Altrincham make the short trip to FC United of Manchester on Saturday afternoon (3pm) as they look to bounce back from defeat last time out.
It has been two weeks since the Robins lost 3-0 away at Leamington in their last game, so Phil Parkinson's side will be eager to go some way to putting things right at the weekend.
Parkinson has used the fortnight off to bolster his squad in the transfer market, and the quartet of goalkeeper Steven Drench, midfielder Mason Fawns and loanees Yusifu Ceesay and Joe Pigott could all be involved for the first time on Saturday.
FC United have been in poor form themselves and come into the game having lost their last three games and sit second from bottom in the table, so the pressure is on boss Neil Reynolds and his players as they look to cut the gap between themselves and the teams just outside of the relegation zone.
Reynolds replaced player-manager Tom Greaves at Broadhurst Park in October and has the task of keeping the team in the National League North, but the former Bamber Bridge boss will be confident that there are enough games to turn things round before the end of the campaign.
Last time out:
The two clubs met back in August, with FC United coming away with a 2-1 victory at The J.Davidson Stadium on that occasion.
Jordan Hulme gave the Robins the lead just before the hour mark on that day but United managed to turn the game on its head after that.
Goals from Liam Dickinson and Kurt Willoughby saw them come back from behind to earn all three points.
Those making the short drive to Broadhurst Park should take note of the postcode M40 0FJ. The ground is based on Moston, just off of Moston Lane on Lightbowne Road.
In terms of public transport, the best way to get to the ground is to get the Metrolink from Altrincham Interchange to Piccadilly Gardens, and then walk around the corner to Oldham Street to get the 81 bus to Broadhurst Fields.
This is only around a five-minute walk from the ground and buses run every hour.
Adults - £12.00
Concessions - £7.00
Under 18s - £3.00
Through The Years by Howard Watts & Mike Garnett – 9th February
|1924||Tranmere Rovers Reserves||A||CSC||L||3-5|
|1952||Stockport County Reserves||A||CCL||L||0-2|
|1957||Tranmere Rovers Reserves||A||CCL||L||1-5|
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Injuries to Ben Harrison and Connor Hampson cast a shadow over a welcome and deserved return to winning ways for Altrincham as they recorded their first-ever victory over FC United of Manchester at Broadhurst Park.
The memory of a dispiriting 3-0 defeat at Leamington a fortnight ago was well and truly banished, as John Johnston fired Alty in front and Andy White claimed a winner late on for a 2-1 scoreline that reinforced the Robins' hold on a play-off place in the Vanarama National League North.
It was a victory achieved in the face of unwanted injury disruption, after Hampson was forced off with a damaged hand in the first minute and, more concerningly, Harrison was stretchered off with a recurrence of knee ligament trouble before half-time.
Alty could hardly have wished for a worst start than losing Hampson inside the opening minute, as the left-back went down in pain and indicated he had suffered what may prove to be a repeat of the broken hand that kept him out for several weeks earlier this season.
It was difficult to tell how the injury was sustained, but it was clear he could not continue, as he made his way to the sidelines and gave way to substitute Simon Richman, who slotted in at right-back, with White switching to the left.
Alty looked the more threatening in a fairly low-key first 20 minutes, with the midfield battle being won by the visitors and debutant Joe Piggott looking lively and energetic up front in the absence of the suspended Jordan Hulme.
Clear-cut chances were still in short supply, for all Alty’s pressing, but all that changed in the 26th minute, when Johnston broke the deadlock.
The opportunity arose after Max Harrop burst clear and hit a shot that advancing keeper Andy Fisher stopped with a block that sent the ball spinning out towards Johnston. The winger still had plenty to do, with several FC United bodies barring the way to goal, but an unerring low drive did the trick, as the ball flew past the covering defenders and into the net.
It was a deserved lead, but it was almost surrendered, following debutant keeper Steven Drench’s only error of an otherwise impressive afternoon. The recent signing’s distribution was flawless, other than when a misplaced pass suddenly presented Dale Whitham with a golden chance to equalise.
The FC United forward was clean through on goal, but Drench reacted brilliantly to keep out his shot with save that merited the slice of luck that followed, as Louis Myers and Kurt Willoughby got in each other’s way to spurn the chance of slotting home the resulting loose ball.
Manager Phil Parkinson had to instigate another defensive reshuffle after Harrison rose to win the aerial duel for a corner and crumpled to the turf as he landed. It appeared to be a recurrence of the knee ligament injury that kept him out for so long last year, and there were understandable misgivings over the length of his latest lay-off, as he was helped on to a stretcher and carried off in obvious distress.
It became even more of a test of Alty’s resolve when FC United equalised in the 77th minute, Whitham rising to power a header in off the post from a left-wing cross.
The home side’s momentum, as the decibels behind Drench’s goal soared, was almost palpable, yet Alty not only repelled their quest for a second goal but silenced the FC hordes with what proved a winner by White.
The versatile full-back’s 20-yard drive looked bound for the far corner until taking a change of direction off defender Zehn Mohammed and looping into the opposite side of the net. It was a massive deflection, but keeper Fisher’s frantic full-length dive confirmed the impression that White’s effort was on target, and it should surely go down as the Alty man’s goal, rather than an own goal.
Resilient to the last, Alty held out with relative ease to seal the win, though there was another injury concern in added time, when substitute Nathan Waterston suffered a knee injury in a heavy challenge and was still hobbling after the final whistle.