August 2019

31 August, 2019


Above: Ashley Hemmings celebrates his goal with Yusifu Ceesay (left) and Simon Richman.

Altrincham secured a deserved second home win of the season but they still seek a first clean sheet of the campaign after allowing Farsley to dominate the final fifteen minutes.

With Blackpool loanee Yusifu Ceesay impressing as he made his second debut for Alty and fellow loanee Ashley Hemmings, from AFC Fylde, having a much improved game in the no.10 role, Altrincham should have been leading at the interval by more than the single goal netted by Hemmings after 17 minutes.

His excellent shot from just outside the box gave Elliot Wynne in the visitors' goal no chance on his return to Moss Lane. Farsley rarely threatened but Spencer made a complete hash of an unmarked header just monents before Alty's opener.

Alty had a great chance to double their lead three minutes into the second half. From a penalty awarded for a foul on Mullarkey, Williams's spot-kick was saved by Wynne. This was Altrincham's second spot kick miss this season.

However, with Altrincham dominating, they scored two goals from open play in a six-minute spell. Firstly, Farsley went to sleep from an Alty throw in the hosts' right corner. Hulme was left completely unmarked and he nodded home a Johnston cross (61 mins).

Hulme scored his second after 67 minutes, following a freekick for a Farsley handball. Johnston fed Ceesay who was blocked and the ball fell to Hulme to lash home.

But Altrincham failed to build on this lead and allowed Celtic back into the game after Alty had withdrawn Ceesay and the Yorkshiremen had made a triple substitution. Yet again Alty failed to keep out the opposition and substitute Syers netted with a glancing header from a cross from the right with eight minutes remaining.

Match report here.


Altrincham entertain Farsley Celtic this afternoon (3pm). However, Altrincham FC has suggested that supporters arrive early as, "For our fixture against Farsley Celtic, we will be opening a turnstile at 12.15pm and will be showing the Southampton v Manchester United game in the Community Sports Hall.

And there will be a special offer of beer/lager at £3 per pint or £5 for a pie and a pint. This offer is available until 2pm".

As previously mentioned, Mike Garnett's records reveal the past record in matches between Altrincham and the reformed Farsley Celtic. The earlier Farsley Celtic club folded in 2010 and restarted as Farsley AFC before reverting to its original Celtic name.

  • Home: P1-W1-D0-L0-F6-A0
  • Away: P1-W1-D0-L0-F1-A0
  • All: P2-W2-D0-L0-F7-A0


Like Ashley Hemmings, Yusifu Ceesay has now returned to Altrincham for a second loan spell. Ceesay arrives once more from Blackpool after a successful stay at Moss Lane in 2018-19 season. Yusifu will now remain at Alty until 4 January 2020.

The Blackpool Gazette confirms the move saying that "Blackpool winger Yusifu Ceesay has joined non-league side Altrincham on loan. The 24-year-old returns to the club where he also enjoyed a loan spell last season, scoring three times in 13 games.

The Spaniard joined the National League North side in February and remained there until the play-offs, where the Robins were defeated on penalties by Chorley. This will be Ceesay's sixth loan spell since first arriving at Bloomfield Road in September 2018. He has also spent time on loan with Boston United, AFC Telford, Nuneaton Borough and his former club Alvechurch.

The pacey forward had impressed for Alvechurch during the 2017/18 season as he helped them win promotion from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division One South. He subsequently signed a two-year contract with the Seasiders with the option of a further 12 months, but he has yet to feature for the club.

'Yusif did really well for us last season and I am delighted to bring him back to Alty,' manager Phil Parkinson said. 'He's completely different to our other forward players and I think that's what we need at this moment'. Ceesay trained with the squad on Thursday night & is available for the visit of Farsley Celtic on Saturday."

During his previous loan spell he made 13 starts plus two more substitute appearances and scored three times. He first arrived on 6 February 2019, immediately following a month's loan at Nuneaton, whilst earlier in that campaign he had he had also spent loan spells at Boston United and AFC Telford United. Earlier, Ceesay had first emerged at Sporting Khalsa, in the Black Country, before a move to Alvechurch.

At Alty he operated primarily on the left-wing during his first loan spell.


Former Alty loanee Callum Dolan has joined Ashton United on a month's loan from Oldham Athletic after playing for the Tameside club in pre-season.


Kidderminster Harriers "have made a double swoop ahead of the weekend with the acquisition of two players on loan.

21-year-old midfielder Ollie Shenton has joined the Reds from Championship side Stoke City. Ollie, who has previously played for Wrexham in the National League, has risen through the ranks at Stoke and is to stay with Harriers until January.

Also joining the club is defender Jamie Sharman. 18-year-old central defender Jamie comes from National League side Chesterfield, where he was Academy Player of the Season last term. Jamie will be with us for an initial one-month period.

Both players will be available to boss John Pemberton for the visit of Alfreton Town on Saturday."

Another new arrival in National League North was reported on Friday by Chester FC who "announce that midfielder George Glendon has joined the Blues ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Spennymoor Town. The 24-year-old central player was released from League Two side Carlisle United at the end of last season and arrives at the Deva on a short term basis.

From Manchester, George was previously at Fleetwood Town where he made close to 50 appearances for the Cod Army. He started his career at Manchester City and captained their Elite Development Squad, as well as playing for England at Under 16 and Under 17s level.

Joint Manager Anthony Johnson said 'To get a player of George’s calibre to join us at Chester shows which way this football club is moving. He’s a fantastically gifted player and will raise the standards of everyone around him. It’s a major coup for the club'".

According to the Northern Echo, "Darlington play in Norfolk for the first of two treks inside eight days in the inappropriately named National League North. In a division containing Hereford, Brackley and Leamington, next weekend Quakers play away to Gloucester City while on Saturday afternoon they face King’s Lynn Town, who have made a fine start to the season.

They are second behind York City having lost just once, on the opening day of the season, since winning promotion from the Southern Premier Division Central via the play-offs.

The form of the opposition means it is, on paper at least, Darlington’s toughest fixture so far, and one that represents a journey of around 3hrs 20mins, though they have at least prepared as best they can by staying overnight in Norfolk after travelling yesterday. Not since prior to administration in 2011-12 has a Darlington team travelled the day before the game, but manager Alun Armstrong had his request accepted with two loyal supporters admirably footing the bill.

Gavin Ellis paid coach company H Atkinson and Sons the cost of travel to King’s Lynn, while Alan Robson has covered the cost of the team’s hotel stay.

Manager Alun Armstrong said 'We’re very grateful for their generosity, as it is crucial for the team’s preparation. I’d spoken to the club about staying overnight, I suggested it at Blyth last year [presumably for a completely different fixture as King's Lynn were in a different division then].

'You know what the fans of this club are like, you know they’re always going to get behind you. It’s worked a treat and hopefully we can do the same for Gloucester. It’s about giving the lads the best preparation. Travelling on the day, it’s a killer. A couple of hours you don’t mind travelling, but when you’re doing five hours [sic] it’s tough to play football after that.'

Three points would make the journey home much sweeter, particularly having taken only one from six over the Bank Holiday weekend in their matches against Altrincham and Bradford (Park Avenue).

Armstrong was disappointed in his team’s display against Bradford, a 1-0 defeat that saw Tyrone O’Neill play as a substitute, a decision that the manager suggested he regrets. He said 'We’ve got to be better, quicker and cuter with the ball to break teams down, because that’s what teams are going to start doing against us [defending in numbers]. I had it at Blyth as well, the way we played, teams used to just sit back and be compact and try to catch you on the counter.

'We were playing the ball far too slow, it wasn’t good enough. But to do that you need the options within the lines, which is why we missed Tyrone in there. I tried to freshen it up. Was it my fault, should I have started Tyrone? It’s easy saying that now, but you try to use what you’ve got.'

O’Neill had dropped to the bench having played at Altrincham two days earlier despite having been ill, and Armstrong added 'Tyrone should’ve come off on Saturday. I wanted him to give me an hour because he’d been ill but we needed him, because of the way Altrincham play, to be that link. He was doing it smashing, but then he blew up and we were going to take him off, but then Stephen Thompson got cramp so he had to come off to be ready for Monday.

'So Tyrone was dead on his feet on Saturday after playing 90 minutes having not eaten much or slept for two days.'

Omar Holness could replace Osagi Bascome, with Armstrong admitting 'Osagi wasn’t anywhere near what he normally is, his tempo has dropped a bit and he might need a breather.'

Michael Liddle remains sidelined with a knee ligament problem while and Terry Galbraith has a hamstring strain which means his chances of starting are 50/50.

Seven games played, Darlington have won twice and lost three times and are yet to win on the road. 'It’s been very up and down,' said Armstrong. 'Sometimes you’re getting great performances, but Monday was probably the worst we have played. I couldn’t fault the lads’ effort, but I expect that every week. We created enough opportunities, the stats say it was 20 odd shots, so we should be scoring goals when you have that many chances.'

At The Walks Stadium in games against Kettering, Hereford and Curzon Ashton, King’s Lynn have won all three of their home matches 2-1, 3-1 and 4-1 respectively. Much-travelled striker Michael Gash has scored five times already. The 32-year-old counts among his former clubs Barnet, Ebbsfleet, Kidderminster, and York City who paid £55,000 for him in 2009, while he scored against Darlington for Cambridge in September 2011. "

The Lynn News reports that "Paul Bastock insists he is not surprised by King’s Lynn Town’s 'excellent' start to the season. And paying tribute to the players’ 'attitude and character', the Linnets’ assistant boss believes there is still more to come.

Lynn are currently second in the Vanarama National League North after five wins, two of them away, one draw and a defeat. They host former Football League outfit Darlington tomorrow where they will be hoping to maintain their 100 per cent winning start in front of their own fans.

Reflecting on Lynn’s incredible start, Bastock said 'Last year, I looked at this group of lads and footballing-wise I knew that they were very special. I missed the Warrington game, but the character to grind out a win showed that we had the desire and mental side to deal with the physicality of this level. As long as we can continue to stand up to the physical side, which we are doing, then we will cause teams problems.

'We’ve got a special bunch of boys. From Peds (Alex Street) to Gashy (Michael Gash), and you can go through the lot of them, they’ve all got their own unique attributes that they bring to this team.'

Bastock also paid tribute to manager Ian Culverhouse, saying 'I believe in the way Ian sets his teams out that we will cause a lot of problems this year,' said Bastock. 'He is without doubt the best manager that I’ve ever worked with. It’s the way he delivers everything, he’s so positive. He’s right all the time; the lads love him and rightly so'...

The Linnets hope to have defender Chris Smith back for selection after missing the last two matches with a hamstring injury."

Gateshead "play host to Brackley Town at the International Stadium on Saturday afternoon in search of their first home win of the season.

The Heed have drawn five of their opening seven games of the season and tasted defeat for the first time in the last game at the GIS, as Farsley Celtic ran out 3-0 winners.

Mike Williamson’s side fared better on the road on Bank Holiday Monday, earning a 1-1 draw against league leaders York City thanks to Connor Oliver’s penalty on the stroke of half time, leaving them 16th in the National League North."

The Hereford Times informs us that "The new manager of Hereford FC has said there is ability in the squad, but there will need some help to go forward.

Russell Slade was announced as the club's new first team manager, taking over from head coach Marc Richards, who was sacked earlier this month. Slade, 58, has a wealth of experience under his belt, including two years at Cardiff City in the Championship. Most recently he was manager of League Two side Grimsby Town.

He was introduced to the current squad, many of whom were brought in over the summer, at last night's training session. 'I don't believe in taking a back seat, the team need my support and my help, that's what I've been brought in for, that's why I'm here,' Slade told the club's official website.

'We'll get on with business straightaway, obviously we've got a very important game on Saturday against Boston. My ambition wasn't to come here and sit around mid-table, our ambition will be a minimum requirement of the play-offs, that's what we're trying to achieve. If we can get anything better than that then so be it, bring it on. I'm looking forward to that and it's nice actually, because in my career very often I've gone into a club that's been struggling at the bottom.

'I've had to create a group of players that are capable of challenging and getting to play-off finals but, on this occasion, we've got a team, a nucleus of the squad that have got ability. There's some talent in there. Just give them a little bit of help, a little bit of tweaking here and there and we might have something to go forward with'.

Slade's most recent position was manager of Grimsby Town. During his most recent spell his side played 43: won 11, drew 12 and lost 20 and left with a 25% win ratio. He has had two stints as manager at Grimsby Town between 2004-06 and April 2017 and February 2018. He said...

'I've given myself a bit of a break this time before going back into football, I haven't had too many breaks and I've been in the game for about 850 games', he added. 'I probably needed that break if I'm honest, because I've not really had one. Now I'm very eager to get started. I'll be there on Saturday, I'll be in the dugout with Tim (Harris) so I'm looking forward to the very first game. I've met the players so we're ready, looking forward to see what they can do.'"

The Telegraph & Argus states that "Bradford (Park Avenue's) assistant interim manager Lee Fowler is relieved that hard work on the training ground is paying off, as a previously porous defence kept two clean sheets over the Bank Holiday Weekend.

A 0-0 draw at home to Blyth Spartans and a fine 1-0 win at Darlington netted them four points and moved them out of the relegation zone. They will be hoping for another solid performance when they take on surprise strugglers AFC Telford United.

Fowler said 'It actually goes back to the 1-1 draw with Gateshead, if you take out the individual errors at Alfreton Town where we conceded from a penalty, two backpasses and an own goal. It's been a desperately tough week, especially in that heat, but we were well worth the points against Blyth and Darlington. We've been working with the back four or five and the midfielders in training, just ensuring that the team work hard, and riding their luck if they have to.

'Blyth only created one or two chances on Saturday and, although Darlington were a bit unlucky hitting the post twice on Monday, we could have gone two or three goals up before that.'

Teenage midfielder Jaheim Headley, on loan from Huddersfield Town's academy, netted the winner in the North East. Speaking about the 17-year-old, Fowler enthused 'He was actually injured in pre-season and, when I spoke to Jon Worthington (Huddersfield's Under 17s coach) late last week, he asked what our plans were with him. Marcus (Law, Avenue's interim manager) and I felt he'd be better off at Huddersfield's academy on Saturday, but he played 45 minutes and scored. He was feeling confident so we put him in at Darlington and he did well. We have high hopes for him.'

Looking ahead to the Telford clash, Fowler said he was wary of what the Midlands outfit were capable of, despite them only winning two of their first seven league games. He said 'Gavin (Cowan, Telford's manager) is a mate of mine and he's a good coach. They've not got many goals so far, but I've watched them twice recently and they'll be dangerous and a real threat once he gets them up and firing.'

Fowler is pleased to be going into the Telford clash with virtually no injury concerns, although he admitted that one of their more experienced players, 29-year-old goalkeeper Rhys Taylor, 'has been struggling with his calf over the last couple of games but he should be fine for the weekend. He was our man of the match in the last two games so we have to manage him carefully'"

30 August 2019


The Sale & Altrincham Messenger has John Edwards's report which says that "Phil Parkinson vowed to turn round Altrincham’s fortunes after being left ‘humiliated’ by a 5-0 beating at Boston United on Monday.

The heaviest defeat of Parkinson’s reign came 48 hours after Tom Hannigan was sent off and keeper Steven Drench carried off with a ruptured Achilles in a dramatic 1-1 draw with Darlington, as Alty finished with nine men and were pegged back by a stoppage-time equaliser.

Centre-back Hannigan, who was also stretchered off with concussion after the challenge that led to his red card, must serve a three-match ban, while influential midfielder Josh Hancock will almost certainly miss this Saturday’s home game with Farsley Celtic, due to a calf problem...

'I certainly never saw that coming,' said the Alty boss. 'Humiliated is probably the word that describes how I’m feeling. I said to the players I feel like we are stealing a living after that; picking up a pay packet after a performance like that doesn’t sit well with me. Boston were far better than us in every department, especially midfield... The bit I certainly won’t accept is the lack of identity this team has built itself on.

'I’m not one to threaten lads with changes and personnel coming in and out, but, after that, I have to do something. I can’t just accept that, it was a performance that didn’t even resemble what we are about'".


On Saturday, Farsley Celtic travel to the J. Davidson Stadium. More on that game was in yesterday's news, below...

Now, from Farsley Celtic we read that "Ahead of our trip across the Pennines to Altrincham, we look at the previous meetings between the sides. The clubs have met five times in previous seasons, with Farsley yet to win, and the last meeting came in the 2017/18 season as Altrincham went on to win promotion to the National League North.

We take a look at the three most memorable meetings between the two sides:

3. Farsley Celtic 0-1 Altrincham (Saturday 6th January 2018). After winning the home tie 6-0, Altrincham did the double against a battling Farsley side as they ground out a 1-0 victory.

2. Altrincham 1-1 Farsley Celtic. Altrincham won 4-2 on penalties (Tuesday 14th October 2008). Altrincham progressed to the third round of the Conference Shield as they edged out Farsley after penalties.

1. Farsley Celtic 1-1 Altrincham (Tuesday 20th November 2007). Farsley Celtic and Altrincham were forced to settle for a share of the spoils in a hard-fought game in West Leeds. Damian Reeves gave Farsley an early lead, however with 10 minutes remaining in the first-half he was given his marching orders, changing the complexion of the game. Midway through the second-half the Robins drew level thanks to Colin Little to earn his side a vital point in the battle for survival.

Whilst the season would end in relegation for Farsley, Altrincham were reprieved as Halifax Town folded, maintaining their place in the Conference despite finishing 21st."


From the Northern Echo we learn that "Duncan Watmore has suffered a setback to his recovery from a thigh injury that could sideline him for another month [at Sunderland]...

[Manager] Ross said 'Duncan was scheduled to play on Wednesday but had a recurrence of his injury post-training on Tuesday. He is back out again'...

Watmore has been pencilled in for a place in the squad for last night’s Carabao Cup game at Burnley, but Ross had to redraw his plans after the winger complained of pain in his thigh after training on Tuesday. He has suffered a succession of niggling problems since completing his recovery from a second cruciate ligament operation, and his latest setback will sideline him for the majority of next month.

Ross said, 'He’s frustrated. He had this thigh injury, but he trained on Monday and Tuesday and looked good, and then just felt uncomfortable after training on Tuesday. I would imagine he will miss the next two to three weeks again, and then we’ll go from there. It’s difficult for him because it’s obviously been very stop-start for him for a long time now'”.


According to the Telegraph & Argus "Bradford Park Avenue owner Gareth Roberts believes the introduction of a salary cap would encourage clubs to stop spending beyond their means...

Roberts accepts that there is 'a massive gap between income and expenses that exists at all levels' which is escalating as clubs go searching for success... The Park Avenue chief, who admits he is funding an estimated £5,000 loss per week at his club, expressed his thoughts on how football can be made more sustainable...

'The costs of being competitive and hopes of winning are expanding as we have witnessed here at Horsfall... In Park Avenue's case, sales continue to be flat (and down this season). When the expenses exceed the income, that has to be funded by someone. Here, I fund that (an estimated £5,000 each week out of my pocket).

'Sometimes, clubs get loans on assets they have and when they can't make those payments, they go bust unless someone else assumes those debts... We support salary caps. Let's hold clubs accountable to being a sustainable business and return to proper management and selection on the pitch (instead of buying a title)...

'If a club chooses to exceed the cap, then they should be taxed on anything above it. This means that they can still go above budget, but taxed on the excess, which goes back to league funding...

'The challenge that I face is continuing to fund an unsustainable business and giving fans what they want, a competitive football club. I have spoken at length about the plans that we have, but it's time that we collectively tackle the how and why and take action.'" The Bet Victor NPL reports that "Mickleover Sports have signed young striker Declan Bacon from Alfreton Town on a month’s loan.

Bacon, 24, spent time on loan with Scarborough and Sheffield last season, and has made one appearance for Alfreton, in an FA Cup defeat to Fleetwood last November. He previously scored 45 goals in one season for Bottesford in the Northern Counties East. The deal is an initial 28-day loan."

York Press reports that "Joe Tait is confident he and fellow centre-back Sean Newton will have 'no qualms stepping up to the plate' if Steve McNulty is missing on Saturday. The veteran defender has played a big role as part of the Minstermen's back three this season, but a hamstring injury could prevent him from turning out at Gloucester City.

Tait, 29, has great praise for what McNulty has brought to the team and the dressing room but insists... 'We're experienced lads,' he said of himself and Newton. 'We can play in a four and a three, as we've shown this season... (McNulty) has been brilliant. Not just on the pitch but off the pitch, he's a really calming influence. He's a real presence and he understands people, he knows when you need an arm round you and when you need a rollicking...

'Credit to the gaffer, all his signings have added to what we had before. "The gaffer's been brilliant with me,' he added. 'Last season I was nowhere near the team but he didn't shy away from helping and coaching me... I had a word with him in the summer. He felt I was too top-heavy, and I've come back fit... I've got a new lease of life'...

Opponents Gloucester currently sit 11th in National League North with three wins and three losses from their first seven games. Joe Hanks has been their biggest goal threat this season, with four goals to his name. The Tigers play in Evesham, a 330-mile round-trip from Bootham Crescent...

Also, from York Press we learn that "Injured York City captain Steve McNulty will be given every chance to recover before Saturday's trip to Gloucester City but if he does not, it presents a great opportunity for someone else.

This is the view of manager Steve Watson, who also wants to avoid adding to his medium-to-long-term injuries list, already occupied by Paddy McLaughlin and Dan Maguire.

McLaughlin's rehabilitation is reported to be going well and he is expected back in training towards the 'back end of next week', though Maguire has undergone surgery and could be out for another six weeks.

McNulty, 35, was forced to leave the pitch just 10 minutes into Bank Holiday Monday's draw against Gateshead with a hamstring injury... Watson said 'The reason we brought in Josh King and Harry Spratt was if Joe (Tait), Macca or Newts (Sean Newton) did have an injury... These are great chances for one or two maybe at the weekend and it's up to them to take it'...

The loss of centre-back McNulty on Monday heralded the reversion to a 4-3-3 formation, rather than the 3-5-2 formation City have employed to such avail this term...

'Systems are not the be all and end all. It's about players being confident, being good on the ball and knowing each other's jobs... We can go back to a back four, which we've done well with last season. We can play Josh King and we can play Harry Spratt as a third centre-half.' On the respective recoveries of McLaughlin and Maguire, Watson said... 'Dan... needed an operation to clear his knee and he's probably going to be the best part of six weeks. It's a huge blow to us. At the start of the season, we sacrificed quantity for what I thought was a bit more quality and Dan's a big part of that.'"

Meanwhile, York Press adds that "York City have issued an apology for the closure of their Main Stand in Monday's 1-1 draw against Gateshead at Bootham Crescent. Prior to kick off, it was announced that the stand would be shut to fans with those having tickets in that stand able to either sit in the Popular Stand or stand in the David Longhurst Stand.

The club have officially confirmed that heavy traffic around the stadium was the cause of stand's closure, with key staff being unavailable to make it to the game on time. A statement on the club's website read... 'Kick-off was delayed to 3:15pm due to significant traffic delays on the A1 Southbound, A19 and A64 causing problems for key staff and personnel travelling to the game... The lack of stewarding available at Bootham Crescent raised major health and safety concerns and, as a Football Club, we were not willing to risk the wellbeing of our supporters; therefore it was deemed best practice to close the Main Stand, Family Stand and associated areas...

'Discussions continue with our stewarding contractor and we will work to find a solution to where this situation will not happen again... However, we must highlight that the two flares/smoke bombs which were used pre-match in the David Longhurst stand put those in attendance at risk and puts the Club in a difficult position with authorities. We would like to remind supporters that such devices are illegal in football stadiums'".

Bulls' News reports that "Russell Slade has been appointed 'First Team Manager' at Hereford FC. He is being introduced to the players this evening [Thursday] at training and will take charge of the team against Boston on Saturday.

58 year old Slade has been in charge of a host of clubs, most recently Grimsby Town."

And Hereford FC say that "Russell arrives at Edgar Street with a wealth of management and coaching experience under his belt, including spells at Cardiff City, Brighton & Hove Albion, Charlton Athletic, Leyton Orient, Yeovil Town and Grimsby Town". From Cheshire Live we learn that "Anthony Johnson says the amount of games forced upon non-league sides in the opening weeks of the season is a ‘joke’.

The Chester FC joint-manager watched his and Bernard Morley’s side enjoy a Bank Holiday weekend to remember as they claimed a 1-0 success at Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday before a superb 4-1 home success over Hereford FC in baking hot sunshine on Monday afternoon...

Chester face the same this weekend, a long trip to Spennymoor Town on Saturday afternoon before a visit to Curzon Ashton on Monday, the Tameside club playing their National League North games on Mondays instead of Tuesday.

That means that Chester will be almost a quarter of the season deep by the time the first week in September comes to an end.

Johnson said... 'This week is all about recovering and making sure people are fresh. It’s all fatigue, really. It’s no surprise that it was only non-league teams playing on Bank Holiday. What is it we’ve played, seven games in three weeks? It’s scandalous, it’s an absolute joke.

'We are potentially playing nine games in the opening four weeks, which is unbelievable. No wonder players are picking up niggles. They are going to work, these lads, there is no respite for them. We can’t wait to get Monday out of the way as then the Saturday to Saturdays start and we can start nailing down what we want to be.'

Chester put down a marker on Monday afternoon, an Akwasi Asante brace and goals from Anthony Dudley and Danny Elliott sealing a deserved three points...

[Of Saturday's game], he said 'They’ve had a tough start, Spennymoor, but we all know how good they are and their recruitment has been fantastic in the summer. They are a side who, when they hit the straps, they’ll be a hard side to stop. It’s going to be a tough game.

'I fully expected York to be where they are, I fully expected us to be where we are, and then your teams like Brackley, Spennymoor and Alty, they’ll all end up in those positions. It’s the norm and some take longer to hit their stride than others, look at Stockport last season.

'It’s starting to pan out but there will be teams that come good over the next few months.'

Chester have injury doubts over Gary Stopforth (knee) and Gary Roberts (ankle)."

Regarding Darlington, the Northern Echo relates that "Over a bank holiday weekend... it was hard work both on and off the pitch as we toiled and boiled in vein.

A solitary point felt a bit underwhelming considering we played against ten men on Saturday at Altrincham and (up until Monday) the league’s whipping boys Bradford (Park Avenue). It was a frustrating few days which served to remind us that we are far from being the finished article.

The games were similar. We had plenty of possession but were facing sides determined to prevent us getting through them. Adding to our problems, we allowed both sides to get a goal giving them something to cling on to. It was bitterly frustrating. When Altrincham went down to ten men in the first half on Saturday, the weekend had the potential to provide a bumper crop of points. By five o’clock on Monday, the weekend was a big missed opportunity.

How could it have been better? I saw a few comments on social media about us lacking a proper line-leading striker. It’s hard to disagree. Sadly, that player was out of our reach during the summer and as such we need to persevere with what we have. I’m sure our attacking play will come good. There is too much quality in our front line for it not too.

Of course, we all know who Alun wanted to add to the front line. Dan Maguire was his trump card at Blyth. Along with Glen Taylor, Maguire is the best striker in the league. He would be the missing piece in the jigsaw for many sides in this division even if he has gotten [sic] off to a slow start at his new club, York. Unfortunately, we couldn’t compete with them financially.

Fortunately, as a club, we have managed to get ourselves in a position where we can step back from the precipice when it comes to players we really can’t afford. There is little point stretching the club’s finances beyond our means chasing that magical unicorn of a player who will make everything click.

As we have found out numerous times over the years, once we’ve handed over the dosh and gotten [sic] him through the door, the unicorn often tends to be a donkey with a cornetto stuck to his head.

Sadly, it seems like Darlo are in a pretty exclusive group of clubs who will not overreach when it comes to finances... Bury's expulsion from the EFL brings back raw memories for us Darlo fans... So what does this have to do with Darlo? If we had [had] an extra 50 or 60 grand we could have signed that matchwinner who might give us a bit more extra quality. However, there is absolutely no guarantee he would succeed. After all, we made that exact signing last summer and it turned out Simon Ainge really was a centre half and not a striker. We’ve learned our lesson. Once bitten, twice shy."

The Shropshire Star reports that "Honest striker Aaron Williams is not happy with his goal return for AFC Telford United so far.

The summer signing from Harrogate Town, snapped up shortly after last season’s top scorer Daniel Udoh’s departure, has netted twice in seven Bucks' games. That make him top scorer at this early stage of the season, but he said 'I’m not happy with it, to be fair... I don’t think I’ve been getting into the right areas.

'But I’m confident I will get back to a goal a game, or a goal every other game... If I can get a goal a game or an assist every game, then I’m doing my job.'

Williams has played for Walsall, Peterborough and Newport County in the Football League. Telford brought him in this summer on a two-year deal."


The National League asserts that "The stats don’t lie, or do they? Some suggest Chorley’s promotion party has lasted a few months longer than maybe it should have... Seven games played, no wins, bottom of the table and some 17 goals conceded. They’ve let in five against Notts County, four at Maidenhead and six at home to Solihull Moors.

But ahead of their live BT Sport match with Boreham Wood on Saturday, does that actually tell us the full story?

'I don’t think it does,' says long-serving defender Andy Teague, 33. 'Of course it’s not the start we wanted to make. Nobody likes being winless after seven matches, especially after such a good season last year. But we’ve not played as badly as some of the results have suggested. People see those three games where we let in six, five and four, but what maybe they haven’t seen is three really good clean sheets as well...

'So yes we have conceded 17 goals but we’ve also kept three clean sheets. It’s a strange stat and we need to be more consistent'...

It is only three defeats in those seven games for the Magpies.

Boreham Wood, the weekend visitors, have already lost more. Victory Park really needs to live up to its name as the cameras come to town.

Teague added... 'We will get better, and I think as soon as that first win does arrive we will be up and running... We’ll be fine'...

Teague, with nearly 400 Chorley appearances to his name, has been at the club for getting on for a decade... 'I’m not interested in only being in the division for one season', he added. 'The aim is to stay up and, in the years ahead, build and maybe see if we can be involved at the right end in the future. That’s the ambition... Nothing is ever decided in August, and we’re still in August... We’ve only taken the lead twice so maybe we need to work more on getting that first goal. It’s been a case of "oh, here we go again" once the other side go in front, so we’ve got to not let that happen'".

29 August 2019


On Saturday, Altrincham welcome Farsley Celtic to the J. Davidson Stadium.

When Farsley call this Saturday, former Alty keeper Elliot Wynne [right] is likely to be the visitors' goalkeeper. He left Alty in May 2019, following the arrival of Steven Drench.

Farsley Celtic report that, last time out, "Farsley Celtic slipped to a third defeat of the season as King’s Lynn Town ran out 2-1 winners in sweltering heat at The Citadel.

The searing heat, indicated by drinks breaks in either half, didn't have an enormous impact on the game as two of the league's new sides put on an engaging show for the Bank Holiday crowd. Mistakes at the back allowed King’s Lynn to take a 2-0 lead into the interval as Alfie Payne and Michael Gash struck and, despite Will Hayhurst’s second-half penalty, Farsley were unable to snatch a point.

Farsley Celtic Manager Adam Lakeland was disappointed with the defeat, as he said 'We haven’t lost the game because of a lack of effort, there was a lack of quality at times, and the goals we conceded in the first-half are errors.I think the first-half was very open, both sides had chances, they arguably had the better ones, but we could have been 2-0 up at half-time, it was a bit of a crazy game.

'They’re a good side, they’re very effective and good at what they do, they’ve got some very good players and get around their nine very well, and they’ve got great energy in midfield'...

King’s Lynn took the lead against the run of play on the counter, despite the best efforts of Celt Army shot-stopper Elliot Wynne. Adam Marriott played an excellent ball through to Sam Kelly who was denied one-on-one by Wynne, before Ben Atkinson failed to clear his lines and Alfie Payne slotted home.

Just five minutes later the Linnets doubled their lead, capitalising on Farsley once more giving the ball away as Michael Gash curled home from the edge of the box... Elliot Wynne had to be at his best to prevent King’s Lynn from adding a third, getting a hand on Alfie Payne’s strike and pushing it onto the crossbar and out of play.

An hour in, Farsley found a route back into the game, Dave Syers starting a quick counter before he was fouled just inside the box, with Rory McAuley then appearing to strike Syers, which went unnoticed by the officials. Will Hayhurst converted the spot-kick, tucking the ball under Alex Street to halve the arrears.

Farsley pushed for an equaliser in the remaining moments, with Jack Higgins being pushed further up the pitch, but despite long spells of pressure were unable to fashion a clear-cut opportunity.

Farsley Celtic: Wynne, Richards, Hayhurst (Baldwin 76), Higgins, Allan, Clayton ©, B. Atkinson (Cartman 54), C. Atkinson, Spencer, Syers (Parkin 73), Walton. Unused subs: Trenerry (GK), Walker".


The last time Farsley visited Moss Lane was on Tuesday, 19 September 2017, when, like this time around, Alty went into the game having been hit for five in their previous league match, a 2-5 reverse on a Tuesday might at Workington. Just before that, Alty had bowed out of the FA Cup at Shildon, so confidence was not high in the home team ahead of Farsley's visit.

And, also like this around, Alty went into the 2017 game with injuries affecting their line-up. Goalkeeper Deasy, Miller, Taylor and Poole were all unfit and suspension sidelined Harrop. This time around Alty again are without an injured keeper (Drench), as well as the suspended Hannigan, whilst Hancock is again likely to be unfit.

However, in 2017, it was Hancock's stooping header in the 9th minute which opened the scoring, when he converted a Johnston freekick from the right edge of the box. The second goal also came from a freekick, which was quickly taken, before the ball found Peers. He drifted to the left and drew the keeper before converting the chance

Johnston ran Farsley ragged and he deservedly scored the third, three minutes after half time, converting Hulme's low cross from the right. Hulme added the fourth in the 55th minute after some poor defending before Hannigan poked home the fifth from Amis's excellent header.

Number six was scored by Hancock from a low Johnston cross, four minutes from the end. To compound the visitors' woe, they had six players booked.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Joel BEMBO-LETA, 3. Lewis SHORT, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Sam SHERIDAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Tom PEERS, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. James JONES, 14. Rhain DAVIS, 15. Josh AMIS, 16. Simon RICHMAN, 17. Shaun DENSMORE

FARSLEY CELTIC: 1. Graeme McKibbin, 2. Kurt Harris, 3. Isaac Baldwin, 4. Chris Atkinson, 5. Danny Ellis, 6. Adam Clayton, 7. Ben Atkinson, 8 Nathan Turner, 9. James Walshaw, 10. Ryan Watson, 11. Paul Walker. Subs 12. Richard Marshall, 14. Luke Parkin, 15. Adam Priestley, 16. Adam Porritt, 13. Kyle Trennery.


Altrincham FC has announced that "Altrincham FC and Footy Accumulators are proud to announce a Premiere screening of the eagerly-awaited Altrincham FC documentary series at The J.Davidson Stadium on August 29th, doors opening at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

Admission is free, the bar will be open, popcorn, nachos and jumbo hotdogs will be on sale, as well as drinks, and there's even complimentary ice cream at the interval.

The first of the four episodes was shown after Alty's 5-3 win over Chorley towards the end of last season, but the other three have yet to see the light of day. All that is about to change, with Footyaccumulators launching the documentary on social media from September 1st and Alty fans having the chance to see all the footage for themselves before it goes on general release.

Admission will be first come, first served, so get there early to be sure of a seat."


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records show us Altrincham's previous results on this Saturday's date, 31 August 2019.


On Tuesday night, Altrincham FC Reserves secured a 2-1 home win over Lostock Gralam. Altrincham now lie fifth in the league, having played six matches, of which they have won three and drawn one.

Their next game, this Saturday (31st) is away to Eagle Sports. The following week (7 September) they are away at Christleton in the Open Cup.


According to the NL Paper "Peter Beadle has applied for the vacant Hereford manager’s job. Beadle, who led the Phoenix club to three straight titles, wants an emotional return to Edgar Street and has submitted his CV. The 47-year-old was a surprise departure just under a year ago having secured a hat-trick of league wins in their first three seasons.

He was replaced at the helm by Marc Richards but the club’s board chose to relieve the ex-Gloucester City boss of his duties just three games into this season. Former Newport County manager Beadle has been out of management since leaving Hereford last September but it’s an appointment that will likely go down well with the Bulls’ faithful.

Beadle and his management team, which includes former Merthyr Town boss Steve Jenkins, took charge of the club when it formed from the ashes of Hereford United in 2014. Starting at Step 5 in the Midland League, the new Hereford were crowned champions

28 August 2019


Above: Phil Parkinson and Neil Sorvel oversee a second-half drinks' break at a sweltering Boston on Monday.

Match report here

Phil Parkinson's post-match interview with Altrincham FC Press & Media Officer, John Edwards, is on the Altrincham FC website.


The current bottom six in the National League North includes five of the six clubs which finished immediately behind the promoted duo of Stockport County and Chorley last season!

Last season's top finishers from third to eighth position were:

  • 3rd Brackley Town
  • 4th Spennymoor Town
  • 6th Blyth Spartans
  • 7th Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • 8th AFC Telford United

Currently, the bottom six comprises:

  • 17th AFC Telford United
  • 19th Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • 20th Kettering Town
  • 21st Spennymoor Town
  • 22nd Blyth Spartans


Bulls' News reports that "Hereford's matches against Leamington (September 3) and Gateshead (September 7) have been postponed due to international call ups.

Rowan Liburd and Raheem Hanley have been picked by St Kitts & Nevis, while Reece Styche has been called up by Gibraltar."

Echoing Alty boss Phil Parkinson, the Shropshire Star reports that "Bucks' manager Gavin Cowan hinted strongly that he may need to make changes to his squad after their Bank Holiday weekend fell flat, losing 3-1 at home to Leamington yesterday.

Cowan felt his team were their own worst enemy at Southport on Saturday, and those deficiencies were present again as the Brakes came from a goal down to take all three points, substitute Ravi Shamsi the match-winner with two goals.

'It was a lack of reliability, efficiency and ultimately we were the creators of our own downfall,' said Cowan. 'It’s hard enough playing against 11 other players who want to win the game without having to go up against yourselves, so it’s a difficult one to take,' said Cowan... 'We had an excuse on Saturday, because the grass was long, but our pitch is phenomenal, the ground staff do an amazing job, so there are no excuses.. It’s hard, because I’m dealing with players who I believed would be able to go again this year, and who would be able to kick on, but we’re finding that’s not the case,' he added.

'Ultimately we’re finding out a bit about them. But it’s a long season and we will get it right. Our philosophy is right, everything is in place, but if people don’t want to do it, we might have to look at how we address that... Of course, and I won’t shy away from that. I would never walk away from a situation and believe it’s everybody else’s fault, I will always look at myself first. It wasn’t about tactics today; we’ve shown the players that when we’ve worked to that plan, we’ve been successful, but when the players have worked to their own agenda we’ve been punished...

'Ultimately, we don’t want to stand still as a football club, we don’t want to go backwards, we want to be building all of the time. I would rather not be in this position, But it’s a long season and we will get it right; our philosophy is right, everything is in place, but if people don’t want to do it, we might have to look at how we address that.'"

Also at Telford, the Shropshire Star reports that "Goalkeeper Andy Wycherley has returned to AFC Telford United from his loan spell at Barwell earlier than planned. The 21-year-old, from The Rock, was supposed to stay with the Canaries until September 9...

Telford chief Gavin Cowan wanted Wycherley in the fold again, and Barwell were gracious enough to send him back as you cannot officially recall a player from an initial one-month loan... Wycherley was sent to the Southern Premier Central side after being 'way off it' in pre-season. He made four league appearances for them; one win, one draw and two defeats.

Wycherley, formerly of The New Saints, shone as Telford reached the FA Trophy semi-finals last campaign".

Guiseley "put the disappointment of Saturday’s home defeat behind them as they scored four at Croft Park against bottom side Blyth Spartans.

They were put to the sword with the opener coming from Lee Shaw with Aaron Martin adding a brace, one from the spot and an own goal from Robert Dale, who ironically grabbed what proved to be a consolation for the Spartans... It was the visitors who took the lead... This, after both sides had traded blows with Spartans belying their position at the foot of the table with some neat play as they mounted several forays into enemy territory without really testing George Sykes-Kenworthy...

Joe Robson sliding at the far post nearly squared matters for the home side shortly after the restart but it was a basic defensive error at the other end that led to the visitors doubling their advantage just before the hour... Nine minutes later the Lions grabbed their third goal in bizarre circumstances as Martin’s shot on the turn brought a good save from Harker at full stretch, only for the striker to pick up the loose ball and fire it across the six yard box where it glanced off Simon Garner before hitting Shaw and then rebounding off the unfortunate Robert Dale and into the net.

Dale was quick to make amends a minute later though when a cross-field pass found him down the righthand channel and his clinical strike across Sykes Kenworthy flew into the far corner. Stung by the Spartans reply the visitors defence wobbled a couple of times before regaining their composure for Martin to complete his brace from the penalty spot".

From the Northants Telegraph we learn that "Nicky Eaden insists he won’t 'shy away' from Kettering Town’s problems after their poor start to the Vanarama National League North season took a turn for the worse on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Poppies looked to be on course for a much-needed three points after goals from Sam Cartwright and Joe Skarz gave them a 2-0 lead over Kidderminster Harriers at Latimer Park. But a crazy final 25 minutes saw Kettering ship five goals as the visitors pulled it back to 2-2 and then, after Connor Kennedy had regained the lead, went on to clinch a staggering 5-3 victory.

The Poppies have now lost five of their seven games this season and sit third from bottom in the table. The pressure is already beginning to mount on manager Eaden and he conceded that the Poppies have shown themselves to be 'not good enough at the moment'...

'I’m not sure what I have just seen,' the shell-shocked boss said. 'We were comfortable in the first half and we were obviously wary of the way they might come out in the second half but I thought we looked good and we managed to get 2-0 up. But we just couldn’t see it off. There were a couple of instances of players not doing their jobs and we are talking about straightforward stuff. You can put people in place and designate the markers but if they don’t mark then that’s what happens.

'I think it’s just creeping in that when a team starts turning the screw and putting us under a bit of pressure, at the minute we aren’t dealing with it. I am looking for the players to step up and deliver a 90-minute performance. It might be the case that we just aren’t good enough at the moment. We are playing well in spells but we can’t seem to sustain it. It’s not a fitness thing. I think we are a bit naive. I see other teams buying fouls against us and breaking the rhythm of the game but at 2-0 up we didn’t kill the game. You sometimes wish you could get on the pitch with them.

'It’s tough but I am not going to shy away from it and make excuses. We are going to have to have a look at see what changes we can make to the squad and try to add some players who will come in and hopefully be different to what we have got. I will try to get some done before Saturday. There are players who I have got in mind.'"

According to the Banbury Guardian "Jimmy Armson completed a hat-trick as Brackley Town picked up three more points on Monday. Saints beat Gloucester City 3-0 but could have hit six goals as they swept the visitors aside in style on another sweltering afternoon.

Saints were on the front foot from the first minute and never let up. Shep Murombedzi and Shane Byrne commanded midfield with Lee Ndlovu and Armson rampant up front.

Armson put his side in front as early as the eighth minute, finishing from close range after good interplay with Matt Lowe. Saints doubled their advantage after 21 minutes when Ndlovu was fouled by Ioan Richards and Armson slotted home the ensuing penalty...

'There was no let-up in the second half, Armson’s header from a corner hitting the woodwork before helping himself to a third career hat-trick for Saints in the 69th minute'".

Middlesbrough FC inform us that loanee "Goalkeeper Brad James helped Gateshead stretch their unbeaten run to four on the road with a draw against early pacesetters York City.

Jordan Burrow put York in front, but Connor Oliver converted a penalty to make it all square, making it four away matches unbeaten.

A couple of days before, Gateshead and James were beaten 3-0 at home to Farsley Celtic.

Elsewhere in National League North, [another Boro' loanee] Tyrone O'Neill featured twice for Darlington in the space of two days as they faced Altrincham and Bradford Park Avenue".


Altrincham do not enter the FA Cup until 21 September in the Second Qualifying Round but the FA announces that "One hundred and sixteen ties were set out as the Emirates FA Cup first round qualifying draw was made at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday afternoon... First round qualifying ties will take place over the weekend of 6-9 September. Winning clubs will receive £4,500 from The FA prize fund while losing clubs will collect £1,500".

Selected northern clubs were drawn as follows:

  • 1874 Northwich v Pickering Town
  • Lancaster City v Northwich Victoria
  • FC United of Manchester v Atherton Collieries
  • Warrington Town v City of Liverpool
  • Charnock Richard or Longridge Town v Irlam
  • Widnes or Mossley v Whitby Town
  • Tadcaster Albion v Ashton United
  • Stalybridge Celtic or West Didsbury & Chorlton v Padiham or Marine
  • Trafford v Bamber Bridge
  • Maltby Main v Ramsbottom United or Winsford United

27 August 2019


No one emerged with any credit from a poor team performance by Altrincham who allowed a far from world-beating Boston side to thrash them. On a sweltering afternoon, Alty only created one serious shot on goal and failed to play with sufficient tempo or passing accuracy to trouble the hosts.

Altrincham were without Steven Drench (Achilles), Josh Hancock (calf problem) and Tom Hannigan (concussion), but Jake Moult was surprisingly named in the squad for the first time since his summer operation, despite not having had any warm-up game. Manager Parkinson named Shaun Densmore for his first competitive game-time of the season, at right-back in place of Andy White, whilst Conor Branson likewise replaced Simon Richman in midfield. Toby Mullarkey made his first start of the season in place of the injured Tom Hannigan. So Alty had four players in their squad who had yet to start this season; goalkeeper Thompson as well as Densmore, Mullarkey and Moult.

Right: First-half action at Boston.

Tony Thompson had twice made important blocks before he was beaten in the 40th minute. Boston won a corner after Harrop had lost the ball and poor defending allowed Platt an unchallenged headed goal from the back post area.

And, with literally the last kick of the first half, Knowles tapped home a second goal after a low Smith cross evaded Thompson (45+3 mins).

Sent out early for the second half, Alty started the second half a little better but conceded a third goal from Platt's low shot from the edge of the box (63 mins).

Substitute Jake Moult was dispossessed and Knowles made it 4-0 in the 83rd minute. Alty's humiliation was completed when a wild backpass from Jones conceded a corner and more poor marking allowed a back post header to find Shields who swept home a fifth goal (87 mins).

Match report here

Phil Parkinson's post-match interview with Altrincham FC Press & Media Officer, John Edwards, is on the Altrincham FC website.


Boston United reported that "Tom Platt and Dominic Knowles both scored two goals apiece as Boston United put Altrincham to the sword on Bank Holiday Monday.

Platt headed United into a 40th minute lead which was doubled by Knowles in first half stoppage time.

Platt and Knowles both added further second half efforts and the icing was applied to United's cake by skipper Luke Shiels three minutes from time".


Monday, 26 August 2019, Vanarama National League North
  • AFC Telford United 1-3 Leamington
  • Alfreton Town 2-0 Southport
  • Blyth Spartans 1-4 Guiseley
  • Boston United 5-0 Altrincham
  • Brackley Town 3-0 Gloucester City
  • Chester FC 3=0 Hereford FC
  • Curzon Ashton 1-1 Spennymoor Town
  • Darlington 0-1 Bradford Park Avenue
  • Farsley Celtic 1-2 Kings Lynn Town
  • Kettering Town 3-5 Kidderminster Harriers
  • York City 1-1 Gateshead

26 August 2019


Altrincham's historical record against Boston United is provided by Mike Garnett...
  • Home: P36-W16-D12-L8-F71-A35
  • Away: P37-W12-D10-L15-F60-A65
  • All: P73-W28-D22-L23-F131-A100

Boston United report that they " will complete their Bank Holiday weekend double-header when they play host to Altrincham on Monday. The Pilgrims lost their unbeaten record on Saturday after being beaten 3-0 at Gloucester City while 10-man Altrincham were drawing 1-1 with Darlington.

Both sides have only won once apiece ahead of Monday's showdown at The Jakemans Stadium but Craig Elliott's side will be aiming to build upon their unbeaten home record to date. Striker Shaun Tuton (groin) could return to the fray, while Lincoln City loanee Jordan Adebayo-Smith could make his first start after a debut from the bench at Gloucester on Saturday. Jay Rollins, Jordan Thewlis (both suspended) and Jake Wright (hamstring) remain sidelined.

Alty, beaten in last season's play-offs, have ex-United favourite Ashley Hemmings within their ranks. Last season's corresponding fixture ended 2-1 to Altrincham. Monday's match referee is Jon Kenny".

As previously mentioned, Altrincham will be without Jake Moult and almost certainly, Steven Drench, whilst Josh Hanock and Tom Hannigan must also be major doubts.


Right: January 2019, at Boston, Jake Moult wins a header in the Alty midfield.

Altrincham's last visit to York Street was for a Vanarama National League North match on Saturday, 5 January 2019, which the visitors won 2-1. The previous league visit, on 11 March 2017, also resulted in an Altrincham win, 1-0, thanks to Elliot Newby's goal.

For today's match, Altrincham again arrive in Lincolnshire in indifferent form, looking for a second win of the season after the previous six matches have gleaned just six points. In the last encounter with Boston, in January of this year, "Altrincham put an end to a run of five games in all competitions without a win with a deserved victory at the Jakemans Stadium".

For last season's game, "With Elliot Wynne going on loan at Trafford, Alty had no goalkeeper on a substitutes' bench, which was further depleted when Chris Sang reported ill on the eve of the match and Ben Harrison suffered sickness on the coach en route to the game. This gave youth striker Ben Elliott the opportunity to be named in his first league game squad for the first team. Otherwise, Max Harrop replaced loanee Kallum Mantack on the left wing.

Boston also had to make a late change as Rollins did not survive the warm-up and was replaced on the home bench by goalkeeper Seb Malkowski. The Pilgrims' new loan signing from Alfreton, Callum Chettle, started for the hosts.

After an undistinguished start to the game, Altrincham began to apply some pressure and they got their reward with a 24th-minute goal. This was scored by Josh Hancock, with a low shot from the edge of the box after good work by Max Harrop on the left. Ten minutes later it was 2-0 to the visitors when John Johnston's cross from the right was met by Jordan Hulme's glancing header into the far corner of the net.

However, Alty did not build on their interval lead and spent much of the second half in their own half. But, despite seeing plenty of the ball, Boston lacked the bite to break through the Alty lines until they won an 80th-minute penalty, conceded by a foul challenge by Jake Moult. Davies just about got the spot-kick past Thompson's dive to his right to set up a potentially nervy ending. But Altrincham rode out the closing stages, as well as five added minutes, without any really serious alarms.

The three points lifted Altrincham up to sixth place. With Ben Harrison taken ill on the team coach en route to Lincolnshire and loanee Chris Sant also missing this match through illness, Alty were boosted by the reappearance of James Poole as a late substitute in this game, following his long injury lay-off".

Altrincham likewise go into the match this Bank Holiday with injury concerns. Jake Moult remains sidelined, Steven Drench looks certain to miss the game with the ankle injury sustained on Saturday, whilst Tom Hannigan must also be very doubtful after being stretchered off on Saturday. Josh Hancock's calf injury caused him to miss the game against Darlington so he, too, must be a doubt.

The line-ups for the January fixture were: BOSTON UNITED: 1. George Willis (c), 2. Ben Davies, 3. Ashley Jackson, 4. Andi Thanoj, 5. Lewis Gibbens, 6. Ryan Qualter, 7. Max Wright, 8. Brad Abbott, 9. Gavin Allott, 10. Callum Chettle, 11. Nicky Walker. Subs: 12. Tai-Reece Chisholm, 14. Spencer Harris, 15. Jonathan Wafula, 16. Jordan Slew, 17. Seb Malkowski (gk).

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Andy White, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Simon Richman, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Max Harrop. Subs: 12. Kallum Mantack, 14. Sean Williams, 15. James Poole, 16. Shaun Densmore, 17. Ben Elliott.


Match report here.

Right: Having laid on the Alty goal, man of the match John Johnston ended Saturday's match against Boston in goal, after injury forced Steven Drench off the pitch on a stretcher.

The Northern Echo says that "How Darlington fare on Monday will dictate how favourably they look back a Saturday draw that felt like a victory when Adam Campbell equalised in injury time. Four points over the Bank Holiday weekend would be a good haul and maintain the progress and sense of momentum that has steadily built since pre-season.

Anything less than victory, however, at home to winless Bradford Park Avenue, would be viewed as failure following the mixed emotions at full-time on Saturday at Altrincham.

The fixture fell firmly into the ‘would’ve taken a point before the game’ category, playing a club that were in the play-offs last season and with Quakers having lost both of their previous away matches. Yet circumstances altered so drastically during the course of the afternoon that it left one wondering what might have been.

Altrincham played more than half of the game with less than 11 men, and by the closing stages had only nine players and were without a recognised goalkeeper.

Alun Armstrong said 'You look at your fixtures at the start of the season, especially your Bank Holiday fixtures, and if you can get four points from the weekend that would be great. But then circumstances changed with their lad getting sent off. If we’d not got anything from that we’d have had to pick the lads up off the floor ready to go on Monday. As it stands it feels like a win because of the way the goal was scored, but it was no more than these lads deserved.

'Hopefully the fans could see that they worked extremely hard in unbelievable heat. We passed the ball really well at times. We needed a bit more desire and a bit more awareness, we needed to gamble a bit more across the front and back post, but you’ve got to give Altrincham credit.'

Altrincham will be pleased with the outcome having lost a defender to a red card in the latter stages of an uninspiring first half, one that sprang to life when Tom Hannigan was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Jarrett Rivers. Hannigan could equally have been dismissed for denying a goalscoring opportunity, and Armstrong said 'They would probably say they had cover but I thought Adam Campbell was through one on one, but the referee didn’t continue to play to see if we would score. He stopped play for it being a high tackle, and it was quite high so I don’t think he can have any arguments. The ref should’ve let the game run to see if we would’ve scored, but he said the severity of the challenge meant he had to stop play.'

Dismissed Hannigan left the pitch on a stretcher having injured himself, but referee Sam Mulhall caused confusion by not clearly displaying the red card, perhaps taking pity on the player, a situation lacking clarity and exacerbated by Altrincham making a substitution while the stretcher was carried down the tunnel. Nonetheless, Alty were down to ten in stifling heat, but Armstrong’s side struggled to break down a side that got men behind the ball, Quakers’ passing not quick or precise enough to create scoring opportunities.

Darlington’s manager said 'They set their shape up at half-time to let us have the ball in front of them, which is what you would do when you’ve got ten men, to try and nick a point and counter-attack. Once they got their noses in front I didn’t think it was going to be our day, but some of the football we played was really good.'

Altrincham went ahead with a goal from a John Johnston corner that saw Darlington’s Jordan Watson lose track of Jordan Hulme, who headed powerfully past Chris Elliott.

'It was a poor from a set-piece, Jordan held his hands up, he knew he had made a mistake,' admitted Armstrong, who made three substitutions as he sought to manufacture a positive outcome... Substitute Justin Donawa made an impact, doing his chance of starting against Bradford no harm with his direct running causing problems, succeeding where Quakers’ patient passing had failed.

The recalled Stephen Thompson had a couple of efforts blocked and Tyrone O’Neill had a shot on the turn saved, but it was not until injury time that Quakers finally struck after Alty goalkeeper Steven Drench had been stretchered off. Given the misfortune Darlington have had with injuries perhaps another team suffering in such a manner felt like justice, and the equaliser was certainly fair on the balance of play. Drench’s exit led to winger Johnston donning the gloves, so when Donawa was fouled near the corner of the penalty area Campbell made sure to curl the ball into the top corner out of the stand-in’s reach.

'“These lads dug in, they kept playing the way we want to play,' said Armstrong. 'I changed it at the end when I put Josh Heaton up top to give them another problem and it was all hands to the pump. The lads thoroughly deserved it and I’m delighted with their work ethic. We had to start testing them and getting some shots on goal. Cams has got that quality, I’ve seen him do that many a time, he’s whipped it right into the top bin.'”


Today's date, 26 August, has witnessed an Altrincham win on the last four occasions that the Robins have played on that day. Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's record of previous matches on that calendar date are in the Through the Years date.


2019 is the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Football Alliance, the forerunner to The Football Conference and the National League. The third part of Mike Garnett's "Forty Years On"appeared in the Robins' Review on Saturday and is reproduced here, courtesy of the author. This instalment addresses the changes to the stadium at Moss Lane since 1979.

If you missed the earlier instalments, they can be found here:


On Tuesday night Altrincham Reserves, now under the management of players Joel Swift and Ryan Barry, secured a 6-1 win at Knutsford. The match included starts for first-teamers Shaun Densmore, Toby Mullarkey, Tony Thompson, Tom Peers and Lewis Walters.

Walters grabbed a hat-trick whilst Peers netted a brace. The other goal was scored by Rhain Davis. The Alty squad comprised, Thompson, Densmore, Davis, Gabidon, Miller, Mullarkey, O'Hara, Peers, Ryan, Taylor, Thompson, Walters with the bench comprising Elliott, Graham and Lewis.

Without the first-team involvement, the Reserves lost 1-2 at home to Greenalls Padgate St Oswald's on Saturday.


Bulls' News reports that "Hereford Head of Football Tim Harris, who is currently interim manager following Marc Richards' departure - says he is assisting the board in finding a new manager/head coach, but has ruled himself out of contention. Harris has overseen three matches since Richards' sacking and is currently unbeaten.

'I am part of a process and my role is not to be manager of Hereford or head coach of Hereford; my role is to assist the board in making decisions and I will be part of that,' said Harris, who was not prepared to say if or when a shortlist of candidates had been drawn up

'My role, and what I feel I am good at, is on the recruitment and contract side and supporting and managing a manager or head coach, whoever that may be.'

Harris was speaking following the 1-1 draw between Hereford and Brackley... He was left frustrated with the way Brackley scored their goal, but admitted that the penalty awarded to his side for handball was fortuitous".

Blyth Spartans "squandered several late chances to snatch all three points away to Bradford Park Avenue. Lee Clark’s men started brightly in the first and second half but could not get their first win of the season...

Despite dominating possession and getting into some good attacking positions, the home side failed to capitalise in the first half. Spartans had the ball in the back of the net after half an hour through Scott Fenwick, but he came back from an offside position to tuck the ball away.

Spartans started the brighter of the two sides in the second half putting the home side under pressure from the off and pressing high up the pitch. Fenwick should have scored his first goal for the club when Wrightson picked him out unmarked after 74 minutes, but the striker could only glance his header narrowly wide of the goal.

Bradford PA had a chance to win it five minutes from time as Joseph Chidyausiku had a shot from six-yards out but Olly Scott slid in to make a magnificent block on the line, which would have been a certain goal.

Into added time and Robbie Dale latched onto a through ball before cutting back onto his left but his effort was saved by Taylor and then Dale could not direct his header into the empty from three-yards out. Dale played upfront for the last 10 minutes and caused problems with Fenwick upfront which almost gifted Spartans all three points".

After Saturday's game, Darlington reported that "Our fundraisers were hard at work on the supporters bus to Altrincham on Saturday. The raffle raised £80 (including generous £13 donations), making a total of £235 for the season so far, for which all participants are thanked".

Gateshead inform us that "Nelson admits Heed 'got what we deserved' in Farsley Celtic loss. The Gateshead player-coach did not look to sugar coat his side's defeat on Saturday afternoon

The Heed came into their sixth game of the season unbeaten, whereas the visitors managed to pick up their second win of the season on the weekend. After a strong Gateshead display in the first half, second half goals from Jimmy Spencer, Luke Parkin and Tyler Walton saw the Celt Army take all three points back to The Citadel and hand the Heed their first defeat of the season.

Player-coach Michael Nelson was disappointed following the 3-0 defeat, 'It was poor. In the first half we were good and started the game well, we got in some good positions and put some crosses into the box but never really tested the keeper... Overall, in the first half, I think we were the better team though. In the second half we got what we deserved.'

Nelson, who played over 250 games for Hartlepool United, admitted that he felt Jimmy Spencer’s opening goal changed the game 'Goals change games and the first goal is massive in so many ways. I think you could see as soon as they scored, we went into pieces a little bit and never really recovered.'

The loss also ends a five game unbeaten run for the Heed, during which the 39-year-old played in two games... 'We’ve had a few draws and managed to get our first win last week and we were looking to bounce on from that this weekend,' Nelson added."

According to the Telegraph & Argus "Bradford (Park Avenue) remain in the relegation places but a 0-0 draw at home to Blyth Spartans in their sixth game earned them a second point of the season and it lifted them up one place.

Those were the positives from a goalless draw at home against Lee Clarke’s Spartans. The former Huddersfield Town boss is in a similar position to Bradford’s interim manager Marcus Law with an inexperienced squad. Blyth were the only club below Avenue at the start of the day so the ‘Avey Army’, the core of the home supporters, had begun to believe they would see their side get their first win of the campaign.

There were four new signings leading up to the game; Marcus Wood (former Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers development player who was with Southport last term), Riccardo Calder (former Aston Villa academy player), Myron Gibbons (on loan from Doncaster) and Joseph Chidyausiku (who played at Havant & Waterlooville last season). The first three of them started while Chidyausiku was on the bench.

In the first half the Avenue defence looked much stronger than it had in recent weeks. There were also some promising attacking build-ups that led to some excellent crosses into the area, but despite that, it was Blyth who looked more likely to break the deadlock.

The second half was also low key with Avenue keeper, captain Rhys Taylor, making just one save while his opposite number, Spartans’ stopper Nathan Harker, was even more under-worked.

Law was pleased with the improvement but realises that his squad is still very much a work in progress. The interim boss said 'I thought there was an improvement and in that first half we had most of the chances, I would certainly say we had the better ones. I was very impressed with Marcus (Wood). In there as the defensive midfielder in front of the back line, he protected the central defenders and he distributed the ball well.

'I thought Riccardo Calder also had a great start, they couldn’t cope with him, especially in that first half. He kept getting around their defence and his delivery was good. The rest of the lads did what they always do and worked hard, we can’t ever question their effort. So it was a very positive first half but, the longer the game goes on, it becomes a difficult one. You are wondering, do we sit back a bit and protect the clean sheet and get another point or do we go and look to go for all three but risk losing. The clean sheet is massive for the confidence of these players after the start they had before we arrived.

'We had a late chance which could have seen us nick three points but then so did they, so a draw was probably a fair reflection of the game as a whole.'"

Farsley Celtic "face another tough test on Bank Holiday Monday, as fellow newly promoted side King’s Lynn Town visit The Citadel.

Adam Lakeland’s side will be hoping they can make it three wins in a row... The Celt Army have won back-to-back games for the first time in the new season, with victories over Spennymoor Town (1-0) and Gateshead (3-0) moving Farsley on to 10 points and up to seventh.

King’s Lynn Town, Step Three super play-off winners have adapted to National League North life superbly, and sit in second place six games into the new season. After losing the first game of the season 3-0 to Guiseley, the Linnets are unbeaten in their last five games after beating Kettering Town (2-1), Hereford (3-1), AFC Telford United (3-1) and Curzon Ashton (4-1), whilst drawing with Brackley Town (1-1).

Farsley Celtic's Danny Ellis is unlikely to feature after missing Saturday’s victory over Gateshead, whilst Adam Clayton has returned to fitness having played the full 90 minutes on Saturday. Lewis Turner and Nathan Turner remain sidelined.

King’s Lynn Town's Ross Barrows has returned to fitness after playing a reserves game in midweek, and was an unused sub in Saturday’s victory over Curzon Ashton. Therefore, Linnets Manager Ian Culverhouse should have a full squad to select from.

The gaffer’s thoughts 'The players have got to go and look after themselves and recover right, which our lads are generally pretty good at... They’re a good side so we expect a difficult game'...

The original King’s Lynn side were wound up in 2009, and like Farsley Celtic, King’s Lynn Town reformed ahead of the 2010/11 season. Last time out the Linnets finished second, 14 points behind league winners Kettering Town, in the Southern League Premier Division Central. After initially seeing off Stratford Town and Alvechurch, King’s Lynn defeated Warrington Town 3-2 after extra-time in the super play-off final to earn their spot in the National League North

25 August 2019


Above: Jordan Hulme, right, and Max Harrop celebrate Alty's goal.

It isn't every Saturday that a game has a total of fourteen minutes added time; witnesses two players stretchered off, with one of them shown a red card as he was carried to the dressing room; and ends with one team playing with nine men and their smallest outfield player pressed into service as an emergency goalkeeper, who was beaten by a ninety-third minute equalizer.

But that is what happened to Altrincham at the J. Davidson Stadium...

Match report here.

Brian Flynn's post-match interview with Jordan Hulme and John Johnston is on Alty TV.


Vanarama National League North
  • Altrincham 1-1 Darlington (Att. 994)
  • Bradford (Park Avenue) 0-0 Blyth Spartans (328)
  • Gateshead 0-3 Farsley Celtic (778)
  • Gloucester City 3-0 Boston United (350)
  • Guiseley 2-4 Alfreton Town (663)
  • Hereford FC 1-1 Brackley Town (2585)
  • Kidderminster Harriers 0-1 Chester FC (1710)
  • King's Lynn Town 4-1 Curzon Ashton (833)
  • Leamington 3-1 Kettering Town (575)
  • Southport 0-1 AFC Telford United (1123)
  • Spennymoor Town 1-4 York City (1536)


The Northern Echo reports that "Darlington took their first away point of the season after Adam Campbell scored a late leveller, but it came in circumstances leaving them wondering how they did not secure a win at Altrincham.

Against a team that finished in the play-offs last season, before the match a draw would have been seen to be a good result, but Alty played most of the game with ten men and finished the fixture with nine and an outfield player in goal.

They had a defender sent off before the break, giving Quakers an advantage in the second 45 minutes in sweltering conditions, but each team got a goal with Campbell netting an equaliser deep into added time...

Thompson was one of two changes to Quakers’ starting XI, the forward back in the side after returning from a holiday, while David Atkinson slotted in at right-back for his first start of the season...

Harrop scythed down Thompson, but escaped a yellow card. It was poor refereeing from Mulhall, but he then made the correct decision when red-carding Altrincham’s Tom Hannigan.

The defender left the field on a stretcher after managing to injure himself while fouling Rivers, who was about to intercept a poor pass and would have been bearing down on goal until he was upended recklessly by Hannigan.

After a lengthy delay while Hannigan was treated, which led to eight minutes of stoppage time, play resumed with the ten-man hosts finishing more strongly...

Darlington were looking to grind down Altrincham, but they had an escape when Altrincham broke at pace down their right... Quakers were chipping away without getting a goal against ten-man Altrincham, and without really coming to close...

Altrincham took the lead on 64 minutes from a corner with poor defending a contributing factor. The ball was swung into a crowded penalty area where Jordan Hulme rose highest, above Jordan Watson, to head in...

The lack of Darlington creativity had been disappointing, particularly since the opposition went down to ten men... Donawa cut inside from the left and fired in a shot that Drench pushed away, his first real save of note, before Armstrong threw the kitchen sink at Altrincham by sending on Josh Heaton in the 84th minute to play up front, but nothing dropped for Darlington until Alty lost their goalkeeper.

Altrincham, having already made all three of their subs, ended the game with nine men and with left-winger Johnston in goal as Drench left the pitch on a stretcher, handing Quakers a lifeline...

Taken from near the corner of the penalty area after Donawa was felled, Campbell floated the ball high into the net over the stand-in goalkeeper to rescue a point."


According to Saturday's "Robins' Review", the manager of Altrincham Reserves, in succession to Chris Rowley, is now Joel Swift, with fellow player Ryan Barry as his assistant.

The same source also confirms this season's changes to the Youth Education team, with Steve Mort now in charge, succeeding Ritchie Semple.

And the Ladies' team, following last season's departure of manager Keith Edleston, is now managed by Wayne Goodison and Mark Molyneux, both at one time on the managerial staff at our neighbours Trafford FC.


On Tuesday night Altrincham Reserves, under the new management of players Joel Swift and Ryan Barry, secured a 6-1 win at Knutsford. The match included starts for first-teamers Shaun Densmore, Toby Mullarkey, Tony Thompson, Tom Peers and Lewis Walters.

Walters grabbed a hat-trick whilst Peers netted a brace. The other goal was scored by Rhain Davis. The Alty squad comprised, Thompson, Densmore, Davis, Gabidon, Miller, Mullarkey, O'Hara, Peers, Ryan, Taylor, Thompson, Walters with the bench comprising Elliott, Graham and Lewis.

Without the first-team involvement, the Reserves lost 1-2 at home to Greenalls Padgate St Oswald's on Saturday.


Former Alty left-back, Andy Williams is now listed as a Skelmersdale player and his latest new team-mate, as the NW Counties FL reports is pantomime villain Richard Brodie, who scored against Litherland REMYCA in midweek.

And the Bet Victor NPL reports that Alexander Meechan's registration has moved from Barrow to Stafford Rangers.

Former Alty left-back Lewis Short has moved from Newtown (Wales) to Leek Town whilst Jordan Sinnott has moved from Alfreton Town to Matlock Town.


On Monday, Altrincham are away to Boston United who report that "Boston United lost their unbeaten record after suffering a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Gloucester City on Saturday afternoon.

The Pilgrims started brightly at Evesham United’s Jubilee Stadium but fell behind to Joe Parker’s 11th minute strike. They fell further adrift when Joe Hanks converted a dubious penalty 12 minutes later and wrapped up all three points when Parker bagged his second nine minutes from time.

It was not a result which appeared to be on the cards when a United side showing five changes to their last outing made a blistering start.

Dominic Knowles converted Ben Middleton’s low cross in the second minute but was adjudged offside before Nicky Walker burst a way from Vinny Harper to drag an effort across goal and wide three minutes later...

Boston (4-4-2): Peter Crook; Ben Middleton, Luke Shiels, Simon Ainge, Alex Whittle (George Green 46); Nicky Walker, Tom Platt (Brad Abbott 46), Andi Thanoj, Ashley Jackson; Tom Clare (Jordan Adebayo-Smith 46), Dominic Knowles. Subs (not used): Karl Byrne, George Willis (gk)."

The Boston Standard reports that Craig Elliott was left in ‘shock’ at how poorly his Boston United side performed at Gloucester City... in a game the Pilgrims will want to forget.

'The first half performance kills the game, I didn’t see it coming,' said Elliott. 'I’m in shock in terms of we’ve looked so solid (previously). We’ve had a difficult week but that’s just excuses, they’re just excuses. The starting XI should be putting in a better performance'...

United were without Jay Rollins, Jordan Thewlis, Shaun Tuton, Jake Wright and Jonathan Wafula, while Simon Ainge and Tom Platt played despite illness...

'At half time I could have taken eight-nine players off, it was that bad. So many things going wrong,' he added... 'You get beaten by a better team fair enough, but this was really poor. We looked shaky defensively, and as a back four and a keeper they never gave us a platform to go on and win the game.

'In the final third we were wasteful, both boxes quite poor.'

United now go back to the drawing board ahead of Monday’s arrival of Altrincham.

Elliott continued, 'My biggest concern is we’re not scoring goals and I thought it’d come... Players need to step up. We play a better team on Monday, no disrespect to them (Gloucester), we have to do better.'"

Boston United announce that "The Bank Holiday Monday edition of 'The Pilgrim' features a nod towards one of the club's five Football League campaigns... Copies of the programme will be on sale from all entrances to the stadium from 1.00pm on Monday (priced £3 per copy).

Inside... [includes] "Matchday Centre featuring Altrincham, "Scene Setter v Altrincham, From the Archives v Altrincham".


The National League says "There were more thrills and spills in the National League North as the Bank Holiday heatwave arrived in style.

York City extended their lead at the summit after putting Spennymoor to the sword at Brewery Field. Sean Newton and Kallum Griffiths scored either side of an own goal before Adrian Moke rounded things off late on.

King's Lynn aren't far behind Steve Watson's men after a rampant win over Curzon Ashton. A goal in either half for Michael Gash and Adam Marriott saw the Linnets make it three from three at home.

Farsley claimed back-to-back wins with a second-half super show. Jimmy Spencer, Nathan Cartman and Jack Higgins all notched to inflict a first defeat of the season on Gateshead.

Chester are up to third, Matty Hughes scoring the only goal of the game at Kidderminster...

Alfreton Town are up to fifth after a 4-2 win at Guiseley... Hereford remain unbeaten under caretaker boss Tim Harris but surrendered their early lead against Brackley".

Cheshire Live reports that "Chester FC banished the painful memories of Aggborough with their first win at Kidderminster Harriers since 2005.

Matty Hughes's strike on 26 minutes brought Chester the spoils, and while Harriers contrived to miss an open goal with minutes left, it was three points that were deserved and three points that maintain an unbeaten start to the season, the Blues up to third.

Chester hadn't won at Aggborough for some 14 years coming into the contest... some five games winless since then...

It was Chester who had reason to be hopeful coming into the contest, boasting an unbeaten start to the season before the game and sitting fifth in the table following a solid start that raised a notch last weekend with a resounding, and thoroughly convincing, 4-0 home win over Gloucester City.

Kidderminster had seen an indifferent start...

Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley kept faith with the same XI that dismantled Gloucester so comfortably at the Deva last Saturday, Matty Hughes once again handing a starting berth while for Joel Taylor, George Waring and substitute Akwasi Asante it was a return to their old stomping ground."

Farsley Celtic "made it back-to-back wins with a superb 3-0 victory away to the previously unbeaten Gateshead.

Second-half strikes from Jimmy Spencer, Luke Parkin and Tyler Walton saw the Celt Army earn a terrific three points, and make it 10 points from six games to start the season.

Farsley Celtic Manager Adam Lakeland was delighted with his side’s performance, as he said 'I thought we thoroughly deserved it (the win) to be honest. I think the first 10, 15 minutes, we allowed them out to get out too easily which we anticipated to an extent because of the way I’d set us up today, but I felt the longer the first-half went on we kind of grew into the game.'

Lakeland was also extremely pleased with the impact Luke Parkin had, as he added... 'I felt it was the right time to put him in with the way we set the team up, and I thought he was outstanding'...

Six minutes after the interval Farsley took the lead with a devastating break, resulting in Nathan Cartman threading the ball through to Jimmy Spencer who slammed home from inside the box...

Farsley then doubled their lead thanks to great work from Nathan Cartman once more, the diminutive forward holding the ball up on the edge of the box and squaring for Luke Parkin to drive home, with what proved to be Parkin's final touch before being replaced by Tyler Walton.

Gateshead were given a lifeline with just over five minutes to go, substitute Dom Tear going down in the box and winning his side a spot-kick. However, substitute Paul Blackett blasted the penalty high and wide, with Elliot Wynne maintaining his clean sheet.

Farsley wrapped up the three points deep into added time with another well worked goal, Jack Higgins heading Chris Atkinson’s clever ball across for Tyler Walton to roll home from close range".

Southport report that "Andre Brown’s second-half penalty saw Southport slip to their second successive defeat.

Brown delivered the game’s decisive moment 11 minutes after half-time after he was judged to have been tripped in the area by Ryan Astles.

It was a contentious decision by referee James Westage, but the Telford striker made the most of it, sliding the spot-kick to the left of goalkeeper Dan Hanford, who was unable to stop the strike despite diving the right way.

Southport had cause to feel hard done by, having controlled the lion’s share of the play but they were unable to translate their possession into anything tangible...

Having fallen behind, Southport tried to respond but struggled for clear chances".

A player leaving the Vanarama North is Declan Bacon, moving from Alfreton Town to Mickleover Sports on loan.

24 August 2019


When he arrives at Moss Lane today, Darlington boss Alun Armstrong can be forgiven for wondering what might have been. On his last visit to the J. Davidson Stadium he was manager of Blyth Spartans in their play-off match against the Robins.

Right: When Darlington visited Alty in August 2010, the game was drawn 2-2. Here we see Alty's Chris Denham and Darlington's Paul Terry, John Terry's brother, during that match. Chris Senior was also in the Quakers' side that day.

As Alty fans will well remember the game was decided by a high-quality penalty shoot out, with the hosts winning 7-6.

Since then, Armstrong has moved on to Darlington and has raided the Spartans to bring several players from Northumberland to the Quakers. They include Michael Liddle, David Atkinson, Jamie Holmes, Louis Laing and Jarrett Rivers. All five played for Blyth in the play-off at Moss Lane last season.

Darlington have stated that they "are looking for our first points away from home when we go to Altrincham on Saturday. While our home form has yielded seven points out of nine, we have suffered setbacks at Farsley and Curzon Ashton...

Darlington's current league position is ninth whilst Alty are seventeenth. Last Saturday The Quakers beat Southport 2-0, with goals from O’Neill and Campbell. Their team for that match comprised Elliott, Liddle (sub Heaton 43), Watson, Bascome, (Holness 80) Laing, Galbraith, Rivers, Hatfield, Campbell, Donawa (sub Wheatley 87), O’Neill. Unused subs: Bell, Atkinson.

On the road, Darlington have twice lost 1-3, at Curzon Ashton and at Farsley Celtic.

Darlington add that "Right back Luke Trotman is ruled out for the season with an achilles problem, while striker Jamie Holmes is out with a cruciate injury. Also, defender Michael Liddle is out for at least a fortnight with a ligament injury, but striker Stephen Thompson returns after missing last week’s game".

Bermuda's Royal Gazette tells us that "Justin Donawa, the Darlington forward, demonstrated his versatility in his team’s previous outing... The Bermuda player started in attack, but switched to a defensive role after right back Michael Liddle went off with an injury just before half-time in the 2-0 home win over Southport last weekend.

'We came into a problem early on and the gaffer [Alun Armstrong] asked me to play more of wingback role on the opposite side,' Donawa said. 'I would have liked to be in attack throughout the game, but I was still able to get forward and help out defensively. The gaffer has been telling me to just get the ball and go, use what I’ve got, which is pace. I get behind and around guys and I was trying to do that early on and even later in the game. I was getting a little tired, but I was still able to get balls in the attack'...

Donawa... was substituted in the 87th minute... 'I’m pleased to get some more minutes and then even more pleased for the win and a clean sheet, which is something we have been struggling with lately,' Donawa added... 'As much as I’m pleased with my own performance, I’m really pleased with the team performance and for us to get a win in front of all of the fans that came out. They have stuck by us through the tough times recently.'

Donawa’s Bermuda team-mate Osagi Bascome also started the match for Darlington before coming off in the 80th minute".

And the Northern Echo adds that "Osagi Bascome and Justin Donawa have earned the praise of Darlington manager Alun Armstrong, who says both Bermudans have been a surprise package during the early stages of the season. Bascome has taken his opportunity to impress in the centre of midfield, while Donawa has largely been used as a substitute in the first five matches during which time he too has made an impact...

Bascome and Donawa will be unavailable for two matches in September due to being selected for Bermuda’s doubleheader with Panama... Said Armstrong, 'It’s a blow because I think they have surprised a lot of people with how they’ve adapted and what I like about them is that they’ve taken on instructions really well. Osagi was already here from last season and people didn’t really know what he was like. I needed to have a look at him in training and he was really good, but it was a case of getting him to play the way we want in matches.

'He has taken that on board. It has taken him time to adapt to not playing at a slow pace, and he enjoys keeping the ball but all I ask him to do is to try and move it forward instead of backwards, and I mean passing it, not lumping it. He’s been a nice little link between the back-four and the midfield and surprised quite a few people'...

Donawa is likely to return to the substitutes bench when Darlington play at Altrincham as Stephen Thompson returns to the starting XI.

Armstrong added 'I knew what Justin had when he came, he had raw pace and he is improving all the time in training. It’s the end product we’re working on, you cannot buy or teach that pace he has, it’s about getting him to use it as often as he can.'”

Perhaps the best-known player to move from Altrincham to Darlington was Chris Senior, who made the move in 2010 and helped the Quakers to an FA Trophy triumph. Another player to have worn both clubs' shirts is James Walshaw who was at Darlington in 2011-12 before joining Alty in 2013.

And much further back in time, Terry Rowley's Alty Legends remind us that in 1937 John Clacher moved, via Burnley, to Darlington where he made 36 Football League appearances. In 1934 he had been part of the first Altrincham team to reach the FA Cup Third Round.

Mike Garnett provides the historical record of matches between Darlington and Altrincham. Alty have yet to beat the reformed Quakers at Moss Lane...

  • Home: P2-W0-D2-L0-F5-A5
  • Away: P2-W1-D0-L1-F4-A3
  • All: P4-W1-D2-L1-F9-A8


Travel Coordinator Mark Eckersall confirms that "TASC will be running a coach to Boston United on Bank Holiday Monday and we hope you can join us. Many thanks to those who have supported us for the previous two long trips, we know it's an expense when fixtures fall like this.

We really do need people to support the coaches if we're to continue to run them to every game and break even. Anyone who travels will tell you we have a nice relaxed atmosphere on there and all ages are welcome. We'll have a 30 minute stop on the way down and a 15 minute toilet/drink stop on the way back.

We have set out a little earlier than usual due to unpredictable Bank Holiday traffic but, if we are a little early, then we are always made welcome in the social club at Boston.

Hope you can join us; please book by calling the club on 0161 928 1045 during weekday office hours from 10 am or in the Community Sports Hall at the Darlington game on Saturday.

Details of the fares and timings for the trip to Boston are to be found on the Away Travel page.


According to the Shropshire Star "AFC Telford United have bolstered their attack with the signing of Lewis Reilly on a one-month loan from Crewe.

The 20 year-old joins after scoring eight goals in 16 games on loan at... Curzon Ashton last season. Reilly has also netted a couple of times for Crewe in the EFL Trophy.

Telford have only scored four times in their opening five league games."

Crewe Vital Football adds that "The Bucks will be hoping that he’ll have the same impact as their top scorer from last season, former Alex striker Daniel Udoh who left the club to join Shrewsbury Town in the summer (who scored for the Shrews on his debut on Tuesday night).

Reilly, 20, has been a regular in Alex Morris’ Under-23 side over the past couple of seasons but has struggled to get game time at first-team level despite getting plenty for the development side. He has had spells on loan at Halesowen Town and Curzon Ashton last season...

Lewis is a tall striker who is a good finisher inside the penalty area, as his time with the Under-23s and his loan spells have proved, and he uses good positioning rather than a quick burst of pace to find space in the penalty area. He will benefit from playing regular first-team football and I’d imagine that he will spend the majority of this season out on loan, whether that is with Telford or at a National League club."

At Leamington "Paul Holleran has moved to boost his squad to help cover for suspensions by bringing in George Carline on a month's loan from our National League neighbours Solihull Moors.

The 26 year-old midfielder will be familiar to Brakes' fans having spent time at Redditch United under Liam McDonald, who signed George for Hednesford Town and later Solihull, after he began his career at Birmingham based Cadbury Athletic. George has also represented England 'C' while with the Moors...

Holleran said 'George is a player I have tried to sign on a number of occasions, but he has had some very good offers elsewhere. He is a versatile player and can operate in a number of positions which will benefit us as a squad while we are without players due to suspension. He has good experience in the National League over the past two seasons or so'".

Farsley Celtic "announce a new Academy Director and Head of Development Football at Farsley Celtic. [Ex-Alty striker] Lutel James will head up the Academy with Eray Altinoluk filling the vacant role of Development Football Head.

Lutel adds a wealth of experience to the club having been heavily involved in Academy football in the City over a great number of years. He has been working hard over the last few weeks to put together an exciting squad of players for the upcoming season at both Under 19 and Under 23 level. Lutel will be assisted by current coaches James Knowles and Glenn Thornton, as well as additional coaching staff."

From Gloucestershire Live we learn that "Gloucester City will consider going full-time once they return home. The Tigers currently have been playing in the sixth tier of English football for the last 10 years despite not having their own ground and playing outside the city since 2007.

They are competing against clubs with much bigger budgets and resources than them in the National League North with former Football League teams... Gloucester are currently 14th in the table after five games and were beaten 4-0 at Chester last weekend, four days after an impressive 3-2 win at Kidderminster, and co-chairman Alex Petheram believes they would have to look at recruiting players full-time if they are going to move forward.

He said 'For us to really progress and even entertain going into the National League, even through winning the play-offs, we have to take either the full-time model that Kidderminster and Chester have done or do hybrid model which is becoming more and more popular. That would give us three days a week training plus the Saturday match. Currently we train for a maximum of three hours a week, unless of course we’ve got a midweek game.

'If we’ve got a Tuesday night match, we’ve got to try and recover the team and train the team in a one-hour-and-a-half training session.'

Gloucester currently ground-share with Evesham United but have been granted planning permission to build a new ground at their old Meadow Park site and hope to return in 2020...

'Returning to Meadow Park remains both my and the club’s number one off-the-field task,' said Petheram. 'For us to progress it (going full-time) is something we need to look at when we are back at Meadow Park. Otherwise we’re constantly doing what we’ve been doing for the last 10 years, which is always to stave off relegation and find some magic at the end. That approach is just not sustainable long-term.

'This season we’ve started to put in place the first parts of the jigsaw with players such as Fabien (Robert), Marlon (Jackson) and Jenno (Jennison Myrie-Williams) joining the club. We need to start looking up as a club, rather than worrying about what’s below.'"

In the Telegraph & Argus we read that "Bradford (Park Avenue) may be struggling at the wrong end of the table at the moment but ambitious owner Gareth Roberts still hopes a return to the Football League could be possible in the future.

Off-field improvements remain a priority at Horsfall but the Avenue chief also said there is a hope playing budgets are to increase over the coming seasons. Former Bradford City winger Garry Thompson was sacked as manager after just two games... and was replaced by Marcus Law as interim boss. Law is still in the early process of stamping his imprint on the team...

But Roberts believes Avenue who host the only club below them, Blyth Spartans... can ride the early storm and still has ambitious plans for the club. He said 'We are trying to build for the future and the hope is we can get by this year with a modest budget and keep our deficit to a minimum. But we hope, over the next two or three years, to be able to increase our playing budget, to become very competitive.

'But we need to get things that are off the field sorted out and build up the club so that we can afford a better team on the field. With the improvements that we’re talking about, we’d be ready to be promoted. It’s definitely a possibility and likely would be a goal more quickly than people would think.'

Roberts has spoken at length about making Avenue self-sustaining, and first on the list of priorities for achieving that is securing a 35-year lease for Horsfall Stadium, something which is close to being sealed. Then, he believes the Football League could be on the horizon.

Roberts said, 'Why not? We don’t have any limits on what we can do. It does depend really on how Horsfall gets developed, to become a proper little stadium that could handle Football League games. It could well. It can’t right now, but in the future there’s no telling that it might do.'

The Bradford-born multi-millionaire has money at his disposal, but doesn't think the 'Salford City model' of pumping vast amounts of money is the way for them to go. He said 'Well I don’t think we want to go into it quite that hard. We’ve got to build up our support, we’ve got to become a bigger part of the community than we currently are and get a lot more participation and crowds... There’s no sense in going up to the Football League if you’ve got 350 fans.'

Roberts knows there's a lot to do on that front, admitting the club has been running very large deficits due to disappointing revenues. That is the main reason budgets have had to be slashed for the current campaign, but the owner is looking to rectify that. He said 'We haven’t had big crowds and part of that is due to the fact that Horsfall is not a very inviting place in February and we need to make it a bit better. We need to have better quality offerings for families and our youth teams. We want to get our youth teams to start attending games and so on. We have to do a better job of that and that’s why the lease is a priority and that's why the stadium improvements are a priority.'"

23 August 2019


Darlington visit Altrincham on Saturday having ended Southport's unbeaten run last Saturday and also having become the first team to breach the Sandgrounders' defemce.

The Quakers started the campaign disappointingly with a 3-1 defeat at promoted Farsley Celtic. A home draw, 1-1, with Gateshead followed before Darlo won their first game, 3-0, against Kettering Town. But a second 1-3 reverse of the season followed at the Tameside Stadium against Curzon Ashton before the win at Southport last time out.

So it's been an up and down start for the Quakers, who go into the game with Alty lying tenth in the league with seven points, whilst Alty are down in 17th with just five points.

As Mike Garnett's data show, Alty have yet to beat the reformed Quakers at Moss Lane...

  • Home: P2-W0-D2-L0-F5-A5
  • Away: P2-W1-D0-L1-F4-A3
  • All: P4-W1-D2-L1-F9-A8

On Darlington's last visit to Altrincham, on Saturday, 22 December 2018, spectators were treated to a 3-3 draw.


Altrincham travel to York Street on Monday, a stadium which Boston United announced last Easter would possibly be seeing its last season of use in 2019-20. Whether that will be the case remains to be seen but details of the new stadium are here.

In advance of Altrincham's Bank Holiday game, the Boston Standard reports that "Jordan Thewlis will use his three-match ban to do some homework and shrug off injury. Boston United’s leading scorer and teammate Jay Rollins will both sit out Saturday’s trip to Gloucester City as they begin suspensions picked up for their part in the melee against Leamington. {So, they will also miss the game against Altrincham].

But Thewlis is keen to use his time in the stands wisely, resting a niggling groin problem and studying his side.

'I’ve been struggling with my groin since Stamford, just before the start of the season,' the 26-year-old said. 'I’ve been missing training and playing games, which isn’t great. You want to be training, staying sharp... The only plus I can take out of being banned is to get my groin right and hopefully come back scoring goals'...

After suffering injury with Harrogate Town he arrived at Boston in December on loan, looking for game time to help him get back to full fitness. But less than 20 minutes into his debut at Chorley a wild challenge saw him suffer ankle ligament damage, ruling him out until the final few games of the campaign.

'I spent enough time watching last season, but I think it’ll be good to see things from a different perspective,' he said. 'We’ve not quite been clicking. From the sideline I can see where I can maybe affect things. I’ve not played too many games as a winger, mostly as a striker. So I’m still learning that position in a new team. Maybe the three games will do me good in seeing where I can help the team?

'Last year was near-renough a complete write-off. I want to forget last season.'

Thewlis is currently United’s leading scorer, having netted three times in the National League North so far. And with Jake Wright sidelined with a hamstring problem, Boston travel to Gloucester with a squad where nobody has yet registered a league goal.

'It’s strange one as obviously I should be happy to be scoring goals,' Thewlis added. 'But I’m not happy with performances, individually and as a team. It puts a bit of a dampener on it'".

Altrincham, for their part, are again expected to be without captain Jake Moult as he recovers from his summer operation. Nathan Arnold's departure from Altrincham this week means he won't have a reunion with the club for whom he played last season.


Hereford FC "return to home soil on Saturday... with the visit of Brackley Town. We go into the game on the back of consecutive 1-0 victories over AFC Telford United and at Blyth Spartans last weekend to make it three wins from our opening five League games.

There has been plenty of energy and endeavour from the team in our last two performances, epitomised by summer recruit, Brad Ash, who has come into the starting line-up for the last two games and looked lively.

'I’ve really enjoyed the last two games,' said Ash. 'I’m playing with plenty of confidence and can’t wait for the next match to come around... I feel as though I have been able to positively affect the last two games and the main thing for me is always to help the team get the three points, which we have done. There is a great vibe around the squad. We all believe that we can do something special this season and it’s about working hard for each other...

'It’s been a busy start to the season and now we have two games in quick succession... so we’ll focus on Saturday’s game against Brackley Town first and then be ready to go again on Monday at Chester.

'They are two tricky games but they all are in this League. It’s a competitive level where you need to be at it every week and keep doing the right things.'"

At AFC Telford United "The Bucks begin the bank holiday weekend with a trip to Merseyside to take on Southport... The Sandgrounders finished 14th last season and will be looking to improve on that this time around, and Liam Watson’s men have made a positive start to the new campaign. The Yellows currently sit 7th in the table after going were undefeated in their first four games of the season, all without conceding a single goal in that time. But the Merseysiders did then fall to defeat at Darlington last weekend.

While Southport have been impressive at the back this season, things have been slightly slower going at the other end of the pitch. However, after goalless draws against Gateshead and Curzon Ashton, Port then thumped both Guiseley and Farsley Celtic 3-0. And while last season’s top scorer, Dion Charles, departed for Accrington last week, Jack Sampson (13 league goals last season) still offers the Sandgrounders plenty of punch up front.

The Bucks shut out Southport twice last season though, winning 1-0 at the New Buck's Head before storming to a 4-0 win at a rain-soaked Haig Avenue in January.

Gavin Cowan’s men opened the current campaign season with two clean sheets from the opening three games as well. Two defeats have, of course, followed since but, if the Bucks can shut out the Sandgrounders once again, Telford could well be returning from Merseyside with all three points again this season".

And the Shropshire Star adds that "New-boy Chris Lait is determined to help ‘top-drawer’ AFC Telford United to a first away win of the season this weekend.

The 26-year-old winger has been loving life at the New Buck's Head after arriving from Tamworth in the summer but now wants things to pick up on the pitch. Gavin Cowan’s side have lost their last two games, against Hereford and King’s Lynn.

However, Saturday’s National North trip to Southport offers the chance to get back on track, and Lait said 'I’ve really enjoyed being here so far. Everything has been top-drawer; training, and the way we approach everything, but the frustrating thing has been not getting the results. I haven’t been to Southport before but the onus is on getting that first away win in the bag.

'The gaffer does not have to tell us that either. It’s on all our minds.'

Lait did not start the disappointing 3-1 loss to King’s Lynn Town last weekend because of a slight back issue but should be fine for the Haig Avenue encounter. He is yet to score for Telford. He netted 21 times for Tamworth last season, though, and has impressed in his early Bucks showings".

Farsley Celtic "will be looking to make it back-to-back wins against Gateshead on Saturday...

The clubs last met in the 2008/09 Blue Square North season in which Gateshead did the double over the Celt Army on their way to promotion via the playoffs".

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Marcus Bignot says he will have a better idea of how Guiseley's season is shaping up after his side's Bank Holiday weekend double header. The Lions joint-manager says he breaks down his side's season into seven-game blocks, meaning this first period of the new Vanarama National League North campaign will be completed after the Lions entertain Alfreton Town on Saturday, followed by a trip to Blyth Spartans 48 hours later.

Alfreton are eighth, three points behind Guiseley, while Blyth, led by former Birmingham City and Huddersfield Town manager Lee Clark, are bottom with four defeats from their first four games. Clark has been busy re-shaping his squad this week as he looks to kickstart a change in fortunes for his side. Dale Pearson, Craig Spooner and Jack Butler have all left the club by mutual consent.

After a frantic first three weeks involving five league games, Guiseley have enjoyed a week-long break from action since they grabbed a 1-1 draw at Boston United last weekend. Bignot admits it was good for both himself, fellow joint-manager Russ O'Neill and their squad to get a break from matches and instead concentrate on training.

Bignot said 'It has been pretty full-on from the start of the season. Every manager wanted this break as it gives them an opportunity to recover and do some much-needed work. We now have Saturday-Monday, two games in three days. There is no rest between them. We have been working them hard in training.

'The busy Bank Holiday is the same for everyone. They are a young group. They look good physically at the moment. I'm happy where we are. Saturday is a good opportunity as we are in good form.'

Guiseley's great start to the season, three wins from their opening five games, has propelled them into second place in the table, three points behind leaders York City. The Lions are also proving free-scoring with 12 goals so far, while only conceded five.

Bignot added 'Once we get over the Bank Holiday weekend, we are into the rigours of the season so far. If we come out from the first seven games with a good points return I will be really happy. That's when we will be able to judge our season.'"

22 August 2019


After two starts and one appearance from the bench, Nathan Arnold's stay at Altrincham has ended. The Altrincham FC website announces his departure, with manager Phil Parkinson saying "We believe that it's best for both the player and the club to go our separate ways at this point".

In an impressive parting statement, Nathan said "It’s rare in football both parties are amicable in moments like these and remain dignified!"

Nathan's arrival at Altrincham was announced on 9 June, 2019 and came after he had spent several months out of the game, following a spell at Boston United, ironically our next away opponents on Bank Holiday Monday.

He had begun his career at Mansfield Town where he made more than a hundred appearances between 2005 and 2009. After a season with Hyde United he racked up another century of appearances for Alfreton Town (2010-13). Next, he joined Cambridge United and, from there, he had a loan spell at Grimsby Town, a club he subsequently joined in 2015/16 season.

After that he joined Lincoln City and after a brief loan at Salford City he played for Boston United in the early part of 2018-19.


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records remind us that the last time we played on Saturday's date, 24 August, we beat last season's bogey-club, Stockport County, 3-0, back in 2013 in the Skrill North as the league was then described. That match was the clubs' first-ever league meeting at first-team level.

In that 2013-14 campaign Altrincham started the season with seven unbeaten games of which the County match was the third in a sequence of four successive wins from the start of the season. Alty went on to be promoted via the play-offs that season.

James Walshaw steered home a 42nd minute goal. Unforced errors cost County as Reeves headed a second goal from Densmore's cross in the 50th minute. Then Walshaw put Reeves clear and he finished well to make it 3-0 after 70 minutes.

Despite having won their opening two fixtures, Altrincham nevertheless made four changes to their starting line up as Leather, Richman, Walshaw and Clee all came in for Doughty, Rodgers, Lawrie and Smikle. Former Altrincham midfielder Ian Craney was in County's team whilst ex-County men Luca Havern and Danny Boshell started for Altrincham.

Above: Manager Lee Sinnott speaks to his team after the win over Stockport County on 24 August 2013.

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

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


The Shropshire Star reports that "Chris Lait has recognised AFC Telford United’s need to be ruthless to get back to winning ways in National League North.

New-boy Lait and his Bucks' team-mates have not had the best of starts, winning just one of their first five games and are now three without a victory. But he is remaining positive as they have been creating opportunities, albeit without putting them away.

When asked if things will turn around soon, Lait said 'Definitely. In those performances, there have been some promising signs. The last two games have not been as good, the losses to Hereford and King’s Lynn, but there are definitely positives. If you’re conceding and not scoring when you have the chances, it is always going to be difficult. But there have been spells where we have been really good in games. We have just got to be more ruthless.'

Lait was snapped up in the close season from Tamworth after netting more than 20 goals for the Lambs in the Southern Premier Central last campaign. He is yet to score for Telford... Lait did not start the 3-1 defeat to King’s Lynn last weekend because of a slight back issue.

'King’s Lynn wasn’t acceptable but, apart from that, we have created chances. We battered Gateshead and should’ve seen it through at Kettering. The good thing is that we are creating chances.'"

Cheshire Live informs us that "Several Chester FC players were in action elsewhere at the weekend as part of their loan deals away from the club.

Goalkeeper Theo Roberts, who last week joined Atherton Collieries on an initial month’s loan, made his debut on Saturday in a 2-2 draw at Ashton United. And he started between the sticks once more on Tuesday as the Colls fell to their first defeat of the season, going down 4-2 at home to Warrington Town, managed by ex-Chester City ace Paul Carden.

Cain Noble was in the starting line up for Hyde United, playing 90 minutes in a fine 2-1 win for the Tigers away at FC United of Manchester".

A player leaving Edgar Street is the subject of a report fromNL Daily which says that "Merthyr Town have announced the re-signing of Eliot Richards, subject to international clearance. The 28-year-old made 52 appearances for the Martyrs, scoring 10 goals in his spell at The Met Coaches Stadium before departing for Hereford FC in 2017. Since then he has made 29 appearances for The Bulls, scoring four goals".

From the Chronicle Live we learn that "Gateshead FC fans... were asked to suggest songs for the Heed to use was walk-on music this season and a final poll saw them snub a football cliche... Think 'Z Cars' for Everton, The Beautiful South's 'Rotterdam' at Luton Town, or Sunderland's former synonymy with Republica's 'Ready To Go', which a popular club message board takes its name from. Others are so over-used they have become a cliché.

Gateshead fans chose to snub the obvious and select something a little different when their club asked them what they'd like to hear as the Heed run out onto the International Stadium pitch this season. Suggestions led to an eight-song short list, which became two after further rounds of voting on social media.

In the 'Final', supporters had two contrasting options. The first was The White Stripes' 'Seven Nation Army', a song widely used by football clubs and supporters across the world. However good the song is, you could be anywhere when you hear it. The second option was Nakatomi's late 90s' happy hardcore anthem, 'Children of the Night'. A tune [which was] blasted out of tinny Sony Ericsson mobile speakers throughout the Nexus transport network in the early 2000s.

If you're not familiar with Nakatomi's work, Children of the Night is a quick-tempo number, with high pitched vocals declaring 'We are the children of the night. We fight for the future of our nation. Let's come together and unite. Nothing's gonna stop us now.'"


A number of ex-Altrincham players were on the mark for their current clubs in the Bet Victor Northern Premier on Tueday night. They included Craig Hobson and Kallum Mantack who both netted for Stalybridge Celtic in their 5 - 1 win over Scarborough Athletic. Hobson scored twice and Mantack once. And at Atherton Collieries, Warrington Town got back to winning form with a 4-2 win with their last goal being scored by Matthew Chadwick.
21 August 2019


Altrincham had no game on Tuesday night but, across the Borough of Trafford, four players who had worn the Altrincham shirt in recent times took part as Trafford FC entertained Workington in a Bet Victor Premier League First Division match. Trafford fielded ex-Robins, Laurence Taylor, Darius Palmer and summer trialist Lewis Salmon in their starting eleven. Meanwhile, the Cumbrians who brought good support for a Tuesday-night match, named Nathan Waterston as a substitute.

Right: Nathan Waterston, pictured before the game.

In an entertaining match, the second half was played in torrential rain. When the experienced Gari Rowntree, a second-half Reds' substitute, committed his third significant foul, his short stay on the pitch was ended by a second yellow card and an inevitable red, leaving Workington to play for nearly twenty minutes with ten men.

But Trafford failed to manage the situation of having an extra man and Workington won a late corner. Played from the left, the low corner was impressiveley flicked on by Waterston, whose Alty loan spell from Barrow was curtailed by a poor tackle from an FC United of Manchester player, for Wordsworth to score. Trafford have now lost both their opening league games whilst Workington have won both of theirs, following their relegation last season.


On 31 August Altrincham entertain Farsley Celtic and the club announces that "For our fixture against Farsley Celtic we will be opening a turnstile at 12.15pm and will be showing the Southampton v Manchester United game in the Community Sports Hall.

And there will be a special offer of beer/lager at £3 per pint or £5 for a pie and a pint. This offer is available until 2pm".


The National League reports that "The FA Groundsman of the Year Awards 2019 were held at St George’s Park and five National League Clubs were honoured for their efforts.

Boreham Wood’s Declan Robinson and Daniel Hunter were the overall winners...

Other award winners included Liam Reynolds from Chesterfield and Rob Brooks of Alfreton Town, who finished second and third respectively. Elsewhere, Woking’s Colin Galliford and Adie Ganderton of Kidderminster Harriers were highly commended at the awards."

NL Daily informs us that "Blyth Spartans’ Dale Pearson, Craig Spooner and Jack Butler have left the club by mutual consent. Pearson and Spooner joined from Newcastle Benfield and North Shields, respectively, in the summer and made five National League North appearances between them.

Butler, who graduated into the first team from the reserves, featured eight times for Spartans and spent the majority of last season loan at Ashington. The former England Schoolboys forward has decided to further his education by going to university.

Blyth manager Lee Clark said 'I have to make some quick decisions in terms of the squad. I can’t let it drift. I’ve increasingly realised that I need to trim the squad and bring in some experienced players who know our level and do it within budget.'

Alongside Pearson, Robbie Dale was absent from Saturday’s matchday squad. Clark says... 'I pick the team and the bench on what I see on the pitch and in training. I have no other criteria. I look for players who want to play and then be good enough when they do make the team. In terms of player choice, I simply do what I think is right.”

According to York Press "York City's trip to Spennymoor Town is going ahead. It was initially uncertain whether the game would be postponed - as with Boston United's visit to the Moors, due to building work at The Brewery Field.

Spennymoor yesterday confirmed the game, their first at home this term, will be played, albeit with reduced capacity as work is ongoing on the South End. The fixture will not be segregated. York have been allocated 700 tickets,".

Cheshire Live reminds us that "Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley... have been Chester FC managers for the past 16 months and have had a full season under their belt with the Blues. For them, their time with the 'Class of 92' was finished when they walked out of the Peninsula Stadium and into the Deva Stadium...

While Johnson and Morley may have walked away the gaze of the media remained on Salford... The Ammies... are back in the spotlight once again as the latest instalment of the documentary that has charted the rise of the club... Johnson and Morley, who achieved two promotions with Salford during their time there...

The managers have enjoyed a strong start to this season at Chester, sitting fifth after five games and yet to be beaten. Salford has been a long way from their minds for some time, although the new series airing was no shock, it was something that they contributed to some months ago, not something that was done with great relish either. Morley himself admitted that he had only seen 10 minutes of the new series and had no plans to watch any longer.

The latest series hit the small screen a couple of weeks ago, charting the National League North success and, what had seemed from the outside looking in at the time, the surprising end of the road for Johnson and Morley as the 'Class of 92' changed tack and brought in Alexander...

Johnson said 'The only reason it was difficult was that it was 18 months ago, it was finished as far as we were concerned. We knew there was another series to come out but it brought stuff back up, and I'm not saying this to curry favour with Chester fans, we are now Chester managers.

'I know people are probably getting sick and tired of people asking questions to me and Bern on social media about those times.... I'd like to think we'd come across as honest, people with integrity, people who've tried to do things the right way. There are a few myths on there that really did set me back a little bit if I am honest with you...

'There was stuff about not being fit enough, we came back in 18 games to win games. Then there's 'we trained once a week', some absolute belters on there...I'm glad it's over. We're well into our next chapter of our careers but it was part of the past, a successful past, and we move on'...

He said 'A lot of those interviews had been done six months ago so to be part of them moving forward we had to do exit interviews (for the TV show). But that's part and parcel of it, we have no bitterness or envy or issues with anyone in Salford... What we didn't want was people to think we didn't have our eye on the ball here and then that coming out on TV. Can you imagine if we had not had a good start and that came out! People would have used that against us, so thankfully we've had a good start to the season at Chester...

'If they want to come down here and film us at Chester and pay us loads of money then we'll do another series here.'"

20 August 2019


On Saturday, Altrincham welcome Darlington to the J. Davidson Stadium.

As Mike Garnett's data show, Alty have yet to beat the reformed Quakers at Moss Lane...

  • Home: P2-W0-D2-L0-F5-A5
  • Away: P2-W1-D0-L1-F4-A3
  • All: P4-W1-D2-L1-F9-A8

On their last visit to Altrincham spectators were treated to a 3-3 draw on Saturday, 22 December 2018.

In an end to end game, a draw was ultimately a fair result after Altrincham had fallen 3-1 behind shortly before the interval. Darlington first went ahead in the eighth minute when Elliott converted after goalkeeper Thompson had saved an earlier shot. But Hancock's header from a Johnston cross levelled things less than three minutes later.

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

Above, Altrincham celebrate Hancock's goal in the December 2018 match against Darlington.

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

Altrincham were without suspended striker Jordan Hulme, so Josh Hancock wore the number nine shirt. Out injured was defender Andy White, whilst James Poole and Ben Harrison continued their lengthier rehabilitation process.. So the bench was very inexperienced. Apart from Sean Williams, who had made nine league starts this season, the other three outfield subs had just two starts between them, with neither Josh Langley nor new loanee Chris Sang having previously appeared in an Alty league game.

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

DARLINGTON: 1. Jonathan Maddison, 2. Luke Trotman, 3. Williams Kokolo, 4. William Smith, 5. Jonathan Burn, 6. Terry Galbraith ((c), 7. Tom Elliott, 8. Romal Palmer, 9. Harvey Saunders, 10. Andrew Nelson, 11. Jordan Nicholson. Subs: 12. Ben O'Hanlon, 13. Cameron Hall, 14. Alex Henshall, 15. Alex Wollerton, 16. Stephen Thompson.


Last Saturday it was Josh Hancock making his 100th appearance for Altrincham. This Saturday sees Jordan Hulme reach the same landmark after 94 starts and 5 appearamces from the bench. He has netted 51 goals in those games.


The Shropshire Star reports that "Bucks' manager Gavin Cowan admitted his team were second best after his side fell to a 3-1 home defeat to King’s Lynn Town. The newly-promoted Linnets condemned the Bucks to a third defeat in five matches, and Cowan was at a loss to describe why.

'I thought we were just the second best team,' said Cowan. 'It’s hard for me to say, because I know how hard my players work behind the scenes and how much they care. We just came up against a team that were sharper than us, moved the ball quicker than us, and just showed a bit more desire, in all honesty.

'That’s hard for me to say, but I always want to be honest, and we didn’t deserve to win the game.'

The Bucks fell behind to a Michael Gash goal on 19 minutes, and [King's Lynn] doubled their lead just before the interval...

'We’re not scoring goals at the moment, and then they get that sucker-punch just before half-time and that really killed us... The third goal is a really poor one to concede, and it’s difficult to take, but we did have a lot of chances today. I’m not going to sugar-coat it and say that we deserved to get anything out of the game, but very much like the other night (at Hereford), those moments change games...

It felt as though the harder we tried, the worse it got. You sometimes have days like that, but there are no excuses... Some of the performances were completely unacceptable, but we’re still very much in a building process, trying to overcome that next hurdle. We’re not that surprise element any more, people are prepared for us, and no-one’s going to feel sorry for us or help us. We’ll get it right, it will take a bit of time, but it’s important we all stick together.'"

Bradford (Park Avenue) "interim manager Marcus Law says he plans on using this week to make some changes in personnel after a fourth defeat in five matches this season.

Law, who replaced Garry Thompson just two games into the campaign, oversaw the side’s first point of the season last week with a 1-1 draw at Gateshead but any work was undone on Saturday with a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Alfreton Town.

'It didn’t get off to the best of starts,' Law said. 'We got here and our centre half Nelson (Digbeu) has broken down, meaning we had to bring in Ryan Cresswell earlier than we probably wanted to. At the end of the day, he’s missed 10 days without training or playing due to family reasons, which in the grand scheme of things are much more important.

'We’ve had to throw him in there and, in fairness to him, he’s not done much wrong, he was a bit off the pace, but that was going to happen, I can’t put him at fault. Ultimately, they’ve had a penalty, an own goal and two bad backpasses, and it’s 4-0. That says everything about what this group is at the moment.

'There’s some naivety, some bad decision making, and that’s what’s hurting them... I’ve said to them after the game that it’s not their fault they’ve been put together,' Law said. 'This is a very young side, and ultimately there’s a core who really need to be pitching at three or four to learn and develop. It’s just a bit too much for them, and it’s hurting the players who are of this level and who are good enough.

'Elliott Holmes, Alex Hurst, Isaac Marriott, there’s players there, and they need support to play at this level but, at the moment, they’re just not getting it. We’ve had some committed performances, but it’s just the quality and the know-how that is lacking... I’ve asked the lads to be a bit honest, and ask themselves if they are doing themselves justice.

'Some of them lads are doing as much travelling as me, and that’s a worry. I don’t understand why. I’m travelling a distance but I’m not playing. Some of the squad are matching that, and they just need to be playing in and around their area, they should be no more than an hour away. Again, it’s not their fault, they’ve all been whacked on contracts which makes me a lot more restricted financially.

'But they’ve just got to be honest and ask themselves "Is this the level you can compete at at this moment in time?" It’s now up to 18 goals against, with only the one for, and that says a lot'.

With a rare midweek free of action early in the season, Law revealed he has arranged a friendly to take a look at some potential new faces. 'We’ll get through the weekend and have some honest conversations on Monday,' he said. 'I’ve arranged a friendly for this week to look at some players in the squad and some I’d like to bring in.

'It’s difficult to bring in players when you’ve got so many on contract, but I think that it’s an honest enough group, all of whom just want to be playing. We’ll certainly help the players as much as we can, but there’s got to be a bit of humanity about it all, we don’t want to make life difficult for people as it’s not their fault. I’ve worked in the National League and I didn’t even have that many players on contract then. I’m still getting my head round why what’s happened has happened.

'I don’t think it’s the owner’s fault, I think they’ve gone from one extreme to the other in terms of an over-inflated budget to a very restricted one, and then adding all the players on contract within that restriction. So we want to protect the core that have something about them, and that we can develop, and have some honest conversations amongst the group, and have a week where we can make some changes'...

'We actually started the game very brightly,' the interim boss said. 'Then we had the goal ruled out which was a matter of inches. All in all, we have got some very nice footballers, who have been educated through the academy system. The side competed on Tuesday at Gateshead because of the way they play, pretty on the eye, trying to open play up, and that suited us. Alfreton are a different beast. They are no nonsense, very experienced non-league team, who make good decisions due to their know-how.

'That shows you the gulf in terms of the education that this side is missing, we just haven’t competed... I'm not going to shy away from the challenge... I’m not going to blame anyone, the situation is what it is, but the decision making in the past has made our job very hard'".

News of Altrincham's next opponents comes from Middlesbrough who refer to two of their players loaned to National League North clubs. Firstly, "Tyrone O’Neill chalked up his first two goals for Darlington, scoring twice in a week for the Quakers. The young striker scored last Monday night away to Curzon Ashton, but Darlington were beaten 3-1 on their travels to Tameside Stadium.

O’Neill netted his second goal in the space of five days on Saturday at home to Southport, breaking the deadlock with only four minutes played before Adam Campbell added a second from the penalty spot.

After a fourth successive draw in midweek against Bradford Park Avenue, Brad James and Gateshead secured their first win of the season away to Kettering Town on Saturday.

Marcus Kelly put the home side in front, but the Heed scored twice in the second half to earn their first three points of the campaign, with Toby Lees getting the visitors back on terms before Joshua Kayode grabbed the winner in injury time."

Meanwhile Darlington "keeper Chris Elliott chatted about Saturday's game to the official website; you can listen to his interview here.

Lincolnshire Live tells us that "Craig Elliott had no qualms with Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Guiseley after admitting his side did not do enough to win the game against the Lions.

The Pilgrims struggled to overcome their opponents who had been reduced to 10 men in the 19th minute following George Cantrill’s wild challenge on Alex Whittle. United even fell behind to Aaron Martin’s 53rd minute header before rescuing a point through Jordan Thewlis’ penalty 18 minutes from time.

'We did not do enough over 90 minutes to win a game of football,' said Elliott. 'We only really got playing like we can do in the last 30 minutes so it was bittersweet. We would probably have lost that game last year but we have got a bit more resilience about us now and you have got to be thankful for any points in this league.

'Guiseley are a very good defensive team, with some good defensive players, and it just made them more resilient and the two centre-backs were outstanding for them. They were hard to break down and we knew that if we did not play like we can, set-pieces could punish us and that’s what happened.'

The Pilgrims were seemingly handed a major boost when Cantrill received his marching orders following a lunge on Whittle in front of the dugouts... and Guiseley were left to play over three quarters of the contest with a numerical disadvantage. United struggled to find any rhythm against the Lions though and failed to create many clear-cut openings...

United mustered a response, despite losing both full-backs through injury, and levelled in the 72nd minute after Sykes-Kenworthy cleaned out Thewlis in the penalty area. Thewlis picked himself up to crash home his second successful spot-kick in two matches... The Pilgrims enjoy[ed] plenty of the ball in the closing stages but were unable to carve out one golden chance".

And Boston United report that "The National League have granted 22 clubs an academy licence for the inaugural National League Football Academy season... The 2019-2020 campaign will be formed of two regional divisions...


  • AFC Fylde
  • Alfreton Town
  • Boston United
  • Chester FC
  • Darlington
  • FC Halifax Town
  • Guiseley
  • Hartlepool United
  • Solihull Moors
  • York City

At Kidderminster Harriers "manager John Pemberton expressed his pride and admiration for his young squad after victory at Curzon Ashton. The 1-0 win was decided by a single Ashley Chambers strike in the second half, after Harriers had dominated for almost the entire afternoon.

Boss Pemberton felt... 'We got what we deserved; we had twelve shots and managed to score a goal, which is really pleasing and, even more pleasing, is getting a clean sheet. I thought we were magnificent all over the pitch in regard to off the ball and on the ball, we were able to create a lot of chances'...

He added, 'We just need people to get behind the players and behind the team'".

Cheshire Live reports that "Anthony Johnson insists that Matty Hughes won't be leaving Chester FC and that a permanent deal will be signed as and when circumstances allow. Hughes, 27, made his first start since October last year on Saturday, starring in a 4-0 home win over Gloucester City...

The former Fleetwood Town striker, who missed much of last season after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury against Hereford, looked back to his old self before being subbed in the second half. A first start in 10 months understandably leading to some cramp late on... His performance on Saturday saw Blues fans clamour to make sure the striker put pen to paper on a deal, but Blues joint-manager Johnson stressed that Hughes would not be leaving the football club and that he has been a fully paid member of the first team squad since the first day they returned for pre-season training.

'I don't see the big thing about this with Matty,' said Johnson. 'We've done nine weeks and of that nine weeks he has missed three with injury. We are still paying him as a football club so, whether he is contracted or non-contracted all it means is, if he decides he has had enough of it here and wants to go somewhere else, then nobody has to pay a fee or we don't have to pay him up. But the lad has been brilliant, his money won't change, nothing changes for Matty. Me and Bernard, we are loyal people and Matty Hughes is a loyal lad so if we can get something tied up and the budget allows us then we'll get him on a contract.

'He won't be leaving the club, he will not be leaving this club whether he is on a contract or not on a contract. He will never not get paid. We're committed to Matty, Matty is committed to us and if we can get something done in terms of the paper then we will. He's a star for us and when he plays it gives is a different dimension'.

Hughes made way on 66 minutes for another striker who has had injury woes and a point to prove, Akwasi Asante .

The Dutchman looked sharper than he had done for some time, battling well and always looking to get a shot away and was able to get himself on the scoresheet in injury time for the second time in a week, tucking home a penalty after Danny Elliott had been fouled.... 'He looked a powerhouse,' said the Blues' co-boss".

We learn from Gloucestershire Live that "Gloucester City boss Mike Cook admitted his side were nowhere near good enough in their 4-0 defeat at Chester City. They got off to the worst possible start at the Deva Stadium as Danny Livesey’s long ball forward from the halfway line caught the wind and flew into the back of the net with George Waring doubling Chester’s advantage inside four minutes.

Fabien Robert hit the bar for Gloucester but Bradley Jackson made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time and Akwasi Asante added Chester's fourth in second-half stoppage time from the penalty spot.

Gloucester had won their first two away games against Blyth Spartans and Kidderminster with this defeat seeing them drop down eight places to 14th... Cook said he and the players were left 'deflated' after the game. 'We wanted to keep that away run together but there was nowhere near today [sic],' said Cook. 'I don’t think we’ve had a game where we’ve turned up and everybody’s played not to the level where we expect but all 11, 12, 13 of them [were] not good enough. We’ve been [on] a good run away from home so it probably had to come to an end...

'They were better than us in all departments so no complaints'... Gloucester were without striker Marlon Jackson at Chester and Cook hopes he will be fit for their home game against Boston".

"Lee Clark is confident Blyth Spartans will soon be up-and-running in National League North and was pleased with Saturday’s first-half performance against Hereford.

Spartans were on top in the first half and were unfortunate to be behind at the break after Mike Symons’ opener on 24 minutes. However, in the second 45 minutes, Clark admits his side fell short in the second period...

'I was really pleased with our performance in the first half of the game on Saturday except for the disappointing goal we gave away,' Clark said... 'I was disappointed with the second half where we didn’t reproduce what we did in the first. I think the players get a little bit anxious when they go behind and a fear-factor creeps in... We ended up lumping it sometimes.

'That’s not the way I want to play. But I can’t keep saying that; we need to get points on the board'".

Guiseley "who were down to ten men for 71 minutes of Saturday’s fixture with Boston United at York Street came away with a good point after Aaron Martin’s seventh goal of the season...

George Cantrill’s challenge in front of the dugouts was deemed worthy of a straight red card by the referee... Boston were on top after the red card but didn’t manage to open the scoring thanks...

Just eight minutes into the second half The Lions were ahead... The hosts fought back though and got their equaliser from the penalty spot... The Lions travelled back to West Yorkshire with a hard earned point much to the delight of the travelling 55".

For Kettering Town "It was heartache once again for the Poppies as they conceded a goal in time added on for the second consecutive match.

Having gone ahead on 7 minutes with Marcus Kelly stabbing in from close range, a game Kettering dominated in the first half, came crashing down in the 93rd minute when Joshua Kayode (above) scored the winner, when a draw seemed certain".

After the disappointment of conceding an injury time equaliser against Chester Nicky Eaden kept faith with the starting eleven that so nearly secured three points. One change was made to the substitute’s bench was the inclusion of Alex Nimely. Javan Vidal was again unavailable due to concussion protocols...

As in all the games this season Kettering are slow out of their traps and Gateshead made the early showing...

In stark contrast to last seasons added time bonuses Kettering have dropped three points in the dying minutes of the last two games. Kettering matched Gateshead which were last season playing two levels above them for the first 45 minutes. The second half saw the team run out of steam and ideas conceding the initiative and territory to the visitors by retreating deeper and deeper into their own half.

Everyone knew that this was going to be hard season but it's being able to close games out to the final whistle that will determine the club's fate".

19 August 2019


Altrincham's next match, on Saturday, is at home to Darlington. In last season's visit, the Quakers led three times at Moss Lane but the match ended 3-3.

Last Saturday Darlington reported on a 2-0 home win. "Two goals in the first 30 minutes gave Darlington a well-deserved win over previously-unbeaten Southport. Quakers started the game at a fast tempo, and that enabled then to take a fourth minute lead through Tyrone O'Neill. That was followed by some excellent football that resulted in Adam Campbell scoring the second from the spot.

From a defensive point of view, they were strong against a big attack, and there was no sign of the errors that littered Monday's defeat at Curzon Ashton. However, right back Michael Liddle had to be helped off with an injury just before half time, and he could miss the next game against Altrincham...

Southport made three subs at the break as they looked for improvement in the second half... Quakers held on against the late pressure for a richly-deserved win, their second at home this season.

Darlington: Elliott, Liddle (sub Heaton 43), Watson, Bascome, (Holness 80) Laing, Galbraith, Rivers, Hatfield, Campbell, Donawa (sub Wheatley 87), O’Neill. Subs: Bell, Atkinson".


Above: Josh Hancock and Jordan Hulme help out their defence at Brackley on Saturday.

Match report here.

Phil Parkinson's post-match interview with Brian Flynn is here.

The Banbury Guardian reported that "Shane Byrne hit the only goal of the game as Brackley Town beat Altrincham... Saints fully deserved the win, creating more than enough chances to have won the game more decisively but had keeper Danny Lewis to thank for saving a second half penalty...

After the restart, the home side passed up two gilt-edged chances to have opened up a two-goal lead. Jimmy Armson picked a perfect pass to play in Matt Lowe who was thwarted with the goal seemingly at his mercy before Lee Ndlovu followed up but saw his back-heeled effort cleared off the line in a double let-off for the Robins".


Alty's next game is on Saturday, 17 August, at home to Darlington. Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's record of previous matches on that calendar date are in the Through the Years date.


2019 is the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Football Alliance, the forerunner to The Football Conference and the National League. The second part of Mike Garnett's "Forty years on" appeared in the Robins' Review recently and is reproduced here, courtesy of the author.

For its part the Non-League Paper on Sunday had an eight-page supplement to mark the anniversary. This included an interview with former Alty player and assistant manager Graham Barrow. Of his time with Altrincham he notes that "I was on reasonable money at Altrincham while working as a heating engineer as well. The offer from Wigan and full-time meant I had to take a drop in income. I told my wife about it and she said it was something I'd always wanted to do, give it a go and, if it doesn't work out, then go back to it."

The supplement also notes a number of Altrincham's achievements, including their numerous League scalps in the FA Cup.

The National League adds that "The National League celebrates its 40th anniversary, since the first fixtures took place in the then-called Alliance Premier League. An allocation of 20 Clubs made up the fifth tier, with Altrincham claiming the title in the inaugural season.

The Noel Kelly trophy, named after the former Nuneaton Borough Chairman, remained at Moss Lane at the end of the first two campaigns. The pyramid shaped trophy represented a transition to the structure of Non-League football, which has been integral in shaping the game in this country. With automatic promotion introduced from 1987, even the smallest Clubs could dream of a meteoric rise into the Football League and beyond.

Football power-brokers Jim Thompson and Noel White, who sadly passed away recently, were just two of a number of key people who influenced this ground-breaking change- and many others, like the influential Bill King, Peter Hunter and current President Brian Lee, have tirelessly steered the League through its many adventures over the past four decades...

Our current commercial partnerships with Vanarama, LV Bet and BT Sport are flourishing, and the estimated money generated by the season-long competition is now at over £80 million... Last season, over two million spectators attended our matches... The figure is substantially larger than a decade ago. Most importantly our competition remains friendly, welcoming and open to all. It is a National League but with wonderful Local Values" writes Brian Barwick, Chairman of The National League.


On Saturday, Altrincham Reserves' match at Billinge was postponed.

The Reserves' next match, which may feature some first-team squad members, is away at Knutsford FC on Tuesday night. Next Saturday the Reserves are at home to Greenalls PSO.


On Bank Holiday Monday, Altrincham travel to Boston, their third successive lengthy away journey after recent fixtures at Evesham against Gloucester City and at Brackley, last Saturday.

Last Saturday Boston United drew 1-1 at home to Guiseley.

"Jordan Thewlis converted a second half penalty as Boston United shared the spoils with 10-man Guiseley on Saturday afternoon. The Lions had midfielder George Cantrill dismissed in the 19th minute following a rash lunge on Alex Whittle but it was the numerically-disadvantaged visitors who took the lead eight minutes after the break when Aaron Martin headed home.

Thewlis was tripped by Guiseley keeper George Sykes-Kenworthy with 18 minutes[?] and duly levelled from the spot.

United full-back Karl Byrne received an early booking for a foul on Dylan Barkers but Guiseley were soon reduced to 10 men when Cantrill scythed into Whittle in front of the dugouts to receive a straight red. The Pilgrims were unable to carve out a meaningful chance until the 40th minute... Guiseley took a 53rd minute when lead when Brad Nicholson’s deep corner was guided home by the head of MARTIN at the back post.

United suffered an injury blow just before the hour mark when full-backs Byrne and Whittle were both forced off. The Pilgrims were awarded a 72nd minute penalty when Sykes-Kenworthy bundled over THEWLIS, who picked himself up to lift home another successful spot-kick...

Boston (4-4-2): Peter Crook; Karl Byrne (Andi Thanoj 57), Luke Shiels, Simon Ainge, Alex Whittle (Ashley Jackson 56); Jay Rollins, Brad Abbott, Tom Platt, Jordan Thewlis; Shaun Tuton (Tom Clare 68), Dominic Knowles. Subs (not used): Nicky Walker, George Willis (gk)."


The death has been announced of Terry Murphy, a former assistant manager to John Williams at Altrincham FC. The Northwich Guardian says that "Terry, who had worked at ICI, had a long association with football in the area and served the Winnington and Castle Ward on Northwich Town Council.

The Guardian understands that Terry, a parkrun regular, tragically collapsed during the weekly race in Carey Park on Saturday... He had spells as manager of Witton Albion, where he was most recently a scout, Northwich Victoria, Winsford United, Barnton, Middlewich Town and Lostock Gralam. Terry, who lived in Winnington, also spoke out seven years ago in support, in his role as a councillor, of the creation of what is now the fans-run 1874 Northwich...

Liverpool-born Terry featured in the Knutsford FC team in the 1950s... Terry moved to Stockport for a short spell, then back to Knutsford for the 1958-59 season before moving to Northwich Vics in 1960. He went on to play as a left-half in the Football League for Crewe Alexandra and at non-league level with Witton Albion, before moving into management with a succession of mid Cheshire clubs as well as Rhyl, Runcorn and Altrincham.

Most recently he won three league titles in seven years at Middlewich Town, before joining Winsford United in 2009 where he had to quit after three months for family reasons... Terry followed John King into the top job at Northwich Vics for the 1984-85 season, before Mike Pejic took over the reins."

At Altrincham, Terry Murphy worked alongside Williams at the start of the 1987-88 season but the duo were sacked after just ten matches, with their successor being the legendary Tommy Docherty who, likewise, stayed only briefly at Moss Lane, overseeing just 17 fixtures.


The Northern Premier League reports that "Ashton United also failed to register a win on the opening day as they were held to a 2-2 draw by newly-promoted Atherton Collieries. Sam Sheridan twice fired the Robins in to a second half lead, only to be cancelled out by debutant Brad Lynch and Oliver Roberts."


Several of last season's teams who did well are at the wrong end of the table currently and these include Altrincham, Bradford (PA), AFC Telford United and Blyth Spartans. The Spartans lost many of their best players and their manager over the summer, with Darlingotn and York City being the chief beneficiaries.

BLyth Spartans report that they "slumped to a fourth defeat in a row, despite an encouraging first-half performance against Hereford.

Mike Symons put The Bulls in front after 24 minutes, though it was Lee Clark’s side that shaded the opening 45 minutes. And, despite the best efforts of on-loan Newcastle United goalkeeper Nathan Harker, who pulled a string of excellent saves, the hosts were unable to find an equaliser in a largely disappointing first-half.

Clark made three changes from the side that lost to title favourites York City in midweek. Chris Mason, Damen Mullen and Scott Fenwick replaced Ryan Hutchinson, Anthony Callaghan and Dale Pearson.

Spartans started the better of the two... It was set-pieces where Hereford carried their biggest threat... However, it was a clever passing move from the visitors opened up the Spartans. Rowan Liburd was picked out on the right-wing before rolling the ball across the box to Symons, who calmly finished from three-yards... Despite all of Spartans’ pressure, Liburd looked set to double Hereford’s lead if it was not for Harker who pulled off an outstanding save with his legs...

In the second half, neither side stamped their authority on the game until Hereford did in the closing stages when Blyth pushed for an equaliser... Spartans ran out of energy deep into the second half after the players ran themselves into the ground in the first half. However, Clark will be able to take positives from the game as there were definite improvements from recent performances".

And another of last season's title contenders who are at the bottom end this campaign are Bradford Park Avenue who "announce the signing of exciting striker Rod Orlando Young. Young began his career at Exeter City’s academy where he impressed enough to earn a move at age 17 to Norwich where he helped Norwich under 18s to win the youth FA cup.

Throughout his career, Young has made a number of National League appearances most notably with Welling United... The former Norwich man described himself as a ‘tricky’ forward and promises to be a handful for defenders saying 'I bring with me a lot of pace and trickery. I like to take on defenders and create opportunities for myself and my teammates'...

On the move, manager, Marcus Law commented, 'Rod’s a pacey attacking player and we feel he can bring a lot to the team. It is an area we have been looking at closely as we need to turn around the goal deficit if we are to progress in this league.'”

And the Chronicle Live informs us that "Newcastle United goalkeeper Nathan Harker is relishing the challenge of spending time on loan at Blyth Spartans. The 20-year-old agreed a four-month loan spell... And he has impressed...

He said 'I am still training at Newcastle and I have come into this not knowing what to expect really. It’s been a really good experience for me to take forward. All of the keepers at Newcastle are very helpful, and they have had experience of loans at this level earlier in their career. They all told me not to underestimate the standard of football and they were right'...

Harker put in a man-of-the-match display as Spartans fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Hereford on Saturday... 'First-half, although we went into the break a goal down, I thought we were the better team,' he explained."

The Shropshire Star reports that "Last season, the Bucks, perhaps catching opponents unawares, enjoyed a strong start to their campaign; whilst it may be unrealistic to have expected a repeat, Gavin Cowan’s men are no longer a surprise package, and a second successive stuttering display, with three defeats in five matches, is not the start anyone would have envisaged.

Cowan conceded that the visiting Linnets were simply better on the day; few would contest that. Ian Culverhouse’s outfit moved the ball better and with more purpose, and it was that positivity that took them into a first half 2-0 lead from which Cowan’s men simply couldn’t recover.

After a 1-0 defeat at Hereford in midweek, Cowan made three changes, including restoring the fit again Brendon Daniels for a first start this season. Cowan preferred James McQuilkin over Marcus Dinanga, but with no strike partner forward Aaron Williams had to take on a lone role as the Bucks' spearhead and was too often isolated, with the Linnets snapping up any balls that he was able to win...

On 19 minutes the visitors got the reward their enterprise deserved. A diagonal ball over the Bucks defence found veteran goal-getter Michael Gash in space, and his deft control and finish across Addai into the corner showed why he is still a huge threat.

The Linnets continued to pass the ball in a way the Bucks are capable of, but have only shown sporadically this far into the season... The Bucks seemed to be edging back into the game; however, on 44 minutes the visitors took control. Nathan Fox struck a fierce rising shot that Addai saved well, but he only pushed the ball out as far as Adam Marriott, and the striker, nodded the ball in past the prone Addai.

Cowan acted at the interval. Chris Lait, rested with a slight back problem, was thrust into action, and he looked set to have the desired impact... The Linnets, however, had other ideas, and when a ball through the defence set Alfie Payne in on the left, he beat the exposed Addai to the ball to score confidently.

The Bucks did manage to respond with a goal from McQuilkin on 62 minutes. A corner led to Theo Streete’s shot being deflected for another corner, and from their first bit of concerted presence in the Linnets penalty area McQuilkin surged to the goal-line on the right and beat Alex Street from a sharp angle... But despite a lot more territory and some decent possession, they didn’t have the same incisiveness as the visitors had shown, even when Marcus Dinanga and Andre Brown were introduced to give Williams some much needed support...

No one should be hitting the panic button just yet, but Cowan’s team are currently looking less then the sum of their parts".

From the Eastern Daily Press we learn that "Nicky Eaden believes the Kettering Town players need to be 'stronger'” with their mindset after... a 2-1 defeat to Gateshead at Latimer Park.

For the second time in the space of a week, the Poppies allowed a winning position to slip from their grasp. A decent first-half display saw them hold a half-time lead thanks to Marcus Kelly’s sixth-minute strike. But things deteriorated in the second period as Kettering dropped deep and Gateshead’s pressure paid off with Toby Lees equalising before Joshua Koyade snatched all three points in stoppage-time.

The defeat has left the Poppies with just four points from five matches since gaining promotion.

And boss Eaden said 'It’s a real kick where it hurts, especially with how well we played in the first half... We dropped off a little bit and stopped getting as much pressure on the ball as we should have been. I don’t know whether it effects players sometimes when you’re on top and you have three or four good chances and only convert one. But you have to be stronger than that. If you have the lead, you have to keep doing the things that got you success. And we stopped doing it...

'By us dropping deeper, it just invited them to get closer to our goal.'

Eaden, meanwhile, was bitterly disappointed with the way the winning goal was conceded as Alex Nicholson was given plenty of time to deliver a cross from the right, which was converted by Kayode in the six-yard box... The Poppies' boss added 'If you know you’re up against players who have good quality when delivering into the box then you try to stop it. You can blame the defenders but it’s a full team thing. I thought that goal was too easy.'"

Curzon Ashton "fell to their first defeat of the season as Kidderminster Harriers deservedly claimed all three points from their trip to Tameside Stadium. The Nash rarely threatened in a game controlled by the visitors for whom Ashley Chambers scored the only goal of the game just before the hour mark. A late rally saw Sean Miller have a point-blank shot blocked on the line...

Manager Mark Bradshaw conceded that his side didn’t deserve anything more after a performance that lies in stark contrast to the Nash’s previous outings in the last two weeks.

Following on from the impressive 3-1 win against Darlington, Bradshaw named an unchanged starting line-up meaning Callum Saunders continued to lead the line in favour of Michael Elstone. Saunders, though, had little to work with as Curzon struggled to retain any meaningful possession in the first half and couldn’t get any of their creative players into the game. For all the visitors’ dominance of the ball, the Nash defence largely dealt well with the physical Harriers side sporting a noticeable size advantage....

Curzon dropped points at home for the first time this season. Nevertheless, the Nash only fall three places to 6th and one defeat should not detract from what has been a hugely positive start to the campaign".

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) suffered a fourth defeat in their fifth game of the new season... picking up one point from a possible 15.

New interim management duo of Marcus Law and Lee Fowler drafted in experienced goalkeeper Rhys Taylor and he started as did former Rotherham United centre-back Ryan Cresswell but, even with the older heads on the pitch, Avenue slumped to another heavy loss.

They began well at the Impact Arena but gifted the home side a 12th minute goal. A weak back pass from Ben Hedley saw Amari Morgan-Smith seize possession and he waltzed round Taylor before slotting into the gaping goal... The home side doubled their lead as Morgan-Smith sent Taylor the wrong way from the spot after being fouled by Jon Moran...

Avenue had another debutant in the second half as new signing Rob Orlando-Young replaced Hinds during the break. Young began his career at Exeter City’s academy where he impressed enough to earn a move aged 17 to Norwich City... Orlando-Young had a superb opportunity to make an instant impact but he sliced an early second half chance off target when unmarked. Once again Avenue were soon punished for their miss as once again they gifted the home side a goal.

[Ex-Alty loanee] Moran was the culprit on this occasion and Danny Clarke was the recipient as he picked up the attempted back pass and steered the ball past Taylor and into the corner.

It simply wasn’t Avenue’s day and it was topped off by an own goal. With just a quarter of an hour remaining a testing cross from Wilde was diverted past Taylor despite the frustrated keeper getting a hand on it... One of the cornerstones of Avenue’s defence last season, Shane Killock, was in the Reds’ starting line-up. He was playing in place of former Avenue man Danny East and Killock’s central defensive partner was Ryan Qualter, another former Avenue player".

18 August, 2019


Altrincham's stuttering start to the season continued with a poor showing against a Brackley Town side who themselves were not at their best. New loan signing Ashley Hemmings started for Altrincham, and had a quiet game, but the visitors never got going in a first half in which their build ups were laborious and they failed to land a shot on goal before the break.

Brackley took the lead on the half-hour mark. A routine throw-in on their left led to Byrne picking the ball off a team-mate's toes before turning and, from outside the box, hitting a low shot across Drench and into the net, off the inside of the back post.

Above left, Jordan Hulme's dribbling put his defender on the ground and he was fouled immediately afterwards. Right, the resulting spot-kick by John Johnston was saved by Lewis.

Altrincham improved to some extent in the second half but they wasted a lifeline when John Johnston's 66th minute penalty was well saved by Lewis, to his left. The spot-kick had been won by Jordan Hulme who was brought down on the left by-line.

The introduction of Max Harrop helped to improve Altrincham's attacking moments and he produced a fine shot which Lewis saved well. But, at the other end, Brackley presented several chances, the easiest being for Ndlovu who mishit badly from a clear opening.

One win in five games leaves Altrincham seventeenth in the table.

Match report here.

Phil Parkinson's post-match interview with Brian Flynn is here.


Brackley Town report that they "came out on top in a clash of two of last season’s play-off teams courtesy of Shane Byrne’s stunning first half strike. The goal came on the half hour and was struck sweetly by Byrne from 20 yards finding the net low past Steve Drench at full stretch in off the post.

'It is a big three points for us' was [manager] Kevin Wilkin’s reaction. 'Altrincham are a very good side. They move the ball well and have some tremendously talented players in their side and are well organised so we knew it would be difficult. We haven’t brought that momentum to our game just yet but, hopefully, today’s win can go some way to moving us forward.'

Saints fully deserved the win creating more than enough chances to have won the game more decisively but had keeper Danny Lewis to thank for a 65th minute penalty save from John Johnston after Jordan Hulme was brought down close to goal, Altrincham spurning a golden opportunity to equalise.

Moments before the penalty miss, the home side passed up two gilt-edged chances themselves to have opened up a two-goal lead. Jimmy Armson picked a perfect pass to play in Matt Lowe who was thwarted with the goal seemingly at his mercy before Lee Ndlovu followed up but saw his back-heeled effort cleared off the line in a double let-off for The Robins.

Captain Gaz Dean’s towering header was pawed away by keeper Steve Drench and Drench saved well from Byrne in added time as Brackley finished strongly. The visitors rarely threatened Lewis but did create some pressure in the final 20 minutes, Sean Williams shooting just wide and substitute Max Harrop cutting in and firing hard at goal bringing Lewis into action to keep the shot out...

Wilkin added 'Off the back of a good win we can get the players together to reflect on what we’ve done well and where we’ve not done so well and hopefully take the positives into the next game'".


Vanarama National League North
  • AFC Telford United 1-3 Kings Lynn Town (att. 1,003)
  • Alfreton Town 4-0 Bradford Park Avenue (378)
  • Blyth Spartans 0-1 Hereford FC (756)
  • Boston United 1-1 Guiseley (1,059)
  • Brackley Town 1-0 Altrincham (465)
  • Chester 4-0 Gloucester City (1,612)
  • Curzon Ashton 0-1 Kidderminster Harriers (307)
  • Darlington 2-0 Southport (1,331)
  • Farsley Celtic 1-0 Spennymoor Town (424)
  • Kettering Town 1-2 Gateshead (701)
  • York City 2-0 Leamington (2,258)

17 August 2019


Altrincham travel today to play Brackley Town in the fifth match of the new season for both clubs.

Since being promoted to the northern half of non-League football's pyramid in 2012, Brackley have five times finished in the top seven, including the last three years in succession.

The Saints have finished third three times at Step Two; in addition to doing so in the most recent two seasons, they also achieved that in 2012-13. They had a wobble for two seasons between 2014 and 2016 when they finished eighteenth and nineteenth in successive seasons.

Mike Garnett provides the record between Brackley Town and Altrincham...

  • At home: P5-W2-D0-L3-F6-A10
  • Away: P5-W3-D1-L1-F6-A6
  • All: P10-W5-D1-L4-F12-A16

Alty go into the game with five points from their four matches this season whilst The Saints have one point fewer.

Brackley is now one of the few grounds in the division within easy walking distance of its town centre. The stadium is at St James Park, Churchill Way, Brackley, NN13 7EJ

Admission costs are as follows:

  • Adults: £13
  • Concessionaries, over 60s & Students: £8
  • U18s: £5
  • U10s: FREE
  • Family ticket 2 adults 3 children £30


Altrincham FC has confirmed that winger Ashley Hemmings, who enjoyed a successful loan spell at the club last season, has returned on loan until 5 January 2020. Alty now have four wingers in their squad, with Hemmings joining John Johnston, Nathan Arnold and Lewis Walters who are already on the books.

Right: Ashley Hemings in action for Alty against Stockport County last season.

Hemmings (28) first joined Alty on a one-month loan from 4 December 2018 but this was cut short on 31 December when he was recalled. He had joined Fylde earlier in 2018 after a brief spell with Salford City. However, he has a rich Football League pedigree. Having played four times for England's under-17s, Hemmings then had loan spells from Wolverhampton Wanderers at Cheltenham Town (2009), Toruqay United (2010/11) and Plymouth Argyle (2011/12). He racked up 33 appearances in that period, 23 of those games being for Plymouth.

2012-14 saw him at Walsall, where he made 56 appearances but, after a loan at Burton Albion (2014), he joined Dagenham and Redbridge (2014-16), for whom he played 80 times. Mansfield Town (2016/17) and Boston United (16 goals in 41 appearances in 2017/18) were his next employers before his move to Salford City (2018) and then AFC Fylde. Ashley made an impressive debut as a substitute against Telford on 8 December 2018 and despite his curtailed stay, he made a positive inpression.

In that first loan spell, he made 4(+1) appearances, netting two goals.

Ashley was a spectator at Moss Lane in pre-season when his AFC Fylde team played a friendly against Altrincham.

Brian Flynn conducted an interview with Ashley Hemmings after his latest loan was confirmed; it can be heard on the Altrincham FC website.


Altrincham and Alfreton Town players honoured Altrincham FC supporter and steward, Steve Murray, by participating in a minute's applause before kick-off on Tuesday night.


Today, Altrincham Reserves are scheduled to play at Billinge FC. They have played two matches in the past week with mixed results.

Last Saturday, they lost 1-2, at home, to Blacon Youth, with Max Pouncey being the Alty goalscorer. The team comprised (a/z order): Sam Corbishley, Madison Davis, Rhain Davis, Dontai Gabidon, Callum Graham, Daniel Lewis, Max Pouncey, Cade Preston, Jack Ryan, Dre Taylor, Joel Torrance. Subs: Ryan Barry, Dylan Scanlon, Max Fitzpatrick.

On Tuesday, a brace from Ben Elliott and a goal from Daniel Lewis meant that Alty Reserves won 3-2 at home to Middlewich Town. The team was (a/z order): Sam Corbishley, Ben Elliott, Max Fitzpatrick, Dontai Gabidon, Callum Graham, Dion Kemp, Daniel Lewis, Cade Preston, Jack Ryan, Dre Taylor, Joel Torrance. Subs: Billy Matthews, Max Pouncey, Luke Sowerby.


According to the Telegraph & Argus "Marcus Law has every chance of landing the Bradford (Park Avenue) gig permanently says owner Gareth Roberts... Law was appointed as interim manager... and has since guided Avenue to their first point of the season...

Roberts said 'If he does well, he’ll get the job. That’s usually the case. But there’s a lot to do and there’s probably a revamping of the squad that needs to be done'...

Avenue underwent a huge overhaul in the summer and the Bradford-born multimillionaire feels this latest 'spring-clean' needs to be focused in one particular area. Roberts said 'Unfortunately, we were led to believe that we would have a competitive squad this year, but I think that that’s not the case. We’ve got some great youngsters, but we need a few old heads, is the consensus. That’s what we're debating right now, what squad changes we might need to make to get where we want to be.'

Where Avenue want to be, is a self-sustaining club that can eventually work their way up the leagues organically... Two unprecedented seasons of success under the stewardship of fans' favourite Mark Bower... meant Bower remains a fond figure in the hearts of the Horsfall faithful... Roberts admits Bower has not been considered yet and pledged his full support behind Law.

He said 'We want to see how Marcus does... over the next couple of weeks here with the squad. Mark hasn’t applied either for the job, so we have got quite a few resumes already in. We’ll take a look at that and other options as well, but if Mark’s interested, he needs to apply'".

Also at Bradford (Park Avenue) the club have "secured the signing of experienced goalkeeper Rhys Taylor. Taylor arrives at the Horsfall Stadium with a wealth of experience having played over 260 senior games throughout his career, including a number of seasons in the Football League.

The veteran stopper is no stranger to the National League North however, as he made 34 appearances in 2016/17 for the then champions AFC Fylde.

When asked what attracted him to Bradford (Park Avenue), Taylor stated, 'I’ve known Lee (Fowler) for a while now and he’s a great guy. When he told me his and Marcus’s plans and aspirations for the team I liked what I heard...

First team manager, Marcus Law explained... 'It’s important to have good communicators and leaders at the back and with his wealth of experience, that’s something that Rhys can bring to the table'".

The Shropshire Star advises us that "Gavin Cowan admits he does not yet know if AFC Telford United are better off for the change in system but has praised his players’ immense work ethic.

Bucks' chief Cowan has tested out a new 4-3-3 formation in the early matches of the National League North season and they have won one, drawn one and lost twice. A 3-5-2 set-up took Telford all the way to the FA Trophy semi-finals, while they just missed out on the play-offs in the league last term.

On if the switch has improved them, Cowan said 'It’s a hard one to answer at the moment. I just wanted us to be a bit more fluid with our formations, and we have a couple in our armoury. Different times, different games, call for different formations. It’s a cliché, but we’ll just take it a game at a time and see what’s best'...

Despite it not being the start to the campaign he was looking for, Cowan remains upbeat. 'Really impressed with all the lads. They are all working extremely hard,' he added. 'It’s going to be a very tight league this year'".

In the Boston Standard we read that "Craig Elliott is hoping Dominic Knowles will be fit to face to face Guiseley....

Knowles, who missed pre-season with a calf injury, made his first appearance for the Pilgrims in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Leamington... The influentual link-up man almost played the full 90 minutes...

'I spoke to him and he felt great (after Leamington),' Elliott said... 'So we’ll see how his body is. It’s just pleasing to get him back'... especially as fellow attackers Jordan Thewlis and Jay Rollins will begin three-match bans after today’s contst, following their red cards against the Brakes.

'He’s a great lad around the place and the fans appreciated his play as well, which is important,' Elliott added... 'He’s a class player and should be playing in the league above, I know that. But he’s here and if we can get runners off him he’ll become and even better player for us.'"

The Northants Telegraph reports that "Kettering Town are set to have a fresh face in their squad when they take on Gateshead at Latimer Park (Saturday).

The Poppies confirmed ahead of Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Chester that forward Alex Nimley has now completed his move to the club after they were awaiting international clearance. Nimley featured for Kettering during pre-season having had spells playing in Romania, Norway and, more recently, Azerbaijan.

The 28-year-old was on the books of Manchester City for six years between 2008 and 2014 and had loan spells at the likes of Middlesbrough, Coventry City and Crystal Palace...

And Poppies boss Nicky Eaden believes the frontman... 'he will be similar to Dan Nti. He is good at getting hold of the ball. He has a good pedigree and he works his socks off, which is one of the main things I look for in a player.

'There are hundreds of so-called technical players out there. But I would rather have someone who is going to put the graft in as a bare minimum. And anything you get on top of that is a bonus'...

'Gateshead will be a decent outfit, they will come and press us,' he added...

Eaden, meanwhile, is hopeful defender Javan Vidal will be fit for this weekend after missing the last two matches".

Harriers Online say that "The Harriers are facing a tough looking game tomorrow when we make a, now rare, trip into Manchester to play Curzon Ashton. In previous seasons we’ve had to go there up to six times to play Stockport County, Salford City, FC Utd of Manchester, Ashton Utd, Altrincham and Curzon themselves. Now we have just the last two as the rest have dispersed themselves elsewhere.

Curzon are flying high near the top of the table as one of the three unbeaten sides so far...

We won at Bradford last weekend but only by 3-0 and then promptly threw all the good work away with a home defeat to Gloucester City in midweek. We had gone into, what we thought, would have been an unassailable 2-0 lead through two fine strikes from Ashley Chambers and Declan Weeks but then collapsed as a part time City staged a comeback in two minutes then wrapped up the game with a dubious second half penalty.

A penalty of our own soon after was wasted when Chambers missed out on the chance of a brace and a point for us.

We should be able to take a more or less fit eleven to Manchester but a very weak bench that might include Tom Palmer and James O’Connor if they’re deemed fit to play. That weak bench is becoming our Achilles heel as pointed out by the manager John Pemberton following the City defeat.

'I’ve got a very small squad and I can’t quite add to it at the moment for whatever reason so I’ve got eleven bodies of which two are our loan signings. Take them two out I’ve got nine bodies so I’m asking these players to go again, and again and again and to be fair to them they are'...

We were finally told yesterday, in a statement issued by the club , that there’s a possible takeover in place and that all financial transactions have been put on hold but that doesn’t explain why we can’t loan players in that have their wages paid for by their parent club. Is there more to it than meets the eye?

So we go into yet another game with a wafer thin squad and an admission from the manager that he’s struggling to make any changes to a team that might want to perform but are technically not capable of doing so'".

At Farsley Celtic the club announces "the signing of defender Tom Allan on a one-month loan deal from York City.

The centre-half progressed through the Minstermen’s youth system before leaving in 2014, and was a part of the squad that reached the 2013/14 League Two play-off semi-finals...

Allan re-joined his hometown club in 2018, and he joined Alfreton Town on loan in the second-half of last season, where he made 19 National League North appearances. He has yet to feature for York in the current campaign, after being suspended at the start of the new season.

Farsley Celtic Manager Adam Lakeland... said 'We’ve been trying to get it done all week, as we are a little light in the centre back department following the injury to Adam Clayton. Tom is at a good age, yet brings a wealth of experience and presence to our group...

'I have been looking to add a left footed central defender to our group for some time now. We already have three excellent centre backs in Jack, Danny and Adam, all of which are right footers... We should be able to play with a back three more often than not, but having that left foot will add additional balance to the team'".

Southport "head to their next game against Darlington with back-to-back 3-0 victories under their belt and a perfect defensive record so far this season...

Meanwhile this weekend’s opponents, Darlington, have experienced a mixed start to the season. The Quakers kicked off the new campaign with a 3-1 defeat away to Farsley, before claiming their first point of the season with a 1-1 draw against Gateshead.

Darlo followed that up with a 3-0 victory against newly-promoted Kettering Town, but suffered their second defeat of the season against Curzon Ashton midweek".

At Curzon Ashton it's "Four games. Two wins. Two draws. No defeats. Third place.

It’s been a dream start to the new season for Curzon, but to maintain the excitement generated during this run they will have to do something they have never done, win a league match against Kidderminster Harriers.

Five players have so far played every minute during the Nash’s unbeaten start. It’s no surprise to see that four of those players, Cam Mason, Andy Halls, Mo Ali and Olly Thornley, come from the defensive unit that has conceded only twice in four games.

Robbie Evans is the other to be ever-present and the former Wrexham midfielder’s energy in the middle of the park has been a feature of Curzon’s dynamic style of play, particularly in the two home games thus far. Aiming to continue his hot streak in front of goal is Sean Miller whose double in Monday night’s win over Darlington moved him onto four for the season. That tally comes despite having only played 144 minutes worth of football this term – a goal ratio of one every 36 minutes...

With the moods of the two camps in stark contrast, if ever there was a time for the Nash to claim a first win against The Carpetmen then this may be it."

According to the Eastern Daily Press "Adam Marriott is a marked man in King's Lynn Town's fledgeling National League forays. Marriott's 24-goal haul last season earned him the Golden Boot award as Lynn surged to promotion from the Southern Premier Central League.

The 28-year-old has scored twice in Lynn's first four games, including a late penalty equaliser at Brackley in midweek... But Marriott is already aware that he is a marked man; on the opening day at Guiseley he was surrounded by a posse of opponents who kept him out of harm's way...

'Last year you got a bit more space,' he said. 'In this league they are a bit more switched on, and every team has experience... I think the level is definitely better than the one we have been in. Players are sharper and more experienced'...

His penalty strike at Brackley earned Lynn a point they probably didn't deserve... 'It was lucky at the end, we probably didn't deserve it', he said...

'They were a good team, well drilled and caused us problems'...

Manager Ian Culverhouse will again be without the unavailable Sonny Carey and has to decide whether or not to recall the experienced Ryan Jarvis, who was given a rest in midweek with a place on the subs' bench, with Jordan Richards starting...

He said, 'These two games, Brackley and Telford on Saturday, are a big test for us. We have to go to Telford now and we have to play a lot better than we did, but we will go there in good heart.' Telford have four points from their opening four games, all coming at home".

16 August 2019


The Cheshire FA has made the draw for the First Round of the Cheshire Senior Cup and Altrincham have been drawn away at Stalybridge Celtic.

The ties are to be played in the week of 2 November 2019.

  • Witton Albion v 1874 Northwich
  • Hyde United v Cheadle Town Team
  • Runcorn Town v Chester FC
  • Tranmere Rovers v Macclesfield Town
  • Congleton Town v Cheadle Heath Nomads
  • Winsford United v Alsager Town
  • Stalybridge Celtic v Altrincham
  • Barnton Team v Vauxhall Motors
  • Runcorn Linnets v Crewe Alexandra

First Round byes were awarded to Cammell Laird 1907, Nantwich Town, Northwich Victoria, Sandbach United, Stockport County, Stockport Town, Warrington Town.


Travel Coordinator Mark Eckersall announces that "We will once again be running a coach to Brackley Town on Saturday 17th August. With people being away your support is more vital than ever both to ensure the travel breaks even and for the boys on the pitch so we hope you will consider joining us.

We'll have a 30 minute stop on the way down and a toilet stop on the way back to break up the journey and would love a repeat of last season's great day at Brackley.

As ever we welcome travellers of all ages and provide a family friendly atmosphere, (alcohol is not permitted), so we hope to see you there. Book in by calling the club on 0161 928 1045 in office hours".

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

For those travelling by car Brackley Town announce that "We have limited parking after our recent fire and the Club has a £2 parking charge for use of the car park.

Disabled supporters wanting to use the car park should contact the club to request a space, providing their own and vehicle details and should arrive before 14.15.

Please avoid parking in the streets approaching the ground.

Alternative supporters' parking can be found in the Town Centre by the Town Hall with a short five minute walk or in Hinton Road as you enter Brackley off the A43, or St James Road which is right by the Fire Station as you enter Brackley from the South off the A43".


Brackley Town announce that "Successive home games bring Altrincham to St James Park on Saturday.

On Tuesday evening Altrincham grabbed a late winner to take the three points against Alfreton Town at home and to record a first win of the season moving to 5 points after four games.

Meanwhile Saints led until deep into added time in their midweek game against promoted King’s Lynn Town until late penalty drama denied Brackley a second win of the season and they had to be content with a point.

'It was certainly very frustrating,' was Kevin Wilkin’s verdict on Tuesday evening’s draw. 'We had some gilt-edged chances we failed to make the most of and so we end up with the result we got. Lots of players were excellent tonight including Lee [Ndlovu] who scored a terrific goal.

'It’s obviously disappointing not to win the game, which we thoroughly deserved to, but we played with intensity and athleticism more akin to how we played last season which is heartening. It sets us up for a big game on Saturday and it is encouraging. We have to take that into Saturday’s match. We moved the ball well and played as a team against a capable King’s Lynn side. Altrincham are a good team and it will be a really difficult game.'

The two teams played twice last season, each winning once, ironically both away wins. Both sides made it to the end of season play-offs and will both be aiming to go one better this time around".


Alty TV has highlights of the Altrincham v Alfreton Town game last Tuesday.


The Sale & Altrincham Messenger carries John Edwards's article which says that "Phil Parkinson hailed John Johnston's 'ultimate positivity' after Altrincham's livewire winger secured their first victory of the season with a dramatic late winner at The J.Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night...

With left-back Connor Hampson opening the scoring in spectacular style, centre-back James Jones claiming his third goal in four games and Josh Hancock making a welcome return from suspension, there was plenty to encourage Alty boss Parkinson.

He said, 'It was a really entertaining, exciting, end-to-end game, and though I would like to have controlled it a bit more, it was ever so pleasing to get that first win under our belts. You could feel the relief round the place and a sense we are up and running now.

'It was a stunning goal by JJ to win it, and I thought he showed ultimate positivity to line his man up like that and get the shot away... He has stepped up to the challenge in every game so far, and that is what we are looking for from every single player.

'We are not 100 per cent yet, but it was a superb strike by Connor, James Jones again showed he's got everything you look for in a centre-half, Jordan Hulme was so close to getting on the end of so many chances and Josh being on the pitch was a massive plus, so there were a lot of positives from the game.

'We just need to be a bit more consistent... We're not happy with five points. Our tally should be higher, but we will use that anger and frustration in every game to try to claw back the lost ground.'"


On Wednesday, The Times published its obituary of Noel White, the Life President of Altrincham FC and the club's former chairman. He and Peter Swales are credited with "transforming Altrincham into one of the best non-League teams in England and credits him with replacing the iniquitous re-election process whereby League clubs effectvely formed a cartel to keep non-League teams out of their competition.

The obituary adds that Noel was "a mild-mannered entrepreneur with a reputation for quiet ruthlessness". Alluding to his role with the Football Association, the obituary concludes that "In truth, White's record in football was patchy but his love for the game was not and few begrudged him being awarded the British Empire Medal in 2013 for services to football".


In the recent game against Middlesbrough, former Alty loanee Owen Dale completed the entire match whilst fellow loanee Billy Sass-Davies featured for the final fourteen minutes as a substitute.


Hereford FC report that "Bulls' Chairman Andrew Graham has given another update on the current Head Coach/Manager vacancy at Edgar Street, saying that the search continues and that applications are still very much open...

'The search for our new Head Coach/Manager continues and we’re receiving new applications on a daily basis, we’ve already received a good amount of quality applications,' Graham told the official Hereford FC club website.

'We want to make sure that we are casting our net as far and wide as we can so that we can attract as high a quality field of candidates as possible. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned in our search for the candidate who is best suited to take this club forward...

'We’ve been pleased with the quality and wide-range of applicants so far and our search is likely to continue throughout the weekend. The board have had extremely positive discussions with Tim Harris as to how we move forward and we’re keen to make sure that this process is as smooth and quick as possible...

'This is a fantastic club, with big ambitions, a lovely historic stadium and a superb fanbase. The successful candidate will need to be someone who matches our ambition and can thrive on the pressure that the role carries.'

The Bulls’ Chairman also confirmed that Tim Harris will remain in charge of first-team affairs on an interim basis until a new appointment is made."

NL Daily tells us that "Pickering Town have signed York City defender Jake Watson on loan.

The 18-year-old links up with the Pikes on a one-month deal.

Scarborough-born, Watson signed his first professional contract with York this summer."

AFC Telford United report that "Having faced Kettering Town on the first day of the season, Telford take on another of the newly promoted teams this weekend.

The Bucks lost that opening day clash of course, and this weekend face a King’s Lynn Town side that finished 14 points behind Southern League Premier Division Central champions Kettering Town. The Linnets have made a better start to life at a higher level than the Poppies though, including beating the Northamptonshire side 2-1 in their second game of the season.

The two sides actually met in the FA Trophy in 2012, which King’s Lynn won 3-1. But a lot has changed since then, of course.

The man currently in charge of the Linnets is former Norwich City stalwart Ian Culverhouse. First appointed in 2017, Culverhouse led King’s Lynn to a second-place finish in his first season in charge before briefly joining Grantham Town. However, he returned to Norfolk last November and guided the club to a second successive second-place finish. From there the Linnets swept past Stratford Town and Alvechurch before overcoming Northern Premier League playoff winners, Warrington Town, in the decisive super final...

After an opening day defeat at Guiseley, the Linnets have picked up seven points from three games and sit 7th in the embryonic standings.

King’s Lynn’s dangerman is Adam Marriott. The tricky forward was the top scorer in the Southern League Premier Division Central last season with 24 goals. And he’s continued in a similar vein this season having found the net twice already, including a late leveller at Brackley on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, midweek also saw the Bucks suffer a second away defeat of the campaign, but Gavin Cowan’s men have impressed on home soil both this season and last. Telford are yet to concede at the New Bucks Head this term and will be looking for more home comforts this weekend."


The NW Counties Football League has announced that "Football Club Isle of Man (FC IOM) is delighted to announce that it has commenced initial investigations into the formation of a new Island based football club. The principle aim of the club is to compete in the English Non-League system, starting in Step Six.

Preliminary discussions have taken place with The North West Counties Football League regarding the application process and with the Isle of Man FA in relation to the affiliation of the club.

FC IOM spokesman Paul Jones stated, 'This idea has been mooted for some time, but it really started to gain momentum earlier this year following a positive social media consultation and we’re excited to say that we now have some real traction to drive FC IOM forward'".

The National League says that "Wrexham and Solihull Moors have discovered their first opponents in this season's Scottish Challenge Cup...

Solihull Moors face a trip to Kelty Hearts who compete in the Lowland League the fifth tier of Scottish football...

Meanwhile, Wrexham will host Scottish Championship side Ayr United. Ayr, known as the Honest Men, finished fourth last season in the second tier of Scottish football. The ties will take place over the weekend of September 7."

15 August 2019


Travel Coordinator Mark Eckersall announces that "We will once again be running a coach to Brackley Town on Saturday 17th August. With people being away your support is more vital than ever both to ensure the travel breaks even and for the boys on the pitch so we hope you will consider joining us.

We'll have a 30 minute stop on the way down and a toilet stop on the way back to break up the journey and would love a repeat of last season's great day at Brackley.

As ever we welcome travellers of all ages and provide a family friendly atmosphere, (alcohol is not permitted), so we hope to see you there. Book in by calling the club on 0161 928 1045 in office hours".

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

For those travelling by car, Brackley Town announce that "We have limited parking after our recent fire and the Club has a £2 parking charge for use of the car park.

Disabled supporters wanting to use the car park should contact the club to request a space, providing their own and vehicle details and should arrive before 14.15.

Please avoid parking in the streets approaching the ground.

Alternative supporters' parking can be found in the Town Centre by the Town Hall with a short five minute walk or in Hinton Road as you enter Brackley off the A43, or St James Road which is right by the Fire Station as you enter Brackley from the South off the A43".


Assuming he plays on Saturday, Josh Hancock [right] will be making his 100th competitive appearance for Altrincham. To date he has started 89 games, been a used substitute on ten occasions and netted an impressive 41 goals in that time.

Josh joined Alty in summer 2017 as did Jordan Hulme. Jordan is just one game behind Josh in terms of appearances, having amassed 93 starts and five games as a used substitute. So he should reach his century a week on Saturday, at home to Darlington. Jordan has scored more than a goal every two matches, with 51 goals to his name.

Other players at Alty to have reached the century landmark are led by Shaun Densmore with 387 appearances but who, with Tony Thompson and the injured Jake Moult, is the only first-team squad member yet to appear this season.

Others with 100+ appearances are

  • 336: Jake Moult
  • 323: Simon Richman
  • 105: Tom Hannigan
  • 103: John Johnston


Match report here..

There is a post-match interview with John Johnston by Aiden Beswick here.

From the opposition, Alfreton Town report that "Town were once again undone by a late goal, as the Robins snatched the points in a thriller at the J.Davidson stadium on Tuesday night.

The Reds twice came from behind, thanks to Danny Clarke's bundled first half effort before Danny East reacted to sweep home in the box in the second half. But the hosts managed to dig in again with what looked like an offside goal to steal the points in what was another strong display from Billy Heath's men.

Connor Hampson had given the hosts a 23rd minute lead with a deflected volley that wrong-footed keeper Jack Atkinson, but the Reds were level by the 34th minute with Danny Clarke scoring a rare goal from close range after Josh Clackstone had determinedly kept Josh Wilde's deep cross in play.

James Jones regained Alty's lead on 40 minutes following a free-kick on the left, but controversy then reigned as Clarke was clearly fouled inside the area, only for a free-kick to be awarded that Bobby Johnson crashed against the upright, with a home defender then handling the ball [with appeals] to no avail".


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years information reveals Altrincham's historical record on the date of their next match, 17 August.


Lincolnshire Live says "Boston United manager Craig Elliott was delighted to have striker Dominic Knowles back on the teamsheet as the Pilgrims defeated Leamington on Tuesday.

United were 1-0 victors over the Brakes courtesy of Jordan Thewlis’s 50th minute penalty but saw Thewlis himself and Jay Rollins dismissed, along with Leamington’s Junior English and Jordan Murphy, in an extraordinary finish to the match.

Knowles played 90 minutes upon his return from a pre-season calf injury and Elliott was understandably delighted to have his talisman back. 'He played a lot more minutes than I thought he would,' said Elliott. “'You could see his class at times with the spaces he took up. I am really pleased with his impact... and the fans have been able to see what a quality player he is.'

Elliott was less certain of the impact his players performed in the melee, which saw four players red-carded... 'There was a lot more happening towards the end with four sendings off in a game which was not really aggressive,' added Elliott. 'It was bizarre but these things happen and we got the victory pretty comfortably in the end. We were slow out of the blocks in the first 15 minutes and did not start as well as we wanted. Leamington played really well initially. I thought we dominated the game from the 15th minute, created lots of chances and should have won by more...

Leamington forced Peter Crook into two early saves to deny Murphy and Kaiman Anderson, but United gradually asserted their authority on proceedings and produced plenty of free-flowing moves in attack...

United took a 50th minute lead when Thewlis tangled with English in the box before converting the resultant spot-kick. The Pilgrims had numerous chances to kill off the contest...

English hacked at Rollins to spark a melee which ultimately saw them both, plus Thewlis and Murphy, dismissed by referee Dean Watson [who reffed Alty away to Glouceester City last Saturday] but United battled through seven minutes of stoppage time to clinch a valuable win."

Leamington add that manager Paul Holleran "thought it was a good game played in a good spirit. I think they (Boston) are a good side. We started the game really brightly in the first twenty minutes. The second twenty minutes belonged to them...

I thought the penalty was really harsh, it looked to me as though the lad threw himself to the floor. We’re four games into the season now and in three of them we’ve come out on the wrong end of decisions...

'I think the fact that we’ve played with ten men for so long on Saturday affected the second half last night, I know that for a fact. We’ve had four games in ten days and we’ve had to play two games against possession based teams with ten men and it’s killed us a bit really, we were a bit flat second half...

'As for what happened at the end... Boston thoroughly deserved the win. They’ve got good attacking players who caused us a problem for most of the evening but it seemed something over nothing, it seemed to blow up over nothing, I didn’t see it coming...

'We’ve ended up with players sent off (Curzon and Kiddy), we’ve ended up with a penalty last night and Junior and Jordan being sent off. They’re guessing too much... Last night, he’s guessing. What’s happened at the start of this season, all over Non League football, there’s a mass of red cards, yellow cards and penalties. The officials have all had their re-education programmes, they’re all called in like we are for seminars, and at the moment it’s causing chaos.

'It just needs somebody to settle it all down, because last night you’ve got a game that was played in a good spirit and there’s been four players sent off and a penalty given.

‘As a manager you’re disappointed when you see that going on. I’m certainly not clearing the players of blame... The penalty (at Boston) - I will be proved right again - he’s guessed at that because there’s no way you can give a penalty for that... We’re pleased with a lot of things too. Spirits are high, we’ll regroup and go again on Saturday.’

Meanwhile, Gloucestershire Live reports that "Gloucester City are in talks to sign Bristol Rovers midfielder Luke Russe on loan after Jennison Myrie-Williams suffered an injury setback. Russe looks set to return the the Tigers after a successful loan spell with the club last season, scoring one goal in nine league starts.

Adding to a long list of injury concerns, former Bristol City player Myrie-Williams looks to miss up to two months of action.

'He’s got a setback with his injury, what we thought the injury was has now not turned out to be that. It’s turned out to be something different,' said Cook. 'We spoke to the physio, who is very disappointed as it’s not what she thought it was, which has set him back another month to six weeks we think. It’s one of the reasons, along with a couple of injuries last night, that we’re are trying to get Luke Russe in.'

City are severely lacking squad depth after handing five youngsters first-team action in a win in Kidderminster.

Cook admitted 'I don’t mind having two or three 18-year-olds being in the team but if we're going to have five or six we’re going to struggle. We need to make sure we blood the youngsters in at the right times, giving them a few games here and there but not have a team of them because there is just too much inexperience.'”

The Sunderland Echo informs us that "Former Newcastle United and Hartlepool United midfielder Nicky Deverdics wants to help Gateshead bounce back from relegation after returning to the club. The 31-year-old played for an hour in the Heed’s 1-1 home draw against Bradford Park Avenue on Tuesday night as he made the first appearance of his second spell at the International Stadium.

That marked his first competitive appearance since he played and scored in Wrexham’s final league game of last season... Deverdics was released by the Welsh outfit in May and had interest from a number of clubs in the National League during the summer... He penned a one-year deal at the International Stadium last week...

He told The Echo 'With the players that we have, we have the ability to get back up. Tuesday night against Bradford Park Avenue was poor; we should have won that game and that was the feeling around the dressing room at full-time. But I have been impressed with what I have seen in training and at the Darlington game. We held on to some important players from last season, and once we click properly, we will be fine, and we can move forward because there is a lot of talent in the squad here.'

Gateshead have drawn all four of their opening National League North fixtures and will hope to secure their first win of the season when they travel to Kettering Town on Saturday...

'We deserved to win at Darlington, but we invited them on to us late in the game and got punished for dropping deeper and deeper... but I can see a win coming because it’s a talented group of players. There’s a young squad and they are all keen to learn and develop... It’s just not quite happening in the final third, but it will come'".

From the Northern Echo we learn that "Darlington boss Alun Armstrong admits he was downhearted after being told he has lost another player to injury... After Luke Trotman was last week ruled out for most of the season, if not all, having ruptured an Achilles tendon, Jamie Holmes has now been told he will not play again for around six months.

Quakers had thought the former Newcastle United youth team player would be missing for two or three weeks, but a scan made it clear that he has suffered a cruciate ligament injury. His absence increases Armstrong’s woes as he has been without key midfielder David Atkinson since pre-season, while Stephen Thompson is also unavailable for this Saturday’s game at home to Southport.

He said 'We started the season without Atky, who is a key part of the jigsaw, then we lose Trots, who is one of the club’s biggest assets, and then Jamie Holmes. He is another lad who I think could move into full-time football, one of the most talented lads I’ve worked with, natural ability. He was red hot in pre-season, everyone saw it... It didn’t even look like an ACL, he wasn’t in excruciating pain.

'And then you get the scan and get the results and I was absolutely devastated, I couldn’t believe it.'

Holmes, a summer signing from Blyth Spartans, had been one of Darlington’s stand-out performers in pre-season.

Armstrong added 'He’s so exciting to watch, he gets people off their seat and he had been the fittest I’ve ever seen him. He’s devastated as well and I’m gutted for the kid. He thinks he’s let us down, but that’s not the case'...

Both Trotman and Holmes sustained their injuries in the 1-1 draw with Gateshead last Wednesday, and neither were on the end of tough tackles. 'They aren’t muscle pulls or anything that could have been prevented,' added Armstrong. 'They have come from twists and turns that happen in football, whereas if it was a hamstring or a calf you could say the player hadn’t looked after himself, hadn’t done the pre-match warm-up.

'Jamie tried to keep the ball in play and as he did that he planted his foot, twisted it and got a nudge. He tried to carry on playing! I’ve never seen anyone try to keep playing with a cruciate, they’re usually crumpled in pain and they’re done... We thought it was cartilage when it gave way on him, so an ACL is the worst possible outcome.'

Armstrong says he will not bring in anyone before the weekend, meaning Justin Donawa could get an opportunity from the start against Southport. The manager said 'That’s three massive players not allowed to play through injury. Yes, I built a squad that could rotate during injuries and you don’t mind doing it for two or three weeks, but six-month injuries put a lot of pressure on. It puts pressure on the club’s finances as well and I don’t want to do that.

'There’s going to be players available at the end of the month, especially on loan, when the Football League window shuts and clubs can’t sign anyone... But it’s got to be right for us financially... There’s no point in me jumping in straight away, we’ve got to be patient, analyse what we’ve got'...

Atkinson could play a part against Southport, but Armstrong is unsure about risking him. Thompson is restricted by the terms of his employment as to when he can take holiday and since signing for Darlington seven years ago has taken time off in August, meaning he misses a match or two. He chose this week to go abroad in order to reduce the impact his absence would have as there is no midweek match, something that he did with Armstrong’s seal of approval.

He said 'The kid picked a week when we haven’t got a midweek game, it’s different class from him. Sometimes players aren’t bothered and will pick a week that suits them... He wasn’t to know we’d have injuries. But we’ve still got enough in the squad to cover. The starting line-up that we have on Saturday will be good enough to win the game, it’ll still be strong.'"

Blyth Spartans "suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of promotion favourites York City with former Spartan Kieran Green getting on the scoresheet.

York City took the lead in the 18th minute when Jordan Burrow headed the ball down for Kallum Griffiths, who hammered it in on the half volley. City then doubled their lead in the 24th minute when Alex Kempster dispossessed Ryan Hutchinson to charge towards goal, open up his body and curl a shot into the far corner.

Green then wrapped up the victory just after half-time when he headed home a cross from Sean Newton.

Lee Clark made five changes from the side lost to Alfreton with Craig Spooner, Ryan Hutchinson, Olly Scott, Dale Pearson and Jake Orrell coming into the starting 11...

A tough night for the Spartans against a strong York City side but they will be hoping to get their first points on the table when Hereford visit Croft Park this Saturday".

The Northants Telegraph reports that "Nicky Eaden felt football hit Kettering Town 'where it hurts' after they were denied a second win of the season in heartbreaking fashion.

The Poppies, despite having missed a penalty and having had Marcus Kelly sent-off, looked to be heading for victory over Chester at Latimer Park after a Gary Roberts own-goal had put them in front with 20 minutes to go.

But just as it seemed Kettering would bounce back from two successive away defeats with a victory, Chester nicked a point thanks to Akwasi Asante’s penalty after Joe Skarz had fouled substitute Matty Hughes.

It was tough to take for Eaden and his players after a vastly-improved display from the one that had seen them well beaten 3-0 at Darlington at the weekend...

'Football just has that habit of kicking you where it hurts,' the Poppies boss said... 'So I will take the positives, the performance was chalk and cheese from Saturday. The boys were really disciplined, really hard-working and we managed to get it down and play a bit.

'I knew we had a front four out there that could cause them problems with their pace and trickery. Dan Nti led the line and I thought he was magnificent, he was a real handful. And we had a threat from out wide and with Lindon Meikle in behind.

'The penalty miss is obviously frustrating. I was cursing a bit because I felt we probably could have scored the chance immediately before it... But even when we were still 1-0 and down to 10 men, it felt comfortable. I didn’t make any subs because the lads looked strong and fit and they were all sticking to their jobs'...

One big positive for the Poppies was the performance of young Peterborough United loanee Sam Cartwright who was named man-of-the-match after a fine display alongside Luke Graham at the heart of the defence".

Also, Kettering Town "announce that striker Alex Nimely has signed for the club... Alex played during pre-season and impressed in the two games he featured forming a good patnership with Dan Nti.

A former Manchester City, Middlesbrough (loan), Crystal Palace (loan), Coventry City (loan) and Port Vale player he most recently has been playing for Honka in Finland."

In the Hereford Times comes news that "Hereford FC Chairman Andrew Graham says that the next Head Coach must be willing to take the club through the transition into full-time football...

Graham said that the club had already received applications following the sacking of Marc Richards.

He said 'This is a proud, passionate and ambitious club and we as a board are massively determined to get this next appointment right. We are looking for a Head Coach who has the character, experience and desire that this club and its fantastic fans deserve...

In the near future we will be giving serious thought about going full-time and Marc’s replacement must be willing and able to help take us through that transition'...

Graham added 'No one on the board wanted to make this decision so early on in the season, but results and performances have not been at the levels that we had anticipated. We had given Marc our full backing throughout the off-season and we have been happy with the recruitment that has been made.

'The feeling within the boardroom is that this squad of players is good enough to be competing for a play-off spot and performances should have been better than we have witnessed...

'We felt that the only option available to us was to relieve Marc of his duties with immediate effect'...

When asked if Hereford are looking for another head coach or manager? Graham added 'We will do what is best for the club. We believe in the current set up, but we need to review all of the roles and responsibilities dependant on the skill set of the successful applicant.'”

14 August 2019


When John Johnston netted in the 85th minute it was the sixth time that Altrincham had taken the lead in a match this season but they had surrendered that advantage on all of the previous five occasions. However, this time, they retained the lead to the final whistle and so secured a first win of the season, which lifted them eight places to eleventh. And Johnston's goal, which was Alty's sixth of the season, was the first that Alty have scored which was not netted by a member of the club's back four!

Altrincham first took the lead against Alfreton in the 23rd minute when a well-struck Connor Hampson effort deflected past the visitors' keeper. But Alfreton equalised eleven minutes later when Altrincham failed to deal with a deep cross to the back post, from where Wilde was allowed to hook the ball goalwards for Clarke to score from virtually on the goal-line. Altrincham regained the lead in the 41st minute when a Johnston freekick from the left found centre-back Jones beyond the back post. The tall defender steered the ball past Atkinson for his third goal of the season.

Above: It has become a familiar sight this August to see centre-back James Jones taking the plaudits. Here he has just scored his third goal of the season to put Alty 2-1 ahead.

So at half-time Altrincham had shot up to the top half of the table but that position lasted only ninety seconds as they conceded their second poorly defended goal of the evening. Wilde's high cross from the left reached Clackstone, beyond the back post, and his ball into the goalmouth left East fewer than six yards out with only Drench to beat, which he duly did.

After a poor start to the second half Altrincham gradually got back on top but it was looking like a third draw on the bounce until the 85th minute. The decisive goal was made by a fine ball up the middle from goalkeeper Drench, to Hulme. He relayed it to Johnston who smacked the ball home to make it 3-2.

Match report here..


Tuesday 13 August
  • Altrincham 3-2 Alfreton Town
  • Blyth Spartans 0-3 York City
  • Boston United 1-0 Leamington (Both sides ended up with nine men; the referee was Mr Watson who oversaw the Gloucester v Alty game last Saturday)
  • Brackley Town 1-1 King's Lynn Town
  • Farsley Celtic 0-3 Southport
  • Gateshead 1-1 Bradford Park Avenue
  • Guiseley 3-1 Spennymoor Town
  • Hereford 1-0 AFC Telford United
  • Kettering Town 1-1 Chester
  • Kidderminster Harriers 2-3 Gloucester City (Kiddy led 2-0 in the first half)


Travel Coordinator Mark Eckersall announces that "We will once again be running a coach to Brackley Town on Saturday 17th August. With people being away your support is more vital than ever both to ensure the travel breaks even and for the boys on the pitch so we hope you will consider joining us.

We'll have a 30 minute stop on the way down and a toilet stop on the way back to break up the journey and would love a repeat of last season's great day at Brackley.

As ever we welcome travellers of all ages and provide a family friendly atmosphere, (alcohol is not permitted), so we hope to see you there. Book in by calling the club on 0161 928 1045 in office hours".

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


Last season the Club launched a Rewards Card scheme and this is now being re-launched as Altrincham FC reports that "Cometh the hour, cometh the men. We have secured Phil Parkinson and Neil Sorvel for the next three seasons. We have given the management the funds to strengthen the squad, and we have seen a number of high-quality new signings to bolster the already-impressive list of players retained for the challenges of the season ahead.

We have begun a series of ground improvements, all focused on improving the matchday experience at The J.Davidson Stadium. We have great ambition to drive this club forward, both on and off the field, but in a truism that applies right across football, the limiting factor to what we can achieve is money.

We have set an aggressive budget for the 2019-2020 season, and we are determined to achieve our goals. We are grateful that the attractive football we play means we are being supported in greater numbers than ever before, with many of our new fans looking at ways that they, too, can get behind the team.

With this in mind, Altrincham FC are delighted to launch our latest fund-raising initiative – Alty Rewards. For a monthly contribution to the club, Alty fans become eligible for unique rewards, increasing in attractiveness, the more you contribute.

The scheme, suggested to us by supporters, adds to our existing portfolio of fund-raisers and offers an alternative method of making your contribution to our success in a way we hope will strike a chord with a range of our supporters for whom the existing schemes do not appeal...

Commercial director Lawrence Looney explained... 'Last year, we came so close to promotion – but this season we want to do better. We think Alty Rewards will help us achieve our goals for 2019-20... The scheme has a minimum contribution of £5 per month to a top tier of £100 per month. Our new partners, LoveAdmin, will manage this on our behalf; they provide a simple and effective software platform to manage membership and subscription schemes like Alty Rewards.'

Alty manager Phil Parkinson added 'This is a great initiative from the club and a fantastic opportunity for our fans to contribute to our playing budget. The board have made a big investment in the team this season, and by getting behind the scheme, you all can help lift us to the next level'...

You can join the scheme through this link.


According to Lincolnshire Live "Craig Elliott was far from happy with Saturday’s postponement at Spennymoor Town, but is hopeful that the temporary setback could prove to be a blessing in disguise in the long run.

The Brewery Field trip was called off following the delay of summer remedial works on Spennymoor’s pitch, with the postponement confirmed less than an hour before last Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Alfreton Town.

It did allow striker Dominic Knowles to get two training sessions in the bank, following pre-season calf troubles, ahead of the home game against Leamington.

'I am not too happy about the situation,' said Elliott... 'It’s not something that sits well with me but what can you do? You have to accept it and it gave us two training sessions [before the next match]. Dom is ready. With me getting the news that the Spennymoor game was off, I felt it was more beneficial to not rush him back [against Alfreton]'...

United have scored twice in their opening two matches, courtesy of Jordan Thewlis’s deflected effort against Chester FC on the opening day and Jake Wright’s second half leveller at Alfreton. Elliott is not too concerned that his much-vaunted attack have yet to click into gear...

'We need to sharpen up in the final third,' added Elliott. 'We have made some wrong choices but I am confident that it will come. We have got good players who are still in second gear and once they start getting up to speed, we will be absolutely fine.'

The Leamington encounter is the first of back-to-back home fixtures, with Guiseley set to arrive at The Jakemans Stadium on Saturday. With Altrincham lying in wait at the end of August too, Elliott is confident of calling on home comforts to get the Pilgrims’ campaign firmly up and running...

Added Elliott... 'We have a good, healthy squad and we just need to tweak a few things to improve.'"

Boston United reported that "Following a blank weekend due to Spennymoor Town's ongoing pitch problems, United will be looking for their maiden victory when the Brakes [Leamington] come to town.

The Pilgrims have drawn both matches 1-1 so far, against Chester FC and Alfreton Town, and Craig Elliott's side will now be looking for their first three-point haul, following Jake Wright's second half equaliser last time out.

Striker Dominic Knowles is expected to be involved competitively for the first time following a pre-season calf injury, but Elliott will check on the fitness of midfielder Andi Thanoj, who limped out of the Alfreton encounter with his own calf strain. Karl Byrne and Tom Clare are available for selection too, but Jonathan Wafula (knee) is still ruled out...

Tuesday's match referee is Dean Watson, who last officiated United against Altrincham in January." Watson also oversaw Alty's draw at Gloucester last Saturday.

Southport "will be looking to continue their solid start to the season when they visit newly-promoted Farsley Celtic on Tuesday night. After kicking off the season with two goalless draws, Liam Watson’s side got their first victory as they put three past Guiseley at the weekend.

Meanwhile opponents Farsley have experienced a mixed start to the new campaign, winning one, drawing one and losing one...

The Celt Army are used to winning, after gaining promotion as champions from the Northern Premier League... An important player for Lakeland’s side last season was Jimmy Spencer, who scored 20 times. The striker has already grabbed his first Vanarama National League North goal...

Nathan Cartman and Hayhurst, who both bagged 13 goals last season, have also scored one each in the opening three games... During their climb up the leagues,the club has become used to success and will want to continue their progress and focus on the positives to the start of this season. Despite being in different divisions last term, Watson’s side did visit Farsley in the FA Cup, coming away 3-0 winners".

Guiseley reported yesterday that "The Lions are back at Nethermoor on Tuesday night for the visit of Spennymoor Town... After the opening defeat of the season at Southport on Saturday the side will be looking for a quick return to winning ways on home soil, a ground where no away side has left with three points since March...

Russ O’Neill spoke to David Kendra from Guiseley Radio after the game [at Southport] and said 'We are bitterly disappointed with the result, in all honesty I don’t think we gave ourselves a chance. The wind was a big factor but that is never going to be an excuse, we had it behind us in the first half and within a minute they have scored.

'We started well again in the second half but they scored early on and put us to bed, it’s a big learning curve for the young group. We gave ourselves an uphill battle by conceding silly goals at silly times, irrelevant of the conditions Southport didn’t concede. I don’t think Southport have opened us up but they did the basics very well'...

When asked about the signing of Sam Scrivens from Penistone Church, Russ said 'He can play anywhere across the front line, he is young, enthusiastic and desparate for an opportunity, he will really relish it.'"

On Tuesday, Gloucester City reported that "Tonight’s fixture will see the Tigers take on the Harriers for the first time since the 2016/17 season...

Coming into the [Harriers'] squad are highly rated Liverpool loanee Rhys Williams, goalkeeper Cameron Gregory from Shrewsbury, midfielder Alex Prosser from Aston Villa and two players with bags of National League experience in the form of Guiseley’s Cliff Moyo and Alfreton forward Richard Peniket... But the man to watch for the Harriers tonight could be Ashley Chambers who has 2 goals in 3 games so far and scored 14 for the Worcestershire side last season.

Leaving the club were first choice goalkeeper Brandon Hall who moved to Edgar Street... left-back Joel Taylor moved to Chester whilst two players moved up into the Football League with Macclesfield, prolific forward Joe Ironside and centre-back Fraser Horsfall...

For the Tigers, Jake Jackson and Fabien Robert will both miss this fixture due to suspension after dismissal against Hereford. Jennison Myrie-Williams could be set to make his first League appearance this evening".

Gateshead met Bradford (Park Avenue) on Tuesday evening. Before that match Gateshead told us that "The Heed are yet to lose this season, having drawn three from three so far against Southport, Darlington and AFC Telford United.

Mike Williamson’s side have secured two clean sheets so far with solid defensive displays, but are now looking to find the net at the other end to secure three points...

Michael Nelson (shoulder) will be unavailable after being taken off at AFC Telford United on Saturday, while Nicky Deverdics could be in line to make his second Gateshead debut should his international clearance come through in time for Tuesday’s game..

Player-manager Mike Williamson said 'Every game is a good chance for three points for us... We’re looking for our first win and we’re very confident that we’ll be able to do that.'

Speaking after Bradford (Park Avenue)’s 3-0 defeat against Kidderminster on Saturday, interim manager Marcus Law told the club’s official website of his young squad: 'Confidence can be up and down quite rapidly, so we’ve got to nurture and we’ve got to look after them. We’ve got to get some experience in there to help the core of young players who can obviously deliver, it’s really tough to have a whole squad of them in this league because it’s relentless'".

On Tuesday, Chester FC announced that "the unbeaten Blues head south tonight, for a midweek fixture under the floodlights against Kettering Town.

This match is the second of three consecutive games against National League North newcomers. A 2-1 victory at home to Farsley on Saturday was a first win of the season after two draws for the Blues. Newly promoted Kettering Town are the competition tonight, with a visit from Gloucester City Saturday...

Marcus Law guided [Kettering] to the title last season but resigned from the club in June. He was swiftly replaced by Nicky Eaden, who managed Nuneaton last season in the North. He is a former player of the club and was part of the management team when current Forest Green boss Mark Cooper was in the top job.

As mentioned on Saturday post-match by Anthony Johnson, Akwasi Asante is back fit and he could return to the squad."

Next Saturday, Altrincham travel to Northamptonshire from where Brackley Town played their second home game of the season against King’s Lynn Town...

Ian Culverhouse’s side will have been encouraged by their start to this campaign gaining six points from the first three gamesand sitting in the top three of the embryonic National League North table.

Kevin Wilkin reflected on Saints’ defeat at York City clearly identifying the positives from the performance and the need to find a greater goal threat. Looking ahead to Tuesday’s game he said 'King’s Lynn had a good result on Saturday so they will arrive with confidence high but we are back at home. If we apply ourselves as we did at York and can find that little bit of cutting edge that is probably missing at the moment then hopefully we will have enough to pick up a result on Tuesday.'"

13 August 2019


Altrincham go into tonight's clash with Alfreton Town lying fourth from bottom, in nineteenth place, but two of those beneath them have games in hand both caused by the postponements of matches at Spennymoor. The Moors have two games in hand on Alty and Blyth Spartans have one game in hand, with each of those north-eastern clubs being just a point behind Altrincham. Tonight's visitors did Alty a favour on Saturday, as their impressive 3-0 win over Blyth Spartans kept the Northumberland club below Altrincham in the league table.

However, there will be no favours tonight as Alfreton arrive at the J. Davidson Stadium seeking to redress an imbalance of recent results against the Robins. Not only did Alfreton lose 3-1 at Moss Lane last season, but they were trounced 7-0 on their own ground by Alty in the return fixture. The previous season the clubs were in different divisions but Alty won an FA Trophy game, 2-0, at Alfreton during that campaign.

Mike Garnett's records reveal the full data regarding matches between the two clubs:

  • Home: P6-W2-D1-L3-F10-A6
  • Away: P7-W4-D2-L1-F17-A4
  • All: P13-W6-D3-L4-F27-A10

Alfreton Town report that "The Reds will be full of confidence as we head to Alty looking for back to back league wins after the 3-0 win over Blyth Spartans at the Impact on Saturday, our first win of the season.

The performance was once again strong and with a first half which was very even throughout with both sides cancelling each other out; we edged in front thanks to Josh Thacker's reactive strike in the box through a crowd of bodies. The second half saw us up the pressure and the quality and we extended the lead thanks to a Bobby Johnson stunner from 25 yards before Ryan Qualter added a third with a low shot. It was the perfect second half display and Billy Heath will be pleased that the Reds are off the mark for the new season.

Our last away outing was on the opening day of the season as we fell to a late 1-0 defeat to Brackley, since then we've drawn with Boston and beat Blyth, both at the Impact...

Altrincham who many have pitted [sic] to have another strong season which saw them reach the play offs last season; have had a mixed start to the campaign and are still searching for a first league win".


Following the draw against Gloucester City on Saturday, manager Phil Parkinson was interviewed by Brian Flynn, press and media officer at Altrincham FC. The Alty manager was particularly annoyed at the failure to award a penalty when Simon Richman was felled in the second half. You can hear the interview here.

Right: Goalscorer James Jones is congratulated by Max Harrop at Evesham on Saturday..


From the Bet Victor NPL we learn that "Stalybridge have signed left-sided player Kallum Mantack from Curzon Ashton. Mantack, 21, featured in the pre-season win over Mossley and has been offered a deal ahead of the new season. He came through the ranks at Oldham, making three appearances, and had loan spells at Alfreton and FC United, before moving on to Stockport and then Ashton".

Mantack (21) joined Altrincham in mid-November 2018 and he was an unused sub the next day for the league match against York City. Kallum scored for Alty just three minutes after making his debut as a substitute against Bradford (PA) on 24 November 2018 but he moved onto Ashton United, a move announced on 8 February 2019. In all he made 4(+3) appearances for Altrincham, scoring 1 goal.


Mon 12th August
  • Curzon Ashton 3-1 Darlington (Sean Miller netted two of the Curzon goals.)

In advance of Tuesday's matches, Curzon Ashton went to the top of the table after defeating Darlington on Monday night.


Just as they did at an early stage of last season, Hereford FC have sacked their manager. Hereford FC "Chairman, Andrew Graham, has this morning [Monday] confirmed that Head Coach, Marc Richards, has left the club. Last year, on 13 September, 2018, Richards's predecessor Peter Beadle was sacked with the Bulls lying twelfth in the table. This time around Hereford lie 13th but are only separated from eighth place by goal difference!

Following lengthy discussions last night, the Board of Directors made the difficult decision to relieve Marc of his duties and make a change to the management team.

Marc’s assistant, Will Morford, is also leaving Edgar Street and, in the short term, Bulls’ Head of Football, Tim Harris, will take charge of the first team in a caretaker capacity while a new Head Coach is sought.

Speaking about this decision, after meeting Marc to tell him about the Board’s decision, the Bulls’ Chairman said ‘We never envisaged making a change this quickly, and this is not a decision we have taken lightly. It has been a really tough call. Marc is without doubt a technically gifted coach who has made some significant changes but, after a lengthy discussion with him about the club’s progress, it was concluded that the Board and Marc’s thoughts differ greatly.

‘The performances we have seen at the start of this campaign have also not been what we had hoped for and, when added to a run of just one win in the last eight games last season, as a Board we felt we had to act immediately to give ourselves the best possible chance of competing towards the top end of the National League North table. We believe this is an achievable target and it is what the new Head Coach will be tasked with aiming for.

‘As the search for a new Head Coach now begins, I would ask that our fantastic supporters get right behind the players, as always, in the upcoming fixtures, starting with the home game against Telford tomorrow night. We want to make the transition to a new management team as smooth as possible and in the intervening period, with the backing of fans, Tim will help us do that.

‘We are confident that we have a talented squad with lots of potential and players who are going to be exciting to watch. We understand that this announcement will be unsettling for many of them, which is why passionate backing from the terraces and stands over the next few weeks will be even more important than usual.

‘I can reassure supporters that, as a Board, our focus now is making the right appointment to this most significant of roles. We are ambitious and are absolutely determined to get this right'".

The National League adds that, just three games into the campaign, "Marc Richards has become the second manager to lose his job in the National League North this season... He follows Bradford PA boss Garry Thompson, who was replaced last week.

The Bulls had promotion hopes this season but on Saturday lost against King’s Lynn. They had taken four points from the two games before that, victory against Gloucester and a draw with Spennymoor". Gloucestershire Live added that "Former Cheltenham Town professional Richards, 37, left Gloucester City to take over at Hereford in October last year following the dismissal of Peter Beadle".

Earlier, more routine news from Edgar Street was reported by the Hereford Times which states that "Hereford FC are set to assess the injury of striker Reece Styche after the striker went off against King’s Lynn Town.

The striker had an immediate impact after coming on as a half-time substitute and had a one-on-one effort saved, before going off injured in the 62nd minute.

'I think he has done his AC joint which is just on top of his shoulder which is a really frustrating and niggly injury,' said [now former] Hereford Head Coach, Marc Richards. 'You think it’s a shoulder injury so it shouldn’t affect him but it does. It does affect the players when they have suffered from that injury as it’s such a physical game. We will just have to see how bad it is. Whether it’s a grade one or a grade two and potentially how long he will be out.'"

The Shropshire Star informs us that "AFC Telford United manager Gavin Cowan was left to ponder on a dilemma after Saturday’s goalless draw at home to Gateshead.

He remains adamant that his team are doing everything he asks of them, but is also mindful they need to improve in one vital area, scoring goals. The Bucks held the whip hand over a team that last season finished just outside of the play-offs in the league above, but were left to rue missed chances.

'Everything was there today,' said Cowan. 'It was a completely dominant performance, especially in the second half, but we just couldn’t get the ball over the line and into the net. If we’re going to be ultra-critical, then we have to be converting those chances, scoring goals and putting these teams to bed.'"

The Northern Echo tells usthat "Omar [actually Osagi] Bascome justified Alun Armstrong’s decision to hand him his a spot in the starting XI as Darlington collected their first three points of the season. He replaced the rested Omar Holness in the heart of midfield against Kettering Town, keeping play ticking over and moving the ball around simply while he was also involved in a goal.

It was Bascome’s switch of play that led to Stephen Thompson teeing up Jarrett Rivers to score the second goal in a 3-0 win, and he will hope for another start on Monday evening away to Curzon Ashton.

Armstrong explained 'Omar needed a rest, he looked really tired the other night against Gateshead and that’s probably why we were resorting to the longer balls because there weren’t the options in the middle of the park. I said to the lads that we needed more options in midfield, we couldn’t just have centre-backs stepping in and the only ball they’ve got to play being the diagonal pass.

'I put Osagi in there to give him the opportunity to get him on the ball and it freed us up a bit. The thing I said to the lads was make sure there’s options in there. I didn’t want to see long balls from the back. Yes, when it’s on you can play it, but you’ve got move the ball quickly. I thought Osagi was smashing. He looks after the ball and that’s what we needed, someone to look after the ball and to be fair to him he did a lot more of the defensive work than I was expecting, he got himself stuck in.

'I was pleased with him, surprisingly pleased. He’s a young kid and when I watch him in training he’s so good. His tempo in training is really good. If we can get that onto the pitch that would be great. In games he’s sometimes a little bit slow, we need to be quick with the passes and move the ball forward, which we’ve seen him do. If he moves the ball quickly and at the tempo you need in this league then he’ll be fine.'"

Southport "confirm that Jack Sampson signed an extension to his contract ahead of the game on Saturday, through to June 2021. Jack is now an established member of the Southport FC 20-goal club, currently with 23 league goals to his credit after his 49-second opener against Guiseley at the weekend. He is also a firm fans’ favourite and has three cup goals to his name from ten cup games.

The striker signed for the club at the start of the 2017-18 season and has made 63 league starts to date.

Manager Liam Watson said 'Jack is an integral part of Southport Football Club, his attitude is brilliant and you can see why the supporters have taken him to their hearts. He gives everything out on the pitch and never refuses when asked to carry out media or community activity. I am sure the news of the contract extension will be welcomed by all the supporters as much as it was by me when he agreed to sign.'"

But there has also been an exit from Haig Avenue as the BBC reports that "Accrington Stanley have signed striker Dion Charles from Southport for an undisclosed fee. The Preston-born former Northern Ireland Under-21 international, who began his career at Blackpool, has signed a two-year contract, with the option of a further year.

Charles, 23, spent two seasons with AFC Fylde before joining Fleetwood in 2016. He then returned to non-league football with Southport for an undisclosed fee in January 2018... Said Stanley manager John Coleman, 'He's impressed me the way he conducts himself on the pitch. He works his socks off, he's a good footballer and he's got an eye for goal. He's got good pace, and he's played men's football a lot, and this is a chance for him to reignite his career.'"

Spennymoor Town have already had to postpone two home games because fo the condition of their pitch but "Moors finally get the chance to gather some momentum following a week break as they travel to second place Guiseley.

Postponements against Blyth Spartans and Boston United due to ongoing pitch and ground works meant Jason Ainsley’s side were forced to watch on as the season kicked into gear...

Lions' manager Russ O’Neill said 'It’s a big learning curve for the young group' following the loss against Kidderminster last Saturday.

Spennymoor will have Stephen Brogan and Gavin Cogdon available after they were both unavailable for the opening day draw at Hereford, however, Rob Ramshaw is still suspended.

Despite currently sitting one place above the drop zone and five points behind the Lions, Moors are in a unique position and will be playing catch up over the next month.

Much like Moors’ opening day opponents, Hereford, who have just parted ways with their manager Marc Richards, Guiseley experienced a season of transition in 2018/19. The Lions finished one place above the relegation zone but comfortably out of sight of 20th place Ashton United, with the 1-1 home draw against their drop zone rivals in April all but confirming their safety. Draws, and the huge amount of them, were Guiseley’s main issue last season, with 17 registered in 42 league games. That equates to 40% of their league season.

Russ O’Neill will be aiming to win a third game in four this season. It’s been a busy summer for manager’s O’Niell and Marcus Bignot. The Lions brought in Hamza Bencherif, Pakistan international Tabish Hussain, George Cantrill, Will Thornton and Kaine Felix. Prolific strikers Gabriel Johnson and Aaron Martin, Andrai Jones, Jamie Spencer and Scott Smith were other new additions.

Spencer, who impressed against Moors for Bradford (Park Avenue) last season, scored twice in the opening day win over King’s Lynn Town and once against his former club, but it’s Martin who looks to have solved their scoring troubles of last season. The forward has netted four times in the first three games...

Guiseley scored eight times in their first two games this season. It took them eight games to register the same total in 2018/19... Despite only playing one game this season, Moors (2) have scored more goals than Gateshead (1) , Brackley Town (1) and Bradford (Park Avenue) (1) who have all played three times".

Referring to their pitch problems, Spennymoor remark that "As frustrating as it is, we all need to remember the bigger picture. Major investment has been put into a stunning new pitch and stand, both of which will transform the image of the club as a whole. Sometimes, we need to take short-term hits to realise long-term goals. This situation perfectly defines that statement... After watching the rest of the pack rack up the minutes and points, it’s important for Moors to get their season rolling".

York City's "Match winner Andy Bond is feeling confident after a 1-0 win over Brackley gave City a dream start to the season with three games unbeaten... The result also saw the Minstermen climb to the top of the table for the first time since 2006...

Bond said 'We weren’t at our best, but we grinded [sic] out the result and a win’s a win. The atmosphere is good, especially when you win a game and you know there is more to come so that’s even better. When we are on top form, we will be a force to be reckoned with.'

Aside from the victory, it was a frustrating afternoon for York against a defensive Brackley side which mirrored the setup of Farsley Celtic on Tuesday night. But a crucial strike by Bond from 30-yards broke the deadlock on 56 minutes and turned out to be the decisive goal in the fixture.

Bond added 'With the squad we’ve got teams are going to come and sit back, it’s down to us to break them down. But it’s another clean sheet for us and we will build on that Tuesday'...

The summer signing also believes he can add more to his tally this season, looking to beat his 6 goals for AFC Fylde in the National League last term.

He added 'I’ve hit a few like that in my time, it’s come to me in some space and I’ve hit it in the bottom corner'”.

12 August 2019


Altrincham's historical record against Tuesday's opponents, Alfreton Town, is below, courtesy of Mike Garnett.

  • Home: P6-W2-D1-L3-F10-A6
  • Away: P7-W4-D2-L1-F17-A4
  • All: P13-W6-D3-L4-F27-A10

Altrincham will have Josh Hancock and Sean Williams back after suspension but Jake Moult remains sidelined as he regains fitness after his summer operation.

Above, loanee Owen Dale scores for Altrincham on Alfreton's last visit to the J. Davidson Stadium, when Alty won 3-1.


Tuesday will be the first time that Altrincham have ever played a competitive home match on a 13th August. In fact in more than 100 years they had never played on that date until 2005 when they opened the season at Stevenage Borough and lost 3-0. The only two subsequent games on that date, curiously, have both been away at Harrogate Town.

As Howard Watts's and Mike Garnett's Through the Years data show, Alty have yet to win on this date.


Altrincham's start to the season has proved to be far from elementary, and the Sherlock Holmes theme of Altrincham's 2019-20 campaign continued on Saturday...

As mentioned last week, Altrincham lost their opening game to York City, where the winners' mastermind was manager Steve Watson.

This was followed by an lamentable refereeing performance by a Mr Richard Holmes which cost Alty a potential win at Chester on Tuesday night.

And then, what happened at Evesham on Saturday against Gloucester City? The referee was a Mr Dean Watson whose decisions again cost Alty dear.

Tuesday night sees Alfreton Town visit Altrincham where, hopefully, they won't be fielding anyone called Moriarty.


The Telegraph & Argus reports that "New Bradford (Park Avenue) interim manager Marcus Law knows just how big a task he has taken on after being in the dugout for the first time. He watched the young side he inherited suffer a heavy defeat to a Kidderminster Harriers team that was equally inexperienced but far more developed.

The visitors were too strong and physically imposing and they won their first game of the new season after a home draw and an away defeat. Avenue are rooted to the foot of the new table after three games and three defeats, they are not only without a point but they are also without a single goal.

The hosts were a goal down after 14 minutes as Correy Davidson broke the deadlock with a low shot from the corner of the area. The visitors doubled their lead late in the first half when Rhys Williams, a tall defender on loan from Liverpool, headed in at the far post.

Law had some words of encouragement for his players during the interval and they were much improved in the second half. They created the odd chance and forced the opposition onto the backfoot for brief spells, but it was the Reds who scored again...

Law said 'There were some positives but I see a group of players low on confidence'...

Law was appointed interim manager on Thursday so had overseen one training session before his first game in charge. He added 'It has been a difficult week for the people at the club and it is always difficult coming in under circumstances like this. You are following the previous regime which had their way of doing things and you’re asking people to do things differently. Most of the players were brought in by that regime so they have a loyalty to them but, to be fair to the players, they have adapted quickly.

'They certainly tried, I thought the effort was first class but we looked a long way short of what we need for this division. They’re young players but then so are Kidderminster’s and that’s what worried me. It looked like boys against men'".

Bradford (Park Avenue) say that they "showed signs of improvement but couldn’t prevent a third defeat of the season against Kidderminster Harriers...

French centre-back Nelson Digbeu made his debut from the start, while fellow new recruit Amos Kabeya was among the substitutes after the pair were announced as available for the match just hours before kick-off.

Conditions were tricky in Bradford, and with Avenue playing against the wind in the first period, Law’s side struggled to enjoy and substantial periods of pressure".

Kidderminster Harriers add that "Harriers S secured their first win of the season as they picked up a 3-0 success at Bradford (Park Avenue)...

The game was played in truly horrific conditions, and while that played a part in the second half, Harriers still had far the better chances for more goals".

The Boston Standard tells us that "Boston United have begun their final season at York Street, their home since the club’s inception in 1933...

Back in April, his voice on the verge of cracking, Boston United chairman David Newton gripped the microphone, stared back at supporters gathered in the club’s Pilgrim Lounge and reiterated his determination to deliver them a new stadium.

'Please be patient,' he said. 'We’re doing our best to build an £11.5 million stadium for the club out of thin air.' His emotion was understandable. After all, along with right-hand man Neil Kempster, the chairman has spent the last 12 years of his life trying to stabilise the finances of a club he acquired in a state of disarray at the same time as building it a brand new multi-million pound facility.

With the club owning no real assets, it has proved to be a lengthy and complex process, fraught with risk. But Boston are now out of time and options. When Chester FC visited York Street last Saturday, it saw the turnstiles at a storied old ground some older fans still refer to as Shoddy’s Lane open for one final season.

Once regarded as the finest in non-league football, Boston’s ground is still an impressive facility for a club in the National League North, but its time is now coming to an end. This time next year it will have hosted its last game and will lie empty, awaiting a still-unknown fate.

With the club restarting construction in Wyberton, United’s new home, which so far has only existed as PDFs on a planning website, is now something you can see and touch. For United supporters, the reality of life after York Street is only now starting to sink in...

In a little over eight months, one final whistle will blow and the terraces will fall silent for the last time... York Street will live on in memories... old grounds never truly die".

York City "continued their unbeaten start to the season this afternoon with a 1-0 win against Brackley Town at Bootham Crescent.

Steve Watson named just one change from Tuesday night’s draw with Farsley, with Dan Maguire coming back into the line-up after being left out previously with a minor injury... Macaulay Langstaff replaced Dan Maguire at half time and Wes York and Kieran Green came on ten minutes later, with Watson hoping to add some flair out on the field.

And that bit of magic came seconds after the double substitution with Andy Bond trying a low drive from 30-yards out which managed to find its way in off the post – a vital goal for City on 56 minutes...

Later on, Brackley Town made two substitutions in quick succession, hoping the fresh faces could influence the game... City prevailed after three minutes of injury time; Jameson blocking Glenn Walker late on to secure the three points which saw City go top of the league".

Alty meet Brackley next Saturday and the Saints' team against York City comprised Lewis, Myles, Audel, Bryne, Langmead (Lowe 70’), Dean, Baker (Armson 60’), Murombedzi, Ndlovu, Walker, Holman (Fairlamb 75’). Unused Substitutes: Daire, Franklin.

Attendance: 2,039 (21 away supporters).

The National League tells us that "York City are the ones sitting pretty at the top of the National League North after three games. And while many would've foreseen the Minstermen's charge, the same can't be said for the rest of the early pacesetters.

York had to call for a secret agent to edge them past Brackley. It was Bond, Andy Bond who clinched the points for the leaders. No goals in 180 minutes until this afternoon for Southport but Jack Sampson took just 50 seconds to open the scoring against Guiseley as the Port inflicted a first defeat of the season on the visitors.

Bradford (Park Avenue) changed their manager this week but it was the same story on the pitch.

Alun Armstrong notched his first win as Darlington boss. Stephen Thompson struck either side of a Jarret Rivers goal as the Quakers breezed past Kettering.

Armstrong's former employers Blyth Spartans were also involved in a 3-0 scoreline. Unfortunately for them, only Alfreton Town found the net at the Impact Arena this afternoon... It's three points from three for Gateshead after another draw - this time at AFC Telford.

A Brad Jackson-inspired Chester side secured their first maximum of the new campaign. Jackson and George Waring notched as the Blues edged past Farsley Celtic..

Two wins on the spin for King's Lynn Town who were three goals to the good when Mike Symons bagged a late consolation for Hereford. Leamington took the lead through a Josh March penalty against Curzon Ashton. The Brakes went down to ten men two minutes later and were nearing an impressive victory only for Sean Miller to level late on for the Nash.

Lynn News reports that "King's Lynn Town made it back-to-back wins in the National League North by inflicting Hereford's first defeat of the season at the Walks.

First-half goals from Michael Gash and Chris Henderson was [sic] added to by Aaron Jones seven minutes into the second period as Ian Culverhouse's side produced a champagne display in front of another bumper four-figure gate.

Hereford did manage to grab a late consolation through substitute Mike Symonds, but Lynn were full value for their second win the space of five days.

The Linnets went into the game unchanged for the third successive match while Jason Pope came in to replace Martin Riley from the Hereford side that triumphed at Gloucester City in midweek...

The opening goal finally arrived in the 24th minute when Michael Clunan sprayed the ball out to the left and Nathan Fox delivered a perfect cross for Gash to find the back of the net...

Gash was at the heart of everything for the hosts going forward and the unselfish frontman teed the ball up on a plate for Chris Henderson to double Lynn's advantage on the stroke of half-time... A consolation did arrive 15 minutes from time when Bradley Ash crossed for Mike Symonds to stab home.

The Linnets, who moved up to third in the early league standings with this win, travel to Brackley Town next on Tuesday night!

More comes from Bulls' News which reports that ^King's Lynn manager Ian Culverhouse was pleased with how his side managed the game against Hereford yesterday...

Said Culverhouse, 'We got on the ball and moved the ball around really really well, created some good chances. Then going in 2-0, it was important we managed the game and I thought we did that.

'Alex Street pulled off a great save at 2-0 and then we were down the other end and a third goal. Whoever scored that next goal was really important, luckily we got that and managed to kill the game.

'We've got to win our home games and the crowd turned up again today, got behind the boys and made some noise... I thought we deserved a clean sheet with the way we played. But fair play to them they come and changed and caused us a few problems.'"

Southport "picked up their first three points of the campaign as they strolled to a 3-0 win over Guiseley on a blustery afternoon at the Pure Stadium.

Despite the inclement weather, it took just 50 seconds for the Yellows to add some sunshine to the home fans’ day, as Jack Sampson got the scoring underway, while summer signings Raul Correia and Kieran Glynn both scored and created a goal each...

Following the break Southport were attacking with the advantage of the strong wind...

The day went from bad to worse for the away side as a late challenge from Jaime Spencer saw referee Ben Atkinson reach into his pocket and show Spencer his second yellow of the afternoon as Guiseley were reduced to ten men.

With the result Southport became the last remaining team in the Vanarama National League North yet to concede a goal. The Port travel to Farsley Celtic on Tuesday night as they look to continue their undefeated start to the season".

Guiseley add that "In a game of complete contrasts, having not scored in their first two games, the home side bagged three without reply against a Lions' side that had not conceded so far this season.

The visitors failed to get to grips with a strong wind at their backs in the first half and were behind in the very first minute as a they failed to clear the ball...

Southport put the game beyond doubt as they scored a third six minutes into the second period after the Lions left Glynn unmarked and he lashed home a shot into the bottom left hand corner.

Jaime Spencer then gave referee Ben Atkinson no option but to brandish a straight red for a late challenge after he had already been cautioned in the first half.

Leamington inform It perhaps wasn't a surprise that the game finished in a draw as that had been the outcome in three of the last four meetings between two sides who have been very difficult to separate. The inclement weather conditions probably contributed to a disappointing gate of 385 however.

The reported wind speeds of around 40mph were certainly felt around the Phillips 66 Community Stadium, Leamington playing with it at their backs towards the North Bank in the first half, but such was the severity of the weather that neither side were ever really able to use it to their advantage.

Paul Holleran named the same starting eleven from Tuesday’s impressive victory over Brackley Town, boosted by Friday’s news that Jack Edwards’ red card from the opening day draw at Kidderminster had been overturned by the FA".

At Gateshead "striker Jordan Preston believes the Heed need to be 'more ruthless' after a draw at Telford United.

The Heed looked the more likely to score in the opening stages, but neither team were able to break the deadlock before half time.

Mike Williamson’s side were nearly made to pay for missed chances as Telford came out much stronger in the second half, but a string of fine saves from Brad James helped Gateshead head back to Tyneside with a point.

Preston came off the bench in the second half to make his second debut for the Heed, having been injured in pre-season.

On his return to the side, Preston said... 'I think in the first half we were dominant, we played really well but we need to be a little bit more ruthless. In the second half towards the end, like you’d expect because they’re a good team, they put some pressure on us'...

Gateshead have scored just one goal in three games so far this season, but Preston believes the side are heading in the right direction... 'All the strikers who are in the team, and who are not in the team, want to add more goals, including myself,' he added.

'It’s a new group and we’re only going to get better but, definitely, we need to start getting more goals. If you look at the back four, we’ve got some really, really, good players. But it’s all over the pitch, we defend as a team, we press as a team.

'We’ve got that side sorted now. It’s just that little bit of quality, which will come, and then we should be alright'".

News of a former Alty player comes from Curzon Ashton for whom "Sean Miller's late strike rescued a point as they maintained their unbeaten start to the season against Leamington, but they will be disappointed not to have grabbed all three after playing against ten men for nearly an hour.

A Josh March penalty gave Leamington a first-half lead as the Nash conceded for the first time this season amidst a gale-force wind which played havoc with the flow of the game.

Junior English's sending off just two minutes after the opening goal seemingly could have swung the game back in Curzon's favour.

But Leamington's dogged defending frustrated the Nash in the second half and with the game looking like it was slipping away, substitute Miller saved the day with his second goal of the season.

After recording consecutive clean sheets, it was no surprise to see Mark Bradshaw name an unchanged back four in front of Cam Mason and there was only one change from the team that played Southport with Callum Saunders making his first start at the expense of Liam Davies...

The equaliser arrived five minutes from time. Miller received the ball from Askew 20 yards out and unleashed a fierce effort which found the bottom corner with the aid of a slight deflection."

11 August, 2019


In each of their three games this season Altrincham have scored the match's opening goal but on each occasion they have failed to hold the lead, gleaning just two points from the nine available to date.

Above: James Jones (behind the referee) steers the ball into the net for Altrincham.

They should have settled this match in the first half when they were playing into a strong wind. They had taken a 12th minute lead when James Jones swept home a John Johnston freekick from the left. And, before half-time, they had chances to stretch the lead as Jordan Hulme spurned a great chance and Lewis Walters hit the post.

The second half was a different story as Alty failed to make good use of the wind behind them. Just five minutes after the interval they conceded the equalizer. A mistake by Simon Richman led to Max Harrop conceding a freekick. Immediately after it was taken, Harrop transgressed again and was booked; his third yellow card in three matches.

To make matters worse Hanks then drove the ball from some twenty yards out past the end of the Alty defensive wall and into the net for the hosts.

Above: Joe Hanks (no.8) sees his shot evade the wall and find the bottom left-hand corner of Steven Drench's net to make it 1-1.

Alty still had chances to win the game, notably when Hulme was played in against the keeper and when Simon Richman did well to get to the byline and feed Tom Peers, but his shot was saved. Alty were also justifiably upset when Simon Richman looked to be brought down in the act of shooting from inside the box but no spot-kick resulted.

Alty go into Tuesday's home match against Alfreton Town in a disappointing nineteenth position in the 22-club league.

Match report here.


For Altrincham, Sean Williams and Josh Hancock are both available after completing their respective suspensions on Saturday. owever, Jake Moult remains sidelined after his summer operation although he and Sean Williams were deep in discussion at Evesham on Saturday as they sat out the game against Gloucester City (as shown, right).

Alfreton Town's visit the J. Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night is Altrincham's only currently scheduled home night match of the season. And the visiting Reds will be looking to avenge last season when they lost 3-1 in the corresponding fixture.

On that occasion (13 October 2018), it was Altrincham's sixth attempt to win a home league match that season, having only gathered two points from their previous five fixtures at the J. Davidson Stadium. And they had yet to score a first-half goal that season in a home league match.

But in this match Alty were 2-0 up inside nine minutes and 3-0 ahead inside 24 minutes.

As the game was about to go into its third minute Jordan Hulme latched onto a pass and, with no flag raised, he advanced and put in a low cross from right of goal which loanee Owen Dale converted at the back post to make it 1-0.

Five minutes later it was 2-0 as Dale found Harrop, who scored from the edge of the box.

With the visitors offering nothing in the way of an attacking threat, the score became 3-0 when Dale and Harrop combined to prompt a shot from Hulme which found the back of the net from the edge of the box.

The second half was a disjointed affair with numerous petty fouls and bookings. Alfreton got a goal back after 61 minutes when Peniket got the better of substitute Goulding as they chased a through ball, before beating Thompson with a low shot into the far corner.

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. Jordan HULME, 10. Max HARROP, 11. Owen DALE. Subs: 12. Tom PEERS, 14. James POOLE, 15. Josh HANCOCK, 16. Liam GOULDING, 20. Elliot WYNNE.

ALFRETON TOWN: 1. Sam Ramsbottom, 2. Joshua Clackstone, 3. Josh Wilde, 4. Thomas Platt, 5. Josh Gowling, 6. David Shiels (c), 7. Jordan Sinnott, 8. James Clifton, 9. Craig Hobson, 10. Richard Peniket, 11. Robby Johnson. Subs: 12. Curtis Bateson, 13. Thomas Nicholson, 14. Martin Riley, 15. Danny Clarke, 16. Callum Chettle".

More recently, Alfreton Town report that last Saturday The Reds "eased to a first league win of the season as goals from Josh Thacker, a Bobby Johnson stunner and Ryan Qualter put Blyth Spartans to the sword.

Thacker reacted in the box to fire home through a crowd of bodies before a cracking 25-yard strike from Johnson and a Ryan Qualter finish from close range sealed a fantastic three points.

ATFCXI: Atkinson, Clackstone, Wilde (c), Lynch, Smith, Qualter, Thacker, Johnson, Clarke (Tomlinson 67), Morgan-Smith, East. Subs Not Used: Killock, Bacon, Whitham, Blake".


Saturday 10 August 2019, Vanarama National League North
  • AFC Telford United 0-0 Gateshead (Att. 1,045)
  • Alfreton Town 3-0 Blyth Spartans (TBC)
  • Bradford Park Avenue 0-3 Kidderminster Harriers (379)
  • Chester FC 2-1 Farsley Celtic (1,601)
  • Darlington 3-0 Kettering Town (1,344)
  • Gloucester City 1-1 Altrincham (305)
  • Kings Lynn Town 3-1 Hereford FC (1,148)
  • Leamington 1-1 Curzon Ashton (385)
  • Southport 3-0 Guiseley (1,080)
  • Spennymoor Town P-P Boston United (pitch unfit)
  • York City 1-0 Brackley Town (2,039)

10 August 2019


Altrincham go into today's game at Evesham against Gloucester City without the suspended duo of midfielder Sean Williams and number ten, Josh Hancock, as well as the recovering Jake Moult. Left-back Connor Hampson is expected to captain the side again, in the absence of Moult. Simon Richman had recovered from his pre-season injury to be named on the bench at Chester so he may well be involved on Saturday.

Left-winger Lewis Walters [right] indicated that he would be fit for Saturday despite coming off the field, with a dead leg, in the second half on Tuesday night. It is hoped that Nathan Arnold, who missed Tuesday's game through illness, may also be available.

Gloucester City report that they offer "concessionary rates to Children, Students, Young Persons, Over-65s and free admission to Under-11s.

Admission prices to Vanarama National League North league matches are as follows;

  • Adults £13
  • 16-18 (Student/Concession rate *) £8
  • 12-15 £3
  • 11 and under (accompanied by a paying adult) FREE

*Senior citizens 65+ / NUS Student card holders

Games at the Jubilee Stadium are not normally segregated, visiting fans will be advised should segregation be in place". Gloucester also state that "Parking at the ground is free of charge. Postcode for SatNav: WR11 2LS "

As previously reported, Mike Garnett's records indicate that Altrincham have yet to defeat Gloucester City in an away game.

Before this year's game, Gloucester City reported that "Past encounters with Altrincham have been fruitful for City with the Tigers winning the last three encounters, including a 5-0 win at Whaddon Road in 2016, whilst only losing once in eight previous National North fixtures... "

Above: Relegation-doomed Altrincham line up in September 2016 at Whaddon Road, Cheltenham, before a 5-0 thrashing by Gloucester which gave Jim Harvey a rude awakening in his first match as the Altrincham manager. Alty's line up was 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Jon MORAN, 4. Sam HEATHCOTE, 5. Danny HATTERSLEY, 6. Adam GOODALL (capt), 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Jake MOULT, 9. Craig HOBSON, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. David LYNCH. Subs: 12. Simon RICHMAN, 14. Charlie JOYCE, 15. Harry CAIN, 16. Sean MILLER, 13. Andrew DAWBER.

Gloucester City continue, "Alty re-signed forward Tom Peers after his time with FC United, centre-back Conor Branson arrived from BPA and winger Nathan Arnold, who was a FA Cup hero for Lincoln City, returned to football after a six month hiatus. They opened their campaign at home to the bookies' favourites York City, taking the lead through James Jones but eventually losing the game 3-1. On Tuesday night three points were snatched away when Chester equalised deep into injury time to level the game (which ended 1-1).

The Tigers will be hoping to bounce back after the midweek two-nil home defeat to Hereford, which saw both Jake Jackson and Fabien Robert given red cards. Suspensions begin on Tuesday against Kidderminster Harriers so both players are available for selection for this match. Jennison Myrie-Williams has yet to feature for the club in the League due to injury and he remains a doubt for tomorrow’s encounter".

Gloucester City's starting eleven for their last match, against Hereford FC, comprised Jake Jackson, Zack Kotwica, Zach Jeacock, Josh Thomas, Marlon Jackson, Vincent Harper, Fabien Robert, Spencer Hamilton, Sam Avery, Joe Hanks, Chris Knowles. Player profiles are on the Gladiators' website.


Altrincham FC has announced that "Manchester United Women U21s will be playing twelve games at the J. Davidson Stadium this season, mostly on Wednesday afternoons. The first game is a pre-season friendly between Manchester United Women U21s v. Morecambe Ladies on 18th August at 2pm. Entry is free".

Competitive matches will be played as follows:

  • 18th September- 12pm KO
  • 9th October- 2pm KO
  • 23rd October- 2pm KO
  • 20th November- 730pm KO
  • 4th December- 730pm KO
  • 15th January- 2pm KO
  • 29th January- 2pm KO
  • 19th February- 2pm KO
  • 26th February- 2pm KO
  • 18th March- 2pm KO
  • 1st April- 2pm KO


So far, just eight league fixtures have been released by the FA for Altrincham FC Reserves. In the first of these, last Tuesday, Altrincham drew 3-3 at St Helen's with the Alty goals coming from Gabidon, Ryan and O'Hara.

On Saturday Alty are due to host Blacon at their Egerton Sports Club, Knutsford, base.

The Reserves' fixture list is here.


The Altrincham FC Ladies' fixtures for 2019-20 are here.


The fixture list for 2019-20 season for the Altrincham FC Youth (under-18s) team is here.


The winners of Altrincham FC's July Monthly Draw, held in association with SKkits, were as follows:
  • AFC Polo Shirt: #452 Paul Bingham
  • Replica AFC Shirt: #306 M L Plant
  • Hospitality Package: #117 Adrian Lamb
  • £25: #539 Nigel Bunce
  • £75: #256 T. Holt
  • £500: #251 W. Griffiths


The National League reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) have moved swiftly to appoint the club’s new management team and they have a lot of recent success behind them. Late on Wednesday night, the club parted company with Garry Thompson two games into the new season.

It hasn’t been the start he wanted following back-to-back 5-0 defeats to Curzon Ashton and Guiseley... Former Kettering Town manager Marcus Law takes the job and he has been joined by ex-Ilkeston boss Lee Fowler, who delivered the Midland Football Premier Division championship a few months previous. Fowler left the role weeks ago and both arrive on the back of excellent seasons...

Avenue owner Gareth Roberts said 'Marcus is regarded as having steadied the footballing affairs at Kettering after years of financial turmoil whilst building the club back up through the Non-League pyramid. He has a good record of developing players, playing winning football. After the news about Garry and [with] a game against Kidderminster this weekend we felt we had to act quickly so that we can plan whilst still having time to make changes to the squad.'"

From York Press comes a quote that "'Regardless of what they've done in the past, they're there in front of us to be beaten'. So said Micky Cummins ahead of York City's game tomorrow at Bootham Crescent against Brackley Town.

The assistant manager also indicated the side were happy with their points tally two games into the campaign, despite the frustration of Tuesday night's 0-0 draw with Farsley Celtic...

'We address every game differently,' he said. 'We give due diligence in our analysis. We treat every team in that, regardless of what they've done in the past, they're there in front of us to be beaten. Every game is as important as another. We do the analysis, we work on where we might be able to exploit them, we work on that in training and, on Saturday, we hope to see the lads replicate it.

'Brackley are traditionally successful at this level. They play a brand of football with a back four. Unless they change their style and tactics, we're expecting a more open game, a more tactical sort of game. I think they're quite astute in the market. They've got good league experience in central areas like (former Coventry City captain) Carl Baker. They have a very particular style that suits the players they bring in and they have a brand that has been successful for them'...

York's stalemate with Farsley midweek was the Minstermen's eighth unbeaten game on the trot [i.e. including six pre-season matches]...

'It's a pressure league,' Cummins said... 'We're trying to put things right, respond to that pressure and get results during that pressure... There are no gimmes in this league, regardless of status and club size... There's loads of positives to look at. We came away with a clean sheet [v. Farsley]. In previous years, that could have been a 1-0 defeat'...

A notable absence on Tuesday, striker Dan Maguire is making good progress with what is not thought to be a serious injury...

In addition, centre-back Josh King, 19, has been signed after impressing on trial in pre-season.

'(Maguire) has taken the transition from part-time to full-time football in his stride. He's energetic, he stretches teams and he gets us up the pitch and creates opportunities. He's great around the place, he's such a character. There's a blend (in the squad). Macaulay Langstaff is making his way and Alex Kempster has taken it in his stride, he shows no fear. A lot of times in sessions, they're the driving force. They're pushing the training and leading the tempo...

'And we've got serial winners in there like Bondy (Andy Bond) and Macca (Steve McNulty). There's a real good feel about the place.'"

At Leamington, "The club are pleased to announce that, having had their appeal heard against the red card shown to Jack Edwards at Kidderminster on the opening day of the season, the decision has been overturned, meaning Jack will be available for selection tomorrow when we face Curzon Ashton at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium".

The Shropshire Star writes "Demoted because of money troubles, Gateshead visit AFC Telford United after drawing their first two National League North games...

It has been a steady start to life as player-manager for ex-Wolves defender Mike Williamson...

Gavin Cowan, meanwhile, is looking to build on Tuesday’s convincing home win over Kidderminster Harriers with another one against the Heed...

The Bucks' chief said '“We’re coming into the game on the back of two good performances. We got our just des[s]erts with the second one, the win over Kidderminster. Gateshead, I think they’ll be pretty solid. They’ll want to play and make a good start to the game, give themselves something to build on. Mike’s not someone I’ve come across before but he’s the player-manager now and, from what I hear, he’s probably their best player as well.

'And I think it’s probably got to be that way to be successful in that role. Fair play to him, as I’ve been a player-coach before and it’s a difficult role. Respect goes to him for that, but that goes to one side for 90 minutes as we’re looking to pick up a good win. And at the end of the day, how Gateshead ended up in the division does not matter. What we’re focused on is ourselves...

'If we perform how we did on Tuesday, and I’m sure we will, then we should pick up a result.'

Darryl Knights was on the scoresheet for Telford on Tuesday while star signing Aaron Williams opened his club account. 'It’s good for those lads to get themselves a goal each... But what we’re looking at is these first seven games and picking up good results along the way,' added Cowan".

According to the Eastern Daily Press "There was an awful lot to like about King's Lynn Town's first win in midweek but a cameo performance by a young newcomer to The Walks almost stole the show. Sonny Carey was playing for Wroxham in the Thurlow Nunn Premier last season on Tuesday, against Kettering, he made his National League North bow, and marked it with the winning goal.

Ian Culverhouse first knew about Carey through Ryan Jarvis, his midfield lynchpin and a coach with the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation shadow squad, of which the youngster was a part.

Carey was a regular at Lynn training for a couple of months at the end of last season, so integration into the squad wasn't a problem. What might be a problem for Culverhouse now is how to pick 11 starting players from a small but perfectly-formed squad bristling with talent...

Sam Kelly set up Carey's winner with a brilliant pull-back from the byline, yet the former City youth team player, with plenty of Football League experience, hasn't been able to start either of Lynn's two games. What that quality in depth has brought is strong competition for places... If Culverhouse has 18 players all ticking all the boxes, it goes without saying he will have a much better squad... So where does Carey fit in?

He's inexperienced, 16 minutes at this level, and that in an unfamiliar right wing-back position. He's only 18, although if anyone thinks he's immature then that 16 minutes of play plus his post-match chat with the media proves otherwise."

We are informed by the Northern Echo that "Making mistakes has been Darlington’s downfall in each of their two games so far... Manager Alun Armstrong has seen his team show a vulnerability if they concede first, as has happened in both games so far and on each occasion it has been due to an individual lapse.

It was Louis Laing seven days ago at Farsley Celtic, and Luke Trotman on Wednesday against Gateshead, both responsible for stray passes that were intercepted and capitalised on by grateful opponents.

'Confidence seems to sap out of them,' said Armstrong ahead of Saturday's home game with Kettering Town. 'If it’s a wonder goal you’ve conceded then you accept it, the problem when it’s a mistake is that mentally as a team you start to think "here we go again". All four goals we’ve conceded have been individual errors. Trots tried to play a pass inside, but he’s got to put his foot through it there and clear the decks.

'Yes, we don’t lump the ball forward, but the pass wasn’t there to play. It’s decision making. Trots was a little bit rusty, he hadn’t trained on Monday because of the travelling but second half he got into the game much better and got over that blip. Mistakes are costing us. Gateshead never played through us, they had set-plays and that was it and a mistake cost us a goal.

'They defended ever so well, as you’d expect with Mike Williamson playing, they were nice and solid, and they won’t concede many goals... We need to be brave on the ball, not just in the tackle but brave on the ball... I had a go at them after the game because there was a 20-minute spell after conceding... We told them to put things right and they did, and they were much better in the second half'...

Tyrone O’Neill, on loan from Middlesbrough, played his way into contention for a starting spot against Kettering after making an impact as a substitute on Wednesday when replacing Jamie Holmes, who is a doubt with a knee injury... Armstrong knows he must make at least one change as Trotman will miss the remainder of the season with an Achilles, injured sustained on Wednesday. As the right-back is out of contract next summer there is a chance he will not play for Quakers again.

Armstrong needs a Plan B with options including shifting Michael Liddle to right-back with Jordan Watson slotting in at left-back, or start Josh Heaton and switch to 3-5-2 which is how Quakers ended their midweek match...

'Not a lot,' was Armstrong’s frank response when asked how much he knew about today’s visitors [Kettering]. 'The first three games are all against teams new to the division, Farsley and Kettering came up and Gateshead came down. It’s all new and it can be hard to find out about teams that far away.'

One encouraging note from Wednesday was the size of the attendance, an indication that Darlington supporters have been enthused by Armstrong and his pre-season signings. It was 1,989, and even accounting for 301 Gateshead fans it represented a higher number than attended Quakers’ first home match of last season against Curzon...

Armstrong added... 'The football has changed a lot, hopefully the fans have seen that and I can’t thank them enough for their support because they were outstanding... I believe in what we’ve got in that dressing room, we’ll win more games than we’ll lose'".

The unofficial Harriers Online tells us that "The Harriers will be venturing North to Bradford tomorrow to face a side that have made the worst start to a season imaginable. Two 5-0 defeats, the management sacked and we haven’t even completed the first week yet.

We, too, are in a state of disarray with the fans up in arms over our poor start to the season that’s seen us throw away two points at home to Leamington FC on opening day and then at AFC Telford Utd on Tuesday evening the 300+ travelling fans saw what could be termed one of the worst performances seen in many a year.

Although we started well at the Buck's Head it didn’t take long for the home side to dominate the game and we didn’t have the answer. A first half goal from the former Red Darryl Knights gave them the lead and a second half goal from Aaron Williams, that made a mockery of our defending, finished us off and they could have gone on to score more.

Let’s put that behind us now though and look forward to taking three points off Bradford (Park Avenue)... Like us BPA have a policy of playing academy kids as much as possible and, like us, theirs was forced on them following most of the first team leaving at the end of last season due to financial reasons. They too have found out that a youth policy is no good for this level of football and, like us, they’ve found that they don’t have enough senior players to field a first eleven and a bench without resorting to kids.

They do have one ‘kid’ that should be decent though after nineteen year old Alex Hurst was sold to Port Vale a few weeks ago and promptly loaned back to them until January.

We should be able to go into the game with an unchanged starting line up again but James O’Connor could be doubtful following a knee injury...

Manager John Pemberton can only work with what he has at his disposal and if funds aren’t forthcoming, either from above or if there are none to give, then how can he be to blame? John has been honest with the fans since the start of pre-season without laying the blame at anyone's door. We can all see what he’s referring to in his interviews yet only two games in and he’s getting unwarranted stick".

9 August 2019


TASC Travel Coordinator Mark Eckersall writes "We are pleased to announce coach details for the trip to Gloucester City (at Evesham) on Saturday 10th August. Last season saw some great away days and we'll be playing our part again in the push for promotion.

We hope you can join us on this trip. Why not avoid the driving and car parking and jump on the coach?

For Gloucester we'll be having a full executive coach and a 30 minute stop.

Remember we operate family-friendly coaches and we welcome fans of all ages; no alcohol is permitted and we always make new travellers welcome.

We don't allow any anti social behaviour so, if that's your thing, then the coaches aren't for you as we keep a nice family atmosphere on there to make sure we can attract as many people as possible.

Seats can be booked by calling the club on 0161 928-1045 to secure your place.

Details of pick-up arrangements, times and fares are on the Away Travel page.


Altrincham make their first visit to Evesham on Saturday to play a Gloucester City side that they most recently met when The Gladiators were ground-sharing at Cheltenham Town. Indeed, Gloucester City have done remarkably well to get promoted and then maintain their level of football despite Evesham being the fifth location that they have had to base themselves at in the past 12 years for reasons completely beyond their control.

Gloucester City currently play at Evesham United's ground at Cheltenham Road, Evesham, WR11 2LZ and more details of that stadium are on the Football Ground Guide website. United compete in the Bet Victor Southern League.

Gloucester City have been without their historic stadium in the city of Gloucester since floods at their Meadow Park ground in summer 2007 which left the pitch under some eight feet of water; they had overcome another major flood seven years earlier.

The Gladiators were forced to play elsewhere and spent the 2007-08 campaign as tenants at the New Lawn, the home of Forest Green Rovers, in Nailsworth. After that, two seasons were spent in exile at Cirencester Town where, impressively despite their exile, they gained promotion to the Conference North for 2009-10. They were assigned to the North despite being located further south than Worcester City. This was because Worcester City had earlier been forcibly moved to the South and had an agreement that they could not be re-located to the North for a period of three years.

Changes to ground grading then meant that Cirencester's stadium was deemed unsuitable for Conference North football and the Gladiators had to relocate once more, this time to Cheltenham Town. The club was then forced to move to National League South for 2017-18 even though, ironically, they were now obliged to move their playing location even further north, to Evesham, 23 miles from Gloucester, in the neighbouring county of Worcestershire.

In the interim the club has been involved in a protracted process of upgrading the flood defences at their Meadow Park ground in Gloucester, to which they hope to return in the forseeable future.

In advance of Saturday's game, the BetVictor Southern League reports that "Lewis Clayton has joined Cirencester Town after a successful trial period at the Southern League Division One South club this summer. The young goalkeeper has also signed for National League North side Gloucester City on dual-registration forms.

Former Cheltenham Town youth team number one Clayton recently returned from a spell playing in Sweden with fourth-tier club IFK Mora, having spent most of last season at home village team Bishop's Cleeve in the Hellenic League Premier Division.

'I'm delighted to sign for Cirencester,' Clayton said... 'The move came from signing for Gloucester City and Mike Cook suggesting a dual registration to get some game time under my belt'".


Chester have issued four and a half minutes of highlights from last Tuesday's draw with Altrincham here.


Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson reluctantly decided not to re-sign Matt Chadwick [right] earlier this month and opted, instead, for Lewis Walters as his final summer signing for 2019-20 season..

But now the Warrington Guardian tells us that "Warrington Town have signed striker Matthew Chadwick, who was previously with Altrincham.

Chadwick, 26, came on as a substitute triallist in the 2-1 win over City of Liverpool on Tuesday night, scoring the match-winner.

He was part of the Ashton United team that won promotion to National League North ahead of the Yellows in 2017/18, and was the Robins’ top scorer in several seasons at Hurst Cross.

Yellows boss Paul Carden said 'We know he’s a proven goal scorer and he adds to the forwards we’ve already got and will be really good for competition.

'We’ve kept a pretty settled squad and we’ve added quality where we needed to and Matty gives us that too.'”


The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Mark Bower has played down speculation about a possible shock return to Bradford (Park Avenue) after leaving only three months ago.

The club announced last night that player-manager and assistant, Garry Thompson and Shaun Gardner, had been let go after just two games.

Since then rumours have emerged that former manager Bower, who runs his own estate agents, Hamilton Bower, could be being lined up for a return. The ex-Bradford City player endured a successful tenure at Horsfall Stadium and was spotted there for the 5-0 loss against Guiseley on Tuesday. But Bower has confirmed there has been no contact from Avenue and that people have possibly but 'two and two together'.

Bower said 'I spoke to Gareth (owner Gareth Roberts) three or four weeks ago about sponsoring for the fence. We like to keep our eye in, in the Conference. At some point I'd like to get back involved.'

In his time with Avenue, Bower managed two play-off finishes and would be willing to speak to the club if the opportunity arose. He said 'I got on well with a lot of people there and spoke to them. It's a shame to see the position they're in at the minute. But I'm sure they'll get other options.'

Bower admits he is busy with business at the minute, but does attend different Conference games regularly and will be seeing another this weekend.

He added, 'I've not heard anything and I'm not expecting to. We go to games, because at some point something could come up and you need a knowledge of the level you're at. But I've not spoke[n] to anyone about football matters for a long time.'"

Elsewhere in West Yorkshire, the Telegraph & Argus relates that "Marcus Bignot insists his free-scoring Guiseley side remain a work in a progress following a 100 per cent start to the new season. The Lions have roared to 3-0 and 5-0 wins over King's Lynn Town and Bradford (Park Avenue) respectively to top Vanarama National League North by two points after the first two games.

But... the former QPR defender is not getting carried away... Guiseley now face a further test of their mettle when they travel to Southport on Saturday, followed by a home date with Spennymoor Town on Tuesday night (7.45pm)... Bignot says his young side show no fear...

He said 'We have carried on what we built up in pre-season. They have taken on board everything we have said. It's a young group that's got ability and it's about making sure they understand the process of getting that consistency. It's a learning environment with a clear structure...

'We said anything is possible with this group because they are young. There is no fear. It's a work in progress. This is the first year we have put a team together in the image of the management team. We're excited by that'...

Bignot added... 'We were really excited by the recruitment we have done. I think we are a couple of pieces shy of getting that complete squad. I'm hoping to get another signing in before Saturday'".

And Guiseley add that "Free scoring Guiseley continued where they left off on Saturday putting five past a youthful Avenue with a Aaron Martin hat trick and one apiece for Aram Soleman and ex-Horsfall midfielder Jamie Spencer giving them a first win on the road.

Both clubs have invested heavily in younger players for the coming season, the difference being that Guiseley's experienced management duo have assembled a squad that has power and pace and are prepared to work their socks off for each other, whereas rookie boss Garry Thompson has undoubtedly picked up some talented youngsters but who, unfortunately on tonight’s evidence, look totally out of their depth...

Avenue made three changes but to no avail as even when they breached the Guiseley rear-guard George Sykes-Kenworthy stood firm despite have a quiet night up to that point...

So a second successive win and another emphatic victory, with eight goals scored and none conceded, sees the Lions sat [sitting] top of the pile two points ahead of Curzon Ashton".

Cheshire Live informs us that "The subject of Akwasi Asante’s fitness is one that dominated Chester FC’s pre-season... The 26-year-old Dutchman, Chester’s record signing as a reformed club, has been plagued by injuries since signing on a permanent deal at the Deva Stadium in January.

His haul of nine goals in 11 games last season, including a quite stunning hat-trick on his debut, have demonstrated his value to Chester when he is on song... His injury history was no secret when he signed, a career that had been beset by hamstring trouble, one that curtailed his shot at the Football League with Grimsby Town after a superb two-year spell with Solihull Moors between 2015 and 2017. He missed large chunks of Chester’s run-in last season but had returned for pre-season leaner and looking to kick on.

But more injuries have followed, the most recent a groin strain picked up at FC United of Manchester in pre-season... His current injury is not a severe one, not one that Blues bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley envisage will take him out of the equation for too long.

But Morley, who accepts that they may have put too heavy a workload on the striker in the summer, has stressed that the next time he is fit it has to be for the long run... Morley said 'Akwasi, he knows his own body. It’s frustrating for me to stand here and try and make excuses for him, I’m not going to do that. He knows what he needs to do, he knows he has got a lot of questions to answer. Is he determined to get fit? I don’t know, I’m not inside his head.

'But he doesn’t miss a session, he applies himself right around training, he comes and gets his treatment and works hard and continues to work hard to get fit. Now, whether he works hard and gets fit and breaks down again, I don’t know that but I know that it is so important that the next time he’s fit he stays fit. Maybe the workload we put on him to get fit for the season, maybe it was a little bit too much and maybe we have to take a little bit of responsibility for that as well.

'However, he should be treated the same as everybody else'...

Striker Matty Hughes missed the draw with Altrincham owing to a bug but could come back into contention for the clash, as could centre back James Jones and young attacking midfielder Iwan Murray."

Darlington report that "full back Luke Trotman has learned that he could be out for the rest of the season.

Luke went off with an Achilles injury a few minutes before the end of Wednesday night’s home 1-1 draw with Gateshead, and an examination on Thursday morning suggests that it has been fully ruptured. He is waiting for a scan to confirm the bad news but he could be missing for the rest of the season depending on when surgery takes place.

Manager Alun Armstrong said 'His injury is a massive blow to us.'"

According to the Shropshire Star, "Boss Gavin Cowan believes AFC Telford still have gears to go through after impressing in victory over Kidderminster.

Cowan reckons his side were at 20 per cent as they easily swept aside Harriers on Tuesday. The Bucks welcome Gateshead on Saturday.

He said 'They’re getting fitter and stronger, growing with every game, and I believe they’ve offered perhaps only 20 per cent of what they’re capable of.'”

We learn from the Boston Standard "Jay Rollins wants to sign off from York Street on a high.

Boston United’s club captain and longest-serving player wants to help the Pilgrims begin life in their new ground on the back of a positive campaign. If that’s to happen, Rollins knows it’s vital to come through the seven fixtures of August in a strong position.

'Having been here so long I want to end my last season here on a high, I think all the lads want the same for the club,' said Rollins, who joined United after impressing on trial at the start of the 2015-16 campaign. 'We’ve got a tough first month, but I feel it’s a good time to play those games. The season’s started and everyone’s fresh. It’s a good time to go to those places where it’s tough, rather than the end of the season.'

United return to action at home to Leamington on Tuesday following the postponement of Saturday’s trip to Spennymoor. Rollins was among United’s most eyecatching players as they kicked off their campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Chester on Saturday and also looked lively during Tuesday’s draw at Alfreton. And, although he is part of a new-look attack line, brimming with talented options for manager Craig Elliott to pick from, Rollins doesn’t believe he will suffer teething problems.

'I’m used to playing alongside new players,' he said with a smile... 'We’re all Doncaster, Sheffield area so I knew a lot of them already, so it does help'.

Rollins, who called it an ‘honour’ to be named club captain, is also enjoying the free roles handed to the Pilgrims’ attackers. He said 'He (Elliott) is quite relaxed about it, he just tells us to express ourselves. It’s nice to play like that. There’s no pressure with him... The last few seasons haven’t gone well with injuries, but I really like the place.'”

Farsley Celtic "and York City were forced to settle for a share of the spoils in a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Bootham Crescent.

Both sides had chances to win the game, however it was Farsley who looked the most likely in the second-half and ultimately had the better chances. The Celt Army’s defence stood strong throughout and [ex-Alty keeper] Elliot Wynne commanded his area superbly, claiming every cross delivered by the hosts.

Adam Lakeland was extremely pleased with side’s showing, and said 'It’s a great point, obviously this is as difficult a place as we’re going to have to come to all season, and I thought the players handled that tremendously... We grew in confidence, and I felt in the end we were worthy of a point. The longer the game went on I actually felt we were the more likely, we had a couple of really good opportunities and we almost got gifted a goal'...

York’s inability to capitalise on their first-half dominance almost came back to bite them shortly after the interval, Jimmy Spencer working the ball through to Tyler Walton 12-yards from goal whose side footed shot was blocked... Adam Lakeland’s side had spells when they controlled the game in the second-half and had two opportunities to snatch all three points in the final five minutes... The best chance either side had came just moments later, Sean Newton gifting the ball to Luke Parkin who had Jimmy Spencer in space with the goal gaping, but Pete Jameson quickly closed down Parkin and made the save...

Attendance: 2938 (98 Farsley)"

And York City add that "City ended the half in dominant fashion; notably a great passing display down the left wing before a Ferguson cross to the back post which Griffiths got his head to, again forcing Wynne to save...

City dealt with an onslaught of pressure mid-way through the half and Steve Watson decided to change his side with all three substitutions made by the 77th minute... In the end the game finished a 0-0 stalemate after 6 minutes of injury time; a frustrating night for the Minstermen but starting the season with four points out of a possible six".

At Southport, "David Morgan believes Southport should have come away from their encounter against Curzon Ashton with three points after a ‘dominant’ performance. The Port have opened the campaign with two goalless draws, against Gateshead and again on Tuesday...

'On Saturday we were happy with a draw because it was our first game of the season and it was a bit hectic, but to come home and dominate in the way we did, we probably should have won,' he said. 'It is disappointing because we did have chances and it could’ve been six. If one went in the game would’ve gone from there.'

The club captain, who won man of the match in the second game... added 'I think we could’ve won the game comfortably; Curzon came wanting to dominate and they didn’t because they couldn’t break through. We did play a shape that created chances but just need to be more clinical'...

The 25-year-old did have praise for the defensive performances in the opening games, which saw the side keep two clean sheets. 'I think that’s a big strength of ours', he states. 'We didn’t concede a lot of goals last year because we are very disciplined in what we do and that’s the base that we work from. Once we start adding goals we will become very difficult to beat'

The midfielder was also delighted with the support... 'For 88 people to travel to Gateshead is some going, it’s a good trek but we could still hear them all through the game'... Morgan also praised the new pitch at the Pure Stadium that was used for the first time against the Nash...

'It is excellent, they’ve done a great job with it. Hopefully with the facilities that we have got now, we can make this place a bit of a fortress. It’s not really been like that recently'...

Ahead of the Guiseley game on Saturday, the captain isn’t phased [fazed] by their opponents 5-0 midweek victory... 'We want to win every game, especially at home, we don’t play for draws'".

King's Lynn Town "bounced back from their opening day defeat at Guiseley to open their National League North points account against Kettering Town on Tuesday night.

Second-half goals from Adam Marriott and substitute Sonny Carey put the Linnets in full control before the Poppies set up a tense last few minutes after reducing the arrears through Brett Solkhon.

The Linnets dominated the first period but were unable to break the deadlock with visiting goalkeeper Paul White looking assured between the posts.

Marriott saw his header tipped over the woodwork early in the second half, but made no mistake second time around in the 68th minute when Aaron Jones whipped in a perfect centre for the striker to head Lynn in front. Lynn absorbed a brief spell of Kettering pressure before Sam Kelly cut the ball back from the left for Sonny Carey to find the back of the net with a goal on his league debut in the 84th minute.

Kettering... scored a late consolation after Lynn goalkeeper Alex Street fumbled a speculative shot and Solkhon was on hand to stab the loose ball home."

At Gateshead "Goalscorer JJ O’Donnell felt disappointed not have come away with three points following Wednesday’s derby draw at Darlington.

After 21 minutes, the Heed gained the advantage through O’Donnell only for former Gateshead defender Michael Liddle’s late strike to ensure the points were shared.

O’Donnell was frustrated... 'It’s another game unbeaten but we’re just a bit disappointed that we couldn’t see the game out... We deserved to go into half time ahead... You’ve got to take the positives though'...

O’Donnell’s first-half strike was his first league goal since May 2014... He added 'I’ve set myself a target this year to get more goals and contribute more, it’s something I need to do if I’m playing higher up the pitch... I probably should have gotten [sic] another in the second half but I’m not used to being in those sorts of positions so it’s something I’ll learn from.'

O’Donnell arrived to Gateshead from Luton Town initially on loan in 2014 and has carried a special relationship with Heed fans since, and praised the 301-strong away crowd at Blackwell Meadows...

'It’s a positive of being in a league like this, having lots of local matches where lots of fans come and get behind us'" he concluded.


The NWYA has released the following fixtures for Altrincham FC Youth...
  • 01/09/19 14:30 AFC Fylde U18 Youth Altrincham FC U18 AFC Fylde
  • 08/09/19 14:30 Egerton Football Club U18 NWYA Altrincham FC U18 Egerton Youth Club WA16 6SL
  • 11/09/19 19:00 Altrincham FC U18 Hyde United FC U18 Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP
  • 15/09/19 14:30 Altrincham FC U18 Chester FC U18 Youth Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP
  • 18/09/19 19:00 Altrincham FC U18 Stockport County FC U18 Youth Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP
  • 22/09/19 14:30 Chorley FC U18 Altrincham FC U18 DEAN TRUST WIGAN
  • 29/09/19 14:30 Altrincham FC U18 Curzon Ashton FC U18 Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP
  • 20/10/19 14:30 Ashton Athletic U18 Altrincham FC U18 Brocstedes Park WN4 0NR
  • 03/11/19 14:00 Altrincham FC U18 Atherton Town U18 Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP
  • 10/11/19 14:00 Prescot Cables U18 Altrincham FC U18 Prescot Soccer Centre L35 5AD
  • 24/11/19 14:00 Altrincham FC U18 Southport FC U18 Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP
  • 15/12/19 15:30 Hyde United FC U18 Altrincham FC U18 Hyde United FC U18
  • 22/12/19 14:00 Altrincham FC U18 AFC Fylde U18 Youth Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP
  • 12/01/20 14:00 Chester FC U18 Youth Altrincham FC U18 Boughton Hall Cricket Club CH3 5EL
  • 19/01/20 14:00 Altrincham FC U18 Chorley FC U18 Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP
  • 02/02/20 14:00 Curzon Ashton FC U18 Altrincham FC U18 Curzon Ashton FC OL7 9HG
  • 09/02/20 14:00 Altrincham FC U18 Egerton Football Club U18 NWYA Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP
  • 01/03/20 14:15 Stockport County FC U18 Youth Altrincham FC U18 Manor Farm WA15 7HE
  • 08/03/20 14:30 Altrincham FC U18 Ashton Athletic U18 Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP
  • 15/03/20 14:30 Atherton Town U18 Altrincham FC U18 Butler Park M46 0PJ
  • 22/03/20 14:30 Altrincham FC U18 Prescot Cables U18 Manchester Health Academy M23 9BP
  • 29/03/20 14:30 Southport FC U18 Altrincham FC U18 Edge Hill University L39 4QP

8 August 2019


The story of the season so far is that Altrincham lost on Saturday to a York City team managed by Watson before it was referee Holmes's turn to frustrate Altrincham on Tuesday night at Chester, with the man in black failing to make elementary decisions on repeated foul challenges.

So, when Alty travel to meet Gloucester City on Saturday at their adopted home in Worcestershire, they should be grateful that, in addition to 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes', another of Arthur Conan Doyle's famous books was called 'The Curse of Eve' and not 'The Curse of Evesham'.

Right: Alty gained a point at Cheltenham against Gloucester City in 2011. Here we see Chris Lynch contesting possession.

For the match, Altrincham will be without at least three important players. Captain Jake Moult continues to recover from his summer operation, number ten Josh Hancock will be serving the final game of his suspension and Sean Williams will be banned after his sending off last Saturday against York City. Hopefully Simon Richman will be fit to be involved after injury in pre-season kept him out against York, though he was an unused substitute at Chester on Tuesday night.

Right: Alty gained a point at Cheltenham against Gloucester City in 2011. Here we see Chris Lynch contesting possession.

This will be the Robins' first visit to Evesham, as Alty's last encounters with City were at Cheltenham's ground. Altrincham will be hoping for better fortunes at Evesham than in previous away games against The Gladiators, which feature four winless games, as Mike Garnett's data illustrates...

  • At home: P4-W2-D0-L2-F5-A3
  • Away: P4-W0-D2-L2-F1-A8
  • All: P8-W2-D2-L4-F6-A11

Courtesy of Howard Watts's and Mike Garnett's 'Through the Years' data, we learn that the only previous time that Altrincham have played a competitive match on 10 August was back in 1968 when a Northern Premier League game at Victory Park ended in a goalless draw with Chorley.


  • This website's match report is here.

  • Alty manager Phil Parkinson was interviewed after the game for the Altrincham FC website.

  • Lewis Walters, who made his full debut for Altrincham at Chester, was also interviewed, this time by Brian Flynn for the official Altrincham FC website

For those who prefer fiction, Bernard Morley's post-match rant against Altrincham is here.

A more balanced account than that of Chester's joint-manager comes from the club itself as Chester FC report that "Chester rescued a late point in their first home game of the season against Altrincham, as Gary Roberts scored a dramatic 93rd minute equaliser. Similarly to Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Boston United, the Blues conceded a first-half own goal as Danny Livesey poked John Johnston’s delivery into his net.

However unlike the weekend, Chester took until the second half, stoppage time to be precise, to respond as Gary Roberts slammed home a deflected effort.

The Blues were unchanged from the draw at Boston, lining up in a 4-4-2 formation with goalscorer George Waring accompanying Anthony Dudley up front. Waring went into the referee’s notebook in a mere 30 seconds after a clash in the air with Alty captain Connor Hampson... Chester dominated the first ten minutes but struggled to test the ‘keeper. Then the visitors embarked on their first attack of the game and Johnston was able to find the unfortunate boot of Livesey who put away the home side’s second own goal in as many games.

Alty consequently picked up the pace... Despite losing their rhythm in the middle of the park after the goal, Chester still carved out a few chances with a lot of possession... Referee Richard Holmes drew to a close a frustrating half where the Blues drew up very little in attacking creativity as they struggled to break down a well-drilled Alty defence.

A decent opening 15 minutes of second half pressure from Chester culminated in a nice link-up between Dudley and Brad Jackson...

Grand may well have found himself sent off for a second bookable offence on 65 minutes but was lucky to stay on as the visitors sent in a right-sided free-kick to no avail... As the clock ticked down the Blues continued to apply the pressure but without any end product...

As five added minutes were lifted[?], last-chance saloon beckoned and Joel Taylor brought out the towel, wiped the ball and launched a long throw into the Alty penalty area. The visitors scrambled it away as far as Gary Roberts who slammed his effort into a defender and past Drench in the 93rd minute!"


Altrincham FC has reported, on Twitter, the sad news of the death of loyal Altrincham supporter Steve Murray. Until recently Steve was not only a supporter who travelled on the TASC supporters' coach to all of Altrincham's away matches, but also a member of the club's stewarding staff who worked at every home fixture at the J. Davidson Stadium.

Right: In a rather grainy photo taken at Grays Athletic in 2008, Steve is seen on the front row of the Alty supporters, in his replica shirt and blue cap, deep in conversation with another well-known and sadly-missed Alty supporter, Gary Wright, "The Skipper".

Steve was also well known to away supporters as he would make the effort to chat with them both at home and away matches, whether as a steward or a supporter.

A former civil servant with the DHSS (later DWP), Steve only took early retirement from that role a year or so before his untimely death. A gentle character, who lived in Sale, Steve was well suited to calming irate customers in both his work and stewarding roles and he liked nothing more than to relax in his leisure time with a pint of beer (or preferably two) and a cigarette.

Steve's health had deteriorated in the last year or more but, nevertheless, his death has come as a shock to all who knew him.


Wednesday 7 August 2019
  • Darlington 1-1 Gateshead

The above result means that Darlington draw level with Altrincham and Kidderminster Harriers, and all three have identical goal-scoring records. So, the trio now occupy the 18th to 20th positions, with the clubs customarily shown in alphabetical order in renditions of the league table. Only Blyth Spartans, who have a game in hand, and Bradford (Park Avenue) lie beneath these three clubs.


Hereford FC defeated Alty's next opponents, Gloucester City, 2-0, on Tuesday night. "The Bulls picked up all three points with a 2-0 win against local-rivals Gloucester City. The home side were reduced to ten-men after 21 minutes when Jake Robinson kicked out at Jordan Cullinane-Liburd as the two tangled close to the touchline. Cullinane-Liburd received a yellow card for his part in the altercation.

Keiran Thomas got The Bulls off the mark with a fine strike from the edge of the box shortly after the half-hour mark, his effort nestling neatly into the bottom corner of the net to give Hereford the advantage at the break.

The hosts saw red again with just over twenty minutes left in the second half. Fabien Robert receiving his second yellow of the game for a trip on Jordan Nicholson.

Tom Owen-Evans put the result beyond doubt with ten-minutes remaining, firing home from the spot after second-half substitute Reece Styche was hauled to the ground shortly after coming on".

Gloucestershire Live adds that "Mike Cook felt it was 'strange' that Hereford defender Jordan Cullinane-Liburd escaped a red card after his Gloucester City side finished with nine men in their 2-0 derby defeat.

Tigers striker Jake Jackson was given his marching orders midway through the first half after a clash with the Bulls' man and Cook felt both players should have been given red cards. He said, 'I just think he grabbed hold of Jake’s leg and knee but Jake shouldn’t have reacted and that’s a definite red from Jake but then if he also stamps and kicks on him personally if that was me refereeing the game, I would have sent them both off.

'I think that would have been fair but to give him a yellow was strange to be honest.'”

Meanwhile, "Hereford Head Coach Marc Richards was glad his side came away with three points despite his side not putting in a great performance" according to the Hereford Times. "'We got the three points and it is a difficult place to come to,' said Richards. 'It is a difficult place to come to and you felt the wind even today. To get the three points was what it was all about today.

'It wasn’t a great performance being honest, obviously with the sending off that changed it slightly. We need to be better in terms of the levels we are aspiring too. I would have taken any win today.'"


Bradford (Park Avenue) "confirm that [manager] Garry Thompson and Shaun Gardner have left the club with immediate effect.

Gareth Roberts the club chairman said tonight, 'As a club, we wholly own this decision and would like to place on record our sincere thanks to the pair for their hard work and commitment to the role.

'We regret Garry and Shaun’s time with us has been so short as we really hoped things would work out differently as they are both great guys. We understand there will be question marks over our decision after only a few games in charge but hopefully this will allow them to build good careers in the game'”.

And there are changes elsewhere at the club as BPA also anounces that "Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC are currently in the process of formally transferring the Club to a Community Interest Company (CIC).

This is a purely technical change that will allow the Club to continue to conduct business effectively whilst still being a not for profit community focused company. The new Board of Directors of Bradford Park Avenue AFC CIC are as follows: Gareth Roberts, Jonathan Collura and John Dean. The Company Secretary is David Little and the Football Secretary is Colin Barker. Gareth Roberts will be the Chairman and also General Manager of the Club in the new structure...

Roberts said,'After an uncomfortable transition, I have now decided to take full control of the Club and make sure that we achieve our goals of being sustainable, successful and a strong community partner...

The past 12-months have been exceptionally difficult both on and off of the pitch, and I have felt that my plans for the Club have not been carried out to my satisfaction. So, from this point on, I want to reassure our supporters that I am now directly overseeing the decision making at the Club'"

Earlier, "For the second time in four days, Avenue lost 5-0 on Tuesday night and Bradford (Park Avenue) report that "As with Saturday’s defeat to Curzon Ashton, Park Avenue started the game competitively against Guiseley but fell behind to an early goal; Aaron Martin opening the scoring for the visitors in the 7th minute with a header that beat Charlie Andrew after slipping away from his marker.

Aram Soleman doubled the away side’s lead by finishing off a clever through ball from winger Gabriel Johnson 17 minutes later and with 10 minutes before the half time whistle, Aaron Martin added to his goal tally with another powerful header to make it three nil.

Park Avenue started the second half on the front but again found themselves further behind in the 53rd minute with Guiseley’s main man Aaron Martin completing his hat-trick by slotting home a fine strike past the left-hand side of Charlie Andrew. Lewis Knight and substitute Brad Dockerty created some pressure for the hosts as they pushed for a consolation goal before former Bradford man Jamie Spencer finished the scoring in the 87th minute with a wonderful volley from outside of the box that hit the upper side netting of the Bradford goal".

Kidderminster Harriers state that "Harriers will improve on their showing in the defeat to AFC Telford on Tuesday, says boss John Pemberton. The Reds suffered a first defeat of the new season at the New Buck's Head, going down 2-0. It leaves Harriers with just a point to show for their efforts across the first two games, but it was the performance in the second half against The Bucks that left the boss most upset.

He reflected 'I was disappointed with the second-half performance. I thought it was weak, I thought it showed the frailties in what we’ve got. It highlighted the position in which we are at the moment with regards to what we’ve got player wise, and strength in-depth. The second half performance wasn’t good enough, it’s as simple as that'...

He added 'We’re quite inexperienced, but there are one or two players that I expect more from; they know the league and have played quite a few games. You want them to step up to the plate, and the second goal killed us, we never recovered from that. So we’ve got work to do, but we’ll get better, we’ll definitely get better. I know we will. Some of them, unfortunately, are used to losing and it is difficult to get out of that mentality.'"

At Leamington "On a memorable evening at the Phllips 66 Community Stadium, Paul Holleran gave us his thoughts after Leamington won their first game of the season against Brackley Town.

'Putting the 500th game to one side, it was a nice occasion but you know what’s coming with Brackley, they’ve recruited well in the summer. We knew we’d have to probably sacrifice a bit of space in the first half as they’ve got such clever players, Shane Byrne, Carl Baker, they move you about well, pass the ball well. We dealt with most of it, got some great blocks in when we had to, and then the key thing was on the changeover, trying to be a threat on the counter attack and get our wide men into the game.

'It was hard in the first half because of the pace of the game but we’ve defended our box well, used the ball OK and, obviously, [at] set-plays we’ve looked a threat. That was something we worked on last week with this game in mind, trying to just get the ball as quickly as we could in and around the box with the targets we’ve got, and it’s paid dividends. We’ve scored a goal and nearly made it 2-0 at the end of the first half. Second half it was a real National League North game, it opened up a bit. It was end to end and I just think that then we used our counter-attacking threat well, we passed the ball better, got our wide men into the game.

‘Goals win games. They’ve had a couple of chances to make it 1-1, we’ve had a few chances as well. You just don’t know which way it’s going to go. We scored from a good bit of play and managed to get the second goal, and we’ve been pretty comfortable then. There were some massive, massive performances tonight.’

‘Obviously towards the end of last season we had one or two short term loans, and there’s been one or two big characters gone and obviously there’s Colby (Bishop) [the main striker, who left]. We knew it was coming; we’d started rarely getting out during the second half of last season...

[As for the new players] ‘They’ve all got the attributes to do well. There’s always a bit of a gamble, but they’re all young, they’re desperate to do well and they’ve got the ingredients that you look for. If you take Brackley tonight, they’ve got a lot of polished, finished players, good players, whereas we probably go for players that want to step up a level or two, so they’ve got a lot to prove and hopefully we can give them a good environment and a good grounding...

‘They’ve all gelled at the moment, there’s a good spirit'"

York Press reports that "Frustration was the main emotion for York City manager Steve Watson following his side’s 0-0 draw at home to newly promoted Farsley Celtic...

City, who were missing key striker Dan Maguire through injury, failed to make many genuine chances and were forced to settle for a point...

Watson was left disappointed... 'We didn’t test their keeper enough and you can’t win games of football if you don’t do that,' he said. 'We played very well to a point, we had a lot of balls fizzed across goal. It was one of those nights where nothing quite dropped for us, whether that was people making runs too early...

'In the second half, it was similar to Altrincham in that we went in drawing and we knew that, as the game went on, we’d have options from the bench to hopefully win the game. But Farsley came out very differently in that second half. They came to frustrate, they put five at the back and had bodies behind the ball. It was a frustrating second half. We couldn’t [get] up the pitch at times, we had to try and play through the back to get people out. The people that were getting out were people like Sean Newton, who’s a left-sided centre half'...

Farsley almost snatched the points when Luke Parkin stole a misplaced pass from defence by goalkeeper Peter Jameson... The keeper managed to atone for his error with a fine save.

'That would have been the icing on the cake to a frustrating night had that gone in,' added Watson of the chance... 'We had four strikers on the pitch at one point and not one of the them managed to really test the goalkeeper.'"

On Tuesday, Spennymoor Town should have hosted Blyth Spartans but the match was postponed owing to the state of the Brewery Field pitch. And now, according to the Boston Standard "Craig Elliott was ‘fuming’ after discovering Boston United’s contest at Spennymoor Town has been postponed.

The Pilgrims were scheduled to travel to Brewery Field on Saturday. However, the match will be rescheduled. The Moors requested to play their first four fixtures of the campaign away from home due to work being carried out at their ground. Although this request was not met by the National League, the contest will still not be able to go ahead.

'I’m fuming to be honest,' said Elliott, who believes an alternative venue could have been found. 'I just think it’s not right. People have known about this for a long time and things could have been put in place. They’ve done all they can to get the game on but what can you do? It’s been taken out of our hands. I think the one positive is is we’ll have two training sessions and prepare for next Tuesday (against Leamington)'...

Some Boston fans were also left frustrated by the decision, with some reporting to have booked weekend breaks in the north east to coincide with the contest.".

The Northants Telegraph informs us that "Nicky Eaden was left disappointed after Kettering Town were unable to follow up their opening-day success as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at King’s Lynn Town... The Poppies were below par in Norfolk as the Linnets grabbed a deserved first win of the campaign.

After a goalless first half, the home side opened the scoring through Adam Marriott and then doubled that advantage thanks to Sonny Carey’s effort with six minutes to go. Substitute Brett Solkhon did pull one back for the Poppies but they were unable to find an equaliser...

'I thought King’s Lynn looked sharper than us, particularly at the start of the game. They had more possession than us and we had to change it after half-an-hour and match them up. We weren’t getting battered but we weren’t really in the game either and changing to three at the back stemmed the flow and we got in at 0-0 at half-time, which was probably the most pleasing thing.

'At half-time I just asked the guys to get on the ball because when we did, we looked like we would create something. We went 1-0 down and that seemed to be the spark for us to get on the ball and we were looking dangerous before we let them in for the second. I think everyone thought that was it but Brett has popped up with a goal for us and, from there, I think we made it a nervous finish for them and there were opportunities to create something but we didn’t really do enough.

'It was obviously disappointing but the one thing we didn’t deal with was Michael Gash. We thought they would play out from the back but they hit him every time and we didn’t deal with it.'"

7 August 2019


On Tuesday night, Altrincham were robbed of a hard-earned victory by a 93rd minute heavily deflected equalizer from Chester captain Gary Roberts, following a long throw-in of dubious legality by Taylor. But, with Altrincham not causing the home keeper too many problems a draw was arguably a fair outcome.

Right: Wearing their new away kit, Alty's Hulme, Johnston, Harrop and White celebrate their team's goal.

Altrincham had led from the twelfth minute when a slick move up the right, featuring a driving run by Andy White which led to John Johnston's low cross which Chester's Livesey put through his own goal.

But, for Altrincham supporters, the main talking point of the evening was a series of unfathomable decisions from referee Richard Holmes. Inside the first minute Chester's Waring might well have seen red for an elbow on Hampson which left the Alty captain's nose bloodied and the Chester no.9 completed the match despite several other foul challenges and a couple of attempts to win freekicks by throwing himself theatrically to the ground. Mr Holmes was adept at applying bookings for minor infringements but chose to ignore more serious breaches of the Laws of Football.

And even the Chester FC website admitted that "Simon Grand may well have found himself sent off for a second bookable offence on 65 minutes but was lucky to stay on", such was the referee's avoidance of making important decisions.

Alty now lie 18th in the table ahead of Wednesday evening's game in the North East between Darlington and Gateshead.

Match report here.


From the other side, Cheshire Live reports that "Chester FC joint-boss Bernard Morley... pinpointed a lack of quality in the final third as the reason his and Anthony Johnson's Chester FC side couldn't claim all three points against Altrincham on Tuesday night...

Right: Following what Chester described as an "innocuous challenge", and Morley called "petty", in the first minute of Tuesday's game, Alty captain Connor Hampson is here seen on the ground. He needed treatment to a bloodied nose before he could continue after an elbow from Waring (no.9).

Chester picked up a deserved share of the spoils with a 1-1 draw when Gary Roberts slammed home a deflected drive deep into injury time after Danny Livesey had put through his own net on 11 minutes against the run of play.

Altrincham, one of the league's most dangerous sides on their day, were limited to just two efforts after their goal, a Jordan Hulme shot that flashed wide and a tame Lewis Walters effort that Russ Griffiths easily held, and Morley believed his and Johnson's side did enough to warrant all three points, expressing his frustration at some questionable tactics employed by the visitors in attempting to get Chester players carded.

Morley said 'This time last year we might have rolled over and got beat 3-0 or 4-0 but this side, we have instilled something into them, that "never say die" attitude. I felt we gave ourselves a platform from the off and looked to penetrate and I think the confidence showed through the team.

'If it was a boxing match it would have been stopped in the first round. I felt that they came with a game plan, they respected us far more than what I thought they would, they've dived about and tried to get players sent off. That's part and parcel of the game and I'm not saying it's bad on their behalf but I have seen a different Alty side tonight who have shown a bit of resilience. I wouldn't call it cheating, I'd call it playing the game. What people know about them is that they are a great passing side but I thought we were head and shoulders above them.

'We've probably watched Alty 12 times and the style of play is very good. They are the best at what they do in the league if you allow them to do it. We set traps tonight, they managed to get out three or four times but that happens during the course of the game. However, we made them kick [the ball long?] a lot more than they usually do.

Left: With both feet off the ground, the already booked Simon Grand jumps in on Max Harrop and escapes without a second card. Morley's joint-manager, Anthony Johnson looks on.

'It was a lack of quality in the final third that cost us the three points tonight, that final ball. However, we're happy as we have been 1-0 down for 80 minutes of the game but we've managed to find a goal.

'We've tried to win the game. People say you are at your most vulnerable when you've just conceded and I do believe that. They looked deflated when we got the goal and they looked like they had nothing left in them. We put the free kick back on them but the referee can't wait to blow his whistle, he can't wait to blow it. [It was more than seven minutes into the decreed minimum of five added minutes when he did so].

'All in all there are loads of positives, some negatives in terms of our creativity in the final third but that will come."

Morley reserved praise for big striker George Waring who led the line well with plenty of hard work and endeavour. And having been booked just 20 seconds into the game for what seemed a pretty innocuous challenge, Waring kept his head despite being repeatedly targeted by the grey shirts of Alty, who surrounded referee Richard Holmes every occasion Waring was involved in any kind of challenge.

Said Morley 'I think we defended from the front really well. I think George has given us a platform, he's closed down from the front. A big target man can expect to do some kind of workload but we are demanding so much out of George if he is going to be that focal point and over the two games we have seen a different George Waring, he has been brilliant for us.

'To be booked after the first couple of minutes for something that I thought was petty ruins him, but he has got on with it. They tried to get him sent off for the next 85 minutes of the game. I think the referee has been sort of brave (in not caving in to Altrincham protestations) but he has also been sort of weak with one or two decisions.

'But I'm not going to make excuses and I'm delighted that we've got ourselves back in the game against one of the better footballing sides in the league. We are two unbeaten and only conceded two own goals. The lads aren't happy, they're not bouncing about, but what we've said to them is that they have shown that desire not to be beaten.'"


Vanarama National League North, Tuesday 6 August 2019
  • AFC Telford United 2-0 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Alfreton Town 1-1 Boston United
  • Bradford Park Avenue 0-5 Guiseley
  • Chester FC 1-1 Altrincham
  • Gloucester City 0-2 Hereford
  • King's Lynn Town 2-1 Kettering Town
  • Leamington 2-0 Brackley Town
  • Southport 0-0 Curzon Ashton
  • Spennymoor Town P - P Blyth Spartans
  • York City 0-0 Farsley Celtic


In advance of Tuesday's game against Altrincham, Cheshire Live announced that "Chester FC joint-manager Anthony Johnson says that he and Bernard Morley are '100%' committed to striker Matty Hughes and revealed the reason why he has not yet been put on a permanent contract.

Hughes, 27, has been training with the Blues all summer after recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury which ended his season prematurely in October last year... Hughes, in his third spell at Chester, was given the all clear by his surgeon to resume his football career, with Chester welcoming him back into the fold for pre-season.

Hughes was on the squad photo at the start of the season and had been steadily building up his minutes during pre-season, scoring twice, and came off the bench on Saturday in the 1-1 draw on the opening day of the National League North season at Boston United, looking lively.

The former Fleetwood Town, Chorley and AFC Fylde striker has been signed on non-contract terms for the Blues and has been paid, like the rest of the squad, since returning for pre-season. A permanent deal is still something that the Chester managers are intending on [sic] and Johnson explained the thought process behind it.

'The important thing to know is we pay him as a player,' said Johnson. 'The minute he came into training with everybody else in pre-season he has been getting paid, in fact he is on more money than he was last season due to the hybrid model because he is doing extra time. The only difference on a non-contract is that he's now done something in the region of 270 minutes through the friendlies (and Boston) and we'll build that up for the next couple of weeks.

'We're committed to Matty 100%, it's just at this moment in time, as a football club, we can't put him on a contract until he has hit certain markers, and I'm talking about the GPS stuff, and that's for Bern, myself and the sports scientist (Chris Jones) to work out when that will probably happen.'

With the first team budget a delicate balancing act there could be players heading out on loan in the coming weeks with second choice goalkeeper Theo Roberts and right back Matty Thomson possibly spending some temporary time away from the club to get vital first team minutes".

From York Press we learn that "Steve McNulty was the obvious choice to be York City’s captain for the new season, explained manager Steve Watson... It meant a change in captaincy from striker Jordan Burrow who held the position last season while Sean Newton, Paddy McLaughlin and Andy Bond were also considered for the role.

Watson said the decision was a relatively straightforward one considering McNulty’s experience in the game. 'I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to work out how we came to the decision to give Steve the captaincy,' laughed Watson. 'He’s been the captain at Tranmere who have had back-to-back promotions in their last two seasons to League 2 and League 1. He’s been a natural born leader throughout his career. I brought Steve here to lead, to organise and I think he was the prime candidate for the job.'

McNulty is one of several established operators at this level that Watson has recruited over the off-season along with former Newcastle midfielder Paddy McLaughlin and 33-year-old two-time promotion winner Andy Bond. Watson felt that experience within his squad proved pivotal in them holding out on their 3-1 lead at Altrincham on Saturday.

'I think we did control things in the second half against Altrincham and I think you would expect that with the good experienced players that we’ve got,' said Watson. 'We’ve got Macca (Steve McNulty), Newton, (Joe) Tait, McLaughlin, Burrow and Bondy (Andy Bond)... With that said, I think we got a little too comfortable and we gave possession away needlessly two or three times. As I said before, we’re nowhere near the finished article'".

In the Kidderminster Shuttle we read that "A pitch-invader who offered a match official a pair of glasses following a contentious penalty decision is set to receive a lifetime ban from Kidderminster Harriers.

The club released a statement saying they were 'extremely disappointed' by the incident that took place in the first half of Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Leamington. Harriers also urged 'a smallest minority of fans who are intent on spoiling the enjoyment of others to stay away' from Aggborough".

The Shropshire Star informed us on Monday that "Gavin Cowan is looking forward to leading AFC Telford United out at a rejuvenated New Buck's Head tonight...

'I imagine supporters are still revelling in a brilliant season we had and are hoping for more of the same,” said Cowan. 'They’ll be eager to get going and I hope they will come out in their droves. They made the difference for us last year because of how things went on the pitch and that’s where we are as a football club... I’ve spoke [sic] about my players reinvigorating for this season, but the fans have had to as well'...

Cowan was full of praise for his Telford players’ performance at Latimer Park where he felt a questionable late decision from the officials, as well as general inconsistency from the man in the middle, cost his side at least a point in Northamptonshire. But he has called for his side to be more ruthless in both penalty boxes and will not stand for similar wastefulness...

'It’s a long-old season and we’re not down after one game where we put in a decent performance,' he said. 'We’ve got a points target for the first seven games and we’ll try to meet that. I’ve always done that. We’ve got long-term plans and medium ones, but I think it’s important as it motivates players. You can’t walk down the road with no idea where you’ll end up. <{P> 'It put us behind (on the target) but it’s nothing we can’t catch up'".

We learn from the NL Paper that "Gateshead have announced the signing of Nicky Deverdics on a one-year deal, subject to international clearance. The midfielder spent a brief period with the Heed following his release from Newcastle United in 2006, scoring once in 22 appearances for the club.

Since then his career has seen him make appearances in the Football League for Barnet before joining Blyth Spartans in 2010. Deverdics also made appearances in Iceland and the Faroe Islands before returning to the United Kingdom and going on to make over 100 appearances for Dover Athletic, before most recently spending the past two seasons with Wrexham.

'It’s good to be back home,' the 31-year-old told 'Mike [Williamson, the manager] was a big part of it [the move]. I had a really good conversation with him, I liked what he said and his vision going forward and I think he talked me into coming back up. I had a frustrating season last season, I can’t deny that, so for me my aim is to get as fit as I can as fast as I can... I need to get up to sharpness as quick as I can'".

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Garry Thompson is relishing the prospect of a derby for his first official home game in charge. The Bradford (Park Avenue) player-manager will hope to dispel the demons of his side’s opening 5-0 drubbing at Curzon Ashton, when Guiseley come to town [on Tuesday] evening.

Avenue have undergone a summer refurb and looked to be making progress with solid performances in their final friendlies against Bradford City and Huddersfield... Bradford's weekend humbling will have shown Thompson the harsh reality of life in the Vanarama National League North... Thompson said 'I’ve played in big derbies before as a player, and I always got told and what I always say to players, is just don’t let emotions get the better of you in these occasions.

'It’s about keeping a level head and playing how we want to play. We’ll be up for it, it’s a local derby, they’re the games you want'...

The player-manager is also hoping to count on the Horsfall faithful. He said 'Big derbies, it’s about winning that tackle isn’t it? Getting the crowd on our side and giving them something to cheer about. I’m excited by where we are, I’m excited by our potential and I’m excited by where we can go to with this team. It’s now over to them, they have the opportunity. Now it’s about them delivering and that’s what it’s about really for us.'"

Altrincham meet Gloucester City next Saturday and the Gladiators reported before this Tuesday's game that "We haven’t ever faced the relatively newly created Hereford FC outside of pre-season friendlies, in fact we last met Hereford United in the 1970’s in the Southern League. But despite the lack of competitive fixtures for decades, there will be a familiar feel to the occasion.

Hereford head coach Marc Richards left the Tigers in October last season, taking assistant-manager Will Morford and video analyst Luke Brick with him, whilst Tim Harris was already a director of football there and remains in the post today. Also still at the club are former Tigers’ Keiran Thomas, Mike Symons, Danny Greenslade and Tom Owen-Evans. Meanwhile City have former Bulls’ players Marlon Jackson and Jennison Myrie-Williams in their ranks. Both sides also finished 17th in their respective divisons last season.

After a disappointing end to the previous season, Richards has added considerably to the Hereford squad with thirteen new players coming in. Firepower should be improved with the signing of experienced striker Reece Styche, who scored 15 in the National North in 2018/19 for Alfreton and he’ll be looking to form a goalscoring partnership with St Kitts International Rowan Liburd.

With Matt Yates’s loan completed, Brandon Hall will now don the gloves after his move from Kidderminster. Other notable additions were that of defender Jared Hodgkiss from Macclesfield and lively winger Raheem Hanley, another Saint Kitts International, who signed for the club on Friday...

City will be looking to build upon the three points earned up in Blyth on Saturday thanks to a penalty from Joe Hanks and a header from Marlon Jackson, with five of the new additions to the Tiger’s squad playing in that game"

The Northants Telegraph says that "The Poppies enjoyed a memorable opening day of the season as they marked their return to the Vanarama National League North with a 2-1 victory over AFC Telford United at Latimer Park, despite having to play the final 25 minutes with 10 men". In advance of a visit to King's Lynn Town, we learn that "The Poppies and Linnets are no strangers to each other having been through a number of battles in the Southern League over recent seasons".

Manager Nicky Eaden said, "I would have thought they would be targeting us because we are one of the teams that came up with them... But we will go into this game like every other, we will be trying to win. There’s no point setting up just to try not to get beaten".

"Eaden, meanwhile, expects to have a fully-fit squad to choose from and he admitted he is pleased with the options he has available... 'We have got a full squad to choose from,' he added. 'You look at the bench from Saturday and it was strong and there are even a couple more after that without having massive numbers'".

6 August 2019


Tonight at Chester FC, Altrincham will again be without the suspended Josh Hancock, the injured Jake Moult and, very likely, Simon Richman, who also missed Saturday's dfeat by York through injury.

Meanwhile, the Chester Standard reports that "Brad Jackson hopes Chester can build on a ‘solid’ start to their season against Altrincham on Tuesday night. The Blues opened their 2019/20 campaign with a 1-1 draw at Boston United, with midfielder Jackson’s pin-point delivery supplying the assist for George Waring’s headed equaliser.

And Jackson, who signed from Ashton United this summer, was encouraged... 'In terms of the result I thought it was good,' said the 22 year-old. We’d travelled a long way and played on a pitch that was very dry, and I think our performance wasn’t as good as we know it can be. But a point away from home is positive and gives us something to build on. Going to a place like Boston and taking a point can be difficult, so it was a solid start for us. Hopefully we can push on now with another good result against Altrincham.'

Joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley deployed a traditional back four at York Street and the Blues looked disciplined and compact throughout an attritional second half...

'I wasn’t massively happy with my own performance... but hopefully I’ll be kept in the team and the managers will give me another chance against Altrincham. Overall the team’s done well though... I think FC United [where Chester suffered a 4-1 defeat in pre-season] was a wake-up call for us and we realised that if we played like that we will struggle this season. So we trained well in the days afterwards and that gave us a boost ahead of the Boston game.'

Chester now host an Alty side, who were downed 3-1 at home by title-favourites York City... And Blues' boss Johnson expects a wholly different test to the Boston game...

He said 'We know how they are going to play and it’ll be night and day compared to what we saw at Boston. They’ll absolutely love coming to our place on a big pitch. It’s a good test for us and, after just two games, we’ll know exactly where we’re at as a group. Defensively we’ll have had two different types of games in four days, so we’re looking forward to it.'

Johnson also hailed the club’s supporters, 223 of whom made the long trip to Lincolnshire and were in fine voice throughout..

Chester look set to be without injured duo Akwasi Asante and James Jones, with fellow Boston absentee Iwan Murray set to return to training this week."


Altrincham travel south within the county of Cheshire tonight to take on Chester FC, an away fixture in which they have been undefeated in each of the last three league meetings.

  • Fri. 26 December 2014, Vanarama Conference: Chester FC 0 Altrincham 2 (Marshall 25, Havern 59)
  • Sat. 2 January 2016, Vanarama National League North Chester FC 1 Altrincham 1 (Rankine 60)
  • Sat. 10.November 2018, Vanarama National League North Chester FC 1 Altrincham 2 (Hulme 11,65)
  • As Mike Garnett's statistics show, these recent away results have helped to give Alty the edge in the ten clashes to date between the clubs (i.e. since Chester City's rebirth as Chester FC).

    • Home: P6-W3-D1-L2-F13-A10
    • Away: P4-W2-D1-L1-F5-A4
    • All: P10-W5-D2-L3-F18-A14

    Tonight both teams will be seeking their first win of the campaign, Alty having lost to York City on Saturday while Chester FC played out a draw at Boston United.

    Since our last meeting, Chester have lost ex-Trafford goalkeeper Grant Shelton, who could not meet the time requirements of the club's new hybrid-model of training; former Alty loanee defender Jon Moran, who moved to Bradford (PA), and George Green, who left for Boston United.

    New arrivals at Chester FC included Anthony Dudley, Danny Livesey and James Jones (all from Salford City), Danny Elliott (from Port Vale), Russell Griffiths (from AFC Fylde), Jamie Morgan (from Nantwich Town), Kevin Roberts (from Wrexham), Joel Taylor (from Kidderminster Harriers).


    There are fifteen minutes of highlights from Alty v York City on Alty TV.


    Ahead of Tuesday's match with Altrincham, Cheshire Live reported that "Anthony Johnson says the support of Chester FC fans at Boston United on Saturday reminded him and Bernard Morley of just why they took on the Blues job in the first place.

    At York Street a contingent of 223 Chester fans felt and sounded like five times that number as they gave their vocal backing to the Blues... They were able to witness a committed display that made for a solid start to the season, a 1-1 draw probably a fair reflection of the 90 minutes .

    The flags were on show, the songs were being belted out and the banging of the drum in the atmospheric away end of Boston's old ground, in its final season, made for a real occasion, one that both the management team and playing staff felt.

    'That's exactly the reason we took the job 15 months ago,' said joint-manager Johnson... 'That support, at the end of a draw where you've been playing in third gear, imagine what it will be like when we hit fifth gear and we're playing well and winning. It's absolutely unbelievable.

    'The lads were talking about it in the changing room after the game, the noise they made throughout the game was different class. They are a 12th man, and I know that's an awful cliche, but they live and breathe it. I'm glad they can go home and that we are on the board at the start of the season.'"


    Bulls' News confirms that on Saturday, the attendance at the J. Davidson Stadium was one of the top ten in the Non-League pyramid. Although Altrincham were placed tenth, they were the third highest amongst those clubs (or their forerunners) who have never played in the Football League.
    • Wrexham 5941
    • Stockport County 4626
    • Chesterfield 4332
    • Hartlepool United 3812
    • Torquay United 3138
    • Hereford FC 2707
    • Eastleigh 2668
    • Maidstone 2015
    • Aldershot Town 2003
    • Altrincham 1879


    "With the confirmation of Alex Hurst’s transfer to Port Vale released over the weekend, Bradford (Park Avenue) can now confirm further details on the deal.

    The two clubs have agreed an undisclosed fee for the highly rated teenager with a condition that the 19-year-old will stay at Horsfall Stadium until at least the start the of the January transfer window, meaning he will remain a key member Garry Thompson’s squad for the 2019/20 season.

    The signing confirms Park Avenue’s ability to recruit and develop young talent with their extensive scouting network both in the UK and USA as club owner Gareth Roberts explains, 'Alex has shown that there is a development pathway here at Park Avenue. This move is a case study of the model that we are developing at the club. The key to this deal was getting Alex back at Horsfall. We are thankful to Port Vale for the flexibility they have shown. Alex is hopefully just the start as we aim to continue to find untapped talent'...

    Park Avenue manager Garry Thompson, who played nearly all his career in League football acknowledged... 'Whilst we naturally want to keep our best players, the transfer shows that we are committed to developing talent but also won’t stand in anyone’s way to progress.'"

    The Eastern Daily Press reported before Tuesday's fixtures, that Lynn boss Culverhouse "will be looking for his players to channel their frustrations into positives when King's Lynn Town make their first senior return to The Walks on Tuesday night since winning promotion.

    The Linnets had a rough introduction into National League North life on Saturday when they went down 3-0 at Guiseley. It was a scoreline that perhaps didn't reflect Lynn's quality, but which did provide proof the margin for error has decreased drastically...

    'The quicker we learn the better we will be,' said the Linnets' boss. 'We will be better for this experience. The players are down in there, they are not used to this. Now they have to swallow this a little bit, taste it and they don't like the taste so we just have to make sure we respond to this now... in the right way and go to The Walks and really give it a good go.

    'This early part of the season is about us learning and finding our feet and what we can do and what we can't do and as long as they learn individually and collectively we will be all right.'

    As far as team selection goes, Culverhouse has good options if he decides to change. Rory McAuley, one of three central defenders to start at Guiseley, failed to appear for the second half because of illness, and his fitness may prompt a formation change.

    Summer signing Sam Kelly was, perhaps, a surprise omission but his second-half appearance will help him stake a claim to start against Kettering, who come to Norfolk on the back of an opening day 2-1 win over Telford. With Hereford visiting The Walks on Saturday, Culverhouse will also have one eye on the sports scientist's data when he settles on his side...

    'We will regroup and come back stronger for it and then, with our crowd, if they come out and get behind us, we can make that place not a nice place to come. I have seen that before, the town behind us and hopefully on Tuesday it is a loud place to play.'"

    According to Gloucestershire Live, "Mike Cook hailed Gloucester City’s opening day win over Blyth Spartans in National League North as their best performance since he joined the club.

    Joe Hanks put the Tigers in front from the penalty spot two minutes before half-time with striker Marlon Jackson adding the second on his debut when he headed in from a corner in the 80th minute.

    Blyth Spartans hit back two minutes later through Damen Mullens and had strong appeals for a penalty turned down in injury time as City hung on for a 2-1 win.

    'We’re by no means the finished article but the way we played some really attractive football and hung on I’m really pleased with them,' said Cook.

    Gloucester’s next game on Tuesday night is at home to Hereford... in a game that sees them come up against two former managers in Tim Harris (Hereford director of football) and Marc Richards (head coach).

    Cook said 'I think we’ve got nothing to fear, we’ve got a really confident squad and if you add in all the games we’ve played since Christmas I think we’ve only lost about three or four games... I love Ricco [Richards], he’s a great bloke as well. Tim Harris has done wonders for the club so we’re looking forward to a local derby with a club that our massive and so it will be a brilliant challenge for us.'"

    Lincolnshire Live tells us that "Boston United manager Craig Elliott was ‘not too disappointed’ after watching his side share the spoils on the opening day of the season... The Pilgrims drew 1-1 at home to Chester FC, having held the lead for just two minutes in the first half before being pegged back...

    'When you start a season, you are looking to get points on the board nice and early,' said Elliott. 'We got a point against a team who are one of the favourites to win this league and I have got a lot of respect for their managers and the squad of players they have got. I am not too disappointed.'

    United’s first half performance did not match the displays served up by the Pilgrims in pre-season, but Elliott felt there were mitigating factors for his side’s showing in the opening period.

    'The three points went missing in the first half,' added Elliott. 'To go 1-0 up and then give away a goal killed us and we did not reach the standards I expected in the first half. We let the emotions and the nerves get to us a little bit. They went against the script of what we have been trying to work on which is perhaps understandable. There was a lot of excitement among the players and they wanted to start the season well.

    'I felt we calmed down in the second half and dominated the game without creating anything of note. Both teams will be satisfied with a point.'

    The Pilgrims needed early saves from Peter Crook, preferred in goal to George Willis, to keep Chester at bay".

    Boston United also have a video interview with manager Elliott.

    Alfreton Town report on a 1-0 defeat at Brackley. "A late Murombedzi deflected strike sealed all three points and opening day success for Brackley as the Reds were unlucky to not come away from St James Park with a point.

    The hosts dominated the opening 15 minutes as Alfreton soaked up pressure but Billy Heath's side gradually grew into the contest and created some very good chances throughout. It was a case of fine margins straight away to start the campaign with the late deflection proving the difference.

    The Saints started the game very well and pressed the Reds in their own half throughout the opening 15 minutes... The second half saw the Reds play far better, neat inter-plays and combinations were causing issues from Dale Whitham, Clackstone and Wilde...

    But with 84 gone, Murombedzi's effort took a deflection on the edge of the box and flew into the bottom corner to hand Brackley all three points in a game the Reds really should have come away from with a point".

    Curzon Ashton "started the season in spectacular style with a 5-0 thrashing of Bradford (Park Avenue) to go top of the National League North... It was a performance of boundless energy and incisive quality as the Nash blew away a Bradford side which reached the promotion play-offs last year but resembled a weary, bloodied and bruised fighter at the end of a heavyweight fight by the end.

    18-year-old Isaac Sinclair got the ball rolling with a debut goal 24 minutes in and Curzon never looked back from that point. Luke Wall doubled the advantage before the break and second-half strikes from Sean Miller, Olly Thornley and Luke Merrill with his first for the club sealed an emphatic victory.

    Only three players survived from the team which began the last game of the 2018/19 season; Cam Mason retained his place in goal with Thornley and Wall the others. They were joined by six debutants; Andy Halls, Josh Askew, Nicky Wroe, Robbie Evans, Sinclair and Michael Elstone, with Mo Ali and Miller rounding out the starting XI.

    Having only won 5 league games at home last season, it was imperative that Mark Bradshaw’s men made a strong start to this year’s campaign at the Tameside and right from the first whistle there was an intensity to their play that had been missing previously...

    Curzon’s relentless pressing and off-the-ball movement did not let up... Bradford had barely threatened, although they looked a tad more dangerous at the beginning of the second half... But their brief revival was cut short by a sensational third Curzon goal just shy of the hour mark. Miller, Elstone, Halls and Wall all combined to slice their way through the away defence with the ball returning to Miller to slide the ball past the helpless Callum Andrew...

    It’s not an exaggeration to say it could, maybe should, have been more than five. Elstone’s deflected effort hit the post and Jack Banister struck the crossbar during an electric cameo from the bench".

    Guiseley's "young guns blew away newcomers Kings Lynn in the season’s opener at Nethermoor where a Jamie Spencer brace and a first league goal for Aaron Martin saw the Lions comfortably home with a 3-0 win.

    The Linnets started strongly and showed glimpses of why they had won the Play-Off lottery last season and could have taken the lead after just nine minutes... Chris Henderson and Michael Gash were looking dangerous for the visitors...

    But the home side would not be denied and it was ex-Avenue man Spencer who stepped up to the plate to secure the three points".

    Leamington manager Paul Holleron commented "I thought it was a real tough one for a season opener; Kidderminster at Aggborough. Their home form has never really been in question over the last few years whether they’ve been challenging for promotion or not. They’ve got a certain style of play that works well for them, and they had a good tempo today.

    We went toe to toe with them first half, got the decision for the penalty, so we’ll take that... You can talk about us not being right but they didn’t allow us to be; they suffocated us really. They overloaded us, they stepped into play all over the place, they moved the ball quickly. It’s what Kiddy teams have done over the years; they do it to a lot of teams and they did it to us last season at Leamington.

    ‘I was disappointed with the goals. They were both from set plays where we sort of half knew what was coming... It was a short corner but it was really well worked. There were patches in the game when you could really see that it was a full time team against a part time team... It was a fantastic strike from Prosser... so that’s it, 1-1.

    We weathered it a little bit then, but the second goal is disappointing because it’s a clear foul on the goalkeeper... And then the Jack (Edwards) situation... Cliff Moyo has slipped to begin with. His two feet have gone up, and it looks like a two footed challenge to begin with, and Jack’s gone in... There was no malice in either of them. You just want a referee to show a bit of common sense in those sort of situations. .. So, sadly in a matter of minutes, we’ve ended up having a goal against us, a red card against us...

    ‘I think Kaiman Anderson’s goal probably sums it up. It was a decent ball, a ball he had no right to win. This is a player who was probably expecting to start and didn’t start; and he’s run and used his body and he’s fought and he’s scrapped, and on two occasions he was second best to their left sided defender and the goalkeeper. It was a 60/40 ball on both occasions to their players, and he’s managed to battle and fight and scrap, and end up with a fantastic finish from a really acute angle.

    ‘Sometimes you get points for different reasons, and while today we were second best as a football team for periods I think for character and work ethic and having a go, we deserved something out of the game... So it was a good start for us and I’m delighted that the players we’ve picked up from leagues below, Josh March and Kaiman Anderson, not only did they get a taste of what the National League is all about, they also got off the mark and scored goals, which can only be good for us...

    Llast season we had two players wearing the number nine shirt that scored over 40 goals. Between Matthew Stenson and Colby Bishop I think there was 41 goals. That ain’t going to happen again, so we need to get back to what we were doing before with people chipping in... It’s a great away point for us'".

    Spennymoor Town "claimed a deserved point after a thrilling second half at Edgar Street... Jason Ainsley named five of his six summer signings in the starting line-up, with Nathan Buddle, Carl Magnay, Ben McKenna, Dan Ward and James Roberts playing alongside the spine of last season’s team.

    The game began in typically cagey fashion given the first day of the season circumstances... Former Darlington striker Nicholson, playing alongside fellow former Quaker Reece Styche, opened the scoring midway through the half... Moors responded well... The half ended with a controversial moment as Taylor seemed to have been flattened by a Hereford defender shortly after Styche attempted to provoke Buddle into a tussle...

    It was the home side who were the sharper after the interval... Moors were suddenly back in the game after a composed finish from Johnson... With the momentum now firmly shifted in favour of Moors, Taylor capitalised on another defensive error by Hereford, this time by Culliane-Liburd , to score his first goal of the season...

    However, in what was on a fairly drab contest, the home side burst back through substitute Tom Owen-Evans just four minutes later".

    5 August 2019


    Altrincham travel to Chester FC on Tuesday night hoping to repeat last season's victory, on 10 November 2018, in which Jordan Hulme netted a brace in a 2-1 win.

    On that occasion Altrincham ended Chester's eleven-game unbeaten run and moved themselves to the top of the form-guide with a well deserved victory. Alty started the game brightly and took an eleventh-minute lead. The goal came up the left, via Dale and Hancock, to Hulme who fired a fine, low shot past Shenton from just inside the box.

    Seven minutes after the break, some woeful defending from a freekick taken by Roberts allowed the unmarked Grand to advance inside the box to direct a downward header past the exposed Thompson.

    Chester were on top for the next ten minutes before Altrincham regained the lead. The visitors' second goal came from a Johnston corner from the left. Moult, who had an excellent game, leapt highest at the back post to direct the ball back across goal to Hulme who headed home his second goal of the match. The only blot on the afternoon was a fifth league booking for Max Harrop, which attracted a one-match suspension.

    Mike Garnett reminds us that Altrincham have only once before had a fixture on 6 August. That was in 2016 when Altrincham drew 2-2 at home to Darlington 1883.

    Overall, Altrincham's record against Chester FC is:

    • Home: P6-W3-D1-L2-F13-A10
    • Away: P4-W2-D1-L1-F5-A4
    • All: P10-W5-D2-L3-F18-A14


    After Saturday's defeat by York City, Alty's goalscorer (at both ends) James Jones has been interviewed by Aiden Beswick for Altrincham FC.


    In the absence of Jake Moult, it was Connor Hampson who captained Altrincham yesterday, as he had done in pre-season.

    Connor (27) joined Altrincham, initially on a month's loan, from Stockport County on 2 November 2017. He had been at Edgeley Park since February 2017, when he had joined from Curzon Ashton, but injury sidelined him before the end of the 2016-17 season at County. Connor had previously been at the Tameside Stadium since 2011. His impressive performances for Alty prompted an extension of his loan period into 2018 before he signed for Altrincham.

    So far he has made 63(+3) appearances for Altrincham and scored four goals.


    Sean Miller netted for Curzon Ashton who went to the top of the season's first league table by thrashing Bradford (Park Avenue) 5-0.

    Elsewhere the NL Paper's "Star Man" as Atherton Collieries lost 1-6 to Pontefract Colleries in a pre-season game was former Alty centre-back John Cyrus.


    Before Saturday's match there was a minute's applause for a number of well-known Altrincham figures who had died recently. These were former chairman and club president, Noel White, and former players Gerry Casey and George Smith.

    Pictured (right) we see the Altrincham players paying their respects to the three men.

    40 YEARS ON

    Forty years ago, in 1979, Altrincham were inaugural members of the Football Alliance, the first national division for Non-League football, and later to become the Football Conference. Indeed, Altrincham were to win the championship that season, and the following one too, each time being denied Football League status by the iniquitous re-election old boys' club.

    Mike Garnett's latest series of articles for The Robins' Review is entitled "Forty Years On" and Part One is reproduced here courtesy of the author.


    The National League reports that "Curzon Ashton manager Mark Bradshaw was in no mood to play down his side’s first day whitewash of Bradford PA. Avenue had no answer as the clinical Nash netting five times without reply to get off to a dream start.

    It may only be the opening day, but Curzon head the fledgling National League North table thanks to their profitable afternoon in front of goal. Repairing the club’s dreadful home record from last season was high on his summer list of priorities and Bradshaw is bullish following the first game romp.

    'We got a lot of things right,' the delighted manager said on the club’s YouTube channel. 'We played with dynamic energy and it’s nice to think we have had what I call a full performance. Actually, it’s probably the first full performance I’ve been totally happy with since I took over. People will say "It’s the first game" or "You played against a young team" but it’s all positive from our point of view.'

    Bradshaw added... 'I can’t wait to see the goals back because we scored some wonderful ones. Last season at home we really struggled and we didn’t get the number of goals we should have, so to start like that is very encouraging. It’s very pleasing and nobody is getting carried away. But to be able to go into Tuesday’s game at Southport with that type of performance behind us will give us a lot of confidence'".

    More on The Nash comes from the Football Man Cave which reports that "The final 5-0 result was nothing less than they deserved, and quite frankly, it could have easily been 7 or 8... Bradford Park Avenue was not able to cause the Nash any real headaches and meant the forward players could spend time causing a real nuisance to the Bradford Park Avenue keeper.

    Curzon Ashton does not have the funds of many teams at this level and has long been reliant on very young players... However the young team, under some good coaching from Mark Bradshaw, looked to have come good. Adding to this the signings of Nicky Wroe (himself an ex Park Avenue Player) and Andrew Halls adding a bit of stability and invaluable experience to the young side. If today taught us anything it is that Curzon is developing and improving young players. There are some young men playing for the Nash at the moment who may have a serious future...

    I’m wary not to get carried away, one game in, but the Nash was fantastic in their opening game. The support was excellent and I hope there are momentum and confidence that we can carry forward over the next few weeks."

    Lynn News reports that "The Linnets opened their Vanarama National League North campaign with defeat in Leeds on Saturday. A first-half header from Aaron Martin and a second-half brace from Jamie Spencer secured the points for the home team in a match where Town enjoyed good periods of play, but were unable to breakdown a stubborn home defence...

    Early in the game both teams enjoyed an equal share of possession... On 19 minutes Guiseley took the lead as Martin dispatched a powerful header past a rooted Street... The visitors were forced into a change at the break as Jordan Richards replaced Rory McAuley who was suffering the effects of a sickness bug, but this didn’t seem to effect the Linnets...

    It was the hosts who took full control with the second goal on 58 minutes. Full-back Reiss McNally intercepted a Lynn pass and ran almost half the length of the pitch before picking out Spencer whose precise shot left Street helpless.

    Ten minutes later, any hopes of a Lynn comeback were extinguished as Spencer quickly closed down Chris Smith and drilled the ball into the net to seal the home victory."

    And the EAstern Daily Press adds that "Ian Culverhouse always knew there would be days when his King's Lynn team would have to sit back and accept some harsh lessons and it came on day one of a new campaign in a new league as they went down 3-0 at Guiseley.

    If the final scoreline was a little tough on Lynn, it was clear what the players need to take away from Guiseley: take your chances, and remember that individual errors will be punished, especially at National League North level. Lynn's chances weren't exactly numerous - at this level it is to be expected but the mistakes were costly. Guiseley pounced each time and Lynn paid the price.

    It was Lynn's worst defeat since they lost by the same scoreline at Hitchin in January... Culverhouse's notebook was out within the opening minutes on Saturday and by the end of the game he had enough material to write a coaching manual that, you can rest assured, will be passed on to his players...

    The manager is unlikely to search for excuses, but it ought to be mentioned that traffic problems on the A1 delayed Lynn's arrival by 20 minutes; centre-half Rory McAuley didn't come out for the second half because of illness and full-back Ross Barrows wasn't ready to feature after holiday...

    Culverhouse's verdict was expected, 'Some good bits but the goals we gave away were poor,' he said. 'But I thought we started each half really, really well; the goals we conceded were at the wrong time and poor goals to give away really. But it is about a learning process these early games and what we can do and what we can't do and as long as we learn we will get better and stronger... I thought today we did give three bad goals away. ,P 'As long as we learn, that is the main thing. If we continually make the same mistakes then we have got a problem.... We have got a young team and we will get better and stronger.'

    Culverhouse went with three central defenders, but their desire to pass it around across the back gave Guiseley time to shut down the avenues and wait to pounce on mistakes: they were quick, strong and not afraid of the physical side. Lynn held their own, they did pass the ball well, they did try and play football and they did have opportunities..

    If there were bright sparks it was Henderson, who looked sharp, the appearance in the second half of Sam Kelly, who added some edge and a driving thrust from midfield and Ryan Hawkins for his willingness to run at defenders".

    From the Telegraph & Argus we learn that "Guiseley kicked off the new season with a big win against newcomers Kings Lynn Town... but the scoreline doesn’t tell the full story... The margin of victory flattered them.

    Kings Lynn beat Farsley Celtic’s big rivals Warrington Town in last season’s super play-off to earn promotion from the Southern League and, despite a defeat on their bow at the higher level, they were tough opponents.

    Two of Guiseley’s close season signings shared the three goals as Aaron Martin broke the deadlock before Jamie Spencer bagged a second-half brace. It was an excellent competitive debut for Spencer, captured from neighbouring rivals Bradford (Park Avenue) during the summer...

    Guiseley’s joint manager Russ O’Neill was delighted with the win but keen to be complimentary about the Linnets’ performance. He said 'I think we beat a very good team today. They had a long journey and they caused us a lot of problems. Every time they changed shape we stood strong and I’m really happy with the three points and clean sheet.

    'We said before the game that we’d had a hard pre-season against a lot of full-time teams but we needed to take that into the Kings Lynn game, when the real football starts. To a man I think our lads did that. When it really counted they stood up and got a well deserved victory'".

    The Northern Echo tells us that "Alun Armstrong admitted his defence was 'bullied' as new-look Darlington started the season with a 3-1 defeat at Farsley Celtic. It was 3-0 at half-time with numerous errors handing Farsley the initiative on a day in which nine players made their Darlington debut.

    Seven of them were in the starting XI with the only survivors from last season being Luke Trotman, Terry Galbraith, Omar Holness and Stephen Thompson. Alongside Trotman and Galbraith in defence were new boys Louis Laing and Michael Liddle, but Armstrong confessed 'I thought we got bullied at the back. The big lad (James Spencer) bullied Laingy and Tez. We didn’t track the runners enough. Not once did they play through us, it was diagonal balls and long throws. The third goal was an embarrassment.

    'When we turned up at Farsley we were trying to get across to the lads that it would be nothing like last week’s game: expect something totally different. And it was totally different. They were never going to let us play, but on the other hand they weren’t looking to play. They played balls into the corner, they played to their strengths, that’s football. They played to the big man and they had runners off him and we didn’t deal with it, we defended so poorly and the lads know it.

    'We didn’t stop the deliveries, although most of them were free-kicks off them getting fouls. Cheap fouls. We let them play their game-plan, we didn’t do our game-plan... The grass is extremely long, there were bobbles and it is going to be difficult for any team to come here and play football. You cannot use it as an excuse, but it wasn’t great for the way we play'...

    Former St Mirren defender Josh Heaton travelled with the squad and took part in the pre-match warm-up, but Quakers were unable to name him on the team sheet. Armstrong explained 'Because he’s been in Scotland we’re waiting on international clearance. Even though he’s played in England and in Kidderminster on loan last season, we’ve got to go through FIFA.'”

    There is a "Statement on behalf of the board of directors at Darlington FC which says that "In the light of an incident in the first half at our away game at Farsley yesterday and the behaviours involved in it which are in breach of club policy, one individual has been advised by the board this morning that he will not be admitted to Darlington home games for the immediate future. The individual has been given the opportunity to explain his behaviour, but in the meantime he has been told that he will not be admitted to Blackwell Meadows until further notice."

    From the Telegraph & Argus we are informed that "The nervous energy and tingling excitement of the first day of a new season under a new manager had gripped the Bradford (Park Avenue) supporters as they made their way to the Tameside Stadium to take on old foes Curzon Ashton.

    But after enduring a tough 90 minutes they felt as flat as pancake as their team, a new look line-up after Garry Thompson’s appointment as boss, began the campaign by suffering a heavy defeat.

    Former Bantams' forward Thompson, one of City's ‘History Makers’ as a member of the team that reached the League Cup final and returned to Wembley for the play-off final, was stunned by the result. He said 'I’m absolutely gutted for the boys. We have worked hard in pre-season and done our homework and it’s disappointing. The game hinged on a couple of incidents for us really. We had a great chance to go 1-0 up but didn’t take it and then we conceded two sloppy goals.

    'We started the second half well and had a good chance... I’m sure the goals came from us giving the ball away in our half. I said to them (the players) after the game that I’ll back them to the hilt but I can’t back a performance like that... We had to leave three lads out of the squad and it opens the door for them to come back in because people haven’t gone out and performed'".

    The next team to visit Moss Lane will be Alfreton Town and The Chad tells us that "Boss Billy Heath reflected that Alfreton Town didn’t get what they deserved after a fortuitous late goal sent them to an opening day 1-0 defeat at Brackley Town.

    Shef Murombedzi’s hopeful shot from 20 yards took multiple deflections to finally beat debutant keeper Jack Atkinson six minutes from time.

    Heath said '“We’re disappointed, but as you know in this game you don’t always get what you deserve. l said to the players the main thing today was everyone working hard, everybody was pushing and everybody stuck together... We carried on from where we were at pre-season. It was a very tight game and we definitely deserved at least a point'".

    In the Boston Standard we learn that "Simon Ainge believes Boston United’s squad will continue to improve throughout their hectic August. The Pilgrims kicked off their campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Chester, one of the pre-season National League North favourites.

    'I think if they are (among the favourites) there’s nothing for us to fear,' the defender said. 'We weren’t at it and we’re coming off the pitch disappointed... It was hot, sticky, what you expect from the first game of the season. But it was good to get going in the games that matter... We’ll only get stronger,' he added. 'We’ve got a bit of everything in this team. We can mix it, we’ve got pace. We’ve got loads of goals in us and I’d like to think we’ve got every chance to be up there come the end of the season.'"

    According to the Northants Telegraph "Nicky Eaden felt Kettering Town’s opening-day success over AFC Telford United came down to one word, ‘belief’.

    The Poppies found themselves trailing to a fine Steph Morley free-kick at half-time... But an action-packed second half saw Kettering draw level through Joel Carta before they were hit by a setback as Sam Cartwright was sent-off for a barge on Marcus Dinanga in the penalty area.

    Paul White produced a brilliant save to stop Aaron Williams’ spot-kick and, despite the numerical disadvantage, the Poppies grabbed all three points when a fine counter-attack ended with Dan Nti scoring what proved to be the winner in the 88th minute...

    'You are at home, it’s your first game back at this level and you want to get something out of the game,' the Poppies boss said. 'But I probably wouldn’t have picked to do it that way! Telford are a good side, they are established at the level and they were well organised... I just said that if they didn’t get disheartened by the goal just before half-time and if they carried on doing the right things then they would be okay...

    'They were really disciplined, they really worked hard and I am just glad that we nicked that goal'...

    Eaden, meanwhile, felt goalkeeper White’s magnificent penalty save simply ‘galvanised’ his team".

    Blyth Spartans "slipped to a narrow defeat to Gloucester City... The visitors were gifted the lead just before the break when loanee Christopher Mason hacked down Joe Parker inside the area, [and] allowed Joe Hanks to convert the spot-kick.

    With Blyth ending the strongest, Gloucester provided the sucker punch in the 79th minute when Marlon Jackson headed from Hanks’s corner. Damen Mullen’s goal moments later proved nothing more than a consolation as the game ended on a controversial referring decision as Robbie Dale went down under the challenge of Sam Avery...

    Having been introduced in the closing stages, Dale made an instant impact and thought he had won Blyth a penalty in stoppage time. It appeared that referee Jonny Urwin signalled correctly for a spot-kick. Instead, play carried on as Zeacock took his goal line".

    4 August 2019


    Match report here

    Right: Connor Hampson and Tom Hannigan combine to foil York's Jordan Burrow.


    Referring to Altrincham's 18th minute miss, manager Phil Parkinson told the Non-LeaguePaper that "If we get the second goal, are they [York] going to come 'second-press' like they did? Jordan Hulme knows that should've been a goal. Then sloppy play allowed them back into the game, although the goal was coming to be fair.

    "We can only get better from there. We know we won't be far from them at the end, once we get key players back like Josh Hancock (suspended) and Jake Moult (injured)".

    York boss Steve Watson opined, "This was one of the hardest away trips to begin the season with and it's a big win".

    There is a video interview by Brian Flynn with the Alty boss on the Altrincham FC site.


    York City report that "The Minstermen beat Altrincham 3-1 in their opening National League North game... John Johnston for Altrincham looked a real threat in the opening minutes, racing through the middle and winning multiple corners for the Greater Manchester side.

    Alty’s first corner resulted in a great diving save by Jameson to keep the score level, but the subsequent corner wasn’t dealt with as Johnston [actually it was Jones] came in from deep and powered his header into the bottom corner on 12 minutes.

    David Ferguson bossed the left wing after the first goal, seeing a lot of the ball and causing havoc with his inviting crosses into the box...

    Drench was finally defeated when Ferguson ran down the wing and fired in another low cross which was inevitably turned in by an Altrincham defender... A goal just before half time can turn a game on its head, and that’s exactly what happened as City went 2-1 up on 49 [actually 52] minutes through Joe Tait smashing in Sean Newton’s goal bound header from a corner.

    And City didn’t stop after the initial goal, Andy Bond gaining possession in the middle after a one-two with Alex Kempster and putting through Jordan Burrow who finished into the bottom corner from the left of the box...

    The game took a turn for the worst for Alty when Sean Williams picked up a second yellow, reducing them to 10-men with 15 minutes to play. City were dominant in the latter stages and saw the game out 3-1 thanks to a vastly improved second half performance from Steve Watson’s men."

    And York Press adds that "City trailed after a dozen minutes thanks to James Jones’s header and were largely outplayed in the first half by the hosts.

    But, a deflected cross from David Ferguson late in the half levelled proceedings and while there was good fortune about that goal, City worked hard to force themselves ahead.

    Two goals in six minutes from Joe Tait and Jordan Burrow established a strong advantage, later aided by Sean Williams’s sending off.

    Left: Steve McNulty gets to grips with Alty's Jordan Hulme.

    Steve Watson’s side controlled the game until its finish and were well deserved winners... Given that Altrincham finished in last season’s play-offs and completed the double of [over] York last term, this seemed a significant win. A lot has changed since last season though for City, with plenty of their summer additions showing evidence to back up their pre-season promise in their first competitive outings.

    Watson handed four players their York City debuts. New recruits Peter Jameson, Steve McNulty, Andy Bond and Dan Maguire were named in the starting 11, while Paddy McLaughlin came off the bench after securing a permanent move.

    York employed a 3-5-2 formation, with new skipper McNulty alongside Sean Newton and Joe Tait at the back...

    James Jones rose highest while unmarked in the penalty area and sent a glancing flick header into the bottom right corner. Just four minutes later and almost everyone in the ground thought Altrincham had doubled their lead. A cross-field pass from the left side saw [the ball] kneed backwards by Ferguson on the edge of penalty area and allowed Jordan Hulme to snatch in.

    But his dinked effort over Jameson trickled wide of the post.

    Altrincham continued to look dangerous, particularly down their right flank through John Johnston... After half an hour’s play, York did conjure their first effort on goal when an ambitious overhead kick from Maguire nestled into Steven Drench’s hands.

    In fairness to City, they clawed their way back into the match from there onwards. Maguire saw a close-range effort palmed away before Bond had a couple of quick-fire shots blocked...

    For all of the praise given to Johnston’s raids down the flank, he allowed wing back Ferguson the space to score City’s leveller. Ferguson went on a signature run down the left wing and his deflected shot looked to have gone in off the corner of the post...

    Six minutes after the restart, York fans certainly had reason to celebrate. Again, Ferguson was involved as he sent the corner to back post with Newton rising high. He knocked it back across the face of goal and Tait stuck out his foot to fire it into the roof of the net... Just short of the hour mark, York doubled their lead after making a break through midfield, with Kempster who was fouled by Connor Brandon finding Bond who laid the ball off to Jordan Burrow.

    In turn, the striker applied the instinctive finish, curling the ball into the far right corner and sparking jubilant scenes among the away fans... For the second time in the game, Sean Williams fouled Adriano Moke, earning himself two yellow cards and all but sealing victory for the visitors".


    Saturday's defeat by York City was not the best result to mark John Johnston's one hundreth game for Altrincham. It was his 95th start, supplemented by five appearances from the bench.

    Now 24, John Johnston was manager Phil Parkinson's first signing in mid-May 2017. John had finished 2016-17 season at Salford City, a club he had joined in 2016. His career had started at Kidsgrove Athletic, before he moved to Leek Town in July 2013.

    His good performances at Harrison Park led to a move to Crewe Alexandra in January 2014 but they immediately loaned him back to Leek till the end of the 2013-14 season.

    At the end of November 2014, Crewe then loaned John to Alfreton Town who, in January 2015, signed him themselves. A month's loan to Salford City came in January 2016 and he signed for the Ammies later in 2016. A loan spell under Phil Parkinson at Nantwich followed before he was recalled to Salford. Four goals in his first six competitive appearances endeared him to the Altrincham faithful and his mercurial performances on the wing were a continual source of entertainment. He has also converted several penalties for the team.


    Altrincham travel to Chester on Tuesday. On Saturday, Chester FC "got their new season underway with a solid point in a difficult opening day fixture away at Boston United.

    George Waring nodded the Blues to a draw after Jordan Thewlis had scored a fortunate opener for the home side... Chester arguably had the better of the first half... The home side took the lead against the run of play on 38 minutes.

    Jordan Thewlis’s low ball into the area was sliced past Griffiths and into the net by the unfortunate sliding Simon Grand.

    Nevertheless, the response was found less than two minutes later. Quick thinking at a throw in by Joel Taylor enabled Brad Jackson to cross and his ball was inch perfect for Waring to bullet the header into the corner...

    In truth, the second half was a turgid affair... A hard earned point to begin the campaign.

    CHESTER FC: Griffiths, K Roberts, Livesey, Grand, Taylor, Jackson, G Roberts, Stopforth, Elliott, Dudley, Waring. SUBS NOT USED: Waters, Morgan, Burton, Hughes, Mahon".

    After the game, Chester FC reported that "Anthony Johnson believes that the battling performance of his and Bernard Morley's Chester FC in their 1-1 draw at Boston United on the opening day was proof that you shouldn't read too much into pre-season.

    On Tuesday night the Blues were hammered 4-1 at Northern Premier League side FC United of Manchester in a performance that Morley described as being as 'bad as he's seen'.

    But fast forward to the draw at York Street against a much-fancied Pilgrims side in the National League North curtain raiser and Chester were an altogether different proposition and unlucky not to emerge from the game with the three points after creating the better chances and ending the 90 minutes with 'keeper Russ Griffiths not having to make a save, beaten only by Simon Grand's own goal on 38 minutes.

    Said Johnson, 'I thought the amount of chances we created in the first half was unbelievable, to have that many chances away from home against a side that you know is going to be right amongst it at the back end of the season. To limit them to their only chance being an own goal, I thought we defended absolutely superbly.

    'The quality of the football in the second half was poor from both teams but it was a hot day, it took us four hours to get here and the pitch is very long. I thought it was excellent to limit a good side to zero chances. Apart from the own goal they've not tested us once'...

    He said 'What the performance did on Thursday night was focus the lads even more in training. Pre-season matters nothing, pre-season matters not a jot apart from fitness levels and things like that'...

    Chester are back in action on Tuesday evening when they welcome Altrincham to the Deva Stadium (7.45pm)".


    Vanarama National League North
    • Altrincham 1-3 York City (att. 1879)
    • Blyth Spartans 1-2 Gloucester City (834)
    • Boston United 1-1 Chester FC (1393)
    • Brackley Town 1-0 Alfreton Town (485)
    • Curzon Ashton 5-0 Bradford Park Avenue (309)
    • Farsley Celtic 3-1 Darlington (1123)
    • Gateshead 0-0 Southport (879)
    • Guiseley 3-0 King's Lynn Town (671)
    • Hereford FC 2-2 Spennymoor Town (2707)
    • Kettering Town 2-1 AFC Telford United (959)
    • Kidderminster Harriers 2-2 Leamington (1551)


    The Boston Standard reports that "Boston United kicked off their National League North campaign with a point, for the first time in 16 years.

    The Pilgrims and Chester played out a 1-1 draw at the Jakemans Stadium... Both sides have play-off ambitions this term, and both will be happy to have ended the day with something on the board.

    Even if, for United, it was their first opening-day draw since a goalless League Two stalemate at Macclesfield Town in 2003".

    The Boston Standard adds that manager "Craig Elliott refused to be downbeat following Boston United’s opening day point against Chester...

    'You’re always looking to get your first points as quickly as possible, although there were a number of things we could have done better,' Elliott said. 'But we played a team who are one of the favourites to win the league. In the second half I thought it was better. In the first half we went off the script and I think that comes from emotion and nervous energy for the first game of the season.

    'It was disappointing and we addressed that at half time. We were better second half but without creating the chances we wanted to... It was a poor game, if I’m honest. It was cagey. Two good teams cancelling each other out,' the manager continued. 'They settled for a point and we found it hard, as they were deep, to find those opportunities. But it’s not all doom and gloom'".

    In the Northern Echo "Darlington's stunned manager Alun Armstrong admitted he was shocked by his team’s first-half performance when they started the season with a defeat at Farsley Celtic.

    It was 3-0 at half-time, Quakers going on to lose 3-1 at The Citadel which saw hundreds of Darlington fans show their support. Armstrong was disappointed not give them a win to cheer. Instead, his new-look team, which had seven debutants in the starting XI, were guilty of poor defending.

    The first goal came after a loose Louis Laing pass was intercepted, the second after Nathan Cartman was unmarked inside the penalty [area] and the third following a long throw-in that was allowed to bounce inside Quakers’ penalty area.

    'I was in absolute shock at half-time, I couldn’t believe it,' admitted Armstrong. 'I’ve never seen us defend like that in training or in any of the games. I thought we started the game quite brightly, the first ten minutes was quite lively. Listen, we’re going to make mistakes because of the way we play. I said to the lads beforehand, pick your moments when to play. They didn’t and we got punished for it...

    'I cannot defend the lads, they know their jobs and they did go into their shells. I was really shocked by that and really disappointed by them. The third goal was schoolboy stuff. Me and Daz were fuming and the lads know it.'

    With the grass long and surface uneven, Farsley’s pitch was poor; Rotherham recently refused to play a friendly there and cancelled it an hour before kick-off but Armstrong refused to use it as an excuse.

    He added 'There’ll be no excuses on Wednesday, we’re going to carry on doing exactly what we’ve been doing and make sure we make a much better fight of it. We probably got bullied a little bit in all honesty, and that was disappointing. After the pre-season we had we just never saw that coming, but it’s up to me to fix and the lads to make sure that they don’t do it again'...

    Darlington are at home to Gateshead on Wednesday."

    The opposition, Farsley Celtic "got life in the National League North off to the perfect start with a 3-1 victory against Darlington.

    Tyler Walton, Nathan Cartman and Jimmy Spencer all scored in a stunning first-half for the Celt Army, whilst Adam Campbell’s second-half strike proved to be too little for the Quakers.

    Farsley Manager Adam Lakeland was delighted with his side's performance, as he said 'In the first-half I thought the lads applied the game plan to perfection. In the first-half we were really good and we really restricted Darlington from getting their passing game going.

    'The second-half with the position we were in, we wanted to try and manage the game, control the game. We knew they’d have more possession throughout the game, and there were certainly, in that second-half, long spells where we didn’t have the ball, but I thought our organisation and discipline was really good'...

    After 35 minutes Adam Lakeland’s side were in dreamland... However, Alun Armstrong’s side came out fighting after the interval... Adam Campbell did manage to pull a goal back with 25 minutes to go, curling a sumptuous strike into the top corner from outside the box, leaving Elliot Wynne with no chance...

    Kidderminster Harriers "and Leamington played out a 2-2 draw on the opening day after the hosts had come from behind to lead at Aggborough.

    Leamington had the lead late in the first half as Josh March tucked away a penalty. Harriers responded before the hour when Ashley Chambers followed-up Alex Prosser’s thunderbolt.

    Another follow-up saw Williams nod home a loose ball on 72 minutes, with the visitors reduced to ten men late on when Jack Edwards was dismissed for a lunge on Cliff Moyo.

    Harriers looked set to see the game out, but Leamington pounced as the Reds switched off; sub Anderson stabbing home a near-post cross with just three minutes left."

    Leamington add that "Debutants Josh March and Kaiman Anderson sal[v]aged a point for battling Brakes at Aggborough as Paul Holleran’s ten men staged a late fightback to frustrate Kidderminster on opening day.

    All had looked rosy in the Leamington garden at half time as they led 1-0 courtesy of March’s well taken penalty, but a lacklustre Harriers switched up a couple of gears and deservedly led with time trickling away, only for second half substitute Anderson to pop up with a well taken equaliser to delight the travelling support.

    All of Holleran’s summer signings were in the squad, with four in the starting eleven...

    The manager sent on his third debutant substitute in Ravi Shamsi with ten minutes to go but it looked as though his chance to make an impact would be dramatically reduced when Edwards was sent off, shown a straight red card after appearing to do no more than lose his footing as he chased the ball to the near touchline with Harriers’ Cliff Moyo. It looked a very harsh decision, and the Leamington captian tried to argue his case but the decision had been made.

    It looked a long way back for Brakes from here but despite the number of new faces they were able to draw on that never-say-die spirit that has got them out of jail so many times in the past, and with four minutes to go they stunned the home crowd into silence with an equaliser". Hereford FC report that "The Bulls started the season with an entertaining 2-2 draw with Spennymoor Town in a game which saw plenty of positives and bodes well for the campaign ahead...

    The goal that we had been threatening finally arrived on 27 minutes when Nicholson showed good feet to carve open the visitors’ back-line before slotting home beyond the reach of Gould... We went in at the break good value for our one-goal lead having played some nice stuff and worked hard both in and out of possession...

    The visitors were able to level matters just past the hour-mark when a low ball in from the right found its way across to Johnson in space and he was able to slot home...

    The visitors took the lead on 76 minutes when Taylor won the ball off Cullinane-Liburd before firing home with a low effort.

    We were behind for only three minutes when a ball in from the left by Hanley found substitute, Tom Owen-Evans, who was able to turn the ball home from close range to make it 2-2."

    Meanwhile Southport played "a 0-0 stalemate against Gateshead up in the North East... The opening match of the campaign didn’t quite get the fans off their seats, as opportunities to score were at a minimum...

    With neither side able to create a substantial chance to go ahead in the opening 45 minutes, the scores were level at the break...

    Southport chances continued to be spurned, as Devarn Green fired over the bar from the edge of the box, whilst Morgan blasted another shot over the bar...

    A point to kick off the campaign will satisfy both sides with nothing else deserved, but there will be hope for better performances across the next few."

    The hosts, Gateshead report that "Mike Williamson handed seven players their competitive Gateshead debuts on Saturday afternoon with Brad James, Alex Nicholson, Toby Lees, Connor Oliver, Liam Agnew, Danny Greenfield and Paul Blackett making the starting 11."

    3 August, 2019


    A promising start for the hosts tailed off into a comprehensive defeat as Altrincham were left still seeking their first win at Moss Lane on the opening-day of a season since 2006. And to compund the misery, Sean Williams was sent off with 17 minutes remaining.

    Altrincham had taken a 12th minute lead when James Jones firmly headed home a Johnston corner. And the lead seemed reasonably secure till around the half-hour mark when York belatedly woke up. Dan Maguire fired a warning when he hit the bar and three minutes before the interval the Alty goal was again fortunate to survive as Maguire had an effort blocked.

    Above: A header from James Jones, off picture to the left, beats Jameson to put Altrincham 1-0 up against York City.

    But Alty's luck did not hold out and, in the 44th minute, York were level. Not for the first time, left-back Ferguson was allowed too much space on the Alty right but his lowish cross from the left somehow was allowed to find the far corner of the net, seemingly off a deflection.

    The second half was largely one-way traffic as, time and again, Alty tried to play the ball out of defence only to lose possession. But York's second goal came, like Altrincham's opener, from a corner. From the right, the corner found a York player deep in the box. He relayed the ball back to the right of the goalmouth to Tait who swept it home (52 mins).

    Disaster struck on the hour mark when Drench, who had a mixed game but was nevertheless made the Altrincham Man of the Match, played Branson into trouble with a pass up the middle. Branson lost possession and fouled his opponent but play was waved on and Burrow finished off the move with a low drive to make it 3-1. To compound his woe, Branson was booked and received a facial cut.

    Thereafter, Altrincham were never in the game and did not help themselves by bringing everyone back for corners when the less than mobile McNulty was left as York's last man but had no Alty man to mark. Things got worse in the 73rd minute when Sean Williams was outpaced by Moke and fouled the York player to pick up a second yellow and the inevitable red as a consequence.

    Match report here


    Altrincham kick off the 2019-20 season today with a visit from York City. Today is the fifth consecutive season that Alty have started their league season at Moss Lane but any thoughts that such a sequence confers a feeling of confidence is questionable when it is realised that you have to go back thirteen seasons to find the last time that Altrincham actually won the opening game of a league campaign at Moss Lane.

    That last winning start at home was way back in 2006, against Stevenage Borough. So today's game with York is Altrincham's 13th anniversary since then.

    Since the 2006 win, Alty have won just two opening-day matches and both were away from home, against Woking in 2008 and Worcester City in 2013.

    After today, Altrincham will have started the season with a home game nine times in the last 14 seasons and, so far, have managed just one win, three draws and four defeats in that home sequence.

    Right: In Alty's last home win on an opening day of a season, August 2006, Steve Aspinall (no. 2) netted Alty's second goal, from the spot.

    • 2019 H York City
    • 2018 DRAW H Leamington 2-2
    • 2017 LOSS H Stafford Rangers 0-3
    • 2016 DRAW H Darlington 1883 2-2
    • 2015 LOSS H Forest Green Rovers 0-1
    • 2014 LOSS A Aldershot Town 1-4
    • 2013 WIN A Worcester City 3-1
    • 2012 LOSS H Brackley Town 1-4
    • 2011 LOSS A Harrogate Town 2-3
    • 2010 LOSS A Luton Town 1-2
    • 2009 DRAW H Ebbsfleet United 1-1
    • 2008 WIN A Woking 2-1
    • 2007 LOSS H Exeter City 1-4
    • 2006 WIN H Stevenage Borough 2-1

    Amidst that very disappointing historical record, Altrincham can take heart, nevertheless, from their recent record against today's opposition. They completed the double against the Minstermen last season. But this time around York, under new management and after a player clear-out, have been installed as the bookies' favourites for the league title.

    In contrast to those clashes last season, Altrincham will probably go into the match today against York City minus three experienced players. Captain Jake Moult is recovering from an operation, top scorer Josh Hancock is suspended for three games after his dismissal at Chorley last season and midfielder Simon Richman is a major doubt after injury last Saturday against AFC Fylde.

    On the positive side Alty have retained most of their successful side from last season and have strengthened their squad with the summer arrivals of Toby Mullarkey, Nathan Arnold, Conor Branson, Tom Peers and Lewis Walters.

    And, of course, it should not be forgotten that on the last two occasions that Altrincham won a league championship, they started poorly. The UniBond NPL was won in 1999 after failing to win any of the opening eight fixtures whilst the lifting of the same title in 2017 came after failing to win any of their first three fixtures.


    On the eve of today's match at Altrincham, York City announced that "Steve McNulty has been named club captain for the 2019-20 season. The 35-year-old was selected by manager Steve Watson today to lead his side after signing the no-nonsense centre half from newly promoted League One club Tranmere Rovers this summer.

    The new skipper has won six promotions with four different clubs (Barrow, Fleetwood Town, Luton Town, and Tranmer) and has clocked up nearly 600 career appearances in the process, leading Watson to make the tough decision.

    'We handed the captain's armband around in pre-season looking to see how players reacted,' explained Watson. 'With Steve [McNulty] it’s like having another coach out on the pitch, he helps the back four, he’s a proven leader and has won promotion at various levels... Jordan [Burrow] has not done a lot wrong and can step into the role if required'...

    Elsewhere today, Watson has added 19-year-old prospect Harry Spratt to his arsenal, an ex-Manchester United and Huddesfield Town academy player who will join up with the first team subject to FA and National League approval.

    Watson added 'We have great experience in our squad, but [Spratt] is something different. He’s done a lot of things in training that I like and has a good football stock in his family.'"

    Earlier, York Press reported that "York City striker Dan Maguire believes playing in a full-time team will see him produce the best form of his career. Maguire joined York from Blyth Spartans over the off-season after scoring 25 goals for the North East club last season...

    The 26-year-old’s move to Yorkshire has seen him put on hold his second career as a plumber in order to pursue his footballing ambitions. And the striker thinks that City fans will see the best of him now that he’s working in a full-time environment.

    'This is my first time as a full-time professional footballer so it is a big move for me,' Maguire explained ahead of tomorrow's season opener at Altrincham. 'I think that that has come at the right time in my career. I have had other offers previously to go full-time, but it just didn’t work out alongside my work as a plumber... Over the course of this pre-season, this is the fittest I’ve felt.

    'I think training in a full-time environment has helped that and hopefully I’ll be able to produce my best form because of that. I spoke to Steve Watson a couple of times throughout the summer. He told me about the club and what he was trying to achieve here. He told me about the tradition and the history of the club too. I think that the way he wants to play will suit my game as well. We had some good conversations and he persuaded me to come and play here.

    'My time here has gone well so far, I’m enjoying it. It’s been a good pre-season so far and we’ve played pretty well to get the wins that we have'...

    Manager Watson has spoken openly of his ambitions of promotion to the fifth tier this season...

    'The aim has to be to get promoted to the National League,' Maguire said... 'I don’t see any reason why that isn’t a realistic possibility... There’s five of us who travel up to the North East in one car so that’s helped me settle in a lot. I knew a few of the lads before as well, obviously Kieran Green from Blyth last season, so that’s helped me out. They’ve all really welcomed me to the group.

    'I really enjoyed my time at Blyth. It’s a really good club. I played in quite an attacking line-up at Blyth which obviously suited myself as a striker. Generally there was an attitude of, "if you score five, we’re going to score six" at the club. The free-flowing and attacking football of that team was enjoyable to play in. The gaffer here seems like he wants to play in the same way, so that suits me to the ground.'”

    And also from York Press we learn that manager Steve Watson said that 'My recruitment was done quite early in the summer and we’d done almost all of our signings before the players had started training,' the manager explained. 'But, you’re always on the lookout for that little bit of something extra or something different. That little bit of cover that you may need in the odd position. The trialists that have come in have helped us too as well... Even if they don’t get the opportunity to stay here permanently, they’ve had the chance to train in a full-time environment and play against some very good teams too.

    'I think we recruited pretty early, which is a plus as there are still other sides who are recruiting as we speak. We’ve managed to bring in players who had other options to go elsewhere. Players like Dan Maguire, McNulty, Bond, Peter Jameson and Kieran Green all had options this summer. I’ve pretty much got all of the players that I went after and kept the players that I wanted to keep. In that respect, the recruitment couldn’t have gone much better.'”


    Altrincham Reserves were set to entertain Whaley Bridge Athletic at the Egerton Sports Club today but, with the disruption in the visitors' home town caused by the damage to the local dam, the Cheshire League Memorial Trophy tie has been postponed.


    Nantwich Town "announce that they have re-signed popular centre-back Ben Harrison [right] for the upcoming 2019-20 season. Ben was most recently with Altrincham, where he spent two seasons after leaving the Weaver Stadium at the end of the 2016-17 season...

    Known for his driving runs out of defence and his excellent reading of the game, Ben will be a massive addition to the Dabbers’ dressing-room and a huge boost to what was already one of the league’s strongest defences".


    The Shropshire Star reminds us that "The Bucks start the new National League North season against last campaign’s Southern Premier Central champions. And Cowan is heading into the encounter in high spirits, after seeing his side train to an excellent standard.

    'It’s been better than ever this week, actually,' he said. 'The lads came in on Tuesday and everything just really seemed to click, so we’re really happy. We cannot wait for the game. We’re raring to go. Kettering have been promoted and will be looking to hit the ground running... They’re a bit of an unknown quantity, but everyone is at this level when you start a new season.'

    The onus is on Aaron Williams, brought in after Daniel Udoh’s departure, to get the goals for Telford this season... 'Aaron has grown in confidence with the goals he has got, and he’s ready to hit the ground running for us,' he added. 'It’s the same for Chris Lait and Adam Walker, all of the new lads, too. They’ve all settled in really well and are ready to go.'"

    But from the opposition, the Northants Telegraph states that "Poppies goalkeeper Paul White believes the newly-promoted Kettering Town squad are ready to show they belong in the Vanarama National League North... Kettering romped to the Southern League Premier Division Central title... But it has still been a summer of change with title-winning manager Marcus Law surprisingly leaving the club and Nicky Eaden returning to Kettering as his successor.

    However, the vast majority of the squad that clinched the crown back in April has remained intact, while The Poppies have added to it with a degree of patience during the pre-season.

    And, as one of those who helped secure title glory last season, stopper White believes... 'There was a bit of negativity around the fans in the first few weeks of pre-season because the squad was a bit thin,' the popular Irishman said. 'You are always trying to manage expectations here and I think people were over-thinking things a bit too much. Pre-season is always a bit of a grind for managers and players. It’s all about being ready for the first game of the season and now we are at that stage and we want to get off to a good start.

    'The majority of this squad have been together for two years. We have lost a couple, but that’s what happens in non-league football, players do come and go... I have been in pre-seasons where there have been 15 or 16 new players all being thrown together and you never really know how people will react in that situation. When you have a core of a squad there, I think it makes it easier for those new boys coming to fit into it.

    'It’s a step up for this squad but I think we all deserve the opportunity to have a go at the next level... It’s important to be realistic', White added. 'We won the league at a canter but this division has a lot of ex-Football League clubs and full-time teams, so it’s going to be hard... We have done the hard yards of going to places like Dorchester and Tiverton to get to this stage and now we have to make that step up and make it count'".

    And Kettering Town add that "Elliott Hodge has signed for the club. Elliott who has been impressive in the pre-season friendlies did miss the game against Oxford United XI, but is raring to go as the league season gets ever closer. He is the son of former England, Nottingham Forest and Spurs midfielder Steve Hodge and has previously played for Lincoln City, Stamford AFC, Gainsborough Trinity, Stafford Rangers, AFC Telford United, Notts County, Alfreton Town and Burton Albion."

    At Darlington "Quakers have signed Jamaican midfielder Omar Holness for the second time. Omar made seven appearances for us last season and scored in the home win over FC United, and he has impressed manager Alun Armstrong enough during pre-season to be handed a new deal.

    Alun said 'During the early friendlies Omar was going at 100 miles an hour and trying to impress too much. We had a good chat with him, and he’s taken it on board. He’s got to understand when to chase or when not to. His last game against Middlesbrough was his best so far'"

    The Northern Echo adds that "Minutes after the full-time whistle had blown on Darlington’s final pre-season friendly, Alun Armstrong’s players are going through various stretches while sat in the middle of the sodden Blackwell Meadows pitch, the supporters have already left the ground and a handful of chirpy ball boys are leaving too. Enthused by having just watched Quakers beat Middlesbrough’s under-23s 3-0, they’re predicting promotion as they file past Armstrong on the touchline.

    'No man! Next year, next year!', the genial Geordie’s accent is as broad as ever, 25 years after leaving Newcastle United, as he quells the youngsters’ enthusiasm. It has almost become a mantra since he was appointed manager in May, a mission to dampen enthusiasm slightly, to gently remind people that this a rebuilding job. He has certainly rebuilt the squad, bringing in 13 new players, six from his previous club Blyth Spartans, to a club that finished 16th last season and then parted ways with manager Tommy Wright.

    'I want to be in the top half, it needs to be an improvement on last year,' admitted Armstrong... 'The top half is nearly as strong as teams in the league above; anyone who goes up would survive quite comfortably... This is a rebuild job, and next season I want to have a good go... We’ll lose games and we won’t always play well, but we’ve got to stick together, look at the long-term picture and make sure that we get there.'

    There are those who will expect more of Darlington, who believe sights should be set higher, particularly after bearing in mind some of the signings made: Louis Laing, Will Hatfield, Jarrett Rivers and Jamie Holmes all look to be astute additions...

    Armstrong said 'Nothing has changed from when I came into the club and I’ve told the chairman this and everyone else: mid-table is the reality. These lads are all new to the club. They’ve probably gelled a bit quicker than I thought they would’ve done, but that’s because they’re good footballers. But I’m wary of the physicality aspect and, if we brought in a big No. 9, which would be different to what I’ve got, to mix it up then I’d be saying let's have a push.

    'But we’ve got to be realistic, we’ve got a new squad, a good blend of players here, we’ll play exciting football, but this is just the start... The movement when Jarrett Rivers and Jamie are coming inside, that’s the creativity I’m looking for, I don’t want lads to be rigid and easy to mark. As they come in and combine like that it causes all kinds of problems... When they’ve got the ball they’ve got freedom to express themselves, it’s about natural ability and it’s not for me to ever stop that.

    'I love it when players run at defenders, that’s what gets bums on seats, that’s why people come to watch football.'”

    The PinkUn reports that "King's Lynn have signed midfielder Alfie Payne from Norwich City. The 19-year-old was a regular in the Canaries' under 23s last season and has been with the Carrow Road club since the age of eight.

    He arrives at the Walks on a season-long loan with the option of a recall to Carrow Road in January. Linnets' boss Ian Culverhouse said, 'He gives us cover in midfielder and also down the left-hand side, where we are a little short on cover, and will compliment the group well. He is a really technical player who is going to come to learn his trade with us. I know he is rated really highly at Norwich.'

    The Cringleford-born player signed his first professional contract with Norwich in June 2018 and signed a new one-year deal in February of this year. Payne was an unused sub for the Canaries in their 4-0 championship win at Sheffield Wednesday in November last year".

    Leamington "is delighted to announce that manager Paul Holleran has concluded an agreement with Solihull Moors to bring Jordan Murphy back to Leamington on loan. Jordan spent a successful loan spell with us last season... In all he made 21 appearances and scored 2 goals, becoming more influential as the season went on.

    The manager was understandably pleased to be able to bring the midfielder back to Leamington, saying 'With things as they are in the squad at present, with one or two not quite fully fit and with losing Colby Bishop as well, having eleven games in such a short period of time meant that a player like Jordan, who can operate in a number of positions, was something that we needed. He did well for us last year and hopefully he’ll do the same again.’"

    At Hereford FC "The Bulls have added to their squad ahead of tomorrow’s opening game of the season against Spennymoor with left-sided player Raheem Hanley putting pen-to-paper following a successful trial period with The Bulls..

    'I’ve played pretty much my whole career on the left' he said. 'I started off as a winger, then I went to left-back. The role that Marc has asked me to play suits me down to a tee... I’m pacey, I like to get forward, like to get crosses into the box and hopefully get a few shots in as well... From day one the boys have made me feel comfortable straight away, the staff have made me feel really comfortable, it just feels like home'...

    Speaking about the latest signing, Head Coach Marc Richards said 'He’s had a good upbringing with the likes of Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers and Swansea City. The 25-year-old has also featured for England U19s, and represents St Kitts & Nevis along with Rowan Liburd. 'He comes here at a good age' added Richards. 'The last 12-18months has seen him stall a bit, but we’re hoping that we can give him the platform to really push on... He’s dynamic, quick, strong and has a really good left foot. He’ll give us some competition on the left-hand side of the pitch'".

    Bulls' News also reports that "With the news that St Kitts & Nevis international Raheem Hanley has signed for Hereford, could it mean that the Bulls may call off some games next season during international weekends?

    Rowan Liburd is also a St Kitts & Nevis international, while Reece Styche plays for Gibraltar. Last season, Nuneaton called off games against York and Chester due to having three players called up by their respective national sides; one of whom was Theo Wharton, who later joined Hereford.

    The first international break for the 2019/2020 campaign is from September 2 to 10, with St Kitts & Nevis having matches against Grenada and French Guiana on September 5 and 9 respectively."

    At Bradford (Park Avenue<) "Rotherham full-back Akeem Hinds has signed a loan deal to Bradford (Park Avenue) until January 2020. Hinds came up through the Rotherham academy where he was promoted to the senior squad and given his opportunity to break into the Championship sides first team. He appeared twice in the Football League Trophy.

    Hinds has had loan spells before, spending a year in the NPL Division One with Frickley Athletic and Hyde United where he appeared seven times in the league as well as appearing in the FA Cup.

    Akeem Hinds commented, 'I played for about an hour at the Horsfall in pre-season and it was a tough game from our point of view, particularly in the second-half. There are some talented and hardworking lads there who I’m looking forward to getting to know and I’ll be giving it my all whilst wearing the Park Avenue shirt.'"

    At Gloucester City "talk to new signing Marlon Jackson and Club Captain Sam Avery about their thoughts for the season ahead. 'Our preparation has gone well, we got what we wanted out of training and the games. Getting through pre-season without many injuries is an added bonus.

    'We’re confident we can reproduce the performances but our defensive record last season was a team effort. We have to keep that same commitment to keep that defensive record...

    You’ve played in the North before, making that switch again from the National South how different are the two divisons in your opinion?

    'sFor a start there is a lot more travelling, but I feel like the North is a lot tougher than the South. We have had a good pre-season so no doubt we will be ready for the test'".

    2 August 2019


    The official Altrincham FC website has announced that Matt Chadwick has not been signed up for 2019-20 but trialist winger Lewis Walters has joined the club. The above link includes a lengthy interview of Lewis by press and media officer, John Edwards.

    Lewis (right) made his debut for Alty in the friendly at Atherton Collieries on 16 July. He opened his goalscoring accoubt in the following friendly, against Blackpool, before missing the game against Stockport County to go on trial at Barnet.

    He returned to play part of the match against AFC Fylde, who were his most recent club. His previous clubs were Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Barrow and Guiseley. Leeds-based, Walters had trials at Carlisle United last summer.

    Sadly leaving Moss Lane is 26 year-old Matt Chadwick, who joined Altrincham on 1 March 2019 from Ashton United, where he had enjoyed two spells. In 2018-19, before joining Altrincham, he had made 21 appearances for the Hurst Cross side, netting seven times. He had previously played for several clubs in the Tameside and Manchester area, including Stalybridge Celtic, Mossley, Chadderton, Radcliffe Borough and Salford City.

    His Alty debut was delayed by whiplash injuries from a car accident but he went on to make 3(+3) appearances. Although he did not score in those games, he did net a penalty against Blackpool in 2019 pre-season.


    When Altrincham kick off their National League North season on Saturday, 3 August, it will be the first time that they have played a league match on such an early date as Mike Garnett and Howard Watts's Through the Years data confirm.

    As for the previous clashes with the Minstermen, Mike reminds us of the historical record:

    • At Altrincham: P9-W2-D4-L3-F11-A16
    • Away: P9-W2-D2-L5-F6-A16
    • All: P18-W4-D6-L8-F17-A32

    Right: Josh Hancock in action in the November 2018 clash with York City.

    On their last visit to Moss Lane (17 November 2018), Altrincham beat York City 3-0, thanks to goals from Josh Hancock (2) and Jake Moult, neither of whom will be playing tomorrow. Moult is recovering from an operation and Hancock is suspended.

    In the 2018 match a superb second-half performance from Altrincham blew away York City after a fairly even and goalless first 45 minutes. They took a deserved 57th minute lead, advancing on the left through Owen Dale before Davis failed to clear the ball and Hancock hooked it home.

    York were rocked for the next few minutes before getting back into the game. The visitors' third and final substitute was the veteran Jon Parkin but he was unable to change things for the Minstermen. Altrincham wrapped up the game with two goals in the final ten minutes. They went 2-0 ahead after Hulme had won a corner. Taken by Johnston, this came out to Moult who drove home a fine shot from just outside the box (83 mins).

    And, as the game went into added time, Hulme laid on a chance for Hancock and his well-struck low effort from the edge of the box made it 3-0. The match was watched by 1,673 (348 in away end and others from York in main stand).

    As a result of Max Harrop's fifth yellow card in Altrincham's game at Chester last week, the midfielder was suspended for the 2018 match but is likely to play tomorrow. In the 2018 game Max's place had been taken by Simon Richman, who himself is likely to miss the 2019 game after being injured in last Saturday's match.

    The line-ups that day 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. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Owen DALE. Subs: 12. Kallum MANTACK, 14. Charlie SCOTT, 15. Josh LANGLEY, 16. Shaun DENSMORE, 20. Elliot WYNNE.

    YORK CITY: 1. Adam Bartlett, 2. Josh Law, 3. Sean Newton, 4. Kennedy Digie, 5. Joseph Davis, 6. Kallum Griffiths, 7. Lewis Hawkins, 8. Adriano Moke, 9. Jordan Burrow, 10. Joe Ironside, 11. Alexander Bray. Subs: 12. Macaulay Langstaff, 14. Alexander Harris, 15. David Ferguson, 16. Nathan Dyer, 19. Jon Parkin


    The BBC reports that "Oldham Athletic have completed the double signing of former Burton Albion defender Tomas Egert and young midfielder Callum Dolan".

    Callum Dolan (d.o.b. 29 September, 2000) made his Altrincham debut as a used substitute in midfield against Curzon Ashton on 23 February 2019. He started out with Manchester United and his former clubs include Blackburn Rovers, where he was on a scholarship deal (2017). He made two appearances for Rovers that year. In 2017-18 he played for Blackburn's Academy side.

    By late 2018 he was playing for Stockport Town, where he won the Macron First Division South Player of the Month award in December of that year. He made one start and three appearamces from the bench for Altrincham.

    The BBC continues, saying that Callum has "agreed [an] initial one-year contract with an option for a further 12 months".


    Altrincham host York City on Saturday. York City report that "Micky Cummins led the Minstermen to victory [on Tuesday] night against Pickering Town where his team avoided a loss in Ryedale by scoring four goals in the second half to win 4-2.

    Stern words were had at half time from the assistant manager which seemed to give his young team the edge going into the final 45 minutes, and speaking after the contest... Cummins said 'I was really disappointed, particularly in the first half, we didn’t really cause them much problems and if anything, we caused our own problems. It’s not what we are about and it’s against the grain of what we have been trying to pre-season.

    'Winning is a habit and people are scoring so that is a positive, and it’s nice to come to a nice little setting like this and win.'

    Wes York made his first appearance back from injury as he started up top, amongst a team of mostly trialists and academy players, and scored City’s first goal just after half time... A few youth prospects also caught Cummins’s eye as he alternated [sic] the team during the contest.

    'Charlie [Jebson-King] did well, he was composed but maybe a bit isolated in the first half, particularly in the second half he made good decisions and used the ball very well,' added Cummins. 'Kiari [Ventura] came on and could have had a couple of goals and Reiss [Harrison] put a bit of authority in the middle of the park, so pleasing to get a look at them as well.'

    According to Cummins these players will also get a break in the first team during the regular season... He continued 'They will train with us all the time; we obviously have a strong squad there already so it will just be for when the opportunity comes, they will have to come and take it. Touch wood, we don’t get any injuries, but they are up to speed and we have seen a big difference in them since the end of last season and it will only benefit them being around the first team'".


    According to NL Daily "Following impressive pre-season outings for the club, Jack Doyle and Russell Benjamin have put to pen to paper with one-year contracts at Southport.

    Benjamin has been with the club previously, making 23 league starts and 29 as substitute between August 2011 and April 2013. The midfield player left Southport to join AFC Telford United, also playing for Stockport County.

    He has rejoined the club and manager Liam Watson said 'Russ is a player I’ve had previously and a player I think a lot of. Someone, as a person, I know what I’m going to get from him on the pitch and all over in the dressing room. He will be pushing hard for his place and go on to have another good spell at Southport.'

    Doyle has featured in all pre-season matches having been released from Blackburn Rovers. He has impressed everyone with his no-nonsense style and will be challenging to make the left-back berth his own in the 2019-20 season, the club say. Watson... added 'Jack is a player we have been chasing all summer. He has had a few options but has chosen to sign for us which I am delighted about'".

    Also from Southport comes news of Altrincham and the club's first two league opponents, York City and FC Chester. "This time around, it promises to be an open field at the top of the division... James Houghton takes a look around the division...

    The current favourites to top the division in April are York City, who have won five of their six games in an impressive pre-season... York have focused on strengthening the spine of their team during the summer transfer window with new signings Dan Maguire and Kieran Green, both formerly with Blyth Spartans, adding fire power up top, Andy Bond and Paddy McLaughlin strengthening the centre of midfield and Steve McNulty providing experience in defence after helping Tranmere Rovers to a second successive promotion last year...

    Behind York City sit one of our neighbours in the league, Chester FC... Chester have seen an influx of talent, particularly from Salford City. Danny Livesey and Anthony Dudley joined on free transfers with the side also adding James Jones on loan. Dudley will be joined up from by [sic] Danny Elliott, formerly of Port Vale. The two strikers have impressed in preseason and Chester will be hoping that the two strikers can help them to outscore their opponents to break into the promotion picture...

    Altrincham... missed out in the semi-finals after a shootout in which The Robins only converted one of their four penalties. But just like Spennymoor, Alty have managed to keep a vast majority of their squad from the last campaign and will be hoping that the sting of last year’s disappointment will push them one step further.

    Altrincham were scoring freely last season and finished as the league’s top scoring side with 85 goals. The fact they have managed to keep a hold of Josh Hancock, Jordan Hulme and John Johnston, who scored 19, 16 and 14 goals respectively last season will mean that we can expect to see more of the same attacking football from the Greater Manchester side next time out".

    At AFC Telford United, chairman, Andy Pryce, writes that "Over the last 12 months the club has made some positives steps forward on and off the pitch. Finishing the 2018/19 season 8th in the league and reaching the semi final of the FA Trophy was something that we never expected...

    Gavin, Phil and the rest of the management staff worked tirelessly last year to build both a squad and a team that we as fans have been proud to call AFC Telford United... Walking around the ground on a Saturday afternoon and feeling the positivity from the Management Team, Players, Fans, Volunteers has been nothing but brilliant to see...

    I strive to run this club in a way in which I believe is cautious yet ambitious; resulting in the club maintaining its financial stability yet aspiring to take on new opportunities. We have recently been able to carry out improvements to the New Buck's Head in addition to being able to support Gavin by increasing the playing budget.

    ‘On the Field’ Gavin and the management staff have worked increasingly hard during the close season to build another strong squad... I have great confidence and belief in the principles and strategies of Gavin... The team will again train at Lilleshall National Sports centre where we have made small additions to help the team prepare for a match day. We will be a part time football club which train on Tuesday and Thursday evening with the option for players to attend extra sessions on a Monday morning for recovery and a Friday morning to prepare. Again small positive improvements that we are trying to make.

    ‘Off the Field’ we are again making small, but positive steps... We are always looking for more people to join our group of volunteers and be a part of AFC Telford United".

    At Chester FC the club announces "that five Academy graduates have signed senior deals at the Deva.

    James Cottrell, Stuart Crilly, Louis Hayes, George Macready and Harry Molyneux have all put pen to paper to continue their development with the football club. These deals have been made possible thanks to the fantastic support of Swettenham Chemists, who are the Academy’s Principal Sponsors and our West Stand Sponsors, pioneering the Family Zone at the ground.

    It is likely James, Stuart, Louis, George and Harry will all be heading out on loan with flexible recall clauses in order to gain them minutes, alongside increased contact hours training within our hybrid model.

    Cottrell is a central midfielder, who made his FA Youth Cup debut for the Blues as a 15-year-old in the famous win over Fleetwood Town. James, from Helsby, was previously with Stoke City before completing a scholarship with Chester FC.

    Crilly, from Liverpool, is renowned as a versatile midfielder who has an eye for goal – he joined the club from Oldham in March 2017. Stuart made a senior appearance in the Cheshire Senior Cup last season at Winsford United – and was an unused sub in the FA Cup win against City of Liverpool.

    Louis Hayes, from Halewood, joined the club from Blackburn Rovers in May 2017. He is a physical midfielder who has also impressed during pre-season at centre back in Chester FC XI fixtures at Cheadle and Rylands.

    Macready is a left-footed centre back from Chester. The defender caught the eye with a fantastic assist for Matty Hughes in the 2-1 win over Bangor 1876 earlier in the month.

    Molyneux is a left back with fantastic technical ability – chipping in with goals and assists and known for being dangerous over a dead ball. The full back was on loan with Rylands last season as they won the North West Counties First Division South.

    Blues' Joint Boss Anthony Johnson said 'All five of the lads were instrumental in the success the youth team had over the last couple of years. They’ve all worked tirelessly for this opportunity and we’re sure they’re all ready to take the next step.'

    Ian Swettenham had this to say on today’s announcement 'This is the next step in developing the Academy pathway to the mutual benefit of players and club. We will now have seven first year Academy graduates (including Cain and Lloyd) compared to four last season'".

    Meanwhile, Cheshire Live reports that "Matty Hughes is available for selection for Chester FC for the season opener at Boston United on Saturday. Hughes, 27, has featured for the Blues during pre-season after being invited back by managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley to prove his fitness after suffering an ACL injury in October last year .

    That injury, sustained against Hereford, saw his campaign ended prematurely and the former Fleetwood Town, AFC Fylde and Chorley striker, in his third spell at Chester, had to undergo surgery and an intensive rehabilitation process.

    While he is still working his way back to his peak self, Hughes has shown glimpses of his undoubted quality during pre-season and has netted twice for the Blues. The bosses are keen to keep Hughes but want to make sure that he is capable of reaching the levels of last season and he has been retained on a non-contract basis for the short term, meaning he is available for selection on Saturday at York Street should he be required.

    And with Akwasi Asante likely to be out after a groin strain sustained at FC United of Manchester on Tuesday evening , Hughes could well come into contention for a place in the matchday squad at the Pilgrims. Johnson and Morley will in the coming weeks be looking to get fringe players out on loan, something that could enable the club to keep Hughes on a longer deal should they wish."

    And the Chester Standard adds that "Danny Elliott is ready to make a ‘big impact’ with Chester this season. After an itinerant career that has already taken in spells in the USA and Spain, the 23-year old striker now hopes to propel the Blues to National League North glory.

    A free agent after being released by Port Vale earlier in the summer, Eliott was snapped up by managerial duo Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley after a successful trial at The Deva...

    'It’s only been three weeks since I came here, but so far I’m really enjoying it', said Elliott. 'I was impressed by the set-up here, the facilities and the ambitions the club has to move forward. There’s a lot of characters in the dressing room, a lot of winners, and it’s felt like the right fit for me. With so many experienced lads in there, they’re always passing on little tips to me and I feel like I’m learning all the time.

    'The managers have brought me here to stretch the opposition’s defences and score goals'...

    The six-foot attacker also praised Johnson and Morley’s meticulous coaching style during and after training sessions... He added 'They’re both really hands-on managers with a real passion for the game. Even after games they’re always analysing footage of us and looking at the areas we can be better. Johnno’s sent me video clips of my game, highlighted things that can be improved and that need to be worked on and I respect that because I want to be the best player I can be.

    'Their enthusiasm and passion’s always there and that filters down to the players, and for me personally I want to repay the faith they’ve shown in me.'

    Having come through the youth system at Aston Villa... Elliott moved on to the Nottingham Forest academy. When a professional contract failed to materialise at the City Ground... he made the switch to the US College side Hofstra Pride. As part of the New-York based club, Elliott made 68 appearances and netted 14 times in a three-year period. Spells with North Carolina FC and Long Island Rough Riders followed, which preceded a brief stint in the fourth tier on Spanish football with San Cristóbal...

    'After being released at 16 by Forest I was encouraged by my parents to do my A-levels... Instead of going down the coaching route I chose to go and play in America, which was massive for me... Anyone who wants to play professional sport out there has to go through the college system and the set-up was brilliant. You’re playing in front of thousands of people, the facilities are great and so is the lifestyle... I learned a lot from it, but now I feel like I’m ready to prove myself in this country'...

    Scoring on his Blues' debut in the heavy pre-season defeat to Wigan endeared Elliott to the Blues' faithful early on. He has since turned out six times in their schedule of summer friendlies, also scoring in a 4-1 win over Northwich".

    At Hereford FC "The Bulls get the 2019/2020 season underway on Saturday with the visit of Spennymoor Town to Edgar Street. There will be a number of new faces making their League debut for the club following a busy summer, included amongst them will be Jared Hodgkiss who adds his higher level experience to the back-line.

    The 32 year-old was playing for Macclesfield Town in League Two last season, but admits his move to The Bulls following a successful trial spell has reignited his passion for the game.

    'It was a hard season for me last year', he admitted. 'It got to the stage where I was seriously considering my future in the game but then Hereford got in touch and invited me in for pre-season. This is a massive club, which is geared up to get back into The Football League, and it didn’t take long for me to get the excitement back again.'

    Hodgkiss, who came through the ranks at West Bromwich Albion before giving good service to the likes of Forest Green Rovers and Kidderminster Harriers, is ready for the challenge... 'It’s going to be a really competitive League this year', he added... 'But, at the same time, we have a lot of quality here and also our fan base gives us a massive advantage. We want to be able to make it a fortress here and with everyone working hard and pulling in the same direction, we can do that'".

    Kidderminster Harriers now confirm that they "have bagged another new recruit ahead of the start of the season, with goalkeeper Cameron Gregory signing on loan from Shrewsbury Town.

    Gregory, 19, has been with Harriers for much of pre-season, and featured for the team in pre-season friendlies against Aston Villa and Bristol Rovers at Aggborough. The imposing shot-stopper has risen through the ranks at Shrewsbury and has already been in and around the first-team squad there, having inked a professional deal a year ago. He’s also not without non-league experience, having joined Halesowen and Chippenham Town for spells last season.

    Gregory’s loan at Aggborough, subject to FA confirmation, will run until January".

    Also, Live4Liverpool tells us that "Liverpool defender Rhys Williams has joined Kidderminster Harriers on a short-term loan deal... with the 18-year-old set to join up with the National League North side until January.

    The 6’5″ ace helped the Reds lift the FA Youth Cup earlier this year, and has been a regular at both U18 and U23 level.

    Dropping down to the National League North is quite a way to go, but it should guarantee him a lot of game time, and ensure that he is toughened up when he returns to Merseyside. U23s football is fantastic for fitness, but in terms of competitiveness, nothing can match the senior game, even if it is at a non-league level. Williams is a massive, imposing defender, and he has the potential and the natural physical attributes to be a real success further into his career...

    The defender is also a real danger from set pieces, and managed to hit six goals, assisting four more, during his last campaign in the Reds’ youth sides".

    The Northants Telegraph advises us that Kettering will be hoping to take momentum into the new campaign after romping to the Southern League Premier Division Central title last season...

    'It will be a real test,' Eaden said... 'We have had Telford watched in pre-season and they try to play [good football]... It will probably be a good guide for us as to what lies ahead, but all I want to do is make sure we are competitive in every game... I think we will be'".

    News from another newcomer to the league comes from Lynn News which states that "For King's Lynn Town it is a trip on Saturday to Guiseley to open their campaign... And Lynn boss Ian Culverhouse has revealed 'I know my team. I've had an idea for a while, for a couple of weeks now. The main thing now is with the end of the pre-season games that I am still able to pick that side.

    'There's no injuries. Everyone is up and around the minutes I wanted them to have, which is important. We can now go in there as a group and give it a real go... We will train on Thursday and we'll do a little bit of analysis as well', admitted Culverhouse. 'The league we are going into is a good professional league and it's important that we move this club with it. The analysis side of things becomes really important now and, where we can help these players, we will do by giving them feedback'.

    Guiseley may have just avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth last season, but the Linnets' chief feels that his side couldn't have a tougher assignment... 'They are good at home', said Culverhouse. 'Stockport, who went up last year, didn't beat them in the two games that they played against them... and Stockport drew there last week in a pre-season game. I listened to the Stockport manager afterwards, who said that he wanted to play Guiseley as he knew it would be a very physical test.

    'We know what we are going to get and we've got to be ready and prepared to stand up to it'".

    After being damned with faint praise by the two managers (above), the Telegraph and Argus reports that "Guiseley have signed left-back Brad Nicholson ahead of this weekend's big kick-off.

    Nicholson, 20, made a big impression while on trial in pre-season for the Lions. He signed up following another good display in the club's 6-0 thrashing of South Shields last Saturday. Nicholson broke into men’s football at the world’s oldest football club Sheffield FC before joining Handsworth Parramore and playing for them in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division in 2017.

    In August 2018 he signed a six-month contract with Chesterfield. He can play at left-back or centre-back and, although a natural left-footer, is also good with his right."

    The Hartlepool Mail confirms that "Hartlepool United legend Michael Nelson is set to remain in full-time football with Gateshead as a player-coach. Nelson spent last season as a player-coach at National League side Chesterfield.

    The 39-year-old defender has been at the Heed since the start of pre-season and starred in several friendly matches as a ‘trialist’. Nelson’s contract at previous side Chesterfield has prevented him from signing for his hometown club until August 1 (today)...

    Nelson made over 300 appearances for Pools between 2003 and 2009, partnering Gateshead legend and former manager Ben Clark in defence for five of his six seasons at Victoria Park... Since leaving Pools in 2009, Nelson has featured for several clubs including Norwich City, Cambridge United, Barnet and most recently Chesterfield, where he spent last season as a player-coach at the National League side.

    He will now join Gateshead player-manager Mike Williamson as both a defensive partner and coaching staff member at the International Stadium."

    1 August 2019


    The official Altrincham FC website provides press and media officer John Edwards's interview with manager Phil Parkinson after the friendly win at Trafford on Tuesday.

    The manager says that preparations are complete for the new season though "midfielder Simon Richman is a major doubt with a foot injury" picked up last Saturday. With Josh Hancock suspended and Jake Moult still recovering from his summer operation, three of last season's significant players are likely to be absent for the start of the league campaign against York City.


    Match report here.

    The official Altrincham FC site also has a report.

    Right: Harry Sheridan and Andy White compete for an aerial ball at Shawe View, as Toby Mullarkey and Darius Palma await the outcome.

    And Trafford say that "Trafford produced another impressive display against non-league aristocrats Altrincham on Tuesday night but fell to a 2-0 defeat after conceding goals either side of half-time.

    After early pressure by the visitors, Trafford almost took a surprise lead when Jordan Wynne struck a fine 25 yard drive that was touched onto the post by goalkeeper Tony Thompson. At the other end, Matty Cooper brilliantly tipped a curling effort by Matty Chadwick over the crossbar, and on the half hour mark Thompson was in action once more, superbly saving one-handed to thwart a Joel Amado header.

    In the 44th minute Phil Parkinson’s team broke the deadlock when Tom Peers was afforded too much space inside the Trafford penalty area and coolly steered his shot from 15 yards inside the left hand post.

    And in the 54th minute Josh Hancock doubled Alty’s advantage when sloppy defensive play lead to a crisp drive from 20 yards that was deflected past the wrong-footed Cooper.

    As is so often the case in pre-season friendlies, a raft of substitutions disrupted the flow and intensity of what had been an exciting encounter and the visitors dominated the remainder of the game without really troubling goalkeeper Cooper."


    The National League has a fan's preview from each of the clubs in the National League North. The one for Altrincham is by well-known Alty supporter and TASC Travel Coordinator, Mark Eckersall and it can be read here". As Mark concludes, "our football is a joy to watch at times, we've a great management team and a good bunch of lads - I think it will be one of the highest quality National League North seasons for a long time".

    Amongst the other club's supporters Kettering Town regular Christopher Ellis writes, "Kettering Town haven't been at this level since winning the Conference North back in 2007/08. After leaving our beloved Rockingham Road in 2011, going into administration, being demoted two divisions, relegated from the Southern Prem, one of the sleeping non-league giants (in my opinion) have finally awoken and are back to where they belong. Stability was key, now the future is bright!"


    Altrincham's first league opponents of 2019-20 are York City who, like Alty, had a Tuesday night friendly game. York Press reports that "York City finished pre-season on a high as they staged a superb second-half comeback to win 4-2 at Pickering Town. The Pikes went into the break two goals to the good but three goals in 11 minutes following the restart turned the game on its head.

    Wes York, coming back from injury, was the first to turn home before Liam Smith and Macaulay Langstaff joined him on the scoresheet. Smith’s second 15 minutes on sealed the Minstermen’s sixth win on the bounce.

    The first half was low on quality as both sides toiled for fluency but the second was a far more entertaining North Yorkshire derby spectacle...

    As promised, York’s line-up had a youthful look to it, with only Ryan Whitley, Tom Allan and Billy Beresford among the few who have seen regular action so far this pre-season. There were flashes of quality in the opening exchanges but, by and large, it was not a pretty start to the spectacle... Chances started to come midway through the half as the game became more open and free-flowing...

    The honour of the first goal of the game went to Pickering’s first-half substitute triallist Issy Pearson, who was the beneficiary of a horrible mix-up at the back. Mark McManus lobbed a long ball over onrushing keeper Whitley and Pearson was able to simply roll into the empty net... but there was no doubt about the way Hollingsworth buried his 43rd-minute header...

    Three minutes after the restart, York made it an ideal opening to the second half for City, getting on the end of Dyer’s cross to turn into the empty net. It got even better for the visitors very shortly after as Liam Smith drove left-footed from the edge of the area into the bottom left corner following persistent work from Wes York.

    The game really started to hot up following the equaliser... Langstaff made it 3-2 to York, tapping it over the line after Smith had rounded Myers and rolled an effort goalwards... Smith grabbed his second of the game after 71 minutes, tapping into an empty net".

    York City add that they fielded "A team featuring mainly of trialists and youth team players... Wes York was one of the senior players in the first eleven and had a field day at times, dribbling in and out of the midfield...

    The whistle blew after 90 minutes in what was City’s sixth straight pre-season victory; a great achievement going into Saturday’s opener against Altrincham."

    York: Whitley, Dyer, Jebson-King, McManus, Barret, Allan, York (Cawthorn 78), Beresford, Langstaff (Ventura 64), Caton, Smith. Subs: Ventura, Harrison, Jackson, Whitfield, Cawthorn, Teale."

    Earlier York City "beat National League side Notts County 3-1 thanks to goals from Dan Maguire, Macaulay Langstaff and Alex Kempster...

    Steve Watson made four changes for the second half, a Trialist and Whitley coming on as well as changes to the front line with Kempster and Langstaff on for Burrow and Maguire. And the fresh faces up front wreaked havoc on the County defence, especially with Langstaff making runs down the right wing...

    The whistle blew at Bootham Crescent with another splendid performance in pre-season for the Minstermen...

    York City: Jameson (Whitley 45’), Griffiths (Dyer 75’), Tait, McNulty (Trialist A 45’), Allan, Ferguson, Moke, Bond, Green, Burrow (Kempster 45’), Maguire (Longstaff 45’). Unused substitutes: Harrison, Jebson-King, Trialist B, Trialist C".


    Adam Morgan played part of one game for Alty in pre-season and now the Bet Victor NPL reports that "Mossley have signed former Liverpool striker Adam Morgan from Curzon Ashton.

    Morgan, 25, made three appearances in the Europa League for the Reds having impressed Brendan Rodgers on a tour of the USA in 2012...

    Meanwhile, striker Astley Mulholland suffered a broken leg in the friendly win at Abbey Hey on Tuesday night."


    Chester FC "ended their pre-season schedule with a defeat at FC United at Broadhurst Park. The hosts were simply the faster side into their stride in the first half, and opened the scoring on ten minutes. Charlie Ennis whipped a free kick up and over the wall, finding the top corner of the net and beating Russ Griffiths.

    Five minutes later the Blues were dealt a blow when Akwasi Asante was forced off with what appeared to be an injury, George Waring was his replacement.

    Less than 60 seconds later, it was two. Jack Lenenhan was allowed time to stride forward, and the loose ball inside the box fell to Michael Donohue, who poked it over Griffiths and made it two.

    Then just after the half hour mark, a third came to the hosts. A quick counter attack ended with the superb Ennis firing into the net from an acute angle.

    Chester suddenly sprang into life after the third goal. They got one back on 41 minutes when Matty Hughes found Jamie Morgan in behind the defence who drove forward and sidefooted it in via the inside of the post...

    The Blues made plenty of changes at the interval... Nevertheless, just after the hour mark a short corner and cross resulting in Chris Doyle heading home a fourth for the Mancunians".

    Afterwards "Bernard Morley offered a withering assessment of Chester’s 4-1 defeat at FC United... A humbling night at Broadhurst Park came just four days before Chester’s National League North opener at Boston United on Saturday, with joint-manager Morley scathing in his criticism of his players.

    He said, 'They were streets ahead in every department. It pains me to say that, but I have to be honest. If I’m not, the people who watched the game tonight... will say I’m disguising what we are. We’re honest, don’t ever question our integrity because what I see, I say. That was as bad as I’ve ever seen, worse than the 8-1 at Blyth last season, that’s how bad it was tonight.

    'As managers we’ve fielded a side who didn’t look like they cared'...

    At a loss to explain Chester’s capitulation after a generally positive pre-season schedule, Morley refused to attribute individual blame and insisted the result was a collective failure. He added 'Maybe we’ve come here with a bit of an ego against a team in the league below, and I’m not going to make any excuses about the pitch, which was big and wet and every player’s dream. They wanted to get on the ball more than us, their movement was better, their rotation was miles better. They split from the back, they played through the thirds better, they looked fitter than us.

    'It’s given us an absolute headache. I do care about pre-season results and I’ve just said to the lads "put your hand up if you don’t care about tonight’s result" and they didn’t; they just sat there with their heads down. I know for a fact that people watching will blame it on the back three. The fourth goal where James Jones has been beaten at the back post can be blamed on the back three, but I think for the other three goals there were gaps everywhere and they’re running through, passed around us and scored.

    'I’m not saying our back three were great, but the midfield three were non-existent in the first half. They’re decision-making was poor and they ran through us. I don’t like digging players out but in terms of what we are in central areas, it’s not good enough'.

    A miserable first half for the visitors was compounded by an apparent groin injury to striker Akwasi Asante, who walked straight off the pitch without consulting with Chester’s bench before he was replaced by George Waring. Morley admitted to being baffled by the actions of the Dutch striker, who has endured an injury-plagued spell with the club since joining in January...

    Morley said 'I’m being told he’s got a groin strain. He might have been embarrassed that he’s picked up another injury. I’m not going to stand here and dig him out; if he’s injured, he’s injured. But the lad needs to go away and have a good think about what he is and what he can bring to this football club in terms of his contract. I don’t expect any player to tear their contract up but, as manager of Chester, I need players to work hard for me and players who want to win like Johnno (Anthony Johnson) and I do.'"

    There was more disappointment forChester FC as "Due to heavy rain overnight and subsequently a waterlogged pitch, our game at Atherton LR has been called off. This was due to be a Chester FC XI fixture, but the game has unfortunately been postponed. Next up for the Blues is a trip to Boston United for our season opener on Saturday".

    Altrincham's first Saturday away trip of the new season is to play Gloucester City and The Breeze reports that "Gloucester City have named former Weston super Mare manager Marc McGregor as a new first team coach.

    In a statement the club said McGregor brings a 'wealth of experience', including Professional Footballers' Association and academy work at Swindon Town and two years as manager of Weston in the National League South. He replaces Tom Webb who left at the end of last season and will work alongside current first team coach Mike Green.

    Mike will then be temporarily unavailable due to recovery time towards the end of the year after donating his kidney".

    Also, Gloucester City "Mike Cook has added to the squad with two new signings from Bristol City. Vincent Harper, 18, joins on loan until the end of the year from the Championship side. Harper, who can operate at wing-back or as a forward, was awarded with a professional contract after appearing for the Robins’ U-18 side last season. He started for Gloucester in the last friendly at Wells.

    Kieran Smith, also 18 and a right-back, was released by Bristol City at the end of the season after six seasons in the academy there. He has appeared in nearly all of the Tigers pre-season friendlies so far".

    More on this comes from Gloucestershire Live which tells us that Kieran Smith is an "18 year-old right-back [who] was released by Bristol City at the end of last season after six years in the academy...

    Vincent Harper, the 18-year-old left-back... could make his debut in their opening game of the new season away to Blyth Spartans on Saturday.

    'The main reason he’s been loaned to us is because he’s a fast, exciting left-back who probably needs to work on his defending,' said Gloucester boss Mike Cook. 'He’s got great potential but needs a bit of coaching so we’ll work with him over the next couple of months and he is a decent player. He’s a bit of a pocket rocket, making good runs with the ball and he’s shown good quality when he crosses so hopefully he will be a really good player.'

    The Tigers were in need of a left-back following the departure of youngster Noah Smerdon to Exeter City but Cook explained that Harper is not a like-for-like replacement and he could yet bring in another player to fill that position.

    'We have got a couple of irons in the fire for left-back,' he said. 'We will see what happens with Vincent over the next few games. If we are conceding goals we might need someone else on loan a bit more defensive, a bit more like Noah. Our intention is to play more attacking football and get results so, for the first few games, we’re not going to be sitting back. We haven’t in pre-season and we’ve got some good results'.

    The arrivals of Harper and Smith take Gloucester's total of signings to 12 ahead of the new campaign and Cook has been pleased with the business they have been able to do... He said 'We will never stop signing, we are never going to be the finished article so I’ll always be looking and dipping in. With the new system we’re playing we want to look at the first three or four games and see what positions are doing well and what positions need strengthening. I’ve got irons in the fire to change things at short notice.'"

    According to the Kidderminster Shuttle "Harriers are set to be handed a boost on the eve of the new National League North season thanks to a double loan deal.

    Reds are on the brink of capturing young Liverpool defensive prospect Rhys Williams and Shrewsbury goalkeeper Cameron Gregory. Williams has been a regular for Liverpool's under-18s and under-19s in the UEFA Youth League, and recently stepped up to feature for the club's under-23s. The 18-year-old signed his first professional contract at Anfield in February and also made his international debut for England under-18s.

    Gregory, 19, has come through the ranks at Shrewsbury and has featured as a trialist during the early part of Kidderminster's pre-season programme. Both are set to arrive in time for Harriers to kick off the new campaign...

    Manager John Pemberton has been keen to add quality to a thin first-team squad... He said 'I think pre-season has gone well with regards to the work we've done. It's obvious we've been short of numbers but I have a certain budget to work to and we've had to be patient to get the right type of players. We had a few knock-backs and had to wait for parent clubs to agree but it's good to get a couple done and dusted now.

    'It was important to me to get better players that will enhance the team rather than just go and get similar to what we already have. I really wanted Rhys but had to wait to be able to get him. He'll give us a presence at the back and the same can also be said of Cameron too... I know what we have to work with and we've all just got on with it.

    'We do want a few more if possible but I'll just put that to my bosses and see where we go... Hopefully everything is coming together now and we can get off to a good start'".

    From the Leamington Observer we learn that "Goalkeeper Jake Weaver has joined the Brakes on a season-long loan from Birmingham City, filling the void left behind by recently departed goalkeeper Tony Breeden.

    The 22-year-old impressed as a trialist during Saturday’s 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion under-23s, a game in which fellow arrival Ravi Shamsi also made his mark, netting both goals from the bench during the final warm-up game.

    Weaver, who most recently spent time on loan at Hungerford Town, Kidderminster Harriers and Hednesford Town during the 2018/19 season, will now become Leamington’s first-choice custodian between the sticks.

    Previous number one keeper Tony Breeden departed the Brakes last week following an incident during training, following which the club and Breeden mutually agreed to terminate his contract, putting an end to his time at Leamington in which he made close to 350 appearances...

    Despite the disappointment of Breeden’s unexpected departure, Holleran was left delighted by a number of positives from Saturday’s victory, including super sub Shamsi’s impact during his first match involvement of pre-season.

    'He’s been having treatment [for a groin injury] with us and we got him back training last Thursday,' he said... 'We scored two and created some good chances, it was really pleasing that we were able to get 90 minutes into Kaiman (Anderson), we got Ravi and Kieran Dunbar on the pitch so there’s been lots of plusses, it’s been a really good workout for us'.

    Attacking midfielder Shamsi, who arrives from Maidenhead United, fired in a penalty before crashing home a 20-yard strike in the space of a minute to overturn a first-half deficit and hand Leamington a victory in their final game of pre-season. Also involved in the game was midfielder Gift Mussa, who signed alongside Shamsi before Saturday’s friendly. Mussa arrives from Midland Football League Premier Division side Coventry United, where he made 143 appearances, signing for the club after an impressive trial period'".

    Birmingham City add that "Blues' goalkeeper Jake Weaver has joined Leamington on a Season-long Loan. The 22-year-old has been trialling with the Brakes ... This will be Weaver’s third stint in non-league’s second tier, after temporary spells last season at Hungerford Town and Kidderminster Harriers.

    Ironically, the young shot-stopper is in line to make his Leamington league debut on Saturday at Aggborough Stadium, where he made his solitary Harriers appearance in a 1-0 defeat to Alfreton back in January... Weaver was on the bench for Blues' First Team as an unused sub for the opening and final games of the 2018/19 season, but he is yet to make his senior bow. He has been with Blues since the age of 12 and was handed a new one-year deal this summer."

    In the Telegraph and Argus we read that "Bradford (Park Avenue) had to settle for a 2-2 draw against Huddersfield Town's under-19s, having come from behind to lead heading into the final moments.

    Garry Thompson's men welcomed the Championship club's youngsters to Horsfall Stadium for their final pre-season game... Huddersfield made the initial breakthrough in the first half after Jack Bennett brought down Kit Elliott in the box and he got up to convert the penalty.

    Bradford levelled in the 21st minute when Elliot Holmes produced a through ball which found Lewis Rathbone on the edge of the area and his shot found the bottom corner... Bradford had chances in the second half and went 2-1 up in the 76th minute when Ryan Cresswell headed home from a corner swung in from the left.

    It looked like they were going to see out the win until the 89th minute when Tim Akinola struck late as honours ended even.

    Park Avenue: Jack Bennett (C Andrew 45), Mitch Lund, Trialist, Jon Moran, Ryan Cresswell (A Laird 77), Lewis Rathbone (B Hedley 45), Matty Clarke (Trialist 68), Sam Wright (Trialist 45), Zayn Hakeem (S Gardner 75), Elliot Holmes, Lewis Knight (A Hurst 61)."