Red-hot Regan strikes again, but Alty are held by Wood

Report by John Edwards

Picture by Jonathan Moore

Altrincham 1 Boreham Wood 1

Regan Linney continued his fine scoring form with another clinical finish and Altrincham maintained their unbeaten start to the season in a hard-fought draw at a blustery J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Off the mark with a double at Woking last Saturday, Linney struck again just after the half-hour mark to give Alty the lead and join several others as joint-top scorer in the Vanarama National League on three goals.

It came at the height of the Robins' best spell in the game, but they were made to pay for not capitalising on a string of superbly-crafted chances as Boreham Wood bounced back in the second half and secured what was probably a fair outcome with a close-range equaliser by powerful frontrunner Lee Ndlovu.

The Wood showed no ill-effects from their surprising midweek defeat at home to Solihull Moors as they started brightly and had penalty appeals waved away in only the fourth minute after Kwesi Appiah went down under a challenge inside the area.

They threatened again in the 17th minute when burly defender Chris Bush unleashed a ferocious left-foot drive from way out that was hurtling towards the top corner until Ethan Ross took off to complete a spectacular airborne save, tipping it over at full stretch.

It was brilliant by Alty's on-loan keeper, who landed with such a thump that it appeared he might need treatment for a painful impact to his left arm before he insisted he was all right to continue.

Alty began to impose themselves on the game, as James Jones powered forward and played a slick one-two with Justin Amaluzor before firing a low shot that brought the best out of Wood keeper Nathan Ashmore at the near post in the 22nd minute.

The breakthrough came in the 31st minute after Chris Conn-Clarke sold an outrageous dummy that left Charlie Owens flat-footed and opened up space that the Alty attacker exploited before looking to have erred with a pass intended for Linney but that strayed towards a Wood defender.

Alty were back in business, though, as the defender mishit the ball into the path of Linney, who quickly switched it on to his left foot and drilled a low shot into the far corner to put his side in front.

Chances came and, unfortunately, went after that as James Jones threaded an inch-perfect pass to send Conn-Clarke clear in the 38th minute, only for the attacking midfielder to attempt to cut inside a chasing defender, instead of shooting, and lose possession.

A minute later, Linney cut in from the left and looked to have done everything right until getting too much elevation on a curler aimed at the top corner and seeing it sail over the bar.

Alty were playing well and creating openings, but there was a sense that failing to make them count might just come back to haunt them, and so it proved.

Amaluzor claimed, to no avail, that he should have had a penalty after being bundled over early in the second half, but the tide was beginning to turn in the away side's favour as they went for the aerial route and put Alty under mounting pressure.

It was pressure that finally told in the 61st minute when Femi Ilesanmi showed a clean pair of heels to James Jones in an electrifying burst down the left and turned the ball across the six-yard area for Ndlovu to convert from close range.

Alty were tested defensively from that point on - and came through it commendably, it has to be said - though they had their moments at the other end as well, with a couple of Amaluzor efforts from distance and, most notably, a 90th-minute chance that substitute Dior Angus put narrowly wide after a lovely right-flank move that ended with Isaac Marriott getting to the bye-line and pulling the ball back.

Altrincham - Ross, James Jones, Cooper, Roscoe, Kosylo, Marriott, Osborne, Amaluzor (Wilson 79), E.Jones, Conn-Clarke, Linney (Angus 65). Unused subs - Banks, Baines, Joey Jones.

Booked - Conn-Clarke, Kosylo.

Attendance - 1,645 (38 away).

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