Late leveller is hard to take, but so many positives for Alty as they push high-riding Woking all the way

Woking 1 Altrincham 1

Altrincham hit the heights with one of their most impressive performances of the season but were denied the result it deserved by a last-minute Woking equaliser at The Laithwaite Community Stadium.

Alty brushed aside a strong start by Woking to dominate proceedings and were good value for a 48th-minute lead that came courtesy of on-loan winger Elliot Newby’s second goal in as many appearances.

But just as they were closing in on a precious three-point haul on the road, the Robins were stunned by a last-gasp leveller from a Woking side who must have thought the game was up.

It was tough to take, with victory so close at hand, but Phil Parkinson and his players can take heart from playing with such conviction and putting so much into a visit to a team riding high in fourth place in the Vanarama National League table.

Woking had the better of the opening exchanges and could have gone ahead when Lofthouse’s surging seventh-minute run ended with a low cross that narrowly eluded Greco-Cox, when any sort of contact by the home forward would surely have resulted in a goal. 

Alty started to see much more of the ball from the 10th minute onwards, with Eddy Jones overlapping to good effect and Chris Conn-Clarke and Ryan Colclough both integral to some high quality, high-tempo play in the final third.

The Robins continued to impose themselves and threatened in the 10th minute when a magnificent throw by Ollie Byrne released Colclough, whose surging run was only halted when Moss impeded him in a way that earned the full-back a yellow card.

When Josh Lundstram powered forward and picked out Conn-Clarke in the 21st minute, a clever pass flicked round the corner by the on-loan Fleetwood forward set up Colclough in much the same way as against York City last Saturday.

This time, the irrepressible Alty winger couldn’t quite find a finish to match last week, as he took aim but curled his shot high and wide from 15 yards. 

It was all Alty, but a decisive finishing touch continued to prove elusive, not least when Colclough cleverly worked an opening but hit the bar from a tight angle in the 27th minute.

Woking keeper Ross palmed a Colclough shot away for a corner at the start of the second half but could do nothing about the Robins breaking the deadlock with a deserved opener in the 48th minute.

Conn-Clarke seized possession when a Woking attack broke down, and when the ball was played to Colclough on the left, the winger floated a long diagonal cross that was met by a header from Newby that looped back across goal and just inside the post. 

A second goal could well have proved decisive, and it almost came Alty’s way in the 51st minute, when Ross reacted well to deny Conn-Clarke.

Alty dominated up to the hour mark but had some defending to do from then on, as Woking began to regain a foothold in the game.

It took a terrific save by Byrne to fingertip a low 25 yard shot from Anderson round the post in the 61st minute, and the Alty number one excelled again 10 minutes later, reacting well to keep out a thunderous Greco-Cox effort from outside the box. 

Alty were resolutely defending their slender advantage, but their luck ran out in the final minute when Elliot Osborne was penalised for push in the back and Amond curled home a wonderful strike from 25 yards. 

Both sides went for a winner in the six minutes that were added on but to no avail. A point apiece was the outcome, and while there was frustration for Alty at missing out on all three so late on, there was consolation in the knowledge they had contributed significantly to an entertaining game with impressive individual contributions all round the pitch.

The attendance was 2,020, with 97 Alty fans making the long trip to cheer the Robins on.

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