January 2020

31 January 2020


AFC Telford United state that they "prepare to face high-flying Altrincham twice in four days. First up, this Saturday will see the sides do battle at the New Bucks Head.

After a slow start to the current campaign – Phil Parkinson’s side won just one of their opening seven games, Alty have gradually risen up the table and currently sit in 6th spot. A run to the second round of the FA Cup was perhaps the main reason why the Robins found themselves languishing in the bottom half of the table earlier this season...

Since exiting the cup, the Greater Manchester club have won seven out of 11 league games, drawing twice and losing twice. And Alty have been particularly impressive in front of their own fans. Parkinson’s side have the division’s second-best home record having lost just once at Moss Lane this season. But the Robins have won just three out of 13 league games on the road, so the Bucks have reason to be confident heading into Saturday’s encounter.

Last season, the sides drew 1-1 at the New Buck's Head; Andre Brown’s late penalty cancelling out Jordan Hulme’s opener. Hulme is in the goals again this season with 14 to his name, while former Buck Josh Hancock has 12 strikes this campaign...

AFC Telford United:

  • Last five: D-L-L-D-W
  • Last result: AFC Telford United 4-2 Blyth Spartans
  • League position: 13th
  • Top scorer: Aaron Williams (9)

On the eve of the clash with Altrincham, AFC Telford United "confirm goalkeeper Matt Yates has returned to his parent club Derby County...

AFC Telford United have agreed a deal with Birmingham City to sign goalkeeper Michael Luyambula on loan until the end of the season. We expect paperwork to be complete in the next 24 hours".


Altrincham travel to AFC Telford United on Saturday (1 February). With three away wins for Altrincham on their last four away trips, why not leave the car at home and join fellow-supporters on the supporters' coach as Altrincham look to cement a play-off place?

As usual, TASC will be running a coach to the match. Seats can be booked by calling the club (0161 928-1045) after 10am on Friday.

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


AFC Telford United are one of just two clubs against whom Altrincham have not played so far this season. The other such club is Spennymoor Town, though it cannot be said that Alty have not actually visited the Brewery Field this season, having travelled there only for the game to be postponed!

Curiously, Altrincham not only now face AFC Telford United twice in a three-day spell, the return fixture being at Moss Lane next Tuesday, but they also face Kettering Town a week on Saturday, just a week and a half after meeting them for the first time last Tuesday.

At least three current Alty men have previously worn the Telford colours; Sean Williams, Josh Hancock and Tom Peers. On the other hand Telford's Brendon Daniels was briefly an Alty player, during a one-month loan from Port Vale, which was announced on 28 July 2018.

Apparently, the surface at The New Buck's Head is currently heavily sanded in places, after recent waterlogging, as was the ground at Kettering Town last Tuesday. In that game, Alty successfully adapted their normal passing game for a more direct style of playing and that may again be their methodology on Saturday.

Defender Andy White (left) missed the midweek game after being taken off injured last Saturday so, presumably, he remains a doubt. Injured midfielders Simon Richman and Sean Williams, as well as goalkeeper Steven Drench, were all involved in recent warm-ups, so they too will be pressing for inclusion in the squad on Saturday.

But given the team's recent wins against Bradford (Park Avenue) and Kettering Town, manager Parkinson is unlikely to change a winning starting eleven unless he has to.

From the other side, the Shropshire Star reports that "Defender Zak Lilly has been urged to find greater consistency by AFC Telford United manager Gavin Cowan.

Lilly is enjoying the most productive season of his career having made 13 appearances for the Bucks this campaign. The 21-year-old is being converted into a centre-half from a striker and Cowan is pleased with the way he is progressing.

'It’s only 18 months since I moved him back there,' said Cowan. 'I know it was met with a few raised eyebrows but he is coming on really well. He’s really eager to learn and listen. He offers different things for us that other centre-halves don’t. I feel he needs to bring consistency to his game, when complacency sets in he finds himself out of the side.

'He’s aware of that himself, but the reason I moved him back there is because I think he has all the attributes'.

Defender Theo Streete missed Tuesday’s victory over Blyth Spartans through illness."


John Edwards, press and media officer at Altrincham FC writes in the Sale & Altrincham Messenger that Josh Hancock is being tipped to become an Altrincham legend after adding another entry to his catalogue of spectacular goals in a hard-fought 2-0 win at Kettering Town’s Latimer Park on Tuesday night.

Right: Josh Hancock (second from right) is congratulated on one of his earlier goals, the fifth against Leamington back in September. Despite missing the first three games of this season through suspension, Josh has netted twelve times in 28(+1) games, so far, during this campaign.

Taking aim from 20 yards, Hancock curled an unstoppable left-foot shot into the top corner in the 34th minute to set the tone for a win that made light of a heavy, bobbly pitch and lifted Alty back into the Vanarama National League North play-off places.

'It was a moment of brilliance from Josh,' said Alty boss Phil Parkinson. 'I shouted 'hit it' just before he did, and he delivered superbly. It was an exceptional strike, with his weaker foot at that, but we have come to expect that from Josh.

'When we first brought him here, people questioned who he was, but by the time he has finished at Altrincham, he will be an absolute legend. People will be talking about him long after he has retired. I told the players their mental resilience would be tested on a pitch where an upset could have been on the cards.

'It wasn’t a night for the purists and we had to battle and play percentage football, which you wouldn’t normally associate with us. But we adapted to the conditions superbly and were good value for the win.'

Alty... almost added a third with a blistering effort from on-loan midfielder Josh Lundstram that just cleared the bar. 'That would have been goal of the season', said Parkinson. 'Josh is going from strength to strength and is really thriving, playing alongside Jake Moult. I thought the forwards were inspiring, the midfielders workmanlike and dynamic and the lads at the back did their jobs, too; it was a top performance all round.'"


In a week in which John Johnston departed Altrincham for Chester FC, and Jordan Hulme netted his first league goal in eleven outings, the statistics show us that the two forwards, both of whom were former Salford City players, now have exactly the same appearance records for Altrincham.

Both have made 122 starts and seven further appearances from the bench. But whereas JJ netted 39 times for Alty in those 129 appearances, Jordan's career total is now 66 for the club.

Jordan's nearest rival for goalscoring is Josh Hancock, whose 127 appearances (116+11) have yielded 53 goals. In terms of goals/starts ratio Tom Peers is Jordan's chief rival with 22 goals from 44 starts, but he has also made 44 appearances from the bench in reaching that goal haul.

Right: From the left, Josh Hancock, John Johnston and Jordan Hulme with Simon Richman and Tom Peers.


Altrincham's last visit to the New Buck's Head, which they revisit on Saturday, was for an evening National League North game on 9 April 2019, a match which ended 1-1. The game was marred by questionable refreeing which saw six Alty men shown yellow cards, with Andy White seeing two of them and a consequential red. More oddly, John Johnston was shown a yellow card whilst on the bench, having been substituted previously! The six yellow cards was not only Alty's highest number of cards in any league game that season but it outdid, in just ninety minutes, the cumulative total of cards accrued across their previous nine matches. In short, the referee, Robert Massey-Ellis, did not emerge with much credit from the visitors in this game.

Right: April 2019, and Alty line up before kick-off at Telford.

Nevertheless, Altrincham only just failed to emerge from the New Buck's Head with all three points as they surrendered an injury-time equalizer from a penalty. It was the second time in three days that the hosts had salvaged a point against Alty through a late spot-kick.

Earlier, Altrincham had taken an eleventh-minute lead with a well-worked goal when Jordan Hulme fired a fierce shot from the right past the Telford keeper. Alty were the better side for the remainder of the first half but, as Telford began to build some second-half momentum, manager Phil Parkinson signalled his intentions. In the 64th minute, he withdrew two forwards, Hancock and Johnston, in favour of defenders Sass-Davies and Richman.

But when Andy White brought down an opponent on their right flank, he saw a second yellow card and the inevitable red, leaving the remaining ten men to try to retain their lead through the final seventeen minutes, plus added time. A further change of personnel saw the booked Hulme also substituted meaning that Alty had withdrawn all of their three leading scorers in a ten-minute spell.

The ten men survived a mounting tally of Telford corners, which eventually totalled sixteen, before Densmore was drawn into a 90th-minute foul on Udoh which meant a penalty kick. Andre Brown's stoppage-time spotkick was stopped by Tony Thompson's dive but the ball dribbled over the line to level the score.

The result left Altrincham in fifth place.

Connor Hampson missed the 2019 match at the New Buck's Head through injury so, Andy White moved across to left-back with Shaun Densmore stepping in at right-back for only his second league start of 2019. On the bench, despite three Alty keepers (Wynne and Drench as well as Thompson) being involved in the warm-up, no substitute goalie was named as Billy Sass-Davies came into the squad for Steven Drench.

This time around it is White who is the doubt, having limped off last Saturday and then missing the Tuesday fixture.

ALTRINCHAM (Purple shirts and shorts, white socks): 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Shaun Densmore, 3. Andy White, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Yusifu Ceesay. Subs: 12. James Poole, 14. Max Harrop, 15. Matt Chadwick, 16. Simon Richman, 20. Billy Sass-Davies.


Altrincham FC has press and media officer, Brian Flynn's audio interview with manager Phil Parkinson following the match against Kettering Town on Tuesday night.


On February 1, this Saturday, Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records tell us that exactly six years ago, Altrincham drew 1-1 at Keys Park in a Skrill North fixture.

It looked for a long time that this game between the division's two highest-scoring teams would end in a goalless draw. After an even and well-contested first half the weather conditions worsened and dominated second-half proceedings. As Alty played into the elements, Hednesford had the better of the second period. The Pitmen seemed to have won the game when Taylor volleyed home in the 86th minute.

But a goal struck by Shaun Densmore, deep into the third added minute, snatched a draw for Altrincham. Clee advanced upfield and, via Walshaw and Richman, fed Densmore, whose excellent finish from the edge of the box, produced the equalizer.

Nicky Clee returned from suspension as Altrincham again started with Perry and Reeves up front. Scott Leather returned to partner Luca Havern in central defence.

ALTRINCHAM 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (capt), 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Jake Moult, 5. Gianluca Havern, 6. Scott Leather, 7. Joe Mwasile, 8. Simon Richman, 9. Kyle Perry, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 12. Carl Rodgers, 14. Greg Wilkinson, 15. James Lawrie, 16. James Walshaw, 18. Josh Samberg".


According to Cheshire Live "Anthony Johnson says he and Bernard Morley are continuing to look for a new addition to their Chester FC forward line but will only make a move for a player if they will significantly improve the squad.

The Blues suffered a mixed back [?bag] in the National League North over the past week with a fine 3-0 home win over Darlington followed by a disappointing 2-0 reverse at Gateshead on Tuesday night.

Last week the Blues moved to add Altrincham winger John Johnston to their side after the club met a release clause in his contract. The 25-year-old took little convincing to join up with his former managers at Salford City and the left-sided player has already caught they eye.

Chester have been heavily linked with a move for Johnston’s former Altrincham teammate, and another ex-player of Johnson and Morley's, Jordan Hulme. The prolific 29 year-old striker is a player who the Blues are keen on but Altrincham will likely put up a major fight to fend off any potential interest, especially from a fellow play-off chasing rival and any hopes of a deal look much further away than they did last week.

Hulme isn’t the only player that the Blues had identified, though, and they have made contact with an EFL club over the availability of an out of favour forward who they believe could make a big difference to the Chester side for the run in.

Johnson said 'We’re trying to bring players in but it isn’t as simple as just bringing anyone in. They have got to be the right player and make us better. We have got to freshen it up. There is a reason why we are trying to bring new recruits in, why we brought one in last week and why we’re trying to bring someone in still. We’re no further on than what we were last week. We want to freshen up and get bodies in because we want to push on.

'Some of the players in the group have had enough chances to put things right. You only have to look at the lad [Danny Elliott] who has gone out on loan (scoring a debut hat-trick for Alfreton Town), he’s scored more tonight that some of our forwards have scored all season. It’s not good enough.'

Chester face another stern examination of their promotion credentials this weekend when they head to Bootham Crescent for the final time before second-placed York City move into their new stadium next month.

The National League North title looks like King’s Lynn Town’s to lose but nailing a second or third place will be key for Chester, bringing home advantage in the play-offs...

Said Johnson, 'We knew we had a group of games coming up with Darlington, Gateshead and York, teams who will all be affecting the top seven this season. We have a points' haul that we would be happy with, and we are still well on for that but, after Saturday, it (Gateshead) just sets you back a little bit.'

Danny Livesey is a doubt for the trip to York as he continues to nurse a hamstring injury while George Waring (fractured cheekbone) remains sidelined."

And the Chester Standard elaborates on the theme, reporting that "Anthony Johnson says the burden of scoring goals must be shared collectively between Chester’s squad... A 2-0 defeat at Gateshead in midweek.. was only the sixth league game this season that Chester have failed to find the net, but Johnson feels an over-reliance on Akwasi Asante has been costly this term.

Averaging a goal every 79 minutes, the talismanic Dutch striker has netted 17 times this season. The Blues’ next-highest scorers this term are centre back Danny Livesey and attacking duo Brad Jackson and Anthony Dudley with four goals apiece...

Johnson said 'We didn’t really trouble their 18-yard box until the last 10 minutes when we had nothing to lose, but we can’t keep relying on our number nine having a good game or Simon Grand and Danny Livesey getting on the end of things'...

With Chester 12 points adrift of the National League North summit, the Blues joint-manager... said 'We know we’ve not been consistent enough and that’s why we’re not bothering King’s Lynn at the minute'"

From the Northants Telegraph we learn that manager "Paul Cox will aim to get his Kettering Town players 'back on the straight and narrow' as they head into what could be a season-defining month.

The Poppies' boss kept his team locked in the dressing-room for 40 minutes after they suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Altrincham at Latimer Park on Tuesday. That made it back-to-back defeats for the first time since the manager’s arrival after his team lost 1-0 at York City last weekend.

Kettering still have work to do to guarantee their Vanarama National League North status and face a number of their fellow strugglers during February, starting with a home clash against Curzon Ashton on Saturday.

And Cox, who was furious after the midweek loss, said 'I understand the psychology of the game. The boys have been away to places like Boston, Brackley and York and have performed well. But it just felt like that, the other night, they felt they could just turn up and have the right to win a football match. Those were bad habits that I walked into so we have to get ourselves back on the straight and narrow quickly.

'But it’s two defeats on the bounce and that shouldn’t happen. People might say we’ve played York away and then an Altrincham team who are going well but I don’t care about all that. When we play our game and we are energetic and dynamic, I’d put us against anyone.

'But if you get back into the bad habits, it’s a slippery slope and you find yourselves at the wrong end of the table. I believe in being honest with players. I have given them all the praise in the world. They have created a good feeling about themselves, they have worked hard and picked up good results but it can be taken away overnight.

'We have to go away and regroup because we have some big games coming up.' The Poppies will have midfielder Connor Kennedy back for this weekend’s game after he completed a two-match ban".

30 January 2020


Altrincham have now played every team in the division except AFC Telford United and Spennymoor. On Saturday, 1 February, Alty travel to the New Buck's Head to face the first of that duo, with the return fixture just three days later on 4 February.

The late Mike Garnett's records tell us the historical record of Altrincham against the Telford clubs.

Against AFC Telford United:

  • Home: P4-W1-D1-L2-F5-A6
  • Away: P4-W0-D1-L3-F3-A7
  • All: P8-W1-D2-L5-F8-A13

Against Telford United:

  • Home: P36-W15-D8-L13-F49-A45
  • Away: P39-W8-D5-L26-F47-A84
  • All: P75-W23-D13-L39-F96-A129

The Shropshire Star reports that on Tuesday, "Delighted boss Gavin Cowan praised AFC Telford United's first-half display as they swept aside Blyth Spartans. The Bucks were 3-0 ahead at the break and ran out 4-2 winners in the National North clash at the New Buck's Head.

The result lifted Cowan's men up to 13th as they eye a late surge towards the play-off positions.

'First half was a great performance," said Cowan. 'As a manager you try to encourage them to go out and pretend it's 0-0 and continue doing the things that you've been doing. For the most part we defended really well and were disciplined, but were undone by two set-pieces. That's disappointing because with such a great performance overall, you want to try to make it a little more clear cut.

'But it's important that we focus on the positives of getting three points and seeing certain players like Ryan Barnett and Brendon Daniels perform really well'".

And the Shropshire Star adds that "A first win of 2020 finally arrived for the Bucks in a game of two contrasting halves, where they established a comfortable advantage and then withstood a spirited and somewhat chaotic Blyth fightback.

Gavin Cowan named an unchanged side from the team thwarted by a 94th minute equaliser at Farsley Celtic on Saturday...

There was a touch of fortune about their opening goal on 25 minutes; although Ellis Deeney’s shot deflected luckily into his path, Aaron Williams demonstrated a goal poacher’s awareness to see the situation developing, pouncing to place a low finish calmly inside Zach Hemming’s left post.

The roof started to fall in on Spartans from that point. Left-back Scott Wilson, already cautioned for a foul on Ryan Barnett, was having to tread carefully, and not only because of the heavily sanded surface. Barnett, sensing his discomfort, began to race past him with ease and in the 32nd minute, having previously created a couple of opportunities for teammates, he extended the lead... It may have been a cross, but the ball dipped into the far top corner, with Brendon Daniels on hand to convert if needed.

Just four minutes later the Bucks added a third, and Barnett was the instigator, his low cross into the six-yard box striking the hapless Damon Mullen and trundling in for an own goal.

Three goals adrift at the interval, whichever way you looked it appeared a long way back for Spartans... Given a metaphorical rocket at half-time by manager Lee Clark, the visitors showed more intent, whilst the Bucks were perhaps caught between wanting to stretch their advantage and holding onto what they had.

Blyth dragged themselves back into matters on 66 minutes, when giant no.9 Ben Harmison, brother of former England cricketer Steve, held off a couple of home defenders to set up Kris Thackray to score from 12 yards, the chance arriving from a corner.

It took just three minutes for the Bucks to restore their three-goal cushion; Shane Sutton’s header from a set-piece came back off the crossbar and landed in the six-yard box for substitute Marcus Dinanga to crash the ball home.

Blyth weren’t broken by that goal, and on 76 minutes an off-target shot struck firmly through a crowd of players took a hideous deflection off a Bucks' player and ballooned past Matt Yates’s right hand and into the net, almost in slow motion.

Chances flowed in a chaotic last ten minutes...

AFC Telford United: Yates, Birch, White, Deeney, Sutton (c), Lilly, Barnett (Royle 90), Walker (McQuilkin 75), Stenson (Dinanga 63), Williams, Daniels. Unused substitutes: Cowans, Knights, Dinanga".


The National League has brief highlights of the Kettering Town v Altrincham game, played last Tuesday.

Right: Alty prepare to defend a corner against Kettering Town.

The Northants Telegraph reports that "'We got what we deserved', says furious Poppies boss Cox.

Paul Cox has warned his Kettering Town players that performances like the one they served up last night (Tuesday) 'won’t be tolerated'.

The Poppies boss kept his players locked in the home dressing-room at Latimer Park for 40 minutes after they were beaten 2-0 by play-off chasing Altrincham before emerging to deliver a damning verdict on their display.

Two first-half goals sealed the deal for an impressive Robins team but Kettering, who have been in such good form since Cox’s arrival, were sorely off the pace and failed to register a single attempt on target in the second half as they slipped to a second successive defeat.

And, with survival in the Vanarama National League North far from guaranteed, Cox was forced to deliver a few home truths after the final whistle.

'It was men against boys and it’s the first time I have had to say that for an entire game,' the furious Poppies boss said. 'We were second best all over the pitch and nothing like the standards the players have set themselves. That’s not us and thank goodness there is a game on Saturday (at home to Curzon Ashton) so that we can try to get that out of our system.

'It was flat from start to finish and it won’t be tolerated. I had to say a few things afterwards. We talked in there about our DNA, the way we are and the work ethic and the way we are morally, basically everything that has taken us on a good run. Sometimes you can stand still and admire what you’ve done and I have reminded them that we can’t stop to admire anything.

'I have reminded them we are still in a relegation battle, reminded them that the surface we play on isn’t brilliant and reminded them that some of them are playing for their futures. There is nothing I can say positive about the game. I can’t say that we passed the ball well or that we battled and I can’t say we were unlucky because we weren’t. We got what we deserved and that hurts.'”


Chester FC "fell to a first league defeat of 2020 this evening in the North East, conceding two second half goals at the Gateshead International Stadium.

The strikes from Jordan Preston and Ruairi Keating were the first league goals the Blues had conceded this year, bringing them to a first defeat in exactly a month in the Vanarama National League North.

Anthony Johnston and Bernard Morley named an unchanged side in the North East following Saturday’s win over Darlington at the 1885 Arena. It was the newest signing, John Johnston, who went closest in the opening ten after a strong start. He connected with Brad Jackson’s deep cross before firing just wide of the far post.

The Blues moved the ball around confidently and with intent in good spells in the first half but their cutting edge in the opening 45 wasn’t quite there and they were restricted to two more Johnston shots, both from distance, [from] which Brad James made comfortable saves.

Gateshead’s attacking outlet at the other end was proving to be Jordan Preston... but Russ Griffiths was equal to his efforts with some confident stops...

The home side were much the quicker out the traps to start the second half, having a succession of corners... The opener came 20 minutes into the second half. Barrow cut the ball back from the left after showing excellent vision to find Jordan Preston. He steadied himself on the edge of the box before curling into the bottom corner leaving Griffiths with no chance.

The second goal came ten minutes later. Gateshead’s 11th corner of the game resulted in sub Ruairi Keating heading home inside the six yard box...

Joint Bosses Bern and Jonno reacted with a triple change... It was all in vain, as the hosts held on for their fourth clean sheet on the bounce".

Gateshead "secured a huge win over play-off rivals Chester at the GIS om Tuesday night. After a first-half with only a handful of chances, Jordan Preston placed the ball into the net for his 11th goal in Gateshead colours 65 minutes into the game.

Debutant Ruairi Keating managed to further the advantage after 75 minutes, as his close-range header bundled into the back of the net, to move the Heed up to eighth place.

The visitors started the brighter, as debutant John Johnston twisted inside the box but his shot flashed past the face of goal... The Heed rallied against the pressure however...

With 65 minutes in the clock, skipper Scott Barrow crossed the ball onto the edge of the box, which Preston controlled and placed it into the bottom corner of the net, through a crowded Chester box, giving the home side the advantage.

Olley’s corner then curled into the box, and despite looking like Griffiths’ ball, Keating leaped into the air and headed the Heed 2-0 up, only six minutes into his debut.

The away side continued to fight though".

From Barnet we learn that "The Bees secured their place into the next round of the Buildbase FA Trophy after defeating Farsley Celtic 2-0 on Tuesday night.

The Bees kicked off the game at a bitterly cold Hive London with the opening minutes being dominated by Barnet possession... The Celt Army weren't without their chances with Jack Higgins audaciously attempting an overhead kick with the ball finding him in the box...

In the second half, the Bees started with plenty of attacking intent having two good chances within the first three minutes... With the pressure mounting on the Farsley Celtic defence, Higgins brought down Akinola and Barnet were awarded another freekick in a good position... Sparkes cleverly dispatched the freekick low into the Farsley net to break the deadlock.

With momentum on their side, the Bees relentlessly kept the pressure on the Celt Army... In the following ten minutes, the away side were the better of the two teams having a number of chances that troubled Darren Currie's side...

In the last ten minutes of the game, a ball that seemed impossible to be kept in was, by the Celt Army winger, whose cross was cleared into the path of Spencer and he rattled the crossbar past a beaten Loach.

However, the game was put to bed in the 87th minute when Josh Walker tapped the ball home from five yards after Sparkes cut the ball back across the face of goal".

And Farsley Celtic concede that their "dreams of an FA Trophy final appearance at Wembley came to an end just four miles from the national stadium, after a 2-0 defeat to Barnet.

It proved third time lucky as the second round replay was finally played at the Hive, having twice been postponed due to pitch problems at the Bees’ home, with last week’s game being called off just minutes before kick-off.

It was the first time Farsley had ever played in London in our 112 year history, but the 2-0 defeat, which saw second half goals from Dan Sparkes and Josh Walker for the National League hosts, didn’t paint a true reflection of the contest.

Barnet did shade the better of the chances in the opening 45 minutes... However, the Londoners broke the deadlock on 51 minutes with a sneaky free-kick. Sparkes’ low set piece crept under the wall and past Wynne, who would have seen the ball late as it passed the four-man line up in front of him...

The game, which finished 1-1 in the original clash at the Citadel two and a half weeks ago, could have been headed for the same score line and then extra time, had Jimmy Spencer’s 82nd minute effort found the net...

But as Farsley pushed for an equaliser late on, inevitable gaps were left at the back and Barnet sealed their spot in the third round... Walker latched onto the end of Sparkes’ low crossed ball to finish coolly past Wynne...

Bees boss Darren Curry sportingly came over to thank the Farsley fans who had returned to the Hive, a week after suffering the disappointment of seeing the replay called off at the eleventh hour last Tuesday".

York Press tells us "City striker Jordan Burrow is 'a manager’s dream' believes Minstermen boss Steve Watson.

Burrow netted his fourth goal in five outings at the weekend to ensure a hard-fought 1-0 York win over tricky opponents Kettering Town. It was a neat finish at the near post and it takes Burrow to 13 National League North goals for the season. And Watson says he is "delighted" for the 27-year-old target man, whose temperament and work rate have been commended.

City centre-back Sean Newton has previously lauded his team-mate for similar reasons, highlighting the way he soaks up the physicality of the opposition defence...

Watson said 'Jordan’s on a good run of form at the moment and he’s one of them [sic] players you can put in the defending box for corners against and he’s so reliable on the other side of the game. He’s adding goals now which is good. He’s a manager’s dream in respect to his attitude and what he gives you. He’s never going to be the Lionel Messi or Firmino type of forward. He is what he is.

'He’s genuine, he’s a good target man and I’m delighted for him because he’s a fantastic player to coach.'

Starting the day up alongside Burrow was Dan Maguire and Kurt Willoughby, making his first appearance for York after signing on a one-month loan from Fylde. It was a promising debut, Watson indicated, from a striker whose playing opportunities have been limited by injury... Watson said 'You can tell how sharp he is, you can tell he’s got good feet, acceleration, he’s got good power... I think what you could see is certain potential'".

From the Buxton Advertiser we learn that "Buxton FC boss Gary Hayward has added depth to his midfield options this week with the signing of Jordan Nicholson. Attacking midfielder Nicholson has joined the Bucks on a 28-day loan from National League North side Hereford FC...

Nicholson is described as having 'silky skills and a good turn of pace' on Hereford's official club website, as well as possessing an eye for goal from his records.

'He's a very good goalscorer,' Hayward told the Advertiser. 'He does score goals and that's one of the main reasons we got him... The lad is class. He's very quick, very direct and finds pockets. He's my kind of player'...

Nicholson began his career at Cambridge City at Step 3 of the non-League pyramid before goal-laden spells at Sawston United, Eynesbury Town and then Histon. It earned him a move to League One's Peterborough United where he made his Football League debut in February 2016... From there he had loan spells at Nuneaton Town, of the National League North, before he signed for Barnet in League Two... Time at Brackley Town, Darlington, finishing the season the club's top scorer with 11 goals, followed before joining Hereford in the summer for the now 26-year-old...

Said Hayward, 'I tried to sign him in the summer when I was at Hednesford and we've always kept in touch since then. He hasn't really enjoyed it at Hereford and when I found out there was a chance to take him we jumped at the chance... I want to keep him until the end of the season.'

Nicholson had signed ahead of Tuesday night's scheduled home match against Warrington, which was postponed due to snow on the Tarmac Silverlands pitch."

Blyth Spartans admit that "A poor first-half performance proved costly as Blyth Spartans slipped to a 4-2 defeat in the long-distance midweek trip to AFC Telford United.

Shrewsbury Town loanee Ryan Barnett was the star of the show in the first-half as The Bucks raced into a three-goal lead following strikes from Aaron Williams, Barnett himself and an own goal from Damen Mullen.

Indeed, it was three very fortunate goals for the hosts but it left Spartans with a mountain to climb after the break at the New Buck's Head. But Lee Clark’s side did do themselves some justice in the second 45 minutes as Kris Thackray and a Williams own goal reduced the arrears either side of Marcus Dinanga’s fourth for Telford.

The former Birmingham City manager named one change from the weekend defeat to league leaders King’s Lynn Town with Damen Mullen replacing Lewis Hawkins in the starting 11.

Having travelled around 230 miles, you wouldn’t have mistaken [?] Spartans for a slow start, however in truth, Clark’s men got nowhere near their hosts in the first interval [?]...

But that was as good as it got for Blyth as Telford raced into a three-goal advantage. And while it was deserved on the balance of play, it was three horrible and unfortunate goals to concede. Ellis Deeney’s shot was heading yards off target only for the ball to be deflected into the path of Williams, who calmly slotted past Zach Hemming. Barnett was causing Spartans all sorts of trouble down the right-wing and he swiftly doubled Telford’s lead with a dubious cross-come-shot [sic].

The winger got the better of Scott Wilson and hung a cross up in the air. His celebration said it all as it floated over Hemming and into the top corner. And it was from the same side that Telford made it 3-0. Mullen knew nothing about it as Barnett’s cross powered off the midfielder and into the net....

To Blyth’s credit, they came racing out the blocks after the break... It’d be Thackray who finally made Blyth’s early second-half chances count. A melee in the penalty area allowed Harmison to hold the ball up and lay off the defender, who made no mistake from 12 yards.

The major disappointment is that the 3-1 scoreline lasted just three minutes. Substitute Dinanga [was] on hand to poke home the rebound after Sutton was denied by the crossbar. Blyth hit back, though, in a chaotic final quarter of an hour, as a deflected shot smashed off Williams and into the net to breach Matthew Yates for a second time.

Clark’s men huffed and puffed from then on but unfortunately, it was too little, too late in what a much-improved second-half... Spartans remain three points from National League North safety".

From the Boston Standard we glean that "Dominic Knowles is more than happy to be reunited with Frank Mulhern, describing the new Boston United attacker as ‘something different’.

Mulhern made his Pilgrims debut in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Kidderminster Harriers, after arriving on loan until the rest of the season from National League Stockport County. And the 22-year-old settled into his new environment quickly enough, providing two assists for former teammate Knowles, who netted both goals in the victory.

'I played with Frank for a bit at Harrogate, so I knew him briefly,' Knowles told The Standard. 'He had a really good season last year with Stockport. He’s a real handful and he’ll keep chasing balls down. He got two assists for me, so I can’t complain. He’s a good addition, something different to what we’ve got'...

Mulhern was County’s second-leading scorer last season as they won the National League North title... Former Ireland under 19 international Mulhern was played in a wide position against Harriers and impressed Craig Elliott.

'I felt slightly sorry for him as it’s not his perfect position,' the manager said. 'But we worked on it in training and he’s played there before. He is what he is, he’s robust and hard working. He got a couple of assists and he’s a good player. I like those types of players, who give everything, even if they’re having bad games. He’s so physical and hard working, and he’s a tough lad as well, which I like in a player.'"

29 January 2020


Above: Lewis Walters, Tom Peers and Jordan Hulme leave the pitch after the game against Kettering Town at Burton Latimer. Lewis's appearance as a second-half substitute was his first for Altrincham since August.

On a soft and bobbly surface two first-half goals lifted Altrincham to sixth in the table. White and Wall gave way to Mahon and Hampson in the starting eleven.

Given the difficult surface, Altrincham used a more direct approach than usual. Play was fairly scrappy in the opening stages but Alty gradually got the upper hand. They took a 34th minute lead with a fine shot into the top corner of the net by Hancock.

Ten minutes later, a mistake by home keeper White allowed Hannigan to score at the back post, the ball going through the keeper's hands. However, Jordan Hulme apparently claimed to have touched the ball over the line for the goal.

The second half was fairly uneventful as Alty defended capably and Kettering lacked the guile to manufacture a clear goalscoring chance.

Match report here.


Tuesday 28 January 2020, Vanarama National League North
  • AFC Telford United 4-2 Blyth Spartans
  • Alfreton Town 6-1 Gloucester City
  • Gateshead 2-0 Chester FC
  • Kettering Town 0-2 Altrincham


Altrincham's away game at Spennymoor has been rescheduled for Tuesday, 11 February, just four days before another long trip to the North East to play Blyth Spartans.


To ex-Alty winger John Johnston fell the curious distinction of playing two consecutive away games at Gateshead, one for Altrincham and one for his new club, Chester FC, and suffering the same fate in each match, his side losing 2-0 on Tuesday night. He was not the only unhappy man at Chester FC as Cheshire Live tells us that "Anthony Johnson cut a frustrated figure on Tuesday night as his and Bernard Morley's Chester FC suffered a first National League North defeat of 2020 at Gateshead.

The Blues' wretched run in the North East in recent times continued as second half goals from Jordan Preston and Ruairi Keating sealed a 2-0 win for the home side on a cold night at the International Stadium.

After the excellent performance in the 3-0 home success over Darlington at the weekend the Blues, as has happened so often this season, couldn't string two together and lacked the consistency that is needed to be pushing the likes of King's Lynn Town and York City at the top of the division.

Chester remain third after the defeat but it was a real opportunity missed for Johnson and Morley's side with a big game at the Minstermen looming large on the horizon this weekend.

And after what was a decent first half from the Blues next to the River Tyne last night the manner of the second half performance irked joint-manager Johnson.

'Therw was plenty of endeavour but plenty of endeavour away at Gateshead on a Tuesday night isn't going to win you the league,' said Johnson. 'First hour we did OK and we looked really compact and had a good shape about us, organised, and we played some good stuff. The second half they looked fresher, fitter, stronger than us, better than us.

'We didn't really trouble their 18-yard box until the last 10 minutes when we had nothing to lose, but we can't keep relying on your number nine having a good game or Grandy and Danny getting on the end of things, other players need to step up and make things happen on night's like this.

'Everyone is right when you talk about the lack of consistency. If we can't score at that end then take a 0-0 draw and keep a clean sheet. But it was sloppy goals as well and the second goal epitomised the night for me, it was really sloppy. Let's not take anything away from them as they were better than us. They moved the ball better than us, they had more desire from forward runners to get beyond their striker. We didn't make them work for it'".

The Northern Echo tells us that "Alun Armstrong has warned potential buyers that Justin Donawa will 'not go cheap', should the 23-year-old leave Darlington.

The pacey attacker with 20 caps for Bermuda has caught the eye in his first season in English football, scoring nine times and nailing down a spot on the right wing. With impressive aerial ability too, given a background in athletics, Donawa is a player bound to be interesting clubs higher up the ladder.

'He’s got something you cannot teach and that’s pace. He’s scoring goals and he’s got massive potential,' said Armstrong, of a a talent previously with Black Rock FC in the US. 'There’s not many people like him, he’s a sheer athlete and if you had time to work with him it would be a no-brainer to sign him. But he’ll not go cheap. If a Football League club comes calling we would not stand in his way, but it’s got to be the right deal for the club as well.

'If I was a league manager I would be looking at him. He’s raw, the athleticism that he has, his leap, he’s someone you could work with four or five times a week. He’s so powerful off the mark he there’s before you know it. He’s got the ability to do that, to get in front of people, and that’s something you cannot teach'...

Donawa is under contract for the remainder of this season and Quakers have an option to extend his deal for a further year. However, Armstrong was initially reluctant to select Donawa in his starting XI, citing positional sense as a factor in preferring players such as Jarrett Rivers and Stephen Thompson. But coaching over a period of time means he is now in the first-choice XI, starting the team’s last eight matches in all competitions.

The manager explained 'It was the other side of his game we needed to work on. Where he had played previously, it was all about staying up the field and attacking, but my wide players have got to help out the full-backs constantly in a positional sense off the ball. He wasn’t tucking in at times, so we kept working with him told him to watch Jarrett, to watch Thommo, listen to the instructions and I think everyone has seen the benefits because he’s tracking back, he’s nicking the ball off people and he has learnt so much'...

[After] losing 3-0 at Chester on Saturday, with Donawa well-marshalled by left-back Joel Taylor. Armstrong added 'Justin had a really quiet game but we didn’t help him by keeping lumping balls into him. He’s an outlet, yes, but we can’t keep doing that, their left-back got on top and did exceptionally well... Justin has played a lot of games recently, he’s had a lot of minutes, so I just thought we should get him off because the game was gone and rest his legs for next week.'”

Bulls' News quotes from "an interview with 'The Beachster' recorded after Saturday's draw with Curzon Ashton, [IN WHICH] Hereford FC chairman Andrew Graham replied to questions...

'The manager we require at Hereford has to be able to understand this level of football, has to be able to recruit at this level, and has to be able bond the team together. We are part-time, we are not a full-time squad, it's important they gel as a team. As far as (going full-time) it will be when the budget enables us to go full-time.

'We've seen some terrible form last 15/18 months, if truth be told, that has had an impact on the gates. Gate revenue then has an impact on the budget. We need to ensure we are in a safe place to set a budget for full-time. Are we at that point at the moment? Not with the current level of gates but hopefully that will turn around'.

How much of an influence do the original benefactors have in the boardroom, if any? 'They don't. We listened to the original benefactors, we listened to their opinions and thoughts, they are successful business people, but no more than we listened to the thoughts and opinions of HUST, other shareholders and our fans as well....

'I'm sure the football philosophy will change with the coaching staff that have changed... We parted company with Mark Richards because we didn't feel it was heading in the way we wanted it to head. When we looked at the end of the season (to sack Richards) it wasn't a decision the board wanted to take at that time.'

Why were Richards and [Tim] Harris allowed to give out so many contracts to players? 'Therein lies a bit of an issue because if you look at the fact that a lot of our players are on long-term contracts, they've all got ability to play at this level but did we have a lot of people on contract who didn't gel as a unit, the answer has been clear to see for 15 months. Very disappointing that they (Harris and Richards) had that much freedom when it was a budget that was given to them, I'm very disappointed that we found ourselves in that position so, yes, I think there should have been a lot more control over that....

'We've got to get the right person for [manager at] Hereford. We are not the same as every other club. I know what models some clubs have and I look at some managers that some clubs have but we've seen both at Hereford, and at other clubs much much bigger than ours, that it isn't always about the name. Sometimes it's about an individual who comes in and makes that difference in the changing room to get players who believe in themselves.

'Josh [Gowling] has stepped up as interim manager, Steve Burr as his assistant, fantastic acquisition for Hereford. I think that this management team might do something and if they do I don't think we will be in a rush to oust them for something different'".nute interview at:

Also from Cheshire LIve we learn that, for Alfreton Town, loanee "Chester FC striker Danny Elliott... had the dream start to his spell as the Reds brushed aside Gloucester City on Tuesday night... as he fired a hat-trick on his debut in their 6-1 win over Gloucester City on Tuesday night.

Elliott, on loan at the Reds for the next month from Chester FC, was in lethal form in front of goal for Billy Heath's side in the National League North as they swept aside Gloucester on what was an emotionally charged night at the Impact Arena following the tragic death of former Alfreton player Jordan Sinnott at the weekend.

Elliott opened the scoring on 12 minutes when he pounced on a mistake to fire home before he added number two on 26 minutes, displaying his lightning pace to race onto a Danny Clarke pass and beat the Tigers keeper to it before rolling into an empty net...

His hat-trick arrived on 63 minutes as he held of a challenge before firing past the onrushing Zach Jeacock in the Gloucester goal.

There was a poignant moment after Elliott bagged his opener when the striker raced to the sideline to celebrate with teammates before holding aloft a 'Sinnott 25' Alfreton shirt to pay tribute to the ex-Reds striker, who died in tragic circumstances on Saturday at the age of just 25... Elliott will remain at the Derbyshire side, initially, until the end of February".

28 January 2020


Kettering Town advise that today's game against Altrincham will go ahead at 7.45pm.

Beforehand, Altrincham were planning their first ever visit to Burton Latimer on Tuesday night to face Kettering Town, who are temporarily housed there pending a return to the town of their name.

It will be the third new league venue for Altrincham this season, after trips to King's Lynn and Evesham (Gloucester City). Alty may yet also visit York's new ground, in March, if it opened before then. And in the FA Cup, of course, Altrincham made an inaugural visit to Portsmouth.

The stadium at Burton Latimer (NN15 5PJ) is shared with Burton Park Wanderers, who currently lie eighth in the Uhlspoort United Counties Football League. Via the A5 is almost nine miles south east of the former ground at Rockingham Road.

Max Harrop is available for Altrincham after his suspension but with Andy White failing to complete the first half on Saturday against Bradford, there must be doubt about his participation at Kettering.

It was good to see both Sean Williams and Simon Richman, as well as longer term absentee Steven Drench all warming up last Saturday so, possibly, some or all of them may be involved on Tuesday.


Mike Garnett's records tell us that the record between Altrincham and their opponents on Tuesday, Kettering Town, is as follows:
  • At Home: P28, W12, D13, L3, F59, A42
  • Away: P29, W9, D9, L11, F41 A53
  • All: P57 W21 D22 L14 F100 A95

The last time Altrincham travelled to play an away game against Kettering Town it was, like this week, a midweek match. That game ended 3-3 in a Blue Square Bet Premier match played at thr former Rushden and Diamonds Nene Stadium, on Tuesday, 28 September 2010. This time, of course, the destination is Burton Latimer, a new venue for Altrincham.

In that 2010 game, Altrincham came back three times to take a deserved point. After early Kettering pressure, Marna made it 1-0 from Christie's feed. Soon, Alty moved debutant Andrai Jones from the back line to right midfield before Denham equalized with a great turn and shot from the edge of the box. But, inside a minute, Marna made it 2-1 after Noubissie got past Reeves, who inexplicably was Alty's last man on their left flank, to cross for the scorer.

On 30 minutes, Reeves headed in a great Denham cross to make it 2-2 after good work by Lawton. After 71 minutes Marna completed his hat trick with a header. But Alty continued to fight back before Hewson tapped in for 3-3 after 81 minutes and it was then Alty who went the closer before the referee ended the game.

Michael Welch and Ryan Brown were injured on Saturday so new loan signing Andrai Jones started at the back whilst Damian Reeves replaced McCarthy up front.

Altrincham's line up was 1. James COATES, 14. Andrai JONES, 2. James SMITH, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 4. Marc JOSEPH, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 11. Nicky CLEE, 8. Damian REEVES, 10. Chris DENHAM, Subs: 23. James McCARTHY, 1. Stuart COBURN, 20. Sam HEWSON, 12. Kevin HOLSGROVE, 18. Matty CROWELL.

Alty won the reverse fixture at Moss Lane 3-2 in that season, which was to end in their relegation, whilst the Poppies finished fifteenth..


As previously signalled, when James Jones started the game on Saturday, it was his hundreth start for the club. So it was fitting that Jones scored the second goal of the match. In all he has made 100 (+7) appearamces and has scored 11 goals. James is the eighth member of the current squad to have started 100 games or more. They are Shaun Densmore (382 starts), Jake Moult (335), Simon Richman (265), Tom Hannigan (125), Jordan Hulme (121), Josh Hancock (115) and Tony Thompson (114). Two others, Max Harrop and Sean Williams, have made 100 appearances but not yet 100 starts.

Also on the statistical front, Tom Peers's start in the same game meant that he has now started 44 games and also been a used substitute in the same number of matches (44) and has scored exactly half that number of goals (22), giving a nicely symmetrical set of numbers.

Craig Mahon's debut on Saturday was the eighth start by a previously unplayed Altrincham player or loanee in the league this season, following the initiations of Nathan Arnold, Conor Branson, Josh Lundstram, Toby Mullarkey, Ethan Walker, Lewis Walters and Luke Wall. Curtis Miller also made his league debut, but as a used substitute.

Right: Craig Mahon during Saturday's warm-up.



On Sunday, in the North West Youth Alliance Open Cup, at Manchester Health Academy, Altrincham Youth defeated Ashton Athletic 2-1 thanks to goals from Lewis Billingsley and Matthew Sumner. The Altrincham team comprised (a/z order), Niall Butchart, Theodore Donachie, Daniel Gavaghan, Joe Haggerty, Robert Hughes, James Matthews, Raheem Mercurius, Luigi Mongan, Sam Moser, Matthew Sumner, Joel Torrance. Subs: Joshua Finlay, George Howarth


In the Argyle Sports Kit North West Regional Cup, played on Sunday, Altrincham FC Ladies lost 0-3 at home to Accrington Sports & Football Club, who play their league matches in the level above Alty.


According to Cheshire Live "John Johnston says he needed little convincing to leave Altrincham for Chester FC.

The 25-year-old winger made an impressive debut for the Blues at the weekend in the 3-0 win over Darlington, 24 hours on from making the move... Chester triggered a release clause in the winger's contract at Moss Lane, the fee paid by Blues' benefactor Stuart Murphy, with Johnston coming onto the Blues' wage bill at the same time as record appearance holder and club legend Craig Mahon headed in the opposite direction in a separate deal.

Johnston started on the left hand side for Chester against the Quakers and gave the Blues the balance that they have craved and caught the eye with his direct style of play and high work ethic off the ball. And the former Salford City, Crewe Alexandra and Nantwich Town man was pleased to don the blue and white stripes.

Johnston told Cheshire Live 'It has been a crazy week. Since it got announced my phone has been constant and my Twitter has been ping, ping, ping. That's to be expected coming to a club like Chester. Monday night I got the phone call saying that Chester were interested but we don't want to sell you but I told them that I wanted to speak to them as it is Chester. Then Chester triggered a release clause in my contract and it went that way.

'I agreed straight away and spoke to the gaffers, the decision was made and I wanted to come here. It's always tough leaving a club where I was loved. I'd been there for two-and-a-half years and I have had a great time but sometimes you just know the time is right to move on and this felt like the right time.

'Playing here today (against Darlington), the atmosphere and the result already tells me it was the right decision to come. I was chucked in at the deep end as they say but I know the style of play and I think I did OK but I could have done better. I've got high standards and I want to keep pushing on and pushing on but in terms of the victory it was a massive statement to the league'..

Johnston said 'I know Bern and Jonno and I have stayed in touch with them since [playing for them at] Salford. They message me most weeks to say 'good performance' or 'well done' and they have stayed in touch. They are the type of people who, if you buy into what they are about then it is going to work. You know what you are going to get and you will be up there at the end of the season no matter what. They are two good managers and they are one of the big reasons for coming.

'This is a squad which is more than capable of getting promoted and playing at a higher level. I think if we do get promoted then there is not much you need to change. This is a great squad and it has strength in depth which is key. When you need to rotate you can rotate and it doesn't weaken the squad. I think we've got a great chance this season.'"


Cheshire Live says that "Talks continue over [the] future of some of Chester FC's key players... Bernard Morley hopes that he and co-boss Anthony Johnson will be able to tie down some of the younger players in their Chester FC squad who are attracting interest from clubs in higher divisions.

The Blues bosses have made no secret of their desire to keep hold of the likes of Brad Jackson, Joel Taylor and George Glendon for beyond this season and have been in dialogue with the players and their agents...

'We're working hard to nail three or four down but it is proving difficult in terms of where players want to be and desire, which we compliment as we always say we will never hold them back,' said Morley, speaking after the 3-0 win over Darlington ...

'But our roots are down as managers, we are here for the next two-and-a-half years and we want success. You look out on the pitch (against Darlington) and we want a large percentage of those players to be with us and we believe that is very achievable... It always works in the player's favour but we are confident we can be done for Tuesday night in terms of one or two.'

Scouts from EFL sides have been in regular attendance this season to watch some of the Blues players in action... Chester continue to look to add to their squad following on from the signing of John Johnston for an undisclosed fee from league rivals Altrincham on Friday. The Blues have been heavily linked with a move for Alty striker and a former player of Johnson and Morley's at Salford City, Jordan Hulme.

Hulme, 29, was the subject of interest last season for Chester before they signed Akwasi Asante and there is substance to the rumours that he is a player who the club remain keen on, although how viable a deal is remains to be seen.

There is room in the wage budget for another addition with Craig Mahon departing to Altrincham last week and striker Danny Elliott heading out for what is an initial month-long loan at Alfreton Town but one that could be extended".

From Gloucestershire Live we learn that "Gloucester City manager James Rowe says ‘there are a lot of positives’ after his side's defeat at home to Southport. It was a tight contest between the two sides at The Jubilee Stadium with the away team just pipping Gloucester to the three points with a 1-0 win...

It leaves Gloucester three points above the relegation zone but with games in hand on most teams around them. Gloucester’s luck ran against them on Saturday as the woodwork was hit, a penalty appeal was waved away and three injuries really tested the Tigers' resolve...

Said Rowe, 'What was thrown at us, obviously Matty’s (Matthew McClure) picked up a groin injury after five minutes, Jack Senior’s pulled his hamstring after 25 minutes and obviously Spencer (Hamilton), after 20 minutes in the second half, has had to come off...

'Credit to the lads, especially when Fabien and Lewis came on I thought it made a real impact, it pushed us on again and I thought that a goal was coming,' said Rowe. 'The lads are still all very upbeat'...

The main threat for most of the game for Gloucester was their number nine Marlon Jackson as he broke through the Southport defence on multiple occasions... 'He was a real threat wasn’t he, he got in behind, he delivered crosses, nearly got on the end of one but with the front players we’ve brought in he’ll have more support and I think that was evident today,' said Rowe... 'It was really difficult on that pitch, the pitch was absolutely shocking, for both teams,' said Rowe...

After Southport took the lead they really then started to try and kill off the game and that was evident with throw-ins taking as long as 30 seconds to be taken at times near the end. 'We struggled with that, the referee’s putting three, four minutes on [added time] and I thought it could have been six or seven at least,' said Rowe.

'That wasn’t the only thing that I wasn’t happy about, we had three corners in the first half when we’re trying to build momentum in the game and they're standing 5 yards away and blocking it and getting away with it, I’ve not seen that before.'"

The News Post Leader reports that against King's Lynn "Lee Clark’s side were left to rue a poor opening 20 minutes as league top scorer Jack Marriott added to his tally with two-quick fire goals. Rory McAuley then wrapped up the three points on the hour-mark...

Despite a decent but brief spell from Blyth, in which Harmison headed over Lambert’s delivery, the league leaders soon raced into a two-goal lead after taking advantage of poor Spartans’ defending, as Marriott buried two composed finishes just six minutes apart. Power and Marriott wasted further opportunities for the hosts but Blyth gradually improved and ended the opening 45 minutes on top...

Blyth’s hopes of mounting a comeback were dashed on the hour-mark by an Aaron Jones corner kick that was headed home with ease by McAuley. Clark brought on Adam Wrightson and Michael Sweet in place of Hunter and Lambert but they were unable to help break down a stubborn Linnets defence".


The BBC reports that "A third man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a non-league footballer who was attacked during a night out. Jordan Sinnott, 25, who was on loan at Matlock Town, died in hospital after being found unconscious in Market Place, Retford, on Saturday morning.

Two 21-year-old men were arrested on suspicion of murder. A 20-year-old man is also now being held. Another man has been charged over a separate assault...

Tributes have been paid to the footballer, who also played for Huddersfield Town, Altrincham, Bury FC, Halifax Town, Chesterfield and Alfreton Town. Phil Tooley, a former director of Chesterfield FC, said Mr Sinnott, who played for the club between 2017 and 2018, was a 'lovely lad'. 'I was privileged enough to get to know him a bit... He used to light up a room when he came in,' Mr Tooley said.

Matlock Town spokesman Ian Richardson said... 'For a young lad to go for a night out and not come home... is heartbreaking. He was a tremendous, polite and courteous lad who liked to be the fun in the dressing room. The tributes we've had from far and wide show what a grand lad he was.'

Police no longer believe a fight involving eight men and women at the Dominie Cross pub car park, in Grove Street, just after 23:25, was connected to Mr Sinnott's death...

Mr Sinnott, from Bradford, is the son of former footballer Lee Sinnott. Earlier this month, he scored the first hat-trick of his career during a game against Basford United".

The BetVictor NPL reports that "South Shields, Lancaster City and FC United of Manchester all dropped points this weekend as Basford United took second spot in the BetVictor Northern Premier Division... Despite their defeat, South Shields remain at the top of the table ahead by three points to Basford. The Mariners had won their last four league matches heading into the weekend, including a 2-1 victory over Lancaster, but two late goals from Witton Albion saw a 2-1 upset in the division. Sefton Gonzales scored in the 45th minute to give the home side a lead, but a goal from Michael Monaghan in the 90th minute levelled the scores before Kyle Sambor scored in injury time...

Just outside of the play-offs, Nantwich Town defeated Stalybridge Celtic 2-0 with goals from Joe Mwasile and James Lawrie inside the first half.

27 January 2020


The National League has brief highlights of the Altrincham v Bradford (Park Avenue) match from last Saturday.

And Alty TV has a post-match interview with assistant manager Neil Sorvel.

Bradford (Park Avenue) reported that "It became seven defeats in eight for an Avenue side falling increasingly into relegation as playoff chasing Altrincham deservedly ran out 2-0 winners at Moss Lane.

Avenue hoped to lean on the reverse fixture between the two sides, a 2-0 victory at Horsfall Stadium, but Altrincham came out a completely different outfit compared to the side that the Avenue saw just six weeks ago. But it was a case of the same old for Avenue, as once again, they conceded in the first minute of the game. That makes it three times in their last five that they have conceded in the first five minutes with manager Mark Bower admitting that the slow starts are unacceptable as it leaves them 'chasing the game'.

Avenue never really gained focus from the first whistle, and 45 seconds in, after some brilliant work down the right hand side of the Avenue area from Jordan Hulme, he managed to whip in a pitch perfect cross to Josh Hancock, who kept his composure to slot the ball home and inflict another disastrous start on the visitors.

It took a long time for Bradford to wake up and get any kind of foothold in the game as Altrincham dominated possession... The first half then got even worse for Bower’s side as Altrincham went two ahead, this time through Jordan [James] Jones heading home from another Jordan Hulme assist.

Coming out of half time, Avenue’s performance steadily improved but they didn’t do too much to test the Altrincham goalkeeper... Altrincham looked happy to sit on the ball and not do too much more as time ran out, while Avenue struggled to do much with the ball when they did have it.

This result leaves Avenue falling further and further to the bottom of the table with relegation looking more likely as the weeks pass by while Altrincham continue their march towards the playoffs."


For the second game running, Alty meet a team below them in the table as they make their first-ever visit to the new home of Kettering Town. The Kettering club went into administration and was demoted in 2012 to the Southern League Premier Division, from which they were then relegated to the Southern League Division One Central. They have since climbed back to their current level.

Having lost their Rockingham Road ground which has now been built upon, they moved to the defeunct Rushden & Diamonds stadium in 2011 and, from there, to Corby Town in 2012. In 2013 they moved to ground share with Burton Park Wanderers at Latimer Park in 2013 and that is where they remain.

After a poor start to the season, Paul Cox was appinted as manager and the turnaround has been remarkable. They lost 1-0 at York City last time out but before that had lost just twice in 14 matches in all competitions.

In advance of Tuesday's game, Kettering Town reported that ""Altrincham... are in 8th place on 40 points and have suffered just one defeat in the last eight games. This fixture against Altrincham evokes memories from the glory days of the Alliance Premier, GOLA, GM Vauxhall Conference, and latterly Blue Square Conference. There have been many classic battles against the Robins, as Altrincham in [the] 1980s was one of the top non-league sides, winning the Alliance twice (Kettering were runners up in 1980-81) and only out of the top 5 three times in 10 seasons.

The last time we [met] at a home fixture was at Nene Park* in 2010-11, a thrilling 3-3 draw with Jean-Paul Marna scoring a hat-trick for the Poppies, in front of 1,194. (*The match was actually at Rockingham Road not Nene Park).

Kettering Town matchday prices are:

  • Adults (18 & Over): £15
  • Concessionaries Over 60 & students): £10
  • Youths (Under 18): £5

Programmes (£2.50) are on sale just inside the turnstiles. The Social Club is situated outside the ground and will be open throughout for sale of cold food and drinks. Programmes are also sold in the clubhouse. Hot food and hot drinks are available from the catering van inside the ground".


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records remind us of previous games on Tuesday's date, 28 January. The last match on that date was in 2017 when Alty travelled to AFC Fylde and lost 4-1 in a Vanarama National League North match. That match, like the one in 2020, was Alty's first visit to a new stadium, in that case Mill Farm. Next Tuesday, is Alty's first sighting of Kettering's temporary home at Burton Latimer.

Right: Alty line up before the 2017 game at AFC Fylde.

The 2017 match was in the relegation season and the Coasters had beaten Alty 6-0 at Moss Lane in what proved to be Neil Young's last game in charge.

The return fixture at Fylde was a clash between top and bottom. Alty almost grabbed an early lead as, with barely a minute having elapsed, Lawrie's pass from inside left went to Newby who hit the outside of the post.

But, after Dixon had advanced on the right, Rowe curled his shot into the top corner of the net from inside the "D" to Deasy's right to give Fylde a 10th minute lead.

On a very wet pitch Fylde made it 2-0 eight minutes later when Jones let the ball go but then fouled his opponent as the Fylde man got free behind him. Rowe lashed home the resulting freekick from a central position.

Alty's misfortunes continued as Clee, who had been clattered just after the first goal, had to be subbed with only twenty minutes on the clock.

It became 3-0 when a Bradley cross led to Rowe's shot being saved but the loose ball was tapped in by Wilson (28 mins).

Alty gained some hope when Lawrie completed a fine move on the left, converting McWilliams's cross with a half volley to make it 3-1 just before the interval.

Altrincham saw a lot of the ball in the second half but could not break down the home defence and, against the run of play. Fylde made it 4-1 after 74 minutes through substitute Matty Hughes's close-range goal.

ALTRINCHAM : 1. Tim DEASY, 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Andy McWILLIAMS, 4. Jake MOULT (c), 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. John CYRUS, 7. Elliot NEWBY, 8. Gary JONES, 9. Andy OWENS, 10. James LAWRIE, 11. Nicky CLEE Subs: 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 14. Simon RICHMAN, 15. Oluwatomisin ADELOYE, 16. Laurence TAYLOR, 17. Kyle BROWNHILL.


On Saturday 1st February, Altrincham travel to the New Buck's Head to face AFC Telford United. The Bucks have advised that segregation will be in place for this match. Away Supporters will be able to gain access to the stadium at the turnstiles via the Frank Nagington Stand but tickets are available in advance via the club's online ticket system. Telford advise supporters to buy in advance here

Given that Telford have experienced two recent postponements through waterlogging, it might be as well to check the weather forecast before purchasing tickets in advance!

Admission Prices are

  • Adults: £14.00
  • Concessionaries: £10.00 (Over 60)
  • Aged 16-19: £5
  • Under 16s: £1.

The Telford match is the second in a series of four fixtures in twelve days against just two different opponents!

  • Tue.28.1.20 Away: Kettering Town 7.45pm
  • Sat.1.2.20 Away: AFC Telford United 3pm
  • Tue.4.2.20 Home: AFC TELFORD UNITED 7.45pm
  • Sat.8.2.20 Home: KETTERING TOWN 3pm


News of Alty's next opponents comes from York City as they report that "Jordan Burrow’s 13th goal of the season was the difference as City beat Kettering Town 1-0 at Bootham Crescent.

York were looking to bounce back after defeat to top of the table Kings Lynn and make it three home wins in a row. Kettering were down in 17th in the league, however they came into this game looking to add to the seven points they’d picked up from their last three matches. Back in December, the two sides played out a goalless draw.

Steve Watson put Friday signing Kurt Willoughby straight into the starting line-up. Dan Maguire also came into the side. Adriano Moke and Alex Kempster were on the bench... The game struggled to get going for the opening 15 minutes... Kettering thought they had the lead when Ben Milnes’ ball into the box went through the hands of Peter Jameson and into the bottom corner, but the referee blew for a foul.

Both sides were still finding it hard to create chances... Kettering hit the crossbar in the early stages of the second half, when a free kick deflected off the wall...

Just past the hour mark and York took the lead. Ferguson drilled one into the near post on the left hand side, and Burrow was there, sliding it past the keeper first time to put York 1-0 up...

Kettering were pushing for their equaliser... however York held on to take the three points.

Kettering Town: White, Stohrer, Taylor, Graham ©, McGrath, Solkhon, Nti, O’Connor, Williams (Law), Milnes, Kelly (Meikle). Unused substitutes: Carta, Bennett"

Chester FC "put in a dominant display to beat one of the leagues in-form teams in Darlington. Goals from Brad Jackson, Akwasi Asante and Danny Livesey put the visitors to the sword and move above Brackley into third place in the division.

Chester FC made two changes from the team that drew 0-0 away at Leamington last time out, with George Glendon and James Jones missing out for Akwasi Asante and new signing John Johnston...

The second goal did come though and it went to the Blues, Joel Taylor’s corner fell perfectly for Akwasi Asante to add turn in from close range for his seventeenth goal in eighteen games. Two very quickly became three as Joel Taylor put in another outstanding delivery and Danny Livesey was on hand to head home, with the Blues defender injuring himself in the process... A clean sheet, three goals and three points in an impressive home display from Chester".

Curzon Ashton claimed it was "A point gained but it felt more like two lost after a 94th minute penalty snatched victory away from Curzon Ashton on their trip to Hereford.

In a game full of incident, Mo Ali had given the Nash the lead in a first half interrupted by a lengthy stoppage following an injury to the referee.

Hereford were reduced to ten men in the eighth of 10 added on minutes at the end of the half when Ben Pollock was dismissed for a high and dangerous tackle on James Baillie.

Despite controlling the second half, Curzon couldn’t make their man advantage count and were pegged back in stoppage time when Rowan Liburd went down in the box and Tom Owen-Evans rolled home the spot kick.

Liburd went down easily but there was enough contact to persuade the replacement referee to point to the spot and deny Curzon all three points. The result does, nonetheless, move the Nash up a place to 18th, five points ahead of the relegation zone.

Confidence was high in the Nash camp after last week’s emphatic victory over Farsley Celtic and Mark Bradshaw rewarded those starters by naming an unchanged line-up. Andy Halls returned from suspension to take a place on the bench where he was joined by new signing Jamal Crawford.

They carried on the momentum of that win... by the time they took the lead 15 minutes in. Josh Askew’s in-swinging corner fell for Dimaio who again had a shot blocked by Henry, but Ali was in the right place at the right time to reach the rebound and smash an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net.

Curzon were threatening to run riot at this stage... Referee Scott Simpson limping off halted the Nash in their tracks, however...It had been a hectic week for Hereford after they sacked manager Russell Slade following a run of one win in 18 games. Josh Gowling, still a player at the club, was handed the managerial reins but his task was made a lot harder in the closing moments of the first half. Pollock launched himself into a challenge with Baillie leaving the referee with little choice but to issue him with a straight red card.

That changed the game’s dynamic: until then it was Hereford who had been controlling possession, but now Curzon were looking to make the extra man in midfield count... Hereford had failed to test Cam Mason all afternoon and looked devoid of ideas and confidence by the end, but in an instant that all changed.

Liburd collected the ball just inside the area with his back to goal and tumbled to the ground under pressure. Owen-Evans waited for Mason to dive before calmly dispatching the spot-kick to earn a share of the spoils".

Farsley Celtic "and Barnet will be hoping it's third time lucky as the Celt Army make the trip down to London on Tuesday...

Due to the nature of the postponement on Tuesday, Barnet are offering Farsley fans free entry to the return fixture".

And, on Saturday, Farsley Celtic tell us that "A 40-yard screamer from Danny Ellis at the death gave Farsley a point from a game they dominated after conceding early.

Farsley Celtic lined up wanting to put a stop to their poor run, having lost their last three league matches. AFC Telford, in relatively weak form themselves, provided ample opportunity to stop the rot. The 400-odd attendance oversaw instantaneous goalmouth action from the kick-off, sadly at the wrong end. Telford ploughed forward in their ostentatious purple.

Opposing striker Matty Stenson bared fruits[?] immediately, putting the visitors ahead within the first minute. Stenson reacted well to Elliot Wynne’s half save, tapping it in as the Celt Army were exposed at the back.

That ultimately turned out to be the best play from the visitors, as Farsley then controlled the half with urgency, seldom allowing Telford on the ball.

Growing concurrently with the home side pressure was the frustration that some inside the Citadel held against the ref. Opposition goal scorer, Stenson further incensed the home supporters with unnatural falls, after which taking his time to resurface. The half-time whistle went with Farsley on top but with tempers flaring.

The gung-ho pace set by Adam Lakeland from the touchline caused his alternate [opposite number], Andy Pryce, concern. Not wanting to defend lightspeed [sic] attacks anymore, Andy set the Bucks out to neutralise the game. The purple-clad shirts did anything to stop the game breathing. Now the ref was forced to take action, as he awarded several free-kicks to the appreciation of the Citadel faithful. Yet, [he] still seemed disinterested [uninterested] in cautioning any player despite clear roughing [up] from the Shropshire side...

Farsley continued to jack up the pressure... Telford had shut up shop now, allowing Farsley to attack... The game then re-shaped into the dominant Farsley attack which spectators had seen throughout the entire afternoon; many chances, yet still no goal. Danny Ellis sensed the moment was right to try something unique... Deep into added time, the captain emerged from the left-flank halfway line. From which point he executed a Messi-ilk [like] strike, [the ball] perfectly soaring into the back of the net from 40-yard range...

The final whistle shortly followed. Farsley had fought hard all game and deservedly got the point as the better team throughout the match".

Blyth Spartans "announce the signing of striker Ben Harmison from Northumberland counterparts Morpeth Town.

Harmison joins Jack Lambert in [being] the second player to join Spartans today... The 34-year-old, a former professional cricketer, stepped into non-league football with hometown club Ashington. And after having a brief spell with North Shields, Harmison has worked his way up the football pyramid in recent seasons.

Harmison spent most of last season at Evo-Stik Premier side South Shields and played a big part as the Mariners narrowly missed out on the title. Morpeth Town then snapped up Harmison in the summer and now, after a brief loan with Whickham, [he] signs for his third Northumberland club.

Manager Lee Clark said 'Ben knows the club and knows the area and brings experience as well, which is very important for me. He is a target man and is a very physical player, which myself and Paul (Stephenson) have realised this league is a lot about physicality. We believe he can be a big asset for us. We need to get the right people doing the right type of moments off him, whether he is holding the ball up or flicking it on.

'We need players to make those types of runs to get beyond and get behind defenders. But also set plays, they are massive at any level but more so at this level.'

Clark added 'He gives us that little more physicality as we’re starting to look a big physical side at the moment with the additions we’ve brought in. We’ve got to replace the goals and assists that are gone. That is not going to be easy ; it is nigh-on impossible. I’d love to say we can get it one player who can do it but I think we are going to have to do it with three or four players. We are going to have to contribute to making and scoring goals to give the likes of Robbie (Dale) a hand.'"

Boston United report that "Dominic Knowles struck twice as Boston United strengthened their grip on a play-off place on Saturday afternoon. Knowles' well-taken first half brace, scored in the 37th and 43rd minutes, accounted for Kidderminster Harriers at The Jakemans Stadium.

Jordan Thewlis and debutant Frank Mulhern were involved in the build-up to both Knowles goals as United ended a perfect week with nine points from nine. Mulhern was included as one of four United attackers in a bold selection by United boss Craig Elliott following his loan arrival from Stockport County on Friday...

United took the lead eight minutes before half-time when Jay Rollins and Thewlis combined to tee up Mulhern and he chipped back across goal for KNOWLES to head home from close-range. The Pilgrims doubled their lead six minutes later when Thewlis and Mulhern combined once more for KNOWLES to sail home a low effort from 18 yards which took the slightest of deflections on its way in.

The second half was a quiet affair... United maintained their two-goal lead with relative ease".

Kidderminster Harriers "confirm that influential performer, Sam Austin has signed a new, extended contract with the club.

The 23-year-old has been with the club since the summer of 2016. Since then, he has steadily built a career here at Aggborough.

He’s made a total of 148 appearances with the club but, in that time, has gradually established himself in the side to the point that he’s now one of the first names on the team sheet.

The Stourbridge-born player, who had previously been with Burton Albion, has enjoyed one of his most consistent campaigns to date in 2019/20... Sam has now extended his Harriers contract to the summer of 2021, which is just rewards for his professionalism and attitude on and off the pitch".

For Spennymoor Town "Ben McKenna, scored one and set up Glen Taylor as Spennymoor won for the first time since New Year’s Day after a professional performance against Leamington.

Jason Ainsley made two changes to the side who drew 1-1 at Kidderminster Harriers a week previous, with Jamie Chandler, previously an ever-present this season, missing out due to illness. Carl Magnay, deployed as either a right-back or central defender this campaign, was given the nod in midfield alongside Shane Henry, while Ben McKenna returned from injury and replaced Andrew Johnson.

After a scrappy opening few minutes it was Moors who created the first chance... A subdued Brewery Field witnessed Moors come forward once more ... but another weak shot wasn’t enough... As the half progressed a clear theme was beginning to emerge with Moors shooting on site [sight] without conviction, however, that all changed just past the half hour mark when Weaver was finally beaten.

The move began with a pinpoint pass down the line from Tyler Forbes which found Roberts with space to drive into. His delivery was punched away by Weaver but only to the feet of McKenna who found the gap to place the ball beyond a sea of bodies on the line...

The second half’s opening stages mirrored its predecessor in terms of action, with little to shout about in a scrappy and disjointed contest... Moors doubled their lead with ten minutes remaining. Goal scorer McKenna was the architect, driving to the bye-line before delivery a perfect cross onto the head of Taylor, who powered a header beyond Weaver with power and precision."


Recent player moves affecting the National League North include:
  • Nicholas Walker from Boston United to Gainsborough Trinity
  • George Willis from Boston United to Gainsborough Trinity
  • Joseph Skarz from Kettering Town to Grantham Town
  • Jack Humphreys from AFC Telford to Market Drayton Town
  • Michael O'Toole from AFC Telford to Market Drayton Town
  • Lucas Bell from Darlington to Marske United
  • Connor Thomson from Gateshead to Scarborough Athletic
  • Patrick Lacey from Southport to Stalybridge Celtic
  • Harry Limb from King's Lynn to Stamford
  • Paul Blackett from Gateshead to Whitby Town

26 January, 2020


Altrincham have two away trips in the coming week, to Kettering Town on Tuesday night and then to AFC Telford United next Saturday.

TASC will be running a coach to both matches. Seats can be booked by calling the club (0161 928-1045) after 10am on weekdays .

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


Above: James Jones (no.4) is congratulated on his goal against Bradford (Park Avenue).

Match report here.


After Saturday's game, the Telegraph & Argus reported that "Bradford (Park Avenue) boss Mark Bower thinks conceding early goals is what has put his side to the sword in recent weeks.

Avenue conceded their third goal in four games before the fifth-minute mark against Altrincham, who downed them 2-0 at Moss Lane. Josh Hancock netted with 30 seconds on the clock to leave Bradford with an even higher mountain to climb before James Jones' 40th-minute goal all but ended the contest...

He said 'We gave ourselves a mountain to climb again. We go a goal down so early, the lads say it was a foul on Nicky Clee in the build up, which we believe too, and its not given. We maybe need to react better but we are chasing the game, Altrincham are the best possession-based team in the league. The difference between the two teams again is when they get in the final third they are asking more questions than us.

'When we do produce a bit of quality, Stelios (Demetriou) gets down the left and puts a great ball in, which is asking to be scored, we make a bad decision. They had a similar one to the back stick 10 minutes later and their lad is there to power the header in'...

Bradford had announced on the morning of the game that they had agreed a dual registration to bring in Cyprian [i.e. Cypriot] international Stelios Demetriou from Haringey Borough. The full back, who can play on the wing, was part of St Mirren's winning Scottish Championship side in 2018 and received his one Cyprus cap in a 3-0 defeat to Jordan. The Bradford boss was delighted to bring in a player with such experience and thought he did well on his debut for the club.

'He has good pedigree and is a good vocal presence on the pitch... A couple of loans have fallen at the wayside but he was the natural one to come in. I thought he slotted in really well after being thrown in at the deep end, I can’t fault him for any goals that went in. He also provided us with some quality going forward on occasions.'"

Earlier, the Telegraph & Argus had informed us that "Bradford (Park Avenue) striker Oli Johnson says his side owe it to the fans to keep fighting for survival... Avenue must earn at least five wins from their remaining fixtures to have a chance of beating the drop.

That means they will have to reverse their current form of only taking a point from their last seven [now eight] fixtures... Johnson, who re-joined the club halfway through this season, admits Bradford are a long way from the team he starred in last term which reached the play-offs... Johnson admits a lack of cutting edge has put them in this position, but the 32-year-old poacher doesn’t believe Avenue’s overall performances merit a bottom placing in the league.

He said 'We are giving away soft goals but we are not scoring either or creating enough chances... We feel like we have been really unlucky, decisions with refs, and a few games where we have not scored the goal when we are on top. We don’t think we are a team who should be rooted at the bottom on performances but on results we are....

'The gaffer said he believes we can get out of it based on our performances... We owe it to ourselves and to the fans to keep the belief going'".


Following the extremely sad death of former Altrincham midfielder Jordan Sinnott (reported below), Lincolnshire Live reports that "Nottinghamshire Police say that Mr Sinnott was found with a suspected fractured skull following an assault in Market Place, Retford, just after 2am on Saturday, January 25. He was taken to Sheffield's Northern General Hospital with life-threatening head injuries... A 44-year-man suffered a suspected broken jaw and a 27-year-old man sustained a broken nose.

The incident came after police had earlier been called to a mass fight involving up to eight men and women in the car park of the Dominie Cross pub in Grove Street at 11.25pm on Friday, January 24. A 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm in connection with the events in Market Place".

Matlock Town "report that Jordan Sinnott has passed away this evening. His family and friends were with him at his bedside...

We understand from the Police that, following a serious assault in Retford town centre yesterday evening, Jordan was found unconscious with a suspected fractured skull. He was taken to hospital where he was treated for the injuries and put on a life support machine."


On Saturday, at home, Altrincham FC Reserves lost 0-1 to Whaley Bridge Athletic who lead the Cheshire League table.


According to the Chester Standard, "Chester made light work of in-form Darlington to record a convincing 3-0 home victory over Darlington.

A stunner from Brad Jackson handed the home side a merited first-half lead, before goals from Akwasi Asante and Danny Livesey after the interval extended their side's unbeaten run to four games.

Fourth-placed Chester handed a start to newly-signed winger John Johnston, just a day after he completed his move from National League North rivals Altrincham. Top-scorer Asante returned to spearhead the hosts' attack after overcoming his latest groin injury and once again proved his worth to the promotion-chasing hosts...

There was an early glimpse of Johnston's pace early on as he tore down the left flank chasing a hopeful long ball. The rapid 25-year-old then flashed a right-footed strike wide of the target from inside the box,... Playing with purpose and composure in the opening exchanges, the home side went close to an opener on eight minute...

A goal felt imminent and it arrived in style on 12 minutes when Jackson collected the ball in central midfield and drove at the visitors' defence before drifting wide and lacing a right-footed effort beyond Darlo keeper Chris Elliott and into the top corner.

Chester were well worth their slender lead...

The early stages of the second-half were largely uneventful, with both sides lacking any passing fluency... The advantage was doubled on 55 minutes though when Taylor's corner reached Asante at the back post and the Dutchman made no mistake from close range.

Things got even better for the hosts four minutes later when Livesey stooped to head home from another fine delivery from Taylor... The remainder of the contest was effectively closed out by the hosts, who made it four successive clean sheets in the league."

The Northern Echo reports that "Darlington's winning run came to an abrupt halt with a 3-0 defeat to Chester, and there could be no complaints as Quakers were second best for much of the game.

Alun Armstrong’s side had risen to sixth by winning three league games in a row, and seven of their last eight, a sequence which began with a 2-0 win over Chester in December, but a repeat never looked likely here. Chester, in fourth before kick-off, led 1-0 at half-time after a 45 minutes in which Darlington had rarely threatened... But goals from set-pieces after 57 and 59 minutes meant it became 3-0 and effectively game over for The Quakers, who were without the injured Will Hatfield..

They were second best for the bulk of today’s game, only occasionally imposing themselves on the match and instead having to try and contain a strong Chester side. Three minutes in and Chester had their first shot, debutant John Johnston scuffing a shot wide...

Darlington sloppily gave the ball away in the middle with David Atkinson at fault. Chester, who had enjoyed the majority of the early possession, raced away and Brad Jackson steamed down the right before rifling home from around 16 yards...

As long as it remained 1-0 Darlington had a chance, but two goals inside three minutes meant it was soon 3-0, both coming from set-pieces. Darlington trailed 2-0 after a corner to the far post, Asante credited with getting the final touch on 57 minutes, and then it was soon 3-0 after another set-piece, this time defender Danny Livesey heading in after a free-kick on Chester’s right after a foul by Thompson...

A thumping looked on the cards... but thankfully there were no further goals".

Guiseley state that "The Lions extended the unbeaten run on the road to seven games after a dour draw at Brackley Town.

In a game of few chances Aaron Martin was dismissed ten minutes from time for a second bookable offence leaving his side a man down in the closing stages... Kaine Felix was causing The Saints all sorts of problems with his pace and won a free kick on the edge of the area but Brad Nicholson’s effort flew out the ground from a dangerous position.

The first half petered out with little goalmouth action for either side...

Martin was sent off for his second booking in what looked to be an off the ball incident with the attacker now set to serve a two-game ban. Dewhurst made two saves in injury time to preserve his clean sheet and continue the away unbeaten run which started in November".

In the Boston Standard we learn that "Dominic Knowles wrapped up a week to remember with two goals to sink Kidderminster Harriers.

The Boston United striker netted twice in the first half... taking his tally for the season to 12... But the victory was built upon another solid defensive display as Craig Elliott’s side kept their third clean sheet in four matches against a side who showed more attacking quality and fight than their lowly league standing suggests...

Frank Mulhern, who joined on loan from Stockport County yesterday, went straight into the starting line-up as Craig Elliott made two changes to the side which beat Brackley on Tuesday. Jay Rollins also got the nod as Brad Abbott, who picked up an ankle injury in training, missed out and Martyn Woolford dropped to the bench. Scott Garner passed a fitness test following his calf troubles, but was named amongst the substitutes...

Knowles put the Pilgrims ahead in the 37th minute as he finished off a neat team move... And it was 2-0 six minutes later as that Thewlis-Mulhern-Knowles combination again worked wonders...

The second half began with Knowles blasting an effort high into Town End before Harriers enjoyed a spell of creativity, driving runs from Samuels and Hemmings stretching the Boston defence. But United’s back four stood firm".

According to York Press "'At this stage of the season, it's about three points'. So said York City manager Steve Watson following a 'tight, tough' 1-0 win over Kettering Town at Bootham Crescent.

Both Ben Milnes and the returning Dan Maguire had goals disallowed in the first half before Jordan Burrow netted the winner just after the 60-minute mark.

And at 1-0 down, Kettering still had chances to get back into it, Daniel Nti denied by a goalmouth scramble and Pete Jameson making an excellent save when one-on-one with Aaron O'Connor... The Minstermen boss admitted... 'We made changes to be positive to turn chances into goals by trying something different today,' he said, referring to Alex Kempster and Langstaff's second-half introductions for Steve McNulty and Maguire.

'It proved more difficult than we thought. To (Kettering's) credit, they have turned a corner and they're a tough team to play against; they had only lost one in 11. They came here to be hard to beat and to be direct, and their two forwards were a handful... It was a tight, tough, hard game...

'At this stage of the season, it's about three points... The lads don't do it on purpose but there were some things that would make you pull your hair out'...

Langstaff came off injured with 10 minutes remaining for Adriano Moke. 'Macaulay's struggling, to be honest with you,' Watson said... 'He'll be in a bit of pain for most of this week.'"

For Southport "Devarn Green struck in the second half as Southport returned to winning ways with three points at Gloucester City.

Green scored on 58 minutes to settle a tight contest, as the Port registered their first victory in the Vanarama National League North since December. Liam Watson’s side built on their midweek win at Pilkington in the Liverpool Senior Cup and will now look to use this result as a springboard for the remaining 14 games.

Watson opted for a 4-5-1 formation, with the excellent Charlie Oliver given a holding midfield role alongside Russell Benjamin. That gave the visitors the platform to grind out the win, also keeping their first clean sheet since the win in the reverse fixture at the Pure Stadium last month.

The only goal came as a throw-in from Jack Doyle was returned to the left-back. He swung in a cross, Ryan Astles sent the ball against the crossbar and from the resulting scramble, Green nudged it home... Quality and goalscoring chances were in short supply throughout...

The Port had to withstand late pressure from the home team... but Watson’s side were worthy of their win'"

The Hereford Times informs us that "Hereford FC are hopefully to welcome both Kieran Thomas and Jordan Nicholson to full training soon.

Interim player/coach Josh Gowling said [on Saturday] 'On the injury front, Kieran Thomas, Martin Riley and Jordan Nicholson are all set to miss today's game. Kieran has progressed much quicker than we initially thought and will hopefully be in full training soon.

“Jordan is also recovering well and will hopefully return soon. Martin has had a scan on his shoulder and the medical team are currently looking at the best way to get him back fit as quickly as possible."

Lynn News tells us that "Striker Adam Marriott struck a double as league leaders King's Lynn Town maintained their four-point advantage at the top of the National League North standings.

Marriott bagged two goals in the opening 18 minutes before Rory McAuley completed an impressive performance in the North East by adding a third early in the second half... Lynn were in front when Michael Gash's ball over the top was converted by the prolific Marriott.

Lynn doubled their advantage six minutes later as Marriott pounced again for his 28th league goal of the season...

Lynn wrapped up the three points 15 minutes into the second period with a third goal from defender McAuley. The Linnets remain four points clear at the top with two games in hand".

25 January 2020


This game rarely set the pulse raising. Altrincham took the lead inside 40 seconds when Jordan Hulme's low cross from the right was turned home at the back post by Josh Hancock. And it was Hulme who was again the provider for the second goal, which was headed in at the back post by James Jones from Hulme's chipped cross.

Above: Josh Hancock slots home the opening goal from a Jordan Hulme pass from the right.

In between the goals there was little to get excited about and the second half was even less eventful until Alty belatedly raised their game in the final ten minutes.

Above: James Jones nods in the second goal from Hulme's cross.

Alty's first-half unjury jinx struck again as Andy White had to be substituted after 38 minutes. New signing Craig Mahon came on for the final half-hour and had a quietly efficient start to his Alty career.

Match report here.


Vanarama National League North, Saturday 25th January
  • Alfreton Town P-P Gateshead
  • Altrincham 2-0 Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • Blyth Spratans 0-3 King's Lynn Town
  • Boston United 2-0 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Brackley Town 0-0 Guiseley
  • Chester FC 3-0 Darlington
  • Farsley Celtic 1-1 AFC Telford United
  • Gloucester City 0-1 Southport
  • Hereford FC 1-1 Curzon Ashton
  • Spennymoor Town 2-0 Leamington
  • York City 1-0 Kettering Town


It has now been confirmed that former Alty midfielder Jordan Sinnott died this evening in hospital. Condolences go to Jordan's family and particularly to his parents. Jordan's father Lee, of course, managed Altrincham during Jordan's period at Moss Lane.

Earlier The Mirror had reported that "Footballer Jordan Sinnott is on life support in hospital after being assaulted on Friday night.

Sinnott, 25, who is on loan at Matlock Town for Alfreton Town, is believed to have suffered a fractured skull. The former Huddersfield and Halifax midfielder is not expected to recover".

Other reports such as from the Telegraph & Argus had earlier stated that Jordan had died. Although these now seem to have been premature, Jordan's death has since been confirmed.

The Telegraph & Argus added, "Sinnott made the lion's share of his 72 career appearances at Altrincham, where he played between 2015 and 2016. After a spell with Halifax, he joined Chesterfield FC and got another taste of the Football League, making four appearances and scoring one goal in the 2017-18 season".

Jordan first played for Altrincham in a six-game loan spell from Huddersfield Town, which started against Gainsborough Trinity on 8 December 2012. He had been captain of the Yorkshire club's under-18 team in 2011-12 and made 2(+3) appearances for Huddersfield’s first-team. He also had a loan spell at Bury before his release by the Yorkshire club. Jordan then signed for Altrincham on non-contract terms on 13 February 2015 and made a further 8(+5) appearances for the Club, scoring once.

Following several appearances in pre-season in summer 2015, Jordan signed again for the club on 24 July 2015. The son of former Alty boss, Lee Sinnott, Jordan was an excellent crosser of the ball and normally operated on the right flank. Injuries to Shaun Densmore in 2015 led to Jordan playing regularly at right-back in 2015-16, a position in which he performed well.

In all he made 62(+7) appearances for Alty, scoring 4 goals.

Altrincham FC has Brian Flynn's tribute to Jordan.


At a well-attended meeting on Friday evening in the Community Sports Hall, supporters were treated to a presentation on the Club's vision for the future by the Board and were able to hear manager Phil Parkinson's views, too.

The evening started with Phil discussing the surprise departure of John Johnston to Chester FC, which had been announced earlier in the day. The manager indicated that at Alty "We couldn't get anywhere near" the financial package offered by Chester FC, which had induced the winger to leave Moss Lane. Director Bill Waterson confirmed that as well as the "substantial fee" paid by Chester, there was a sell-on clause in the transfer deal. Later in the evening it was also confirmed that both Johnston and Craig Mahon, who has moved in the opposite direction to Alty from Chester, could play in the March fixture between the clubs.

Phil Parkinson spoke of the difficulty in recruiting players as his main targets are chiefly players moving from full-time. This had also caused problems in the past, such as when Ashley Hemmings wanted a 52-week contract compared with Alty's standard 38-week contracts. On the field, last season, Phil felt that Alty's playing style "was so far ahead of other teams but now some of them have caught up with us" which had made this season more difficult.

Asked about a "Plan B" when Altrincham are closed down by opponents he said the answer was "patience" rather then lumping the ball up to a "Niall Quinn type of player", who we don't have anyway.

The bulk of the evening was assigned to a presentation led by directors Lawrence Looney and Bill Waterson. The club will provide a full report on the presentation in due course.

In brief, the Club is actively looking for further investment to take the club "to the next level". To that end, as Lawrence explained, the Club needs to have a clear vision as to where it wants to be so that investors can buy into that. That vision has been defined as Altrincham FC being "An established National League club with aspirations to be in the Football League, supported by engaged fans and backed by the community".

Full-time football has been investigated by the Board and discussions have been held with many other clubs who have taken the path from part- to full-time; some successfully, others not. As a step towards that end, an Academy is to be launched by the Club later this month with it becoming operational from September 2020.

New director John Coyne, a former professional player but now a businessman, was introduced. He was instrumental in turning round the fortunes of Swinton Rugby League club and he will aim to use his expertise to bring in new sponsors, investors and partners at Altrincham FC.

Gavin Watts of the architectural practice Define presented plans for developing the J. Davidson Stadium over a ten-year cycle to 2030. This is obviously an initial vision of what might come to pass rather than a definitive plan at this stage. Bill Waterson explained that grant funding could be used towards stadium funding with the club putting in 30% to trigger this.

For more information on the meeting and on all of the potentially exciting developments discussed, keep an eye on the official Altrincham FC website.


Following yesterday's announcement, Chester FC "opened the floor to the legend, Craig Mahon, to speak to the fans following his departure to Altrincham today...

Right: Craig Mahon in action for Chester FC against Altrincham in the league match on 2 March 2019.

'I remember that first phone call with Neil Young, asking me if I would be interested in joining Chester. I was at Vauxhall Motors at the time and we’d lost narrowly in a game against you... Straight away I told him I would be interested and it’s been an amazing journey ever since.

'I met Neil and Alex at a hotel in Wigan, a Holiday Inn! It only needed to be a five minute conversation before I said yes. It’s the best decision I ever made in my career. I was a young-ish lad when I came in and I’d never played at a level as high as the Conference, so it was tough for me to start. I went out to AFC Fylde on loan for a couple of weeks, enjoyed it and got my confidence back...

'I’ve had some truly proud milestones at the club, and every minute is a great memory. I’ve enjoyed all of my time here, it’s a fantastic club that has looked after me and I’ve always tried to do my best by the club by working hard on the pitch and giving 110% all the time. But all good things come to an end. Unfortunately, I’m not staying here for even longer. Things happen for a reason though.

'I haven’t been playing and Altrincham came knocking; I couldn’t really say no. I want to be playing football again, it’s one of those things... I wasn’t married when I signed, I leave here married with two kids. I’ve grown up here'".

Brian Flynn conducted an audio interview for Altrincham FC with Craig Mahon after he had signed for Altrincham.


The unexpected departure of John Johnston and the arrival of Craig Mahon from Chester FC means there will certianly be at least one change in the Altrincham line-up today against Bradford (Park Avenue).

Last Saturday at Gateshead, a weakened Altrincham side lacking the suspended Max Harrop and the injured Sean Williams, Simon Richman and Tom Peers [right], as well as the recalled but unregistered Lewis Walters, Alty lost 2-0. Harrop remains suspended for today's match, whilst Richman is probably still going to be sidelined by his hamstring injury and Williams's ankle injury means that he also remains a doubt.

Last time out Alty fielded debutant loanee midfielder from Crewe, Josh Lundstram, in midfield and Luke Wall had been brought in on the left-wing, with both acquitting themselves well.

At home, Alty have lost just once in the league this season, on the opening day against York City.

Bottom of the table Bradford (Park Avenue) defeated Alty 2-0 at the Horsfall Stadium earlier this campaign. But the Avenue arrive at the JDS twenty-four points behind tenth-placed Alty despite having played three games more.

The late Mike Garnett's records tell us the historical record of Altrincham against Bradford (Park Avenue), who visit Altrincham next Saturday (25th January).

  • At Home: P14-W9-D4-L1-F28-A11
  • Away: P13-W5-D4-L5-F21-A25
  • All: P27-W14-D8-L6-F49-A36

Matches against the pre-1974 BPA finished as shown below...

  • At Home: P4-W3-D1-L0-F8-A3
  • Away: P4-W1-D1-L2-F5-A8
  • All: P8-W4-D2-L2-F13-A11

A number of ex-Alty players are on BPA's books, including Nicky Clee, Ryan Toulson and assistant player/manager Danny Boshell.


In advance of their visit to Altrincham, the Telegraph & Argus reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower has admitted that his side’s desperate quest for new players is being hampered by their dire position. Avenue are rock-bottom of the Vanarama National League North, 13 points off safety, and it will be a tough task trying to close that gap when they visit play-off chasing Altrincham tomorrow.

They have played well over the last few weeks, with Bower suggesting that a lack of cutting edge is all that stands between them and some positive results, like in last Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Brackley Town. But with potential loan recruits only looking at the table and not Avenue’s performances as a whole, they are understandably unsure about making the move to Horsfall.

Bower said 'We’re only playing once a week now at this time of year, so we have time to get people in. But it’s been frustrating because of the attitude people have. People look at our results and the table and think we’re not a great proposition. It’s difficult to get right because we need to bring people in that will improve us, while also working in tight financial constraints.'

One loan player who has just departed Bradford is Isaac Marriott. The young midfielder had played over 20 games for them this season, but a change in circumstances at parent club Huddersfield Town has seen him return there.

Bower explained 'He’s going to be out of contract at Huddersfield and they’re keen to get him back there to see if he catches the eye of their new manager (Danny Cowley)'...

The squad will have to do it without him at Altrincham this weekend, a team that Bower has admired from afar over the last few years.

He said 'I’ve got a lot of respect for Altrincham. They’ve done well over the last two years, because they bounced straight back from relegation three years ago and kept up that momentum to finish in the play-offs last season. They’re a different proposition at home to how they are away (Bradford beat them 2-0 at Horsfall last month), so it will be very tough for us'...

Bower should have a similar squad available to him tomorrow as he did against Brackley... He said 'I’m starting to sound like a broken record, because again we’re competing with the big teams but just falling short where it counts (up front)... We’re working constantly (on new signings). But it’s easy to just bring in players and we’ve done an awful lot of that in the last year. It needs to be the right people coming in. It’s difficult but we’ll keep going on that front.'"

Nevertheless, Bradford (Park Avenue) confirm that their "loan agreement with Port Vale for winger Alex Hurst has been extended until the end of the season.

Hurst signed for the Avenue in October 2018 and quickly became a fan favourite. Following some strong performances on the pitch he caught the attention of Port Vale, who invited him to train with them in the 2019/20 pre-season.

Hurst did enough to impress and the Valiants swooped for his services. As part of the agreement, Hurst would be loaned back to the Avenue until at least January".


Vanarama National League North, Saturday 25th January
  • Alfreton Town v Gateshead
  • Altrincham v Bradford (Park Avenue)
  • Boston United v Kidderminster Harriers
  • Brackley Town v Guiseley
  • Chester FC v Darlington
  • Farsley Celtic v AFC Telford United
  • Gloucester City v Southport
  • Hereford FC v Curzon Ashton
  • York City v Kettering Town


Alty meet AFC Telford United twice in four days at the start of February. And AFC Telford United list "Things to look forward to ahead of this week's triple header...

No doubt since the start of the year the amount of goals conceded have been much lower than earlier in the compaign. This summed up by three clean sheets over the festive period which helped the Bucks go on a four match unbeaten streak. Although the last two matches have ended in defeat the Bucks looked fairly strong willed against promotion chasing Brackley Town and York City...

The Bucks begin the busy period away to Farsley Celtic tomorrow afternoon, before welcoming Blyth Spartans on Tuesday to the New Bucks Head and Altrincham a week on Saturday (1st February)...

The Bucks may have found themselves unlucky in recent weeks with spirited performances coming against top sides alongside a draw to Alfreton, so at some point a victory is due. The Bucks seem to relish the opportunity to play the better sides and just like Chester they will go to Farsley and make life difficult and maybe just come away with three points.

In recent weeks Matt Stenson has been in amongst the goals and last got the winner in the game against Gloucester as well as playing the role of the leading striker up top of late. So it will be welcome news that the on loan Solihull forward will be here until the end of the season and if the Bucks are to achieve their goals then he could be a key part of that."

Blyth Spartans "manager Lee Clark hopes to bring more new signings to Croft Park that can collectively help try and replace the goal void left by Callum Roberts.

The former Newcastle United youngster joined National League side Notts County on Monday having scored 17 goals in 25 games in Blyth colours...

Jordan Summerly, a 22-year-old who played over 150 games for North Shields, has become the club’s latest recruit. 'We got told about him in pre-season and we monitored him,' Clark said... 'We know two or three clubs in the area were also looking at him and wanted to sign him as well, so we’re delighted to get him on board. It gives us cover with Anthony Callaghan out injured and to Scott Wilson, who has done really well since joining. He can play higher up the pitch and has a good record of assisting goals...

'We’re trying to find numerous ways to replace his [Roberts's] goals because it is going to be impossible to replace it like-for-like.

'This is one of maybe three or four additions who we are hoping, over the course of the season, will chip in with goals. We don’t want to be over-reliant on Robbie Dale because it was himself and Callum who were becoming the frequent goal scorers. We have to get the group chipping in with goals as well as potential new signings who have that capability'".

"Alexandros Sakellaropoulos has been released from his contract at Gateshead Both the defender and the club agreed to cancel his contract before its original end date, with the Greek player yet to make a first-team appearance on Tyneside".

At Gloucester City the club has "signed Aston Villa midfielder Lewis Brunt on loan.

Brunt joins City on loan for the remainder of the season. The 19-year-old signed his first professional deal with Villa in late-2018.

Manager James Rowe said 'Lewis is a real, bright, young prospect at Aston Villa. We have watched him closely for the last three months and he’s done very well in the Under-23s and now his natural progression is a stepping stone into this level.'"

Also at Gloucester City "Forest Green Rovers forward Taylor Allen has joined the club on an initial one month loan.

The teenager, who can play wide left or as a striker, joined Rovers from Nuneaton Borough in the summer, turning down Premier League clubs in the process, and has featured nine times in League Two scoring one goal on the opening day of the season.

Allen has previous experience in the National League North, spending time on loan at Hereford earlier on in the season...

Manager James Rowe... [said], 'Taylor is a wide player who had a lot of interest in him in the summer. Forest Green managed to capture his signature. Mark Cooper, whom I have a great relationship with, has given us a opportunity to continue the development of one of their upcoming talents. He’s an exciting, quick dribbler and makes things happen in the final third. It’s been a busy period in regards to forming a squad that is capable of performing at the high intensity and quality needed to play front foot attacking possession football. That is what we have put together and within budget.

'There will be not be any more permanent ins or out transfers as we settle and now focus on building momentum. With teams having 3 games in hand on us when arriving and now us having 2 games in hand on most, it’s important to have perspective. We have made some excellent additions and it’s time now to pull together'".

NL Daily tells us that "Kettering Town say they have reached an agreement to terminate the contract of defender Joe Skarz.

The former Huddersfield Town and Bury left-back made 15 appearances for the Poppies.

The 30-year-old, who has also represented the likes of Rotherham United and Oxford United, scored one goal for Kettering".

Title-chasing York City have "completed the signing of Kurt Willoughby from AFC Fylde on a one-month loan deal.

The 23-year-old striker, who earned a move up into the National League this summer, last season scored 19 goals for FC United of Manchester. Earlier in his career he also scored 40 goals in just half a season for North West Counties side AFC Blackpool before moving to Clitheroe, where he continued his prolific goalscoring form with 26 goals.

England ‘C’ international... Willoughby said 'I started this season well but then I got injured, had an operation, and came back from that and found myself in and out of the team [at AFC Fylde] not getting consistent football. I’ve always had my eye on York and they were interested obviously I can get my game time back, get playing and get scoring again.'

Willoughby continued... 'I like to think of myself as a goalscorer first and foremost. I like to be in the right place at the right time and score different types of goals'".

At Farsley Celtic the club announces the "signing of midfielder Jack Earing on loan from Halifax Town.

Jack joins us on an initial one-month loan from the Shaymen... The Bolton Wanderers Academy product has made 11 appearances for National League side Halifax since joining in the summer, and also spent time on loan at Spennymoor Town earlier in the campaign.

Farsley Celtic Manager Adam Lakeland was delighted to bring the exciting young midfielder in, as he said 'He played against us in the County Cup and we were impressed with his athleticism around the pitch, his technical qualities on the ball, and he’s good in possession over short and longer distances with both feet. I did say after the weekend that we’d be looking to get two or three bodies in, Jack’s a player that we’ve got in and we’ll now probably be looking to get another couple of bodies in this time next week'".

Hereford FC spoke to "interim player-coach, Josh Gowling ahead of his first game in charge at Edgar Street...

'I’ve had a lot of phone calls, spoke[n] to a lot of people that I’ve probably not spoken to in a while! The lads have been fantastic, the training we’ve had was different class, the lads really have been putting their all in. We had a long chat, spoke about a few home truths, spoke about the kind of environment we want...

'We need to train at intensity, I think that’s important. We only train a couple of times a week so we need to maximise the time that we have here. We need to get the enjoyment back, getting the lads playing a good brand of football and enjoying it, being around each other and coming together as a squad. Not much is wrong, there are a few tweaks that have to happen, but once we get that win we’ll fly'...

. 'The fans here want a certain brand of football, so we need to give them that. They pay their hard-earned money, they go to work and then come to the football for their release... Teamwork is important here, but it’s not just the players on the pitch, it’s the whole club, the backroom staff, the people who work in the office, the ticket people, the fans, everyone'"

Spennymoor Town "head into another weekend of action outside the play-off places for the first time in over two months, with familiar customers Leamington the visitors to The Brewery Field.

Jason Ainsley’s side have faced The Brakes twice already this campaign, with both matches arriving back-to-back in late November and early December. Paul Holleran’s side edged a tight FA Trophy clash courtesy of a Jack Edwards goal before a 2-2 draw in the league fixture two weeks later.

If Moors are to fulfil ambitions of maintaining their push for a play-off berth and beyond, three points are essential against a Leamington outfit who have claimed creditable 0-0 draws against Chester and Gateshead in the past week. Holleran’s team are solid defensively but have missed the goals of Josh March, recently signed by League Two side Forest Green Rovers.

The Brakes have been active in the transfer market, signing Joe Parker from fellow National League North side Gloucester City and Kyle McFarlane from York City".

24 January 2020


Altrincham FC announce that they "have signed Craig Mahon from Chester as part of a deal that has seen John Johnston move to the Cestrians for a substantial fee.

Altrincham Football Club received a bid from Chester that triggered a clause in the player’s contract that enabled Chester to speak to him. Phil Parkinson explains 'It was an incredible deal according to JJ that was offered to him and having spoken to Chester, he, who got married last year and has a family to support, wanted to move. It’s a good deal for us as we are receiving a substantial sum of money for a player who has done well for us and we are getting a very good player in return as well.

'JJ will be missed, he has played consistently for us over the last three seasons and been a loyal servant to me and Altrincham Football Club. I’m very disappointed to see him leave at this stage of the season and everyone will be disappointed to see him go, but this is what happens in football and we have to move forward and someone will step up or come in and take his place.

'I did everything I could to keep him but I still could not get near the deal he had with them. I also want people here who want to play for Altrincham and are not wanting to be somewhere else as that can hugely disrupt everything we have created as a changing room environment, but should also always be at the core of being at this great historic club.

'I tried to sign Craig Mahon in the summer but he decided to accept Chester’s offer and stay at the club where he has been a fans favourite and legend for 7 seasons. Craig has had some injury problems this season, but he has just returned from a successful loan spell at Ashton United and I have spoken to Michael Clegg, Ashton’s manager, who I know well and trust his opinion and he told me that Craig is fully fit and had done very well for them'...

The club has also issued a Statement from Altrincham FC on John Johnston’s move to Chester, which can be found via the above link to the official club site.


Chester FC "are delighted to announce the signing of winger John Johnston from Altrincham for an undisclosed fee. The Blues triggered a release clause in the 25 year-old's contract earlier this week, allowing discussions to begin between the player and the club.

Johnston has penned an initial 18-month deal, with an option to extend for a further year in the club’s favour at the 1885 Arena... This comes after the Blues had a bid accepted by their fellow National League North rivals earlier this week. Johnston, known for his electric pace and skill in wide areas, worked with Joint Bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley at Salford City during the 2016/17 season before a move to Moss Lane.

The two-and-a-half years that followed for ‘JJ’ saw him score 20 goals in his first season with the club as they won the Evo-Stik Premier Division and he’s gone on to make 129 appearances for the Robins, scoring 39 times...

Joint Boss Anthony Johnson said 'This is a signing of intent from our football club. We’ve signed a rival’s best player at the peak of his career at the age of 25 with a goal ratio of one in three. Having played for Bern and I previously at Salford City we know exactly what qualities John possesses, whether it be an eye for a goal or skipping past an opponent to put a chance on a plate for his teammate.

'His enthusiasm to sign for Chester typifies his ambitions in the game and we believe he’ll play a huge part in helping us meet them.'”


Chester FC "confirm that Craig Mahon has departed the club for Altrincham on a permanent basis... after a memorable seven years with the Blues, with the Irishman becoming a firm fans' favourite.

The 30-year-old departs the 1885 Arena with an incredible 239 Blues games under his belt, making him our longest-serving player since reformation and also the record appearance holder for the club. This season, Craig has made ten appearances in all competitions and has had a loan spell at Bet Victor Northern Premier side Ashton United.

A tricky winger with skill, high energy and an eagerness to work hard for the team, Mahon joined the club in May 2013 from Vauxhall Motors. He started off his career at Wigan Athletic before signing for Salford City in 2009 where he featured 24 times – scoring 8 goals in that spell. The Motormen then came calling where he completed 117 appearances and scoring seven times.

Upon arrival in CH1, Craig was initially sent out on loan to AFC Fylde, before making his mark on the Blues starting line up... Tearing up defences and making full backs dizzy, he was the shining light in the Blues FA Cup run to the Second Round in 2014/15...

Mahon broke yet another record in 2018/19, making his 200th Chester FC appearance".


On Saturday, Bradford (Park Avenue) "travel to Greater Manchester to take on Altrincham at Moss Lane.

After a very tough season, Avenue find themselves bottom of the table with only three wins in the season. However, one of those wins was against Altrincham just over a month ago in which Bradford ran out 2-0 winners over the Robins in what was an excellent performance. Goals from Tom Clare on his debut and Oli Johnson late on secured the three points for the Green Army and they will be hoping for a repeat of that this weekend.

Altrincham, meanwhile, are on a good run of form. Despite losing their last game away at Gateshead, their previous loss before that was against Avenue back on the 7th of December. Following that, they went on a seven game unbeaten league run, winning six. They sit tenth in the league table, albeit with a number of games in hand on the teams above, so their fate is in their own hands as we reach the last couple of months of the season.

For Avenue, it was another case of what-if last weekend against Brackley. In an evenly contested game at the Horsfall Stadium, it was unfortunately the away side who showed their quality when it mattered most, edging out a 2-1 win and sending Avenue further to the bottom of the table".


Altrincham FC director Bill Waterson explains that the club "will be holding a Meet the Manager, Meet the Board session in the Community Sports Hall on Friday 24th January from 1900-2100.

Above: The Golf Road End at the J. Davidson Stadium in October, 2019.

We have a lot to tell you, but the main focus of the night will be a presentation on our plans over the next 10 years for redeveloping the ground. We have spent the last 10 weeks or so working with Manchester-based architects, to create a vision for Moss Lane and they have done a fantastic job in coming up with something special.

In addition, we will give a strategy update, a report on our investigation of full time football for the Robins, and an introduction to new director John Coyne who will outline our progress in the Commercial domain. We will also have the benefit of an “on the pitch” update from Phil Parkinson and there will be the usual opportunity to ask questions to the board and manager.

We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible!"


According to the NL Paper "It has now been nearly two years since Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley took over at Chester. They joined the club from Salford City replacing Marcus Bignot who had led the club to relegation from the National League to the National League North.

In their first full season with Chester FC they finished ninth. This was a disappointing season for the club and the managers, due to only being three points off of the playoff spots for promotion back to the league they just came from.

Over the summer of 2019, the two managers went to work on the signings, bringing in new players to boost the squad with a focus on topping the table and automatically getting promoted. Players such as Russ Griffiths, formerly of Everton under 23’s, and George Glendon who featured for Manchester City’s development squad, were brought in.

So far this approach appears to have worked as Chester are currently sitting in fourth place in the National League North table. Johnson and Morley have recently signed new contracts at the club which takes them through to the end of 2021/22 season.

Initially, it looked like Chester would be battling it out with the teams right at the very top for the title. However, this has stalled somewhat due to the number of draws they’ve had and the number of points they have dropped as a result. Nine times the score has finished level in their games, more than any other side in the league.... The play-offs now seem to be only option left for them...

The fact that they’ve only lost four games should give them the confidence they need to really push for the playoffs... With 20 games to go before the route to the playoffs begin[s], Chester will be hoping they can climb to third or second place as that makes for an easier route to the final... The winner of the two games will then meet in the Promotion Final at Wembley". [Surely that Final is for teams from the National League proper; the North final is played at the home of the higher placed team involved?].

More comes in the Chester Standard which tells us that "Anthony Johnson says Chester’s promotion prospects will hinge on their consistency... Johnson insists that maintaining a big-game mentality is essential, irrespective of the opposition.

'Darlington, Gateshead and York are all big games for different reasons,' said Johnson. 'When we’ve played teams like Guiseley and Southport recently there was added pressure on them. Those games against the teams around you are the ones when you can put a bit of daylight between yourself and the teams around you in the table. But the games we’ve played against the likes of Bradford and Leamington, teams in the bottom half of the table who’ve struggled at times, were tough for us.

'We know that on our day we can take a team to the cleaners, but it’s about consistency... Sometimes when you’re playing a lower-placed side performances can drop off a bit. It’s a subconscious thing among the players but it can happen'...

Alun Armstrong’s Darlington side head into the clash in solid form and buoyed by a 2-1 midweek victory at Guiseley. The Quakers have won seven of their last nine league outings, a sequence that has propelled them to sixth in the table The Blues were downed 2-0 in last month’s reverse fixture in the north east...

Johnson said 'This is the start of a tough week for us... I expect Darlington to come here and try to attack us. It should be a different type of test for us compared to the games we’ve played in the last few weeks. We relish those types of games and if they do try to play on the front foot and get in behind us then we have the quality to exploit the gaps they leave out there.'

Injured duo Matty Waters and George Waring are Chester’s only absentees."

Blyth Spartans "are pleased to announce the arrival of left-sided player Jordan Summerly from Northern League Division One side North Shields.

Summerly came through the ranks at Monkseaton Academy under Graham Fenton before the former Blyth Spartans midfielder signed him for The Robins in his first managerial role.

And despite being aged just 22, Summerly clocked up an impressive 160 appearances in total for the former FA Vase winners.

Manager Lee Clark said 'Jordan covers many positions; he can play anywhere on the left side in different formations, so he gives us flexibility. He is a young player with a lot of promise with over hundreds of games for North Shields, so he adds a bit of experience in that sense. We have taken him until the end of the season and hopefully he can make an impact as we try to have a successful end to the campaign.'"

NL Daily says that "Harry Limb and Nathan Stewart have been released from their contracts at King’s Lynn Town.

Both Limb and Stewart are attacking players, with Limb joining the Linnets on a two-year deal back in summer 2018 following his release by Premier League Burnley.

Stewart signed a similar deal around the same time, joining from Norwich United".

D3D4 Football claims that "Gloucestershire pair, Cheltenham Town and Forest Green Rovers are interested in signing Hereford full-back Callum Wood.

Both clubs sent scouts to watch the 16-year-old left-back in a recent match for Cinderford Town, where he is currently on loan and were thought to be impressed by his performance, according to reports.

The two clubs are currently vying for a play-off berth in League Two and are always looking to improve by signing local young talent. Wood has been on the radar of several Football League Clubs but The Bulls have not received a formal offer".

From the Northants Telegraph we learn that "Former Eastwood Town boss Paul Cox has returned to his old stomping ground to take two promising young players on trial.

Cox, now manager of Kettering Town, has been impressed by the form of Eastwood CFC striker Kieran Knight and midfielder Sam Meakin and has asked for them to train with the Northamptonshire club with a view to a transfer.

Teenager Knight has been a prolific scorer since breaking into the Eastwood first team just over two years ago, while Meakin was given club captaincy last week after Danny Hayes relinquished the role.

And current Red Badgers' boss James Jepson is pleased that one of his former clubs has come knocking, even if could ultimately prove detrimental to his team’s promotion hopes... He said 'Kettering Town is a club where I had great success as a player, winning the league, and a club I am welcomed back to each year on the radio or as a guest. I speak to Paul Cox and [Cox’s assistant] John Ramshaw on a regular basis to try and learn things and ask questions and they have been open and asked to take both lads with a view to a transfer.

'It may be with one eye on next year or a transfer this season but who knows at this stage... Yes, I would be gutted to see them go but as a young manager I want to be able to progress players and move them on to better themselves. This will only attract other players to our football club knowing that we have high standards and Eastwood is a good place to be.

'Paddy Webb is an example that hard work pays and changing his lifestyle to think like a footballer and live like a footballer can bring opportunities'".

Referring to Brackley Town, the Banbury Guardian says that "Saints’ nine-match unbeaten Vanarama National League North run came to an end in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Boston United who made it seven home wins from ten outings.

Dominic Knowles scored the late winner as the Pilgrims resisted Town’s attacking threat throughout the 90 minutes to steal the points.

Wilkin said 'We did everything but score and, going into the closing stages of any game, you know at the back of your mind there is always the possibility of conceding a late goal. It was a very disappointing result but I’ve no gripes about the performance.

'We were very good throughout the game and, apart from the late goal and an early chance, Boston didn’t threaten us. Their keeper has had an excellent game and kept them in it but it was frustrating not to take any of the chances we created. If you don’t take your opportunities you know what can happen and it did. The players showed great application and there won’t be much to work on in training this week. We’re still third but the table only matters at the end of the season'".

Cheshire Live tells us that "Darlington manager Alun Armstrong has question marks over the fitness of some of his squad ahead of this weekend’s crunch clash at Chester FC.

The Quakers are on a red-hot run of form, taking 15 points from their last six games to lift them up to sixth in the National League North... The latest success for Armstrong’s side arrived on Tuesday night when they picked up another three points with a 2-1 win at fellow play-off chasers Guiseley.

But, as has been the case on a number of occasions in recent weeks, injuries have forced Armstrong to shuffle his pack, something that he may well have to do again for the trip to Chester.

He told the club’s official website 'It’s another huge game but it’s going to be no more difficult that what Guiseley was. Everyone is fighting for the same thing... A draw you’d be delighted with but a win you’d be over the moon with. The lads are full of confidence and getting a bit of the rub of the green because they are working their socks off. The only thing that is bugging us is the little injuries.

'Will I have a full squad on Saturday? I don’t know. We’ll have to see how Langy [Louis Laing], we’ve got to see how Tez [Terry Galbraith] is, Alex Storey needs nursing through training on Thursday to make sure he’s ready for Saturday and Will [Hatfield], fingers crossed, will be fit. But that is the thing with having a big squad...

'The camaraderie of the group really is different class and it’s up there with the best I’ve seen'. Since beating Chester 2-0 at Blackwell Meadows on December 7, Darlington have lost just once in the National League North, at Spennymoor Town on New Year’s Day, and have picked up six wins in seven league games during that period.

As well as the creativity of Hatfield pulling the strings in midfield, the Quakers have benefited from a rich vein of form shown by winger Justin Donawa, the 23-year-old Bermuda international attracting plenty of interest from clubs higher up the pyramid, the transfer window open until the end of January."

The Metro reports that "Love Island bombshell Luke Trotman gets ‘full backing and support’ from his football team Darlington FC.

The newcomer is set to make his debut on the dating show ... and... it turns out his team are right behind him. On the official Darlington FC website, a statement was issued, which wished the semi-professional footballer all the best. ‘Darlington defender Luke Trotman has been invited to appear on ITV2 series Love Island,’ their post began. ‘Player of the season in 2018-19 Luke, who is sidelined with an Achilles tendon injury for the rest of this season, has the full backing and full support of the club.’".

Southport "are delighted to confirm that Russ Benjamin has extended his contract with Southport through to May 2021.

Russ is in his second spell with the club and has made 62 starts in all competitions, 31 coming this season. He has also bagged two goals this season in the FA Cup at Farsley and against Burscough in the Liverpool Senior Cup.

Russ has been excellent this season and manager Liam Watson said 'I am delighted to have another player signed up for next season. Russ has been in great form this term and could easily be playing at a higher level so I am really pleased he has committed to the club'”.


The NW Counties' Football League reports that "In the Cheshire Senior Cup Second Round, Winsford United bowed out of the competition as they were defeated 4-2 by Hyde United.

24 hours later, In the Cheshire Senior Cup, a delighted Mick McGraa travelled home from Stalybridge Celtic knowing his side were in the hat in the next round following a slender 1-0 win for his Vauxhall Motors side".

23 January 2020


Bradford (Park Avenue) visit the J. Davidson Stadoum on Saturday, having beaten Alty 2-0 at the Horsfall Stadium in December. Last season, BPA visited the J. Davidson Stadium three times. In the league on 6 February 2019, the sides drew 1-1 with Josh Hancock's first-half goal being cancelled out in the 84th minute by Danny East's equalizer.

Avenue had earlier visited Cheshire in the FA Trophy on 6 October, 2018, losing 4-2. They had returned to Moss Lane in the FA Cup when Alty won 4-0 on 24 November 2018.

Above: In the F A Trophy game in October, 2018, Shane Killock (no.5) nets Bradford's second goal, despite a heavy presence of Alty players. The ball can be seen just behind the Alty keeper in the above image.

Last weekend, the Telegraph & Argus reported that "There seems to be no let-up for Bradford (Park Avenue) as they were narrowly beaten 2-1 at home by Brackley Town to leave them 14 points adrift at the foot of the National League North table.

After getting hammered 8-0 in the reverse fixture, it was always going to be an uphill battle for Avenue. However, Mark Bower’s men looked a completely different outfit this time out.

Only three players remain from that dreadful day in Northamptonshire and the difference was palpable.

However, performances can only take you so far and it is now seven defeats in their last eight for Bradford, a miserable state of affairs with only 15 games remaining.

The Bradford boss named an unchanged starting 11 from the side which battled to a 1-1 draw at Hereford.

It was the home side who started the brightest with the trio of Nicky Clee, Alex Hurst and Oli Johnson all getting in dangerous positions without damaging the best defence in the league, which has conceded only 14 goals in their previous 23 games.

It was the home side who started the brightest with the trio of Nicky Clee, Alex Hurst and Oli Johnson all getting in dangerous positions without damaging the best defence in the league... Holding out until the break seemed a strong possibility for Bradford before controversy struck on the stroke of half-time.

As Alex Hurst attempted to drive out of defence, he stumbled into a Town attacker leading to screams from the touchline for a foul. Yet referee James Westgate wasn’t interested and let play continue, allowing Matty Lowe to earn his side a corner. The resulting set-piece caused a goalmouth scramble which Ndlovu poked home for his 15th goal of the season.

It is fair to say Mr Westgate didn’t receive the most welcoming of returns to the tunnel. After an uneventful first 15 minutes to the second period, Brackley added their second due to a calamity from the unfortunate Green.

Originally, the Avenue number one made a superb save from the in-form Ndlovu, who has now bagged 11 in his last nine games, sprawling to his right. However, as play continued, Green produced a poor punched clearance which fell straight to the head of Armson who could not miss for his ninth of the season.

Effectively, the game was over for Avenue at this point but Bower refused to down tools and brought on his only threats from his four-man bench, Lewis Knight and Tom Clare. The changes meant the match, attended by 256 spectators, was finally end to end with both teams launching a number of attacks...

Bradford did gain some solace in injury-time when Clare finished amazingly from a corner to gain his second goal for the club".

The late Mike Garnett's records tell us the historical record of Altrincham against Bradford (Park Avenue), who visit Altrincham next Saturday (25th January).

  • At Home: P14-W9-D4-L1-F28-A11
  • Away: P13-W5-D4-L5-F21-A25
  • All: P27-W14-D8-L6-F49-A36

Matches against the pre-1974 BPA finished as shown below...

  • At Home: P4-W3-D1-L0-F8-A3
  • Away: P4-W1-D1-L2-F5-A8
  • All: P8-W4-D2-L2-F13-A11


Over Christmas, the Winsford Guardian reported that "Winsford United have beefed up their ranks ahead of a tough run of fixtures. Striker Max Pouncey has been signed ahead of three North West Counties Premier Division matches against top-eight sides.

Pouncey, 24, formerly of Altrincham, comes into the squad in time for the Boxing Day meeting with eighth-placed Whitchurch Alport... Winsford entered the festive period in ninth spot on the back of last Saturday’s 4-1 home win against bottom team Litherland REMYCA.

It was United’s ninth win from 20 games and bringing their goal difference to an even keel, having now scored 40 and conceded 40.

Blues took a grip of the contest with two first-half goals from [ex-Alty youth and reserve team player] Sam Madeley, his 12th and 13th league strikes this season".

Many of Max's former team-mates at Altrincham are now playing under former Alty Reserves' manager Chris Rowley who is now in charge at West Didsbury & Chorlton. In their midweek match this week, WD&C included Curtis Miller, who was a used substitute for Alty in their most recent league game, last Saturday, at Gateshead.

Alty Reserves' joint manager Joel Swift also featured in the NW Counties' side's squad on Tuesday night, as did goalkeeper Andrew Jones, winger Dontai Gabidon (who has been with Trafford this season), former Alty centre-back Sam Heathcote and midfielder Rhain Davis (left).

Other Altrincham faces at West Didsbury include Callum Jones, Jack Ryan, Billy Matthews and Matt Cook. The WD&C Line-up at Wythenshawe Town comprised 1. Andrew Jones, 2. Callum Jones, 3. Dontai Gabidon, 4. Tinker, 5. Matt Cook, 6. Sam Heathcote (c), 7. Curtis Miller, 8. Gavin, 9. Joel Swift, 10. Jack Ryan, 11. Blackwell. Subs: 12. Billy Matthews, 14. McLellan, 15. Rhain Davis, 16. Moloney.


After their FA Trophy game at Barnet was postponed at very short notice on Tuesday night, Farsley Celtic "Chairman Paul Barthorpe would like to issue the following statement on this evening's postponement.

'I would like to take this opportunity to thank our travelling fans, members of our supporters club, players and staff for making the trip down to Barnet in the hope of watching tonight’s game. On behalf of the club, I can only express our frustration and disappointment at the events that have unfolded tonight. As a semi-professional club we rely on games being played and fixtures fulfilled as the life blood of our existence.

'Our players, staff and supporters, many of whom are self-employed, have had to take days off work for a long midweek away game, sacrificing personal income for their dedication in representing Farsley, and for that we as a club are, and always will be, truly grateful. We will once again have to ask them to make this sacrifice, but I can assure our fans, players and all involved that we will be seriously looking into tonight’s events and pushing for acceptable answers.

'We shouldn’t have to ask or expect anyone involved with our club, in any capacity, to make such unnecessary and avoidable sacrifices to do something they love! Putting aside the significant financial implications for us as a club, and the individuals involved, this isn’t what football is all about. Football is and always has been about just playing the game, and win, lose or draw we share it with our fans week in and week out'".

The Barnet & Potters Bar Times added that "The chairman of Farsley Celtic has expressed the club’s frustration and disappointment after last night’s FA Trophy replay at Barnet was postponed shortly before kick-off. The game was called off after the match officials 'deemed the surface, in particular the goal-mouths, to be frozen'.

Meanwhile Barnet themselves stated that "Following last night's postponement, we can confirm our FA Trophy Second Round replay with Farsley Celtic will take place on Tuesday 28th January...

The Club would like to once again apologise for the disappointment caused by the late postponement of last night's fixture and the inconvenience it has caused our supporters and those who travelled down from Farsley Celtic.

As a gesture of goodwill to our visitors, we will be offering all Farsley Celtic supporters free entry to the rearranged tie... Alternatively, refunds can be claimed".

According to Bradford's Telegraph and Argus "Darlington went above Guiseley in National League North after beating the Lions 2-1 at Nethermoor.

Justin Donawa was brought down by Guiseley keeper Marcus Dewhurst after just four minutes and Adam Campbell converted from the spot to put the north-east side in front.

The Lions were level eight minutes later when in-form Kaine Felix netted a fine individual effort.

But former Guiseley player Will Hatfield saw the visitors regain the lead by half-time with a long-range strike.

The Lions drop to seventh, with Darlington leapfrogging them into sixth place."

From Gateshead we learn that "The Heed were... held to a goalless draw at Leamington on a wintery Tuesday evening, despite both sides striking the woodwork in the second half.

Mike Williamson made two changes to rotate his squad for the second game in three days, replacing Liam Agnew and Mitch Curry with Connor Oliver and Dom Tear.

The opening 45 minutes provided little in the way of entertainment for both sets of supporters... with the two sides gridlocked in a midfield battle early on... It took until [first-half] injury time for the Heed to provide a real test for Weaver and it could have seen them take the lead had the stopper not been on red alert, reacting quickly to tip Greg Olley’s header away from goal...

The hosts began to put pressure on the Heed... and saw a penalty shout waved away when Callum Maycock went down in the area under challenge. Scott Barrow then came mere inches away from putting the Heed in front with only five minutes to go when he curled a 25-yard free-kick off the crossbar, but it proved not to be and the game petered out into a goalless draw".

Cheshire Live informs us that "Chester FC remain hopeful that they will have a new addition among their ranks for this weekend’s clash with in-form Darlington. Blues bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley... have identifed the kind of player they would like to bring in, both for the here and now and the longer term, and are aiming to get something signed and sealed...

'We’ve said we’d like to add to the squad and add some more quality in the final third and we’re still trying to do that,' said Johnson, who revealed that one move for an under-23 player with an EFL side had fallen through after the player had wished to pursue a deal with a club at a higher level.

'We’ve spoken to a few players and clubs and we’d like to try and get something done before the weekend if we can. There are a couple of things we are working on that could happen before then... This is the time of the season when you need to be adding real quality if you are chasing something down.

'A lot of teams, like Darlington, are hitting form and it is up to us to make sure that we are doing the same and nailing down the highest possible finish that we can this season. We’ve lost George Waring for what looks like a big chunk of what’s left of this season and we can’t afford to rest on our laurels...

'If we do bring someone in then we will probably be looking to let one or two out, whether on loan or otherwise... If we can add two, one possibly for the short term to help us get to where we want to be this season, and another with an eye on the longer term, then that would be great.'”

Lincolnshire Live relays the view that "Boston United manager Craig Elliott felt his team ‘got away with one’ after sneaking a 1-0 home win over promotion rivals Brackley Town on Tuesday.

The Pilgrims were under pressure for long spells against the Saints, but defended resolutely and stole all three points courtesy of Dominic Knowles’s strike four minutes from time.

Elliott wants to see his side improve their performance levels but was delighted nonetheless with three more crucial points in their promotion crusade.

'I am really happy to get the win against a fantastic team,' said Elliott. 'I thought Brackley were superb and I am not daft. I know our performance did not hit the levels I wanted but sometimes you have got to take it and move on. I thought we carried four or five players who were not great but what we did show is good character and resilience and sometimes we rode our luck.

'People in this league realise how good Brackley are. They are a well-managed team. They have some great players with a lot of hunger and I am really happy to beat them. I think we will have to play a lot better if we want to stay up there but sometimes you just have to take the results in this league and move on.'

Elliott was full of praise for goalscorer Knowles and goalkeeper Peter Crook, the latter of whom made a string of excellent saves to continue his rehabilitation from a rocky spell of form over the festive period.

'It’s what good strikers do,' added Elliott in relation to Knowles. 'He was living off scraps but when the chance came he was so calm and clinical with the finish. I thought he was a class act. I am happy for Crooky. He made a few errors and came in for a bit of criticism but that’s what good players do. He has shown great character to bounce back'...

Crook made first half interventions... while Simon Ainge twice cleared off the line. Crook continued to excel after half-time... With United holding on for a point, they miraculously nicked all three when Knowles converted Alex Whittle’s cross from the left in the 86th minute".

The Boston Standard confirms that "Striker Dayle Southwell, who spent a spell on loan with Boston United this season, will not be returning to York Street.

Craig Elliott said the door remained open for the striker, who scored 54 times in a previous spell with the Pilgrims, after he returned to parent club FC Halifax Town earlier this month.

However, the former Grimsby Town, Wycombe Wanderers and Guiseley striker has agreed a long-term deal with National League North leaders King's Lynn.

Southwell featured for United twice against the Linnets this season."

According to Buckingham Today, "Brackley Town's nine-match unbeaten Vanarama National League North run came to and end in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Boston United.

Dominic Knowles scored the late winner as the Pilgrims resisted Town’s attacking threat throughout the 90 minutes to steal the points.

Keeper Peter Crook and his defensive unit, commanded by Luke Shiels and Simon Ainge, stood firm to thwart the visitors time and again...

But, with four minutes left, Boston produced the winner. Alex Whittle crossed for Knowles to beat Lewis from ten yards. Boston almost grabbed a second when Lewis denied Thewlis but it was a tough one for Saints to take."

The Hereford Times advises that "Senior defender Josh Gowling will take charge at Hereford FC on an interim basis.

The 36-year-old centre-back will take charge of first team matters including training... Gowling joined the Bulls 13 months ago and was a regular starter last season and former captain. However, he has been in and out of the side in recent weeks under former manager Russell Slade.

Bulls Chairman Andrew Graham told the club's website 'I’d like to thank Josh for agreeing to step up to this new role. My early conversations with him have been very encouraging and I look forward to seeing him and his team in action this weekend. Josh will remain in charge for the foreseeable future whilst the search for a permanent manager gets underway. I am fully aware of how important it is to get this decision right, and so we will not be rushing into making a hasty appointment.'

Gowling added 'Moving into coaching is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I’ve been working on my coaching qualifications and I have experience of being a player-coach so I’m really happy that I’ve got this chance... I’ve not been involved in the playing squad much lately, but that has given me a chance to watch on from the stands and I think I’ve seen areas where I can change a few things and hopefully make improvements...

'It’s hard when you’re on a bad run of results, but I want them to go out and enjoy their football and put in good performances for the fans'".

The Shropshire Star informs us that "AFC Telford United’s Riccardo Calder has signed for Nuneaton Borough. The midfielder has agreed a deal on dual registration terms, meaning the Bucks could still call on Calder if required.

Meanwhile, Telford won their hastily-arranged friendly 4-2 at Market Drayton Town last night. Gavin Cowan’s side set up the match after Saturday’s league clash with Blyth was postponed".

Leamington tell us that the "Brakes fought out a second successive no score draw for the first time since the dark days of the late 1980s but, while Saturday’s clash with Chester had been something of a war of attrition, this one was a thoroughly entertaining affair against first-time visitors Gateshead that Leamington grew into after spending most of the first half under the cosh.

Paul Holleran made one enforced change to his starting eleven, Callum Gittings replacing the injured Joe Clarke while Joe Parker, signed from Gloucester just hours earlier, made his debut in the second half from the substitutes' bench.

The first half proved to be very much a backs to the wall exercise for Leamington for long periods as they had to soak up large amounts of pressure from the visitors, who quickly showed themselves to be a very good passing side...

As the game passed the half hour Leamington emerged from a particularly tough spell of Gateshead pressure to begin to push forward themselves, but Mike Williamson’s side, with their manager in central defence, were soon on the front foot once more, trying to switch things with the aerial approach. Brakes dealt with it well under more pressure, but were indebted to their goalkeeper in [first-half] added time...

Gateshead’s new loan signing Mitch Curry was introduced and almost scored with his first touch... Parker was introduced just prior to the hour mark and almost introduced himself to his new team mates and supporters in spectacular style...

This was a much more even contest now... Gateshead briefly threatened again in the closing minutes... but both sides were forced to settle for a point after an absorbing second half".

Manager Paul Holleran commented ‘I think Gateshead, the system, the possession game they play... their pressing all over the pitch, you could see the difference between a part-time football club that have had a tough schedule and a full time football club that are bang at it at the moment.

‘You can see why they’ve been getting results after the turbulent start they had. I was really impressed with them but then second half we said come on, we’ve hung on in there and now we’ve got to be better. You’ve got to get the ball wide with the system they’ve got, you’ve got to try and get your full backs up the pitch and your two wide men in the game... and we had a 15-20 minute spell where we were really on top...

'Even though we’ve had a real good go there, I think we’ll be happier with the draw.’"

22 January 2020


Although his playing time whilst on loan recently at Altrincham was very limited, Preston North End's Ethan Walker has a positive view of his time at the J. Davidson Satdium.

Preston North End report that "Ethan Walker was pleased to return to the youth team fold and help the young Lilywhites reach the FA Youth Cup fifth round by scoring both goals in the 2-0 win over Oxford United at Deepdale.

The second-year scholar was recently recalled from a loan spell at Altrincham, allowing him to return to the starting line-up for this game and he wasted no time in making an impact, scoring from the penalty spot after 12 minutes and doubling his and the team’s tally early in the second half to make sure of the win.

The 17-year-old missed the third round win against Bristol City last month and Ethan told iFollow PNE that he was pleased to be back involved in the FA Youth Cup this evening, helping his team-mates to set up a fifth round tie away to Blackburn Rovers in the process.

'I enjoyed every minute of it,' Ethan said. 'I thought that all the players were excellent, they knew their roles and the tactics for today’s game and they put it into today. All the practice we’ve done in training has finally worked out. It didn’t help having the game cancelled last week but we’ve got on with it and been patient and we’ve shown them what we can do.

'I fully enjoyed coming back, spending time with the lads and scoring two goals and getting us through to the next round.'

Ethan’s spell at Altrincham ended prematurely but the youngster said he learned from the experience nonetheless. 'It’s [the loan spell] taught me how fast the game is,' he added. 'The intensity is massive compared to youth team football and it’s helped me improve my fitness. I feel fitter coming back down with the youth team. I’m not saying the tempo’s slow, the intensity’s slow, but I’ve found it a lot easier coming back and I’ve learnt things that I wouldn’t have learnt if I stayed here.

'I fully enjoyed my time at Altrincham, I’ve learnt a lot even just in training, I’ve took it into today’s game and showed that I have improved.'

The forward explained that the team were not fully satisified with their first half’s work, feeling they might have added to their 1-0 advantage, that feeling soon relieved as Walker doubled the lead ten minutes into the second half.".


The well-attended funeral of Altrincham FC supporter Mike Garnett was held at St Anne's Church in Royton on Monday afternoon. A number of references were made during the service to Mike's dedication to Altrincham FC and his family indicated that Mike's extensive historical archive of statistical and other material would be donated to the football club.

Mike's father was a keen sportsman and it was explained, perhaps tongue in cheek, that Mike was given three forenames so that his initials would not look out of place in the world of cricket where three initials were the norm at the MCC!

Mike's working life was spent as a teacher of French and German and one of his claims to fame was to be one of the few Englishmen to have witnessed Arsene Wenger actually playing football before he embarked on his managerial career! This rare sighting of the Frenchman was made during a year spent teaching English in Alsace as part of Mike's University course in Modern Languages at the University of East Anglia.

In addition to his football interests, Mike was an active member of St Anne's Church and a leading figure in its choir as well as singing with the Saddleworth Consort, which performed two of Mike's favourite choral songs at the funeral service.

Mike will be greatly missed by his many friends at Moss Lane as well as by his family.


By way of a reminder, there will be a meeting for Altrincham supporters with the club's management and board on Friday 24th January, at 7pm in the Community Sports Hall. As well as providing an oportunity to pose questions to the board and management, the evening will include a presentation of potential improvements to the fabric of the J. Davidson Stadium, Altrincham's home since 1910.

Director Bill Waterson told the Altrincham FC official website, "We have a lot to tell you, but the main focus of the night will be a presentation on our plans over the next 10 years for redeveloping the ground. We have spent the last 10 weeks or so working with Manchester-based architects, to create a vision for Moss Lane and they have done a fantastic job in coming up with something special.

In addition, we will give a strategy update, a report on our investigation of full time football for the Robins, and an introduction to new director John Coyne who will outline our progress in the Commercial domain. We will also have the benefit of an “on the pitch” update from Phil Parkinson and there will be the usual opportunity to ask questions to the board and manager.


Hereford FC "Chairman Andrew Graham has spoken following the departure of first-team manager, Russell Slade.

'We do not want a revolving door syndrome to take hold here, but we do feel that there is a need for a complete revamp of how we do things both on and off the pitch. The fans need to be at the heart of our decision making and our actions,' Graham added.

'As a board we believe that a shake-up of how we do things has been long overdue and we all appreciate that changes have to happen. We don’t feel that we have been demonstrating that we are a fans' club as clearly as we should have been and for that, I apologise' added Graham.

'The fans have always been important to us but I feel that we must work harder to engage with fans and to show them that they are integral to the success of this football club. Our local community needs a thriving Football Club and we must all work together to ensure that happens. We have budgeted on gates of 2,200 and for our club to be thriving we need to be regularly attracting that level of support.

'Of course we appreciate that there must be an entertaining product for the fans to get behind out on the pitch, but I firmly believe that the squad we have is better than the results we have been getting recently. I would plead with everyone to rally around the players for the remainder of the season and help turn this season around'".

This comes after Hereford FC had announced that "Hereford FC can confirm that first-team manager Russell Slade has left the club. The decision for Slade to leave, which comes into effect immediately, was made following lengthy discussions between Hereford FC Chairman Andrew Graham and Russell Slade earlier today.

Following those discussions, Graham said 'We appreciate that Russell inherited an extremely difficult situation, but we find ourselves in a tough position at this moment in time and we, as a board ,need to act in the best interests of the club'...

An interim coach and supporting staff will be appointed as soon as possible".

The unofficial Bulls' News adds that "Russell Slade oversaw just four league wins during his time at Edgar Street (a 21% win ratio). Slade was in the dugout at Edgar Street for the first time against Boston United on August 31... However, it was on the road where Hereford's problems mainly lie... [There] was an encouraging 2-0 win at Leamington on October 1. But that would be the Bulls' last win in any competition until Hereford beat Kidderminster 2-1 at home on New Year's Day.

But following that win came two very disappointing performances, a 2-0 reverse at Gateshead and a 1-1 home draw with bottom club Bradford (Park Avenue). The latter would end up being Slade's last match in charge .

Slade's league record was: Played 19, Won 4, Drawn 6, Lost 9, Goals For 19, Goals Against 31, Points 18".

Since promotion to the National League North in 2018, Hereford's Board has shown little patience with its club's management. They sacked Peter Beadle who had just brought the Bulls up three divisions in the pyramid and despite his having gained eleven points from the first eight games of 2018-19 season. Next into the hot seat was Tim Harris who was appointed Head of Football and his son-in-law Marc Richards soon became Head Coach in October 2018. The Bulls finished 17th that season.

History repeated itself in 2019-20 when Marc Richards got the push after just three games of the season, despite winning and drawing one game apiece in that sequence. Harris re-assumed interim charge before former Football League manager Russell Slade was appointed. His assistant, Andy Whing, left the Bulls in mid-January and now Slade has followed him out of the door. Currently Hereford lie sixteenth.

In the first four days of February, Altrincham play AFC Telford United both home and away. From AFC Telford United reported that they "will play Market Drayton this evening [Tuesday] in a friendly at Greenfields. The fixture is open to the public and will kick off at 7.30pm."

This follows the postponement of Telford's last two home games due to waterlogging.

Kidderminster Harriers "confirm that Richard Peniket has left the club after his contract was cancelled by mutual consent.

The 26-year-old has decided to take an extended break from football for personal reasons and to allow his body to recover from cumulative injuries.

Harriers have held discussions with Richard about his decision and have taken steps to support him in his transition".

At Leamington "The club are pleased to announce the signing of Joe Parker from our counterparts Gloucester City for an undisclosed fee.

The 24 year old is comfortable in midfield or up front, and has made the switch from his hometown club where he came through the Youth ranks to make the first team as a youngster.

Joe scored two hat tricks in his first full season in Gloucester's first team, one in 19 minutes in an FA Cup tie, which bought him to the attention of Newport County, for whom he signed before being loaned back to Gloucester.

Having made his Football League debut in one of several appearances for the Welsh club, Joe returned to Gloucester for a third spell at the end of his contract with Newport. He has considerable experience at Step 2 having made over 240 appearances for Gloucester, scoring 49 goals. Joe has scored five goals so far this season, and featured in both of Gloucester's recent games against Brakes.

Manager Paul Holleran said of his new acquisition, 'Joe Parker is a player that has been around at this level for a long time and has always been a consistent performer and somebody that we have liked. When we heard that he would be leaving Gloucester and was interested in us it was something we wanted to tie up very quickly.

'He is a player that has had a taste of league football before and there's no reason why he cannot get there again'". His arrival follows the departure of the Brakes' leading scorer, Josh March to League Football at Forest Green Rovers.

In advance of Tuesday's game, the Northern Echo reported that " "It is sixth versus seventh tonight when another win for Darlington would put them 'right in the mix, says Will Hatfield. The dynamic midfielder will play against his former club Guiseley at Nethermoor, where he spent four seasons until leaving last summer to sign for The Quakers for whom he has been one of the team’s most consistent performers.

He has missed only one of Darlington’s league games, playing a key role in Alun Armstrong’s team... Hatfield is looking forward to going back to his former club, who also won at the weekend and have lost only one of their last seven matches.

He said: '“A lot of the lads from last season have left but one or two left and the manager is there as well... and the fans at Guiseley were a different class with me. I’m sure I’ll get a warm reception, I did well for them, but most importantly for me is that I am desperate to get three points for Darlington'...

Though he has only one goal to his name in Quakers colours the midfielder is enjoying his football. He added 'I was at Guiseley for four years and in my final year there was a bit of uncertainty about the club in how it was going forward, so it was the right time to leave and I could not have come to a better club than Darlington. Big club, great support, great manager and a great set of lads as well. I am really enjoying my football at the moment'...

Hatfield scored 20 times in 163 Guiseley appearances... 'I feel more responsibility within this team and that’s a good thing, I think it brings the best out of me'...

With Alex Storey struggling with a groin injury, Sean Reid is likely to continue in the centre of defence and Armstrong will have no qualms in in selecting him alongside Louis Laing, though he admits the player prefers to be in midfield or up front.

'What people might not realise, and he does not realise himself, is that he reads the game well,' said the manager, who moved Reid to defence after Galbraith’s injury. 'He is a better centre-half and centre-midfielder than he is a centre-forward... I wanted to bring him to the club earlier, but he is here now and is proving what an asset he is'".

Also before a Tuesday night clash, the Boston Standard told us that "Craig Elliott wants to take his first points of Brackley Town... The Pilgrims' boss has suffered three straight defeats against the Saints since taking over at York Street...

'They’ve always had a strong team since I’ve been at Boston and they’ve always been difficult games,' Elliott said. 'But we’ve got a stronger team now and we’re looking forward to seeing how we do against them. Brackley will a be a test, but they’re not looking forward to coming to us either, we’re stronger than we have been in the last 18 months.'

Town sit third in the National League North, two places and five points above Boston...

Despite [Brackley] winning the FA Trophy in 2018, Elliott admits he is a little surprised they have not earned a promotion. 'I am a little bit to be honest,' he said... 'The FA Trophy was perhaps a bit of a distraction, but they’re a consistent side'".


Vanarama National League North, Tuesday 21st January
  • Boston United 1-0 Brackley Town
  • Guiseley 1-2 Darlington
  • Leamington 0-0 Gateshead

Buildbase FA Trophy Second Round Proper Replays

  • Maidenhead United 1-3 Halesowen Town
  • Bath City P-P Concord Rangers
  • Barnet P-P Farsley Celtic

Cheshire Senior Cup 2nd Round

  • Stalybridge Celtic 0-1 Vauxhall Motors

21 January 2020


Alty met Bradford (Park Avenue) four times last season, drawing at home and winning all three away games in the league, FA Trophy and FA Cup. This time around the boot has been on the other foot as bottom of the table BPA beat Alty 2-0 at the Horsfall Stadium earlier this season.

BPA's last league visit to Moss Lane ended in a 1-1 draw.

Right: Max Harrop and BPA's Luca Havern contest an aerial ball during the February clash at the J. Davidson Stadium.

That match was played on Saturday, 16 February 2019, on an afternoon which will probably remembered more for the rainbow shirts worn by Altrincham than for the quality of the match itself. A late goal earned Bradford (Park Avenue) a point. Alty could not complain too much at the outcome of a game in which both sides struggled to create many chances.

With Harrison, White and Waterston all sidelined by injury, Sean Williams absent ill and Jordan Hulme suspended, Altrincham restored James Jones and Simon Richman to the starting eleven. This time around Richman will be sidelined by his hamstring injury and Williams is also likely to miss the game as rest has been prescribed for his ankle injury.

In the match last season, Altrincham took a 22nd minute lead when Hancock rounded the keeper after loanee Joe Piggot had dispossessed former Alty defender Luca Havern some 40 yards from goal.

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

In the New Year of 2019, Bradford had allowed three of their senior players to leave, including goalkeeper Steven Drench to Altrincham. Since then Avenue had added Hull City loanee goalkeeper, Charlie Andrew, and Romoney Crichlow-Noble (on loan from Huddersfield Town) to their squad in recent weeks and Danny East was back in contention following long-term injury. BPA had also not played for three weeks due to postponements.

The sides included Drench in the Alty goal, who will not be fit to face his former employers, and Conor Branson, who was to join Altrincham in the summer.

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

BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE): 1. Charlie Andrew, 2. Mark Ross, 3. Nicky Clee, 4. Alex Hurst, 5. Shane Killock (c), 6. Gianluca Havern, 7. Lewis Knight, 8. Conor Branson, 9. Jake Beesley, 10. Oli Johnson, 11. Jamie Spencer. Subs: 12. Ryan Toulson, 14. Macaulay Langstaff, 15. Romaney Critchlow-Noble, 16. Danny East, 17. Adam Nowakowski.


Cheshire Live reports that "Anthony Johnson admitted that dreams of the National League North title have all but gone for Chester FC .

The Blues were held to a 0-0 draw at Leamington on Saturday while league leaders King's Lynn Town came out on top in the battle of the top two... The win for the Linnets saw them extend their advantage over Chester, who dropped to fourth, to what looks an unassailable 12 points while the Norfolk side now hold a four-point lead over York and have two games in hand on the Minstermen.

For the Linnets, they are red-hot favourites to make it back-to-back promotions while for Chester the task is now to make sure they cement a place in the play-off places and finish as high as they can to secure home advantage...

Johnson said 'It has been a tough slog. We are disappointed because it's probably got away from us now, it will take some doing catching them. Fair play to them for beating York. We're just going to have to concentrate on each game now.

'If we try and erase what happened last Saturday for a minute that is three league clean sheets on the bounce. If you isolate things from what we have done since Christmas then it has been a really good run, nowhere near as good as King's Lynn's but it has been a really good run.'"

The Northern Echo states that "You can almost hear the unmistakable sound of the Darlo steamroller being fired up after having been mothballed for a couple of years.

Six wins from our last seven league matches, it feels like we’ve gone back four or five years to a time when winning was the norm, not the exception. Saturday’s win over Alfreton Town at fortress Blackwell Meadows felt very much like any of the many regulation wins achieved during our traverse of the two divisions of the Northern Premier League. We weren’t at our best, but our level was suitably high enough to comfortably see off our visitors from Derbyshire.

As is often the case when facing a Billy Heath rugby side, we had to deal with a greater than usual physical threat. Many a time last season, that would have been our undoing but our side of pocket battleships is a lot more sturdy than they appear at first glance. While Alfreton gave us plenty to think about, their lack of any real guile ultimately meant we could deal with their threat.

At half time it felt like we needed to up our level in order to establish a firm grip on the game and, to be fair to the players, they did just that. As it turned out, the game ended up being very comfortable and, in reality, we probably could have had more than the three goals we scored. Just as impressive as the win itself was seeing our larger, improved quality squad deal with yet another run of frustrating injury concerns. The excellent Alex Storey was missing; no problems. Terry Galbraith then went down injured. Problem? Apparently not.

Sean Reid pulled a Liam Hughes [?] and slotted into the back line seamlessly. In fact, it was his and Louis Laing’s control of the game from the back which seemed to provide us with the overall control of the game.

Goals win games and for only the second time this season, we managed to chalk up three in a league game. After what appeared to be a difficult game for Adam Campbell against Harrogate Town the week before, I thought Saturday might be a good chance to give him a bit of a breather. It shows what I know. He was buzzing throughout his time on the pitch. He took his goals really well and his movement both on and off the ball caused Alfreton no end of problems...

The acid test starts now and I fancy by the time we get to the end of February, we’ll still be right in the mix".

According to York Press, "Steve Watson has said York City must embrace the challenge of being 'a big club at this level', and believes there will be more occasions like Saturday to come this season.

In front of a crowd of 4,019, the Minstermen were beaten 1-0 in their top-of-the-table clash at the weekend by National League North leaders King's Lynn Town.

Much like the aftermath of other league defeats for York, the huge celebrations at the end told all about what it meant to the hosts, who went four points clear.

Watson said, 'When you see the reaction after the game between the manager and the coaches, you do get the feeling it was huge for them. I wouldn't disrespect them and say they think it's over. It happens a lot. Guiseley's reaction to beating us at home was one of mass celebration, so was Curzon.

'We have got to take on board that challenge. We are a big club at this level and we have to accept the responsibility and the pressure that comes with that.'

Despite the blow... Watson suspects there will be more games of this calibre this season... He said, 'The lads and I have been saying all week, that's the reason why you come to a club, to compete. That's the reason why the supporters understand how far we've come...

'It's a game where there's something on at the right end of the league, really challenging for something. There's going to be two or three more of those before the end of the season, and if the support is like it was today, we can come out on the other side of this'".

From the News Post Leader comes the news that "Blyth Spartans found themselves without a game at the weekend when their scheduled match away to Telford was postponed... on Friday afternoon because of a waterlogged pitch...

Last night (Wednesday), Spartans were due to take on local rivals Bedlington Terriers away from home in the Northumberland Senior Cup, and on Saturday (January 25) they are home to King’s Lynn.

Meanwhile, manager Lee Clark has thanked fans for their continued support...

'The supporters play a huge part in the results,' said Clark. 'The support they have given the team this season through some real tough times is outstanding. They have always stayed behind us'...

Meanwhile, Spartans have been told that general manager Anthony Seghini will step down from his position at the end of the season due to personal circumstances.”

And the Spartans have also lost a key player as Notts County confirm the "signing of Blyth Spartans' top scorer Cal Roberts on a deal until the end of the 2021-22 season.

The 22-year-old wide man, who scored at Meadow Lane for Newcastle United in last year’s Checkatrade Trophy, has hit 17 goals in 25 appearances for Spartans during the first half of their 2019-20 National League North campaign.

His form has convinced Neal Ardley and our owners... to bring Roberts to Nottingham to aid our play-off push.

Having been in their academy since he was eight, Roberts made his first-team debut at Newcastle aged just 17... As well as spending time on loan at Gateshead and Kilmarnock over the next two years, Roberts became a regular source of goals for United’s Under 23s...

All signs pointed to Roberts continuing to move through the ranks at St James’ Park but, following a loan at Colchester, he was released by his boyhood club at the end of last season... In August, he linked up with former Newcastle midfielder Lee Clark, who managed Kilmarnock in Roberts’ time there, and continued to produce what he had in Under 23s football.

His 17 goals for Spartans have been the shining light as they’ve struggled in the National League North, and he leads their scoring charts by some distance".

Middlesbrough report that "Mitchell Curry marked his debut for Gateshead with a goal and a win as the Heed made it back-to-back wins, [this time winning] against Altrincham.

Curry linked up with Gateshead and fellow Boro loanee Brad James on loan until the rest of the season, and it was a debut to remember...

Curry got off the mark for Gateshead to seal the points for the National League North outfit when he headed home Alex Nicholson's cross. The 20-year-old was delighted...

'It's a big relief. On your debut you want to get off to a good start,' Curry told Gateshead's website... It's the first game I've started since November, so I was starting to cramp up towards the end and it can be hard to get your sharpness'.

Gateshead add that on Tuesday evening they were set to face Leamington. The Heed are "on a four-game unbeaten run, having won two on the bounce at the International Stadium against Hereford and Altrincham, both by 2-0 scorelines...

Leamington, meanwhile, managed to prevent a third defeat on the spin on Saturday as they held Chester to a goalless draw at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium. The Brakes are a tough nut to crack at their home ground and have lost just once there [against Alty] in their last eight games across all competitions...

Gateshead assistant manager Ian Watson is looking to continue building momentum on Tuesday night. 'The lads are in good spirits today. We’ll face a different test tomorrow in terms of a long away trip and a different style of play... “If you look at Blyth last year, they weren’t in it at all and managed to put a run of wins together towards the end of the season and managed to sneak in seventh place... so it’s important that we do string a run of wins together.'”

Gloucester City "confirm that long serving defender Sam Avery has left the club.

With recent additions to the playing squad and likely limited playing time, Sam was released so he can seek first team football elsewhere.

Sam was a product of the much acclaimed Gloucester City Youth Development setup, but with limited opportunities at the club as a youngster, he left and developed his game with the likes of Chipping Norton Town and Bishops Cleeve. Sam returned to the Tigers in 2014... and continued to be at the heart of the City defence for over five seasons, many of them as Club Captain...

Sam had made over 230 appearances in a City shirt across the National North and South, including 26 during this campaign...

Midfielder Jennison Myrie-Williams has also been released from the Club. Jennison arrived in the Summer but didn’t make his first team competitive debut until September due to injury sustained in pre-season. He went on to make 13 appearances, 6 of them starts."

At Southport, "George Newell says he believes this week will be crucial if Southport want to get their season back on track after a disappointing start to 2020.

Newell scored the Yellows’ only goal in the 3-1 defeat to Boston United on Saturday and despite the scoreline, Newell thinks the signs are there that things will improve. The Port face Pilkington in the Liverpool Senior Cup on Wednesday before a visit to Gloucester City at the weekend.

He said 'Everyone’s a bit deflated which is to be expected after a loss but I think there’s a feeling in the squad that things are starting to improve... Key moments have gone against us and with a bit more luck we could have got something out of that game. The next few games for us are going to be absolutely crucial for us. There’s no excuse for the form in recent weeks but I think it’s fair to say that the fixture list hasn’t been kind to us over Christmas but we’re coming out the other side of that now and if we can get back into our pre-Christmas form then getting into the playoffs isn’t out of the question.

'Pilkington is a game we should win on paper but Burscough showed earlier in the season just how dangerous these sides can be in the Senior Cup. They’re massively pumped up for this game and we’re going to have to be at our best to make sure we get a result.

'Then we’re going to Gloucester next weekend and that’ll be the first time we’ve played a team from the bottom half of the table since before Christmas. So both of those games are winnable we just need to make sure we do our part.'

Newell has just returned from a loan spell at Marine, where is scored four goals in five games. He added 'I loved playing there and it was really good for me because I didn’t have a proper pre-season and then I got injured so I needed to get more minutes under my belt and build up my fitness. The team there were fantastic with me and made me feel really welcome and obviously on the pitch they were performing well so I managed to get a few goals out of it as well.'"

Spennymoor Town state that "Saturday’s game at home to Leamington will see a new addition to The Brewery Field as our new marquee makes its full home league debut. Our new match day hub is ran [sic] by the club internally and will work in tandem with The Neil Adams Sports Bar, offering fans a choice of pre-match and half time venues.

Unlike the previous marquee in place at the same location, you will get a full view of the pitch and have the choice of staying out of the cold whilst sampling the range of drinks...

Club sponsors Arriva will be at the Brewery Field on Saturday launching a new priced ticket on for the number 6 service. There will be an Arriva bus on site with free giveaways and games before the big kick-off at 3pm!...

The play-off race took another swing last weekend with Moors dropping to 8th following the 1-1 draw at Kidderminster".

20 January 2020


Following the game at Gateshead on Saturday, Altrincham FC has an interview with manager Phil Parkinson.

The Altrincham manager lamented that "So many players were below par" at the International Stadium against a full-time side.

At Gateshead, midfielder Josh Lundstram (right) made his debut for Altrincham on loan from Crewe Alexandra.

Match report here.


Altrincham FC Youth beat Stockport County Youth 3-2 on Sunday in the Neil Thomason Memorial Cup in a game played at the Manchester Health Academy. The Altrincham scorers were Howarth, Moser and Sumner.


On Sunday, Altrincham FC Ladies lost 0-2 at home to Runcorn Linnets FC Ladies' Open Age team in the Cheshire FA Ladies' Cup.


The funeral of Mike Garnett takes place today (Monday, 20 January) at 1.15pm, followed by a service of committal at Hollinwood Crematorium at 2.30pm. The address for the church is St. Anne’s Church, St. Anne’s Avenue, Royton, Oldham OL2 5AD. A wake will be held, afterwards, at the Crompton and Royton Golf Club, High Barn Street, Royton, Oldham OL2 6RW.

Flowers will provided by the family only but donations will be gratefully received for Dr. Kershaw’s Hospice, a local charity which Mike supported.


The late Mike Garnett's records tell us the historical record of Altrincham against Bradford (Park Avenue), who visit Altrincham next Saturday (25th January).
  • At Home: P14-W9-D4-L1-F28-A11
  • Away: P13-W5-D4-L5-F21-A25
  • All: P27-W14-D8-L6-F49-A36

Matches against the pre-1974 BPA finished as shown below...

  • At Home: P4-W3-D1-L0-F8-A3
  • Away: P4-W1-D1-L2-F5-A8
  • All: P8-W4-D2-L2-F13-A11


On Saturday, Altrincham FC Reserves lost 3-2 away to Greenalls Padgate St Oswald's, who lie second-bottom in the league. Alty now lie fourth in the Cheshire League table.

Whaley Bridge Athletic lead the table with 30 points from 14 games; Alty have 25 points from 15 matches.

Meanwhile news of one of Altrincham's Cheshire League rivals comes from Cheshire Live, which confirms there is "Sadness as Blacon Youth first team forced to call it a day. Blacon Youth have been forced to withdraw from the Cheshire League Premier Division. The Cairns Crescent club announced on its Facebook page on Monday night that a decision had been taken to fold the first team.

In four years together the current Blacon group had won a league title, three successive promotions and no less than seven trophies to the club, their crowning achievement being lifting the Cheshire FA Amateur Cup last season.

But with Blacon's first team not in a position to be able to offer money to its players a number of their squad have been approached in recent weeks with offers of money to play elsewhere.

And with the club faced with not being able to field a team by the end of this month a decision was taken for the first team to call it a day, much of the squad heading across the border to keep the group together with an unnamed Welsh side.

Joint-manager Matthew Mackin told Cheshire Live 'I’m absolutely gutted this has come about. We have had a few teams coming in for our players over the past few weeks offering money. We can’t pay them anything at Blacon, in fact we charge £10 subs. So we wouldn’t have been able to field a team by the end of this month'".


In its weekend review, the National League reports that "Leaders King’s Lynn won the huge contest at the top and may have won some new fans in the process. The table toppers beat second place York City to take control of the title race. Prolific Adam Marriott got the winning goal as an incredible crowd of 4,019 watched on.

Chester slipped further off the pace after they drew 0-0 at Leamington. Brackley, though, keep up the pressure. Kevin Wilkin’s side won 2-1 at Bradford PA. Lee Ndlovu and James Armson were on target. Darlington stormed into the top seven with a fourth win in a row.

A simple 3-0 win at home to Alfreton means nobody wants to play the Quakers right now. Justin Donawa put the seal on another good day for the North East club. Boston United are also in a good place; they won 3-1 at Southport. Andi Thanoj was at the double for the Pilgrims.

Guiseley are sixth. They won 2-1 at home to Gloucester City. Kaine Felix and a Gabriel Johnson effort handed the Lions another three points. Gateshead keep up the pressure; they won 2-0 at home to in-form Altrincham.

Ashley Chambers got another goal as Kidderminster came from behind the draw 1-1 with Spennymoor. Curzon Ashton had a great day in front of goal as they beat Farsley 4-0".

Spennymoor Town report that "Ashley Chambers continued his goalscoring exploits against Spennymoor and cancelled out Rob Ramshaw’s excellent opener, as Moors earned a point at Aggborough.

Chambers looped a header over Matt Gould four minutes after Rob Ramshaw finished off a sweeping counter attack to give Moors the lead.

Both sides had half chances in a cagey second period, with a point apiece a fair reflection on the contest overall.

Jason Ainsley made three changes to the side who began the home defeat to Kettering a week previous, with Nathan Buddle, Shane Henry and Andrew Johnson replacing Carl Magnay, Mark Anderson and Ben McKenna.

Despite looking the brighter of the two sides in the game’s early exchanges, Harriers were almost caught cold by Moors... Jimmy Shan’s side showed greater composure on the ball in the opening half hour but Moors almost took the lead following a wicked corner delivery from Johnson, with Glen Taylor inches away from making a goal worthy connection.

Kidderminster rallied and looked a threat through the lively front three of Ashley Hemmings, Chambers and debutant Austin Samuels... Despite looking the side more likely to grab the elusive opening goal, it was Moors who struck the decisive blow on the counter attack. Taylor released James Roberts who in turn flicked cutely into the path of the bombarding Tyler Forbes.

The right back kept his composure and slid a ball across the six year area, allowing Ramshaw, who started the move with a raking cross field pass, to slide in and send the 46 Moors fans into raptures, netting his eighth goal to campaign in the process.

But Moors couldn’t hold the lead for long, failing to learn from a warning sign after Taylor cleared off the line from a goal bound Hemmings effort moments after Ramshaw’s goal. The Harriers scorer was Chambers, an inevitability given his record against Moors in the last few years, looping a header over the advancing Gould after a clever reverse pass from Hemmings.

With the game finely balanced at the interval, both sides lacked the killer punch in a finely poised contest... The result leaves Moors one place outside of the play-off places in eighth, with a home game against Leamington up next."

At King's Lynn Town "The Linnets recorded a single goal victory over their nearest rivals York City to extend their lead to four points at the top of the National League North table on Saturday. That however was only half of the story on another memorable afternoon of football at The Walks as over 4000 fans , including a big turnout of visiting fans packed the terraces to create scenes not seen for a league fixture for many, many years.

New signing Simon Power was handed a full debut with Rory McAuley and Jordan Richards returning after missing last week's game through injury.

The game itself was a tense affair as was to be expected for a fixture with so much riding on it as both teams turned the game into a war of attrition with chances at a premium. Midway through the second half the decisive moment arrived as another pacy run from the debut making Simon Power saw the youngster get a shot away which visiting keeper Peter Jameson fumbled, leaving top scorer Adam Marriott the chance to prod the ball home past the groping keeper to spark scenes of sheer delight around three quarters of the packed stadium.

The game became a little stretched but it was the Linnets who had the better control, reducing the visitors to shots from long range as the clock ran down. The final whistle witnessed jubilant scenes with Town receiving a standing ovation from a still packed main stand".

At Guiseley, "With the first team management having extended their contracts for another two and a half seasons the Lions showed some of the grit and determination they have instilled in the team by coming from behind with goals from Kaine Felix and Gabriel Johnson giving them their first home win of the new decade.

The home starting lineup showed just one enforced change due to injury as Lee Shaw replaced Chris Sands [?Sang] up front and the welcome return from injury of leading scorer Aaron Martin.

Gloucester, who are batting at the bottom of the table, got off to the best possible start when the unmarked Liam Daly headed home a corner from the right at the far post with just five minutes gone.

The home side responded with two corners of their own which saw captain Hamza Bencherif go close as his two headers finished up on top of the netting. Shaw went one better on twelve minutes when he poked home a loose ball from another corner only for his joy to be cut short by an offside flag.

The rest of the half saw plenty of effort but few openings being created and the visitors suffered a blow when Joe Hanks had to be stretchered off after a lengthy spell of treatment following a clash of heads with Arum Soleman. Alex Hainault replacing him...

However, the turning point came on 61 minutes when Martin replaced Kennedy Digie and almost immediately set about causing havoc in the visitors' back four...

Three minutes after his introduction the striker chased down a seemingly lost cause and got the better of Jack Senior before playing a the ball into the middle where it eventually fell to Soleman who beat two defender[s] only to see his shot blocked but Shaw was on hand to lay it on for Felix to shoot home from ten yards out.

Now with their tails up the Lions went for the kill and the Tigers had keeper Zachary Jeacock to thank for keeping them in the game as he clawed Shaw’s effort out of the top corner. But minutes later he was beaten by a Johnson’s in-swinging corner from the right that went straight into the net via the far post to put the home side ahead... The win moves Guiseley up to sixth in the table level on points with Darlington who they meet at Nethermoor this coming Tuesday".

Darlington inform us that "Two goals from Adam Campbell and a late third by Justin Donawa lifted Quakers four positions and put them into the play off places.

Quakers withstood an aerial bombardment and an injury to Terry Galbraith in the first half, and then Campbell's second goal gave Quakers firm control.

It set Quakers up for Tuesday night's game away to Guiseley; it will be 6th v 7th... Quakers struggled to put anything meaningful together on the bobbly surface... [but] took the lead on 19 minutes. Adam Campbell picked the ball up 30 yards out, worked his way into the right hand side of the box, and struck a low shot across Wright into the net for his 11th goal of the season...

Quakers made a sub at half time, Holness coming on for Galbraith with Reid going into the back four... Quakers went 2-0 up on 55 minutes. Reid won a header inside his own half and the ball went to Hatfield, who quickly played the ball through for Campbell to break away and confidently tuck the ball past Wright.

Quakers took tight control of the game after that, not taking any risks and stopping the high balls into their area... Quakers made it 3-0 in stoppage time when Lambert whipped in a free kick for Donawa to turn home his ninth goal of the season".

Curzon Ashton produced one of their best performances of the season to destroy Farsley Celtic and put the pain of last week’s defeat at Blyth Spartans well behind them.

The Nash dominated throughout and took a two-goal lead into the break thanks to Mike Calveley’s header and Josh Askew’s first for the club.

Two more Curzon loanees broke their duck in the second half as substitute Andy Scott pounced at the back post to settle the tie before Tunde Bayode lashed home a late fourth.

Farsley were pushing on the outskirts of the play-off places before this game but were way off the pace as Curzon earned a significant victory which moves them up one place to 19th and four points ahead of the relegation zone.

There was a late scare for the Nash as Robbie Evans picked up a knock in training on Thursday night, but he shrugged that off to take his place in the starting line-up. The Welshman was captain for the day as Owen Watkinson, on loan for the rest of the season from Blackpool, was given the task of leading the line on his Nash debut in place of Nicky Wroe.

That was the only change as Mark Bradshaw sought a reaction from the painful loss at Blyth and he got exactly that.

After a scrappy first 20 minutes, the Nash began to control proceedings and had already created several openings before taking the lead 10 minutes before the break. Connor Dimaio’s pin-point pass released Askew who was making a great run behind the away defence. His shot was well blocked by Elliott Wynne but the Farsley goalkeeper was helpless from the resultant corner as Calveley nodded Isaac Sinclair’s ball into the far corner...

The next goal duly arrived. Dimaio’s low ball into the box found Calveley and although his effort was saved by Wynne, Askew was on hand to slide home the rebound from three yards out... There were times where the Nash sat back and soaked up some Farsley pressure, but they did so with ease. Cam Mason hasn’t had many quieter afternoons in goal as he notched his ninth clean sheet of the season.

Scott came off the bench with just over quarter of an hour remaining and made an immediate impact to seal all three points. Dimaio’s effort looped off a Farsley defender and fell kindly for the on-loan Accrington Stanley forward who kept his cool to slam home at the back post.

Scott continued his electrifying cameo moments later by assisting Bayode for the final and best goal of the afternoon".

Chester FC "earned a hard-earned point on the road against Leamington, closing the gap on second placed York City.

The result was probably fair after a relatively uneventful first half, Brad Jackson’s effort from the edge the best of the period. The entertainment got better following the interval, Leamington improved and had an effort chalked off before David Bremang’s low shot was kept out by Russ Griffiths late on.

Chester made two changes and a formational switch-up from the side that lost at Royston, Danny Livesey and Joel Taylor returned to the team in place of the injured Matty Waters and Matty Hughes. Top scorer Akwasi Asante made the bench.

The visitors had to weather the storm in the opening ten minutes of a scrappy affair, but whilst Leamington were dominating the possession they’d failed to carve out any real chances...

The hosts started the better in the second period... A point gained for Chester who ever so slightly closed the gap on York City in second".

According to Bradford (Park Avenue), "Brackley continued their promotion push with a 2-1 victory away at Bradford (Park Avenue) in a game which confines Avenue further to the bottom of the table.

It wasn’t the best of games to watch. It was a cagey opening with Avenue dominating most of the possession in the first half. Chances were at a premium, though, with neither side being able to muster up anything too concrete...

After a period of Avenue domination at the start, Brackley soon found themselves getting more and more into the game and they were rewarded by taking the lead just before half time. It was a sloppy goal to concede from an Avenue point of view but Ndlovu wouldn’t have cared, back-heeling the ball into the net for his 11th goal in 9 games.

The second half was much like the first, very cagey with not much to split the two teams. Brackley, though, managed to kill the game with a second goal through Armson. Tom Clare managed to grab a consolation for Avenue late on, but it was too little too late for the hosts as Brackley managed to extend their unbeaten league run to 11 games".

Meanwhile, Boston United "Midfielder Andi Thanoj marked his return to action with a well-taken brace as Boston United defeated Southport at the Pure Stadium on Saturday.

Thanoj's first half free-kick and second half header put the Pilgrims firmly in control and they secured all three points despite George Newell reducing the arrears with 11 minutes to play. Luke Shiels' 88th minute header sealed maximum spoils on the road for Craig Elliott's side.

Fit-again Thanoj was one of three players coming into Elliott’s starting XI, alongside Alex Whittle and Martyn Woolford... United broke the deadlock in the 44th minute when David Morgan was penalised for a foul and THANOJ stepped up to bend home the resulting free-kick from 20 yards... before the Pilgrims doubled their lead on the hour mark. Brad Abbott played Woolford into a crossing position and he chopped the ball back onto his right foot before delivering a pinpoint centre for THANOJ to head home from close-range...

United’s nerves were calmed two minutes from time when Thanoj’s deep corner was powered home by the head of SHIELS at the back post."

Leamington advise that "Brakes played out their first goalless draw of the season and their first in a little over 12 months as once again they could not be separated with Chester.

Three of the four meetings between these two sides have finished with honours even and this always looked likely to be the case here, as although both sides produced glimpses of their best form at times neither seemed to possess the guile or creativity to break down well organised defences at both ends of the pitch.

Paul Holleran named the same starting eleven that had edged past Kingstonian in the FA Trophy on Tuesday evening, and while his side kept a second successive clean sheet they were just unable to find that cutting edge to nick all three points...

The first half was an even affair with both sides doing their fair share of pressing but largely cancelling each other out. While Leamington looked lively in the opening ten minutes it was Chester who carved out the first chance of the afternoon... The stalemate continued into the second half...

Gradually the visitors began to assert their authority... Perhaps the best chance of afternoon for Leamington came deep into injury time when Bremang beat the last defender to head into the path of Anderson, who advanced into the box on the right before blazing his shot over the bar... but it finished honours even".

Manager Paul Holleran said, ‘For us to get two or three games played on our pitch this week when others have seen theirs called off, the people responsible here have done really well. The conditions today weren’t great, the wind was blowing around a bit. You could see it was going to be a percentage game, it was a physical battle, and they (Chester) are good at that. Bernard and Johnno (Chester managers), their whole careers have been built on their identity, they like good, hard-working honest players and I always think we’re pretty similar, and we had to go and match them today.

'On the whole it was probably about right, we might have edged the chances, they had a couple as well but on the back of a really difficult week for us with the journey to London and the disappointment with losing the late goal, then a good performance on Tuesday. Obviously we’ve lost Joe Clarke in the first half too. It was a really disciplined performance against one of the better sides in the league. The game did lack a bit of quality but sometimes at this level of football you look at other qualities, and every player out there has left everything on the pitch with their commitment levels.

'It was played in a good spirit, they’re a good bunch. It’s a good point, and to keep a clean sheet against a side which with the quality they have and the delivery from set plays and the targets they’ve got, I’d probably take more out of the 0-0 than the 3-3 earlier this season'".

19 January, 2020


Altrincham could have no complaints at the outcome as their weakened team lost to a well organized Gateshead.

Without the suspended Harrop and the injured Williams, Richman and Peers, and with the recalled Walters not yet re-registered after being recalled from loan, Alty nevertheless saw plenty of the ball in the first half.

Fielding debutant loanee Josh Lundstram in midfield and with Luke Wall brought in on the left, Alty were unable to convert their possession into a clear opening after they had had a goal disallowed for offside early on.

Above: Andy White cleared this 40th minute effort off the line, following a corner, and an Altrincham freekick was given for a foul, in any case. But, just three minutes later, from their next corner, Gateshead scored.

Gateshead had not created a lot themselves before they took a fortuitous 43rd minute lead. The goal came direct from an inswinging right-wing corner by former Dover man Deverdics. As the ball dropped in the goalmouth goalkeeper Thompson failed to deal with it before it crossed the line.

Gateshead doubled their lead in the 67th minute when a cross from Nicholson from the right was hit against the near post by debutant Middlesbrough loanee Curry before rebounding back off him and into the net.

Alty never looked like recovering and scarcely troubled keeper James in the home net. Alty dropped to tenth as a result of this defeat which ended their seven-game unbeaten run.

Match report here.


In the Heedlines matchday programme, Gateshead manager Mike Williamson wrote about Altrincham before Saturday's match. "You can see they've got a method and a blueprint that they stick to.

"All of their players are comfortable on the ball and they try to pull you out of position to go through the middle".

After the match ,Gateshead reported that "Two fortuitous goals helped Gateshead to a 2-0 win over Altrincham at the Gateshead International Stadium.

Visiting keeper Anthony Thompson fumbled into his own net from a corner just before half time. Debutant Mitch Curry doubled the lead by scrambling home from a cross just after the hour mark.

The Heed made just one change, replacing outgoing striker Josh Kayode with Middlesbrough loanee Curry....

Altrincham had started much brighter and came close, but winger John Johnston’s shot was blocked behind for a corner. Robins captain Jake Moult thought he’d headed the visitors ahead after 10 minutes but was denied by an offside flag...

Altrincham’s intensity died down towards the end of the half, but they did come close again through Jordan Hulme who shot well wide from corner of box...

Gateshead took the lead just before half time when a corner from Deverdics was turned into his own net by Thompson.

Alty started the second half on top but struggled to create any clear-cut chances... Gateshead did double the lead 20 minutes into the half when Curry turned an Alex Nicholson cross home at the second attempt. The striker’s first effort hit the post, but bounced out and hit the Boro-loanee before going in".


Bradford (Park Avenue) visit Moss Lane next Saturday.

The Telegraph & Argus says that on Saturday "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower thinks it is his sides actions in the key moments of recent matches with is denying them points.

Avenue suffered their seventh defeat in eight as they went 14 points adrift at the foot of the National League North table after a 2-1 loss against Brackley Town at Horsfall.

Bradford went a goal down through a Lee Ndlovu poked effort on the stroke of half-time before James Armson doubled the visitors lead in the second half, meaning Tom Clare's injury time finish was only a consolation.

Bower thinks it is the combination of his sides inability to convert their chances and bringing in the quality needed which is halting their survival bid.

He said 'For the first half hour I think we were on top, we had the wind behind us and we penned them in... and there was not a lot to choose from in terms of possession. They haven’t played us off the park it is just key moments that they have turned the screw and we were unable to. Brackley have scored two scruffy goals, ours was the best with a great cross and finish.

'We have not got the resources to bring in those players that will make a difference in both penalty areas. We will keep going, we are not getting played off the park by teams. We certainly don't look like a team 14 points adrift. It is pointless looking at other teams results when we are not picking up points ourselves. Last time we faced Brackley we lost 8-0 but we have given them a better run for their money today.'

He said 'Their goal comes from a corner which should have never been, it was a blatant foul on Alex Hurst... We keep having to defend set pieces which we shouldn’t have too. It was a clear and obvious foul on him, we come in at 0-0 and everyone is positive but it completely changed it'".


York Press reports that "Steve WAtson has lamented the little moment that made all the difference between York City and King's Lynn Town on Saturday but refused to pin anything to luck.

Adam Marriott, the top scorer across all three divisions of the National League, added another to his tally as the North tier leaders beat the Minstermen 1-0 in Norfolk. He was quickest to the ball as Pete Jameson failed to hold onto an effort by the hosts' man of the match, 21-year-old Norwich City loanee Simon Power, and he poked in from very close range.

York had good chances of their own...

Watson said 'I can't have a go at the lads for the way they performed and set about their jobs against the team who have scored more than anybody. I thought we defended well and we broke away as we did at home but couldn't find that clean bit of finishing. It's the story of a lot of games.

'The top scorer pounced on one little error in the box. It's one of those seasons for him, and unfortunately that was the difference between us today. In a split-second he was on top of Pete, and that's the difference between when things are going for you and things aren't...

'It was a tight game with two good sides going at it and there was not much at all between them, virtually nothing, and the one thing that needed to fall for them, their main man was there to put it in the net. We're 27 games in, you're not top of the league by luck,' he added...

The win takes King's Lynn four points clear at the top of the table with two games in hand.

Watson continued: "Without trying to play mind games, I'm not really into that, it's theirs to lose. They've not lost many, and Power's added to the quality they've got. We can't worry about King's Lynn anymore, we can't affect what they do anymore, we've got to get as many wins on the board as possible and see where it takes us.'"

The Hereford Times reports that Hereford FC chairman Andrew Graham says his sides' fans were ‘let down’ by the late pitch postponement at Kettering Town. Graham said 'As soon as we arrived it was obvious that the pitch was clearly unplayable. We are in complete agreement with the match official’s decision to postpone the game.

'We have spoken to officials from Kettering as well as the match officials to express our disappointment at the late decision. “Quite a few of our fans had already made it to the ground and many more were well on the way to arriving at Kettering, at considerable expense to themselves. It is disappointing that they have been let down by an unacceptable, but totally preventable situation.”

'As a club, we will be making our feelings very clear to the National League and will be looking to recover whatever costs we can for supporters and the club.'”

From Cheshire Live we learn that "A classic this was not as Chester FC had to settle for a point from an ugly contest at Leamington.

The Blues had the best chance of the game in the second half through Anthony Dudley but on a difficult pitch against an organised if ordinary opposition a draw was probably the fairest outcome. Chester slipped to fourth in the National League North but it was a display that was committed, although lacking in the quality needed in the final third to see it through.

After the misery that was the FA Trophy collapse at Royston Town seven days previous the Blues were in need of a response on their return to National League North.

Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley made two changes to the side that lost at Garden Walk, Danny Livesey back in the side following injury and Joel Taylor returning to the starting line up. Matty Hughes dropped to the bench while Matty Waters was ruled out through injury.

There was a change of shape for the Blues, Dudley as the sole striker with George Glendon playing at the head of a midfield diamond with Simon Grand reverting to left back and Joel Taylor playing in an advanced left wing role.

The first half was a battle and limited on quality from either side...

The second half proved to be a more entertaining affair, although the theme of a lack of cutting edge would continue in the second half... A draw was probably a fair result, although the Blues lose ground on a day where King's Lynn Town took a massive step towards the title with a 1-0 win over second placed York City.

A tough run lies ahead".

According to the Kidderminster Shuttle "Harriers were held to a 1-1 draw by play-off chasing Spennymoor Town at Aggborough Stadium. Ashley Chambers had netted his eleventh goal of the season to pull Harriers level in the first half, after Spennymoor had stolen ahead through a devastating counter-attacking goal.

The home side had arguably had the better of the game either side of the goals and can count themselves a little unlucky to not have taken all three points.

Going in to the tie, Jimmy Shan opted to hand a debut to new signing Austin Samuels, while fellow new arrival, Samir Nabi, made the bench. Ashley Chambers and Ryan Johnson also slotted back into the starting eleven.

Harriers, through Hemmings, started brightly enough with a low shot... A few minutes later, a Gould fumble almost saw Hemmings get lucky with his attempt, but the Moors hit Harriers hard on the counter-attack moments later; Ramshaw slamming a squared pass into the back of the net as the hosts found themselves at a loss.

As often is the case, Harriers responded excellently and, within four minutes, they were level. Hemmings had seen a shot hooked off the line and, just after, he provided the ammunition for Chambers who nodded a back-header up and over the goalkeeper and into the net".

18 January 2020


Altrincham travel to the historic county of Durham for the second time in five days as they face Gateshead on Saturday. It is the Robins' first visit to the International Stadium since 2015. At that time both clubs were competing at national level. Financial troubles led to The Heed's enforced demotion last summer.

Alty arrive at Gateshead in seventh place, with games in hand on several of the teams above them. However, Gateshead have played the fewest games in the division. They have one game in hand on Alty and are three points but six places below the visitors in a congested league table.

Altrincham will be without the suspended Max Harrop and the injured Simon Richman, whilst there were midweek doubts surrounding Sean Williams and Jake Moult ahead of the fruitless midweek trip to Spennymoor.

However, on the eve of the trip to Tyneside, manager Phil Parkinson has signed 20 year-old midfielder Josh Lundstram on a short-term loan from Crewe Alexandra. If selected, Josh will become the eighth player this season to be named in a league squad who had not previously played for the Altrincham first-team. He is also the club's third loanee this season, following Yusifu Ceesay and Ethan Walker.

In addition, winger Lewis Walters has now returned from his loan at Trafford so is presumably also available today at Gateshead.

The late Mike Garnett's records reveal the history of games between the clubs:

  • Home: P25-W12-D5-L8-F44-A30
  • Away: P22-W9-D3-L10-F26-A30
  • All: P47-W21-D8-L18-F70-A60

Gateshead report that "The Heed’s last fixture, due to postponements of away fixtures at Gloucester City and Boston United, was the 2-0 home win over Hereford a fortnight ago.

Home form has been Gateshead’s strong point this season with Mike Williamson’s side winning seven out of 12 on Tyneside in the Vanarama National League North so far.Altrincham have enjoyed even better fortunes at home and only league leaders King’s Lynn Town have a better home record than the Robins as of now.

Away from home things haven’t gone as planned for Phil Parkinson’s men, who hadn’t won in nine attempts until two consecutive wins at Curzon Ashton and Leamington on Boxing Day and January 4. Six places and just three points separate the Heed in 12th and Saturday’s opponents in sixth, so a win for the hosts could cause a major shake-up around the play-off places.

Elliot Forbes returns to fitness after suffering a training injury last week, although JJ O’Donnell (foot) remains out of action and will not be involved in Saturday’s squad. New signing Mitch Curry could be in line to make his Gateshead debut after joining on loan from Middlesbrough last week".

Gateshead also remind us of players who have turned out for both clubs, who include:

  • Striker Michael Rankine appeared 71 times for the Heed and the Robins in total.
  • Tim Deasy, who played on over 50 occasions at the International Stadium, finished his career with Altrincham in 2018.
  • Nyal Bell and and Jimmy Phillips also spent time on loan at Alty from Gateshead, both in 2016.

"Tickets are available on the gate on Saturday afternoon, with away fans entering the International Stadium via turnstiles 1 and 2 as segregation will be in place.

Prices for the game are as follows:

  • £15 Adults,
  • £10 NUFC/SAFC Season Ticket holders
  • £8 Concessions
  • £5 Under-16s
  • Under-12’s go FREE with a paying adult

  • Altrincham have won five matches from six and have taken six points from their last two games on the road.
  • Gateshead have scored eight times in their last three, taking seven points in that run.
  • Altrincham beat Gateshead 3-0 the last time the two clubs met back in November.
  • The Heed have won seven of their last nine matches at the International Stadium. They kept clean sheets in six of those games.


Our neighbours, Trafford FC, confirm that "Altrincham FC have recalled striker Lewis Walters [right] from his loan spell with Trafford. Lewis initially joined us on a month's loan in early November and we were very pleased that Altrincham subsequently extended that loan.

During his time at the Home Estates Shawe View Stadium, Lewis made 9 starts for Trafford and scored 4 goals for the club. These stats would undoubtedly have been even greater had he not been red-carded towards the end of a frustrating defeat at Runcorn Linnets!

Lewis also won the Supporters Player of Month Award (sponsored by Bowland Brewery) for November 2019. We thank Lewis for his spell with us, and wish him all the best now he is back at his parent club".

Left-winger Lewis has, so far, made 3(+2) appearances for Altrincham since joining in the summer of 2019.


Altrincham FC announces that the club has "signed Crewe Alexandra midfielder, Josh Lundstram, on a 28-day loan until February 18th.

Lundstram, who turns 21 next month, is described by Phil Parkinson as being 'a bit of a mixture between Simon Richman and Sean Williams. He's got great legs and great energy and, as you would expect from any Crewe player, is accomplished on the ball but, for me, his biggest asset is his ability to get around the pitch, make tackles, link the play and close spaces down. I'm really excited to see what he can do'".

Whilst on loan at Nuneaton Town last season he played against Altrincham towards the end of the campaign. Welcome and good luck to Josh, who is available for Saturday's trip to Tyneside to take on Gateshead.


Travel coordinator, Mark Eckersall, writes that "TASC will be running a coach to the match at Gateshead next Saturday (18th). We hope you can join us; seats can be booked by calling the club after 10am on weekdays".

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

And Gateshead have advised Altrincham that away "supporters will be lodged in the Tyne & Wear Stand (all seated with cover). Admission to the game is by payment on the day via turnstiles 1 - 2, as segregation will be in place. For ease of access to turnstiles 1 - 2 it may be best for your coach driver to drop off in the lay-by outside the main entrance before making his way to car park 3, which is at the farthest point from the stadium.

Your supporters will have access to food and alcohol inside the ground. Flags are allowed but must be hung as directed by stewards. Drums will not be allowed.

Coach parking is available in car park No. 3. Free car parking is available on a first come bases in car parks 1 - 3. Public parking is signposted and available near to the stadium".

And after the debacle at Spennymoor on Tuesday night, rest assured that the weather forecast for Gateshead on Saturday is sunny and dry!


Vanarama National League North, Saturday 18 January 2020
  • AFC Telford United P=P Blyth Spartans
  • Bradford Park Avenue 1-2 Brackley Town
  • Curzon Ashton 4-0 Farsley Celtic
  • Darlington 3-0 Alfreton Town
  • Gateshead 2-0 Altrincham
  • Guiseley 2-1 Gloucester City
  • Kettering Town P-P Hereford FC
  • Kidderminster Harriers 1-1 Spennymoor Town
  • King's Lynn Town 1-0 York City
  • Leamington 0-0 Chester FC
  • Southport 1-3 Boston United


Altrincham's last league visit to the International Stadium was for a 1-1 draw in a Vanarama National League match played on Saturday, 17 October, 2015.

Coburn, Marshall, Densmore, Crowther and Parry were all out, injured. However, Griffin and Richman had returned to the side. New loan signing from Sunderland, Honeyman, started for the hosts who had made several changes after recent indifferent form.

P> Above: Captain Luca Havern leads out Altrincham at the International Stadium.

After a fairly even but goalless first half, Alty conceded in the fourth minute after the interval. A cross was allowed to come in from the Heed's left and Bowman rose, unchallenged, to head his side ahead.

The visitors remained on the back foot till after the simultaneous introduction of wingmen Clee and Bowerman, on 59 minutes. They changed the -0whole complexion of the match. Alty went from 0-1 to 2-1 up inside three minutes. First, Clee won and took a quick throw from the left corner. This led to a well struck effort from Moult which Russell pushed onto the bar. Rankine was on hand to nod home the loose ball (77 mins).

Alty's second was scored by Bowerman after Richman had attempted an overhead shot inside the box (79 mins).

The visitors were not able to hold on and, in the second added minute, Gateshead equalised. A dubious freekick against Leather was half cleared and substitute McLaughlin netted from just outside the box.

A draw was probably a fair result and it kept Altrincham 19th.

ALTRINCHAM: 17. Tim DEASY, 6. Scott LEATHER, 5. Luca HAVERN (capt), 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Jake MOULT, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 14. Josh O'KEEFE, 7. James LAWRIE, 10. Damian REEVES 9. Michael RANKINE, 20. Jordan SINNOTT. Subs: 11. Nicky CLEE, 18. George BOWERMAN, 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 23. Callum WILLIAMS, 24. Rhain DAVIS

With Richman out injured this time around and Moult reportedly a doubt for last Tuesday's postponed game, if both were not to play this Saturday, Alty would be fielding a completely different 16-man squad from the 2015 group. However, it normally takes an awful lot to sideline Jake Moult, so don't be surprised to see him captaining the side as usual on Saturday!

Like Simon Richman, Tom Hannigan also failed to complete the first half for Alty last Saturday, suffering from back spasms. If he is not fit at Gateshead, James Jones provides a ready replacement at centre-back.


NL Daily reports that "King’s Lynn Town boss Ian Culverhouse has committed his future to the club by signing a contract until the end of the 2021/22 season.

Culverhouse has enjoyed huge success on the pitch in his two spells as boss. He led the club to a second-place finish in the Southern League Premier, after which they lost in the play-off final to Slough Town, before guiding the club to promotion via the Super Play-off last season.

The Linnets haven’t lost at home for more than 16 months and currently top the National League North, sitting in their highest league position for many decades.

Linnets director of football Robbie Back said 'This is great news for the club, supporters and players. The contract comes after two hugely successful years in charge of King’s Lynn and will ensure the long-term foundations on the pitch.'"

And King's Lynn Town "announce the loan signing of Simon Power. The attacking midfielder arrives at The Walks from Norwich City FC and will remain with the club until the end of the season.

Power, 21, hails from the Republic of Ireland and in only January this year signed a three-year extension to his current Norwich deal...

The youngster said 'There's a big game coming up Saturday [v. York City], which I'm hoping to be involved in, and I can't wait to get going'.

Power joined Scottish Premiership side Ross County in the summer and made four appearances for the Staggies before returning to his parent club last week. The 21-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan with FC Dordrecht in the Eerste Divisie in the Netherlands. The youngster has yet to make a senior appearance for Norwich since moving from Irish side UCD in 2018".

York Press report that "The top of the table clash between York City and King's Lynn on Saturday is quite arguably York's biggest game of the season so far... though the Norfolk club do have two games in hand on the Minstermen.

For the players, or at least midfielder Paddy McLaughlin, the mentality remains that it is just another game in the season... 'Naturally there is a bit more excitement'... said the former Newcastle midfielder. 'People in the street stop you and say, "It's a big game this weekend at King's Lynn". "But you do have to be cold about these sorts of things and play it as a game of football which goes on for 90 minutes...

'Of course it is a big game, but last Saturday was a big game because if we didn't win that then we wouldn't have set up our position for this game to mean as much as it probably does'...

From 24 league matches this season, impressively, King's Lynn have lost just twice. The first of those defeats came on the opening day of the season against Guiseley. The most recent was a 3-0 win for York at Bootham Crescent in September. In a rather odd game, King's Lynn dominated the majority of the ball but didn't seem to ever trouble York's defence.

'They did have a lot of possession of the ball that day,' reflected McLaughlin... 'I don't remember them having too many clear cut chances and too many shots on target... It was a very professional performance from ourselves that day... There's probably not as many sides that pass it around like they do. And you do have to maybe be that wee bit more disciplined and not get pulled out of your shape.'

Since that game, King's Lynn only loss has come at National League side Ebbsfleet United in the FA Trophy last weekend. Their last league defeat at home came in October 2018.

'They've done unbelievably well and you've got to give them credit for that,' McLaughlin added... 'Their home form is admirable and impressive. Fair play to them for that, but that has to end some time. All records are there to be ended and broken and hopefully it will be us that can do that.'"

"After another break from action, Alfreton Town make the journey to Blackwell Meadows on Saturday afternoon to face in-form Darlington...

The Reds return to action after a few weeks without a fixture and the break in play would have recharged the batteries somewhat, whilst in turn ironing out injuries for Billy Heath. With the likes of Danny Preston and Jordan Wright still in the frame, the squad should be relatively full strength heading into Saturday's game.

Alfreton's last performance was a return to the excellent displays seen across August and September. The 2-0 success at Curzon Ashton was not only our first win since the 12th November, but it was a display of grit, determination and hard-work and a much needed three points banked for us, to stop the slide in form that had greeted the Reds across the last eight games.

Amari Morgan-Smith gave us the lead inside two minutes, stabbing home at the far post... Bobby Johnson then added a second from the penalty spot after Amari was brought down.

It was first clean sheet for Alfreton since the 1-0 win at Leamington back in October and a first win in eight games in all competitions... The Reds head into the fixture looking for back to back league wins, we have won just one of our last nine in all competitions but we are aiming to extend our unbeaten league run to four matches, following successive home draws with Kings Lynn and Telford prior to the Curzon win.

We will also be looking for back to back away league wins, after losing our previous three on the road (Telford, Gateshead and York)... Darlington have lost twice in their last nine in all competitions, winning six. The hosts have won five of their last six in the league and four of their last five at home in all competitions. The Quakers will be aiming for a fourth straight home win in the NLN on Saturday."

Boston United "hope to be able to call upon defender Alex Whittle and midfielder Andi Thanoj ahead of Saturday's trip to Southport.

Whittle (hamstring) was substituted at half-time against Bradford Park Avenue on January 4... while Thanoj (groin) has not featured since December 1 at Rochdale... Striker Jake Wright will miss out with a shoulder injury".

Chester FC report that "After defeat in the FA Trophy last weekend, the Blues will look to keep up their excellent league form in 2020 with a trip to Leamington on the horizon.

[After] 4-0 and 1-0 victories to start the new year over Southport and Guiseley respectively, the Blues are in a strong position going into the weekend, as the top two sides in King’s Lynn Town and York City face each other.

However, Chester travel to a Leamington side they haven’t yet beat[en] in the three meetings between the sides in the past couple of seasons. Last term, Colby Bishop’s goal was the difference in Warwickshire. The Brakes have a great track record with talents moving on to greater heights as the goalscorer from that game joined League One Accrington Stanley in the summer.

The next to follow was to the EFL was striker Josh March this month, which may be a boost for the Blues. He caused havoc in the 3-3 draw at the 1885 Arena between the sides at the end of September. Scoring one of his 16 National League North goals, the exciting forward was poached by Forest Green Rovers for an undisclosed fee earlier in January.

Chester may be in line to welcome back Danny Livesey, Scott Burton and Akwasi Asante this weekend, all three missing recent games due to injuries. Midfielder George Glendon is available for selection."

Gloucester City "announce the signing of sought after striker Matt McClure from National League South side Maidstone United. McClure, who is 28 and has been capped at Northern Ireland U-21 level, joins James Rowe’s side on a 18 month contract.

McClure started his career at Wycombe Wanderers, making his first team debut as a substitute against Shrewsbury in 2010. He later went on to make 110 Football League appearances for the Chairboys, scoring 24 times.

In the summer of 2015, McClure signed for fellow League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge, scoring four times in 20 games. He ended his stay at the Daggers after one season and moved to Aldershot Town in the National League.

Matt spent three seasons there, playing 100 games and finding the net 18 times. After leaving the Shots last summer, he opted to move to Maidstone United in the National League South, scoring an impressive ten times in 21 appearances...

Alex Petheram co-chairman commented 'This shows again the intent from the club as we return home to Meadow Park next season. James has done very well managing the playing budget since he joined and when you have a young career-minded manager that is prepared to take personal wage sacrifices to make sure he stays within the set budget perimeters, it’s impossible for myself and the board not to back him with signings.'"

Guiseley "are delighted to announce that Joint Managers Russ O’Neill and Marcus Bignot and Assistant Manager Paul Clayton have all agreed contract extensions that will keep them with the club until the end of the 2021/22 season.

Russ, Marcus and Paul joined the club in May 2018, following the relegation from the Vanarama National League, and helped manage the club's transition into the Vanarama National League North whilst leading The Lions to an Emirates FA Cup second round encounter with Fleetwood Town, beating Cambridge United on route.

This season the managers have recruited a young, hungry squad of players who are improving week on week, and have The Lions sit[ting] just outside the play-off positions...

Russ added 'I’m absolutely delighted that we’re staying, I believe football clubs should be built and not bankrolled, 18 months ago when we came to the club we had a huge job on, the most obvious and overwhelming factor for me was to try and knit the whole club back together from top to bottom. I wanted us as a management team to impose our personalities and give the whole club a DNA that we could all buy into and be proud to be part of, I believe now that from every corner of the club we are pushing in the same direction and when that happens anything is possible.

'We have a young team that are growing as every week goes by, and they are completely backed by a fantastic support that also continues to grow. It is our view that we want to keep this young hungry team together as much as possible so we can continue to build. We have a thriving academy that are producing good young players and we continue to work closely with Dave and Danny in making sure there’s a clear pathway for these boys to come through and benefit from the opportunity of playing 1st team football.”

Hereford FC "are back on the road this weekend as we head to Kettering Town.

Our hosts go into the game just one point and one place below us in the table having played two games fewer. It was similarly tight the last time that we faced each other as Jordan Nicholson’s goal proved to be the difference at Edgar Street at the end of September.

Since then The Poppies have appointed Paul Cox as manager and since the start of November they have lost just one of their subsequent 11 League games. This includes back-to-back victories in their last two games as they beat Farsley Celtic 1-0 before making the long trip up to Spennymoor Town last weekend and coming home with a 2-1 triumph.

In terms of Bulls’ team news, Jacob Jagger Cane and Rowan Liburd have both returned from their loan spells at Weston super Mare and Dartford respectively, whilst Jack Bodenham has returned to Cardiff City and emerging goalkeeper, Will Henry, has gone back to Swindon Town following a couple of impressive showings as cover for Brandon Hall who was laid low with illness.

We will be looking to add to our three victories on the road so far this term from 13 outings, with our last taste of success coming at Leamington at the start of October.

Meanwhile The Poppies have four home victories to their name from 11 League games. Ben Pollock spoke well in the wake of our home draw with Bradford Park Avenue last weekend.

'It’s all about everyone working together and collectively doing our jobs,' he said. 'We’ve got to play with tempo and aggression and ensure that we are affective in and out of possession. We can totally understand the frustration of the supporters; we know that things aren’t going our way at the moment and we are working hard to be able to turn things around.

'It’s fine margins and we know that with the quality we have here, a positive result could kick-start us and get things moving in the right direction'".

At Spennymoor Town "After the disappointment of Tuesday’s postponement against Altrincham, Moors make the long trip to Kidderminster looking to improve their tally of away points in 2019/20.

Moors have won just two of their 13 games on the road in the National League North this season, with wins over Alfreton and Kettering being accompanied by six draws, a league high.

Our last victory away from home was on November 2nd courtesy of a Rob Ramshaw double at North Street, but two defeats and three draws since have played a part in Moors being pegged back by the chasing pack.

The trip to Aggborough on Saturday pits together two sides at the lower end of the form guide, with Harriers desperately searching for a win after defeats to Brackley Town, Hereford and Blyth Spartans. Moors lost out to Kettering at The Brewery Field before a late postponement against Altrincham on Tuesday...

Kidderminster manager Jimmy Shan has been active in the transfer window this week, bringing in striker Austin Samuels and midfielder Samir Nabi."


The National League "goalscoring great Danny Rowe has completed his transfer to the EFL. The predator scored 192 goals in 293 appearances for AFC Fylde and, after talks with the club, it was decided he could leave in January.

Oldham Athletic have won the race and he is expected to walk out as a League Two player on Saturday. The Golden Boot winner leaves with thanks from Fylde after serving the club for over six years."

17 January 2020


Altrincham FC "will be holding a Meet the Manager, Meet the Board session in the Community Sports Hall on Friday 24th January from 19.00-21.00.

We have a lot to tell you, but the main focus of the night will be a presentation on our plans over the next 10 years for redeveloping the ground. We have spent the last 10 weeks or so working with Manchester-based architects, to create a vision for Moss Lane and they have done a fantastic job in coming up with something special.

In addition, we will give a strategy update, a report on our investigation of full time football for the Robins, and an introduction to new director John Coyne who will outline our progress in the Commercial domain. We will also have the benefit of an “on the pitch” update from Phil Parkinson and there will be the usual opportunity to ask questions to the board and manager.

We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible!"

In the light of the above reference to stadium development, it may be interesting to remind ourselves of some of the changes that have occurred in the last 25 years at Moss Lane. The above image, based on one which appeared in the Altrincham FC Calendar for 2010, shows an aerial view of Moss Lane taken shortly before the erection of the Family Stand in 1996. It has been annotated to show changes that have taken place on the Moss Lane elevation of what is now the J. Davidson Stadium.


Altrincham travel to Gateshead on Saturday, hopeing to see a match after their wasted 286 mile return jaunt to Spennymoor on Tuesday. The forecast is good so hopefully there will be no repeat of the late postponement of the game at the Brewery Field.

Gateshead have a video interview with Heed striker Jordan Preston who is reportedly "looking for payback against Altrincham... The striker is keen to put right the wrongs of the Heed's last fixture with the Robins. [They lost 3-0 at Alty earlier this season].

Jordan Preston feels Gateshead owe Altrincham one on Saturday as his side return to action at the International Stadium. Due to the postponement of away fixtures at Gloucester City and Boston United, the Heed go into Saturday's game having not played for two weeks".


Press and media officer John Edwards writes in the Sale & Altrincham Messenger that "Red-faced Spennymoor Town bosses issued an apology after Altrincham's players, officials and supporters were subjected to a wasted five-hour, 270-mile round trip on Tuesday night.

Despite checking the Vanarama National League North fixture was still on before setting off, manager Phil Parkinson and his players arrived at The Brewery Field to find it was in serious doubt, following a pitch inspection by referee Adam Herczeg. By the time the supporters' coach made it to the ground soon after, the decision had been taken to call the game off, just over an hour before the 7.45pm kick-off.

After undertaking extensive drainage work last summer, Spennymoor were confident the pitch would withstand the downpour and claimed both teams felt it was playable, despite standing water along one touchline.

But, mindful of the inconvenience caused, they published an online apology, [allegedly] laid on free refreshments for the 18* travelling supporters and promised to finance transport for away fans when the game is rearranged".

* In addition to the 17 on the supporters' coach there were also other Altrincham fans who had made their own way to the ground by car or train.


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years remind us that the last time Alty played on Saturday's date, 18 January, was a 1-1 at Tamworth in 2011.


Stockport County FC ,"are pleased to confirm the sale of the Club to local businessman, Mark Stott.

Chairman Richard Park said 'It was important for us to find a new owner who had a passion and long-term vision for the club. Mark has shared a vision for Stockport County FC that preserves the values and identity of this community-based Club, while enabling long-term sustainability and success on and off the pitch'...

Born and raised in Stockport, Stott is the founder and CEO of Cheshire-based Vita Group. He is also a lifelong football supporter. Mark has indicated that his first priority as new owner will be to rigorously assess the Club’s needs and priorities, with an immediate focus on working with the management to identify improvements to football operations and match day fan experience.

Stott said 'I am excited by the opportunity that lies ahead to support Stockport County FC to fulfill its great potential both on and off the pitch, by creating a more sustainable model for the future of this historic football club that includes deepening its longstanding ties with the local community'...

Following the sale, Richard Park will become Non-Executive Chairman and Chris Brammall will join the Board as Non-Executive Director. Jim Gannon will remain as Manager with the full support of the new Board. The Club will continue to play at Edgeley Park as it has done since 1902. Stockport County FC can confirm that the transaction will leave the Club in a stable financial position and with zero debt.

Mark has passed all necessary FA approvals and we hope to have the National League approval imminently".


The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) midfielder Nicky Clee believes his side’s fate will be decided by their own actions for the remainder of the season.

Avenue stare down the barrel of relegation from the Vanarama National League North, sitting effectively 12 points away from 20th placed Curzon Ashton with a goal difference of -51.

However, Bradford halted their six-match losing run with a 1-1 draw at Hereford last time out in a game where they could have easily captured the victory if they hadn't spurned so many opportunities. Avenue could do with results elsewhere at the bottom going for them but Clee insists the prospect of a great escape remains in their own hands.

He said 'It is going to be hard because any team who are playing Bradford will think they are going to win and they are not going to feel sorry for us. We have given away silly goals so, as long as we stop doing that and put away our opportunities, we still have a good chance. It is up to us to take it one game at a time, we have got a tough couple of games coming up now.

'Brackley at home (on Saturday), who beat us 8-0 at their place earlier in the season, Altrincham away, who we have already beaten, but I don’t think they have lost at home this season [apart from the first game of the season] so we will try get the most we can out of each game. Hopefully we will be all right come the end of the season but it is in our hands, we have just got to start winning games.'

The 36-year-old became reunited with Mark Bower in December after leaving for Betvictor Northern Premier League side Ashton United in the summer. Previously Clee, who is now operating as a central midfield after playing left midfield and full back, had a successful two-year spell at Bradford, joining the club from Altrincham in 2017. The left-foot magician has always been a favourite among the Avenue faithful with his technical ability and leadership traits.

Bower handed the armband to his trusty number 11 when Keith Lowe departed the club for Kidderminster a fortnight ago and Clee has gone from strength to strength, bagging two goals in as many games since. However, the non-league veteran ... said 'It is the first two in two I have had in a very long while. I am the sort of player who likes to create things and make things happen for other people. I will always look for someone else to score rather than myself, but it is always nice to score goals...

'I like the people and the management here... It is nice to be asked to be captain and I will always try lead on the pitch whether I am captain or not. Hopefully they will look up to me, I have played a lot of games at this level and I know what it takes to win. I always take things on board, they all listen to me and know what I am about, hopefully they can take things on board from this old man'".

At Hereford FC "We can confirm that both Jacob Jagger Cane and Rowan Liburd have now returned to Edgar Street following the end of their loan spells with Weston Super Mare and Dartford respectively.

We can also confirm that loanee goalkeeper Will Henry has returned to his parent club, Swindon Town, following Brandon Hall's return to fitness and that Jack Bodenham has returned to Cardiff City...

Discussions regarding the possible extension of Peter Vincenti’s loan are still ongoing as are talks with Stephen Dawson about extending his stay at Edgar Street. Below is a reminder of the current/recent loans in and out.


  • Victor Sodeinde – loan extended until 4th Feb
  • Taylor Allen – Recalled by Forest Green Rovers
  • Warren Burwood – Loan expired, has returned to Cardiff
  • Jack Bodenham – Loan expired, has returned to Cardiff


  • Brad Ash – On loan at Weston Super Mare until 2nd Feb
  • Tom Owen-Evans – On loan at Chippenham until end of season
  • Jacob Jagger Cane – Loan expired, has returned to Edgar Street
  • Rowan Liburd – Loan expired, has returned to Edgar Street
  • Rhys Davies – Loan expired, has returned to Edgar Street
  • Kyle Finn – Loan expired, has returned to Edgar Street "

Alty meet Kettering Town twice in the next three weeks or so and, from there, the Northants Telegraph informs us that "Connor Kennedy will miss Kettering Town’s next two matches. The combative midfielder, who has impressed for the Poppies since joining them from Corby Town last summer, picked up his 10th yellow card of the season in last weekend’s dramatic 2-1 success at Spennymoor Town.

It means Kennedy will sit out this Saturday’s home clash with Hereford as well as the trip to York City on January 25. Michael Richens is also ruled out of the match with Hereford as he serves the second of a two-match ban. But it’s not all bad news for Kettering as boss Paul Cox confirmed Ben Milnes and Dan Nti should be available again for the weekend while Joe Skarz returned to the squad for the first time since a hernia operation last Saturday.

Lindon Meikle is also close to a return after a knee injury and, with young loanees Jay Williams and Jason Law, who grabbed the stoppage-time winner at Spennymoor, both impressing, Cox believes there is now plenty of competition for places...

'We are losing Connor for two games and Michael Richens has one more to go and we have to take it on the chin because both of them have done well for us, the Poppies boss said. 'Jay Williams did very well on Saturday at a tough place to go. That game did him the world of good because it got him up to speed with a different kind of tempo to Under-23s' football and probably to League Two football.

'Jason Law came on and scored a great goal, we have Ben Milnes and Dan Nti back and Aaron O’Connor got through 90 minutes last weekend so we are getting a few people back. It’s competition for places and that’s what I am looking for. We spoke all over the Christmas period about wanting to have the ability to make game-changing decisions and positive changes from the bench...

'Even Lindon could be in the frame for Saturday and that would be huge for us. He has been fabulous since I have been here, he gives us a lot of energy in the middle of the pitch'".

Cheshire Live reports that "Anthony Johnson says that Chester FC may dip into the transfer market to bolster their attacking options in the short term. The Blues lost the services of striker George Waring for at least the next eight weeks after he suffered a double fracture to his cheekbone in the 1-0 win at Guiseley on January 4 .

Leading scorer Akwasi Asante missed the miserable 3-0 FA Trophy loss at Royston Town on Saturday with a tight hamstring meaning that the striking options for joint-managers Johnson and Bernard Morley were limited to Anthony Dudley, Matty Hughes and Danny Elliott, while teenager Will Goodwin made his senior debut off the bench...

Dutchman Asante is expected to be fit for the trip to Leamington on Saturday (3pm) but with his injury record suggesting he will likely miss more games before the season is out the bosses are keen to make sure they don’t slip up and are on the lookout for some physicality in the final third or some creativity out wide that would enable Dudley to revert to a more central role if required.

'George is going to be out for a while which is a blow so we’d like to bring in another forward player if we can to take on some of the burden,' said Johnson. 'We’ve got a little bit of money to bring someone in short-term, but we’re not looking for a longer term solution...

'We’ve got a list of players who we are interested in and who we think could do a job... We think pretty much everyone has had a fair crack of the whip now,' he said. 'We made a bit of room in the budget by getting some lads out on loan so we’ve not got to get someone out first but, if we need to do get something done that we think will make a real difference to us then, we’ll look at it.”

George Glendon is expected to pen an extension to his deal that will take him up to the end of the season."

Also in Cheshire Live we read that "A trio of Chester FC players could return to action in time for this weekend's clash at Leamington...

They need a positive reaction following their bitterly disappointing 3-0 loss at Royston Town in the FA Trophy last weekend. And Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson's men could be handed a boost for the trip to Warwickshire with Akwasi Asante, Danny Livesey and Scott Burton all pushing for recalls... The Dutchman [Asante] has returned to full training and is pushing for a place in the squad...

Influential central defender Livesey suffered a muscle strain in the Boxing Day win at Southport and has missed the last four games with James Jones coming in to deputise for him. But Livesey, who was an unused substitute last weekend, is back training and could well link back up with central defensive partner Simon Grand for this weekend's clash.

And club skipper Burton, who returned to action in the Cheshire Senior Cup win over Stockport County last month following a rib injury that saw him play just once in November and December, is ready to return to action...

The Brakes, who last week signed former York City forward Kyle McFarlane, won't have the services of Josh March to call on after the striker's red-hot form earned him a move to... Forest Green Rovers".

The NL Paper confirms that "Former Torquay United player Neil Male has been unveiled as the new interim chief executive officer of Kidderminster Harriers.

Male was appointed by Richard Lane on Wednesday after working unofficially for the new Harriers' owner and his business consortium since the completion of their takeover in October. Male... is also CEO of one of the largest privately-owned security specialist companies in the West Midlands...

The 42-year-old said 'The role of chief executive at Kidderminster Harriers is an exciting opportunity, and I am looking forward to meeting the challenges ahead... Lane is the owner of leading technology firm EBC Group, specialists in office Cloud technology with multiple data centres across the UK. His consortium completed their takeover of Harriers in the middle of October when they brought to an end Colin Gordon’s four-year tenure as Kidderminster owner.

According to a club statement at the time, Lane and his backers are committed to keeping Harriers at Aggborough for the foreseeable future. Their plans include developing the club’s home in order to secure a self-sustainable future and long-term success, on and off the field".

On the field Kidderminster Harriers confirm that "Boss Jimmy Shan has added another player to his Harriers' ranks with the signing of midfielder Samir Nabi.

The 23-year-old is known to Shan from their time working together at West Bromwich Albion, where Nabi spent more than a decade rising through the junior and Academy ranks.

After leaving the Hawthorns in 2016, he spent time playing abroad, before coming back to England to feature for Carlisle, Torquay United and, last season, on loan for Halesowen Town.

Having spent time training with Harriers, Nabi has penned a contract until the end of the current season."

Yusifu Ceesay's loan from The Seasiders to Altrincham ended on 4 January but now Blackpool report on another loan arrangement as "Owen Watkinson has joined Curzon Ashton on a loan deal until the end of the season.

The 18-year-old forward enjoyed a loan spell at Northern Premier League side, Clitheroe FC in the first part of the season, where he scored four goals in 19 appearances."

Boston United report that their "fixture against Gateshead has been allocated its third new date of the season. Postponed on Saturday December 21 and Tuesday January 14 due to waterlogged pitches, the match will now take place at The Jakemans Stadium on Tuesday February 25".

[Boston now have] "seven home matches in their next 10 encounters".

Brackley Town advise that "Kevin Wilkin takes his side to Bradford (PA) on Saturday after another two-week lay-off, Tuesday evening’s game at Kettering Town falling foul of some stormy weather to be called off for a second time.

Bradford have struggled this season with just three wins to date. The last win over Altrincham came six games ago with five defeats and a draw since. Nevertheless, Saints’ record at The Horsfall Stadium has been less than impressive on recent visits, including an opening day defeat last season.

When the two sides met at St James Park in September, Saints hit eight without reply, four in each half, Lee Ndlovu with two as the goals were shared between six players and an own goal.

We travel to Boston for another re-arranged game next Tuesday before Guiseley are the visitors to SJP. The fixture at home against Southport has been re-arranged for Tuesday 18 February with a new date for the trip to Latimer Park to take on The Poppies yet to be agreed."

York City tell us that "As part of their Uncovering York’s Sporting Heritage project in conjunction with Explore York Libraries and Archives, and YCK Foundation, the York City FC Foundation have worked with a group of volunteers and fans to create a York City FC Archives Group that is coordinated by fans for fans.

The project has enabled the Foundation to place archives in their possession in the Archives at Explore Library York City Centre for the benefit of all fans now and in the future not only to ensure that they are stored in a way that will preserve them indefinitely, but also so that they are available to be accessed by anyone rather than being stored away or only on display in locations that are inaccessible to a wider public.

The Archives group have worked diligently to catalogue the numerous matchday programmes, fanzines and press cuttings that the Foundation have and these have now been transferred to Library Archives so we are now on the look out to find some of the missing gems to complete the sets for some seasons.

So this is an appeal to all fans, on behalf of the Archives group. In particular they are looking for any matchday programmes from 1922 to 1955, photos from matchdays or social events surrounding the club such as the former Xmas parties, and any memorabilia that may be connected with the club. Fans can contribute by way of donating items, and can be guaranteed of their safety and availability for years to come for all fans to enjoy, or you can agree to loan the group any item on a short term basis so that it can be digitised (ie photographed, captured on video etc)."

King's Lynn Town state that "It's the game that everyone has been waiting for at The Walks on Saturday as league leaders, King's Lynn Town host second placed York City in the Vanarama National League North. Nothing, of course, will be decided on Saturday... with The Linnets currently one point ahead of The Minstermen and having the advantage of two games in hand on their nearest rivals.

The teams have met already earlier in the season with York running out 3-0 winners on the day...

Lynn went out of the FA Trophy last weekend with Ian Culverhouse forced to shuffle his pack with injuries keeping the likes of Rory McAuley and Jordan Richards on the sidelines alongside long-term injury victims Michael Clunan and Ryan Fryatt. Chris Smith did return at the weekend after his lay off".

On Tuesday, Leamington progressed in a Buildbase FA Trophy 2nd Round Replay, as "Captain fantastic Jack Edwards bagged the only goal to send Leamington into the last sixteen as Paul Holleran’s side ensured that they would not be added to Kingstonian’s impressive list of cup scalps this season.

On a foul evening when torrential rain and stormy conditions throughout the day saw games up and down the country postponed, superb work by Idris Elms and his ground staff saw the Phillips 66 Community Stadium pitch pass an inspection mid-afternoon...

Coventry loanee David Bremang was heavily involved throughout on an impressive debut for Leamington... Fabio Saraiva, scorer of the own goal that had put Brakes ahead on Saturday, was playing in a far more advanced role this time...

Jack Edwards... scored what turned out to be the only goal of the evening... Bremang slipped him in with a neat pass on the left and Edwards drove into the box before slamming the ball low across Rob Tolfrey into the net...

Manager Paul Holleran said ‘When you look at all the games that have been called off in the Midlands this evening you have to give huge credit to our ground staff and everybody else that has been up here today. It’s not just a case of getting the pitch ready, it’s played well too, and even after the game it’s still not in bad nick...

‘This Kingstonian side, and I had a good look at them on Saturday and prior to tonight, they are such a good side. You’ve only got to look at their results in the cups this season. They got to the second round of the FA Cup, they’ve beaten Football League sides, National League sides, Step 2 sides. They play a good brand of football and it has been a really tricky tie for us...

I think over the two games we’ve been the better side, I don’t think anybody can deny that... We’ve had to make a lot of changes as well, which is not ideal. It’s great that George is back in Solihull’s first team, it’s great that Josh is playing full time football in League 2, but at this stage of the season when you’ve got to try and rebuild in attacking areas, it’s really difficult. You’ve seen tonight what David Bremang adds, he gives us something different and his link up play is brilliant. He’s had a good start.

‘I think to keep a clean sheet against a team like this is a massive compliment to the players. It’s the old guard isn’t it - Mace, Junior, Steph Morley, Joe Clarke, Jack in there, Gitto. They’re priceless really'".

16 January 2020


Altrincham travel to Gateshead on Saturday. Earlier this season, Altrincham won the reverse fixture 3-0 at the J. Davidson Stadium.

The late Mike Garnett's records reveal the history of games between the clubs:

  • Home: P25-W12-D5-L8-F44-A30
  • Away: P22-W9-D3-L10-F26-A30
  • All: P47-W21-D8-L18-F70-A60

With the suspended Max Harrop and injured Simon Richman ruled out for the Gateshead game, Jake Moult, Tom Hannigan and Sean Williams were all also doubts to varying degrees for Tuesday's aborted game at Spennymoor. Hopefully, some or all of that trio will be fit for the game on Saturday.


Altrincham pay their third trip of the season to York in March, having played two cup games already at Bootham Crescent during this campaign.

From there, York Press tells us that "test events that were planned to be held this week at York's new community stadium have now been axed, bosses have confirmed... York City commercial manager Chris Pegg said that a test event at the LNER Community Stadium had been cancelled.

He said 'The hospitality/meal test event... won't be going ahead as planned'.

A spokesperson for Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), which will run the stadium, has now confirmed that a second test has also been shelved.

He said 'GLL continue to work with our partners Buckingham to complete the York Stadium Leisure Complex and further significant progress has been made. When completed, the stadium will offer some of the best facilities in the city and, as such, we want to make sure all preparations are completed to the highest standard.

'Unfortunately, while the work is in its final stages we are not yet able to run the two test events that were planned at the stadium this week... GLL are working with our stadium partner (York Stadium Management Company) to source alternative test events and details of these will be published shortly.'

York City Knights [rugby club] revealed in a club statement last week that they will make a decision as to whether a first fixture will go ahead in the new stadium. The club are due to play their first fixture in the new stadium against Bradford Bulls on February 9. However a statement from the club revealed there could be doubts over this. It said... 'As a club, we feel fans and partners need clarity this close to a fixture and we need to begin the logistics of marketing, hospitality, travel, parking and much more'".

On the pitch, York Press adds that "Steve Watson reassured fans at the forum last week that budget has not been the issue in getting players in on loan.

The York City boss said discussions 'never got' to talk of the budget when he enquired about players; teams have simply been too reluctant to let players out over Christmas... The biggest challenge is finding under-23 players who are up to the physical challenge of National League North.

He said 'We have looked at all possibilities in a number of positions. At the moment, we have 20 fit first-team players so we're not going to bring in players for the sake of it. When you bring 23s players in, it is a bit of a gamble and the players we've looked at are players we have looked at a lot and know that they would be difference-makers in our team.

'Speaking from experience at Gateshead and at Macclesfield, players from the under-23s can get caught out a lot in this league in terms of physicality. We have enquired about three strikers but that's not happened. We're still looking at a couple. They have to be better than what we've got, somebody we can bring in and know they can come into the first team and make a difference... It's our jobs on the line to get the right players in.

'The budget was never mentioned. We never got that far,' he added and reflected light-heartedly, 'Two of the lads we looked at have gone on to score for the first team, both in the Championship, so in hindsight, we probably had no chance anyway.'"

Meanwhile, Cheshire Live says that "Chester FC are hopeful of securing midfielder George Glendon on a deal until the end of the season.

The 24-year-old signed for the Blues back in August on an initial short-term deal before a series of impressive performances saw him extend his stay at the 1885 Arena until January. That deal is now almost at an end and the former Manchester City, Fleetwood Town and Carlisle United man is currently in talks with the Blues over staying with Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s side until the end of this National League North season.

'George wants to stay and we want George to stay, said Chester joint-manager Johnson. 'His qualities are evident and he’s been great for us since he’s come in... It was a short-term thing for us when he signed but he has become an important player for us. While he might not have hit the heights he did in the past few games he has shown what he is about.

'We’re able to do it and and we want him to stick around with us and he wants that too, he’s enjoying his football. He’s had two offers from the league above and the chance to go in and train and earn a deal in League Two but what he wants is to stay here at Chester. He’s enjoying his football for the first time in a long time and he wants that to continue here'...

Glendon has made 23 appearances in all competitions for Chester since his arrival, his one and only goal coming in the 3-3 draw with Leamington back in September".

However, "George Waring could be out for 'potentially eight weeks' after the Chester FC striker's prognosis following the double fracture to his cheekbone was worse than first thought.

The 25-year-old suffered a blow to the face in the win at Guiseley on January 4 that saw him spend the evening at Bradford Hospital's A&E department where they confirmed the injury, suffered while defending some Lions pressure late on at Nethermoor. But any hopes of the tall striker being back in action in the near future have been dashed with Waring not likely to feature for up to eight weeks owing to the severity of the injury.

It is understood that Waring suffered some blurred vision in the days after the injury occurred and the double fracture around his eye socket means that every precaution must be taken to ensure that the injury is given ample time to heal".

In four consecutive matches over just twelve days, from 28 January to 8 February, Altrincham play both AFC Telford United and Kettering Town, home and away. News of both opponents follows...

Firstly, according to the Shropshire Star "Goalkeeper Andy Wycherley has left AFC Telford United to join National League side Solihull Moors on a permanent deal.

Wycherley, from The Rock, has been away from Gavin Cowan’s Bucks on loan at Hednesford Town. Wycherley, 21, joined Telford from Wales outfit The New Saints in the summer of 2018 and has made 25 appearances for the Bucks... Wycherley, who was under contract, has signed a permanent deal with the full-time club.

It is believed his move has played a part in Telford extending the loan signing of striker Matty Stenson from the Birmingham outfit, which is set to be confirmed soon".

And AFC Telford United "announce we have agreed a deal with Solihull Moors to extend Matt Stenson’s loan until the end of the season. The 25 year-old’s loan deal from the National League promotion candidates expired on Saturday and the Bucks have moved quickly to secure the front man until the end of the season.

The former Barwell and Leamington man has three goals in 12 appearances for the Bucks".

And AFC Telford United add that they "have agreed a deal with Solihull Moors for the permanent transfer of goalkeeper Andy Wycherley... Andy went onto play a pivotal role for the club in the National League North campaign and in particular the FA Trophy success last season... During the first half of the season Andy has spent time on loan at Barwell & Hednesford Town and will now join Solihull Moors for full time football".

News of Kettering Town comes from the Northants Telegraph which tells us that "A council’s land sale to provide a new home ground for Kettering Town Football Club will ultimately have to be decided by the Secretary of State.

Because French's Field off Scott Road was originally designated as allotment land in 1960, Kettering Council will need the say-so of the Secretary of State for Local Government to sell the land to the football club. The allotment covenant came to light in the conveyancing process and meant that agreement from the National Allotment Association and the Government is needed before the land changes hands.

Poppies chairman David Mahoney said the situation was a ‘curveball’ but that relations between the club, the council and the allotment association were ‘harmonious’.

He said 'It is just something that is a curveball that has added to the process rather than jeopardise it. I’m impatient, so I would have liked the sale to have gone through yesterday, but we are working together with the council and the allotment association. When we told fans about the plan we said it would take from four to six years to come to being and, so now a year on, we say between three and five years to have the club back in Kettering.'

Mr Mahoney said the club did not have a back-up plan if this land sale fell through but that he did not see that happening. When the sale goes through the club will then put together full-scale plans and consult with the nearby community. The football team has not played in its hometown since 2011 after it left its century-old Rockingham Road ground.

The National League North side now shares Burton Latimer’s Latimer Park with [Kettering] and fans are fundraising for a new stadium stand. So far £19,000 of the £25,000 total has been raised and if erected at Latimer Park it will then move to the new Kettering home ground when complete.

The news of the covenant has been made public after Cllr Michael Brown asked whether the Conservative-run authority was still committed to the sale of French's Field to the football club. The plans were first announced in September 2018 but little has been made public since.

A written response from the executive committee member Cllr Scott Edwards said 'Yes, the council is committed to the sale. The sale has been complicated by the discover[y] during the conveyancing process that the land has been designated as allotment land in 1960 and whilst never used as such, it nevertheless requires the agreement of the National Allotment Society who in turn rely on the advice of local societies as to the unmet demand for allotments. The matter of local demand has been resolved, but the local societies have also asked for guarantees that the intended buildings on the site will not overshadow the existing allotments next door and draft covenants have been the subject of discussion with the football club and their lawyers.'"

At Guiseley "The Lions are on the hunt for the first home win of 2020 on Saturday with Gloucester City the visitors to Nethermoor Park for a 3pm kick-off.

Buoyed by a solid point picked up on the road at Altrincham last time out Russ O’Neill and Marcus Bignot’s men are looking for three points to move up the table but face a visit from The Tigers... Kaine Felix struck on Saturday in Greater Manchester to earn his side a share of the spoils before Marcus Dewhurst’s penalty save late in the first half halted Altrincham’s winning run and continued our impressive record on the road. It was a sixth successive away game without defeat on Saturday with The Lions now looking to take that form into home fixtures...

Since City’s 3-1 win over us in September they have changed manager with James Rowe appointed on a full time basis, the former Aldershot Town Assistant Manager has secured four points in his first six league games in charge. The Tigers sit in 19th place in the table but with games in hand on many around them and expect to be back home after 13 years away next season...

Speaking after Saturday’s draw at Altrincham Joint Manager Marcus Bignot said 'We have said for a few weeks now about our away form and how impressive it is, to come to the in-form team and arguably the best footballing team in the league and get a point is one I am sure the supporters will have enjoyed. We are the draw specialists when playing each other.'

Marcus enthused about Felix’s finish and Dewhurst’s penalty stop 'Up and until the goal we were passengers and he has produced a moment of individual magic which has kicked us into gear, we came [into] it at half time after Marcus has pulled off an important penalty save to send us in level. We were really impressive in the second half taking the game to Altrincham in an end-to-end game, both teams would have been disappointed with a loss today in a game like that.'

The Joint Manager was asked about the signings of Prince Ekpolo and Harrison Sheppeard which arrived prior to the draw. 'We only had 16 players in the five games prior to this due to suspensions and injuries etc, we are coming into the business end of the season and we would like a settled competitive squad. We have a system now that the boys enjoy and look good in, bringing in those two acquisitions will only help us and boost competition.'

Aram Soleman was withdrawn early through injury but Bignot was hopeful the midfielder will be ok and praised him for his performance. 'He will be alright, he’s from Birmingham isn’t he, we’re tough!'...

Looking ahead the former defender hopes the home form can be transformed... 'That’s the plan, we have back to back home games now where we aim to get two wins which will be hard and difficult to do but it will put us in a really good position. We want an exciting end to the season by getting into the play offs and make it exciting for the most important people, the supporters.'"


Our neighbours, Trafford FC, announce that "Over the next few months this website is being converted into a Trafford FC History site.

All match reports, team sheets, club news etc with be on the new website at

On Tuesday night, Trafford reports that "Trafford beat Ramsbottom United 5-2. "Holders Trafford kept a firm grip on the Integro League Cup Trophy with a thrilling Second Round victory over Ramsbottom United on Tuesday night.

Manager [ex-Alty reserve] Tom Baker started the game with a much more attack minded line-up... Full-back Jake Kenny fired them ahead in the 10th minute... Darius Palma was then tripped inside the Rammy penalty area following a brilliant run from the half way line and he picked himself up to coolly place the resultant spot kick past Bradley Wade...

The Baker Boys had to wait until the 39th minute for their third goal when... Sam Egerton drove into the bottom corner from 10 yards. Darius Palma was displaying some breath-taking skills on the left flank... and in the 63rd minute Palma made it four when he outpaced the visiting defence and drilled the ball past Wade... Two minutes later Sam Egerton glanced a header past his own goalkeeper Matty Cooper to make it 4-1 and within minutes Egerton tripped Iyrwah Gooden allowing Nic Evangelinos to clip the penalty past Cooper...

In the 80th minute the visitors were denied a third goal when Mason Fawns struck a great 25 yard drive that cannoned back into play off the crossbar but Trafford finished the stronger and after Lewis Salmon and Darius Palma were denied by fine saves by Bradley Wade, Sam Baird completed the scoring with a glorious header into the top corner.

Following their recent poor league form, this was a much needed victory for Trafford".


So far this season Altrincham have used 23 players in their league games. Spare a thought, then, for supporters of Romford, who are bottom of the BetVictor Isthmian North Division who must have severe player-identification problems as the Isthmian League reported on Tuesday that "Romford manager Glenn Tamplin has announced the signing of former Arsenal defender Cedric Evina. Cedric started his career at the Gunners, before heading to Oldham Athletic on loan. He later became a permanent Latic, winning their Young Player of the Year award in 2010-11.

He left Oldham to join Charlton Athletic, expressing a wish to be nearer home, and remained with the the Addicks for three seasons. He then spent three seasons with Doncaster Rovers, a season on loan with Crawley Town, and last year was part of the Notts County squad that suffered relegation from League Two.

If he makes his Romford debut against Tilbury [on Tuesday] he will become the eightieth player to play for the club this season". The match was postponed so just 79 players have played for the club which has played just 16 league matches so far this season.

15 January 2020


Following the very late postponement of Tuesday's match between Spennymoor Town and Altrincham, both clubs have issued statements.

Altrincham FC said, "Following tonight’s disappointing late postponement of our Vanarama National League North fixture at Spennymoor Town, we are happy to announce that Spennymoor Town Chief Executive Brad Groves has offered free coach travel for Alty fans to the rearranged fixture. We thank Mr Groves for his generosity. We would also like to thank our brilliant supporters for making the long trip in vain."

Referee Adam Herczeg pictured at the start of the FC United of Manchester v Altrincham match in February 2019. He also reffed Altrincham's away win at Bradford (Park Avenue) in September 2018.

Meanwhile Spennymoor Town stated "Spennymoor Town FC would like to release further information on this evening’s postponement of the home Vanarama National League North fixture vs Altrincham.

Firstly, the club would like to apologise for the inconvenience this has caused both sets of supporters, particularly those who have travelled from Altrincham.

There was no planned pitch inspection at The Brewery Field at any point during the day, despite the inclement weather, which the pitch has dealt with several times this season.

Referee, Mr Herczeg, called a pitch inspection upon arrival at The Brewery Field at 17:30. After deliberation, he decided to postpone the game at 18:30 due to a small section of the surface being deemed unplayable.

Both sets of club officials and players were keen to still play the fixture, but we respect Mr Herczeg’s decision to postpone the game.

Altrincham supporters who travelled to Spennymoor were offered complimentary refreshments and beverages whilst they prepared to make the return journey.

Chief Executive Brad Groves has instructed club officials to work with Altrincham FC on his behalf. As a gesture of goodwill, Mr Groves has personally agreed to pay for the Altrincham supporters’ coach for the rearranged fixture.

Spennymoor Town hopes to see plenty of Altrincham supporters return to The Brewery Field when the rearranged date is confirmed to enjoy the match".


On Tuesday night, as the Altrincham supporters' coach arrived at the ground almost four hours after setting off, news came that the match between Spennymoor Town and Altrincham had just been postponed by the referee.

It seems the referee's opinion was not shared by all at Spennymoor nor amongst the visitors, whose team had arrived a little earlier. The referee deemed the pitch to be waterlogged in some areas.

After the match the Spennymoor Town FC chairman volunteered to meet the cost of the supporters' travel which was a generous gesture.

In four days' time (on Saturday) Alty travel much the same route on their way to another away game, this time at Gateshead.

Pictured, right, is the ground on Tuesday night.


Vanarama National League North, Tuesday 14 January 2020
  • Boston United P-P Gateshead
  • Kettering Town P-P Brackley Town
  • Spennymoor Town P-P Altrincham


Tuesday, 14 January
  • Stockport County 0-4 Dorking Wanderers
  • Leamington 1-0 Kingstonian
  • Bath City P-P Concord Rangers
  • Barnet P-P Farsley Celtic


The Lancashire Evening Post reports that "Preston North End have recalled Ethan Walker from his loan with Altrincham.

Walker, 17, joined the National League North side in December on a season-long youth loan. But North End have chosen to end his stay with the Robins after a month, Walker having had limited game time there.

The winger made three starts and one substitute appearance in his time at Moss Lane.

Local boy Walker has come through PNE's academy and made his first-team debut as a 16-year-old against Aston Villa at Deepdale in December 2018. When he came on as a substitute against Villa, he became the youngest player to appear for North End in a league game. This season, Walker was a second-half substitute in the 4-0 win over Bradford City in the Carabao Cup.

He signed a professional contract with PNE in October while still a second-year scholar".

Walker made two starts for Alty in the FA Trophy ties against Farsley Celtic. In the away game he was subbed after 59 minutes and in the home game after 72 minutes. In the league he made one start, at home to Kidderminster, being subbed after 73 minutes, and he came off the bench in the 75th minute against Blyth Spartans. Otherwise, he was an unused substitute in five other league fixtures.

14 January 2020


Altrincham travel to Spennymoor today (Tuesday) on the back of a seven-match unbeaten sequence in the league (five wins and two draws). But they will have a weakened squad. In addition to Max Harrop's suspension, of which this will be the second game, Simon Richman will be out injured, (hamstring), whilst Tom Hannigan, who like Richman failed to complete the first half-hour against Guiseley last Saturday, is also a doubt.

Fortunately, Sean Williams had recovered from injury to play most of Saturday's game as Richman's replacement, a role he is likely to reprise at Spennymoor. Likewise, James Jones, who came on for the injured Hannigan (back spasm) on Saturday, would be the obvious cover for the experienced central defender should he not be fit for Tuesday's game.

Spennymoor Town preview the game saying "Altrincham endured a sloppy start to the season but have been in red hot form of late under Phil Parkinson.

The 1-2 defeat to Kettering on Saturday courtesy of a last minute winner from Josh Law means we are almost entering must-win territory here. There is still plenty of time to go and lots of points will be won and lost from now until April, but this has a big game feel about it. Moors have also played two more games than tomorrow’s visitors and Boston, the two sides directly above them. Three points would [move us] up to 5th. A defeat would invite the sides below them into the holy grail of the top seven. It’s all to play for!

Spennymoor had an active week in the transfer market, brin[g]ing in full backs Tyler Forbes and Lewis Butroid from AFC Fylde and Scunthorpe United respectively. Forbes joined on a permanent deal while Butroid is at The Brewery Field on a short term loan. Both made their debuts in a new look back four on Saturday, and, despite the sickening late defeat, both impressed fans and manager Jason Ainsley. The pair possess attacking qualities which are sure to get fans excited from now until the end of the season, with Butroid especially showcasing a turn of pace and skill in advanced areas.

After the Kettering game, Ainsley was full of praise for the pair 'I thought they did really well. They were tenacious and comfortable on the ball. Lewis did really well on a couple of occasion[s] when he got right into the box and delivered some dangerous crosses'...

It’s not often you finish a game and you are simply speechless as to what you have just witnessed. That was the case when Moors hosted Altrincham way back in August 2018, the last time these two sides faced off at The Brewery Field. Eight goals were shared as an end to end contest finally ended 4-4. Moors led just once in a crazy game, but a late Taylor goal earned a point in the end".


Travel coordinator, Mark Eckersall, writes that "TASC will be running coaches to the next two away games at Spennymoor Town on Tuesday (14th) and Gateshead next Saturday (18th). We hope you can join for these two important trips up to the North East and seats can be booked by calling the club after 10am".

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

Spennymoor Town have advised that for Tuesday's match at The Brewery Field, "We have a new club house which is available for all fans inside the ground... Visiting fans are more than welcome to attend the Moors Tavern Public House in advance of the game. The Moors Tavern opens from midday with a live sport offering and a range of beverages on offer. This is Spennymoor Town's FC own local pub [at the] junction of Durham Road and King Street a few minutes from the ground...

We have no parking facilities at the Ground for visiting supporters and supporters' coaches. However, we have arranged for the use of parking (for a token contribution) at an area off Durham Road, Old Durham Road very close to the ground. This will be manned by Spennymoor academy players and staff. This a grass area and subject to use, weather permitting".


Altrincham go into tonight's match at Spennymoor looking for their first league win, this season, against a top-seven club.

So far this season, in six matches against the current top seven clubs, Alty have lost away to Brackley Town and Boston United, and at home to York City. They have also drawn away at King's Lynn Town and Chester FC.

After the match at Spennymoor, Alty will, therefore, have played all of the top seven away from home, except for York City, but will have home advantage in five outstanding away fixtures, against King's Lynn Town, Chester FC, Brackley Town, Boston United and Spennymoor Town.


Alty TV has highlights from the Alty v Guiseley match last Saturday.


Altrincham FC's Noel Shield has kindly forwarded the adjacent photo of Luke Corbet (in white top) and his colleague who recently completed a circuit of the pitch at the J. Davidson Stadium as part of a fundraising campaign which has Luke doing a lap of numerous football pitches at clubs around the country.

Luke explains, "I was born with Kidney Renal Failure so I am raising as much money as possible for Kidney Care UK as, without their support, I may not be alive today.

Monies raised will help donors and people who have had transplants live a better life. Transplant patients participate in the British Transplant games, a mini Olympics and monies will also go towards helping the funding of the games themselves.

I was on a dialysis machine for nine years before my successful operation in 1997. I am also partially sighted so this event and the marathon will be extra challenging".

You can help Luke's fundraising by visiting his donors' page where Luke adds, "I had an unsuccessful transplant when I was three before dialysis for years before my successful transplant in 1997.

I have raised monies for Acorns Children's Hospice, Birmingham Children's Hospice so thought was time to help Kidney Care as it is another charity so close to me. I have been running for 2 years now but this will be the biggest challenge yet! I have a football pitch tour in January 2020 and clubs have sent me signed merchandise and tickets to raffle off".


The draw for the Buildbase FA Trophy Third Round was made on Monday. Ties will be played on February 9 and there will be no replays from this round onwards.

The winning clubs receive £6,000, with the loses picking up £2,000.

Should they win their replay at Barnet, Alty's conquereors, Farsley Celtic, will face the highest ranked club, Barrow in Round Three. Leamington are the only other National League North club in the draw.

  • Ebbsfleet United v Royston Town
  • Bath City/Concord Rangers v Leamington
  • Harrogate Town v Eastleigh
  • FC Halifax Town v Maidenhead/Halesowen T
  • Barnet/Farsley Celtic v Barrow
  • Dorking v AFC Fylde
  • Aveley v Chelmsford City
  • Yeovil Town v Notts County


According to Cheshire Live an "'Embarrassed' Anthony Johnson apologises to Chester FC fans after [a] miserable FA Trophy exit to Royston Town. The Blues were destroyed in Hertfordshire by a team from a step below them in the pyramid.

Anthony Johnson took to social media on Sunday evening to apologise to Chester FC fans... Chester put in an utterly wretched second half display void of desire, commitment and application as Royston Town of the BetVictor Southern Central Division put three without reply past the hapless Blues on a gloomy Hertfordshire afternoon.

The Blues and their supporters headed into the contest with a spring in their step after 4-0 and 1-0 wins in the National League North against Southport and Guiseley respectively gave them a positive start to 2020. But in 90 miserable minutes at Royston on Saturday the Blues were brought back down to Earth with a display then left joint-manager Johnson embarrassed..

He wrote... 'Massive apologies to the travelling supporters yesterday, you deserve better than that. Our performances were the worst since we took the job'...

A second half brace from Matt Bateman and a Josh Castiglione header ended Chester's FA Trophy dreams and deservedly booked the Crows a place in the last 16...

Joint-boss Bernard Morley said 'I've got no excuses, we've been in the changing room for 20 minutes'".

Chester's opponents, Royston report on "another shock win to reach the last-16, beating National League North side Chester City 3-0... Having already knocked out National League South promotion-chasers Wealdstone and National League side Boreham Wood, the Crows were looking to produce another upset.

After a positive first half, they took the lead through Matt Bateman as he turned the ball home on 51 minutes, and their advantage was doubled just four minutes later when Josh Castiglione's diving header found the net. Bateman then secured the win with 84 minutes on the clock as he headed home Luke Warner-Eley's cross...

Royston boss Steve Castle was delighted with the victory, saying 'I always knew we had it in us but to beat Chester... It's great creating history by getting as far in the FA Trophy as we have but we all want success... We are now in with the big boys [in the Trophy]. The league is massive and although we dropped to 5th yesterday, generally the results went alright for us, so that's definitely one to go for'".

NL Daily reports that "Blyth Spartans manager Lee Clark has thanked fans for their continued support following the win over Curzon Ashton on Saturday.

While the 47-year-old admitted to real tough times for those on the terraces this season, Blyth fans have stuck by their team with an average of 884 attending Croft Park so far. An excellent 721 braved the blustery conditions to cheer on their side from the first whistle to last during the massive 2-1 victory over The Nash.

Clark told 'The supporters play a huge part in the results. The support they have given the team this season through some real tough times is outstanding. They have always stayed behind us, backing me, the staff and the players.

'There are not enough things we can say to praise them other than to thank them and remind them that we appreciate it massively. They will keep continuing to play a huge part.'”

The Northampton Chronicle tells us that "Cobblers [Northampton Town] defender Jay Williams was handed his first start by Kettering Town since extending his loan spell with the club last week.

The 19-year-old has experienced a frustratingly stop-start season, both at his parent club and during his various loan stints, but he was back in the Poppies' team at the weekend.

Kettering were on the road to promotion-chasing Spennymoor in the National League North and they returned home with a dramatic victory thanks to Jason Law's stoppage-time winner.

Williams is into his second loan spell at the Poppies, although Northampton do have a recall option".

This is Anfield confirms that "Liverpool have agreed to extend academy defender Rhys Williams’s loan spell with Kidderminster Harriers until the end of the season, after a strong start.

Williams signed his first professional contract with the Reds last February, amid an excellent campaign that saw him emerge as a leader for Barry Lewtas’s under-18s. The 18 year-old also made six appearances for Liverpool’s under-23s, and joining Kidderminster for the first half of 2019/20 has provided a major test of his potential.

Having slotted in immediately as a key player at Aggborough–scoring a goal in only his third outing and playing 23 times so far, Williams is a firm favourite with the Harriers. Such was the progress he made in the opening five months of the season, Liverpool have allowed the teenager to spend the remainder of the campaign with Mark Yates’ side...

'It’s a massive step from under-23s, that’s why I’ve come,' Williams said. 'I trust the gaffer to help me develop, and I trust Liverpool because they’ve told me to come here. I’m picking up all the the trades of the game, and it’s helping me become a better player.'"

13 January 2020


The late Mike Garnett's records tell us the historical record of Altrincham against both Spennymoor Town and their forerunners, Spennymoor United.

Spennymoor Town

  • Home: P1-W0-D0-L1-F0-A2
  • Away: P1-W0-D1-L0-F4-A4
  • All: P2-W0-D1-L1-F4-A6

Spennymoor United

  • Home: P5-W4-D1-L0-F15-A4
  • Away: P4-2W-D0-L2-F8-A4
  • All: P9-W6-D1-L2-F23-A8

Results on Saturday mean that Alty travel to the Brewery Field one place above the Moors in the table on goal difference but having played two games fewer than the hosts. Alty have Max Harrop suspended for the second of his three-match ban, whilst the Moors' Stephen Brogan is also suspended after a red card received on 4 January.

The Moors have had a disappointing spell since Christmas which has seen them lose three of their last four league fixtures. There were two home losses, 1-3 to Gateshead and 1-2 to Kettering Town. Between those two reverses, the Moors beat Darlington at the Brewery Field 3-1 on New Year's Day but lost 0-3 at King's Lynn Town.


Several Alty players have reached or approached landmarks in the last few games but what should have been a happy day has not always ended in the happiest of circumstances:
  • Max Harrop was sent off during his 100th appearance on New Year's Day against Curzon Ashton.
  • Simon Richman limped off early in his 350th game for Alty, on Saturday against Guiseley.
  • James Jones, an ever present for the first 19 league games of the season, was set to make his 100th start on New Year's Day before falling ill and he has since only played (twice) as a used substitute.


Altrincham's leading goalscorers this season are:
  • 14: Jordan Hulme (9 in league + 5 in cups) in 30(+2) appearances
  • 10: Josh Hancock (8 + 2) in 25(+1) appearances
  • 8: Tom Peers (4 + 4) in 13(+15) appearances
  • 5: Jake Moult (4 + 1) in 24(+1) appearances


Goals from Theodore Donachie, Robert Hughes, Raheem Mercurius, Matthew Sumner (2), Sonny Dean and Sam Moser earned Alty Youth a 7-2 home win on Sunday over Ashton Athletic. Although Alty lie second, they trail leaders Curzon Ashton by eleven points with just one game in hand.

This follows another nine-goal match on 5 January when the Alty Youth team lost 4-5 at home to Chorley. Alty's goals were scored by James Matthews, Raheem Mercurius (2) and Sam Moser.


On Sunday, Altrincham FC Ladies' cup match at home to Accrington Sports & Football Club was postponed.

Last Sunday (5 January), the Ladies won 2-0 away at Didsbury FC Ladies in a league match.


Having played Spennymoor United on nine occasions, Altrincham's first game against the reformed Spennymoor Town came only last season, in just the third match of the 2018-19 season. And it turned out to be a bizarre game which ended 4-4.

The Alty starting eleven that day (see below) included seven players who faced Guiseley last Saturday. For Moors, six of those who started against Alty in August 2018, also started last Saturday against Kettering Town.

In a hugely entertaining 2018 match Altrincham three times let a lead slip.

Above: Altrincham celebrate their second goal at Spennymoor on 11 August, 2018.

The Moors started the better side and deservedly took an 11th minute lead through Anderson. But Alty settled and equalised ten minutes later when White fired home from the edge of the box from Hulme's lay-back from near the byline, right of goal. Next, a foul on Johnson gave Alty a freekick, which the victim of the foul took himself from the right. Jones rose to head the freekick impressively home to make it 2-1 to the visitors (33 mins).

Alty were playing some excellent passing football but they allowed the Moors to score an equalizer against the run of play before the interval. Ramshaw advanced on the right. He fed Boyes, to his left and he cleverly lobbed the exposed Thompson (41 mins).

Alty scored again early in the second half. A low cross from the right was converted by the incoming Hancock to make it 3-2 to Alty (48 mins). After the hour mark the Moors got back into the game when Alty defended a freekick poorly, allowing substitute Henry to level for a second time for the hosts (68 mins).

The excitement continued as Alty scored a fourth in the 77th minute when Johnston found Hulme, whose shot was blocked but fell for Hancock to record his second goal of the match. Three Alty substitutions followed before Alty failed to defend a set-piece and the Moors' freekick was headed back from beyond the back post for Turner to net another equalizer Altrincham made two changes from Tuesday's win at Southport. Simon Richman and Josh Hancock started with Max Harrop and Brendon Daniels moving to the bench.

SPENNYMOOR TOWN: 1. Matthew GOULD, 2. Callum WILLIAMS, 3. Stephen BROGAN, 4. Jamie CHANDLER, 5. Kris THACKRAY, 6. James CURTIS (c), 7. Adam BOYES, 8. Robert RAMSHAW, 9. Glen TAYLOR, 10. Mark ANDERSON, 11. Andrew JOHNSON. Subs: 12. Shane HENRY, 13. Chris ELLIOTT, 14. David FOLEY, 15. Jacob HIBBS, 16. Kevin HAYES.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. James JONES, 5. Liam GOULDING, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Sean WILLIAMS, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12.Max HARROP, 14. Brendon DANIELS, 15. Tom PEERS, 16. Ben HARRISON, 20. Elliot WYNNE.


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years remind us that on Tuesday's date, when Alty visit Spennymoor, it will be three years to the day since the last Alty fixture on that date. Back in 2017 Alty hosted Gainsborough Trinity, losing 2-3.


The Northern Premier League confirms that "The NPL's run in the FA Trophy is over for another season. The two remaining BetVictor Northern Premier clubs both lost in their second round games on Saturday.

FC United were thumped 7-0 by National League leaders Barrow, who had seen off NPL side Atherton Collieries in their first round replay on Tuesday night. There was no shame in defeat for the Reds, as Barrow also plundered seven in their last league game.

Matlock Town put up more of a fight, as they were beaten 2-1 at National League side Eastleigh. Two lapses of concentration a minute either side of half-time proved their undoing, despite Marcus Marshall’s second half goal threatening to earn them a replay. Cav Miley struck the Spitfires’ opening goal with virtually the last kick of the first half, and within a minute of the restart, Lewis Beale made it 2-0.

Marshall gave the Gladiators 21 minutes to find an equaliser, but it wasn’t to be, even though Jon Stewart saved a 74th minute penalty to keep the tie alive. Matlock were backed by more than a hundred travelling supporters in a crowd of 718."


The Northern Echo reports that "Darlington manager Alun Armstrong admitted that defeat by Harrogate Town was a game too much as Quakers were knocked out of the FA Trophy. They won a replay against Solihull Moors just three days before, whereas full-time Harrogate had a free midweek.

Quakers didn’t have the same intensity as their previous home game, partly because they looked a little heavy-legged after their heroics against Solihull, and also because Harrogate were a more polished side. They were much more inventive than Solihull, especially with Lloyd Kerry, Jack Diamond and Mark Beck in their team.

It was also a day when Darlington striker Stephen Thompson met his match in Harrogate keeper Joe Cracknell, who denied him on several occasions, while Chris Elliott at the other end had a much busier game. Nonetheless, the run netted Quakers £10,000 in prize money, the 2-0 defeat being only their third loss in their last nine matches.

'We never played anywhere near what we normally do,' said Armstrong. 'We looked jaded and tired, but maybe that was expected after what we did on Wednesday against Solihull... The disappointing thing was that the goals came from two mistakes... We weren’t really at the level that we’re normally at, and the lads know that. Harrogate pressed us really high and had loads of energy...

'If we’d had a free week beforehand, I think we would have seen a different game, but playing Solihull and Harrogate in the space of three days was always going to be a big ask.'

Armstrong gave new loan striker Gary Martin a debut up front in a 4-4-2 formation, and he said 'I had a look at a new formation, because the game was a free hit. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, there’s still some work to be done on that. We missed a sitting midfielder massively, because Will and Omar love going forward and we miss Joe Wheatley or David Atkinson in there. We could see what Gaz is about; he was physical, held the ball up, liked to mix it. Once he gets his match sharpness, he’ll be a great addition for us.

'We want everyone fighting for their place now for the rest of the season... We’ve come a long way since the start of the season. We’ve won 16 games so far in league and cup competitions, and there were only 12 wins last season. This season isn’t over, we’ve got a lot of games to play, and something to play for'...

Now Armstrong has set his sights on a push for the play offs, beginning this Saturday with a home game against Alfreton".

Bradford (Park Avenue) "returned from Edgar Street with a single bitter-sweet point yesterday following a superb performance that was only thwarted by some superb goal keeping.

The game didn’t start out as well as it was set to go on however, as Pope’s deflected shot from outside the box trickled in beyond the reach of a stranded Joe Green, Hereford taking the lead inside of 5 minutes... Hereford’s early lead was quickly put to an end on 19 minutes. It was Avenue captain Nicky Clee who stepped up and scored his second goal in as many games, reading a loose ball in the box to smash in a half volley.

Having gotten [sic] a taste for goal, Clee received the ball inside his own half and, spotting the Hereford stopper off his line, took a shot from 50 yards that only missed by a fine margin. Having dominated possession and play in the first half, Avenue came out to find Hereford’s resolve had strengthened. Assisted by a strong wind the Bulls would have the better of chances in the early part of the second half."

The Telegraph & Argus adds that "If Avenue are to avoid relegation from the Vanarama National League North, they needed to stop their six-match losing streak and that happened on a windy afternoon, witnessed by 1586, in Hereford.

Although, Mark Bower’s men will carry mix emotions on the three-hour journey back from Edgar Street after they had opportunities to both win and lose the match. The Avenue boss would have been disappointed to not have former Bradford City loanee Reece Staunton to call upon with his stay being cut short by the Bantams earlier this week. In stepped Mitch Lund at left back who was busy at both ends of the pitch, Oli Johnson coming in for Tom Clare was the only other change for the visitors.

Poor starts are worryingly beginning to become a theme for Bradford, after conceding within 45 seconds against Boston last week, it was the third minute that their opposition struck this time out... The away side did not drop their heads though... The visitors did level... later when Nicky Clee netted his second goal in as many games, mopping up at the back stick with a smashed half-volley.

Hereford had only won one league match in 12 and it showed as they relentlessly punted it forward hoping pacey striker Victor Sodiende could latch onto it. You have seen David Beckham and Wayne Rooney score from the half way line, well Clee almost joined those star studied names with an audacious lob from over 50 yards out which just flew wide.

The home faithful continued to grow frustrated with another long punt ... It seemed like Russell Slade had a few stern words to say at the break as his team came out on the front foot...

The Bulls were awarded a penalty when Lund mistakenly shot his clearance up in the air leading to Sodiende running at Priestley again. The forward, on loan from Nottingham Forest, was too quick for the experienced defender who brought him down and would have been given his marching orders if the double jeopardy rule had not been in placed.

Up stepped the man involved in winning the penalty, blasting his strike onto the post, a stroke of much-needed luck for Bradford. The game changed with the introduction of the returning Lewis Knight, the pacey forward reinvigorated his side when he came on in the 70th minute...

The home side were booed off at the final whistle by their demanding supporters while there were certainly positives to take away from the trip down to the Midlands for Bradford as they reduced the gap between them and Curzon Ashton to 11 points. However, today’s wasted chances may come back to haunt them as it was the perfect opportunity to gain their fourth victory of the campaign against a fellow relegation struggler."

In the Hereford Times we read that "Hereford manager Russell Slade has urged disgruntled fans to ‘stay with’ his side after they dropped further towards the relegation zone.

The Bulls have won once in 14 league matches and sit six points above the relegation zone following a 1-1 draw with basement side Bradford (Park Avenue) on Saturday, with a crucial trip to Kettering next weekend. Boos were heard around Edgar Street at half-time and at the final whistle following the draw, while other sides below them won.

Slade said, 'Of course there were (boos) because we’re playing the bottom of the league and we’re not winning the game and missed opportunities to get in front. Every game is important and we’ve not gone into today’s game not looking to get three points, we’ve gone in to win the football match and we’ll do exactly the same next week. We’re going to have to up our performances that’s for sure going forward. Just try and stay with it while we go through this period of injuries and this period of transition.

'We will come out of that and things can change on one game... When York City came here everybody expected us to lose the game, we didn’t and we very nearly won it. That’s football and that can happen on any given day. We’ve had to make a lot of changes today to be as competitive as we possibly can, we’ve not put in a great performance and I get that but there’s a lot of changes and we just have to move on.

'We’ve got players to come back and we shouldn’t forget that. If we sign the likes of (Stephen) Dawson back into the group and the likes of (Kieran) Thomas and (Jordan) Nicholson back, we’re much stronger.';" Kettering Town inform us that "A 90th minute wonder strike from on-loan Jason Law, making his Poppies debut, won this gripping game at Brewery Field in very windy conditions.

0-0 at half-time the Poppies were a goal down from a Glenn Taylor defected free-kick off the bar, before a combination of Marcus Kelly, a Spennymoor defender and Matt Taylor inched the ball past goalkeeper Matt Gould into the net. The dubious goals committee still have to sort this one out, but it leads towards Taylor getting the final touch."

12 January, 2020


Speaking to the NL Paper after the draw with Guiseley, Altrincham's Assistant Manager Neil Sorvel said of the draw and his players, "They're not robots, these things happen. You don't always get the luck but we believe in this group of players.

"To do it [win] for five games was great and to go from 18th to the play-offs in two and a half weeks is fantastic. I'm really pleased we have managed to turn the season around.

"We have a lot of games at the minute and our squad has been disrupted through injuries but we're very pleased with where we are".

Guiseley boss Marcus Bignot added, "Felix has produced a moment of individual magic [for the goal]. Our form is impressive away from home and I'm sure our fans would have enjoyed it... In the second half we really took the game to Altrincham but I feel that both sides would've been diappointed with a loss".


Altrincham's run of successive victories ended at the sixth hurdle when a well-organised Guiseley held them to a draw. Alty's early flow was disrupted as they lost two players to injury inside the first twenty-five minutes, neither of them seeming to be contact injuries. Having already attention to his back, Tom Hannigan was replaced by James Jones (25 mins). Earlier Simon Richman had been replaced by Sean Williams for an apparent hamstring injury (14 mins).

However, just after Richman's substitution, Altrinbcham took the lead. A clever turn by Hancock led to a blocked cross from the number ten before his second attempt, from the right, found Tom Peers, who fired a low shot into the net (15 mins).

Above: Alty players line up to congratulate Tom Peers on his goal.

Altrincham looked fairly comfortable with their lead until Felix fired home a fine equalizer from the edge of the box as Williams was unable to close him down (33 mins). Five minutes before the interval Williams was felled on the byline, right of goal, but Hancock hit the resulting penalty too centrally and Dewhurst's trailing foot kept the spot-kick out.

Alty had several chances in the second half to convert their possession into the winner but Johnston could not turn in a low cross from his position at the back post, virtually under the cross bar, and another Alty effort was cleared off the line. Then, with the final act of the game, Moult headed a Johnston freekick straight at Dewhurst.

The Lions had their moments too with ex-Alty loanee Chris Sang striking the crossbar in the second half and Alty having to clear an effort off the line in the first period.

The point lifted Altrincham into the play-offs, in sixth position.

Match report here.


Altrincham travel up to Spennymoor on Tuesday night.

On Saturday, Spennymoor Town reported that "Jason Law scored in the final minute of injury time as Spennymoor suffered a fourth defeat in five games against Kettering Town...

Glen Taylor had put Moors ahead twelve minutes after the break, only for Marcus Kelly to head in unmarked five minutes later.

Jason Ainsley gave debuts to his two new additions to the squad this week, with full backs Tyler Forbes and Lewis Butroid both being thrust straight into the action. Mark Anderson replaced the injured Shane Henry on a day which saw strong winds create difficult conditions at The Brewery Field...

The Poppies looked a constant threat from long throw-ins... But, Moors always looked likely on the break and the on loan left back Butroid showcased his attacking quality... As the half progressed the scrappy nature of the game intensified, Kettering began to create more chances...

Ainsley opted to make an alteration at the interval, introducing Andrew Johnson for McKenna on the left wing, but that did little to improve the quality of a game in need of a moment of class.

It was a contest which was always going to require a moment of quality or a slice of luck, and the latter arrived just before the hour mark when Taylor’s powerful free-kick on the edge of the box took a deflection before bouncing in via the crossbar.

From that moment it seemed as though Moors would build upon that opener, but, just five minutes later the visitors broke quickly to equalise... That goal proved to be a sucker punch for Moors with the away side looking the more likely to finding a second... With the game heading towards a 1-1 draw, a fair reflection on the game overall, three of the four minutes of injury time had been played when the recently introduced Law collected a pass from O’Connor on the edge of the box.

The on-loan midfielder struck a sweet shot which flew past the hand of Gould after taking nick along the way, condemning Moors to a second home loss in three, and a fourth defeat in five games.

Altrincham, who are level on points with Spennymoor with two games in hand, visit The Brewery Field on Tuesday evening.

Spennymoor: 1. Matthew Gould, 2. Tyler Forbes, 3. Lewis Butroid, 4. Jamie Chandler, 5. Carl Magnay, 6. James Curtis, 7. James Roberts, 8. Robert Ramshaw, 9. Glen Taylor, 10. Mark Anderson, 11. Ben McKenna. Subs: 12. Christopher Mason, 14 Gavin Cogdon, 15. Jack Earing, 16. Adam Boyes, 17. Andrew Johnson.


Non-League Yorkshire confirms that "Former [Altrincham and] Farsley Celtic striker Damian Reeves has joined Paul Quinn’s Tadcaster Albion...

Reeves joined Ossett United in the summer and in recent years he has played for the likes of Shaw Lane, Altrincham and Gainsborough Trinity.

He is best known in Yorkshire circles for playing a starring role in Farsley’s 2007 shock Conference North play-off final victory over Hinckley United".


Tuesday 14 January 2020
  • Boston United v Gateshead
  • Spennymoor Town v Altrincham


2020 has not been kind to Altrincham reserves, so far, with two defeats.

On Saturday, 4 January, the Reserves lost 2-4 at home to Upton AA in the Cheshire Couty FA Amateur Cup Quarter Final.

And yesterday (11 January) they lost in the league at Blacon Youth Club, 3-1.


The National League reports that "There were five National League North games left standing because of FA Trophy commitments...

York City knew a win over AFC Telford would close the gap on relentless King’s Lynn to just one point. They didn’t make light work of the Bucks but did enough to earn a 2-0 win. Late goals from Elliott Durrell and Jordan Burrow did the job with City hearing earlier in the day that they could get the keys to their new stadium next month.

There was a big game at the bottom and Blyth Spartans are giving themselves real hope. Lee Clark’s men are now just a point from Curzon Ashton, who they beat 2-1 after legend Robbie Dale scored twice.

Altrincham were looking to make it six wins in a row but Guiseley had other ideas...

Kettering gave their survival hopes a huge boost with a big victory at Spennymoor as Jason Law’s winner deep into stoppage time gave Paul Cox’s men a priceless 2-1 win.

Hereford and Bradford PA aren’t having the seasons they hoped for. The bottom club picked up their first point for a month thanks to Nicky Clee, 1-1 it finished at Edgar Street."

Chester FC "crashed out of the FA Trophy after a 3-0 Second Round away defeat at the hands of seventh tier Royston Town. The Crows opened the scoring after the break with quick headers from Matt Bateman and Josh Castiglione, stunning the Seals who had to hold out to keep the scores level at the interval.

They then sealed the win in what was billed the biggest game in their history, as the former nodded a third late on... Royston march on to the last 16 and deservedly so.

Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley made one change from the side victorious at Guiseley last weekend. Akwasi Asante was forced off after an hour with a tight hamstring and was rested for George Glendon. George Waring suffered a broken cheekbone in the same win and didn’t make the 18...

Some unbelievable defending from Jones kept the scores level going into half-time.... Royston opened the second period with more of the same, as Watkins thrashed a volley over. However there was more to come as Bateman opened the scoring after 51 minutes with a header off the post and beyond the helpless Griffiths.

Castiglione then doubled the lead shortly afterwards, diving to head home a delivery from the right... Royston sealed their place with the third round with another. Claudio Ofosu’s cross found Bateman who had the freedom of Hertfordshire to nod into the back of the net... and the Blues saw themselves crashing out of the FA Trophy at the hands of an impressive Royston side".

According to the Northants Telegraph "Paul Cox believes Kettering Town’s 2-1 victory at Spennymoor Town ranks as one of the best results for the club since he took charge.

The Poppies’ superb run of form since Cox arrived at the end of October continued in dramatic fashion in the north-east. After a goalless first half, they fell behind when Glen Taylor’s deflected free-kick went in off the underside of the crossbar.

But Kettering levelled through Matthew Taylor before they snatched victory through an unlikely hero in the final moments of stoppage-time. Youngster Jason Law only joined the Poppies on loan from Mansfield Town on Friday but he came off the bench and hammered a shot home from the edge of the box to secure another valuable win for Kettering.

The victory moved Cox’s team up to 17th in the table as they remain five points clear of the relegation zone.

And, when asked if that was the best result since he arrived, he said 'It’s one of the better ones, in terms of results it has to be right up there. Performance-wise, we have been better with the ball but in terms of heart and desire and the will to go and win a game from home, it has to rank up there. It’s a really tough place to go, especially when you go 1-0 down but the boys deserve all the credit for the character they have shown...

'We have gone to a side who have had a fantastic season and who don’t lose many at home and we have ground out a really impressive win... When I look at the support we took up there and the way the players and the fans celebrated, I know we are as one'".

Bulls' News tells us that "Hereford are now just six points above the relegation zone after Blyth Spartans beat Curzon Ashton this afternoon.

The Bulls are in shocking form and have only picked up seven points from their last 10 games. Kettering, whom Hereford go to next Saturday, won at play-off chasing Spennymoor to go within a point of Russell Slade's side. And after that is a home game against third-from-bottom Curzon."

At Kingstonian, Leamington report that "It was perhaps symbolic of the day as a whole that Brakes were denied progress to the last 16 of the FA Trophy by a something of a freak last minute equaliser...

Leamington had gone ahead with a rather fortunate goal themselves eleven minutes into the second half, but the Isthmian League side piled on the pressure in the closing stages and got their reward at the death...

Fabio Saravia turned the ball into his own net from a right wing corner played short by Anderson to Joe Clarke and whipped into the six yard box to hand Leamington the lead to the delight of well over 100 travelling supporters.

New signing Kyle McFarlane was introduced early in the second half for his debut after Walters had taken a knock, and almost grabbed a second goal...

Kingstonian pushed hard for an equaliser in the closing minutes, but just when it looked like they were about to run out of time Dan Hector sent in a cross from the left which, possibly aided by the swirling wind, sailed over everybody in the penalty area, struck the far post and went into the back of the net.

Paul Holleran was understandably frustrated... ‘On reflection we’re disappointed not to have put the game to bed. We’ve had enough opportunities in the final third... The thing that’s let us down is that we haven’t been good enough in their box. We’ve had three, four, five good opportunities... and we haven’t taken them, and that’s what we’ve paid the price for'".

The Northern Echo says that "Chris Elliott has had a stop-start first season with Darlington, so now wants to grab his latest opportunity with both hands, much as did he during Wednesday’s win in the FA Trophy.

The goalkeeper was man of the match as Quakers defeated Solihull Moors 1-0 to set up a second round tie today at home to Harrogate Town, one of Elliott’s former clubs... the Trophy having provided a route back into Alun Armstrong’s plans after initially losing his place during October in the starting XI due to a foot infection.

On-loan Liam Connell replaced him, but parent club South Shields refused Quakers permission to select him in Trophy games, so Armstrong turned to Elliott and Wednesday was the highlight of his time with Darlington so far...

Darlington are a point off the play-offs and have 18 league games to go. Elliott added 'I did an interview at the start of the season and I said I wanted to play 50 games on the bounce and for the team to be challenging for things. I’ll take things as they come. Circumstances have dictated that that number has changed, but I still want to play every game.'”

Also, Darlington report that they have "finally completed the loan signing of striker Gary Martin from Icelandic side IBV. Gary,29, is Darlington born and bred, and started his career at Middlesbrough before moving to Hungarian club Ujpest Dozsa on loan.

After being released by Boro, he played for clubs in Denmark, Norway, Belgium and Iceland, and is currently contracted to IBV in Iceland. He is on loan from them until late March".

Bradford (PArk Avenue) report that "We were joined by Avenue veteran, Nicky Clee on route to face Hereford. Read on to hear what he thinks of today’s fixture.

Name: Nicky Clee. Age: 36. Position: Utility, I can play anywhere. I prefer midfield, but I’ll play where ever I’m needed...

We just need to keep doing the things we’ve done well and cut out the silly mistakes that have cost us and I don’t see why we can’t get something from today...

Message to supporters: Keep backing us the way you are doing. I know it’s been a tough season so far but I think the last few weeks have shown we’re heading in the right direction and we can match any team on the day."

BPA drew 1-1.

Southport’s "Buildbase FA Trophy run is over following a 4-1 defeat to Fylde at a windy Mill Farm. Last year’s Vanarama National League play-off finalists proved too good for Liam Watson’s side, whose bad run of form continues.

From the start, Jim Bentley’s Coasters looked dangerous on the break, as they punished the Port on numerous occasions, securing progress in the competition in the hope of regaining their crown. Within six minutes of play, Fylde took the lead as Jordan Williams countered down the left-hand side; slotting the ball past Charlie Albinson into the bottom corner to make it 1-0... <> Soon after the home side were 2-0 up, as Williams broke down the left once again; this time crossing the ball into Dan Bradley who just about tapped the ball past Albinson... With ten minutes remaining of the half, the Port began to find some energy and put the Coasters under pressure... Southport made their chances count, as Jack Sampson rose up to head past Sam Hornby to make it 2-1...

Things got worse for Watson’s side, as Marcus Wood left the pitch injured in the 62nd minute, with Devarn Green later departing."

York Press says that the other manager called Watson, Steve, "lauded the impact of the Bootham Crescent crowd following York City's hard-fought 2-0 win over AFC Telford United.

In the end, the contest was settled by goals inside the final 10 minutes from substitute Elliott Durrell and in-form striker Jordan Burrow, who gave the scoreline the rosy look York's performance deserved. But the Minstermen were made to work hard for the three points. Telford were well set up and seemed to be in the right place at the right time during York's dominant periods in the first half, and slowed the game down in the second.

The York team again were praised for their patience by Watson, though this time it was a virtue thrust upon them by circumstance rather than by design, as it had been at Southport..

'Sometimes you get the early goal and they have to come out and you can pick them off, but the longer the game went on, we had to be patient,' Watson explained. 'I though the crowd were fantastic. Even in frustrating spells, there was nothing but positivity, which helps the lads to have the positivity and belief to do something'...

Three games into 2020, York have claimed maximum points and move to within a point of the National League North summit going into next week's top-of-table clash at leaders King's Lynn Town, who lost 1-0 at Ebbsfleet United in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

Striker Durrell was brought on for midfielder Adriano Moke, who continues to recover from illness... After netting the second last week, Burrow is a man playing with confidence, highlighted by his 89th-minute finish...

Watson concluded, 'They came to be hard to beat and to slow the game down... We made the change (Adriano Moke for Elliott Durrell) because we need the three points and we were desperate to get three straight wins going into next week's game. I took a midfielder off to play a 3-4-3'"

Blyth Spartans inform us that "Robbie Dale bagged a brace as Spartans came from behind to earn a massive three points to go within a point of safety at a windswept Croft Park.

The visitors [Curzon Ashton] went ahead through Connor Dimaio as he fired low past Zach Hemming just after the hour mark, before Dale’s looping free-kick pulled Spartans level four minutes later.

The Spartans captain then completed the comeback on 73 minutes to ensure the hosts claimed a vital three points.

Spartans boss Lee Clark made one change from the midweek defeat to Altrincham, with Mark Waddington replacing Damen Mullen to make his first start for the club, in what was a huge match for Spartans who were four points behind Curzon and safety in the National League North...

Blyth looked the better of the sides but struggled to create anything of note and the first-half looked to be petering out only for Curzon to waste two golden opportunities to take the lead a minute before the interval...

It was a quiet opening to the second half, but then the match sprung [sic] into life on the hour as Spartans failed to clear a free-kick and the ball found its way to Dimaio, who wriggled free on the edge of the box and sent a low shot past Zach Hemming.

But the hosts responded well, and found themselves level just four minutes later in unusual circumstances. Dale lofted a free-kick into the area from mid-way into the Curzon half, originally looking overhit, the ball caught the wind and looped over the stranded Mason in the visitors' goal.

Spartans by this point were well on top and could have went [sic] ahead just five minutes later as Dale fired wide... However, the home side did not have to wait too much longer, as the Spartans captain then completed the turnaround just a couple of minutes later. After a well worked move on the right-hand side, Dale exchanged passes with Hawkins, and this time made no mistake as he slotted home...

Spartans saw out the final few moments and hung on for a huge win that sees them cut the gap to safety to just one point".


Wythenshawe Town "announce that [they] have been granted planning permission to build a new 3,000 sq ft suite to be used on matchdays for hospitality and club meetings. However it will also be used on non-matchdays so that it can be offered to the local community for functions, seminars and other events.

The structure will be built on the existing car park next to the clubhouse [which will remain], whilst a new car park is to be by the back pitch.

Named ‘The Townhouse’, it will also include a function suite for 150 covers with a split allowing two events of 100 and 50 to be hosted simultaneously, along with a bar, kitchen, cellar and office. There will also be new turnstiles put in place for matchday use.

Town chairman, Chris Eaton [said]... 'There are 100,000 people living in Wythenshawe and so, with a new suite like this, it will hopefully help bring us closer to the local community and get more involved which ultimately, could help with matchday attendances. We have plans for the club to develop both on and off the pitch and this is an example of that. It is exciting times for all at the club'.

A date to start the construction is yet to be announced, but it will take approximately six months to build".


The Lytham St Anne's Express reports that AFC Fylde boss "Jim Bentley has labelled the goings-on at Mill Farm over the last few days as ‘madness'.

AFC Fylde released a statement during the week regarding the drainage system on their first team pitch. A brick had been found wrapped in a towel in one of the drainage pipes, clogging it up and preventing the water from escaping. That meant the pitch deteriorated over the heavy Christmas schedule and Bentley said that has made passing football more challenging for the Coasters.

The manager said 'It was just a mad thing... The pitch hasn’t been great, it’s worse when you actually get on it... Now we’ve found the reason, hopefully it will improve... I’ve seen certain things over time but I’ve never seen anything in that regard with someone trying to throw a spanner in the works, or a brick as it is here.'"

11 January 2020


Saturday 11 January: Vanarama National League North
  • Altrincham 1-1 Guiseley
  • Blyth Spartans 2-1 Curzon Ashton
  • Hereford FC 1-1 Bradford Park Avenue
  • Spennymoor Town 1-2 Kettering Town
  • York City 2-0 AFC Telford United


On Wednesday night Darlington reported that they "continue their FA Trophy journey with a 1-0 win over Solihull Moors of the National League".

Saturday 11 January 2020: Second Round Proper

  • Dorking Wanderers 1-1 Stockport County
  • Kingstonian 1-1 Leamington
  • AFC Fylde 4-1 Southport
  • Royston Town 3-0 Chester FC
  • Darlington 0-2 Harrogate Town
  • Yeovil Town 4-0 Hampton & Richmond Borough
  • Ebbsfleet United 1-0 King's Lynn Town
  • Halesowen Town 2-2 Maidenhead United
  • Notts County 2-1 Dagenham & Redbridge
  • Chelmsford City 4-0 Salisbury
  • Torquay United 1-2 FC Halifax Town
  • Eastleigh 2-1 Matlock Town
  • Concord Rangers 1-1 Bath City
  • Farsley Celtic 1-1 Barnet
  • Hornchurch 1-2 Aveley
  • Barrow 7-0 FC United of Manchester


Eleventh-placed Guiseley visit Altrincham today (Saturday), having drawn 1-1 with Alty at Nethermoor in October.

Whilst Nethermoor is not a happy ground for Altrincham, Moss Lane is not a lot better for Guiseley, as the late Mike Garnett's records reveal the historical statistics of games between the clubs.

  • Home: P8-W4-D3-L1-F14-A9
  • Away: P10-W0-D5-L5-F11-A20
  • All: P17-W4-D8-L6-F25-A29

When Sean Williams warmed up with the matchday squad on Tuesday night before the Blyth game, the midfielder did not look too far away from a return to match fitness, though today may be too soon. However, James Jones had recovered from illness to come on as a substitute on Tuesday night so manager Phil Parkinson will have a choice to make between recalling the centre-back or continuing with Toby Mullarkey who has reliably partnered Tom Hannigan in Jones's place.

Midfielder Max Harrop [left] will be suspended for the match after his dismissal on New Year's Day against Curzon Ashton.

Guiseley "fan Joe Priestley previews Saturday’s trip to Altrincham... Guiseley will look to return to winning ways as they travel to the home of Altrincham FC, a team widely considered to be in a false position, but overcoming The Robins will prove no easy task. Both teams have playoff hopes, but it’s only possible for one team to further their dreams this Saturday.

Guiseley go to Altrincham unbeaten in their last 5 away games, their last loss on the road being at Telford in October. The Lions have only failed to score in 4 league games this campaign.

George Cantrill is doubtful having limped off in the defeat to Chester and Aaron Martin remains unlikely, however Guiseley can take relief from the knowledge that both Nathan Newall and Scott Smith remain available after good performances last time out. Prince Ekpolo could make his debut following the announcement he’s signed from Glossop North End."

Earlier Guiseley announced "the signing of Nigerian midfielder Prince Ekpolo from Glossop North End. The 26 year-old has made 27 appearances so far this season for the Bet Victor South East Division side having previously played for Burscough".


The last league match between Alty and Guiseley at the J. Davidson Stadium took place on Bank Holiday Monday, 27 August 2018 and ended in a 1-1 draw.

Right: Jordan Hulme and Sean Williams leave the pitch at half-time against Guiseley in August, 2018.

Promoted Altrincham, without a home win that season, welcomed relegated Guiseley, who arrived without an away win.

Altrincham got themselves ahead in the 57th minute when Hulme hooked the ball home after Jones had won a header from a deep corner from Daniels and directed the ball back across goal for Hulme. The hosts looked to be in control after that until, out of the blue, a rasping 25-yarder from Halls found the back of Elliot Wynne's net. That goal and some substitutions sparked a better spell from the visitors who will have been the happier side with the draw.

For the 2018 match, Altrincham were without John Johnston and Josh Hancock who had both started on the previous Saturday. Also not involved in the squad were Hampson (broken bone in hand), Richman and Peers though all three were in attendance. However, James Poole was in the squad for the first time this season after recovering from injury.

Just five of the Alty starting eleven in the 2018 game started last Tuesday against Blyth Spartans. ALTRINCHAM: 1. Elliot WYNNE, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Andy WHITE, 4. James JONES, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. Owen DALE, 8. Sean WILLIAMS, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Max HARROP, 11. Brendon DANIELS. Subs: 12. Ben HARRISON, 14. Bay DOWNING, 15. James POOLE, 16. Liam GOULDING, 20. Tony THOMPSON.

GUISELEY: 1. Joseph GREEN, 2. Cliff MOYO, 3. Niall HEATON, 4. Alex PURVER, 5. Scott GARNER (c), 6. Andy HALLS, 7. Kaine FELIX, 8. Kingsley JAMES, 9. Rowan LIBURD, 10. Olukayode ODEJAYI, 11. Jack DYCHE. Subs: 12. William THORNTON, 14. William HATFIELD, 15. Reece THOMPSON, 16. Paul CLAYTON, 17. Tabish HUSSAIN.


The BBC confirms that "Oldham Athletic have signed central defender [and former Alty loanee] Carl Piergianni from League Two rivals Salford City on loan for the rest of the season.

Right: April 2011, Carl Piergianni in action for Alty at Grimsby Town. Carl joined Altrincham FC on open-ended work experience on 31 December 2010 amd made 21 appearances for the club.

Carl got injured during his very promising debut against Wrexham on New Year's Day 2011 and had to return to Peterborough for treatment but returned to action before being sent off in his fourth league start at Kidderminster. Since then he has established himself as a regular starter, mostly on the left side of the back-line.

The 27-year-old joined Salford in July 2017 and has won back-to-back promotions from the National League North to League Two with The Ammies. Having begun at Peterborough United he has also had spells at Altrincham, Stockport and Boston United".

Oldham Athletic add that "The central defender joined Salford in 2017 and in his first season with the club won the Supporters’ Player of the Year award. Last season, Piergianni scored 12 goals and at the end of the 2018/19 campaign was awarded the Players' Player of the Year award whilst helping secure a second promotion in as many seasons.

The 27-year-old began his career at Peterborough United before moving to Stockport County and then Corby Town. In 2013, he put pen-to-paper on a deal with Boston United and during a three-year spell with the Pilgrims was named in the National League North Team of the Year for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 season.

The defender enjoyed a spell in Australia as he joined South Melbourne in the National Premier League before signing for the Ammies where he has made over 100 appearances to date, scoring some vital goals and becoming a fans favourite in the process".


Altrincham are away at Spennymoor on Tuesday night and the Grimsby Telegraph tells us that "Scunthorpe United left-back Lewis Butroid has joined Spennymoor Town on a three-month loan.

After a promising breakthrough season in 2017/18, Butroid has only managed seven appearances. The 21-year-old will join up with Jason Ainsley's side, who currently sit in sixth position in their division, ahead of their back-to-back home encounters against Kettering Town and Altrincham on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively.

Butroid has made one senior substitute appearance for the Iron so far this season, coming in the Trophy Group Stage encounter at home to Leicester City Under-21s, replacing John McAtee for the final ten minutes.

For the club in total, since turning professional in 2016, he's made 16 starts, half of which in the league, with a further seven from the substitutes' bench. Butroid will return to Scunthorpe in April."

A week on Saturday, Altrincham travel to The International Stadium and Middlesbrough report that their "Striker Mitchell Curry has joined Gateshead on loan until the end of the season.

The 20-year-old spent the first half of the campaign on loan with Scottish Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle, where he scored twice in 15 appearances.

Curry, who joined our Academy at Under-15 level, will now try his luck in the National League North with Gateshead.

He will link up with goalkeeper Bradley James who is also on loan at the Heed."

Leamington manager "Paul Holleran has made his first movements in the transfer market in the New Year by bringing young striker Kyle McFarlane to the club.

The 23 year-old was highly rated while at Birmingham City, top scoring for their U23 side under our former player Richard Beale before surprisingly being released last summer along with our most recent arrival Josh Martin. He spent several months on the sidelines having suffered a knee injury before leaving Blues, where he then signed for York City, whose manager Steve Watson had trailed him for some time having seen his potential while working under Lee Clark at Birmingham.

Kyle scored within minutes of his debut for York in an FA Cup tie at Irlam. He has most recently been getting game time at our near neighbours Stratford Town and has also been on the scoresheet there, scoring four times in six games.

'I've seen Kyle play many times over the years,' said the Leamington manager. 'He was always very effective and always scored goals. He's had a tough six to eight months with an injury and found it tough to break into the York team, but he's a local boy and has a great appetite for football which we feel is a good fit at the moment. He's come in, we'll have a good look at each other and fingers crossed, he'll do well for us'".

Leamington manager "Paul Holleran has made his first movements in the transfer market in the New Year by bringing young striker Kyle McFarlane to the club.

The 23 year-old was highly rated while at Birmingham City, top scoring for their U23 side under our former player Richard Beale before surprisingly being released last summer along with our most recent arrival Josh Martin. He spent several months on the sidelines having suffered a knee injury before leaving Blues, where he then signed for York City, whose manager Steve Watson had trailed him for some time having seen his potential while working under Lee Clark at Birmingham.

Kyle scored within minutes of his debut for York in an FA Cup tie at Irlam. He has most recently been getting game time at our near neighbours Stratford Town and has also been on the scoresheet there, scoring four times in six games.

'I've seen Kyle play many times over the years,' said the Leamington manager. 'He was always very effective and always scored goals. He's had a tough six to eight months with an injury and found it tough to break into the York team, but he's a local boy and has a great appetite for football which we feel is a good fit at the moment. He's come in, we'll have a good look at each other and fingers crossed, he'll do well for us'".

Blyth Spartans "announce Kris Thackray has signed on a permanent basis until the end of the season following a successful loan spell.

The 31-year-old initially joined a month’s loan from our Northumberland counterparts Morpeth Town but has instantly become a key figure at Croft Park.

Since his debut in the FA Trophy tie at Stockport County, the former Newcastle United youngster has appeared in all six of Spartans’ National League North fixtures. His partnership with Jack Sanders, on loan from Wigan Athletic, contributed to Blyth’s upturn in form over recent weeks, including wins at Gateshead and Kidderminster Harriers.

But it isn’t just his defensive work that has caught the eye.

Thackray has already found the net twice, making it 2-1 at the International Stadium on Boxing Day before scoring a stunning free-kick at Altrincham in midweek.

'I’m really, really pleased to sign for Blyth Spartans,' Thackray said. 'It’s a great club. I bonded with the lads and the management straight away. I was happy at Morpeth and there are some brilliant people there, on and off the pitch. In fact, if Blyth hadn’t shown interest, I’d have been happy to stay there.

'I’ve certainly no hard feelings towards Morpeth. I struggled a bit there with a hamstring and calf injury in the same leg and I came back too soon but it’s fine now. Now, I’m looking to the future helping try to keep Blyth up and then to push on next season.'”

Meanwhile, Blyth Spartans "are sad to announce the departure of popular defender Ryan Hutchinson who is joining Morpeth Town. The 26-year-old spent seven seasons at Croft Park having first joined from Seaton Delaval in 2013.

Initially arriving as a midfielder, Hutchy made his debut at Matlock Town in April 2014... Hutchy was a key member of the squad that made it all the way to the FA Cup third round, famously beating Hartlepool United to set up a home tie with Championship outfit Birmingham City.

The former St Johnstone youngster stayed loyal to Blyth and it was his partnership with Nathan Buddle that helped the club return to National League North in 2017... Sadly, months after Hutchy was proudly called up for England C duty, a serious knee injury at Harrogate Town in April 2018 ruled him out of the entire 2018/19 season...

Supporters kindly donated money to our CrowdFund page to help fund Hutchy’s operation as he battled back in time for pre-season last June. He got a full pre-season under his belt and made his long-awaited comeback against York City in August, a beautiful sight for all those at Croft Park.

Unfortunately, hamstring injuries halted Hutchy’s progress in the early part of the season but he regained full fitness to play a vital part in Spartans’ festive fixtures in an unfavoured left-back position due to Anthony Callaghan’s injury. In total, Hutchy featured 188 times for Blyth and scored nine goals.

Vice-chairman Kevin Scott said 'He’s been one helluva player for us. He puts his heart and soul into everything, not just on the pitch but off the pitch. He was always the first lad to carry the bags off the bus and it is just an all-round friendly guy. When he got that bad injury at Harrogate, he obviously struggled but we stuck by him and he stuck by us. <> 'To say he is one of the fixtures and fittings is an understatement. He’s a genuine lad, so much so that he didn’t want to sign a contract at the beginning of the season in case he got injured again. He wanted to prove himself'".

According to York Press, "Steve Watson is optimistic Dan Maguire will be the only absentee for today's visit of Telford United.

York City are hoping the striker will be fit again for next week's trip to King's Lynn Town, Watson confirmed in the week. Adriano Moke and Sean Newton had a bug, but the latter trained on Thursday ahead of the clash with the Shropshire outfit. And Watson is prepared to give Moke as much time as is necessary for him to recover, if needs be, making a decision as close to kick off as required...

Watson reassured fans, "Dan [Maguire] wasn't injured when he arrived. He came in from being a plumber, he's done a full pre-season and I think he's found (the step up to full-time football) quite tough, tougher than anybody would have envisaged. He got injured early in the season and, since then, he's had four different injuries. You could never see that coming. The latest is that we're expecting him back for King's Lynn.

'We've got lots of irons in the fire if it doesn't work out but we need to give Dan, and ourselves, because he's one of the best striker[s] in the league, a chance of proving what he can do... He's had five different comeback dates, and something else has happened. That's football. People lose their best players for seasons... Dan was one of our marquee signings. The budget was split with looking at Dan, McNulty and Green in mind so it's not as easy as saying, 'That hasn't worked, let's get another in'.

'We have got contingencies for all of them. We've been speaking to clubs for two months now about different players in that department, players that we thought might have a chance of coming out, then they've gone in and been involved with their first teams and put themselves out of our reach. Players won't be let out in December and January because of the fixture pile-up and there are players we're talking to at the minute. Please don't think we haven't got an idea about the plan. We've just been very unlucky.'"

The Shropshire Star reports that "AFC Telford United are poised to face a very different York City side [from the one that] they impressively held at the New Buck's Head in October.

That is according to Minstermen boss Steve Watson... York endured some tough results into November including a four-match winless run against Kidderminster, Curzon Ashton and FA Cup and Trophy exits to Altrincham.

December was also some way from smooth sailing for the club that were tipped to build on their fine start to the season and power on to seal automatic promotion back to the National League. Watson’s men were held at lowly Kettering before Darlington won at Bootham Crescent.

But tomorrow’s hosts, now second and four points behind Kings Lynn having played a game more, appear to have turned a corner with three wins in four easing the jitters.

'There’s no reason we shouldn’t be confident going into tomorrow [Saturday],' said City boss Watson. 'We know enough about them, the system they’ve been playing and hopefully [we] have no fresh injury worries. We gave away a sloppy goal last time (against Telford) and didn’t play great or create a lot. In the last four or five games we’ve made more chances and tested the goalie more.

'We’re still hopeful we can make more of the crosses and good deliveries, there’s more to come.'

Gavin Cowan’s men too had found National League North form with two wins and two draws over the Christmas period, where they managed to stay unbeaten until undone by Brackley at home last weekend. The Bucks chief was disappointed how Telford responded to going a goal behind against the Saints but insisted he was pleased with how his players responded after the break, albeit unable to find an equaliser.

Telford will have loan frontman Matty Stenson available for the trip to North Yorkshire. The clash is the last fixture of his stint before Telford find out if the deal can be extending for the rest of the season".

Darlington's "full back Cameron Holliday has left the club by mutual consent.

Cameron was named on the bench for us on several occasions, but wasn't called upon to play".

Also at Darlington the Quakers state that "We’re looking to beat our second National League side in the space of three days when Harrogate Town visit Blackwell Meadows on Saturday. Confidence is high after beating Solihull [Moors in the Trophy on Wednesday night] courtesy of an Omar Holness goal, which means that we’ve lost only once in our last eight league and cup matches."

According to the Northants Telegraph "The Poppies have been in impressive form recently as they turned in fine displays at play-off contenders Boston United and Brackley Town over the festive period, despite only picking up one point for their efforts.

But Kettering were at it again last weekend as Michael Richens’s goal earned them a 1-0 victory over Farsley Celtic, who had started the day in sixth place. The Poppies have been galvanised since Cox took charge and a run of just one defeat in 10 league matches has helped them move five points clear of the relegation zone.

But the tough tests keep coming as Kettering head to sixth-placed Spennymoor Town (Saturday) before hosting fourth-placed Brackley in a re-arranged game at Latimer Park on Tuesday night.

And while Cox has been delighted with his team’s efforts against higher-placed opponents, he insists... 'What I don’t want to do is take my eye off our goal for this season, which is to keep this club in this division. That has to be the main objective and to do that we have to get to a certain points total and to get there we have to win some more games. The good thing about us is that we are showing a high level of consistency at the moment.

'Our performances over the Christmas period deserved more points than we got and then, in the Farsley game, it showed we do need to be a bit more ruthless because that game should have been put to bed early on. We know it’s going to be a different animal at the weekend. Spennymoor had a tough start but they have got themselves up there and they are a team, especially at home, who get good results.

'We know how tough it’s going to be but I still want us to go there, play our game and try to impose ourselves on them. If we do that, then I think we are a match for anyone in this division on any given day. It just seems to be at the minute that every time we play a game it’s against a team who are in the play-offs or going for promotion'".


Leamington boss Paul Holleran has been named the Vanarama National League North Manager of the Month for December. The League opined, "Paul Holleran always tells it as it is. Even when things couldn’t be much better, the wily Brakes boss’ feet are chained to the ground. But even he would have raised a glass as the New Year arrived.

Shrewd Holleran took his team to four fantastic wins last month, including one very special result. Some fans say the 5-0 win at AFC Telford in the FA Trophy, semi-finalists last year remember, was the finest performance under his 11-year stewardship.

There were of course National League North wins to savour as well. Hereford, Gloucester City and Darlington were all brushed aside as fearless Leamington edged towards the top half of the table.

One of the game’s longest serving managers has now seen one of the stars of the December show get his shot at the EFL with Forest Green Rovers. Josh Marsh won’t be easy to replace of course but Holleran has a habit of unearthing special talent and helping them on their way."

And the Player of the Month is "Lee Ndlovu (Brackley Town). December for part-time players is never easy, with a weighty schedule and even heavier pitches. Lee Ndlovu made it look anything but demanding after enjoying a wonderful month for promotion-chasing Brackley.

A goal in all four December matches, which followed excellent November form, means he is now a watched man... Ndlovu has crept up the scoring charts with 14 to his name.

The 25-year-old hasn’t just been in good form in front of goal. Manager Kevin Wilkin praised his all-round contribution".

10 January 2020


The next visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium, on Saturday, are Guiseley. They lie two places and two points behind Alty in eleventh place, but having played two games more.

In a recent interview Alty boss Phil Parkinson described The Lions as the most improved side in the division from last season. On Thursday, Guiseley confirmed that ex-FC Halifax Town defender "Hamza Bencherif has been appointed as the new Guiseley AFC captain.

Hamza spoke to Simon Bullock... Taking the armband on a permanent basis from the recently departed Scott Garner, Bencherif has impressed in recent outings, captaining the side to a hat-trick of wins during the festive period with victories over Farsley Celtic, home and away, as well as York City. This led to Bencherif being included in back-to-back Vanarama National League North teams of the week...

Bencherif said 'It’s a big honour, especially to captain all of the young players here. The way the club is going the moment, I’m quite proud of it because all the players are behind what’s happening here, and you can feel the warmth in the stadium and around the club. Everybody in the team is listening and applying themselves well which makes it a lot easier for me to lead them.

'There’s a few experienced players in the squad but the younger players are all leaders in their own way and because of this, for me, it doesn’t really matter who’s wearing the armband. We’ve got Aaron Martin who leads from the front, and we had Scott Garner who led from the back, so there are other experienced players in the group'...

Bencherif [added]... 'I’ve been really pleased with how the lads have applied themselves, they taken on all the instructions from all members of staff and that’s something that I can’t take credit for, but the results that we’ve had since Boxing Day is [sic] something that I’m really happy with... I’ve worn the armband before for a few clubs, during my time at Lincoln City and Halifax Town, sometimes with success, sometimes with less success at times'...

Bencherif is hoping the side will keep up the recent momentum they have gathered and hopefully find themselves in the play-offs come the end of April... 'All the players will listen to me which is really pleasing and at the same time I’ll listen to them. For a lot of the players it’s their first season at this level and all we want to do is kick-on and hopefully cause an upset if we get into the play-offs.'"


The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Josh Hancock continued his spectacular goalscoring form as Altrincham closed in on the Vanarama National League North play-off places with a remarkable fifth straight win in the space of 12 days at The J.Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night.

In-form Alty are just one point behind seventh-placed Farsley, with three games in hand, after goals from skipper Jake Moult, Hancock [pictured, right, during the Blyth match] and Tom Peers saw off Blyth Spartans 3-1.

There was little evidence of a demanding fixture schedule taking its toll as midfield mainstay Moult scored for a third time in six games, Hancock followed up his 50th Alty goal at Leamington on Saturday with a 30-yard thunderbolt and Peers headed home from close range before Blyth replied late on.

'It was a fantastic strike by Hanks,' said Alty boss Phil Parkinson, who brought Hancock with him from Nantwich when he took over at The J.Davidson Stadium two-and-a-half seasons ago.

'I've had him with me throughout my time in management, so I know what a special player he is. He has shown it time and again for Altrincham and to score 50 goals for a club as quickly as he has is an exceptional achievement. He delivered a special goal tonight, and long may that continue.

'Our one-on-one defending was outstanding against a Blyth side who are very good on the counter, but that wasn’t what made the difference. It was the way we controlled the game and looked such a threat going forward.

'Tom Peers could have had a hat-trick, and that was a Ryan Giggs-esque run by John Johnston that ended with a shot that came back off the post. I thought we were superb. The fans have been fantastic, too. They are like a 12th man, and when you see the numbers turning up at places like Leamington, it drives you on. It really does inspire you.'".


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years remind us that the last time Alty played on Saturday's date, 11 January, they won against Runcorn Town 4-0 in a Cheshire Senior Cup tie.


From Chester Live we learn that "Chester FC could have the honour of being the last ever opposition to face York City at their famous old Bootham Crescent stadium.

The Minstermen, who lie one place and six points ahead of the Blues in the National League North, are to move to a new home next month where they will share tenancy of the newly constructed LNER Community Stadium with York City Knights RLFC.

Test events commenced at the new stadium at Monks' Cross at the start of this month and, while the Minstermen have two home games in January, AFC Telford United on Saturday and then Kettering Town on January 25, the expectation is that the safety certificate won't arrive in time to host the Chester clash at the new stadium on Saturday, February 1.

A club statement given to York Press read 'We are still waiting on the construction of the stadium to be complete by the builders; we were previously advised that this would be complete by the end of 2019.

The Stadium Management Company have test events pencilled in throughout January, but these can only be confirmed once the construction is complete and they will be subject to change depending on how long construction will take.

'We will likely have a better idea of our move in date once the test events have been confirmed. The test events will include a dinner, local junior league tournament and a training event/open day. Dates, timings and more information will be communicated when we have them.

'Once these are complete and health and safety is signed off we will look to move from Bootham Crescent to the new stadium.'

The club are inviting fans to register their interest in purchasing any memorabilia from Bootham Crescent before the move, the old stadium [being] set to be demolished and replaced with housing. The Minstermen have been at the 8,256 capacity Bootham Crescent since 1932, the ground constructed in just four months."

Meanwhile, York Press adds that "York City boardroom members Ian McAndrew and Dave Penney have responded to fan concerns about seat selection at the Community Stadium.

Season ticket holders will be able to pick their seats at the Community Stadium, but there is a chance they would be picking them sight-unseen from a plan rather than being able to visit the ground in person...

Much of the uncertainty surrounding the project appears to come from the number of companies with control over different aspects. McAndrew said 'We don't know whether there will be a chance for an open day [before selecting seats]. It depends how quickly it comes on us for matches. We're at the stage now where once it's completed, it's out of our hands, it's a council scheme, it's going to be a fairly quick process (moving in)'...

Penney added... 'If you sit down this season and you're not happy with it, you can move during the summer.' The proposal that gained the most tangible traction was that people going to test events, currently scheduled for January 15, 19 and 26, could survey their seating options then."

On the pitch, York Press reports that "Jake Wright has re-joined Boston United on a loan deal until the end of the season. The forward has made 15 appearances for the Pilgrims since his initial loan move at the start of the campaign, scoring six goals.

He will be ineligible to play against the Minstermen in National League North on February 8, nor can he be recalled to Bootham Crescent".

According to Lynn News "The chairman of King’s Lynn Town FC is threatening to name and shame adult supporters who have bought children’s tickets for games.

The claims came in a series of tweets this week from Stephen Cleeve. He wrote 'We have completed our research into ‘fans’ that have bought Under-16 and kids tickets (and) it turns out that many of them are well over 18 and in some cases have been using Carer passes when going in alone. We have a list and those who are guilty have one chance now to DM me (and) agree to pay off what they should have paid (we may agree a payment plan) and promise never to do it again. If you don’t we will name and shame those fans in the York programme and you will be denied entry to that game and future games. It is not fair on loyal fans who pay.”

The high-flying Linnets are due to play York City in a crunch table-topping match at The Walks on Saturday, January 18.

An under-16 ticket to a match is just £2 compared to the standard £15 entrance price. A student ticket for 16 and 17 year olds is £9.

Reaction online to Mr Cleeve’s threat to name names was mixed. One fan said... 'This blackmail act is as unsavoury as their act'".

Kettering Town report that "Youngsters Matthew Taylor and Jay Williams have had their loan periods extended with the Poppies. Matt from Harrogate Town, who has already played 8 games for the Poppies, scoring on his debut at Gloucester City (winning goal of the month in the process) and Jay Williams, from Northampton Town, will be in the squad to face Spennymoor Town on Saturday".

At Kidderminster Harriers "Keith Lowe insists he wants to help 'get something going' with Harriers after his return to the club recently. The 34-year-old make his comeback to Aggborough last week after leaving Bradford (Park Avenue). It marked the start of a third stint at Aggborough for the defender, who’d previously racked up over a century of appearances across two other spells...

'I just couldn’t keep away!' he joked. 'The opportunity came up; we’re a bit short of numbers at centre half with suspensions and a few injuries... and I jumped at the chance to get involved again. I have some great memories and played some of my best football here, even when I came in the first time when I was just a young lad, I really enjoyed it.'

Harriers are undoubtedly in a worse position now than they were at the time of Lowe’s last departure. The team had just finished second in the National League North table and lost out in the first of what would become two successive play-off finishes under John Eustace...

'It’s always hard when you have a good season like we did; inevitably you eventually lose good players to higher division clubs. That’s what happened and it’s what happens with a lot of teams at this level'" he concluded.

And Kidderminster Harriers also report that they can "confirm that Ollie Shenton has extended his loan with the club until the end of the season.

The 22-year-old has been with Harriers since the end of last August after joining from Championship side Stoke City.

Ollie has made 18 appearances in that time but has really nailed down his place in the side over the Christmas and New Year period, thanks to some impressive performances. He netted twice in the Boxing Day win over Hereford at Aggborough and has caught the eye with a renewed attacking threat.

Harriers and The Potters have agreed for Ollie’s loan to be extended until the end of the National League North campaign".

The Hereford FC "Board will be boosted with the addition of Rob Crawford.

A statement from the board reads, 'Following an Initial Shareholder (IS) Board position becoming available, Rob Crawford has kindly offered to join the Hereford FC Board with the full consent of all Initial Shareholders and existing Hereford FC Board Members.

'Rob is Chairman of Central Management Catalogue Agency (UK) Ltd and his experience will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the board'".

Cheshire Live informs us that "Anthony Johnson insists that Chester FC will have done their homework on Royston Town when they visit the BetVictor Southern Premier Central side in the second round of the FA Trophy on Saturday.

The Blues head to Hertfordshire as red-hot favourites to progress... but will face a Royston side who sit third in their league and pushing for promotion to the National League North and who knocked out National League side Boreham Wood in the last round of the Trophy.

Blues bosses Johnson and Bernard Morley have watched footage of the Crows... and had eyes on them in their 2-1 home win over Redditch United on Tuesday night...

Johnson said 'It's nice and it's not often we've done that since we've been at Chester, to have a bit of a break from the league where it is constant, relentless and win, win, win, win in terms of points. I've already been all over Royston's Twitter, I know how big they think this game is, fliers all over the town and stuff. I don't mean to be degrading to them but it is almost a cup final for them with Chester coming to town.

'We know they'll be right at it, they've been on a brilliant run of form, especially at home, so we've been keeping an eye out on that. We've got some video of them from earlier in the season so we've done all we can in terms of preparation for it. I can't wait. It's a great opportunity for us and the club to make the last 16 and then who knows? You get that close to Wembley and you never know.'

Chester will be without striker George Waring after he suffered a fractured cheekbone in the win over Guiseley at the weekend , an injury that could see him sidelined for several weeks. Akwasi Asante is also a doubt after he was withdrawn from the win over the Lions with 'tightness', with Anthony Dudley, Danny Elliott and Matty Hughes vying for the striking slots for the trip to Garden Walk.

Youngster Will Goodwin could travel with the squad after he appeared as a second half substitute in the Cheshire Senior Cup win over Stockport Town on Tuesday night."

9 January 2020


As previously reported, Mike Garnett, a well-known figure at Altrincham's home and away games over many years, died on 28 December. As well as being a familiar face on the terraces, Mike was also well-known to a wider audience through his regular articles in the Robins' Review matchday programme and through his many statistical and other contributions to the club's official website and the Alty Files.

Mike's family has kindly confirmed that they would be very happy to see any of his football friends at his funeral. This will take place on Monday 20th January at 1.15pm, followed by a service of committal at Hollinwood Crematorium at 2.30pm. The address for the church is St. Anne’s Church, St. Anne’s Avenue, Royton, Oldham OL2 5AD. A wake will be held, afterwards, at the Crompton and Royton Golf Club, High Barn Street, Royton, Oldham OL2 6RW.

Flowers will provided by the family only but donations will be gratefully received for Dr. Kershaw’s Hospice, a local charity which Mike supported.


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


Altrincham FC player landmarks have been arriving thick and fast recently.

Next up, assuming they play on Saturday, are Simon Richman's 350th appearance for the club and, assuming he starts, James Jones's 100th start for the Robins.

Simon [right] was Lee Sinnott's first signing for the club in summer 2011. A product of the Bolton Wanderers' academy and the Port Vale youth system, he broke through into the Valiants' first team in League One in 2007-08 and made 48 League appearances for them in all, mostly in 2008-09 in League Two, when he was voted the club's Young Player of the Season...

After his release, in summer 2010, he had trials with Southport and Worcester City, before joining City and making eight league appearances in the Blue Square Bet North.

Summer 2013 saw him as an integral part of the Great Britain Universities' team which won the silver medal in the world games in Kazan, Russia. Simon has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Manchester.


Guiseley visit Altrincham on Saturday, having held Alty to a 1-1 draw at Nethermoor in October.

The late Mike Garnett's records reveal the history of games between the clubs:

  • Home: P8-W4-D3-L1-F14-A9
  • Away: P10-W0-D5-L5-F11-A20
  • All: P17-W4-D8-L6-F25-A29


Following Tuesday's game at Altrincham, Blyth Spartans reported that they "were unable to register back-to-back National League North away wins as Altrincham stayed unbeaten at home from [since losing on] the opening day of the season.

Lewis [Jake] Moult handed Altrincham the lead in a first-half where there was not a lot between the two sides at the J.Davidson Stadium. However, the home side were deserved winners after the break with two quick-fire goals from Josh Hancock and Tom Peers scuppering Spartans’ hopes of a comeback.

The standout moment for Lee Clark’s men followed in injury time when Kris Thackray smashed a stunning free-kick past Tony Thompson for a late consolation.

Attention now turns towards Saturday’s six-pointer with Curzon Ashton, who hold a four-point advantage over Blyth at the bottom of the table.

Clark named an unchanged starting 11 from the 1-0 victory at Kidderminster Harriers... Hancock appeared the early dangerman for the hosts as he smashed an effort at goal from 20 yards with the ball narrowly rifling over Zach Hemming’s crossbar.

In truth, not a lot separated the pair in the opening 45 minutes with the only difference being Moult’s 34th-minute opener for the hosts. It was the good work of Shaun Densmore that carved the Blyth defence open before the Alty captain finished off the move....

Blyth struggled to hold possession at the beginning of the second-half and invited pressure from their hosts... That said, Clark’s side were unlucky to not equalise following superb awareness from Toby Mullarkey to drop onto his goal line and clear Lewis Hawkins’s close-range effort off the line... But as Blyth looked to be building some momentum, Altrincham raced into a three-goal lead with 20 minutes remaining.

Damen Mullen’s pass to Callum Roberts was cut out in the midfield but take nothing away from the finish with Hancock rocketing the ball home from 20 yards.

Three minutes later, the home side wrapped up the three points with Johnston’s cross headed past Hemming by Peers. From then on, Alty were in a free-flowing mood and pushed to extend their lead... Thompson, however, was to be breached – Thackray powering a free-kick home in the third minute of added time."


As well as Altrincham, Boston United are also catching up on league fixtures. The Boston Standard reports that on Tuesday night "Craig Elliott believes his Boston United side should have been awarded two penalties as they drew 0-0 with Curzon Ashton.

A point was enough for the Pilgrims to move up to fifth in the National League North, although it may have been three had referee Scott Tallis blown for what appeared to be fouls on Dominic Knowles and Nicky Walker.

'I thought they were both penalties,' Elliott said. 'I don’t like being that manager who moans about referees or other things, but I think they’re both penalties. You hope it evens out over the season.'

The draw also sees Curzon open up a four-point gap ahead of the drop zone...

Elliott added 'You’ve got to take what you can out [of] the game, I think. Can we play better? Of course we can, but it’s the nature of this league. I’m not going to say we should be beating Curzon as that’s disrespectful to teams. They’ve come in, had a game plan. They beat York. They beat Chester and you can see why in terms of what they do.

'I’m going to be as positive as I can. It’s a clean sheet, two unbeaten and you’ve got to build on that.'"

From the other side, Curzon Ashton report that they "earned a valuable point on the road as they played out a goalless, yet eventful draw with Boston United.

James Baillie had a golden opportunity late on to snatch all three points but blasted over the bar after being set up by the excellent Connor Dimaio. Curzon had survived a couple scares before that; Jordan Thewlis’ thunderbolt struck the underside of the crossbar and referee Scott Tallis waved away a strong penalty shout against Danny Shaw.

But a point was just reward after another committed display against play-off candidates and sets the team up nicely ahead of Saturday’s clash away to Blyth Spartans.

Manager Mark Bradshaw made only one change to the side which were beaten by Alfreton Town at the weekend. Sean Miller dropped out after fracturing a bone in his foot during that game and the Nash’s top scorer now faces an extended spell on the sidelines. Robbie Evans took his place after recovering from an illness...

While Boston had plenty of possession in the first half, they failed to do much with it against a well-organised Curzon defence... It took until first half injury time for Boston to test Cam Mason and when he comfortably fielded Jay Rollins’ effort that was the signal for half time.

Boston, who have only lost at home once all season, started the second half strongly... Tunde Bayode, signed on loan from Burnley for the remainder of the season, came on in the second half for Andrew Scott and he showed some nice touches and plenty of endeavour on his Nash debut.

Perhaps the biggest let off came when Nicky Walker tumbled to the ground under a challenge from Shaw. Despite howling protests from the stands and some worried Nash faces, the referee waved play on and Curzon should have made the hosts pay in a frantic final five minutes".


Against Stockport Town, Chester FC "advanced in the Cheshire Senior Cup as Danny Elliott’s strike at the 1885 Arena moved the Blues into Round Three.

The first half saw chances at both ends – starting when Stuart Crilly was denied by Josh Ollerenshaw... A frantic opening six minutes again almost saw the opener arrive but Ngwatala turned wide... It took until the half hour mark to see the next opportunity, Ollerenshaw clawing off the line...

In the second half... the Blues took the lead. Danny Elliott scored yet again in the Senior Cup, his deflected drive from just inside the box found the net after good build up. Stockport Town made a good account of themselves, and had plenty of chances to take the game to penalties... But the Blues held firm to advance in the cup.

CHESTER: Griffiths, Morgan, Hayes, Macready, Taylor, Crilly (Goodwin 71), Glendon, Burton, Murray (Hampson 82), Ngwatala (Noble 78), Elliott. SUBS NOT USED: Burke, Rubin".

Other results in the Cheshire Senior Cup 2nd Round:

  • 1874 Northwich 3-0 Cheadle Heath Nomads
  • Nantwich Town 7-0 Cammell Laird 1907 (James Lawrie scored one of the Dabbers' goals).

8 January 2019


Altrincham made it five successive league wins as they rose to ninth in the league table with this ultimately comfortable win over Blyth Spartans.

But, when half of the floodlights went out after just 13 minutes it could have signalled a premature end to the fixture. However, light was restored after six minutes' delay.

Right: Alty's pre-match huddle.

Altrincham had been the better side before they took a 34th minute lead when a neat interchange between Densmore and Hancock led to Densmore's low cross from the right byline, which Moult prodded home for the captain's third goal in six matches.

Referee Bannister, whose approach to refereeing was of the extreme laissez-faire school, letting fouls go willy-nilly, bizarrely played just four minutes and forty-five seconds of added time at the end of the first half. This was despite having decreed a minimum of five minutes, which itself was curious when the floodlight failure and an injury to Andy White should have made eight minutes a more accurate extension to the half.

Alty remained on top in the second half and a fantastic run by Johnston almost doubled the lead but his shot came back off the inside of the post (53 mins). Despite the Robins' dominance it took a magnificent thirty-yard shot from Hancock to make it 2-0 in the 71st minute.

Blyth's resistance was completely undone when, just three minutes later, it became 3-0 as Peers headed home a Johnston cross from the right.

With the game into added time, Richman pulled back substitute Wrightson as he advanced up the middle. Thackray hit the freekick into the bottom corner by way of consolation for the visitors (90+3 mins).

This was another fine performance from Altrincham which must have impressed the two scouts from Guiseley who watched the game ahead of Alty's clash with the Yorkshire side at the J. Davidson Stadium on Saturday.

Match report here.

The National League has highlights from the game.


Tuesday 7 January: Vanarama National League North
  • Altrincham 3-1 Blyth Spartans
  • Boston United 0-0 Curzon Ashton


Altrincham FC has confirmed that there will be a meeting for supporters with the club's management and board on Friday 24th January, at 7pm in the Community Sports Hall.


Altrincham FC is hosting a major Sporting Dinner on Friday 6th March with Norman Whiteside and Peter Barnes as its guests. This is timed to coincide with the Manchester Derby, which takes place later that weekend. The Club says "It's guaranteed to be entertaining night and being priced at just £30 a ticket it's sure to sell out quickly. A three course meal will be served along with a raffle and auction and the dress code will be smart casual.

There are a limited number of VIP tables available which include a private audience with our guests along with a personalised photograph; please ask for details.

Tables of eight (£240 + VAT) or ten (£300 + VAT) are available to book along with individual tickets at £30 each".

e-mail now to make your booking.


>Leamington have a sixteen-minute video, of very good quality, showing highlights of their game against Altrincham last Saturday, followed by a very complimentary video interview with the Brakes' manager, Paul Holleran.


On Tuesday, Chester FC reported, "Attentions from the league are diverted for a week or so, as a couple of cup games beckon for the Blues.

It starts tonight at the 1885 Arena against Stockport Town. After a convincing 7-0 away win at Runcorn Town back in October, this is now Round Two of the Cheshire Senior Cup. The visitors play in the North West Counties Division One South – and currently sit 8th in the table and 12 points off the play-off places.

Tonight’s game represents an opportunity for the Blues players who have not started a game recently and coming back from injury. Also, our Academy products that are gaining vital experience away on loan are eligible for this competition for Chester."


Buildbase FA Trophy First Round Proper.

Tuesday 7 January 2020

  • Barrow 2-0 Atherton Collieries
  • Salisbury 1-0 Eastbourne Borough

Wednesday 8 January 2020

  • Darlington 1-0 Solihull Moors


The National League confirms that "Josh March has become the first National League player to earn an EFL move this January. The Leamington striker has joined League Two club, Forest Green Rovers, for an undisclosed fee.

The 22-year-old, who joined Brakes last summer from Alvechurch, has scored 24 goals in 27 appearances this term. Manager Paul Holleran has turned another young player’s pro dream into a reality and said 'We are absolutely delighted to see Josh make the step up into the Football League.

'He had a number of clubs looking at him and he spoke to several of them, but has made the decision that Forest Green Rovers is the right move for him. He is moving to an upwardly mobile, ambitious club with good football people. Director of Football Richard Hughes watched Josh several times and, in Mark Cooper, they have a very good manager who I am sure will get the best out of him.

'We’re just pleased to have been able to play a part and put the cherry on the top for him if you like. It’s great to see that young players do still have a pathway into the professional game and can get themselves noticed playing in Non League. Josh has really earned his chance with his performances and goals for us this season, and our greatest wish for him now is that he settles in quickly at Forest Green and hits the ground running.'

Rovers director of football Richard Hughes said 'He has got a really good pedigree, has scored goals on his way up through the leagues and, in terms of his personality, he is our kind of player, very humble, has worked other jobs and is keen to be stepping into full-time football. He fits our profile as a person as well as a footballer'".

Middlesbrough have two of their loanee goalkeepers playing in the National League North and they "catch up with what’s been happening for Boro’s young loanees over Christmas and New Year.

Brad James enjoyed a satisfying trio of results to make up for defeat to Blyth Spartans on Boxing Day. The goalkeeper and Gateshead beat Spennymoor 3-1 at the Brewery Field before another match against Spartans and Boro opposite number Zach Hemming, this one ending in a 3-3 draw. Into the new year, and Heed beat Hereford 2-0 on the road...

Zach Hemming was in action twice either side of the aforementioned tussle with local rivals Gateshead. After losing 2-0 to Darlington, relegation-battling Spartans earned a creditable score draw in the reverse fixture with Heed. That was followed by an impressive 1-0 win away to Kidderminster Harriers... Hemming making a crucial late save in a fine individual performance that earned him a place in the Non-League Paper’s Team of the Day".

According to Football Insider "Stevenage are among a host of Football League clubs chasing in-form non-league hot-shot Adam Marriott this month...

Marriott is the highest scorer in the top six tiers of English football with a staggering 25 goals in 23 games for King’s Lynn Town so far this season.

A source at Stevenage has told Football Insider that the club are keen on bringing Marriott back to the club to help bolster their attacking options and boost their hopes of survival in the League Two relegation battle. Marriott was part of the youth academy at Norwich City but left in 2006 for Cambridge United before spells at Stevenage and Lincoln who he helped win promotion to the Football League in 2017...

The 28-year-old’s fine goalscoring form has not gone unnoticed higher up the football pyramid with scouts from League One and League Two sides making regular checks on the forward this season... King’s Lynn are keen to keep hold of Marriott this month as they look to maintain their promotion bid, but they are bracing themselves for offers for their prized asset before the transfer window closes.

According to Cheshire Live "Scott Burton looks set to make a long-awaited return to action this evening when Chester FC host Stockport Town in the Cheshire Senior Cup.

The Blues skipper, 32, has been out of action since the 1-0 FA Trophy win at Brackley Town on October after aggravating a rib injury in the 3-3 draw at Leamington in September.

Burton, who has made 14 appearances in all competitions this season, 10 of them in the National League North, is expected to get some valuable minutes when the North West Counties League side visit the 1885 Arena tonight.

Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley will give their fringe players a chance to shine... with the young players currently out on loan able to feature in the game.

Johnson said 'We love the Cheshire Senior Cup because it is competitive football against a team that will see it as a massive game coming down to our ground. Lads like Scott Burton, who's now back in training, a couple of other lads who haven't had the minutes that they have needed will play in that game. We can also play the youth loans that are out so maybe some of the younger lads. It has come at the perfect time for us.'

Stockport... hit the headlines in November when former Premier League star and current BBC and BT Sport broadcaster Robbie Savage came out of retirement to sign for the club at the age of 45. He made his debut off the bench against FC Oswestry Town the following week but hasn't been a feature since."

7 January 2020


Blyth Spartans visit Altrincham tonight (Tuesday).

Whilst Altrincham, in their most recent game at Leamington, started with seven of the same players who had faced Blyth on the Spartans' last visit to Altrincham in May 2019 for the Play-Off semi-final, and all of the other four starters remain at (or on loan at) the club but were either injured (Sean Williams and loanee Yussifu Ceesay), ill (James Jones) or on the bench (Connor Hampson), continuity has not been the name of the game in Northumberland.

Manager Alun Armstrong left in the summer for Darlington and his Blyth players were then part of a diaspora, several of them moving with the former manager to the Quakers or to York City, amongst other clubs.

Right: Jake Moult battles for an aerial ball against Blyth in the Play-Off match in May 2019.

In contrast, not one of the starters in Blyth's win at Kidderminster last Saturday was even in the squad for that May 2019 match at Moss Lane. However, there was one familiar face in the most recent Blyth line up who has troubled Alty previously and that is Robbie Dale, who missed the 2019 match as he was on holiday.

Two players who were on the bench for Blyth, both in the Alty game in 2019 and in last week's match at Agbborough, were Ryan Hutchinson and Adam Wrightson. The latter will be hoping for better luck than last time at Moss Lane as he was the unfortunate man whose penalty miss, after 12 successful conversions between the sides, allowed Alty to progress to the play-off semi-final at Chorley.

Blyth are now managed by former Newcastle United player and Football League manager Lee Clark. After a poor start to the campaign, Blyth have improved in rceent weeks and currently lie twelfth in the form guide over the last five league games. They have put eight points between themselves and bottom placed Bradford (Park Avenue) and are now just three points from safety, behind Curzon Ashton.


Just before their fine win at Kidderminster last Saturday, Blyth Spartans announced "the loan signing of midfielder Mark Waddington from Barrow until the end of the season.

Waddington moves to Croft Park having worked under Spartans' manager Lee Clark on two separate occasions at Blackpool and Kilmarnock.

The 23-year-old came through the youth ranks at the League One side and made his senior debut aged just 17 during a Carabao Cup tie with Shrewsbury Town in 2014.

Waddington went on to make an additional four first-team appearances before his progress was halted due to a broken foot in February 2015.

However, Waddington showed enough promise in that time to earn a move to then-Premier League side Stoke City but unfortunately failed to break into the senior picture.

During his four years at the Bet 365 Stadium, Waddington had two loan spells in Scotland with Killie and Falkirk.

At the end of last season, Waddington was released by Stoke City and was quickly snapped up by Barrow. Now, Waddington will reunite with Clark for a third time".

He made his debit from the bench at Aggborough on Saturday.

And the News Post Leader reminds us that "Lewis Hawkins’s spectacular second-half strike earned Blyth Spartans a massive three points at Kidderminster Harriers. Hawkins looped the ball over Harriers goalkeeper Will Mannion from 35 yards out after connecting with new signing Scott Wilson’s throw-in on the volley.

The 1-0 win, Blyth’s third league away win of the season, saw Lee Clark’s side reduce the relegation gap to three points ahead of games against Altrincham and Curzon Ashton... After a goalless first half Hawkins hit the winner on 56 minutes, Spartans holding on for a valuable victory.

On New Year’s Day a 93rd-minute equaliser from Levi Amantchi earned Blyth Spartans a late point against Gateshead in a game that saw four penalties awarded, including one saved by Zach Hemming.

Heed left-back Scott Barrow opened the scoring with a penalty before seeing one brilliantly saved by Hemming with the scores tied at 2-2.

Jordan Preston had doubled the visitors’ advantage before the hour-mark but two spot-kicks from Callum Roberts in two minutes got Lee Clark’s men back on level terms. But the drama wasn’t finished there. Greg Olley thought he had won it on 90 minutes only for Amantchi to level deep into injury time".

And yet more recent activity at Croft Park is reported by Blyth Spartans as they announce signing "defender Scott Wilson, joining on loan from Burnley until the end of the season...

Manager Lee Clark had been left light in defence at centre-back and left-back following the end of Lewis Ritson’s loan from Hull City and injury to Anthony Callaghan. Indeed, new signing Wilson can feature in both of the positions mentioned above... The 19-year-old, described as a powerful defender, joined the Clarets’ youth set-up in 2013 after impressing for Langho and Lammack Juniors.

Wilson has progressed through the under-18s and under-23s ranks at the Premier League club before he was awarded with a 12-month professional contract last summer. A loan move to Northumberland is not the first of his career having spent last season on work experience at Stalybridge Celtic."


Brian Flynn's telephone interview with Alty captain Jake Moult [right], after the Leamington game, is on the Altrincham FC website.


The outcome of the December Monthly Draw at Altrincham FC was as follows:
  • 6th prize, Alty FC Polo Shirt: #308 Jane Carter
  • 5th prize, Alty FC Home Replica Shirt: #300 Neil Faulkner
  • 4th prize, Hospitality for Two at Home Match: #79 Mark Eckersall
  • 3rd prize, £25 Cash: #318 Barbara Whitehead
  • 2nd prize, £75 Cash: #? D Crosby
  • 1st prize: £500 Cash: #120 Alan Murray


Tuesday 7 January
  • Chester FC v Stockport Town
  • Nantwich Town v Cammell Laird 1907
  • 1874 Northwich v Cheadle Heath Nomads

Wednesday 8 January.

  • Northwich Victoria v Stockport County


The Shropshire Star says that "Gavin Cowan has urged his players not to ‘sulk’ following a 1-0 home defeat to play-off contenders Brackley Town. The Bucks saw their unbeaten run ended at four matches by Lee Ndlovu’s 33rd-minute header, and the manager felt... 'For probably 15 minutes we really sulked,' he said.

'It was a bit reminiscent of when we were so dominant against Farsley (Celtic) and then they took the wind out of our sails and we sulked somewhat. I thought the lads were really patient, very disciplined, but then it was that moment when they caught us on the counter-attack and they got in and scored an exceptional goal. That’s where we started to sulk a bit, thinking things weren’t going our way, but that’s football unfortunately.

'If we sulk every time we concede a goal it’s going to be a long old season, but the response from half-time was one where they did everything we asked of them.'

Referring to his half-time team talk, Cowan continued 'Our message to the players was to show a bit of resilience. All I wanted from them in the second half really was to go out there and give a true reflection of themselves as players, and they did that. I couldn’t ask any more of them than to put the ball in the back of the net, it comes down to fine margins'...

Cowan served as a player under Brackley manager Kevin Wilkin at Nuneaton Town, and his admiration for the Northamptonshire side was clear... 'You can put them under the cosh and they find a way,' said the boss. 'That’s what good teams do, and I have a lot of respect for them and how they go about their business... I’ve spoken to their management team, and they said that was the best they’ve played in a long time, so I take that as a compliment that they had to raise their game'".

Hereford FC announce that "Tom Owen-Evans will spend the rest of the season on loan at Chippenham after seeing his loan spell extended.

Owen-Evans initially joined the Vanarama National League South side in December and has made six appearances, scoring two goals."

In addition, Hereford FC confirm that "Brad Ash has seen his loan spell with Weston Super Mare extended for a further month.

Ash returned to his former club on loan at the start of December and has gone on to make six appearances for the Seagulls. His loan spell will now expire on February 2nd.

Meanwhile, Jacob Jagger Cane’s current loan spell at Weston is set to expire next weekend."

According to the Northern Echo "Alun Armstrong has revealed his frustration at not being able to select Gary Martin on Saturday.

The Darlington-born striker was due to start the match with Gloucester City, a game that saw Armstrong make three changes with Wednesday’s FA Trophy replay against Solihull Moors in mind. He would have made four, however, had complications with Martin’s move not interfered with his team selection.

'I’ve never known anything take so long,' said the manager. 'I was on the phone to Gary all day Friday trying to sort out his insurance, IBV [an Icelandic club] then threw another thing in to sort out, it was madness. Sometimes you can do no more, and especially when you’re working to get a player signed that has been abroad, it does take a bit of time.'

Ten-goal striker Adam Campbell is the only Darlington player to have started each of the team’s 31 league and cup matches, and Armstrong had been keen on resting him against Gloucester.

'Gary would’ve started and Cams would’ve had a rest for Wednesday,' he added. 'He’s champing at the bit to play. When he signs there might be times we can play a 4-4-2 with him and Cams together'...

Darlington expect to complete the paperwork on Martin's loan from Icelandic club IBV this week, meaning he will be available for the weekend, but he is not eligible on Wednesday. Goalkeeper Liam Connell is ineligible and with that issue in mind Chris Elliott sat out Saturday’s match.

Elliott was named on the team sheet but that was an oversight, there was no injury during the warm-up and Connell was always intended to start."

Cheshire Live claims that "The form of some of Chester FC's key assets this season has drawn scouts to the 1885 Arena most weekends.

On Saturday, with the Blues taking on Guiseley at Nethermoor, there was one interested spectator keen to take a look at what was on offer with his own eyes as Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman took a seat in the stands... Coleman is known for taking players from non-League football... examples being the likes of ex-Chester men Sean McConville and Offrande Zanzala...

In recent months he dipped into the National League North to offer Leamington striker Colby Bishop a shot at League One, something he is grabbing with both hands... Just who he was there to see isn't known but Brad Jackson's form hasn't gone unnoticed this season, the same going for Akwasi Asante while George Glendon's Football League pedigree is not in doubt...

Chester joint-manager Anthony Johnson said 'John Coleman was here today and that shows that the individuals in the team are doing really well and our recruitment has been right. There will be some noise made this month about some of our players and our job isn't to convince them that Chester is the right football club, that's already been done, we just hope that they trust me and Bernard to be the right people to guide them through the next part of their careers.'

Glendon's deal at Chester is up in the coming days but both parties are keen to make his stay a more permanent affair provided it can be accommodated in the budget."

Meanwhile, Cheshire Live also tells us that "George Waring looks set for a brief spell on the sidelines after suffering a double fracture to his cheekbone. The big striker came on as a substitute on Saturday in the 1-0 win at Guiseley...

He was clattered late on when clearing a corner and had to spend the evening at Bradford Hospital A&E... And Chester-born Waring revealed ... that he had broken his cheekbone in two places... with a protective face mask likely needed for a return to action...

Waring is likely a miss for Saturday's trip to Royston Town in the FA Trophy while Akwasi Asante, who was withdrawn with 'tightness' in the second half at Guiseley should feature, it is hoped. If he doesn't and Waring is out then the door opens for the likes of Danny Elliott to stake a claim in their absence.

On Asante's withdrawal at Guiseley on Saturday, Anthony Johnson said 'Akwasi had to come off as he started to tighten up as I don't think he's done as much work in his life as he has had to in the last few games. If it was Robbo, if it was Matty Hughes or if it was Duds you would say "he's all right". It was just tightness and nothing serious...

'I don't think (he will miss Royston) but it has bitten me on the backside too many times to confirm that.'"

York Press tells us that "Steve Watson was full of praise for his York City side following their 2-0 win at Southport and said 'It's tough to single anybody out'.

Goalscorer Jordan Burrow continued his fine recent run form up top, as did Kieran Green in midfield... After missing the Bradford Park Avenue game, Steve McNulty was restored to the back three, who stood up well to the pressure Southport exerted on them. McNulty's inclusion came at the expense of striker Macaulay Langstaff, who netted the opener last week; a 'tough decision', Watson said, as the Minstermen reverted to their familiar 3-5-2 formation after deploying a 4-3-3 against Bradford.

Watson said 'It is a system we're comfortable with, we've worked on it all season, and it's a system that's worked largely all season. When teams are piling balls into the box, as Guiseley did and as Southport did, your job is to defend your box as best you can, and they defended it really well. Apart from that, from open play, they've had two or three shots from distance and not got through us at all really.

'It's a tough decision when we go back to that system for Macaulay because he's done nothing wrong and he scored his goal the other day. But we can only play two of the three. Jordan's got three in four games, so that's good for him as well, and Greeny has done some brilliant things again. He was powerful and he just gives us that little bit extra at times.

'It's tough to single anybody out. You can go through the whole team and they all had a very solid performance'".

6 January 2020


Blyth Spartans visit Altrincham on Tuesday. Mike Garnett's records tell us the historical record of Altrincham against Blyth Spartans:
  • Home: P10-W6-D3-L1-F19-A12
  • Away: P12-W3-D5-L4-F18-A19
  • All: P22-W9-D8-L5-F37-A31

Clashes between the sides tend to be fairly high scoring, with an average of three goals per game.


On Tuesday, Blyth Spartans face the long midweek haul to Altrincham, after the original match was postponed from 9 November, 2019 and rearranged for 10 December only to be deferred again, for reasons that are far from clear.

The last time Blyth Spartans came the match was memorable. It was the Vanarama National League North Promotion Play-Off Qualifying match, which ended 2-2 aet and then Alty won probably the best penalty shoot-out ever seen at Moss Lane, triumphing 7-6. That was on Wednesday, 1 May 2019. Blyth Spartans had arrived in magnificent form, with seven straight wins under their belt. Alty, however, despite only one defeat in twelve, had only won two of their last six league matches.

After Blyth had deservedly taken a two-goal lead inside the first half-hour, Altrincham gained a lifeline when Johnston converted a penalty, awarded for handball, seven minutes later. However, the visitors' lead remained intact until the third of four added minutes at the end of the regulation ninety minutes.

Above: John Johnston nets the first-half penalty which got Alty back into the match against Blyth in May, 2019.

Alty's 93rd minute leveller took the game to extra time and, with no further goals being scored, penalties followed. Twelve perfect penalties made it 6-6 from the spot until substitute Wrightson saw the thirteenth effort saved by Tony Thompson. Josh Hancock then converted Alty's seventh kick to put the seal on a victory which had seemed highly unlikely earlier in the evening.

Alty had started the evening poorly, showing little invention and frequently mispassing and miscontrolling the ball in the opening stages. In the 11th minute Jarrett Rivers put Blyth ahead, on merit, when he drifted across the box from the right, played a one-two, and then smartly netted. A superbly struck 27 yarder from full-back Nicholson made it 2-0 to the Spartans in the 28th minute.

Seven minutes later, when a Williams shot struck a Blyth man's arm, Alty were awarded a penalty which Johnston converted to make it 1-2.

Alty had the better of the second half but time seemed to have run out as they sought an equalizer. However, in the third added minute, Hancock got free and scored from about 12 yards to send the match into extra-time. Alty had the better of the first period of extra-time, before Blyth finished the second period strongly. What turned into the 14 kicks of a penalty shoot-out followed, with Alty emerging the winners 7-6.

ALTRINCHAM : 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Shaun Densmore, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 7. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Sean Williams, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Yusufi Ceesay. Subs: 12. Max Harrop, 14. James Poole, 15. Simon Richman, 16. Ben Harrison, 20. Elliot Wynne.

BLYTH SPARTANS : 1. Peter Jameson, 2. Alex Nicholson, 3. Michael Liddle, 4. Kieran Green, 5. Nathan Buddle, 6. Jordan Watson, 7. Jarrett Rivers, 8. Connor Oliver, 9. Daniel Maguire (c), 10. David Atkinson, 11. Jamie Holmes. Subs: 12. Louis Horner, 14. Ryan Hutchinson, 15. Sean Reid, 16. Louis Laing, 17. Adam Wrightson.


Bay Downing continues to play for Steve Claridge's Salisbury. He has now netted penalties in four successive games for the Wiltshire club inclusing the winner last Saturday against Chesham.

Briefly an Alty player but he never played a game for the club, Sefton Gonzales is now with Ashton United.


As well as Alty v Blyth games averaging more than three goals per game, Alty matches played on Tuesday's date, 7 January, have included two high-scoring matches in the last three such fixtures, as Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years data show.

Before the most recent encounter on that date, a poor 0-1 home defeat to Gloucester City, no fewer than 16 goals had been netted in the two previous Altrincham games played on 7 January.

In 2014 there was a crazy game in which Danny Higginbotham was prominent, for the wrong reasons, as Alty lost 4-5 at bottom of the table Gainsborough Trinity. And before that, in 2012, Alty lost 3-4 at home to Colwyn Bay.

You have to go back to 1989 and a 3-1 away win at Weymouth to locate Altrincham's last win on 7 January.


At Gateshead "Goals from Elliot Forbes and Dom Tear helped Gateshead to a first win of 2020, beating Hereford 2-0 at the Gateshead International Stadium.

Forbes headed Gateshead in front with his first goal for the club on half an hour, in what was an otherwise quiet first half.

The Heed improved after the break but weren’t able to add to their tally until the 88th minute when Tear fired home. The Heed made one change following the draw at Blyth with Liam Agnew starting in place of Tear...

Gateshead came out stronger after the break and were the only team who looked like scoring... Gateshead sealed the win with two minutes left on the clock, Greg Olley’s cross to Preston was blocked out by Ben Pollock, but the ball fell perfectly to Tear who fired into the roof of the net".

Southport tell us that "An injury-hit Southport side put up a valiant fight against York City who were looking to keep their title challenge alive, the away side coming away with a 2-0 victory.

York would take the lead 34 minutes into the game, Kallum Griffiths corner was flicked in by Kieran Green. The goal had come against the run of play as Southport had grown into the game.

Following the goal, York controlled the remainder of the first half and could have easily made it 2-0 before the half was out...

Southport started the second half strongly... Minutes later York would double their lead. Paddy McLaughlin released Jordan Burrow whose driven effort found the back of the net...

The game ended Southport 0-2 York City. The home side watched on by a crowd of 1,144 could be motivated by creating many chances throughout the game against such strong opposition but they [were] just missing that clinical edge to finish the chances".

According to the Telegraph & Argus, "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower was left in disbelief by referee Paul Brown’s display in his side’s 2-1 defeat against Boston United at Horsfall.

The loss means that Bradford sit at the bottom of the Vanarama National League North, effectively 12 points away from 20th placed Curzon Ashton with Avenue’s goal difference standing at -51...

Bower selected several decisions that he believes should have gone his side’s way... He said 'It was an absolutely stonewall penalty in the first half... (when Tom Clare was deemed to be dragged down in the box). Other things went against us throughout the course of the game that were baffling from a refereeing point of view. Joe (Green) is fouled (for the second goal) but that was not given.

'There was an absolutely shocking tackle in the first five minutes when Alex Hurst was running at their centre half. It just defies any kind of logic... It’s a yellow card all day long. It puts them on edge for the rest of the game, it set the tone for his performance.'”

Bradford responded to going two goals down immediately with a stunning strike from Nicky Clee... Bower said... 'We matched them throughout the game, man for man. You can’t fault the players, they keep going out and are just not getting any breaks. After conceding two poor goals we are pleased with the reaction, we looked liked the team more likely to score...

'The second half became a little more cagey but when we put them under pressure we had three or four glorious chances, from which we have got to be taking at least one. We feel for the lads that they didn’t get what they deserved, at least a point from the game.'”

More comes from the Telegraph & Argus, which opines "It is beginning to look like a great escape is going to be needed if Bradford (Park Avenue) are to achieve safety... Their performance in a 2-1 defeat at home to Boston United, witnessed by 481, didn’t merit damning headlines as Mark Bower’s side stood toe-to-toe with a team firmly in the play-off picture.

However it was a familiar tale for Bradford who failed to convert their chances and made mistakes of their own against much more fancied opposition to condemn them to a fifth consecutive loss in the league. With captain Keith Lowe and loanee Jon Royle departing the club earlier in the week, Jake Hibbs made his debut and Liam Hughes came in. Tom Clare was also handed a start against his former club, replacing Oli Johnson to lead the line...

Although there wasn’t too much between the teams on the day, the fifth defeat in a row ramps up the pressure on Bower’s side who will be aiming to stop the rot when they travel to 15th-placed Hereford next week."

In contrast, the Northern Echo relates that "Now ninth after winning five of their last six league games and with an almost fully fit squad available, Darlington go into 2020 with far brighter prospects than they did 2019... and even manager Alun Armstrong has finally admitted that the play-offs are a possibility... His team are now only a point off seventh and firmly in the reckoning.

'The play-offs have never been our target, but I have brought players in that are good enough to get us there,' admitted Armstrong. 'We’ve played almost everyone in this league now and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be up there. We’ve dropped ten points in the first part of the season, so if we can avoid doing that in the second half of the season then happy days.'

Right now, whether Darlington reach the play-offs is almost immaterial. That Armstrong and his assistant Darren Holloway, after inheriting the remains of the Tommy Wright era, have given supporters something to believe in, a team worth watching, and been able to mould a competitive side is a triumph. They were almost starting from scratch and an overhaul was required...

A new engine was needed so they turned to Will Hatfield, a man already assured to be Darlington’s player of the year. His energy in midfield, the driving runs, breaking up play and canny knack of winning free-kicks, all qualities Quakers lacked last season, make him hugely important and a fans’ favourite... New signing Sean Reid has brought with him a goal threat...

New loan signing Gary Martin... was unable to play on Saturday [v. Gloucester City], issues with paperwork the explanation, so Adam Campbell maintained his 100 per cent starting record and midway through the half scored his tenth goal of the season, a penalty after Reid was tripped.

'We had patches in the first half when they couldn’t live with us, the intensity and the football was good, we just didn’t score enough because it should’ve been four of 5-0 and done and dusted,' said Armstrong...

It has become a recurring theme, Darlington doing their best work in the first half before allowing standards to drop in the second 45 minutes. It happened last week away to both Blyth Spartans and Spennymoor Town, winning one and losing the other, the best example being the capitulation to Telford United, the November day when Darlington lost 3-2 at home despite leading 2-0.

So there were understandable were concerns when Gloucester pulled a goal back on the hour after a contentiously awarded corner... 'The referee knew he had made a mistake', said Armstrong... 'They get a corner that they score from. But we needed to be better than that in the second half. It’s a mental issue with the lads, a bit of nervousness kicks in at the minute and I’ve got to find out why'...

Armstrong acted, sending on substitute Terry Galbraith and switching to five at the back, enough to snuff out Gloucester... He said, 'I don’t like settling for a point. But in hindsight you look at things and I could have put Jordan Watson on, soaked things up and got a draw, so I take a bit of the responsibility on that one, but I want to win every game that’s the problem!'"

According to Lynn News "King's Lynn Town assistant manager Paul Bastock firmly believes the club is more than capable of sustaining its challenge at the top of the table...

And after Saturday's stunning 3-0 home victory over Spennymoor Town, where Lynn were without six players through injury and suspension, Bastock... said 'Of course we are looking at trying to get promoted now we've got enough points to stay up. We've always believed that this team is capable, but we didn't want to kill it by saying it... We've put ourselves in a magnificent position.

'If we don't take these opportunities it could be another 10 years before we find ourselves on a run like this. We just need to get some extra bodies in and strengthen the squad. We will push for it because that dressing room has got the desire to do it...

'When you look at Chester and York, they are full-time teams. You saw today how tired these boys are and we're wrapping them in cotton wool just to get them out on the pitch at the moment... We will just keep ticking each week off as it goes and see where we are at the end of April.'

Lynn host York City at The Walks on January 18 in a monumental clash next that could go a long way in defining the National League North title".

King's Lynn's last opponents, Spennymoor Town "became the latest victims of King’s Lynn’s superb recent run of form as The Linnets capitalised on an early red card for Stephen Brogan.

Moors played with ten men for over 75 minutes and held out until the final minute of the first half when Ross Barrows bundled in from close range. Adam Marriott continued his fine personal season with two goals in the second half to compound a day to forget for Moors...

Spennymoor began the second half the better side without posing a serious threat on Alex Street’s goal, with the home side looking increasingly ragged in possession, but after the referee let a challenge on Carey go, the ball ran to Marriott who finished with the outside of his foot via the post.

Fresh from netting his 24th league goal of the season... He didn’t have long to wait for another chance though, and this time he made no mistake, crashing a close range shot past Gould after chesting down a cross from Carey".

Bulls' News reports that Hereford FC manager "Russell Slade spoke to the media after yesterday's 2-0 setback at Gateshead. In his interview he admitted that the club still hasn't got a striker who can score goals consistantly...

Said the Hereford FC manager, 'I spoke to their manager and he thought we were the better said first half, certainly between the two boxes... I can't fault the effort of the players. Just disappointed with the second goal because it's almost like we stopped on it and Ben Pollock had done so well to slide in and get the interception in the first place.

'We didn't create enough chances for sure... There were some good things but it's the nitty-gritty in both ends of the pitch that count at the end of the day... Most of those teams have probably got a striker that has maybe got 12/15 goals at this stage of the season, we haven't got that at the minute. We are trying to chip in from different areas'...

Slade has brought in keeper Will Henry as cover for Brandon Hall, who is unwell. 'He wasn't responsible for any of the goals today, his kicking was decent and he came and made a couple of very good punches. He was solid enough', said Slade.

'By and large our home form bar from the odd lapse has been fairly solid but away from home we've not got it together really... We're back to normal [training] Tuesday, Thursday and no mid-week game and I think we need that right now because I don't think we could quite find the energy... We're probably closer to the play-offs than anywhere near to the bottom. A couple of wins and you can in up and around it'".

5 January 2020


Altrincham made it twelve points over the festive season with this second away win of the league season.

Altrincham started the game the better side but failed to convert that superiority into a goal. White's header against the post was the nearest to a first-half breakthrough.

Right: Josh Hancock, farthest left on the image, is congratulated on his goal.

The Brakes had the better of the closing stages of the first half but half time arrived with the score goalless.

Altrincham took a 57th minute lead when Josh Hancock netted his fiftieth goal for the club, from a Densmore feed.

Two home substitutions helped the Brakes but Alty defended well and in the closing stages had two or three counter attacks which could have produced another goal.

Match report here...


Leamington report that "With Football League bound top scorer Josh March looking on from the sidelines, Leamington slipped to their second narrow defeat in four days against a very good Altrincham side with their sights set fully on the top six after a slow start to the season.

Brakes had come unstuck in a five-goal thrashing in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and, at times, they simply had to sit and soak up relentless pressure for long spells, while struggling to make their own mark on the game, but to their credit they kept battling and restricted their visitors largely to half-chances throughout.

The visitors dominated the opening stages and struck the post through Andrew White as Leamington struggled to get to grips with their in form visitors. Holleran’s men were simply not given the chance to settle into the game as Altrincham, backed by a noisy travelling support, poured forward.

Three successive corners ended with Jake Weaver saving a close range shot as Brakes somehow emerged from the first twenty minutes on level terms, and finally started to gain a foothold in the game... and Leamington’s confidence began to return as possession became more even...

Despite being forced into an early second half change the visitors continued where they left off, and Weaver blocked well from Jordan Hulme... Brakes forged their best chance of the afternoon when Jack Edwards met Stephan Morley’s left wing cross with a downward header that bounced just wide, but Altrincham kept coming...

The goal the visitors had threatened all afternoon finally arrived on 56 minutes as Densmore’s low left wing cross was swept home by the right boot of Josh Hancock to spark jubilant celebrations from the visiting bench.

Right: As well as dominating possession at Leamington, Alty also acquired their third clean sheet in four outings. Here we see forward players Josh Hancock and Jordan Hulme knowing their defensive roles as they prepare for a corner. And defenders Andy White (standing by the goalpost) and Toby Mullarkey also know their roles in such situations.

Perversely Leamington began to enjoy what was probably their best spell of the game after the goal, but were unable to forge any real chances on goal to trouble the visitors...

Meanwhile Altrincham continued to push forward but the only thing really missing from their display was more goals; Lane clearing a dangerous ball across goal to prevent a second, but one was all they required to claim a second win of the New Year".

Leamington manager Paul Holleran said, ‘We had to hang on in there in the first half. It’s been a long time since a visiting side have had such prolonged spells on top in a game here, and we struggled to get a grip of their quality and their movement, but you’ve got to stick in there. We’ve had a decent December, and even in the couple of games we’ve lost, we’ve had decent chances, we’ve had spells of possession, and it’s probably the first time in a long time where we’ve probably been starved of the ball really, and I think a lot of that is down to them (Altrincham).

It’s all right me saying this, that and the other but I think from our point of view you’ve got to look at it and say you’re going to have times like that in this league. They are probably one of the few sides that have done it to us here this season; they are definitely the best side we’ve come across here this season. You’ve got to find different ways to win; we needed to stay in the game a bit longer. You always know that after 65-70 minutes it’s going to open up, and it did open up a bit, but we huffed and puffed without showing any real quality I think.

‘As I’ve just said to the players, we actually didn’t look too bad in the game heading towards the hour mark, but we haven’t put enough leg work in today, and sometimes when you’re starved of the ball, and the opposition have got good quality, at times you’ve got to show bits of character and desire, and at times that was a little bit lacking today. I think when we look at their goal, they’ve had the whole of the right side of the pitch to run into. I think at times their movement has been good but I think at times we’ve got to do better defensively.

'In a game like today where we are second best, we’ll accept that... Altrincham were deserved winners but I think we just need a little breather. I need to look at the group as well...

On Josh March leaving the club 'Obviously we’re going to miss him. Any player that has the impact that Josh has had at the football club in the six months he’s been here… Finding goalscorers at any level is difficult enough, and there’s teams at this level, below and above that are paying a hell of a lot of money to try and solve those problems. We’ve been very fortunate over the last few years with some of these boys we have picked up.

'Josh is a great example for any young player, any non league player in their late teens/early twenties. I think he was released three times from pro clubs by the age of 14. He played park football then for a couple of years; went and played at Step 7, went and played at Step 6, had a few years at Step 3 and 4 and then he’s made the step up this year; so it’s a great story, and like Colby Bishop he thoroughly thoroughly deserves it. We’re just glad to play our part really'".


Alty's Lewis Walters scored for Trafford on Saturday as they secured an impressive 2-2 draw away to league leaders Workington. Trafford lost their keeper to a red card for handling putside the box so played with ten men for most of the second half. Also playing in the match, for Workington, was striker Nathan Waterston [right] whose spell at Alty was sadly cut short by injury. The match in Cumbria was remarkable as the home side had to make a substitution just 14 seconds into the game when "Dave Symington’s back problems flared up again forcing Reds to make their quickest ever substitution".

Elsewhere Ryan Brooke's goal for Mossley could not stop them from a defeat to Runcorn Linnets.

Further afield, some clarification about James Poole comes from Wikipedia. "He departed the club [Altrincham] in June 2019 to move to Australia where he will head up scouting and recruitment for Melbourne City FC. He is employed by Manchester City FC and his current role involves scouting for three clubs that Manchester City FC's holding company own or part-own, New York City FC, Melbourne City FC & Yokohama FC". He has been playing football for Melbourne club Preston Lions.


Altrincham entertain a resurgent Blyth Spartans on Tuesday night, the Northumberland side having got themselves eight points clear of bottom club Bradford (Park Avenue) and just three points (and goal difference) from safety.

On Saturday both the Spartans and Altrincham secured 1-0 away wins in the Midlands, Blyth winning at Kidderminster and Alty at Leamington.

Blyth Spartans tell us that "Lewis Hawkins’s spectacular second-half strike earned Blyth Spartans a massive three points at Kidderminster Harriers in their quest for National League North safety.

Hawkins looped the ball over Harriers goalkeeper Will Mannion from 35 yards out after connecting with new signing Scott Wilson’s throw-in on the volley. The 1-0 win, Blyth’s third league away win of the season, saw Lee Clark’s side reduce the relegation gap to three points ahead of games against Altrincham and Curzon Ashton.

Clark named one enforced change from the 3-3 draw with Gateshead, Wilson coming in for the injured Olly Scott. Mark Waddington started on the bench. The game was end-to-end in the opening quarter of an hour... Harriers ended the first-half on top... Blyth lost their shape from [a] corner as Ashley Hemming’s corner dropped to the unmarked Butterfield but, fortunately, Hemming was on guard to save...

But it was Clark’s men who started the second interval on the front foot and had Hawkins to thank for an unbelievable opener at Aggborough on 56 minutes. The hosts pushed for an equaliser, though rarely tested Hemming due to the excellent resilience and battling display from the Blyth defence...

There were a few heart-and-mouth moments to follow, none less than in the final kick of the game after Kidderminster won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Hemmings fired a vicious strike towards goal. The power of shot meant Hemming could only parry and thankfully the follow up was held just as it seemed it was going to be bundled home...

Blyth Spartans: Hemming, Evans, Wilson, Mullen (Waddington 76), Sanders, Thackray, Hunter, Hawkins, Sweet (Wrightson, 65 OFF McKeown 90), Roberts, Dale. Subs not used: Devitt, Hutchinson.".


Saturday, 4 January 2020.
  • AFC Telford United 0-1 Brackley Town
  • Bradford Park Avenue 1-2 Boston United
  • Curzon Ashton 0-2 Alfreton Town
  • Darlington 2-1 Gloucester City
  • Gateshead 2-0 Hereford FC
  • Guiseley 0-1 Chester FC
  • Kettering Town 1-0 Farsley Celtic
  • Kidderminster Harriers 0-1 Blyth Spartans
  • King's Lynn Town 3=0 Spennymoor Town
  • Leamington 0-1 Altrincham
  • Southport 0-2 York City


Altrincham face AFC Telford United twice in four days in early February and in the meantime the Shropshire Star says that "A real goal-poacher’s header from Lee Ndlovu took all three points back to Northamptonshire with the visitors in a closely fought contest.

Clear chances were at a premium for either side in a cagey first half; the Bucks went close when Brackley keeper punched a clearance from a free-kick against Matty Stenson, the ball rebounding over the crossbar, and Lewis smartly saved James McQuilkin’s opportunistic near-post effort.

The visitors went ahead on 33 minutes, when Ndlovu converted one of Brackley’s few opportunities, heading Ellis Myles’s cross back across home keeper Matt Yates and in off the far post. That proved decisive, though it could potentially have been a bigger margin, Yates making a penalty save in the 51st minute [which] kept the Bucks in this game.

Theo Streete was adjudged, perhaps harshly, to have fouled James Armson trying to reach Ndlovu’s ball in from the right; however, when Shane Byrne went straight down the middle, Yates’ trailing left leg diverted the ball over the crossbar.

The Bucks committed more men forwards in the latter stages, with Brackley sitting deep and absorbing most of what they had to offer".

The unofficial Harriers Online tells us that "Six years ago the Harriers held higher league opposition, Peterbrough Utd, to a goalless draw in the FA Cup and then, a few days later, cruised to one of our most memorable victories away from home in the replay. Today, they were put to the sword by second bottom side Blyth Spartans and looked a world away from that Joe Lolley inspired win.

For the Harriers the returning Keith Lowe formed part of a makeshift backline, with Ed Williams at right back, Sam Austin left back and Lowe accompanied by Cliff Moyo and Harry Higginson in the middle. Blyth, backed by their thirty five travelling supporters, had the first opportunity of the game when Will Mannion saved smartly from Michael Sweet and dangerman Callum Roberts, before Hawkins also saw an effort bend wide...

As a spectacle the game was exceptionally poor and at half time you got the feeling the game was simply meandering to a goalless draw, barring a moment of genius or disaster.

The opening to the second half did not yield any great changes to the pattern of the game so our manager, Jimmy Shan, opted to introduce Correy Davidson in place of Ed Williams. A couple of minutes later, the Spartans struck and what a strike it was too; truly worthy of winning better games than this one.

Blyth won a throw in thirty yards out which they took quickly. Lewis Hawkins let the ball run across his body before unleashing a volley that dipped over Will Mannion into the top right hand corner... Despite battling gamely Freemantle never got much joy out of the Blyth centre back pairing, both of whom were well in excess of six feet tall, and one felt Chambers would have the same issue as Harriers chased the game.

Hemmings and Chambers tried to combine but it never happened for Harriers... This result sees Blyth close to within six points of Harriers with a game in hand, whilst the teams separating them close to within touching distance with games in hand... These are worrying, worrying times for all of a Harriers persuasion and we can only hope that Jimmy Shan is given the freedom and the resources to try and lift this once great club out of the hole we find ourselves in. Six years ago we hosted Peterborough United. Next year, if we are not careful, we could be hosting Peterborough Sports".

Kettering Town summarise their game in a pithy 'one-liner', ahead of a fuller report. "A stunning strike from Michael Richens, two penalty misses, a plethora of chances for the Poppies, saw Paul Cox's side record their first home win of 2020 in the most one sided 1-0 you will ever witness".

From the other side Farsley Celtic "slipped to a third defeat in four games as they suffered a 1-0 loss away to relegation-battling Kettering Town.

Michael Richens’ strike 20 minutes in proved to be the difference between the sides, and despite a late rally Farsley were unable to get back into the game.

Farsley Celtic Manager Adam Lakeland was disappointed with the result... as he said 'We were miles off it first-half, made errors, didn’t compete will enough right across the pitch, lost too many individual battles and didn’t get to grips with their shape which was disappointing.

'For as bad as we were, we’ve had an opportunity to get back into the game with a penalty which Will (Hayhurst) has missed, but he’s scored loads of penalties for us. We changed shape at half-time and I thought we were better second-half, although when you’re chasing the game you always leave yourself a bit open and they had opportunities on the break where they should have wrapped the game up.'

Kettering were dominant from the start... Farsley were given a big chance to get back in the game midway through the half when Tyler Walton was pulled back in the box as he attempted to shoot, and the referee pointed to the spot. However, the opportunity was squandered as Will Hayhurst’s spot-kick was saved by Paul White who dived low to his right.

Less than 60 seconds later the hosts were awarded a penalty of their own as Daniel Nti was brought down in the box by Trenerry. Brett Solkhon stepped up to take the penalty but struck his effort firmly against the post with the rebound fired wide...

Farsley then suffered a big blow on the hour mark as a late challenge by Nti on Kyle Trenerry resulted in the shot-stopper being carried off on a stretcher, requiring x-rays to assess the extent of the damage. Trenerry’s replacement Elliot Wynne was called into action straightaway".

On Saturday, Curzon Ashton's woes continued as AlfretonTown reported that "Amari Morgan-Smith's 17th of the season in all competitions and Bobby Johnson's penalty sealed a huge three points for the Reds, as our elusive eight game winless run came to an end and we turn extended our unbeaten run to three matches.

With just two minutes gone, Josh Clackstone's long throw was flicked on towards Amari who got the decisive touch ahead of the defender into the bottom corner in front of our travelling support.

Bobby then sent Mason the wrong way from the spot on 52 minutes, after Amari was hauled down in the box latching onto a Danny East knock-down".

From the Eastern Daily Press we learn that "King's Lynn Town eased to an impressive 3-0 win at home to Spennymoor Town to stay four points clear at the top of the National League North.

Ross Barrows opened the scoring just before half-time as the Linnets made the extra man tell after the visitors' Stephen Brogan was shown a straight red card for denying Chris Henderson a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Linnets' leading man Adam Marriott took centre stage in the second half as he took his goals tally to 25 for the season with a double.

Second-placed York City gained a decent victory of their own as they eased to a 2-0 win over play-off hopefuls Southport thanks to brace from Jordan Burrow.

Ian Culverhouse's men retain a four-point advantage at the top though as they turn their thoughts to their FA Trophy second round clash at Ebbsfleet United next Saturday."

With Alty due at Spennymoor on 14 January, Brogan will presumably be suspended for that clash, whilst Alty will be without the similarily suspended Max Harrop.

Bradford (Park Avenue) report that "In an entertaining duel at the Horsfall Stadium, Bradford (Park Avenue) fell 2-1 to Boston United in a result that sees them now falling deeper and deeper into the bottom of the table.

There was no place in which you could fault the effort and desire of the Avenue players, who gave it their all on the pitch but, once again, it was the same story that has haunted them all season in which they just weren’t able to take their chances.

It was the worst possible start, though, for Bradford as they fell behind after just 45 seconds after the always dangerous Jordan Thewlis managed to slip in Dom Knowles, who showed his composure by slotting the ball comfortbaly underneath Joe Green to give his side the lead.

From then on, it was always going to be an uphill battle for an Avenue side, who, although they are playing well, are desperately struggling for points... The Avenue the found themselves further behind after former player Simon Ainge managed to strike the ball home after Green wasn’t able to gather the ball from [an] inswinging corner.

Avenue didn’t let that finish them off, though, as they got themselves straight back into the game and it was Nicky Clee who brought one back for the hosts with an absolutely terrific half volley which Boston keeper, Peter Crook, simply could do nothing about.

And then soon after, Tom Clare latched onto a fantastic through ball from new signing Jake Hibbs, but his effort was remarkably saved by Crook who managed to touch the ball onto the post.

Both sides returned from half time, and although it was a feisty affair with strong challenges coming in from left and right, not much happened... until the Avenue started piling on the pressure late in the game, but... they somehow couldn’t find the net and the Avenue undeservedly fell to another defeat".

Chester FC "made it back to back wins to start the new decade with a first win at Nethermoor since reformation. James Jones nodded home the winner in a solid defensive display less than 24 hours after managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley signed new deals with the club.

The unchanged Yellows made a bright start in Yorkshire... On 11 minutes. Academy graduates combined, as Waters’s peach of a ball into the box from the right was nodded home in the six yard box by Jones for his second of the campaign.

It was a scrappy affair but Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s side were certainly having the better of it. Guiseley did start to conjure up a couple of half chances though...

The second half started without incident in a scrappy encounter".

On the eve of the game, Chester FC had reported that "Joint Managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have signed two-and-a-half-year contract extensions with the club. The new deals see the Management duo secure their futures at the club until the end of the 2021/22 season.

‘Bern and Jonno’ arrived at the 1885 Arena in May 2018 after leaving Salford City... Despite a stop-start season that included injuries and match postponements due to infrastructure damage at the ground, Johnson and Morley guided Chester to a respectable 9th place finish, just three points short of the play-off places.

This term the Blues have moved to a hybrid model, with the Managers attracting some fantastic footballers to the club, assembling an exciting team playing attractive and fast-paced attacking football currently sitting third in the table".

4 January 2020


Altrincham travel to Leamington today (Saturday).

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

  • Home: P4-W2-D2-L0-F11-A5
  • Away: P3-W2-D0-L1-F3-A4
  • All: P7-W4-D2-L1-F14-A9

Earlier this season Alty won the reverse fixture at home, 5-0. Altrincham go into this game in twelfth place, two places and a point ahead of The Brakes, but having played three games fewer.

Midfielder Max Harrop should be available for selection despite his red card on New Year's Day, as his three-match ban will not start till midweek. However, fellow midfielder Sean Williams is expected to remain sidelined with the injury that he suffered on 28 December.

James Jones was the latest Alty player to suffer the stomach bug which swept the club over the festive period and, consequently, he missed the New Year's Day fixture. Should he recover to play on Saturday, he will be making his one hundreth start for Altrincham.

Meanwhile, Gloucestershire Live reported on New Year's Eve that "Forest Green Rovers are thought to have made a £25,000 bid for Leamington forward Josh March.

March signed for the National League North side back in May 2019 from Alvechurch and has scored 24 goals in 27 appearances since joining the Brakes...

Rovers have really struggled in front of goal in the last month, scoring just three times in December and head coach Mark Cooper has admitted the side will be in the market for attacking players...

A Forest Green spokesperson said 'Forest Green Rovers will not comment on transfer speculation'".


A few numbers are available in the Altrincham FC Bonus Ball competition, in which members of the scheme are allocated a number in the national Lotto draw. Should the holder's number be the Bonus Ball number, he or she will win £25 with the remaining weekly incoming going to the Football Club.

The numbers available are 7,12,21,22,30,33,34,35,36,42,46,47 and 49. If you wish to take part, for a stake of £1 a week, please contact the chairman, Grahame Rowley as soon as possible with your choice of number(s).


Alty TV has some thirteen minutes of highlights from Altrincham's win over Curzon Ashton on New Year's Day.


Last season, Alty also travelled to Leamington in the month of January and on that occasion they came away with a very disappointing result, losing 3-0 to a Leamington side without a win in eleven outings.

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

From that point Altrincham became distinctly second-best and Leamington doubled their lead twenty minutes later from the penalty spot. The Brakes' Solihull loanee Murphy got away from Hampson and the pursuing Hannigan brought down the Brakes' player inside the box.

Goalkeeper Thompson got a hand to the spot-kick by Bishop, but could not keep it out. A minute from the end of the first forty-five, Bishop netted his second when he outmuscled Jones to nod home a cross from the right by English.

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

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

Hulme was therefore looking at a four-match ban, having already seen red this season. Having conceded four goals in the final forty-five minutes at Chorley in the previous away game and, now, three in the first forty-five at Leamington, Alty had conceded seven times in ninety-minutes of away football.

The sides that day were:

LEAMINGTON: 1. Tony Breedon (c), 2. Junior English, 3. Jack Lane, 4. Joe Clarke, 5. Jamie Hood, 6. James Mace, 7. Jordan Murphy, 8. Callum Gittings, 9. Colby Bishop, 10. Jack Edwards, 11. Ahmed Obeng. Subs: 12. Connor Taylor, 14. Mikey Taylor, 15. Sam Wilding, 16. Reece Flanagan, 17. James Bowen

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


According to the Telegraph & Argus "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower says it was a 'no-brainer' to sign Ryan Hall on loan from Spennymoor Town, adding the winger has done well whenever he has played against them in the past...

The 25-year-old will make his Horsfall bow for the first time in Saturday's home game against Boston United... in a side that could see some changes soon.

Bower said 'Ryan came in ahead of the York game, and I think there will be some movement for more new loan players over the next few weeks, as we have some loans that are coming to an end. Ryan's a player we've always kept an eye on, and he's done well whenever we've played against him. He's local, from Huddersfield, but he was attracted up to Spennymoor a couple of years ago, because they had big ambitions for promotion.

'We were aware he was available and it was a no brainer, especially given his locality. He played against us for Spennymoor last month, but even though we lost 3-0, he could see we were going in the right direction. He wants to play regular football. We can offer him that, and he'll help us up at the top end of the pitch'...

Bower said 'Boston are a strong team with good experience. They score goals too, and a few people have told me that they're one of the best attacking sides in the league. We'll try and make it difficult in that regard, but we've got to take our chances in front of goal too. We need to try to get in front because that changes the whole complexion of the game...

'We've not been bad at home. Especially against better teams like Altrincham, York and King's Lynn. Boston have been around the play-offs all season themselves. They've looked at recruitment and they're serious about promotion. But aside from the second half debacle at Farsley, we've played well over Christmas against two leading teams.'

Bower was impressed with the performance at York on Wednesday, especially after the break, when he said Avenue 'looked like the team who were second in the league' and that they had York 'on the rack'.

Bower said: 'The way we've played in the last few games, how we've not scored is amazing to me... If we play like we did against York, we'll have a good chance of points against other teams. One win can soon snowball into two or three. We've got to keep believing, as we need those wins sooner rather than later'".

Southport report that "George Newell has been recalled from his loan spell at Marine.

The 22-year-old scored five goals in his seven games while with the Mariners and is available for selection against York City."

The Hereford Times reports that "Former Hereford FC player/coach Chris Barker has died aged 39. Barker, originally from Sheffield, joined the Bulls at the start of the 2016/17 season.

During the October of the season Baker left to join Weston-super-Mare as a player/assistant manager before leaving and retiring from the game in July 2017. The defender had a lengthy career which saw him play over 100 matches for Barnsley, Cardiff City and Southend United.

A statement from South Wales police said 'Police can confirm the sudden death of a 39 year-old man who was discovered at his home address in the Cyncoed area of Cardiff on New Year's Day. His death is not being treated as suspicious".

From Cheshire Live we read that Chester "got the New Year off to a fine start with a 4-0 success over the Sandgrounders... After taking the plaudits for a superb performance in a 3-1 win at the Sandgrounders on Boxing Day the Blues were brought crashing back down to earth two days later when they were on the wrong end of a bitterly disappointing 1-0 home defeat by struggling Curzon Ashton .

It felt like one step forward and two steps back after the Curzon game and the defeat was met with some ire from fans.

The return clash with fellow National League North promotion chasers Southport, a side who have become somewhat of a bogey side for Chester in recent years, felt like a game of real significance in terms of how the Blues approached 2020.

It was all smiles come 5pm, however, as the Blues opened up the new decade in some style as a double from 16-goal Akwasi Asante and strikes from Simon Grand and Anthony Dudley saw Chester claim a valuable and richly deserved three points...

Said Bernard Morley 'I thought there was a bit of anxiety in the first half but we got them in at half time 1-0 up with a clean sheet and told them that we needed to apply ourselves better than what we did against Curzon in the second half which they obviously did and came away with a magnificent result. I don't think Southport have sat behind the ball, I think they've come and had a go and that is the reason the game was end to end and the quality shone through in the end...

'It's the fact that we're not as consistent as we should be and that's why we're not at the top. But when we're at it we are at it and we are as good as anybody in the league on our day. And that's not me being biased as that is what other managers tell us, it's just about that consistency...

The game marked a return to deadly form for Asante. The big Dutchman, such a key man on his day, made it 16 goals in 16 games in the league this season to get himself back on track after some out of character profligacy... And Morley revealed that a bit of a pep talk was had with Asante after the Curzon game in a bid to get him back firing on all cylinders.

'Akwasi, from myself and Jonno, has come in for a bit of criticism,' said Morley. 'He's used to scoring one in two whereas he's had five or six chances and not been scoring. We had a conversation with him and we didn't blame him for the result against Curzon but we told him he gets paid to score and he hadn't done it over the last couple of games. But he's been back at it and what a reaction. He felt a little bit sorry for himself because we gave him a bit of a bollocking after the Curzon game, and that's because he missed chances and ultimately we get the criticism for that, and rightly so because that's the nature of the beast'"


Macclesfield Town's woes continue as the BBC reports that "Daryl McMahon has resigned as manager of financially-troubled Macclesfield Town, the club have confirmed. The Silkmen are 22nd in League Two after a six-point penalty for non-payment of wages and failing to fulfil a fixture against Crewe on 7 December.

McMahon, 36, succeeded Sol Campbell as boss in August, however he leaves along with assistant Steve Gritt.

'We're taking advice from our legal team and will provide a further update,' a Macclesfield Town club statement said.

The club's financial problems have overshadowed his tenure at Moss Rose".

3 January, 2020


On New Year's Day, as is customary at the first home game of each new year, Altrincham FC chaplain, Rev. Andy Barclay-Watts read the Roll of Honour. This recalls the lives of those people connected with Altrincham FC who have died in the preceding calendar year.

After the 2020 reading there was a minute's applause for those named, in which both Altrincham and Curzon Ashton players and spectators participated.

Pictured, right, we see the Altrincham players applauding the memory of the players, club officials and spectators who are no longer with us.


Alty travel to Leamington this Saturday, 4 January 2020.

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

  • Home: P4-W2-D2-L0-F11-A5
  • Away: P3-W2-D0-L1-F3-A4
  • All: P7-W4-D2-L1-F14-A9

Earlier this season Alty won the reverse fixture at home, 5-0. Altrincham start the game in twelfth place, two places and a point ahead of The Brakes, but having played three games fewer.

However, in January 2019, in the clubs' last meeting in Warwickshire, against a Leamington side without a win in eleven outings, Altrincham put on one of their poorest performances of the season and lost 3-0, conceding all of the goals before the interval. Their cause was not helped by a red card for Jordan Hulme in the 78th minute.


Assistant manager Neil Sorvel spoke to Brian Flynn on Alty TV after the New Year's Day win over Curzon Ashton.

Also, Alty Twitter has a post-match interview with Andy White who netted the winner on New Year's Day.

Match report here.


TASC Travel Coordinator, Mark Eckersall, writes "Our first trip of 2020 takes us to Leamington on Saturday 4th January. We will be having a 30 minute stop on the way down and 15 mins on the way back and hope you can join us. We’ve kept prices the same as our last visit so please do your best to support the coaches and let’s get behind the boys. We’ve lowered the student and under-16 price to get our younger fans there as well.

The club office is closed until next week so please email your bookings/enquiries to me or text only, please, to 07837 658627".

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


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records remind us that on Saturday, 4 January, when Alty travel to Leamington, it will be exactly 45 years to the day since The Robins' memorable 1-1 draw away to Everton in the FA Cup Third Round.

And 4 January is also, by coincidence, also exactly six years since Altrincham and Leamingtom met in 2014 in a Skrill North league match at Moss Lane, which Altrincham won 3-2. That game was also the debut for Altrincham of the former Premier League defender Danny Higginbotham.

For the 2014 match Altrincham's change of formation to 3-5-2 did not produce the fluency of recent performances. Altrincham scored early in each half but then laboured for substantial periods of the game as Leamington deservedly got level. But an 85th-minute wonder goal by James Walshaw, deployed once more as a substitute, got the three points which lifted Altrincham into third place in the league table.

Above: 4 January, 2014, Alty line up against Leamington.

With Higginbotham at the centre of the back three, Altrincham got off to a good start, with Damian Reeves (making his 150th start for the club) heading home in the fifth minute from close range, after Tom Marshall had headed a ball back into the goalmouth from beyond the back post. They held onto the lead till the interval despite the Brakes seeing a lot of the ball. Alty made it 2-0 after 53 minutes when Kyle Perry also scored with a close range effort, after his initial shot had been blocked.

Just four minutes later Higginbotham conceded a penalty and Dodd calmly beat Coburn. After Magunda had levelled the score on 73 minutes, the visitors almost snatched the points with Alty grateful for Shaun Densmore's important clearance off the line. But then Walshaw, who had been on the bench for the third game running despite being the club's leading scorer, came on after 74 minutes and 12 minutes later struck a wonderful goal from 25 yards to seal the win.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Scott Leather, 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Danny Higginbotham, 5. Gianluca Havern (capt), 6. Tom Marshall, 7. Simon Richman, 8. Jake Moult, 9. Kyle Perry, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 12. Matt Doughty, 14. Shaun Densmore, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 16. James Walshaw, 17. James Lawrie.

LEAMINGTON: 1. Tony Breeden, 2. Ryan Higgins, 3. Stephan Morley (capt), 4. Joe Magunda, 5. Liam Daly, 6. James Mace, 7. Matt Dodd, 8. Craig Owen, 9. Stefan Moore, 10. Ricky Johnson, 11. Lee Moore. Subs: 12. David McNamee, 14. Kieron Morris, 15. Will Green, 16. Josh Green, 17. Lewis Fenney.


Illness prevented centre-back James Jones from making his 100th start for Altrincham on New Year's Day but, hopefully, he will reach that landmark on Saturday.

He will be hoping that the day ends better for him than for team-mate Max Harrop. Max was making his 100th appearance for the club on New Year's Day against Curzon Ashton but he ended the game prematurely when he was sent off in the second half.

A happier landmark could be reached in the New Year's Day game, as Josh Hancock is one short of his fiftieth goal for the club, his current tally of 49 has been reached in 110(+11) appearances.


The next visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium, on Tuesday, 7 January, are Blyth Spartans who "confirm Lewis Ritson and Levi Amantchi have returned to their parent clubs following their respective loan spells.

Ritson returns to Hull City having made 21 appearances since his arrival in August, most frequently forming a defensive partnership with Tom Devitt.

'It was tough but a good experience for me to get some games in a competitive league,' Ritson told 'All the lads are quality and so are the fans. I enjoyed it even though it hasn’t always been great results. The character in the group is there to see and I’m sure they will be fine the rest of the season. All in all, it was a good experience for me.'

Amantchi returns to Chesterfield as a cult hero after his last touch as a Blyth Spartans player turned out to be a 93rd-minute equaliser against local rivals Gateshead on New Year’s Day. The club wished to extend the 19-year-old’s loan, however the player wants to try and earn a new contract at the National League club with six months left on his current deal.

In total, Amantchi scored two goals... in 16 outings. Blyth Spartans manager Lee Clark said 'I’d like to thank both players for their efforts and wish them the very best for the future'". We echo Lee’s comment and would like to add that both players will always be welcomed back at Croft Park. "


The Northants Telegraph reports that "Paul Cox felt a point was the 'very least' Kettering Town deserved after they claimed a 1-1 draw at Brackley Town on New Year’s Day. The Poppies went in front against their Northamptonshire rivals when Michael McGrath’s shot took a deflection to beat Danny Lewis in the home goal.

But Brackley, who started the day in third place in the Vanarama National League North, equalised almost immediately through James Armson. Further drama followed in the second half with the Poppies reduced to 10 men when Ben Milnes was sent-off for a foul on Lee Ndlouv before they won a penalty which Dan Nti took but it was saved by Lewis. And they almost paid a heavy price in stoppage-time when Brackley were awarded a penalty of their own but Paul White produced a save to preserve the point...

Boss Cox said 'We have come up against a team whose form has been fantastic... but we asked questions of them, even with 10 men. The referee probably needs a mention because even the linesman on our side was questioning some of his decisions. For the sending-off, he has pulled the centre-forward up for continuously jumping into people and then wasn’t bright enough to realise that’s what he did for that foul.

'I will have to watch it again to be 100 per cent professional on it but it was one of a multitude. I thought there were some strange decisions and I didn’t think he helped himself. Taking that aside, I thought a point was the very least we deserved. I think the turning point was the penalty we got. If we had scored that then we maybe would have gone on...

'Over two tough away games, we are kicking ourselves a bit that we haven’t come out with a slightly higher points tally. The transition from eight or nine weeks ago has been immense and I think the supporters appreciate that.'

Cox, meanwhile, admitted he was expecting Brett Solkhon to take the penalty the Poppies were awarded before Nti stepped up and saw his effort from 12 yards saved.

'I thought it was going to be Brett who would take it but Dan is a centre-forward,' Cox added. 'I think it sometimes takes a lot of mental strength to pick the ball up against one of your former clubs and sometimes you have to be brave enough to miss them. I thought it was Brett who takes them when he is on the pitch and we will have a talk about it. But there won’t be any hunting down of Dan or anything like that'".

In the Boston Standard manager "Craig Elliott believes ‘too many leaders went hiding’ as Boston United were beaten 3-0 by King’s Lynn... as the National League North leaders completed their first double over the Pilgrims since 1960.

Manager Elliott was left concerned by his side’s performance in the second half after they trailed 2-0.

'Ultimately, the biggest frustration is the reaction in the second half,' he said. 'It’s the first time I’ve seen a bit of adversity in the camp and I was interested to see how we came out of that. Too many leaders went hiding. Which is a concern, If I’m honest. I didn’t see it coming. I don’t want to come across disrespectful to King’s Lynn; they’re top of the league for a reason and you could see that today, but I just think the goals we conceded were poor and contributed a lot to them winning the game...

'The levels we’ve been at, we were way below. I think there’s only Jake Wright who came out with any sort of credit in term of this performance... The [second] goal just before half time killed us,' Elliott said. 'I though the first goal was poor as there were no major threats really. Just one long ball in between the two centre backs, who I thought were poor today.'

Referencing Richards’ effort [the second goal], he added 'The overwhelming one is in terms of how can a midfield player have time to take a touch 25 yards out and have a shot at goal? Our midfield players don’t get that... I could hid behind fatigue but that’s just excuses.'

Gash was gifted a third after Peter Crook’s weak goal kick landed kindly to Marriott. 'It’s a difficult position and there have been a few goals over the past few weeks I think he could have done better with,' the manager continued. 'That last goal’s a massive error. The game was over as soon as he did that. I always try to work with my goalkeepers and let them have one error a month, that’s how I work it at this level. But now that’s too many.'

However, despite George Willis waiting in the wings, Elliott didn’t buy into speculation he could replace his number one, adding 'There’s no knee jerk reactions to anybody. Too many players went missing today.'”

Also from the Boston Standard we learn that "Scott Garner has returned to Boston United, with manager Craig Elliott delighted to get the ‘leader’ on board.

The 30-year-old has joined from National League North rivals Guiseley, with the Pilgrims paying an undisclosed fee for the defender.

'We need him. I’ve been after him so long and looking at (New Year’s Day’s defeat to King’s Lynn) you can see why,' Elliott said. 'He ticks all the boxes, another leader, another character, a good defender'.

Elliott attempted to bring Garner, who has previously made 138 appearances for Boston, back to York Street in the summer, but has finally got his man. 'Things have changed a bit at Guiseley and we’re happy to get that done,' added Elliott... 'He’s a good player, that’s the main reason. But obviously it helps having been here before. A lot of people crumble when they come into this environment. I know he can play in several areas but first and foremost I see him as a centre back'.

Garner joined United in summer 2013, leaving at the end of the 2015-16 campaign to join FC Halifax Town, aiding them to promotion the following season".

From York Press manager "Steve Watson has said that he's "supremely confident" that York City can come away with three points from tomorrow's trip to fellow promotion chasers Southport.

York kept pace with National League North leaders King's Lynn on Wednesday after completing the double over Bradford Park Avenue thanks a 2-1 win over Bootham Crescent... ahead of the crucial meeting between the two clubs later this month. Before that, York face Southport this weekend, a side who... took a point at Bootham Crescent back in September. But, the Christmas period has been tough for Southport, having lost all of their last three matches, conceding 10 goals and scoring just once during such time.

York have been particularly strong on their travels this term and boast the division's best record away from home, taking four more points than any other side. And, while their run of three wins from their past 11 matches has dented their promotion ambitions, Watson's belief in his side hasn't waned.

'I'm supremely confident that we can, I really am,' said Watson when asked about the magnitude of taking maximum points. 'We'll have a look at what's going to work best for us against them... I've gone in to every away game this season fancying ourselves to win...

'I’d say that there’s half a dozen of them [the players] that are under the weather. Sometimes, when you’re coming off the back of three quick games and you’ve got people under the weather, it isn’t as easy to play as fast and as quick as you would think... You’ve got to be patient. You might have to play three or four passes around the back, almost to give the players a breather, who have been working hard over Christmas.

'It’s not a long break, it’s only a couple of days but it’s a good chance to get the players’ batteries charged.'

York were again without striker Dan Maguire for the New Year’s Day clash with Bradford Park Avenue through injury...

He said 'With Dan this season, confidence isn’t the word I would use very often. But, of of course I’m hopeful and that’s probably the best word to use'. With Maguire absent, Langstaff scored the opener against Bradford Park Avenue, his first league goal of the season.

'It was a typical Macaulay goal because he’s such a good finisher and he’s got such a good touch,' hailed Watson of the forward... 'That is what we have been missing... They (King’s Lynn) are just on this relentless run and we’ve got to peg them back,' Watson said. 'We’ve still got to play them and that’s going to be a huge game. We’ll play them within our next three games, which is now getting close. I’d like us to be in a better frame of mind, coming off the back of some really good results with confidence.'"

The Shropshire Star confirms that "AFC Telford United have handed full-back Arlen Birch a new deal for the remainder of the season.

Birch, 23, was brought in as a free transfer at the beginning of October during Gavin Cowan's squad re-shuffle having began the season without a club. The former AFC Fylde man, an FA Trophy winner last season, initially joined Cowan's men until January. He has since made 10 National League North appearances, starting nine, and put in some consistent displays on either side of defence.

Birch, who was born in Wrexham but grew up in Ellesmere, will remain a Telford player until the end of the season. Cowan's men have picked up seven points from a possible nine over a busy six-day festive period...

Meanwhile, midfielder Jon Royle, Telford's longest-serving player, was due to finish his loan spell at Bradford Park Avenue yesterday (January 1). The 25-year-old played six times for the division's bottom club".

And the Shropshire Star adds that "Gavin Cowan felt his side showed Alfreton Town ‘too much respect’ in their 1-1 draw on New Year’s Day.

But the Bucks' boss said 'I probably have to take responsibility and say that it felt as though we gave them too much respect in our approach, but I would say that it’s a strategy that’s worked really well for us in recent games and I didn’t want to upset the apple cart too much'.

The Bucks took a fourth-minute lead through a terrific James McQuilkin strike, but were pegged back just before the half-hour as Alfreton’s approach paid dividends, prompting Cowan to make changes.

'We switched it around at half-time and it proved to be really beneficial for us,' the boss said. “They had one chance, which Matt Yates pulled off a great save for, but outside of that we had four-five chances where we ought to nick it. That’s why the lads were a little bit quiet in the dressing room, because they are a bit disappointed, but that’s a great show of where we are, that we’ve come away from home to a difficult place and to get a draw is a positive.'

When asked whether Alfreton had drawn the Bucks into playing the way the home side wanted to play, Cowan replied 'We played the way we wanted to play, but it was the wrong way. It invited them too much; we didn’t quite get the blend, we weren’t getting anyone close to Matt Stenson, the ball forward wasn’t with any sort of quality, so that’s why we decided to change things a bit at half-time... I’m not coming away from here down in the dumps; I thought the referee [Kristian Silcock] was really poor, for both sides, but more for us,' added Cowan.

'He wasn’t up with the play, and the lads are absolutely adamant that it’s a penalty, and he’s right on top of that... I thought in the second half we were excellent, we created numerous chances and had what the lads thought was a blatant penalty turned down'".

We learn from Gloucestershire Live that "Gloucester City started the new year with a much-needed win and ‘put right’ the reverse fixture against Leamington. The Tigers battled out a 2-1 victory over Leamington on New Year’s Day, with goals from full back Jack James and striker Marlon Jackson.

Leamington did have two goals ruled out for offside, captain Jack Edwards being the culprit on both occasions. This result came just six days after Gloucester were well and truly beaten in the reverse fixture against Leamington 3-0.

Gloucester hadn’t won a game in the league since the 19 of October against Bradford Park Avenue, or under James Rowe, so the result came as a huge relief for the manager and fans alike.

'That was for them, they have come in numbers and it's exciting times at the moment, 2020, getting back to Meadow Park so hopefully we can give them a team to be proud of,' said manager James Rowe... 'I thought we had less possession that we did in the other games but we were a lot more clinical at both ends of the pitch', said Rowe. 'I thought the two centre halves today were brilliant, especially Avery coming on at the end there'...

Gloucester saw out a barrage of chances in the last 20 minutes for Leamington and held on to a much-needed victory".

Buckingham Today says that "Despite seeing his side drop two points, Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin was satisfied with the display. Brackley Town and Kettering Town shared the points in a full blooded New Year’s Day game full of incident, the first league fixture ever between the two Northamptonshire sides which ended 1-1.

The Poppies took the lead, only to be immediately pegged back before a breathless second half saw the visitors go down to ten men and both sides fail to convert penalty kicks.

Wilkin said 'It is a pleasing point with lots of positives. Kettering had the better moments overall but I didn’t feel either side did enough to warrant the win. I am delighted with my players’ determination and readiness to roll up their sleeves in a game like this that was always going to be hard fought'...

The story of the final minutes was all about penalty kicks as first Kettering won an 80th minute spot-kick that Lewis saved from Daniel Nti diving to his left before Matt Lowe was fouled earning Saints an added time penalty kick of their own that Paul White saved well from Thierry Audel to deny Saints the victory.

'Expectations at the club can be sky high sometimes and here at St James Park we are there to be shot at,' Wilkin added".

At Guiseley The Lions are back at Nethermoor on Saturday for the first time this year with Chester this visitors for a 3pm kick-off.

Segregation is in place for this fixture... It was an excellent festive period for Russ O’Neill and Marcus Bignot’s side picking up nine points out of nine with two wins over Farsley Celtic with a victory at York City’s Bootham Crescent sandwiched in between.

[Ex-Alty loanee from Bury] Chris Sang [left] struck two goals in two games against Farsley and is set for just his second home game after making his Nethermoor bow in the Boxing Day win over Farsley, a game which saw his stunning strike set us on the way to a first victory in LS20 since September. He then bagged the only goal of the game at The Citadel to start 2020 in style.

The Lions are undefeated in four with a stalemate at Hereford starting the run on 21st December which has put us in eighth... Scott Garner is back available for selection following the end of his suspension but he may find it hard to break into the side which has conceded just one goal in the last four games, Aaron Martin and Jamie Spencer are likely to remain out through injury...

Former Lion loanee Anthony Dudley could start in attack for The Blues as Marcus Bignot comes up against his previous employers on Saturday. Speaking after the New Year’s Day win at Farsley Celtic Joint Manager Marcus Bignot said 'It has been a super end to last year and an excellent start to the new year, I think we have got the bragging rights now haven’t we over our local rivals? Every Guiseley fan can be looking forward to this new year with a lot of optimism with this young group.

'I knew today’s game would be a different game, this was probably our Achilles heal in terms of the way they play and what they bring, it exploits a lot of our weaknesses and nullifies our strengths, we are learning, growing and we have come through it, this was a massive test today, to come away and beat them, keep clean sheets and overcome them it was an excellent performance.

'We couldn’t play our game because the pitch was a leveller, we had to go toe to toe with them and we did that. This young group has found a way to win football matches and I am absolutely delighted for them'...

'Defending starts from the front with the effort that Chris Sang, Kaine Felix and Lee Shaw are putting in'".

2 January 2020


During a disappointing first-half in which Altrincham failed to translate plenty of possession into a serious threat of a goal, Curzon took a 29th minute lead when a right-sided corner evaded Tony Thompson and Calverley headed home. Johnston's header wide from close range was the nearest to an Alty goal in the first 45 minutes.

Above: Curzon take the lead.

A scrappy start to the second half was forgotten when Altrincham scored twice in two minutes. Their equalizer arrived folllowing a Johnston freekick for a foul by Baillie on the Alty wingman. The ball came out to Jake Moult who drilled the ball into the net (56 mins). The goal had an instant effect in upping the tempo for Alty and, following a right-side advance, Harrop found Andy White whose low shot gave his side the lead.

With Altrincham looking in control they suffered a blow in the 75th minute when Harrop's off-the-ground challenge near halfway earned him a straight red card on his 100th appearance for the club. But ten-man Alty rode out the final stages of the game quite comfortably aided by Curzon making poor use of the ball when in possession.

Match report here.


Leamington are Alty's hosts this Saturday.

On New Year's Day they lost 2-1 at Gloucester City, "On a cold and cloudy afternoon in Worcestershire, Brakes kicked off a new year and a new decade with a narrow defeat against Gloucester City, who ended a run of over two months without a win in the process.

Paul Holleran kept faith with the same starting eleven from the Hereford game, while bringing in Callum Gittings and young keeper Josh Allen on the substitutes' bench,

Gloucester looked eager and hungry to both avenge their Boxing Day defeat and pick up their first win under new manager and former Brakes striker James Rowe, and were well on top in the opening exchanges...

Junior English had given away a free kick right on the edge of the box on the left, and it was from the dead ball that Jack James curled in off the far post to give his side the lead.

Nine minutes before half time Gloucester doubled their advantage when Jackson lifted the ball over the advancing Weaver inside the box before stabbing it home despite there being defenders back trying to cover... The hosts continued to look more likely to add to their tally... But just when it was starting to look like it might be an afternoon to write off for Leamington they hauled themselves back into the game. Walters laid the ball back for Steph Morley to cross to the far post and Edwards was not going to be denied this time, powering his header past Maher...

Edwards saw a second goal chalked off when the offside flag was raised once more as he turned to fire home inside the box... Leamington were simply unable to create another opportunity...

Leamington: Jake Weaver, Junior English, Stephan Morley, Callum Maycock, James Mace, Jack Lane, Jordan Murphy (12 Kieran Dunbar, 69), Joe Clarke, Kaiman Anderson (16 Connor Taylor, 69), Jack Edwards ©, Dexter Walters. Subs not used: 14 Callum Gittings, 15 Josh Martin, 17 Josh Allen (GK)".


The National League reports that "On this evidence it appears 2020 could be just as good as 2019 was for the National League North leaders.

King’s Lynn Town’s emphatic 3-0 win at Boston United sent out a message to everyone; a stylish eighth win in nine meant they began the New Year with 51 points on the board. Adam Marriott scored goal number 23 of the season already with Jordan Richards and Michael Gash also finding the net as they took the Pilgrims to task.

Chasing York City didn’t make light work of out-of-form Bradford PA, an ultimately narrow 2-1 win at Bootham Crescent was confirmed by Macauley Langstaff and Jordan Burrow.

Chester won well and gave the others above them something to think about. The third-place Seals thrashed Southport 4-0 to do the double over Liam Watson’s team, Akwasi Asante, 27, netting another double.

Brackley were the only team near the top not to win, Kettering keeping them at bay with a 1-1 draw at St James Park.

Guiseley have had a great festive period. They won their third game in a row at Farsley, [ex-alty loanee] Chris Sang getting the winner.

Altrincham are three-from-three too, they edged past Curzon Ashton 2-1 to move into the top half.

An incredible 93rd-minute equaliser from Levi Amantchi earned plucky Blyth Spartans point against North East rivals Gateshead in a game that saw four penalties awarded. It ended 3-3 as the fans got their money’s worth in a classic derby.

It wasn’t the only one in the area. Spennymoor beat Darlington 3-1 to end the Quakers' four-match winning run...

Hereford ended their miserable 11-game winless run by beating Kidderminster Harriers. The Bulls’ much-needed 2-1 victory was delivered as a Cliff Moyo own goal and added to Victor Sodiende’s 50th minute opener.

Elsewhere, Gloucester City beat Leamington 2-1 while Alfreton and AFC Telford played out a 1-1 draw".

York City "started the new year with a 2-1 victory against Bradford Park Avenue at Bootham Crescent.

Macaulay Langstaff scored in the first half, before Jordan Burrow doubled City's lead with ten minutes remaining. Liam Hughes got one back late on for Bradford...

Steve Watson made one change to the side that lost to Guiseley, reverting to the team that beat Bradford 2-0 on boxing day. Bradford manager Mark Bower made four changes to his side after their defeat to Farsley...

York went ahead after 13 minutes. A brilliant run from Adriano Moke saw him take the ball into the box before pulling it back to Langstaff who composed himself inside the area and slotted the ball into the net...

With ten minutes to go, York got their second goal. Burrow was played in on the left-hand side of the box. His shot was straight at Green however the Bradford keeper couldn’t hold it, and it went into the back of the net...

Bradford managed to get themselves a goal with the last kick of the game. Substitute Hughes’s shot took a deflection, wrong footed Jameson and went in."

Spennymoor Town report that "Late goals from Ben McKenna and Adam Boyes sealed a dramatic victory for Spennymoor over neighbours Darlington in front of over 2000 fans inside The Brewery Field.

McKenna finished off a superb individual run five minutes from time before Boyes tapped in with a minute remaining, this after Justin Donawa had cancelled out James Roberts’ opener.

Jason Ainsley opted to make four changes from the side who were beaten by Gateshead the previous Saturday, with Carl Magnay, Nathan Buddle, Shane Henry and Ben McKenna replacing [the] quartet of Jake Hibbs, Chris Mason, Jack Earing and Mark Anderson.

The teams emerged from the tunnel to a heated atmosphere, and the game was lively from the first whistle... James Roberts scored the opening goal of the contest after 18 minutes...

Darlington were keen to respond quickly and came within inches of equalising... It was evident that the away side were increasingly in the ascendancy, and they found the equaliser eight minutes before the break when a cross into the six yard box found the head of Justin Donawa, who powered the ball past Gould...

The action on the pitch would take a back seat as there were unsavoury scenes in the away end which caused a fifteen minute delay for the start of the second 45 minutes...

There was always a sense that there was another goal in the match, and, with five minutes of normal time remaining, that moment arrived in front of hundreds of jubilant Spennymoor supporters.

McKenna, who always posed a threat down the left flank, juggled the ball before exchanging passes with Taylor. The Brewery Field then held its collective breath as the winger found the back of the net via the post...

Darlington, in search of a late equaliser, lost their shape and gifted Moors another opening when Ramshaw broke from midfield, but he saw his effort well saved by Elliott. However, the ball rebounded Kindly to the midfielder, and he slid the ball across the six yard box, allowing late substitute Boyes to tap in."

For Southport "It was a bad start to the New Year as Port lost 4-0 against Chester with goals from Simon Grand and Anthony Dudley and a brace from Akwasi Asante...

Things got worse for Southport in the 13th minute as Jack Doyle was forced off through injury. The left-back came off clutching the back of his leg... Port’s luck couldn’t hold out forever and from the resultant corner Chester broke the deadlock. Chester surrounded the goalkeeper before the corner and when Albinson attempted to push his way out he failed to make contact and Simon Grand turned in a header at the back post...

When the sides reappeared for the second half it was Chester that started the brighter, taking only two minutes to add to their lead. Jackson’s shot from the edge of the box was palmed into the path of Asante who poked in the home side’s second...

They would make it three from a corner as Southport were only able to clear as far as Anthony Dudley who fired a long range shot that left Albinson rooted to the spot... Chester made it four in the 71st minute as Asante turned in the box and managed to squeeze away a shot that snuck [sic] into the corner of the goal on Albinson’s right".

Kettering Town report that "Two goals, two missed penalties, a sending off, clearances off the line and a plethora of chances saw 2020 get underway in dramatic style for the Poppies on New Year's Day.

A goal ahead through Michael McGrath's long range deflected shot, putting Paul Cox's side ahead, well just for 90 seconds as James Armson equalised for the hosts in a goalmouth scramble.

Drama in the second half with Michael Richens seeing red is only half the story... "

Hereford FC "started 2020 with a deserved 2-1 victory over Kidderminster Harriers...

Both sides had spells on top in what was an evenly-matched opening period... We went in goalless at the break.

We came out of the blocks with purpose at the start of the second half... With 50 minutes on the clock we took the lead when a reckless challenge on Cullinane-Liburd by Johnson gave us a penalty which Sodiende stepped up and despatched with confidence...

We were able to double our advantage on 80 minutes when Dawson did well out wide and his teasing cross went in off the head of Moyo for an own goal... The visitors were able to pull a goal back in the first minute of six minutes stoppage time when a corner caused problems as the ball appeared to go in off Cullinane-Liburd in front of goal. We managed to battle out the final stages to secure a deserved victory".

From Gateshead we learn that "The Heed were held to a dramatic New Year's Day draw at Blyth Spartans. A late goal from Levi Amantchi saw Gateshead denied the chance to avenge Boxing Day’s defeat to Blyth Spartans, in an eventful 3-3 draw at Croft Park.

Gateshead led 1-0 at the break with Scott Barrow scoring from the spot midway through the half. The Heed doubled the lead through Jordan Preston just before the hour mark. Spartans then had two penalties in three minutes, with Callum Roberts scoring both to bring the game level.

Gateshead had a penalty a moment later, but Barrow’s shot was saved by Hemming. Greg Olley put the Heed ahead late on, but an Amantchi goal deep into stoppage time brought Blyth level again".

According to Bradford (Park Avenue), "Despite a spirited performance, the Avenue once again fell victim to the same team they lost to at the Horsfall Stadium last week.

But unlike last week, the Avenue players must have left the pitch feeling hard done by after putting in a much improved performance and were probably the better team for most periods of the match but, unfortunately, as has happened too much this season, mistakes came back to haunt them and they were unable to leave the Crescent Stadium with any of the spoils.

York began the game with plenty of possession, but Avenue gradually got more and more involved, and by the second half were, in most instances, the more dominant team but by then, the damage had mostly been done, as York had taken the lead in the first 15 minutes of the game courtesy of Macauley Langstaff, who brilliantly kept his composure to turn the ball home after some wonderful play down the left from Adriano Moke created the opportunity.

Avenue, however, could have had a leveller almost instantly as Nowakowski, returning to the squad from injury, headed agonizingly over the bar. Another chance soon followed for Bradford as a mix up in the York defence led to newest signing, Ryan Hall, finding himself through on goal, but in a difficult position his touch was too heavy...

Avenue went into half time trailing 1-0, but importantly still in the game. As both sides returned from the break, it was Bradford who started to take more control of it, with the York fans getting visibly frustrated by them not being able to do much. York did have their chances to double their lead before they eventually did...

It was York who scored the vital second goal just ten minutes from time, but it really should have been avoided. Captain Burrow was played through, but his shot was straight at Joe Green, but Green unfortunately let the ball slide through his hands and into the net; it was a harsh one for the keeper who was returning from injury as he had played a really good game beforehand.

It was always going to be difficult for Bradford to come back from such a deficit with a short amount of time left, but they didn’t give up and substitute Liam Hughes grabbed a consolation with a great strike, but it was too little too late as it ended up being the last kick of the game.

The result means that the Avenue remain bottom of the table, 4 points behind Blyth Spartans and 9 points behind Kettering Town".

Boston United "opened 2020 with a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of National League North leaders King's Lynn Town.

The Pilgrims suffered a resounding reversal against the table-topping Linnets to suffer their first home league defeat of the season.

Goals from ex-Pilgrims Adam Marriott and Jordan Richards put Lynn in control at half-time and Michael Gash completed the scoring 10 minutes from time following Peter Crook's poor clearance".

1 January, 2020


Wednesday, 1 January 2020: Vanarama National League North
  • Alfreton Town 1-1 AFC Telford United
  • Altrincham 2-1 Curzon Ashton
  • Blyth Spartans 3-3 Gateshead
  • Boston United 0-3 Kings Lynn Town
  • Brackley Town 1-1 Kettering Town
  • Chester FC 4-0 Southport
  • Farsley Celtic 0-1 Guiseley
  • Gloucester City 2-1 Leamington
  • Hereford FC 2-1 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Spennymoor Town 3-1 Darlington
  • York City 2-1 Bradford Park Avenue


The Alty Files wishes all of its visitors a Happy New Year in 2020 and thanks them for their use of the website during 2019.


Today, in addition to the Altrincham v Curzon Ashton match on the pitch at the J. Davidson Stadium at 3pm, the following televised Premier League matches will be shown in the Community Sports Hall:
  • 12.30pm Burnley v Aston Villa
  • 3pm Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur
  • 5.30pm Manchester City v Everton
  • 8pm Arsenal v Manchester United (this last fixture is subject to there being sufficient interest!)

As previously announced today's match will be preceded by the reading of the annual Roll of Honour, which commemorates and celebrates the lives of those people connected with Altrincham Football Club who died during 2019.

For today's match against Curzon Ashton, Altrincham are expected to be without Sean Williams, who was injured on Saturday against Southport. The most likely replacement for Sean is Simon Richman. Otherwise, Alty supporters will be hoping that the sickness bug that ravaged the team at the wekend will have passed, allowing those affected (who included Tony Thompson, Tom Peers, Shaun Densmore, Jordan Hulme and Luke Wall) to be involved today.


Right: Sean Williams is consoled by Shaun Densmore as he limps off injured on Saturday. With the players is "physio", sports therapist Tommy Uda.

Altrincham's win on Boxing Day at Curzon Ashton was Sean Williams's one hundredth appearance for Altrincham, a total which included 78 starts and 22 substitute appearances.

Assuming he starts today against Curzon Ashton, it will be James Jones's one hundreth start for the club; he has also made five further appearances from the bench and netted ten times.

And for Max Harrop, an appearance today would be his one hundreth for Altrincham. That total currently comprises 61 starts and 38 appearances from the bench. He has scored 13 goals for the club.

After today Altrincham will be able to raise a full starting eleven from players with more than a century of Alty games to their name! Apart from the three mentioned above, another eight players already have more than 100 Alty games to their name, namely Densmore, Hancock, Hannigan, Hulme, Johnston, Moult, Richman and Thompson.


Hereford FC report that "Mike Symons will draw the curtain on his Bulls career after agreeing to join Weston Super Mare on a permanent deal.

Symons first arrived at Edgar Street in November 2015 and was an instrumental part of the Bulls side that won three promotions on the bounce.

After seeing his first-team opportunities limited this season, Symons has decided to join West Super Mare on a permanent deal".

Bulls Chairman Andrew Graham has "praised ‘Symo’ for his passion on and off the pitch, and his commitment to The Bulls over the past five seasons... 'Mike has given the club his total commitment which was clear to see on the pitch week in week out, he was a firm favourite here and it is testament to his ability and character that he remained the last member of the 2015/16 squad. All good things must come to an end and it is time for Mike to take the next step in his career'" he said.

Another departure from the National League North is reported by NL Daily which says that "Cork City have signed winger Dylan McGlade after a brief spell in England with Blyth Spartans who add that they have "agreed to terminate the contract of Dylan McGlade after the player asked to return to Ireland due to homesickness.

The 24-year-old rejoined the club at the beginning of November having previously had a short spell at Croft Park during the 2017/18 campaign. This time around, McGlade appeared six times for Lee Clark’s side... His last contribution was delivering the free-kick which led to Robbie Dale’s stunning winner at Gateshead on Boxing Day.

In total, McGlade departs for a second time with 10 outings to his name and two goals."

According to York Press "After the Boxing Day win at Bradford Park Avenue, York City manager Steve Watson is looking for more of the same tomorrow at Bootham Crescent.

York go into the game hoping for a reaction to Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Guiseley, a loss following which Watson demanded braver performances at Bootham Crescent...

'You say things after the game and you haven't been able to analyse it properly,' he said. 'I don't doubt there were some things we could have done better but I don't think it was terrible. I thought we got out a lot of times and through the thirds the way we wanted to, but as has been the case far too many times this season, we just haven't been able to finish it off.

'Very rarely do I blame referees for things, but there was a blatant penalty on Greeny at 1-1. I've seen it three or four times. I very rarely send things into the referees' committee but it's something we need to have a look at. The goals we conceded were typical goals from Guiseley that we've seen all season.

'We need to get everyone going again, certainly at home. We need a solid, energetic performance, a performance like we had at their place. With a better pitch and with fresher legs in some ways, we'll look forward to getting that hopefully. While we're not playing as confidently as we were at the start of the season, there's only three teams scored more than one goal against us.

'It's all fine margins and I do think a lot of them aren't falling for us at the moment. That said, certainly at home, I do think we need to dominate, be braver and more confident'.

Steve McNulty is a doubt for New Year's Day with a bug, while Dan Maguire's injury is persisting. 'It's very frustrating for everybody,' he added. 'When he came on, he didn't look free or like he could sprint properly, but all the tests he's done with the physio, he's had the green light, so it's a case of trying to get him through games and see him come out the other side. Once he gets through a 90 or a good 60-minute spell, that might just give him the confidence to know he's clear of these injuries and he can kick on, which is so important to us.'"

Gloucester City "have added central midfielder Luke Maxwell to the squad from National League side Solihull Moors. The 22 year-old former Birmingham City player joins James Rowe’s side on a one-month loan.

Maxwell began his career with Kidderminster Harriers in the National League, making 30 appearances at Aggborough. He was snapped up by Championship club Birmingham in January 2016, signing a three and a half year deal at St Andrews. He went on to become the club’s highest appearance maker for the Under-23 side before moving to League Two and Grimsby Town on loan in 2017.

He later moved back into the National League with Gateshead on loan, appearing eleven times for the North East side before switching to Solihull Moors last season.

Maxwell was a first team regular for Moors, making 23 appearances on loan in their promotion chasing campaign in the National League and five in the FA Cup including their second round ties against League One Blackpool, before becoming a permanent signing in the summer."

At Bradford (Park Avenue), "Mark Bower has made a move to secure winger Ryan Hall on a 3-month loan from fellow National League North side Spennymoor.

Hall who played 87 minutes in the recent 3-0 loss at Spennymoor caught Bower’s eye and was keen to add the pacey winger to the squad.

Hall joined Spennymoor on a 2-year contract at the start of the 2017-18 season from Curzon Ashton.

As Hall joins the squad the club can confirm that Andre Johnson has left the club to join Northern Premier League side Grantham Town".

Also, the chairman of Bradford (Park Avenue) writes that "Bradford MD Council have agreed that we can lease the Stadium for decades to come, and we are working hard with our associated charity, The Horsfall Community Trust, to continue our community projects thanks to the hard work of Mark Duffy! To present plans for refurbishment of the facilities at the Stadium for the benefit of the first team and for much wider and busier community use...

Back to the pitch (and hopefully a new 3G pitch in 2020/21), we are pleased to announce that under manager Neal Asquith, the BPA Ladies want to merge more fully with the Club. Ian Softley and his enthusiastic team of coaches at BPA Juniors also wish to re-merge with us".

Kidderminster Harriers' "striker Brandon Diau has departed Aggborough for a loan spell at Redditch United.

The towering forward has made a handful of appearances since his arrival in September, and one start.

He’ll head to Redditch in a bid to help them gain some much-needed points in their quest to climb the Southern League Premier Division Central table... Brandon will... remain with United for the next month."

AFC Telford United "head to Derbyshire on New Year’s Day to complete a festive double-header against Alfreton Town.

Last season’s corresponding fixture ended 1-1, but the Bucks put in a dominant display when the sides met last week to win 3-0 on Boxing Day. Ryan Barnett impressed in last Thursday’s game at the New Buck's Head, scoring one and setting up the other two Bucks goals.

Barnett had to sit out Saturday’s game through suspension, but the Bucks still managed to record a third straight clean sheet to beat Gloucester City 1-0; the last time the Bucks recorded three straight shutouts was in the spring of 2016. Alfreton, meanwhile, picked up a good point at home to league leaders King’s Lynn, thereby ending a run of five straight defeats."

We learn from the Shropshire Star that "AFC Telford United have discovered a winning formula over the Christmas period and Gavin Cowan admits he had a shift in mentality when it comes to securing three points.

Seven points from nine has been a fine response to their disappointing FA Trophy exit and Cowan will hope there is more joy ahead as the Bucks look to kick off 2020 in style, writes Lewis Cox.

Telford aim to complete a festive double-header over Alfreton, the side they beat convincingly on Boxing Day when Ryan Barnett played the role of chief tormentor. Unbeaten in three and with three clean sheets to boot, Telford head into the new year in positive spirits and looking up the National League North table rather than over their shoulder.

Cowan said '“I’d just take a win. Alfreton and Chester games were very good for all concerned because the performances were there as well as the result... That’s maybe where, as staff, we’ve changed our mindsets somewhat. It’s always been about winning, of course, but sometimes things cloud that.... It’s a big learning process for myself'...

Cowan’s men had registered just four clean sheets in 22 games in all competitions this season before three shutouts in their last three fixtures against Chester, Alfreton and Gloucester. Captain Shane Sutton and former players’ player of the year Ross White returned to Cowan’s defence for the three clean sheets and have settled in seamlessly...

After their New Bucks Head reverse made it five defeats on the spin for Billy Heath’s men, Alfreton, who dropped to 16th, three points behind Telford, found a much-needed response last weekend. They pushed leaders King’s Lynn all the way and led twice, eventually drawing 2-2 at their Impact Arena home... Heath’s men were unfortunate not to hold out for all three points against the Norfolk side".

Boston United "begin 2020 with a home fixture against league leaders King's Lynn Town on New Year's Day.

The Pilgrims will be aiming to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat to the same opponents on Boxing Day, having played 74 minutes with 10 men following Luke Shiels's red card.

Shiels and King's Lynn's Ryan Jarvis, who was red-carded later in the game, will both be able to play with their bans ruling them out of action on Saturday instead.

United boss Craig Elliott will check on the fitness of talisman Jordan Thewlis, who sat out Saturday's 2-1 win over Kettering Town with a calf problem. Defender Alex Penny could also come back into contention after a hamstring issue ruled him out of the Pilgrims' opening two fixture of the festive period...

King's Lynn's last league visit to Boston took place in December 1999, with the Linnets winning 2-1".

From Brackley Town, we learn that "Saints continue the busy festive programme with Wednesday’s New Year’s Day visit to St James Park of Kettering Town. As the Boxing Day trip to The Poppies was postponed due to a water-logged pitch, remarkably this will be the first-ever league encounter between the two Northamptonshire near-neighbours. The fixture at Latimer Park is yet to be re-scheduled.

Following Saturday’s defeat at Boston United, Kettering lie 20th in the National League North table. However that position has been greatly improved through the recent run of fine form, unbeaten in seven league games ahead of the trip to Boston including the previous Saturday’s 2-0 win at Alfreton Town.

The links between Brackley Town and Kettering Town are many as one might expect given the geographical proximity. Former Saints players Brett Solkhon, Luke Graham (now player-coach) and Daniel Nti feature in Paul Cox’s squad while Dan Holman has moved the other way. Further links come via former Brackley manager Jon Brady who played at Rockingham Road and Roger Ashby who managed Saints and, with 463 league appearances, has played more times for Kettering than any other player although Brett Solkhon is closing in.

Saints have been in good form and looking to stay in touch with the teams in and around the top, with just the single defeat at Southport in the last 13 league games, the league’s meanest defence and as second top goal scorers.

Kevin was open about the challenge for his side 'The pitch here is beginning to cut up a bit, we’ve had so much rain, and that’s not ideal for us because you can’t move the ball so quickly. But, to be successful, you have to be adaptable and so far we’ve been able to do that. We have to stay together, stay organised, recognise the conditions and what we’re up agains'".

Gateshead "begin the New Year with a trip to Croft Park to face Blyth Spartans as the Heed look for a dose of revenge. Mike Williamson’s side were on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline at the International Stadium on Boxing Day...

The Heed came back to form in fine fashion two days later, winning 3-1 away at Spennymoor Town to end 2019 in style. Blyth were defeated 2-0 at home by Darlington last time out, leaving Lee Clark’s side desperate for points with five points separating them and Kettering just above the bottom two... The Heed go into the New Year with almost a full squad available, although JJ O’Donnell could miss out after coming off due to injury on Boxing Day.

[Manager] Mike Williamson said [of Spennymoor],' we take huge confidence from that performance, matching their physicality in a difficult place, I think York are the only other team who have gone [to Spennymoor] and won... Credit to [Blyth] on Boxing Day, they created chances and probably had a 95% conversion rate so we’ve got to make sure we’re switched on to that...

Lee Clark bemoaned his side’s first half performance following their 2-0 defeat to Darlington... 'The team performance in the first half was probably a four or five out of 10, and the second half performance we’re pushing towards an eight out of 10'"

At Alfreton Town "The Reds had lost five games in a row in all competitions prior to Saturday’s draw but a return to winning ways is a must to prevent Alfreton slipping further down the table... The Reds produced their best display of the season on Saturday as we held the leaders to a 2-2 draw...

The Reds will be positive heading into tomorrow’s game after the performance and we’ll look to build on the point gained and pull ourselves back into mid-table. Alfreton head into the game win-less in the last seven in all competitions. Our last win came at Hereford (1-2) back on the 12th November... The Reds haven’t won at the Impact in the last seven in all competitions with our last home win coming against Curzon (3-2) on the 7th September".