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MATCH REPORTS 2019/20

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JULY
Altrincham (POQF A) |
Sunday 19 July
Altrincham 3 Chester 2
National League North Play-Off Eliminator Round
Attendance: 0 Half Time: 1-0
Booked: Burton, K.Roberts.
Sent-off: Johnston.

Altrincham: Thompson, White, Hampson, Mullarkey, Hannigan, Moult, Mooney (Harrop 86), Lundstram (Richman 65), Hulme (Peers 74), Hancock, Durrell (Mahon 65). Subs not used: Hooper, Wynne.
Chester: Gray, Grand (Morgan 66), Livesey, K.Roberts, Taylor (Waters 74), Glendon, Burton (Stopforth 54), Johnston, Jackson, Elliott (Dudley 54), Waring (Hughes 74). Subs not used: Worsnop.
Referee: David McNamara.


Chester were knocked out of the end of season play-offs after an entertaining game hinged on a controversial penalty and red card for John Johnston early in the second half.

The Blues had little under two weeks to prepare for the match and were of course without the now departed leading scorer Akwasi Asante. Captain Gary Roberts was another notable absentee.

There was a fast scrappy start to the game, the first competitive one since the defeat on 7 March at Bradford (Park Avenue), and Louis Gray was forced into the first save of the match as he did well to push a Josh Hancock shot onto the bar and out for a corner.

Alty, with five ex-Blues in their line-up, went close again soon after as one of them, Dan Mooney, found the side netting from just outside the area.

Chester grew more into the game and striker Danny Elliott had a couple of chances, first forcing a save from Tony Thompson with a 25-yarder, then seeing his close range header from a superb Joel Taylor cross kept out.

Simon Grand’s misplaced back pass saw Mooney race through on goal but Gray raced out to deny the midfielder.

Eleven minutes before the break the Robins broke the deadlock. Bradley Jackson was dispossessed wide outside the area, the ball fell to Hancock whose long-range effort slipped under the diving arms of Gray into the net.

As the half drew to a close, Grand saw a header tipped over the bar by Thompson.

Chester started the second half with purpose, forcing three corners in as many minutes but the game hinged on 53 minutes when Altrincham broke quickly with Jordan Hulme putting through Mooney, Johnston was left chasing and in his efforts to get his tackle, in Mooney went down in the box. Referee David McNamara pointed straight to the penalty spot and produced a red card for Johnston.

Elliott Durrell stepped up and sent Gray the wrong way to double the lead. Blues managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley, made a double substitution bringing on Anthony Dudley and Gary Stopforth, for Elliott and Scott Burton.

It got worse for Chester just six minutes later as Durrell was sent away down the left, cut inside and beat Gray from a narrow angle.

Chester responded quickly as good work by Dudley ion the right saw the striker square the ball for George Glendon who shot past Thompson to pull a goal back.

Two more substitutions were made with Matty Waters and Matty Hughes coming on for Taylor and George Waring. Waters went so close to adding a second as his neat curling free-kick found the wide netting by the top corner.

Eleven minutes from time, Waters broke down the left and his perfect cross was met by the head of Hughes who made it 3-2. It was all Chester in the final stages as the hosts looked visibly shaken by the ten-man fight back.

With Danny Livesey taking on the role of makeshift centre forward Chester pressed, but, despite seven minutes added time, couldn’t find that elusive third goal to force a penalty shoot-out.


Picture © Rick Matthews

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