February 2020

29 February 2020


As of 7.40am this morning Hereford FC's twitter account announced that the pitch at Edgar Street is in "good condition" and that the game goes ahead at 3pm.


Before Saturday's fixture at Edgar Street, Hereford FC reported that "Hereford are without a win in six matches and have one victory in ten.

Altrincham have one defeat in seven and won 3-0 at Blyth Spartans on their last away trip. The Bulls have drawn their last four at home... The Robins ran out easy 5-1 winners when they met in November. Alty haven’t lost at home since the opening day but aren’t as convincing on the road".

Hereford's last four home league games have ended in draws against Bradford (Park Avenue), Curzon Ashton, Southport and Darlington.

Also from Hereford FC we learned on Friday that "despite the persistent rainfall, at present the pitch is in good condition.

We are aware of the rain forecast throughout the remainder of today and early into tomorrow morning, and we will continue to monitor both the pitch and the forecast, however we are keen to stress that at the moment we do not have any concerns".

Altrincham FC added that Hereford FC advise that "Away supporters are to be placed in Block E of the Len Weston Stand and the terrace underneath with associated catering and toilet facilities in easy reach. Further capacity can be made available for larger contingents. Away supporters are welcome in our bars around the ground prior to the game.

We operate cashless ticket only turnstiles so tickets must be purchased from the Matchday Ticket Office before attempting to enter the ground. Supporters using wheelchairs need to book into our dedicated spacing at the earliest possible opportunity by calling the Club Office (01432 268257), as the area is often full for games, and the away section is not suitable for wheelchairs due to uneven ground, steps, and the height of the perimeter wall.

Parking for supporters is available in the Merton Meadow Car Park adjoining the ground at £1 per hour... Tickets for most matches can be purchased in advance from our website... The safety certificate at Edgar Street requires supporters to be segregated and forbids both the consumption of alcohol in the stands and the smoking of cigarettes or e-cigarettes. Alcohol is only for consumption within the designated bar areas. There is no bar facility for away supporters during half time".

In their match preview Hereford FC said, "The Bulls are on home soil for the second Saturday in succession as we take on Altrincham. Last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Darlington was our fourth home game in a row where the spoils have been shared and means that we have now drawn a total of 11 of our 30 League games as we sit in 17th place with 32 points.

Midfield man, Jacob Jagger Cane, is back in the team following a recent loan spell and is happy with the direction that things are moving under the guidance of Josh Gowling and Steve Burr.

'As a team we are building week on week,' he said. 'The Gaffer has got everyone involved and behind what he is trying to achieve here and it’s a really positive environment. Confidence levels are rising all of the time and hopefully we can take this forward now into these final months of the season. You can see the progress that we are making; we’ve played some nice stuff at times and now the challenge is to be able to do it more often in games.'

Having secured a fifth-place finish at the end of last term, Altrincham are once more part of the leading pack... Their last 17 games in all competitions have seen them suffer just two defeats; a 2-0 loss at Gateshead in January and a 3-2 reverse at Spennymoor Town earlier this month...Away from home they have fallen to defeat seven times in 16 outings to date".


As reported here yesterday, Hereford FC signed a new striker this week. The Worcester News adds that Worcester City "lost striker Demetri Brown to Hereford last week. Andy Mitchell assesses what Bulls' fans can expect from the new recruit.

No one could argue Demetri Brown hadn’t earned his shot at Hereford and the statistics support how much he progressed at City. Light on goals and at times bereft of confidence during the early months following his summer move from Tividale, where he had been prolific in a title-winning campaign, Brown threatened to become something of a cult hero in blue and white.

[He is] The most willing of runners in channels, space creator for others and chaser of those lost causes that occasionally paid off... despite fluffing his lines when presented with top, at times huge chances.

Strikers are judged on numbers and Brown’s were not great to begin with. No goals from seven outings before a breakthrough at Wellington in the FA Vase... It was the break he needed.. Strikes one and two were quickly followed by a third in the next match at Selston but the next seven, up until the end of October, yielded nothing...

Brown was back on the goal trail against Dunkirk before deciding a Midland Football League Cup tie at Sporting Khalsa late on... A hat-trick in City’s biggest win for 43 years, a 9-0 demolition of Racing Club Warwick, followed with another goal to help overcome title chasers Newark Flowserve in early December...

Injuries have disrupted his progress along the way, probably through not knowing when to curtail his efforts, but Brown is not merely a workhorse. His 13 goals in 28 starts and five substitute appearances may not have set pulses racing among Hereford fans but a strike rate of 10 in 11 outings before injuries kicked should be noted...

Whatever does or doesn’t happen for Brown at Edgar Street, you can bet he will never duck the challenge."


The unofficial Bulls' News says that "Following last Saturday’s match against Darlington, a spectacle one can only describe as ‘thoroughly entertaining’, hope is growing that Captain Gowling may be in the process of turning round the Hereford FC oil tanker at long last.

The Bulls are again at home this weekend, with Altrincham the visitors, and putting aside the largely meaningless loss to Lads Club in the week, supporters will be optimistic that the players can build on the Darlo performance and who knows, maybe even win. Perhaps some of the missing fans, who have utterly understandably been reluctant to turn up to witness the dross that’s been served up in many of the home draws this season, could perhaps be persuaded back for this one.

It was very much men against boys back in November when Alty cruised to a 5-1 win in the northwest, so a home win would clearly demonstrate that progress is indeed being made, and that Josh Gowling is just starting to make it difficult for the board to see past him as head coach next season...

The visitors are just clinging on to the final play-off place currently, courtesy of having scored a goal more than Spennymoor. They’ve faltered slightly recently, winning two of their last five matches, but surprisingly drawing at home to lowly Kettering and losing 3-2 in an entertaining match at Spennymoor. A 3-0 victory over Blyth to get back on track last time out was virtually a given. Their away form to date is far from special, having won just four of their 16 games on the road.

The Robins are one of the better footballing sides in the division and, if the Bulls can match them on the floor, this looks like another potentially good game to watch.

Lenell John-Lewis’s masterful finish (right?) to get the Bulls back in contention last weekend, and to spark the crowd into life for the first time in a while, should see him well up for this one (ie 'up for it' rather than weeping). Gowling will have to decide whether to continue with Rowan Liburd, who looked more lively alongside The Shop last week, or to hand Demetri Brown a starting debut.

The former Worcester striker was scoring a goal every other game in the Midland Premier but, given that John Mills scored at twice that rate at the same level, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be a goal machine in the National League North. However, he seems ambitious and could be the sort of player who performs better the higher up the pyramid he goes. An intriguing signing.

In midfield, Ben Pollock and Kieran Thomas are both back available, and either would complement quite nicely the dual attacking threat of a barely recognisable Tom Owen Evans and Kelsey Mooney, both of whom seem utterly transformed and eager to do well for the interim boss. However, Jacob Jagger Cane is another who's starting to look like a new player, and could justifiably feel a bit peeved not to start as the holding midfielder.

So, plenty to be optimistic about suddenly, but in the debit column there was nothing to suggest in the Darlington goals last week that the Hereford defence is now a lower league version of Dixon, Adams, Bould and Winterburn. There's still some room for improvement before even Price, Pejic, Hicks and Bray/Dalziel status is achieved, to be honest. However, that was the first time they'd played together as a four, so a better understanding should be in evidence for this match. Jordan Cullinane-Liburd misses out again as he continues his three-game suspension.

Could the tide be turning? All will be revealed at Edgar Street at 3pm on Saturday."


Kettering Town "have extended Alistair Smith's loan period from Mansfield Town until 25/04/20, subject to FA approval".

The Northants Telegraph adds that "The Poppies have been kicking their heels for the past three weeks due to a string of postponements but are set to return to action in the north-east on Saturday.

Blyth currently occupy the second relegation spot with Kettering seven points clear of them and with four games in hand... a positive result in their favour would represent a giant step towards securing their status.

However, manager Cox... insists Kettering’s bid for survival will come down to how consistent they can be over the final two months of the campaign.

'Everyone will be looking at the game and saying that if we were to win, or even get a draw, then it will put Blyth down to nine matches to play and probably makes it a bit harder for them but still mathematically possible,' the Poppies' boss said. 'I think everyone should know by now that with me, I don’t just concentrate on the one game... I want us to finish the season strongly and I want us to achieve our goals. So it doesn’t just come down to this one game. It’s about how consistent we can be during a mini-season of 14 games'...

The Poppies look set to have a fully-fit squad to choose from for the basement clash with the exception of defender Michael McGrath who is waiting to start a two-match ban."

Another loan is the subject of a report from Carlisle United who tell us that "Keeper Louis Gray has today joined National League North side Chester on a one-month loan deal... and the big stopper will be available, if selected, for Saturday’s home game against Gateshead.

United boss Chris Beech said 'It’s an opportunity for Louis to go and play first team football. He’s a goalkeeper in his mid-20s who hasn’t played regular men’s football, and that is important for him. It means we can make sure he’s ready to come in and play in our first team if the situation arises over the next 12 games, because we’ve got the standard goalkeeper 24-hour recall on him.

'Chester are looking to go and win the league, and at the moment they need a goalkeeper. Due to us bringing Marcus [Dewhurst] in, it means we can allow Louis to go and get some games while still being covered in the goalkeeper department. He’ll be going into a good environment with a dressing room full of confidence, so it will be good experience for him. He’ll hopefully get plenty of first-team game time, and we’ll be able to have his games watched ahead of the decisions we have to make for next season.'

Gray, 24, played all three of United’s Trophy games this season and has been with the Blues since joining from Everton during the January 2018 transfer window. He came back for a second spell in October 2018, and signed a further one-year deal ahead of this campaign.

The Welsh born gloveman cut his teeth at his hometown club Wrexham and made the move to join the Premier League giants, initially on a short-term deal, in September 2015. He had a spell on-loan with Colwyn Bay just one month later, and featured for the Toffees in their Checkatrade Trophy games against Notts County and Mansfield Town in the group stages of the competition during the 2017/18 season.

He left Goodison Park when his contract came to a close in June 2018, and was courted by a number of clubs, including Nuneaton Borough, before making his way up north to Carlisle."

Marcus Dewhurst will be familiar to National League North fans, too, as he had a loan spell with Guiseley.

The News & Star adds that the move "will see 24-year--old Gray link up with a number of former Carlisle men at the Deva Stadium, with Danny Livesey, Simon Grand and George Glendon all Chester players.

Gray's temporary departure should mean a place in the United squad tomorrow for the first time for Sheffield United loanee Marcus Dewhurst. The 18-year-old is likely to be Adam Collin's understudy for the Blues' League Two game at Cambridge...

Gray could take the place of Russ Griffiths at Chester, while the club's second-choice keeper Theo Roberts is out on loan at Mossley having also picked up an injury. The United man could make his debut against Gateshead tomorrow."

From Kidderminster Harriers we learn that "Correy Davidson has joined Bromsgrove Sporting on loan.

Correy joined Harriers at the back end of the summer after a successful pre-season trial. The 26-year-old has found first-team opportunities limited in recent weeks, and so joins up with Sporting until the end of the campaign... with fellow on-loan Harrier Harry Higginson also among their ranks."

The Northern Premier League reports that "Witton Albion have announced that Adam Anson has returned to Southport following his 28-day loan period.

Anson, 23, signed for Southport last month from Witton before being loaned back as part of the deal".

Southport add that Anson "was originally due to join up with the Port next week. The central defender, 23, has previously played in the Vanarama National League North for Chorley, having featured for Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool as a youngster."

The Shropshire Star discusses AFC Telford United's trip to Spennymoor Town today (Saturday).

"Spennymoor Town are an ambitious National League North outfit looking to build on their run of three promotions in six years. They made the play-offs with a fourth-placed finish last time out and currently find themselves eighth, outside the play-offs on just one goal scored...

Most sides in the division would be daunted by a trip to the Moors’ Brewery Field home, the second-best home record in the league, but not Gavin Cowan’s men.

The Bucks, historically, have the number of tomorrow’s hosts. The teams have met seven times with five victories belonging to Telford and two draws. Spennymoor very much count their visitors as bogey opposition. Boss Jason Ainsley, a long-term servant of the club he formerly represented as a midfielder, and Spennymoor are into their third season at step two but four league defeats, prior to the 2-2 New Buck's Head draw in November, lays bare their Telford woe.

Still, Cowan and his troops travel to the North East, knowing their hosts possess a formidable home record... Spennymoor have won 11 from 16 contests.

Their chief goals threats have been forward pair Glen Taylor and James Roberts, who have 23 league goals between them. Telford head to the Moors with the hosts in a good run of form having not lost in eight and on the back of their 5-0 home thumping of Alfreton last weekend.

The Bucks, in 14th, could be without skipper Shane Sutton as the club monitor his ankle problem."

The Pontefract and Castleford Express reports that "Pontefract Collieries have boosted their squad for the testing run-in to come with the addition of midfielder Aleks Starcenko. The player is familiar to the club having had a previous spell with them and he has returned in a loan deal for the remainder of the season from Guiseley.

Starcenko has spent the first half of the season at Hyde United in the BetVictor Premier Division... Starcenko hails from Latvia and previously played for Frickley Athletic’s under 19s."

We read in the Northern Echo that "Chris Elliott has reclaimed Darlington’s No. 1 spot, and Alun Armstrong says the onus is now on Liam Connell to earn another recall.

The pair have each enjoyed spells as Quakers’ first-choice this season, Connell returning the team at the beginning of the month after Elliott conceded three goals in a defeat at Chester.

But Connell was unavailable for last week’s game at Hereford, which could have proven problematic had Elliott not recovered sufficiently from illness for the trip to Edgar Street.

'Liam was at work, he had an event that he couldn’t get away from,' explained Armstrong ahead of tomorrow’s home game with Brackley Town. 'Chris had been ill all week and had missed training. He missed Tuesday and came in on the Thursday but had to drop out because he was struggling.

'That’s what happens, circumstances can change quickly and that’s what I say to the lads out of the team; you never know what is about to happen. Chris found himself out of the team and all of a sudden he is back in and did well enough to keep his place, so it’s up to Liam to dig his heels in and show that he wants to get back in.'

Also hoping for a recall is midfielder Omar Holness... He has not started a league game since December 7, after which he lost his place to new signing Sean Reid, but Armstrong admitted 'He’s been a different class, the lad. I had a chat with him before the game and explained the situation, he would’ve started against Leamington when I needed to freshen things up and he had been brilliant in training.

'He came on at Hereford and it was a difficult game to come into because we were under the cosh at the time, but he seems to come up with these little moments. He’s been brilliant in training, his attitude is top drawer so you cannot fault him and he probably deserves a start in the team.'".

28 February 2020


Hereford FC, Altrincham's next opponents, are currently managed by Josh Gowling but he is assisted by an old "foe" of Altrincham in the shape of Steve Burr. Burr has two black marks against him in particular in the eyes of Alty fans; he played for Macclesfield Town and has managed Northwich Victoria, two great rivals of Alty over the years.

The Hereford Times reports that "Hereford's interim assistant manager Steve Burr says he has been impressed by the players that are currently playing at Edgar Street...

Burr said 'In the short space of time that I’ve been here I’ve been really impressed with the squad. They’ve obviously lost a bit of direction along the way but the squad in general, there are some really good young players there. At the minute it’s just getting those breaks that you need in football and that little bit of luck along the way. In the short space of time that I’ve been here I’ve been quite impressed particularly when you see them in training and how they are having a go to try and earn something next season'".

Meanwhile Gowling said, 'We’re giving all the lads at this football club right now the opportunity to be here next season. Regardless of if we are speaking to other players for next season, if the lads can do what they can do then those signings won’t matter because the lads will be here next season.'

Talks with potential signings in the summer have already started and Gowling said he wants a ‘more physical’ side. 'We have got some targets and obviously we need to start the ball rolling now regarding building a squad for next season,' said Gowling.

'If we leave it too late, these conversations are already going on around the country. We’ve got signings that we want and a brand of football that we want. We want a bit more of a physically present team, that’s a big thing for us. They’re the kind of players we’re going to be looking at next season'.

Burr added... 'At the end of day it all boils down to money, but with Josh’s contacts and lads who he’s played with and the contacts that I’ve got, we’re more than confident that we can get the right type of personnel in here to push for promotion next year'".

Also, Hereford FC, have signed a new striker in advance of Saturday's fixture as the Worcester News reports that "Hot-shot Demetri Brown has waved goodbye to Worcester City and joined Hereford FC after club chiefs admitted defeat in their long-running battle to hold on to the forward.

The popular strike ace left the Blue and Whites on Friday to join the resurgent Bulls... City chiefs kept a keen eye on the [ex-Tividale] hitman last season and made him their number one target in the summer as part of manager Ash Vincent’s revamp of his squad.

But his good form soon attracted attention and club bosses revealed they have turned down eight seven-day approaches since September with the backing of Brown who wanted to continue to ply his trade in the blue and white. However, when the approach came in from Hereford, all parties agreed it would be a fantastic move for him and his family...

Vincent said 'Dimi for me has been fantastic all season to now, on and off the pitch, and deserves his opportunity to test himself higher up the football pyramid. Over the season the interest in a player we brought in from step six has been incredible but he showed his loyalty and character throughout but also his trust in us as a staff to help develop him.

'There is of course a point where it is right to move on in football and with the chance to improve the quality of his family’s life off the pitch with a new baby on the way and also develop himself on the pitch further. He goes with our absolute best wishes and a huge thank you for all his efforts'".


After an enforced break last Saturday, Altrincham resume their push for a place in the play-offs next Saturday at Hereford.

TASC Travel Coordinator, Mark Eckersall, writes, "We'll once again be running a coach to Hereford on Saturday 29th February and we hope you can join us and support the coaches once again.

As ever we will welcome travellers of all ages with a family friendly atmosphere as we look to back the lads to a valuable three points in the promotion push.

We have again reduced the prices for U16s and full time students to help get our younger fans there so we look forward to seeing you.

Places can be booked by calling the club after 10am each weekday on 0161 928 1045".

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


The BBC reports that former Alty player Duncan Watmore's father, "Ian Watmore, the former chief executive of the Football Association, has been appointed the next chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Watmore, 61, will start his role on 1 December... Said Watmore, 'I feel privileged to be given this opportunity to help a sport that I care passionately about...

Watmore became chief executive of the FA in 2009, but resigned after disagreements with senior FA board figures after less than a year in the job in March 2010".

And older supporters will recall that Dean Greygoose kept goal for Alty in the 1999-2000 season and his son Jamie is also a goalkeeper. Now, Bedford Town "confirm the signing of Jamie Greygoose. The 27 year-old goalkeeper has signed from Eynesbury Rovers. Greygoose has previously been with St. Neot's Town, Haverhill Rangers and Bury Town before signing for Eynesbury...

Manager Mark Ducket said 'I'm delighted we've managed to bring Jamie in. He is a solid goalkeeper, who I've known for a long time'".


According to York Press, "York City have taken Harrogate Town forward Sam Jones on loan until the end of the season.

Jones, 28, is a former Welsh Under-21 international and arrives at Bootham Crescent with League football experience under his belt, having played for Grimsby, Shrewsbury and Cheltenham. He has made six appearances for Harrogate this National League season... before making three substitute appearances on loan at Solihull Moors.

Minstermen boss Watson... said 'He's somebody I've known and kept an eye on for a long time. He went from Gateshead into the League, to Grimsby and Shrewsbury. He's been at Harrogate, where he hasn't had enough football. I saw he hadn't been playing, I got in touch with Harrogate and we were able to do the deal until the end of the season, which I'm delighted about.

'He's replacing Kurt [Willoughby] in that it's a man in and a man out but they're quite different in the way they play. He is a forward but he's somebody that will come and drop and look after the ball. He manipulates it well. That's probably I thought were what we were missing last week. Hopefully that's a good addition to go alongside a more off-the-shoulder-striker like Dan and Macca, somebody that runs in behind like Alex, or somebody that holds the ball up like Jordan. I think he'll be a good foil for all of those.'

Jones' arrival comes in the wake of Kurt Willoughby's departure... following his month-long loan from AFC Fylde. Though a fruitful loan for York, with Willoughby producing three goals in four games, Watson indicated he was looking for more stability from the next player he brought in. 'Originally it was offered for a month but we've seen what happened with Kurt and that's not something we could really commit to,' he said...

'I'm not saying he'll be the last one to come in but at least we've got somebody we know we can rely on now until the end of the season'".

In the Boston Standard "Gateshead assistant Ian Watson says state of Boston United's pitch forced his side to rethink tactics... His team's game plan paid off as they left Boston with a 3-0 victory last night. Nicky Deverdics, Dominic Tear and Jordan Preston were on target as the Heed ended the Pilgrims' eight-game unbeaten run.

'It was a really good away performance against a really good side on a very difficult pitch. We defended brilliantly, caught them on the counter a few times and created a few chances, so all in all it was a very good night for us. It wasn’t the type of pitch where we could play out from the back and we didn’t want Brad (James, keeper) having too many touches on the ball.

'We did mention the state of the pitch before the game and thought we might have to be a bit more direct at times but in a structured way, not just kicking it anywhere. We wanted to play in behind their back three, which we did, and we got in a few times there so the game plan paid off really.'"

Cheshire Live claims that "Chester FC bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley could be forced into changes for this weekend's crucial home clash with Gateshead.

The Blues take on one of the National League North's most in-form sides on Saturday... The Heed [are] two points and two places behind with a game in hand...

Chester were left empty handed from their home encounter with Brackley Town last weekend when a late gaffe saw Matt Lowe poke home in added time to hand the Blues a damaging loss... The game also saw left back Joel Taylor and leading scorer Akwasi Asante limp off in the first half with injuries.

Taylor went for a scan in the week to determine the severity of his injury and results showed, thankfully, that there was no broken bone only muscle damage, the left back not totally ruled out for the weekend with a decision to be taken later in the week.

For Asante, however, he looks set to be out for the weekend clash with the Heed after tweaking his problematic hamstring injury, withdrawn from the action as early as possible against Brackley to prevent exacerbating the problem.

Also struggling to make the weekend is Matty Hughes who missed the Brackley game with fluid on the knee, while Danny Livesey, who stepped off the bench in a makeshift striking role after injury to briefly level for Chester last Saturday, suffered a setback in his bid to return from a hamstring injury. He could make the squad but in-form James Jones will likely get the nod once more...

Danny Elliott is back from his successful loan spell at Alfreton Town where he netted five goals in five games, including a hat-trick on his debut, and could well come straight into the side should Asante miss out.

George Waring is available after his protective face mask arrived and he has been working hard to build up his match sharpness after recently being allowed to return to full contact training and could well force his way into the squad.

Jamie Morgan is available for selection once again having served his two-match ban for his red card for two bookable offences... at the start of the month."

The Chester Standard adds that "Chester boss Anthony Johnson has challenged returning striker Danny Elliott to make himself a hero in the club’s bid for promotion. A successful month-long loan spell at rivals Alfreton Town saw Elliott net five times in as many games for the Derbyshire side.

Now back with the injury-hit Blues, joint-manager Johnson hopes the 24-year-old forward can hit the goal trail...

'Hopefully he can come in and be like a new signing for us and that’s how Danny’s got to see this opportunity,' said Johnson. 'He’s got eight league goals in total for the season now and he’s been in top form in this last month or so. This is a chance for him to try to replicate those types of performances with us. If he can, then he can make himself the hero and come up with the goals that get us over the line in the games we’ve got left this season'...

Injuries to striking duo Akwasi Asante (hamstring) and Matty Hughes (knee) mean the Nottingham Forest academy product could partner the returning George Waring in attack.

And Johnson has urged his side to bounce back from a ‘galling’ defeat to Brackley Town at the weekend, where a defensive mix-up between goalkeeper Russ Griffiths and full-back Matty Waters led to the visitors snatching a 90th minute winner. He added 'We weren’t at our best on Saturday and to drop a point in the way we did has set us back a bit. Just before Brackley’s third went in, we were the side who were actively looking to win the game, but a mistake at the end has cost us.

'Four points from the King’s Lynn and Brackley games would have been a good return for us and although people talk about our lack of consistency, we’ve been around the top three or four all season and we’re still there with 11 games to go. No team in the league has had as tough a run as we’ve had in the last few weeks and it gets no easier on Saturday. It’s the old cliche of it being another six-pointer and it’ll be the same against Altrincham and Boston after that.

'Before the season started I fully expected Gateshead to be in the top five by the end of it. They’re a full-time side and I thought they were excellent against us at their place, so it’s going to be tough'".

Cheshire Live adds that Chester have a "quarter final clash with Tranmere Rovers in the Cheshire Senior Cup. The League One side will visit the 1885 Arena on Tuesday (March 3) and the winner of the tie will go on to play host to Hyde United in the semi-final".

Leamington report that their "neighbours Birmingham City have come to Paul Holleran's aid in allowing young goalkeeper Josh Bradley Hurst to link up with us on a short term loan to cover for Jake Weaver, who has been on loan with us from the Blues since the beginning of the season.

Josh turned 18 at the beginning of the year, and has previously played for Celtic, also representing Scotland at Under-16 level".

The NL Paper confirms that "Mike Hardy is stepping down as chief executive of promotion-chasers Boston United at the end of the season.

The former managing director of Longhurst and Havelok Homes has brought a wealth of managerial experience to the Pilgrims since arriving at The Jakemans Stadium in September 2015....

United chairman David Newton said 'Mike has been with the club for a number of years and has done a terrific job in helping us move the club forward... During his time, he has helped guide the community programme and overseen the transfer of it to a charitable foundation which enables it to access a wider range of funding for the programme to continue to grow.

'He has also helped bring more structure to the football development side; overseen the education programme and he works with our safety officer to ensure matchdays run smoothly and safely".

27 February 2020


Following on from the Board of Altrincham FC's recent statement about the pitch at the J. Davidson Stadium, the Sale & Altrincham Messenger tells us, in an article by John Edwards, that "Altrincham’s directors have vowed to tackle long-standing drainage problems at The J.Davidson Stadium after being hit in the pocket by another postponement on Saturday.

An eagerly-awaited showdown with league leaders King’s Lynn Town fell victim to the weather and left Alty bosses bracing themselves for a significant drop in gate receipts when the game is rearranged.

Explaining why even their pitch covers couldn’t save Saturday’s game and pinpointing drainage as the problem that needs addressing, director Bill Waterson sent a message to supporters, saying... 'We couldn’t use the covers in the build-up to the game, as the pitch was already sodden due to significant rainfall over the last few weeks, and they would have caused damage. Heavy overnight rain on Friday left the pitch with significant standing water, and when an inspection took place, there was only one decision that could be made.

'The covers can work well in protecting the pitch, but the fact is they can only be left in place for a maximum of 24 hours before they damage the grass underneath. And they cannot be deployed if the ground is very wet, so the problem is with the drainage. It is certain we will carry out some drainage improvements in the summer, and we are currently evaluating a couple of options'"


Hereford FC have a brief video of their pitch as of Wednesday, showing their preparations for Saturday's game against Altrincham.

The Hereford Times reports "'Bring it on,' is the message from Hereford FC interim manager Josh Gowling as he prepares for a fortnight packed with fixtures.

Right: Tom Hannigan is congratulated by John Johnston on his opening goal in the 5-1 win against Hereford in November, 2019.

Saturday's home game against Altrincham is the first of five fixtures in 14 days. Gowling is still looking for his first win in charge of the side following successive 2-2 home league draws. The fixture pileup includes rearranged midweek visits to York City, on Tuesday and Kettering the following week.

'You get games called off and it is what it is,' said Gowling. 'Bring on the games that's how we feel. We feel like we're growing every game week by week and we're relishing every opportunity that we've got. Every obstacle that we've got we'll climb over them. We've set targets already and within the group we've looked at the points total we want. We've got to reach those targets and there's more to come.'

Ben Pollock is available to return for the Bulls on Saturday after serving his suspension while Jordan Cullinane-Liburd has two more matches out.

Hereford lost the reverse fixture against Altrincham 5-1 back in November, but Gowling says the Bulls are now a different side.

'I played in that game and they gave us a bit of a run around to be honest,' added Gowling. 'We're going to do work, we're a different team now and we've got a different mentality now and we'll give it a right go in the next home game.'

Bulls midfielder Jacob Jagger Cane is aware of the threats that [seventh-]place Altrincham will pose.

'Darlington try and pass the ball and Altrincham are similar,' he said. 'Looking at the league table they will be a better outfit so we've got to be massively on our game. The way it's gone recently we can really bring it to them and we want to win. We're going into every game wanting to win home or away. We want to be on the front foot, entertaining fans first and foremost and picking up the results as well.'"

On Tuesday night, after going two-nil up in their County Cup match at Hereford Lads Club 3, Hereford FC were behind shortly after half-time and bowed out of the competition 3-2. The Hereford Times adds that "The Bulls' side consisted of the under-18s along with dual registration youngsters Liam Bishop and Connor Davies-Austin and first team squad players Kieran Thomas, Ben Pollock, Rhys Davies, Bradley Ash and Kyle Finn".

The Bulls' line-up comprised; Hooper, Thomas, Davies, Coley, Pollock, Davies-Austin, Hopkins, Whitlock, Ash, Bishop and Finn.


On Tuesday night, the Boston Standard reported that "Craig Elliott accepted that the 'best team won' as Boston United were beaten by Gateshead but he still accused his players of downing tools.

The Pilgrims' eight-game unbeaten run was well and truly ended at York Street this evening as the Heed replicated their 3-0 win over Boston at the International Stadium in September with a performance full of confident, attacking vigour.

'We were poor. I said to them, you always expect runs to come to an end but to lose in that manner is disappointing,' the United manager said. 'I'm not hiding away, players are responsible as well. Their attitude and application after going 2-0 down was so poor. It was a mixture of us being poor and them being an excellent team'...

Tonight was the fourth time Boston have been beaten 3-0 this season, twice by Gateshead and also by Gloucester City and King's Lynn.

'It's a worry because the losses that we have, we seem to cave in,' Elliott added. 'When we're good, we're good. When we lose it's 2-0 or 3-0. That's the disappointing thing... It's purely, they downed tools. It's their biggest insult a player can have. I'm in shock, we've been on an excellent run...

'We were way off it tonight and we're playing a good team who can punish you. I think their midfield's really good, as good as anybody in this league. If I'm honest, the two games we've played against them, they've totally dominated the midfield. We've got nowhere near them and sometimes you've got to say you've been beaten by a better team.'

Playing attractive, attacking football, the Heed stormed into a 2-0 interval lead, Nicky Deverdics finishing off a neat team move with a perfectly-placed 20-yard curler and Dominic Tear smashing home from close range after Boston failed to clear their lines...

As the second half wore on Gateshead were happy to kill the pace of the game".

And Lincolnshire Live adds that "Craig Elliott was dejected after seeing his side comprehensively beaten by promotion rivals Gateshead... The Pilgrims, on the back of six successive league wins, lost 3-0 at home to Gateshead to suffer their first league defeat since New Year’s Day...

'Eight or nine players were well below the standards they have set. I am extremely disappointed. When you have an off night, you do not want to play a team like Gateshead because I think they are a terrific team and I think even higher of them now than I did before. Our final decision making with crosses, shots and set-pieces was poor. To not even score was disappointing and defensively we were not at it', he said...

'I am not going to sweep it under the carpet,' added Elliott. 'When you have got a strong bench and players not getting a shirt, it’s only natural that you are going to have to make changes'".

And speaking to the Boston Standard, Elliott said, "People want to come and sign. I've got good players who want to come here as we're doing well, and you think the times not right. But when people put in performances like that, the club's got to come first before the players.

"I don't care what people think, that's how I work. Don't live on what you did two weeks ago, two months ago, two years ago. I live in what you've done tonight, and on that performance, some can't come asking questions on Saturday".

From the other side, Gateshead's midfielder "Nicky Deverdics felt Tuesday’s win over Boston United was a ‘brilliant team performance’... The stand-in captain couldn’t fault the overall performance, 'I think from minute one it was a brilliant team performance. We scored a good goal in there as well on a really, really heavy, cut up pitch... I thought to a man we were brilliant.

'It kept raining in little bits here and there and the pitch started cutting up; there were parts of the pitch where it was about three inches deep, it was crazy, but we managed it really well.'

The midfielder netted his third of the season, rounding off a slick team move before firing into the top-right corner on his right foot... 'I think there were four or five players involved, and I’m glad I put it away because Busted especially gives me stick for not having a right foot, so I’ve proved him wrong on that one!... We defended really well and we were really sharp on the break'...

The unbeaten run now stands at 11, and the Heed are back in action against another play-off contender in the form of Chester on Saturday...

'The lads are buzzing, we’re flying. Everyone played really well and confidence is high so we’ve got to go into games expecting to win them, especially at this stage of the season'", concluded Deverdics.

Gloucester Citythe loan extension of Forest Green Rovers forward Taylor Allen for the remainder of the season.

Allen who can play on the wing or as a forward joined City on an initial one month loan back in late January and has appeared in every game for the Tigers since then." The Northern Echo reports that "After six months on the sidelines Jamie Holmes is back in training with Darlington... in his comeback from a cruciate ligament injury.

The attacker sustained the injury during the first week of the season at home to Gateshead, the same match during which Luke Trotman ruptured an Achilles tendon, dreadful luck for both the club and the players concerned...

Said manager Alun Armstrong... 'Now he’s got the ball at his feet, Danny the physio is doing really well with him and the kid is working really hard, he just wants to get back playing. I’m not going to rush him back this season, there’s no point, he’ll be like a new signing in the summer, him and Trots.'

Holmes, a former Newcastle United youngster, was one Armstrong’s summer signings from Blyth Spartans and had shone in pre-season, so it was a bitter blow when he suffered his long-term injury. Armstrong added... 'With the spaghetti legs he’s got you want to make sure they’re strong before he’s back playing... He looks after the ball extremely well, he’s a great dribbler, one of the best I’ve seen. We’ve missed him at times.

'Jarrett runs with the ball and gets us up the pitch and Justin is one to run onto the ball. Thommo and Cams run with the ball too, you need them [sic] type of players to relive the pressure and get you up the pitch, and Holmesy does that extremely well.'

In Holmes’s absence Darlington have enjoyed a season of occasional promise, currently anchored in 11th, seven points outside the play-offs".

Off the pitch, Darlington report that "Chief Executive Officer and club chairman, David Johnston has purchased an equity stake in the club.

David, who has been the club’s CEO since 2017, will be a minority shareholder alongside the other individual shareholders and the Darlington FC Supporters' Group, the majority owner. David has converted his outstanding £10,000 director's loan into equity and in accordance with the special resolution passed at the 2019 AGM has converted another £40,000 loan into equity, taking his total investment to £50,000. DFCSG, the fans' ownership group, will continue to be the majority shareholders of Darlington FC with 76.3% of the equity and 78.8% voting rights.

Fan ownership remains at the heart of Darlington FC...

David said 'I'm delighted to become a shareholder in Darlington FC. This investment underlines my commitment to playing a big part in the future of the club. We've seen improvement on the pitch this season and are seeking to match that progress off the field to build a sustainable future at this level and higher'"

Blyth Spartans "announce the signing of former Hartlepool United defender Michael Nelson on a deal until the end of the season. The experienced defender joins having left his assistant manager role at League Two side Stevenage earlier this month.

Nelson had a successful career in professional football with the likes of Bury, Hartlepool, Norwich City, Scunthorpe, Kilmarnock, Bradford City, Hibernian, Cambridge and Barnet. He spent six years of his career at Pools... Last season, he signed a one-year deal with National League side Chesterfield before joining Gateshead in the summer in a player-coach role.

Nelson appeared 14 times for The Heed and was an unused substitute in the Boxing Day and New Year fixtures with Blyth... Nelson has returned to the North East to join Blyth as a player ahead of the final 10 games of the campaign.

Manager Lee Clark said 'Michael obviously has a wealth of experience at all levels of the game. He is a standout leader in all aspects of the game and last Saturday, especially first half, we lacked a dominant leader in the team'".

26 February 2020


After Tuesday's fixture at Boston, Altrincham dropped to seventh and remain in the play-offs by the narrowest of margins. They share the same points and goal difference as Spennymoor Town but are above the Durham side by virtue of having scored one more goal.

Earlier, the Shropshire Star reported on Tuesday that "AFC Telford United's clash with Curzon Ashton has been postponed to a waterlogged pitch... Ground staff at the club had been working since yesterday to get the pitch ready for the game but with severe weather plaguing Shropshire, the game was cancelled".

And the Kettering Town v Brackley Town game was also postponed.

Tuesday, 25 February

  • AFC Telford United P-P Curzon Ashton (waterlogged pitch)
  • Boston United 0-3 Gateshead
  • Kettering Town P-P Brackley Town (waterlogged pitch)


In advance of their game with Altrincham at EdgarStreet this Saturday, Hereford FC announced that "We make the hop across the A49 tomorrow night (Tuesday) when we face Lads' Club in the Quarter Final of the Herefordshire FA Challenge Cup.

The game will be the first time that The Bulls have faced Lads Club on the new 3G playing surface at Widemarsh Common... The car park at the back of the Meadow End and outside Raford’s Bar at Edgar Street will be open for fans to park in and make the short walk to Lads' Club.

Bulls' News adds that for the match "Interim manager Josh Gowling is expected to select a squad of those players who haven't had much game time recently along with a number from the Under 18's. 'Players that haven't played todaywill be involved and the young lads will be involved as well so a good chance for us to have a look and for the fans to come down and see some of the youth players,' said Gowling after Saturday's drawn game against Darlington.

Lads' Club have a new 3G pitch, however Gowling isn't too concerned particularily as he won't be playing. '3G finished me off so I won't be playing. It's a bit of a different surface but where we train is 3G so the lads are used to it and it won't be an issue.'"

Bulls' News adds that "Hereford FC captain Jared Hodgkiss has been included in the National North League team of the week. He scored a stunning goal in Hereford's 2-2 draw with Darlington last Saturday".

Fans arriving early at Hereford on Saturday may be interested to know that "This month brings a real treat for Hereford football fans, as a multi-venue photography exhibition featuring among many, iconic photographs of the epic 1972 FA Cup run, including behind-the-scenes images, has gone on display.

The chance for fans to relive Hereford United's giant killing match against Newcastle United, up close and personal, comes courtesy of the culmination of the 3-year Heritage Lottery Funded Herefordshire Life Through a Lens project. The PHOTOS is an exhibition of pictures from the Derek Evans Studio photographic archive that takes place across multiple venues....

From Ronnie Radford's rocket, Newcastle United goalkeeper Willie 'Iam' McFaul's despairing dive, football fans celebrating, to behind-the-scenes player pictures, complimented by hundreds of iconic news images, Catcher Media has chosen the most iconic images from Derek’s vast collection and they are on show now at the Courtyard Centre for the Arts [open Saturday], alongside new images of Ronnie, Colin Addison and fans.

Also on show, at Hereford Museum and Art Gallery [open Saturday morning only], Carousel featuring an interview with 1972 Hereford United player-manager Colin Addison and player Ronnie Radford, who relive the big day by describing their thoughts and feelings in an interview on the Edgar Street pitch. Further interviews are also available online."


Altrincham FC Reserves' next fixture is scheduled for Saturday, 29 February when they travel to Middlewich Town who lie fourth in the Cheshire League, three places but just a single point above seventh-placed Alty, who have a game in hand.


Altrincham FC Ladies's next scheduled game is at home to Northwich Vixens at Egerton Sports Club, Knutsford, on Sunday, 1 March. Alty Ladies are fifth in the league with Northwich sixth, two points behind them but having played two additional games.


On Sunday, 1 March, Altrincham FC Youth entertain Chester FC Youth at Manchester Health Academy, Moor Lane, Baguely, M23 9BP (3pm) in the Open Cup.

Before kick-off Chester FC Youth lie fifth, two points ahead of Alty after the same number of fixtures.


Chester FC have issued a Club Statement which starts, "As a Fan Owned Community Club, Chester FC are committed to treating all individuals including the players and supporters of opposition clubs, regardless of their background, in a manner without fear of abuse or discrimination.

As a club we embrace our diverse community background and, alongside the Community Trust, have worked hard to create an environment which engages all aspects of society within which abuse and discrimination based on any characteristic of any kind will not be accepted.

On Saturday during our defeat against Brackley Town, it is with regret that there was an incident reported to a steward whereby a fellow supporter is alleged to have acted in a manner which fell below these standards.

As always, the majority of our fan base continue to support the Club and act in a way which is a credit to both themselves and the Club, for which we are thankful.

Clearly this event saddens us greatly and, whilst this specific incident will now be dealt with in conjunction with Cheshire Police, it goes without saying that the Club will not tolerate any such behaviour and will act in the appropriate way to anyone found to behave in such a manner...

In addition, we would like to remind supporters once more that it is an arrestable offence to enter the field of play during a game. This comes following several instances this season."

On the playing side, Cheshire Live tells us that "Kevin Roberts will remain a Chester FC player beyond the end of this season after a clause in his contract was triggered at the weekend.

The 30-year-old right back, in his second spell with the Blues having come through the youth system and signing his first professional deal in January 2007, has been a solid performer for Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley's side this season... His appearance in Chester's 3-2 loss at home to Brackley Town on Saturday... [was] his 30th in all competitions this season which triggered a new deal.

Roberts, who made 81 appearances in the Football League for Chester City before rejoining the reformed Blues in the summer following his release from cross-border rivals Wrexham, was already a player that Johnson and Morley had viewed as a member of next season's squad. Roberts joins George Glendon, Brad Jackson, Joel Taylor and John Johnston in being under contract for the 2020/21 campaign".

Looking ahead, Kettering Town announce that they "will play The Jersey Bulls as part of the build-up to the 2020/21 Season. The Bulls are currently unbeaten and sit top of the Combined Counties League Division One.

The Poppies were once managed by current Jersey FA Chairman, Bradley Vowden’s uncle, Geoff Vowden... The match will take place at Springfield Stadium on Saturday 18th July. Tickets will be released once this season has been completed initially to season ticket holders and then to the general fan base.

Kettering Town owner Ritchie Jeune said 'We are delighted to be able to secure this fixture and visit the island of Jersey.' Kettering will be given an allocation of 120 tickets in the main stand. Jeune added 'We hope that the advanced notice of this fixture will enable as many supporters as possible to take up the opportunity to travel to the island in July. We have teamed up with a Jersey-based travel company to assist any fans who want to travel to the island to watch the game...

Jersey Bulls' manager Gary Freeman said, 'For a new club to get the opportunity to test ourselves against a team such as Kettering Town is fantastic, Kettering have a rich history in non-league football and I’m sure our supporters will be excited to see how we fare against this level of opposition. I also hope the supporters of Kettering Town fancy a nice away trip and help to create a fantastic atmosphere at Springfield'".

According to NL Daily| "Guiseley have released a statement condemning the racist abuse reported during the weekend’s game with Gateshead.

Guiseley say they ‘strongly suspect that the abuse came from a visiting spectator but, unfortunately, in an unsegregated fixture and without a witness identifying the culprit, we were unable to get the offender arrested.’

The club also state 'The incident was brought to the referee’s attention after continuous repetition of the same phrase towards the same player. Unfortunately, during the post-match meeting with the referee, he was informed of other incidents of repetitious abuse towards another Guiseley player.

'Both the player and the referee followed the correct FA protocol and both the reported and unreported incidents are logged in the referee’s report... The directors of Gateshead FC were made aware of the incident.'"

Before their midweek match, Boston United reported that they would "entertain Gateshead at the third time of asking on Tuesday evening...

Inclement weather has put paid to the encounter on December 21 and January 14...

United have won their last six matches in an overall unbeaten run of eight, while Gateshead made it 10 unbeaten on Saturday after coming back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 late on at Guiseley.

The Pilgrims are set to select from an unchanged squad for the visit of the Heed... This season's reverse fixture ended 3-0 to Gateshead".

25 February 2020


Just days after Altrincham FC issued a statement about their pitch, following the third postponement this season caused by waterlogging at the J. Davidson Stadium, the Shropshire Star reports that a rival club has worse problems with its playing surface.

Right: James Jones is congratulated on his goal on the troubled surface at the New Buck's Head on 1 February.

"AFC Telford United are in talks with the Football Association for funding to replace ‘collapsed’ drains underneath the troubled New Buck's Head pitch. The club believe that dated and clogged drains, likely to have been fitted in the construction of the new stadium between 2000 and 2003, are the source of the weathered surface which has badly deteriorated in recent months.

The issue was flagged to the FA via the National League as the Bucks have lost a number of games to the weather conditions this season... The New Buck's Head pitch has been tested and inspected by several contractors, with soil samples taken away, but it is the infrastructure underneath the surface that is believed to be the source of the waterlogging.

Drainage replacement will go ahead this summer in a bid to end the pitch woe but the significant work will come at a cost.

AFC Telford hope they can assess vital funds with a grant from the FA’s Football Stadia Improvement Fund to cover the costs. Football operations manager Luke Shelley said 'We believe the pitch is the worst it’s been in 17 or 18 years. Last month seven or eight contractors have come for a look. The FA know from the National League that we’ve got problems and experts have been out taking soil samples for assessment.

'The drains have never been replaced from when the ground was built in around 2000. They have collapsed. The top layer has been replaced but the problem is the infrastructure underneath. Wet conditions have also had a massive impact but the problem is this work should have been done two or three years ago.'"


Altrincham travel to Hereford next Saturday, a rare date in the calendar, 29 February.

The late Mike Garnett's records uncover the historical record between the clubs. Following to Hereford's financial collapse, Alty have only met the current club, Hereford FC, three times previously. Both games before this season's 5-1 home win at Moss Lane ended in draws.

  • Home: P2-W1-D1-L0-F6-A2
  • Away: P1-W0-D1-L0-F1-A1
  • All: P3-W1-D2-L0-F7-A3

However, there were also four previous encounters with the Bulls' forerunner club, Hereford United, as summarised below:

  • Home: P2-W1-D0-L1-F2-A2
  • Away: P2-W0-D2-L0-F2-A2
  • All: P4-W1-D2-L1-F4-A4

So in three trips to Edgar Street against both incarnations of the Hereford club, neither the Bulls nor Altrincham has emerged victorious.


The last trip to Hereford for Altrincham was on Saturday, 3 November 2018, when "On their third visit to Edgar Street, Altrincham deservedly maintained their unbeaten record at the ground. But it took an 89th minute equalizer from Josh Hancock to secure the point. For that game, the Alty bench included two new faces; new signing Charlie Scott and youth team winger Dontai Gabidon. The game was played in a gusty wind with second-half rain which made conditions difficult for both sides.

Altrincham were the better side in the early stages of this game but they failed to convert their possession into a meaningful shot at goal. Eight minutes into the second half, Hereford broke the deadlock. The Bulls' first serious shot at goal, from Danny Greenslade, prompted a fine save by Tony Thompson but this was at the cost of a corner. Following the corner kick, the ball was played aerially from the left to the back post, where James Roberts headed firmly home.

Above: The last time at Edgar Street... Connor Hampson positions Max Harrop at the near post whilst Jordan Hulme, Tony Thompson and Andy White await developments, during the first half of the game in November 2019.

The goal lifted Hereford after their below-par first-half showing but Alty withstood one or two risky moments before getting forward themselves without still being able to trouble the Bulls' keeper. But, just when time seemed to have run out, a foul on Connor Hampson gave the visitors a freekick near the left touchline. Johnston's freekick landed in the crowded box and Hancock was able to slot it home from six yards.

The draw meant Alty dropped a place to tenth.

HEREFORD FC: 1. Matt Yates, 2. Keiran Thomas, 3. Danny Greenslade, 4. Jordan Cullinane-Liburd, 5. Ethan Wassall, 6. Harvey Smith (c), 7. Billy Murphy, 8. Tommy O'Sullivan, 9. James Roberts, 10. George Lloyd, 11. Tom Owen-Evans. Subs: 12. Harry White, 14. Ryan Green, 15. Marlon Jackson, 16. Kyle Finn, 17. Martin Horsell.

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Tony Thompson, 2. Andy White, 3. Connor Hampson, 4. James Jones, 5. Tom Hannigan, 6. Jake Moult (c), 7. John Johnston, 8. Max Harrop, 9. Jordan Hulme, 10. Josh Hancock, 11. Owen Dale. Subs: Subs: 12. Dontai Gabidon, 14. Simon Richman, 15. Charlie Scott, 16. Shaun Densmore, 20. Elliot Wynne.

Darlington have highlights of their recent game against Hereford FC.


Those who have attended any major event in the Community Sports Hall at Altrincham FC may have seen the Hall in its fully decorated splendour. The credit for the decorations goes to Barry Woodyatt who is in contention for the award of Best Wedding Venue Stylist at the National Wedding Awards. You can add your vote for Barry in the above category here.


Next season, at least three current National League North clubs expect to be in different stadiums from their present locations. York City hope to be settled into their newly built stadium, to be shared with the local rugby club; Gloucester City hope to be back at their newly flood-resilient former stadium, and Boston United are well on the way to completing their new stadium to replace the historic York Street ground.

However, Unearthed has published a survey of building on floodplains which raises concerns about Boston's new stadium. Unearthed is "Greenpeace UK’s award-winning journalism project".

Their research explains that "By cross-referencing housebuilding plans in 10 flood-prone local authorities with the Environment Agency’s (EA) flood risk map, Unearthed has identified proposals to build 9,688 homes in high-risk areas.

Our investigation revealed that 'Across Lincolnshire, which currently has five flood warnings in place, 5,227 homes are planned in high-risk flood zones. The developments include Boston United Football Club’s new 5,000 seater stadium'. It continues, "In one scheme, ‘The Quadrant’, local developer Chestnut Homes plans to build 1,515 homes and Boston United Football Club’s new 5,000-seater stadium to the south-west of the town, all in an area of high flood risk".

The Shropshire Star reports that "AFC Telford manager Gavin Cowan was left seething at the 1-0 National North defeat at Boston, calling the referee ‘incompetent’.

A controversial penalty, awarded by referee Callum Walchester after Arlen Birch appeared to cleanly win the ball when tackling Pilgrims’ Frank Mulhern, meant the Bucks returned to Shropshire empty-handed.

And Cowan pulled no punches post-match at the official’s performance saying 'I don’t think there are any words I can come up with to explain the decision, or numerous decisions. It’s just farcical, really. The decision is crazy, and his explanation was that Arlen’s on the wrong side, which he’s not, and that he hasn’t got the ball, which he absolutely does. I don’t know what he’s seen, I don’t know how he’s come to that conclusion, because to me that’s incompetence'...

We have to accept it, and we have to be better, but decisions like that make me feel for our supporters. They’ve travelled all this way and wanted something to cheer about. They deserved better, and so do the players.'

Boston manager Craig Elliott admitted afterwards that his side had been fortunate, conceding that he too felt the decision wasn’t a penalty".

In the Banbury Guardian "Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin was delighted to see his side get back to winning ways. Saints beat Vanarama National League North play-off rivals Chester 3-2 with Matt Lowe hitting the stoppage-time winner...

Top scorer Lee Ndlovu gave Saints the interval advantage with his 16th goal of the season. After Saints lost Glenn Walker with a broken nose, James Jones equalised for Chester. Walker's replacement Thierry Audel put Saints back in front, substitute Danny Livesey put Chester back on level terms late on but Lowe bagged the winner four minutes into added-time.

Wilkin said 'We had a difficult time on Tuesday and so I am especially proud of all the players. Over the past five games we haven’t had the results our performances deserved so I am naturally delighted to bounce back and come here and get the three points against probably the in-form team. We came here to try to get the win and the players have shown real courage. To be knocked back as we were twice today away from home is difficult but we kept going and found that little moment at the end. Great credit is owed to all the players.

'Glenn has broken his nose, he is a terrific player for us and hopefully he won’t be out for too long. Thierry came on and got another crucial goal for us'".

Meanwhile, Cheshire Live records the "verdicts of Chester FC co-boss Anthony Johnson and Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin after weekend defeat. The Blues were left empty handed after being the architects of their own downfall...

Having twice managed to come back from a goal down against fellow play-off chasers Brackley Town at a windswept 1885 Arena, a mix-up at the back late on and a Russ Griffiths gaffe allowed Matt Lowe to steal in from an almost impossible angle and bag the points for the Saints at Chester FC...

As a spectacle it wasn't a great watch, particularly the first half where the Blues were worryingly lacklustre. Brackley, as expected, were organised and well drilled and it was no surprise that they came into the game with the meanest defence in the division, conceding just 18...

Here's what Anthony Johnson said.

'It was a mirror image of what happened on Tuesday night only the other way in terms of conceding last minute in a 3-2 game. In terms of the performance it wasn't great... We got ourselves back in the game twice after that turgid first half, two goals, and I thought there was only one team going to win it. But the mistakes from the goals are unacceptable.

'We have tweaked things over the past few weeks where if we go a goal behind we show a different mentality and different resilience, a bit of a Plan B that everyone keeps talking to me about. But we can have all the Plan Bs in the world, if you are going to defend the way we've done for a couple of those goals...

'I don't want to sound like the King's Lynn manager the other night and saying they didn't have to work for the goals but I understand what he means. Those goals are unacceptable. What I will say with the third one is that we are asking people to cheat, we are asking people to go to ground. I'll be saying to my players to go to ground from now on. If he goes to ground, Matty Waters, if he falls over and he goes to ground trying to shield it then gets a foul.

'The rest of it, from the goalkeeper and Matty himself is poor, but we are asking people to cheat here. A big decision like that in the last minute people don't want to make them. But it was a mirror image of the Leamington goal with the same two players, we've not dealt with it and we've ended up getting what we deserve out of the game because of it.

'You can blame both but it has got to be stopped at source... Now what the goalkeeper was doing I don't know. He has held his hand up in the changing room. You have got to make saves, that is your job. We could have come away with a point from a poor game with two sides who probably didn't deserve a win out of it...

'I was joking with the [Brackley] seven (Lowe) about the way they play football, even some of them have a moan about it, but that is what they are and they have always been the same. They are very organised and very well drilled and not every team is going to come and play like King's Lynn...

'The reason we're inconsistent is because of mistakes... The fact that we lost the game goes back to inconsistency. We've lost a game because of some awful errors'"

And Cheshire Live adds that "By his own admission Danny Elliott hasn't yet delivered the goods in a Chester FC shirt but is feeling confident that could be about to change.

The 24-year-old striker, a summer signing following a fine cameo on trial in pre-season, had been on the fringes for much of this National League North campaign for the Blues, unable to nail down a starting berth or jump ahead of the likes of Akwasi Asante, Anthony Dudley, George Waring and Matty Hughes in the forward ranks.

Four starts and 12 substitute appearances in the league yielded three goals but for a number of those games he featured in he was operating in a largely unfamiliar left-sided role. The Cheshire Senior Cup, albeit against far weaker opposition, brought five goals in two games but it still wasn't enough to convince Blues bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley that Elliott could fill the goal-scoring void left whenever Asante was out of the team.

A loan spell was needed, one that would test Elliott... Alfreton Town took the tall, athletic striker for a month, the deal very much a short-term thing for the Blues, keen to welcome him back into the fold a more confident player with valuable minutes under his belt that Chester couldn't provide him. A rarity that a player gets to depart on loan at the same level as his parent club.

A hat-trick on his debut and two goals in his next three games for the Reds in the National League North see him at five goals in five games and currently the most in-form striker in the division.

And at a time when Chester had been scouring the market looking for striking reinforcements he comes back into the fold for this weekend's home clash with Gateshead in a different frame of mind...

'You have to take your chances at this level of football and I hadn't grasped mine at Chester, my performances hadn't been good enough or near the standard that I know I can produce,' said Elliott... 'I wanted to be playing and wasn't getting the minutes I would have liked. But there was a reason for that in that I hadn't been good enough when I'd played. I knew that. There was no bad feeling behind the scenes when I was left out, I knew why I was and I couldn't have any arguments over that...

'I had to do better but in order to do that I needed to get some game time and get my fitness, minutes and confidence up... Alfreton agreed to the month and that was big for me as it was at the same level as Chester for a good club and not too far from me. It's not often you get to go out on loan to a club in the same league but it was perfect for me as I wanted to be challenged...

Elliott would make quite the impression on his debut for the Reds, bagging a hat-trick in a 6-1 rout of Gloucester City...

With Asante a major doubt for this weekend, George Waring still maybe a week or two away and Matty Hughes nursing a knee injury the door could be opened to Elliott returning immediately for the clash with Gateshead this weekend...

'I haven't been away from Chester. I've been training and in and around the lads every day and the managers ring me every other day. They'd ring me before and after games for Alfreton to wish me luck and then see how I'd got on. There's been no big conversations about what happens now I'm available, they'll make that decision when it comes to the game'"

Bradford's Telegraph & Argus reports that "Guiseley surrendered a two-goal half-time lead in a wind-affected game as Gateshead netted twice in the last five minutes to steal a point in a 2-2 draw... Both clubs dropped one place after the stalemate...

A home win over Lee Clarke’s Blyth Spartans saw Farsley Celtic climb above Guiseley...

Guiseley had an excellent start as they broke the deadlock in the fifth minute. A flag kick from Gabby Johnson was cleared but the ball was played back out to Johnson and his cross was slotted in at the near post by Andrai Jones.

There was another early blow for Heed as striker Ruairi Keating went down following an innocuous looking clash. He was treated on the pitch but had to be helped off, being replaced by Mitch Curry.

The Lions then doubled their advantage in the 21st minute through leading scorer Aaron Martin. Heed’s keeper Brad James had done well to parry a good shot from Lee Shaw but he was beaten when Martin rifled in a low shot from close range.

An unsavoury incident soured the atmosphere later in the first half and led to the referee Kristian Silcock warning the game would be abandoned. The crowd were urging the official to get on with it as he paused the game to speak to players and captains and then approach the dugouts. The game was held up for four minutes but there was a cheer and round of applause as an announcement revealed that the referee had been made aware of racial abuse from someone in the crowd and that Guiseley Football Club would not tolerate any kind of racial or discriminatory behaviour. Fortunately, the match passed without further incident.

It was a game of two halves though as Guiseley had the viciously strong wind behind them in the first half but struggled against it after the break... As the clock ticked down it was one-way traffic with Gateshead forcing the Lions to defend deep. The comeback started with five minutes remaining when a deep cross was poked in by Greg Olley at the far post.

In the 90th minute Heed centre back Jake Cooper converted a diagonal cross with a towering header, which led to both sides going all out for a winner in the four minutes of time added on.

Guiseley’s joint manager Russ O’Neill said 'Let’s put things into perspective, we were up against a full-time team and the conditions were shocking for both teams. I thought we acquitted ourselves very well and although they had a lot of possession in the second half we got ourselves into a position where we should have won the game..

'I thought we were a threat on the counter and their keeper made a great save to deny Aaron Martin at 2-0... But whoever you’re playing, we can’t relinquish two-goal leads at home. I think there is one dressing room celebrating getting a point and another dressing room very disappointed to have only got a point.'”

The new manager at Kidderminster Harriers, "Russ Penn, had contrasting emotions when reflecting on his team’s defeat to York City at the weekend.

The Reds suffered their first defeat under the permanent management of Penn, a 1-0 set-back on a fairly even afternoon. The only goal of the game came as a result of a lapse in concentration at the start of the second half, an otherwise impressive debutant Alex Penny nodding the ball into the path of goalscorer, Dan Maguire.

That aside, Harriers more than matched the team who went on to re-take top spot in National League North, with neither side truly breaking the other down at any other point.

Speaking after the game, Penn lamented the switch-off that proved costly... 'There were two good teams out there, I thought, two solid teams... Unfortunately for us, it was our mistake. I thought he had a really good debut and he’ll [be] a very, very good player for us going forward. It’s the concentration thing when you come out at half time, and it has always been the same. You have 15 minutes sat down and clear your head and, within 30 seconds, you’re 1-0 down.

'Overall, I thought we were defensively sound and didn’t look like conceding but, on the flipside, I don’t think we were good enough going forward. I’m not going to sit here and say we deserved to win the game, I just don’t think we deserved to lose it, either'".

In the News Post Leader "Blyth manager Lee Clark has called for his players to show some fight over the final ten games of the season.

A 2-0 defeat to Farsley Celtic on Saturday leaves Spartans six points from safety in National League North.

He said 'It is about the players believing in themselves in the games that remain.'

A goal in each half from Dave Syers and Jimmy Spencer inflicted a 2-0 defeat on Blyth Spartans at Farsley... Spartans played well in large parts of the game, particularly in the final quarter of an hour, but lacked the cutting edge. Blyth dealt with the windy conditions better than their hosts in the early stages and created three very good opportunities inside the opening 10 minutes...

But on 39 minutes Syers beat the offside trap to power his shot past the helpless Hemming... Early in the second half Waddington headed straight at the Celtic keeper. But the bright start didn’t last and after Spencer was superbly denied by the legs of Hemming, the striker was on hand to make it 2-0 at the back post."

According to York Press "Steve Watson believes Dan Maguire's goal at the weekend will help his confidence during what has been 'a frustrating season'.

The highly-regarded 27-year-old striker has found the net just twice for York City since his summer move from Blyth Spartans, with various injuries restricting him to 11 league appearances....

Harriers' debutant centre-back Alex Penny did not get enough on a header back to his keeper. With good anticipation and two touches, Maguire nipped in onto the loose ball, rounded Will Mannion and buried it with his left.

Watson said, 'You don't need me telling anyone that he's had a frustrating season, frustrating mainly for him but also for us and the supporters. None of us have seen the best of Dan yet. Even today, he got a good 60 minutes into him but he was blown, you could see when he came off'...

Maguire was deployed up front from the off with loan striker Kurt Willoughby, who has since been recalled by parent club AFC Fylde... The Aggborough victory was the first time this National League North season top scorer Jordan Burrow had not started.

On the change up top, Watson explained 'We change partnerships every training session just to see what's happening and they look really sharp. You play against a back three where their wing-backs play as high as they did, you're looking for players to spin round corners and I think them two did that well. We didn't create an awful lot. Jordan's our top scorer, he's had a fantastic season for us, but we thought we'd try that out and, without creating loads, they both did well in spells'...

At the other end, keeper Pete Jameson produced a vital save... 'I think he's the best keeper in the league,' Watson said... Like Burrow, right-sided wing-back Kallum Griffiths is a rare absentee from the starting 11. Watson said he 'wouldn't have been fit for Hereford' and so he was replaced by Adriano Moke on the flank. However, midfielder Paddy McLaughlin came off before half-time after a clash of boots with Alex Prosser, with Moke moving into a more familiar role in the centre of the park and Griffiths returning to his usual berth...

Watson added 'He doesn't come off very often. It's an impact injury, it's not a pull, so it will be a pain threshold thing... Greeny took a fair old whack on the ankle. Like Paddy, Greeny doesn't come off very often.'"

More comes from York Press to the effect that "Kurt Willoughby has been recalled by AFC Fylde after his one-month loan spell with York City.

His goalscoring start in City colours was enough to impress Fylde manager Jim Bentley who will now utilise the striker in an important few games for the Coasters... Steve Watson told York's website, 'It’s been completely out of our hands, Jim [was] honest about that all along, he said can we do a month originally and see how it goes and obviously it’s went [sic] well with Kurt.

'It’s coincided with them needing him back, and I totally understand; that’s the problem when you are in the loan market. I haven’t done a lot of loans since I have been here because it feels like you get a team together and a little style of play going, and you maybe have to change it. He’s done great for us and I think we can all admit that it has worked for both parties'...

The England ‘C’ International scored three goals in four appearances for City... He partnered Dan Maguire up front in Saturday’s 1-0 win against Kidderminster...

Watson added 'I thought it was maybe a bit harsh on Jordan (Burrow), the way that I had to do things on Saturday, but I knew it was a very good chance it would be Kurt’s last game and the last chance to give Dan (Maguire) the minutes and that last little bit of match fitness going forward. (Dan’s) got vital match minutes in and he feels good at the minute, he isn’t feeling anything that he has done previously after games so if there’s a plus point to Kurt going back is fact that hopefully Dan comes back to fire on all cylinders...

'I sent Macaulay (Langstaff) on loan to get some games as well while Kurt was here in the hope that he will come back the way he did last season off the back of a loan at a similar time of the season... It is looking likely that Macaulay will come back [from Blyth] after his month as well, unless something between now and then crops up. We have got our feelers out on quite a few players but nothing that I think is going to be imminent...

'I am more than happy to be going through to the rest of the season with what I’ve got. I’m not looking as far forward as permanent signings for next season because there’s still so much to be done this season. My full focus now is getting as many wins as we can between now and the end of April and seeing where that takes us.'"

24 February 2020


On Sunday, Altrincham FC Ladies won 7-1 away to Liverpool Feds Reserves Women. The Ladies lie fifth in the league, 21 points behind the leaders, but with seven games in hand!


Altrincham FC director, Bill Waterson, has explained the issues facing the club regarding the pitch drainage at the J. Davidson Stadium, following the third postponement this season due to waterlogging. His article is on the Altrincham FC website.


The Shropshire Star reports that "On what was likely to be the Bucks' last-ever visit to Boston’s York Street home. Gavin Cowan’s team had to battle the strong winds buffeting the flat Lincolnshire landscape, as well as the third-placed hosts, but were comfortably matching them and ahead on the scorecards of most impartial observers.

However, they were winded by a low blow in the form of a disputed penalty call that was to settle the contest and led to the dismissal after the final whistle of defender Arlen Birch.

The game’s biggest talking point arrived just before the half-hour mark; referee Callum Walchester’s handling of the game left plenty to be desired, but his decision to assess a foul against Arlen Birch in the 27th minute was one of his wilder ones, and the Bucks couldn’t disguise their fury. Boston manager Craig Elliott conceded after the game that the call in his side’s favour was 'a soft penalty', and he wasn’t alone in those thoughts.

Largely ineffective until that point, a ball over the Bucks' defence and into the penalty area looked dangerous; Birch stretched to put the ball out for a corner, only for Frank Mulhern to tumble over the defender’s leg well after Birch’s intervention. The Lowestoft-based official indicated a spot-kick, to the astonishment of the away side, and possibly many of the home contingent too. The Pilgrims had barely laid a finger on the Bucks but, handed the opportunity to land a decisive punch, they did so, Dominic Knowles despatching the kick from 12 yards.

The Bucks got themselves back up off the canvas to push the Pilgrims all the way, as the hosts robust approach drew blood on occasion; Ryan Barnett was left on the deck early on with a swollen lower lip and spitting out claret when defender Scott Garner resorted to a raised arm to prevent the winger racing past him. Pilgrims team-mate Frank Mulhern spent most of the afternoon arriving second to most challenges but escaped any form of censure from the officials.

Garner looked the weak link in a heavyweight Boston defensive trio, and was perhaps mindful of the threat Barnett offered....

[In the] opening half-hour neither side could establish any real control, hampered by the winds which seemed to be disrupting the hosts’ game plan more than Telford’s. Given the unexpected impetus of a goal they had barely warranted, the Pilgrims enjoyed the better of the first half’s remaining stages...

Ultimately one goal proved to be enough; the game ended with the Bucks still searching but left frustrated, and it was likely frustration that led to a red card for defender Birch after the final whistle. Already substituted as the Bucks gambled on going forwards, Birch allowed his emotions to get the better of him as the teams left the field, and his decision to express them in Mr Walchester’s direction, along with an alleged push, were ill-advised if understandable, and will probably bring a lengthy suspension".

And the Boston Standard adds that "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan believes his side were the 'better team' despite a hotly-disputed penalty decision seeing the Bucks beaten at Boston United... Frank Mulhern was adjudged to have been fouled by Arlen Birch...

Birch was red carded at full time after remonstrating with referee Callum Walchester, but Cowan also believed the spot kick should not have been given.

'I don't think there are any words I can come up with the explain the decision. Numerous decisions, some of the things happening on and off the ball. Just farcical really, the refereeing, the decision's crazy. The explanation's that Arlen's on the wrong side, which he's not, and he doesn't get the ball, which he does...

'I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me or my team, but ultimately it's what I've experienced all year... We more than matched them, I thought we were the better side. Certainly the better side in the first half, should have been 2-0 up in the first 10 minutes... I thought out and out we were the better team. We've battled in there and matched them for that.

'In terms of chances, they've had one shot in the first half which was the penalty, which should never have been given'". "Too often this season Guiseley have let teams back into games where they should have taken all three points due to the lack of a killer instinct and the inability to play time out and hold on to a lead until the final whistle goes.

This afternoon’s clash with Gateshead at Nethermoor proved to be a case in point as The Lions, as they had in the reverse fixture at the International Stadium earlier in the season, let the visitors back in with two late goals and surrendered two valuable points in the process.

With a stiff wind blowing down the pitch from the car park end it was the home side who took an early advantage after just five minutes when Prince Ekpolo got a decisive touch and passed to Gabriel Johnson who whipped in an inviting cross for [ex-Alty loanee] Andrai Jones to slide in and apply the finishing touch...

There was then what proved to be the first of two lengthy stoppages following a clash of heads between Hamza Bencherif and Ruairi Keating, the latter being unable to carry on and was replaced by Mitch Curry.

Aaron Martin then proved that his recent three match suspension has not dulled his reactions as he fired home Guiseley’s second on 21 minutes after Lee Shaw had seen his effort blocked by Brad James.

The second interruption to proceedings came shortly after as a result of alleged racial comments which resulted in a warning that any further recurrence would lead to the game being abandoned; this after the referee had consulted with both management teams... [Guiseley] went into the break two goals to the good.

Kennedy Digie replaced Aram Soleman on the restart but it was the visitors who started the half on the front foot as the Lions were finding it difficult to build any momentum playing into the fierce wind with too many balls being sent skyward instead of keeping the ball on the deck like the Heed had in the first period.

It was not until [ex-Alty loanee] Chris Sang replaced Shaw on 71 minutes that the home offensive finally clicked into gear with Martin nearly grabbing his second only for James to block his goal bound effort.

Now playing with some purpose Guiseley had ten minutes plus stoppage time to see the game out but failed to do so as Greg Otley converted a cross from the left to halve the deficit with five minutes remaining.

Sensing that a comeback was on the cards the visitors conjured up an equalizer at the death as Jake Cooper sent the Heed contingent into delirium and leave O’Neill and Bignot to ponder on what might have been".

And another late goal by an away side features in a report from the Banbury Guardian, which relates how the "Saints saw off a Chester side that had beaten leaders King's Lynn Town in midweek in a game that saw three goals arrive in the closing stages.

Kevin Wilkin's side settled the better of the two sides in the testing conditions and keeper Russ Griffiths kept out Lowe’s effort from the edge of the box.

Chances were few and far between in the opening half-hour... But the pressure finally told in the 34th minute when Dan Holman lifted the ball over Griffiths and Ndlovu turned the ball in from close range.

Chester, who found it difficult to pose a threat in the first period, started the second half better and Kevin Roberts fired just wide, as did John Johnston.

But Saints almost doubled their advantage with Shane Byrne shooting just wide before Chester equalised on the hour mark when George Glendon’s cross was headed down by Simon Grand for Jones to beat Danny Lewis.

But Chester weren't on level terms for long as Byrne's corner was headed home by the returning Thierry Audel, who had replaced Glenn Walker, in the 71st minute.

With five minutes of normal time left, Chester equalised again when Danny Livesey's looping header evaded Lewis. But in the fifth minute of added-time Lowe took advantage of hesitancy in the home defence to slip the ball under Griffiths and into the net".

And yet another late goal was central to the Northern Echo's report that "Darlington manager Alun Armstrong was disappointed with just a draw from Quakers’ longest journey of the season.

They were at Hereford’s Edgar Street and trailing 2-1 late on, showing plenty of character to level through sub Omar Holness with just three minutes left.

But Armstrong’s side could have sealed the points with better finishing in a good all-round first half performance that saw them lead 1-0 at the break, but miss chances in the process.

'I was disappointed with a point, especially after the first half', said Armstrong. 'After the first 15 minutes I thought we totally dominated the game and we maybe should have been 2-0 up or more at half time. I see it as two points dropped from the position that we were in.

'I think there’s more to come from this team, because there are little bits that need fixing, and it’s hard to fix those bits because we only train twice a week'.

Quakers made their attacking intentions known early in the game... They took the lead from a counter attack on 35 minutes. Hatfield spraying the ball out wide to Donawa who ran 40 yards down the right before laying the ball on a plate for Rivers to turn home.

Armstrong said 'It was a great goal that we scored to go into the lead, Justin broke at pace and the other winger, Jarrett Rivers, supported him and put the ball in the back of the net. Justin did what I’ve asked him to do loads of times, to get down the outside and stretch their defence. I thought he did exceptionally well and I was really pleased with his workrate.

'Saturday was the first time I’ve seen him going into the middle and linking up with play. He’s getting more and more confident.

'Cams (Adam Campbell) had a one-on-one and he knows that he should have scored, plus we had other chances. If we had gone in at 2-0, then that would have changed the game massively, but the conditions played a big part in the second half because the wind picked up. Hereford were really direct and went for it.'

The visitors could have gone further ahead... However, just as last season when Darlington led at half-time, Hereford came out of the traps quickly at the start of the second half and pinned Quakers back, levelling on 56 minutes. It came after a Darlington throw-in inside their own half, Hereford winning back possession and Lenell John-Lewis picking the ball up on the right just inside Darlington's area before firing across Elliott into the top corner...

Hereford thought they’d won it when when they went 2-1 up, again after a Darlington throw-in. Jason Pope got around the back of the defence and found Jared Hodgkiss, who drove the ball past the helpless Elliott.

But Quakers deservedly levelled when Hatfield and Campbell combined well from a throw in, and Holness broke free to fire across Hall for his fifth goal of the season...

Armstrong said 'The goals were literally given away when you look at them. I thought the first one was a pure fluke, their player miskicked it and the wind took it into the top corner, and the second goal has come from our throw in, which was disappointing. But the lads dug in, showed plenty of guts and determination and thoroughly deserved at least a point.

'Omar has been different class. He lost his place in the team because of the system we’re playing but he’s worked exceptionally hard in training. I was always going to put him on because I thought we lacked just a little bit of energy for the last 25 minutes, and he came up trumps by scoring a wonderful goal... The minimum they deserved was a point from the game, but they should have had the game wrapped up by half time.'”

"Lee Clark was left disappointed as Blyth Spartans failed to use the windy conditions to their advantage in the first-half during the 2-0 defeat at Farsley Celtic.

Spartans had the wind in their favour during the opening 45 minutes, however instead allowed Farsley a lead at the break following Dave Syers’ 39th-minute strike. Jimmy Spencer then scored on the hour-mark for the hosts, leaving Blyth with a mountain to climb when battling after the blustery weather conditions.

Clark said. 'We went into the game, we looked at the pitch and saw the weather conditions etc and we said, if we can win the toss, "Can we use the really strong wind to our advantage and get a lead in the game?" We knew because the wind was that strong they’d be pegged back.

'After the first 10 minutes when we had a few attempts at goal, we looked like we were going to do that but we instead allowed Farsley to get control of the ball, despite the strong conditions... We didn’t manage the game well enough. When the ball went out of play, rather than us going to get it, we allowed them to run the clock down.

'For example, their goalkeeper was taking goal kicks and he was lucky if he was getting out of his own box. Our back players were still deep in our own half. Even worse was to come when we conceded the goal. Going from where you believe you can get a foothold in the game and get in front because of the conditions, we actually found ourselves behind.

'When you come in at half-time 1-0 down despite having the advantage then it makes it doubly hard. I actually felt we played some decent stuff in the second-half and created more chances against the wind... Overall, it was a disappointing afternoon and a disappointing result. No way can I question the lads’ effort and attitude, but the game management wasn’t there'".

The Boston Standard reports that "Tom Platt was all smiles as Boston United 'found another way to win'.

The midfielder put in another impressive, combative display during Saturday's 1-0 win over AFC Telford United, which stretched the Pilgrims' unbeaten run to eight and made it six straight wins. Boston appeared to struggle more with the windy conditions early on, before Dominic Knowles's penalty settled the contest.

'It was another good win, tough conditions again,' said Platt. 'We found another way to win and it was another good three points... Second half it was a case of clear your lines and defend well. Over the last two or three months we've kept a lot of clean sheets. The big lads at the back all know how to defend, they're experienced players,' he added...

'We've got that winning feeling at the minute and it's becoming a bit of a habit.'"

Also from the Boston Standard we learn that "Craig Elliott believes Alex Penny has been 'badly advised' after the defender left Boston United for Kidderminster Harriers.

The Pilgrims' boss pulled no punches, calling the 23-year-old's move a 'bad footballing decision' after he left promotion-chasing Boston for their National League North rivals.

'I'll be totally honest. I'm not happy, I think he's been badly advised,' Elliott told The Standard. 'It's something that doesn't sit well with me. I think agents and advice, it's not great if I'm honest. I just don't see it from a footballing point of view. I'll let other people have an opinion on "How can you move from a team, that's third in the league to a team that's got nothing to play for and not got a permanent manager?".

'Players are in it for themselves, so good luck to him. It's not something I'm happy about.'

Penny made his Harriers debut in yesterday's 1-0 home defeat to York City, and it was his header back that was intercepted by Dan Maguire to net the only goal of the game. The former Peterborough United and Hamilton Academical defender, who was on Boston's books as a non-contract player, has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at Aggborough...

The United boss continued 'I would (rather try to win things). The messages (we were getting) was it wasn't about winning things as a club and as a team, it was about his individual career. That's a difference to me. I might be naive in that. I think, especially with only two months of the season left, my opinion, he should have stayed at the club until the end and looked at his options in the summer.

'I'd have no problem with that. From my point of view it was a bad footballing decision an something that's out my hands.'

Following his switch, Penny told the Kidderminster Harriers YouTube channel 'For myself, and my family, we just knew that full-time football is what I need and I'm after. Getting the opportunity to get back into full-time football was something I wasn't going to turn down.'"

23 February, 2020


When Altrincham FC's fixtures were released last summer, there were 42 dates set aside for their league matches and four additional blank dates; two assigned to the dates of FA Cup 2Q and 3Q rounds, as well as two for the FA Trophy 3Q and Round 1. So Alty supporters' calendars had 46 dates earmarked for Alty action and could plan other events around them. But 2019-20 has turned out very different from that simple supposition...

Altrincham supporters' calendars and diaries have now now seen numerous changes and additions. Indeed, this Saturday's postponement of the home game against King's Lynn Town will be the eleventh league fixture date for Altrincham on which a planned or a subsequently re-arranged match-date has had to be changed (or re-changed) this season.

In some cases the alterations, or alterations to an alteration, have been due to a weather-induced postponement; in other cases, the amendment has been due to a fixture clash with a cup competition and, in one instance (home v Blyth), for a reason that remains unclear.

Above: Although the sun was shining in September when Alty drew at Chester FC in the FA Cup, the result meant another date had to be added to the calendar for the replay.

In cup competitions, as well as those four dates set aside by the National League at the start of the season for the first two rounds of the FA Cup and Trophy, two additional dates have been required by Altrincham for replays in those rounds. Additionally, Alty's extended progress in the FA Cup meant that a further three FA Cup dates had to be found to the detriment of the planned league fixture list.

Furthermore, a Cheshire Senior Cup tie had to be accommodated.

The full litany of changes is detailed below.

The season started smoothly enough in August and September, as Alty's first eleven league fixtures were all completed as scheduled. In the light of what was to follow, the League had wisely started the campaign very early in August and had scheduled plenty of early-season midweek fixtures to forestall the effects of potentially bad winter weather.

After those eleven league games, the next Saturday, 21 September 2019, was left blank for the FA Cup 2Q and Alty duly played at Chester FC on that date before having to play Additional Fixture no.1, an FA Cup replay against Chester FC on the following Tuesday, 24 September.

Disruption to the planned fixtures then began as Home Postponement no.1 occurred on Saturday, 28 September when Alty's home league game against Gateshead had to be called off owing to a waterlogged pitch.

Following an FA Cup trip to Halesowen Town on what was a planned blank fixture date, 5 October, Alty's further progress in the FA Cup meant that an assigned league trip to Kettering Town on 19 October had to be replaced by an FA Cup jaunt to Southport on 19 October, which was therefore Fixture Clash no.1.

On 26 October came Home Postponement no.2. Alty were set to play AFC Telford United at Moss Lane but that game had to be postponed as, for a second time, the pitch at the J. Davidson Stadium was waterlogged.

A CSC tie at Stalybridge (Additional Fixture, no.2), which was scheduled for 29 October, became Fixture Clash no.2, when it had to be postponed owing to Celtic's unplanned FA Trophy replay that night.

On 9 November, Alty were to play Blyth Spartans at Moss Lane in the league but the Robins' FA Cup progress caused that match to be called off in Fixture Clash no.3.

Altrincham's league fixture, away to Kettering Town, which had been postponed on 19 October, owing to Altrincham's continuing involvement in the FA Cup, was then rescheduled for Tuesday, 12 November.

However, due to Altrincham's FA Cup tie on the preceding weekend having been moved to a Sunday to accommodate television coverage, this rearranged away game was moved again, this time to Tuesday, 26 November but even that date was contingent on there being no replay need by either club following the Third Round Qualifying of the FA Trophy.

And, of course, Alty's win at York in the Trophy meant that the Kettering game again bit the dust in Fixture Clash no.4.

Meanwhile, Alty entertained Gateshead in a rearranged league game on 19 November.

After the planned game at home to Spennymoor had been played, Alty went to the Bower Fold on Tuesday, 2 December to play their rearranged CSC tie.

Alty's postponed game at home to Blyth Spartans was rearranged for 10 December but, for reasons that were never made clear, it was then re-arranged again, this time to 7 January 2020.

Right: one match which eventually beat the weather after an earlier postponement, was Alty's trip to Spennymoor on 11 February.

Additional Fixture no.3 came on 17 December when Farsley Celtic visited Altrincham for an FA Trophy replay.

Christmas and New Year passed uneventfully with five planned league game being played without a problem, begging the question of the wisdom of having a Winter Break at that time, as has been mooted in some quarters.

2020 saw the previously postponed Blyth league fixture finally being played on 7 January.

But the previously postponed Spennymoor Town away game proved abortive, on 14 January, as Alty and their supporters completed the long trek to the Brewery Field on that Tuesday night only to find that the game had been postponed, barely an hour before kick off.

On 28 January, the previously twice-rearranged fixtured at Kettering Town was finally played, as was the previously postponed visit from AFC Telford United, which was played at Moss Lane on 4 February 2020.

The away game against Spennymoor Town was finally played on 11 February.

And, finally, as things stand, Saturday's game at home to King's Lynn has become Home Postponement no.3 and the third match lost at the J Davidson Stadium because of waterlogging. So the planned conclusion of the season which, before this weekend, had featured only matches to be played at 3pm, now has to have a further floodlit evening game to accommodate when the Linnets finally visit Altrincham.


Our neighbours, Trafford, survived a first-half onslaught from Neil Young's Marine at Shawe View on Saturday, to emerge 2-0 winners.

Altrincham's Curtis Miller, pictured (right) during the game, came on as a substitute for Trafford, a club with which he is dually registered, and scored with a superb goal from outside the box in the 75th minute to put his side ahead. Marine had won a dozen or do corners in the first half but had been unable to break through.

Starting for Trafford were some other familiar "Alty" faces in the form of striker Lewis Salmon and winger Darius Palma, whilst Laurence Taylor was a second-half substitute for the Flixton-based club and Sam Grimshaw was also on the bench. Unfortunately, Palma had to go off injured in the second half.


Next Saturday, Altrincham travel to Hereford FCwhere this Saturday, "The Bulls played out another home draw as we shared the spoils with Darlington in what was an entertaining encounter.

The early action on a wind-swept afternoon saw a... lively start from The Bulls as Riley almost played in Jared Hodgkiss who made a positive forward run...

It was the visitors who opened the scoring on 36 minutes when Donawa got in a low cross from the right that found Rivers at the far post and he made no mistake...

The second half started with a corner for The Bulls... Some desperate defending from the visitors saw them survive a raid but their resistance was soon broken when Lenell John-Lewis fired home sweetly for his first goal for the club to level matters on 56 minutes...

On 85 minutes we took the lead when Jason Pope’s cross was only half-cleared into the path of skipper, Jared Hodgkiss, who lashed the ball home.

Our lead lasted just three minutes as Omar Holness lashed home the equaliser to make it 2-2. In stoppage time, Jagger Cane’s header from close range was well saved by Chris Elliott as we pushed for a winner in a breathless ending but it finished with honours even once more.

THE BULLS: Hall, Hodgkiss, Pope, Jagger Cane, Anderson, Riley, Mooney, Owen-Evans, John-Lewis, Liburd (Ash 75), O’Sullivan (Thomas 81). Subs not used: Davies, Raison, Whitlock".


The Eastern Daily Press reports that "Linnets still sitting pretty, thanks to some of those on the sidelines. For the first time since mid-November, King's Lynn Town have a team above them in the promotion race.

The Linnets had been top since a 2-1 win at Southport back on November 16 but, while they were kicking their heels on Saturday following the postponement of their game at Altrincham because of a waterlogged pitch, York City were winning 1-0 at Kidderminster Harriers.

It was enough to send the Minstermen top, with a two-point lead, albeit from three games more than the Linnets. Even sitting in second spot is, as manager Ian Culverhouse says, beyond anyone's wildest dreams as the Linnets continue to defy the odds.

Whilst the players will take most of the plaudits, it's time to look away from the pitch and to the sidelines and the stands to see what Culverhouse, his assistant Paul Bastock and the club owner Stephen Cleeve, have contributed to the story so far...

Ian Culverhouse: His first spell as manager was pretty good. This second has been ridiculous. Three weeks ago he suffered his first home defeat in the league since his return almost a year and a half ago. Took Lynn to the National League North after a brilliant play-offs campaign. The odds were on a survival battle, but the Linnets are still sitting pretty and maybe a little of that top-of-the-table pressure has eased.

From outside of the dressing room, Cully is a mild mannered, good humoured man. He chats amiably with the media post-match (something he didn't always do in his first spell), enjoys a laugh and you feel there is a trust established. Ask the players and they see him as a man they respect, a man with a CV that proves he's right. And they love playing for him, not least because it's good football to watch. He lets them make mistakes (not too many of course), as long as they learn. He can explain every decision he makes and is a brilliant coach; watch him with his notebook during the game.

Paul Bastock: Booming voice, the man on the touchline who does the dirty verbal stuff, and loves it. Works hard with Alex Street and it has paid off... player relationship is good as is the one with the fans. Wears his heart on his sleeve at times, and we love him for it. Him and Cully are chalk and cheese but the best manager-coach teams often are.

Stephen Cleeve [chairman]: Fell out with his manager first time out, but knows a good thing when he sees it. Has put an awful lot of money into the club and has enabled recent new signings [to be made]. Running a football club is a costly business, and the owner has to have a businessman's head, which doesn't always go down well, usually with those who don't have to keep dipping into their pockets."

York Press tells us that "York City's 1-0 win at Kidderminster Harriers may have put pressure on King's Lynn Town by knocking them down to second but manager Steve Watson insists he is keeping his mind solely on the Minstermen.

Dan Maguire struck very early in the second half to secure a vital three points for York and send them two points clear at the top, having played three games more than King's Lynn.

And Watson said... 'I've got one of the worst hard-luck stories in history, 12 points clear in January with Newcastle. I know what it's like to be top of the league and what it's like to look over your shoulder and see teams winning and winning. It does add a little bit of pressure but as I've said before, I'm not one to try and play mind-games. We focus on ourselves, win as many games as we can and see where that takes us.'

On the game, he added 'It was a fantastic win. I thought we looked solid without being spectacular with the ball, to say the least...

'I picked the team I picked to try and be positive, almost like a 3-4-3, with Greeny pushed a bit higher. But we couldn't break them down, we didn't really test the keeper in the first half. It was great for Dan [Maguire], that's the type of player he is, he's an opportunist, and he's scored a really, really important goal for us...

We didn't look like being broken down either, which is the way we try and start every game. It was uncharacteristic for us to concede five goals in two games so the main part away from home was to be solid again. I thought we looked solid and the shape was good but we didn't create an awful lot and we didn't play brilliantly with the ball.

'There's a lot of teams will come here and not win so, at this stage of the season, I'm not too disappointed. We know what we need to work on; we need to be better with the ball and better at retaining the ball'"

A 2-2 draw at Hereford FC is the subject of a report from Darlington who tell us that "A late goal by sub Omar Holness earned Quakers a deserved point at Edgar Street.

They led 1-0 at half time and maybe could have scored more, and in the second half Hereford struck twice to lead 2-1 with five minutes left.

But sub Holness finished off a good move to grab a deserved equaliser three minutes from the end.

With the wind blowing across the pitch... Hereford had their first real opening on 28 minutes... Quakers took the lead on 35 minutes with a breakaway goal. Wheatley cleared a corner and found Donawa, who made plenty of ground up the right and played the ball across the six yard box for Rivers to come in at the far post and tap in his third goal of the season...

Hereford caused problems at the start of the second half... Hereford levelled out of the blue on 56 minutes when Lenell John-Lewis picked the ball up on the right, and struck a right foot shot that went across Elliott and into the top left hand corner of the net... But Hereford went in front on 85 minutes when Mooney crossed from the left for Hodgkiss to run in and volley home through a crowd of players.

Quakers levelled straight away when Holness found space inside the box, and fired past Hall into the net.

Chester FC "came crashing back down to Earth after Tuesday’s late goal, coming undone in the 90th minute against a stubborn Brackley side.

The visitors had the better of the first half and led through Lee Ndlovu’s close range strike. The Blues were much improved in the second half and equalised through James Jones. Parity was short lived though as Thierry Audel restored the visitors' lead ten minutes later.

Chester set up a grandstand finish when equalising through Danny Livesey with five minutes to go, but a mix-up between Waters and Griffiths allowed Matt Lowe to toe-poke the ball beyond the pair and seal victory for Brackley.

The Blues made one change from the side that secured a dramatic late victory over Kings Lynn Town on Tuesday night, as injury forced Matty Hughes out of the team, with Anthony Dudley replacing him in the starting line-up and Danny Livesey taking his place on the bench...

Chester struggled to make any progress in the final third and were caused even greater problems when they had to make two first half changes, with Joel Taylor and Akwasi Asante both being substituted...

As the 90 minutes were up, and five added minutes were shown, the visitors found a winner as Matty Waters tried to shield the ball out, Griffiths came across but Matt Lowe poked the ball under Griffiths and into the unguarded goal".

Blyth Spartans report that "A goal in either half from Dave Syers and Jimmy Spencer inflicted a 2-0 defeat on Blyth Spartans at Farsley Celtic.

Former Darlington man Syers put the hosts ahead on 39 minutes before Spencer doubled their advantage on the hour-mark.

Spartans played well in large parts of the game, particularly in the final quarter of an hour, but lacked the cutting edge.

Lee Clark made two changes to the starting XI against Altrincham last weekend. Mark Waddington and Adam Wrightson came in for Damen Mullen and Tom Devitt.

Blyth dealt with the windy conditions better than their hosts in the early stages and created three very good opportunities inside the opening 10 minutes. Leighton McIntosh, on loan from Wrexham, was at the thick of the goalmouth action...

Farsley soon applied pressure of their own when Syers’ 21st-minute goal was ruled out for offside... And while Blyth continued to carve out half-chances through Waddington and Macaulay Langstaff, Farsley arguably took control. Well, at least they did on the scoreline. This time Syers beat the offside trap to power his shot past the helpless Hemming for 1-0 on 39 minutes.

The Middlesbrough loanee kept Blyth in it at the break after he stuck out a left-hand to prevent Hayhurst’s effort from nestling into the bottom corner...

After half-time... the bright start didn’t pay off. Minutes after Spencer was superbly denied by the legs of Hemming, the unmarked striker was on hand to make it 2-0 at the back post. Farsley threatened to put the game beyond doubt... To Spartans’ credit, with the introduction of Ben Harmison, they came on strong in the final quarter of an hour but it was too little, too late".

We learn from the Boston Standard that "Dominic Knowles kept his cool from the penalty spot as Boston United defeated AFC Telford to make it six straight wins...

The in-form Pilgrims picked up where they left off on February 8, stretching their unbeaten run to eight and keeping clean sheet number 16 of the campaign.

The three points, picked up on a day Brad Abbott made his 100th appearance for the club, moved Boston above Chester to third, six points behind new leaders York City with two games in hand.

The contest threatened to be more weather report than match report as the blustery conditions gave neither side much opportunity to reach top gear but, as the full-time whistle blew, Knowles's first-half finish proved the difference.

Elliott stuck with the 3-5-2 formation which saw his Pilgrims beat York City 3-1, the only change seeing Jay Rollins come in at right wing back, replacing Alex Penny following his move to Kidderminster Harriers.

Leading marksman Jordan Thewlis remained on the bench where new signing Tyrell Warren and Jake Wright, unable to face the Minstermen due to the terms of his loan, joined him.

The strong, swirling wind caused both sides all sorts of problems from the off...

James McQuilkin screwed a volley over for Telford, who were happy to take their time with every dead ball, before Boston were generously handed the lead... Knowles forced home his 13th of the season from the penalty spot, sending Michael Luyambula the wrong way.

But the Bucks' outraged players deserved some sympathy as there appeared to be little contact as Frank Mulhern went down in the box following the challenge of Arlen Birch, the full back who trialled with Boston this summer...

The second half began with Telford more eager to get a move on but Boston happy to emulate their guests' less-than-energetic approach to resuming play as they set about protecting their lead... The Pilgrims held on for victory, with [Telford's] Birch dismissed after the final whistle for remonstrating with referee Callum Walchester".

22 February 2020


York went back to the top of the table with King's Lynn's game at Altrincham postponed. Alty are now sixth by virtue of goals scored, just ahead of Spennymoor.

Saturday 18 February: Vanarama National League North

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


Lynn News reports that "title chasers King's Lynn Town are facing a potentially exhausting fixture backlog. Today's league clash at Altrincham has fallen foul of the weather and the games are now starting to pile up for manager Ian Culverhouse and his players.

The Linnets, who have now had three successive blank Saturdays, have lost three of their last four fixtures to the elements.

Lynn, who will now train today, have a gruelling end to the campaign, with eight fixtures still to be fulfilled before the end of March and another five in April, plus the postponed Altrincham fixture, to come.

With Easter falling on the second weekend of April, Lynn are starting to run out of alternative dates for fixtures should there be any more postponements.

Lynn have free Tuesdays on March 24th and 31st, but only one in April, which is the 21st, because of Good Friday and Easter Monday.

With the Linnets due to travel to Hereford on the first weekend of April, it is unlikely that they will want the Altrincham trip rescheduled for the final Tuesday in March.

League leaders Lynn, who are a point clear at the top, are next in action at home to Southport next Saturday. By that time they could find themselves knocked off top spot unless Kidderminster Harriers, the team to end Lynn's long unbeaten home record earlier this month, can do them a huge favour at home to York City today".


With Alty's match postponed (see below), Alty supporters can see some local action at Shawe View where Trafford FC entertain Neil Young's Marine at 3pm. With the distance travelled by the away team much shorter than in Alty's aborive fixture with King's Lynn Town, a 10.30am pitch inspection was held at Shawe View and the game was declared "on".


After yet more overnight rain, the outcome of a pitch inspection this morning at the J. Davidson Stadium was the postponement of today's Altrincham fixture against King's Lynn Town.

Yesterday, Altrincham Football Club had announced that it "has organised a pitch inspection, by a local referee, for 7.45am on Saturday. There is some standing water at the Golf Road End, which has prevented using the covers.

It has been raining today [Friday] at the ground and there is a high probability of further rainfall from this afternoon until tomorrow morning. If the rainfall is substantial, it is likely that the game will be called off".

Before today's fixtures, King's Lynn had played the joint fewest league games in the division.


As reported yesterday, Crewe Alexandra midfielder Josh Lundstram has had his loan at Altrincham extended. Crewe Alexandra, for their part, "confirm that midfielder Josh Lundstram has extended his loan spell with Altrincham for another month.

Lundstram has made eight appearances since arriving at the National League North club in January following a successful spell with Kidsgrove Athletic.

The midfielder, who can also operate in a defensive role, will now be with Altrincham until March 24th".


Altrincham's opponents next Saturday (29 Feb) are Hereford FC who report that "Reece Styche has left the club by mutual consent.

Styche, who arrived at Edgar Street from Alfreton Town in the summer, has featured 23 times for The Bulls in the National League North this season, scoring four goals.

We’d like to thank Reece for his effort whilst at Edgar Street and wish him well for the future."

Meanwhile, Worcester News reports that "Worcester City striker Demetri Brown is stepping up three levels with National North giants Hereford.

Brown plundered 13 goals from 33 matches in blue and white following his summer signing from West Midlands (Regional) League champions Tividale. His 32 goals in 37 matches helped to take the crown to The Beeches but it is his all-round play that has caught the eye since joining City...

'Demetri has been fantastic all season on and off the pitch and deserves his opportunity to test himself higher up the football pyramid,' said City manager Ashley Vincent. 'Over the season the interest in a player we brought in from step six has been incredible but he showed his loyalty and character throughout and also his trust in us as a staff to help to develop him'...

Bulls' boss Josh Gowling said 'He’s scored a lot of goals in his career so far, he’s strong, powerful and rapid. He can play anywhere in attack whether that’s down the middle or a bit wider, so he gives us options and a bit of flexibility. He’s a hard worker and has ambitions to play at a higher level. His attitude really impressed me.

'When I first met with him the talk wasn’t about how much he’d get paid or how long the deal would be but about his desire to do well, that he wants to improve and that he wants to kick-on in his career. Speaking to him was a breath of fresh air really'".


Kidderminster Harriers report that "duo Riess Taylor-Randle and Harry Higginson have left Aggborough on loan.

Taylor-Randle has linked up with Gresley for an initial one-month loan spell, while Higginson has re-joined Bromsgrove Sporting, where [he] has already had a number of temporary spells. He’ll stay there until the end of the season."

From the Boston Standard we learn that "Alex Penny has left Boston United.

The defender, who was on a non-contract deal with the Pilgrims, has linked up with rivals Kidderminster Harriers.

Former Peterborough United and Hamilton Academical player Penny, 23, joined Craig Elliott's side in October.

He made 15 appearances for the Pilgrims, winning 11 and drawing one of those fixtures. Losing Penny, who started the last seven consecutive matches for United, will be a blow to the club, especially to a side 11 places below them in the standings"

And the Boston Standard adds that "Craig Elliott has moved fast following the departure of Alex Penny, bringing in Manchester United academy product Tyrell Warren.

The 21-year-old has joined Boston United on an initial month-long loan from League Two Salford City.

Warren, who can play as a right-back or in the heart of defence, has represented the Red Devils at youth, under 18s and under 23 level.

He joined Salford in the summer and has also had a loan spell at Radcliffe Borough. Penny left United for Kidderminster Harriers today."

Rochdale confirm that "Fabio Tavares has joined Curzon Ashton on loan. The forward has joined the Nash, who sit in 19th position, until the end of the season.

A Dale Academy graduate, Tavares signed his first professional contract with the Club in the summer.

He has made 21 appearances so far this season, scoring twice, including his first professional goal in a 3-1 Sky Bet League One win at Bolton Wanderers".

21 February 2020


Altrincham FC has announced that Josh Lundstram's "loan from Crewe Alexandra has been extended until March 24th".

So far he has played eight matches, since his debut at Gateshead on 18th January 18th. Before joining Altrincham, Josh had previous experience of National League North football during a loan spell from January 2019 with Nuneaton Town, during which he played against Altrincham in April, 2019.

Prior to his fifteen games for Nuneaton, Josh had a loan spell at Kidsgrove Athletic and also had a second spell at the club from November 2019.


Assuming the match goes ahead, the next visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium, on Saturday, are King's Lynn Town who report that "Despite leading the game twice The Linnets left Cheshire empty handed on Tuesday evening following this 3 - 2 reverse, the second defeat in two games.

Following on from recent postponements, this was Lynn's first game since 1st February, and great credit must be given to the home ground staff who managed to get the playing surface into decent order after all of the recent wet weather. Simon Power missed out with a slight calf strain so Sam Kelly came into the starting line up alongside the fit again Ross Barrow.

Chester began strongly but Lynn weathered the early storm and took the lead following a quick break as Adam Marriott played in Barrow who shot into an empty net from close range.

Home pressure grew again which resulted in Rory McAuley touching the ball into his own net following a corner making the score 1 - 1, which is how things stood at the interval.

The visitors had better control of the second spell and retook the lead following a controlled finish from Chris Henderson from the edge of the area after patient Linnets build up play. Chester again responded when a hopeful punt picked out substitute Anthony Dudley who finished well from just inside the box.

Deep into added time Simon Grand was on hand to turn the ball past Alex Street after the Lynn stopper parried out an initial shot to the on-rushing home player.

Despite the defeat Lynn remain top, a point clear of York City and still with two games in hand heading into another difficult test this weekend at Altrincham.

Lynn: Street, Jones, Barrows, Jarvis, Smith, McAuley, Kelly (Fox), Richards, Gash, Marriott, Henderson (Southwell). Subs (not used) Carey, Payne, Hawkins".


Altrincham missed two penalties in four days last week, bringing the total of missed spot-kicks this season, (all saved), to five. Arguably these have cost Alty a total of four points based on what the final result would have been had the penalties been scored. And the "culprits" have been four different players!

Above: Jordan Hulme's penalty is saved by Zach Hemming at Blyth.

The Sinners:

  • 17.8.19 John Johnston at Brackley, where Alty lost 1-0
  • 31.8.19 Sean Williams at home to Farsley; Alty won 3-1
  • 11.1.20 Josh Hancock, at home to Guiseley. Alty drew 1-1
  • 11.2.20 Josh Hancock at Spennymoor, Alty lost 2-3
  • 15.2.20 Jordan Hulme at Blyth, Alty won 3-0

The Saints:

  • 12.10.19 Josh Hancock scored v Guiseley away, Alty drew 1-1
  • 19.11.19 Josh Hancock scored at home v Gateshead, Alty won 3-0
  • 30.11.19 Josh Hancock scored at Portsmouth in the FA Cup tie which Alty lost 2-1
  • 11.2.20 Elliott Durrell netted at Blyth; Alty won 3-0


Although his signing for Altrincham was announced on 8 February, it was stated that James Hooper would remain at West Didsbury & Chorlton for the time being. The BetVictorNPL now reports that "James Hooper has joined BetVictor Northern Premier side Witton Albion on dual-registration from National League North side Altrincham. Hooper, 23, has Football League experience having began his career with Rochdale before a short spell with Carlisle United.

He has also previously appeared for FC United of Manchester, Stockport Country, Radcliffe, Salford City and Chorley.

'I'm buzzing to be back playing,' he told the club's website. 'I've been out for three months after a shoulder operation and played three games for West Didsbury and scored three goals. I just want to get back up to speed, score some goals and help the lads push up the table and hopefully get into the play-offs'".

As reported here at the time he signed forms for Altrincham, James started out as a professional with Rochdale (2015), where he was their youth team Player of the Season (2014-15). He progressed to play twice for Rochdale in the EFL before loan spells with FC United and Stockport County.

From Rochdale he joined Carlisle United on a short-term deal, making one League Two appearance for the Cumbrians, before moving on to FC United od Manchester and then Radcliffe Borough (2017) where he became the club's leading scorer that season (2017-18). In summer 2018 he rejoined the professional ranks at Salford City. Later that year he moved on to Chorley, where his games included a late substitute appearance against Alty in January 2019. Early in 2019-20 season he rejoined Radcliffe.


NL Daily says that "It took a meeting with stark reality but an about-turn has set Spennymoor Town winger Ben McKenna into his stride. The one-time Burnley and Carlisle United youngster is finally feeling fully invested in himself, while his first season as a Moors player has also seen him welcomed into the fold with unashamed authenticity.

Some time before securing his signature, Ben McKenna was a player Jason Ainsley was more than familiar with, having seen his Spennymoor side at the sharp end of the wideman’s capabilities at the beginning of last season. He was in the green of Bradford (Park Avenue) when he drifted in off the right and into a crowded penalty area to sweep home a match-winning, first-time left-footer from the edge of the six-yard box.

Before that 2018/19 campaign was finished, Ainsley had tried to sign him and, though Chester was his chosen destination at the time, the County Durham outfit belatedly got their man in the summer....

'Well I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been at a lot of clubs in non-league, especially Conference North, and so-called bigger teams, but Spennymoor, I’m not just saying it, it’s the best club I’ve been at. The way it’s run and the direction that they want to go in. I was at Bradford Park Avenue last season and, even though we were towards the top end of the league, they didn’t want to go up, because I don’t think the club could sustain National League football.

'Spennymoor want National League football, they wanna get there, so I’m loving it. It’s a very close club, everyone’s connected; the players, the fans, the people who work there'...

It has been the environment to help the 27 year-old thrive, though as he describes... 'Well it’s a harsh dressing room! As soon as you sign for the club, you get put in the group chat, and you’ve got to take a bit of stick for a while; I think it took me two or three months to get used to it! Big characters, you’ve got Ramma (Rob Ramshaw), James Curtis; a lot of the North East lads and lads that have been there for a while. Sparky, Mark Anderson, Ste Brogan, and you’ve got me who sits on the perimeter and likes to observe!...

With 30 of their 42 league games gone, Spenny are in touch with the play-off pack, level on points with Gateshead in the last of those coveted places, albeit having played two games more. They are, however, just three behind 5th-placed Altrincham, and with a game in hand on an Alty side they ran out 3-2 winners against at home last Tuesday.

Also captain and assistant during his time, Moors’ gaffer Jason Ainsley is now 13 seasons in, making it a tenure that surpasses that of any manager in the EFL or National League. Far from an authority figure presiding from a distance, he has been central to what Ben has found since he arrived. 'I think one thing with the gaffer is he’s a man-manager. At some clubs, the manager’ll pull himself away from the players, whereas here, everyone’s connected.

'You get in the dressing room, lads have a laugh with him, you’re not worried about saying the wrong thing, he’ll ask for your opinion. I’ve got on with him so well and I think it’s because he can man-manage people; he works as a teacher and I think he’s taken that role and how he deals with people into the dressing room.

'I think it’s probably the best season I’ve had and I think it’s been down to the manager having belief in me. There’s been some games where I maybe haven’t played that well in them, but he’s stuck with me, kept playing me, and I think over the course of the season I’ve done well'...

A gambling addiction is a key part of his story up to now, though the crucial detail is that he is set on not allowing it to enjoy a destructive starring role... It had begun in earnest when he was a YTS player at Carlisle United, with a trend for some of the older pros to head to the bookmakers when training was done for the day. By his early-20s, working for his dad and playing in non-league with the likes of Workington and Stalybridge Celtic, the problem had very definitely set in, with Ben pawning his jewellery and turning to payday loan companies...

The ex-Curzon Ashton and Chester man, who works full-time as a machine operator for a materials company in Blackburn, has nine assists to go with his three goals this season, and he has found a way to match that productivity in his spare time... 'At the minute, my life literally is work and then football, and at a weekend, I like to chill out. I enjoy doing stages of sobriety, which is obviously not drinking, so I got into that.

'I had a gambling addiction, and one day, 5th September 2018, I decided to stop gambling, but just before that, to clear off my gambling debts, I decided to stop drinking for six months. When I say that, people might think stopping drinking means because you’re an alcoholic and you’ve got a problem with it, and it’s far from it. I’d only probably drink on a Saturday or every two Saturdays, just like any other lads, so what I decided to do was not gamble and not go out for six months, and not drink. In that six-month period of not drinking, I couldn’t believe the benefits I saw from doing stages of sobriety.

'Now I’m on my fourth stage, which I’m doing until the end of the football season, and I started it at the end of December. Honestly, it’s been life-changing for me, and I’d recommend it to anyone...

Ben’s North West-to-North East journey to link up with Spennymoor each week is not a brisk trip by any means, but again, he does his level best to glean something valuable from it... I get in my car and drive to Billingham near Middlesbrough, where we train. I finish work at 3, go home, make a bit of food, and then I set off to training about 5 o’clock, and get there for half 7.

'It’s a big commitment, doing five-hour round trips to train for an-hour-and-fifteen, but that’s a decision I made at the beginning of the season. I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s a long way for me, I’m not gonna lie'"

According to the Boston Standard "Jordan Thewlis's goalscoring record has slowed down as the National League North pitches have deteriorated, according to Craig Elliott.

The Pilgrims' leading marksman scored 11 goals in his first 16 appearances for the Pilgrims, and four times in his last 16. But manager Elliott believes the pacy forward's game is being stifled by the boggy surfaces, which have been caused by recent heavy rainfall.

'I think he's done all right. I'll be honest, I think it's the pitch,' Elliott said. 'I don't think the pitch suits his style of play. It's so heavy. It suits certain players. Aingey (Simon Ainge) and Shielsy (Luke Shiels) can get through this mud and they love it.

'Jordan, away from home on good pitches, is unplayable. I think it's just the muddy, slow pitches holding him up a bit. Thewlis, who scored his last goals in December 16's FA Cup defeat to Rochdale, grabbed a hat-trick at AFC Telford United earlier this season.

And he will be keen to cause the Bucks more problems as they visit York Street on Saturday. Thewlis was an unused substitute in United's last game, February 8's 3-1 win over York City. But Elliott has hinted... 'Jordan Thewlis is our leading goalscorer, a great player. It hurt me to put Jordan and Jay (Rollins) on the bench. It's not something I like doing, they're both fantastic players and we'll need them. We'll need to change things around for different opposition.'"

20 February 2020


In the Sale & Altrincham Messenger, Altrincham FC press and media officer John Edwards writes that "New signing Elliott Durrell pressed his claims for a starting place after another telling substitute’s appearance as Altrincham defied the elements and a Blyth Spartans side fighting for their lives at windswept Croft Park.

The livewire attacker marked his Alty debut by winning and converting a penalty shortly after coming on at Spennymoor last week, and he made an even more dramatic impact after entering the fray in the second half at Blyth.

The outcome was still in the balance, following free-kick specialist Josh Hancock’s first-half opener, but Alty could breathe easy after Durrell doubled their lead with an assured finish less than a minute into his second Robins appearance.

'Elliott’s first touch after going on was to get the ball out of his feet, and his second was to finish in emphatic style, which was really pleasing,' said assistant manager Neil Sorvel after a 3-0 win that included Alty’s fifth penalty miss of the season, this time by Jordan Hulme.

'He’s been on the pitch for just a few minutes, twice now, and scored each time, so that is a really positive start for him in Alty colours. It was a fantastic goal at Blyth, but he is a confident lad, which he showed with the penalty against Spennymoor...

Above: Jordan Hulme (left) and his other team-mates rush to congratulate Elliott Durrell (behind Blyth player) on his goal at Blyth.

Alty have the ideal opportunity to reinforce their promotion credentials on Saturday when they face leaders King’s Lynn Town at The J.Davidson Stadium...

Added Sorvel 'They have been really consistent, and it’s nice to see another footballing side doing well. It is going to be a tough game, but we are looking forward to it and more than capable of meeting the challenge.'"”


On Saturday, King's Lynn Town make their second trip of the week to Cheshire, this time to face Altrincham. Having lost 3-2 at Chester FC on Tuesday and, before that, 0-2 at home to Kidderminster Harriers, they arrive after two successive defeats, their worst sequence of the season.

Above: The notices at the Golf Road turnstiles advertise Saturday's fixture between Altrincham and King's Lynn but also now make clear that no "external food" is to be brought into the ground; and who would want to, when Richie Bentley and his catering team offer such a good range of options in the Community Sports Hall and in the kiosks at both ends of the J. Davidson Stadium?

King's Lynn Town's line up for their most recent game, last Tuesday at Chester, comprised: Street, Jones, Barrows, Jarvis (c), Smith, McCauley, Kelly (Fox 66), Richards, Gash, Marriott, Henderson (Southwell 78). Unused substitutes: Carey, Payne, Southwell, Hawkins.

When they hosted Alty back in November, the Linnets featured nine of the same players in their starting eleven: 1. Alex Street, 2. Aaron Jones, 3. Nathan Fox, 4. Ryan Jarvis, 5. Ross Barrows, 6. Rory McAuley, 7. Michael Clunan (c), 8. Jordan Richards, 9. Michael Gash, 10. Adam Marriott, 11. Chris Henderson. Subs: 12. Sonny Carey, 14. Alfie Payne, 15. Ryan Hawkins, 16. Sam Kelly, 17. Nathan Stewart.

Saturday's game pits the league's two leading scorers against each other, with the Linnets having netted sixty times in 28 league games, the joint lowest number of completed fixtures in the division. For their part, Alty have scored 56 times in 31 games, the joint highest number of completed fixtures in the league.

Alty lie fifth in the division, nine points behind King's Lynn Town, who remain the league leaders, a point ahead of York City but with the Linnets having two games in hand. Saturday's game is the first of five league home games still to be played by Altrincham this season against the league's other top seven clubs.


Altrincham FC has Brian Flynn's interview with Altrincham FC's Assistant Manager, Neil Sorvel, following the match against Blyth Spartans last Saturday.


Chester FC report that they "secured a dramatic late victory over the league leaders as they came from behind twice to run out 3-2 winners on another incredible night under the 1885 Arena lights.

Ross Barrows fired the Linnets ahead before a Rory McAuley own goal brought the Blues level at the interval. Chris Henderson restored Kings Lynn’s lead before a superb Anthony Dudley lob again brought Chester on an even keel.

Then, with the stage set, Simon Grand secured the three points for the Blues as he was on hand to turn home a parried John Johnston shot to inflict a first away league loss for the Linnets since September.

The Blues were unchanged from the side that beat Blyth Spartans two-one, a week and a half ago. Chester started the game brightly, working the ball up to the final third well but weren’t able to create a clear-cut chance...

Nevertheless, it was the visitors who struck the first blow as Adam Marriott broke the offside trap and slid the ball back for Barrows to simply turn into the back of the net with the defence static, appealing for an offside call.

Chester made an immediate response though and pulled level thanks to an own goal after a terrific inswinging cross from Joel Taylor was turned beyond Alex Street by Kings Lynn defender Rory McAuley...

The league leaders flexed their muscles once more just after the hour mark as the impressive Henderson fired low from the edge of the penalty area to beat Griffiths at the near post...

But this side never gives up, and battled back in style. Asante flicked on a long ball forward to sub Anthony Dudley, who did superbly to beat Street to it and lift it over the Kings Lynn 'keeper and into the back of the net. They weren’t done there...

The pressure mounted eventually and Chester sealed a dramatic late winner as Johnston’s shot was pushed away by Street and Simon Grand was on hand to turn in the rebound and send the 1885 Arena into pure bedlam".

Cheshire Live adds that "Bernard Morley not getting too carried away after Chester FC triumph over King's Lynn Town...

For Chester bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley it was a moment to savour, even if Johnson had to watch from the media room having been sent to the stands minutes before after a few choice words with match referee Aaron Bannister and the fourth official.

It was a moment that saw the title race blown wide open again and the vice-like grip that King's Lynn had a few weeks ago was starting to loosen.

'We've been here 18 months and we have been waiting for that, me and Jonno,' said Morley. 'This side is a good side. We've let ourselves down and we know that and people say we use excuses which we don't, we sometimes don't get the rub of the green but I feel like tonight the ref didn't give us much, he couldn't wait to send Jonno off for something that he said.

'In fairness another referee on another day might have sent James Jones off for the push in the back (on Adam Marriott when through on goal). Simon Grand was round the back but, on another day?'...

Morley said 'We were relentless with what we did and at 2-2 we were still pushing on and bodies bombing on and I'm thinking "Jesus, we could lose this 3-2", but fair play to the lads...

'Fair play to King's Lynn, they've come with a game plan and they executed it at times. Spectators might come and watch tonight and think "They're not all that good", but they are brilliant at what they do. They way they sit in behind the ball and make you think that you have a foothold then they counter and you are 1-0 down.

'Fair play to the lads and I told them in there. With the effort that they have put into training in the last four sessions there was no way we weren't going to win that game... I thought we were brave in our formation to go 4-4-2 against top of the league and at times you are going to get exposed in the middle of the park but George Glendon and Scott Burton were unbelievable at times.

'To beat King's Lynn and come from behind twice you have to be at your best. I don't think anyone can deny we were the better side but the better side doesn't always win the game'...

The win, allied with a late leveller for Southport to deny Chester's opponents this weekend and play-off rivals, Brackley Town, three points gave rise to the hope that the title race that had seemed dead and gone for the Blues may now have come back to life. The Linnets are six points ahead of the third placed Blues although they do have two games in hand on Chester and second placed York City...

Said Morley... 'Our goal has always [been] to get in the play offs and anything else is a massive achievement. We've given ourselves a mountain to climb but, if we keep winning our games of football, then King's Lynn are surely going to drop on the road, they know that. It doesn't get any easier for them, they are at Altrincham on Saturday who haven't been beaten in 16 games at home. [It's 14 actually in the league, 15 in league and cup]. But you just don't know do you? I think we can beat anybody on our day'".

However, the East Anglians were less impressed with their hosts than the above accounts suggests they should have been. Cheshire Live reports that "The Linnets boss was less than impressed with the goals conceded nor the decision not to send off James Jones

Ian Culverhouse felt that his King's Lynn Town side didn't make Chester FC earn their three goals in the Blues' 3-2 victory over the National League North league leaders on Tuesday night.

A Simon Grand winner deep into added time sealed a memorable win for Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson's Chester side, who had to come from behind twice against their Norfolk visitors, with the win closing the gap between the Blues and the Linnets to just six points.

Ross Barrows and Chris Henderson had twice put the Linnets in front only for a Rory McAuley own goal strikes from Anthony Dudley and Grand to seal the spoils for a Chester side that, in truth, were far the better side.

But Culverhouse, whose side have now lost back to back games for the first time this season, was not impressed... 'The goals we gave away were poor goals. They didn't earn their goals we gave them it [the game?].

'Both of our goals were really good team goals and [we] had to work hard for them but we gave them theirs. They are a good side, a really good side, but you could see we were lethargic and a lot of people stretching and you could see we'd had a couple of weeks off.'

Culverhouse was unhappy with the decision of match referee Aaron Bannister to show Chester defender James Jones only a yellow when he pushed over 30-goal Adam Marriott when the striker appeared to be clean through. It was a decision that on another day may have seen Jones, excellent for the Blues at the heart of defence against the Linnets, handed his marching orders.

Said Culverhouse 'The biggest turning point was when Maz (Adam Marriott) was clean through. I just don't understand what the ref is thinking. He is about to shoot and he gets taken off behind, there is no defender in front of him just the goalkeeper so that one baffled me. It was a big turning point. I've always said we deserve to finish where we finish. At the moment we are letting ourselves down with the goals that we're giving away but when we tighten up that we'll be all right.'"

Over at Guiseley, "After a blank weekend, The Lions return to action on Saturday at Nethermoor with Gateshead the visitors. Both sides have suffered from postponements recently with Gateshead’s trip to Gloucestershire postponed on Monday and our game at Kettering falling to a waterlogged pitch on Saturday.

The Heed were one of two games that beat Storm Dennis on Saturday as they drew 0-0 to a resurgent Kidderminster Harriers at the Gateshead International Stadium.

The Lions are plagued by inconsistent home form with just one win in LS20 this calendar year which has also seen defeats to Chester, Darlington and AFC Telford United. Away from Nethermoor is where Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill’s side have really sparkled, currently on an eight game unbeaten run and proudly sitting third in the away league table.

Gateshead are on an excellent run of form and haven’t tasted defeat in nine games with their last coming at home to Blyth Spartans on Boxing Day, They are without a loss away since 30th November when they fell to a 1-0 reverse at league leaders King’s Lynn.

The two sides are in the hunt for a play off spot with Gateshead currently occupying the last place but with three games in hand on some around them, they’re currently five points and two positions ahead of The Lions so it is set to be a crucial game at Nethermoor on Saturday.

Aaron Martin is eligible for this one having served his two-game suspension and Jamie Spencer could return from his injury. Gateshead name former Lion Jordan Preston in their squad with the winger nearly inspiring a late comeback in our 3-2 win over his current employers back in November.

Russ O’Neill praised Kennedy Digie who struck his first Lions' goal last time out at Nethermoor, speaking to the Wharfedale Observer the Joint Manager said 'Kennedy has shown resilience. He’s a strong and mobile defender, which has suited us since we changed shape. He’s acquitted himself well, especially since he’s a right-footer playing on the left (centre) in defence.

'I’ve asked him to be aggressive in both boxes and he got himself on the scoresheet. He needs to back up his defending with goals as we need them all round.'...

Looking at the play off picture O’Neill added 'We know we’re not far away (five points) from the play-offs. We’ve set ourselves a points target and hopefully we’re somewhere near that come the end of the season'.

Marcus Bignot spoke to the Yorkshire Evening Post and is delighted to have Aaron Martin back available. 'We missed him for a large part of the season either through suspension or injury. He’s picked up two suspensions; I think he’s missed five or six games due to that, but his goals speak for themselves and that’s what we need in this run-in, goals.”

'We’re only a point behind our whole points tally of last season and we’re massively on track in terms of moving forward.'”

According to the Northants Telegraph, "Paul Cox has revealed striker Tre Mitford turned down offers of 'a lot more money' to sign a contract with Kettering Town.

The 25-year-old frontman has impressed in recent weeks and has hit six goals in all competitions while adjusting to life at a higher level having joined from BetVictor Southern League Division One Central side Bedford Town earlier this season.

Cox confirmed 'two or three clubs' had made seven-day approaches to Kettering for Mitford but any chances of him moving away from Latimer Park were laid to rest when, last week, he signed a deal with the Poppies which will run until the end of next season. Cox believes there is still lots more to come and he was full of praise for Mitford for sticking with Kettering when it would have been easy to leave.

'Tre has worked extremely hard at certain aspects of his game and I think there is room for major improvement in him as well,' the Poppies' boss said. 'There were two or three clubs who put seven days in for him and this is where we have to give the lad credit because, certainly, a local club offered him a lot more money than what was on the table with ourselves.

'It was a big decision for Tre. I had numerous talks with him about the situation and I can understand it when people want to go for more money. But Tre decided to stay with us when the package on the table wasn’t anywhere near what other clubs were offering him. I salute him for that because it would have been easy to leave us for the sake of extra money.

'He feels he is developing right, he feels he is at the right club and this is where he sees himself growing as a player.'"

He made his debut against Altrincham and now the Shropshire Star tells us that "Three years ago Michael Luyambula found himself in the firing line as Marco Reus and team-mates rained in with cannonball shots during training at his boyhood club Borussia Dortmund. The goalkeeper, from the north of Germany, left Dortmund for England, soon after, as an 18-year-old with a dream.

'I have my goal to be a professional football player and the opportunity came with Birmingham City so I took it,' said the 20-year-old who is currently on loan at AFC Telford United. 'My English was bad. I could understand and I talked to the team all the time to learn it. My family came to visit but I’m here by myself.'

Transfer restrictions meant Luyambula could only turn out for the Blues’ under-23s team after impressing in a trial in 2018. He did well in the youth ranks before a National League South loan to Hungerford Town, his first experience of men’s football. Luyambula impressed and helped keep the Crusaders in the division.

League Two Crawley came calling last summer and there he became their cup keeper, between the sticks for a historic run to the EFL Cup round of 16 with Norwich and Stoke defeated along the way. He was recalled by Birmingham with a view to finding him first-team football, and has made three appearances for Gavin Cowan’s side since making the Shropshire switch.

'I think for me, because I didn’t have game time before that, it was a really, really good opportunity for me to get game time,' added the Dortmund fan. 'As soon as I knew Telford were interested I took the opportunity to get involved and train with them. I’ve found it really nice to meet the boys. I already feel like it’s not about just anybody else, it’s about the group. Everyone is helping each other. My first weeks were really nice.

'The dressing room is really, really funny. Even when I came the first time they were playing ping pong together and everyone is talking together... It’s a good dynamic in the group and a good vibe.”

On boss Cowan, he added 'I found him really well. When I played the first game he believes in me. He has helped me a lot. He took the pressure away from me...

Luyambula continued 'The type of football is like typical English men’s football. At Birmingham I’ve only had the opportunity to play in the under-23s, so I needed bodies in the box, crossing, that’s what I need and where I can improve'...

Thomas Tuchel was the manager in charge when a teenage Luyambula would be peppered by shots in Dortmund first-team training. But, having moved to the west German city aged nine in 2008 and joined the club’s youth ranks a year later, Luyambula, of Congolese descent, experienced the full Jurgen Klopp revolution. The Bucks shot-stopper added 'When I was there we won the German title and to be honest the vibe in the city changed... Jurgen Klopp brought a lot into the club... I trained sometimes with the first-team squad'...

Luyambula, who aims to play for the Congo national side, could have stayed at his club and continued to progress through the age groups... 'I left Dortmund because they wanted to help me in the under-23s but I won’t play because the third choice from the first team plays for the under-23s,' he added. 'There was no game time for me so I decided to leave for more game time. I went to other trials but in the end I decided for Birmingham....

'I still want to go to their first team and make it'".

We learn from the Banbury Guardian that at Brackley, the "Saints could only draw 1-1 with Southport in Tuesday's clash.

Saints started the game seeking a first goal and a first win in five games. Top scorer Lee Ndlovu’s second half header broke the goal drought and looked to have set Wilkin’s side on their way to a deserved win until Southport grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser.

The seven-nil corner count told the story of the first half... Southport’s Reagan Ogle’s long throws were a threat...

The second half took a while to get going again but Dan Holman’s deflected shot won a 77th minute corner that Shane Byrne took finding Glenn Walker at the near post and his header was finished by Ndlovu for his 16th league goal of the season.

Saints enjoyed further opportunities while Southport substitute Jack Dunn’s fierce shot brought a fine save from Lewis as the visitors pressed late on. Three minutes into stoppage-time a cross was tipped over by Lewis earning Southport a second corner of the game.

Keeper Hanford came forward for the corner kick with seconds only remaining but Saints defended the set-piece only for the ball to be played back into the danger area and Jack Doyle’s header somehow found the bottom corner of Lewis’s goal through a thicket of bodies. The restart was the final action of the game leaving Saints crest fallen and ruing further dropped points.'"

Southport report that "Jack Doyle scored his first Southport goal deep in stoppage time to earn Liam Watson’s side a point at Brackley Town.

The Port looked to be heading to defeat when Lee Ndlovu headed the home team in front with 12 minutes remaining. But having been on the receiving end of late drama in their last game against Hereford, this time it was Southport’s turn to profit, as Doyle nudged the ball home from inside a crowded penalty area.

Over the piece, the visitors were worthy of a point, having matched their fifth-placed opponents for large periods of a tight game. The result extends Southport’s current unbeaten run to five games, this being the second of four consecutive long away trips.

As at Hereford, Watson opted for a shape that included three central defenders, handing a debut to Jack Sanders, who recorded an assured first start on loan from Wigan Athletic...

Carl Baker, the former Port attacker, was one of the more dangerous outlets for the home team... With chances in short supply and quality difficult to find, there was little between the teams for much of the game.

But with 20 minutes remaining, the home side started to apply more pressure... It looked as though Ndlovu would settle the matter when he headed home a corner at the far post, but the final word instead went to Doyle, earning Southport a deserved point".

19 February 2019


Altrincham welcome league leaders King's Lynn Town to the J. Davidson Stadium on Saturday. Before that King's Lynn lost at Chester FC on Tuesday night.

In the away fixture, Alty and King's Lynn Town drew 2-2 in early November.

Above: Alty defend their goal in the first half at a windy King's Lynn in November, 2019.

In advance of their defeat at Chester on Tuesday, King's Lynn Town announced that they were preparing "for two tough tests of their credentials in the North West of England spread over five days. Altrincham provide the weekend test but it's Chester who Town have firmly in their sights on Tuesday evening.

Lynn have had no competitive action since February 1st , suffering postponements at Gloucester last week and Saturday, when Storm Dennis ensured there would be no chance of Bradford PA visiting The Walks. Ian Culverhouse has put his squad through their paces on the training pitch in-between times...

Fourth placed Chester are one of the league's big hitters and have been in or around the league's play off places for all of the season to date. The corresponding fixture between the sides took place back in October at The Walks when an exciting fixture saw the teams share four goals...

Like Lynn, Chester were also inactive over the weekend as their trip to Alfreton Town was also postponed. The Linnets are expected to be able to choose from a full squad on Tuesday evening, apart from skipper Michael Clunan and Ryan Fryatt who continue to recover from long term lay offs."

Also Lynn News reports that "A new date has been set for King's Lynn Town's National League North fixture at Gloucester City. The Linnets were due to face the National League North strugglers at Evesham last Monday, but the clash was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch after Lynn had arrived at the ground an hour before kick-off.

Lynn will now face the Tigers on Monday, March 16. Depending on when the home clash against Bradford PA, which was postponed on Saturday due to safety concerns, is rearranged Lynn could face playing up to seven fixtures in the month of March.

As it stands, Lynn currently have two free midweek dates on March 10 and March 24. Ian Culverhouse's side still have three February fixtures left to play, at Chester [Tuesday], followed by a trip to Altrincham on Saturday and a home game against Southport the following weekend".


Altrincham FC has the host club's extended highlights of Alty's victory at Blyth, last Saturday.

Aiden Beswick's post-match interview with Elliott Durrell is on the Altrincham FC website.


Right: Daniel Mooney celebrates his first goal for Altrincham, at Blyth, last Saturday.

Monday 17 February: Vanarama National League North

  • Gloucester City P-P Gateshead.

Tuesday 18 February: Vanarama National League North

  • Alfreton Town 1-0 Leamington
  • Brackley Town 1-1 Southport
  • Chester FC 3-2 King's Lynn Town (added-time winner after Chester had trailed)
  • Kettering Town P-P Hereford FC


The National League has confirmed the play-off dates for the National League North this season, as follows:

QUALIFYING ROUND: Wednesday, 29 April.

  • Match A: 5th place v 6th place
  • Match B: 4th place v 7th place

SEMI-FINALS: Sunday, 3 May.

  • 2nd place v winner of Match A
  • 3rd place v winner of Match B

PROMOTION FINAL: Saturday, 9 May.

  • Winners of above semi-finals play each other, presumably on the ground of the higher-placed team.


Before Tuesday's match, Alfreton Town reported that they would "welcome 16th placed Leamington in a mid-table clash...

The Reds themselves are in good form but have endured a stop-start last week or so with postponements against Gateshead and Chester due to a frozen pitch and then stormy conditions on Saturday.

We'll look to get back to it with the Reds sitting fifth in the form table, with Leamington in 21st picking up just two points from their last five league games. Alfreton will be looking to extend the unbeaten run tomorrow as we aim to continue our recent strong home form.

Alfreton were denied a third straight win in our last outing nine days ago as Farsley grabbed a point at the Citadel. It was our first away draw of the season in a game which really was a tale of two halves, in the sense of the first half being one of the most low-key and quiet periods of the season in terms of chances. Ryan Qualter and Danny Elliott had half chances as both sides cancelled the other out with neither team being able to really stretch the other in the final third.

The second half proved a different affair as the tempo increased and the chances soon began to arrive frequently. Danny Elliott scored his fifth goal in three with another great solo goal, converting into the bottom corner in the box on the hour mark. However our lead would last just a few minutes as Clayton powered a header from a Richards cross... A draw was probably the fairest result although the Reds would feel they could have had all three on chances created in the second half. It was another performance to build on...

We will look to extend the unbeaten league run to four games and, in turn, aim for a third home win in a row after successes against Gloucester (6-1) and Hereford (2-0). The Reds are unbeaten in four at the Impact Arena after two draws prior to the two wins, with Telford and Kings Lynn.

Leamington... did play last Tuesday in the Birmingham Senior Cup Quarter Final, losing to Wolves Under 23s 2-0 at the Phillips 66 Stadium... League form has been in desperate need of improvement with the Brakes six games without a league win... with their last win in the league coming at Hereford on 28th December. Away form has seen five games without a win in all competitions with the Hereford success also the Brakes last win on the road".

Also in advance of the midweek fixtures, the Chester Standard reported that "Putting a dent in King’s Lynn Town’s impressive away record is just one motivating factor for Chester’s players, says Anthony Johnson.

The Blues return to action tonight against the title favourites following the postponement of Saturday’s clash at Alfreton Town. Beaten just twice on the road by their league rivals this term, King’s Lynn arrive refreshed from a two-week fixture break after successive postponements.

But Chester joint-manager Johnson is relishing his side’s opportunity to ‘put down a marker’ by reducing the nine-point gap on the pace-setting Linnets.

'It’s the start of a hugely important run of home games for us, with Brackley and Gateshead to come in quick succession,' he said... 'It’s a chance for us to get ourselves right back into the title race. When teams are travelling halfway across the country for a midweek evening game it can be tough for the away side, as we saw when we went to Gateshead recently.

'King’s Lynn’s home record is great and you’d expect their away form to be pretty average, but the fact they’ve only lost two away league games tells you that’s not the case. It’s all about us putting down a marker and finding a way to win the game however we can. Yes, Kings Lynn have games in hand, but points are all that matter at this stage of the season'...

The Blues fared well in the reverse fixture, where goals from Simon Grand and Akwasi Asante earned a 2-2 draw in Norfolk. Prolific Linnets striker Adam Marriott netted a brace in that game and is currently leading the division’s goalscoring charts after netting 28 times this season...

Johnson insists that Ian Culverhouse’s side are far from a one-man team. 'First and foremost they’re a very good footballing side,' he added. 'People always underestimate how physical they are as well. There are some big six-foot three lads in there. As good as they are in open play they’re also really strong at set-pieces and cause a lot of problems from them.

'Then you’ve got strikers like Marriott, Michael Gash and Dayle Southwell there who have a great pedigree between them and can really hurt teams. You look at the management there and they’re a quality outfit from top to bottom. I’ve been really impressed with them this season and we know we need to deliver a big performance against them.'

Centre-back Danny Livesey and striker George Waring miss the game through injury while Matty Waters serves a one-match suspension."

According to the Boston Standard "Craig Elliott has revealed he is in talks to extend ‘fighter’ Brad Abbott’s Boston United contract, as the midfielder prepares to make his 100th appearance for the club.

The 25-year-old looks set to reach treble figures as the Pilgrims host AFC Telford United on Saturday. And manager Elliott is keen to keep the player at the club after extending the contracts of Tom Platt and Peter Crook last week...

'I like having players like Brad and Jay (Rollins) who are part of the furniture now. He doesn’t miss training and rarely misses a game. He always gives 110 per cent and wants to win. He epitomises the type of player I like to work with, he gives everything. I also think he’s improved during the time he’s been here'...

United paid Buxton an undisclosed fee for Abbott in December 2017... Barnsley youth product Abbott has only missed five matches since making the move to Boston. A lot of players are mercenaries and don’t stay long before moving on, so Brad deserves a lot of credit.'

Things haven’t always gone smoothly for Abbott, with the midfielder on the receiving end of stick from parts of the crowd during the previous campaign as United failed to rediscover their early season form... Players at Boston have to come through that sometimes. Sometimes you’ll get a bit of stick at a club this size,' the manager continued. 'Some players don’t respond to those pressures and leave, but Brad’s the opposite'".

Blyth Spartans "welcome back Mike Coulson from Gateshead, who will be taking up the position of General Manager.

Spartans advertised for a new GM after Anthony Seghini decided to step down after three seasons in the role at the end of the season...

A statement from Mike reads 'I accepted my first official position with Gateshead FC in 1999, as assistant secretary to Arthur Waggott. Since then, I have been secretary, general manager and, at one stage, owner of the club. There have been many “ups and downs” during my career...

'At this stage of my career I wanted a new challenge and was honoured to be offered the position of general manager with Blyth Spartans'"

More off the field news comes from Kidderminster Harriers that "Monica Shafaq, CEO of mental health and wellbeing charity, The Kaleidoscope Plus Group, is to join the Harriers' Board.

The club are keen to develop their skills and expertise in the areas of equality, diversity and well-being, all areas in which Monica has a vast knowledge and expertise. She is already a Non-Executive Director and equality lead at the Birmingham County FA... In addition, she sits on the Premier League’s Equality Standard Panel, therefore has an insight to best practice in equality on and off the field. She also works closely with the FA as a member of their Asian Women’s Inclusion in Football National Working Party.

Monica said, 'I’ve seen first-hand the lack of attention paid to wellbeing issues in the football sector. I’m also aware of inequalities in football. Equality and wellbeing are huge passions of mine and this is an opportunity to firmly put these issues at the forefront in a sector where it has been lacking'...

She continued 'I’m thrilled to be on board. I’ve always dreamt of owning my own club (yes, I dream big!) whose ethos it is to support staff (both on and off the pitch). As I will be lead Director for Equality and Wellbeing, the position allows me to put this into practice in a club that is proactive and genuinely wants to create an environment that is supportive of its staff both personally and professionally.

'I’m excited to put procedures and practices in place that will be supporting players through the academy system. Less than 1% of academy players make it to professional football which can, in some cases, lead to a range of issues if they are inadequately supported throughout their time at the academy'"

In the Northants Telegraph "Paul Cox insists it would be 'fantastic' for him if he is given the opportunity to take Kettering Town forward. In the past couple of weeks, the Poppies have extended the contract of midfielder Connor Kennedy while also handing a deal until the end of next season to striker Tre Mitford.

It seems, on the face of it, that the planning for the months and years ahead on the pitch is already under way. Cox has made a big impression since arriving at Latimer Park as he has guided Kettering out of the Vanarama National League North relegation zone and, ahead of the weekend trip to Bradford Park Avenue, they are currently seven points clear of the drop-zone.

It has been a remarkable turnaround and should their status at Step 2 be secured, the club’s fans will be desperate to see Cox stay on to lead them into the next campaign... The former Poppies centre-half insists that should he lead the club to safety, it will go down as one of his biggest achievements in management.

'I have no desire to leave,' the Poppies' boss said when asked about his future. 'I am not tied down to the club in any way and they could release me just like that but they have given me an opportunity and I am enjoying my football. As a manager, you never know how long you are going to be in a job... I think the average stay for a manager at any club now is something like 13 months so it’s not the best job or career to plan accordingly!

'One minute you are a hero and the next you could lose four or five on the bounce and the perception of you changes and that’s why I keep myself level. But when I look at what we have done here so far, it probably ranks as one of the best things I have done. I have a history with Kettering and I love the passion of the fans so to be given the opportunity to develop this club would be fantastic for me.

'Of course, I have spoken with the chairman (David Mahoney) and the owner (Ritchie Jeune) but, at the moment, everything is focused on finishing off the job this season and making sure the club is in a healthy position to attack next season. It’s all about achieving our goals for this season and if we do stay up then it will rank up there as one of the biggest things I have done in management...

'But there is still a lot of work to do and I can’t afford to let my concentration waiver onto other things and I don’t expect anyone else at the club to do that either. There is nobody bigger than the club.'”

18 February 2020


The league leaders, King's Lynn Town visit Altrincham for the first time ever next Saturday, having also travelled to Cheshire today (Tuesday) for a scheduled league match against Chester FC.

Since drawing 2-2 in the clash at King's Lynn on a very windy 2nd November, both Alty and King's Lynn have enjoyed good form. Altrincham ended that game in November lying eigthteenth in the table; today they lie fifth.

Following the clash in Norfolk, Altrincham have played a remarkable eighteen league matches as they have gone from being the club to have played the least number of fixtures to being one of three clubs to have played the most games in the National League North.

In those 18 matches, Alty have won eleven times, drawn four times and lost three times. However, six of Altrincham's remaining eleven fixtures are against teams currently in the top six; four of those six games are, however, at home.

Although King's Lynn lost their vaunted home record last time out to Kidderminster Harriers, since playing Alty they have played 13 league games, winning eleven times, drawing one and being defeated only the once.


Blyth Spartans report that "manager Lee Clark has called on everyone to keep believing and stick together following Saturday’s defeat to Altrincham. The 3-0 scoreline means Spartans are six points adrift from National League North safety with some clubs holding as many as three games in-hand...

Clark said 'In the first half I thought we handled the weather conditions well but, in the second, we didn’t perform and failed to put the Altrincham defence under pressure. We conceded three and it could have been more in it wasn’t for Zach Hemming in goal. He’s been fantastic for us but we need to help him by the 10 outfield players defending better.

'We have to keep the goals against column down and it is as a group that we need to address the issue.'

The former Birmingham City manager went on to address the loan player situation after Leighton McIntosh and Aaron Cunningham made their debuts on Saturday. He added 'We also have to be braver in front of goal. McIntosh did OK on his debut and showed some good link-up play with (Macaulay) Langstaff early on. But we didn’t get enough ball to them. McIntosh only met the lads for the first time just before the game...

'I was also pleased with Aaron Cunningham’s return. He did very well. I liked what I saw and, in fact, he was one of our most outstanding players. It’s not ideal having loan players but we need to get new players in.'

And ahead of this weekend’s trip to Farsley Celtic, Clark has called on everyone to stick together... Clark said 'The pitch is unlikely to be great and we have to be ready to battle, keep believing and stick together.'”


Right: Daniel Mooney celebrates his first goal for Altrincham, at Blyth, last Saturday.

Monday 17 February: Vanarama National League North

  • Gloucester City P-P Gateshead. Gloucester reported that "Unfortunately, tonight’s game at the Jubilee Stadium against Gateshead has fallen victim to the weather".

Tuesday 18 February: Vanarama National League North

  • Alfreton Town v Leamington
  • Brackley Town v Southport (Brackley say this fixture is "susceptible to further rainfall on Monday or Tuesday".)
  • Chester FC v King's Lynn Town (on Monday, Chester FC announced "Following ‘Storm Dennis’ and the heavy rainfall over the weekend, Chester Football Club continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the 1885 Arena surface is playable for tomorrow night’s game against King’s Lynn Town. Given the significant rainfall over the last ten days, should there be a requirement for a pitch inspection, then this will be carried out at the earliest opportunity to avoid unnecessary disruption").
  • Kettering Town P-P Hereford FC The Hereford Times reported on Monday that "Kettering Town have postponed their tie against Hereford FC scheduled for tomorrow night due to ‘poor traveling conditions left by the recent storms that have been experienced across the country’...

    A statement on the Hereford FC website said 'Earlier today a pitch inspection was scheduled for 1pm tomorrow afternoon, but that will no longer be required'".


Brackley Town have announced that "Southport are the visitors to St James Park on Tuesday evening... After Saturday’s postponement against Boston United... This is another one to keep an eye on as the pitch dries out but will remain susceptible to further rainfall on Monday or Tuesday.

After a run of four winless games, Kevin Wilkin’s side will be eager to return to action on the pitch... Altrincham continued their good form winning at Blyth to move above Saints into 5th place as Brackley slips to 6th. It remains really tight among the leading eight teams...

Visitors on Tuesday night, Southport, are in 12th place... Recent form has been strong, unbeaten in three including high scoring draws against Bradford (PA) and Hereford and a win over The Tigers of Gloucester City.

Luke Fairlamb has gone on loan to Banbury United, initially for a month, otherwise Kevin has a full squad to select from with Dan Holman now fit and in contention".

Middlesbrough have several loanees in the National League North and they report that on Saturday their "Goalkeeper Brad James put in a man of the match display for Gateshead, who made it nine games unbeaten after a stalemate at home to Kidderminster.

James pulled off some important saves for the Heed in testing conditions...

Fellow Gateshead loanee Mitch Curry was left on the bench at the Gateshead International Stadium...

Elsewhere in National League North, Zach Hemming and Blyth Spartans were beaten 3-0 at the hands of Altrincham".

From York Press we learn from the assistant manager that "Micky Cummins believes that the potential of some of York City's young gems could extend 'even beyond the league above. He and manager Steve Watson were asked what proportion of the squad they felt were fit for the National League, should the Minstermen achieve promotion this term...

Assistant boss Cummins said 'We've got some players who have coped really well at the level above and there are younger players, Kieran Green, Josh King, Harry Spratt, whose potential could be even beyond the league above. Come to the summer, we'll have two players contracted in Pete and Paddy. So there are players in the group who are well capable of playing in the division above.

'If we do get promoted, and we plan to, you look at the market again to improve and to kick on... There are those players who have massive potential, and players who are at their level, but we're getting a lot out of them.'"

Watson added 'There are players we know can step up to the next level and we have to nail them down. There are some players... only going to get better, and there are players who may not. None of us want to be in this league longer than we need to be. We inherited a squad that had nine contracted for another year. Some haven't been part of my plans, as you'll have seen by sending them out on loan seeing if they could prove it to me elsewhere, because I couldn't guarantee them games here'...

'When you look at certain players, like the younger lads, they have never played at a club this size with the expectation and the frustration of where we are... Let's get it right, we haven't kept to the standard we set, we have had a dip [and] they find it hard some of them to get themselves out of that... It's tough sometimes if they think things are going wrong and you don't get the sudden roar of 'come on, keep going.

'Not many clubs at this level have the size of crowd, stadium and history of York City. When things are going wrong, especially at home, [that] part they find hard.'"

And York Press also reports that "York City are looking forward to a semi-final under the lights at Bootham Crescent when the Minstermen host Thornaby in the North Riding County FA Senior Cup.

Scheduled to be played before the end of March, the last-four meeting is possibly set to be among the last night games the Minstermen play at their home of 88 years before the impending move to the LNER Community Stadium.

As it stands, the only other likely night game to come before the end of the season is the rearranged home meeting with Hereford, though this could change with any other postponements.

Assistant manager Micky Cummins says the club are keen on the occasion, and believes the fans are likely to be too. He said 'We've been supported well in this club from the fans and it's an opportunity for them with maybe a bit more emotion attached to it, so we may get a bigger crowd for it'...

Both games [in earlier rounds] were played by youthful looking York sides and Cummins says he would not hesitate to deploy the youngsters again".

Lincolnshire Live reports that "Boston United will attempt to put a frustrating spell of postponements behind them when they entertain AFC Telford United on Saturday.

The Pilgrims have been unable to build up further momentum following their 3-1 win over second-placed York City on February 8, following successive postponements against Darlington at home and away at Brackley Town. A waterlogged pitch at The Jakemans Stadium put paid to the Darlington encounter last Tuesday and the visit to St James Park on Saturday fared little better...

One player eager to continue impressing is on-loan Stockport County striker Frank Mulhern, who netted his first goal for the Pilgrims last time out against York. The 22 year-old has emerged victorious from all three of his United appearances to date and, having lifted the National League North title with the Hatters last season, is confident that the Pilgrims have what it takes this time around.

'I have been with a few of the lads here at other clubs, particularly Harrogate and Alfreton and I was with Macca, the assistant manager, at Alfreton too,' reflected Mulhern. 'I knew we were going to have a good chance of going up and I do not want to sit on the bench [at Stockport]. That is not what I am about. When the chance came, I took it with both hands.'”

And the Boston Standard adds that Boston United "were due to face their promotion rivals at St James' Park on Saturday, but the contest was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch...

Pilgrims manager Craig Elliott had previously told The Standard he feared his side would be left facing seven games in March due to the postponement, and that has become the case.

United still have three February fixtures left to play, at home against AFC Telford United on Saturday, followed by the arrival of Gateshead next Tuesday and Farsley Celtic the following weekend".

17 February 2020


A week on Saturday, Altrincham travel to Hereford FC. Today, (Tuesday) Hereford FC generously announced to local residents that "We’re opening our doors to anyone affected by the flooding in Hereford today. Refreshments and a place to rest will be available throughout the day for anyone who needs it".


Match report here

Blyth Spartans have photos from their game against Altrincham.


Before kick off at Blyth, new signing Elliott Durrell tried out his new Altrincham FC woolly hat... and it fitted, just as he has done into the Robins' team, twice, already in his brief Alty career.

Having been announced as a signing last Tuesday, that same night he came on at Spennymoor and won a penalty for Altrincham before converting the spot-kick comfortably.

Then, on Saturday at Blyth, his arrival on the pitch was even more dramatic. Brought on as a substitute, he immediately collected the ball after a team-mate's throw-in and scored with his first involvement in the game, inside seconds of his arrival on the pitch.

And, from the image above, it seems that Elliott is really enjoying his time at Altrincham.


League leaders King's Lynn Town make their first ever visit to Altrincham on Saturday, following a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture in Norfolk earlier this season.

Since that meeting, Altrincham have gone from the club with the fewest league matches played, as a consequence of the cup runs, to the the team with the joint highest number of games played (31). In contrast, King's Lynn Town have seen their recent games postponed. So, as things stand, before this week's midweek games, The Linnets will arrive at Moss Lane having played the fewest games (27) of any team in the National League North to face the team with the joint highest number of league games completed.

King's Lynn Town do have a chance to catch up one game in midweek, when they are scheduled to visit Chester FC. So, weather permitting, it will be a Cheshire double-header for the East Anglians.

As of today (Monday) King's Lynn Town lead the table by a point from York City but they have three games in hand on the Minstermen. King's Lynn have 60 points and are the only team to have scored more goals than Altrincham this season, with 59 to their name. Alty lie fifth, nine points behind having played four games more. Before this week's midweek trip to Chester, King's Lynn last league game was on 1 February.

The Eastern Daily Press asks "Can anyone challenge Adam Marriott as King's Lynn Town's player of the season?

Fifteen games to go, top of the table and a spare Saturday afternoon to consider the meaning of life, King's Lynn Town style. What could possibly go wrong?

Who will be the 2019-2020 Player of the Season? It's a fair question, just a problematic one. Let's get the elephant out of the room immediately; if 28-goal Adam Marriott doesn't win it then something catastrophically bad, or catastrophically good, will have happened between now and the last kick of the season. But who else is in the running for the National League North leaders?

Ross Barrows (Defence, 22). His rating has gone through the roof since his heroics filling the gaps in central defence. Truth is, he has done a fantastic job...

Michael Gash (Striker, 33). What can you say? Absolute gem of a player. How does he switch from centre forward, to helping out his defence then back to centre forward in the blink of an eye?...

Chris Henderson (Attack, 29). Nightmare for opponents; constantly leaves them guessing. At his best he is unplayable... Never knowingly given up a cause. Terrific asset.

Ryan Jarvis (Midfield, 33): Vintage stuff. Being carefully managed now, but absolute quality. Goes about his business quietly, but a huge part of this squad...

Adam Marriott (Striker, 28): Great striker, really great. Pace, power, incredible strength, single-minded. Great reader of the game. His greatest strength is probably his ability to make a goal out of absolutely nothing. Is there a better striker in non league?

Jordan Richards (Midfield, 22): Probably the season's most under-rated player. Silky skills in midfield, but tough as teak. Wins the ball, plays it, but reads the game well too. Top drawer footballer."


Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records show us that on Saturday, 22 February, it will be six years since Alty last played on that occasion. They were in the Skrill North at that time and beat Colwyn Bay 3-1 at Moss Lane.


James Walshaw hit a hat-trick for Scarborough Athletic on Saturday.

Paddy Lacey netted a penalty on Saturday for Stalybridge Celtic but his team-mate Craig Hobson was sent off.


Altrincham FC Reserves had no league match this Saturday.

Next Saturday (22nd), they travel to Congleton Vale Royal, who lie third in the league, with Altrincham in sixth place.


Next Sunday, Altrincham FC Ladies entertain Liverpool Feds Reserves Women, who lie ninth in the ten-club league. Altrincham lie sixth but have only played five league matches this season whilst others have played as many as 14 times!


Altricham FC Youth bowed out of the Neil Thomason Memorial Cup on Sunday, losing 4-05 on penalties after the game had ended level at 1-1. Next Sunday, Alty Youth are at home to Chester FC in the Open Cup.


News of three National League North players comes fromAtherton Collieries who report "the return of Iwan Murray and Cain Noble on loan from Chester FC. The lads arrived in early December and made an impression on and off the pitch. Their last appearances were in our 1-1 draw away to Warrington Town at the start of January...

Also arriving at the Skuna is pacy right-winger Jamal Crawford on dual-registration from Curzon Ashton. The former Burnley youth player made the switch from FC United to Chester FC last season. Starting this season at Hyde United, he joined The Nash in January".

According to the Northern Echo "Gateshead stretched their unbeaten run to nine matches and Middlesbrough youngster Brad James played a key role.

The goalkeeper, on loan from the Riverside, was satisfied with the hard-fought point against Kidderminster Harriers in tough conditions. At a wind-swept and wet International Stadium, the Heed secured a goalless draw to stay in the mix for a play-off spot.

'I’d take a point due to the conditions we were in,' James told 'Even though we had the best chances in the game, a point is a point. I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed with not getting all three, although that’s what we would’ve liked. Anyone who watched the game could see how much the weather affected the game though, I could barely even take goal-kicks! We can take another game unbeaten and another clean sheet away from today, so that is a positive for us'.

James made a string of saves to help maintain the unbeaten stretch. He added 'With the wind coming at me in the second half, I was expecting long-range shots so I was ready for them. I’m glad I was able to hold on and get the clean sheet in the end. You could say I’ve had a few freebies in the past but I definitely deserved that one. I’m even more happy to get the man of the match award.'

Gateshead, managed by player-boss Mike Williamson, the former Newcastle defender, only have five remaining home games and James has enjoyed... Said the 20-year-old 'It’s been the making of me, the best thing I’ve ever done in my life!'".

En route to Alty's game at Blyth, Alty supporters ran into the Kidderminster Harriers at Wetherby Services on the A1M on Saturday. After the Harriers' game at Gateshead, Harriers Online reported on "Another day. Another storm. Another good result.

Yes, it was a much improved Harriers on the road again and to get this battling result at in-form Gateshead was what we all wanted with the visit to Aggborough of York City next Saturday coming up....

There was a quick return to the side for Ryan Johnson after he missed the midweek win at Farsley Celtic with a slight hamstring pull. Ashley Hemmings also returned in place of Ethan Freemantle too after a temporary drop to the bench on Tuesday evening...

Early chances for both sides were few and far between with Gateshead getting the better of the wind at their backs....

Our in form midfielder, Alex Prosser, was having to cope with plenty of attention from the Heed defenders trying to break his legs. Two of them went into the referee's notepad within minutes of each other and, on the stroke of halftime, Olley dished out more attrition[?]. It looked likely that the next one to give Prosser the same treatment would be getting a red version of the card so luckily for them that didn’t continue after the break...

The second half saw the Harriers with the slight advantage as they now had the wind with them...

With time running out for the home side to claim a victory on their own turf they suddenly woke up. Thanks to Ryan Johnson though as he blocked Nicky Deverdics's shot on the line and then the same player crossed the ball across the face of the goal towards the unmarked JJ O’Donnell. He slid in on the ball and, thankfully, failed to connect to it properly...

With the storm now coming in strong the game came to an end and with it a hard earned point for Russ Penn's battling boys. The result sets us up nicely now for next Saturday's mouth watering game at home to second placed York City."

"Liam Hughes has left Bradford (Park Avenue) for Frickley Athletic on dual registration.

Hughes, who has had spells at Cambridge United and Inverness in the past, made 20 appearances in all competitions for Bradford this term, netting on two occasions, last time out against Gloucester City and at York City on New Year’s Day."

16 February 2020


In very gusty but dry conditions, Altrincham moved up to fifth with a comprehensive win over a Blyth side lacking in confidence.

They opened the scoring after Hampson had been fouled on the front edge of the box, left of goal. Hancock hit a superb freekick into the nearside of the net to replicate his achievement at Spennymoor on Tuesday (20 mins).

Above: Josh Hancock's freekick hits the back of the net; Hancock is off the picture to the left.

And last Tuesday's game repeated itself again when Alty were awarded a penalty. This time Hulme, who had earned the spot-kick, took it himself but the keeper saved his effort as had also happened last Tuesday to Hancock's attempt (34 mins).

Above: Jordan Hulme's penalty is saved by Zach Hemming.

With the wind now behind them, Blyth were able to get forward a little more at the start of the second half but they created little threat to the Alty goal.

Elliott Durrell was introduced as a substitute and play immediately resumed with a throw-in. The ball came to Durrell who, with his first touch made space, and with his second, fired the ball into the far corner of the net from 18 yards (57 mins).

The game was wrapped up in the 65th minute when Mooney was put clear and he finished well past the advancing keeper, Hemming. Blyth were then decidedly second best as Altrincham created more chances but without adding to their tally.

Match report here.


Blyth Spartans report that they "were put to the sword by Altrincham in a 3-0 defeat Croft Park. Despite being well in the game and dominating large parts while 1-0 down, Alty were clinical in front of goal. But Blyth Spartans had little to show for their endeavour in the final third, failing to test Tony Thompson all game.

It could have been more for the visitors if it was not for Man of the match Zach Hemming who pulled off a number of amazing saves.

Josh Hancock curled a free-kick in after 20 minutes. Elliott Durrell doubled Altricham’s lead on 57 minutes. The visitors added a third after 64 minutes through Daniel Mooney.

After a fairly low-key affair... Spartans gave away a needless free-kick on the edge of the area which allowed Hancock to bend one over the wall and past Hemming.

Altrincham were awarded a penalty after 34 minutes but Jordan Hulme’s spot-kick was saved excellently by Hemming after he gave away the foul...

Despite Spartans’ dominance in the second half, they were dealt a sucker blow as Durrell’s first touch of the game was a curling effort into the far corner from the edge of the box.

Mooney sprung [sic] the offside trap and was left with a one-on-one against Hemming which saw him bend one past the keeper from close range to put the game beyond doubt".


Saturday 15 February 2020
  • AFC Telford United P-P Curzon Ashton
  • Alfreton Town P-P Chester FC
  • Blyth Spartans 1-0 Altrincham
  • Brackley Town P-P Boston United
  • Darlington P-P Leamington
  • Gateshead 0-0 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Gloucester City P-P Farsley Celtic
  • Kettering Town P-P Guiseley
  • King's Lynn Town P-P Bradford Park Avenue
  • Southport P-P Spennymoor Town
  • York City P-P Hereford FC

15 February 2020


On the eve of the match against Altrincham, Blyth Spartans announced two signings. The first is "Aaron Cunningham has returned to Croft Park on loan from Hartlepool United for the remainder of the season.

Cunningham, 22, undergoes his second loan spell in Northumberland and provides much-needed cover due to injuries and suspensions in the defence. Doncaster Rovers loanee Shane Blaney has been hit with a three-match ban following his red card at Chester, while Scott Wilson is sidelined for the next 2-3 weeks.

Additionally, Jack Sanders played his last game for Spartans at the weekend having returned to parent club Wigan Athletic. Cunningham spent the first-half of the 2018/19 season on loan at Blyth, going on to make 17 appearances and score two goals. He returned to the National League side and... has featured on 11 occasions for Pools but now re-joins Blyth ahead of the final 12 games of the season.

Cunningham will be available for selection when Blyth host Altrincham at Croft Park on Saturday afternoon...

Manager Lee Clark said, 'With Jack Sanders going, that left us short in the central defensive areas so I am delighted to have got Aaron Cunningham on board'".

And the second arrival announced by Blyth Spartans is the "loan signing of forward Leighton McIntosh after receiving international clearance. The 27-year-old becomes the second player to move to Croft Park today, following in the footsteps of Aaron Cunningham in joining until the end of the season.

McIntosh, capped for Scotland at under-19s level, is a well-travelled figure... He began his career at Scottish Championship outfit Dundee, including loan spells at Montrose and Arbroath. Permanent moves to Montrose and Peterhead then followed before briefly spending time in Iceland with UMF Selfoss.

He returned to Scotland with Arbroath and then switched to Airdrieonians, where he netted 17 times in 41 appearances. At the end of his contract, he joined Wrexham last summer. Since then, he has played 12 times and scored three goals. He is still available for selection ahead of Saturday’s National League North encounter with Altrincham at Croft Park.

Manager Lee Clark said...'I tried to sign five/six weeks ago. We believe he can give us a genuine goal threat for the remainder of the season'".


Supporters attending the match at Blyth Spartans will pay the following entrance prices.
  • Adult: £12
  • Conessionaries, 65 years+: £7
  • Juniors, 11-16 and students: £5
  • Children, up to 10 years: Free
  • Transfer to Port of Blyth Stand: £2


Today (Saturday), Altrincham make their second trip in a week to the North East as they undertake their longest journey of the season to play Blyth Spartans.

Last Tuesday, at Spennymoor, Altrincham were without the services of the injured Steven Drench, Simon Richman, Sean Williams and Andy White, but they gave a second-half debut to new signing Elliott Durrell, who marked the occasion with a goal from the penalty spot. Whether any of the band of injured players will be available today is unclear. But Durrell's promising debut may prompt his inclusion from the start, depending on his match fitness after relatively little pitch time recently at his former club, York City.

Alty go into the game holding onto their sixth position by a narrow margin of goal difference ahead of Spennymoor Town. The Robins are the league's second-top scorers but no club in the top nine has conceded more goals this season, so it looks unlikely to be a goalless draw.

Mike Garnett's records tell us that the record between Altrincham and Blyth Spartans is as follows:

  • At Home: P11-W6-D4-L1-W22-A13
  • Away: P12-W3-D5-L4-W18-A19
  • All: P23-W9-D9-L5-W40-A32


Having narrowly lost their five-game unbeaten run in midweek at Spennymoor, Altrincham seek to rebuild another undefeated sequence today (Saturday) at Croft Park, against Blyth Spartans.

Coincidentally, on the subject of five-game runs, the reverse fixture, which was a midweek game at the JDS on 7 January, resulted in a fifth successive victory in the league for Altrincham as they overcame the Spartans 3-1..

The January game almost came to a full stop when half of the Moss Lane floodlights went out after just 13 minutes. However, light was restored after six minutes' delay.

Right: Alty's huddle before kick-off against Blyth Spartans on 7 January, 2020.

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.

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 Tom 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).

Altrincham had started the match with seven of the same players who had faced Blyth on the Spartans' previous last visit to Altrincham in May 2019 for the Play-Off semi-final, and all of the other four starters in that 2019 game still remain at (or on loan at) the club but were either injured (Sean Williams and loanee Yussifu Ceesay), or on the bench (James Jones, Connor Hampson).

In contrast, Blyth had experienced a major loss of personnel from their successful first-team squad of last season, with many choosing to move to rivals Darlington and York City, whilst others moved into the Northern League. As a consequence not one of the Blyth starting eleven from last May at Moss Lane started the game and only Wrightson and Horner (both subs) were in the squad back then.

However, Robbie Dale, a former nemesis of Altrincham, did start tonight having missed the May encounter as he was on holiday.

The January 2020 line-ups were:

ALTRINCHAM : 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE, 3. Andy WHITE, 4. Toby MULLARKEY, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Tom PEERS. Subs: 12. Luke WALL, 14. Ethan WALKER, 15. Connor HAMPSON, 16. James JONES, 17. Max HARROP.

BLYTH SPARTANS : 1. Zach Hemming, 2. Rhys Evans, 3. Scott Wilson, 4. Damen Mullen, 5. Jack Sanders, 6. Kris Thackray, 7. Jack Hunter, 8. Lewis Hawkins, 9. Michael Sweet, 10. Callum Roberts, 11. Robbie Dale (c). Subs: 12. Tom Devitt, 14. Corey McKeown, 15. Adam Wrightson, 16. Mark Waddington, 17. Lewis Horner.


Before today's fixture, Altrincham had twelve games to play in the regular league season.

These matches are quite markedly different as regards the home and away opposition. The six remaining home matches include five against clubs in the top seven, whilst away from home the remaining six fixtures include just one against clubs in the top nine currently.

The matches are as follows, with the opposition's current league position shown against their name...

  • AWAY Sat.15.2.20 Blyth Spartans (21st)
  • HOME Sat.22.2.20 KING'S LYNN TOWN (1st)
  • AWAY Sat.29.2.20 Hereford FC (17th)
  • HOME Sat.7.3.20 SPENNYMOOR TOWN (7th)
  • AWAY Sat.14.3.20 York City (2nd)
  • HOME Sat.21.3.20 CHESTER FC (4th)
  • AWAY Sat.28.3.20 Alfreton Town (14th)
  • HOME Sat.4.4.20 GLOUCESTER CITY (20th)
  • HOME Fri.10.4.20 BOSTON UNITED (3rd)
  • AWAY Mon.13.4.20 Darlington (10th)
  • HOME Sat.18.4.19 BRACKLEY TOWN (5th)
  • AWAY Sat.25.4.19 Farsley Celtic (11th)


Saturday 15 February 2020
  • AFC Telford United v Curzon Ashton
  • Alfreton Town v Chester FC
  • Blyth Spartans v Altrincham
  • Brackley Town v Boston United
  • Darlington P-P Leamington
  • Gateshead v Kidderminster Harriers
  • Gloucester City v Farsley Celtic
  • Kettering Town v Guiseley
  • King's Lynn Town v Bradford Park Avenue
  • Southport P-P Spennymoor Town
  • York City v Hereford FC


NL Daily reports that "While it took longer than they wanted to find their stride, Altrincham have surged into promotion contention in this season’s National League North, with an especially impressive Christmas/New Year period that yielded five wins in a row for the Robins...

There was a 3-2 loss earlier this week at Spennymoor, after one of those ever-enjoyable, big midweek trips for a non-league side, though it was only last Tuesday they were celebrating a 5-2 over AFC Telford United. It’s all to play for indeed, with another North East away day this weekend, in the shape of relegation-battling Blyth Spartans.

Skipper Jake Moult has been there through cup runs, dramatic play-off final glory, National League consolidation and consecutive relegations. Then of course a Phil Parkinson-inspired revival that has come with tantalising promise of scaling greater heights yet.. Here’s what he had to say during a detailed one-on-one...

'The start of the season, we had a few out injured., big players, important players, so it was a bit of a slow start in terms of that. We had new players coming in who were trying to integrate into the group. It was a difficult start, and then once we started to get ourselves on our feet in terms of playing some decent stuff and getting some good results, we went on a good cup run. What was happening really was we were playing in the cup, and then we were missing the league, getting draws in the league and playing every three weeks or what have you. It seemed like we were playing in and out of the league for a while, so it was difficult to move anywhere. Once the cup run was over we were able to really knuckle down in the league and climb up the table...

Right: Jake Moult leads out the team at Rushall Olympic (2018)

It’s been a really good season so far. I missed the first ten games or so through a hernia operation... We’ve got quite an experienced changing room, there’s quite a few lads who’ve been about and know what it’s all about. Obviously, there’s some younger lads in there that do need some help sometimes and some advice, which I do, but it’s quite an experienced group... The changing room’s just a great group of lads, so it takes care of itself really'".

Asked about "characters", Jake referred to Jordan Hulme and Tony Thompson.. . "Them two obviously are top of the bunch. You’ve got Maxy Harrop who likes a bit of a laugh, Tom Peers, Sean Williams, so there’s quite a few that bounce off each other well. We all come together for quite a good amount of time each week, so it’s important that we all get on. We enjoy each other’s company and it’s a good laugh'management style – I’m 30 now so I’ve had quite a few gaffers over the years – his management style is a little bit more relaxed, but he certainly gets his point across to everybody and makes known if he’s unhappy. He’s really methodical, really thinks about how we’re gonna set up and how we’re gonna play, and he’s great to work under".

"I’ve been here for about nine years now, so the majority of my adult football career has been at Altrincham, which has been great. It’s a tricky one because once you leave school and you realise that your job’s playing football, I managed to do that for only three years but obviously it was a huge achievement to be able to do that. Getting into non-league football, we’ve had some great times at Altrincham over the years; the FA Cup runs, promotion. There’s been loads, but probably the one that sticks out the most is the promotion final, where we got promoted to the Conference. I think it was the 119th minute or something crazy, where we managed to get the winner (through Greg Wilkinson to beat Guiseley in May 2014)...

"Everybody’s different, so what would work for Jordan Hulme or players who like to get fired-up wouldn’t work for others. I’m quite a calm player really; go about my business and kind of get it done that way. The previous Altrincham manager Lee Sinnott, he was superb; he understood players, he listened to players, and he was very understanding as a manager really. He had a lot of success, got good players in, who all wanted to play for each other, and helped everybody in that way really...

"At Altrincham, everybody does an initiation. We’ll have a few soon, because we just signed the likes of (Dan) Mooney and Mahony (Craig Mahon), and Josh Lundstram. To be honest with you, Parky made me do it again, six years into my Altrincham stay! I can’t remember the song, but I had to do it the first time and the second time, I remember that.

"I’ve got my own property business, so I buy houses, sell houses, rent houses, everything really. I’m busy during the week; it’s difficult when you’ve got long away trips... but with being self-employed, I can work around it, which is great... [Outside football], my passion is the property side. I really enjoy it, I’ve been doing it for a little while now; since I was about 19/20. I really enjoy all the different aspects of that, but I’ve got a wife and two kids, so trying to split football and my job as well, it doesn’t really give me much time to go and play golf or anything like that!".


The Northern Echo tells us that "Darlington return to action after an unplanned free" midweek... Due to a waterlogged pitch Tuesday’s game at Boston United was postponed, a match Quakers were due to contest without a full substitutes' bench.

'I would only have [had] four on the bench because David Atkinson couldn’t get away from work and Chris Elliott has had flu,' said the manager. 'Louis Laing was struggling with flu as well, so it was a little bit of a blessing that it was called off because we were quite light on numbers.'

Elliott may not be available for Quakers’ home match with Leamington [Saturday], but left-back Michael Liddle could be available for bench duty. He has been sidelined with a hamstring problem but was due to train last nigh...

The Boston match has been rearranged for March 17, pencilled in for one of several midweeks Quakers have available, though National League North clubs will not have as much free time in their schedule next season when the division increases from 22 to 24 clubs.

Playing four more fixtures is a move Armstrong has doubts about, and he said 'It’s tough playing Saturday-Tuesday, especially when you’re part-time. If you’re full-time it’s not so bad because it’s your job, but when lads have been to work all day and then having to play on a night time, that is tough.

'It’s tough enough as it is with the travelling we have to do, and Blyth have the most travelling out of anyone in the country. When you’ve got teams like Hereford and King’s Lynn in the northern section, I don’t know why we should be expanding the league.

'I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or not. Sponsorship will be split between 24 teams and not 22, but you get two extra home games. It’s probably swings and roundabouts, but potentially you will end up with more injuries'".

14 February 2020


Altrincham travel to Blyth Spartans on Saturday, their longest away trip of the league season, a 176 mile journey, each way.

The four weeks up to next Saturday will not only have seen Alty being kept busy by playing eight league fixtures in 29 days, five of which will have been away from home, but four of those five away games will have been at four of their five most distant opponents; Gateshead (310 miles return), Kettering Town (264 miles), Spennymoor (286 miles) and Blyth (352 miles).

In addition just before that four-week sequence, they had experienced a further 286-mile round-trip to Spennymoor for a match which was postponed just an hour before kick-off.

s Blyth currently sit in 21st place with 23 points from thirty games. Their fifteen home games to date have seen them win three times, draw a further three fixtures and lose on nine occasions. Alty won the reverse fixture 3-1 at Moss Lane in January.

Mike Garnett's records tell us that the record between Altrincham and their opponents is as follows:

  • At Home: P11-W6-D4-L1-W22-A13
  • Away: P12-W3-D5-L4-W18-A19
  • All: P23-W9-D9-L5-W40-A32


TASC Travel Coordinator Mark Eckersall announces that "TASC will be running supporters' transport to Blyth Spartans on Saturday.

We have made the U16/Student price just £15 so we hope we can get good support up there.

You can book your place by ringing the club on (0161) 928-1045 during normal weekday office hours".

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


Last weekend the Manchester Evening News quoted Alty manager Phil Parkinson [left] on his footballing philosophy and his aim for the play-offs.

Regarding the play-offs he said, "If I didn't think I could get there, then I wouldn't do this job. Altrincham should always be in and around that kind of position at this level of football.

In their remaining fourteen games [now 12] the Robins will host four of the five sides above them at the J. Davidson Stadium where they have an impressive record, losing only once, on the opening day to York.

'Our pitch helps us massively, it's a big pitch, we can exploit that. You always want to make your home a fortress and I think we've certainly done that this season' said Parkinson.

The former Nantwich Town boss has strengthened his squad, signing Fleetwood Town winger, Dan Mooney [20], for an undisclosed fee...

'If we were mid-table, I'd be looking at it slightly differently, maybe go with younger lads, but at this point I feel it's important we bring in lads who will help us get over the line'".


Prompted by the above reference to pitch sizes and their benefit or otherwise to individual clubs, shown (right) is a table of the pitch sizes (measured in yards) in National League North. Those at Evesham (Gloucester City) and King's Lynn Town have not been ascertained.

Amongst the 20 clubs whose dimensions are known, Altrincham's Moss Lane surface is the joint tenth largest (with Kidderminster's Aggborough) in terms of pitch size. So, of the known sizes, nine pitches are bigger than at the J. Davidson Stadium and nine grounds are smaller.

The two largest pitches are both in the North-East and when Alty travel to Croft Park on Saturday they may be hoping to take advantage of the second-largest playing surface in the league.

The largest pitch in the division, at Darlington, is virtually 50% larger in area than the smallest, at Alfreton Town, so whether the Quakers' players cover more mileage during their games than The Reds at Alfreton would be an interesting statistic to know.

In terms of league results this season, to date, Alty have won just once in their six games on larger pitches. On pitches of the same or smaller size, they have won twice in ten trips.


Even on Thursday, some pitch inspections had been announced in the National League North. At Latimer Park, Kettering Town announced that "Because of heavy rain and the projected forecast not looking good, there will be a pitch inspection at 8:00am on Saturday morning".

And Cheshire Live reported that at Alfreton Town, the "Reds hope to get Saturday's game on as planned they have committed to making the earliest call they can so as to avoid fans and the team suffering a wasted journey. 'On Tuesday the weather changed very quickly and we called it off quite quickly,' said Alfreton secretary Andrew Raisin".


According to the Chester Standard "On-loan striker Danny Elliott hopes his inspired form can help propel Chester to promotion glory this term.

Elliott has hit the goal trail at Alfreton Town, netting five times in three outings for the Derbyshire club who host Chester on Saturday. Ineligible to play in the National League North clash, Elliott will return to the Blues when his month-long loan deal ends on February 21. And the 24-year-old Nottingham Forest academy product admits that his confidence has flourished in recent weeks.

He said 'It’s been brilliant for me. I arrived here raring to go but, obviously, the tragic events of Jordan Sinnott’s death meant the Gateshead game was postponed and so I made my first start against Gloucester. Coming into a new club you’re a bit nervous and desperate to do well, so getting my first goal in the 12th minute and then going on to get a hat-trick was a great feeling.

'To do that so early on gave me a huge lift in confidence and I’ve been able to build on that with two more goals since.'

Elliott has not been a stranger to the rest of the Blues’ squad and has continued training with them on Mondays and Fridays. He says that being on the periphery of the first team and not making regular starts undermined his confidence in a Blues shirt...

'I’ve loved being here at Alfreton; the fans, players and managers have been great with me,' he added. 'It’s not the case that I was cast off by Chester and pushed out of the door. I needed to play regularly to regain my match fitness and most importantly my confidence, which is a huge part of my game... I feel like this loan deal has been mutually beneficial.

'It’s nice that the managers have been keeping tabs on me and hopefully I can play a big part in Chester’s end to the season'...

George Waring remains sidelined for Chester while centre-back Danny Livesey is rated as ‘fifty-fifty’ to start at Alfreton."

Meanwhile, Cheshire Live advises us that "Chester FC joint-manager Anthony Johnson admits there can be no excuses for his and Bernard Morley’s side for not picking up points at Alfreton Town this weekend...

Chester have a tough run of home fixtures coming up with leaders King’s Lynn Town and fellow play-off chasers Brackley Town and Gateshead all visiting the 1885 Arena in the next few weeks. And while the Impact Arena of Alfreton is a notoriously tough place to grind out a result against the direct style of play employed by boss Billy Heath, Johnson knows they simply have to find a way to get the job done.

'Every game is tough in this league but let’s have it right, we need to go and get a result at Alfreton on Saturday if we want to be kicking on and finishing the season well,' said the Blues' co-boss. 'The win over Blyth was ugly but we got it done and we need to find a way to do the same on Saturday. We can’t have excuses and we know win one, draw one, lose one from between now and the end of the season will cost us.

'But we are confident and we have every right to be. We’re not going there to try and pick up a point, we’re going there to try and win the game as we need to build some momentum now as we have a really tough run coming up against some good sides.'

Chester have taken six points from their last four games while some teams around them like Boston United, who have won five in a row, have come from the fringes to the fore in recent weeks.

But while there may have been concern from some sections of the fan base over whether Chester will be able to maintain a play-off spot, other teams have dropped points in recent games with Brackley taking two from their last four, Altrincham taking five points from their last four and York City gleaning six from four.

'We’ve talked about consistency a lot but at this level of football it is very difficult to be consistent week in, week out,' said Johnson. 'We’ve had an OK start to the year but we know we need to improve to push on to where we want to be. We’ve not had a real run yet and it feels like we’ve got it in us still while there are going to be some clubs who have been in great form who will lose more games. We’ll probably lose a couple more because that is the nature of it'"

Wolverhampton Wanderers report that "Wolves booked their place in the semi-finals of the Birmingham County Senior Challenge Cup, one of the most historic cup competitions in the world, with a convincing 2-0 win over reigning champions Leamington FC".

It was the second cup defeat in a week for The Brakes after their replay and penalty shootout exit from the FA Trophy.

The NL Paper reports that "Josh Gowling... the experienced former Bournemouth, Kidderminster Harriers and Grimsby Town defender is in caretaker charge [at Hereford] following the departure of Russell Slade just 19 games into his reign.

It’s been tough going for the Bulls with just one win in 14 when Slade left. Gowling, 36, says he’s been preparing for management for the last six years with a psychology degree in addition to his coaching qualifications. He’s also done a governance qualification and is a qualified counsellor, all tools he hopes will help contribute to moving Hereford up the table.

'At any football club, losing games affects people,' Gowling said. 'It affects players, their confidence and the club as a whole;– the fans, the staff, everything. When you’ve been on that kind of run and possibly not playing the type of football the club want to see, it’s very difficult.

'So that’s been our focus as a management team; to change the philosophy of the football club, the way we play, and change the narrative. The first meeting we had as a staff was the way we speak to our players. It’s being positive and not necessarily jumping on the negative things. It’s encouraging, taking the shackles off a little bit, and getting the players to express themselves.'

Gowling has hailed the arrival of former Kiddy boss Steve Burr as his assistant as 'invaluable' and he is enjoying the transition to the dug-out. 'I’ve always wanted to stay in football,' Gowling said. 'I’m also a qualified counsellor. I had ideas to go into that side of things, counselling pros with injuries and pros coming to the end of their career, managing that and dealing with it.

'So I’d thought about going into that anyway but my main goal is to be a football manager. I’ve had so many managers over the years and I’d like to think I can take the best bits and hopefully put that into what I end up being. When you’re a player all you’ve got to think about is putting your boots on, a bit of tactics and that’s it. Obviously, as a manager, there is so much more to it. You’ve got to deal with the individual players, tactics, shape and organisation, your philosophy, the media.

'At the moment I’m trying to change the identity of the football club and the team. There’s a lot that goes into it. At home, looking at the opposition, breaking down the analysis. It’s a lot of hours. But I’m a bit of a perfectionist! I’ve been like that throughout my career so I love doing analysis anyway. I suppose it’s become natural'...

'“I’m on a trial period,' Gowling added. 'Obviously the club will want to look at me and I’m sure they are out there looking at other candidates as well. I’ve just got to try and build that trust and relationship with the players. Hopefully that will translate to results which will then give me trust with the fans and the board and football club as a whole. That’s what I am trying to do.'”

The National League reports that "Jimmy Shan is the new manager of Solihull Moors, a day after he left Kidderminster Harriers. He resigned as interim boss yesterday and has been quick to step up to the National League on Wednesday.

Shan was a well-respected coach at West Bromwich Albion.. He told the club’s website 'I’m delighted now it’s over the line and that I’m here'".

In the Boston Standard we read that "You can’t blame Craig Elliott for affording himself a smile as he prepared for his post-match interview on Saturday.

His Boston United side had just pulled to within seven points of leaders King’s Lynn after coming from behind to beat second-place York City 3-1.

The Pilgrims also did it in the way that Elliott has always enjoyed seeing his sides play; brave, uncompromising and physically robust to the point of testing the referee’s nerve.

But what made Saturday extra sweet for Elliott was that his gamble paid off.

Jaws dropped across the ground at news that leading scorer Jordan Thewlis and Jay Rollins had been benched as the manager went all-in with a 3-5-2 formation which, it later transpired, the squad had spent just one hour working on in training.

When Kurt Willoughby put York ahead with an inch-perfect lob with just seven minutes played you couldn’t help but wonder how long the manager would leave it before chucking on his attacking flair players.

But Elliott stubbornly stuck to his guns and goals from Frank Mulhern, Brad Abbott and Andi Thanoj, two of them absolute worldies or complete flukes, depending on how you saw it, moved the Pilgrims to within six points of the side they’d just beaten, with two games in hand.

They say fortune favours the brave, and it was ballsy for Elliott to tinker with a team that was on a four-game winning run. But that winning streak is now five and the manager...

After all, Elliott gets more than his fair share of flak when things don’t work out. You only have to go as far back as far as New Year’s Day to remember the accusations aimed at the manager online after the 3-0 home defeat to King’s Lynn. ‘Out-thought’, ‘clueless’ and ‘hiding’ were just three.

But since that day Boston have bounced back with six wins and a draw... Indeed, for that reason Elliott should be allowed to savour the weekend’s victory...

This weekend the Pilgrims discovered a new way of winning, displayed a new, quite impressive, nastiness. Just look at those early, full-blooded challenges from Simon Ainge and Luke Shiels. Both within the rules but both about letting the opposition know what they were in for as much as winning the ball.

It was obvious from the opening few seconds that the new formation had brought a new gameplan".

13 February 2020


Altrincham's last visit to Croft Park was for a Vanarama National League North match on Saturday, 1 September 2018, which Altrincham lost 2-1. Coincidentally, the referee that day was Mr John Matthews, who officiated the Alty game at Spennymoor last Tuesday!

In the 2018 game, after having the better of the opening stages, Altrincham fell behind in the 26th minute when Reid and Horner exchanged passes before Reid's instinctive lob beat Wynne and found the back of the net. But it took just three passes from the re-start of play for Altrincham to level the score with Hancock hitting a low shot into Jameson's bottom right-hand corner (27 mins).

The Spartans improved after the break, though a 1-1 draw looked to be on the cards until the 83rd minute. Then Williams's attempted clearance from the left of his own goal struck an opponent. Blyth worked the ball left to Rivers, who had time to get the ball out from under his feet and direct a rising shot into the upper part of the net from the edge of the box.

Despite this setback Altrincham should have equalised in the 88th minute when substitute Poole's shot was parried by Jameson into the path of the unmarked Peers. Somehow he contrived to hit the ball comfortably over the bar from just a few yards out. Alty dropped to thirteenth after this result.

Altrincham were without the injured trio of John Johnston, Connor Hampson and Ben Harrison. Josh Hancock returned to the starting eleven in place of loanee Brendon Daniels who had just returned to Port Vale. Top scorer Jordan Hulme, playing his last game before a one-match suspension, sported what was then a new blond hair-colour.

Alty's Max Harrop had enjoyed a loan spell at Blyth in 2011/12 season and had actually played for the Spartans against Altrincham in the two clubs' previously most recent league clash, in January of 2012, which ended 1-1.

The line ups in 2018 were:

BLYTH SPARTANS: 1. Peter Jameson, 2. Michael Liddle, 3. Ian Watson, 4. Kieran Green, 5. Nathan Buddle, 6. Aaron Cunningham, 7. Jarrett Rivers, 8. Sean Reid, 9. Daniel Maguire, 10. Lewis Horner, 11. Robert Dale (c). Subs: 12. Andrei Ardelean, 14. Adam Wrightson, 15. Connor Oliver, 16. Jack Butler, 19. Bradley Skirpan

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. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. James POOLE, 14. Tom PEERS, 15. Liam GOULDING, 16. Simon RICHMAN, 20. Tony THOMPSON.

Pictured above is the Alty line-up for the game in 2018 with Jordan Hulme and Blyth's Robbie Dale about to shake hands. For Alty, from their 2018 squad at Blyth, four players (Wynne, Dale, Poole and Goulding) are no longer at the Club whilst White and Williams are currently out injured

Before the game Alty had been unbeaten on the road in 2018-19 season, and they faced a Spartans' team with just a single win to its name in the campaign so far, but that had been a tremendous 8-1 victory over Chester FC. On their last visit to Blyth, in December 2016, Alty had won an FA Trophy replay, 3-2, whilst the last league clash at Croft Park had witnessed a 1-1 draw in January, 2012.


Alty's next game is on Saturday, 15 February and Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records remind us of previous Altrincham matches on that date in the year.


The Sale & Altrincham Messenger reports that "Phil Parkinson urged Altrincham to tighten up defensively after their promotion play-off hopes suffered a jolt at Spennymoor on Tuesday night.

Spennymoor moved to within goal difference of sixth-placed Alty after cashing in on defensive lapses to win 3-2 and leave Parkinson ruing key refereeing decisions, as well as his side’s rare vulnerability at the back.

Alty were awarded two penalties, new signing Elliott Durrell converting the second after Josh Hancock’s earlier spot-kick was saved, but were [was] adamant they should have had a third and [he was] equally convinced a second-half finish by Hancock was wrongly ruled out, following a lengthy consultation between the referee and his assistant.

'Josh didn’t look offside,' said the Alty boss. 'All the players were bamboozled by it, and that’s why they were ranting and raving. We should have had three pens as well. We are probably clutching at straws if we think the referee is going to give us three penalties away at Spennymoor, but everyone could see it was a clear handball.

'We’ve missed a few this season, so it’s an issue we need to address. Elliott picked himself up after being fouled and put his away well, so we’ll have a look at that in training.

'Overall, it’s a real mixture of emotions. I’m hugely disappointed at the result but massively proud of the team for the way they went at it right to the end. We looked great offensively but need to get it right in terms of concentration and decision-making at the back, which we have done for the majority of the season.

'Their first goal was a disgrace and, though it was a fantastic strike for their second, we gifted them possession. The third was a free header, so there are things we need to eradicate, which we will do. We are not at panic stations and will go again on Saturday.

'Full credit to Spennymoor for throwing bodies on the line right to the last whistle, but they were lucky; we should have got something out of that.'"


The BBC reports that "A Manchester City fan who travelled more than 3,000 miles to watch his side play was 'crushed' when the match was called off as Storm Ciara hit the UK.

Matt Renninger, from Rhode Island in the United States, said watching his beloved Blues was on his 'bucket list'. He spent about $3,000 (£2,750) flying over with his wife for the Premier League clash with West Ham on Sunday. But they had to settle for Altrincham FC instead when City's game was postponed due to strong winds and rain.

The couple are pictured, right, with Alty's official caterer, Richie Bentley, after being presented with an Alty first-team replica shirt.

Mr Renninger, 33, has supported City since 2002 after picking them on Fifa 'because everyone supported Manchester United'...

They were 'devastated and there were tears', though, when they saw the news the game was called off on Sunday morning. It may not have been their beloved Blues but the couple did get to see some football on the transatlantic trip.

They went to see Altrincham FC's National League North match at Moss Lane on Saturday against Kettering. With a capacity of just over 6,000, it was considerably smaller than Etihad which holds 55,000.

After the 1-1 draw, Mr Renninger said 'We had a great time. My wife loved the fans' chants'... He added they will also be following Altrincham FC's results and hope to get to watch both teams on their next visit".


From Cheshire Live we learn that "Anthony Johnson says he and Bernard Morley are still in dialogue with potential new recruits to aid the Chester FC effort into the business end of the season... But nothing has yet materialised for the Blues...

'We're still speaking to some people and trying to see what we can get done,' said Johnson. 'It's not like last season, we're not looking for a short-term fix, like for like, to try and get us through games, we are after people who can make a big difference for the run-in and make us better and also for lads who fit into what we want to do beyond the end of this season.

'We want to bring someone else in but we're going to have more options very soon in an attacking sense. Danny Elliott (on loan at Alfreton Town) will be coming back from his loan spell full of confidence and George Waring will be back a lot sooner than we thought he would be, thanks to the generosity of supporters in donating money for him to get the mask he needs to play...

One player who might not be arriving at the 1885 Arena is Morecambe forward Kevin Ellison. The 40 year-old is out of favour under Shrimps' boss Derek Adams at the League Two side and had been heavily linked with a third spell at Chester... Chester were keen on Ellison and it is understood that there was interest the other way but issues at the Morecambe side may now put the brakes on any planned move."

And Cheshire Live adds that "Danny Elliott will be 'like a new signing' as he prepares to come back into the Chester FC fold

The striker has been in red hot form during his loan spell at Alfreton Town

Elliott joined fellow National League North side Alfreton Town on a month-long loan last month and took little time to make a mark, bagging a hat-trick on his debut and netting once in the following two games.

The 24-year-old, who joined Chester in the summer following a stint at Port Vale, had struggled to nail down a starting role for the Blues, played both out on the left and centrally but unable to get a run of games, starting only four of the 16 National League North games he appeared in, scoring three times...

Said Johnson, 'Hopefully we can do whatever Alfreton have done with him and get him building on that because he will be like a new signing. I think if he would have played (against Blyth) with the space in behind and on the counter attack he would have got some real joy'.

As part of the terms of his loan deal Elliott won't be available to play against his parent club this weekend with his last game in an Alfreton shirt coming on February 22... after which he will return to the 1885 Arena."

Lincolnshire Live tells us that "Boston United boss Craig Elliott lauded the strength of his squad after seeing the Pilgrims boost their promotion hopes at the weekend. United were 3-1 victors over second-placed York City...

Elliott opted to field three centre-halves against the Minstermen, with key attacking performers Jordan Thewlis and Jay Rollins demoted to the bench in the process, but the United manager felt fully vindicated after watching the display. Stockport County loanee Frank Mulhern netted United’s equaliser against York, with midfield duo Brad Abbott and Andi Thanoj also on target.

Elliott said 'The point of me getting a good squad together is being able to use that and I think I have got to do that a bit more sometimes because there are a lot of different challenges in this league. We are all trying to win as many games as we can. I thought Frank was superb. He got man-of-the-match and he deserved that. He gave us a good focal point, was a threat over the top and worked hard.'

United’s squad was strengthened even further last week with the acquisition of former York midfielder Simon Heslop, who made his debut as a late sub against Minstermen... 'He’s an experienced and aggressive player and we have not got too many of them in midfield,' added Elliott on Heslop. 'He’s going to be needed in big games where I can bring him on or he can start against these bigger teams and his experience will help others around him. He’s another part of the jigsaw to try to make us a better team.'”

The Boston Standard adds that "Simon Heslop is over his year of hell and looking to make up for lost time with Boston United.

After spending more than 12 months out of action due to a knee injury, the midfielder made his Pilgrims' debut on Saturday in the 3-1 victory over York City, the club he signed from.

'I feel great and if it it was up to me I’d start every week,' said Heslop, who joined the game as a late substitute. 'But it’s probably the wise decision to take my time and build my minutes up. I really appreciate Craig (Elliott, Boston manager) bringing me in. Especially as the club’s on a promotion push. I’m really happy to be part of that.'

It almost feels like a second chance for the former Barnsley and Wrexham man, after the physical and mental battles he has been forced to overcome. 'It’s been over a year, since January 2019, so it’s been a long recovery,' said Heslop,...

'When you play a team sport and that team element is taken away from you and you become an individual trying to get back fit, it’s hard. I wasn’t used to that at all... I’ve worked really hard and hopefully I can kick on from here.' Former Minstermen skipper Heslop found himself sidelined after undergoing a second knee operation... After signing non-contract forms, he made one appearance against Whitby Town in the North Riding Senior Cup on January 29 before making the switch to Boston...

'I’ve no bitterness leaving York. The manager’s been great for me letting me go in and get fit'".

Meanwhile, York Press reports that "Manager Steve Watson has stressed there is no time for York City to sulk following a 'wounding' defeat and performance at Boston United last weekend.

Goals from Frank Mulhern, Brad Abbott and Andi Thanoj helped the Pilgrims fight back from an early Kurt Willoughby goal. As a result, the Minstermen missed out on the chance to go top of National League North... But it was the manner of the defeat the most disappointing as York scarcely created a chance all game. At the full-time whistle, Willoughby's remained York's only shot on target.

York remain a point off the summit ahead of Saturday's home clash with Hereford...

'If we want to try and get out of this league either (A) by trying to win the league or (B) getting out through the play-offs, we've got no time to sulk,' said Watson... 'That's a good test for the lads. They've got to stand up after the performance and come into training with their chests out and ready to go again because there's no time for licking your wounds...

'We've got a dozen games left and a lot of points left to play for but that was a wounding performance and a wounding result. I don't think anybody got an injury that will affect them for next week,' he added...

Simon Heslop was named on the bench for Boston, having signed from York a couple of days previously. Watson said 'I'm pleased for Hezzie because I know him well as a lad. I'm pleased he's got himself back into football and into a good club. He's had a hard year. I've watched him suffer this year, I've watched him come back from injury, and break down a couple of times and struggle, and I'm pleased that he's fit again. He's a cracking lad.'"

According to the Banbury Guardian "Dominic Knowles scored the only goal of the game late on as [Boston] United beat the Saints last month, the club’s only win against Brackley at York Street. Now Boston head to Northamptonshire on Saturday looking to be only the second side to win at St James’ Park in the National League North so far this season.

'Brackley are a good team. Against us they were fantastic and we go out of jail slightly,' Elliott said. 'But we’ve got the confidence from that game'...

While Brackley remain among the favourites to make the play-offs this season, they have hit something of a slump since their defeat in Lincolnshire.

They have failed to find the net in their past four games, away at Boston and Spennymoor Town and at home against Guiseley and Farsley Celtic.

Despite playing out goalless draws against the Moors and Lions, that 1-0 defeat to Farsley is their only home reverse of the campaign so far".

And the Boston Standard adds that "Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin faces a dilemma at both ends of the pitch ahead of the arrival of Boston United... Stuttering Saints entertain the third-placed Pilgrims on Saturday and three days later take on Southport.

Without a win or a goal in their last four games, Saints are slipping behind in Vanarama National League North. Wilkin said 'I wouldn’t say it’s a "must-win" game against Boston but one that we can’t really afford to lose. I can’t see us chasing down the leaders so in that respect Saturday’s game isn’t going to define our season. We’ve got a hell of a lot of work to do to get back into it following our recent run and the first thing we’ve got to do is start scoring goals again...

'Boston are a very strong side'...

Dominic Knowles's late winner secured Boston's first-ever home win over the Saints last month.

'We’re doing okay up until the final third but it doesn’t look as though we’re going to score,' Wilkin added. 'I’ve told the players we’ve got to score a goal first before we can start thinking about winning a game again! It’s been too long without a goal and, seeing a blank space in the goal scorers' column each week, doesn’t make for good reading. The one crumb of comfort for us is that the performances have been there. Players are trying their hardest but we need a break in front of goal.'

Brackley striker Dan Holman will be back in the squad as he continues his comeback. But already missing Thierry Audel, who is absent through family commitments, and then Kelvin Langmead with the ankle injury he picked up against Kettering Town, Wilkin had to play Glenn Walker in central defence at Spennymoor. And it looks as though that will be the case on Saturday if Langmead doesn’t recover because Audell will miss Saturday's game."

The Shropshire Star informs us that "Hitman Marcus Dinanga believes AFC Telford United can thrive in front of goal with wing wizards Ryan Barnett and Brendon Daniels supplying the ammunition.

Bucks' widemen Barnett, on loan from Shrewsbury Town, and Daniels have hit some good form of late... Daniels has found the scoresheet himself with three goals in two games against former club Altrincham while Barnett’s direct trickery has caused problems for several full-backs across the division.

Dinanga, who has netted four goals in four games, admits the duo’s presence on either flank is a boost. 'They’ve got different abilities. Barnett is more direct and Brendon is more about his deliveries that are always bang on,' said 22-year-old striker Dinanga.

'If both are in the side then there’s goals to be got for us. It’s the luxury we have'... Dinanga, Bucks’ top scorer two seasons ago before sealing a move from Burton to Hartlepool, added 'Everyone played their part. But it is looking like more coming from the sides, as long as there are balls into the box there’s chances to score'".

The Royal Gazette states that "Bermuda goalkeeper Dale Eve has signed a deal with Spennymoor Town.

The 25-year-old, who has previous experience in England with Stoke City, Forest Green Rovers and Fleetwood Town, left Robin Hood to try and pursue opportunities in England.

Having spent a number of weeks training with Town... Eve earned himself a deal until the end of the season. Tommy Miller, Town’s assistant manager, spoke of his delight at securing the services of Eve.

'Dale has trained with us the last few weeks and has done very well,' he said. 'He has played for the Bermudan national team and has been highly recommended to us, and with other clubs chasing his signature from higher divisions, we are delighted he has decided to join us for the rest of the season. He adds competition to the goalkeepers we already have in the squad'...

Eve could make his debut away to Southport on Saturday".

Kidderminster Harriers report that "Russ Penn has spoken of his pride at taking the helm at Harriers as manager... The 34-year-old, who has previously been caretaker boss at Aggborough, was appointed as Manager until the end of the season on Tuesday following the departure of Jimmy Shan.

He oversaw a crucial 1-0 win at Farsley Celtic in his first game in the hot-seat...

'I’m so proud of the lads,” he said. It has been a tough couple of days really, not only for myself, but [for] them as well... It's part of football; we wish him [Shan] all the best in his new adventure, but it is all about Kidderminster now. From now until the end of the season, I am going to give it everything I can because I want this job.

'It is in my DNA, it is in my blood and it is something I am truly proud of... I’m not thinking too far ahead and I’m taking each game as it comes. [Tuesday] was all about setting up a strong team to play in terrible conditions, and we did that and more'".

12 February 2019


Above: A first-half snow shower at the Brewery Field.

This was a game which Altrincham should have won after dominating a large portion of the first half and the start of the second period. But a missed penalty, a disallowed goal and failure to defend after two corners cost Alty dear.

Altrincham started the game slowly and fell behind in only the eighth minute as a home corner came back for a follow-up cross by Brogan. The ball drifted in the windy conditions to the back post where Roberts was allowed to steal in and hammer the ball into the roof of the net.

A swirling snow shower then made conditions even more difficult for ten minutes or so as Altrincham took a hold on the game. They deservedly equalised in the 33rd minute with a fine 25-yard freekick by Hancock into the bottom corner of the net.

After being on top from the start of the second half, Moult lost possession in midfield. The ball was worked to the right where Ramshaw netted with a 30-yard screamer which Thompson could do little about (53 mins).

Four minutes later Densmore was upended in the box but Hancock's penalty was saved by the keeper to his right.

It was to prove costly as the Moors made ut 3-1 midway through the half. As with the first goal, a home corner was half cleared only for the ball to be relaunched into the penalty area where, this time, Buddle headed it home (67 mins).

On 78 minutes a turn and shot by Hancock seemed to have made it 3-2 but, after a long chat with his linesman, the goal was ruled out for offside.

Alty had brought on Elliott Durrell for his debut and he was brought down to win a second penalty. He took it hinself and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 3-2 (83 mins). Despite some late pressure Alty left the wind-swept Brewery Field empty-handed.

Match report here.

The National League has goal highlights from the game.


Right: Spennymoor's James Roberts keeps an eye on Alty's Elliott Durrell, who made a good debut from the bench.

Before his debut at Spennymoor, Elliott Durrell spoke to Brian Flynn for Altrincham FC.


Following the match on Tuesday, Spennymoor Town report that they "moved into the play-off places and level on points with Altrincham after a pulsating and breathless contest at a snow-swept Brewery Field.

In a game which featured spectacular goals, two penalties, goal saving blocks and apocalyptic conditions, it was Moors who edged a game which will linger long in the memory.

James Roberts, Rob Ramshaw and Nathan Buddle scored the goals for Moors, with Josh Hancock and substitute Elliott Durrell grabbing the goals for an impressive Robins outfit.

Hancock also saw a penalty saved by Gould with the score at 2-1, a crucial intervention from Moors’ man between the sticks.

Jason Ainsley made three alterations to the side who began the 0-0 stalemate with Brackley the previous weekend, two of them enforced, with the injured duo of Carl Magnay and Jamie Chandler replaced by Tyler Forbes and Shane Henry. The other change saw Stephen Brogan recalled to the starting line-up in place of Christopher Mason, and it was Brogan who was heavily involved as Moors took an early lead in bitterly cold conditions.

After a corner was poorly dealt with by the visitors, Ben McKenna set the ball back to Brogan who delivered a wicked delivery which was turned in at the back post by Roberts via a flick on from Glen Taylor. Signed from Hereford in the summer of 2019, Roberts poached to convert his ninth goal and solidify his growing importance in the Spennymoor side.

After Ramshaw volleyed over from close range it was the wintery conditions which became the main talking point, with both sides struggling to adapt in the monsoon-like wind. Yet, both teams continued to press forward in an open clash, with Roberts almost doubling his personal tally shortly before the visitors began to dominate possession.

That domination of the ball soon saw the equaliser arrive from the right foot of Hancock, scorer of two goals in the 4-4 draw last season. He bent a pinpoint free-kick past the outstretched arm of Gould, giving the away side a deserved leveller...

The pace of the second half, aided by the diminishing snow and wind, was relentless from the moment the whistle blew, and Moors were thankful to Gould within seconds of the restart when he denied Hancock from close range. Despite starting the second half second best, Spennymoor executed their counter attacking centric game plan to perfection when they retook to the lead eight minutes after the restart.

Jake Moult dawdled in possession allowing the tireless Taylor to win the ball back and commence a break. When the ball was shifted to Ramshaw on the right flank, he unleashed an unstoppable drive which flew into the top corner past Tony Thompson, his ninth and finest goal of the campaign.

That was far from the end of the drama as Alty hit back immediately, winning a penalty after the referee adjudged James Curtis to have dragged back Shaun Densmore. Hancock, full of confidence after his first half effort, stepped up, but Gould guessed the right way to deny him with an excellent stop.

Moors were required to soak up more pressure from a free flowing away side, but, on a night when the three points seemed destined to head to Jason Ainsley’s men, Buddle powered home a header from six yards after Taylor had done superbly to dig out a cross.

Altrincham never gave up despite trailing by two goals for the first time on the night, and they were adamant they had halved the deficit when Hancock turned and drilled past Gould from eight yards. However, the lineman raised his flag, and after consultation with the referee, ruled out the goal.

A tense finish was confirmed when Jason Kennedy brought down Durrell in the area with six minutes to go, and the new signing took the initiative and sent Gould the wrong way.

As the game entered stoppage time Altrincham threw the kitchen sink at Moors and almost nicked a late leveller, but a sea of black and white bodies denied a certain goal from close range, sealing a memorable three points".


Altrincham have made their fifth signing of 2020 with the arrival of Elliott Durrell (30), as is reported by Altrincham FC.

He joins Josh Lundstram (on loan), Craig Mahon, Dan Mooney and James Hooper who have all joined Altrincham since the turn of the year.

Durrell is available for tonight's match at Spennymoor. Durrell's contract at York City recently expired and he was released by The Minstermen.

He was a used substitute for York against Alty in their two defeats to The Robins in the FA Cup and Trophy earlier this season.

Before joining York last summer, his previous clubs included Wrexham, Chester and Macclesfield Town. Elliott has also featured against Altrincham for Hednesford Town (2013)


Kidderminster Harriers "confirm the immediate departure of Interim First Team Manager Jimmy Shan.

Interim CEO Neil Male commented 'Jimmy has moved onto pursue a football career opportunity at a higher level, I would like to personally thank him on behalf of the club for his time with his input and assistance over the last three months.'

Jimmy Shan commented... 'I am convinced, under the new ownership and direction, the club is heading in a positive and progressive manner to bring back the success the fans deserve.'

Male confirmed that, with immediate effect, Russ Penn has been appointed First Team Manager for the remainder of the season. The club will be appointing an Assistant Manager to support Russ in the near future."


Monday 10 February 2020
  • Gloucester City P-P King's Lynn Town -postponed after King's Lynn had travelled.

Tuesday 11 February 2020

  • Alfreton Town P-P Gateshead
  • Boston United P-P Darlington
  • Farsley Celtic 0-1 Kidderminster Harriers
  • Spennymoor Town 3-2 Altrincham


Alty TV has extended highlights of the Altrincham game against Kettering Town last Saturday.


The FA Trophy Quarter-Finals draw has not been kind to the lower ranked teams>
  • Barnet v Halesowen Town
  • Notts County v Aveley
  • Concord Rangers v Royston Town
  • AFC Fylde v Harrogate Town
11 February 2020


Just as Altrincham travelled to Spennymoor in January only to have the match postponed an hour before kick-off, so Lynn News reports that "Gloucester City have apologised after their match with King's Lynn Town was postponed little more than an hour before the scheduled kick-off [on Monday].

Fans, players and officials were left to make the long, frustrating journey home after conditions at the Jubilee Stadium, which the home side shares with Evesham United, were deemed unplayable at around 6.30pm.

A post on the Gloucester City Twitter account said 'Apologies to anyone who made the journey to the game this evening, earlier in the day we were told the pitch did not need further inspection'.

But Lynn Director of Football Rob Back replied 'Total embarrassment, you should be ashamed. And fans on both sides questioned why the club hadn't done more to check conditions earlier.

Meanwhile, Linnets chairman Stephen Cleeve has said he will pay for the fuel used by fans who travelled by minibus to attend the rearranged fixture, once a date is fixed".


As things stand, today's trip to Spennymoor is the last scheduled midweek match for Altrincham. Owing to cup involvement and weather-induced postponements, after this match Altrincham will have played eight midweek league fixtures this season, five at home and three away.

The two previous midweek away games produced a draw at Chester and defeat at Southport, whilst they have been unbeaten at home in midweek league matches.

Altrincham have yet to face Spennymoor Town at home this season; the reverse fixture of tonight's game will be on 7 March at the J. Davidson Stadium.

Spennymoor Town point out that "It’s been almost a year since Moors played Altrincham. That night, goals from Mark Anderson and Rob Ramshaw secured a brilliant 2-0 away win at The J.Davidson Stadium... Both potential fixtures between the two sides have been lost this season to date, with the first meeting... falling victim to Alty’s progress in the FA Cup.

The match was rescheduled for mid-January, but, after a late pitch inspection, the referee deemed a surface of the pitch unplayable. We have been waiting a long time to play Altrincham, and with both sides vying for a play-off place, it is set to be well worth the wait!

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.

In a contest which, at times, defied belief, Moors fought back on three occasions to seal their third consecutive draw... Mark Anderson, Adam Boyes, Shane Henry and Taylor grabbed the goals for Spennymoor, while Andrew White, James Jones and a second half double from James Hancock rounded off the scoring for an impressive Altrincham outfit. Tuesday’s game has a lot to live to live up to!"


As reported here last week, Altrincham FC hosted the first ever Football v Homophobia [FvH] Awards, sponsored by Puma, in the Community Sports Hall.

Clubs from all over the country, including Tottenham Hotspur, Charlton Athletic and West Bromwich Albion as well as representatives from Kick It Out and The FSA were in attendance.

Saturday's match against Kettering Town was Alty's designated match for FvH and the squad wore FvH t-shirts in the warm-up.

Pictured, right, is Altrincham FC chairman Grahame Rowley at the event.


Monday 10 February 2020
  • Gloucester City P-P King's Lynn Town

Tuesday 11 February 2020

  • Alfreton Town v Gateshead
  • Boston United v Darlington
  • Farsley Celtic v Kidderminster Harriers
  • Spennymoor Town v Altrincham


According to the Hereford Times "New Hereford signing Lenell John-Lewis is confident that playing regularly will help him find scoring form for the Bulls.

The 30-year-old striker suffered an ACL injury last January while playing for Shrewsbury Town before being released by the League One club last month. He made his Bulls debut in the 2-2 draw with Southport on Saturday playing a role in the first of two injury time goals.

'I thoroughly enjoyed it, it’s been a while for me to get minutes,' said John-Lewis. 'It’s been a physical game and I didn’t expect anything less. I played in the Conference for two-and-a-half years so I’m very much used to it (the physicality) and I like putting myself about. My Mrs won’t [care?] if I get cuts and bumps so for me it’s nothing new.

'I haven’t played much this season so it was good to dust the cobwebs off a little bit, to get 90 minutes under my belt and then kick on from there.'

When John-Lewis last played in the Conference for Grimsby in the 2014-15 campaign the striker scored 20 goals in 47 appearances. When asked what can get him scoring to that level again? John-Lewis added 'Playing regularly to be honest that’s simply it. I know for a fact I’ll get chances and I had a couple today and, in my book, I should have scored. That’s my confidence and belief, I will keep getting chances and I will score goals.'

Previously John-Lewis has played alongside interim manager Josh Gowling at Grimsby. He has also played with Tommy O’Sullivan and Tom Owen-Evans at other clubs... When asked about the difference between moving from full-time to part-time football John-Lewis added 'For me, the professional that I am, I’ll be working every day, I’m used to it so that’s what I’ll be doing'...

When asked if he would consider a permanent move to Hereford, the striker added 'I wouldn’t be here otherwise, but I’ve got to impress and hopefully I can do that and we will see what happens... I know that behind the scenes it’s a very good set-up especially at this level and I was very surprised. For me going forwards if we can keep winning games and I impress then we’ll see what happens'".

However, all is not rosy "behind the scenes" as Hereford FC report that "Chairman Andrew Graham admitted that the use of this season’s playing budget has failed to yield the desired results but that, with the support of the fans, the club's overall vision of becoming a ‘sustainable Football League club’ is still on the agenda.

His programme notes [included]...

'Josh [Gowling] has now had his feet under the Manager’s Desk for a few weeks and, with Steve Burr, has already made an impact... We have had too many changes on and off the field, and the instability that this delivers is not healthy for any club, let alone one that runs with a part-time playing staff.

'That said, when a management change was deemed necessary this time around, it was important for us that we steadied the ship. Josh Gowling, without doubt, has already shown his ability for gelling a dressing room together...

'One factor that has been all too prominent in both Russ Slade’s time at the club, and which has to be considered in Josh’s plans, is the budget issue. When you look at the Club’s ‘Vision’ of being a ‘Sustainable Football League Club’ one day, it is clear to see that without doubt, our management of the football playing budget does not reflect, or deliver, ‘Sustainable.’ Nor will it deliver Football League status without a radical shake-up. This activity continues to take place behind the scenes, from the Boardroom and right through the business. Failure is not an option here and there is much still to do!...

'This season, a realistic budget was set for a play-off position push. The use of this budget has failed to deliver, and we suffer the drops in attendance and associated revenues that eat away at reserves. This situation has been an unacceptable one and presents us with an almost ‘perfect storm,’ albeit one that is manageable through change...

'As we look to examine the option for the playing budget in 2020/2021 season, a key driver will be how much we can minimise the losses we face, and how much we can call on the support of our community to rally around, come to matches, commit to purchasing season tickets and believe in what we are trying to achieve; ‘A Sustainable Football League Club.’"

The Boston Standard reports that the "Boston United striker Shaun Tuton has joined Alfreton Town.

The forward has struggled for game time this season, finding himself behind Jordan Thewlis, Dominic Knowles, Jake Wright and Frank Mulhern in the pecking order.

The 28-year-old former Barnsley and FC Halifax Town attacker has made the switch to the club's rivals after making 18 appearances, but only three starts. His two goals both came against Grantham Town in the Lincs Senior Cup."

Lincolnshire Live adds that "Boston United manager Craig Elliott felt his side fully deserved their eye-catching 3-1 victory over promotion rivals York City on Saturday afternoon...

The result left the Pilgrims six points behind York, with two games in hand... 'I have got a lot of respect for York City,' said Elliott. 'They are a big club with a good team who are doing really well with a good manager and we had to put in a big performance and we did just that. I thought we were dominant for most of the game.'It was going to be difficult [coming back from a goal down]. It was against the run of play because I thought we started the game really well'...

Elliott was handsomely rewarded for switching to a bold 3-5-2 formation to match York’s system, with Scott Garner and fit-again Abbott brought into the starting XI.

'The players have been superb over recent weeks,' added Elliott. 'We put a plan in place at training on Thursday and they bought into it. It was a tough decision and I had a few sleepless nights but, after watching a few videos and going through a few things, I felt it was the right thing.

'It was not easy putting Jordan Thewlis and Jay Rollins on the bench because they are such massive players for us but I felt we had to play a certain way to nullify York.'

United fell behind in the seventh minute when Kurt Willoughby raced through on the end of Adriano Moke’s ball over the top to lob onrushing Boston keeper Peter Crook from 18 yards.

The Pilgrims levelled seven minutes before half-time when Stockport County loanee Mulhern burst into the box and saw his effort clip Steve McNulty, loop high into the air and drop over keeper Peter Jameson and underneath the crossbar.

United took the lead for the first time in the 52 minute when Thanoj cracked an effort against the bar from 20 yards and Abbott composed himself to tuck home the rebound from close-range.

Boston sealed their three points 11 minutes from time when Thanoj played a short corner routine with Alex Whittle before bending the ball into the far top corner beyond Jameson’s dive".

Guiseley "were the architects of their own downfall as two second-half defensive blunders saw visitors AFC Telford United return to Shropshire with all three points and complete a clean sweep over The Lions in the process with three wins out of three for the season.

Yet it could all have been so different after Kennedy Digie had put the home side ahead on 34 minutes, lashing the ball into the roof of the net after Telford keeper Michael Luyambula had parried a Lee Shaw shot and Chris Sang’s effort had been blocked by Theo Streete.

After last Saturday’s rousing performance at Darlington the visitors should have been there for the taking but a succession of balls lofted up to the front men proved to be meat and drink to Streete and his defensive colleagues who had conceded five goals in a 5-2 defeat at Altrincham in midweek... Telford proved to be the more resilient in the second period with Marcus Dinanga and Brendon Daniels proving to be a handful for the Guiseley defence and it was no surprise that it was the former who turned the game on its head, albeit with assistance from the home defence.".

Before Tuesday's match Gateshead reported that they were "on the road for the second time in a number of days, this time to face Alfreton Town...

The Heed made it eight games unbeaten with a 1-0 win at Curzon Ashton last time out, a run which has been helped in part by five clean sheets. That win saw Mike Williamson’s side make their play-off spot more comfortable, extending the gap to two points clear of Spennymoor in eighth in the Vanarama National League North. A win on Tuesday could see the Heed go fifth, should Altrincham fail to win at Spennymoor.

Alfreton, meanwhile, currently lie 14th in the league table and had won three of their last four games before drawing 1-1 at Farsley Celtic on Saturday. The Derbyshire side's home form has improved in recent weeks, now unbeaten in four, a run that includes draws against King's Lynn Town and Telford United and wins against Gloucester City and Hereford.

Amari Morgan-Smith is undoubtedly a key figure for the hosts, with 16 goals to his name in the league so far this season, as is striker Danny Elliott, on loan from Chester, who has five goals in three games since his arrival.

The Heed are set to have a full squad to choose from tomorrow night, with Elliot Forbes back to fitness... Assistant manager Ian Watson said 'We've watched plenty of Alfreton, they've had a few good results. The front two, the boy they've got on loan from Chester (Danny Elliott) and Amari Morgan Smith whose been a really good striker in this league for a few years now. We're expecting a really good side, it's going to be a hard test for us...

Alfreton Town’s... manager Billy Heath said 'You have to get the clean sheets if you want to be at the right end of the table... Back to back victories is always good, now obviously we have to keep following it up.".

At Darlington "Midfielder Osagi Bascome has left the club by mutual agreement.

Osagi has played 16 games for us (10 of them as a sub) since he joined us in March 2019". he is heading to the uSA.

Curzon Ashton lost 0-1 to Gateshead on Saturday. "In an even start to the contest, Curzon looked the more comfortable of the two, having a lot of the ball. Although controlling the game, the home side found it fairly difficult to break through a very physical Gateshead back line...

After 25 minutes, Gateshead grew in confidence... Curzon, though, continued to mostly frustrate the visitors and looked the more threatening side...

As the second half got underway, it was clear that Gateshead had stepped up a gear... As the hour mark approached, Gateshead began to dictate the game; controlling possession of the ball... Five minutes later and Gateshead broke the deadlock. Danny Shaw misjudged a high ball in the centre of the field, and the visitors were quick to pounce on the mistake. Jordan Preston picked up the loose ball and from 20 yards forced Cam Mason into a fantastic first save. Unfortunately for the Nash shot stopper, substitute Ruairi Keating lashed in the rebound...

The Nash, without the creative talents of Isaac Sinclair, Tunde Bayode and Connor Dimaio, couldn’t find an equaliser that their overall play would have deserved".

Before getting sent off on his debut last Saturday, Blyth Spartans announced "the signing of Shane Blaney from Doncaster Rovers on loan until the end of the season.

The Irish defender is the second player to arrive at Croft Park in the same number of days following Macaulay Langstaff’s move from York City on Thursday. Blaney started his career in his homeland with League of Ireland side Finn Harps, and after three appearances in Ireland’s top-flight, Doncaster came knocking.

Since joining in 2018, Blaney has made four first-team appearances for the League One, all of which have come in the EFL Trophy... Blaney has experienced the non-league scene with Tamworth and Grantham Town in previous loan spells...

Manager Lee Clark said 'I’m delighted to get Shane signed up. With the injury to Scott Wilson, we needed to address the left side of defence and Shane can play both at centre-back and left-back. He is comfortable on the ball and a good athlete. We welcome Shane to the club and hope he has a successful loan spell with us'".

Tonight, (Tuesday), Afreton Town "take on one of the division's in-form sides as Gateshead visit the Impact Arena...

The Reds themselves are in good form and sit fifth in the form table, with Gateshead sitting second across the last five fixtures...

Alfreton were denied a third straight win on Saturday as Farsley grabbed a point at the Citadel. It was our first away draw of the season in a game which really was a tale of two halves, in the sense of the first half being one of the most low-key and quiet periods of the season in terms of chances... with neither team being able to really stretch the other in the final third.

The second half proved a different affair as the tempo increased and the chances soon began to arrive frequently. Danny Elliott scored his fifth goal in three with another great solo goal, converting into the bottom corner in the box on the hour mark. However our lead would last just a few minutes as Clayton powered a header from a Richards cross...

A draw was probably the fairest result although the Reds would feel they could have had all three on chances created in the second half.... We will look to extend the unbeaten league run to four games and in turn aim for a third home win in a row".

10 February 2020


Altrincham FC has a post-match interview with Altrincham FC assistant manager, Neil Sorvel.

Above: What does the future hold for Altrincham this season? Jake Moult and James Jones look into the distance during Saturday's game.

Match report here


Weather permitting, this Tuesday, 11 February, will be the third time of asking for Altrincham's away trip to Spennymoor Town, the only club that the Robins have not yet faced this season.

The original date for this fixture was Saturday, 30 November, a match which was postponed owing to Alty's FA Cup tie at Portsmouth that day.

The game was rescheduled for Tuesday, 14 January only to be postponed after both the Altrincham team and its supporters had already travelled to the Brewery Field.

Spennymoor Town, like Altrincham, reached the play-offs last season and in this campaign they lie just one place outside them, in eighth, with three points fewer than sixth-placed Altrincham.

The late Mike Garnett's records reveal the history of games between the clubs.

Against Spennymoor Town:

  • Home: P1-W0-D0-L1-F0-A2
  • Away: P1-W0-D1-L0-F4-A4
  • All: P2-W0-D1-L1-F4-A6

Against the forerunner club, Spennymoor United, the record was:

  • Home: P5-W4-D1-L0-F15-A4
  • Away: P4-W2-D0-L2-F8-A4
  • All: P9-W6-D1-L2-F23-A8


Unfortunately, Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records for Tuesday's date, 11 February are not available, following Mike's sad death in December.


Goalkeeper Elliot Wynne moved on doal registration to Droylsden this week, from Farsley Celtic. Sadly, the Bloods lost 0-7 at home to Neil Young's Marine.

In the BetVictor NPL Billy Sass Davies has moved from Crewe Alexandra to Ashton United, whilst Curtis Obeng has gone from Nuneaton Borough to Grantham Town.

And Asher Nelson has moved from Altrincham To Warrington Town.

In the same division, former Alty reserve and "Mossley captain, Andy Keogh, has been appointed caretaker manager. Keogh, 32, re-joined the club for a third time in February 2018 and was appointed captain ahead of the 2018/19 season.

He will now take charge of team affairs following the departure of Dave Wild to Matlock, while the club searches for his permanent successor. The attacking midfielder has made 206 appearances for Mossley. His first game in temporary charge will come at Dunston on Saturday, the first of eight away games in their next nine."


After their goalless draw last Saturday at Spennymoor, Buckingham Today reported that "Goals are still proving hard to come by for Brackley Town but at least they picked up another Vanarama National League North point.

For the second time this season Saints and Spennymoor fought out a stalemate, neither quite deserving the full three points, in a good game played on a very good surface [which hosts Alty on Tuesday] in blustery conditions.

Manager Kevin Wilkin made changes to his starting line-up. With both Thierry Audel and Kelvin Langmead unavailable, Glenn Walker filled in alongside Gaz Dean, putting in a fine performance as if he had played at centre-back his whole career, while Carl Baker started for the first time since October...

Saints enjoyed the better of the second period, Baker bringing a flying save from Matt Gould and Jimmy Armson again calling Gould into action... Walker almost won the game for his side, his hooked effort cleared off the line in the dying minutes. Before that Connor Franklin brought down James Roberts conceding a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area and receiving only a yellow card when many thought a red card would be shown. It was a let off for Saints who survived the free-kick and went on to claim a deserved and hard fought away point.

'We battled hard today and a draw is probably a fair result,' Wilkin said... 'When we start to convert those chances we are creating we will be picking up the wins again.'"

Before their game at Spennymoor, Buckingham Today had reported that "For once, Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin will be glad to be playing away from home.

Saints travel to Spennymoor Town looking to put a three-match run which has produced a solitary point behind them. Wilkin saw his side lose at St James Park for the first time since 2018 on Saturday with Farsley Celtic making the most of the conditions to snatch all three points. Without wanting to use it an excuse, Wilkin said the state of the pitch at St James Park is not helping his side’s approach to the game but favouring the opposition.

Wilkin said 'One goal in three games and one point from three games isn’t good enough but it’s still very tight. The performances in those three games warranted more but you have to take your chances, even though there weren’t that many against Farsley. The conditions didn’t help us, in the last two games we’ve come up against teams which sit very deep and they’re very difficult to break down.

'Our pitch isn’t the widest in the division and when teams sit deep, it’s very difficult to get in behind them. You have to be able to move it quickly against opposition who sit that deep. Our home form has been very good for a long time and I don’t think that it’s any coincidence that playing on a poor surface for the last two games we’ve not got a result on it.

'People will say that’s the same for both teams but it isn’t because of the way the opposition wants to play and the way we need to. That’s the first time for more than a year that we’ve lost at home so you have to expect teams to come and sit deep.'"

According to the Telegraph & Argus "It was supposed to be the calm before the storm for Bradford (Park Avenue) with Storm Ciara hitting the UK hours after the final whistle, however it was Mark Bower's men who were the ones blown away as relegation now looms even larger.

The 2-0 defeat to Gloucester City, witnessed by a crowd of 296, means 15 points stand between Avenue and the visitors who more importantly are the team to catch to avoid the drop. The hosts simply could not find that finishing blow to gain the desired victory as errors at the opposing end of the pitch were apparent once again.

Bower was forced into making one change to his side who fought their way to a 3-3 draw at Southport. Mitch Lund came in for the suspended Stelios Demetriou at left back.

City were able to recall midfielder Joe Hanks who is into double digits for goals this season despite missing the last few games through injury.

Nicky Clee started brightly for Avenue spraying the ball about in a role he has made his own in recent weeks, sitting in front of the defence acting as a deep playmaker. Billy Priestley had the contrasting beginning to that of Clee's. Firstly getting outpaced by forward Marlon Jackson. The centre half collected a booking after his late challenge.

Then the Tigers took the lead after a poor headed clearance from Priestley, the ball falling to Bernard Mensah whose sliced finish found the bottom corner...

Despite having the lion's share of possession, Bradford struggling [sic] to create much in the first period. Calamity struck again after a scuppered Lund clearance went into the air but Matthew McClare was unable to find the empty net after Nicholson had missed with his punch.

It got a bit messy with Ryan Toulson and Jake Hibbs collecting a booking each... Lewis Brunt produced a superb finish from [a] free kick... The launched ball forward from the back was a constant source of success for the Tigers...

Hughes responded by halving the deficit connecting at the back stick with Clee's sublime corner... Bower's side now need a miracle to complete the seemingly impossible task of staying in this league".


Saturday 15 February 2020
  • AFC Telford United v Curzon Ashton
  • Alfreton Town v Chester FC
  • Blyth Spartans v Altrincham
  • Brackley Town v Boston United
  • Darlington v Leamington
  • Gateshead v Kidderminster Harriers
  • Gloucester City v Farsley Celtic
  • Kettering Town v Guiseley
  • King's Lynn Town v Bradford Park Avenue
  • Southport v Spennymoor Town
  • York City v Hereford FC

9 February, 2020


Altrincham FC has announced that winger Luke Wall [right] has joined Warrington Town on a dual registration arrangement.

Luke (23) joined Altrincham on non-contract terms from Witton Albion in late October 2019, having only just joined the Wincham Park club earlier that month.

He was previously at Accrington Stanley (2016-17) before spending time at Bangor City from summer 2017 till October 2018, when he moved to Curzon Ashton. He had played against Altrincham in the Nash's 0-6 defeat at the Tameside Stadium in 2018-19 season. An excellent crosser of the ball, Luke nevertheless found his starting chances limited at Moss Lane.

To date, Luke has made five starts and six appearances from the bench for Altrincham and was in the matchday squad yesterday as an unused substitute against Kettering Town.


Whether it was their heavy schedule of games catching up on them or for some other reason, Altrincham gave a poor showing against a Kettering team that has been transformed by manager Paul Cox since he inherited them at the foot of the table.

Above: Craig Mahon takes a second-half freekick.

Mis-pass after mis-pass and a lack of tempo from Altrincham, combined with Kettering's hard work to close down their opponents and a smartly taken headed goal by Daniel Nti in the 19th minute had the visitors leading deservedly at the interval. After an excellent midweek performance to beat AFC Telford United the same Altrincham starting eleven were miles away from that level before they improved a little in the second half.

Barely landing a shot on target throughout the game, Alty were grateful to a header from Toby Mullarkey from a 63rd minute corner to salvage a point. Kettering did not settle for a point and continued to get forward without creating too many chances.

Match report here.


Following the 1-1 draw at Altrincham, the Northants Telegraph reported that manager "Paul Cox was left with 'mixed feelings' after Kettering Town picked up another point with a 1-1 draw at Altrincham.

The Poppies were up against a Robins team who beat them 2-0 at Latimer Park less than two weeks ago and were on the back of a 13-match unbeaten run on home soil. But Kettering took a first-half lead thanks to a Dan Nti header before being pegged back when Toby Mullarkey scored from close-range following a corner in the second period.

It all left Poppies boss Cox slightly disappointed to only head back south with just a point in the bag.

'I don’t think Altrincham were really playing through us, or opening us up, so to concede from a set-piece has left us coming in at the end with mixed feelings,' the Kettering manager said.

'Prior to the game, you look at Altrincham’s form especially at home and you would think that it would be a very good point on the road. But I think the boys are probably a little bit disappointed with the way we have conceded the goal. It’s mixed feelings for us because we possibly could have held on and taken all three.

'The home performance against Altrincham wasn’t us and we let ourselves and our supporters down on that night. But this time the boys worked extremely hard, they were resolute when they needed to be and we have had other chances and, in my opinion, a couple of good penalty shouts as well.

'We have gone away from home for what was probably the hardest away game in the division on the day because of their current form and come back with something so we have to be pleased.'

The point did prove useful, however, as it helped the Poppies move seven clear of the relegation zone ahead...

And Cox believes... 'When you look at the whole thing, you have to look at where we started and the position the club was in a few months ago... We are making great strides and the transformation in the players has been pleasing. Every point is precious and everyone would have loved three points at Altrincham but we have come away with one and it was deserved.'"


On Saturday, Altrincham FC Reserves lost 1-3 at home to Egerton FC.


On Tuesday, Altrincham travel to Spennymoor Town after Saturday's fixture in which "Moors and Brackley were left to settle for a point apiece following an afternoon of few chances at the Brewery Field.

Jason Ainsley made two changes from the side who began the afternoon at Gloucester a week previous, with Jason Kennedy and Chris Mason replacing and Shane Henry.

Butroid, who [had] played the full 90 minutes in all his four games since joining on a short-term loan deal from Scunthorpe United, had been recalled by his parent club earlier in the week.

The away side, looking to turn their recent run of poor form around, created the game’s first opening... After a nervy opening, Moors settled into the occasion and began to showcase their dangerous ability to hit sides on the counter, seen numerous times this season...

Moors suffered an injury blow with fifteen minutes of the first half when Jamie Chandler fell unchallenged, resulting in Shane Henry being called into action.

Chances were at a premium in a tight and intriguing first half... An otherwise subdued atmosphere was suddenly brought to life after a hugely contentious decision from the referee eight minutes after the break.

James Roberts beat an off-balance Connor Franklin to the ball, and... the Brackley defender took action and brought down Moors’ striker. With all around The Brewery Field expecting a straight red card, there was a feeling of disbelief after the yellow card was shown instead...

Moors struggled to carve out openings against a side who were protecting the second strongest away defence in the league... With the game heading towards its conclusion, Brackley almost nicked the three points when Glenn Walker’s effort from a corner was cleared off the line by Henry.

Spennymoor Town: Matt Gould, Carl Magnay (Boyes 63), Lewis Butroid, Jamie Chandler (Henry 30), Nathan Buddle, James Curtis, James Roberts (Whitehouse 84), Jason Kennedy, Glen Taylor, Rob Ramshaw, Ben McKenna. Subs: Whitehouse, Anderson, Henry, Boyes, Cogdon".


York Press reports that "A disappointed Steve Watson said York City 'did not do enough to win the game' in the wake of their 3-1 defeat at rivals Boston United.

Not only did York miss the chance to re-take the top of the table, with King's Lynn Town not in action until Monday, but they put in a performance which Watson conceded was second best.

York took the lead through Kurt Willoughby's early lob, which was a great finish from the loan striker, but that remained City's only shot on target for the game.

Frank Mulhern levelled before the break with an unusual looping strike and Brad Abbott put Boston ahead five minutes after half-time. Andi Thanoj put the gloss on the win.

Asked for his assessment of the game, Watson said 'Very disappointed. I haven't had to say that much this season. I was disappointed from minute one, even when we took the lead. We didn't create anything like enough, it was more of an opportunistic finish from Kurt...

'Too sort of one-dimensional today, they won too many second balls and too many battles... That was as disappointing a performance as we've put together this season and we'll need to work out the reason why'...

Watson added 'People that have travelled from York to watch and spent the money will be quite rightly disappointed and I shoulder the blame for that... I don't enjoy coming on and saying the better team won on the day and I haven't had to do it very much. Even in the other defeats we've had this season we've been unlucky. Although what I will say is that all three goals carried a certain element of luck, but we didn't do enough to win the game and I'm not going to stand here and say we were unlucky and they were lucky'"

Alty travel to Croft Park next Saturday and this Saturday, Blyth Spartans reported that "The 10 men of Blyth Spartans were not rewarded for their battling efforts after a 2-1 defeat at Chester.

Akwasi Asante’s 12th-minute goal proved the difference in an even first-half before debutant Shane Blaney killed Spartans’ momentum at the start of the second interval with his red card. Lee Clark’s men remained in the game but were undone by a James Jones header from Joel Taylor’s corner.

But Blyth pushed to the end and can count themselves unlucky not to have left the 1885 Arena with at least a point following Olly Scott’s late strike.

It was a high intensity start at the 1885 Arena as Lee Clark introduced loan signings Macaulay Langstaff and Blaney to the starting 11...

George Glendon’s corner wasn’t dealt with with Asante firing past a sea of bodies and into the roof of Hemming’s net. Clark’s men responded well... Blyth continued to give a good account of themselves but struggled to test Blues goalkeeper Russ Griffiths...

A half-time teamtalk sparked a fast start from Spartans with Chester hanging on to their one-goal advantage... Spartans were well on top but were deterred after Blaney’s red card offence on Glendon. It was an unfortunate moment for the Doncaster Rovers loanee, who slipped whilst heading into the challenge. The game momentarily threatened to boil over...

Unfortunately, a set piece opened up the Blyth defence. Taylor, whose corners caused problems throughout the afternoon, was met by the unmarked Jones. It was a second goal from Chester that was a major disappointment in what was otherwise a solid second-half when they did deservedly get on the scoresheet.

A vicious delivery by Langstaff on 81 minutes was knocked goalwards by substitute Michael Sweet and after pandemonium in the penalty area, Scott directed the ball home...

Blyth: Hemming, Devitt, Blaney, Hunter (Evans, 57), Sanders, Thackray, Scott, Hawkins, Langstaff, Waddington, Dale (Sweet, 57). Subs not used: McKeown, Harmison, Wrightson".

Meanwhile, the Hereford Times reports that "Hereford FC chairman Andrew Graham says that the previous management of the football budget does not reflect or deliver ‘sustainable’.

The chairman said that a ‘key driver’ in setting next season’s playing budget will be to ‘minimise the loses’ they face. Speaking in the club’s matchday programme Graham said 'One factor that has been all too prominent in both Russell Slade’s time at the club, and which has been considered in Josh’s plans, is the budget issue.

When you look at the club’s ‘vision’ of being a ‘sustainable Football League Club’ one day, it is clear to see that without a doubt, our management of the football budget does not reflect, or deliver, ‘sustainable’.

Nor will it deliver Football League status without a radical shake-up. This activity continues to take place behind the scenes, from the boardroom and right through the business. Failure is not an option here and there is much still to do.

I have said this before and I will continue to say it. We need to pull together to reach our desired vision of Football League status and we won’t achieve this without strong foundations... and diligent budgeting. This season, a realistic budget was set for a play-off push. The use of the budget has failed to deliver, and we suffer the drops in attendances and associated revenues that eat away at our reserves.

This situation has been an unacceptable one and presents us with an almost "perfect storm' albeit one that is manageable throughout. As we look to examine the option for the playing budget in 2020/2021 season, a key driver will be how much we can minimise the losses we face, and how we can call on the support of our community to rally around, come to matches, commit to purchasing a season ticket and believe in what we are trying to achieve- ‘A sustainable Football League club’.

Graham added that there will be news in the coming weeks about the club’s stadium development".

8 February 2020


Saturday, 8 February 2020
  • Altrincham 1-1 Kettering Town
  • Boston United 3-1 York City
  • Bradford Park Avenue 1-2 Gloucester City
  • Chester FC 2-1 Blyth Spartans
  • Curzon Ashton 0-1 Gateshead
  • Farsley Celtic 1-1 Alfreton Town
  • Guiseley 1-2 AFC Telford United
  • Hereford FC 2-2 Southport
  • Kidderminster Harriers 1-1 Darlington
  • Spennymoor Town 0-0 Brackley Town


Saturday, 8 February, FA Trophy Third Round.

The only survivors in the FA Trophy from the National League North are Leamington and they had a lengthy trip to Canvey Island in Essex to face Concord Rangers.

  • Concord Rangers 2-2 Leamington (aet, Concord won 4-3 on penalties; Leamington down to ten men).


Altrincham FC have today (Saturday) announced that "Phil Parkinson has signed James Hooper on non-contract terms for Altrincham Football Club. James is a forward, who has played in the Football League for both Rochdale and Carlisle United, before joining Radcliffe. He signed a one-year contract at Salford City in July 2018, going out on loan to Chorley. He has recently been playing for West Didsbury & Chorlton and will continue to play for them on dual registration".

James, who is 23 on Monday, is currently recovering from a broken collar-bone so will not be featuring for Altrincham some time.

For more about James, please follow the above link.

James played against Alty for Chorley as a late substitute in the Magpies 4-1 win on 12 January 2019 and was an unused sub for Chorley on 13 April 2019, when Alty beat the Lancashire club 5-3.


For the second time in succession, Altrincham welcome a team to the JDS that they had only recently played against, away from home. So, following AFC Telford United's return visit last Tuesday, it is now the turn of Kettering Town to visit Moss Lane, just eleven days after the reverse fixture.

Above: The teams greet each other at Latimer Park, on 28 January; unless memories are short they won't need much of an introduction to each other today.

Altrincham start the final third of the season with today's match against Kettering Town. After 28 games of the 2019-20 season, Alty have earned 47 points to date. So, if they accumulate points at the same rate for the rest of the campaign, they would get 70 or 71 points; coincidentally, they had amassed 71 points by the end of last season when they finished fifth in the table with that total.

Altrincham go into the match in good form with thirteen league games unbeaten at Moss Lane behind them and a run of one defeat in the last twelve league games home or away. Eleven goals have been scored by Alty in the last four fixtures, including four by Josh Hancock, three by Jordan Hulme and a brace from James Jones.

A win for Alty could take them to third-place in the unlikely event of Boston United, Chester FC and Brackley Town all having adverse results. Conversely, a defeat could see Alty drop to eighth if Spennymoor Town and Gateshead win their matches by sufficient margins.

In advance of the match today, the Northants Telegraph reported that "The Poppies produced one of their worst performances under Paul Cox when they lost 2-0 to the Robins just under two weeks ago at Latimer Park.

But the Kettering manager believes his players have responded well from that setback. They drew 0-0 with fellow strugglers Curzon Ashton at Latimer Park last weekend before securing a spot in this season’s NFA Hillier Senior Cup final with a 3-0 victory over Vanarama National League North rivals Brackley Town on Tuesday night, courtesy of two goals from Tre Mitford and one from Ben Milnes.

Kettering are currently six points clear of the relegation zone but will be the underdogs this weekend as they face an in-form Altrincham side who are unbeaten in their last 13 home league matches.

But Cox is staying focused on trying to make his team as consistent as possible.

'I am hoping we have woken up from that (the home loss to Altrincham),' the Poppies' boss said. 'I know there is an understanding that we aren’t going to play well every week and we aren’t going to win every match. My job is to try to build this club and build the consistency that sees us win more matches than we lose.

'Nights like the Altrincham game are going to happen and we just have to limit them to as few as possible. If we do that, we will make this club a success in the short, medium and long-term. The players have responded and they came through a tough game with Curzon Ashton.

'I think we are heading in the right direction but when the players dip, it’s my job to pick them up and get them back firing.'”


The BetVictor NPL reports that "Joel Brownhill has announced via social media that he has left Spalding United.

The Tulips sit 12th in the BetVictor S/East Division table, with a record of eight wins.

'After only a few months, it's time to call it a day on my Spalding United adventure,' Brownhill posted on social media. '"Cheers to the gaffers to keeping us all together for so long!'"


Gareth Roberts, the chairman at Bradford (Park Avenue) writes that "As I mentioned over the New Year we are planning improvements to the stadium including a new surface and hospitality. We have been working with the West Bowling rugby league teams to have them base out of Horsfall as a major partner which will help everyone to support the cost of running the stadium and they are also applying for eligible grant funding to underwrite some of the improvements.

We shall know by 26 March whether the project will be definitely going ahead and indications are good, so far. If the project goes ahead, we expect it to start work in early May and be finished by August. At this point we are very confident that it will and, assuming that it will, then our priorities next year will be to increase our match day revenues and increase the size of our Academy.

With a 3G pitch available during the day our Academy students are going to enjoy studying and playing at Horsfall. We hope to increase the size of the Academy over the next few years which will provide not only a great experience for them but will provide a source of young players that will knock on the door of the first team. Perhaps we will gain some new supporters alongside them."

Meanwhile, the Telegraph & Argus reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower believes tomorrow's home game with Gloucester City is their most important of the season 'by a million miles' and he said they will require miracles to survive if they do come away with nothing.

Avenue sit rock-bottom of the Vanarama National League North, a whole 12 points off safety. Gloucester are that team who are a dozen points ahead, but they are on an awful run, losing eight of their last nine games.

Bower did nothing to downplay the significance of the match, saying 'We've got to win the game, that's our only thought going into it. We're at the point now where we've got be winning games to stand any chance of staying up. If we lose this one, you're going to need miracles.

'Everyone's focused on winning but we're really looking forward to it, as everyone believes we're better than our results show. We would hope to go on a little run if we win this one, just to back up last week's draw at Southport. It's our biggest game of the season by a million miles.' Bower and his side are feeling positive, but he... said 'They have some good players, like their centre-half Liam Daly, who was at Solihull Moors last season when they were sat near the top of the National League. But they're in a transitional period at the moment. They changed their manager a few months ago and they've had a lot of comings and goings in terms of signings, so the team are probably getting to know each other.

'They've got good players but are on a bad run. They're capable of ending that, I just hope it's not against us..

Avenue crucially snapped [?stopped] their own two game losing run in last weekend's thrilling 3-3 draw at Southport... Bower said 'We've just not had the luck. Southport aren't doing as well as some of the others we've played in the last couple of months, so we maybe got away with one or two defensive errors and exploited them more going forward.

'I thought we matched them well. Having watched it back, I felt it was a game we should have won, but one we could easily have lost too'"

The suspended Stelios Demetriou will "miss this one game against Gloucester, but his position is one area where we have cover. Billy Priestley, Nicky Clee and Mitch Lund could all fill in. Everyone else is fit but we're still dealing with having a small squad. We hope to bring in one or two players this week, but I wouldn't bank on it.'"

At Leamington "With several members of his squad unavailable or injured ahead of this weekend's big Buildbase FA Trophy tie at Concord Rangers, Brakes manager Paul Holleran has snapped up former Birmingham City youngster Jack Storer.

The 22 year-old striker has played in the Football League with both Stevenage and Birmingham, in Scotland with Partick Thistle, and for a number of local non league clubs. He has most recently been trialling at Doncaster Rovers.

'We have added Jack to the squad and he will be available tomorrow,' said Holleran".

York Press confirm that "Macaulay Langstaff has been sent on a one-month loan to former club Blyth Spartans and Elliott Durrell has left York City...

23 year-old striker Langstaff, pictured, has scored once from 21 league appearances, 18 of which have come off the bench...

Speaking about Durrell, Watson said 'He needs to be playing every week. I couldn’t guarantee that. The system we play maybe doesn’t lend itself to his best position. It was worth bringing him in. He’s a very good player and he’s going to be a good player for somebody.

'The lads who have been in and around the team haven’t done a lot wrong and it was difficult to get him the games he needed'".

Hereford FC's interim manager "Josh Gowling has signed former Shrewsbury Town, Newport County, and Grimsby Town striker, Lenell John-Lewis.

30 year-old John-Lewis has also had spells at Bury and Lincoln City, making over 300 Football League appearances in total. He arrives at Edgar Street after being released by League One Shrewsbury Town in January.

Gowling said, 'I’m delighted to bring Lenell to Edgar Street, he’s a player that I know very well, with a proven track record behind him and he will add a great deal to the squad. Players like ‘Lenny’ are the calibre of player that I want at this football club and it’s up to us as a club to build an environment that these players want to come into.

'He is the type of player who can help bring other players into the game and he will complement what we already have in the squad'".

AFC Telford United report that "Ryan Barnett says he wears his heart on his sleeve and during his time at the Bucks wants to do what’s best for the fans. He is just a local boy living his footballing dream who wants to help Telford realise their aspirations...

'I would probably say I’ve adapted to be more of a right winger than a number ten but I like to think of myself as an adaptable player and, if the gaffer asks me to play anywhere ,then I will play there...

'Last year I only got one or two goals and I think it’s nowhere near what my ability shows and I just want to be here and score as many goals as I can for the team. I think a lot it is down to teammates as they know what positions I’m going to pick up, the gaffer just says give the ball to Barney because he backs my ability'...

The team can still make the playoffs a realistic goal with Barnett knowing the hurt of last year's narrow miss proving key in how they can push for a late charge. Although currently lying in mid-table the results may not have always necessarily reflected the performance... They also adopt a system called the low block press which is often deployed within match situations where pressing in different occurrences [sic] can help put the opponents under a considerable amount of pressure.

'We take that hurt from last year, sitting in the changing rooms at York when we missed out, you just think about it before every game. We want to push and thrive for the play-offs this year

'We’ve watched all the games back and I don’t think we have had a poor performance really, it’s just fine margins where we concede a goal... Without Aaron Williams and Matt Stenson we wouldn’t be able to push up the field especially when we played the low block press and we need big strikers to hold the ball up so we can push up as a team.

'When the team (on the low block press) have comfortable possession we press but when the ball gets played to me or the fullbacks we try and press as fast as we can. I’m not sure if you notice but me and Brendon try to sprint at the full-back and try to get them nervous...

'I live in the area and, when I was younger, I know it’s split loyalties but I would watch Telford and Shrewsbury, when Shrewsbury wasn’t playing I would watch Telford and would come down with my mates. I used to sit in the stands and think I am going to be on that pitch someday, you just want to be playing football and to be playing there is unbelievable. You see the fans and some were sat there when I was sitting in the stands and you just want to do the best for them really. I think I wear my heart on my sleeve and I just want to show that to the fans'".

And the Shropshire Star adds that "AFC Telford United frontman Aaron Williams feels luck and ruthlessness have eluded the Bucks in recent weeks.

Gavin Cowan’s side have won just one of their seven games since the turn of the year, but some real misfortune has struck them late on occasions, not least against Farsley and Altrincham.

Striker Williams has nine goals this season, but just the one in 2020, although he should go into tomorrow’s contest at Guiseley full of beans given he has smashed five goals against the play-off chasing West Yorkshire opponents.

Cowan’s men have tamed the Lions twice already this season, convincingly on both occasions... The 4-1 and 4-0 victories came just over a month apart... The second victory was a stunning effort on the road in the FA Trophy...

Williams, who is pushing to lead Cowan’s attack alongside Marcus Dinanga or Matty Stenson, said 'We’ve been the best team for the majority of games since Christmas, but we’ve not been ruthless enough defensively or in scoring... The luck has been against us but I’m not blaming it all on that... Our game management has to be better. We’ve got to put our chances away.

'In the game at Altrincham we’ve got to do better in front of us. We didn’t and it’s cost us. The gaffer said we have to be more ruthless'...

Cowan will hope winger Brendon Daniels continues his purple patch of three goals [all against Alty!] in two games, some of his best form in Bucks' white since joining the club 14 months ago."

Kidderminster Harriers "are set to be without striker Austin Samuels this weekend. The on-loan Wolves youngster is likely to be ruled out of the Aggborough clash with Darlington after sustaining a groin injury.

Thankfully, Jimmy Shan has confirmed the set-back won’t be long term, and that the lively forward is already back in training.

'Austin Samuels picked up a little injury to his groin and he’s been back at Wolves this week,' the boss explained. 'He’ll be back in training [on Friday] but it will be a little bit too close for him to be in and around and involved with the squad on Saturday; he’ll probably miss out.'

The gaffer confirmed that the management team had been given an 'update' on the status of Declan Weeks, who has been pencilled in for a return in three weeks."

According to the Boston Standard "Craig Elliott joked that Boston United are preparing for a ‘week of doom’, but he is backing his side to pick up their fair share of the points.

The Pilgrims host York City and Darlington in the space of four days at York Street, before travelling to Brackley Town the following weekend...

'We’ve got a week of doom coming up with some good teams, but you can never predict results... It’s a funny game, we beat Brackley without playing well'...

Come 5pm next Saturday, Boston may have a completely different position in the National League North table... 'I think a lot of (promotion-chasing) teams will be playing each other until the rest of the season, and when they do that you want to try to make a bit of a gap,' he added. 'I’m not daft, we want to give ourselves a bit of breathing space if we can.'”

We learn from the Northern Echo that "Darlington's Jamie Holmes is 'ahead of schedule' in his rehabilitation from a cruciate ligament injury, though Alun Armstrong does expect to see him play before the end of this season.

He has been on the sick list since August, when he suffered an injury in the second match of the campaign against Gateshead at Blackwell Meadows. Team-mate Luke Trotman ruptured an Achilles tendon in the same game and hopes to make an appearance before the campaign ends...

Armstrong said 'Jamie is flying and he’s way ahead of schedule, but I can’t see the point in rushing the kid back. We might as well write the season off, and then get him back nice and fresh in July raring to go. People saw in pre-season how good he is'...

Quakers are at Kidderminster Harriers tomorrow and while Michael Liddle is 'ahead of schedule', says Armstrong, the left-back is not ready to return just yet, striker while Gary Martin is nursing a slight calf issue."

7 February 2020


Phil Parkinson has been named as the Vanarama National League North Manager of the Month for January. As the citation says, "If there’s one thing a manager can do to keep people happy it’s to make sure your regulars are looked after.

Altrincham have a home record many will envy and the home fans haven’t seen a defeat since the opening day of the season. Throw that in with a January to remember and it’s a great time to be a Robins fan right now.

Last month started with a well-earned 2-1 win over tricky Curzon Ashton, and the side quickly followed that up with three points at Leamington. They then saw off Blyth Spartans before a good point against Guiseley. They couldn’t get the better of Gateshead but ended the month with two hardworking 2-0 wins against Bradford PA and Kettering Town.

They are playing the type of football ever fan craves as the boss they call Parky continues to push the club on. With 50 goals to their name already, you can’t rule out Altrincham this season."

And also receiving an award as Vanarama National League North Player of the Month for January is Josh Hancock [right]. The National League says "Josh Hancock is the month’s top National League North performer thanks to four weeks to remember.

The Robins' deadly finisher has been in fine form and found the back of the net in no fewer than five matches as he helped fire the club into the play-offs. He was prolific and hit the target against Curzon Ashton, Leamington, Blyth Spartans, Bradford PA and Kettering Town".


Altrincham supporters need little reminding about this Saturday's visitors, Kettering Town, given that the away fixture only took place a week last Tuesday. Alty won on that occasion 2-0.

Mike Garnett's records tell us that the record between Altrincham and their opponents on Saturday, Kettering Town, is as follows:

  • At Home: P28 W12 D13 L3 F59 A42
  • Away: P30 W10 D9 L11 F43 A53
  • All: P58 W22 D22 L14 F102 A95

Alty lie sixth going into the match whilst Kettering Town lie eighteenth with eighteen fewer points but with one game in hand on their hosts.

Following their impressive 5-2 win over AFC Telford United on Tuesday night, Phil Parkinson will not be looking to make unnecessary changes. With Sean Williams and Andy White having missed recent matches through injury, even if fit, neither is likely to be risked if the starting eleven from the Telford match are fit.


Kettering Town's last visit to Moss Lane came in a Blue Square Bet Premier match, played on Saturday, 19 February, 2011, which Alty won 3-2.

Right: Greg Young receives his team-mates' congratulations after scoring the winner against Kettering in 2011.

Centre-back Greg Young secured a deserved, late win for Alty, in the 88th minute, after the hosts had fallen behind 2-1 at the interval. Alty had the better of the first half but apart from a Reeves penalty, converted after Piergianni had been felled in the 22nd minute, they had failed to take two or three other decent half chances. When Marna lobbed Dootson superbly from outside the box (41 mins) and then scored another fine goal three minutes later it looked grim for Alty.

After struggling at the start of the second period, Alty went on to get back into the game and levelled through Baynes after good work from Clee (64 mins). They went on to dominate before Greg Young headed the winner from a corner by Baynes to secure a vital three points.

Loanee centre-back Carl Piergianni had returned for Altrincham after suspension but fellow defender James Smith remained banned. Striker Chris Denham was awaiting an operation so was unavailable and Shaun Densmore had also been sidelined for several weeks by injury. But in an echo of the arrival this week of Dan Mooney from Fleetwood Town, in the 2011 match Alty had a new loan signing from Fleetwood, Steve Connors. Mark Beesley replaced Michael Twiss up front.

The Poppies were without long-term injured player Moses Ashikodi and Iyseden Christie, whilst recent signing Adam Cunnington was suspended. Danny Mills and Pat Noubissie came in to the starting eleven.

ALTRINCHAM: 30. Craig DOOTSON, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 4. Marc JOSEPH, 26. Carl PIERGIANNNI, 22. Greg YOUNG, 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 18. Steven CONNORS, 28. Sam WEDGBURY, 8. Damian REEVES, 11. Nicky CLEE, 19. Mark BEESLEY, Subs; 1. Stuart COBURN, 17. Wes BAYNES, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 15. Ryan BROWN, 9. Michael TWISS,

KETTERING TOWN: 1. Willy Gueret, 5. Ian Roper, 12. Luke O'Neill, 19. Brett Solkhon, 3. Sol Davis, 23. Patrick Noubissie, 22. Nick McKoy, 11. Marcus Kelly, 18. Danny Mills, 10. Jean-Paul Marna, 15. Callum Wilson, Subs: 9. Paul Furlong, 17. Jon Challinor, 16. Jorrin John, 29. Romone McCrae, 8. Liam Macdonald."


Jordan Tyms, Altrincham FC's Diversity & Inclusion Officer, has announced that "On Friday, we are hosting the first ever Football v Homophobia [FvH] Awards, sponsored by Puma, in the Community Sports Hall.

Clubs from all over the country, including Tottenham Hotspur, Charlton Athletic and West Bromwich Albion are joining us to see if they can take home a prize. We will also be joined by representatives from Kick It Out, The FSA and other members of the football family.

Also, on the night will be a comedian, followed by the Awards and then there ill be a DJ set by former Funkademia and Ibiza regular David Dunne. There will also be a shirt auction on the night of at least one signed England men’s shirt and a raffle with some great prizes to raise money for FvH. Our very own Mike Ripley has kindly offered to be photographer for the Awards section of the evening...

Saturday's match against Kettering Town is our designated match for FvH and the squad will wear the FvH t-shirts in the warm-up and key people from FvH will be joining us for the match. Again it would be great if we could have acknowledgement of our support of the FvH campaign on social media and the website.

It promises to be a proud weekend for the Club".

For full details see the Altrincham FC website.


The National League has video highlights from the game against AFC Telford United last Tuesday.


On Saturday, when Altrincham entertain Kettering Town, it will be nine years since their last fixture on that date, 8 December. And on that occasion they scored twelve times!

The game in question was a Cheshire Senior Cup Semi-Final match, played on Tuesday, 8 February, 2011 and the Robins won 12-1 to reach the Final against Northwich Victoria. Alsager Town, the opponents at Moss Lane had been rocked recently by the departure of their manager and most of the first team but they kept going for 90 minutes and matched Alty in the corner-kick count.

Alty opened their account after 12 minutes when Robbie Williams sidefooted home after a short corner by Baynes was played into the box by Brown. Nicky Clee made it 2-0 with a low freekick from outside the box after 22 minutes. Baynes then dribbled through three challenges to score a fine third goal four minutes later. Beesley made it 4-0 after 35 minutes when a Baynes shot deflected to him, left of goal. A minute later, Beesley scored again from a Brown feed to leave Alty 5-0 ahead at the interval.

Twiss replaced Beesley at the break and then youth team captain, James Smart came on for Clee nine minutes into the second half. Next, a Baynes shot was deflected into the net to make it 6-0 (57 mins). Sam Hewson got two goals in three minutes (64 and 67 mins), the second a tap-in after Wedgbury's shot had been blocked.

Despite an injury to Smart reducing Alty to ten men from the 73rd minute, the ninth goal was hammered home by Baynes in the 77th minute and, three minutes later, Wedgbury scored after his first efort had been parried (80 mins). Two superb long-range, lobbed efforts completed Alty's dozen; Baynes netted from 50 yards and Wedgbury from 40 yards (82 & 86 mins).

But Alsager got a deserved consolation goal in the ninetieth minute when the prostrate substitute Hart managed to head the ball in at the near post after a corner.

Marc Joseph had returned to action after suspension and, in the absence of Lawton and Coburn from the starting eleven, he captained the side. Wes Baynes had also returned to action, after being unable to play against his employers at Wrexham in midweek. Alty gave debuts to recent signing, goalkeeper Craig Dootson, and to Mohamed Coly [right], a tall Senegalese player from Radcliffe Borough, who played in midfield. Though present, Alty's top scorer, Damian Reeves, was not in the squad tonight for a game watched by new loan signing Greg Young.

ALTRINCHAM : 30. Craig DOOTSON, 2. James SMITH, 4. Marc JOSEPH (capt), 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 28. Sam WEDGBURY, 20. Sam HEWSON, 29. Mohamed COLY, 15. Ryan BROWN, 17. Wes BAYNES, 11. Nicky CLEE, 19. Mark BEESLEY, Subs: 9. Michael TWISS, 1. Stuart COBURN, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 7. Robbie LAWTON, *. James SMART.


The NW Counties Football league informs us that "The Reusch Goalkeeper of the Month Awards have been confirmed and we are delighted to announce the winners for January 2020.

Runcorn Town goalkeeper Adam Reid is the Premier Division Goalkeeper of the Month for January after keeping three clean sheets and conceding an average of just one goal per game in the month" Against Winsford United, the match gave "Adam another clean sheet. Reid tipped a Sam Madeley piledriver from 10 yards over his crossbar in the first half, but was more instrumental in the second when he saved a penalty from Madeley with the score goalless"


It's just five weeks on Saturday that Altrincham make their third trip of the season to play an away game against York City. Whilst the previous two trips in the FA Cup and Trophy were to Bootham Crescent, it remains unclear whether the third trip will be to the Minstermen's new stadium... or not.

On Tuesday, York Press reported that "A FRESH opening date for the LNER Community Stadium has not yet been revealed, after the most recent opening date passed without any of the required test events taking place.

The stadium was set to be handed over today (February 4) but none of the three essential test events have happened yet. A spokesman for GLL, the stadium operators, said more details about when the events will take place will be revealed in the next few weeks.

He said 'GLL are continuing to work with our partners building contractor Buckingham Group and other key stakeholders towards the successful opening of this great new stadium for York. 'We are rearranging the three test events which have to occur to enable a safety certificate to be issued and before the first game can be played.

'We shall be giving further details of these as soon as we are able in the coming weeks.'”

Also, York City report that "Elliott Durrell has left City upon the expiration of his contract.

The midfielder was signed on a short-term deal in September and had been limited to 12 appearances, eight of them coming from the bench. He scored his only goal in his final City appearance against AFC Telford United".

And another club moving to a new stadium but experiencing problems of a different kind is Boston United where the Pilgrims' "eagerly-awaited move to their new Community Stadium is firmly on the horizon...

Today we launch our 'Building Together' campaign so supporters and local businesses can help deliver our new home. There are a host of innovative ways that individuals can get involved, from dedicating a seat in the main stand, purchasing a brick for the Fans Wall or Memorial Wall, or donating a TV screen which will be situated in a concourse or around the stadium.

For those able to help with larger donations, you can help towards the costs of the floodlights and the pitch irrigation system. We hope there is something for every budget and United chairman David Newton is appealing for as many people as possible to join with us.

He said, 'As you are aware, we have been working hard over the past years to ensure that we have funding available for the new Community Stadium. We have been very successful at securing both grant funding and generating funds from The Quadrant development, to the point where the stadium is now under construction.

'Since budget costs were established in late 2013/early 2014, construction costs have risen significantly and this has really impacted on the projected costs for the stadium, which have risen from c£8.5 million to £11.6 million. While we will generate £11.6m, this does not leave any headroom for further increases, or the cost of fitting out some areas to the level we would like.

'Over the years I have had many fans and businesses asking how they could help but, until we knew the project was going ahead, we were reluctant to ask for any help. Now things are moving forward with the aim of playing football at the new Community Stadium next season, we are at a point where everyone can help us get over the line and also hopefully start to feel part of our new home.

'You can get involved for only a few pounds, or you can commit to one of the larger ticket items. All levels of contribution are hugely important and we would like the widest range of support so as many people as possible can become part of the journey...

'The new stadium will be owned by Boston United Community Interest Company, which will ensure its future at the heart of the community even if the football club should have issues in the future, but hopefully not after all this work!'"

Athird club in the Division with stadium issues is AFC Telford United who advise supporters that "Regarding the West Stand and the associated areas and following the press release from Telford College earlier this week, AFC Telford United have made the following statement. The College statement stated that they have been trying to sell these facilities for some time.

'AFC Telford United have for many months been having good discussions on this very important topic, with the College, the freeholder Telford and Wrekin Council, the Hotel and other parties, in respect of the short and medium term, as well as the longer term. The current owners the College are in a good way, continuing to provide our access to all areas the football club needs access to on match days including the executive boxes and are adhering and more, to all the access rights specified in the various leases and the custom and practice of many years.

'The only change is the football club will with immediate effect source its own catering, for at least the rest of this season, into the executive boxes and for the away club directors.

'Regarding the longer term, we continue discussions with the parties referred to in the paragraph above, but we are confident that we have uninterrupted use of these facilities as a permanent right as per the various leases etc. that are very long term. Additionally the football club are pursuing what future opportunities this matter may present to us.'"

Alty return to County Durham after an abortive trip to Spennymoor Town in January.

At the Brewery Field, "Back-to-back wins have left Moors on the periphery of the play-off places heading into Saturday’s game against Brackley Town... Jason Ainsley’s men are just three points behind The Saints...

Six points separate Boston United in 3rd and Moors in 8th, with Chester, Altrincham, Brackley and Gateshead making up the rest of the congested places directly above Moors. With Saturday’s game being quickly followed by a home game with Altrincham on Tuesday, both games represent a chance to take points off teams in the mix and send a message out to the league.

Brackley has [sic] proved to be the well-oiled machine they have been in recent years again this season. Solid at the back, with Gareth Dean now being partnered by the free scoring Thierry Audel, they are a tough nut to crack. Lee Ndlovu, who has missed the past few games, is their goal threat...

The Saints’ defensive record on the road is only bettered by title chasing York City, but, Moors are free scoring at home, with 30 goals being netted in the 13 played at The Brewery Field so far".

At Leamington "The club are pleased to confirm that agreement has been reached with our Football League neighbours Coventry City to extend the loan spells of Dexter Walters to February 29th, and Callum Maycock through to the end of the season.

Manager Paul Holleran said 'I am delighted... They have both played a big part in what we have achieved so far this season so, to continue to have them in our squad, is fantastic news"!.

Southport "head back on the road this weekend as they travel to Edgar Street to face Hereford.

Liam Watson’s side will be looking to build on victory in their last away game at Gloucester City a fortnight ago. A 3-3 draw against bottom side Bradford (Park Avenue) meant the Port were unable make it two wins in a row and as they look to convert their improved performances into a good run of form.

Meanwhile, this weekend’s opponents, Hereford, are on a poor run of their own, with only one victory in 16 matches, which includes six draws and nine defeats... The biggest loss of that run came away to Altrincham, as they suffered a 5-1 bruising at Moss Lane.

Six of Hereford’s seven wins this season came in the first two months of the campaign, when they started quite well.

Former manager, Russell Slade, left the role by mutual consent last month with the club in 17th place in the Vanarama National League North table, with Josh Gowling now at the helm in an interim role. When Hereford visited the Pure Stadium earlier on this season, it was the Port who came out on top... Reece Styche was one of the men on target for the Bulls, and despite not getting too many more this season, he is one to watch if he can replicate his form from the last campaign where he bagged 15 goals".

Gateshead player-manager "Mike Williamson is looking to match his side's home form away from the International Stadium, starting at Curzon Ashton on Saturday.

The Heed take in the first of four games in just eight days on Saturday in Cheshire, with three of those taking place away from home."

A week on Saturday Altrincham travel to Croft Park from where Blyth Spartans manager "Lee Clark admitted Spartans lacked the cutting edge against Boston United on Saturday, while revealing Scott Wilson’s injury looks a bad one.

Spartans slipped to a 1-0 defeat at home to the Pilgrims after a Jay Rollins’ goal proved the difference in the second-half.

Clark feels his side defended well throughout the game but called for more to be delivered in the final third of the pitch.

He said 'We battled well and worked hard but lacked a bit of pace. We did OK in the middle of the pitch but not further up. Our difficulty was in the final third and there were times when we were in positions to have a shot at goal but we chose to pass the ball instead.

'We lacked self-belief and confidence in that respect and I need to get that built up. We need that extra bit of bravery when we attack and, if we get caught on the break, then I will take responsibility. I have to say the fans were brilliant; as they have been every game. No doubt about that. The players and management really appreciate them.'

Clark takes his side to promotion-chasing Chester on Saturday with Blyth three points from National League North safety...

He added 'It will be a very tricky game for us as they are one of the outstanding teams in the league but we were very good against them in the match at Croft Park. Clearly, we need to defend well and be better up-front also. But, with no fixtures, we have a full week to work on the game.

'It looks like we will be missing Scott Wilson though who had to go off early on against Boston. We will hear from Burnley’s medical team during the week with an update as he is back with his club on weekdays but it looks like his hamstring injury could be long-term.'"

6 February 2020


Altrincham FC "are proud to announce the launch of our Football and Education Academy, in partnership with Interactive Sports. The Academy will launch in September 2020 and marks an important step in achieving our five-year plan.

Our intention is for the Academy to develop high quality young players and to develop a player pathway to the first team and beyond. This is a significant investment for the football club over the long term, but with benefits that would far outweigh this cost once an Academy player breaks through into the first team.

Our brand-new Academy will offer students the opportunity to participate in an elite football programme, whilst still in full-time study, working towards formal qualifications which would subsequently allow a progression to university. The Altrincham FC Academy team will play weekly, with a goal of achieving membership of the National League Football Academy in the short term".

For more on this, follow the above link.


Following their midweek game at Altrincham, the Shropshire Star reports that "Manager Gavin Cowan questioned his AFC Telford United players after a 5-2 defeat in a goal-crazy game at Altrincham.

The Bucks had chances in the early stages but didn’t take them. And the hosts made them pay, taking advantage to go 2-0 ahead before half-time and then catching the Bucks cold with two more goals in the opening five minutes of the second half.

Despite pulling two goals back, the damage was done. And Cowan lamented his team’s lack of ruthlessness, but more so the way they ‘capitulated’ after conceding.

'We had two clear-cut chances and didn’t convert them,' he said. 'We then concede a goal and capitulate for the rest of the half. It takes bravery to stay in the game, and that’s what good teams do, they stay in the game and keep doing the right things. But we gift them five goals. It’s the story of our season. We’re very beautiful between the boxes, or can be, but in the boxes we’re not ruthless enough'.”

Cowan's fuller video interview is on Twitter. "We gifted them five goals", he said.


Having just completed a four-day home and away double fixture with AFC Telford United, Alty will complete an 11-day double with Kettering Town, who Alty beat at Burton Latimer week last Tuesday.

Ahead of this Saturday's clash, Kettering Town report that "Three second-half goals, a brace from Tre Mitford and a long range strike from Ben Milnes saw the Poppies progress to the Northants Senior Cup final, after an impressive display at Latimer Park.

A much changed Kettering team, with the impressive Jack Bennett in goal along with Eastwood younger Sam Meakin and former Barnstable Town defender Jordan Aghatise, has given Paul Cox some thinking to do in preparation for the league game against Altrincham on Saturday. The Poppies will meet now Daventry Town in the final".

And NL Daily adds that "Midfielder Connor Kennedy has extended his contract at Kettering Town.

The former Corby Town player has committed his future to the Poppies until 2022. Kennedy made the move to Kettering last summer, having left his hometown club".


According to the NL Paper "Simon Ainge has seen both sides of the football dream. From a youngster at Bradford City to dropping down into Non-League with Guiseley and landing international honours before returning to full-time football.

But, back part-time, the Boston United defender says he is enjoying his football more than ever having started his own recruitment business, Ferox Resourcing, off the field.

'I’d always thought about football, I never thought about anything else,' Ainge told The NLP. 'I was a 22-year-old when I left Bradford City. I’d been in and around the first team, made a handful of appearances in League One but was never established and I’d pretty much spent two years sitting on the bench. I got to the end of the contract and all I’d thought about was football. So when I needed money coming in, I decided to get a job. I worked in as factory picking and packing before stumbling into a recruitment role.

I was playing part-time for Guiseley, thought it was a call centre before it was explained to me it was a construction recruitment business!... I was doing well at Guiseley. I went away with England C four times and got a full-time move to Luton. I kind of thought that was it but it didn’t quite work out at Luton.

'I came back up and kind of liked the idea that I could work and play football alongside each other. I learned a new recruitment role at a more senior level alongside playing part-time at Halifax, where we had a really good time.'

While playing at Harrogate, Wrexham and Darlington, the 31-year-old has spent the past three years launching and developing his own company that places people in work within the construction industry...

'I want to be in a position that, by the time I finish playing football, it’s not going to financially cripple me,' Ainge said... 'So three years ago I set up my business, Ferox Resourcing, and now we’ve got seven people working in the office and I’m at a stage where if I suddenly had to stop playing it would be OK.

'We’re having a good season at Boston and I can almost enjoy it more because it’s kind of taken that pressure off. The dream of playing in the Football League and making millions playing football is long gone. I actually enjoy who I am, playing Non-League, experienced, I’ve had a decent career, and now I’m setting myself up for life after football'...

Now at the National League North Pilgrims... 'It’s going well,' Ainge said. '“We’ve got good players. A lot of the lads are familiar because we played together at Harrogate, the manager Craig Elliott is good, and it’s a good club.... We’re strong physically, we’re solid defensively and good going forward so it’s a nice mix.'”

From Cheshire Live we learn that "Chester FC chairman David Harrington-Wright says that the club won’t be making the same mistakes that it has in the past over players’ contracts.

The Blues last week announced that both Brad Jackson and George Glendon had signed new 18-month deals with the club, following on from the signing of Altrincham winger John Johnston on a deal of a similar length at the end of last month.

Since the financial crisis at the club that reared its head in January 2018, the Blues have been reluctant to hand out deals to players beyond 12 months, with only Scott Burton in the summer of 2018 and Akwasi Asante the exception.

Chester were left in difficulty at the start of 2018 when they suffered a cash flow issue and had high earners, namely Ross Hannah, Paul Turnbull and Kingsley James, on deals beyond the end of the 2017/18 season, a season that ended in relegation from the National League and a move to part-time football for the Blues.

Last summer Chester moved to a hybrid structure thanks to help from club donor Stuart Murphy with the aim being that the club create some foundations from a real challenge at promotion and also a model that meant they could compete at National League level should they be successful in their goal.

The signings of Jackson and Glendon to longer deals, with another player also in talks over doing the same, have been largely welcomed by Blues' fans. The two players, as with Johnston, are the right age and profile for the football club and hold value and the aim was to tie them down so as to provide some security in the face of interest from clubs higher up the pyramid, which there was in both Jackson and Glendon.

Avoiding a Ben Heneghan scenario was also in the back of the mind after the defender left the Blues in 2016 after Scottish side Motherwell exploited a loophole for clubs north of the border after Chester didn’t offer the defender, who ended up moving to Sheffield United for £500,000, a deal in time.

But Harrington-Wright says ... 'We won’t be making the same mistakes again and this club won’t be offering deals to players that we can’t honour. The reality is that we aren’t too far away from the end of this current season and plans already turn to what happens next season, and that also means making sure that we keep hold of some of our key assets.

'We have a duty to the fans to make sure we help the managers deliver a competitive team but also to make sure we look after ourselves financially, which we continue to do... For the first time I can remember we have sold out all of the match, ball and programme sponsorships for every single game this season'".

York City tell us that "Talented forward Kurt Willoughby was full of praise for his new teammates following his first few weeks with the club.

After joining on a month’s loan from AFC Fylde, the newly acquired attacker has hit the ground running, scoring two impressive goals in City’s 4-2 win over Chester...

'We have got a good team here, from defence to attack, and we are scoring a lot of goals, so we are looking to do the same. It is a very well-run club with very good, loyal fans. There is a lot of camaraderie and it is going in the right direction, so it is good to be a part of'...

On the back of Kings Lynn Town dropping points against Kidderminster, Steve Watson’s team have further solidified their position in second place and now find themselves only one point off the top.

Speaking ahead of the away trip to Boston United, Willoughby said, 'Obviously, we want them (Kings Lynn) to slip up but it is out of our hands. If we keep doing what we are doing and go on a good run, then I don’t see why we can’t finish top.'

Kurt’s loan deal is set to expire just before Curzon Ashton visit Bootham Crescent, with the exciting forward due back among Jim Bentley’s Coasters... The loanee was open-minded about the prospect of extending his stay at York. 'I don’t see why not. I am enjoying myself and I am getting more game time, which is exactly what I wanted'".

5 February 2019


After a minute's applause in memory of Jordan Sinnott, spectators were treated to seven goals and five strikes against the woodwork as Alty moved up to sixth in the table with a performance which even had the watching Stockport County manager, Jim Gannon, applauding an Altrincham attack.

Alty almost snatched a fourth-minute goal when Hulme's fierce shot, from the right, came back off the inside of the far upright. Telford then almost scored as Thompson seemed to punch the ball onto his own crossbar. Another minute's applause for Jordan Sinnott started in the 20th minute, not the planned 25th but, by chance, this was appropriate as 20 was Jordan's squad number during some of his time at Moss Lane.

The score somehow remained goalless until the 29th minute when the impressive Alty debutant, Daniel Mooney [right] fed Hulme and he calmly finished past the advancing Luyambula.

Jake Moult then hit the post with a low shot from distance but the ball was not cleared and Hancock netted impressively, from left of goal, to make it 2-0 (41 mins).

When Hancock scored again just fifteen seconds into the second half it looked to have settled the outcome. And when the very impressive Mooney laid on a fourth goal, scored emphatically by Hulme, it definitely looked to be over as a contest.

However, to their credit, Telford kept going, with Dinanga the main threat. An Alty error allowed the Telford man to reduce the arrears in the 52nd minute and, when Alty again lost the ball in midfield, Telford were awarded a penalty which Daniels rolled into the net. So it was 4-2 after 61 minutes.

Telford were unable to score again and Jake Moult finally settled the encounter in the 67th minute, five goals having arrived in 22 minutes of the second half. Alty absorbed some further Telford pressure fairly comfortably before Jones clipped the bar at the other end.

Match report here.


Following yesterday's announcement that Altrincham FC had acquired winger Daniel Mooney, his former club Fleetwood Town announced "that Dan Mooney has joined National League North side Altrincham on a permanent transfer.

Mooney, 20, departs Highbury after five years at the club after joining as a first-year scholar back in 2015. The fee for the transfer will remain undisclosed.

The attacker went on to feature twice in League One for the Cod Army, most recently as a substitute in the 2-1 home victory over Rochdale in September 2019".

And Cheshire Live adds that "Former Chester FC winger Dan Mooney has signed for the Blues' National League North rivals Altrincham on a permanent deal.

The 20 year-old, who made 35 appearances in the league and netted six times for Chester last season while on loan from League One side Fleetwood Town, has joined Phil Parkinson's side for an undisclosed fee.

Mooney's arrival has come about after Altrincham's need to replace John Johnston after he left for Chester at the end of last month, and the Welshman will link up with former Blues' teammate Craig Mahon after he joined the Moss Lane side on the same day as Johnston in a separate deal.

The Welsh under-21 international caught the eye in the early part of his loan spell under Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson last season and netted a number of stunning goals, not least his brace in a 2-2 draw at Brackley Town.

His good form in a Chester shirt saw Fleetwood recall him briefly to see him in action in an EFL Trophy game before he returned to the Blues. But, like much of the Blues squad, his form dipped after the New Year and he was unable to rediscover his best form.

Alty boss Parkinson told the club's official website 'He's young, he's hungry with bags of potential and he's only going to get better. We're confident that we can make him a better player, scoring and creating lots of goals for Altrincham and ultimately get him an even bigger move where he can progress even further.'"


From Farsley Celtic we learn that "Young shot-stopper Elliot Wynne has joined Northern Premier League Division One North West side Droylsden on a one-month loan.

After the arrival at The Citadel of fellow goalkeeper Josh Barnes from Derby County on loan, Celts' boss Adam Lakeland has made the decision to make sure 22 year-old Wynne can continue his progression.

Speaking about Wynne’s loan deal, Lakeland said... 'I felt it was in the best interests of Elliot to go out and continue getting time on the pitch. He is a great lad and a very good goalkeeper but, unfortunately, the nature of plying your trade in goal is that when you make an error it usually ends up being costly and there have been a few of those throughout the course of the season.

'That said, there have also been a number of games where Elliott has made unbelievable saves and played particularly well. However, I feel that to enable him to keep developing and to continue building his confidence, he needs to play and with Josh coming in that wasn’t going to happen here at this moment in time.

'I’m sure he will do brilliantly at Droylsden and we will see him come back even stronger for the experience.'"


The Altrincham Football Club Monthly Draw was made on Radio Robins at half-time of Saturday's game at Telford and the results are as follows:-
  • £500 cash | #519 | S. Richards
  • £75 cash | #399 | David Plaskett
  • £25 cash | #369 | Peter Burke
  • Match Hospitality for 2 | #392 | A.J. Storry
  • Home Replica Shirt | #272 | T. Cook
  • Alty FC Polo Shirt | #75 | John Searle

The club explains that "When checking Saturday's draw process, we discovered that #1 was drawn for the £500 prize but not found, leading to another number being automatically drawn, which was #519. This was announced as the winning number.

#1 was a monthly draw member who should have been included in the draw i.e. the individual had paid to be included in this month's draw and should have been announced as the winner. Therefore we have decided that the most fair and equitable course of action is to award the £500 top prize in next month's draw to the person who is #1 draw number, namely Simon Ellis.

This means that there will be five, rather than six, prizes drawn next month, with the £500 prize having already been allocated."


Tuesday 4 February 2020
  • Altrincham 5-2 AFC Telford United


Cheshire Senior Cup QF

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

  • Nantwich Town 3-0 Northwich Victoria
  • Warrington Town 1-0 1874 Northwich


NL Daily confirms that "Matt Taylor has had his loan from Harrogate Town to Kettering Town extended.

The defender will now remain with the Poppies until 26th April.

The 20-year-old has scored twice in 12 appearances for Paul Cox’s side. Kettering are currently six points clear of the relegation zone, with two games in hand on the bottom two."

Hereford FC report that "Brad Ash has now returned to Edgar Street following the end of his loan spell at Weston Super Mare.

The attack-minded player who has scored three goals in nine appearances for the Seagulls is set to take part in Tuesday evening’s training session with The Bulls.

We can also confirm that talks between the club and Stephen Dawson have failed to reach any agreement. Our attempts to sign Stephen on a permanent deal have therefore come to an end.

In other news, we can confirm that Peter Vincenti has returned to Macclesfield Town and that we will not be attempting to extend his loan deal any further.

Also returning to his parent club is Victor Sodeinde, whose loan spell ended on the weekend. We will not be seeking a further extension to his loan at the present time".

4 February 2020


Before Tuesday's game, the Shrospshire Star reported that "AFC Telford United will be smarting from Altrincham’s dramatic late equaliser on Saturday but have an immediate chance to get it out of their system...

The sides played out a 2-2 draw on Saturday in which Brendon Daniels twice had Cowan’s men in front but a late strike from visiting centre-half James Jones ensured the spoils were shared. Daniels took his tally to seven for the season and Telford will be hoping the ex-Robins' winger is able to haunt his old side again tonight.

Telford travel to Moss Lane seven points behind their hosts but Cowan’s men will be buoyed by their performance against Phil Parkinson’s side just four days ago. Despite the difference between the teams in the standings, Telford were the team left irked by their inability to see the game out, conceding with just five minutes remaining.

Michael Luyambula, on loan from Birmingham City was making his debut in goal for the Bucks and was caught out by Jones’s 25-yard lob in the closing stages.

It was the second time within the space of a week that Cowan’s side had dropped two points in the final moments, having conceded a 94th-minute leveller at Farsley Celtic the previous Saturday...

Altrincham lie in seventh and haven’t lost at home since their opening day 3-1 loss to York City. The Robins have gone 12 [league] matches unbeaten at Moss Lane... Altrincham, as was the case on Saturday, will enjoy large spells of possession but that may suit Telford who will look to hit Alty on the counter attack.

Given the performance at the weekend and no fresh injury concerns it is unlikely that Cowan will tinker with his starting eleven and should name an unchanged side."


Altrincham FC have announced the signing of "Fleetwood Town winger Dan Mooney for an undisclosed fee. Mooney is a product of the Fleetwood Town Academy and has made 2 first team appearances".

Right: Dan Mooney being tracked by James Jones in the game at Ashton United in February 2018.

It is hoped that he will be available for tonight's game at home to AFC Telford United. Aged 20, he "has played against Alty four times whilst on-loan from Fleetwood to Ashton United and Chester, featuring in the two Northern Premier League games against the Tameside Robins in 2017-18 season, whilst last season he played in both National League North games against Chester, where he made 35 appearances, scoring six goals".

Phil Parkinson tried to sign him before he went on loan to Chester FC for 2017-18 season. The Alty manager said "He's left footed and can play on both wings but I see him playing mainly on the right. He loves to cut in and get shots way, he has great dribbling ability and is tenacious".

In the four matches against Alty, Daniel wore four different shirt-numbers, 10, 7, 8 and 11 respectively.

Presumably Mooney will wear no.7 or 11 for Alty. In league matches this season, Altrincham have used nine different players in those shirts, with one of those players having worn both numbers. The no.7 shirt has been worn by Johnston, Walker and Wall, whilst the no.11 has been worn by Arnold, Walters, Hemmings, Ceesay, Peers, Harrop and Wall.


There will be a minute's applause in memory of the late Jordan Sinnott before tonight’s game, at home to AFC Telford United. In addition, there will also be a further round of applause on the 25th minute of the game to mark Jordan’s passing. The 25th minute has been chosen to match the social media initiative whereby numerous clubs from home and abroad have produced "Sinnott 25" shirts to be displayed at Jordan's funeral. Jordan was 25 years of age at the time of his death.

Altrincham are likely to be without the injured Andy White on Tuesday night, whilst Sean Williams [right] is also not expected to start through injury. Another unlikely particpant tonight is Tom Peers, who was on crutches on Saturday after being injured in the first half at the New Buck's Head. In fact, in the last four fixtures, Alty have lost four players to first-half injuries. In addition to Peers (away at Telford), the following had to be subbed in the respective first half of games; Andy White (at home to BPA ), Tom Hannigan and Simon Richman (at home to Guiseley). In addition, Sean Williams was (re-)injured at Gateshead.

In regard to longer-term injuries, it was good to see Steven Drench able to take a fuller part than previously in the warm-up last Saturday, as pictured, right. The keeper has not played since being stretchered off near the end of the sixth match of this season, against Darlington, on 24 August 2019.

Before the game against Alty last Saturday, AFC Telford United posted a "January Round Up. AFC Telford United produced a first win of 2020 in January with a six goal thriller over Blyth Spartans... The Bucks ended the month on a positive following a convincing victory over troubled Blyth Spartans with the goals coming from Aaron Williams, Marcus Dinanga, Ryan Barnett and Damon Mullen who scored an own goal...

Yet the Bucks recorded the victory following on from a difficult month which saw them go toe to toe with sides pushing for automatic promotion and coming on the wrong end of the scorelines. This by no means reflects the displays with a plucky effort on show against the likes of Brackley and York City.

The Bucks arguably produced one of their best performances of the season in the first half against Brackley,... They then had a trip to York City which saw them defend so well for most of the game and even had a few chances of their own to nick a goal. The match was won late on with two late goals as the persistence of the hosts was too much in the end...

Gavin after the match said 'We’re talking about fine margins. In the grand scheme of things we're not even on the same level as York City'.

The first game of the new year saw them take a point away with Alfreton proving a stern test as James McQuilkin scored early doors from close range, before Ben Tomlinson scratched the early goal off by getting one back for the hosts.

The Bucks now look forward to February where two games in quick succession against Altrincham could propel them more up towards the top half and away from any potential bother at the bottom.'"


Tonight's visitors, AFC Telford United, last visited the J. Davidson Stadium on Saturday, 8 December 2018. On that occasion the sides were fourth and fifth in the league at kick off, with Altrincham having the edge. Alty won that Vanarama National League North match 3-1.

Right: December 2018, James Jones in action against AFC Telford United.

Although Altrincham ultimately achieved a comfortable margin of victory, for much of the afternoon AFC Telford United looked as if they would not emerge from the game empty-handed. After the visitors had started well, it was Altrincham who took a nineteenth-minute lead in the match. Johnston took advantage of a defender's failure to cut out a through ball before getting into the box and feeding Hancock who netted. But Udoh equalised for the Bucks in the 25th minute, when he converted a nod-down after Altrincham had failed to clear the ball in their own penalty area.

In a match played on a pitch which was sodden from the start, Altrincham regained the lead in the 74th minute. Densmore was chopped down on the front edge of the box as Mantack laid the ball off to him. From the freekick Connor Hampson curled a superb freekick into the net. The icing on the cake was Hancock's second and Alty's third goal in the 87th minute, which came from a corner. Ashley Hemmings, now at Kidderminster, made an impressive debut as a late Alty substitute. He received the ball in the box and calmly laid it off to the unmarked Hancock who scored.

The win left Altrincham third in the league, level on points with second-placed Chorley and fourth-ranked Chester, but four points behind leaders Bradford (Park Avenue) who now find themselves rock bottom of the division.

Altrincham's starting eleven was unchanged but, on the bench, new loan-signing from AFC Fylde, Ashley Hemmings had replaced Dontai Gabidon. The Bucks included on their bench the former Alty loanee Brendon Daniels who was then on loan at Telford from Port Vale. Daniels, of course, netted the Bucks' two goals last Saturday in the clash between the two clubs at the New Buck's Head.

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. Kallum MANTACK. Subs: 12. Max HARROP, 14. Ashley HEMMINGS, 15. Josh LANGLEY, 16. Shaun DENSMORE, 20. Elliot WYNNE.

AFC TELFORD UNITED: 1. Andy Wycherley, 2. Ross White, 3. Ellis Deeney, 4. James McQuilkin, 5. Shane Sutton (c), 6. Theo Streete, 7. Harry Cowans, 8. Jonathon Royle, 9. Ryan Barnett, 10. Daniel Udoh, 11. Darryl Knights. Subs: 12. Brendon Daniels, 13. Dominic Smith, 14. Amari Morgan-Smith, 15. Andre Brown, 16. Yusifu Ceesay.

Compared with last Saturday's line-ups at Telford, the Alty starting eleven at Moss Lane in 2018 included seven of the same names. The other four starters in the 2018 game were the currently injured Andy White, the departed Johnston and Mantack, and Simon Richman who was a used substitute last Saturday.

The Telford side last Saturday included just four of the starters at Moss Lane in 2018 (White, Deeney, Sutton, Barnett) but four others of the 2018 starters were on the bench in 2020 (McQuilkin, Streete, Royle, Knights).

Mike Garnett's records tell us that the record between Altrincham and their opponents on Tuesday, AFC Telford United, is as follows:

    Home: P4-W1-D1-L2-F5-A6
  • Away: P5-W0-D2-L3-F5-A9
  • All: P9-W1-D3-L5-F10-A15

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 National League has brief highlights of the AFC Telford United v Altrincham game from last Saturday.


NL Daily confirms that "Scunthorpe United have completed the signing of Devarn Green from Southport for an undisclosed fee, with the forward penning an 18-month contract.

The 23-year-old, who can also play out wide, was at Burton Albion until he was 16 before being bought by Blackburn Rovers for the rest of his traineeship, and then turning professional at Ewood Park. He left Rovers at the end of the 2015-16 season and then went to Hednesford and Stourbridge before a move to Tranmere Rovers, who paid a fee for his services.

In June 2018, he joined Southport on a two-year deal and has scored 10 goals in 24 appearances so far this season for the National League North side" reports Scunthorpe United.

Next Tuesday, Alty travel (again) to Spennymoor United who report that "It’s been a busy month in terms on incomings at The Brewery Field. Tyler Forbes was the first signing through the door, with the right back joining from AFC Fylde, before Lewis Butroid joined on loan from Scunthorpe.

Last week saw further signings, with winger Billy Whitehouse joining on loan from Welsh Premier League outfit TNS and experienced midfielder Jason Kennedy brought in on a one-month loan deal. Kennedy made his Moors debut when he came on for Ben McKenna with twelve minutes remaining at Gloucester, almost scoring a spectacular acrobatic goal...

Glen Taylor struck his 100th goal against Gloucester City last weekend on his 200th appearance for the club. Talk about symmetry! It was also Taylor’s 20th of the season in all competitions...

Results last weekend saw the play-off places squeeze even tighter together... Combined with wins for Moors, Guiseley and Gateshead, plus Altrincham gaining a point, just five points separate 4th and 9th. A win for Spennymoor would take them on level points with Brackley who currently occupy 5th position in the division. With another key home game against Altrincham on the horizon, this is a golden chance to send a message out to the rest of the league."

Leamington tell us that the "Brakes made another fruitless journey to the North East, this time coming away from their first visit to Gateshead empty-handed, having taken an early lead through captain Jack Edwards. There were, as always, some positives to take away, having breached a defence that had kept four successive clean sheets in the National League North, but this was an afternoon of ‘firsts’ for the home side, as player manager Mike Williamson scored his first goal for the club, along with both Alex Nicholson and Jake Cooper.

The Heed did not make the sort of high-octane start to proceedings that was witnessed at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium ten days earlier, despite forcing three early corners, and Leamington stole a march on their promotion chasing opponents as they stunned them by taking an eleventh-minute lead with the first serious attack of the afternoon.

Callum Gittings utilised the wide open spaces of the International Stadium, spreading play wide to the left for Joe Parker to swing a dangerous cross into the six yard box. There were two or three blue shirted players converging on the ball, which dropped kindly for Edwards to steer a measured effort beyond Brad James into the far corner...

The hosts were level on twenty minutes, a dangerous free kick given away by Kaiman Anderson on the left creating havoc as it was played towards the far post. Williamson got the telling touch towards goal, the ball unfortunately striking Edwards’s shoulder on its way in...

The hosts were starting to produce the sort of play they had done at Leamington now, but Paul Holleran’s men pushed back...

Brakes found themsleves behind as Gateshead moved swiftly into attack, Scott Barrow’s cross cum shot being turned in at the far post by Alex Nicholson despite the best efforts of Weaver. Matters got worse in added time as Preston added a third goal. With the pitch opening up in front of him he sent a stunning curling drive from 25 yards beyond Weaver to send his side into the dressing room with a comfortable two-goal cushion...

It was four for Gateshead on 66 minutes. As with the third goal, Jake Cooper was allowed too much time and space to cut in from the left and curl a great strike beyond Weaver...

It was Leamington who had the last word, substitute Connor Taylor beating Brad James with a stunning strike into the top corner from the edge of the area, but Brakes finished well beaten by a very good side who will doubtless be in promotion contention come the end of the season on current form.

Manager Paul Holleran said, 'I’m bitterly bitterly disappointed because I thought that for the first third of the game, we were in it... Sadly, in the second half of the first half, we’ve made too many mistakes. We’re talking about good experienced players who have made poor decisions, and from being well in the game, and being ahead in the game, we find ourselves 3-1 behind...

'At that point there you’re against, certainly the best side at home in the league at the moment I think, but we came out, huffed and puffed a bit, kept a half decent shape, and we were in the game, but I think the last two Saturdays have taken a familiar pattern. We’ve conceded poor goals and we’ve been sloppy, and it’s something we need to address... We got a bit of respectability to the scoreline in the end, but there’s a bit of work to be done this week, on and off the pitch'".

From Gateshead we learn that "Jake Cooper was 'buzzing' after scoring his first Heed goal and making it seven games unbeaten against Leamington on Saturday...

'I'm buzzing with the win. We’ve had a very busy period that we’ve done well in... It was a very hectic match with lots of goals and lots of injuries so to come away with the win is what we needed... Our clean sheet run may have came [sic] to an end today but that’s football, and we’ve still gotten [sic] the victory anyways'...

Sixty-six minutes into the fixture, the Rotherham loanee found the back of the net in style after a fine ball in behind by Preston. 'In training on Friday, the lads let me into the shooting drills for the first time and it looks like it paid off!' he added. 'The lads aren’t going to get rid of me now. I’m going to be in the finishing sessions all the time. I just get all the tips and tricks from Jordan Preston if I’m honest...

'We’ve got a nice week's break now so we’ll happily take that before going into an extremely busy February period, which we need to carry on this run into'".

3 February 2020


There will be a minute's applause in memory of the late Jordan Sinnott before Tuesday’s game, at home to AFC Telford United. In addition, there will also be a further round of applause on the 25th minute of the game to mark Jordan’s passing. The 25th minute has been chosen to match the social media initiative whereby numerous clubs from home and abroad have produced "Sinnott 25" shirts to be dispalyed at Jordan's funeral. Jordan was 25 years of age at the time of his death.

Jordan made 69 appearance for Altrincham over three spells at the club.


Cheshire Live reports that "Bernard Morley revealed that Chester FC had made approaches to transfer targets last week and were looking to get in at least one new face before this weekend's clash with Blyth Spartans... Morley said that they were currently playing a waiting game with regards to what happens next.

'We made a couple of approaches late Friday to see if we could get one or two in on loan but had nothing back yet. Until it's signed it is rumours and it is hearsay and we will just focus on what we have in that dressing room and if anyone comes in who can make us better then great.'

While the trail of Altrincham striker Jordan Hulme has gone cold the Blues have been heavily linked with a move for out-of-favour Morecambe [and ex-Alty] winger Kevin Ellison, the 40-year-old forward keen to keep on playing still after being frozen out at the Shrimps, where he is revered as a club legend, by new boss Derek Adams.

Ellison, who despite his advancing years has made 21 appearances in League Two this season and played 43 times last season, has previously had two successful spells at Chester, the first during the 2004/05 season and the second between 2007 and 2009.

Right: Kevin Ellison in his Alty days in 2000.

Chester sold winger Ellison to Hull City for £100,000 after his first spell and bought him back for a fee in excess of that when he rejoined the Blues in 2007. Across two spells he made 99 Football League appearances for the Blues and scored 28 times."


Saturday's draw at Telford means that Altrincham have lost just once in their last eleven league outings. That sequence comprises seven wins, three draws and a single defeat, away at Gateshead.

After 27 league fixtures, Altrincham find themselves in precisely the same league position as at the same stage last season, namely in the seventh place. However, this time around they have accumulated 44 points, compared with 42 last season at this point.

  • 2019-20: Position 7th. P27 W12 D8 L7 F45 A33 GD12 PTS44
  • 2018-19: Position 7th. P27 W12 D6 L9 F50 A42 GD8 PTS42


Above: Tom Hannigan and James Jones leave the pitch after the 2-2 draw at Telford. Centre-back James is the team's third highest scorer in the league this season, with six goals, five in the league and one in the FA Cup. In all competitions over his Alty career James has played 102(+9) games.

After the game, the Shropshire Star reported that "Bucks' manager Gavin Cowan could be forgiven if he believed that Groundhog Day had arrived a day early. In the movie of that title, Bill Murray finds himself having to relive the same day over and over, February 2nd, to be precise, and for a second successive week, Cowan watched on as his side fell victim to a late goal scored from distance by the opposition’s centre-half to deny them all three points.

The feelings of déjà vu didn’t end there, either; the Bucks twice held the lead in this game and, on each occasion, winger Brendon Daniels, in excellent form of late, scored from unlikely positions, bamboozling Altrincham keeper Tony Thompson.

Daniels spent time on loan to the Robins last season from Port Vale but his spell at Moss Lane wasn’t a notable one. He returned to haunt the Cheshire side, taking his goal tally for the season to seven goals, and got the Bucks off to a flying start against the in-form visitors.

Only five minutes had passed when visiting skipper Jake Moult fouled Ryan Barnett on the right edge of the penalty area. Daniels switched flanks to take the kick, left-footed, but could only strike his initial effort into the defensive wall. The ironic cheers from the Robins' fans had barely left their lips when Daniels repositioned himself and lofted the rebound high and over goalkeeper Tony Thompson, who backpedalled furiously but could only watch the ball loop over him and nestle into the far corner.

A goal to the good, the Bucks had a platform, but seemed content to let the Robins have possession, sitting deep and making themselves had to break down. Their first real chance arrived after 10 minutes... former Buck Josh Hancock’s effort from 20 yards beat the defensive wall but thudded back off the right post of debutant keeper Michael Luyambula, who was well beaten.

Right: Lewis Walters celebrates his first goal for Alty at the New Buck's Head.

The visitors' Craig Mahon was chief orchestrator, pulling the strings on their left, as they enjoyed possession and territory, and they forced a number of corners before suffering a blow, when striker and former Buck, Tom Peers, was forced off the field through injury.

It wasn’t all Altrincham, however... Ryan Barnett brought a fine save from Thompson, plunging right to palm away a shot that Stenson couldn’t capitalise on. Further efforts on goal from Connor Hampson, Mahon and defender James Jones were either too high, lacked power or were snatched at, meaning the Bucks held their lead to half-time.

The Robins kept bobbing along and Josh Lundstram directed a header wide in the 47th minute, the first effort of the half... With the game starting to stretch, Altrincham levelled on 68 minutes, and it was a fine finish from substitute Lewis Walters, who raced in behind a static defence onto Craig Mahon’s diagonal through ball, touching home past an advancing Luyambula.

The Bucks were stung, but Cowan will be pleased with their response... With 15 minutes remaining, the Bucks retook the lead, and in some respects, it was a carbon copy of their first. Mahon body-checked Daniels and from the resulting free-kick, wide on the left, Daniels struck a ball goalwards that soared and then dipped in beyond Thompson, the keeper again going backwards as the ball sailed over him and in... but Alty weren’t behind for long. When Aaron Williams lost possession of a ball cleared up to him on 84 minutes, lanky defender Jones strode through to beat Luyambula, perhaps invited to shoot by the goalkeeper being well off his line and making him pay, his 25 yards effort dipping over the Birmingham City loanee.

Level for a second time, the Robins launched a late flurry to try and claim all three points. They thought they’d done so when Jordan Hulme’s downward header from a far post cross was bundled goalwards by Hancock. The assistant’s flag stayed by his side, and the Robins were denied, an entertaining game finishing with honours even...

And as if those two instances of déjà vu weren’t enough, there’ll be a third on Tuesday, when the two sides meet again in a league game twice rearranged from October".


For the second game running, and just three days after their last encounter, Alty meet AFC Telford United on Tuesday night.

Including the 2-2 draw last Saturday, updated data from Mike Garnett reminds us of the historical record: Against AFC Telford United:

  • Home: P4-W1-D1-L2-F5-A6
  • Away: P5-W0-D2-L3-F5-A9
  • All: P9-W1-D3-L5-F10-A15

Against Telford United:

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


Unfortunately, Howard Watts and Mike Garnett's Through the Years records for Tuesday's date, 4 February are not available, following Mike's sad death in December.


According to the Eastern Daily Press "Ian Culverhouse insists he doesn't care about the rest of the league as he picked over the remnants of King's Lynn Town's long unbeaten home run.

Lynn remain a point clear of York, who beat third-placed Chester 4-2, and have two games in hand, but could lose top spot next weekend when the Minstermen go to Boston United... Lynn have to wait until Monday night before they kick off at Gloucester City...

'I don't care about York, I really don't,' he said. 'I don't care about anyone in the league. I care about us. The next challenge for us is, can we go to Gloucester and put in a performance? I don't worry about what other teams do, let them worry about us. I have seen lot of quotes about how we have a hard run-in and things like that but everyone has a hard run-in. They are more worried about us than we are worried about them.'

Culverhouse will be hoping his players have got a poor performance out of their system; frankly, no one was in much of a position to say they deserved better. They didn't. It was first against fourth from bottom and it should have been a given... It was exactly 17 months to the day since Lynn had last lost a league game at home. A run of 34 games....

Yet they fluffed their lines... The last league winners at The Walks had been Stourbridge on September 1, 2018, a result which signalled the end of the Simon Clark managerial reign and set in train Culverhouse's return. The coach... that brought Kidderminster to The Walks on Saturday is actually Stourbridge's away-day transport... To labour the point, the red-shirted occupants went on to park the bus on the pitch to ensure they preserved the safety of two first-half goals.

Both were preventable, Nathan Fox and Ryan Jarvis having an unhelpful hand in first and second respectively. It was fair to say Harriers deserved their lead. A crowd of more than 1,600 expected fireworks in the second half, and they got them for a while, as Lynn went full steam ahead, but it was unplanned stuff and all a bit frenzied, most unlike the Linnets. It fizzled out, and so did Lynn's hopes of a win...

'We were poor today,' Culverhouse said. 'Credit to them they took their goals well, but I can't remember us having a shot at goal in the first half. We huffed and puffed in the second half and threw caution to the wind... Hopefully, it is a one-off and we will see how we respond to it. We moved the ball too slowly and they got their bodies behind the ball... Their game plan stifled us and we have got to learn from it'...

'It is gone,' he said. 'If you win a game it is gone. All we can do is look forward to the next one... It is a quiet dressing room,' said Culverhouse...

And for those who wonder how Lynn respond to defeat, they went unbeaten in 10 games after the opening day loss at Guiseley and then a dozen after losing at York in September."

Following their midweek defeat to Altrincham, Kettering Town entertained Curzon Ashton and "fought out a 0-0 draw at Latimer Park in very difficult conditions against The Nash. Despite hitting the post, a Luke Graham header cleared off the line and Tre Mitford's shot, well saved by Cameron Mason, Paul Cox's side could not break the stalemate".

The Northants Telegraph adds that "Kettering Town’s run without scoring extended to three matches after a scrappy 0-0 draw with fellow relegation candidates Curzon Ashton at a windy Latimer Park.

The Poppies suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time under Paul Cox in the week, losing 2-0 at home to play-off chasing Altrincham...

Neither team could break the other down... and the match ended as a tight draw that both defences performed well in. The Poppies welcome Vanarama National League North rivals Brackley Town to Latimer Park in the NFA Hillier Senior Cup semi-final on Tuesday, before renewing their relegation fight next Saturday away to Altrincham...

Northants Telegraph man-of-the-match: Paul White. In a scrappy encounter that both defences impressed in, Paul White made two crucial saves that helped his side gain an important point. The Kettering goalkeeper has been one of the club’s best performers this season".

From the opposition Curzon Ashton "had to settle for a point against Kettering Town in a game played in horrid underfoot conditions at Latimer Park.

The pitch more closely resembled a freshly ploughed field than the surface Curzon are used to playing on at the Tameside Stadium, resulting in a scrappy game beset by long balls and misplaced passes.

Both sides did have chances to break the deadlock. Kettering goalkeeper Paul White was the hosts' saviour...

This was a game neither side could afford to lose, and a draw proved a fair result. The two clubs remain level on points in 18th and 19th spots, although Kettering have two games in hand.

There were two changes to the Curzon side that were cruelly denied victory at Hereford last week. Owen Watkinson was moved to the bench after picking up a knock in that game while Tunde Bayode suffered a hamstring injury in training. That paved the way for George Broadbent, on loan from Sheffield United for the rest of the season, to make his debut for the club he played at as a youngster. Andy Halls also came back into the starting line-up for the first time in almost a month after serving a suspension.

A pitch far from conducive to flowing football meant a direct style of play was needed and Kettering were the early aggressors. Connor Kennedy’s long throws had the potential to cause trouble in the Nash box but Mason and his three centre backs, Halls, Danny Shaw and Mo Ali, dealt with everything impeccably all afternoon...

The second half was a similarly ugly affair as the conditions continued to wreak havoc... Neither side could find a breakthrough".

Yorkshire's Telegraph & Argus informs us that "Travelling across to Merseyside is usually a rewarding trip for Avenue, having not lost in over 15 years at Haig Avenue, and it was no different for Mark Bower’s men this time out.

It was a determined showing from Bradford as they played their part in a thrilling draw against Southport, in a match on a sand-ridden surface which could have gone either way.

The afternoon began with a tribute to Jordan Sinnott. The 809 people in attendance along with both sets of players stood to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the young footballer who sadly passed away last weekend.

Bower made a couple of changes from the side who lost 2-0 to Altrincham last time out. Tom Clare returned while Adam Nowakowski came in for Alex Hurst in a 4-3-3 formation.

There was no sign of the early collapses which have hindered the visitors in previous weeks as they looked the better team for large spells of the opening exchanges.

The excellent Nicky Clee set the tone from the get-go with a crushing challenge on David Morgan, seemingly winning the ball, but he was placed in the book due to the ferocity of the challenge. Avenue then took the lead for the first time in a match since November when Lewis Knight amazingly netted directly from a corner, curling his cross onto the far post before it found its way over the line.

It was the best half of football the bottom-placed side have played in a while with Clee, Knight and Clare all working tirelessly and linking up well in the process. Although, there was no rest bite [respite] for Bradford as on the stroke of half time, Southport found themselves level from a simple throwing routine.

Reagan Ogle launched onto the head of Dean Winnard who flicked towards the back stick where George Newell stood to butt home.

However, Avenue heads did not drop with Bower’s half time speech working wonders immediately after the break. Clare profited from some great play from Clee who beat two men before being dragged down. The referee was not convinced with the penalty shouts and let play continue which allowed the tall striker to bend a lovely effort past Dan Hanford.

The away side were masters of their own downfall minutes later when Morgan pulled it back to Bradley Bauress to level the scoring. The Bradford back line was seized once again when Newell scored his second... Bower was still confident that his team could get back into it and threw on Oli Johnson and Alex Hurst, switching to a more offensive 4-4-2...

Avenue went up the other end and grabbed that all important equaliser, Priestley leaped above everyone to connect with Johnson’s cross. The action was far from over there though as Bradford missed two big opportunities to steal the spoils. Knight failed to connect to a Hurst pull back while Clare smacked the post from an acute angle.

Sandwiched in between the chances was a sending off for Stelios Demetriou who brought down Newell as he was about to pull the trigger. Although three points were needed, this battling performance shows that Bradford will certainly not go down with a whimper if relegation is to happen".

In the Northern Echo we read that "The number of fans filing out of the ground well before the end of a dismal Darlington defeat said it all.

Guiseley’s debutant teenage goalkeeper had not even been given a save to make, so when it became 3-0 inside the final ten minutes the jig was up and time to go.

They had witnessed the club’s heaviest home defeat since August 2018, and arguably the biggest disappointment of this season. Only days 11 days previously Quakers beat Guiseley 2-1 at their place amid a good run of results, but very quickly the feelgood factor has dissipated and been replaced by a familiar sense of disappointment.

Alun Armstrong’s side have now suffered back-to-back 3-0 defeats and with two tricky away fixtures next, Kidderminster Harriers and Boston United, supporters will wonder what they can expect in the remainder of the season. The answer is more of the same; more wins, more defeats and probably not many draws (no team has drawn fewer than Quakers in the National League North), such is the lot of a mid-table team aiming for a top-seven position...

Now tenth with 14 fixtures to go, lots of points to be won and [there is] time yet for Quakers to catapult themselves into the play-offs despite the last two results, which are typical of an inconsistent side. Able to win at Guiseley one week with a determined display, the next week losing limply against the same opposition.

An angry Armstrong chose not to conduct a post-match interview, perhaps for best given what he may have said in the heat of the moment about his team and referee James Westgate. Assistant Darren Holloway did the honours instead, and he admitted 'We’re struggling to put our finger on it. Nothing has changed in terms of how we want them to perform, we haven’t told them to take a step back or take their foot off the pedal, it just seems to have happened naturally.

'At times we look nervous which is strange... We want a bit of confidence, a bit of character and that’s going to be important in the next couple of games. We were outfought, it’s as simple as that'...

In reaction to the previous week's 3-0 defeat at Chester, Armstrong made four changes: Liam Connell, Will Hatfield, Jarrett Rivers and Gary Martin all coming into the team, Adam Campbell not starting for the first time this season, but the outcome was the same...

From [a] free-kick heavyweight defender Hamza Bencherif... smashed the ball into the corner of the net to give Guiseley the lead at half-time, when it was surprising Armstrong did not make any substitutions given the paucity of attacking endeavour during the first 45 minutes.

'We had a bit of a pop at them at half-time, but as a player you know yourself if you’re having a good or a bad time,' said Holloway...

Any hopes of a fightback were extinguished early in the second half after Westgate was conned into awarding a penalty, pointing to the spot when winger Kaine Felix sprang into the air after Alex Storey made contact. Aram Soleman scored the penalty and while Darlington made substitutions, Campbell and Stephen Thompson coming on and switching to 3-4-3, Guiseley held firm without much danger...

'I’m not one to blame referees,' said Holloway... 'We get them in this league unfortunately, you get indifferent referees'...

Soleman triggered the Quakers exodus by completing the scoring after dribbling into Darlington’s penalty area on the left and firing low across Connell to make it 3-0."

From Brackley Town, the Banbury Guardian conveys the news that "Saints suffered a first home defeat for more than a year as Adam Clayton’s first half goal secured a first win in five games for Farsley Celtic. The three points moved Farsley up to 11th as Saints slip back to fifth.

On a poor surface in blustery conditions, neither side got into their stride in a disappointing first period... In a game of rare shots on target Clayton made no mistake on 34 minutes as Saints failed to clear from a deep cross, Celtic’s long-serving defender rifling his shot past Danny Lewis.

Saints returned for the second half with renewed intensity and kept Farsley penned back for much of the second half. But despite the lion’s share of possession Saints could not break down the visitors’ obdurate defending and as the game wore on Town’s frustration grew as they sensed vital points slipping away...

After seeing his side fail to score for the third game in a row, manager Kevin Wilkin said 'Scoring goals has obviously been an issue over these three games... We haven’t created a lot of moments today but when they pass you by you will struggle. Good sides like Guiseley, and Farsley today, come here and set up and make things difficult for us. They defended resolutely to close the points out so well done to them. We need to reflect on this and learn from it.'"

The Hereford Times reports that "Defender Jevan Anderson, who only found out about his loan to Hereford a day before his debut, said it was an enjoyable game despite being on the wrong end of the 2-0 scoreline.

The 19-year-old has joined the Bulls on a month-long loan deal from League One side Burton Albion. He played the full 90 minutes as the Bulls lost 2-0 at Alfreton, having dealt with tricky conditions in Derbyshire.

He said, 'I was thrown in at the deep end but it was enjoyable to come down and meet the boys. It was a tough game but I did enjoy it. I found out about this loan yesterday, Friday morning, so I just came down and met the boys today. Then thrown right in at the deep end, it means you don't have much time to think about it. I just went on and did the best that I could...

'Down the slope as well they put it right on top of us as well with two physical strikers, so it was hard to get used to but I felt we dealt with it okay, probably as best as we could. Then, second half, I thought we dealt with them well, held a higher line which allowed us to pin them in'...

Anderson said 'I like to get attacks started from the back whenever I can. It was hard to do that today in terms of the conditions and how they played but I'd say that's an asset of my game'".

From Guiseley we learn that "A first half goal from Hamza Bencherif followed by a second-half brace from Aram Soleman ensured that Guiseley extended their unbeaten record on the road to eight games and in the process they swept aside a Darlington side who had won ten of their previous league games at Blackwell Meadows.

The enforced departure of [goalkeeper] Marcus Dewhurst to Carlisle saw Rochdale loanee Brad Wademake his Guiseley debut between the sticks and there was a welcome return for striker [ex-Alty loanee] Chris Sang who has extended his loan from Barnsley until the end of February in place of the suspended Aaron Martin.

The Lions were at the home side straight from the kick off... With a strong swirling wind blowing down the pitch Darlington were finding it difficult to clear their lines and when they did make progress the Lions defence stood solid to nullify any theat...

Guiseley finally got the reward that their efforts deserved on 29 minutes as Connell stuck out an arm to deflect a back pass and was cautioned for his trouble. From the resulting indirect free kick the ball was played to skipper Bencherif and he fired home through the wall and beyond Connell for the opener...

Nine minutes into the second half Felix was upended in the penalty area and after vociferous protests from the Quakers Soleman stepped up to beat Connell from the resultant spot and although the home custodian got his fingertips to the ball the power was too much for him to make any difference...

Soleman went close on 78 minutes... Four minutes later... he turned his marker and put a precise shot into the far corner beyond Connell for game over".

2 February, 2020


Despite conceding two poor goals, Altrincham emerged with a deserved point thanks to James Jones's excellent 20 yard effort.

On a poor pitch, Alty fell behind in only the fifth minute, to Telford's first venture forward of note. Jake Moult tripped Barnett just outside the corner of the box. Ex-Alty loanee Daniels's freekick was hit into the wall but rebounded to him. Under a challenge from a defender, he hooked the ball hopefully towards goal and was as surprised as anyone to see it deceive Thompson, the ball looping over the keeper into the net.

Despite being the only side trying to play good football, Alty trailed at the break. And when the hosts had the better of the first twenty minutes of the second half, it looked ominous for Alty.

But a piercing through ball from Mahon set Walters free and he did well to slot the ball past the debutant German keeper Luyambula, a Birmingham City loanee (68 mins).

Right: James Jones is congratulated on his goal.

Seven minutes later, Daniels's freekick from wide left, a good 40 yards diagonally from goal, saw Thompson seemingly trying to punch the ball away. However, the Alty keeper completely missed the ball as it sailed into the far top corner of the net.

Alty made it 2-2 with four minutes of normal time remaining. Jones picked up the ball and advanced up the middle before beating the keeper with a shot of a quality not normally associated with a centre-back.

Alty dominated the closing stages and were unfortunate to see Hancock's header from a Hulme cross hit the keeper before being hacked clear. Alty dropped a place to seventh, but only separated from sixth by goal difference.

The two sides meet again on Tuesday at Altrincham.

Match report here


On Saturday, Altrincham FC Reserves drew 1-1 against Billinge FC. Aty lie fourth in the Cheshire League, in fourth place, ten points adrift of leaders Whaley Bridge Athletic.

Next Saturday the Reserves are again at home, against their landlords, Egerton FC.


Player registrations affcting National League North teams or former Alty players include -
  • Germaine Agustien from Bradford Park Avenue to Mickleover Sports
  • Adam Anson from Southport to Witton Albion loan
  • Nyle Blake from Alfreton Town to Belper Town loan
  • Joel Carta from Kettering Town to Grantham Town Loan
  • Billy Chapman from York City to Pickering Town
  • Berti Diau from Kidderminster Harriers to Stafford Rangers Loan
  • Jack Dunn from Warrington Town to Southport Loan out
  • Cameron Holliday from Darlington to Pickering Town
  • Morgan Homson-Smith from Southport FC to FC United of Manchester Loan
  • Liam Lovell from Curzon Ashton to Mossley
  • Curtis Morrison from Guiseley AFC to Grantham Town
  • Astley Mulholland from Mossley to Radcliffe
  • Jordan Nicholson from Hereford to Buxton Loan
  • Luke Parkin from Farsley Celtic to Tadcaster Albion Loan
  • George Thomason from Bolton Wanderers to Bamber Bridge Long loan
  • Ryan Whitley from York City to South Shields Loan

Elsewhere Solihull Moors "have recalled midfielder Luke Maxwell from his loan spell at Gloucester City.

The 22-year-old was due to return upon expiry of his short-term loan on 2nd February... Maxwell, who missed the first half of the season with a knee injury, made five appearances for Gloucester".


On Saturday in front of 357 spectators, Trafford defeated Runcorn Linnets 2-1, with the winner coming from Lewis Salmon in the 83rd minute.


Cheshire Live reports on Chester FC's defeat at York. "This was not the result Chester FC needed. The Blues suffered back-to-back defeats in the league for the first time this season as a Kurt Willoughby brace and strikes from Kieran Green and Sean Newton delivered a 4-2 success for second-placed York City.

Jamie Morgan and George Glendon goals gave a flicker of hope for brief periods for the 677 travelling fans but they were largely let down as the Minstermen claimed a crucial three points over the Blues.

In came Elton Ngwatala, Jamie Morgan, Scott Burton and George Glendon while Kevin Roberts, Anthony Dudley, Gary Roberts and Gary Stopforth all dropped to the bench in a bold move from the managers...

The home side started by far the brighter of the two in a swirling wind... On nine minutes the Blues were made to pay for their poor start as a corner was whipped into a crowded box where ex-Chester City man Newton was on hand to head home from close range to land the first blow.

But against the run of play Chester hit back quickly and were level on 15 minutes... Chester improved for a brief spell after the restart but paid for their complete inability to deal with corners as a game of head tennis ensued from one on 22 minutes before Green rose to head comfortably past Griffiths...

York remained on control and had a third on 40 minutes when Green found way too much room on the corner of the box to cross into the six-yard box where Willoughby beat a static Griffiths from two yards...

York began the stronger of the two sides in the second but it was the away side who struck first and gave their 677 fans a glimmer of hope when Glendon finished well inside the area after York couldn't deal with a Joel Taylor cross.

But any hope of a fightback was short lived as Newton was allowed to maraud 40 yards with the ball and get a shot away, Griffiths parrying clear with James Jones unable to clear his lines and Newton then whipping a delightful ball into Willoughby who glanced into the far corner to seal the three points for Steve Watson's side.

Chester's task got even greater when Morgan saw red for a needless second yellow with 20 minutes remaining.

And York saw the game out in comfort to give their title hopes a shot in the arm after leaders King's Lynn fell to a surprise 2-0 home to Kidderminster Harriers. Chester drop to fourth after back-to-back defeats and left with plenty to ponder and plenty to work on".

John Johnston was subbed after 67 minutes.

In the Kidderminster Shuttle "Jimmy Shan hailed his 'tremendous' Harriers after they stunned league leaders King's Lynn Town with a 2-0 victory.

That invincibility had pushed the Linnets four points clear of the North summit on the back of promotion last term, their recent form seeing them pick up four wins and four clean sheets...

Alex Prosser and Ashley Chambers both scored before the break, with Harriers holding out to wrap up a perfectly-timed three points that left Shan delighted.

He said after the full-time whistle 'We've had a very good week working towards that performance. We tweaked a couple of things with our starting line-up, knowing full well we'd have to focus on defending'...

Shan had opted to reintroduce Rhys Williams into the starting line-up after he'd completed a three-match suspension, and the on-loan Liverpool youngster played his part in securing a vital clean sheet.

Despite the size of the task at hand, Harriers actually dominated much of the first half and took the lead on 15 minutes when Prosser bagged his second of the season by prodding home a corner...

Harriers surged forward again and grabbed a second seven minutes before the interval. Hemmings surged down the right and powered in a great cross that an onrushing Chambers slammed home on the volley.

King’s Lynn delivered on the expectation that they’d ramp it up a gear after the break and put Harriers under concerted pressure... Harriers, who had their own chances to extend their lead when Austin Samuels, Hemmings and sub Samir Nabi all had openings, dealt with the threat of Marriott and Michael Gash well, with the duo seeing half chances come and go."

Blyth Spartans "suffered a 1-0 defeat against play-off hopefuls Boston United with Jay Rollins’s second-half goal making the difference.

Lee Clark named one change from Tuesday’s game AFC Telford United with Lewis Hawkins replacing Damen Mullen.

Spartans goalkeeper Zach Hemming was busy in the opening minutes... Boston continued to put pressure on Blyth... Clear cut chances were few and far between in the first half for both sides...

Boston opened the scoring in the 67th minute when Dominic Knowles had a shot at goal that was saved by Hemming but fell to the feet of Rollins, who hammered it into the back of the net...

The Pilgrims managed to hold onto their lead with relative ease and leave Blyth still three points from safety".

From the Border Counties Advertiser comes news that "The New Saints will be without creative winger Billy Whitehouse for the remainder of the season after the former Leeds United man was loaned out to Spennymoor Town.

Whitehouse leaves Park Hall a year after joining the Welsh champions, but is set to return to TNS in June...

After completing his move, Whitehouse said he believes Saints will go on to win the Welsh Premier League once again this season. 'I’m looking forward to getting some games in and finishing the season strong,' he said...

Saints' boss Scott Ruscoe said it will be a better opportunity for Whitehouse to get more game time."

1 February 2020


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


Folllowing the recall, recorded here yesterday, of Derby County loanee goalkeper Matt Yates, AFC Telford United confirm "the signing of Birmingham City goalkeeper Michael Luyambula on loan until the end of the season.

The 20-year-old goalkeeper has joined the Bucks following the recall from Crawley Town where he made six appearances.

Born in Germany, Luyambula came through Borussia Dortmund’s youth system but was released without playing for the club’s first team before he signed for Birmingham in 2018.

Luyambula was named in a long list for the DR Congo Under 20 team in 2018, and was called up to the senior squad’s training camp in June 2017. Paperwork has been completed today therefore Michael could be in line to make his debut for the Bucks against Altrincham tomorrow [Saturday] afternoon".

For today's match, AFC Telford United confirm that "The fixture will be segregated so Altrincham supporters will be housed in the Frank Nagington Stand. Away supporters will be able to purchase a ticket on the gate. Away [fans] should enter via turnstile P.

Prices are as follows:

  • Adult: £14.00
  • Concessions: £10.00
  • Students & 16-19 Yr Olds (Id Required) £5.00
  • Under 16’s: £1

Car parking is available at the New Buck's Head priced at £3 per car. Limited spaces are available on the Learning Centre Car Park but there are plenty of spaces available on TCAT Car Park... Our Club Shop will be open from 1.30pm through until kick off...

TUSA will be introducing a new half time challenge which is aimed at our younger supporters.

The stadium gates open at 1.30pm... The Bucks matchday programme can be bought from sellers around the ground or from the club shop at a price of £2.50.

Products on offer at the New Bucks Head which are provided by Mitchells Catering include burgers, hot dogs and pies, confectionary and crisps. Cold drinks such as Pepsi, Tango, and Water are available from the snack bars

The Learning Centre bar opens from 12 noon and is open for both set of supporters. Leicester City v Chelsea will be live on BT Sport from 12.30pm. Man Utd v Wolves will be live at 5.30pm.

Inside the ground, supporters can drink at the Sir Stephen Roberts Bar from 1.30pm".

AFC Telford United add that for the Bucks' visit to Altrincham next Tuesday "We have very few bookings;... unless a few more book and pay for Altrincham tomorrow, we will have to cancel the coach on Tuesday".


A social media campaign in memory of Jordan Sinnott, started by his brother Tom, has prompted a massive response as club after club at all levels both in the UK and abroad produces a shirt with "Sinnott 25" on the back. The "25" refers to Jordan's age at the time of his death. The shirts will be displayed at his funeral and then donated to Sport Aid in memory of Jordan.

As one of Jordan's former clubs, Altrincham FC has, of course, participated fully in this initiative for a player who made 62(+7) appearances for Alty, scoring 4 goals. Jordan had three spells at Altrincham. Firstly, as an 18 year-old, he was signed on a one-month loan from Huddersfield Town during which he made six starts. He made his debut for Altrincham on the right flank against Gainsborough Trinity on 8 December 2012.

He then re-joined Altrincham on non-contract terms on 13 February 2015, following his release by Huddersfield Town and made a further 8(+5) appearances for the Club in the Conference's national division, scoring once.

Following several appearances in pre-season in summer 2015, Jordan signed for the club for a third-time on 24 July 2015. Although a midfielder, injuries to Shaun Densmore during 2015 led to Jordan playing regularly at right-back in 2015-16, a position in which he performed well. In the 2015-16 season he made 48(+2) appearances and scored three times.

Jordan's father, Lee, who managed Altrincham between 2011 and 2016, is collecting a signed shirt from each of the clubs for which Jordan played and these will be placed on Jordan’s coffin.

Right: Jordan Sinnott, (who wore no.20 for Alty in 2015-16 season, having been no.26 the season before), is here congratulated by Luca Havern after his freekick had laid on the only goal of the match for Damian Reeves as Alty defeated Chester FC on 24 October 2015. That was an FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round tie.


Following the open meeting a week last Friday, Altrincham FC provides "a descriptive recap... The event opened up with a short, well engaged Q&A session with Phil Parkinson... The conversation began with Parkinson openly addressing the deal that saw John Johnston move to Chester FC for a substantial fee, with Craig Mahon joining the club as part of the negotiations.

Both Phil and the Board were clear that the funds from this deal would be used to, hopefully, strengthen further transfer activity of our own.

The next topic for discussion was youth football at the Club, and in particular, the player pathway through from our wealth of Junior sides right up to the Senior Men’s and Ladies' teams".

Please follow the above link for the full account.


The Telegraph & Argus tells us that "Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower has admitted that, unlike most managers, he is looking forward to deadline day today [Friday]...

He explained 'The only restriction we have is that if we want to sign young players from Premier League teams who are on pro contracts, that must be before January 31 (today). But the only real deadline for us is the last Thursday in March, when we can't sign anyone after that. Deadline day won't hinder us and it might help us, because players who'd want to play higher up might become options. We still keep looking out for quality and value.'

Bower would surely welcome any player who could sprinkle some stardust on his struggling team, but he insisted the morale within the camp is still high, despite them sitting 13 points from safety... It is another tough assignment tomorrow, as Bradford visit Southport... Before they edged out Gloucester City 1-0 last Saturday, Southport had lost five league games on the bounce.

Bower said 'I hope they're low on confidence. They've had a bad run but they're still in play-off contention. They're a settled squad with players who've been there for years, so you know what you'll face as they're consistent...but there'll be pressure on them, as they're at home and they'll expect to beat us. I'm looking for more resilience from us, especially early on, so we're not chasing the game'...

He believes confidence is still high in the Bradford camp leading up to games, but admitted that can evaporate out on the pitch.... 'But the build up has been fine and we've more than matched teams like Hereford, Boston and Brackley over the last few weeks. You've seen how quickly things can change for teams, it just takes one result... We believe we're capable (of getting out of danger)'...

He said he regretted using veteran midfielder Nicky Clee last week [at Altrincham], as he was recovering from illness, but was confident that the player would be fine for tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Bradford (Park Avenue) "are hoping to end a miserable run of form and kick start what would be an unlikely road to survival. Time, though, is running out for Mark Bower’s side and with each loss that mounts up, relegation is looking more and more inevitable...

Avenue are coming off a 2-0 defeat at Altrincham in which they were completely outplayed in the first half. A much improved second half wasn’t enough unfortunately...

The hosts ended their own terrible run of form last weekend, beating Gloucester City on the road 1-0. Before the game, Southport had been on a run of six straight defeats...

For Avenue, it’s been a consistent season, just not in a good way. Although performances have seemed to improve over the last couple of months, especially since Mark Bower re-took charge of the team, results are just not going their way".

Kettering town confirm that "Jay Williams has been recalled from his loan period with the Poppies by his parent club Northampton Town. Jay made 6 appearances in 2 spells with the club".

The Boston Standard claims that "Craig Elliott has hinted that George Willis and Nicky Walker may still have roles to play for Boston United this season. Keeper Willis and winger Walker have linked up with Gainsborough Trinity on loan until the end of the season....

'I've got a lot of time for both players, and my main thing was to try and keep them happy,' Elliott told The Standard. 'It's difficult as a manager when lads in their positions are doing well. Realistically, in the short term future, they weren't going to play, so I want to keep them happy and match sharp. If they come back then they're ready to hit the ground running'".

Also at Boston United the Pilgrims say that they "will be targeting a fifth National League North double of the campaign when they head to Blyth Spartans on Saturday. Following earlier home-and-away successes over Kettering Town, Bradford Park Avenue, Southport and Kidderminster Harriers, United will be now aiming for a fifth double following a 2-0 home win over Spartans in November.

Lee Clark's struggling side enjoyed a renaissance in the autumn but still find themselves in the bottom two and have lost to King's Lynn Town and AFC Telford United during the last seven days. They have picked up three wins and three draws, alongside eight defeats, on home soil so far this season.

The Pilgrims are still likely to be without the services of injured midfielder Brad Abbott (ankle) but striker Jake Wright is back in contention following a shoulder injury".

We learn from the Northern Echo that "After making his long-awaited return from injury, David Atkinson has thanked Darlington physio Danny O’Connor [for] his assistance in getting him back on the pitch having spent almost five months on the sidelines. He suffered ankle ligament damage in pre-season, hardly an ideal start to his time with Quakers having joined last summer from Blyth Spartans.

While he tried to play through the pain barrier in the early stages of the season, ultimately the injury led to surgery and missing 25 matches. But Atkinson is now available for action, making his comeback as a substitute against Guiseley last week, and then returning to the starting line-up in the defeat at Chester.

'It’s been a long time out and I’ve only trained a few times. The club have been fantastic and Danny has been unbelievable,' said Atkinson... 'He sorted it out for me to use an underwater treadmill at Teesside University in my rehab'...

Atkinson added 'It was a freak accident. I was stretching for the ball and it was a nothing tackle, it was not a bad one, but he caught me on the side and it did a lot more damage than we first thought. I shouldn’t have come back at the start of the season, but we were struggling for players and I just wanted to get on the pitch. I was playing through the pain barrier, I was desperate to play. Luke Trotman had got injured and we had no other right-back at the time, so the gaffer asked me to help out and I don’t mind playing there.

'It’s much better now and I don’t get any pain from it... I like to play in front of the back-four, or in the middle of a back-three to mop up around there, but I don’t mind playing anywhere... I’ve played in League Two where there’s a lot of long ball, but I prefer to get the ball down, and play and that suits me in this team.'"

Brackley Town inform us that "Farsley Celtic are the visitors to St James Park on Saturday; a first ever visit by Farsley to Brackley.

The sides met in a midweek fixture in early December at Throstle Nest with Lee Ndlovu’s goal claiming a deserved point... Saints’ fine run of form stalled with the defeat at Boston and home draw against Guiseley last week but [they] still sit well placed in 4th place after Chester’s defeat at Gateshead on Tuesday evening. Gateshead’s win and Altrincham’s win at Kettering lift them into contention for the top spots as competition hots up in and around the play-off places.

Farsley have lost their last three games on the road, failing to score in any of them, but are 12th and ready for a push towards the top so Brackley will expect another tough test."

Chester FC points outthat "2nd play 3rd at Bootham Crescent this weekend in what is a massive opportunity for Chester to cut the gap on Saturday’s opponents.

A large crowd is expected for one of the final games at Bootham Crescent before the Minstermen move into their new ground. Steve Watson’s side have built on solid defensive foundations and are still looking to chase down league leaders King’s Lynn Town; they sit four points behind.

Chester will be eager to bounce back from Tuesday’s defeat... Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s side have been boosted though by tying down Brad Jackson and George Glendon to 18-month deals in the last 24 hours".

Gateshead "meet Leamington for the second time in 11 days on Saturday as the Brakes visit the International Stadium. The pair met at The Phillips 66 Community Stadium on January 21, with a goalless draw the end result despite both sides striking the woodwork in the second half.

The Heed are in fine form at the moment and come into tomorrow’s game with four consecutive clean sheets and a six-game unbeaten run in tow. Mike Williamson’s men are one place outside of the play-off places in eighth, and could move as high as sixth if Altrincham and Darlington both fail to win this weekend.

Leamington, meanwhile, currently sit in 15th place... and have endured a rough patch of form of late. Paul Holleran’s side are winless in five in the league, with their last victory coming on December 28... They are now without 16-goal top scorer Josh March, who secured a move to League Two side Forest Green Rovers earlier this month.

JJ O’Donnell (foot) remains the only injury concern for the Heed...

Assistant manager Ian Watson is hoping the Heed can impose their style of play onto proceedings on Saturday, saying 'The way we play we like to get the ball down and move it and we found that difficult to do when we went to Leamington. We did try and do it, I was really impressed with how we stuck to our principles and tried to play, but it was difficult. On a nice pitch, especially at home, I’d like to think we’d be able to play our stuff and hopefully we’ll put in a better performance than we did away and take the three points this time.'"

Guiseley "confirm that goalkeeper Marcus Dewhurst has been recalled from his loan spell at Nethermoor by Sheffield United."

And the Wharfedale Observer adds that "Guiseley will take their good away form to Darlington on Saturday, but they will be without ace marksman Aaron Martin, after he picked up his second red card of the season at Brackley Town.. The 10 remaining Lions dug deep to secure a valuable 0-0 draw.

Guiseley’s joint-manager Marcus Bignot feels his side have already proved they have the tools to cope without Martin this season... He said 'Aaron’s old enough and mature enough to know what’s right and wrong. He’s the one that will miss out (on getting to play). I didn’t see the incident but I wasn’t surprised we went down to 10 men, just with the way the game was going and the yellow cards we were picking up.

'But we’ve missed Aaron for a large proportion of the season already (through injury and suspension) and we’ve reacted well to losing him before.'

It is important Guiseley do react on Saturday, as the game at Darlington could be vital to their season. They are down in 10th but their North East opponents, who occupy the last remaining play-off place in seventh, are only two points ahead and with a worse goal difference than the Lions.

Guiseley only hosted Darlington in the reverse fixture nine days ago, so memories of his side’s 2-1 defeat are still fresh for Bignot.

He said 'We were just the wrong side of that last result... but our away form could make it close... I think we’re seven unbeaten (on the road) with four clean sheets in our last nine (overall) since we changed shape. We were conceding too many so felt a change of system would help change our fortunes, which came with a good run over Christmas.'

Despite still playing well, Guiseley have had a couple of defeats since New Year and Bignot is aware of how damaging too many more could be. He said 'It’s the business end of the season, now we’re into the last third. Picking up points becomes massive and it’s all about that return, so we need to come back with something from Darlington'...

[At Brackley] 'Our performance on the ball throughout wasn’t great and we never really imposed our game on them, but it was quiet day for (our goalkeeper) Marcus (Dewhurst)... We’ve come into the dressing room disappointed afterwards, which is a positive emotion to have when you’ve played a team like Brackley.'”

At Hereford FC "The Bulls get the month of February underway with an away trip to Alfreton Town. It will be Interim Head Coach, Josh Gowling’s first away game at the helm against a club with whom he had a short spell in 2018.

We sit just two places and three points behind our hosts and head into the game on the back of successive 1-1 home draws following last weekend’s last-gasp leveller from the penalty spot by the ice-cool Tom Owen-Evans against Curzon Ashton.

Alfreton meanwhile will be in upbeat mood having hit Gloucester City for six on Tuesday evening... Both Tom Owen-Evans and Rowan Liburd returned from loan spells to figure in our last game...

'It’s nice to feel wanted,' admitted Owen-Evans. 'There is a positive vibe around the place with everyone feeling refreshed and ready for the challenges ahead'...

Ben Pollock was red-carded in the last game, whilst Jordan Nicholson has this week headed out on loan to Buxton."

At Kettering Town "Incoming, the club can annouce that midfielder Alistair Smith from Mansfield Town has joined the club on loan for 1 month, he has also played for Loughborough Dynamo and Frickley Athletic.

Outgoing, Joel Carta has joined Grantham Town on 1 month's loan".

Kidderminster Harriers are "journeying to King’s Lynn Town. The league leaders have been in simply sensational form over the last few months, and sit comfortably at the top of the tree and ahead of York City.

Lynn have swept aside almost all that have gone before them in recent weeks, netting four straight wins and as many clean sheets in succession, downing Blyth Spartans 3-0 last time out.

It makes the the task at hand seem sizable, and then some, to Harriers, but boss Jimmy Shan was adamant there was to be no change in approach or preparation ahead of the clash.

While the gaffer will be without the injured Declan Weeks for the trip, he is able to again call on the services of Rhys Williams who returns from suspension".

From King's Lynn Town we learn that "Defender Ross Barrows has signed a contract extension at The Walks.

The new deal will see Barrows, who arrived at the club from Grantham in March of last year, remain at the club until the summer of 2022. Barrows, who currently nursing a shoulder injury, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to sign a contract extension.

'When I signed a deal last summer it took a little while to sort out, but I’m enjoying my football more than ever. Ian (Culverhouse) gets the best out of me as a player. The way he wants to play is the way I was brought up as an Academy player.

'He gives you that freedom to go and express yourself on the pitch and I’m playing with a great set of lads. There are so many leaders in that dressing room and the experienced players are helping me improve too.'

The defender, who has also played for both FC Halifax and Frickley, started his career as a youngster with Scunthorpe United."

Southport "announce that Adam Anson has signed for Southport from Witton Albion on a contract that will run to May 2022.

As part of the deal which has seen him join the club, Adam will go back on loan to the BetVictor Northern Premier League side until 1 March.

Adam, who is 23 on Tuesday, is a tall central defender who joined Witton in August 2019 from Chorley, where he had previously spent two seasons. He made 27 starts for the Magpies, helping them to promotion from the Vanarama National League North in 2018/19.

Having started his senior football career with Wigan Athletic, Adam has also spent some time on loan at Lancaster City. He was also on the books of both Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool as a youngster.

Manager Liam Watson said 'Adam is a great signing for the club and a player I have been after for a while. As a player, he has exactly the type of profile we are looking for and he will have a very bright future in the game'"

We learn from Spennymoor Town that "Experienced midfielder Jason Kennedy has joined Spennymoor Town on a one-month loan deal from Hartlepool United.

Kennedy, 33, boasts an impressive CV having played for eight clubs before his move to Pools in the summer of 2019.

The midfielder began his career at Middlesbrough where he made four Premier League appearances, before loan spells at Boston United, Bury, Livingston and Darlington. Kennedy joined The Quakers... ahead of the 2008/09 season... with his form earning him a move to Rochdale... racking up 15 goals in 193 appearances over a three-year spell.

Further spells with Bradford City and Carlisle United followed".

At York City "Sean Newton has insisted that results take priority over performances as City continue their promotion push in the second-half of the season.

York have won four of their five National League North games in 2020 and have the chance to extend their lead over Chester on Saturday...

'If it means not playing well and we win then I’ll take it,' Newton admitted. 'I don’t think it matters this end of the season we just need to win games... and see where it takes us.'

Newton... has had an impressive campaign in the Minstermen’s defence... The former England ‘C’ international came through the youth system at Chester, before going on represent the likes of Telford, Lincoln City and Wrexham.

'It’s always nice to play against clubs you’ve played for in the past,' he said. 'Obviously [with] the two in charge there it's always a hostile, in-your-face game so it’s one that I’m looking forward to.'...

Striker Kurt Willoughby recently joined City on a one-month loan deal from AFC Fylde, bolstering manager Steve Watson’s attacking options... 'Sometimes a fresh face can just liven things up a bit; players who are in the side or in the squad, they have to up their game because there’s someone come in to take their place,' he said.".