Alistair Smith celebrates his third goal this season. Photo by Jonathan Moore.
Altrincham welcomed Notts county to the J Davidson Stadium this afternoon. The visitors are pushing for a spot in the playoffs this season and therefore had a lot to play for. Phil Parkinson’s side looked to put an end to their recent bad run of form. There were no changes to the previous starting line-up from the Altrincham manager but centre back Yoan Zouma took a place on the bench, having recovered from his recent injury.
Altrincham started positively and seemed more energetic than their recent performances, advancing into the final third well. Their first chance came from an ambitious ball which almost picked out Bell but Notts’ keeper Steele sprinted out to clear it. It fell to Smith who attempted to chip the keeper from distance, but it just drifted wide.
Notts seemed to be slightly hesitant with their passing and misplaced passes were leading to Altrincham counter attacks. Ogle found himself in acres of space down the left-hand side and charged into the penalty area finding Smith. It was almost squared to Mooney but went astray in what proved to be another dangerous attack.
The Robins kept up their momentum which eventually paid off after 24 minutes and it was Smith at the heart of it yet again. Mooney’s fast feet found the Altrincham midfielder outside the box whose left-footed shot was too much for Steele. It was a clean, powerful effort that rocketed into the bottom right corner.
The following 20 minutes saw Altrincham’s attacking ease a little, with Notts having a go at breaking down the Alty defense. It was looking quite comfortable for the home side up until the final moments of the first half when Ogle was booked for a foul just outside the box. Rodrigues stepped up to take the resulting free kick which he dipped over the wall and into the back of the net. It wasn’t the best placed finish and perhaps could have been stopped had it been defended better. Therefore, it was a disappointing finish to the first half for the reds after conceding another injury time goal.
HT: Altrincham 1 – 1 Notts County
Kick off for the second half saw two changes for Notts County who went from 5 to 4 in their defensive line. Despite their attacking intentions, the first 20 minutes of the second half were rather flat from both sides. Notts called Thompson into action a couple of times and the Alty keeper made a couple of important saves against shots from Wooton and Boldewijn.
It picked up again for Altrincham at the 70 minute mark when substitute Peers linked up well with Smith but the goal-scorer’s effort curled over the bar. Hancock was subbed on with 12 minutes to go and involved himself in some action straight away, holding the ball up impressively and finding Senior who shot just inches wide of the post.
The Robins could have seen the winner in the dying moments of the game when a Colclough shot was saved by Steele. It fell to Peers who struggled to place his effort from close range and ended up firing high and wide.
It was a much-improved performance from Phil Parkinson’s side and a surprisingly lukewarm one from the playoff contenders, given their strong win in the reverse fixture at the start of the season. There was a lot of encouraging signs from Altrincham who put an end to their recent poor form and potentially could have taken all 3 points.
FT: Altrincham 1 – 1 Notts County