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REVIEW OF 2008-09

Altrincham FC Review of Season 2008-09



Above: Altrincham celebrate after winning the opening game of the season at Woking.

2008-09 was the most successful in terms of finishing position in the non-League pyramid for Altrincham since 1995-96 as the Robins finished 15th in the Blue Square Premier. Having spent much of the previous season (2007-08) in, or around, the relegation paces, this season got off to a good start with an away win on the opening day at Woking but then Altrincham gained just three draws from their next eight games. The next ten games brought the best run of the campaign with seven wins and a draw. After that, a steady run allowed Altrincham to amass 44 points from 34 games by the time they completed a double over Woking in game 31. Thus, they were seemingly virtually safe with 15 matches left. Then came a poor run of just one win and three draws in eleven games. But seven points gleaned from the final four games kept Altrincham well clear of relegation. It was the first time since 2003, when Alty were in the UniBond Premier, that there had been nothing hanging on the final league game of the season - except, in this case, for our opposition, Cambridge United, who could have won the title had they beaten the Robins 5-0. The game ended goalless.

It was also the first summer in four that Altrincham had not been dependent on the outcome of the Conference AGM in June to confirm their status.

Altrincham reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup for the second successive year, losing in a replay to Luton Town after Warren Peyton had seen a penalty saved. The replay was a costly game for Altrincham as Luton rrefused to switch the game to a Thursday and thus deprived themselves and Altrincham of 37,500 each in television rights. The Hatters' intransigeance did them no good as they were relegated to the BSP at the end of the season but that was little consolation to the Robins.

Off the field, the newly formed TASC (The Altrincham Supporters' Club), supported the Board as it continued on its prudent path of living within the Club's means.

The youth team finished third in their eight-club league but did not win any trophies this season. However, they finished the season with a promising young squad, most of whom are eligible for next season when their experience should help them to do well.

  • In 2007-08 Alty had gained just 15 points in the first half of the season and 26 in the second half of the campaign, this time (08-09) the two halves of the campaign were more even; 29 points were won in the first 23 games and 27 gained in the final 23 matches.

    But, in 2008-09, despite gaining five more points than last season, Alty scored seven fewer goals (49 v 56). Defensively, however, things were much improved with 16 fewer goals conceded (66 v 82).

    Games 1-23
    Games 24-46

    Below is Alty's league record since 1998-99. For Alty's historical league record (excluding play-offs), click here

    1998-99 UNIP 42 23 11 8 67 33 80 1
    1999-00 CONF 42 9 19 14 51 60 46 21
    2000-01 UNIP 44 20 10 14 80 58 70 7
    2001-02 UNIP 44 19 9 16 66 58 66 9
    2002-03 UNIP 44 17 9 18 58 63 60 14
    2003-04 UNIP 44 16 15 13 66 51 63 12
    2004-05 NN 42 19 12 11 66 46 69 5
    inc playoffs NN 45 22 12 11 72 50 [78] 5
    2005-06 CNAT 42 10 11 21 40 71 41 18*
    2006-07 CNAT 46 13 12 21 53 67 51 21
    2007-08 CNAT 46 9 14 23 56 82 41 21
    2008-09 CNAT 46 15 11 20 49 66 56 15

    * 2005-06 Alty's deduction of 18 points reduced their official total to 23 points and sent them to 22nd and bottom place.

  • Right: Chris Senior feels the pinch from Wrexham's Steve Evans.

    As in 2007-08 Altrincham again made significant use of the loan player system, but not to the extent of 2007-08's levels when the total use of such players reached double figures. This season, five loanees played in the BSP (Banim, Hadfield, Waterfall, Welch and Wilkinson). But an interesting variant on the straightforward loan was the return of five more players who had formerly played for Altrincham and who now signed BSP forms whilst remaining with their current clubs - Danny Heffernan, Rod Thornley, Pat McFadden, Alex Frost and Ben Deegan. Of these, only Rod played in a league game (3 in fact) whilst Pat was named on the bench.

    In 08-09, 31 different players were named for Altrincham first-team league games, with 28 of them actually getting on to the pitch - Danny Heffernan, Val Owen and Pat McFadden were the three who were named in BSP squads but did not get onto the pitch. In the previous season, 07-08, 38 different players were named for Altrincham first-team league games, with 36 of them actually getting on to the pitch.

  • Alty did the league double over two clubs - Woking and Northwich - having only done so once in each of the last two seasons. Only three teams did the double over Altrincham (Histon, Torquay and Stevenage) compared with nine teams which had completed the double over Altrincham in 2007-08, itself a total one higher than in 2006-07.

    Alty beat four of the teams in the top half of the season, all ex-League clubs - Cambridge, Oxford, Wrexham and Mansfield. In 2007-08 Forest Green were the only top 11 club beaten by the Robins.

    In 08-09, 33 of Alty's 56 points came against the nine teams below them. But in 2008-09, Altrincham lost more games against teams in the bottom half of the table than last season. In 08-09 they lost seven such games compared with just five defeats to teams finishing in the bottom half of the table in 07-08.

  • CUPS
  • Altrincham enjoyed some good cup success in 2008-9, winning the Cheshire Senior Cup, having been runners up last season. They again reached the FA Cup First Round, losing in a replay shoot-out to Luton Town. A low point was the 4-1 home defeat by Southport in the first round of the FA Trophy- the fourth successive time that they had fallen at the first stage in the FA Trophy. They did progress one round in the Setanta Shield competition, having fallen at the first hurdle last season.

    On top of their 46 league games, Alty played ten cup matches, making 56 competitive matches - two more than in 2007-08.

  • In 2008-09 Robbie Lawton failed to make it three seasons in a row as the leading appearance maker:

  • 54 appearances: Greg Young 51+3 (being 44+1 league and 7+2 cup games)
  • 53 appearances: Colin Little 49+4 (41+2 league and 8+2 cup)
  • 53 appearances: Dale Johnson 37+16 (31+13 league and 6+3 cup)
  • 52 appearances: Matt Doughty 50+2 (42+1 league and 8+1 cup)
  • 51 appearances: Anthony Danylyk 47+4 (39+3 league and 8+1 cup)
  • 50 appearances: Mark McGregor 49+1 (41+1 league and 8 cup)
  • 50 appearances: Warren Peyton 28+22 (19+21 league and 9+1 cup)

    In 2007-08 the leaders were:

  • 52 appearances: Robbie Lawton 51+1 (being 45 league and 6+1 cup games)
  • 51 appearances: Darren Tinson 51 (45 league and 6 cup)
  • 51 appearances: Warren Peyton 48+3 (41+2 league and 7+1 cup)
  • 50 appearances: Joe O'Neill 29+21 (23+6 league and 6+2 cup)
  • 47 appearances: Colin Little 42+5 (34+5 league and 8 cup)
  • 46 appearances: Chris Senior 35+11 (28+10 league and 7+1 cup)
  • 45 appearances: Chris Lane 39+6 (32+6 league and 7 cup)
  • 43 appearances: Stuart Coburn 43 (37 league and 6 cup)
  • 40 appearances: Ryan Shotton 40 (34 league and 6 cup)

    Leading appearances in 2006-07 came from:

  • 50 appearances: Robbie Lawton (pictured right) 50 (46 league + 4 cup)
  • 50 appearances: Warren Peyton 49(+1) (45+1 league + 4 cup)
  • 49 appearances: Lewis Chalmers 44(+5) (40+5 league + 4 cup)
  • 48 appearances: Joe O'Neill 45(+3) (41+3 league + 4 cup)
  • 43 appearances: Karl Munroe 41(+2) (37+2 league + 4 cup)

    Above: Greg Young is dragged down to celebrate by Chris Senior after the defender's late winner at home, against Lewes. Picture by Gavin Rathbone.


  • Joel Brownhill was the only current Youth team player to be named in a first-team squad in 2008-09 but he did not get onto the pitch. Others to be named in a league squad but make no appearances were Hefferenan, McFadden and Owen. Loan player Luke Waterfall was the only player to make a BSP substitute appearance but not to start a BSP game.

    Three Youth team players were named in first-team squads in 07-08 but never played - Tom Bailey, Danny Browne and Dominic Lillie. In 07-08, three other men played as subs in the Conference but made no starts in that league: Matty Berkeley (2 sub), Colin Potts (13) and Carlos Roca (7).


  • In 2008-09, Alty netted 67 goals, 49 in the league and 18 in cups. At home in the league they scored 30 times and away 19 times. They failed to score in 15 league matches. Altrincham scored in 7 league games which they ended up losing.
  • In 2007-08, Alty netted 71 goals, 56 in the league and 15 in cups. At home in the league they scored 31 times and away 25 times. They failed to score in 10 league matches. Altrincham scored in 15 league games which they ended up losing.

    13 different outfield players scored league goals in 08-09 (excluding 1 own goal from opponents); 14 Alty players scored in the BSP in 07-08. Of the outfield players, the ones to play most games without scoring in the BSP were Anthony Danylyk (39+3), Warren Peyton (19+21) and Chris Lane (30+4). But all three did score in cup games leaving James Smith, with no goals in 28 league and cup games as the outfield player who played most games without scoring a goal.

    In 07-08 the ones to play most games without scoring in any competition were Gary Scott 20(+5), Liam King (17 starts), Ryan Toulson 14(+2) and Gareth Whalley 10(+6).

    A highpoint of the 08-09 season as the win over Cambridge United; here the players meet before kick off

    For the fifth year in succession Colin Little topped the Altrincham goalscoring charts, with 18 goals, netting 16 of these in 41(+2) league games. Second was Chris Senior with 10 goals from 26+12 games in all competitions. In the BSP he netted seven from 23+7 matches.

    In 2007-08 Colin Little finished third in the national charts - despite not starting in more than a quarter of the league games. He scored 24 times in all, 21 of them in the league. The second leading scorer was Chris Senior with 13 goals (8 league and 5 cup). In 2006-07 Colin Little netted 13 goals, all but one in the league. He netted 17 goals in 2005-06, all in the league. In season 2004-05 (Conference North) he scored 24 league goals and 14 in the cup, making 38 in all.

  • In 2008-09, Altrincham scored 26 first-half goals and 23 after the interval. Their quickest goal was Chris Senior's against Mansfield after just 11 seconds. Michael Welch's 70-yarder against Crawley was Setanta Goal of the Month. Alty scored four goals in added time at the end of the ninety. There were six Alty goals in the first eight minutes of matches.

    In contrast to immediately previous seasons, in 07-08 Altrincham scored far more league second-half goals - they scored 21 first-half goals and 35 in the second half.


    League game goal times are shown below. Because of added time the periods 41-50 and 81-90 actually contain more time than the other time slots. 2008-09 figures are first, 2007-08 times are shown in "quotations", 2006-07 times are shown in {curly brackets}, 2005-06 times are shown in [square brackets]; 2004-05 totals are shown in (round brackets):

  • 1 to 10 mins: 6 "3" {10} [5] (2)
  • 11-20 mins: 2 "4" {3} [3] (7)
  • 21-30 mins: 9 "3" {9} [4] (7)
  • 31-40 mins: 4 "6" {3} [4] (2)
  • 41-50 mins: 6 "8" {7} [5] (13)
  • 51-60 mins: 5 "7" {4} [1] (8)
  • 61-70 mins: 6 "10" {5} [6] (11)
  • 71-80 mins: 1 "8" {3} [8] (7)
  • 81-90 mins: 10 "7" {9} [4] (13)


    Altrincham scored four league penalties in 2008/09, the same as in 2007/08, compared with five in 2006-07 when they also missed 3 times from the spot. Altrincham scored 4 league penalties in 2005-06. Three players netted league goals from the spot - Little (2), O'Neill and Doughty.


    2008-09 saw Alty concede five goals just once- at home to Forest Green Rovers, the same as 2007-08 when Altrincham also conceded five goals in a game just once, at home to Stevenage Borough. In 2008-09, they also conceded four goals on four occasions; at Kidderminster and Crawley and at home to Barrow and Rushden.

    In the league 12 clean sheets were kept in 2008-09, double the number kept in 2007-08. In 2006-07 Alty kept 11 clean sheets from 46 games compared with only 6 clean sheets from 42 matches in the league in 2005-06.

  • 69 yellow cards and five reds were picked up in league games in 08-09 (numbers subject to confirmation). Nine more yellows were received in cup matches. This reversed a downward trend as the yellow-card count was also reduced in 2007-08, with 61 league yellow cards being collected but the red card total then was six. A seventh red card came that season in the FA Cup but all the red cards went to different players. Altrincham's discipline had also improved in 2006-07 with 72 yellows and 3 reds picked up in 46 matches compared with 83 league yellow cards and 4 reds in 42 Conference matches in 2005-06.

    In 2008-09 the player with most league bookings was Robbie Lawton with 10. Curiously in eight cup games he picked up no bookings. In all competitions, Shaun Densmore amassed 11 yellow cards and a red, whilst Anthony Danylyk had 8 yellows and 2 reds.

    Right: Altrincham's engine room in action in the win over Oxford.

  • RUNS
  • Alty's longest run in 08-09 without a win was eight games (from game 2 to 9). Their longest run without defeat was six (games 10-15), The longest sequence of wins was 3 (games 13-15) and of defeats was four (games 32-35).

    In 2007-08 Alty went 10 league games from the start of the season without a win. Their longest run without defeat in the league was just three games, which they achieved twice (one win and two draws on each occasion).

    The finish to the season was the best in recent years, with just one defeat in the final six matches. Alty won only one of their last six games in 2007-08, a similar finish to the previous season when they won only one of the final seven games of the 2006-07 season. In 2005-06 they won only one of their last 13 league games, picking up just 5 points out of a possible 39 in these games. These years contrast with the 2004-05 season which ended with a run of just one defeat in 11 matches.


    Altrincham's largest home league gate in 2008-09 was 2,619, versus Wrexham, whilst the lowest was 605 for Eastbourne Borough's midweek visit. Home gates were slightly up on the previous campaign with a Moss Lane average of 1,081 spectators, 18 more than last season. Curiously in the same week as the lowest gate at Moss Lane, Alty also played in the match watched by the smallest BSP gate anywhere all season, just 337 at Lewes. However, they also featured in the second highest BSP gate of the campaign, 7,090 at Cambridge.

    Altrincham's largest home gate in 2007-08 was 1,851 versus Northwich Victoria whilst the lowest was 715 for Crawley's midweek visit.

    In the 2008-09 cup matches, 2,397 saw Luton play Alty in a midweek FA Cup replay at Moss Lane and 3,200 attended the original tie at Kenilworth Road. In contrast, on 16.9.08 in the Cheshire Senior Cup, just 128 souls came to Altrincham for the match against Vauxhall Motors.

    The cup matches in 2007-08 saw 2,457 attend Moss Lane for the FA Cup visit of Millwall. In contrast just 195 saw Alty overcome Vauxhall Motors at Rivacre Park in the CSC semi-final. In 2006-07 cup matches, just 140 watched Alty lose to Chester City in the Cheshire Senior Cup.

    Copyright: ©
    Compiled by John Laidlar