Words by Ben Edgson
Altrincham picked up their first win of the league season after a resilient and deserved 1-0 victory over Aldershot Town.
Despite a 4-1 loss to Dagenham and Redbridge last week, Robins manager Phil Parkinson named just two changes to his starting line-up from the game in East London, with Jake Cooper and Brad Jackson coming in for James Jones and Stoke City loanee Dan Malone respectively.
Whilst the game started slowly, the early chances were with the visitors, with the first real chance of the game coming to midfielder Ryan Glover, who joined on a permanent deal from AFC Bournemouth this season. Glover headed a lofted cross from the left hand side from Tommy Willard narrowly wide over Oliver Byrne’s goal.
Pressure continued to grow on Alty’s defence, with Justin Amaluzor striking the ball on the edge of the area following a clearance from a corner, with the shot going straight into Marcus Dinanga. With appeals for a handball coming from Mark Molesley’s side, and once again a few minutes later, this time through Altrincham captain Toby Mullarkey, referee Andrew Miller was quick to wave away any protests.
Despite this, Altrincham were starting to test Aldershot goalkeeper Luca Ashby-Hammond, with the number one being tested repeatedly towards the end of the half through opportunities coming from Ryan Colclough and Chris Conn-Clarke from outside the box, with the Fulham loanee making comfortable saves on both occasions.
The game took a turn just before the interval however, as after already having been booked for a foul on Ryan Colclough earlier and having fouled him once again late and from behind, Tom Whelan was sent off for the Shots a minute into first half stoppage time, ensuring his side would be down to ten men for the start of the second half.
The second half largely summed up the end of the first half in terms of dominance and chances created, as Altrincham continued to grow in momentum whilst Aldershot looked to set up with a low defensive line following the sending off, and this showed within 60 seconds of the second half whistle. Elliot Osborne played a throughball to Brad Jackson on the right hand side, as he drove to the by-line before playing the ball through to Colclough, with an eventual scramble finding the ball back with Osborne on the edge of the area, who sliced his shot high and wide of the near post.
Aldershot also had a big chance early in the second half, as Mullarkey slipped and gave the ball to Aldershot captain Inih Effiong, who despite scoring in a 5-1 win against Halifax last Saturday, was unable to carve out a decent opportunity for himself, as he instead played the ball across to Glover, who drilled his shot wide of Byrne and the far post.
Phil Parkinson’s team continued to build pressure, with Marcus Dinanga hitting the crossbar following a corner and Jackson failing to capitalise on the rebound, as well as a string of saves from Ashby-Hammond, although the breakthrough finally came in the 76th minute. Josh Lundstram was tripped by Glover in the box, and up stepped Colclough sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and stroking the ball into the bottom left corner from the penalty.
The away side looked to try and turn things around in the last ten minutes as they aimed to build up their own momentum, but it was too late, with the best opportunity for an equaliser coming in the 92nd minute, when Tyler Cordner, who got a brace as a centre back in the previous game against Halifax, was blocked off from a header in the box by Cooper to ensure the three points would be with Altrincham.
Looking ahead for Alty will be a tough trip to Meadow Lane to take on third placed Notts County next Saturday, however after their first win of the season in this fixture, Alty can go in with their heads held high.