Nine unbeaten! The run goes on as resolute Robins keep a firm grip on fifth place

Report by Mark Simpson

Picture by Jonathan Moore

Altrincham came into the game on an eight-match unbeaten league run and in fifth place in the Vanarama National League.

Both sides were without their captains in midweek. Liam Hogan received his marching orders in the Latics’ shock 3-0 defeat at AFC Fylde, whilst Isaac Marriott picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 1-1 draw with Kidderminster Harriers.

Early on, good build-up play by Josh Lundstram led to James Jones clearing off the line from Devarn Green, the ball falling to Hallam Hope, who blazed a great opportunity over the bar.

Green was looking lively down the right but had no consistent end-product.

Oldham were on top and went close again when a Mark Kitching cross was nearly turned in by Nuttall.

But it was Altrincham who went ahead, just after the quarter-hour mark. Eddy Jones was the decoy, with a run down the left wing, allowing Chris Conn-Clarke to get into the penalty area, and his chipped cross was expertly headed in by a diving Justin Amaluzor to give the Robins 16th minute lead.

Mickey Mellon was in charge of Oldham for the first time at Boundary Park, and his side were level on the half-hour. Kieron Freeman and James Norwood combined neatly inside the area, the latter finding the roof of the net with a blistering rising finish.

Less than five minutes later, Phil Parkinson’s side were back in front. Following a delightful move, Hallam Hope’s sliding challenge on Justin Donawa ended with a handball by the Oldham forward.

Chris Conn-Clarke calmly sent Matt Hudson the wrong way from the spot to restore Alty’s lead.

The Northern Irishman went close to scoring again, just before the interval, curling a free-kick from 20 yards over the wall, only to be denied by a good save from Hudson.

Half time: Oldham Athletic 1 Altrincham 2.

On the hour came Oldham’s first substitution, Alex Reid for Nuttall.

A minute later, Amaluzor blazed a shot over, after which a Donawa header denied Hope.

After 64 minutes, a lovely touch from Conn-Clarke almost put Lewis Banks away.

In the 67th minute, an excellent Hall cross shot went just wide, after which Alty introduced Dior Angus for Conn-Clarke.

After 77 minutes, Norwood headed over, but, shortly afterwards, a superb left-footed Sheron strike was totally unstoppable and made the score 2-2.

Two minutes later, Norwood committed a bad foul on Osborne and received a yellow card.

After 89 minutes. James Jones blocked a Norwood shot superbly, but Osborne handled on the edge of box to concede a dangerous free kick. It was Osborne who blocked a shot, following a cleverly-worked set-piece.

This has to go down as a good point for Alty, who extended their unbeaten run in the National League to nine games and remained in fifth place.

Oldham Athletic: Hudson; Freeman, Hobson, McGahey, Kitching: Green, Sheron, Lundstram; Hope, Norwood, Nuttall (Reid 60). Unused Subs. Norman, Shotton, Fondop, Raglan.

Altrincham: Ross; Banks, James Jones, Cooper, Baines, E.Jones; Osborne, Donawa: Conn-Clarke (Angus 68), Newby: Amaluzor. Unused Subs. Gould, Roscoe, Burroughs, Sithole.

Attendance 7,137 (582 travelling Altrincham fans).

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