BARRY PIKESLEY - SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DAMIAN


The following article is reproduced from "The Robins' Review"...

SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DAMIAN

"'Struggling Part-timers 1 Full-time Fairly Large Budget 0.' That was the pithy synopsis of last Saturday afternoon's fixture at the J Davidson Stadium which was posted on the Barrow AFC supporters' forum by a sorrowful Bluebirds' fan.

From an Alty perspective, I think that we simply have to acknowledge that fortune undeniably favoured us on the day and Barrow seemed somehow fated not to score.

Nevertheless, I was somewhat sheepishly elated to welcome both Alty's second successive victory and our second consecutive clean sheet in the league, the latter statistic representing a feat which we failed to accomplish throughout the 2014/15 season.

Tim Deasy has already demonstrated that he constitutes a considerable upgrade on Dave Parton and he was in exceptional form against his former club. Meanwhile, the fearless Scott Leather proved to be another brick in the wall courtesy of some trademark timely interceptions and blocks that would have made his mother proud.

The Robins' goal was, indeed, a delightfully crafted effort comprising eight passes which progressed from deep inside our own half. James Lawrie had the vision to spot Damian Reeves on the run and his exquisitely weighted through ball was right on the money to set up our favourite Doncaster plasterer, who promptly netted his first goal of the season in characteristic fashion.

Since his brace in the 2-1 win at Dartford back in March, an astonishing 18 matches have transpired without the surname Reeves appearing as an Alty goalscorer (although he has been named as a member of the Robins' starting XI in only nine of those fixtures), which easily represents his longest goalscoring drought during his tenure at this club.

Damian Reeves' strike against Barrow was also a truly historic moment in the annals of Altrincham FC, as it comprised his 148th goal for the club and thereby enabled him to eclipse both Graham Heathcote and Jack Helme and ascend to outright second position behind the prolific Jackie Swindells (265 goals) in the all-time list of Alty's leading goalscorers.

The Robins now face a trio of league fixtures against the teams who presently occupy the bottom three places in the Vanarama National League table, so I have high hopes that we can proceed to capitalise on the trials and tribulations of others, enjoy a productive October and, consequently, both open up up a significant points gap between us and them and breathe new life into our campaign.

One misgiving which both dogs me and continues to inflict brain damage though concerns the fact that we are currently the joint-lowest goalscorers in the league (alongside Southport) with the meagre sum of 12 goals accumulated during our 14 league fixtures to date.

This evening's opponents FC Halifax Town presently possess the worst defensive record in the league, having conceded a tally of 32 goals so far this season. The beleaguered Shaymen have also lost all of their six away league fixtures to date and have endured a total of 21 matches since they last contrived to keep a clean sheet, which, coincidentally, occurred in a goalless stalemate on this ground back on 21st March 2015.

Last Saturday's ignominious 7-1 home annihilation against Cheltenham Town was an afternoon which swiftly nosedived into baptism of fire for the Shaymen's new Northern Irish management duo of Darren Kelly and Jim Harvey.

Alty diehards of a certain vintage will recall that Jim Harvey came very close to being selected as the Robins' manager for the 1992/93 GM Vauxhall Conference season before the Moss Lane Board eventually opted for Gerry Quinn. Wish you were here, Jim?

Let's hope that the J Davidson Stadium echoes with the cheers of Alty fans this evening and if the Robins run like hell, we can hopefully revel both in the collection of three more points and the happiest days of our lives.

Lee Sinnott can then stop and have a cigar and I can indulge in a few post-match G&Ts until I have become comfortably numb.

BARRY PIKESLEY