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Altrincham 2 Harriers 1

Date: 08-01-08 Venue: Moss Lane att: 788 away fans: 70
Not a storming display
Not for the first time the Harriers failed to beat a team that are struggling near the foot of the table and in doing so they also saw their run of five League games un-beaten come to an end at storm swept Altrincham.  The storm, that started ten minutes into the game, was so bad that the referee had to take the teams off for ten minutes while it abated and the fans had to run for shelter as thunder, lightning and rain monsooned down around them.

We started the game with a full complement of players after the four missing from the York game returned from suspension.  James Constable started alongside Iyseden Christie with Justin Richards sitting on the bench along with Matt Barnes-Homer.

In defence Andy Ferrell came back in place of Jeff Kenna and Russ Penn replaced Simon Russell in midfield.  For Altrincham the former Harrier Jake Sedgemore was on the bench as they gave run outs to some of the six players signed on loan so far.

The poor conditions weren't helping us much and it was Altrincham on the attack first when Chris Senior forced a corner, the first of three in a row and all fruitless.  We responded with Christie surging through but failing to get a sight of goal after being stopped in his tracks by Darren Tinson.

As Liam Kings name went into the ref's book for a foul on Russ Penn the heavens opened and the storm got worse until the referee's only option was to take everyone off for their own safety.

After ten minutes the electric storm stopped to leave just heavy rain and a heavy pitch covered in puddles.  Again Alty commanded the first few minutes and went close with a header from Senior that was put out for yet another corner.  Again the home side failed to make use of the chances given them.

The game was being ruined now as the pitch got heavier by the second and it's looking likely that it could be called off.  Chances from both sides get stuck in the mud and players are misjudging tackles and the game could turn into a farce.  Our best chance of the half should have been a penalty after Ryan Shotton bought down Constable in the box but the referee waved play on because of the conditions.

With the game now running down to the real half time we won our first corners of the game but nothing came of them with the best one being a Mark Creighton header that got cleared over the bar for another corner.  The teams slogged off covered in mud and probably wishing the game was over.
HT: 0 - 0
By the start of the second half the rain had eased off and the prospect of a cancellation had receded.  Michael McGrath was the first on the attack as the Harriers looked to take charge of the game and force a result.

Surprisingly after a little under ten minutes Mark Yates makes the first substitutions of the night and takes off Constable and Bignot in exchange for Richards and Kenna.  Almost straight away the move reaps results and the Harriers went into the lead.

The ball was played into the home sides box and with defenders falling over themselves to clear it away Justin Richards played a deft back heel to Christie who then slipped the ball under the Alty keeper Stuart Coburn to put us into the lead.

All we needed now was the team to go on and grab another but we all know the Harriers don't do that and would rather defend a slender lead than build on it.  The lead lasted all of eight minutes.

The home side had an appeal for a penalty turned down when Senior claimed that he had been pushed by Kenna in the area but we all know that Sir Jeff doesn't do that kind of thing and Senior probably had a senior moment.  A minute later and they were awarded a free kick that was taken quickly by Jennings and, with the Harriers defenders still sorting themselves out, Tom Cahill got onto the end of it and slotted the ball past Scott Bevan.

In answer to that error Mark Yates sent on Simon Russell in place of Dean Bennett and Russell was straight on the attack with a shot that Coburn did well to save.  Then it all went wrong.

Ryan Toulson, on loan from Halifax, sent in a cross that Cahill easily collected and just as easily sent it past the Harriers keeper for their winning goal.  We tried to get back into the game and at least try to get back on equal terms but it wasn't going to be our night.  Chances fell for Creighton and Russell but both went over the bar and Michael McGrath had a shot blocked and put out for a fruitless corner.

In the final stages Michael Blackwood went into the referees book for a poor tackle and the game ended with a defeat and the Harriers still stuck in mid table.
FT: 2 - 1

 Goals for Altrincham: Cahill 64, Peyton 76
 Goal for Harriers: Christie 56,

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Latest table and stats here  

Altrincham  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Coburn     Bevan  
Shotton gif   Bignot  
Jennings     Blackwood gif
Young     Hurren  
Tinson     Creighton  
Toulson     Ferrell  
Lawton     Bennett  
King gif   Constable  
Cahill     Christie  
Senior     Penn  
Peyton     McGrath  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Lane     Kenna  
Sedgemore     Barnes-Homer  
Scott     Russell  
Little     Richards  
O'Neill gif   Whitehead  

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