Robins make it three on the spin with Easter Monday win

Words Joe Edgar | Pictures Jonathan Moore

Altrincham 1 Oldham Athletic 0

ALTY took a huge leap towards playoff qualification as they beat Oldham Athletic 1-0 at a packed J. Davidson Stadium.

A first-half goal from Chris Conn-Clarke proved to be enough for the Robins to claim the three points and move into fourth in the Vanarama National League.

Filled with a season-best of 4578 fans, the J. Davidson Stadium produced a raucous atmosphere as the players emerged from the tunnel. The two animated fanbases created a setting fit for the occasion – a local derby with huge playoff ramifications.

Altrincham dominated the opening phases of the game, showcasing their superior ball retention abilities. Oldham, keen not to be drawn out of their defensive shape, were reluctant to press Alty, making it very difficult for the Robins to penetrate their defence.

The first chance for the hosts fell to Alty’s number nine, Regan Linney. A long ball over the top of Oldham’s defence found Justin Donawa, wide on the right-hand side, and a scuffed pass from the winger made its way to Linney in the penalty area. After turning past his defender, the forward blasted a shot towards goal, but he could only find the side-netting.

The positive momentum continued for Alty, as they managed to create opportunities throughout the opening 45 minutes, with Conn-Clarke at the centre of the action. Alty’s attacking midfielder was denied by Oldham’s goalkeeper Matt Hudson, after firing a curling effort towards goal, and later denied by the same piece of side-netting which Linney had found earlier in the game.

However, with only five minutes remaining in the first half, Alty's number 10 found the back of the net for the 23rd time this season, sending the Altrincham faithful into a frenzy. The move began with Elliot Osborne, deep into his own half, looking for forward runners. There, bursting through an attempted offside trap, was Alex Newby, who wasn’t tracked by the Oldham defence. The winger charged towards the goal, accompanied by Conn-Clarke, and after a squared pass beyond the goalkeeper, Alty’s leading scorer gave the hosts the lead at the break.

After a lacklustre first half from the visitors, Oldham began the second half with far more intent. A wayward pass from Osborne was intercepted by Dan Gardner, and Oldham sprung into action. Gardner slid a delicate pass in behind to Hallam Hope, but as the forward looked to shoot, Ethan Ross smothered his effort, and Alty’s lead remained intact.

Continuing to probe forward, Ross was tested multiple times in the second half as Oldham looked to equalise. Andrew Dallas came close with a shot from a tight angle, and Will Sutton blazed a golden opportunity wide from only 10 yards out.

The most impressive save of the game, however, came from Lewis Baines, less than 10 minutes before the end of the game. A free kick was whipped into a dangerous area by the Latics, and Altrincham failed to clear, the ball dropping perfectly for Harrison McGahey to strike. He connected well with his half-volley, but Altrincham’s centre-half provided a critical block on the goal line, preserving Altrincham’s clean sheet.

Oldham, growing more desperate as the game progressed, threw everything they had at the Altrincham defence, but the Robins stood firm. It was an outstanding defensive performance from the entire squad, and Altrincham thoroughly deserved their victory.

Harvey Nichols Man Of The Match | Elliot Osborne

Altrincham Ross; Banks, E.Jones, Baines (c), Osborne, Linney (Roscoe, 89'), Conn-Clarke, Cooper, Donawa, Wilson (Hancox, 68'), Newby (Kosylo, 68'). Subs not used: Angus, Mooney.

Oldham Hudson; Kitching, Hogan (c), Raglan, McGahey, Gardner, Hope (Lundstram, 82'), Sutton, Dallas, Norwood, Conlon. Subs not used: Norman, Hobson, Ward, Sheron. 

HT 1-0

Goals Conn-Clarke 40' (Newby) | None

Yellows Donawa 65', Hancox 84', Conn-Clarke 90' | Kitching 31'

Reds None | None

Referee Paul Marsden

Assistants Jonathan Wyatt & Jack Graham

Fourth official Darius Bradley

Attendance 4,578 (1,056 away fans)

Next Up

We're off to Dorking Wanderers on Saturday for a 3pm kick-off in the Vanarama National League. Tickets are available here and away travel is right here.

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