Match Report: Altrincham FC 0-2 Salford City
- Salford City cruise past toothless Robins.
Altrincham’s first-ever footballing clash with Salford ended in tears as they lost 2-0 at home and drifted even further from safety at the bottom of the Vanarama North league.
Under Gary Neville’s watchful eye Salford improved their promotion chances, moving up to eighth place with a comfortable win.
Salford were on the front foot from the whistle, spending much of their time in possession in the Altrincham half early on. The Robins were clearly wary of Salford’s attacking threat as they adopted an unusual 5-2-3 formation to tighten gaps at the back.
Jim Harvey made wholesale changes to his line-up, dropping captain Alan Goodall to the bench, and handing the armband to prominent center-back John Cyrus.
Altrincham’s defending was sloppy and they appeared especially vulnerable at corners. Salford dominated in midfield and piled on the pressure relentlessly, feeding through balls to Michael Phenix, Nicholas Haughton and Richard Allen.
But for the fact that Salford spurned numerous chances it could’ve easily been three or four nil by half time, though Altrincham were unlucky to concede the one goal City did score; a Michael Phenix strike on the stroke of half-time.
Five minutes after the re-start Salford scored again; a beautifully curled effort from attacking midfielder Richard Allen but apart from some promising moments from Curtis Obeng Altrincham offered little threat and had goalkeeper Andrew Dawber to thank for keeping the score respectable.
Dawber pulled off a cracking double save in the 19th minute to deny Allen and Haughton and then, at full stretch, tipped Jordan Hulme’s second half header over the bar.
What was astonishing is that nearly 2,000 loyal Altrincham fans turned out to see this disappointing performance, with the gate swollen too by 400 travelling Salford fans, clearly cheered by their team’s slick passing and efficient finishing.
Altrincham are still waiting for Jim Harvey’s re-build to produce match-winning performances – nine changes here couldn’t find the winning combination. Perhaps meeting a strong and confident Salford will show where they need to improve.
But now nine points adrift of safety and with another disheartening result under their belt, they need to discover winning ways quickly, or the trip back from Alfreton Town on Saturday may be a long one.