Loan watch - Coops keeps 'em out!
Round-up by John Edwards
Picture by Jonathan Moore
Darlington 0 Kidderminster Harriers 0
Jake Cooper would ideally have liked all three points on his Darlington debut, but helping them keep a clean sheet wasn't at all a bad way to start his loan spell with the Vanarama National League North promotion hopefuls.
The Altrincham centre-back went straight into Darlo's starting line-up, despite his lack of match action in recent months, and slotted seamlessly into their back line with a composure that earned him glowing praise from manager Alun Armstrong.
Asked about the way Jake and his fellow-defenders protected their goal whenever Kidderminster pressed and kept chances to a minimum, Armstrong said: 'That's what you bring lads in for. I thought about Coops and how he hasn't played for a while, and I was thinking whether I should keep him back and send him on for the last 20 minutes.
'But I've only got him for a month, as things stand, so really I want him to be ready to go straight in, and he was. He's blowing a bit now in the changing room, but he showed exactly what he's about. He's looking a bit more confident now than he was first time round with us, and I'm delighted to have him on board.
'It showed. You could see the organisation and the way we were attacking balls that came into our box. It was a well-earned point.'
Morpeth Town 2 Nantwich Town 1
Dramatic developments at Nantwich after they followed up a midweek home loss to Marske United, in which Ryan Morton went on as a half-time substitute, with this defeat in the North-East.
Ryan was back in the starting line-up at Morpeth, and he laid on a 12th-minute chance with a cross that was headed over by Byron Harrison.
Alty's young striker was part of a double substitution, along with Harrison, with the scores level at 1-1, as manager Ritchie Sutton and his assistant Gary Taylor-Fletcher rang the changes in search of a winner that might have eased the pressure on them.
Instead, it was Morpeth who came up with a decisive second goal in the 87th minute, leaving former Alty defender Sutton at the end of his tether, as he said: 'I'm devastated with the result. I'm really angry inside and disappointed. It's another loss, and there are too many people in that dressing room that it doesn't mean enough to.'
Within 24 hours, the Dabbers issued a statement saying that both Sutton and Taylor-Fletcher had 'left the club with immediate effect', followed by another this morning, announcing Paul Carden as their new manager, with the team in the Pitching In Northern Premier League bottom four in 19th place.
Boston United 0 Peterborough Sports 0
After finding himself on the bench but going on as a 15th-minute substitute in last Tuesday's 1-0 win over Brackley Town, Zak Goodson was back in the starting line-up for Boston on Saturday at the Jakemans Community Stadium.
The young Alty frontrunner was replaced in the 69th minute but can reflect with satisfaction on another two hours-plus of first-team action in four days at a highly-competitive level in the National League North.
Chorley 2 Buxton 2
Brad Jackson started for Buxton and went close to opening the scoring in the 32nd minute when a smart passing move ended with the Alty winger firing narrowly wide. Buxton led at half-time and went ahead again in the second half, only to be pegged back by an 80th-minute Chorley penalty.
Alsager Town 2 Cheadle Town 0 (Tuesday)
Ryan Forde was in goal for Alsager and winger Dion Siboko Bohe also started, as the home side picked up valuable points in the North West Counties League Division One South.
After going ahead in the 21st minute, Alsager threatened again when Dion broke clear down the right and cut the ball back to Kallam Boyle, who shot fractionally wide. Boyle made amends with his and Alsager's second goal in the second half, as the Bullets wrapped up an excellent win, complete with the bonus of a clean sheet for Alty keeper Ryan.
Alsager Town 1 Wythenshawe Amateurs 2 (Saturday)
Ryan Forde kept his place in goal and Ewan McGeady returned in defence for an Alsager side that also had Dion Siboko Bohe in the starting line-up and Eddie Igeze on the bench.
A pinpoint ball by Ryan found Kallam Boyle in a great position in the 11th minute, only for a heavy first touch to cost Alsager the chance of an opening goal.
Wythenshawe took a 20th minute lead and would have doubled it but for an outstanding save by Ryan in a one-on-one with a visiting forward in the 36th minute.
Eddie replaced Ewan in the second half as Wythenshawe secured the points with a second goal.
Widnes 1 Hanley Town 0
Eden Bailey was on the bench for Hanley and Sharif Deans found himself among the substitutes for Widnes in this basement battle in the NPL West Division.
Sharif went on at the start of the second half, with Widnes already leading through a 22nd-minute goal from Connor McCarthy, and he looked bright as the home side made it four wins out of five to climb out of the bottom two.
Eden made an appearance in the 74th minute but was unable to alter the course of a result that leaves Hanley with just Ramsbottom United beneath them in the table.
Avro 1 Irlam 0
Alty youngster Owen German went on as a 60th-minute substitute for an Irlam side who ran leaders Avro close in this North West Counties League Premier Division encounter.
Stourport Swifts 1 Market Drayton Town 0
More valuable first-team action for young Alty midfielder Harlan Rodgers-Morris, who was in the thick of the action for Market Drayton until being substituted late on in a closely-fought Midland League Premier Division fixture.
*Alty defender Joe Cooney missed Northwich Victoria's 2-0 win over Barnoldswick Town through suspension.