Alty host Stockport County in the First Round of the FA Trophy at The J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm) as they look for revenge against the Hatters after defeat last time out and ahead of the festive fixtures against their local rivals.
The two sides last met in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup in October, with Stockport picking up a 2-0 win at Edgeley Park despite a spirited performance from the Robins, so boss Phil Parkinson will be looking for the win at the weekend.
Sean Williams is edging closer to fitness and could make the squad following his metatarsal injury, while Ash Hemmings could see more game time after an exciting cameo in the win against Telford last weekend.
Parkinson's men convincingly beat Bradford (Park Avenue) 4-0 to reach this stage of the competition last month and will know that a similar performance will be needed if they are to come away with a win against Jim Gannon's side.
Stockport beat Chorley 3-0 to reach the First Round and will be looking to improve in all areas after a stuttering start to a campaign that has seen a side that reached the play-offs last season drop to 11th in the National League North table.
Last time out:
The aforementioned victory in the FA Cup in October saw goals from Frank Mulhern and Matty Warburton saw Stockport progress in the FA Cup.
The two sides have yet to meet in the National League North so far this campaign but Saturday will be the first of three games against County in a short space of time, with a trip to Edgeley Park to come on Boxing Day before the sides meet once again at The J.Davidson Stadium on New Year’s Day.
Concessions (65+, Students) £10
Juniors (12-16) £5
Under 12s £1
This match will be segregated and County fans will have access to the new catering facilities in the away end. Away fans should enter strictly via turnstiles 1-4.
Home supporters will also have additional catering facilities at their disposal with a new bottle bar being located in the Community Sports Hall which should reduce waiting time for service.
A full range of catering options will be provided around the stadium for home and away fans. A menu can be found here.
Turnstiles will be open from 13:30. We do of course recommend sensible consumption of alcohol.
Through The Years by Howard Watts & Mike Garnett – 15th December
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Live Commentary on Radio Robins, sponsored by Ashley Mowers Garden Machinery, and the broadcast starts at 2.40pm.
The match commentary sponsor is Kids Disco Parties
The commentary team is Tim Ainsworth, Paul Salt & John Edwards
You can listen to Radio Robins in any of the 5 following ways:
a) Visit our 'MatchCentre' and click the 'Radio Robins' tab in the Stockport County match where the Mixlr player is embedded and just press play
b) The Radio Robins website www.radiorobins.com. Open the page in any web browser and the broadcast should start automatically.
c) Download and install the Mixlr app on Android devices from the Google Play Store - start the app and search for 'Radio Robins'.
d) Download and install the Mixlr app on Apple devices from the Apple Store - start the app and search for 'Radio Robins'.
e) There is a temporary WIX website at https://rr5977.wixsite.com/radiorobins
Alty were knocked out of a second cup competition by Stockport County this season as they went down 1-0 at The J.Davidson on Saturday afternoon. Following County’s 2-0 win at Edgeley Park in the FA Cup in October, they handed Alty another knockout blow from the FA Trophy this time.
In difficult weather conditions that undoubtedly led to a smaller than anticipated crowd, it was the visitors that made the better start to the game. Phil Parkinson made several changes with a couple of players left out with flu and a couple of slight knocks affecting two others, and that gave the opportunity to the likes of Langley, Hemmings, a fit-again Williams and the returning Ben Harrison to come into the side.
Those changes naturally affected the cohesion of the team and took them time to settle into the game as County has the greater possession early on.
The goal was arguably deserved for the visitors midway through the first half when it did arrive but it was fortuitous to say the least. Frank Mulhern’s long range effort took a wicked deflection off Ash Palmer to completely wrong foot Elliot Wynne and give the visitors the lead.
The visitors had a good chance shortly after to go two up but Wynne pulled off a stunning save with his feet to deny Warburton when he looked certain to score.
Ash Hemmings, enjoying his first start in Alty colours, was the home side's main threat and he had some bright moments combining nicely with Jordan Hulme.
It was the Alty number nine who had a great chance four minutes before the break as his header forced an excellent save from County keep Ben Hinchliffe who parried well.
Alty gradually showed signs of settling down but were handed a major blow when Hulme was sent off shortly before half-time. As the Alty striker chased a ball down the sideline, Jamie Stott slid in to the tackle and Hulme landed on the full-back with the referee deeming the action to be dangerous play.
A half-time team talk clearly rallied the team as Alty came out of the blocks well. With Josh Hancock playing as a false nine and Hemmings and Mantack often tucking in to give Alty a presence up top, they started well. The introduction of John Johnston early in the second half helped as the Alty winger was in impressive form with the ball at his feet and gave Alty a key outlet out wide.
The game became increasingly stretched but it was Alty who looked the more likely for long spells as Jim Gannon’s side were content to hold on to their lead rather than push on. Josh Hancock had a whipped cross creating danger but it narrowly evaded his team-mates, while Simon Richman came close with an effort.
Stockport rung the changes to add greater pace up front as they were content to soak up the home side’s pressure and try hit them on the counter. It almost paid off as Mulhern saw his header flick the outside of the post while Wynne and Richman combined heroically to deny County a second in one goalmouth scramble.
Otherwise, the visitors were content to try see the game out but Alty never stopped trying to create an equaliser. Despite playing with ten men for the entirety of the second half, it was hardly noticeable as Alty were the better side. That lack of a poacher up top was ultimately noted as was any kind of luck.
Another frustrating afternoon and a result that was somewhat harsh on the players who performed heroically in various forms of adversity. Alty have an opportunity to make amends quickly next week as we welcome Darlington to The J.Davidson Stadium as National League North action resumes.