Harriers 1 Altrincham 1
away fans: 76
Reds pay the penalty
Christmas pudding played it's part in today's dour home draw against an equally dour Altrincham side. For us the first half was the better but after the teams rolled out for the second half this had been reversed with Alty displaying more interest in the game than us.
Caretaker manager Martin O'Connor decided to go with the same starting eleven as he did in wins against Scarborough and Bradford City last week but this time without the positive dividend of a win.
For the first twenty minutes of the game there was nothing much of note to comment on. Lee Thompson squandered the best chance of the opening salvo's when he sent his shot, from Christie's back heel, way over the bar. Christie did slightly better on twenty two minutes when he put us into a lead that we should have built on.
A cross was fired into the Alty goalmouth but struck the arm of their skipper, Maddox, on the way. The ref pointed to the spot and the keeper obligingly dived the wrong way as Christie stroked the ball easily into the net.
After that bit of Christmas cheer we seemed to sit back for too long a period but Altrincham hadn't got the nous or imagination to capitalise. Issey had a shot blocked on the line by Adams and that was just about it for the first forty five minutes.
HT: 1 - 0
Alty came out stronger for the second period an d it stayed that way for the majority of the half. The Reds were being forced into making repeated mistakes by the visitors and we were lucky not to have had our lead pegged back within the the first minute.
Andy Bushell and Lewis Chalmers both sent in shots on goal and only some last gasp defending got the ball away with Danny Lewis no where near the ball. Warren Peyton and Rod Thornley both had more chances to score soon after but Lewis saved well from both efforts.
The closest we came to increasing the lead fell to Johnny Mullins but he sent his header just wide from Terry Flemings well placed corner. Just prior to that Fleming had taken a slight knock on the head in the middle of the park but when Nick Griffiths came on to treat him he pushed him away in scenes reminiscent of Youssou Diop at Grimsby last season when Jimmy Conway found himself in similar circumstances. We all know what happened after that!
Alty brought on Potts and Lugsden to replace Chalmers and Thornley with the intention of freshening up their attack but it still made no difference to us, we didn't seem to take the hint.
With time running down the fans could sense that the three points were about to be snatched away from us and that's just what happened with seven minutes of the game remaining. Keiran Lugsden had the ball in our area but was being forced away from goal by Mark Jackson shadowing him. Lugsden stopped momentarily but Jackson was too late and made the slightest of contact with his back and he went sprawling with all the theatrics of a man shot in the back with a .22 rifle and the ref decided now was the time that things were evened out.
Steve Aspinall took the ensuing penalty and although Danny got a hand to it he could only help it into the net.
Surprise, surprise! We woke up from our slumbers and started to mount an onslaught on the Alty goal for the remainder of the game but of course it was too late by then and, apart from a Christie piledriver that was well stopped by Coburn, we looked poor value and the game ended all square.
A chance to enhance our place in the League had gone begging and we must now make sure that we don't sit so far back against Burton on Friday evening. A win in that game would set us up nicely for the trip up the M6 to Manchester for the second part of the Harriers v Altrincham double header on January 2nd.