Another round of fixtures has been completed, in the Trophy as well as the League, and, here, Altrincham director BILL WATERSON, takes a look at who fared well, who didn’t and who came somewhere in between.
This Saturday saw seven games in the Vanarama National League North and a further six of our teams taking part in the Buildbase FA Trophy second round.
The game of the day in the League saw leaders Chorley beat Alty 4-1, a scoreline which certainly flattered the home side and seemed inconceivable at half time, when the Robins were 1-0 ahead, thanks to a Max Harrop goal, and could easily have been further in front.
This win, in front of 1,675 supporters, saw The Magpies re-establish a six-point lead at the top of the table over second-placed Bradford (Park Avenue). It also put them 12 points ahead of ourselves, although we do keep hold of seventh place and, hence, our position in the play-off zone.
Bradford found themselves six points adrift after failing to arrest their recent run of poor form and suffering a shock 3-2 home defeat to FC United of Manchester. Stockport County remain third and AFC Telford United fourth, though both were on Trophy duty today, more of which below.
Chester missed the chance to move back into third, being held 1-1 at home by Guiseley, despite the visitors having to play for over 50 minutes with 10 men. The two sides ‘book-ending’ Alty, Spennymoor Town in sixth and Blyth Spartans in eighth, were also flying the National League North flag in the Trophy.
Kidderminster Harriers were just as guilty of squandering an opportunity at home to Boston United. With chairman Colin Gordon placing himself in temporary charge, following the midweek departure of Neil MacFarlane, they could have forced their way back into the play-off places, only for their hopes to be scuppered by a surprising 2-1 defeat. To compound their misery, they had substitute Kane Richards sent off in stoppage time.
Tenth-placed Brackley were defending their FA Trophy crown, but Southport continued their resurgence with a 5-1 drubbing of Leamington. Boston are 12th, five places and five points behind us.
There are four teams three points further back, on 31, with 13th-placed Darlington grabbing a 0-0 draw at 15th-placed Alfreton Town, Leamington in 14th, after losing to Southport, and Curzon Ashton up to 16th after a 4-2 win at Nuneaton Borough.
York City, in 17th on 30 points, were one of two sides who had the weekend off, along with Ashton United. They are still ahead of Guiseley, who moved on to 29, four ahead of the last of the six clubs involved in the Trophy, Hereford United.
FC United’s excellent lifted them to within a single point of the Bulls, with Ashton United now four points back and Nuneaton Borough a further five behind.
And, so, to the Trophy, and it was a very good day indeed for the Vanarama National League North sides, with five wins and only one defeat in the first non-regional round of the competition.
Even the solitary defeat came in an all-NLN tie, with Hereford falling by the wayside, as holders Brackley continued their defence of the trophy with a 3-1 win at Edgar Street. Three National League national division sides succumbed to their northern counterparts - Blyth Spartans beating Boreham Wood 1-0 in the north-east, Telford returning from Hartlepool on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline and Spennymoor brushing aside Sutton United 3-0.
Spennymoor’s victory means our planned game against them in a couple of weeks will have to be rearranged. We are looking at the possibility of finding new opponents for that date.
The other tie with National League North involvement was Stockport’s clash with Truro City. County managed to avoid the spectre of a midweek trip to Cornwall for a replay, despatching Truro 5-0. One club will be clocking up the miles in midweek, however, after Ramsbottom United forced a 2-2 draw against Weymouth with an equaliser six minutes into stoppage time to earn themselves the dubious honour of a trip to Dorset on Tuesday.