Altrincham FC assistant manager Neil Sorvel with this week’s column…
We produced another really good team performance last Saturday at Brackley, which we felt would be one of our toughest games of the season.
The Northamptonshire side finished third in the Vanarama National League North last season, eventually missing out on promotion in the Play-Off Final at Harrogate, but then won the Buildbase FA Trophy a week later, so to come away with three points was particularly pleasing.
They surprised us by playing so deep and it was important to get the first goal against a team playing in that style. We were very disappointed to concede an equaliser almost straight away but heads didn’t go down and in the second half we had a good 20-minute spell, when Andy White scored what turned out to be the winning goal and then defended really well towards the latter stages to see the game out.
The Brackley manager, Kevin Wilkin, was generous in his post-match comments, saying that we deserved to win.
That’s 19 points from 21 in the league now and we have been pleasantly surprised how well we have been able to dominate games. In the early part of the season, we were not sure how things would go in this new league, but once we added some defensive steel to our undoubted ability going forward, we haven’t looked back. We are the joint leading scorers in the league, have been great to watch and fans are getting very good value for money.
We are hoping to make it eight consecutive home victories in all competitions today against Telford United, who have the same number of points as us, having played a game more. They are going well under their new manager, Gavin Cowan, who I played with at Shrewsbury and normally play 3-5-2, which is quite unusual in this league. They are strong defensively but also carry a goal threat through Daniel Udoh and Amari Morgan Smith and have just taken Brendon Daniels, who started the season with a loan spell with us, on loan from Port Vale.
We have brought in Ashley Hemmings on loan from AFC Fylde and he has done very well at this level last season with Boston United before being signed by Salford City, then moving on quickly to Fylde. Ashley trained twice with us this week and is a strong versatile player who can play on either wing or in the number 10 role.
Sean Williams (broken metatarsal) has trained this week but today is probably a bit too early for him to be involved and James Poole has had a bit of a setback after a scan showed that his hamstring injury is worse than we initially thought and a connecting tendon is inflamed, which means that we may not see him play until after Christmas.
There is a pitch inspection at 11 o’clock this morning and heavy rain forecast for this afternoon but hopefully we can get the game on and continue the hugely positive momentum created during the last couple of months.
Photos: Jonathan Moore