Words Alex Birch | Pictures Jonathan Moore
ALTRINCHAM stood firm with 10 men to claim an important point on the road against FC Halifax Town.
What looked set to be a New Year's Day cracker sparked to life in the first half, before an early second half red card for Matty Kosylo reduced the rest of the contest to attack versus defence.
A quiet opening to the game gave way to an explosion of life on 10 minutes. First it was Alty breaking down the right with Chris Conn-Clarke, whose pass was just intercepted before it found an unmarked Regan Linney. Barely a minute later Ethan Ross was off his line quickly to deny a clean through Andrew Oluwabori.
The chances continued at pace as Kosylo broke into the box and his deflected effort was cleared off the line, as was the rebound from Linney. Conn-Clarke then tested Sam Johnson from range - all within the space of five minutes.
Two more chances came and went at both ends before we hit the halfway mark of the half. Halifax centre half Adam Senior went on a slaloming run of 35 yards, beating three defenders only to stab an effort wide from close in. At the other end it was Linney again with a sight of goal, but he too stabbed wide as Johnson rushed out to close the angle.
The final half chance ahead of the break was a sliced effort from Alex Newby that spun wide of Johnson's far post; the half fizzling out after a promising middle third.
The hosts made a quick start to the second half as right back Tylor Golden stung the palms of Ross within 45 seconds of the restart. This was followed in quick succession by a shanked Florent Hoti effort that failed to trouble the Robins' stopper.
An alert Ross caught Jack Hunter's speculative long ranger soon after, as Halifax looked to build up a head of steam. The pressure continued, albeit at relative arms length, with an Oluwabori shot from distance that flew wide.
A second booking for winger Matty Kosylo with 34 minutes remaining gave the home side even more impetus and they poured forward in search of an opener.
A golden opportunity fell to Jordan Keane off a corner on 65 minutes, only for the big central defender to sky his effort from eight yards. A flying Ross then tipped a Jamie Cooke flick header over the bar at full stretch; the pressure mounting by the minute.
Despite this pressure Alty held firm, forcing The Shaymen to adapt their approach as the chances dried up heading into the final few minutes.
The ball went wide, long, through the middle, but the visiting defence, reinforced from the bench, refused to buckle, as the 10 men held out for a deserved point.
Halifax Johnson (c); Golden (Cosgrave, 74'), Senior, Stott, Cappello, Hunter, Cooke, Thompson-Sommers, Keane, Hoti, Oluwabori (Harker, 66'). Subs not used: Chikukwa, Wilson, Arthur.
Altrincham Ross; Banks, Baines (Brockbank, 53'), Osborne, Kosylo, Marriott (c), Linney (Angus, 72'), Conn-Clarke (Wilson, 59'), Cooper, Roscoe, Newby. Subs not used: Gould, Mooney.
Goals None | None
Yellows Thompson-Sommers 38', Hoti 58', Cappello 71', Cooke 90'+4 | Kosylo 38' & 56', Brockbank 85', Cooper 90'+4
Reds None | Kosylo 56'
Referee Ruebyn Ricardo
Assistants Daniel Woolley & Stuart Richardson | Richard Eley
Attendance 2,311 (356 away)
Our first home game of 2024 - fellow promotion chasers Barnet head for the J.Davidson Stadium this Saturday (3pm) for yet another MASSIVE Vanarama National League clash.
Get your tickets online right here or head for our Retail Store & Community Hub from Wednesday at 10am to secure your spot.
The Fan Zone will be open from 1pm with superb craft beer & cider from the likes of Pomona Island & Sure Shot - and don't forget our delicious curry dishes courtesy of The Authentic Food Co. will be on sale, too.