30 April 2019 News Post Leader reports that "Blyth Spartans manager Alun Armstrong described his side reaching the Vanarama National League North play-offs as 'a phenomenal achievement'... The current group of Spartans [has] achieved the club’s highest-ever league finish and qualified for the National League North play-offs for the first time in their history.
Thoughts of the play-offs could hardly have been further away from Armstrong’s thoughts in the first six weeks of the season as his side lost seven of their opening ten league games...
The Spartans boss said... 'I think we all thought it was going to be a relegation battle. There were times when Darren (Holloway) and Hooksy (coach Neal Hooks) looked at each other and thought we were in for a long season. But we kept working with them and put together a long unbeaten run and that got us away from the lower end of the table.
'The lads have reacted really well, and we have found a formula to win games; that has been the difference between where we have got to and where we could have been. You just have to pinch yourself when you see what we have done this season. To get this famous, old non-league football club into the play-offs is a phenomenal achievement.'
Spartans face a trip to Altrincham in the qualifying round of the play-offs on Wednesday and Armstrong revealed that a number of players will face fitness tests ahead of the game. However, the Spartans boss admitted that, despite their injury concerns, his side will travel to the J Davidson Stadium in a confident mood.
'We have Robbie Dale missing the entire play-offs because he is away on holiday. It will be an extremely tough game, but the play-offs is a lottery and we have found a formula to win games, so we are confident'".
The 1-1 outcome of the league match back in March at Moss Lane was determined in controversial fashion in the 26th minute. Referee Lewis Smith decreed that Tom Hannigan had played a back-pass to goalkeeper Tony Thompson when the Altrincham view was that the ball had rebounded off the defender and had not been a deliberate pass.
Above: The teams line up before kick off on 5 March.
From the freekick, positioned barely six yards out, Robbie Dale had a fairly simple task of booting past the wall into the net to level the scores. Five minutes earlier, Altrincham had taken a 21st minute lead through John Johnston's shot from the front edge of the box.
Blyth's Dan Maguire made his 300th appearance in the game, for which the line-ups were:
ALTRINCHAM : 1. Tony Thompson, 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. Yusifu Ceesay. Subs: 12. Callum Dolan, 14. Max Harrop, 15. Jordan Hulme, 16. Shaun Densmore, 20. Elliot Wynne
BLYTH SPARTANS: 1. Peter Jameson, 2. Lewis Horner, 3. Alex Nicholson, 4. Kieran Green, 5. Nathan Buddle, 6. Louis Laing, 7. Jarrett Rivers, 8. Damen Mullen, 9. Daniel Maguire, 10. Sean Reid, 11. Robbie Dale. Subs: 12. Jack Butler, 14. Connor Oliver, 15. Jamie Holmes, 16. Michael Liddle, 17. Adam Wrightson.
For this Wednesday's match, compared with the previous encounter, Alty will be without the injured Andy White and loanee Joe Piggot has returned to Wigan after also suffering a season-ending injury.
In their win last Saturday against Southport, Spartans' line-up comprised: Jameson, Nicholson, Liddle, Green, Buddle, Watson, Rivers, Mullen, Maguire, Atkinson, Dale, with the subs being Oliver, Holmes, Wrightson, Horner and Laing.Blyth Spartans "secured their place in the playoffs as they beat Southport 2-1 at Croft Park.
Robbie Dale put Spartans ahead after six minutes from the penalty spot. Matthew Platt got the visitors back on level terms after 55 minutes through a header. Dale got his second of the game from the spot in the 70th minute...
Jarrett Rivers was brought down by the Southport ‘keeper Daniel Hanford. The captain managed to squeeze his penalty underneath Hanford’s body and into the bottom left corner...
The sides were back on level terms in the 55th minute as Platt flicked on a free kick into the far corner which left Jameson with no chance.
Liam Davies tripped Maguire in the box which allowed Dale to put Spartans back in the lead as he smashed home his second penalty of the game into the bottom left corner."
Southport report that "The curtain came down on Southport’s league campaign with a 2-1 defeat at high flying Blyth Spartans.
Blyth came into the game on the back of six straight wins knowing a win would guarantee them a play off spot and they got off to a great start with the first of two penalties in the 5th minute despatched by Robbie Dale. Dan Hanford in the Southport goal very nearly saved but it just crept under his dive. There was no argument about the award of this penalty as it was a clear trip by Reagan Ogle.
Southport had chances to get back on level terms in the first half... Blyth should have gone further ahead on the stroke of half time with Green unable to get on the end of a Maguire’s cross... It was the away side who equalised after 55 minutes when Matty Platt met an excellent Morgan Homson-Smith free kick to head home...
Hanford then pulled off a superb save to deny Maguire with an overhead kick in the 69th minute which was a contender for save of the season.
The second penalty was awarded to the home side in the 70th minute and whilst there were no arguments about the first one this one looked very soft and as manager Liam Watson said after the game 'It was a joke'. Up stepped Dale again to score from the spot and send the home fans into raptures as their play off place was sealed.
Dale has scored all three goals against the ‘Port this season, two penalties and one direct from a corner in the game at The Merseyrail Community Stadium...
Dan Hanford has appeared in every Southport league game this season to become the first ever present since Tony McMillan in 2009/10.
Southport move on to the Lancashire Junior Cup Final at The University Of Bolton Stadium on Monday against Colne (kick-off 7.45) where they will be looking to pick up the second piece of silverware of the season to add to the Liverpool Senior Cup win against Prescot Cables.
The memorable first occasion was in 2004-05 when Alty finished fifth in the Northern Premier League. They faced three play-off games, all away from Moss Lane but won them all to regain their place at national level in the Conference. The final was the only ever play-off between the play-off winners of Conference South and North.
The second occasion that Alty were involved in end of season play-offs was in 2012-13 season. On that occasion the play-offs in the Conference North began with semi-finals played as two-legged affairs. Alty finished fourth that season in the Conference North before losing the away leg of the semi-final at Brackley Town.
Undaunted, manager Lee Sinnott again guided the team to the play-offs in the following season, 2013-14, and this time Alty were successful in very dramatic circumstances, defeating Guiseley in the last minute of extra time.
Overall, therefore Alty have been successful twice in gaining promotion via play-offs, and unsuccessful once. In eight games they have won six, drawn one and lost one. None of the six victories has been by more than a single goal (other than in shoot-outs).Ashton United report that their "final fixture in the National League North saw the two Robins teams play out a 1-1 draw at a cold Hurst Cross in a match which ultimately had nothing hanging on it.
With the Ashton team already relegated only a win for the visitors would have been enough to overtake Spennymoor with their play-off place already assured.
It was the hosts off to a flyer as 2 minutes in Connor Dimaio’s run through midfield took him to the edge of the area from where he played in Liam Tomsett who swept the ball past Elliot Wynne...
Regan was then booked for catching Matty Chadwick on the break and Max Harrop’s resulting free kick was headed home at the far post by Jake Moult...
The second period had an inevitable relaxed feel about it... Tomsett could have won it for the home side as he followed Sam Sheridan’s pass into the area and hammered his effort against the right hand post. Poole missed another chance for the winner as he volleyed Hancock’s chest down narrowly wide of the Ashton goal".
- National: Danny Rowe (AFC Fylde)
- North: Glen Taylor (Spennymoor Town)
- South: Jamie Reid (Torquay United)
The National League adds that "Spennymoor Town supporters and their Manager are well aware that if things were different, they would be saying goodbye to their legendary leading scorer in a few weeks’ time.
School teacher Glen Taylor has been handing out lessons to defenders for years.
'Make no bones about it,' his manager Jason Ainsley said after convincing his striker to sign a new two-year deal in January. 'If Glen didn’t have a great job and a baby, we would be losing him this summer. There has been plenty of interest from National League and Football League clubs so we’re lucky his life has a great balance.'
We’ve all seen players’ form dip once they get a new deal, but Taylor was never going to tail off. After 19 goals last year in this division, he has 25 to his well-respected name this time around. He says 'Happiness comes before the status of being able to say you are a professional footballer'...
Taylor has it made after securing the National League North Player of the Year. Now he wants promotion to go alongside it."EvoStik League "enters the play-offs following the completion of the regular season over the weekend. In the Premier Division, South Shields and Warrington Town will be at home to Nantwich Town and Buxton, after Farsley Celtic prevailed in a thrilling title race.
Whoever wins the Premier Division play-offs will then have to proceed to a so-called "super play-off" against their Southern League Central equivalent...
In the West Division, late drama on the final day meant Leek Town secured a home tie against Colne, with Ramsbottom United travelling to Radcliffe".NL Daily we learn that a former Alty loanee, Liam King, and "Ross Hannah havw been named Gainsborough Trinity managers for next season. The pair had been in interim charge of the Evo-Stik Premier side, who missed out on a play-off place with a 1-0 home defeat to South Shields on the final day.
King said, 'This was honestly an opportunity not to be passed up. Gainsborough Trinity is a fantastic football club. The people here behind the scenes, the chairman, supporters, they are passionate people who care about this football club. All season, we have received fantastic backing, home and away. It has been the best interview for the job, these 11 games, to see if it’s something I could do, if it’s something I wanted to do, and I said yesterday if the chairman offered us it, I would have no problem accepting it.'"
King and Hannah succeeded former Alty boss Lee Sinnott at The Northolme.Cheshire Live tells us that "Chester FC joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have made their final decisions on who stays and who goes with the full list expected to be announced later this week.
The Blues played their 42nd and final National League North game of the season on Saturday, a 2-2 draw at Alfreton Town... Chester have only Scott Burton and Akwasi Asante under contract for next season and both Johnson and Morley have stated that they would be seeking to keep 'five or six' of the rest...
Two players already appear to know their fate with Steve Howson announcing his decision to retire from semi-professional football, stating he was offered terms by Chester for next season, while winger Ben McKenna appeared to say his goodbyes to fans and staff on social media over the weekend...
Johnson said 'We have made our decisions on every single player. What you are mindful of is letting go of a player in a certain position without a target that you potentially could get. We have got to be careful we don't leave ourselves short like last summer where we never recruited a left back and we couldn't get a centre forward in.'
The work for Chester bosses Johnson and Morley begins now as they look to swoop for targets in a host of positions that they believe will make them more of a force... Johnson added 'The target list for us started weeks and weeks ago, lads that you would want to sign if you had cash and lads that you sign if you didn't and had the same budget.
'We didn't have it last season and I've said it before and I don't mean it to be disrespectful but last summer the lads that we signed were the best players from a league or two below or lads who had played for me and Bernard in the past and waited for us to get a new job. That shows how well they have done because they were lads who other clubs said "we're not going to take a risk on them" but we did and we finished three points short of the play-offs... We are in a miles better position than we were last season.'"
And the Chester Standard adds that "George Green has become the latest player to announce that his time at Chester has come to an end...
Playmaker Green, who made just four starts for the Blues, took to Twitter to reveal his departure, writing, 'Unfortunately my time at Chester FC has come to an end... I’ve learnt more in this year than I have my whole career and take nothing but good memories and laughs with me'".
NL Daily reports that "Experienced defender Steve Howson is set to leave Chester FC. The 33-year-old former Salford City player signed a one-year contract with the club last June, reuniting with his former managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley".
Also from Chester FC comes comfirmation that "Anthony Dudley and Danny Livesey have both returned to their parent club, Salford City, upon completion of their loan deals."
The National League North team of the weekend did not include any Alty players.
- Goalkeeper: George Willis (Boston United)
- Defenders: Joe Tait (York City) Michael Liddle (Blyth Spartans) Shep Murombedzi (Brackley Town) Josh Wilde (Alfreton Town)
- Midfielders: Adam Thomas (Stockport County) Alex Purver (Guiseley) Liam Tomsett (Ashton United)
- Strikers: Matty Warburton (Stockport County) Louis Almond (Chorley) Glen Taylor (Spennymoor Town)
- Substitutes: Colby Bishop (Leamington) Robbie Dale (Blyth Spartans) Scott Burton (Chester) Ellis Deeney (AFC Telford) Lewis King (Spennymoor)
- Manager of the Weekend: Jim Gannon (Stockport County)
The Shropshire Star reports that "Gavin Cowan believes AFC Telford United will use their failure to reach the National League North play-offs as fuel for further success next season... It was a disappointing end to a great campaign, especially as they were in the play-off places for the vast majority of time over the past few months.
But Cowan said 'I’ve spoken to the players, we’re all competitors, and we have to use it as a platform. Speaking to the players, I could feel myself bubbling up, getting even more hungry for next season. We’re going to work hard to make sure that we hit the ground running in pre-season, and we’ll get there.
'This is the feeling you’re fearful of, so it’s about overcoming it and using it as a platform to become better.'
Telford went into the York game seven unbeaten but five of those were draws. Cowan conceded too many stalemates were the reason they did not realise their play-off dream. And when asked if the pressure got to them, Cowan said 'If that is the case, then it’s something they’ve got to learn to deal with... I don’t necessarily think it was that. I just think that it was fine margins.'
Cowan has now finished his first season in management, and added 'For a first stab at it, it’s not been a bad effort. If I’m totally honest, it’s a bitter pill to swallow... You have to use things like this as a platform. We need to go into next season with optimism'".
Despite losing on Saturday, it was Bradford (Park Avenue) who pipped the Bucks. "After a roller coaster season that saw Bradford top the league at Christmas before hitting a bad run of form in early 2019, the Avenue has secured the final playoff spot in a nail biting season finale. The next challenge for Bradford awaits this Wednesday at The Brewery Field, home of Spennymoor Town...
Avenue will be raring to go, having defied the bookies odds yet again to secure a playoff spot. Bradford narrowly lost to Chorley on Saturday, but will be buoyed by the superb performance that saw them briefly take the lead against the title contenders.
Bower’s men have already proven they can best the Moors home and away, haven taken all 6 points from the last two fixtures."
Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Leamington, the club’s final fixture of the season, was Tommy Wright’s last as Darlington manager after he was sacked on Friday night, with the club saying results 'have fallen short of expectations'.
A job advert has been placed on the Quakers’ website encouraging people to apply for the role, with bosses saying the new manager should be able 'take the club forward and build towards promotion to the National League.'
As part of the job advert, the club has also revealed they will particularly welcome applications from women and black and ethnic minority candidates and will guarantee an interview to suitably qualified individuals who meet the specification above...
Bosses say the new manage must have a UEFA ‘A’ Licence or be actively registered and studying for this qualification, as well as evidence of being able to apply coaching theory to ‘on pitch’ performance and influence game outcome positively by tactical knowledge and decision making, and the ability to manage, motivate and coach a first team squad to give of their best on the field.
The advert states, 'Much has been done to stabilise and build the club in recent years, such that the club now has a sound financial position, strong fanbase, a ground back in the town and a new academy team...
Darlington MP Jenny Chapman said, 'It would be great to have a female manager of Darlington– they need all the help they can get'...
Announcing Wright’s departure, David Johnston, Darlington’s chief executive officer, said 'This has been a difficult decision to make as Tommy is a talented young manager with a bright future ahead of him'".
Top of the charts are Stockport County with an average gate of 3,997, a rise of 15.59%, second are York City whose average of 2,501 was a change of -9.22% on last season's record. Altrincham lie tenth with what is stated to be a rise of 55.24% to 1,245.
Two of the bottom five as regards attendances are clubs in the play-offs. 18th are Brackley Town who are averaging 616, a rise of 19.61%; 20th are Bradford Park Avenue whose gates rose by 5.43% to 524. Bottom of the pile are the two Ashton clubs, Curzon averaged 450 whilst Ashton United's 360 was an amazing increase of 86.53% on last season.
In contrast, relegated FC United of Manchester had the division's fourth-highest attendance.
FC United of Manchester's "season came to an end with a late 1-0 defeat at promotion chasing Brackley Town on Saturday afternoon...
With nearest rivals Ashton United drawing 1-1 at home to Altrincham, the Robins leapfrogged FC United but both clubs were a long way short of safety and fourth from bottom Guiseley".
The decision to reduce the price was made immediately after full time at Saturday’s 5-0 victory over Curzon Ashton to encourage as many people as possible to attend the game.
This decision has been taken out of the club’s hands because of a disagreement over price with Bradford Park Avenue (BPA). As per league rules, BPA receive half of the gate revenue from the match and, as such, the Yorkshire club were not willing to allow either set of fans to attend for a reduced price.
The match admission will remain at the club’s usual price of £12 for adults, £9 for concessions, £4 for under 18s and FREE for under 10s.
Tony Wilson, Managing Director, said 'Firstly, we’d like to apologise to the supporters of both Spennymoor and BPA for having to cancel the planned discount. The goal was to give as many people as possible the opportunity to attend such an exciting, high-profile football match'".
Joe Ironside netted his 19th goal of the season from the penalty spot but, at that stage, it proved to be too little too late.
The visitors had eased themselves into a two goal lead; Andy Halls scoring a penalty of his own before the break, before Jack Dyche squeezed an effort through the grasp of Tom Palmer to double the advantage.
A frustrating and, at times, apathetic afternoon saw Harriers condemned to their sixteenth defeat of the season, comfortably more than any other of the teams making up the top ten, with only three teams outside the relegation zone losing more.
It wasn't an afternoon bereft of any positives - Jaiden White was handed his first ever start in senior football at just 17 years and 25 days old, and performed admirably...
The final whistle called time on a season to forget for Harriers and their fans. A tenth-place finish may seem half respectable in isolation, but falls far below the expectations of everyone associated with the club, not least its fans, after such a strong start. Dropped standards must now be raised again and kept there ahead of what must be a better season, all around, in 2019/20."
Chorley made three changes from Easter Monday with Adam Anson, Stephen Jordan & Louis Almond coming in for Matt Challoner, Andy Teague & Josh Wilson.
Chorley: Urwin; Anson, Blakeman, Jordan (c), Leather (O’Keefe, 60′), Meppen-Walter, A.Newby, Cottrell (Hooper, 79′), Carver (Tuton, 68′), Almond, E.Newby. Subs not used: Hanley, Eccles.
Bradford: Andrew; Ross, Lowe, Nowakowski (East, 72′), Killock (c), Havern, Spencer, Branson, Beesley, Johnson (Clee, 56′), Knight (Lewis-Potter, 90′). Subs not used: Crichlow-Noble, Hurst...
The game looked as though it would finish as a draw, with Bradford particularly happy with this outcome. But with a minute remaining Almond wriggled free of his marker to fire in off the post to, completing his hat trick and giving Chorley 81 points on the season".
29 April 2019
Above: The line-up against Hereford shows an 'X' beneath each of the six players who did not subsequently start at Ashton.
Below: The line-up versus Ashton displays a tick below each of the players brought into the starting eleven at Hurst Cross.
Hopefully, like Altrincham supporters, Blyth Spartans will be kept guessing, too, about the eleven who will face them at kick-off on Wednesday!National League informs us that "Blyth Spartans' legend Robbie Dale revealed he tried to duck taking the penalty to confirm the club’s play-off place but couldn’t find anyone to take it!
Dale had already scored from the spot and a second success against Southport would confirm their play-off place. But he prefers to just take one per game so wanted someone to step in. But he revealed on the club’s video service , 'I had a little look around for the second penalty to see if anyone wanted it. I don’t like to take two in one game but there wasn’t, so I took it again and thankfully scored.'
The win secured a National League North Eliminator at Altrincham on Wednesday for the very much in-form Spartans.
'It doesn’t matter who we play, they are one off games and anything can happen,' he added. 'If you get that little bit of luck, you’ll be in the next game. But we know Altrincham are a good side. We have been really relaxed out the whole situation. We have been outsiders for so long.'”
- Altrincham v Blyth Spartans, winners away at Chorley on Sunday 5 May
- Spennymoor Town v Bradford (PA), winners away at Brackley Town, on Sunday 5 May
Tuesday 30 April Semi-Finals
- South Shields v Buxton
- Warrington Town v Nantwich Town
Relegated from the NPL are Workington and Neil Young's Marine, whilst North Ferriby United failed to complete the season. For Marine it is a first relegation in their 125-year history. Promoted from Division One East are Morpeth Town and from the West, Atherton Collieries, with play-offs to determine the remaining outcomes.
- Match A – AFC Fylde vs Harrogate Town (kick-off: 7pm)
Thursday 2nd May 2019 Eliminator
- Match B – Wrexham vs Eastleigh (kick-off: 7pm)
Saturday 4th May 2019 Semi Final
- Solihull Moors vs winner of Match A (kick-off: 12.30pm)
Sunday 5th May 2019 Semi Final
- Salford City vs winner of Match B (kick-off: 3.30pm)
On Sunday, 5 May, Altrincham are away at Hyde United.
On Saturday, Trafford beat Market Drayton Town 3-2 and their side included Laurence Taylor and Darius Palma. Palma scored two of the goals.Northern Echo reports that "Comparable to pre-season friendlies in being devoid of a competitive element, mid-table matches of minimal consequence are commonplace at this time of year, and Darlington versus Leamington could not have felt more worthless.
It ended 1-1, two teams with little to play for other than where they finished in obscurity, essentially it was two bald men fighting over a comb, but this one was unusual due to Tommy Wright’s departure. Played the day after the night before, when Quakers had made their Wright decision, it made for a strange scenario given that departing managers do not usually stick around for an encore.
Friday evening’s announcement took the sting out of what could have been a hostile close to the campaign with those most eager for change eager to state their case. Instead, the day became a farewell rally, a chance for everyone to say their goodbyes. Darlington had initially planned to make the announcement on Sunday, but Wright asked for it to be brought forward so that all concerned knew what was happening before kick-off.
Supporters’ opinion on the manager’s exit has been a mixture of relief and regret, but all are united in wishing him well, and Wright wishes the best for a club towards which he bears no grudge or bitterness. He has accepted the decision with dignity, saying of his 18-month tenure, 'I’ve loved it. It was a job that I wanted because I’ve got fond memories of the place as a player and as a manager. I’m disappointed not to be here anymore, but that’s football'...
He said 'I’ve loved representing the club, I’ve done it three times now and I am gutted to be leaving, but it had to happen on the basis that the fans are staying away. When the majority want change you have to accept it and move on. I did my best and it wasn’t to be'.
There were no tears, but he would have needed a heart of stone not to be moved by the reaction, both from the terraces and the ovation in the bar afterwards when a few kind words about Wright were said by former board member John Tempest to those who had stayed behind after what was the most inconsequential of matches. For the record, Jordan Nicholson put Darlington ahead just before half-time with a rasping finish following a Stephen Thompson pass, his 11th goal of the season and enough to ensure he ends the campaign as Quakers’ top scorer.
Second half, Darlington summarised their season by failing to kill off the opposition... Quelle surprise, slack defending led to a Leamington leveller on 78 minutes, unchallenged Colby Bishop side-footed home after good work by substitute Elliott Hodge. It was the 21st game in which Darlington scored the first goal this season, and then the tenth time they had failed to win.
Wright added, 'You can always do more, you can affect games and you be critical of yourself. It’s a results business and there’s been games this season when we were in really a comfortable position but drawn when should’ve won, and if we had than I probably would still be manager. But, ultimately, the stuff that I’ve done off the pitch has not been enough and I accept it. I’ve got no regrets, I’ve got no ill feeling towards anybody and I move on and so does the football club.'
The point means Leamington ended in 13th, their highest position since resurrecting in 2000, but for Darlington their 16th place finish is their lowest since promotion to the National League North three years ago..
Clearly Wright would not have chosen to sell Reece Styche in October, a move made with focus on the balance sheet and not the football pitch... They won three of the 12 games before his departure.
Wright added 'I wanted to manage the team I put together at the start of the season. That didn’t end up happening. Ultimately we cut the budget too quickly in October. I think we panicked and that’s something the board have probably learnt from, I think they’d admit that they panicked. But we get on with it, I didn’t moan about it, I dealt with things as well as I could and I’ve loved every minute of it.'
When the budget was cut three times, should he have been more forthcoming to supporters in order to make it clear reaching the play-offs was now out of reach? 'If I had done, what would it have achieved apart from forging a massive wedge between me and the board?' he said... 'I accepted the job not knowing the budget or the finances. I came in during the October, in the November there was a board meeting when I wondered what I had walked into to because it was doom and gloom. But it meant something to me to be given an opportunity here'".
Avenue finished the campaign in seventh place, ahead of AFC Telford courtesy of a better goal difference of one [i.e. one goal better than the Bucks'] after the Shropshire side lost 1-0 at York City.
Boss Mark Bower expressed his pride after his side reached the top seven play-offs for the second successive season. He said 'It was a bit of a strange way to do it, we were looking for a positive result and although we didn’t get it we played well and we’re in there with a chance. Over the 42 games of the season we were one of the seven best clubs in the league and that is some achievement because we certainly haven’t got one of the biggest squads.
'We sat down with the directors at the start of the season and discussed the playing budget and expectations and we all said that a top-half finish would be a really good season. But we’ve done better than that and finished seventh again, the same as last season, and we’re delighted to be in the play-offs. With the small squad we’ve got we’ve done better than expected and the players deserve the credit that they’ll get from that.
'You only need to look at some of the clubs that we’ve finished above to realise just how well we’ve done, some really good sides have missed out on the play-offs. But we’re in it and the pressure’s off to an extent because the other clubs will be expected to go further than we do but we’ll give it our all and see where it takes us.'
Avenue lost by the odd goal in five in a nervy encounter at Chorley’s Victory Park as the hosts looked to reclaim the top spot they had lost the previous week...
News that York had beaten Telford mean[s that] Avenue are in the play-offs at Spennymoor."
Guiseley "wrapped up a roller-coaster season with a 2-1 win at Kidderminster Harriers this afternoon to seal nineteenth position in the table with a total of 44 points, nine ahead of relegated Ashton United.
The Lions took the lead just before halftime as Andy Hall stroked home a penalty after George Cantrill had been fouled just inside the area. Jack Dyche doubled their advantage on 68 minutes courtesy of Harriers keeper Sam Austin fumbling his shot as it bounced over the line.
Marcus Dewhurst had pulled off several crucial saves to maintain the Lions' lead but was finally beaten by Joe Ironside's spot-kick twelve minutes from time. But it it proved to be too little too late from the home side as the visitors held out for their second succesive victory."
The Tigers were moved to the southern division of the sixth tier of English football two years ago after previously spending eight years in the north but, as all four relegated clubs from the National League are based in the south, they have been expected to move back... Mawford scored three goals in 32 appearances for Gloucester, who finished 17th... But he will leave after just one season to join Weston, who finished bottom of National League South, due to geographical reasons.
He wrote on Twitter 'I leave with a heavy heart but with the club competing in the North next season and with me living in south Somerset I felt I had little choice'"
His move may be premature as rumours persist of one or more of the unrelegated National League clubs seeking voluntary demotion for financial reasons.
28 April 2019
Above: Jake Moult, between Ashton's no.5. and no.9, heads Altrincham's goal.
In a match whose quality matched the poor weather in which it was played, a much-changed Altrincham team was unable to get the better of relegated Ashton who played for more than half of the match with ten men. And, had Liam Tomsett's late shot not come back off the upright, the outcome might have been worse.
Manager Phil Parkinson opted to rest numerous players in advance of Wednesday's play-off at home to Blyth Spartans. Six of the team which had started against Hereford last time out did not start today and several of the survivors were played out of position.
Ashton took a second-minute lead when Alty failed to challenge an advance up the middle and Tomsett was played in. The former Alty loanee made it 1-0 as he slotted the ball past Elliot Wynne who had been left exposed. Altrincham levelled in the 19th minute when Moult headed home a Harrop freekick.
With the hosts' Ashworth having been dismissed for a second offence, Alty saw a lot of the ball in the second half but Poole's misdirected header from a Johnston cross was the nearest they came to winning the match.
More on the match, here.
With Altrincham confirmed in the play-offs before kick off, Saturday's games elsewhere confirmed that it would be Blyth Spartans who are to visit the J. Davidson Stadium on Wednesday night. The winners will travel to Chorley next Sunday in the semi-finals of the play-offs.
Winner of the Goal of Season for 2018-19 was Josh Hancock's excellent effort at York City.
The Young Player of the Season was named as John Johnston (24).
Mike Garnett's records tell us the historical record of Altrincham against Blyth Spartans:
- Home: 9-5-3-1-17-10
- Away: 12-3-5-4-18-19
- All: 21-8-8-5-35-29
Spartans confirmed their place in the play-offs when two Robbie Dale penalties saw them beat Southport 2-1 at Croft Park on Saturday. They are the top team in the league's form guide, having won seven on the bounce. Indeed, it is the second time they have achieved seven wins on the run this season, though their earlier sequence included cup matches. The current unbeaten run of ten league games unbeaten started, ironically, with a draw at Altrincham on 5 March.
Following their win on Saturday, Blyth's manager, Alun Armstrong, told the NL Paper, "Ten games in we were looking at relegation and fourth-bottom would have done us", he said. At that point Spartans had just two wins and a draw to their name.
He continued, "I brought in what was needed and... to finish where we have is a phenomenal achievement. We made hard work of it today... In the end I think we deserved the win. The club's situation has only driven the players on".
Before Spartans confirmed their place in the play-offs, the New Post Leader reported that "Blyth Spartans chairman Tony Platten has confirmed that the club’s committee is 'eager for this club to progress up the pyramid' ahead of Saturday’s crucial home fixture against Southport...
Alun Armstrong’s men... would [become] the first in the club’s history to take part in the play-offs in the second level of the non-league system.
Preparations for the game [at Southport] have been dominated by discussions surrounding the Croft Park club’s future and whether the committee wanted to secure promotion into non-league football’s top-flight.
But... in a statement released on the club website Platten commented 'For the first time the club has the chance to reach the play-offs of the National League North, and potentially reach the National League. This [at Southport] is the biggest game for Blyth in over 40 years.
'The support for the team has been fantastic this season.... It is the fans that are the lifeblood of this club, and there is no better place to watch football at Croft Park when the stands are packed to the rafters... Contrary to popular belief, myself and the executive committee are eager for this club to progress up the pyramid, and promotion through the play-offs would be the ideal situation for us to end this wonderful season'"
- Att. 530 Alfreton Town 2 - 2 Chester 2
- Att. 484 Ashton United 1 - 1 Altrincham
- Att. 1491 Blyth Spartans 2 - 1 Southport
- Att. 935 Brackley Town 1 - 0 FC United of Manchester
- Att. 1575 Chorley 3 - 2 Bradford (Park Avenue)
- Att. TBC Curzon Ashton 0 - 5 Spennymoor Town
- Att. 1145 Darlington 1 - 1 Leamington
- Att. 2232 Hereford 0 - 2 Boston United
- Att. 1354 Kidderminster Harriers 1 - 2 Guiseley
- Att. 4054 Nuneaton Borough 0 - 3 Stockport County
- Att. 2864 York City 1 - 0 AFC Telford United
Avenue travel to second-placed Chorley occupying the final play-off spot in seventh on goal difference. But AFC Telford United are breathing down Avenue's necks, level on points in eighth place, and visit York City...
Bradford will need to either match Telford’s result at a strong York City, or better in-form Blyth’s result at home to Southport. Blyth are just a point above Avenue in fifth spot.
As if things could not be any tighter, Avenue and Blyth have the same goal difference, with Telford just a goal worse.
Bower's men have been in the top-seven mix all season, and even held top spot for a while, but a 1-0 loss at Darlington on Good Friday, followed by a 3-1 home defeat to York City on Easter Monday, have left their promotion hopes on a last-day knife edge.
Avenue secured a play-off spot on the final day of last season after they grabbed a last-gasp 2-1 win at Kidderminster Harriers and Bower hopes Lady Luck will again favour his charges 12 months on.
He said, 'It always goes to the last day with me, it seems. We've been in this position before... It's a strange one; we could lose and go into the play-offs, or we could win and not go into the play-offs. There are a few permutations...
'It has not quite been going for us the last few weeks. But we are where we are...It has been a rollercoaster over the last couple of seasons... It has been a really, really good season for us.'"
27 April 2019
- Alfreton Town 2-2 Chester
- Ashton United 1-1 Altrincham
- Blyth Spartans 2-1 Southport (Blyth qualify for play-offs)
- Brackley Town 1-0 FC United of Manchester
- Chorley 3-2 Bradford (Park Avenue) (BPA qualify for play-offs)
- Curzon Ashton 0-5 Spennymoor Town
- Darlington 1-1 Leamington
- Hereford 0-2 Boston United
- Kidderminster Harriers 1-2 Guiseley
- Nuneaton Borough 0-3 Stockport County (County win the title)
- York City 1-0 AFC Telford United (Telford miss out on the play-offs by one goal)
That is a position Alty have been in before as, exactly six years ago, Altrincham's play-off opponents were likewise uncertain so posters at Moss Lane showed the opposition to be either Guiseley or Brackley Town.
On Sunday, 28 April 2013, after the opposition had been determined the day before, chairman Grahame Rowley was busy with his paste, changing the posters, as shown in the adjacent image. On that occasion, Brackley Town were the opponents and the Northants club won the tie over two legs. This year, of course, all of the play-off matches are one-offs but, if Alty win their game on Wednesday, Brackley could again be their destination.
A further coincidence is that on this day in 1998, as Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years confirm, Altrincham entertained Spennymoor's predecessors, Spennymoor United, at Moss Lane. On that day, Alty won 4-0.
In fact, on the last four occasions that Altrincham have had a game on this date, they have won each time, scoring fifteen times without conceding. And the last time Alty played on this date, it was also against an already relegated club from Tameside, Droylsden.
- 1998 v Spennymoor United, at home, in the UniBond League Premier, won 4-0
- 1999 v Frickley Athletic, away, in the UniBond League Premier, won 3-0
- 2002 v Worksop Town, home, in the UniBond League Premier, won 2-0
- 2013 v Droylsden, home, in the Blue Square Bet North, won 6-0
The game against The Bloods in 2013, as the score suggests, was a one-sided match. A much-changed Altrincham cruised to a 4-0 interval lead against relegated Droylsden. Nicky Clee started the rout with a right-foot chip over goalkeeper Latham. Four minutes later Jake Moult hammered home a second from 15 yards. Ryan Brooke's fierce drive made it 3-0 after 29 minutes before the same player headed home a corner in first-half added time.
Two goals midway through the half made it 6-0; Moult taking advantage of a keeper error before James Lawrie beat the keeper in a one on one.
Pre-match fitness doubts concerned Carl Rodgers and fellow midfielder, Danny Boshell and they were two of the six starters of the previous Tuesday's game not to be in the initial eleven for this game. Rested were goalkeeper Stuart Coburn, Matt Doughty, Duncan Watmore and Damian Reeves. Matt was on the bench and, for Damian, it was the first game he had not started in the league season. The six replacements were goalkeeper Tony McMillan, who was making his debut, plus Danny Hall, Patrick Lacey, Simon Richman, Ryan Brooke and Jake Moult.
Droylsden included former Alty men Carlos Logan and Joe O'Neill in their starting line-up but Lewis Chalmers was only on the bench.
ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony McMILLAN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Scott LEATHER, 4. Pat LACEY, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Danny HALL, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Jake MOULT, 9. Ryan BROOKE, 10. James LAWRIE, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 12. Matt DOUGHTY, 14. Damian REEVES, 15. Sam GRIMSHAW, 16. Callum MOONEY, 18. Josh SAMBERG
DROYLSDEN: 1. Dale Latham, 2. Lewis Killeen, 3. Carlos Logan, 4. Andy Langford, 5. Lee McEvilly, 6. Robert Sissons (cpt), 7. Steve Hall, 8. Luke Gallagher, 9. Joe O'Neill, 10. John Grant, 11. Jason Gilchrist. Subs: 12. Matt Ward, 14. Stefan Cox, 15. Lewis Chalmers, 16. Nick Crerand, 17. Aeon Lattie
Above, right, Alty players are seen after the game in 2013. They are, left to right, Jake Moult, Scott Leather, Tony McMillan, Ryan Brooke, Paddy Lacey and captain, Shaun Densmore.
Mike Garnett's records reveal the previous record against Ashton United:
- Home: P35-W23-D5-L7-F106-A55
- Away: P33-W10-D8-L15-F61-A83
- All: P68-W33-D13-L22-F167-A138
Following consultation between the FA, Manchester County FA, the League Insurers and the club, the League Emergency Committee has no choice but to cancel the game. Given this was the last game of the season, the game will not be played at a later date. A decision on the outcome of the game will be made in due course".
And the EvoStik League reports that "The Northern Premier League is delighted to confirm it has been successful in its bid to run the new eighth division at Step 4 from the 2020/21 season. Further details will be revealed in due course and the League looks forward to working with all parties in the coming months as we finalise our strategy for the integration of the new member clubs.
The additional division will run alongside the two existing two Northern Premier League East and West Divisions at Step 4, below the NPL Premier Division at Step 3.
NPL chairman, Mark Harris, said 'Everyone at the NPL is thrilled to have been successful with this bid and it is testament to the quality and professionalism that the League displays both from an administration point of view and by member clubs. We do our utmost to support our member clubs to reach the highest standards and we look forward to welcoming another division’s worth in to our set up to enable us to continue improving the NPL as a whole.'"Darlington "Following discussions between the Darlington FC board and manager Tommy Wright, the decision has been agreed to part ways for the benefit of the football club, therefore Saturday’s home game against Leamington will be Tommy’s last game in charge.
David Johnston, Darlington FC Chief Executive Officer, said 'This has been a difficult decision to make as Tommy is a talented young manager with a bright future ahead of him. As a board we have to balance that potential versus current results which ultimately haven’t been good enough this season'...
Chris Stockdale, Darlington FC Supporters Group Chair said... 'In many areas he has helped moved our club forward, notably with the launch of our own academy and he has generated significant transfer income from player sales. On a personal level he has been a pleasure to work with, conducting himself with dignity and grace regardless of circumstances. Ultimately results on the pitch this season have fallen short of expectations but Tommy remains a talented young manager and coach and I wish him every success in the future'.
Tommy took over as manager in October 2017, and guided the club to a 12th placed finish last season. The club is in 16th place going into the last game of the season. Alan White will remain in his post as assistant manager, and will continue to look after the academy during the summer. In the meantime, the board will now commence the search for a new manager".
From York Press we learn that ""York City boss Steve Watson is looking to recruit up to ten new faces over the summer. The Minstermen will wrap up their National League North programme at home to AFC Telford United on Saturday with a second successive mid-table finish guaranteed.
But 17 of the senior squad, including on-loan quintet Tom Bradbury, Scott Burgess, Paddy McLaughlin, David Mirfin and Jasper Moon, are not contracted to the Minstermen beyond this weekend, with Adam Bartlett, Hamza Bencherif, Alex Harris, Simon Heslop, Alex Kempster, Macaulay Langstaff, Josh Law, Adriano Moke, Jon Parkin, Dan Parslow, Joe Tait and Ryan Whitley all currently without confirmed employers for next season.
Watson has revealed that the club are in discussions with some existing players concerning deals for next season but admitted that his close-season recruitment drive could hit double-figures depending on how many are retained.
'With the number of players that are signed for next season, we probably need to bring in about ten to start with, but that all depends on whether any of the lads we are talking to decide to stay, including the loan players,' the City chief explained...
'We’ve constantly been looking at where we need to strengthen... If we’re being ambitious, then we might be asking players to drop down one or two leagues, so it’s about selling York City and I think we’re in a really good position to do that. Bootham Crescent is still a great ground anyway, but we’ve got a fantastic stadium on the way, great training facilities, a big crowd, strong infrastructure and a beautiful city to live in. There’s so much going for the club and I’m hoping that will entice people here'...
Having held talks with the board, Watson went on to add that next season’s playing budget will be sufficient to secure promotion... 'I’m confident about the budget and always knew it would be enough to get us promoted, as it should have been during the last two seasons,' Watson declared. 'I was always going to be happy with the budget, considering what I worked with in the league above when we put a team together that was in the play-offs whilst I was there. Gateshead don’t own their stadium, so it was a completely different scenario and a lot of players came to play for me and Micky and enjoyed it. We had a lot on trial at the start of pre-season who we then signed like Greg Olley, Steven Rigg, Scott Boden and Mike Williamson and they all did great.
'We only had five players signed when we returned for the summer, because the chairman wouldn’t allow us to bring anybody in before he had sold the club. But, this summer, I’ll be expecting to start pre-season with between 12 and 15 players, then add to that as we go.'
Telford go into this weekend’s match still hoping to grab a play-off place and could join top-seven sides Altrincham, Chorley and Spennymoor in completing a double over the Minstermen this season... Watson said 'Telford need to win so will be flat to the boards... From February onwards, our form has been as good as anybody’s really and, if we had put a season together like that, we’d definitely be in the play-offs. But I’d still like to dominate another team who have been in the play-offs. That would give the lads as much belief as I have, because I don’t feel there’s much difference in this league between seven or eight teams outside of the top two, who have been the most consistent and are fighting for the title.'
City are expected to be without Jake Wright, who has missed the last two matches with a hamstring problem, as well as Jon Parkin (knee), Simon Heslop (knee) and Dan Parslow (concussion). Midfielder Adriano Moke is also doubtful after missing out at Bradford with groin and knee problems".
York Press adds that "Out of contract striker Macaulay Langstaff... has ended the season stronger than any other squad member since returning from a loan spell with Bradford Park Avenue last month, netting five times and claiming four assists in seven outings for his parent club.
The 22-year-old forward will be a free agent after tomorrow’s home match with Telford, but is hoping he to be offered new terms for the 2019/20 campaign, insisting, 'I definitely want to be here next season 100 per cent'...
Langstaff has impressed for City as the left-sided operator in a three-pronged strike force and confesses that he has probably changed his opinion in terms of what he feels is his strongest position on a football field.
'Before I went on loan, I’d have probably said I preferred playing centre-forward, but I’ve gained a lot of confidence playing off the left side for them and York,' he explained. 'I’ve been taught a lot about movement inside and playing off the striker or running in behind him, so it’s not really been a case of being out on the left wing, because I’m playing as a striker really.'
Langstaff scored his tenth City goal of the season at Bradford... 'The opportunities I missed against Spennymoor were on my left foot, but I managed to get this one on to my right before slotting it in the corner... [BPA] are a good, strong football team and, when I was there, they were very hard to play against'".
According to NL Daily "After it was announced yesterday that Leamington loanee Jordan Murphy had been recalled by parent club Solihull Moors, it has since been confirmed that he cannot yet rejoin Moors. The FA have informed Solihull that they are unable to recall the young midfielder until both clubs’ respective league seasons have concluded, meaning that he will now be available for Leamington’s trip to Darlington on Saturday.
Despite a recall provision originally being agreed by all parties, Solihull Moors say they were informed by The FA that it cannot be implemented due to the original registration in January being on a ‘long-term loan’ basis. Murphy’s registration will therefore revert to Moors on April 28th upon completion of his loan at Leamington". It would have been interesting for the National League promotion race had he played for Moors tomorrow.
Cowan's men start the day in eighth knowing they will clinch a top-seven spot if they better the result of Bradford Park Avenue, who are away to second-placed Chorley. They will also make the play-offs even if they lose as long as Avenue are also beaten and their loss is two goals heavier. The Bucks could also overhaul sixth-placed Blyth with a draw and a two-goal loss for Spartans, or if Bucks win and Spartans fail to beat Southport at home...
'I'm in there for these moments,' said the New Buck's Head chief... 'I'm in there for the high stakes moments. I'm not in it for languishing in mid-table, I want to be right in the mix. Sometimes there's a building process but the process is infinity, there is no end to it.'
The Bucks had looked well set for a play-off place a few weeks back but a run of one win in six games, of which five have been draws, has put their spot in jeopardy.... 'I suppose for the nerves it's always good to be in there and be comfortable but sometimes that can scupper momentum,' he added... Midfielder Ellis Deeney is available after completing his three-match suspension for his red card at Chorley".
Blyth Spartans report that "It’s the moment of reckoning... as we host Southport this afternoon knowing three points would secure a play-off berth. Alun Armstrong’s side are currently sixth... after Easter Monday’s late victory over FC United of Manchester.
Adam Wrightson’s 91st minute winner means that Spartans have their path to the play-offs in their own hands; all they need to do is win. Spartans could potentially secure a play-off spot even if they lose or draw. If either Bradford Park Avenue or AFC Telford United lose, Blyth will enter the playoffs for the first time.
Southport sit 13th in the National League North and Spartans will be looking to deny to Merseysiders a symmetry to their results... They picked up just eight points from their first 14 league games this campaign before turning the tide by going 12-games unbeaten including eight victories. They’ve won just two of their last nine games in the National League North and have safety secured for another year".
Chester FC say that "It’s been a campaign packed with ups, downs, plenty of excitment and lots to build on! The Blues can seal a 9th placed finish tomorrow if they can better Kidderminster Harriers’ result. Bern and Jonno’s side sit four points off the play offs going into the last game.
Alfreton, likewise, have nothing but pride to play for. They sit in 15th position, 11 points behind Chester going into tomorrow".
From Chorley we learn that "The Magpies (2nd, 78pts) head into the final day of the season knowing a win could be enough to claim the National League North title...
Chorley are guaranteed second spot and will take the National League North title if they win and Stockport draw/lose at Nuneaton. A draw would also be enough if Stockport lose. If Stockport win then Victory Park will play host to a playoff semi-final on Sunday, May 5 (3pm) between The Magpies and the winner of the 5th v 6th playoff quarter-final. A Chorley victory in the semi-final would result in the playoff final being held at Victory Park the following Sunday, May 12 (3pm).
Bradford sit in the last playoff spot, a position they finished in last season, on goal difference from Telford. They can’t guarantee a post-season berth with a win, but could finish as high as sixth. A draw or defeat may also mean playoff football for the West Yorkshire side, but it would depend on the Blyth Spartans & Telford games.
After a surprise playoff semi-final appearance last season, Avenue embarked on this campaign in confident mood with manager Mark Bower tied up to a new contract. Going neck-and-neck with Chorley through Christmas it looked as though Bradford would hang around right until the bitter end, before two lean spells in the second half of the campaign saw BPA drop down the places, with a playoff place now in the balance following last week’s defeat at the hands of York City.
Manager Jamie Vermiglio said, 'We were disappointed after Monday that the title is now out of our hands and that we are most likely going to have to win promotion via the playoffs instead. However, this game remains very important and we’re going to go out and give it everything to secure another victory. Our home record is the best in the league and if we have to prove it one or three more times then we will'...
The Magpies will rubber stamp the best home record in the division with a 15th Victory Park success on Saturday".
In advance of the visit of Stockport County, Nuneaton Borough report that "Owner/Manager Jimmy Ginnelly [says]... 'We have been relegated but given the circumstances, it is a big achievement to been able to get the Boro the end of the National League North season. As well as this, Stockport County have the chance to win the league.
I was honoured to be offered the manager’s position of the Boro’ in late November 2018 & after a great start it soon became very apparent that off the field issues were at a critical stage & the Football Club’s debt were escalating by the day. I now had a difficult decision to make. Walk away from my home town club who I have supported since I was a boy, played for in their youth & reserves sides & always hoped one day would manage which would surely mean letting our great club go out of existence? I simply could not let this happen.
So, on the 28th of February, I became owner and chairman of the club alongside my manager’s role. That’s when the real non-stop hard work started! I will never be more grateful or thankful enough for all the help, generosity, hard work & spirit shown from the Nuneaton people to keep our towns club alive & kicking. It’s been a truly wonderful & humbling time to see so many good people coming together with the same goal to save the Boro.
We still have some very tough times ahead without doubt, however we now have a pathway forward & with additional hard work, honesty & most importantly increasing transparency we now have a future'".
Meanwhile at Spennymoor Town report that the Moors are "at Curzon Ashton on Saturday, but one eye will be on the play-offs as Jason Ainsley’s side look to pip Brackley to third spot... There is still a chance to claim a valuable bye to the semi-final stage should Brackley slip up at home to FC United.
Glen Taylor’s goal in the dying stages of Easter Monday’s dramatic clash with Chorley had huge repercussions around the league, with Stockport taking poll position in the title race, but Ainsley will be more concerned about continuing a fine run of form which has seen Moors gather a serious surge of momentum as the season reaches its nail-biting conclusion.
Saturday’s opponents Curzon Ashton may seem like ideal opponents with the Manchester side having nothing to play for and in the midst of a rotten run of form, but Moors must be wary of a side they are yet to beat since promotion to this level in 2017. Defeat at The Tameside Stadium coupled with an Altrincham win at relegated Ashton United could see Moors drop to 5th with Alty boasting the better goal difference.
In order for Moors to break into the top three, Brackley must drop points at home to Northern Premier League bound FC United, allowing Ainsley’s side to move above them with three points."EvoStik League which states that "Farsley Celtic will be crowned champions of the EVO-STIK League Premier Division and will be promoted to the National League North if they avoid defeat at home to Marine FC this weekend.
Although the Villagers picked up a victory away at Whitby Town last Saturday, they were denied promotion there-and-then after South Shields’ late winner against Scarborough Athletic. With three points separating the sides, Farsley know that even a draw will guarantee top spot. However, Marine will be no pushovers as they currently sit just two points above the drop zone and could be relegated if other results go against them.
Should Farsley fall to their first defeat in nine league games, second-placed Shields will be waiting eagerly to capitalise. The Mariners travel to the Northolme to take on Gainsborough Trinity, who are in a two-way fight for the final play-off place with Buxton, who host third-placed Warrington Town.
The outcomes of those two games will be crucial for all four sides, with the team finishing second in the league the recipient of potentially three home ties in the play-offs, should they make it all the way to the ‘super play-off.’ If South Shields only draw, Warrington can leapfrog them with a win on the final day.
The only other side competing in the top six this weekend is Nantwich Town, fresh off the back of a win over Cammell Laird 1907 in the Cheshire Senior Cup Final. With nothing to play for, the Dabbers will simply be out to extend their three-match winning run as they travel to Basford.
At the other end of the table, Mickleover, Stalybridge and Marine will all be fighting for their survival. Mickleover currently occupy the final relegation spot, and they visit a Bamber Bridge side that have picked up just five points from a possible 21 at home, while Stalybridge can finish above Grantham when the Gingerbreads visit Bower Fold... If both Sports and Celtic pick up crucial victories, Marine will need to pick up a draw to stay out of the drop zone".
As previously reported the Cheshire Senior Cup Final 2019 ended in a 5-2 win for Nantwich Town over Cammell Laird 1907. The Hallmark Security League reports that "Despite a spirited performance, there was ultimately no cup glory for Cammell Laird 1907 as they fell to defeat against Nantwich Town in the Cheshire Senior Cup final at Altrincham’s J. Davidson Stadium.
The gulf of 74 places and three divisions between the teams had always looked likely to be a tough one for Lairds to bridge, but it took until the midway point in the second half before their Evo-Stik League opponents began to take control. Lairds were still very much in the game at half time, with a Josh Brabin free-kick getting them back in the game after Nantwich had built a two goal lead thanks to a penalty from Sean Cooke and a second goal from Matt Bell.
But although they held their own for long spells, they were unable to cope with the firepower of a team that will finish 4th in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division and once Nantwich had built a 4-1 lead going into the final 20 minutes, there was never any doubt about the final outcome".
26 April 2019 Ashton United report that "The Robins face The Robins on Saturday.
Ashton United host Altrincham FC at Hurst Cross on Saturday afternoon, in what is their final game of the season and also their last game in the Vanarama National League North.
Ashton’s previous league game was a 2-1 away defeat at Boston United in the Vanarama National League North. The Lincolnshire club and the Robins scored all their goals in the first half, with the Pilgrims taking the lead in the second minute. Ashton equalised in the 31st minute when Jamie Reed slotted past the keeper but only held on for 3 minutes after a free-kick for the home side found its way to Cresswell who made no mistake at finishing the ball.
For Altrincham, their last game came against Hereford where both teams shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at home. Jordan Hulme opened the scoring for Alty in the 54th minute but Hereford managed to level the score 10 minutes later through a Tom Owen-Evans rebound and held on to the result.
Ashton head into the game with nothing to play for due to the result on Easter Monday which confirmed that the Robins would not play Vanarama National League North football next season. Over their last 5 games, Ashton obtained 4 points with an emphatic 3-0 win against Spennymoor Town and more recently a 1-1 draw against Guiseley. Their last 2 games were both losses to top-half opposition which sadly ensured their fate for next season.
Altrincham travel to Hurst Cross unbeaten away from home since late January, a run which included a 6-0 thrashing of Curzon and a dominant 7-0 performance against Alfreton Town. In their last 5 games, Alty has gained 8 points with 2 wins, 2 draws and a 2-1 loss at home to Brackley Town. With Altrincham already achieving play-off football, they may potentially field a weakened team this Saturday but are still one of the strongest teams in the league, especially away from home.
One player for Ashton fans to keep tabs on during the game this Saturday is the familiar Matthew Chadwick [left]. Having only made 5 appearances for Altrincham so far, he’s still been effective during games registering one assist. On top of that, Chadwick scored 7 goals in 21 games for Ashton this season before leaving for Altrincham. Chadwick was a crucial part to the Ashton side that won promotion last season and continued to be up until his departure in February/March. Could Chadwick prove to be a thorn in Ashton’s side during the tie?
The last time the sides met, Altrincham turned out to be the better of the two teams promoted from the Evostik league last season. Alty proved too strong for Ashton as they walked away with 3 points after putting as many goals past Goalkeeper Luke Pilling at the J Davidson Stadium. John Johnstone scored a brace of goals with Owen Dale (former loanee) adding a late goal to ensure the victory for Altrincham.
Match prices as follows:
- Adults - £12
- Concessions - £8
- Under 12s - £3
On Easter Monday, five regulars were omitted from Altrincham's starting line-up against Hereford FC. The five were Andy White, John Johnston, Sean Williams, Josh Hancock and James Jones. Jones was ruled out with concussion but should be available at Ashton on Saturday. Hancock and Williams were on the bench on Monday and Hancock did play during the second half. White was injured at Nuneaton and Johnston is believed to have a minor injury. How many of these players will be risked on Saturday remains to be seen, with a play-off looming next Wednesday.
As things stand, Alty are guaranteed a home play-off qualifier on Wednesday, 1 May, with the opposition being whichever club finishes sixth. Before Saturday's fixtures, sixth place is occupied by Blyth Spartans. However, both Bradford (Park Avenue) and AFC Telford United have a chance of finishing sixth should Spartans slip up at home against Southport.
Currently, the other play-off qualifier, between fourth- and seventh-placed placed teams is scheduled to see Spennymoor Town host Bradford (Park Avenue) but AFC Telford United are level on points with Avenue and just a goal worse off on goal difference.
The two winners of the qualifiers on 1 May will meet the second- and third-placed teams, with the winners of Alty's game travelling to the second-placed team, which is currently Chorley, on Sunday 5 May. The other semi-final would see the third-placed team at home to the winners of the fourth v seventh qualifier. Before Saturday's round of fixtures, that would mean a trip to Brackley Town for the winners of the fourth v seventh match.
Let's hope the team give us some more travel to organise although, whatever happens, we can be proud of our first season back in this league. We hope as many people as possible will come back to the club after the game at Ashton on Saturday to show their appreciation to the players and management in the Community Sports Hall.
With Ashton United only being 17 miles from Altrincham it isn't feasible to provide a coach for the game at a competitive rate. The postcode for your Sat Nav is OL6 8DY and it's an easy 25 minute drive on the M60.
For those on public transport the 39 bus runs from Ashton Interchange to the ground every 30 minutes. Trams run there from Piccadilly regularly and trains run from Manchester Victoria to the station which is just up the road from the Interchange.
Thanks again for your support and let's get behind the lads again on Saturday".Nantwich News tells us that "Nantwich Town made it back-to-back Cheshire Senior Cup titles with a convincing 5-2 victory over Cammell Laird 1907 at Altrincham FC, writes James Brown.
The Dabbers were quick out of the blocks, looking composed in possession and producing some lovely link-up play which ultimately led to the opening goal of the game on nine minutes from the penalty spot... Cooke stepped up and thumped his spot-kick right down the middle to give Nantwich an early advantage...
The Dabbers made it two when Malkin and Cooke linked up again before feeding Matt Bell on the edge of the box who fired low past a diving Dixon into the bottom left corner.
Five minutes before half-time, Cammell Laird found a way back into the contest. A silly foul to give away allowed Josh Brabin to rifle home a free-kick which flew past Lloyd Allinson in the Nantwich goal.
The next goal after half-time was going to be crucial, and after knocking at the door early on, Saunders got his first of the night following a superb floated Bell cross which found the striker unmarked at the back post to powerfully head home... On 66 minutes it was four. Louis Barnes and Saunders this time combined on the left-hand side before the striker’s drilled ball into the six-yard box found its way to Malkin who made no mistake from close range.
Just as the game looked over, Cammell Laird hit back from another set-piece. Caleb Jones got away from Jamie Morgan and won a free-kick at a tight angle which Brabin again whipped into the box, evading everyone and flying past Allinson once more. The game became much more end-to-end in the final 15 minutes.
However Nantwich responded perfectly to the goal, rounding off the scoring through Saunders after he was played in by Cooke on the left side of the box and, via a deflection, fired past a helpless Dixon".Shropshire Star reports that "Long-term thinker Gavin Cowan wants AFC Telford United to cement themselves as ahead of schedule by reaching the National League North play-offs. Cowan took over last summer with the aim of getting the Bucks back into promotion contention in a few years. And they have surprised a fair few by being on the verge of seventh, the last play-off spot, with just one game of the regular season to go.
They go to York on Saturday and will extend their campaign if they better Bradford Park Avenue’s result at Chorley or, if they both lose, if Avenue’s margin of defeat is two more.
'I am here for the long haul, we have that vision and we are probably ahead of schedule,' said Cowan. 'The club see a path forward and believe in my vision, and that was part of the deal of me signing. We are of the same mind and have that vision, but I am about the present and getting a win.'
Telford are seven games unbeaten in the league but have slipped outside the play-offs because five of those have been draws... 'We have no time to be disappointed, it is still all the play for', he added. 'It is not done and dusted, so we are not disappointed, we have a big game and we have to focus on that and be ready.'"
Meanwhile, Hereford FC "bring our 2018/19 League campaign to a close on Saturday with a home game against Boston United. It’s been a season of twists and turns, ups and downs as we have consolidated our position in the Vanarama National League North, which we worked so hard during the previous campaign to achieve.
Having come through our Easter weekend unbeaten against AFC Telford United and Altrincham, two sides with promotion aspirations via the play-offs, to make it just one defeat from our last six matches, we will be looking to go out with a victory against opponents who sit in the middle of the table.
Our visitors have 55 points to their name, six points more than us going into the game. They have won eight and lost eight of their 20 away League games on their way to picking up one more point on their travels than they have at home.
The game at The Jakemans Stadium at the end of October saw us succumb to a 3-1 defeat... Bank Holiday Monday’s 2-1 victory over Ashton United saw Boston end a run of three straight defeats in which they failed to find the net...
Goalkeeper, George Willis, has been named as their Player of the Season, with the experienced Ben Davies taking the Players’ Player of the Season accolade...
For The Bulls, it was good to see Tom Owen-Evans back in action in our last game at Altrincham after he was forced to sit out the previous game against AFC Telford United through injury. He marked his return with a goal in our 1-1 draw as, once more, we proved hard to break down and beat".
And confirmation comes from Lincolnshire Live that "Boston United goalkeeper George Willis was delighted to walk away with the club’s player of the year award on Easter Monday... following the 2-1 win over Ashton United, in which he was also voted the sponsors’ man-of-the-match.
Willis collected two further BUSA awards to make it a memorable hat-trick... 'I am delighted personally,' said Willis... 'I really appreciate the award and appreciate all the support this year but we have got to cut out the errors next season. I am quite critical, so I will go away at the end of the season and look where I could have done better. I feel that I am improving each year and I have got a lot to give.'
United full-back Ben Davies, who is suspended for Saturday’s final day trip to Hereford FC following his red card at Brackley Town on Good Friday, collected the Barbara Singleton Memorial Trophy for players’ player of the year.
Willis is looking forward to the long trip to Edgar Street... 'There might not be anything to play for, but we want to finish as high up the table as possible,' added Willis... 'What we have got behind us in terms of the base of the club and the supporters and everything that goes on behind-the-scenes is magnificent and what a platform for us to go on and perform next year'...
Davies’s absence will ensure United are down to bare bones for the trip to Hereford, with Jonathan Wafula (knee), Nicky Walker (knee) and Gavin Allott (thigh) also ruled out of Saturday’s game."
At Leamington, "Brakes will unfortunately be without Jordan Murphy for their final league game of the season at Darlington on Saturday after Solihull Moors recalled the winger to boost their squad as they chase promotion to the Football League.
Jordan would have been unable to participate in the Birmingham Senior Cup Final as he is cup tied, but the youngster has been impressive since making his debut in the Boxing Day draw at Brackley Town, initially on a month loan deal, which was quickly extended after injury unfortunately ended Kieran Dunbar's season. He has become more influential with every game, making 20 appearances in total and scoring in the draw at Guiseley and the recent home win over Alfreton".
Play-off contenders Bradford (Park Avenue) report that "It’s all to play for on the final day of the season... With just one point separating Chorley from top of the league Stockport, the Magpies have to better Stockport’s result in order to be crowned champions.
With the Hatters away to rock bottom Nuneaton Borough, it looks to be a tall order for Chorley to gain automatic promotion, but with nothing to play for, Nuneaton may be just the banana skin the Magpies need.
Regardless of the result at Liberty way, Chorley will still need to best a determined Bradford side, who come into the game looking to secure a chance at promotion via the play offs. Avenue supporters will be keeping a close eye on the fixtures at Bootham Crescent and Croft Park as Bradford will need to either match Telford’s result against a strong York City, or better in-form Blyth’s result against Southport."
Kidderminster Harriers "had to settle for a point in their final away game of the season as they were held 2-2 at Southport. The home side had taken the lead on the stroke of half time with a fine strike from Charles, before levelling through a well-taken strike by Milan Butterfield.
Southport would go in front as Charles doubled his tally from close range, but a penalty from Joe Ironside ensured Harriers pulled back level. The Reds had the best of the chances to win it, too, with Jaiden White denied in injury time...
The big chance for Harriers to win it came in the third minute of added time. Richards did superbly to find space at the by-line and pull the ball back to teenage striker White who struck it well, only to see the goalkeeper block it with his feet as the ball was cleared."
25 April 2019
Alty last played a league match at Hurst Cross last season, when both were in the UniBond Premier League. On that occasion, 24 February 2018, the match ended 3-3 after Alty had led three times.
Three defensive lapses cost Altrincham two points. Altrincham made the first breakthrough in the 32nd minute when Johnston converted a penalty [pictured, right] after a foul on Poole. But they fell asleep from the restart and Pritchard equalised a minute later.
After a lacklustre start to the second half, two goals in a five-minute spell around the hour mark seemed to have secured an away victory. A superb counter-attack was finished off by Johnston to make it 2-1 then a Jones header span into the net to make it 3-1 (62 mins).
But, five minutes later, a foul by Moult gave Ashton a freekick from the front edge of the box which Pritchard curled home and, in the 89th minute,Hampson failed to make a clearance. Posssession was lost, Ashton struck the bar and Matt Chadwick, now an Altrincham player, nodded in the loose ball.
The line ups were:
ASHTON UNITED: 1. David Carnell, 2. Dom Smalley, 3. Lewis Baines, 4. Josh Granite, 5 Aaron Chalmers, 6. John Roberts, 7. Daniel Mooney, 8. Mark Lees (c), 9. Matthew Chadwick, 10. Liam Tomsett, 11. John Pritchard. Subs: 12. Richard Smith, 14. Deane Smalley, 15. Jamie Hinchcliffe, 16. Nicky Platt, GK Josh Ollerenshaw.
ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. James JONES, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Max HARROP, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. James POOLE, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. Tom PEERS, 14. Simon RICHMAN, 15. Mason WALSH, 16. Tom HANNIGAN, 17. Josh AMIS
Above: Cooke opens the scoring for Nantwich from the penalty spot, with the ball in the roof of the net.
In an an entertaining match at the J. Davidson Stadium, refereed by Premiership official Anthony Taylor, and witnessed among a crowd of 338 by Stockport manager Jim Gannon and former Wrexham boss, Dean Saunders, EvoStik Premier Nantwich Town overcame Cammell Laird 1907.
The Dabbers rested some of their regulars, including former Alty forward James Lawrie, who was on the bench. They took a ninth-minute lead when Saunders was brought down in the box. Cooke converted the resulting penalty. They doubled the lead twenty minutes later when Bell drove the ball home.
However, the Wirral side made it 2-1 when Brabin netted a superb freekick from the right in the 40th minute.
Above: Laird's first goal, by Brabin, off picture to the right.
Saunders extended the lead again when he found himself unmarked to head home a Bell cross just before the hour mark. In the 67th minute, a Saunders cross was tapped home by former Lairds man Malkin to make it 4-1, after a team-mate's effort had been blocked. But Laird's Brabin scored with another freekick, this time from wide left, to reduce the arrears to 4-2 in the 74th minute.
Saunders wrapped up the scoring at 5-2 in the 79th minute. Alty supporters did get to see James Lawrie who came on for the final ten minutes, whilst former Robins' centre-back, Clayton McDonald, was active in the Dabbers' technical area, alongside manager Dave Cooke.
NANTWICH TOWN: 1. Lloyd Allinson, 2. Jamie Morgan, 3. Louis Barnes, 4. Joseph Davis, 5. Tobias Mullarkey, 6. Capser Hughes (c), 7. Troy Bourne, 8. Matthew Bell, 9. Joseph Malkin, 10. Sean Cooke, 11. Callum Saunders. Subs: 12. James LAwrie, 13. James Hawkins, 14. Ricrdo Fuller, 15. Daniel Glover, 16. Luke Walsh.
CAMMELL LAIRD 1907: 1. Michael Dixon, 2. Adam Rooney, 3. Joshua Brabin, 4. Liam Hollett, 5. Ben Dutton-Kelly, 6. Daniel Shearwood, 7. Thomas Hackett, 8. Colm Lynch (c), 9. Kyle Scorah, 10. Stephen Rothwell, 11. Joshua Donnelly. Subs: 14. Elliot Jones, 15. Johnny Brannigan, 16. Caleb Jones, 17. Matthew Kewn, 18. Paul Byrne.Coventry Telegraph reports that "Nuneaton Borough's ground record is set to be smashed as they play their last game in the National League North. The current record attendance at Liberty Way is 3,480 but, with champions-elect Stockport County FC set to bring at least 3,000 fans, it is set to be a huge game for the borough for many reasons.
Such was the demand for tickets from The Hatters that they sold out their initial allocation, so the Boro have released more. This means that, as the curtain comes down on the Boro's last game in the Vanarama National League North, it should also be a bumper day financially. Such a windfall will help the once troubled Boro in its quest to rebuild as the team prepares to start next season in a lower league, likely to be the Southern League Premier Central.
But the fact that the club staved off what many thought was inevitable financial ruin and going bust, following a 'save our club' appeal, manager and acting chairman Jimmy Ginnelly wants to make Saturday's match one to remember.
'This weekend is going to be huge, Stockport are going for the title and they could be bringing 3,000-plus fans down for this one,' he said. 'We have a number of events going on both in and outside of the ground, we have a band on.. and it should be a great day for everyone... Let's all enjoy the day, enjoy the football and end the season on a high note.'"
After Saturday, the Boro still have one all-important match to play, the Birmingham Senior Challenge Cup final, at St Andrews, on Thursday, May 2 against Warwickshire rivals Leamington FC."
York Press informs us that "York City Steve Watson has denied that out-of-favour striker Jake Wright is on his way out of Bootham Crescent. The 22-year-old forward did not make either matchday squad for City’s bank-holiday Easter clashes against Spennymoor and Bradford Park Avenue, with teenage right-back Nathan Dyer selected ahead of him for bench duty against the latter.
Wright still has another season to run on his Minstermen contract, but Boston United manager Craig Elliott has already admitted that he would like to add the former Sheffield United reserve to his ranks following the end of a successful loan period with the Pilgrims last month.
Southport, another one of City’s National League North rivals who Wright has previously been loaned out to, are also believed to be admirers, but Watson has insisted no decisions have been made as yet on the Manchester-born forward. Wright netted twice in four outings for Boston but has only managed five goals in 28 appearances this season for the Minstermen. He was replaced after an hour after being played in a number-10 role during City’s 1-0 home win over Southport having been recalled from Boston.
A substitute cameo followed in the 2-2 draw at Chester before Wright lost his place in the matchday 16 but... Watson said 'I honestly haven’t made a decision on Jake. He went out and looked sharp, but he’s not hit the ground running since coming back to us like Macca (Macaulay Langstaff) did. He’s somebody we will need to have a good chat about.'
Wright is one of seven senior City players under contract next season, along with Tom Allan, Jordan Burrow, David Ferguson, Kallum Griffiths, Sean Newton and Wes York. Centre-back Allan had agreed a loan move to former club Alfreton until the end of the campaign prior to Watson’s arrival at Bootham Crescent in January, with the City chief suggesting that the 6ft 4in defender will be given a chance to prove his worth in pre-season.
'Tom hasn’t played much at Alfreton recently, so all I am looking at is what I see from him during training,' Watson pointed out... 'He will more than likely be a big part of pre-season and we will see how he does then, as you can judge people a lot in pre-season games to see where they’re at.'
Watson has also revealed that he is already advanced in his recruitment plans for 2019/20, adding 'I’ve got a really strong idea about where I want to go next season... but there are no guarantees that I will get everybody I want. Time will tell, but I will be doing everything right and I will be talking to the players here first and explaining why I’ve come to certain decisions and what I need from players'".
According to the Shropshire Star, "Ryan Barnett hopes to help see AFC Telford United over the finish line in the play-off race and boost his Shrewsbury standing. The 19-year-old has relished his loan spell away from Salop, being one of the most consistent performers for the Bucks, whose fate will be sealed on the final day of the campaign this weekend.
They are travelling to York and are at present outside the National League North play-offs on goal difference, but will make it if they better Bradford Park Avenue’s result at Chorley or, if they both lose, if Avenue’s margin of defeat is two more. And Barnett, who has starred at right wing-back, wants to repay Telford chief Gavin Cowan for giving him a chance to shine.
'Coming here has been massive for my development, and I have helped Telford too,' said Barnett. 'Gav has been positive and it is good to have a manager who believes in you. He has given me the confidence to play well, and I have done in the last few months and hit form at the right time. And I hope I’ve done enough to break in at Shrewsbury. My focus is on York and the play-offs if we get there but, longer than that, I hope to get back to Shrewsbury and show what I can do in pre-season, and hopefully the manager has a choice to make.
'It’s going back, giving it my all and coming back fit. All I can do is put it in the manager’s head that he can’t send me out on loan'... Barnett has made 23 league appearances for the Bucks this term, scoring once."
National League "BT Sport have made their decision about the last day of the National League season. Their cameras will be in east London to see if Leyton Orient can pick up the point they need to clinch the title. The 'O's host Braintree Town and they can get the party started if they avoid defeat. In fact, the leaders may be able to seal a return to the EFL even if there’s a shock result in E10.
They have a three-point advantage over Salford City, and are five goals better off than Graham Alexander’s side who go to Hartlepool. Solihull Moors are also three points behind but need an eight goal swing at Dagenham.
Kick-off time remains at 12.30pm on Saturday, alongside all fixtures in the division. Leyton Orient vs Braintree Town will be live on BT Sport 1 and 4K UHD."
This will be the third time in barely a week that Orient have had a live game televised.
24 April 2019
The match features the holders, Nantwich Town, against Cammell Laird 2007 who advise that they "will become the lowest ranked club in the competition’s illustrious history to contest the final, following on from fellow Hallmark Security League outfit Stockport Town’s appearance last season". However, the forerunner Lairds club won the CSC in 2007; Lairds 1907 were started in 2014.
Whereas The Dabbers reached the final with a semi-final 3-0 win over a much changed Stockport County team, Lairds actually lost their semi to Runcorn Linnets, who were subsequently thrown out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player. The referee will be locally based Premiership official, Anthony Taylor.
Last time out, in the league, Nantwich Town's team included ex-Alty men James Lawrie [left], as captain, as well as former Alty defender-cum-striker Clayton McDonald [below, right]. The team for their last league match, in which they lost at home to Stafford Rangers , was Lloyd Allinson, Nathan Brown, Kallam Boyle, Joe Davis, Clayton McDonald (Caspar Hughes 66’), Troy Bourne, James Lawrie (c), Toby Mullarkey, Danny Glover, Callum Saunders (Steve Jones 60’), Luke Walsh (Joe Malkin 66’) Subs not used: Louis Barnes, James Hawkins (GK).
Cammell Laird 1907 come into the CSC Final "having lost 6-2 at Sandbach United and 4-1 against Vauxhall Motors in the A41 Derby over the Easter period, and manager Phil Burton accepts that those results were far from ideal and is looking for a response.
The manager said, 'The build-up that we’ve had in terms of the league games just hasn’t gone to plan, so it will just be a case of regrouping and moving on and, to be fair, if I’m looking for excuses which I am, I think [the Final]’s been in the back of the lads’ minds for the last two games and you can see it... We’ve had two games there where we’ve done the preparation and the lads have let us down, so the onus is on the players now. I want them to enjoy it but if they bring anything like the mentality they’ve brought in the last two games it could be quite dangerous.'
This season’s run has seen the Cammells pull off an incredible 3-0 victory against a full-strength Hyde United side, who were 60 places above them in the pyramid, before overcoming Alsager Town (with ten men) and Stockport Town on penalties. The semi-final saw Burton’s side perform superbly at Evo-Stik First Division West high-flyers Runcorn Linnets; they lost 2-1 on the night and pushed their hosts all the way, but were later handed a walkover when Linnets were found to have fielded an ineligible player...
Burton added 'To win it would be absolutely huge. For me it would do what I’m desperate to do which is put Cammell Laird back on the map, and it would do it in season one, which was only supposed to be a rebuilding season given that we started pre-season with next to no players.' Lairds will be well backed on the night, with the club providing a coach for the squad and some fans to travel together. Burton says he is eager to provide the club with some silverware in his first year in charge.
'When I came in, I knew that the club were in a transition period on and off the field... The one thing I love about this is the ethos and the family connection. It’s a community club so it’s great that we’ll all be together. It’s got the makings of being a phenomenal night for us... I want to win it for the fans and the people behind the scenes who work really, really hard to try and get a glimpse of success, so that’s the motivation I’ve got at the minute'...
Stockport were beaten 3-0 by Lairds’ opponents Nantwich last year, and this will be the Dabbers’ third consecutive appearance in the final. They will finish 4th in the Evo-Stik Premier Division and be part of the play-offs, meaning that there is a gap of 74 places in the pyramid to bridge. Although they come into this one having lost 1-0 at home to Stafford Rangers on Easter Monday, they have knocked out three higher ranked opponents in Crewe Alexandra (2-1), Chester (1-0) and Stockport County (3-0) en route to Altrincham.
The game will see Nantwich striker Joe Malkin face a reunion with his former club, with the summer move to the Weaver Stadium proving a real success for the 20 year-old as he recently claimed the Evo-Stik Premier Division Young Player of the Year award. Nantwich also notably have former Stoke City forward Ricardo Fuller [aged 39] among their ranks.
The final will be refereed by Anthony Taylor to add to the Premier League feel....
Burton concluded, 'We’ve had them watched and we know all about them, and they’re dangerous right across the pitch. Depending on what team they play they’ve got strength in depth so it’s never going to be easy... We’re the lowest ranked club in there, but I can’t go into a final and prepare thinking that we haven’t got a chance.
'If the lads have been saving themselves for it then I’ll know on Wednesday. If the last two second half performances are anything to go by, hopefully they’ve kept a lot back for this final, so that’s the only thing I can take positively, but right now I’m still hurting from the league games so the final is a concern in that sense. We’ve definitely got to bring our game heads for it.'"National League has brief highlights of Altrincham's Easter Monday's draw with Hereford.
Right: Callum Dolan made a very positive impression with his third substitute appearance for the Robins, against Hereford on Monday.Ashton United's "adventure in the National League North finally ended as they went down by the odd goal in three on a warm, sunny day in Lincolnshire.
With Craig Hobson starting from the bench Jamie Reed was given the chance to lead the line but it was the Pilgrims making a flying start as with two minutes on the clock their first attack saw Max Wright progress into the area and after seeing his attempt from a narrow angle blocked by McMahon he pulled the loose ball back to Tom Clare who tapped into the open goal.
Liam Tomsett turned onto Connor Dimaio’s pass on the edge of the area but steered his effort well wide and Sam Sheridan’s well-placed low effort was palmed away by Willis. A back pass then saw Clare charge down McMahon’s clearance and Liam Goulding volleyed over following a long throw-in as Ashton got back into the game. Just past the half hour the Robins were level as Goulding progressed to the by line and saw his pass helped on by Matt Regan for Reed to turn home the equaliser but, two minutes later, Scott Kay was booked for catching Rollins on the edge of the area and Smith’s delivery was turned back for Ryan Cresswell to head home...
. Ashton Utd: McMahon, Swaby-Neavin, Regan, T Lees, Ashworth (Hobson 81), Kay (Swaby-Neavin 67), Goulding, Sheridan, Reed, Dimaio, Tomsett. SNU: Roberts, Chalmers, Ennis."
Firstly the opposition's identity depends on where Alty finally finish in the table after the match on Saturday at Ashton. If they remain fifth they will play the team that has finished sixth. However, if Spennymoor Town lose away at Curzon Ashton on Saturday and Alty win at Hurst Cross, Alty will finish fourth.
Whether Altrincham finish fourth or fifth after Saturday's matches, their opposition next Wednesday must come one of the trio of clubs currently in sixth to eighth places in the league, namely Blyth Spartans, Bradford (Park Avenue) or AFC Telford United. Before that deciding round of matches this Saturday, it is Blyth Spartans who occupy sixth and, if nothing changes on Saturday, they would therefore travel to the J. Davidson Stadium.
Whichever two clubs win the qualifiers they will be away in the play-off semi-finals to whoever finishes second and third in the league. Those places are currently occupied by Chorley and Brackley Town. The Magpies cannot drop lower than second but Spennymoor in fourth could swap places with Brackley in third.
So, in short, all we know for certain is that Altrincham will definitely be at home on 1st May as they cannot drop lower than their current position of fifth. At the moment the prospective opponents are Blyth Spartans but all that could change after Saturday's fixtures.
Altrincham supporters with season tickets should note that these do not cover matches outside the normal league season so, as with cup matches, it will be cash admission at the turnstiles for everyone on 1st May.FC United of Manchester report that the club's "four-year stay in the Vanarama National League North ended on Easter Monday as they lost 2-1 to Blyth Spartans at Broadhurst Park. FC needed to win their remaining two games and hope Guiseley dropped points in theirs. However, a dominant Blyth outfit put paid to any lingering hopes with a goal in each half either side of a deflected Jack Bannister effort for the home side.
Blyth were a slick attacking side making use of wingers Robbie Dale and Jarret Rivers at every opportunity, Rivers in particular looking dangerous every time he had the ball. Home keeper Andy Fisher... could do nothing about Spartans opener however when England C international Dan Maguire caused havoc in the box and squared it to an unmarked Rivers who didn’t waste the chance. 20 minutes in and FC United had a mountain to climb...
As the half carried on Blyth looked in total control and you felt it was only a matter of time before they scored again. The Reds couldn’t seem to muster a chance on goal always just one decent pass away from their objective. The half finished surprisingly still only one-nil.
The second half carried on in the same vein. The Spartans attacking trio of Maguire, Rivers and stalwart Dale running amok at regular intervals... With the match and ultimately United’s season ebbing away, Bannister fired a low drive which looped up off a defender and over the keeper into the SMRE goal. The majority of the 1,971 in attendance finally had something to cheer but there were precious few minutes left.
Knowing only a win and no less would suffice, FC threw caution to the wind and inevitably became vulnerable to the counter attack. Such tactics were made for Blyth and they duly strode down field and slotted the ball home after good work by Dale... as the match finished 2-1 to the away side. A match played under huge pressure proved too much for FC and with Guiseley winning their match, survival was taken out of their own hands anyway.
FC United still have an away trip to third placed Brackley next Saturday to round off the season before a Neil Reynolds rebuild of the squad in the summer".
NL Daily adds that "FC United of Manchester suffered their first relegation since forming in 2005.... [And] Ashton United also lost their fight for survival, returning to the Evo-Stik League after one season in the sixth tier. It means Guiseley have stayed up, avoiding back-to-back relegations after a difficult campaign".
At Stockport County, "Another sensational crowd of 6,001, our second highest league gate of the season, were present at Edgeley Park for another thrilling, tense and dramatic day in the title-race, that saw the Hatters move top of the league going in to the final day of the season.
In addition to this, however, the bumper crowd also saw our total home attendances for the season smash the 100,000 mark, 100,919 to be precise, our highest such figure since our days in the Football League!
County Director Jon Keighren said 'There is no doubt that the tremendous and phenomenal support of the Blue & White Army since day one this season has played a huge part in driving the players on to enjoy the incredible season we have had so far. Our attendances, much like the team, have grown and grown as the season has progressed, with Saturday being the third time since the turn of the year that the club has broken the 6,000 mark...
Our average League attendance since Boxing Day has been an incredible 4,636, a record that would be the ninth highest in League 2, whilst also being higher than that of six clubs in League 1!"
And also from Stockport County we learn that "The despair of Easter Saturday’s defeat at Chorley was transformed to joy and hope in a little over 48 hours, as a two-goal County home victory over near-neighbours Curzon Ashton, coupled with a dramatic, late slip-up by the table-topping ‘Magpies’, lifted the Hatters back up to pole position.
A pair of first-half goals from Ash Palmer and Matty Warburton settled matters in the course of a relatively routine win at Edgeley Park. But euphoria among most of the 6,000 (+1!) in attendance truly broke out late on by way of reaction to events over 130 miles away in County Durham...
County took to the field for the campaign’s final regular match in SK3 showing four changes from the starting line-up of two days earlier. Elliot Osborne, Sam Walker, Frank Mulhern and Jake Kirby were selected as part of a 4-4-2 ‘diamond’ formation, replacing Sam Minihan, Jordan Keane and Darren Stephenson (all of whom were named among the substitutes), as well as Nyal Bell...
Attendance: 6,001 (75 away)."
Also, Stockport Vital Football informs us that "With just one game left in the regular National North season, Stockport County surged back to the top of the table today, securing a deserved 2-0 win against Curzon Ashton at Edgeley Park , whilst in the North East erstwhile leaders Chorley went down 1-0 to in-form Spennymoor Town... County will now go into next Saturday’s final game of the season 1 point clear of the Lancashire outfit, in the certain knowledge that a win will send them up as champions!
County were quick to establish control against the Tamesiders, Ash Palmer getting the opening goal 6 minutes in. A palpably delighted and relieved Matty Warburton added a second 20 minutes later whereupon a decent, spirited showing from Mark Bradshaw’s side prevented any further damage being inflicted.... [A] corner, won by dint of Duxbury’s energy and verve. This found its way beyond the far post where lurked Ash Palmer, and it was 1-0 as he fired home to a mighty roar from all but 75 of the 6000 crowd...
Kirby found Warburton with a lovely pass, and it was 2-0 as County’s prolific number 10 spanked the ball home, sparking off scenes of jubilation on and off the field!".
From Cheshire Live we read that "Chester FC joint-manager Bernard Morley couldn't hide his disappointment that his and Anthony Johnson's side couldn't make the National League North play-offs... The Blues needed nothing less than three points at home to third-placed Brackley Town on Bank Holiday Monday and could only manage a 0-0 draw, despite results elsewhere involving others in the play-off race being kind to them.
In truth, Brackley were far the better side and looked a side in with a great shout of play-off glory come the end of the season... Morley and Johnson, whose remit when they took the job was to ensure that Chester did not suffer back-to-back relegations, stated their intentions to make the top seven despite their budget limitations but have fallen just short of that. But despite the disappointment of missing their goal, Morley wasn't too despondent.
He said 'We asked them to go out with a bang, whether that be winning or drawing, and that gets us a little closer to potentially finishing eighth in the league which in the bigger picture is not a bad season. Do I deem it acceptable? No, I'm a winner and I wanted to get in the play-offs. They were a better side and it pains me to say that but I'll always be honest...
'Are we ready (for the play-offs)? I am not trying to make it any easier as me and Jonno are winners and, if we could have got to the play-offs, that would have been everything. Whether we would have been able to compete or not, some would have doubted it but I know we would have done. Now I can't wait for this season to end and for next season to start. In terms of the bigger picture we have competed. But me and Jonno thought we could win the league when we came in because that's just who we are. The reality is that we haven't and we try and improve next season.'
A crippling injury crisis mid-season and flood damage to the stadium which saw them unable to play a home game for over a month did not aid matters for a Chester side who could have gone top of the league prior to facing York City back in mid-November. But there is no sugar-coating the miserable 8-1, 6-0, 4-1 and 4-0 losses that have occurred at the hands of Blyth Spartans, Stockport County, Kidderminster Harriers and Altrincham, respectively, this season, results which damaged the confidence among the fan base.
Morley acknowledged the damage of those results but stated that work will be done to improve next season, with a move to a hybrid model looking more and more likely... Said Morley, 'If an analyst was to break our season down and put mitigating circumstances as to why it has been a stop/start season then it's there. But we have had ourselves in good positions where we could have pushed on and we've not done it. We've lost red cards in big games that have cost us and I feel like that killed momentum. We've had too many changes, enforced changes. You could see there today that there were lads trying to run through brick walls who clearly weren't fit.
'But there are lots of positives and lots of negatives; those 8-1 and 6-0 results don't go away. All we can do is improve next season and make this place a fortress next year'".
Darlington report that "Quakers' three game winning run came to an end at Nethermoor. Quakers' lost to a first-half goal with a below par performance, although they created and missed some good chances for an equaliser after the break.
Guiseley were awarded a penalty in the third minute, when Simon Ainge was harshly adjudged to have fouled Kaine Felix in a clear shoulder to shoulder challenge in the penalty area, but Jake Turner got down well to his right and pushed away Kingsley James’s penalty...
Guiseley took the lead on 17 minutes when Kane Felix chased a long ball downfield, shrugged off Terry Galbraith, and poked the ball past the advancing Jake Turner... Guiseley did most of the pressing after this without forcing Turner into action, and Quakers nearly levelled when... Saunders headed just over the bar".
From the other side, Guiseley report that "Kaine Felix provided a sublime finish to score the only goal of the game and secure the vital three points to ensure that Guiseley will be playing National League North football next season.
In a scrappy contest the Lions were given a golden opportunity to establish an early lead when Kaine Felix was tripped in the area by ex-Lion Simon Ainge after just three minutes. Having converted a spot kick in the last home game Kingsley James stepped up only to see his effort saved by Jake Turner although the Darlo keeper looked to move off his line early...
The direct approach eventually paid dividends on 26 minutes when Felix took a ball down the channel, got the better of Ainge and Terrence Galbraith before lifting the ball over Turner for the opener... Having created few chances in the first period the Quakers should have equalized on fifty minutes but Stephen Thompson’s wild shot sailed into the car park when he had only Marcus Dewhurst to beat...
Five minutes of added time was played out relatively comfortably by the Lions to ensure the three points and safety, which as it transpired was purely academic as FCUM lost at home 2-1 to Blyth Spartans while Ashton United went down by the same score at Boston to seal both their fates and in all probability a return to the Northern Premier League ...
[Guiseley] will finish in nineteenth place in the table which, given their slump in form since the New Year’s Day win at Park Avenue, had looked likely to evade them at times. But, with matters off the field now hopefully settled, the future is perhaps looking a lot brighter?"
The unofficial Harriers Online informs us that "A dire end of season affair saw the Harriers somehow grab a draw a point and also saw Milan Butterfield score his first ever goal at a professional level. We could have actually won the game at the death when the Southport keeper, Dan Hanford, blocked a shot from substitute Jaiden White on the line when it looked in all the world as if it was going in.
In typically windy conditions for the coast the Reds lined up with Tom Palmer starting in goal again even though Brandon Hall was on the bench giving the impression that Hall may be leaving the club very soon and it was time to blood Palmer some more in readiness for next season....
For the first forty five minutes of the game there was very little to excite the senses with two poor teams hoofing the ball from one end to the other and then back again on the hard, dusty pitch. It was obvious that finances at Haig Avenue don’t stretch to a hose pipe. Half chances fell to both sides but no one seemed to be capable of actually converting one until a minute into injury time when Dion Charles pounced on a long ball to drill a shot beyond the reach of Palmer.
The second period was more of the same with the Harriers now kicking into the increasing breeze... We began to look more adventurous and the pace of Richards stated to give Southport problems trying to deal with him. A couple of minutes after the change we drew level through Milan Butterfield.
The ball was bobbling around in the area without anyone able to clear it properly but then it fell to Milan who tried his luck from eighteen yards out to fire the ball back in through a ruck of players and into the net. The celebrations didn’t last long though because within a few minutes the Port had gone back in front when Palmer fumbled a shot from Matthew Platt back to the waiting Charles who rounded the stranded keeper and slipped the ball gratefully into the net...
For reasons only known to himself their keeper, Hanford, decided that it would be good idea to drag Kane Richards to the floor with the ball rolling away from them... Following a minute of arguing with the referee, Hanford wasn’t booked for his discretion and returned to his line before diving the wrong way for Joe Ironside's penalty; his seventh converted penalty of the season and his sixth consecutive game in which he has scored...
Once the final whistle went it capped our final away game of the season but not one of our best... Hopefully we can sign this poor season, by our standards, off at home to a now safe Guiseley and possibly rise to the heady heights on ninth place".
Southport, meanwhile, report on "A 2-2 draw with Kidderminster Harriers, the ninth home draw of the season. As has been the pattern in recent games the first half was a scrappy affair brought to life by an special goal from 20 yards by Dion Charles...
The second period was a much more entertaining affair for the sun-drenched Bank Holiday crowd".
Alty's rivals for fourth place, Spennymoor Town report that "Glen Taylor’s last-gasp header sealed a deserved victory for Moors to keep hopes of a third-place play-off finish alive and, in the process, heavily dented Chorley’s bid to win the league title.
Spennymoor created the stronger openings and chances throughout a dramatic contest... However, Chorley could have claimed a much-needed win when Kris Thackray fouled Marcus Carver in the penalty area, but Matt Gould made a crucial save from Adam Blakeman’s resulting spot-kick. Moors went into the game looking to apply pressure onto Brackley for third place, while Chorley knew a win, combined with Stockport dropping points at home to Curzon Ashton, could land them the league title...
The chances started to mount up for Moors, and it felt like the elusive goal was unlikely to arrive... After surviving waves of Spennymoor pressure, the referee gave a penalty to Chorley after Thackray caught Carver inside the area, but Blakeman’s penalty was too central and Gould claimed his fourth penalty save of the season.
With the game entering its final seconds, Brogan’s inswinging corner was met by Taylor who nodded past Urwin for his 30th goal of the season, giving Moors a crucial victory and breaking Chorley hearts."
York City report that "Goals from Paddy McLaughlin, Jordan Burrow and Macaulay Langstaff secured a 3-1 victory for City this afternoon against Yorkshire neighbours Bradford (Park Avenue). Play-off chasing Bradford had taken the lead early in the second half courtesy of a Lewis Knight freekick but City fought back for a well-deserved three points.
Manager Steve Watson made three changes to the side beaten 3-2 by Spennymoor Town on Good Friday with Alex Kempster, Joe Tait, and Wes York replacing Josh Law, Jasper Moon, and Adriano Moke. Goalscoring opportunities proved thin on the ground in the first 45 minutes...
Bradford were reduced to 10 men three minutes later when captain Shane Killock was sent off for a professional foul on Burrow who was clean through on goal... Langstaff put the seal on a well deserved [3-1] win in stoppage time when latching onto a pass from Burrow and sprinting 35 yards before beating Andrew".
The National League Team of the Day for Monday comprised:
- "Goalkeeper: Sam Ramsbottom (Alfreton Town)
- Defenders: Paddy McLaughlin (York City) Ryan Cresswell (Boston United) Scott Harrison (Spennymoor Town) Ash Palmer (Stockport County)
- Midfielders: Jarratt Rivers (Blyth Spartans) Alex Purver (Guiseley) Wes York (York City) Milan Butterfield (Kidderminster)
- Strikers: Dion Charles (Southport) Colby Bishop (Leamington)
- Substitutes: Sam Wilding (Leamington) Adam Wrightson (Blyth Spartans) Iwan Murray (Chester) Kaine Felix (Guiseley) Glen Taylor (Spennymoor)
- Manager of the Weekend: Steve Watson (York City). He beat off competition from Alun Armstrong to take the prize thanks to York’s impressive 3-1 with at Bradford PA. Fans are feeling there is progress under their new boss".
23 April 2019
Alty nearly opened the scoring in the tenth minute when Hulme rounded the keeper but his goalbound effort was cleared off the line by a defender and, five minutes later, Ceesay was denied what looked a stonewall penalty when he was brought down on the byline.
But, following a goalless first half against draw specialists Hereford, Altrincham took a fifty-fourth minute lead for the second game running. This time the goal arose when Poole got possession and was fouled by Gowling just inside the Hereford half. The referee allowed Alty the advantage as Hulme broke forward before he smacked the ball into the net.
Right: Jordan Hulme is congratulated on his goal by Matt Chadwick, with the injured John Johnston in the crowd behind them.
The Bulls equalised ten minutes later when Hannigan tried to clear but the ball rebounded off Owen-Evans who advanced to shoot firmly past Tony Thompson.
Despite an impressive cameo from substitute Dolan, Altrincham could not get a winner and Hereford themselves also looked a threat. But despite five added minutes the game ended level. Alty remain fifth and cannot finish any lower. If Spennymoor lose their last game and Alty win theirs, Alty would be fourth on goal difference.
More on the match here
With one match to go the play-off qualifiers, a week on Wednesday, currently are:
- Altrincham v Blyth Spartans
- Spennymoor Town v Bradford (PA)
Above: Hereford keeper Yates tips a fine shot from Matt Chadwick (no.7) over the bar for a corner in the first half on Monday.
After Monday's draw, Hereford FC reported that "Our Easter weekend yielded two points from two successive 1-1 draws as we shared the spoils with an in-form Altrincham outfit that will be involved in the play-offs.
As the home side looked to make their mark early on, Jordan Cullinane-Liburd cleared from off the line from Jordan Hulme in the tenth minute following some hesitation as we looked for an offside flag. Our hosts had the majority of early possession without seriously testing our back-line as we kept them at bay...
With Kyle Finn on at the break in place of Rowan Liburd, he was straight into the action as he looked to launch a raid but his ball in search of Symons was cleared. Shortly afterwards Finn cut inside to make room for a strike which was well saved by Thompson.
The home side took the lead on 53 minutes when Poole was able to break away and, as the referee played an advantage following a foul by Josh Gowling, for which he was later booked, he was able to find Hulme who fired the ball home...
We were able to draw level as play resumed when Tom Owen-Evans was allowed to progress before he arrowed the ball home from the edge of the area to make it 1-1... The home side went close when Shaun Densmore saw his header shave the woodwork as Yates grabbed on to the loose ball following a teasing ball in from the left by Connor Hampson... Once again we proved hard to beat".
Manger "Marc Richards said Hereford's performance was only 'okay' after they came from a goal down to earn a share of the spoils at Altrincham this afternoon.
Richards said... 'I think Altrincham are probably the best footballing team in the league,' Richards said after the game. 'They've been on a hell of a a run and probably secured their play-off spot today. A point away from home is a good result, and probably an okay performance I'd say.
'The way they play with the rotations and how comfortable they are in possession, they make it expansive, make it difficult for you to have to much of the ball. On the flip side, they are quite open when you do receive possession.
'We probably had more of the ball today that what we have done in recent games, in terms of being able to pass it and actually shift up the pitch rather than direct like what we have been in recent weeks. Overall, really happy with the point away from home, performance okay.'
Tom Owen-Evans equalised for Hereford with a well-worked solo-effort. Richards added, 'It's the persistence from him. The amount of closing down he did across their midfield two and their back two. He's got his reward from closing the centre-half down and then he took it really well. He had a lot of work to do from where he was 35-yards out, then travelled and gave the keeper the eyes and was able to slot it in the bottom corner.
'We rode our luck at times first half. A couple of great blocks from the lads to keep us in the game. Yates has made a great save in the second half and somehow it's stayed out. Fair play to the lads, they've worked their socks off. Two games in three days is tough in this heat.'"
- AFC Telford United 0 0 Alfreton Town att 1564
- Altrincham 1 1 Hereford att 1406
- Boston United 2 1 Ashton United att.942
- Bradford (Park Avenue) 1 3 York City att. 775
- Chester FC 0 0 Brackley Town att 1592
- FC United of Manchester 1 2 Blyth Spartans att. 1971
- Guiseley 1 0 Darlington
- Leamington 3 0 Nuneaton Borough att.623
- Southport 2 2 Kidderminster Harriers att. 956
- Spennymoor Town 1 0 Chorley att.1261
- Stockport County 2 0 Curzon Ashton att. 6001
The memorable first occasion was in 2004-05 when Alty finished fifth in the Northern Premier League. They faced three play-off games, all away from Moss Lane but won them all to regain their place at national level in the Conference. The final was the only ever play-off between the play-off winners of Conference South and North.
The play off games in 2005 were
- Away v Nuneaton Borough, won 4-2 on penalties, score 1-1 a.e.t.
- Away v Kettering Town, won 3-2 a.e.t.
- At Stoke City, v Eastbourne Borough, won 2-1
The second occasion that Alty were involved in end of season play-offs was in 2012-13 season. On that occasion the play-offs in the Conference North began with semi-finals played as two-legged affairs. Alty finished fourth that season in the Conference North before playing the following play-off matches:
- Home Semi-Final v Brackley Town, won 2-1
- Away Semi-Final v Brackley Town, lost 0-3, so lost 2-4 on aggregate.
Undaunted, manager Lee Sinnott again guided the team to the play-offs in the following season, 2013-14, and this time Alty were successful in very dramatic circumstances. The format was the same as in 2012-13.
- Away Semi-Final v Hednesford Town, draw 2-2
- Home Semi-Final v Hednesford Town, won 2-1
- Home Final v Guiseley, won 2-1 a.e.t.
Overall, therefore Alty have been successful twice in gaining promotion via play-offs, and unsuccessful once. In eight games they have won six, (one after a draw and a penalty shoot-out and one after extra time), drawn one and lost one. None of the six victories has been by more than a single goal (other than in a shoot-out).
This time around the play-offs are being organized in yet another different way, with six clubs now involved as follows:
- Qualifiers: The fourth club in the final table plays the seventh team and the fifth and sixth clubs also meet, both ties being one-off games
- Semi-Finals: The winners of the above qualifiers play away at the second- and third-placed clubs. The second-placed finishers play the winner of the fifth v sixth tie, and the third-finishers play the winners of the fourth v seventh tie.
- Final: The winners of the semi-finals play each other at the higher-placed club.
Telegraph & Argus reports that a "Kaine Felix strike guaranteed Guiseley's survival in Vanarama National League North as they grabbed a 1-0 home win over Darlington.
The Lions grabbed a crucial three points thanks to the striker's 16th-minute effort when he slotted over Darlington goalkeeper Jake Turner... Guiseley took the points following a good attacking display...
Both sides had chances during the second period but Guiseley hung on for the vital victory. Guiseley ensured their safety ahead of their last game of the season at Kidderminster Harriers this Saturday.
Cliff Moyo was awarded the Craig Shearstone GAFC Supporters' player of the season prize at the game".
The first half of the first half belonged to the hosts, who should have been two goals to the good... Further half chances for Ryan Hall and Lewis Hawkins came and went before Chorley used a number of lives to keep the scores level... before Stephen Brogan’s effort hit the post...
Kicking up the the considerable bank The Magpies walked their way into the match and created a couple of chances... Chorley started the second half well... Then, with the result in the balance, Carver went down under a Kris Thackray challenge, ref Tom Parsons pointed to spot, and Blakeman’s low strike was palmed away by Gould.
It still looked almost insignificant in the grand scheme of things, until in the last minute of stoppage time, Stephen Brogan finally found a Moors’ head with a corner and the game was done".
The Bucks have occupied the play-offs for long periods this season, but they are now out of the race by a single goal from Bradford Park Avenue. They need to better Bradford's result next week to be in with a chance of the play-offs and Cowan wants his players to bring the season full circle.
He said, 'There is no advantage for anyone going into it. You saw today we were the higher side and dominated but couldn't get the win. We have a good week's work ahead now before York. It has been a good season compared to last but I am the type of person who wants it to come full circle.
'We didn't come this far to accept anything else. The club has had a difficult couple of years, so we don't want to huff and puff and fall by the wayside'
It was a frustrating afternoon against Alfreton Town, who kept the Bucks at bay and limited Telford to just a handful of chances...
Cowan added, 'I am feeling the same as I have been in recent weeks. We had plenty of possession but lacked the belief to bring the game home... I can't fault their hard work and desire but we have to be more ruthless in that final phase.'"
Gavin Cowan’s men have occupied a top seven place since the opening weeks of the campaign, and as the games were ticked off and the points kept flowing it seemed as though they were nailed on for the play off lottery.
But after Blyth Spartan’s recent resurgence, and this blank against Alfreton Town the ball is back in the North East sides court...
The task in hand for Telford was simple in the final two games. Two wins and the play off berth is theirs. And if they won this one and Blyth slipped up in Manchester, then they could play without any nerves in York next week.
Telford were favourites as mid table Alfreton turned up with a side missing regulars ahead of a regional cup final in mid week".
The visitors dominated the majority of the possession but couldn’t take their chances, including one from the penalty spot as Shane Byrne blazed over.
Chester’s clear-cut opportunities were few and far between... Despite a good result under the cosh at the Deva, the four point gap between the Blues and Bradford means the Swansway will play host to National League North football again next term".
The Minstermen fought back from conceding a Lewis Knight free kick early in the second half, with goals from Paddy McLaughlin, Jordan Burrow and Macaulay Langstaff racking up a seventh successive away match without defeat since the 3-1 loss at Stockport back in January.
In between Burrow and Langstaff’s goals, centre-back Shane Killock was also red carded for the hosts, as City gained revenge for their 4-1 reverse at Bootham Crescent earlier in the campaign...
Bradford came out for the second half with much more purpose and should have gone in front when Whitley dropped a Knight corner and Scott Burgess survived penalty shouts for a lunge at Johnson, before Adam Nowakowski skied woefully over from six yards.
Moments later, Conor Branson rattled a beaten Whitley’s crossbar with a 30-yard thunderbolt, before the deadlock was broken on 54 minutes. Wes York gave away a foul 25 yards from goal and Knight curled the subsequent free kick beyond Whitley's dive to his right...
City drew level on 67 minutes when Kempster played a short pass to McLaughlin and he hit a precise edge-of-the-box effort into Andrew's bottom-left corner...
Burrow forced a far-post save from Andrew. But the skipper was not to be denied shortly afterwards when, on 80 minutes, he took one touch to control another Harris cross from the right, before crashing a 12-yard shot into Andrew’s top-left corner...
Bradford’s afternoon then worsened three minutes later when Killock was sent off after hauling down Burrow 25 yards from goal to prevent a goalscoring opportunity. The ten men continued to press for an equaliser to their credit...
But City went on to add a third on the counter attack in the first minute of stoppage time when Burrow sent Langstaff charging clear through the left channel as he sprinted forward from inside his own half. The City striker then kept his cool to calmly beat an outrushing Andrew".
22 April 2019
- AFC Telford United 0-0 Alfreton Town
- Altrincham 1-1 Hereford
- Boston United 2-1 Ashton United (Ashton United relegated)
- Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-3 York City
- Chester FC 0-0 Brackley Town
- FC United of Manchester 1-2 Blyth Spartans (FCUM relegated)
- Guiseley 1-0 Darlington
- Leamington 3-0 Nuneaton Borough
- Southport 2-2 Kidderminster Harriers
- Spennymoor Town 1-0 Chorley (A 94th minute winner for the Moors)
- Stockport County 2-0 Curzon Ashton (County go back to the top)
O’Connor will be assisted by Russ Penn for the games against Southport and Guiseley, while the club continues the process of identifying the next Manager".
The National League adds that "Yates was supposed to take charge until the end of the season after stepping in after the dismissal of Neil MacFarlane. But with two games to go chairman Colin Gordon says the former Cheltenham and Macclesfield manager isn’t going to be taking the job full-time. Harriers are unlikely to make the National League North play-offs after Good Friday’s home defeat to Leamington. Therefore it has been decided the relationship will come to an early end".
The Harriers currently lie tenth, five points off the play-offs with two games to play.
Hereford FC visit the J. Davidson Stadium today for the penultimate game of the regular league season.
Since the last visit to Altrincham of a club from Edgar Street, there has been a change of identity as Hereford United suffered financial problems and had to re-form as Hereford FC in 2014. Since then they have climbed through the leagues up to the Vanarama National League North level.
In 2015–16 season the reformed club, Hereford FC, won promotion from the Midland Football League Premier Division and subsequently via winning both the Southern League South & West and the Southern League Premier, they reached their current level, in summer 2018.
They made a surprising change of manager early this season when they removed manager Peter Beadle, who had won three championships with the new club. During September 2018 Tim Harris became the club's Head of Football with Marc Richards (his son-in-law ) assuming the newly designated role of Head Coach in early October. Form was indifferent until February 2019 since when they have lost just once in twelve outings, albeit six of those games ended in draws. Four of the twelve matches were won and two were lost.
Their last win was five games ago, in an impressive performance at Spennymoor Town since when they have drawn at home to Stockport County, away at Alfreton and, last Saturday, at home to AFC Telford United. That result followed a 1-0 loss at Southport in which the Bulls missed a penalty.Hereford Times reported that "Hereford FC’s Head Coach, Marc Richards, was disappointed with a point after watching play-off chasing AFC Telford United come back to take a 1-1 draw at Edgar Street.
Rowan Liburd’s third goal in five games for the Bulls put his side ahead in the first half before Telford’s captain Shane Sutton levelled following miscommunication in the home defence.
'I thought we were excellent in the first half in terms of what we were hoping to do to them and it’s a pity we weren’t able to capitalise more,' said Richards. 'I like to think our plan worked in the first half and our goal came from that. It’s just a pity that we just couldn’t continue. In the second half, although we had a couple of good chances, they were the better team. We were better in the first half and they were better second half so it’s probably a fair result.
'They adapted to what we were doing and we had a chat at half-time about what we wanted to do and we didn’t execute it as well as we could have done in the second half. I was disappointed to come away with a 1-1 draw.
'It was an opportunity for the boys to go up against a good team as they are in the play-off spots at the moment.. It was an overall better performance from us'...
Talking about the opening goal, Richards said 'It was brilliant, a good bit of interplay followed by a brilliant ball from (James) Waite through to Rowan (Liburd) and it was a great finish... That’s why we’ve brought him into the club and he’s picking up the goals'...
Earlier, the same source had informed us that "'The aim is obviously to finish as high as we possibly can', said Hereford Head Coach, Marc Richards. 'I’m glad we’re in the situation where we’re not still looking over our shoulders in terms of that bottom three'...
When asked how many of the current squad are fighting for their place at Edgar Street next season Richards added 'I think some of them we have been looking at for a while but no decisions will be made just yet. Ultimately, a good percentage of the squad are still fighting for a spot for next season'"
And Hereford FC report that "On Monday as we lock horns with an Altrincham outfit that have all but sealed their place in the play-offs... and are on a run of just one defeat from their last ten matches. During these ten games they have hit seven goals at Alfreton, six goals at Curzon Ashton, five against Champions-elect Chorley and four against Chester.
It’s been a solid campaign since they secured promotion back into this level at the end of last season, although they had a last minute equaliser from Josh Hancock to thank for their point at Edgar Street back at the start of November after James Roberts had given us the lead...
For The Bulls, our draw with AFC Telford United means that we have lost just one of our last five matches. We are certainly proving hard to beat and there were aspects of our play on Saturday which bode well for next season. Rowan Liburd found himself back on the scoresheet with a well-taken goal after he linked up well with the diminutive James Waite, whilst Eliot Richards did well in the engine room of the side and was denied a goal from a great effort from distance by a smart save from the ‘keeper.
'We started the game really well and deserved our lead,' said Eliot Richards. 'With the heat it was hard to keep the levels up in the second half and a draw was probably a fair result... It’s frustrating that we’re not up there challenging for the play-offs too. We’re not a million miles away and what we have learned about this League during the season will stand us in good stead for next year.'” Fellow midfield man, Tom Owen-Evans, was forced to sit out the last game through injury as Keiran Thomas returned to the starting line-up, with Tommy O’Sullivan also getting a starting placThrough the Years show that today's match will be the ninth time in the last ten Alty matches on 22 April that the Robins have been at home.
Above: The teams take to the field for the match in 2006. Alty's no.18 is James Robinson, whose appearances for the club led to an 18-point deduction for Altrincham at the end of the season.
Although Monday's clash is the first ever visit of Hereford FC to Moss Lane, the Bulls' forerunner club, Hereford United, were regular visitors around the turn of the millennium. United's last league visit came on 15 April 2006 in a Nationwide Conference game, which Alty lost 0-1 in front of 1,251 spectators. For this match, Mark Maddox continued his suspension whilst Val Owen was out with a broken bone in his foot, injured for the third successive game. Chris Adams was only fit to be on the bench so Gary Scott continued at left-back.
With the Conference hearing regarding James Robinson's eligibilty hanging over them, before this match Alty had edged towards Conference safety with a fine 4-2 win at Dagenham the previous Tuesday, a result which had ended a run of eight games without a win. For their part second-place Hereford were going through a slightly disappointing period but were still looking for points to confirm their play-off place.
As a result of this defeat Alty had not won at home in six games. Altrincham were disappointed at the manner of the winning goal which came as a gap appeared up the middle and, despite Gary Scott's attempt to cut the ball out, Stuart Fleetwood got behind him to poke the ball past the advancing Stuart Coburn (64 mins). Alty then made a double substitution, moving Peter Band up front at the same time and, for the last 20 minutes Alty began to cause Hereford some problems with Blake Norton showing some good touches on the left.
ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 15. Peter BAND, 5. Gary TALBOT, 11. Gary SCOTT, 7. Colin POTTS, 37. Ged MURPHY, 12. Warren PEYTON, 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Rod THORNLEY. Subs: 3. Chris ADAMS, 17. Karl MUNROE, 18. Blake NORTON, 21. Kieran LUGSDEN, 28. Pat McFADDEN.
HEREFORD UNITED's starting eleven comprised 14. Wayne BROWN; 20. Alex JEANNIN, 28. Dean BECKWITH, 5. Tamika MKANDAWIRE (capt), 3. Simon TRAVIS; 16. Andy WILLIAMS, 11. Andy FERRELL, 15. Craig STANLEY, 21. Rob PURDIE; 7. Stuart FLEETWOOD, 18. Danny CAREY-BERTRAM.
Above: Just before Max Harrop, far left, stole in to net the second goal, Alty went close through this effort, prompted by Shaun Densmore's incursion into the opposition box.
The first goal, by Josh Hancock, took him onto 17 league goals this season, one more than Jordan Hulme. However, Jordan has one more goal in all competitions, nineteen, compared with Josh's total of eighteen.
Assuming he plays in both of the remaining fixtures, Alty centre back Tom Hannigan will make his 100th appearamce for the club at Ashton United on Saturday. He currently has made 93(+5) appearances for Alty and has scored seven times. His freedom from injury since the early part of this season has been an essential part of the team's success this season. In his previous two seasons combined he made only 52 starts, compared with 41, so far, in this season alone.
'That is not what they told me when they offered me a new contract last year... They've gone back on their word. The minimum I want is to keep the players I've got. If I can't I would really have to consider my own future in the summer...
'We have gone all season without tracksuits, even Robbie Dale says that has never happened before. We've had no training gear and we have to train on a five-a-side pitch when I asked for a full-size training pitch and nothing has been done.
'And to put it into some perspective, the budget I've been given for next season is lower than in my first season at the club in the EvoStik Premier when we had crowds of under 400. We now average 700.
'If we don't get up there into the play-offs, which the board do not want, I am worried what is going to happen to this squad... Almost all my players will be out of contract as the board won't let me offer contracts unless it's at a reduced wage'"
Matt Challoner returned to Chorley’s starting XI after injury, replacing Stephen Jordan who dropped to the bench. Stockport made two changes with Sam Minihan & Matty Warburton coming back into the lineup.
A thoroughly entertaining first half saw only the one goal. After Stockport had dominated the first 10 minutes. Chorley's first meaningful spell brought with it Andy Teague’s six-yard header from Alex Newby’s delightful inswinging corner.
County kept probing, with bunches of set pieces keeping the home defence on their toes. Matt Urwin was kept busy in the sense he had a number of touches but was rarely worked...
County should have equalised within two minutes of the restart but when Darren Stephenson gave Matty Warburton the freedom of Victory Park to tap home the forward instead cleared the crossbar from three yards. He would regret the miss on the hour when an horrible defensive error allowed Carver to stride in on Hinchliffe’s goal before hammering past the ‘keeper, doubling The Magpies’ lead.
The away side’s response was minimal as Chorley’s mean defence handled what was thrown at them".
The Chorley Guardian adds that "More than 1,000 Stockport County fans were in Chorley today for a potential title-deciding football fixture. And it seems some away fans were desperate to get in... With Stockport having sold out their allocation, a video has emerged of a handful of fans trying to climb over a wall to get in without paying.
They were turned away by police and stewards".
Meanwhile, Stockport County reported that "A goal on the quarter-hour and another on the hour at a sold-out Victory Park saw the ‘Magpies’ of Chorley leapfrog County to reclaim first place, and go two points above the Hatters with two matches of the regular season remaining.
On a sunny Easter Saturday afternoon that marked six years to the day since County dropped into the National League North, there was to be no exorcising of anniversary demons for the Hatters who, going into the next game, will not have it in their own hands to secure automatic promotion...
County took to the field for a fixture brought forward two hours to 1pm, showing two changes from the starting line-up in SK3 against Blyth Spartans the previous Saturday. Sam Minihan and Matty Warburton were recalled within a 4-2-3-1 formation to replace Sam Walker and the injured Dan Cowan while Jake Kirby was included with Walker on the bench, following his recovery from an injury sustained at Brackley Town six weeks earlier...
From Alex Newby’s delivery on the left, Chorley took the lead as skipper Andy Teague’s downward header powered into the bottom-near corner of the net... The Magpies proceeded to fashion the greater share of remaining first-half chances...
The Hatters replaced Minihan with Walker upon the resumption and, within two minutes, could and should have got themselves back on level terms. Stephenson beat ex-Hatter Courtney Meppen-Walter for pace on the left, before advancing to the by-line and squaring to the on-rushing Warburton but, with the goal at his mercy, the top scorer fired over from close range... The hosts, as they had done in the first half, continued to enjoy more opportunities in front of goal...
And with an hour on the clock, they doubled their advantage as leading goal-getter Marcus Carver charged down an attempted clearance by Palmer on the right, before racing into the box and firing past Hinchliffe... The Hatters, for the first time all season, lost a second successive league game without scoring, sequences they will need to reverse at EP against near-neighbouring Curzon Ashton 48 hours following the final whistle in Lancashire".
From the NL Paper, we learn that "Brackley Town have been booted out of their local cup, less than fortnight after winning it!. Brackley beat Rushden & Diamonds 4-1 on penalties after a goalless draw in the Northamptonshire FA Hiller senior Cup Final on April 2.
But it was subsequently found that Brackley [had] fielded two ineligible players...
A Northamptonshire FA statement said, 'The club has been stripped of the Senior Cup title and fined £500'".
Also in the Rams' side was Kieran's twin, Kelvin Lugsden and former Alty left-back, Joel Bembo-Leta. On the Lilywhites' side the goalkeeper was ex-Alty custodian, Josh Ollerenshaw.
Elsewhere, Tolani Omotola [right] scored with a header as his Coalville side beat Rushden & Diamonds 5-0 on Saturday.
21 April 2019
Right: Josh Hancock is congratulated on his goal by Ben Harrison.
After a goalless first half at Liberty Way in which relegated Borough actually came the closer to scoring when Caton's superb 25-yarder was brilliantly saved by Thompson, Altrincham took a fifty-fourth minute lead when Josh Hancock completed a neatly constructed move, at the second attempt, with a low shot from about 15 yards.
Alty went on to dominate the proceedings without further breaking down a resolute Nuneaton until added time. Then substitute Max Harrop bundled the ball home at the back post after Shaun Densmore had prompted an advance on the right.
Altrincham complete their league programme with a visit from Hereford FC on Easter Monday and a trip to Ashton United on 27 April. The play-offs start on Wednesday 1 May and, as things stand, Alty would be at home to Bradford (Park Avenue), whom they have already met four times this season. Should Alty win that game, they would be away to Stockport County, another team that they have already met four times this season! Of course, all that could change once the final two rounds of fixtures have been completed.
Bulls'News tells us that "Hereford earned a share of the spoils against play-off chasing AFC Telford United on Saturday afternoon. The Bulls took the lead in the 7th minute with a well-taken goal by Rowan Liburd, but Shane Sutton cancelled it out after half time.
After arguably one of the worst performances of the season against Southport last Saturday, Hereford started brightly against Telford and a hot and sunny Edgar Street...
But the 2,623 fans inside Edgar Street didn't have to wait long for a goal, with Hereford drawing first blood inside ten minutes. Some good play from Cardiff City loanee James Waite saw him thread through to Rowan Liburd and after taking a touch he struck the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
With Telford needing a win to keep their play-off dreams alive, they looked to respond quickly...
It was very pleasing to see the Whites playing neat, passing football throughout the first half, something which most supporters would agree has been sparse this season... Hereford's dominating first half performance continued and controlled the majority of possession. By the end of the half Telford had started to liven up and cause a few more problems, but these were well-dealt with by the Bulls...
Telford then got a foothold in the game and enjoyed plenty of possession as well as numerous set-pieces but they weren't able to break down Hereford's defence...
Hereford: Yates, Hickman, Greenslade, Thomas, Cullinane-Liburd, Gowling, Richards (Finn 83'), O'Sullivan (Wesolowski 69'), Liburd, Waite, Symons. Subs not used: Ezewele, Wharton, Hill".
- Att. 733: Alfreton Town 2 - 3 FC United Of Manchester
- Att. 3597: Chorley 2 - 0 Stockport County
- Att. TBC: Hereford 1 - 1 AFC Telford United
- Att. 530: Nuneaton Borough 0 - 2 Altrincham
Just past the half hour the opener arrived as a loose ball fell to Murray who rifled it home from just outside the area... On the stroke of half time Tomsett had Ashton’s first attempt on target but made insufficient contact to beat Shenton in the visitors’ goal.
Immediately on the restart the Blues doubled their advantage as Roberts’ free kick into the area saw Daniel Livesey’s looping header good enough to beat McMahon. Just past the hour Aaron Chalmers’ short backpass led to another corner and Murray’s delivery landed on the head of Waring who converted into the roof of the net...
Ashton’s best attempt to reply saw Liam Tomsett steer Matt Regan’s great cross field pass beyond the far stick and Chester could have registered again as Craig Mahon’s pass saw Waters hit a raking effort across goal.
Ashton Utd: McMahon, T Lees, Regan, Chalmers (Swaby-Neavin 67), Ashworth, Goulding, Sheridan, Mantack (Reed 46), Hobson, Dimaio, Tomsett. SNU: Roberts, Ennis, Kay."
At AFC Telford United, "Bucks boss Gavin Cowan is hoping the Telford faithful can turn up in their numbers on Bank Holiday Monday to generate significant noise levels on home turf as the Bucks look for 3 huge points towards their play off push...
Following AFC Telford United’s 1-1 draw at Hereford this afternoon, the Bucks currently sit in seventh place a point clear of Blyth Spartans and a point behind Bradford Park Avenue with two games to go
'We’ve managed to get ourselves into as position that none of us thought would be possible at the start of the season. We now want to bring it full circle which means everyone getting on board to get us over the line. I look forward to seeing the Telford community out in full force at our game on Monday'"
On Monday Alfreton Town were beaten at home 2-3 by FC United of Manchester. "Alfreton Town slumped to a sixth league game without a win and back to back defeats; as a passionate and driven FC United side struck with 12 minutes to go to edge to a deserved three points at the Impact Arena, to aid their survival ambitions.
Billy Heath made four changes in the blistering heat in what was a beautiful day despite the dry conditions that greeted both sides. Sam Ramsbottom returned in goal and there were also inclusions for Luke Shiels, Reece Styche and Tom Allan.
With a great atmosphere inside the Impact and a real weight of expectation on FC to deliver a performance, it was the Reds who started the better... The game soon became scrappy in the hot conditions as both sides traded possession...
Then with ten minutes gone, FC took a dream lead when a corner towards the far post was powered home by Myers into the roof of the net to stun the home faithful and send the travelling FC fans wild...
With 29 gone, Alfreton levelled the game when a corner from Sinnott was flicked on at the near post and Richard Peniket was on hand to head home from close range.
But the response was huge from the visitors and they re-gained the lead on 36 when Sharp's effort from inside the D was parried by Sam only for Willoughby to react quickest and finish into the empty net.
The goals continued and we equalised for the second time on 44 minutes, to cap off a pulsating first half. Sinnott again delivered a dangerous corner into the box where Tom Allan peeled off his man at the far post to fire into the top corner...
The second period began well for us with Sinnott striking the woodwork with a rasping effort from 20 yards... The openings kept coming for the Reds who had mostly dominated the second half in terms of pressure and attacking moments...
But the big moment came on 78 minutes after a period of momentum for the visitors which had seen the Reds desperately block shots in the box before Sam denied Myers with a fingertip save. From that save on 78, the corner came in towards the far post where Sam Baird was on hand to head home to send the away fans behind the goal and the FC management team, crazy...
FC dug in and showed the passion and desire in terms of the result they needed... It was another damaging defeat at home for Alfreton whose home form has been a frustrating and poor aspect of the season and defeat to relegation threatened FC United will dent the confidence at the Impact, further. Never the less the visitors deserved the points and their belief in their survival showed".
20 April 2019
- Alfreton Town 2-3 FC United of Manchester
- Chorley 2-0 Stockport County
- Hereford 1-1 AFC Telford United
- Nuneaton Borough 0-2 Altrincham
In addition to the disappointment of the last-minute own goal which robbed Altrincham of a point last Tuesday against Brackley, they also lost two defenders to injury. James Jones went off in the 21st minute with a vision problem and left-back Connor Hampson had to go off in the 85th minute with a leg injury. Hopefully, one or both may be fit today but there whould be a return to the squad of Andy White who sat out Tuesday's game due to suspension.
Altrincham cannot go up or down today, regardless of the outcome at Nuneaton. They trail Spennymoor by four points and lead AFC Telford by three points and a far better goal difference.Through the Years records show that the last time Alty played on today's date, 20 April, they won 6-0 at Hinckley United in the Blue Square Bet North on 20 April 2013. Alty had already won the reverse fixture 8-0 at Moss Lane that season.
In the away match Alty took the lead in the 40th minute when hesitancy by Hinckley's former Alty keeper, Ashley Timms, allowed Damian Reeves to loop a header over him. Alty also hit the post twice in the first half but led by only a single goal at the break.
Havern headed home a 52nd minute corner to make it 2-0. After Watmore had won a penalty, Reeves hit it well over the bar. Amazingly that was Altrincham's tenth penalty miss of the season! But Rodgers added a third after 65 minutes after Clee and Lawrie had combined well.
Watmore tapped in a fourth when Timms and a defender collided in going for a Reeves cross (74 mins). Brooke lashed home a fifth with six minutes left as Alty dominated and he scored again on 90 minutes.
For the match Alty were without the injured Scott Leather and Simon Richman, and Duncan Watmore was only on the bench. Hinckley had only one outfield substitute on their bench.
ALTRINCHAM : 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 4. Carl RODGERS, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Danny HALL, 7. Jake MOULT, 8. Danny BOSHELL, 9. James LAWRIE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE, Subs: 12. Pat LACEY, 14. Ryan BROOKE, 15. Duncan WATMORE, 16. Callum MOONEY, 18. Tony McMILLAN (gk).
Right: James Lawrie controls the ball at Hinckley in 2013 as Damian Reeves looks on.
Alty's catalogue of penalty woe is below...
- 4.9.12 v Gainsborough Trinity (away).
MISSED. This was the least damaging miss, as Damian Reeves netted the rebound after the keeper had saved.
- 22.9.12 v Shilton (away), FA Cup2QR
MISSED. Again Reeves's shot which hit the top of the cross bar was not a costly miss as Alty won 3-0.
- 13.10.12 v Corby Town (away).
MISSED. Reeves's third miss was on target but saved by the keeper. Alty won 5-2 so, again the only damage done was to the goal difference.
- 4.11.12 v Burton Albion (away) FA Cup Round 1
MISSED. Again the keeper saved a Reeves effort. As the game ended 3-3 and Alty lost the replay, this was costly in financial terms.
- 26.2.12 v Gloucester City (away)
MISSED. This time Reeves hit the penalty wide and the game ended goalless, so two points were lost as a consequence.
- 5.1.13 v Harrogate Town (home)
MISSED. Matt Doughty's kick was stopped by the keeper, an outfield player who had taken over from the red-carded custodian. Alty won 3-0 so, again, no loss of points was incurred.
- 13.3.13 v Solihull Moors (home)
MISSED. This time Densmore's kick which is comfortably saved. But Alty won 2-1 to spare the Alty captain's blushes.
- 11.4.13 v Guiseley (away)
MISSED. Ryan Brooke was the culprit this time - his kick was comfortably saved and a potential win became a draw - two points dropped
- 17.4.13 v Bradford PA (away)
MISSED. Matt Doughty had his penalty saved in a 2-2 draw, so two points were lost.
- 20.4.13 v Hinckley United (away)
MISSED. Damian Reeves tries again but blasts his kick well over the bar. However, a 6-0 win meant there was no loss of points.
The away side got the job done after the break, though, firstly through Danny Livesey’s headed effort less than 60 seconds into the second half. Then George Waring made sure of the three points with a header of his own into the roof of George McMahon’s net.
The Blues made three changes from the side that salvaged a 2-2 draw with York City last weekend, with Murray, Steve Howson and Anthony Dudley all taking their place in the squad...
Ashton nearly netted a consolation in the final 15 minutes of the game, however Tomsett’s effort across goal was just wide of the far post... A quiet end to proceedings saw Chester through with their third consecutive away win in hand; the first time the Blues have recorded such a streak since April 2017".
Curzon Ashton FC "are delighted to announce that midfielder Sean Miller has signed a new deal which will see him at the club until 2020. After arriving at the club in January 2019 from Chester FC Sean has impressed manager Mark Bradshaw and this week has signed to the end of the 2019-2020 season."
On Friday, Darlington defeated Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-0. "Quakers nearly took the lead on 11 minutes, there was a good lay off by Thompson on the edge of the box for Jordan Nicholson to hit a left foot shot that went just wide of the left hand post. But Bradford missed a great chance on 13 minutes when Nicky Clee swung a free kick over from the left to the far post where Shane Killock, unmarked, headed over the top...
The game swung from end to end... Quakers were looking the more likely to score and Thompson played a 1-2 with Trotman, and his fierce shot was saved by the keeper. But he wasn’t to be denied on 81 minutes. Quakers broke up the left hand side, and Saunders set up Thompson, who struck another terrific shot from just inside the box that beat the keeper all ends up for his 94th goal for the club".
And the Telegraph & Argus adds that "Bradford (Park Avenue) suffered another narrow 1-0 defeat on a frustrating afternoon at Darlington... and it puts even more pressure on Monday’s home Yorkshire derby against York City.
The tension will be almost tangible because Bradford need a win after their defeat at Darlington by the most slender of margins. Avenue created plenty of chances, finishing the second half and beginning the second in all out attacking mode, but their failure to convert cost them dearly when the Quakers’ Stephen Thompson netted the game’s only goal 10 minutes from time.
Avenue boss Mark Bower knows that the result has ramped up the pressure another notch or two. He said 'We’re making it hard for ourselves,' following one win in their last six games. 'We were on top throughout the game. We created clear, clear cut chances and, early in the season, we were tucking them away. That has been the difference and we need to get back to taking our chances. The last three games in particular have been frustrating and the opposition goalkeeper has been named man of the match in each game.
'We’ve got to get back to being more ruthless because we are creating the openings. We have only got the penalty (from the 1-0 win against bottom club Nuneaton Borough in the last home game) to show from the last three and that’s just not good enough. I don’t think it’s down to luck either. I know that we’ve had a stuff cleared off the line, goalkeepers having their best games ever and hitting the woodwork. But the chances we’re creating are glaring ones that are begging to be put away.
'Going in front in games also gives you a big advantage and we’re not doing it. It is a massive game against York now. It’s a big club coming, there will be a decent crowd and we’ve got to get the lads ready to work really hard and keep us in this top seven.'
[Ex-Alty man] Nicky Clee may be a doubt as he was forced off early in the second half of today’s game with a groin injury" Spennymoor Town report that on Friday "Goals from defenders James Curtis and Scott Harrison and a late winner from Ryan Hall secured a play-off place on an afternoon of high drama at York City.
A header late in the first half from Curtis was cancelled out by former Moors loanee Alex Kempster, who struck back five minutes into the second half with a thunderous volley. Moments later Curtis’s centre back partner Harrison got on the scoresheet when he hammered a shot into the roof of the net from close range after the ball fell to him from six yards.
Centre half Sean Newton met a Patrick McLaughlin corner and headed York City’s second equaliser in twenty-five minutes from time. Hall, who replaced the stricken Mark Anderson after just ten minutes, was rewarded for a determined display when he calmly slotted a low shot past City keeper Ryan Whitley.
Spennymoor came into the game looking for one point to secure their play-off place, while York City were playing for pride with them safe from relegation but too far from the play-off race...
Moors’ returnee Anderson, who made a positive impact from the bench against Brackley, went off with a suspected hamstring injury after 10 minutes, Hall slotting in on the right flank...
York were made to pay for their lack of nous in front goal when Stephen Brogan’s floated corner found the head of Curtis who rose highest to net his second goal of the season. That gave Moors the momentum heading into the break, but they were pegged back five minutes after interval when half time substitute Kempster volleyed a fizzing shot into the top left corner.
Moors’ response was instant, and after Rob Ramshaw was denied twice by Whitley, defender Harrison was alive in the area to fire high into the net for his first goal in a Spennymoor shirt. An eventful afternoon for Curtis continued minutes later when he made a goal saving challenge on McLaughlin, resulting in a change of shirt and shorts following a cut on his head. The collision eventually saw the captain forced off with concussion, and the defender’s inclusion in the final two games of the season now looks doubtful.
Against the run of play York City pegged back Moors again, with the impressive Newton bulleting a header past Gould from a corner. A Moors side who had the chance to seal a play-off spot grabbed the elusive goal twelve minutes from time when Ramshaw threaded a perfect pass to Hall. The winger kept his cool in front of the travelling Spennymoor fans to cap off a frantic game and move Moors’ on to 70 points for the campaign".
According to the Telegraph & Argus, "Blyth Spartans forced their way into the play-off places in the Vanarama National North, temporarily at least, with a 2-0 win against struggling Guiseley at Croft Park. The home side scored an early goal but the Spartans’ three-point maximum was not ensured until they netted a second, in the penultimate minute.
The defeat leaves the Lions still just one place above the drop zone but, with Ashton United also losing, the gap remains four points and there are now just two games remaining.
Blyth took a 12th-minute lead following a mix-up in the Guiseley defence. No one took the responsibility to clear the ball which allowed Dan Maguire the time to see that Kieran Green was in a better position and he laid it on a plate for his team-mate...
Guiseley put plenty of pressure on the home defence in the second half and their management duo Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neil made positive substitutions as they chased down an equaliser. But it was all to no avail and the Spartans snatched a late goal to double their lead when a set-piece led to a bullet header from Nathan Buddle.
The Lions now face a tough home game against Darlington on Easter Monday. Bignot was left wondering what might have been. He said, 'At any level you can’t start a game like we did and concede in the manner that we did. The timing of the goals was a factor in losing but between those goals we’ve played well, their manager (Blyth boss Alun Armstrong) has come off the pitch and can’t believe why we’re down there.
'“We can control our own destiny on Monday though. Everyone is looking at the Darlington game and we’re in a good position being four points clear of Ashton, who lost today, with just two games to go. The players know that three points will make the club safe so lets get over the line and what a way to do it, in front of our fans at home. Then we can start to look to next season.'"
In the Chorley Citizen we learn that "Manager Jamie Vermiglio says Chorley are gearing up for one of their biggest games in their recent history as they aim to topple rivals Stockport County in the National League North.
The Magpies suffered a defeat in an eight-goal thriller against Altrincham on Saturday but Stockport also lost meaning that only one point separates the top two sides ahead of their battle at Victory Park on Saturday...
Vermiglio said 'It was really frustrating but we were able to turn a negative into a positive as Stockport did not extend their advantage at the top. It is another game chalked off and the ball is still in our court... It is really exciting and is a great opportunity for the club'...
Vermiglio hopes the Magpies fans come in their droves to cheer on the players on Saturday and create an intense atmosphere. He said 'We are up against it when we face them as they should be top of the league as they have the resources and, when you go there, it is like a pressure cooker. I am calling for the people of Chorley to come and get us over the finish line.'
Vermiglio has a few injury concerns ahead of the big match but is hopeful some can return. He said, 'Matt Challinor has a hernia problem and we hope he can come through. Josh Wilson is a doubt after having a problem with his ribs. Alex Newby was in his second game back and will add to the squad. Dale Whitham has come back from a loan spell and that gives us another option.
'Most people will look at the statistics and know our strongest team. I know that means people know the system but our players know their roles and what they have to do. We have been very successful this season and Stockport have beaten us twice this season and we have not scored against them but this is a one-off game, like a cup final and we are going to relish the occasion.'
Vermiglio insists there is a real rivalry between the two clubs and there will be a personal one when former striker Darren Stephenson returns to the club looking to fire his current side to promotion...
He said, 'We want to be able to knock them off their perch at the top of the table.'”National League report that "BT Sport... has now selected the crunch game between Solihull Moors and Leyton Orient for live coverage. Kick-off [on Monday] at the ATG Stadium remains at 3pm... Thanks to Good Friday’s results, Orient know two more wins will secure the title and promotion back to the EFL.
The 'O's beat Harrogate Town to stay in control of their own destiny as Salford won late at Boreham Wood. Solihull’s conclusive victory at Bromley means they are still in the hunt. Orient could even win it this weekend; victory for Justin Edinburgh’s team on Monday with the right result at Salford City means the Londoners will be champions. It will be an afternoon not to be missed and BT will be showing all the action as it develops from the Ammies’ home game with AFC Fylde, just to add to the drama.
Solihull Moors vs Leyton Orient will be broadcast live on BT Sport 1 and 4K UHD."
19 April 2019
- Ashton United 0-3 Chester FC, att.468
- Blyth Spartans 2-0 Guiseley, att.915
- Brackley Town 2-0 Boston United, att. 755
- Curzon Ashton 0-3 Southport, att. 380
- Darlington 1-0 Bradford (Park Avenue), att. 1,311
- Kidderminster Harriers 1-2 Leamington
- York City 2-3 Spennymoor Town, att. 2,871
Barring a massive defeat on Saturday at Nuneaton, Altrincham can neither go up nor drop down in the league placings whatever the result at Liberty Way. Spennymoor's win today (Friday) means they are now four points clear of Alty. If AFC Telford United win on Saturday and Alty lose, the clubs would be level on points but Alty currently hold a 17-goal lead over The Bucks on goal difference.
So, as things stand the play-offs look like this:
May 1st Play-Off Qualifying (currently)
- Match A: ALTRINCHAM v BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)
- Match B: SPENNYMOOR TOWN v BLYTH SPARTANS
May 5th Play Off Semi--Finals (currently)
- Match 1: CHORLEY v Winner of match A
- Match 2: BRACKLEY TOWN v Winner of match B
May 12th Promotion Final
- Winner of match 1 v Winner of match 2 (at higher-placed team's ground).
Also, from Nuneaton Borough we learn that "Borough have confirmed that Mike Calveley has returned to parent club Port Vale. The versatile youngster made 43 appearances for the Boro' this season, more than any other player, playing in virtually every position, including two stints in goal.
Calveley's five goals place him third amongst all Boro' players on the season, he also contributed three assists.
'It's been a pleasure to have Mike at the Club for most of the season', said Secretary Adam Etheridge. 'He's not only been a fantastic player for us but a model professional'".
"Thanks to all who came with us to Alfreton and Telford, both excellent trips with Alfreton being one of the most enjoyable away days for many a season. Telford was a great effort from the players and so close to another victory and the players were once again backed by a great support.
We need to keep this going as the team looks to finish as high as possible and ask for your support at Nuneaton on Saturday.
We have kept prices as low as we can again and hope to see a good turnout. We'll stop for 30 mins on the way down and hope for another great day. A reminder, our coaches are alcohol free and we welcome travellers of all ages.
Details of times and fares are on the Away Travel page.
On this occasion in 2019, it is the hosts who have already been relegated out of the Vanarama North.
Above: Alty complete their warm-up before the 2016 game at Nuneaton.
Back in 2016 Alty manager Jim Harvey had been severely constrained by numerous injuries and illness, so it was going to be a difficult task to take anything from this game. The opening stages were traumatic.
In the eighth minute, a cross from the left was miskicked by Doherty. Dawber blocked a resulting shot but could not hold the ball and Whitehouse netted the loose ball. A minute later, Joyce dwelt on the ball on the front edge of the box, in a central position. He lost the ball, then fouled his opponent to concede a penalty. To compound his offence, he was sent off (9 mins).
Dawber did very well to save Whitehouse's spot kick. And then Altrincham grabbed an equalizer as Miller received Reeves's lay off and hit an impressive shot into Dibble's left-hand corner (17 mins). Nuneaton regained the lead after 34 minutes when Ironside volleyed home from eight yards.
Two goals on the fringe of half time setttled the outcome. First an O'Hanlon cross led to Williams hitting the bar and Whitehouse netting the loose ball to make it 3-1 (43 mins). Having announced a minimum of one added minute Mr Tankard played three and in the last one, following a corner, a Langmead effort was blocked and Williams scored to leave Alty 4-1 down and with ten men.
Both of necessity and choice Jim Harvey had rung the changes. Tim Deasy was injured on Saturday. At left-back was new loan signing Josh Doherty from Leyton Orient. Alan Goodall's wife was very ill, Sam Heathcote was ill, whilst Deasy, Hall, Hannigan, Densmore and Cyrus remained sidelined by injury. So, of necessity, two strikers (Hobson and Hattersley) were named in yet another central defensive pairing.
NUNEATON TOWN: 1.Christian Dibble, 2. James Clifton, 5. Kelvin Langmead, 6. Jordan Keane, 3. Ben O’Hanlon, 4. David Morgan, 8. Billy Daniels, 7. Greg Tempest, 10. Elliott Whitehouse, 11. Aaron Williams, 9. Joe Ironside, Subs: 12. Alex Penny, 14. Euan Cartwright, 16. Sam Warburton, 15. Shaq McDonald, 17. Daniel Demkiv
ALTRINCHAM: 1. Andrew DAWBER, 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Josh DOHERTY, 4. Danny HATTERSLEY, 5. Craig HOBSON, 6. Simon RICHMAN 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Jake MOULT, 9. Charlie JOYCE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Sean MILLER. Subs 12. David LYNCH, 14. Harry CAIN, 15. Jon MORAN, 16 Fabio BASSANGUE, 20. Andrew JONES (gk)
Mike Garnett reminds us of our record against Nuneaton Borough since its reformation as Nuneaton Town; and it makes grim reading in the away fixtures.
- At home: P4-W2-D0-L2-F7-A4
- Away: P3-W0-D0-L3-F3-A8
- All: P7-W2-D0-L5-F10-A12
"A distraught Tony Thompson [right] was left inconsolable after a bizarre stoppage-time own goal condemned Altrincham to defeat and dented their hopes of finishing third in National League North at The J.Davidson Stadium.
Victory over Brackley Town would have taken Alty above the Northamptonshire side into third place, and they appeared to be on course after going ahead through a deflected Max Harrop free kick in the 38th minute.
But they were pegged back in the second half and left reeling at the end of added time when keeper Thompson swung his left foot at a Tom Hannigan back pass and missed completely as it bobbled over his boot and into the net.
There was no consoling Thompson when the final whistle sounded seconds later, and Alty manager Phil Parkinson said, 'It's a really difficult one to take and everyone has probably gone home feeling empty, gutted and all the other things you feel when something like this happens.
'There was nothing in the game, and we are really disappointed at how it ended. It was just an error. A bobble on the pitch has taken the ball away from Thommo, and he is absolutely devastated in there.
'You start thinking could we have done anything different but I'm not going to point any fingers because the lads have been absolutely superb. I hope people don't go too far over the top.
'I did hear one or two really negative comments at the end of the game and you just think, "Come on, these boys have been fantastic all season". These things happen in football and it's how you bounce back. We will bounce back, and I just ask for a bit of perspective and a realisation of how well these boys have done for this club.
'So let's stick together and make sure the knives are not out tonight. It's easy to do that when you lose and are hurting, but how about regrouping and coming together and making sure we give these boys everything, because they have given everything during the course of this season?'"Hereford FC have yet to visit Altrincham and the Bulls report that "Easter weekend sees us take on two teams who are looking to secure their place in the play-offs.
It begins on Saturday as AFC Telford United visit Edgar Street before we head to Altrincham on Monday... With Saturday’s opponents also having something very much to play for, it promises to be another keenly-contested game.
'We’re going to have a big say in who makes the play-offs over these next couple of games,' said skipper, Josh Gowling. 'There is still plenty for us to play for in that we owe the fans good performances and we want to get into that top half of the table.
'We know that our performance at Southport last weekend was not good enough. The conditions were difficult, but in fairness, we didn’t play well enough...
'We’re ready to go again at the weekend and its two games that we are looking forward to as we aim to end the season positively'...
There has been plenty of positivity for AFC Telford manager, Gavin Cowan... Will we taste victory here for the first time since Guiseley were beaten on March 23rd?".
The Pilgrims travel to Brackley Town on Good Friday before entertaining relegation battlers Ashton United on Easter Monday.
United were beaten 2-0 at home by Darlington on Saturday, who secured their mathematical safety in National League North in the process.
With United’s place in the top half now under serious threat, Elliott said, 'Although we might not be where we want to be, we have been a consistent top-half team. If we do not pull our finger out and get back to it, we could end up finishing above the relegation places and that would be horrendous because we have been in the top 10 or 11 teams all season.
'Letting it go over the last four or five games is not good enough. I am fully focused and motivated to do well but I need to question whether the players are. Are some of them looking towards their holidays already?
'If they are, they are going to get found out and it’s going to be a long three games. We have got a difficult game now at Brackley and other hard games too. We want to win games of football.'
Elliott, who impressed supporters with some straight talking at a recent fans’ forum, is confident he can deliver the success that the Pilgrims’ supporters crave.
'I will get this right and I have got to have a better mentality and a better dressing room where there are more leaders and more aggression and a will to win games of football because I cannot accept recent performances,' he added".
Boston United report that "United manager Craig Elliott is hopeful of having strikers Tom Clare and Jordan Slew back in action ahead of the Easter weekend double-header.
The Pilgrims travel to Brackley Town on Good Friday ahead of their final home fixture on Easter Monday against Ashton United.
Bradford City loanee Clare and fellow striker Slew... both missed last Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Darlington through illness. Elliott is confident that the duo will be available but is less hopeful about the potential inclusion of top goalscorers Gavin Allott (thigh) and Nicky Walker (knee).
United centre-half Ryan Cresswell (neck) will also be checked after missing the Darlington clash.
Brackley secured their play-off position with a last-gasp 2-1 win at Altrincham on Tuesday evening to earn themselves a third shot at promotion following promotion final defeats to FC Halifax Town in 2013 and Harrogate Town in 2018.
The Pilgrims were beaten 4-1 by the Saints in last season's corresponding fixture".
The Lions travel to the North East to face eighth-placed Blyth Spartans tomorrow before they host 18th-placed Darlington on Easter Monday. O'Neill's side then finish their season at his co-manager Marcus Bignot's former club Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday, April 27.
Guiseley are fourth-from-bottom in the table, four points clear of the division's bottom three. They slightly eased their relegation worries with a 1-1 draw against Ashton United at Nethermoor on Saturday...
O'Neill said he and Bignot have had to make decisions with the best interests of the club at heart as they dealt with the hangover from last season's relegation...
He said, 'We will be ready for Blyth tomorrow. It will be tough against Blyth as they are flying at the moment... We will come back stronger from the draw last weekend when we go to Blyth. Did we want to be in this position at the start of the season? No. There are a lot of full-time clubs in a similar position to us in this league.
'The amount of stuff we have had to deal with off the field this season has been unbelievable. It's been a nightmare off the pitch. It has been a massive, hard slog. We have done everything for the club. Every decision we have made has been in the best interests of the club at heart.
'We are still four points clear with three games to go... Let's get to the end of the season and see where we are.'"
Ashton faced one of their most important hurdles in their race for survival last time out, in a match against fellow relegation contenders Guiseley. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with goals from James and Sheridan resulting in each side leaving with a point. This was not the desired result for the Robins as they remain 4 points off 19th place, however there were a lot of positives on display in the team’s performance and they will be hoping to take this into the next game against 10th placed Chester FC.
Chester FC drew as well last time out, at home to 12th placed York City...
The player Ashton United fans should keep an eye on is Manchester born forward Anthony Dudley. The 22-year-old has been in excellent form for Chester, scoring 11 goals this term while he is on loan from parent club Salford City".
The Blues on Saturday yielded a 2-2 draw against York City, much needed after being hit for six by Stockport the Tuesday prior. Bern and Jonno would have been pleased to see their changed side come from behind on two occasions to share the spoils.
George Waring grabbed his third for the Blues in place of the injured Akwasi Asante... Jamal Crawford made his debut from the bench and excited fans in his ten minute stint with bags of pace and direct running.
Six points behind AFC Telford with three games to go means a play-off place looks unlikely. Nevertheless, after the despair of the 2017-18 campaign, the building blocks have been put into place for an exciting future...
After such a wretched away run this term, the travelling yellows could make it three away wins on the bounce tomorrow. Let’s hope they do!"
The fourth-placed Moors have lost the last three matches on their travels, going down to top-of-the-table Stockport County (1-0), play-off rivals Kidderminster Harriers (2-1) and relegation-threatened Ashton United (3-0).
Jason Ainsley’s men last won on the road in mid-February when they defeated Altrincham 2-0 and, conversely, that triumph saw the club rack up their best sequence of away successes with three on the spin.
Furthermore, over the course of the campaign, only two sides, Stockport and Altrincham, with ten wins apiece, have claimed more than the nine away league victories Spennymoor have enjoyed this term.
Only Stockport (16), meanwhile, have conceded fewer away goals in the division than the Brewery Field outfit’s 21. But the County Durham team have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last nine matches, having recorded five consecutive league shut-outs prior to that run.
Spennymoor will visit North Yorkshire, though, knowing that three points will ensure their participation in this season’s play-offs...
Former Whitley Bay and Ashington striker Glen Taylor is just one goal away from hitting 30 for the campaign ahead of tomorrow’s match... The form of Taylor has contributed to limited chances for ex-City striker Adam Boyes following his summer move from Bradford Park Avenue.
Boyes has netted eight times in 44 outings, but has mainly been used as a substitute during the campaign and has started on the bench for the last five matches, being introduced during each of the last four.
Winger Mark Anderson is Spennymoor’s second-top scorer this season with 14 goals and, having missed four games due to injury, he returned to action as a 73rd-minute substitute last weekend".
18 April 2019
Above: Tom Hannigan rises to deal with a Brackley cross on Tuesday night.
More on the match, here.
There is a post-match interview with Phil Parkinson on the Altrincham FC website.
National League video highlights are here.
Through the Years data for next Saturday, 20 April, when Alty travel to Nuneaton Borough.
Before last Tuesday's game on 16 April, Mike Garnett informed us, via The Robins' Review, that "This evening’s game is the thirtieth competitive match involving the Robins on April 16th down the years, and the eighteenth to take place on this ground. Overall the record shows 16 wins (11 at home), four draws (one here) and nine defeats (five of which were at Moss Lane). In terms of encounters with teams in our current division, or their antecedents, there have been just three games against opposition from Shropshire who were known as Wellington Town at the time of our Cheshire League Cup 2nd Round meeting here 68 years ago today, a game which we won 2-0.
Forty years later to the day our guests were the same club, by now known as Telford United, for a GM Vauxhall Conference fixture which went Alty’s way by the odd goal in three, Ken McKenna and Mark McCarrick sending the Robins back to the top of the table after Nigel Shaw’s own goal had given the Bucks the lead. The gate that Tuesday evening was 1,685. The same opposition and competition applied on this day in 1994 when the Robins won 2-0".Bulls' News we learn that "Hereford FC will play in the National North League again next season but there will be several 'new' teams given promotion and relegation. Interestingly some of those 'new' teams might be relatively close to Edgar Street as opposed to hundreds of miles away. This is partly because it looks as though four teams, all in the south, will be relegated from the National League and, given their location, will play in National South next season...
If that theory is correct then it's expected that a team or even two teams currently playing in the National South may land up in the National North next season... Amidst the candidates are Gloucester City, Oxford City and Bishop's Stortford.
Meanwhile, given their location, Kettering will be in the National North next season. They have already won the Evo-Stik Southern Premier. At least Kettering is closer to Hereford than, for example, Blyth Spartans. And Farsley Celtic look likely to be promoted to the National North from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League. South Shields, Warrington Town, Nantwich Town and Gainsborough Trinity currently occupy the play-off spots.
An FA committee decides who plays where and their decision is expected to be revealed at the National League AGM which is set to take place on June 8 at the Celtic Manor, Newport."
West Mercia Police has warned supporters against taking drugs or pyrotechnics with them...
Superintendent Sue Thomas, policing commander for Herefordshire, has said a large police presence has been put in place, and anyone who has taken drugs or is in possession of drugs will not be permitted into the ground. She said 'We are expecting a large and passionate crowd this Saturday so please give yourself plenty of time to get to the ground.
'There is much at stake for AFC Telford and it will be an exciting and emotive game. There is a proportionate policing operation in place to ensure everyone stays safe and enjoys the game and the local community can go about their business in the city...
'For anyone attending the game, they are reminded not to bring any form of pyrotechnics such as flares to the match as there will be thorough searches carried out at the gates. If anyone is found to be in possession of pyrotechnics they will not only have them confiscated but they will be arrested too, which will mean they miss the match. Those who may have taken drugs or have drugs on them will not be accepted at a family event such as this and you can expect to see officers actively ensuring a safe and fun day is had by all'...
The force has also said investigations are continuing following the unacceptable behaviour of some fans two weeks ago at Edgar Street in the home game against Stockport County FC and arrests are expected."
The Club is playing at its highest level ever and is currently three points and one place away from a play-off position. We have a financial model that includes income from sponsorship and other revenue streams of which attendances are a key component. For the club to remain competitive and financially viable at the current level, we require average gates of at least 1,000, if we were promoted to the National Conference the average gate would need to be 1,500.
At present the average attendance is around 700, clearly this will not provide the finances to fully support the club and a playing squad capable taking the club forward. The core support from Blyth and the surrounding area is exemplary, a credit to the club and an invaluable vocal boost to the team, it’s the missing support to make up the difference that is key to the future of the club!
We have two remaining home games this season, at home to Guiseley, Good Friday, we then entertain Southport on Saturday 27th April, on the last day of the season, then possibly the play offs! We are playing some entertaining football; we have a good squad and a great atmosphere in the ground. Please come along to Croft Park, enjoy the day, make the difference and support your club".
From York Press we learn that "York City assistant-manager Micky Cummins is looking forward to seeing how the club’s defence copes with National League North’s top-three goal scorers. The Minstermen will tackle 23-goal Glen Taylor when Spennymoor visit Bootham Crescent on Good Friday, before the final two games of the campaign pitch them against Bradford Park Avenue’s Jake Beesley and Daniel Udoh, of Telford, who have both netted 19 times in the league.
Taylor has grabbed 29 goals in all competition this term for the Moors and Cummins will be watching closely to see how on-loan centre-back Jasper Moon, in particular, copes against the division’s most potent frontmen in consecutive contests. The 18-year-old Barnsley defender has joined City with the view to a season-long loan next season and, on the test ahead, Cummins said 'It’s all part of Jasper’s education because, each game he plays, is seeing him come up against different types of strikers.
'One game, it can be somebody fast who plays off your shoulder and wants to get in behind and, then, like this weekend, it can be somebody big and strong like Glen Taylor. Newts (Sean Newton) is enjoying a good spell in the team as well, so we want to see if we can stop them from scoring. Every game is a lesson for us and we want to see how far we have come as a group and who can come on the journey with us next season."'
City’s leading league marksman, meanwhile, remains 11-goal Jordan Burrow, who is currently on a barren run of nine games, with Cummins adding 'Alex Ferguson once said "attack wins you games, defence wins you titles" but, this season, those with the top scorers are flying and you do need goalscorers'.
Cummins went on to declare that teenage keeper Ryan Whitley can 'make a decent living in the game', with the City management team offering their full support for the ex-Archbishop Holgate school pupil despite a costly mistake in only his second senior outing during last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Chester. 'He’s a talented, young boy with a bright future if he listens and learns,” Cummins said. “He was the first to hold his hand up and apologise after the game and it’s difficult as a keeper because, when you make a mistake, there’s nobody there to dig you out.
'His response has been fantastic this week and his approach to training has been excellent. He has a composure and attitude that is beyond his years and he’s always looking to improve. He works well with the gaffer and myself, as well as all the defenders in the group. He’s taken big strides in the time we’ve been here, and he has a fantastic opportunity to make a decent living in the game.
'We are backing him and trying to fill him with encouragement, as is the goalkeeper-coach (Andy Collett), who has a previous record of working with keepers and moving them on. Ryan is a player who responds better to an arm around him, rather than a rollicking and he will also have a go back at the defenders. He’s a character and one of the good ones.'
From their time in charge of Spennymoor’s National League neighbours Gateshead, Cummins also pointed out that he and City boss Steve Watson are more familiar with the next visitors to Bootham Crescent than they are most sixth-tier sides. 'We know them quite well,' he confessed. 'They will play 4-4-1-1 and will have lots of energy and enthusiasm in the middle of the park. They don’t take many risks at the back and get the ball up to Taylor with the wide men and midfielders working off him. They are not blessed with technical ability everywhere, but they have quality in the right areas, and they will be on the front foot as they’re in a strong position in the league.
'But we feel there are a couple of areas where we can get at them and we’ve been working on that in training.'”
The National League reports that "It’s not just promotion up for grabs, the Golden Boot awards are always keenly contested... While Chorley and Stockport County going at it for the championship, Glen Taylor has some breathing space. The Spennymoor hitman has 23 goals to his name, with Daniel Udoh, Daniel Maguire and Jake Beesley all on 19.
With three games left, can he be caught? Here’s the full list of scorers this season with just three games left for things to change.
- Glen Taylor 23 Spennmoor Town
- Daniel Udoh 19 AFC Telford United
- Daniel Maguire 19 Blyth Spartans
- Jake Beesley 19 Bradford (Park Avenue)
- Colby Bishop 17 Leamington
- Kurt Willoughby 17 FC United of Manchester
- Matthew Warburton 16 Stockport County
- Josh Hancock 16 Altrincham
- Reece Styche 16 Alfreton Town/Darlington
- Jordan Hulme 15 [actually 16] Altrincham
- Ashley Chambers 14 Kidderminster
- Josh Wilson 14 Chorley
- Joe Ironside 14 Kidderminster
- James Armson 13 Brackley Town
- Rowan Liburd 13 Guiseley/Hereford
- Sean Reid 13 Blyth Spartans
- John Johnston 13 Altrincham
- Marcus Carver 13 Chorley
17 April 2019
Right: Max Harrop is congratulated by Tom Hannigan and team-mates after netting Alty's goal.
What started as a promising evening when Max Harrop's 38th minute deflected freekick gave Altrincham a 1-0 interval lead, ended in huge disappointment when Tony Thompson's air-kick allowed Tom Hannigan's back-pass to roll into the net in the 94th minute.
Brackley had deservedly equalized in the 70th minute of a second half in which Altrincham created few openings. Ndlovu netted the equalizer from close range after Ceesay had allowed a Brackley player to get behind him and cross from the right.
The defeat left Altrincham fifth when a win would have lifted them into third. And, to add to their woes, they lost two defenders to injury during the game; James Jones had to be replaced after 21 minutes and Connor Hampson succumbed in the 85th minute.
More on the match, here
interview with Phil Parkinson on the Altrincham FC website.
National League videohighlights are here.
The National League reports that "Last year's National League North losing promotion finalists will get another bite at the cherry after again securing their place in the top seven. But Brackley Town's game with Altrincham wasn't without its drama, the Saints eventually edging the game thanks to a calamitous, last-gasp own-goal.
The Saints lost last season's showpiece to Harrogate Town and currently occupy third place. After turning Tuesday's game with Altrincham on its head in the second-half, boss Kevin Wilkin praised his players.
'I am absolutely delighted with the win,' he told the club's official website. 'We have two evenly matched sides, both extremely capable on their day. I felt we were unfortunate to fall behind in the first half and then had that bit of good fortune right at the end. But we stayed strong together, showed courage and created a terrific moment to score an excellent equaliser. It was a good game for the neutrals to watch.
'It was a great night and the win keeps it interesting going into the Easter weekend.'”
- Played 14, won 12, drew 2, lost 0
- Goals for 112, against 8
Also, on May 1st, the Ladies' senior teams are holding trials at Stretford Sports Village. Details are available by contacting Wayne Goodison (Manager) on 07939 174215 or by e-mail or contact Gail Simpson by e-mail. And the Junior Girls are arranging a tournament; details from Rachel Davies".
Thanks go to Phil Taylor for the above information.Cheshire Live that "If last season's relegation from the National League was easy to sort out then this season's is anything but. Chester FC , Guiseley, Woking and Torquay United all fell through the trap door from Non-League football's top tier last season and the split was a pretty simple one for the National League North and South.
This season is much more problematic, though. Saturday saw the confirmation of relegation for four sides from the National League, with Havant & Waterlooville, Aldershot Town, Braintree Town and Maidstone United all tumbling out of the division. And with two sides from Hampshire, one from Essex and one from Kent it is safe to assume that none of the quartet will be playing their football in the National League North next season.
So, what happens next? Well there are options available but the eventual decision won't be one made by the National League, it will be decided by an FA sub-committee who will look at the geography and potential implications before making a decision, with the league structure to be confirmed at the National League AGM on June 8 at Celtic Manor, Newport.
As per the norm, the winners of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League will be promoted to the National League North as champions. At present Farsley Celtic hold a three-point lead at the top while South Shields, Warrington Town, Nantwich Town and Gainsborough Trinity occupy the play-off spots.
Then there is the Evo-Stik Southern Premier which has already been won by Kettering Town. Now, with Kettering based in Northamptonshire it is reasonable to assume that they will be one side who look destined for the North given the geography of those coming down from the National League itself.
Then you have the 'super play-offs' to take into account. In their first year, the 'super' play-offs will see only two sides promoted to the National League North and South via the play-offs from the four Step 3 leagues; the Northern Premier League, Isthmian League, Southern League Central and Southern League South. The traditional play-off structure from second to fifth place remains, but the winners won’t be guaranteed promotion. Instead, the four successful teams face the 'super' play-off where two separate ties will be played, decided by the FA Leagues Committee on the most suitable geographical basis.
The matches will be one-leg and played at the side with the better points-per-game ratio during the season. The two winners will be promoted to Step 2, the National League North and National League South.
The Southern League Central play-offs look set to be contested by Stourbridge, King's Lynn Town, Alvechurch and Stratford Town while in the Southern League South the play-off places are currently being occupied by Taunton Town, Metropolitan Police, Salisbury and Poole Town.
And in the Isthmian League it doesn't appear as if any side would be forced into the National League North given the geography of champions Dorking Wanderers and the current play-off contenders of Haringey Borough, Tonbridge Angels, Carshalton Athletic and Worthing.
It could well be that at least one team has to be moved from the National League South to the National League North, something which has occurred in the past. A look at the National League South at present throws up a few potential options.
Oxford City and Gloucester City have both played their football in the North before now and, given that Bishop's Stortford once did the same, it isn't beyond the realms of possibility that current Hertfordshire-based sides in the South - Slough Town [Slough is actually in Berkshire], St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead Town might come into the equation. The Blues and their North rivals won't know the make-up of the division until June but it won't be featuring any side that has come down from the league above."
Kidderminster Harriers inform us that "Kwame Thomas has returned to parent club Solihull Moors. The striker arrived at Aggborough on loan in mid-March alongside defender Harry Flowers. After making five appearances for the Reds, including one start, Thomas has been recalled to Solihull with immediate effect."
According to York Press, "Teenage defender Jasper Moon would relish a season-long loan chance with York City next term. The 18-year-old centre back has impressed during his first two senior outings for the Minstermen following a deadline-day switch from Barnsley last month.
He has since been offered professional terms at Oakwell for 2019/20... The former Leicester academy prospect is enjoying his first taste of senior football and he reasoned 'I’ve just been offered a new contract at Barnsley but coming back here on a season-long loan would be something I’d be more than happy to do.'
The Barnsley under-23 regular has also expressed his surprise at some of the sixth-tier quality on show, declaring 'The standard is really good, and way better than I thought it would be. It’s also a bit more physical than what I’m used to, which is obviously good for my development... I was at Leicester from the age of eight to 16 and they taught me most of the stuff I know,' he explained. 'At Barnsley, they’ve shown me the little things I need to improve my game to be ready for senior football and this loan is now teaching me the physical side.
'I know I won’t win every physical battle so, sometimes, you just have to know when you do have a chance to win the ball and when you don’t. I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to go out on loan, but I hadn’t put it forward as something I’d like to do yet so, when it came up, I was buzzing...
'The academy manager came in and said York wanted me. I said "Nice" and got my stuff and went straight away.'
Fellow Oakwell under-23 prospect Sam Fielding recommended the club to Moon, having made his debut with the Minstermen at the age of 16 back in October 2016, whilst a player who knows all about the move City’s young defender has made has also taken him under his wing. More than 17 years ago, at the age of 20, veteran City striker Jon Parkin was loaned out to Bootham Crescent from home-town club Barnsley and Moon has welcomed his guidance, adding 'He’s given me a few pointers on how I can improve, so that’s been really useful.'
With Moon in the back four, City have taken four points from a possible six after a 1-0 home success over Southport was followed by Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Chester... 'I thought we were unlucky not to get three points against Chester so, to only take one, was disappointing,' he lamented".
Lincolnshire Live reports that "Work to build a new ground for Boston United could start within weeks, according to club chairman David Newton. He confirmed that work on the The Pilgrims' new community stadium could soon start at The Quadrant, off the A16 in Wyberton...
Mr Newton told Lincolnshire Live 'We're confident that we'll receive the funding to start building at The Quadrant. We're waiting to secure funding from Homes England but I'm confident that we'll be starting work in the next few weeks'... Work at the Quadrant is already underway and The Pilgrims manager Craig Elliot helped open Costa at the site last month. Boston could play their final game at York Street at the end of the 2019/20 season after the Pilgrims extended their lease for another year.
In the event that the ground is not ready for the start of the 2020/21 season, Newton admitted the club may need to groundshare with another club for a short period, but would discuss potential grounds later down the line...
'It's 99 percent certain it will not be renewed again. We haven't got anywhere lined up yet as we're hoping that it doesn't come to that. We were very pleased when the Malkinson family granted a lease extension to help cover the period before the new community stadium will be complete. It will be sad to leave the York Street ground which holds so many memories for the club’s fans, but the new stadium will give the club a more secure future', [he added].
The Malkinson family have placed the plot, where the current ground is located, up for sale. The family owned the club from the early 1930s through to the earn 2000s and have placed the 4.3 acre plot on the market".
The Shropshire Star informs us that "AFC Telford goalscoring defender Steph Morley insists boss Gavin Cowan’s enthusiasm has been the biggest factor in their high-flying form. Cowan signed a new two-year contract at the New Bucks Head on the eve of his side’s latest National League North victory – a 3-1 success over Curzon Ashton.
Left-sided defender Morley, 31, was central to Telford’s 17th league win in 39 games this season by scoring his second and third goals of the season to hand the hosts a 2-0 lead. Former Tamworth man Morley stressed that, with Cowan at the helm, players will see AFC Telford United as an attractive option.
'The gaffer has been a massive part of this, his enthusiasm rubs off on the players no end,' said Morley. 'I can’t see anyone wanting to leave what the gaffer has built here, we are like a family to be fair. I may have helped my case for a new deal with them two goals. Some lads come in Monday morning to do a bit extra, but everyone puts everything in and I think would want to stay for next year. The detail that goes in from the gaffer is class. It is him, Trains (Phil Trainer) and the backroom staff.
'It is run like a professional club, there is nothing closer out there to a professional club than Telford at the minute'...
Telford’s remaining fixtures are against three sides currently mid-table and below. A play-off position is in their hands but Morley insists... 'We don’t feel any pressure now going forward because everyone outside Telford thinks we are over achieving. We believe we can go and get in the play-offs and hopefully get promoted.'
The ex-Brackley and Leamington man has made 23 appearances for Telford since joining last summer. Morley, who has nursed a couple of knocks this term, has been battling with the more attack-minded Brendon Daniels for the left wing-back spot. He added, 'We have me and Brendon (Daniels) on the left and he has class at this level, his left foot is almost as good as mine!'".
Meanwhile, the Shropshire Star says that "Racist chanting was alleged to have been aimed at stand in Bucks skipper Matthew Barnes-Homer during the penalty shoot out in the Huddersfield Cup, which was won by Alport at their Yockings Park ground.
An investigation was launched but following reviews of photo and video evidence, as well as communication with supporters in the area, Alport found no evidence of racism.
A spokesperson for AFC Telford United said, 'Following a full investigation from Whitchurch Alport, AFC Telford United are happy to have been informed that there is no evidence to suggest any racial chanting took place at the Huddersfield Cup tie last week'...
It comes after Bucks boss Gavin Cowan said he believed he heard racist noises from behind the goal and called for Alport to ban anyone found responsible".
NL Paper reports that "The relegation battle in a third Evo-Stik League was potentially affected yesterday after it was confirmed that AFC Mansfield would have to vacate their position in Step 4 after their ground failed to meet grading requirements.
Following the liquidation of North Ferriby United in the NPL and the resignation of Colwyn Bay in the Evo-Stik West, yesterday’s news means that all Evo-Stik Leagues have now been affected by the unexpected departure of a club.
AFC Mansfield were promoted from the NCEL Premier Division last season [and] have had an impressive first season at Step 4 level, with the Bulls currently lying in 16th position, a comfortable nine points above the drop zone.
A statement on Mansfield’s official club website read, 'The club are saddened to announce that AFC Mansfield will be relegated from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League at the end of the 2018/19 season. The club failed to meet ground grading requirements by the March 31 deadline, and consequently have been placed into a relegation position. In light of these events, the club has written to the Football Association requesting to be placed at step five of the National League System'...
Meanwhile, it is so far unclear exactly what effect the news will have on the current relegation battle in the league. Some are anticipating that only the bottom-placed club in the Evo-Stik East will now be relegated, however the exact course of action that will be taken is yet to be announced."National League reports that "The National League title race is the most exciting for many years and now the next instalment is being shown to the world. BT Sport have added a Good Friday game to the bill, and it’s a big one!
Leaders Leyton Orient’s match with Harrogate Town will be broadcast live, it has been confirmed... at 3pm. Orient kept hold of top spot thanks to their dramatic win at Sutton United on Saturday.
But in-form Salford City and Solihull Moors are hot on their heels... Harrogate need the points too with the side not yet assured of a play-off place. The game will be broadcast live on BT Sport 1 and 4K UHD."
16 April 2019
It is also hoped that Josh Hancock will be available tonight after missing last Saturday's match.
For their part Brackley Town report that "Next up for Kevin Wilkin’s side is Tuesday evening’s re-arranged trip to Altrincham (kick-off 7.45pm). It is an encounter between the two in-form sides in the division. Occupying third and fifth spots, just a single point separates the teams as they battle for play-off places.
While Saints lost out at Spennymoor on Saturday, it was only a second defeat in 17 games. Fifth-placed Altrincham meanwhile are unbeaten in eight games and recorded a 5-3 win over second-placed Chorley at the weekend.
The Robins are the division’s top scorers with 80 goals, a statistic aided by the recent 7-0 defeat of Alfreton. While free-scoring they have also conceded 52 goals and have kept a single clean-sheet at home in the last six matches making visits to Moss Lane an exciting one for supporters.
Altrincham won at St James Park in early December, Glenn Walker on the score-sheet for Brackley... Glenn Walker should be available again for Brackley while Carl Baker remains a doubt".
"Thanks to all who came with us to Alfreton and Telford, both excellent trips with Alfreton being one of the most enjoyable away days for many a season. Telford was a great effort from the players and so close to another victory and the players were once again backed by a great support.
We need to keep this going as the team looks to finish as high as possible and ask for your support at Nuneaton on Saturday.
We have kept prices as low as we can again and hope to see a good turnout. We'll stop for 30 mins on the way down and hope for another great day. A reminder, our coaches are alcohol free and we welcome travellers of all ages. Book on via the club on 0161 928 1045 or in the CSH tonight against Brackley Town".
Details of times and fares are on the Away Travel page.
Right: Jordan lurks in the goalmouth alongside Chorley's former Alty centre-back, Scott Leather.
Mike Garnett reminds us of the previous encounters between the teams:
- Home: P4-W2-D0-L2-F5-A8
- Away: P5-W3-D1-L1-F6-A6
- All: P9-W5-D1-L3-F11-A14
Brackley Town last visited Altrincham for a league match on Saturday, 8 April 2017, when The Saints won 3-1.
In that game, just after the half-hour mark, Alty left-back McWilliams was stranded in the opposition half and Brackley's Glenn Walker, (still at the club), got free on the right. His low cross was easily converted from close range by Diggin. Altrincham almost levelled six minutes later when a fine move ended as Lawrie played in Reeves but keeper Laurie Walker made a superb one-handed save.
The second half was a disappointing affair for Altrincham. Twelve minutes from time, Micah Evans misheaded a Tomlinson kick and the ball ran free for unmarked substitute Hempenstall who beat Tomlinson with a well-judged lob from left of goal. In added time Ndlovu drove a 20-yarder past Tomlinson to make it 3-0 before Evans netted a consolation goal in the third added minute. He tapped in when Owens relayed a McWilliams cross to him from the left.
For the 2017 game, Shaun Densmore and Clayton McDonald had both returned to the Alty squad after several months' absence, the former through injury and the latter mainly due to his loan to Droylsden. Alan Goodall, John Cyrus, Kyle Brownhill, Tom Hannigan, John Cyrus and Sean Miller all remained on the injured list so, yet again, it was a weakened Alty side which had taken to the field. On the positive side, youth teamer Darius Palma made his first league start, following his substitute appearance away at Darlington, last month.
ALTRINCHAM : 1. Stuart Tomlinson, 2. Sam Patterson, 3. Andy McWilliams, 4. Laurence Taylor, 5. Sam Heathcote, 6. Jake Moult (capt), 7. Simon Richman, 8. James Lawrie, 9. Darius Palma, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 12. Andy Owens, 14. Shaun Densmore, 15. Clayton McDonald, 16. Micah Evans, 20. Tim Deasy.
BRACKLEY TOWN : 1. Laurie Walker, 2. James Clifton, 3. Alex Gudger, 4. Shane Byrne, 5. Luke Graham, 6. Gareth Dean (c), 7. Glenn Walker, 8. James Armson, 9. David Moyo, 10. Steve Diggin, 11. Adam Walker. Subs: 12. Ellis Myles, 14. Matt Lowe, 15. Lee Ndlovu, 16. Jordan Gough, 17. Jordan Hempenstall.
Right: Les is pictured on the 1995-96 Alty team photo.
After leaving Moss Lane, Les had a spell as manager of Fleetwood Freeport, which came to an end in October, 2001.
Les was also the hero in one of the more bizarre episodes in Altrincham FC history as relayed by the Robins' Review of 7 October, 1995 (Alty v Bath City). It said "There was high drama on the way to Stevenage last Saturday as Robins' chairman Gerry Berman narrowly escaped injury or worse, when a a person or persons unknown shot at the team coach on the A1. A 2.2 calibre bullet shattered the outer window of the coach but failed to penetrate the inner sheet of double glazed glass alongside which the chairman was sitting. Coach Les Atwood pursued the fleeing gunman up an embankment and across some field but to no avail".
Seemingly, some alleged "travellers" were taking pot shots at vehicles rather than aiming at anyone in particular and, needless to say, there has never been anything remotely approaching a repeat of this episode on Altrincham's travels.here. Alty TV.
Whilst Jordan Hulme, Josh Hancock and John Johnston have been scoring regularly for Altrincham, Ben has also done so for Witton, scoring four times in five matches for Albion!National League, "Phil Parkinson knows there’s no better time for his Altrincham side to be clicking into gear. The Robins blew Alfreton away last weekend with seven goals on the road, and beat title chasing Chorley 5-3 on Saturday...
'I think anyone who has been watching us can see that we’re coming into form at just the right time', boss Parkinson told Alty TV. 'That takes us top of the scoring charts, which is something I’m really pleased to see. Chorley found our attackers a real handful because they are very good at what they do.
'But it’s not always the best individuals. It’s often the best group who do well at the end of the season. We’re lucky. We have a fantastic group with depth and togetherness. When Chorley got it back to 3-3 they said "No, we’re not going to let this happen". They've got a great desire.”
- Altrincham v Brackley Town
Josh Lundstram played the full game for Nuneaton in their 4-1 defeat at Blyth Spartans on Tuesday but was not involved in their 1-0 defeat at Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday. This season – 12 league appearances (13 in all competitions)"
While I like the rather quaint nature of the town itself, what I really like is York Street... These days with the rise of out of town copycat stadiums, York Street provides us with a glimpse of what football was. A town centre location with rickety old stands which ooze history and past glories and let’s not forget proper floodlight pylons. You can’t beat proper floodlight pylons.
Forgive me for getting all doughy eyed, but having read that next season is likely to be Boston’s final one at York Street before they head to an out of town copycat stadium... It’s a shame our traditional old grounds can’t be modified rather than turned into housing estates."
Anyhow, on to the game. What an odd affair. Against a very average looking Boston side, we laboured in the first half and then wiped the floor with them in the second... Half time came and went and then all hell broke loose.
Tommy made three substitutions at the start of the second 45. At best it was bold. It felt like a risky move. What would have happened if we’d picked up an injury or had someone send off? Fortunately, neither happened. What the change did, with all credit to Tommy, was allowed us to expose just how poor our hosts were. Playing what at times looked like a really offensive 4-2-4, we took the game to them and they did not cope well...
For 45 minutes, we put in a really good performance, arguably our best half of the season. Where it came from goodness knows... As enthusiastic as we can be about the showing, at this point in the season, it kind of frustrates me a bit. Over the two games we’ve played against Boston, all I have seen from them is a bang average outfit. I can’t imagine they have a mega budget and yet they are going to end the season in a position which I would have thought was our minimum expectation on the opening day of the season.
What has struck me this season is there are a lot of Bostons in this league. The standard has dropped in comparison to the previous two seasons. Regardless of this, and despite getting little glimpses of potential here and there, we have only just secured our position in the league for next season with three games to spare. As enjoyable as the win was, it only served to remind me that with what was a competitive budget at the start of the season, we have missed out on what was a good chance of challenging for the play-offs."
Cheshire Live informs us that "Chester FC have finally confirmed the appointment of a new general manager. George Delves is the man that the Blues have chosen to take on the role, with the 35-year-old to take on his new role at the beginning of next month.
Delves has served as general manager and, more recently, CEO of Tamworth since 2015 and will be relocating to the Chester area to commence his new role.
Prior to working at Tamworth, Delves worked with the Academies of both Sheffield United and Derby County between 2009 and 2015, and also spent time in a part time community-based role with Leicester City from 2006 to 2009.
Speaking to Chester FC.com, Delves said, 'The club has massive potential both on and off the pitch, and my role will be to work alongside the Directors, First Team Management, Academy Staff, and Volunteer Groups to help achieve this potential in all areas'...
The post of general manager at the Blues was first advertised last summer following the departure of Tony Allen. They did appoint a general manager last year, Stephen Jones, but he lasted only 24 hours in the role after historical issues relating to his conduct in the mortgage industry came to light".
On the pitch the NL Paper tells us that "Bernard Morley says he and joint-boss Anthony Johnson will be ringing the changes to their Chester side this summer...
Chester responded on Saturday with a battling 2-2 draw at home to York City, but Morley has confirmed... 'It’s going to be a new squad and I’ll be honest with you, it looks like there are going to be more players going out and more players coming in,' he told Cheshire Live. 'But it’s never healthy as a manager as you want to add three or four to an existing squad.
'Me and Jonno, we’ve put our cards on the table and, being honest, I think there is going to be the same kind of transformation as last season. We may retain five or six and if we are [to] give it a go next year then we have got to be ruthless with our recruitment and there is no room for sentiment anymore...
'The pain of the past couple of weeks in terms of not reaching our goal hurts more than it does releasing a player,' added Morley. 'So we have got to be ruthless and make sure we get our recruitment right next season and believe we can go on and compete (at the top end).
'We potentially thought we had a squad of 10 as a platform to build on next year but that has shrunk to maybe six or seven after this week. There have been some questions hanging over our head and we’ve seen two or three (against York) and we don’t learn and what we expect is players to learn from mistakes and they simply aren’t doing that'".
The Shropshire Star reports that "Gavin Cowan is relishing the project that lies ahead of him at AFC Telford United after signing a two-year contract with the club. On Friday the news broke that he had committed his future to the Bucks until the summer of 2021, and that was followed by a convincing 3-1 win over Curzon Ashton in what was a perfect weekend for his side.
'The expectation will be higher now but nothing will change, we will be focused on this season and hopefully trying to get into the league above. We want to build and keep the energy the club has had...
'We have revived the club here, and given it its soul back as we said. It is going to be a longer term project now through the next couple of years.'
The Bucks boss is also hoping his commitment will be closely followed by his players, as they look at renewing their deals at the New Bucks Head.
He added, 'WWe would like to keep them on board, but will look at that in the next couple of weeks.' Three big games lie ahead before the play offs, starting with a derby clash with Hereford at Edgar Street next week.... He added, 'They are a good side at home and have had a new lease of life in the last month or two'".
15 April 2019 Altrincham FC.
And the National League has brief video highlights of the game.
Above: James Poole (12) nets Alty's fifth goal from the penalty spot..
From the opposition, the Nationa League reports that "Chorley manager Jamie Vermiglio reassured fans that his players still believe they can overhaul Stockport County. In what was a wild afternoon in the National League North, both the title chasers came unstuck.
County lost at home to Blyth while Chorley went down 5-3 in an incredible game at Altrincham. That means Stockport still lead by a point but there’s a twist in the tale; the two promotion hunters meet at Victory Park on Saturday.
'We’re clearly disappointed to come away with nothing', Vermiglio said. 'We made it too easy for them, a lot of things we did goes against our character. Credit to Alty, as they were excellent, but when you score three goals you expect to take something from the game.'
But he told fans on the video service 'Let me reassure you, we are absolutely ready for these next three games. They are the biggest games in the club’s recent history. The boys realise they have made mistakes today but we are prepared. We have a massive game next Saturday against Stockport County. We will be ready for it.'
The next fixture (21/04/19) is at home to Stockport County Ladies Blues, who lie seventh in the table.Through the Years we learn that when Brackley Town visit Moss Lane on Tuesday, 16 April, it will by 25 years since Alty last won a game on that calendar date. Since they beat Telford United 2-0 in a GM Vauxhall Conference game, they have drawn at Burscough (2001) and lost at home to Lancaster City (2002), away at Fleetwood Town (2011) and most recently, in 2016, away at Eastleigh.
Right: Eastleigh keeper, Ross Flitney, punches clear in the second half, as Damian Reeves waits for a goalkeeping mistake.
The game in Hampshire was a Vanarama National League match, won by the Spitfires, 2-0. Eastleigh went into the game on a run of 11 home games without defeat in the league whilst Altrincham had not won any of their last ten away matches. Alty were bottom of the table and soon to be relegated, before they suffered an early blow when keeper Deasy went down injured in the opening minutes. Though he completed the game he was unable to take goalkicks and limped throughout. Nevertheless, Alty did well in the first half and got to half-time goalless thanks to good defending and poor finishing from Eastleigh.
Eastleigh mounted some second half pressure and got ahead in the 59th minute when a cross from the right was met by Jai Reason's rising shot into the net. A well-hit long shot from Coulson made it 2-0 in the 70th minute. The hosts continued to press with Alty limited to sporadic counter-attacks.
In addition to four long-term absentees, Alty were without the suspended Marcus Holness but Jake Moult had recovered from injury to start. However, Simon Richman (injured on the previous Tuesday) did not travel. Reeves and Rankine both started as did loanee Josh Ginnelly but Jordan Sinnott moved to the bench.
ALTRINCHAM: 17. Tim DEASY, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 6. Scott LEATHER, 5. Luca HAVERN, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Jake MOULT (capt), 7. James LAWRIE 19. Ryan CROWTHER, 15. Josh GINNELLY, 9. Michael RANKINE, 10. Damian REEVES. Subs: 23. Callum WILLIAMS, 24. Rhain DAVIS, 27. Adam SAVILL, 20. Jordan SINNOTT, 14. Josh O'KEEFE.
Lats time out, Brackley's good run came to an end with a 1-1 loss at Spennymoor Town. Brackley Town report that "On the day league leaders Stockport and second-placed Chorley both slipped up, it was the chasing pack behind Brackley that took advantage as third-placed Saints went down to only a second defeat in 17 games at fourth-placed Spennymoor.
A goal each at the end of an otherwise barren first half sent the sides in level at the break. Playing down the considerable slope in the second period Saints came out the stronger creating scoring opportunities and all looked set for Kevin Wilkin’s side to go on to seal what would have been an invaluable away win at the start of this crucial Easter period of four games in ten days. But it was not to be as chances were spurned only for the division’s leading scorer Glen Taylor to find the corner of Danny Lewis’ goal with a quarter of an hour remaining, a clinical finish to seal only a second win in nine games for Moors who moved level on points with the visitors in a tight race at the top that just got even tighter.
'It is obviously a disappointing result today,' Wilkin said. 'We have been guilty of getting too many good opportunities and not taking our chances. Crucial moments have come and gone today when, for all our effort and endeavour, we have to score more than a penalty from good chances. We have been strong again today and have done enough to merit winning the game, let alone drawing it, so it is disappointing especially when you see the way other results have gone.'
Lee Ndlovu created the best opening of the first half, turning inside to make space but finding only keeper Matt Gould’s legs with the shot before Spennymoor went ahead in the 43rd minute, Ryan Hall firing past Danny Lewis from six yards as Brackley failed to clear their lines. Shep Murombedzi’s speculative shot from distance in added time was not gathered cleanly by Gould and Ndlovu’s persistence brought a rash challenge by Gould to concede a penalty. Shane Byrne converted the penalty kick to equalise.
Saints dominated the second period playing down the slope but without finding the decisive break-through... Taylor struck on 76 minutes, burying the ball beyond Lewis from a sharp chance, and Moors’ confidence only grew from there, and successfully kept the visitors out to record a win to keep their promotion hopes on track and send Saints home dwelling on what might have been.
Brackley Town: Lewis, Myles (Nti 80), Murombedzi, Hall, Dean, Byrne, Armson, Lowe, Ndlovu, L.Fairlamb (Sterling-James 75), A.Walker. Subs unused: Jackson, Jeffers, Prosser. "
More comes from the Banbury Guardian which says that "Brackley Town’s eight-match unbeaten run came to an end at play-off rivals Spennymoor Town... Saints looked as though they would at least come away with a point in the second half but they failed to build on their first half display.
Saints missed several good chances, the best falling to Ndlovu who raced on to a long clearance from Danny Lewis but allowed Rob Atkinson to clear before he could pull the trigger. Matt Gould also did well to block Ndlovu’s goal bound effort while Ellis Myles and Luke Fairlamb had shots blocked when well placed and Matt Lowe’s effort was deflected wide".Bulls' News reported that "Hereford were defeated away from Edgar Street for the first time since New Years Day yesterday afternoon at what is now called the Merseyrail Community Stadium, once known as Haig Avenue, the home of Southport.
On a cold and windy afternoon and on a very dry and uneven pitch, the same for both teams, Hereford just couldn't deal with a team albeit with little footballing skill. So disappointing after the win over Spennymoor and the draw against Stockport recently.
Head coach Marc Richards opted to go with just one change from the starting eleven against Alfreton last Tuesday. No place for Mike Symons, his place taken by Kyle Finn, and Keiran Thomas was left out altogether as he recovers from his recent accident. Also missing was Lance Smith as he recovers from injury.
Whatever ones opinion of Symons this was a game where he might have started given the conditions. When he eventually came on during the second half he did win several balls in the air, which were more than new striker Rowan Liburd managed thoughout the whole game...
After the break Hereford looked a little brighter. But the gusty wind continued to make high balls difficult to judge... Tom Owen-Evans lost his marker but he couldn't get a shot away. He appeared to land awkwardly near the keeper and was replaced by Tommy O'Sullivan. Then on 58 minutes Southport took the lead. Greenslade gave a free kick away and Matthew Platt turned the ball in from close range.
Mike Symons was brought on in place of James Waite and his presence meant Hereford were able to keep possession of the ball for slightly longer spells. But chances remained few and far between.
On 79 minutes Finn was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. However with Owen-Evans, who usually takes penalties off the pitch, O'Sullivan was given the opportunity. Unfortunately he blasted the ball over the bar and the best chance for Hereford was wasted... Southport held out and, on balance, probably deserved the three points.
Hereford: Yates, Greenslade, Gowling, Cullinane-Liburd, Hickman, Richards, Wharton, Waite, Owen-Evans, Finn, Liburd. Subs: Symons, O'Sullivan, Hill, Ezewele, Wesolowski
The Telegraph and Argus reports that "Guiseley's quest for National North survival is 'as you were' after a 1-1 home draw against Ashton United, the club directly below them in the table. The Lions remain four points above the trapdoor and there are now just nine points left to play for.
The Robins are still fighting though and now have a three-point cushion over second-from-bottom FC United of Manchester after their 1-0 home defeat to Kidderminster Harriers. It was understandably a tense and nervous affair at Nethermoor and, while the sides were determined, they cancelled each other out with few chances being created...
Set-pieces provided the few half chances in the first half with an eighth-minute free-kick for the Robins leading to Connor Dimaio volleying against the bar... [After a] claim for handball, referee Andy Sykes pointed to the spot. Kingsley James took the responsibility and fired past McMahon. The Robins hit back with a little under ten minutes remaining. Another free kick, this time for a foul on Oliver Crowley, gave Sam Sheridan the chance to strike and he curled his effort past home keeper Marcus Dewhurst.
Lions joint-boss Russ O’Neil said 'I'm so frustrated, it's unbelievable how I feel at the minute. To get our noses in front, we should have managed the game a lot better from there. There were few chances and it was difficult to get ourselves in front. Then straight from their kick-off we keep the ball alive instead of letting it go out, then they get a free kick and equalise from it.
'It’s exactly the same free-kick as they got against Spennymoor last week to get them on the front foot and we’d spoken about that before the game. That’s the disappointing thing. We just haven’t managed the game well enough and I’m fed up with it to be fair.
'We were edgy from minute one but the group was ready for it. The group were all over it and mentally we were ready for the game but as soon as it kicked off you could tell that there was some nervous tension around the place. We had the game where we wanted it with quarter of an hour to go and we haven’t lost that position through Ashton’s ability, we’ve lost it because we haven’t managed the game well enough and ultimately that’s cost us. But still, we’re four points clear with three games to go so we’ll go to the next game'".
The Yorkshire Post adds that "An 81st-minute equaliser by Sam Sheridan meant Guiseley missed out on the chance to take a massive stride towards safety...
The hosts took the lead after a handball was awarded against Ashton and James made no mistake scoring from the spot with a calm finish for the home side. Ashton though equalised moments later, Sheridan firing in a superb free-kick from 25 yards out that curled into the bottom right-hand corner. After that the two sides could not be separated...
The Lions travel to play Blyth Spartans on Good Friday, in a match where they could secure their status in the league with a positive result".
Bradford Park Avenue got back to winning ways after four matches without a victory to consolidate their position in the top seven with a 1-0 home triumph over relegated Nuneaton. The only goal of the game was scored when half-time substitute Oli Johnson sent in a cross and Jake Beesley was brought down, with the latter finding the top corner from the penalty spot on 55 minutes. Beesley went on to head against the underside of the crossbar and Nicky Clee saw a chipped effort cleared off the line.
York City’s faint mathematical hopes of reaching the National League North play-offs were extinguished by a 2-2 draw at Chester. The Minstermen led twice through efforts from midfield pair Adriano Moke and Paddy McLaughlin but were forced to settle for a share of the spoils after Sean Newton’s own goal and a George Waring effort."
14 April 2019
Above: Jordan Hulme is top of the pile as Shaun Densmore is submerged by team-mates following his second goal against Chorley.
Shaun Densmore was the hero with two goals as Altrincham saw off a comeback from Chorley. Jordan Hulme had scored a superb solo goal to give Alty a ninth-minute lead before a pulsating second half witnessed seven more goals.
Just as in the reverse fixture at Victory Park, Altrincham had been the better side in the first half but had only Hulme's single goal to show for it. When Tom Hannigan's bullet header from a Johnston freekick made it 2-0 five minutes after the interval, it looked good for the hosts. But within a minute Chorley hit back with Meppen-Walter heading home a freekick from the right.
Alty then paid the price for bringing all their players back for a corner when Ceesay cleared a Chorley flag-kick but Alty had no one upfield to receive the ball. The ball came back and Teague lashed the ball home after a fortunate rebound in the box (69 mins).
But Densmore then put Alty 3-2 ahead when he exchanged passes with Hulme before cracking the ball past Urwin from the ege of the box (72 mins). Chorley again responded, once more from a corner, as Meppen-Walter headed home in the 79th minute.
In the 84th minute Densmore smashed home a freekick after a foul on Hulme and the icing on the cake was an 89th minute penalty. Hulme was upended after good work from Ceesay and substitute James Poole netted the penalty to make it 5-3.
Shaun is pictured celebrating his second goal, below.
Above: James Poole ran to embrace manager Phil Parkinson after converting his penalty. Next to him is Tom Hannigan who also scored for the first time in the league this season.
When Altrincham took to the field against Chorley without 17-goal Josh Hancock and regular left-back Connor Hampson, there might have been some concern that second-placed Chorley would prove too strong for the Robins.
But the strength of the Alty squad was further demonstrated as, not only did Shaun Densmore step in to produce a Man of the Match performance at right-back, but four of Alty's five goals came from players who had not previously scored in the league this season. In addition to Shaun's double, Tom Hannigan and James Poole both got themselves their first goals in the league in 2018-19 season. And their achievements meant that all eleven starters in Saturday's match have now scored at least one league goal this season.
And, as seen above, after Shaun Densmore had scored his first goal at the Golf Road end, none other than Alty's record-breaking goalkeeper Stuart Coburn (right) was amongst those celebrating.
James's goal came after an injury-ravaged season which has permitted him just one league start this campaign. He now has 14 goals from 36 appearances in his Alty career. Shaun has made just eleven league starts this season and his career total is now 28 goals in 354 appearances. Centre-back Tom's maiden league goal this season means he now has seven in 91(+5) appearances for the club.
With 80 goals, Alty are the league's leading scorers despite having a game in hand on all but Brackley Town, whom we meet on Tuesday night.Altrincham Today, Brian Flynn discusses the midweek game at Telford with manager Phil Parkinson.
It also reports Parkinson's view that "Unfortunately, Billy Sass-Davies [right] has been recalled by Crewe Alexandra from his loan spell as they are planning to utilise him in their first team squad for the remaining games this season.
That leaves us a little short of central defensive cover for the Chorley game but Ben Harrison completes his loan at Witton Albion tomorrow and will be back in the fold for our final four games, starting next Tuesday when we entertain Brackley Town, which is also the target for Connor Hampson returning from the groin injury sustained at Alfreton".
- Att. 1507 AFC Telford United 3 - 1 Curzon Ashton
- Att. 1597 Altrincham 5 - 3 Chorley
- Att. 1035 Boston United 0 - 2 Darlington
- Att. 429 Bradford (Park Avenue) 1 - 0 Nuneaton Borough
- Att. 1772 Chester 2 - 2 York City
- Att. 1760 FC United of Manchester 0 - 1 Kidderminster Harriers
- Att. 655 Guiseley 1 - 1 Ashton United
- Att. 523 Leamington 3 - 1 Alfreton Town
- Att. 1002 Southport 1 - 0 Hereford
- Att. 669 Spennymoor Town 2 - 1 Brackley Town
- Att. 5665 Stockport County 0 - 1 Blyth Spartans
The midfielder was dismissed during the second half of last weekend’s clash at Victoria Park by referee Barry Lamb for an alleged stamp on Chorley’s Adam Blakeman.
The Bucks subsequently appealed the decision, but an FA Regulatory Commission rejected the claim and Deeney will now miss the next three National League North fixtures.
Cowan spoke of his disappointment 'To say we are disappointed with the decision is an understatement. Given the evidence, visual and the statement from the Chorley player, I am at a loss as to how they have not reversed the decision. Is it even worth having an appeal system if strong cases such as ours don’t even get a look in? We are fortunate to have a strong group so the injustice will only make us stronger'".
Meanwhile, despite saying he would appeal against Andy White's red card against Telford last Tuesday, the Altrincham manager was reminded that clubs cannot appeal against red cards which arise from a second caution. Hence White sits out Tuesday's home match against Brackley.
And the National League adds that "On Friday night, the Bucks secured the services of manager Gavin Cowan for another two years. Cowan agreed to remain until the summer of 2021 and, on Saturday, their play-off push received a shot in the arm.
Telford’s 3-1 win over Curzon Ashton kept the club in control of their top seven destiny. Cowan wants to take them up and is thrilled to sign on.
'It is a huge honour for me to be the manager of AFC Telford Utd,' he told the club’s website...
'We can now focus on leading this brilliant club forward for the next two years building on what has been a big season so far and will hopefully bring even bigger rewards over the coming month.'
Chairman Andy Pryce... [said] 'We appointed Gavin ten months ago with a belief in him and for him to carry through some continuity from the previous season and he has delivered a successful season'".
Jake Beesley’s confidently struck penalty was the difference on the day as the hosts ended up hanging on for all three points. Avenue were the better side for most of the game and probably should have had the match wrapped up were it not for a string of fine saves from Cam Belford and a couple of goal-line clearances.
The hosts managed six shots at goal before Miles Addison made Charlie Andrew work, on the half hour mark, a routine save from a header. Boro’ did grow in to the match as the half wore on but Bradford had a flurry before the break, Lewis Knight and Nicky Clee having shots on the Nuneaton goal...
Referee Barry Lamb gave the hosts a penalty, pointing to the spot as he adjudged [ex-Alty man] Curtis Obeng had fouled his man as he looked to win a header. Beesley gave Cam no chance with his well-placed spot kick.
Jimmy Ginnelly’s side responded well to the set back, Taylor Allen, [ex-Alty man] Luis Morrison and Mike Calveley all going close before the hosts regained the upper hand... Boro’ fought for a point but came up just short as Avenue escaped with the 1-0 win. Free scoring Altrincham, who have notched 27 goals in an eight match unbeaten run, will visit Liberty Way on Saturday the 20th of April for a 15:00 kick-off."
Glen Taylor drilled in his 23rd league goal of the season with fifteen minutes remaining to move Moors level on points with The Saints.
Taylor teed up Ryan Hall for the game’s opening goal, sliding the ball across the area for the winger to sidefoot past Danny Lewis.
However, after looking assured of leading at the break, Matthew Gould brought down the excellent Lee Ndlovu just inside the area, allowing Shane Byrne to convert the resulting penalty. On another day Brackley may have scored three or four, but they were left to rue a cluster of golden chances that weren’t converted...
Brackley continued to dominate, but a ruthless Taylor secured the points for Moors.
Jason Ainsley made one change to the side who were beaten at Ashton United, with the suspended Jamie Chandler making way for the returning Stephen Brogan. Shane Henry moved into midfielder alongside Lewis Hawkins...
A Moors side who needed the three points to tighten their grip on a play off spot showed fight and desire to find the winner. The impact of Mark Anderson, who has missed the last month due to injury, played a major part...
Spennymoor: 1. Matthew Gould, 2 Callum Williams, 3 Stephen Brogan, 4 Lewis Hawkins, 5 Robert Atkinson, 6 James Curtis, 7 Ryan Hall, 8 Shane Henry, 9 Glen Taylor, 10, Robert Ramshaw, 11, Jack Diamond. 13 Christopher Elliott, 14 Jake Hibbs, 15 Mark Anderson, 16 Adam Boyes, 17 Scott Harrison
Brackley Town: 1 Danny Lewis, 2 Ellis Myles, 3 Shepard Murombedzi, 4 Shane Byrne, 5 Connor Hall, 6 Gareth Dean, 7 Matt Lowe, 8 James Armson, 9 Lee Ndlovu, 10 Luke Fairlamb, 11 Adam Walker. 12 Daniel Nti, 14 Shaun Jeffers".
S 13 April 2019
Above: Shaun Densmore leads the celebrations after scoring Alty's fourth.
- AFC Telford United 3-1 Curzon Ashton
- Altrincham 5-3 Chorley
- Boston United 0-2 Darlington
- Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-0 Nuneaton Borough
- Chester 2-2 York City
- FC United of Manchester 0-1 Kidderminster Harriers
- Guiseley 1-1 Ashton United
- Leamington 3-1 Alfreton Town
- Southport 1-0 Hereford
- Spennymoor Town 2-1 Brackley Town
- Stockport County 0-1 Blyth Spartans
Mike Garnett reminds us of the historical record between the clubs.
- Home: P15-W10-D3-L2-F45-A18
- Away: P17-W3-D5-L9-F17-A25
- All: P32-W13-D8-L11-F62-A43
Andy White [right] will be available before he starts his one-match suspension on Tuesday when third-placed Brackley Town are the guests at Moss Lane. Altrincham will be hoping that left-back Connor Hampson will be fit, at least by Tuesday or else Altrincham will have to field a non-specialist left-back. However, Shaun Densmore has played in that position previously.
Altrincham FC has announced a range of post-match activites at the J. Davidson Stadium after the game against Chorley. The evening will include live coverage of the televised Manchester United v West Ham United match, the annual Race Night, and a 'Meet the Manager and Players' presentation, which "will include a significant announcement concerning the club".
Before the game, Chorley reported that "The Magpies (2nd, 75pts) head into another massive fixture on Saturday with destiny very much in their own hands; a win against playoff-bound Altrincham (5th, 63pts) would set up a huge clash on Easter Saturday ahead of the final week of the season.
Last Saturday’s draw with Telford took The Magpies onto a club record points total (75) in the National League North...
[Alty] Manager Phil Parkinson has... completely revitalised the team. The Robins’ exciting squad scores goals for fun and can’t be taken lightly, especially after hitting Alfreton Town for SEVEN last weekend.
'If we win our remaining games we will be champions. It’s as simple as that. Going to Altrincham on Saturday is no easy task, they’ve done very well since coming up in the summer and are a tough nut to crack at their place. However, when we faced them in January we more than handled what they threw at us and ended up relatively comfortable winners. We want the three points and we’re going there to achieve that' [said] Jamie Vermiglio.
We’ve met before... in January, where The Magpies blew the visitors away with four goals in the second half from Alex Newby (2), Josh Wilson & Courtney Meppen-Walter.
Chorley are undefeated in the league away from home for nearly two months and have kept clean sheets in consecutive games on their travels. Since the turn of the year the hotshot Robins have only scored nine goals in seven home league outings. The Magpies have the third best NLN away record so far this campaign, posting 33 points through 19 matches while scoring 35 goals
Alty’s home record sits 10th among clubs in the National League North, with a win percent of less than 50 through 18 Moss Lane games so far this season".
The Lancashire Evening Telegraph reported that "Watching title rivals Stockport County jump above them to the top of the National League North in midweek will have no effect on the mentality of Chorley. That is the view of boss Jamie Vermiglio...
[Chester FC 0 Stockport County 6],'That was a scoreline I didn’t expect to see,” said Vermiglio, whose team travel to Altrincham this weekend. 'But I expected the win. I expected them to go to Chester and get the three points... It is now up to us to win every one of last four games and if we do that we will win the title.
'It doesn’t affect the players. They just get on with training hard, having a laugh and a joke and focusing on the game this weekend'...
It is going to be no easy task, especially as all of their remaining games are against teams currently occupying positions in the top six. Altrincham are fifth, while their final two opponent[s], Spennymoor Town and Bradford Park Avenue, are fourth and sixth respectively.
'I think it’s inevitable there are going to be twists and turns at this point of the season when teams are fighting to get in the play-offs or relegation,' said Vermiglio. 'We have four tough games but the opposition is tough all over the league. Most of the teams who are in midtable are just as good, it’s just that teams in the play-offs have a bit more consistency.'
Vermiglio has a doubt over Josh O’Keefe who has hurt his ribs, while Matt Challoner should be in contention despite being subsituted in the 1-1 draw with AFC Telford United last weekend. Alex Newby returns to the squad" after suspension.Spennymoor Town "We went to Brackley Town media man, Tim Carroll, to get the latest news and thoughts in and around the club...
“After a slow start (three defeats in the first four games), form steadily built over the Autumn with a dip in November but since Christmas the team has been on a terrific run of form. Having reached the play-off final last season, gaining a coveted play-off spot again has been the minimum expectation and, barring something really unexpected, a play-off place looks assured. From there anything is possible...
Kevin Wilkin’s ethos is all about the team. It is a very small squad, it is close-knit and team spirit is again strong in this second half of the season. From last season we lost two key players in Aaron Williams (36 goals in 2017-18) to Harrogate and Alex Gudger to Solihull Moors. Lee Ndlovu stepped up more than doubling his goals tally so far and Connor Hall joined from Biggleswade Town and looks the part.
Hall has formed a strong partnership with captain Gaz Dean, an outstanding defender and leader. Experienced midfield trio of Adam Walker, Jimmy Armson and Shane Bryne is formidable and mention must go to Matt Lowe who received the England “C” call-up from Paul Fairclough illustrating how he just keeps improving".
Right: Alty defend a first-half freekick against Bishop's Stortford.
As Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records demonstrate, Altrincham's last game on today's date (13 April) was back in 2013 when Bishop's Stortford, adjacent to London's third airport at Stansted was deemed a part of the north. The Bishops were the visitors to Moss Lane for a Blue Suqare Bet North fixture, which they lost 2-1 to the hosts.
This was a game Altrincham should have had wrapped up in the first half hour when they totally dominated but only scored once. That goal arrived in the third minute when Nicky Clee, who had a fine game, crossed from the left. The ball came to Rodgers, towards the back post, and he seemed to knock it goalwards with his leg rather than foot. But his effort had just enough power to trickle over the line.
In the latter stages of the first half the visitors got back into the game and they also made the second half a more even contest before more good work from Clee, from Doughty's feed, led to a well-struck goal by James Lawrie in the 67th minute to make it 2-0. Alty would have been home and dry had Damian Reeves taken either of two one-on-ones but he shot wide on the first occasion and his touch was too heavy in the second instance.
But Stortford's Woodall drove home a shot from outside the box in the 83rd minute to give Altrincham an edgy closing few minutes. Having started the game without the injured Duncan Watmore, Alty lost Simon Richman to injury midway through the first half of this game.
For Alty, Danny Boshell, on loan from Guiseley, returned to central midfield, displacing Jake Moult. Also back in the starting line-up was Nicky Clee who had had tonsilitis. But missing was Duncan Watmore, with a groin injury. However, Simon Richman had recovered from an eye injury.
Today, six years later, Scott Leather is likely to be in the opposition eleven for Chorley, whilst Shaun Densmore, Simon Richman and Jake Moult are the only remaining members of Altrincham's squad from the 16 named against Bishop's Stortford.
ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt) 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 4. Carl RODGERS, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Scott LEATHER, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Danny BOSHELL, 9. James LAWRIE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 12. Danny HALL, 14. Jake MOULT, 15. Pat LACEY, 16. Ryan BROOKE, 18. Tony McMILLAN (gk).AFC Telford United "have been made aware by the club’s supporters, management staff & players of the alleged racist chants/comments from a small section of the home crowd during the penalty shoot-out of last night’s Shropshire FA Huddersfield Cup Semi Final tie at Whitchurch Alport.
As a club, we are fiercely committed to stamping out all types of discrimination within the game and are presently working in cooperation with both the Shropshire FA and Whitchurch Alport to investigate all allegations of racist abuse".
Hereford FC announce that they are "straight back on the road at the weekend as we head to Southport. Just as Tuesday’s trip to Alfreton Town saw us come up against opponents that were in and around us in the table, so too are Southport who go into the encounter just one place and one point below us.
Our 1-1 draw in Derbyshire was our eighth game unbeaten in a row on our travels and means that we have suffered just one defeat in our last ten games. It is form that has seen us move clear of the danger zone and edge into the middle of the table.
We have a score to settle with our Merseyside hosts after they inflicted a disappointing 3-0 defeat on us at Edgar Street in November... Having started the season with four straight defeats and only one win in their opening 14 League games, this victory came in the middle of four straight victories for The Sandgrounders that kick-started their campaign.
They haven’t been able to build on that momentum, though, and they go into Saturday’s game on a six-match winless run. Their last taste of victory came on March 2nd at Guiseley and they have not won on home soil since they impressively beat title-chasing Chorley 5-3 on February 9th.
After our last two games ended in draws, it is interesting to note that Southport have drawn three of their last four games at home, so another closely-fought encounter is in prospect here...
As for team news, The Bulls were without Keiran Thomas for our last game after he was involved in a minor car crash on Sunday, whilst James Waite was back in the starting line-up as Lance Smith remained on the sidelines with an ankle problem".
According to the Telegraph & Argus, "Mark Bower wants to return to that 'special' winning feeling at home to Nuneaton after a loss which he describes as bizarre. Bradford (Park Avenue) were defeated 3-0 by play-off chasing Kidderminster Harriers last weekend.
But Bower said... 'It’s hard to explain and it’s a bit bizarre really. I’ve been to Kidderminster quite a few times over the last few years, but I’ve never been and had so much possession, so many shots, so many corners, so many attacks, so many chances'...
Bower said, 'We’ve been really good from set-pieces all season. We’ve scored from a lot and, up until the last six weeks, not conceded too many, but it’s just something that’s crept in. I listen to other managers in the league and there seems to be a lot more emphasis on games being a bit more frustrating and scrappy and a bigger emphasis on set-pieces and scoring and trying not to concede from them.'
Avenue are now without a win in four and Bower... said, 'At this time of year, winning games is massive and... we want to have that feeling on Saturday at five o’clock.'
Their brief slump has left them just five points ahead of eighth place, but Bower’s focus remains on the weekend and a Nuneaton side who he says should not be underestimated.
Bower added, 'I’m not going to lie, you’re looking at other results, when teams are playing and you’re not in midweek, and hoping that they slip-up... First and foremost is getting three points on Saturday and seeing where that leaves us. It won’t be anything like as easy as what it may look from the outside.
'Only two weeks ago they won 4-0 at FC United. Any team that wins 4-0 away from home in this league is deserving of the utmost respect. They only lost to an injury time goal against play-off chasing Chester, last weekend. So this is going to be a really tough game, if we don’t approach it in the right manner'"
Still in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Evening Post informs us that "Guiseley may be licking their wounds after Tuesday’s West Riding County Cup final loss to Ossett United, but Marcus Bignot insists that tomorrow’s big survival clash with Ashton United is more important.
Four days on from a disappointing final defeat at Ingfield, the fourth-from-bottom Lions host an Ashton side who are one place and four points below them...
Bignot, who said that the poor midweek showings of some players may count against them when it comes to selecting tomorrow’s line-up, said 'I am sure if you asked anybody at the football club, they would take three points on Saturday over a win in the Cup... It was hugely disappointing and a competition we took seriously and wanted to win and we fell short in the final...
'There will be some players who will be disappointed with the performance they put in in terms of the bigger picture of contention for Saturday...
'A win on Saturday would put massive daylight between ourselves, FC (United) and Ashton, but there has got to be a level of reality too. If we don’t win, we are still in a position where we are not in the bottom three and that is where we have to make sure we are not in at the end of the season'...
Lewis Archer is a big doubt after coming off on Tuesday".
From the Shropshire Star comes news that Saturday's "visitors have been a bogey side for AFC Telford United over the past couple of years. Curzon Ashton have beaten the Bucks in the last three meetings...
And Telford’s unbeaten spell – currently at four games – needs to be extended... With a win over Curzon, the Bucks will head into the final three games confident of making their fine work count...
[Of Curzon] 'They’re a very good footballing team,' he said... 'They’re a team that, on their day, can beat anyone in this division. But I’d like to think the same applies to us'...
Cowan has a potential selection dilemma up front. Top scorer Daniel Udoh, who is on 26 for the campaign, should start against the Nash, but it is a little bit up in the air as to who his strike partner will be. Amari Morgan-Smith has been a regular feature alongside Udoh, but Cowan also has Marcus Dinanga at his disposal and Andre Brown, who scored a last-gasp penalty to seal a 1-1 draw against Altrincham on Tuesday.
Brown has made 28 appearances for Telford in the league this term, but only eight of those have been starts... Cowan said 'Andre is a great lad, so I couldn’t have been more pleased for him to score that goal. I’ve been very honest with Andre since he’s been with us. He didn’t really fit into our style at first but, as we’ve developed over the season, Andre has fitted in more.'
Last Saturday... Ashton thumped promotion chasing Spennymoor Town 3-0. The Robins scored all three goals in a four-minute spell with goals from Sam Sheridan, Kallum Mantack and Craig Hobson... Before the emphatic 3-0 victory over Spennymoor, the Robins hadn’t tasted victory since 23rd of February. The Robins had only scored twice in that period. However, it feels like the Robins have turned a corner going into a must-win game.
On the other hand, Guiseley come into the game in shocking form with the Lions picking up 4 points in their last 6 league games. Similarly to Ashton Guiseley have found goals hard to come by with the Yorkshire based side only scoring 4 goals in their last 7 League games...
One player for travelling Ashton fans to keep an eye on his long-haired midfield maestro Kingsley James... James started his career at Sheffield United however failed to make a first-team appearance before moving onto Port Vale".
12 April 2019
When the clubs last met at Altrincham, the outcome was a 2-2 draw in a Vanarama National League North match played on Tuesday, 7 September 2016.
In the NL Paper, Russ Penn, Kidderminster player-coach writes "The race for the title in the National League North has been superb and the two clubs butting heads for honours, Chorley and Stockport County, have been a class above the rest since the table began to grow its legs back in the autumn.
Both Chorley and Stockport would be worthy champions and they have shown that all season. Chorley have more or less been top all term. There were a few other contenders early doors, but once Stockport got things going after an inconsistent start, it has been all about the Hatters and the Magpies.
Looking at the fixtures, I have to say my head is with Stockport. They have been the chasers all year, but with a game in hand and what I consider to be a much easier run-in, Jim Gannon’s side look the better shout for the title.
Yes, Chorley have the advantage of hosting Stockport in the much-anticipated top-two clash on April 20, but they have to go away to both Altrincham and Spennymoor – clubs that will be scrapping to finish strongly to make their play-off battle that little bit easier.
Come the final day of the season, with Stockport facing Nuneaton and Chorley lining up against another tough side in Bradford (Park Avenue), I have to give the Hatters the edge here.
When Stockport played their recent two-legged FA Trophy semi-final, Chorley could not have done more; they cashed in by playing twice and pulled seven points clear. But County just keep chipping away and have kept them in range, responding well with back-to-back wins.
My big fear for Chorley, if they do finish second, is how they will fare in the play-offs. The run-in could take so much out of them and you often see the side that just misses out on the championship struggles to recover for the extra games in May.
Saying that, Chorley have bags of experience and are a very solid side who give little away, so even on their bad days they are tough to break down with the three lads at the back.
Stockport’s signing of Jason Gilchrist from Southport could prove pivotal for County – a fine player and a proven goal-scorer at this level that could just get them over the line.
Matty Warburton has been the Hatters’ main man this season but I look at the impact and consistency of Paul Turnbull in midfield; a model professional who I have played against many times.
Frank Mulhern also looks a super player who really makes them tick; they have class through the ranks and should they go up, with the crowds they get at Edgeley Park, they are more than equipped to challenge in the National League and beyond.
Playing in this league, I have seen first-hand each and every club and it’s a brute of a division with quality everywhere".Boston Standard, "Boston United’s York Street home is officially up for sale but it’s business as usual at the Gliderdrome.
Owners, the Malkinson family, have put the site of the football stadium on the market... But this sale will not involve the adjacent Gliderdrome dance venue and bingo hall... The Malkinsons, who also own this site, are continuing to run the venue...
United have been granted a lease extension until the end of the 2019-20 season, but are planning to begin the following campaign in their to-be-built out-of-town site.
The ground will leave a substantial site for redevelopment, which extends to 4.3 acres, and could be suitable for a variety of uses, subject to planning permission".
Manager Craig Elliott... [said], 'I inherited training at Shirebrook, near Mansfield. It wasn’t ideal as obviously it’s not a place that’s easy to get to. We’re changing it to Doncaster Rovers, the Keepmoat, next year. We’ll be training Monday and Thursdays and with the option to train Wednesdays as well...
'We’re trying to keep up with teams in this league that are full time,' he continued. 'We’re trying to make up that ground and we’ll have the use of the running track, indoor gyms; a lot better facilities for the football side and also better links. Doncaster gives you a clear base where I can attract people. It’s near major roads and motorways.'
Six of the players signed up for next season, George Willis, Nicky Wroe, Brad Abbott, Jay Rollins, Ashley Jackson and Nicky Walker, are all based in Yorkshire, as are current squad members Ben Middleton, Gavin Allott, Dylan Parkin, Ryan Cresswell and Jordan Slew, along with Elliott and his assistants Lee Stratford and Rich Lawrence.
'At Doncaster I’m hoping it generates a better team spirit,' the manager continued. 'There are restaurants, coffee places, things like that. We can socialise together rather than leave straight after training. At my old club (Shaw Lane) we used to train and have an hour (together) afterwards, and I think that will help us.'”
According to the AA it is 73 miles from Boston to Doncaster but only 55 to Mansfield!
Curzon Ashton send "Good luck to Lewis Reilly who has today been recalled to his parent club. Since joining the Nash, Lewis has played 16 games, scoring 8 goals... We wish him and Crewe Alexandra best of luck'".
"Richard Peniket's second half finish sealed a point for Billy Heath's Reds who reacted positively to Saturday's debacle against Altrincham, with a hard-working performance in a low-key contest on Tuesday night.
Billy made four changes to the side that lost 7-0 on Saturday with David Lynch, Nathan Hotte, Dec Bacon and Richard Peniket all coming in. Tom Allan and James Clifton returned to the bench...
Hereford were being pressed at the back-line with loose balls being latched onto by the Reds... The first half came to a close with the Reds having the better openings but not doing enough to really get in behind the visitors.
The second half continued in the same fashion... Then with 56 minutes gone, Hereford were given a penalty out of the blue with a challenge from Martin Riley on Symons, the contact looked minimal with many Reds fans saying there was no contact at all. But the Referee saw the challenge worthy of a penalty which was converted by Owen-Evans...
The Reds responded ten minutes later with Peniket's finish after the initial header came off the bar leaving the striker with a tap in to level the scores. It should really have been 2-1 Hereford on 70 minutes when Liburd... found Symons who turned before firing wide of the empty net to the shock of all in the ground...
The full time whistle came with a draw a fair result in what proved to be a low-key affair with the Bulls having good openings in the second half."
The 1-0 defeat at Bootham Crescent leaves Southport 16th... The Bulls enter this game unbeaten in their last three matches, drawing twice and winning once...
Finding a winning edge has been an issue for Hereford, emerging with maximum points from only five of their 16 games in 2019. Meanwhile they have drawn eight and lost three of their games since the turn of the year. Throughout the whole season The Whites have drawn on 14 occasions, a record higher than any other team except Guiseley.
Hereford’s current top scorer in the league is Roman Liburd with 13 goals, but 12 of them came for Guiseley, only scoring once since signing for the Bulls in January. The true goal threat for Hereford in 2019 has been Tom Owen-Evans, who has seven to his name from midfield this year...
With less than a month left of this season, both sides will look to finish on a high note, as Southport will look towards pushing for next year and Hereford aim to end a solid first year in National League North."
Cheshire Live claims that "Anthony Johnson believes that trust that Chester FC fans had in him, Bernard Morley and their Blues side, has now gone after what he described as a 'disgusting' performance against Stockport County on Tuesday.
The Blues put in an utterly abysmal performance on a night when they needed the opposite, thrashed 6-0 at the Swansway Chester Stadium by a County side who moved to the summit of the National League North after inflicting Chester's heaviest defeat since the 7-1 hammering by Brighton & Hove Albion in 2000.
At the final whistle it seemed crazy to think that Chester could have moved to level points with the play-off places such was the manner of their capitulation against what was an enormously impressive Stockport side...
And after losing 8-1, 4-1, 4-0 and now 6-0 this season, Johnson admitted that the trust had now gone.
'There is no excuses in terms of injuries, that was a weak, disgusting performance from all of us, and that isn't just the players that is every single one of us,' he said. 'The first half was a comedy show in terms of errors. The second half we are 3-0 down and we told the lads that this isn't September or October when we might have shut up shop, we needed to get something out of the game.
'It was alarming at the way we capitulated in terms of doing the basics right. But that is four or five times we have seen this now to an extent that I've never seen in any other team that we've managed, which is quite unbelievable.
'We shouldn't be getting beaten 6-0 at home by anybody. We got beaten 8-1 away from home and we put it down as a fluke - until now. You don't lose 6-0 at home in front of your own supporters. The supporters were hurting and I could feel it. We talked about trust at the start of the season, this group, mine and Bernard's group, but we have lost it too many times now.
'The fact of the matter is that we've been beaten 8-1, we have been beaten by a team five divisions below us in the FA Cup, beaten 4-1 at Kidderminster, 4-0 at Altrincham and now 6-0 at home. Anything that has gone on in the last three or four years, relegations and relegation battles, I believe that we have put far worse performances through our team this season than any of those put together.
'Ignore where we could have gone tonight. Do we understand (the pain of fans)? Absolutely. The supporters have been fantastic and we have been beaten 6-0 at home, there are questions to be asked now.'
Johnson and Morley have built previous sides on hard work and desire but neither of those were in evidence on Tuesday evening...
And Johnson... reserved some praise for 'unbelievable' Stockport, a side he now expects to go on and win the league. 'Their determination, they wanted it far more than what we wanted it. It was like a cancer how it spread around the team and lads who have shown themselves to be honest this season just threw the towel in.
'The motivation was the play-offs. You are at a club like Chester, playing in front of 2,500 people with an opportunity to get yourself into the play-offs, what more motivation do you need? There isn't any. Then you get beaten 6-0 at home. Is that season done, is it finished? If that's the case then it is all about what next season looks like.
'We looked scared. It's a sad indictment of what it is'...
Chester are back in action on Saturday when they host York City... 'There is a lot to go on before we even discuss that game,' he added."
At Guiseley "Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill’s Lions must bounce back from Tuesday night’s County Cup Final loss on Saturday to secure a big three points in the fight for survival against Ashton United.
Since the win at home to Curzon Ashton last month there has [sic] been four fixtures since then with just a solitary draw the only positive outcome. Our defeat at Brackley on Saturday coupled with Ashton’s comfortable win over Spennymoor has reduced the gap between the two sides to just four points with The Lions knowing a win over the side from Greater Manchester would take them 7 points clear with three games to go.
FC United of Manchester are the other side who hope to beat the drop, they host Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday at Broadhurst Park.
Following defeat at Brackley Joint Manager Bignot said 'You look at Tuesday (Spennymoor) and goals being scored at the wrong time, today was another repeat of that. We competed really well in the first half and I thought the performance warranted going in goalless at half-time.
'It never changed the team talk in terms of how they applied themselves and how they went about being hard to beat to make it difficult for Brackley, then to come out second half and the obvious [?thing] is we have conceded directly off of a corner which is always a poor goal to concede. Then it is 2-0 with goals either side of the break, we are giving ourselves a massive task to climb.'
Asked about the tough run of fixtures Marcus replied 'The fixtures are what they are, we have competed with two play off teams, we haven’t competed enough to stay in the games and get that result. The next game is Ashton, we are four points clear and we are at home, it is in our hands... It will feel like a cup final, the atmosphere because of the importance of it and what three points will do'...
'These fans have suffered for a long long time now, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of where the club is going to be financially. We have just got to get over this hurdle, if we do, the football club will be in its best place financially and off the pitch it has ever been in.'
'Let’s get through this season and we will be in a super position come the summer. The supporters throughout this time have stuck with us through thick and thin, honestly we have felt no pressure from the supporters and that is great credit to them'".
Watson, who took over as manager three months ago, has already steered the club away from the relegation zone and on to the fringes of this season’s play-off chase... Mathematically, play-off qualification remains a possibility, however City are nine points adrift of the play-off zone with only four league games to play.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to Chester, Watson said 'From where we took over a few months ago, we can be pleased but I think you will find myself and Micky Cummins (assistant-manager) won’t be totally satisfied until we have a spell in and around the play-offs and the top of the league area, which is where we hope we will spend most of next season!
'We are not losing many games and we had a good win on Saturday but there is still a lot to improve on,' he added. Asked whether play-off qualification was now a ‘bridge too far’, Watson said 'It’s going to mean (other) teams having a horrific finish to the season and we are going to have to win every single game'".
Spennymoor Town tell us that "After taking 'two steps back' last weekend at Ashton according to manager Jason Ainsley, Moors face a tough assignment as they welcome the in-form Brackley Town to The Brewery Field.
Three goals in the space of five calamitous minutes saw Ainsley’s side fall to a comprehensive defeat at Hurst Cross, meaning Saturday’s visitors go into the game three points better off than Moors with a game in hand.
Despite collecting just 11 points from the last ten games, Spennymoor are still in a healthy position in a congested play-off picture, requiring four points from the final four games to mathematically assure a season extension...
The Saints, who are the division’s in-form side along with Altrincham over the last 5 games, have a strong record against the top sides this season, recently recording victories over Stockport and Kiddy. Their run of superb results earned manager Kevin Wilkin the Manager of the Month award for March...
Brackley Town have collected more points than any side in the National League North over the last 10 games, securing 25 from a possible 30. The Saints have only conceded seven goals in their previous 15 league fixtures, an average of 0.47 per game. Moors have conceded 16 over the same period, an average of 1.07 per game.
Only Stockport County (16) have conceded fewer goals away from home this season than Brackley (18)... Spennymoor are yet to taste victory against The Saints, who have won 2-0, 3-0 and 4-1 in the three previous meetings".
11 April 2019
Above: Tony Thompson saves Alfreton's spot-kick, last Saturday.Altrincham FC has announced a range of post-match activites at the J. Davidson Stadium after Saturday's match against Chorley. The evening will include live coverage of the televised Manchester United v West Ham United match, the annual Race Night, and a 'Meet the Manager and Players' presentation, which "will include a significant announcement concerning the club". EvoStik League reports that "There is just a week to go until the Integro Sport Northern Premier League Cup Final between Farsley Celtic and Trafford. The game takes place on Tuesday 16th April at Broadhurst Park, home of FC United, with a 7.45pm kick-off. Admission prices are £9 adults, £5 concessions and £2 for under 16s." National League "Mark Yates accepts Kidderminster will have to win all their remaining games to get into the National League North play-offs.
On a good Saturday for the club, they won 3-0 against top seven rivals Bradford PA as others around them slipped up. The gap is closed to three points but they have played a game more than AFC Telford, who currently occupy the final place...
'We know what we’ve got to do now... We also know and hope things go our way elsewhere as well. We need 12 points from our last four games to even have a chance I think. That’s what it will probably take. But we’re not going to burden the players with that. We have just got to keeping winning and we will see where it takes us.'
On the win, Yates knows his team got the rub of the green at Aggborough. 'We got that bit of luck in the second half that our first half performance maybe deserved,' he said".
'I'm not saying it's a champions’ performance but it's the performance of a team that wants to be number one,' the manager said to the club’s twitter account...
'The players haven't surprised me, we've seen it before this season. I'm really pleased. I don't think Chester played badly today, but we were excellent. The fans will have enjoyed it. The defence knew they were going to be in a physical match but they coped with it well and allowed the midfield lads to do their job.'
Fans’ thoughts are already on the April 20 visit to now-second place Chorley. But first it’s a home game with Blyth Spartans on Saturday... Gannon said '“Blyth are in good form, we have to respect where they're at. There's loads of twists and turns. We need to trust in our professionalism and play with the same energy'".
From Cheshire Live we learn that "Stockport County manager Jim Gannon claims that Chester FC didn’t play badly despite being on the end of a 6-0 drumming from his rampant Hatters side.
Former Blues' [and Alty loanee] striker Nyal Bell returned to haunt Chester with a brace while Sam Walker also bagged two, one from the spot, and Darren Stephenson and Jordan Keane completed the rout in a hopelessly one-sided contest at the Swansway Chester Stadium on Tuesday night.
For the Blues fans who watched on in horror it would be hard to imagine that there were too many who thought the display was anything other than disgraceful, and that was certainly the assessment of Chester joint-manager Anthony Johnson But County boss Gannon, whose side went top of the National League North with the win, felt otherwise.
He told the Stockport’s official website 'I didn’t think Chester played bad today. They had a period when they needed a goal to give them some life, but they didn’t play bad. We were just excellent. Whenever we created opportunites we looked like we were going to score...
'We knew Chester were going to play Dudley and Asante and bring on Waring, so the defenders knew that they were going to be in for a physical game. They were excellent.'
Gannon did reserve some praise for former Chester striker Bell, who netted twice before half time to give County a 3-0 cushion at the break. While on loan at Chester last season Bell found it a difficult time and was unable to enjoy a run of form and nail down a place in the team in the National League. But he has since blossomed following a summer move to Edgeley Park after being released by Gateshead and Gannon believes he has matured as a player.
'He has that in him and it was a tremendous performance,' said the Hatters boss... 'He has still got bits to learn and he looks tired at times in his decision making'".
And NL Daily reports how "Stockport County went top of the Vanarama National League North with a thumping 6-0 win at Chester last night. The Hatters struck three times in the first 34 minutes at the Swansway Chester Stadium... The Blues are not out of the race for a top-seven berth, however, they sit four points back with four games to go.
It was a dismal night for all connected to the club, which was felt as keenly as ever by joint-manager Anthony Johnson. He was composed as he spoke after the game...
'(We were) diabolical. I think the first thing I’ve got to say is they’re the best team we’ve played against not just this season but in a long, long time. We perhaps made it easy for them but, with the ball, without the ball, I thought they were absolutely unbelievable.' The result opens some old wounds from the early weeks of the season when Chester were beaten 8-1 at Blyth Spartans. Johnson admitted... 'You start to look at that group that you hope might be part of that [next season] and go, "Do you know what? After tonight, that’s happened three or four times now this season".
He also refused to single out individuals, adding'We were a disgrace, as a group.'
The Coventry Telegraph informs us that "A covenant that could help to stop development at the home of Nuneaton Borough Football Club has been extended. Nuneaton Borough Supporters’ Co-operative (NBSC) has announced it has renewed the Liberty Way Ground as an Asset of Community Value (ACV)... An ACV can be placed on land or property of importance to a local community and gives it additional protection from development.
Once listed as an ACV with the local authority, the local community will be informed if they are listed for sale within the five-year listing period. The community can then enact the Community Right to Bid, which gives them a moratorium period of six months to determine if they can raise the finance to purchase the asset.
In a statement, the NBSC said... 'The renewal was agreed on 22 March 2019, meaning the ACV listing will remain for a further five years'...
News about the ACV being renewed comes as, on the field, the club officially prepares to start life in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier next season. The Borough was officially relegated from the National League North on Saturday, having lost to Chester FC 3-2 at home.
But Dale Belford, assistant boss, says he is relishing the chance to revive Nuneaton Borough’s fortunes and said they are determined not to be negative about the drop, rather see it as a positive, ‘taking a step back to move two forward’. 'The biggest thing was that, when Jimmy (Ginnelly) took the job, we knew how difficult it would be from a footballing point of view,' he said..
. 'The town will have a football club for people to support' Just the fact there’s a club is something that was in doubt just a fortnight ago... 'We will be relatively debt-free at the start of next season and the town will have a football club for people to support,' he said. 'Yes, it will be a different league... but in view of the big picture, we have not been wound up'...
And Belford is confident that will mean a competitive team on the football pitch. 'Anyone who knows Jimmy and myself knows we are winners,' he said... 'We start on an even keel with everybody else and we will have a competitive budget. We won’t be anywhere near as bad as we were this year, in terms of finances, to get the team through the fixtures and the club out of the situation we are in'".
Lincolnshire Live tells us that "Key Boston United officials will address the club’s supporters in The Pilgrim Lounge at The Jakemans Stadium (Wednesday). United chairman David Newton and vice-chairman Neil Kempster will be on hand to answer off-field queries, with the new Community Stadium at The Quadrant likely to be high on the agenda, while manager Craig Elliott will be present for on-field discussion.
Elliott’s appearance will follow his public condemnation of the Pilgrims’ performance in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Blyth Spartans, where United were blown away by their mid-table rivals at Croft Park...
'I know exactly where we need to go,' said Elliott. 'All some of the players are doing is confirming what my thoughts are that they are not good enough. There are still some good players in there but we need a way of playing next year and we need to be able to stick to it. We need proven Conference North players who are streetwise and know what it’s about. We are fragile and that hurts because my teams are generally hard to play against.'
In the absence of the injured Gavin Allott and the departed Jake Wright, who has returned to York City at the end of his loan spell with the Pilgrims, Elliott opted to use wingers Max Wright, Jay Rollins and Nicky Walker as a diminutive front three in the northeast at the weekend, with on-loan Bradford City striker Tom Clare left on the bench.
'We did not have a natural centre forward and that was evident,' added Elliott. 'Tom did well when he came on but we had Jake Wright who went back last week and Gavin Allott injured and you could see we had nobody up front who could be a threat and hold the ball up. When we have not had a forward all season, we have looked like that'.
The Pilgrims are back in home action on Saturday with the visit of Darlington... Elliott hopes to have Allott back in contention after a thigh injury while fellow striker Andre Johnson could return to the squad following illness."
On Tuesday, Blyth Spartans reached the fringe of the play-off places as they won 4-1 against Nuneaton Borough as they "recorded back-to-back home victories for the first time in 2019 as four different players got on the score sheet.
Sean Reid got the opener as his acrobatic effort found its way into an open goal after 10 minutes. Kieran Green then smashed home from the edge of the box right on half time to double Spartans’ lead.
Adam Wrightson got the third of the game as his shot hit off the post before rolling into the net on 63 minutes. Taylor Allen got one back for Nuneaton Borough as he calmly finished through Peter Jameson’s legs as the game entered the final five minutes. Alex Nicholson got a goal after coming off the bench in the 90th minutes...
Spartans could not keep back-to-back home clean sheets as Taylor Allen got between Laing and Lewis Horner and finished through Jameson’s legs. In the final minute of the 90, Maguire burst into the box past two players before squaring it to Nicholson who slotted home from the penalty spot".
10 April 2019 Altrincham FC site, "We were robbed".
Bucks' boss Gavin Cowan gave a post-match interview to the AFC Telford United website.email me to let me know for catering etc.?"
Right: Alty line up before kick-off at Telford.
Earlier, Altrincham had taken an eleventh-minute lead with a well-worked goal. Johnston advanced on the right to feed Ceesay in the centre; he laid the ball off for Hulme to fire a fierce shot from the right past the Telford keeper. Alty were the better side for the remainder of the first half, deservedly reaching the interval with their lead intact.
As Telford began to build some second-half momentum, manager Phil Parkinson signalled his intentions, in the 64th minute, by withdrawing two forwards, Hancock and Johnston, in favour of defenders Sass-Davies and Richman. When Andy White brought down an opponent on their right flank, he saw a second yellow card and the inevitable red, leaving the remaining ten men to try to retain their lead through the final seventeen minutes, plus added time. A further change of personnel saw the booked Hulme also substituted meaning that Alty had withdrawn all of their three leading scorers in a ten-minute spell.
The ten men survived a mounting tally of Telford corners, which eventually totalled sixteen, before Densmore was drawn into a 90th-minute foul on Udoh which meant a penalty kick. Andre Brown's stoppage-time spotkick was stopped by Tony Thompson's dive but the ball either dribbled over the line or was further helped by Brown to do so; it was difficult to see from the away end exactly what had happened.
Altrincham ended up with six yellow cards, two of which were shown to White, and one to the already substituted John Johnston on the bench. That was their highest number of cards in any league game this season and outdid, in just ninety minutes, the cumulative total of cards accrued across their previous nine matches. The referee did not emerge with much credit from this game.
The result left Altrincham in fifth place, one point behind Spennymoor Town but with a game in hand.
- AFC Telford United 1-1 Altrincham
- Alfreton Town 1-1 Hereford
- Blyth Spartans 4-1 Nuneaton Borough
- Chester 0-6 Stockport County
Harrop had arrived at the back post to slot the ball home, after a John Johnston shot had been parried by keeper Urwin.
Chorley came out on the front foot for the second half and, after winning five corners inside the opening five minutes, levelled in the 55th minute. The Alty defence parted too easily to allow Chorley to advance up the inside left channel with Alex Newby scoring from a Carver pass.
Ten minutes later, Chorley went ahead when Carver's speculative lofted ball to the right of the box was dispatched into the roof of the net by Alex Newby.
Chorley's third goal arrived in the 84th minute and was a disaster for the Alty defence. A miscued "up and under" from Chorley dropped on the front edge of the Alty box and two defenders failed to get either of their heads onto it. Instead, it fell for Alex Newby to score with a well-struck low shot into the bottom corner to Thompson's right.
And the final nail in the coffin arrived deep into added time when Meppen-Walter scored with a free header from a right-wing corner.
For that game at Chorley, with James Poole having joined Elliot Wynne and Liam Goulding in being loaned to another club, and loanee Josh Langley having moved on to Guiseley, Alty's only named substitute today with more than ten league starts this season was Sean Williams. Former Altrincham players Scott Leather and Josh O'Keefe were in the Magpies' line-up, as well as former loanee Elliot Newby.
CHORLEY: 1. Matt Urwin, 2. Matt Challoner, 3. Adam Blakeman, 4. Andrew Teague (c), 5. Scott Leather, 6. Courtney Meppen-Walter, 7. Alex Newby, 8. Josh O'Keefe, 9. Marcus Carver, 10. Josh Wilson, 11. Elliot Newby. Subs: 12. Jake Cottrell, 14. James Hooper, 15. Lewis Baines, 16. Dale Whitham, 21. Dan Eccles
ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Andy White, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Simon Richman, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Max Harrop. Subs: 12. Kallum Mantack, 14. Sean Williams, 15. Chris Sang, 16. Shaun Densmore, 17. Ben Harrison.
9 April 2019 AFC Telford United reported that the Bucks "face another of the league’s promotion pack, when Altrincham will be the visitors to the New Buck's Head... They currently sit 5th and have the league’s second-best attack and fourth-best defence.
The man behind the Robins’ revival is Phil Parkinson... Parkinson had previously transformed Nantwich Town from relegation candidates to promotion hopefuls.
And after an inconsistent start to 2019, Alty have been on fire for the last six weeks [matches]. In that time the Robins have gone unbeaten, winning five and drawing one, scoring 21 and conceding just two in the process. Their impressive recent run has included a 4-0 thumping of Chester and Saturday’s 7-0 demolition of Alfreton.
Yusifu Ceesay [right], who had a brief loan spell with the Bucks earlier in the season, bagged a couple of goals in that match at the Impact Arena, while another former Buck, Josh Hancock, was also on the scoresheet. And top scorer Hancock is one of the Robins’ star men with 16 goals and eight assists so far this campaign. The Bucks will also have to be wary of Alty’s other key attackers; winger John Johnston (13 goals and 14 assists) and centre forward Jordan Hulme (15 goals and nine assists).
Parkinson’s side ran out 3-1 winners when the sides met back in December. But with playoff places still up for grabs, Gavin Cowan and the Bucks will be after all three points this time around.
Recent Form: AFC Telford United: L-L-W-D-D, Altrincham: W-D-W-W-W".
And the Shropshire Star added that "In-form Altrincham should be concerned about their trip to AFC Telford tonight despite their stunning 7-0 success on Saturday, says boss Gavin Cowan... Telfordhave come through a tricky group of games against Bradford Park Avenue, Blyth Spartans and Chorley unbeaten taking seven points.
Cowan said he watched their [Altrincham's] 7-0 success [at Alfreton] and said it was an occasion where everything the Manchester outfit touched went in. He said, 'Altrincham are a very good side but we’re unbeaten in three; they should be concerned about us. We’ve taken Leyton Orient, the best team in non-league, right to the wire and are unbeaten against three of the best teams in the league. We’re nobody to be sniffed at. I know that because I spoke to Jamie (Vermiglio, Chorley boss) on Saturday and he told me they were concerned about playing us.
'We know Altrincham are a top side and we are still doing our work on them.' Midfielder Ellis Deeney is available for selection despite his controversial red card at Chorley. The three-game ban, if not appealed, will begin on Saturday."
Also from the Shropshire Star we read that Cowan "is striving for perfection... Telford can take another significant step towards sealing a top seven berth by beating Altrincham, two places better off, on home soil tonight.
Three points for Cowan’s men, to build on a fine point at leaders Chorley, will draw the Bucks level on 62 points with Alty and Bradford Park Avenue, although both have a superior goal difference...
'I like to look beyond the emotion of a result and at the manner of a performance,' said Cowan. 'The only thing I can be critical off is when we’ve really dominated but not got anything from games, which has been somewhat disappointing. We were really good at times and not so good in others but we got a point [at Chorley] and ultimately that is what it’s about. After the game I didn’t know whether to throttle them or be proud of them. But I was proud of them because they got stuck in and worked so hard. So many times we’ve dominated teams and not got what we deserved.
'Wes showed some good composure. James McQuilkin and Darryl Knights were awesome and so was Ellis Deeney until he got the red card'...
Telford’s four matches after tonight are against mid-table sides Curzon Ashton, Hereford, Alfreton and York. Securing positive results at the business end of the season is all that matters. Winger [and ex-Alty loanee] Brendon Daniels is returning to some of his best form and will need no extra incentive to net against a team he featured for earlier in the season. Telford’s spot-kick hero at Chorley made seven appearances for Alty on loan from former club Port Vale at the start of the season, starting four games. Marcus Dinanga, who had been nursing a hamstring injury, is available.
The boss revealed the former Hartlepool striker could have been in contention to feature at Chorley and is another option in the Bucks’ feared frontline."
Before the matches, the National League asked, "Could we have new leaders this evening in the National League North and will the play-off picture become clearer? There’s an awful lot depending on the outcome of Stockport County’s trip to Chester tonight. Not only will Jim Gannon’s team overhaul Chorley with three points if they win their game in hand later on but Chester also need the points as they try to squeeze into the top seven with a late season surge.
It would take a giant goal swing, seven in fact, but they could potentially move into the play-off pack with a very, very good night.
That depends on events at the New Buck's Head but if there’s one team you would want to wipe the floor with an opponent right now it’s Altrincham. After hitting seven goals at Alfreton they’re at AFC Telford, who recorded a solid point at leaders Chorley on Saturday and occupy the last play-off place.
Embarrassed Alfreton certainly owe their fans one; they can put things right by beating Hereford. Blyth Spartans’ impressive win over Boston kept their top seven hopes alive at the weekend. If Alun Armstrong’s team beat doomed Nuneaton and other results go for them, they could really be in the mix come 9.45pm".
- At home: P4-W1-D1-L2-F5-A6
- Away: P3-W0-D0-L3-F2-A6
- All: P7-W1-D1-L5-F7-A12
Tonight (Tuesday), Altrincham travel to the New Buck's Head to face AFC Telford United once more. The clubs last met in Shropshire in another Vanarama National League North match, played on Saturday, 4 March 2017. The Bucks emeregd winners by scoring the only goal of the game.
Back then, an injury-ravaged Altrincham deserved at least a point, if not all three, but were robbed of any reward at all for their good performance by a heavily deflected goal in the 87th minute. The visitors ultimately paid the price for missing a number of half chances and also saw an Evans's effort pushed away along the goal-line by Telford keeper Burton.
Right: Telford captain, Luca Havern, chatted with former team-mate, Simon Richman, as the teams emerged for the match in 2017 at the New Buck's Head. Once again, Chris Lynch captained the Altrincham side, and he is seen leading out the players.
With goalkeeper Tim Deasy injured, new signing Stuart Tomlinson made his debut for Altrincham and, apart from a couple of saves, he had relatively little to do.
In a match riddled with petty fouls and played on a soft surface, there was too much scrappy play to make it a great spectacle but Altrincham, with John Cyrus again excelling at the back, put together some good attacking moves. But the injury jinx struck again as Nicky Clee had to come off at the interval, after a late challenge on him in the first half.
In addition to the Evans effort, Altrincham came closest to scoring when Richman's shot from three yards was blocked by a defender and when the same player lifted a late effort over the bar, both efforts arising from Newby crosses.
By the end of Alty's game at Darlington on the previous Wednesday they had ten players unavailable, (Jake Moult, Gary Jones, Shaun Densmore, Sean Miller, Craig Hobson, Tom Hannigan, Andy Owens, Alan Goodall, Tim Deasy, Kyle Brownhill). Of those absentees, Owens and Goodall were on the bench at Telford but Reeves was not present owing to a family commitment. Before the 2017 game, 49 players had played a part in Alty's league fixtures that season and, with the debut of keeper Stuart Tomlinson, that became fifty at Telford.
For Telford, former Alty defender Luca Havern captained his side.
AFC TELFORD UNITED: 1 Callum Burton, 2. Dwayne Samuels, 3. Joel Dielna, 4. Gianluca Havern, 5. Paul McCone, 6. Jack Rea, 7. Jonathan Royle, 8. Eddie Jones, 9. Lee Hughes, 10. David Hibbert, 11. Elliot Hodge, Subs: 12. John-Paul Kissock, 14. Josh Wilson, 15. Ben Bailey, 16. Zak Lilly, 17. Danny Reynolds.
ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart TOMLINSON, 2. Chris LYNCH (c), 3. Nicky CLEE, 4. Sam HEATHCOTE, 5. John CYRUS. 6. Laurence TAYLOR, 7. Elliott NEWBY, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Micah EVANS, 10. James LAWRIE, 11. Gary JONES Subs: 12. Andy McWILLIAMS, 14. Alan GOODALL, 15. Andy OWENS, 16. Sam PATTERSON, 20. Andrew JONES
Mike Garnett's data shows previous outcomes in matches between the clubs.
Altrincham became pacey forward Yusifu's fourth National North club this season when he arrived on loan from Blackpool on 6 February 2019. This immediately followed a month's loan spent at Nuneaton Borough whilst, earlier in the campaign, he had also spent loan spells at Boston United and AFC Telford United. 24 year-old Yusifu, born in Barcelona, first emerged in English football at Sporting Khalsa, in the Black Country, before a move to Alvechurch.
Blackpool signed him in September 2018 before loaning him out for spells at the three National League clubs mentioned above, as well as a couple of months back at Alvechurch in autumn 2018. So far he has started seven games for Altrincham, has been a used sub once, and has netted three goals.Through the Years remind us that exactly a year before Alty were also playing in the Midland region, this time away at Stourbridge, securing a 1-1 draw in the EvoStik Premier.
Right: Chris Merrie.
Altrincham arrived at Stourbridge leading the table by eight points. They were without the injured Connor Hampson, Ben Harrison, Tim Deasy and James Poole, while Max Harrop was also unfit to start. Josh Samberg replaced Andrew Jones on the bench and Tom Peers started in place of Harrop.
After falling behind to Benbow's tenth-minute freekick, the injury-ravaged Alty team dominated the second half and deservedly levelled in the 76th minute. Richman won a penalty but Johnston failed to beat keeper Gould, only for Hancock to net the rebound.
ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Andrew WHITE, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. James JONES, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Tom PEERS, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. Max HARROP, 14. Chris MERRIE, 15. Sam HEATHCOTE 16. Theo BAILEY-JONES, 20. Josh SAMBERGHereford Times informs us that "Trouble flared between fans of Hereford and Stockport County football clubs yesterday. Smoke bombs were set off on the pitch at Edgar Street and in the streets. There were reports of missiles being thrown, and police were at the Oxford Arms in Widemarsh Street and the King's Fee (Wetherspoons) in Commercial Road to keep order. There were also scuffles at the Merton Meadows car park before and after the match, which ended in a 2-2 draw...
Hereford fan Robin Dunford said 'The majority of the Stockport supporters were well behaved, but the minority let them down, as did some of the home supporters. It was a great game, but marred by a few idiots'.
Superintendent Mel Paley of West Mercia Police said 'Responsibility for disorder such as we saw yesterday always lies with those who make the decision to be violent and put innocent people at risk and we will act accordingly, and as such four arrests were made... I would like to thank fans from both teams who travelled to the game yesterday for their patience and understanding whilst we dealt with the unusual circumstances where a number of individuals were intent on disrupting what should be a safe and fun family day out'".
And the Hereford Times also reports that "Adults will be charged £20 extra next season for a season ticket at Hereford FC while concessions will pay less. Prices for an ‘early bird’ season ticket in the Meadow End and Len Weston terrace for adults has risen to £230 while those seated in the Merton Stand and Len Weston will pay £261.50 for a season ticket bought before July 1.
Last season adults paid £210 for an ‘early bird’ season ticket in the terrace areas of the stadium and £241.50. Concession ‘early bird’ season ticket prices have reduced £20 across the same areas priced at £169 for a terrace place and £200.50 for seating.
Prices for a one-off adult ticket has risen by £1 to £14 in the terraces and £16 in seated areas.
Hereford FC General Manager, James Watts, told the club’s website 'We are pleased with the structure we have come up with for 2019/20 as we feel it is fair to everyone and offers the opportunity for fans to make significant savings through the Early Bird offers, the popular family tickets and the couple’s tickets in the Executive Club...
'The board has increased the investment in the playing squad year on year and next season is going to be no different. Hopefully the recent signing of Rowan Liburd demonstrates to fans that everyone here wants to be competing at the top end of the table and therefore, the more season tickets we sell, the more money there is available for recruitment during the summer'"
8 April 2019
Above, Josh Hancock nets Alty's fourth goal at Alfreton on Saturday. He is the farthest right player in the purple shirt. With sixteen league goals he is the club's leading scorer in the Vanarama North but Jordan Hulme's brace in the same match means that both players have 17 goals in all competitions. Jordan's goals include 14 in the league. Jordan has made 39 appearances in all competitions against Jordan's 32.
John Johnston's penalty at Alfreton gives him a total of 13 league goals to date, with an additional one scored in cup competitions. Three of JJ's goals have been penalties, two of which have arrived in league games.
Altrincham's seven goals on Saturday make them the only team in the division to have a strike rate of more than two goals per game. They have netted 74 times in 36 matches. Whilst Chorley have scored one more goal, 75, these have come in 38 fixtures. 122 goals have been seen at either end of the pitch in Alty's league games to date (74 for, 48 against). Only Blyth Spartans can match that total (63 for, 59 against) but they have played one more game than Altrincham.Altrincham FC site has Brian Flynn's post-match interview with manager Phil Parkinson, following Altrincham's 7-0 win at Alfreton.
Let's get behind the lads as we look to finish the season strongly. Please book by calling the office in the week on 0161 928-1045".
Times, fares and other details are on the Away Travel page.
The Hallmark Security League, aka the North West Counties League, reports that "There were six games in the First Division South, and... Wythenshawe Amateurs moved into second place with a 5-2 home win over New Mills on Friday night. The teams were level at half time with goals from Tim Kinsella and [former Alty youth and reserve captain] Richard Gresty being cancelled out by a double from Jake Ambrose, but second half goals from William Ahern, David Wright and Patrick O'Brien earned Ammies full points."
From Welsh Premier we learn that "In Friday's matches, Llanelli's relegation was confirmed as they lost 3-2 at Aberystwyth. Goals from Wes Baynes, Ash Ruane and Marc Williams put Aber into a 3-0 lead".Alfreton Town reported that their "six-game unbeaten run in the National League North came to a horrendous end as a clinical and destructive Altrincham scored seven goals at the Impact Arena, the Reds worst ever home defeat and the second time seven goals have been shipped at home this season.
Billy Heath made just the one change from the Saturday prior with Reece Styche coming into start and Dec Bacon moving to the bench.
Alfreton started the game well with Styche firing an early effort wide before Josh Wilde latched onto a loose ball after Danny Clarke was tackled on the edge of the box, but Wilde's shot was blocked away from close range with also claims for a penalty in the aftermath.
But Alty soon wrestled control of the early stages as they moved the ball well and stretched the Reds shape, there was always an option for a player in purple and the early possession brought early openings...
The Reds lacked ideas and this was evident with Jordan Sinnott's free kick wide to Curry produced a lofted ball that went straight out of play... Altrincham found themselves in total control heading towards the break... Half time brought a mountain to climb with the Reds three down and the performance was one of dis-belief after recent results and the recent unbeaten run. Alfreton were sent out early for the second half with Danny O'Brien replacing Styche heading into the second half.
The Reds put up a brief battle at the start of the second half with more intent and urgency to win the ball back in the first five minutes. However chances were not being created and time was against the Reds as Altrincham settled on the ball again...
Alfreton were then gifted a penalty when Wilde looked to have been tripped in the box, Sinnott stepped up and saw his penalty saved by Thompson with the effort lacking direction. It summed the Reds performance up with a lack of motivation with the scoreline no doubt playing a part in a lack of willingness... The final five minutes of the game brought another three goals... [It was a] truly horrible afternoon, which no one would have dreamed to have occured, for Alfreton at the Impact Arena. Altrincham were outstanding in front of goal and this was coupled with a Reds side who had been fantastic in the six games prior but on Saturday just didn't turn up".
As mentioned in the above article, Saturday was the second time that the Reds had shipped seven goals at home this season. On 8 December 2018, Spennymoor Town beat Alfreton 7-1.
In reference to that game Alfreton Town reported that "Way back in 1960 petrol cost 23 pence per gallon, John F Kennedy had just been inaugurated as President of the USA, Coronation Street was shown for the first time on TV, the farthing was still legal tender and Alfreton Town lost 1-7 to Belper Town in their first ever FA Cup tie and until this weekend [December 2018] that record had stood as the worst Reds' home defeat.
Cue the arrival of Spennymoor Town on Saturday and a repeat of that score-line has given Alfreton the unwanted record of their worst League defeat ever at home".
7 April 2019
Above, Jordan Hulme (behind Alfreton's no.11), scores Alty's second goal on Saturday.
Altrincham inflicted on Alfreton Town their heaviest ever home defeat with a dominant display at the Impact Arena. It might have been a different story had referee Mulhall acceeded to strong Alfreton appeals inside the first minute when Clarke went down in the box. But, after that, it was pretty much all Altrincham.
Altrincham took the lead in the eighth minute when home keeper Ramsbottom failed to deal with a Johnston cross from the right. Blackpool loanee Ceesay was on hand to head against the crossbar from close range before he nodded the rebound into the net.
Before the half-hour mark Altrincham lost left-back Connor Hampson to injury but, with right-back White having switched flank to replace Hampson, Alty's no.2 got himself to the left by-line from where he cleverly cut the ball back for Hulme to sweep it into the net (32 mins).
Five minutes before half-time Altrincham gained a slightly fortunate penalty when Ceesay's flicked ball was handled by a defender. Johnston converted the spot-kick to make it 3-0 by half-time.
Above, John Johnston, behind Alfreton's no.11, nets his penalty to make it 3-0.
A fairly uninspiring fifteen minutes after the break were ended when White advanced once more and the ball was worked to Hancock, who scored from the edge of the box in the 61st minute. Alfreton then won a penalty after a challenge by Jones, but former Alty midfielder Jordan Sinnott saw his penalty well saved by Tony Thompson.
Three goals in the final three minutes plus added time brought the tally to seven for the visitors. Goal number five came in the 87th minute after substitute Matt Chadwick had advanced on the right towards keeper Ramsbottom, who blocked the shot but the loose ball fell for Ceesay to net his second goal of the match. Three minutes later it was 0-6 ahen Moult's goalbound effort, following a Chadwick corner, was diverted into the net by Hulme.
And the icing on the cake arrived in the third added minute when James Jones shot home from the edge of the box following another Chadwick corner.
Alty moved up to fifth in the table, ahead of a tough midweek fixture at AFC Telford United.
As the website report at the time reminds us, "Referee Mr Oldham became the third official to fail to complete an Altrincham game this season when he found himself unable to continue through injury in the 27th minute. After a 12 minute delay, a qualified linesman took over on the line and assistant referee Mr Mulhall took charge of the match. Ironically, Premiership ref Anthony Taylor was at the game but not allowed to take over as he had a match scheduled for the next day".
- Att. 538 Alfreton Town 0 - 7 Altrincham
- Att. 208 Ashton United 3 - 0 Spennymoor Town (ex-Alty men scored all the goals in a five-minute spell; Sheridan, Mantack and Hobson)
- Att. 632 Blyth Spartans 3 - 0 Boston United
- Att. 585 Brackley Town 2 - 0 Guiseley
- Att. 1286 Chorley 1 - 1 AFC Telford United (ex-Alty loanee Brendon Daniels equalised for the ten-man Bucks in the 87th minute)
- Att. 202 Curzon Ashton 1 - 1 Leamington
- Att. 1407 Darlington 2 - 0 FC United Of Manchester
- Att. 3025 Hereford 2 - 2 Stockport County
- Att. 1606 Kidderminster Harriers 3 - 0 Bradford (Park Avenue)
- Att. 688 Nuneaton Borough 2 - 3 Chester
- Att. 2174 York City 1 - 0 Southport
- Altrincham v Bradford (Park Avenue)
- Spennymoor Town v AFC Telford United
Chorley, "Andy Teague’s stunning first half opener wasn’t quite enough for Chorley as a dubious late penalty for Telford meant the spoils were shared at Victory Park.
The Magpies made two changes to the side that drew with Chester as Josh Wilson returned from injury and Dale Whitham replaced Josh O’Keefe in midfield after his loan spell at FC United ended.
Chorley: Urwin; Challoner (Jordan, 40′), Blakeman, Teague (c), Leather, Meppen-Walter, Whitham, Cottrell, Carver, Wilson (Almond, 81′), E.Newby. Subs not used: Tuton, McGurk, Hooper.
Telford: Bursik; White (Brown, 78′), Smith (Barnett, 67′), Deeney, Sutton (c), Streete, McQuilkin, Royle (Morgan-Smith, 56′), Daniels, Udoh, Knights. Subs not used: Morley, Dawson".Bulls' News tells us that "Rowan Liburd was on form for Hereford on Saturday afternoon as he scored twice to earn his side a share of the spoils against a strong Stockport team.
The Bulls trailed 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from Adam Thomas and [ex-Alty loanee] Nyal Bell, but Liburd's goal in the 64th minute gave Hereford some hope. It was then a injury time equaliser to earned Hereford a point, as Liburd bundled the ball home from an Tom Owen-Evans cross...
A tense final few minutes at Edgar Street, especially with Chorley being pegged back meaning Stockport would've gone top with a win, Hereford didn't appear phased [fazed].
In the third minute of added time Tom Owen-Evans' grit and determination to create something paid off, he tried to shoot from an acute angle on the edge of the box but it was Rowan Liburd who got the final touch to send his side into raptures.
Hereford FC add that "The Bulls secured a deserved share of the spoils against title-chasing Stockport County as we came from two goals down to level matters in stoppage time following an impressive second half display...
We were hit by a two-goal burst in as many minutes by the visitors just before the half-hour mark as firstly Adam Thomas fired home from distance having latched on to Stephenson’s header and then a cross from the left picked out Bell who was able to guide the ball home to make it 2-0... We went in at the break two goals behind having found our title-chasing opponents a tough nut to crack during the opening period...
We were able to reduce the arrears on 65 minutes when Cullinane-Liburd’s long throw-in caused problems and Liburd was on hand to turn the ball home to make it 2-1... There was drama in stoppage time when Owen-Evans did well out wide and his cross into the danger zone was poked home by Liburd for his second of the game to give us a deserved share of the spoils in what was an entertaining encounter".
The hosts were without the suspended Scott Kay but wasted no time in making inroads and after Lewis Hawkins had been penalised for handball Sam Sheridan curled home a fine free kick from 22 yards after a quarter of an hour...
Two minutes later and Sheridan’s long ball won a corner which saw his own delivery touched back by Matt Regan for Kallum Mantack to finish close in.
With Town reeling it only took another 3 minutes for Craig Hobson to start the move which saw a right wing ball laid off by Liam Tomsett for centre forward Hobson to fire home first time.
From the other side, Spennymoor Town report how "Three goals in five first-half minutes saw relegation threatened Ashton United inflict a surprise defeat on a below-par Spennymoor... It went from bad to worse in the second half when Jamie Chandler was shown two yellow cards in the space of ten seconds, leaving the ten men of Moors with an even bigger mountain to climb.
Jason Ainsley named the same side that beat Guiseley 3-2 on Tuesday evening, unsurprising given it was the first victory in seven matches, but was able to include Andrew Johnson in a match day squad for the first time since February...
Moors emerged from the dressing room in the second half minutes after a buoyed Ashton outfit, but a quick response from Moors was not to come... An already frustrating and fruitless afternoon got worse with twenty minutes to go when Chandler received two quick yellow cards for dissent towards the referee".
Ashton's squad included the following seven men who have worn the Alty shirt; Aaron Chalmers, Liam Goulding, Sam Sheridan, Kallum Mantack, Craig Hobson, Liam Tomsett and Simon Woodford.
The Pilgrims were second best throughout at Croft Park and fell behind to Michael Liddle’s strike five minutes before half-time.
Sean Reid and Dan Maguire subsequently scored either side of Louis Laing’s dismissal for a wild challenge on Brad Abbott as the hosts wrapped up a comfortable home win.
United produced some neat passages of play during the opening period but lacked a final ball to seriously test the home rearguard. Blyth carried the greater threat...
The Pilgrims were afforded a potential lifeline in the 76th minute when Laing’s high boot cut Abbott’s nose and he received his marching orders from referee Sam Barrott. It was the home side who added their third goal three minutes later".
Paul Holleran’s second half substitutions gave Leamington the momentum to earn a share of the spoils two minutes after being reduced to ten men, Jamie Hood having been shown a straight red card. The numbers were level soon afterwards as Curzon substitute Ryan Shenton, on the pitch for all of 8 minutes, also saw red for an alleged elbow on Joe Clarke as a previously quiet afternoon briefly threatened to boil over.
Holleran was able to name the same eleven that had started the previous game against Curzon’s town rivals Ashton United, Tom James taking the place of the injured Sam Wilding on the substitutes bench.
The home side were comfortably the better side in the opening forty five minutes... John McAtee’s cross was then powered towards goal by the head of Ryan Brooke, the ball crashing back off the inside of the post... The home side moved ahead on 14 minutes with a goal that had been coming, and a fine strike it was from McJannet....
Leamington became stronger as the game wore on. Reece Flanagan, Jack Lane and Elliot Hodge were all introduced in the final half an hour by Holleran... Things appeared to have gone from bad to worst as Hood was then shown a straight red for questioning one of the officials rather too forcefully, but within two minutes Leamington were level, Bishop cushioning a perfect header into the roof of the net after Lane had beaten his man and delivered an inviting ball for the number nine to net his 23rd goal of the season.
Within two minutes the numbers were level once more as Shenton was eventually sent off after Clarke went down in the centre circle following an aerial challenge. Leamington were in control now...
Paul Holleran was pleased with the application of his side in the second half after a slow start, saying 'We were slow getting out of the blocks... This can be a difficult part of the season when you’ve got one foot over the line. We were disappointing certainly in the first half hour, we never got a grip of Curzon but we improved as the half went on. At half time we made a few tweaks and I thought in the second half we were excellent, and as much as Curzon were the better side in the first half we were the better side in the second'".
At York City "Teenagers Ryan Whitley and Jasper Moon both made senior debuts as City beat Southport 1-0... York-born Whitley, 19, stepped in for goalkeeper Adam Bartlett, who was absent due to illness, and 18-year-old Moon, currently on a work experience loan from Barnsley, partnered Sean Newton in the centre of defence.
Both youngsters produced solid displays as City kept a first clean-sheet in five games and returned to winning ways courtesy of a 32nd minute strike from Macaulay Langstaff.
Manager Steve Watson made three changes to his side with striker Jake Wright, back from a loan spell at Boston United, employed at the tip of a five-man midfield. Adriano Moke was unavailable due to suspension and defender Joe Tait was also ruled out by illness...
Langstaff broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute when firing the ball into the top corner of the net with an angled drive following a short corner by Burgess. It was the striker's fourth goal in as many games since his return from a loan spell at Bradford (Park Avenue)... The victory lifted City up to 12th... eight points adrift of the play-offs with only four games left to play".
Southport are bottom of the current form guide.
6 April 2019
- Alfreton Town 0-7 Altrincham
- Ashton United 3-0 Spennymoor Town
- Blyth Spartans 3-0 Boston United
- Brackley Town 2-0 Guiseley
- Chorley 1-1 AFC Telford United
- Curzon Ashton 1-1 Leamington
- Darlington 2-0 FC United of Manchester
- Hereford 2-2 Stockport County
- Kidderminster Harriers 3-0 Bradford (Park Avenue)
- Nuneaton Borough 2-3 Chester FC
- York City 1-0 Southport
Alfreton Town announced that they "look for a seventh league game unbeaten as we welcome sixth-placed Altrincham as two of the form teams in the NLN collide. After another excellent result on the road at another play-off sitting side in Bradford (Park Avenue) it's a welcome return home after recent away trips. The Reds would have felt they should have taken six points from the last two games with big chances not converted both at Spennymoor and Bradford.
The first half at Avenue last weekend was a tight one with the hosts dominating the ball throughout the first portion of the half but, once again, it was the Reds who created the better chances with Dec Bacon going clean through only to see his effort saved, Josh Clackstone headed over the bar on the stretch from a few yards out at the back post before Jordan Sinnott and Luke Shiels all had efforts just wide.
Reece Styche would open the scoring with a outstanding over-head kick from a long throw into the box, we then had two penalty shouts turned away before late pressure brought reward for the hosts as a late half volley from Havern rescued a point for the hosts.
It was another fixture for the Reds where we were left disappointed at not coming away from a top seven side with three points, Alfreton will look to be far more clinical tomorrow afternoon to put chances away against one of the league's in form teams.
Confidence will still be high with our current unbeaten run and despite not taking the three points in the last two games, the last two draws at two very difficult places to go will still leave the Reds itching to continue the form... The Reds will also be looking for a third league win in a row at the Impact Arena after our last two home outings saw a 2-1 win over Chorley and a 2-0 win over Ashton.
Alfreton are currently fifth in the form table over the last five games with 11 points obtained. Visitors Altrincham... are top of the form table in the National League North and have won four of their last five league games... Alty arrive to the Impact having won their last three away games in the league (York, Curzon and FC United).
James Clifton remains a long term absentee due to recent surgery for his injury.
Admission: Adults £14, Concessions £10, Under 16s £2.
Parking: For fans making their own way to the Impact Arena, we have a small car park next to our ground for a small fee. Otherwise it is street parking in the surrounding roads, please be respectful to our neighbours.
Last Meeting: Altrincham 3-1 Alfreton Town (Saturday 13th October 2018) - Three first half goals from Owen Dale, Max Harrop and Jordan Hulme condemned the Reds to a fourth league defeat in a row back in October as a nightmare first half proved decisive. Richard Peniket scored a consolation with a strong individual effort mid-way through the second half".National League preview includes, ""There’s just four Saturdays left to go; will we be any closer to finding out how things will play out this weekend?...
Just over ten years ago, Hereford and Stockport County both won promotion together into League One. As we know, a lot has changed since then. But they cross swords on Saturday with County knowing that they really need to keep the winning momentum going. But Marc Richards’ Bulls are a lot better lately and have taken nine points from the last 12 and the all-ticket game will attract big numbers.
Chorley, though, hold a two point lead, even if they have played a game more... [and] will be looking to make AFC Telford team number eight from the last nine to leave Victory Park empty handed.
Manager of the Month Kevin Wilkin will want his Brackley team to keep Guiseley looking over their shoulders. Nuneaton Borough will officially be relegated if the Lions pick up a point at St James Park and will go down anyway if they don’t win at home to Chester, who themselves must win.
Time is fast running out for Ashton United and things will look bleak if they can’t win beat Spennymoor at Hurst Cross. FC United are still six points shy of safety and their goal difference doesn’t make for good reading. If they come back from Darlington with nothing to show for it their fans will be fearing an Evo-Stik League return...
Kidderminster’s promotion hopes died at home to Bradford (Park Avenue) last season and if they don’t manage to put Mark Bower’s boys away at Aggborough this weekend then it becomes very tricky... Boston United aren’t out of it yet but they really need a win at Blyth Spartans...
Altrincham have more games to play than anyone but Phil Parkinson knows points on the board are what matters... York City and Southport fans probably had higher hopes than their April meeting being a dead rubber but both sets of players will have points to prove ahead of next season.
Curzon Ashton and Leamington are both safe. They meet with the two teams looking to earn a top-half finish".Altrincham FC has announced details of its sponsored walk to the last game of the season, at Ashton United, on Saturday, April 27th. "Participants planning to cover the entire route are asked to raise at least £50, but there is no minimum amount for those choosing to join the walk in Ashton town centre at around 1pm... Fundraisers completing the full 16 miles will have the option of coach transport back to Moss Lane, where there will be an end-of-season marquee party, providing real ale, free food and fantastic live music from Alexander Stewart for the fans, followed by the Players' Awards". NL Paper reports that the National League North Manager of the Month is "Kevin Wilkin – Brackley Town. Brackley Town fans knew back in August it would take quite a lot to better last season. After all, they not only won the FA Trophy at Wembley but reached the National League North Promotion Final in the process. Kevin Wilkin knows there’s only one way his side can improve on that and March saw them take a giant leap towards achieving their goal of going up.
They started the month in fine fettle with a 3-1 win over Blyth Spartans. Brackley then became the team to end Stockport County’s incredible three-month undefeated run with a 1-0 success at St James Park. They then went on to defeat play-off rivals Kidderminster Harriers, before seeing to Hereford with a professional 2-0 away win. Wilkin’s side ended the month with a credible goalless draw at Southport. It will take a lot already for them to miss out on the play-offs now.
Player of the Month: Conor Branson – Bradford Park Avenue... Not content with keeping things tight at the back, only Jake Beesley scored more for the Avenue through the month than Branson himself...
Volunteer of the Month: Dave Harrington-Wright – Chester... Although he is the Chairman of the club, Dave is a volunteer like everyone else at Chester and has worked tirelessly to restore the stadium to full working order after the flood damage earlier in the season. As well as the countless hours he puts in, he is also the primary carer for his wife as she undergoes treatment for a serious illness and has a full-time job away from football too. Despite these personal challenges, he maintains a positive, cheerful outlook and the other people at the Club want him to be recognised for being such an inspirational leader, and of course, an inspirational volunteer too".
The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Mark Bower has heaped praise on 'unsung hero' [ex-Alty defender] Luca Havern after a late equaliser that would have made any striker proud. The Bradford (Park Avenue) defender sealed a valuable point in his side’s 1-1 draw at home to in-form Alfreton. As the ball made its way into the opposition box in the 88th minute, Havern found himself in unusual position.
Rather than have a nosebleed, the stopper remained cool and collected to plant a well-timed, half volley into the bottom right-hand corner from just inside the box.
Bower said, 'He’s been a bit of an unsung hero this year, Luca. He’s played really well, he’s defended really well. We were joking before the game, with Conor (Branson) not playing, he’ll have to step up and score a goal today. He certainly did that for us, wearing the captain’s armband at the time. He really led by example.... It was a striker’s finish, wasn’t it? '...
The game left the Avenue boss with mixed feelings... He said '[Alfreton] have got a really strong squad and, but for a bit of a sticky spell pre-Christmas then they’d probably be right up there... Having gone behind, we reacted really well and got the equaliser, which I felt we deserved, and we were the only team that looked like winning. I think you saw the freshness and the fitness of the squad coming to the fore. Alfreton looked very tired and it was a very positive finish'...
Avenue’s next match could be pivotal, as they face a trip [to] Kidderminster Harriers... Bower admits they have been something of a barometer for him since his time at Avenue, and admires their style of play. He said 'At times you want to aspire to some of the football that they can play. We know that if they get it right on the day, they’re going to be as good as anything in the division'".
According to the Northern Echo, "The Football Association have this week warned Darlington that they could face punishment if club staff in the technical area at Blackwell Meadows are subjected to abuse from fans.
The governing body have expressed their concern following incidents earlier this season at Quakers home matches, with the game against Spennymoor Town resulting in Darlington banning a number of supporters...
A statement released by Darlington reads 'The club has this week received a letter from the Football Association making us aware that members of the technical area have been subjected to abuse and/or threatening behaviour from supporters in close proximity. The FA tell us that these incidents are of great concern to them, and that any further incidents could see us charged under FA Rule 20, which could in turn mean a heavy fine.
'While the vast majority of our fans are very well-behaved, spectators are reminded that they should conduct themselves in a proper and orderly manner while attending Darlington games, and anyone found misbehaving will be ejected from the ground and banned from attending matches. A number of individuals have received notifications that they have now been permanently excluded from Darlington FC home games because of their continued bad behaviour and general foul and abusive language.
'We are also working hard on identifying other individuals who are indulging in anti-social behaviour, and they also face permanent exclusion'".
The Magpies boss will go head to head with opposite number Gavin Cowan, who he played alongside during his time at New Buck's Head. Vermiglio, 36, joined Telford from Scarborough in 2007. He and Cowan helped the Bucks reach the FA Trophy semi-final and lost in the National League North play-off final in 2008-09.
Like Vermiglio, Cowan was handed his first managerial job last summer and the Chorley boss has been impressed with the way his old mate has turned Telford into play-off contenders this season...
'Me and Gavin were in the same side and we had quite a successful time there,' said Vermiglio. 'We had a long unbeaten run, over 20 games, and had a great run in the Trophy. He played centre-back, I played centre-midfield. We got on really well. We still talk now quite regularly. He spoke to me at the start of the season asking for advice when he was thinking of applying for the job and likewise when the Chorley job became available.
'We touch base now and again. He has done really well with the squad that he has assembled pretty much from scratch... They needed a bit more energy, not just the team but around the place, and they have certainly got that back. He is very tactical and astute. It is good to come up against someone who is like that, someone who you know puts the hours in, puts the work in. He works just as hard, if not harder, than me with the amount of hours he puts into it. It is good to pit your wits against someone like that but it is a job and we have got to get three points'".
Boston United "defender Ben Middleton is back in contention for the Pilgrims' long trip to Blyth Spartans... United make the journey to Croft Park looking to make it back-to-back wins following their 4-1 home victory over Curzon Ashton last weekend. Middleton is back from his two-match ban while striker Gavin Allott could also return following a thigh injury sustained against Chorley on March 16.
Allott's probable return would compensate for the loss of fellow striker Jake Wright, who has returned to York City at the end of his loan spell with the Pilgrims. Bradford City midfielder Cameron Hawkes, who joined the Pilgrims on loan on the eve of the Curzon fixture, could feature for the first time... United, who were 4-0 victors over Blyth earlier this season, were beaten 5-2 in last season's corresponding fixture".
Southport "head into the weekend on the back of midweek glory as they prepare for a clash against York City. The win on penalties against Prescot Cables saw Liam Watson’s side lift the Liverpool CFA Senior Cup...
It will be Southport’s last visit to this ground [at York], with the Minstermen due to play at a new stadium next season. The Minstermen currently sit two points ahead of Southport, occupying 13th place in the Vanarama National League North. They head into this game on the back three draws in a row, scoring six and conceding six showing they will provide a threat at both ends...
2019 has been mixed for Steve Watson’s side with six wins, five defeats and three draws... When Southport met York earlier on this season it was the visitors who were victorious at the Merseyrail Community Stadium... This game is nothing more than a mid-table battle, as both sides look to finish in a similar position to last season, none the less it’s a game both will be eager to win to finish as high as possible."
FC United of Manchester inform us that "Manager Neil Reynolds has selected four of FCs Under-21s' team to join the squad for our away trip Darlington on Saturday, with three likely to be in the starting eleven. Joining the squad are Jack Grimshaw, Jan Palinkas, Will Ozono and Mark West. Mike Potts also returns to the squad following injury.
Dominic McHale, Danny Morton and Bob Harris have now left the club. Dale Whitham has been recalled to Chorley after his loan spell at FC. Harry Winter is still serving a three-match suspension". Former Alty striker Tom Peers is in the FC squad for the game.
Nuneaton Borough "have agreed a deal with Forest Green Rovers which will see Taylor Allen sign for the Green Army on a permanent basis for the 2019/20 season. The 18-year-old, who has made 11 appearances for the Boro’ since joining in January from Romulus FC and scored his first goal for the Club away to FC United of Manchester last weekend, will remain at Liberty Way for the remainder of the season before moving to The New Lawn.
The left-footed teenager, who can play wide left or as a striker, had a trial with Forest Green earlier this year and has turned down opportunities to sign with clubs as high as the Premier League to put pen to paper on a one-year deal with Rovers. 'I’m over the moon', he said after signing his first professional contract. 'I’ve played men’s football since I was 16 and that has been the biggest learning curve for me, playing in the Conference North in a physical league and playing with ex pros, learning a lot off of them.
'I got a feel from speaking to the manager and head of recruitment that I wanted to come to this club' said Allen. 'I like the style of play and it will suit me'".
According to York Press "Out of contract York City keeper Adam Bartlett has admitted that he might have to forego his summer break and look for a new job next month. The 33-year-old net-minder has played every minute of the 70 first-team Minstermen matches since his arrival from Darlington in November 2017, but his current deal at Bootham Crescent lapses at the end of the campaign with manager Steve Watson signalling that no decisions on individuals' futures will be made before then.
Bartlett has confessed to The Press that his preferred option would be to carry on playing for City next term, but also declared that he cannot afford to be out of work and, if he isn’t handed a new deal, might need to seek immediate employment elsewhere, inside or outside of football. The ex-England C international, who lies a close second behind Jordan Burrow in The Press Player of the Year standings, said 'I understand the manager has had a limited time to assess things and he’s got seven contracted players that he will have to incorporate into his plans for next season, so he still needs to see players in games and on the training pitch, as well as what they are like as characters, as he thinks about the squad he wants to put together.
'That’s how it should be, so I won’t be knocking on his door, even though I’ve no idea at the moment what I’ll be doing five weeks down the line. I could be in a full-time job next month and that’s the reality of football at this level. Whatever will be, will be, and I will take it as it comes. I’ve not had any contact from clubs or made contact with any. It will just be a case of waiting to see if York would like to do anything and, of course, that would be my first option, because I have enjoyed representing the club and we get fantastic backing.
'The biggest disappointment is that our results over the last two seasons in National League North have not been good enough, so I can understand the fans’ frustrations and why they might not want the majority of players here any more. If I got the chance to represent the club during the last games at Bootham Crescent and, then, during the move to the new stadium, I’d be delighted. If that’s not the case then, once word gets out that you are available, you might get a phone call or you might not.
'I coach part-time at Newcastle United at the moment and I’d have to hope that another door opens up for me, but there’s no guarantees and all footballers have got mortgages, so it might be a case of not having summer off as, after my contract expires at the end of this month, there will be bills to pay. I’d love to carry on playing and, if not that, I’d love to carry on being involved in the game, but you’re not always in control of that.'
Despite his ever-present record between the sticks, Bartlett would not be averse to surrendering the gloves to teenage understudy Ryan Whitley at some stage during the run-in, as has been mooted by Watson... 'I obviously want to a play as many games as I can, but I am 33 now and like to think the gaffer will have something in his mind in terms of what he wants to do with the goalkeeping position from what he has seen from me since being here,' the ex-England C shot-stopper reasoned. 'Ryan is great and has massive potential if you look at the size of him. He’s also been on fire in training of late so, if anybody deserves a chance, it’s Ryan and I think he could come in and really impress a few people. With where we are and the play-offs being virtually out of reach and relegation not a threat then, if the manager does decide to play him, I will back him 100 per cent.'
Bartlett has revealed, meanwhile, that his personal motivation for the rest of the campaign is to secure a final league position that beats the 11th place the team ended last term in, the lowest standing in the club’s history.
'We want to finish the season strongly and one thing that the gaffer has mentioned that stuck in my mind was that we are currently on course to finish in the lowest position in York City’s history,' Bartlett said. 'We have five games left to avoid that and have got to try and pick up maximum points from as many as possible.'
The former Hereford and Gateshead keeper went on to applaud centre-half Joe Tait for his performance during only his second appearance since Boxing Day in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Guiseley... Bartlett went on to confess that the final result represented another occasion in which the Minstermen failed to kill off opponents".
5 April 2019 Sale & Altrincham Messenger, Altrincham FC press and media officer John Edwards writes that "Phil Parkinson hailed a return to peak form for Jordan Hulme as Altrincham claimed a second successive win against full-time opposition and strengthened their hold on a National League North play-off place... Back in action for the first time since a 1-0 win at York City three weeks earlier, Alty raced into an early 2-0 lead against Kidderminster Harriers through James Jones and Hulme but were left hanging on for a 2-1 scoreline that extended their unbeaten run to five games.
'I thought we were outstanding for 30 minutes and justifiably 2-0 up, but it was all Kidderminster after that,' said Alty boss Parkinson. 'Full credit to them for the pressure they put us under, but full credit to my boys as well for the defensive resilience they showed. James Jones is always a threat at set-pieces, always lively in the box. You've got to want to get into positions where you might get on the end of something. You can't coach that. It's down to the individual, and James certainly has that about him.
'One of the big pluses for me was seeing Jordan [Hulme] looking really mobile and holding the ball up against three massive centre-backs when he had no right to. That was him back to his best, back to where he was at the start of the season, and goals will come when he plays like that.
'There were a few heart-in-mouth moments for us, but don't forget Kidderminster are full-time. We don't get to work on things every day, like they do. They should be brighter, sharper and fitter than us, but we turned them over, as we did York, and I'm more than pleased with that.
'Special mention goes to Tony Thompson (above, right). He has been outstanding since coming back into the side, and I hope the saves he's made haven't gone unnoticed. His kicking was on-point against Kidderminster, he was a colossus in the box and he made saves where a lot of keepers might have shied away'"
September to December 2018:
- Match 11 Sat.29.9.18 A Kidderminster Harriers
- 12 Sat.13.10.18 H ALFRETON TOWN
- 13 Sat.27.10.18 H ASHTON UNITED
- 14 Tue.30.10.18 H NUNEATON BOROUGH
- 15 Sat.3.11.18 A Hereford FC
- 16 Sat.10.11.18 A Chester FC
- 17 Sat.17.11.18 H YORK CITY
- 18 Sat.1.12.18 A Brackley Town
- 19 Sat.8.12.18 H AFC TELFORD UNITED
And March to April 2019...
- 34 Sat.9.3.19 A York City
- 35 Sat.30.3.19 H KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS
- 36 Sat.6.4.19 A Alfreton Town
- 37 Tue.9.4.19 A AFC Telford United
- 38 Sat.13.4.19 H CHORLEY
- 39 Tue.16.4.19 H BRACKLEY TOWN
- 40 Sat.20.4.19 A Nuneaton Borough
- 41 Mon.22.4.19 H HEREFORD FC
- 42 Sat.27.4.19 A Ashton United
- 1. Stockport County 3,809 - current league position 2nd
- 2. York City 2,478 - 13th
- 3. Hereford FC 2,323 - 16th
- 4. FC United of Manchester 1,951 -20th
- 5. Chester 1,815 - 9th
- 6. Kidderminster Harriers 1,620 - 8th
- 7. Darlington 1,409 - 18th
- 8. AFC Telford United 1,360 - 7th
- 9. Chorley 1,359 - 1st
- 10: Altrincham 1,241 - 6th
- 11. Boston United 1,117 - 10th
- 12. Southport 1,080 - 15th
- 13. Spennymoor Town 814 - 4th
- 14. Blyth Spartans 778 - 11th
- 15. Guiseley 777 - 19th
- 16. Leamington 676 - 17th
- 17. Nuneaton Borough 640 - 22nd
- 18. Brackley Town 592 - 3rd
- 19. Alfreton Town 529 - 12th
- 20. Bradford (Park Avenue) 517 - 5th
- 21. Curzon Ashton 479 - 14th
- 22. Ashton United 358 - 21st
Craig Elliott’s side spent the same amount [£500] on agents as South Shields and Alfreton Town, while some non-league clubs managed to not spend a penny. Fellow National League sides on the list were title-chasers Stockport County (£900), York City (£13,455), Southport (£1,500), Hereford (£1,500) and struggling Guiseley (£8,820), who were relegated from the National League within this period.
Harrogate Town, promoted from the National League North alongside Salford last season, spent £9,479.
The highest spenders on the list were Liverpool, who paid out a staggering £43.7 million.
United brought in 43 players in this period, beginning with Wes Atkinson and ending with Nicky Wroe, which works out as an average of £11.62 per player. However, the figures released by the FA only state one Boston payment in this period, in relation to the signing of striker Jonny Margetts this summer".
More on this comes from Cheshire Live which says that "Chester FC's National League North rivals spent a combined £27,175 on agents fees during the past year...
Seven National League North clubs made payments to agents according to the figures with Alfreton Town, Boston United, Guiseley, Hereford, Southport, Stockport County and York City all mentioned.
The fees involved do have some crossover with National League football for the likes of Guiseley, relegated from the National League at the end of last season, with the Lions paying £8,820. York City were the biggest spenders on agents fees, paying out £13,455 to intermediaries. Chester were not featured in the list of payments made to agents and the FA confirmed that no intermediary payments had been made by clubs who do not appear in the list...
The total for the Premier League spend was £260,664,118 compared to £378,605 spent by teams in the National League and below".
The National League tells us that "Stockport County head to Hereford on Saturday 'knowing they need to win every game'. That is according to Bulls' boss Marc Richards, who wants his side to rise to the occasion in front of what could be their biggest crowd of the season.
The clubs were League Two promotion rivals less than a decade ago but it’s County with a title on their mind now. They will have around 700 supporters backing them as they look to up the heat on leaders Chorley and Richards knows Jim Gannon’s side won’t be happy with a point.
Hereford have won three of their last four games and their manager think things are progressing at Edgar Street. He told the Hereford Times 'I can't wait, I'm so excited. They need to win every game to have a chance of automatic promotion or to chase Chorley down so it will be a really exciting game. We are going to be at our best to beat one of the top teams in the division.
'On the back of an away win at Spennymoor, the boys should be full of confidence. I hope we play some better football at home than the last match as there wasn't much football played.'”
According to NL Daily "AFC Telford United have received a formal warning from the Football Association following incidents at the FA Trophy tie against Solihull Moors. The warning relates to one incident which saw a small group of individuals encroach onto the playing area following Daniel Udoh’s late winner.
The letter from the FA containing the warning notice specifically states that disciplinary action against the club may be considered ‘if further reports of spectator misconduct should be received and The Association reserves the right to refer to the current matter in such circumstances.’ Several incidents also occurred during the second leg against Leyton Orient and these are still being investigated. The club say they await to hear the response from the FA.
Also in NL Daily we read that "Guiseley joint-manager Marcus Bignot wants his team to 'apply themselves properly' in their last five games as they seek to avoid relegation from Vanarama National League North, reports the Telegraph & Argus.
Next up is high-flying Brackley Town, who will be the first three away fixtures for Guiseley in seven days. On Tuesday, they will play Ossett United in the West Riding County Cup final.
'Brackley are a very good team,' said Bignot... 'We’ve got five cup finals, and although we have a six-point cushion from the bottom three, if we do not win any of those games we could be in trouble. We’re by no means safe. We lost (at Spennymoor Town) on Tuesday because we didn’t apply ourselves properly. We have to do that in the next five games.'".
4 April 2019
There could be even fewer survivors if there are any summer financial meltdowns or geographical swaps across the divisions.
Already gone from the division of 2016-17 by the start of 2018-19 were nine teams:
- Promoted (4): AFC Fylde, FC Halifax Town, Salford City, Harrogate Town
- Relegated (4): Tamworth, Gainsborough Trinity, Worcester City, Stalybridge Celtic. Altrincham, of course, were also relegated but then regained NLN status.
- Transferred (1): Gloucester City
A further five clubs will disappear from the division this summer, with the likely candidates listed below:
- Currently in Relegation Places (3): Nuneaton Borough, FCUM, Ashton United. However, Ashton were not in the NLN division in 2016-17 and in 2017-18 North Ferriby United were relegated and they, likewise, had not been in the NLN in 2016-17.
- Currently in Promotion Places, first and second (2): Chorley, Stockport County.
So fourteen of the 22 clubs which completed 2016-17 in the division are likely to have moved on by this summer, leaving just eight potential survivors. Had Altrincham not returned to the division for 2018-19 that total would have been seven. However, if Spennymoor Town are promoted this season, the survivors from 2017 would rise to nine as the Moors were not in NLN in 2016-17.
The eight or nine survivors at this level in 2019-20 will emerge from a list of ten comprising Chorley, Stockport County, Kidderminster Harriers, Darlington, Brackley Town, Curzon Ashton, Boston United, Bradford (Park Avenue), AFC Telford United and Altrincham.
- At Altrincham: P6-W2-D1-L3-F10-A6
- At Alfreton: P6-W3-D2-L1-F10-A4
- All: P12-W5-D3-L4-F20-A10
Altrincham meet Alfreton as the Derbyshire side enjoys its best league run of the season, an unbeaten sequence of six games. This run comprises four successive wins over Chorley and Guiseley (at Alfreton) and over Ashton United and Nuneaton Borough (away). That sequence was followed by two away draws, at Spennymoor and Bradford. For its part, Altrincham's run is five games unbeaten, comprising waay wins at Curzon Ashton and York City and home victories over Chester City and Kidderminster Harriers, together with a home draw against Blyth Spartans.
Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records remind us of our last game on Saturday's date, 6 April, 2015. That was a 1-0 defeat away at the International Stadium against Gateshead.
On a poor pitch which rendered the game largely devoid of quality, Gateshead took the points with a first-half goal from former Altrincham trialist and later an Alty striker, Michael Rankine. He turned and drove home from the edge of the box in the 40th minute.
Right: Alty clear their lines at Gateshead. Just one of the five Alty players shown is still with the club, namely Jake Moult (no.4). The others are, from back to front, Scott Leather, Luca Havern, Adam Griffin and James Lawrie.
Altrincham had more than matched the promotion aspirants before then but had barely threatened to score themselves.
The second half was, if anything, even poorer in quality. Sainte Luce looked the liveliest player on the pitch but Parton was scarcely troubled. For Alty, the introduction of Crowther and Perry prompted an improvement in the closing stages but several fumbles by the Gateshead keeper were the nearest to a goal for the visitors. An unhappy afternoon also saw Cavanagh booked and he now faced a two-match ban for ten cautions.
Altrincham were without the injured Shaun Densmore and Sean Williams. Dave Parton came into the side for Coburn in Alty's goal...
ALTRINCHAM: 17.Dave Parton, 6. Scott Leather, 5. Gianluca Havern (c), 16. Tom Marshall, 3. Adam Griffin, 25. Peter Cavanagh, 26. Jordan Sinnott, 4. Jake Moult, 7. James Lawrie, 11. Nicky Clee, 10. Damian Reeves. Subs: 1. Stuart Coburn, 8. Simon Richman, 14. Kyle Perry, 19. Ryan Crowther, 9. Steven Gillespie.Boston United "winger Nicky Walker has put pen-to-paper on a new contract at The Jakemans Stadium. The 24 year-old, who is the Pilgrims' 11-goal top scorer, rejoined United for a third spell last summer from county neighbours Gainsborough Trinity and has made 38 appearances to date this season.
Walker is the sixth player contracted for 2019-2020 and his overall United tallies now total 15 goals in 66 appearances."
Bulls' News reports that "Hereford FC have six matches in April finishing their season on Saturday 27th with a home fixture against Boston.... Currently every team the Bulls are due to play are above them in the table. Stockport are 2nd, Alfreton are 12th, Southport are 15th, Telford are 7th, Altrincham are 6th and finally Boston are 10th.
However with Hereford's form of just one defeat in their last eight games, and that was against a very good Brackley side, there should be a reasonable amount of confidence in the squad to lift the Bulls above their current 16th position."
According to the Lancashire Evening Post, "Chorley manager Jamie Vermiglio says striker Josh Wilson will be back for the AFC Telford clash after missing the goalless draw at Chester due to an emergency operation.
Forward Wilson missed the game due to his recovery from the removal of a dental abscess on Friday morning. But Vermiglio says the striker will be back for Saturday’s clash with his old club Telford at Victory Park.
He said 'Josh will be okay. He had an mouth abscess on Thursday and needed to have it out on Friday morning. He had an emergency appointment and there is no way he could have taken part in the game. That was a bit of a blow with the way that he has been playing making space for himself and Marcus Carver.
'We have shown that we have a strong enough squad to deal with it with a draw away at Chester. But it was a blow. He’s been fantastic but he will be back on Saturday.'
That absence saw new Spennymoor Town loan signing Shaun Tuton make his debut. He joined the club on Thursday’s deadline day as midfielder Danny Greenfield, 18, joined on a work experience loan from Barnsley until the end of the season. And out-of-contract former Halifax left-back Raheem Hanley also signed.
Vermiglio was satisfied with Tuton’s debut but says his other two new signings need to be ready for the final five games. He said 'Shaun Tuton gave a good account of himself. He is a willing runner, strong, has a presence up top. Similar mould to Marcus in that respect. He had a few opportunities to perhaps do a little bit better but it was his first game getting used to how we play and what we expect from him... The other two boys did not make the squad... They could have a role to play in the final five games'"
In the Shropshire Star we read that "Boss Gavin Cowan has hailed 'excellent trainer' Jud Ellis for forcing his way into AFC Telford United contention... Ellis is yet to play in league for the Bucks after signing from Market Drayton Town last summer but did make the squad for last week's win at Bradford Park Avenue.
The central midfielder also started the recent Shropshire Senior Cup final loss to Shrewsbury...
'He's an excellent trainer and fits into the way we play,' said Cowan. 'And if there is ever a time to see if he's going to be a National League North player, it's now. The only thing with Jud is he needs to know what it is to be a footballer in this league. It's not a kickabout. It means so much to so many people. But ability-wise, he's more than ready.'
Ellis impressed during a loan spell at Hednesford Town in the Northern Premier, a step below the Bucks, earlier this season. 'We speak a lot about people being ready to step up if they're offered a chance and Jud is a great, really down-to-earth lad,' added Cowan. 'Jud just wants to play football, but at this level, you've got to earn the right'".
Cheshire Live informs us that "Chester FC have signed former FC United of Manchester winger Jamal Crawford on a deal to the end of the season. The 21-year-old right-sided player registered for the Blues last week ahead of the Non-League transfer deadline and had been on trial at Chester in recent weeks.
Blues bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley, who were keen on Crawford earlier in the season, have been taking a closer look at the former Burnley youngster, who was at the Clarets with current Chester players Conor King, George Green and Brad Jackson. Crawford isn't taking a wage from the football club during his spell at the Swansway Chester Stadium and his stint is expected to be more of an extended trial than anything else.
But should he impress in training for Chester then he is eligible to play for the club between now and the end of the season.
Johnson told the Chester Chronicle, 'Jamal is someone who we like and we've taken the chance to have a look at him between now and the end of the season. He's come in for nothing so it seemed a no-brainer to register him and he's looked sharp. We're taking him to have a look and see how he does and then we'll take a view on him with regards to next season.' Crawford was released by FC United last month after finding himself frozen out under manager Neil Reynolds. He made 32 appearances for the Reds, his last coming in a 3-2 win at Bradford (Park Avenue) in January."
3 April 2019
Alfreton Town have now reported on their 1-1 draw at Bradford (Park Avenue) last Saturday.
The Reds say that "Reece Styche's second half overhead kick was cancelled out by Havern's half-volley with four to go, as the Reds missed out on three points at another top seven side on Saturday. Billy made two changes to the side that drew with Spennymoor the Saturday prior, Dec Bacon and Adam Curry both came in to start. Reece Styche and Nathan Hotte returned to the bench.
The game started in a tight fashion with both sides looking to get hold of the ball and dominate the midfield area. We were in a structured shape with Curry, Luke Shiels and Martin Riley sitting in a back three with Josh Wilde and Josh Clackstone looking to bomb down the flanks...
Alfreton were still trying to find their way into the game and were under heaps of pressure with Bradford dominating the ball... We then should have taken the lead when Jordan Sinnott played a beautiful ball through for Bacon who found himself one on one with the goalkeeper Andrew, but the hosts' goalie denied Dec with a sharp stop...
The interval brought disappointment for the Reds who should have at least been 2-0 up in the contest but there were plenty of positives with Alfreton stretching another top seven side to their limits... The game was in the balance with both sides still looking to find the first goal, the Reds were getting closer without being overly troubled at the other end. Reece Styche and Richard Peniket were introduced and had an immediate impact with the hold up play and combinations effective...
With 75 minutes gone we finally took the lead and yet again it was fully deserved. Clackstone's long throw found Shiels who hooked the ball over to Styche who hit a wonderful overhead kick from close range which nestled into the far corner. It was a truly outstanding finish and the Reds' efforts [had] paid off.
The momentum was with us and we had two clear penalties turned down... Bradford pressed late on... But with 87 minutes gone, the hosts did level when Havern struck a sweet half-volley into the corner from just outside the box to the frustration of the Reds.
And that proved to be the last major action with Alfreton denied late on, another three points. Full-time thoughts certainly looked towards missed chances in both this game and at Spennymoor, which if we had taken these; we could have grabbed six points instead of two from two tough away trips.
The Reds will be full of confidence despite these two draws and will look for a seventh league game unbeaten with the visit of sixth placed Altrincham to the Impact on Saturday".
Matt almost made up for the long wait by going very close to scoring within a minute of coming on as a substitute in the second half against Kidderminster. With Jordan Hulme having a good game at the apex of the attack, Chadwick was deployed initially on the right-wing. and then on the left, as Kidderminster largely hemmed Alty back in their own half in the latter stages of the match.
He is seen, right, defending in the second half. In making his appearance he became the 37th player to be named in an Altrincham league matchday squad this season.
- Spennymoor Town 3-2 Guiseley (Spennymoor were two-up inside eight minutes).
Updated League Table.Shropshire Star reports that "Midfielder James McQuilkin has called on AFC Telford to finish the season in good shape to give them a better shot at play-off success. The former Kidderminster Harriers man, 30, has started the last six games for Gavin Cowan’s Bucks.
Telford let two points slip late on against Blyth Spartans on Saturday but still have a five-point cushion to the top-seven chasing pack, while they also boast a game in hand on some. McQuilkin feels that, should Telford achieve a play-off spot in six games time, good form will boost their promotion prospects. 'It’s about grinding out results, definitely,' said McQuilkin. 'At this stage of the season it’s all about results for the run-in and we want to take some good form going into the play-offs, if we can get there.'
Cowan’s men were made to pay for not killing off mid-table Blyth, who levelled late on. McQuilkin added 'When you create as many chances as we had, we should score one or two more and kill the game off. It demoralises the opposition and we can take the three points.'”
Cheshire Live asks "Are the play-offs still on for Chester FC? Anthony Johnson certainly thinks so. Anthony Johnson knows that certain things have to align in order for his and Bernard Morley's Chester FC side to reach the National League North play-offs this season.
The midweek win at Darlington and a creditable point at home to table-topping Chorley on Saturday mean that Chester lie five points off AFC Telford United who occupy the last play-off place. There was a slice of good fortune for Chester on Saturday as Blyth Spartans levelled late on to earn a point against the Bucks and, with Altrincham winning, those two points dropped by Telford keep Chester in with at least a sniff of the top seven with just six games remaining...
'I believe that we'll get in the play-offs, I absolutely believe that,' said Johnson, speaking after the goalless draw with Chorley. 'Obviously that also depends on what other teams are doing but, if not, then next season we'll make a right go for it. The lads felt like (Chorley draw) was two points dropped because that (play-offs) is the aim. If there was nothing to play for and you are a mid-table team drawing 0-0 against top of the league then you'd be quite happy. That performance showed that we are striving to get in the play-offs.
'Look, if Telford and Altrincham win their games then there isn't an awful lot we can do but we are breathing down their necks. We've got players in our squad who have numerous seasons of experience chasing and being chased and there will be some funny results at this time of year.'
One of those 'funny' results came on Saturday. On Saturday Chester travel to face a rock-bottom Nuneaton Borough side who have under on and off-field turmoil this season and who look a safe bet to be relegated. But their big success came last week when they were able to avoid being wound up after settling a tax bill. They followed that up with a remarkable 4-0 win at relegation-threatened FC United of Manchester to end a positive week on a massive high.
And Johnson stressed... 'Evertime we play a team they seem to be hitting form. We'll be going down there and people will see that as three points but everything we will be doing this week will be about Nuneaton and we'll have to absolutely become obsessed with them. If we can pick three points up down there then we start to believe even more. You'll see some strange results. Pressure does funny things to you. We are in a position where nobody is talking about us but everyone knows how good we are. Nobody will want to play us.
'We have got the belief we can get in their but we have got to go and win our next six.'"
FC United of Manchester confirm that "On Saturday 6th April FC United travel to... play Darlington... The consensus of opinion is that Saturday’s abject surrender to bottom club Nuneaton Borough marked the lowest point on the pitch in FC’s 14-year history.
Not only did it make relegation almost certain, it opened up a huge schism between the players and the fans who watched as the team collectively failed to play for the badge.
The manager has let it be known that some of those players have played their last game for FC United and, in a decision that has met with unanimous approval from the fans, Renno [Reynolds] has indicated he will bring in the club’s successful U-21 players to show what they can do until the end of the season. So, if you can, get yourself to that football ground this Saturday to hopefully witness the start of a new FC era forged in the fire of a relegation battle!"
2 April 2019
Earlier this season Altrincham defeated all four of their remaining away opponents (Alfreton Town, AFC Telford United, Nuneaton Borough and Ashton United) at the J. Davidson Stadium. Away from home they were less successful against the three teams who are still to visit Moss Lane, picking up a win at Brackley Town, a draw at Hereford FC but a heavy defeat at Chorley.
Should the Robins be able to repeat their haul of sixteen points from those seven opponents, they would be certain of remaining in the top seven.
But, as everyone knows, football is not that predictable.
Andy will join Max Harrop (25) who reached his fiftieth start for Alty when he played against Bradford (Park Avenue) in mid-February. Max joined Altrincham on the eve of the opening game of the 2017-18 season. His career had begun with Liverpool FC's Academy, before he moved to Bury, where he made his Football League debut in March 2011. At the end of that year he went on loan to Blyth Spartans. After returning to Gigg Lane, another loan followed, at Hinckley United.
After he had been released by Bury, he joined Nantwich Town in the summer of 2013. However, he left for Ashton United in March 2015 but, at the start of the following campaign, he was at Ramsbottom United. However, he rejoined Nantwich in 2016. His energetic performances and long-range shooting soon made him a popular figure with supporters of Altrincham. Unfortunately, his regular starts were curtailed by injury in February 2019. His appearances to date are 50(+22), and he has netted 10 goals.
Not far behind the above duo is Sean Williams who has 47 starts to his name currently.Alfreton Town where, last time out, the "Reds were denied by a late equaliser at Bradford... Reece Styche's second half overhead kick was cancelled out by Luca Havern's half-volley with four to go, as the Reds missed out on three points at another top seven side on Saturday".
ATFC XI: Ramsbottom, Clackstone, Wilde, Platt, Shiels (c), Riley, Bacon (Peniket 58), Johnson, Clarke, Sinnott (Styche 67), Curry (Hotte 71). Subs Not Used: Nicholson, Lynch, O'Brien".
- Curzon Ashton 1-3 Blyth Spartans
Tuesday 2 April 2019
- Spennymoor Town v Guiseley
- Highlights of last Saturday's match against Kidderminster Harriers.
- Brian Flynn's interview with Jordan Hulme .
Joe Ironside did pull a goal back on an afternoon that Harriers went on to dominate but spurned key chances near the day’s end that proved fatal to hopes of taking a share of the spoils. It’s understandable that Yates couldn’t argue with many aspects of the performance, but equally inevitable that the defensive lapses were at the forefront of his mind.
He said '“I am as happy with the performance as I am disappointed and angry that we conceded two goals like that. I think you can look at it throughout the season; we’ve let in far too many goals, particularly away from home, even since I’ve been here. We’ve tried to change it around over the last few weeks, but we’ve made too many defensive errors that have cost us'"
In their match report Kidderminster Harriers say that "Harriers rued missed chances as they were beaten 2-1 at Altrincham in a game they should have taken something from. As has been the case for too many away games recently, Harriers set the tone by conceding early; Jones left unmarked to head in at the far post after nobody dealt with a corner delivery.
It was two not long after after Hulme forced a finish off the foot of Johnson, before Ironside's goal at least got Harriers back in the game. The visitors would then dominate the remainder of the tie, but rued missed chances late on and ended up empty-handed once again.
A cagey opening saw Altrincham narrowly edge the early stages, but there's no doubting their first goal was gift-wrapped; a corner easily nodded in at the far post by Jones after no one could decisively clear it... Any semblance that Harriers had the game by the grip of the neck was shattered by the arrival of the second on 19 minutes; Hulme looking to finish from close range as Johnson struck to clear, the latter's effort spooning up and beyond the dive of Hall for 2-0.
Bizarrely that goal did get the reaction needed from the visitors, who actually went on to boss virtually the remaining 70 minutes or so of the match. On 35 minutes, Ironside met a corner with a header that was destined for the net before being cleared on to the bar and away, before the striker went one better four minutes later by superbly turning in a tight spot before poking the ball beyond the goalkeeper...
The two teams did a good job at cancelling each other out for a quarter of an hour after the restart... The chances continued to mount up in Harriers' favour as the half wore on... Into the last ten minutes, Harriers should have levelled and won the game in truth; sub Richards couldn't quite angle his finish from a free-kick for the first of a few good opportunities for the visitors, before Thomas, on the stretch, couldn't quite guide Taylor's cross into the net.
With the home side flagging, the best chance of the bunch came in the dying seconds; Williams superbly beating his man and rolling the ball to Richards who, from just a few yards out, blazed the ball over the target to sum up a frustrating afternoon for all in yellow".
The Harriers statistics state:
- Shots at goal, Altrincham 7 -12 Kidderminster Harriers
- Shots on target 3-12
- Corners 3-8
- Offside 1-2
- Yellow cards 0-1
- Goalkeeper: Grant Shenton (Chester)
- Defenders: Rhys Sharpe (Nuneaton Borough), Jack Hickman (Hereford), James Jones (Altrincham), Shane Sutton (AFC Telford)
- Midfielders: Jordan Murphy (Leamington), Max Wright (Boston United), Tom Owen-Evans (Hereford)
- Strikers: Elliot Osbourne (Stockport County), James Caton (Nuneaton Borough), Jake Wright (York City)
- Substitutes: Jordan Keane (Stockport County), Marcus Wood (Southport), Reece Styche (Alfreton), Paddy McLaughlin (York City), Dan Maguire (Blyth Spartans)
- Manager of the Weekend: Jimmy Ginnelly (Nuneaton Borough) They might be down but they've certainly done it whilst fighting. An emphatic 4-0 win for the Boro at FC United of Manchester must give fans hope they can bounce back."
As things stand, should they reach the play-offs, Altrincham would first meet Spennymoor Town up in Durham. From there, Spennymoor Town report that they "were punished for wasting a host of golden chances as Hereford inflicted a fourth defeat in six games for Jason Ainsley’s side...
Jason Ainsley, who was missing a cluster of key first team players through injury and suspension, made three changes to the side who drew with Alfreton, brining in Kris Thackray, Callum Williams and Rob Atkinson. Stephen Brogan missed out through illness, Shane Henry was unavailable and Scott Harrison served his one match suspension. Ainsley was also without Mark Anderson, Rob Ramshaw and Andrew Johnson.
Moors should have taken the lead fifteen minutes in when Jack Diamond was played through one-on-one, but his attempted lob bobbled wide. The Sunderland loanee had the rampaging Jamie Chandler for company, but failed to play the midfielder in for a certain goal....
There was a sense, especially given the recent run of form and lack of confidence throughout the side, that missed chances would come back to haunt Moors, and that proved the case when Smith was on hand to fire in a loose ball. Gould saved Kyle Finn’s initial shot from close range, but the energetic and creative Hereford striker powered the ball into the far corner, leaving Moors’ keeper with no chance.
With the momentum of the game now swinging heavily in favour of The Bulls, Hibbs clumsily brought down Owen-Evans as Moors conceded yet another penalty, a common theme this calendar year. Owen-Evans converted the resulting spot-kick himself to give Hereford a healthy half-time lead, and it was a lead which rarely looked like it was in trouble during a poor second half showing from Spennymoor... Moors host Guiseley on Tuesday evening looking to secure a first win in six games."
"It was a stalemate at the Merseyrail Community Stadium as Brackley Town came close to stealing all three points late on, when Lee Ndlovu hit the bar after his audacious chip over Southport goalkeeper Dan Hanford. The hosts enjoyed the majority of possession and greater quantity of chances in the game... Southport started the brighter of the two teams, Archer came agonisingly close to poking home Jordan Richards’ teasing free-kick but Danny Lewis was on hand to scoop up the danger...
At the other end, Southport breathed a sigh of relief after the linesman ruled out Carl Baker’s goal for offside, on his return to Haig Avenue, after he stabbed home Shane Byrne’s delivery at the back post.
Promotion chasing Brackley entered the field for the second half looking to silence the home crowd. They came close in the opening minutes of the half, firstly through Connor Hall who didn’t quite realise how much space he had until he fired at Hanford, fortunately for the Sandgrounders it was straight at the Yellows shot-stopper...
With [Southport] top-scorer Jack Sampson still sidelined through injury, Dion Charles was given the chance to lead the line, he created the best chance of the game for the home side, beating two men before he drilled his effort only to be denied by a strong right-hand by Lewis. But the best chance of the game fell to the Saints in the final minutes, Ndlovu spearheading the counter-attack, caught Hanford in no man’s land. The forward chipped Hanford only to be denied by the bar after the dry Haig Avenue pitch took the ball onto the woodwork...
From the other side, Brackley Town report how a "Rare goal-less encounter earns away points. With only Stockport County and Altrincham of the top nine teams winning it was pretty much as you were in the race at the top of National League North as Saints returned from Southport with a hard-earned point that may prove to be priceless come the final reckoning in May.
It was a rare goal-less encounter for Kevin Wilkin’s side and not a game to stir the passions. Largely fought out in midfield with few clear-cut chances at either end neither side did enough to deserve to win but both fought hard to earn their point on a dry and bumpy Haig Avenue pitch...
Brackley Town: Lewis; Myles, Murombedzi (G.Walker 60), Hall, Dean, Byrne, Lowe (Nti 88), Armson, Ndlovu, Baker (Fairlamb 70), A.Walker. Subs unused: Prosser, Jackson".
Nuneaton Borough relays the news that "Birmingham County Football Association is excited to announce that the 2019 Birmingham Senior Challenge Cup final is to be hosted at Birmingham City Football Club’s St. Andrew’s on Thursday 2nd May 2019. The 2019 Birmingham Senior Challenge Cup final promises to be a hugely entertaining encounter; contested between Leamington and Nuneaton Borough...
Kevin Shoemake, CEO at Birmingham County FA, said 'The Birmingham Senior Challenge Cup final is one of the highlights of the local grassroots football calendar which deserves to be played in a stadium fitting the occasion. Birmingham City’s wonderful St. Andrew’s definitely falls into that category".
Also Nuneaton report that "The Boro put on a stunning display to see off FC United of Manchester in striking fashion and earn their first league victory since December. Two goals in three minutes gave Jimmy Ginnelly’s men an early advantage as Taylor Allen and Michael Townsend finished from close range. First Boro finishes from Jordan Lussey and James Caton added towards the eventual emphatic score-line and gave Ginnelly his second league win since taking charge.
The triumph means the Boro are not yet relegated from the National League North and further enhanced what has been a momentous week in the club's history...
The win concludes a fantastic week for the club after Thursday’s court success and allows them to hold on to their National League North status for an extra seven days ahead of next Saturday’s meeting with Chester."
At Leamington "Brakes registered their most vital three points of the season so far as they edged past Ashton United at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium thanks to substitute Reece Flanagan’s 71st minute goal.
The visitors still have a glimmer of a chance of hauling themselves out of the bottom three but with five games to go they would need to hit title-winning form to do so after falling to their 23rd defeat of the campaign. The win gave Leamington a huge boost in their bid to seal a third season of National League North football and, though they are not quite mathematically safe just yet, they are incredibly close.
The afternoon was always going to be fraught with nerves for those on both sides, and predictably a cagey and at times scrappy affair was probably to be expected with what was at stake...
Sam Sheridan came closest to breaking the deadlock when he surged down the middle unchallenged before unleashing a piledriver which clipped the top of the crossbar...
Flanagan was introduced in place of Edwards with 67 minutes played, and he almost made a pivotal contribution with practically his first touch, curling a free kick a whisker wide of the upright after Obeng was fouled some 25 yards out. He was lurking in the right place to grab the vital goal minutes later however. Murphy was the architect, skipping past Swaby-Neavin on the left before driving a shot in from the tightest of angles that was parried back into his path by McMahon. His second effort escaped the grasp of the goalkeeper and covering defenders and Flanagan was quickest to turn it home to the delight of the home support".
FC United of Manchester report that "In his post-match interview with Ben Hughes and Roy Soule on Saturday, Reno [manager Reynolds] made it clear that the performance and attitude shown from some of the players was clearly unacceptable, and would be taking immediate action.
FC United had the opportunity to close the gap on Guiseley with a home win against bottom placed team Nuneaton. The 4-0 home defeat was arguably the worst performance in the club’s 14 year history and has almost certainly relegated the club to the Northern Premier League. Should Guiseley win their game in hand away at Spennymoor on Tuesday, they would move nine points ahead of FC, with only 5 games remaining.
Since Saturday, Reno has spoken to a number of players about their future at the club and he will continue to speak to others prior to first team training on Tuesday. He has already committed to accelerating the introduction of at least four of FC United’s table topping under-21s players for Saturdays game at Darlington.
This season, in the North West Under 21 Development League, FCs Under-21s team have gained 58 points, winning 19, drawing two and losing two, scoring 77 goals and conceding 16. Four of the current U/21s players, (Henry Limpitshi Bongwanga, Jan Palinkas, Jack Grimshaw, and Salou McDowell-Jallow) have already made first team appearances this season. Also registered to play for the first team are Mark West, Will Ozono and Under-18 player Dillon Kirkman. We will be announcing the squad for Saturday later this week via the club website."
Southport signalled their early intentions with an early effort on goal which came courtesy of Dion Charles, who was looking to replicate the goal scoring form of missing top goalscorer Jack Sampson... In the first-half, Southport failed to offer much outside of the opening of the opening exchanges...
The opening goal was met by a degree of confusion on the Southport press bench and, after some deliberation, the goal was given as an own-goal, despite Jake Beesley receiving the congratulations. Beesley wasn’t to be denied, though, and in similar fashion to the effort on twelve minutes he rounded Hanford and with all the composure in the world, slotted the ball home to double Avenue’s lead...
Mark Bower will have undoubtedly been impressed with the performances, particularly the impeccable back four as well as the incoming Adam Nowakowski, who did an ever-reliable job in front of the aforementioned defence. However a different energy came about the home side and it was evident even early in the second-half as they looked to make the game more of a contest...
The deficit would be halved when Jordan Archer scored a wonderful goal, leaving Andrew with no chance... Southport introduced out-of-favour striker, Jason Gilchrist to the pitch and, as fate would have it, he scored the goal in the final minute to gain his side a share of the spoils.
There were no further chances but Bradford stay well inside the play-offs as they return to action on Tuesday night against Telford United at the Horsfall".
Boston United "Striker Jake Wright has returned to rivals York City following the completion of his month-long loan spell. The 22-year-old appeared four times for the Pilgrims and scored in victories over Southport and Curzon Ashton".
Blyth Spartans inform us that "Dan Maguire poked home a last minute equaliser as Spartans earned a deserved draw in an entertaining game at New Buck's Head. Daniel Udoh blasted Telford ahead in the 18th minute after being played in by James McQuilkin, before Maguire stabbed home Spartans’ leveller with two minutes left.
Manager Alun Armstrong, perhaps with Monday’s match with Curzon in mind, made four changes from the side that dispatched Ashton last weekend. And it took some time for Spartans to settle with Telford starting the quicker and subjecting the away side to some early pressure...
But as Spartans began look the more threatening they suddenly found themselves behind. McQuilkin latched onto a stray pass and dinked a great through ball to Udoh who made no mistake and lashed home his 18th goal of the season... Telford began to build a head of steam before half time...
After pushing for a second early on, the home side seemed content enough protecting what they had, with the game becoming rather scrappy for most of the second half... Spartans then made no mistake two minutes before the end. The Telford defence just about coped with a series of crosses, before the ball was only cleared as far as Jarrett Rivers, with the winger’s low cross converted by Maguire to ensure Spartans went home with a point".
Relegation-threatened Ashton United report that "A single goal twenty minutes from time was enough for the hosts to take the points and move themselves further away from the relegation zone on a dry sunny day in Warwickshire. The Robins were without Oliver Crowley who was replaced by Javid Swaby-Neavin with Connor Dimaio restored in midfield and the Brakes began playing down the slope...
Just before the hour the Robins almost made the breakthrough as Craig Hobson’s lay off allowed Sam Sheridan to advance through midfield and hit a 25 yard effort which clipped off the crossbar with Breeden beaten...
Murphy’s shot was saved at the near post with the rebound falling for Flanagan to tap home".
Half a dozen players with Alty connections were in the Ashton United squad: McMahon, Swaby-Neavin, Regan, Chalmers, T Lees, Kay, Sheridan (Mantack 66), Goulding, Hobson (Reed 76), Dimaio, Tomsett. SNU: Ennis, Roberts, Freeland."
1 April 2019
Above: No one notices as James Jones (4) steals round the back of the defence to convert John Johnston's corner for Alty's opening goal against Kidderminster.
Above: The ball loops over keeper Hall for Alty's second goal against Kidderminster on Saturday.
Unavailable for this match were Josh Amis and Sean Miller (on loan at Colne). John Disney remained injured and both James Jones and Lewis Short were missing, through injury. Tom Hannigan had played for the reserves last week after injury and he started at Alfreton. Harrop came in to replace the suspended Richman in central midfield.
Altrincham took a seventh minute lead when Hulme's clever back heel led to Johnston's low cross from the right, which Marcus Marshall could only turn into his own net as Hancock waited to convert the chance behind the defender.
Alty's second was a Johnston penalty, awarded after the referee judged Hulme's ball to have struck an Alfreton hand.
Alfreton made three substitutions early in the second half and looked a better side as a result. Alty keeper Thompson made a couple of excellent stops and Westcarr hit the post but the visitors were also a threat themselves, with Johnston striking the upright in the closing stages.
ALFRETON TOWN: 1. Chris Elliott, 2. Marcus Marshall, 3. Cieron Keane, 4. Kegan Etherington, 5. Luke Shiels, 6. Tom Allan, 7. Tom Platt, 8. Craig Disley (c), 9. Craig Westcarr, 10. Brody Robertson, 11. Brendon Daniels. Subs: 12. Ryan Jennings, 14. Andre Johnson, 15.Kieron Hinchley, 16. Jamie Brough 17. Chris Sharp.
ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Max HARROP, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. James POOLE, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs 12. Tom PEERS, 14. Joel BEMBO-LETA, 15. Mason WALSH, 16. Laurence TAYLOR, 17. Sam SHERIDAN
Our last league meeting with Alfreton had been a year earlier, on Saturday, 19 November 2016. That clash, in the National League North, had ended in one of the Robins' most disappointing results of 2016-17 when two late goals meant a 3-2 defeat for the Robins after manager Jim Harvey had made substitutions.
And Alty Ladies' next match (on 10 April) is at home to... West Didsbury & Chorlton!
Next Sunday the Alty Youth team is away to Tranmere Rovers.Harriers Online reports on ""An improved Harriers but is it all too late? The Harriers came close to rescuing their season at Altrincham today with a second half onslaught on the hosts goal that could have resulted in a handful of goals to compensate for the two given away in the first half. Again an early goal was our undoing as Alty capitalised on poor defending to grab their first in the twelfth minute and then seven minutes later the win was underway with a goal that was, at first, credited as a Ryan Johnson own goal but soon after it was given to Jordan Hulme.
We started with a stronger look to the side than the one that failed miserably at Brackley Town last week with Ed Williams back from injury, Declan Weeks starting after coming on as a sub last week and Milan Butterfield back home from playing for Bermuda. Due to Sam Austin being out injured Harry Flowers slotted in at full back.
With us needing to win this game to close the gap on Altrincham we started off in the worst possible way. From the start Alty came at us... A few minutes later and a corner for them was played over to the far post and although Brandon Hall tried to reach the ball he was hampered by his own defenders as the ball dropped kindly for James Jones to head the ball home.
We tried to respond positively and came close to drawing level with a strike from Fraser Horsfall that rebounded back off the bar that the home side cleared away to safety. Then came the goal with the disputed scorer when a shot by Hulme took a deflection off Ryan Johnson and changed direction from the way that Hall was going and went over his head. At first it was thought that the Harriers defender had tried to clear the ball away and failed but all the news channels, and Altrincham, gave it as a kosher goal so I’ll go with that.
Our heads dropped following that and we came close to going three goals down... Six minutes before the break a lifeline was given to us when Joe Ironside, already having had one chance that hit the bar, grabbed a goal back for the Reds. Liam McAlinden, on the edge of the area, nodded the ball over to him and with a smart turn Joe fired the ball home through a ruck of defenders...
As hoped we came back out after the break with renewed vigour and we began to take the game to the home side... Mostly all we were getting were half chances that we couldn’t seem to capitalise on... Then came a great chance to draw level when Chambers was fouled on the edge of the area. Williams took the free kick [which] was collected by the keeper.
An even better chance came our way when Thomas was played in by Taylor but, from only a few yards out, the on loan striker skied the ball over the bar when he should really have buried it... With the clock now running down, and defeat on the horizon, we began to go all out for the equalising goal and then, hopefully, a winner. Williams had a couple of chances to achieve that but last ditch defending kept him out. Finally the six minutes of added time wasn’t enough for us us and we were to rue gifting Altrincham those two first half goals...
Sadly it now looks like we’re out of the running with Altrincham six points in front of us in seventh [sixth] and also two games in hand. Spennymoor Town are faltering with another home defeat today while next week's opponents Bradford (Park Avenue) also seem to be on the slide with a draw at home to mid-table Alfreton Town. I fear it may all be a little too late for us now".Bulls' News "Hereford's new striker Rowan Liburd made his debut for the club in their 2-0 win at Spennymoor. 'It was a great experience, good debut,' he said afterwards...
'We did a good solid job away from home, so I was really pleased with my performance and pleased with the result... I've already gelled with them off the pitch quite quickly which is good'...
Liburd is expected to make his debut at Edgar Street next Saturday against high-flying Stockport. 'I'm looking forward to playing at home... I'm not nervous or anything, I know they will bring a few so it will be a great atmosphere. I just want to show the fans what I'm about... When I came back from St Kitts, I had a call from my agent and he just said there's an opportunity at Hereford and I said I was willing to speak to the people in charge and that was it.
'I came up to Hereford and had a look round. Every one behind the scenes was fantastic, they really welcomed me. It made my decision a lot easier.'"
The National League reports that "Chorley manager Jamie Vermiglio says there will be plenty of twists and turns still to come in the National League North title race... They still lead the way by two points but Stockport County have closed the gap... The two sides are still to meet at Victory Park...
'We didn’t play to our full potential', he told the club’s video service. 'But we have come away to a side with the best home record in the league after us and we’ve not been beaten. There are lots of positives but there’s a sense of frustration because the three points were there for the taking, for both sides really. It wasn’t a great performance, but we ground out a draw away from home. The work ethic is still there.
'You can’t question how hard they work... It was just a lack of quality which we were missing. It’s going to be a difficult end to the season. It’s likely that these aren’t the only points we will drop but we need the fans to turn up for our next game against AFC Telford and try to get us over the line.'"
The Telegraph & Argus informs us that a "late equaliser from Luca Havern rescued a 1-1 draw for Bradford (Park Avenue) against Alfreton Town but, more importantly, it lifted them up one place to fourth in the National North.
Park Avenue were trailing to Billy Heath’s Reds, but a storming finish from the home side almost led to them claiming a maximum three points. Had they managed to convert one of their late chances Avenue would have ended the day in joint third. It may have been a chance to go level on points with third-placed Brackley Town but the hard earned draw was a positive, and it keeps Mark Bower's men in the thick of the battle for a play-off finish.
The visitors had the better of the few half-chances there were in a first half that lacked any real quality...
Avenue had mounted some good attacks and were much improved after the interval but their best football came after they went a goal down. The Reds took the lead in the 76th minute through substitute Reece Styche. Styche had replaced Sinnott eight minutes earlier and, when a long throw-in caused the Avenue defence all kinds of problems, Styche acrobatically hooked the ball past Andrew from close range.
From then on it was one-way traffic as Avenue had Alfreton defending deep and relying on the counter-attack... Avenue finally got the reward for their concerted pressure following an 86th minute set piece... Nicky Clee hurled the ball in and, although it was half cleared, Danny Lowe broke and put in a cross that Jake Beesley helped on before Avenue centre back Havern laced a knee-high half-volley past Rambottom.
Avenue manager Bower was satisfied with a point. He said 'I thought the lads showed great character with that late comeback after going behind and once we had scored there was only one team that would have won it. I’d like to thank all of the volunteers that came down to the ground from mid morning onwards to put the sprinklers out so that we could water the pitch. The pitch is very uneven and bobbly and it’s even worse when it’s dry and that doesn’t suit our game.
'They are a good side and are on a good run; you can tell that from the quality they had on the bench... If some of the big refereeing decisions had gone our way I think we would have won it.'”