View From The Dugout

View from the Dugout: Everyone knows how important it is we get back to winning ways

By Neil Sorvel at

Altrincham FC assistant manager Neil Sorvel with this week’s column…

As we did last year, we started the New Year with a home defeat. Stockport County have now beaten us four times since October and in the first half on New Year’s Day, we were as poor as we have been all season in terms of making inroads to the opposition and managing the ball. It was a very flat performance and we spoke at half-time about not being brave enough when in possession.

We got a reaction and were better in the second half but still didn’t hit the levels that we are capable of against a very tough and determined Stockport side that hasn’t now conceded from open play in nine games. They have momentum from their recent good run that has taken them from 11th to third in the last month.

Watch highlights from the game here:

The only goal of the game was a tough one to take as we lost the ball twice before suffering a bit of bad luck as Tom Hanigan’s clearance pole-axed Simon Richman and ricocheted to Frank Mulhern, who showed quick thinking to release Matty Warburton, who was probably the standout player in the game and he rounded Tony Thompson before knocking the ball into an empty net.

Today, we make our last long trip of the season, as we go to Lincolnshire to face Boston United, who deservedly beat us 2-0 at our place in August.

We were new to the league then and I was shocked at how poor we were in that game, conceding early and late on in the second half. Craig Elliott’s side were very well organised on the day, but they have had quite a lot of personnel changes since then with only about half of that team still starting for them.

John Johnston in action for the Robins against Stockport Pic: Michael Ripley

An improvement is required, particularly in our attacking play, but we believe in what we do and if we get it right, then teams in this league will not be able to live with us.

This is the last game in an intensive Christmas and New Year period of five games in 15 days and having taken just two points from the previous four matches, everyone knows how important it is to get back to winning ways.

Kallum Mantack in action on New Year’s Day Pic: Michael Ripley

Max Harrop trained on Thursday, having missed the Stockport game with a niggling knee injury and is available today. James Poole is also back in training, although today’s game might be a little early for him.

Elliot Wynne has gone on loan to Trafford for a month. It’s a move that suits both parties, as their keeper is injured and Elliot needs more games at the moment, having only played in two competitive matches since the end of September. We can recall Elliot at any time & Andrew Jones provides goalkeeping cover on the bench, if needed.

Top picture: Jonathan Moore