Altrincham host Darlington at the J. Davidson Stadium this afternoon (3pm) as they look to bounce back from last Saturday's defeat at Brackley Town, which was the Robins first defeat on their travels since January.
Darlington are in 9th place in the league, just 3 points behind 2nd spot & have taken 7 points from their 3 home games to date, including an eye-catching 2-0 victory against Southport last weekend.
They are yet to pick up a point on their travels, having lost 3-1 on the opening day of the season at Farsley Celtic & by the same scoreline at Curzon Ashton.
Former Blyth Spartans manager Alan Armstrong took over from Tommy Wright, now managing Halesowen Town, in the summer after the Quakers finished in 16th position last season, They were never in any real danger of relegation but the season was undoubtedly a disappointing one.
Armstrong has brought five players with him from his successful Blyth side to Blackwell Meadows in defenders David Atkinson, Louis Lang & Michael Liddle, striker Jamie Holmes and the very talented winger Jarrett Rivers, and will be hoping that they are additions to the squad that result in the Quakers challenging for the play-offs, although Armstrong has described this season as one of 'consolidation'.
Altrincham manager, Phil Parkinson said "Darlington are a very good side on their day & generally very attack minded, although having lost their 2 opening away games, it will be interesting to see if they come to have a go at us or sit deep & that will dictate the tactics that we implement in the game.We analysed the video of the game at Brackley last Saturday & the lads have taken the learning from that game on board. We had a fantastic session on Thursday night & we're ready to go."
The sides met on two occasions last season and the Robins came away with a 3-0 away victory in August before a thrilling 3-3 draw just before Christmas at the J.Davidson Stadium. Phil Parkinson's side came from 3-1 down to draw level through Ashley Hemmings's first goal for the club.
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Altrincham almost made it two wins in a row at The J.Davidson Stadium, but a late equaliser in the fourth minute of added-time from former Newcastle United striker Adam Campbell prevented the Robins from taking all three points.
Alty almost opened the scoring in the third minute, when Ash Hemmings broke down the left and delivered a low driven cross towards Jordan Hulme. Had the Alty striker connected, he would have put his side ahead, but the ball just eluded him.
Max Harrop went close 10 minutes later, with a free-kick that went just wide.
The first yellow card of the game went to Darlington's Louis Laing, the former Sunderland defender fouling Hulme in the 19th minute.
Darlington had their first clear chance of the game two minutes later, when a shot from the left went just wide of Steven Drench's goal and knocked the netting off the far post in the process, causing a stoppage in play.
The Quakers' David Atkinson received the second yellow of the game for bringing down Harrop in the 25th minute.
Andy White's poor pass 15 minutes later called Tom Hannigan into action, the centre-back clattering Jarrett Rivers with a sliding tackle.
Hannigan came out of the challenge worse off after Rivers caught him in the face with his leg, leading to the Alty man requiring treatment.
After several minutes of attention, Hannigan was stretchered off, with the referee following him to the sidelines and evidently indicating to the Alty bench that the challenge had been deemed a red card offence.
Bizarrely, the official chose not to raise a red card in the air, and it only became apparent the Robins were down to 10 men when manager Phil Parkinson was forced to withdraw Hemmings for substitute Toby Mullarkey.
John Johnston went close in the 45th minute, playing a one-two with Hulme before firing just wide.
Due to the stoppage in play, the referee added eight minutes of additional time in the first-half.
Darlington saw another yellow in the second minute of added time, Bermuda international Osagi Bascome going into the book.
The visitors had the last chance of the first-half three minutes later, when on-loan winger Tyrone O'Neill turned James Jones before hitting the post.
Half-time: Altrincham 0, Darlington 0.
Sean Williams got us back underway in the second-half.
Darlington almost broke the deadlock in the 48th minute, but Alty's Jones cleared the ball off the line.
The Robins were on the counter-attack two minutes later, as Harrop cut inside from the right and rifled the ball just wide.
Quakers captain Terry Galbraith required treatment just past the hour mark, after Harrop again cut inside and hammered a shot that poleaxed the defender after hitting him square in the face.
Alty opened the scoring in the 65th minute through Hulme. A Johnston corner found the head of Alty's number nine, who emphatically directed his effort beyond the reach of the Darlington keeper.
Darlington made their first change of the game just after the goal - Omar Holness came on for Atkinson.
Parkinson then made his second and final substitutions a minute apart - first Tom Peers came on for Hulme then Conor Branson replaced Harrop.
The visitors made their second sub of the game - Stephen Thompson made way for another Bermuda international, Justin Donawa, in the 72nd minute.
Branson was the first Altrincham player to go into the book two minutes later.
Drench was forced to make a brilliant save nine minutes from time when Darlington's Holness cut inside from the left and directed his shot to the bottom right of the Alty shot-stopper. It took an outstanding reflex stop to keep it out.
Johnston then almost doubled the Robins' lead in the 85th minute, with a blistering run down the left flank and angled shot that was palmed away by Elliot in the opposition goal.
Alty were down to nine men just a couple of minutes later, this time not due to a red card but an injury to Drench, which led to the keeper to be stretchered off and Johnston going between the sticks.
After a four-minute delay, the referee added six minutes of stoppage time.
Alty were holding their own until the fourth minute of additional time. Simon Richman made a clumsy tackle on the left side of the 18-yard box, gifting Darlington a free-kick, which Campbell converted into an equalising goal with a great curling effort into the top far corner.
The final whistle blew with both sides taking a point. It was a result that before kick-off many probably would have taken - however, after the determination and chances created from the home side, it could be argued they deserved the three points.
Full-time - Altrincham 1, Darlington 1
Goals - Jordan Hulme (Altrincham) 65 minutes, Adam Campbell (Darlington) 90+4 minutes.
Attendance - 994.