Agony for Alty after leading twice but seeing points slip away late on

Words John Edwards | Pictures Jonathan Moore

Altrincham 2 Gateshead 3

ALTRINCHAM suffered the frustration of finishing empty-handed despite leading twice in an incident-packed Non-League Day promotion battle at The J.Davidson Stadium.

The Robins looked to have given themselves the perfect platform for another morale-boosting win when they went in front in the 16th minute and threatened a second goal with some bright approach play in front of over 3,000 admiring Alty fans.

Even when Gateshead hit them with an equaliser early in the second half, Alty appeared to have the upper hand after restoring their advantage with a brilliant finish by Dan Mooney just three minutes later.

But the visitors had the last word, and relieved Alty of a place in the play-off positions in the process, as they levelled again four minutes after that and grabbed a dramatic winner when substitute Kain Adom scored with his first touch, barely 10 seconds after going on.

It was a stunning blow for the Robins but one that will have to be absorbed quickly, with maximum points being more important than ever when Wealdstone come calling on Tuesday evening (7.45pm).

Kicking towards the Venditan away end in the first half, Alty fashioned an attempt at goal in the 15th minute when Lewis Banks held off a challenge on the edge of the area, after being played through by Alex Newby, before dragging a shot wide of the far post.

It was the most temporary of reprieves for Gateshead as Alty went ahead just a minute later.

Mamadou Jobe was made to pay for miscuing a defensive header towards Newby, who controlled it with a sublime first touch near the left edge of the box.

The Alty winger still had plenty to do, but he made it look easy as he wrong-footed a defender with a change of direction before drilling a low shot just inside the far post.

Alty went close to a second goal in the 21st minute when a cross by Matty Kosylo, following a short corner routine on the right, was headed out to Elliot Osborne, who blazed over from a couple of yards to the right of the penalty spot.

A swirling wind was making conditions difficult, but it couldn't stop Alty stringing together a series of slick, smart passing moves, with Lewis Banks getting forward down the left flank at every opportunity and Kosylo, Newby and Osborne all participating in some impressive one-touch interplay.

Alty had been the dominant force for most of the opening half-hour, but there was a moment of concern in the 34th minute when a Kieron Evans shot looked goalbound until Jake Cooper stuck out a boot to divert it behind.

From the resulting corner, the visitors managed their first shot on target, but Ethan Ross saved it with ease.

The action soon returned to the other end as Chris Conn-Clarke earned Alty a corner, after being set up by clever play from Kosylo, and in the pressure that followed the ensuing flag-kick, Justin Donawa had a close-range shot saved.

The Robins replaced Justin Amaluzor with Dan Mooney at half-time, but they found themselves pegged back by a Gateshead equaliser in the 50th minute.

Space opened up in the Alty area for Evans, who seemed sure to score from no more than eight yards out. The Robins looked to have got away with it when Evans' shot was blocked on the line by Cooper, but Marcus Dinanga was on hand to snap up the rebound and score his customary goal against his former side.

Alty were back in the ascendancy in the 53rd minute, and what a goal it was, as Mooney worked some space on the right and curled a spectacular finish into the top left corner to ignite a packed Venditan Golf Road End.

The Robins looked primed to press home their advantage, but, instead, they found themselves on level terms again in the 57th minute when a left-wing cross was headed out to Evans, who controlled it and smashed a shot inside the near post in one movement.

It was an eventful start to the second half, to say the least, but Alty will not have been happy with their defending, which lacked its usual assurance.

Gateshead got their noses in front for the first time with what must be one of the quickest-ever impacts by a substitute in the 73rd minute.

Adom went on as his side prepared to take a long throw into the area from the Pop Side of the pitch. When it was duly delivered, it was knocked down to the edge of the six-yard box, where Adom gleefully volleyed it first-time into the roof of the net.

What a hammer blow for the Robins after being in charge for much of the game, and though they went in search of a point-saver, not least when Conn-Clarke steered a header narrowly wide from Donawa's 83rd-minute cross, it wasn't to be as the Heed celebrated a win that lifted them to sixth place.


Harvey Nichols Man Of The Match | Alex Newby

Altrincham Ross; Banks, Baines (c), Osborne, Kosylo (Linney, 72'), Conn-Clarke, Amaluzor (Mooney, 46'), Cooper, Donawa, Wilson (Hancox, 76'), Newby. Subs not used: Angus, Roscoe.

Gateshead Harness; Tinkler, Whelan (Booty, 80'), Richardson, Francis (c), Dinanga (Olley, 68'), Worman (Adom, 73'), Evans, Brown, Hannant, Jobe. Subs not used: Allan, Grayson.

HT 1-0

Goals Newby 16', Mooney 53' | Dinanga 50', Evans 57', Adom 73'

Yellows Banks 88' | Worman 30', Richardson 81', Adom 85'

Reds None | None

Referee Ruebyn Ricardo

Assistants Adam Nichol & Thomas Cooke

Fourth official Adewunmi Soneye

Attendance 3,239 (190 away fans)

Next Up

At home again this Tuesday (7:45pm) when Wealdstone are in town for a rearranged fixture in the Vanarama National League. Get your tickets here.

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