Chris on the mark again as in-form Robins move up to seventh!

Report by John Edwards

Maidenhead United 0 Altrincham 1

Chris Conn-Clarke reinforced his position as Altrincham's leading scorer with his sixth goal of the campaign as the Robins made it back-to-back wins with a hard-fought but thoroughly-deserved three points at York Road.

Conn-Clarke struck in the 72nd minute, and while the margin of victory was somewhat slimmer than against Ebbsfleet United on Saturday, there could be no doubting that the better team came out on top.

It was a typically-flamboyant finish by irrepressible Northern Irishman, a rising drive from around 25 yards, and there was the added bonus of Alty looking so assured in defence, a welcome clean sheet was secured without Ethan Ross having to make a save.

Gez Sithole was given his Alty debut, and the on-loan striker was involved early on as the Robins almost crowned an assured start with a goal in the seventh minute.

The Bolton Wanderers frontrunner laid the ball off for overlapping right-back Lewis Banks to reach near the bye-line and whip in a cross that just eluded the onrushing Eddy Jones at the far post.

Banks was getting forward with intent on the right flank, and when a sweeping crossfield pass from Joey Jones reached him in space, a promising situation for the Robins was foiled when a defender blocked the resulting low cross.

Alty looked every inch a side brimming with confidence from a thumping weekend victory as they dominated possession in the opening quarter-of-an-hour and threatened again when Conn-Clarke worked his way to the bye-line on the left and drilled a low cross towards the edge of the six-yard box that was scrambled clear.

There was a glimpse of Justin Amaluzor's pace and direct style in the 20th minute when he breezed past Sam Beckwith on the right and cut inside before dragging a shot wide of the near post.

Amaluzor was proving a handful for Beckwith, and when he went down under a challenge from the Maidenhead left-back after advancing towards goal from the right of the area in the 34th minute, there were penalty appeals that the referee waved away.

Despite the odd attacking foray by the home side, Ross remained untroubled in the Alty goal as the first half progressed.

Alty stayed on the front foot and carved out the nearest to an opening goal in the 39th minute. Amaluzor linked up with Eddy Jones on the left and when the full-back delivered a cross into the heart of the area, Lewis Banks' firm header brought the best out of Craig Ross, diving to his right to palm it away.

The Robins carried on pressing, and when Amaluzor rolled a pass to Sithole in the 45th minute, the striker's shot was turned round the near post by Ross.

Alty continued to probe patiently for a breakthrough in the second half, with Amaluzor to the fore and troubling Maidenhead with his pace, close control, strength and ability to turn the tightest of close-markers.

When the deadlock was finally broken in the 72nd minute, it owed everything to the ingenuity of Conn-Clarke.

Minutes earlier, a free-kick from fully 40 yards by the Alty forward was comfortably saved, and when the Robins were awarded another from an almost identical spot, he appeared intent on trying his luck again.

Instead, substitute Elliot Osborne touched the ball forward to him, and, after advancing a few paces, he unleashed a shot that caught Ross by surprise and flew past his outstretched right arm and into the top left corner of the Maidenhead net.

Brilliant stuff from Alty's marquee signing from Fleetwood Town and no more than the Robins deserved after looking by far the more accomplished side throughout.

Conn-Clarke turned provider in the 80th minute, cleverly sidestepping a challenge on the edge of the area and teeing up Eddy Jones for a drive that looked goalbound until deflecting off a defender and going behind for a corner.

Alty should have ended any doubts about the outcome in the 89th minute when substitute Dior Angus held off a challenge from a defender on the left and cut in before setting up Conn-Clarke for a shot that was blazed over.

It made no difference. A total of seven minutes' added time was negotiated without a single alarm, and the points were in the bag to lift Phil Parkinson's side into seventh position in the Vanarama National League table.

Altrincham - Ross, Banks, Cooper, Baines, E.Jones, Marriott, Joey Jones (Osborne 59); Amaluzor (Donawa 85), Conn-Clarke, Newby; Sithole (Angus 82). Subs not used - James Jones, Roscoe.

Booked - Marriott.

Attendance - 885.

Altrincham v Maidenhead United

Altrincham FC

Altrincham v Maidenhead United

£20.00 GBP