No sweat! Big test for Robins in stifling heat, but they emerge with credit and richly-deserved point

Brian Flynn reports

Bromley 0-0 Altrincham 

Altrincham remain unbeaten after two games of the season, following an inspirational display at Hayes Lane that augurs well for the club’s third campaign since returning to the Vanarama National League.

Temperatures soared to 34 degrees in Kent, with the artificial surface exacerbating the almost intolerable conditions, yet the Robins played the opening phase of the game on the front foot, dominating possession and creating huge problems for Bromley’s highly-rated defence.

Ryan Colclough was heavily involved at the sharp end of things, seeing a shot turned over the bar by a magnificent piece of defending, before setting up Aaron Bennett, who was thwarted by a fine reaction save from the impressive Reice Charles-Cook.

Andy Woodman got some sort of response from his side in the early stages of the second half, as the Ravens started to create one or two openings before Alty keeper Matt Gould was injured as he bravely punched clear a dangerous right-wing cross.

Following extensive treatment, Gould walked groggily from the pitch, with Jordan Hulme taking over in goal and Marcus Dinanga coming on to replace the skipper up front.

Whilst the second half was a more even affair, the Robins showed their mettle with a highly resolute and organised defensive display, whilst still taking the game to the home side.

Toby Mullarkey’s left foot shot looked destined for the corner of the net before being headed behind for a corner, and, in added time, Chris Conn-Clarke was denied by Charles-Cook.

Even at this early stage of the season, it seems that the team are benefitting from the move to full-time football, evidenced by the fact that there wasn’t a single goal-bound effort all afternoon to test either Gould or Hulme.

A special mention for the 41 Alty fans, who overcame the travel obstacles caused by the rail strike to make a round trip of over 450 miles and then had to watch the game in searing heat from an unshaded terrace.

Reflecting on a highly-creditable point against last season’s Buildbase FA Trophy winners, Alty boss Phil Parkinson said: “I thought, in the first half, we were absolutely superb in really difficult conditions.

‘It was unbearable out there. It was as hot as I have ever experienced, and I don’t know how the lads managed to get through it. But we dealt with it, and I thought the lads conducted themselves brilliantly.

“There aren’t many teams who will come here and dominate like we did in the first half. It was us who had the chance to win the game - we were the ones with the gilt-edged scoring opportunities.”