Altrincham FC assistant manager Neil Sorvel with this week’s column…
Last Saturday’s hard-fought victory over Southport, who had been unbeaten in the league since October, was fully deserved.
It was a game of few chances but the work that we had done in training on defensive organisation and shape paid off. Devarn Green should have scored for Liam Watson’s side with a first half header from a corner but apart from that we have limited them to shots from outside the box and in the second half we shut them out almost completely.
We stepped up our game in the second half and really got a grip of our opponents. Tony Thompson’s distribution was an important part of our improved performance after the break. Southport started to press us further up the pitch and Tony’s kicking bypassed that pressing tactic and brought our wide players into the game more.
Highlights from the win over Southport:
It was a really good response to the 4-1 defeat at Chorley on the previous Saturday, having watched that game again, the score line was very harsh on us as the league leaders scored four goals from five chances.
We should have been in action again on Tuesday night, but our home game with Blyth Spartans was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Despite the fact that Blyth are on a very good run, we were looking forward confidently to doing to them what we had done to Southport, but we fell foul of playing a game when the pitch was barely playable last season on New Year’s Day against Witton Albion, so on balance perhaps playing Blyth later in the season on a better pitch, might be a good thing.
It certainly means that we are going into today’s game at Leamington fresh and full of energy, whilst Paul Holleran’s side have had a tough game with Stockport County on Tuesday night.
Leamington are on a poor run of form without a win in 11 league games, but they have drawn a lot of games, including six of their 13 home league games. We know a lot more about them than we did for our opening encounter of the season, when we had enough chances to win the game in the second half but the 2-2 final score line was probably a fair one over the whole 90 minutes.
We travel to Warwickshire with a fully fit squad. Chris Sang has completed his loan spell and we have brought in Nathan Waterston from Barrow for a month. Nathan is a versatile front player who can play wide or central.
We need cover at the top of the pitch and Nathan is a hard-working willing runner who was a real handful when we were at Nantwich and came up against him playing for Workington a couple of seasons ago.