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> Altrincham V Chester FC - Match Thread #55 - Vanarama National League
Altrincham V Chester FC - Match Thread #55 - Vanarama National League
What Will The Outcome Be?
Altrincham Win [ 0 ] ** [0.00%]
Chester FC Win [ 1 ] ** [100.00%]
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Rio Doherty
post Jul 18 2020, 03:26 PM
Post #1


Rio Doherty
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Group: DC Members
Posts: 1350
Joined: 11-June 17
From: Newton, Chester
Member No.: 12774



We are at long last back in action tomorrow as we make the venture to Greater Manchester to play Altrincham away in the Vanarama National League North Play-Off Eliminator, live on the National League’s streaming website, where we look to go one step closer to promotion. Never felt as excited for a Chester game in a while yet I can’t even go - typical really! This will be a mammoth test, particularly with our top scorer departing and our late return to training, but at the same time there is absolutely no reason why we can’t come away from Moss Lane with a place booked in the last four. As the away side we will feel much more advantaged with nobody in attendance, as there won’t be an intimidating atmosphere which will relieve us of any pressure. We also just need to say goodbye to this whole ‘Altrincham’ mentality by just treating it as a normal game. Our woeful record at Moss Lane is well-documented, but we simply must forget that now and not let it get to our heads, because we have as much a chance of winning than they do. Alty are obviously an excellent side and will be the favourites, which may well put them under a slight bit of pressure, but we’re a good side ourselves and to be honest I thought we didn’t fare too badly in our last outing at the J Davidson Stadium.

Our last match was all the way back on March 7th as we fell to a miserable 2-1 defeat away at Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC. This game is absolutely meaningless in regards to tomorrow as both teams have no form, although it could actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise because had this fixture been played the following week, we may have been affected psychologically. I can remember the first half being very drab with John Johnston missing a sitter, and I can recall Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC taking the lead at the other end as Tom Clare bundled in to make it 1-0. We began the second half in an improved fashion as Matty Waters managed to find the net directly from the corner spot for us to make it 1-1. Another defensive lapse proved to be costly at the other end, as Oli Johnson looped a header in to make it 2-1 to Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC. We couldn’t muster a second equaliser which made it an embarrassing afternoon in West Yorkshire.

Altrincham have once again had an excellent season as a red hot second half of the campaign has saw them earn a deserved play-off berth. The Robins made a very slow start to the campaign though, as just two wins out of eight in the opening month saw them languish near the relegation spaces. Alty managed to rectify their poor start though, especially in November, as an unbeaten league run, topped off with a dream away day at Portsmouth, saw them kick-start their campaign. Our opponents since maintained that form, particularly after Christmas, as they eventually broke into the play-offs and haven’t looked back since. Altrincham have a whopping five former Seals in their side, who are Tony Thompson, Elliott Durrell, Craig Mahon, Dan Mooney, and Tom Peers. Goalkeeper Tony had a brief spell here at the back end of the 2015-16 season where he was solid enough, while he has been at Alty from 2017 - turning out to be a fans’ favourite. Meanwhile, winger Durrell was here from 2016-17 where he was bizarrely refused of a new contract by Jon McCarthy. Elliott joined our opponents from fellow play-off rivals York City in January. Thirdly, winger Mahon goes down in Chester folklore as a legend, having been here from 2013 up until January of this year. Mahony has been impressive for The Robins thus far after his transfer from us. Penultimately, winger Dan Mooney was on loan here from Fleetwood Town last season, where he particularly shone in the first half of the season by creating his own ‘goal of the season’ competition. He faded away after the New Year though, which reminded me of free agent Ryan Lloyd as he too was 50-50 in his second loan spell. Lastly, striker Tom Peers is an Academy graduate having signed first team forms in 2013. He was here until 2016 where one particular highlight was when his equaliser at Altrincham’s rivals, Macclesfield Town, turned out to be the catalyst in our injury time win in 2014. Tom has been at Moss Lane since 2017 and has been in and out of their team.

A lot of fantastic stuff has happened behind the scenes at our club in recent months which has really pulled us all together to clearly implement our club motto - ‘Our City, Our Community, Our Club’. This has actually happened at the perfect time as there was a real division when Stuart Murphy approached us a few months ago, but rather ironically we, the supporters, along with our volunteers, directors, staff, and players have since united as one to highlight how powerful the collective people in fan-ownership can be. I haven’t experienced a feel-good factor as strong as this since 2013, or possibly 2014 in the FA Cup, and this really could have a positive knock-on effect in regards to our on-pitch performance tomorrow. It’s actually becoming more and more popular in the play-offs at all levels to see the outsiders fare more successfully than the teams that have just missed out on automatic promotion, because the outsiders have that buzz of just managing to sneak in there which translates to a more positive and confident mindset, whilst teams who missed out on the automatics can be affected mentally and bottle it under pressure.

Of course, we have had a four month break so the tables may well turn just for this occasion, although they certainly didn’t for Wycombe Wanderers and Northampton Town who were the outsiders. WE, Chester FC, will be put under the same name tag as the above, but does it really matter? Of course not! Just look at Braintree Town for instance in the 2017-18 season, as they won promotion back to the National League by playing all three matches away from home whilst being part time, so it CAN be done. We are fortunate to actually be in the play-offs as I was really fearing that we’d slip out after the Horsfall horror show, but perhaps we can use this Lady Luck to emulate Wycombe! I am not expecting promotion this time out due to the circumstances, but I do expect us to give it a good go and give it 110% as well, and with this squad I fully believe they will give it their all, because they CARE about our club and should be regarded as heroes for their terrific gestures, whatever the outcome. Give me this squad over the complete diatribe of Lucas Dawson, Wade Joyce, and Liam Davies any day of the week. Whatever the outcome, I am extremely proud of all of our squad and can’t ask for much more really. Just play to the maximum and shake-off the Altrincham cloud that always seems to catch us whenever we are at Moss Lane, and you never know, we could nick something. UP THE SEALS!

Score: Altrincham (Hancock) 1-1 Chester FC (Elliott) - Chester FC to win 5-4 on penalties

Attendance: 3̶,̶1̶2̶7̶ (1̶,̶0̶0̶0̶ Chester FC)

My predicted lineup:
Gray
K.Roberts Livesey Grand Taylor
Jackson G.Roberts Glendon Johnston
Dudley Elliott

COYB!


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Rio Doherty
post Jul 19 2020, 01:47 AM
Post #2


Rio Doherty
******

Group: DC Members
Posts: 1350
Joined: 11-June 17
From: Newton, Chester
Member No.: 12774



My bumper match preview:
https://youtu.be/xi707PnK2EA
Packed with all you need to know about today’s encounter, including...
👀 A lowdown on Altrincham.
⚽️ What happened the last time we locked horns with The Robins.
🤝 The latest in our transfer scene.
🔥 Key player to watch out for in Alty’s side.
📽 Plus much more!

I’ve added a couple of extra features to improve the overall quality of my edits/videos too so I hope you enjoy!


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Rio Doherty
post Jul 22 2020, 11:27 PM
Post #3


Rio Doherty
******

Group: DC Members
Posts: 1350
Joined: 11-June 17
From: Newton, Chester
Member No.: 12774



Heartbreaking to lose in the manner we did due to a diabolical refereeing decision that certainly contributed towards our defeat, but regardless of that I am so proud of our squad. I’d say we performed relatively well on Sunday afternoon as in the early stages of the game we looked nervy and shaky, but we soon grew into the contest and gave it a good go. Altrincham were better than us though and deservedly won in my opinion, as once they grew into the encounter they played some great football and used their extra preparation time to their advantage with their energy.

The first period was a tad below par because we started off rather slowly and were prone to being hesitant and giving the ball away a few too many times. Alty were pretty rusty too as some of their players made dodgy touches, but they had more possession than us which enabled them to rectify their errors and go at us more often. The first chance of the game did go to our opponents, and it was a big one too as Louis Gray made a brilliant first impression by palming Josh Hancock’s free kick over. Former Seal Dan Mooney went just as close to breaking the deadlock shortly after as he found the side netting, whilst our first chance of the game came at the other end as a tame Danny Elliott hit forced a simple save out of Tony Thompson. I was slightly disappointed with how we let the hosts have too much time on the ball in those early stages, as especially in the wider areas, we failed to close Alty down and apply any pressure. Things did become quite scrappy in the centre of the park as a few tasty tackles were made, but after quite a slow start, we did have a very good spell around the 15-25 minute mark where we had some great opportunities. Our best attempt of the half fell to Elliott again as he maintained his lively start by powering a header into the hands of Alty’s custodian, while John Johnston was the next to test Thompson, as he got down low to make a smart stop. George Glendon was the next to go for goal, but a hit from long range sailed well wide. Before the drinks break, we survived a major scare as Gray once again made a fantastic stop, as he tipped a Dan Mooney effort around the post following a poor Simon Grand backpass. We did tail off after that bright spell though, because it was Altrincham who took the lead to make it 1-0 as a long range Josh Hancock strike beat Louis Gray. Despite having a strong start, Gray made a bad error here as he should have easily tipped the ball around the post. We did seek to find a way back into the game before the interval though as Brad Jackson blazed over before a Simon Grand header was parried over by Thompson. We didn’t exactly set the world on fire in that half so you couldn’t really argue too much with the scoreline at half time.

Meanwhile, the second half produced plenty of action, and was a half of two halves at The Robins dominated the first part, whilst we threw everything at them in the second part. The major talking point of the game came seven minutes into the half as John Johnston brought down Dan Mooney to hand Altrincham a penalty. It was a comical decision by David McNamara, who caused division when he refereed our late defeat to Brackley Town in February, as firstly Dan Mooney was offside in the build-up, whilst he was going down before Johnston made his minimal and unintentional contact. We all know that refs in non-league (and England as a whole) are shoddy, but I think this one topped the lot off on Sunday as that decision was a major turning point in the encounter. It was Elliott Durrell who dispatched the penalty to make it 2-0 to Altrincham - sending Louis Gray the wrong way. That goal effectively made it game over for us as we looked dejected and it seemed like we accepted defeat. Elliott Durrell bagged his second goal in quick succession to make it 3-0 to Altrincham, as he had plenty of space to cut inside and fire into the far corner - flying straight past Louis Gray who should have got his hands to it. It seemed like we accepted our fate, but George Glendon was having none of it as he sparked a mini revival by tapping home for us to make it 3-1. From that moment until the final kick, we were superb as we unleashed a sense of hunger to really throw everything at Alty. Our style of play was much more effective as we were much more clinical on the wings, we closed Altrincham down better, broke up the play more, and were much more creative. Credit must go to Bern and Jonno for the mass of substitutions they made, as the likes of Matty Waters, Matty Hughes, and Anthony Dudley all improved us. Waters was so close to emulating his inch-perfect free kick against Leamington, as a curler from 20 yards out just rippled the side netting. With just under 20 minutes left on the clock, we gave ourselves a huge sense of belief as Matty Hughes headed home for us to make it 3-2. It was a move off the training pitch as Matty Waters bursted down on the left flank to whip a super cross in to Hughes who planted a header in. We threw the kitchen sink at The Robins’ net, just like we did in the FA Cup Replay in September, and with minutes to spare we really should have had a penalty as Jamie Morgan was pushed down. In my view, it was just as bad as the Dan Mooney palava so the ref should have pointed to the spot - (talk about double standards!) As a result, Anthony Johnson was sent off for us for complaining about the decision. A spirited end to the game couldn’t bring that equaliser, which means a third consecutive season at this level lies ahead.

George Glendon is my man of the match for Sunday because he was really effective in the centre and got us the goal back that started our mini revival. Matty Waters definitely improved us when he came on too with his set pieces, and his assist for Matty Hughes’ header was one from the training ground. Kevin Roberts performed excellently as well, and Anthony Dudley was much better up front. Louis Gray made a couple of superb saves early doors, but he was then at fault for Altrincham’s first and should have done better for their third goal, which puts a dampener on his performance. If he does sign then we must give him a few games to settle in, so the jury is still out for me. Brad Jackson had a rare off day as he was very rusty, and he gave the ball away for the first goal after cutting inside. Finally, Scott Burton had an awful game as he was just lacklustre and barely did anything that effected the game, and he too can share some blame for the first goal by not tracking back. I agree with others that he needs to go in the Summer, and in my opinion I wouldn’t be surprised if Gary Stopforth was to go either because he was the shadow of his former self this season.

We had absolutely nothing to lose at the start of Sunday so we can bow out of the play-offs with our heads held high, particularly after the sheer amount of heart and desire we shown in the final 25 minutes. I’m not particularly keen on the ‘we go again’ phrase, but it is definitely applicable in these circumstances as this will hopefully be the start of something special, and we need to use yesterday’s pain as motivation to go the extra mile next season. There certainly won’t be a mass overhaul here, which is the correct approach as we need to be emulating what Stockport County did by keeping the majority of the squad and adding a little bit of extra quality to push us further. Regardless of what happened on Sunday our squad will still go down as heroes, and we are actually fortunate to have participated in the play-offs anyway so despite us not achieving what we wanted to achieve, I am proud we gave it a good go. What we need to do now is keep pushing ‘Boost The Budget’, as the more money we receive the stronger our playing budget will be, which will mean we can sign a better calibre of players - in turn boosting our chances of promotion. There is genuine cause for optimism here so let’s keep the faith and give this league all we’ve got next season.


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Rio Doherty
post Jul 22 2020, 11:28 PM
Post #4


Rio Doherty
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Group: DC Members
Posts: 1350
Joined: 11-June 17
From: Newton, Chester
Member No.: 12774



Match highlights:
https://youtu.be/m7-cnB89A7c


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