Alistair Smith returned to the side on Tuesday night and made a big impact. Pictured above by Jonathan Moore, he tussles with Yeovil Town's Tom Knowles.
Phil Parkinson’s Alty side will be on the hunt for their second successive win this weekend as they travel south to face Maidenhead United at York Road.
Following a run of four games without a win, The Robins were able to bounce back in impressive fashion on Tuesday evening, securing a 3-0 win against a struggling King’s Lynn Town side at the J. Davidson Stadium.
The hosts started the game on the front foot as top goalscorer Josh Hancock struck in the 15th minute, with the midfielder sneaking in at the near post to head the ball beyond the reach of Linnets ‘keeper Theo Richardson.
After Simeon Jackson had struck the bar for the visitors five minutes after the restart, the Robins were able to double their lead, as Hancock’s free-kick in the 57th minute took a deflection off the wall, leaving Richardson with no chance of keeping the ball out of the net.
Minutes later, James Hardy added a brilliant third for Altrincham, finishing off a great move between himself and Joe Piggott by weaving his way into the penalty area and slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
With the Norfolk-based side struggling to break down the hosts defence, the Robins were able to see out the rest of the game, securing an important three points which kept the club in touching distance of the play-off places.
You can watch the highlights of our 3-0 win against King’s Lynn Town by pressing play below.
Following that result, Phil Parkinson’s side climbed four places to occupy 11thin the Vanarama National League table, one point behind Chesterfield in 10th but having played five more games than the Spireites. Further to that, the Robins are now only three points behind Bromley in the final play-off place, but the Ravens, who recently announced Neil Smith’s departure from the club, still have three games in hand.
With Tuesday evening’s win providing a much-needed confidence boost, Alty will now be looking to put together a run of form which would see the club work their way back into play-off contention. However, to do that they will need to secure their first win on the road since collecting all three points against Torquay United at Plainmoor on February 2, a game which saw the Robins more than match the side who were top of the league at the time.
This will be the second time both sides have faced one another this season, with Altrincham picking up an impressive 2-0 win on home soil back in November. On that occasion, Josh Hancock’s penalty in the 63rd minute handed Phil Parkinson’s side the lead, before substitute Tom Peers doubled their advantage with only ten minutes left to play, converting from close range after Matty Kosylo’s pass evaded the ‘keeper.
You can watch the highlights of that 2-0 win by pressing play below.
Given the way the 2019/20 National League season was decided, and with the unfortunate demise of Macclesfield Town, Maidenhead United could have found themselves playing in the NL South this season, had things ended a different way. After retaining their place in the NL by the skin of their teeth, the Magpies have been a completely different animal this time around and they look more than likely to take the battle for a play-off place right until the final day of the season.
Following a 2-1 defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge a fortnight ago, a result which saw them go six games without a win, Saturday’s hosts have been in scintillating form, beating Chesterfield 2-0 before thumping Torquay United 4-1, with both games taking place at their York Road home. The Magpies are also boosted by the form of their forwards, notably Sam Barratt (nine goals from 18 games) and Danilo Orsi-Dadomo (10 goals from 22 games).
In their last match against Gary Johnson’s Torquay United, Maidenhead did not wait long before grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck, as Josh Coley’s sixth minute strike gave the Magpies the early lead. Two goals either side of the half-time break from Nathan Blissett put the game beyond doubt, before Orsi-Dadomo added a fourth in the 54th minute. The Gulls did score a consolation goal in the 90th minute, with Scott Boden converting from the spot, but it was too little too late for the National League title-chasers.
Our visitors are managed by Alan Devonshire, who took over first team affairs at the club in 2015, replacing the outgoing Johnson Hippolyte, someone who had spent just under nine years in charge of the club. Before managing Maidenhead, Devonshire had coached Braintree Town, before their relegation to the National League South.
Those familiar with the history of West Ham United might know a thing or two about who is coaching our opponents on Saturday. As a player, Devonshire guided the Hammers to FA Cup success in 1980, providing the assist to Trevor Brooking’s winning goal when they faced up against Arsenal at Wembley Stadium.
In total, the current Maidenhead manager made 358 appearances for the London-based club, scoring 29 goals before securing a move to Watford in 1990. Managing only one goal from 25 games for the Hornets, the former midfielder dropped out of the football league and dipped his toe into the world of management, linking up with Chippenham Sports as a player/coach.
Spells coaching at Osterley and Brentford Women led to Devonshire’s first spell in charge of Maidenhead in 1996. Seven seasons at York Road ended when he took over the reins at Hampton & Richmond Borough, leading the club to the National League, before joining Braintree Town in 2011. After four years in charge of the Essex-based club, he returned to Maidenhead and has converted the club from a mid-table National League South side into one with an eye on promotion to the Football League.
A win for Altrincham this weekend could lift the Robins up to eighth in the league, only outside the play-offs because of an inferior goal difference when compared to Bromley in seventh. However, a win for Maidenhead would see the Magpies leapfrog Alty and move into 11th, with several games in hand on those above them.
Last five league games
Maidenhead United: LDLWW (F10 A8)
Altrincham: DLDLW (F6 A5)
Listen to the game live on Radio Robins
Maidenhead United will not permit Radio Robins to broadcast from York Road, therefore Radio Robins, sponsored by Ashley Mowers Garden Machinery will provide a remote broadcast from The J.Davidson Stadium, starting at 5.45pm.
The match commentary sponsor is Andys Man Club.
The commentary team is Luke Edwards, Mark Simpson & John Edwards
You can listen to Radio Robins in any of the following ways:
1) By visiting our Match Centre on the club website
2) Download and install the Mixlr app on Android devices from the Google Play Store - start the app and search for 'Radio Robins'.
3) Download and install the Mixlr app on Apple devices from the Apple Store - start the app and search for 'Radio Robins'.
There will be no live stream of tomorrow's fixture as it is being broadcasted live by BT Sport.
Ryan Colclough in action at Yeovil last month
Picture: Jonathan Moore
They say wins come in all shapes and sizes, and that was never truer than at York Road on Saturday evening, as Ryan Colclough breached the Maidenhead United defence in a way it has probably never been breached before.
Colclough's propensity for trying his luck from any angle or distance has become well known to all since his arrival from Scunthorpe United, and it was evident again in the first half when he tried to catch keeper Taye Ashby-Hammond unawares with a free-kick from the left bye-line that flew into the side netting.
But surely not even Altrincham's audacious winger could have scripted a moment that had BT Sport viewers blinking in disbelief, as he lined up a corner on the left in the 63rd minute of a game that was still on a knife-edge at 0-0?
You might have wondered for a moment, and given some credence to the idea he actually meant it, had the ball been whipped in with height and pace and enough curl to trouble the home defence, but Colclough's delivery lacked all three.
It bobbled and dribbled its way along the ground and looked for all the world like a wasted opportunity until a wild swing of defender George Wells' right boot not only failed to make contact but left Ashby-Hammond frozen to the spot as the ball continued its unlikely route into the Maidenhead net.
As his team-mates rushed over to congratulate him, Colclough went through what looked like a golf shot goal celebration, quite possibly indicating a swing and a miss by the hapless home full-back.
Already, jubilant Alty fans have gleefully relived Wells' horror moment on social media, replaying the footage taken from directly behind Colclough and mischievously describing it as everything from goal of the season contender to Sunday League defending at its finest.
And who can blame them? It was to prove decisive, but if the goal was of a freakish nature, the win itself owed far more to fortitude than fortune, with no mean measure of free-flowing football thrown in for good measure.
For 25 minutes or so in the first half, Alty were at their imperious best, stroking the ball round with a sureness and purpose that had Maidenhead chasing shadows and struggling to keep their goal intact.
Colclough carried the threat to the home defence from the off, firing a couple of early efforts that were blocked and following up with another that forced a save from Ashby-Hammond.
All Alty's early enterprise needed was a goal, and how it failed to arrive in the 19th minute may still be puzzling manager Phil Parkinson after no fewer than four scoring opportunities came and went in the space of one attack.
It started with James Hardy drifting to his right in the area and having the vision and technique to back-heel the ball brilliantly into the path of Josh Hancock, who should have scored from close range but clipped his shot close enough to Ashby-Hammond for the keeper to parry it.
As the ball bounced away to the left of the Maidenhead goal, Colclough swivelled to meet it with a shin-high volley that could hardly have been hit any cleaner but crashed against the crossbar.
Still, Alty kept the pressure on, but Hancock couldn't quite react quickly enough when the ball fell to him again near the six-yard box and, finally, Connor Hampson sent a rising drive narrowly over from 20 yards.
What a let-off for Maidenhead, and a nagging concern Alty might pay for not capitalising on their dominance wasn't helped by the home side then gradually forcing their way into the game, particularly from a series of set-pieces aimed at exploiting their height and physical presence.
Alty's defence, to their credit, stood firm, with Tom Hannigan a pillar of strength as ever and Toby Mullarkey frequently showing outstanding anticipation to break up attacks. All of which was in stark contrast to Maidenhead's rearguard when the moment of truth arrived just after the hour-mark.
From a Maidenhead perspective, it was an utter shambles from start to finish. No-one was guarding the near post when the corner left Colclough's right boot, and when Wells tried to make amends by dashing to meet it, he took an out-of-control swing at the ball that will haunt him for years to come.
To compound an error you would rarely see on a Sunday morning parks pitch, Ashby-Hammond, standing behind Wells, was so unnerved by it, he stood transfixed as the ball bobbled past him and crossed the line, an inexplicable failure to react by the Maidenhead keeper.
Unsurprisingly, Maidenhead reverted to a tried and trusted route one formula in their quest for an equaliser, but not only did Alty repel everything thrown at them - protecting Tony Thompson so well that the Robins keeper had to make only one top save from a shot through a crowd of players - they went close to a second goal twice in the closing moments.
Substitute Tom Peers was off target with the first and chose the wrong option with the second, but it hardly mattered. A second successive win was in the bag, deservedly so on the balance of play and keeping alive the tantalising prospect of a place in the play-offs.