Assistant manager Neil Sorvel with this week’s column for Altrincham Today…
If we can take three points today from our trip to Nuneaton Borough then we will have all but secured a play-off place as that would put us on 69 points and whilst Blyth Spartans can reach that points total, we have a 17-goal advantage in terms of goal difference.
It’s been a topsy turvy week with the euphoria of last Saturday’s 5-3 victory over second-placed Chorley being followed by a last gasp defeat at home to Brackley Town on Tuesday night.
Relive the win over Chorley
Tom Hannigan’s back pass in the fourth minute of added time has taken a really bad bobble and Tony Thompson has air-kicked his attempted clearance and the ball has gone in for an own goal that was hard to stomach. No disrespect to Tony, but that sort of thing has happened to goalkeepers playing at a much higher level, but it meant that for a second successive Tuesday we have conceded in added time and that has cost us three points that would have put us in pole position for third place.
A draw would have been a fair result and we would have been happy with a point against a Brackley side that are similar to Stockport County, setting up in a rigid defensive shape that they do very well.
Watch the last-minute defeat to Brackley:
We had enough opportunities through half-chances and good delivery into the area in the first half to have scored more than one goal from Max Harrop’s deflected free kick, but after the break, whilst we continued to control possession, they kept us pretty well at arms-length before equalising and then getting the bonus of that very late winner.
Saturday’s 5-3 win over Chorley, in front of almost 1,600, was a really good game and credit must go to both sides. It was a very good advert for the league, as was the game at their place in January, although in that game they scored four goals from five efforts at goal, so the 4-1 scoreline was a bit unflattering to us, after we had dominated the first half and gone in ahead at the interval.
Today’s opponents Nuneaton Borough are already relegated and have had a really poor season but it’s still a potentially dangerous game for us as there is no pressure on them. They are organised defensively and will try to hit us on the break and capitalise on set pieces, so it’s important for us to be patient and not get frustrated if we do not score early on. We will look to move the ball quickly to stop them getting into their defensive shape.
James Jones will miss today’s game and our last home league game of the season against Hereford on Easter Monday (3pm kick-off) as he sustained a head injury on Tuesday and it’s mandatory that he doesn’t play for seven days. A number of players were rested from training on Thursday night, but that was a precautionary measure and all of them are expected to be available today.
Pics: Michael Ripley