Following on from the 1-1 draw with Stockport County on Boxing Day, Altrincham are quickly back in action this afternoon. FC Halifax Town is the destination.
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FC Halifax Town do not allow any radio commentaries, apart from the BBC who have contractual rights, to be broadcast from The Shay Stadium, whilst Halifax is in Tier 3.Radio Robins will broadcast remotely from The J.Davidson Stadium this afternoon.
*Josh joy .. Josh Hancock sweeps home Alty's first goal from a Matty Kosylo cross. Picture by Michael Ripley.
Altrincham's five-game unbeaten run came to a frustrating end after a late fightback fell agonisingly short of salvaging a point and condemned them to a 3-2 defeat at The Shay.
Twice, Alty trailed by two goals, but, each time, they hauled themselves back into contention by reducing the arrears in a lively encounter played in near-freezing temperatures.
On the second occasion, it was a sublime finish from fit-again second-half substitute Dan Mooney that trimmed Halifax's lead and raised hopes of the Robins maintaining their undefeated league and cup sequence.
But it was to prove too little too late, as Halifax survived late Alty appeals for a penalty and a glaring miss by Ryan Colclough to claim the points and leave the Robins empty-handed.
The Shay pitch is renowned as one of the biggest in the league, and Alty looked determined to make the most of the wide open spaces early on, with Joel Senior and Alistair Smith popping up on the right and Yusifu Ceesay's pace utilised on the left.
Barely two minutes in, Senior rolled a pass in from the right that Smith controlled before switching to his left foot and hitting a low shot that keeper Sam Johnson gathered with ease.
Smith was figuring prominently, as he has tended to more often than not since arriving from Mansfield on loan, but when he tried to tee up Josh Hancock with a pass from the right flank, Tom Bradbury stepped in with a timely interception to snuff out the danger.
If the early signs were promising, from an Alty perspective, they soon took on a more worrying appearance, as Halifax began to ease their way into the game.
Billy Chadwick had already tested Tony Thompson with a snap-shot from the edge of the area, in between Alty's two early half-chances, and the bustling Halifax striker had an even better opportunity to put his side in front soon after.
Thompson appeared to hesitate for a second over coming for a long through ball, a moment's indecision that left Chadwick in a one-on-one with the Alty keeper, who redeemed himself with a fine block from the striker's angled shot.
Still the danger wasn't over as the ball ran loose to Jack Earing, who, to Alty's collective relief, managed to blaze wastefully over a gaping net from 12 yards.
It was to be only a temporary reprieve for the Robins, however, as Halifax went ahead with an 18th-minute penalty after Tom Peers was adjudged to have handled in the area.
The danger came from a deep free-kick that Jeff King - nephew of Robins legend John King - brilliantly brought down beyond the far post before hitting a cross that cannoned into Peers on the edge of a crowded six-yard box. Amid claims from both sides, referee Rebecca Welch sided with the home team and pointed to the spot for a penalty that was despatched with some venom by Luke Summerfield.
Ceesay's pace took him past his marker on the left in the 27th minute, only for Peers to fail to capitalise on the winger's low cross, and it went from bad to worse for Alty two minutes later as they went further behind with an ease that will have concerned manager Phil Parkinson.
Kieran Green rolled a pass from the right flank inside to Chadwick who had time and space to drill a low shot past Thompson from the edge of the area. It really was that simple for the Shaymen, but Alty at least responded swiftly and decisively with a superbly worked and expertly taken goal in the 31st minute.
Matty Kosylo, back on familiar territory after a hugely successful spell with Halifax, brilliantly darted past two defenders on the right, and when he whipped in a waist-high cross, Josh Hancock was on hand to steer a first-time shot beyond Johnson.
Alty started the second half with Dan Mooney on for Kosylo, who had featured brightly for much of the first 45 minutes but may have been considered a red card risk after already being booked, following a challenge that led to pushing and shoving between several players near the centre circle.
There was scarcely time for the change to take effect before Alty found themselves further behind less than a minute into the second half.
Livewire left winger Danny Williams teed up Martin Woods for an unerring left-foot shot that gave Thompson no chance as it flew into the top right corner of the Alty net.
It was the worst possible start to the half for Alty but indicative of how Halifax had made light of their injury problems up front and looked a handful moving forward.
With Alty unable to replicate their rapid response to going two goals down in the first half, Parkinson took action to remedy matters by sending on Jacob Blyth for Peers on the hour.
It had little discernible effect to begin with, and, indeed, Alty might have gone further behind when Woods was allowed to advance unchallenged to the edge of the area before rifling a left-foot shot narrowly wide.
But while Blyth was still feeling his way into the game, Alty's other substitute produced a moment of sheer quality to reduce the arrears in the 70th minute.
Connor Hampson's deep cross from the left travelled some distance, but Mooney watched it all the way beyond the far post and met it with a brilliantly-executed first-time sidefoot volley to beat Johnson all ends up.
Hope renewed, Alty pressed for an equaliser and should have claimed one in the 82nd minute when Tom Hannigan won the aerial duel for a free-kick floated into the area to set up Colclough for a glorious chance that the Alty substitute dragged wide.
To make matters worse, loud appeals for handball and a penalty after a Hampson cross hit a Halifax defender were waved by the referee, allowing the under-pressure home side to see out the last few minutes and edge what had been an eventful encounter.