View From The Dugout

View From The Dugout: I’ve been shellshocked by the start… but let’s stay positive

By Jim Harvey at

I have been manager of Altrincham Football Club for less than two weeks but I think that I am already fully aware of what a big task it is to turn things around at The J Davidson Stadium.

I was completely shellshocked by our performance at Cheltenham last Saturday, against Gloucester City – it was really poor throughout the team. We set up to defend but we defended atrociously in the first half and were 2-0 down at half time.

We went on the offensive early in the second half and for a while, things were more promising, but as soon as the third goal went in, a few heads went down and two further goals soon followed.

Action from the 5-0 defeat to Gloucester last Saturday here:

After a 5-0 hammering in Gloucestershire, we travelled to Nuneaton on Tuesday evening and the game had barely started before we were a goal down. Within a couple of minutes, Charlie Joyce has conceded a penalty and been shown the red card.

Andrew Dawber has redeemed himself from his distribution error in putting Charlie under unnecessary pressure on the edge of the area, by saving the penalty and then Sean Miller has equalised, out of the blue, with a wonderful strike. As at Gloucester, we conceded three times in 10 minutes and found ourselves 4-1 down at half time.

The game was out of our reach, but at least the players showed some pride in keeping a clean sheet in the second half, when a huge scoreline looked like it might be on the cards again.

Highlights from Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat to Nuneaton:

Today, we are at home to Gainsborough Trinity in the Emirates FA Cup. Vanarama National League North Clubs enter the competition at this 2nd qualifying round stage and this is a very important game for us. There is £4,500 prize money for the winners and I’d like to think that we can use this game to get our season going in some sort of way.

Greg Wilkinson has signed for us and is available and eligible today. Greg did very well for me at Stalybridge in the 2011/12 season and scored one of the most famous goals in Altrincham’s history, sealing victory and promotion in the most dramatic style possible, by coming on against Guiseley with seconds to go in extra time of the National League North 2013/14 Play-Off Final.

Today’s game is a tough assignment because we have numerous injuries, some players that are not good enough for this level of football and Gainsborough are a decent side who arrive full of confidence having beaten Telford and Halifax already this week.

Having said that, it’s the FA Cup and we all know that almost anything can happen in this great competition, so let’s all be positive and look forward to a much better display and progress to the next round.

Action from Alty's defeat at Nuneaton

Action from Alty’s defeat at Nuneaton

Pictures: Michael Ripley Photography