Altrincham FC manager Lee Sinnott gives us the inside track on the Robins’ progress this season in the Vanarama National League. Here’s his latest column for Altrincham Today.
Saturday sees us make another long trip, as we head to the North East to play Gateshead.
It will be our 18th league game of the season, which is ridiculous considering that our first game was only just over two months ago. I can’t think of another league where almost 40% of the season has been played by the middle of October.
One point from two games played this week is certainly a lower return than we were hoping for. Individual errors cost us both goals on Saturday at Aldershot, but at 1-0 we came out on the wrong side of a close decision as the Assistant Referee decided that Damian Reeves was offside as he converted James Lawrie’s cross, for what would have been an equaliser just before half-time.
On Tuesday night against Kidderminster, it looked like we were heading for a third straight defeat until Michael Rankine fired in an equaliser in the fifth minute of added time to make it 2-2.
Watch highlights from Tuesday’s game:
It was a wonderful strike from a short free kick and Michael threaded the ball through a very narrow gap between the wall and other defenders in the penalty area.
Whilst I was relieved, to a degree, to ultimately take a point from the game, I was frustrated with our finishing, as too many efforts were flying over the bar and we didn’t gamble often enough on getting on the end of a good number of crosses that were delivered into dangerous areas for our opponents.
We were absolutely down to the bare bones on Tuesday, with seven senior players missing and we had to field a very young and inexperienced bench.
I was very hopeful that four of the players missing on Tuesday would be available for Saturday’s game, but Ryan Crowther remains a doubt and Andy Parry probably only has a 50% chance of being fit, so it’s possible that just Adam Griffin and Simon Richman will be the only players returning.
Gateshead’s International Stadium is a bit unique in our league… it’s a very big, open ground, where the players are a long way from the dugouts and even further away from the fans.
It’s difficult to generate an atmosphere there and they are a very good passing side who keep the ball well. A win would put us on 20 points and that would be decent position for us to be in, as we complete another phase of the season, before focusing on the FA Cup next week and a home game against Chester on October 24th.
Photography: Michael Ripley