The Robins will look to build upon last week’s win this evening when they welcome promotion-chasing Hartlepool United to the J. Davidson Stadium
Struggling for confidence, having suffered five defeats on the bounce, Phil Parkinson’s side put in a determined performance to beat National League strugglers Woking 1-0, courtesy of Matty Kosylo’s strike in the second half.
The Cardinals started well, as Jamar Loza dragged his shot across the goalmouth on 13 minutes, before Jake Moult, on his 400th appearance, saw his goal ruled out for offside eight minutes later.
After Ryan Colclough saw his powerful shot saved by Ross, the Robins went down to ten men, after Tom Hannigan was adjudged to have been the last man when he felled Wareham.
Having been forced to defend, the Robins got a welcome reward in the 68th minute, when substitute Tom Peers fed Matty Kosylo in the centre of the box, allowing the midfielder to side foot the ball home past Ross.
Deep into added time, the Cardinals thought they had finally broken through, when an almighty goalmouth scramble allowed a clean shot on goal, but Tony Thompson pulled off a miraculous double save to maintain the Alty lead.
You can watch the highlights of that 1-0 home win by pressing play below.
Following that win, the Robins had climbed several places up the Vanarama National League table, moving up three places to eighth. However, having not played at the weekend and following wins for Bromley and Chesterfield, plus a draw for Boreham Wood, Alty dropped back down to 11th, two points away from the final play-off place.
With Alty finally put their losing streak of five games to an end on Tuesday, attentions will now turn towards earning their way back into the play-off places. However, with Hartlepool United still well in the title chase, Tuesday’s game will be an opportunity for Phil Parkinson’s side to test themselves against one of the better teams in the division.
Before this season, having been relegated from League Two at the end of the 2016/17 season, Hartlepool United had struggled to mount a serious promotion campaign, finishing no higher than 12th in the Vanarama National League. However, this season has seen the Monkey Hangers install themselves as genuine title contenders, alongside table-topping Torquay United, Sutton United, and Stockport County.
Their form over the last five games shows a side full of confidence, having won three (against Yeovil Town, Barnet, and Torquay United) and drawn two (against Wrexham and FC Halifax Town) of their last five matches, with their last loss coming against Eastleigh on February 16. Despite differing league positions, the Robins and the Monkey Hangers do have something in common; they both seem to have hit a difficult patch of form in front of goal, with Hartlepool scoring only five from their last five games.
In their last league outing against table-topping Torquay United, Luke Molyneux’s goal in the 14th minute was enough to move the Monkey Hangers level with the Gulls and Sutton United at the top of the league. Previous to that, in their draw against FC Halifax Town, Mark Shelton’s early goal in the 13th minute gave the visitors the lead heading into the break. With less than 15 minutes left in the game, Keiran Green stepped up to draw Halifax level, before going down to ten men as Danny Williams was shown a red card in the 85th minute. Despite the man advantage, Hartlepool United had to settle for a point.
Tuesday evening’s matchup will be the second meeting between Altrincham and Hartlepool this season, with both sides having already played on October 27, 2020 at Victoria Park. With the 2020/21 season only one month old, David Parkhouse’s strike in the 30th minute looked to give the hosts the win, only for Tom Peers to score late in the game to snatch a point.
You can watch highlights of that 1-1 draw by pressing play below.
Our opponents this weekend are managed by Dave Challinor, who became the Hartlepool United manager on November 11, 2019. He replaced the outgoing Craig Hignett, who was assisted by Antony Sweeney, after the former Pools’ player was relieved of his duties following a disappointing loss to Stockport County.
Beginning his career with Tranmere Rovers in 1994, Dave went on to enjoy eight years at Prenton Park, playing a total of 140 games while scoring six goals from his position at centre back. A move to Stockport County followed but after two seasons with the club, he soon found himself joining Bury in 2004, where he played 158 times. The latter period of his career was spent at Colwyn Bay, the club he eventually retired from playing with in 2011.
Originally starting as a player/manager, Challinor guided Colwyn Bay towards promotion during the 2010/11 season, winning the play-off final against FC United of Manchester. His success with the Bay saw him appointed as manager of AFC Fylde, the club he went on to enjoy serious success with. Following multiple promotions, Challinor guided the club to the FA Trophy Final, where they beat Leyton Orient 1-0 at Wembley Stadium on May 19, 2019. He departed Fylde in October 2019.
A win for Altrincham could reignite their play-off push by lifting them above Eastleigh and Notts County into sixth. However, Hartlepool will be well aware that three points, as well as negative results for Torquay and Sutton, could see them take control of the automatic promotion race.
Last five league games
Altrincham: LLLLW (F4 A9)
Hartlepool United: WDWDW (F5 A4)
Watch the game live
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The commentary team is John Edwards & Niall Finnegan & the stream starts at 7.40pm.
Listen to the game live on Radio Robins
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The match sponsor is Andys Man Club & the commentary team is Luke Edwards, Mark Simpson & Niall Flynn.
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*You're off ... Hartlepool right-back Lewis Cass is shown a straight red card for a high tackle on Matty Kosylo. Picture by Jonathan Moore.
Altrincham welcomed Hartlepool United to the J Davidson stadium tonight for a tough battle under the floodlights. Both sides came into the match with a point to prove, having drawn 1-1 in the fixture at Victoria Park. There was just one change to Phil Parkinson’s previous starting lineup, with Mullarkey fulfilling Hannigan’s role at centre-back.
The game kicked off with an energetic few minutes from Hartlepool. Molyneux was creating threats down the right flank but the Robins stood their ground, doing well to shut him down. Ceesay had the first chance for Alty, with a shot that flew over the bar in the 6th minute. It was an unfortunate evening for loanee striker Montel Gibson who after 20 minutes picked up a knock and had to be replaced by Tom Peers.
Soon after, Hartlepool had their first promising goal opportunity when Oats received the ball on the left wing and cut it back to Armstrong whose powerful shot struck Tony Thompson’s post. More action ensued when in the following minute Matty Kosylo was brought down by Hartlepool’s right-back Lewis Cass. The referee reached into his back pocket, pulling out a red card for the challenge and Altrincham found themselves in a role reversal of last Tuesday’s encounter with a man advantage.
Despite the decrement in numbers, it was the visitors who took the lead after 33 minutes. Molyneux made a dangerous run down the flank and drilled in a low ball. Oates was there to turn it home from close range and the Pools counterattack had proved successful.
After scoring, Hartlepool sat behind the ball and their defensive strategy was working well until the last few minutes of the first half. Ryan Colclough struck a long-range effort powerfully at the Pools keeper Killip who spilled the ball into the back of his own net and the teams were back square again.
HT: Altrincham 1 – 1 Hartlepool
The second half began with Altrincham pushing for a winner and the first 25 minutes was full of chances for the reds. Ceesay attempted an overhead kick, Zouma had a header float just over the bar and Peers had a volley that was blasted wide. Despite their efforts, Altrincham were missing the necessary finish to put them ahead.
Around the 70-minute mark things seemed to fizzle out for the Robins and Hartlepool did well to absorb any pressure. After having little to do, Tony Thompson was called into action and made an important stop at the near post.
The second half was a frustrating one for Altrincham who failed to find a way past the 10 men Pools and both teams in the end had to settle for a point.
FT: Altrincham 1 – 1 Hartlepool