December 2019

31 December 2019


On Saturday, neither Tom Peers nor Luke Wall was fit enough to be included in the Altrincham matchday squad for the game against Southport as they were both suffering from a stomach bug. The same bug also afflicted Andy White and Tony Thompson, who both started the game, although Andy [right] had to come off midway through the first half as he was feeling unwell. Despite being ill before the match, Tony completed the ninety minutes.

After the game, two more Alty players were affected but, hopefully, by New Year's Day, everyone will be fit once more, as Alty face Curzon Ashton.

Altrincham also lost Sean Williams to injury early in the Southport match. Scans have confirmed that there is no fracture so it is hoped that his absence will be a relatively short one.

In the above circumstances, the excellent 3-0 win over third-placed Southport was all the more commendable.


Highlights from the Altrincham v Southport game last Saturday are provided by Alty TV.


On Tuesday, 7 January, Altrincham entertain Blyth Spartans in a rearranged match at the J. Davidson Stadium.

As planned maintenance work had been arranged for what was originally a blank week as regards fixtures, the Community Sports Hall (CSH) will be out of action for the Blyth game. However, there will be alternative bar and catering facilities, with the Manchester Glass Sponsors' Lounge and the Vice-Presidents' Lounge available for this purpose. The other catering outlets will be open as usual.

The Club apologizes for any inconvenience that closure of the CSH may cause.


Former Alty players on the move in the BetVictor NPL include:
  • Simon Lenighan from Mossley to Buxton
  • Kofi Opoku-Berchie from Altrincham to Ramsbottom United
  • Daniel Mitchley from Radcliffe to Witton Albion


Nantwich Town report on "The Dabbers’ Cheshire Senior Cup Second Round tie with Cammell Laird 1907.

In a repeat of last season’s final that was won 5-2 by the Dabbers, Nantwich Town will look to start a campaign that will make it a treble of consecutive Cheshire Senior Cup crowns at home to last year’s runners-up.

The fixture will take place at the Weaver Stadium on Tuesday 7th January at 7.45pm."

Meanwhile Chester FC "confirm our Cheshire Senior Cup Second Round tie [against Stockport Town] will take place on Tuesday 7 January. Kick off at the 1885 Arena is 7.45pm, the Blues advancing back in October after a 7-0 win away at Runcorn Town."


On New Year's Day, Curzon Ashton visit the J. Davidson Stadium. With his and Howard Watts's Through the Years records, the late Mike Garnett would have been able to remind us that this will be the first league visit to the JDS by Curzon since 8 September, 2018. In that match, Mike was pictured on the right of the adjacent photo with his friends, Malcolm Riley and Kim Brocklehurst, in his favoured location behind the goal.

Sadly, Mike Garnett is no longer with us to provide the statistics but an updated version of the New Year's Day data is to be found on the Through the Years page.


News of a club which used to compete with Altrincham over a number of years comes from Cymru Football, which tells us "What a wonderful addition Colwyn Bay FC have been to the Welsh domestic pyramid this season, and things are going well for the Seagulls thus far too!

Sat in third place in the JD Cymru North standings behind Prestatyn Town and Flint Town United, Craig Hogg’s side have regularly caught the eye this season, and claimed some scalps as well as they’ve knocked JD Cymru Premier opposition out of the JD Welsh Cup.

We caught up with the man in the hotseat at Colwyn Bay to learn more about their season so far.

'In all honesty we didn’t really know what to expect this year', Colwyn Bay boss Hogg said. 'Moving from the English system, having spent the last 30 years there, was a very bold and brave decision to come back to the Welsh domestic system, but it is an opportunity we have grabbed with both hands. The expectation this year was just to learn, truth be told, to learn about the league, the Welsh pyramid, the other players, coaches, and gather the information and the experience we need to become a JD Cymru Premier team in the seasons to come.

'Our expectations as a club were to finish in the top 10 somewhere but, more importantly, to have that knowledge as I mentioned previously to help us move forward, so I don’t think we can be anything but happy with how things have gone, and we really, really are.'

That bold and brave decision to come to the Welsh domestic game has had a transformational effect on the club according to Hogg, with supporters revitalised and the team on the pitch doing the business as well, with eyes on climbing to the top of the Welsh footballing pyramid in the coming years a key focus.

'The club is in a totally different place now, with a fantastic support base that has really got behind us, and in terms of some of the football that we’re playing home and away, and the fans who have followed us home and away, the whole experience has been humbling, and everyone is giving everything they have to help this club move forward'...

There’s quite the group of players at Hogg’s disposal too, with a number of names familiar to fans of the JD Cymru Premier, others who have made a name for themselves at Tier Two level, as well as those with significant experience in the English system and some exciting young players to boot".


KIng's Lynn Town report that "In a quickfire return, King’s Lynn Town travel to Boston United’s York Street ground on New Year’s Day for their first fixture of a new decade.

Lynn will be hoping to continue their recent good form that has seen them maintain their position at the top of the Vanarama National League North table. However, if last Thursday’s Walks encounter is anything to go by the Linnets will have a tough assignment on Wednesday.

Boston United impressed many with their organisation and determined manner that saw them hold out for almost 70 minutes at The Walks, despite an early sending-off, before falling to a Michael Gash goal inside the last 10 minutes of the game...

Ian Culverhouse will again assess his players on Wednesday but will again be likely to use the nucleus of the squad used over the previous two games. Defenders Ryan Fryatt and Chris Smith remain absent from the squad due to injury."

From Gloucestershire Live we learn that "Gloucester City boss James Rowe felt his team’s performance was ‘much better’ despite a 1-0 defeat at home to AFC Telford United.

The Tigers dominated the game and easily passed the ball around the park but really struggled to get the ball into the box at times. The away side scored with possibly their only real chance of the game, striker Mathew Stenson poking the ball home from close range...

'They’ve scored from their only shot in the half but I was pleased in the performance,' said Rowe. 'The result doesn’t reflect the performance. The whole game was played in the opposition half, the chances we had it’s quite ridiculous that we haven’t scored'...

The Tigers put Telford under constant pressure with both full backs constantly crossing the ball in but they never really found the head of a Gloucester player.

'There were a lot of 18 yard entries in the first half but it just didn’t land to us,' said Rowe... 'We had double figure crosses in both halves... That performance was much better and against Southport and Kettering, to get just one point from those three games is not a fair reflection,' said Rowe.

A few Gloucester players have started to pick up criticism from the home fans but Rowe had nothing but praise for his squad on Saturday. 'I thought the front four were excellent and on top of that to play a 17-year old home-grown player (Ross Johnstone) and then behind him Josh Thomas as a pivot was outstanding. They should both be proud of their performances, we have a lot to be excited about,' said Rowe".

According to York Press "Steve Watson insists he will back his York City players 'to the hilt but demands they do their bit too. The manager's comments come following a 2-1 loss to Guiseley...

Goals from former York players Hamza Bencherif and Kaine Felix ensured a second defeat from two on home turf for the Minstermen following the previous Saturday's loss to Darlington. Ahead of the visit of National League North's bottom side Bradford Park Avenue on New Year's Day, Watson also says there is little room for manoeuvre in the transfer market now, but is hopeful for January.

He said 'We need a reaction against Bradford, and we need three points. That's certain. Can we go to Southport and get a result? I'm very confident we can. If we can bring six points back over the next two games and sit down at the start of January and know exactly what we need to do, we'll have a chat with Dave (Penney) and the chairman. If we're really serious about winning this league or being in a high promotion place, we'll sit down and address it.

'There's very little we'll be able to do for the next two games. The chances we had to bring people in have been turned down. The other thing I will say is that this group of lads, six weeks ago, were being raved about. Most of the signings in the summer were met with huge positivity and they haven't turned into a bad bunch of players because we've had a few indifferent results, and I'll back them to the hilt. But they need to do their part now, they need to step up to the plate, especially at home.'

Responding to fans' calls for new recruits, Watson said it is something he has been looking at his options, but is exercising caution about the younger players York could potentially get in on loan. He also reiterated ... 'It isn't fantasy football, you can't get six players in and six players out of the door,' he said. 'But I totally agree that we do have to look at that now. We've waited a long time for Dan (Maguire) to be fit because we were hoping he would be the missing piece. He got his first 30 minutes today and we'll have a look at him for Saturday, see how he recovers...

'It's a very tough time to get people in... Unless we're going to buy players, which I'm not sure is possible, we're going to have to look at the loan market and at under-23s, and you've got to be sure they're the right ones. You see them playing every week in under-23 football, which at times is pretty much non-contact and it's always a bit of a gamble whether they'll work here or not. We've probably had five or six enquiries turned down but we are working on that side of things.

'I'm not daft. I know exactly what's expected, I know exactly where we want to be, and I know what we need to do to put it right, but the lads have to meet us halfway with the bravery and the bottle to play at home like a team that's looking to win this league.'

A bright point for York over the last two and a half games has been midfielder Kieran Green, who seems to be relishing in his role at the minute... Watson said 'It's clear in my mind where his best position is. He'll frustrate you because he'll try a backheel or a nutmeg in the second half when you think it's a time to keep the ball. He's like a gazelle at times, he's got pace and strength'".

In the Boston Standard "Craig Elliott will begin the new year sorting out the futures of five loan players.

The Boston United manager has four squad members whose spells at York Street will come to an end this week, while midfielder George Green's stay at Gainsborough Trinity will be coming to an end...

Jake Wright scored both goals as the Pilgrims beat Kettering Town 2-1 on Saturday. His loan ends after January 4's trip to Bradford Park Avenue. Elliott: 'He wants to stay, I want to keep him. So we'll speak to York over the next few days and see if we can get that sorted. I'd like to think they'll let him stay as they've not wanted him, to be honest with you. I don't see why that'll change. I like the lad and think he's a top player.'

Dayle Southwell is another striker who has impressed. The former Pilgrim returned to Boston on a month's loan from FC Halifax Town, which comes to an end on January 4. Elliott: 'Dayle, I'd like to keep and give him more games. The first half of his month, it was hard as he was cup tied and then we had a game off'...

Aaron Rowe was playing in the Premier League with Huddersfield Town last season. He linked up with Boston following the recall of Demeaco Duhaney, on loan until January 6. Elliott: 'He was brought in at the start after a recommendation from Huddersfield and, at the time, we needed players for that right-hand side. I'm hoping we can get some players back, so we'll see what happens there.'

Long-term Lincoln City loanee Jordan Adebayo-Smith has made just two appearances in the past 16 games. His loan ends on January 1. Elliott: 'He's a great lad, unbelievable lad off the pitch. He's not been one bit of bother. He's a good player but he's just unfortunate that we have good players playing well, simple as that. It's nothing on him, but people like Jordan Thewlis and Dominic Knowles have done really well and just forced him out the team. Whenever he's played he's done well and he'll have a big future. But I think it's better he goes somewhere he can be guaranteed games.'

United midfielder George Green's loan at Gainsborough Trinity ends on New Year's Day. Elliott: 'I'm not sure on that one to be honest with you, we need to make contact with him this week. I'll be honest with you, I've not had contact with George in the past few weeks'".

Andre Johnson has moved from Bradford Park Avenue to Grantham Town.

"Ed Dallimore gives an exiles perspective into the current situation at Hereford FC to Bulls' News, saying "Peter Beadle was sacked, after what I would describe as a 'stutter', following 3 straight promotions 'on our way back to the Football League'. We were 12th in National League North when he received his marching orders. Yes only 12th, but hardly a disaster in a new higher league and despite losing several quality players, and in Beadle's defence I would say, most for reasons beyond his control...

Hardly grounds for firing one of the most loyal and passionate supporters of the club, who not only brought us success on the field, but did a fantastic job of bringing fans and players together... But the minority of impatient fans got their way and Marc Richards was appointed, because we were told, he was better equipped and more capable than Beadle of taking us to 'the next level'...The Gloucester Messiah however, could only just manage to keep us in the league, with the inherited squad he was allowed to supplement and strengthen. The board kept faith with their chosen one however, while they were on their summer holidays at least, and unlike Beadle, he was provided with an increased budget...

But then came the second most bizarre sacking within the space of 12 months. Just 3 games into the 'new' season after a win, a draw and a single defeat, (on the road to this seasons league leaders Kings Lynn), Marc 'the chosen one' Richards too was relieved of his duties. Once again, the board had panicked and shot from the hip...

Enter the ”experienced” Russell Slade, to inherit a Richards squad, which he must now utilise and adapt to his own system and footballing philosophy. Limited extra funds were made available, to strengthen the ranks, but a few signings and a few weeks later, it appears the team are still no closer, to achieving a higher league position than the one Beadle got the boot for a little more than a year ago.

So now it seems, Mr Slade is in the cross hairs, as he too begins to run out of excuses and bad results become more frequent and disappointing, and if past performance is any guide to future performance, the board's nervous fingers must by now already be on the trigger. I hope not. The average fan meanwhile, can hardly be blamed for wondering, how a board of directors can be so clueless in their decision making over football related matters... and now it seems they are scurrying for the exits like rats on a sinking ship.

Too easily swayed by the boo boys and the keyboard fan managers, it was poor and badly timed boardroom decisions that led us into this mess, I believe... For whatever reason, our board decided not to give Beadle the time and money, and two managers later, the club is now in crisis, so where do we go from here?...

Right now our man is Russell Slade and honestly I do not believe we should make another emotionally charged, badly thought through decision, and one that could potentially set the club back even further or even worse, lead us into another financial crisis. What I believe the board need to do, is take the flack for the poor decision making that got us into this mess and back the man they appointed".

Also in reflective mood, Cheshire Live says "We wave goodbye to a decade that brought despair, euphoria, misery and happiness. But that’s always been the Chester FC way, hasn’t it?

Rewind 10 years and we all knew the writing was on the wall, our wonderful little football club with its rich history being driven into the ground by ruinous ownership of the very worst kind. The club was here and then it wasn’t. Kicked out of the Conference in February and wound up in the High Court a few short weeks later... By this time the wheels were in motion to keep football in this city alive...

Three promotions in three years meant we did the unthinkable, the journey seemed as if the sky was the limit and a younger generation of fan being introduced to the club at a time of constant success. Regardless of the level people came to watch because it felt new and it very often provided that winning feeling. Those three seasons were marvellous, the club and the city felt connected and visiting new grounds and embracing the non-league spirit made for a wholly enjoyable experience.

Then came the National League... [and] the realisation that Chester couldn’t compete with the new money of AFC Fylde or the 3G sides of the South meant that the Football League had never seemed so far away. Parting with Neil Young just a few months after he had led us to a better position than we were in the months before our demise was a bitter pill to swallow.

Steve Burr came in and after staving off relegation a promising season followed... But then it never kicked on and Burr was to be replaced by Jon McCarthy. While it all ended so miserably for McCarthy there had been promise at the start... In true Chester fashion it all turned sour and ended a lot later than it should have.

Marcus Bignot came but I’m not sure he truly realised what he had got himself into, the club already heading towards a financial crisis that saw us have the begging bowl out just to survive to the end of the season. Relegation was confirmed early and plans were laid out for a more streamlined, cost efficient approach to the National League North. It wouldn’t be like it was, the teams were more pragmatic and the sense of adventure had gone from last time, nobody expected success and that feel-good factor had long since disappeared from the football club.

The trust had long since gone but the appointment of Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson did provide a chance of some optimism... We started well but Chester did a Chester and it all crumbled eventually, missing out on the play-offs when they had seemed so achievable before Christmas.

Stuart Murphy’s arrival on the scene gave rise to some renewed optimism, his financial aid enabling the club to move to a hybrid model for this season and to bring in a calibre of player that probably wouldn’t have been available otherwise... As I write this we sit fourth in the National League North but the concern over where we are headed remains...

We head into 2020 and a new decade facing many challenges as a football club, not least how to generate a budget capable of competing in a landscape that is changing year on year... There will never be another 10 years like the last. Death, rebirth, unprecendented joy and crushing despair. It has been a decade that has been yet another rollercoaster for this football club.".

Another ex-League club which went bust and was reborn is the subject of a report from the Northern Echo which tells us that "The year 2019 is now in the can for Darlington. Our 2-0 win at Blyth on Saturday saw us finish off what has been a real up and down 12 months for the football club.

Thinking back to the start of 2019, things were starting to look a little better. We had got past the revelation of players not attending training. We had moved on from that home defeat to Nuneaton. All of a sudden, we had perked up, won a couple of games and we were at York City on New Year’s Day, then the bubble was well and truly burst come 4.50pm...

Our short-term saviour Andrew Nelson moved on and we settled back into the mind-numbing inertia that sadly came to define Tommy Wright’s tenure... Our expensively-assembled team of long-distance footballers never looked like a cohesive unit. Ultimately, that’s what cost Tommy his job... Out went a popular former Darlo striker and we replaced him with... a popular former Darlo striker. Long live the revolution!

Tommy and Alun Armstrong may share a common theme in their playing careers as two-time Quakers, but their managerial approach couldn’t be more different. After a year and a half of Darlo players spending half their lives on the road, we found ourselves once again having a team full of local players... A group of individuals was replaced by a team. A manager whose direction of travel was difficult to see was replaced by a guy whose road map is laid out for all to see. It’s fair to say the second half of 2019 has been the most enjoyable period since ‘Seatgate’.

Under Alun, we have seen a side put together where the individual components work hard for themselves, for the team and, most importantly, the fans. There have been blips. We’ve had some poor games during this opening half of the season but not for the want of trying... This team might make bad decisions. They might be on the end of a hiding or two, but they don’t down tools.

We end the year in ninth position, within striking distance of the playoffs. If someone had told me on New Year’s Day that we would be able to turn things around so quickly, I would probably have laughed... At the end of the year, my feelings on the direction the club is heading in couldn’t be more different. Thanks to the hard work of Alun and his staff, the club is most definitely heading in the right direction on the pitch. Off the pitch, things are heading in the right direction too...

2019 has been a year of change. This season is one of transition. 2020 will hopefully be a year of progression".

30 December 2019


Curzon Ashton arrive at the J. Davidson Stadium buoyed not only by an impressive win at Chester FC on Saturday but also by a very decent historical record at Moss Lane. Reminding us how much we have relied on his statistical records, we quote the late Mike Garnett's figures for previous Altrincham games against Curzon Ashton, updated to include the Boxing Day result.

  • Home: P3-W1-D0-L2-F5-A6
  • Away: P4-W4-D0-L0-F12-A2
  • All: P7-W5-D0-L2-F17-A8

Alty won the reverse fixture 1-0 at the Tameside Stadium on Boxing Day, with the goal coming from Tom Peers. Hopefully, Tom will be fit again for the return fixture, having missed last Saturday's win over Southport.

Former Alty striker Sean Miller is expected to play again for The Nash in the New Year's Day clash. He is the Tameside club's top scorer this season.

Altrincham's former Curzon players include Connor Hampson and Luke Wall [right] who, like Tom Peers, will hopefully be available after missing the game against Southport.


The annual Roll of Honour will be read before kick off of New Year's Day's match against Curzon Ashton.

The Club has lost many well-known names amongst its former players, officials and supporters during the past twelve months and they will be remembered on Wednesday with the customary minute's acknowledgement by everyone in the J. Davidson Stadium.

ALTY IN 2019

As the above statistics for 2019 show, Alty played one fewer game than in 2018 but eight fewer than in 2017 (51 v 59).

One of the other most noticeable differences is that in the 2018/19 season no cup matches were played in 2019, whereas for the 2019/20 season ten cup fixtures were played in 2019 as Alty enjoyed far greater success in knock-out competitions.

Whereas the calendar years 2017 and 2018 both witnessed more than 100 Alty goals, at a rate in 2018 that exceeded two per game, in 2019 the 87 goals scored averaged 1.77 per match.


Sadly, Mike Garnett is no longer with us to provide the Through the Years statistics compiled initially by Howard Watts. But an updated version of the New Year's Day data is to be found on the Through the Years page.

This year's game will be the 66th Altrincham game on New Year's Day. Last year Alty lost 0-1 at home to Stockport County and the previous year home, 3-4 to Witton Albion. In 2017 Alty played out a 1-1 draw at FC United of Manchester so the last win on New Year's Day was a memorable 4-1 demolition of Chester FC at Moss Lane on 1 January 2015 as the "New Year" match in 2016 was played on Sunday, 2 January.

Above: Alty and Chester take to the field on a very gloomy and already floodlit New Year's Day in 2015.

In the 2015 win over Chester Altrincham lifted themselves to 16th in the table, recorded their first four-goal haul of the season and completed their first double of the campaign with a well deserved win over neighbours Chester FC.

The Robins took an eleventh-minute lead when Chester keeper Worsnop cleared the ball from outside his box to Nicky Clee. From 45 yards out near the touchline left of goal, Clee curled a superb lob into the unguarded net. An excellent through ball, following a fine run, by Simon Richman, set up Damian Reeves. He took his chance well fom left of goal to make it 2-0 after 17 minutes. John Rooney pulled back a goal, direct from a freekick, after 28 minutes.

A wild lunge by Touray on Clee saw the Chester man sent off in the 56th minute. Following a corner, the Chester defence parted to allow Reeves a second goal, to make it 3-1 after 61 minutes. Then a Clee-Reeves interchange ended with Clee's shot going through the keeper's hands to complete the scoring it 4-1 after 67 minutes.

Shaun Densmore, Simon Richman and Peter Cavanagh had missed the previous Sunday's game with illness or injury but all returned for this match. However, James Lawrie was out with a hamstring injury and Scott Leather dropped back to the bench to accommodate Shaun Densmore. There was no place for Greg Wilkinson in the squad.

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (capt), 5. Gianluca Havern (c), 16. Tom Marshall, 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Jake Moult, 8. Simon Richman, 25. Peter Cavanagh, 19. Ryan Crowther, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee, Subs: 6. Scott Leather, 18. Sean Williams, 9. Steven Gillespie, 14. Kyle Perry, 17. Dave Parton.

Whilst Densmore, Moult, Richman and Williams (if he recovers from Saturday's injury) could be involved again on New Year's Day 2020, another member of the 2015 team may also be present this Wednesday. That is Stuart Coburn who, although retired from football, was in the crowd for last Saturday's win over Southport.


The Shropshire Star admits that "It certainly wasn’t a cracker, but AFC Telford United achieved a seasonal first of a double, Gloucester City unable to find a way past a maturing Bucks side who also recorded a third clean sheet in a row and a third game without defeat.

The two sides met in early September and played out a crazy game that ended 4-3 to Gavin Cowan’s Bucks side, despite them having fallen 2-0 behind after just 20 minutes. It was evident from the early stages that a repeat of that contest wasn’t likely; instead, it was a very different performance that secured the points, with the Bucks absorbing the hosts best efforts, scoring a goal of their own and then defending in an disciplined and organised fashion to see the game to its conclusion.

For those able to remember those days, it was perhaps reminiscent of the type of victory which the Bucks specialised in during Cowan’s days as a player at the club... Anyone looking evidence of what has changed to deliver a third clean sheet in a row for the Bucks will likely point to the return of captain Shane Sutton and left-back Ross White; they wouldn’t be wrong, but two players alone would not be able to bring about such a change.

Sutton’s organisational abilities have been clear to see, but from front to back the Bucks have bought into the plan given to them by Cowan. It may have been borne from necessity, with Cowan going back to basics following their recent FA Trophy hiding by Leamington...

The Bucks went into this fixture with one change from the team that defeated Alfreton Town 3-0 on Boxing Day, but it was a notable one; Ryan Barnett, who brings such quality to the Bucks right wing, served a one-game suspension for a recent red card, giving Riccardo Calder a shot at redemption after his own recent dismissal and suspension... Calder brought energy and a willingness to run and run, and he created the Bucks game-winner on 42 minutes. Bursting forward, Calder went to ground as he turned inside his defender but was quickly upright and picked out Adam Walker, joining the attack; Walker looked as though he would take aim himself but unselfishly located Matty Stenson and from six yards out, tumbling as he did so, Stenson turned the ball home past keeper Niall Maher.

That came as a blow to a Gloucester side who had made the early running, eager and perhaps stung by their own 3-0 Boxing Day defeat at Leamington, a result that saw the Tigers offer apologies and free admission to those fans who had travelled to witness a performance their board described as ‘unacceptable’...

Into the last 15 minutes, the Tigers started to throw the kitchen sink at the visitors, with giant centre-half Liam Daly pushed up front... It wasn’t a vintage display, but it moved the Bucks closer to the division’s big cheeses".

From the Banbury Guardian we learn that "Brackley Town are up to third place in Vanarama National League North. Goals in each half from Thierry Audel, the defender's seventh of the campaign, and top scorer Lee Ndlovu, with his 13th in the league, earned Saints a 2-0 victory over Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday.

Kidderminster were left to rue missed chances as keeper Danny Lewis pulled off a string of fine saves to keep his side in the game as the visitors dominated the first half and continued to create good openings in the second. But it was Saints who converted their rare opportunities to clinch a vital win as the teams above them at the start of the day dropped points.

In the first half Harriers had Saints on the back foot... But Kevin Wilkin’s side reached the break still level, started the second period in an altogether more positive vein and took the lead in the 52nd minute with their first shot on target as defender Audel stabbed in a loose ball as the visitors failed to clear from a corner... before Harriers were reduced to ten men as Rhys Williams received a straight red card for a challenge on substitute Jimmy Armson.

Ndlovu sealed the win with five minutes left, finishing from close range at the second attempt after the initial cross by Armson and a pull-back by Matt Lowe.

Wilkin said 'Kidderminster have pretty much dominated the game, that’s the most Danny’s been worked this season I would think and certainly here at home. In the first half we were disjointed and didn’t get into our stride at all and credit to Kidderminster for that because they were excellent. We changed it round at half-time and created some big moments that we took to get the three points.

'Jimmy [Armson] went on in the second half and had a terrific effect for us. Down to ten men Kidderminster continued to ask questions of us and we had to stay organised. We needed the second goal and... I am thankful for the win but we were a little bit fortunate to take all three points.'”

The Eastern Daily Press confirms that "The Linnets increased their lead at the top of the table with a valuable point in a 2-2 draw at Alfreton Town, thanks to strike twins Adam Marriott and Michael Gash.

Lynn had to fight back twice to force a draw on a day when rivals York City and Chester both lost, leaving the Linnets with a four-point lead.

Manager Ian Culverhouse applauded his team following an indifferent start when they went 2-1 down inside 10 minutes. 'We began poorly,' he said. 'We gave them the first goal and, to be fair to them, have been caught out by a good second goal. Our start was quiet but again, full credit to the lads, as they stepped it up, especially in the second half and have earned ourselves what I think is a hell of a point.

'We had them pinned back for most of the half and we just needed a bit of a break in front of goal which we eventually got. We now are in a position to be shot at and we will lose games between now and the end of the season. It's going to be a long, hard run in and we simply cannot give goals away as we did today going forward.'

Culverhouse made four changes to the team that beat Boston United on Thursday with Ryan Hawkins, Tom Ward, Alfie Payne and Sonny Carey starting and Ross Barrows, Sam Kelly, Chris Henderson and Ryan Jarvis on the bench.

The visitors were caught cold after only four minutes when a hopeful Alfreton long ball was collected by the dangerous Amari Morgan-Smith who lobbed Alex Street for the opener. The lead lasted all of two minutes, though, as the Linnets' first meaningful attack of the day resulted in a spectacular acrobatic finish from Marriott from eight yards.

Amazingly the home lead was restored 120 seconds later following a well-worked routine which saw Ryan Qualter blast the ball beyond Street to complete a breathless spell of three goals in the opening eight minutes...

However, just like a good boxer, the Linnets weathered the storm, cleared their heads and began to assert themselves...

The second half saw the visitors manufacturing the better chances... The home side were being pinned further and further back into their own half under what was, by now, relentless pressure... Finally, a deserved equaliser arrived via Gash, who turned the ball into the net after Marriott's header had been pushed onto his bar by Wright".

Cheshire Live reports that "Chester FC can have no excuses on this one. A Blues side who were so impressive 48 hours earlier were brought back down to Earth with a bump after former Blues defender Andy Halls returned to haunt his old club, his 49th minute header bringing a 1-0 win for Curzon Ashton and their first away success of the season... Chester were unable to find a way past a dogged if rather ordinary Nash side who rattled the Blues' cage after taking the lead.

Chester had chances to win this, make no mistake, and the performance of away keeper Cameron Mason was a huge factor in the final outcome, but the Blues just didn't do enough... This was a huge opportunity missed.

Chester came into the clash in buoyant mood following their superb 3-1 win at Southport on Boxing Day, a performance that was up there with the best of the Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley reign and one that re-ignited the dreams of promotion among Blues fans... Chester made two changes for the visit of the Nash with Danny Livesey and Brad Jackson both nursing knocks and replaced with James Jones and Elton Ngwatala...

But Curzon must have watched the DVD of the AFC Telford United draw as they took on a similar shape, sitting deep and crowding out the Blues...

[Chester] suffered the worst possible opening [to the second half]. A Curzon corner was whipped in to the far post where Halls had peeled off and met the delivery with his header, the ball cannoning into the net and the former Chester defender reeling away with screams of delight. That knocked Chester completely out of any rhythm and the visitors, winless away from home all season, now had their tails up and the confidence on the ball visibly grew for them...

It was definitely a case of after the Lord Mayor's Show...

Curzon Ashton: Mason, Halls, Davies, Wroe (Jolly 44), Shaw, Ali, Miller, Calveley, Scott (Doyle 90), Evans, Baillie. Subs not used: McCann, Sloan".

Harriers Online concludes that "The Harriers drew a mainly poor decade to a close in a game that they had the majority of possession in and the greatest number of shots on goal, both on target and off. Having never won, or even drawn, a game at Brackley it was always going to be a tough ask even after coming into the game on the back of a brilliant home win against Hereford FC a few days earlier. Sadly this one, again, ended in defeat.

With the same eleven fielded as on Boxing Day it was the Harriers who made the running right from the off to show how far we had come in a matter of a couple of weeks under Jimmy Shan. We continued to dominate the game throughout the first half and how we ended up without scoring after forty five minutes was down to the goalkeeping heroics of the former Harriers keeper Danny Lewis in goal for the Saints.

Some would say that it was down to a lack of firepower up front that was also our undoing and they’d be right. It’s something that Shan and the board will need to look at in the New Year.

As it was Ethan Freemantle was given another chance to lead the line due to the absence of Ashley Chambers with an injury while Ollie Shenton had a further chance to add to the two goals he scored the other day...

Brackley showed their intent before the half started by bringing on the ‘surprisingly dropped to the bench’ James Armson. It was possibly his firepower they had been missing all along... The Saints began to take over the game and put our defenders under pressure more than they had been during the first half. It took them just two minutes to show us how it should be done.

They were given a corner kick that we failed to clear properly and it was re-cycled back in by another former Harrier Kelvin Langmead towards Thierry Audel who slammed the ball home past Will Mannion in the Harriers goal... Our efforts of scoring drew to a shuddering close with the sending off of Rhys Williams... Armson had got hold of the ball and began to advance on goal when Rhys came flying in with both feet off the ground to upend the Brackley striker {Armson]. The referee Dan Locker had no hesitation in pulling the correctly coloured card from his pocket to send the Liverpool loanee back to the dressing room...

With the team having to re-arrange themselves all the drive had gone from our game and it now became one of limitation. We managed to hold out until four minutes before the end of normal time when Town finally killed us off".

At Kettering Town "A pulsating game between two old rivals saw Boston United triumph against Kettering Town as Paul Cox's unbeaten run was ended 2-1 at York Street.

The Poppies battered Boston in the second half, with Tre Mitford equalising Jake Wright's opener for the hosts. A defensive error allowed Wright to score his second of the game, and despite the Poppies' onslaught on Peter Crook's goal, Cox's side couldn't get the ball into the net."

The Northants Telegraph adds that "The Poppies were beaten 2-1 by Boston United in a typically fiery encounter with their old rivals on their final visit to York Street.

Roared on by nearly 300 travelling fans, Kettering fell behind to Jake Wright’s goal before Tre Mitford levelled with his third goal in two games. Wright headed the hosts back in front in first-half stoppage-time but the Poppies piled the pressure on after the break and saw big chances go begging... as the play-off chasing Pilgrims saw things out...

'I am disappointed, I hate losing,' the Kettering manager said. 'But I said to the players that I was gutted for them. I think they deserved something out of the game just for their endeavour alone. The simplicities are that we made two mistakes in the first half and got punished like you do against good teams. And we didn’t punish them when we had our opportunities in the second half. I think we have come a long, long, long way from eight or nine weeks ago. We are coming to places now and we are asking questions of people...

'Hopefully we will get some bodies back over the next two or three weeks... With all due respect, Boston were trying to kill the game after 48 minutes. There was time-wasting and a lack of desire to do things quickly. That’s experienced players and I wouldn’t expect anything less. I am just gutted that we have not won a game, especially in front of the amount of supporters we brought with us... They applauded us off, they realised the endeavour and they knew we tried to win the game...

'I just think we have gone from a team that was maybe classed as the whipping boys to one that is competing with clubs who have big infrastructures... I want to be where the likes of Boston and York are. I think we can do that, it’s just a question of patience... We just probably lacked a cutting edge.'"

The Hereford Times claims that "Negativity is not a word being used by the players at Edgar Street, despite Hereford without a league win since October 1.

Midfielder Tommy O'Sullivan said after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at home to Leamington 'Negativity isn't a word we should be using really. We haven't won but everyone is pulling together to do their best to get a win. Everyone's positive and trying to look at things in an upbeat way. Can we get goals, get shots off, crosses in the box? We're not thinking negative at all... I'm pretty sure results are just around the corner'...

Most supporters felt Hereford put in a better performance on Saturday compared with others in recent weeks, and O'Sullivan said it was bad luck the Bulls were first to concede... 'They've crowded the keeper and there were arms and shoulders everywhere,' he added. 'It's what they'd done all day, they'd put balls long and put bodies around it. They've done their best and with their luck it's gone in the back of the net... We got back in the game, stepped it up, we did well to get back and raised our level and got the equaliser.

'We looked to come out in the second half... but, unfortunately early on then, we took another set back, conceding'".

"A second half capitulation saw Bradford (Park Avenue) hammered at near neighbours Farsley Celtic. Avenue were on top for the first period, missing a handful of chances before two penalties and three set-pieces gifted play-off chasing Farsley a victory...

The pitch was proving problematic for both sides... Avenue were well on top of their opponents... But immediately after the break, Avenue capitulated as Cartman opened the scoring little over two minutes into the half... And less than two minutes later, Farsley were gifted the chance to double their lead as Marriott appeared to have prevented the danger from Tyler Walton’s burst into the box, but the Huddersfield loanee attempted a slide tackle, and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Hayhurst, who had been wrongly announced as the scorer of the first, stepped up and found the bottom corner giving Farsley a two-goal lead after just five minutes of the second period. It was a complete turnaround from the first half as Avenue couldn’t get out of their half, and their inability to defend set-pieces was their downfall once more.

A corner came in from the left on 63 minutes and fell perfectly for Dave Syers, who lashed home on the half-volley. The pick of the goals came moments later, again as Avenue failed to clear a corner, the ball was headed around and found its way to centre-back Jack Higgins, who acrobatically volleyed the ball into the top corner...

There was time late in the day for Farsley to add a fifth as another ridiculous slide tackle came in in the area, and the referee had no hesitation pointing to the spot again. Hayhurst picked himself up and converted once more to round off the scoring. There was a moment to celebrate for Avenue in the second period, as Jamie Lyons came off the bench for his league debut, the first time an Avenue Academy graduate has appeared for the first team".

29 December, 2019


A poor Southport side were fortunate to escape with just a 3-0 defeat as, after a slow start, Altrincham dominated against a visiting eleven which bore little resemblance to a team lying third in the table at kick-off.

But for several excellent first-half saves by Albinson, the Sandgrounders would have been behind before the break.

Match report here.

Right: Max Harrop in typically energetic first-half action against Southport. It was his first league start in twelve fixtures.


Following their comprehensive defeat by Altrincham, Southport manager Liam Watson gave a downbeat interview to the Southport website.

And Southport also reported that "The year ended in defeat for Southport as they suffered a 3-0 loss to Altrincham at the J. Davidson Stadium.

Liam Watson’s side could not contain a dominant Alty side, who were in control throughout the match... The Sandgrounders were inflicted [sic] to a second defeat in the space of three days.

In the opening minutes of the match, it was the Port who started the brighter, as Russell Benjamin forced the keeper into a save with an attempt from the edge of the box.

That proved to be Southport’s only substantial effort of the match, with further speculative efforts from David Morgan and Ryan Astles both off target. Meanwhile down the other end, Charlie Albinson was being kept very busy by the home side.

Josh Hancock forced the keeper into an excellent save, producing a curling shot from the edge of the area...

Only three minutes into the second half and the home side made their pressure pay off, as Jordan Hulme slotted the ball through to John Johnston who finished superbly into the top corner from a tight angle.

Altrincham could’ve doubled their lead, but Shaun Densmore put an effort just past the post on the break in the 55th minute.

Threats continued to come for the Port, as the Robins doubled their lead in the 70th minute as Hancock smoothly slotted past Albinson to make it 2-0.

A third soon followed, as Hulme muscled his way onto the ball to assist Johnston bag his second of the afternoon, as he kept his cool in the box with a clever finish.

Altrincham could’ve had another, with one effort straight into the keeper’s arms and another swerving over the bar, as the game finished 3-0".


Altrincham supporters were saddened to hear of the death early on Saturday of well-known supporter and a respected historian and statistician of the club, Mike Garnett. Mike (64) had been a regular attendee at Alty matches, home and away, for many years and this season was no exception.

Outside football, Mike, a former languages teacher, had a keen interest in public transport, especially buses, and frequently took the train to away fixtures, completing his journeys with sometimes lengthy walks from railway stations to the stadiums.

Mike, who lived in Royton, was also an active member of his local church choir, with evensong sometimes clashing with Alty fixtures.

But last month, Mike started to suffer from swollen legs which limited his mobility and therefore prevented his attendance at matches. What had seemed to be a relatively minor problem escalated into hospitalization and ultimately multiple organ failure which caused his death.

Mike was a regular contributor to the Robins' Review over many years and, with Howard Watts, contributed the Through the Years feature both to this website and to the official club site. He was also active in the club's supporters' groups, and in recent years had helped to staff the club shop counter in the Community Sports Hall.

Mike will be missed by his many friends at Altrincham FC and our condolences are extended to his sister and wider family members, as well as his many friends.


Curzon Ashton report on their defeat by Alty on Boxing Day saying, "A crowd of 602 turned out at the Tameside Stadium for their annual Boxing Day football as Curzon hosted local side Altrincham FC.

Curzon got off to a good start forcing two corners within the first 5 minutes of the game...

As the game settled both sides were cancelling each other out and chances for either side were absent.

But on the 17th minute Altrincham came alive as they hit three goal bound shots within seconds, Curzon keeper Cameron Mason had to be alert as he pulled off two great stops from John Johnson and Jordan Hulme then the final effort from Jake Moult was headed off the Curzon line by Liam Davies.

In two added minutes of the first half centre half James Jones forced Mason into a fine save as he headed goalwards from a corner, then from 12 yards out he sidefooted his effort over the crossbar.

Altrincham started the second half as they finished the first half, being on the front foot and putting good pressure onto Curzon’s back line but just lacking the final ball...

On 75 minutes the goal that Altrincham fully deserved came when Thomas Peers at the back post met the cross from the right and headed downwards past Mason...

Curzon battled until the end but Altrincham were deserving winners in the end. Curzon's back 5 defended bravely and for long periods and with Mason they denied Altrincham with an even bigger winning margin".


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


Saturday, 4 January 2020: Vanarama National League North
  • AFC Telford United v Brackley Town
  • Bradford Park Avenue v Boston United
  • Curzon Ashton v Alfreton Town
  • Darlington v Gloucester City
  • Gateshead v Hereford FC
  • Guiseley v Chester FC
  • Kettering Town v Farsley Celtic
  • Kidderminster Harriers v Blyth Spartans
  • King's Lynn Town v Spennymoor Town
  • Leamington v Altrincham
  • Southport v York City


Chester FC's "2019 ended in disappointment as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Curzon Ashton.

It was a Jekyll and Hyde showing from the Seals, as they ended an excellent first half goalless and slumped to a loss in the second.

Chester drop to 4th as a result of Brackley’s 2-1 win over Kettering but could’ve been looking further down if not for Southport’s 3-0 thrashing at Altrincham.

Having only won at the Merseyside club two days ago, Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley made a couple of changes to the squad, with Bradley Jackson and Danny Livesey replaced by Elton Ngwatala and James Jones...

Despite their good work before the break, Chester fell behind shortly following the rebound [restart?] as Halls nodded home at the back post. The hosts then began to struggle, finding it difficult to pick out a blue shirt and not playing with the same fluidity as they had been.

Curzon began to knock on the door for a second after an hour, with the last of a succession of corners punched away by Griffiths and eventually nodded off the line by Taylor... Then a minute later they thought they’d doubled their lead. Club top scorer Sean Miller curled an ambitious effort against the far post before Michael Calveley turned in the rebound, though he was offside to the Blues’ relief...

Charlie Jolley should’ve put the game to bed but Griffiths twice denied the substitute with his chest... As four minutes went up for stoppage time. It should have been level. Roberts again attempted to recreate his wonder-strike at Southport, though this was superbly blocked and the corner fizzled out after a foul in the box...

The visitors completed a superb smash and grab as the Blues end the decade empty handed. New Year's Day sees Southport come to the 1885 Arena".

York Press tell us that "'We need to have the bottle to play like a proud York City side should,' admitted Steve Watson following his side's 2-1 home defeat to Guiseley.

Goals from the visiting Lions came within the opening and closing five minutes of the game, both from former York players. Hamza Bencherif got the opener in the fourth minute and Kaine Felix struck the winner with two minutes to go.

Midfielder Kieran Green, who struck the equaliser on the quarter-hour mark, rightly received plaudits following another strong performance, the calibre of which Watson feels York have been lacking at Bootham Crescent.

York have won just two of their last seven home games, one of which came in the North Riding County FA Senior Cup, and are now four points off the top of National League North, with King's Lynn Town drawing at Alfreton Town.

'I think we can all agree it's not an ability thing,' he said. 'We've showed that away from home. They need to be stronger and puff their chest out when they're playing at Bootham and understand what it's going take to get out of this league and how big a scalp we are.

'We haven't risen to the challenge enough at home. It's puzzling how we can only have lost one away from home and four at home...

'I'm an honest bloke. Certainly at home we need to be massively improved. We can't make excuses... We have to have more bottle to take the game by the scruff of the neck, be confident and not be afraid to make mistakes...

He added, 'They didn't really test Pete but did we test their keeper enough? Not really. I'm sitting there talking to the players, I could hear them (Guiseley players) cheering and singing; that's what it means to beat York City and if we're not big enough or strong enough or brave enough to take the task on then we can't get to where we want to be.'"

Another ex-League club telling a sorry tale is Hereford FC. The unofficial Bulls' News says that "Hereford’s woes continue as they were beaten 2-1 at home by mid-table Leamington today. Defensive frailties again cost the Bulls, with both Leamington’s goals being gifted to them.

Hereford manager Russell Slade made four changes to the side that disappointingly lost 3-1 to Kidderminster on Boxing Day. Tommy O’Sullivan, Jason Pope, Kelsey Mooney and Victor Sodeinde all came in, with Jared Hodgkiss, Jack Bodenham, Taylor Allen and Reece Styche making way. Keiran Thomas slotted in at right-back, with Stephen Dawson wearing the captain’s armband.

Hereford looked lively in the early exchanges... However, despite dominating, Leamington took the lead in the 19th minute. A corner from Junior English on the left was punched into his own net by Hereford goalkeeper Brandon Hall...

However, Hereford did equalise in the 34th minute when Sodeinde’s effort on the left was enough to beat Weaver. But far too often this season, the Bulls fail to ‘kill teams off’ and Leamington made them pay by going back in front at the start of the second half. Yet again, Hereford’s defence were all at sea, allowing Dexter Walters all the time in the world to eventually find Kaiman Anderson, who scored with ease.

And it could easily have been 3-1 just two minutes later. Again, Walters had plenty of time on the ball, but his curling effort just evaded the far post...

The attendance was a poor 1,930, especially as we’re still in the festive/New Year period".

Alty face Leamington next Saturday. Their team against Hereford was: Jake Weaver, Junior English, Stephan Morley, Callum Maycock (15 Josh Martin, 87), James Mace, Jack Lane, Jordan Murphy (12 Kieran Dunbar, 72), Joe Clarke, Kaiman Anderson, Jack Edwards ©, Dexter Walters (14 Connor Taylor, 78). Subs not used: 16 Josh March, 17 Tom James.

Leamington's view is that "Brakes lavished more festive cheer on their delighted supporters as they bagged a third win of the season on their National League North travels in front of just under 2,000 at Edgar Street.

They needed to dig their heels in and soak up plenty of pressure, and benefitted from a little good fortune at times, but were worthy of the three points in front of a raucous travelling support boosted by the visit of our German friends from SV Eichede.

Paul Holleran was forced into changes to his squad with George Carline having been recalled by parent club Solihull Moors on Friday, while Callum Gittings was unavailable and top scorer Josh March was not risked having taken a knock on Boxing Day against Gloucester, so Joe Clarke, Jordan Murphy and Kaiman Anderson all stepped into the starting eleven...

The Bulls were undoubtedly on top in the opening period but found themselves behind on 18 minutes when Leamington won a corner on the left which seemed to sail over everyone straight into the net from the boot of Dexter Walters to stun the already quiet Edgar Street crowd.

Sodeinde continued to pose the main threat for Hereford and... it was perhaps inevitable that the youngster would be the scorer of Hereford’s equaliser and he dragged his side level on 34 minutes...

Whatever it was Holleran said to them at half time paid instant dividends as they regained the lead inside a minute of the restart...

There were inevitably some hairy moments in the closing stages as Hereford attempted to salvage something from the game...

Manager’s Reaction:

‘Today was a big ask. Two games in 48 hours. With the games that went before that, a massive effort on Thursday (Boxing Day); followed up today with losing George, Calum and Josh. As I’ve stated before, we have a small squad but it’s a competitive squad, and I thought that the players who came in today were all tremendous. There wasn’t much in the game.'"

The Boston Standard reports that "Craig Elliott reflected on a job well done following Boston United’s 2-1 win over Kettering Town.

Jake Wright scored twice as the Pilgrims edged a tight contest, in which they were forced to defend for their lives to earn the three points.

United, without leading scorer Jordan Thewlis due to injury, had to dig deep just two days after the 10-man Pilgrims were downed by a late goal at leaders King’s Lynn.

Kettering, arriving on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run in the National League North, were fresher having not played on Boxing Day.

'They’re the best wins when you know you’ve had to graft,' Elliott said. 'A few things went against us, like them not playing, a few injuries, tired legs. To come on and do what we did in the last 15 minutes, really pleased we got some reward'...

'I thought the referee... gave too many fouls for both teams, and he was spending too long talking to players. The referee’s got a lot to answer for as, at the end of the day, this level there’ll be tackles flying in. He contributed to that slow start'...

Wright opened the scoring in the 33rd minute before Tre Mitford levelled. United’s winner came courtesy of the York City loanee in first-half time added on."

28 December, 2019


A poor Southport side were fortunate to escape with just a 3-0 defeat as, after a slow start, Altrincham dominated against a visiting eleven which bore little resemblance to a team lying third in the table at kick-off.

But for several excellent first-half saves by Albinson, the Sandgrounders would have been behind before the break.

After a goalless first half, in which Alty lost both Sean Williams and Andy White to injury, the visitors were on the back foot for almost all of the second period.

It was John Johnson who opened the scoring in the 50th minute when Jordan Hulme's pass led to the wingman planting a superb shot, from left of goal, into the far corner of Albinson's net.

Next, a Johnston advance led to him feeding Josh Hancock, who scored Alty's second goal with a well-placed, low shot past the exposed Albinson (71 mins). The third well-worked goal of the afternoon arrived when Hulme bundled his way past Winnard before setting up Johnston, who calmly slotted the ball into the net in the 75th minute.

Alty moved up to fourteenth despite lacking both Tom Peers and Luke Wall from their squad, as several players were reportedly affected by illness.

Match report here


Mike Garnett's data reveal the historical record between Altrincham and Southport. The clubs have already met twice this season at Haig Avenue, with the Sandgrounders winning the league fixture 2-1 but Alty were triumphant in the subsequent FA Cup tie, winning 3-1.

  • Home: P20-W11-D5-L4-F28-A22
  • Away: P17-W5-D3-L9-F23-A29
  • All: P35-W16-D8-L13-F51-A51

Folllowing an opening-day of the season defeat at home to York City, Altrincham have since been unbeaten in seven league fixtures at the J. Davidson Stadium, winning five and drawing two of those games.

In their most recent game, Southport report that "Chester struck twice in the second half as they came from behind to take maximum points at the Pure Stadium on Boxing Day.

It was Southport’s first defeat in four games in the Vanarama National League North, as the visitors overtake them in the tightly-packed play-off places. Ryan Astles put the Port in front but Chester deserved their win, having been the stronger team from the start and controlled large periods of the game.

Liam Watson’s side have a chance to bounce back quickly when they visit Altrincham on Saturday before facing Chester again on New Year’s Day.

The visitors were out of the traps quickly, hitting the woodwork twice and bringing a save from goalkeeper Charlie Albinson in the opening stages... It was somewhat against the run of play that the Port opened the scoring on 21 minutes, Astles sliding a shot home after goalkeeper Russ Griffiths had denied Zehn Mohammed.

But the lead did not last for long, Chester equalising as George Waring converted from inside the area after a cross from the left by Akwasi Asante...

Chester remained the stronger team and they took the lead four minutes after half-time, Asante making the most of a defensive mix-up before sending the ball past Albinson... And Chester reinforced their superiority when Gary Roberts scored a spectacular third with a long-range rocket from 25 yards.

Southport: Albinson, Mohammed, Doyle, Winnard, Astles, Morgan, Benjamin, Wood (Woods 84), Green (Oliver 74), Sampson, Bauress (Correia 57). Subs not used: Hanford, Homson-Smith".


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records show us that the last timne Alty played on Saturday's day (28 December), they lost 1-0, away to Tranmere Rovers.

The most recent home game on that date, was also a 0-1 defeat, on that occasion to Nuneaton Town in 2014. The fixture was played on a Sunday. For that game, Altrincham were without Shaun Densmore, Peter Cavanagh and Simon Richman. Both Shaun (stomach bug) and Simon (flu-like symptoms) were ill, while Peter had a knee problem. To add to Alty's woes, James Lawrie was to finish the game with a limp.

Right: Ryan Crowther protects the ball against Nuneaton, on 28 December 2014. Note the state of the pitch compared with 2019.

In the 2014 game Nuneaton Town completed a double over Altrincham who lost for the seventh time in nine matches against teams below them in the league table at kick off. On a pitch made bobbly in places by overnight frost, Alty were the better side in the first half and had a Tom Marshall goal ruled out for offside. Nuneaton started the second half with a greater tempo and took the lead after 69 minutes when Michael Gash converted after a right-wing cross had been nodded down to him.

Whether it was the after effects of a draining match on Boxing Day, or the enforced absences of Densmore, Richman and Cavanagh from today's team, this was a disappointing show from Altrincham. But, having said that, they created more than enough chances to have scored but were repeatedly thwarted by the keeper with Reeves, alone, being denied four times by Burton.

The referee that day was Mr Rob Jones, who is now operating at Premier league level.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart Coburn, 6. Scott Leather, 5. Gianluca Havern (c), 16. Tom Marshall, 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Jake Moult, 7. James Lawrie, 19. Ryan Crowther, 10. Damian Reeves, 18. Sean Williams, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 9. Steven Gillespie, 14. Kyle Perry, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 17.Dave Parton, 20. Joel Swift.


Bulls' News report that "It has been revealed that George Webb, one of Hereford FC's founding directors, resigned from his position on the club board on December 6th. Originally the club said that Webb, who was only appointed as vice-chairman earlier this year, would stand down at the club's AGM.

However the AGM, which usually takes place in December, has been delayed until January 9th. With Webb leaving, the club board is currently just five strong; Andrew Graham, Paul Quarrell, Peter Churchus, Helen Byard and Tony Taylor, usually there are seven directors.

In addition to the five directors Rob Bullock is a co-opted member of the board. He joined the club board 'to fill a temporary vacancy' when former director Mick Merrick resigned last August. Merrick was a HUST nominated director and so HUST can put forward a name to replace him to the club board but, as yet, there has been no news from HUST of a nomination."

Meanwhile, Hereford FC tell us that "The Bulls are straight back into action on Saturday as we bring the curtain down on 2019 with the visit of Leamington... The Boxing Day results saw our opponents leapfrog us in the table. They now sit two places and just a point above us in 14th position following their commanding 3-0 triumph over Gloucester City, whilst our wait for a win continues following a 3-1 reverse at Kidderminster Harriers.

In fact, the last time we tasted a League victory came against the Brakes in our 2-0 triumph at the beginning of October.

'We need a reaction,' said experienced defender, Jared Hodgkiss, in the wake of our latest set-back at Aggborough. 'We can’t defend the way we did on Boxing Day and expect to win football matches. It was not good enough and we have to be ready to go again and start putting it right on Saturday... It needs everyone to roll their sleeves up, work harder and hopefully we’ll also get the rub of the green'...

Under the guidance of long-serving manager, Paul Holleran, the Brakes have continued to defy the odds at this level against clubs with much bigger budgets and fan bases. After securing a 13th place berth at the end of last season, they once more find themselves in and around the middle of the table. The goals of Josh March have certainly put a spring in their step so far this term. He has been a regular on the scoresheet, including another on Boxing Day".

The Shropshire Star reports that "AFC Telford United manager Gavin Cowan urged Ryan Barnett to find his ‘nastier’ side after a match-winning performance in the Bucks’ 3-0 Boxing Day victory over Alfreton Town.

Barnett created two goals and scored the other, with Cowan pleased that his team had 'built on the foundations' of last Saturday’s goalless draw away to Chester. The on-loan Shrewsbury Town man was red-carded in that game, but shone in victory, as his manager acknowledged:

'Barney catches the eye, doesn’t he? That’s what he can do, and it’s that word that keeps rearing its ugly head, of consistency. I spoke to him at half-time during the game and he’s got to be a little bit nastier about the other players getting the ball to him. I said to him that if players aren’t giving him the ball, they’re taking away his living.

Also from Telford we read in the Shropshire Star that "Centre-back Sutton returned for the 0-0 draw at promotion-chasers Chester on Saturday.

Sutton has missed the majority of this campaign due to an ankle injury, but Trainer says he is now raring to go.

He said 'Shane put in an unbelievable performance. The clean sheet and his return was no coincidence. He has given the group a big boost and he leads by example. He returned from injury a couple of weeks ago, but he ended up hurting his ankle in training.... He looked like he had never been away against Chester. He was a big miss, but now he is back and raring to go'...

Trainer said, 'To get a point at promotion chasing Chester has given us a real boost going into this festive period. We are really looking forward to the upcoming games. It was very important to get that clean sheet'...

Gavin Cowan’s side face Alfreton again on New Year’s Day after sandwiching in an away day at Gloucester in-between this Saturday... Trainer said... 'Hopefully the lads can reproduce that performance at Chester with a bit more of a ruthless edge'...

Riccardo Calder is suspended with Ryan Barnett set to miss Saturday’s game with Gloucester due to his red at Chester".

Chester FC "got back to winning ways with a fantastic and dominating victory over promotion rivals Southport on Boxing Day.

They fell behind to former Blue Ryan Astles on 20 minutes, but bounced back with goals from George Waring, Akwasi Asante and Gary Roberts. Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley made three changes from Saturday’s goalless draw. Jamie Morgan, Waring and Gary Stopforth all returned to the side...

Southport took the lead against the run of play...

Nevertheless, just 14 minutes later, it was level again and Waring who struck. Back into the side, the big frontman dived in and turned the impressive Glendon’s cross into the far corner of the net... But Chester asserted dominance in the second 45. They had the game turned on its head within four minutes of the restart. Asante nipping in and rounding up Albinson before slotting home his 15th of the campaign...

Wave after wave of attacking play led to a plethora of chances... They needed a third goal to seal and, on 70 minutes, it arrived and what a stunner it was. Taylor’s long throw headed out to Gary Roberts and the skipper ran on to it and almost broke the net with a blaster from range".

The NL Paper added that "Chester boss Bernard Morley reckons their 3-1 Boxing Day win at Southport was one of the best performances since he took the helm with joint-manager Anthony Johnson...

The victory put to bed bitter memories of last December’s 3-0 loss at Haig Avenue as well as taking the Blues back into third spot in National League North.

'That was probably one of the best performances I’ve seen in my 18 months at Chester', Morley told 'I felt like we stuck to the game plan. We had to outwork them on their patch to get something out of the game which we clearly did. We went 1-0 down but we reacted really well and everybody stuck to their job and that is the reason we have had a great result.

'You could say we’ve been under a bit of pressure of late, and the players feel it to[o], as they don’t just divert it to the managers, we collectively take it as a group. The result, 3-1, makes it looks like it was a contest but it could easily have been six or seven. Fair play to Southport they tried to keep the scoreline down and I have a lot of respect for Liam [Watson] and Jon [McCarthy] as they are always humble when we play against them.

From the Boston Standard we learn that "Michael Gash's late finish ensured the Boxing Day spoils went to King's Lynn.

Boston United, who lost skipper Luke Shiels to a straight red card after just 16 minutes at the Walks, battled to hold the National League North leaders until the 83rd-minute. Seconds after Gash had put the Linnets in front the hosts had Ryan Jarvis dismissed, but by then the Pilgrims were left with too much to do.

With Alex Penny suffering a hamstring injury and Pierce Bird recalled by Notts County, Ben Middleton and Simon Ainge returned to United's defence, bringing experience but a lack of match fitness with just one start between them in the past eight matches. Dayle Southwell was handed the first start of his loan spell and Brad Abbott returned from suspension, Dominic Knowles and Jonathan Wafula dropping to the bench.

United lost skipper Luke Shiels to a 16th-minute red card as he brought down Adam Marriott outside the Pilgrims' penalty are...

But Gash settled the contest in the leaders' favour in the 83rd minute, converting substitute Sonny Carey's cross-shot from close range after it deflected kindly. Seconds later and Lynn were also down to 10 men as Jarvis was sent off for a foul on Jake Wright, who had replaced Thewlis."

Guiseley "gave their supporters some Xmas cheer with a much needed home win, their first since late September and a second clean sheet into the bargain, as two second-half goals from home debutant [exc-Alty loanee] Chris Sang and substitute Lee Shaw put paid to play-off chasing Farsley’s hopes in a tightly contested local derby at Nethermoor.

The Lions retained the same line-up that drew at Hereford on Saturday with Barnsley loanee Sang leading the line in place of the injured Aaron Martin. Kennedy Digie also continued in the centre of defence as skipper Scott Garner continued his suspension.

In the first meeting between the clubs for thirteen years the early exchanges of the first half proved to be a a battle of the midfields with clear cut chances being few and far between... It was the home side that broke the deadlock ten minutes after the restart when Felix’s shot was blocked and as it fell to Sang, he hit a first time screamer from twenty-five yards into the top corner that left Wynne a mere bystander...

With seven minutes remaining the result was put beyond doubt as another quick counter attack saw the visitors defence stretched as Felix found Shaw for the striker to pick his spot and fire under the advancing Wynne And Chester FC add that "After moving back up to third yesterday, the Blues will look to make it back-to-back league wins tomorrow at the 1885 Arena. 20th placed Curzon Ashton are the visitors...

Mark Bradshaw’s side were defeated 1-0 at home to Altrincham yesterday, and have scored just 22 goals in 21 games this league season... and have only conceded 32 goals. For a side third bottom, that’s a defence by comparison who have only let in three goals more than league leaders King’s Lynn Town".

According to the EAstern DAily Press, "King's Lynn Town end a hugely successful 2019 with a trip to Alfreton on Saturday, with manager Ian Culverhouse playing it strictly by the numbers. The Linnets boss mapped out Lynn's games in blocks of 10 during pre-season planning.

Blocks one and two have passed, with block three beginning with a Boxing Day derby victory over Boston United at The Walks, leaving Lynn three points clear of York City at the top of the table, with a game in hand.

Defying the odds has become the norm as has Culverhouse's reluctance to look too far ahead, although keeping a lid on his ambitions will become more and more difficult the longer this unexpected success, in some quarters at least, continues. The Boxing Day win perfectly teed up Block Three.

'It is massive,' he said. 'We have cut the season into blocks of 10 and this is our third block of 10, so to start off with three points is massive. So we have nine to go now and the way we are going is unbelievable and what we are doing is fantastic for this football club, above and beyond at times of pulling results out, and we are enjoying it... I have been told this next 10 games will sort the men from the boys,' he said. 'We have achieved the objective at the start of the season of staying in the league, we have enough points to stay up. That is one ticked off. Now this next 10 games will define where we are going to be and if we come out at the right end of it after 10, still in touch, we will give it a go until the end.

'We have nothing to lose, there is no pressure on us, we are fighting well above our weight.'

Culverhouse will lose Ryan Jarvis to a three-match ban after the New Year's day trip to Boston and, with injuries having already stretched his resources to the limit, has his eyes on a couple of potential recruits.

'We will look, but like I have always said, it has to be the right fit,' he said. 'We have a couple of targets written down, we have spoken to a couple and it is just getting permission from the chairman. We will sit down in the next week or two and see what we can do. At the end of the day this group will go on. If we don't bring anyone in and we don't lose anyone, you have seen what they have done for 20-odd games and they will go again because that is the beauty of this group, but if we can help them and bring in a couple of people to help the squad it is only going to benefit them.'"

The unofficial Harriers Online says that "On the back of that brilliant Boxing Day home win against Hereford FC the Harriers have a more formidable task tomorrow when we go across country to the Northamptonshire border to take on high flying Brackley Town. Their game at Kettering Town yesterday was called off due to a waterlogged Latimer Park so their fresher legs could be an advantage to them.

Two goals for Ollie Shenton and the third goal of three for Ashley Hemmings gave us a comfortable win against the Bulls who, frankly, were very poor. We won’t find that to be the case with Brackley though. Sitting in fifth place in the table (they were fourth before their game was called off and Chester had thrashed Southport) they have possibly the best defence and attack in the division with a goal average of +28, ten better than table topping Kings Lynn Town. At home this season they’ve scored twenty-four goals and conceded just four.

For a side that have never beaten Brackley at St James Park that isn’t music to our struggling ears. We’ll need to be on top of our game defensively and that does seem to be improving under new manager Jimmy Shan. We will have Ryan Johnson available for the game even though he got sent off yesterday for a dubious second yellow card. Also back in are Ed Williams and Richard Peniket after they made their returns from injury during the second half while we might have to wait a little longer for Declan Weeks and Ashley Chambers to recover from theirs.

Brackley have a very small squad that proves you don’t need big squads to achieve anything but will be without the on-loan Wes York after he got injured at Guiseley at the start of the month. York is on loan from, err, York until January.

There are just two former Harriers at Brackley now. Danny Lewis has been there a long time while Kelvin Langmead joined them at the start of the season from Harrogate Town. He seems to be down the pecking order in recent weeks since Thierry Audel made the centre half slot his own and spends most of his time on the bench".


The NW Counties Football League reports that "Just before Runcorn Town's game on Saturday afternoon against Congleton Town in NWCFL Premier Division, [ex-Alty] goalkeeper Adam Reid was presented with the award for Reusch NWCFL Premier Division Goalkeeper of November by NWCFL League Management Committee member Martin Fallon.

Here is why Adam was nominated: Games Played: 5, Man of the Match: 1, Clean Sheets: 2, Conceded: 5"

27 December 2019


After a first half in which Altricham were the better side but spurned several chances, the second half started in similar vein. Hancock missed the best chance of the first half, firing off target.

In the second half Peers had a couple of decent chances, firing wide from the first, and clearing the bar from the second. But a minute or so after the latter chance, he firmly headed home an impressive cross from Shaun Densmore to put Altrincham ahead (75 mins).

Altrincham continued to have the better of things and saw out the game for their first away win in the league this season.

Match report here


Boxing Day, Vanarama National League North
  • AFC Telford United 3-0 Alfreton Town
  • Bradford Park Avenue 0-2 York City
  • Curzon Ashton 0-1 Altrincham
  • Darlington 2-1 Spennymoor Town
  • Gateshead 2-3 Blyth Spartans
  • Guiseley 2-0 Farsley Celtic
  • Kettering Town P-P Brackley Town
  • Kidderminster Harriers 3-1 Hereford FC
  • King's Lynn Town 1-0 Boston United
  • Leamington 3-0 Gloucester City
  • Southport 1-3 Chester FC

26 December, 2019


Altrincham travel to Curzon Ashton today (Boxing Day) looking to win their first game in seven in all competitions and their first away win in the league this season. However, a more optimistic view would be that Alty have lost just one league fixture in the last six games in the National League North since mid-September.

They have missed John Johnston in recent games, with a hamstring problem, but the winger did take part in part of the warm-up last Saturday before the game with Kidderminster Harriers.

Just 48 hours after the trip to the Tameside Stadium, Altrincham entertain Southport at the J. Davidson Stadium, on Saturday 28 December. And, just 72 hours after that, Curzon Ashton come to Moss Lane for the return league fixture.


Boston United "chairman David Newton has confirmed that manager Craig Elliott has accepted a new two-year deal at The Jakemans Stadium.

Elliott will now remain in charge until the summer of 2022 following an historic Emirates FA Cup run, culminating in a second round replay defeat to Rochdale, and having the Pilgrims well-placed for a tilt at promotion in the New Year.

He has won 47 of his opening 101 matches in the United hotseat, having assumed control in November 2017...

Mr Newton commented... 'He has worked really hard since he joined Boston United and has now assembled a squad that is capable of challenging at the top of the division and, of course, we have just come off a great FA Cup run, although contract discussions took place ahead of that.

'His aspirations match ours and it's a pleasure to work with him as we all try and deliver success on and off the pitch for the fans at this very exciting time for the club...

Elliott added 'A lot of hard work has taken place since taking over a team that was second bottom. I now feel we are seeing the club going in the right direction on and off the pitch.

'I have a great working relationship with David and Neil and both share the same vision as myself to continue to improve and achieve success at this great club. The future is looking very exciting and I want to be part of this journey and will be working as hard as I can to achieve this'".

Darlington report that "We play our second local derby of the Christmas programme when we face Spennymoor at Blackwell Meadows on Boxing Day, kick off 3pm.

We ended York City’s unbeaten home league record with a 1-0 victory at Bootham Crescent, and now we face Spennymoor who are sixth in the table, and unbeaten in the league since September".

Bradford (Park Avenue) confirm that "Following Joe Green's injury in the FA Buildbase Trophy game on Tuesday night at Halesowen, Mark Bower has acted quickly to secure the services of experienced goalkeeper Tom Nicholson.

Nicholson who recently left Lincoln United, comes with a wealth of experience having had spells at Alfreton Town, Halifax Town, North Ferriby, Scarborough and Hull City.

The club are also delighted to announce that loan signing Reece Staunton has rejoined the Avenue until the 12th January."

At Hereford FC "Taylor Allen has seen his stay at Edgar Street extended for a further month after the Forest Green Rovers youngster completed his second month-long spell with The Bulls on the weekend.

The 19-year-old will now be available for The Bulls over the festive campaign with the latest loan-extension seeing him stay at Edgar Street until the end of January.

Allen first arrived at Edgar Street in October and saw his original month-long loan spell extended at the end of November."

25 December, 2019


The Alty Files website extends its Christmas best wishes to all who have visited the website during the past year and we look forward to your continuing use of the site into and beyond New Year.


Altrincham' festive fixtures start on Boxing Day with a trip to Curzon Ashton, followed by a home match against Southport on Saturday (28 December). And on New Year's Day Courzon play the return fixture at the J. Davidson Stadium.

Curzon lie a point behind Altrincham in the table, but have played three more fixtures.

In contrast, Southport are sixteen points ahead of Alty and lie third in the table. The Sandgrounders beat Alty 2-1 in the reverse fixture but Alty beat Southport at Haig avenue, 3-1 in the FA Cup.


Kettering Town "announce that young forward Michael Harding has joined the club on loan from neighbours Northampton Town.

He will be available from New Year's Day, and for the rest of the season (subject to FA and league clearance). Michael made his debut for Northampton’s first team against Portsmouth in December 2019 in the ‘ Trophy’.

We would like to thank technical director Alan Doyle and in particular Northampton’s Jon Brady for the continuing relationship between the two clubs, that can only benefit both the Poppies and Cobblers in the future."

Kidderminster Harriers inform us that "Jaiden White is to stay on loan with Stafford Rangers for another month.

The young forward has been with the Boro for the last few weeks gaining some much-needed first-team experience.

The stint has now been extended for a further month; with Jaiden set to stay there until the latter part of January.

In the Banbury Guardian we learn that "Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin's Saints travel to improving Kettering Town on Thursday and two days later entertain Kidderminster Harriers.

With six Vanarama national League North points up for grabs, Wilkins knows the importance of the two games.

He said 'Two games in three days is going to really test the squad. Kettering are scrapping for points but they’re in the best form they’ve been in all season, so we’re probably meeting them at the wrong time.

'We all know that the festive fixtures can throw up some strange results, we drew both games against Leamington last Christmas and we did more than enough to have won them, dropping those four points cost us in the end.'

Captain Gaz Dean may be a doubt for today’s game after limping off against Curzon Ashton late on but Kelvin Langmead is a ready-made replacement.

With Wes York side-lined, new signing Lorrel Smith was given his chance and Wilkin was delighted to see him make a good impact after stepping up two tiers.

He said, 'It could have been seen as a bit of gamble to put Lorrel Smith straight in but we feel we’re in a reasonable place for him to get some experience. Lorrel has similar attributes to Wes York and that was one of the reasons we needed to see what he can do.

'Wes was doing great for us and he will be a big loss over the next few weeks but Lorrel showed in the first half what he can do, there were encouraging signs out there. It’s important for the fringe players to show what they can do when they get their chance.

'He’s going into a group which has been fairly consistent over the last three seasons and that isn’t easy but I’m keen to try and help develop him.'”

24 December 2019


Following Tuesday's draw with Kidderminster Harriers, on its Twitter account Alty TV has post-match interviews with goalkeeper Tony Thompson and with Jake Moult.


It was a mixed Saturday for ex-Alty players at their current clubs. Several of those players were in defeated sides, although at Alfreton Town former Alty Youth winger, Jude Oyibo, "was the bright spark for the Reds on debut, dribbling past defenders at any opportunity and putting dangerous crosses into the box", according to the NL Paper. However, Jude's team lost 0-2 to Kettering Town. He was signed by Alfreton recently after 49 appearances for Buxton.

Also on the losing side was Sean Miller, for Curzon Ashton at Brackley. Although Sean was subbed in the second half, presumably he can be expected to face Alty on Boxing Day. Darius Palma netted a penalty for Trafford as they lost at home to Tadcaster Albion. "Down south", Bay Downing also failed to secure a win bonus as his Salisbury side were defeated on Saturday.

Liam Goulding (left) got a late consolation goal for Witton Albion in their home defeat by Whitby Town, whilst James Walshaw failed to net as Scarborough Athletic lost 5-0 at Buxton. And the NL Paper last Sunday had a feature on Jack Redshaw on his successful loan spell for FC Halifax Town. However, Jack did not feature at the weekend as the Shaymen lost 4-2 on Saturday.

One ex-Alty man who was more successful was youth product Osebi Abadaki, who won the penalty by which Hednesford Town beat Stratford Town.


TASC's Travel Coordinator, Mark Eckersall, writes "We are hoping for a great turnout on Boxing Day as we visit The Tameside Stadium for the league fixture against Curzon Ashton.

We don't run coaches to such local games as they are not financially viable due to minimum hire charges and with cheaper alternatives available and such short distances our support remains high.

Coaches will be back for the game at Leamington on 4th January.

The Tameside Stadium is just 20-25 mins drive from The J Davidson Stadium and parking is available at the ground with a secondary overflow car park if needed."

Ground Address: The Tameside Stadium, Richmond Street, Ashton-under-Lyne OL7 9HG

And special thanks are owed to Mark from all of the passengers who have used the TASC travel service during 2019. Mark's efficient administration of the travel service to away games is a great boon to all those supporters who use the coaches. If you haven't sampled the coaches before, why not make a New Year resolution to do so?!


Boxing Day, Vanarama National League North

  • AFC Telford United v Alfreton Town
  • Bradford Park Avenue v York City
  • Curzon Ashton v Altrincham
  • Darlington v Spennymoor Town
  • Gateshead v Blyth Spartans
  • Guiseley v Farsley Celtic
  • Kettering Town v Brackley Town
  • Kidderminster Harriers v Hereford FC
  • Kings Lynn Town v Boston United
  • Leamington v Gloucester City
  • Southport v Chester FC


The Ripley & Heanor News reports that "Alfreton boss Billy Heath cited a lack of fitness and confidence after seeing his side slip to their fifth straight home defeat on Saturday. The 2-0 loss to Kettering Town came thanks to a brace from Tre Mitford in what was Alfreton’s first game in a fortnight. And Heath... said 'We've had too many players missing through injury for the past six weeks and now we're getting players back that are not fully fit. For 28 minutes today we totally dominated the game, then we give another cheap goal away and,as long as we keep giving cheap goals away, we're going to have problems. Again with the second goal we're doing all the pushing, all the forcing, and then we just get caught with another dreadful decision and next minute it's 2-0. Their keeper's made two fantastic saves to keep the scoreline as it is.

'At the minute the confidence is low but we've told the players they've got to show some real character now. We've got some big games coming up in a busy period and we need some points on the board. We've got to roll our sleeves up now and find a result, but first of all we've got to find a clean sheet.'

Alfreton made three new additions to their squad prior to the game with Kettering.

[Ex-Alty] Winger Jude Oyibo has signed from Buxton having made 49 appearances for the NPL side since joining in March 2018, scoring eight goals. Goalkeeper Jordan Wright has signed on loan from Nottingham Forest for one month. Wright, a regular in the Forest U23 side, previously played for Alfreton on loan in 2017.

Midfielder Michael Freiter, 23, has also signed for Alfreton having relocated from Kent, where he came through the youth ranks at Gillingham before featuring for East Thurrock United and most recently Faversham Town of the Bostik League South East Division.

Heath said of his new signings, 'Jude is such an exciting prospect, he’s very quick, very direct and can play on both wings. Jordan is a big lad and an imposing goalie between the sticks, while Michael has really impressed us and is a competent footballer. He is very versatile and brings excellent quality to us, he manipulates the football very well.'”

From Darlington comes a "Joint statement from the directors of Darlington and Spennymoor Town Football Clubs.

Advice about Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Darlington and Spennymoor Town Football Clubs would like to warmly welcome fans from both clubs to the games in the Vanarama National League at Blackwell Meadows on Boxing Day and at the Brewery Field on New Year’s Day.

Both teams are playing well at the moment, and the directors want everyone who attends the two matches to enjoy themselves without incident, so let’s hope for two great games full of entertaining and competitive football in a family-friendly atmosphere. Local fixtures are great football events we should all be proud of.

We hope that both sets of supporters will conduct themselves in a manner befitting the fantastic reputations of the clubs... To ensure the safety of all there will be random searches of fans at the turnstiles and pyrotechnic sniffer dogs will be on duty.

Let us be clear, misbehaviour will not be tolerated, the clubs will continue to work closely before, during and after the games, and [offending] spectators will be penalised which may include exclusion from Blackwell Meadows or the Brewery Field as a consequence of their conduct".

We learn from the Hereford Times that "Hereford FC have reportedly made a profit of £4,288 in the last tax year ending May 31, 2019.

Bulls News state that the turnover from the previous year decreased from £988,770 to £897,100".

And BUlls' News adds on the profit of £4,288, noting that "This is down from £37,758 in the previous 12 months.

Despite playing in a higher league, The National North, turnover decreased from £988,770 to £897,100. However general repairs at Edgar Street dropped from £105,000 to £21,000.

Against that the playing budget increased substantially."

According to the Hereford Times, "Hereford FC manager Russell Slade says that form will go out the window when his side travel to Kidderminster Harriers on Boxing Day.

The Bulls are without a league win in nine games since winning at Leamington back on October 1, but still remain above their hosts in the league. They could also be without defender Martin Riley for a lengthy spell after the defender popped his shoulder out against Guiseley on Saturday.

'It’s a local derby and I love local derbies,' said Slade. 'In local derbies everything goes out the window as well. It doesn’t matter what form you are in, where you are at or whatever, it’s a local derby let’s bring it on. I hope it is entertaining but, above all, let’s try and get three points. We’ve been a bit unfortunate in the last three games when performances have been solid to say the least.

'Playing Farsley Celtic, York and Guiseley, all above us in the table, and I think we’ve put in solid performances. I think we’ve been very unfortunate to not have won a couple of those games'...

Thursday’s match will see Bulls goalkeeper Brandon Hall return to Aggborough for the first time, after leaving for Edgar Street in the summer.

'We’ve got points that are there to play for over the Christmas period and we’ve got a target'... said Hall... 'They (Kidderminster) need wins as well and are in a similar position in the table... It will be good to be on the receiving end of that with Hereford this year, we are definitely looking for three points and a win would be good...

'We can definitely win but so can they, it’s football... We’re two different teams and they like to play nice and tidy football, that’s not to say we’re the complete opposite but we will provide a tough test for them.'”

York Press reports that "A disappointed Adriano Moke believes recent results might have hit York City's confidence but is optimistic they can rediscover their verve. Following Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Darlington, Moke admitted York were not up to scratch in the first half, and their second-half revival came too late.

Darlington came flying out of the blocks at Bootham Crescent and found themselves in the lead thanks to a fantastic strike from Adam Campbell...

'It was one of them [sic] games where we just weren't at it first half,' Moke said. 'We need to start better. I've not got much to say. I'm disappointed, the boys are disappointed, the gaffer's disappointed, all the staff, obviously the fans are disappointed...

'Hopefully we'll get that winning mentality back. We've lost two games now... We can't feel sorry for ourselves; we've got to look at ourselves and say "Did you give it all?" like the gaffer said..

'I think confidence-wise we might get a bit down with the results'...

Manager Steve Watson showed his displeasure with the first half with a triple substitution for the restart. Kieran Green, Paddy McLaughlin and Macaulay Langstaff came on for Kallum Griffiths, Andy Bond and Elliott Durrell. Moke moved back to fill Griffiths's spot at right-sided wing-back, a position Watson has seen Moke play before.

'After starting so well at the start of the season and going from that to today is really disappointing,' Moke continued... Asked what has changed since the start of the season, Moke said... 'I wish I could tell you. I'm out of words... (Darlington) attacked well against us and mixed it up'...

The Minstermen remain in second place and are still three points off table-toppers King's Lynn Town. However, King's Lynn did not play at the weekend, and Moke feels acutely the missed opportunity to return to the summit. He said... 'We can still turn it around. If Chorley and Stockport could do it last year, why can't we do it?... It's kind of ruined my Christmas. Winning today we would have been back on top'".

Boston United "captain Luke Shiels is calling on his team-mates to channel their FA Cup disappointment into a sustained promotion challenge in the New Year.

The Pilgrims were edged out of the FA Cup by League One side Rochdale last week but remain well-placed in National League North...

With Saturday’s home fixture against Gateshead postponed due to waterlogged pitch, the Pilgrims are scheduled to be back in action at King’s Lynn Town on Boxing Day before successive home fixtures.

The Pilgrims entertain Kettering Town on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) before hosting the return leg against King’s Lynn on New Year’s Day (kick-off 3pm)."

Bermuda's Royal Gazette tells us that "Milan Butterfield got on the scoresheet as Kidderminster Harriers settled for a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw away at Altrincham in Vanarama National League North at the weekend.

The Bermuda midfielder put his side ahead in the 20th minute, but they were denied all three points at Moss Lane as Jake Moult levelled in the 73rd minute.

The result left Kidderminster sixteenth in the table with 22 points, ahead of a busy festive period with a visit from Hereford on Thursday followed up with a trip to Breackley [Brackley] Town on Saturday."

Cheshire Live says that "Anthony Johnson insists that Chester FC will find their shooting boots again soon after a toothless few weeks in front of goal.

The Blues were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to AFC Telford United at the weekend, the Bucks arriving with little intention to take the game to Chester and instead happy to frustrate their hosts and grimly hold on for a share of the spoils.

Seven days prior to that Chester had wasted a glut of chances in their goalless draw at Hednesford Town in their FA Trophy encounter, and that trend followed against the Bucks as George Waring, Akwasi Asante and Simon Grand all saw superb chances go begging.

The draw meant that Chester dropped to fifth in the National League North, leapfrogged by Brackley Town and Boxing Day’s opponents Southport.

The Blues travel to Haig Avenue for the first of two festive fixtures against the in-form Sandgrounders...

Johnson is confident that the goals will come. 'If we can’t lift a team that has lost three games in half of a season then we have got big problems, it means that me and Bernard aren’t real managers and we can’t lead people,' said Johnson. 'If we can’t lift a team that is still going for whatever we are going for at the top of the league then we aren’t doing our job. Of course we can lift them.

'Every centre forward over the past two weeks at the football club has missed chances. Not one, not two, we’re talking about three, four five. In training they are so clinical and they graft and stay behind after training but at the minute it is not transferring. But you know how football works, in two or three weeks time they will be finding the net again.

'We were giving teams a drubbing a couple of months back. We went through a little period where we weren’t creating that much, but we are making so many chances in games it’s frightening it’s just at the minute we’re not putting them away. Sides are coming here and showing the ultimate respect by coming here and parking the plane, parking the Beluga [the Airbus transporter plane which frequents nearby Hawarden airfield] in front of goal and we are having to take our time and show a bit of patience.

'But this is division six of English football. We’re not Manchester City, we’re not Barcelona, we’re not going to carve teams open and we have to be patient.'

Watson’s Southport have overcome a slow start to the season to hit form of late, rising to third in the table... Johnson said 'Everyone knows the respect I have for Liam Watson. He’s done so much in the game at this level of football and who I have looked up to for years. I’m looking forward to seeing how well they are doing, what they look like in the videos before we have the double-header but it is going to be a tough game.

'They have an experienced team, an experienced manager and they are going great guns at the minute. They’re a good side but so are we.'"

23 December 2019


For the first time, Altrincham's Christmas and New Year "double" is against Curzon Ashton who report that on Saturday, "Brackley Town completed a league double over Curzon Ashton as they ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at St James’ Park.

The play-off contenders always had an air of superiority and never looked back after Matt Lowe gave them the lead just before the half hour mark. Thierry Audel made it two on the stroke of half time and Lee Ndlovu sealed victory with a neat backheel late on.

A fierce effort from debutant Andy Scott was the only time Curzon were able to test Danny Lewis in the Brackley goal as they were frustrated by the hosts’ game plan of sitting deep and pouncing on the counter-attack.

Scott, on loan from Accrington Stanley, was the only change to Mark Bradshaw’s starting XI from last week’s 1-0 loss at Fylde. Isaac Sinclair was the man to drop out. Danny Shaw and Andy Halls continued at centre back with Olly Thornley not quite back to match fitness and Mo Ali delayed upon his return from international duty with Somalia.

The Nash suffered a heavy 4-0 loss to Brackley earlier in the season, but started reasonably well, passing the ball around a very heavy surface at ease... Brackley eventually broke his resistance, though, when Lowe found space on the right side of the box and drilled his finish into the far corner.

A 25-yard effort from Scott was the Nash’s only effort of the first half and they were made to pay for a sloppy performance when Audel pounced on a loose ball and slotted home...

Bradshaw divulged afterwards that he had been unhappy with the slowness of his team’s play in the opening 45 minutes and there was an obvious increase in intensity from the Nash after the break. Scott had been the liveliest Curzon player and he showed a glimpse of his talent when he danced away from a couple [of] challenges and forced Lewis into an excellent save to his left...

The hosts sat deeper as the half went on, inviting more Curzon pressure so they could launch their lightning quick counter-attacks. They made sure of the three points from one such instance as Lowe broke away down the right wing and squared for Ndlovu. The striker adjusted his feet perfectly to backheel the ball past the stranded Mason for his 12th goal of the season.

Curzon: Mason, Baillie, Halls, Shaw, Wroe (Sloan, 88), Davies, Evans, Calveley, Miller (Sinclair, 76), Scott (Doyle, 80), Jolley. Subs not used: Thornley, Askew".


For the third successive year Altrincham are away on Boxing Day but their opponents in 2019 are Curzon Ashton, a club against whom this fixture has never previously been played on Boxing Day.

Mike Garnett and Howard Watts's Through the Years records reveal that 2019 will be the 84th Boxing Day fixture for Altrincham, since their first in 1903. Years in which there was no Boxing Day game were 1904, 09, 14-15, 17, 20, 26, 37, 39-45, 54, 61, 65, 71, 76, 81-82, 90, 92-93, 96-97, 99-01, 09-10 and 2015.

Gaps in Boxing Day games have arisen for various reasons, including wars, bad weather and Boxing Day falling on a Sunday or too close to a Saturday fixture.

Last Boxing Day (2018), Alty lost 2-0 at Stockport County, having won 3-0 at Marine the previous year.


Former Altrincham FC Reserves' manager Chris Rowley was recently appointed manager of West Didsbury & Chorlton and a number of current Altrincham FC Reserves are now listed in the new player registrations of that club made by the North West Counties Football League...
  • Billy Matthews
  • Curtis Miller
  • Dontai Gabidon
  • Joel Swift
  • Rhain Davis

In their match on Saturday, West Didsbury & Chorlton lost 1-2 at Stockport Town and they currently lie sixth in the division.


According to the Eastern Daily Press "Ian Culverhouse will, perhaps, be counting his blessings that the rain that fell over Gloucester City's Jubilee Stadium last week forced the postponement of King's Lynn Town's trip there at the weekend.

It meant more time for the club physio to work her magic on Culverhouse's walking wounded in preparation for the Boxing Day game at home to close rivals Boston United. The only damage in league terms that could have been done was that York could have closed the gap; they were at home to Darlington but went down 1-0, while Chester slipped to fifth after they could only draw 0-0 at home to Telford. It all means Lynn remain three clear of York and seven clear of Southport in third, with a game in hand on both. Boston's game at home to Gateshead was also postponed.

So no real harm done there, then. But with skipper Michael Clunan out for at least six weeks, the experienced Ryan Jarvis troubled by a back spasm and Chris Henderson missing the FA Trophy win over Dover the previous weekend, Culverhouse may have to perform a square pegs in round holes trick, just as he has done in the centre of his defence, where Ryan Fryatt and Chris Smith remain sidelined and Ross Barrows has emerged as something of a local hero in a makeshift role alongside Rory McAuley.

The extra time granted by the rain gods on Saturday may keep Culverhouse out of the loan market; such deals can be fraught with danger, and often come at a price.

There is a relationship with Norwich City, of course, which could prove fruitful: their loans' manager Neil Adams is a regular at The Walks as he keeps an eye on the progress of Alfie Payne. Adams will have an input into Lynn's suitability as a temporary home for City's young talent but, with the January transfer window opening soon and the Canaries having constant injury issues of their own, the senior club will be treading extremely carefully.

But having a Premier League club an hour up the road is useful. 'From Norwich's perspective, we can take their players on loan and the higher we go through the leagues the better players we can take,' said Linnets' owner Stephen Cleeve in an interview with Tribal Football. 'They can monitor the players closely and they still train with Norwich every day, while also doing a couple of evenings with us. Then, on match days, they come with us. These relationships need to grow and the higher we grow, the better it becomes for Norwich too as it gives them the opportunity to give some of their youth prospects men's football'".

From the Telegraph & Argus comes news that "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower does not believe his side's performance deserved the 3-0 defeat they suffered at Spennymoor Town.

A Mark Anderson brace condemned Avenue to their seventh defeat in their last 10 league games and they are now eight points adrift at the bottom of the Vanarama National League North. Despite a bright start where both sides exchanged big opportunities, once Rob Ramshaw's first half strike went in, the visitors struggled to respond.

Bradford seemed deflated and produced a disappointing second half display which the sixth-placed side capitalised on.

Bower is adamant that... 'It was a very harsh scoreline on us, it definitely didn’t feel like a 3-0. We had some fantastic chances in the game, probably as many if not more than them but, on the day, they took theirs and we didn’t take ours... We have played a team who are in the play-offs with aspirations of going up, it is going to be tough when you go behind...

'We have not quite been good enough today in both boxes, its just that little bit of quality in and around the box which won it for them. It was not like we got outplayed, we went toe-to-toe with them and the 3-0 flatters them'.

It was not only the defeat that caused Bower a headache though, as he lost four of his key first team members through injury... The Bradford boss was pleased with the performance of his new goalkeeper signing... 'Tom (Nicholson) did all right. He was talking to his back four and he couldn’t do much with the goals. Joe (Green, Avenue's injured regular keeper) might be available at the back end of this week, we will see how that is.

'Unfortunately, we signed Reece Staunton and he got in touch this morning saying he is suffering with flu and is unable to play so it was a last-minute change on how we wanted to play. We lost Adam Nowakowski with a slight hamstring and Mitch Lund seized his back up a bit in the first half, then Oli Johnson felt a problem in his groin at the start of the second half. Before we got to 50 minutes, we had lost four players. We have got a lot of games coming up so it is not what we needed.'"

In the Northants Telegraph we learn that "Paul Cox insists it is the Kettering Town players who deserve the credit as they incredible turnaround in fortunes in the Vanarama National League North continued with a 2-0 success at Alfreton Town.

Tre Mitford marked his first league start for the club by scoring both goals as the Poppies moved eight points clear of the relegation zone. Kettering have gone on a seven-match unbeaten run in the league since Cox’s arrival at the club while this weekend’s win saw them keep a third clean sheet in a row in the league...

'I think the players deserve an incredible amount of credit,' the Kettering manager said. 'We have got them structured, we have got them a bit sharper and I think we have got them a bit more mentally focused. We have questioned them and I think I have tried to psychologically motivate them. I am not scared of players giving something back at me and there were some harsh words said last week because I felt we dropped our standards as a football club.

'But they have come up trumps, even with a few tired legs out there. The players are the ones who are going through the mill for the club at the minute and they deserve the credit. I am just delighted that we bounced back after the disappointment of last week... It was a very good away performance'...

Cox singled out goalkeeper Paul White and striker Mitford for individual praise following the victory... The Poppies boss added 'We swapped the system around again, Brett (Solkhon) came back in and we played a back three and I thought they were immense, as was Paul White... Since I have been here, there have been games where he hasn’t had much to do... but his concentration levels and the two saves he made were outstanding.

'As far as Tre is concerned, I have been trying to work psychologically with him since I have been at the club. He has power and pace, he’s a good size and what I have been trying to explain to him is that he needs to play to his strengths. He has listened, he has learned, he has had to be patient and the two goals he scored were excellent... But now he needs to take it to another level. He has the power and the pace but he has to believe in what he can become'".

At Blyth Spartans "Rhys Evans spoke to our media team after a 4-1 defeat to Southport... Blyth fell behind after just two minutes... A second and third followed for Southport before half-time.

Evans then pulled one back early in the second half, but just minutes later, Spartans conceded a fourth...

After the game... the defender, when asked about the game, said 'Disappointing the first half especially, four poor goals again, we can’t keep giving them away, or we are never going to win games. We need to tighten up defensively because we know we have got people at the other end of the pitch who are going to win games for us'.

Jack Sanders made his debut after he joined the club on loan from Wigan Athletic and Evans was full of praise for the centre-back, 'Good debut, he is a big man who wins his headers'... Evans also scored his first goal for the club... He said 'It doesn’t mean anything when you don’t come away with any points'".

Alty's visitors on 28 December, Southport report that "Three first-half goals put Southport on the way to a dominant win at Blyth Spartans... The result lifts Liam Watson’s side into third place, leapfrogging Chester ahead of the festive double-header between the teams...

Although it was a conclusive win, Southport had to withstand periods of pressure, particularly at the start of the second half when the home side pulled a goal back. Kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes due to the late arrival of the visitors... Back in the team after a three-game absence, Green caused all manner of problems for the Blyth defence in the opening stages, forcing a reshuffle at the back for the home side...

The result is Southport’s seventh win from their last nine league games and they will be looking to continue their good form during the busy festive period.

Southport: Albinson, Mohammed, Doyle, Winnard, Astles, Morgan, Benjamin, Wood (Correia 46), Green, Sampson (Oliver 62), Bauress (Woods 70). Subs not used: Hanford, Homson-Smith".

22 December, 2019


Above: Tom Hannigan heads clear in the first half, against Kidderminster Harriers.

After putting in a poor first half, Altrincham upped their tempo and emerged with an ultimately deserved point against full-time Kidderminster. The visitors closed down Alty effectively in a first 45 minutes during which the hosts failed to land a shot on target. Harriers took a deserved 20th minute lead when the impressive right-back Austin got up the right and his cross was missed by an Alty defender allowing Butterfield a free header, which gave Thompson no chance.

Belatedly, Alty came to life in the final five minutes of the first half but still trailed at the interval and they could have few complaints at that situation.

The second half brought both a better Altrincham performance and an improved spectacle. The equalizer arrived in the 74th minute. Alty had just won a corner and substitute Wall came on and his first act was to take the flag-kick. His corner was put into the net at the back post from close range by Moult after an initial attempt from a team-mate had been blocked.

Match report here.


The unofficial Harriers Online reports that "The Harriers travelled to Altrincham looking to complete their first double of the season and follow up on their away success at Guiseley last time out.

Returning to Moss Lane was the former Alty man Ashley Hemmings, whilst Ed Williams, Richard Peniket and Declan Weeks all missed out through injury...

Truthfully, the game was slow in catching fire with both teams trying to play forward but creating very little. All that changed when Harriers took the lead with nineteen minutes played. A sweeping Harriers move saw possession retained and switched, left to right, where Sam Austin showed his marker a clean pair of heels. His clipped cross towards the penalty spot was perfect for an on rushing Milan Butterfield to head downwards and past the dive of Thompson to hand the visitors the lead...

As we approached the last ten minutes of the first half Altrincham began to come on strong... Both sides struggled to gain a firm foothold in the second half... On the hour Altrincham were level but thankfully denied by the linesman’s flag. In fairness the whistle had already been blown but Peers finished well regardless.

With sixty six minutes on the clock the Harriers could, and really should, have doubled their lead... Freemantle... having the vision and wherewithal to release a galloping Oliver Shenton. Sadly, the on loan Stoke man could only find Thompson’s legs...

One felt that it could be a costly miss and so it proved. One of Altrincham’s many corners finally paid dividends as the dangerous ball across initiated a desperate scramble; Jake Moult managing to turn home from point blank range...

The home side also nearly won it as the strangely quiet Jordan Hulme fizzed a dangerous ball across goal... Before the game a point probably would have been taken by plenty of Harriers fans".

The Kidderminster Shuttle adds that "Despite being low on numbers, Harriers looked bright and sharp from the outset and controlled much of the first half..

Harriers persisted, though, and did get their breakthrough... with a well-worked goal... Altrinham, though not immediately, did start to edge more into the game after the half-hour mark...

Altrincham probably shaded the second half, but it was far from one-sided... The equaliser came with 13 minutes left to play and after Harriers had failed to clear their lines from a corner. Through a crowd of bodies, it was eventually Moult who applied the final touch to bring his team level."


Saturday 21 December 2019
  • Alfreton Town 0-2 Kettering Town
  • Altrincham 1-1 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Blyth Spartans 1-4 Southport
  • Boston United P-P Gateshead
  • Brackley Town 3-0 Curzon Ashton
  • Chester FC 0-0 AFC Telford United
  • Farsley Celtic 2-1 Leamington
  • Gloucester City P-P King's Lynn Town
  • Hereford FC 0-0 Guiseley
  • Spennymoor Town 3-0 Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • York City 0-1 Darlington


Moves involving ex-Alty players or loanees, reported by the Northern Premeier League include
  • Mark Lees from Stalybridge Celtic to Mossley
  • Callum Dolan from Oldham Athletic to Radcliffe
  • Daniel Mitchley from Radcliffe to Witton Albion


28 December 2019, Vanarama National League North
  • Alfreton Town v King's Lynn Town
  • Altrincham v Southport
  • Blyth Spartans v Darlington
  • Boston United v Kettering Town
  • Brackley Town v Kidderminster Harriers
  • Chester FC v Curzon Ashton
  • Farsley Celtic v Bradford Park Avenue
  • Gloucester City v AFC Telford United
  • Hereford FC v Leamington
  • Spennymoor Town v Gateshead
  • York City v Guiseley


The Shropshire Star reports that "After an FA Trophy exit where the Bucks gave away gifts as though Christmas had arrived a week early, manager Gavin Cowan went against his instinct to earn a much-needed point against play-off contenders Chester.

The Bucks were more Ebenezer Scrooge than Jacob Marley in this goalless draw, going some way towards exorcising the ghosts of recent Christmas past in the process.

With four changes to the team that surrendered 5-0 to Leamington just four days earlier, Cowan set the Bucks formation in a way that allowed the hosts to have plenty of possession and territory, but which put two banks of four players between the Seals and Matt Yates in the Bucks goal. As a result, the defence rarely had to shout 'He’s behind you', and when the Seals did break through Yates was equal to all they could offer. Chester also felt aggrieved that Akwasi Asante was shown an 81st minute yellow card for simulation, rather than being awarded a penalty when he appeared to be felled by a prone Shane Sutton. The Bucks' skipper, making his first start since September because of injury, was a colossus in their defensive effort, but when Asante’s smart turn left him on the deck it seemed a goal was finally about to arrive. Asante then went to ground, with Chester players and fans united in their belief he had been fouled. Referee John Matthews replied. 'Oh no, he wasn’t', and the Bucks survived.

The annoyance of the home crowd was understandable. They had seen their side gifted the majority of the game’s attacking opportunities almost from the off, but the under-performing Seals just couldn’t find a route through the massed ranks of Cowan’s team. Sutton, sent off in this fixture last season, marshalled the back line alongside Theo Streete, and with Ross White also restored to the defence and Ellis Deeney returning after suspension the Bucks had a much more solid look. The defensive discipline began at the front of the team, with Matty Stenson alone up front but committing wholeheartedly to the cause, bustling and chasing all afternoon".

Blyth Spartans admit that "Spartans’ poor first-half showing saw Southport inflict a 4-1 defeat on Lee Clark’s side...

Brad Bauress put the visitors in front after just two minutes and two late first-half goals from David Morgan and Jack Sampson put the game out of sight.

Spartans tried their best in the second 45 minutes. Rhys Evans making it 3-1 before Ryan Astles almost immediately restored the visitors’ three-goal advantage.

Jack Sanders, signed on loan from Wigan Athletic on Thursday, partnered Kris Thackray in central defence in their start together as a pairing...

Ultimately it was two defensive mistakes that put the game out of sight at half-time. Sanders’ headed back pass fell straight into the path of Morgan, who slotted home.

A series of errors then allowed Sampson to tap home from close-range after Zehn Mohammed and Morgan combined on the left to find the striker.

Michael Sweet and Ryan Hutchinson were called upon for the second-half with Amantchi and Scott departing in their places in a formation change to five at the back."

According to the Northern Echo "A first goal in 12 games for Adam Campbell was enough to give Darlington three points at York City in their final visit to Bootham Crescent...

A Campbell Christmas cracker from long-range inflicted York's first home loss in the league this season. York were fortunate not be further behind at half-time as Darlington were dominant in the first 45 minutes.

Manager Alun Armstrong later joked that he didn’t know what to say his players at half-time as there was nothing to improve upon.

Though York mounted a spirited fightback after the break, it was not enough to prevent Quakers recording a second league away win.

Midfielder Sean Reid, who joined this week from Morpeth Town, made his debut for Darlington with Armstrong making two changes, recalling Jarrett Rivers with Omar Holness and Justin Donawa making way...

Darlington took a ninth-minute lead with a special strike. Campbell collected possession 25 yards from goal after a Louis Laing pass, looked up and picked his spot, the ball bouncing in off the crossbar...

York manager Steve Watson made three substitutions at the break and changed formation, and as the second 45 progressed his team increased their grip on the game but were unable to equalise despite several good chances...

Jameson went upfield for an injury-time corner, but Darlington defended well to come out on top to record their first league win at York since February 1991."

We learn from the Banbury Guardian that "Kevin Wilkin's [Brackley] side beat improving Curzon Ashton 3-0 at St James Park.

First half goals from Matt Lowe and Thierry Audel, with his his sixth of the season, gave Saints a two-goal interval advantage. Lee Ndlovu's 12th league goal of the season finally settled the outcome in the second half after the visitors had made a game of it.

Curzon arrived on the back of an unbeaten four-match run. With Wes York side-lined for at least another fortnight, new signing Lorrel Smith went straight into the starting line-up.

The visitors made a confident start with Andrew Scott neat and tidy in midfield but they lacked any real threat in the final third and Saints soon began to impose themselves on the game...

Saints finally broke the deadlock in the 28th minute when Lowe raced on to a fine pass from Myles and beat Mason with a low drive into the far corner of the net.

The second goal [came] two minutes before the break... Dean's header was only partially cleared and Audel crashed the ball into the far corner of the net...

Saints finally ended any hopes of a comeback with a long overdue third goal in the 73rd minute when Byrne released Lowe and his cross was cheekily back-heeled into the net by Ndlovu".

21 December, 2019


Harriers Online reports that "After yet another unwanted lay-off the Harriers are back in action at Altrincham... Our last game was at Guiseley AFC two Tuesdays ago and we, at last, picked up all three points from the game in a 2-1 win. Ashley Chambers and Sam Austin scored both our second half goals after falling behind to a Kaine Felix goal just before halftime. That goal was Sam's first in three years...

That result came after a poor home defeat to Boston United a few days earlier and more or less proved the point that we’re better away from home. So we now need to take this better away form to Moss Lane tomorrow and hopefully come back with another three points to set us up nicely for the Hereford FC double-header.

Even with all this time off we still have a number of injuries in the Aggborough camp. Richard Peniket and Ed Williams have both been out for a while with Peniket being treated for groin and ankle injuries while Ed has a pulled hamstring. Both are back in training now but it might be too early for them.

Ashley Hemmings had his foot stamped on against Boston and could also miss out on the trip to a team he spent a short time with until he joined up with us in mid-October. There’s better news for Declan Weeks after he damaged his toe at Guiseley and he might be fit to play.

Altrincham seem to be better off than us on the injury front with only John Johnston in doubt with the hamstring injury that kept him out of their 2-0 home FA Trophy replay defeat to Farsley Celtic on Tuesday evening. Johnston has impressed Harriers fans in previous meetings with his speed and crossing ability so, if he is out, we won’t miss him...

It could also be our first double of the season too after we beat them 2-0 at Aggborough in September although it’s also our first return game of the season so that’s a bit inconsequential.

Harriers from: Mannion, Palmer, Mountjoy, Davidson, Higginson, Johnson, Moyo, D Lowth, R Williams, Prosser, Weeks, Taylor-Randle, Scott, Butterfield, Shenton, Austin, Chambers, Fuller, E Williams, Freemantle, S Lowth, White, Peniket, Diau, Hemmings".


Gloucester City report that "Striker Cameron Ebutt has joined the Tigers on non-contract terms.

The ex-Birmingham City and Bristol Rovers forward, who can also operate on the wing, spent time with Hereford in the National North last season under former Tigers' manager Marc Richards.

Previous to his spell with the Bulls, he spent time on loan in the Southern League with Evesham United, Dorchester Town and Yate Town...

Cameron becomes James Rowe’s fifth signing and is available for selection for tomorrow’s encounter with League leaders King’s Lynn Town."

Bulls' News adds that "Ebutt joined Hereford FC last March and was on the bench for the away fixture at FC United of Manchester. He also made a very late in the game substitute appearance against Guiseley on March 23rd."

According to York Press "York City boss Steve Watson has admitted attempts to bring new faces to Bootham Crescent have been thwarted by the impending Christmas fixture period.

He and assistant Micky Cummins have been on the look-out for recruits, he says, but clubs are unwilling to reduce their own numbers ahead of a busy spell. Despite the disappointment of striker Dan Maguire having missed so many matches since his summer arrival... York have ridden their misfortune and kept themselves very much in the hunt at the top of National League North...

City's forward line could still receive a fresh injection, with young striker Kyle McFarlane back in contention for the matchday squad after returning from his loan at Stratford Town. Watson said... 'Me and Micky have been to a lot of under-23 games recently. It's difficult because clubs want their squads as full as possible over the Christmas spell, so everybody we've enquired about, the answer's been "wait till we get Christmas out of the way".

'But also you're bringing under-23s in and, in my experience in this league and the league above, it is a gamble. It doesn't matter how many goals they score in training or in under-23 games, it is very, very different. You want to do as much research and have as much info as you can on them. It just hasn't worked out over the last couple of weeks. In all honesty, we would have brought somebody in but it's just not worked out that way.'

Maguire has had little luck with injury since the season began. A knock to his knee he picked up in pre-season caught up with by the second game of term and was out for 14 games. He featured in the FA Cup win over Stockport County, scored the winner at Chester and played almost an hour against Kidderminster before hobbling off against Altrincham after a suspected knee to the back.

Maguire has been given a lubricating injection but is a doubt for Darlington on Saturday. Watson said 'You put a squad together in the summer, you put together a plan, you change the system, and the first thing you try to do is be solid, be tough, be hard to beat, be organised, and we've achieved that. Then you go and sign a striker a lot of teams in this league and the league above were trying to get. We got him and everybody was delighted with that but it's not worked out the way we'd hoped for Dan himself, mainly, but for us as a club.

'He's going to be a big part of the second half of the season, of that I'm sure, but in the last six or seven games, we could have really done with him, just for something different... We're not going to do a knee-jerk reaction and bring in three or four players when we've been doing really well... It's sort of like taking (Adam) Marriott's goals away from King's Lynn or (Lindokuhle) Ndlovu's goals away from Brackley or (Akwasi) Asante's goals away from Chester. We've been without our main striker for all but two league games so we've been desperately unlucky, but that's football.

'We've had a really unlucky spell with injuries and we hope the second half of the season we can avoid all that... If we can get as many points in the second half of the season as we did in the first half, I think we'll be there or thereabouts.'

Of McFarlane, who scored four goals in six appearances for Stratford, Watson added 'With Dan not being fit, if Kyle is available and involved this weekend, he gets his chance, he has to take it'".

The Eastern Daily Press relays the view that "Stephen Cleeve believes promotion would guarantee outside interest in one of his prized King's Lynn Town assets, manager Ian Culverhouse...

Culverhouse has been linked with other clubs this season, and while he says it was simply speculation, his CV is highly attractive...

'I can never be fully confident, but there was not a link with Lincoln City, that was just paper talk,' said the Linnets' owner in an interview with Tribal Football. 'He tells me he hasn't put himself out for any job. My view is that if we get promoted this season, clubs will notice him and if a full-time club come in for him I think he probably would go... I wouldn't want to stand in his way if it was the right job. But also if he doesn't want to go, I would be delighted. If we part, I want it to be on good terms'...

Culverhouse... surveyed the wreckage of last weekend's FA Trophy win over Dover Athletic, which saw players dropping like flies. Skipper Michael Clunan suffered a broken fibia and is out for six to 10 weeks, Ryan Jarvis suffered a back spasm which took Lynn down to 10 men for the final minutes of extra-time and Chris Henderson missed out completely with a groin problem. On top of that, keeper Alex Street played despite a virus and a dislocated finger. That's on top of the absence of long-term injury victims, centre-halves Ryan Fryatt and Chris Smith.

Resources have been thin for a while, but it's fair to say Culverhouse... is at 'bare bones' level".

News of Alty's Boxing Day opponents, Curzon Ashton, comes from Accrington Stanley whose "attacker Andrew Scott has joined Curzon Ashton on loan.

The 19-year-old signed a three-year contract with the Reds in the summer of 2018.

Curzon are managed by Mark Bradshaw and are currently 19th in the Vanarama National League North."

And Curzon Ashton add that "Top of Curzon Ashton's festive wish-list is a first away win of the season as they prepare for the long journey to Brackley Town in their final game before Christmas.

A heavy 4-0 defeat suffered against Brackley earlier in the season will still be fresh in the Nash's minds as they look to continue their excellent league form which has seen them pick up three wins from their last four.

Last week's 1-0 loss to AFC Fylde in the FA Trophy ended Cam Mason's run of four successive clean sheets, but the Nash still take some momentum into this weekend after a creditable second half performance.

Mark Bradshaw is boosted by two sets of good news in defence; Mo Ali is back from international duty with Somalia while Olly Thornley is edging closer to a return after travelling with the squad to Fylde last week.

The Nash have yet to beat Brackley in nine competitive matches between the teams. After finishing third last season, the hosts started a little slower this time around but results soon picked up. They are unbeaten in their last six league games and have jumped to fifth position in the National League North".

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower is breathing a huge sigh of relief after discovering his only first-team goalkeeper, Joe Green, is expected to be out for just a couple of weeks.

Green collided heavily with an opposition striker during Avenue’s 2-0 FA Trophy defeat at Halesowen Town on Tuesday night and there was speculation that he may have broken his leg. That is fortunately not the case, but it does mean that 46-year-old Steve Dickinson, who is the club’s goalkeeping coach, may have to take Green’s place over the Christmas period.

Bower expects to have a strong squad otherwise for tomorrow’s trip to Spennymoor Town... He said 'There’s no break for Joe so he shouldn’t be out for too long. His leg’s a bit of a mess but the scans showed there’s no fracture or crack. We expect him to have about two weeks out so we’ll look around to see what we can get in. It’s difficult because people want to keep their squads together for Christmas. But Dicko (Dickinson) can do a job for us if necessary.'

Asked why Green is a vital part of his squad, Bower said 'He’s got all the attributes to be a top keeper. He's a good height and not afraid to come for crosses either. We were shipping goals before Joe came in but we've had a couple of clean sheets in our last five games. He's still only young himself, but other young players will look to be around him to be improved.'

In a statement, the club thanked supporter, Steve Horsfield, who volunteered to wait behind in order to provide transport back to Bradford in the early hours of Wednesday morning after Green was assessed in hospital. Bower conceded that Halesowen deserved to beat Avenue in that FA Trophy replay, but he admitted that it was an extremely difficult game for his decimated side.

He said 'We don't want to make excuses, as we could have got through. But we had 12 players, one of whom was ill, a couple playing out of position and then Joe got injured. It was frustrating but in the second half, they deserved it.'

The Avenue line up on Saturday at Spennymoor should be much more like the one who delivered an excellent 2-0 league win over Altrincham a fortnight ago. Bower said 'Everyone bar Joe is available, so we'll be a lot stronger with more options. There'll be a few changes from Tuesday and it will be good to go back to full strength. We'll look to carry on from our deserved victory against Altrincham and we've got a bit of belief after beating them and Gloucester (FA Trophy) and the performance at Chester. It should provide us with lift-off.'

Asked whether coming up against his former Avenue players Ben McKenna and Adam Boyes would have an impact, Bower said 'I don't think so... We come up against ex-players from the club or ex-players of mine most weeks anyway. Spennymoor haven't played for two weeks though, and they'll be needing or expecting a result against us'".

The Shrospshire Star informs us that "Gavin Cowan is demanding a reaction from his AFC Telford players after their humiliating midweek FA Trophy exit. The Bucks head to National League North high-fliers Chester...

Cowan, whose side sit 17th, said Telford must show the desire at the Deva Stadium that was desperately lacking in the home 5-0 demolition by Leamington.

'We need a reaction,' Cowan said. 'If we don’t get a reaction from the players then we’re going to get a lot worse than we got on Tuesday from Chester. 'It will be interesting to see how they react on Saturday. I was somewhat speechless. It’s difficult to articulate your thoughts when you’re so disappointed. Everyone’s hurting. Worse than that (lacking heart) I think we weren’t good enough. We lacked desire.

'We worked hard but there’s a difference between working hard and showing desire'...

Telford’s inconsistency this season has them nine points off the top seven, which would be good enough for a play-off spot. Cowan added 'I wouldn’t put it past us to put in a performance and get a result with the way that we’ve been in terms of our form'",

20 December, 2019


Altrincham FC has announced that a turnstile will be opened early on Saturday as the Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal will be shown, live, on the screens in the Community Sports Hall. That match kicks off at 12.30 and, of course, Altrincham are at home to Kidderminster Harriers on the hallowed turf of the J. Davidson Stadium at 3pm.

So, why not come down and enjoy a pint (or two) in the bar before Alty's match?!


The Sale & Altrincham Messenger carries Brian Flynn's report that "Altrincham assistant boss Neil Sorvel rued missed chances as the Robins exited the FA Trophy after extra time in Tuesday’s night’s replay against Farsley Celtic...

They lost 2-1 in extra time with Farsley going through... after an energy-sapping tie at the J.Davidson Stadium. Sorvel said 'We’ve had enough chances to have gone on and won that game by four or five goals but in the last few games we have been vulnerable from set-pieces and it was the same tonight with both goals conceded coming from corners.

'We need to get back to where we were just a few weeks ago when we received a lot of compliments from opponents on how well we had defended. It’s really disappointing as Barnet at home was an enticing tie in the last 32 of the Trophy. But good luck to Farsley who are a good side with three front players who always carry a threat'..

Despite dominating the game and creating a host of chances, the tie went into extra time and Cartman scored his second and what proved to be the winning goal from close range after 101 minutes to end Alty’s dream of reaching Wembley in May."


Alty welcome Kidderminster Harriers to the J. Davidson Stadium this Saturday.

Mike Garnett's records remind us of the historical record in clashes between the clubs.

  • Home: P26-W12-D5-L9-F37-A32
  • Away: P28-w9-D7-L12-F29-A46
  • All: P54-W21-D12-L21-F66-A78

Alty lost the reverse fixture at Aggborough in mid-September, 0-2. However, in last season's league match at Moss Lane between the clubs, Alty won 2-1.

Both sides have been in indifferent form recently, with Alty lacking a win in their last five outings, albeit only one of those games was a league match, at Bradford (Park Avenue). In the league Alty have won two and drawn two of their last six league fixtures. For their part, the Harriers went seven games without a win before defeating Guiseley last time out. Six of those matches were league fixtures.

At kick-off, Alty will lie eighteenth in the table with Kidderminster just two points and two places above them, despite having played four more fixtures this season.


Hereford FC remind us that "The Bulls return to action on Saturday recharged and ready to get our busy festive schedule of matches underway. Having been without a fixture last weekend, we are eager to get back into home action with the visit of Guiseley as we look to taste victory for the first time since the beginning of October.

Our last two home performances, against Farsley Celtic and York City, produced plenty of positives as we drew both games, whilst manager, Russell Slade, will be looking for a big improvement on our display at Curzon Ashton in our last outing a fortnight ago as we succumbed to a 2-0 reverse.

Midfielder, Stephen Dawson, has made a big impact in the engine room of the side since his arrival in October... 'We’ve got a busy festive period coming up and we’ve got to work hard, train hard and put it right out on the pitch,' he said. 'We’ve got to start getting some consistency; we seem to take one step forward and then two or three steps back and that’s what is so frustrating. When we do perform we’re a decent team at this level, but at the minute we’re so inconsistent that the table doesn’t lie and we’re where we are for a reason'...

We go into Saturday’s game in 13th place in the table, three places and just a point behind our opponents who are currently on a run of just one win from their last ten games in all competitions, which has seen them go five games without a victory."

From their opponents, Guiseley announce that "Our rearranged Vanarama National League North home fixture with Darlington has once again been postponed. Following Darlo’s Buildbase FA Trophy first round replay with Solihull Moors being called off last night that game will now take place on Wednesday 8th January.

Our fixture, that should have been taking place 24 hours earlier, will now need to be rearranged with a new date yet to be confirmed".

According to the Banbury Guardian the "Saints romped to a 4-0 victory at Curzon Ashton back in September but Wilkin knows they will be a different proposition in Saturday’s return clash...

Wilkin said 'I can see how Curzon have picked up recently, they are one of the in-form teams. They had a reasonable start, tapered off a bit but seem to have found their feet again. Mark Bradshaw has made the changes he needed to make and it seems to be paying off.'

Saints have the second best defensive record in the division and much of that is down to the central duo of new signing Thierry Audel and skipper Gaz Dean which means another defensive addition this term, the experienced Kelvin Langmead is having to bide his time.

Wilkin said 'It’s been a frustrating time for Kelvin [Langmead] since he joined us but the two central defenders have been so consistent. Thierry Audel has done everything and more that we expected from him, he’s formed a good partnership with Gaz Dean. Our goals against record is excellent, you can’t fault what those two and the group have done so far. You are always looking for players to form good partnerships and those two have.'"

In Cheshire Live we learn that "Bernard Morley believes the hectic festive period could well be ‘make or break’ for his and Anthony Johnson’s Chester FC side.

Sitting third in the National League North but 10 points off league leaders King’s Lynn Town and with a host of clubs snapping at their heels, Chester need a strong return from a period of the season that has historically been one of struggle. Last season Chester’s promotion bid faltered around Christmas time and into the new year, and while they have managed to keep on picking up points regularly up to this point, the swagger that they showed in the early part of the season has been absent for a few weeks.

This weekend sees a surprisingly out of sorts AFC Telford United pay a visit, the Bucks undoubtedly smarting from a 5-0 drubbing at home to Leamington in the FA Trophy on Tuesday night.

Chester were also in action in midweek as they managed to edge out Hednesford Town in their Trophy replay to book a second round date at Royston Town, but the second half performance fell well below the standards of Morley and Johnson...

'It’s at that point where it will make or break our season,' said Morley. 'I think on paper we have got tough games with Southport, Telford, Guiseley and Curzon Ashton, but it will make or break our season. We need to find that form from the early part of the season where we were blowing sides away. But people say when the pitches change and the weather changes you go through a little bit of a grey area and we have just got to make sure that we find that form.

'In terms of training the work ethic from the players is brilliant and we don’t have anyone missing from training. I think on Tuesday (against Hednesford ) we’ve gone in at half time 2-0 up and maybe put the handbrake on, I don’t know what they’ve done. But they found themselves in a game and before you know it we looked a bit desperate on the break and forcing things'...

Telford, tipped to be play-off challengers before the season, languish in 17th after a poor start to their season and their capitulation against Leamington led to them leaving the field at New Bucks Head on Tuesday night to a chorus of boos...

Morley said 'Telford have been beaten 5-0 at home but we won’t be reading anything into that and they will want a reaction and they watched us Saturday'".

In the Shropshire Star we read that "AFC Telford United are hopeful to have striker Matty Stenson available for Saturday’s trip to high-flying Chester.

The on-loan Solihull Moors striker limped off with what appeared a hamstring problem in the 5-0 FA Trophy humiliation against Leamington on Tuesday. But boss Gavin Cowan hinted that Stenson may have a nerve issue rather than a muscle problem...

'We’re hoping it’s more nerve as opposed to muscle, so we just have to wait and see,' Cowan said of the striker’s injury. Stenson has been a hit since checking on loan from the Moors in October, netting once in eight appearances but winning praise with his physical and energetic displays. His initial loan is set to run until January 11.

Telford are expecting to have left-back Riccardo Calder available for the Chester clash, with his suspension from Tuesday night’s red card set to take seven days to kick in... Bucks did manage to get an hour into captain Shane Sutton on his return from injury.

Cowan said 'We would’ve preferred it in better circumstances but we’re getting all the players fit. If we can keep them that way then we might have half a chance.”'

The Telford boss revealed there... 'bits and pieces (of illness) but not to a point where it should have affected us like that. Certain players were a bit run down in the week, let's remember that [players?] work and do long hours away from football, but there are no excuses, we have to manage players.'

Cowan was booed by home fans for replacing forward Marcus Dinanga by Sutton in his first-half re-shuffle. And asked about leaving attackers Ryan Barnett and Aaron Williams on the bench he added 'Barney didn’t train well enough in the week and I was thinking of the Christmas period. Marcus has been on fire, his attitude has been impeccable. It wasn’t a pitch for Ryan to be dribbling. For all of Aaron’s endeavour, and some performances have been great, we need to score goals and he hasn’t been doing that unfortunately.'”

The Northern Echo says that Ahead of Saturday's match at York City, Darlington have been boosted by two players committing themselves to the club.

Ben Hedley and Alex Storey had been on week-to-week deals after signing in September, but both are to put pen to paper on contracts with Quakers.

'We’ve agreed terms with them and it’s no more than they deserve because they have done exceptionally well,' said manager Alun Armstrong.

Hedley joined from Bradford (Park Avenue) and has been playing at right-back following the long-term injury suffered by Luke Trotman, while Storey arrived on dual-registration basis from Sunderland RCA when Darlington suddenly found themselves without enough centre-backs. Josh Heaton had left, frustrated because he was not in the starting XI, and then Louis Laing suffered an injury... The former Sunderland youth team player has taken his chance to impresses and has not missed a minute of the action in the 14 successive games he has started.

Armstrong added 'He played against us in a pre-season game for Boro and he did well but at the time we had Laingy, Josh Heaton and Terry Galbraith and I didn’t think he was better than what we had. What I liked about him was that he played for Sunderland RCA to keep himself ticking over, to keep fit. I got in touch with him and he was meant to be a stop-gap when Laingy got injured, but he’s been much more than that. He’s taken Josh’s place and he deserves it.'

Armstrong has also agreed terms with striker Gary Martin, though he is unable to play until January".

19 December 2019


Altrincham's dismal December continued as they bowed out of their third cup competition in 18 days and extended their winless run to five games with this extra-time defeat to Farsley Celtic. Altrincham did not play badly, enjoying plenty of possession, but they were wasteful in forward areas and consistently poor in terms of set-plays and corners.

Right: Alty players take on board instructions from Neil Sorvel during a break in play.

Match report here.


Farsley Celtic "progressed to the second round of the FA Trophy after defeating Altrincham 2-1... A Nathan Cartman double saw Farsley edge out Altrincham...

Farsley gaffer Adam Lakeland was delighted with the win, as he said 'It’s an absolutely unbelievable win, the players were absolutely incredible. I said it after the game on Saturday that I felt we were unfortunate not to have gone through, we didn’t get any luck and we knew it would be a different game here, it would suit them more.

'I felt from a defensive point of view we managed to restrict them and reduce them to very, very few clear-cut opportunities, I think they got in three times.'

Lakeland went on to single out Elliot Wynne who made a number of crucial saves throughout the game, adding 'I’m really delighted for all the players, but in particular I’d probably have to highlight Elliot (Wynne), he made an error on Saturday which has been well publicised, against his old club, which hurt him. He’s made some big saves for us tonight, and I’m really pleased for him because he’s a smashing lad, great attitude.'

In contrast to Saturday’s game it was Farsley who took the early lead, breaking the deadlock less than four minutes in...

The hosts then began to dominate the game as they went in search of an equaliser, with Elliot Wynne forced into an excellent save low down from Jordan Hulme.

Farsley were forced to play on the counter, but were able to regularly trouble Tony Thompson in the last 15 minutes of the first-half...

However, the Altrincham equaliser came less than a minute after the restart as Jordan Hulme broke clear of the Farsley defence and calmly slotted home for his third goal across the two games.

The hosts almost took the lead immediately, as Jordan Hulme laid the ball off to Josh Hancock inside the box who struck inches wide of the upright...

The hosts failed to capitalise on their second-half dominance... Elliot Wynne made two tremendous saves in the first 10 minutes of extra-time to keep the scores level, firstly pushing away Peers’ strike before he flew across his goal to tip a superb strike from Max Harrop around the upright.

And Altrincham were left to rue their missed chances when Nathan Cartman struck again as Jimmy Spencer, battling on after pulling up chasing a ball down, was able to guide the ball back across to Cartman who turned and finished from close range.

The woodwork came to Farsley’s rescue in the 119th minute as Altrincham were somehow unable to scramble home an equaliser".


The unofficial Harriers Online says that "The Harriers got their first win in all competitions since October 22nd when we beat Farsley Celtic 2-0 at Aggborough. That was eight games ago so this fantastic win at Guiseley AFC was well overdue. Even more overdue was a goal from Sammy Austin with his only other goal coming.. way back in September 2016.

It was also a good night for Ashley Chambers too with the opening goal for us bringing to an end his goal famine since the away defeat at Spennymoor Town at the end of September this year.

Chambers got his long overdue goal and we finally drew level... Even better was to come when just eight minutes later came the Sammy Austin goal. Picking the ball up outside the area he let fly and the ball cannoned into the net via the crossbar...

Towards the end Declan Weeks went down injured and tried to carry on but couldn’t. On came Dennis Digie, the brother of Kennedy who is now with Guiseley, for his debut while in injury time big Brandon Diau came on for another one minute cameo to replace Chambers...

Now we have to wait another two weeks again until our next game at Altrincham but at least we’ve climbed back up the table slightly into sixteenth place. Let’s just hope the tide has turned."


Lynn News informs us that "King's Lynn Town have been dealt a huge injury blow ahead of a crucial run of fixtures...

Skipper Michael Clunan has fractured his right fibia and faces anything between six and ten weeks on the sidelines. The long-serving midfielder had to be replaced after suffering the injury during the early stages of Saturday's FA Trophy clash against Dover Athletic at The Walks.

Clunan, who visited the fracture clinic yesterday, said 'I'm in a temporary cast for three weeks and will undergo another X-ray after that... It really is a tough one to take and we've got a lot of injuries at the moment. It couldn't have come at a worse time.

'To start with I just thought it was bruising or swelling, but it didn't settle down and I went to the fracture clinic on Wednesday... I will be back before the end of the season'...

It's the second major injury setback that the Lynn-born playmaker has suffered in the last few seasons. Back in 2018, Clunan missed the tail end of the campaign and the Southern League play-off final against Slough Town at The Walks after fracturing his metatarsal against Kettering Town."

The Halifax Courier confirms that "Midfielder Jack Earing has joined Spennymoor Town on a month’s loan.

Halifax boss Pete Wild made the former Bolton youngster available for loan a few weeks ago, along with defender Jacob Hanson and striker Dayle Southwell, who has since joined Boston.

Earing has made 11 appearances for Halifax this season, scoring on his debut in the opening day 4-1 win at Ebbsfleet".

Spennymoor Town add that "The former Bolton Wanderers academy graduate, who made one senior appearance for the League One club, bolsters Moors’ midfield options with a busy period of fixtures on the horizon.

Spennymoor face Bradford (Park Avenue) on Saturday, before a double header with Darlington and clashes with Gateshead, King’s Lynn, Kettering and Altrincham in the space of 25 days.

Earing, 20, spent time on loan at fellow National League North side Curzon Ashton before making the move to The Shay in the summer of 2019...

Manager Jason Ainsley believes the young playmaker can provide more depth to the midfield with a busy schedule approaching. He said 'We have a few injuries to contend with and Jack has lots of qualities that will enhance our squad.'”

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "It was a disappointing night for the men in white [BPA] as not only did they lose their place in the FA Trophy but also their number one.

Mark Bower's side of youngsters, who had several first team players cup-tied, were defeated by Halesowen after the Southern League Division One Central team provided the moments of quality to edge the contest.

Simeon Cobourne's double at The Grove was enough to award the home side a tie with Maidenhead in the second round of the competition.

Matters were made worse when Joe Green collided with Halesowen's Jamie Molyneux late in the match, forcing the goalkeeper to be stretched [stretchered] off with a leg injury.

After drawing the original first round fixture 2-2, the Bradford boss decided to hand a starting debut to 17-year-old Jamie Lyons in place of the injured Lewis Knight, while it was one Johnson for another as Andre replaced Oli upfront.

The visitors were the better side for the majority of the first half, although they failed to create any noteworthy chances...

As the fog became more prominent so did the hosts attack and they broke the deadlock on the 37th-minute when Montel Gibson played through Cobourne, who slid it past the on-rushing Green... Cobourne... regained the upper hand when he produced another tidy finish...

Then lightning struck for Bower's team as his pivotal stopper collided with the boot of Molyneux to cause an eight-minute stoppage which resulted in Green making way for the vastly-experienced Steve Dickenson.

The 46-year-old had little to do in his brief 15-minute appearance with the hosts more than happy to sit on their lead... The Trophy exit may be a blessing in disguise for Avenue, who can now fully concentrate on National League North survival".

More comes from the Telegraph & Argus which says that "manager Mark Bower is pleased he can now select a number of first team regulars to help fight for league survival, despite going out of the Buildbase FA Trophy at the hands of Halesowen. P> Avenue, who were forced into selecting a side full of under-23s due to a number of players being cup tied, suffered a 2-0 defeat in the first round replay to the lower league opposition at The Grove.

Bradford sit at the bottom of the Vanarama National League North but did manage to pick up their first victory in seven against Altrincham in their last league outing...

Bower said 'Obviously we would have liked to go as far as possible in it with the money useful for a club like ours but our one priority is to stay up and our full focus is on that. It has been a distraction in we have lost a bit of momentum having to make so many changes but we now won’t have to worry about not being able to play people like we have done for these cup games..

'The lads gave a good account of themselves first half but we ran out of ideas and didn’t look like scoring a goal in the second half. We are disappointed to be out.'"

From Gloucestershire Live we learn that "Building work on Gloucester City AFC’s new ground at Meadow Park will start in the New Year. Stadium contractors Soldi will start on site on January 6 and begin work on the foundations for the ground.

Whilst this work is being undertaken, Arriva House (comprising of changing rooms, club offices and the function room) will undergo an extensive renovation.

Work on the playing surface (i.e. pitch levelling, drainage etc) are [sic] proposed to begin in February, while the steel for the covered ends and the two 350-capacity seated stands has already been placed for delivery, ready for installation at a later date.

However, to comply with National League regulations for the North or South divisions, City have also begun discussions with clubs for a groundshare as a ‘Plan B’ for the 2020/21 season.

The club say that whilst their intention, as already discussed with the National League, is to begin the new season at Meadow Park, they must also have this contingency plan in place by March 31 to comply with league regulations.

Co-Chairman Alex Petheram said 'This is a massive step forward for the Club and its supporters, the City and everyone involved in football. Over the past six months we’ve moved mountains as a team to put things in place and square away a number of loose ends.

'As this project has been nothing but a dream for so many years, getting to this stage is fantastic'...

City have not played at its Meadow Park home since 2007 and has shared grounds with Cirencester Town, Cheltenham Town, Forest Green Rovers and currently play at Evesham United's Jubilee Stadium."

Darlington "have extended the loan of attacking midfielder Jack Lambert for another month.

Jack has impressed in his first month with us, making six appearances and scoring in the FA Trophy ties with Gainsborough and Solihull."

Boston United "chairman David Newton commented 'Following our fantastic FA Cup run, I would like to the thank all fans for their fantastic support and, in particular, those fans who supported the team over the five away fixtures...

'It cannot be overstated how important fans are during football matches. We have a great squad playing attractive football, so I hope as many as many as possible from Monday evening come back to support us as we try to gain promotion at the end of this historic season for the club...

However things were slightly marred by the throwing of flares and an idiot who thought it would be a good idea to bring a laser pen to a football match.

'We already have some information and photographic evidence of those involved, but I also appeal to anyone at the game to pass on any information that will help us and the Police to bring the matter to a conclusion'".

Southport "came from behind [against South Shields] to book their place in the Buildbase FA Trophy Second Round.

Brad Bauress, Ryan Astles and Jack Sampson were on target as the Port recovered an early deficit and secured an impressive win.

The home side were behind as early as the third minute when former Port striker Jason Gilchrist found the target but Liam Watson’s side created plenty of chances as they battled back. They will now travel to holders AFC Fylde in the Second Round.

The Port manager made two changes to the team which drew 2-2 in the original tie in the North East on Saturday, including a full debut for Charlie Oliver at right-back.

The evening started badly when Gilchrist, on his first return to the Pure Stadium since his departure in the summer, found the target with a deflected strike...

The home team drew level on 17 minutes, Bauress rifling a shot across goal and into the far corner after a knock-down from Jack Sampson...

The Port pressure paid off on 73 minutes when a throw-in from Jack Doyle was flicked on by Sampson, allowing Astles to head home at the far post. And having claimed two assists, Sampson got himself onto the scorsheet with a late strike from a Bauress corner."


The National League reports that "It was a mixed night for National League teams in the FA Trophy as Tuesday’s first round matches took centre stage...

One upset arrived at Chorley, where the National League Magpies fell victims to Matlock Town after a resilient display from the Northern Premier League club. It ended 2-2 but the Gladiators won it on penalty kicks...

There was also a surprise at Halesowen, who sent Bradford (Park Avenue) packing, running out 2-0 winners.

Altrincham fancied making an impression but that must wait for another year. The Robins bowed out to National League North foes Farsley Celtic...

Barrow needed to twice come from behind to draw 2-2 with Atherton Colleries, Morgan Penfold answering the SOS and the game will be decided in a replay...

Chester will face Royston Town next after they survived a scare to beat Hednesford 2-1. Reliable Akwasi Asante got what turned out to be the winner.

Leamington produced probably their best display of the season as the thumped AFC Telford 5-0 at the New Buck's Head. Josh Marsh’s hat-trick inspired the Brakes to their best away win in over three years.

Southport survived against South Shields, Liam Watson’s side comfortable 3-1 winners against the dangerous former FA Vase winners."


The NW Counties Football League "on Tuesday received an application from a newly formed club, Bury AFC, for membership of the League for Season 2020/21.

The application has been received as per the regulations of The National League System. The League will be working with the club, The FA and other interested parties in progressing the application. At this stage, we are reviewing the application and supporting documents.

The League's Board of Directors will meet to discuss the application and whether, as this is an application from a newly formed club, to support the application ahead of the FA deadline of 1st February 2020."

18 December 2019


Our neighbours Trafford FC have announced that they have "extended the loan of November’s Player of the Month, Lewis Walters, from Altrincham FC for a further month. This takes his stay with us to at least January 18th".

Lewis made his debut for Alty in the pre-season friendly at Atherton Collieries on 16 July, 2019. He opened his goalscoring account in the following friendly, against Blackpool and played part of the following match against AFC Fylde, who were his most recent club. His previous clubs were Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Barrow and Guiseley. Leeds-based, Lewis had trials at Carlisle United in summer 2018.

After two league starts for Altrincham and two appearances from the bench, Lewis went on loan to Buxton in early September 2019. He returned briefly, but without appearing again for the Altrincham first team though he did turn out for the Reserves. On 15 October he started a month's loan at Ashton United before moving on to Trafford.


The official Altrincham FC website has announced "the 2019-2020 Half Season Ticket. This will cover the last 11 home Vanarama National League North regular season games, specifically the games in 2020 against Blyth Spartans, Guiseley, Bradford (Park Avenue), Kettering, Kings Lynn Town, Spennymoor Town, Chester, Gloucester City, Boston United, Brackley and AFC Telford United.

The tickets will be priced at £133 for Adults and £101 for Concessions and this represents a 15% discount from single-match pricing. Tickets will be available from the club office. Ring 0161 928 1045 for more details."


When Alty travelled to Kidderminster on 14 September, little did anyone realize that by the time the Harriers visited Moss Lane for the reverse fixture, this Saturday (21 December) that Alty would only have played one home Saturday league fixture in the intervening 14 weeks.

In advance of this Saturday's game, Kidderminster Harriers "are hopeful of having the likes of Ed Williams and Richard Peniket back in full training soon as the busy festive period of games approaches. The duo have been out with injury in recent weeks and have yet to feature under new boss Jimmy Shan.

Peniket has been missing since the Gateshead game on 3 December with a combination of ankle and groin injuries, while Williams limped off eight minutes into the same fixture with a hamstring concern of his own.

Shan confirmed that both are expected to return to training at some point this week and, while it wasn’t known whether they’d be given the green light to feature at Altrincham this weekend, it is hoped their comebacks aren’t far away. That would be an ideal boost to the Reds, with a packed period of fixtures ahead, including the double-header against Hereford...

Of the potential to have them back on the grass at shortly, Shan said 'It’s looking that way, but we don’t know whether they’ll have enough training under their belts to be in consideration for the weekend. We’ll have to look at that as the days develop, but they’ll be back in full training at some stage shortly. For me, not having worked with those two lads, it’ll be like having two new signings in the building...

'I’ve heard a lot of positives about both people as players and characters. I want them to come in and push hard to make getting into that starting eleven a very competitive challenge for the team.'

[Ex-Alty loanee] Ashley Hemmings is also being monitored ahead of the Altrincham game, having been forced to withdraw part way through the recent defeat to Boston United with a foot injury caused by a reckless challenge. Declan Weeks (toe) is also being assessed but isn’t thought to be a long-term concern".


This week's Buildbase FA Trophy First Round replays affecting "northern" clubs are:

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

  • Altrincham 1-2 Farsley Celtic a.e.t.
  • Chester FC 2-1 Hednesford Town
  • Chorley 2-2 Matlock Town , Matlock won on pens a.e.t.
  • Halesowen Town 2-0 Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • Southport 3-1 South Shields

Buildbase FA Trophy First Round

  • AFC Telford United 0-5 Leamington
  • Atherton Collieries 2-2 Barrow

First Round replay:

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

  • Darlington P-P Solihull Moors


The Boston Standard reports that "Craig Elliott admitted he was disappointed by the manner of Boston United’s FA Cup exit... York Street’s final ever FA Cup game saw a crowd of 4,190 pack into the stadium to watch League One Rochdale win 2-1...

Said manager Elliott, 'It’s fine margins, over two matches there wasn’t much between us. I’m disappointed with the goals, but that’s me with my football manager’s head on.'

Keeper Peter Crook palmed a cross into his own net with just four minutes played and, with 11 minutes to go, Jay Rollins conceded a penalty. 'It’s just a mistake. I judge a person, not just a player, by how they react after adversity and I thought he was excellent second half,' Elliott said of Crook. 'These things happen. He’s got to come through that and he’ll be a better keeper.'

Jordan Thewlis pulled Boston level after the break, only for Aaron Morley to have the final say from the spot... Elliott added. 'Jay stuck out his leg for a penalty, maybe tiredness. But I think we did enough against a League One team.'”

And Lincolnshire Live adds that "Manager Craig Elliott urged his players to set up more big occasions at York Street this season...

The Pilgrims are due to move to their new ground, the Jakemans Community Stadium near Wyberton, in time for next season. But with United chasing promotion to the National League and 14 home league matches still to come, there is plenty to play for over the second half of the season.

'The support was exceptional,' said Elliott. 'I’ve said to the players that we’ve got to use that [as motivation] and create another special night. That means promotion, whether it’s to win the league or going up through the play-offs. The atmosphere was spine-tingling. It was amazing. It shows the size of this club. It’s a privilege to be the manager...

'It was a big target of mine to create an FA Cup run. The players deserve all the credit... Whether you win or lose, you move on to other challenges. I’ve said that to the players that they can go home tonight and feel sorry for themselves. But then they’ve got to wake up and concentrate on what is to come. We’re training on Thursday and have a game on Saturday. That’s how I am as a manager and that’s why football is great because there’s always another opportunity.'"

Gloucester City "announce that Josh Thomas has signed a contract with the club.

The versatile 20 year old, who has made appearances for City this season at right-back, centre-back and in midfield, has put pen to paper on a deal that will see him remain with the Tigers until the end of next season.

Josh originally arrived at the club from Cheltenham Town in 2018 and quickly became a first team regular, making 16 appearances for the club in the National South, scoring once against Slough Town. This season Thomas has made 17 starts in all competitions."

Chester FC state that "After a frustrating goalless draw on Saturday, the Blues look to advance into Round Two of the Trophy at the 1885 Arena this evening [Tuesday].

It was an afternoon of many chances, without the Blues forward line converting any of those opportunities. A similar story to Darlington the previous weekend, and Joint Managers Bern and Jonno will be asking their side to be clinical in front of goal as we reach a hectic and crucial part of the season.

There are no new injuries worries for the Blues, with a good opportunity in front of the home faithful to advance to a Second Round Clash away at Royston Town".

Southport "welcome South Shields to the Pure Stadium on Tuesday in a Buildbase FA Trophy replay.

When the two sides faced each other at the weekend, Liam Watson’s side were forced to come from behind to earn a draw. Despite Jack Sampson putting the Port ahead after 14 minutes, a late Raul Correia goal was needed to secure a replay after the home side had taken the lead. Former Sandgrounder Jason Gilchrist was on target for the home side, and he returns to the Pure Stadium for the first time since leaving in the summer.

The Port are used to coming from behind in this competition, as a late David Morgan goal in the last round secured a 3-2 victory against Colne...

After stumbling out at this stage of the FA Trophy last season, with a 1-0 defeat to Solihull Moors, Watson will be hoping his side can overcome lower league opposition at the second time of asking... A trip to AFC Flyde awaits the winner".

Also from Southport we learn that "Morgan Homson-Smith has been recalled from his loan spell at Colne and will be available for selection for the game at Blyth on Saturday."

Also, in advance of Tuesday's games, the Shropshire Star says that "Club captain Shane Sutton is pushing for a return for AFC Telford in the FA Trophy tonight, as No.2 Phil Trainer refuses to look beyond Leamington.

The Welsh stopper is finally ready to make himself available for Gavin Cowan’s men after a hairline fracture in his ankle that has left him sidelined for more than three months. The Bucks, who have no other fitness concerns, yesterday learned that the winners... face a trip to south west London side Kingstonian...

Former midfield powerhouse Trainer... said 'It’s an interesting draw but... We’ve got to respect Leamington, who are doing well in our league and are a difficult team. We know what they’re about. From past experience the best way to be is professional'".

York City "announce that a deal has been agreed for York St John University to become the club’s new Academy Partner.

The partnership comes at an exciting time for York City’s Academy who have gone through a difficult period of rebuilding since the Club exited the Football League. Now, boasting National League Academy status as well as UEFA A or B coaches at all age groups, the Academy is on the up and securing support from York St John University is testament to their progress...

Dan Wilson, the Head of Youth Development at York City Football Club said 'There is a huge sense of pride amongst the Academy lads knowing that they’re being supported by such a fantastic organisation. We have an excellent youth setup here and this partnership will only improve the support we can provide to the aspiring young footballers in our ranks.'"

Alfreton Town "announce the signing of midfielder Michael Freiter for the 2019/20 season. Michael, 23, mainly operates in central midfield but can play across the whole midfield. Freiter came through the youth ranks at Gillingham before featuring for East Thurrock United, making 32 appearances in the 2016/17 season.

Michael has featured for various clubs in Kent with his most recent club being Faversham Town of the Bostik League South East Division where Freiter has made 17 appearances, scoring twice. Freiter comes into the Reds squad for this Saturday's fixture against Kettering at the Impact Arena.

Manager Billy Heath [said], 'Michael has relocated here from Kent and has trained with us for the past week. He has really impressed us and is a competent footballer. He is very versatile and brings excellent quality to us, he manipulates the football very well.'"

17 December 2019


In advance of tonight's game, Farsley Celtic reported that "Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Altrincham extended the Celt Army’s unbeaten run to six games in all competitions, with the last defeat coming a month ago to Boston United.

Adam Lakeland’s side will be hoping for an improvement on their last visit to the J. Davidson Stadium, when the hosts ran out 3-1 winners in August. However, Farsley do possess the second-best away record in the National League North, having picked up 17 points from 11 road games.

The Robins have now gone four games without a win in all competitions, with Saturday’s draw following defeats to Portsmouth (2-1), Stalybridge Celtic (2-0) and Bradford Park Avenue (2-0). Despite their lengthy FA Cup run this is the first home cup game for Altrincham this season, who have possessed an excellent record at the J. Davidson Stadium. The Robins have collected 17 points from their seven home games, losing just once.

For Farsley Celtic, Danny Ellis, Elliot Wynne and Tyler Walton all returned from injury at the weekend, which means Adam Lakeland should have a full squad to select from.

For Altrincham, John Johnston remains doubtful through injury, whilst loanee Ethan Walker could make his home debut...

The gaffer’s thoughts 'It’s another game that probably both clubs don’t need, but it’s a different game at their (Altrincham) place, it really is. When we’ve played them here (The Citadel) we’ve given them good games, when we’ve gone there, we’ve found it tough at times, but we’re playing really well at the moment.

'We’re playing really well, we’re performing very well, we’re rotating in the team a little bit and the lads who are coming in are doing great. Whilst it’s the Trophy, we’ve got the second-best away record in the league, so we’ve got to go there with some confidence and belief that we can still progress, but it’s going to be tough, that’s for sure'".


Altrincham are expected, again, to be without winger John Johnston for tonight's FA Trophy replay at the J. Davidson Stadium, against Farsley Celtic. However, there should be a first home appearance for recent signing Ethan Walker, who made his debut, on loan from Preston North End, in the match at Farsley last Saturday. The winners of the replay will host Barnet in Round Two on 11 January 2020.

Reduced admission prices apply.

  • Adults: £10
  • Concessionaries, students, under-16s: £5
  • Under-12s: £1

August 2019: Where's the ball gone? Farsley keeper Elliot Wynne is wrong-footed by Jordan Hulme's second goal on Saturday. Alty's no.9 has steered the ball across the keeper into the far corner of the net.

In the league match at Altrincham earlier this season, Alty won 3-1 and, just as on Saturday, Alty's Jordan Hulme scored twice on that occasion. With Blackpool loanee Yussifu 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. 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.

Altrincham were again without Josh Hancock (calf problem) and Tom Hannigan started his three-match suspension with this game. Yussifu Ceesay started on the left wing, in place of Walters whilst AFC Fylde loanee Ashley Hemmings replaced Harrop in the no. 10 shirt. Shaun Densmore was replaced by Andy White at right back and Richman replaced Branson in midfield.

ALTRINCHAM : 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON (c), 4. James JONES, 5. Toby MULLARKEY, 6. Sean WILLIAMS, 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Ashley HEMMINGS, 11. Yussifu CEESAY. Subs: 12. Max HARROP, 14. Shaun DENSMORE, 15. Tom PEERS, 16. Conor BRANSON, 17. Jake MOULT

FARSLEY CELTIC : 1. Elliot Wynne, 2. Jordan Richards, 3. William Hayhurst, 4. Jack Higgins, 5. Thomas Allen, 6. Adam Clayton (c), 7. Tyler Walton, 8. Christopher Atkinson, 9. Jamie Spencer, 10. Nathan Cartman, 11. Luke Parkin. Subs: 12. Ben Atkinson, 13. Kyle Trenerry, 14. David Syers, 15. Daniel Ellis, 16. Isaac Baldwin.


Published on Saturday, Altrincham Today cites Phil Parkinson as saying, "Last Saturday’s defeat at Bradford (Park Avenue) was really disappointing... I don’t think that we would have scored if we were still playing now and we need to get back to where we were a couple of weeks ago and I think that we will.

I don’t think that it was as bad as our 3-0 defeat at Leamington at the start of the year, but it was certainly one of our worst performances.

We’ve not had much luck with wingers this season and that continued in the first half at the Horsfall Stadium as John Johnston pulled a hamstring and whilst it’s always difficult to say how long he will be out for, hopefully it will not be too long ...

We have brought in Ethan Walker from Preston North End on a youth loan until the end of the season. He is a fast and direct winger who likes taking players on and can beat his full back on either side. He is only 17, but they have got very high hopes for him at Preston... Ethan provides cover whilst JJ is out, but also gives us more wide attacking options when JJ returns as well.

We are recalling Curtis Miller [left] from Trafford after today; he can’t play at Farsley as he is Trophy-tied, but will be available for Tuesday night’s home game against Telford [since postponed and replaced by the replay of the Trophy tie against Farsley Celtic]... Curtis is a special talent and has done well at Trafford and we think that now is the right time to bring him back.

There are also a couple of midfield players that we are currently looking at to possibly bring in on loan, one at a National League club and the other with a Championship club".


See the adjacent poster, right, for full details of the annual Christmas Toy Appeal, organised by Alty stand sponsors, Smart Storage. Please support this initiative if you can!

Donations can be left at the Altrincham FC offices.


Monday, 16 December
  • Boston United 1-2 Rochdale


On Saturday, 21st December, Kidderminster Harriers travel to Altrincham for a National League North fixture.

From Kidderminster Harriers we learn that "In first week in charge at Aggborough, boss Jimmy Shan has said he believes there is a platform for the team to build on moving forward. The former WBA man has been in the hot-seat a little over a week having taken the helm on December 6.

Since then he’s overseen two matches, in addition to the previous couple he’d seen from the stands prior to coming into the club... The 41-year-old says 'I have to say that my findings have been positive; they’re a good group and a hard-working group. There are a lot of qualities...

'I have given them quite a lot of information in quite a short space of time. They have been quite tactically astute in terms of taking that on board, whether that be individually or collectively as a team. My way of playing, ideally, is to dominate possession and both games have seen positive spells...

'I’ve got no concerns that we’re not going to be able to be a dominant team but, if we need to have that fight and grit, I’ve got no issues with us in that sense either.'


Lynn News reports that "Andy Hessenthaler has given King's Lynn Town the thumbs-up for a concerted promotion push. The beaten Dover Athletic boss, whose side suffered penalty heartache in the FA Trophy at The Walks on Saturday, is backing Ian Culverhouse's side to challenge for honours this season.

Hessenthaler... said 'Good luck to them, I really hope they get promoted and they are in our league next season. I also hope they go well in the FA Trophy as they deserved to win the game... They have got quality and good experience with the lad Gash (Michael) up front and ability in the midfield areas too.

'They've got a good mix and Ian (Culverhouse) is a good manager and knows what he is doing. They could go up and I think they will... Their quality was better than ours in the first half but we made some changes and... for the last half-an-hour we dominated the game but we couldn't man-manage the situation'...

Lynn have been drawn away to another National League outfit in Ebbsfleet United in the second round of the FA Trophy".

16 December 2019


The draw for the Second Round Proper of the Buildbase FA Trophy was belatedly made on TalkSport2 today (Monday).

Altrincham or Farsley Celtic have been drawn to play at home to Barnet on Saturday, 11 January. But Alty will need to win Tuesday night's replay against Farsley Celtic to make the Second Round of the FA Trophy a reality. An incentive to win the First Round replay is that, in the Second Round, winners receive £5,250 and losers receive £1,750.

The competition is not regionalised from this stage onwards

This was the ninth cup draw for Altrincham this season and all of the previous eight had produced away fixtures!

In the FA Cup this season, they have been drawn at Chester FC, Halesowen Town, Southport, York City and Portsmouth, whilst in the Cheshire Senior Cup they were assigned a tie at Stalybridge Celtic.

In the FA Trophy they have had away ties at York City and Farsley Celtic.

Second Round draw:

  • Dorking Wanderers v Stockport County
  • Kingstonian v Leamington
  • AFC Fylde v South Shields/Southport
  • Royston Town v Hednesford Town/Chester FC
  • Solihull Moors/Darlington v Harrogate Town
  • Yeovil Town v Tonbridge Angels/Hampton & Richmond Borough
  • Ebbsfleet United v King's Lynn Town
  • Bradford (PA)/Halesowen Town v Maidenhead United
  • Notts County v Sutton United/Dagenham & Redbridge
  • Chelmsford City v Eastbourne Borough/Salisbury
  • Torquay United v FC Halifax Town
  • Eastleigh v Matlock Town/Chorley
  • Concord Rangers v Bath City/Sholing
  • Farsley Celtic v Barnet
  • Hornchurch v Carshalton/Aveley
  • Atherton Collieries/Barrow v FC United of Manchester


Barnet, Alty's potential opponents in Round Two of the FA Trophy, currently lie tenth in the National League. They beat Weymouth 2-1 in the First Round with both goals being scored by Josh Walker. In that game Barnet's Dan Sparkes was sent off for two yellow-card offences. In the era of competition-specific cards, Sparkes presumably misses the next Round. Barnet are managed by Darren Currie.

Altrincham and Barnet have never met in the FA Trophy previously but, of course, they were league rivals in the Football Conference, initially between the foundation of the Alliance in 1979 and Barnet's promotion to the Football League in 1991. That 1990-91 season brought Alty a famous 4-1 win over the eventual champions.

In the twelve years of the above-mentioned spell (1979-91) Alty won nine of the games against Barnet at Moss Lane, drew two others and only lost once.

Barnet remained in the Football League from 1991 till 2001, when they were relegated back to the Conference by which time Alty had been relegated to the NPL. Barnet again won the Conference in 2005 and came down again in 2013, before winning a third promotion to the Football League in 2015. They were relegated for a third time in 2018.

In the above period, the paths of Altrincham and Barnet crossed again in 2014-15, at the end of which season Barnet were Conference champions and Altrincham finished seventeenth, having lost 1-3 at home and 0-5 away to the Home Counties club.


Match report here.

Manager Phil Parkinson's post-match interview with press and media officer, Brian Flynn, is on the official Altrincham FC website.

Right: Ethan Walker had a very damp introduction to life in non-League football, at Farsley on Saturday.


Assuming that the home game against Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday, 21 December, goes ahead, it will be only the third league game for Altrincham at the J. Davidson Stadium in a period of fifteen weeks (105 days)!

Back on 7 September, Altrincham defeated Leamington 5-0 at the JDS; after a gap of ten weeks they then hit Hereford FC for another five, winning 5-1. And, three days later, they overcame Gateshead 3-0 at Moss Lane. 32 days after that last match, Alty are scheduled to host Kidderminster Harriers in what will be only the eighth home league game this season.


Altrincham welcome Farsley Celtic to the J. Davidson Stadium on Tuesday for a replay of their Buildbase FA Trophy First Round tie.

Following Saturday's drawn match, Farsley Celtic reported that "Farsley Celtic and Altrincham will have to do it all again on Tuesday evening after an entertaining 2-2 draw in miserable conditions at the Citadel.

The Celt Army twice came back from a goal down, and also saw a goal controversially ruled out, to force a replay, and arguably had the better of the chances.

Farsley Celtic Manager Adam Lakeland was frustrated his side saw a goal disallowed, as he said 'I’ve spoken to four different people now, and no, I still don’t know what’s going on. It’s embarrassing, embarrassing refereeing, and I think it’s costly for us.

'I felt we deserved to go through, to be honest, and now we’ve got to go back there on Tuesday and it’s going to be a completely different game, they’re now big favourites I would say, and it’s frustrating.'

However, Lakeland was ultimately pleased with his side’s performance as he added 'I felt my players were outstanding, I really do feel like we’ve been very unfortunate today not to have progressed, but I cannot fault the players.'

Less than two minutes into the game Jordan Hulme stunned the hosts as he gave Altrincham the lead... After a flurry of torrential rain, hail and snow, Jimmy Spencer struck back for his side as he arrowed a sweetly-struck shot into the bottom corner from 20-yards out for his eighth goal of the season...

Shortly before the hour mark, a mistake by Farsley shot-stopper Elliot Wynne allowed the visitors to retake the lead...

Just three minutes later Nathan Cartman thought he had levelled for the hosts as he rounded Tony Thompson and slotted home. However, the referee had blown his whistle, then awarded the goal after deliberation with his assistant, before he eventually ruled the goal out to the bemusement of those in the crowd.

Despite the setback, Farsley showed great character to get back into the game and deservedly equalised with 15 minutes remaining as Dave Syers was able to squeeze the ball home from close range".

And also from Farsley Celtic we learn that "Matt Regan has been settling into life at Farsley. The defender joined the Celt Army from Curzon Ashton, and counts Tamworth, Northwich Victoria and Stalybridge Celtic amongst his former clubs.

Farsley haven’t lost a game since the ex-Liverpool defender has joined the club... On his move across the Pennines, Regan said 'I decided to join Farsley after speaking with Adam (Lakeland) as he was my old manager at Northwich, so we have a good relationship and it was a good opportunity to join a team doing well...

'All the lads have been sound; I’ve really enjoyed my first few weeks at the club. The only player I knew before joining was Jack Higgins when we played together at Stalybridge'...

Regan, who is comfortable at both left-back and centre-back, also outlined what he can bring to the squad, as he added 'I hope to bring a good attitude and commitment to helping the club wherever I’m needed, as I’ve already shown I can play in numerous positions, but playing at the back would be my preferred position... It’s obvious to see we can make a real good run at the play-offs and who knows from there!'"


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records for next Tuesday (17th December), are here.

On that date in 2005 Alty were, like now, in FA Trophy Round One action, but lost 2-0 at the Crown Ground to Accrington Stanley.

More recently, on 17 December, 2016, Alty were again away from home on 17 December. On that occasion they lost 3-0 at Edgeley Park to Stockport County in a league match.


Altrincham FC Youth's Sunday fixture at Hyde United was postponed.


Last week, on Sunday, 8 December, Alty Ladies won 2-0 away at Chester.


According to the Telegraph & Argus "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower is adamant his side can not blame the difficult conditions for their 2-2 draw with Halesowen Town in the FA Trophy first round.

Despite taking the lead through a Lewis Knight strike, Avenue found themselves a goal down thanks to Robbie Evans first half finish and a 76th-minute penalty from Ashley Sammons. However, Bradford responded brilliantly as captain Keith Lowe headed home to force a replay.

Heavy rain overnight meant the Horsfall turf was given an early morning inspection which eventually declared the pitch good enough for the cup tie to take place. Bower does not want to accept that the result was down to the conditions and believes the weather effected both sides to produce a quality lacking affair.

He said 'It was an awful game, obviously the conditions were really tough, the wind as well doesn’t help the spectacle. It (the pitch) had an effect but I am not going to give excuses the team that went out on that pitch were more than capable of doing better... You come across pitches which are difficult to play on, you have to adapt.

'We had some young lads out there today who don’t come across those conditions every week. Their players, with all due respect, are a little bit more used to that'.

Bower added 'We started really well on the front foot, dominating the game, deservedly we went in front. Then we just switched off a long ball, we were a bit hesitant their lad goes through, shoots and scores. Second half we just never got going it took us until the last 15 minutes, the conditions were difficult, but players were misplacing 10-15 yard passes which there is no excuse for.

'As soon as we started moving the ball we caused them problems got the goal and hit the post late on which could have potentially nicked it, which would have been a bit unfair on them.'

Bower is complementary of his skipper's overall performance... The Bradford boss also revealed Knight will definitely not be fit enough for Tuesday’s replay at the Grove. He said 'Lowey (Keith Lowe) set the example today to some of the other lads by just doing the simple things, he followed his pass and got into the box and it was a great header. He (Knight) felt his hamstring after a backheel, a number of players do their hamstrings when they do them. It happens so he has got no chance for Tuesday then we will see how bad it is after that'"

The Telegraph & Argus adds that "Bower was forced to start six players aged under the age of 23 for the first round tie as he made five changes from the team he selected in last weeks 2-0 win over Altrincham.

New signing Tom Clare, Nicky Clee and Jon Royle were all cup tied, while full-backs Ryan Toulson and Reece Staunton also missed out. It allowed returns for Adam Nowakowski, Isiah Bazeley, Isaac Marriot with Mitch Lund and Liam Hughes making their first appearances since the 3-2 loss against King's Lynn last month...

There were early signs that football played on the deck may not be the order of the day when the ball continued to bobble when simple five yard passes were played in the opening minutes... The wind was also playing a damaging effect with any through ball or punt forward automatically increased in pace, leading to an uneventful end to the first half...

The Halesowen fans, who packed out the away stand and almost made up for half of the 285 in attendance, were sent into raptures when they took the lead through a Ashley Sammons penalty. With 15 minutes left, Bradford were determined to not be condemned to their second defeat in four games as they searched for a valuable leveller. Step forward captain fantastic, Lowe met Alex Hurst's perfect delivery to head home for his first goal of the season...

On the balance of all things considered, the draw was a rather suitable result for two sides who were unable to play their usual style of football due to the conditions."

From the Northern Echo we learn that "Darlington have a great opportunity to see off Solihull Moors in Wednesday's FA Trophy replay, with their manager Tim Flowers having been less than complimentary about his players after Saturday's 2-2 draw.

A late goal by sub Jack Lambert gave Quakers a deserved draw against the National League promotion-chasers at the Stadium.

Afterwards an irate Flowers, the former Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper, referred to his players as being 'brain dead' in a post-match interview. 'I thought we were awful from start to finish,' blasted Flowers, who also described his players as being 'absolutely brain-dead with what we're doing'.

In contrast, Darlington boss Alun Armstrong was delighted with his team’s never-say-die attitude, coming back from 2-1 down with five minutes left and could have won against one of the tallest sides that they will play this season. Solihull, who have won nine of their 11 home league games, played to their strengths at set-pieces, so it says plenty for Quakers to come away with a draw...

'The plan was always to stay in the game and bring Jarrett [Rivers] and Jack [Lambert] on once the game had got stretched. Jarrett is such a clever footballer that he opens defences up, and he and Jack changed the game. I had to take Stephen Thompson and Joe Wheatley off because they’d already picked up a yellow card each and decisions were going against us. I couldn’t risk them getting a second one... Jack had the quality to stick it through the keeper’s legs. He was so calm and composed, hopefully we’ll be able to extend his loan for another month. He gives different options which we need. Yes, I need a centre forward, but they’re not cheap' said Armstrong...

Will Hatfield, on his return to the Darlington side after a one-match ban, said... 'It’s really nice to score my first goal, I feel very proud of myself and hopefully it’s the first of many'...

But Solihull levelled with a route-one goal... Quakers were getting on top without really testing Rowley, before the home side went 2-1 up on 61 minutes when sub Jake Beesley had an unmarked header from a Jamie Oakley corner blocked on the line by Elliott, but the sub reacted first to prod the rebound into the net.

But Armstrong’s introduction of three subs injected some pace into the Darlington attack, and stretched the home defence... And Quakers deservedly gained their reward for battling back when a slick build up on the left ended with Campbell neatly threading the ball through for Lambert to control and nutmeg Rowley for his second goal for the club".

15 December, 2019


Above: Both sets of players did well to produce a generally entertaining FA Trophy tie at Farsley on Saturday. Alty had the worse of the conditions, playing into a first-half squally deluge of rain and hail, which abated for the second half.

Match report here.

Manager Phil Parkinson's post-match interview with press and media officer, Brian Flynn, is on the official Altrincham FC website.


The FA announces that "fans will be able to hear the draw for the second round of the Buildbase FA Trophy live on talkSPORT 2 on Monday afternoon. With 32 ties scheduled to take place in the first round on Saturday, the next stage of non-League football's premier knockout competition will be determined on the Ray Stubbs Show, from 12.45pm".

The competition ceases to be regionalised at this stage.


The National League reports "The FA Trophy took centre stage and it didn’t disappoint in a first round not short of excitement and upsets.

A number of National League big hitters were booted out as they had a nightmare before Christmas. Bromley were undone 3-0 at Dorking Wanderers, the National League South club stormed through... Chesterfield are out, suffering at the hands of rivals Notts County... It’s all over for Boreham Wood too, dumped out 2-0 at Step 3 Royston Town...

King's Lynn just don't lose at home. Dover found that out as the National League North leaders kept their cool from the spot after the tie ended 2-2...

Hartlepool are still going strong in the FA Cup but they are out of the Trophy after Harrogate’s spirited comeback. Holders AFC Fylde are safely thought but they didn’t have it all their own saw against stubborn Curzon Ashton. Danny Rowe’s winner got the Coasters a 1-0 win...

Bradford PA and Halesowen must go again, they played out a 2-2 thriller... Stockport County, semi-finalists last season, got on the road to Wembley again thanks to a 4-2 success against Blyth."


Right: Before kick-off at Farsley on Saturday, Altrincham chairman Grahame Rowley presented right-back Shaun Densmore with a commemorative shirt to mark his 400th appearance for the club.


Altrincham were scheduled to face AFC Telford United on Tuesday night (17th) in a National League North match. As Telford's FA Trophy match on Saturday had to be postponed, that game has been rearranged for this Tuesday meaning that whatever happened to Altrincham at Farsley on Saturday, the planned Tuesday night match against Telford at the J. Davidson Stadium would have to be postponed.

But, now that Alty have drawn their own FA Trophy tie at Farsley, they will be playing their replay against the Yorkshire side at the J. Davidson Stadium on Tuesday (17th) at 7.45pm.


West Didsbury & Chorlton "announce the appointment of Chris Rowley as men’s team manager following a short application process.

An exciting and enthusiastic young manager, Chris, 32, was most recently reserve team manager at Altrincham FC, where he worked from June 2014 through to May 2019, during which time his side experienced two promotions and narrowly missed out on winning the Cheshire League on goal difference last season. His time was marked by the improvement of players, many of whom went on to perform at a higher level; three such examples can be found in our own squad, with goalkeeper Andrew Jones, full-back Matt Cook, and midfielder Callum Jones joining from Rowley’s side in the summer.

Prior to his appointment at Altrincham, Chris played as a goalkeeper at clubs across the North West, including Trafford and Kidsgrove. Since stepping down as Reserve manager, he’s continued to work with Altrincham, taking on the role of scout. He comes with a UEFA B licence, and a commitment to playing attractive, entertaining football.

Upon his appointment, Chris Rowley said 'I’m extremely proud and honoured to take over at West Didsbury & Chorlton. I’m taking over a squad with quality as well as some familiar faces. I’m excited about bringing with me an attractive entertaining brand of football that I hope will bring a smile to every fan’s face.

'I’ll be meeting the players tonight for training and look forward to meeting the fans on Saturday'".


Blyth Spartans "suffered an FA Trophy First Round defeat to National League outfit Stockport County, despite a valiant display from Lee Clark’s men.

The hosts got their noses in front on the hour-mark when Tom Walker’s free-kick was headed home by Ash Palmer, who might have been in an offside position. Spartans equalised before half-time when Rhys Evans sent a ball across the face of goal that was tapped home by Lewis Hawkins.

The Hatters regained the advantage in the 66th minute, substitute Adam Thomas heading home before Tom Walker added a third, nine minutes later.

But Spartans refused to go down without a fight. Jack Hunter’s swiftly halved the deficit and Blyth threatened a leveller until Sam Minihan, another substitute, secured the win in the fourth minute of injury time.

Clark was without five first-team players for the trip to Edgeley Park. Scott Fenwick, Robbie Dale, Anthony Callaghan, Adam Wrightson and Levi Amantchi. Kris Thackray, signed on loan from Morpeth Town on Friday, went straight into the starting 11 in place of Tom Devitt...

Spartans put in a brave performance against a high-flying Stockport and will be hoping to continue that energy into the next game at home to Southport".

In Cheshire Live "Anthony Johnson bemoaned the lack of ruthlessness in front of his and Bernard Morley's Chester FC side as they drew a blank in the first round of the FA Trophy.

A goalless draw at BetVictor Southern Central Division side Hednesford Town came on the back of a 2-0 loss at Darlington in the National League North seven days previous, the previously free-scoring Blues not hitting the target in 180 minutes.

And with Johnson and Morley's side geared towards an attacking mentality and finding the target on a regular basis the draw at the Pitmen, in a game [in] which Chester dominated but failed to find a cutting edge in front of goal, was a cause of frustration for the joint-manager, whose side must now face Hednesford on Tuesday night in a replay at the 1885 Arena.

Johnson [said] post match 'It's in front of goal again, for a team that always scores, that is 180 minutes with Akwasi Asante in the team (that we've not scored). How many chances have we had in the two games? 20? It's not good enough, not acceptable. People can't wait to jump on Russ Griffiths's back when he makes a mistake, and old Simon Grand and Danny Livesey, but we have the best forward line in the league and score all these goals and in the last two games we've not scored.

'It's not good enough. That's why the goals for column reads zero over the last two games and we've not picked anything up.'

While the replay may put paid to Chester's plans of a Christmas do, it is something that Johnson is relishing, the Blues looking to book their place in round two of the competition, the draw to be made on Monday.

'When were we at our best? At the start of the season when we played Saturday/Tuesday, we had momentum,' said Johnson. 'We've got no excuses, we've got no injuries so there's none of that. As a club we wanted a replay Tuesday so if things like this happened we'll take them back home with an obvious advantage.

'I'm looking forward to the game but we have got to be more ruthless, and that means everybody... Teams are compact, they are narrow,' said Johnson. 'Darlington last week, Hednesford this week, so the game is tight and as the game gets stretched and both teams are looking for a winner then our quality will always come out.

'You didn't see that at the start of the season because nobody was bottom or in the league below and they wanted to win so games became stretched and you see loads of chances'".

Meanwhile, AFC Telford United tell us that "Andre Brown has joined Stourbridge FC on loan until the end of the season.

The 24-year old had recently been on loan at Hednesford Town before being recalled by the Bucks earlier this week".

We learn from Bradford (Park Avenue) that "A replay will have to be played to see who advances to the second round of the FA Trophy after Bradford and Halesowen played out a 2-2 draw at the Horsfall Stadium.

It was a very cagey affair to begin, both teams seemingly having to get accustomed to the weather, which was at its winter worst.

Not much was created in the opening 15 minutes. Both teams enjoyed their fair share of possession but couldn’t break through the back line...

It was that man Lewis Knight who broke the deadlock to give the Avenue the lead. A mistake from the Halesowen defender who mistimed the ball allowed Lewis Knight to slot the ball into the bottom left corner of the net; it was a wonderful finish from the team’s top scorer, who had his back turned to goal...

The lead didn’t last long, though, as Halesowen equalised just minutes later through wing back Robert Evans...

Halesowen [were] awarded a penalty which Ashley Sammons smashed into the top right corner of the Avenue net. Halesowen then looked to cling onto the lead, but in the 83rd minute captain Keith Lowe equalised for the Avenue, headering [sic] the ball into the net...

Avenue then had a chance to steal the win, but Andre Johnson’s late effort struck the post as the game finished 2-2.

According to Bulls' News "Rowan Liburd is the latest Hereford player to go out on loan. The striker has joined Dartford on a month's loan...

Liburd joins the likes of Tom Owen-Evans, Jacob Jagger Cane and Brad Ash who have joined other clubs on loan in search for more first team football.

He joined Hereford at the end of March from Guiseley and signed a contract that will run until the end of this season. Prior to joining the Bulls, Liburd had scored 14 goals for Guiseley during last season, but has shown nowhere the near the same sort of form for Hereford. Dartford FC report that the loan is for an 'initial' one month loan so the inference is that the loan could be extended."

14 December, 2019


In this FA Trophy match played in filthy weather, especially in the first half, it was referee Aspinall who ended the game as the main talking point with his bizarre handling of a second-half episode in which he blew his whistle before a Farsley man netted the ball. He appeared to give the goal before a touchline discussion concluded with his resuming the match with an uncontested dropped ball to Alty and a no-goal decision!

Alty had got a perfect start as Williams's low cross found Hulme whose first effort was blocked by ex-Alty keeper Wynne, only for Hulme to poke the ball home from a prostrate position (2 mins).

Right: A blond Jordan Hulme gives debutant Ethan Walker some pre-match advice.

Spencer levelled the score after 17 minutes with a low drive from the edge of the box.

Alty started the second half well and regained the lead after Wynne had sliced an attempted kick high ino the air. As it dropped, Hulme headed the ball towards the empty net but only found the inside of the post. Hulme reacted more quickly than the keeper to tap the ball over the line (57 mins).

Mr Aspinall's debacle occurred four minutes later but it was not until the 75th minute that Syers finally levelled the scores as he poked the ball through Thompson's legs after a corner.

The teams will replay the game on Tuesday night at Moss Lane.

Match report here.

Footnote: Mr Aspinall was also involved in another strange incident involving Alty, in 2018. The start of a home match against Ashton United was delayed when he belatedly decided that the visiting keeper's top was too similar in colour to the outfield players' shirts. The other 21 players emerged and waited several minutes for a new jersey to be found before the game could start.


Saturday 14 December.
  • Solihull Moors 2-2 Darlington
  • AFC Fylde 1-0 Curzon Ashton
  • Atherton Collieries P-P Barrow
  • South Shields 2-2 Southport
  • Bradford (PA) 2-2 Halesowen Town
  • Harrogate Town 3-2 Hartlepool Utd
  • Stockport County 4-2 Blyth Spartans
  • Chesterfield 0-1 Notts County
  • Hednesford Town 0-0 Chester FC
  • FC Halifax Town 4-0 Wrexham
  • AFC Telford United P-P Leamington
  • Farsley Celtic 2-2 ALTRINCHAM
  • Matlock Town 2-2 Chorley
  • FC United of Manchester 2-1 Kettering Town
  • Kings Lynn Town 2-2 Dover Athletic (aet, King's Lynn won 4-2 on pens)


Saturday 14 December.
  • Alfreton Town P-P Gloucester City


Alty travel to Farsley on Saturday looking to end a run of three successive defeats in three different competitions.

The arrival of Ethan Walker, on loan from Preston North End, gives manager Phil Parkinson a selection choice ahead of the game. Centre-back Tom Hannigan missed the defeat at Bradford last week and he may well return at Farsley.

Meanwhile, Farsley Celtic "welcome Altrincham to the Citadel this weekend in the FA Trophy first round...

2019/20 Match Day Prices:

  • Adults: £10
  • Concessions (over 60, under-18 & students): £6
  • Under 13s & Service Personnel: Free

Admission to the Citadel, for both home and away fans, is by cash payment at the turnstiles, which are located at the main entrance to the ground adjacent to the club car park. Turnstiles open at 1.30pm. Our official match day programmes are available from inside the ground, priced at £2.00.

The food kiosk provides a variety of hot and cold snacks and drinks. It is located next to the main entrance and is open from 1.45pm. The club bar is open from 12pm and remains open throughout and after the match. There is a large selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic options including hand-pulled real ale. Customers are not permitted to take their drinks into the ground due to FA regulations.

500 seats are available in the main stand at the ground. Seats are available on a first come first served basis. Standing is available in all other areas of the ground. Covered standing can be located behind the goal in the shed end. Toilets are located next to the main stand and there are alternative facilities within the club house.


Farsley Celtic announce that they "will be seeking to avenge their defeat earlier this season at Moss Lane as Altrincham visit the Citadel. After a period of mixed results throughout October and November, Adam Lakeland’s side appear to have returned to form having gone five games without defeat, including back-to-back victories heading into this weekend’s game.

The Celt Army defeated Workington 1-0 in the previous round of the FA Trophy, and will be hoping to progress further than the club has done before since reforming with a victory over Altrincham.

Altrincham had been in excellent form throughout October and November as they went on a 10-game unbeaten run, however have come back to earth with three consecutive defeats. Phil Parkinson’s side went on an excellent FA Cup run in which they were drawn away in every game... The luck of the draw has certainly not been with Altrincham this year, as they were also drawn away in the FA Trophy third qualifying round, where they defeated York City 1-0. Despite their excellent form away from home in the cups, they have remarkably failed to win a game on the road in nine attempts in the league.

Team news for Farsley Celtic: Danny Ellis, Elliot Wynne and Tyler Walton all remain doubtful through injury; however, Adam Clayton made a return to the starting line-up in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Halifax Town.

For Altrincham, John Johnston is a doubt after being forced off in Saturday’s defeat to Bradford Park Avenue after suffering an injury. Ethan Walker could be in line to make his first appearance for the Robins after joining from Preston North End on loan until the end of the season.

When the sides met early on in the season, it was the hosts who ran out 3-1 winners at Moss Lane".


According to the Telegraph & Argus, "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower has lavished praise on [ex-Alty man] Nicky Clee, as the returning midfielder dominated proceedings during his side's fine 2-0 win over Altrincham on Saturday. He has rejoined the club after playing a big part in their promotion push last season, and Bower said the influence of him and fellow returnee Ryan Toulson [also ex-Alty, pictured right in 2008 at Moss Lane] on the pitch often goes unnoticed.

Frustratingly for Bower, Clee and new striker Tom Clare will be among those missing for tomorrow's FA Trophy First Round clash at Horsfall against Halesowen Town, as they are cup-tied.

Speaking about Clee's impact on his second Avenue debut, Bower said 'Nicky pulled the strings against Altrincham. Remember, he was playing regularly in the team last season when we were top for a large spell and ultimately ended up in the play-offs. There's very few players as good as him in that category that fit our wage structure, so getting him back was a no-brainer.

'His quality stood out against Altrincham and he set both of our goals up. He's a vocal presence too and you could hear him and Tully (Toulson) pulling the younger players around during the game and letting them know where to go. That work from the older players often goes unseen from the stands.'

Clee wasn't the only one who starred a[gains]t Altrincham, with Bower saying 'Anyone with an ounce of football knowledge can see we're strengthening and making improvements every week. Reece Staunton has been a great addition (on loan from Bradford City), Oli Johnson is getting fitter and fitter and Tom is a great focal point up top for us. We're adding players but we've been patient. That was maybe detrimental in the short term but it's what we wanted in the long run. You saw we had a good team ethic against Altrincham and every player put in a seven or eight out of 10 performance.

'We didn't give them anything in front of goal.' Sadly... 'We're back to the situation we had at Gloucester (in the last round) where we have a few that are ineligible. Nicky and Tom are both cup-tied and Jonathan (Royle) can't play either (as Telford are still in). Liam Hughes is injured and we've got a couple of others that are 50/50. But Lewis Rathbone is back and Mitchell Lund should be fine too... We're almost the underdogs given the players we have missing and where we are in our league. Halesowen play two leagues below, but they're winning 5-0 or 6-0 every week'".


Gloucestershire Live tells us that "Gloucester City have appointed vastly experienced former player, manager and top-flight scout George Foster as their new assistant manager.

James Rowe has been looking to bring in a number two since being appointed Tigers' boss last month with former assistant Andy Hoskins and first team coach Marc McGregor leaving after Mike Cook was sacked.

Foster joins initially until the end of the season with Gloucester saying he 'brings to the club a wealth of player talent identification and recruitment experience.' The 63-year-old has most recently been working as a European scout for Swansea City, joining them in 2014 when they were in the Premier League...

During his playing career, he made over 600 appearances for the likes of Plymouth Argyle, Derby County and Mansfield Town. He also spent four-and-a-half years as manager of Mansfield, during which time they were twice relegated from the old Third Division, sandwiched by a promotion. Foster also spent two years as Telford United manager and had a spell as assistant manager at Lincoln City but went into scouting after that.

He was appointed chief scout at Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2001 and also worked for Coventry City, while he became academy director at Stoke City under Tony Pulis in 2007... and was chief scout at Hull and Port Vale before joining Swansea.

It is the latest change made by Rowe as he puts his stamp on the club with goalkeeper Niall Maher joining the club from Weston-super-Mare as loan player Will Henry returned to Swindon Town. Long-serving midfielder Chris Knowles also left the club this week".

News of another club with a recently installed manager comes from Kettering Town where "The club is delighted to announce that young defender Jay Williams has rejoined the Poppies on loan until January 8th 2020. Jay made two appearances under caretaker managers Steve Kinniburgh and Luke Graham, before returning to Northampton Town. He goes into the squad for tomorrows match at FC United of Manchester."

The Northants Telegraph adds that "The Poppies face an intriguing first-round test on Saturday as they head to Broadhurst Park to take on FC United of Manchester. It is a clash between two in-form sides.

Kettering are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions and are yet to taste defeat under manager Cox but their Northern Premier League hosts are undefeated in their last 10 matches... Cox said... 'We are under no illusions, it will be a tough game and we will need the same mindset we showed at Peterborough Sports in the last round. The league is always our priority but if you can’t get excited by a competition which has its final at Wembley Stadium then you are in the wrong business'".

They are the visitors to Altrincham next Saturday and Kidderminster Harriers now report that "Alex Prosser admits new boss Jimmy Shan has helped breath fresh life into his Aggborough career. The former Aston Villa midfielder is enjoying a run in the team at present having been forced to be patient for opportunities in the eleven.

Prior to December, Prosser hadn’t started a game for Harriers in the league since the draw at Blyth in early September. But, after playing all bar the first eight minutes of the game against Gateshead on December 3, the 21-year-old has gone on to make successive starts...

'I am a lot happier when I’m playing,' he said. 'I feel sharper with every game and I’m enjoying it. Confidence is important in football and the new manager has given me that'...

The feeling is somewhat mutual, too, with Shan admitting to being an admirer of the player. He added 'I’ve known Alex for a number of years... through the Academy system and played up against him. He’s got the right pedigree and the right ingredients to be a successful player here. He’s an honest individual and his work ethic is very good.'"

From the Shropshire Star we learn that "Midfielder James McQuilkin admits AFC Telford United are all too aware of the threat Leamington will pose in tomorrow’s home FA Trophy first-round tie.

The Bucks' man was in the side as National League North rivals Leamington took all three points from the New Bucks Head in late August. The 30-year-old expects physical and direct tactics from the Brakes...

'We know what they are like as we played them before,' McQuilkin said. 'They will come and be physical and direct, which is similar to a lot of teams we play in the league. It’s a challenge we are used to and the manager will have a game plan. It will be a tough game but cup games are a one-off game where anything can happen.'

Paul Holleran’s Brakes are unbeaten in six games. A first-round victory is worth £4,500 in prize money. Cowan’s side are looking to respond from last weekend’s home league reverse to Farsley Celtic.

'Losing at home always hurts the squad and the manager,' the former Kidderminster man added... McQuilkin has appeared in 14 of Telford’s 19 league games this season, his second in Telford white, scoring twice.

'I’m quite happy with my form but we want to be higher up the league,' he added...

Cowan is without suspended midfielder Ellis Deeney for the Trophy tie after two yellow cards against Farsley last week".

Blyth Spartans "announce Kris Thackray has joined on a one-month loan deal from Morpeth Town.

Thackray, a defender, arrives on a short-term deal at Croft Park and has bags of experience having plied his trade in three different countries. He started out at Newcastle United before being released at 16. Instead of remaining in England, Thackray opted for a move abroad, signing for Serie A side Reggina. His time at Reggina saw him loaned to Monopoli, where he impressively won the club’s player of the year award in 2009.

After four years in Italy, Thackray moved to Malta before moving to Germany and back to Malta within a six-year period.

The former KFC Uerdingen man returned to his native North East last year and turned out for Spartans’ rivals Spennymoor Town. He joined the Highwaymen in the summer, however [he] now makes the brief move across Northumberland to bolster Lee Clark’s squad during a busy festive period. The defender could make his debut on Saturday when Blyth travel to Stockport County".

York Press reports that "York City assistant manager Micky Cummins says he and boss Steve Watson will be 'out and about' this weekend...

As well as being able to give injured players extra time to recover in time for Christmas, Watson and Cummins also have a chance to look at upcoming opposition... Asked how York would be using this weekend, Cummins said 'Watching games. Darlo are down at Solihull so we'll go and watch them. The gaffer will probably watch them, we'll have a scout out and we'll catch another game.

'There will be three games in all, be it opposition we've got coming up or teams above us, we're just out and about really'".

Kent Live says that "Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler will be giving players that 'haven’t been playing' an opportunity to impress in their FA Trophy clash at King’s Lynn Town.

The Whites travel to face National League North table toppers King’s Lynn Town in the FA Trophy... Dover come into the game off the back of three successive defeats... after which Hessenthaler said players’ futures were on the line. The Whites have dropped to 15th in the National League off the back of the result, but have the joint-best away record in the division.

'It’s a tough game, but it’s an opportunity for other players that haven’t been playing to show me they can be in this team,' Hessenthaler said... It’s up for grabs [places]. It’s up for grabs at Chorley [next week], I don’t know what the team will be'...

King’s Lynn are yet to be beaten in 13 matches at The Walks in all competitions this season, winning nine and drawing four of those games...

Hessenthaler insisted... 'I’m taking it seriously. The team that I play are all players that want to get in the first team. We’ll still have a very strong team out there, and I want to get to Wembley... It’s a first team, there are no fringe players here. The ones that haven’t been playing, the reason for that is because I don’t feel they’re ready to be in my team. After the last few performances, they might well be ready now'...

Top scorer Inih Effiong is... ruled out of tomorrow’s clash with a knee injury".

And the Lynn News adds that "Boss Ian Culverhouse says his side have nothing to lose this weekend in the FA Trophy... in a tie that will be played to a finish with extra-time and penalties, if needed...

Culverhouse said 'We’re under no illusions how hard it is going to be. Dover are a very good side who are managed really well by Andy Hessenthaler... It’s a one-off game and we’ve got nothing to lose.'

The Linnets, who have kept four successive clean sheets, will again be without injured defenders Ryan Fryatt and Chris Smith while fellow centre-half Tom Ward is cup-tied. It is hoped that midfielder Sam Kelly may feature after missing last weekend with groin strain.

'Every question that is being asked of these players, they are answering at the minute,' admitted Culverhouse".

13 December, 2019


Altrincham FC have announced the youth loan signing of Preston North End's Ethan Walker. The loan will continue until the end of the 2019-20 season.

Preston North End say "Ethan Walker finished last term as the youth team’s top scorer for the second year in a row, but the highlight of his campaign undoubtedly came away from the U18 squad. Indeed, after a trailblazing start to the campaign, which included a hat-trick in an away match at Shrewsbury Town, Ethan began to train with the first team, despite still being a first-year scholar.

He then came off the bench to make his first team debut in the home draw against Aston Villa on Saturday 29th December 2018, becoming the youngest ever player to represent PNE in a league fixture. From Preston and with the Academy from U9 level, Ethan scored 11 goals and claimed 12 assists in 24 youth team appearances last term, completing a fine individual season. The left winger was only 14 years-old when he first played for the youth team.

Ethan made his second first team appearance on Tuesday 13th August 2019, also off the bench in the away win against Bradford City in the Carabao Cup".

Ethan is seventeen years old, having been born on 28 July, 2002. He is eligible to play in Saturday's FA Trophy match at Farsley Celtic.

On a trivial note, he becomes the third left-winger with a surname starting with "W" to join Alty this season after Lewis Walters and Luke Wall!


Unlike the game at York in the last round of the FA Trophy, this Saturday's clash at Farsley Celtic will not be played to a conclusion should the scores be level after ninety minutes. Instead, a drawn game will prompt a replay which would be most likely to take place next Tuesday, 17 December, when Alty are currently set to welcome AFC Telford United to the J. Davidson Stadium for a league match.


On the Altrincham FC official site, the club’s Assistant Manager, Neil Sorvel, described the performance last Saturday at Bradford as “possibly as poorly as we have played in the three seasons that we have been at the club. We didn’t create enough and in this brutal league anyone can beat you if you are not somewhere near the top of your game. We need to respond to this kick up the backside to get back on track this Saturday in the FA Trophy game at Farsley Celtic”.


Altrincham visit Farsley Celtic on Saturday in the Buildbase FA Trophy, First Round. Alty have not progressed beyond this round since 2015-16 when they travelled to Bognor Regis in Round Two and exited the competition at that stage.

Farsley have played four more league games than ALtrincham this season, which include a 3-1 defeat at Moss Lane.

In the league, Celtic lie eighth with 31 points from twenty games; Alty lie eighteenth with 20 points from sixteen outings.

Farsley Celtic "welcome Altrincham to the Citadel this weekend in the FA Trophy first round...

2019/20 Match Day Prices:

  • Adults: £10
  • Concessions (over 60, under-18 & students): £6
  • Under 13s & Service Personnel: Free

Admission to the Citadel, for both home and away fans, is by cash payment at the turnstiles, which are located at the main entrance to the ground adjacent to the club car park. Turnstiles open at 1.30pm. Our official match day programmes are available from inside the ground, priced at £2.00.

The food kiosk provides a variety of hot and cold snacks and drinks. It is located next to the main entrance and is open from 1.45pm. The club bar is open from 12pm and remains open throughout and after the match. There is a large selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic options including hand-pulled real ale. Customers are not permitted to take their drinks into the ground due to FA regulations.

500 seats are available in the main stand at the ground. Seats are available on a first come first served basis. Standing is available in all other areas of the ground. Covered standing can be located behind the goal in the shed end. Toilets are located next to the main stand and there are alternative facilities within the club house.

The club postcode is LS28 5BE. This postcode will take you directly to the ground. There is a large car park located at the main entrance of the ground. Car parking is FREE to all supporters on match days. Please avoid parking on the streets around the ground.

By train: New Pudsey station, on the Calder Valley Line, is a fifteen-minute walk away from the Citadel. When leaving the station follow the station road to the junction and turn right. Pass the police station on the left and continue for around 500 yards until you reach New Street (the junction cornered by “Go Outdoors”) and turn left. Turn right at Newlands which is approximately 300 yards (signposted to Farsley AFC). The Citadel is situated at the end of Newlands. Trains leave Leeds City Station and Bradford Interchange approximately every 15 minutes. Trains from Bradford take approximately 8 minutes and from 12 minutes from Leeds.

Farsley is situated on a number of bus routes: From Leeds or Bradford, the 508 and 72 all stop at "Go Outdoors" on Stanningley Road (see above for directions to the ground)".


Since Farsley Celtic reformed after its financial collapse, Alty have only visited Throstle Nest, now termed The Citadel, once before this Saturday's clash and that was when both clubs were in the EvoStik Premier.

The match was played on Saturday, 6 January 2018 and Alty won 1-0. This was Alty's first daylight visit to the Throstle Nest as their only previous visit to the forerunner Farsley club had come in 2007 in a Tuesday evening 1-1 draw in which Damian Reeves both scored and was sent off, whilst playing for Celtic. Financial problems caused Farsley Celtic Football Club, founded in 1908, to re-group as Farsley AFC in 2010 but they were later (2015) allowed to return to their previous Farsley Celtic name.

Right: Max Harrop and John Johnston enjoy theselves at Farsley in January, 2018.

On both of Alty's previous visits to Farsley, the hosts have had a player dismissed. In 2018, after Altrincham had enjoyed some pressure which featured a sequence of corners, Farsley came into the match before the interval. Alty started the second half brightly but, just after the hour-mark, Farsley striker Cockerline committed a very late challenge on Tom Hannigan. After consulting her linesman, referee Helen Conley showed the offender a red card.

Four minutes later, Hulme put Alty ahead when he impressively rounded the keeper before calmly netting. It was the seventh consecutive league match in which he has scored. In the closing stages the home side pushed forward but Altrincham defended solidly to retain their lead against the ten men.

After rotating his squad on New Year's Day, Phil Parkinson had restored Tom Hannigan and Shaun Densmore to the starting eleven but Connor Hampson was out with a groin strain. So, Andy White moved to left-back in his place.

FARSLEY CELTIC: 1. Graeme McKibbin, 2. Kurt Harris, 3. Isaac Baldwin, 4. Chris Atkinson, 5. Daniel Ellis (c), 6. Ben Atkinson, 7. Ryan Watson, 8. Nathan Turner, 9. Dan Cockerline, 10. Nathan Cartman, 11. Cameron Murray. Subs: 12. Paul Walker, 14. Luke Parkin, 15. Adam Clayton, 16. Mark Bett, 13. Kyle Trenerry (GK).

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Andy WHITE, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. Ben HARRISON, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Max HARROP, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. James POOLE, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. Tom PEERS, 14. Simon RICHMAN, 15. Sean MILLER, 16. James JONES, 20. Tim DEASY.


TASC's Mark Eckersall writes "Another Saturday and another road trip as we rejoin the FA Trophy trail with a journey to Farsley Celtic. TASC are once again offering cut-price travel to this fixture and we hope as many of you as possible will join us on the road to Wembley.

This will be our last coach trip of 2019 as we won't be doing a Boxing Day coach to Curzon Ashton as it's so close and just 20 minutes' drive, so Leamington will be our next journey on 4th January.

Prices and departure times are on the Away Travel page. You can book your place by calling the club on 0161 928 1045 after 10am each day."


The Telegraph & Argus tells us that "Bradford (Park Avenue) are appealing to fans to help fund their bid to beat the drop.

They have re-established the players' fund, which enables supporters to contribute specifically towards increasing the squad budget available to boss Mark Bower. The club used the idea during the previous two campaigns when Bower guided Avenue to successive play-off finishes...

Avenue are currently bottom of the Vanarama National League North and remain six points from safety. A club statement read 'Due to the club struggling to attract new players on the current budget, we have decided to launch the 2019/20 players fund which, once again, asks you, the fans, to make a monetary contribution to enable the current management to improve the playing squad in the attempt to retain our membership of the Vanarama National League North'...

They state 'We realise that last year’s fund was not handled in the best way with not enough acknowledgement as to how these funds had been used with regards the costs of playing staff. This will not be the case this time round... with no monies being donated to the club until we are informed which players (loan or permanent) such funds are to be used for. This information will then be passed onto you, the fans.'"

On the pitch, Bradford (Park Avenue) "play host to Halesowen Town in the first round of the FA Trophy this weekend... Bradford are coming into the fixture off the back of an important victory last weekend against Altrincham, winning 2-0 at home against one of the league’s in-form sides and return home to the Horsfall Stadium this weekend...

Halesowen, meanwhile, are on a brilliant run of form, being awarded club of the month for the Southern League Central, due to their streak of seven wins out of seven in which they scored 23 goals and conceded just one...

Coming into last weekend, the Avenue were without a win in their last six league games, but that bad run of form was put to an end with a 2-0 victory over Altrincham... and, despite the results, are starting to show the performances that got them into the play-offs last season".

According to Cheshire Live, "Chester FC chairman David Harrington-Wright says talks over extending the contracts of managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley are at an advanced stage. The Blues bosses are out of contract at the end of this National League North season and have been vocal in their desire to remain with the club and continue to build on the foundations that they have laid since first arriving in May 2018...

'I don't think it's any secret that both sides want something sorted and we are working our way towards that,' said Harrington-Wright. 'We'd like something done in the next couple of weeks if we can but there are a few factors we have to take into consideration before we finalise anything and we are just working through those'...

Johnson and Morley's first season at Chester saw them steady the ship after relegation... This season Chester currently lie in third in the National League North but some 10 points off the surprise package of the season, league leaders King's Lynn Town...

Johnson [told] Cheshire Live last month 'We love it here and we want to stay here. Me and Bern feel like we're putting down some roots, some foundations for us to have a right go at things'".

And Cheshire Live adds that "Chester FC and Hednesford Town will meet again on Tuesday of next week if the two sides can't be separated in the FA Trophy first round this weekend... As is the case in the Trophy, teams are able to decide among themselves whether or not they wish to conclude the game on the day via extra time and penalties or whether they prefer to do battle again the following week.

And Chester, as they were against Brackley Town in the previous round , were keen to have a replay should the two sides draw at Keys Park this weekend and any replay would be played on Tuesday, December 17 at the 1885 Arena. Hednesford currently have players Danny Glover and Ben Bailey at the helm following the shock departure of manager Gary Hayward and his assistant Mark Ward to Buxton at the start of the month."

The Chester Standard reports that "Anthony Johnson says that managing expectation levels among the club’s supporters is vital in the months ahead... Prospects were hit by a 2-0 reverse at Darlington last week, Johnson felt some of the post-match criticism levelled at his side on social media was unwarranted.

'It’s been a bit draining this week when I’ve read some of the stuff that’s been put out there since the game, mainly from people who weren’t there,' said Johnson. 'We went into that game in good form after winning three on the bounce and we wanted to keep that run going. The application was there and we created enough chances to have got something out of the game, but we were punished for a couple of mistakes and it wasn’t to be. Everyone’s disappointed with the result, of course, but we have to accept that there will be disappointments along the way. That’s just part of football.

'I’ve said it before; there will be bumps in the road, and the people who are criticising us and having a go need to realise that. These are the same people who say nothing when we’re hitting a bit of form and beating teams comfortably. From my point of view, nobody should be getting over-excited when we’re doing well, in the same way they shouldn’t be calling us rubbish when we lose a game... It’s about managing those expectation levels, not getting carried away after one result.'

Both Johnson and joint-manager Bernard Morley pointed to ‘mitigating factors’ at Blackwell Meadows, an enforced 28-minute delay caused by a floodlight failure chief among them...

Johnson added 'We’ve drawn a line under the Darlington game now. There’s no time to dwell on it... We’re not even halfway through the season and there’s still a long way to go, but we’re a point better off than we were this time last season and we’re still in two cup competitions as well... Looking at the next four [games] for example, we’d be aiming for at least eight points from those. If you can sustain that type of form across the season then usually you won’t be far off the top two in the league.'"

Off the pitch, Cheshire Live informs us that "David Harrington-Wright is to remain as chairman of City Fans United, the supporters group that owns Chester FC , following a board meeting earlier this week.

Harrington-Wright was re-elected as chairman with Andrew Morris remaining in the role of vice-chairman while recent addition to the board, Paul Bodman, was ratified as a board member as was Kieron Shiels who was elected at the AGM last month having previously been co-opted onto the board. Bodman will have responsibility for the commercial portfolio while Shiels will continue to look after the volunteers portfolio.

Harrington-Wright, who won National League North volunteer of the month in March of this year, stepped up into the role of chairman last year following the sudden resignation of Simon Olorenshaw during a turbulent few weeks at board level for the Blues following on from the financial crisis of January 2018 which saw a number of board members step down including then chairman Johnny Hughes.

Since taking on the role Harrington-Wright has overseen the appointment of Chester managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson, the transition from the National League to National League North following relegation and clean up opeation at the 1885 Arena in the wake of the flood damage last season.

He has also been a key member in negotiations with Blues donor Stuart Murphy since his involvement with the football club first came about in May of last year. The CFU board currently comprises Harrington-Wright, Morris, Shiel, Bodman, Mike Day, Jeff Banks, Mark Jones, David Williams, Chris Robertson (external director), Richard Lynes (non-executive director) and Paul McDermott (external director)."

The Boston Standard reports that "Boston United chairman David Newton expects to have the club's new stadium completed by the end of the 2020-21 season, he said at last night's Fans' Forum.

The Pilgrims will move into their new home,to be named the Jakemans Community Stadium, in time to kick off the new league season in August, but with only two stands completed...

'We're going to have the main stand, just over 2,000 seats, and the north stand complete for next season. The rest will be hopefully under construction. But, definitely, we will kick off next season with two stands, the pitch and most of the external works done. In terms of where we are on the stadium, we've got full steelwork up on the main stand, all the steelwork up on the north stand. The roof is virtually on now on the main stand.

'We've managed over the last couple of weeks to get all the floors concreted despite the incessant rain. All the first floors are in on the main stand, all the concrete terracing in on both... We start fitting out properly in February, on the inside. We are bang on programme despite the horrendous weather... We've got all the funding identified, which is £11.6m.

'But the balance of £4.5m is coming off the Quadrant (the adjacent housing development, under construction by Newton's Chestnut Homes company) and we need to be certain that's coming across before we press the button and start employing people to do that work. That's dependent on the housing market... But we're pretty sure we can carry straight on with it.

'We should be in there, having the rest of the stands under construction, by August next year and done within six months. So certainly by the end of next season, we'd like to think everything is finished... Compared to this, it will be a soulless new ground, because that's what they are, if you know what I mean. We'll try to make it not a soulless new ground, we've given a lot of thought to what we'll do in the concourse areas as that's where fans congregate.

'We wants some memories from the past. We've spoken to the Malkinson family (owners of the current ground and former club owners) about it as they've got a fantastic collection of memorabilia and images we want to get in... We've got lots of things in the boardroom (photographs, rosettes, history records, trophies etc) that should be around the ground and not in one room that nobody sees'".

Meanwhile, Lincolnshire Live adds that "Manager Craig Elliott has stopped short of banning talk of Newcastle United ahead of Boston United’s FA Cup replay against Rochdale...

Elliott, who is also masterminding a promotion tilt in National League North, insists United are firmly focused on Rochdale... When asked if he had banned talk of Newcastle, Elliott said 'Not entirely. It would be daft to do that because you’ve got to use it as motivation and as an incentive. We’ve got to make sure we don’t get over-confident, but that would never happened with me.

'This doesn’t happen normally. It’s a one-off and some players may never get a chance like this again. I, as a manager, might never get this chance again. When these opportunities come, you’ve got to grab them. As long as we prepare well and give it everything we’ve got, that’s all we can do. It [drawing Newcastle] has made the game bigger than what it was before. That’s reflected in the ticket sales and interest'...

The Pilgrims deservedly held Brian Barry-Murphy’s side to a goalless draw in the first game at Spotland... 'I think they’ll be fully respectful of us,' said the former Shaw Lane boss... 'For us it’s about repetition. We’ve been playing a certain way for a number of weeks now. The lads need to rely on it and use as confidence. The only thing that changes on Monday is the emotion, because we’ll be at home in front of a big crowd... We’ve got to get the balance right of playing with our hearts and with our heads.'

The Pilgrims will be without midfielders Brad Abbott (suspended) and Andi Thanoj (injured) for the replay, but experienced winger Martyn Woolford will be available. Woolford missed the first game due to suspension".

The former Scunthorpe United and Grimsby Town winger is delighted to get a second crack against Dale... Said Woolford... 'There’s a lot of quality in the squad. The Rochdale game showed that. It was a really impressive performance... To miss out on a big occasion like that was difficult, but I’m delighted to get a second chance.'”

At Gateshead "With the festive period just around the corner, and with no fixture this weekend, the Heed’s management team have had the chance to prepare for what is to come.

Gateshead are back in action on December 21 for the first game of five in just 15 days, away to Boston United, before facing Blyth Spartans twice, as well as Spennymoor Town and Hereford.

First-team coach Michael Nelson believes that a balance must be struck in the build-up to such a hectic schedule, saying 'It’s just about planning the load really, in terms of how much you want to try and get into the lads. You need get the right amount of training into them without taking too much out of their legs, and obviously there is that element as well of making sure that we don’t kill them too much by having them in every single day.

'We need to keep them on-side as well by giving them time to spend with their families over Christmas... One thing isn’t going to work for everyone so you’ve just got to try and manage it as best as you can.'

The Heed recorded an impressive 3-1 win over Alfreton Town last Saturday, simultaneously debuting a new playing system which saw three central defenders take to the field, while Jordan Preston and Josh Kayode both started in attack. Everything worked out as planned with the striking duo both on the scoresheet, and debutant Jake Cooper looked assured on the left side of the back three, despite only signing the day before the game.

'We’re always looking to improve and we felt that system would work,' added Nelson. 'We tried it in training and the lads bought into it, we’ve got players in those positions with certain attributes that suit them to that system. It probably won’t work week in, week out and we’ll have to adapt it throughout the course of a game. It worked out the first time we tried it and hopefully it can do that again for us'...

Nelson continued, 'We’re sitting in an alright position and, although we’d prefer to be higher, things could be a lot worse as well.'"

At King's Lynn Town "The Linnets turn their attentions to the Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday when National League Dover Athletic visit The Walks for a first round clash. Town will be looking to continue their fine league form in Non-League football’s premier knockout competition... However the test for Lynn will be a tough one against a side who play a level higher than themselves and have tasted victory no fewer than seven times in the league on the road this season to date.

Manager Ian Culverhouse will again be without centre backs Ryan Fryatt and Chris Smith who are both looking at returns to action in the New Year. Sam Kelly will be assessed on Saturday following a groin niggle and Tom Ward is cup tied. Saturday’s fixture will be decided on the day with Dover and the Linnets in agreement in not wanting a replay...

The winners on Saturday will receive £4,500 in prize money with the losers picking up £1,500."

12 December 2019


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years remind us that the last time Alty played on Saturday's date, 14 December, it was nine years ago, and the match in question represented a great escape. The match in 2010, as in 2019, was an FA Trophy First Round match. The opponents on that Tuesday night at the Tameside Stadium were Curzon Ashton, who were operating a step below Alty who were in the national level of the Conference at that time, albeit heading for relegation at the end of that season.

The original game, on the previous Saturday, had been abandoned at half-time due to a power failure which put the floodlights out of action, with Alty trailing 2-1, though they could have been 4-0 down such had been their poor defensive display.

Right: Before the lights went out in the original tie, Shaun Densmore, James Smith and Robbie Williams are seen in action at Curzon Ashton in 2010.

In the replayed match, after a fairly even first half in which Curzon's McDonagh had the best chance but saw Coburn block his shot, Altrincham scored two late goals to earn an away tie at Blyth Spartans in Round Two of the FA Trophy on January 15th. Centre-back Robbie Williams volleyed home from close range in the 84th minute before a Chris Denham penalty in injury time saw the home keeper dismissed and Denham blast the penalty home.

Alty had again omitted Robbie Lawton, Damian Reeves and Michael Welch from their squad but Andy Milne returned to the bench. Anthony Danylyk and Michael Twiss came into the starting line up replacing Ryan Brown and Wes Baynes.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. James SMITH (captain), 4. Marc JOSEPH, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 25. Matt SOMNER, 11. Nicky CLEE, 10. Chris DENHAM, 19. Mark BEESLEY, 9. Michael TWISS, Subs: 21. James COATES, 27. Andy MILNE, 17. Wes BAYNES, 12. Kevin HOLSGROVE, 20. Sam HEWSON.


Mike Garnett's records reveal the historical record betwen Altrincham and the current version of Farsley Celtic, who meet on Saturday in the FA Trophy.
  • Home: P2-W3-D0-L0-F9-A1
  • Away: P1-W1-D0-L0-F1-A0
  • All: P3-W3-D0-L0-F10-A-1

Altrincham's record against the original Farsley Celtic was:

  • Home P3 W1 D2 L0 F5 A2
  • Away P1 W.0 D1 L0 F1 A1
  • All P4 W1 D3 L0 F6 A3

Altrincham travel to Farsley on Saturday for their FA Trophy tie against the Celts at The Citadel. Former Alty keeper Elliot Wynne [right], who is now with Farsley Celtic, has missed recent games through injury.

On Tuesday night, Farsley were in action as FC Halifax Town reports.

"FC Halifax Town lost in midweek 2-1 to Farsley Celtic in the quarter finals of the West Riding County Cup at The Citadel. A second half goal from Matt Rowson wasn’t enough to turn the tide as Nathan Cartman and Ben Atkinson scored for the home side.

Farsley started out the better of the two sides with Dave Syers dragging a shot wide and forcing keeper Will Appleyard into a good save. Town soon grew into the game, conditions certainly played a part with a heavy wind and rain affecting the pitch and stopping the ball getting over the halfway line...

10 minutes before the break Farsley took the lead through Cartman. A cross in from the right wing, which Town failed to properly clear, was put back in for Cartman to knock in at the near post...

[In the second half] The Shaymen started the better of the two sides and it soon paid off. MacDonald again providing a dangerous cross on the right into the corridor of uncertainty and Rowson was there sliding in to bring it back level.

Town pushing forward in now favourable conditions were hit on the counter with Jimmy Spencer crossing low for Atkinson to strike first time past Appleyard... It finished 2-1 to Farsley who now go onto the semi-final...

Farsley: Trenerry, B. Atkinson, Hayhurst, Regan, Higgins, Clayton (C), Syers, C. Atkinson (Maltby 82), Francis (Richards 64), Cartman, Parkin (Spencer 64) Subs: Maltby, Bower, Spencer, Richards, Cogil".


The next visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium, on Tuesday 17 December, are AFC Telford United.

From the Shropshire Star we learn that manager "Gavin Cowan expects his AFC Telford United players to remain chipper around the club despite another defeat.

The Bucks boss, whose side lost 2-0 at home to Farsley Celtic on Saturday, worked hard over the last two months to re-shape his New Buck's Head squad in a mini mid-season rebuild as he sought to improve the group.

Cowan has spoken about how his current ranks are a better group than the squad that pushed Telford to the verge of the play-offs and an FA Trophy final last term.... Cowan said 'When we were flying last season I tried to remain level and say it's important not to get too excited or down. With players there is an outdated mentality that they're expected to come in and train and be down in the dumps.

'That can create a vicious cycle of negativity. You have to enjoy work, even in the dark times as well as in the successful times. You can't stay in that cycle. At the moment we're winning games and everyone is encouraged and we're looking to carry on that momentum and kick on.'

Bucks' no.2. Phil Trainer, a promotion winning hero with Telford, backed up Cowan by admitting this season's squad is a better group than sides he played in.

Cowan believes a prerequisite of succeeding as a player at Telford is by 'working hard, showing desire and doing a job-and-a-half' but has made a point of assembling the correct characters in his Bucks' dressing room after admitting players kept on from last season lacked humility this time around following previous achievements.

Telford turn their attention away from league action as they welcome Leamington in the FA Trophy first round proper on Saturday before the trip to Altrincham in National North next Tuesday."


The Boston Standard reports that "Craig Elliott is expecting a ‘totally different game’ as Boston United and Rochdale prepare to lock horns for a second time.

The two sides played out an entertaining goalless draw at Spotland, and the winners of Monday night’s replay, to be screened on BT Sport, will earn the right to host Premier League Newcastle United in Round Three.

But Craig Elliott says all attention has turned to finding a way to beat the Dale, as he studies videos of the League One side and puts his squad through their paces in training.

'I think it will be a totally different game,' he said. 'We’ve had a look at them and they’ve had a look at us as well now. They’ve got two or three players back from injury and we’ve lost a couple, so it’ll be very different.'

United [are] the lowest-ranked team left in the competition... 'We’re at home and we want to make the most of that', Elliott said. 'We didn’t come away from the first game thinking "we didn’t deserve that draw". We’ll be confident going into the next game. We’ve got good, experienced players who have played in front of big crowds. We’re hoping the fans can be our motivators and get behind us. We’ll need them as Rochdale like to play possession football'...

Neither side will be in action this weekend."

From the Telegraph & Argus we learn that "Bradford (Park Avenue) striker Tom Clare is disappointed that he will be unable to feature in his side's FA Trophy second round tie with Halesowen Town this Saturday.

Clare had a superb home debut in Avenue's 2-0 win against Altrincham, bagging his first goal in only his second appearance for the club, but will be cup-tied in the competition after playing for Boston earlier on in the season. The forward joined Horsfall after his contract had been terminated by mutual consent at the Lincolnshire club last month.

Previously, the 20-year-old has had spells at Barnsley and Avenue's neighbours Bradford City, whom he joined during the 2018 summer but failed to make an appearance for the senior squad and was loaned to Boston in March this year before signing permanently for the current campaign.

However, his stay at United, having scored five goals in 15 games, was a short one...

Clare is keen to continue his scoring run once league action returns in ten days when Avenue travel to Spennymoor Town. He said 'It is frustrating but there is nothing I can do about it... Last week (at Chester) I came on for a bit and it was just nice to get playing again...

'Everyone battled to the end (against Altrincham) and worked hard. If you do that nine times out of 10 you win the game.'

Even though Mark Bower's men gained that crucial victory over 15th-placed Altrincham, they currently sit rock bottom in the league, six points away from safety... The striker also enjoyed linking up with trio Oli Johnson, Alex Hirst and the returning Nicky Clee.

He added 'It is good because they put good balls in. I know their strengths and they play to mine. Playing like that, we have got a good chance. It is about repeating performances like that every week and making sure we get the three points at the end'".

Also from the Telegraph & Argus comes news that "Guiseley gave an uninspiring performance in a defeat at Nethermoor on Tuesday against a side that hadn’t registered a win since mid-October.

On a foul night with a strong wind blowing down the pitch and persistent heavy showers, the visitors adapted better to the conditions than the Lions and could have been a couple of goals to the good going into the break with some steadier finishing.

As it was, they found themselves trailing to a Kaine Felix strike after ex-Lions' Cliff Moyo and centre-back partner Ryan Johnson had contrived to set up the returning winger, who beat William Mannion with a pristine finish five minutes before the break...

With hailstones added to the rain on the restart, the game was proving to be a battle against the conditions for both teams, but it was the Harriers who struck 11 minutes in when Ashley Chambers capitalised on some indecisive defending to grab an equaliser.

With the visitors growing in confidence, it was no surprise when they took the lead through when Samuel Austin cut inside and curled a sublime shot into the top corner from 25 yards out on 64 minutes. Having conceded the lead, the home side re-organised at the back as Hamza Bencherif, who had been playing up front in the absence of the injured Aaron Martin, reverted to his normal centre back position.

Paul Clayton also replaced Shaw, as the Lions sought to get back into the game. However, it was the visitors who had a goal ruled out for offside with 14 minutes remaining... Scott Smith and Nathan Newall replaced Dylan Barkers and Nicholson with seven minutes left on the clock... as the Lions forced two successive corners, which came to nothing as they slipped to their third home defeat in a row."

According to Cheshire Live, "Chester FC back-up goalkeeper Theo Roberts is to spend the rest of the season with Bet Victor Northern North West Division side Mossley AFC.

Roberts, 21, joined the Lilywhites on loan at the start of October having spent time with Atherton Collieries earlier in the campaign for a brief loan spell.

The goalkeeper, who joined Chester in the summer of 2018 following his release from Wigan Athletic, will now spend the rest of the campaign with the Seel Park club... although the Blues do have a clause in place should they need to recall him from his loan. Last season Roberts spent the campaign with Buxton and earned rave reviews and a place in the Northern Premier League's Team of the Year and had been linked with a permanent move there in the summer.

Roberts has yet to appear in a competitive game for Chester but did feature briefly in pre-season during a friendly against former club Wigan."

Spennymoor Town report that "Four goals from Adam Boyes sealed a resounding victory for a strong Moors side against Sunderland RCA in the Durham Challenge Cup...

A strong Moors line-up were second best in the first fifteen minutes...

Ward was involved soon after... immediately clutching his hamstring after attempting a ball over the top to Ryan Hall. The midfielder headed straight down the tunnel and was replaced by David Webb. That change was quickly proceeded by the opening goal of the contest as Boyes capitalised on a mistake from RCA defender Sam Lilley...

A previously tight contest was taken away from the plucky visitors courtesy of a quick fire double from the lethal Boyes, who completed a clinical first half hat-trick...

Moors’ comprehensive half time lead was reduced just two minutes after the restart when Stephen Callen headed in an in-swinging free kick, giving the Northern League side a glimmer of hope. That goal gave RCA confidence and they dominated the following ten minutes without managing to carve out a clear opening, allowing Moors to restore their three goal advantage twelve minutes into the second half...

Four became five with eighteen minutes remaining as Spennymoor utilised the quick counter attack, a weapon which Moors utilised throughout the game."

Alfreton Town's "poor run of form continued as Gateshead struck early in the first before adding two late on in the second to seal all three points and condemn the Reds to a third straight defeat and a fourth game without a win in all competitions.

Kayode gave the Heed the lead after nine minutes with a well taken finish on the turn under pressure which found its way into the bottom corner. The Reds then equalised with 57 gone as Dale Whitham fired a loose ball into the bottom corner after an Amari Morgan-Smith nod down.

However two late goals from Preston on 77, a wonder-strike into the top corner from 25 yards and a great individual goal from Kayode for his second of the game sealed the three points for the hosts and continued the Reds' poor run of form...

With nine minutes gone the Heed took the lead. Kayode was found in the box and he held the ball up very well before firing into the bottom left corner...

The second half was once again far better for the Reds... before the Reds did level the contest on 57... The loose ball then fell for Dale Whitham who found the bottom corner... Alfreton had a foot-hold in the contest with the home fans massively vocal throughout the second period... before Gateshead's pressure did toll [sic] as Preston got his goal on 77 and it was a superb finish as he cut inside and fired into the top corner from 25 yards.

Then in stoppage time, the hosts added a third as Kayode produced a great individual goal cutting inside before twisting back across Killock and finishing under Atkinson to seal a 3-1 win for Gateshead.

It was another defeat for Billy Heath's side who, despite improving in the second half, were well beaten with the Heed's inter-play and ball retention impressive throughout. Two late goals secured a comfortable score-line and Alfreton head into Saturday's game with Gloucester City needing three points to arrest the poor form".

Leamington "stretched their unbeaten run, whilst bringing their home game period to an end, to 6 with a 2-2 draw at home to Spennymoor Town.

With an upbeat Brakes' camp after an emphatic 3-0 win over one of Spennymoor’s fellow north-eastern sides Darlington on Tuesday, Paul Holleran was forced into a change as a result of Stephan Morley’s red card 7 days ago against Guiseley. George Carline fitted into left back superbly, as Kaiman Anderson took to the wing.

Brakes wasted no time in starting quickly, as Josh March sprinted down the left hand side to put a teasing low ball into the middle of the box, Kaiman Anderson sliding home past Gould to put the Brakes one up, when not all of the crowd had taken their places!

Spennymoor found a way through the Brakes defence and... Rob Ramshaw stood on the edge of the box to volley past a helpless Weaver...

The away side caught the Brakes defence snoozing again. Ryan Hall found space to drive into the box and curl the ball past Jake Weaver and turn the game around to send the strong following of Spennymoor fans in the stand into delirium. The visitors held out for half time...

Spennymoor looked to carry on how they left off, as on the 55th minute, Glen Taylor ran through into the Brakes box, Jack Edwards stopping his run at the cost of a penalty. From the resulting penalty, Taylor looked to finish what he had earned but blasted the ball over the bar and into the roof of the Harbury Lane End... The penalty miss seemed to give the Brakes confidence...

With 76 on the clock, Josh March was sent clear on goal only to be halted by an onrushing Chris Mason, the Spennymoor captain guilty of giving the Brakes a penalty. Cool as you like Josh March stepped up to do what Glen Taylor couldn’t 20 minutes earlier, sending Matt Gould the wrong way... and a draw was probably the fairest outcome, with Paul Holleran praising his side for a ‘very good point against a strong Spennymoor side, who did something in the first half that no team has done to us for a long time (as they) smothered us’... and also claimed that the Brakes were ‘happy with a point, Spennymoor deserved something out of the game’".

11 December 2019


Altrincham dropped to 18th in the league after Kidderminster went above them following Tuesday's result...

  • Guiseley 1-2 Kidderminster Harriers


Saturday's trip to Farsley Celtic is Altrincham's twelfth away game in their last fifteen fixtures (80%).

  • Sat. 14.9.19 AWAY Kidderminster Harriers LOST
  • Sat. 21.9.19 AWAY Chester FC (FA Cup) DREW
  • Tue. 24.9.19 HOME CHESTER FC (FA Cup replay) WON
  • Sat. 5.10.19 AWAY Halesowen Town (FA Cup) WON
  • Sat. 12.10.19 AWAY Guiseley DREW
  • Sat. 19.10.19 AWAY Southport (FA Cup) WON
  • Sat. 2.11.19 AWAY King's Lynn Town DREW
  • Sat. 9.11.19 AWAY York City (FA Cup) WON
  • Sat. 16.11.19 HOME HEREFORD FC WON
  • Tue. 19.11.19 HOME GATESHEAD WON
  • Sat. 23.11.19 AWAY York City (FA Trophy) WON
  • Sat. 30.11.19 AWAY Portsmouth (FA Cup) LOST
  • Tue. 3.12.19 AWAY Stalybridge Celtic (CSC) LOST
  • Sat. 7.12.19 AWAY Bradford (Park Avenue) LOST
  • Sat.14.12.19 AWAY Farsley Celtic (FA Trophy)

As can be seen, a sequence of ten games without defeat has recently become three successive defeats.


Farsley Celtic report that on Saturday "It was a case of a game of two halves, as Farsley notched up their first league win in seven attempts, with a 2-0 win at AFC Telford United.

The hosts dominated for the majority of the first half but couldn’t convert their many shots into a goal. In the second 45, Farsley looked much more of a threat and they wrapped up the win thanks to a goal from Akeel Francis and Will Hayhurst’s deflected cross for the second...

It was pretty much one-way traffic for the entire half but dogged defending and some fantastic last-ditch tackles from Jack Higgins, Danny Ellis and Chris Atkinson stopped firstly Dinanga and then James McQuilkin...

The Celts looked far more dangerous after the break, and the deadlock was broken two minutes before the hour mark, when Jordan Richards swung in a cross and Francis turned the ball past the goalkeeper.

And Farsley’s first Vanarama National League North win since October 19 was confirmed six minutes from time, as Hayhurst’s low cross was turned into his own goal by Theo Streete for 2-0.

There were unsavoury scenes at the final whistle after Telford captain Ellis Deeney, brother of Watford’s Troy Deeney, kicked the ball at Hayhurst after the whistle had been sounded. Fracas broke out where the incident happened which led to two players from each side being cautioned, including Deeney receiving his second yellow of the game as he was sent off...

Farsley Celtic: Trenerry, Richards, Allan, Higgins, Ellis (Clayton 65), C Atkinson, B Atkinson, Hayhurst, Spencer, Francis (Syers 87), Parkin (Regan 87). Subs not used: Bower, Cartman".

On Tuesday, Farsley Celtic reported that "Halifax Town visit the Citadel with a place in the West Riding County Cup semi-finals at stake.

Adam Lakeland’s Farsley side are unbeaten in their last four games, and have lost just one of their last seven in all competitions. Saturday also saw a five-game winless run in the league come to an end...

Farsley Celtic's Tyler Walton and Elliot Wynne are both unlikely to feature due to injury, whilst Danny Ellis is a doubt after suffering a knock in the victory over AFC Telford United. On a positive note, Adam Clayton did make his comeback from injury as a substitute in the same game, so could feature again".


We learn from Lincolnshire Live that "The countdown to Boston United’s huge FA Cup clash against Rochdale is under way.

A third round tie at home to Premier League giants Newcastle United is at stake in next Monday’s televised second round replay at The Jakemans Stadium...

Both teams now have a clear period of preparation before the FA Cup showdown under the York Street floodlights, with the National League granting special dispensation for the postponement of United’s scheduled home fixture against Brackley Town.

In the aftermath of Saturday’s win at Aggborough, United boss Craig Elliott said 'It’s nice to get three points and now fully focus on what is going to be a good build-up and an amazing game. They are a League One team at the end of the day, with fantastic players, and I think it makes the draw even better that we achieved at their place.

'I am under no illusions that it is going to be difficult because they will want to play Newcastle as much as we do. We are going to have to put on a superhuman performance but I am just looking forward to the challenge and the occasion because that’s what we are in it for.

'It’s absolutely amazing support from the league. It is a rare thing and we are the last [National League North] team left, so we will try and do the league proud. We are really thankful because it gives the lads the best preparation to give the best version of ourselves.'

Midfielder Brad Abbott will not feature against Rochdale after picking up his fourth caution of the competition in the original tie at Spotland, with fellow middleman Andi Thanoj extremely doubtful with a groin injury. Huddersfield Town recalled Demeaco Duhaney after the first tie, with the 21-year-old subsequently starting the Terriers’ Championship defeat to Leeds United on Saturday, leaving Elliott short of three players who featured at Spotland.

On the flip side, defender Alex Penny returned to the starting XI at Kidderminster following concussion, while midfielder Martyn Woolford is now suspension-free.

'I was devastated when we lost Demeaco but I am relieved that we have got a great replacement in Alex Penny,' continued Elliott... 'I am gutted for Brad. He very rarely misses a minute and he’s always available and never misses training. It is disappointing for him because he deserves that game next week but that is football and you have got to move on and it gives somebody else a chance.'

United fans’ favourite Dayle Southwell returned to the club on loan from FC Halifax Town last week, alongside versatile right-sider Aaron Rowe on loan from Huddersfield, and both emerged from the bench in the second half at Kidderminster. Southwell is cup-tied and Rowe is not eligible to feature in the Rochdale replay because he was not registered for the original tie.

Monday evening’s winners will pocket £204,000 in terms of prize and TV money, with the Newcastle tie set to be televised on Saturday January 4".

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Former Bradford (Park Avenue) players attended the successful launch of a new book at Horsfall stadium... Subscribers to the book turned out in force to receive their copies of Jeremy Charnock's ‘Diary of a Lost Cause – Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC 1966-1970’.

In an evening high on nostalgia, with many a memory shared as supporters also looked to the future with optimism for the current club, a notable highlight was the showing of archive footage from the Avenue taking on Doncaster Rovers at the former Park Avenue ground in 1968...

Copies of the book, which charts the club’s relegation from the Football League almost fifty years ago, are available from both Waterstones and the Supporters’ Club shop at Horsfall on match days."

According to York Press "Dan Maguire's return to full fitness is one of Steve Watson’s main hopes for York City’s upcoming break.

Having been knocked out of the FA Trophy by Altrincham last month, York have extended time off until their next match at home to Darlington on December 21.

Watson currently has three players on the sidelines carrying injuries, with Maguire and Josh King both missing the side’s 0-0 draw at Kettering on Saturday while Joe Tait hobbled off with a hamstring problem during the second half...

Maguire... who was recruited from Blyth in the summer, has been plagued by injuries since his move, limiting him to only seven starts.

'There’s going to be a lot of points up for grabs in the next four weeks and we’ve got decent options,' said Watson. 'One of the biggest things for us is getting Dan back and ready for this spell...

'Kyle McFarlane is back with us now and we’ll have a look at where he’s at... We’ve started a mini run again being three games unbeaten. We got a good win at home (over Alfreton) and two good away draws (against Hereford and Kettering)... This spell is vital. Around mid-December to coming out of January can be season-defining'".

Hereford FC report that "Midfielder Tom Owen-Evans has joined Vanarama National League South side Chippenham Town on loan.

The initial loan deal will run until 6th January".

10 December 2019


Assuming he plays at Farsley, it will be Shaun Densmore's four-hundreth appearance for Altrincham, for whom he has made 372 starts and 27 appearances from the bench and has netted 29 goals.

He was signed initially on a month's contract on 12 September 2008, after being released by Everton, where he had been their Academy Player of the Year. After trials with Bradford City he joined Altrincham, making his Alty debut on 16th September 2008. On 13 October 2008 he signed on for the rest of 2008-09 season, having impressed in a run of seven unbeaten games in the side.

The son of former Altrincham player of the 1980s, Peter Densmore, Shaun followed his father into the England semi-pro international side and scored on his debut for England "C" side against Malta in February, 2009. Sadly, he picked up a medial ligament injury in February 2011 which sidelined him till the latter part of that season.

A regular starter in 2011-12 in central midfield, Shaun was named captain on the departure of Robbie Lawton in November, 2011, a role later assumed by Jake Moult in 2017. Most of his recent appearances have been at right-back and his wholehearted approach and his excellent freekicks made him a key member of the team. However, his 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons were disrupted by injury and, in January 2016, it was announced that a knee operation would terminate his season. He also missed much of 2016-17 through injury.

Following the resignation of manager Neil Young on 28 August 2016, Shaun, along with Alan Goodall and Jake Moult, was appointed to a joint caretaker-management role before the brief tenure of Jim Harvey. Shaun made a welcome but brief return to playing action on 6 December 2016 in the FA Trophy but was then sidelined again by injury for much of the remainder of that campaign.

In 2017-18 he initially started mostly playing as left-back, before re-establishing himself at right-back with some outstanding performances. By the closing stages of the season he was back to his best but an injury curtailed his appearances in the final games and another injury early in 2018/19 season also sidelined him.

Above: Shaun Densmore leads the celebrations after scoring Alty's fourth in the 5-3 win over Chorley in April, 2019.

2018/19 and the early part of 2019/20 saw Shaun mainly in a substitute's role, in which he proved extremely dependable before regaining a regular starting berth.


See the adjacent poster, right, for full details of the annual Christmas Toy Appeal, organised by Alty stand sponsors, Smart Storage. Please support this initiative if you can!

Donations can be left at the Altrincham FC offices.


Altrincham travel to West Yorkshire to face Farsley Celtic in the FA Trophy First Round on 14 December.

Farsley Celtic report that they "defeated Workington 1-0 in the third qualifying round on Saturday to reach the first round proper for a third time since reforming, with an all-National League North tie awaiting.

Altrincham have already seen off National League North opposition after defeating York City 1-0 in the previous round, and have showed [sic] their cup pedigree this season, reaching the FA Cup second round.

The Robins have got one over on Farsley already this season after a 3-1 victory at the J. Davidson Stadium back in August, so Adam Lakeland’s side will be seeking revenge as they look to reach the second round for the first time".


Cheshire Live says that "Darlington manager Alun Armstrong feared that his side would have to replay their game with Chester FC at the weekend after floodlight failure at Blackwell Meadows.

With his side deservedly 2-0 up at half time on Saturday the lights went out at the Quakers' stadium and everything [was] plunged into darkness leading to a 30-minute delay for the start of the second half.

Referee Kristian Silcock had informed Armstrong and Chester managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley that unless all eight floodlights were in operation then the game would be abandoned, something that would have been very rough on the home side who dominated a lacklustre Blues side in the opening 45 minutes.

One set of floodlights tripped the rest and the was a growing feeling that the game was about to be abandoned before power was finally restored and the game allowed to go ahead just after 4.30pm.

And Armstrong thought the football gods were working against his side for a moment and was left fearing the worst.

'It was that close to being abandoned and I'm just delighted that we got that over the line,' Armstrong told the Quakers' official website. 'I thought it was gone because he (the referee) said he wanted all the lights on, at first, and we knew one was knackered so I was really worried at that point because you didn't want to play again on the Wednesday night.

"The lads had put themselves in a great position and I think to replay it would have killed us, mentally it would have been tough to deal with. It was tough enough to keep them switched on [the players rather than the lights presumably!] while we were waiting."

It would have been the ultimate get out of jail card for the Blues had it been called, and in the spirit of the game it would have left something of a bad taste in the mouth. Chester deserved nothing from the game on the whole and that is what they got, the defeat seeing them fall 10 points behind leaders King's Lynn Town.

The Blues made a fist of it in the second half and had Darlington throwing bodies on the line...

'It was no more than we deserved and I think everyone could see that,' said Armstrong. 'They (Chester) are a decent side and they are up there for a reason. They are big and physical and the seven (Brad Jackson) was really good and Lidds (Michael Liddle) had his hands full today... We need to perform like that every week.'"

Gloucester City can confirm that defensive midfielder Chris Knowles has left the Tigers.

Knowles had been with the club since the 2014/15 season and had been a regular name on the teamsheet in those six seasons in both the National North and South, known for his hard tackling, committed displays and notably his ability to score from headers. The 33 year old made over 150 appearances for the side".

From the Hereford Times we learn that "Hereford FC manager Russell Slade was left frustrated as his side fell to an uninspiring 2-0 defeat at one of the clubs struggling at the foot of the table.

Slade's side should've capitalised on two great chances within the opening three minutes of Saturday afternoon's game at Curzon Ashton, before the hosts got a foothold in the game.

'It was always going to be tougher finding that intensity and tempo we had on Tuesday,' Slade said... 'By and large we've been okay at home, away from home we're not giving ourselves a chance. There's too many times we've gone a goal down or two goals down and actually not from great play but from mistakes and errors, which has cost us dearly.

'In the second half I felt we huffed and we puffed and we were much more competitive, we've worked their goalkeeper and Brand[on Hall]'s not had a save to make, we're the away team but the damage has been done... We've given ourselves a very difficult task of getting back in the game when we're 2-0 down, we know and we've seen it before and we've got to do something about it'...

Curzon took the lead inside five minutes. The referee awarded the hosts a controversial penalty after Jared Hodgkiss was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. Sean Miller stepped up and duly converted, before Charlie Jolley added a second after a defensive mix up from Hereford.

The Bulls went into the game off the back of one of their best performances of the season as they drew 2-2 at home against York City on Tuesday... 'Away from home we've got to start picking up points', Slade said".

Hereford have won three away league games this season; only six teams in the division have done better than that.

Meanwhile, Blyth Spartans' "manager Lee Clark says his side didn’t test National League North leaders King’s Lynn Town enough during the 3-0 defeat on Saturday.

Spartans more than matched their visitors for large parts of the game... Indeed, Clark was disappointed with the goals Blyth conceded...

'We were doing ok until an error cost us the first goal,' said Clark. 'We were having the better of the game and more than matched King’s Lynn. But we didn’t capitalise on good situations and didn’t take the initiative enough. We continued to be a little stand-offish through the game. I thought we played within ourselves and this meant the match went away from us.

'The three goals we conceded were the poorest ones you’d have seen at any level of football across the country on Saturday. Nevertheless we had some good possession in the second half too but didn’t test their keeper enough... I don’t want to say that we made a good fist of it. Against good sides we haven’t been at the standard we want it to be...

'We need wins. Talk is cheap, we need to do it on the pitch.'”

Also from Blyth Spartans we learn that "Mark Foden has left the club to join Northern League Division One side Hebburn Town. Foden, 23, moved to Croft Park in the summer from Gateshead and established himself in between the sticks once the first six games had passed.

However, following the arrival of Middlesbrough loanee Zach Hemming, Foden had dropped out of the starting 11 in recent weeks.

In total, he made 13 appearances for Spartans, including four clean sheets which followed twice against Curzon Ashton, Heaton Stannington and Farsley Celtic... Said manager Lee Clark, 'I brought Zak Hemming in and, although we have conceded 11 goals in 4 games, none of them have been down to him. He has been outstanding and has done so well we could let Mark go.'"

According to the Banbury Guardian the "Saints capped off a busy week of three away games with another win in a hard fought and physical encounter at Guiseley, the points secured through second half goals from Glenn Walker and Lee Ndlovu in Saturday's 2-0 success.

The first half produced few clear cut chances, Guiseley’s George Cantrill’s shot late in the half brought an important save from Danny Lewis in a rare effort on target.

Saints took control in the second half, a key moment being the first goal after 59 minutes that set Saints on their way to victory. Glenn Walker struck an exquisite volley that Guiseley keeper Marcus Dewhurst did well to push out only for Walker to make ground to force the ball over the line in the ensuing goalmouth scramble...

The visitors managed the game well. Guiseley captain Scott Garner received an 86th minute straight red card for a challenge that ended Wes York’s afternoon as he left the field injured and Ndlovu rounded off another hard working performance with another goal...

Saints' boss Kevin Wilkin said 'Guiseley are a strong and capable side so we needed to be resilient. There wasn’t a lot in the game but we had the better moments and I don’t think anyone would argue that we didn’t deserve to win the game. There were some strong, powerful men out there and good athletes on both sides. They were hard to break down but we kept going, the whole team working as a unit. Keeping a clean sheet is the icing on the cake for us.

'I can’t ask more of those players, to go to Farsley on Tuesday night and then to come here, these are tough games and for different reasons. Glenn [Walker] has great quality, it was a superb volley on his wrong foot and then to get in there to finish it off as Shane [Byrne] set it up was massive for us. That is the awareness and understanding that those players bring for us. It was a terrific finish by Lee [Ndlovu] who worked incredibly hard again. He is pivotal for us'".

In the Shropshire Star "Boss Gavin Cowan bemoaned AFC Telford United for lacking a killer instinct in their defeat to Farsley Celtic.

The Bucks slipped to a 2-0 home loss despite dominating the National North clash for long spells.

'Since I’ve been a manager that’s arguably the best 45 minutes I’ve seen (in the first half); that was an awesome showing from the lads,' said Cowan. 'But the one thing we said at half-time is that we have to be more ruthless. We had a string of chances; we looked at the stats; crosses, shots, shots on target, shots off target, penalty area entries, second balls, if it had been a boxing match it would have been stopped, but it’s not, it’s a football match.

'They came to smash and grab and we fell foul to some of the dark arts, but I’m not complaining about that, it’s a part of the game.'

The Bucks held the whip hand in a one-sided first half... 'They changed their formation, but we kept knocking on the door and creating chances. I thought their two centre-halves defended for their lives, and we just needed a bit more desire to be on the end of things. That’s where forwards have to take responsibility, and the attacking midfielders.

'A lot of people will be questioning our defenders, but I’m looking at our forwards and wondering why we’re not two, three, four goals ahead. The game should have been dead and buried'.

Cowan didn’t begrudge Farsley their victory... 'I’m sure they didn’t imagine we’d have as many opportunities and as chances as we did, and they rode their luck, to say the least,' he added... 'For 70 minutes we were out and out the best team, but when they scored it took the wind out of our sails, and it’s very hard to take when it’s like that.'

Frustration at the full-time whistle brought a dismissal for Bucks captain Ellis Deeney for a second bookable offence, to compound the day’s disappointment for Cowan."

AFC Telford United also "confirm midfielder Henry Cowans will spend a month on loan at Stourbridge FC.

The 23 year old will join the Glassboys until the 6th January 2020."

The Boston Standard reports that "Craig Elliott says his enthusiasm to deliver success at Boston United is exactly the same as when he first arrived at York Street.

The Pilgrims boss notched up game number 100 with the club on Saturday, a 3-1 win at Kidderminster Harriers. The club sits seventh in the National League North and are preparing for next Monday's FA Cup replay against Rochdale, a far cry from the relegation-threatened side he inherited in November 2017.

'If feels like 1,000 games to be honest,' Elliott joked. 'I've loved my time at Boston, and the club's in a far better position than when I came in. It's a difficult club to manage, because there is expectation. But I've loved everything about my time here. My enthusiasm for it is exactly the same... The important thing is to keep on progressing and, hopefully, my next 100 games can bring the club success, in whatever shape that is, promotion or the cups.'"

Bradford's Telegraph & Argus states that "Promotion rivals Guiseley and Farsley Celtic remain in the National North play-off places but both slipped down one place after dropping points at home.

Guiseley faced a new club but a familiar face as Kettering Town, who gained promotion to the National League set-up last season, visited Nethermoor. The new manager of the Poppies is former Lions' boss Paul Cox and it was his first away game in charge.

Cox will have gone home happy after his side bossed the game. The 2-1 scoreline looked close but the visitors were the better side throughout and the points were safe after Joel Carta scored a five-minute brace either side of the interval...

The Poppies’ keeper Paul White made a handful of top drawer saves but he was denied a clean sheet by Guiseley’s leading scorer Aaron Martin as he headed in a consolation goal into stoppage time.

Lions’ joint manager Russ O’Neill said 'It was disappointing all round. From minute one to the 90th minute we just didn’t get going and it didn’t look like us. We pushed for an equaliser late on and I think if we had got one it would have been harsh on Kettering. We weren’t right and deserved to get beaten on the day'...

Farsley are still one place above their neighbours after they dropped from fifth to sixth. The Celts were hosting Gloucester City, who were in 14th but were just three points worse off than Guiseley in the congested table.

Farsley took a first-minute lead but were soon pegged back as the Tigers held the Celts to a 1-1 draw.

An early tester from Farsley’s Jimmy Spencer proved to be too hot for Tigers’ keeper Will Henry, who is on loan from League Two outfit Swindon Town. The young stopper parried Spencer’s shot but that allowed Dave Syers to tuck the rebound home.

The visitors replied in the 17th minute as the Tigers’ skipper Sam Avery ghosted in at the far post to convert following a free-kick".


The National League North Manager of the Month of November is Ian Culverhouse (King’s Lynn Town). As the League says "Ian Culverhouse has guided the club to the top of the table with five wins out of six last month and they can’t stop scoring... Lynn now haven’t lost a game at The Walks for nearly 15 months".

And the National League North Player of the Month is Adam Marriott (King’s Lynn Town). The League says "Add up the goals Mohammed Salah, Sergio Aguero and Alexandre Lacazette have got this season and what do you get? The answer? Still not as many goals as King’s Lynn Town forward Adam Marriott!

In fact, the prolific Linnets man has outscored every other player in England’s top seven leagues. What’s more, without his goals, King’s Lynn would be seven points lighter and down in fourth place in the National League North.

Marriott’s nine goals in November helped his side to wins against Kidderminster Harriers, Bradford (Park Avenue), Leamington, Southport and Gateshead after starting the month with a draw against Altrincham. This month’s haul took his personal goal tally for the season to 20. To put that into perspective, last season’s Golden Boot winner Glen Taylor only hit 21 all season".

And, finally, the National League North Volunteer of the Month is Mark Walton (Gateshead). "Mark has been a regular helper behind the scenes at his hometown team for over 20 years. As well as aiding the kit man and making sure the players have everything they need on matchday, Mark also helps the club’s ball boys and operates the electronic scoreboard... He also lends a helping hand away from the field to ensure things run like clockwork on a matchday for the club’s hospitality guests".

9 December 2019


Bradford's Telegraph & Argus reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower claims his side had to gain the win against Altrincham if they were to have a chance of escaping relegation.

Although, Avenue remain bottom of the Vanarama National League North after their 2-0 victory over Alty, they now stand only one point away from 21st-placed Blyth Spartans and six points away from the drop zone.

Tom Clare's tap-in and Oli Johnson's break-away goal was enough to give the hosts their first three points in seven league fixtures.

A dogged defensive performance also provided the club with their first clean sheet since their 1-0 victory away at Darlington in August.

Bower believes the result had been coming after weeks of near misses and hails a brilliant performance all around.

He said 'We had to get a win, we have been unfortunate with some decisions going against us and bad luck, today we got that little slice of luck...

'We restricted a good team to next to nothing, I can’t really remember Joe (Green) making a save. It was a good solid win for us'...

'We looked dangerous when we got into the final third, we got in a few good areas and showed real composure with the final ball and the two finishes. Obviously you want to protect what you had got, bottom of the league we were playing against a good team so naturally you are going to sit off a little bit and try catch them on the break'...

Bower added 'We adapted to the conditions better and worked better openings and chances, which ultimately gets you the win." It was Clare's first goal since joining on a free from Barnsley last month and Bower was full of praise for his debut-making striker...

Bower said 'You look at him at 6 foot 5 and think people’s perception is you bang it up to him and win headers but he is a better footballer than that'".


Altrincham's away game at Spennymoor Town, which should have been played on 30 November, the date that Alty were at Portsmouth in the FA Cup, has now been rearranged for Tuesday, 14 January. This gives Altrincham two succesive away trips in four days to the historic County Durham as the next match after the visit to the Brewery Field is one to the International Stadium at Gateshead.


Altrincham travel to Farsley next Saturday to play Farsley Celtic in the Buildbase FA Trophy. This fixture will be their eighth successive cup draw.

Alty won the league game at the J. Davidson Stadium, earlier this season, 3-1.


On Saturday Altrincham FC Reserves lost 2-1 at Billinge.

Last week they won 4-1 at home to Broadheath Central. The goals game from Dontai Gabidon (2), Daniel Lewis and Rhain Davis.

The team comprised (a/z order) Liam Blackburn, Sam Corbishley, Madison Davis, Rhain Davis, Dontai Gabidon, Callum Graham, Daniel Lewis, Billy Matthews, Jack Ryan, Luke Sowerby, Dre Taylor . The subs were James Matthews, Cade Preston and Max Fitzpatrick.


Playing just their fourth league game of the season, Altrincham FC Ladies won 2-0, away to Chester FC Ladies. Some teams in the division have played as many as eleven or twelve fixtures!


On Sunday, Altrincham FC Youth were away to Atherton Town in the Neil Thomason Memorial Cup, a competition named after the former coach of Altrincham FC Youth under George Heslop's managership.

Alty won the game 4-2.

Next Sunday, 15 December, the Alty Youth team is away to Hyde United.


Curzon Ashton "made it five games unbeaten and four clean sheets in-a-row with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Hereford at the Tameside Stadium.

The game hinged on a crucial 30 second period of the game only three minutes in when Cam Mason brilliantly denied Hereford’s Jordan Nicholson and the Nash went straight up the other end to win a penalty. Sean Miller converted the spot kick and the advantage was doubled before the half hour mark when Charlie Jolley blasted home from a tight angle.

That lead proved unassailable as Curzon cruised through the second half without their goal coming under major threat, moving above Kettering Town and Kidderminster Harriers into 18th position in the process.

Mark Bradshaw made two changes from the side which was held to a goalless draw by Kettering on Monday night. With Mo Ali away on international duty with Somalia, Andy Halls came into the centre of defence while Mike Calveley also returned to the team at the expense of Isaac Sinclair."

From Lincolnshire Live we learn that "Boston United manager Craig Elliott was pleased to emerge from Saturday’s trip to Kidderminster Harriers with no further injuries or suspension, in addition to picking up three valuable points. The Pilgrims were 3-1 victors at Aggborough, courtesy of goals from Jordan Thewlis, Dominic Knowles and Jonathan Wafula, as Elliott’s side signed off from league action ahead of their impending FA Cup second round replay against Rochdale.

'It was a big concern going into the game,' admitted Elliott. 'It was important to have a full squad for next week. It was a nice, confident type of performance and I was really pleased because there were a lot of external things which could have come into play and the lads did not feel sorry for themselves or let things distract them...

'I would not say we were brilliant but we did enough to win the game and that’s what you have got to do in this league... Coming away from home in this league is always hard. I do not see any easy games away from home and that’s why I cherish every away win.'”

At Guiseley "After a largely forgettable first half goals from Wes York and Lee Ndlovu gave Brackley Town a two nil win at Nethermoor to leave the Lions still searching for their first win since the 3-2 triumph at Gateshead at the beginning of November.

With the Lions playing three at the back and Arum Soleman in the centre of the midfield, Rheiss McNally and Brad Nicholson pushed up the flanks to play as wingbacks but even with this more adventurous line-up chances were at a premium with just George Cantrill’s effort, which brought a good save from Danny Lewis, being the only opening the home side created in the first half as the two teams largely cancelled each other out.

Matters didn’t improve as the Lions front line was delivered a crushing blow on the stroke of halftime when Aaron Martin fell awkwardly and limped off with Lee Shaw replacing him on the restart...

Guiseley never really looked like squaring matters and suffered a further blow when captain Scott Garner was sent off for bringing down York in full flight but it looked a very harsh decision.

Worse was to follow with the last kick of the game as Ndlovu latched on to a long ball, turned Cantrill inside out and put a sweet strike beyond Dewhurst into the far corner for to double Brackley lead.".

8 December 2019


Alty's clash with bottom club Bradford (Park Avenue) turned into a case of the day after the Lord Mayor's Show as the impressive performance at Portsmouth last week dissolved into a sub-standard effort at the Horsfall Stadium.

Nicky Clee came back to haunt his former club as his pass was turned home by Tom Clare in the twelfth minute. Jordan Hulme did hit the woodwork in the first half but, otherwise, Alty laboured to produce a goal threat. To make matters worse, John Johnston pulled up injured and had to be subbed by Luke Wall.

There was little improvement from the visitors in the second half. Despite seeing a lot of the ball, the home keeper was scarcely troubled.

BPA then added a second goal in the 89th minute as Clee fed Oli Johnson, who rounded Thompson to score.

Match report here


Saturday 7 December 2019
  • AFC Telford United 0-2 Farsley Celtic
  • Bradford Park Avenue 2-0 Altrincham
  • Curzon Ashton 2-0 Hereford FC
  • Darlington 2-0 Chester FC
  • Gateshead 3-1 Alfreton Town
  • Guiseley 0-2 Brackley Town
  • Kettering Town 0-0 York City
  • Kidderminster Harriers 1-3 Boston United
  • King's Lynn Town 3-0 Blyth Spartans
  • Leamington 2-2 Spennymoor Town
  • Southport 1-0 Gloucester City


The Non-League Paper says that against Portsmouth, Alty "were more than a match for their League One opponents throughout".

The Paper quoted Phil Parkinson saying "I'm extremely proud and struggling to talk to be honest... I feel like I've had my guts ripped out of me... We've let them off the hook right at the death with ten seconds to go. The players felt we could have gone on to win the game, let alone draw it.

"To compete with a team that have won this competition and been in Europe, this was the toughest draw we could have had and to go so close, it's soul destroying".

Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett that "It felt like a game that could go either way. They gave us problems in the early part of the game... Christian Burgess said the ref was correct to give the penalty [that Hancock converted]".


As reported here recently, John Pemberton departed from the manager's role at Kidderminster before explaining how he felt that the club had not delivered on its promises to him.

In the Non-League Paper, he enlarged on this saying that he'd travelled 30,000 miles in his own car at his own expense scouting players only to have a previous owner of the club return to Aggborough and say "We're not now going for these player targets that I had spent time identifying. We're going for pie in the sky French players who no one has ever seen or heard of. I just said it's not for me.

"I could have quite easily sat on my contract, got sacked and been paid off... I don't want to take the club's money.

"There wasn't an argument.. If that was the direction they wanted to go down, which is a direction they've been down before, it was going to happen without me".

In its review of Saturday's games, the National League says "It's been another Saturday of shocks and big wins. King's Lynn continued their incredible run of form at home with a fine win over Blyth Spartans...

York fell further behind the leaders with a goalless draw with Kettering Town.

Bradford (Park Avenue) provided perhaps the shock of the day by beating Altrincham. Mark Bower's side picked up their first home win since October courtesy of goals from Tom Clare and Oli Johnson.

Brackley Town are keeping up the pace; Wes York and Lee Ndlovu helped the Saints past Guiseley.

Farsley Celtic are also well in the play-off race after Akeel Francis and Will Hayhurst put AFC Telford to the sword. Joshua Kayode put himself onto six for the season as Gateshead ran out winners against Alfreton Town, 3-1 it ended.

Chester failed to capitalise on York dropping points as they went down 2-0 against Darlington. Southport, however, went level on point with the Blues with narrow win over Gloucester; Bradley Bauress with the only goal for the Port. Boston United piled on the misery for Kidderminster Harriers.

Jason Thewlis, Dom Knowles and Jordan Wafula's goals mean the managerless Harriers have won just once since late September. Leamington led against Spennymoor Town before slipping behind. But a late penalty from Josh March meant the points were shared.

Elsewhere, Curzon Ashton are now five without defeat after beating Hereford, 2-0 it finished after goals from Sean Miller and Charlie Jolley."

7 December 2019


The official Aitrincham FC website now has a match report on Alty's defeat at Portsmouth, a week ago.


Altrincham travel to Bradford today and they will now meet up with a former fans' favourite at Moss Lane as the Bradford Telegraph & Argusconfirms that "Nicky Clee has rejoined Bradford (Park Avenue) from Ashton United.

The winger left Horsfall in the summer after two years at the club to join the BetVictor Northern Premier outfit but has now been reunited with boss Mark Bower at Bradford.

Clee, who can also operate in central midfield or at left-back, initially joined Avenue from Altrincham in May 2017 and became a favourite among supporters due to his technical ability and work ethic.

He had previously worked his way up through the non-league pyramid, featuring for Ossett Albion, Ashton and Hyde United before joining Altrincham in 2009. He left to join Guiseley and also had a spell at Harrogate Town before re-joining Altrincham who, ironically, Park Avenue host tomorrow.

Clee is available for selection against his former club and provides a big boost as Bower's side look to make up an eight-point gap from safety in the National League North".


Kidderminster Harriers "announce the appointment of Jimmy Shan as Interim Manager with immediate effect.

This is a statement of intent from the new owners of the club’s ambition to achieve promotion in the coming seasons.

Speaking of the appointment on their behalf, Richard Lane said, 'This is a new era for the football club. This is the time to focus on building a bright future for the club and moving forward, collectively, with the supporters and the town behind us...

'Jimmy is local and hungry to get to work quickly and to be successful here. He was the standout candidate for us, and we’re looking forward to getting started.,,

'We are committed to supporting Jimmy in strengthening his squad with signings; this isn’t an overnight process; we will give him the tools he needs to help boost the team.'

In what is a significant capture for the club, the 41-year-old takes charge for the home game against Boston United on Saturday. Jimmy’s extensive coaching career has already spanned the better part of 15 years, during which he worked throughout the ranks at West Bromwich Albion...

Jimmy’s body of work at West Bromwich Albion has, we believe, demonstrated he is clearly destined for a successful career as a manager, thanks to his work-rate, dedication and ability to build relationships. His spell in the dugout here will be initially until the end of the season, where he will be assisted by Russ Penn, who has been in caretaker charge for the last two matches.

The impact Russ has had on the team and staff at the club in such short space of time has not gone unnoticed, and we strongly expect Russ to be a significant part of the club’s future moving forward."

Commentary on this comes from the unofficial Harriers Online which says "In a move that has come as something quite out of the blue the Harriers, today, have appointed a new manager to replace the recently departed John Pemberton. Out of the blue because it’s very unusual for KHFC to move that fast in making new managerial appointments.

James Shan is the choice and he’ll be in the job in a kind of caretaker fashion because he’s only been contracted until the end of the current season and, I presume, will be kept on if we at least reach the play-offs but if our fortunes don’t improve he won’t be staying. It was thought that the current caretaker manager, Russ Penn, would get the job but he will instead become Shan's assistant.

James is well known in coaching circles having spent most of his career with West Bromwich Albion... before becoming the manager Darren Moore's right hand man in 2017. Following Moore's departure in March 2019 he became caretaker manager...

With his extensive links in the coaching world, and access to West Brom players, this could be seen as a canny move to bring new players in to play for us."

Rotherham United "confirm that Jake Cooper will join Gateshead on a month's loan...

The 18 year-old Academy graduate will link up with the National League North outfit until 3rd January 2020, and he will be following fellow Rotherham man Joshua Kayode in making the move to the Gateshead International Stadium. Cooper signed his first professional contract for the Millers in June 2019".

Chester FC "confirm that Academy Graduates Cain Noble and Iwan Murray have both joined Atherton Collieries on loan for an initial month...

Murray has recently been on loan at division rivals Warrington Town, while Noble has spent time with Hyde United so far this term. Iwan, 19, has made 19 appearances and scored three goals for the Blues since his progression through the academy setup. Noble, 18, has made ten appearances with two goals to his name." Best of luck, Cain and Iwan!

According to the Huddersfield Examiner "Huddersfield Town have loaned teenage wingman Aaron Rowe to Boston United. The move comes just 24 hours after Town boss Danny Cowley recalled Demeaco Duhaney from the National League North club.

A product of Leyton Orient's youth system, Rowe has been at PPG Canalside for almost two years and burst on the Premier League scene with first-team appearances against Bournemouth and West Ham.

He's had his injury troubles since then and, now back from rehabilitation, this is an ideal chance for him to play senior football.

Town Academy manager Leigh Bromby explained 'He did really well last season to earn his chance to play in the first team here, but following his injuries, he now needs regular game time to help his development'...

"This loan will provide Aaron with different tests that will help improve his game and allow him to gain further minutes under his belt."

It's a month-long loan for Rowe, initially, and he could go straight into manager Craig Elliott's side for tomorrow's trip to Kidderminster Harriers".


On Friday, Bulls' News reports that "Macclesfield Town have informed the EFL that they can not play Crewe tomorrow [Saturday].

The EFL report that they 'had met members of playing staff at Macclesfield Town alongside representatives of the PFA earlier on Friday and during that constructive meeting it was made clear that the health and wellbeing of both the players and staff had been adversely affected by the ongoing late payment of wages and, as a result, would be unable to focus on on-the-pitch matters.'

Macclesfield owner Amar Alkadhi was told by players in a statement earlier this week that they would strike unless players and staff were paid.

'This is down to the fact that salaries haven’t been paid for last month, we haven’t trained as a squad since last Thursday due to the fact we have no training ground but most importantly, the game can’t go ahead for the emotional and mental well-being state of the players, which is currently at rock bottom.'

Macclesfield were in the High Court last Wednesday over a unpaid tax bill. During the hearing former manager Sol Campbell told the court he was owed £182,000 in wages. He was manager for just eight months.

Barrister Sam Hodge on behalf of Macclesfield said that there had been problems moving money from a director's account in Spain. The court case was adjourned until December 18th."

6 December, 2019


Altrincham travel to play Bradford (Park Avenue) on Saturday as they return to league action after two successive cup ties (FA Cup and Cheshire Senior Cup). The sides met four times last season, twice in the league and also in the FA Cup and FA Trophy with Alty winning all four matches.

Mike Garnett's records reveal the historical record betwen the clubs...

  • Home: P14-W9-D4-L1-F28-A11
  • Away: P13-W5-D4-L4-F21-A23
  • All: P27-W14-D8-L5-F49-A34


Travel coordinator, Mark Eckersall, writes...

"Firstly a huge thank you to the 151 of you that supported the coaches to Portsmouth to make up part of the wonderful 622 away support at Fratton Park. The coaches were a great mix of fans young and old, our alcohol rules were respected and everyone enjoyed the day despite its ending.

There is not much left to be said about the game other than to share in the immense pride everyone felt, despite the result, and to salute the team's bravery in going toe to toe with a very good League One outfit.

It was a special day to have been a part of and one that has put us back on the map once again. We thank the club for their contribution to reducing fares which played its part in such a great turnout.

As we don't do Cheshire Senior Cup Travel, our attention turns to Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday 7th December. The players need to continue their great league form and we must continue our support as we look to climb that table with our games in hand.

We want to get as many as possible there so TASC are offering better than half price coach travel to Bradford with details on the Away Travel page.

We hope you'll join us, please book early by calling the club on 0161 928 1045 from 10am on Friday and we look forward to welcoming you again."


Altrincham FC Monthly Draw winners for September were:
  • 6th prize, Alty FC Polo Shirt: #2 Steven Raftery
  • 5th prize, Alty FC Home Replica Shirt: #71 Steve Wilson
  • 4th prize, Hospitality for Two at Home Match: #55 Phil Jones
  • 3rd prize, £25 Cash: #14 Jonathan Moore
  • 2nd prize, £75 Cash: #248 J Oliver
  • 1st prize: £500 Cash: #241 T. Howe


The BetVictor NPL"Atherton Collieries have announced that a club record fee has been agreed for Ben Hardcastle to Ashton United.

Hardcastle will join former manager Michael Clegg in the swap from Atherton to Ashton.

Atherton Collieries said 'We can confirm that we have agreed an undisclosed fee with Ashton United for midfielder Ben Hardcastle. This represents our record amount received for a player. Last season’s Division One West Player of the Season leaves with all our best wishes.'"


Southport "confirm that Academy player, Edvards Servuts has today signed non-contract terms with the club and is available for selection on Saturday.

He is a versatile player who can play anywhere across the middle or on the right.

Liam [Watson] said 'Edvards has stood out playing for Darren and the U18s and we are never scared to involve a young player. Hopefully it enables other youngsters to break through to the first team'

Academy Manager Darren Wildman added 'Eddie has shown maturity and application beyond his years and we are excited to see how far he can progress. It further evidences the wealth of opportunity young players have to progress at Southport Football Club and the clear pathway the first team provides for the Academy'"

The Boston Standard reports that "Craig Elliott wants to mark his 100th game in charge of Boston United by maintaining the club’s promotion push.

The Pilgrims travel to Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday and Elliott is adamant his side must not be distracted by their impending FA Cup replay against Rochdale, which will take place on December 16.

'The FA Cup’s been great, but getting promoted and staying in the play-offs is our main goal this season,' he said... Elliott first took charge of United... on November 18, 2017. In total, he has recorded 46 victories and 19 draws from his 99 matches."

And the Boston Standard adds that "Demeaco Duhaney's Boston United loan spell is over!... The right back has been recalled from his loan early by parent club Huddersfield Town.

The 21-year-old made seven appearances for the Pilgrims, playing an integral role in their recent run of good form.

Duhaney, who... made his Premier League debut for Huddersfield last season against Wolves, started in the club’s past two FA Cup matches, the 4-1 victory at Carshalton Athletic and goalless draw at Spotland against League One Rochdale last Sunday. But his impressive form has seen Danny and Nicky Cowley make the decision to bring the defender back."

According to Sports Byte "Mike Williamson’s Gateshead suffered their fourth straight defeat at the hands of league leaders King’s Lynn Town on Saturday.

The 36-year-old player-manager showed his frustration following the narrow defeat saying his side were ‘not good enough’... The defeat has piled the misery on the Heed.

'Not good enough. I am getting sick of opposition managers saying that we were the better team and that we did not deserve that,' said Williamson. 'We did dominate the first-half, large portions of the second-half and we had the better chances but came away with no points...

'The lads gave everything, they left everything out there but we have got to make sure we are finishing the job which is not happening at the minute,' he added".

In the Chester Standard we read that "Morale among the Chester squad has ‘never been better’, according to joint-manager Anthony Johnson.

Currently in the midst of a three-game winning streak, the Blues have rediscovered the form that has firmly established them as promotion contenders this season.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to Darlington, Johnson says... 'It’s all massively positive at the moment. The lads are full of confidence and that’s what winning football matches does to a side. We’ve come through a bit of a sticky patch where we’ve dropped some points with a few draws along the way...

'I’d say the mood here’s never been better. We’ve almost got a fully fit squad available and having Akwasi (Asante) back with us has given everyone a lift.'

The prolific Asante marked his return... with a sublime winner in last weekend’s hard-fought 2-1 success against bottom side Bradford Park Avenue. After toiling against the defensively-compact visitors in the first half, Chester’s quality ultimately came to the fore in the contest.

Johnson believes... '“What you get at this stage of the season are teams starting to get cut adrift at the bottom. It’s a cliche, but teams do turn up and start to park the bus. You don’t get that at the start of the season when there are plenty of high-scoring games around. But at this time of year the tension sets in and teams who have started to struggle start to play much more cautiously...

'Most people know we’re a possession-based side, but we’re pragmatic too... We told the players to make the pitch as big as possible and use the patterns of play we work on in training. Winning the ball back quickly, using our over-lapping full-backs and switching from defence to attack quickly, we did all those things well.'"

The Shropshire Star informs us that "AFC Telford United hat-trick hero Marcus Dinanga admits being dropped by Gavin Cowan worked out for the better...

The striker revealed his disappointment at being left out of Cowan's starting XI at Darlington, where he came from the bench at half-time to bag a remarkable second-half treble...

'The gaffer pulled me before the game and said I was not starting, which was a bit disappointing as a striker having scored the game before,' Dinanga, Telford's 25-goal top scorer two seasons ago, said. 'But he said that's just how the game was going, there was nothing I could do about it then...

'It's been hard for me this season but when I scored with my first touch it reminded me of before (two seasons ago), being in the right place at the right time. I've never scored a last minute winner. I'll remember it for the rest of my life. It felt like a play-off final. I was out to prove a point and what more can I do now?'

The striker, 22, revealed Cowan's words after the stunning National North turnaround were gratefully received. Dinanga added 'He said... if I worked that hard last game I would've started. I wouldn't have scored a hat-trick if I started. It all worked out well. It's advice from the gaffer and I'll take it on the chin.'"

5 December 2019


Saturday 7 December 2019
  • AFC Telford United v Farsley Celtic
  • Bradford Park Avenue v Altrincham
  • Curzon Ashton v Hereford
  • Darlington v Chester
  • Gateshead v Alfreton Town
  • Guiseley v Brackley Town
  • Kettering Town v York City
  • Kidderminster Harriers v Boston United
  • Kings Lynn Town v Blyth Spartans
  • Leamington v Spennymoor Town
  • Southport v Gloucester City

4 December 2019


Stalybridge Celtic knocked Altrincham out of the Cheshire Senior Cup on Tuesday night. Alty fielded a much changed side featuring no one who has been a regular first-team starter in recent weeks.

On Saturday, Alty resume their league campaign with a trip to play Bradford (Park Avenue).


Tuesday 3rd December
  • Farsley Celtic 1-1 Brackley Town
  • Hereford FC 2-2 York City
  • Kidderminster Harriers 1-1 Gateshead
  • Leamington 3-0 Darlington


Tuesday 3rd December

Buildbase FA Trophy, Third Round Qualifying replays affecting the northern half of the draw.

  • Alfreton Town 1-3 Blyth Spartans
  • South Shields 4-0 Stourbridge


Altrincham FC has announced that the date of the home game against Blyth Spartans, set for Tuesday, 10 December, 2019 has now be re-arranged again to Tuesday, 7 January.


Altrincham FC haent.s announced that "Altrincham Football Club are delighted to announce that, in partnership with Border Events, we welcome football legend Paul Gascoigne to The J. Davidson Stadium on Friday, 14th February 2020 at 19:30".

Follow the above link for full details of the event follow the above link.


The Boston Standard reports that "Boston United's FA Cup replay against Rochdale will be screened live on BT Sports.

The contest will be held on Monday, December 16 (KO 7.30pm) after the two sides played out a 0-0 draw on Sunday. The winners will host Newcastle United in round three".

Curzon Ashton "followed >last week’s win with another point in a scoreless 0-0 draw against Kettering Town...

A point apiece saw both of clubs move four points clear of the dreaded relegation zone... Three clean sheets in as many games will have pleased star man Cameron Mason as it's the first time in his Curzon career that he has achieved this.

Mark Bradshaw’s side had been in a fine run of form coming into this scrap between two sides fighting at the lower end of the table. Three wins from their last three included a victory in the FA Trophy against Kidderminster Harriers...

Kettering’s midfielder Connor Kennedy struck Robbie Evans with what looked to be an elbow. Bradshaw and his backroom staff were convinced it was a red card offence, but the foul only ended in a controversial yellow card and set the tone for the rest of the game.

Kettering had the better of the first 20 minutes... The Nash grew into the game as the half progressed... Sean Miller saw the Kettering goalkeeper Paul White called into action for the first time.

On the stroke of half-time an ugly set of affairs took place as Mason was caught late by Gary Stohrer as they both dove [sic] for the ball. This sparked a brawl between both sets of players which should have resulted in a red card for the visitor’s defender, however the referee’s decision of a yellow card did not please the Nash crowd...

Both sides saw themselves all level at the break with a lacklustre performance on a freezing cold Monday night at the Tameside Stadium.

The action in the second half did not improve for either side as there was little to no action to report on throughout the half...

Mark Bradshaw will be delighted to keep the impressive run of four games unbeaten streak alive".

The Northern Echo reported, before Tuesday's games that "Having watched with dismay as his side collapsed in the second half on Saturday, Darlington manager Alun Armstrong will make changes for this evening’s trek to Leamington.

Quakers meekly lost 3-2 to Telford United despite holding a 2-0 advantage at half-time, the manner of their play and charitable approach to giving goals away enraging the manager and his assistant Darren Holloway.

As a consequence, they held a post-match inquest in the Darlington dressing room at Blackwell Meadows, and Armstrong later admitted 'A lot of strong words were said. The lads know that was nowhere near acceptable'...

Armstrong usually makes no more than two changes to his starting XI, but he made four on Saturday for various reasons. He explained 'I don’t like making too many changes because it can upset things, but in the first half it looked like it hadn’t upset anything. The lads have been here long enough now, everyone knows how we want to play, but I was massively disappointed with the second half.'

He knew prior to Saturday that Louis Laing and Michael Liddle would be unavailable this evening due to work commitments, so Terry Galbraith and Jordan Watson return to the defence. Galbraith sat Saturday’s game out as he was not 100 per cent due to injury, while Watson served a one-match ban.

Goalkeeper Chris Elliott is on standby to play if Liam Connell, a PE teacher at a school in Sunderland, is unable to travel. Should Omar Holness and Jarrett Rivers have recovered from illness then they will be in contention to start...

Added Armstrong, 'I never saw it coming. We’ve got to repeat what we did in the first half for the full 90 minutes. It’s been a shortfall of ours all season, because the squad isn’t big enough, we haven’t got enough players to continue from the first half...

Donawa made his third start of the season, and Armstrong said 'Justin tired in the second half, he wasn’t doing the runs that he was in the first half, he was in front of their defence again. He’s fine when he’s playing in front of the dug-outs when we can talk to him, but I think Ben Hedley missed Jarrett a bit because he helps out defensively'".

3 December 2019


On the Altrincham FC official site, club Director, Bill Waterson, reflects on where Alty stand after the recent games at York and Peterborough.

He concludes, "Our time is coming, and we are getting ready. Come and see how the club is moving forward. We are Alty FC and we are on the way back."


In the Third Round draw of the FA Cup, the only National League North club in it, Boston United, have drawn Newcastle United at home should they win their replay against Rochdale next week.

Portsmouth's reward for defeating Altrincham is an away tie at Fleetwood Town.


Monday 2nd December
  • Curzon Ashton 0-0 Kettering Town

2 December 2019


Following the high profile FA Cup tie at Portsmouth, Alty return to action on Tuesday (3rd December) with a trip to Bower Fold to face Stalybridge Celtic in the Cheshire Senior Cup, Round One. This fixture is one of the club's eight successive away cup draw of the season, with five such ties in the FA Cup and two in the FA Trophy as well as this CSC encounter. However, the winners of this match will have a home game in the next round against Vauxhall Motors in January 2020.


Sunday 2 December at 2pm

  • Blackpool 3-1 Maidstone United
  • Coventry City 1-1 Ipswich Town
  • Tranmere Rovers 5-1 Chichester City
  • Exeter City 2-2 Hartlepool United
  • Gillingham 3-0 Doncaster Rovers
  • Rochdale 0-0 Boston United
  • Peterborough United 3-0 Dover Athletic
  • Crawley Town 1-2 Fleetwood Town
  • Northampton Town 3-1 Notts County
  • Bristol Rovers 1-1 Plymouth Argyle

Monday 3 December at 2pm

  • Solihull Moors v Rotherham United


The Boston Standard reports that "Boston United held League One Rochdale to a draw, but Craig Elliott admitted he was ‘grumpy’ his side didn’t win...

In an open game Andi Thanoj could have won it for Boston, although Dale’s Ian Henderson missed a sitter in stoppage time.

'It’s me being grumpy. I’m disappointed, I think we could have won. We should have won', Elliott said. 'We had good chances and good moments and turned the screw...

'We were excellent for long periods and players deserve a lot of credit.'

Elliott elaborated, praising his squad for sticking to the game plan and not being overawed by the occasion. He continued, 'We put a lot of time and effort into getting ideas across, but the hardest thing is doing it. They all deserve credit. Even the subs who came on bought into it. The game plan worked. You need a bit of luck to go for you and it didn’t quite happen today.'”

From the Telegraph & Argus we learn that "Bradford (Park Avenue) came close to pulling off a major shock as they led at half-time at promotion-chasing Chester, only to end with a 2-1 defeat and ten men after a late red card for Isaac Marriott.

The opening spell was all the home side but they couldn’t get a sight of Joe Green’s goal... Chester had a lot of first-half possession but little to show for it...

Bradford were good value for their half-time lead but it all went wrong soon after the interval and it was a controversial goal that began the comeback.

A ball over the top took a deflection and dropped for former Guiseley loanee Anthony Dudley and, with only Green to beat, he slotted in the equaliser. Avenue immediately claimed offside but the match officials were unmoved. The incident seemed to unsettle the visitors and they allowed mistakes to creep into their game.

Five minutes later, Chester’s Jackson carried the ball forward and found Akwasi Asante and his shot from the edge of the area took a big deflection before finding the top corner of Green’s net.

In the penultimate minute Marriott picked up a second yellow card and was sent off.

While the defeat leaves Avenue still four points adrift at the foot of the table, Chester remain in the same position as they and the two clubs above them, leaders King's Lynn Town and second-placed York City, all won.

Park Avenue manager Mark Bower said 'There are obviously positives to take out of it but there is also a huge sense of injustice about it. We were beaten by an offside goal and a shot that took a massive deflection. The equalising goal was a joke.

'The assistant and the referee missed a long ball that came off their man who was offside. There was no argument that the player it came off was behind our defence but they thought it was one of our men.

'They more or less put their hands up to that one after the game but it’s hard to take because we deserved a point.

'We played like we did at Gloucester (last week’s 2-0 win in the FA Trophy) barring one ten-minute spell at the start of the second half, but we deserved something from a tough game against a full-time side.

'We were a goal up, a really good goal from a set-piece,

'The goal that should never have been given really knocked the stuffing out of us and we had a bad ten minutes. That was a poor reaction on our part. We need to be stronger than that and get on with things no matter what the circumstances. But I can’t criticise the lads at all...

A lot of things have gone against us recently but that’s what happens when you’re down there, but if we keep doing what we are we’ll pick points up.'”

Another upset manager is the subject of a report in The Chad. It tells us that "Alfreton Town manager Billy Heath hit out at match officials after more decisions went against the Reds in a 1-0 defeat at York City. Second-placed City claimed the points with a 12th minute goal from Jordan Burrow at the near post on the end of a slick David Ferguson cross.

But the Reds had already had an eighth minute goal ruled out in mysterious circumstances when Dominic Smith headed home from a Dale Whitham corner.

Heath said 'It's just ridiculous. We seem to be getting a big decision that goes against us every week. (It was) embarrassing for it to be ruled out, laughable really.'

It was difficult for Alfreton to push forward before the break, but just two minutes into the second half Amari Morgan-Smith rattled the bar from another Whitham corner...

York racked up a plethora of corners without causing the visiting defence any massive problems... The Reds never gave up trying, but inevitably slipped to their first defeat at Bootham Crescent in four visits to that historic stadium...

'l thought the players were magnificent again,' added Heath. 'We're down to the bare bones, but l thought we were the better team in the second half... Every player has done what they can to try and give us something from the game.'” Heath said his players could not have done anymore to get something'"

1 December, 2019


Just as at Colchester four years ago in Round Two, Alty were deprived of a deserved place in Round Three with a 93rd minute winner from their opponents.

After a goalless first half, in which each side struck the post, it was Altrincham who would have been the more satisfied at that stage. With Jordan Hulme causing problems for Pompey, his upending by Oli Hawkins should have produced a penalty decision, shortly before half time, but referee Nield thought otherwise.

Against the run of play Pompey took a 56th minute lead when Close fired home following a Densmore clearance. However, Alty kept going and Hulme won a penalty in the 82nd minute which Hancock converted.

But with almost the last kick of the game, Pitman converted a home corner to snatch an undeserved win for the League One side.

Match report here.

The BBC's video highlights of the game are available here.


After the game, Portsmouth reported that " Pompey’s performance against Altrincham at Fratton Park in the Emirates FA Cup was well below their best... They certainly left it late, with Brett Pitman nodding home deep into stoppage-time after Josh Hancock’s late penalty had cancelled out an impressive Ben Close opener.

And Jackett felt... 'We have to say congratulations to Altrincham because they played very well... It could have gone either way and I didn’t feel comfortable at any stage, so credit to our opponents for that...

'Ellis hit the post and the keeper made a good save, but they’ve had opportunities to score of their own. We got ourselves ahead through an excellent goal from Ben... Then we tried to build on that, but again were wasteful when we really should have put the tie to bed.

'That was frustrating and the penalty meant Altrincham got to 1-1. I’m pleased to say we then dug deep and got the winner from a set-piece... Brett was able to lose his man at the far post to get the late goal and make sure we came out on top in a difficult game.'"

Portsmouth's match report is here.


The revised Round Two draw is below. Altrincham and Boston United are the only representatives from National League North.

Saturday 1 December

  • Portsmouth 2-1 ALTRINCHAM
  • Shrewsbury Town v Mansfield T.
  • Kingstonian 0-2 AFC Fylde
  • Walsall 0-1 Oxford United
  • Eastleigh v Crewe Alexandra (late kick off)
  • Forest Green Rovers 2-2 Carlisle United
  • Oldham Athletic 0-1 Burton Albion
  • Maldon & Tiptree 0-1 Newport County (played Friday)
  • Cheltenham Town 1-3 Port Vale

The Third Round draw will take place from approximately 7pm on Monday on BBC Two.


This Saturday, with Altrincham's continuing FA Cup involvement, they will slip further behind many of their rivals in terms of league games played.

Saturday 30th November, Vanarama National League North

  • Blyth Spartans 0-6 Brackley Town
  • Chester FC 2-1 Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • Darlington 2-3 AFC Telford United
  • Gloucester City 2-2 Kettering Town
  • Hereford FC 1-1 Farsley Celtic
  • Kidderminster Harriers 0-1 Southport
  • Kings Lynn Town 1-0 Gateshead
  • Leamington 2-2 Guiseley
  • York City 1-0 Alfreton Town


Before Saturday's game at Portsmouth, GQ Magazine published Andy Mitten's article entitled, "Why Altrincham FC are the greatest non-league team in FA Cup history". Andy, well-known for his activity on the Manchester United fanzine, "United We Stand", has been a good friend of Altrincham over the years

Follow the above link for the full article on Alty's "incredible giant-killing history... Over a four-year period between 1978 and 1982 the Robins boasted a better FA Cup record than any side in the old divisions three and four. Alty, based in the Cheshire town that has long been incorporated into Greater Manchester as a middle class suburb eight miles south of the city centre, took on Liverpool at Anfield in 1981. In 1986 they became only the second non-league team to beat a top-flight outfit on their own ground, knocking Birmingham City out of the FA Cup, a result that made the opening credits of the Nine o’Clock News.

They can boast other big scalps, knocking Sheffield United out of the cup too. When they took on Spurs at White Hart Lane, their players flying into Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricky Villa, they surprised everyone with a draw. Describing Altrincham’s football that day as 'the finest non-league performance I have ever seen', then Manchester City chairman Peter Swales offered the use of Maine Road for the replay. Swales had been an Alty director and also owned an

Right: Alty's "walking refirigerator" a.ka.a Tony Thompson.electrical shop, hence the club had offered their players appliances in lieu of win bonuses. Another director, Noel White, became chairman of Liverpool and a head of the Football Association.

Bill Shankly came to watch Altrincham games, Tommy Docherty managed Alty and Frank Sidebottom, no less, was their celebrity fan...

This isn’t a bankrolled club steaming its way up the leagues, but a community club for whom every penny matters. Their playing budget is the 14th highest in the league, with every one a semi-pro rather than full-time professional footballer....

Manager Phil Parkinson, a 39-year-old sports lecturer in Cheshire, tells me 'I make sure the players know about the history when they arrive here... I like big characters here, people who want to progress in football. We have a goalkeeper, a big personality and a real a man mountain, a walking refrigerator.

'We also have a core of players who’ve played 300, 400, 500 games for the club. They’re Alty through and through... We also have a multifaceted fanbase, which took a while for me to get my head around. We have a London branch, a Yorkshire branch too. And we have a lot of younger new fans coming through...

'We train twice a week, or once a week if we have a midweek game. We play attractive football and I’m proud of that'".


Following the high profile FA Cup tie at Portsmouth, Alty return to action on Tuesday (3rd December) with a trip to Bower Fold to face Stalybridge Celtic in the Cheshire Senior Cup, Round One. This fixture is one of the club's eight successive away cup draw of the season, with five such ties in the FA Cup and two in the FA Trophy as well as this CSC encounter. However, the winners of this match will have a home game in the next round against Vauxhall Motors in January 2020.

When Alty last met Stalybridge it was in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League in 2017-18 season. Both clubs had been relegated the previous season from National League North. 2017-18 was to end with Alty promoted as champions and Stalybridge evading a second successive relegation by a single point, only because Halesowen Town had four points deducted. Yet it was Celtic who did the better in their league clashes woth Altrincham, securing a goalless draw at Bower Fold and winning 2-1 at Moss Lane.

In that last encounter at Stalybridge, on 30 September 2017, Altrincham wasted a chance to move closer to the then league leaders Shaw Lane with a disappointing goalless draw at a very wet Bower Fold against a Stalybridge side which had Julien sent off in the 76th minute for a second yellow-card offence.

Lacking the guile of the injured John Johnston, Altrincham nevertheless won numerous corners but created few clear openings. Had James Poole done better with a good chance in the match's opening thirty seconds, things might have been different. However, in the latter stages, following the home side's introduction of substitute Theo Bailey-Jones (who later played for Alty), Altrincham could have lost all three points but for a good block from goalkeeper Thompson.

Alty also finished the game with ten men when substitute Josh Amis had to hobble off after injuring himself making a challenge.

Alty, remained fifth, have not dropped a single point in six matches against teams in the top half of the table yet having managed just one win in six attempts against teams in the lower half of the league.

Disney, Miller, Johnston and Taylor were all again missing for Altrincham as they recovered from their various injuries but Max Harrop returned from suspension to join the bench. Both teams' starting elevens were unchanged from midweek. So the only changes were on the benches, where Celtic replaced ex-Alty man Greg Wilkinson by new signing Edmilson and Alty named Harrop in place of keeper Tim Deasy.

Joel Bembo-Leta was playing for Alty against one of his former employers.

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

Mike Garnett's records reveal the statistical record of matches between the two clubs...

  • Home: P67-W36-D17-L14-F129-A80
  • Away: P72-W20-D12-L40-F113-A150
  • Neutral: P5-W1-D1-L3-F5-A7
  • All: P144-W57-D30-L57-F247-A237


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records for next Saturday (7th December), when Altrincham travel to Bradford (Park Avenue) for a league match, are here.


Blyth Spartans report that "Debutant Zach Hemming feels he had a good debut in between the Blyth Spartans sticks during the 1-1 FA Trophy with Alfreton Town" last Saturday.

"Hemming joined until the end of the season from Middlesbrough on a youth loan deal, which means that he will also be available to play for Boro’s under-23 side. The 19-year-old was previously with Hartlepool United, but his parent club decided to recall him after he failed to make an appearance since his summer arrival.

This led to Lee Clark swooping in to bring Hemming to Croft Park, and he will now compete with Mark Foden and Nathan Harker for the number one spot. There was no time to adjust, though, as Hemming was thrown straight into the action against Spartans’ National League North counterparts.

'I thought I had a good debut,' admitted Hemming. 'It was nice to meet the lads and play with them; they are spot on... We controlled the first half but just couldn’t get that killer second goal, and now we go down there on Tuesday and try to win again. It was just one of those games where if we took our chances, we probably would have won and saved ourselves a long journey on a Tuesday night.”