to secure the win at Widnes, who were playing at their home ground the Halton Stadium for the first time this season.

Droylsden recorded a second successive win as they won 2-1 away at Colwyn Bay. Reece Webb-Foster and Astley Mulholland exchanged first half goals, before Sefton Gonzales had the telling intervention 14 minutes from time."


NL Daily reports that "Long-serving Darlington supporter Gavin Ellis has done some great fund raising work this season, raising money towards the cost of team buses to away games.

On the way to Curzon Ashton, he raised enough money to pay for the team bus to Boston United in April, for which the club is really grateful. The club say that Gavin has now told them that when he was paying Atkinson’s Coaches for the Boston bus, he also paid for the team bus to Hereford, their longest trip of the season!"

And Darlington announce that "Defender Jack Vaulks has joined EvoStik East League club Pickering Town on a dual registration basis... Jack has been on loan to Pickering since November, and now that his loan has ended, both clubs have agreed that he can play for Pickering on a dual registration basis until the end of the season". Hereford FC record that "The Bulls slipped to a disappointing home defeat at the hands of Curzon Ashton after Danny Greenslade’s opener was cancelled out by goals from Lewis Reilly and Sean Miller....

The visitors were looking sharp on the break and after a Bulls’ raid broke down, Oliver Crankshaw showed good pace before lifting the ball well over... We got our noses in front six minutes into the second half when Owen-Evans won a free-kick out wide which was half-cleared by the visitors into the path of Greenslade who lashed the ball home to make it 1-0....

Symons had another effort ruled out for offside on the hour-mark before the visitors went on to level matters when Reece Deakin did well out wide and his teasing cross found Lewis Reilly who tucked the ball home in front of goal... The visitors grabbed the lead on 86 minutes when Deakin combined with fellow substitute, Sean Miller, who fired home powerfully beyond Yates...

York Press reports that "Jordan Burrow’s 89th-minute penalty saw York City end their run of eight away league defeats on the trot with a thrilling 3-2 triumph at Alfreton.

City went ahead when Sean Newton retrieved a ball from going out on the right touchline and then curled the ball over home keeper Sam Ramsbottom and in, from unfavourable angle. The Derbyshire were level before the break, though, with Reece Styche brought down by on-loan defender Tom Bradbury and, then, finding Adam Bartlett’s bottom-left corner from the resulting penalty.

Styche went on to give Alfreton the lead early in the second half when he got in behind Bradbury through the right channel and his low deflected shot rolled past Bartlett... But he squandered the chance for a hat-trick when he smacked a 70th-minute penalty against the crossbar, having been impeded by Mirfin as he attempted to meet a right-wing cross.

The Minstermen went on to storm back, equalising on 85 minutes when Paddy McLaughlin’s corner from the left was met in the air by Burrow. His header was then only cleared as far as Alex Kemspter, who hooked the ball in over his shoulder from eight yards

City then secured maximum points after sub Jake Wright was wrestled to the ground by Martin Riley in the six-yard box as the ball came in from the left. Burrow drilled the subsequent penalty straight down the middle and into the roof of the net in front of City’s jubilant fans".


Blyth Spartans report that "Blyth Spartans devastatingly exited the FA Trophy in the last 16 following an 84th minute Jamie Turley [goal] for Leyton Orient... as Spartans matched the National League leaders stride for stride at Brisbane Road for the majority of the game. And almost snatched a deserved equaliser soon through Robbie Dale and Adam Wrightson; however, it wasn’t to be for Alun Armstrong’s side.

Armstrong made one change from the side who lost 3-2 at Hereford; Jordan Watson replacing Jamie Holmes as Blyth switched to a 3-5-2 formation...

Devastatingly for Blyth, the sucker-punch game six minutes from time when Turley rose highest from Gorman’s cross, powering a header into the top right corner as Spartans' defender[s?] slumped to the floor at the cruel breakthrough. Spartans almost levelled with a minute of normal time remaining. Oliver whipped in a left-wing set piece that fell at the back post to Robbie Dale. His effort from close range was denied brilliantly by Brill, the rebound falling to Wrightson who took his time before connecting sweetly with a half volley, a diving block by an Orient defender securing a quarter-final berth for the National League leaders"

The view from the other side comes from Leyton Orient

There was better luck for another National League North side as Harrogate Town report how they "Exited the FA Trophy at the last 16 stage courtesy of an impressive four goal performance from Stockport County.

The Hatters confirmed their tenth straight victory courtesy of goals from Matty Warburton, Adam Thomas and a brace from former Town man Frank Mulhern. Simon Weaver... [named] the same starting eleven that were victorious against Hartlepool United in front of BT Sport cameras two weeks ago...

In the 17th minute, Harrogate attacked through Jack Emmett who whipped a dangerous ball into the box which caught Stockport midfielder Jordan Keane, who tried to clear but ended up steering it into his own net. Town’s lead wouldn’t last long though as, in the 21st minute, Darren Stephenson held up play well and teed up Adam Thomas who fired low at the Harrogate goal and found the equaliser.

Just over a minute later Stockport took the lead, a defensive mistake allowed Mulhern through on goal who then bent his effort past James Belshaw... After taking the lead Stockport looked like a completely different side, despite beginning the game looking like they were going to stand off Town and take their chances on the break, after the quick-fire goals they grew in confidence and started to attack the Harrogate defence...

In the 48th minute Stockport grabbed their third of the afternoon, Warren Burrell tried to pass the ball back to Belshaw but it fell short and was picked up by Matty Warburton who rounded the Harrogate keeper and slotted home his fifth goal in the last two games of the competition and his 22nd of the season...

Stockport grabbed their fourth of the afternoon. Striker Mulhern picked up his second when Thomson lost possession of the ball on the halfway line which released Mulhern who then rounded Belshaw and squeezed his effort through the Town defenders on the line. Town weren’t down and out just yet though, they continued to attack and in the 88th minute grabbed a goal back thanks to Thomson".

2 February 2019


Saturday 2 February 2019
  • Alfreton Town 2-3 York City
  • Ashton United P-P Kidderminster Harriers
  • Boston United 2-1 FC United of Manchester
  • Bradford (Park Avenue) P-P Leamington
  • Chorley P-P Nuneaton Borough
  • Hereford 1-2 Curzon Ashton


Saturday 2 February 2019 - Third Round ties involving National League North clubs...
  • Spennymoor Town P-P AFC Telford United
  • Chesterfield 0-2 Brackley Town
  • Harrogate Town 2-4 Stockport County


Although there is no first-team game today (Saturday), owing to Spennymoor Town's continuing involvement in the FA Trophy, there is still an opportunity to watch an Altrincham team in action today as the Reserves entertain Knutsford FC at Egerton Youth club, Mereheath Lane, Knutsford. WA16 6SL. Kick off is at 2pm and the word is that there may even be a couple of first team players involved.

Altrincham Reserves are currently top of the Cheshire League and will be seeking to maintain their momentum, as this is their game in hand over their closest rivals.

Other 3pm games on Saturday, not involving Altrincham, include the following, but check before travelling!

  • The Buildbase FA Vase 5th Round: Irlam P-P Chertsey Town at The Ambitek Stadium
  • Hallmark Security (NW Counties) League: Maine Road P-P Stockport Town at Brantingham Road
  • Hallmark Security (NW Counties) League: Wythenshawe Town P-P Cheadle Town at Ericstan Park
  • EvoStik League, Premier: Nantwich Town v Bamber Bridge
  • EvoStik League, Premier: Stalybridge Celtic P-P Whitby Town
  • EvoStik League, Premier: Witton Albion P-P Buxton
  • EvoStik League, First West: Radcliffe FC P-P Kendal Town
  • EvoStik League, First West: Widnes v Trafford
  • The Buildbase FA Trophy, Third Round: Ramsbottom United P-P AFC Fylde


Altrincham and Wrexham take to the pitch, 9 February 2016.

Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records reveal that when Altrincham next take to the field on Saturday, 9 February, at FC United of Manchester, it will be their first game on that date since 2016 when they hosted Wrexham in the Vanarama National League and drew 1-1.

On the eve of the match, Altrincham had been buoyed by an extension to Josh Ginnelly's loan from Burnley. With Ryan Crowther back after illness, James Lawrie dropped to the bench.

It was Altrincham who took the lead in the 12th minute. In fact they might have done so as early as the fifth minute when Simon Richman's shot from the edge of the box hit the crossbar. But it was a fine run up the right and into the box by Ryan Crowther which set up loanee Josh Ginnelly for the opener.

Altrincham then played some excellent football but could not add to their score before Wrexham equalised, against the run of play, on 30 minutes. Jackson was allowed too much space on the left and his cross was met by an excellent looping header from former Barnsley man, Simon Heslop. After that the visitors had the better of play, though Altrincham still had their own attacking moments in the second half. Wastefulness in front of goal cost the Welshmen in the second period as, on three occasions, they fluffed their lines badly from close range.

ALTRINCHAM: 17. Tim DEASY, 20. Jordan SINNOTT, 6. Scott LEATHER, 28. Marcus HOLNESS, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Jake MOULT (capt), 8. Simon RICHMAN, 19. Ryan CROWTHER 15. Josh GINNELLY, 27. Jonathon MARGETTS, 9. Michael RANKINE. Subs: 10. Damian REEVES, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 26. Dylan MOTTLEY-HENRY, 7. James LAWRIE.

WREXHAM: 30. Rhys Taylor, 23. Simon Heslop, 4. Manny Smith, 5. Blaine Hudson, 6. Jamal Fyfield, 12. Mark Carrington, 14. Kayden Jackson, 3. Sean Newton, 10. Connor Jennings (capt), 11. Adriano Moke, 15. Robert Evans. Subs: 16. Wesley York, 7. Lee Fowler, 9. James Gray, `18. Ross Whirl, 25. Mark Beck


Altrincham's next opponents, FC United of Manchester "travel to Lincolnshire to face midtable Boston United on Saturday, hoping that we can pick up three points and take a step towards moving out of the relegation zone. With no heavy snow currently forecasted on Friday or Saturday in Boston, the game should go ahead...

A victory could see the Red close the gap between them and safety to just three points with 13 games remaining. However, a defeat could see them slip further behind fellow strugglers Ashton United, York City, Hereford and Guiseley.

Manager Neil Reynolds returns to the dugout after a pre-booked work trip to Singapore for the Department of Education. He will be hoping his side can repeat last week’s performance but pick up some vital points in the process.

FC United performed valiantly in our last game against Stockport County but fell short in a 2-1 defeat, where Kurt Willoughby took his tally for the season to 12 by opening the scoring. A priceless point was snatched away when County scored an 88th minute winner but we have to pick our heads up and carry on.

That defeat at home to Stockport marked the ninth league defeat at Broadhurst Park for the Reds this season but, again, we can take some solace going into this game knowing that our away record is far better than our home record. The Reds have picked up 17 points away from home from a total of 24 accumulated so far this season, having seen their only back-to-back league victories of the season coming on the road at Blyth Spartans and Hereford.

Reno’s Reds have picked up some big wins away from home this season which had given us a much-needed lift at the time. Points were taken away from the likes of Bradford Park Avenue and Kidderminster Harriers, so it shows that on our day we can certainly take points away from sides ahead of us which could be proven vital come the end of the season...

The Pilgrims come into this game having picked up seven points from a possible 15 in their last five games in the league with two wins, one draw and two defeats. Just like FC, Boston have accumulated more points away from home in the league this season. The Pilgrims have picked up 17 points at home from their total of 38".

From Hereford, Bulls' News confirms that "Joel Dielna has joined Oxford City on loan from Hereford FC for a month. The defender hasn't featured regularily for the Bulls since joining two months ago".

From NL Daily we learn that "Experienced defender Ryan Cresswell has been training with York City. The 31-year-old former Rotherham United player left Eastleigh by mutual consent just before Christmas. The new management team at York City of Steve Watson and assistant Micky Cummins have been targeting new additions...

Another vastly experienced defender has been confirmed as a new signing this morning, with David Mirfin joining on loan from Mansfield Town. Former Gateshead gaffer Watson said yesterday that two additions were in the pipeline, but there is still the opportunity for the existing squad players to safeguard their future at the club."

And more comes from York Press, which adds that "Centre-back David Mirfin has joined York City on loan from Mansfield Town until the end of the season. The 33-year-old, who has won promotion three times in his career, has gone straight into the squad for [the] game at Alfreton Town.

Sheffield-born Mirfin has made more than 450 appearances in the Football League for clubs including Huddersfield Town, Scunthorpe United and Watford... After a brief spell at Watford, Mirfin returned to Scunthorpe for a further five years in January 2012 and won promotion to League One in 2014. He had a spell on loan at Hartlepool United in the 2014/15 season and joined Mansfield two summers ago".

Meanwhile context comes from Mansfield Town who reveal that "Defender David Mirfin has [joined] York City on loan until the end of the season. The 33-year-old has been on the road to recovery since suffering a knee injury at Blackpool in December 2017. The experienced centre half has recently returned to training".

Also from York Press, "National League North bad boys Alfreton Town are looking for their first home win in seven league attempts when they host York City. The Reds have the fifth-worst home record in the division, taking just 14 points from 14 games, and have not won at the Impact Arena since they claimed only their third league win there, back in mid-November.

This period has seen [them] register their worst home defeat for over half a century, with a 7-1 thrashing by Spennymoor Town matching the 1960 FA Cup thumping at the hands of Belper Town.

Alfreton can, however, claim the dubious honour of topping the FA's Fair Play table for the division (league games only), having amassed 56 yellow cards and five red from their 28 league games, a rate of two cautions per game and one dismissal nearly every six. When cup games are included, the red-card tally rises to six, but Alfreton drop a place to second.

Though their form places them ahead of only Nuneaton Borough, FC United of Manchester, Curzon Ashton and Ashton United in the league's home form table, manager Billy Heath may be looking forward to hosting City, whose nine points from 14 places them squarely at the foot of the away form table.

A home win would buck the trend of recent meetings between the City and Alfreton, though. Of the five games games the two have contested since 2011, none have been won by the home side; there have been four away victories and one 1-1 draw. On three of those occasions, the result would have been unchanged had the game ended at half-time.

City will not be looking forward to seeing Reds' top-scorer Reece Styche again. The striker, who has scored seven since moving to Derbyshire from divisional rivals Darlington in October, has scored five times in eight appearances against the Minstermen with Darlington, Tamworth, Gateshead, Wycombe Wanderers and Forest Green Rovers.

Alfreton's second-highest goalscorer remains Tom Denton, who was snapped up by Chesterfield after netting six times in nine outings, ahead of Bobby Johnson on five goals... Minsterman Tom Allan... is not allowed to play under the terms of his season-long loan."

The Derbyshire Times reports that "John Sheridan says Chesterfield must fully respect Brackley Town when the two sides meet in the FA Trophy third round.

Brackley are the current holders of the FA Trophy and lie sixth in the National League North... He said 'It’s a chance to get to Wembley so you never put the competition down and we want to take it very seriously... so we’ll have a strong team out to hopefully get us through the tie.

'Brackley had a good result last week in beating Bradford Park Avenue who are going really well in that division and with them being holders we’re expecting a really tough game and we won’t disrespect them at all just because they’re in a lower league. I expect us to win the game as we’re at home and have the better players, and I think if we play to the best of our ability we will make it hard for them. But that's in no way meant to be disrespectful to them as they’ll come here and play in a nice stadium with a nice pitch and, like with Bedford who gave us a difficult game, we have to earn the right to win it.

'I actually managed Newport against them in the FA Cup a couple of years ago and drew 2-2 at their place before beating them 4-0 in the replay, but they gave us a really good game'".

In the Lancashire Evening Post we learn that "Chorley wing-back Adam Blakeman says the permanent signing of goalkeeper Matty Urwin from Fleetwood Town is a statement of intent by the National League North leaders. Blakeman himself has signed a new deal that will see him stay at Victory Park until at least the summer of 2020. The 27-year-old has netted 10 goals in the Magpies’ charge to the top of the table...

Said Blakeman, 'I said to the boss that the signing of Matty shows the direction the club is heading in because he should be playing at a higher level. So to tie him down until the end of this season shows what direction the club is heading in.'

Chorley now prepare to host Nuneaton Borough on Saturday with a pitch inspection expected due to the cold snap.

It is Blakeman’s third season at Victory Park and the defender...said... 'We have missed out on promotion at the final hurdles really and I’m looking forward to ending the season by pushing on... From the beginning of the season we said that our aim was to go and win the league. We are in a really good position. Stockport and Spennymoor are on really good runs but we are confident going out every week so there is no reason why we cannot push on and win it.'

But Blakeman is not expecting bottom side Nuneaton to be a walkover despite their differing league positions. He said 'I think they are a good side. At the start of the season we only beat them 1-0... They are all tough games so we will have to be at our bests'".

1 February 2019


The BBC reports that "Non-league Altrincham will support football's fight against homophobia by wearing a new kit based on the LGBT flag [right] for a competitive fixture. The National League North side, who normally play in red and white stripes, claim they are the first club to wear a kit based on the flag's colours. The strip will be used when they face Bradford (Park Avenue) on 16 February.

Director Bill Waterson said the move was 'a big statement' and 'a small moment of football history'. Waterson added 'We believe it will be the first time anywhere in the world that a senior football club has worn a kit solely modelled on the LGBT Pride Flag.' The rainbow flag's colours reflect the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Altrincham's move has been backed by the Football Association and, for one day only, the Football v Homophobia logo will take the place of their shirt sponsor.All shirts worn by players will be sold after the match with proceeds going to the Pride Trust."

The National League adds that "The match-worn tops will be auctioned off and profits will go to Pride Trust, a LGBT+ youth charity, who are rebuilding the LGBT centre in Manchester.

Passionate director Bill Waterson said 'Altrincham Football Club are committed to creating a welcoming environment for all who attend our games, and our support for Football v Homophobia is part of this commitment. “We would like to thank our main shirt sponsors, J.Davidson & Sons, for allowing their place on the front of the shirt to be replaced by the Football v Homophobia logo, and the FA, the Vanarama National League and our opponents Bradford (Park Avenue) for their support of this initiative...

Replica kits will be available for sale at the game and via our website".


Although there is no first-team game on Saturday, owing to Spennymoor Town's continuing involvement in the FA Trophy, there is still an opportunity to watch an Altrincham team in action that day as the Reserves entertain Knutsford FC at Egerton Youth club, Mereheath Lane, Knutsford. WA16 6SL. Kick off is at 2pm and the word is that there may even be a couple of first team players involved.

Altrincham Reserves are currently top of the Cheshire League and will be seeking to maintain their momentum, as this is their game in hand over their closest rivals.


From the Harrogate Advertiser we learn that "Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver said his team will be going out 'all guns blazing' in an attempt to secure their progress into the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy on Saturday. The Wetherby Road outfit entertain Stockport County... and find themselves just three wins away from an historic date at Wembley.

'This is a big competition and once you reach this stage it starts to have a bit of a special feel about it', said Weaver... 'We have a real opportunity to go on and make history by getting there... We’ll be going out all guns blazing to get a result. We know that we’re in for a real test because Stockport are a huge club and they’ve won eight on the bounce coming into this one'...

With the Hatters unbeaten since early December, having won 12 of their last 13 matches and boasting a sizeable away following, Weaver is anticipating quite the spectacle.

'I think that this is one of the biggest ties of the round,' Weaver added... 'I’m expecting that they will have a real good go at us and with two very attack-minded teams going at it we should see a really exciting contest... Spring is in sight now and we’re still fighting on two fronts, which is a real positive,' he said.

'We are striving to try and keep the excitement levels high for the supporters and everybody connected with the club without putting too much pressure on the players. We managed to do that last season and we’re hoping to achieve the same again. We’ve been playing well in recent weeks and have enjoyed two excellent results against Dover and then Hartlepool'...

Without a National League fixture last Saturday due to the progress of scheduled opponents Barnet into the fourth round of the FA Cup, Weaver’s men played a behind-closed-doors friendly with Huddersfield Town under-23s this week. A Town side featuring a number of trialists emerged victorious by a 2-1 scoreline."


Bradford (Park Avenue) "welcome new signing from Huddersfield Town, Romoney Crichlow-Noble. The highly rated left-sided centre-half, who can also play at left-back, joined Huddersfield Town in March 2017... The defender stepped up to Under-23s level and went on to feature in 18 games last season before penning a new teo-year deal with the Terriers to the end of the 2020 season.

The 6ft, 19 year-old joins Mark Bower’s side on loan for the remainder of the season and the top-tier loanee will be alongside Charlie Andrew, who arrived this week from Championship club Hull City as Mark Bower and the team look to kick start the new month and play-off race with a win."

According to the Warwick Courier, "Paul Holleran heaped praise on his unsung heroes after seeing Leamington end a ten-game winless streak with a 3-0 defeat of Altrincham.

Colby Bishop grabbed the headlines with two goals but it was Junior English, who notched the other, who was among those singled out for praise by the Brakes boss. And he said the elder statesmen in the side were one of the reasons Brakes have succeeded where others have failed.

'They don’t make them like Hoody, Mace, Junior and Joe Clarke any more,' he said. 'Maybe it’s a generational thing. It been on my mind to evolve the team for some time and we’ve tried to bring people in but the likes of Hoody and Mace keep bouncing back. They’re proving impossible to replace.'

Mace is in his eighth year with Brakes having joined from Hinckley United in 2011, while Jamie Hood is in his second spell with the club having originally signed in 2010. Both remain among the first names on the team sheet and Holleran says their commitment to the club has been a major element in Leamington establishing themselves in the National League.

'Mace looks after himself so well, he must be close to 400 games for us and you don’t get that now, especially at this level. He’s shown great loyalty and we’ve four or five of them at Leamington. It’s been the secret to our success. There have been plenty of Step 3 clubs who have come up, bigger clubs with bigger budgets that haven’t done it. Stability and a settled changing room has been one of the reasons we have been okay.'

The blueprint has been continued with the more recent additions of Clarke and English and Holleran believes the blend of experience and emerging talent has helped players such as Danny Newton, Courtney Baker-Richardson and Matty Stenson progress their careers.

'We’ve added Joe and Junior to the football team, all good characters. They love football, play it for the right reasons and it rubs off on the young lads. They see good pros and they buy into it. They’ve got plenty of them around them and I think that is why young kids do well here. They come into a good environment and Junior is a classic example, every week these players give everything. No one can ever go away from a Leamington game questioning their application and how they approach the game. And then you add in that element of quality...

'Take Courtney, he’d had six clubs in 12 months. But the environment he came into here, where players do things properly, you fall into line. And when you do that, the quality comes through'".

Meanwhile, NL Daily adds that "It has now been confirmed that Leamington wide-man Kieran Dunbar will be out for the remainder of the season. The lay-off comes as a consequence of the knee injury he sustained in the game at Boston United recently. He has sustained cartilage and bone damage and is provisionally scheduled for an operation on Monday 6th February."

In the Shropshire Star we learn that "Gavin Cowan believes his AFC Telford United strikeforce is among the best in National League North. The Bucks are fifth in the table and Cowan has five strikers at his disposal.

Leading the way is 18-goal Daniel Udoh, although he is suspended for Saturday’s trip to Spennymoor in the FA Trophy... due to accumulating two bookings in previous rounds, but Cowan is confident in his other options. Amari Morgan-Smith is on six goals, Andre Brown on four and marquee January signing Marcus Dinanga, who will also not be involved at Brewery Field as he is cup-tied, on one.

Veteran Matthew Barnes-Homer has recently become striker coach too. Asked if his attacking options are hard to beat, Cowan said 'I’d like to think so. I’m sure other managers will talk their strikers up as well but, when they’re on form, yes... It’s about the attitude and application for me... We’ve got Matthew Barnes-Homer as well,' he added.

'Let me tell you, anyone who comes to spy on our training, if they see him, he’s a right handful. I’m quite glad I’m retired and don’t have to mark him any more'".

The Telegraph & Argus informs us that "Recruiting defensive reinforcements and extra training means it will not be a blank weekend for Guiseley after all.

The Lions are without a game this weekend but joint-manager Marcus Bignot says his squad will still be in for training on Saturday ahead of their next game against Stockport County on February 9. This is one of five games during a busy February for the club. He will also be looking to add to his injury-hit defensive ranks with new recruits.

Bignot says he wants competition for places at the back after losing Terry Kennedy, who left the club in October by mutual consent due to work and personal commitments. Thursday night's 11pm transfer deadline only prevents National League North clubs from signing Under-23 players from Premier League clubs, but Bignot says he may be looking at youngsters from Championship clubs downwards.

Bignot said 'Stockport will be a really good game for us to come into. We have needed this break. It will give us time to put work into the boys and an opportunity for is to get in some new recruits. Money is tight and we have to work within our budget. We have to be really cute in the market. We are definitely looking... We will be looking at the Championship teams' Under-23s down'.

Guiseley are 17th in the table, four points above the bottom three, on 30 points after a remarkable 5-4 loss to Boston United at Nethermoor on Saturday... which was their ninth defeat of the season. He added 'It would have been a great game if it was 5-4 to us. We can still take a lot of positives out of the game... The chances of scoring four goals at home and not winning are pretty low. I can't remember being involved in a 5-4 match as either a player or manager before.

'If you look at it, our front two are in a rich vein of form. But it is at the other end where we have difficulties. We have not kept enough clean sheets and not scored enough goals. The guys need a bit of competition for places. We have lost members of our back four, which has really caught up with us'".

York City announce that "Around 75 supporters attended a question and answer session with manager Steve Watson and assistant Micky Cummins... at Bootham Crescent...

Watson said 'We are not writing this season off yet and I am not going to say my plan is to just stay in the league. I am a bit more ambitious than that and I know you are too! But I will be looking around to see which players can go on the journey with us and building around them. At Gateshead, once I knew the budget, I tried to fill the squad with hungry young lads who were willing to go through the leagues. I think we have a lot of experience in this squad but I would like to add a bit of youth and exhuberance.

'Nobody could knock on my door after last Saturday because of the result but I don't think we were embarrassed at Stockport and they were not a million miles better than us. What I think we need is a bit of energy and drive. My first signings are hopefully the first of four or five'. Watson revealed that he is currently looking at trialists and has arranged a behind-closed-doors friendly on Monday afternoon.

'I think two-thirds of the players are out of contract at the end of season. In all honesty, there is nobody yet that has made me think 'I don't' want them' or 'I do want them' for next season. I have probably had four proper training sessions and two games to look. It will take me at least another six weeks. I need reliability. Not someone who does well in one game and then goes missing for the next three. It's every manager's dream to have a settled side but until you start winning games you are looking for the right answer. If we pick a team that beats the league leaders (Chorley) on Saturday then, of course, they will have earned their shirts.'

Watson, who confirmed that he is currently looking for a property in the York area, praised the City supporters, saying 'This is arguably the biggest club in the league with great fans and so much potential to go on a journey. It's the best day out for anybody in the league but we have got to stop that, we have got to make it a horrible place to play. I compare this club to the situation at Newcastle when Kevin Keegan came in (as manager). The whole club and the city just needed a massive batch of enthusiasm. That's all Keegan did.

'He wasn't a fantastic coach. In fact, he rarely did anything technical, Derek Fazackerley did all of that, but he came in and lifted everybody and made players believe that they were the players they could be. He was a Newcastle legend and I don't have York legendary status but what is needed first is getting the players to give you everything.'

Watson also drew on his experience playing under David Moyes at Everton, saying 'Moyes was unbelievable in his attention to detail defensively. I take as much out of Moyes as anybody. As a player, you would be bored stiff in training, but he drilled you that hard it became a habit and, all of a sudden, an average Everton side became really, really hard to beat and was resilient with a great ethic.'

Stressing the importance of the club's youth set-up, Watson said 'There should be one or two players a season that break in... The young players have the potential to come through. I got my debut at 16 and that system is vital. It's going to be a big part of the plan but we have to prioritise getting the first team right first'... Commenting on the budget at his disposal, Watson said: "I have never been a manager who thought money was the answer. We have got a very generous budget for this league and 100 per cent should be doing better. I won't be asking for any more money than is available. We can get good players in on the budget we are on."

Watson confirmed that the club does not have the option to recall defender Tom Allan from his loan spell at Alfreton Town...

'We need to get the first win and build from that. Then ask if we have got enough ability in the squad to go on a five, six, or seven-game winning streak. I think we have. If we do that, we will give ourselves a chance of maybe surprising a few people. We need to win as many games as possible and try and build so that next year is not a case of 'seeing how we do', next year is a case of "we are going to win the league!"

Assistant-manager Cummins was equally open... 'It's not a salvage job... We are trying to work with this group to bring the best out of them'".

Blyth Spartans' chairman, Tony Platten, says "Blyth Spartans are playing at the highest level since they were formed in 1899. In order to ensure a solid future for the club, changes are required to ensure the club can be financed at an appropriate level to be competitive.

The single biggest requirement is a commitment from the people of Blyth to support the club by attending home games. The current average attendance is less than 700, this needs to rise to over a 1000 if the Club is to remain competitive. Spartans are playing some of the most attractive football ever seen at Croft Park. If you are a lapsed supporter or one of the thousands of new residents of Blyth, we would urge you to turn up and sample the atmosphere at the match and in the Clubhouse before and after the game...

There are also administrative issues that require attention. The Company’s Articles of Association are currently based on the out of date 1929 Companies' Act. At the Club’s AGM in August last year it was unanimously agreed to update the Articles to the latest version as supplied by FA approved solicitors Muckle LLP. To this end almost 3,800 shareholders were written to and asked to confirm their contact details. Less than 5% of shareholders responded. This is probably because the shares were issued in the early 1970s primarily to raise funds to build the Social Club. The certificates were probably considered a membership card and of little value and the vast majority of then shareholders have likely passed on without making transfer arrangements.

The club can now advise that all shareholders who have confirmed their contact details have been contacted again and notified that an EGM will be held on Thursday 28th February at 7.30pm in the Clubhouse to ratify the decision made at the AGM and adopt the new Articles of Association. Only confirmed shareholders will be allowed to attend the meeting. The changes will allow a rationalisation of the share register which will open the opportunity for the Club Directors to explore the possibility of attracting additional investment.

The club is also looking to strengthen its Executive Committee... Blyth Spartans is arguably the most famous non-league football club in the world and it is up to the residents of Blyth and all shareholders to ensure the Club can progress."