Altrincham hit the road again on Saturday as they head to the Capital to take on Wealdstone. Here, ED PAINTER sets the scene for game day four in Alty's Vanarama National League programme.
The Robins will be looking to secure their third win from four games this Saturday as they make the long journey south to London to face Wealdstone at Grosvenor Vale.
Following the 2-0 loss to FC Halifax Town on Bank Holiday Monday, Phil Parkinson’s men put on a show to remember in front of a bumper crowd at The J. Davidson Stadium last weekend, beating Andy Hessenthaler’s Dover Athletic side 3-2.
Koby Arthur had given Dover the lead after only eight minutes, cutting inside his marker before firing past Tony Thompson into the bottom corner of the Alty net.
The in-form Dan Mooney drew the hosts level after 21 minutes, collecting Joel Senior’s low ball on the edge of the penalty area, before finishing brilliantly beyond Josh Bexon.
Alty found themselves behind for the second time in the game when AFC Wimbledon loanee Aaron Cosgrave scored an early contender for goal of the season, picking out the top corner from range with a powerful strike in the 57th minute.
Substitute A-Jay Leitch-Smith levelled the score with less than 20 minutes to play, controlling Mooney’s cross superbly before his low shot beat former Southend United ‘keeper Bexon.
And constant pressure finally paid off for Parkinson’s side when they were awarded a penalty in the 84th minute, following Danny Collinge’s foul on Ryan Colclough. Stepping up to take the spot kick himself, Colclough expertly found the bottom corner to secure Alty all three points.
You can watch the highlights of that 3-2 win by pressing play below.
Following that result, the Robins moved up to eighth in the Vanarama National League table, four points ahead of Wealdstone in 19th, having played one less game than the Stones.
This will be the first meeting between the sides this season, with the last outing taking place on January 26th this year at The J. Davidson Stadium.
In that game, the Robins took the lead after 39 minutes, when Josh Hancock rose highest to get his head to an excellently-struck corner, with the visiting ‘keeper unable to react quickly enough to keep the ball out.
Wealdstone were not to be deterred and kept pushing forward in search of an equaliser. However, they were unable to create anything that gave Tony Thompson much to worry about.
Having been brought on moments earlier, Colclough almost made an immediate impact in the second half, striking the post with a powerful low shot, before Hancock was denied by the Wealdstone ‘keeper and the woodwork.
The Robins kept pushing and, in the 80th minute, Alistair Smith netted his first goal for Alty. After Tom Peers missed a golden opportunity to double the score, the combination of Joel Senior and Smith presented the midfielder with the opportunity to slot the ball underneath the ‘keeper’s legs.
In what was an action-packed game, the Robins were able to deal with the threat Wealdstone posed, securing a win which their performance deserved.
You can watch the highlights of that 2-0 win by pressing play below.
Promoted from the National League South after the 2019/20 season, having secured the title when the final table was decided using PPG, Wealdstone found things difficult last season, finishing 19th with a record of 10 wins, seven draws and 25 losses.
Looking to make an improvement with some impressive summer signings (Andrew Eleftheriou, Josh Umerah, Ira Jackson Jr, Rhys Browne and Matt Buse, to name a few), the Stones have yet to taste victory, despite four closely-contested games so far.
After narrow defeats to Woking and Chesterfield, Wealdstone secured impressive back-to-back draws against Southend United and Dagenham & Redbridge, leading many to believe that a place further up the Vanarama National League table could very well be within their reach.
In their last outing against the Daggers, who had won their previous three games, Umerah, who joined the club from play-off finalists Torquay United, gave them the lead after only eight minutes, before Paul McCallum drew the hosts level 10 minutes before the break.
Wealdstone then restored their lead in the 75th minute, when Dennon Lewis cut inside from the left wing and fired past Elliot Justham into the far corner.
However, six minutes later, the Daggers pegged the visitors back again, as Myles Weston floated a tempting cross into the box which Saunders converted past George Wickens.
Wealdstone are managed by Stuart Maynard, who replaced Dean Brennan midway through last season after the former manager cited tensions behind the scenes surrounding his contract and the relationship between himself and the chairman.
Maynard arrived at the club in May, 2019, having worked underneath Brennan since 2012 with clubs such as Hemel Hempstead Town, Billericay Town and Kingstonian. The current Wealdstone manager was already well known by the supporters after playing for the Stones during the 1999/2000 season, following his release from Watford.
The 40-year-old enjoyed a lengthy career in non-League, going on to feature for St Albans City, Aylesbury United, Enfield, Hitchin Town, Dunstable Town, Chesham United, Barton Rovers, Halesowen Town, Aylesbury and Hemel Hempstead Town before heading into retirement.
His assistant is Matt Saunders, who ended his playing career with Wealdstone, only to take up a position in the dug-out. Like Maynard, the former midfielder has plenty of non-League experience, featuring for six different clubs after he was released by Fulham in his early 20s.
Following his departure from Craven Cottage, Saunders had spells with Dagenham & Redbridge, Whitehawk, Dover Athletic, Hemel Hempstead Town, Aldershot Town and Wealdstone.
Last league games
Wealdstone: LLDD (F3 A6)
Altrincham: WLW (F6 A5)
The following ticket information is available on the Wealdstone official club website. Tickets are available on the gate, but fans are encouraged to purchase in advance.
Adults - £15
Concession - £10
Next Gen (18-23) - £8
Under 18 - £5
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 2.45pm
The match commentary sponsor is Manchester Glass.
The commentary team is Brian Flynn, Mark Simpson and Laurence Howarth.
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'.
By Ed Painter at Grosvenor Vale
Medy Elito’s last-gasp penalty condemned ten-man Altrincham to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Wealdstone at Grosvenor Vale.
Phil Parkinson’s side were under the cosh early on, as Josh Umerah and Rhys Browne both caused the Alty defence plenty of trouble.
The Robins grew into the game, with Ryan Colclough and Marcus Dinanga firing into the side netting, before Dan Mooney curled the ball inches over the crossbar.
Loanee midfielder Connor Kirby suffered a serious leg injury midway through the second period, causing a long stoppage in play while he received treatment.
And with almost no time left on the clock, and after Brad Jackson was shown a straight red card, Alty were left stunned as the referee judged that Matty Kosylo had handled inside the area & pointed to the spot, with Elito stepping up to condemn Alty to their second defeat of the season.
With just over 1000 fans in attendance, the hosts looked to put down a marker early on, as Umerah looked to capitalise on a defensive error, only for Toby Mullarkey to get a vital touch, turning the ball behind for a corner.
Just two minutes later, only the heroics of Tony Thompson prevented The Stones from edging in front, with the ‘keeper pulling off an outstanding reaction save to leave Browne wondering how he hadn’t scored.
Following last weekend’s win against Dover, The Robins took a little time to warm into the game, with Mooney and Kosylo seeing efforts on goal comfortably dealt with by the home ‘keeper, before Dinanga blazed his shot into the side netting from a tight angle.
Less than five minutes before the break, the visitors had Thompson to thank for keeping the score level, as the Altrincham number one once again proved to be Browne’s nemesis, denying the former Sutton United winger with a smart save.
Alty felt as though going into the break level was the least they deserved. However, Mooney could have edged the Robins ahead after collecting Kirby’s low ball on the edge of the penalty area, only to curl the ball an inch or two at most over the crossbar.
Whatever Phil Parkinson had said to his side during the break seemed to be having a positive effect when in the 47th minute, a great run from Mooney allowed him to play Dinanga through on goal, only for George Wickens to block well.
However, Wealdstone soon settled back into the game but once again were cursing their luck in front of goal, as Dennon Lewis tricked his way into space, before pinging the ball right into Umerah’s path. The former Torquay striker could only head the ball well over from less than six yards.
In what was proving to be a closely contested encounter between the sides, tackles were flying in all over the pitch. However, with just under an hour played, the game was turned on its head when Kirby raced back to challenge the Stones’ attacker just outside the Alty box, only to suffer what looked to be a very serious injury, believed to be an open wound broken leg.
After a lengthy stoppage of around 10 minutes, while the Harrogate loanee received treatment from the medical staff, the game was able to resume, a challenging feat for both sets of players given the nature of the injury.
With time running out, the Robins looked the more likely to claim all three points, with Ben Pringle coming within a whisker of his first goal for the club in the 86th minute, skipping over a challenge, cutting inside his man, but bending his effort agonisingly over the bar,
The Robins were handed yet another setback as Jackson was shown a straight red card for a professional foul close to the half way line.
Still reeling but with mere seconds to hold on before the final whistle, there was still one more cruel twist left to come as the referee pointed to the spot for an apparent handball by Matty Kosylo. After a short delay, and despite Thomson guessing the right way, Elito fired Wealdstone ahead with what proved to be the only goal of the game.
Final Score: Wealdstone 1 Altrincham 0