*See you Tuesday .. Dan Mooney acknowledges a packed Venditan Golf Road after being substituted late on against Notts County on Saturday. Picture by Michael Ripley.
The Robins have the chance to secure back-to-back victories on Tuesday evening with the visit of King’s Lynn Town to The J. Davidson Stadium.
Having suffered an agonising late defeat on the road at Wealdstone, followed by a period of isolation, Phil Parkinson’s men responded in impressive fashion, beating Notts County 1-0 thanks to Marcus Dinanga’s first-half strike.
County enjoyed an encouraging opening, but the hosts went close when Dan Mooney tested ‘keeper Anthony Patterson seconds before Ryan Colclough fired across the face of goal.
The Robins took the lead just before the half-hour mark when Dinanga worked himself into space inside the Notts penalty area, turning Colclough’s shot home from a matter of yards out.
Ian Birchnall’s side came close to an equaliser through former Rotherham United midfielder Matt Palmer, but his shot was blazed over the crossbar.
Visiting ‘keeper Patterson was kept busy all afternoon, with the Sunderland loanee saving well from Colclough twice in the space of five minutes, to keep his side in the game.
But despite coming close at the death through Ruben Rodrigues, County were unable to pierce the steadfast Robins defence, with Alty picking up their third win of the season.
Following that result, the Robins moved up to 12th in the Vanarama National League table, three points off the play-off places and five points ahead of King’s Lynn in 21st, having played one fewer game than the Norfolk-based side.
This will be the first game between the sides since last season's meeting on April 5. On that occasion, with home advantage, the Linnets managed to secure a 2-0 win, courtesy of a brace from Kairo Mitchell, now of Notts County.
Ryan Colclough had a great chance in the second minute, hitting the bar with a fine effort from the left-hand edge of the area that had Theo Richardson grasping at thin air.
Lynn looked to have set up to frustrate Alty in the early stages, but they still posed a threat on the front foot, as Mitchell, Alfie Payne and Sonny Carey all tested the Robins defence.
Ian Culverhouse’s team had a golden chance to force their way in front from the penalty spot in the 78th minute, after Toby Mullarkey was judged to have handled a shot in the box, but Tony Thompson denied Michael Gash with a smart save.
However, two minutes later, they edged ahead when Mitchell fired an angled shot into the bottom corner of Thompson’s net.
And with the Robins pushing hard for an equaliser, they were caught again when the hosts doubled their lead from the spot, as Mitchell sent the ‘keeper the wrong way to seal the victory.
Founded as recently as 2010, after the original club closed their doors, King’s Lynn Town have rapidly climbed the football pyramid, finding themselves in the National League for the first-time last season. That year proved to be a struggle for the Linnets, who finished 21st out of 22, with only Barnet finishing below them.
This season, after moving to become a full-time outfit in the summer, our visitors on Tuesday have yet to kick on, winning only one of their six games so far, losing four and drawing one of the other five.
However, looking closely at those results tells a different story, one which shows that King’s Lynn have remained competitive throughout. In every single game they have played, they have not lost by more than one goal, while their only victory of the season did take place on the road against Yeovil Town.
In their last outing against Wealdstone, the Linnets had started the better, with Michael Clunan and Brett McGavin testing a Stones defence that has kept three clean sheets so far this season.
The visitors warmed into the game and took the lead just past the half-hour mark. After Joe Rowley was dispossessed in midfield, Charlie Cooper strode forward to fire the ball past ‘keeper Paul Jones.
Only three minutes after the restart, the Stones were reduced to 10 men when a high foot from Ira Jackson Jr left the referee reaching for his red card.
Chances were flowing for the Linnets as Junior Morais, Tyler Denton and Rowley were all left frustrated by the resilient Wealdstone back four.
Munashe Sundire came within a whisker of rescuing a point, but the Stones, who were looking for their first win in three games, held on for maximum points.
The Linnets are currently managed by Ian Culverhouse, who made his return to the Walks in October, 2018 after a very brief spell in charge of Northern Premier League Premier Division side Grantham Town. During his first spell in charge of King’s Lynn in 2017, the Linnets were members of the Southern League Premier Division.
Since then, the former Norwich City defender has led them to play-off glory, helping them secure a place in the National League North for the 2019/20 season. Upon their promotion, many had installed the Linnets as relegation favourites, but they defied all the odds by reaching the summit of the league and fighting York City all the way for the title.
Despite being in second place when the campaign was brought to a premature end by the Covid-19 pandemic, they were moved into first after the final table was decided by the use of PPG (Points Per Game). This proved to be the club’s second successive promotion with Culverhouse at the helm.
As a player, Culverhouse began his career with Tottenham Hotspur, before moving to Carrow Road in 1985. After 297 appearances and one goal, he was transferred to Swindon Town in 1994, going on to spend four seasons at the County Ground.
Just three games short of his 100th appearance for the club, he left for Kingstonian in 1998 before joining Brighton & Hove Albion soon afterwards. He hung up his boots while a member of the Seagulls squad in 2000.
A win for Altrincham on Tuesday evening could move the club up to eighth in the Vanarama National League table, while a win for King’s Lynn would put an end to a run of four games without a win, lifting them to 17th in the process.
Last five league games
Altrincham: WLWLW (F7 A6)
Kings Lynn Town: WLDLL (F6 A10)
Listen to the game Live on Radio Robins
You can listen to live commentary on Radio Robins, sponsored by Ashley Mowers Garden Machinery. The broadcast starts at 7.30pm.
The match commentary sponsor is Andy’s Man Club
The commentary team is Brian Flynn, Andy Ainsworth and Niall Finnegan.
You can listen to Radio Robins in any of the following ways:
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*Coco cracker .. Ryan Colclough opens the scoring for Alty. Picture by Jonathan Moore.
Altrincham 4, King’s Lynn Town 1
Altrincham extended their 100 per cent home record at the expense of King’s Lynn Town, and while it wasn’t always plain sailing, they finished with a flourish and again looked a side brimming with confidence.
Leading through a typically-unerring Ryan Colclough strike in only the 12th minute, Alty surprisingly found themselves increasingly pegged back as the first half wore on against a side with just one win to their name so far this season.
Belying their lowly position, the Linnets exerted growing pressure on the Robins goal and might have been level by the break but for some slipshod finishing and top-class goalkeeping from Tony Thompson.
They were left to rue their failure to capitalise on some slick approach play, as skipper Jake Moult gave Alty much-needed breathing space by doubling their lead in the 52nd minute.
Dan Mooney made it three in the 86th minute, and though King’s Lynn replied with a Junior Morias thunderbolt seconds later, Alty’s goal difference was given a welcome boost by a fourth from substitute Josh Hancock in the 90th minute.
Buoyed by a memorable 1-0 win over Notts County on Saturday, it came as no surprise that Alty were unchanged or that they started very much on the front foot.
An exceptional piece of skill by Matty Kosylo, turning brilliantly near the halfway line to leave two bamboozled opponents trailing in his wake, opened up the game’s first chance in only the fifth minute.
After advancing towards the edge of the area, Kosylo gave Mooney the chance to cut in along the right bye-line and cross for Marcus Dinanga to turn and, despite the close attention of a defender, hit a point-blank shot that was well blocked by keeper Paul Jones.
Seven minutes later, Kosylo was the provider again, and there was no denying Alty this time, as Colclough took his team-mate’s pass in his stride and thumped an unstoppable shot beyond Jones’ reach.
The cue for an Alty goal rush, surely, but King’s Lynn had other ideas, as they worked their way back into the game and gradually forced the Robins to retreat in numbers.
Michael Gyasi squandered an opportunity by shooting wide after being set up by Zain Walker, and Thompson had to be alert to keep out a Brett McGavin snap-shot in the 20th minute.
Ambling forward with no obvious sign he was about to try his luck, the King’s Lynn midfielder suddenly let fly from 25 yards, and it owed everything to Thompson’s alertness that he was able to get down to his left in time to keep it out.
The dangerous Morias flashed a powerful shot narrowly wide in the 26th minute, and Thompson did well to push Tyler Denton’s angled drive behind for a corner soon after, following an impressive build-up between Gyasi and Morias.
Alty were living dangerously, and they were again grateful to Thompson for safeguarding their slender advantage in the 35th minute when he tipped over a blistering drive by the menacing Morias.
The second half began in the same disconcerting fashion, with a crucial block by Colclough denying Michael Clunan in the 46th minute, but the tide at last started turning Alty’s way again, as they laid siege to the visitors’ goal and finally found a way through.
Kosylo thought he had scored from an angle on the left only for a linesman’s flag to cut short the celebrations in the 51st minute, but his dismay was nothing compared to Moult’s seconds later when his goalbound shot from close range was somehow blocked on the line.
Any sense of frustration was soon forgotten in the 52nd minute, as Moult, so effective again shielding the back four but briefly seizing the chance to loiter in and around the six-yard box, slotted home from an angle to make it 2-0.
How the chances flowed after that, and how Alty failed to put even more distance between themselves and their opponents remains a mystery.
When Dinanga sensed a back pass had been under-hit in the 54th minute and bravely ploughed into a 50-50 tackle with the onrushing Jones, the ball spun obligingly to Mooney, who wasted a golden opportunity by shooting high and wide with the Linnets keeper out of position.
Jones might well have been embarrassed once more after Hancock slipped the ball past him on the left of the area, only for the Alty sub to shoot into the side netting of an unguarded goal from an admittedly tight angle.
So the tale of missed chances went on, with Mooney again ballooning over the bar with the goal at his mercy in the 84th minute.
But Alty’s darting, livewire winger is nothing if not persistent, and it bought him the reward he deserved two minutes later when he turned Joel Senior’s right-flank cut-back over the line from close range to make it 3-0.
Morias threatened to make it a nervy finish with another thunderous shot that fairly flew part Thompson to reduce the arrears in the 87th minute, but Alty were having none of it.
Senior once more made inroads down the right in the final minute, and Hancock was on hand to flick the attacking full-back’s low delivery inside the near post to wrap up Alty’s fourth win from six games so far.
What a great start by Phil Parkinson’s side, and with so much strength in depth and attacking swagger, there is surely more of the same to come.