Altrincham could have no complaints about the result of this match in which they failed to land a shot on target. A well-organised Boston side efficiently closed down an Alty team which lost possession too often and, at times, too easily. After a goalless first half, Alty went behind in the 49th minute. Harrop opted to pass rather than clear the ball, 35 yards from his goal. Thanoj gained possession and fed Marriott who thumped home a fine, low shot from outside the box.
Altrincham's attempts to build from the back were frustrated by Boston but it was not till the 88th minute that the Pilgrims sealed the game. Moult was dispossessed in midfield and substitute Westcarr fed Arnold. From left of goal, the former Lincoln and Grimsby man's rising shot beat Thompson.
Above: Second-half action against Boston.
Boston United announce that they "travel to Altrincham on Saturday afternoon as the new National League North campaign reaches the five-game mark. The Pilgrims, who are currently third with nine points to their credit, travel to an Altrincham side beaten for the first time in midweek (by FC United of Manchester)...
United manager Craig Elliott is expected to select from a similar squad to the one on duty for Tuesday evening's victory over Nuneaton Borough. Full-back Ashley Jackson is eligible to play as his three-match suspension [for a midweek red card] will not kick in until August 25...
Saturday's match referee is Matt Corlett."
Mr Corlett has previously refereed Altrincham. He was in charge of the 1-1 draw with Buxton at the J Davidson Stadium on Saturday, 4 November 2017. More recently, he sent off Southport's Billy Priestley in their match against Stockport County last weekend.
Above: When Mr Corlett last officiated at Moss Lane, James Poole was the Alty captain, as shown above. Jake Moult and Simon Richman were both suspended for that game.
As well as the referee, a number of the Pilgrims' players have been to the JDS before as the Boston Standard tells us that "Ryan Qualter is heading to Altrincham looking for revenge. The Boston United defender was on the losing side twice when he faced the Robins with former club, Shaw Lane, last season.
'I lost twice. So let’s hope it’s better on Saturday,' said Qualter, who didn’t have the best of times against the eventual Northern Premier League champions. 'They were a good side last year. They’re a close-knit side with lots of quality going forward. They concede a lot of goals but they’re very dangerous going forward, so that’s something we’re going to have to be aware of'...
He added, 'It’s obviously a long season but... if you stay up the right end of the table all season you’re going to be there or thereabouts. You don’t want to be dropping down. There are big teams in this league and tough tests to come.'"
The visitors' line-up for their most recent match this season was: (4-4-2): George Willis; Ben Middleton, Ryan Qualter, Spencer Harris, Ashley Jackson; Nathan Arnold (Toby Lees 84), Brad Abbott, Andi Thanoj, Jonathan Wafula; Adam Marriott (Craig Westcarr 76), Andre Johnson (Nicky Walker 46). Subs (not used): Jonny Margetts, Grant Roberts.
Boston's unused subs last Tuesday included Jonny Margetts who had a brief loan spell at Altrincham in 2015-16 season. The 24 year-old came to Alty on loan from Tranmere Rovers on 22 January 2016. He had started out at Hull City from where he had loan spells with Gainsborough Trinity, Harrogate Town and Cambridge United before moving on to Tranmere Rovers in summer 2015. A spell on loan at Stockport County followed before he joined The Robins. In his month at the club Jonny scored twice in his six starts for Altrincham.
He then had spells at Lincoln City and Scunthorpe United from where he signed for Boston this summer.
The Boston Standard adds that "Boston United sit third in the National League North, but Craig Elliott admits his squad are still a long way off delivering the performances he wants. The Pilgrims boss believes that his team’s defensive robustness so far this season has been a necessity because the side aren’t doing enough in the final third.
'At the moment we’re lacking creative spark,' he said. 'So you have to go from the other angle and work on the defence and grind results out. Further down the line we need to find a different way of playing, be it a bit more creative or other people upping their game. You have to play to your strengths and we’ve got a lot of determination not to lose a game of football'.
Elliott wants more from his impressive roster of attackers. Jonny Margetts [seen right, in his Alty days], who has suffered injury problems the previous two seasons, hasn’t featured in the past two matches while his replacement Andre Johnson was subbed off for winger Nicky Walker at half time during Tuesday’s win over Nuneaton Borough. New signing Craig Westcarr has made two late arrivals from the bench and Adam Marriott is yet to get off the mark...
'I think they’ve all got their own back story, there’s different reasons but there needs to be more to come for them,' added Elliott... 'But it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. It is a marathon and it’s about gradually geting better. Your best team doesn’t always start that first month of the season.'"Away Travel page. You can book your seat in the Community Sports at this Saturday's match with Boston United or by visiting or ringing the Club offices during weekday office hours.
The National League says that "It doesn’t matter if you are four games in or 40, there’s something in the air when it comes to a first vs second match up. It’s only August of course but there’s no doubt all eyes will be on Victory Park to see which fast-starter gathers even more momentum.
Chorley have shocked everyone by beginning like an express train with four straight wins and, while many suggested Hereford should be able to adapt to the National League North, their ten-point haul represents a better than expected start.
Another side who have got off to a flier is Boston United, but Craig Elliott’s side are sure to be put to the test at Altrincham who are still smarting from derby defeat to FC United on Tuesday.
Three wins from four is Bradford Park Avenue’s impressive form - they have an intriguing home game with Stockport County. Kidderminster Harriers have drawn all three of their games and will be well-rested after a midweek break. They need to take full advantage, especially as Darlington played on Wednesday night. Will fresh legs win through?
York City’s morale boosting win at Ashton United has them looking up but they need to follow that up with a home win over Curzon Ashton. Alfreton’s late hammer blow against them in midweek means victory at home to Blyth Spartans is needed to lift the mood. Two teams who badly need spirits raised meet at Liberty Way. Not a win between them so far has Nuneaton Borough and Southport wondering when fortunes will turn.
Spennymoor Town manager Jason Ainsley says their first three points [are] coming. He will be hoping it appears in their fifth game, at home to AFC Telford United. Ashton United haven’t looked out of place so far and if they can get past Brackley Town boss Jody Banim will classify it as a very promising start".NL Daily tells us that "FC Halifax Town have released the following statement after the signing of Simon Lenighan, who pleaded guilty to assaulting three women on a night out in Harrogate in 2015.
'Following some public comment this week, the club feels it’s only appropriate to give an honest account around the decision-making process into the short-term signing of Simon Lenighan and provide some clarity over the move to bring him back to FC Halifax Town. We fully understand and appreciate the feedback and comments that have been shared with us by our supporters. We’ve sometimes been accused of a lack of communication but feel this situation deserves an explanation of our decision so that we can be as open and frank as possible.
'The club is aware of Simon Lenighan’s past and a decision to give him a short-term contract was fully discussed by all parties. The decision was based on a number of more recent factors including, Simon clearly and sincerely being extremely remorseful for his previous mistake. The incident happened three years ago, and he understands the severity of the mistake he made, but he’s now trying very hard to turn his life around, avoiding any further misdemeanours and he’s now settled with a partner and young son.
'In the past our Club has supported numerous players, both reported and unreported, who have found themselves in similar difficult situations. Those players proved to themselves, their families and our supporters that they were able to turn their lives around through being given another opportunity. Some in very spectacular ways. The club does not endorse or condone this previous behaviour in any way. However, we believe that Simon Lenighan is deserving of another chance, as other clubs have given him. We hope and trust his football will be what is judged upon going forward.
'So our plea to our supporters is to continue to support the team and the manager and not let this issue derail what has been a really positive start to the season, so that we can continue to build on the momentum we’ve already established'".
Simon (24, pictured above right), joined Altrincham on 4 November 2016 from Warrington Town. He started out with Leeds United (2012-15). From Elland Road he had loan spells with FC Halifax Town (February -June 2014) and Alfreton Town (February to April 2015). He then joined Rotherham United on a free transfer. Simon made his Alty debut on 5 November in the FA Cup at Lincoln City but he was released on 8 December 2016 after making three appearances.National League reports that "Following the postponement on Saturday’s fixture between Chester and FC United, the National League can confirm the decision has been taken to also re-arrange Tuesday’s match with Kidderminster. Severe storm damage has left the Swansway Stadium damaged, and after pushing the Harriers game back a week it has been decided following an inspection that the ground needs more time before football can return".
The Shropshire Star reports that "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan fears nobody as he believes his side can win anywhere in National League North this season. The Bucks are unbeaten after the first four games of the campaign and head to Spennymoor Town tomorrow.
Cowan... said 'We go to win every game. That’s what I believe in. With the greatest respect to what we had last year, we felt as if we needed to go to places and try to get a draw. But with all due respect to the other teams in this league, because I’m sure they’re feeling the same, I have a real belief in my group that we can just go and win. “People were looking at those first seven games and I’d like to think these last three teams are looking at us thinking "Bloody hell, I’m not looking forward to playing them".
'I’m always that positive person, I think a little outside the box. Some might be thinking "I’d love to get a point there" but that’s the minimum we’re expecting. We’re expecting to go and win the game and we’ll be set up to do so. These lads know what their expectation us, they’ve set themselves a target for the month, and they’re on track for that at the moment so it’s good.'
Telford finished 14th last term, 17th in 2016/17 and 18th in 2015/16. They were relegated from the National League in 2014/15. Cowan wants to be in the top half after around 10-15 games...
'You’re going to see a split in the table,' he said. 'At the moment it’s very tight but you will see a split at some point. I just want us to be in the top half of that split, initially. We not going to go unbeaten for the whole season but for the here and now, the aim is to stay unbeaten.'
Cowan, who won promotion from the division with the Bucks as a player, added 'We’re going to Spennymoor and we want to get a result; three points as opposed to a point. We’ll prepare right, the lads are meticulous in their preparation. I force them to be, really'".
According to the Yorkshire Evening Post "Guiseley may have scored just twice in four league outings so far and remain without a win, but the bigger picture is in full view for co-manager Marcus Bignot. The Lions changed their shape in the tough midweek trip to Stockport County and were rewarded by virtue of a bright attacking performance, led by veteran targetman Kayode Odejayi, who was well supported by scorer Kaine Felix and Curtis Morrison in an encouraging 1-1 draw.
Given a difficult start to the season in terms of selection issues and opponents faced, allied to the fact that a new-look Guiseley side have taken the field, the midweek performance at Edgeley Park, especially going forward, represented an upgrade and augurs well for the weeks ahead. Bignot, whose side visit Leamington tomorrow, said 'What gives us real encouragement is that you have got Rowan Liburd, Reece Thompson and Paul Clayton as well. Teams are judged by their top end and it makes a lot of difference. It is good to have the options and we were able to go and set up differently (at Stockport) and get those outcomes. Now, it is about consistently doing what we did on Tuesday on a regular basis.'
A long trip to the South Midlands to face seventh-placed Leamington represents a continuation of the Lions’ demanding start to the campaign. It has been made all the more problematic by the sight of midfielder Will Hatfield coming off with a hamstring issue at Stockport, putting his participation in doubt tomorrow. Louis Swain, Terry Kennedy, Will Thornton and Scott Smith will miss out once again.
Bignot added, 'Yes, it is disappointing to lose Will. Hopefully, he will be okay for Saturday... Coming to Stockport on a Tuesday under the lights with a point is something to build on. We are a work in progress. We want to get them to play in a certain way and that is going to take time... We are going to be one of those teams who are only going to get better, get fitter and stronger. Tactically, we are going to get better in the weeks and months to come...
'It is two games unbeaten for us. Our performances are getting better and there is a greater understanding between the players'".
From the Chester Standard we learn that "Chester bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley will keep faith with their tactical approach despite their side's defensive horror show at Blyth Spartans. Operating with a three-man defence with wing-backs to good effect in their opening two league games, Chester's side looked settled in the managers' preferred formation...
Johnson said, 'We have tried to impose a shape on the team that can get us playing how we want to play. As with any shape there are ways the opposition can beat you and exploit you. Blyth exploited us in a massive way, they tore us to pieces and that's because some of our play was suicidal at times... we weren't doing our jobs properly and it just became catastrophe.
'But when the system we've implemented here is executed properly it can be a success. It's worked for us at the start of the season and this week has been isolating where things went wrong and eradicating those mistakes quickly... Of course it hurts and it will do for a while, but we want to see a response from the players, and a quick one too', said Johnson.
'After a pasting like that we've had to lick our wounds a bit this week, but what we don't want is for the players to clam up on the back of that kind of result... There have been a few harsh words spoken since the game and we've shown the players various clips from that game and highlighted all the weaknesses we've found. To be fair, Bernard and myself are hyper-critical of the players even when we've won games... It's the same process win or lose as far as we're concerned, because there is always room to improve and the players know that...
'We need to prove to the fans that last weekend was a one-off and play like a team they can be proud of again. Now we're looking for leaders and characters out there on the pitch. Players who can pull some of the younger lads through and show the qualities we're asking for'.
Chester will be without Shaun Tuton... with the forward set for a move to league rivals Spennymoor Town. Earlier this week the north east club provided the Blues with seven days notice as they attempt to lure the 26-year-old former Barnsley striker."
From Hereford FC we learn that "The Hereford FC Board of Directors have a responsibility to ensure that behaviour both on and off the pitch meets an acceptable standard laid down by the Football Association and by the Club. Andrew Graham, Director for Community Engagement & the Hereford FC FA Respect Director gives a briefing on what is required from the club and fans...
'This season, we already see Hereford FC on report at The FA with a reminder that further disorder/behaviour incidents could result in severe sanctions for the club... I would like to place on record our thanks to the vast majority of our supporters who attend matches and behave impeccably and a particular thank you to those supporters who ensure that their friends or others do not bring this fantastically supported Club into disrepute....
'Occasionally, Directors are engaged in matters where we are called upon to explain or defend our supporters' actions. When this takes place, we are scrutinised by The FA, the Police, our Community and the media. The time taken to respond and protect us from damage is significant and could quite simply be put to more productive use.
'For the avoidance of confusion I will publish the below requirements that the FA have of me:
I am appealing to all supporters to play their part and ensure that they, and their friends continue to represent HFC positively".
At Bradford (Park Avenue) "Goalkeeper Steven Drench has claimed that he and his team-mates are relishing the prospect of another tough game ahead of Stockport County’s visit. The experienced stopper has kept clean sheets in both of the club’s home wins so far...
'We came unstuck against Leamington on Saturday, so we wanted to put in a performance against Spennymoor and we have done,' explained the goalkeeper. 'We started the season by playing against sides that we’d like to think will be up there at the end of the season, but Leamington was a tough place to go as well. People assume, because of where they finished last season, that we had a right to go there and win but no team does. Anyone can beat anybody in this league and some of the results have showed that. With the exception of Chorley, no team has set the world alight and it just shows how tight the league will be this season.
'It’s still early days and a lot of teams are still sussing out their best eleven. It’s a case of feeling each other out, but we’ve won three of our first four games and we’d have taken that if it was offered to us at the start of the season'".
Nuneaton Town's "rebranding of its social media platforms has now been completed thanks to the support of the Nuneaton Borough Supporters' Co-operative. The premium website domain name NuneatonBoroughFC.com was made available to the club recently by the Co-op.
Club Secretary Adam Etheridge said 'we’re extremely grateful to the Co-op for their generous donation, and for the massive help that they’ve given the Club in what has been a very difficult period. We look forward to working closely with them over the coming weeks, months and years as we continue to rebuild our relationship with the Boro’ faithful.' Speaking on behalf of the Co-op, interim chairman Mark Axon said “ the Co-op are glad to be able to assist the club with this new website domain name... The Co-op will be working with the Club to bring all areas of the website up to date over the coming days.'"