View From The Dugout

View From The Dugout: Poor refereeing decision took the shine off a great week

By Phil Parkinson at

Manager Phil Parkinson with his latest column for Altrincham Today…

We were very disappointed that a poor refereeing decision cost us a six-point haul from our two home games this week.

After blowing Chester away on Saturday with four second-half goals, without reply, we were on course for another win at the J Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night against Blyth Spartans, when the referee decided that a ball that was diverted by Jake Moult’s studs and picked up by Tony Thompson, was a back pass.

Robbie Dale, Blyth’s skipper and talisman has capitalised on the short free-kick opportunity by drilling an equaliser through a mass of our defenders from about eight yards out and the game finished 1-1.

Watch the draw against Blyth:

The draw put us back in seventh place, whereas a victory would have seen us go fourth and that was really frustrating for everyone at the football club.

Saturday’s victory over Chester was a great day, the attendance of over 1,700 was fantastic and the atmosphere created in the second half as we attacked the Golf Road End was something else and the players responded with four goals to send everyone home very happy indeed.

Watch the win over Chester:

We now face some very tough games, starting with a visit to Bootham Crescent to face York City today.

We beat the Minstermen at home 3-0 in November in a match that was similar to last Saturday’s victory over Chester. A tight first half finished scoreless, but after the interval, we really got the bit between our teeth and two goals from Josh Hancock and one from Jake Moult gave us a margin of victory that did not flatter us one bit.

York will be much better than that today. Steve Watson has turned things around since arriving from Gateshead in January. Four straight wins in the league and only one goal conceded, has gone a long way to securing the ‘February Manager of the Month’ award for the former Newcastle United and Everton full back and fears of relegation have been replaced by aspirations of making the play-offs.

Alty celebrate one of their four goals against Chester last weekend Pic: Jonathan Moore

Jordan Burrow had a quiet afternoon back in November but he is a dangerous striker and someone we will need to deal with effectively today.

We have brought in Billy Sass-Davies on loan from Crewe Alexandra until the end of the season. I felt that we needed cover in the central defensive area and Billy is a player that I have known about and kept an eye on for a number of years, but he has developed very quickly physically and I thought that he was a colossus against us when playing for FC United against us four weeks ago and it was on the back of that performance that I made a move for him, once his loan, in which he played eight times for FC United, had come to an end.

John Johnston celebrates his goal against Blyth in midweek Pic: Jonathan Moore

Injury wise, James Poole is still some way from a return and Matt Chadwick is probably a week away, having suffered whiplash in a car accident.

Ben Harrison trained on Thursday night, which was a nice surprise and he may be ready for a game with the reserves in the next couple of weeks.

Goalkeeper, Steven Drench, will have a test today, to see if his knee is ready for a return to action.

I am aware that the Alty fans love going to York and I am sure that we will get tremendous vocal backing again on our travels… they have been superb!

Top picture: Michael Ripley