BY Jordan Cronin
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
National League North
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
ALTRINCHAM 3-1 BLYTH SPARTANS
Blyth Spartans were unable to register back-to-back National League North away wins as Altrincham stayed unbeaten at home from the opening day of the season.
Lewis Moult handed Altrincham the lead in a first-half where there was not a lot between the two sides at the J.Davidson Stadium.
However, the home side were deserved winners after the break with two quick-fire goals from Josh Hancock and Tom Peers scuppering Spartans’ hopes of a comeback.
The standout moment for Lee Clark’s men followed in injury time when Kris Thackray smashed a stunning free-kick past Tony Thompson for a late consolation.
Attention now turns towards Saturday’s six-pointer with Curzon Ashton, who hold a four-point advantage over Blyth at the bottom of the table.
Clark named an unchanged starting 11 from the 1-0 victory at Kidderminster Harriers on Blyth’s first visit to Greater Manchester since the play-off defeat last May.
Proceedings took a while to get going, though soon sparked into life after the earlier floodlight failure delayed the game for five minutes.
Hancock appeared the early dangerman for the hosts as he smashed an effort at goal from 20 yards with the ball narrowly rifling over Zach Hemming’s crossbar.
In truth, not a lot separated the pair in the opening 45 minutes with the only difference being Moult’s 34th-minute opener for the hosts.
It was the good work of Shaun Densmore that carved the Blyth defence open before the Alty captain finished off the move.
Clark’s side threatened an equaliser, however often had their final touch to blame as Thompson was left relatively untested in the hosts’ goal, despite getting themselves into decent positions.
And when the opportunity did arrive, Michael Sweet was unable to aim anywhere other than straight at Thompson after collecting a Rhys Evans cross before bringing the Alty shot-stopper into action.
Blyth struggled to hold possession at the beginning of the second-half and invited pressure from their hosts – John Johnston dancing into the box before his low shot clipped the post.
Spartans then had to throw their bodies on the line to deny Jordan Hulme just before the hour mark. Jack Sanders blocked his goalbound effort before Hemming brilliantly saved at his near post.
That said, Clark’s side were unlucky to not equalise following superb awareness from Toby Mullarkey to drop onto his goal line and clear Lewis Hawkins’ close-range effort off the line.
Moments later, Scott Wilson struck inches away from opening his Blyth account as he curled an effort past Thompson’s post from outside the box.
But as Blyth looked to be building some momentum, Altrincham raced into a three-goal lead with 20 minutes remaining.
Damen Mullen’s pass to Callum Roberts was cut out in the midfield but take nothing away from the finish with Hanock rocketing the ball home from 20 yards.
Three minutes later, the home side wrapped up the three points with Johnston’s cross headed past Hemming by Peers.
From then on, Alty were in a free-flowing mood and pushed to extend their lead, though Sweet did see a consolation saved by Thompson in the closing stages as he beared down on goal.
Thompson, however, was to be breached – Thackray powering a free-kick home in the third minute of added time.
Altrincham: Thompson, Densmore, White, Mullarkey, Hannigan, Moult (Jones, 68), Johnston, Richman, Hulme (Walker, 74), Hancock (Hampson, 81), Peers. Subs not used: Wall, Jones, Harrop.
Goals: Moult (34), Hancock (70), Peers (73)
Blyth Spartans: Hemming, Evans, Wilson, Mullen, Sanders, Thackray, Hunter (Wrightson, 73), Hawkins, Sweet, Roberts, Dale (Waddington, 54). Subs not used: Devitt, McKeown, Horner.
Referee: Aaron Bannister